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Trump Slams Judge Who Threatened To Remove Him From Court; Trump Amps Up Attacks On Haley, Refers To Her Birth Name Nimarata; Biden Wraps Urgent Meeting With Top Lawmakers At White House; Pentagon Aide To 911: "We're Trying To Remain A Little Subtitle"; Report: Cancer Incidence Rising Among Adults Younger Than 50. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired January 17, 2024 - 18:00   ET



TROOPER MICHELLE ARCHER, SAVED GIRL FROM FROZEN POND: But I think a lot of our training -- we can use a lot of the training that we have.


ARCHER: You know, we can use it for this type of call, but nothing specific to this.

TAPPER: Well, trooper Michelle Archer, we salute you. You saved the life of a young girl. That's a lot. Thank you so much for what you do.

ARCHER: Thank you.

TAPPER: Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow live from New Hampshire.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, Donald Trump just unleashed a tirade against the judge who threatened to throw him out of a courtroom today. Stand by for the latest on E. Jean Carroll's defamation damages trial against Trump and why the former president was nearly given the boot.

Also tonight, Trump is escalating his attacks on GOP presidential rival Nikki Haley, referring to her birth name and Indian heritage in an online rant. Trump returning to his racially charged playbook with the critical New Hampshire primary now just six days away.

And there's more breaking news. President Biden has wrapped up an urgent meeting with top lawmakers. Did they find any common ground on the divisive issues of Ukraine and border security? I'll ask a key player who was in the room, the House minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.

And we begin our coverage tonight with breaking news, court wrapping up for the day after very tense dramatic moments during E. Jean Carroll's defamation damages trial against Donald Trump. The judge at one point threatening to remove the former president from the courtroom for repeatedly making comments during Carroll's testimony.

CNN's Kara Scannell is outside the courthouse in New York. She's got details for us. Kara, just how contentious was it inside the court today?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that's right. It started being tense immediately from the beginning. E. Jean Carroll has been on the stand all day. And she was describing the impact of Trump's statements, saying that he didn't rape her, denied knowing her, and said that she made up the claims to help sales of her book.

So, as she was beginning to testify, saying that his lies, quote, shattered her reputation, that was when we first saw Trump starting to react to this. He shook his head side by side as if to say no. And throughout her testimony, he was leaning over talking to his lead attorney, Alina Habba.

Now, at one point in a break, when the jury was out of the room, Carroll's attorney raises to the judge saying that she could hear him saying words such as con job, saying this was false and a lie. And so she raises issue to the judge. The judge had asked Trump to be careful about what he was saying, but it continued. And then again later on, this came up again and the judge had this very tense exchange with the former president in court, the judge telling him if he disregards court orders, Mr. Trump, I hope I don't have to consider excluding you from the trial. I understand you're probably eager for me to do that, Trump replied audibly. I would love it, the judge said. I know you would. You just can't control yourself in this circumstance, apparently.

Now, this was a series of tense exchanges with Trump's team. His lead attorney, Alina Hanba, also had several exchanges with the judge. She renewed her motion to cancel court tomorrow so Trump could attend his mother-in-law's funeral. The judge told her he didn't want to hear this. He already had ruled on the matter, telling her at one point to sit down. So, Trump's lawyer after court, Trump continued his anger against the judge. Here's what he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: He would rather have me miss the funeral or go to the funeral, miss the trial. And that's a nasty man. He's a nasty judge. He's a Trump-hating guy.


SCANNELL: Trump's lawyers also asked the judge to recuse himself, citing the hostility in the courtroom. The judge quickly denied that. Wolf?

BLITZER: Kara, how could E. Jean Carroll's testimony influenced the jury's decision on how much Trump should pay for his defamatory statements?

SCANNELL: So, this entire trial is about the harm that she may have received. And so she spent much of her time on the stand talking about the threatening emails and messages that she received. At one point, her voice cracking when she was recalling a message that said that she should stick a gun in my mouth and pull the trigger.

