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Interview with Former Acting U.S. Solicitor General and Georgetown Law Professor Neal Katyal; Interview with CNN Legal Analyst, Former House Judiciary Special Counsel in Trump's First Impeachment Trial and Former White House Ethics Czar Norm Eisen; Interview with CNN Senior Political Commentator and Republican Strategist and Former Trump Campaign Adviser David Urban; Biden Speaks at White House about Trump Verdict; Biden Remarks on the Middle East; Israel Offering Proposal for Gaza Ceasefire Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 31, 2024 - 13:00   ET



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.


ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The only voice that matters is the voice of the jury and the jury has spoken.


GOLODRYGA: The world reels as Former President Trump is found guilty on all counts in his hush money case. We cover all the angles. First, the

legal view with former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal.

Then, what happened inside the courtroom with Norm Eisen, who had been present throughout the case?

And --


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): This is a justice system that haunts Republicans while protecting Democrats.


GOLODRYGA: -- as Republicans round on the U.S. justice system, how will Trump respond? I asked David Urban, who served as an advisor on both of the

former president's previous campaigns.

Plus, Trump's next jury, American voters. Former Republican Strategist Sarah Longwell tells me how conservative voters are reacting to this


Also, ahead, Republican historian Tim Naftali talks to Hari Sreenivasan about the historic nature of this moment.

Welcome to the program, everyone, on this historic Friday. I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.

Well, splash across newspapers the world over this news of the first ever criminal conviction of a former U.S. president in a unanimous verdict on

Thursday. A New York jury finding Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, guilty on 34 counts.

Now, a convicted felon, he was charged with falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels. And

now, Trump could face prison time. He will be sentenced on July 11th, just days before the Republican National Convention anoints him their official

candidate for president for the third time.

We'll be covering this story throughout our program today, and we start with the facts of the case itself, what happened, how, and what happens

next. Neal Katyal served as acting U.S. solicitor general and has argued many cases before the Supreme Court, which is soon to decide on Trump's

potential immunity over allegations that he tried to overturn the 2020 election results. Incidentally, we could ultimately see this specific case

go to the Supreme Court as well, given that Trump is planning to appeal it.

Neal joins the program now to help explain the legal ins and outs of this unprecedented moment. We describe a lot of current events as unprecedented,

Neil, but we can't overstate the moment today. What we heard from that jury yesterday after nearly 10 hours of deliberations, the fact that you had 12

of the former president's peers convict on all 34 counts.

We've seen obviously to be expected given the polarization in this country to rather extreme reactions. One saying that the rule of law works in this

system, that the justice system works and that no one is above the law. Obviously, the other response far different, far darker, saying that this

was a corrupt system, that this was a witch hunt. Explain for us your interpretation, your legal interpretation of how this verdict came down.

NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL AND GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR: So, thank you, Bianna. I think I would summarize what happened

yesterday with three words, 34 for 45. So, 34 counts, all adjudicated guilty of the former president of the United States, the 45th president.

And I think what's most significant, Bianna, is that these are not misdemeanor counts. These are felonies, serious things. The prosecutor, Mr.

Steinglass, in his closing, told the jury, look, this allowed Trump to cover up where he was getting his campaign finance contributions from in

just a few days before the election, and very well may have swung the election in 2016 for Donald Trump.

Another really important thing, I think it's being reported, that, well, he was found guilty of 34 counts, you used a word that I want to highlight.

You said it's unanimous. And that is right. The jury unanimously found so, which is what New York law requires to convict someone of a felony. And

they did so under the most difficult standard for prosecutors to meet, the highest standard in the law, burden of proof, it's called beyond a

reasonable doubt.


And Trump had three fantastic lawyers at his trial on his side. He presented his defense and he lost and he lost unanimously and he lost

beyond a reasonable doubt. So, when you hear people now trying to tear the system down and say, oh, the jury is biased and so on, remember that the

jury had to make those findings, all 12, against the backdrop of these legal standards.

And like notably, one of the jurors, juror number two, said in the questionnaire, the only news source that this person looks at, not "New

York Times" or Fox News or Newsmax or MSNBC or even CNN or PBS, one source only, Trump Social, Trump's website, and that person voted to convict.

GOLODRYGA: And as you know, Neal, there had been a lot of frustration and concern and even those describing this case as the weakest, the least

significant of the four that the former president was facing, and obviously this one, the only one that we're likely to see go to trial before the


You said these are felonies, but we should note they are low level felonies in the State of New York. He may very well not even be sentenced to prison

time. This is a case that the DOJ decided not to bring up, that Alvin Bragg's predecessors decided not to bring up. What do you say to those who

are making that specific argument, that, yes, the jury did their job, but this was not a case worthy of going to trial given the defendant here?

KATYAL: Well, I certainly agree that the January 6th trials in Georgia and at the federal level are more significant. I mean, I can't -- I'm hard-

pressed to imagine something more significant than a president as president trying to launch a coup to keep himself in power. I don't think that, like,

gets them off the hook for other terrible conduct.

