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Congress Scrambling To Pass Legislation To Keep Government Funded; Northeast Braces For Snow, Ice And Rain From Deadly Stormy System; New Vide Appears To Show Explosion In Eastern Ukraine; New Episodes Of "Harry And Meghan" Explore Split From Royal Family. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 15, 2022 - 18:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, recession fears grip Wall Street, stock prices tumbling, as the Federal Reserve's downbeat new economic forecast starts to sink in.

Also, this hour, a CNN exclusive, outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in their first joint sit-down interview. They're weighing in on whether President Biden should run again and whether Trump might win.

And Russia is ramping its threats as the U.S. finalizes plans to send Patriot missile defenses to Ukraine. Moscow now warning of what they're calling unpredictable consequences. Tonight, the Pentagon is firing back.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with the dramatic downturn in stock prices here in the United States as fears of recession rise. The Dow Jones Industrials closing down nearly 765 points, investors reacting to a double whammy. The U.S. saw a much bigger than expected drop in retail sales last month, that just a day after the Federal Reserve forecast very limited economic growth next year and signal more interest rate hikes are indeed coming.

Meantime, up on Capitol Hill, lawmakers, they're scrambling big time right now to try to pass legislation to keep the U.S. government funded.

Let's go to CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Dean. She's joining us live from Capitol Hill. So, Jessica, what's the state of play on this critically important legislation?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, right now, the Senate has just begun a series of votes for the National Defense Authorization Act. That's one of the must-do things they need to complete this week. It sets the policy agenda and authorizes funding for the Department of Defense. So, we expect that to pass during these series of votes.

Then they need to turn their eyes to the short-term funding bill. And remember, tomorrow is the deadline that they have to get that done. At this point, there are no indications there will be a government shutdown. We do anticipate they will get that done. But right now, they are wrestling with just kind of how they're going to vote in terms of how they're going to set that vote up, the time agreements, things like that, these last-minute details that they are trying to work out. So, we're keeping an eye on that.

But, again, at this point, no indications of a government shutdown, we do expect that they will pass that short-term funding bill, which has already passed the House, which means it then will go to President Biden's desk.

So, then that sets them up for this bigger spending package that we know that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi all want to get done. That's the next big crunch.

Now, one name I didn't include there, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has come out as a, quote, hell no on that big spending package. And it is interesting to see himself -- distancing himself from where Mitch McConnell is on this.

And, in fact, we heard from Senator Lindsey Graham earlier today. He is expected to back that bigger funding bill. He said that the House shouldn't be waiting around. There has been some talk from House GOP members that they want to wait until they take control of the House to deal with this larger spending package. Graham is saying, they can't even get a speaker elected, much less pass a bill. Those were his words.

And so then we turn to the McCarthy of it all and him trying to become speaker. His eyes are on January 3rd and getting to 218 votes, he is still dealing with Republican hardliners who are very against him becoming speaker. And we know that some moderates in the House, some moderate Republicans, have started floating ideas of how they might push back against these hardline Republicans and really help McCarthy get to the finish line on this.

One idea that was floated, according to our reporting, is to kick them off committees. Again, no one agreeing on that, but those are some of the ideas that are being floated right now, as McCarthy tries to get that speakership. And moderate Republicans try to really flex their muscles a little bit in the House, but it remains to be seen, Wolf, if that will actually happen.

Again, kind of taking us back to where we all began. What we're now waiting on is to get the short-term funding bill passed through the Senate and then the eyes to turn to that bigger funding bill. That's what we keep an eye on for next week, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, so, so important. All right, Jessica Dean reporting for us, thank you very much.

Now to CNN exclusive interview with the top Democrats in Congress.


The outgoing House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, they sat down with CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel, who joins us now. Jamie, this was the first time Pelosi and Schumer actually sat down together for an interview. Tell us how it went.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It's remarkable because they've worked together for 35 years. They finished each other's sentences. They talk on the phone four times a day. We went to the place they wanted to go, their favorite Chinese restaurant, where they've been having meals together all these years. We talked about everything, from January 6th, how they feel about Donald Trump. But we started by talking about who they think should run for president in 2024.


