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State of Emergency Declared in New York; U.S. Suggest MBS to Have Immunity; Speaker Pelosi Not Seeking Any Leadership Role; Republicans Gearing for Their Political Revenge Against Democrats; Poland Wrapping Up Missile Attack Investigation; Ukrainians Bracing for Harsh Winter; Justice Handed to Malaysia MH-17 Victims; Brittney Griner in Russia's Penal Colony; North Korea's ICBM Landed in Hokkaido, Japan Waters; Qatar's World Cup Plagued with Controversies; New L.A. Mayor Focusing on Homelessness Issue; Veterans Had Enough of Unkept Promises. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired November 18, 2022 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Buffalo, New York is under a state of emergency as it braces for crippling storm. Ahead, we'll tell you where else blizzard conditions are expected.

Plus, a new era for house Democrats with a new generation preparing to take key leadership positions. Speaker Nancy Pelosi steps down.

And later.

World Cup fans are in Qatar ready for the tournament to begin. We'll tell you how the teams are preparing for the first round.

And around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.

UNKNOWN: Live from CNN center, this is CNN Newsroom with Kim Brunhuber.

BRUNHUBER: At this hour, six million people in the U.S. are bracing for or already feeling the impact of severe winter storms. Five states around the Great Lakes are under snow alerts. Parts of New York are dealing with treacherous conditions after being slammed with snow since Wednesday. Officials there are imploring residents to take caution. Listen to this.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): This is considered an extreme event, an extreme weather. That means it's dangerous. It also means it's life threatening.

DANIEL NEAVERTH, COMMISSIONER, ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY SERVICES: I want everybody to keep in mind, you know, our biggest enemy here for the next 48 to 72 hours is a lack of common sense. We know this is coming. We know we're going to get a lot, even if we don't get as much as we're supposed to get, it's winter time and we just need people to take, take note of what's coming, use common sense. Let our first responders, including all of the plow operators and those people that are going to be out there for the next 72 hours, that they can do their jobs and we'll get things back to normal as quickly as possible.


BRUNHUBER: A potentially historic storm is bearing down on western New York, especially the Buffalo area. Authorities have banned driving in an effort to keep people off the roads. The governor has declared a state of emergency for 11 counties. And Sunday's NFL game between the Bills and the Brown has been moved to Detroit, but the frigid winter weather is stretching beyond the northeast, almost the entire country is looking at freezing temperatures today.

CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam is tracking it all for us. So Derek, even for areas used to snow, this storm could really be historic for some locations. What are the dangers here?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, you know, normally snowfall in Buffalo, New York does not create headlines. We don't normally lead a show with this, but this has the potential to paralyze infrastructure in a populated part of western New York. This is a very localized event but it has the potential here to really cause some damage.

We go back to 2014 when they had a similar lake effect snow event, and that crippled the city, but it also caused buildings to clap just by the sheer weight of the snow. That's a concern going forward. We have heavy snowfall across many of the Great Lake states, including Michigan.

But I'm really going to focus in on western New York because this is the area under lake effect snow warnings, the driving ban in Erie County, the state of emergency that's in place. Erie County is where Buffalo is located, and it is on the far eastern end of Lake Erie.

And you can see the snow band that has set up across this area found this fascinating. This is actually about 200 miles in length. But it's only about 10 miles in diameter. So really the dependent on exactly where this band of snow sets up is who will see the heaviest snowfall. And by the way, some of those lightning strikes you see on that is thunder snow.

This happens with this type of event, this intense snow band that can form down wind of the Great Lakes. Now we've already had reports, unofficial, of two feet of snow in western New York, and of course it continues to pile on. And I want you to pay attention to the direction of the wind with our high forecast imagery here.

And I want you to see that southwesterly influence there, that is so important because it really determines who is going to see that heaviest snowfall? I showed you how thin and how narrow that snow band is only 10 miles wide. So, a more west to southwesterly wind direction puts that heaviest

band south of the city of Buffalo, a less populated area, but a more southwesterly wind has a larger fetch across Lake Erie, so that'll have more opportunity to pick up the moisture from the lake and deposit it as heavy snow fall downtown proper into Buffalo.