And here, you're right, they're low-level felonies. And sometimes, really serious crimes turn out to be low-level felonies, and it just depends on

the facts. Here the facts, and this is what I think Mr. Steinglass, in his closing, did so well at illuminating. Yes, it's a low-level felony, but

it's a low-level felony with the most huge of consequences, possibly swinging the presidential election.

And the idea that New York like doesn't prosecute these crimes, it's totally poppycock to use the technical legal term. You know, this D.A. has

prosecuted dozens of those cases on much weaker, you know, facts and so on, just in the last year. So, I don't buy that.

And this is really Trump's M.O., his modus operandi, which is to throw so many different crimes, so many different outrageous statements at everyone,

the American voters and everyone else, you kind of lose track and you get a nerd. The jury didn't lose track. The jury didn't get a nerd. And it's

really significant that you have someone convicted now of 34 felonies.

GOLODRYGA: One thing we did hear from the former president, which was expected, it's something that we've heard an argument that he and his

supporters have made completely unsubstantiated, and I'd like for you to break down the legal grounds of that claim is what he said yesterday after

the verdict. He said, this was done by the Biden administration in order to wound or hurt a political opponent. Can you explain why that is not the


KATYAL: I can barely understand what the heck he's talking about. This is a New York local prosecution by Alvin Bragg who is voted for by the voters

in New York City. It has zero to do with Biden, zero to do with the Justice Department. It's just completely outrageous, ridiculous, and 100 percent

wrong every day of every week.

And I think one of the things I'm really concerned with, like I said, for the last weeks, I said, whatever the jury decides we should accept it.

That's our system. And one of the things I'm so worried about Trump, and we see it here and we see it elsewhere, is he only cares about himself. He's

willing to burn the system down and attack it in order to just get ahead. And statements like what he said yesterday are perfect illustrations of


GOLODRYGA: I want to play sound for you from Alvin Bragg about what he said in terms of why he brought these charges in the first place.


ALVIN BRAGG, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: My office, including the talented prosecutors you saw at arraignment earlier today, has charged

hundreds of felony false fine business records. This charge, can be said as the bread and butter of our white-collar work.


GOLODRYGA: OK. No doubt he was taking risks with this case. Others decided not to do what he did. In your view, was that the right move? Would you

have brought this case?

KATYAL: Oh, 100 percent. I think the only reason not to bring the case is because you're too scared to bring a case against the former president

who's going to threaten you, attack you, try and burn the system down, and the like.


I mean, and Trump's minions were all predicting that he was going to have a victory. He didn't have a victory. He had as big of a loss as you could

possibly imagine, and his response is to try and burn the system down.

And to me, what I find the most offensive about that is a verdict like yesterday and Bragg's decision to bring these charges in the first place

really vindicates the founders view of what America is, checks and balances. And if you don't have a federal government that's prosecuting

effectively, as Trump's DOJ was not, you can have states that come in and act as a check and balance, as Alvin Bragg did for New York City in this


I mean, I think about, like, why my parents came to this country from another, and it's because of that system of checks and balances, because

the idea is no person is above the law. And we're watching that play out in real-time in the most profound of ways. And I understand, you know, Trump

is angry, but at the end of the day, a jury of his peers convicted him 34 times beyond a reasonable doubt and unanimously. That is not something that

happens every day. It never has happened before to a former president, and that speaks volumes.

GOLODRYGA: It's never happened to a former president of the United States, but we should note it has happened to former leaders of other democratic

countries around the world and heads of states. We should say Brazil, Argentina, France, Israel South Korea, and Taiwan just to name a few.

But it's interesting, I was receiving notes and text messages from friends and colleagues around the world who were glued to this decision yesterday,

in the early morning hours, wherever they were, and they were baffled by the fact that Donald Trump could once again, having been convicted, run for

office, be elected and serve another term.

Explain why exactly. You mentioned the founding fathers, the constitution. I guess they didn't anticipate every scenario.

KATYAL: That's exactly right. I mean, they have a supple document, but they didn't think that people who were going to run for president and

possibly win are people who were felons. And they -- so, it wasn't something in their lexicon. And so, that's why you have sometimes gaps in

the law. There are all sorts of gaps in the constitution that, you know, one could say should be filled. This is one of them.

And so, yes, Trump is going to get to run and he very well, on July 11th, may be sentenced to a prison term. I think that's probably likely at this

point, given the gravity of the offenses, Trump's lack of remorse, his behavior in and out of court and the like. I mean, maybe it'll be home

confinement, but there will be some term of confinement that I suspect is going to be imposed on him.

Now, he's going to appeal and he will file for something called bail pending appeal, which he'll almost certainly get, which means the

confinement term, whether it be in prison at Rikers Island or wherever, or at home will not be imposed until his appeal is over, and that is more than

a year away. So, I don't think it's going to directly affect his ability to campaign in the election or anything like that.

