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Nearly 6 Months' Worth Of Rain Could Fall In L.A. By Tomorrow; City Councilman Darrell Watson (D-Denver) Discusses Denver Nearing Breaking Point As Asylum Seekers Inundate City; Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) Discusses New U.S. Attacks Against Houthi Targets; Boeing Finds New Problem With 737 Max Jets; KC Chiefs And SF 49ers Prepare For Sunday Super Bowl Showdown. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 14:30   ET



NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's why we have this flash flood danger. That's why we've seen houses washed away up in the Hollywood Hills.

So the rain is still going on. We are still monitoring this. We will see where it goes, if it hangs here or heads further south Either way, a lot more of this, a lot more of moisture to come -- Alex?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: It certainly is. Extraordinary scenes. And that rain still coming in southern California.

Nick Watt, in Los Angeles County, thank you very much.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Tonight, Senate Republican leaders are planning to meet over that landmark order bill that would allow the united needs to shut down the border if migrant crossings hit certain thresholds.

Their House counterparts just sent them a rare joint statement saying that the bill is, quote, "dead on arrival in the House. Senators should reject it." Adding that it does not go far enough and has too many loopholes for them.

The proposed law provides $1.4 billion in aid to help cities overwhelmed by the migrant crisis, cities like Denver. Reportedly today, Denver started discharging migrant families from shelters in a response to overcrowding.

Let's discuss with Denver city councilman, Darrell Watson.

Councilman, thanks for sharing part of your day with us.

This is obviously a sensitive issue for the city. I'm wondering if those 4,000 or so migrants that are being housed by this video as we speak are now being asked to leave, many of them are, where they going to go? CITY COUNCILMAN DARRELL WATSON (D-DENVER): Before I start, I want to

say, on behalf of the folks in the city, and I will say on behalf of myself, that our thoughts and prayers go out to King Charles and his family. We know the diagnosis of cancer is impactful, just the diagnosis.

I am a 12-year cancer survivor. I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the impact to him, his family, and to the country. And know that our thoughts and prayers go with him.

I want to answer your question, Boris, directly. We have, within the city and county of Denver, provided support for over 38,000 migrants over the last six months, over the last year.

We currently have over 4,000 migrants residing in shelter within the city and county of Denver. The shelters are full.

And you are correct, there will be a process over the next week and weeks in which we are moving migrants out of shelters into some other level of stable housing.

But the city and county of Denver absolutely we need support and we need help to be able to find places for all of these folks who are seeking help from our country.

We are not a border state. We do not receive federal funds from the government to support this migrant policy that we are having to build, so we do need support.

SANCHEZ: To that point about support, if the current numbers persist, the mayor, Mike Johnston, says the taxpayers will roughly be spending $180 million, $180 million this year alone on the city's migrant crisis.

His total agency has to ready budget cuts to pay for that. What do you say to constituents who see that as unacceptable, that they might see their public services diminished over this help that the city is offering to people who are undocumented?

WATSON: Thank you, Boris, for that question. I will start, first, on the community that we have.

I think we have support across the board, the spectrum of political ideology, when it comes to work authorization.

What work authorization provides, Boris, is for the opportunity for asylum seekers, no matter where they come from, to actually get work, to be able to work while they're waiting for their asylum case to go through, to be approved or disapproved.

That step alone can be done within the federal government, without going into comprehensive immigration reform. With the ability for some of these asylum seekers to work, we would not be looking at a $180 million charge or tax to residents of Denver.

These folks would be able to work, would be able to stay in Denver or move on to family members in other cities and other municipalities. They will be able to do that. But it would not be based on taxpayers spending the bill.

So I think it's an important decision that we need to make within this country.

I know one of the things we've been asking, as county commissioners and the mayor and city has been asking the federal government is to act on one thing, and that is some that bipartisan support is available for, which is work authorization.


WATSON: That is the first step that will make it less impactful to taxpayers to cover the bill for folks who are seeking asylum in our city.

SANCHEZ: So what I am hearing is that your message to constituents would be to go out and vote for lawmakers that would pursue that kind of policy. Is that fair?


WATSON: That is part of it. But what I am also encouraging, as a county commissioner, who votes for the budget for the city and county of Denver, we are going to look very closely at the ways that we can until asylum seekers are able to either move to cities and communities that they really want to be in.

Denver is very cold. We are not a city of choice for most of these asylum seekers. Until this occurs, we will have to foot the bill because of our broken immigration policies.

So we will be looking very closely at where these cuts come in. We'll make sure that the things that -- where there are impacts to our city budget that we are not cutting FTEs or employees. And we are not cutting specific services that will harm our city.

But right now, the city and county of Denver and many other municipalities across the country that do not have an immigration policy, that are directly impacted by federal government's inability to pass comprehensive immigration reform, we will have to make some tough decisions in the next few weeks.

