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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Top Surrogates Hit Campaign Trail Today; Why Counting Votes On Election Night Will Take Time; Prosecution Rests In Seditious Conspiracy Case; Israeli PM Yair Lapid Concedes Defeat To Benjamin Netanyahu; Biden's Daughter Ashley Stepping Into The Spotlight. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 03, 2022 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Who is waking up to spend $2 to win $700 million? Not me.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: Well, not billion, different story, though.

BLACKWELL: Are you playing?

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GOLODRYGA: Big money.

THE LEAD starts now.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: If anyone tells you they know who will win next week's election, definitely go in with them on that Powerball ticket.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The Bidens, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, even Donald Trump. Five days out from election day and the political heavy hitters are out in force. The major issues they say you should keep in mind, as more Americans head to the polls.

Plus, setting expectations as the votes come in. Why we may not know results on election night.

And a Biden we don't often hear from, dishing on her anger, Hunter Biden's struggle with substance abuse and Donald Trump.


KEILAR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Brianna Keilar, in for Jake Tapper.

It is the final countdown. The midterm elections now just five days away. More than 30 million voters have already cast their ballots.

Today's campaign trail features a splashy lineup of political heavy hitters. President Biden stumping in New Mexico and California. Former President Trump on the trail in Iowa. And Vice President Kamala Harris with former secretary of state and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, trying to boost Democrats in New York.

Clinton slammed Republicans on "CNN THIS MORNING", saying it's, quote, frankly disturbing, that many prominent Republicans haven't been as outspoken about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi as they are about making crime a political issue.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: They don't want to solve a problem, whether it's crime, inflation, or anything else. They just want an issue. So, when they talk about crime, you know you they're just trying to gin up all kinds of fear and anxiety in people. They're not dealing with it, they're not trying to tackle it, and so, I view it as an effort to scare voters.


KEILAR: Let's go now to President Biden, who is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and just started remarks on student debt relief.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Working people and middle class folks, if you earn under $125,000 a year, you'll get up to $10,000 knocked off your student debt. If you earn under $125,000 and you received a Pell grant, you get another $10,000. That's $20,000 in relief. Over 200,000 people in New Mexico have student loans and the average borrower in New Mexico owes just over $34,000.

And my plan's going to make a real difference to lowering the monthly cost for families, as well.


BIDEN: Folks -- in total, more than 40 million Americans stand to benefit from this relief. And not a dime of it will go to the top 5 percent incomes. Period.

Across America, nearly every Pell grant recipient comes from a family making under 60 grand. Two-thirds come from families making under $30,000 a year. In New Mexico, more than 150,000 borrowers received Pell grants to go to college. That's 150,000 New Mexicans who will get $20,000 of their loan wiped off immediately. Plain, simple. And it matters.


Folks -- as I pointed out, my wife has been a community college professor for years and she still teaches, as a matter of fact, she's teaching today before she goes off to campaign for us. She's traveled across the country meeting students from every walk of life. She's worked -- some of the students she meets work two or three jobs while going to school, putting dinner on the table, helping their kids with homework, staying up late to do their own homework.

As Jill says, I only ask for one thing in return -- the chance. The chance to work hard and build a good life for themselves. Many of those students, just like the students here, have had to borrow money to cover the cost of tuition. Roughly 40 percent of community college students nationwide receive a Pell grant.

I'm here today to tell you, this student loan relief plan is for them as they recover from the economic crisis the pandemic inflicted and pay for their education. It's for folks like Christy, who we just heard from earlier, she went back to school to get a better job, take care of her family, so she could compete in today's economy. She relied on student loans and a Pell grant and she did it while starting a family.

Under our plan, she'll have nearly all of her loan forgiven. And it really matters. By the end of this week, the Department of Education will have approved applications of 16 million Americans and sent the necessary paperwork to student loan services.


And the last step before the 16 million Americans can have their loan discharged.

