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Republicans Win House Majority; McConnell Again Chosen as U.S. Senate Republican Leader; Pence Says He Was Angry Watching January 6 Insurrection; New Details Emerge in Case of Idaho Student Killings; South Korea: Pyongyang Fires Short-Range Ballistic Missile; Musk: Commit to Working Extremely Hardcore or Leave. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 04:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from London this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers joining us in United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster joining you live from London. Just ahead on CNN newsroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a smaller margin than what Republicans would have hope for but it's a majority, nonetheless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the White House now very much confronting a reality that will define the second half of Joe Biden's presidency.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people are looking for new leadership. I think we'll have better choices than my old running mate.

The president's words and tweet that day were reckless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Russian made missile striking a NATO ally and setting the world on edge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NATO, Washington, they're correct when they say Russia ultimately is responsible.


FOSTER: It's Thursday, November 17th, 9 a.m. here in London, 4 a.m. in Washington. Where a slim majority is reshaping the balance of power and control of the U.S. House. CNN projects that Republicans now have 218 seats needed to be in power when they take over the chamber in January.

NOBILO: The Republican majority will be razor thin but they'll still call the shots with committee assignments and legislation. They've already signaled that investigations into the Biden administration will be a high priority.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi is losing her position as House Speaker. She's set to announce her future plans later today. Kevin McCarthy is planning to take the gavel from Pelosi next January. But there are already indications he could face a tough challenge for the speakership.

Now while a question mark hangs over Kevin McCarthy in the House, Mitch McConnell has secured another two-year term as Senate Republican leader. He's now on track to become the longest serving party leader in Senate history. CNN's Manu Raju reports from Washington.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After trading blame for more than a week, amid the GOP failure to take back the Senate --

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): The country is screwed for the next four years, because of this.

RAJU (voice-over): Mitch McConnell reelected for another two years as Republican leaders, but for the first time, in his 15 years as a leader, facing a challenge, Republican Rick Scott. The vote in the secret ballot election, 37 for McConnell, 10 for Scott, one voting president.

RAJU: What lessons did you learn from this and will you change your approach at all?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: First, I don't own this job. Anybody who wants to run for it can feel free to do so, as everyone has said. We had a good opportunity to discuss the various differences. And I am pretty proud of the 37 to 10.

RAJU (voice-over): Behind closed doors for more than three hours, the Republicans engaged in an intense debate for the second straight day. Some criticizing Scott's tenure, running the Senate GOP campaign arm. Others calling on McConnell to be more inclusive.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): What is our plan? Why -- what are we running on?

RAJU (voice-over): And some say blame for the midterm failure rests with McConnell, not with former President Donald Trump, who pushed Senate candidates that ultimately lost critical races.

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): In Senator McConnell's view is that Trump is largely to blame, and that Republicans have an image problem because of Trump. I don't agree with that.

RAJU: What is it about Mitch McConnell's leadership style that you don't like?

SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): I look for something that tries to get us in a better place than where we have been. RAJU (voice-over): McConnell has yet to publicly blame Trump but told CNN that certain people in their party frighten moderate voters.

MCCONNELL: Their impression of many of the people in our party and leadership roles is that they're involved in chaos, negativity, excessive attacks.

RAJU: Now CNN has projected that the Republicans will retake control of the U.S. House, meaning that they will have the power to set the agenda. They will have the power to drive the investigations on the committees. The power to issue subpoenas. And we expect on Thursday morning two committee chairmen to begin to lay out their investigative priorities, namely investigating the president's son, Hunter Biden, and overseas business dealings will be a big part of the agenda.


But they will still have to legislate. And legislating will be difficult given the divide between the Republican conference, between the moderate wing and the conservative wing and the likelihood this will be a razor thin House majority. Meaning Kevin McCarthy, if he does become the next Speaker of the House, will have a very difficult time navigating those two wings and making sure there is as few defections as possible to get his agenda through.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


NOBILO: After the Republicans reach the 218 seat threshold in the U.S. House, President Biden extended an olive branch to the new majority.

FOSTER: In offering his congratulations he again pitched bipartisanship.

Saying: The American people want us to get things done for them. And I will work with anyone -- Republican or Democrat -- willing to work with me to deliver results for them.

Now CNN is projecting Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass has made history becoming the first woman to be elected the mayor of Los Angeles.

NOBILO: She managed to defeat her rival Republican Rick Caruso who outspent her by more than $100 million.

FOSTER: Bass put together a coalition of black voters in South LA and white progressives. In 2020 she was on the short list of potential vice presidential candidates for then candidate Joe Biden.

