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Biden Heads To G7 Summit; New Evidence In Classified Documents Probe May Undercut Trump; Harry And Meghan Allege "Near Catastrophic" Paparazzi Car Chase. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 18, 2023 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead on CNN Newsroom. U.S. President Joe Biden will soon land in Japan for the G7 summit where the war in Ukraine is expected to be a top issue. We're live in Hiroshima in just a few moments.

Plus, Prince Harry and Meghan say they were chased by paparazzi for nearly two hours with the streets of New York City. Hear from their taxi driver just ahead.

Plus, a CNN exclusive new evidence may undercut Donald Trump's claims about classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN NEWSROOM with Rosemary Church.

CHURCH: Good to have you with us. Well, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to arrive in Japan in the next hour ahead of a summit of the world's leading democracies. And the war in Ukraine is expected to top the G7 agenda. Ukraine has stepped up its campaign for F-16 fighter jets, although President Biden has been reluctant to agree. There's also word that the U.S. does not want to talk about a diplomatic solution until it sees how Ukraine's planned spring offensive turns out.

Live now to Hiroshima and CNN White House reporter Kevin Liptak. Good to see you, Kevin. So, once the G7 summit gets underway, what's expected to come out of these meetings in terms of goals for pressing issues like Ukraine and of course, China?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, certainly, it's a packed agenda for President Biden and the other leaders who are here in Japan. Perhaps one of the busiest G7 agendas in recent memory. And this really has become the most critical summit when it comes to the leader's coordination on Ukraine. And that will be a pressing issue when they sit down and really get meetings underway in earnest starting tomorrow. One of the things that is expected to come out of this is a new set of sanctions. Really looking to close some of the loopholes in the existing sanctions sort of go after those who are evading the sanctions that are already in place. That is something that President Biden and the other world leaders really want to get a handle on. President Biden is also expected to talk about the situation on the battlefield in Ukraine as Ukraine prepares for this counter offensive.

The world leaders really do want to ensure that Ukraine can regain some territory and that would ensure that it could have some leverage at an eventual negotiating table where that will be, when that will be remains an unknown, uncertain. But certainly, they want to make sure those discussions happen. Now remember, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has just finished a tour of Europe.

The four European leaders who are part of the G7 all hosted him in their own countries. All pledging billions of dollars in new military aid. And so, this is really so coming up quite a critical moment. Of course, the other main issue that is looming over these talks is China, perhaps more so than the previous G7s for the simple reason that we are in Asia. It is -- the G7 only happens in Asia once every seven years.

So, that will prove a critical point of discussion among these leaders. There are differences in the approach of between the Europeans and the Americans on how to approach China. But what President Biden really wants to do is come up with some sort of sort of general agreement about how to approach Beijing, as tensions increase around Taiwan in the South China Sea. And on the economic front as well, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And Kevin, President Biden was forced to shorten his overseas trip, wasn't he? So, he can return to the United States earlier and finalize a deal to avert a U.S. default on its national debt. What more are you hearing about that? Any whispers about how that might turn out?

LIPTAK: Yes. Certainly, for all the talk of Ukraine and China, the most pressing issue on global stability right now is the threat of American default. And of course, President Biden leaves behind these negotiations between his aides and between Republicans on Capitol Hill over how to avoid a default that could potentially happen as early as June 1st. As he was departing, he did voice some confidence that a deal will be reached. Listen to what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America is not a deadbeat nation. We pay our bills. The nation has never to fall on his debt and it never will. And we're going to continue these discussions with congressional leaders in the coming days until we reach an agreement.


[02:05:09] LIPTAK: Now, there's always a trade off when you cancel part of your foreign trip to head back to Washington and certainly, many leaders here will be disappointed that President Biden won't be able to fulfill his engagements in Australia and Papua New Guinea. The White House says it's -- they're just postponed, they'll get them on the books eventually. But certainly, that will be the main topic that world leaders are concerned about as President Biden is getting ready to arrive here shortly. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Thanks to Kevin Liptak joining us live from Hiroshima in Japan.

Well, new evidence in the investigation and declassified documents taken by Donald Trump may undercut some of his claims. At a CNN town hall last week, the former U.S. President insisted that simply by removing the materials from the White House, he had declassified them.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no classified documents, and by the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them.