That's 16 million people who will be hearing from the Department of Education that they've been approved and who should be seeing relief in the coming days. But it's temporarily on hold --

KEILAR: Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent Arlette Saenz, who is traveling there with the president in New Mexico.

Arlette, it's a tough environment for Democrats this cycle, and part of that, a lot of that, is because of the economy, but this is an issue that President Biden feels very comfortable on.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Brianna. President Biden trying to make clear that the administration is taking some steps to alleviate some of these economic anxieties that Americans are feeling, particularly, in this instance, when it comes to trying to forgive student loan debt. You heard the president talking there about their efforts. A White House official said that he's going to warn of disastrous consequences that could be in place if Republicans are able to block that plan from going in place.

KEILAR: All right. Arlette Saenz, live for us in Albuquerque, thank you so much for that.

Former President Trump is kicking off his final campaign blitz to boost Republicans' chances in the midterms. He's holding a rally tonight in ruby red western Iowa.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is live outside of a Trump rally in Sioux City.

So, Jeff, is this about boosting Republican candidates or is this about Trump boosting himself? JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, the

answer is yes to both. There's no question that Donald Trump is starting a series of four rallies in five days here in Iowa for a reason. Of course, Iowa also is the opening bell for the 2020 presidential primary.

Now, the former president has not said if he fully intends to run, but with every passing rally, he's inched closer to that line. We will see what he says here tonight. But we are learning from his former adviser Kellyanne Conway, she says that there should be an expectation of a November surprise, perhaps announcing in a couple weeks, I'm not sure that would be much of a surprise, given the fact that he's been talking about this really for much of the last year or two.

But the question is, yes, he's campaigning for Senator Chuck Grassley, who is running for his eighth term, he's 89 years old, the oldest Republican in the Senate. He has some soft support among the conservative because here in Iowa, so, this is a bit of an insurance policy for the former president to come and, you know, say his support out loud for Chuck Grassley.

But there is no doubt that this is about Donald Trump and this is about his sort of reasserting himself on the stage as he decides if he's going to run. He's anticipating a strong Republican showing next Tuesday and he certainly wants to be front and center in all of that, Brianna.

KEILAR: Yeah, maybe that is a wave that he will ride. We will see.

Jeff Zeleny reporting live for us from Iowa, thank you for that.

And to New York now, where Vice President Kamala Harris and Hillary Clinton are stumping for the Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, who is locked in an unexpectedly tight race with her Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin.

CNN's Gloria Pazmino is with us on this story.

Gloria, a less than enthusiastic Democratic base this midterm cycle and Clinton is really trying to help with that.

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. And New York is not the place that Democrats want to be worrying about during the midterms, but that's exactly what they're doing. A lot of concern among Democrats in the last days leading up to the midterm elections, as Governor Kathy Hochul is locked in what could be a very close race with her Republican challenger, Lee Zeldin.

And Hillary Clinton, as well as the Vice President Kamala Harris, will be here at Barnard College, a women's college, to talk about the potential historical election of Governor Hochul. She is, of course, the first woman governor of New York, but would be the first elected woman governor of New York, should she be able to win this election.

And Clinton spoke about that lack of enthusiasm on CNN this morning, talking about how this is all part of just midterm elections, no matter who is in the White House.


CLINTON: Every poll that I've seen shows Kathy Hochul still ahead and I expect her to win on Tuesday. But a midterm election is always difficult for the party in power. So, our job is to convince our voters to turn out.


PAZMINO: Now, we've seen that lack of enthusiasm show up in the polls. Our latest CNN poll showed that 27 percent of registered Democrats are enthusiastic about the midterm elections, but that's a decrease from 37 percent back in 2018, the last time that Democrats and Republicans turned out for midterm elections. So, the lack of enthusiasm, a major, major concern here in New York, where Democrats outnumber Republicans and this is, again, supposed to be an easy race -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Gloria Pazmino, reporting live for us from New York, thank you for that report.

In Georgia, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker are locked in a tight race that could decide control of the Senate.

