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The Lead with Jake Tapper

House GOP Conference Meeting Now On Speaker Nominees; Netanyahu: "It's Only The Beginning" Of Our Wars On Hamas; Rep. Jim Jordan Wins GOP Nomination For House Speaker; Sources: U.S. Intelligence Warned Of Potential For Gaza Clash In Days Before Hamas Attack; Israel Tells 1.1M People To Leave Northern Gaza; 55 House Republicans Say They Won't Support Jordan On Floor. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 13, 2023 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Obviously, a lot of news that we have been following today and hearing from the president as well who spoke to the families of Americans who are still hostage, they believed to be held hostage in Gaza in promising American help. So many things developing when it comes to this story today.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Yeah. The president making clear that the United States would stop at nothing to get those hostages back.

KEILAR: That's right.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starting right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And this afternoon, we are following two major breaking stories, the first on Capitol Hill, you're looking live where House Republicans are meeting behind closed doors. Right now, they're tallying the results of a secret ballot where they are trying to decide who their next speaker nominee will be.

Our teams are stationed across Capitol Hill and assuming, House Republicans are finally able to nominate a speaker after ten days without one, in the midst of two wars and a pending government shutdown, we will bring you the results. That is an assumption. Not sure if that's going to happen but we'll bring you the results.

Our other major story, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing this afternoon, this is only the beginning of Israel's fight to destroy Hamas.

And this time one week ago, one week ago today, right this moment, it was just after 11:00 p.m. in Gaza and roughly 1,000 members of Hamas, which is the ruling government of Gaza, were preparing to invade Israel to attack. They were going to infiltrate Israel by land, by sea and air, by paraglider to kill Israeli soldiers, to kill Israeli babies, to kill Israeli women and men in their beds, to kill Israeli seniors at the bus stop, Israeli young people at a music festival, hundreds and hundreds in total -- the deadliest day for the Jewish people literally since the Holocaust.

Now nearly seven days later, that attack has resulted in hundreds more innocent dead killed in Israeli retaliatory strikes in Gaza, strikes that the Israeli Defense Forces claim are against Hamas targets. They say this is based on Israeli intelligence, though, of course, post- October 7th Hamas terrorist attacks, the quality of Israeli intelligence inside Gaza. That's a legitimate question as an IDF spokesman admitted the other day.

And while currently no Western leader challenges Israel's right to defended itself, few can answer the question as to what exactly the plan is. As all signs point to Israel ramping up an assault on Gaza to destroy Hamas, including what appears to be a pending ground invasion. And if and when Hamas is destroyed, few can answer what then?

Israel's military dropped leaflets from the sky warning the 1.1 million civilians living in northern Gaza to evacuate the area. That's nearly half the population of the entire Gaza Strip.

Hamas, which embeds itself within the Palestinian population there, is telling the civilian population to not go anywhere. The United Nations says evacuations on that scale, 1.1 million, would be impossible to carry out, quote, without devastating humanitarian consequences and there are already questions, of course, about whether Israel having cut off food, water, fuel, and other supplies to the entirety of Gaza, constitutes a violation of international law. Israel's done that, they say, until the hostages that Hamas took are returned.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Israel today where he was on hand to see a U.S. cargo plane delivering more U.S. weapons and munitions to support the Israeli military. Secretary Austin also spoke to CNN exclusively. This was his answer when asked about assurances from the Israeli military about avoiding Palestinian civilian casualties.


LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: This is a professional force that's well led. I'm sure they'll do the right thing.


TAPPER: The Palestinian health ministry says more than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed since last Saturday. More than half of which the authority says have been women and children. Israeli authorities put the total Israelis killed at more than 1,300.

Let's bring in CNN's Clarissa Ward who is in Ashdod, Israel. That's just north of the Gaza border.

Clarissa, the Israeli military is warning that more than one million civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate, to go south. The U.N. says it's impossible for that to happen without major humanitarian consequences. CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right,

Jake. And we've been talking to people in northern Gaza, chaotic scenes there, as people desperately trying to move. No clear idea where they can go because simply put, Jake, they can't get out.


