Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Trump Urges Supreme Court to Keep Him on Colorado Ballot; Buckingham Palace Says, King Charles Diagnosed With Cancer; Powerful Storm Unleashes Record Rain and High Winds on California; Jury Extends Deliberations Into A Second Day As It Debates Charges Against School Shooter's Mother; Carjackings and Violent Crime Surge In Washington, D.C. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired February 05, 2024 - 18:00   ET


ELISA RAFFA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Responsible to 80 -- for 80 percent of the flood damage and 40 percent of the flood deaths.


So, just incredibly rare and incredibly impactful. Dangerous life- threatening flashfloods continue. It's already saturated. So, any more rain is going to create more flash flooding and landslides, Jake?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Elisa Raffa, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Threads, X, formerly known as Twitter, and on the TikTok @jaketapper. You can follow the show @theleadcnn on X. If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show whence you get your podcasts.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. I'll see you tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Donald Trump makes a final plea to the United States Supreme Court ahead of critical arguments on Colorado's ballot ban. This hour, we have exclusive new polling on the controversial case and how Americans feel about Trump's legal troubles.

Plus, a historic storm is slamming Southern California, unleashing dangerous flooding hurricane force winds and heavy snow, records falling across the state as forecasters warn of more to come.

And in the United Kingdom, Buckingham Palace reveals King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer. We have new details on his condition his treatment and what it means for the royal family.

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

First up tonight, Donald Trump's last-minute pitch to the U.S. Supreme Court as the justices prepare for an unprecedented hearing on his Colorado ballot removal.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz says on the story for us. Katelyn, what is the former president now arguing?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Wolf, we're at the point now where all the briefing is in and everybody is getting ready for that final turn before the Supreme Court about Trump's eligibility to be on the ballot in Colorado and potentially other states in the 2024 election, the primaries or potentially even the general election.

Now, what Donald Trump and his team is saying today in their latest court filing, their final court filing to the Supreme Court, they're saying that it's anti-democratic if you would take Trump off the ballot, if any state would do that. And also Colorado is an outlier here. Maine also was saying that he could be removed from the ballot. He would be ineligible because of his role in the January 6th Capitol riot as an insurrectionist.

But they say Colorado, that's where this case is now. They're different from all of the other states that have looked at him, and allowed him on the ballot. One of the quotes from the Trump filing today, Donald Trump, he is the presumptive Republican nominee and the leading candidate for president of the United States. The American people, not courts or election officials, should choose the next president of the United States. So, they're saying to the Supreme Court, stay out of this, allow Donald Trump to be on the ballot.

Now, Colorado's secretary of state even has piped up before the Supreme Court and said, Colorado can do this within the law. They can decide Donald Trump is ineligible, but all of this is going to come to a head on Thursday.

We're not going to get a ruling at that time, but it is one of the first times we'll be able to see the Supreme Court pepper Trump's team with questions about the presidency in several years. The last time there was an argument like this, it was when people were pursuing Donald Trump's tax returns several years ago.

And so legal teams from both sides are preparing, Donald Trump's legal team, as well as others representing the people who want to keep them off the ballot in Colorado and potentially other states. They're all getting ready for those oral arguments where the justices will be asking questions.

And at the same time, so much is hanging over Donald Trump in court right now, including the possibility of a ruling any day about whether he can sit for trial related to January 6th as a criminal defendant, a totally different issue that has a lot to do with whether he will go to trial even this year or at all in cases related to January 6th as a criminal defendant. Wolf?

BLITZER: A very historic moment at the Supreme Court. Thanks very much, Katelyn Polantz reporting.

I also want to bring in CNN Political Director David Chalian. He has a closer look at how at this new CNN poll on Trump's legal troubles,

David, how do Americans view Trump's conduct in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election and do they trust the U.S. Supreme Court on these issues?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Wolf, in this brand new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, we see that 45 percent of Americans believe that Trump acted illegally in the aftermath of the 2020 election. 32 percent say he acted unethically, but not illegally. And a quarter of Americans, 23 percent, say Donald Trump did nothing wrong at all.