CNN's Eva McKend is live in Clarkston, Georgia.

Eva, all eyes are on this key race. What are Walker and Warnock's closing arguments?


Senator Warnock about to take the stage here in Clarkston. He has focused his closing argument on characterizing himself as a bridge builder, willing to work with Republicans in service of Georgians. He spends a lot of time on the trail also talking about health care, his efforts to reduce the price of insulin.

Meanwhile, former NFL star Herschel Walker has really consolidated support among Republicans, among conservatives in the wake of staving off these routine abortion or persistent abortion allegations, that he paid for former girlfriends' abortions. He has also worked overtime to tie Warnock to President Biden, arguing that they both are to blame for the state of the economy.

So many people have already voted here in Georgia during this early vote period, which sort of suggests that many people already have their minds made up. But both candidates here still working overtime to try to persuade the few voters who have not made their minds up yet -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Eva McKend in Clarkston, Georgia, thank you for that. All right, let's discuss all of this with our wonderful group here.

Okay, who is going to win? Who is going to win in Georgia? Tell me now. I will buy a Powerball ticket with you.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICLA ANALYST: I don't think we're going to know until December. I think it's going to go to a runoff. Nobody is going to get the 50 plus one, so, we still got a couple of weeks to go. Eva is going to be in Georgia for a little while, I think.


JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was talking to Democratic operatives this week and I think there's a hope among them that there's a runoff, because voters have been breaking not on the right side for Democrats. They've been going toward Republicans at the last minute.

So, we'll have to see -- I mean, but I know all the Democrats I know are going like this, because they don't think that Warnock will be able to pull this out election night for sure.

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020: I think Warnock will have more votes on election night and will win if there different need to be a runoff, but I do think it will then go into a runoff and I still think Warnock will pull it off based on what happened in 2020. I believe in the people of Georgia to see the difference between these two.

KEILAR: Eva has packed many pairs of socks, as I understand.

OK. So, Nia, President Biden's closing argument last night, it was all about protecting democracy, but when you look at or most recent CNN poll, 51 percent of folks say the economy is their top issues, followed by abortion at 15 percent, just 9 percent of voters choosing democracy. So, look, it's an important message.


KEILAR: Is it a winning one?

HENDERSON: Listen, I don't think the White House set out for Biden to give this speech because they thought it was going to be the silver bullet to help them win on Tuesday. This was about Biden's identity, Biden seeing a crisis of democracy in this country and wanting to sound the alarm. Certainly reach some voters, wake some voters up, moderate and independent voters who might not be paying close enough attention to some of the candidates who are running who will essentially say they don't care so much about democracy, the will of the people and are saying they essentially might overturn and election.

I think that was what it was about. It was a throwback to why Biden ran in the first place, this idea that this was a battle for the soul of America, so I think it had echoes of that. KEILAR; When you look, Doug, at what Republicans are saying, how

they're reacting to this, they're saying that Biden's speech shows he's a divider, that Biden is vilifying Republicans. Is Biden being political? Yes, of course he is, right?

HEYE: Yeah.

KEILAR: Is he highlighting folks who -- candidates, who actually have you, you know, wanted to overturn election results or say that they would have? Yes, he is. But I guess my question to you is, who do you think it motivates more, these Democrats he's trying to speak to, or some Republicans who actually might have that kind of persecutory ideation of theirs sort of stoked and this might actually get them going.

HEYE: I think it does both. And meanwhile, you know, Joe Biden was elected to be a uniter, but he was also elected to be somebody who was going to calm things down. We weren't going to see him on TV every day, we weren't going to have chaos. And what families are dealing with every day is chaos.

So voters will tell you, this is what's important to me. I think Joe Biden, even if I agreed with some of the things he said last night, about, you know, certain secretary of state candidates, for instance, ultimately, he said to voters, this is what you should be concerned about. Voters are saying, this is what we are concerned about and it's inflation and the economy first and foremost.


