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CNN Tonight

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Is Defeated In 11th Ballot For Speaker, House Votes To Adjourn Until Noon Tomorrow; House Votes To Adjourn, Buying Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Time To Make A Deal; Talks Between McCarthy Allies And Holdouts Ongoing; Still No Leadership In The House After 11 Votes; University Of Idaho Killings Suspect Appears In Court In Idaho; Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi Seen Reading Article About McCarthy. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired January 05, 2023 - 22:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good evening, everyone. I'm Laura Coates, and this is CNN TONIGHT. And, well, here we go again. They're going to come back and do it all over again in a couple of hours.

You know exactly what I'm talking about because the House voted to adjourn until noon tomorrow, a vote that Kevin McCarthy won by really the skin of his teeth. And coming back to vote again because there has not yet been a speaker of the House elected. And it's all right now seemingly about buying time for more negotiations behind closed doors.

So, the fact the motion to adjourn even passed, well, that's a little bit of good news for Kevin McCarthy. He did speak to Manu Raju just a little while ago saying that he still believes that he will become the next speaker of the House, but he wouldn't commit to when that would actually take place or even getting it wrapped up by tomorrow.



REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No, no, I'm not putting any time line on it. I just think we've got some progress going on. We've got members talking. I think we've got a little movement so we'll see.


COATES: We'll going to have more from Manu Raju in just a moment.

Kevin McCarthy has suffered what many are calling five humiliating defeats. Well, that was just today, and you can add that to what's happened in the past over the past several days. His own party has told him, nope. That comes, of course, from Congressman Lauren Boebert, that we don't want you, a total of 11 times this week. This, frankly, is nothing like any of us have seen at least in our lifetimes. We may have heard about it and we have read about it, known that it could happen, but this is the longest speaker contest in 164 years.

Now, I don't want to scare you all the way, but back in 1855, the contest for speaker at that time, it went for 133 ballots. So right now, we are in the small potatoes category of all of this. But here we are tonight, 11 votes, and there is still not a speaker of the House.

And this -- frankly, all of this dysfunction, this what's known as an embarrassing display by so many who are talking about what's happening on Capitol Hill right now, this seemingly complete inability to get the job done or even be able to move past this particular hurdle and begin doing the jobs that many have come to actually do and were elected to do, well, maybe is this a preview of what's going to come down the road?

You have to wonder if Congress will be able to get a lot done, if anything, in the near future if there can't be the cohesion to elect a speaker of the House.

I want to get right to Manu Raju who is on Capitol Hill. Manu, good to see you. I mean, look, all the chaos that is happening right now, we're actually hearing from the man of, well, the past 36 hours and beyond, Kevin McCarthy. What is he saying?

RAJU: He still thinks he can get there. He doesn't know when he will get to 218 votes, but eventually he believes he will. And the reason why he does is because there have been furious negotiations that have been really taking place since yesterday.

There have been actually talks that have happened pretty much since the aftermath of the election. But, really, in the last 48 hours, 24 hours and just this past day, they have really, really intensified. In fact, right now, behind closed doors one of his top lieutenants' office, Tom Emmer's office, there's a meeting that is still going on with some of these holdouts. They've been meeting in that room all day long. Kevin McCarthy has been part of those discussions. So, he believes eventually when the deal is reached that will help them get some support and then even more support as he tries to get some of the other holdouts.

Now, he also defended the concessions that he's made even though some are concerned that would make him a weaker speaker.


MCCARTHY: No, no, I'm not putting any time line on it. I just think we've got some progress going on. We've got members talking. I think we've got a little movement. So, we'll see.

RAJU: Have you had to walk back the threats of your strip committee assignments from these members?

MCCARTHY: We're not stripping. I didn't make those threats.

RAJU: Was that a mistake to make that threat?

MCCARTHY: I didn't make that threat. RAJU: Mike Rogers did.

MCCARTHY: Yes. Well, you were saying I made the threats. So, let's be very clear, I did not make the threat, and no members are not going to lose their committee assignments.

REPORTER: How long do you think this is going to drag out for at this point?

