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King Charles III Diagnosed with Cancer; Powerful Storm Wreaks Havoc Across California; Senate GOP Leaders to Meet Tonight on Border Bill Dividing Party; Trump Rips Tying Foreign Aid to Border, Which GOP Initially Pushed. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 15:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: I'm Boris Sanchez alongside Alex Marquardt here in Washington, D.C.

And we begin with breaking news from the U.K., Buckingham Palace revealing that King Charles has cancer.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Let's get straight to CNN's Max Foster, who is in London.

Max, you've been reporting on this since the moment this news broke. What more have you learned?

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the details are that he went in for this enlarged prostate procedure a couple of weeks ago. And whilst they were there, they did some tests, and they found a separate cancer during those tests. So this isn't prostate cancer, according to my sources. He has returned from Sandringham, his country house, to London and he is being treated as an outpatient, at home. And he is still carrying on the most senior constitutional duty. So he is doing all that work, which is signing laws, receiving documents from government and potentially appointing prime ministers, the really central parts to the British Constitution that only he can carry out.

And if he doesn't carry them out, then the whole system grinds to a halt. I'm told, crucially, that he hasn't appointed what we call counsellors of state. These are members of the family who can step in for him if he becomes incapacitated. For example, having to go through an operation and being put under anaesthetic.

So that gives you a sense of the seriousness of this. But they're being very careful, the palace, not to give precise details. They're saying, he does have a right to privacy, ultimately. But the public also has a right to know that their head of state is being treated for something potentially quite serious. So some level of alarm about what's happened and how little we actually know at the same time as the palace trying to temper concerns too widely. SANCHEZ: And Max, given the reporting that you've done on the fact

that he is not picking counsellors of state, that he is going to continue most of his duties, does it lead you to believe that this isn't a dire situation?

FOSTER: Well, you always have to read between the words with these palace statements and the briefings that you get and people close to the King. This is only a handful of people that really have access to that very private medical information. I think right now, it means they're quite confident and he's already talking about getting back to work.

But of course, with medical situations, you don't know which way they're going to turn. They say they're not going to give us a running commentary, but they will need to tell us if there's a - if he degrades suddenly or if he has to have an operation or indeed if he gets a lot better as well.

I mean, one element that has concerned some people is that I know that he spoke to his siblings and his two sons about this and informed them. Prince Harry is now going to fly over to the U.K. to see him. The bar for that is much higher than it is for the average father and son relationship, because, Prince Harry has been estranged and he hasn't been over that often. And there's a lot of tension, particularly with Prince William. But some tension with King Charles as well, although they have been working towards a level of reconciliation. I think, obviously, they've been in touch a bit.

But for him to come over, that's raised some concerns. But all the wording we're getting from the palace is that this is in check and emphasizing the fact that he's actually at home rather than in hospital is one element of that.

MARQUARDT: And that - as is so often the case, scary medical diagnoses bringing families back together and another reminder that this is, at the end of the day, a family as well.

Max Foster, I want you to stay with us. I want to bring in Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt.

Doctor, given what we know from Buckingham Palace, that this is a cancer that was discovered while the King was being treated for a benign prostate enlargement. You heard Max Foster there saying that, according to his sources, this is not prostate cancer. But when you look at what has been said, what do you think that this could be?


JAMIN BRAHMBHATT, UROLOGIST, ORLANDO HEALTH: Well, when we do any procedures for the prostate, and we're assuming in this case that he had the prostate resected from inside of his urine channel, when we look in there, sometimes we may find things incidentally, either in the bladder, there may be some hot spots or red areas or when we've actually shaved the prostate, and we have a pathologist look at the pathology under a microscope, most of the time it is benign, and that's what the report says, but sometimes there can be other types of cancers within the prostate, either something that's been spread from somewhere else or other cancers that can form in the prostate that are not the standard prostate adenocarcinoma.

So right now there are a lot of unknowns. All we know is that it was found when its procedure was done, so all we can assume it has something to do with the urologic tract.

