Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Heated Exchange Between GOP Senator And Witness During Hearing; Rep. Burchett: McCarthy Elbowed Me With "Clean Shot To The Kidneys"; Thousands Gather In D.C. To Support Israel, Condemn Antisemitism; CNN At Gaza Hospital With Israel Defense Forces; Biden: Deal To Free Hostages "Going To Happen"; Global Warming Makes Some Cities Cool Places To Live. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 14, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Marshawn Lynch, my former teammate, would do a shot of Hennessey before every game and he's talked about this publicly so I'm not airing his dirty laundry, if you will.
But yes, superstitions are real.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Wow, but under pants going unwashed, Coy.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Yeah.
KEILAR: I mean, can't a line be drawn somewhere?
WIRE: Yeah. My skin is kind of crawling just thinking about that one. But, hey, Patrick Mahomes, it is pretty darn good.
BROWN: It is Patrick Mahomes. Coy Wire, thanks.
WIRE: You got it.
KEILAR: THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Direct quote, stand your butt up then. Quote, you stand your butt up. Not a schoolyard. That was today in the United States Senate.
THE LEAD starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN M. O'BRIEN, TEAMSTERS GENERAL PRESIDENT: I'd love to do it right now.
SEN. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK): Well, stand your butt up then.
O'BRIEN: You stand your butt up, big guy.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Hold -- stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Heated exchanges on Capitol Hill. One in the Senate and another in the House involving former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and actual physical violence.
And just down the block, a massive rally on the National Mall with a specific goal, supporting Israel, denouncing antisemitism. One rally attendee has a brother being held hostage by Hamas. He'll join me ahead.
Plus, an emergency request for an emergency protective order after leaked evidence in Fulton County, Georgia, shows co-defendants of Donald Trump explaining efforts to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results with shocking new details that you have not heard before.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We're going to have much more on that massive rally in support of Israel and against antisemitism just ahead. You see images right there.
But, first, if you thought congressional Republicans were maybe a little bit uncontrollable, as evidenced by this latest threat of yet another government shutdown, well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Today brought actual Republican on Republican physical violence on the House side.
And in the other Capitol chamber, a Republican senator threatened physical violence against a witness during a hearing. Not a spoof. Not a satire. Not news reporters taking light-hearted moments and twisting them for our own nefarious ends. I'm dead serious here.
Let's start with what happened in the supposedly more gentlemanly Senate where the fist-a-cuffs were only theoretical and the assault did not become actual battery. In the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chaired by Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, there was a hearing called "Sanding up against corporate greed, how unions are improving the lives of families".
And in that hearing, Republican Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma read a tweet from June, a tweet written by International Brotherhood of Teamsters general president Sean O'Brien, a tweet that said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULLIN: It said, greedy CEO who pretends like he's self-made. What a clown, fraud. Always has been, always will be. Quit the tough guy act and these Senate hearings. You know where to find me. Anyplace, any time, cowboy.
So this is a time, this is a place. You want to run your mouth. We could be two consenting adults and finish this here. O'BRIEN: OK, that's fine. Perfect.
MULLIN: You want to do it now?
O'BRIEN: I'd love to do it right now.
MULLIN: Well, stand your butt up then.
O'BRIEN: You stand your butt up, big guy.
SANDERS: Hold -- stop it.
SANDERS: Sit down. You're a United States senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now to the House, where Republican Congressman Tim Burchett said and at least one reporter witnessed with her own eyes, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy elbowing Burchett in the back. Right in the kidneys, he said.
Recall Burchett was one of eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy from the speaker's chair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): It was a clean shot to the kidneys and I turned back and there was Kevin. He's a bully with $17 million and a security detail. And he's the type of guy that, when you're a kid would throw a rock over the fence and run home and hide behind his mama's skirt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: McCarthy who has lied about plenty of other things like for instance the 2020 election, denied shoving or elbowing Burchett. It also just so happening that Congressman Adam Kinzinger in his brand- new book writes that he, too, was pushed twice by McCarthy. What on earth is going on up there?
Let's bring in CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.
Manu, you know, I -- the dysfunction among House Republicans has been apparent to us for quite sometime. Even on this day that the House is supposed to be united and vote to avoid a government shutdown. But physical violence and from a former speaker no less?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is all quite a scene, Jake. And after the unprecedented vote to push out Kevin McCarthy, more than a month ago, but the tensions still remain and Kevin McCarthy feels he was treated unfairly. He told me just a few days ago that he believes Congressman Tim Burchett, in particular, was someone he was surprised at that voted him out and said that Burchett is interested only in press, which is why he believes he had done just that.
