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CNN International: Republicans Weigh Next Steps Amid Infighting, Failed Bills; Bipartisan Border Bill Destine for Defeat; Federal Appeals Court Rejects Trump's January 6 Immunity Claim; Mother of Teen Shooter Found Guilty of Manslaughter; Hamas Replies to Proposal Aimed at Release of Hostages; Britain's King Charles III Out and About. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 07, 2024 - 04:00   ET




SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (I-AZ): My colleagues in the United States Senate have decided that they don't actually want this solution, and don't want to secure the border.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends. The Republicans have to decide, who do they serve, Donald Trump or the American people?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We find the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the last adult with the gun.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: We've got a message here, that he is well enough to be out and about. The message is, the monarchy continues, and is relatively strong.


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

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo, Max has the day off.

It's Wednesday, February 7th, 9 a.m. here in London, 4 a.m. in Washington, where a bipartisan deal on immigration reform and funding for Ukraine and Israel looks all but doomed to fail. There's growing Republican opposition to the bill ahead of a key procedural vote today in the Senate, and if it ever makes it to the lower chamber, the U.S. House Speaker has already declared the measure dead on arrival.

And Donald Trump has railed against the bipartisan compromise as he seeks to make immigration a central campaign issue. U.S. President Joe Biden says it's vital for lawmakers to pass the immigration and foreign aid package.


BIDEN: We can't walk away now. That's what Putin's betting on. Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin. Opposing this bill is playing into his hands.

History is watching. History is watching. A failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten.


NOBILO: Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House failed to pass a number of bills due in part to chaos within party ranks. First, Republicans failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas after weeks of hyping that issue. Republicans were ultimately undone by a spate of absences in their party.

Then there was a standalone funding bill that would have provided nearly $18 billion in aid to Israel. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle opposed the measure, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass. CNN's Amy Kiley takes a look at the next steps for congressional lawmakers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, what's round two? We need a round two here.

AMY KILEY, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): That question could apply to a number of issues before Congress. They include two GOP plans the House shut down last night.

One is a resolution to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The principle is very clear that Mayorkas did not commit a high crime or misdemeanor.

REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA): It lowers the grounds of impeachment to a point where we can expect it to be leveled against every conservative Supreme Court justice, every future Republican president and cabinet member the moment the Democrats take control.

KILEY (voice-over): Despite defectors, yesterday's failure is mainly due to the temporary absence of Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Meanwhile --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill has not passed.

KILEY (voice-over): A plan to support Israel with stand-alone legislation faces an uncertain future.

It's from the House Speaker, who met with families of hostages and his Israeli counterpart yesterday.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: History beckons us to act boldly and decisively to defend Israel.

KILEY (voice-over): Today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Tel Aviv to discuss a possible ceasefire, and the Senate voting on a package aimed at Israel, border security and Ukraine.

Although some supporters acknowledge --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's been killed, it's been beaten. It was beaten before it even saw the light of day.

KILEY (voice-over): I'm Amy Kiley, reporting.


NOBILO: The all-but-certain defeat for the border bill is a bitter disappointment for the bipartisan group of lawmakers that worked on it. Republican Senator James Lankford says doing nothing is the worst- case scenario, and here's what some others had to say.


REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Everybody knows that immigration is the graveyard where political careers go. And Senator Lankford stepped up. He did his very best. You're never going to pass something on a partisan basis through the Senate and the House at this point in time.


SINEMA: I brought Republicans and Democrats together to form a real solution to address our border crisis. And unfortunately, today, my colleagues in the United States Senate have decided that they don't actually want this solution, and don't want to secure the border.


NOBILO: President Biden says he wants voters to know that Republicans had a chance to address the border crisis but refused to act.


BIDEN: The American people are going to know why it failed. I'll be taking this issue to the country. Every day between now and November, the American people are going to know that the only reason the border is not secure is Donald Trump and his MAGA Republican friends.


NOBILO: The White House is also blasting Republican lawmakers' attempt to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

A spokesman says: House Republicans ought to realize that extreme political stunts like this are a waste of time, and instead join the president, Secretary Mayorkas, and Republicans and Democrats who want to work together to deliver real solutions that actually strengthen border security. A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled Donald Trump cannot use presidential immunity to shield himself from prosecution for the alleged crimes that he committed to reverse the 2020 election results. The ruling is a major blow to the former U.S. president's defense in the election subversion case brought against him by the special counsel. CNN's Paula Reid has a closer look at the ruling and the Trump team's strategy.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a unanimous, historic ruling, three judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejecting former President Trump's claim that he has absolute immunity from criminal prosecution.

The judges writing: For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant.

