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Idaho Murder Investigation; Russia Continues Ukraine Bombardment; Nancy Pelosi Steps Down From Leadership. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 13:00   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. So glad to have you with us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And, today, history in the House, and perhaps a preview of what Republicans have in store for the future, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepping down from her leadership post after two decades.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.

For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic Caucus.


CABRERA: on the same day, Pelosi ends and era, Republicans start to lay out their priorities when they take control just weeks from now.

Let's go right to CNN's Jessica Dean at the Capitol.

Jessica, Pelosi is ending a historic leadership run. What's the reaction there on the Hill?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, there was certainly a sense of history, both inside the chamber and outside, as Democrats crowded in. A handful of Republicans were there. But it's worth noting that Kevin McCarthy was not in the room for this.

But there was really, truly a sense of history being made, as Speaker Pelosi laid out her future plans that she will stay on, but not seek a leadership position. Of course, she is the first and only woman to ever serve as speaker of the House. And there was really a sense of the moment in the remarks that she made.

She really touched on being -- how she was a young girl that came to the Capitol, the first time she ever saw it, how she was a wife, a mother, didn't think she would run for elected office. And to go from a housewife to speaker of the House, she really reflected on all of that. And note, too, she's wearing her white suit, as she normally does in

big moments, the color of suffragettes. So, again, there is a sense among Democrats that this is truly the end of an era, Ana. We are getting reaction from a lot of them as they're pouring out right now.

Hakeem Jeffries, who is the chair of the Democrats, the House Democrats, tweeting that she's the GOAT, the greatest of all time. He thanked her for everything she's done for America.

An, Ana, keep your eye on him. He's one who could replace her.

CABRERA: And is he the only one? Who else might be in discussion to succeed her to lead House Democrats?

DEAN: While we learn some more about Steny Hoyer's plans. He just released a statement just moments ago.

He is the majority leader in the House, and he said he will not be seeking leadership as well. So, again, these two in their 80s. This is a real sea change. Even with the two of them not seeking leadership positions, this is a big change for the House Democrats. And it presents an opportunity for a whole new generation, Jeffries among them, Katherine Clark as well, Pete Aguilar.

Those are some of the names that are being floated around. But now the jockeying begins as to who will succeed her after this really historic run.

CABRERA: Jessica Dean on Capitol Hill for us, thank you.

Let's bring in CNN chief political analyst now, Gloria Borger.

Gloria, she was the first and only at this point female speaker of the House. She held the gavel under four different presidents. What do you see as the impact of this decision to step back from her leadership role?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's a huge impact, because, don't forget, we have all been watching her for decades in one role or another.

And I think what was so remarkable about her was that, when Donald Trump came into office, there was a lot of talk. When new members came in, new Democrats came in, there was a lot of talk, Nancy Pelosi, she's too old, we need a new generation.

And it turned out that she met the moment with Donald Trump, that she was the leader who went toe to toe with Donald Trump. She was -- you will remember after one of those State of the Unions -- I think you're showing one there. Remember, after his speech, she ripped it up because she was so upset with him.

She in an Oval Office meeting during -- there's that picture -- in an Oval Office meeting, when there was talk of a government shutdown, she took him on, when he wanted to build the wall. In the Roosevelt Room, when they were talking foreign policy, he said she had a meltdown or whatever it was. She -- look at her, surrounded by all those men.

She stood up and took on Donald Trump. And so Democrats said, wait a minute. She is the person to take on Donald Trump. She did drive him crazy. And, by the way, she was also the leader to bring in those younger members. And there was all kinds of fear, oh, my goodness, how is she going to deal with AOC? She did deal with AOC.


They are friends. They work together. So she has served as a remarkable leader during -- not only during the Trump years, but over her decades in the leadership, having a huge list of accomplishments.

And, as Barack Obama said, the Affordable Care Act would not have passed were it not for Nancy Pelosi, because she knew how to count and get votes. And she will still help do that, I believe.


CABRERA: Right, because she's not retiring.


CABRERA: And that's where I was going to take this.

It's -- the fact is, she's still going to be there. She's still going to be part of the Democratic bloodstream in the House.