So, she became emotional at times, mainly stay composed. But she was discussing the insults that she received over this time, the vitriol, she said. She said that, previously, I was known simply as a journalist, and now, I'm known as a liar, a fraud, and a whack job.


I'm here to get my reputation back and to stop him from telling lies about me.

She will be on the stand tomorrow for about another half hour of cross-examination, and then her team will move on to their next witnesses. Big question still remains whether or not Donald Trump himself will take the stand and testify. Wolf?

BLITZER: We will find out. Kara Scannell outside the courthouse in New York, thank you very much for that update.

I want to bring in our legal and political experts for some analysis right now. Gloria Borger, what do you make of Trump's attacks? How much is he benefiting potentially from turning this trial into a political circus?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he may be benefiting politically, but I don't think he's benefiting in the courtroom at all. His comments are contrary to what a jury has already decided. And what he is doing here is playing the victim.

Poor me, there's this radical judge that hates me, that won't let me go to my mother-in-law's funeral because otherwise I have to miss court. And the witness on the stand is lying and she bought a gun illegally, and all these ridiculous, ancillary issues while this woman is pouring her heart out on the stand.

And Donald Trump comes away and claims that, in fact, of course, she's not the victim here of any kind of sexual assault, but actually he's the victim here and they ought to be paying him damages. I mean, it's a ridiculous argument, but in terms of whether it benefits him politically, of course, all of these things do.

BLITZER: Yes, you're right. And, Norm Eisen, the trial is about deciding the damages that Trump owes to E. Jean Carroll for defaming her, but he keeps attacking her with the exact same language that got him here to begin with. What could the consequences of that be?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wolf, the pattern that we are seeing continue is already central to the issues in the trial. The judge has allowed an array of additional conduct up to and including Donald Trump's comments on the CNN town hall quite a while after the 2019 comments at issue in this trial to come in.

So, Trump's behavior that is going to be admitted in court is evidence of malice. That's what is going to determine whether or not you get not just compensatory damages to make up for the harm she suffered, but punitive damages to punish Trump if he has bad intent. And this continuing pattern is a central part of the trial. And I think the jury, based on the evidence we've heard so far, is going to hit Donald Trump hard.

BLITZER: Yes, I suspect you're right. Karen Friedman Agnifilo is with us as well. Karen, Trump is complaining he's being treated unfairly by the judge, Judge Kaplan in this case. But is that true?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely not. He's being treated like every other person who is a subject of a trial, right? First of all, he doesn't have a right to be at this trial. He can choose not to be at this trial. He's not forced to. It's civil.

And the first E. Jean Carroll case, he did not attend that at all. So, the fact that he wants to be at the second trial, and that was a trial, by the way, that he was accused of raping her, and the jury found him guilty of that, as well as defamation.

So, this trial, the defamation has been established, as you were saying, it's just about damages. And so he doesn't have to be here, but he's choosing to be. And so the judge is reminding him of that. And as a result, he has to comport himself in a way that is appropriate. You can't, for example, call out and say things so that the jury can hear. The time for that is if you testify under oath. You're not allowed to make remarks from sitting at the table.

So, he's doing exactly what he would do in any other case with any other defendant, and he's not being treated unfairly at all.

BLITZER: It's interesting, Gloria, because E. Jean Carroll had to face Trump today, the man liable, already liable for sexually abusing her. On the stand today, she testified about hiring security out of fear for her own life. But that's being drowned out by Trump's sideshow, at least for now.

BORGER: Imagine how difficult this is for her. I mean, she hasn't seen this man in decades, and yet she has to talk about what he's done to her while he is sitting there whispering to his attorneys, con job or whatever he was saying, and shaking his head. I mean, it's difficult enough for a woman to testify in this kind of a trial.

And then with him there behaving disgracefully makes it much more difficult.


I mean, it was enough for her lawyer to complain about it, and I'm assuming you might expect it with Donald Trump, but this is not the way a normal person comports himself in this kind of a setting.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. Norm, how significant was E. Jean Carroll's testimony today as the jury is clearly weighing damages?

