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U.S Senate To Unveil Bipartisan Border Security Bill; Potentially Life-Threatening Flooding Forecast For Southern California; Biden Wins In South Carolina Primary; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Is Interviewed About The Senate Border Bill. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 04, 2024 - 17:00   ET




OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN HOST: Welcome everyone. You are in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Omar Jimenez in Washington in for Jim Acosta. At any moment, the Senate will release its bipartisan border bill, but even if it can pass the legislation, the bill is set to face stiff opposition from House Republicans. Speaker Johnson has said it's dead on arrival. That's quoting him, and that's even before he's seen what's in it at all.

That has Leader Hakeem Jeffries slamming House Republicans as wholly owned subsidiaries of Donald Trump. The White House is also criticizing Speaker Johnson saying he's tying himself in knots to delay border security. We're going to bring you the details on what's in the bill as soon as we have it. But first, we are tracking severe weather on the West Coast.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is warning people to evacuate in some parts of Southern California. You can see some of the regions there as the area braces for potentially life-threatening flooding conditions. So, I want to get right now to the CNN Weather Center where meteorologist Elisa Raffa is tracking that intense storm system known as an atmospheric river. And Elisa, the L.A. National Weather Service says the area hasn't seen any kind of weather event like this in years. Break it down for us.

ELISA RAFFA, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: Yeah, they just kind of updated their forecast discussion, and it's got such intense, strong wording, using words like dangerous, life-threatening, dramatic, something we haven't seen in years. When it comes to the heavy snow, the landslides, and the urban flooding, this could really be a multi-threat and incredibly dangerous storm.

This is what it looks like right now. It's been intensifying off the coast of California where you see some of those lightning strikes popping. It tells us that the storm is intensifying. Now, the rain hasn't really shifted into Southern California yet, but again, the latest updates is telling us that we're just bracing now for the worst that's to come this evening and overnight, where rainfall rates could get to one to one and a half inches per hour in L.A., and you know, that could be incredibly dangerous that could cause some flash flooding concerns.

Already, 210,000 customers are without power in California. Most of those have been central and northern California where they've had some hurricane force wind gusts all day. Again, we'll continue to find these impacts sliding southward.

Here's that high risk, again, an incredibly rare high risk that we only see less than four percent of our days but it's responsible for 80 percent of our flood damage and nearly 40 percent of our flood related deaths. And we've got that centered over Southern California from Santa Barbara to L.A. and Long Beach today. And another high risk is in place for tomorrow because this heavy rain will just continue for a couple of days going into tomorrow and Tuesday.

So, dangerous and life-threatening flash floods. River and urban flooding. This could be a problem in the heart of the city too. Mud and debris flow, landslides over the burn scars, downed trees and power lines already causing power problems because like I said, it's not just about the water. It's also about the wind. Look at these wind warnings. Gusted to 80 miles per hour from Sacramento down to L.A. Even the first ever hurricane force warning issued just off the coast for some of those gusts over 90 miles per hour as those winds continue to kick through the day.

So, you can see the fire hose of rain that just continues to pull into California really setting up overnight tonight and into tomorrow from Southern California, from L. A to San Diego with that heavy rain going through Monday and even into Tuesday. That's why we call it an atmospheric river. It is a river of moisture in the air that just targets one spot.

Now when you look at the forecast rain and snow accumulation, first of all we're looking at feet of snow up in the higher elevations, but when you look at the rain, we're looking at rain totals widespread four to eight inches across southern California, but we could see totals over eight inches and that is incredibly significant for this part of the country. And I wanted to put it into perspective for you.

We're also coming off of a storm that happened last week, okay? So, on February 1st, which was only what, two or three days ago, L.A. got two and a half inches of rain. This storm alone, through today and tomorrow, could give them another six inches of rain. So, you're looking at totals just in one week approaching nine inches in L.A., and that's most of their annual yearly rain. They get 12 inches of rain in a year.


