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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Israel's Deadline To Evacuate Northern Gaza Expires Now; Inside Site Of Music Festival Attack Where 260 People Killed; Biden Speaks With Family Members Of Missing Americans; Abby Phillip Interviews A Father Whose Son Is Missing Since Hamas Attack; House Republicans Nominate Jim Jordan To Be Speaker; Israelis Told To Evacuate And Head South For Safety. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 13, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The committee to protect journalists says at least 11 have been killed in just a week of fighting that we've seen so far. Our thoughts tonight are with their families, their friends, their colleagues, all of our colleagues who are in harm's way to bring us the news tonight.

And before we go, so many people have reached out this week since Saturday's awful, brutal attack asking how they can help, who they can trust, where they can try to make an impact. CNN's Impact Your World team has updated its list of vetted organizations that you can trust. You can go to, or you can text relief to 707070 to donate. I'm so grateful to so many people who have reached out.

Thank you so much for joining us on this incredibly busy week. CNN NEWSNIGHT with Abby Phillips starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: In just moments, Israel's 24 hour deadline expires for civilians to evacuate ahead of a possible ground invasion of northern Gaza. And the anger and the panic there is intensifying tonight. Civilians who are in the line of fire have nowhere to go.

I'm Abby Phillips. This is NEWSNIGHT.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 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 could die at any moment. You don't know if -- I don't even know if I'm going to live for the next minute.

MARAM ABU SULTAN, CHILD LIVING IN GAZA: There's no water for us to drink, no water for us to wash ourselves with so that we can pray, Maram says. They've bombed our schools. Many people have been killed. It's not fair for children like us. Why is this happening to us?


PHILLIP: Hamas, which launched the horrific attacks that began this conflict, is telling civilians to ignore the evacuation warnings and to stay put. And the U.N. says tonight that it is warning Israel that this deadline will have devastating and deadly consequences.

When President Biden was asked what he's worried about in a potential ground war, with one word, he responded, death. In the meantime, Israeli troops have now entered Gaza. They're carrying out targeted raids in the race to save what could be over 100 hostages.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I say we're going to do everything in our power to find them, everything in our power. And I'm not going to go into the detail of that, but we're working like hell on it.

Because I think they have to know that the president of the United States of America cares deeply about what's happening, deeply. We have to communicate to the world this is critical. This is not even human behavior. It's pure barbarism.


PHILLIP: Let's begin with CNN's Anderson Cooper in Tel Aviv. Anderson, we are just moments away now for this deadline that was about 24 hours for the people of Northern Gaza to evacuate. Do we have any sense of what we can expect once it expires and if that warning has actually been heeded?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: It's a good question. In terms of what to expect, look, it's clear the movement here in Israel is toward some sort of military operation, in all likelihood, some sort of ground operation with 300,000 reservists-plus who have been mobilized now and are on that border and artillery places, which are in place, and the bombardments that we have been seeing. If that means imminent in the next hours, nobody knows. There's no indication, one way or the other.

We have seen people moving in Gaza but there have been difficulties with that. There have been large traffic jams. You have Hamas telling people not to move. There are concerns about what would await them in the south. Are there facilities there for them? It doesn't seem like there's anything that's been set up. And, certainly, if Hamas is not cooperative in trying to help civilians get out of the most dangerous part, the northern part of Gaza, it seems very unlikely that they have set up anything for any kind of civilian, for even tents or any kind of infrastructure.

Obviously, Hamas is focused on the fight and launching this terror attack and Hamas has tunnels underground where they can hide and they can move weapons and the civilians are pretty much left to their own devices.

There is untold suffering among the civilian population. We've seen the hospitals. We know the condition of what's going on there. And you've heard from U.N. and other humanitarian organizations would say moving that amount of people in 24 hours is impossible.


We have certainly seen in other conflicts, you know, I've been in places where hundreds of thousands of people have moved in very short order in order to run for their lives and save themselves, but it remains to be seen how many people have actually heeded that warning and what will happen over the next 24, 48 hours.

PHILLIP: Yes. And, of course, it's really the most vulnerable who may not be able to move, one of the concerns of these NGO groups is about, you know, moving these facilities that they're working in hospitals and such that are providing aid in real time right now in that part of Gaza.

Anderson, stand by for us, if you would. You did today visit or this week visit the site of the festival attack and I want to play that for our audience. It's an incredibly powerful piece and we'll have it for them in just a few moments.

But, first, I want to go to the ground. I want to turn to someone who is right now fighting on the frontlines of this war.

Joining me now is IDF Soldier Rudy Rochman. Rudy, you are quite literally, as we can see there in your picture, you are called now to duty. What have the last few days been like for you on the ground and where you are in Israel, which, by the way, I should say, we are not specifically naming just for security reasons as well?