Well, McCarthy responded to the allegation that Burchett made that he essentially sucker punched him in the kidneys from behind and walked away. He said that did not happen that way. And in fact, McCarthy tried to make the case this was a narrow hallway in the Capitol Hill that he may have accidentally grazed him and continue to walk along the way and he didn't understand why Burchett was so mad, claiming none of it was intentional.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If I hit somebody, they would know I hit them. I did not elbow him, I would not elbow, would not hit them in a kidney. HC5, you're all down there, all right? Not a very big hallway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: And then I asked him about the claim that he was still in pain. Burchett told me moments afterwards that he was in pain still from that alleged hit and in his kidneys. He essentially McCarthy had shrugged it off and said, come on, if he wants bring a trial lawyer.
And also, Jake, Matt Gaetz, who led the charge to push out McCarthy plans to file an ethic complain to force an investigation. McCarthy also brushed that off and said, Matt Gaetz, that's one place he belongs to be, at the ethics committee.
TAPPER: We should know that our colleague Brianna Keilar asked Republican Congressman Ken Buck about McCarthy denying this. And Ken Buck, Congressman Ken Buck, a Republican, said Kevin McCarthy and lying is like peanut butter and jelly.
Now, about the near blows that erupted during that Senate hearing of all places, what is Markwayne Mullin, what did Senator Mullin have to say about that?
RAJU: Well, he doesn't regret at it all. In fact, that is the exact question I put to him. Do you regret this? You're a United States senator. He said that he called me out and I was just answering the call, don't say something you're not going to back up.
He said that -- and I said, well, you're a senator. He said he's the president of a union, I'm still a guy from Oklahoma. And he made clear that he was defiant in comments he made to our colleague Sam Fossum.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULLIN: You don't do that and answer your mouth unless you answer the call. I didn't start it. I didn't tweet at him. I didn't go after him. I have no beef with the guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: And he went on to say that he has not spoken to Republican leadership about this yet and Mitch McConnell said a GOP leader was asked about these episodes and he said, I don't view that as my responsibility to deal with. That is something that Capitol police will have to deal with -- Jake.
TAPPER: Yeah, and I think the issue, though, is, of course, doing it in the Senate during a Senate hearing, right? It's not so much responding to the union president, it's where he did it, right?
RAJU: Yeah, absolutely. And he said that he was raised differently, Jake. That is his explanation for why he said. We settle things differently from where I'm from in Oklahoma. So he's not regretting what he said at all, Jake.
TAPPER: Okay. Manu Raju, we're going to come back to you. This big House vote coming this hour much more important than all of the shenanigans. Thanks so much.
But let's talk about the shenanigans. Sean O'Brien, the president of the union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is here.
And, Sean, I have to say, I'm sure you're plenty strong. But Markwayne Mullin is a former professional MMA fighter.
What went through your mind when he basically challenged you to a physical fight during a Senate hearing?
O'BRIEN: Yeah, you know, what went through my mind was you're one of 100 of the most powerful people in the country and you're acting like a 12-year-old in a schoolyard because you didn't get your way. I mean, look, he actually has the ability, these 100 elite, to actually effectuate change in this country, and he's focused on being a bully. You know, we're not going to stand for it, and we're definitely brought up differently.
TAPPER: OK. But, can I say, you're tweeting like a 12-year-old. I mean, you're tweets were -- you're not a United States senator, okay? And I get that you're tweeting is not the same thing as calling somebody out during a Senate hearing.
But, you know, you know where to find me anyplace, any time, cowboy. You're making fun of him for not being the tallest senator. I mean, you represent 1.3 million workers.
Do you really think that tweet -- there is the tweet with your pink circling of the apple box he's standing on -- do you really think that that is best serving, best representing the members of the Teamsters Union?
O'BRIEN: His story is compelling but inaccurate. In a hearing in March, he started the whole thing by coming into a hearing, looking at us and basically saying to me, I'm not afraid of physical confrontation. As a matter of fact, I welcome it.
O'BRIEN: So, that's what perpetuated the whole incident. Never knew the man in my life. Never met him. I was testifying in my first Senate hearing and that was his first introduction to me.