GANGEL: There's a CNN poll that just came out that shows there's little appetite on both sides for a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024. You're stepping aside. Do you think President Biden should step aside for a younger generation?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think President Biden has done an excellent job as president of the United States. I hope that he does seek re-election. He's a person with a great vision for our country. He's been involved for a long time, so his great knowledge of the issues and the challenges we face. And he's the most empathetic president. He connects with the American people. The vision, the knowledge, the strategic thinking is all here. The empathy is from the heart. And I think that he's been a great president.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): And look what he has accomplished. A lot of people --

GANGEL: You think he should run again?

SCHUMER: Yes, he's done an excellent, excellent job. And if he runs, I'm going to support him all the way.

GANGEL: Right now, Donald Trump is the only Republican who has announced. He could be the nominee. He could be president again. You've been through the first presidency. You've been through January 6th. What would it mean if Donald Trump was re-elected president?

SCHUMER: I don't think it will happen. The American people have gotten wised to it. It took them a while, but they did.

PELOSI: I don't think that we should talk about him while we're eating.


(END VIDEOTAPE) GANGEL: We will have more of the interview tonight, Wolf, including who wins when they disagree and who -- were they playing good cop/bad cop with Donald Trump, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. We're going to have more of the interview later this hour as well. Jamie, excellent, excellent work. Stay with us.

I want to discuss what's going on. Our Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash is with us and CNN Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillip is here as well.

Dana, you heard Jamie make reference to this new CNN poll, which shows 59 percent of Democrats say they want someone other than Biden to head the ticket for the presidency next year. So, what do you think?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I think I've never seen Nancy Pelosi eat anything other than chocolate and ice cream. So, that was news in and of itself. I cannot wait to see the rest of it. What a great interview.

But the answer about Biden is that, yes, that is true, that is certainly not the best news if you are a sitting Democratic president, but it's actually better -- those numbers are better than they were recently, or even I think it was over the summer where the numbers there were worse among Democrats.

And, again, I mean this is the thing, is that he has all of the positives going for him that Nancy Pelosi told you about, Jamie. The only negative among Democrats is one thing, his age. I mean, that's it, full stop.

BLITZER: But should Democrats be concerned, you know, Abby, about the fact that, at least according to our CNN poll, that a majority of Democrats would like someone other than Biden to be atop the Democratic presidential ticket?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think this has been true for Democrats for quite some time. But the problem is, and we see this in some poll numbers as well, Democrats maybe will say they want someone else other than Biden, but they don't know who.

And that has really been the reason that Biden is kind of moving forward with a lot more confidence than perhaps he had perhaps months ago because there isn't a sense among the Democratic electorate that there is a natural, immediate successor to him at this particular moment.

And that is in contrast to what's happening on the Republican side where there are quite a few other names being put forward to challenge Donald Trump. I think Biden is clearing the lane in part because he shown some political strength. He has, in his first two years of his term, passed a lot of legislation. He survived a very tough midterm cycle with more wins than many people expected. And so coming out of that, I think it's a tough political environment for a Democrat to try to challenge or push out a sitting a president from running again. BLITZER: It's interesting. In your interview, Jamie, I thought it was really an excellent interview, you did hear some humor from Nancy Pelosi when she was making fun of Trump, for example.


But isn't it a mistake for Democrats right now to start thinking that Trump is a loser?

GANGEL: Absolutely. We have seen this before. Remember 2016, where Saturday Night Live had Hillary Clinton popping a bottle of champagne and celebrating. I think that there is wishful thinking in some of these polls. You have to see what happens right now. Donald Trump is the only Republican who has announced and he does control a critical part of the base. If he's head-to-head with another Republican, that might be one thing. But if there are a lot of Republicans who jump in the race and they divide that pie up, Donald Trump could very well have the largest part, winner-take-all.

PHILLIP: And I don't think we should take the chuckles of that interview as a diminishing of the potential threat that Trump closes to Democrats. Both of those individuals, Schumer and Pelosi, understand very acutely what Donald Trump is, how he is strong politically. And I think that the Democratic Party has learned a lot of lessons from 2016, when they did underestimate him. I think now they don't. But they have -- they feel they have something of a game plan.

This is at the crux of the matter for President Biden as he weighs whether he runs again. What is giving Biden and his advisers a lot of confidence is the fact that they have done it once, that they believe that they understand from a tactical perspective how to execute it again. And so I think Pelosi and Schumer, they get that, they might be chuckling, but they're not sitting on their hands.

BLITZER: And as we all know by now, our White House Correspondent Kate Bennett, as you know, has some excellent new reporting on First Lady Jill Biden and the thinking she has about whether her husband should run for re-election.

