Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Tonight

House Fight For Speaker Intensifies As Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R- CA) Loses Third Vote; Buffalo Bills' Damar Hamlin in Serious Medical Condition; Congressman-Elect George Santos Admits Using Stolen Checks In 2008. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 03, 2023 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates and this is CNN Tonight. And can we just say what a day. It's been a day of chaos on Capitol Hill. I mean, they voted.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No persons have not received a majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname. A speaker has not been elected.


COATES: And they voted again.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No persons having received the majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname, a speaker has not been elected.


COATES: So, they voted again.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No person having received the majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname, a speaker has not been elected.


COATES: So, the third time was not the charm. And this lasted for almost five hours. We're talking about three consecutive ballots. And they could not elect a speaker of the House. And this was frankly a once-in-a-century occurrence. This hasn't happened in the last 100 years, not to be able to finalize who was going to be your speaker in that first round, let alone after three rounds and there's still no conclusion.

A tough day, everyone can say, for Kevin McCarthy. After all of this time, his dream of being speaker was within his reach. And he believes it still is. But so far, it has succeeded his grasp. So, the question tonight, where are we now? I mean, there's still no speaker of the House and they're going to do the whole thing tomorrow, beginning at noon.

So here is where it all stands tonight. Kevin McCarthy does not, as we sit here today, have the votes, does not have that magical number of 218, let alone the majority of those voting at present. But then again, he is not alone because neither does anybody else.

Now, there's no doubt that the horse trading will be going on, frankly, all night long, likely as we are conversing with one another right now. But it's not at all clear what could actually break the impasse. Jim Jordan, whose name was up there, even getting votes, he says he doesn't want it.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But is there any chance you may be speaker of the House?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): No. Watch yourself. No, I made it clear. I want to chair the judiciary committee. I mean, you guys know. I like this ability to cross-examine witnesses and get the truth for the country. So, that's what I'm focused on.

REPORTER: What needs to change between now and when this ends?

JORDAN: Both of you (INAUDIBLE).

REPORTER: But how do you do that, though?

JORDAN: I don't know. We're going to work on it.


COATES: Well, Congressman Jordan is talking but Congressman Steve Scalise isn't?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman, what is McCarthy going to do tomorrow? Is he going to drop out of the race? What's the next move for the GOP? Would you accept if you got the votes to become speaker?


COATES: Of course, they are asking because he's the number two. And there have been thoughts about would he or wouldn't he if he, in fact, were given the opportunity to get those votes.

And the Democrats, they sure are not prepared to help them out and get out of the mess that has now been created.


REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): We're looking for a willing partner to solve problems for the American people, not save the Republicans from their dysfunction.


COATES: A willing partner. Well, new tonight, the so-called never- Kevin camp is working the phones. They're trying to grow their opposition against Kevin McCarthy. But you have a pro-McCarthy GOP lawmaker telling CNN that one of the so-called never-Kevin Republicans just called them and tried try to get them to change their vote. This is a sign that both sides are now digging in and trying to whip votes in their own direction.

I want to bring in now Congressman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, who voted for McCarthy three times today. Congressman, thank you for being here. It's been quite a day. I wonder what your initial reaction was. Do you expect that Mr. McCarthy would not get those votes as of tonight?

REP. PETE SESSIONS (R-TX): Laura, it was unclear until we really went to voting of how deep-seated these 19 people are, how deep-seated they are in their resolve but, that I believe Kevin not become speaker.

Our conference is faced with a real conundrum. We want to get on with our work. We believe we've earned this. We believe we have committees ready with work ahead of us. But we also know, and as a Texan, I take very seriously and understand that the issues at our border, in our cities, on our streets, fentanyl, drugs, overwhelming people, New York City experiencing much of the same -- many of the same problems that come from our border.


We have a problem with inflation.

