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New Day Sunday

Education Secretary: Debt Relief Program Can Move "Full Speed Ahead" Despite Temporary Hold; Borrowers Left In Limbo After Court Pauses Debt Relief Program; 15M Without Power In Ukraine Amid Fresh Wave Of Russian Attacks; Inside Secret Drone Workshop Where Ukrainians Make Weapons; Wave Of RSV Spreads, Overwhelming Children's Hospitals; Homicide Now A Leading Cause Of Death In Pregnant Women In The U.S. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired October 23, 2022 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Syracuse was up 21-10 at halftime but here comes Will Shipley and the Tigers. 50 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. Orange had a chance late. But Garrett Shrader's pass is picked off by R.J. Mickens.

Clemson holds on 27-21. But look Syracuse still 6 and 1. They're still going to be ranked in the top 25. I hate to do this to you, Boris, but --


WIRE: -- but you're looking good. Lot to be proud of. Keep your head up. Dino paper (ph) and the boys are looking good.

SANCHEZ: I've been asking for Syracuse Orange highlights --


SANCHEZ: -- for weeks.

WALKER: That was customized for you, I think.

SANCHEZ: And this, Coy, of course brings up the loss. Listen, they are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook, Coy.

WIRE: You almost had them. Keep that head up, big man.

WALKER: Coy, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate it.

WIRE: Thanks.

WALKER: The next hour of New Day starts now.

And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your New Day. I'm Amara Walker.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Amara. I'm Boris Sanchez.

Doubling down. The Biden administration says they will fight in court to keep that student debt relief program alive. What does that mean for thousands of applicants? And how long could that legal fight last?

WALKER: We'll also have the latest on the brutal attacks in Ukraine as Russia continues to hammer the country's infrastructure. We'll take you inside a secret workshop where Ukrainian soldiers are building weapons against Russia.

SANCHEZ: And residents in Jackson, Mississippi are still facing problems with the city's water. Now the EPA is opening up a federal civil rights investigation. We're going to tell you exactly what and who is getting investigated.

WALKER: Also possible thunderstorms, critical fire conditions and heavy rain. More than 10 million people facing severe weather threats across the country. Your forecast coming up.

SANCHEZ: Here we are bright and awake, Sunday, October 23. Grateful that you're starting your week with us. Great to be with you as well, Amara.

WALKER: It was a slow wake up but we're here. We're ready, right? Boris, always good to be with you -- be -- good to be with you.

And we begin with a fight over President Biden's student debt relief program. The White House is encouraging people who are eligible to keep applying online despite a federal appeals court putting a temporary hold on the program.

SANCHEZ: Yes, remember, several Republican led states are suing to stop the government from canceling these loans. According to the Department of Education, more than 22 million Americans have applied for debt relief since the department began accepting the applications last week.

Let's go to CNN's Jasmine Wright. Jasmine, this program was scheduled to start today and now it's facing this uncertain future.

JASMIN WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Boris. Well, this Sunday as when the White House identified that some borrowers could start to see their debt canceled. Obviously, that's not going to be the case. Now, the Court of Appeals has given the White House until Monday which is tomorrow to respond to that hold. And then those states that brought the challenge have until Tuesday to respond to the White House, obviously, pushing this timeline for when folks could start to see relief closer and closer to the upcoming midterms if it is allowed to proceed at all.

Now, of course, the White House, you're right, is telling people to continue to apply online, put in those applications as they are doubling down, wanting to go full steam ahead when it comes to trying to get some relief to the American people when it comes to student loans. And they're going on the offensive. Yesterday, the Education Secretary Miguel Cardona released an op ed in which he really likened Republicans who are opposing the student debt plan to Hippocrates. I want to read you some of it. He said, "These same Republican attorneys general and officials, however, didn't file lawsuits when $58.5 billion and pandemic relief loans were forgiven for their state's business owners. They didn't oppose $2 trillion dollars in tax cuts to the highest earning businesses and individuals as part of the Trump tax giveaway.

