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At This Hour

Buffalo Bills Honor Damar Hamlin In First Game Since He Collapsed; McCarthy Faces New Battle On Passing Rules Package For House; Prince Harry Says He Believes His Mother Was "Hiding" After Her Death. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired January 09, 2023 - 11:30   ET



KATHERINE FITZGERALD, REPORTER, BUFFALO NEWS: Moments like this when everyone is rooting for Damar in a remarkable recovery.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely. Coy, you spoke with tomorrow's teammate Dion Dawkins just after the game. It was a great interview. I want to play for everyone just some of what he told you about -- a little bit about the challenge that they all have and what it really was like for them to get back on that field.


DION DAWKINS, BUFFALO BILLS OFFENSIVE LINEMAN: It was extremely hard. I don't want to show like sugarcoating it like, it was extremely hard. And it still is because our brother is still not physically here. But the fact that he's in high spirits makes him here. But until he physically touches his toes down, then it'll be a full ha --


DAWKINS: You know. But it's just -- it's a -- it's a crazy balance.


BOLDUAN: First of all, I'm falling in love with Dion Dawkins. I just -- the way he speaks so candidly like he wears his heart on his sleeve, Coy. After this huge game and the -- and this moment for the team, how do they then approach Sunday's big game that they now have to turn their focus to?

WIRE: They take this momentum and they let it build. And you know, this is a team where you could say only been such -- through such an emotional roller coaster that maybe there will be a lull or a letdown but this city -- this team have been through several tragedies over the past several months and they've always mourned then rallied for each other for the city.

They are some mental giants. And they're you know, Coach, Sean McDermott is an exceptional leader. He's well aware of the player's mental health and their emotions.

Remember, he was part of that decision to not have them go back out on that field in an unprecedented move last Monday night. And he was well aware of the emotions before this game yesterday, not wanting to put a video message on the board from tomorrow or anything like that because he didn't want to overwhelm his players. They're very cognizant of their mindset, of their mental health, and they're going to keep trooping forward look out for Buffalo in the playoffs, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And kind of, Catherine, to that point, I want to play what quarterback Josh Allen said about that opening drive and real -- and what it meant to him.


JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS QUARTERBACK: I can't remember a play that touched me like that, you know. I don't think in my life. So, it's probably number one. And I was going to -- my teammates are saying God's real. Like, you can't -- you can't draw that one up, right, that one up any better. And I was just told by Kevin Kerns, it's been three years and three months since the last kickoff return, so it's pretty cool.


BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, Katherine, to Coy's point, that, to me kind of really showed the long road, the long journey, and how all of these players in this team and what they've all really been through and what this shows about them.

FITZGERALD: Yes. It's been really incredible to hear the transparency from players this week about just being so honest what this is like to go through. Tre'Davious White last night was saying how when he closes his eyes, he goes back to that moment on the field seeing his teammate -- his friend Damar Hamlin collapse.

And while there's been so much good news, I've -- think it's so important that the Bills are prioritizing this mental health aspect that this is not something you just move past. This is even while tomorrow is recovering, you talk about this, you support each other. There's been hard and heavy conversations in the locker room, but that's led to real support.

And I think when you see moments like that, from Josh Allen, of really taking us behind the scenes of the emotion, that's not what we're used to seeing in a football press conference after a game and I really admire the players grappling with that as they are there for each other during all of this.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. Katherine, thanks so much for coming on. I really appreciate it. Coy, thank you. It's great to see you.

All right, so Kevin McCarthy, he won the gavel. He survived that leadership fight but is the real fight yet to come now? Details on the next big leadership test just hours from now. That's next.


[11:38:21] BOLDUAN: How Speaker Kevin McCarthy is facing his first test as House speaker today getting the Republican conference to agree to the rules of the road basically when it comes to getting any business done from here on out. Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill tracking all this. Manu, what is -- what are you looking at today?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is going to be the one of the first actual legislative tests for Kevin McCarthy and this new majority, razor-thin majority, can only lose four Republican votes on any party line measures, including this rules package that is going to be announced later -- on the floor later today.

That includes some of the concessions that he'd cut in order to win the speakership, one of which to allow just one single member to allow -- call for a vote to oust a sitting speaker. Something that has caused some concerns within the ranks.

There are other concessions too that Kevin McCarthy has agreed to including capping overall spending levels in this coming year, something that could potentially lead to a cut on defense programs as well as raising the national debt ceiling, tying that to spending cuts.

All of those latter two provisions have not been publicly released but will be part of the policies going forward. And in talking to Republicans today, some are still trying to figure out what it means for the majority and are offering some concerns.


REP. DAVID JOYCE, (R-OH): I'm not the speaker, so you know it sure concerns Kevin more than it concerns me. But you know, look, that's just ticket back the way it was originally. And I don't think that it's going to change the way we do business around here.

RAJU: But do you think everybody agrees with that?

JOYCE: Probably not.

REP. MIKE GREEN, (R-TN): I understand the concerns on the right about addressing those issues. But at the same time, we got to compete with China, we got to compete with Russia --

RAJU: Ceiling increase?

