Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Police Search for Motive After Monterey Park Shooting; Gun Safety in Focus After Monterey Park Shooting; Germany says it Won't Block Poland Giving Tanks to Ukraine; Lavrov Meets with South African Foreign Minister; National Grid Breakdown Leaves Much of Pakistan Without Power; Millions Celebrate Holiday in China Despite Covid Fears; Bengals Defeat Bills 27-10, Advance to Conference Final. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired January 23, 2023 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: The sheriff says that Tran went to another gathering in nearby Alhambra where two people were wrestled -- who wrestled the gun away from him. It was that seized weapon that allowed police to identify him.


SHERIFF ROBERT LUNA, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: We're looking at all criminal history, mental health history and those are all things the detectives will take a very hard, long look at and see if it impacted what occurred here, the motive. And that's part of the learning lessons and sharing them with our partners and seeing if there's any gaps that were there that we may have missed.


NOBILO: CNN's Natasha Chen has been tracking developments in Monterey Park and spoke with one lawmaker about the mass shooting and what needs to be done to stop gun violence. Here is part of that interview.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's one more thing from that press conference I want to get to, which is the sheriff using quite strong language when it comes to gun violence. He was talking about saying that the status quo is not working, so we need to reexamine what we're doing and what may work better. Saying that California already has pretty strict gun laws. What are your feelings about what can work better given that clearly this happened in a place where we're already pretty strict?

REP. JUDY CHU (D-CA): There is a clear path forward. I have been a member of the Congressional gun safety caucus since Sandy Hook. So, we're talking about a long time. And there is common sense gun safety legislation that should have been passed by Congress a long time ago.

See, the universal background checks are the best way to make sure that guns don't get into the hands of dangerous and violent people. But there are loopholes. And people can buy guns without those checks, without the background checks, by buying online or at gun shows or through personal purchases. Those loopholes have to be closed. And I want to tell you, that the majority of Americans support these common sense laws, which would make us all much safer.

CHEN: There's definitely still a lot of work ahead in the long term for that issue given that, you know, some of the residents here who talked to us today even commented, you know, that America's gun issue is out of control, maybe it's best not to go out in public spaces right now. What would you say to those people who came up to us with that sentiment today?

CHU: I understand the fear. I understand the anxiety, but what we have to do is change our gun laws. And we need their voices to be included in that. But we also need to come together as a community. We need to participate in everything that is going on. And we must continue to live our lives.

Now, one thing I can say about Monterey Park after having lived here for such a long time is that it is resilient. The people are strong. And I think we can get through this. There's so much healing that still has to be done, but we can get through this together.


FOSTER: Germany appears to be bending to pressure to supply Ukraine with a weapon that Kyiv says it desperately needs. Germany's foreign minister says her government would not stop Poland from providing the German-made Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine even as Berlin remains hesitant to supply them from its own arsenal.

NOBILO: The news comes as EU foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss their support for Ukraine. But it also comes on the same day that Russia is holding talks in Pretoria with South Africa's Foreign Minister.

Let's get more from CNN's Nada Bashir in London and David McKenzie in Johannesburg.

NOBILO: Now this is an important development because even though NATO allies have been supplying Ukraine with weaponry and tanks, a lot of them are very old from the '60s and '70s. Leopard 2 tanks would make a big difference. But there has been this backlash against Germany for their reticent to be able to allow countries to export them freely or provide them of their own volition. What's changed here? And how easy is it now going to be for Ukraine to be supplied with those tanks?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, it's a significant shift and clearly Germany is now bending to some of that pressure that we've seen. We saw those defense chiefs meeting on Friday. A big emphasis, big focus there was on securing the transfer of these Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine or at least allowing third countries including Poland to be able to transfer their own Leopard tanks because of course Germany holds the export license for these tanks. Now of course we learned from Germany's foreign minister that they

will not now stand in the way of those third countries. This will allow countries including Poland to be able to then apply to send these tanks to Ukraine.