The efforts that have been ongoing to build some kind of a humanitarian corridor have so far been fruitless. And so, you see these scenes of people putting their lives into their cars or on their backs, walking with no sense of where they will end up, of where is safe. Meanwhile, that death toll continuing to climb according to the Palestinian health ministry, more than 500 children in Gaza among the dead.

The U.N. Palestinian Refugee Agency called this evacuation order from the Israeli military, quote, horrendous and said that Gaza is becoming, quote, a hell hole.

We actually spoke with a 22-year-old dentistry student, Yara Alhayek, she is from that area in northern Gaza that has been directed to evacuate. She told us that they haven't left their home yet because they're afraid they might never be able to come back and they simply don't know where to go. Take a listen.


YARA ALHAYEK, STUDENT: I'm actually terrified. I'm trying not to show it, but it's -- all the situation around us, it's like they're saying that you can die at any moment. You don't know. I don't know if I'm going to live through the next minute. So, yeah. It's really terrifying.

WARD: I hear the voices of young children in your house and how do you protect them from this?

ALHAYEK: Yes. It is -- it's terrifying of that, of just imagining if anything were to happen to them, and when any bombing happen, I could see the look on the 4-year-old. He would look terrified. So, it's really heartbreaking.

WARD: Have you lost any friends or family throughout the strikes of the last seven days?

ALHAYEK: Yes. There's friends. She actually got out from her house to her cousin's house. When she was there, the area were targeted. And the house got bombed. She's gone.

WARD: What was she like?

ALHAYEK: She really loved to joke a lot, laugh with us a lot, even though in school, you know, even though in school we had tough times, she just always -- she just always knows how to make us laugh. I'm sorry.

WARD: Don't be sorry. Don't be sorry. ALHAYEK: We just want peace. That's it.


WARD: And, Jake, the name of Yara's friend is Asma Abdul Karim Abu Saleh (ph). She was killed according to Yara at 3:00 this morning in Khan Yunis, and just want to under score that from the people we are talking today -- we are talking to today inside Gaza, so many of them share that same feeling that you heard Yara express.

They just want peace. We did ask Yara about her response to the atrocities carried out by Hamas and she believes and prays all civilians should be off limits, all civilians should be safe -- Jake.

TAPPER: Clarissa Ward, thank you so much.

While we have generally been focused this week on the victims of the brutal Hamas terrorist attack on Israel, the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust, our team here at THE LEAD has also been in touch with many people in Gaza where as you can see from Clarissa's piece, the situation is dire. One man we asked to join us told he was trying to evacuate Gaza, but didn't know where he would be by the end of the day. He told our producers, quote, you're lucky if I'm still alive the next time you reach out to me, unquote.

And that's not hyperbole. Another man told us he had only 30 minutes left of battery on his phone and could not charge it without power in Gaza. He told us the military, the Israeli military had destroyed his home.

So, he's sleeping on the ground. There is no food. There is no water.

We have been in touch all week with Haneen Okal. You might remember, she's the Palestinian American woman from New Jersey who had been on the show on Tuesday. She was stuck in Gaza City with her three children. At one point, we lost all communication with her, but this afternoon, we did get this voice memo saying she had managed to make it close to Gaza's southern border with Egypt. Take a listen.



HANEEN OKAL, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN: People left their homes, everything. They left everything. I hope that everybody could make it out of here because it's not safe at all.


TAPPER: People are still waiting for Egypt and Israel to open the southern border. The problem appears to be at this hour Egypt refusing to open that border.

CNN's Nada Bashir has a wider look at the situation right now in Gaza. I do want to warn you that many images that we're about to show are disturbing. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As dawn breaks in Gaza, now under bombardment from Israel for seven days, a sinister warning from the skies, pamphlets from Israel's Defense Forces telling all civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate southwards.

We're seeing our children killed right in front of us. They're starving us of food and water. We have no electricity, nothing. This isn't a life. Now they tell us we have to leave, but we don't know where we will end up.

