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Migrants Refuse to Move to Relief Center; Bomani Jones is Interviewed about Referees Under Scrutiny; Aaron David Miller is Interviewed about Blinken's Trip to the Middle East. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 31, 2023 - 08:30   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, some newly arrived migrants who have been housed temporarily in a Manhattan hotel are refusing a move to an emergency shelter in Brooklyn and have camped out in front of the hotel. The city says it was making room for families by moving some single men to a communal relief shelter, but those men say the conditions are subpar after this short cellphone video that you see here was shared among them.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is live, covering all of this near the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal.

And, Polo, I know some of the migrants were camped outside The Watson, refusing to move. What is the latest that you're seeing there this morning?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They told me yesterday, Kaitlan, that anything is better than getting on a bus and being brought here to this part of Brooklyn that's fairly difficult to access. You know, this is as far as we can actually take you because of the restrictive access. But there are a few messages -- welcoming messages that have been posted by some non-profits here.

It is a very complicated situation that these migrants are finding themselves in. But the city saying that really this is - there's a simple -- at least a simple reason why they're doing this. You see they continue to receive a significant number of women with children and families with children. The city saying that they are the ones who have to take priority when it comes to these private quarters, these hotels that the city has basically been renting for months now to provide some housing for these families.

But, look, the concerns that I'm hearing from these migrant men is that not only do thy not feel safe in some of these barracks style living facilities, but, at the end of the day, it's also extremely inconvenient for them. You see they believe that the only shot that they have of any potential employment is in Manhattan. So, relocating them out here to a cruise terminal that is not very easy to get to if you don't have reliable transportation, that that places yet another hurdle in their way. So, I heard from many, many migrants, including a 33-year-old man

named Nedio Gonzalez (ph), who traveled here from Venezuela with his cousin. He says he'd much rather stay in the city than come here.

The numbers continue to rise, though, Kaitlan. Eighty-one emergency shelters that have already been opened five of these so-called HERKS (ph) or these emergency resource centers that are open. But the city saying it's doing the best they can given the unprecedented number of people they continue to have to find housing for.

COLLINS: Yes, we'll see how this continues.

Polo Sandoval, thank you.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, NBA and NFL referees under fire over recent calls. Is there a bigger problem? Bomani Jones joins us, next.




PAT MCAFEE, OST, "THE PAT MCAFEE SHOW": We have a massive officiating issue.


MCAFEE: I think refs suck. And I -- not all refs. There are some refs that suck. And they shouldn't be in playoff games. Why are they in playoff games?


LEMON: Hey, that is former player Pat McAfee reacting to several controversial calls and non-calls that dominated the sports weekend. There were several issues in both NFL conference championship games on Sunday prompting questions about the legitimacy of the league, and the NBA Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was furious after the refs missed a foul on what could have been a game-winning shot at the end of Saturday night's game against the Boston Celtics.

So, let's discuss now. Bomani Jones, the host of "Game Theory With Bomani Jones," which is now streaming Season 2 on HBO Max, he joins us.

Bomani, thank you very much.

OK, so, listen, is this that we have more technology and people are used to the cameras and all of that, or are people just more sensitive now to bad calls? What is it?

BOMANI JONES, HOST, "GAME THEORY WITH BOMANI JONES": Well, I think one is people do have more exposure to bad calls in the NBA. But, on top of that, they have more opportunities to talk to each other about bad calls on social media and then everybody gets charged up. And if there's anything that people love being on the internet, it's a sleuth. And then all of a sudden everybody gets to break this down and do the old slow motion at the house and they could be the ones that ultimately get to the bottom of it.

So, I don't have any evidence that there are more bad calls. I know that the NBA is on top of every call and no-call and they run those officials through the ringer about the calls. But I definitely agree with the idea that we got a lot more time to talk about it.


LEMON: He forgot outrage.


LEMON: Sleuth and outrage. That's (INAUDIBLE).

