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CNN Tonight

Supreme Court Rules Title 42 Border Policy Must Remain In Place While Legal Challenges Play Out; Jan. 6 Committee Releases New Transcripts Of Witness Testimony; 56 Dead Nationwide, More Than Half In Erie County, New York; Bomb Cyclone Killed 33 People In Buffalo; Incoming GOP Congressman Under Fire; Good Samaritan Saved A Child's Life; Questions Raised To NFL's Safety Protocol. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired December 27, 2022 - 22:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the Biden administration will not be allowed to let a Trump-era border policy expire. The Supreme Court says that Title 42 must remain in effect until the legal challenges play out, which could take until June.

Title 42 is that measure that's allowed federal official to quickly expel migrants ostensibly because of the pandemic.

More now from CNN White House Reporter Priscilla Alvarez.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Alisyn, this ruling is ultimately a victory for Republican-led states that sought to intervene in this case and block the termination of Title 42.

Now, the White House responded to this order, saying that they will comply with it. But they also pointed the finger at Congress, saying it is on them to pass immigration reform. They also made their position quite clear, saying that, quote, Title 42 is a public health measure, not an immigration enforcement measure, and it should not be instead it indefinitely.

Now, since this has come down, there is already confusion around the border. Immigrant advocates and groups have been disseminating information to migrants on both sides of the border to try to convey what this means, which is ultimately that this public health authority that was invoked at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic will continue to remain in effect, meaning that officials can continue to expel migrants who they encounter at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Now, Lee Gelernt, the attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that it is, quote, deeply disappointing. Republicans on the other hand pleased with the order, saying that it will prevent a surge of migrants, but, ultimately, the White House making it quite clear that they will continue their preparations for the end of this authority whenever that may be. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Priscilla, thank you very much for that reporting. Let's bring in now Astead Herndon, CNN Political Analysis and National Political Reporter at the New York Times, Paul Begala, CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist, CNN Political Commentator Scott Jennings and Ron Brownstein, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. Gentlemen, thanks so much for being here.

Scott, I want to start with you, because last hour, you were saying basically that you think that the Biden administration will close (ph) this whole thing up or just not addressing what's happening at the border happening in any kind of effective way. What do you want President Biden to do? I mean, again, the situation at the border appears to be so overrun, so complicated. What today can President Biden do?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he said in his statement, and the White House is saying that they think Republicans should work with Democrats, and I agree. And the Republicans who just took over the U.S. House unveiled a framework for immigration reform in December. It includes finishing the barrier system that started under Trump that Biden paused, recruiting and retaining our great Border Patrol agents. If you can't detain someone for the duration of their illegal stay here, we should turn them away, asylum reform, targeting the cartels. There's an entire framework that Republicans laid out just a couple of weeks ago that they plan to pursue.

Now, will the Senate Democrats pick up on that? Will the Biden White House pick up on that? I want to see Joe Biden put his money where his mouth is. He says he wants bipartisan cooperation, Republicans have a plan, they laid it out, maybe that's a starting point.

Paul, what are the chances that the Democrats will go along with how Scott just phrased it?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Democrats want a solution, or they want to at least address the problem. Republicans want chaos. They want chaos at the border because they believe it helps them politically. Ever since Donald Trump slither down that escalator, they have been demagoguing on immigration.

There is a crisis at the border, though. There is. And I actually think the executive branch, President Biden in this case, is doing everything they can. He's plused-up the Border Patrol, he's had even more agents now to stop record amounts of fentanyl and record numbers of people.

The courts are doing all they can. In fact, they're doing more than they're constitutionally allowed to do, even Justice Gorsuch pointed that out today. They've gone beyond their role. Congress has to fix this. And the reason Congress hasn't fix this is because the Republicans don't want to. They want chaos.

CAMEROTA: I know. Paul, I don't want to interrupt, but I just want to address what Scott said. Scott, I know that Democrats always say that Republicans want this as a talking point and Republicans always say that Democrats don't show up at the table. But what about what Scott just said? They've laid out this plan. But I don't think -- would Democrats go along with continuing a border wall? Would they go along with everything that Scott just said?

BEGALA: They have -- the Democrats have been working on this for years, and it has been at every critical juncture the Republicans that have tanked it. Now, look, there is some hope. It's not coming from the press that Kevin McCarthy's aides put out. It comes actually from the Senate side, Kyrsten Sinema, who was a Democrat, I told that 15 minutes ago, working with Thom Tillis, a North Carolina Republican.


And it's not comprehensive at all but it's a good start.

