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House GOP Will Try to Again Elect Speaker After 3 Failed Ballots; Damar Hamlin's Uncle Says Bills Players Was Resuscitated Twice; Idaho Murder Suspect Waives Extradition from Pennsylvania. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired January 04, 2023 - 05:00   ET



CHRSTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on EARLY START, three rounds of voting and still no new speaker of the House. Will there be a breakthrough today?

The Food and Drug Administration just cleared the way for abortion pills by prescription at your local pharmacy.


DORRIAN GLENN, DAMAR HAMLIN'S UNCLE: I am not a crier, but like I've never cried so hard in my life.


ROMANS: Damar Hamlin's uncle relives the moment he watched his nephew collapsed on the field. The latest on how Hamlin is doing now.


ROMANS: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Christine Romans. Good morning, everyone.

In just hours, Republicans are expected to try again to elect a speaker of the House. Yesterday after three ballots, no one reached the 218-vote threshold to win that job. Congressman Kevin McCarthy earned the vast majority of Republican votes, 202, on the final tally, but a small group of hard right conservatives is holding out, keeping him from the speaker's gavel.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The members are talking, we are walking through it. I think we will find a way to get there, and this is a healthy debate. It might not happen that the day we want it, but it's going to happen.


ROMANS: CNN's Manu Raju has more from Capitol Hill.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the first time in 100 years, the house could not elect a speaker on the first ballot, and that election, 1923, that took nine ballots. We have not seen that happen in 100 years. Up until Tuesday, when Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader failed to get the 218 votes that he needed to be elected speaker.

There was one ballot in which 19 Republicans voted against it, there is a second ballot where he lost the support of another 19 Republicans and then the third ballot, 20 Republicans voted against him and voting for Congressman Jim Jordan, who actually supports McCarthy for speaker.

But these Republicans believe that McCarthy just does not have the votes, will not have the votes, concerns about some of the concessions that he made. Concerns about the ways that he isn't handled some of the negotiations, personality conflicts with Kevin McCarthy, all which raged major concerns for McCarthy and his allies about whether he can get the 218 votes to be elected speaker.

Now, there is a plan in the morning on Wednesday to have a meeting of the full Republican congress, to try to hash out these differences. The problem, they had a meeting on Tuesday morning that did not go well for McCarthy. In fact, in that meeting he went after these members, lashed out at his critics. They suggested that one of his allies, that they could lose committee assignments over the whole issue.

That's almost led to Republican opposition hardening in some ways, growing that is what the conservatives who sought to derail McCarthy's bid said, and so they came out of that meeting and were emboldened and planned to oppose him.

Well, that changed Wednesday morning? Another question, but at the moment McCarthy is signaling that he plans to grind it, out go to a fourth ballot, go to a fifth ballot, go as long as possible.

A number of his allies say that they will stick with, him but the only way this could possibly change is some huge development which maybe he wins over some of those conservative critics, or maybe McCarthy steps the side himself for a new speaker candidate to emerge, all of which raises deep uncertainty about the speaker of the House, the futures Republicans, and who will lead them as the 118th Congress starts off with paralysis and dysfunction.

Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


ROMANS: Certainly facilitating to watch. Thanks, Manu.

A new move by the FDA will make it easier to get medication for an abortion. Pharmacies that become certified will be allowed to dispense Mifepristone to people with a prescription. It can be used with another drug to induce abortion. Previously, patients could not get the pills at a pharmacy. They could only be dispensed by a certified health care provider.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition this morning after he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field during Monday's night's game in Cincinnati.

Hamlin's uncle, Dorrian Glenn, telling CNN that the 24-year-old had to be resuscitated a second time after arriving at the hospital in Cincinnati. He described what is like watching that game back home in Pittsburgh, with Hamlin's little brother.


DORRIAN GLENN, DAMAR HAMLIN'S UNCLE: When he saw his brother drop like that, and when I tell you that I've never seen him crash down like that. We are trying to calm him down, he's going to get back, up healthy back in the game.

Next thing you know, ten minutes later, they are doing chest confessions.


It's a half hour later, they're still not playing, and I'm like what's going on? What's wrong with my nephew? And, like, when I say, like, now, we are all in the room crying, we are volunteers. I'm not a crier, but I never cried so more heard in my life. Just to -- my nephew basically died on the field and they brought him back life, I mean, that is just heartbreaking.