ALLISON: I will say that we cannot ignore the fact that this speech happened just days after someone tried to kill the -- attack the person who is third in line to our country, and it's important in that moment, whether that was a Republican or a Democrat, that the president speak up and try to bring the temperature down.

I think, though, that the Biden administration is doing both. Last night, he talked about democracy and what is at stake and then today, he was in new Mexico talking about the economy, talking about how he's helping to lower heating costs and how he's helping to lower chicken and meat prices and for family farmers.

So, it's not -- I think we need to continue to look at voters as complex individuals that can do -- can walk and chew gum and think about both issues.

KEILAR: Well, speaking of walking and chewing gum, because when we talk about Democrats who actually outperform expectations, one thing that they are doing is a lot of walking and chewing gum at the same time. Let's listen.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time in the United States. It's a complicated country, which means, you need good leaders who can focus both on the economy and preserving our democracy.

JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Pennsylvania voters, Republican and Democrat, they know how to walk and chew gum at the same time, Don. They can care about rising costs, but they can also care about their personal freedom.


KEILAR: All right, we may have to retire that turn of phrase. You didn't know that we were going there.

ALLISON: Tim Ryan and I are both from Youngstown, Ohio.

KEILAR: A lot of gum chewing there. But I wonder, Jackie, what are they saying, though, about the national Democratic approach, compared to what they see themselves doing, especially Tim Ryan?

KUCINICH: I was going to say, I think for Tim Ryan, I mean, he has been turning -- he's been really turning away from national Democrats for a reason, because Ohio is really trending to be a red state and for all intents and purposes, J.D. Vance should be well ahead in that race. He's not, because of the campaign that he's run.

And Tim Ryan really has been seeking that centrist message this entire time. Now, he also has the held wind of having a gubernatorial candidate in Governor DeWine who is running well ahead of his challenger. So, that also, that cross ballot vote is a hard sell, but Tim Ryan is going for it. And national Democrats have kept their distance from him.


KUCINICH: For a number of reasons.

HENDERSON: I think it's because -- national Democrats tried to reach for Ohio and win Ohio and it's been Lucy and the football situation. They have always come up short, so, they think they've got to protect other races in the Senate, some of the incumbents.

But he is making that play for not only ticket-splitting, right, that maybe people will vote for the governor and then vote for him. And you see other people making that same play in different states like Georgia and --

KEILAR: You're making my job way too easy today, because here is Tim Ryan making that play.


RYAN: There's a lot of signs with Mike DeWine and Tim Ryan all over the state, I think people, you know, really like our message, they don't want the extremism of J.D. Vance, and so, there are a lot of Republicans that are saying, look, we have to come together. I don't want the extremism on either side and I'm going to vote down the middle.


KEILAR: How real is the ticket splitting, do you think?

ALLISON: I think it's real in Ohio and I think it's real in other states, as well. I mean, what Tim Ryan is also -- people have thrown away Ohio as an important battleground state and I say, don't give up on my home state, because it's so diverse. You have urban Cleveland and you also have what is Appalachia.

And if you can actually talk a message that people realize, we are all struggling, we can do this together, I think he's running the right reason, I think he can pull it out, even if DeWine wins at the top of the ticket.

KEILAR: What's the takeaway? If this is a real thing, what is the takeaway for Democrats and Republicans?

HEYE: You have to campaign in a way that's smart in your state. And this is why what's going to be interesting is to see what Brian Kemp's number is ultimately in Georgia and what that means for that Senate race.

But politics also -- Tim Ryan's ran a great campaign. Politics is as much about the where as the who. He's running in a wrong state. Val Demings is a great candidate. She's running in the wrong state.

KEILAR: Doug, Ashley, Jackie, and Nia, thank you so much to all of you for the conversation.

So, what we're learning about what the FBI is calling today a, quote, broad threat to synagogues in one state.

Plus, why election night could turn into election week or even, God help us, election month. We'll game out some very possible scenarios, next.