SANCHEZ: Denver city councilman, Darrell Watson, we have to leave the conversation there. We appreciate you sharing your perspective. Also glad to hear that you beat cancer. Thanks for sharing that with us.

WATSON: Thank you, Boris. And we are very proud of you in Denver. Good to see you on CNN.


SANCHEZ: Thanks so much. I did spend some time in Denver before moving to CNN. Appreciate it.

Thanks so much.


MARQUARDT: We are very proud of him here, as well.

In the meantime, there has been more U.S. military action in the Middle East.

U.S. Central command says that they launched a series of strikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. That was on Sunday. Destroying anti- ship and land cruise missiles that were threatening targets in the Red Sea and beyond.

Those strikes marked the third straight day of military operations in the region. On Saturday, the U.S. and U.K. hit some 36 Houthi targets in Yemen.

And then on Friday, U.S. B-1 bombers destroyed dozens of targets in Iraq and Syria that were operated by Iran-backed militia groups and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force.

Today, officials say that U.S. and allied forces in Syria have been attacked three times in the wake of those assault.

Now the U.S. has been ramping up operations in the Middle East after the killing of three U.S. soldiers in Jordan. And officials are vowing further actions.

Joining us now is the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Jim Himes.

Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

When it comes to the U.S. retaliating against Iran and Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria, you've said that the U.S. response needs to be enormously expensive.

What does that actually mean? What needs to happen beyond what we have seen in terms of targets that we saw on Friday night?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): I'm glad you asked this question. The answer to that is very clear. We are in an election year. There is so much noise out there.

The answer to that question is very simple, which is that Iran, Tehran and the IRGC must tell their proxies that they need to stop attacking American bases.

The reason that what happened is, when this series of attacks against our bases -- there were a lot of them before the deaths of the three American serviceman. The response to that needs to be enormously expensive, both to the proxies and to Iran.

So that's what we're trying to do here. We're not trying to wipe out every last Iran-sponsored militia. That would require a lot of Americans on the ground in the Middle East. We are trying to get Iran to tell those proxies to stop doing what they are doing.

I believe that is achievable. Intelligence indicates that Iran really does not want a wider war here. And they are feeling the pain associated with these many days of strikes now.

MARQUARDT: Congressman, what is enormously expensive? Is it senior IRGC, senior Quds Forces, is it striking inside Iran? What is actually painful for Iran to get them to be deterred and to tell their proxies to essentially stand down?

HIMES: What is painful is what happens when you're on the receiving end of the ordinance dropped out of a B-1 or of a cruise missile.

And you're not sitting in Yemen, you're not sitting in Syria or Iraq right now. But all of those sites have experienced something fairly apocalyptic experience, courtesy of the United States military.

Lots of equipment taken away. Not all of the equipment. You can't do that, again, unless you have ground troops on the ground. Lots of equipment. It took many millions of dollars and many complicated logistics to get there. They lost people.

And remember, the big picture here, we want to make sure that this is not enormously expensive. We also don't want to escalate. There have been calls, for example, to do strikes inside Iran.

Those calls are usually made by people who don't have responsibility for standing by what it is they decide should be done.

If we kill civilians inside Iran, Iran has its politics, too, just like the United States, and they will undergo a leadership transition. The response to that would likely be escalatory.


So the White House is trying to balance between making this very expensive without making it worse than it already is.

MARQUARDT: The White House also trying to separate these out and make Iraq and Syria separate from what the Houthis are doing, Yemen separate from what the Lebanese Hezbollah is doing when it comes to Israel.

Do you see these different fronts as separate issues or are they interconnected?

HIMES: They don't need to be interconnected, right? It's the Iranian choice to make them interconnected.

Now look, a simple declarative statement. Hamas, which was the perpetrator of the October 7th attack, is to be held accountable for the October 7th attack.

We don't like the Iran-sponsored militias in Syria or Iraq. We don't much like the Houthis. But they don't much need to be involved. It's an Iranian choice to get them involved. That is dangerous. That is escalatory.

And by the way, at the end of the day, if you believe, no matter how much you may want to martyr yourself, that you can come out on the winning end or a quarrel with a B-1 bomber, do it. Because you will quickly learn that you will not do that.

So really, this is Iran's moment to say let's try to contain this to an already apocalyptic and difficult situation, Israel-Gaza. But let's not make it wider. And Iran can do that with one phone call.

MARQUARDT: Iran may not want a wider war but certainly their proxies keep on coming both in Iraq and Syria as well as the Red Sea.

Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, thank you so much for your time today.

HIMES: Thank you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And this just in. President Biden has just released a statement regarding King Charles' cancer diagnosis, saying that he is concerned.

President Biden's says he is expected to speak soon with the king. God willing, he says. We will continue to bring you updates as we get them right here. In CNN NEWS CENTRAL

We're taking a quick break. We will be right back.