SANCHEZ: Doctor, what would it imply to you if a different form of cancer was discovered during that prostate examination in his prostate?

BRAHMBHATT: Well, I would give kudos to the healthcare professional that took care of him, that they actually saw it when he was in there and they took a sampling of it. If it was something that was found on the pathology, then kudos to the individual that looked at the stuff under the microscope.

Prostate cancer is a very common cancer that's found in men. Some of the other rare cancers that are found within the prostate don't have the best research done on them because they're actually very rare, and they may not have the best prognosis. But I don't want to alarm anyone. We're kind of making a lot of assumptions here.

I know in my own patients, oftentimes I'll go in for the prostate and I'll end up finding something in the bladder, and it may be like a low-grade bladder cancer. All cancers of the urologic tract we know have really good treatments. So if this is something that was found early and incidentally, then hopefully the treatments that he's initiating this week will lead him to have a normal life and a good quality of life as well.

MARQUARDT: And we just heard Max Foster saying that the Palace is not going to be giving a running commentary, a number of updates, but there are certainly major questions, foremost among them what kind of cancer this is. And I think the palace is keenly aware that those questions are out there.

Doctor, stay with us. I want to bring in CNN Royal Commentator, Sally Bedell Smith.

Sally, we have this statement from Buckingham Palace. They say that they revealed this diagnosis in order to prevent speculation. But in stopping short of saying what kind of cancer this is, it would seem that it would fuel more questions that, for the moment at least, they're not willing to answer.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I'm afraid that's what is happening. I mean, I was struck that when Kate had her abdominal surgery, there was really no speculation about what it might be. They were totally tight-lipped. Now we know that there is a specific diagnosis of cancer, but we don't know what kind and I think just for those very reasons that you just mentioned, I think they probably need to go further and say specifically what it is.

We heard the oncologist say maybe it's in the bladder. Maybe it's a sort of more rare form of prostate cancer. But I think they've only gone halfway and by revealing that he has cancer, by revealing that he's having treatment, they've already so-called invaded his privacy. He is the head of state.

And I think given the way things are in the 21st century, they can't afford to be opaque about it. They were opaque about what was wrong with the queen. We never really knew and there were assertions that she had a form of cancer, multiple myeloma, but the palace neither confirmed nor denied it. But it was mentioned by somebody who knew her well.

If you go all the way back, 70-some years ago, Charles' grandfather, King George VI, had very severe lung cancer. And he had his left lung removed. And the doctors never revealed to the family, to George VI, much less the rest of his family, much less the world, that he had a malignancy and it was also - and it had spread, so times have really changed since then.

But I think we're going to - I think there will be some pressure to reveal what it is. He - Charles was applauded for being candid about his prostate. But I think it's - we've moved to a different level now.


SANCHEZ: Yes. And Sally, to a point that Alex made a moment ago about this kind of difficult event reminding us that this is ultimately a family, we've learned that Prince Harry is ...


SANCHEZ: ... going to be traveling to see his father in the coming days. That's despite some of the difficult moments ...


SANCHEZ: ... that they've had in recent years and this reported ...


SANCHEZ: ... sort of estrangement within the family.

SMITH: Right. Well, I think it is an actual estrangement. I just saw something saying that he was already on his way. I don't know if that's true. But there does seem to be a sense of urgency, although it just may be that he's - as the - as that - as the doctor pointed out, his beginning treatment right away doesn't necessarily indicate anything about severity. But they're obviously not wasting any time.

But we don't know. There are stage numbers. We don't know what stage it is. We don't know how early it was caught. So I think these are all things that probably should be mentioned, just so we all know what's going on.

MARQUARDT: Yes. And so they are certainly willing or desirous to be transparent on some level, but not completely. We will ...

SMITH: Yes. MARQUARDT: ... expect to see ...

SMITH: Not completely.

MARQUARDT: ... members of the royal family taking his place out at public events, but we are told by Buckingham Palace and I'm looking at the statement here, that the doctors have told the King to postpone public-facing duties while he will continue to work while receiving outpatient care at home.