So, the strength, the direction of the wind so crucial here. Let me take you to near at least the shoreline of Lake Erie just north. This is a suburb of Buffalo and show you what it looks like just a few hours ago. You can see within this particular area, it's dark and the snow is flying, but look at the waves crashing up on the shoreline there, the wind coming directly off of the water that southwesterly influence.

We'll get back to the graphics when it's all said and done. How much snow will we actually see? Well, this is the most important detail here, right? Downwind of Lake Ontario and downwind of Lake Erie. We'll not be measuring this in inches. We'll be measuring this in snowfall. And I've never seen this before in the history of my career.

We've broke kind of our color table here, starting to see coloring within this area. I'll try and highlight that for you. What is that like? More of a magenta? Yes. I've never seen that before. That's over 36 inches. It doesn't even work out on our legend on the top portion of our screen.

So incredible amounts of snowfall. Again, the potential here to cripple and paralyze infrastructure, depending on exactly where that snow band sets up and takes shape overnight and through the better part of the weekend. Kim?

BRUNHUBER: Interesting. Seeing new colors on your map there.


BRUNHUBER: Derek Van Dam, I appreciate that.


BRUNHUBER: Four years after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the U.S. has determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be given immunity in a lawsuit brought against him in connection with the killing.

Khashoggi's fiance and the human rights organization Khashoggi founded called DAWN, alleged that a team of assassins kidnapped, tortured, and assassinated the journalist and dismembered his body. A 2021 U.S. Intelligence report said that Bin Salman approved the operation.

Anna Coren joins me now from Hong Kong with more. Anna, so this is quite a contrast from Joe Biden's campaign trail denunciations of the crown prince. So, what prompted him?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kim, the Biden administration had a choice not to make a recommendation, but at the 11th hour it decided to weigh in delivering its opinion to a federal court that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, better known as MBS, should be granted immunity for his role in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

The reason they say is that MBS is considered a head of state after his father, King Salman made him prime minister back in September. That was seen as a move to help strengthen MBS's immunity claim. The State Department says sovereign immunity is based on, quote, "longstanding and well-established principles of common law," and its suggestion of immunity for MBS in Khashoggi's murder is purely a legal determination.

It did, however, condemn the murder as heinous. Khashoggi's fiance and human rights group DAWN filed a civil lawsuit in Washington back in 2020 against MBS and 28 others involved. And as you say, Kim, U.S. intelligence concluded that the crown prince ordered the murder of Khashoggi who was an outspoken critic of MBS.

You mentioned that Joe Biden has changed his tune, and certainly when he was a candidate back in 2019, he described this as a flat-out murder and that there should be consequences. Take a listen to what he said back in 2019.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I would make it very clear we were not going to, in fact sell more weapons to them. We were going to, in fact, make them pay the price and make them in fact, the pariah that they are.


COREN: President Biden was in Saudi Arabia back in July where we saw him fist bump with MBS. He was trying to convince the kingdom to undo a series of oil production cuts. Saudi Arabia has refused to do that. Obviously has not improved its human rights record. And many are confused as to why the Biden administration has given this recommendation for immunity.

You showed images beforehand, Kim, of the crown prince in Thailand. He arrived there for the APEC Summit late last night. He was warmly greeted by the Thai prime minister. We're yet to hear from him or from any of the world leaders attending that APEC Summit. We are however, expected to hear from human rights groups who will no doubt condemn the Biden administration's stand on this case.

BRUNHUBER: All right, we'll be watching. Thanks so much, Anna Coren in Hong Kong.

A changing of the guard is underway at the U.S. House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi says she won't run for a leadership post, although she will stay in Congress. The 82-year-old Democrat will be giving up the speaker's gavel in January when Republicans take control. Pelosi rose to the top of the House Democratic Caucus in 2002. She made history as the first woman to become in 2007. Here she is. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: For everything there is a season. With great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.


BRUNHUBER: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Pelosi on her long tenure. And former House Speaker Republican John Boehner tweeted, congratulations, Speaker Pelosi on a remarkable historic run of service in the people's House.

Now Pelosi's likely successor is 52-year-old Hakeem Jeffries. He would make history as the first black person to lead a party in Congress. And when the U.S. House Republicans take over the lower chamber of Congress in January, their top priorities, apparently, will be to investigate the Biden administration and President Biden's family. The White House is slamming the proposed GOP agenda as political revenge.

