tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN January 31, 2022 6:00am-7:00am PST
>> at last count the gofundme has raised $8,000 and counting. that should set him up with a new vehicle and a new plow. everyone wins, everyone wins. >> a virtuous circle. >> good for him. cnn coverage continues right now. good morning everyone. i'm bianna golodryga. >> i'm jim sciutto. this morning brand new details about how close then vice president elect kamala harris was to a pipe bomb planted outside dnc headquarters on january 6th 2021. multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation say she drove within several yards of the explosive device, remarkably close. we'll have more on that in just a minute. plus a georgia district attorney is now asking the fbi for security help as former president trump takes aim at
prosecutors investigating him and his businesses. at a rally over the weekend trump also floating a possible presidential run in 2024, and potential pardons for january 6th insurrectionists. we have a lot going on on this busy monday morning, jim. >> we'll begin with new details on how then vice president elect kamala harris was to the pipe bomb. cnn law enforcement correspondent whitney wild is outside dnc headquarters in washington. whitney, first of all, harris was inside the d nfrmtnc much l than we previously knew shh. >> that's right. it's the timeline that's startling. when you come out and see how close she was to this pipe bomb, it is simply chilling. let me take you through chronological order so you can understand the impact here. january 5th between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., a suspect who is still at large planted a pipe bomb right here, right in this corner. if you look at this garage, that
is the location where, at 11:30 a.m. on january 6th kamala harris pulled in with her security detail. look how close these two locations are. she came within yards of that pipe bomb. a law enforcement source tells cnn the secret service who was responsible for her protection that day swept areas inside the building. they swept the driveway, swept the entrances and exits, but clearly something was missed here, jim. it's just one example of many security gaps that happened throughout washington that day. the situation was so chaotic, the strains on law enforcement so immense, and the reality is that when you have a situation like that, there are so many gaps that bad actors could exploit them. while there was no harm here, it is certainly an example of how much worse it could have been, just yards, jim, just yards. when you consider that the fbi has insisted over and over that these pipe bombs, though they never detonated, were viable, it is yet another chilling reminder
of these cloels calls. >> it does bear asking why we're just hearing about this now, over a year later. whitney wild, i know you'll continue to follow the story for us. thank you so much. the other story we're following, the georgia district attorney investigating former president trump is asking the fbi for security help after the former president urged his supporters to go after prosecutors looking into him and his businesses. listen to what he said at a rally over the weekend in texas. >> if these radical vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, i hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protest we have ever had in washington, d.c., in new york, in atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt. they're corrupt. >> there's no evidence of that. joining us cnn justice correspondent jessica schneider. jessica, what more do we know about this security request by
the fulton county da. they believe the president's words put them in danger. >> yeah. they believe he was using this as another call to action to his supporters. this is a request sent to the fbi pretty much immediately after that rally from trump on saturday night where in it he did take aim at several of the officials both in georgia and new york investigating him now and his allies. because of that rhetoric and the fact that the district attorney in atlanta even disclosed she's already heard from people before that who were unhappy with her investigation into trump and his allies for possible election interference. the da, fannie willis is asking for two things. she wrote this, i am asking that you immediately conduct a risk assessment of the fulton county courthouse and government center and that you provide protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents.
it is imperative these resources are in place well in advance of the convening of the special purpose grand jury. as we learned last week, that special grand jury will sit. it was approved. that will start may 2nd, they'll be able to subpoena people for testimony in the da's probe, also compel discovery. obviously the da there, fani willis, very concerned of possible threats, especially that trump is publicly promising mosh protests. da fani willis expressed in this letter, she's worried there could potentially be a repeat of january 6th in atlanta if his supporters interpret trump's words as a possible call to action. this letter requesting help was sent out last night. we have reached out to the fbi in atlanta to find out what will happen, if anything here, if they'll conduct the risk assessment of the government buildings, where the special grand jury will sit as the da is requesting. this da investigation is on
going. we know the da herself said she expects possibly to decide on charges by midyear. the special grand jury will begin sitting may 2nd. jim and bee an fla. >> jessica, thank you so much. joining us is laura jarrett, the anchor of "early start" and previously covered the justice department and errol louis, cnn political commentator and host of the you decide podcast. laura, what will be the fbi be looking at in terms of how to respond to this request for more security following the president's words that his supporters should come out and protest massively in these three cities where he's being investigated? >> this weekend's rant does him no favors from a legal point of view. judges usually give criminal defendants a lot of latitude, a lot of rope when it comes to how they push back in cases. trump will say i wasn't advocating for violence, i just called for big protests.