And our conference is serious, as well as our voters, about making sure that we have a person that is able to effectively take these challenges on at a time when we don't have the Senate nor the presidency. And these people --

COATES: But who is that person, Congressman? Because at the moment, I understand the resolve and what the voters certainly want in every issue that you just pointed out certainly is top of mind for many, many people, but none of that can really start, right, until there is a speaker elected. So, who will that be?

SESSIONS: Well, takes 218. That is the rule. And so it means that 203 is not 218. And so the conversation took place, has been taking place for weeks, took place today as a family get-together that we had in the Capitol that did not resolve that matter. And so we went to the floor unresolved.

And I think many people now see where both sides are dug in. The question is, at what point do we have adults that come forward and say, we've got to figure this out? And I think that's what tonight and tomorrow are about.

COATES: So, what's happening tonight? I mean, obviously, it adjourned around 5:27 P.M. this evening. So, to the surprise of some, but it wouldn't just continue to go on. Obviously, in a tongue-in-cheek moment, hopeful, in his mind, speaker McCarthy, as he wants to be, thought that he could withstand it and that people would essentially no longer dig in their heels. Now that they came in unresolved, they could actually make it happen.

But in reality, there is not resolution. There has been, I'm assuming, talks right now, up to tonight, even as you and I are speaking, about how to get that magic number. What are the efforts being made right now to try to make that happen, even tomorrow?

SESSIONS: I think there is a clarification about what these 19 members are for. They vote for Jim Jordan. I get that. Jim Jordan says he doesn't want that. At some point, you have to change your focus to what do you want but before we're able to get resolution. What we want, what they want, and what the conference wants is to be able to resolve the matter with the person who is able to get the 218 votes.

And I don't think it's so hard. I think it's a matter of both sides coming to a realization of listening to each other. And I think that's when Mr. McCarthy understands whether he is in or out. And his supporters understand, like me, whether we're in or whether we're out, because we as a group want to address these problems for the American people.

COATES: Congressman, what would make you be out, so to speak? I mean, you've got the number 19 was the initial of the first in the second round. Of course, it did go up, in the wrong direction if you are a hopeful to be speaker, up to 20. And one would think that as the time goes on, there might be others who say, you know what, it's not going to happen, I'm not seeing the resolution, so I might want to jump ship as well.

Given that, are you concerned that this might be a trend in the direction away from getting to that number for McCarthy?

SESSIONS: I will tell you, there is hardball being played on both sides. There are conversations, there is pressure on people, there's outside pressure, my phone blows up, other phones, people are receiving these same calls. But we have to get to what are people after. What are these 19, what are they willing to accept, because, otherwise, it will become ugly for us.

And I think, I think there's resolution that can happen. Now, with that said, they have got to be willing to say what that is. You just can't be against something. You have to be for something at some point. And I thought that that's what we would figure out with Jim Jordan. Well, he doesn't want it.

COATES: At some point, it seemed as though the negotiation becomes not in good faith, if you're unclear as to what the other side necessarily wants. But we do have some sound in this evening. Our own Manu Raju did speak to Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Let's listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: Do you need Trump to come out and reiterate his support for you?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Trump, Trump has already reiterated support but tonight (INAUDIBLE).

RAJU: How is that conversation tonight?

REPORTER: Why did you decide to (INAUDIBLE) rather than going through the 12 votes (ph)? And will you adjourn tomorrow --

MCCARTHY: I didn't think it was -- I don't think we were going to get any more productive by continuing on the day.


We've gone through where we are. And I think the best way to deal with discussions with some other members of the (INAUDIBLE), why don't we just give them the room for now (ph)? And so I think we made our point and we're just going to move --

REPORTER: Bottom line, no scenario where you are backing out?

MCCARTHY: No. You guys asked that same question a lot. I will let you know when it happens, okay, but it's not going to happen?


COATES: Well, of course, he will let us know if he's dropping out. He says he's not going to drop out of the race. It does not surprise you, I'm sure, but the point at the very beginning was about the former president, Donald Trump, and, obviously, once again, candidate, about whether he would reinstate or reinforce his endorsement.