So, between the storm that we had earlier this week and the one unfolding now, we could be looking at nine-inch rain totals. And that's where you get the flash flooding to really unfold because the rainfall rates at one or one and a half inches per hour on top of saturated grounds plus the wind, this really could be a recipe for something incredibly dangerous unfolding over the next couple of hours. JIMENEZ: Yeah, and I think you put it into great perspective. I mean,

just the amount of rain that we've seen in the past few days alone rivaling, getting close to what they see in a year, it's incredible for all the wrong reasons. Elisa Raffa in the CNN Weather Center, thank you so much.

Now I want to bring you all the latest on that bipartisan Senate border bill. We're still standing by to see the text of the bill. It's due to be released sometime this afternoon. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he's taking steps to hold the first vote Wednesday, but House GOP leadership continues to dump preemptive cold water on anything and really everything to do with this deal so far.

Now CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is following the latest for us. So, Priscilla, okay, we don't have the text just yet, but we have seen glimpses based on what's been negotiated, at least on a bipartisan base so far. What are some of the key points we're gonna be looking for in this bill?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Omar, this has been months in the making. Senate negotiators, Democrats, and Republicans have been working for weeks to put this deal together on what, of course, has been a vexing issue for Congress for decades. Now, I've been talking to sources this afternoon who have described a deal that would really mark a dramatic overhaul of immigration law. And if it were passed, it would mark the most drastic change that we have made to immigration law in decades.

Now, what to look for here is really the changes it makes to asylum. So, what has been described to me is really a deal that would really restrict asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border in hopes these negotiators think of trying to cut down on border crossings because over the last few years, the way the migration flow has evolved is that there have been more and more people seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border and our system is just simply not prepared to deal with those numbers.

Now, some of these items that have been described to me are conservative wishlist items. And even so, the White House has embraced what we do know of the deal so far. President Biden going so far as to say last week that he would shut down the border and do it quickly if given the authority, an authority that would be included in this deal. But it's important, Omar, to remind viewers about how we got to this moment.

Last October, President Biden asked Congress for a national security supplemental request. That included billions of funds for Israel- Ukraine border security among other priorities. But Republicans made it quite clear from the get-go that they didn't want to pass any of that unless there were major border policy changes and that has culminated in these talks that have occurred over the last few weeks.

And really, if you zoom out, it puts this political liability for President Biden at the center of his foreign policy agenda as the White House has tried to reach an agreement with the Senate negotiators while trying to get that aid passed for, again, the president's foreign policy priorities being Israel and Ukraine. Now, as you mentioned there, Senator Chuck Schumer wants to put a vote

on the floor, on the Senate floor this week. That means that we need to get the text sometime soon. But the House Republicans have made clear too, that this is dead on arrival in the House. So, whether this has any future really remains to be seen.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, and again, we are expecting the text of that bill at some point and from there we will see what the future holds, but not great signs so far, at least on the House side of things. Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much.

I want to get straight to Larry Sabato, Director of the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia. Good to see you, Larry. So, I just want to pick up where we left off with Priscilla there. It seems House Republicans are determined to reject this bill regardless of what's in it. Why?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER OF POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, you got it exactly right. They want to reject it because they think it'll hurt their election chances and because the head of their party, and he's clearly the head of their party once again, Donald Trump has told them to reject it. He hasn't been subtle about it, but he rarely is. So, they have chosen politics rather than solving a major problem that most Americans regard as being very important.

Their bet is, and I guess it's probably going to work out for them, their bet is that Americans as usual will not pay attention to legislative maneuvering. They won't know who's responsible for killing the reforms. And therefore, they will benefit from having no reform because people will continue to see chaos at the border and they will blame the incumbent President Biden.

JIMENEZ: And look, it's even -- it's an effort that at this point has even frustrated those, at least on the Senate Republican side, who have been involved in these bipartisan negotiations. So, it's a very different environment in some respects and the Senate versus the House. But of course, you need both of them to make this happen.

