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CNN This Morning

Relentless Flooding, Mudslides, Winds Batter California; Hacksaw, Blood Stains Found by Investigators in Trash; Biden Says He was 'Surprised' by Classified Docs at Private Office; Golden Globes Returns after Diversity Scandal; House GOP Kicks Off Investigations with Focus on China, FBI. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired January 11, 2023 - 06:00   ET



KATE WINSLET, ACTRESS: You've got this.



WINSLET: OK. Let's do it.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR/CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Oh, my gosh. That's amazing. The clip surpassed more than a million views on Twitter in less than 24 hours.

Thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.


EDDIE MURPHY, COMEDIAN/ACTOR: It's a blueprint, and I followed it my whole career. It's very simple. There's three things -- just do these three things. Pay your taxes, mind your business, and keep Will Smith's wife's name out of your mouth!


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, my gosh. I needed that this morning.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It made my morning.

LEMON: It's early. Needed that. Hello, everyone. That's Eddie Murphy, by the way, going there on his infamous Oscar slap as the Golden Globes returned after a diversity scandal. We're going to explain all of that, straight ahead.

So we're so happy to have you. You can see Kaitlan is back in Washington, D.C. There's so much going on there. We're going to get to Kaitlan in just a moment. A lot to talk about. Are we ready?

HARLOW: Ready.

LEMON: Ready, team? Let's go.

We're going to start in California, where millions remain under flood alerts, and it's not over yet, more on the deadly and powerful storm that's walloping that state.

HARLOW: Also, there are new developments in the case of the missing Massachusetts mother, Ana Walshe. What investigators found while searching through the trash.

Also this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was briefed about this discovery, and surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That's President Biden commenting now for the first time on the classified documents that were found in his private office. CNN has exclusive reporting this morning on what those documents were.

LEMON: All right. To all of those stories. We're going to begin with this relentless weather that is battering California.

Look, you don't really need me. All you have to do is look at the pictures. I don't have to describe them. They -- they describe themselves. Flash flooding, ferocious winds, mudslides lashing that state with no immediate end in sight.

Here what's we know at this hour. At least 17 people are dead as a result of the winter storms that have brought rainfall totals up to 600 percent above average, and more rain is on the way there.

More than 6 million Californians are under flood alerts today, with more watches likely to come because of that super-saturated ground.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We're not out of the woods. We expect these storms to continue at least through the 18th of this month. We expect a minimum three more of these atmospheric rivers, in different shapes and forms, depending on different parts of the state.


LEMON: And take a look at this. Four people got stuck 15 feet underground after their cars were swallowed by a sinkhole near L.A. Two people got out on their own. Two others needed to be rescued.

And here's what it looked like inside Union Station. This is video taken from onboard a golf cart. Workers had to shuttle travelers through the water as crews tried to contain the flooding. We're live in California for you next hour.

HARLOW: So let's bring in our chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir, to help us understand this. An atmos -- I have to look at it, because I've never heard of -- I've heard heard of it. Atmospheric river?

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Atmospheric. It's a river in the sky, Poppy. Or maybe just think of it as a gigantic fire hose that brings all that tropical moisture from Hawaii and the South Pacific screaming across and slamming into the West Coast.

HARLOW: How does it happen, and what does it do?

WEIR: Well, it just brings all this moisture. And probably the equivalent of, like, the Mississippi River --


WEIR: -- dumping into the Gulf of Mexico, or the Amazon. But instead of all that moisture going into the ocean, it's going into mountainsides, it's going into communities, going down burn scars, and creating these incredible flash floods in just minutes.

HARLOW: And does that help explain why literally every corner of California has been hit by this?

WEIR: Yes. And it could get bigger. This isn't over. That's the thing about these rivers, they last for weeks.

HARLOW: Weeks.

WEIR: This could be -- this is the first of four events. There will be another one this week and two more next week, not as bad as right now.

HARLOW: So we think about, like, the great flood of 1862, for example.

WEIR: Yes.

HARLOW: Same thing here?

WEIR: That was an atmospheric river. Right?