TAPPER: And you were at the hearing today, Bernie Sanders hearing, which is about how unions improve the lives of workers. Are you afraid that that message was lost because of this?
O'BRIEN: Not at all. I mean, we had some great dialogue and they're about issues that affect working people, about organizing, collective bargaining, unionizing America. And there was a lot of different opinions, a lot of different debate and it was great until Markwayne Mullin -- obviously, we're renting space in his head -- decided to erupt.
You know, we do have a lot of differences of opinions on both sides, but the one thing that's clear is that today's dialogue outside of what happened was fruitful, productive and the one thing we're doing as a Teamsters Union, I do represent 1.3 million members and I do it in the best interest of my members, we've been reaching across the aisle to find common ground in issues that can help working people throughout America and we're going to continue to do that.
And unfortunately, today, Mark chose to not act like a U.S. senator and he's going to have to pay the consequences for that.
TAPPER: What's the best thing the Teamsters is fighting for its union members right now? What's the best thing -- your priorities right now that you're fighting for right now?
O'BRIEN: We are fighting corporate America. We are -- we are closing the gap between, you know, CEO greed and what our members are getting in their contracts.
UPS is a prime example. You got a $30 billion contract, the highest contract ever at UPS, and we are starting to take back what we've invested. I mean, think about how important Teamsters were, essential workers providing goods and services during the pandemic.
TAPPER: All right. Sean O'Brien, good to see you.
O'BRIEN: Great, thank you.
TAPPER: I wouldn't want to mess with either you or Senator Mullin, to be quite honest. I appreciate you being here.
O'BRIEN: Thank you very much, sir.
TAPPER: Hold on. Don't go anywhere yet. We're still talking to the camera. We'll go escort you out in a second.
Despite all the tension, we're standing by for a major House vote. It will test the leadership of the new House speaker. This vote is expecting this hour.
We're also watching that rally on the National Mall. Massive crowds turning out in huge numbers, see the alarming rise in antisemitism in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war. For many of the people there, it's personal. I'm going to talk to a man who attended the rally. He has a brother currently being held hostage by Hamas.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: You're looking right now at live pictures from Washington, D.C. at the Mall, where thousands and thousands have gathered to denounce antisemitism, and show support for Israel in its war against Hamas, and also to keep focus on the hostages. There's an estimated 239 people, including Americans, still in captivity, of Hamas terrorists and other terrorist groups, kidnapped on October 7th.
CNN caught up with Sara Blau. She's a student at the University of Maryland. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA BLAU, WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH HOSTAGE OMER NAUTRA: We went to high school together, and we were very good friends. He is an incredible guy, everyone loves him. He's funny, he's kind, charismatic. He's a natural born leader and everyone's really being impacted really heavily by this.
I wanted to show my support for Israel, I am a proud Zionist, a proud Jew, and I wanted to be here to support my community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Here with me in studio right now, Gal Gilboa-Dalal. He and his 22-year-old brother Guy were attending the Nova Music Festival. They were there to celebrate music, to celebrate peace, celebrate love. Instead, of course, Hamas turned that festival into a bloody massacre.
During the fighting, the two brothers were separated. Eight hours later, Gal's father called to tell him that his younger brother Guy had been kidnapped and taken hostage to Gaza.
Gal, thank you so much for being here. I'm so sorry it's under these circumstances. I know your brother's pictures on your shirt. We're also going to show his picture throughout this interview.
You attended the rally today in D.C., back in Israel, families of hostages started a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There is you and your brother at the Nova Music Festival.
GAL GILBOA-DALAL, SURVIVOR OF OCT. 7 ATTACK IN ISRAEL: That's right.
TAPPER: That's a sweet picture.
GILBOA-DALAL: That's a picture that we sent like 15 minutes before it's happened.
TAPPER: Is that right?
GILBOA-DALAL: It was in the entrance (ph), as I got in and took a picture and sent it to our mom. Yeah.
TAPPER: So, there's a protest going on back in Israel, this march of families from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. I know a lot of families are frustrated. They don't think that the Netanyahu government is doing enough to get the hostages home. They want the swap to happen as soon as possible, they want getting the hostages home to be top priority, the number one priority over anything else.
What do you think?
GILBOA-DALAL: No. I think that in this situation, it's hard to know how to manage. And everybody is doing what they can. Now, as a family of a hostage, all I can think about is my brother. All I can think about is what I can do to help him, and what I can do to promote this thing.
