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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Israeli Airstrikes Pound Gaza As Hamas Launches More Rockets; Hamas Used Victim's Phone To Post Murder On Facebook; Reuters: Hamas Misled Israel For Months As It Planned Attack; At Least 1,000 Killed In Hamas Attacks On Israel. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 10, 2023 - 17:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper.

The dysfunction among Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives has now taken on global significance because of the crisis in the Middle East. So, we are in this hour, we're going to focus a bit on House Republicans meeting at this hour, they are hoping to get one step closer to deciding who will become their next speaker, the individual who runs the House of Representatives. Without a speaker, no legislation can be passed, including any legislation that might address the growing crisis on the ground in Israel. So we are following that story.

But we are going to begin today in the Middle East where at least 1000 people have been killed in the Hamas attacks on Israel, most of them civilians. President Biden confirming today that 14 of them were Americans. The White House says 20 additional Americans are still missing. And that number might not necessarily reflect the number of American hostages. It's just 20 Americans who are not accounted for right now.

Today Israel is carrying out airstrikes on the Gaza port in retaliation as we're learning. Israel, perhaps the only missed signs of an attack they may have been tricked. Reuters is reporting that for two years, Hamas went to great lengths to try to convince Israel and Hamas was so tired of war that it would be placated by economic incentives to Gazan workers. But according to the report, it was all an elaborate front. Behind the scenes, the group's fighters are being trained and drilled for this extensive attack.

A modern day version of the Haversack Ruse during the Brits Palestine campaign of World War I where the British dropped a sack filled with fake plans meant to deceive the Turks into believing that Gaza was its main target when it was not, considered one of the greatest wartime deceptions in military history, and then a lesson apparently not learned well enough. But the images coming out of Israel today do not show a typical war, they show potential war crimes. This is what Hamas did to the small town of Kfar Aza, one IDF official telling CNN that they slaughtered Israeli civilians, they beheaded people. A grim reminder of the last time this many Jews were killed in a single day. That was during the Holocaust.

This story is now just beginning. And while we do not know how it will end the world can see of what Hamas is capable whether it is in that small town or at that music festival where attendees were hiding in bomb shelters where they were executed by hand grenades and guns. CNN's Erin Burnett just arrived in Tel Aviv this morning.

And Erin, back and forth strikes have led to another night of unease across Israel and Gaza. Ashkelon was a major target of Hamas today and now we're learning rockets were launched tonight from Syria into Israeli territory, which of course is just adding to the already volatile situation.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Yes. Right, Jake, and you know, when they talk about that the worry about this expanding, the war expanding and also expanding within Israel to multiple fronts, the Israeli defense forces, the IDF, are saying that there were rockets fired from Syrian territory to Israeli territory. They don't say how many, they don't say whether there were any injuries but they said that that happened today. And of course it added is over the past 24 hours. There have been skirmishes with Hezbollah forces up in the north, up by Lebanon, right, and then down of course, by Gaza.

You had today a barrage of rockets, you talk about Ashkelon. And that is exactly what we saw here. In the early hours of the evening, the sky lit up. The Iron Dome, of course did protect very few of any broke through. We don't hear about any injuries. But it was a barrage and Hamas had said 05:00 local time, they're going to strike Ashkelon with rockets, and they did exactly that.

The other thing I will say, Jake, you talk about the bombardment of the Gaza port. I can't tell you if that's exactly what we were hearing today. But one thing that is definitely the case, obviously, given the small distances that you're talking about, here in Tel Aviv, you could hear the constant flooding. And you could actually feel it all the way through your body through your core. You could hear the flooding of what we were told was Israeli bombardment of Gaza, obviously not able to tell you that's exactly what it was. But you can literally feel that in your body as those strikes are happening.


So, obviously all this comes in the context as you said of the fact that you've got 150 hostages and people still don't know their whereabouts, whether they're alive, whether they're dead, families in terror still waiting, you know, people waiting for entire members of their families, and just still so many questions about that, Jake. And until that there are answers on that, until they know what's going to happen there, it seems very uncertain that we will know exactly how Prime Minister Netanyahu will even deal with a possible ground invasion into Gaza.