Here is what they could do. Increase border patrol security, increase security at the border, reform asylum, which is really where a lot of these folks are entering, and then clear a path to citizenship for these DREAMERs. It's not everything but it's a good start.

A lot of Democrats, Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, and others have joined on to this. The only Republican besides Tillis who I know is on it is Roy Blunt and he's going to retire in a few days.

CAMEROTA: Ron, you've seen this movie many times over. What are your thoughts tonight?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There is no secret decoder ring here, Alisyn. I mean, I've been covering this since the early 1990s as Prop 187. And the border is a problem that is at best managed, not solved.

But to get a better handle on it, the ingredients of a solution have been the same for 20 years, more money for border enforcement and more money for the asylum system to clean up this huge backlog in asylum claims, some path to legal status for the people who were here illegally and then something that deals with the future flow of workers. After this previous decade, 2010 to 2020, was the smallest population growth in American history, except for the depression.

The Senate passed that kind of package in 2006 on a bipartisan basis with Mitch McConnell among those voting for, it under George W. Bush. The Senate passed that package again, similar, in 2013, on a bipartisan basis under Barack Obama, with Marco Rubio, among others, voting for it. Each time, the Republican-controlled House would not take it up.

And if we are going to find a true solution that more effectively controls the problem, those are the ingredients. It's not like a mystery or that there's a hidden answer. In fact, even when Trump was president, the Senate Democrats offered him a deal to finish his border wall in return for DACA legalization, and it ran aground when Stephen Miller and others in the White House demanded cuts in legal immigration, even amid the slowest population growth in any decade, except for the depression.

So, you know, we're going to keep banging against each other, red states against the federal government, Democrats against Republicans, indefinitely until there is sort of an awareness that the only solution is one that is comprehensive. And you can only get there with both parties doing it. Neither side can do this politically on their own.

CAMEROTA: Astead, a new Congress starts next week. I mean, just because something hasn't worked for decades doesn't mean that it won't work. Is there any appetite for this?

ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, Ron lays out the kind of mountain of kidn of political will that would have to happen for this new Congress to take this up, and that's because the distance between where the Republican base is and where the Democratic base on this issue are is massive. And so, politically, there is just no real appetite yet to find that sense of common ground. And the people we should say that are hurt most for that are the actual migrants involved with the kind of chaotic ping-ponging, back and forth policy.

But we can't -- this is a Republican Congress coming and that can agree on the speaker yet to paper over the divisions within their caucus. With an issue like immigration, which not only has divisions among the Republican caucus but also among the Democratic one, it is a real tough challenge to see a path forward for this politically.

I mean, I think back to the Democratic primary years ago in 2020 to even nominate Biden, and it's not as if those candidates were learning out affirmative immigration policies, to the folks on the panel, they have been running from this issue. And so that is because there is not a real political will there to do much of anything about it.

CAMEROTA: Scott, I want to drill down on a couple of things that keep coming up that people offer as solutions. And you mentioned it, which is basically finishing a border wall and then Democrats often talk about legal status for DREAMERs. How do either those solve the 1.6 million asylum applications that are pending right now, that are flooding the system? It's a seven-time increase in asylum cases over 2012. Three out of ten of them are children. Let's start with yours, the border wall. How does that stop the influx of people that are coming from countries like Nicaragua with abject poverty and crime?

JENNINGS: Well, it doesn't fix the backlog in the system. What it does do, if you go ahead and complete the barriers, like Arizona governor, outgoing Governor Doug Ducey tried to do, it does stop people from walking across the border. I mean, you have people coming into the United States across places like the Yuma Gap in Arizona. So, that's one thing. And then on the DACA --

CAMEROTA: Yes. But that's not the big problem. I mean, the big problem is the 1.6 million asylum applications that our system can't handle.

JENNINGS: I think they're all big problems. I think the backlog is a problem and I think the daily influx is a problem. And I do think fixing the DREAMERs situation is also a good thing to do.

[22:10:03] But that also does not address the people who are showing up every single day. So, it's multifaceted issues here and all those things, I think, wind up in the discussion around a possible deal because it's what someone wants or it's the most important thing for some political constituencies, so you wind up tacking it on.

But it strikes me that the most important thing you could possibly do is stop the influx today, get a handle on what we have in terms of the backlog and stop adding to it. And that, I think, is the fundamental disagreement between the parties. The Republicans want to put a stop to everybody coming in and being added to the asylum backlog and the Democrats just say, well, just do the paperwork faster. And that is a huge gulf between the two parties.

CAMEROTA: Paul, Scott is saying that he thinks that a wall would help. Wasn't there a time that Democrats supported a wall?