Right here, you can see a lot of protests from the families of hostages. If they're right or not, if they help or not, I'm not sure. But we're all doing what we can. And we want them back home, and that's what we march.
We march not just for our government, but for everyone to see, for everyone to understand, and that's one thing that we can do.
TAPPER: Yeah, it's impossible to know what's right in a situation like this. You just want your brother home.
So, you showed that selfie, let's show it again. The last picture you took with guy, just before the attack. What happened after that picture was taken?
GILBOA-DALAL: He was waiting for me at the entrance, and he took the selfie and sent it to my mother as soon as I arrived there. Then he took it to his camp. He went there with his three friends, and he waited so long for this festival. It was his first festival.
Now, it's not just a music festival. It's a spiritual festival. People go there, they celebrate life with peace and love. This is their release. This is the way they live their life, not just to celebrate.
And I wanted to go with him, to make sure that everything went okay. To be part of his experience, watch over him.
TAPPER: He's your little brother.
GILBOA-DALAL: Yeah, he's my little -- he's my baby brother.
GILBOA-DALAL: He's 22 years old, I'm 29. But it's like we don't have this kind of difference in our age. We share the same interests, we share the same hobby. He's my best friend.
So, I feel like I should go and be with him. And I arrived 15 minutes before the incident started.
And he and his friends were so happy to see me. They were so joyful. You know, it was just beautiful to see them at that moment.
And he wanted me to go to the dance floor with him. But I didn't have time. I mean, in 15 minutes, after I arrived, the sirens had already started. So once the sirens started, in Israel, we think that it's a missile attack.
TAPPER: Right, there's always Hamas rockets are always coming in, yeah.
GILBOA-DALAL: Always. We get used to it. You don't think there's a terror attack. Not in this kind of scale, anyway.
So, we figure that we should get out of there as soon as we can. Now, the security guards, they told people to either take cover or to get out. So we figured we should get out of there as soon as we could, and we went each to his own car. Before we went to the car, I went to my brother and asked him if you want to join me in my car, because he and his friends were supposed to go to my place.
And he was like, he paused for a second, and then he told me, look, I came with my friends, so I can't leave them. But I will come to your place and I will see you when we get there. Now, I told him that I would wait for him in my car, in the exit. And I started to go to the exit.
Since our cars, they didn't park next to each other, everyone was trying to get out at the same time, we weren't in the same location. He was at the back. I was at the front of the traffic.
At one point, the traffic was just stuck. And then I was surrounded by cars that didn't move, and then the shooting started. Massive shootings started from everywhere. We couldn't see the terrorists yet, but we could hear the bullets, whistles, the bullets went above our heads, hitting the cars. People were starting to fall around us, starting to run in panic. And I had to find cover.
So I got out of my car and I went to up -- that was next to me. I found cover between two bushes, and I called to my brother. He said that he is still at the area of the festival. He was having a hard time getting out of there with his car. So he and his friends got out of the car and found a better place to take cover.
But at this point, he was with cops, Israeli cops. So I told him the most reasonable thing to say. I said stay as close to the cops, to our forces.
TAPPER: Yeah, make sense.
GILBOA-DALAL: Stay hidden, stay undercover. He couldn't stay on the line, because at that moment, people were starting to run to my direction. Some of them were covered with blood. They were yelling that we should get out of there, because the terrorists were closing on us.
So I had to close the car, and I called him again 30 minutes after, when I found a better place to hide. Except then he didn't answer.
TAPPER: He didn't answer the phone?
GILBOA-DALAL: Yeah, I called him and I called his friends, and none of them answered. My parents started calling me, telling me that my brother isn't answering them. That's when I really start to panic, because if not all four don't -- all four of them -- exactly.
TAPPER: And their phones were eventually traced to Gaza.
GILBOA-DALAL: So, yeah. You know, after eight hours of running and hiding, they were running into hiding, we were able to send a location to a force that was near us. They were off duty. They were there for a friend that was hiding at the same location. And they were able to locate us and get us out of there, when there was still shooting.
As I say, it was eight hours after it started. And it was two and a half hours after by brothers hostage video was released by Hamas. And I didn't know about it. I got out of there, and I called my father. And he sounded broken, and I was asking if something happened to my brother. And he told me that there is a hostage video from eleven and a half a.m., and we got out at 2:00 p.m.
TAPPER: Was he one of the guys in the back of the truck?