But certainly, the American public now knows that one of the two candidates running for office right now is an adjudicated felon. That found so first

by the grand jury with probable cause, now by the jury unanimously beyond a reasonable doubt.

GOLODRYGA: That is interesting, Neal Katyal, that you think that Judge Merchan will ultimately confine him in some capacity because he has stated

a number of times, even at the start of this trial, that he is aware of the magnitude, the historic nature of this trial.

Just quickly, do you think that that will be the result in his sentencing because of the crimes he's convicted of or because of his behavior?

KATYAL: I think it's the crimes he's committed of, that's really the most important factor here. And the judge has been concerned, as anyone would

be, about the historic nature and the fact that there is a criminal -- that there is a presidential election happening. And that's why I suspect one of

many reasons why there will be a term of confinement that is imposed, but it will be suspended pending his appeal, and his appeal will not be

adjudicated before November.

And, you know, it would have been ideal, Bianna, if we had the other cases, particularly the January 6th cases adjudicated, but Donald Trump has tried

every tactic in the book to try and stop those cases from coming to trial and stop you and me and the American public from finding out what he did on

January 6th.

GOLODRYGA: Neal Katyal, great to have your legal expertise on the program this hour. Thank you so much.

KATYAL: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, for weeks, Donald Trump has been seated at the front of small Manhattan courtroom as a parade of witnesses testified to some

unsavory and sometimes embarrassing incidents from his past.


Watching it all was Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics czar who also served as special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the first

impeachment of President Trump. And Norm Eisen joins us now from New York.

Norm, you've had the unique perspective of being an eyewitness to history in the making. Obviously, we've had our reporters diligently working and

bringing our viewers up-to-the-minute developments in this case, but it is quite different to actually see it for yourself. I'm just wondering, given

the magnitude of the moment, the six weeks that we've now seen and endured, what went through your mind yesterday when you heard that repeated 34-count

of guilty from the jury?


Bianna, it was a mix of thoughts and emotions. You can't help but feel sad for the defendant, but for the country that a former president has sunk to

this level. But also, a sense of pride that the rule of law had worked, the core American idea upon which our nation was founded, that no one is above

the law, that's why we overturned the rule of King George III and set up the constitution in his place.

And then, the other thought that I had was the thing that I saw in this courtroom and -- was first and foremost, in my mind as the foreman stood

and read those 34 guilty verdicts, this trial was really about Donald Trump's assault on democracy in 2016, the vast majority of the trial, right

down to all four of the questions that the jury asked yesterday, focused on the election interference conspiracy that was alleged on the part of Donald

Trump, and that the jury convicted him of.

That foreman could not have stood there and found Donald Trump guilty of 34 felony document falsification counts. That was in the case too. It was less

time of those six weeks spent on the document falsification unless there was an underlying crime. And the only crime that was sent back to the jury

was election conspiracy, 2016, paying hush money to deceive the voters and grasp power. So, it really was in the final analysis about protecting


GOLODRYGA: What was your impression of how the jury conducted themselves throughout this trial, at times a bit drab and in the weeds, at times a bit

-- or actually quite salacious given who the witnesses were, but we heard from our reporters that they were quite diligent, they took a lot of notes

and were really laser focused.

EISEN: Bianna, I loved watching them, and I would spend some time looking at Donald Trump and his reactions, the judge, the defense lawyers, but I

must have spent half of those six weeks just looking at the juries -- jury members.

Sometimes they would see me looking at them. I had a pair of binoculars, many of the reporters brought binoculars, and they would stare back at me.

Why are you looking at me in those binoculars? But I was so impressed with them.

I -- really with everybody who participated in this case, with the exception of the former president who acted out 10 contempt findings

against him, if he'd had just one more, the judge said he was going to send him to jail. The jury was attentive. I never saw them, unlike Donald Trump,

sleeping. They paid attention to the witnesses, the judge, the parties. And you could see them reacting to the things that they were observing.

Sometimes the reactions were positive, they would laugh, they would appreciate a joke that one of the lawyers or one of the witnesses told. And

sometimes the reactions were negative. You could see when they did and did not believe witnesses.

At the time, one of the biggest disagreements that I had during the trial with colleagues who were not in court was the cross-examination of Michael

Cohen, the supposed gotcha moment, when he was confronted -- his recollection was refreshed, about an issue, one of two issues that was

discussed on a call.


The jury liked Michael Cohen. They clearly believe Michael Cohen. They did not have that reaction. And I was able to leave the room and debate that

with people. And clearly, they believed him in coming back with this very fast verdict. Extremely impressive jury.

GOLODRYGA: You know, one of the arguments for having cameras in the courtroom is for Americans, for voters to see for themselves what is

happening, what is taking place. Sadly, in this case, we've heard largely from the defendant himself coming out and at times speaking untruths about

the motivations and the witch hunt against him.