ROMANS: One of Damar Hamlin's teammates also speaking to CNN, Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins, describing how he felt when he said it became apparent that something was horribly wrong.


DION DAWKINS, BILLS OFFENSIVE TACKLE: In that moment, you kind of just realize you really cannot take anything for granted. To see a brother lying down and everyone else just kind of, come on, come on, come on. Get up, and all of those drastic emotions that are pouring out.

In that moment, you are just thinking what can I do, what can we do? It just breaks you down into prayer, whether you are a believer or not.


ROMANS: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in Cincinnati with the latest.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A growing tribute outside the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to pull through, you know? That's what

we're here praying for, you know? He's a strong man, so he's doing his job. We just have to do our job and pray for him.

BROADDUS: As fans come to pray for Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin.

RODNEY MCLEOD JR., SAFETY, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: What we saw last night was something that we've never seen before. In my 11 years in the NFL, I've never experienced anything like that.

BROADDUS: The sports world and the nation stunned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the last thing that you want to see.

BROADDUS: The 24-year-old collapsing on the field, suffering a cardiac arrest. Moments after getting up, following a hard tackle and Monday night's game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. Team trainers and medical personnel treating him within seconds. And performing CPR on the field, an ambulance rushing onto the field to take him to the hospital.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Half the players on the field are crying, the Bengals players are crying, to see the players reaction, even though we couldn't see what was going, on that, to me, told the story of everything that was happening on the field.

BROADDUS: On Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills tweeting: Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Almost certainly what happened to Mr. Hamlin is something called commotio cordis, which is basically a cardiac arrest caused by sharp blow to the chest at precisely the wrong moment.

BROADDUS: As the news spread, so did reactions across the sports world and beyond. Donations to Hamlin's 2020 GoFundMe toy drive crossing the $4 million mark by Tuesday afternoon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes we forget the human side that these players are actually human beings and they have families.

BROADDUS: His family releasing a statement Tuesday, expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support saying that, quote, we are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country.

JORDON ROONEY, DAMAR HAMLIN'S FRIEND AND MARKETING REP: I am excited for him to bounce back from this because Damar is someone who will use things like this adversity and make sure that he inspires plenty of other people on the way.

Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, Cincinnati.


ROMANS: All right. Adrienne, thank you for that.

Jeremy Renner set to be making positive progress as he recovers from a New Year's snowplow accident. The actor shared this picture on social media saying, quote, I am too messed up to type, but I send love to you all.

Renner is in intensive care. in critical but stable condition. Authorities say that Renner was run over by his own snow cat after clearing snow near his home in Reno, Nevada. This machine started to roll away and he tried to climb back on.

More than 25 million people across the southwest are under a severe storm threat right, now. High winds, at least one tornado toppled trees, tore off roofs, from Arkansas to Alabama.

In Perry County, West of Montgomery, a storm lifted this home off its foundation and tossed it several feet.


SYLVIA HESTER, HOME DAMAGED IN STORM: To see it like this, it is a heartfelt, but the best thing is, my husband and I are alive. I mean, material things can be replaced, but our lives cannot and we just thank god that we were here. We are, here and we were able to make it out of there.


ROMANS: This dramatic footage, the National Weather Service confirming an EF1 tornado in Jessieville, Arkansas, on Tuesday, you can see it there hit the school full of students at the time. No one was hurt.

Quadruple murder suspect Bryan Kohberger will be headed back to Idaho to face those charges. In court Tuesday, he waived extradition from Pennsylvania. He is accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students.


Body cam footage says he was stopped twice by police when he's driving through Indiana with his father on December 15th. That was more than a month after the killings, but before he had been identified as a suspect.

More now from CNN's Veronica Miracle on Kohberger's day in court.


VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bryan Kohberger cuffed, shackled, wearing a prison jump suit, arriving at a Pennsylvania courthouse just days after being charged with murdering four University of Idaho students in mid-November.

Kohberger was escorted from a holding cell into the courtroom, confirming he's waiving extradition, has no mental health issues that would affect a transfer, and agreeing to be transported to Idaho.

Kohberger's family in the courtroom crying as he turned several times and made eye contact with them. He faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary in the stabbing deaths of Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Kaylee Goncalves.

COL. ROBERT EVANCHICK, COMMISSIONER, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: Arrangements currently are being made to deliver Kohberger back to Idaho where he can have continued due process and face these charges.

