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Erin Burnett Outfront
McCarthy Scrambles, Meets With Reps Hours Before Speaker Vote; Attorney: Suspect In Idaho Student Killings Intends To Waive Extradition, Authorities Have Not Said Whether He Knew Any Victims; Russia Admits Ukrainian Military Killed 63 Soldiers In Attack; January 6 Committee Releases More Documents As New Congress About To Be Sworn In; New Statement On Jeremy Renner's Condition After Snowplowing Accident. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired January 02, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next: a mad dash for votes. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy huddling with members of his party tonight, as he tries to secure enough support to become speaker of the House. One critic, though, doubling down on his opposition just moments ago.
Plus, the Idaho college murders. The new details emerging about how police tracked down the suspect. Are officials any closer to a motive in these brutal killings?
And Putin suffering a devastating setback on the battlefield. Dozens of Russian troops killed in a massive strike. Outrage over the losses now going inside Russia.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening. I'm Erica Hill, in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, down to the wire. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy still on the Hill this hour, still meeting with members of his party, which is hours to go now before that critical vote for speaker of the House.
Today, dozens of Republicans have been seeing going in and out of McCarthy's office. Among them, Congressman Matt Gaetz, and that's significant because he is, of course, one of the Republicans who's been a hard no on McCarthy's bid for the gavel.
Just moments ago, leaving McCarthy's office, Gaetz offered this update.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Is he giving in to your demands?
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It was a brief and productive discussion.
REPORTER: You might vote for him tomorrow?
REPORTER: You're not ruling -- is it fair to say you're not ruling it out?
GAETZ: I'm no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: I'm a no.
These high stake meetings are critical, of course, ahead of tomorrow morning. That's when the entire Republican conference will gather, to hear McCarthy make his final case to the speakership, and shortly after that meeting comes a vote. Now, if Kevin McCarthy does not get the support of 218 members, it could plunge the house into a scenario not seen since 1923. That was the last time someone wasn't not able to clinch the top House post after one vote.
McCarthy can only lose four Republicans. Remember here, there are five conservatives who vowed publicly to deny him the gavel. Congressman Matt Gaetz, who you just heard from. In addition to, Biggs, Ralph Norman, Matt Rosendale, and Bob Good.
Now, Gaetz as you heard clearly there, said he's a no. It's unclear if there's any others are willing to budge, despite a number of concessions he's made in the last few months, and over the weekend, when he agreed to a rule that would allow just five members to call for a vote to oust McCarthy at anytime, and yet despite all of this, McCarthy, who has spent the fastest 15 years climbing the Republican ranks was upbeat, at least publicly about his chances.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you have the votes for speaker locked in tomorrow?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I think we're going to have a good day tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Mana Raju is OUTFRONT now live on Capitol Hill.
So, Manu, you've been busy all day, I know talking with lawmakers coming out of those meetings with McCarthy. Where do these things stand at this hour?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, McCarthy allies are upbeat. They believe that eventually he will get the 200 votes he needs to become speaker. But they just don't know when, they also don't know how long it will take, underscoring how wild and how predictable unpredictable tomorrow could be, and underscoring the fact that this is the first time in 100 years that we have seen the speaker race go on to multiple ballots that's because he has no margin for error.
And a narrow House Republican majority can only afford to lose four Republican votes. Already five say they are hard nos. There are other nine Republican members who want a number of other demands. That is leading to an enormous amount of tension within the Republican ranks, talking to Republican members, they call those numbers narcissist. They call them chaos agents. They say they are not willing to negotiate in good faith. And they are projecting all of the demands that they are making, trying to urge Kevin to essentially weakening the speakership, and empower those members over the speakership.
Now, Kevin McCarthy is still negotiating with some of those members. You mentioned Matt Gaetz, I talk to him immediately afterwards. I talked to him about this meeting. He says it was brief, and productive. He did say that he is still a no. He does still expect that five Republicans will vote no.
But, Erica, if that happens tomorrow. What happens after that is anyone's guess. They could vote endlessly through the day, through a course of several days, and until someone eventually gets a 218 votes. But, Erica, at this moment, no Republican has those 218 votes to become speaker. Not Kevin McCarthy, not even Steve Scalise, the number two Republican who now is publicly supporting McCarthy, always in questions about how Republicans will resolve this issue as they come into power, and what will be a very messy first day of their new majority -- Erica.