MCCARTHY: I'd love to know. But we we're working through it and we make good progress today. So, we'll continue the talk.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) it would take this long in the negotiations? I mean, we're three days into this. This was the longest since the 1850s.

MCCARTHY: Well, I have the longest speech on the floor. So, apparently, I like to make history.

RAJU: Are you concerned -- I mean, you're giving one member the power to oust you if you're a speaker. Aren't you going to --

MCCARHTY: That's the way it's always been except for the bit. I think I'm very fine.

REPORTER: Has it undercut your potential power of speaker?


MCCARTHY: Has it undercut the power of the all of the speakers?

RAJU: But it was used over John Boehner.

MCCARTHY: So, why would it cut --

REPORTER: But we are in this position since 1859. I mean, doesn't that inherently mean you would be a weaker speaker?

MCCARTHY: No. I can only be a weaker speaker if I was afraid of it. I'm not a weak --

REPORTER: Are you concerned that there might be more than four who will just never vote for you among the Republicans?

MCCARTHY: No, I think we'll get this.

REPORTER: Do you plan to go in a conference?

REPORTER: Are you worried about losing votes from moderates if you give too much away?

MCCARTHY: Everybody is involved in it. We've got to get there completely. I mean, look --

REPORTER: Mr. McCarthy --

MCCARTHY: Can I finish answer first to his question? Thank you.

Look, this is a new thought we are going to have to have. We have a five seat majority. So, it's not one side is going to get more than another. It's the entire conference is going to have to learn how to work together. So, it's better we go through this process right now so we can achieve the things we want to achieve for the American public, what our commitment was. So, if this takes a little longer and it doesn't meet your deadline, that's okay because it's not -- it's not how you start, it's how you finish. And if we finish well, we'll be very successful.

REPORTER: Do you plan to go in a conference, Mr. McCarthy.

RAJU: You've been doing this for two months, though. Why didn't one of these sorted out before January 3rd?

MCCARTHY: Oh, we tried to sort it out.


RAJU: So, the last part we tried to sort it out before January 3rd. I asked him about why didn't you resolve this before. Because they'd had a difficult time doing it. They're having a difficult time closing out the deal now. Because even, Laura, if they do get some Republicans to back this deal that they are trying to cut to give essentially the rank and file members of far-right members more leverage over the speakership, giving them more sway over the legislative process, that doesn't mean they're going to get all those holdouts to get Kevin McCarthy the 218 votes he needs. He's going to have to negotiate further with some of those holdouts who have other concerns.

So, which is why the expectation is it's going to be difficult to get to that point tomorrow. We'll see if he gets there next week or if at all.

COATES: I mean, difficult is generous to me. It feels like in many respects every parent knows you give a mouse a cookie, right, the negotiations began long ago before the midterm elections, it's still ongoing, and the needle hasn't seemed to move. And so you do wonder about that, what was the rhyme, the weaker speaker phenomenon you spoke about.

But there is a deadline, Manu, because what is the plan at least initially tomorrow when some lawmakers can't actually be there? What is that going to mean for the progress of all of this and for McCarthy in particular?

RAJU: Yes. I think it almost certainly means that they're not going to be able to get this done tomorrow because some of those people who are leaving are supporters of Kevin McCarthy. If they're not there, that would actually change the threshold for how much majority, what would be a majority to elect the speaker, it would go below 218 votes because it's said the majority of those who are present and voting. That's how they count the votes, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll help him if his supporters aren't there and actually may be more difficult for him to reach that threshold. So, that underscores the fact they're likely going to weight.

And one other thing to note, my colleagues, Annie Grayer, Melanie Zanona, tonight, are reporting that there will be a conference call tomorrow with the full Republican conference, and they decided to do a conference call instead of a closed door meeting, like they did on Tuesday. And that Tuesday mid-morning meeting was very harsh, lots of curse words, yelling at each other. And it led to actually a very difficult situation. But a lot of people say that's almost hardened the opposition of McCarthy, made it more difficult to get him to speakership instead. Of doing an in-person meeting, they're doing a phone call tomorrow instead. They're hoping it goes off better and see if they can get there.

