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Life-Threatening Flood & Landslide Risk As Storm Slams Southern CA; Jury Deliberations Begin In Case Of School Shooter's Mother; Haley Campaign Raises &16.5 Million In January. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, millions are waking up to face a new severe weather threat in big parts of California. It's the rain and it's also the wind that are forcing many to flee for safety.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A verdict in the precedent setting trial of the mother of the Oxford school shooter. It could come down at any moment. The jury is behind closed doors deliberating.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: And the United States striking back, launching attacks on Iran-backed fighters after three American service members were killed in a drone strike in Jordan. The U.S. military hitting 84 sites across Syria, Iraq and Yemen. I'm Sara Sidner with Kate Bolduan and John Berman. This is CNN News Central.

BOLDUAN: All schools in Malibu are closed. Nearly 40 million people across California are under flood advisories as a huge storm is just dumping record rainfall right now in the state. We're seeing many flooded streets, reports of landslides already bringing the landslides, of course, also bring a very different kind of threat to so many. Southern California facing the brunt of it right now. Hurricane force winds are now added into the mix. They're being reported. And also more than 500,000 customers are without power.

We'll see how that changes with those winds in play. The latest update shows eight counties are under a state of emergency. We're going to show you video right here. This is of a helicopter rescue helping people that became stranded in Los Angeles County. Thank goodness for them. Let's get over to CNN's Veronica Miracle. She's live in Santa Barbara with the very latest. What are you seeing now with the sun -- well, the sun at least daylight up now?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, here in Santa Barbara County. This area was expected to get the worst of the storm. And it's actually been the best case scenario for this area. Just yesterday, the Santa Barbara County sheriff was talking about that this would be the worst and most significant storm possibly in the county's history. They were concerned about loss of life and it actually broke apart. The storm broke apart. It headed south. That's where we're seeing a lot of the damages in L.A. County here in Santa Barbara County. There was some isolated flooding. We saw rivers rise.

In fact, just yesterday this debris flow was coming down this area and it was barreling into this bridge. It felt like an earthquake. And in fact, the water level was all the way up here, coming through here. But look at how much has changed. So much has changed. The water level has receded significantly even from just this morning. The water level has gone down significantly because the rain has stopped here.

Now, of course, things can always change. They are expecting more rain in this area later this afternoon. But we did speak with some city workers who say that the isolated flooding has gone down and what they were expecting to happen did not happen. Many people here took the warnings very seriously yesterday. If you'll remember, back in 2018, 23 people died about 15 minutes from here in Montecito due to massive mudslides. So all of the evacuation orders, those were heated. In fact, businesses all throughout the area on Sunday last night, they were all closed. There was nobody out and about yesterday. So this area very much was concerned.

But so many people here as we're walking around, as the sun is coming up, a lot of relief being felt here in Santa Barbara County. That storm broke apart and the worst actually has moved south into L.A. County. Back to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, we're showing some pictures from Cal Fire of those landslides. There's such a threat right now in other parts. It's good to see you. Thank you so much for that update, Veronica. Sara?

SIDNER: It's a beautiful place to live, but there are always major issues when it comes to these storms. Let's bring in San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. Sir, thank you so much for joining us. Can you just give us a sense of what is happening in San Diego, a beautiful city. I have lived in California a lot of my life. But when these events happen, they can have really serious consequences.

MAYOR TODD GLORIA (D), SAN DIEGO: Thank you, Sara. Yes. This storm is starting to arrive in our community. It's obviously been hitting our friends to the north, but this is happening after two weeks of repeated storm events. You know, what you just saw in Santa Barbara happened in my city two weeks ago today where we had hundreds of homes that were flooded. Those folks are still cleaning out, but they've had to experience another storm system last Thursday and then another one today that's predicted to last through Wednesday.


We are not used to this kind of rain in San Diego, where we're used to perfect weather. And so this is really complicating our response efforts. We try and help those people flooded out two weeks ago.

SIDNER: Yes. I don't know if you know the Tony, Tony, Tony song. It never rained in southern California. But we are all learning that is not true, especially with the way that the climate is changing. We are looking at pictures from San Bernardino, California, where there was a rescue. There is a river where it shouldn't be. What is happening in San Diego? What are you telling people they need to watch out for and how to protect themselves?

