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CNN This Morning

Police: Failed GOP Candidate Organized Shootings at Homes of Dems; More Searches Possible at Locations Tied to Biden Over Docs; Ukraine's First Lady: 'There is Nothing Off-Limits for Russia'; Walgreens Ends Purchasing Limits for Children's Fever Medicine; McCarthy, Who Touted Santos, Now Says He Had His Reservations. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired January 17, 2023 - 06:00   ET


CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Is some good news, to let that water run off. I loved your interview just a little bit ago. But believe it or not, Lake Orville is up 127 feet since this rain started. It's still down 114 from full. A hundred and fourteen feet still to go.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR/CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: All right. Chad Myers, nice to see you. Thank you so much, sir.

MYERS: Thank you.

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


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Extra point is pushed wide right.

Got to stop the run. Easy touchdown.

Extra point is missed again.

And now Maher misses again.

He's missed three tonight. Four in a row. And -- he has done it again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They might be looking for a kicker next week.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He missed. Poppy's like, he missed again -- yes.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Actually, I said he was -- three field goals?


LEMON: I mean, some days you just -- you're off. Right? HARLOW: Yes. It happens to all of us.

LEMON: It's just not your day.

COLLINS: I think a lot of people always want to make history when they're in the NFL playoffs, but not like that.

HARLOW: Not like that.

LEMON: So they say when you're -- when, like, your day is -- when you have a bad day like that, you should just go home.

HARLOW: Go to bed.

LEMON: Go home and go to bed.

A kicker melt-down for the Cowboys, but they still get the "W." We're going to talk about that.

Hello, everyone.

But also ahead, an election denier who lost his race by a landslide is now accused of hiring a group of gunmen to shoot up the homes of Democratic lawmakers. One of his alleged targets is going to join us, live.

HARLOW: And are there more classified documents out there at Biden's residences? What CNN has learned about additional searches that could be on the way at locations tied to President Biden.

Also this --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When were you first made aware about some of these allegations around Santos?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I never knew all about his resume or not, but I always had a few questions about it.


COLLINS: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy now acknowledging he had questions about the resume of George Santos. He's weighing in after downplaying the freshman congressman's lies and resisting calls to oust him from the GOP conference.

LEMON: It is a very busy Tuesday morning. We're going to begin with New Mexico with more on failed former Republican state house candidate, Solomon Pena.

He was angry that he lost his election last fall and claimed that the vote was rigged. Now he is in police custody in connection to orchestrating four shootings at homes of Democrats. It happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Police say Pena was the mastermind and allegedly conspired and paid four others to carry out the shootings on lawmakers' houses. To note, no one was injured.


DEPUTY COMMANDER KYLE HARTSOCK, ALBUQUERQUE POLICE: The evidence that we have is not only firearm, but it also from cell phone and electronic records, surveillance video, and multiple witnesses inside and outside of this conspiracy that have helped us weave together what occurred.

On the last shooting we now have evidence, too, that Pena himself went on this shooting and actually pulled the trigger on at least of the firearms that was used.


LEMON: So this particular shooting took place at State Senator Linda Lopez's home. The gun Pena was using malfunctioned, but authorities say another shooter at the scene shot a dozen rounds.

Now, Pena, an election denier, visited three of the targets, unannounced in November, after he lost his election for state House.

Later this month, he tweeted in support -- of that month, I should say, in support of former President Trump, declaring that he never conceded his race, even though he lost in a landslide, 47 points behind his opponent. Here's Albuquerque's mayor.


MAYOR TIM KELLER (D), ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: This type of radicalism is a threat to our nation, and it has made its way to our doorstep right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

But I know here, we are going to push back, and we will not allow this to cross the threshold.

Fundamentally, at the end of the day, this was about a right-wing radical, an election denier, who was arrested today, and someone who did the worst imaginable thing you can do when you have a political disagreement, which is turn that to violence. That should never be the case.


LEMON: Well, next hour we're going to speak with County Commissioner Adriann Barboa, one of the lawmakers whose homes was shot. Her reaction to his arrest, straight ahead.

And now this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you sure there are no more classified documents?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you support a damage assessment?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, how do you think that the classified documents got into your boxes?


COLLINS: President Biden there, declining to answer questions from reporters -- He's a little bit far away from them, as you can see -- after the revelation, though, that additional documents were found in his home in Wilmington, Delaware.


