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At This Hour

Soon: House Reconvenes To Try To Elect Next Speaker; Suspect In College Killings Being Extradited To Idaho; Heavy Rain, Tornadoes Pummel Southeast. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 04, 2023 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are now 30 minutes away from what should be the House of Representatives reconvening to try once again to elect a new speaker. Kevin McCarthy failed to win a majority of the votes in three consecutive rounds yesterday. So, what is going to be different today? What has happened behind the scenes in terms of these negotiations and talks?

Joining right now is a Republican congressman from Texas Pete Sessions. He's been supporting McCarthy for a speaker. Congressman, thank you for coming on. It's been a -- it's been a minute. I appreciate your time. Do you use the path today for Kevin McCarthy?

REP. PETE SESSIONS, (R-TX): Kate, thank you very much. There's a pathway -- there's got to be a pathway for us to -- in what this has turned into. And that is that members of Congress right now are -- or member-elects, we have not confirmed. They've not taken their oath of office. We've not moved forward. We've got meeting earrings. We've got things that need to be done and scheduled with plan.

Yes, there's got to be a pathway today to resolve this. And I think it's going to require at least what I would say the 19 people to decide who they're for. And they are for -- they've got to be for someone they can't be just for what might be one person who doesn't want it. And Jim Jordan is the one who sits with that 19 -- or 20 votes right now, and he's a vote for Kevin McCarthy.

So, one way or another, this will buckle itself into a direction. The important thing for the American people to know is the Republican Party members of Congress are taking this seriously. The issues that that demand our attention, demand that the majority be sworn in and get to work.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. What buckles it? Is it time? Is it pressure? Is that concession? What do you think is going to buckle this to actually break this logjam because right now it's in paralysis?

SESSIONS: There's no question. It's going to require that the, what we call the group of 19, the Freedom Caucus members to be able to decide if they're for Jim Jordan then Jim Jordan needs to be voting for Jim Jordan. We need to decide who is going to. If it's not Jim Jordan, who is that?

I want to say that both sides are going to have to work with each other also. There's going to have to be a working relationship. And today there's none.

BOLDUAN: What are you hearing about possibly pushing off votes until tomorrow that some discussion we're hearing is happening amongst Kevin McCarthy and others? Are you -- what are you hearing about that?

SESSIONS: Well, I think we're at a point that we did not, with a discipline understand yesterday, and that was that the two sides were willing to square off. I think that a willingness now to get an answer is what needs to be done. And it's going to require both sides that then meet and know what they're -- what they want. Because there's still a question, OK?

Will -- who's the person that you want to support because Jim Jordan says he's not interested? If you're going to hold out, you have to be for something that's acceptable. And then the negotiation starts. So, I think that's where we are.

BOLDUAN: So, in your view, it's -- in your view, it's waiting to hear more specifically, what the group of 19 wants? I had on Will Hurd earlier in the hour and he said, obviously, they want more power, but what he says that they -- that they want is just to throw bombs and to blow this thing up. Do you see that?

SESSIONS: Well, they're going to have to come up with an answer. You just can't be a no. You just can't say that these 19 people will vote for someone that doesn't want that. So, I think in the -- these 19 are very sophisticated. They're very savvy. They're very serious about moving forward. That's just not apparent to everybody.

And it's going to have to be apparent to everybody in our conference that we need to get the speaker both done. We need to swear in members of Congress. And we need to get started with our action on the border, our action on the IRS agents, our action on dealing with this administration negotiating with them. And right now, we're doing none of that.

BOLDUAN: Do you think that Donald Trump's statements that he put out urging people to vote for Kevin McCarthy, do you think that changes the dynamic at all?

SESSIONS: I am hearing that the 19 are growing their vote.


BOLDUAN: Growing their vote.

SESSIONS: So, that would tell me that that's what they seem to indicate. I'm listed on the both sides. We need to resolve this and we need to get to a resolution. But I think it's incumbent upon the, what I would call, my friends in the Freedom Caucus to decide who they're for to begin a real negotiation as opposed to going to the floor, revoting, and having -- you know, picking up two or three votes at a time. I think it's going to require real discipline and real collegiality.

BOLDUAN: We'll standby to standby to see that. Congressman, thank you for coming on. I appreciate it.

SESSIONS: That's about where we are.

