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House GOP Moves to Impeach Mayorkas; Rep. Vicente Gonalez (D- TX) is Interviewed about Mayorkas Impeachment; Man Shows Beheaded Father in Video; Day Five of Jennifer Crumbley Trial. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired January 31, 2024 - 09:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, the last time a U.S. cabinet member was impeached, Colorado was not yet a state and the very first telephone had just been patented. This morning, after 13 hours of acrimony, the U.S. House of Representatives is a big step closer to making it happen again. The House Homeland Security Committee voted on party lines to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Democrats and several conservative lawyers are calling the move ridiculous, but now it heads to the full House floor where it can take only two Republican votes to keep it from passing.

CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill this morning with where things stand now.



Yes, this is the next test for this impeachment resolution that's headed to the floor. These two articles, obviously, something that Republicans have been pursuing for months now. And the question becomes, can they pull this off in the House of Representatives given that narrow vote margin?

You heard from Ken Buck last night who made it clear he's still on the fence, still leaning against voting for this on the floor. That means that they can only afford to lose one more member.

I think the key question over in the Senate is, if this gets out of the House, how quickly can they move? The Senate typically would have a trial. Then there's the question of conviction. Obviously, with Democrats controlling that chamber, no one is under any illusion that Mayorkas would be convicted. So, in a way, this is really a political exercise for House Republicans.

But what's really interesting right now is the dynamic about the fact that the House is moving forward with the impeachment against Mayorkas, at the same time rejecting a deal that is emerging in the United States Senate between Republicans and Democrats to secure the border, that they say Mayorkas has let go.

I think one thing to keep in mind right now is that we still have not seen legislative text. That means we don't know precisely what's in the bill. And the holdup, according to Democratic negotiator Chris Murphy, is the fact he says Republicans need to decide if they really want to continue moving forward with this strategy.


We know from reporting from our colleagues Manu Raju and Ted Barrett last night in McConnell's office Republican leadership had a discussion about whether or not, given the opposition to this deal, whether it's worth moving forward with that strategy or whether they want to switch course and move forward with Ukraine funding, Taiwan funding, Israel funding without the border component that, let's just remind our viewers, Republicans were the ones to ask for in the beginning.


BERMAN: And we are waiting to hear from the House speaker, Mike Johnson, who's expected to deliver a speech on the House floor about all of this a little bit later today.

Lauren Fox, on Capitol Hill, thank you.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, let's talk more about this. Joining us right now is Democratic Congressman Vicente Gonalez of Texas.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

What's your reaction to this effort now moving closer to a floor vote, closer to moving to impeach the DHS secretary?

REP. VICENTE GONZALEZ (D-TX): Well, it's ironic that they want to impeach the secretary while we have this great proposal coming from the Senate that is offering a solution to our border problems. I've been one of the most critical on our southern border, and here we have a historic opportunity to put over 1,300 new border patrol agents, to add 1,600 asylum agents on our border, almost 400 federal judges, and improve and empower our government to be harder on our border and really bring a final solution that is a win for America. But instead, we're playing political theater on our floor today or tomorrow with this impeachment.

BOLDUAN: You are --

GONZALEZ: It brings no real solutions to the problems that people are concerned about.

BOLDUAN: You are a Democrat. You have criticized President Biden, though, on border issues at times.


BOLDUAN: I mean you were one of 14 Democrats to vote in favor of a Republican resolution just this month denouncing President Biden's border policies. And here's what that resolution states for everyone. It "denounces the Biden administration's open-borders policies, condemns the national security and public safety crisis that President Joe Biden, Border Czar Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and other Biden officials have created along the southwest border."

You - in this, you blame Biden and Mayorkas there for creating the crisis. What would impeaching the Homeland Security secretary do?

GONZALEZ: Well, for a long time -- yes, for a long time I've been saying that we could do a lot more. And the proposals that are coming from the Senate deal that are already being shut down by our speaker are something that -- is something that can fix the problems on our border. And I always say, this is not an - this is not a Democratic or Republican problem, this is an American problem that needs bipartisan solutions. And this is a bipartisan solution that will bring a conclusion to the crisis on our southern border. We should take this opportunity. This is a win for the American people. They want us to work together. Let's not play games. There's no real chance of Mayorkas ever being impeached. Let's put real legislation on the floor. Let's fix the problems that the American people are urging us to fix.

BOLDUAN: On that bipartisan work that is happening in the Senate, let me play this for you, fellow Texan, this is Republican Troy Nehls.


REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): Joe Biden doesn't need Congress. Why are we always feeling that Congress needs to do something about the southern border? We don't have to do a damn thing.


BOLDUAN: He says Congress doesn't need to do anything here now. I also saw him say that, "The idea that you need Congress to do something to secure the southern border is just horse manure."

Do you agree with that? Do you think --

GONZALEZ: That's nonsense. This --

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to ask, do you think the president, you blamed him for creating a crisis -- creating a crisis at the border with that resolution? Do you think he could fix it with executive action, or do you think Congress must act?

GONZALEZ: Well, I can tell you, we live in a democracy that requires a legislative action, and it requires Congress to participate in policy. We can't legislate by executive order. We don't live in a dictatorship. That's exactly why we're here. We need to get to work. We need to pass bills that have long-term solutions. Even if it were an executive order, that's still not a long-term solution.

We had many executive orders that had - that get taken down by the following president. We need long-term policy solutions to assure that the crisis that's not occurring today will happen in years to come - in years to come.

And these solutions are coming out of the Senate and the White House and I think we should embrace them, we should discuss them, we should improve them and we should vote on them.

BOLDUAN: You're in a competitive race up for re-election this year, of course. How important is this issue to the success or failure of your re-election?

GONZALEZ: Well, I think the success of having a secure southern border is everyone's interests, not only in my district but across the country, and not only on the border but, you know, in the mainland America. I think that people are watching and caring about this issue. It's not the only issue that they care about. I think that they're grateful for the infrastructure funding that has come under this president. Lowering prescription drug prices that have come under this president. Expanding and securing Social Security and Medicare for seniors in my district have been huge priorities.


You know, forgiving student loans that no other president has ever done or cared about have been policies from this administration that I think people in my district and this country care about just as much as we care about the border. Being from the border and dealing with the issues head on, we do care about it, but there are many other issues that we care about as well.

BOLDUAN: Congress Vicente Gonzalez, thank you so much for coming on.


BERMAN: A mother on trial for manslaughter after her son committed a deadly mass shooting. What happens when she takes the stand?

And Celine Dion shows the full extent of her health battles. The new, behind-the-scenes documentary.



BOLDUAN: This really is the definition of grotesque and disturbing. Pennsylvania police have now charged a man with murder and also the abuse of a corps. But the details are even worse than those charges even imply. They say that this man, we are showing you right here, he posted a video online showing what he says is his father's decapitated head while he was ranting against Democrats and against Joe Biden. The video was up for hours before YouTube eventually took it down.

There's a lot more going on here. Let's get over to CNN's Danny Freeman. He's following all of this.

And, Danny, I understand you just were able to get your hands on the criminal complaint. What more are you learning from that?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Kate. I just got the criminal complaint for this case from the Bucks County District Attorney's Office. And, again, just learning even more horrific details from this already gruesome crime. We're talking, of course, about Justin Mohn. He's 32 years old. Like you said, he's now accused of murder and abuse of a corps. He's accused of murdering his father yesterday. And here's what we're learning from this criminal complaint.

It all started around 7:00 p.m. That's when the Middletown Township Police Department got a call about a dead person in a house. That house is only about three miles away from where we are here at the police station. When police officers arrived at this home, they found a dead person in the downstairs bathroom and his head had been taken off. And according to this criminal complaint, we're now learning that police found a machete, they found a large knife, and they also then did find, and I apologize for these details, the severed head in that home.

Now, it was only after that, Kate, that then police became aware of the YouTube video that you've been talking about that not only shows this suspect, Mohn, holding his father's body part, but also that he was ranting about the Biden administration, the border, and even at one point declaring himself the acting president based on martial law. He also said that his father was a traitor in this particular video to his country because he was a federal employee. So, like I said, Kate, the details are just horrible here.

We're still learning more, though, about this case. At this point we earlier expected the Bucks County DA to maybe have a presser, but that won't happen. They're still gathering more information, as are police here. But again, just horrific, frightening, though police say that at this point the suspect, Mohn, was captured about 100 miles west of his home in Fort Indiantown, Pennsylvania, it's not too far from Hershey, Pennsylvania. And because of that, the threat is over at this time.

But, like I said, a really troubling story to start this Wednesday.

BOLDUAN: Oh, absolutely. Thank you so much for the hustle and getting all the details pulled together there, Danny. Great reporting, as always.