But look at this 45 percent who say he acted illegally. I want to look at that number by party, how it breaks out.


So, Democrats, 80 percent of them think he acted illegally. Independents, 45 percent think that. And 10 percent of Republicans only think he acted illegally. Look at what that was a year and a half ago. These opinions of Donald Trump's actions after the 2020 election are locked in. They're identical, basically, to what they were a year- and-a-half ago.

To your question about the Supreme Court, well, only 11 percent of Americans have a great deal of trust in the Supreme Court to make the right decisions on 2024 cases. 31 percent say a moderate amount. Another third say just some trust. And a quarter of Americans, 23 percent say no trust at all in the Supreme Court on these 2024 election cases, Wolf.

BLITZER: And that last number is disturbing. How important is it, David, to voters to have a verdict in the Trump federal election subversion case?

CHALIAN: Well, we asked that question, is it essential to have a verdict in that critical case, that election subversion case? 48 percent of Americans say, yes. It's essential to have a verdict before the 2024 election. 16 percent additionally say, yes, it's not essential, but, yes, they want a verdict. So, add that together, you have a clear majority of Americans who want a verdict before the 2024 election. A quarter of Americans say, it doesn't matter at all. And 11 percent say, no, they do not need the outcome of that case before the election, Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting. David Chalian, our political director, thank you.

I want to bring in our Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger and CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams. And, Elliot, we just heard how Americans feel going into this important Thursday historic Supreme Court hearing right now. What did the Trump team's arguments that we learned about reveal to you?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think what they reveal is that there are a few different ways that the Trump team is saying that the Supreme Court can, in effect, keep former President Trump on the ballot. And many of them, if not most of them, don't involve touching the insurrection question at all.

The Supreme Court can actually resolve the issue without weighing in on whether Donald Trump is or isn't an insurrectionist. They can answer this question of whether, for instance, the president or the presidency is, quote/unquote, an officer of the United States, which seems obvious to us talking.

But is a complicated legal question in the Constitution. There's a few legal issues like that that I think the Supreme Court probably focuses on rather than insurrection.

BLITZER: You know, most Americans, according to this new CNN poll, Gloria, say Trump's actions around the 2020 presidential election were illegal or unethical. How damaging is that for him going into a general election?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's not it's not terrific but don't forget about half of Republicans think that he did nothing wrong, that he didn't act illegally or unethically. So, you know, it shows you what a divided country we have.

And as David Chalian was just saying this issue is baked already. If you believe he did something illegally, you're going to believe that until Election Day. And if you don't, you're going to feel the same way. So, in a way, I think we can say the election won't revolve around it because it's already baked and the country is already polarized about it and there are going to be other issues that could decide the election.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, and Gloria makes an important point, you heard in this new poll that most Americans want Trump's federal election case to be resolved before the general election, to be resolved soon before the 2024 election. How likely do you think that is?

E. WILLIAMS: It's likely but not but not certain. Now, look, I think a lot of people are expressing a very important view that this is a critical issue going into an election. But we go down a dangerous road when we start subjecting the decisions of courts to public opinion. People have opinions about how courts should rule all the time. Far more troubling in the polling that David identified that 77 percent of Americans believe that Donald Trump acted either illegally or unethically on January 6th.

Now, regardless of whether the Supreme Court rules on the president's fitness for the ballot, that's troubling information for anyone voting for an individual for president. And so, to Gloria's point, people know what they know about these candidates right now and it's really just whether the Supreme Court rules or not (INAUDIBLE).

BORGER: Yes. And what's also fascinating about this poll is that just 25 percent of Americans say they expect Donald Trump to accept the result of the election if he loses, just 25 percent. So, most of the country believes, no matter what happens, he's not going to accept it if he -- well, if he loses and that he'll challenge it again. And that's kind of astonishing also.

E. WILLIAMS: It's almost like a form of helplessness that people have accepted a certain degree of whether it's lawlessness or disrespect for the rule of law and are just willing to accept that. So, again, not to minimize the importance of the Supreme Court and the work they have to do on these critical legal questions, but, number one, people have the data they have, and number two, there's plenty of information about the rule of law.