Special counsel Jack Smith charged him with four federal counts related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

JACK SMITH, SPECIAL COUNSEL: It's described in the indictment, it was fueled by lies. Lies by the defendant targeted at obstructing a bedrock function of the U.S. government.

REID (voice-over): Trump has repeatedly insisted he was acting within the scope of his duties as president, and therefore cannot be tried.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A president of the United States has to be free and clear of mind, and you can't be worrying about something where you're doing the right thing, but if it doesn't work out, you're going to end up in prison.

REID (voice-over): The judges on Tuesday batted down that argument and slammed Trump's alleged efforts to stay in power, despite losing the election, as unpresidential and an assault on American institutions.

We cannot accept former President Trump's claim that a president has unbounded authority to commit crimes. Former President Trump's stance would collapse our system of separated powers by placing the president beyond the reach of all three branches.

In a statement today, the Trump campaign argued that without complete immunity, no president could properly perform their duties for fear of retribution.

If immunity is not granted to a president, every future president who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party.

But the court also rejected any suggestion that prosecuting Trump in this case would have a chilling effect on future leaders.

Past presidents have understood themselves to be subject to impeachment and criminal liability, at least under certain circumstances, so the possibility of chilling executive action is already in effect.

Trump is vowing to appeal, and the Supreme Court will likely have the final say. The justices, though, were already set to hear arguments on Thursday in another case, with huge implications for Trump on whether his actions after the 2020 election disqualify him from the 2024 ballot.

REID: With Trump expected to appeal, the issue really becomes now one of timing, because the longer the Supreme Court sits with this case, the less likely it is that it can go to trial before the 2024 presidential election. And Trump's strategy here, while they are litigating some valid constitutional questions, really his number one priority is to try to delay, delay, delay, and push both of his federal criminal cases back until after the election.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


NOBILO: Now to the latest results in the race for the White House. CNN projects President Joe Biden will win Nevada's Democratic presidential primary and collect all of the state's delegates. But on the Republican side, Nikki Haley will suffer a somewhat embarrassing defeat, losing to, quote, none of these candidates.


It's an option that Nevada voters have to express their dissatisfaction with everyone on the ballot.

Former President Donald Trump was not on the primary ballot and it really doesn't carry much weight because the state GOP opted to award its delegates to party run caucuses which Trump is expected to win on Thursday.

Sources tell CNN that Trump is planning to stay away from the Supreme Court on Thursday when it takes up the question of his ballot eligibility. The justices will hear arguments in Trump's appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court decision that bans him from the state's ballot under the 14th Amendment's ban on insurrectionists holding public office. His legal team appears to be treading carefully since the top court could take up a more perilous legal issue, whether Trump is immune from criminal prosecution for his actions after losing the 2020 election. Here CNN's Kristen Holmes on that.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We've seen Trump really turn these courtroom appearances into campaign events, an opportunity to cry election interference, to talk about political persecution. So just the idea that he's not showing up on Thursday or isn't expected to is really a marked change.

And it's an indication of how carefully his team and he is handling these arguments before the highest court in the land, a court in which he has actually appointed one third of the justices on the bench. Now, we were told by sources that Donald Trump knows how high the

stakes are, that there's really no upside in him attending the arguments. And I was told by one source close to the inner circle that there were some people who thought that his antics in the courtroom, his storming out, his muttering, were not helpful in those cases, in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case, in the New York civil fraud case.

Now, his advisers do insist that this is purely logistical. We know that Nevada caucuses are Thursday night. That he's going to be out there probably visiting a caucus site and giving a victory speech because he is expected to win there.

But logistically speaking, it is three hours behind and he has a private plane and the arguments are in the morning. So, there is some question doesn't seem with the outside of the realm of possibility that he could make both.


NOBILO: CNN has learned the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, is offering to step down after the primary in South Carolina later this month.

Two party advisers say that move would allow former President Donald Trump to install his own leaders of the party. But also told McDaniel discuss these plans with Trump in a statement. The RNC spokesperson said, quote, nothing has changed. This will be decided after South Carolina.

For the first time in the United States, a parent of a school shooter has been held directly responsible for the crimes their child committed. Jennifer Crumbley was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Tuesday, more than two years after her son killed four students at a Michigan high school. CNN's Whitney Wild has more on this unprecedented case.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We find the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Forty- five-year-old Jennifer Crumbley found guilty, becoming the first parent in U.S. history to be held criminally responsible for a mass shooting committed by their child.

Crumbley's son already serving life in prison for murdering four students, Hana St. Juliana, Justin Shilling, Madisyn Baldwin and Tate Myre, and wounding seven other people at his high school in Oxford, Michigan, in 2021 when he was 15.

