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Isa Soares Tonight

Republicans Scramble Over House Speaker Vote; Russia Says It Will Begin A Temporary Ceasefire In Ukraine; Prince Harry's Memoir "Spare"; U.S. House Speaker Stalemate; Violence Rocks Culiacan Amid Operation To Arrest El Chapo's Son; China's COVID-19 Surge; Damar Hamlin Showing "Remarkable Improvement". Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 05, 2023 - 14:00   ET


Phil Mattingly; Rafael Romo; Ivan Watson; Delia Gallagher>


ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, we are following two breaking stories

for you. Right now, U.S. House Republicans, you can see there are scrambling to elect a leader. Kevin McCarthy has just lost a seventh vote

in his bid to become speaker of the house.

We'll bring you of course, developments throughout the hour. But first, Russia says it's ready to begin a temporary ceasefire, starting on Friday,

but Ukraine is denouncing the move as pure propaganda and hypocrisy. We are live in Kyiv just ahead. And now, as we're telling, Russian President

Vladimir Putin has ordered a 36-hour ceasefire in Ukraine, a declaration Ukrainian officials denounce as quote, "pure propaganda".

According to the Kremlin, tomorrow and Saturday, Russian troops will lay down their weapons, so, Orthodox Christians can attend Christmas services.

This was backed by the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. You can see in that picture, Keil(ph), who is a staunch supporter of the war in


But both Ukraine and the U.S. say this isn't an act of Christian charity or goodwill from Moscow. Officials in Kyiv and Washington believe it's a way

for Russia to buy time on the battlefield, to mobilize as well as to re- strategize. I want to bring in Scott McLean, who is joining us from Kyiv and Nic Robertson here in London.

Scott, let me go to you, first. I mean, what are Ukrainian officials saying? If they're calling this pure propaganda, where does this leave the

operation at home? Will they continue in their offensive?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, all of the signs are that the Ukrainians are going to treat this as any other day on the battlefield. In

fact, an adviser to President Zelenskyy said that there can be a truce only when the Russians withdraw entirely from Ukrainian territory. And we've

seen plenty of officials with a very similar message.

It seems that Ukraine is united in this, and even when you speak to ordinary Ukrainians, they are remarkably cynical about this Russian effort

to get a ceasefire or even if only for 36 hours. You have an ordinary civilian in Kherson that we spoke to who says that he just simply doesn't

believe that this is actually going to happen, that it's going to change anything on the ground even if the Russian military leadership at a high-

level sort of maybe ceases launching missiles or drones for a 36-hour period.

It's not going to change anything on the ground. Ukrainian soldier that spoke to us said that, quote, "I don't believe this BS." We're also hearing

from the Ukrainian governor of the Luhansk region who says that this is just an attempt for the Russians to get a little bit of breathing room from

the intense pressure that they're under and have a chance to actually regroup.

We've also just recently heard from the pro-Russian head of the Donetsk People's Republic who said there can be no truce, and said that the

Russians will respond to any provocation, and they're not going to allow this to be a chance for the Ukrainians to improve their positions on the


So, all signs at this stage, Isa, are that not a whole lot is going to change tomorrow, certainly at least from the Ukrainian perspective.

SOARES: And on that point that you heard from that official, you know, the skepticism, it's kind of understandable, Nic, given, you know, a year of

war, nothing has shifted and they cannot be trusted. But also I think it was Secretary of State Tony Blinken mentioned in that point that he was

saying -- he said this is opportunity for them to rest, refit, regroup and re-attack.

And he said this about a month or so ago. This is very much part of their strategy, they have a history of this.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Oh, totally. I mean, Blinken said that watch out for the phony off-ramp. This is what Putin is

sort of offering here. Putin has so much form on this, it doesn't matter which conflict has been involved, and whether it was, you know, Ukraine

2014 or in Syria. I remember --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: When he sat down with President Trump in Hamburg at the G20 and convinced them to support Russia's plan for six different regional

ceasefires around Syria. And what happened? Putin came back and took on each of those enclaves one at a time with his forces when he was ready.

So he's got absolute form for calling a ceasefire, using it to maneuver forces, to bring in reinforcement, re-equip, and the reality is, he might

do that now.


But I think what we've heard from the German foreign minister, really, it gets to the nub of it here. if Putin really wants peace, then get his

troops --

SOARES: Out --

ROBERTSON: Out of -- out of Ukraine. That's been the mantra of the western community all along. This is -- and a league, we have to remind ourselves

and continue to remind ourselves, it's an illegal --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Invasion without reason.