EISEN: She was powerful on direct examination when her own lawyer, Robbie Kaplan, was asking her about the harm she suffered, how she felt, the feeling of relief when she got the verdict in the first case, only to have Trump make additional comments at the CNN town hall. And I thought one of the most powerful moments was when they asked how she felt. When that happened, I felt worthless.

On the flipside, Wolf, the cross examination was not very effective. Alina Habba, Trump's lawyer, tried to show that she was responsible for this and prospered from it, total flop.

BLITZER: All right, guys, thanks very much for continuing to watch this trial unfold.

Just ahead, Donald Trump and Nikki Haley are preparing to hold dueling events in New Hampshire as he's invoking her Indian heritage in his new attacks just days before the state's GOP primary.



BLITZER: Tonight, as the New Hampshire primary gets closer, Donald Trump's attacks on Nikki Haley are getting uglier. The battle for the Granite State increasingly focused on Trump and Haley as Ron DeSantis is now turning his attention elsewhere.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more right now. He's joining us with the latest on the Republican presidential race. Jeff?


TRUMP: Nikki Haley, in particular, is counting on the Democrats and liberals to infiltrate your Republican primary.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, Donald Trump has Nikki Haley on his mind and in his sights as he seeks a knockout in the New Hampshire primary to put an exclamation point on his blowout in the Iowa caucuses.

TRUMP: You know that. That's what's happening. We have a group of people coming in that are not Republicans, and it's artificially boosting her number here.

ZELENY: Haley now faces her biggest test yet as she seeks to galvanize moderate Republicans and sees upon the state's crucial block of independent minded voters.

NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can either have more of the same, or we can say it's time to change and move forward.

ZELENY: In New Hampshire, Haley's rise presents the most immediate threat in Trump's march to the Republican nomination. She bluntly tells voters they deserve better choices than Trump or President Joe Biden.

HALEY: The majority of Americans think that having two 80-year-olds running for president is not what they want. You've got two people who put -- spent trillions of dollars putting us in debt that our kids are never going to forgive us for. Biden and Trump both did that.

ZELENY: The feud between the former president and his ambassador to the United Nations moved closer to a boiling point.

TRUMP: You have to go out, you have to vote, and you have to give us those margins.

ZELENY: Trump firing back at Haley with well-worn tactics using racist overtones, referring to his rival by her given birth name, Nimarata. He's also promoted false questions about her eligibility to seek the presidency, despite being born and raised in South Carolina to Indian immigrants. All this as a new social media post showed her morphing into Hillary Clinton, a tactic previously used by allies of Ron DeSantis in Iowa.

For her part, Haley was still working to clean up comments she made earlier this week about the historic role of race in America.

HALEY: We've never been a racist country.

ZELENY: Her campaign later clarified saying America has long had racism but America has never been a racist country.

DeSantis, the other Republican in the race, shifting his focus to South Carolina, stepping back from an aggressive New Hampshire campaign.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is going to be a long slog. It's all about accumulating the delegates.

ZELENY: At a CNN Town Hall with Wolf, DeSantis said the mounting legal cases facing Trump could keep Republicans from winning back the White House.

DESANTIS: If Donald Trump is the nominee, the election will revolve around all these legal issues, his trials, perhaps convictions. We're going to lose if that's the decision that voters are making based on that. We don't want it to be a referendum on those issues.


ZELENY (on camera): And Nikki Haley will be attending a rally here tonight, Wolf. She was absent from the campaign trail all day long, but a campaign official just telling me moments ago she actually flew to South Carolina to visit her hospitalized father, who is in his 90s. She wanted to check on him and his condition. She's flying back to New Hampshire. She will be at this rally this evening.

But, Wolf, it is remarkable to see how much Donald Trump is training his attention on her. He knows that New Hampshire is the one place above all that could slow his march to the nomination.