BORGER: And they know Donald Trump.


BLITZER: And we lived through that once when he didn't accept the results of the last presidential election.

BORGER: And they're expecting it again if he were to lose. I mean, that's what's so striking about it.

BLITZER: It's really disturbing when you think about it.

E. WILLIAMS: Again, it's less about an individual candidate and more about the rule of law. In order for the country to have a functioning system, candidates that win need to be respected when they win, but also candidates that lose need to bend the knee, accept that that is the core of a functioning democracy.

BLITZER: It's a tradition of a democracy.

BORGER: By the way, the country expects Biden to accept the results.

E. WILLIAMS: Right. I think it was 77 percent or 75 percent believe that Biden will accept the results of the election if he does, in fact, lose.

BLITZER: Yes, interesting. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, the newly released Senate border deal takes another blow as top House Republicans declare it dead on arrival. I'll speak with one of the bill's authors, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy.

Plus, Buckingham Palace reveals King Charles III has cancer. We'll share the latest details on his diagnosis.



BLITZER: Here in Washington tonight, Senate Republicans are holding a special meeting on the newly released border bill, which is already drawing very sharp opposition from House Republican leaders and former President Trump.


CNN's Melanie Zanona is up on Capitol Hill. She's got details for us. Melanie, so where do things stand?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Wolf, this bill text is barely 24 hours old, and already there is a mountain of Republican opposition. Senate Republicans are meeting as we speak to discuss the fate of this package. During that meeting, the lead negotiators of the deal are expected to brief members on the contents of the deal, sort of walk through what they consider to be the biggest conservative policy wins on the border, and also trying to combat what they say has been some misinformation about what the provisions would actually do.

But the universe of potential yes votes is already rapidly shrinking inside the GOP. Our Hill team has been tracking this very closely, and based on our whip count, there are already over 20 senators who say they're going to oppose this deal when it comes to the floor for a procedural vote on Wednesday. And, remember, the bill needs 60 votes in order to survive.

And even if it does pass the Senate, which is still a very big if at this point, it faces a very unlikely path, in fact, zero path in the Republican-controlled house, which is going to be a factor as some of these undecided Republicans make a decision.

Just look at the statement that House GOP leaders put out today. They said, any consideration of the Senate bill in its current form is a waste of time. It is dead on arrival in the House. We encourage the U.S. Senate to reject it.

Now, that is a very different position than what Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has said. He is urging swift action on this deal. Of course, he's been a long advocate for additional Ukraine aid, which is tied to these border security provisions. But even members of McConnell's own leadership team are warning that this bill might be dead before it's even gotten off the ground, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, critical days indeed. All right, Melanie, thank you very much.

Joining us now, one of the key authors of this border bill, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. Senator, thanks so much for joining us. I don't know if you know this, but Republican Senator Roger Wicker was just asked moments ago about the bill as he departed a meeting in Mitch McConnell's office and he said, and I'm quoting him now, I think the proposal is dead. Senator, are you still confident this bill will pass the U.S. Senate?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, listen, it's true. Donald Trump has enormous influence in his party. And Donald Trump has said he wants to keep chaos at the border. He opposes any bipartisan solutions to try to stem the tide of people showing up at the border because chaos is good for Donald Trump. So, he has requested all of his allies in Congress to vote against any bipartisan measure on the border.

Now, I still think there are enough Republicans of good faith in the Senate who want to do what's right for the country who will support this proposal. Last fall, when we were trying to get Ukraine aid done, Republicans told us we will not vote to stop Vladimir Putin from conquering Ukraine unless you come up with a bipartisan solution for the border. We spent four months working on that bipartisan compromise with their appointed negotiator, Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. We reached a compromise and now it's before the Senate.

I still think there are enough Republicans who will help us get this done, but we're going to see in the next few days. Are Republicans interested in solving the border or do they just want to complain about it and leave it chaotic in order to exploit it for political purposes? I really hope that it's the former, not the latter.