According to Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister of Germany, they haven't received any formal requests just yet. But of course, we do know that foreign ministers are meeting just in the next hour or so to discuss further support for Ukraine.


We've also learned from Germany's defense minister that, in fact, they are looking at coming to some sort of decision on the potential transfer of these tanks. But the crucial fact here is that Germany wants this to be a concerted decision by Germany and its other European allies. They do not want to act on their own because of course there is the concern this could provoke Russia. This could lead to an escalation.

NOBILO: Right, so that was going to be my next question. How significant of a shift is this? Because Germany has its reasons for being reticent. Olaf Schultz concerned about the country getting involved and embroiled in military endeavors in general. And also, the potential for escalation, the more Russia views the West and NATO being actively involved in the conflict, the more there's concern about retaliation that expands the conflict beyond Ukraine. So, is this an important shift? Are we seeing Germany fall into line more with other European countries who have taken a bolder stance?

BASHIR: It does appear so. And we've heard from Germany's defense minister. And he spoke on Sunday and said it's clear that Ukraine needs these tanks. They need to be able to defend themselves and go on the offensive, particularly as we are hearing warnings of a potential spring offensive by the Russian armed forces. But of course, there is concern that this would be seen as an act of provocation by NATO, by European leaders.

We've already heard the chairman of Russia's Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament saying that this could lead to a global catastrophe if Europe, if NATO is supplying Ukraine with offensive weapons that they could use to target Russian territory. Russia has long held that this is an existential threat to Russia's own state security. So, the concern is this could be another step now shifting NATO's involvement, Europe's involvement away from supporting Ukraine's defensive efforts and now more towards the offensive against Russia.

NOBILO: And it's natural that Russia would frame it as such.

FOSTER: Sergey Lavrov has been heading towards South Africa, some saying really testing that nonaligned position, David, of South Africa on Ukraine.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and you saw that warm welcome of South Africa's foreign minister, Max, of the foreign minister of Russia. The invitation came from the South Africans to Sergey Lavrov and both sides praised the other in their ongoing relationship, both diplomatic, military even and financial. And it shows again that the blockade of both financial and diplomatic of the West against Russia has significant holes, very significant holes. Including here and large parts of the continent, the Indian subcontinent and China. Of course, I want you to listen to the South African foreign minister calling for negotiation.


NALEDI PANDOR, SOUTH AFRICAN FOREIGN MINISTER: It is important, therefore, that I mention on behalf of South Africa our sincere wish that the conflict currently between Russia and Ukraine will soon be brought to a peaceful end through diplomacy and negotiation, as we believe this is the desire of all of us in the globe.


MCKENZIE: Well, Lavrov repeated assertions that it was the Ukrainians that have stepped away from any negotiations, and the obduracy in his estimation of President Zelenskyy.

There is some irony here, of course. So, while South Africa has said it is neutral, it has abstained from critical U.N. votes criticizing Russia, there has been a sense from opposition parties here and others that South Africa is siding with Russia by welcoming the foreign minister with open arms.

You've also had strong comments from the foreign minister of South Africa, including to us in recent months, and in other interviews calling some of the attitudes from European partners, as she put it, patronizing, bullying. That the South Africans, according to them, shouldn't be forced to take sides, more specifically in this conflict. Those calls for negotiations it's unclear that South Africa has any leverage in this whatsoever. But it does show that the economic and military ties with other parts of the world outside of Europe and U.S. are still pretty strong with Russia -- Max.

FOSTER: David in Johannesburg and Nada here in London, thank you both very much.

NOBILO: Ukraine says a cargo ship carrying 30,000 tons of wheat is on its way to the port of Djibouti and eventually Ethiopia as part of the Grain From Ukraine Initiative. The previous three ships sent 80,000 tons of humanitarian wheat from Ukraine to Ethiopia and Somalia. Ukraine says more than 30 countries have joined this initiative with total donations of almost $200 million.