BASH: It is really important reporting that Kate has. And the thinking, according to Kate's sources, is that the first lady wants her husband to run, which is incredibly telling because, as Kate said, based on her reporting, we know this because she is his wife, but also because she is a very close confidante, as most first spouses tend to be, most political spouses, in general, tend to be, but also because of his age.

If there is anybody who would really understand whether or not he has the stamina to do not just a campaign but if he wins another four years, theoretically, it would be his wife. And she is saying she wants him to do it.


GANGEL: But can we just say when Dr. Biden speaks, everyone listens. I mean, for her to come out and say this is no small thing. This is the signal where they're going.

BLITZER: That's a big deal, indeed.

All right, guys, everybody stand by. An important note to our viewers, you can see Jamie Gangel's extended interview with both Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 8:00 P.M. Eastern only here on CNN.

And stay right here for another important clip from that exclusive interview on the impact January 6th has had on voters.

We'll be right back.



BLITZER: Tonight, we're learning more about what to expect during the January 6th select committee's last public meeting on Monday. The chairman, Bennie Thompson, says he expects key chapters of the panel's final report will be released along with the committee's decision on criminal referrals.

CNN spoke with the top Democrats in Congress about the impact January 6th has had on voters. Listen to more of Jamie Gangel's exclusive and excellent joint interview with the outgoing house speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer. Listen to this.


SCHUMER: People saw the violence. They saw police officers being beaten. And people started -- many people who don't follow politics that, you know, on a daily basis the way some of us do, started worrying about what's going on in the country. And, frankly, I think that's one of the reasons the election came out a lot better in the House and Senate than people thought because they saw the danger to democracy. But the good news here is they saw it.

You know, we all worried what is going to happen? Are we going to have a democracy? They're eroding away. Look what happened January 6th. Look at all these people who don't believe that the election was conducted honestly, even though it was. And America rose to the occasion.


BLITZER: And you heard him say, Jamie, America rose to the occasion. But it's clearly not lost on these two Democratic leaders just how much was at stake in the first election after the January 6th attack.

GANGEL: No question. Look, Donald Trump was impeached not once but twice. And Schumer and Pelosi would have liked him removed from office, if that was possible, so that they wouldn't face 2024.

But I think what was interesting about what Senator Schumer was talking about was his point was that he felt the committee hearings reached people who maybe had thought January 6th wasn't a big deal or they hadn't been paying attention. We'll see what happens. But that's based on the fact that the Senate did better in the midterms. And even though they lost the House, it was a much narrower margin than they expected.

BLITZER: And It's interesting, Dana, because the chairman of the January 6th select committee, Bennie Thompson, he now says that the executive summary and eight chapters of its report will be released during Monday's public hearing, public meeting that we'll, of course, watch. So, what is going on behind the scenes right now?

BASH: A lot, a lot going on behind the scenes. First of all, meeting to figure out criminal referrals, and also a scramble to get -- I mean, this is a body of work that Jamie has been reporting on, on a daily basis, intensely, that they have been collecting for almost two years now. And what we're talking about tens of thousands probably of pages of documents.


And so it's not only writing the executive summary, then the report, but it's also all of the material that they've gathered. They want to get it out to the public for lots of reasons. Not the least of which, and I've had members of the committee tell me this, because the minute Republicans take over, if they find anything that was not released that they think could be sort of exculpatory for anybody, then they don't want that on their plate.

PHILLIP: And I think we can expect, you know, this is going to be very focused on Donald Trump. This is really going to be laser-focused on his role in all of this. And it's going to serve as a reference document over the next several years largely against a man who is now candidate for president of the United States.

That's actually a pretty extraordinary and pretty unusual thing for there to be, but, basically, what amounts to a dossier created by a congressional committee that is focused on the misdeeds of a candidate for president of the United States.

GANGEL: And all of the transcripts, there are going to be hundreds of transcripts released and those are going to the Department of Justice. I mean, we'll see them publicly but they'll also go to the Justice Department.

BLITZER: And they may provide some important information to the Justice Department in the process.

GANGEL: Absolutely.

BLITZER: You have an important new episode of your Being series, Dana, that will air tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to it. This time, you had a chance to spend some quality time with Republican Governor of New Hampshire Chris Sununu. And you pressed him at one point about his Republican Party's links, ties, support for some of these extremist elements. I want to play a clip.


BASH: Where are you on the Republican spectrum?

