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CNN International: New Mexico Sheriff: No Way We Can Enforce Governor's Order; U.S. House Lawmakers Bracing for Volatile Session; Ukraine Urges Allies to Send Long-Range Missiles; Supreme Court Hearing on Netanyahu's Judicial Reform; Teacher Shortage Grips Schools Across America. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired September 12, 2023 - 04:30   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Bianca Nobilo.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Max Foster. If you just join us, let me bring you up to date with the headlines this hour.

Pennsylvania State Police confirm a new sighting of escaped inmate Danelo Cavalcante. Police are warning the public that he is armed with a weapon.

Kim Jong-un has arrived in Russia -- according to state media. The North Korean leader is expected to meet with Vladimir Putin within the coming day.

NOBILO: A sheriff in the state of New Mexico says the governor's new executive order on guns will be nearly impossible to enforce, so he won't do it. Governor Michelle Grisham suspended the right to carry open and concealed guns publicly in the city of Albuquerque, and police have a big problem with it.


SHERIFF JOHN ALLEN, BERNALILLO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: In reference to concealed carry and open carry, the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office will not enforce this segment of the order. While I understand the urgency, the temporary ban challenges the foundations of our Constitution. But most importantly, it is unconstitutional.


NOBILO: In a statement to CNN affiliate KOAT, New Mexico's governor responded to the criticism, saying in part, quote:

I don't need a lecture on constitutionality from Sheriff Allen. What I need is action. We need law enforcement, district attorneys, public officials, school leaders and state agencies to use every single tool at their disposal to stop this violence, period.

FOSTER: In the hours ahead, U.S. House lawmakers will return from their August recess, and we could see some major turbulence.

NOBILO: Yes, the House Speaker will face angry members of his own Republican Party who could trigger a possible government shutdown. CNN's Melanie Zanona explains.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Speaker Kevin McCarthy, facing a major challenge to his leadership, perhaps the biggest test of his leadership since he secured the Speaker's gavel back in January. Not only is he facing down a potential government shutdown at the end of this month, but he is also facing growing calls from his right flank to begin impeachment proceedings into President Joe Biden.

Now on the topic of spending. Kevin McCarthy wants to move a short- term government spending bill that would keep the government's lights on until sometime in November. And he also wants to keep additional Ukraine money, which is what the White House has requested, out of that bill, in an effort to appease conservatives who don't want to see any more money flowing to Ukraine.

But it is clear that that is not going to be enough to convince many conservatives to get on board with a short-term spending bill. Congressman Chip Roy is one of those conservatives. He wants to see a number of other demands in a short-term funding bill on everything from securing the border, to defunding parts of the Department of Justice. Let's take a listen to what he told reporters on Monday.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): The objective is to save a country that is currently crumbling around us with open borders, a weakened military, spending driving inflation, a Department of Justice that's got its focus on the wrong space. A shutdown isn't an objective. Right? The objective is to force the administration to the table to come sit down with Republicans and say, how are we going to fund a government that's supposed to carry out it's responsible duties for the American people. That's it, nothing more.

ZANONA: And of course, looming over it all is threats to Kevin McCarthy's Speakership. Republican Matt Gates over the weekend raise the idea of teaming up with Democrats to try to force a floor vote on removing Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. But we caught up with Kevin McCarthy in the Capitol on Monday, and he said he is not worried about these threats to the gavel and said, Matt is just Matt and if he wants to bring a challenge, he should do it. Because he's not worried that he's going to be ultimately removed as Speaker.

Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.


FOSTER: In Texas, closing arguments in the impeachment trial of suspended Attorney General Ken Paxton could come as early as Thursday.

NOBILO: That word from the state's lieutenant governor who is serving as the judge in the Senate trial. Paxton faces accusation of repeatedly abusing his office to help a donor and has pleaded not guilty to 16 articles of impeachment.

FOSTER: The Senate plans to conduct the trial into the evening hours for the next few nights, with deliberations possibly starting by the end of the week.

NOBILO: Ukraine's president is warning that his country -- that the conflict with Russia will not end anytime soon, telling Ukrainians to prepare for a long war. And Ukrainian officials are urging Western allies to send more military help, including long range missiles.


FOSTER: Meantime, a U.S. official tells CNN that President Biden is expected to make a decision about sending those missiles soon. That official saying, quote, there's a much greater possibility of it happening now than before. Katie's with us. We've been expecting this for a while.

KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Absolutely, Max. So this is something we've seen really a pattern of from the U.S. They are now considering these long-range Army tactical missile systems, they're called. This is a big development. This is what Ukraine have been asking for really for quite some time.