And they didn't complain when Republican members of Congress got millions of dollars for their paycheck Protection Program loans forgiven by the federal government last year. It's only when relief is going to working and middle-class Americans that these elected officials have a problem."

So again, here Boris and Amara, no signs of backing down from the White House as they hope that this student debt cancelation that the President did by executive order helps galvanize their base specifically when it comes to young voters and young voters of color just ahead of the midterm elections. Boris, Amara?

SANCHEZ: It is a big part of their midterm message. Jasmine Wright from Washington, D.C., thank you so much.

I should actually correct myself because earlier I said it was thousand, it's actually millions of people that have applied to have their loans forgiven, but now that sense of relief has been replaced by worry.

WALKER: Yes. CNN's Camila Bernal has more on that.



CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It may take a little longer, but Cody Hounanian is still expecting a third of his student loan to be forgiven.


BERNAL (voice-over): He's referring to President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness program that would cover $10,000 of the student debt. Because while he's been out of college for nine years, he still owes $30,000.

HOUNANIAN: I recently married. Me and my wife are going to be thinking about purchasing a home. So it's all of a sudden kind of right in front of me again, because I'm thinking about the kind of debt I have and I need to finance my future and get a home.

BERNAL (voice-over): But well, the administration was expected to start granting loan discharges as early as Sunday, a federal appeals court put a temporary administrative hold on the program, a move being argued in and out of the courtroom. USC Economics Professor Robert Dekle says, that while all his students support the program, he asked them to consider different perspectives.

ROBERT DEKLE, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Relative to defense spending and the overall government budget, the annual cost is not huge, but there is -- it's going to be a burden on current taxpayers.

BERNAL (voice-over): He also says if the goal is to help low-income families, the government should instead invest in say early childhood education. As an economist, Dekle says he thinks short term loan forgiveness will only make inflation worse. But as a professor, he believes long term, this will make the U.S. more competitive.

DEKLE: We need people with skills. And the way to get it is in higher education.

BERNAL (voice-over): And it's that education that Hounanian says got him to where he is today. Now the executive director of the Student Debt Crisis Center, a nonprofit focused on ending the student debt crisis.

HOUNANIAN: For me, the only way to open the door was to take on student loan debt, even though it's created really unnecessary challenges and, you know, we've had to stressed and all that but my future is brighter nonetheless.

BERNAL (voice-over): Now, he's not only waiting for his loan forgiveness, but also fighting so that others can also get the relief.

HOUNANIAN: My dream my vision for a better America in the future is one where my kids don't even have to consider student loan debt.

BERNAL (voice-over): Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.


WALKER: In the closing weeks of this year's midterm elections, among the most closely watched races is Pennsylvania's Senate contest.

WALKER: It is a big one. And Republican Mehmet Oz has narrowed Democrat John Fetterman's lead in a tight race that could determine which party controls the Senate. CNN's Dan Merica was at an event for Fetterman and joins us now.

DAN MERICA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Amara and Boris. John Fetterman held event here in key Chester County on Saturday night. He spoke at length on stage with Senator Amy Klobuchar. It is a unique event for Fetterman, who, as you noted, had a stroke in May, return to the campaign trail in June, has mostly headlined rallies where he had a stump speech, you know, litany of things he wanted to hit.

This was a different kind of event. He was up there, he did not have necessarily notes, did not have issues he wanted to hit and was kind of led in the conversation by Klobuchar. Fetterman did acknowledge he used closed captioning technology which allowed him to read what Klobuchar was saying as she spoke. And why does that matter? Everything right now in Pennsylvania is pointing to the debate on Tuesday between Oz and Fetterman.

That debate is going to be key because of the Oz's attacks on Fetterman's health and closed caption technology will be used at that debate. That's why, in many ways, this event was almost a dry run for the debate. Now Fetterman and Klobuchar spoken a number of issues including abortion, the economy, their personal background. But one of the finest moments came on crime when Fetterman really unleashed on how the Oz campaigns has hit him repeatedly on crime. Take a listen to what he said.