BOLDUAN: Yes, but --

SESSIONS: That is about where we are. And I think the American people are seeing the seriousness within both sides here to address the issue to where we can move forward.

BOLDUAN: It is a -- it's a serious problem regardless. We'll -- when -- we will -- and I'll continue to hope you can come on and give it a try to give us as much clarity through this mess of a process as possible. I appreciate your time, Congressman. Thank you.

SESSIONS: Be glad to. You bet.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much.

So, four people miraculously survive after their car goes over a clip in California, a drop of more than 258. Police now believe that that crash was intentional. We have details on that next.



BOLDUAN: The suspect charged with killing four college students is being extradited right now to Idaho. And there's also new. Police video showing that he was stopped twice by police before he was arrested. Veronica Miracle is in Idaho at this hour for us with the very latest. What are you learning, Veronica?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, as you said, he is no longer at the jail facility and he is now in custody with the Pennsylvania police, and so he is on his way. Exactly how long this process is going to take though, police will not reveal to us. They reiterate that there is a security reason for that. And so, we are anticipating he will be arriving here in Idaho.

When that happens, that probable cause affidavit which basically is a document which says exactly what kind of evidence that the police have in order to arrest him, that can be unsealed. It cannot be unsealed until he hits back here. And that's where we are expecting to learn a lot more details as to why or how this could have possibly happened.

Yesterday after court -- well, in court rather, he waived the expedition to get here. And the District Attorney in Monroe County, Pennsylvania said that he believes that Kohberger -- Bryan Kohberger, the suspect, waived extradition to get back to Idaho quickly so that he himself can see exactly what is in those documents and why police believe that he should have been arrested. He, through his public defender, has said that he believes he will be exonerated. When he was in court yesterday, his family was there. They were in tears. He turned around at one point to mouth I love you. Again. We are anticipating that he's returning to Idaho and we are just waiting for that moment, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, thank you so much, Veronica. I appreciate that.

So, authorities in California, they say they now have arrested a man for intentionally driving his car off a cliff with a woman and two young children inside. The California Highway Patrol says that the car, a Tesla, plunged more than 250 feet off the Pacific Coast Highway into a rocky beach area known as Devil Slide, south of San Francisco. Miraculously, especially when you see this video, all of them survived the crash and were rescued. The man has been charged with attempted murder now and child endangerment.

Let's turn now to this. A powerful storm also focusing in on California expected to hammer California today just days after parts of the state were already underwater. San Francisco's Mayor joins us next.



BOLDUAN: Flash floods and tornado watches are in effect for much of the southeast this morning as severe weather -- as severe weather is moving through. But the focus is really shifting to California where a monster storm will unleash life-threatening flooding. Just looking at the radar. Chad Myers is tracking this for us. Chad, what are you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, both sides of the country right now, a big line of severe weather headed through the Carolinas, Georgia, and the parts of Florida at this hour. Tornado watches are still in effect until two o'clock. We had a line of weather that's going to be rolling through Savannah, Charleston, and the like over the next couple of hours. A couple of look tornado warnings on the ground right now.

But this is the next storm system we have to watch out for. Coming into California, warm fronts this morning. Later on, this afternoon, cold Front, an awful lot. This is going to be wet, white, and windy. An awful lot of rain could be four inches of rain in some spots on top of places that had four to six just last week. And then, if you get up in the mountains, that's where the white is so be deeper than a yardstick in places in the Sierra. We'll take this so we can get it.

98 percent of California is still in a drought. But we don't need this lens to be 70 miles per hour through the end of this week. One storm for today and another one for tomorrow and for tomorrow night. I think it's time for California for a while to say, Uncle.

BOLDUAN: Kidding. It's good to see you, Chad. Thank you so much. Let's go there right now. Stephanie Elam is in San Francisco. Stephanie, what's going on there?

STEPHANIE ELAM. CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're in a little bit of a lull, which we knew was going to happen this morning, Kate, as you're watching the storm come in. We've already gotten breached enough. And you can see that the winds have really kicking off. As you heard Chad talk about here, we have the whitecaps in here down here along this pier here in San Francisco.

And here's something else. The water where I'm standing is starting to come through now. We're starting to see that this water is starting to come up and onto the walkway here in this area by the Embarcadero here in San Francisco.

What's also noteworthy is that this water here, when we got here, was about four feet lower. It's rising and it's definitely going to start flooding here. This water is this low.