SOARES: But what you just mentioned as well in the last few minutes, Scott, the fact that they will retaliate, the Russians will retaliate if

they're attacked, really goes to show their tactic has somewhat changed. They're trying to paint the Ukrainians as the aggressors. Well they, Putin,

looks somewhat pious. I mean, are Ukrainians -- Ukrainian officials aware, perhaps, of this tactic from Russia?

MCLEAN: Yes, I think they're well aware. And you know, the line that you've been hearing from Ukrainian officials is that, you know, a promise

from Russia is not worth the paper that it's printed on. And I think it's also important to keep in mind that especially in places like Bakhmut where

the strategic -- strategically important town in the Donbas region, you know, you've had for months, the frontline not really shifting a whole heck

of a lot.

And it is taking a lot of spilled blood to move the frontline even, you know, a 100 yards in one direction or the other. And so, I think both sides

are acutely aware of the fact that any kind of ceasefire may potentially allow the other side to gain better positioning, to move equipment and

troops, to get equipment in to a certain area.

And also remember that this is coming on the heels of that devastating strike, Ukrainian --

SOARES: Yes --

MCLEAN: Strike on Makiivka, where you had a Russian barracks there. The Russians say 89 were killed, the Ukrainians say it was a lot more than

that. And the Ukrainians said specifically that this is the Russians' inability to move, novice, inexperienced conscripts, covertly to the

frontline. And so, the Ukrainians are suggesting that this would make it easier for the Russians to mobilize more troops and get them to the


SOARES: I mean, Nic, what do you make, I really want to pick your brain about what we've seen in terms of change of tact or strategy from President

Putin? First, the Makiivka, the acknowledgment, the fact there were even casualties, this is something quite quick acknowledgment as well from the

Russians, but also seeing Putin's new year's eve surrounded by those troops, almost as acknowledgment that, you know, the war, this is


What's the messaging, do you think, to those back home? Clearly, he is not trying to improve his moral standing. But what is the message in your view?

ROBERTSON: You know, I think the ceasefire, and look, let's face it, that it was Putin that calls all this cessation for --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: This 36 hours. Putin calls all the shots in Russia. So, when the patriarch suggested, you know, that's a front for Putin.

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: I mean, that's not going to -- he's not going to do it, he's not going to go out on his own and do it. Putin is under huge pressure at

home, although he doesn't acknowledge it, this is an unpopular war, hundreds of thousands of people run for the borders, young men ran for the

borders when he announced conscription a few months ago.

This is a way to sort of try to gain a little bit of, you know, I am the one that cares about the troops. Because the narrative, most Russians who

understand Putin will tell you, he doesn't care about the soldiers. He's willing --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: To sacrifice them. And this creates and helps him create another narrative that no one will trust or believe him, but it's something

for those families who have loved ones, you know, on the Russian side in the frontlines. They don't want to be there, most of them. As I say --

SOARES: Yes --

ROBERTSON: People have been running for the borders.

SOARES: Final thought for you, Scott, it does seem that almost nothing has changed. Everything has changed, but nothing really has changed in

Ukraine's perspective here.

MCLEAN: Yes, and I think it's really interesting that this came on the day where you have the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip --

SOARES: Yes --

MCLEAN: A man who has pretty good relations with both Moscow and with Kyiv, trying to utilize those relationships to try to coax each side back

to the negotiating table, inviting the Russians to unilaterally declare a ceasefire, which they've obviously done here, but only temporarily.

But in order to get the Russians to the negotiating table, they say that look, the Ukrainians would have to acknowledge that the territory that

Russia has seized is, in fact, Russian territory, something that is clearly a nonstarter for the Ukrainians. So, you're right in that it doesn't seem

like a heck of a lot has changed even with this -- what appears to be, at least, on the surface --

SOARES: Yes --

MCLEAN: A gesture of goodwill, at a time of Orthodox Christmas.

SOARES: Scott McLean, Nic Robertson, thank you very much. We'll of course, be speaking to the Turkish president -- to the Turkish officials tomorrow.

And Turkish President, what we heard there from Scott. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is urging Russia to call for unilateral ceasefire in Ukraine.

And tomorrow at this time, I will be speaking to Mr. Erdogan's spokesperson about Turkey's role really in pushing for peace in that negotiation talks

that Scott was referring to there.