NOBILO: And the U.S. Senate has cleared a key procedural step on a bill to protect same-sex an interracial marriage. 12 Republicans voted with all the Democrats to move forward with this proposal. If the Senate passes the bill, it would still need approval by the House before President Biden can sign it into law. FOSTER: While the legislation wouldn't require all states to legalize

same-sex marriage, it would require them to recognize another state's legal marriage if the Supreme Court overturns the 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Now at a CNN Town Hall on Wednesday night, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence faced questions from members of the audience and CNN's Jake Tapper. And the hot topic, the Capitol insurrection of course. Mike Pence says he doesn't plan to testify before the January 6th committee but admits it was the most difficult day of his public life.


PENCE: It saddens me, but that day it angered me. I must tell you, when the Secret Service took us down to the loading dock accompanied by my wife, my daughter Charlotte and her Secret Service detail, I was determined to stay at my post. I told the Secret Service that I was not leaving the Capitol.

I didn't want to give those people the sight of a 16 car motorcade speeding away from the Capitol that day. But frankly when I saw those images and when I read a tweet that President Trump issued saying that I lacked courage in that moment, it angered me greatly. But to be honest with you, I didn't have time for it. The president had decided in that moment to be a part of the problem. I decided and was determined to be part of the solution.


NOBILO: Pence says that when he first saw Donald Trump after the riot the former president was, quote, deeply remorseful in that moment.

New details are emerging about the shocking killings of four University of Idaho students last weekend. Police say there were two roommates in the house during the attack and that both have been fully cooperative with the investigation. So far, no suspects have been identified.

FOSTER: This comes as new video surfaced showing two of the victims the night of their murder. The students who were found dead in an off campus residence are heard on the video ordering from a food truck in the early hours of Sunday and seen chatting with each other and other people standing by the truck. The footage comes from the food truck's Twitch stream. More details now from Lucy Kafanov.


JAMES FRY, CHIEF, MOSCOW POLICE DEPARTMENT, IDAHO: We do not have a suspect at this time, and that individual is still out there. We cannot say that there's no threat to the community.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With a killer on the loose police in Moscow, Idaho trying to calm a community on edge, shaken by the brutal killings of four young students.

FRY: But the reality is, is there's 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.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The students' bodies were found inside this home across from the University of Idaho campus Sunday. Police say two were at a party on campus while two others were at a downtown bar. All returned home sometime before 1.45 a.m. What happened after remains a mystery.

FRY: The four were stabbed with a knife, but no weapon has been located at this time. There was no sign of forced entry into the residence. We're not a hundred percent sure if the door was unlocked, but there was no damage to anything and the door was still open when we got there.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The coroner describing a gruesome scene.


CATHY MABBUTT, CORONER, LATAH COUNTY, IDAHO: There was quite a bit of blood in the apartment and, you know, was a pretty traumatic scene to find four dead college students in a residence.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The victims, all members of Greek Life on campus appear to have been friends, pictured in this photo posted by 21-year- old Kaylee Goncalves hours before their death. The caption, one lucky girl to be surrounded by these people every day.

Kaylee was killed alongside 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, a junior majoring in marketing, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, a senior, also majoring in marketing, and 20-year-old recreation sport and tourism management major, Ethan Chapin.

The university president, visibly shaken.

SCOTT GREEN, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO: First my deepest condolences to the families. And friends of Ethan, Kaylee, Xana, and Madison. Excuse me. Their loss has been devastating and they were bright lights in our community.

STACY CHAPIN, MOTHER OF VICTIM ETHAN CHAPIN: We're just trying to process it. It's not a call that you think that you're going to have to speak with the funeral home directors and the FBI and have it hit national news.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The families who should have been planning Thanksgiving dinner now making funeral arrangements while demanding answers and justice.

KAFANOV: The police chief was asked about comments made by the Moscow mayor describing this as a crime of passion. The chief refusing to speculate whether it's one thing or another, saying only that authorities are, quote, looking into every aspect of this. For the grieving families and the shaken community, there are still more questions than answers.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver.


NOBILO: The man convicted of plowing his vehicle into a crowd at a Christmas parade in Wisconsin will spend the rest of his life in prison. Darryl Brooks received six life sentences Wednesday with no chance for parole. He was found guilty last month on all 76 counts stemming from last year's attack that left six people dead and dozens injured.

North Korea is warning of fiercer military responses to Washington's bolstered defense ties to South Korea and Japan. And it comes as Pyongyang fired a short range ballistic missile just hours ago, according to the South Korean military.

FOSTER: It was launched from the country's east coast before landing in the waters off the Korean Peninsula. By CNN's count, it is the 33rd day this year that North Korea has carried out a missile test.

