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CNN International: Key Senators Signal Border Deal May Be Dead Ahead of Vote; Britain's King Charles III Diagnosed with Cancer; Storm Pounds California with Rain, Flash Floods, Mudslides; Blinken Returns to Middle East on High-Stakes Trip. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 06, 2024 - 04:00   ET




MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Buckingham Palace announcing that King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer. He's in good spirits, but of course we're talking about cancer here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stay safe and off the roads. Only leave your house if it is absolutely necessary.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was the first time in California's history that there was a warning issued for hurricane force winds.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I just don't believe that the Senate bill meets the criteria that's necessary to solve the problem.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster and Bianca Nobilo.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world and the United States. I'm Bianca Nobilo. Max is on royal duties today.

It's Tuesday, February 6th, 9 a.m. here in London. But we begin in Washington, where Republican senators are signaling that a newly unveiled border deal may already be dead before a key vote tomorrow.

And Republican leaders in the House are calling it too weak, saying in a statement.

Any consideration of the Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is dead on arrival in the House. We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.

The one hundred and eighteen billion dollar bipartisan package was negotiated by Democrat Chris Murphy, independent Kyrsten Sinema and Republican James Langford. It would include the first major change to U.S. immigration law in decades.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The sixty four thousand dollar question now is whether or not senators can drown out the outside noise, drown out people like Donald Trump who want chaos and do the right thing for America.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): Well, my biggest apprehension is that given the fact that President Biden has not used the current laws that are in effect, I worry what he will do with this new set of proposals and whether it will actually make any difference in this humanitarian crisis that we're seeing.

I'm haven't made my way all through this bill. Earlier, there were some comments made that this makes incrementally a better situation for Texas and for the country. That's something I think I should consider.


NOBILO: CNN's Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona has more on the fallout from these negotiations.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: It looks like it's probably not even going to pass the Senate where this deal was negotiated by this bipartisan group of lawmakers.

Senate Republicans, they had this meeting. They huddled behind closed doors. It was about a little bit over an hour. We're told it was a very animated, robust discussion. But afterwards, those Republicans came out signaling that they don't think this deal is going to have the support it needs to advance through a procedural vote on Wednesday.

Even James Langford, he was the lead Republican negotiator, is expressing doubt that this is going to have the votes. So just a remarkable blow and a huge embarrassment, really, for the Republicans who had initially demanded border security policy changes in exchange for Ukraine aid.

And a huge reason for that, it's Donald Trump. He has really changed the politics inside the GOP. And in some cases, they're saying the quiet part out loud, which is they don't want to give Joe Biden and the Democrats a win.

I do think it's important to tick through what was in this bill because it is the most conservative immigration proposal that's been debated on Capitol Hill probably in decades.

So a centerpiece of the bill is this new authority to shut down the border. That would become available once average daily migrant crossings reach 4,000 in a one-week span. It would only become mandatory, though, once that average daily migrant crossing reaches 5,000. So Republicans had some issues with that. It's not an absolute authority. Biden also has the power to temporarily suspend that authority if he determines it's necessary.

Asylum, that was another big point of contention. But they ultimately agreed to raise the threshold for those seeking asylum. They're also going to speed up that process from right now could take a few years down to a few months. So that was a big concession there from Democrats.

It also would restrict presidential parole authority. It would also limit catch and release, again, two big things that Republicans would push for.

And then on the Democratic side, something they were pushing for. This would authorize 250,000 new visas over five years for families.


NOBILO: CNN's Melanie Zanona reporting there.

Donald Trump is amplifying his criticism of the bipartisan border bill.


The former U.S. president has made no secret of the fact that he wants the issue kept alive during his campaign for re-election. Trump appeared on right-wing media Monday saying any Republicans who vote for the bill would likely be ending their career.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just said close the border. It's closed. Then I went to Mexico. I negotiated with Mexico. They gave us 28,000 troops. They gave us a lot of other things. Stay in Mexico. Remain. We called it remain in Mexico. They gave us that. This bill doesn't have anything about remain in Mexico.

This is a Democrat trap. It's a trap for Republicans that would be so stupid, so foolish to sign a bill like this. This bill can't be signed.


NOBILO: Donald Trump's political rival, Nikki Haley, also addressed the potential border deal being discussed in Washington. The Republican presidential candidate says it has both good and bad components.


NIKKI HALEY, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The good side of the bill is it strengthens asylum laws. We need to strengthen who can file for asylum or not. The bad thing about the bill is it doesn't include the remain in Mexico policy. You have to have that.

