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House GOP Growing Skeptical That Evidence Warrants Biden Impeachment; Ex-Trump Org CFO In Talks To Plead Guilty To Perjury Charge; CA Agrees To $2B Settlement For Pandemic Learning Loss; "The Many Lives Of Martha Stewart" Premiers Sunday At 9P ET/PT. Aired 1:30- 2p ET

Aired February 02, 2024 - 13:30   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: So a number of senior House Republicans are growing skeptical that their months-long investigation into the president will actually lead to impeachment.

The Republican conference is not expected to make an official statement on whether to pursue articles of impeachment until after the deposition of the president's son, Hunter, and his brother, James, later this month.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: But one GOP lawmakers telling CNN that there are around 20 House Republicans that are not convinced there is enough evidence, and with a razor-thin majority, Republicans can only afford to lose two votes here.

We have CNN's Annie Grayer with all the details on this.

It's seeming like quite a long shot there, Annie.

ANNIE GRAYER, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: That's right. Republicans tell me there are serious doubts that their investigation into President Joe Biden is actually going to turn into impeachment.

First, you have a vote issue. Republicans have a very narrow majority and they can only lose two votes on any given vote.

I am told from sources that there aren't as many as 20 Republicans who don't see evidence of an impeachable offense. They just don't feel like the investigation has really broken through.


Then you have a calendar issue. This investigation has been going on for quite a while. And some Republicans say, look, let's just wait for voters to decide in November, in the 2024 presidential election, about the fate of President Joe Biden.

Then there's a momentum issue. The southern border has been a huge focus for Congress. And for House Republicans that has meant focusing on impeaching Alejandro Mayorkas, the Department of Homeland Security secretary.

But supporters of this inquiry say, look, it's too soon to make a final decision about where this ends up. We do not want to prejudge the information.

And we have two big interviews coming up this month with the president's brother, James, and his son, Hunter Biden. They are both coming up at the end of February. They say decisions will be coming around then.

But after talking to around a dozen Republican lawmakers, aides and their colleague, it's just becoming more and more clear that there are serious concerns about how the investigation has been going, and doubts about how it's going to end up.

KEILAR: All right, Annie, thank you so much for sharing your reporting with us. We appreciate it. Annie Grayer on the Hill for us.

Former Trump CFO Allen Weisselberg is reportedly considering pleading guilty for a second time, for allegedly lying on the witness stand in former President Trump's New York civil fraud trial. We will have those details. Plus, when we could hear a verdict in the case, just ahead.



KEILAR: Some new guidance today. Court officials suggesting a verdict in former President Trump's New York civil fraud case could come in the next few weeks.

A judge is deciding how much Trump and his co-defendants owe in the case, and whether the former president can still do business in the state of New York.

We are also learning that Allen Weisselberg, who spent decades as Trump's chief financial officer for his real estate empire, is on the verge of pleading guilty for the second time.

CNN's Kara Scannell is joining us now from New York.

Kara, give us the details on this.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. Sources tell me Allen Weisselberg is in negotiations about a possible plea deal, where it would relate to a perjury charge in connection with some testimony he has given in the New York attorney general civil fraud investigation and trial.

He is in talks with the Manhattan district attorney's office, which prosecutes those types of cases. And these talks are early, I'm told. It's possible a deal is not reached.

But what is important is that, as they are negotiating over this, that Allen Weisselberg is not expected to cooperate against his boss, former boss, former President Donald Trump. That is not a condition of this deal.

So he is not expected to be testifying against Trump in the criminal trial that is currently scheduled to begin in New York next month.

In that case, Trump is charged with falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment made to silence Stormy Daniels, the adult film start about going public about allegations of an affair with Trump just days before the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to those charges. That trial currently looks like it could be the first one that we see of these multiple trials that Trump is facing from these tragedies.

So it's important that Weisselberg, who has been this lieutenant of Trump's, who has worked with him for 40 years, is not going to be a key witness in that case.

If he does -- if this deal does work out and he pleads guilty, it will be the second time Weisselberg will have pleaded guilty. He previously pleaded guilty to tax charges and did testify in a case against Trump Organization entities. Those entities were convicted and fined.

It's not exactly clear what testimony Weisselberg may end up saying was false, but it does come, the timing here is interesting, with the judge set to rule soon with a verdict in this case. As you said, we expect the decision to come this month -- Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Kara Scannell, we will be looking for that. Thank you.


SANCHEZ: Now to some of the other headlines we're watching this hour.

A gas explosion in Nairobi, Kenya, has killed at least three people and injured hundreds of others. Officials say the fire spread overnight to a warehouse and homes. Officials also say the company behind the explosion is going to be shut down, calling it illegal and unlicensed.

In the meantime, here in the United States, another recall from Tesla. This time, over font size that is affecting 2.2 million vehicles. Federal regulators say the font size for the warning lights is too small.

This issue is going to be fixed via an over-the-air software update. So far, there have been no reports of any crashes or injuries.