Well, despite intense negotiations, major concessions as well as growing anger and frustration, there's still no speaker of the house for a third

day. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have tried and so far failed to overcome the impasse. In a seventh vote, hard-line conservatives

have against Republican leader Kevin McCarthy. The freshman congressman who nominated him earlier voiced the frustration his supporters are feeling.

Have a listen.


REP. JOHN JAMES (R-MI): We're still stuck at the starting block. The American people have told us by putting a Republican majority here, that

they want Republicans to lead, and they want a government that works, and doesn't embarrass them. And we are failing on both missions, that must

change today.


SOARES: Well, the house has just begun taking an eighth vote, but will it make any difference? CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Dean is on

Capitol Hill for us. And here we are, again, Jessica, it seems, you know, seventh vote, we're on the eighth vote and still a stalemate. What are you


JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, we expect that on this eighth vote, not much is going to change either. We talked to house or

incoming GOP leader, Kevin McCarthy, on his way to the floor earlier today. And I said, what's the plan? And he just said, well, not much is going to

change. But we think that the behind-the-scenes conversations are what's being more productive.

So, McCarthy and his allies think that they -- and believe and keep saying that they are winning over one by one Kevin McCarthy's detractors. But the

fact remains that the math just does not add up in his favor. He made some major concessions overnight to some of these hard-liners. That deal is not

done yet.

But let's say he even got that group that he's targeting with these, it's still not enough to get him to that magical number of 218. He still got

some work to do. So, it is a very heavy lift, and what his allies and supporters want to see is that he is making progress. And right now, he is

not going backwards, but he is certainly not making progress.

So, we're going to get through this eighth vote, and then the question becomes, what do they do next? Do they continue to vote? Do they adjourn

for the evening? Do they adjourn for multiple days? Those are some of the questions that are floating around right now. Because if they think they're

making progress and can kind of pick off these detractors one by one, they may want to continue to do that off the floor and behind the scenes before

they come back for a vote.

So, we're just going to wait until this eighth vote is over and see what the appetite is there. But Democrats, just so everyone knows, on the other

side of the aisle, have been very upfront that they do not want to help bailout Republicans from this mess. They could be doing that, they're

simply not and we don't anticipate that they will at this point.

SOARES: We'll keep our eyes peeled on Capitol Hill. Jessica Dean, appreciate it, thank you very much. It is, though, a slim majority --

minority of Republicans that are keeping the house from simply moving forward as you heard Jessica saying there. Over the past two days, 20

Republicans -- you're looking at them there have been voting directly against Kevin McCarthy in his bid to become speaker.

They represent less than 10 percent of house Republicans. Yet, they've managed to completely grind Congress as you've been seeing here to a halt.

The group includes some of the chambers most hard-right lawmakers. At least, half of the group have questioned the integrity of the 2020

election. These are some of the names on your screen. So what are the reasons for not supporting McCarthy?

Let's take a closer look at what some of them have said. For Florida Representative, Matt Gaetz, it's personal. Have a listen.


REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Maybe the right person for the job as speaker of the house isn't someone who has sold shares of themselves for more than a

decade to get it.


SOARES: Well, others like Lauren Boebert say McCarthy isn't making the concessions they want to see on issues across the board.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): I will not withdraw or --


BOEBERT: Ask -- we're not petty of Kevin McCarthy, they were not self- serving, we simply were asking for commitments. I want the -- American people want to see, they want to see a vote on term limits. A vote on the

Texas border plan to secure the southern border --


SOARES: And some are holding their cards pretty close to their chest. But one thing is for sure, it is chaos, wherever you look inside the halls of



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've been number one (INAUDIBLE), would you vote for him?

GAETZ: We're lost.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Entering(ph) the speaker's office. Pretty nice. .

GAETZ: Because of where they are.


SOARES: Well, joining us now to help us make sense of what is happening is Larry Sabato; director of the Center of Politics at the University of

Virginia. Larry, great to have you on the show. So we're now go -- heading into the eighth round, I believe, and it's hard to see, Larry, to be

honest, how this round is going to be any different. How do you see this playing out?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER OF POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: I think you're absolutely right. I think this eighth vote is going to be very

much like votes one through seven. The 20 that are opposing McCarthy are critical because he can only afford to lose four votes. And there are 20 of

his own caucus members voting against him.


Now, he could potentially bargain enough away, he's almost given away the store as it is, but he's got a few items left to bargain with. He might be

able to bring some of them back, but it's hard to see how he brings enough back to get to 118. These people, many of them, just don't like him. You

know, when you get past the issues and the complaints, you get down to a personality they don't like.