COATES: Well, Manu, one can swear on the phone as well as you can do in person. I mean, I know.

RAJU: They can also have mute and not let people respond.

COATES: We're in the COVID Zoom call generation at this point. The idea of having the anonymity and the distance to be able to really speak one's mind, it might even be a worse scenario. But to be a fly on that wall or have that Zoom meeting I.D., who knows. Thank you so much, Manu.

I want to bring in Congressman-elect, because without a speaker, no one can be technically sworn in, Congressman-elect Ryan Zinke, a Montana Republican. And, yes, they hat is fierce. And I'm glad that you're here, Congressman.

But what do you make of what's happening right now? I mean, I'm calling you Congressman-elect. We are days after the time you should be called Congressman, days after perhaps committee assignments ought to be handed out, security clearances reinstated or given for the first time, a speaker being established. Did you expect that at this late hour on a Thursday that we would still not know the speaker of the House?

REP.-ELECT RYAN ZINKE (R-MT): I think it's unexpected. But, really, at this point in time, it's not really about the speaker or McCarthy or personality. It's about whether or not the Republican Party, the caucus itself, can be functional and lead. Because all of us were elected to do a job, and we can't even begin to do the job unless we have the first step as a speaker.


And there's a lot going on. We have high inflation. We have energy. We have housing. There's a lot of problems. Both sides of the aisle recognize we have problems, and we have to address them, so having a speaker fight up front.

And, again, you look at the caucus. We have about 200 and sometimes a little over 200, which is more than 90 percent of the caucus firmly behind Kevin McCarthy. You have a small majority not. And where does the majority get their base? Well, it's not conservative because Jim Jordan certainly is not a moderate. So, Jim Jordan is behind McCarthy, so is President Trump, so is the majority of the freedom caucus. So, you have a small majority of holdouts that's holding to a degree hostage over the body.

Now, the problem is the longer it goes, the less likely we're going to get done the things that we said we would get done, investigation, you know, oversight over the administration. We said we would curb the budget. That means you've got to go to a regular order. All those things have to be done and in many cases those things have to be done with a unified effort.

COATES: But that's the point. And I know it's the tip of the tongue in terms of this is a really a minority compare to the overall body of Republicans, but they have the power really of a majority being able to say, I'm shutting down what the greater maybe caucus and cause wants. But it's interesting because all of these notions, you've got a lot to get done. And, frankly, even though Republicans are suffering in the intraparty disputes right now, it impacts Democrats right now. They also are Congresspersons-elect at this point in time. Many are not in the same boat, of course.

But you see, this doesn't bode well for the American public, I would assume, right, I'm sure you think so, that if you have all these things to get done, if this initial hurdle can't be cleared, how is there confidence that you'd like the electorate to believe there is possible to get those things done with this holdout minority?

ZINKE: You're right. And it erodes the credibility of the institution. The institution is a body. It doesn't mean that a single individual gets their way. A single individual gets their influence. And it's the body that decides. We're a democracy, so you need 51 percent. And the kind of caucus, if you run a primary and you've got 90 percent of the Republican Party, now you would think you're in good shape. But a minority now is ruling the rules.

And there is progress being made. And I agree with McCarthy. There is progress being made in inches. We need yards. We need first downs and we need a score, but there is progress being made. And I still remain an optimist, but we have to realize what's the higher purpose. As you point out the higher purpose is to serve the people.

And I'm from Montana. And in Montana, water is really important as an example. The administration reenacted the waters of the U.S. rules. Now, Congress can act and defund that and mitigate some of the damage. You know, Second Amendment, things that are important to Montana.

Now, those are important to Montana. There are other issues that are important to the states. We can't address any of those unless we're a functional body if there's not a speaker. Now, I was a SEAL. I can tell you I've been in a lot of battles in my life, and I have. And not every battle is run by a commanding general like George S. Paton, because generals don't win wars. The frontline wins wars. And in the House the speaker is the head but it's the body, it's the members that pass the bills. It's the committee chairs.

COATES: Well, you were a SEAL, as you say. Let's talk about a former commander in chief because Donald Trump, who is running for re- election again, he was nominated today as an alternative to say, Kevin McCarthy. He only got one vote in favor of him. I wonder how you judge that and how you view that given his role within your own party.