CHURCH: But according to multiple sources, the National Archives has records showing Trump and his top advisors knew about the correct declassification process. And those records are being sent to the special counsel. CNN's Paul Reid has the exclusive details.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: According to this letter from the National Archives, obtained exclusively by our colleague Jamie Gangel, these 16 records that the Special Counsel wants to obtain reveal communications, some from top Trump advisors explaining the how, why and when you would declassify certain documents. Now that's significant because the Special Counsel is looking at several crimes including possibly mishandling classified information.

And it -- the Special Counsel could use these records to establish that Trump was on notice about the process of how you declassify materials and the fact that it applied to him. That could help inform prosecutors as they decide whether they want to bring a case. Now, the former president's lawyers have given various explanations for how and why he brought these classified documents down to Mar-a-Lago.

The former president has suggested he automatically was able to declassify these documents. He's also said that he had a standing order to declassify them. And as lawyers, though, have argued that part of this was about the process being flawed and things were inadvertently packed up at the end of the administration. So, these records will help clarify the extent to which Trump was aware of how you declassify items.

Now, the special counsel may have to wait to get their hands on these documents because the former president's legal team, they may file a legal challenge. They have not been successful in preventing prosecutors from getting much of the evidence that they have -- tried to obtain, I am told by a source familiar they're thinking they may still file a challenge because they want to try to protect constitutional and presidential privileges.

Paul Reid, CNN, Washington.

CHURCH: The spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex is calling a car chase with paparazzi in New York, "near catastrophic." But their version of events not completely lining up with what police and even a taxi driver who picked them up says happened. The driver says the cars behind the cab did not seem aggressive. And the NYPD says no injuries, collisions or arrests were reported.

New York City's mayor is also questioning the night's events.


ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: I would find it hard to believe that there was a two-hour high-speed chase. That would be -- I find it hard to believe but we will find out the exact duration of it. But if it's 10 minutes, a 10-minute chase is extremely dangerous in New York City. We have a lot of traffic, a lot of movement. A lot of people are using our streets. Any type of high-speed chase that involves something of that nature is inappropriate.


CHURCH: CNN's Scott McLean joins me now live from London with more on this. Good morning to you, Scott. So, how is their story being reported across Britain with these two rather different versions of events?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, just to clarify, Rosemary. No one is saying that this was a high-speed chase, but the Sussex's team certainly is saying that this was dangerous. So, their original statement said this that they were involved in near catastrophic car chase at the hands of a ring of highly aggressive paparazzi. The relentless pursuit lasting over two hours resulted in multiple near collisions involving other drivers on the road, pedestrians and two New York City Police Department officers.

Now according to the Sussex's team, they are saying that look, they were concerned about the safety of people who were using the sidewalk. Other drivers, things like that, saying that this -- these photographers who were on scooters, bicycles, cars drove the wrong way down.


A one-way street drove on the sidewalk, were talking on the phone while driving and at one point illegally blocked their car. Now, the police as you mentioned, Rosemary, give a much more benign version of events saying that the transport due to the photographer's was made more challenging, but as you pointed out, there were no tickets issued. And surely that will raise questions about why. This was also not a diplomatic escort that the police were giving the Duke and Duchess of Sussex there -- they were there for protection and clearly, they didn't view the paparazzi as any kind of a threat. This could have ended much sooner than it did. But the Sussexes didn't want the paparazzi to know the location of the apartment just a few blocks away that they were actually staying at presumably because they would stick it out.

And so, after an hour and a half of trying to lose this pack of photographers, they ended up going to a New York City Police Station not to report any crime but to just regroup. They ended up getting in a Yellow Taxicab hoping that would be an inconspicuous way for them to escape the paparazzi, but they quickly caught up with them. The taxi driver said that he didn't believe that the paparazzi was being aggressive. And he told this to CNN.


SUNNY SINGH, TAXI DRIVER: That if you'd like I was in danger but, you know, Harry and Meghan, they look very nervous.

When the paparazzi started taking pictures on one side from the back. Somebody said oh my god, you know, and then the look on their faces, you can tell that they were nervous and scared.


MCLEAN: So eventually, Harry and Meghan were able to get away during a police shift change when a jam of police cars essentially prevented the photographers from catching up with them. All of this obviously is against the backdrop of the fact that Prince Harry's mother, Princess Diana died during a paparazzi chase in 1997. Although the driver in that case was found to be drunk.