I'm just curious, given all of the negative descriptions that he's given this prosecution in terms of their motive, why Alvin Bragg went after him,

can you just give our viewers a sense, was there elation? Did you feel that there was joy or celebration from the prosecution side once these verdicts

were delivered? What was the prosecution's reaction?

EISEN: Having been a trial lawyer for more than three decades, I can tell you the -- when you put a case in and you get back the verdict you hoped

for, your first feeling is relief. There certainly was no joy or no elation. They kept a very even temper, given the somber nature of the

moment, you couldn't read what the feelings were of the prosecutors. I'm sure they relief. And they should feel that they did a good job.

Donald Trump's lawyers also did a very good job. I wrote a trial diary, 25 of them -- for 25 days of trial. And one of them I

dedicated to -- with a few baubles here and there, what an outstanding job the defense had done.

So, they should know that they did everything in their power. Unfortunately, they were undermined from time to time by Mr. Trump. But the

prosecutors, I think, felt a sense -- I hope they felt a sense of pride. At the D.A.'s press conference, you could see the dignified satisfaction that

they took in a job well done, and that's appropriate.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And what's not appropriate is any sort of celebration. This is a very somber moment for the country, regardless of how you feel

about the former president. For the first time in history, you have a former president who is now a convicted felon. Nothing really to celebrate

as a country. Norm Eisen, thank you so much.

EISEN: Thanks, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Team Trump isn't wasting any time denouncing the charges. At a press conference held today, the former president lambasting the

verdict as "rigged." Republicans are rallying behind Trump denouncing the U.S. justice system. I'm joined now by longtime ally of the president.

David Urban served as an adviser to Donald Trump's 2016 and 2020 elections campaigns, and joins the program with his perspective on this conviction.

David, first let me get your reaction to the verdict. It appeared like it was something that wasn't a surprise. Even the former president himself,

just a day prior, he had said that even Mother Teresa couldn't get off these charges. Your reaction to it and the fact that the former president,

once again, went out just moments ago, attacking the system, attacking the judge, attacking the witnesses.


never was under the impression that Donald Trump would not be found guilty in the city where roughly 90 percent of the jury pool voted against him. I

don't think that it was possible to find a jury that would not convict Donald Trump in this case.

So, I think to start out with, the -- you know, it's really difficult to try to get "jury of your peers" in a city that nobody particularly cares

for you. The district attorney in this case ran his -- one of his major themes and his platform was, I'm going to get Donald Trump.

And so, regardless of the charges, he was out before he was even elected to take Donald Trump down, that the previous Democratic district attorney in

the City of New York, who was there for a long time and widely regarded, he looked at these exact same charges, thought long and hard and took a pass,

because I think he realized that there was really there there.


URBAN: The U.S. Department of Justice took a pass because there was no there there.

GOLODRYGA: And that is a point.

URBAN: And Alvin Bragg, a political yes.


GOLODRYGA: Yes. Now, that's a point that we made earlier this hour with Neal Katyal, that one can question, it's a legitimate question, whether

this case should have been brought. I guess it gets a bit dangerous when you start to say that a trial can't be fair, a defendant can't get a fair

trial, depending on what's the dominant party or how a certain state votes.

I mean, this was a jury that the defense and prosecution had a chance of picking themselves. These 12 jurors, both -- all of them said that they

swore that they could be objective jurors. They came from a wide background, I guess New Yorkers, one even saying that they get their news

from Truth Social.

I mean, isn't that a slippery slope to start saying that anybody in a state perhaps that doesn't vote along party lines isn't a fair trial?

URBAN: No, Bianna, I would just say this. I would pose it -- like, let's play -- you know, let's do a game here. Let's think about if there were a

similar situation in the State of Texas or a deep red state in the south, where the sitting judge had made three political contributions, albeit

small, they made -- he made three political contributions, went online and checked the block that says, I'm going to give money against, let's say,

the Democratic candidate, in the case, let's say they -- he -- this is -- let's pretend it was Barack Obama, and he gave money to Barack Obama's

opponent, and his daughter worked for Barack Obama's opponent, and the case were tried in the South, in a ruby red state, in a ruby red county.

Democrats' heads would explode. They would go crazy.

So, I don't believe -- I believe the premise is flawed to start with, that Donald Trump could get a fair trial there. Look, I think there are lots of

places in America that he could get a fair trial. I just don't think New York City is one of them.

GOLODRYGA: But as you know, this judge really played the role of a referee. It wasn't ultimately up to him to decide whether or not to convict

Trump. The only thing he's really deciding here is what his sentence will be. I know that there had been some questions from the former president

about whether or not a certain witness could testify that were not accurate. I mean, that witness was allowed to testify, though they had to

stay within certain parameters of what they could and couldn't talk about or be asked.

So, given that this judge, as you say, maybe these were small donations, the judge wasn't the jury here, though.