that's where the fbi will look at the context of his statements. the context is he's saying it in a statement where he's actually talking about floating pardons, dangling pardons who carried out violence on january 6th. the da in georgia, fani willis is trying to draw a direct link from what happened on january 6th to today saying, if he did it then, he can do it now. that's what the fbi is going to look at. the big question is do they sit down with the former president, do they actually sit down and question him about what his mindset was, what his intent was over the weekend? >> are there legal consequences for any of this. still an open question. errol louis, it was notable president trump claimed the three attorneys who investigated him who, we should note, are all black. he called them racist prosecutors. what's your reaction to that? >> well, that is a trump tactic we've seen from way back, trying to buy people using the easiest thing at hand which in this case
would be race. we should note for the record that the investigation of donald trump in new york, the manhattan district attorney was cy vance, a white anglo-saxon protestant. he began the investigation and his term ended. the new black district attorney has been there 31 days. donald trump doesn't kaerp about that. het wants to get people riled up and in the streets to support him. it's kind of a gangster move in a lot of ways and it's what we've come to expect from donald trump. >> laura jarrett, this isn't the first time that the nformer president hasn't said that out loud. what we heard was him coming out saying that vice president pence at the time should have overturned the election, the electoral counteract. it's now being revisited by bipartisan support from congress is what he's pointing to as justification for why he's saying out loud now what he did want the vice president to do, what he thought he was capable of doing at the time and
ultimately did not. >> so over a year into this, he's still wrong about what he says pence could do. let's be clear, under the act pence has a purely ministerial role. he's supposed to be opening envelopes, reading the ballots and saying goodbye. trump is still saying he could overturn the e ooh lex when he was advised that's not true. the question for investigators here is what is his true intent. does he actually know that he's wrong about this and he wanted to stay in power, wanted to subvert the election? he knew it was wrong and didn't care anyway. or does he genuinely believe that somehow pence had the ability to overturn the election. is he still operating under some misapprehension of the law. if it is the former and he knew all along he had lost, he was wrong about it, he was wrong on the law and went ahead with all of this anyway, i think that significantly increases his legal jeopardy. >> or perhaps he was willing to try anything and anything not caring what the law is.
he tloour a lot of things at the wall there to see if they would stick. errol, i want to ask you, here you have a former president who may well run for president again saying if he's president, he would pardon the january 6th rioters. is that obstruction of justice? >> it was actually one of the elements in the articles of impeachment against richard nixon. you can get in trouble for doing this. it's not just regular political speech. this is the essence of trumpism, jim. it's not enough that you put donald trump's interest ahead of your own, the essence of trumpism is you disavow and deny and walk away from your previous commitments to your personal and professional ethics, to the rule of law, to the constitution if necessary. that's always been the invitation of trumpism, sort of the dark invitation, throw aside everything you believe and let's go down this dark path. that's what the campaign for 2024 is starting on.
that's the note it's starting on. it can only get worse from there. >> most republicans at this point support him. laura jarrett, errol louis, thanks to both of you. coming up, the un security council holds a meeting as the potential for conflict looms on the russia/ukraine border. new information on who the u.s. might target with sanctions. uk prime minister boris johnson has seen the reports about his parties during covid lockdown. what we know about his contents and political future. several musicians threatening to pull their music from spotify. now the company and rogan are both responding. about her plan, she can enjojoy more of right now. that's the planning effect, from fidelity. pain hits fast. so get relelief fast. only tylenol rapid release gels have laser drilled holes.