I want to point out a new NBC poll which shows Trump leading Biden by a wide margin on the issue of border security, but Trump is openly bragged about torpedoing the border security bill, which is what we're talking about, saying he doesn't want to give Democrats a win. You touched on it a little bit, but do voters take that into consideration when judging Biden's performance on the issue?

SABATO: Well, I would think Democrats would, and some independents, but by and large, independents, not all of them, but I think a majority of independents do not closely follow this sort of maneuvering and therefore, they will be inclined to lean to one side or another because of other issues, the economy or crime or whatever it is they're focusing on.

So, you know, it's really remarkable. And the Biden people haven't really started to focus on Trump and his relationship to the border. You know, Omar, you remember, this was all solved during the four years of Trump's presidency with that big, beautiful wall that he built that was paid for by Mexico. Oh wait, that didn't happen. And I don't think people remember that. And they will. That's what campaigns are for.

JIMENEZ: And you know, that was one thing that, you know, for example, I covered a little bit of when Chris Christie was in the race, and that was one thing he hit on immediately, trying to push back against some of the things you might hear at a Donald Trump campaign rally. But you bring up a good point that while we're awaiting the Senate text, maybe the majority of folks aren't going to read it as closely as we do in a few moments later on.


I want to point out another part of that NBC News poll because it also shows that Trump narrowly beats Biden in a hypothetical rematch. It is still early at this point, but that's similar to CNN's most recent poll and Biden's approval rating, again, based on what's been pulled, is at an all-time low at just 37 percent. That said, the economy does seem to be creeping in the right direction. So, what does the Biden campaign need to do here to capitalize on some of his wins, but bottom line, improve some of these numbers?

SABATO: They need to use every day. I say constantly, relax, don't panic. It's early February, that poll from NBC was taken at the end of January. It's nine months until the election, so you don't want to overreact, but you also don't want to underreact. And it's pretty clear that Americans aren't accepting the positive changes that are occurring in the economy and in a number of other sectors in public policy.

That is a problem for President Biden and his team. They have to start figuring out how to do a better job of getting credit for what is happening and the economy is clearly turning around. Major positive changes have been occurring. Yes, it takes a long time for people to catch on, especially if they aren't paying attention to the ins and outs of politics. But it's there. The data is there. The arguments are there. And they have to be utilized, repetition, repetition, every day, every day, every day. That's how you teach, by the way.

Well, and you know, part of the momentum I think they're trying to grab is a little bit of what we saw in South Carolina over the weekend. He performed very well in last night's South Carolina primary, his close ally, Congressman James Clyburn said it proves his support among black voters is still strong. Take a listen.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): He got 96 percent of the vote in this primary, but his largest percentage, over 97 percent, was in the town of Orangeburg, where there are two HBCUs and a community college. And he got the largest percentage of the whole state. So that demonstrates to me what I've been saying all the time that Joe Biden has not lost any support among African-Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ: Now, obviously there was some political strategy in having South Carolina be the first delegate state for President Joe Biden. But bottom line, what did the campaign learn last night?

SABATO: They learned that by communicating what they had done and having the support of leaders like Congressman Clyburn, they could communicate what it is that Joe Biden has done and why it's important for him to be reelected and why it's worth their time to show up to the polls and vote. So, all of that was good.

And you know, 96 percent is a pretty impressive number in anybody's book, though I will bet you Omar, that if we look at all news organizations together, and I'm thinking of one in particular, every single one of the 4 percent who didn't vote for President Biden will be interviewed over the next week or so. So, it's important to focus on what really happened, but does that mean that Black voters in other states will react the same way, not necessarily.

That's what I was saying about everyday mattering, not just for Black voters, but for young voters.


The most disturbing number in the NBC news poll was the fact that young voters under 34, 18 to 34, are tied, tied, between Trump and Biden, and without a large majority among young people, as well as Black voters, as well as frankly, independents. President Biden's gonna have a really tough time.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, well, Larry Sabato, we could talk all day about this stuff, but unfortunately, got to leave it there. Thanks for being with us.