CNN's Sara Murray has our report.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: After clenching the majority in the U.S. House, GOP lawmakers are gearing up for the subpoena power they'll inherit in January. Outlining a broad range of investigative targets, many aimed squarely at President Biden, his son Hunter, and his family's business dealings.

REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): We would love to talk to people in the Biden family, specifically Hunter and Jim Biden.

MURRAY: Republican Congressman James Comer set to become oversight chairman vowing to focus on bank records known as Suspicious Activity Reports or SARS from financial institutions and allegedly related to transactions by Biden family members.

COMER: We will continue to pursue all evidence in specifically the SARS and bank records in the new Congress.

MURRAY: While Comer has claimed the reports indicate problematic behavior.

COMER: Red flags were raised by banks to the account owner or owners indicating suspicious or illegal activity.

MURRAY: Such reports are not conclusive and don't necessarily indicate wrongdoing. Millions of suspicious activity reports are filed each year, and few lead to law enforcement inquiries. GOP Congressman Jim Jordan set to lead House judiciary, also teasing plans to investigate the Justice Department and the FBI. REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We are going to look at the politics of the

Justice Department based on the fact that we have had 14 different, actually more than 14 now, whistleblowers come talk to us.

MURRAY: Comer firing off letters seeking more information to further GOP probes, requesting suspicious activity reports from treasury. Information about Hunter Biden's art sales from a gallery owner, and communications from a former Hunter Biden business partner related to Hunter and Joe Biden's finances, taxes, and debts.

The president has repeatedly insisted he had nothing to do with his son's overseas business dealings.

BIDEN: We've always kept everything separate.

MURRAY: And in a 2019 interview, Hunter Biden admitted to poor judgment but not wrongdoing when it came to his business.

HUNTER BIDEN, PRESIDENT BIDEN'S SON: I think that it was poor judgment on my part. Did I do anything improper? No, and not in any way.

MURRAY: A spokesman for the White House Counsel's office slammed Thursday's announcement as political revenge, saying Republican's top priority is to go after President Biden with politically motivated attacks. Chalk full of long debunked conspiracy theories.

Now federal prosecutors have also been investigating Hunter Biden since 2018. They have not yet brought any charges related to that matter, and Hunter Biden has broadly denied any wrongdoing related to that probe. We also reached out to the private lawyers for Biden family members. They did not respond to our request for comment.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: Now, I spoke last hour with Julie Norman from University College London, and I asked her how much of a distraction these investigations will be for Biden as he tries to work with the Republican Congress. Here she is.


JULIE NORMAN, LECTURER IN POLITICS, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON: With that majority, they probably will just use this as a time to hold Biden's feet to the fire, really try and make him as unelectable as possible going into 2024. And the main tool they have to do that is through launching these investigations, which they can do with just that simple majority, however small it can be.

And what that does is it just keeps the attention and the news cycle and their own party's views on what they see as the main failures of the Biden administration from the Afghanistan withdrawal to COVID, and of course personal issues as well, especially around Biden son, Hunter Biden. So, I think we'll see a lot of attention there. Otherwise, it'll be a

lot of gridlock on Capitol Hill with neither party really able to get much real legislation through. So, when stalled, we'll see a lot of politics just in the lead of the 2024 and trying to smear the other side as much as possible.


BRUNHUBER: Well, in the wake of the GOP takeover of the House, former U.S. President Barack Obama has delivered some of his most forceful comments yet on the stakes facing the country. Here's what he said Thursday in a keynote speech at the Obama Foundation Democracy Forum.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The threat to democracy doesn't always run along a conservative liberal left, right axis. This has nothing to do with traditional partisan lines or policy preferences. What we're seeing, what's being challenged are the foundational principles of democracy itself.


The notion that all citizens have a right to freely participate in selecting who governs them. The notion that votes will be counted, and the party that gets more votes wins. That losers concede. That power is transferred peacefully. That the winners don't abuse the machinery of government to punish losers and entrench themselves and make it impossible for other parties to compete in future elections.


BRUNHUBER: Then, later on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, the former president praised Democrats for voting down Republican election deniers, adding they've been running for offices where they could, quote, "really do some damage."

Well, hash tag RIP Twitter was trending worldwide Thursday as some users feared they could be making their last posts on the social media site. They're reacting to what appears to be another mass exodus of Twitter workers. Many employees decided to leave the company at close of business Thursday. That's after new Twitter boss Elon Musk gave them an ultimatum meant to, quote, "extremely hardcore work or leave."