They don't trust him. They point to the fact, which is correct, that he switched positions on all kinds of things. He's been pro Trump, anti-Trump

and now pro-Trump again and for this and for that, now he's against this and against that. So, you know, they just don't trust him. And it's tough

to regain trust under pressure.

SOARES: Yes, and it does appear that he is suffering defeat on this eighth vote as we're seeing the numbers tally up. But what do you make, Larry, I

mean, of the discussions, of the concessions that McCarthy has, you know, provided them with? I mean, how much do you think this will even weaken his

power if he even gets there? How can he get anything done?

SABATO: Well, that's the question exactly. If he somehow wins after all of this, he is going to be the weakest speaker in modern times, maybe ever. He

has almost no power left, and a single number, one member of his caucus can call for a vote to oust him at any time. How would you like to operate

under that kind of scenario?

So, he's given away the store, he desperately wants to be speaker, and sometimes, when you want something too much, you don't get it. You don't --

you would have gotten it under other circumstances, but you won't get it when you want it this badly.

SOARES: Yes, the motion to vacate would actually look, make Theresa May's leadership look rather long, perhaps if it did -- if it did go ahead. I

mean --

SABATO: Yes --

SOARES: Where does this leave then, the more moderate members, Larry, of the GOP? Will they be pushing them away from McCarthy or they want to -- or

they want him to play hardball here?

SABATO: They're at the point where some of them may very well defect because McCarthy is on the edge of giving away some major chairmanships --

SOARES: Yes --

SABATO: To members of the freedom caucus, the most conservative members of the house. When some of McCarthy's own supporters thought they were getting

those chairmanships, they negotiated for them. Well, if they have nothing to gain by voting for McCarthy, why would they bother?

SOARES: So, are you saying, Larry, you are predicting that the person to blame first probably will be McCarthy? I mean, how long do you think this

will go on?

SABATO: Their people saying --

SOARES: If the numbers don't change --

SABATO: If they don't change, then they have to move on from McCarthy. He is not going to say that until he actually does it. But there's going to be

no option. And names have been circulating for sometime among the Republican members. They know they will go to Steve Scalise, who's also in

the leadership, and possibly others. So, they do have alternatives. But they would prefer that McCarthy decide himself that he needs to move on.

SOARES: But if Scalise, if they pick Scalise, will those concessions that -- will they be requiring the same concessions, will Scalise's hand also be


SABATO: Many of them have said absolutely. They expect the same concessions from anybody who becomes speaker. So, McCarthy is not only

giving away his power, he's giving away the power of anybody who replaces him. So, it's going to be two years of what you've seen this last week,

chaos, complete chaos. The Republican caucus is the chaos caucus.

SOARES: I'm kind of scratching my head, Larry, and just broaden this for our international viewers. I mean, the midterms clearly showed that

Americans want the party kind of to move away from this extreme wing, right? Trump's call to back McCarthy hasn't really moved the needle at all.

So, is it good politics then to give in to their demands?

SABATO: No, it is not. In terms of the national politics. In terms of Republican --

SOARES: Yes --

SABATO: Interest and winning national elections. But that's not what McCarthy cares about, he cares about winning the speakership, he'll do

whatever he has to do to accomplish that. And you couldn't be more right, one of the reasons why Democrats did so well and Republicans did so poorly

compared to expectations, was that the Republican nominees went to the extreme. They went so far right that many Americans got a little frightened

and they ended up voting Democratic.

SOARES: Yes, look, I love speaking to you, Larry, and you know, for us political junkies, this is a bit like the World Cup, but this is just not

tenable. So it will be interesting to see how this unfolds if they go for the ninth round, of course. But it does appear like McCarthy appears to

have suffered defeat on the eighth speaker ballot. Great to have you on the show, Larry Sabato, always appreciate it, thank you, Larry.

SABATO: Thank you, Isa.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, royal rifts, physical fights, no, not the GOP, monarchy under the microscope. We'll have a look at the explosive

allegations in Prince Harry's new memoir. And then later, he's awake and holding hands with family. A truly remarkable news after an NFL player

whose heart briefly stopped, if you remember, after a hit on the field. We'll bring you the very latest. You are watching CNN.


SOARES: Now, explosive new details from Prince Harry's upcoming memoir are rocking the foundations of the British royal family. The duke of Sussex

claims his brother, William, who is first of course, in line for the throne, knocked him to the floor during an argument about Meghan Markle

back in 2019. That is according to the "Guardian" newspaper. CNN royal correspondent Max Foster takes a closer look for you.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New year, new set of revelations from Prince Harry about his family. The British newspaper, "The

Guardian", managing to obtain a copy of his new autobiography entitled "Spare". In it, the newspaper says he describes an argument with his

brother at Kensington Palace.