NOBILO: For more we're joined on this story by Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Anna, obviously missile tests, belligerent rhetoric is par for the course from North Korea. But we did see the sharp increase in missile testing in response to joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. How severe is the deterioration in this relationship?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, it's been more than a week since we've had any missile testing out of North Korea. They've been very well behaved whilst global leaders have met here in Asia for these high stakes summits. That all changed early this morning when North Korea fired these short range ballistic missiles. South Korea military is saying it is a MAC4 with a range of 240 kilometers flying at an altitude of 47 kilometers. Once again, breaking U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Well, hours earlier the North Korean foreign minister Choe Son Hui had issued a threatening statement promising a fiercer military response towards the U.S. and its allies following a try lateral meeting between the U.S., Japan and South Korea that had been held on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit last Sunday in Cambodia. It was there that they had issued a joint statement in response to this recent aggressive behavior from North Korea pledging greater security cooperation between the three countries.

Now North Korea's foreign minister says that these talks as well as these recent military exercises that you mentioned, Bianca, earlier this month has brought the situation to an unpredictable phase on the Korean Peninsula. As you said, this is the 33rd day this year North Korea has fired missiles and the U.S. and South Korea both believe that it's only a matter of days before North Korea conducts its seventh nuclear test. That will be the first time since 2017.

Now South Korea's foreign ministry said a short time ago that Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats will only further strengthen ties with the United States and, quote, worsen international isolation of North Korea -- Bianca, Max, back to you.

NOBILO: Anna Coren live in Hong Kong for us. Thank you. Coming up, more drama at Twitter HQ as the new boss, Elon Musk, sends

an email with a stunning ultimatum.

NOBILO: Rising inflation may leave Americans with indigestion when we show you what your Thanksgiving dinner will actually cost you this year.

NOBILO: Plus, a powerful winter storm is pounding parts of upstate New York with a state of emergency expected to kick in later today. Here's Derek Van Dam with more.


DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, the National Weather Service using words like paralyzing with the potential for over three feet of snow. But not everybody is going to experience this heavy snow ban. I'll explain why and who will get hit hardest coming up after the break.


FOSTER: Parts of upstate New York are in for several feet of new snow as a powerful winter storm pummels the northeast. Meteorologist Derek van dam joins us from Atlanta with the details on that. Good morning, Derek.

VAN DAM: Yes, good morning, Max. Residents of the Great Lakes here in the United States are preparing for a major winter storm starting today lasting through a better part of the weekend. But there's a large caveat with that sentence and that is not everyone is going to experience the heavy snow. I'll explain why in just a moment.

Here's the latest winter weather alerts. And notice the lake effect snow warning. This is a lake enhanced snow machine that's going to kick up through the weekend. And this is why that's important. Because right now what you're seeing off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario is this banding -- right there -- putting some locations in the heavy snow band. You can see the snow band right about here. The winds are in a due westerly direction. But if you are traveling even 10 miles to the north or 10 miles to the south you get nothing.


So, this is what we're talking about, an extremely localized event. Miles matter and it is really going to set the stage for the potential for historic snowfall. We've got the stage set in terms of temperatures. We're waking up to over 200 million Americans below freezing. Now compare that to the relatively warm lake waters. Remember water maintains heat longer than the air does. So, we get the combination of warm water creating instability. Whilst that cold air rushes over top of it. It cools, condenses, creates cloud and eventually the wind -- depending on the direction -- pushes that moisture that it creates right over the land creating snowfall. Because it is certainly cold enough to see that.

Our forecast radar picking up on that quite well. And in terms of snowfall totals -- this is going to be impressive -- we're not going to be measuring that in inches -- it will be multiple feet. But again, for many specific locations like Buffalo, New York into Watertown, New York, those are the two areas that the National Weather Service has highlighted within some of their discussions using the words like paralyzing snowstorms as a possibility. We're already seeing some snowfall totals in the double digit marks.

The wind direction is so important but so is the wind speed. Forecast wind gusts here between 25 to 35 miles per hour. But I want you to see this as well because this important, so I'll draw this on the map. Notice that southwesterly wind starting to shape up into the course of the second half of the weekend. That is going to put Buffalo and Watertown within the cross hairs for the potential of extremely heavy snowfall. Again, it's all thanks to the cold fronts pressing through setting the stage for this lake-effect snow machine to really kick into high gear -- Max.

FOSTER: Look at the color of that map. Derek, thank you.

NOBILO: Well, I'm back at the wall so I must be talking about inflation and recession which are on the minds of many Americans. Especially with tech companies like Twitter and Amazon laying off thousands of workers. We've get the latest look at the economy when the Labor Department releases its weekly jobless figures in a few hours' time.

Americans be will pay more to sit down at the Thanksgiving dinner table with their family this year. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, we'll fork out 20 percent more for the whole dinner and 21 percent more for the Turkey. So, meals consisting of Turkey, stuffing, cranberry, pumpkin pie mix will cost $64 on average in the price of that 16 pound bird will weigh in at nearly $30 this year.