HILL: Certainly does feel messy. Manu, appreciate it.
OUTFRONT now, Republican Congressman Dusty Johnson.
Good to see you tonight, sir.
You were in a meeting with Kevin McCarthy just a short time ago. You sounded pretty confident today about his chances. As we just heard though from Manu and we just heard from Congressman Gaetz a short minute ago, he is still an no, after his own meeting with Kevin McCarthy today, what is the path that you see at this hour for Kevin McCarthy to be able to secure those 218 votes?
REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): Well, a couple of things first. Listen, Matt Gaetz has always been a no. He will always be a no. Kevin McCarthy is going to become speaker of the House. It's not going to be with Matt Gaetz's vote. And that's okay.
Manu Raju is right. This is going to be messy. If it's one thing the U.S. House of Representatives does well, it's messy.
Listen, Kevin McCarthy is going to be speaker, but it's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be a straight line. It's going to take a little while and that's okay.
HILL: It's going to take a little while, I mean, how many rounds are you thinking about here?
JOHNSON: I don't think that anybody knows. We are in a little bit of uncharted territory here as you mentioned. It has been since 1923 that we have had multiple ballots. But you know, longer than that, in the 1800s, there was one speaker's race that went 133 ballots, and I think what is important for the folks at home to know, is that Kevin McCarthy and all of his supporters, listen, we're resolute, we're patient. We understand that the American people have and wanted Republicans to have a hand in governing this country, and listen, Kevin McCarthy is going to become speaker even if it takes 10, or 20, or 30 ballots.
HILL: So, just give me a sense then, as you, said Matt Gaetz, you never expected Matt Gaetz to vote for him. As I noted, there are at least five Republicans who have said, including Gaetz is one of them, absolutely not.
So who do you see at this point who could potentially change their mind?
JOHNSON: Well, first off, it's important to remember that nobody can get to 218 if Kevin McCarthy can't. There is not a single name that you can bring out, Erica, who can get to 218 if Kevin McCarthy can't get their. He is best opposition.
But as far as your question about, okay, how does Kevin McCarthy get to be speaker that? He doesn't need 218, in fact, Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner, and Newt Gingrich all at different times were able to get to speaker with 216 votes.
If there are members that are both present, or members that don't show up to vote for that particular ballots, his threshold goes down. And so, I think overtime, this has the potential to be a war of attrition. Kevin McCarthy is not backing out of this race. He knows that he is the right guy to govern this house and he's not going to back down.
HILL: Are you aware of any new concessions that may have been made to hard-liners today to get those votes that he needs? And are you concerned at all, our beat of the question, are you concerned at all that those are some of the concessions that have already been made, and the impact on his role as speaker? On his power? And his ability to lead?
JOHNSON: Yeah. I'm the chairman of the Republican mainstream caucus, that's a group of between 70 and 80 members, pragmatic conservatives. We are the guys and gals in Congress who want to get things done. And as a group, we are concerned that some of the concessions that Kevin McCarthy has made, but, we trust Speaker McCarthy to be able to govern the House even with the imperfect rules package.
And at some point, Kevin McCarthy doesn't become speaker, than I think our concerns with that rules package will be far more acute, because whoever else would be speaker, frankly, they're not going to be as well prepared to govern a fractured House.
So yes, the rules are not perfect. But I think that they, enough concessions have been made to allow McCarthy to get the votes he needs.
HILL: Real quickly, you say that there is no one else by Kevin McCarthy who can get the votes. But as we know, this is far from over. It's just beginning as you noted. Steve Scalise, that name has been a flouted out there. I know that he
has said that he supports Kevin McCarthy. But if for some reason things change, he were to step up, would you support Steve Scalise?
JOHNSON: Steve Scalise is a great leader. He's a friend of mine. But nobody is better positioned to lead the U.S. House of Representatives than Kevin McCarthy, and I would just note, people focused on 218. But as you know, Erica, the math is really five, there are five members who are willing, Republican members, who are willing to stand against any other candidate other than Kevin McCarthy. That is a problem for Steve, and, frankly, for anybody else.
HILL: Great to have you with us tonight, appreciate it. Thank you, Congressman.
JOHNSON: You bet. Thanks.