WEIR: So this one put San Francisco under 15 feet of water --

HARLOW: Right.

WEIR: -- for a month. They raised the city as a result of that. What science tells us now, on a planet heated up by fossil fuels --

HARLOW: Like, that was before manmade climate change.

WEIR: That was before. That was a once-in-a-lifetime event, once every couple hundred years. Now it's every 25 to 50 years. And a central valley mega-flood -- HARLOW: Yes.

WEIR: -- where a quarter of our food is grown, could be a trillion- dollar single event, they warn us.

HARLOW: You know, Ellen DeGeneres, did you see that video?

WEIR: Yes.

HARLOW: So she's like -- becomes a weather reporter --

WEIR: Yes.


HARLOW: -- like, as these mud slides and huge floods are happening. And at the end of it, she says -- this was on her Instagram. She says, "We need to be kinder to Mother Nature."

Which brings us to your focus, which is climate change and what we all do to contribute to it. How does that impact these atmospheric rivers? Does it?

WEIR: Just every -- every ton of carbon we put up into the sky or into the sea increases the odds. We're loading the dice that this is going to come up more and more frequently.

So every little bit helps. But a lot of it is baked in. And even if everybody switched to horses and skateboards today, we still have a century of warming built into the system. So places like California have to adapt to this and build for this.

And we think about the drought.


WEIR: That's what's so interesting, the dichotomy.


WEIR: Is a megadrought while there's -- it's either too much water or not enough.


WEIR: And the thinking now is that maybe we should start letting fields flood in the winter time --


WEIR: -- so it soaks back down in the aquifer, which has been sucked dry with so many people living out there, and then farm in the summers.

HARLOW: Fascinating. Bill, thank you --

WEIR: You bet.

HARLOW: -- very, very much. You'll be back a little bit later with s -- Don.

LEMON: Thank you both.

More questions this morning about the disappearance of Ana Walshe. It has been more than a week now since the mother of three was last seen. But investigators in Massachusetts are getting their hands on more and more potential evidence in this case, and it is gruesome.

Let's go to CNN's Jason Carroll, live for us in Boston this morning. Jason, good morning. What have they found now?


Law enforcement sources telling CNN that investigators found a number of items that could end up being connected to the case. Those items found at that trash facility in North Boston when they were conducting a search there.

Apparently, investigators found a hacksaw. They found torn-up cloth material with what appears to be blood on that material. So a number of items found there.

Spoke to the district attorney about that. Asked him about specifics and about the specifics of what was found there. He says that their office not commenting -- commenting on the specifics but did say that a number of items were found, they were collected, and they were going to be send in for testing.

All of this as the investigation at the House, there was a development there. The search at the House, that has been wrapped up.

As you can imagine, Don, Ana Walshe's family, their friends, they're trying to get their head around everything that has happened here. All of the gruesome details that have emerged surrounding this case has left them feeling devastated.


ALISSA KIRBY, FRIEND OF ANA WALSHE: I keep praying that, in all these trash facilities, that principally, that she's not found there and really so that, you know, we do have somewhere to go to honor her and like -- and for her children to have somewhere to go to honor her.

GEM MUTLU, FRIEND OF ANA WALSHE: We're in absolute shock and disbelief as to --


CARROLL: One of Ana's friends told me over the phone, Don, that one of their great concerns, obviously, are for the children. The youngest is 2. The oldest is just 6 years old. We are told that the children now are in the custody of the state -- Don. LEMON: Just awful. Jason, thank you so much -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. Also, this morning President Biden is now commenting, saying that he was surprised to learn that classified documents from his years as vice president were found at his former private office; says he does not know what is actually in those documents.

This as a source is telling CNN ten classified documents were found pertaining to Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom. While the White House has stressed over the last two days that this is a very different circumstance from that of former President Trump's investigation into classified documents he took to Mar-a-Lago.

The revelation has created a political headache for Biden and provided an opening for Republicans one week after the divided party took over the House chamber.