BLITZER: And you need 60 senators to get the ball rolling, if you will.

House Republican leaders are calling the bill a waste of time, this is in the House, saying the bill is dead on arrival if, in fact, it reaches the House of Representatives. And speaking of Donald Trump, he says this about the bill, and let me quote right now from what the former president says. Only a fool or a radical left Democrat would vote for this horrendous border bill. We need a separate border and immigration bill. It should not be tied to foreign aid in any way, shape, or form.

Senator, how do you overcome the opposition from Trump and House Republicans?

MURPHY: Well, I mean listen, we tried to pass Ukraine aid by itself in the fall and Donald Trump's allies in the United States Senate told us no, you must combine border policy and Ukraine policy, the exact opposite of what Donald Trump is saying right now.

This is the chaos that happens when Donald Trump is back in charge of the Republican Party. Do you want border aid and Ukraine together or do you not? It seems to change every minute.

All I know is this. The people in my state in Connecticut, they want us to solve the crisis at the border. They want us to put politics aside and get something done. That's what we've done here. We have a bipartisan compromise that allows the president to shut down the border when times of crossings get too high, that reforms the asylum system, that allows more people to come into the country legally through the visa system. It's a really good bipartisan compromise.

It's what the American public wants. They don't want this issue of immigration to just be a perpetual political cudgel. That's what Donald Trump and Republicans want, but that's not what the mainstream of America wants.

BLITZER: You know, Senator, and you know this, it's not just Republicans who are very critical of this bill. Your Democratic colleague, Alex Padilla of California, says he will vote no, and he wrote this, and I'm quoting him now, the deal includes a new version of a failed Trump-era immigration policy that will cause more chaos at the border, not less. That's a direct quote. How do you respond to your Democratic colleague?

MURPHY: Well, this is going to be an old-fashioned compromise, right, where you do have some Democrats that will vote against it and a lot more Republicans that vote against it. What we tried to do here was write a bill where you could get equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats supporting it in the floor. That's not going to happen. Most all Democrats will support it. And we hope just enough Republicans will support it to get it across the finish line.

The problem here is not going to be Democratic support for this bill. There will be robust Democratic support, not universal Democratic support, but robust Democratic support. The problem here is going to be whether Republicans decide to keep chaos at the border in order to please Donald Trump or whether they really want to fix the problem. That's the decision point that we're going to be watching made in the next few days.

BLITZER: While I have you, Senator, I want to turn quickly to the coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that have been ongoing these last few days. President Biden says the strikes are working to deter militias, but U.S. and coalition forces have come under attack three more times since Friday. Has the President's strategy been a failure at least so far?

MURPHY: Well, listen, I think you are sending a short-term and long- term message to these proxy forces. It also is likely going to take some time to degrade their capabilities. But, of course, there needs to be a response when these attacks are taken against us, especially when there is a loss of life.

So, this is a really perilous moment for the United States in the region. I think in the long run it will probably prompt a conversation in Congress about why we have so many unprotected forces in the region. This has been a long-term concern of mine that I've vocalized to the administration and to my colleagues. But the president is doing the right thing. I think it will have some immediate deterrent effect in the short-term, probably much more significant in the long run.

BLITZER: We shall see. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, thank you very much for joining us.

MURPHY: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, Britain's King Charles III is diagnosed with cancer. We'll discuss the latest developments and analyze how this might, repeat, might impact the monarch.



BLITZER: Tonight, there's major news from the United Kingdom, Buckingham Palace, saying King Charles has cancer.

CNN Royal Correspondent Max Foster is joining us live from London right now. Max, the palace has not said what kind of cancer this is, so what do we know about the king's diagnosis?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was found by chance, really. He was in hospital being treated for an enlarged prostate. They carried out some tests. Those tests came back and they revealed a separate cancer, so not prostate cancer, something else which they're not detailing to us saying, well, they're citing patient privacy on that.