SABATO: Thank you, Omar.

JIMENEZ: All right, just ahead, we are talking with Congressman Eric Swalwell, a member of the Homeland Security Committee, about the highly anticipated Senate border bill. There he is there. Also, new revelations tonight about how successful those U.S. airstrikes were against Iranian-backed targets in Yemen. You're in the "CNN Newsroom." Stay with us.



JIMENEZ: Right now, we're awaiting new details on what's inside the Senate's massive border security package. The bipartisan bill, which faces heavy skepticism from some Republicans, would link aid to Ukraine and Israel with new measures to curb immigration at the southern border. A lot to talk about, so let's talk about it more with Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He's also a member of the House Homeland Security and Judiciary Committees. Great to see you. Thanks for being with us.

I want to start with what's expected to be in this bill. Obviously, we're still waiting on this text, but it could expedite the asylum process and policies like catch and release while severely restricting daily border crossings. So just from those points alone, is that something that you would support?

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Yes. I support more security at the border, more certainty at the border. That's what President Biden is trying to achieve. He needs authorities from Congress to do that. And what we're seeing is that he is trying to govern and Republicans are trying to sabotage. And President Bush -- I'm sorry -- President Trump is telling them, don't take this deal, it only helps President Biden.

And, Omar, by the way, this deal was conceived by the second most conservative member of the Senate, James Lankford. And so, it shows that President Biden and Democrats are willing to roll up our sleeves and collaborate and compromise for the good of security, for the good of the nation. And at the end of the day, you know, this is what we've seen with this Republican Party. They are a party of followers, and that's in contrast with Democrats trying to be a party of leaders.

JIMENEZ: Well, it's going to be a question of whether there even becomes an opportunity for a compromise today. Speaker Mike Johnson was asked whether he would bring this deal to the House for a vote. Again, no one has the text yet. At least it's not public. Let's listen to how he responded.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president of the United States opened the border. This is an abject failure of leadership. The American people are done with this. The border has to be secured. The president has the authority right now. He doesn't need another act of Congress. He could do it right now, but he's unwilling to do it.


JIMENEZ: Now, that idea of, you know, him having the authority to do it right now, some of the previous executive order actions have been caught up in courts for years. And so, I'm curious, just from your perspective, what do you think? One, will this bill get a vote in the House? And two, I did hear some similar things that at least Speaker Johnson says he wants border security, he wants the border to be secure, which is what you've said as well.

SWALWELL: Yes. You know, we need a more secure border, which means we need more resources and for credible asylum claims, we should process those as quickly as possible. We also have a workforce crisis in this country. Talk to any young family about childcare costs, or talk to anyone who works in hospitality about, you know, getting the labor they need. They don't have it. And so, we do need an expedited earned citizenship or, you know, workplace citizenship or visa process.

We can do all of that. I went to Washington to do big things, not to just play politics and sabotage the other side's ideas if it benefits me. And so, I do hope we get a vote for it, but it's really, you know, do you want to govern or do you want to ruin? It comes down to that. JIMENEZ: Well, I think we are seeing an intersection of politics and

policy here. No coincidence it is an election year, but along those same lines, polls continue to show President Biden getting crushed on immigration among voters. A new poll released by NBC shows 57 percent say Donald Trump would do a better job securing the border and controlling immigration. Only 22 percent say Biden would, again, according to this poll.

So, I guess from a politics standpoint, how does President Biden not make this a losing issue?

SWALWELL: Well, he should really lean in and start playing on the Republican side of the field here and show that they want border disorder. And they're saying it out loud, which I think, you know, they're so cavalier about it that Republicans are openly saying we can't do anything that helps Biden, and we should really make this about people or politics.