BORGER: Right.

CABRERA: You can take away the title, but can you actually take away her influence?

BORGER: You know, it's so interesting to me that she voluntarily gave up power. Leave it to a woman to do that. She voluntarily gave up power. They're no longer in the majority.

But I believe that, behind the scenes, I am sure she will be important to vote counting, to cajoling, to strategizing. Nancy Pelosi is not someone that the Democrats are just going to say, oh, you're serving here for the next couple of years, goodbye.

They admire her, and they respect her. And so while she won't be an official member of the leadership, and she will let a next generation take over, I guarantee you that she will be consulted regularly.

CABRERA: On the other side of the aisle, it was notable that Kevin McCarthy wasn't there for this announcement.


CABRERA: And I do wonder, with Pelosi no longer at the helm of the party, the GOP, in a sense, loses that big, scary campaign boogeyman that they have been focusing on for years.

BORGER: They do. First of all, let me say that I believe it was disgraceful that he was not there, even out of respect. I know they're not friends. Steve Scalise was there, also a leader in the Republican Party. And out of respect, when it's possibly that she would be retiring, it was sort of remarkable to me that he did not walk in that chamber.

I was just reading the other day, when Denny Hastert lost his majority, and just served out his term, Nancy Pelosi gave him kind of a ceremonial office out of respect for the fact that he had been speaker.

I wonder -- I wonder if McCarthy is going to do that for Nancy Pelosi. We will just have to wait and see. But the fact that he didn't show up today is not a good sign.

CABRERA: I wonder if he wasn't there because of somebody he was trying to please...

BORGER: Right.

CABRERA: ... like a man named Donald Trump.

Gloria Borger...

BORGER: Or maybe he had other commitments. Who knows?


CABRERA: That's possible too.

BORGER: We will see.

CABRERA: We will dig into that.

BORGER: We will see.

CABRERA: Gloria Borger, good to have you here. Thank you.

BORGER: Thanks.

CABRERA: Divided government in Washington means legislation could come to a standstill.

But when it comes to oversight, House Republicans plan to hit the ground running.

And CNN's Melanie Zanona is live on Capitol Hill.

Melanie, what do Republicans plan to do now that they have subpoena power?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, House Republicans are planning a host of investigations into the Biden administration.

Their opening salvo came today, when Jim Jordan and James Comer, tow Republicans who are poised to chair these powerful committees in the new Congress, held a joint press conference to outline what they say are their early findings into their investigation into Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and their family's business dealings.

But this is just one of their many investigative targets. They also want to look into the pullout of Afghanistan. They want to look into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. They want to look into the DOJ's investigations into Donald Trump. So there's a whole litany of things that they're going to be aggressively looking into.

And remind the viewers at home, now that they have the majority, that means that they have subpoena power. They have the power to call in witnesses, to demand documents, to host hearings. And so we are expecting that to really dominate in a GOP-led House.

CABRERA: OK, Melanie Zanona, thank you.

And we have new CNN reporting uncovering that long before the House Republican majority came into view, Biden's White House started preparing for an expected onslaught of GOP probes.

Let's go live to CNN's Jeremy Diamond now.

And, Jeremy, what are we learning about the administration's approach?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, Ana, This has been by far one of the most aggressive and earliest efforts by a White House ahead of a midterm elections to prepare for the onslaught of investigations by the opposition party.

And, listen, even as President Biden was campaigning over the summer to try and save that House Democratic majority, a small team of officials here at the White House, legislative affairs specialists, lawyers, as well as communication strategists, have all been preparing, mapping out where these GOP investigative targets might lead, and also preparing the response and the strategy behind how the White House is going to handle those.


They have been listening very closely to Congressman Jim Jordan and Congressman Jim Comer, the two incoming chairman of the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees, and paying close attention to how they have been telegraphing what they're doing, also sifting through hundreds of requests from Republican members for information various lines of inquiry.

One of the examples of how the administration has also been preparing is convening these meetings with agency lawyers. I take you on our piece on inside one of those meetings that happened in the Roosevelt Room more than four months before those midterm elections were actually called.