One of the things to mention, Rosemary, and that is that Prince Harry right now is in the midst of appealing against a British government ruling which says that he cannot have police protection in this country. He's offered to pay for it himself. The government though is arguing that, look that would set a precedent for very rich people to be able to buy police protection that other private citizens wouldn't be able to. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. Thanks to Scott McLean joining us live from London.

Royal watcher Bidisha Mamata joins me now from London. Appreciate you being with us.

My pleasure.

CHURCH: So, we are seeing two conflicting statements on what happened in New York City Tuesday night. Prince Harry and Meghan described the incident as a near catastrophic car chase with highly aggressive paparazzi lasting over two hours while the NYPD simply describe it as challenging with no reported collisions, injuries or arrests. Although, Mayor Adam said the paparazzi were reckless. He questioned whether that chase lasted two hours though. Why such different versions do you think?

BIDISHA MAMATA, ROYAL WATCHER: I think there are different glosses on the same thing. I very much was bemused by the NYPD statement about that word challenging. It's as if they're saying listen, you want to come to New York. This is what it's like. We deal with stuff all day long. So, what is really frightening and invasive and harassing to this couple might be level one of what the NYPD has to deal with all day every day.

So, it was a little bit of shade there thrown towards Harry and Meghan. However, in fact, I don't think that anyone really disputes the physical facts of what happened. The inconsiderate driving, the dangerous driving which endangered the perpetrators as well as all bystanders and everyone else. Braking, various traffic violations and the sense that this is a group of paparazzi acting against essentially a couple of who are famous but they're strangers to the paparazzi in order to get photographs to be sold.

Definitely what's coming through is that Harry and Meghan have a very heightened sense of vulnerability and threat. And of course, we know why that is. It's because of Harry's family history. It's because this is very personal for him. It ties into his feelings about losing his mother, his entire childhood being hounded being photographed, being served up for the tabloids and gossip and for speculation.

It's also keying into their narrative of hang on, we thought that we left the U.K. in order to escape the hostility and yet it seems to have followed us here. Clearly for them, it was a very, very unpleasant experience. For the NYPD, it might be just another night on the block.

CHURCH: Right. And of course, the critics of the Sussexes are climbing all over the different versions. We're also hearing from the taxi driver who took Harry and Meghan to the police station after they were transferred into his yellow cab from a protected SUV. The taxi driver estimates about six paparazzi were pursuing them but not aggressively.


What's being said about his version of events and the fact that Harry and Meghan switched cars more than once during this incident?

MAMATA: I think there's a huge amount of appreciation actually for the cab driver's version of events because I cannot imagine what it's like being a cabbie in New York. You see everything. And because it's so congested, it adds to the sense of danger. Now, of course, for the cab driver, it adds to his sense of mastery. So, what seems perilous to us is another day at work for him.

But imagine all of this happening, whether they're six paparazzi or six cars or 60 or 600, it's happening within a very congested space of New York City where you've got pedestrians, bikes, motorbikes. All crowding the streets at the same time, it must have felting credibly claustrophobic. CHURCH: And I did want to just quick quickly get your reaction because Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace, they're not reacting. And it's difficult when -- that really conveys a something, doesn't it? Should they be saying something at this point? At least, I hope they're safe. I hope that we can send our thoughts and prayers. Those sorts of sentiments perhaps?

MAMATA: No, I'm not really surprised by that by Buckingham Palace's silence. I think they've clearly made a decision that they are not going to get into any kind of commenting back and forth in public. I think they're slightly put off by the celebrity aspect of this piece of breaking news. They don't want to say anything in public showing concern. Maybe there have been some phone calls or messages on back channels or behind the scenes, but they don't want to behave like a celebrity family. They're maintaining their position.

CHURCH: All right. Bidisha Mamata, thank you so much, joining us from London. Appreciate it.

And still to come. Heavy fighting is being reported in Bakhmut where both Ukraine and the Wagner Mercenary Group are claiming territorial gains the latest just ahead.

Plus, Jerusalem is bracing for more unrest as thousands of Israeli nationalists prepare to march through the Old City. Those details and much more still to come.



CHURCH: We are following new developments in Ukraine where explosions have been heard in Kyiv and in regions across the country after a nationwide air alert. Ukraine's air defense systems were activated and officials say debris falling over the Capitol sparked a fire. And this comes just two days after Russia launched a barrage of missiles at Kyiv and across Ukraine. CNN's Clare Sebastian is following developments for us. She joins us live from London.

