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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

IDF: Now Carrying Out "Precise" Military Operation In Al-Shifa Hospital; Standing With Israel; Elbow Room?; Mother Of Hamas Hostage Speaks At "March For Israel" In DC; Parents Plead For Return Of Son Kidnapped By Hamas; GOP Rep. Burchett Accuses McCarthy Of "Clean Shot To The Kidneys"; Ex-Speaker Denies It; Sen. Mullin Challenges Teamsters Head To A Fight During Testimony; On-On-One With Sen. Bernie Sanders; WH Earlier: Intel Shows Hamas Using It As Command Node, Storing Weapons. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 20:00   ET


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The US now hosting this high stakes West Coast meet-up with low expectations on the outcome, no more loveseat for the leaders of two superpowers, instead, both on a hot seat with the world watching if they can temp down tensions.

And, Erin, tonight we're hearing from the chairman of a House Select Committee who's demanding the names of the businesses and the people involved in a welcome dinner for President Xi in which companies are paying up to $40,000 for a seat at the table with the Chinese president, the lawmaker calling it "unconscionable."

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Wow, that's something to take. It's a lot.

All right. David Culver, thank you very much and thanks to all of you. Let's hand it off now to Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on "360," we have breaking news and what the IDF is saying in an Israeli military operation underway inside Gaza's main hospital. It follows a day that saw supporters of Israel fill the mall in Washington, including the parents of one badly wounded American hostage. They join us tonight.

Also tonight, whether it's a senator or a witness, nearly coming to blows or the former house speaker allegedly elbowing a fellow Republican member, what is going on in Congress? I'll ask Bernie Sanders who joins me tonight, who had to prevent a fight today.

We begin with the breaking news. What Israeli military officials are calling a, quote, "precise" and targeted operation at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. It is both Gaza's largest hospital and, according to Israel, a base for Hamas fighters in tunnels underneath.

Just today, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said that American intelligence supported this view. And I'm quoting him now, "Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad use some hospitals in the Gaza Strip, including Al-Shifa, and tunnels underneath them to conceal and support their military operations, and to hold hostages. He added, "Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad members operate a command- and-control node from Al-Shifa in Gaza City. They've stored weapons there, and they are prepared to respond to an Israeli military operation against that facility."

All of this coming as Israel's defense minister claimed Hamas has lost control in the northern Gaza Strip. It also comes with the negotiators trying to reach a deal on releasing a large number of the more than 200 hostages now being held by Hamas and others.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now. He is in Sderot, just across the border from Gaza.

So, Nic, you were at a hospital yesterday that you got to with the IDF. What more do we know tonight about this operation the IDF is carrying out at Shifa Hospital?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, precise and targeted operation is what -- is how they're describing it. They're saying it's based on intelligence, information, and operational necessity.

They say that they have people trained, medics trained, and Arabic language specialists trained for what is going to be a complex operation, is how they describe it. And reiterated what they've been saying many times, that Hamas has been using this hospital as a base of operations of sorts. And they say that they gave a 12-hour warning in the past 24 hours to Hamas, saying leave and surrender. This was not taken up apparently.

The explosions you're hearing behind me, they're are part of an ongoing operation a little bit further north than where Al-Shifa Hospital is. This has been going on all through the day.

But when -- but precisely on the hospital, the IDF is saying that they are not targeting patients or doctors. They say they've released this information in Arabic. It's not clear how many patients or doctors in Al-Shifa Hospital are able to get this message, but it says they're not targeting patients or doctors that they will be organizing evacuations, that they do plan to help the medical staff with the medical necessities there, that they will be possibly helping with the transfer of incubators and the provision of incubators for young children later in the day. And they also -- they have a message as well for the civilians who are hiding out there in the hospital, saying they are not being targeted either.

So this is very clearly from the IDF's perspective aimed precisely at Hamas. How this unfolds in the middle of the night in a military operation where there is the potential for Hamas to fire back and fire on the troops in the facility of possibly civilians, possibly medical staff, possibly patients is going to be very, very difficult given the levels of fear and concern on both sides. The civilians there will be obviously terrified about the situation. They've been aware that the IDF has been positioned around the hospital for a number of days now.


ROBERTSON: So this is a very complex and will be difficult operation.


COOPER: So, Nic, the hospital you were at yesterday, can you just talk about what you saw and how visible would that -- the -- I believe it was placed -- they were stockpiling weapons and other things. Talk about what you saw. How visible would it be to anybody coming and going in that hospital? Is that something that people in the hospital, doctors, staff, I mean, I assume they would have been aware of that?

