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New York Mayor Calls for Coordinated National Response on Migrant Crisis; Treasury Asks Congress to Raise or Suspend Debt Limit; American Imprisoned in Iran Launches Hunger Strike; Buffalo Beat Miami 34-31 After Hamlin Visit. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 16, 2023 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

U.S. President Joe Biden is under more scrutiny over his handling of classified documents. The chairman of the House Oversight Committee is now asking the White House for visitor logs from Mr. Biden's Delaware residence where several classified items have been found. He's also seeking records and communications related to searches of the president's homes and other locations.

And California is bracing for more potential flooding. Storms have been slamming the state for weeks now, flooding roads, homes and businesses, causing mud slides and leaving at least 19 people dead. Right now, more than 8 million people are under flood watches until Monday evening, including in the Bay Area.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is calling for Washington to deliver a more coordinated response to the migrant crisis. He visited the border in El Paso, Texas, on Sunday and urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency to step up. He said the government's overall lack of coordination has compelled him to take his efforts to a national level.


ERIC ADAMS, (D) NEW YORK MAYOR: I'm extremely disappointed of what we have done to the cities of this country and the impression that we're not seeing the level of urgency of getting this issue resolved. I believe that we must appoint a FEMA leader that is going to come in and look at this and coordinate our response. It is wrong for El Paso to have a response, for New York to have a response. We cannot have these disjointed responses.


FOSTER: Adams also said New York City received more than 3,000 migrants over a week ago with more than 800 arriving in just one day. CNN's Gloria Pazmino has the details.


GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mayor Eric Adams has estimated that the city will have to spend anywhere from $1.5 to $2 billion to cover the cost of housing and providing services for migrants which have been arriving for several months since last year.

The mayor traveled to the southern border yesterday. He visited with El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser. They visited the border in addition to a shelter as well as a processing center for the customs and border patrol. The mayor has said that this is very much a crisis, a humanitarian crisis for the city of New York. Thousands of people have been arriving. Many of them bussed to New York by the state of Texas.

I want to just put up the numbers. More than 39,000 asylum seekers have arrived in New York and have been processed by the city. 26,000 of them remain in the city's care. And for several months now the city has worked to open 74 emergency shelters as well as four emergency relief centers in an effort to connect asylum seekers with resources.

But, of course, all of this costs money. And that is where the mayor's request comes in. For months now he has been asking the federal government to help pay for the cost of supporting these migrants. And the mayor's visit to the border comes a week after President Biden visited the border himself. It is interesting that the mayor chose to go to the border only after Biden made the stop himself.

Now, this issue of migrants is not just happening here in New York City. It's also affecting other major cities around the country, places like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also taking to social media earlier today to express support for Mayor Eric Adams, his trip to the border, and saying that she agreed with his request for federal funding.

In New York, Gloria Pazmino, CNN.


FOSTER: The debt ceiling is shaping up to be one of the first major battles between Democrats and Republicans since the Republicans took control of the House of Representatives earlier this month. This is a live look at Capitol Hill right now on Friday.


The Treasury said the U.S. will reach the debt ceiling limit on Thursday. And Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to act in a timely manner to increase or suspend the debt limit or the U.S. could default as soon as June. The debt ceiling is the legal limit set by Congress on how much money the U.S. can borrow to make up the difference between how much it spends and how much it takes in. A U.S. default on paying its debt would shake the financial markets and delay payments to federal workers and payments for Social Security and veteran's benefits.

Rising prices are hitting households across the United States. Inflation caused Americans to spend on average about $370 more in December than a year ago for rent, groceries, utilities and other goods and services. That's according to Moody's Analytics. But it says inflation does appear to be easing and paychecks are starting to catch up as well. And another bright spot is that the typical family saved money on gasoline compared to the year before.

The worst days of the COVID pandemic may be over, but some business owners who took out government loans to stay afloat have a new worry and that is paying them back. CNN's Gabe Cohen has the details.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Teddy & The Bully Bar near downtown D.C., business post pandemic has never been the same.


COHEN (voice-over): COVID close two of Alan Popovsky's four restaurants, government loans save the other two. But with city center struggling to bring back traffic his revenue is still down more than 45 percent from pre-pandemic and Alan says they're struggling to stay open. And now it's time to pay back those loans.

POPOVSKY: It's very difficult. We just got over paying back the landlord. You're just a hamster spinning on a wheel.

COHEN (voice-over): At the start of COVID, with business stalled, nearly 4 million small business owners took out what are called Economic Injury Disaster Loans or EIDL loans from the federal government. On average about $100,000 in many cases just to stay afloat, 30 years with a fixed interest rate of 3.75 percent. And unlike some other pandemic programs, EIDL loans were expected to be paid back down the road. Now, the first monthly payments are coming due, most businesses will owe money by the end of January.

POPOVSKY: It's daunting.

COHEN (voice-over): Alan says he owes more than $3,700 per month, roughly $780,000 in all, a lot of which he says he spent on rent and payroll.