The alleged fight started when William called Meghan difficult, rude and abrasive, painting a vivid picture of the incident. Harry writes that the

Prince of Wales grabbed him by the collar, ripping his necklace and knocking him to the floor. Harry says he landed on the dog's bowl, which

cracked under his back with pieces cutting into him.

CNN has reached out to Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace who have declined to comment on the alleged altercation, so has a spokesperson for

Harry and Meghan. To promote the book, the prince spoke to U.K. and U.S. media about his relationship with the family and his future role in the

monarchy. In an interview with Britain's "ITV Network", he was asked this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still believe in the monarchy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe you'll play a part in its future?

DAVID: I don't know.

FOSTER: And as royal preparations are largely underway for King Charles' coronation later this year, Prince Harry put his attendance into question,

saying in the "ITV" interview, there is a lot that can happen between now and then.

DAVID: The door is always open. The ball is in their court. There is a lot to be discussed, and I really hope that they're willing to sit down and

talk about it.

FOSTER: In a snippet from an upcoming "Good Morning America" interview with the prince, Harry was said to have described William in his book as a

beloved brother and arch nemesis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What did you mean by that?

DAVID: There has always been this competition between us, weirdly. I think it really plays into what was played by the past bear --

FOSTER: Since tying the knot in 2018, Harry and Meghan's relationship with the royal family has been under intense scrutiny. And with the release of

the couple's Netflix documentary last month, the pair's personal rift with the monarchy has never been far from the headlines.

Although critics question Harry and Meghan's motives for going public with very private problems, Harry has said that he just wants to take control of

his narrative and ultimately get his father and brother back, longing for a family, he says, rather than an institution. Max Foster, CNN, London.


SOARES: Nobilo has been following the story for us, she joins me now. Hey, he's definitely taking control of the narrative, as Max was saying. But

this idea of wanting his brother and father back, this is not going to help.

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You wouldn't think so. But he is saying that. He's saying the ball is now in their court, and he wants to repair

that relationship while simultaneously revealing these intensely personal events that occurred. Let's begin with the fact that he talks about Prince

William actually hitting him and throwing him to the ground during an argument over the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

William, according to Harry, calling her brash, abusive -- I'm sorry, abrasive and rude. Harry was then thrown to the ground. He cut himself on a

dog bowl that cracked, and apparently, Meghan saw those wounds later on and asked him what had occurred. Apparently, Prince William later apologized to


But detailing something like that between two brothers, you just find it very difficult to imagine why the palace would want to come to the table or

issue any kind of public statements about these events.


SOARES: The palace hasn't commented, and it's not their tradition, they don't comment.

NOBILO: Absolutely nothing. Yes, the complaint never explained is the royal motto. But also because one of the chief criticisms that both Harry

and Meghan had in the Netflix documentary and more broadly, is this idea that Kensington and Buckingham Palace briefed against them.

SOARES: Yes --

NOBILO: So, it's also perhaps a logical response not to brief at all, not to feed that narrative in any way, just silence from the other side.

SOARES: And the book, of course, important to point out to our viewers, is not out yet. We'll be getting --

NOBILO: Yes --

SOARES: Snippets of it because it was leaked in Spain. Is that right?

NOBILO: It seems to have been accidentally published early --

SOARES: Absolutely --

NOBILO: In Spain. So, a couple of U.K. media outlets now have full copies of the book and are combing through. Which is why --

SOARES: So what are we learning? What else are we learning?

NOBILO: We are learning it was very difficult to keep track.

SOARES: Bianca and I sit next to each other.

NOBILO: We do, and you look desperate to find --

SOARES: We are chatting --

NOBILO: And get a vote of the Spanish book --

SOARES: I was trying --


NOBILO: You could read it. I mean, the allegations are incredible and also the personal revelations as well. Most recently, Harry -- it's been

revealed has divulged details about how he lost his virginity. He's also spoken at length in the book, we understand, about his mother, Princess

Diana, her death, what it was like when King Charles informed him that Princess Diana had died.