URBAN: No, no, but the judge does help -- you know, the judge is the referee, as you say. The judge rules on -- during the pending with the

case, when the case is pending, it's ongoing. The judge is making rulings every day, whether to sustain, you know, an objection or not, the judge

makes the -- gives the jury charges, the judge could have made the -- you know, could have offered the jury, you know, a lesser included offense

here, that -- you know, the judge -- there's lots of key things the judge does.

So, to pretend that the judge's partisanship plays no part in this or that the district attorney's partisanship plays no part in this, it's just --

it's really just not fair to either side. And, Bianna, I think it's scary for all Americans that the Democrats have crossed the Rubicon to really

politicize this case going after a political opponent in this manner.

Whether it's -- whether you like Donald Trump or not, the place to beat him is the ballot box. You know, Bianna, there had been --

GOLODRYGA: Well, that's exactly what Biden said.

URBAN: -- case after case after case.

GOLODRYGA: That's exactly what Biden said, right?

URBAN: Yes. Well, there have been case after case after case. Yes. Yes, well -- I'm not -- listen, I -- you don't hear me. I'm not impugning Joe

Biden in this case. I'm talking about Alvin Bragg, right? Alvin Bragg here is the bad actor, in my opinion.

But there've been case and case a case --

GOLODRYGA: OK. David, let me just cut you off really quick.

URBAN: -- across the United States attempts to keep Donald Trump --

GOLODRYGA: One second, David. We're just going to go straight to the White House now where President Biden is speaking. We'll get back to you in just

a moment, David.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Before I begin my remarks, I just want to say a few words about what happened yesterday in New York


The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed. Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself. It was a state case,

not a federal case. And it was heard by a jury of 12 citizens, 12 Americans, 12 people like you. Like millions of Americans who served on

juries, this jury was chosen the same way every jury in America is chosen.

It was a process that Donald Trump's attorney was part of. The jury heard five weeks of evidence, five weeks. And after careful deliberation, the

jury reached a unanimous verdict. They found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts.

Now, he'll be given the opportunity, as he should, to appeal that decision just like everyone else has that opportunity. That's how the American

system of justice works. And it's reckless, it's dangerous, it's irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don't

like the verdict.


Our justice system has endured for nearly 250 years. And it literally is the cornerstone of America, our justice system. The justice system should

be respected. And we should never allow anyone to tear it down. It's as simple as that. That's America. That's who we are. And that's who we'll

always be, God willing.

Now, to another issue. I want to give an update on my efforts to end the crisis in Gaza. For the past several months, my negotiators of foreign

policy and Intelligence Community and like have been relentlessly focused, not just on a ceasefire that would ever -- that would inevitably be fragile

and temporary, but on a durable end of the war, that's been the focus, a durable end of this war.

One that brings all the hostages home, ensures Israel's security, creates a better day after in Gaza without Hamas in power and sets the stage for

political settlement that provides a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Now, after intensive diplomacy carried out by my team, my many conversations with leaders of Israel, Qatar, and Egypt, and other Middle

Eastern countries, Israel has now offered -- Israel has offered a comprehensive new proposal. It's a roadmap to an enduring ceasefire and the

release of all hostages. This proposal has been transmitted by Qatar to Hamas.

Today, I want to lay out its terms for the American citizens and for the world. This new proposal has three phases. Three. The first phase would

last for six weeks. Here's what it would include. A full and complete ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from all populated areas of

Gaza, release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

There are American hostages who would be released at this stage, and we want them home. Additional, some remains of hostages who have been killed

would be returned to their families, bringing some degree of closure to their terrible grief. Palestinian civilians would return to their homes and

neighborhoods in all areas of Gaza, including in the north.

Humanitarian assistance would surge with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza every single day. With a ceasefire, that aid could be safely and

effectively distributed to all who need it. Hundreds of thousands of temporary shelters, including housing units would be delivered by the

International Community, all that and more would begin immediately, immediately.

During the six weeks of phase one, Israel and Hamas would negotiate the necessary arrangements to get to phase two, which is a permanent end to


Now, I'll be straight with you. There are a number of details to negotiate to move from phase one to phase two. Israel will want to make sure its

interests are protected, but the proposal says, if negotiations take longer than six weeks from phase one, the ceasefire will still continue as long as

negotiations continue. And the United States, Egypt, and Qatar would work to ensure negotiations keep going, all agreements, all agreements until all

the agreements are reached and phase two is able to begin.

Then phase two, there'll be an exchange for the release of all remaining living hostages, including male soldiers, Israeli forces would withdraw

from Gaza. And as long as the mosque lives up to its commitments, a temporary ceasefire would become, in the words of the Israeli proposal,

"The cessation of hostilities permanently." Cessation of hostilities permanently.

Finally in phase three, a major reconstruction plan for Gaza would commence, and any final remains of hostages who've been killed would be

returned to their families. That's the offer that's now on the table and what we've been asking for, it's what we need. The people of Israel should

know they can make this offer without any further risk to their own security because they've devastated Hamas forces over the past eight



At this point, Hamas no longer is capable of carrying out another October 7th. It's one of Israel's main objectives in this war, and quite frankly, a

righteous one.