And the FDA is looking to improve health readings for patients with darker skin tones. Pulse oximeter's use light meters to gauge blood oxygen levels, and pulse rate through your finger. But the pigmentation in darker skin tones can actually lead to inaccurate results.

A study published in 2022 found that readings for Asian, black or Hispanic Covid patients showed higher oxygen levels than white patients, likely leading to delayed treatment or no treatment at all. An FDA committee is meeting later today to discuss the matter.

Still ahead on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most pressing crisis in America today is what happened to kids during Covid.



A historic new lawsuit settlement that will see California spend $2 billion dollars to help students who have fallen behind in school catch up with their classmates.


KEILAR: California has now agreed to a $2 billion settlement to a lawsuit over learning loss during the pandemic. The payout holds California schools accountable for not doing enough to help students who fell behind during remote learning as schools shut down across the state.

CNN's Nick Watt explains how this will help thousands of families.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With this settlement, you know, you're not -- no one's cutting you a check.


WATT: You're not getting any money.

KELLY R.: I have not but I'm hoping that the kids will benefit. All kids will benefit from this.


WATT (voice-over): Kelly R., still struggling to help her kids catch up in math, is among the parents, teachers, kids and community groups who sued California and won a settlement.

The state just agreed to spend $2 billion on tutors, extended school days, mental health support, and more for kids who suffered most during remote learning, predominantly low-income black and Latino kids, who are now not bouncing back as fast as kids in whiter more- affluent districts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most pressing crisis in America today is what happened to kids during Covid. And hopefully, this settlement will be a model for 49 other states.

WATT: During Covid, Kelly's kids at least had a parent who tried her best and some Internet. KELLY R.: Their computers were glitchy. So then that's when I would have to at that point, go over some of their lessons with them, while I'm working from home.

WATT: In California, around 10,000 schools were closed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were between 800,000 to a million kids who had no digital access whatsoever. What does that mean? It doesn't mean they got bad education means they got no education.

WATT: School-age kids were among those at lowest risk of serious illness from Covid-19 but suffered a lot from the restrictions to stem the spread.

PROF. THOMAS KANE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: We're asking poor kids to pay for the public health measures that were meant to benefit us all.

WATT: Professor Thomas Kane and colleagues at Harvard, Stanford, and Dartmouth found many more affluent kids have already regained a lot of the learning they lost during Covid. But --

KANE: In some places, like here in Massachusetts, the high-poverty districts did the opposite of catching up last year. They actually lost additional ground.

WATT: Some they fear might never catch up, given what was lost during Covid and systemic educational inequities that existed long before we had ever heard of Covid-19.

(on camera): As a white guy, I've always kind of, you know, assumed possibly rightly that my kids are going to get a fair shake. But as a black parent, do you feel differently than you are at a disadvantage?

KELLY R.: We are at a dis -- and that's one of them major reasons why I felt like this was important because we cannot continue to let things like does happen and let our kids fall short. I'm hopeful that this will make a huge impact.

WATT: You say you're hopeful?

KELLY R.: Yes.

WATT: I sensed a slight tinge of doubt.

KELLY R.: It hasn't happened yet. So I could just be hopeful in the -- until it happens.

WATT (voice-over): Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Nick for that report.

The CNN original series, "THE MANY LIVES OF MARTHA STEWART," returns this Sunday with its final two episodes. This week, we look at the legal battle that nearly brought down Martha's empire. How she orchestrated a powerful come back, and how she, to this day, remains a relevant cultural force.

Here is a preview.


MARTHA STEWART, RETAIL BUSINESSWOMAN & TV PERSONALITY: Today is a shameful day. It is shameful for me, and for my family, and for my beloved company, and for all of its employees and partners.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This case had all the makings of a Greek tragedy. Here you have the goddess of perfection, Martha Stewart. All of a sudden, revealed to be a mere mortal who had a fatal flaw. Hubris.

If she had simply told the truth none of this would be remembered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There would be no criminal prosecution at all.

STEWART: What was a small personal matter came -- became over the last two years an almost fatal circus event of unprecedented proportions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead, she digs in her heels. The hubris and that volatile personality says, I will not be taken down, I did nothing wrong.


SANCHEZ: Be sure to tune in. The final two episodes of "THE MANY LIVES OF MARTH STEWART" airs Sunday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.


Coming up, a new CNN poll giving a snapshot of how Americans are feeling about the economy. What it could mean for President Biden and the 2024 presidential race. We will be right back.


KEILAR: A stronger-than-expected jobs report shows 2024 kicked off with a bang. In the meantime, when it comes to American's views of the economy, new polling shows an uptick in optimism. But there's still a lot of pessimism out there. We will tell you why.

And dealing with a new reality on the frontlines. Ukraine's embattled army chief says the country must adapt to a reduction in military aid from key allies and focus more strongly on technology if it wants to win the war against Russia. We have the CNN exclusive just ahead.


SANCHEZ: Plus, Fani fires back. The district attorney in the election subversion case against Donald Trump now responding to what she calls salacious allegations against her. Hear what more what Fani Willis has to say in a new court filing on the accusations that she's had an improper relationship with her lead prosecutor.