Now, he has not withdrawn it by any stretch of the imagination but does it concern you given what he's saying? I mean, there is an endorsement from Trump. But it didn't stop 20 Republican members of Congress from not voting in favor of them. What's your thought?

SESSIONS: Well, and it won't stop these 20. These 20 are -- or the associated number, is firm. So, what's going to happen is people on both sides are going to have to find a way. What is an answer? What is a third rail, I don't know but, a way that we can move through this. And there are limitations on both sides. There are clear limitations on both sides.

COATES: So, sitting here today, do you think there's a concession that McCarthy has left to give? I mean, he has given some. Some would say that it would lead to, even if her were to win, the sort of a pyrrhic victory where the concessions he's made would trump the victory.

SESSIONS: Well, we were really given the viewpoint today that those negotiations have ended. And it was just a matter of how long where the 13 or 19 going to dig in. I think it's obvious to me they are going to dig in. I think it's obvious to every person who was there that they grew the vote. They did not lose people on that vote.

So, I think it's a matter of, we've got to figure out, we've got to know what are the 19 people for.

COATES: Well, I tell you tonight, Congressman, there is a letter that was written by Congressman Matt Gaetz dated today, written into the architect of the Capitol, the honorable J. Brett Blanton, saying, I write in formulas that the speaker of the House office located in the U.S. Capitol building is currently occupied by Representative Kevin McCarthy. As of this morning, the 117th Congress adjourned, it's in D.I., and a speaker from the 118th Congress has not been elected after three undecided votes, no member can lay claim to this office.

What is the basis in law? House rule, or precedent, to allow someone who has placed second in three successive speaker elections to occupy the speaker of the House office? How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter? Please write back promptly, as it seems Mr. McCarthy can no longer be considered a speaker-designate following today's balloting. Signed, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.

But talking about what it is that some of the 19 people who voted against him want, it seems tonight, it's get out of the office. What's your reaction?

SESSIONS: Well, this is hardball. And both sides --

COATES: He's called him a squatter.

SESSIONS: Well, that's hardball. Both sides went, in their enunciation this morning at conference, played hardball. And then we saw it on the floor. I am very hopeful that we are men and women of character who can find a way to work through this, hopefully tonight. If not, be ready for tomorrow.

But I believe we're going to have to really find out from those 19. What are they willing to accept? Who is their person now that we had heard there was this other second person, Jim Jordan, and Jim clearly wants to be chairman of the judiciary? Who are they now going to put up, because that is the question?

COATES: So, if it's, for example, Steve Scalise, if that's the person instead of Jim Jordan -- and I know earlier today, I believe is Congressman Matt Gaetz alluded to the idea they wanted a reluctant warrior, not someone who's sort of campaigning for the job and he has serious trust issues, shall we say, with McCarthy. But if it were to be Steve Scalise, is he the guy who could get those votes? If not him, who?

SESSIONS: Well, it's hard to say. Once again, it's these 19. And there are more that are with that. They will a say. And I think it is possible. Do I think it's Steve Scalise? I don't know. But it's going to have to be somewhat and we're going to have to come up with that. It will not be -- I do not see us moving past three or four more rounds.

COATES: You don't think McCarthy will secure it?

SESSIONS: I'm telling you, these 19 people are dug in.

COATES: Will you keep voting in favor McCarthy?


SESSION: I think it's important for us to know where or what those 19 people are for. But, yes, I will keep voting for Kevin until a real candidate solution alternative comes forward.

COATES: Do you have a person in mind?

SESSIONS: You, know it would be easy to say that there are not a lot of people. Because there are just not a lot of people that have the knowledge, the background, the history, the ability to know. It's a big job. And so let's see. But, therefore, once again, the 19 control the fate of this entire matter.