HILL: OUTFRONT tonight, OUTFRONT now, former Republican Congresswoman Mia Love and former Republican National Committee communications director, Doug Heye.
Good to see you both.
So, Doug, you are working for the second Republican ranking in 2013. You were there on the floor for a very contentious fight for speaker that year.
From your view, is there anything left for McCarthy to give up to secure that speakers gavel?
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Look, he is in the position to make a lot of promises, and deliver on those promises if he wins. We are talking about this committee seats. We're talking potentially subcommittee chair seats that are very valuable things. And also, kind of the machinations of how Congress works, as to where parking spaces, which is done through the House Administration Committee.
All these little things can build up to persuade votes, and, you know, it's going to be a rocky road tomorrow. It's going to be a lot of drama. One of the things I remember ten years ago tomorrow, when I was on the House floor for the vote, even though we know that John was going to win, there was drama.
So, for instance, when we got this, it's an alphabetical vote. When we got to the bees, Bachmann came. Michele Bachmann was in her seat. We got to Marsha Blackburn, she wasn't in her seat.
That caused a lot of controversy. It caused people to murmur and wonder what was going on. Ultimately, they supported John Boehner when they came to vote after -- after they're going through the roll call. There's going to be a lot of drama tomorrow. Kevin's job, and his team's job, is to keep driving forward to get to that point to where they can get to that majority of voters. HILL: Congresswoman Love, you served, of course, alongside Kevin
McCarthy. He may not have the votes tonight as we know. But as we just heard, from Congressman Johnson, and plenty of others, frankly, there doesn't seem to be a clear alternative.
So, at this point? Do you believe that Republicans should rally behind McCarthy?
MIA LOVE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. Absolutely. I believe that he is best positioned right now to lead the Republican Party and yes, there are five people who have said that they are not voting for Kevin McCarthy, but there are also Republicans that are saying that they are voting for no one but Kevin McCarthy.
And we have to understand that they are two different votes out here, there is a vote that is a conference vote, which Kevin McCarthy has never gotten less then 85 percent of a confidence vote. And then there is the floor vote that is going to determine who the speaker of the House is.
But, what Kevin is going to have to worry about, more than the vote in conference, and on the floor is how he is going to be able to govern with such a small majority. And we've got some distracters. So that is going to be the biggest test.
But there isn't anyone better poised in this particular situation to be the speaker of the House.
HILL: Doug, to that point, do you believe that McCarthy will be able to control his caucus? If in fact that he does win?
HEYE: You know, I'm reminded, I was re-reading a friend's book. Robert draper, the New York Times reporter. When he talks about the Congress that came in after the 2010 elections, where one member of Congress in office said in a conference meeting, I didn't come here to be a part of any team. And that attitude has held true for a big part of the base, a big part of the conference.
And it's why we have seen the struggles, and shutdowns, and all of these things. It is going to be a tough job for Kevin. It's going to be a tough job for anybody.
But a few things of context, the congresswoman hinted at this. One, we hear so often about moderates flexing their muscles. And they never do so to the point where they know if the House gym is.
But we see this time, they are only Kevins, not never Kevins. There are some of those. They are only Kevins, and they're vowing to stay until the end, there are flexing their muscles for the first time in a long time.
And the other I would say is this conversation, understandably so, and so many others have been, have been about Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. And this is bigger than one person. It's whether or not Republicans are going to be able to govern. It's a very real question regardless of who wins, but if we just focusing on one person, we're losing sight of what the real issue is, and it should be one thing that unites this Republican conference, which is a conservative majority in the House of Representatives to not just block Biden's policy but to put forth conservative ideas, and Kevin's best poised to deliver that.
HILL: To your point about what the focus has been, Congressman Dusty Johnson over the weekend in an interview called the drawn out public fight over McCarthy a, quote, big strategic failure. Another Republican congressman who didn't want to be named told CNN, quote, they contribute nothing to the team, and then have the audacity to demand outsize influence and power, saying they believe deeply in their own self importance, that definition of pathological narcissism.
To Doug's point, Congresswoman, where does the party stand at this point in terms of being able to govern effectively come January 4th?
LOVE: I could not agree more. What the American people need, and what we need right now. Whether it's the conference, whether it is just the American people, you name it. What we really need right now is as many people as possible coalescing behind policies. Policies that actually, work that are going to help get America working.