GILBOA-DALAL: No. It's not a kidnapping video, it's a hostage video. You can see him already in Gaza, cuffed, lying on the floor. Him and for other kids that were at the party.
You can see him there with his best childhood friend. He was taking hostage with him. But the two other friends that went with them, they both were murdered, one (INAUDIBLE). Yeah.
TAPPER: Well, we're going to -- we're going to keep covering the hostages, we're not going to forget about the hostages. We're going to keep covering them, and we'll keep talking about Guy. We thank you so much for being here.
GILBOA-DALAL: Thank you so much, Jake.
TAPPER: And we're going to keep talking about him, and hopefully we'll be talking to both of you soon.
GILBOA-DALAL: Yeah, I wish. That's very important.
TAPPER: I know.
GILBOA: Keep talking about the hostages. Thank you so much.
TAPPER: We're not going to stop. We're not going to stop.
Gal Gilboa-Dalal, thank you so much for being here, I really appreciate it. Coming up, CNN up close, showing one of the most complicated factors
of this war, Hamas and its tunnels deep inside Gaza, underneath houses, underneath hospitals.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: And we're back with our world lead. The White House and Pentagon today confirmed my reporting yesterday that the U.S. has intelligence suggesting Hamas is operating a command center under the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, in a war shaped by what is beneath the ground in Gaza as much as what is above ground.
CNN embedded with Israel's Defense Forces to see Hamas's notorious underground tunnel network for ourselves. We're about to walk you through what we know and what we do not know about this underground system.
But first our viewers should know as a condition of embedding with the IDF, they requested we only show officers, we did not show the faces of soldiers and we do not show sensitive equipment.
CNN's Nic Robertson is back with us.
Nic, show our viewers what you saw when the IDF spokesperson showed you that first tunnel there?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, it was a tunnel that was in a hut, in a residential neighborhood. And the interesting thing about the tunnel was it had a carefully concealed lid, tiled floor. If you looked at it, normally, you wouldn't know it was there. It was 20 meters deep, had a big ladder going down into it, and the cables that were running into it from the electric switchboard and communication switchboard above ran from a house close by that the spokesperson who was talking to there, you see in the pictures, that he was telling us was a house belonging to a Hamas leader.
So solar panels on the roof of the house, powering the tunnel network down below. And he told us they put a robot down the tunnel and it connected through in the direction of the nearby hospital. He said they hadn't proven the connection all the way. But that is what they were investigating. When we were there looking at it, Jake.
TAPPER: And you were reporting all of this just a couple of hundred feet away from an active firefight between the IDF and Hamas?
ROBERTSON: Yeah, this was, I think, part of the situation there. I don't think we were aware when we went into and a spokesperson said, look I've taken a big risk bringing you into the combat area but I want you to see it, it is important to the IDF. He believes that the world should see these tunnels and the connections to the hospital nearby.
So, yeah, there was a big -- well, firefight going on, about 100 yards away. There were bullets whistling overhead. And you can hear that zing as they go by and you know that -- you know that's really close. And he was -- he was ducking for cover as well.
We ended up getting behind one of big armored military vehicles to stay out of the line of fire. But this is where the fight is with the IDF, right in the streets, right now, and didn't see any civilians there at all. The buildings around there very heavily damaged. But, yeah, it was right -- right close to the front lines.
TAPPER: And you saw what the IDF says are Hamas weapons and a motorbike and a piece of clothing and hospital rooms. Tell us about that and what that might reveal?
ROBERTSON: Weapons that were found in the basement of the hospital, we didn't see the weapons actually found, but the spokesperson said that the weapons have been found there and he showed us a motorbike that had a bullet hole in it that he said was used by Hamas on October 7th. I pushed him why and he seemed to indicate some kind of aerial surveillance that might have tracked the motorbike back to the hospital.
And then there was a room that had a chair in it, with women's clothing on it, and a rope around the feet of the chair and so, you know, obvious conclusion, female hostage here, right? So I asked him that question and he said, can't say for sure. Obviously going to investigate it, and do DNA test as a woman's hair found on the floor.
We know from the -- from the people, the doctors who have been in the hospital previously, before it was evacuated, that the downstairs of the hospital had been used by families trying to escape the fighting. So maybe the clothing comes from there. But he wasn't making the definitive hostage connection, merely the possibility of DNA testing he said to give them better evident or information on that.
TAPPER: And, Nic, enlighten our viewers on what do we still not know and why it is difficult to report on these tunnels?