HARLOW: Sleuth and outrage.


HARLOW: The refs association really, like, bent over backwards to apologize saying how wrong they got it. They said, it is gut- wrenching. It will cause them sleepless nights.

But some of the players are saying the refs should be fined when they screw up this badly. What do you think?

JONES: Well, I think that players exist in a world of accountability that is unlike anything the rest of us deal with at our jobs. And they do feel like a mistake could get you traded, a mistake could get you cut, and they want everybody else associated with the operation to live under the same scrutiny that they do.

So, for the refs, the problem is, everybody makes mistakes. But when they make mistakes, they affect far more people. So, to say that they should be fined I think is a dangerous place to go in it, but I can't blame the players given the lives that they live that they expect everybody else to be held to the standard that they're held to.

COLLINS: I'm like waiting on the referees to have like a classified document scandal because it has been that insane. Like, back to back, it was like, the NBA was like, all right, hold my, beer, NFL, we're going to show you what's going on.

But that is the question is, how do you fix this, because, I mean, yes, people are upset about it, deeply upset. You saw LeBron James' faces -- face there. I mean what is the solution for something like this?

JONES: Well, I mean, the thing is, all people do is work as hard as they can. Like, I don't know if there's an answer necessarily to fix this problem. Again, after every game, the NBA is going through with officials and looking at everything. Call, no-call. If you made a call, should you have? If you didn't make a call, should you have made a call there? Like, they're doing a lot on that front, but it's more important than ever that they make sure.

LEMON: But the game is over then. But the game is over then and they --

JONES: Yes, so the game is over. That's all you can do.

LEMON: But they can't do -- I mean the NFL doesn't - they stop - they shuts it down. They do an instant replay. They look at the, you know - the - why can't --

COLLINS: Snap the ball and move on.

LEMON: But why can't --

JONES: Yes, but the NBA - yes, but the NBA already does so much replay as it is and it really greatly affects the flow of the game. Like their bigger concern is not the flow of the game. The question is whether or not this is a product that's going to withstand the scrutiny of legalized gambling. And it's the concern the NBA has more than anything else. And it's always a concern with basketball and because basketball above -- of all our major sports is the most susceptible to official interference when it comes to tweaking the results. That's the NBA's concern is to make sure that those lines at those betting houses are level.

LEMON: And they can't see everything. The refs can't catch everything. And they didn't use - there used to be a time where, you know, people were OK. The ref didn't catch it. You'd have a fight about it, an argument, a beer, and then you'd grab another chicken wing and do your thing. And you didn't go on social media.

HARLOW: Grab your chicken wing. You love chicken wings.

LEMON: I do.

COLLINS: But that's why the Lakers are so upset is this is like the fourth time it's happened to them.


COLLINS: And they feel like it's costing them the game because it's not just -

HARLOW: And this one - if we're talking about, what, four points at the end of the game for this one.


HARLOW: Can we -

JONES: Yes. Well, the Lakers are also somewhat specifically upset because it keeps happening to LeBron James and they think that there's a level of respect he's supposed to get from officials that generally superstars get that at this point in his career he's not, which I think shocks a lot of people and it shocks them.

COLLINS: Talk about the Super Bowl for a sec?


JONES: I can do that.

LEMON: All right. Well, the - the -

COLLINS: We're going to the Lakers game tonight (INAUDIBLE).

LEMON: Oh, yes, we are going to the Lakers.

COLLINS: Maybe they'll call me into ref.

LEMON: We're going to a Lakers game. We're going to be at a Lakers' game tonight.

HARLOW: We are. We can't wait.

LEMON: Sitting at MSG. Are we going to see you, sir?

JONES: Oh, no, no, no, my bosses don't love me as much as they love y'all. Those are pricey tickets right there.

HARLOW: It is our bosses' tickets.

LEMON: No, actually, we got them from Spike Lee. No, I'm kidding. We did not.