Fix inflation, help fix lives. Put food on the table. That is what we really need!
What is happening right now, these five Republicans that are just throwing a wrench in the process and trying to get as much power. Let's be honest about what this is about. This is about them holding on to whatever. The only power that they have, and the only way to hold on to it is by holding this over McCarthy's head.
But really, if you want to bring power back to the American people, let's get back to debating what we should be debating, which is the policies that are going to make things better.
HILL: Well, we'll see how quickly we can get to that, based on this vote tomorrow. I know we're all going to be watching. Appreciate you both joining us tonight. Thank you.
DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Thank you.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, hundreds of new tips pouring in after police arrest the man they say killed four Idaho college students. What we are learning about the suspect tonight.
Plus, the January 6 Committee with a warning to the White House. What the committee says it can no longer guarantee. Some witnesses will remain anonymous.
And we are standing by for a statement from the family of actor Jeremy Renner after suffering what we are told are extensive injuries in a snow plowing accident.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HILL: The 28-year-old man suspected in the killings of four Idaho college students will be in court tomorrow. Bryan Kohberger's attorney telling CNN his client will waive extradition, clearing the way for authorities to move him from Pennsylvania to Idaho where he will face charges of first degree murder and felony burglary.
Police say hundreds of new tips have been pouring in just since his arrest.
Jen Casarez is OUTFRONT.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man who police say killed four college students, then weeks later drove cross-country, tracked by police, will go back to Idaho to face charges.
CHIEF JAMES FRY, MOSCOW POLICE: Detectives arrested 28-year-old Bryan Christopher Kohberger.
CASAREZ: Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Kaylee Goncalves were stabbed to death November 13th in this Moscow, Idaho, home.
FRY: This was a very complex and extensive case.
CASAREZ: DNA was recovered at the crime scene. A source with knowledge of the investigation tells CNN the suspect was identified through genetic genealogy, a process where DNA from an investigation is compared to a public database, potentially leading to a family member of the suspect. His lawyers say his father flew to Washington state to bring him to northeast Pennsylvania for the holidays.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His father actually went out there and they drove home together.
CASAREZ: They drove his white Hyundai Elantra, a car matching that description was in the immediate area of the killings police said. CNN confirmed that they stopped at a repair shop in Pennsylvania where some work was done on the vehicle.
JASON LABAR, CHIEF PUBLIC DEFENDER: I believe he arrives somewhere around the 17th of December.
CASAREZ: Jason LaBar, the chief public defender from Monroe County, Pennsylvania, is representing Kohberger until he is extradited. A law enforcement source says the FBI watched him for four days before he was arrested.
LABAR: The FBI local police, Idaho state troopers were at their house at approximately three a.m., knocking on the door and announcing themselves.
CASAREZ: Kohberger graduated in May from DeSales University in Pennsylvania with a masters in criminal justice and is pursuing a doctorate in Washington State University only about seven miles away from the University of Idaho.
He has to appreciate the seriousness of what is happening right now.
LABAR: Absolutely. He's very intelligent. In our conversation with him, that comes off. I can tell that. He understands where we are right now.
CASAREZ: While at college, at DeSales, Kohberger asked ex-cons to participate in a study on crime. This study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience, he wrote on an online message board.
HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, STUDENT: This person who had been, you know, kind of grading my papers, was allegedly this like horrible murderer.
CASAREZ: Kohberger was working as a teaching assistant in Washington and one student claims his demeanor and strict grading changed after the murders.
STINCHFIELD: He started grading everyone just hundreds. And now, obviously, he seems like he was pretty preoccupied.
CASAREZ: For victims' families, this arrest is a step towards closure, and a chance to see Kohberger in court.
STEVE GONCALVES, VICTIM'S FATHER: It's a little bit of hope. Things are moving in the right direction and there is a lot of time of not knowing, we are definitely going to look this guy, and look him at his eyes, he's going have to deal with this.
CASAREZ (on camera): And the extradition hearing will take place tomorrow 3:30 in the afternoon at the Court of Common Pleas in Stroudsburg. And we are learning some new information. Not only tomorrow, the entire family of Bryan Kohberger will be in that courtroom, but we are learning that at least one family member of the victims in Idaho is flying into Pennsylvania to also be in that courtroom tomorrow afternoon -- Erica.