KEILAR: More than 30 million ballots already cast, five days out from Election Day, and President Biden is trying to temper expectations for when we will know the outcome.


BIDEN: Many states don't start counting those ballots until after the polls close on November 8th. That means in some cases, we won't know the winner of the election for a few days, until a few days after the election. Now it's important for citizens to be patient, as well.


KEILAR: All right, let's bring in David Chalian, CNN's political director. He's also very patient.

Walk us through this, the Senate first here, why the results may not come next Tuesday night.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, Briana, so, we've got 35 Senate seats up for election here. I'm going to use Pennsylvania as an example, because as you know, it's a critical on the test between Fetterman and Oz, control of the Senate may come down to this race. And I just want to -- the president's point there in that sound you just were playing, in Pennsylvania, the election officials are not even allowed to open and process the absentee ballots until polls open on election day.

So, it takes awhile for them to process them, sort them, get them counted and report them out. So, what's going to happen is, you are likely to see the Election Day vote get counted first, we know that Republicans tend to show up in larger numbers on election day in person. Democrats tend to show up in larger numbers in the pre- election period or voting absentee by mail.

So, Pennsylvania on election night, when you're watching, Brianna, will start filling in probably very red and then as those absentee ballots, which tend to be more Democratic in nature, get counted, get processed and counted and report reported, then the blue will start filling in and we'll get a more realistic picture of what's going on there.


KEILAR: And what we see in the early hours of the night may change dramatically over time. I feel like that is the PSA that we can't repeat enough.

CHALIAN: And let me just put a fine point on this. Little history lesson, back in 2020, in the presidential election, I'm going to use Georgia as an example here. And just remind folks what we all went through.

So, take a look at the timestamp. This is 2020, presidential race. Trump versus Biden. 7:16 p.m., November 3rd, the polls just closed, votes just started coming in the system, you see here a 35 percentage point advantage for Trump.

Now, follow along the timestamp, 8:07, Trump, 33,000 votes ahead, 53 to 45.

At midnight on November 4th, Donald Trump had 315,000-vote lead. He had an eight-percentage point lead there over Joe Biden.

Twenty-four hours later, Donald Trump still in the lead, this time, cut to 33,000 votes. 49.7 percent to 40 percent. November 6th, Donald Trump, still in the lead, but Biden catching up.

And then, if you fast forward to November 7th at midnight, that is when Joe Biden actually flipped ahead of Donald Trump in Georgia and he held onto that lead. Why? Because the mail vote was taking awhile to get counted and that was where most of Biden's votes were.

KEILAR: Do any of these key states have a track record of taking longer to count votes?

CHALIAN: Yeah. The problem is, almost all of them, so, let's go back to 2022 now and I will show you in that Senate map again. So, the key battleground states, for control of the Senate -- Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, all of those states, they will determine control and all of them tend to take awhile to count their votes, so, pack your patience.

KEILAR: All right. David Chalian, looking forward to seeing a lot of you and then even some more of you next week.


KEILAR: So, next, discussions of combat on U.S. soil before January 6th. The secret recordings played in court just as prosecutors rested their case in the Oath Keepers trial.

Plus, a Biden family member making rare comments about the president, Hunter Biden, and Donald Trump.



KEILAR: In our national lead, a warning from the FBI this afternoon of credible information about a broad threat to synagogues in New Jersey. A tweet from the FBI field office in Newark says, we ask at this time that you take all security precautions to protect your community and facility. It urges everyone to stay alert and in case of emergency, call police.

An FBI Newark spokesperson tells CNN they are investigating the threat and the warning is a proactive measure.

The prosecution wrapped up in and the defense attorneys began presenting their case today in the federal seditious conspiracy trial of members of the right wing extremist group the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department contends all five defendants plotted to stop the Electoral College count on January 6th and actually planned for an armed rebellion long before the U.S. Capitol riot.

CNN's Sara Sidner has been watching this trial and she's with us now on this.