HARLOW: Maybe he'll be courtside.

But I wanted to talk about the significance of having two black quarterbacks --

LEMON: Do we have time to talk about the two? Quick. Two black quarterbacks. Go.

JONES: Oh, we'll - we'll make time.


JONES: Because this is huge. And I think that people lose sight of the occurrence of a black quarterback in a Super Bowl in still fairly rare. And the occurrence of a black starting quarterback is still not something that you can bet on.

And what I love about this matchup is the contrast in the pads of these two guys. Where Mahomes is basically Michael Jordan in cleats. I say that over and over again. I'm not going to stop. Jalen Hurts, what I find so good about his story is, this wasn't a slam dunk situation. And at various points the Eagles had an opportunity to say, no, I think we should go get somebody else. Hey, let's bring somebody else in, see if this guy can do it. Let's get somebody to push Jalen Hurts. And they believed in him. And he doesn't jump off the screen as a superstar like Mahomes or other guys. And normally for a black quarterback to get this far, you have to jump off the screen. Instead, Jalen Hurts exists as like a leader, a guy that people know. Hey, that's the guy we're going to follow. He's going to manage this game whiling also being able to run like the modern quarterback does. So, if the NFL wanted to try to point some progress out to somebody, this would be the chance for them to do it.


I'm going for the team with the black quarterback, Bomani.

Thank you.

JONES: Hey --

LEMON: Bum, bum, bum. That was corny. But, true. Thank you.

Hey, make sure, Season 2, you tune in, Season 2 of "Game Theory with Mr. Bomani Jones," now streaming on HBO Max. Again, our thanks to Bomani.

HARLOW: We do have some sad news to share with you this morning. Actress Cindy Williams, best known for the beloved sitcom "Laverne & Shirley,," has died. She was just 75 years old.



PENNY MARSHALL, ACTRESS: Shirl, I want you to meet Randy Carpenter. This is my best friend, Shirley Feeney.



Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but I think I'll just mosey on into the bedroom and die. Good night (ph). Tata.


HARLOW: It was her quirky Shirley Feeney character on "Happy Days" and the spinoff that made her a household name in America.


CINDY WILLIAMS, ACTRESS: You said it, this is eternal, eternity, over and over and over again, on and on, without ceasing, without stopping, over and over, eternal, ad infinitum, infinity. This means till death do you part. The end.

PENNY MARSHALL, ACTRESS: Do you mean forever?


HARLOW: Cindy Williams is survived by her two adult children.

Meantime, Secretary of State -

LEMON: So sad.

HARLOW: Very sad.

LEMON: So sad. Look - well, before we move on, so, 75 years old and (INAUDIBLE) saying that she died from a short illness.

But it's nostalgic. It takes you back to a very warm time in the world.


LEMON: Back to my childhood. So, we're going to miss you, Cindy. And we lost Penny Marshall as well. Yes. So.

HARLOW: Yes. The kind of TV that made you feel good.

LEMON: Right on.

HARLOW: All right, Secretary of State Antony Blinken overseas for high-stakes meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Will he be able to cool tension at all, though, as this violence escalates?



COLLINS: All right, earlier this hour you saw Secretary of State Antony Blinken meeting with the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas. The trip coming at a time of increasing violence in the region, including seven dead after an attacker opened fire outside of a Jerusalem synagogue and at least nine Palestinians dead after Israeli forces raided a West Bank refugee camp.

For perspective on this, I want to bring in the former State Department Middle East negotiator, Aaron David Miller, who is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. No one better to talk to about this because we are waiting to hear any moment now from Secretary Blinken as he's going to hold a press conference.

And, Aaron, this is not the trip that he thought he was going to be getting when they planned this, and now he's going there. It's a time of such high tension. What are you expecting to hear from him?

AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR: I think it's a really tough lift. And I think, Kaitlan, that in order to analyze this correctly, you have to see the Blinken trip as part of a broader piece. In the last month this new Israeli government, you've seen an administration engage more frequently, more intensely and as - and at a senior level with the new Israeli government. I think it's virtually unprecedented. No administration, Republican or Democrat, that I ever worked for engaged in this kind of diplomacy. And I think it reflects their concern, but it also reflects the reality that I think they want to take the prime minister at his word. He put together this government, which includes two extremist

ministers. And I think by engaging him directly, they want to make it unmistakably clear that he is responsible for the actions of his government. But on the trip it's going to be very difficult for Blinken to get steps by both sides to deescalate, let alone guarantee that we could stabilize a very volatile situation between Israelis and Palestinians.

HARLOW: And I wonder what you think all of this escalation and violence that has happened in the last month since Blinken planned his trip ties into what would be Netanyahu's sort of biggest goal in terms of furthering the Abraham Accord, normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia, because you tweeted recently, there's no pathway out of this cul-de-sac.

MILLER: They are in a strategic cul-de-sac. And I think that, you know, you've got a perfect storm here. You've got a 56-year-old Israeli occupation. You have a Palestinian Authority that's weakening, losing control. You've got armed groups tied to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic jihad that are still planning attacks. And you have the new government.

But Netanyahu's key priority, Tip O'Neil was right, all politics are local. He put together this government in order to pass legislation so that he could somehow nullify, immunize himself from his ongoing trial. That's why he needs these two extremists. Sixty-four seats in the Israeli Knesset. And they have leverage over him. He's not going to be able to block everything that they want to do in the West Bank and Jerusalem. So, yes, it's going to affect the Abraham Accords as well.

LEMON: What do you think you're going to hear from Blinken next? What are you going to hear from him?

MILLER: He's going to talk about a two-state solution. He'll talk about the importance of Palestinian dignity and security and Palestinian rights. If he's lucky, I think this will probably be a stretch, maybe he could get Mahmoud Abbas to recommit to security cooperation with the Israelis, but I think that's going to be very difficult.

It's a tough lift. It's a mission impossible.

COLLINS: Yes, it is a tough lift and it really has not been the top of the priority list for the Biden administration. They've been dealing with China, with what's happening in Ukraine.

Aaron David Miller, we're going to wait to hear from Secretary Blinken himself, but thank you for that valuable insight.

MILLER: Take care, Kaitlan. Thanks for having me.

COLLINS: Yes, absolutely.

All right, also this morning, as we are waiting on that, a family in Hawaii says they feel lucky to be alive after a giant boulder came crashing into their living room.


COLLINS: We'll show you what happens after that, next.



LEMON: So, we always say, oh, you've got to see this. This one you really do have to see.


LEMON: OK, so there's this family in Hawaii. They're recovering now after a large boulder smashed into their Honolulu home this weekend, nearly crushed the owner. OK, take a look. This is our "Morning Moment."



So, members of the community say that these problems were triggered by a development next door, excavating into a nearby mountain. They said after the new construction they have experienced three boulders coming down the hill in the last 24 hours. The incident under investigation. For now, that boulder, though, is still in the home.

HARLOW: Yikes.

LEMON: Oh my -- I mean, just - just barely missed her. Wow. They're OK, luckily.

COLLINS: Close call.

LEMON: Close call.

HARLOW: Close call.

LEMON: All right, that's it for us. We'll see you --

HARLOW: See you tomorrow, post-Lakers.

LEMON: What are you trying to say?

COLLINS: We'll see if there's any bad calls tonight.


LEMON: Was that humble brags right here? We're going to the Lakers game.

HARLOW: You're going, too.

LEMON: I don't know. COLLINS: I grew up not going to NBA games, so I'm excited. I'm going

to brag.

HARLOW: Me too. We'll see you tomorrow.

LEMON: It will be fun. Hey, we're going to see you tomorrow. Have a great day, everyone.

CNN "NEWSROOM" starts right now.