The second part of the bill that's not good is it waits until 5,000 people cross the border before they do something. We have to do it with the first person.


NOBILO: And as the race heats up, Haley has applied for Secret Service protection. A campaign spokesperson tells CNN it's due to the threat she's facing as Trump's only remaining opponent for the Republican nomination. Haley has notably had a greater security presence with her for about a week now.

The U.S. House Rules Committee has voted to advance an impeachment resolution against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Republican leaders believe it will pass a full House vote today. If so, it would make him just the second U.S. cabinet secretary in history to be impeached. The White House issued a statement strongly opposing the House resolution, calling an impeachment of Mayorkas, quote, unprecedented and unconstitutional.

Wishes for a speedy recovery are pouring in from around the world for Britain's King Charles III, after Buckingham Palace announced he's been diagnosed with an undisclosed type of cancer. It was detected during treatment last month for an enlarged prostate, but a source tells CNN it is not prostate cancer. The palace says the 75-year-old monarch will step back from his public-facing duties while he undergoes treatment, but he will continue with state business and official paperwork.

Meanwhile, the people of London are offering their support to the king.


IMOGEN HOLDER, INSURANCE BROKER: I feel quite sad about it. I think it's interesting with all the news about him that it's not to do with the prostate thing, and they've said it's kind of a different cancer. But hopefully they've caught it early and it will be a positive outcome for him.

MAHMOUD MOEIT, TOURIST FROM EGYPT: That is really sad news for all the world, not only for the citizens of the United Kingdom. We pray for him. We are really heartened to hear that bad news. We pray for him to get a quick recovery.

BEN TAN, TOURIST FROM THE U.S.: I mean, it's shocking. Anyone like that, they feel almost like immortal, and then something like that happens, and it's a reminder that we're just human beings.


NOBILO: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says he's thankful that King Charles' cancer was caught early. He told the BBC he will remain in close contact with the king and try to continue as normal.

And here's U.S. President Joe Biden.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a message for King Charles?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I'm about to call him. Yes, I'm concerned about him. Just heard his diagnosis. I'll be talking to him, God willing.


NOBILO: More now from CNN Royal correspondent and my co-anchor, Max Foster.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Buckingham Palace announcing that King Charles III has been diagnosed with a form of cancer just over a week after undergoing a corrective procedure for a benign enlarged prostate. The palace outlining that during that procedure, a separate issue of concern was caught, resulting in the diagnosis.

The type of cancer hasn't been specified, but a source tells CNN that it's not prostate cancer.

The statement released by the palace revealed that the British monarch has already commenced a schedule of regular treatments, and announced that he'll postpone public-facing duties, as advised by his doctors. Monday's statement also saying that Charles decided to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and help spread awareness for those affected by cancer.

The king will also continue state business and official paperwork, as usual, as head of state, with CNN hearing that he'll continue his weekly audience with the British prime minister.


CNN also understands there are no current plans to appoint councilors of state, which refers to designated members of the royal family who are delegated the monarch's duties temporarily if he becomes too unwell. The public would be told if that were to change.

The diagnosis, less than a year into Charles' reign, also becoming a moment of unity for the royal family.

CNN is learning that Queen Camilla is preparing to play an important role during this time, continuing her full program of public duties. Kensington Palace also announcing earlier in the day that the Prince of Wales would return to public duties this week after taking time off to support his wife, Kate, after recovering from her recent abdominal surgery. Meanwhile, Prince Harry is set to fly back to the U.K. in the coming days to visit his father.

The family, despite their fractures over the last few years, coming back together amid this crisis.

Max Foster, CNN London.


NOBILO: CNN's Anna Stewart is here with me in London to discuss. It's so nice to see you, Anna, and have you on the program. This is wonderful. But obviously in very sad circumstances.

So how are the people of London and the country at large responding to this?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think we've played a soundbite from people in the public from yesterday. And clearly there's a lot of shock about the diagnosis. And it's a really interesting situation where we have more information than we would have done with the late Queen.

We have a cancer diagnosis, but not as much information, perhaps, as the public might want. There's fascination at this stage as to what type of cancer this is, how serious it is, what stage it's at, what the treatment process will be. And we have limited information.

So the palace statement at the end said that they were telling us about the diagnosis so that it would put an end to any speculation. And of course, in many ways, it's fueled even more speculation. I don't expect we're going to get a running commentary. The palace have given guidance so that there won't be cameras positioned outside the hospital where King Charles will be an outpatient going to and from. So at this stage, all we know is he's taking treatment seriously. It's happening very quickly, but he hopes for a good outcome.