MIRACLE: And where he can access information about the evidence against him. Idaho does not release the documents supporting an arrest warrant until a defendant returns to the state.

MIKE MANCUSO, FIRST ASST. DISTRICT ATTORNEY, MONROE COUNTY, PA: I definitely believe that one of the main reasons the defendant chose to waive extradition and hurry his return back to Idaho was the need to know what was in those documents.

JASON LABAR, PUBLIC DEFENDER, MONROE COUNTY, PA: He said it, I mean, this is not him. He believes he's going to be exonerated. That's what he believes. Those were his words.

MIRACLE: University of Idaho assistant law professor Samuel Newton tells CNN there is still a long road to trial.

SAMUEL NEWTON, ASST. PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO: The government has to put on evidence to support its charge to show that there's enough -- there was probable cause to arrest and charge him with those crimes.

MIRACLE: Kaylee's father says he plans to be in court at some point when Kohberger returns to Idaho.

STEVEN GONCALVES, FATHER OF VICTIM: We're going to definitely look this guy and look him in his eyes. He is going to have to deal with us, and he has been dealing with this for seven weeks. It's not about to end.

MIRACLE: It will be up to the local prosecutor to decide whether Kohberger will face the death penalty.

NEWTON: The victims were blameless, sleeping in a vulnerable position, the crime was particularly brutal, multiple victims. So I think there are many bases for a prosecutor to say I can charge this as aggravated murder.

MIRACLE: A death penalty case adds additional procedures to a murder prosecution. That could take decades. For many living in the communities at both the University of Idaho and Washington State University, there is some relief a suspect is now in custody.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Imagine living in this, it's been like living in a murder mystery, right in the middle of it.

MIRACLE: A mystery that is far from over. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MIRACLE (on camera): Now that Kohberger is clear for extradition, police say they have ten days to get him back here. Once he is back in the state of Idaho, that is when that probable cause affidavit should be unsealed which will tell us exactly why Kohberger was arrested.

Veronica Miracle, CNN, Moscow, Idaho.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks, Veronica, for that.

Just ahead, a car off a cliff? Passengers inside who beat the odds and a chilling twist, this was no accident.

Plus, Ukraine claims it hit Russian troops are at, again. What Moscow is saying.

And, the third time was not the charm for Kevin McCarthy speaker ballot. Maybe the fourth? Maybe the fifth today?




CHERYL JOHNSON, HOUSE CLERK: No persons having received a majority of the whole number of votes cast by surname, speaker has not been elected. A speaker has not been elected. A speaker has not been elected.


ROMANS: House Republicans try, try, try, and fail to elect a new speaker. At least so far, a historic defeat by Congressman Kevin McCarthy. The House decided to adjourn Tuesday after McCarthy fell short three times in his bid for the job. He might still win, today but it could again take more rounds of voting.

Let's bring in CNN political analyst Margaret Talev.

Margaret, so nice to see you this, morning and happy New Year.

You know, the last time an election for a speaker was decided by multiple ballots was, oh, the 68th Congress in the year of 1923. A 13 of the 14 multiple ballot elections occurred before the civil war.

The story this new year is not the new divided Congress, but this fight inside the GOP, at least start the year.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. These guys have done it. We will see where they are this morning. I think if Kevin McCarthy's numbers are somehow going up, as they reconvene today, he may still see a path to pull it off. But, if his support continues to erode as we have seen over the course

of those votes, he has a real problem and he has a decision to make. I think those choices are to keep fighting with no path in sight, figure out if there is not a Republican like a Steve Scalise or some caretaker public and who he could share power with or call the shots from behind the scenes, or there is the one thing that that flank of between five and 20 Republicans are really worried about, and that is the idea that he would make some kind of coalition with Democrats.

That seems to be the most farfetched right now, but it is really not clear at 5:00 in the morning precisely where this is going, or how long it is going to take us to get there.

ROMANS: So, he's made some concessions, promising investigations on the weaponization of the federal government, COVID-19 origins, the U.S. China competition, he is trying to appeal to some of the provocateurs in his party.

Meantime, the Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries who just won his election with no dissent, said this. Day one, House Dems are united and ready to get to work. Complete chaos on the other side of the aisle.

Is McCarthy damaged here, even if he wins leadership?