You know, we can have, you know, a party that chooses people, or we can have a party that chooses politics. And you know, frankly, we shouldn't be so nice and we shouldn't be so virtuous. Too much is at stake right now. And if we're going to be the ones offering solutions, as we did on infrastructure and jobs and on the CHIPS Act and on the gun safety legislation, and we're doing that now on the border, the American people should know it because in nine months, they're going to have to make a decision as to whether they want a party of followers, followers of Donald Trump or a party of leaders, following president Biden who has worked in a bipartisan way.

JIMENEZ: Let's talk about Trump here because today the former president is trying to clarify his remarks that he said he'd be a dictator on day one claiming he was only kidding.


SWALWELL: That wasn't popular.

JIMENEZ: Yes. Take a listen to the soundbite real quick.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I said, I'm going to be a dictator because he asked me, are you really going to be a dictator? I said, absolutely. I'm going to be a dictator for one day. I didn't say from day one.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you mean executive orders? What did that mean?

TRUMP: No, no, no. That's what I'm saying. It said very simple. I'm going to close the border and we're going to drill, baby, drill. That's all. And then after that, I'm not going to be a dictator. Now that was said in jest.


JIMENEZ: So, you're already getting it on the on the response to that. So, what do you make of his explanation there?

SWALWELL: He's realizing how unpopular it is in this country to be led by a dictator. And look, he led our country as a dictator for four years. He was impeached twice, you know, for leveraging taxpayer dollars to have our ally, Ukraine, try and get dirt on President Biden and for inciting and aiming a mob at the Capitol for an election he wanted overturned because he had lost.

And he has recently, you know, in the way that he has talked, he sounds like a dictator. His lawyers went to court a couple of weeks ago and said to a Court of Appeal that Donald Trump could have the Navy SEALs assassinate one of his political opponents and that is something he could not be charged for because he has absolute immunity. America is a freedom loving, democratic country. We're not going to turn away from that as long as we all keep our eye on the ball and remember what matters to us most.

JIMENEZ: Well, and I want to turn to one more piece of news before we go, specifically the retaliatory airstrikes the U.S. has been conducting in the Middle East this weekend against Iran-backed militias. And the president officially notified Congress of the strikes today, but we haven't heard from him publicly on this. Do you think that Americans should be hearing from him directly on this?

SWALWELL: Yeah, the president, you know, I know he spoke throughout the week that this was coming, and I expect, you know, on Monday he will give us more information. But he has a right to protect American troops and allies in the region with these limited self-defense strikes. And Iran should take notice, and they should de-escalate, because the Houthis, you know, this organization that they back in Yemen, are out of control. And we need stability in the region.

And this president, whether it's on Ukraine, whether it's on Taiwan, whether it's what's going on in the Middle East, has shown, unlike the prior president, that he can stitch allies together and not just go it alone as we have done here. We are working with allies to defend the United States and its interests, and it's nice to see diplomacy and global leadership is back.

JIMENEZ: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you so much for being with us.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks.

JIMENEZ: All right, more on those airstrikes as a US-led coalition of countries target militias backed by Iran and the Middle East, all while the White House says it's trying to avoid a wider war. You're in the "CNN Newsroom." More next.



JIMENEZ: We'll say the Biden administration is vowing further action in the Middle East following a series of strikes against Iran-backed militant groups in Syria and Iraq on Friday. U.S. defense officials say the strikes destroyed or damaged 84 out of 85 targets and as of now, there are no indications of any Iranian casualties.

Now, this is in response to a deadly strike on U.S. troops in Jordan that killed three service members. You see them there. And over in Yemen, Houthi rebels are vowing to retaliate, saying they will meet escalation with escalation after a U.S.-led coalition hit at least 30 targets yesterday.

So, joining me now is CNN military analyst General Mark Hertling and Norman Roule. He's the senior adviser for the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who also spent decades at the CIA.

So, Norman, I want to start with you. The U.S. attempts at deterring these militants really comes as President Biden is looking to avoid a broader conflict in the region. Do you see the strategies that have been playing out so far as having been working so far?