JOHN FETTERMAN (D), PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: He literally doesn't have a plan. Yes, other than to talk, and that's been a hallmark of his campaign. Just not any plans, just she photo ops, or just empty kinds of arguments.


MERICA: Now, guys, it's not happenstance that we're here in Chester County, a collar county around Philadelphia. This was a critical county to delivering the White House to Joe Biden in 2020. It helped deliver Democrats the House in 2018. But as recently as 2012, this county voted for a Republican presidential nominee and Mitt Romney.

That is why Fetterman is here. He and his aides know this is going to be a critical county if they're going to defeat Oz in November. And this is all -- hanging over all of this is the fact that polls have tightened of late. They've closed since over the summer when Fetterman had a double-digit lead. They're now neck and neck here in Pennsylvania between Oz and Fetterman and that just rachets up the tension as we head into the debate on Tuesday.


SANCHEZ: Dan Merica, thanks for that report.

Looking overseas now, Ukraine says that Russia is pulling troops out of Kherson and ordering residents there to evacuate and to move deeper into Russian held territory. This is happening as Ukrainian fighters have advanced that counter offensive in the region to recapture that city. Across Ukraine, though, Russia missile attacks continue to target electrical facilities and other critical civilian infrastructure.

WALKER: More than 1.5 million people remain without power and heat this morning. And as winter quickly approaches, officials are now scrambling to restore the power supply before freezing cold temperatures set in, although, it is getting quite cold overnight, nearing freezing.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is on the scene live in Dnipro, Ukraine. Fred, talk us through what the latest is and how the people there are dealing with, you know, these scheduled blackouts. FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know what, they're doing their best to deal with it. The schedule blackouts, especially happening now in Kyiv also, in the capital of Ukraine, but in many other places also, just because there is so little electricity available because of the strikes that have been going on.

And Amara, there's also other civilian areas that have been struck overnight specifically in the town of Mykolaiv. The Russians there striking two buildings with missiles. Apparently a five-storey building was completely destroyed. Five people were injured in that. And then another larger 10-storey building was hit as well.

One of the things about that strike because it's something that we've been seeing, especially in those southern cities like Mykolaiv very recently, very often is that the Russians use S-300 missiles for that. Those are normally missiles that are used to shoot down planes but the Russians apparently now using them in a surface-to-surface capability which makes these missiles extremely inaccurate. Of course, if you shoot them at civilian areas, civilian casualties are something that is very, very likely.

At the same time on the battlefield, the Ukrainian say they are holding their own, they're making gains in the south. But they're also now managing to hold off the Russians in the East. And we went with one unit who showed us how they use tech to do exactly that. Here's what we learned.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): As the crow flies, the front line is only a few 100 yards away in Bakhmut. Ukraine's forces are both outmanned and outgunned here but holding on because they say they're outwitting the Russians.

We've been given access to this secret workshop where tech savviness is leveling the battlefield, the commander tells me.

STARSHINA, 93RD BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMY: Oh, it's fun, it's game changing stuff because we have no so much forces, we have no so much guns and bullets and so on, so we have to be smart, or no die zone.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The place is run like a startup, no idea is off limits. The soldiers work around the clock, repairing, modifying and arming consumer drones led by a young whiz known as the serpent.

THE SERPENT, 93RD BRIGADE, UKRAINIAN ARMY (through translation): It's way better to know in advance that an assault is coming literally every meter. We are watching every centimeter here. It helps us to save lives during both the assault and the withdrawal.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Ukraine's army says the Russians have around five times more troops here than Kyiv does. The brigade filmed this video they say shows Russian simply charging towards Ukrainian positions out in the open, disregarding the lives of Moscow's own soldiers. THE SERPENT (through translation): There are a lot of them and they have a lot of weapons. We have creativity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In our platoon, I do bonds and --

PLEITGEN (voice-over): And they have their weapons expert, a 19-year- old who goes by the call sign Varnak (ph) and turns grenades into aerial bombs in his makeshift bomb factory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We reroll them as a science for drone dropping.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): He removes any excess weight and attaches a pressure fuse.