Almost 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon in Pakistan but shops are dark, thanks to a massive power outage affecting virtually the entire country. We'll have a live report from Islamabad for you after this break.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) FOSTER: There are 20 million people in the northeastern U.S. that are under winter weather alerts as yet another storm system moves through that area.

NOBILO: The National Weather Service says up to 10 inches of snow could fall in parts of Maine and New Hampshire. Rapid bands of heavy snowfall are expected starting Monday afternoon, which could make road conditions very dangerous.

FOSTER: Pakistan has been hit with a massive power outage. Officials say a breakdown in the national power grid has left much of the nation without electricity. The ministry of energy says system maintenance work is progressing rapidly and that power had been restored in a limited number of grids in Islamabad and Peshawar. Let's see if Sophia Saifi, got any electricity. She does, so some good news from your side.

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Hi, Max. No, no good news just yet. There are parts of this city of Islamabad in the capital which do have power. But the entire country is abuzz with the hum of generators because from the north to the south this country of 220 million people does not have any power.

There's actually not really been proper explanation of when we can expect the power to be restored across the country. You've got schools, hospitals, construction sites, et cetera, all running on backup power at the moment. And the fact is, that cost of living crisis in this country, fuel prices have already skyrocketed.

So, the people who can afford to have generators here in the winter in Pakistan, most of them can't afford to get the fuel. So, we're seeing long queues at power stations, at petrol pumps across the country with people trying to get the fuel. So, that as night descends and the cold creeps in, people have enough fuel to kind of make sure that their heaters are up and running.

I mean, Karachi is the fourth city of Pakistan, it is the financial center of the country. That doesn't have any power. We've seen -- we're hearing from telecom companies that they can only operate their entire systems on backup power for a certain amount of time.


So, if the power does not come back in the next couple of hours, we're going to be seeing some communication outages as well. Pakistan is suffering from a fuel crisis, from an economic crisis that is having a historic low in foreign exchange reserve. So, this is really the tip of the iceberg of when it comes to crises hitting the country at the moment -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Sofia in Islamabad, thank you.

In China concerns about COVID haven't stopped millions from welcoming the year of the rabbit with widespread celebrations. State media reports more than 26 million trips on Saturday alone as residents travel to see family for the Lunar New Year. NOBILO: But there are fears that traveling could cause COVID cases to

spike. More than 12,000 new COVID-related deaths were reported in the week just before the new year.

CNN senior international correspondent Ivan Watson joins us from Hong Kong with more. What sort of picture are you getting there -- Ivan?

IVAN WATSON, CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know a lot of pent-up demand because much of China has been locked down for the last three years due to the restrictions over COVID, with quarantines and lockdowns and even travel between provinces being restricted.

So, this is the biggest holiday of the year for Chinese. And for many people this is the first time they're getting to see some loved ones in three years or go back to their hometown or home village in three years. So, there's a lot of enthusiasm and excitement that the zero- COVID regulations have been lifted.

And Chinese state media has been reporting that millions and millions of people are on the move. The numbers on the eve of the Lunar New Year holiday, on Saturday as you mentioned, 26 million people moving that day alone. That's a 50 percent jump from the same day the previous year, but it's still some 50 percent down from the absolute migration of people that same time in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

The ministry of transportation is estimating that more than 2 billion transits, passenger travel things will take place by the end of the 40 day spring festival. And there are concerns that this will further spread the virus. You've got the chief epidemiologist of China's Center for Disease Control saying he doesn't think it will be that bad, but already by his estimates 80 percent of the population of the country have gotten COVID in the past month and a half.

But as we see, you mentioned, the death toll last week at least 12,600 deaths in hospitals from COVID alone. So, we'll just have to see what kind of impact this huge migration of people could have on health and healthcare in the country -- Max and Bianca.

FOSTER: Ivan in Hong Kong, thank you.

NOBILO: Just ahead, only four teams are left standing for a shot at the Super Bowl. We'll have highlights from the weekend's NFL playoff action.



CHOIR SINGING: Amazing grace, amazing grace, how sweet the sound ...


