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At This Hour

Suspect In Idaho College Killings To Appear Today In PA Court; Biden To Promote Bipartisanship In Kentucky Visit Tomorrow; Strong Thunderstorms Could Produce Tornadoes In The South. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 03, 2023 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Speaking up this morning on CNN -- this morning, and talked about how close his family really is. Let me play a little bit of what Jordon Rooney said.


JORDON ROONEY, DAMAR HAMLIN'S FRIEND AND MARKETING REP.: He's a strong family. I mean he has the ideal support system. They're optimistic. Damar is someone that you would trust and believe to come out on top of anything that he is faced with. So, you know, they do -- they know Damar, I know damar, and we're confident that no matter what he's facing, he's going to come out on top.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And you truly -- you can't imagine and it is horrible to imagine what his family was going through in seeing that play out live in front of them as well as a live TV audience, of course, George.

But you could also see the truly emotional reaction of the players on the field which seemed somewhat unusual in how strongly they reacted and had such a hard time on the field themselves. What did you see in those -- in all of those reactions?

GEORGE MARTIN, FORMER DEFENSIVE END, NEW YORK GIANTS: Well, I think there was a combination of things. Number one, I think I saw a galvanizing of his teammates, the concern to see you know this big strapping strong football player shed tears over a situation like that. That speaks volumes.

You know, secondly, I think when you look at how it permeated the entire stadium, the people were silent, they were respectful, they were all concerned, and me personally, my phone blew up because there were so many former ball players and fans who called, who expressed that they were sending their hopes and prayers in this situation.

And in the midst of the uncertainty that we see in society today, particularly in politics, it is nice to be able to see how this entire society came together in a moment of tragedy, concerned over an individual player's life. And that, to me, speaks volumes.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. George, it is great to see you again. Thanks for coming on. I appreciate it. Sanjay, thank you as always. I really appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: I want to turn now to this. The man facing first-degree murder charges in the killings of four University of Idaho students, he is about to appear in court. He's not expected to fight extradition now from Pennsylvania where he was arrested last week, so let's go there and find out what could be happening today in the courtroom. Jean Casarez is at the courthouse. Jean, what more could we learn today in court and afterward?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, that is the thing about a legal proceeding, you never know what you going to hear. We do know that he's going to state his name, he -- where they're going to make sure that he was associated close to the crime scene obviously before this commonwealth of Pennsylvania will allow him to be extradited.

But he is in the courthouse now. And I think we have some video. He arrived in just the last 20 minutes. Very big police presence here all morning, roads are shut, and they don't have an underground way to get him into the courthouse.

So, I think you're looking at the video now when he exited the transport vehicle. And there were some media around there. We were able to capture him with his orange jail garb on. He was cuffed. He walked in very briskly, did not answer any questions as the media was asking him things.

Now, we do know that his family -- his whole family is going to be here. They are from northeastern Pennsylvania, not too far from here, mother, and father, and his two sisters. But they will not be allowed to visit with him or talk with him at all.

And you know, Steve Goncalves, who is the father of Kaylee Goncalves, he was on our air yesterday and he's very appreciative of law enforcement and what they did. And his focus is now to proceed in this because he says that he is going to be in court proceedings, all eyes are going to be on him, and he wants to see justice met. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Jean, thank you so much for being there. We'll see what comes of the first court hearing. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

So, President Biden, he's kicking off the New Year with a trip to Kentucky. And it's not just the trip who's going to be there with him, that is grabbing people's attention today. That is next.



BOLDUAN: President Biden will be traveling to Kentucky tomorrow to tout infrastructure spending. He's going to be appearing alongside someone not often seen as his ally, Senate Republican Leader, also the senator from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell. Joining me now for more on this visit is a Democratic governor of Kentucky, Andy Beshear. Governor, thank you so much for coming on today, I -- and I want to talk about the presidential visit. But I did want to ask you first about how your state is being hit once again by another round of severe weather. I've seen some reports have you been water rescues in parts of the state already today. How is it going there right now?

GOV. ANDY BESHEAR, (D-KY): Well, we are having some localized flooding. We are able to respond and thus far have no reports on fatalities. Weather is tough again but nothing like the tornados or ice storms or flooding or the polar plunge or everything else that we've faced this last year and a half.

BOLDUAN: Yes, no kidding -- I mean every time we're on, Governor, it feels like we're talking about your state taking another hit from the weather gods. So, I'm glad to hear that things are moving along in that regard.