BEGALA: Oh, a wall makes sense in some places and it's moronic in others. And that's what Mr. Trump didn't understand because he's Donald Trump. But, Scott, brother, you're not quite right about this, okay? I don't want to be mean. But the wall doesn't stop an asylum seeker. See, an asylum seeker is someone who has a -- who claims a well founded fear of persecution. So, she presents herself to the Border Patrol. She's not trying to avoid anything. She's not stopping a wall. She's going to the gate. She's going to the border patrol and saying, here I am, take me in.

And these are people fleeing murderous communist dictatorships. They're fleeing narco trafficking gangs that have taken over in various areas of Central America, the kind of folks -- I mean, you'd have to shoot me if it was the only way to feed my family, to protect my children for these gangs or these communist dictators.

So, fundamentally, we have to have security at the border. By the way, liberals have to say that. Join me, liberals. We have to secure the border. Now, conservatives have to admit that America needs immigrants. And we cannot turn away, we're not going to rip children from the parents did anymore, the way Mr. Trump did, and we cannot turn away people who are going to get shot if they go home by either communist dictators or --

CAMEROTA: Yes, I hear you, Paul. But let's be honest. I mean, I think Scott's point is that of the 1.6 million asylum applications pending, not all of them will be legitimate asylum seekers.

BEGALA: That's right.

CAMEROTA: I mean, part of the problem with the glut -- and, I mean, obviously people who are streaming here from Cuba and Venezuela have a lot to be afraid of. But we cannot process that. We don't know if all 1.6 million are legitimate. And, by the way, we might not know for years. Because of the backlog, it's taking like four and a half years to process some of this. That's a problem.

BEGALA: That's a four, five-year. And a wall won't fix that. More asylum judges will, faster adjudication, maybe even change the standards. Right now, the standard for decades has been, do you have a well-founded fear of persecution? And that's always been a pretty sensible standard for America. But if we are being overwhelmed, Congress has to change that. Joe Biden cant' change it and the Supreme Court can change it. Congress has to write a new law if they want a new law.

CAMEROTA: Ron, I'll give you the last word, about -- Astead was saying that he doesn't know that this Congress will have any appetite. Your thoughts.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, Alisyn, the political logic is that all of these things have to be done and even all of them may not be sufficient to fully control the challenge at the border. But the only way to do it, as John McCain and Ted Kennedy recognized in 2006, and the gang of 13 recognized -- gang of eight in 2013, is for both parties to join hands and try do it together. Because neither side can work through the coalition politics to do everything that has to be done if they have to do it alone.

Mitch McConnell once voted for that. Marco Rubio once voted for. That Oren Hatch, I think Chuck Grassley once voted for that. And it is a way forward other than just pointing fingers and red states doing stunts, like transporting migrants in the middle the night and 20 lawsuits by red states to tie Joe Biden's hands on changing Trump's policies, that is the way to move forward.

There's not a secret decoder ring. We've seen the roadmap before. It's just a question of finding the political will to move in that direction.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Gentlemen, stick around. I have more questions for you on other topics, because lots happening tonight, such as documents burned in a fireplace, QAnon talk and why one witness said he felt he was threatened by President Trump. More revelations tonight from the January 6th committee transcripts, that's next.



CAMEROTA: The January 6th committee releasing more transcripts tonight of key witness interviews, including one White House aide describing how Trump's former chief of staff would burn documents in the White House and may have kept some Oval Office meetings off the books after the 2020 election.

We are back with Astead Herndon, Paul Begala, Scott Jennings, and Ron Brownstein.

Okay. Astead, I don't know, burning documents in the White House, I just don't think that sounds good. Yes, and that's (INAUDIBLE) Cassidy Hutchison saying that she saw Mark Meadows do that, I think, dozens of times.

HERNDON: Dozens of times maybe once or twice a week. I mean, when you look through the scope of what the transcripts that were released today, you see this kind of movie-esque playing out dramatic drama, burn documents, dueling loyalties.

But I also think you see Hutchison talk about how far reaching conspiracy had become in the White House. They mentioned the involvement of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and possibly talking about QAnon. It shows the scope of just how much kind of chaos and really kind of below the seal of president the conversation had become at that time but it's also at this point expected, because so much information had come out from this point of the January 6th committee. We know this about the former president. It remains shocking nonetheless.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Paul, the QAnon stuff, it never does not shock, frankly. So, Marjorie Taylor Greene went into the White House and here is the testimony from the new transcript. Ms. Greene came up and began talking to us, this is from Cassidy Hutchinson, about QAnon and QAnon going to the rally on January 6th. And she had a lot of constituents, she said, that are QAnon, and they will all be there. And she was showing pictures of them traveling up to Washington, D.C. for the rally on the 6th.