(on-camera): It's finished.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we need a tail. And some tape. And you tape this on a drone. Tape this and just drop it.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): It's not just drones. The unit also built this radio-controlled gun turret and a kamikaze cart packed with explosive. All of this is developed on the battlefield for the battlefield helping Ukraine's army turn the tide here.

STARSHINA: We defend our positions. And now we contra -- we make contra offense and we are also successful in it.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Like so many of the troops defending Bakhmut, the tech warriors often work to exhaustion, thinking up new ways to blunt Russia's massive assault despite a lack of heavy weapons.



PLEITGEN: Still pretty tough going there. By the way, that battlefield that we were on is right now said to be probably the most dangerous place in all of Ukraine, also because the Russians have some of their most capable and most brutal fighters there among them from the Wagner private military company which is known around the world for its brutal tactics that its uses. At the same time, the Ukrainian say they are now able to somewhat turn the tide, however, big problem the Ukrainians have right now as far as the whole country is concerned, remain those long-distance strikes by the Russians.

We've got some information a couple of minutes ago, the Ukrainians now saying overnight, they shot down 16 kamikaze drones, guys.

WALKER: Wow. It is incredible to see the tenacity of the Ukrainian troops and the resilience of the people. Thank you so much, Fred Pleitgen, for your reporting.

SANCHEZ: Still ahead this morning, across the country, doctors seeing a surge of RSV infections in kids. The spike, leaving some hospitals running short of pediatric beds.

WALKER: And a suspect in custody after two people are killed in a Dallas hospital. We'll tell you what we know about the investigation.

Plus, from high water bills to frustration with city officials, many residents in Jackson, Mississippi still facing issues when it comes to the city's water system. And now the EPA is launching an investigation.



SANCHEZ: Children's hospitals across the country are being overwhelmed with an increase in new cases of a common virus. The latest data from the CDC says there were more than 7,300 cases of RSV detected last week. That's more than any other week in the past two years. RSV is spreading at unusually high levels, causing kids to fill beds more now than they had over the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in hospitals.

Joining us now to discuss is Dr. Thomas Murray, he's the Associate Medical Director for Infection Prevention for Yale New Haven Children's Hospital. Doctor, we're grateful to have your expertise this Sunday morning. If you could please explain for those of us who are not familiar what RSV is, how it affects kids, and what parents should be looking out for.

DR. THOMAS MURRAY, ASSOC. MEDICAL DIRECTOR, INFECTION PREVENTION, YALE NEW HAVEN CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Great. RSV is a respiratory virus like many of the other respiratory viruses out there that can cause many symptoms ranging from the common cold, to more serious symptoms such as trouble breathing, that forces the kids to come into the hospital. We have seen an uptick in the last couple of weeks all over the country, including here at Yale.

One thing parents can do is kind of return to some of the infection control things that we were used to doing before COVID. Things like washing your hands, cleaning surfaces that are frequently touched, like doorknobs and shared toys, things like that, that can help keep kids safe.

SANCHEZ: And, Doctor, how is it that parents can tell the difference between say, RSV and just a common cold?

MURRAY: It's very difficult because all of the different respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 can kind of look the same even to doctors. So the only really way to tell is to do a test. Fortunately, the treatment isn't any different for most of them. So it's really just supportive care, controlling fever with Tylenol or ibuprofen, and then really watching the breathing to make sure that the child isn't having any difficulty.

SANCHEZ: Do you think this surge has anything to do with the fact that most of us were at home for the last couple of years and a lot of kids didn't have classrooms to go to and they didn't have a chance to have their immune systems exposed to this kind of thing?

MURRAY: Yes, I think you're absolutely correct. What's happened is that over the last couple of years, because children have been masked and distanced, they haven't been exposed to RSV. In a typical year, almost every child is exposed to RSV. But now we have two or three generations of kids upwards of three years of age that have had no exposure. So unfortunately, they're all getting sick at the same time. And that's part of the reason we've been so busy in pediatrics.