Good morning to you, Clare. So, what is the latest on these explosions in Kyiv and in other parts of Ukraine?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Rosemary. This was yet another night where Ukraine's air defenses have faced a major test. To this they say the ninth aerial assault by Russia in the month of May alone. So, we clearly see an uptick in intensity in Kyiv. It seems that air defenses were able to shoot down all of the attempted attacks there though, as we've seen recently and you can see in this image there provided by the police chief in the region.

That does not mean there's no danger. This is falling debris from those missiles that were shut down. They say though, no significant damage, no casualties as of yet reported in Kyiv. Air defenses also activated in Vinnytsia to the south west of Kyiv. Another region there. And unfortunately, in Odesa in the south, there was not 100 percent success rate for air defense. There was a -- an industrial facility that was hit.

You can see images of that there, one person killed, two wounded, according to local officials there. So, another big night for Ukraine's air defenses and some damage reported. This clearly a strategy by Russia, this attritional strategy trying to exhaust Ukraine's air defenses. And in a different way, we see that same nutritional strategy in play in the East, especially in Bakhmut where fighting seems to be intensifying.

We're seeing that both sides claiming advances. Ukraine in the past few days is that it's made gains, particularly in the suburbs to the north and south. Prigozhin, the head of Wagner on Wednesday saying that his forces had advanced some 260 meters. So you can see the sort of very reduced speed of advanced though within the city he -- in another dig against the Russian Ministry of Defense said that they would be able to do more if it weren't for Russian Ministry of Defense Forces retreating, he said.

And we've got some new satellite images that show the real cost, Rosemary, of the fighting in Bakhmut. The intense damage. This is a set of theater and a set of shops you can see on the left May of last year and now on the right. Those buildings pretty much wiped off the map. We've got another before and after to show you. The school in the Western District of Kyiv school number 12. There's of Bakhmut rather, school number 12 on the right.

It looks a little bit like ancient ruins again, you can see pretty buildings pretty much wiped off the map. This is an area in the west of Kyiv that we know has been heavily contested in the west of Bakhmut rather that's been heavily contested in recent weeks as Ukraine has moved very slowly to take back just a few city blocks. They continue to hold on. Russia also not giving up. We've had reports in recent days that they have been moving new units including paratroopers into that city. Rosemary?

Shocking images for sure. Clare Sebastian joining us live from London. Many thanks.

Israeli security forces are on heightened alert as thousands of Israelis prepare to march through Jerusalem's Muslim quarter in the coming hours. It is an annual event known as Flag Day and in recent years, it's been a catalyst for bloody clashes. CNN's Hadas Gold has our report.


HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A typical day in the Old City of Jerusalem. Shops are bustling. Tourists taking in the sights, religious pilgrims praying. But Thursday afternoon, these alleyways will be filled with thousands of marchers with Israeli flags. As part of the annual Jerusalem Day when Israel celebrates taking control of East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 war, turning what was a divided city into what Israel calls its undivided capital.

[02:25:07] But what Palestinians want as a capital for their future state. This year, authorities are bracing for violence whether on the streets or in the skies. It wasn't 2021.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Red alert going off.

GOLD: As the thousands of Israelis made their way to the Old City for this very March that Palestinian militant group Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem, setting off an 11-day war.

GOLD (on camera): This is where one of the more contentious aspects of the flag March will take place. This is Damascus Gate. It is one of the main entrances to the Old City for Muslims and it's through this gate is the Muslim Quarter. But on Thursday, thousands of Israelis will be here marching and dancing with Israeli flags before making their way through to the Muslim Quarter.

GOLD (voice-over): The marches will then make their way to the Western Wall Plaza just below the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Al- Aqsa Mosque compound. Over the years, the marches become a magnet for religious. Right-wing nationalist and a pretext for violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Far-right Israeli ministers like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich have announced they will join the March this year.

Most of the Palestinians we spoke to say they'll close shop and avoid the city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): And there are many problems on this day, but we avoid problems although it's our land and Jerusalem is our beloved. God knows how much we love it. But we need to keep away from them.