There is more stuff that came out that Peter Navarro used to also bring all sorts of crazy crackpot QAnon theories and try to handoff them off to the vice president and the president. I mean, that's how close QAnon -- Qanon was in the White House basically, Paul.

BEGALA: Right. And why? Not because of Mark Meadows, not because of Marjorie Taylor Greene, not because of Peter Navarro, because of Donald J. Trump. He is unique and distinct threat to the Constitution. This could have never happened. Scott Jennings worked for President Bush. I worked for President Clinton. It could have never happen in either party of any president in our lifetime.

And so the solution is pretty clear, and that is Jamie Raskin, who's a member of the January 6th committee and a constitutional law professor before he became a Congressman, points out that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment allows we the people to ban someone who has committed insurrection against our country or try to undermine the free -- in this case, the peaceful transfer of power, to ever hold office again.

That is what they should've done when he was up for impeachment, especially after January 6th, ten votes short, but this is what has to happen. Either we the people have got to vote him out anytime he keeps trying to run again, and/or he has to be, as Liz Cheney says, kept more than 100 miles from that Oval Office. But this is -- we all focus on all these other characters, but this is about the organ grinder, not the monkey.

CAMEROTA: Scott, there is more tonight, and that is how Brad Raffensperger felt about that phone call in which President Trump said he just needs to find 11,000 -- yes, however many more votes. So, Brad Raffensperger says he was alleging, really accusing us of doing something illegal, something criminal. But I knew we followed the law. It was a hollow threat, but it was, I feel, a threat. Your thoughts on that.

JENNINGS: Yes, that one stuck out to me, because it strikes me that's going to be a key issue for the district attorney in Atlanta who is still looking at bringing charges against Donald Trump. You know, this phone call is the one place in this entire ordeal where you actually have Donald Trump's voice on a -- you know, in a meeting trying to do something nefarious. And if Raffensperger says he felt like he was being personally threatened, it strikes me that's a pretty big moment. If you're going to take somebody to trial over this, I would suspect that's going to be a huge piece the evidence.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Ron, I mean, for somebody who felt personally threatened, he really held his ground, you know? He kept -- as you will remember from that phone call, he was saying, the problem Mr. President is basically the facts are not on your side.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Raffensperger's testimony, I read through it, was incredibly revealing on several fronts. One, it joins all of the other evidence that shows how often Trump was told that what he was saying was false and made up. I mean, it wasn't like Trump did you not yet clear -- the former president did not get clear indications that he was lying and that he was spreading lies. The legal analysts will tell you that is very important in terms of establishing his state of mind.

But there was also a moment in the testimony where Raffensperger gave perhaps the most pointed, concise testimony on how Donald Trump operates. At one point, he said that Trump has basically learned the lesson in life that if you intimidate people, he disparage them, you make up things about them, you get what you want. And there is the quote. And that, in some ways, is the summation of all of these thousands of pages.

I would defer with Paul only in one respect. Trump was certainly the driving force behind all of this but he could not have done it alone. There were dozens, really even hundreds of local elected officials and members of Congress who supported him in various ways in trying to overturn the election. The committee chose not to really stress that, like Biden in '20, they chose to present Trump as a unique threat. But the question is whether there's going to be accountability for the others who willingly enlisted in this crusade I think is one that's left very much open even after the filing of this final report.

CAMEROTA: Scott, what do you think the DOJ is going to do?

JENNINGS: Oh, I get the feeling he is going to be indicted. I mean, they've come a long way. We've got a lot of information. They also have the parallel Mar-a-Lago issue going on, raided his house. I mean, to not do anything at this point strikes me as really unlikely.

On the point Paul made about the 14th Amendment or defeating Trump in an election, it strikes me that the way to banish him from the political process is for the voters to actually do it. And I think Republicans are on their way to doing that. It strikes me that the party is ready to move on. They don't want to do this a third time.

This is the point of primaries, to determine the direction of your political party. And I think Republicans are on the path to getting this done. I think to do it by other means would always leave open the possibility that I would've come back if they'd only let me run again. So, I think this is for the voters and for actual Republicans do this job this time.

CAMEROTA: Okay, we shall see. Gentlemen, thank you very much for all of that.

So, it just keeps getting worse and worse in Buffalo. The death toll has gone up again. And residents, of course, are still trying to dig out. Now there's fears of flooding coming at the end of this week because temperatures will rise by them. So, we are going to get the latest from a Buffalo official of what's happening this hour, next.