SANCHEZ: I'm assuming this is kind of an indicator of what we might expect from the flu or COVID-19 as the weather gets colder, and people spend more time huddled together indoors?

MURRAY: That is correct. We have been some -- anticipating that for some time. This respiratory surge, whether it's flu or RSV, once the kids put on masks, we suspected that when the masks came off, this might happen. So a lot of energy has been put into preparing for this. And I think flu is, frankly, the big unknown at this point.

In the southern hemisphere, they had a lot of flu activity, which often predicts flu activity in the northern hemisphere. So I really encourage everyone to get their flu shot. We may have been a little bit lacks about getting our flu shot the last couple of years because there hasn't been a lot of flu around, but this is not the year not to get the flu shot.

SANCHEZ: Have you started seeing an increase in cases of COVID-19?

MURRAY: COVID-19, we have not seen a lot of children hospitalized for that. It's fairly sporadic. It's one to two per week. We've also had a few cases of influenza, again, one to two per week. But right now, it really is the RSV as well as there's a strain of rhinovirus out there which tend to make kids quite sick.

SANCHEZ: And Doctor, we'd gotten indications that some hospitals were being forced to treat young patients in hallways and in play rooms. I'm assuming you haven't seen anything like that.

MURRAY: We haven't gotten there yet. But we have been very aggressive about planning for this, literally, for the last two years. We knew this coming. We didn't know when it was going to come, whether it was last year or this year or next year. But we're able to do things like bring in doctors to cover extra shifts, to kind of help see more people in the emergency room.


Some doctors and nurses help get kids out of the hospital very fast, whereas, you know, sometimes you wait for discharge for a while, but we're able to really get kids out to clear that bed for the next child. So we're working very, very hard as I'm sure most children's hospitals are to really get kids into the safest place so they can receive care.

SANCHEZ: Yes, really important for parents to be aware of this right now. Dr. Thomas Murray, we appreciate you sharing some advice.

MURRAY: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

WALKER: And doctors across the U.S. are tracking a dangerous trend. The homicide rate among pregnant women is on the rise. Now many doctors are being urged to screen patients for domestic violence. CNN's Jacqueline Howard has more.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Amara and Boris, this is a serious and tragic problem. Rates of homicide among pregnant or postpartum women do appear to be rising in this country. One study found there were about five pregnancy associated homicides per 100,000 live births in the year 2020. That rate is a notable increase from around three per 100,000 in the two preceding years.

And overall, this study found the risk of homicide was 35 percent greater for women who are pregnant or postpartum than for those who are not pregnant. And that's why two Harvard researchers are now urging doctors to screen pregnant patients for signs of intimate partner violence.

Writing in an editorial this week, they say, quote, "Pregnancy typically increases women's interactions with healthcare providers, presenting opportunities for screening or other approaches to help women experiencing, or at risk of violence." So they hope that screening in the doctor's office can help reduce a woman's risk before it's too late. Amara and Boris, back to you.

WALKER: Yes, it's very concerning. Jacqueline, thank you.

Still ahead, why the EPA has launched a federal investigation into the water crisis that cripple Jackson, Mississippi this summer.



WALKER: Here are some of the top stories we're following. Two hospital employees are dead after a shooting at a Methodist Dallas Medical Center in Texas.

SANCHEZ: Yes, police say the shooting happened inside the hospital late Saturday morning. An officer shot the suspect, 30-year-old Nestor Hernandez, injuring him. He was then taken into custody and transported to another hospital for treatment. The Dallas police say Hernandez is currently on parole for aggravated robbery and had an ankle monitor on at the time of the shooting. So, far police have not determined a motive in that case.

In Arizona, some armed individuals dressed in tactical gear were spotted at a ballot drop box. They apparently left the area after police responded. The Maricopa County board of supervisors released a statement on this incident saying, "Uninformed vigilantes outside Maricopa County's drop boxes are not increasing election integrity. We will do everything possible in our roles to protect voters, election workers, and our free and fair elections."