CNN's Paula Reid is joining s live here on Capitol Hill. Paula, you've been reporting on this. What exactly are we learning? Because Biden says he has not even asked his attorneys what's in these documents, but you're learning more about what they are related to.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And what you saw there yesterday with the president is he is on message with his advisers. They are trying to contrast what happened here in D.C. with what happened down in Mar-a-Lago.

And he said, look, not only did I not know, but when they stumbled across these materials, my lawyers did exactly what they were supposed to do. Take a listen.


BIDEN: People know I take classified documents and classified information seriously.

REID (voice-over): President Biden Tuesday denied any prior knowledge of classified information uncovered late last year in a space he used while working for the university of Pennsylvania before he became president.

BIDEN: We want this to be a gathering place.

REID (voice-over): CNN has learned that, among the items discovered, were ten classified documents dated between 2013 and 2016, including U.S. intelligence memos and briefings materials that covered topics including Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom. CNN has reported that some of the materials included top-secret files.


BIDEN: I was briefed about this discovery and surprised to learn that there were any government records that were taken there to that office.

REID (voice-over): They were found in three or four boxes that also contained unclassified papers that fall under the Presidential Records Act, a source tells CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, did you mishandle classified documents?

REID (voice-over): The vast majority of the boxes held personal Biden family documents, including materials about Beau Biden's funeral arrangements and condolence letters.

The documents were discovered November 2, just six days before the midterm elections. Republicans pounced, launching investigations, comparing the discovery to former President Trump's retention of hundreds of classified documents, and slamming Democrats.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): They'll have to eat their words, but the hypocrisy. Think about this. They've gotten away with so much for so long. This was discovered before the last election.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): So if then-Vice President Biden took classified documents with him and held them for years and criticized President -- former President Trump during that same time that he had those classified documents, and only after it was uncovered did he turn them back.

REID (voice-over): Even Trump's estranged former vice president weighed in.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The handling of classified materials, a very serious issue for our nation, and we ought to take it seriously. But there ought to be equal treatment under the law.

REID (voice-over): But Democrats are defending Biden against any such comparison.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): What President Biden did was disclose this to the Archives, let law enforcement know. That is exactly the way that you should handle this.


REID: The attorney general has tapped the U.S. attorney in Chicago to review this matter. CNN has learned that that review is pretty much complete now. The attorney general has been briefed multiple times.

And now it's up to Merrick Garland to decide whether or not to open a criminal investigation into this matter. And Kaitlan, that's likely something that he would have to hand off to another special counsel.

COLLINS: Yes, that's going to be a difficult decision for him. Obviously, he was appointed by President Biden.

Paula Reid, great reporting. Thank you so much for laying out the differences there and, really, what now -- what we're hearing from lawmakers here on Capitol Hill.

Also this morning, the new Republican House majority has jumped right in with the investigations they have been promising for months. New probes focused on China; also, the FBI and the federal government. That's ahead.

Also this --


JENNIFER COOLIDGE, ACTRESS: Even if this is the end, because you did kill me off. But it doesn't matter, because even this is the end, you sort of changed my life in a million different ways. And my neighbors are speaking to me, things like that. And -- and --


LEMON: We should have said spoiler alert, but you didn't hear that. Did you? You didn't hear that.

HARLOW: Only spoiled it for me.

LEMON: Jennifer Coolidge. We're talking about -- she's talking about the Golden Globes. We're showing you the Golden Globes, back on TV after going dark last year. The night's big winners. And we're going to take a deep dive next.

HARLOW: Yes. Did you watch?



TRACY MORGAN, COMEDIAN/ACTOR: The most important role you play is being a dad. You've got ten children. Ten! Your pullout game is weak, Eddie. I know you trying to break Bob Marley's record. You look at Paige, and you get her pregnant.


LEMON: Oh. Perhaps he should have been giving that speech to Nick Cannon. But whatever.

HARLOW: I was going to say, doesn't Nick Cannon have -- like just welcomed a 12th child?

LEMON: Stay out of this.

HARLOW: Oh, now I have to weigh in on this? Control room promised me you would handle it.

Lots of laughs and memorable moments at last night's 80th annual Golden Globes, including that one. The ceremony returning to television after NBC pulled the broadcast last year because of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's complete lack of diversity.