NOBILO: Is there any constitutional implication here?

STEWART: This is an interesting one because clearly with the U.K., this is one of those moments where you remember we have a constitutional monarchy. And the monarch has certain roles, appointing prime ministers, dissolving parliament, giving royal assent to acts and legislation. So what does this mean? Well, at this stage, clearly it doesn't mean very much at all because the king is going to continue with his constitutional duties, essentially working from home. He won't be doing public facing engagements.

Now, there is, of course, an allowance, though, if the king were to take a turn for the worse. If you wanted people to take on some of those duties, you can appoint two or more of the councilors of state. That includes his wife, the four members in the line of succession over the age of 21. And actually, he's actually added Princess Anne and Prince Edward to the mix as well. So there are a number of people that can help him at that stage. We're not there yet.

But it definitely is one of those moments where you remember that the U.K. does run quite strangely.

NOBILO: Do we have any more information about his son, Prince Harry, and this visit that he's going to make to the U.K.? STEWART: So this was almost the second big bombshell of a news story,

really, that happened yesterday because after we had the shocking news about the cancer diagnosis, there was also perhaps the good news that Prince Harry has spoken to his father and that he's planning to travel to the U.K. in the coming days.

As you would expect, because despite the fact that we know that there's been some estrangement within the family, a lot of tensions, they are a family like any other.

NOBILO: Anna Stewart, thank you very much for joining us.

Torrential rain and life-threatening flash floods are tearing through Southern California. What's known as an atmospheric river is hovering over the region and seems to be in no rush to leave. Los Angeles is expected to receive almost half a year's worth of rain by today. Heavy winds have already knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of households. Many flights delayed or cancelled, and at least two people have been killed by falling trees.

Authorities have been urging everyone to stay home, but some of those who couldn't or wouldn't are now being rescued.


MAYOR KAREN BASS (D), LOS ANGELES: We have had to rescue individuals in certain neighborhoods because they did not follow the evacuation order.

So we ask that when notified that you need to evacuate, please do that, so you do not end up needing to be rescued.


NOBILO: Much more rain is expected in Southern California today, where tens of millions of people remain under flood watches. CNN's Nick Watt shows us what the region has already endured.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Hollywood Hills, rain lash, not sun kissed. Mudslides, rockslides, homes evacuated, homes lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the foundation of 10334 Caribou Lane, and this is where the house sits now.


WATT (voice-over): Sunday was the wettest day in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years. More than four inches fell downtown. That's more than a month's worth of rain.

That's a water rescue underway. The L.A. River rose seven feet in just nine hours. Some creeks are up over 12. All this down to a so-called atmospheric river up above, a conveyor belt of moisture fueled by El Nino and the unusually warm Pacific. Atmospheric rivers can carry 20 times more water than the Mississippi. El Nino is now classed as very strong, only the fourth time it's reached that level in 50 years.

Combined with oceans already warmed from climate change, it's supercharging these type of storms. El Nino also changes the jet stream, making storms more likely to take aim directly at California. This one has been moving slowly south, creating rivers of rain, mud and debris.

SCOTT TORO, LOS ANGELES RESIDENT: It sounded like a plane crashing or maybe of a freight train or something like that.

WATT (voice-over): The storm sliding through Beverly Hills, LA and beyond. 14 million people now officially at high risk, level four of four for excessive rainfall.

Remember, this state was recently in a mega drought, then record rainfall last winter and now this. On Sunday, hurricane-force winds cut power to over half a million customers, mostly further north, hitting 77 miles per hour at San Francisco Airport, peaking at 102 on Pablo Point.

Angelenos today told to exercise caution if you must commute. Schools closed in more mountainous Malibu but stayed open across much of LA. The mayor says Angelenos just aren't used to this kind of weather, but with climate change, they'll likely have to get used to it.

WATT: The cacti on the orange tree give you an idea of what weather we are used to, and then if you pan out, you can see what we're dealing with right now. This lane up in the hills used to be a lane, is now a river.

There were 1,000 firefighters called up ahead of time to be on duty. The mayor declared a local emergency, called up even more rescue personnel.

This storm is just so slow, it is dumping so much water on Los Angeles.

Nick Watt, CNN, LA.


NOBILO: Heavier rainfall is now moving into San Diego and our Karen Maginnis is tracking that live from the weather center. Karen, what do people need to know to keep themselves safe?