One employee said they had got an e-mail on Thursday saying the company's offices will be temporarily closed and badge access will be restricted through Monday. Earlier this month, Musk fired half of Twitter's staff.

And investigators are expected to move quickly in the probe of a missile that flew from Ukraine into Poland. Still ahead, officials lay out the timeframe for their investigation.

Plus, life may soon get a lot tougher for basketball star, Brittney Griner now heading for Russian penal colony. Our agent is telling CNN straight ahead. Please stay with us. [03:20:00]


BRUNHUBER: Poland says its investigators are moving quickly to get to the bottom of a missile blast that left two people dead. A government spokesperson tells CNN the investigation is expected to be done within days. Polish and NATO officials believe it was a stray Ukrainian missile that flew over the border and hit a Polish village on Tuesday, but still not clear if Ukrainian officials will be allowed to join them on site.

Now Polish President Andrzej Duda says they'll be able to observe the probe, but may or may not actually participate in it. While Ukrainian President Zelenskyy says his country will join the investigation.

Kyiv is dealing with its first snow of the season as Ukrainian preparers for what's expected to be a harsh winter. Russia has continued attacks on power grids means many could be left without heating.

CNN's Nic Robertson reports.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Gas just came back to Kramatorsk, a boon of battlefield gains. Maria, a 70-year- old pensioner wasn't expecting it, had bought a wood burning stove.

"It was hard without gas," she tells us, "and now, thanks to God we're OK." But for how long?

When the government turned the gas back on here at the beginning of November, they did it without any big announcement because like every other critical service here, gas depends on electricity, and that's what Russia is targeting.

When I met the mayor here three months ago, he was urging residents to leave ahead of winter.

OLEKSANDR HONCHARENKO, MAYOR, KRAMATORSK, UKRAINE: We do not have gas at all, and it's not possible to repair gas lines.

ROBERTSON: When we meet now, he tells me the population has actually increased by 30 to 35,000 people, over 80,000 total. Residents returning home even though the situation, because Russia is targeting the power grid is much more precarious. Lives, he fears may be lost in what he expects to be the harshest winter since independence 30 years ago.

HONCHARENKO (through translator): When electricity disappears, cities are plunged into darkness. Anything can happen. Boilers can stop, gas distribution networks can stop. It can be left without everything, even without heat.

ROBERTSON: Keeping warm is on everyone's minds. This factory making heating logs from sunflower seeds, demand outstripping capacity.

UNKNOWN (through translator): Our requests have gone up three or four-fold. We don't have enough trucks for deliveries.

ROBERTSON (on camera): They're working at full capacity here. Everything that's ready shipped out immediately. But the whole system here, extremely vulnerable. The electricity could go off at any moment.

Every log delivered a few hours spared from the cold. Each sack perhaps a week's peace of mind.

Has he got everything that he ordered? His answer. "Everything. Everything. All good. Perfect. I don't have words."

Food is also on people's minds this winter. Mostly pensioners, mostly poor bundle up against the cold. A free bread distribution tempting them out of frigid homes. "If they help us like they do here, it will be fine," 84-year-old Yulia (Ph) tells us. I'm a child of World War II, she says, we were cold, hungry, but we survived."

Across town, another pensioner, 82-year-old Alexandra (Ph), shows us the basement she shares with neighbors, already stockpiling food for winter. No gas for warmth here, just an old electric heater.

But when there's no electricity, you have no heat. How do you stay warm?


"We just have to put on our coats, wrap ourselves in blankets, and go to bed," she says, "that's how we live. That's how we exist." Born into war she says are probably die in war.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Kramatorsk, Ukraine.


BRUNHUBER: A Dutch court on Thursday convicted three men for their roles in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 eight years ago. Two former Russian operatives and a Ukrainian separatist were sentenced to life in prison, but the convictions were handed down in absentia and none are likely to serve time. A fourth suspect was acquitted.

The plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine by a Russian missile launched from territory held by pro-Russian rebels. All 298 people on board were killed. Victim's families were emotional following the verdict.


MERYN O'BRIEN, RELATIVE OF MH-17 VICTIM: I feel relieved. I feel like it's come -- the process has come to an end and it's been very fair. And it's been meticulous and it's been thorough and the evidence has been weighed. And I feel like for those who want to hear the truth is out there.