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in the next hour, the u.s. russia and ukraine set to meet for a un security council emergency session. cnn is learning who the biden administration could sanction if russia were to invade ukraine further. joining me to discuss, congresswoman chrissy houlahan, a member of the foreign affairs and armed services committee. she just returned from a bipartisan delegation visit to ukraine. thanks for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> you were on the ground in ukraine. youofficials. is a russian invasion imminent. >> i think it's possibly imminent. that's a concerning indicator that something is afoot at this
point in time. 120, 130,000 troops are already amassed along the border and in the mediterranean as well. that's a huge number of troops. when they move in plasma, as an example, the russians do, that's an interesting and alarming indicator that something is forecoming. >> there is, as you know, a public disagreement between the u.s. and ukrainian presidents, biden and zelensky, over just how urgent of a threat the invasion is. what do you believe is behind that public disagreement? >> it's interesting. i was able to start in brussels and meet with eu partners and allies as well and to head down into ukraine and talk to zelensky and many of his parliament and much of his administration. you're right that there is somewhat of a disconnect between the messaging. i do think that messaging disconnect is because of the audience that each group is speaking to.
i think president zelensky is trying to keep a sense of calm. i think the people we're speaking to are the american people, to understand we're in a unyoo neek and different situation than we have been in recent history. as i mentioned, with 170 troops aligned at the border, that's something we should be worried about because ukraine is the tip of the democratic spear, so to speak. as ukraine goes, so do other fragile democracies. >> part of the u.s. and western plan is to sanction people close to russian president vladimir putin. sanctions like this have been tried before. the war has been going on in ukraine for eight years. i wonder, beyond expanding the list of sanctions and the
targets of these sanctions, in your view, should these sanctions start today, that is preemptively before an invasion as opposed after any increased military activity? >> certainly that was part of the conversation of the delegation and all the people who we met with. there were differences of opinion on how that should best be executed. in addition to sanctions there would be other efforts like humanitarian efforts and sending more military aid as an example. good people can disagree on what the most effective way to do this is. i believe the most effective way to sanction is in unison with our eu partners and our nato allies. i do believe we need to be strategic amongst each other and don't go one at a time. i think that will be less effective. i want to argue that whatever we do we do with our allies an partners. >> an exclusive goal of vladimir putin today with this buildup, but for a number of years is to
split the nato alliance, not just about the seriousness and urgency of the threat, but the response to that threat. do you see nato allies united on this? >> yeah. that is what was so fascinating and intriguing about our trip. we saw very much the nato and the eu unified and al liengd. the congressional delegation that went to these communities and countries to meet meetings, putin has done one thing remarkably well, he's unified the eu, unified nato and the congress. it's my responsibility to make sure we as a congress are able to unify the american people to understand why it's important to care about ukraine even though it's really far away and we have our own domestic issues. it's critical that we are actively engaged in defense of democracies around the world. >> do you worry about a scenario here. the u.s. administration has made it clear that if putin were to
invade further, nord stream 2 is finished. it's done. germany appears to be on board for that. there is a scenario where putin doesn't explicitly invade, roll tanks across the border, but keeps troops around the border, carries out cyberattacks, perhaps reinforces russian positions inside ukrainian territory, so gets the pressure but keeps the pipeline. how do we avoid that? >> there were conversations, how would we respond as an alliance and as a group of people who love democracy and freedom. i think we need to work again collectively and collaboratively in our response. every day is a different set of snare yoes and different set of decisions that we need to go through. i am really grateful i had the opportunity to go on this trip and be able to see just how unified we are in understanding the gravity of the situation
that we are all experiencing right now. i served in the air force as a program manager and ballistic missile defense during the cold war. this is something that wouldn't be unremarkable back then, but something we need to be very, very concerned with now. >> a shame to be back in that environment again, isn't it? congresswoman, we appreciate you taking the time and appreciate you going over there and seeing the situation for all of us firsthand. >> thank you. appreciate it. >> really important, jim, to have that perspective of being on the ground with a bipartisan delegation, getting word from what ukrainians are feeling. >> and also someone like the representative with a history of military service during a cold war environment, to see a similar dynamic today, it's disturbing, sadly, to see that's a new reality. >> we'll continue to cover this story throughout the morning. also this morning, the u.k. government set to release a new
report on boris johnson's parties during the country's strict covid lockdown. this saga continues. could it impact his political future? we're moments away from the opening bell on wall street. futures are mixed this morning after last week's relatively rocky week for markets. today is the final day of trading for the month of january. the s&p 500 is on track to have its worst monthly performance since march of 2020. the upcoming week will have some big economic data with top tech companies releasing earnings reports and the deese jobs report on friday. we're watching all of this. stay with us.