POPOVSKY: We can't afford anything but what we're doing is we're paying interest only right now.

COHEN: So, you haven't made a dent on the actual loan?

POPOVSKY: Have not made a dent on the principal.

COHEN (voice-over): A new survey from a leading Small Business Association found only 36 percent of its members have reached their pre-pandemic sales levels, amid staffing shortages, supply chain issues and inflation. Now add a possible looming recession just as these loans come due.

HOLLY WADE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NFIB RESEARCH CENTER: It is more and more cost that they're going to have to deal with some small business owners, unfortunately are going to struggle and kind of meeting those obligations.

LISA KLEIN, PHYSICAL THERAPIST & OWNER AT KLEIN INTEGRATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY: Let's open up your diaphragm here a little bit and see if it helps.

COHEN (voice-over): Lisa Klein says COVID is still keeping some clients away from her physical therapy practice making it tough to pay off her EIDL loan nearly $1,000 each month with 80,000 to go.

KLEIN: All this -- the cost of everything has gone up. We can't pay the staff what we'd like to pay the staff. The whole business is still suffering. And this is just kind of adding insult to injury.

COHEN (voice-over): The Small Business Administration says struggling businesses can declare hardship and make small partial payments for six months. But interest keeps accruing, forcing owners like Lisa Klein to weigh short-term protection against a big bill down the line.

KLEIN: We have no choice because if we don't keep paying it, it's going to accrue more interest.


FOSTER: This year's World Economic Forum begins today in Davos, Switzerland. And various protesters are already there marching in the streets to make their voices heard by the world's elite.

One protest group is calling -- is called Patriotic Millionaires U.K., they say economic inequality is one of the biggest issues facing the world today.


PHIL WHITE, MEMBER, PATRIOTIC MILLIONAIRES U.K.: We're in favor of world taxes. Really want to reduce this level of wealth inequality in the world that's so corrosive to society. My message to those guys meeting would be think to yourselves and talk to your friends, are you sure you're not the problem rather than thinking you're the solution.


FOSTER: Well, that protester believes in taxing the rich because he says governments can do more useful things with the money than wealthy individuals. And CNN will be covering all of the events in Davos. Join Richard Quest and Julia Chatterley as they talk to world leaders and CEOs throughout the week.


Still ahead, an American wrongfully detained in Iran writes to President Joe Biden as he begins a week long hunger strike. We'll have a live report on his situation next.


FOSTER: An American wrongfully detained in Iran is starting a seven- day hunger strike and appealing to President Joe Biden to take notice of U.S. detainees there. In a letter to the president, Siamak Namazi says he's starting a strike to mark seven years since he was left out of a prisoner swap between Washington and Teheran.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is following this for us. You know, there's been high-profile releases but we need to remember those who are remaining there.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, and that's what Siamak Namazi says in this open letter to President Biden. He says he's going to start a hunger strike today. That it will be a seven-day strike to mark seven years since he was overlooked in an Iranian/U.S. prisoner swap. It was a prisoner swap in 2016 that brought home a "Washington Post" reporter, a pastor as well as a former U.S. Marine and of course left behind Namazi.

Now, he was arrested in 2015. He was charged in October 2015 and later sentenced to ten years for what Iran says is collaboration with a hostile government. Now the United States and rights groups and United Nations for their part they say this is a wrongful detention and that he is actually the victim of an arbitrary violation of international law.

And in this letter, Namazi goes on to criticize three different U.S. administrations, President Obama, President Trump and President Biden for failing to secure his release. I want to read you part of this very emotional open letter again to President Biden.


All I want sir, is one minute of your days' time for the next seven days devoted to thinking about the tribulations of the U.S. hostages in Iran. Just a single minute of your time for each year of my life that I lost in Evin prison -- that's that very notorious prison in Tehran -- after the U.S. government could have saved me but did not.

Now it's important to note as well that there is reportedly two other Americans also being held in Iran. And this is really important now, Max, because we've had this ongoing protest movement, these demonstrations that have rocked Iran now for nearly four months. And the fear is that Namazi and other Americans, other Westerners held by Iran could be used as a political pawn. A number of rights groups say that Iran is employing his judiciary, it's using its judges, its trial system, its courts as a tool of repression. So, this is absolutely a matter of priority for the U.S. administration and Biden officials say they're doing everything they can to secure his release and the release of other Americans.

FOSTER: We'll keep watching it, Salma, thank you so much.

A female former member of the Afghan Parliament who refused to leave Kabul when it fell to the Taliban has been shot dead at her home. Mursal Nabizada and her body guard were killed during the attack on Sunday. She represented the city of Kabul when the Taliban took over in 2021 and banned women from most jobs. Mursal Nabizada was only 32 years old. State media in Peru report the government has declared a state of

emergency because of the ongoing protests in the country. The declaration applies to the capital city of Lima as well as three other regions. It went into effect on Sunday and is supposed to last for 30 days. At least 42 people have died since the protests began there. This protester blames the police for the violence.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Police are corrupt because the government pays their salary. And they hit and kill people. That should not happen.