So, let's take a look, Sara, at this case that the prosecution built over the past month.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, this has been a case that has gone on for four weeks. The prosecution started testimony from witnesses four weeks ago. And now they have come to the end of that. And one of their last -- the last people on the stand was an FBI agent talking through some of the texts that we've been seeing.

But they also played this secretly recorded conversation, after January 6th, just giving you a sense of what Stewart Rhodes was thinking and how he was feeling after January 6th. This was recorded in a parking lot about six days after the attack on the capitol. And it was recorded by a U.S. military veteran who testified that he had some kind of indirect connection with Donald Trump and this was Mr. Rhodes, who is the founder of the oath keepers, trying to send a message to Donald Trump at that time, and it makes clear here is that he was still pressing forward with this idea that somehow Donald Trump should still be the president, even after Joe Biden won the election.

Here's what he had to say, just a portion of it.


STEWART RHODES, OATH KEEPERS FOUNDRE: There is going to be a combat here on U.S. soil no matter what. No matter what you think they'll do. It's coming. You can't get out of this. It's too (EXPLETIVE DELETED) late.


SIDNER: So, he talks about, there's going to be combat here on U.S. soil. He's basically warning the president that he better do something and not concede, but at this point, the president has pretty much conceded, so, he's talking about ramping things up violently, according to the witness.

Now, there was something else said, and after what happened to Nancy Pelosi, you can get some idea of what the rhetoric has been all along, very violent rhetoric targeted at her and then you see what happens to Paul Pelosi. And you can make your own decision as to whether or not there's connection there, but there has been a ton of violent rhetoric and here is some of that rhetoric from Stewart Rhodes himself in that same recording, six days after the January 6th attack.


RHODES: We could have fixed it right then and there. I'd hang (EXPLETIVE DELETED) Pelosi from the lamppost.


SIDNER: So, he's talking about, we could have fixed it right then and there. He's talking about, we should have gone in, potentially armed, because Donald Trump conceded and he shouldn't have, and that's what that conversation was all about with someone who was in a parking lot who supposedly had some contact with Donald Trump.


KEILAR: What is the defense case here?

SIDNER: So, we are starting to see the defense case roll out. They started their opening statements today to the jury. And they basically said, look, you're going to hear a lot of rhetoric, but how much of this is just political rhetoric and how much is this smoke and how much of this is really an idea that they're going to how -- you know, stop the transfer of power? And so, you're seeing over and over again, they're trying to discredit

the words used by their own clients. And that's really hard to do when you listen to it, but they're trying to say, this was not a plan, this is something that just happened and not everyone went into the Capitol. So that seems to be what they're doing at this point in time.

KEILAR: All right. Sara Sidner, thank you for that report.


KEILAR: How much does the January 6th attack weigh on this election? Well, an office whole was there says maybe if a member of Congress had been hurt or even killed, more Americans would, quote, give a damn.



KEILAR: It's one of those days where our national and politics leads intersect. In a new opinion piece on, former Washington D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone, who was injured during the January 6th riot, writes, quote, the biggest threat to democracy is indifference, which I believe will be our downfall as a nation. We don't seem to care enough to pay attention to what's happening to our country.

And he's with us now to talk more about what is a fascinating column that you've written here, Mike.

And I want to highlight another part of it, because you actually reveal that another officer confided this to you, he said, Mike, maybe if we hadn't done such a good job against such overwhelming forces, maybe people would care more. Maybe if a congressman or a senator had been injured, dragged through the halls to the makeshift gallows or kill, people would give a damn.

Is that what you think it would take?

MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Absolutely. Although, I don't even know if that would be enough, to be completely honest with you. That was the old adage in law enforcement, police officer gets shot in the head, we get Kevlar helmets. It's this reactive, you know, reaction to these catastrophic events.

But now, you know, we have the husband of, you know, third in line for the presidency is violently assaulted and it's a big joke by those on the right. And for the most part, doesn't seem to shock the conscience anymore. I don't think there's anything that will shock the conscience in America.