This year five of seven awards for performers went to people of color. Stephanie Elam looked glam! I want to know where you got those amazing earrings I saw on Instagram, by the way. And was there. STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The earrings got a lot of love.

HARLOW: They're -- I mean, the whole thing was so good.

ELAM: Thank you, Poppy. Thank you, thank you.

Well, I have to say, this traditionally, the Golden Globes, is the stars' favorite award show out the box, because it's the first one out of the season. They also get to drink wine and maybe have a nibble here or there throughout the show.

And you could see that excitement with some of the chatter and some of the awards that we saw and some of the speeches. In fact, take a look at how the night went.


QUENTIN TARANTINO, FILM DIRECTOR: Mr. Spielberg, step right up here.

ELAM (voice-over): A big night for "The Fabelmans" and legendary director Steven Spielberg, besting heavy hitter "Avatar: The Way of Water" for Best Motion Picture, Drama.

And Spielberg winning Best Director for the autobiographical story of his life.

STEVEN SPIELBERG, FILM DIRECTOR: I spent a lot of time trying to figure out when I could tell that story. And I figured out when I turned about 74 years old, I said you better do it now.

ELAM (voice-over): The 80th Golden Globes were without the fireworks of the Will Smith Oscars. But lifetime achievement winner Eddie Murphy did surprise while offering advice for a successful career.

MURPHY: Keep Will Smith's wife's name out of your mouth.


ELAM (voice-over): Host Jerrod Carmichael not shying away from the Golden Globes' controversial past, the show banished from television last year after "The L.A. Times" revealed its voting body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, lacked diversity. There were no black members.

Now the HFPA says an expansion of more than 100 members has led to nearly 52 percent being ethnically diverse.

MICHELLE YEOH, ACTRESS: I hope they will uphold and upkeep the high standards.

ELAM (voice-over): The stars telling me it was time to embrace the show's return. But one star not present, Tom Cruise, who returned his three globes last year, amidst the Globes controversy.


CARMICHAEL: Backstage I found these three Golden Globe awards that Tom Cruise returned.

ELAM (voice-over): The Globes are not always the best predictor of Oscar gold, but they can influence Academy nominations later this month.


ELAM (voice-over): Austin Butler fueled his momentum, winning Best Actor in a Drama for playing Elvis.

BUTLER: And the Presley family, thank you, guys. Thank you for opening your hearts, your -- your memories.

ELAM (voice-over): "The Banshees of Inisherin" bested indie darling "Everything Everywhere All at Once." But the latter film's Michelle Yeoh proved why she has Oscar buzz.

YEOH: This is also for all the shoulders that I stand on, all who came before me who looks like me.

ELAM (voice-over): On the TV side, "House of the Dragon" won Best Drama, and "Abbott Elementary" won big, for Best Comedy.

QUINTA BRUNSON, ACTRESS: Comedy brings people together. Comedy gives us all the same laugh. Hey, Brad Pitt.


ELAM (on camera): And you know, another win for "Abbott Elementary." You've also got the win for Supporting Actor. That's where he saw Tyler James Williams also take away a lobe last night. So "Abbott Elementary," that's just a show, a little show that keeps getting bigger and bigger and just winning over the country.

LEMON: That would be me, Hey, Brad Pitt. I mean, what was I talking about?

You know how much I love Angela Bassett. Maybe you don't. But she was divine last night. Her speech was amazing. And Sheryl Lee Ralph. I mean, both of them are aging backwards.

ELAM: And -- and I would like to point out that you did see some actors who have been out there doing their thing for many years, decades, who had never been recognized, getting the recognition.

And you saw Michelle Yeoh speaking to that.

And also, Don, I can tell you that on the carpet, Sheryl Lee Ralph=h specifically said hello to you.

LEMON: She did?

ELAM: Yes, she said, Don Lemon, here's your sister. So you got love on the carpet last night.

HARLOW: Love that. LEMON: I love her. I remember -- I've been a huge fan of Sheryl Lee

Ralph, you know --


LEMON: -- since she was in "Dreamgirl" [SIC] on Broadway. That's how old I am. I remember that.