DeSantis, for his part, is scheduled to be coming back here now on Friday. His aides say he is still keeping his campaign alive. But, Wolf, there are many questions about how he will fund that going forward. So, yes, it is a three-person race, but for now, at least in New Hampshire, it is a tight two-person race with Donald Trump, Nikki Haley. Both will be campaigning at rallies tonight.

BLITZER: We will be watching. Jeff Zeleny, thank you very much.

Let's get some analysis right now with our political experts. Nia- Malika Henderson, you just heard Trump ramping up his attacks against Nikki Haley and referring to her with her birth name. He knows what he's doing with this, doesn't he?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, he does. And listen, he did a similar thing with President Obama, right, the sort of birtherism claim, the idea that somehow he wasn't eligible to be the president. He often called him Barack Hussein Obama, because he knew that that was something that was racially inflammatory, that it could sort of stoke white grievance among some of his supporters.


And so that's exactly what he's doing now with Nikki Haley, the woman who he appointed to head, to be the ambassador to the U.N. Now, he is dusting off a very familiar playbook.

The thing about these kind of identity politics is that they have worked in the past for Donald Trump. So, here he is facing Nikki Haley, who would be the first person of color, the first woman to win any state, in a Republican nominating contest, he is really trying to cut her off at the knees so that she doesn't win in New Hampshire. Last poll showed her within five or six points of him. And so he is really bringing out everything to really dissuade voters from voting for her, insinuating, essentially, that she's sort of a Democratic plant, right, that those are her supporters and she isn't really one of you, is what he is saying to those New Hampshire voters.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. Alencia Johnson's with us as well. Alencia Trump is knocking Haley for courting moderate and independent voters in New Hampshire. DeSantis at the town hall last night told me that Haley can't unite the entire GOP. Do they have a point?

ALENCIA JOHNSON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, BIDEN 2020 CAMPAIGN: Well, I actually do think they have a point, which is hard for me to say, to actually agree with that piece from Ron DeSantis, because here's the thing with Nikki Haley. It sounds like wherever she goes, she tries to speak to that base. A few weeks ago, she could barely say that the Civil War was rooted in racism. It was around slavery. Now, she is trying to appeal to moderates and independents. She tries to also appeal to the very racist base of the GOP.

And so these voters cannot actually trust who Nikki Haley will be should she get the nomination, but she also understands that in New Hampshire, a lot of these voters who are independent and moderate, some of them do vote Democratic in the general election. And so she's trying to make sure that she has a message in case she gets the nomination. What would her general election message be? And so it is very confusing of who she is at times because she's trying to speak to all of these different voters. And so we'll see what happens depending on how well she does in New Hampshire, because I'm also sure that she's very concerned that Ron DeSantis is in her backyard in South Carolina while she has all of her attention on New Hampshire.

BLITZER: And Scott Jennings is with us as well. Scott, Ron DeSantis is shifting more events and staff to South Carolina. His campaign says he'll actually beat Nikki Haley there. But do you buy that? That's her home state?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's going to be a tough road for him to do that. I think what he's banking on, honestly, is Donald Trump beating Nikki Haley in New Hampshire and putting her out of the race and then getting down to an effectively one-on-one matchup with Donald Trump in South Carolina.

The trouble is Trump is really popular in South Carolina, and he's really popular among Republicans just about everywhere right now. To the conversation we're having about what's going on in New Hampshire, St. Anselm College just released a survey tonight. They've got Trump ahead 52-38. Among Republicans, Trump was at 65. But among independents, Haley was at 52. So, you can see what she needs to do. But you can see in any state where Republicans are the dominant turnout faction, Donald Trump is doing quite well.

So, it's a long shot bid in South Carolina for DeSantis, but that's about the only path available to them.

BLITZER: Nia-Malika, I thought it was interesting that Vice President Kamala Harris made a rather striking comment today, echoing Michelle Obama's fears about the upcoming general election. Watch this and listen.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I am scared as heck, which is why I'm traveling our country.