KEILAR: You don't think there's anything that will shock the conscience. I mean, do you think there's any turning around? Is there anything that works to turn people around?

FANONE: I mean, it's just going to take individual Americans waking up to the fact that, you know, the wolves are at the doorstep here and we need to, you know, start looking to, you know, our neighbors and looking at our greater communities, rather than caring only about ourselves and our own careers and livelihoods.

KEILAR: You used to be a Republican. I like to bring this up, I think it is a good way to sort of get at Mike Fanone, the total person. And also, your evolution of what you've been through. You voted for Trump in 2016.

But in your essay, you criticize the GOP, you say, they believe that protecting voting rights actually means protecting the ballot from the opposition's vote. And you're talking about malicious patrolling drop boxes and you raise this idea of what you seem to see as an evolution, which is, armed folks coming to the Capitol and now you're seeing armed folks training themselves on actual voters.

Do you see this being sort of an actual shift?

FANONE: Absolutely. I mean, going back to the beginning point, what I've seen as far as, you know, the Republican Party's playbook is the -- they've become the win at all costs party. They're no longer interested in winning through the democratic process, they're willing to subvert the democratic process to win, by suppressing the votes, by, you know, denying that the legitimacy of elections, whatever it takes at this point. And to me, as an American, somebody who cares about democracy, that is incredibly scary.

The second point is, you know, we've seen this before in our history, after the civil war, during reconstruction in the early 1900s, you had the Ku Klux Klan scaring people from going to the ballot box. Now you have masked militia members, individuals who are armed, sitting in lawn chairs, wearing masks, terrorizing people from going and casting a ballot.

KEILAR: It's obviously an evolution that is incredibly alarming and you do an amazing job of outlining the problem, as you see it, from a very unique perspective.

Mike Fanone, thank you so much for being with us today.

FANONE: Yes, ma'am.

KEILAR: I encourage people to check out your column on Thank you.

Ahead, a new embrace of the far right, this one far from the U.S., but it could still have a significant impact.



KEILAR: In our world lead, Benjamin Netanyahu is set for a dramatic comeback after Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid conceded the election today. But there's controversy over Netanyahu's return to power. He's associated himself with a right wing firebrand turned king maker.

CNN's Hadas Gold looks Itamar Ben-Gvir's meteoric rise and what it could mean for Israel's relationship with the U.S. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Until recently, this man, Itamar Ben-Gvir, was considered a fringe far right activist settler lawyer, now a leader of the projected third largest bloc in the Israeli parliament, set to be a key component of Benjamin Netanyahu's now likely comeback as prime minister.

The 46-year-old once a supporter of the Jewish nationalist party, deemed a foreign terrorist organization by the United States and ultimately outlawed by Israel. He was once filmed holding a hood emblem he claimed was from a car of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, an architect of Israeli-Palestinian peace process, vowing, we got to his car and we'll get to him, too. A Jewish extremist assassinated Rabin three weeks later.


Exempted from the military draft, he says he was denied for his political views, Ben-Gvir became a lawyer, often representing Jewish extremist settlers and famously hung a portrait in his home of Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli doctor who massacred 29 Palestinians, he was convicted for inciting anti-Arab racism and supporting terrorism.

In 2020, his sights turned to politics, winning a seat in the Knesset in 2021 and a platform that included annexing the West Bank, relaxing the Israeli military open fire policy against Palestinian rioters, and pushed for the death penalty for terrorists. He has spent his time in parliament attracting the spotlight. From stunts like pulling a gun during clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in east Jerusalem, telling police to shoot Arabs who throw stones, to being forcibly removed from the floor of the Israeli parliament for calling a fellow member, the leader of the Arab movement party who's also an Israeli citizen, a terrorist, saying he didn't belong in Israel.

Just last year, Netanyahu himself dismissed the idea of Ben-Gvir leading a government ministry, saying, "A minister? No. Not in my government."