And also that apparently Prince Harry and Prince William wanted to reopen the investigation into her death, not finding the circumstances, plausible

finding them --

SOARES: That's interesting --

NOBILO: Over simplistic. But that they were dissuaded from doing so. They said they had everything prepared. A statement, the questions that they'd

asked and they were ready to do that. But that didn't happen. And then also, on a more personal front, Harry said that in order to heal and deal

with the issues around his mother's death, he consulted a medium or a psychic fairly recently who recounted that Princess Diana was present while

Archie, Harry, Meghan's son broke a Christmas decoration.

And that he was relaying the message that Princess Diana felt that he was living the life that she had wanted to live. So this is very personal and

very much one side of an account of somebody that apparently wants to heal through this process, wants to share his side of the story, be in control

of the narrative as he can.

But it is difficult to comprehend some of the decision-making perhaps, given the issues that Prince Harry has always had with tabloid culture,

with click-bait, with headlines. Which is of course, what we've seen demonstrated throughout today. The material of his book has become.

SOARES: I mean, I don't know why sharing details about your virginity or what drugs you consumed, how that will make you feel any better. But you

know, what is the common thread? I mean, the title of the book is "Spare" like your own spare. How much of that thread have you seen from the little

snippets that you've read. Is the crux of the book, you think?

NOBILO: This appears to be the common thread, the overarching theme --

SOARES: Yes, obviously --

NOBILO: In the title. The notion that Prince William, as he knew he would become king, was treated very differently from the beginning of their

lives. And Harry recounts when he found out that his father announced that once Prince Harry was born, that he had an heir and a spare, and that his

job was done.

So basically, from birth until now, how the treatment has been so different between the two brothers, and that, that frustration seems to only have

grown. But it's a dramatic departure from just a few years ago when Prince Harry was making it known to journalists that he was happy to be Prince

William's wingman --


NOBILO: -- when he became king one day. So something has definitely altered and changed. But if you compare these remarks to what we heard in

frequent press interviews that Prince Harry was giving in those years, there is inconsistency.

SOARES: What is certain is that relationship between those brothers is very, very fractured. We will see what happens, once the book comes out and

we will hear from the officials, from members of the house. Thank you very much, Bianca, appreciate it.

Still to come tonight, we will head back to Capitol Hill to get an update on the chaotic race for the House Speaker, the eighth vote underway just a

few minutes ago. We will bring you details next.




SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Let's get back to Capitol Hill where the U.S. House of Representatives keeps trying and failing to choose a speaker.

Third day of voting underway. We are into the eighth vote. It's not done yet. The Republican, Kevin McCarthy, appears to have fallen short, just as

he did on the previous seven ballots.

He's making huge concessions as we told you at the top of the show to try to win over the hardline conservatives who are holding out. Negotiations

are still underway and some lawmakers who want big changes say they are seeing progress.

We are not seeing that progress reflected in the votes. Here's a list of the consequences for not having a House Speaker. Lawmakers can't get sworn

in and legislation cannot get passed, just to name a few. Chief White House correspondent Phil Mattingly standing by.

Phil, just how is the White House viewing this?

The eighth vote, it's not done yet. It appears McCarthy has lost yet again.

What does the White House say to this?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Flummoxed is probably the best way you can frame it.


MATTINGLY: That's not to say that there were no expectations that this was going to be chaotic and somewhat ugly, heading into the Speaker's vote.

Everyone was very aware of how divergent some of these inside the Republican conference are, the new majority in the House, how divergent

those views are.

And yet, as we reach this point, the full multi-ballot speaker's race in 100 years and one that shows no sign of reaching a resolution anytime soon,

what you've gotten from advisers of President Biden has shifted.

It has evolved from, at first, amusement, some level of sadistic enjoyment as they were watching the first day play out, to some concern about what

this may mean, both in the near term, the longer term, heard the president talk about that yesterday, that this was embarrassing and other countries

were watching how the U.S. was operating.

How the U.S. government was operating. Now I think there is a level of, on some level, maybe some boredom but also recognition that this is a very

real problem going forward.

Obviously, Congress is not an operating legislative branch if the House and its members don't have a Speaker and therefore cannot be sworn in. There

are very real implications on the policy side of things.

Longer term, there are must-pass pieces of legislation with very wide repercussions that this doesn't give any sign that things are going to be

easy in that process. The other interesting element is what the president has been doing throughout this time.

Yesterday, he had a split screen event with Mitch McConnell, touting his bipartisan infrastructure law. Today, focusing on immigration, an issue the

administration has long struggled with in the first two years, really tried to avoid it to some degree up until after the midterm elections.

Now the president is traveling down to the border for the first time, something he has resisted on his way to the North American leaders' summit,

talking about immigration, pushing Congress to try and reach some type of legislative solution.