HILL: Wow, interesting development there. Jean, we appreciate it. Thank you.
OUTFRONT now, Joseph Giacalone, retired NYPD sergeant.
Joe, good to see tonight. The sources, we look at everything you know, you just laid it also well. CNN, we know police have learned that police identified through him hit through his car. DNA evidence at the scene, that went to a public database.
Officials have been mum on a possible motive, whether he knew any of the victims. But what is interesting is, from the beginning they maintain that he targeted isolated attacks. What do you make of the evidence that we know about so far in this
JOSEPH GIACALONE, FORMER NYPD SERGEANT: Well, the future is here. We have seen this DNA that was recovered at the crime scene, the forensic genealogy, all new forensic advancements. It is looking as though it will help identify a suspect when it appears to be that there wasn't any.
So, however, you want to describe it, pulling rabbit out of a hat or what have you. It is about proper crime scene investigation, identifying that evidence, making sure it is secured properly, and then using some of the advances to see if we can come up with the suspect.
HILL: There's understandably, there's a lot of focus, people -- he just received a degree in criminology. The fact that this was a particularly gruesome attack, these four students stab to death in the middle of the night when they were likely sleeping, some with defensive wounds. And the fact that he was starting criminology, he lived just a few miles away from the crime scene.
Just based on all of that, I should point out, you now teach at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Could there be any sort of connection between the studies and the murders?
GIACALONE: I don't think so. I mean, I look back at the history, I can only come up with a other case I'm aware of. That was with Michelle Lee who was a criminalist in the New York City Police Department, who was killed by then her boyfriend who is also a student at John Jay College.
And he tried to leave the crime scene and everything like that. He was still found out. He was still captured, and he was still arrested and convicted.
So, you know, listen, I mean, it's -- criminal justice has become a big field. What we see more cases like this? I think we will. But I don't think it's going to be because they are students.
HILL: I though that's really interesting, too. We just heard and saw a little bit of that interview in the piece from the student Washington State University. Kohberger was a teaching assistant in the class that he was in.
And he talked about how his demeanor changed around the time of the killings. He seemed preoccupied, he had been strict greater, all the sudden everybody was getting hundreds. How significant is that in your view, that change in behavior?
GIACALONE: The change in behavior is very important. I think that's why the chief at the press conference specifically said that they still want to come in. It wasn't so much about evidence per se, but it was about how he was acting. Did anyone see him with a knife? Did he mention anything? Did he slip? Up did he say anything that he shouldn't have said?
Those are all kind of bits of information that they were looking for to make their case a little tighter. And, you know, this is how these investigations go.
The chief in Idaho deserves a lot of credit. He took a lot of beatings especially on social media. And, you know, they did a good job in showing you what the collaboration can do, right? The states, the local, and the feds all working together for a common goal, not like what you see on some of the TV shows.
HILL: TV is not real life as we learn over and over again.
Really quickly before I let you go, when everything is unsealed once he is officially back in the county in Idaho, do you think it will give us, perhaps, some insight into a possible motive?
GIACALONE: I don't know about the motive yet per se. But I think it is definitely going to lay out what was established as probable cause. Motive is important and I think it will be uncovered eventually as we are getting further into the process.
HILL: Really appreciate your insight tonight, thank you.
GIACALONE: Thanks, Erica.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, Russia vowing to retaliate after one of the deadliest strikes on its forces since the start of the invasion.
Plus, the January 6 committee, select committee, releasing new documents, including never before seen White House logs from the days leading up to the insurrection. So, who is Trump speaking with?
HILL: Tonight, dozens of Russian soldiers killed in a massive strike in eastern Ukraine. In a rare admission, the Kremlin says at least 63 soldiers were killed as Ukrainians are claiming it may actually be in the hundreds.
Either number, though, would mark for the biggest single losses of life for Russia since the start of the war. All of this as Ukraine is saying Russia unleashed a ferocious barrage of artillery strikes on the eastern city of Bakhmut, firing on 224 times in the past 24 hours.
Ben Wedeman is OUTFRONT in Kyiv.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Russian army barracks reduced to rubble. In the first hours of 2023, Ukraine's army delivered one of the war's deadliest strikes, killing scores of Russian conscripts stationed in the occupied city of Makiivka in eastern Donetsk. Moscow said 63 died here, but the Ukrainians claim the death toll is much higher.