We have to earn the re-elect and we have to communicate what we have achieved. And that is going to be one of our big challenges. We've done a lot of good work. We need to let people know who brought it to him.


BLITZER: And, Nia, what do you think?

HENDERSON: Well, listen, I mean, this is the message that President Biden has echoed as well, the idea that Donald Trump, who's likely the GOP nominee, is a clear and present danger to the country, that he's a threat to democracy. And you saw Biden deliver that message in several speeches. You have now his vice president delivering that message to the viewers of that ABC program. And so they think that this is the case that they can make to win the election, the idea that Donald Trump is a danger, not even necessarily that Biden is a perfect candidate, but he's certainly better than Donald Trump. That is the message I think you saw, obviously, President Biden launch his campaign on in those two speeches. And so you've got Vice President Harris doing the same thing.

BLITZER: Alencia, because you were a senior adviser to the Biden 2020 campaign, how does the Biden campaign do a better job now communicating the case for re-election?


JOHNSON: Yes. I actually was going to jump in there because I love that we saw Vice President Harris on The View today. She's been all over the media kicking off this tour that she's going on to talk about the freedoms that we have lost under a lot of conservatives around abortion, around affirmative action. And so I appreciate and look forward to the Biden campaign stomping the ground in the middle of this Republican primary as we gear towards the general. And you'll hear more from Vice President Harris and President Biden himself.

BLITZER: I'm sure we will. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

And be sure to stay with CNN for a new Republican presidential town hall with Nikki Haley in New Hampshire. Jake Tapper will moderate. That's tomorrow night, 9:00 P.M. Eastern only here on CNN.

Coming up, President Biden's urgent meeting with congressional leaders on Ukraine, the southern border and averting a government shutdown. Are lawmakers any closer to a deal? I'll ask the top House Democrat, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.



BLITZER: We're following breaking news. President Biden just wrapped up an urgent meeting with top Republican and Democratic lawmakers as Congress scrambles to avert a government shutdown, fund critically important aid for Ukraine and reach a deal on the border crisis.

Our Senior White House Correspondent M.J. Lee is gathering details for us. M.J., what can you tell us about this really important meeting?

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, lawmakers coming out of that meeting with President Biden describing it as productive and very positive. Speaker Johnson in particular said that there had been some consensus around the table and that members will continue to press forward. What is also clear, though, is that even just the idea of Ukraine funding and border policies being tied up together in this one package still remains a real point of tension.

Now, remember, the White House had really billed this meeting as being almost entirely focused on Ukraine from their vantage point. They wanted the president and his top national security advisers to have the opportunity to lay out for these members sort of the ramifications, the setbacks that Ukraine could suffer on the battlefield if there isn't additional U.S. funding that is headed their way, including by sharing some classified information, we were told.

But Speaker Johnson ahead of this meeting said he really just wasn't interested in even discussing Ukraine before the border situation could first get sorted. This meeting, Wolf, it was clear, didn't actually have the effect of changing his views on that. Take a listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): There were a couple of people in the room who said, let's do border first. We said we have to do both together.

SEN. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): We understand that all these things are important, but we must insist, we must insist that the border be the top priority.


LEE: And keep in mind, Wolf, this national security supplemental package includes funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and then there is this border piece of it. And that has been the reason that this package has been stalled and that negotiations have been so complicated. And that is, of course, not to mention the two government funding deadlines that are approaching, including the first one on Friday. And that means that Congress needs to get through a stopgap measure to avert a partial government shutdown.

BLITZER: Let's hope that happens. M.J. Lee at the White House, thank you.

Meanwhile, the dwindling U.S. aid to Ukraine is already having an impact on the battlefield. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has a closer look from the front lines.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The battle is already in full swing when the artillery unit gets their orders, their Battle Cat Sioma (ph) follows the commander to the U.S. provided M777 gun, and they get to work.

The soldiers have now been given a target, and they're working as fast as possible to try and fire as many rounds as accurately towards the Russian positions.