But this year, his tune changed. Asked again if Ben-Gvir would be a minister, he answered, "Of course, he can be." While vying to be put in charge of the police as a Minister Ben-Gvir, that could affect Israel's relationship with its most important ally, the United States.

NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: And we hope that all Israeli government officials will continue to share the values of an open, democratic society including tolerance and respect for all in civil society, particularly for minority groups.

GOLD: The extremist once shunned from Israeli politics now a top figure appearing on cooking shows and possibly soon the Israeli cabinet.


GOLD (on camera): And, Brianna, Benjamin Netanyahu's one step closer to officially taking back power. The vote is done officially. He will have the majority with his allies. And current Prime Minister Yair Lapid called him today, officially conceding the race -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Hadas, thank you so much for that closer look at a key figure. Hadas Gold live for us in Jerusalem.

And next, on the record with the president's daughter. What she's saying about her father, her brother Hunter, and what she calls a disgusting ball game.



KEILAR: Back in the politics lead with a member of the first family stepping into the spotlight.

CNN White House correspondent Kate Bennett is here with new reporting on Ashley Biden. Of course, the daughter of the president and First Lady Jill Biden.

Kate, Ashley's really making herself a lot more visible here.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. In the last couple weeks, Ashley Biden, who was relatively behind the scenes, we don't hear a lot from her, a lot of people say, I didn't even know the president had a daughter, because we hear so much about Beau Biden or Hunter Biden, she's been doing public events. She's been speaking out. She is a licensed social worker. She has a lot to say about mental health and she has a lot to say about politics in general.

You know, she did talk about being the daughter of a politician. This is something she said at an event in D.C. last week. I'm just going to read it to you here.

I have to be honest with you. I started to really have a lot of resentment. It's cruel, like honestly, it's dehumanizing. And so I have a lot of anger around that. I'm also like screw this, we're not going to let them -- we're not letting them win.

So she's had this moment. I mean, she's the one who had her diary stolen. People pled guilty to doing that, to sell her diary to a conservative media outlet. She's watched what happened to her brother, and her father. So she has this vulnerability but at the same time she's also -- sounds a bit like someone we know, Joe Biden, who's saying screw this, we're not going to let them win.

KEILAR: Does she worry if the House of Representatives goes Republican, it very well might, about the investigations of her brother that they will likely -- or they will definitely level?

BENNETT: Well, she's really been open about her brother, and I think, you know, she is also very defensive of him. We heard the president say what he said to Jake Tapper a few weeks ago about him. We heard Jill Biden say she thinks Hunter is innocent. I'll tell you what Ashley said during this event she had in D.C. last

week, she said of the investigation, they're not going to find anything. They're just trying to do whatever they can, but that's -- so when that started to happen, when people started to attack me, and I was like whoa, it just became a widespread thing.

So she's talked a bit about how kids of politicians used to be off limits. Granted, she's 41 years old. She's not a child. But there used to be I assist where children really weren't talked about. She saw what happened with her brother. She saw what happened with her journal. I think she's saying this was a real wake-up call that she still has a lot of anger around.

KEILAR: What does she think of the possibility of her dad running for re-election, especially potentially against Trump?

BENNETT: You know, I think what she mostly said was she doesn't want to have another really nasty campaign. I think all the Bidens would probably tell you that. The first lady probably would too. But I think they do feel this momentum that they have to -- they started here with this first term. She's obviously going to get behind him.

The question is, are all these public appearances in the last couple weeks preparation for Ashley Biden to come out and hit the trail? We certainly have seen it before her presidential daughter of the previous president had a big spot on the stage. Will Ashley Biden? We'll just have to wait and see.

KEILAR: All right. Kate Bennett, thank you so much for that. We appreciate it.

Another big night ahead for Jake Tapper. He'll be speaking with Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. Arizona's Democratic candidate for Governor Katie Hobbs. And Democratic Congressman Pat Ryan, who is trying to hold a swing district that a Republican is favored to win. That is tonight at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN.

And our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".