CAMEROTA: The extreme winter weather this past week is now responsible for 56 deaths nationwide, 31 of those deaths alone in Erie County, New York. That's the home to Buffalo. And take a look at this. A state police forklift free cars and trucks from the snow and the ice there. It was battered by more than four feet of snow in the blizzard. And, of course, the danger is not over there. You can see that, there's just so many accidents.

So, with us right now is Mitch Nowakowski. He's city council member in Buffalo. Councilman, thank you so much for being here with us tonight. So, tell us what's the status in Buffalo. What is your biggest need tonight?

MITCH NOWAKOWSKI, BUFFALO COMMON COUNCIL MEMBER: Yes. It's been five days of really a natural disaster that's hit the city of Buffalo and Western New York, and it's actually claimed 33 lives of Buffalonians and Western New Yorkers. And we're expecting that number to rise as we dig ourselves out of this situation, but we are making progress.

And I want to be able to articulate that this evening, at the height of the blizzard, we had 30,000 residents that were all power. And as of just a few moments ago, we're down to just 485 residents. But I really want folks to know that numbers sometimes can be sanitized and that numbers, 485 people are 485 people that need auction, need CPAPs, need machinery for dialysis, to charge their wheelchairs, you name it. So, restoring power to these homes is absolutely critical in the response to residents.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I'm so glad that you brought that home for us, because it's not just sitting in the dark, it is life and death stuff.


And so we thought that the death toll in your area in Erie County was 31. Are you saying that it is now tonight, 32 or 33?

NOWAKOWSKI: Yes, almost 33 to confirm. Yes.

CAMEROTA: And basically, the way that breaks down is there, we have one death from an EMS delay, three from shoveling, three I guess, trapped in a vehicle, seven from lack of heat, and then 17 people were found outside. Do you know anything about these cases? Were these people who were trying to get somewhere to shelter or help?

NOWAKOWSKI: One of the instances was actually my neighbor, four doors down from me, that neighbors found yesterday with his family under a snow pile. It's been catastrophic to see the human impact that this is having. But this also, you know, we don't know just yet because we don't want to speculate. But it could be folks that were driving during ace -- on travel ban where, you know, whiteout conditions where maybe somebody was driving.

That's why having a travel ban is so critically important and it's so important for people to adhere to it. And County Executive Mark Poloncarz has urged Governor Kathy Hochul to bring in state troopers to do traffic patrol in the city of Buffalo so that we can do snow removal appropriately and quickly because of the life and death happenings that could potentially happen.

And I also want to just stress that what we're facing in the city of Buffalo is different from snow removal to just snow plowing. We need to snow, we move, meaning we need equipment where there's one truck driving and then another forklift putting the snow into the truck and then removing it from the street. Because we have old historic dense one-way streets and very dense neighborhoods, and we don't have anywhere to put it.

Which leads to, with temperatures rising, a potential of flooding our neighborhoods.

CAMEROTA: Yes. No, we've heard that there -- that you're so far from being out of the woods in terms of the weather because you'd think that it is, you know, a godsend that things are going to melt soon, but that it could be really catastrophic flooding.

But when you talk about your neighbor who died four houses down from you, he was found in a snowbank with his family or he -- can you, do you know any more of the circumstances?

NOWAKOWSKI: No, another neighbor had discovered the body and had called the authorities and it just so happened that his family had came out when neighbors had heard about this, and unfortunately had to identify the body there.

CAMEROTA: Gosh, that's so awful. I mean, and as we said there's, you know, 30 almost you say 33 of those experiences, everyone has just a horror story. We've heard of so many people who got stuck and thought they were going to die. And so, what is being done? I mean, when you say that you're looking for a place to put all of the snow, what's the solution to that tonight?

NOWAKOWSKI: Yes, it's really working hard with DPW to make sure that we have locations to properly move the snow. I have a few in my districts that we've identified to properly remove because they're far away from residences and you know, in cities there's high density in some neighborhoods, low density in some of them. So, it's really identifying those spots to appropriately move them.

Because, you know, if we build a snowbank that's 10 feet high it can really hinder visibility for vehicular traffic. So, what is happening now is the Department of Public Works is doing a great job in identifying locations, safe locations to pile all of this snow.

CAMEROTA: Councilman, I really appreciate you coming on. Mitch Nowakowski, thanks so much for telling us what's happening in Buffalo. Take care of yourself and we will check back with you.

As we've heard, there are heroes in this disaster, like Shaquille Jones who helped save a baby boy in Buffalo who relies on a ventilator which failed 12 hours after the power went out.