Hamas leaders have called on civilians to remain steadfast, and stay put, accusing Israel of engaging in psychological warfare. But families desperate for some semblance of security gather their belongings. And while they are unsure of what awaits them in the south, one thing is clear, there is no guarantee of safety wherever you are in Gaza.

It happened to our grandfathers, and now it is happening to us. We are being forced out. Gaza is being destroyed. Nothing is left. It is a catastrophe.

More than 2 million people live in a tiny besieged Gaza Strip, still under a blockade enforced by Israel in 2007, more than half of those are now being told to move.

The Norwegian Refugee Council has characterized the evacuation order which holds no guarantee of safe return as an act of forcible transfer. In other words, a war crime.

Meanwhile, the U.N.'s Refugee Agency for Palestine says the scale and speed of the unfolding humanitarian crisis is bone chilling.

TAMARA ALRIFAL, UNRWA SPOKESPERSON: On the move are more than 1.4 million people in Gaza. These are ordinary Palestinians, who live in the Gaza Strip, with their families, including pregnant women, children, children with disabilities.

BASHIR: An ongoing siege means access to food and safe water is quickly running out. The U.N. World Health Organization warned that hospitals here have only a few hours of electricity each day, pushing Gaza's already crumbling healthcare infrastructure to the brink of collapse.

At the Al-Shifa hospital, the bodies of those killed in the air strike lay shrouded outside. There is, doctors say, simply not enough space in the morgue.

They were all innocent civilians. Women, children, the air strikes came suddenly and destroyed all our homes, with children still inside, and now we don't even know where we can bury our dead. Enough, please, enough.

In less than one week, Israel has dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza. The equivalent to the total number of air strikes carried out, during the 2014 Israel-Gaza War which lasted 50 days.

And while there continues to be widespread condemnation of the collective punishment the people of Gaza are being subjected to, there is every indication that this war will only intensify. And many here feel that the world has abandoned them.

Nada Bashir, CNN.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Nada Bashir for that report.

Our focus is not only in the Middle East today, but also Washington, D.C., where just moments ago, House Republicans chose their next nominee for House speaker.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us.

Manu, what are the results?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Jim Jordan just won his party's nomination to be speaker of the House. He won a majority of House Republicans, but he is far short of the vote that he would ultimately need on the House floor to be elected speaker of the House.

That number he just won, 124 votes from Republicans supporting him to become speaker. He needed to clear a majority of votes. We believe there are 209 members.

Congressman, was the 124 to 81, that was the number?

REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): I think that was the first count.

RAJU: All right. So, that was Congressman Higgins. We're trying to get information. This is behind closed doors, Jake, the secret ballot election. We understand from multiple sources is that Jordan got 124 votes. We believe he's gotten more than 80 votes in opposition to him.

So, we were told 81 from several sources. We just want to make absolutely sure before we report that. But Congressman Higgins seems to believe that was the number, 124 to 81. Once we get the final number, of course, we will report it.

But the larger issue here is that Jim Jordan had indicated for some time that he needed to get 217 votes behind closed doors before going to the full house. He did not want to go through a messy floor fight the way we saw Speaker McCarthy did, then Speaker McCarthy do back in January, 15 ballots, ultimately getting the vote to become speaker.

Jordan had said, wanted to hammer this all out behind closed doors. It is clear he did not here. Now, what is the question? This is how it could potentially play out. He was up against Austin Scott of Georgia.

The question will be what will Austin Scott do? Does he decide to step aside and do Austin Scott supporters go and support Jim Jordan's candidacy? Does that increase his totally or does another candidate step in if Jordan decides to step aside. All big questions at the moment.

Still uncertainty, Jake, then about what exactly Congressman Jordan's next steps.

Congressman, Congressman, was the vote 124-81?

REP. KEITH SELF (R-TX): Something like that.

RAJU: Something like that, okay.

As you can tell, people have different recollections of what happened. The congressman said 124 to 81, something like that was the vote. We'll try to get a better sense of what the next steps are when we talk to more members as they come out here. But at the moment, Jake, Jim Jordan, winning the Republican nomination to be speaker after this week of a tumultuous moment in the House, completely paralyzed, unable to do anything until they elect a speaker.