ROBERTSON: So in the hospital there, they say that they have been -- subsequent to our visit, we've been in touch with the medical authorities from that hospital. And they say that in the basement of the hospital, which is where we visited, families had been sheltering, civilians from the neighborhood had been sheltering because they felt that the hospital was a safer place to be.

It would seem from what we saw that the basement would have been accessible from the rest of the building, and there's no reason that most activities in the basement would have been known to the hospital authorities.

It's hard to say from our visit if Hamas or other groups could have operated out there without the hospital staff knowing. They say there wasn't any operation. There weren't any Hamas operatives there in the basement that have cast doubt on the information that the IDF has provided and some of the things that the IDF pointed out to them were suspicious about the weapons that were found there, about, you know, a chair. There was a woman's clothing on the chair. There was a rope around the legs of the chair.

And I asked the IDF spokesman, when he showed this to us, if he thought that meant hostages have been there. He said, we're going to do DNA testing to see if that's -- if that is the case. He didn't say definitively it was the case.

But what he was showing us purported, he believed, to show an area where hostages had been kept, a makeshift toilet facility there, which did look out of place and, again, would have been hard, I think, for hospital staff not to have been aware of this makeshift toilet.

But it's impossible to know definitively in a short space of time in the dark precisely what hospital staff may have known and precisely what else there may be in other parts of the hospital or even in other areas of the basement we didn't get to, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Nic, we're going come back to you momentarily.

First, we're joined by IDF Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner. Colonel Lerner, appreciate your time tonight. Can you just talk about this -- what Israel is calling a precise and targeted operation in Al- Shifa Hospital?

LIEUTENANT COLONEL PETER LERNER, IDF SPOKESPERSON: Thanks, Anderson. Yes, indeed, we are conducting our operations in the Shifa compound. And as you've been showing throughout the course of the day, it is a huge compound. And I think what is important to identify in our announcement, we said localized and specific -- in a specific location. So we're not overrunning the hospital, but we are conducting a very precise and targeted operation against a specific location where we have intelligence and, indeed, operational necessity in order to defeat Hamas and perhaps rescue hostages.

COOPER: And what do you believe is there? I mean, the -- Admiral Kirby had talked about a command node.

LERNER: Anderson, we've been sharing for -- with the world for weeks now what we understand is a substantial Hamas command-and-control position, a place of operations, a place of hiding, and perhaps a place of keeping the hostages, holding the hostages or some hostages.

And so when we are mobilizing and it's precisely to achieve our military goals, the military goals of this war, you know, we're in day -- oh, we're into day 40 now of this war, a war we didn't ask for, a war that cost over 1,200 Israeli lives and 240 Israelis are being held hostage. So our goal is to bring them home. Our goal is to seek out Hamas wherever they're hiding. And the hospital and the hospital compound is one place, a central place, a central hub of their operations, perhaps even the beating heart, and maybe even a center of gravity.

We have to deal with the threat. And what we've been trying to do throughout the -- extensively over the last few days, and you've covered it, we've been trying to evacuate the hospital. We've bought fuel for the essential services. We've been trying and attempting to bring incubators -- mobile incubators to try and get some of those babies out of the hospital, because the people of Gaza are not our enemy. Hamas is the enemy.

And that is why we're trying to -- and extensively operating in order to distinguish between the civilians that Nic was talking about and the Hamas terrorists that are using the hospital and jeopardizing those people.


COOPER: If, in fact, you -- the IDF and US intelligence is correct and, this is an important hub or a command-control node, whatever one wants to call it, that would mean that Palestinian health officials who have often quoted have been lying when they said that there is no military at this hospital. I mean, is there any way that you believe health officials, reporters who linger outside the hospital with cameras, doctors, people work in the hospital would not be aware of what was going on the grounds of Al-Shifa?

LERNER: So when you say "health officials," we have to always add one word beforehand, Hamas health officials ...

COOPER: That's a given.

LERNER: ... so they are, first of all, Hamas health officials. So it frames the whole discussion, would they hide it? Can they hide it? Are they free to even speak? The Rantisi hospital is actually named after one of the founders of Hamas. So this is the context of the conflict. Hamas, over the last 16 years, have built this mercy -- this machine of murder. They've utilized all the tools of government. So the health authorities are just one of those tools.

It would not beyond -- be beyond the understanding that the Hamas terrorist organization that utilize, and abuse, and put at risk the people of Gaza through its health ministry and officials would lie to the world. Why wouldn't they? They butcher babies in our bedrooms. Why wouldn't they lie to the world about this?

COOPER: There are -- do you have a sense of how many staff, how many patients are still on the compound and what that means for this operation? I mean, how -- the complexity of it.