COATES: And one last question on that point, what is that emotion that you have given that 19 people are really steering this ship? I mean, Republicans secured the majority. The voters said, we want the GOP in control of at least the House. It seems as though there is a bit of a hostage situation, so to speak. How does that feel in terms of going into presidential election cycle? Do you have concerns about the Republican Party being able to maintain its hold?

SESSIONS: Well, the price is '24. You hit on that. There is room, I believe, in time for us to get it right. And that's where these 19 -- we need to be united with the entire conference. And that is how you win. You win when we're together. When I was chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee in 2010, when I was chairman of the House Rules Committee for six years, we got people together on the agenda because we believed that we could achieve it if we were together.

Well, if you have 19 people hanging out where they don't believe you can get there, and things do not work the way they want, they will procedurally vote against the party. So, it's better that we get it right now than just say, we won't worry about the 19, we will cast them aside but. They are important. Each of these people are important to our party and, procedurally, to be together so that we pass what we need.

So, it's better that we take time, measured three times, solve once, and I have not grown weary of that. But I think there is an endpoint, Laura.

COATES: Well, We will see with that endpoint is. Thank you, Congressman, nice speaking with you.

Look, after all this, measuring three times, about to be a fourth, there is still been no one who has really made that cut and no speaker of the House. The question is can Republicans get their act together, so to speak, by tomorrow come noon, all over again?


[22:20:00] COATES: Tonight, Republican lawmakers scrambling after Kevin McCarthy sustained a series of, well, humiliating blows on Capitol Hill. Three ballots leaving him without the votes needed to clinch the speakership. It's unclear right now whether he even still has a path to win at all. What's also clear is the chaos that unfolded was not the message Republicans wanted to send on their first day after taking control of the House.

Joining me now, CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju, CNN Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillip, and Republican Strategist Doug Heye. Good to have you all on right now.

And just thinking about where we are, I mean, you heard from Congressman Sessions, look, I don't know what path to victory McCarthy has. The votes are not there. You spoke to him, Manu, he seemed to be very it glass half full. And I love an optimist. But I love a realist even more. Is he just for show, putting on the brave face?

RAJU: I mean, it's hard to get fully inside Kevin McCarthy's head at the moment but he is making very clear to his allies and publicly he is not going anywhere. He says that he is going to eventually get the votes. He says that there is no scenario in which he will drop out.

Now, he did say that perhaps he only needs to get 11 more Republicans to peel off in his direction. Now, that suggests perhaps he may have won some over and discussions have happened tonight. Maybe he negotiated something to have some of them vote present. If they voted present, except for a candidate, that lowers the threshold about how many votes they ultimately need in the House.

COATES: But also it could help maybe Hakeem Jeffries. I mean, it's a crazy world we live in right now.

RAJU: Yes, exactly. There's a lot of iterations that some of these could take place. But McCarthy is making clear, he is not going away and he does have a significant amount of support within the Republican conference for now.

Now, he also -- they talked to him also about this conversation he had Donald Trump because there has been concern within the McCarthy camp that Trump has not been more forceful in his endorsement, in his support of McCarthy. McCarthy told me tonight that the former speaker reiterated his support.


RAJU: Do you need Trump to come out and reiterate support for you?

MCCARTHY: Trump has already reiterated his support.

RAJU: How was your call with Trump? What did you guys discuss, what was the nature of it?

MCCARTHY: I mean, look, from that perspective, he thinks it's better than all the Republicans get together to solve this. It doesn't look good for Republicans. But we want to be able to solve it. We were stronger than we've ever been. What we went through today in the end becomes a positive that we are actually focused and united.

RAJU: Does he say he wants you to stay in the race?

MCCARTHY: Oh, yes, oh, yes.


RAJU: But even though Trump has called some of these members, it has not swayed them. That is the real concern he has. From 19 no votes today to 20 no votes on the final ballot. What's it going to be tomorrow? That is just uncertain at this point.