The Republican National Committee is now suing Google, claiming the search giant is sending its campaign e-mails into spam folders. The party says google is discriminating against them because of political bias. CNN reported in August that federal election regulators voted to allow a plan from Google that would allow campaign e-mails to bypass the company's spam filters.

WALKER: The Environmental Protection Agency has now opened a federal civil rights investigation into the State of Mississippi over the Jackson water crisis. The EPA is investigating whether the Mississippi Department of Health and the state's Department of Environmental Quality discriminated against the majority black population.

Now, the situation got so bad that the national guard was deployed to hand out bottled water for months and those lines were hours long. Many residents of Jackson city -- of the city of Jackson, which is third -- 83 percent black, they are still wary of using water from their faucets even though the 40-day boil water notice was lifted last month and the repairs made. The NAACP says, it is an important first step in holding the state accountable.

Abre' Conner is NAACP's environmental and climate justice director. We really appreciate you joining us this morning. And Abre', the EPA is investigating in response to the NAACP's complaint, we know that. And your organization says that the Jackson residents, like many black communities across the country, I think you said this, have had water access, "Weaponized," against them. How so?

ABRE' CONNER, NAACP DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND CLIMATE JUSTICE: Well, what we know is that at least for the last century, that black communities, when they try to build, when they tried to ensure they have everything that they need in order to be sustainable, that because of systemic racism it makes it really hard.

So, for example, in Jackson, out of the last 25 years, there's only been three years that the city has been able to get federal funding for water infrastructure issues. And this is because even though we have the Biden's promise, for example, for justice 40 to prioritize historically disadvantaged communities, oftentimes that funding goes through the state.

And so, if the state, for example, decides, well, we don't want to ensure that a place like Jackson is prioritized. Well then, it can do everything in its power to ensure that that's not the case. We've seen this in other black communities.


When it came time for them to be prioritized, when it came time for an emergency declaration, for example, to be declared, there's oftentimes a slow response. And this is exactly what we've seen in Jackson. This is exactly what we've seen by Governor Reeves. That at every step of the way, he's made it nearly impossible for Jackson to be able to rebuild

WALKER: So, then are you saying that the State is to blame? Because, you know, I was on the ground when this was happening in real time. And, you know, we heard from so many people, including the mayor, and officials saying that this water crisis, obviously, goes back decades. But all comes down to money, right?

And of course, The city of Jackson, we know, that the taxpayer-base had decreased a lot over the years with so many people moving out into the suburbs. But also, when it came to the State, I think it was in 2021 there was a winter freeze that literally shut down the entire water system and the city went to the State and said look, we need $47 million and they just got a fraction of that. So, are you placing the responsibility squarely on the State's shoulders?

CONNER: This is -- a lot of it has to do with the State. A lot of it has to do with Governor Reeves. Governor Reeves -- even prior to him being the governor, when he was lieutenant governor, when he was in the treasurer position, he used those positions to make it hard for Jackson to be able to rebuild. What we also have to look at is how do we creatively think outside of the box around federal spending.

Again, like I said, a lot of times it comes to the state, and it doesn't necessarily flow straight to the communities that need it most. And so, it's definitely the State's responsibility because they are given a lot of power to allow for communities to rebuild. It also, as we identified in our testimony to Congress a few weeks ago, it's often an opportunity for us to think outside of the box about how we ensure that federal funding goes straight to communities.

WALKER: So, what do you hope will come out of the EPA investigation in terms of, you know, holding people or the State responsible? The EPA does have the power to withhold federal funds, but we don't want that to happen, right, because that could only just exacerbate the water crisis.

CONNER: Well, this is really an opportunity for the governor. It's an opportunity for the State to understand that he can't go around making comments like it's always -- it's -- every day is a great day to not be in Jackson or to be slow to respond to a water crisis. I mean, individuals in Jackson have known for years that their water has not been safe. That's why they've been using bottled water for a long period of time.