LERNER: So the complexity of it, of course, there are hours thought suggestions based on the information. And we have been in touch with the hospital administration throughout the last days. We've shared the recordings of the conversations publicly.

We understand that there are about a thousand people, give or take, but they're not in necessarily the specific location. They're definitely not all of them are in the specific location that we are conducting our operation currently. So there may be some civilians, and it may -- and it, obviously, is a complex operation.

But we are going out of our way in order to mitigate that threat. And that is why we've announced, we've informed, we've had open channels. We've tried to facilitate and bring down the amount of people and tens of thousands of people that were taking refuge in the hospital just two weeks ago are no longer there. They've left to go south -- to south Gaza.

Yes, the civilians are a challenge, and this is why. We trained for this operation, as Nic pointed out. We have doctors and also Arabic speakers in order to address some of those threats.

You know, we need to take into consideration. We are a professional military. Our principles guide us -- the principles that guide us are proportionality, but also distinction and the military necessity of the operation. And there's no doubt, based on the intelligence that we've shared and the US have shared over the last day that there is a military necessity in this operation.

COOPER: Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, thank you. Appreciate it. I'll go back to CNN's ...


COOPER: ... Nic Robertson in Sderot. Also joining us CNN's Military Analyst, Retired Army Four-Star General Wesley Clark.

General Clark, you know, you're talking about proportionality and necessity. Can you just talk about that a little bit? Just from a military standpoint, in all wars when there are civilians around and there are targets of -- that are believed to be of military necessity, there are calculations essentially done about how valuable is the target, what is the risk of civilian loss, and how much civilian loss is acceptable. And these are horrible calculations that are -- but these are calculations that armies make during war. A situation like this operating on the grounds on a hospital has got to be extraordinarily difficult.

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: sure. And you're exactly right, Anderson, about the way you cast it. You know what the target is, you know how valuable it is, you try to estimate what the risks are of hurting civilians, and then you have to make the judgment of whether the target, going after the target, taking out the target is worth the risk of injuring people who are innocent and not part of the enemy force.

But here, you're dealing with the command-and-control node of Hamas. You're dealing with Hamas that has deliberately, cynically located its most valuable assets in a hospital, deliberately to try to provoke outrage in the world community and discredit Israel.

Israelis know this. They've got really great intel on this. When those soldiers go in in armored vehicles first, and then dismounted into the buildings, and it is a very complex compound, as you saw from the overhead cover.

They'll have helicopters. They'll have drones overhead. They'll be able to mark enemy positions with lasers. They'll be able to deliver precise fire if there is an opponent there.


And then they've got to go inside. And if Hamas is there, yes, there could be a shootout in a hospital corridor. And they're going have to get to the bottom of it. And they're going to have to search for the tunnel entrances around it.

So every -- at every step, the soldier on the ground, the tank commander and so forth is at risk. He is putting himself out there.

He is likely to draw fire. He has the right to self-defense, no matter what, always. And he is going to respond if he is attacked, but he's got a lot of assets backing him up, a lot of the eyes on the battlefield. So it's everything that can be possibly be done to protect civilians and still go after the command-and-control at the hospital.

And the Israelis, militarily, they have to do this, Anderson.

COOPER: One of the things I'm surprised there is not more outrage out internationally about is that Hamas had two years, say, preparing this attack or a year. However long it was, we don't know the exact amount of time that they've been preparing. But certainly, they've been preparing for quite some time.

They have not made any effort to build any bomb shelter for any civilian, it seems, in the Gaza Strip. They built tunnels for themselves to store supplies and weapons and to protect themselves, but there are not bomb shelters, even the kind of -- the shelters that you see on the sides of road in Israel by bus stops to protect against rockets. There -- those don't exist on the streets of Gaza.

Have -- in your military experience, have you seen many countries or territories with a military that does not prepare or have some sort of safe harbor for its civilians?

CLARK: Well, no. But on the other hand, Hamas deliberately wants these civilians to be at risk.

COOPER: Well, that's -- I mean, that's the point, yes. But I still find it stunning that that doesn't seem to register with a lot of people.

CLARK: Well, the thing about it, Anderson, is we call Hamas a terrorist organization, but it's actually the government of this Gaza Strip. They're in charge of everything, the hospitals ...

COOPER: Right, and they have had received hundreds of millions of dollars from Qatar and other places, and they have not built any bomb shelters for their people.

CLARK: Right, because they're not interested in protecting their people. They're interested in provoking international outrage against Israel. They knew that when they launched this attack. And they hope to draw Israel in, bog Israel down, cause a lot of casualties, do exactly what they're doing with world opinion.