TAPPER: And Erin, we heard from President Biden a few hours ago, he pledged his unwavering support to Israel. How will that message go over there as the rockets keep firing?

BURNETT: Well, Jake, as you know, one of the first things when you talk to Israeli officials or even speaking to family members of hostages, and I know you've experienced this as well, they say thank you, they say thank you to the United States. And it is, you know, something we hear again and again. So that's certainly the attitude and the feeling. It is interesting when you look at President Biden's comments, of course, you notice, right, he talked about what Hamas did is sheer evil, pure, unadulterated evil, right? Those are words that are exactly the words you hear, hear.

That is exactly what they want to hear. That is what they believe is happening. And he was very clear in how he described things. He was very clear. Karine Jean-Pierre, as you know, later saying, let's be clear, there are no two sides to this issue. So all of that, obviously very important here.

But also, Jake, just on the practical level, I know that there's a real push up by the Biden administration to quickly rush in aid. But when you just look at the barrage of rockets that continually keep coming in here, it's not just a matter of whether they overwhelmed, excuse me, the Iron Dome in one onslaught, right? It's just the overall draw down of what they do to Israeli capability. So that there is a need, they're very clear that there is a need and it's at least at this point, nothing but thanks to the United States for how the Biden administration is handling.

TAPPER: All right, Erin, thanks so much. And we'll look more for more of your reporting on "Erin Burnett Out Front" tonight at 07:00 p.m. Eastern in just about two hours. Thanks so much.

I want to go now to CNN's Nic Robertson, who's in Sderot in southern Israel, just a few miles from Gaza. And Nic, the U.N. is calling the latest developments in Israel, quote, "bone chilling." And truly some of the stories we have heard, as the IDF and others go into different parts of Israel and find the remains of Israelis civilians, civilians that the Hamas terrorists slaughtered are just so upsetting. Tell us more about where -- what you're seeing and hearing.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLAMATIC EDITOR: Yes, one of the reasons these stories have been slow to come out is because it's taken so long for the Israeli defense forces to fight and kill so many Hamas militants in some of these communities. And Kfar Aza where we were today, population usually about 700 civilians living there in a small community. Seventy Hamas militants stormed into it. Some flew in, some flew on paragliders, some came in through the gates and started killing people. But it wasn't straightforward killing, it was binding people's hands and killing them.

According to the general in charge there he said that there was decapitation. We, to be frank, didn't see it, weren't shown bodies of anyone decapitated but this is what was described. And the point that he went on to make was, look, he said, when I got in here, and he's a retired General, 39 year veteran, he came out of -- he came out of his armchair, came out of retirement Saturday morning, bang, positioned himself as close as he could to support everyone in these communities. He said, when I got in and saw what happened, he said, I was reminded of what General Eisenhower said when he saw the death camps in World War II, and that was get the journalists, which is exactly what the Israeli Defense Forces did today when they took us into Kfar Aza to show what had happened there. That fight and the brutality that they described is something that I think is part of the reason why we're hearing the U.N. respond in this way.

But don't listen to me, listen to the words of the general who was there and fought for the -- fought to take back control on what he saw.


MAJ. GEN. ITAL VERUV, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: People run out with their children and they kill them. Say kill babies in the front of the parents and then kill the parents. They kill parents and we found babies with between the dogs and the family that killed before him. He cut head of the people.

What I saw are hundreds of terrorist is full of full gear, with all the equipment and all the ability to make a massacre go from apartment to apartment, from room to room and kill babies, mother, father in their bedrooms. I had during my childhood about growing Europe in the Holocaust, of course. All of my family came from Europe and survival et cetera, et cetera. I never think that I will see my eyes picture and things like this.