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): All over the place.

BASH: Yes. I know. When you say extreme, so, how you would define yourself?

SUNUNU: I just think I try to be as normal and genuine as I can be. I don't change my philosophies. I don't change my principles of what I'm about, but I try to be very approachable and I try to be very data- based.

BASH: You are a moderate?

SUNUNU: On social issues, I'm more moderate than other Republicans. On fiscal issues, I'm much more conservative and I'm very proud of that.

BASH (voice over): He won a fourth term as New Hampshire's governor by more than 15 percentage points. Every other Republican statewide candidate lost.

So, the lesson is they were the wrong candidates because they were too extreme?

SUNUNU: For this state, yes, absolutely. Yes.

BASH: And --

SUNUNU: I mean, I supported them.

BASH: I know you did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's unbelievable to me.

BASH: Candidates, like election denier Don Bolduc, whom Sununu did not support in the primary.

SUNUNU (voice over): He's not a serious candidate. I mean, he's really not. He's kind of a conspiracy theorist-type candidate.

BASH: But he backed the GOP Senate candidate in the general election.

SUNUNU: He wants to mix things up and he is going to go down to Washington and do that.

BASH: When we talked before the election, Sununu was confident.

Senate race?


BASH: Right now, Maggie Hassan is ahead.


BASH: What is your prediction?

SUNUNU: I think Bolduc wins, yes. Don Bolduc is --

BASH: That's a bold prediction.

SUNUNU: Not if you know the state.

BASH: Bolduc lost by over 9 percentage points.

When you and I talked in October, you said that the Republicans were going to win here.


BASH: And I said, when I talk to you after the election, are you going to be saying, I told you so? You're not.

SUNUNU: No. Look, I totally misjudged that one here.


BLITZER: What else can we expect, Dana, from this excellent, excellent interview?

BASH (on camera): Well, what is interesting is that he says after that that he misjudged it, kind of for the similar reason that's Chuck Schumer was giving. Obviously, they have a very different perspective on most things. But it is that he realized, just like other Republicans realized, because they didn't do as nearly as well as they thought in the midterms, that the American people, they can't even think about the things about their lives, even, you know, kitchen table issues, like inflation, as ,much as political leaders thought until they feel comfortable that democracy is there.

So, that's just part of our conversation. We talked about 2024 and also have some very interesting interactions around the state of New Hampshire.

BLITZER: I'm looking forward to it.

And important note to our viewers, Dana's special report, Being Chris Sununu, airs tomorrow night, 10:00 P.N. Eastern right here on CNN.

Coming up, we're tracking a very deadly storm system that has walloped the south as it now threatens the northeast with dangerous ice and snow.

Plus, a closer look at the devastating tornado damage in the New Orleans area.

Plus, new video just coming into CNN appears to show a huge explosion in Ukraine.


[18:25:00] BLITZER: The very deadly storm system that spawned more than 50 tornadoes in multiple states is now bringing potentially very dangerous snow and ice to parts of the northeast.

CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Grey is tracking it all for us over at the CNN Weather Center. Jennifer, update our viewers.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Wolf. This is the storm system that just will not let up. Now, it is targeting the northeast. Fortunately, all the big cities are in just a cold miserable rain, where we had the biggest trouble spots are really the interior sections of the northeast and on into New England by the time we get into tonight and to tomorrow morning.

We have very heavy snow, gusty winds and also the icing potential where we have seen more than a quarter inch of ice across portions of West Virginia as well as Pennsylvania. And so we are seeing very slick roads, the potential for power outages as well, once you have the weight of the heavy ice on the power lines.


Winter storm warnings in effect, winter weather advisories, winter storm watches all up and down interior sections of the northeast and New England. So, timing this out, this is going to head to the north throughout the overnight hours and into tomorrow morning, still seeing a cold rain in New York City, all rain for Boston as well. And then, finally, Wolf, this should be heading out by the time we get to the beginning part of the weekend.

BLITZER: All right. Let's watch it closely. Our Meteorologist Jennifer Gray, thank you very much for that update.

Meanwhile, people in the south are surveying the damage from the tornados that killed at least three people.

CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is on the scene for us in Louisiana.


MAYOR BELINDA C. CONSTANT, GRETNA, LOUISIANA: It's about a mile and a half stretch that is completely just in undated with destruction. This is not the place where we normally have tornadoes.