CRAIG SHILLING, FATHER OF SHOOTING VICTIM, JUSTIN SHILLING: It was a long time coming, but it's definitely a step toward accountability like what we've been talking about. It's kind of been our goal the whole time. WILD (voice-over): Over the nine-day trial, prosecutors argued that Crumbley ignored warning signs her son was a threat and failed to lock up a firearm and ammunition he used to kill his classmates.

Prosecutors pointed out that hours before the rampage, Crumbley, school administrators and the shooter had a meeting over this violent drawing on his math worksheet. Crumbly didn't pull her son from classes despite being told he needed help and never told school administrators she had given her son a gun and ammunition.

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


WILD (voice-over): Prosecutors argued that Crumbley could have prevented the killings, but instead did nothing.

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

WILD (voice-over): Defense attorneys argued Crumbley didn't know about her son's deteriorating mental health and had no way to predict the shooting.

CRUMBLEY: Of course, I look back after this all happened and I've asked myself if I would have done anything differently and I wouldn't have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That the Crumbley son was a skilled manipulator and they didn't realize it.

WILD (voice-over): But prosecutors grilled Crumbley on the warning signs they said she ignored, including a phrase her son wrote in the drawing found by his teacher the morning of the shooting.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the thoughts won't stop help me? Did that ring out to you?

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

WILD (voice-over): The jury foreperson described the evidence that sealed the guilty verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The thing that really hammered it home is that she was the last adult with the gun.

SHILLING: You cannot choose to take your own interest over your child, especially when it comes to mental health and addressing, you know, concerns. WILD: Jennifer Crumbley faces up to 15 years in prison. Meanwhile, the shooter's father and Jennifer Crumbley's husband, James Crumbley, is also charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter. He's set to go to trial March 5th.

Whitney Wild, CNN, Pontiac, Michigan.


NOBILO: Now to Israel, where America's top diplomat will be holding high-stakes talks with top Israeli officials today, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to press for a humanitarian pause in Gaza, but also discuss Hamas's response to a proposal meant to secure the release of the remaining hostages.

Israel is Blinken's fourth stop on his latest trip to the Middle East. On Tuesday, he was in Qatar, where he discussed a humanitarian pause with officials, as well as the ongoing efforts to free the hostages. Qatar has served as a key mediator in negotiations with Hamas and describes the group's reply to the proposal as a positive development.


MOHAMMED BIN ABDULRAHMAN AL-THANI, QATARI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We have received a reply from Hamas with regards to the general framework of the agreement with regards to the hostages. The reply includes some comments, but in general, it is positive.


NOBILO: U.S. President Joe Biden offered his own assessment of Hamas's counterproposal, saying this.


BIDEN: There's been a response from the opposition, but yes, I'm sorry, from Hamas, but it seems to be a little over the top.


NOBILO: The Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian journalists in Gaza are both reporting heavy fire and raids across multiple parts of Gaza over the last two days. The IDF says its operations in and around Khan Younis in the south are continuing, where it says more militants in civilian clothing were killed Tuesday after preparing to attack Israeli forces.

Meantime, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza is accusing the Israeli military of tightening the siege of a medical complex near Khan Younis, where thousands of displaced civilians are staying. CNN has asked the Israel Defense Forces for comment on its operations around that hospital.

In northern Gaza, we're now getting a look at the scale of destruction left by months of war. This drone video from the U.N. Relief and Works Agency shows dozens of buildings razed to the ground. Lots to get into on this this morning.

Elliott Gotkine is here with me to discuss. Let's focus first on this deal that is being discussed. It sounds like there's a sense of renewed optimism around it.

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Probably want to characterize it more like weary optimism because we've been talking about this for so long now. So, we don't want to get people's hopes up that some kind of deal is going to be done that would see those more than 100 hostages being freed. And also, a pause in the fighting to help some of those beleaguered Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

But where we are right now is that you remember last week, we're talking about this framework that was agreed upon in Paris by the United States, the Egyptians, the Qataris to give the broad parameters of what a hostage deal would look like.

Hamas has now given its proposal. It was transmitted to the Qataris and the Egyptians, who, as you say, are key mediators in this whole discussion. Now it's with the Israelis.

The Israelis and the Americans say that they are analyzing it. And we would expect some kind of counteroffer at some point.

Now, the precise nature of Hamas's proposal, we're seeing various reports. But what we heard from a source familiar with the discussions is that it would -- although it would require a humanitarian pause, a temporary pause, this wide, widely publicized demand for Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip completely and also to bring about an end to the war isn't actually among the core demands of Hamas.