Can they elect one now, still a question, despite Jordan's win here to win the nomination today.

TAPPER: So, Manu, my conversations with House Republicans that are reluctant to support Jim Jordan for speaker have centered on two issues.

One of them, obviously, is the Ohio State University scandal involving the former doctor who has since died by suicide, I believe, who would molest the players and Jim Jordan was the assistant wrestling coach. He claimed to not know anything, and there have been players, including this week, who said they didn't believe that. That's one of the issues. The question about whether or not Jim Jordan would be a good representative for the party given that scandal and questions about that.

And the other one, Liz -- former congresswoman and former House Republican conference chair, Liz Cheney, tweeted early today. She said, Jim Jordan was involved in Trump's conspiracy to steal the election and seize power. He urged that Pence, the vice president, refused to count lawful electoral votes. If Republicans nominate Jordan to be speaker, they will be abandoning the Constitution, they'll lose the House majority and they'll deserve to.

There are a number of Republicans from districts that President Biden won that probably are fearful of being tagged with Jim Jordan as the speaker. He could be radioactive to them, I would think.

What's your impression of why there are dozens of Republicans reluctant to support him?

RAJU: One reason is that, Jake, is uncertainty about whether Jim Jordan can help them keep the Republican majority.

There are members from swing districts supporting him, so we'll see ultimately how some of those members broke down. But there are also just a lot of animosity towards members on the right who essentially ended Speaker McCarthy's speakership and ultimately sank Steve Scalise. And they simply do not want to reward what they consider bad behavior, rewarding those members who tanked the sitting speaker and then getting behind the person they are backing for the speakership.

A lot of those members on the far right are backing Jim Jordan. That is where his strength is. The question, too, Jake, is if Jordan decides to go to the floor without having 217 votes, does he dare those more moderate members to vote against him on the floor? Kind of a reverse of what we saw back in January when the conservative members voted against McCarthy, time and time again, until McCarthy ultimately won that fight.

Will Jordan do that with the moderate and will they stand up? Those are all huge questions at this moment, but really, the biggest one, is what Jordan will do despite winning the nomination well short of the 217 votes how does he press ahead, Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, keep us posted.

Coming up, what sources tell CNN about activity picked up by U.S. intelligence just days before the Hamas terrorist attacks last Saturday.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with the world lead.

Sources that tell CNN U.S. intelligence signaled the potential clash between Hamas and Israel in the days before that terrorist attack by Hamas.

CNN's Alex Marquardt helped break this reporting.

Alex, tell us, and what did the intelligence show exactly?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, there were a series of intelligence reports that had varying degrees of different warnings, two of them were American, one was Israeli in the days before this horrific attack. Starting on September 28th, there was a U.S. intelligence report that said that there was a likelihood, a possibility of cross-border attacks by Hamas into Gaza that would include rocket fire. A couple of days later, on October 5th, there was a CIA wire that went out that spoke generally about the possibility of Gaza violence.

And then one day before the horrific attacks on Saturday, U.S. officials disseminated an Israeli report that indicated that there was unusual activity among Hamas members, and, of course, now we know what happened on October 7th. None of these warnings pointed specifically tactically to this, the scope of the attack that happened and brutality. There's a good chance, Jake, even Hamas was surprised by what it was

able to pull off. What we've heard from Israeli and American sources is that these -- these warnings might not have been taken as serious as they should have been because there was a complacency in Israel, there was an assumption, that were something to happen, that it would look like a flare-up we've seen before, that rockets would be fired into Israel, they would be intercepted by the Iron Dome, it would last for a couple days and die away.


But the culmination of these successive reports combined with warnings from other Middle Eastern ally, that there was a buildup of weaponry, that there was a real fury building among the Palestinian population that begs the question of whether or not Israel and the U.S. really should have expected something bigger to happen and we are hearing from American officials and people familiar with the intelligence that the onus really was on Israel, that Hamas and Gaza, that's really their backyard. They have the best collection on Gaza and that there might have been a better sense from the Israeli intelligence passed on to U.S. intelligence this kind of thing could have happened.