GLORIA: Well, I've issued my second emergency evacuation warning to our low lying and flood prone areas. But, Sara, what we've seen areas that have not traditionally flood because of the volume of rain in a very short amount of time. These atmospheric rivers are something that probably many of us never grew up with knowing anything about. But now they're sort of ever present in our lives. And it means an extraordinary amount of water can be dumped on a community, a very finite small part of our city, in a very short amount of time. So the issue is take preparations now. Do what you can to help us make sure that we're prepared and that our first responders can focus on the most urgent of cases. I'm pleased to tell you that San Diegans have followed that direction and I'm immensely grateful. I'm asking them to hold with us for the next few days as we get through this next storm event.

SIDNER: I want to go back to the fact that you mentioned this, you know, you were seeing these storms there, increasing. People were just cleaning out from the last time. How are they doing? How are these families doing? What is happening with the area that got flooded last time?

GLORIA: Thank you for asking. It is absolutely heartbreaking. It is some of the saddest things I've ever seen in my life of people who poured their whole lives into their homes, their palaces, these places they've created of safety for themselves and their families. They're now lost. And what I need to caution people, and I've been doing for two weeks now, is this is not a day or a week long thing this is a weeks, months, even years recovery. That's why we've put out the call for assistance. Our governor has responded with this emergency declaration.

We're calling on FEMA to help. We need the White House to authorize that FEMA assistance to help people put their lives back together. Sara, I was with some families just yesterday helping them clean out their kitchens and their living rooms. Their lives have been upended and we need to help them get back to normal.

SIDNER: Yes, we know it is very expensive to try and fix these issues and also for these families, all of their stuff ruined. I know this is hard, and I know that you're watching and letting people know what's going on. We are looking at some video of people getting sandbags ready, but when these floodwaters come, they come fast and furious and they can take lives. So far, I don't think we've heard of any loss of life. Is that correct?

GLORIA: Not in my city. There have been some other tragic incidences associated with the storm event. You have people who can't get access to medical care, people who have just been, you know, stressed out, and some of our unsheltered populations have bear the brunt of this. We're doing absolutely everything we can. We've cleared 4 miles of channels in the last two weeks. We distributed over 150,000 sandbags. We have three community centers and a local assistance center that's set up in partnership with FEMA, our state and county partners.

This is an all hands on deck. Sara, we've been in this posture now for 14 days. My team has given all that we've got and we will until the very end. But we could use a break from Mother Nature, that's for sure.

SIDNER: All right. Mayor Todd Gloria, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you for letting the community know that there are lots of things that can be done, but to safety is the number one as you watch this storm coming through. Thank you. Appreciate your time. John?

BERMAN: Sara, I do not know the song, Tony, Tony, Tony. How does it go?

SIDNER: It never rains in southern California. I mean, come on, John. I'm going to buy it for you on iTunes.

BERMAN: Thank you, Sara Sidner, very much. With me now, CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir. Bill, why is this happening? Why is it so bad right now?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It's a double whammy, John, of both natural and unnatural phenomenon. You've got El Nino now just qualified as a very strong El Nino, joining only three previous this strong in the last 50 years on top of record climate change, record ocean temperatures, and all of that heat just adds more moisture, more energy to these storms as they come screaming across what we knew as the pineapple express that would come from Hawaii across.

Imagine the Mississippi River times 20 only as vapor moving through the sky. And when it hits the mountains in California, too much, too fast. And it's this weather whiplash now that these folks are suffering from. As he said, the mayor, this is not our father's storm.

BERMAN: You know, atmospheric river sounds so antiseptic, but the way you describe it, not at all.

WEIR: No, not at all. And the infrastructure was just not built for these kinds of phenomenon. A lot of that pressure water, which could be used to help with the long mega drought, has to be released out to the ocean so it just doesn't drown communities.


BERMAN: So that is the question I think a lot of people have here, which is you've been complaining for years that California is not getting enough rain and now they are.