GOLD: Much of the international community considers East Jerusalem where the Old City is located to be occupied territory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not good to come to the us that we will -- go your home and close your shop and close your -- it's not good. This is my land. Yes. It's my land.

GOLD: In Gaza, the days old ceasefire with militants there will be tested as groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad once again threatening to respond. A city on edge bracing for another explosion.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


CHURCH: A standup comic in China is in deep trouble after getting big laughs with one of his jokes. Government censors say the punch line was offensive and have levied a massive fine.

We're live from Beijing next.



CHURCH: Welcome back. Last weekend, a standup comic was onstage in a Beijing theatre, when he told a silly story about two dogs chasing a squirrel. The audience laughed at the punch line. But government sensors were not amused. And what happened next was definitely not a joke. CNN Steven Jiang joins us now live from Beijing. So, Steven, what's going to happen to this comedian just for telling a joke?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Rosemary, not only he this one punch line has cost him his career effectively shutting down the company that once employed him. Now, he's potentially going to jail, because the latest we have learned is that Beijing police is now launching a formal investigation into this case. And in 2021, China actually enacted a law banning any sorts of insults or slander against the military personnel. And they have prosecuted people for that crime and in previous cases sending them to prison for at least seven months.

So, that's the kind of consequences and chilling effect we're talking about. And no wonder this art forms mostly young fans are now rightfully fearful that this episode could spell the early death of an entire industry which had just gone from underground to mainstream. And this, of course, is also a reminder of the extremely delicate line comedians, but also, other artists and public figures have to strike in this highly censored environment where everything could become a taboo almost overnight.

Now, this offending joke actually sounds innocuous to most people outside of China because this comedian known as house was describing his thought when seen the two dogs chasing the squirrel using this phrase, find style of work, capable of winning battles. The problem is the slogan was first uttered in 2013 by Chinese leader Xi Jinping to describe the military. And so now, these loose references, costing him everything, and probably the entire industry. And that's why Rosemary, (INAUDIBLE) said this is yet another reflection of Xi Jinping governing philosophy that is reasserting the party's absolute control in every aspect of Chinese society. And that is really no joke. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Absolutely, the dangers of not having a sense of humor. Steven Jiang, joining us live from Beijing, many thanks. Well, a case of two extremes with deadly consequences in Northern Italy, still ahead. A drought is followed by heavy flooding and takes an excruciating toll from the region. We're back with that and more in just a moment.



CHURCH: At least nine people are dead after what some call unprecedented flooding in Italy. Officials say parts of the Emilia- Romagna region received about half of their annual rainfall in 36 hours, that led to rivers spilling over their banks and inundating thousands of acres of farmland. Emergency officials say at least 13,000 people have been evacuated and several people are missing according to a local CNN affiliate. The flooding has led to the cancellation of Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix in that region. Barbie Nadeau has more.


BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Roads turned to rivers as rain many hoped would alleviate drought conditions and that was serious threat in the central Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. There are already victims and rescuers are searching for the missing. Hundreds of people were rescued from flooded homes, many brought to safety and rubber dinghies on flooded streets. More than 5,000 people are under evacuation according to the Civil Protection, among them a four-month-old baby and an elderly handicapped man.

The region had been undergoing severe drought. In 2022, low rainfall and extreme heat depleted the river Po. A crucial waterway for transport and irrigation. A winter with very little snow did little to help. And as bad as these floods are, they're only a drop in the bucket for what is needed to reverse the drought. Earlier this month, a downpour swelled the Po by five feet. This delusion of water will raise it even more, but it is still well below average. Extreme weather events are threatening other Italian regions from Venice where the MOSE save flood gates have been raised to protect the city from high water to Sicily, where heavy storms down trees and flooded homes. Barbie Latza Nadeau CNN Rome.


CHURCH: An incredible story of survival to tell you about in the jungles of Colombia, four children ages 13 to under a year have been found alive. 17 days after their small plane crashed in dense jungle in southern Colombia. That news was tweeted by Colombia's President within the past few hours.


Three adult bodies were found in the wreckage, but authorities say search teams were able to track the children to a small encampment where they had made a simple shelter. And we don't yet have an update on the children's condition, but we'll bring you the latest as we learn more, incredible story there. I'm Rosemary Church, for our international viewers, "WORLD SPORT" is next. And for our viewers in North America. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after a short break.