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we still aren't finished with this yet. We knew this would be a 24 to 48-hour event, and it's going to continue beyond that. I want to show you one of the effects of what happened with this atmospheric river, and that is along the Pacific Coast Highway. This in Monterey County in the area right around Lime Kiln State Park. There you can see in both directions so much mud because these hills and mountains become super saturated, and they bring down the mud, they fill up the rivers.

This man, thanks to the Los Angeles Fire Department, their air operations, he was rescued. He jumped in this wash. His dog had gotten in the wash. He was trying to rescue his dog, and they lifted him out of the water. They took him to the hospital. He's fine. But also, they took the dog to a special facility. He's nonetheless full aware. Looks rather sheepish, I would say, that he is fairly lucky given what happened to him.

This out of Beverly Hills, California. Just about everyone all over the world knows about Beverly Hills. Well, they are not immune to this torrential rainfall. In Bel Air, they saw almost a foot of precipitation associated with this atmospheric river.

Well, the atmospheric river, the core of this system, is still located off of the central coast of California. This will pull into the Great Basin, and this is going to be a real snowmaker. California needs the snowpack. When you get in those dry months, when it's the fire season, this is going to be very necessary. We could see 1, 2, 3 feet of snowfall, generally speaking above about 6,000 or 7,000 feet.

Another little area of low pressure on the backside of that is going to reinforce some of the windy conditions and still bring a few showers into Southern California, even as we go into Wednesday and for Thursday.

You're probably wondering about the Super Bowl. Well, folks going to Las Vegas early, it's going to be rainy, it's going to be windy, it's going to be cool. It'll start to clear out as we go into Super Bowl Sunday.

And then for Los Angeles, well, they've seen just under 11 inches of rainfall for an entire year. They typically see just over 14 inches.


So, so much rain with two atmospheric rivers, and they have completed just about everything they would typically see in a year, at least well on their way. That's a look at your weather. Back to you -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Karen Maginnis, thank you so much.

America's top diplomat is set for more talks in the hours ahead on his latest trip to the Middle East. The details on that in a live report.

Plus, the death toll continues to climb in Chile after the country suffers through historic wildfires.

And football superstar Lionel Messi explains why he had to stay on the bench during his highly promoted match in Hong Kong.


NOBILO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is now in Egypt. The latest stop on his high-stakes trip to the Middle East.

He's now sitting down for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo. This comes one day after Blinken met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for more than two hours in Riyadh. The two men discussed regional coordination to end the fighting in Gaza and plans for the enclave after the war.


CNN's Paula Hancocks is following developments and joins me now live from Abu Dhabi. Paula, remind us of where the Egyptian president stands on the situation with Israel and Hamas and what Blinken might be trying to achieve with this meeting.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bianca, two of the key things that the Secretary of State will want from this meeting is to try and push the humanitarian aid going into Gaza, trying to secure more access, as much of it does go through Egypt, and also wanting to work ahead on the hostage situation. So it was interesting in that meeting, you could see that the head of Egyptian intelligence services was there in attendance as well, and this has been key in the previous cessation of hostilities we saw back in November, which did secure the release of some of the Israeli hostages that Hamas took on October 7th.

So this will really be one of the key things he will be talking to the Egyptian president about. We know just after this meeting as well he'll be heading to Qatar, another country that really is key in trying to secure the release of more hostages. So that's one of the key things that he will be talking about.

But he's also in the region once again, and that was underlined yesterday by the fact he was in Saudi Arabia, in trying to talk about what happens after this conflict has ended, what happens in Gaza, who will be in control. A number of issues to talk about, potentially the normalization of relations with some of these Arab nations in return for some concrete steps towards a Palestinian state.

It's something that Secretary Blinken had mentioned the last time he was in the region, just last month, really hammering home to the Israeli side that without concrete steps towards that two-state solution, then there would be no normalization, there would be no security for Israel in the region. So that would have been something that we know he did talk to the Saudi Crown Prince about yesterday.

Also, the governance of Gaza, the reform of the Palestinian Authority, who is going to help reconstruct and secure the Gaza Strip once this conflict is over. So there really are multifaceted talks ongoing at this point. The immediate need for humanitarian aid, the immediate need for hostages to be released, and of course a cessation of hostilities, and then what happens the day after the conflict ends -- Bianca.

NOBILO: Paula Hancocks in Abu Dhabi, thank you.

Coming up, it's the first anniversary of the massive earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people in Turkey and Syria. And even a year later, many survivors are still struggling to pick up the pieces.

Then, why government calls to review new, New Zealand's founding document have angered indigenous demonstrators.