COATES: I mean, Abby, just think about, I mean, that number, it's not only just gotten like less 19 to 18 and a long way to go, it has gone up. And these people were well aware that Donald Trump had endorsed McCarthy, including someone like Matt Gaetz, who said, okay, that, and what?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, the fact that this is going in the wrong direction for McCarthy is really bad. And it's really bad especially because earlier in the evening, they thought that if only they could get Jim Jordan to really give him a full-throated endorsement and really twist some arms behind the scenes and try to whip some votes, that that might help. And then shortly after Jim Jordan tried that, things actually got a lot worse for McCarthy.

So, I think that that is just disheartening to McCarthy when he's being real and not putting on a bit of a brave face tonight.


The fact that there was a Trump call tonight also not the best sign. The call is happening after Trump told a reporter that he was kind of ambivalent about how this all turned out.

Trump is very sensitive to optics. He does not want to be seen as being on the side of a losing party here. And I think that McCarthy is really on the verge of losing the momentum, losing the optics of this all, where he starts to look like a loser with each successive lost vote for the speakership. He's at three now. Tomorrow, there will be more. And the longer this goes on, I think the weaker he gets.

COATES: This is no optical illusion, though, Doug. I mean, we watched three times. He fell very short of it. And even after Jordan said, yes, he's the one, still, it did not change people's minds. And this is after the red wave did not materialize. So, I think he was probably banking on a great deal, right?

DOUG HEYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, if we had a 20-seat Republican pick-up, we wouldn't be sitting here right now talking about this. We'd have members sworn in. We'd be talking about George Santos, who's the new member, and what's going to happen to him. Instead of all this process that we've been dealing with, and a lot of this talk is depressing for Republicans, so let me be even more depressing. The United States Senate doesn't come into session until January 23rd. So, while what's happening right now is real and especially in a constitutional sense, we're also still sort of playing with monopoly money until the Senate comes back in. So, Kevin McCarthy could try and continue this for two more weeks until the Senate comes back and then it becomes very real in a very different way.

COATES: Look, everyone, stick around. We're going to to talk more about this, more on this chaos, more on when it's about to get real with the GOP in just a moment.




COATES: All right. We're back now with more on the chaos unfolding on Capitol Hill as Kevin McCarthy has failed to secure the speakership three separate times today, after three separate votes today. Some McCarthy allies telling CNN McCarthy sent us home for the night to a pressure cooker. And the pressure is against him.

Back with me now Manu Raju, Abby Phillip, and Doug Heye. Look, it's, what, 10:30 at night. So, it's tomorrow on Capitol Hill, all right. This all starts again at noon. I was just speaking with Congressman Session who says look, I don't think there's the appetite to go multiple rounds again in the same direction.

What are you guys hearing right now on the Hill about the possibility that this could endure? I don't know if we have the patience in the GOP on the floor to keep going round after round. What do you think?

PHILLIP: Look, I mean, they don't have a choice right now. There is -- the frustration is that every vote is not really changing all that much. There is a change of one vote today, from 19 to 20. And at that pace, we will be here until January 23rd before anything really shifts. And so, I think that's really the source of the frustration.

So, when they gavel in at noon again tomorrow, it is going to be Groundhog Day. Unless what Kevin McCarthy indicated to Manu earlier tonight represents a real shift, that maybe he's won over some votes, we'll find out. They're going to be working overtime. I did think it was a positive sign. And I don't know what you think about this, Manu, but I think it's a positive sign.

There are at least some people saying, okay, I'm willing to continue talking. That is a lifeline for Kevin McCarthy, that people want to talk to him. But I don't know that that gets him basically the 15 votes that he needs to win.

COATES: But a really low bar. I want to talk to you. I got to hope. I got a chance.

RAJU: Look, it was different, and it's different than what things were this morning. They had the super contentious meeting behind closed doors. There were swears that were thrown. McCarthy just lashed out at his critics and one of his allies, Mike Rodgers, came out and said that some of those critics, opponents of Kevin McCarthy, may lose their committee assignments if they keep going that route.