Retail giant Target is also warning of a sluggish holiday season after its profits plunged 52 percent in the third quarter. The company CEO said that shopping trends have been impacted by inflation, rising interest rates and economic uncertainty.

But the census bureau reported that in general U.S. retail sales rose by a little over 1 percent in October and the month before. And if you live in New York or you're planning to visit, you should know that taking a taxi will soon cost you a lot more too because fares are expected to rise by 23 percent by the end of the year. That includes an increase to a $70 flat rate for a cab from JFK International Airport to wherever you are going. The city is blaming its first fare hike in 10 years on inflation and the higher costs of operating taxis.

And we want to update you now on a story that we first reported on Monday. Amazon confirmed on Wednesday it's begun laying off some 10,000 employees and it's just one of the numerous tech companies to recently announce layoffs and job freezes. Max, we will get some more on this story.

FOSTER: A grim business update.

NOBILO: Yes, sorry for not bringing the good news but what can I do? FOSTER: At least it's on later. We're going to talk about Elon Musk

now. He took to the stand on Wednesday in a lawsuit over his salary package at Tesla which in 2018 was $56 billion. The suit was brought by shareholders as Musk wasn't even required to work full time as CEO. Lawyers for Musk say the stock incentives were designed to encourage bold steps. But the plaintiffs argue it was unjust enrichment. They say the pay is almost equal to the GDP of the state of Delaware where the trial is taking place.

Meanwhile, Musk is also making headlines for the massive shakeup as Twitter's new boss. An internal email from Musk to his entire staff, obtained by CNN, gives every Twitter employee an ultimatum. Either work extremely hardcore or you'll be shown the door. And today is their deadline to decide. Here's Clare Sebastian.


ELON MUSK, TWITTER OWNER AND CEO: I'm really working the most amount I can work from morning until night, seven days a week.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Speaking from the room that he said had lost power, Elon Musk detailing the impact of his new power, as Twitter's owner and CEO.

MUSK: I have too much work on my plate, that is for sure.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Touting his personal work ethic and then telling staff at Twitter in a memo shortly after that they need to commit to, quote, extremely hardcore work or leave, it's a pattern for Musk.

MUSK: Last time as you actually slept looking on the floor because the couch is too narrow.


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): In 2018, he told CBS News that he had been sleeping in his California factory while trying to fix production problems.

ANDY WU, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, HARVARD: It is pushing people to limit beyond what most of us would consider fair.

If you look back at Tesla and SpaceX, what he is asking people to accomplish under tight deadlines is something we don't even know if it's technically possible.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): To say Musk is a culture shock for Twitter's staff, the half of them that he did not fire, would be an understatement. Having mandated 40 hours a week in the office for Tesla staff this June, he is now canceled much of Twitter's work from home policy, which just eight months ago allowed employees to work from home forever if they wanted.

MUSK: I present to you the cyber truck. SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Musk seems to thrive on disruption, promising to, quote, do a lot of dumb things at Twitter in the first few months. And some would argue, already delivering.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's mania mixed with chaos. It's just a -- it's hard to imagine where it goes from here.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Others argue that Twitter, a company that took 12 years to turn it on your profit might benefit from Musk brand of experimentation.

WU: We have to remember that Musk come from a culture of SpaceX where he built in culture there, that is an accepted -- it is acceptable for a $100 million rocket to explode and you can move on and build another one the next day. If you come from that kind of environment, messing up a check mark on Twitter is honestly not as big deal I think from their eyes.

MUSK: It's very important to accelerate the transition to sustainable transport.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Beyond the chaos, Musk is a leader known for his desire to change the world.

ANNOUNCER: Lift off.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): And for having some success doing it.

MUSK: Well, I think it's very important for there to be an inclusive arena for free speech.

SEBASTIAN: His vision for Twitter, a company he tried to back out of buying, may prove his most divisive yet.

Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.


NOBILO: The legal headaches are mounting for FTX. An investor in the crypto giant is suing founder Sam Bateman-Fried and a host of celebrity endorsers including Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen and Steph Curry.

FOSTER: The plaintiff's attorneys call FTX which has filed for bankruptcy, a massive Ponzi scheme. Now the string of recent crypto failures has U.S. Secretary-General Janet Yellen calling for more effective oversight of the industry. There's effectively not at all. I mean, that was one of the problems we've learned about the industry.

Now still to come, Mike Pence opens up about his former boss. Why Pence thinks Donald Trump's 2024 presidential campaign might not be a good idea.

Plus, the deadly missile strike in Poland is looking like a mistake on Ukraine side. But President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that he wants to see the proof of that. [04:30:00]