TAPPER: It's right in their charter to destroy Israel. I mean, it's not -- it's not a surprise, you know?

MARQUARDT: No. But the fact that they were able to fly over the wall and break through the wall, that certainly was a surprise to Israel.

TAPPER: Yeah. Alex Marquardt, thanks so much.

I'm going to ask a top Israeli official about our new reporting on the U.S. reporting. That's next.



TAPPER: And we're back with more on the war in the Middle East and the new CNN reporting that sources say that U.S. intelligence signaled vaguely a potential attack or unusual behavior from Hamas regarding Israel in the days before the terrorist attack by Hamas a week ago tomorrow.

I want to turn now to the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Arden.

Mr. Ambassador, what do you make of this new reporting from CNN that U.S. had some warnings of potential violence from Gaza towards Israel, but Israel failed to understand what Hamas had in store? This comes from -- on top of some reporting since acknowledged from the Netanyahu government that Egypt passed on some warnings as well?


Obviously, we -- everyone understand that we were surprised, and we have many things to investigate, but we can wait and everything will be postponed for the time after the war because now, our main goal is to obliterate Hamas' terror capabilities. We're not looking to, you know, blame anyone or blame one another.

It's very important for us now to be united. That's why we established a unity government two days ago. So, yeah, we were surprised, but this is not the time now to investigate it.

TAPPER: So there's some reporting out there that suggests that President Biden and the Biden administration are urging -- urging Israel to hold off on any ground incursion until there has been a humanitarian corridor -- a corridor established so the innocent Palestinians in Gaza can escape and the United Nations, as you know, is saying that Israel is warning to the 1.1 million citizens in northern Gaza to evacuate, is going to be impossible to do in any short term because it's too many people in the immediate theater to get out in any near period of time?

ERDAN: Well, I don't know of any pressure coming from the Biden administration to hold our operation. We said that we will use every mean at our disposal to eradicate Hamas' terror capabilities and we meant it. The prime minister gave an early morn -- early warning a few days ago already, and sadly, it's very sad, because I'm -- I really feel sorry for the suffering of the people of Gaza, but we should all remember, they elected Hamas 18 years ago.

Hamas is the only one responsible for everything that is happening there. Hamas embedded its terrorist infrastructure within the civilian population under public facilities and there's no other way to eradicate Hamas terrorist capabilities and ensure that these atrocities will not happen again without -- without eliminating it and without temporarily evacuating the population. But I think we should all remember another thing, Jake, evacuation temporarily is reversible, but the loss of life is not and right now, we cherish life. And what we're doing is making sure that no more people will lose their lives in the future.

TAPPER: So you just said something about the people of Palestine or people of Gaza rather electing Hamas in 2007 and it is true. They elected Hamas in 2007, which is 18 years ago, and Hamas has not allowed an election since then.

Hamas is a terrorist organization. They rule with guns. They rule with terror. President Herzog said this week it is, quote, an entire nation out there that's responsible. It's not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware and not involved. It's absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against the evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d'etat, murdering their family members who are in Fattah.


You basically just insinuated something similar. And I guess my question is, if Hamas is a terrorist group, which it is, but if it is, then how can you hold all 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza responsible for what Hamas did? Don't you think that they rule by killing people who oppose them? I mean, how seriously can you hold --

ERDAN: We do not --

TAPPER: How seriously can you expect the Palestinian people, half of whom are kids, by the way, how seriously can you expect them to rise up if they are brutal murderers, which they are?

ERDAN: We do not expect them to rebel. We cannot decide for themselves how to live their life, but we are fighting for our life. We just lost 1,300 Israelis who were slaughtered and butchered and massacred and like any other normal country, we have to ensure that such atrocities will not happen again.

I really -- I feel sorry for many people in Gaza, like I am sure that in Germany, Nazi Germany, there were also Germans who were not involved.

It's not about retaliation. It's not about revenge. We don't want to punish them. We just need to obliterate Hamas' terror capabilities.

And sadly, there's no other way to do it. We will try again to protect the civilians and try to mitigate the loss of life. That's why we ask for the evacuation of the civilian population.