The discovery has provided more ammunition to Republicans who have already vowed to launch investigations and are asking for who had access to that location in Wilmington and to the private office where documents were initially found.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): While we don't know exactly yet whether they broke the law or not, I will accuse the Biden administration of not being transparent. Why didn't we hear about this on November 2nd when the first batch of classified documents were discovered?


COLLINS: So far, the Biden team has searched the president's two private homes in Delaware and his office at a think tank in Washington. But now multiple sources tell CNN additional searches could happen at other properties that are linked to Biden.

CNN's Paula Reid is live in Washington.

Paula, kind of what is on the table here of what they could be looking for, given that they found these documents at these locations? Do they still have questions about whether there are more documents in other places?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And in a situation like this, that is a problem.

And remember, they're not just looking, potentially, for classified material. They're also, potentially, going to look for any other presidential records that need to be returned to the archives.

Now, our sources have not identified specific additional locations that could be searched, but we know Biden used other office spaces, and his family has rented a home in Northern Virginia.

Now when they found this initial batch of classified information at his former office, his team specifically targeted for searches locations where they knew documents had been shipped during the 2017 transition. And that included that former office and his two homes.

But again, there are other spots that could potentially be searched. And that's an open question right now that will likely have to go to Special Counsel Robert Hur.

COLLINS: I think the question here is also who would be doing the searching here? Because it was his personal attorneys who found them initially. They handed them over to the Justice Department.

I know the Trump administration is different. They had actually hired outside people to go and search Trump's properties when that was happening.

Who would actually do these searches, if there are more that are carried out?

REID: Well, of course, there's no playbook for how a sitting president should conduct the search for classified information from the time he was vice president. There's a very small group of people who can actually do this kind of work.

The Biden team has made the choice, as you noted, to have his attorneys do this, both a private attorney and one of the White House attorneys who has a clearance.

But that gets real messy. We've been told that you have a private attorney who finds something. Then the person with clearance needs to come in, and then hand it off to the Justice Department.

But I think it's really interesting. In our reporting, we learned that the U.S. attorney in Chicago, who originally was asked to do the review of that initial batch of classified documents, he didn't ask for additional searches. He didn't conduct additional searches. The Biden team did this voluntarily.

He didn't even wait for all these searches to be completed before appointing a special counsel. So now t hat special counsel will likely have to confer with the team to figure out how to proceed, if they want to do any additional searches.

COLLINS: Yes. All right. We'll be watching closely. Paula Reid, thank you.

HARLOW: All right. Now to the wreckage from that attack on an apartment building in Dnipro, Ukraine.

It has now been 90 percent dismantled. Survivors have been found at the site. Forty-one people, though, this morning are confirmed dead, and four of them are children. Twenty-five others are still missing.

Ukraine's first lady, Olena Zelenskyy [SIC], slamming the Russians for the attack in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OLENA ZELENSKA, UKRAINIAN FIRST LADY (through translator): These were people, ordinary people at home on a Saturday, and that's enough reason for Russia to kill.

There is nothing off-limits for Russia.

As we speak, in our city of Dnipro, people were still working and working and sorting through the debris of a residential area, a house that was destroyed by an (UNINTELLIGIBLE) missile. This missile was built to destroy aircraft carriers. It was used against the civilian infrastructure.


HARLOW: That was Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine.

Let's go back to our Fred Pleitgen, who joins us live again this morning on the ground in Dnipro.

So the death toll has gone up from that attack. What else can you tell us this morning, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy. And officially, this is still a search-and-rescue operation. The Ukrainians say that's being conducted here.

However, in reality, this right now is a recovery operation. Really over the past day or so, it's only been bodies, unfortunately, that the crews here have been pulling out of the wreckage, or what's left of that building that was hit by that missile.

And since then, the mayor's office has now come out and said that the death toll has now actually jumped to 44 killed. Four more bodies were found this morning, including the body of a child.

Needless to say, that causes a lot of grief on the ground here and a lot of anger, as well. Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): While rescue crews are still sifting through the debris, the chance of finding any more survivors is virtually zero.

A gaping hole where dozens of families once lived.

PLEITGEN: As you can see here, this building was completely annihilated all the way down to the ground floor.

The Ukrainians say the reason why the damage is so extensive is that the Russians used a cruise missile called the KH-22. That is designed to destroy whole aircraft carrier strike groups. And when it hit the building, the building just completely collapsed and buried dozens of people underneath.