Sally Bedell Smith ...

SMITH: Right.

MARQUARDT: ... Max Foster, Dr. Jamin Brahmbhatt, thank you all for your thoughts today.

SMITH: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: Still to come on NEWS CENTRAL, key Republicans behind the new border bill may have one more chance to convince their Republican colleagues to support it. An important closed-door meeting set to start very soon.

Plus, the U.S. launching more retaliatory strikes following that deadly drone attack in Jordan. We're going to tell you exactly where.

Those stories and much more coming up on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.



SANCHEZ: Some historic downpours have dumped months' worth of rain onto parts of Southern California in just a matter of days. It's led to life-threatening flash floods and landslides, school closures, flight cancellations and over half a million power outages. And the storm isn't over yet.

The city of Los Angeles has already notched its rainiest two-day stretch in nearly 20 years, and that rain is expected to continue through tomorrow. Let's take you there now with CNN's Nick Watt, who's live along the coast in hard-hit L.A. County.

That river behind you, Nick, looks nasty.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, we are in Marina del Rey. There is not a sign of the sun today. There is just so much water. I have never seen rain quite this relentless in L.A. It started raining Sunday morning. It has not stopped. I was up on my roof all night, my flat roof. We're not used to this weather here, moving tarps around.

The mayor said Angelenos are just not used to this, and she's right, but she says that we might have to get used to this due to climate change. So what's happening here, all of this water comes from the Pacific. The Pacific is a little warmer than usual because of climate change, so that moisture rises up in the air and becomes an atmospheric river.

El Nino right now, that directs that atmospheric river at Southern California, and this storm has basically just stalled over L.A., 14 million people at risk of this extreme high rainfall. We've seen up in the hills, because listen, we've had quite a lot of rain over the past couple of weeks, so the ground here is already saturated. The rest of the city, asphalt, concrete, so this rain that's falling has nowhere else to go but to slide off the surface, and that's why we're seeing some houses actually washed off their foundations up in the Hollywood Hills.

This is going to continue. It depends on where it's going to go. It should go down to San Diego, could stick around here for a little bit longer. We are going to see records broken today. Boris?

SANCHEZ: Nick, I hope you've got those tarps on your roof in place on time. Stay safe out there, my friend.

WATT: Not really, but yes.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate the attempt.

Let's go to David Culver now, who's in the L.A. neighborhood of Hollywood Hills. And, David, when we checked in earlier, you showed us a home that slid into a street, and it was in tatters.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And this is the street, Boris, that leads up to that, and you can see it's basically become several currents of almost many rivers along the sides of these roads, and they've come down to really just one lane at this point, and this is across the Hollywood Hills.

You heard Nick mention up here is where you have the homes coming off places like their foundation, and I'm going to show you this is the direction where it was. Look up here. You can see you've got crews working on a tree that has fallen down into a house, and then farther up, you've got four different homes. We can take you a little bit closer in video because we've been asked to move back because of some exposure of the gas lines there.

But the video shows you this one house that went off its foundation, a massive mudslide. It was almost like a ski slope of mud that came down, crashing, pushing it into four other homes, causing damage there, wiping six cars out of their parking spots and covering several of them in several feet of mud right now.


And the fortunate part of all of this, Boris, is that one home that was most severely destroyed was unoccupied.

But the other ones had families who were inside. They said it was about 2 o'clock in the morning, pitch black. They just saw a home in the middle of the street, they all started to come together to try to figure out, okay, what do we do now, how do we assess to make sure everybody's okay.

And now here with light up, they're able to start doing some of the cleanup. But we started to smell, Boris, some of the gas as we drove into the area, and that's been the big concern, some of these exposed gas pipes, and then the reality that you've been mentioning, the saturated soil. This could continue and the threat is still existing for many hours, if not days from now, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that gas, one of many dangers in situations like this. A tough few days ahead it looks like for Southern California.

David Culver, thank you so much. Alex?

MARQUARDT: In under three hours, Republican Senate leaders are set to meet about the landmark bipartisan border bill that is dividing their party and would lead to dramatic changes to immigration law for the first time in decades.