Shaquille is with us tonight along with little boy's mother Shahida Muhmmad and her husband Michael Brown who asked for help on Facebook.

So, guys, thank you so much for being here. First, let's just start, Shahida, how is your baby doing?


CAMEROTA: Well, Shaquille, I hope you heard that and I hope you take some pride that the baby is doing well. But first, let me rewind the tape. So, Shaquille, first in this snowstorm, you yourself, were trapped in a car. Is that right?

SHAQUILLE JONES, HELPED SAVE BABY IN BUFFALO: Yes, I was trapping the car with my family for 18 hours.

CAMEROTA: And what was happening during those 18 hours?


JONES: We were calling the police to get help and they were saying they're coming, they're coming, they're coming. And at the last moment when the snow was up to our windows in the truck, at that moment we had to make a decision either we were going to live or die. And we called them again, and finally they told us we are not coming. That's what they told me.

CAMEROTA: And did you think that you were going to die at that point?

JONES: Excuse me. Yes, yes. Me, my mother, and my sister, and two nieces were in the car. My sister had a broken leg with crutches. So we actually had to climb out the window and walk. And a lot of snow and minus, 70 -- 17-degree weather at 80 miles an hour for about 20 minutes.

By the time we got to the hospital, I couldn't feel my legs, my fingers. We had frostbite and the doctor said maybe another minute or so, we, I probably would've died. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Shaquille, that is an incredible story. And yet with all of that, with your near-death experience, you then decided to go back out into the storm and help people. Is that what happened?

JONES: Yes, that is correct. After I figured that God gave me another chance at life, I have to try to save others because the police and, you know, they told me they weren't coming, so I can only imagine what they told others. So yes, I went back out. I went home. I had a guy came and saved me.

And I went home and I told my family, unfortunately, I'm going back out. I went back out and I've been out for four days straight ever since then. And I've helped maybe over 500 to a thousand people bleeding.

CAMEROTA: This is incredible. You -- see, I mean, it's just astonishing what you've been doing and what you've been able to do during this. And one of the people that you saved, as we've mentioned, Shahida and her son. So, Shahida, tell us the situation. Tell us what was happening in your house while all of the storm was hitting.

MUHAMMAD: Well, Friday morning at 11 a.m. our power went out. As you guys know, majors on the ventilator. He's on the trilogy Evo, so it was approximately 12 hours. So around 11 o'clock Friday night his ventilator died and that's when I got on social media. I had already been calling 911, fire -- fire departments, everyone at 11 a.m. national grid, at 11 a.m. just to like, because you know, like we can't go without power.

So, I was calling everyone. They kept saying they were going to send ambulance, then we got nothing. So, I had no choice but to turn to social media for help. A lot of my stats went viral. The police actually got angry because my stats went viral, and so many people were calling for me. When I started calling back, they actually started telling me that I was from Facebook.

CAMEROTA: My gosh. Shahida, so you put it out, what was the message that you put out that everybody responded to? What did you say?

MUHAMMAD: I said we have no power and I have a baby on a ventilator, and it went from there.

CAMEROTA: And so, Shaquille, did you see that message?

JONES: Yes, I did. And once I did see it, I dropped everything I had going and I rushed right to her.

CAMEROTA: And when you got there, what did you find?

JONES: I knocked on the door, actually on my way up the hill. It was a guy coming from her house and he said that she didn't need help. And in my mind, something said that that can't be right, that that's not right. So I walked through about maybe six or seven feet of snow. And I got to her front door and I said, you know, I'm here. Do you need help? And she said, yes, please.

And I'm guessing the other guy didn't have the right equipment. He wanted to use a sleigh to get a baby on a ventilator to the hospital. And that wasn't going to work. So, I was in three, about three trucks and with the help of my friends and other people that showed up after I was there, we were able to get her out and get her to my vehicle and rush her to electricity, while I'm pumping the baby walking through the snow.


So, as I'm doing that, I'm trying to do this at the right speed so the baby won't take more breaths than it has to. So, he won't cough and stop breathing. It was something I've never ever imagined doing in my entire life. Never.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it sounds very intense. Shahida, what do you want to say to Shaquille?

MUHAMMAD: I just want to thank him. I've already told him he was my angel after so many hours of begging, we were so tired. We were cold. He was -- he was literally sent from God and I just want to thank him.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's a beautiful story, you guys. It is really an inspirational story on Christmas, you know, Christmas week to hear about this. Shaquille, we all need a Shaquille in our neighborhood to just be at the ready in case any of us need help.