And it follows a pattern of the U.S. delaying considering giving certain weapons that Ukraine is asking for. For example, the multiple launch rocket systems, the Abraham Tanks, cluster munitions, all of these Ukraine asks, there's a delay, and then eventually the U.S. gives them.

Now Ukraine and other critics have said that unfortunately, this kind of delay gives Russia time to fortify its defenses. Get better at defending those defensive lines. The U.S. argues, of course, that they need this time to work out if this is a battlefield necessity or not, and then they decide to give them. Now the concern, particularly with these kinds of long-range missiles, is that it could reach far into Russian territory.

But what they're arguing now, according to the officials that CNN has spoken with, familiar with these discussions. Is that they've not seen any behavior from Ukraine that indicates they are using foreign made weaponry inside Russia. Which again speaks to what we've been seeing with these drone attacks. Presumably, they are Ukrainian made, homemade. That the attacks they're seeing inside Russia are not from the U.S. weaponry or from allies, U.K. France anything like that.

And so, as a result, the U.S. is now considering giving them. But also interesting the timing of this, right. We're looking this morning at the conversations between Russia and North Korea. Presumably, there is some concern here that the U.S. needs to be stepping up its act, backing Ukraine in more ways than just political moral support. But also delivering on this weaponry, Ukraine has really been asking for.

FOSTER: What do you -- I mean, what do you expect to come out of these talks with North Korea? What sort of things are they looking for and likely to get? POLGLASE: Well, clearly there are some very practical needs here,

right? You know, Russia is looking at some ammunition that it needs to get for the war in Ukraine. And there are concerns, really, and questions about whether or not these are practical things to deliver. If they do get weaponry and ammunition from North Korea, it's going to have to travel a very long way to get to the Ukrainian frontline. But these are kind of things that Putin is really asking for.

And as we're seeing with this messaging from the U.S., there may just be a political stance here that they want to show that they have allies, they have ways of getting more support, prolonging this conflict and replenishing their frontlines. And that is something that Ukraine and its allies need to be concerned about.

FOSTER: OK, Katie, thank you so much for your analysis.

NOBILO: Israel's Supreme Court is hearing arguments right now in a historic case over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to overhaul the country's judicial system. For the first time ever, all 15 Supreme Court judges are hearing a case together.

FOSTER: They'll have to decide whether to uphold or strike down a law passed by Netanyahu and its supporters designed to limit the court's ability to nullify government decisions deemed unreasonable. Israelis have been protesting for months over the issue that critics say erodes the courts independence and harms Israel's democracy.

NOBILO: Journalist Neri Zilber joins us now from Jerusalem with the latest. And Neri, what is the significance of today?

NERI ZILBER, JOURNALIST: Max, Bianca, good morning. Extraordinary day. Historic day here in Israel. Coming to you outside the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. As you can see in here behind me, protesters for and against the Supreme Court trying to make their voices heard to penetrate the thick walls of the courts. Where 15 judges for the first time in Israeli history are sitting in judgment over this bill passed by the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in late July. Essentially taking away, stripping the court's ability to provide effective judicial oversight over any government decision. And crucially, the appointment and firing of key civil servants and senior officials.

Now, in another first, the Supreme Court will have to decide and is doing now really all morning. Whether this law that was passed by the ruling coalition is in fact legal, is in fact constitution. For the first time ever possibly striking down a quasi-constitutional basic law here in Israel.

Now, in another first, the ruling coalition, the Netanyahu government has indicated and even threatened in recent weeks and in recent days that it might simply not abide by the whatever ruling comes down from the courts. Setting up what analysts' fear could be a constitutional crisis between the government on the one side and the judiciary on the other.

Now right now inside the hall, inside the courts, we're in recess. But all morning the judges have been hearing arguments from either side, from the government side and from the petitioners against this bill.


From the government side, there were a few key critical moments. A senior lawmaker from the ruling coalition, a lawyer himself, has argued that the court itself does not have standing to even hear the case. And that it should not -- it should not try to strike down a law passed by a majority in Parliament.

On the other side of the ledger, the petitioners are arguing that this law, in and of itself is unconstitutional and undermines the very foundations of those tenets of Israeli democracy.

So really, Max and Bianca, the key question being here -- being heard today is who gets to decide in Israel what is legal and what is constitutional.

NOBILO: Neri Zilber for us in Jerusalem. Thank you very much.

Still ahead, teacher shortages are getting worse in American schools. So how are they coping with it? We'll have a detailed report for you.