They have a lot of voices out there saying "ceasefire, ceasefire, ceasefire," and try to stop the Israeli assault, and then declare victory. That's the goal. And so the more civilian casualties that the Israelis inflict, even though they don't want to inflict any, the greater Hamas believes its chances of success.

COOPER: And, Nic, I mean, it's accurate to say that the health officials in Gaza have denied repeatedly that Al-Shifa Hospital or others are being used by Hamas for any -- I don't even want to call it military purposes because -- I mean, for any of their own purposes.

ROBERTSON: They have, and it's something health officials in Gaza -- Hamas-run health officials say is true for other hospitals there.

We've been -- CNN has been speaking with officials from the hospital over the last few days. And just going through our latest information on that, it appears the most recent over the past couple of days data that we have from the hospital itself, from Al-Shifa Hospital, they say there are about 7,000 civilians taking refuge there, or there were until recently. It's not clear how many of those might have left. And about 1,500 staff, 100 or so doctors, other medical officials, and included in that 1,500, of course, several hundred patients as well as sort of support staff in the hospital. So it's still a big complex, a complex complex, and it still appears a significant number of people working there.

You would have to assume that these health officials would have knowledge of the whole complex. There's a lot of people there and would have knowledge of the nooks and crannies of it, if you will. There wouldn't be places that they wouldn't know about within the hospital complex. So they continue to say Hamas isn't there.


COOPER: Right. But I mean, that's the enduring ...

ROBERTSON: The question about all position ...

COOPER: ... thing about operating ...


COOPER: I mean, anybody who has operated -- who has reported from Gaza know -- I mean, you see rockets being fired from civilian areas. You see rockets being fired from, you know, the building where you're -- the building -- you know, the time I was -- last time I was in Gaza, I could see where rockets were being fired from in buildings nearby me.

People -- you know, even the doctors in the hospitals know Hamas, Islamic jihad and others are firing rockets over their hospitals, but they don't speak out about it because they don't want to get killed. I mean, they -- obviously nobody speaks out against Hamas for fear of their own safety, that maybe they agree with Hamas, maybe they don't.

And a lot of people don't in Gaza, don't like Hamas, but people don't speak out. But people know -- I mean, they know where the tunnels' locations are or where the rockets are being fired from. You can see it.

ROBERTSON: And this is -- in a nutshell, people -- oh, sorry, people are scared. I mean, be -- when Hamas was voted in by the electorate in Gaza to power in 2006, 2007, they went around throwing out windows of high buildings the political opposition. And they might have won an election in 2006, but they've maintained control ever since through fear and intimidation.

They might have a hard-core base of supporters there who ...


ROBERTSON: ... you know, who genuinely believe in them, but the vast majority of people would not want to speak out against them, would fear speaking out against them.

Like you, Anderson, I've been to Gaza and had those private conversations away from cameras with people who will tell you precisely that, we are too afraid to speak out. Hamas has done this to me, Hamas has done that to me.

COOPER: I mean, the last time I was there ...

ROBERTSON: And me and my family.

COOPER: ... I watched -- the last time I was there, I watched as Hamas -- two guys on motor bikes dragged two human beings along on the ground, their legs tied together with rope or chains to the motor bikes, and they were dragging them through the streets as a warning to other people. I don't know what those people had been accused of, but they were Palestinians, and they were dead. And they were being dragged -- they were accused probably of being collaborators, and they dragged them through the streets as a warning to everybody else to stay silent and to not, you know, collaborate.

We're over time. Nic Robertson, thank you. General Wesley Clark, thank you as well.

Coming up next, my conversation with the parents of Hersh Goldberg- Polin about their son who is still being held hostage, we believe, last seen with half of his left arm blown off being loaded into a pickup truck.

Later, a day unlike most, if not many, at the Capitol, a Republican voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy saying McCarthy elbowed him in the kidney in the halls of Congress. The NPR reporter who saw it happened joins us.



COOPER: Israel's military operation tonight at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City who's aimed an IDF spokesman a moment ago told me that specific targets within the hospital compound, which is a large compound, not overrunning the entire facility, he said. Now, this is coming with negotiations under way to try to secure the release of some 240 hostages still being held. No word on exactly who is being held or exactly how many. The Red Cross has not been allowed to visit any of these hostages.

Earlier today, President Biden expressed optimism about those talks.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've been talking with the people involved every single day. I believe it's going to happen, but I don't want to get any detail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your message for the families?

BIDEN: Hang in there. We're coming.


COOPER: Well, some of those families were in Washington today, part of a solidarity for Israel rally, which drew tens of thousands to the national mall, among them the parents of Hersh Goldberg-Polin. His mom Rachel spoke today.