It got very tense. It got people like Congressman Chip Roy told me afterwards that actually emboldened the opposition (inaudible) the other way. So, in a lot of ways, that very tense approach backfired. McCarthy signaled at that meeting he was done negotiating. But tonight, his posture change when he sat in that same gavel of reporters tonight, he suggested we're still talking, we're still open to some of the suggestions.

But the problem is that there are some members who don't really care about concessions. One of them, Bob Good, told me no matter what Kevin McCarthy offers, he is still a no. Matt Gaetz is still going to be a no. So, that's his math problem here. Some simply don't want him.

Kevin McCarthy is going to have to make the decision himself or maybe some others will make it for him, but he's got to bow out. He doesn't have the votes.

COATES: I mean, of all the concessions that he's made, you know, the whole prospect and the whole point of negotiating is that the two will meet in the middle. But of the middle is anyone but you, does not -- doesn't bode well. And do talk about Gaetz, remember, he sent a letter to the architect of the capital calling McCarthy a squatter.

Like, why is this man in the office? He moved some boxes in apparently. He sent a letter saying what law, what House rule or precedent would allow him to stay. How long will he remain there before he is considered a squatter. And even questioning, Doug, would you can still say consider him a speaker designate still even for tomorrow's hearing?

But the question is, on the alternative side, who else? I mean, Jim Jordan said he does not want it. He wants to be head of the judiciary committee. He's got, you know, investigations on the brain. But who else? Who is this reluctant warrior that Congressman Matt Gaetz spoke of earlier today that might be able to get to that number?

HEYE: You know, no politician is retiring from office until they announced their retirement. No one is interested in that job until they actually are interested and there's an opportunity for them. One of the things that Kevin McCarthy always says in meetings, whether it's his whip or majority leader or speaker designate, is no surprises.

And today, he didn't get any surprises. He doesn't want going on the floor to find out that somebody has flipped on him, whether it's on the Farm Bill, which is a vote that we had to pull in 2014. Manu beat me over the head on that one when that happened, or today.


So, what we'll see is tomorrow. Are there surprises? Because we have the guns are drawn, right. It's very similar to the end of the 2015, 2016 primaries where it was clear Donald Trump was going to win unless somebody got out. And the answer, was you should drop out, not me. Well, moderates are saying, I don't want this go on forever. The Freedom Caucus is saying we don't want to go on forever, but they are both saying, so you should blink first, we won't.

COATES: So, who wins chicken?

PHILLIP: I mean, this is really the question. I mean, no surprises, Kevin McCarthy doesn't want any surprises, but he's going to have to pull out a surprise to make this work. I mean, at the moment, there is not a clear path to the speakership. Even his allies will say that. It's going to take either some great luck or some magic, or something to get 15 people to come over to his side who have already said they are not going to do it.

And look, anything is possible in this environment. Maybe McCarthy gives away the entire store, if he has not already done that. To Manu's point, that won't work for about, you know, I mean, at least four of the whole ballots. It won't work for them. But maybe there's more that he can give. But short of that, it's going to be very difficult for him to get there. And I have yet to talk to anyone or see anyone out there who has actually articulated a path forward that actually ends in McCarthy.

RAJU: And a real concern for McCarthy is if that opposition does grow. I mean, one of the members, Ken Buck of Colorado, a conservative member of the Freedom Caucus, has been voting with McCarthy. He told me earlier he doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to continue to vote with McCarthy because they need to find a speaker who can get elected.

And the real concern in the McCarthy camp, if the opposition goes to 30, 40, maybe even beyond, we'll see, that is going to put a ton of pressure on him to bow out. That's why right now, behind the scenes, both sides are trying to lobby to build up their support. McCarthy is trying to peel away the opposition to him. We'll see how it turns out. But then tomorrow, those first initial ballots will be very instructive to McCarthy's future.