ROBERTSON: Yeah, we don't know the whole network of tunnels. We don't know if Hamas commanders are still down there. We don't know if the hostages are being kept down there or which tunnels they're being kept down. What we got from the IDF today was they're getting greater control over the northern part of Gaza. We heard them today, it sounded like big explosions, possibly blowing up some of the tunnels, but there is more for the IDF to get into the tunnels and find out exactly what is down there and learn more about Hamas and the hostages.
TAPPER: All right. Nic Robertson in Sderot, great reporting. Thank you so much.
In Tel Aviv today, more protests and many were families of loved ones held hostage by Hamas. Their demands of the Netanyahu government next. Plus, this just in, President Biden arriving in San Francisco, making
the cross-country trip ahead of his meeting tomorrow with Chinese President Xi Jinping. And why this one on one meeting is such a big deal this time around. That's ahead.
TAPPER: Welcome back.
With our world lead today, President Biden said a deal to release hostages is going to happen. And he assured the families of hostages visiting Washington, D.C. right now for the rally, quote, hang in there. We're coming.
Joining us now, the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan.
Mr. Ambassador, thanks for joining us.
GILAD ERDAN, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: So, as you know, they're not only families of hostages here in Washington, D.C., there re hundreds of Israelis of -- whose family members are nearing day 40 in captivity, kidnapped by Hamas and they're marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to demand that the Netanyahu government makes releasing hostages its number one priority.
They want a swap with Hamas. They want more being done. They don't think that enough is being done.
Are they right?
ERDAN: I -- I fully understand them and I think that we should do everything in our power to keep it like the number one priority. But I'm sure and I know that also Prime Minister Netanyahu's first priority is the release of our hostages. But, you know, there are many tactics to try and make it happen. Part of it, obviously, is to continue pressuring Hamas attacking them, going after them wherever they are. This is maybe the only chance to get the release of the hostages.
TAPPER: We've heard of talks of a potential swap with Hamas, releasing Palestinian women and Palestinian teenagers that are on -- in Israeli prisons for hostages. Is that being discussed?
ERDAN: Well, obviously, I cannot comment on the details. It's quite sensitive, also the timing.
But we are willing to do many things in order to get the release of the hostages. But let me clarify. We're not going to give up the second goal of the war, which is eradicating totally Hamas terror capabilities. Otherwise, we will see these atrocities happening again and again and again, as the Hamas spokesperson himself said.
ERDAN: Which poses a real threat towards our future.
TAPPER: The IDF confirmed today that IDF soldier Noa Marciano was killed while being held hostage by Hamas. Hamas says that she was killed because of an Israeli airstrike. Obviously, we have no idea of knowing if that's true.
What can you tell us about how she was killed?
ERDAN: Look, I don't know the exact details. But again, it's quite clear that Hamas is exploiting -- they're doing everything in order to pressure Israel to stop its military operation. So this is another ruthless, vicious way to put pressure on Israel to stop striking the terrorists of Hamas because they want to put the blame on us for supposedly killing the hostages.
But, again, it's not going to stop us. They should be the only ones that will be held accountable for their war crimes and we'll continue to fight them.
TAPPER: So there are a lot of calls for a cease-fire and I understand that Israel is not going to do a cease-fire because you feel like you need to destroy Hamas. It is the worst kept secret in the world that Jordan hates Hamas, Egypt hates Hamas, the Saudis hate Hamas. Very few Arab leaders actually like Hamas.
TAPPER: Have any of these Arab leaders, and you don't have name them. But have any come forward and say here is a way forward, here is -- we'd like you to stop bombing and here is the way you could also get Hamas out and also get your hostages back? No?
ERDAN: No. You know, I represent Israel in the United Nations.
ERDAN: I never heard of any constructive suggestion because the Arab League sadly, you know, they play their political games based on their internal political interests. So even though, as you mentioned, some of the Arab leaders, for them, the Muslim brotherhood, which Hamas is like a subsidiary of the brotherhood, it poses a real internal threat. They could not say anything publicly to support Israel.
I mean, for many of them, we're doing now the dirty job. And by fighting Hamas and I'm sure many of them wants us to destroy Hamas terrorist capabilities. But sadly, that they cannot say publicly.
The sad thing is that the U.N., instead of understanding it and supporting Israel, because this will also ensure a brighter future for the people of Gaza. They're being oppressed by Hamas.