RUDY ROCHMAN, IDF SOLDIER: Yes, thank you for having me. I mean, it's been almost a week since this started. And as a reservist, I've been out of the army for over 10 years. I'm a civilian. I've done my degrees, I have work, I have families. And all of a sudden on Saturday morning, it was Shabbat and it was Sukkot, it was the holiday for the Jewish people. We get called up. We started seeing these videos of what had taken place in the morning and our entire unit got deployed to Kfar Aza, which is a village on the border of Gaza, which had some of the most horrendous massacres.

And, unfortunately, we were there for four days rescuing the remaining civilians that remained. But when we got there, it was a massacre. We saw bodies of men, women, children, elderly, caught up into pieces, the most gruesome images you can ever imagine. And it was very unfortunate to see those things, but, thankfully, we're able to secure the area and since then we're ready to be deployed to the next location.

PHILLIP: As you prepare for what this next phase of the war looks like, Israeli officials have been pretty clear that the plan right now, the objective is to wipe out Hamas. But I wonder, do you think that that will require street by street fighting? And are you personally prepared for what that would mean?

ROCHMAN: I mean, the entire army has been prepared for this war. Hamas' goal from its very beginning has been to eliminate the Jewish people and to eliminate Israel. It's actually been in their constitution when they built their government saying that they need to eliminate the Jews, not only in Israel, but in the entire world. So, when you give a terrorist organization like that weapons to go and fulfill their goals, we know what that looks like, whether it's for Hamas, the Palestinian authority, or Hezbollah, or all these different groups that are actually oppressing its people and don't actually represent its people.

If you speak to Palestinians on the ground, whether in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank or in Gaza, they do not like Hamas, they do not like the Palestinian authority. They're on their, what, 20th year of their four-year term. These are oppressive regimes that are controlling their people and not only attacking Israeli civilians, but forcing Palestinians to also be counted to this conflict.

Israelis do not want to see either Israelis die or Palestinians die. The majority of us are innocent. And this is not a war between the people. Let me make it clear that Jews are not fighting the Muslims and the Israelis are not fighting the Palestinians. We're fighting Hamas, which is oppressing both Israelis and Palestinians.

Are we ready? We are ready. But we also need to not only look at what is happening. We need to understand why it is happening. And this really started with the west pushing narratives of dividing Israelis and Palestinians.

The reality is that there is no future without Palestinians and without Israelis. Neither of us are going to disappear. So, I hope that when this settles, we can learn from this and transcend this conflict together.

PHILLIP: It's an important point. And I think so many people share your hope that if there is an end to this, hopefully there is, that it's one that is obviously a lot more peaceful. But as we said here, there's so much concern right now about the 1 million or so Palestinians who are being told to flee the northern part of Gaza right now.

I've noted that you've observed in the past that Hamas uses civilian casualties of Palestinians as a propaganda tool. But are you worried that this operation carried out by Israel could ultimately play into Hamas' hands if those civilians are not able to evacuate and many of them end up killed?

ROCHMAN: Absolutely. I don't want to see any civilian killed. You know, for me, you're a foreigner, you know, you're a fellow human being, but for me, Palestinians are my cousins. They're my family. So, I don't want to see any Palestinians killed. And I'm glad that they have at least 24 hours to be able to evacuate. Israelis have less than 24 seconds to be able to evacuate when they're being fired on.

But when we look at people in Gaza, I really hope we can minimize the casualties because none of us want to see anybody dead. We want to remove of Hamas so it can stop being a threat both for Israelis and Palestinians.


And in order to transcend this conflict, it's not just about creating peace, it's about creating justice. There's injustice both for Israelis and both for Palestinians and there's one land and one land that we can both live on. But in order to get there, we have to stop these zero-sum game narratives that are educating people that in order to be pro-Israel, you have to be anti-Palestinian, or in order to be pro-Palestinian, you have to be anti-Israel. The reality, if you're anti either, you're anti both because we both belong in this land and we will both be here eternally.

PHILLIP: You mentioned that you've been out of the Israeli military for about ten years. Is there anything in your experience that compares to what you are about to go into and how long are you expecting this conflict to last?

ROCHMAN: Yes. I got out of the army in 2013. So, in 2012, there was an operation on the border where we almost went into Gaza. Shortly after I finished the army in 2014, the IDF went into Gaza. So, this is not something new, unfortunately, but I hope this will be the last time that this happens.

PHILLIP: We certainly hope it will be for you and for really everyone in the region.

Rudy Rochman, thank you for joining us and we wish you all the best.

ROCHMAN: Thank you for having me.

PHILLIP: And for a closer look at what's happening on the developing battlefield right now, I'm joined by CNN Military Analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton.