PHILLIP: I will say it is kind of a good question about the speaker, the speaker's office, because he is in there. And it's really not clear how this is going to end. So, he's moved in, he may have to move out if things don't --

RAJU: And he's already decorated.

HEYE: But there is no sign. There is no sign that says (inaudible).

COATES: He's already decorated it? What?

RAJU: Yes. But he said, yes. As members have come out of the office have told me that all of his stuff is out there, so.

COATES: Look, that's the kind of like, I don't know, that's an ego. That's, I mean, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and getting different results and hoping for them. But decorating the office you have not yet occupied, that's a different level of crazy. Thank you everyone. Nice talking to you tonight. We'll see what happens, come as they say, high noon.

Well tonight, we are learning about more about what happened to the Buffalo Bills player, Damar Hamlin. And unfortunately, he is still in critical condition. This, after he collapsed on the field during last night's NFL game. Now, we're learning he has had to be resuscitated a second time. That happened once he arrived at the hospital last night. The very latest from that hospital in Cincinnati is next.



COATES: Tonight, fans of the Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin are holding a village for him tonight, this outside the University of Cincinnati, the (inaudible) center, where he is being treated after collapsing from cardiac arrest during last night's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

And tonight, his uncle tells CNN that Hamlin had to be resuscitated twice. First on the field itself and then a second time after he was rushed to the hospital where he is still in critical condition. I'm going right now to CNN's Adrienne Broaddus who spoke with Hamlin's uncle. Also joining us, CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Adrienne, tell us, what did Damar Hamlin's uncle tell you about the condition of his nephew?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, he told me he will not be able to rest until his nephew is out of the intensive care unit. But that is where he is tonight, still in critical condition, on a ventilator and sedated. Dorrian Glenn, who is Damar's uncle, also said that his nephew sustained some injuries to use his lungs due to the chest compressions that took place on the field last night. That, after suffering cardiac arrest.

He also told me or described what the hospital room looks like where his nephew is receiving care. He says Damar is laying on his stomach and doctors explained to his uncle and the family that he's on his stomach to take the pressure off of his lungs so they don't have to work so hard. And perhaps the most chilling information we received from his uncle today was that Damar's heart stopped beating at least twice. Listen in.


DORRIAN GLENN, DAMAR HAMLIN'S UNCLE: His heart had went out so, they had to resuscitate him twice. They resuscitated him on the field before they brought him to the hospital and then they resuscitated him a second time when he got to the hospital. So, I just wanted to show my gratitude for the medical staff that were on hand because if not for them, my nephew probably would not even be here.


BROADDUS: He also said the team of medical professionals here are doing everything they can to help his nephew. Laura?

COATES: Adrienne, I'm so glad you were able to speak with his uncle. We've all been waiting with (inaudible) breath to figure out what has happened. And Sanjay, when you hear this, first of all, the idea that he had to be resuscitated more than once and his heart stopped more than once, I'd love to hear your reactions as to how severe this must be.


But also, the fact that there is lung damage as a result of the chest compressions, possibly. Talk to me about how that could happen.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, a couple of things. First of all, I think we do need to obviously hear from the doctors, you know, and get more clarity on exactly what has happened here, and then sometimes things get a little bit lost in translation. But nevertheless, two separate resuscitations', one on the field, where he sounds like he underwent cardiopulmonary resuscitation for a period of time, and then had a defibrillator placed and was able to restore a normal rhythm to his heart.

But then it sounds like his electrical rhythm to his heart was still unstable. And by the time he got to the hospital, it sounds, like from what Adrienne is saying, needed to be -- he needed to undergo a second resuscitation. It's obviously concerning.

Also, something else that Adrienne pointed out, the idea that the lung damage itself, or the reason that he may be on his chest, on his abdomen, is in part sometimes, because the heart itself, when it's not working well, Laura, when it's not pumping blood well, the fluid, the blood, tends to backup. People develop swelling, for example, in the legs and the feet. But it can also develop swelling in the lungs. It becomes harder to oxygenate those lungs.