NORMAN ROULE, SENIOR ADVISER, CSIS TRANSNATIONAL THREATS PROJECT: Good evening. It's too early to say. The initial attacks conducted by the United States certainly demonstrated the potency and sophistication of our long-term air -- long-range air assets, but we conducted no operations against equities that would be important to the leadership of Iran's proxies or Iran itself.

So how this moves forward if the attacks stop, if the Iranians change the behavior, if their personal proxies will dictate forthcoming steps by the United States, and that's how we should measure the success of this operation and campaign.

JIMENEZ: And obviously, a delicate balance here, general, in particular that there were no or no indications at this point of any Iranian casualties in the strikes against the militants here. So, one, how critical is that note there given the state of negotiations? But also, 84 out of 85 targets were destroyed or damaged in this particular mission. Is that a successful mission in your opinion?

MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It certainly is, Omar. And what I'd say is whenever you put together target packages for a long-term campaign, the first thing you want to do is provide an entry into future operations.

So, you take a look at the targets that were hit, that were announced by Central Command and the DOD, command and control headquarters, intelligence headquarters, missile launch sites, arms caches. All of those things are areas and targets that would contribute to attempting to defend certain areas against U.S. forces as they come in additional times.


So, what I think is the target packages in both Friday night and Saturday night strike were a very good one and it opens the way for additional strikes, which I think we're going to see really soon, that has been promised by the administration and the Central Command commander. So yeah, I think that the target packages were good and 84 out of 85 strikes that were hits and were effective is what they were looking at over the last two days as well.

JIMENEZ: Now, these retaliatory strikes have not been able to avoid politics as they rarely do here. But in particular, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is criticizing the strikes as not being retaliatory enough to deter Iran-backed militants. I want to play a clip from that Fox News interview this morning.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): It is not working. We need to change our policy. People are not afraid of us. This idea of hitting hundreds of targets, it doesn't matter. The only Iranian we killed in Syria, Iraq is some (bleep) that doesn't know to get out of the way. We gave them a week's notice.


JIMENEZ: Now, that characterization aside, Norman, do you believe there should have been a more forceful response here? And if so, what would that next tier even look like?

ROULE: Well, a more forceful response would have been one that took place more rapidly after the attack itself. A problem that we're going to have to monitor is that the Iranians and perhaps some of the most important material that they dispersed from the sites because of the advance warning can be returned fairly quickly, in some cases in a matter of hours, because these leaders have embedded themselves in civilian populations in Damascus and Iraq.

So, if we wish to deter Iran, we don't deter Iran by blowing up empty buildings or even proxy assets. You must touch issues or assets of important to the regime leadership itself.

There is one other issue here and that is we can't go too far into Iraq or be too robust in our attacks because we're currently in delicate negotiations with the Iraqi government on the status of U.S. forces and this would inflame Iran's population where we conduct broader attacks and perhaps accelerate the departure of U.S. forces and impact our fight against Daesh.

JIMENEZ: And, you know, General Hertling, as you know, the facilities that were struck here included command and control operation centers, intelligence centers, rockets, missiles and, as Norman touched on but also Senator Graham touched on, is that what's critical here is to see that targets of value are actually struck.

So, I'm curious, from your perspective, what do you see as the value in what was struck here and what would that next tier of value look like if there was to be a shift in focus to something again, as both Norman and Senator Graham have said, is more valuable?

HERTLING: Yeah, I got to say, truthfully, Omar, I don't agree with Mr. Roule. I certainly don't agree with Senator Graham on his actions in terms of targeting procedures. I also don't agree with the people that say all the fighters left the area because there was a five-day delay.

Having fought in Iraq for over three years, there's not that many places to go. And in addition to that, we hit major assets that would allow, as I said earlier, a more forceful entry later on with additional strikes, which the president has said is going to happen.

The other thing Senator Graham said Thursday before the Friday of the first strike is he wanted to strike Tehran, a city of 9 million people. I'm not sure what targeting procedure he's using, but I don't think that would allow the kind of action that we want to take against the Iranian proxies that are in Syria, Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen.