Let's talk about the president's -- President Biden's visit, come to Kentucky tomorrow, joining him in this -- in this visit is going to be Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, as well as the Republican Governor of Ohio joining you all. All of you are coming together to tout an infrastructure project that I think it is safe to say is decades in the making that is finally happening. What does the Brent Spence Bridge quarter mean for Kentucky, and why is it bringing these very unlikely allies together tomorrow?


BESHEAR: Well, the Brent Spence corridor means a lot to Kentucky and Ohio, but also the entire country. More GDP crosses this bridge every day than just about any other bridge in America. And while it is still functionally sound, it was never designed to carry as many trucks and cars as go over it right now.

So, when you look at a place like Kentucky, where we're coming off the best two years of economic development ever, where we've become the electric vehicle battery production capital of the United States of America, this is important for our growth to be able to deliver products all across the United States. But I think it is also a great statement that there is nothing partisan about a bridge. And we shouldn't treat legislation that helps fund a project like this ever as partisan.

What you got tomorrow are a Democratic and a Republican governor. You'll have senators on both sides of the aisle that are joining the president just to announce that we've done the right thing for our people. It's pretty refreshing.

BOLDUAN: Refreshing is a nice word for it, actually. And I wanted to ask you. Do you see this as a rare moment when all of your interests just happen to align, or do you think people should see this, see infrastructure, see the corridor that has been coming to an end of all the frustration for people on both sides in Ohio and Kentucky for so long with this bridge project? Do you see this as an opening to a new era of true bipartisanship?

BESHEAR: I certainly hope so. I think what you'll see in this announcement is a lot of what I see here in Kentucky. I go to communities where we got a great project going and everybody comes together and talks about bipartisanship. And, unfortunately, sometimes when a -- when a session starts and people end up back in Frankfort or the capital, you see the fighting start again about the number of R's and D's and partisanship we don't know.

The American people want to see results. And infrastructure is one of those needs that's not blue or red, it is just critical for the safety of our families to get to work or to church or the kids to school and for the future of our economy.

But if we could just view more things like infrastructure, you know there is nothing -- there is nothing partisan about clean water, about expanding broadband, about ensuring the health care needs for our people. There is so much that we could get done.

I do want to commend Senator McConnell because that wasn't an easy vote with some in his party but it was the right vote for Kentucky. And I think he voted for it. Representative John Yarmuth voted for it. And I'm grateful for both of them because this is a project that multiple presidents have promised.

That has been up in Washington for a long time. What it is going to mean to the northern Kentucky, Cincinnati community but all of Kentucky, all of Ohio, and all of the country is pretty special and it is going to continue this economic growth, job growth that we are seeing that I think is going to continue long after inflation has subsided.

BOLDUAN: You know, it is quite a split screen today, especially talking about you know government functioning and getting something done on a bipartisan basis and what we're going to see in Kentucky and seeing kind of paralysis that set in on Capitol Hill just this morning as we don't even know really what the new Congress -- the next Congress and what the new Republican majority is going to look like there with the speaker fight -- speaker fight. But thanks, Governor. I appreciate your time.

BESHEAR: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: All right. So, a massive blow, Russia suffering one of the biggest losses of its forces since the start of the war in Ukraine. We're going to have details in a live report. That's next.



BOLDUAN: Russia says it lost dozens of soldiers now after Ukraine fired U.S.-supplied guided rockets on a building which was housing Russian forces. Scott McLean is live in Kyiv with more on this. Scott?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. Well, Russia has said very little beyond acknowledging 63 of its soldiers were killed while Russians though are casting doubt on the official numbers. If you look at new satellite pictures, you can see why. This vocational school that these soldiers were being housed at has been absolutely obliterated when you look at the before and after.

New pictures we have from the ground level show that it is simply a pile of rubble, maybe one or two walls managed to survive. And that is why former officials from the Donetsk People's Republic, the occupied part Donetsk region, are suggesting the true number is likely well over 100.

You also have pro-Russian military bloggers who are accusing members of the Russian military and intelligence service of incompetence. And you have former members of that regional breakaway administration saying that the Russians have simply underestimated the Ukrainians' ability to strike and specifically those HIMARS, longer-range artillery systems that have been supplied by the United States, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Scott, thank you for that. So, there are flash flood warnings across the south. We need to bring you that. That's next.