FOSTER: And Smuckers is buying Twinkies. It all makes sense obviously to all the Americans watching. And that's the Twinkies maker, Hostess, for more than $5 billion. More on that merger just ahead.


NOBILO: Hundreds of books were removed from Florida's public school libraries last year. That is according to data provided by the Florida Department of Education and analyzed by CNN. It found that more than 300 books were removed under different state laws.

FOSTER: And more than 1,000 books received objections leading to the removal of more than 30 percent of those, many of the books removed were aimed towards younger audiences but had themes surrounding LGBTQ plus issues and books that discuss issues of race were also targeted.

NOBILO: As the new school year begins in the U.S., there's an ongoing nationwide shortage of teachers.

FOSTER: So how are schools addressing the problem? CNN's Gabe Cohen has the details on that.


BRIANA JACK, HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHER: Today's topic is biomolecules.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The impact of a brutal teacher shortage is clear as day in this school cafeteria in Lancaster, Texas.


Two ninth-grade biology classes squeeze together -- 50 students in all -- taught by the only certified teacher available and assisted by a teacher in training.

JACK: For the students, that experience is difficult. There's a lot of distractions. As teachers, we have to pivot. We do the best with what we have. I feel tired. I feel very tired at the end of the day.

COHEN (voice-over): Lancaster ISD, south of Dallas, is one of many districts across the country scrambling to fill teacher slots, forcing Superintendent Katrise Perera to get creative.

KATRISE PERERA, LANCASTER ISD SUPERINTENDENT: I don't want to call any parent and say we just filled it with a warm body.

COHEN (voice-over): So for some classes, the teacher isn't even in the room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so, then the correct answer here, guys --

COHEN (voice-over): This algebra class is led by a certified instructor in Louisiana with help from an in-person aide. It's through an online learning company called Elevate K-12, one of several that told me demand for these programs is spiking nationwide.

PERERA: It's nerve-racking to not have a staff member in a classroom, but I know that we've been allowed to think outside the box.

COHEN (voice-over): According to Chalkbeat, which analyzed data from eight states, teacher turnover has surged since COVID. Education experts blame low salaries, growing workload, worsening student behavior, and hot-button political issues in the classrooms.

JACK: Now, what do I mean by be engaged during class? Participating.

COHEN (voice-over): And with fewer grads training to be educators some districts are hiring what are considered underqualified teachers.

SUSAN PATRICK, SENIOR RESEARCHER, LEARNING POLICY INSTITUTE: Teachers who are not fully prepared are not as effective in the classroom, and this is at a time when students really need effective instruction.

COHEN (voice-over): Susan Patrick's research for the Learning Policy Institute found 1 in 10 teacher positions are either vacant or filled by someone uncertified for that subject.

PATRICK: If students have an ineffective teacher for multiple years in a row they're going to fall even further behind.

COHEN (voice-over): At least 23 states have lowered certification standards to get teachers into classrooms more quickly. Reach University, a nonprofit, is helping districts turn their support staff into certified teachers, offering free or low-cost training, starting with a bachelor's degree, to any school employees from classroom aides to bus drivers like Arkansas' Katie Lee.

COHEN: So many teachers are leaving the profession. Why do you want to enter it? KATIE LEE, TRAINING TO BECOME A TEACHER: I just see a lot of kids not wanting to finish school, you know, because they don't have the teachers that are able to be there.

JACK: Say it loud and proud, baby.


JACK: You've got to learn from your mistakes.

COHEN (voice-over): Lancaster ISD has started hiring retired teachers to help train their new staff. And for now, a teacher a state way may be better than the alternative.

JANIYA ARMINGTON, STUDENT: Before we got into this online class, we didn't really have a teacher. It was just assignments and like notes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like the problem is just getting worse instead of better. It's kind of like sad because I want to learn.

COHEN: Now districts have been trying to recruit and retain teachers with bonuses and pay raises. Hundreds have even moved to a four-day school week. And yet, in a lot of areas, this seems to be trending in the wrong direction. And for parents, the head of the National Council on Teacher Quality told me you should be asking your kids school if their teachers are licensed in the subject that they're teaching. And if not, how the school is supporting those teachers and their students,

Gabe Cohen, CNN Washington.


FOSTER: Hostess, the makers of Twinkies and HoHos, is being purchased by Schmucker in a $5.6 billion deal. Shares of Hostess soared after the two companies announced the transaction on Monday. In addition to Twinkies, Hostess makes a number of sweet treats, including Zingers, Snowballs and Ding Dong's. We are rapidly losing this session's audience for you.