FOSTER: The Sunday memorial service for Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of Elvis Presley, was filled with music. Crowds gathered in and around the Graceland estate in Memphis in the U.S. state of Tennessee. NOBILO: Lisa Marie Presley died on January 12th at the age of 54 after

an apparent cardiac arrest and she was laid to rest on the Graceland property next to her son Benjamin and is survived by her daughters, actress Riley Keough and 14-year-old twins Finley and Harper Lockwood.

The NFL conference championship games are now set after this weekend's playoff action. In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers are headed to their second straight conference title game after beating the Dallas Cowboys, 19-12, on Sunday. San Francisco rookie quarterback Brock Purdy improved to 7-0 since taking over the job in December. The 49ers will now face the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday for a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

In the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills got a rematch from their cancelled game a few weeks ago. But even with teammate Damar Hamlin in attendance for an emotional boost, the Bills struggled to get anything going. CNN's Coy Wire has more.


COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS: This was supposed to be the penultimate game before a rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs from last season's playoffs and a continuation of this Hollywood script of a story, Damar Hamlin making his first appearance in front of fans since suffering cardiac arrest on the field when these two teams faced each other 20 weeks ago. Hamlin in a box with his family during the game, showing heart hands on the jumbotron, which have become a symbol of spreading love.

But when it came to the game, the Bills looked emotionally exhausted, spiritually spent. The psychological roller coaster of the last three weeks seemingly siphoning their internal tank. And that manifested in the physical defense missing tackles, leaving receivers wide open. The bangles and quarterback Joe Burrow just plowing through the snow.

And the Bills offense couldn't get clicking. Josh Allen trying to throw their way into a comeback in the snow. It just wasn't happening. Hats off to Cincinnati, playing an incredible game winning 27-10. Here is Bill's star quarterback Josh Allen after their inspiring season came to an end.

JOSH ALLEN, BUFFALO BILLS QUARTERBACK: I'm proud of our guys, how we handled situations throughout the year. You know, we could have made a lot of excuses throughout the year what was going on. But guys continued to fight. You know, we wanted to win this one. We want to win them all. Those guys played better today.

ZAC TAYLOR, CINCINNATI BENGALS HEAD COACH: We're built for this. You know, it doesn't matter what anybody thinks of us, we don't care who's favored and who's not. We're built for this. And we're excited to go on the road to Kansas City.

WIRE: I saw one young fan crying his eyes out at the end of the game. He said I just love this team so much. And it's no wonder why.

[04:55:00] Even though the Bengals advanced to face the Chiefs in the AFC title game and the Bill's season is over, they've impacted so many lives this season. Mourning with, then rallying for Buffalo after a senseless, racist mass shooting that took the lives of ten people here over the summer. Mourning with then instilling hope in the community after a tragic winter storm took the lives of dozens around Christmas time. And then of course, nearly losing their teammate and friend on the field, it is really unfathomable they would be able to navigate all that and still finish the regular season with a 13-3 record. It's inspirational, beyond measure, the Bills and their fans have so much of which they can be proud. Back to you.


NOBILO: In the English Premier League, Arsenal has taken another big step towards their first league title since 2004. Their 3-2 victory over Manchester United on Sunday was an absolute thriller in Etihad Stadium here in London.

FOSTER: Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah made the win possible with the goal in the closing minutes of the game. The win underscores one of Arsenal's best starts in the Premier League season.

Now it's official. Director James Cameron has another box office smash on his hands with a long-awaited sequel to Avatar, his latest film "Avatar: The Way of Water" has now earned more than $2 billion globally according to .


KIRI: Dad, I know you think I'm crazy. But I feel her.


NOBILO: The epic sci fi sequel has held the number one box office spot since its release in December. In this is the third James Cameron movie to gross more than $2 billion. But the original Avatar still the highest grossing movie of all time.

FOSTER: It's that work they put into it, unbelievable.

Thanks for joining us here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster.

NOBILO: And I'm Bianca Nobilo. And "EARLY START" is up next right here on CNN. See you tomorrow.