SIGMA LAWRENCE, GRETNA, LOUISIANA RESIDENT: We are only used to like, what, hurricanes, never a tornado, never a tornado.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST (voice over): But it was a tornado that did this damage in Gretna, Louisiana, cutting a large swath across the city.

LAWRENCE: All you can hear like a freight train and you hear things just tearing up, the glass cracking everywhere. It was just horrible.

VAN DAM: The home where Sigma Lawrence lived had just been repaired after Hurricane Ida. LAWRENCE: Then this happened. It was the most devastating thing in my life. I have never experienced nothing like this before. And it happened so fast and it just chewed up everything in the neighborhood.

VAN DAM: Hers just one of the communities battered by an outbreak of more than 50 reported tornadoes in the last 48 hours across the Deep South, leaving deep scars in Louisiana, roofs ripped off, homes flattened, trees splintered, power poles ripped from the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several million dollars in damage that we're dealing with.

VAN DAM: The outbreak blamed for at least three deaths.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Quite frankly, I am amazed that we didn't have more loss of life in Louisiana than we had. I'm very thankful for it.

VAN DAM: The damage from the storm system spanning seven states from Texas to Florida. As it marches eastward bringing heavy rain and possible tornadoes to the sunshine state, concern now growing up the eastern seaboard as a developing nor'easter could bring over a foot of snow to New England and heavy rain to New York, Boston and other cities.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): We'll be ready for this. New York is ready, as we always are. But we're ready. Bringing it on, Mother Nature, just keep at it.

VAN DAM: Strong winds and blizzard conditions already an issue in the upper Midwest.

CORRINA KEUCHEL, DULUTH, MINNESOTA RESIDENT: Just stay ahead of the snow because we're, I think, supposed to be getting a lot more of it.

It's about two steps forward, one step back with it still coming down.

VAN DAM: While back down south, residents left to pick up the pieces after this wicked start to winter.


VAN DAM (on camera): The National Weather Service actually surveyed the damage from the tornado directly behind me. And they have preliminarily rated this an EF-2, that is winds of up to 135 miles per hour.

Now, with two tornadoes striking the same area within the past year, people here are left wondering if this is their new normal. Wolf?

BLITZER: Let's hope it's not. Derek Van Dam on the scene for us, thank you very much.

Just ahead, new video appears to show a massive explosion in Eastern Ukraine, as the United States finalizes plans to send a potentially game changing defense system to Ukraine. Plus, new episodes in the Harry and Meghan documentary reveal more of the drama surrounding their royal exit, including Harry's account of his brother, Prince William, shouting at him.



BLITZER: Just in to CNN, you're looking at what appears to be a massive explosion purportedly in the Russian-controlled Luhansk region of Eastern Ukraine. There is no official word on this blast or what might have caused it. It comes as the Pentagon is now warning that Russian threats will not interfere with anticipated plans to send U.S. Patriot missile defenses to Ukraine.

CNN's Brian Todd is working this story. Brian, the Biden administration is expected to make this announcement very, very soon. The Ukrainians have been pleading for these air defense missile systems for months. But now it looks like it's about to happen.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is about to happen, Wolf. We're learning more about what this system can do on the battlefield. The experts we spoke to say, just one Patriot missile battery could help protect an area the size of the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. And we have other information tonight, new information on this system's capabilities and its drawbacks.


TODD (voice over): It rocketed to fame during the first gulf war, touted as a miracle defense. And it's a significant step up from the air defenses Ukraine is using now. The Patriot missile is America's top of the line interceptor with a longer range, higher altitude and more advanced tracking.

MARK CANCIAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Much, much larger missile designed to take out a very long ranges aircraft, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles.

TODD: Ukraine's infrastructure and power grid have been pummeled by Russian missiles, sometimes as many as 100 launched per day, according to Ukrainian officials.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Once the Ukrainians get this capability to counter these offensive weapons, it's going to make a really big difference in how this war is prosecuted.

TODD: One deployment of a Patriot battery would only cover the area the size of a city and would not be intended to counter unsophisticated weapons, like drones. Still --

LEIGHTON: If they're pretty certain that they're going to target a critical piece of infrastructure, then the Patriot battery would be the weapon of last resort in a case like that.

TODD: But there are other challenges. GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Patriot is extraordinarily expensive, it takes a long time to train on it.


TODD: Deploying one battery with up to eight launchers plus radar guidance could cost $400 million, plus $250 million for the first set of 60 missiles and $4 million per missile after that, according to analysts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

CANCIAN: It's not worth shooting a $4 million missile to defend against a $50,000 drone.