BERMAN: All right, new video from a mother's interview in the back of a police car, just hours after her son killed four people. Her first question to police, can I get a cigarette?

And then 16,000 sheep and cows stranded for three weeks on a ship. How bad is this and where will the herd move next?


BERMAN: We are not bad people. Those words from Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of the Michigan school shooter, in newly released police video unveiled in court. Crumbley is in court at this moment - you're looking at live pictures right now of the proceeding. She's facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

This is a first of its kind trial that could hold her accountable for her son's actions. He killed four students and wounded seven others.

CNN's Jean Casarez monitoring every twist and turn in this case.

What do we expect today?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me tell you who's on the stand right now. It's a detective with Oakland County, Michigan, Sheriff's Department. And he was in charge of the fugitive apprehension team. You know the rest of the story is that - and there's two sides to it. Prosecution is saying that after it all happened, James and Jennifer Crumbley fled the jurisdiction. And they did. They went to different hotels. They drained their bank accounts They were found crouching near a mattress in Detroit four days later, where they were then arrested. The charges were already pending.

The other side to this is that threats were coming in. Jennifer Crumbley says to her -- she and her husband saying, we want you to rot in jail. We want something to happen to you now. And that's why they left. So, we'll see what he has to say.

But, you know, yesterday there was a 49-minute video that was played for the jury. And it was shortly after the mass shooting happened, shortly after their son was arrested, officers immediately go to search the home. So, she's not charged at any point at this time, but she sits in the squad car.

Listen to a little bit of what she says to the detective.


JENNIFER CRUMBLEY: He's never done anything wrong. He's still a kid.




CRUMBLEY: Like, I just -- my son just ruined his life. I'll probably never see him again. Like, what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. How old is he?

CRUMBLEY: Fifteen.


CASAREZ: Now, we don't know how much she knows at this point because it had just happened. They had come to the house after the father turning the son in. And -- but her demeanor is one of just really not that emotional -- emotional at points and then goes to sort of being cold. You know, she's going to take the stand and the defense case may come very soon because prosecution's wrapping up in the next few days.

BERMAN: What is it that the defense needs to get from her like when she takes the stand?

CASAREZ: Emotion. She - they -- she needs to be so heartfelt. You know, her co-worker said she was sort of a sarcastic person. If she comes off as sarcastic before this jury, no. If she bares her soul of being a parent and having a troubled child and not knowing what to do and not knowing what he was doing in his room because they didn't know about the journal and the research and everything and the texting of the little friend that he said, I'm going to shoot up the school.


They didn't know about that at - the evidence shows at this point. We'll see if (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: All right, Jean Casarez, like I said, you've been watching this from the very beginning. Let us know when news develops here.

CASAREZ: I will.

BERMAN: Thank you.


BOLDUAN: So, some of the biggest names in tech, including Mark Zuckerberg, are about to face a grilling from lawmakers on Capitol Hill over the potential harm their products and platforms pose to young people. The CEOs of TikTok, Snap, Discord and X will be joining Zuckerberg to face questions about what they are or are not doing to better protect children and give parents more control over what their kids see and do online. The question has long been, when it comes to social media and online, what Congress is prepared to do to require social media companies to do more, and what social media companies are ready to accept. We will see if they get any of those answers today.

The great Celine Dion has announced that she will be sharing her journey, living with stiff person's syndrome, in a new documentary titled "I am Celine Dion." It's set to release later this year. Now, Dion's performing career remains on hold as she deals with this rare neurological disorder that seriously impacts her ability to sing. In a post on social media, she seems to be remaining optimistic that she will be able to return to the stage again one day and hopes the documentary brings awareness to the condition.

More than 16,000 sheep and cattle are currently stranded off the coast of Australia. This has happened because the authorities there have ordered the commercial ship containing this livestock to turn around over concerns of increased attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea. The animals have now been stranded onboard for 26 days, and I guess it's up to Australia now needing to decide whether to re-export the animals or let the vessel return to dock.


BERMAN: It is a bad situation.

BOLDUAN: Stop. Just stop.


BOLDUAN: You did it once.

BERMAN: Very bad.

BOLDUAN: You did it once, you don't need to do it again.

BERMAN: It's required when you talk about sheep.


BERMAN: They teach that in journalism.

BOLDUAN: No. You know what is required? Restraint.

BERMAN: All right.

BOLDUAN: Restraint and focus.

BERMAN: Can Donald Trump woo the teamsters away from President Biden?