We are trying to strike those targets because they form the decisive points and the center of gravity for the Iranian strategy. They use their proxies as their forward forces. So, when you start destroying the proxies, and again, we're in the very early stages of a campaign plan, you certainly affect the regime of Iran without striking them directly and potentially causing a regional or even a global war.

JIMENEZ: And we do have to go here. But Norman, I just want to allow you to respond a little bit. What would that next tier of value look like if you don't necessarily deem these targets as valuable?

ROULE: Well, I'm not saying these targets aren't valuable. I'm saying that they aren't sufficient to deter Iran's leaders or proxy leaders from future attacks against the U.S. And indeed, there has been one drone attack today. If you're going to continue these attacks, it's against further proxy facilities, likely in Syria and perhaps in Western Iraq.

JIMENEZ: Gotcha. Understood. All right. Well, we will see what the response is in the coming days. General Mark Hertling, Norman Roule, thank you so much for being with us.

HERTLING: Pleasure.

ROULE: Thank you.

JIMENEZ: Meanwhile, jury deliberations will begin tomorrow in the manslaughter trial of Jennifer Crumbley whose son killed four classmates in a high school shooting in Michigan. We're going to have more on the historic case ahead in the "CNN Newsroom."



JIMENEZ: Now to the landmark legal battle in Michigan over whether parents can be held accountable when their minor children commit crimes. This week, a jury will start deliberations in Jennifer Crumbley's involuntary manslaughter trial. She is the mother of Ethan Crumbley, the high school student convicted of killing four of his Oxford High School classmates in 2021 in Michigan.

Now, Jennifer Crumbley's trial marks the first time a parent could face prison time for their child's actions in a mass shooting. Her husband's trial is set to begin next month. CNN's Jean Casarez has more on this unfolding story.


KAREN MCDONALD, OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We actually saw the last day he was practicing to kill four of his classmates. And there was only one person with him, ladies and gentlemen, and her name is Jennifer Crumbley.


SHANNON SMITH, JENNIFER CRUMBLEY'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It was unforeseeable. No one expected this. No one could have expected this, including Mrs. Crumbley.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorneys making their final pitches to persuade the jury in this historic trial of the mother of the Oxford, Michigan school shooter.

MCDONALD: She walked out of that school when just the smallest, smallest of things could have saved, could have helped Hana and Tate and Madisyn and Justin. Just the smallest of things. And not only did she not do it, she doesn't even regret it.

SMITH: The Crumbley son was a skilled manipulator, and they didn't realize it. He's not sick. He doesn't have a mental illness. No parent would purchase a weapon if they believed their child had mental illnesses.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Before closing arguments began, Jennifer Crumbley faced cross-examination, testifying she knew her son was acting depressed after his only friend moved away, just one month before the shooting.

MARC KEAST, OAKLAND COUNTY ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR (voice-over): You knew to be true in November of 2021 that he had no peer support.

JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, MOTHER OF ETHAN CRUMBLEY WHO KILLED FOUR PEOPLE: I don't know what he had in school. He told me he had friends in school that he talks to.

KEAST (voice-over): Okay. You never met them?


KEAST (voice-over): Okay. And he didn't have any clubs at school he was a part of?


CASAREZ (voice-over): Jennifer Crumbley is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty. The prosecution pressing Crumbley on her actions the day of the shooting. That morning, the school called in Jennifer Crumbley and her husband after discovering a violent drawing their son made on his math worksheet.

KEAST (voice-over): What about "the thoughts won't stop, help me?" That ring out to you?

CRUMBLEY: Yes, that was what was concerning to me.

KEAST (voice-over): Blood everywhere and there's a bullet and, actually, you were the one who bought the bullets in November the 27th.

CRUMBLEY: Correct.

KEAST (voice-over): You later came to learn that those bullets were used in the shooting.


CASAREZ (voice-over): In the meeting at school, Crumbley did not mention the gun purchased four days earlier for their 15-year-old son.