GREEN: So, I don't want to cut spending and we need to do that. I'm not willing to cut defense, and that is half the discretionary budget.



RAJU: But the first ever order of business will be trying to pass this rules package tonight that includes some of those concessions that are already at least one Republican member of the House was raised concerns about this package and plans to vote against it. There are others who have been concerned as well. And the leadership is moving behind the scenes to quell those concerns.

But, Kate, this is going to be the issue on a bill after bill after bill. If there are some defections, that could be enough to scuttle McCarthy's plans going forward, Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's true. Let's see what happens today. It's good to see you. Thanks, Manu.

Joining me now for more on this is former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent. It's good to see you, Charlie. So, this immediate issue at hand as Manu was laying out as this House rules package, you know, agreed to by Kevin McCarthy, will be voted on today by the whole -- the whole -- the whole group.

I mean, some Republicans as Manu was kind of alluding to, they've described kind of what's been agreed to which we don't know maybe fully all the contours of it as a terrible idea that's going to tie McCarthy up, type the GOP agenda, lead to more paralysis, other Republicans as we're seeing, they're not so concerned about it. Which is it, do you think?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, let me say I think you know, is surrendering your way to victory, really winning. And that is what's happened here. I think far too many concessions were made to the hardliners on vacating the chair, promising the Freedom Caucus seats on the Rules Committee, capping defense spending at 2022 levels, and even the debt ceiling provision about the tying of the spending cuts. Some of these relate to the rules, like vacating the chair, others are just side deals. I think this is a big mistake.

If I were a rational, pragmatic, or moderate Republican, I would push back hard. And I would not vote for this rules package -- with that rule to vacate the chair with one vote, I would push back hard. And frankly, that would be doing Kevin McCarthy a huge favor. He doesn't want it. He agreed to it reluctantly and basically those guys put the -- you know, figuratively speaking, put the gun to his head for that change.

You know, if I were a moderate Republican, I push back right now. And what are they going to do? I mean, Kevin McCarthy agrees with them. And that's -- by the way, retribution in this case is a dish best served hot. Serve it up.

BOLDUAN: I want to play for you, Charlie, some of the reaction, kind of after the fact to what we really saw play out last week and kind of explode on the House floor late Friday night. This -- the Republican infighting, the tension, the drama that was revealed so publicly. Let me play this for you.


REP. CHIP ROY, (R-TX): We need a little of this sort of breaking the glass in order to get us to the table in order to fight for the American people and to change the way this place is dysfunctional. REP. NANCY MACE, (R-SC): Back cases of fraud. Every time you voted against Kevin McCarthy last week, he sent out a fundraising e-mail. What you saw last week was a constitutional process diminished by those kinds of political actions.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (R-CA): And I think by having the disruption now really built the trust with one another and learned how to work together.


BOLDUAN: Charlie, do you see it the McCarthy way? I mean, what is the dynamic now?

DENT: Well, the speaker vote is the easiest vote a member should cast in a session, not the hardest. So, this disruption will only lead to more disruption. Especially if these changes and side deals that have been announced are implemented. I do fear that we run the risk of government shutdowns and a real battle on the debt ceiling.

Of course, if we crashed through the debt ceiling, that's not -- that's not just a problem, that's a catastrophic event that would have global implications and probably send us into a severe recession or even a depression. So, we're not playing games here. So, if I -- look, I think this is going to only lead to more difficulty in terms of governance, on all sorts of issues, for example, capping the spending at 2022 levels.

Well, you know, we have something called the United States Senate. They will have a say in this too, as well. President Biden. Plus, there are plenty of House Republicans who don't agree with that on defense. So, that's one deal. It's going to go out the window. Same with the -- same with the debt ceiling, you're not going to get it -- you're going to end up having something close to a clean debt ceiling enacted. That's what will have to happen. So that will disappoint those hardliners.

So, Kevin McCarthy in the end is going to have to disappoint those folks. And at least five House Republicans are going to have to vote for the debt ceiling and some of the other deals. So, the disruption I believe, is only going to get worse, not better.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And as you -- as you read a really great piece for And you say, when will this appeasement ever end? That seems to be a question of the hour.

DENT: Right.

BOLDUAN: We will -- we will -- well, we'll see what -- we'll, first, let's see what happens today, and then we've got well, plenty of a -- plenty more time to talk about this in the future, Charlie. Thank you very much. I appreciate your time.

DENT: Yes. Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, there's also this we're tracking today, Prince Harry, not holding back.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Can you see a day when you would return as a full-time member of the royal family?

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: No. I can't see that happening.


BOLDUAN: The prince in his first American TV interview, how the palace is responding. Next.



BOLDUAN: To Prince Harry's soul-bearing interview now with Anderson Cooper about his memoir titled Spare, one heartbreaking detail is Harry describing his long struggle with grief following the death of his mother, Princess Diana. He says that he spent years believing that she might actually still be alive. Here's part of the 60-minute interview.


COOPER: You didn't believe she was dead.

PRINCE HARRY: For a long --

COOPER: You did not.