NOBILO: The purchase is a remarkable turn around for Hostess, which has filed for bankruptcy twice during its existence. Schmucker said the acquisition positions it to cater to all sorts of consumer needs.

FOSTER: Still to come, his work was both groundbreaking and controversial, Sir Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep has died.



NOBILO: New York Police say they've arrested NBA star Kevin Porter Jr. The 23-year-old is accused of assaulting a woman believed to be his girlfriend, on Monday. A police spokesperson says the woman was taken to a hospital after she was choked and struck multiple times. Neither Porter's representative nor his team, the Houston Rockets, have responded to quest for comment. Porter has played four seasons in the NBA and signed a contract extension in October, reportedly worth more than $80 million.

FOSTER: Now to the NFL, where Aaron Rodgers debut with the New York Jets didn't go as planned. The veteran quarterback left the game against the Buffalo Bills with an apparent Achilles injury after just four plays on Monday night. X-rays were negative, but Rogers wouldn't return to the game. Back up quarterback Zach Wilson took the helm for the Jets, who ended up winning 22 to 16 in overtime.

NOBILO: And the stories in the spotlight this hour for you.

The scientist best known for creating and cloning Dolly the sheep, has died. The controversial researcher, Professor Sir Ian Wilmut, made worldwide headlines back in 1996 when Dolly became the first mammal clone from an adult cell.

FOSTER: Wilmut's work on embryo development was considered groundbreaking and he was knighted in 2008 for his scientific achievements. Ian Wilmut was 79 years old. Now we're having a look at Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano. These are live images, I believe, which started erupting again on Sunday after being quiet for nearly three months. How does the camera get that close? Kilauea is the youngest and most active volcano in Hawaii.

NOBILO: Some visitors were able to see that eruption up close. Hawaii's Volcano Observatory has lowered its alert level from warning to watch. Saying that the eruption has stabilized and is not a threat to nearby communities, thankfully.

FOSTER: Is it recommended that you go and have a look?


NOBILO: I'm not sure. I feel like they would definitely be trying to dissuade people if it was --

FOSTER: Yes, but if it's going to go off.

NOBILO: -- deeply dangerous, but thank goodness, because Hawaii's had so much tragedy to endure.

FOSTER: Yes, what a year.

FOSTER: Now an American astronaut has just set a new record for time in space, but he did it by accident, actually.

NOBILO: Dr. Frank Rubio has now reached his 356th day aboard the International Space Station, the longest of any U.S. astronaut that they've spent in Earth orbit. But it wasn't supposed to be this way because he was meant to return to Earth after six months. But the spacecraft slated to take him home sprung a coolant leak, so he stayed and stayed and stayed. And now he's rescheduled to return home later this month, a total of 371 days in space.

FOSTER: That's a long time, isn't it?

NOBILO: I mean, this is why astronauts obviously have such intense training because of the mental fortitude that you'd need to just constantly have your return date delayed when you're actually in space.

FOSTER: Yes, and physically, once you're back on earth, that's a lot of rebuilding, isn't it?

NOBILO: Absolutely. Yes, cause they come out on stretchers and them off because of the muscle deterioration.

FOSTER: We wish him luck. And we're getting a first -- I'm taking your script.

NOBILO: You are but it's OK. I'm feeling generous.

FOSTER: You're very generous. She's very generous person.

NOBILO: Yes, you go for it.

FOSTER: She'll be angry with me later.

We're taking a first look at the king of the ocean, thanks to a new teaser trailer.

NOBILO: The first trailer shall I -- the first trailer for "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" doesn't release until Thursday, but a new clip is giving fans a taste of what to expect?

FOSTER: You're excited about this?

NOBILO: I'm really excited. Have you seen the first one?

FOSTER: Aquaman's nemesis vows revenge on the hero for the events of the first film of the DC property -- which I haven't seen -- which brought in more than a billion dollars at the box office. The movie is set to hit theaters in December, a Christmas movie.

NOBILO: You know what I'm excited about now is that soundtrack. So these are the sorts of soundtracks that I use when I'm doing martial arts training to make myself feel like I'm in an action movie and that one that's going to be epic.

FOSTER: You're a real-life action figure. People don't know this. Well, they do if they follow your Instagram.

DC and Warner Brothers, by the way, are both owned by CNN's parent company Warner Brothers Discovery. And there's also another property coming up, isn't there? That is Casey Hunt coming up next on "EARLY START," all new show, exciting stuff.

NOBILO: So do stay tuned.

FOSTER: And thanks for watching us here on NEWSROOM though.

NOBILO: You can't still voice scripts and walk because we're ending. We'll both see you tomorrow.