I know there are those in Israel who will not agree with this plan and will call for the war to continue indefinitely. Some, some are even in the

government coalition. And they've made it clear, they want to occupy Gaza, they want to keep fighting for years, and the hostages are not a priority

to them. Well, I've urged the leadership in Israel to stand behind this deal, despite whatever pressure comes.

And to the people of Israel, let me say this, as someone who's had a lifelong commitment to Israel, as the only American president who's ever

gone to Israel in a time of war, as someone who just sent the U.S. forces to directly defend Israel when it was attacked by Iran, I ask you to take a

step back and think what will happen if this moment is lost.

We can't lose this moment. Indefinite war in pursuit of an unidentified notion of total victory will not bring Israel -- will not bring down --

will only bog down Israel and Gaza, draining the economic, military, and human resources, and furthering Israel's isolation in the world. That will

not bring hostages home. That will not, not bring an enduring defeat of Hamas. That will not bring Israel lasting security.

But a comprehensive approach that starts with this deal will bring hostages home and will lead to more secure Israel. And once a ceasefire and hostage

deal is concluded, it unlocks the possibility of a great deal more progress, including, including calm along Israeli's northern border with


The United States will help forge a diplomatic resolution, one that ensures Israel's security and allows people to safely return to their homes without

fear of being attacked. With the deal, a rebuilding of Gaza will begin. Arab nations and the International Community along with Palestinian and

Israeli leaders to get it done in a manner that does not allow Hamas to rearm. And the United States will work with our partners to rebuild homes,

schools, and hospitals in Gaza, to help repair communities that were destroyed in the chaos of war.

And with this deal, Israel could come more deeply integrated in the region, including -- it's no surprise to you all, including no potential historic

normalization agreement with Saudi Arabia. Israel could be part of a regional security network to counter the threat posed by Iran. All this

progress would make Israel more secure with Israeli families no longer living in the shadow of a terrorist attack. All this would create

conditions for a different future, a better future for the Palestinian people. One of self-determination, dignity, security, and freedom.

This path is available once the deal is struck. Israel will always have the right to defend itself against the threats to its security and to bring

those responsible October 7th to justice. And the United States will always ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself. If Hamas fails to

fulfill its commitments under the deal, Israel can resume military operations. But Egypt and Qatar have assured me, and they are continuing to

work to ensure that Hamas doesn't do that.

The United States will help ensure that Israel lives up to their obligations as well. That's what this deal says. That's what it says. And

we'll do our part. This is truly a decisive moment. Israel has made their proposal. Hamas says it wants a ceasefire. This deal is an opportunity to

prove whether they really mean it. Hamas needs to take the deal.

For months, people all over the world have called for a ceasefire. Now, it's time to raise your voices and demand that Hamas come to the table,

agrees to this deal, and ends this war that they began. Of course, there'll be differences on the specific details that need to be worked out. That's

natural. If Hamas comes to negotiate, ready to deal, then Israel negotiations must be given a mandate, the necessary flexibility to close

that deal.


The past eight months have marked heartbreaking pain. Pain of those whose loved ones are slaughtered by Hamas terrorists on October 7th. Hostages and

their families waiting in anguish. Ordinary Israelis whose lives are forever marked by the shattering event of Hamas' sexual violence and

ruthless brutality. And the Palestinian people have endured sheer hell in this war. Too many innocent people have been killed, including thousands of

children. Far too many have been badly wounded.

We all saw the terrible images from the deadly fire on Rafah earlier this week, following an Israeli strike against targeting Hamas. And even as we

work to surge assistance to Gaza, with 1,800 trucks delivering supplies these last five days, 1,800, the humanitarian crisis still remains.

I know this is a subject on which people in this country feel deep, passionate convictions. And so do I. This has been one of the hardest, most

complicated problems in the world. There's nothing easy about this. Nothing easy about it.

Through it all, though, the United States has worked relentlessly to support Israeli security, to get humanitarian supplies into Gaza, to get a

ceasefire and a hostage deal to bring this war to an end.

Yesterday, with this new initiative, we've taken an important step in that direction. And I want to level with you today as to where we are and what

might be possible. But I need your help. Everyone who wants peace now must raise their voices and let the leaders know they should take this deal,

work to make it real, make it lasting, and forge a better future out of the tragic terror attack and war.

It's time to begin this new stage. For the hostages to come home, for Israel to be secure, for the suffering to stop. It's time for this war to

end, for the day after to begin.

Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think the conviction will have an impact on the campaign? We'd love to hear your thoughts, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should he be on the ballot (ph), sir?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: President Biden, speaking from the White House there, asked, in fact, as he left the podium whether he

believes the conviction of Donald Trump yesterday on 34 felony counts will have an impact on the campaign. He did not answer that question.