We're not going to harm anyone who is -- who is not involved in terror activities. But sadly, that is the situation right now in Gaza. It's a threat against our future.

Right now, some people will tell you it's an existential threat because their long-term goal is to attack us from different, multiple fronts, as we start to see on our northern border coming from Hezbollah.

TAPPER: Right.

ERDAN: That's our -- that's the only way to survive for the state of Israel. And I think that the civilized world should understand that we are fighting not only for Israel, we are fighting against a jihadist genocidal terrorist organization exactly like ISIS and exactly like the Nazis.

TAPPER: So, lastly, sir, there's been talk of trying to open the Rafah gate in the south and that can only be done jointly with Israel and Egypt. My understanding is the hold up is Egypt, that Egypt is refusing to open it.

That is, obviously, key to letting the I think there are something like 500 Americans stuck in Gaza, but in addition, obviously, hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinian children, women. When can that be opened so a humanitarian corridor can be opened so people can get out before this invasion?

ERDAN: We -- I understand. We are holding close talks now with the U.N., with its agencies and also with the Egyptians, and I hope that the Rafah border crossing will be open very soon. I really hope so.

TAPPER: Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it.

ERDAN: Thank you for having me, Jake.

TAPPER: As an Israeli ground invasion in Gaza appears imminent, how complicated the assault could be. That's next.



TAPPER: Welcome back.

We're here with retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, who's also the former secretary of state for political and military affairs. And also, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy in the George W. Bush administration.

So, General Kimmitt, 1.1 million live in Gaza, northern Gaza, which Israel just said they need to evacuate further south immediately. How realistic is that?

BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT (RET.), FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY: In the time that they've been talking about doing this in one or two days, almost impossible. The U.N. is right about that. That massive humanitarian crisis that would create, I don't think it's going to happen at all.

TAPPER: So, let's talk about the workable plan, if Israel has one, for any sort of ground invasion. It's worth making some sort of historical comparison to see what Israel might be entering into if they go into Gaza.

KIMMITT: Yeah. I think the best comparison for an American is Fallujah. If we take a look at the size of this city and the fact that it took us three weeks just on the north side of the river to clear this area --

TAPPER: This is in the Iraq war for the kids out there that don't remember.

KIMMITT: Yeah, exactly. That took three weeks, a couple hundred American casualties killed, about a thousand wounded. It's important to understand that Gaza City is nine times the size of Fallujah. It's going to take months, the casualties more than likely enormous.

TAPPER: And how would you say, if I can ask, that the Iraqi forces that U.S. were fighting compare to Hamas?

KIMMITT: Well, first of all, we were fighting primarily what we call former militants, former Sudan regime. They were fighting pretty much like soldiers do. The civilians were generally protected and weren't used as human shields. It was more conventional war.

Hamas shows no -- does not adhere to any rules at all. It is slaughter. It is brutality. TAPPER: Secretary Austin, the defense secretary, is in Israel today.

We know he's been meeting with Israeli military leaders. Do you think Austin is telling them to slow it down until there's a viable plan for what they do in Gaza and then what they do -- assuming that they are able to defeat Hamas, what they do after?


KIMMITT: Yeah, yeah. The concern I have is when I heard General Austin talk, he said we must show resolve. He never used the word restraint. I think that that would have been the opportunity to use that word in front of the world to indicate that the United States was talking about restraint.

I don't think -- I think all -- as long as they adhere to the laws of land combat and the Geneva convention, I think all of it is opening game.

TAPPER: All right. General Kimmitt, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

KIMMITT: Thank you.

TAPPER: Let's get an update on our breaking news where Republicans who are trying to elect a new House speaker, but really are having quite a difficult time, just tallied the votes of a second secret ballot.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.

Manu, what are the results here?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, not good news for Jim Jordan here. He had hoped to get 217 votes to try to show that he can actually get the support to be the next speaker of the House. He is short of that.

In fact, we're told that vote was 152 to 55. Basically, the second question here was how people would actually vote for him on the floor? He lost 55 votes.