ROBERTSON: And this is why it's so shocking for a military veteran has so much experience to see things that makes him think of the atrocities of World War II tells you the level that this has gotten to, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Nic Robertson, thank you so much. We're going to go back to Israel in a moment but we also want to touch on a vital meeting happening right now among House Republicans. This is one day before the speakership vote. Remember, the U.S. government cannot really function without a speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Let's get right to CNNs Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

Manu, the dysfunction of House Republicans now has global ramifications. What is going on there right now?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and the world -- Republicans know the world is watching them even as they are struggling to get behind a single candidate after the unprecedented ouster of the sitting speaker, Kevin McCarthy last week. And just right now Steve Scalise, the House majority leader and the House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan walked in behind closed doors to talk -- meet with the full 221 member conference to make their pitch. We expect them to make their speeches tonight about why they deserve to be elected speaker. Each man will have five minutes to make their case. And then they will open up to questions, any member can ask any round of questions, you can go as long as possible, and then ultimately they'll close out for today.

Tomorrow is the key day. That is a leadership election. Right now under current conference rules, a majority of the conference, 112 members is enough, 111 members is enough to nominate the next Speaker of the House. But there is a dispute and a debate and something that Jim Jordan is pushing specifically to make sure that whoever gets the nomination actually can get 217 votes. Why? To avoid the long drawn out process on the House floor like we saw back in January when McCarthy went 15 rounds to be ultimately elected speaker.

But there's a problem with that, Jake, there is not consensus yet between for either man, both men recognize that they are going to fall short of 217 votes. So the process behind closed doors could last some time. And, Jake, Kevin McCarthy himself, even as he is facing a push from some of his supporters to potentially run again, told his colleagues not to nominate him for the speakership in today's closed door meeting. So we'll see ultimately how that plays out. But Jake, also some of the detractors, the people who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy, the eight Republicans are here in the room. One of them Congressman Matt Gaetz said he had not yet made up his mind.

Another one, Congressman Nancy Mays walked in with the letter A on her shirt as she walked into closed doors. She was asked by our colleague Anne Grier (ph), what that was about she said it was a scarlet letter. Jake.

TAPPER: OK. That's not making me convinced that they have their act together. Manu Raju, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Let's get another live look at Gaza, brief moment of calm but explosions continue to go off and the world needs to hear the stories coming from those stuck there from those hearing the explosions over their homes and stories from families waiting for any word that their loved ones are alive and coming home.

You also need to hear from those suffering loss. The brother of my next guest was a peace activist. He was against what Netanyahu was doing. The terrorists found him hiding in a closet, and then they kill them. His story is next.



TAPPER: Parts of Gaza on fire earlier today. You can see the flames pouring out of this boat as the IDF continues to pounding territory with rockets as retaliation for the terrorist attack on Saturday. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus is the International Spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces. He's with me right now. Thanks for joining us, sir.

The IDF said earlier today that there were a number of launches from Syria aimed for Israel that fell in open areas. What can you tell us about this? Who is behind those attacks?

LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES INTERNATIONAL SPOKESMAN: Yes, thanks for having me here. The situation is that we are actually with active fighting on three fronts. The primary one is in Gaza where there is still fighting ongoing, there are still attacks coming out of Gaza towards Israel. There was an attack in Ashkelon, in (inaudible) city in southern Israel, there was an attack just in a kibbutz called Mefalsim, also in southern Israel in the Gaza envelope area. And we're still talking about an active combat zone in that area, not regarded to the whole aerial campaign that you just referred to, but things happening on the ground.

We are deployed along our northern border in Lebanon, and there were skirmishes, and there has been a -- the fire of a anti-tank missile by Hezbollah towards Israel. Yesterday, there were attempts to infiltrate on the ground that were successfully thwarted. And the last front to become active is the Syrian front where a few hours ago, rockets were fired from Syrian sovereign soil towards Israel. As of now, I cannot confirm the identity of those firing. I cannot say if it was one of many Iranian proxies that are active in Syria, the Syrian approved under Iranian control or if it were Syrian forces or perhaps Hezbollah.

That remains to be confirmed from an intelligence point of view. But this of course, adds complexity to our situation. And to that, if I may, I'd add that there are also quite a lot of events ongoing in Judea and Samaria. We have had clashes between Palestinians and Israelis in various communities and there have been attempts by armed terrorists coming out of Jenin in Judea and Samaria to attack Israeli troops. So, a very, very dynamic environment where we are vigilant and defending ourselves on more than three fronts.