[06:10:14] PLEITGEN (voice-over): A miracle that anyone survived at all, Ukrainian authorities say.

Katerina Zelenska (ph) was pulled from the rubble by rescuers hours after the strike, but her husband and 1-year-old son remain unaccounted for.

And this video shows happier times for the Koronovsky (ph) family. Father Mikhaila Koronovsky (ph) was killed in their apartment, their distinctive yellow kitchen, like their family, torn apart by the massive explosion.

Fifteen-year-old Maria (ph) was also killed in the blast. Dozens of relatives, classmates and teachers coming to pay their final respects.

"She was an incredible child," her class teacher says. "God is taking the best of ours. This is what happened."

The Kremlin denies its forces were behind the strike and instead claims a Ukraine anti-aircraft missile hit the building.

The Ukrainians say that simply isn't true, and Dnipro's mayor tell me his city, and the country, need more Western air defense systems.

"Western countries give us air defense systems," he tells me, "but unfortunately, it's not enough, and it comes with delays. More air defense systems are the only thing that can save our civilians in our cities."

The Ukrainians say they had no chance of stopping this missile that crashed into the residential building, killing scores in an instant.


PLEITGEN: You know, Poppy, it was so interesting that you mentioned the Ukrainians are saying that 95 percent of the debris had already been cleared.

They're also saying that's about 8,500 metric tons of debris that's been hauled away. And still, they are finding bodies underneath that rubble.

Needless to say, that's causing a lot of anger. In fact, the Ukraine president has vowed to bring those who are responsible in front of an international court -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes. Fred Pleitgen, thank you for the reporting in Dnipro, Ukraine.

LEMON: After weeks of high demand that stretched supply and emptied shelves, drug stores are now changing their policies on over-the- counter fever medicine for children.

Joining us now, CNN medical correspondent, Dr. Tara Narula.


LEMON: Good news for some, but possibly, I mean, what's happening with these limits? The concern is maybe some parents might hoard and other parents won't get. What's going on?

NARULA: Well, let's hope not. And I do think some parents are breathing a sigh of relief -- Poppy, myself -- that they may not have to hunt as far and wide for some of these medications.

And some of these drug stores are changing their policies. But it is a sign of hope, glimmer that maybe things are changing, that that supply is meeting that increased demand.

So we know that Walgreens has basically ended their limits, purchase for online purchases of these kids' fever and pain-reducing medications. CVS still has a two-product limit in-store and online.

We did reach out to Rite Aid and have not heard back from them yet.

COLLINS: We also, as we were talking about this, talking about the RSV numbers, the flu numbers that we've been seeing, the combination of them and how it was affecting hospitalizations. What is it -- have we peaked? Or what does it look as we're now here in mid-January?

NARULA: Well, there is some good news with respect to that, as well. COVID cases we've seen really go up over the last couple of months, but really, flu and RSV, according to the CDC, have peaked.

And so flu cases, we know are still high, or very high. In about half of states, we are seeing overall numbers really coming down.

On average, we've seen about 24 million illnesses total for the flu; over 200,000 hospitalizations; 16,000 deaths. And in that first week of January, still about a little over 12,000 in terms of hospitalizations.

Vaccination rates we talked about low, particularly among kids. About 48 percent of kids got vaccinated. That was by the end of December.

HARLOW: For what? Flu?

NARULA: For flu. Yes. And 40 percent for adults. So, you know, this is pretty common in the states for those low vaccination rates. And we keep trying to emphasize how important that is for flu.

And RSV, in terms of where we are in the numbers, in general, we're talking about 5 out of 1,000 kids that were hospitalized were under the age of 5 for RSV.

So again, I think really a sign of hope for parents who were worried about those young kids that we are seeing these numbers come down.

COLLINS: Yes. Definitely good sign. Doctor, thank you so much.

HARLOW: Thank you. OK. In sports this morning, the Cowboys eliminating the Buccaneers from the playoffs, leaving speculation over Tom Brady's future officially begins. The greatest quarterback of all time struggled throughout the game. The Bucs fell behind early and didn't get their first point until the Cowboys were up 24-0.

Afterward, Brady was asked about what he's going to do next.


TOM BRADY, BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACK: I'm going to go home and get a good night's sleep as good as I can tonight, and -- you know what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or you want to take stuff out (ph)?