I'm going to ask Congressman Hern right now -- oh, here's the speaker, Kevin McCarthy, Mr. McCarthy -- can Jim Jordan continue to run here?


RAJU: But he only got 152 votes.

MCCARTHY: Yeah, but he'll get there. I don't see a problem with him not getting there. I think -- look, people have been here a long time. We've now elected a speaker designee and I think people can go home and be with their family and come back. You know, he could be able to talk to those dozen, and we'll be able to get there.

RAJU: What makes you so confident? You have more than 50 votes? What is he going to have to do? MCCARTHY: I've been through this many times. I see where -- I see

where we're at, I see where the conference is. I mean, Steve only had 110. 155 is a lot more than 110. Steve thought he would start at 150. That's why I thought he had a challenge. He was in a much stronger position.

I came in, I had 180 some. You know, we had struggles. So I think I was more than -- Paul had less than that or something. Pelosi had less. I see it coming together.

RAJU: Why do you think members have so many reservations -- 55 members have so many reservations of Jim Jordan right now?

MCCARTHY: I don't know so much of it is Jim Jordan as it is maybe with the eight who 4 percent cause this whole problem and all the Democrats. I thinks that's one of the reservations.

RAJU: People just don't feel like they should have new leadership? That's why?

MCCARTHY: I don't think about new leadership. I just think they saw eight people work with all the Democrats to disrupt the country and I think that's a real problem.

RAJU: How do you get past that? How do you get past that?

MCCARTHY: It's not easy. I mean, it's a tough job.

REPORTER: Fifty-five members vote for Jordan on the floor?

MCCARTHY: No. Look, I think given the time and they probably have some more questions, things are moving fast, so it gives speaker designee time to sit down and talk to them and earn their vote --

RAJU: Time to get --

REPORTER: -- to get past 20 --

MCCARTHY: I don't think -- no, I don't think it will take 15 rounds. I think we'll be able to get it on the first one.

RAJU: Congress cannot do anything at the moment. Everything is stalled. Is it time to make clear that Patrick McHenry has more power, give him more power, the interim speaker, in order to allow legislation to advance? Should the House do something about that?

MCCARTHY: Well, I always believed he did. Unfortunately, when all the Democrats got together with eight Republicans to stop it, the first thing they did was try to go to parals (ph) and say that that position didn't have any power, so they've really stymied. They brought chaos to Congress and now tried to stymie our ability to have continuity in Congress which I think is a real problem, what the Democrats have done.

RAJU: So --

REPORTER: To round up the votes he needs --

MCCARTHY: I think he has just to sit down and talk to them and they will be there.

RAJU: Well, why -- I mean, you don't think there should be another consensus candidate? Is there a consensus candidate at this point?

MCCARTHY: How many people have we gone through? You know? I think -- I think we'll be able to work this out and I feel comfortable that we'll get there. File comfortable that we'll get there.

RAJU: I mean, how do you think this reflects on the GOP right now?

MCCARTHY: Oh, it's terrible. I mean, if you think -- if you think from a GOP perspective, eight Republicans led by Gaetz worked with every single Democrat. That's Swalwell, that's Schiff, that's Omar, that's Tlaib, to bring chaos with the whole concept of being upset because we paid our troops. Our troops got paid today.

Could you imagine being somebody in the armed services in the Middle East on your aircraft carrier right now, questioning whether your family will be able to pay the rent? That's what they wanted. That's what -- that's why they wanted to throw me out. But you know what? I'm more than willing to fight for our American public and especially for the troops.

RAJU: What does this do to your swing district Republicans? What does it do to the 18 members from Biden districts?

MCCARTHY: Well, all the Democrats voted to try to bring chaos?


I think --

RAJU: No. I mean, that you guys are -- you can't govern. That you can't govern. You can't this week --

MCCARTHY: I don't know -- I don't know. We passed the parents bill of rights. We passed to secure the border. We passed to make us energy independent. It's far different to what the Democrats were over there fighting about whether they can stand with Israel.

I mean, you've got to --

RAJU: Well, you guys can't even act on an aid package to Israel because things are at a still.