Republicans, who have attacked the president for two years on this issue, are focused elsewhere. I think the dynamics here of how that vacuum is

somewhat unfilled by Republicans on the messaging side of things and what that may mean politically going forward, it's a fascinating dynamic.

One that will have some wide-ranging implications in the months ahead.

SOARES: It is democracy playing out. But it is taking a while, I can tell you that much. Phil Mattingly, appreciate it. Thank you very much, Phil.

Good to see you.

And now, we take you to Mexico. Gunfire and clashes are erupting in a major city in Mexico after security forces launched an operation against a

notorious drug lord. Ovidio Guzman was arrested. He is the son of the infamous drug kingpin known as El Chapo.

The situation in Culiacan is still so dangerous is that authorities are warning residents to shelter at home. They are reporting looting as well as

blockades. A vehicle and several fires, as you see there. Let's get more from Rafael Romo live at CNN Center.

Rafael, great to see you. Bring us up to date with what is happening in Culiacan.

How worrying is the situation on the ground?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN SR. LATIN AFFAIRS EDITOR: It's a very chaotic situation, Isa. It has been for the last several hours. This is something that

happened in 2019 and it's happening once again. The bigger issue here is whether the Mexican security forces have the capability of capturing a

high-profile suspect while keeping the whole city safe.

The short answer seems to be no at this point. Just a few moments ago, Mexican defense minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval confirmed the arrest of

Ovidio Guzman and also said that 19 different sites across the city of Culiacan had been targeted by alleged members of the Sinaloa cartel.

We first heard reports from local media and now state authorities have confirmed that part of the city of Culiacan in the northern Mexican state

of Sinaloa seem like war zones. There are clashes between security forces and alleged members of the cartel, according to both the city council, the

state top security official and federal officials.

As I said before, the top security official at the state level said people are having their vehicles taken from them. There are blockades in different

parts of the city. We are asking citizens to not go out and we are taking appropriate measures.

All this chaos, he says, is a result of an early morning operation to detain Ovidio Guzman. He is the son, as you know, of Joaquin El Chapo

Guzman, the former leader of the Sinaloa cartel that was convicted in 2019 of 10 counts, including engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise, drug

trafficking and firearms.

Charges El Chapo was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years here in the U.S. Some viewers may remember his son, Ovidio, because he was detained in

October 2019 by Mexican federal forces during a raid in the northern city of Culiacan.

After he was detained, the Sinaloa cartel unleashed a heavily armed fighting force which seems to have happened again today. A gun battle in

the streets ensued, putting the lives of countless civilians at risk.


ROMO: It quickly became painfully obvious, he said, that the cartel had outmaneuvered and overpowered Mexican security forces. In the end, Mexican

authorities decided to release Guzman to prevent further bloodshed. It remains to be seen what's going to happen today but there is definitely a

lot of violence in Sinaloa.

SOARES: Indeed. I know you will stay on top of it for us. Rafael, good to see. Thanks very much.

Still to come tonight, a deeply moving moment at the Vatican, as Pope Francis said goodbye to the man who came before him.




SOARES: Hong Kong residents are rushing to get vaccinated as China prepares to reopen its border with the region on Sunday. It has been closed

for almost three years.

The reopening falls on the same day China will drop quarantine requirements for international arrivals. Beijing will also scrap a number of

restrictions on airlines that have been in place since the start of the pandemic. That all comes amid a surge in China. Ivan Watson has the very



IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hospital hallways crowded with sick people, patients treated on sidewalks and lines

of vans waiting for entry to busy funeral homes. A huge COVID-19 outbreak is battering China.

The surge coming more than three years after the virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Chinese state television says medical workers

are stepping up to meet the challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We have expanded the award, added more beds. We brought in experienced doctors to work with the young

ones to get them up to speed quicker.

WATSON (voice-over): But social media footage shows hospitals in China's wealthiest cities clearly inundated with patients. And a recent Chinese

study projects infections will not surge in less developed, rural parts of the country, until later this month.

Officially, as of Thursday, only 24 people in all of China died from COVID- 19 since December 7th, according to China's CDC, with only six COVID victims in Beijing.

ZHANG, BEIJING RESIDENT (from captions): That is totally ridiculous and not credible, you know, my closest relatives, among them, four -- there are

four that died already. That is from one family. So I hope the government will honestly and credibly tell its people and people in the world what is

really happening here.