Today, King Charles came back from his country home at Sandringham, came to London and he's been treated as an outpatient at home just down the road here at Clarence House. So, Buckingham Palace is his office. He actually lives at Clarence House.

There may be visits to hospital, but they're not expecting him to go into hospital. I spoke to one of his senior staff and not to say relaxed, obviously they're concerned, but there's not a sense of panic necessarily. And that was really emphasized by the fact that they said the king will be able to carry out his senior duties as head of state, signing off bills into law, even carrying out the weekly audiences with the prime minister, but his medical team have advised him not to go out amongst the public because he may be vulnerable amongst all of these treatments.

He's got a top medical team, I'm told, and he's in good spirits, but, of course, we're talking about cancer here. So, there is a degree of concern of which way it might go.

BLITZER: Max, I understand you've learned that Prince Harry will travel to the U.K. to see his father soon.

FOSTER: Yes. So, I was told that the king spoke to his siblings and to his two sons and then I heard from Prince Harry's office that he would be visiting in the coming days, which are obviously a very significant family moment. The family is coming together. There's a lot of tension, particularly with Prince Harry. And so for him to come over, that shows a level of concern.

I think that -- when that news first came out, it did worry people, that he felt he was worried in order to come over despite the family tensions. But it shows a moment of family unity, I think.

Prince Harry is actually what's called a Council of State, members of the family who step up to represent and sign off for important matters when the king is incapacitated. For example, if he had to go have some sort of anesthetic or some sort of procedure that could mean he couldn't carry out his duties, Prince Harry is one of those. But I'm told that King Charles hadn't appointed the Council of State. So, we're not at that level of concern.

BLITZER: Max Foster, I want you to stand by. I got more questions for you coming up.

The king's cancer diagnosis is the latest in a series of developments that are stretching the British royal family's ability to carry out some of their official duties.


Brian Todd is following this part of the story for us. So, Brian, how does this affect the monarchy as an institution?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it reduces the number of so- called working royals, the people with enough stature to engage in public functions on behalf of the king. The family is stretched thin enough, royal watchers say, that it might be time to recruit some younger members to fill the gaps.


TODD (voice over): A 75-year-old king with a cancer diagnosis, one of the most prominent and popular heirs, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, in her early 40s, out of commission for months after her abdominal procedure.

It's since been announced that her husband, Prince William, who had pulled back from public duties to focus on his family, will now return to some of those duties sooner than expected.

Still, royal experts say this is a monarchy that's stretched thin, and Queen Camilla, who is 76 years old and active, can't do all of the public engagements herself.

SALLY BEDELL SMITH, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: It is a huge vacuum. The queen has been doing a lot more than she typically would.

TODD: Only so-called working royals can carry out public engagements on behalf of the king. That group was supposed to consist of 14 family members. But because Prince Harry and Meghan stepped away from royal life, and Prince Andrew was forced to step away because of his association with the late accused pedophile, Jeffrey Epstein, there are only 11 people to do that. More than half of them are over age 70. And with King Charles and Princess Catherine out temporarily, it's down to nine.

SMITH: Now we're relying for at least the public portion of what the royal family does on Charles' sister, Princess Anne, and his younger brother, Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, and his wife. They have all typically been very active. But there's no doubt that there is a real gap in what the royal family is able to do.

TODD: Harry and Meghan stepped back as senior members of the royal family four years ago amid growing tensions in the family and accusations that Meghan had experienced racism. Meghan spoke about it with Oprah Winfrey.

OPRAH WINFREY, HOST: There's a conversation with you?


WINFREY: About how dark your baby is going to be?

MARKLE: Potentially and what that would mean or look like.

TODD: Royal watchers say there's no doubt that with the family stretched this thin, the loss of Harry and Meghan is being acutely felt right now.

KRISTEN MEINZER, ROYAL WATCHER: I think Harry and Meghan, not only did they have the star power and the international attention, they had diversity within their relationship also. But they really connected with younger people in a way that I think would have been helpful right now.

TODD: At the very least, royal experts say, Harry and Meghan could have helped with what has become a crushing schedule of public events. Just last year, the working royals split up a total of more than 2,700 visits and events between them.