MCCARTHY: Well, you ask me a question. You have a leader of the Democratic Party in Hakeem Jeffries that still says no comment when it comes to the questions on what Tlaib says. Can you believe that?

If they cannot stand with Israel, they can't publicly say that it is wrong that they think that Israel is a part-time nation or that us providing money to Israel is wrong. I don't understand how someone runs on that.

RAJU: But it's going to be hard for you guys to pass -- you can't pass aid to Israel, sir.

And I just lost my audio here, Jake, so I'm probably going to toss it back to you other than saying that as you can hear from the speaker there, the former speaker, that the votes are not -- that he believes that Jim Jordan is still going to try to push through here and try to get the votes somehow but very far away from getting 217 votes.

Jake, back to you.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Keep us posted if the House Republicans are ever able to elect a House speaker. It's been ten days without one for the first time in the history of the United States of America.

We'll be right back.



TAPPER: Welcome back. Nearly one week after the heinous October 7th terrorist attacks in Israel by Hamas, we are learning more about how Hamas' heinous assault unfolded. Ohad Yehalomi (ph), his wife Bathsheba (ph) and their three children lived in Nir Oz, that's a kibbutz in southern Israel, just outside the Gaza strip, and then Hamas attacked.

Bathsheba managed to escape with her two girls but Hamas kidnapped the family's 12-year-old son Etan, 12 years old. He's still missing as is the father Ohad.

Ohad's sister Ephrat and Ephrat's husband Mark join us now.

Mark and Ephrat, I'm so sorry to hear of the horror that your family went through and is continuing to go through.

Mark, tell us about Ohad, tell us about his wife and the three kids.

MARK AVSKER, BROTHER-IN-LAW AND NEPHEW MISSING: Well, Ohad is really the son of the place where he lived. He grew up, their whole family grew up in south of Israel in the desert. He was really a nature person.

He lived in that area. He grew up there. He decided to build his house in that beautiful area together with the family to raise their kids there, and they just lived and the rest (INAUDIBLE) is the family should live. They say that the place is a heaven. It was a heaven.

We visited there. It was really heaven. They helped each other, lived together, lucky (ph).

TAPPER: How did you learn about what happened to them and can you describe at all what it was like, what it was like hearing about this horror?

AVSKER: Well, actually it was, you know, here where we live it was last Friday night after we heard the lovely dinner with our family and then his mother called and said she is in the shelter and her home in central Israel, and we -- I kind of felt, okay, that happens from time to time. There's rocket barrages and people go into shelters, sometimes they're longer.

But then we started to look a little bit at the news and started to see really things we couldn't believe. We've seen people filming, Hamas cars and the militants in the middle of the Israeli town of Sderot and others, and then we started to really get concerned because we know that Ohad and his family, they live on the border with Gaza and seeing militants and terrorists just going around, shooting at random in places like Sderot, we thought, okay, what's going to go on?

It's stressful, and we started to communicate over WhatsApp with them, tried to communicate and they didn't communicate a lot but said they are, we've see the message as riving there then at one point, it was about 10:00 or 10:15 a.m. in Israel, both Bathsheba and Ohad, they didn't receive any messages and first few hours, we kind of thought, okay, maybe they just cut the communication there, the cellular tower doesn't work, the road there, or whatever, we are hopeful that really nothing bad would happen.

My family is gone. I know that. I have it in my gut. I say it cannot be. It's unjust.

Again, I'm an engineer. I know that several hotels back down sometimes. And then about a few hours we got a message from Bathsheba, she told us the story, the horrible story that -- and at that point she was talking in kind of detached voice that she -- doesn't even seen that she believed the story from -- I don't know.

I would hope it's a Hollywood movie that would resolve itself with a good ending in a couple of hours. It does not.

TAPPER: Yeah. I want to put a picture of Etan back up if we could. Just an innocent 12-year-old boy.

Mark, you're an American, tell us -- tell us about Etan if you can, this sweet innocent 12-year-old has done nothing wrong to anybody.

AVSKER: You can see.

TAPPER: Tell us about him.

AVSKER: You can see -- I mean, you can see yourself, it's the sweetest -- he lived his happy life in nature, right?