So, thank you all, really very much for sharing the story with us, and we're so glad that the baby is safe tonight. Thanks for being here.

JONES: Thank you.

MUHAMMAD: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Wow. All right. Meanwhile, Congressman-elect George Santos who claimed he never said he was Jewish. He said he was Jew-ish is making things even worse for himself in a heated interview tonight. We'll tell you what he's saying now.


CAMEROTA: GOP Congressman-elect George Santos now admitting to lying about everything from his work experience to his education, to his religion. Democrats are calling for an investigation, but on the right, silence from Republican leadership. Santos says he does not plan to step down, and tonight he directly addressed his now debunked claims that he has Jewish heritage.


GEORGE SANTOS (R), CONGRESSMAN-ELECT: My heritage is Jewish. I've always identified as Jewish. I was raised a practicing Catholic. I think I've gone through this. Even I've not, not being raised a practicing Jew. I've always joked with friends and circles even with -- in the campaign, I'd say, guys, I'm Jew-ish. Remember I was raised Catholic.


CAMEROTA: I'm even more confused.


Back with us now, Astead Herndon, Scott Jennings, Ron Brownstein, Norm Eisen.

Astead, what -- where does this go?


CAMEROTA: What happens when he gets to Congress? Will he be able to serve his full term even though he lied to his voters?

HERNDON: I mean, it seems as if that way, because this is kind of an unprecedented situation from parties to media. I'm going to shout out my Times colleagues who have led on this story. I mean, everything about his history, his identity, his biography seems to be a lie and stretches from the kind of funny small lies or something that would seem kind of just like normal political embellishment to things that were core to his campaign promise, to his Jewish so-called identity, which has turned out to be a falsehood.

I mean, there is nothing about him that seems to be true at this point, but there is not really a recourse or precedent for that steps going forward. Republicans have not responded to Democratic calls to really step up on this, and they really don't have an incentive to, at this point, unless the Republican voters start turning. We're still in the early stages of this crisis.

CAMEROTA: Scott, what should Republicans do about this?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he's probably going to take office and then immediately he should be referred to the ethics committee. I think there could be a financial filing that need to be looked into. But I think what we have to have here to restore some integrity to the political process is a bipartisan condemnation of people who make up out of whole cloth their entire life story.

I mean, imagine someone who I don't know, claimed to have been raised in a Puerto Rican community, appointed to the Naval Academy, arrested with Mandela, finished in the top of his law school class, when in fact he cheated in law school and finished at the bottom.

Claimed to have been a civil rights activist who was arrested multiple times, claimed his house was burned down in a lightning strike. Imagine if someone like that say, I don't know, ascended to the presidency, because that's what's happened.

You've got a president who has made up huge chunks of his life story, just like Santos and the people who are mad about Santos. And by the way, I'm mad about it because it makes Republicans look bad, seem to have no care that the president has done the same thing.

CAMEROTA: Ron, your thoughts on that?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, look, I think the main thing here is that it reminds me of the most famous literary put down in history. You know, Mary McCarthy said, if Lilian Hellman, every word she ever wrote was a lie, including, and the, I think that's the kind of case we're in with Santos. So, my main conclusion is we're not done --


BROWNSTEIN: -- with the -- with the, you know, with misleading and false statements. And there is the possibility that he -- the question of where he got his money from, that he lent to the campaign, whether he was inaccurate on his financial, disclosures. Those are crimes. Those can be crime. Norm can explain that better than I.

It's not really only an ethics issue. It there may be a legal exposure there. Joe Biden has, you know, has certainly gotten his share of biographical and other details wrong over the years. But I don't think there's anything quite as concentrated that we've ever seen like this, maybe other than what Mary McCarthy said about Lillian Hellman.

CAMEROTA: Norm, is this illegal? I mean, aren't there laws? What is the recourse for this?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: There are serious legal questions, Alisyn. We'll see what the answers are. I suspect he's going to be investigated. You have somebody who lied about his biography. He lied about his income. He lied about his jobs. He lied about his family being in the Holocaust. That was particularly offensive to me as the child of Holocaust survivors. What an insult.

But when you lie about over $700,000, if he did, and you file forms with Congress and with the Federal Election Commission, if those numbers also have any element of fabrication to them, yes, there are potential federal crimes. There are state crimes, I think, and there is the house ethics committee.

So, I think a variety of people are going to say, hey, are those financial figures lies also, we don't know the answer yet, but boy, there's not a lot of reason to trust what he's put down on those forms.

CAMEROTA: I think we can all agree this is not over yet. Gentlemen, thank you very much.