TAPPER: Let's talk about the individuals, the Palestinians in Gaza, who are not part of Hamas and do not deserve to be hurt in these retaliatory strikes. On Saturday, when I asked you what they should do, you said that they should go to the shore or they should go to the south. I talked to an American -- a Palestinian American woman in Gaza right now who said that that's not really possible. And she went to the border crossing, the only open border crossing in Gaza right now between Egypt and the Gaza Strip and Israel, as you know, has been pummeling it with rockets all day. This even came up at the White House briefing today.

Obviously, there are more than 2 million Palestinians live in Gaza. And I'm sure you don't want to hurt the innocent ones. What are you doing to make sure that the innocent ones do not get hurt? And what can be done to provide access so they can leave Gaza?

CONRICUS: Yes, you're very right in a lot about what you're saying. A, we definitely do not want to hurt any non-combatants. B, it is an extremely complex situation. Gaza is extremely dense and hated (ph) by more than 2 million Palestinians. Sadly, the enemies that we're fighting are cowards and they use civilian infrastructure in order to -- for their military purposes.

And if you walk around the Gaza Strip, I don't think that you will find even one sign on a building that says this is the Hamas headquarters for producing rockets or gathering intelligence, it simply doesn't exist. And they use all the civilian infrastructure for their military purposes. I mentioned this because the footage running on the screen is what looks like a civilian building. But in fact, these are military targets used by Hamas for their military purposes. And as such, they are qualified military targets.

You ask what we do in order to minimize the risk for non-combatants, we do a lot. We are still in a stage and we will continue to be in the stage where we abide by the law of international warfare. And we do not wish to harm the civilians. It is extremely unfortunate that they are caught in between Hamas and ourselves. Unfortunately, Hamas leaves us no other option.

We're fighting to defend ourselves. Rockets are being fired at Israel as we speak. They've been fired at Israel throughout today in southern Israel. And in order to mitigate that rocket fire --


CONRICUS: -- and the ability of Hamas we fight, we fire at the military targets with -- non-combatants and combatants. We still do warnings and roof knockings and other tactics in order to minimize the civilian casualties. I know and understand the complexity of the situation. But unfortunately, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad leave us with no choice.

TAPPER: Well, I would just say that you and your government and Egypt needs to open up that border so innocent Palestinians can get out of Gaza. But that's all the time we have Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus. Thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

Moments ago another explosion in Gaza. We have seen several since we've been on the air. More accounts from folks leaving in the -- living in the region and living through this horror. That's next.



TAPPER: As we learn more about the bloodshed and see with our own eyes the carnage that continues to unfold in Gaza and Israel, we are also learning about the barbarism, the terrorism committed by Hamas on Saturday that led to this current war. Joining us now is Yoav Shimoni whose grandmother was viciously killed by Hamas, which as if that weren't enough, recorded video of her dying and uploaded it to her Facebook account. And then set her house on fire.

Yoav, I am at a loss. I cannot fathom any of what I just said. Especially the idea of your family going to Facebook and having to see that video of your grandmother. How are you and your family coping?

YOAV SHIMONI, GRANDMOTHER KILLED IN ISRAEL: Well, we're all just trying to do the best we can, the situation doing what my grandma would have wanted us to do. You know, first of all, she was -- That's why partly I'm doing -- I'm conducting this interview because She was a great lover of the news, It was a passion of hers. She would spend like four hours a day at least watching the news. And I think she would want her story shared.

My mother and my parents are currently in Israel going to a lot and all of the rescue centers to help out all the victims and all the survivors from the attacks. But I cannot -- I can't lie, it's very difficult the images of the video flash in my head, it's hard to sleep. It's hard to really do anything.

TAPPER: I think I first heard about the story that there was a young woman who told the story is that a relative of yours, a sister of yours?

SHIMONI: That is my cousin.

TAPPER: Your cousin told the story. It's just, I mean, I guess we know that the terrorists who did the attacks on Saturday, I mean there's just a level of just a lack of humanity there, but then just - I'm just such at a loss that anybody would not only do that, but then like, want to inflict that upon her friends and family to make them watch.



TAPPER: What did you guys call her?

SHIMONI: And we, I call her Savta, which is Hebrew for grandma.