But this is an opportunity for the State to actually come together with the community, to come together with the EPA, and actually come up with a solution with the community at the very center. This is -- we're saying enough is enough. You know, you cannot systemically discriminate against black communities and think that you're not going to have to face some repercussions because of it. And so, we're hoping that community is really centered in the responses and for us to be able to come up with some real solutions.

WALKER: We're talking about clean water, a basic human right. Abre' Conner, appreciate you. Thank you very much.

And the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality said in a statement to CNN that its hands were tied legally to responding to the allegations at this time. Adding, "We will cooperate with the process while continuing our efforts to protect the environment and the health and safety of the entire population of the State of Mississippi." Back after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


SANCHEZ: Rerouting resources. A super PAC aligned with Republican Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has decided to yank millions of dollars in ads that it intended to spend on New Hampshire's Senate race.

WALKER: The decision effectively means the party has given up on its candidate, Dan Bolduc, who's running against Maggie Hassan. But it comes at a time when Republicans in the States had united against Bolduc. CNN's Gloria Borger with more.


GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voiceover): New Hampshire, home to the first presidential primaries and now --

DON BOLDUC, (R) NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATE CANDIDATE: Get me in the senate. All right.

BORGER (voiceover): -- home to a crucial senate race. Attracting voters with fiercely held views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, who doesn't want to make America great?

BORGER (voiceover): That's the goal, of course. But watching Republicans trying to unify this election season is like watching a bunch of arranged marriages. In New Hampshire between a conventional and successful incumbent governor with a Senate candidate calling for a new breed of party outsiders.

BORGER (on camera): So, what would you call yourselves?

BOLDUC: We're patriots, right? We're a new ilk of the Republican Party.

BORGER (voiceover): That's retired brigadier general Don Bolduc who served 10 tours in Afghanistan and narrowly won a PAC primary as a border protecting and election denying conservative. Once opposed by the Republican establishment.

BOLDUC: The establishment has become the problem. And people want a solution to that.

BORGER (voiceover): So, what exactly is the Republican problem?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not audacious enough. They're not aggressive enough.


BILL BORDEAUX, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: Trump was like a hand grenade thrown into the Republican Party. Love him or hate him, he definitely changed things up. BORGER (voiceover): Bolduc was not endorsed by Trump. He's an underdog in this race against former governor and one-term Senator Democrat Maggie Hassan. She's talking a lot about abortion politics. He's talking a lot about the economy and immigration.

BOLDUC: Will you vote and support the southern border? Yes, baby.

BORGER (voiceover): And he's getting a lot of money from a Political Action Committee aligned with Senate Republican Leader, Mitch McConnell, the ultimate insider and not a Bolduc favorite.

BORGER (on camera): His PAC has given you $23 million.

BOLDUC: Well, then thank you very much.

BORGER (voiceover): And yet, the self-proclaimed change candidate seems unchanged.

BOLDUC: I want leadership to change in the United States.

BORGER (on camera): Leadership but --

BOLDUC: I want it to change.

BORGER (voiceover): Bolduc is among a large chorus of Republican right-wing warriors, who now find themselves welcoming both money and new found support from the very party Pubaz (ph) they once dismissed.

BOLDUC: He's a Chinese communist sympathizer.

BORGER (voiceover): That was about the popular Governor Chris Sununu, seeking his fourth term who had no kinder words for Bolduc.

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Kind of a conspiracy theorist-type candidate.

BORGER (voiceover): But post-primary, an embrace and a nod from the governor.

SUNUNU: He's an amazing individual with this background, this war hero background, that just wants to stand up and serve.

BORGER (voiceover): And now, needs to reach out beyond his conservative base.

BRAD TOOD, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: New Hampshire is an ordinary State. There are more independents than members of either party in New Hampshire. A so go -- as the independents go, so goes New Hampshire.

BORGER (voiceover): And so, a Bolduc switch on the legitimacy of the 2020 election. From this --

BOLDUC: So, I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election, and damn it, I stand by word.

BORGER (voiceover): -- to this. BORGER (on camera): So, you believe the election was not stolen?

BOLDUC: Not stolen but irregularities and fraud.