Next, Miami's quarterback is in the NFL's concussion protocol for the second time this week. So, who is supposed to be protecting the players? Why does this keep happening? That's next.



CAMEROTA: A star quarterback is recovering from his second health scare in three months. Tua Togovailoa of the Dolphins has been placed in the NFL's concussion protocol again, this time after playing an entire game on Sunday, raising new concerns about the league's safety measures.

Now in September, the quarterback was sacked in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals and ended up lying motionless on the field before being taken away by a stretcher.

I'm joined now by CNN sports analyst, Christine Brennan, and Ephraim Salaam, a former NFL player.

Great to have both of you here.

Ephraim, I want to start with you. When you watched that game and when you saw what was happening with Tua, could you tell something was wrong? What -- what are your thoughts tonight?

EPHRAIM SALAAM, FORMER NFL PLAYER: No, the past game we just played, you really couldn't tell because you don't know unless you see some physical glazed over eyes or stumbling, you really don't know when a person is suffering from head trauma. But the first game that this all started, the game he had against Buffalo, which was a big time divisional game earlier in the year, when he slammed his head against the ground and got up and stumbled and no one took him out of the game, they allowed him to come back in the game the second half. That was my biggest problem.

Because four days later we all witnessed on Thursday night football him playing against the Bengals and those horrific images of him lying there motionless with his fingers contorted. I mean, that's an image that is going to resonate in people's minds and viewers and fans' minds for a long time.

So now to have this happening, it sounds like a compound situation to where some guys respond differently to concussions. Some guys can get a concussion and then move on and be fine. And others similar to Tua, have lingering long lasting effects.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And so, Christine, should he have been playing still?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: You know, I think they should shut him down for the rest of the season. Two more games, potentially the playoffs, it's a -- it's a key moment in the season. Obviously, you want your star quarterback, but he's 24 years old as you know, Alisyn, and he's got his entire life ahead of him. And his health is, and his, especially his brain, and what can happen as we've seen in the NFL it that's so important that a couple football games would seem meaningless by comparison.


But I think what Ephraim is saying is of course correct that there's a history here. This entire season, it seems like, from September now to December, we're talking about Tua and head trauma or potential head trauma. He's now been in the concussion protocol twice.

This is incredibly troublesome and I am wondering why the Dolphin staff when they saw that hard hit, it's an army of assistant coaches in the press box on the sideline. Everyone is watching every moment. Is there no one going? Wait a minute. We just saw him hit his head hard. Even if he's looking OK, we know what happened in September. Why are we not more concerned? And why did it take a full day before the world started to hear about this? And before he started to feel comfortable enough to say that he had symptoms?

CAMEROTA: And Christine, do we know the answer to that question that you just posed, why they weren't moving with more alacrity to help?

The, the coach of the team, Mike McDaniel says that he cares very much and that he didn't notice anything at that point. Obviously, they said they didn't notice anything, and even the NFL experts are saying that at that moment there was nothing to alarm them.

And I guess I would look at the breadth of the season and say, use your brains. We know this problem. We know from the concussion movie.


BRENNAN: This has been a decade of conversation, at least in the NFL, the tragedy of the loss of life, of the suicides by some of these men so troubled. Their brains so damaged that they have killed themselves.

And maybe you should be, you know, and maybe err on the side of caution.


BRENNAN: So, I think the answer is they felt things were OK and it's a big football game on Christmas Day, Alisyn, but obviously, many of us would say, boy, that was the wrong decision to make.

CAMEROTA: Ephraim, what do you think about the safety protocols? Does anything need to be changed?

SALAAM: Yes. Well, you know, when you're in the thick of it, when you're playing as a player, there's nothing you want more than to be there for your team, especially playing at the quarterback position. You never want to let them down. Every game means something, especially for the Miami Dolphins and any other team in the playoff race.

A team that's been much maligned and not had the success that they've wanted. They finally have found their quarterback of the future and he wants to play. The problem is sometimes you have to protect the players from themselves.


SALAAM: But there's a lot of money involved here. We're talking about playoff games, playoff tickets, positioning, bonuses, all of these things are in play. And if you are not really looking, then you won't see the symptoms either. You won't see the red flags and maybe want to step in too.

You have to really be looking and I think that's what the independent neurologist is for that the NFL has brought in. But we've seen that position failed Tua, in particular before.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Gosh, you make such a great point about all the disincentives for actually saying something is wrong. Ephraim, Christine, thank you both so much. Great to talk to you and

thanks to all of you for watching.

SALAAM: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: Our coverage continues.