Colonel Leighton, we've been discussing the issue of the potential refugees that could be made in Gaza if they do flee. Talk to us about what evacuation even looks like in Gaza right now. I mean, about a million people in that part of the territory. Where do they even go?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that's going to be the real question, Abby. And, you know, let's take a look at the evacuation zone, as we know it right now. Because when you see the types of things that can happen here, you've got this area in the north, there are about 1.1 million people that are in this area at this point.

And what's going to happen, Abby, is they are supposed to, according to what the Israelis have told them, go down here toward the Rafah crossing right here at the Egyptian border. So, their ability to do this kind of thing is actually going to be limited because they really don't have a humanitarian corridor coming through this way.

PHILLIP: And can you give us a sense of the distance here or the distances, both the space up here and how far they would need to travel?

LEIGHTON: Yes. So, basically, we're talking about 25 to 30 miles down this way. It's a very small place. Gaza is about 140 square miles total, total population about 2.2 million people. So, it's pretty dense in terms of its population.

And what they're going to have to do in a case like this is not only go through these areas, but there are no safe zones in any of these areas. And when you go through these areas, which are less densely populated than the northern area, there are less services, there's less of an ability to care for people.

And if they don't get this crossing opened, they won't be able to really stay in this area for a long period of time because it's going to be a place where they don't have living facilities, they don't have water, they don't have sanitation or any of those things.

PHILLIP: Yes. I want to talk now about the buildup that we're seeing of Israeli troops around Gaza. As you can see, they're basically surrounding Gaza. And then just to show our audience here, these are some pictures of just the heavy machinery that is part of that buildup.

When you look at this as someone with a military eye, tell us what you're seeing and what does it tell us about what the Israelis are preparing for.

LEIGHTON: So, this is kind of reminiscent of a scene from D-Day back in 1944 when Eisenhower was talking to his paratroopers before they launched that invasion. This is what units do. The commanding officer will talk to the units, they will go out, they'll deploy in forward positions. You see the Merkava tanks coming through and armor personnel carriers. Merkava tanks right there, they're Israeli-made, they've been in service since 1979 in the Israeli Army.

They've got radio equipment, they've got their rifles, they've got ammunition, they are ready to go. These people are well trained. They're ready to go and they will deploy to forward positions that are right near the Gaza border.

PHILLIP: Obviously this has been a week now of really intense bombing in Gaza and I just want to give our audience a sense here of how this compares to another previous conflict that lasted 50 days, almost the same number of bombs dropped in that time and the death toll here.

Colonel Leighton, what can we expect really -- this is 50 days versus 6 days. We're almost at the same place. As we go forward, what can we realistically expect in terms of the toll that this will all take?

LEIGHTON: Abby, I'm afraid it's going to be a very heavy toll and this could be an exceptionally gruesome war. All wars are gruesome.


But this one, because of the close quarters, because of the urban combat that's inevitably going to happen through the narrow alleyways of Gaza City and other places like that, I'm afraid that this death toll is going to rise considerably.

There are ways to mitigate that. Israel says it's trying to do that. The problem is that Hamas will use innocent civilians as human shields in this scenario, and that's something that has happened in other places. In Iraq, it happened. In Afghanistan, it happened. This is the kind of thing that we can expect.

And, unfortunately, if this isn't stopped, we're going to see a situation where the forces will meet, and there's going to be a major increase in this death toll. PHILLIP: Yes. I think we just have to be clear-eyed about what we are

facing in this region going forward. It's going to be gruesome, unfortunately.

Colonel Leighton, we appreciate you joining us on all of that.

And as this evacuation deadline expires, new details on the Israeli raids to save those hostages.

Plus, I'll speak with the father, whose son is believed to be in Gaza as a hostage right now. He spoke today with President Biden.

And Anderson Cooper goes to the site of that music festival as we see video of just how horrific the attack by Hamas was and how it unfolded there.


PHILLIP: It's been nearly a week since Hamas launched its horrific attack in Israel.


260 attendees at a music festival are among those killed. And today CNN went inside the festival grounds getting a closer look at where these victims spent their final moments.

CNN's Anderson Cooper is back with me. Anderson, tell us about your visit to this site. I can only imagine how truly gruesome it really was.

COOPER: Yes. You know, the attack began 6:30 A.M. Saturday morning and it began -- this music festival site was one of the first sites that came under attack. It is the single largest loss of civilian lives in the terror attacks. But it's only now really one week later that the full picture of exactly what occurred is becoming clear through videos and eyewitness accounts. Take a look at what I saw when I went there.


COOPER (voice over): The music was playing, the dance floor packed, and the rockets began. Just 3.3 miles from the border with Gaza, it didn't take long before Hamas gunmen arrived. Some party goers were able to get to their cars but many were killed before they could get away.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: They were waiting here with a machine gun.