He did at the top of his remarks -- and I'll get to the details of what he revealed today about a potential roadmap for a ceasefire in Gaza. But at

the top of his remarks, he did comment on Trump's conviction. He said a few things. He said, one, it was a state case, not a federal case, perhaps in

response to Donald Trump's charge that this is the result of a Biden decision, this conviction and the indictment.

He said it was heard by 12 Americans, like all cases are. And then, he went on to say it's irresponsible to say the system is rigged as Donald Trump

has repeatedly, simply because you don't like the decision. Those were the president's comments on Trump's conviction.

But the focus of these talks, these comments here was on the details of a plan that he called a viable plan to end the war in Gaza. He says that

Israel has now offered what he described as a comprehensive new ceasefire proposal to Hamas, which includes an enduring ceasefire as well as the

release of all hostages. He went on to then detail three phases of this, six weeks of full and complete ceasefire, release of the female and

children hostages. A second phase where all remaining male hostages and others are released with a cessation of hostilities permanently. And then a

third phase, which he said would be focus on Gaza's reconstruction.

I'm joined now by Kevin Liptak. Covers the White House for CNN. Thanks for having me. What was new about the details of this? Because we know Israel

has presented something to Hamas which has the outlines of this plan. Is it just this is more a more detailed proposal?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, certainly this is the most detailed that we've heard from the president in laying out any hostage

proposal deal. So, I think it is news that the president came out here and ticked through very specifically what would be contained in each of these

three deals.


And just to remind viewers, it was three weeks ago that these indirect talks fell apart, the sides all went back to their capitals, talked to each

other. Just on Monday of this week, Israel has sent this new proposal to Hamas, and we know behind the scenes President Biden's aides have been

trying to get these parties back together to get these talks resuscitated.

I think it was interesting what President Biden said in there that Hamas, at this point, has been degraded to a point where they will not be able to

commit another October 7th. That is the first time we've heard President Biden say that explicitly throughout all of this. He said that the U.S.

support for Israel has meant that they are intended to not be able to carry out what they carried out in October. Essentially, he's saying Israel has

done enough to prevent that from happening again.

SCIUTTO: Can we read that as pressure in effect on Israel in saying, you've accomplished your military goals here or as much of your military

goals or as possible, therefore, get to the table and make an agreement?

LIPTAK: Yes, I don't know any other way to interpret that. Because remember, what's happening in Rafah, Israeli troops have entered Central



LIPTAK: The Israeli Defense Forces are bombarding the city from the air. This is -- could be a potential humanitarian catastrophe that the Biden

administration has been mourning about for months. This was the clearest we've heard President Biden saying that this campaign is ready to end and

it should end and this war has to end.

SCIUTTO: It's interesting because he said a couple of things. He also made the point or argued at least that Israel's long-term security is dependent

on some sort of negotiated solution to this and going forward. In other words, it was not all -- not all military force. But he also acknowledged,

he said it's a divisive issue, and he said the Palestinian people are going through, in his words, sheer hell. He even mentioned the strike just a few

days ago.


SCIUTTO: All of that together does -- and with the Rafah operation underway, as you mentioned, strikes me as a nudge to both parties.

LIPTAK: Yes, and he did have a direct message in that speech to members of Netanyahu's right-wing government who he said may not accept this deal. And

his message was that this is the only way for this war to end. If this continues, Israeli security will be undermined. And I think that's

interesting, because behind the scenes, Biden has been very, very vocal about some of these members of that government.

He sees them as sort of an impediment to any two-state solution, of course, but also an impediment to an end to this war, which for Biden himself is

becoming more and more politically perilous. The longer this goes on, the harder it is for him to coalesce his own party in the United States. And I

think what he's doing here is really trying to show that he has a plan to end this war and that he thinks it can be done, but it isn't wholly

dependent on him, of course.

SCIUTTO: No question. Definite pressure, including on Israeli allies. Kevin Liptak, thanks so much. CNN's Nada Bashir has been following this

from London. And, Nada, you have, of course, covered the war in Gaza with particular attention to the civilian casualties, the human suffering on the

Gaza side. And as I mentioned, President Biden acknowledged that, saying that the Palestinian people are going through sheer hell.

I wonder as you follow this and you heard those words there, did you hear the president applying pressure in effect on Israel to pull back,

particularly as this operation is now underway in Central Rafah, which only recently he made very clear he did not want Israeli forces to go into


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And there have been growing questions as to what exactly this red line for President Biden would mean,

given the sheer scale of the civilian death toll that we've seen in Gaza, more than 36,000 people killed, tens of thousands more injured, of course.

And we are seeing a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding across the Gaza Strip, but also now in Rafah, where we know civilians have been squeezed

into the southern part of the very densely populated Strip.

Now, it does seem as though President Biden has now expressed mounting pressure on the Israeli government, as well as you mentioned, that sort of

message communicated there that you have done enough essentially, that Hamas is no longer in a position at this current stage, as per the U.S.

assessment, to carry out another attack of the scale that we saw on October 7. That was outlined as the primary goal, of course, by the Israeli

government when it announced its war on Gaza.