RACHEL GOLDBERG, SON ABDUCTED BY HAMAS AT ISRAELI MUSIC FESTIVAL: Families have lived the last 39 days in slow motion torment. For 38 nights, none of us have slept the real sleep of the before. We all have third-degree burns on our souls. Our hearts are bruised and seeping with misery. But the real souls suffering are those of the hostages. Why is the world accepting that 240 human beings from almost 30 countries have been stolen and buried alive?


COOPER: Hersh Goldberg-Polin, her son is 23 years old. That's him. He was attending the Nova Music Festival with his friend, Aner Shapira, when Hamas attacked. Aner Shapira was killed inside that bomb shelter.

Hersh was last seen in video we've shown before in which we should warn you is graphic. In it, you can see that part of Hersh's left arm has been blown off by a grenade, several of which were thrown by Hamas gunmen into that bomb shelter where he and as many as 28 other people were hiding. He was then loaded into the back of a pickup truck and is presumed to now be a hostage in Gaza.

Well, we've since obtained new video of what happened outside that bomb shelter, evidence of his friend Aner Shapira's remarkable heroism in the last moments of his life. In it, you'll see Hamas gunmen tossing one grenade after another into this bomb shelter where, as I said, as many as 29 people including Hersh and Aner were trying to hide.

Somebody was throwing grenades back out. For each grenade that was tossed in, someone was picking it up and throwing it back out. And multiple eyewitnesses have said the person who was throwing those grenades back out was Aner Shapira. We've edited the sequence for time. Take a look.


(HAMAS GUNMEN throwing bombs to a bomb shelter.)


COOPER: You know, we all wonder what we would do in a situation like that, 29 people in a small little room. Would we be the person who is standing in the doorway, knowing that you were the first one who was going to be shot or the first one killed if they came in, would you have the courage to pick up a live grenade and throw it back out not just once, not just twice, five times?

At least one grenade eventually did make it through, and it went off, and it killed Aner Shapira, who had saved so many others. It killed as many as 20 other people, according to Rachel Goldberg.


I spoke -- maybe 18 to 19. The exact number is not clear. It's not clear exactly how many survived. But I talked to Rachel and her husband, Jon Polin, earlier tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Rachel, we've just shown this video, which I saw for the first time today, in which we see five grenades that have been thrown into the bomb shelter where your son, Hersch, and as many as 28 other people were hiding. And we see five grenades being tossed back out.

And I know, according to eyewitnesses who you've spoken to, it was a friend of your son's, Aner Shapiro, who was actually tossing those grenades back out. To see that, it's just extraordinary.

GOLDBERG: Amazing. He is a true hero. And I said to his mother because we just had, you know, in the Jewish tradition, 30 days after the funeral is the family traditionally goes to visit the grave and a lot of people come to support the family. And we just had that on Sunday.

And I was telling his mother how I'm so sad that there's not a word stronger than hero because I really feel that -- and they talked a lot about it, and they have a picture, which I don't know if we've shared with you, of all the young people. He had told them all to get down. So there's a heap of young people and just Aner standing in the doorway, just him by himself.

And it was so obvious that he knew he was going to die. But he was going to defend these people on the way, and that's exactly what happened. And there are 11 people, well for sure there are 8 people who are alive today sleeping at home because of Aner. And Hersch and two other young men, God willing, are alive in Gaza and will come home because of Aner. It's unbelievable what he did.

COOPER: John, this is the second trip you both have made since the terror attack on October 7th to the U.S. Why did you want to come to speak -- and speak at today's rally?

JON POLIN, SON ABDUCTED BY HAMAS AT ISRAELI MUSIC FESTIVAL: Yes. So, well, first of all, it was Rachel who spoke at today's rally. And as she always has in the last 39 days, she spoke eloquently and powerfully in a way that motivated people and hopefully motivated them to take action.

But, first of all, we need to just keep on getting the story of Hersch and the hostages out there. And today, we had an audience of what seems like it was somewhere close to 300,000 people who came to be part of the story and to hopefully take action on it.

COOPER: Rachel, I want to play something that you said today at the rally where you told a story about a man who hid Jews during the Holocaust. And when he was asked why he did such a dangerous act, this was his answer. Let's listen.


GOLDBERG: At least I will know when I die and stand before God. He will not ask me what he asked Cain in the Bible. Where were you when your brother's blood cried out from the ground? What the world needs to start thinking about today is, what will your excuse be?

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Do you feel like Hersch, the rest of the people being held hostage, who nobody has even identified, the Red Cross hasn't been able to visit. There's no confirmation of life or names of anybody. Do you feel like they are being failed by the world?