SMITH: There's been a sort of proliferation of obligations that didn't exist in earlier times.


TODD (on camera): With the family stretched so thin, some are now wondering if it's time to increase the profiles of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Both in their 30s with a notable amount of glamour and style, royal watchers say, as toxic as their father's association with Jeffrey Epstein remains, the daughters are not associated with that and have likely achieved enough separation from it in the public eye. Wolf?

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, excellent background, excellent report, thank you very, very much.

For more on all of this, I want to bring in -- I want to bring back Max Foster, who's in London. We're also joined by CNN Royal Historian Kate Williams.

And, Kate, although Buckingham Palace is being more transparent than in the past, they still didn't disclose what kind of cancer King Charles was diagnosed with. Why do you think that is?

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: Yes, Wolf, we don't know what kind of cancer King Charles is diagnosed with and we don't know quite a lot of details. We know he's already started treatment, it's outpatient. We don't know how long the prognosis is that we aren't going to see him out and about.

He is doing his constitutional work online, at home, but he is not going out on engagements and we don't yet know how long that period is going to be. We're expecting that he's not going to go on tour to Canada in the early summer, but we haven't yet been told.

I think that, as you say, it's a huge level of transparency compared to what we've seen in the past. The king's grandfather, George VI, was dying of lung cancer and no one even knew they had an operating theater in Buckingham Palace. Even his daughter didn't know. And now we're seeing the king saying in his statement that he talked about his cancer because he wants to assist public understanding.

But that transparency only goes so far. There's only so much speculation the royal family wants. And this is the battle they've always had for over the whole 20th century. The minute they let the T.V. cameras into the queen's coronation in 1953, do they give how much detail, and they're always walking that line.

[18:35:01] But in these days of 24 hour news and camera phones and leaks, you have to tell quite a bit and I think, eventually, maybe in six months or a year, we will know what type of cancer the king has had, I think he will tell us. BLITZER: Yes, I suspect you're right. Max, what impact do you see

this having on the royal family who are already stretched pretty thin, as we all know?

FOSTER: I think the impact is that a lot of pressure -- I mean, there are those 11 working royals, but they're not all high profile. They don't have the heft of the senior royals. And we've only got Prince William and the queen in those roles now. They're the people that the world wants to see. And they are the ones that would really step up if anything did happen to the king.

So, they need to -- you know, the reality is they have to prepare for a situation where the king is incapacitated. You know, he's surrounded by doctors. It might have to happen. And they can't just instigate that. They need to have Prince William front and center and also Queen Camilla there as well. So, it's not such a shock to the nation if something does happen to the king.

Of course, no one wants that to happen. But that's a huge pressure on the queen who's in her 70s, but also on Prince William, who's supporting his wife currently after her abdominal surgery. And he's driving the kids to school every day. He's going to have to step out of that and step up to his public duty.

And he's always struggled with that balance. He feels he does have a right to a private life. He wants to be a hands-on dad. I've seen him in those situations. He is a hands-on dad. He's going to have to make some sacrifices at home for the nation effectively because he's going to be the next king. And that's what comes with the job. He just wasn't expecting this sort of pressure so soon.

BLITZER: Yes, good point. Kate, Prince Harry, as we all know, is set to visit his father, the king, in the coming days. Could this potentially be a turning point in bringing him closer to his estranged family?

K. WILLIAMS: I think that we are seeing a big family moment here. It's not just a business, it's a family. We haven't seen Prince Harry for a long time. We last saw him really in the coronation last year. And now here he is, really coming back as fast as he can to see Charles.

And that's another reason why I think the palace has had to be transparent, because otherwise people will be saying, you know, why is Harry rushing back? What's going on? And Charles and Harry are so close. And it has to be remembered that just as Max was talking about senior royals there, there is William and his children are next in line, where you have, you know, obviously George, Charlotte and Louis.