CHURCH: Across the U.S., major cities are trying to figure out where to put migrants and asylum seekers. In New York, hundreds are temporarily staying in school gymnasiums after nearby communities blocked access. CNN's Miguel Marquez picks up the story.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): As New York City scrambles to manage successive waves of migrants from the U.S. southern border.

ERIC ADAMS, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Probably one of the largest crises of humanitarian crisis the city has ever experienced.

MARQUEZ (voiceover): The fight over what to do with them, becoming increasingly heated. The city now, sending some migrants to the suburbs.

STEVEN NEUHAUS, ORANGE COUNTY EXECUTIVE: This is not the way to do things. It's not the way to treat people. And they're just randomly booking hotel rooms where they can get bulk rooms for at least 30 days and with the option to go longer.

MARQUEZ (voiceover): When the city tried a similar move in Rockland County, just north of the city, the county blocked access to its hotels the fight got personal.

ADAMS: When you look at the County Exec Day. I mean, this guy has a record of being anti-semitic, you know, his racist comments, you know, his thoughts and how he responded to this, really? He shows a lack of leadership.

MARQUEZ (voiceover): Those remarks directed at Rockland County Executive Ed Day. Both Day and Adams have known and worked with each other for decades. Both former NYPD cops, both now public servants running the city and a nearby wealthy suburb. Adams a Democrat, Day a Republican, local politicians now caught up in the turmoil of national immigration politics. Day says it is Mayor Adams who is using migrants as pawns and putting the blame on everyone else.

ED DAY, ROCKLAND COUNTY EXECUTIVE: So, we got the race card again. I just like the mayor has been talking about how Republican white, Republican people have been picking on him because it's a black city. I think anybody who throws that quote out that quickly has his own set of problems, including being a racist himself. The mayor is engaged in human trafficking of the worst kind.

MARQUEZ (voiceover): Orange and Rockland counties now have temporary restraining orders barring New York City from sending migrants their way in the town of Riverhead on Long Island has preemptively declared a state of emergency to block the city sending migrants there too. New York's Mayor insists with this latest wave more than 4200 arriving last week alone, there is no room left in the city. And it's covering the cost of hotel rooms and care for the migrants. He just needs more space to temporarily house them.

ADAMS: New York City is the economic engine of this state. And if we have been there for the state, the state needs to be there for us. And those who are in other parts of the state that are saying we're going to take you to court we're going to do these emergency orders. We need to stop, we're in this together.

MARQUEZ (voiceover): New York City even using some school gyms, not physically connected to the schools themselves as places to temporarily house migrants. The backlash from some parents, teachers and students has been fierce. YOLANDA AYALA, PARENT: I don't have nothing against the immigrants. They're welcome here or whatever. And that's of -- why in schools?


MARQUEZ (on camera): So, this decision to put migrants into gyms has been extremely controversial here in New York City. This is a sort of gym their putting in modular gyms that are disconnected from the school itself. There are a few of these in the city but because of the backlash, because of the anger this created. The city has reversed itself, after only a few days and said that they will pull all the migrants out, they've already pulled them out of this gym here. But the city also says that if the situation gets worse, it reserves the right to put migrants back into gyms like this. Back to you.

CHURCH: All right, and we will have much more on this next hour. When I speak with the Executive Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and ask what can be done? Well, the Republican led U.S. house has blocked an effort to immediately remove George Santos from Congress despite growing pressure for the embattled Republican to resign or be expelled. It instead voted to refer the resolution to the Ethics Committee. After the vote, Santos defended himself to reporters on the steps of the Capitol when he was interrupted by the House Democrats.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I was elected by them to come represent them. I will continue to do that. I have not done my job since I've gotten here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir. Did you talk to Speaker McCarthy ahead of the vote?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Resign, resign. Get him out -- get him out. He got to go.

SANTOS: No, I did not. I allowed the -- I allowed the process to play itself out.

BOWMAN: The party has to kick him out. His embarrassing you all -- his embarrassing you all.


BOWMAN: Impeach Biden for what? You got to get him out.

GREENE: Biden is embarrassing.

BOWMAN: Expel him, you got to expel -- save the party.


CHURCH: Wednesday's vote allows Republicans to skirt the issue of whether to expel their colleague for now. CNN's Melanie Zona has more.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, House Republicans bought themselves a little bit more time when it comes to dealing with embattled Congressman George Santos. Democrats were hoping to force a floor vote on a resolution that would have expelled George Santos, an effort to put every single Republican on the record here. But Speaker Kevin McCarthy came up with an off ramp, to help shield his members from taking a potentially tough vote.