Top officials from the Department of Homeland Security, top officials from the White House, including the new special counsel, Richard Sauber, who's going to lead the White House's response to all of this meeting together to coordinate their efforts to make sure that they're on the same page going forward.

And that is one of the meetings that they have held with other agencies as well, including the State Department, Defense Department. And, so far, we're already beginning to see, after that Republican press conference, pushback from the White House on these lines of inquiry. And you can expect them to forcefully and aggressively respond as time goes on.

CABRERA: OK, Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thank you.

New today, we're learning the U.S. is running low on some key weapons for Ukraine, as Russia unleashes on the nation's infrastructure.

Plus, new details on the brutal killings of four Idaho college students. Investigators say two roommates who were home at the time are cooperating with police. The latest on this investigation.

And two days after ticked-off fans of Taylor Swift faced a Ticketmaster meltdown, a top senator is now accusing the company of abusing its market power.

Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: We have new details now on that missile that exploded inside Poland's borders.

CNN has learned that a team of Ukrainian investigators has arrived at the blast site. NATO, the U.S., Poland all continue to say the deadly blast likely came from Ukrainian air defenses.

Meanwhile, scenes like this inside Ukraine today, as Russia bombards power plants with new waves of missile attacks, knocking out electricity to about 40 percent of the country as the temperatures drop.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Kyiv.

Nick, we keep hearing from the U.S. and allies that no matter who fired that missile that hit Poland, Russia is to blame. Does Russia face any repercussions if it's their fault?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Ukraine would certainly like to see them face repercussions.

President Zelenskyy has been pushing for full accountability, whether it be war crimes or acts like this. Zelenskyy himself has said, look, we don't know what happened. We don't know what happened. There needs to be an investigation. The world doesn't know what's happened.

But he said: Of this, I'm sure, that there was a Russian missile. We did fire our air defenses. So, Zelenskyy is very clearly saying that his air defenses were shooting at a Russian missile. He has made that very clear. But he's also made very clear over time that Russia should be held accountable, whether it's for the killings in Bucha, the rapes and all the other war crimes that every time territory is regained from Russian control we hear so much about.

The reality of who's going to impose and who's going to arbitrate on that is unclear. A hint of that perhaps came today and the decision of a Dutch -- in a Dutch court today to find three people guilty of downing MH17, that Malaysian airliner that was hit and taken down in 2014 by Ukrainian separatists and Russian intelligence officials together.

And that's an indication there -- and President Zelenskyy made this point today -- it is an indication that perpetrators of crimes will eventually be caught.

To the point on that incident in Poland, it would be a long way off, I think, before anyone is in the dock over that.

CABRERA: Speaking of possible war crimes, of the brutality that is being uncovered everywhere in Ukraine as Russian forces are retreating, one Ukrainian official says investigators in the liberated parts of Kherson have found 11 detention centers, and there's evidence of torture used in at least four of them.

What do you know about this?

ROBERTSON: Yes, when we were there over the weekend, we met prisoners who've been beaten and tortured, looked at a cell where the torturing had been going on.

It was actually on fire. We were there so soon after the Russians had fled, they had literally put it on fire before they left, according to the prisoners we were talking to there, because -- the former prisoners there, because the Russians were trying to cover their tracks. And Ukrainian investigators have been getting access.

They now say they have found these 11 sites. They believe that there are at least 63 victims of torture and possible killings as well. We were told by residents of the city that there was a possibility of mass graves or some sort of graves that were unaccounted for, Russians killing Ukrainians and putting them in unmarked graves at grave sites in the city.

We talked as well to people who talked about the torture, psychological torture, as well as a physical torture. One man I spoke to said that his house was raided because a police car, a Russian police car, had exploded nearby. It had perhaps been perpetrated by underground separatists.

The police had -- Russian authorities had suspected him; 10 of them had come to his house. They put a gun to his head and just -- and said, just talk, just talk. He said, well, what about that? And they said, just talk. [13:20:02]

They took him away. There were mock executions. They connected electrical cables to his -- to his genitalia. They -- he said that they didn't actually put electric shocks through him, but all of this was psychological torture. And this does seem to be what Ukrainian authorities are hearing and getting more details about.