KEAST: You didn't tell them that you had gotten him that Christmas gift?

CRUMBLEY: I didn't think it was relevant. No.

KEAST: You acknowledged that you didn't go home to look for that firearm after the meeting at the school.

CRUMBLEY: We wouldn't have a reason to.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Her son used that gun to kill four of his classmates, Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Justin Shilling, and Hana St. Juliana after that meeting on November 30th, 2021. The prosecution asking Crumbley whether she neglected her son, pointing to how often she spent time with her horses.

KEAST (voice-over): Your son could have been with you, those three, four, five times a week when you were at the barn.

CRUMBLEY: He could have, yes.

KEAST: And on November the 30th of 2021 at 12:51 p.m., you could have been with him.

CRUMBLEY: I could have, yes.

KEAST (voice-over): And you didn't?


CASAREZ (voice-over): In closings, Crumbley's lawyer dismissing that argument.

SMITH: Just because she spends money and time on horses doesn't mean she doesn't love her son.

CASAREZ: Closing arguments concluded late Friday afternoon. The jury will return on Monday where they will hear instructions from the judge and then they will begin their deliberations. Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.


JIMENEZ: Truly a landmark trial. Jean, thank you.

We're also still following the weather conditions in Southern California where the Weather Service says L.A. will have one of its most dramatic weather days in recent memory. Danger for tens of millions of people ahead.




JIMENEZ: Tonight, music's biggest stars are all gathering at one major event. I'm talking about the Grammys, of course. That's where we find CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister, who is live on the red carpet where the excitement is building. I can see it all behind you despite some pretty nasty weather in the area today. So, Elizabeth, what's the vibe like out there right now?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: You know, the vibe is great. As you see, the red carpet is packed. Everybody is starting to arrive.

But as you mentioned, Omar, the weather is threatening perhaps to shut down the Grammys. Now, I'm kidding when I say that because as you see outside, we do have some rain here, it's probably going to cause a lot of traffic, so the stars may be late, but the show will go on because, as you see, the red carpet is tented. There is a full roof here. So, we are staying dry, we are staying warm, we are ready for the big night, and it is going to be a huge night.

Some of the performances, we have U2 coming from the Sphere in Las Vegas. Also, Joni Mitchell performing for her first time ever at the Grammy Awards, which is crazy to think in Grammy history. She never has before. Also, Billy Joel. And we have sources who confirmed to us at CNN that Miley Cyrus is taking the stage tonight and also Tracy Chapman.

JIMENEZ: I think this might be the first red carpet slash weather report we've ever had. So, I just want to say props to you. The camera pan out to the roof and the rain was amazing. Now, aside from the weather, what are some of the big storylines you're looking for tonight?

WAGMEISTER: Thank you for that, by the way. It's my first weather report ever. But the big storylines tonight, of course, Taylor Swift. Thank you. Taylor Swift. So, as we know, this is the year of Taylor. And tonight, she stands to make history.

Right now, she is tied with none other than Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra to be the only three artists who have won three times for Album of the Year.


If she wins tonight, she will be the only artist in music history and Grammy's history to win four times. Also, SZA, who leads the nominations tonight with nine nominations, will make history if she wins in that category, becoming the first Black woman to win in 25 years since Lauryn Hill.

JIMENEZ: All right, Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you so much. Enjoy it tonight. Good to see you.

Also, tonight, how did Martha Stewart go from multimedia mogul to behind bars? Go inside her rise, fall, and reinvention in the final episodes of "The Many Lives of Martha Stewart" starting tonight at 9 p.m. on CNN.

Meanwhile, parts of California are under mandatory evacuation orders as tens of millions of people prepare for an intense storm expected to bring potentially life-threatening floods and landslides.

And just in, the Pentagon is releasing new video moments ago of the latest round of airstrikes against Iranian targets in Yemen. Fareed Zakaria is going to join me next to discuss the situation unfolding in the Middle East and how the U.S. is responding to Iranian-linked attacks. Stand by.