JORDAN WITHERS, RELATIVE OF MH-17 VICTIM: And you've got to remember, while we were in court today, we still have to go home and sit at dinner table without our loved ones. And I think that's -- that's never going to go away. That feeling that, you know, no matter what a court says or what happens in court, that's still always going to be the case. And so, for the, you know, nearly 300 victims' families, it's -- it's a difficult day.


BRUNHUBER: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken were also welcoming the decision.

American basketball star Brittney Griner is said to be doing as well as could be expected after she was moved to a Russian penal colony. Her attorney say they saw her there as she served her nine-year prison sentence. She was convicted in August of smuggling drugs into Russia and her appeal was rejected last month.

CNN's Kylie Atwood has more.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Brittney Griner's lawyer said that she has been moved to a penal colony hundreds of miles southeast of Moscow in Mordovia, and they said that she is trying to stay strong. She's trying to adjust to the environment, not saying anything specific about the environment that she is in, although they were able to visit her earlier this week.

But what we do know about penal colonies in Russia is that they have very harsh treatment for their prisoners. They all vary, but in some instances, there can be harsh labor, there can be torture according to the State Department. Report on human rights torture sometimes to the point of death. And we know that there are people who work at those colonies who try to get certain prisoners to bully other prisoners.

It's not a great environment. So that is extremely concerning for Brittney Griner's family and all her loved ones in the United States. Now, the State Department has said that they have not received official confirmation from Russian authorities that Brittney Griner has been moved. They strongly protest the fact that Russia hasn't given them an update.

And this all comes after President Biden just last week said that he was hopeful that after the midterm elections here in the United States that there could be some forward progress on trying to get Brittney Griner home, that Russia may engage more seriously in discussions about a prisoner swap for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, who is another American wrongfully detained in Russia. But so far, we haven't heard any updates on that front.

Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.

BRUNHUBER: Still ahead, world leaders are meeting in Thailand for the APEC Summit, but their focus has turned to North Korea after another provocation from Kim Jong-un. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada, and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN Newsroom.

North Korea has launched an intercontinental ballistic missile just as Asia-Pacific leaders are gathering in Thailand for the APEC Summit. Japan says the missile likely fell in the sea near Hokkaido inside its exclusive economic zone.

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is meeting with other world leaders at the APEC Summit to discuss their response. Now it's the second ICBM task by North Korea this month and the 34th of missile launches this year.

CNN's Will Ripley is following developments live this hour in Bangkok. So, Will, yet another missile launched from North Korea. What can you tell us about this one?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that emergency meeting held by the U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, they actually have issued a statement strongly condemning this launch, which does violate multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions. When you factor in, they launched a short-range ballistic missile just yesterday and this year have launched around 50 ballistic missiles.

All of those are banned by various U.N. Security Council resolutions. North Korea flagrantly defies those reg -- resolutions on a regular basis, but they've never done it as much as they've done it this year. Just a few minutes ago, we got some sound that just came in from the U.S. V.P. Let's have a look.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This conduct by North Korea most recently is a raise in violation of multiple U.N. security resolutions. It destabilizes security in the region and unnecessarily raises tensions. We strongly condemn these actions and we again call for North Korea to stop further unlawful destabilizing acts.



RIPLEY: This ICBM demonstrated the capability to travel up to an altitude of 6,100 kilometers. That is, basically kind of showing that it could also travel that distance across the globe to a continent like North America, potentially hitting U.S. cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago. North Korea, basically, if this missile accurately was able to reach its destination, which North Korea claims it can, it puts almost every U.S. major city within striking range, most of the world, in fact, within striking range to be able to travel that far at 22 times the speed of sound. It was in the air for one hour and nine minutes.

Now in response, South Korea, actually conducted its own exercise. They conducted what they're calling a transporter erector launcher striking exercise. Now, a TEL, a transporter erector launcher, that's what North Korea likely launched this ICBM from in the Sunan area of Pyongyang, that's where their international airport is.

These are the kind of this big thing that you roll the missile out, and then -- and then you can basically aim and fire on relatively short notice. It's very difficult for spy satellites to detect a transport or erector launcher. But what South Korea demonstrated with their own exercise was they had their F-35 stealth fighters, you know, fly in and destroy, you know, a mockup of one of these things.