TODD: There is also the time it takes to train and the manpower, as many as 90 personnel training that can take months. Another consideration, Russia's response. The Kremlin has warned that a Patriot deployment in Ukraine would escalate the conflict and increase the risk of Americans being drawn in. But the U.S. says its personnel would only be training Ukrainian troops on how to operate the Patriots, training that will take place in Germany.

And analysts say the Russians are likely dialing up the pressure over the Patriot deployment because they're nervous about it.

LEIGHTON: The Russians are definitely worried about the Patriot system. Their offensive weapons are really dependent on us not having the defensive capability to counter them.


TODD (on camera): The experts we spoke to warn of other vulnerabilities and potential drawbacks with the patriot system. They say that although these batteries are capable of defending themselves, they could be taken out by the Russians, which the Russians are going try to do. And they say the missiles themselves could fall into the hands of the Russian who would then try to reverse engineer them. But, Wolf, for the Ukrainians, these things can't get there soon enough.

BLITZER: Yes. They've been begging for them for months and months and months. Okay. Brian, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, screaming, shouting and a mental health crisis, some stunning allegations of royal drama in the final episodes of the Harry and Meghan Netflix documentary.



BLITZER: There are new allegations of high royal drama in the final episodes of the tell-all Netflix documentary about Harry and Meghan, the duke and duchess of Sussex.

CNN royal correspondent Max Foster reports they discuss screaming and shouting within the royal family and a mental health crisis.


HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Good morning. It's 6:00 a.m. on the 14th of March. And we are on the freedom flight. We are leaving Canada and we are headed to Los Angeles.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The palace may have been spared in the first drop of episodes, but this time, Harry and Meghan didn't pull any punches.

HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: Everything that's happened to us was always going to happen to us because if you speak truth to power, that's how they respond.

FOSTER: In the final episodes of the couple's Netflix docuseries, Harry took aim at his brother.

HARRY: It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me and my father say things that just simply weren't true and my grandmother quietly sit there and sort of take it all in.

FOSTER: The couple sharing their perspective on the royal rift, which in their words pushed them out of the fold. It started during their tour of Australia back in 2018. So successful, it created jealousy in the palace, they say.

HARRY: The issue is when someone who's marrying in who should be a supporting act is then stealing the limelight or doing the job better than the person who's born to do this, that upsets people. It shifts the balance.

Within four hours they were happy to lie, to protect my brother. And, yet, for three years, they were never willing to tell the truth to protect us.

FOSTER: Meghan says the stress of the media coverage was too much, last year saying she didn't want to live anymore.

MEGHAN MARKLE, DUCHESSS OF SUSSEX: It was like all of this will stop if I'm not here. And that was the scariest thing about it, is it was just clear thinking.

FOSTER: But she also suffered physically because of the stress of the worldwide coverage and in British newspapers including the "Daily Mail," which published a letter she wrote to her father.

HARRY: I believe my wife suffered a miscarriage because of what "The Mail" did. I watched the whole thing.

Now, do we absolutely he know that the miscarriage was caused by that? Of course we don't. But bearing in mind the stress that that caused, the lack of sleep and the timing of the pregnancy happening, I can say from what I saw that miscarriage was created by what they were trying to do to her.

FOSTER: The family's response? Well, on Thursday they showed a united front at a planned engagement. And the palace said they had no plans to comment on the series.


FOSTER (on camera): Those images of the wider royal family, are featured in the front pages of the newspapers tomorrow morning. I can tell you, speaking to the dignity of the royal family and the face of the accusations from the Sussex.

BLITZER: Yeah, indeed.

All right. CNN's Max Foster, stay with us.

I also want to bring in CNN contributor and British TV presenter Trisha Goddard, and British journalist and broadcaster (INAUDIBLE).

Trisha, when it comes to the heavy accounts of Meghan's miscarriage and potentially even suicidal thoughts, does it sound like the couple blames the royal family and the British tabloids?

TRISHA GODDARD, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'd say the British tabloids, first and foremost. The first three episodes were definitely taking aim at the tabloid treatment.


And I think we need to make a distinction here. We're not talking about robust journalism by and large. It seems to be a lot of stuff that was posted online, and as other commentators during the series said, this is about creating hatred for clickbait. It is about clickbait and money. It is about lies that go too far.