BOLDUAN: Storms in the south are threatening tornadoes today. Flood watches are also in effect across eight states. Let's bring in Chad Myers who is tracking all of this. Another round of it, Chad, what do you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Another round today and another round tomorrow. In fact, for almost the same region, lots of lightning on the radar, even a few warnings right now. Tornado watches in effect at this point for places in the midsouth and also the south. Big storms are already on the horizon and still moving that way. We are going to see the potential for flooding. We're already seeing flooding without a doubt.


There are some spots here, radar indicating almost 10 inches of rainfall fell today in parts of Arkansas. Later on today, it moves to the east through Atlanta. And then again, it refires in the overnight hours, more severe weather to come with this, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Chad, thanks for watching. I really appreciate it.

And thank you all so much for watching today. I'm Kate Bolduan. Our special coverage for the vote for House speaker begins right now with Jake Tapper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Just minutes from now, the new Republican-led House will convene for the first time and announcing very likely that a brutal once-in-a-century fight will unfold with one of the most powerful positions in Washington on the line, speaker of the House of Representatives. Welcome to CNN's live coverage of what promised to be a dramatic vote for speaker. I'm Anderson Cooper.


This hour, battle lines being drawn in the House Republican caucus. We're told Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is prepared to dig in for as long as it takes to achieve his goal of becoming a speaker of the House of Representatives. He has been in very heated talks coming down to the wire.

But even McCarthy allies right now are acknowledging he still does not have the votes to claim the speaker's gavel. McCarthy needs 218 votes to be elected speaker. If everyone is voting, that's a majority of the House of Representatives if all members are there and voting. Republicans have right now a very narrow 222-seat majority in the new House. That means McCarthy can only afford to lose the support of four Republicans to win the speakership under these rules.

But at least five far-right GOP lawmakers are firm no votes and that list appears to be growing. That's more than enough to sink McCarthy's chance of winning on the first ballot. If McCarthy does fall short, a historic series of events will unfold that could throw Congress into chaos.

The vote for speaker would go to a second ballot, possibly a third ballot, a fourth, something that has not happened in the United States for 100 years. This process could drag out for hours, days, weeks until Republicans finally elect McCarthy or settle on a different candidate.

In the meantime, the House would be at a standstill. Members of the House could not be sworn in. They could not vote on legislation. They could not begin work on committees until they have a speaker.

Our congressional correspondents are fanned out on Capitol Hill covering all the behind-the-scenes maneuvering ahead of the vote for speaker. First to Manu Raju. Manu, we heard from leader McCarthy -- Kevin McCarthy a short while ago on the brink of this high-stakes vote, and what he said did not sound as though he has the votes.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He doesn't have the votes. This is the real problem for Kevin McCarthy at the moment. He doesn't have the votes for weeks. He doesn't have the votes now. And that's why behind closed doors, things got very tense. McCarthy unloaded on his critics saying that he has made a whole range of concessions, saying what else are you fighting for? We need to move forward as a conference.

But he got pushback. Congressman Scott Perry for one got into a heated back and forth with him as did congressman Chip Roy arguing that they need to be more. They want more power over the speakership. But McCarthy is not willing to go as far as a number of these members want.

And a number of McCarthy allies say that they too are prepared to dig in, support Kevin McCarthy for as long as he wants to go. And privately and publicly, McCarthy is signaling he's not going anywhere. He's ready to dig in for the long haul.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA): For the last two months, we worked together as a whole conference to develop rules that empower all members. But we're not empowering certain members over others. I have the record for the longest speech ever on the floor. I don't have a problem to getting a record for the most votes for the speaker.


RAJU: And the threats behind closed doors are also intensified, Jake. We're told, one, that one of McCarthy's allies even threatened the committee assignments from some of these members if they say they don't vote for Kevin McCarthy, they won't be sitting on key committees in the new Congress. But that is not doing anything to sway these members. The number of opponents is only growing.

Kevin McCarthy could lose maybe 10, maybe 15, potentially even up to 20 votes here when they vote here in a matter of minutes. But he certainly does not have the 218 votes he needs to be elected a speaker so that means, Jake, it is going to be a period of uncertainty, chaos, and it could go on for a very long time until the House determines who is going to lead this chamber for the next two years.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thanks so much.

Let's chat about this because one of the things that's so interesting, Dana Bash, is this hardline group, the Matt Gaetz's, Lauren Boebert's, Scott Perry's of the conference who are -- who are far-right of their party. Making demands, according to leader McCarthy -- according to him, asking for special committee assignments, budgets, chairmanship, all sorts of things that he was not prepared to give them.