WATSON (voice-over): Last month, CNN journalists filmed bodies stored in containers, awaiting cremation at one Beijing funeral home. The World

Health Organization criticizing China for underrepresented the severity of its outbreak and not sharing enough real data on the scale of the outbreak.

DR. MICHAEL RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We believe the current numbers being published from China underrepresent the true impact of the

disease in terms of hospital admissions, in terms of ICU admissions, particularly in terms of deaths. We would like to see more data, on a more

geographic basis across China.

WATSON (voice-over): Beijing's decision to allow citizens to travel internationally, ending years of self imposed isolation, just as the virus

spreads out of control, has triggered a global debate.

A growing number of governments imposing travel restrictions, ranging from the U.S., which requires preflight COVID tests, to Morocco, which

temporarily banned all travel from China.

Beijing is now threatening reciprocal measures. The growing international dispute of little concern to Chinese families that are struggling with the

sudden loss of loved ones. Some statistical models predict China could lose more than 1 million people due to COVID-19 -- Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


SOARES: To Vatican City, where a moment that really marked a solemn end to one of the most remarkable periods in papal history. For the only time in

the modern era, a pope has buried his predecessor, with Pope Francis leading the funeral service for Benedict XVI.

Delia Gallagher was there to witness an unprecedented day.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Veiled by fog, the sun rose on St. Peter's Square just as it set on the life of the pope

emeritus, Benedict XVI.

Hours before the ceremony began, a dash by the faithful for prime placement. After nearly 200,000 saw the former cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

lying in state over three days. This morning, he was brought out one final time, 50,000 filled St. Peter's Square to honor the first pope to resign

his position in more than half a millennium.

A muted crowd, a smaller ceremony following Benedict's own wishes, attended by just a handful of dignitaries, modest compared to the some 1.1 million

who turned out for the last papal funeral of John Paul II, over which the cardinal himself presided in 2005.

Thursday's funeral marked an extraordinary moment, unique in Catholic history, a pope presiding over the funeral of a predecessor who resigned

the post.

It was a far cry from the last time a pope lived to see his successor. Pope Celestine V was thrown in jail by his successor when he resigned in 1294.

Pope Francis, far more liberal to Benedict's conservatism, showed enduring respect for his fellow Catholic and delivered the homily.

POPE FRANCIS, PONTIFF, ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH (through translator): Benedict, faithful friend of the bridegroom, may your joy be complete as

you hear his voice now and forever.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): In so many ways, a ceremony utterly familiar to any Catholic, which paid tribute to the global faithful, who Pope Francis,

the first pope from the Americas, has come to represent.

As Pope Francis pleaded with the virgin Mary to show Benedict comfort, the ceremony was brought to a close.

"Santo subito," the crowd urged, "Make him a saint now," just as they chanted for John Paul II before him. Benedict, blessed by Francis and

carried by the papal gentlemen brought to St. Peter's Basilica, his coffin sealed in zinc and a second wood coffin buried in the Vatican grottoes

alongside scores of his forebears -- Delia Gallagher, CNN, Vatican City.





SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

The man accused of killing four University of Idaho students made his first appearance in court a short while ago. Bryan Kohberger was arrested almost

two months after the students were found stabbed to death. He is facing four counts of murder and one count of burglary.

Court documents show his phone was near the victims' house at least 12 times in recent months.

Now to the news. People across the world of sport have been anxiously waiting to hear the agent from Damar Hamlin says the NFL player is awake

and has been holding hands with family in the hospital. Hamlin, if you remember, suffered a cardiac arrest during a game on Monday night. His

doctors gave an update a short time ago. Have a listen.


DR. TIMOTHY PRITTS, DIVISION CHIEF OF GENERAL SURGERY, UC HEALTH: As of this morning, he is beginning to awaken. It appears his neurological

condition and function is intact.

We are very proud to report that, very happy for him and for his family and for the Buffalo Bills organization, that he is making improvement. He

continues to be critically ill and continues to undergo intensive care in our surgical and trauma ICU.


SOARES: Now Supreme Court justice Ketanji Brown Jackson is adding another impressive credential to her resume. That is as an author. She's writing a

memoir entitled "A Lovely One" (ph) about becoming the first Black woman appointed to America's highest court.

She praised those who made her achievements possible and these words made us pause for thought tonight. This is what she said.

"The path was paved," she says, "by courageous women and men in whose footsteps I placed my own."

We will leave you with that for tonight. Thank you very much for your company. Thanks for watching. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS"

with Richard Quest is up next. I shall see you tomorrow. Have a wonderful day, bye-bye.