So, instead of voting on the resolution itself, the House voted on Wednesday along party lines to instead refer the resolution to the House Ethics Committee. Seven Democrats did vote present most of them are on the House Ethics Committee, and George Santos himself. We should point out did vote in favor of this referral. But this is essentially a delay tactic. Take a listen to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy describe his decision making.


SEN. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I would like the Ethics Committee to move rapidly on this. I think there's enough information out there now that they could start looking at this. And I think they could come back to Congress, probably faster than a court case could.


ZANONA: So, it is now up to the House Ethics Committee to make a recommendation about whether or not to expel George Santos. This committee already was investigating George Santos since March. It is a bipartisan committee; it's made up equally of Republicans and Democrats. But it is not a committee that is known to move very quickly. So, it could take weeks or potentially even months for them to make a recommendation here. And even then, the full House would still need to vote on expulsion, which requires a two thirds majority in the House in order to succeed. But in the meantime, Democrats are making crystal clear that they are not going to let Republicans live this referral vote down. MELANIE ZANONA, CNN, Capitol Hill.

CHURCH: South Carolina's Republican led House has passed a controversial and strict bill that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, when many women might not even know they're pregnant. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers in neighboring North Carolina overrode the governor's veto and passed a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks. CNN's Diane Gallagher has more now from Raleigh.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): North Carolina, the latest Southern State to add new restrictions to abortion access.

GOV. ROY COOPER (D-NC): When Women's Health is on the line. I will never back down.

GALLAGHER (voiceover): But even a veto by the state's Democratic Governor Roy Cooper was no match for the legislature's Republican supermajority. Both chambers voted Tuesday along party lines to override Cooper's veto, banning most abortions after 12 weeks, with exceptions. Also, adding new steps, like multiple in person appointments for medication abortion. And a host of restrictions, regulations and licensing requirements that Republican leadership calls mainstream.

REP. KRISTIN BAKER (R-NC): Senate Bill 20 is common sense. It balances protecting the life of the unborn child. It balances that with a woman's need for life saving care.

GALLAGHER (voiceover): But state Democrats, Medical Association's and abortion advocates say the changes will put more lives in danger.

REP. NATASHA MARCUS (D-NC): That feels like a slap in the face, a muzzle on our mouths and a straitjacket on our bodies.

GALLAGHER (voiceover): Meanwhile, in South Carolina protesters making their voices heard today, as lawmakers in the State House reconvened after debating for more than 12 hours on Tuesday, on an abortion bill that would ban most abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

REP. HEATHER BAUER (D-SC): So, what you are currently advocating for is real. This is affecting women in your district and in your state. This is detrimental.

GALLAGHER (voiceover): South Carolina's General Assembly finished its legislative session last week. But Republican Governor Henry McMaster called lawmakers back for a special session to continue to work on the bill.

REP. MURRELL SMITH (R-SC): So, let me say this is, you know, there are some of these amendments look frivolous and absurd.

GALLAGHER (voiceover): Prior to Tuesday's debate, Democratic lawmakers filed over a thousand amendments to the proposed abortion ban and warned, they plan to try to make fellow lawmaker's debate everyone.

REP. JOHN KING (D-SC): I want you all to know that the Republicans have left the room because women are not important. Enough in this state for them to stay in their seats and listen to the debate of how important women are.


GALLAGHER (voiceover): With North Carolina's new law and South Carolina on the cusp of passing an even stricter ban. Abortion in the southeast since the Dobbs decision last year is becoming increasingly difficult to access.


GALLAGHER (on camera): And it's not just the South of lawmakers in Nebraska managed to get enough votes to fold a 12-week abortion ban into a bill that would ban puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery in minors. There was still one vote remaining there before that would be final. And South Carolina House Democrats are continuing what can only be described as a filibuster by amendment. Though they do acknowledge that it is likely just delaying the inevitable before a bill that would ban abortions at six weeks in their state passes. Here in North Carolina, the new law goes into effect on July 1st. Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Raleigh, North Carolina.

CHURCH: And thanks for watching, I'm Rosemary Church. I will be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. Do stay with us.