Basically, trying to show the North Koreans that if they plan on launching ICBMs, South Korea has the capability to destroy them. It was the South Korean President Yoon along with Japan's Prime Minister Kishida who met with President Biden last week in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. And actually, I say earlier this week where they actually conducted a trilateral meeting. They pledged to work together on this, Kim.

And they issued a joint statement promising extended deterrents against the North Korean nuclear threat. And it was just yesterday, that North Korea put out a statement blasting that extended deterrence policy saying it's only going to lead to more danger on the Korean Peninsula.

BRUNHUBER: All right, thanks so much. Will Ripley in Bangkok, Thailand. I appreciate it.

Iran's harsh crackdown on anti-government demonstrations has led to five alleged protestors being sentenced to death in recent days. At least 1,000 people have been arrested and the death toll keeps climbing. Now, well over 300 and that includes seven people reportedly shot to death in the southern city of Izeh, though it's not known who did the shooting.

One of those victims was a nine-year-old boy who was apparently killed while walking home with his father.

World Cup fans are descending on Qatar ahead of the tournament. It's now just days away and before Sunday's opening whistle, the tournament is already being overshadowed by a growing list of controversies from corruption and the bidding process, women's rights, Qatar stance on same-sex relationships with the country's treatment of migrant workers drafted into building essential infrastructure for the games.

There's a growing protest movement around the world against the host nation. Now the head coach of the Netherlands men's national team says he supports fans who want to boycott the games. The captain of the Dutch squad had this to say.


VIRGIL VAN DIJK, CAPTAIN, NETHERLANDS MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM: Obviously we've -- we are not blind, we are not deaf. You know, we see all the news outlets saying so many things about what's going on over here. So for us, it's good to have our own opinion.


BRUNHUBER: Players on the Dutch national team met with migrant workers on Thursday and signed balls for them.

And do stay with us. We'll have a live report from Doha in the next hour of CNN Newsroom.

Homeless veterans in Los Angeles now demanding they be allowed to live on land currently being used for sports facilities for private schools. The judge will decide if they have a case.

Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: All right, well this is what it looks like right now in Buffalo, New York. While you can barely see anything, that's because there's so much snow. They've been reporting thunder snow. They've been seeing historic amounts of snowfall and predicted Friday's conditions deteriorate. The National Weather Service says the storm will produce near zero visibility, which we're seeing right now there in our camera there.

We'll have much more from our meteorologist Derek Van Dam at the CNN weather center, that's coming up in about 15 minutes.

The newly elected mayor of Los Angeles says homelessness will be her top priority when she takes office in December. Karen Bass made the bold statement in her first policy address since winning election. She called on the entire community to help find enough adequate housing for the city's 40,000 homeless people.

Here's some of what she said on Thursday.


KAREN BASS (D), LOS ANGELES MAYOR-ELECT: No matter who you voted for, no matter who you are or where you live, I will be a mayor for you. The people of Los Angeles, my message is, we are going to solve homelessness. We are going to prevent and respond urgently to crime, and Los Angeles will no longer be unaffordable for working families.


BRUNHUBER: Now a significant portion of homeless people in Los Angeles are veterans. Well now a group of them are suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for allegedly failing to build homes on land donated for that purpose, but that donated property is on one of the city's prime neighborhoods, and that's proved to be a major obstacle.


CNN's Nick Watt has our report.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is UCLA's manicured baseball diamond and Brentwood school's playing fields.

UNKNOWN: It's just -- it's really kind of disgusting to see.

WATT: Not at all what Christine Barry's ancestor had in mind when she donated much of this land in the late 1800s.

UNKNOWN: It wasn't given to anybody but veterans for a home.

MARK ROSENBAUM, DIRECTOR, OPPORTUNITY UNDER LAW PUBLIC COUNSEL: But with Vietnam, the V.A. decided no more. And the neighboring community said, we don't want Vietnam disabled vets out here. And so, the vets were kicked out.

WATT: Four thousand vets once lived here. Roughly the same number of homeless veterans in L.A. today. Late last night in an L.A. courthouse, a lawsuit was filed demanding that within six months the V.A. offer housing to at least 3,500 vets on or around this land and not use this land for purposes that are not primarily related to providing housing and healthcare for veterans with disabilities. So, no longer a private school's playground.