ZINKE: Well, and certainly he has influence.

COATES: He's waning.

ZINKE: Yes, absolutely. He's behind McCarthy, and they ignored him. And in some cases, they called him out. Now, I think that's absolutely inappropriate.


ZINKE: And I don't know whether the -- well, to have a vote for President Trump being speaker is a castaway vote. And I think it invokes -- it's not a serious vote. So, let's get serious because the job is serious. Being a Congressman is a responsibility. It's an honor, but it's a responsibility, and you should take that responsibility seriously.

COATES: Does McCarthy have a responsibility if this goes on longer? I don't know what the ultimate threshold is for when it tips the scale and the patience is gone, but is there responsibility at some point you think that Congressman McCarthy has to bow out if they cannot get to this 218 or the absolute majority benchmark?


ZINKE: Well, every day it gets longer, who suffers? Let's take fentanyl, for instance. We probably lost 600 Americans through fentanyl in a very short period of time. That problem is not going away unless Congress gets in and forces the administration to address it, the border. I mean, what we serve is our constituents and the American people. The longer this is carried out, the less effective the House is.

Now, if you're on the Republican side of the aisle, we have the majority in the House, we don't have the majority in the Senate, we don't have the majority, obviously, we don't have the administration. So, if you're a Republican and you believe in conservative values, we have to be united to defend those values. When we're not united, we're not effective. And so being not effective means we can't address energy, inflation, nor we can have an adequate checks and balance of what the Constitution demands in setup and structure.

COATES: So, is there a point, though, when that unity could happen if it weren't Kevin McCarthy and you would support another candidate and nominee if that would lead to that level of unity?

ZINKE: With me, a minority can't, you know, be dictatorial over terms. And a lot of the terms late where we want this on personal issues. It isn't that we want energy policy, we want a balance budget. I want to balance budget, I want to check spending. I want America to be prosperous, every American, right? But when you say we want this for a member, we want this personal gain, that's where the line was drawn. You have two sides, but they are working together. They are talking. They're making progress, again, in inches. I'm hoping we make some first downs and get through this because we owe it to our constituents to get to work.

I was sent here to work and fix problems and not to be a sound bite for chaos. And chaos weakens the institution. It weakens the credibility of the members, and I think it frustrates America that we're dysfunctional. So, you know, if I have one advice to everybody is take a deep breath. You know, be red, white, and blue, do our duty. Let's get a speaker and hold him accountable.

Again, generals don't win wars. It's the frontline. So, everyone just go to the frontline, do your duty as a member, hold everyone responsible, do your committee work, do the hard work that's required. Let's look at the budget. Let's make sure we have no inflation. Let's talk about affordable housing. Let's talk about things that Montana and our constituents want. That's what we need to do.

COATES: Well, the next time you come, we'll be able to hopefully call you congressman.

ZINKE: I hope so.

COATES: There we go. Nice talking to you. Thanks for stopping by.

Everyone, well, you can bet the horse trading and the attempt to get the work done is going to go on through the night. But all the concessions that McCarthy has already made, it doesn't seem to have gotten them very far, nothing but 11 defeats.

So, what is this incremental progress and will it lead to the acres that the congressman-elect mentioned, next.



COATES: Look, it's a moment for the history books now on Capitol Hill. Tonight, the House adjourned again, this time after another five votes that brings the total for those doing the math to 11. 11 votes and Kevin McCarthy is no closer to being the speaker.

And even though negotiations are going on through the night, there are question that are growing over whether he can actually win over the hardliners without losing some of his own key moderate supporters.

Joining me now, CNN Political Director David Chalian, CNN Political Analyst Lauren Barron-Lopez and former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh. Glad to have you all here.

Let me begin with you, David, because this is historic for a number of reasons. The other H word being used is humiliation. And I'm wondering our congressman-elect was thinking about -- Zinke, about the stamina, the idea to just keep going and try and try. Is there an appetite for people who are even supporters of McCarthy right now to keep going?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, so far, there has been, right? So far, we haven't seen real deflections from Kevin McCarthy. And the stamina thing is clearly the McCarthy strategy here. There's no doubt about that.