But also, you know, Harry is the adult. There aren't many adults. There aren't many adults. But a lot of these senior royals are over 75, and there aren't many adults. And Harry is that. He's not coming over to do engagements, but he is coming over to support the king behind the scenes, and that's very important.

BLITZER: It certainly is. Kate Williams and Max Foster, to both of you, thank you very much.

Just ahead, our live report from Los Angeles, where a record-setting rainfall is wreaking havoc. More on the devastating floods and what forecasters are now saying about the storm's next moves.



BLITZER: Tonight, millions of Californians are at risk as a rare, powerful and now deadly storm pounds the state with record rainfall, hurricane force winds and heavy snow.

CNN's Nick Watt is joining us now live from Los Angeles with the latest. Nick, update our viewers.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the cacti and the orange tree behind me give you an idea of what whether we are used to. Tom, if you pull out, you can see what we are dealing with today.

This was a lane up to some beautiful mountain homes. It is now a river. And we are told this is not over yet.


WATT (voice over): The Hollywood Hills, rain, lash, not sun-kissed, mudslides, rock slides, homes evacuated, homes lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the foundation of 10334 Caribou Lane, and this is where the house sits now.

WATT: Sunday was the wettest day in Los Angeles in nearly 20 years. More than four inches fell downtown. That's more than a month's worth of rain. That's a water rescue underway. The L.A. River rose seven feet in just nine hours. Some creeks are up over 12.

All this down to a so-called atmospheric river up above, a conveyor belt of moisture fueled by El Nino and the unusually warm Pacific. Atmospheric rivers can carry 20 times more water than the Mississippi.

And El Nino is now classed as very strong. Only the fourth time it's reached that level in 50 years. Combined with oceans already warmed from climate change, it's supercharging these type of storms. El Nino also changes the jet stream, making storms more likely to take aim directly at California. This one has been moving slowly, sadly.

MAYOR TODD GLORIA (D-SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA): Atmospheric rivers are something that probably many of us never grew up with knowing anything about, but now they're sort of ever present in our lives. And it means an extraordinary amount of water can be dumped on a community.

WATT: L.A. and beyond 14 million people now officially at high risk level four of four for excessive rainfall. Remember this state was recently in a mega drought then record rainfall last winter and now this. Scientists call that weather whiplash and say such violent swings will become increasingly common as the planet warms in years to come.

On Sunday, hurricane force winds cut power to over half a million customers mostly further north, hitting 77 miles per hour at San Francisco Airport, peaking at 102 on Pablo Point.


Angelinos today told to exercise caution if you must commute. Schools closed in more mountainous Malibu, but stayed open across much of L.A. The mayor says Angelinos just aren't used to this kind of weather. But with climate change, they will have to get used to it.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: In Los Angeles, lets stay safe over there, Nick.

Thank you very much.

Coming up, we'll get an update from the courthouse as a Michigan jury weighing the fate of school shooter mother, Jennifer Crumbley, extends deliberations into a second day.


BLITZER: A Michigan jury has just wrapped up its first day of deliberating manslaughter charges against Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of school shooter, Ethan Crumbley, who murdered four of his classmates back in 2021.


CNN's Jean Casarez is tracking the trial for us. She's over at the courthouse.

Jean, this is the first day of deliberations. The jury has already started asking questions for the judge.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. After over six hours of deliberation and both of these questions are very sophisticated, the first one was in regard to the two theories that the prosecution has given to the jury on involuntary manslaughter.

Now, although they have to be unanimous beyond a reasonable doubt with a verdict of guilty, a juror can decide one or the other theory, and they don't have to be unanimous on what theory they select. One is the Jennifer Crumbley is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of gross negligence of her child, that she knew of a known risk that Ethan Crumbley could harm another person, that she did not do anything about that, knowing it. And it went on, but he did harm another person. This would be the mass murder oxford high school. The other one is the legal theory of unknown risks. And the fact that

there is a legal duty hoodie under the law in Michigan, that a parent has toward their child, the legal duty then expands to the rest of the community that if they believe their child could do harm to anyone, they are obligated to stop it to do something about that known risk. And if they do not, that is gross negligence and they also then can be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

The second question very interesting, has to do with can we infer evidence that was not brought into the prosecutions case about how the shooter, that'd be Ethan Crumbley got that gun to commit that mass shooting at his high school? Well, we know his father bought it the Good Friday, days before the mass shooting. Ethan was there in the gun store, but we don't know how he got the gun that morning.