Actually, flipping someone prone, into the prone position can help with that, but it also, again, speaks to the severity of things if that's what's in fact going on here. He is still listed in critical condition, which kind of fits the picture that has been described. But, you know, we obviously need to get more clarity from the medical team. And that may not happen for some time.

They may wait for a while to get some test results back, get more of an idea of how he is doing, how the rest of his organs are doing beside his heart, how he's lungs, his brain and other things have responded to all this. So, it could take some time before we actually get some more medical details from the medical team itself.

COATES: It's so important to underscore the idea that this has not come from the medical team themselves yet and we are still waiting to hear that specificity coming from the team that, in fact, is treating him. But on that notion of, it's still very early, I mean, it's been almost 24 hours now since he collapsed, and he is 24 years old.

I'm wondering just given the relative fewer patient that we have and what we've seen from this being a medical event on the field, in particular, do you have a sense of what the road ahead is, even for the medical team right now, in trying to assess where things go from here?

GUPTA: Yeah. There is probably a lot that is going on, a lot that goes into the care of this young man. And his age, I should point out, is a positive, you know, in terms of the likelihood of a better outcome. I mean, that's going to work to his advantage. But I don't want to minimize, I mean, how critical, how serious this sounds.

Again, from the details that we are now getting, a couple of things. One is, when the heart is not functioning well, Laura, you have the goal of trying to improve the heart function. That can be done through medicines that can help stimulate the heart and create a stronger pump, you know, so it can actually pump some of that blood throughout the body. And at the same time, you may decrease the demand from the body as well.

Heart is not working well. Let's lower the demands of the body from the heart. And that is, in part, why he is sedated, and medically induced coma. The light picture, it sounds like, but also, things like hypothermia. Sometimes they will use hypothermia, actually cooling the patient, to try and reduce the demands that the patient's body has on the heart.

Those are the things that are probably ongoing right now. And that process can take a while. And then even after that process, and he starts to improve. You then want to check and see how did the other organs fair here? How did the brain fare through all this? Did it get enough oxygen and blood throughout this?

So, it can take -- it can take some time. I know that there is a desire, obviously, to get some sort of disposition on how he is doing and I am sure they are providing some, as much as they can, to the family. But it can take days, if not weeks, to really, sometimes, get a clear idea of exactly how he is going to do from all this.

COATES: So important to note as we are getting more information, of course, about what kind of treatment was even available on the field and in the ambulance compared to, obviously, at the trauma center, at the hospital. Adrienne, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COATES: Well, listen. Amid all of the chaos that is happening on Capitol Hill, there was one person who was trying to avoid the spotlight. Who was that? GOP Congressman-elect George Santos, staying away from reporters and sitting alone, as you can see there.


And tonight, we're actually learning more about his past, including documents showing that he admitted to using stolen checks in Brazil back in 2008. More next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: Looks like there is more trouble tonight for the GOP Congressman-elect George Santos. Remember, they have not yet been sworn into office. CNN has obtained court documents showing that he admitted to using stolen checks in Brazil back in 2008 to purchase clothing and shoes. And Brazilian authorities say they intend to now reinstate fraud charges against Santos now that they know where to find him. He disappeared off their radar for a decade.


Now meanwhile, Santos was a member -- was seated in the House chamber today for the opening of the new Congress, but he sat on his own, as many members of Congress were so (inaudible) with other members or with their families who are also on hand for what was expected to be the big day. Santos is best -- is beset by an ever-growing scandal that he falsified his resume about his family history as well as his financial, educational and professional background.

Now, he has admitted to fabricating parts of his life story. But there are still calls for him to resign his House seat. Federal and New York investigators are also looking into his claims.

Kevin McCarthy is struggling in his fight for House speaker, resulting in, really, a deadlock that has not happened in a century. And what everyone wants to know is, what is the path forward for him or anyone?