Three rounds, that's it. The commander tells me ammo shortages are a real problem here. There is more of a deficit. He says. When we were in Zaporizhzhia direction, we used 50 to 60 shells a day. Now, it's 20 to 30 maximum.

The resupply truck only brings a few more rounds, and with U.S. military aid ground to a halt, things could get even tougher for the Ukrainians soon. We're near Marinka on the eastern front. The Russians recently managed to take Marinka after essentially annihilating the entire town with their artillery. Moscow's forces face no ammo shortages, the Ukrainians say, after getting around a million artillery rounds from North Korea in the past year.

Even as we prepare to leave, the position is under Russian fire. We drive away constantly, watching for Russian drones and possible artillery impacts.

Different day, different frontline, similar problems for Ukraine's forces, ,ajor shortages. We're in the battle zone near Avdiivka with a Special Forces unit called Omega. It's 22 degrees below freezing. They want to fire artillery rockets at the Russians, but lacking western arms, they've mounted a Soviet era launcher on a U.S. made pickup truck. They set up fast, but then this.

So, one of the issues that the Ukrainians have using this very old technology is that sometimes it simply doesn't work. It's very cold right now. They think something is frozen and it's just not working.


All they can do is de-rig and leave before the Russians see them.

We wanted to strike at the enemy's positions, but, unfortunately, sometimes it happens. The equipment does not work, he says. Technology does not stand still. And as we can see in this war, the technologies from the west are giving very good results.

The unit later did manage to fire their three rockets after troubleshooting for several hours, delays that can be costly in a war where Ukraine is already badly outgunned.


PLEITGEN (on camera): So, as you can see there, Wolf, the shortage is already having an effect on the Ukrainians. One thing we will say, though, is that the morale of the Ukrainians is still very high. They believe they're stopping a lot of those Russian assaults, and the Russians certainly are suffering very heavy casualties on their part.

However, those ammo shortages are getting worse by the day for the Ukrainians. And, of course, that also means increased casualties on the Ukrainian side as well. Wolf?

BLITZER: Fred Pleitgen, excellent report. Thank you very much. Stay safe and stay warm.

Coming up, I'll get reaction from a top lawmaker who was inside today's critical meeting over at the White House. The House of minority leader, Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries joins me. That's next.



BLITZER: More now on the breaking news, the race to avoid a government shutdown as Congress wrangles over funding for Ukraine and the border.

And joining me now, the House minority leader, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries. He was inside the White House for that important meeting. Leader Jeffries, thanks so much for joining us.

The supplemental package, as you well know, includes aid for Israel, for Ukraine, for Taiwan and U.S. border security all wrapped up in this package. Are you any closer after this meeting to passing this critical funding?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Wolf, great to be with you. I'm very thankful that President Joe Biden convened the legislative leadership from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol talk about America's national security interests, which include making sure that we are there for democracies like Ukraine and Israel, as well as, of course, our allies in the Indo-Pacific, while at the same time providing humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians who are in harm's way through no fault of their own and other civilians who are in conflict zones throughout the world.

It was a productive, forward-looking, positive conversation that hopefully will yield some bipartisan progress in the days or weeks to come.

BLITZER: We will find out fairly soon, I'm sure. CNN has learned, Leader Jeffries, that the House speaker, Mike Johnson, told Republicans the version of this bill being negotiated in the Senate right now is, in his words, dead on arrival in the House. Did anything in this meeting today over at the White House with the president change that?

JEFFRIES: My view is premature to make any assessments about whether legislation should be voted up or down until both Republicans and Democrats have an opportunity to evaluate the four corners of the legislation.

It is clear, and the central focus of the meeting at the White House was the urgent need to support the Ukrainian war effort so that our allies can continue to push back against Russian aggression. It's the right thing to do for the Ukrainian people, but equally significant, it's the right thing to do for democracy, for freedom, for truth, for our NATO allies, and for our Western European allies, and ultimately for the national security interests of the United States of America.