PRINCE HARRY: For a long. I just refuse to accept that she was -- she was gone. Part of, you know, she would never do this to us but also, part of maybe this is all part of a plan.


COOPER: I mean, you really believe that maybe she had just decided to disappear for a time?

PRINCE HARRY: For a time. And then that she would call us and we would go and join her. Yes.

COOPER: How long did you believe that?

PRINCE HARRY: Years. Many, many years. William and I talked about it as well. He had some -- he had similar thoughts.

COOPER: You write in the book, you'd say, I'd often say to myself first thing in the morning, maybe this is the day.


COOPER: Maybe this is the day that she's going to reappear.

PRINCE HARRY: Yes, I hope. I had huge amounts of hope.


BOLDUAN: Oh, God, it's so painful. Joining me right now is CNN royal correspondent Max Foster, and social commentator and talk show host Trisha Goddard, it's good to see you both. So -- I mean, Max, there's so much here in the book. And in this interview, it's very painful. It's very personal. Is it clear -- is it clear now what Harry is trying to do with putting this all out there now?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: I think his main issue -- I mean, I can't deny that part of the interview that Anderson had. I mean, his extraordinary sort of revelation really about how Harry felt after the death of his mother, you know. Your heart actually pours out to what he went through, and how he's still trying to make sense of it.

And then there's the more modern-day narrative. Here's the book, I just received it about an hour ago, I haven't had a chance to look through it but I feel like I've read it already, I have to say, Kate, because of all of the leaks and all of the publicity around it. But he -- the book's called Spare.

So, one of his issues, of course, is being treated as the spare heir. He says he does believe in monarchy, but of course, you can't have a monarchy without having a spare heir. So, some confusion about how he really feels about the monarchy. But his main issue is this relationship as he sees it between the British press and the palace, a complicit relationship, which didn't work for him.

And he actually reveals that Camilla leaked stories about William and conversations she'd have with William in a campaign as he describes a dangerous campaign to marry Charles, and then subsequently become queen. Now, behind the scenes here, there's a lot of upset about that because it didn't play out like that and Camilla wouldn't do that.

But I can't really say that officially because we're not getting any of the palace sides of the story. They're not talking about any of this. So, it's an imbalanced story, but that's because the palace is not speaking.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, Trisha, I actually want to play a portion of that exact kind of part of the conversation about Camilla. I want to play that for everyone because he was really unsparing in his criticism of Camilla. Listen to this.


PRINCE HARRY: She was the villain. She was the third person in the marriage. She needed to rehabilitate her image.

COOPER: You wrote that she started a campaign in the British press to pave the way for a marriage. And you wrote, I even wanted Camilla to be happy. Maybe she'd be less dangerous if she was happy. How is she dangerous?

PRINCE HARRY: Because of the need for her to rehabilitate her image. COOPER: That made her dangerous.

PRINCE HARRY: That made her dangerous because of the connections that she was forging within the British press. And there was an open willingness on both sides to trade of information. And with a family built on hierarchy and with her on the way to being Queen Consort, there was going to be people or bodies left in the street because of that.


BOLDUAN: I mean, it is really dramatic in how he describes this, Trisha. I mean, Max was talking about it. What do you think of that?

TRISHA GODDARD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he later said in an interview on ABC that he had great compassion for Camilla because she was the third person in a relationship. So, I don't think it's very different from any other family, you lose your mother in a really tragic situation, and then there is the woman who was the mistress becoming the wife, and what have you. And -- I mean, I'm keen, I'm so envious of Max that he's got his hands on a book because I'm envious to see how he resolves all of that.

Because remember, we are getting snippets and leaks and what have you but those snippets and leaks have been very cleverly picked to whet our appetite in some cases or to make a case for those parts of the tabloid media that feel they specifically are being attacked. So, I'm still a little bit suspicious that we're not getting the whole picture. And who knows in the book that may well be resolved.

But this is really a scream of pain about what has been for a very long time, as Max said, that weird relationship between certain tabloids and certain sources. And again, as Max said, there's been no word from the palace, but they're kind of damned if they send out a mass -- message through contacts and sources because that absolutely will underline and say, yes, Harry was right.

So, it's going to be interesting how they go about getting any message out at all because they're pretty hamstrung. They can't use the old way of doing it with leaks and briefings or what have you because that's exactly what Harry's railing about.


BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, it sure seems like it. And just very quickly, Max, the palace is not responded -- as you noted, they have not commented. Did you get any indication that they're going to at all at any point?

FOSTER: I -- they -- no, I don't think any -- I don't know why, but it's either because they don't want to add fuel to the fire, or that they're rising above this. It's not entirely clear, allowing Harry to really speak his mind so you can get all of this out. But something like Camilla, you know, they spent 20 years trying to rehabilitate her image. He knows this is going to really damage them. But he says at the same time, he doesn't want to hurt Camilla or the rest of the family.

BOLDUAN: Yes. There is a lot here and you can now get to reading. I really appreciate it guys. Thank you very much. And you can watch Anderson's full interview with Prince Harry in a special edition of "AC 360" tonight at 8:00 p.m. -- 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

Thanks so much for being everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts after this.