Hamas exploited, you know, all of the money that was funneled into Gaza and turned it into the war machine. So now we try to make a better future for the people of Gaza.
TAPPER: But, of course, the problem is you're not only killing people who are in Hamas. You're killing civilians. I understand you're going to say that you're trying to avoid it. But you are killing civilians and I know there are a lot of people, office holders, public officials in Washington, people who are stalwart allies of Israel, who support Israel, Republicans and Democrats who say we support Israel but they are not doing enough to avoid civilian casualties.
ERDAN: First of all --
TAPPER: Democrats, Republicans who love Israel and they say you're not doing enough.
ERDAN: How do they know it? How do they know that we're not doing enough?
TAPPER: They're on the intelligence committee. They're in the government. They're in the Biden administration.
ERDAN: I know very well how we approve military strikes in densely populated areas like Gaza. And we all should -- must remember that Hamas is the one embedded himself within and under the civilian population.
TAPPER: But that doesn't mean you could strike everything.
ERDAN: No, no, not at all, not at all. But we are -- you know, we are abiding by -- we abide by international law. We're doing everything in our power to mitigate civilian casualties.
But this is exactly Hamas's script. They embedded themselves inside Gaza because they know, they want, number one, to attack our civilians, they cannot defeat the Israeli Defense Forces, the military, so they attack the civilians.
They want to terrorize them making them afraid for their life, maybe thinking of leaving Israel because it's not a safe place. And the second part of their strategy is to co-opt the international community to pressure Israel to tie our hands. We cannot play by their script. We have to eliminate terrorists. That is something that should unite all of us. Congress, and we're grateful for the support that we receive, I met dozens of members.
TAPPER: So, how -- here's my question. How many Hamas members, how many Hamas terrorists has Israel killed?
Do you know? Do you have any idea? Do you have a rough --
ERDAN: I have an idea, thousands. Only on October 7th, we killed more than 1,200 terrorists. Until now, many more thousands. We can't believe -- TAPPER: Five thousand, 10,000?
ERDAN: The numbers are -- you know, we are trying to be --
TAPPER: When are you going to stop?
ERDAN: We're not the ministry of health in Gaza that --
TAPPER: I understand.
ERDAN: -- is being controlled by Hamas. We try to be responsible.
TAPPER: But here's my question. If there were about 150,000 members of Hamas, including the government, right, before October 7th --
TAPPER: -- you're not going to try to kill all 150,000. When is enough? Because --
ERDAN: We -- you will know when it is enough because then Hamas will stop functioning in Gaza as the rulers of --
TAPPER: But at what point. Because, obviously, you're killing a lot of civilians and obviously, at some point, it becomes self-defeating, right? If you haven't reached it already, you're undermining your own moral authority.
ERDAN: But, Jake, the reality is different from the way you describe it. We are opening more and more humanitarian corridors. We are safeguarding and helping the citizens of Gaza to leave the war zones.
So, you will see that we hope sooner rather than later that Hamas regime will collapse in Gaza and hopefully it will happen soon.
TAPPER: So you said something shocking on CNN last week. You denied that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
ERDAN: No, I did not.
TAPPER: You did not?
ERDAN: No, I did not.
TAPPER: Is there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza?
ERDAN: Yes, there is, but I will clarify, again, what I said --
ERDAN: -- on "STATE OF THE UNION".
ERDAN: I said that there is a clear definition by -- under international humanitarian law and what does it mean? Humanitarian crisis. How many leaders per day, a person needs to have. Obviously, the life in Gaza is terrible. It's terrible. But it's the responsibility of the Hamas.
We are now fighting Hamas because we were attacked by Hamas. We were forced to fight inside Gaza. No Israeli mother wants to send her child to enter Gaza. No Israeli mother wants to do it.
ERDAN: But we are forced to do it because we're fighting for our future.
And we're doing everything to mitigate civilian casualties and I'm not saying that the situation there is good. But we are also helping the humanitarian situation in Gaza. We are allowing now hundreds of trucks to enter with water, with food, with medical equipment, we are facilitating every initiative to establish field hospitals.
Whatever we can do to help the civilians in Gaza, we will do. First of all, because it's moral -- the moral thing to do.
ERDAN: But secondly because of what Hamas wants to have, they wan to show the world more and more Palestinian casualties. They want to severe and deteriorate the humanitarian situation because they understand that will help them to survive as a regime, as a terror regime.