Now, one of the things there Harry says during the documentary is that when he complained to his father, King Charles, Charles said, the media is the media. I think Harry and Meghan have basically -- well, basically harry has set, look, I saw what the media did to my mother, and I don't want it happening to my family again. It's time for the royals to start questioning the links that they have and maybe -- maybe that's an understatement, certain sections of the tabloid media have just gone too far.

BLITZER: You know, Badisha (ph), this documentary is also very much about a broken family, and broken relationships, isn't it?

Badisha? We may have lost her. Let me let Max weigh in on the. What do you think, Max?

FOSTER: It is about broken relationships. I think it is very difficult to see those relations be real cute after this. What Harry and Meghan are doing is, they were confident. The conversation where they are having a massive family argument. Those sorts of stories will never come out and the royal family, and Harry is exposing them, it will be very difficult for Charles and William to deal with it.

It's interesting when we look at the family's response, they're not responding, a lot of people are saying, because they're not commenting. I did respond, they responded tonight by all for senior royals going out to a church service, and showing unity, but also carrying on with prearranged engagements, and not responding, basically saying, we will not change in response to what Harry and Meghan are saying here.

BLITZER: Good point, Trisha, at some point, well the royal family have to address some of the systemic issues harry and meghan every?

GOODARD: I think if they do, it will be quietly done. I don't think there will be any ground announcements. I absolutely agree with Max, that is business-as-usual, that's the way that they have always carried on. I actually have to say, I feel rather sorry for harry and Meghan because looking at this very pictures that Max is talking about, the Westminster Abby together a Christmas, Christmas is a family time.

Everybody is there. They must feel very frozen out. They obviously already did, they felt they had no more bridges to burn, but I hope they can come back from this. I really do.

When you look back at it, remember Fergie? Fergie was absolutely outcast. She was persona non grata, and yet, the queen welcomed her back into the fold. So, I hope that the new royal family can learn from the queen, where forgiveness was always not too far away.

BLITZER: We shall see. All right, guys, thank you very much.

Stay with us later tonight for more on the royal drama. The CNN special, "Royal Revelations", with our own Alisyn Camerota, will air later tonight, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Up next, police have just released new information about the investigation into the killings of four Idaho university students.



BLITZER: A new update tonight on the investigation into the slayings of four Idaho university students who were stabbed to death in their own home.

CNN's Veronica Miracle is working the story for us.

Veronica, I understand that police just put up new information. What can you tell us?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the most significant clue we learn from the investigation is that white Hyundai Elantra that may have been in the area at the time of the killings. Today, police reveal that there are 22,000 white Hyundai Elantras in the area that match the specific description of what they are looking for.

They believe whoever is inside that car my have critical information on this investigation. They continue to look for more information about whoever was inside that car, as well as surrounds video -- Wolf. BLITZER: I also understand, Veronica, that CNN as learned that the families met with police. So what do we know have been in that meeting?

MIRACLE: Well, the family attorney tells us, the Goncalves family tells us that there were several people and that meeting, including the prosecutor and Moscow police chief and other investigators. The family brought forward five pages of questions, including the biggest one, why hasn't more information been released in this case?

And the family attorney says that they were told by police, just like we have been told in this entire investigation, that they are trying to keep information tight to protect the integrity of the investigation. Of course, the family not satisfied with the answer. Here is what the family attorney had to say.


SHANON GRAY, GONCALVES FAMILY ATTORNEY: We are pro-police. We are pro-investigation. We are supportive of everyone and everything that everybody has done on this case, and that, we can still be that way, still hold people accountable for the job that they have to do.


MIRACLE: I did speak with police this morning, they say they have been trying to get in touch with the guns of his family throughout the investigation and through the family attorney. I think what you are seeing here is a grieving family, they're frustrated with a lack of information, and the police are saying that they just can't reveal that information at this time -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Veronica, what else are you hearing from these grieving families?

MIRACLE: Just incredible grief and frustration. They want answers, and they also want to know exactly why there has been a lack of communication as well as conflicting statements. They went to the prosecutor as well as the police chief during that meeting. I'm told from the family attorney, and they were asking why everybody has not been on the same page throughout the investigation, and that it really has eroded their confidence in the investigation, and I think they were just told answers according to the family attorney that they are just trying to keep things close, trying to get on the same page, that they have been working on the and trying to work together as a community -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Veronica Miracle, thank you very much.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.