Among its mandates, the sprawling $118 billion package would require shutting down the border if average daily migrant crossings exceed 5,000 in a week. It would also provide billions in foreign aid, most of that going to Ukraine, along with humanitarian assistance to Gaza and to other crises.

But in a rare joint statement, House Republican leadership today declared the bill dead on arrival, following the lead of the Republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump.

Let's get straight to CNN's Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill with the latest.

So, Melanie, what's going to happen in this Senate meeting that's scheduled for later today?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Alex, this is going to be a critical meeting, and we could see some fireworks, given just how high the tensions are inside the GOP right now. The lead negotiators of this package are planning to brief senators later today on the contents of the proposal. Specifically, they're planning to highlight some of the conservative policy wins when it comes to the border security portion of this package and they also want to combat what they say has been some misinformation about what these provisions would actually do.

But, Alex, the window of potential yes votes inside the GOP is rapidly closing. This bill text is not even 24 hours old, and already, based on our whip count that we've done with our Hill team, there are already over 20 senators who are opposed to this package. And remember, they need 60 votes in the Senate in order for this bill to survive a procedural vote.

And even if it does, this bill is dead on arrival in the House. Speaker Mike Johnson has been saying for weeks that this is a nonstarter for him and his conference. And just a little bit ago, he explained to reporters why he's opposed to the package. Let's listen.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Border Patrol agents, officers, long-time veterans of the agency, and they said you have to fix asylum, you have to fix parole, you have to end the catch and release, the mass release of immigrants around the country, illegals around the country, as has been happening and you have to restore "Remain in Mexico." You also need elements of the wall being built.

I just don't believe that the Senate bill, as I've explained in all of our statements, meets the criteria that's necessary to solve the problem.


ZANONA: Now, the Speaker did not mention Donald Trump, but the former president's opposition to this bill no doubt has had an impact on the number of Republicans who are now saying they are opposed to this package. So at this point, guys, just very hard to imagine how this bill becomes a law.

MARQUARDT: It is hard to imagine months of work that may not actually pay off. Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.

Let's get straight to CNN's Rosa Flores, who is at the border in Eagle Pass, Texas. That has been really ground zero in the recent surge of border crossings.

So, Rosa, what are people there saying about this border bill?


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they're saying is that it's personal for them, Alex. Look, I just talked to an individual here who says that he grew up on the Rio Grande. He grew up canoeing in the Rio Grande that you see behind me. And all of a sudden, this razor wire went up, a lot of the area along the river was bulldozed.

And so it's personal, people here are hurting. And so what Jessie Fuentes told me, this is the individual who I talked to, he says that he supports the bill, not that he supports everything that's in the bill, but that he supports it because it's something. It is Republicans and Democrats coming together and agreeing on something. And because he hopes that if this border bill does indeed pass through Congress, then all of this razor wire that you see here in Eagle Pass will be lifted.

Now, I asked him, what about President Donald Trump - former president, Donald Trump - who has been lobbying against this bill? Here's what he said. Take a listen.


FLORES: Former president, Trump, is lobbying against this border bill. If it doesn't go through, do you blame President Trump?

JESSIE FUENTES, EAGLE PASS RESIDENT: Of course. I mean, without any hesitation, because this is a gold mine for them and this is what he wants to run on.


But what would happen if it gets resolved? What is he going to complain about?


FLORES: Now, Alex, Jessie Fuentes also says that he really hopes that if this border bill moves forward, if something happens, that all this wire is removed. Back to you.

MARQUARDT: It's so important. So many people's lives, so many communities are impacted by these decisions made here in Washington. Rosa Flores in Eagle Pass, Texas, thank you so much for that reporting.

Next on CNN NEWS CENTRAL, the White House refuses to publicly rule out future strikes within Iran as it retaliates for that deadly drone attack in Jordan.

Plus, an update on our breaking news. Buckingham Palace revealing King Charles' cancer diagnosis. Stay with us.