TAPPER: Do you have any -- last question, do you have any idea time- wise how close you are to ending this phase of the war in terms of --
ERDAN: I can assess that it is a matter of weeks.
TAPPER: A matter of weeks before this phase of the war ends?
TAPPER: Because it is --
ERDAN: And again, we hope, we pray that it will end sooner.
TAPPER: Ambassador Gilad Erdan, thank you for taking our questions. We appreciate it.
ERDAN: Thank you for having me, Jake.
TAPPER: We'll be right back.
TAPPER: A new government report on climate change warns that the risks from extreme climate events are increasing. However, the report points to surprising new realities for some cities. CNN's Bill Weir has been to one example, Buffalo, New York.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's an old joke that tells us there are only two seasons in Buffalo -- winter and the Fourth of July. But in the age of global warming, the city wants you to know that now their weather is going from punch line to lifeline.
Thanks to its goldilocks location amid the Great Lakes, Buffalo has never reached 100 degrees.
STEPHEN VERMETTE, PROFESSOR AND CLIMATE SCIENTIST, BUFFALO STATE UNIVERSITY: We get on average about three days in the summer get to be 90 degrees or higher. If you are in Phoenix, you are looking at that and saying, what the heck you're calling that a heatwave?
WEIR: Yeah, that's mild.
And when Professor Stephen Vermette did a deep dive of the records, the Buffalo State climatologist was shocked to find no increase in droughts or floods.
There was this epic snowstorm last winter, really deadly and destructive.
VERMETTE: Yes. Blizzard of '22.
WEIR: That's not an indication?
VERMETTE: No. We had the blizzard of '77, the blizzard of '85, '81, blizzard of '36. I'm not saying that our severe weather is going to disappear. It's still there.
VERMETTE: In fact, snow amounts have remained steady in all of this. It doesn't seem to be getting worse.
VERMETTE: And that's the key here. We're still going to have severe weather --
VERMETTE: -- like the wind and everything else, but it's not going to get worse.
WEIR: I've got to say, it's pretty ironic and telling about the world we now live in. A place sort of associated with cold jokes and --
MAYOR BYRON BROWN, BUFFALO, NEW YORK: Right.
WEIR: -- Super Bowl losses could be a huge winner relative on a hotter planet.
BROWN: That's the way we look at it. There was a Professor Harvard talking about the effects of climate change and listed some cities that would be considered climate refuges in the future. And Buffalo was one of the cities on the list.
And so, we just leaned into it. We are going to not only call ourselves a climate refuge city, but do the kinds of things that are required to be welcoming with migration, with new Americans coming here, with seeing the first population growth in the city since the 1950 census.
WEIR: After Hurricane Maria, 3,000 Puerto Ricans became permanent Buffalonians.
ANTHONY MATTEI, TEACHER'S AIDE: It was hard. When the hurricanes start, what we do, we move from the second floor, we move to the first floor.
WEIR: Including Anthony Mattei who's now a teacher's assistant.
MATTEI: I remember when I move here, people told me, oh, you know where you are going? Because in Puerto Rico, it's always warm, it's hot. And I said no. I move here, like, in winter. I like it. It's good.
WEIR: Did you consider other spots? Or what was it about this place that appealed to you the most?
HOLLY JEAN BUCK, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO: The Great Lakes, the fresh water, the projections of climate change look like Buffalo might have a climate more like New York, Philadelphia, towards the end of the century.
WEIR: Wildfire smoke helped drive Holly Jean Buck and her family out of Southern California. And as a climate scientist, she says she was welcomed with open arms and employment.
BUCK: But really the energy of the people, people are really forward thinking, in western New York and in New York state, about what opportunities there might be in clean energy, in clean tech and how to build, you know, those solutions in ways that are good for communities.
WEIR: So, it's not just the latitude. It's the attitude?
BUCK: Yeah, exactly.
WEIR: Right, and the welcoming spirit of the place.
BUCK: The city of good neighbors, they call it.
WEIR: Oh, nice, nice. And you found that to be the case?
BUCK: I have, totally.
WEIR: And they have abundant fresh -- and they have abundant water from the Great Lakes and hydropower from Niagara Falls, Jake. The old line about the three rules of real estate being location, location, location. More than ever in the age of climate change.
TAPPER: Bill Weir in Buffalo, New York, Wolf Blitzer's hometown, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, the leaked videos that led the top prosecutor in Fulton County, Georgia, to ask for an emergency protective order. We're going to show them to you.
Stay with us.