Listen, I think today was just a study in public versus private, right? So, we hear all these reports that in private, progress is being made, these negotiations are productive, they're still talking at this hour right now, Laura, and that that is a positive sign for McCarthy, he thinks, that he's going to be able to show some progress. On the floor, in public, there's been no progress.

COATES: Right.

CHALIAN: I mean, there's been no progress at all other than that he was able to adjourn for a second night. I mean, if that's your big victory --

COATES: And that was a close call.

CHALIAN: Last night, it was a little closer. Tonight, he only had one Republican, I think, vote with the Democrats against adjournment. Last night, it was four. If that's what he wants to claim his victory, that's a pretty lonely victory there.

So, he clearly -- I thought when you saw him walking through statuary hall and talking to reporters, he does not know if he can get there. He sort of was like, I think we can and I'm going to stay at this. But I didn't get the sense from Kevin McCarthy in that conversation with reporters that the knows he's going to get to 218.

COATES: Do you agree?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, you could hear it in the video that we were playing where he was taking long pauses every time he was asked, well, are you going to get there tomorrow? Maybe, I think so, we're making progress. And so that's clearly he didn't know entering this week that he was going to have the votes. And right now, as we're nearing the end of week, he's not sure if he has the votes either.

I mean, one of the things that I think really stands out to me about all of this is that -- and we were talking about this -- is the issue of governing period when it comes to what actually has to happen down the road, funding the government and also increasing the debt limit. And increasing the debt limit is where things get dangerous. Because if you don't even have the votes for speaker and Republicans don't have the votes to support an increase in the debt limit, then the country defaults on its debt and that has real life implications for Americans in terms of Medicare benefits could potentially be cut, social security could potentially be cut.


All those things happen, interest rates go up. So, I think that those are the real world implications and what ultimately can happen this very year. COATES: I was talking to a Republican trying to weigh on this earlier today, and his comment was that this is interesting to watch, of course, and everyone should be. But he thought it was hyperbolic in a way to suggest that, really, nothing was ever going to get done in the House because they don't have a speaker quite yet. He seemed to suggest that there was some time they had to massage this issue, there was time to negotiate because the really hard-hitting issue, the debt ceiling and others, the need to be -- deadline is coming up, weren't quite yet.

Now, that's not much of a -- it doesn't have a lot of confidence in how things work. But to Laura's point, look, this is not about whether the deadline is right now but about when you ultimately have to meet that challenge. If this is how you do it, what's going to happen?

FMR. REP. JOE WALSH (R-IL): Well, this portends two years of utter chaos. This isn't a crisis yet, Laura. This is one political party's incompetence and dysfunction. But this is what's going to play out for two years.

And w forget that we're talking about Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz and 20 hardliners, but the minute we have a speaker, Majrorie Taylor Greene, Jim Jordan, the extremists, the MAGAS in that caucus are way more than 20. So, when it comes to things like the debt limit and funding the government, it's going to be a lot more than 20. This is MAGA Republican conference.

CHALIAN: Here's what I think is so interesting and very rosy talk from Kevin McCarthy and his allies. One of the things we've heard from them over the last few days, even tonight McCarthy was saying is this is going to be hard, we're going to work this out now in this speaker vote and getting these rules adopted and then everyone will have learned how to work together in the conference with what it means to be together with a five-vote majority. And it will make all the stuff that Joe and Laura are talking about, it will be doable because we would have -- that seems to me to be unbelievably like rose-colored glasses that you --

COATES: Well, yesterday from a congressman, this is just messy. It's messy. Now, it's a good thing working it right now. But I wonder from the Democratic side, is there any incentive for the Democrats to want to help in any -- you all are like no. You all can't shake your head fast enough for me. Why are you shaking your head?

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, I think no, because right now they're able to say, we are totally united and we know how to elect our leaders and let the Republicans' disarray continue to show they potentially are not prepared to govern.