FOSTER: Meanwhile, Peruvian President Dina Boluarte has apologized for the deaths but says she won't resign. She's called for general elections.

The state of emergency suspends some constitutional rights including freedom of transit, freedom of assembly and personal liberty and security. Protests broke out last December following the impeachment and removal from office of the then President Pedro Castillo.

Italian authorities say they have arrested a mafia boss who's been on the run for decades. Matteo Messina Denaro was taken into custody on Monday whilst being treated at a private clinic in Palermo. He is believed to be one of the bosses of Sicily's Cosa Nostra mafia but has been a fugitive since 1993. Denaro was sentenced to life in prison in his role the deaths of two prosecutors in 1992 and is considered responsible for dozens of mafia-related murders.

Now the year's first tennis grand slam is up and running. Coming up, highlights from day one of the Australian Open as reigning champ Rafael Nadal goes for another title.



FOSTER: In the National Football League it is -- has been an emotional couple weeks really for the Buffalo Bills, of course. On Saturday, the Bills got a shot in the arm before their playoff match against the division rival Miami Dolphins. Damar Hamlin made a surprise visit to the Bill's facility in less than two weeks after collapsing on the field against Cincinnati. Hamlin later tweeted that he would be watching the game from home.

It was a rough day for Bill's quarterback Josh Allen. He had three turnovers during the game, including this fumble that Miami recovered for a touchdown. Look at that. But Allen and the Bills would recover, beating the dolphins, 34-31. After the game, Bills players spoke about seeing Hamlin a day earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS QUARTERBACK: I got to say hello to him and his family and actually a big hug and big line of guys ready to love up on him. So, it was a blessing come true to see him back in the facility.

DEAN MARLOWE, BUFFALO BILLS SAFETY: For him to be in the building, man, it brought smiles and happy tears to everybody in the building. You know, just to see him walking around healthy, recovering well, you know, we sat next to him all around the facility and just kind of asked him, you know, couple questions on how he was feeling and all that kind of stuff. All we needed was to see his face, see him walking around. Once we knew he was healthy, you know, we kind of had a weight lifted off our shoulders. But then actually seeing him in person, it was amazing.


FOSTER: Now there were two other playoff games on Sunday. The Cincinnati Bengals held on to defeat the Baltimore Ravens, 24-17. The game featured this fumble that was returned 98 yards the other way for a touchdown. Cincinnati advances to the next round where they'll play against the Buffalo Bills. They last played two weeks ago but the game was cancelled after Hamlin suffered that cardiac arrest. And the New York giants eliminated the Minnesota Vikings 31-24. It was

the Giant's first playoff victory since winning the Super Bowl back in 2012. They play against the Philadelphia Eagles in the next round.

The Australian Open is under way with one of the biggest names in the draw out of the tournament before even hitting a ball. Wimbledon runner up and Aussie favorite Nick Kyrgios has withdrawn with a knee injury. The 27-year-old fan favorite was coming off the best season of his career, having lost to Novak Djokovic in the final at Wimbledon and winning the Australian Open doubles title. The Aussie came into this year's tournament as one of the favorites to win the title.

Meanwhile, defending champion Rafael Nadal is safely through to the second round. The Spaniard facing the young Brit, Jack Draper. Looked like he was on the ropes for a moment after dropping the second set 6- 2 but quickly found his form again to run away with a win in four sets.

Nadal's arch nemesis Novak Djokovic will begin his campaign on Tuesday after missing out on last year's Aussie open when he was deported for not being vaccinated against COVID-19. But despite the events of last year, the Serbian isn't holding any grudges.



NOVAK DJOKOVIC, MEN'S WORLD NUMBER 5: If I do hold grudges and probably if I'm not able to move on I wouldn't be here, you know. And also, I have to say that the amount of positive experiences I had in Australia overwhelm the negative experience maybe of last year. So, you know, my impression of Australia, my, you know, vision of Australia has always been very positive and that has reflected on my performance and my results are a testament to how I feel here.


FOSTER: Stay with CNN for plenty more updates on today's action.

Now the stars of TV and cinema came out for the Critic's Choice Awards on Sunday. The Los Angeles awards show a featured standout fashion moments on the red carpet ranging from bold pops of color to more classic palettes. Among the nominees, big winners on the film side, include the cast and crew of "Everything Everywhere All At Once," which took home the award for best picture. Cate Blanchett won best actress for her in the psychological drama "Tar," which she also executive produced.

And amongst the many emotional wins of the night was Brendan Fraser who took home the award for best actor for his dramatic role in "The Whale." Here is part of his acceptance speech.


BRENDAN FRASER, ACTOR, "THE WHALE": If you, like a guy like Charlie, who I played in this movie, in any way struggle with obesity or you just feel like you're in a dark sea, I want you to know that if you too can have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light, good things will happen.


FOSTER: Thanks for joining us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" with Christine Romans next on CNN.