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salma, what's contained in the report? >> reporter: jim and bianna, please be patient with me. this report literally just dropped a few minutes ago. sorry if it sounds this way, it sounds like a child being scolded. i'm going to read usec shuns here. it said the government's behavior in terms of the parties, the gatherings that occurred over a 20-month period are difficult to justify. it says there was a failure to observe the high standards that the british public expected. it describes a failure of leadership at 10 downing street just behind me. i says the excessive consumption of alcohol at the workplace is not appropriate. apparently a civil servant needs to remind people that the excessive consumption of alcohol is not supported. i don't know how prime minister boris johnson can twist this in any way. this is really harmful. it paints a picture of a government that wantonly did not
observe covid restrictions, that brazenly violated the trust of the public, that failed to show leadership at a time of pandemic and a prime minister who apparently oversaw all of this, jim and bianna. >> quite some an nate mated voices behind you. not sure if that's in response to this report or a typical day in london. the headline that this is not yet the meaningful report. does that suggest there's more information yet to come out. >> that's exactly why prime minister boris johnson is going to be ringing his hands, bianna. this is supposed to be the slimmed down version, a soft landing. there's a second investigation, if you can believe it, into all the parties that happened behind me here. that second investigation led by police is still on going. the police asked in this report, the gray report, that the most brazen and wanton violations, the most serious parties would not be included, to allow the police to carry out their
investigation. that means this is not the worst of it. >> interesting, the key question now, does his own party abandon him? do enough conservative members of parliament abandon him? that appears to be an open question. >> as boris johnson is trying to focus on other pressing issues, namely the crisis in ukraine. he's expected to speak with putin today. this is hanging a cloud over all of that right now. we'll continue to follow all this. salma abdelaziz, great reporting as always. thank you. health officials are saying there is reason to panic -- there's no reason to panic over a new subvariant of omicron that has spread to dozens of countries including here in the united states. >> yes, thank the lord. the strain known as ba.2 appears to be just as mild in terms of the illness it causes as the original omicron variant. the transmission rate slightly higher. however, this also key.
evidence so far suggests the subvariant does not seem to evade vaccines or natural immunity any more than omicron. all important developments there. podcast host joe rogan is promising to try to balance things out on his show, this after numerous complaints that he is spreading disinformation about covid. >> if there's anything that i've done that i could do better is have more experts with differing opinions right after i have the controversial ones. my pledge to you is i will do my best to try to balance out these more controversial viewpoints with other people's perspectives so we can maybe find a better point of view. i don't want to just show the contrary to opinion to what the narrative is. i want to show all kinds of opinions. >> why is this happening now? why are we just hearing from him
now? joni mitchell and neil young are among the latest artists who have pulled their music from the platform to protest rogan's show. now spotify announced it is adding advisories to any podcasts discussing covid. chloe, will the platform rule changes be enough for critics? it's interesting that this comes as more musicians take their music off the platform. they're clearly facing business pressure here. >> reporter: good morning. we've seen so many media companies experience issues with misinformation, from facebook to twitter over the years, especially in the midst of the covid-19 pandemic. joe rogan, for those of you that might not be one of the 10 million that listen to his podcast. that's how many people on average listen. he's the number one podcast in the u.s. and the uk. in listening to his lengthy message, i found it shocking that he doesn't really prepare for his interviews, that he
comes up with his ideas off the cuff. his interview style is -- some journalists don't like this, he's not a jury roomist, he's sitting down. he has a big weight to carry on his shoulders. he signed this purported $100 million deal with spotify. the idea that he sits down with experts, some of which are spreading misinformation and he doesn't have the necessary facts in order to combat that, that's what he's dealing with now and also these rules on spotify, i want to tell you about a few of them. the rules have just come out, and now spotify says they will be rolling this out to other countries. things that could get you banned or fired as a podcaster or someone who has a show on spotify is asserting that covid-19 is a hoax or not real, encouraging the consumption of bleach products to cure various illnesses and diseases and encouraging people to purposely get infected with covid-19 in order to build immunity and
suggesting that vaccines are designed to cause death. so these are just a few of the rules that have come out. there are other rules about maybe encouraging someone to harm others or harm themselves, not just specific to covid-19. but it's a tough situation that spotify is in right now. many people, many celebrities are not happy. >> you have to set a rule not to tell people to inject bleach to stop covid two years in? remarkable. chloe mellas, thanks so much. senator lindsey graham is signaling his support for at least one of the women on president biden's short list for the supreme court. could his comments sway the president's choice?