And, again, on all the points that we're talking about, when -- by McCarthy potentially giving this small faction whether the ability to vacate him from the speakership either with one vote or with five votes, that could ultimately mean that Democrats have to come to that speaker's rescue, whoever it is. So, that way they stay in power because of the fact that, again, on the debt limit if that -- those five or more than them decide we don't want to vote to increase the debt limit, all they have to do is go and say, we're going to raise a motion to vacate the chair and try to kick McCarthy out to avoid a debt limit increase.

WALSH: Or if you believe this Republican Party is a threat to our democracy, I do as a former Republican, The Democrats do, well, then you've got to leave them alone. Let them do their thing because your job, then, is to defeat them in '24. And the easiest way that's going to happen is to show how dysfunctional and chaotic they are these next two years.

COATES: It strikes me as interesting because a few years ago, Democrats were often, you know, criticized because they seemed to be playing a different game than Republicans, right? They were talking about Democrats are always looking for the moral high ground to say, well, we're not a party that would do this so they would almost contort themselves, they were criticized as having done, to try to do what was perceived as the right thing, case in point, about issues about members of their own caucus who they wanted to ask to resign and beyond.

Is this the example right now where Democrats are saying, no, we've learned a lesson and that moral high ground issue, you guys go ahead and figure out, that's not going to reward us in the end?

CHALIAN: Yes. I mean, from a pure political standpoint, lesson number one in politics, rule number one, is do not get in your opponent's way when they're doing the damage themselves. And that's what you're seeing here.

I think Laura was saying, though, was if indeed we get into a chaotic environment where the chair is vacated and we are already in the governing phase and we're up against the debt limit, the incentives may be different, and the country's reaction may be different.

I'll give you one little fun fact on the Democratic side, though.

COATES: I love a fun fact.

CHALIAN: So, Nancy Pelosi just stepped down after 20 years as leader. That means she was put in nomination ten times by House Democrats to be the speaker candidate, whether or not they have the majority depend on if she got speaker.


Well, it only took three days for Hakeem Jeffreys to beat that Nancy Pelosi record. He's now prevented the nomination 11 times.

COATES: Well, that's some would call progress. There we go. That's a progress and it's a fun fact. At then, Michael (ph) the end of the fun facts, we're going to hear about the next couple of days. All right. We're going to have much more on this historic and chaotic vote for the speaker of the House ahead. But next, everyone, there is shocking new details about what happened the night that four students were stabbed to death in their home in Idaho, including the terrifying thing we're learning that there was an eyewitness and what the eyewitness may have seen.


COATES: Bryan Kohberger, the suspect accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death late last year making his initial court appearance in Idaho today. And court documents released today are offering for the first time a clearer picture of just what happened in the early hours of November 13th, including a surviving roommate's encounter with the alleged killer.


CNN correspondent Veronica Miracle has more.


VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): DNA evidence, a suspicious vehicle, and a new witness account. Critical information released publicly for the first time, details that led to the arrest of Bryan Kohberger who was charge with the brutal stabbings of four University of Idaho students more than seven weeks ago.

UNKNOWN: Mr. Kohberger, I am going to advise you of the rights that you have in this case.

MIRACLE (voice-over): Kohberger appeared in an Idaho courtroom today looking straight ahead and not at the victims' family members.

UNKNOWN: Do you understand these rights?


MIRACLE (voice-over): The new court document places the murders between 4:00 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. on November 13th. According to an affidavit released today, Kohberger's DNA profile obtained from the trash at his family's home matched DNA on a tan leather knife sheath left behind at the crime scene and was found laying on the bed of one of the victims.

The same document says one of the surviving roommates said she was awoken around 4:00 a.m., heard crying from Xana Kernodle's room and heard a voice say, "It's okay. I'm going to help you." And that she heard the crying and saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask. She describes him as 5'10" or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows saying he walked past her as she stood in a frozen shocked phase.

But questions still remain about why no one called 911 until almost 8 hours later. The affidavit says security video around the time of the murders picked up distorted audio of what sounded like voices or a whimper followed by a loud thud. A dog can also be heard barking.