SHIMONI: But her name was Bracha Levinson. And just, I know her story, and our story is horrid. But keeping hearing all the other stories, for example, so my mom is now helping all the victims and she is all that hearing the most horrendous things of babies having their head chopped off in their beds, families being slaughtered upon blank range, eight-year-old women being kidnapped and taken into Gaza, and also being filmed while they're being tortured on their way for their families to see. It's just -- all of the images and all of the victims of the last few days are going through inhumane, unimaginable things that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.

TAPPER: Yoav tell me about your Savta, what -- in addition to being a fan of the news, what do you want the world to know about her?

SHIMONI: How strong and how brave and how amazing she was. She raised my mom and my aunt as a single mom. She loved the kibbutz. She lived and she lived there for seven years. And even when tensions were rising, every time she always was so optimistic. I would call her every time and she would say don't worry, I'm safe. And if I were in Israel, she would be more concerned to my safety, which also echoed to the way she was up until her death, like 10 minutes before that I have the conversation with my mom and her and my aunt, where they were all asking about each other's safety during the missiles.

And my grandma was more concerned about my mom and my aunt safety than her own. She was in the shelter, but she was just making sure that we're all safe that we're good. And then within 10 minutes of those messages, we saw the video.

TAPPER: I'm so sorry Yoav.

SHIMONI: Thank you.

TAPPER: I'll be thinking about you and your family. And may Savta's memory be a blessing.

SHIMONI: Thank you so much. Thank you.

TAPPER: Thank you for joining us.

As the fighting between Israel and Hamas intensifies, so too does the humanitarian crisis in the area. If you feel compelled, if you can afford to help with humanitarian relief efforts for those in Israel and the innocents in Gaza, you can head to We've got a list of vetted organizations that are on the ground responding. That's We'll be right back.



TAPPER: Four days after Hamas launched rockets and sent terrorists into Israel to commit unspeakable crimes, there are still major questions about how this happened. Senator Mark Warner, he's chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is here. Senator, Mr. Chairman, thanks for joining us. Reuters is reporting that Hamas misled Israel for months as it planned this attack and even quote constructed a mock Israeli settlement in Gaza, where militants practiced a military landing and trained to storm it.

So it seems as though they tried a ruse of sorts. But the bigger question is, this is obviously a massive intelligence failure. And I know everybody is going to say there's going to be time to focus on how this happened later. Right now, it's about solving the problem in the threat of Israel. But how could something an intelligence failure this big happen? How could it happen?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, Jake, you want to know, I want to know. And I agree with your characterization. These are brutal acts by a terrorist operation that sole intent appears to be not helping Palestinians, but to murder Jews murdered Israelis. But in that sense, and I say this, and I will find the answer of what happened with Israel, and, frankly, even with an American intelligence.

But right now, I want Israeli intelligence, American intelligence 100 percent focused on taking out these terrorist leaders. And also making sure that we don't see the spread of violence to the West Bank, or coming out of Lebanon with Hezbollah. You know, as you know, in these images and the stories that we're hearing all day of Israelis and American citizens being killed, you know, the focus ought to be getting rid of the terrorists right now. And bringing some level of calm but not -- and not seeing, unfortunately, this violent spread. TAPPER: How can Hamas be eliminated the terrorist of Hamas that run the West Bank, I mean, sorry, that run Gaza with as little harm as is humanly possible to the millions of Palestinians in Gaza, who are not part of Hamas. I mean, I don't know what the percentages are. But there are 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. I assume that most of them I mean, a million of them are kids.


WARNER: Right.

TAPPER: I assume most of the 2.3 million are not part of Hamas. I mean, the last election in Gaza was something like 2005 or '06.

WARNER: 2007.

TAPPER: 2007. But I mean, they didn't even elect them is the point.

WARNER: Right. And they have been there. And frankly, if anything, we've seen that Hamas was getting less popular, because, you know, they're not providing any services. They have not done anything in a meaningful way in terms of engaging in terms of greater Palestinian economic autonomy. They've seen literally billions of dollars go into the region.