WEIR: Well, the problem is it's not falling as snow, you know, in the Sierras. That's the water tank. That's storage. So if it's cold enough for a lot of this to fall as snowpack, man, the skiers and snowboarders, they would love it. The water managers would love it as it melts in the spring and fills it up. But if it's too warm, it just falls as rain, it ends up as mud and mudslides.

BERMAN: Comes and goes too quickly?

WEIR: Yes. So it's too soon to tell whether this is going to alleviate the mega drought out there.

BERMAN: And can we expect more of this in the years to come?

WEIR: Unfortunately, humanity is not doing anything to adjust the temperature. It's just going to keep going up as the more fossil fuels that go into the air. So hopefully, folks see this not as a one off you got to grit your teeth through, but every one of these storms is a lesson for how to prepare for this kind of future.

BERMAN: Very Tony, Bill Weir, thank you so much for being with us. Kate?

BOLDUAN: A jury is deliberating right now in the manslaughter trial against the mother of the Michigan school shooter. We have reporters in the courthouse. A verdict could really come anytime. Will she be held criminally responsible for the horrific crimes her son committed?

And Nikki Haley raking in millions of dollars in campaign donations last month. So what is her campaign planning to do with this cash now?

And more news from Boeing and why it's going to cause further production delays for the company.



BERMAN: We are now entering hour two of jury deliberations in the manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley, whose son killed four students at a Michigan high school in 2021. At issue is if the mother will be held accountable for her son's crimes. This is really a first of his kind trial. The jury behind closed doors right now. CNN's Jean Casarez outside the courthouse. Bring us up to speed, Jean.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know the final jury is six men and six women. They have been deliberating now for a bit of time. Not a question. No questions as of yet. So you can tell they're really focused. They're just seriously looking at all of this. You know, the judge made a point to really say in those jury instructions that there can be more than one cause of death, that Ethan Crumbley, the son, may have pulled the trigger, may have had possession of that gun. It was in his backpack. He had taken it to school that day. And Jennifer Crumbley was miles away at her work in a real estate acquisition company. But she can be held responsible for causing the death beyond a reasonable doubt.

Now, we also know that the verdict form has four counts of involuntary manslaughter. But it goes through each count that she is guilty or not guilty of involuntary manslaughter for Madisyn Baldwin or Tate Myre. So it goes student by student. And the jury will look at that. You know, John, the judge also made a point in the jury instructions of credibility of witnesses. Well, who is the main witness in this trial? Well, Jennifer Crumbley is one of them, right, the only one for the defense.

And if the jury believes that a witness intentionally, deliberately lied in their testimony, they can discount the whole testimony. They don't have to look at it at all. If they believe that, you know, there was a lie or maybe even an inadvertent lie, they can just sort of disregard that, but allow the rest of the testimony to stand.

So they're going to be looking at the credibility of all witnesses, even the dean of students that said, yes, that backpack was pretty heavy. I gave it back to Ethan and I didn't look in it because I didn't feel I had reasonable suspicion, even though there were things going on at school that the Crumbley's never knew about. He was watching a video of somebody murdering somebody. He had drawings in his English class that were having violent tendencies apparently that whole fall semester.

BERMAN: All right, Jean Casarez for us in Pontiac. Jean, thank you very much. Kate?

BOLDUAN: So we're very much waiting for anything to be coming out from the jury as we speak. In the meantime, joining me right now is attorney and legal affairs commentator Areva Martin. Areva, I know you've been following this very closely along with us. How much will Jennifer Crumbley's testimony impact the jury's decision, do you think?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think, Kate, whenever a defendant takes the witness stand in his or her own defense, it's a very critical part of a criminal trial, because typically defendants don't take the witness stand out of concern that on cross examination they may be hung up with respect to certain testimony. So I think her testimony in this case is going to be critical. But I also think the witnesses that were not there on her behalf are also going to weigh into how jurors think about this case.

You had 21 witnesses presented by the prosecution, and the defense only called one person, and that was Jennifer Crumbley. And I think some of those jurors are going to be asking, you know, how come there weren't other people that came into court to testify to some of the things we heard about Jennifer, particularly as her lawyer tried to paint this picture of her having this very, very close relationship with her son.