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it is a prescription only treatment and is not for pregnant women or people allergic to its ingredients. talk to your doctor or visit myplenity.com to learn more. president biden's team ask expected to start meeting in person this week for the women in the running for potential nominees to the supreme court. >> a storm of speculation as well as controversy. cnn's lauren fox is live on capitol hill. one potential nominee is getting strong support from republican senator lindsey graham. here is a hint. they happen to be from the same state. >> reporter: exactly. it's fun anyplace how that works, bianna. this was an important moment yesterday on cnn sunday morning where lintd see graham rally started to endorse michelle
childs, a district judge in the state of south carolina where he hails from. he said he couldn't think of a better candidate. here is the kind of praise he was heaping on her yesterday. >> can't think of a better person for president biden to consider for the supreme court than michelle childs. she has wide support from our state, appeared to be fairly minded, highly gifted jurist. i cannot say anything bad about michelle shields. she's an awesome person. >> reporter: it's a significant comment from a republican senator when you think of just how partisan these supreme court fights have gotten over the last several years. you think back to brett kavanaugh or even gorsuch's nomination and how republicans and democrats went after one another during those confirmation hearings. so a significant comment from
lindsey graham. we should also note that there are other people who are considered front-runners for the supreme court nomination. this is going to take a couple of weeks for the biden administration to work through all of this, but other nominees include d.c. circuit judge ketanji brown jackson as well as leandra kruger. the white house expected to begin vetting these candidates this week. it's important to note here in the u.s. senate you have judiciary chir man dick durbin saying they're going to move as quickly as they can once they get a nominee. of course, they have to wait for that moment when the president announces his choice. bianna and jim. >> interesting to see if the nomination can get republican votes. we'll see. lauren fox, thanks so much. coming up, the parents of ahmaud arbery slamming a plea deal made with two of the men convicted of killing their son. we'll have a live update coming up.
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federal prosecutors have reached a plea agreement with two of the men convicted of killing ahmaud arbery in georgia. travis and gregory mcmiegal were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility for parole for murdering arbery while he was out for a jog. >> that sentence, as we should be clear, not affected by the plea deal. cnn's nick valencia joins us now. nick, what exactly is this plea agreement, and does it mean --
what does it mean, if anything, for the amount of time they'll spend in prison? >> reporter: that's right. they're calling this a betrayal of justice. i spoke earlier by phone to lee merritt, the attorney for the mother of ahmaud arbery who says not only is this unlawful, but it came as a surprise to the family. according to meritt he says the department of justice told the arberys they would not try to get a plea agreement with the mick michaels unless they were given consent by the family. that's according to lee merritt. we've reached out to the u.s. department of justice for comment on that. we have not yet heard back. let me get back to what lee merritt said to me by phone. i believe we have his comments on a full screen, telling me that it was presented to the family that they would not offer a plea deal without the consent of the family.
merritt went on to say the state prisons in georgia are violent and there's no guarantee for safety and they know that. the three men, according to our reporting, they were supposed to have a hearing today for the federal hate crime charges that they were standing by for. that hearing is supposed to get under way in about ten minutes here, but this new plea deal which we don't know the specifics of the details, came as a surprise to a lot of people, not least the arbery family. >> nick, i know you'll continue to be covering this story as more details do come out as to what was in this plea agreement. thank you so much. we'll be right back. a powerful .05% retinol that's also gentle on skin. for wrinkles results in one week. neutrogena®. for people with skin.
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well, if you missed it, it was another weekend of nail biting, edge of your seat playoff games ending with the cincinnati ben dgals and the l. rams going to super bowl lvi. whoever made a bet on that months ago in vegas, that's a very happy person right now. i'm sure many of them. >> far and few between but one of those games went into overtime again. andy schultz, and for those who were excited and hopeful for great two games, that's what they got. >> certainly did and i'll clear that up for you, jim, no one in this super bowl season. >> not one lonely guy in southern ohio. >> we're having an interview with him. >> the last 30 years of football, it's hard to believe the cincinnati bengals and in a world they're going to the super bowl but i'll tell you what. that's the power of joe burrow. bengals, they were down big time against the chiefs yesterday.