GOLDBERG: I do, I do. I think, you know, it's not even so much that they're being failed by the world, which I think is obvious. I think we as human beings are failing to be the aspiring humane beings we claim to be. I think we have tremendous potential. I don't think that people are ignoring the 240 human beings that are buried under Gaza because they hate them.

I think they're doing it because they're indifferent. And, in fact, I would even go further. There were some people who we were introduced to today. Government officials who we were introduced to today who said to me when I introduced myself and I said my son is an American civilian who is wounded, who was kidnapped from a music festival, and I started to have a conversation with this gentleman.

And he said, so how often do they let you talk to him? And it was such a slap to understand that people in our government --

COOPER: A U.S. official said that?

GOLDBERG: -- don't really even -- oh, yes.


And it was a real slap to realize that not everyone in the American government even understands what happened. And that -- forget about the 240 for just a moment. We have 10 American civilians who are part of that group and to have American officials who 39 days in don't even understand what actually happened and what is continuing to happen was really shocking, shocking.

COOPER: President Biden said today that a deal to free the hostages being held by Hamas is, quote, "going to happen". I understand you plan to meet with the Biden administration's top hostage negotiator, Roger Carstens, while in Washington. You know, you've talked in the past about finding hope wherever you can. Jon, you alluded to this before. Is this a glimmer of hope?

POLIN: It is, but I feel like for weeks now, we've been hearing murmurs of deals for some number of people, for children, for the elderly, and we haven't seen it yet. So as I keep saying, that's great that people are talking about it, it's great that maybe there will be a deal. Until the hostages come back to their loved ones, we can't stop.

We can't rely on maybe a deal happening. I hope it happens. I hope it happens for all 240. But until it does, we have no choice but to continue to pound away at what we're doing.

COOPER: Rachel, today is Tuesday. On Friday -- the last time we talked in Jerusalem, you talked about a Friday night you went out on the balcony and you said the blessing for your son. Is that something you do every Friday?

GOLDBERG: I do every Friday night. Go out on my porch, and I shout that blessing to Hersch, and it's always very hard for me. It's very emotional and I will keep on doing it until he comes home, or I have any reason that I shouldn't be doing it anymore. And I really would love for Hersch to have peace.

I can't imagine what he and all of those hostages are going through. And, you know, I can't wait for the day that I can do that blessing the way that we traditionally do it, which is you put both your hands on the head of your child.

COOPER: Rachel Goldberg, Jon Polin, thank you so much.

GOLDBERG: Thank you.

POLIN: Thank you.


COOPER: Just ahead, go to Capitol Hill, the scene of one alleged elbowing today and one near brawl. The first was witnessed by a reporter with NPR. She joins us next and we'll talk to Senator Bernie Sanders about what he stepped into ahead.



COOPER: Two altercations on Capitol Hill involving Republicans. We want to tell you about that speak to the tension and mood there. One broken up by Senator Bernie Sanders, who joins us in a moment. The other between two House Republicans, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Tennessee's Tim Burchett.

Burchett was one of the eight House Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy as speaker. Now this incident happened in the halls of the Capitol as a reporter for NPR was interviewing Congressman Burchett. Here's the NPR audio of what happened next.


REP. TIM BURCHETT (R), TENNESSEE: Yes, I think it went all right.


BURCHETT: Sorry, Kevin, didn't mean to elbow -- why'd you elbow me in the back, Kevin? Hey, Kevin, you got any guts? Jerk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has he done that before?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a new move.

BURCHETT: I'm going to go talk to him. Hey, Kevin, why'd you walk by me and elbow me in the back?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: I did not elbow you in the back.

BURCHETT: You got no guts. You did so. They sat there -- the reporter said it, right there. What kind of chicken move is that?

MCCARTHY: I did not.

BURCHETT: You're pathetic, man. You are so pathetic. What a jerk. You need security, Kevin.


COOPER: Burchett later spoke to our Manu Raju about what happened. Here's what he said.


BURCHETT: I got elbowed in the back and it kind of caught me off guard because it was a clean shot to the kidneys. And I turned back and there was Kevin. I chased after him, of course. He's a -- as I've stated many times, he's a bully with $17 million in a security detail. You know, he's the type of guy that, when you're a kid, would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his mama's skirt.


COOPER: Burchett also told CNN that he was still in a little bit of pain. Now, McCarthy has been denied -- has denied that he intentionally shoved him or elbowed him. He said, quote, "I didn't shove or elbow him. It's a tight hallway". Burchett had told CNN he doesn't buy McCarthy's explanation.

Congressman Matt Gaetz, who led the charge to oust McCarthy, has filed a formal ethics complaint against him, something any member of Congress can do, whether or not they actually witnessed the incident.