Some military bloggers in Russia are outraged, asking why troops were allegedly housed next to a stash of ammunition, which exploded under fire.
The daring assault say came after Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital at the start of the New Year holiday. Kyiv's mayor said that two people were killed and many others wounded Saturday when rockets hit a hotel and residential neighborhoods. A new reminder, in needed, that this war threatens Ukrainian lives far from the front lines.
Many in Kyiv spent the last day of 2022 sheltering in metro stations and underpasses. Others put on a brave face to venture out.
I guess this is how they can congratulate us with the New Year, Veronika Kolihina (ph) said. We were very close to where the first explosion happened. It was very frightening.
Added Serhii Tolirador (ph), shelling people on this day is nothing but villainous. They are just animals.
Russian shelling continued Sunday, hitting the children's hospital in the southern city of Kherson according to local officials.
In Monday, Kyiv faced its third straight day of attacks as more than three dozen drones were launched overnight at the Capitol. The Ukrainian military says that they intercepted 39 of them, but the falling debris caused damage and injury.
WEDEMAN (on camera): Already, Russian politicians are looking for someone to blame for the deadly Ukrainian attack on the Russian base at Makiivka, the head of the A Just Russia party has said that so- called higher authorities need to be legally held responsible for the fact that so many Russian soldiers were in an unprotected building without any form of air defenses. The fact that the Russians came out so quickly and reported that 63 of their soldiers have been killed in this attack would indicate that the actual death toll is probably much, much higher -- Erica.
HILL: That does make one wonder.
Ben, appreciate it. Thank you.
OUTFRONT now, retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. He's a CNN military analyst.
Colonel, picking up where Ben just left off, the fact that Russia is admitting the 63 deaths. But on top of it, the outrage has been talked about, about these scores of Russian soldiers dying in that strike, because of where they were housed, allegedly next to this ammunitions cash. I mean, not just leaves you scratching your head, how could that even happen? COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah, that's for sure,
Erica. I tell you, this would be a call for relief of that commander, for that commander to be court-martial in almost any military that I've ever dealt with.
So this is a severe blow to the Russian military and that particular attack, but it's also very symptomatic of Russia's failure to really grow good leaders and people who pay attention to these kinds of things, and not waste their troops in a situation like this because losing their lives like this, they basically had no chance. They fought for nothing at this point.
HILL: When we look at what else we are hearing, the chief of the Ukrainian military saying that they have liberated 40 percent of the area that have been occupied by Russia since the invasion. President Zelenskyy, though, is still the warning Russia could launch a, quote, prolonged attack, using drones, with a goal of exhausting Ukraine, destroying it civilian infrastructure. We know that has been part of a focus.
Could that work? What do you think Ukraine could continue to regain territory amid that type of assault?
LEIGHTON: I think Ukraine could actually regain some territory in the midst of an assault like that. One of the key things to think about, Erica, is the Russian targets is the civilian infrastructure, while the Ukrainians are working against the Russian military infrastructure, the military formations that the Russians have on their territory. The equation is different from each side. But given that particular situation, these particular facts, it is pretty clear to me that the Ukrainians could withstand it, but it's going to be very difficult.
What the Russians are trying to do is, they're trying to integrate some futuristic concepts of swarm warfare where drones are used in swarms against particular targets. They're trying to do this against civilian targets and it's kind of a window to the future where robotics was going to be purportedly part of the military equation.
That's what the Russians are trying to do, but I don't think they can get there from here.
HILL: Right. We will be watching.
Colonel, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.
LEIGHTON: You bet, Erica.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, new documents just released by the January 6 committee, including Trump's inner circle, Hope Hicks among them, were texting to each other after the deadly riot.
Plus, we are getting new details tonight about actor Jeremy Renner's condition after a snow plowing accident. Sources telling CNN that he is now undergoing a second surgery.
HILL: Tonight, the January 6 select committee releasing the documents before the new Congress is sworn in, including never before seen call logs from the days leading up to January 6th. On January 5th alone, these, as you see on your screen, many people that Donald Trump spoke to as he desperately tried to cling to power, ranging from his own Vice President Mike Pence to GOP leaders, lawyers and lawmakers.