TAPPER: Right. So you're making my point is like, what can we do next? So the U.S., yes, the U.S. is doing everything it can to support Netanyahu and Israel. And I certainly understand that Hamas is classified terrorist group, they certainly proved that over the weekend, as if anybody needed any further proof. But what can be done? I mean, we spoke earlier in the show to a Palestinian American woman and her -- who has three kids, she's stuck in Gaza, she can't get out. I mean, surely there should be some sort of passage so innocent people can get out of there.

WARNER: And that will be a decision made by the Israeli government, which I know is trying to take out these militants terrorists who've created barbaric acts. I mean, the notion that there were children, at least pressure ports being beheaded in kibbutz is around Gaza, that that is inhuman. This is not, you know, a political force against government is this is pure evil.


WARNER: And how they -- Israel does this in a way that doesn't create more terrorists in the making? I wish I had a simple, easy answer on that. And I think that notion of trying to bring some level of rule of law after barbaric acts, is what I know and Israel has that history and tradition. But I don't know the answer of how the next few days will play out. I do know this, that, you know, you've got an unfortunately this is even further exacerbated by hundreds of hostages.


WARNER: Some of which are clearly dual citizen Americans. TAPPER: All right, Senator Mark Warner, the chairman of the Select Committee of Intelligence in the U.S. Senate. Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.

Breaking news, the first plane carrying us ammunition has landed in Israel. The IDF says the delivery is quote designed to enable significant blows in preparation for additional scenarios. More on that to come. But first, a peace activist, just one of the hundreds of victims of the brutal Hamas attack, the deadliest day for Jews in the world since the Holocaust. We're going to talk with his brother next.



TAPPER: We are learning more and more each day of such horrific and dramatic stories of those who are either kidnapped or killed by terrorists of Hamas on Saturday. I want to show you now one of the victims killed in this clear act of terrorism. His name was Hayim Katsman, he was 32. He was a peace activist. His neighbor told CNN that Hayim was shot to death as he hid in a closet. Here's how she described this man who was murdered in cold blood.


AVITAL ALAJEM, ABDUCTED AND RELEASED: He was a wonderful person. He was a talented person. He was a funny person. He was a -- he was someone who wanted to live. His name is Hayim. Hayim in Hebrew is life. That's the meaning of his name. And he gave life to this planet because he saved me and I was able to save two kids. He was a good friend. He was a good soul in this world.


TAPPER: Noy Katsman joins me now. Hayim was their brother. Noy, I'm very, very sorry for your loss. Hayim neighbor describes him as a wonderful person. What do you want people to know about Hayim?

NOY KATSMAN, BROTHER KILLED IN ISRAEL: OK. So Hayim was -- he was -- as I said, so he used to -- he was first of all, he was really into kind of mech (ph). And into, yes, sorry. Yes. He wasn't really into kind of mech (ph), Israel studies. He wrote about religious Zionism and about the risks and danger of right wing uprising in Israel.

TAPPER: As my understanding he cared a lot about the Palestinian people and that he -- and then he really, he opposes Netanyahu government and he was trying to work to bring upon, you know, bring rights to human rights to the Palestinian people.

KATSMAN: Definitely, he was an activist in the (inaudible) where the IDF is doing -- and Israel are doing a cleansing of Palestinians -- of the native Palestinians who live there. He's very active there. I'm also part of the community and they wrote to me how was acted there. He also volunteered in Rahat which is a Bedouin city which sadly doesn't have enough shelters now and a lot of people are killed. And he also was active in watch, some watch, which takes like, watches. It's like watch watching the occupation, and also in Academy for Equality, which is --


TAPPER: How was he as a sibling?

KATSMAN: So he was a sibling. Sorry. Yes. He was a sibling of me. Yes. So we grew up together in (inaudible) which is the city next to Jerusalem -- next to Tel Aviv, sorry. And it wasn't always easy. But still today, I'm very proud of him and all that what he did, and still until the day of his death.

TAPPER: How was your family doing? I mean, such a horrible thing.

KATSMAN: Yes, I actually was in student exchange in Germany. I started my student exchange. And I needed to fly back a few days ago. Like it came only this morning like, last night and yes, I finally saw my family and they are yes, it's like difficult. We're six siblings and not easy for us.