We know that his mother Jennifer went to work. We know that James took him to school, but how we got that gun in the backpack, we do not know. Yet, we did not come in the trial.

BLITZER: Jean, what impact could the verdict have on the father's upcoming trial set for March?

CASAREZ: Very good, very good question. A lot of people are speculating that if she is found not guilty, that he would proceed to trial. If she's found guilty would there be a plea deal? Would the prosecution even offer it? Don't know, but it could impact that March trial.

BLITZER: Jean Casarez reporting for us, we will stay in close touch, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, residents here in the nation's capital, they are an edge right now amid deep concerns about the surging, violent, surging violent crime rates here in the city.



BLITZER: The escalating rates of violent crimes here in Washington, D.C. have some residents now clamoring for law enforcement and local leaders to do much more to keep them safe.

Here's CNN's Gabe Cohen.


GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A violent carjacking spree. The latest senseless crime to rock the nation's capitol, shattering Antoinette and Jacob Walker's family.

ANTOINETTE WALKER, MOTHER OF ALBERTO VASQUEZ: Just the numbness to know this was the last place where he actually was alive.

COHEN: Their son, A.J., a father of two, shot and killed in last week's spree. A. WALKER: I wake up every day with this realizing that my son is

never coming back. You know, the girls (INAUDIBLE), my daughters will never have their brother, you know, it's just senseless.

COHEN: That spree also took the life of a former Trump administration official, Mike Gill, also shot during a carjacking while waiting to pick up his wife in a crowded downtown neighborhood at rush hour. He died over the weekend. The suspected gunman was fatally shot by police.

While violent crime has dropped in most major cities, it has surged in the nation's capital, up 39 percent last year with robberies up 67 percent and carjackings roughly doubled. Though police data show crime has dipped in recent months and no one is immune.

We're less than a mile away from the U.S. Capitol.

I covered the carjacking of Congressman Henry Cuellar last fall, just blocks from the U.S. Capitol. He was physically unharmed.

D.C. police offering unsettling advice, avoid driving alone, stay in the middle lane, and don't stop to help strangers. They've passed out Apple air tags so people can track their cars if they're stolen.

Mohamad, a Grubhub delivery driver, has seen and experienced enough.

MOHAMAD, DRIVER WHO WAS ATTACKED: Here, it's not safe. And I have three attacks in Washington, D.C.

COHEN: He won't work in D.C. anymore after teens tried to carjack him last summer. The scuffle caught on camera, neighbors jumping in to help.

MOHAMAD: And sometimes, I cannot sleep after that. I cannot sleep.

COHEN: Delivering in Virginia, his salary is cut in half, but he says he feels safer.

This crime surge has made D.C. a punching bag for Republicans. Former President Trump has vowed a federal takeover if he's elected.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We're going to take it away from the mayor and again, that doesn't make me popular there, but I have to say it.

COHEN: Many blame what they see as lenient laws that put repeat offenders back on the street as well as a drop in arrests and prosecutions. Even among the district's liberal leaders, there's a new effort to strengthen criminal laws. The Department of Justice is now bringing in more prosecutors and D.C.'s police department is opening a new multiagency crime center as community members beg local leaders to keep them safe.

You don't think the city's done enough to hold people accountable.

JACOB WALKER, FATHER OF ALBERTO VASQUEZ: No. No. They haven't done anything enough to hold people accountable.


COHEN (on camera): And as we see more and more crime scenes like the one behind me, we have been asking D.C.'s police chief for months to speak with us directly about these alarming numbers, but, Wolf, so far, the police department has declined those requests.

BLITZER: Very disturbing indeed, Gabe Cohen reporting for us, thank you very much, Gabe.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" stars right now.