The document also details multiple sightings of a suspect vehicle from surveillance footage showing a white Hyundai Elantra like this one that helped lead to Kohberger's arrest. About two weeks after the murders police from Washington State University where Kohberger attended school flagged his vehicle later seen at a traffic stop in mid-December in Indiana while driving with his father to Pennsylvania.

UNKNOWN: Is this your car?


UNKNOWN: Okay, cool.

MIRACLE (voice-over): Before the cross-country drive and just five days after the brutal murders, Kohberger received a new license plate for his car according to Washington State licensing documents. And according to investigators, cellphone records suggest that Kohberger's phone was near the victims' residence at least a dozen times in the last six months including about five hours after police believe he committed the murders, suggesting he may have returned to the crime scene.

Still no evidence was released that connects Kohberger to the victims or any indication of a motive. In court today, Kohberger seated with a new court appointed attorney responded to each charge of murder.

UNKNOWN: Do you understand?


MIRACLE (voice-over): The attorney for the family of victim Kaylee Goncalves today reacting to the proceedings.

SHANNON GRAY, ATTORNEY FOR GONCALVES FAMILY: It's obviously an emotional time for the family seeing the defendant for the first time. This is the beginning of the criminal justice system and the family will be here for the long haul.


MIRACLE (on camera): The family of Kaylee Goncalves hardly ever took their eyes off of Kohberger during the proceedings. He's next due in court on January 12th. Laura?

COATES: Veronica, thank you so much. And we've got even more new reporting tonight on what Bryan Kohberger was doing at his parent's house in Pennsylvania. Stay with us.



COATES: Tonight, we've got more new details about what allegedly happened in the fatal stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students late last year. I want to bring in CNN's senior law enforcement analyst Andrew McCabe. He's also the author of "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump." Also here with us, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller, who's joining me now. You've got some new reporting tonight on the suspect. John, what are you learning?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, what we've learned from sources who are briefed on what the surveillance teams made up of the Pennsylvania state police and FBI saw when they setup on Kohberger's house in Pennsylvania is, number one, he left Washington State University about four days before the semester break started.

So, it seemed that he was in a hurry to get out of there and get home. That, of course, is about seven days after police announced that they are looking for a white Elantra or any information about someone driving one in the area. When he gets there, what we're told is the surveillance team sees him cleaning that Elantra from top to bottom inside and out, not skipping a single spot to get it spic-and-span, wearing surgical gloves as he moves things in and out of the car, that at one point he comes out at 4:00 in the morning to take the garbage out.

But he takes the garbage from his house and puts it in the neighbor's bins. Now, Laura, as Veronica just reported in the last section, this is the trash that the FBI recovered and found items that gave them the familial DNA match that linked him to that crime.

COATES: It's pretty unbelievable to think about all this happening, Andrew, because, you know, first of all just the idea they have a suspect, the idea that somebody's been arrested, but the reporting in part that he returned to this house or he was at this house and his cellphone has been pinging at this location for a number of times, at least 12 different times. I mean, what stood out to you reading the fact all of this -- this is a probable cause, by the way. What stood out to you?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's an extraordinary affidavit. It goes far beyond probable cause in my estimation. But some of the really incredible work that the local police and their partners, the state police, and of course what the FBI were doing behind the scenes without any of us knowing is they were, you know, very careful about not sharing any details of their investigation.


One of those elements was this very detailed telephone analysis where they under -- once they know a person's cellphone, they can look at which towers that phone is pinging off of to triangulate and essentially put you in a general area. So, they know that in the months leading up to the murder, Mr. Kohberger's cellphone was seen in the area of the house 12 times before the murder.

Then of course on the night of the murder, the phone leaves his residence and then it mysteriously is not connected anywhere. Maybe its shutoff, maybe it's in a site without any service. And then it comes on again not far from the residence and is seen on -- not far from the murder site and is seen on its way back to his residence. Finally, the next morning the phone pings again in the immediate area near the scene of the murder at around 9:00 a.m., hours before the murder is even reported to the police. It's very damning facts.