What do you want to see happening on there?

JOSHUA PETITT, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: A lot. But the base thing is housing for veterans. Period.

WATT: Joshua Petitt served in Iraq, lived for a year outside the fence around this land. He's among 14 homeless veteran plaintiffs.

PETITT: (muted) in? Or build us housing, but no, they don't want us here, bro. I get, I mean, I get it, but I don't care. They can send us to war. We can get these problems and you're not going to deal with us. My -- no, no.

WATT: Back in 2016, after a lawsuit and pressure from veterans and advocates, the V.A. promised to house homeless veterans here. When we visited in March, more than 700 new units should have been completed. Not one was complete. Zero.

UNKNOWN: They're all studio apartments --

WATT: About 180 were under construction scheduled to open this fall. They're not open. ROB REYNOLDS, VETERAN ADVOCATE, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: And now we're being

told next year, January, February timeframe. So it's -- it's always delays.

WATT: Back in 2016, an act of Congress also decreed that lease holders on this land must principally benefit veterans.

REYNOLDS: What's the point of a law if our own federal government is not going to follow it? And then the end result of this is that people are dying on the street. I mean, it's serious.

WATT: The V.A. privately signed a lease amendment with UCLA allowing a practice field.

ROBERT MCKENRICK, V.A. GREATER LOS ANGELES HEALTH CARE: If we were to say no to that, they could have gone to a judge or somewhere.

WATT: The V.A. signed a new agreement with an oil drilling company and another 10-year lease with Brentwood School. Back in March, V.A. brass told me this.

MCKENRICK: So, the, arrangement with the school is non-compliant. I'm sure if we terminated the lease, they would take us to court over it.

WATT: So, he agrees with one key part of this new lawsuit. Brentwood School's athletic facilities should not be on this land. And now, the V.A. is being taken to court, not by the school or UCLA, but by veterans who want to hope.

ROSENBAUM: Because how can you be the home of the brave when so many of the brave are actually homeless? Every administration has treated them as disposable. So, then it is the hardest part of war is coming home.

WATT: Going through what you're going through now, how important is it to have your own place, your own space?

PETITT: It's -- it's, it's everything. Stability, housing, and then everything else found a place and veterans deserve it.

WATT: We reached out to Brentwood School for comment, we haven't heard back. A UCLA spokesperson told us that they're in full compliance with the law that oversees their lease and that an audit proves it. Now, the press secretary from the V.A. said that they will not rest until every veteran gets a good, safe, and stable home. He went on to say that this year and next year, they're going to find 800 units around the city, and three years from now there will be 700 units on here.

But that's not really what these plaintiffs are asking for. And they want more and they want it sooner. So, it's probably going to be a judge that's going to have to decide what happens on this land.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Well, it was a big night at the Latin Grammy's as a 95- year-old singer made history with an unprecedented win. We'll have the details next. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Well, an untold number of Taylor Swift fans won't be able to hear her sing that song, Bad Blood on her upcoming tour. That's because Ticketmaster canceled Friday's general public sale of tickets. The retailer site nearly melted down after what was called extraordinarily high demand.

More than two million tickets were sold during the pre-sale for the concerts on Tuesday, leaving too few for the general sale. Now that debacle is stirring up outrage across the U.S. even among politicians. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar says she has, quote, "serious concerns about Ticketmaster's operations."

A Cuban singer has made music history by winning the Latin Grammy for best new artist at the youthful age of 95. Angela Alvarez is the oldest musician ever nominated in the category. She ties in for the win with 25-year-old singer songwriter Silvana Estrada.


Alvarez moved to the United States in the 1960s, but didn't release her first album until last year. Accepting her award on stage in Las Vegas, Alvarez dedicated the award to God and her beloved country, Cuba.

Well, if you're flying in or out of London's Heathrow airport, get ready for major disruptions in the coming hours. The union representing hundreds of ground handlers have made that warning as they begin a three-day strike over. The Unite Union says the strike will lead to delays and flight cancellations at three terminals.

Multiple airlines will be affected, including Air Canada, American Airlines, Lufthansa, and Swiss Air.

All right. Thanks so much for watching. I'm Kim Brunhuber. CNN Newsroom with Max Foster continues after quick break. Please do stay with us.