I'm joined now by NPR reporter who did witness the incident, Claudia Grisales. So, Claudia, what did you see?

CLAUDIA GRISALES, NPR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good to be with you, Anderson. It was just a very shocking moment. This is our very routine mornings when we go up to the Capitol on Tuesday mornings when the Republican conference, for example, was meeting nearby.

I was hoping to talk to Republicans leaving that meeting, and I saw Burchett coming up that hallway away from the meeting room where Republicans were moments before. He came to the side of the hallway to talk to me and he had a moment to speak to me before, as you heard in that audio you played, until he was shoved.

He lunged towards me in that moment. I thought maybe initially it was a joke and I looked up, I saw it was McCarthy surrounded by his detail. I could tell by Burchett's response soon after it was not a joke at all. COOPER: So, was it a very tight corridor and, I mean, do you buy McCarthy's explanation?

GRISALES: Well, these are tight hallways, that is correct. These are small hallways, but we're trained as journalists who go into those hallways to make sure to clear a path. That's something that's repeated to us continuously by staffers with the media gallery to remind us that members and others need to have access to get from that room, that conference room to the rest of the Capitol, through tunnels to other House buildings, to the House chamber and what have you.

So we had moved to the side. There was room for McCarthy and his detail to go through without bumping or shoving into anyone.

COOPER: So I don't know, were you looking down or, I mean, did you actually see an elbow or a shove?

GRISALES: So, as the group was walking away, I could see all of these suits from behind walking down the hallway. And what appeared to me was that someone had pulled their arm in from the group. It appeared to me to be McCarthy, who had just made contact with Burchett.


COOPER: So you think you saw the moment after of an elbow --

GRISALES: Exactly.

COOPER: -- being moved back?

GRISALES: Exactly, yes.

COOPER: You've been covering Capitol Hill for several years now. I mean, how does this compare to other periods where tensions have been running high?

GRISALES: Right. This is probably the lowest in terms of what we're seeing between members, even within their own conference, specifically House Republicans. It's something I've been paying close attention --

COOPER: The lowest, you mean the worst.

GRISALES: The worst. The worst. This is something I've been paying more close attention to. Most recently, I was writing about it last week in terms of what we're seeing when it comes to intraparty fighting for House Republicans.

And the concern I've had, I've expressed to my colleagues, is that it would become physical. We would see physical altercations between members, and it was just surreal to see that play out right in front of my eyes today.

COOPER: Yes. Claudia Grisales, thanks so much. I appreciate it.

GRISALES: Thank you. COOPER: Next, that other altercation we mentioned was literally go time between a former MMA fighter turned senator and the head of the Teamsters during Senate testimony today. That is until Senator Bernie Sanders stepped in to stop it. Senator Sanders joins us next.


COOPER: That other altercation on Capitol Hill we mentioned a moment ago occurred during a Senate hearing on economic issues.


Oklahoma Republican Markwayne Mullin had taken offense to tweets directed toward him by the witness Teamsters General President Sean O'Brien after a heated exchange between the two during testimony earlier this year.

One of the tweets from June read in part, quote, "Quit the tough guy act in the Senate hearings. You know where to find me any place, any time, cowboy". Senator Mullin, who we should point out, is a former mixed martial arts fighter, read that one aloud and then this happened.


REP. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R), OKLAHOMA: If you want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here.


MULLIN: You want to do it now?

O'BRIEN: I'd love to do it right now.

MULLIN: Well, stand your butt up then.

O'BRIEN: You stand your butt up.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), VERMONT: Oh, hold it. Oh, stop it.

O'BRIEN: Is that your solution?

SANDERS: No, no, sit down. Sit down. You know, you're a United States Senator.

O'BRIEN: Act it.


SANDERS: Sit down, please.

MULLIN: All right.

O'BRIEN: Can I respond?

SANDERS: Hold it. Hold it. If we can't -- no, I have the mic, I'm sorry. Hold it.

MULLIN: This is what he said.

SANDERS: You'll have your time.


O'BRIEN: Can I respond?

SANDERS: No, you can't. This is a hearing, and God knows the American people have enough contempt for Congress. Let's not make it worse.

MULLIN: I don't like thugs and bullies.


O'BRIEN: I don't like you, because you just described yourself.

SANDERS: Hold it.


COOPER: Senator Sanders, the chairman of the Senate Health, Labor, Education, and Pensions Committee you just saw there, joins us now. Senator Sanders, have you seen a time like this before? I mean, what's going through your mind when this is happening in front of you?