BOLDUAN: That choice by the defense team of having Jennifer Crumbley be the only witness is called to the stand. Do you think that was a risk?


MARTIN: Oh, I think it was very much a risky decision on the part of the defense team. Typically it's the opposite, where you have multiple witnesses coming in to testify and you don't have the defendant, his or herself testifying. I think there was holes. I think there were things left unsaid that jurors may want to know, because, again, the defense tried to paint this picture that this wasn't a negligent mom, this wasn't a mom that was really more interested in her forces and in her extramarital affairs, but she was very involved in her son's life. I think it would have gone a long way for someone to come in to, you know, substantiate that claim by the defense. BOLDUAN: The fact that this is a, as it's been described many times, a first of its kind trial, that the outcome here could be precedent setting. In your experience, does that weigh on the jury?

MARTIN: It shouldn't. The jurors should just do what the judge has instructed them to do, follow the law that he has presented in this case and follow the facts. Jurors really shouldn't be thinking about, well, if we decide this today, how will it impact cases in the future? That's not what they are charged to do. They should stay focused on what's before them. I think, though, for jurors, one thing that will impact them is, you know, there a lot of parents we've been told on that jury, they may be thinking about if we decide to convict her, what might this mean for ourselves or our family members or other parents?

Jurors are human, and even though judges do instruct them to stay narrowly focused on the case before them, I can't help but imagine in a case like this that they are going to be at least thinking about, you know, the impact on themselves or perhaps other parents that they know.

BOLDUAN: There's always a question of what can you, should you, should you not read into at the jury -- as the jury deliberation continues on and on, if it continues on, you know, throughout the day without them coming back with questions, what should people do with that?

MARTIN: Well, it means they don't -- there wasn't anything that they didn't understand. Questions are typically for clarification, like, you know, judge, can you read us back the transcript or the testimony of a particular witness, or how should we interpret a particular, you know, jury instruction that was given so, you know, just they understand everything.

BOLDUAN: Areva, thank you very much. We're standing by for anything to come out of that courthouse. Sara?

MARTIN: Thanks, Kate.

SIDNER: Thank you, Kate. One poll looking a little better for President Biden, another one, the approval rating, not so much. We will look at the new poll that has just come out.

Plus, you may have heard of quiet luxury, but have you ever heard of loud budgeting? Gen Z has some new trends they're making. Take a listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not I don't have enough. It's I don't want to spend. So it's like if your friend texts you, I want to hang out. You say, I don't want to spend gas money on coming to you to hear you talk about your ex for three hours.


SIDNER: A major haul for Nikki Haley last month as she heads towards the primary in her home state. The campaign brought in $16.5 million in new donations in January, making it her best month of fundraising to date. Right now, Haley is in South Carolina before heading to California tomorrow for her next fundraising swing. CNN's Eva McKend is joining me now from Washington. Eva, what might this mean for her campaign? And also knowing that we heard these strange words from Donald Trump that he was threatening those who give money to her campaign.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: You know, Sara, what this allows is for her to continue to resist this pressure campaign from the Republican establishment to drop out. So for context, her operation says it raised about 24 million during the last quarter of 2023. So this new money, it's really an improved fundraising pace. And what they also like, what they're also touting is that a lot of this is from grassroots donations, so small dollar donors. She's also been quite busy on the campaign trail. Of course, this haul allows her to continue to make the case in her home state as well as perhaps onto Super Tuesday. And on the trail, we've really been hearing her stress to South Carolina voters that she doesn't think Trump can win a general election. Let's listen.


NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We got to acknowledge the fact he can't win a general election. So you can vote for him all day long and he can come out of this primary, but he won't win a general.


MCKEND: So in recent days, we have heard Haley sort of rail against the former president for spending his donations on legal fees, calling it unconscionable. And what we have also heard is her really stressed to voters that he -- that all of this baggage, Sara, is really a liability. She went on a fundraising swing in New York and Florida last week. She will go to California and Texas to meet donors in the coming weeks. And she says all of this incoming that she's getting from Trump, that it's actually benefiting her, that it's helping her.


I have to say, from being out in the state with her just the past week, folks are showing up in big numbers at these rallies. She does seemed to have a lot of momentum --