Of course, all of this needs to be recorded and logged legally, so it can be used in potential prosecutions down the line.

CABRERA: It is horrific.

Nic Robertson, thank you for your incredible reporting there on the ground. And keep warm and safe. Thank you again.

Officials tell CNN the U.S. is running low on some of the weapons systems and ammunition it's sending to Ukraine. We're talking about things like Stinger missiles and artillery shells.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the Pentagon.

Oren, how can the U.S. running low on these supplies? What does it mean for U.S. preparedness?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Ana, so, let's start with quickly with an important distinction here.

The U.S. keeps in its own reserves stockpiles of different kinds of weapons for its own war plans to meet contingency situations, emergency situations. And those remain untouched, and will continue to be untouched, because they're part of the U.S. reserve.

But there are excesses. And that's what the U.S. has available to send Ukraine. After nine months of sending all of these shipments we have seen since the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, some of those weapons in that excess are slowly dwindling, according to officials who spoke with CNN.

Examples, as you point out, includes Stingers, which are the anti- aircraft shoulder-launched missiles that have been very effective against some Russian aircraft, as well as all the artillery ammunition, that 155-millimeter on your screen right there that they have sent over to Ukraine.

What is the U.S. doing in response? A number of different steps. First, as we learned just recently from a U.S. official, the U.S. was looking to buy 100,000 rounds of artillery ammo from South Korea to transfer through the U.S. to Ukraine. So you see the U.S. trying to bring this international coalition together to find the ammo to send to Ukraine.

You saw that yesterday with the contact group. And then you're also seeing the U.S. ramp up its own production and to restock its own supplies, for example, of the GMLRS munitions fired from the HIMARS that have wreaked havoc on Russian lines. And you see it not just there, but in other weaponry as well.

Part of the challenge is, the U.S. isn't at war right now after getting out of Afghanistan and in an advisory role in Iraq. So weaponry production isn't as high as it could be. But now, with months of supplying Ukraine, and perhaps with months more to go, the challenge is, how do you ramp up that production to keep that pipeline going, Ana?

CABRERA: Oren Liebermann, I appreciate it. Thank you.

A killer is on the loose after the brutal deaths of four college students, and now we're learning the victims weren't the only ones in the house during the killings.

And are you hardcore? Twitter employees have just hours to answer yes, or they're out.



CABRERA: Now to the brutal deaths of four University of Idaho students.

We have just learned the autopsies are complete, and they could provide important clues in this mystery, a mystery that is deepening, because police now say two other roommates were at the home at the time of these killings.

CNN Lucy Kafanov is following this story.

Have police said whether these roommates are being considered suspects?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana, so many questions about these two roommates who were apparently not only home at the time of the crime, but also, when police responded to that call for an unconscious individual at about noon Sunday.

Now, a spokesman for the Idaho State Police tell CNN both of the roommates have been fully cooperative with law enforcement's investigation into the murders. But while authorities are not referring to the roommates at suspects, he adds that they are not ruling anyone out. So we don't have a clear idea of any suspects at the moment.

We don't, as you point out, have a weapon. We, frankly, don't have a lot of information. Still waiting for those autopsy results to be released, a lot of folks on edge, understandably, with a killer on the loose. And the police earlier this week assured folks that there was no threat to the community, but the police chief walking those comments back yesterday.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES FRY, MOSCOW, IDAHO, POLICE CHIEF: We do not have a suspect at this time. And that individual is still out there. We cannot say that there is no threat to the community. There is still a person out there who committed four horrible, horrible crimes.

So I think we got to go back to there is a threat out there still, possibly.


KAFANOV: So, right now, authorities are working on a timeline of what led up to these attacks.

The chief yesterday told us that Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were at a party on campus, while Madison Mogen and Kaylee Gonca -- Goncalves -- I apologize -- were at a downtown bar. They arrived home some time after 1:45 a.m.

We now have new video of Madison and Kaylee alive ordering at a late- night food truck at roughly 1:41 a.m. They are seen waiting about 10 minutes for their food. The video shows them chatting with each other and other people standing by the truck.