SANDERS: Well, it's pretty pathetic. I mean, we have a United States senator challenging a, you know, a member of the panel who is the head of one of the larger unions in America, which has just negotiated a very good contract for their workers, Teamsters.

You know, I think, and the point that I try to make there is, you know, this country, Anderson, faces so many crises. We have massive income and wealth inequality. We have a housing crisis. Our healthcare system is, you know, almost collapsing. It's broken. It's dysfunctional.

We pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Climate change is threatening the entire existence of the planet. And this is what goes on in a Senate hearing. And that's why, you know, the American people are getting sick and tired of what goes on here in Congress.

What that hearing was about is a matter of fact. And, by the way, you know, it might be nice for the media to pay attention to really what the hearing was about, is that workers all over this country are standing up and fighting back against corporate greed. Unions like the UAW, the Teamsters, others are winning good contracts.

And what the message of the hearing was about is that if we're going to rebuild a disappearing middle class workers should be joining unions and taking on large corporations who are making record breaking profits. CEOs now make 350 times what their workers are making. That's what the hearing was about, not, you know, a senator getting into a fight with a union leader. COOPER: Is this a sign -- I mean, look, the Senate is the -- or, you know, supposed to be the adults. I mean, the Senate is, you know, the august body of debate and, you know, decorum. I mean, is what's -- you know, we've seen in the House, the sort of, not a lot of policy being discussed, but people looking for soundbites and people looking to, you know, have -- be outraged about something and have clicks and tweet out stuff. Do you see that seeping into the Senate?

SANDERS: Well, I do, and I got to say, Anderson, the media plays its role. There was not much coverage of what Shawn Fain of the UAW had to say about the work that they did to raise wages for workers in the automobile industry, which, by the way, trickled into the non-union plants as well. Wasn't a whole lot to be seen about what Sean O'Brien, what Sara Nelson had to say from the flight attendants.

So I think if we're going to look at the problem, media plays a role too. You tell me, isn't media more interested in a confrontation? Then why we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality?

So I hope we all get it together. Congress, media, let us ask ourselves why it is that after 50 years, the average worker today is earning less in real dollars than 50 years ago. While the people on top are doing phenomenally well. That to me is kind of an important issue that maybe Congress should be discussing, media should be covering.

COOPER: Do you think that issue is playing a big enough role in the public debate in terms -- as we go into this election?

SANDERS: No. Of course not.

COOPER: I mean, are the Democrats making that front and center enough?

SANDERS: No, it is not. I mean, look, I have said over and over again in Democratic caucus on media, that if the Democrats want to do well in 2024, they have got to make it clear which side they are on.


When the people on top are doing phenomenally well, while 60 percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. You know, people, half a million people sleeping out on the streets. Crime has gone up. We have got to make it clear that we are prepared to stand with the working class of this country and take on the corporate greed, which has been so very destructive.

Record breaking profits for Corporate America. CEOs 350 times earnings of what their workers are making. We have got to make it clear which side we're on. If you're asking me whether the Democrats have been as strong as they should be in doing that, the answer is no.

COOPER: I also just want to get your reaction to the latest developments out of Israel and Gaza. The IDF carrying out an operation at Al-Shifa Hospital, U.S. Intelligence Admiral Kirby saying -- agreeing, it seems, with what the IDF has been saying about there being a Hamas command and control node on the grounds of or underneath Al-Shifa Hospital. What are your concerns?

SANDERS: Well, my concerns is that we are in a -- I mean, really unspeakably horrible situation. Hamas begins the war with a terrorist attack, kills 1,300 Israelis. If Israel had the population of the United States, there'd be over 40,000 people dead. Horrible.

And then Israel responds by doing what seems to me to be clear indiscriminate bombing. I mean, bombing, not tactical bombing, but bombings that are killing children and going into refugee camps, and that has got to stop.

So where we are right now is we are looking at a humanitarian disaster. One and a half million people. Can you imagine? A million and a half people, that's twice the size of the state of Vermont, have been displaced from their homes. Nobody knows where they're going to go, and they don't have enough food, they don't have enough water, they don't have enough medical supplies.

So what I am trying to do, along with other members of the Senate, is create a situation where we can have a massive influx of humanitarian aid going into the area. There has to be a cessation of the bombing so that that aid can go in. And long term, you know, long term, we have got to tell the Netanyahu government there will be a two-state solution that the extreme right-wing in the Israeli government right now cannot continue its racist, anti-Palestinian rhetoric.

So there's an enormous amount of work to be doing. But bottom line is, we have got to do everything we can to bring peace to the region and some long-term solutions.

COOPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, appreciate your time. Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you very much.

COOPER: We'll be right back.


COOPER: That's it for us. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now. See you tomorrow.