Now, this is just a source familiar with the discussions. As I say, things may be moving around somewhat. They may be slightly different in terms of the actual proposal. And of course, we know from the past few weeks that we hear from one source that things are looking in one particular way and from others in another way. So, I guess we have to wait until we get the official confirmation.

But now the ball would seem to be in Israel's court to study what Hamas has proposed and come back with a counter proposal.


NOBILO: Notwithstanding that details are vague and inexact, as you were just outlining, what does the fact that both Israel and Hamas have been brought closer to a potential agreement here suggest of both the mentalities and the forces that are acting on them?

GOTKINE: Israel would say that it is very much focused on its war objectives to destroy Hamas, prevent it from governing and any other Hamas or any other entity threatening Israel from the Gaza Strip and to get the hostages home.

Hamas, for its part, is trying to leverage the bargaining chips that it has, i.e., the hostages, to get as much out of Israel as it possibly can in terms of Palestinian prisoners being freed who have been held in Israeli jails, including some of those that are being held for life sentences who have, as Israel would describe it, blood on their hands, and also to get more humanitarian aid in, to get reconstruction and all the other things that it would want. And also, one imagines, to somehow cling to power in the Gaza Strip in some shape or form.

But both sides, one imagines, want to do a deal, but certainly we've heard from the Israelis saying they won't do a deal at any cost. It seems pretty obvious that Hamas won't do a deal at any cost. But as I say, although we've been talking about this almost nonstop for the past few weeks, I think there now is some hope that we are indeed closer to getting some kind of deal. And if perhaps Israel can, you know, meet Hamas in the middle or if Hamas can, you know, back down on some of its maximalist demands, then they could reach a deal that would see those hostages freed, Palestinian prisons released and humanitarian aid in to the Gaza Strip.

NOBILO: Thank you, Elliott.

Still to come, violence grips Pakistan ahead of its general election Thursday. What voters are saying as the country remains deeply divided.

Plus, Prince Harry arrives in the United Kingdom to visit his father as King Charles steps out publicly for the first time since his cancer diagnosis was announced.

And later, Taylor Swift fans take over Tokyo. We'll go live to Japan for the first night of the singer's record-breaking concert from there.



NOBILO: Lufthansa expects to cancel as much as 90 percent of its scheduled flights out of Germany today because of its ground crews being on strike. About 1,000 flights were planned for today, and the cancellations will reportedly impact around 100,000 passengers. The strikes over salary negotiations are happening at major airports in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, and Dusseldorf.

Lufthansa is urging passengers to avoid going to the airports and to rebook their trips online or on the phone instead.

Britain's King Charles III and Queen Camilla are spending time at his Sandringham country estate north of London. The 75-year-old monarch was seen in public on Tuesday, a day after Buckingham Palace announced his cancer diagnosis.

Meantime, his son Prince Harry arrived in London, flying in from California. More now from our royal correspondent and my fabulous co- anchor, Max Foster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the first glimpse of King Charles since his cancer diagnosis was made public -- as he appeared well enough to leave London for his countryside estate.

Buckingham Palace were revealing on Monday that the 75-year-old monarch is postponing his public-facing duties whilst he undergoes treatment. But the palace says he will carry on with state business and official paperwork. CNN understands the King's weekly audience with the British Prime Minister, for example, will continue.

But if the illness worsens, royal commentators say appointed councilors of state can be called upon to step in, most likely Queen Camilla and Prince William.

EMILY NASH, ROYAL COMMENTATOR: These are members of the royal family who can deputize for him in constitutional affairs if he's incapacitated in any way or even if he's overseas on other duties. And it's been made very clear to us so far that there's no plan to bring any of these people into play.

FOSTER (voice-over): The number of working royals has dwindled in recent years. Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, stepped back from royal duties in 2020, whilst Prince Andrew was forced out amid controversy over his relationship with the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

But already the royal family is putting its very public differences aside. Prince Harry, arriving back in Britain from his home in the U.S., believed to be the first time he's seen his father since the coronation in May. A royal source telling CNN there are currently no plans for Prince Harry to meet with his brother, Prince William. The two are still estranged.

But as with any family, the illness of a loved one may encourage the royals to put their differences aside.

Max Foster, CNN, Buckingham Palace, London.


NOBILO: We've been telling you about all the well-wishers pouring in from around the globe for King Charles, and now a man in India is expressing his support in a unique tribute.

He's created a sand sculpture on a beach in the coastal city of Puri. It stands seven feet or two meters high, depicting the king in a red military uniform with a green sash. That's very impressive.

The message says, Get well soon, His Majesty King Charles III.

Just ahead, the rapid rise of Germany's far-right AFD party, stoking fears among mainstream politicians with key elections only months away.