What we know is that we're going to see roads getting washed out. We know that we are probably going to see some mudslides. Because not just because of this storm which is noteworthy in and of itself, but because of that New Year's Eve storm, the grounds are very saturated. So, the other thing people need to watch out for are trees falling over because there's just too much water in a very concentrated time, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. All of it adding together to make an absolute mess. Stephanie, thank you so much. Be safe today. I really appreciate it.

Let's bring in San Francisco Mayor London Breed right now to talk more about how the city's preparing. Mayor, Stephanie was just saying you all just went through a big storm of a New Year's that you'd said that the city wasn't really prepared for because of how much rain came down versus the predictions. What are you preparing for now?

LONDON BREED, MAYOR OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Well, just to be clear, San Francisco, because we're earthquake territory, we're pretty much prepared for any disaster. We sprang into action and we did that during New Year's Eve even though we -- the predictions around the rainfall were a lot lower than what we anticipated. And in light of what we expect today, anywhere between three and four inches of rain, maybe more, we have sandbags, we have crews out everywhere, we're dealing with trying to clean up the mess from New Year's Eve still, but at the same time clearing storm drains, doing everything we can to make sure that we keep the people of the city safe.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And there's going to be rain, there's going to be wind, what are you most concerned about, Mayor?

BREED: Well, we're really concerned, of course, about the rain and flooding and also the wind, especially when people are out maybe driving. We were talking about the need for people to use 911 for life-threatening emergencies only and making sure that the call volume doesn't flood and we're not distracted with things that could potentially wait. Like for example, if there's flooding and there's no concern about life, we want to make sure that our life safety personnel are focused on saving lives because, unfortunately, we expect floods, we expect high winds, we expect trees to be falling and electricity to be lost, and so we want to make sure that we are using our resources efficiently.

BOLDUAN: California -- often when we're talking about California and the weather in the past 12 months, we've been talking about the historic drought conditions that California has been facing. What does all of this mean for that, Mayor?

BREED: Well, we've been talking about drought, we've been talking about wildfires, I mean, the fact is global warming is a real thing and we need to -- climate change is a real thing and we need to make the kinds of investments necessary to prepare for things like this. In San Francisco, we have over $630 million of work happening as we speak to deal with stormwater and challenges like what we're talking about in neighborhoods that historically, you know, in conditions that are not as severe as even today and New Year's Eve has impacted specific neighborhoods. And so, we have to prepare for the future. We have to think about the kinds of things that are going to impact our cities all over the country, especially because climate change is real and we have to start to prepare for it and invest in our infrastructure.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and it's -- as we've been talking, it's not even preparing for it, right? It's happening now. We have to deal with the -- there's very little preparation needed anymore. It's kind of what we're looking at with the climate crisis.

Just finally, what is the message to people in San Francisco today as we're in the middle of this lull as Stephanie Elam was saying, but it's going to be coming?

BREED: Well, we're asking people if they can, to stay at home and work from home, especially in the evening time. We expect the storm to really start to pick up in the afternoon. Wind gusts are going to be very challenging. We want folks to be as safe as possible.

If you see large puddles of water, don't drive into them, you know, back up and get out of the way because we don't want to have to come and save folks who are basically driving into situations that they're unfamiliar with. We want to make sure 911 is used for life and death emergencies. We have 311. People can call 311 for all sorts of things.

We have crews ready to go. We have people prepared. We're on this. We have folks out there. Just be safe and do the best you can. San Franciscans will get through this.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Mayor, thank you so much. Thanks for the time. Good luck today.

BREED: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you very much. And thank you all so much for watching. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Our special coverage of the vote for House Speaker begins after this break. Do they have the votes? Will they hold a vote? Does Kevin McCarthy have a path to be a house speaker right now? So many questions. Our special coverage begins after this.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Today, no end in sight to a once-in-a- century fight. In moments, the gavel comes down on the House floor starting the second act of a Republican -- on Republican clash over who becomes the next Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York, you are watching CNN's special coverage.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: It is history in the making. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington. There is no sign, none, that the Republican mutiny against Kevin McCarthy will end anytime soon. Three times, McCarthy was placed in the nomination Tuesday, three times he failed to crack the vote threshold needed to claim the speaker's gavel. This has not happened since 1923.

The impasse means total paralysis in the U.S. House of Representatives. No members of Congress -- no members-elect will be sworn in. No legislation could be considered.