And I was pulling into Penn Station one day on the train, and I saw her standing on the platform in a fur coat, looking gorgeous. And I was like that's Sheryl Lee Ralph. And I was, like, knocking on the window, and she looked at me through the thing and just -- She's amazing.

HARLOW: "Abbott Elementary." She's great.

LEMON: And she's been doing her thing. "Abbott Elementary." Quinta Brunson.

ELAM: If you haven't watched it, you've got to watch it. It's just a feel-good show.

LEMON: Yes, it's great. How are you doing?

ELAM: I mean, you know, I'll get some sleep after we're done televisioning.

LEMON: She's been up all night.

HARLOW: Of course you've been up. Did you see the earrings?


HARLOW: They were so fab.

LEMON: Take a look.

HARLOW: You're fab. Thank you, Steph.

LEMON: You're like, what are you all doing?

ELAM: Thank you. Good to see you guys.

LEMON: We're just catching up with our friend. Thank you. See you, Steph. Great job, as always.

So House Republican lawmakers setting up a showdown with the Biden administration and law enforcement. Their new investigation into what they call weaponization of the FBI, that is next.

COLLINS: Also Republican freshman congressman, George Santos, says he has done, quote, "nothing unethical." The complaint House Democrats are filing against him, ahead.



LEMON: Welcome back to CNN THIS MORNING on a Wednesday. Coming up, House Republicans creating panels to focus on China and the FBI as they vow to bring accountability to the Biden administration.

Plus, new body cam images show the suspect in the New Year's Eve machete attack near Times Square.

And grief, the Taliban, and the crown. What Prince Harry revealed in his sit-down with Stephen Colbert, straight ahead.

Now to Washington and Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. A lot of action happening over here on Capitol Hill as Republicans are making good on those promises that they've been making for months, to use their newfound power in the House majority for investigations.

Yesterday they voted to set up a select subcommittee to investigate what they say is the weaponization of the federal government. Of course, they are planning to put the FBI and Justice Department under their microscope with that new committee.

The incoming Judiciary chairman, Jim Jordan, is going to oversee it. It will fall under his purview. He says the goal is not revenge on those who scrutinized former President Trump, but there are obviously some skeptics.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We don't want to go after anyone. We just want it to stop. And we want to respect the First Amendment to the Constitution, that the greatest country in the world has. That's what this committee is all about. And that's what we're -- that's what we're going to focus on. That's what we're going to do.


COLLINS: CNN's Jessica Dean is joining us live here on Capitol Hill.

So what is this committee actually going to look like? Because I know what Jim Jordan is saying, it's not intended to go after people who actually work in these agencies. But the way they've been talking for the last two years, the way they've talked about these investigations into Trump and January 6th, seems like it is actually an avenue they'll explore.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. And kind of where their head is as they put this together.

This was, of course, a result of a lot of the negotiations and concessions that Kevin McCarthy was making as he became House speaker. These hardliners were really pushing for this subcommittee to look into the DOJ, to the FBI.

And they really -- of course, those are the two entities that have been investigating former President Donald Trump. And this really see this as something that they want to be doing.

We know Jim Jordan, as you mentioned, tells you kind of everything you need to know, that he's going to be very involved with this. We also know that a lot of these hardliners want to be a part of it, as well.

And look, this is -- Kaitlan, this is something, as you mentioned, that Republicans had promised. This is what they ran on. They have been itching and wanting to get into oversight, these investigations. That was kind of part of the argument as we got later into last week that we kept hearing.

And I know you guys were talking about it in the studio, as well, was that a lot of these Republicans were like, look, we're ready to do the work. We're ready for oversight. We want these investigations going. That's something that's been stalled as they waited for the House speaker, for Kevin McCarthy to be installed as House speaker.

COLLINS: Yes, and of course, you know, the impact of this committee could be far-ranging, given he does have subpoena power. He does have this.

Of course, Democrats, one I was speaking to yesterday, noted, you know, Jim Jordan himself ignored a subpoena that he received from a congressional committee.

But what other targets are they expected to go after?