TALEV: He is. He's deeply damaged and, of course, the irony is that all the concessions that he has had to make so far, number one could be for. Not but number two, would actually give him much less power to yield leadership if he became the speaker. One of the team chief objectives instance that these holdouts have, other than just the animosity towards, him if there is going to be an ideology, is that they see him is too likely to cut to deal with Democrats.

That is great if you are a hard-line member of the Republican base who are interested in the fight, but if you are an average overwhelming share of Americans, the frustration with Congress is that they cannot compromise an off and get anything done.

So what you are setting up here is, theoretically, an agreement that would tie his hands and make it harder to cut any deals. I think, Christine, right now that looks like something that would be good for Democrats.

If you watch Nancy Pelosi and Hakeem Jeffries on the sidelines of yesterday, it was all they could do to suppress their smiles. Jeffries has gotten more votes than McCarthy. Democrats have popcorn.

This is very good for Joe Biden in the short term, if this is a contrast for his 2024 reelection bid. But I think long term, Democrats are worried about this too because it just shows how incredibly difficult it is going to be to govern or get anything done in this new Republican majority.

ROMANS: That's a good point. You also made good point that McCarthy himself enabled in a power law these people who are working actively against him.

TALEV: He did, he chose not to run internal party primaries against them, and maybe he chose that course because he thought it would fail and that would weaken him, the problem is by making conciliations toward them over the years he has effectively empowered them. He was hoping that would help them send the speakership, but right now it is the thing standing in his path and it is something to behold.

ROMANS: It sure is. Margaret, thank you welcome to 2023, Axios, thank you so much.

TALEV: Good to be here.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

All right. Quick hits across America right now.

A Louisiana police officer facing negligent homicide charges after two teenage girls were killed on New Year's Day. Officer David Cauthron blew through a red light and crashed into their car during a high- speed chase after a different vehicle.

Two men are now charged with attacking for Washington state electrical substations last month, plunging thousands into the dark. Court documents show that they did to steal cash from a local store.

Two adults and two children miraculously escaped death or serious injury after a Tesla plunged 200 feet off a cliff in California, please have arrested the driver and charged him with attempted murder and child endangerment.

America's neighbor to the north, Canada, welcoming more immigrants than ever. Why, ahead.

And President Biden just invited a key world leader to meet with him in the White House.



ROMANS: Ukraine's military is claiming another devastating attack on Russian troops on the southern Kherson region on New Year's Eve. No comment from Moscow, but the Russian military confirms that 89 of its soldiers were killed in a separate strike on New Year's Day in the Donetsk region.

Let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian following all of this from London.

So what can you tell us about this second Kherson attack, and I am really curious, Clare, you monitor Russian state media -- what is Russia's state media saying about these two apparent setbacks?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Christine, it is really interesting. They are saying nothing about the second attack to come to light, that was in a town, near the town of Kalynivka, which is in the Kherson region. Just across the Dnieper River, from the city of Kherson, which, of course, Ukraine liberated in November.

We do not know exactly what kind of facility there, and we only know we are hearing from the Ukrainian army, which says that this was hit on New Year's Eve, so chronologically before the attack in the Donetsk region. They say that 500 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded.

So it is unusual perhaps that there is no comment yet from the Russian side,, but it is unusual in itself the for Russia to comment at all on the death tolls when it comes to its soldiers. So the news coming out of the Russian side on that attack in the Donetsk region is significant. They are now admitting, as you say, to 89 soldiers having been killed.

State media are sharing pictures of people mourning the deaths in various regions in Russia, but there is skepticism coming out of the blogosphere. Influential Russian bloggers casting doubt on claims by the Russian ministry of defense but it was the fact that soldiers were using mobile phones near the front lines that allowed Ukraine to pinpoint their location.

One blogger today calling that not at all, convincing but also casting doubt on the death toll at 89, saying it is likely much higher.

But taken together, it looks like potential to mass casualty events for Russian soldiers taking place within the space of 24 hours.

ROMANS: And rare to see Russian state media showing people grieving, or acknowledging that there are fatalities in this war.

Nice to see you, Clare Sebastian, thank you.

Pope Benedict XVI is lying in state for the third and final day before his funeral on Thursday morning. The retired pontiff died on New Year's Day at the age of 95. Tens of thousands have viewed his casket at St. Peter's Basilica, including Hungary's prime minister, seen here on Tuesday.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is live in Rome for us.

Good morning, Fred.

This is the first time in hundreds of years that a retired -- a retired pope has died. How will this service be handled?