COATES: And you know, you and I talked in the past and John, let me bring you back in here, about the idea that Andrew was saying, sometimes people who have committed crimes -- and again, this person, you know, the burden of proof, the presumption of innocence is still there. But just more broadly, that sometimes those who have committed the crimes become so invested and want to be around in the aftermath to see what's happening, sometimes even attending vigils and beyond. We've seen this in different cases.

But what strikes me in particular here, John, many people are saying how could there have been surviving roommates. And thank God there were, but surviving roommates. What role did they have in alerting the authorities? Did they hear anything? We learned some of that today.

MILLER: So that is particularly a vexing question at this point, which is you have a roommate who hears crying, who hears a thud, who hears a dog barking, who hears a strange voice say, "It's okay, I'm going to help you," and then sees a figure dressed in black, wearing a mask covering half his face, walk straight by her and out the glass sliding doors in the rear.

Now, at that point, the question is, okay, so why didn't that person go upstairs check on the others, call the police? There's a prowler, there's a burglar. But, I mean, we have to kind of take ourselves back to when we were in college or lived in a group house or a dorm, somebody has a fight with a boyfriend, they're screaming and yelling, you know, somebody leaves.

We can only speculate as to what that person's train of thought was except, you know, we get a clue. What she said to investigators was after that figure left and looked directly at her and didn't take any action against her that she locked the door and stayed inside. So that's -- that's going to be a story we're probably not going to hear until trial.

COATES: It's -- I mean, thinking about that, Andrew, I mean there are questions about the random nature of a crime like this, the idea that there would be survivors in an instance like this. But also, I'm curious of what you make of the coordination or the fact that even the FBI obviously was involved. You have the idea of DNA. There is surveillance.

What do you make of just how this all unfolded? Because initially people were looking at this particular police department, the PR team, and going why don't we know more? Including the families who were completely, you know, frustrated and obviously disheartened that they didn't have more.

MCCABE: Really kind of hand fisted handling by the PR folks of the local police department early on. We got conflicting statements. It's a targeted attack, but yet, there is no danger to the community then. Oh, yes, maybe there is a danger to community, look out. So, this seems --

COATES: So, does seems -- that seems intentional now looking back?

MCCABE: You know, it's hard for me to imagine it was intentional. What we do know is that they actually had a high degree of collaboration with their state and federal partners, and that's good thing because good work was done here. They led to a -- they built a strong case. So far, they've got a very good suspect in this case.

And let's remember, Laura, we have no idea what sort of evidence the law enforcement has recovered from the numerous search warrants that have taken place after the arrests. So, you have the footprint they found near the residence on the morning after the murders. So, did they find a shoe that actually matches that footprint? That sort of stuff as John said, we'll have to wait and see what comes out of the trial.

COATES: We certainly will. There's still a lot more information to try to unpack. Gentlemen, thank you so much. Also, next, there's a moment from all the voting that maybe a lot of people missed. Well, we spied the former speaker, Nancy Pelosi, reading an article that is, well, it's pretty pointed. We'll show you what it was after this.



COATES: Three days of voting and Kevin McCarthy has failed to become the House Speaker. Not just three days later, but after 11 ballots. He's going to try again tomorrow to bring order to the chaotic Republican Conference. Former House Speaker, though, Nancy Pelosi is calling the drawn-out process frivolous and disrespectful.

You know, she was actually paging through a magazine during the fourth round of voting. And if the illustration, was it a picture of McCarthy? You are right, it is. She is reading an article in an issue, a recent issue of "The New Yorker" titled "What Kevin McCarthy Will Do To Gain Power." What will Pelosi read tomorrow during the 12th vote for speaker? That and everything else we should be looking forward to. We are live on Capitol Hill next.


Plus, CNN obtaining audio from the medics who worked at the Bills- Bengals game from that moment that Damar Hamlin collapsed. We're going to play that for you in the next hour.


COATES: Well, the House voting tonight to adjourn until noon tomorrow. That sounds a little familiar, right? It also buys time for more negotiations to take place behind closed doors after Kevin McCarthy suffered five more defeats today for a total now of 11.

So, what's going to happen in just a few hours? How will that change things? We haven't seen the progress yet.


Plus, we have new news on the Buffalo Bills Damar Hamlin.