In the final hour before the day of the insurrection, Trump basically went for one call to another, including talking twice to Rudy Giuliani.
CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez is OUTFRONT tonight.
So, Evan, this is the first time we are really seeing these call logs in their entirety. How crucial are they at this point in terms of the investigation?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, I think they are crucial to the Justice Department investigation. Especially as it relates to the pressure of the former vice president into throwing out the election results in 2020 and to sit these fake electors that might have kept the former president power.
So, if you hone in on some of these calls that he was busy doing to Doug Mastriano, for instance, in Pennsylvania, he was talking with Jeffrey Clark, somebody who was very involved in his fake electors, trying to get the idea that there was fraud in the election. Those are the calls that the Justice Department is very much focused on as part of the criminal investigation.
You know, there is a trove of documents that we have seen now from this committee. One of the more fascinating things is these text messages that were released by -- they show the anger inside of Trump circle about exactly what had happened. For not exactly the reasons that you might expect, Hope Hicks who is a very close aide to the former president was texting with Ivanka Trump's chief of staff, Julie Radford.
In it, you see her say in one day he ended every future opportunity that doesn't include speaking engagements at the local proud boys chapter. All of us they didn't have jobs lined up would-be perpetually unemployed. You can see her anger here as she says, we all look like domestic terrorists. In another text, she says, again from Hope Hicks to Julie Radford, she says this made us all unemployable. Like untouchable, God, I'm so mad.
It gives you a sense, Erica, that the palpable anger within his own circle may not be because of democracy or what happened at the Capitol, but more about their own future well-being and their employment prospects. HILL: Interesting to see there, we all look like domestic terrorists
now. When we look at everything that is happen, because the committee is shutting down tomorrow, the select committee also sent a warning to the White House about its own investigation. What was that warning?
PEREZ: Yeah, that's a very -- it's a very concerning one. Certainly for some of the witnesses who agreed to talk to the committee and their identities have been shielded because they are not high-level people, they are low level people who witnessed important parts of the events that happened on January 6th and around January 6th. The committee as now warning the White House that I was all of the fact that the Congress is changing hands, the identity of those people may not be shielded, certainly by Republicans who have said that what they want to do is expose what they say was, you know, the wrongdoing of this committee.
They believe, at least some of the members believe that the committee was not fair to the former president and his team. So they want to dig into some of what the January 6 committee found as part of their investigation. So, the danger is that some of these people who had been promised anonymity will no longer be anonymous as a result of the change of power.
HILL: I can imagine they are concern tonight, upon learning that.
Evan, appreciate it. Thank you.
HILL: OUTFRONT next, Kevin McCarthy may still not have the votes at this hour to become speaker, but hear why those who knew McCarthy growing up are convinced he'd be able to succeed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wasn't the biggest person. He wasn't the fastest person. He wasn't the strongest person, but he's going to give it his all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: And CNN learning actor Jeremy Renner now undergoing a second surgery after being injured in a snow plow accident. We have the latest on his condition.
HILL: Tonight, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy's grasp on the speaker's gavel somewhat firm the night before that key vote. McCarthy is, of course, seeking the powerful post he's coveted for years now. And while he is fighting for support on Capitol Hill, he's very popular with voters who sent him there.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside Marshall Dillard's (ph) 1983 yearbook is another boy from Bakersfield, before any thought of becoming speaker of the house.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's crazy. You would never have thought it if you saw Kevin in high school. He was scrappy. He worked hard.
He wasn't the biggest person. He wasn't the fastest person. He wasn't the strongest person but he was going to give it his all.
LAH: And you see that today?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I see that today.
LAH: While the country sees an influential congressman in Washington, some residents of McCarthy's district in Central California see one of them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would never see him staying down. He is not that guy.
LAH: Bakersfield farmer Catherine Pinnuci also grew up with McCarthy. Harvesting her carrots today, Pinucci sees in McCarthy's political assent the seeds of tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He comes from here. We have direct access to him. He has access to people to help us tell our story. The lifeblood of the Central Valley of California is ag.
LAH: The country's largest ag producer, the district is also the energy capital of California from oil to solar, well known to this native of Bakersfield.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's probably the best home grown candidate for public office that we have.