But of course, what we have seen over the last few weeks is a continuing spread and expansion of the Israeli military operation in Gaza, moving

further southwards. As you mentioned, that has long been a point of concern for world leaders across the globe, not just President Biden.

And of course, on the political front as well, President Biden made a note there mentioning that if in fact this war does continue, if in fact those

right-wing members of the Israeli cabinet who do want to see a continuation of the war, who do -- as he mentioned, some want to see an occupation of

the Gaza Strip, that this would not only not work towards any sort of security for the State of Israel, but would also further the isolation of

Israel on the global stage, and that is something that we have seen growing over the last few weeks and months, mounting criticism, of course, from

world leaders including some of Israel's closest allies.


And of course, as we see, the civilian impact only deteriorating, there is that growing call for Israel to halt its military operation. We've heard

that from the International Court of Justice. We've heard that repeatedly now from the United Nations.

And of course, there was a focus in that speech from President Biden as well on the amount of aid getting in, that the hope is with this ceasefire

deal, not only would we see a withdrawal of Israeli troops, a return of Palestinian civilians to all parts of the Gaza Strip, including the north,

but also a surge, he said, in the amount of humanitarian assistance getting into Gaza, 600 trucks a day, according to President Biden.

SCIUTTO: Yes. I mean, in fact, what we've seen in recent days and weeks is the opposite of a surge, right? Certainly, a dearth of supplies going into

Gaza. Nada Bashir in London. Thanks so much.

Joining us now is Natan Sachs, he's the director of the Center for Middle East Policy. I wonder, first, to the details of this proposal as described

by President Biden, again, three phases here, six weeks of a full and complete ceasefire, release of female and children hostages, a second phase

where all the remaining male hostages are released with a cessation of hostilities permanently, then a third phase of Gaza reconstruction. Do you

see a plan here that might be accepted by both sides, or at least the outlines of such a plan?

NATAN SACHS, DIRECTOR, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY: Well, the details that the President put forward, which are more detailed

than before, are not very far from what has already been discussed in the past. And there are certainly those on both parties who have moved to

accept it. Not only in the general Israeli public has their support for this, but even within Netanyahu's own mini war cabinet, there are very

senior members who would like to take it.

And in Hamas, there have been signals that some in Hamas, at least Hamas on the outside of Gaza, have been inclined to accept this deal or similar

deals in the past. The main question is whether the two leaders Sinwar in Gaza, the Hamas leader in Gaza, and Netanyahu himself, whether they will

accept this.

And I think that's part of what we saw Biden trying to do now, put pressure not on Israel writ large, but specifically on Netanyahu, siding in a sense

with the other members of his mini war cabinet and trying to appeal to others who have been advocating for an end of violence to also put pressure

on Hamas, on Sinwar specifically, to accept this kind of deal.

SCIUTTO: I just wonder, though, if the interest, if the cold, hard interests of each side, as they perceive them, is against a deal. Does

Hamas calculate that seeing Israel isolated is to its advantage and that he's managed to survive in that maze of tunnels, perhaps, and that many of

the fighters, while many have been killed, that it still remains a fighting force, that's Hamas' look at this. And that from Netanyahu's point of view,

that he still has military objectives in his view to accomplish.

You heard one of the senior advisers say just yesterday that the fighting will carry on through the rest of the year. I just wonder, is -- are those

two leaders' perceptions of their own interests, do they pull them away from such a deal as opposed to pull them towards it?

SACHS: Those interests certainly exist, and that's a vector against this kind of deal. From the Hamas perspective we've seen, there is no concern

for the devastation and the true horror that Gaza has seen in the past eight months, and that has been a major problem with the victims of it

being obvious.

Sinwar may be moved, it's hard to say. But obviously, Qatar and Egypt are the two parties, the outside parties that the United States is working with

do believe they can nudge them in that direction, in particular if they see an end to the war and with Hamas able to come out and declare victory in

this horrific image of what they've left in Gaza after the war they started there.

But on the Israeli side too, yes, Netanyahu has an interest in a longer war, that's true, but there's also a very strong interest in the other

direction. The Israeli public is extremely concerned with the fate of the hostages. It is paramount in Israeli minds across the board, and it is also

one that other Israeli leaders are very concerned with.

In the next week, in 10 days, we're going to see probably the resignation of some osf the senior ministers from his coalition, from Netanyahu's

coalition, and a very tense political moment. That could lead Netanyahu to more obstinance, but it also leads in the direction of trying to bring a

big win, and that would be the return of the living hostages and the remains of those who are not alive.

SCIUTTO: Natan Sachs of the Brookings Institution, thanks so much for walking us through some of the many pressures involved here.

SACHS: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: We'll see if this announcement from the president here from the White House is one that moves the two parties involved, of course, Hamas

and Israel.

Thanks so much for watching. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington. I'll have more news right after this break.