BRADY: Now I'm not, you know. This has been a lot of focus on, you know, this game. So -- yes. Just be one day at a time. Truly.


HARLOW: One day at a time. We'll see.


Despite the huge win, Dallas kicker Brett Maher set a playoff record that no one wants. He missed four straight extra points. No kicker has missed as many as three in a playoff game since the NFL started keeping track back in 1932.

He missed more in this game than he did in the entire 17-game regular season. Maher finally kicked one through the uprights on his fifth try.

COLLINS: Can I say two things?


COLLINS: One, he has had a great season. So yes, he had a horrible game last night, but Maher has had, actually, a pretty good season.

And you want to talk about Tom Brady and his future. Dak Prescott, the Cowboys quarterback, had an incredible game last night, and there had been a lot of criticism of him going into this.

LEMON: Look, I mean, he did -- break a record.

COLLINS: Just not the one you want to break.

LEMON: I mean, still --

HARLOW: Maher? Yes.

LEMON: Brady, I mean, who knows? You never know with Brady. But I think, like -- I won't say it.

COLLINS: We shall see.

HARLOW: He once bragged that he had killed enough people to fill a cemetery, but now after 30 years on the run, a notorious Mafia kingpin is behind bars. What finally led to his capture.

LEMON: Plus exactly when did Republicans -- when will they realize George Santos might be a fraud? New admission from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.



COLLINS: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy now says he has harbored his own doubts about George Santos's resume.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When were you first made aware about some of these allegations around Santos?

MCCARTHY: I never knew all about his resume or not, but I always had a few questions about it.


COLLINS: He didn't raise those questions after election day when he wrote on Twitter that George Santos would be a great leader and conservative voice for the people.

He also didn't really raise those objections the week after that when he was hailing Santos's Jewish heritage. Another claim that, as we know now, turned out to be a lie.


MCCARTHY: I really want to talk about who's the makeup of this new majority? You heard from some already. You know Max Miller in Ohio, George Santos in New York, and you had David Kustoff from Tennessee get re-elected. He introduced them. Do you realize we have the largest Republican Jewish caucus in more than 24 years?


COLLINS: McCarthy in the last few weeks has downplayed revelations about Santos, how he fabricated key details about his background, even as he's come under the scrutiny of prosecutors.

McCarthy acknowledging that he may not actually be able to get a security clearance.


MCCARTHY: I don't see any way that he's going to have top-secret -- you're referring to George Santos. He's got a long way to go to earn trust. But the one thing I do know, is you apply the Constitution equal to

all Americans. The voters of his district have elected him.


COLLINS: We should note, the lies from Santos actually even extended to McCarthy himself, after it was reported that earlier in 2021, a Santos aide was caught impersonating McCarthy's chief of staff while soliciting campaign donations.


MCCARTHY: It happened, and I know they corrected, but I was unnotified about that until a later date. Yes. I didn't know about it until a later date, though, unfortunately.


COLLINS: Abby Ellin joins us now. She is a journalist and longtime "New York Times" contributor. She studied lying after being conned by her former fiance, who once even told her he helped capture Osama bin Laden. He did not.

Abby turned her experience into a book about compulsive liars called "Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married."

So I guess you have a lot of perspective on George Santos.

ABBY ELLIN, AUTHOR, "DUPED": A lot of perspective. Yes. I have a lot of perspective on George Santos.

There's something wrong with him. I mean, this is not normal behavior. This is absolutely not normal, except for the fact that it kind of is normal.

LEMON: I was going to say, is it not normal?

ELLIN: Well, it's --

LEMON: Especially in this day and age?

ELLIN: To the extent -- the extent that he's lying, the extent that he's making up these -- these things, these fabrications, that is not normal. That is -- there's a debate whether or not that's a mental illness or if it's a symptom of mental illness. Right?

So in the DSM, which is the diagnostic bible, there's nothing pathological lying. Doesn't exist.

HARLOW: For psychiatrists and psychologists.

ELLIN: Right, exactly. And that does not exist. There's nothing in there about pathological lying. But there -- it's a symptom of borderline personality, narcissistic disorder. So it's a symptom of something else. And there's debate about whether it should be its own problem.

HARLOW: I -- I haven't read your book, but I read a lot about it and your story.