That's why I'm hopeful that we can make some bipartisan progress. There is no legislation that is going to move in the House unless it has bipartisan support.

BLITZER: Did President Biden, Leader Jeffries, make any further concessions to Republicans on the sensitive issue of immigration?

JEFFRIES: Well, there were no negotiations that were taking place in the room. It was a discussion about the importance of both addressing our national security needs and, at the same time, trying to find a path forward as it relates to addressing some of the challenges at the border.

From my standpoint, if that's done, it's got to be something that's effective, that's reasonable, that's bipartisan, and that is consistent with American values, both as a nation of immigrants and as a nation that is rooted in the rule of law.

BLITZER: On top of all of this, Leader Jeffries, the government, as you well know, is set to partially shut down in just three days. House Speaker Johnson is facing pressure from hardliners to walk away from the bipartisan spending deal. What needs to happen between now and Friday to get this bill passed?

JEFFRIES: Johnson is a man of his word and a man of good faith, who is dealing with a very raucous group of individuals on the other side of the aisle, many of whom want to shut the government down. However, we have reached the bipartisan agreement on a top-line spending number that, in our view, as House Democrats -- appropriators are now in the process of negotiating those spending bills on the Democratic side. We're in very good hands with Rosa DeLauro, and we are going to work to reach agreement in a way that funds the government in a manner consistent with providing for the health, the safety and the economic well-being of the American people, and I'm confident that we are going to be able to avoid a government shutdown.

BLITZER: Critically important.


At the same time, though, a single senator could slow this process down big time and threatened a government shutdown. Did the president wait too long to bring the congressional leadership from the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republican to the White House?

JEFFRIES: Not at all. I'm very confident that we are on track in the Senate. And, of course, in the House to make sure that the bipartisan continuing resolution that has been negotiated and signed off on by all four corners of the Congress is going to be able to be enacted into law by the end of the week and avoid the partial government shutdown that might otherwise kick in on January 19th.

BLITZER: Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York, thanks as usual for joining us. I know this is a very busy day.

JEFFRIES: Thank you

BLITZER: And coming up, we have new audio and we'll share it with you of the 911 call leading to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's hospitalization with one of his aides, asking for a, quote, subtle response.



BLITZER: Newly released 911 audio reveals a Pentagon aide's effort to keep the defense secretary's health emergency a secret.

CNN's Oren Liebermann has more on the 911 calls.


DISPATCH: Fairfax County 911, where is your emergency?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's hospitalization was a secret from the start.

At 07:11 p.m. on New Year's Day, an aide to Austin called 911.

CALLER: My name is (AUDIO DELETED) and I work for (AUDIO DELETED).

LIEBERMANN: In a recording of the call obtained by CNN, the aide's name is redacted, so was Austin's. But the street matches the address of the defense secretary's home. The aide asks the 911 dispatcher for the ambulance remain silent, a request any caller can make.

CALLER: Can I ask ambulance not show up with lights and sirens? We're trying to remain a little subtle.

LIEBERMANN: The dispatcher acknowledges the request, but says the ambulance cannot fully comply.

DISPATCHER: Yeah. I understand. Yeah, usually when they turn into a residential neighborhood, they'll turn them off, but they are required by law to run with them with the main street.

LIEBERMANN: On Wednesday, the Pentagon wouldn't say why Austin's aide wanted the ambulance to be a subtle.

BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: We're reviewing this. The secretary has again taken responsibility in terms of the need for transparency as it relates to his medical care.

LIEBERMANN: Austin was taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center with complications from December 22nd surgery to treat prostate cancer, a diagnosis that wasn't immediately disclosed to President Joe Biden or other senior national security officials.

DISPATCHER: Is he reporting any chest pain at all?


DISPATCHER: OK. Did he pass out or does he feel like he's going to pass out?


DISPATCHER: OK. And like you said, he's awake, he's alert and oriented. He's not confused or anything that, correct?

CALLER: Correct.