BORGER (voiceover): The State Republican Party chairman says it's all for the greater good.

STEPHEN STEPANEK, CHAIRMAN, NEW HAMPSHIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY: If we are going to change the direction of this country, you have to support our entire Republican ticket. Because if you don't, the Democrats win and the direction of the country doesn't change.

BORGER (voiceover): Unity at all costs, not only in New Hampshire, consider Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin's support for election denier Kari Lake.

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): The Republican Party has to be a party where we are not shunning people. What Arizona deserves is a Republican governor.

BORGER (voiceover): Bolduc supporter, Paul Grant, hopes the harmony lasts.

PAUL GRANT, DON BOLDUC SUPPORTER: I think Republicans, sometimes, are amateur when it comes to politics. And by that, I mean, I don't agree with a lot of the policies or stances of the Democratic Party, but they play to win. They do. They stick together.

BORGER (voiceover): There's just one small problem on the horizon.

TODD: It would be one thing to say that Republican Party is not just a big tent, it's a big tent with a bar fight.

BORGER (voiceover): And it's not about to reach last call any time soon.


WALKER: Fascinating report there by our Gloria Borger. Thank you for that.

And a quick programming note for you, you can catch an all new episode of "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" tonight. Here's a preview.


STANLEY TUCCI, "STANLEY TUCCI: SEARCHING FOR ITALY" HOST: As you're driving through Puglia, you see these buildings that are ubiquitous, called truly under these conical shaped buildings with little finial on top. They're built that way because in the 14th century there were high property taxes. When the tax man come around, they would basically deconstruct the top of the house and then you weren't taxed on your house if it hadn't been completed. Then the tax man would leave and then they would rebuild the house again. They don't take them apart anymore. That's it. That's the story. They're so cool though. No place else in the world, really, has them.


WALKER: "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" airs tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: There is a major storm system bringing severe weather across the United States today. We're tracking heavy rain to even snow in some parts. Your forecast is up after a quick break.



WALKER: Today, over 10 million people could see severe weather. And for some, that means possible thunderstorms, heavy rain, and snow.

SANCHEZ: Let's take you to the CNN weather center now and Meteorologist Allison Chinchar. Allison, what are you seeing?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: A lot of everything, basically, it just depends where you are. Let's start in the west where snow is really going to be the main focus here. But on the eastern side of that storm, you're talking fire risk and even the potential for some strong to severe thunderstorms.

Here's a look at nearly a dozen States that are under winter weather advisories or winter storm warnings. And yes, in these higher elevations, we're talking an excessive a foot of snow. So, again, for those that get the snow, you're likely going to get quite a bit of it.

Now, here's a look at where a lot of those storms are. You can see the rain in the valley locations and the snow in the higher elevations. But again, this stretches all the way from Montana down through Arizona and New Mexico. That system is gradually going to make its way east. But as it does, out ahead of it, you've got very strong winds.

So, we've got those high wind warning, wind advisories, and even red flag warnings, because those winds gusts are expected to get up around that 70 to 75-mile-per-hour range. The concern here for some of these States is that's also going to increase the fire risk. Because it's not just the winds but also the very dry conditions on the ground.

Another concern is going to be the strong to severe thunderstorms. We've got that for portions of the upper Midwest, stretching down to the Central Plains and even a small portion of Texas, as well. The main threats here will be damaging winds and hail but we can't rule out the possibility of an isolated tornado or two.


The vast majority of the system in the west is going to be for the day today, finally pushing out late evening. In terms of the severe thunderstorms, most of those really don't ramp up until dinnertime tonight, continuing through the evening and overnight hours before that system finally begins to progress off to the east. There's also the chance for severe storms on Monday and Tuesday, as well, just in different locations, guys, as that system progresses.

SANCHEZ: You said it. A mixed bag to start the week. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

WALKER: I love that it's getting colder. It's sleeping with your socks on weather for me. Thanks for starting your morning with us, everyone.

SANCHEZ: Always good to be with you, Amara. "Inside Politics Sunday with Abby Phillips" starts in just a few minutes.