TAPPER: Noy Katsman, may Hayim's memory be a blessing. I'm so sorry for your loss.

KATSMAN: Can I say one more thing.

TAPPER: Yes. Thank you so much.

KATSMAN: Yes, so what I wanted to say is the most important for me and I think also from my brother was that his death won't be used to kill innocent people. And sadly, my government is using cynically innocent people to just kill like they promised us it was going to bring us like security. But of course, it's not security, because they always tell us all that if we're going to kill enough Palestinians, or they're going to, so it's going to be better for us.

But of course, it never brings us peace, and it never brings us better lives. It just brings more and more terror and more and more people killed like my brother. And they don't want anything to happen to people in Gaza like it happens to a brother, and I'm sure he wouldn't have any, either. So that's my call to my government stop killing innocent people. And that's not the way that brings us peace and security to people in Israel.

TAPPER: Noy Katsman, thank you so much, and may your brother, Hayim's -- may Hayim's memory be a blessing.

KATSMAN: Thank you.

TAPPER: We are also monitoring another big story this hour. The hallways of Capitol Hill are quite full. House Republicans are meeting right now ahead of tomorrow's vote on who could be the next speaker if they are able to manage to cobble together a majority and pick a speaker. I know it's quite a difficult task apparently. CNN's Manu Raju is on the case. We'll check in with him next.



TAPPER: In our Politics Lead right now House Republicans are meeting behind closed doors listening to Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio pitch themselves and why they should be voted the next speaker but in the middle of all this. The Justice Department has charged one of the Republicans voting George Santos of New York with 23 counts, including identity theft and money laundering.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us where this news is just breaking. Manu, I know you have to do a lot to get kicked out of the Republican Party these days. But can Congressman Santos keep his job as he faces these charges?

RAJU: This has been a huge question all year long. Of course he had been charged earlier this year. This is a superseding indictment, Jake, that was just announced by the Justice Department filed in district court in New York and according to this release, he was charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, false statements, falsification of records, aggravated identity theft and credit card fraud.

Now this indictment just in seal will have to go through all the details and the allegations they're in. But undoubtedly this will put pressure on Republicans to take action on George Santos. So far they have left it to the House Ethics Committee to come down and recommend any actions on Santos. So far, the Ethics Committee has not yet done that as it continues to investigate how will they proceed and how will so Santos proceed tomorrow.

He is still expected to vote in the secret ballot election tomorrow to vote for a candidate for speaker here as Jim Jordan and Steve Scalise are behind closed doors in the room behind me trying to lock down the votes. So at the moment, Jake, George Santos has indicated that he would not resign. Will this change? There'll be one question here that will pose to him and some of his members, colleagues that they believe it's time for him to step aside, Jake.

TAPPER: And just to be clear who -- the next speaker needs 217 votes. That's the math right now. Do either Scalise or Jordan have 217 votes?

RAJU: The answer to that is no, Jake. In fact, right now, behind closed doors both men are taking questions from their colleagues from the 221 members of the House GOP conference, but in talking to a number of the members early today, there is a lot of concern frustration, some directed at Matt Gaetz, the person who led the ouster of speaker McCarthy and those eight Republicans who voted him out and some simply want more time to consider these two candidates before the secret ballot election tomorrow.


TAPPER: All right Manu Raju it seems like quite a mess there. They're definitely going to still have the vote tomorrow?

RAJU: Jake at the moment, that's the plan have had the secret ballot election in the House GOP conference. But the bigger -- longer -- larger questions when they will actually get a vote on the House floor that is uncertain, because at the moment, Jim Jordan has indicated if he gets the votes to become nominated as Speaker he wants to ensure this won't go ballot after ballot after ballot that he can actually get 217 votes on the floor simply to get nominated by the conference, you'll need to have a majority of the 221 members.

But Jordan does not want to go to his situation, like we saw with Speaker McCarthy back in January 15 ballots that messy process, which is why they're trying to sort this out behind closed doors. And the question Jake is can either Jordan or Scalise get the expectation is that they can will simply ultimately can't.

TAPPER: All right, Manu, thanks so much. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Room.