21-3. they never panicked. burrow never panicked. willed them all the way back and for the first time in 33 years, they're going to the super bowl. >> i think if you would have told me before the season we'd be going to the super bowl, i probably would have called you crazy but played a whole season and nothing surprises me now. i know the kind of guys we have and the team we have. we're excited about this one but we'll celebrate tonight and then move on. >> check out this cool pic. tyler picking up joe burrow during the celebration yesterday. that's on the left. they did this back in 2019 when they played together at lsu after they beat alabama. pretty cool, they recreated that. burrow could be the first quarterback ever to win the heisman national title and a super bowl and could do it min span of three years. rams have gone all in on this season. it's worked. able to beat their nemesis the
49ers last night. lost six in a row. the team traded to matthew stafford in the off-season. like last night, came through in the fourth quarter in that comeback. after 12 seasons with the lions, stafford, you know, getting to play in the first super bowl, february 13th. rams, they opened with the 4 point favorite over the bengals. first 54 super bowls that we had, no team got to host a game. now, we've got two in a row. bucs last year, rams this year. >> they don't call it a home field advantage like officially, i don't know about that. a andy sholes, thank you. super star quarterback tom brady. is he retired or not retired? it was sort of some serious whiplash over the weekend on this. >> i tell you what, guys. saturday was such a wild day on social media. we're not going to know for sure whether tom brady is retiring until we hear from him directly.
adam schefter and darlington, two plugged in reporters. reported on saturday that brady is going to retire and then tom brady's dad told reporters his son hasn't made up his mind and a source familiar with the situation said on saturday, brady contacted buccaneers jason to inform him he's yet to make a final decision about his future. brady said last week after the loss of the rams on the podcast, him retiring would be a family call. quite the showman over the past few years. he has his own show, big time produced videos before big games. it could be a situation where brady, you know, he want to make this announcement himself and he has a special way that he want to do it, but we'll have to wait and see. he hasn't said anything yet. >> listen, andy, anyone who's accomplished what he has at the age of 44 and still considering that he might play, giving all of us 40 somethings some hope. >> if you were born in the late
70s or early '80s, brady is all you got in terms of older super stars to root for. >> fair whether he stays or retires. he's the g.o.a.t. andy shoels, thank you. sad news to report. former miss usa cheslie kryst after she died yesterday morning. >> looking into the circumstances yesterday and cnn's jean casarez has been following the story. what do we know about the investigation? >> reporter: the new york police department announced this morning that they will be launching an investigation. this would be a death investigation putting together facts and circumstances, some forensics if needed, as to determine what really happened here. but this is a young woman that was so accomplished. i mean, she not only won the crown of his usa in 2019, which was a very important year and she was part of that because it was, in 2019, that miss usa,
miss universe, miss world, miss teen usa, miss america, were all black and she was part of that historic year right there. but she also is an attorney. she did her undergrad at the university of south carolina. business administration degree. went on to get her masters in that at wake forest university, and her law degree. she practiced civil litigation and more than that, she also worked at helping prisoners who believed they had not been correctly sentenced. excessive sentences. she helped them and did it for free and a correspondent for "extra." we want to show everyone her final instagram post which is the last thing that shows conceivably her state of mind. on sunday, according to the authorities, she said, may this day bring you rest and peace. we don't know who she's talking to, but that is what she said. her family said in devastation
and great sorrow, they share the passing of their beloved cheslie. her great light inspired others around the world. she cared, she loved, she laughed and she shined. and jim and biana, the medical k examiner has the jurisdiction and authority to go the farther in this with toxicology. >> we are thinking of her family and obviously, such an inspiration to so many out there. jean casarez, thank you. good morning to you, i'm jim sciutto. >> i'm bianna golodryga. two major stories this morning. first, an emergency meeting at the united nations set to begin any moment. u.s. russian and ukrainian diplomats come face-to-face as russia shows no signs of backing down from an invasion of ukraine. the u.n. security council meeting is a diplomatic off-ramp for russia should they want to take one, but this morning, the kremlin is