HARLOW: Which is fascinating. You are a very intelligent person, obviously, and you got duped, the title of your book. And a lot of voters got duped.

And there was a failure on many levels.


HARLOW: Journalists. Failure on journalists, the media for not seeing this sooner. On everyone.

But why do you think so many voters were able to be duped by him, on every level?

ELLIN: Because people see what they want to see, and the biases are exactly where you want them to be.

So if you like Donald Trump, you're going to say, What he did with the things, that's fine. There's no problem with the documents. Right?

And if you like Biden, you're going to say, no, there's no problem with what he did. We see what we want to see, and we believe what we want to believe. Right?

And so there was, what, 142,000 people who voted for Santos. What I don't understand is how he was able to -- get elected -- you know, get in office. Why nobody said, after the articles came out about him, why nobody said, "No, you're out." I don't get it.

HARLOW: They can't. Constitutionally they can't.

ELLIN: But -- but -- but there -- it doesn't -- it doesn't make sense to me why -- and what it is, is that they all lie. Everybody lies. So if -- there was -- we wouldn't have a government.

LEMON: There was a piece I read this weekend in "The Guardian" that says, "The congressman's many lies are the product of a political system that incentivizes dishonesty and pushes sincerity." And then it talks about, it said, "If you take his fictional biography as a whole, it is clear that Santos was appealing to a particular -- particular American longings. He was quite savvily inventing a character who would assuage the anxieties and comfort the vanities of the affluent, Republican-leaning voters in his district."

So he was simply -- is it shift -- what do you call it? Shaping.

ELLIN: Shifting. Yes. He's ripply (ph).

LEMON: And so, but how is that OK? Is it because people wanted to believe him? ELLIN: Yes.

LEMON: So it makes it OK?

ELLIN: Everyone wants to believe the emperor has clothes. Right? People want to believe that. And they wanted to believe that this guy was who he said he was, and more. And nobody questioned it.


And apparently, people knew that there was something was off, and they still let it go. Right? They didn't care, because they needed him.

So in the meantime, you know what? This thing is bothering me. I don't need that thing.

LEMON: I want to say shape shifting.

ELLIN: Shape shifting. Shape shifting.


ELLIN: But you know, he duped a lot of people.


ELLIN: And who's suffering for it? The public. Right?

LEMON: Yes. Yes.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, there's questions, because a lot of, you know, New York lawmakers that we've spoken with have said they're not going to work with him. And so there have been questions how his constituents will be served.

And, you know, one thing we've heard from Republicans in Washington is, well, the voters elected him. They didn't know that he had built his campaign on a mountain of lies when they did so.

ELLIN: Correct. That's exactly right.

LEMON: They elected him on the lies.

ELLIN: Because you have to trust. We have to trust. Every day we get out of our houses, and we trust. We trust that the car behind us is going to stop at the red light. We trust that the doctor's really a doctor, that the pilot's really a pilot.

We trust that this person is telling the truth. He's a politician. This is what he's supposed to do. He's working for me not against me.

LEMON: OK. So before you go, Abby, then all of this research, the book that you did, tell me, what is the fix? Is there a fix or are we just doomed to -- are we going to just continue the cycle?

ELLIN: Reagan, what did he say? Trust but verify. LEMON: Trust but verify, right?

ELLIN: Trust, verify, and still don't trust. That's -- and you need -- and you need hard evidence. Right? And we have that now, about Santos. So it will be really interesting to see what happens.


COLLINS: Abby, thank you so much.

LEMON: Thank you.

I think you bring up a very good point. When people say, Kaitlan, that he was -- he was elected by the people. But the people elected something that was not necessarily true. If they knew who Santos was, I don't think that he would have been elected. I think that's fair to say that.

COLLINS: It's fair to definitely question whether or not he would have. I mean, we won't really know, unless he resigns or when he's up for re-election in two years.

LEON: Yes.


HARLOW: Thank you.

ELLIN: Thank you.

COLLINS: Thanks, Abby, for your perspective.

HARLOW: No water to shower, no water to flush the toilet. Why hundreds of homeowners in Scottsdale, Arizona, just got cut off from their city's water supply.

LEMON: Plus, egg prices are becoming more and more expensive. What is behind this uptick? CNN investigates, straight ahead.

HARLOW: You bring the eggs? Go get the eggs.

LEMON: There are eggs. We have eggs.

COLLINS: Thank you so much.