LIEBERMANN: One day later, Austin was admitted to the intensive care unit. It would be another 48 hours before the president knew Austin was in the hospital, one more day after that until Congress and the public were notified.

But Austin's initial diagnosis with prostate cancer, which occurred in early December, wasn't known until January 9th.

REPORTER: Do you have confidence in Secretary Austin?


I'm sorry.

REPORTER: Was it a lapse in judgment for him not to tell you earlier?


LIEBERMANN: The White House said Tuesday, Austin and Biden had not spoken in the first 24 hours after the secretary was released this past Monday.

Austin spent two weeks at Walter Reed Medical Center at a critical time for U.S. national security.

The war in Gaza raged into its fourth month. Iranian proxies attacked international shipping in the Red Sea and launched more attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. carried out strikes against the Houthis in Yemen, which Austin authorized from the hospital.


LEIBERMANN (on camera): Austin has been working from home since Monday, where he has access to the secure comms he needs to do his job. Wolf, there is no word yet on when he'll be back in the Pentagon full-time.

BLITZER: Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon, thank you very much.

And we'll be right back with more news.



BLITZER: There's an eye-opening new report on cancer here in the United States with data now showing that cases are on the rise among adults under the age of 50.

Brian Todd is looking into this for us.

Brian, these are very concerning findings.


For the first time ever, more than 5,400 people per day are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in the United States this year. And as Wolf mentioned, there is news about younger people getting the disease.


TIMOTHY MITCHELL, COLON CANCER SURVIVOR: I knew something wasn't right.

TODD (voice-over): You don't have to be older to get cancer. Just ask Timothy Mitchell from Atlanta, who survived stage three colon cancer.

MITCHELL: I was 43 years old at the time when I was diagnosed. You feel really alone because you -- first, the court -- the first question is why.

TODD: He's not alone. new data today from the American Cancer Society shows an increase in cancer rates among younger, middle aged people.

DR. JONATHAN VILLENA, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Cancer which usually would affect people over 65, has now become much more prevalent in patients under 55.

DR. JOHN MARSHALL, CHIEF OF ONCOLOGY, MEDSTAR GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Back when I started, nobody in my clinic was under the age of 50. Now and it's a scary stuff just stick more than half of the patients in my clinic in that building or under the age of 50.

TODD: And doctors say it's one type of cancer in particular that's driving up the numbers for younger people.

MARSHALL: Shockingly, colorectal cancers driving this the most.

TODD: Colon cancer was what killed Marvel actor Chadwick Boseman at the age of 43.

Why are younger people getting cancer at higher rates now?

There are a number of theories.

VILLENA: This trend in obesity that has happened in the last 20 years is showing itself now as an increase in certain cancers.

TODD: Middle age cancer is driving an overall uptick in cases of many types of cancer, both for men and women, even as overall the mortality rate for cancer is going down.

MARSHALL: We're doing a better job. We are curing more people with cancer than ever. In fact, we cure most people with cancer. This is through early detection, better therapies.

TODD: Still, the new data shows disparities like the race gap persist. For example, the breast cancer mortality rate is 41 percent higher among Black women than White women.

VILLENA: Black and Brown communities are much less likely to get screened for basically all cancers. Another thing is that they are much more likely to get treatment later on. So these are communities that may not go to the doctor even once they have symptoms.

What can everyone do to counter these numbers?

MARSHALL: As much as you can, be the right weight. Exercise is really important. We understand the importance of not only just a good walk every day, but getting your heart rate up regularly is good for your health. That balance sort of Mediterranean diet.

TODD: And a crucial factor, getting screenings especially if there was a history of cancer in the family because the sooner you detect it, the better your chances of surviving.

MITCHELL: Early detection is key. You know, if you catch it early, then it's treatable. And then if you treat it, you can beat it.


TODD (on camera): And Dr. John Marshall says, we've all got to be better at self screening. Tell your doctor if you notice anything abnormal.

BLITZER: Very important information. Brian Todd, thanks very, very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.