LAH: He married his high school sweetheart and went to community college and college here. That's when he came through then congressional aide Kathy Abernathy's door wanting an internship.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, he didn't make the cap for the summer?
LAH: You rejected Kevin McCarthy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He likes to say you know the story. That's her.
LAH: She hired him for the fall and watched McCarthy rise in Republican politics.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We need to create jobs.
LAH: Running and winning a seat in the California assembly.
THEN-GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: My very good friend, Assemblymember McCarthy.
LAH: And then in Congress, ascending to leadership as one of the faces of a new generation of conservatives.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Kevin McCarthy, where's Kevin? Here's my Kevin.
LAH: But it is his alliance with former President Donald Trump frayed in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Capitol insurrection.
MCCARTHY: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters.
LAH: Only to shift days later.
MCCARTHY: I don't believe he provoked if you listen to what he said at the rally.
LAH: That turned off some Bakersfield Republicans to his left.
MARK RAIMONDO, BAKERSFIELD REPUBLICAN: It gave me some hesitation in voting for him this past November.
LAH: And his right. Paul Stine has known McCarthy since the 1990s.
PAUL STINE, BAKERSFIELD REPUBLICAN: Kevin is the most adaptable politician I have ever seen in my life. I think he knows how to evolve his positions enough to stay viable in the political game. Do I consider him a conservative ideologue? No, not at all.
LAH: Representing deep red turf in deep blue California, McCarthy cruised to re-election by more than 30 points, a natural outcome here say those who think of McCarthy as their Kevin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Politics is politics. They do what they do. I know Kevin on a more personal level, so I don't see that in Kevin.
LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Bakersfield, California.
HILL: Next and just in to CNN, the family of actor Jeremy Renner releasing a statement with new details about the injuries Renner suffered in that snow plowing accident. This as we've also learned he's undergoing a second surgery.
HILL: Just in to CNN, actor Jeremy Renner is in intensive care we've learned after having two surgeries following a snow plowing accident with what sources tell CNN are, quote, extensive injuries. The accident happened yesterday near Renner's home in Reno, Nevada.
He has frequently posted on social media about using snow plows to deal with the heavy snowfall in the area near his home, including a year ago where he posted a video behind the wheel of a snow plow. It is not known whether this is the same piece of machinery that was involved in yesterday's accident but we are getting new details tonight.
Chloe Melas is OUTFRONT with us.
So, Chloe, you just got a statement from his representatives from the family. What more do we know about the accident and his condition?
CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Exactly, and that's what everyone has wanted to know. So, like you said, he has undergone two surgeries. He just got out of his second surgery. This is what the family is saying.
We can confirm that Jeremy has suffered blunt chest trauma, and orthopedic injuries and has undergone surgery today. He has returned and remains in the intensive care unit.
So, look, Erica, we know that this happened yesterday morning near his home and, like you said, as you said he is used to using the snow plows. He is known for not only clearing his long driveway but that of others and the local roads nearby.
He is a really good neighbor to everyone. He has an extensive property and we know he was airlifted. There have been reports that perhaps a neighbor came to his aid. We haven't been able to confirm that just yet. But again we know he was air lifted. He has been in these surgeries.
When I spoke to a source earlier today asking about his leg and other things they said, look. His injuries were extensive. He's very lucky to even be alive. Now, again, it is critical but stable condition.
And so, all signs point to him making it through this and in this statement the family and everyone goes on to thank the local authorities, people that were first on the scene and the doctors and nurses. It is going to be a long road for him.
HILL: Absolutely. So again as you said, suffered blunt chest trauma, orthopedic injuries, two surgeries. Do we know when -- did his representatives or family offer any further information about when they may be releasing more information?
MELAS: So, we know that, look. I've been in touch with the team and with people close to him all day. Really they have wanted to provide the family some private time right now. This is the latest surgery and we know he is in stable condition in the ICU unit.
And, again, Erica, like you said, he has posted videos for years dating back to 2018 and 2019 of himself on this property in Nevada using this machinery. This was something he was accustomed to.
So, again, many questions on social media about did he fall off, did it back over him? I'm sure we'll learn more in the coming days. HILL: He made it through the two surgeries. Really appreciate that
update. A lot of people are pulling for him and thinking of the family. Thank you.
And thanks to all of you for joining us.
"AC360" starts right now.