SANCHEZ: More problems to tell you about for Boeing and its embattled series of Max-9 jets. Holes in the fuselages of several planes under production appear to have been mis-drilled. Now those planes have to be reworked.

That means Boeing is going to have to delay delivery of dozens of jets operated by airline companies.

CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean, joins us now in studio.

Pete, this latest setback has to do with a supplier.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Here is the biggest, newest development. The contractor that builds the Boeing 737 Max fuselage for Boeing is owning this problem.

Spirit AeroSystems confirms it is the major supplier that mis-drilled holes on planes that are still on the production line and that it notified Boeing of these problems.

Nonetheless, another black eye for Boeing and its quality control as it tries to clean up its reputation after last month's Max-9 door plug blowout.

Here's the new memo to Boeing employees from head of the commercial airplanes, Stan Deal.

He says, "While the essential condition is not an immediate flight safety issue and all 737s can continue operating safely, we currently believe we will have to perform rework on about 50 undelivered airplanes."

Deal says the company must get it right. So Boeing is slowing down 737 production. That could mean delayed delivery of new airplanes.

Not a good look as airlines like United Airlines said they are already not thrilled about being on Boeing's order book for the Max.

This is coming during what could be a huge week for this investigation. The Federal Aviation Administration said today it will reimagine how it inspects Boeing airplanes before they leave the factory.

Tomorrow, the FAA administrator will appear before lawmakers on Capitol Hill. They've specifically asked for the FAA chief to address its oversight of Boeing.

Also, by the end of the week, we could see a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board on Alaska flight 1282. That is the incident that renewed all of this scrutiny for Boeing.

SANCHEZ: The statement said it was not much of a safety issue, but you hear mis-drilled holes on an airplane. What does that mean?

MUNTEAN: The bottom line is that this is just one more in the litany of quality control issues that Boeing has had with its own work and also work by Spirit AeroSystems, its main supplier.

So we don't know a lot of specifics just yet about the mis-drilled holes. In windows, we know that specifically from the FAA today. But we don't know exactly what it would cause, what it would lead to.

But it is just one more piece of the saga here about Boeing's quality.

SANCHEZ: I don't know, mis-drilled holes in windows --

MUNTEAN: It just doesn't sound great.

SANCHEZ: Doesn't sound great.


SANCHEZ: Pete Muntean, appreciate it.

MUNTEAN: Anytime.

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much.


Still plenty of more news to come on CNN NEWS CENTRAL. Including the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers touching down in Las Vegas ahead of Super Bowl LVIII. We expect plenty of high-rolling action for the first title game in Sin City. We've got a preview straight ahead.


MARQUARDT: We are now just six days away from the biggest football game of the year. On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will be battling it out in Super Bowl LVIII.

The Chiefs looking for back-to-back Super Bowl titles while San Francisco is looking for its first Super Bowl win in three decades.

CNN's Coy Wire joining us from Los Angeles.

Coy, set the scene for us.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Oh, my goodness. First of all, it feels like temperatures are 40 degrees here and it is raining in the desert. Things are heating up.

This matchup is elite. Alex, the 49ers touched down in Vegas yesterday. They're looking to score a lot of touchdowns here. They are one of the league's iconic franchises.

They've been favored in every single game this season, including the Super Bowl. They have a chance to tie the Patriots and Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins ever with six of them.

I wanted to check it out before the Chiefs made their way to the plane. Star receiver, Ricky Rice, getting a sendoff party full of love from all the kids and families in his neighborhood. Absolutely awesome.

Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and those Chiefs are creating a modern-day dynasty. Four Super Bowl appearances in five years. They've won two of those.

They could become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowl since the Tom Brady, Belichick and the Patriots did it 20 years ago.


Vegas is turning a three-hour game into a full week of festivities for fans who are coming from all over the place. They are already showing up in their Chiefs and Niners jerseys yesterday, when we arrived a full week in advance of the big game.

Vegas is becoming America's pro-sports mecca. Tonight is opening night. We will be speaking with all the players, getting their thoughts on the big matchup.

The league is expecting more than 6,000 credentialed media members from more than 20 countries around the world. Taking full advantage of this first ever Las Vegas Super Bowl.

There is added excitement this year as well, Alex. As we know, Swifties will be in full force. Their presence is felt in Vegas already. We are seeing Kansas City's Swifty jerseys and shirts all over the place. It is going to be a fun one.

MARQUARDT: And Usher at halftime. What I really want to know is if they're putting all of that on the sphere right behind you. That would be a hell of a way to watch.

WIRE: Yes, that sphere makes my head look big.


WIRE: You see how huge my head is.

MARQUARDT: No, it's flattering.

You have a big week ahead of you. Good luck out there, buddy.

WIRE: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: And coming up, we are following the latest breaking news, that King Charles III has a form of cancer. We will have more on that when we come back. Stay with us.