COOPER: Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a soldier all his life, has never seen anything like it.

HAGARI: This is a massacre scene. I don't have any other recall of memory in the history of Israel since it was established for this kind of event. COOPER: The bodies and body parts of the dead have been removed but people's possessions are strewn all around. The carnage is clear, burned out cars, bullet holes, blood stains on seats.

From some cars, the IDF has retrieved dash cam videos that show Hamas gunmen roaming the site for hours, shooting freely. This one shows a bloodied hostage being led away. Then under the car you can see another man hiding. He moves slightly, then stops. A gunman runs right up to him and shoots him point blank in the head or upper body.

HAGARI: I don't know how people can explain this. I don't have the words to explain it, and then running away on motorcycles with girls to Gaza.

COOPER: Fleeing east across open fields was the only way out for many, but they were easy targets. Others sought safety in nearby bomb shelters. This is dash cam video of a Hamas gunman tossing a grenade into a shelter. When a man runs out trying to escape, they fire on him repeatedly.

In another shelter a few miles north of the festival site about 30 people tried to hide. A man named Noam Cohen recorded inside. You can hear the panic in their voices asking what's going on. Are there Israeli soldiers nearby? We aren't going to show you what happened next. Cohen says Hamas gunmen repeatedly toss grenades into the shelter. People inside were blown apart. It's one of the most gruesome videos we've ever seen.

This is some of the aftermath. Noam Cohen survived hiding under body parts. That's him terrified but alive.

We found the shelter in the town of Alamein (ph) yesterday evening. Someone had put a curtain up over the doorway, but nothing could hide the smell as you enter. My cameraman, Neil Hallsworth, who's experienced a lot of war, began to retch and had to step outside.

There's bloody hand prints on the wall. There's blood smeared on the walls. See, probably these are either bullet holes or from the grenades that were thrown in here.

Body parts have already been collected from here, but blood soaks clothes and shoes remain.

This looks to be a bloody handprint The shelter is no more than 15 feet long, maybe 5.5, 6 feet wide. The idea of so many people packed in here, standing shoulder to shoulder terrified screaming, it's incredible that anybody was able to survive.

There are other shelters like this, other tragedies still to be discovered. The full horror of what happened here is just starting to come to light.


COOPER: And, Abby, we've assembled really a full hours worth of never-before-seen video and eyewitness accounts from the festival. We're going that on Sunday on the whole story at 10:00.


But it is just a horrific scene there and, yes, we're still learning more about it every day.

PHILLIP It's hard to take, but I think back to what that Israeli soldier was telling you, he's never seen anything like that in the history of his country. And I'm sure many people never imagined that these kinds of almost medieval scenes would be unfolding in this day and age. But, Anderson, we'll be watching on Sunday night, and thank you for joining us with all of that.

And we have New CNN reporting tonight that the U.S. did warn of the potential for violence in the days before the attack. Carl Bernstein joins me next, ahead.

And also I'll speak with the father of a missing man who spoke with President Biden just today.


PHILLIP: These are live pictures over Gaza City, where strikes are underway from the Israelis. We're minutes away now from a deadline for a million civilians or so to evacuated the northern part of Gaza.


Now, this, as President Biden spoke with the families of missing Americans, many of whom are believed to be hostages of Hamas. And one of those family members joins me now, Jonathan Dekel Chen. He's among those who spoke with the President today and his son, Sagui, has been missing since last Saturday after his kibbutz was invaded by militants.

Jonathan, thank you for joining me. The IDF troops are carrying out these local raids, we understand, in Gaza today, or they have been. The idea here is to try to locate or to gather intelligence about the hostages. Does hearing that give you any hope for your son?

JONATHAN DEKEL-CHEN, SPOKE WITH PRESIDENT BIDEN TODAY ABOUT HIS MISSING SON: Well, first, thank you for having me. I think like the rest of your audience seeing videos that Anderson Cooper showed before is difficult to see.

My son was not there, but that incident was seven miles away and my kibbutz, my small cooperative farm, had very similar scenes as did 15 other cooperative farms like that. But to answer your question, the fact that there's -- the fate of these hostages and missing people who are clearly hostages, as well.

The fact that our government, the Israeli government, is prioritizing in the context of their military operation, our military operation right now, the fate of these hostages and missing people, that is encouraging. And, but we have no -- since, you know, for example, Sagui, the last communication we had with him was at 9:30 in the morning on Saturday.

So, it's difficult to ascertain how much hope we should have because we do not know, obviously, his location and nor do we know the condition of any of these hostages or missing people.

And so, on the one hand, we're encouraged that our army really understands that whatever it does from here on out, whether it's aerial bombardment or artillery or a ground campaign, to the absolute degree that it's possible to be aware that hundreds of Israeli civilians.

Not just healthy 35-year-olds like my son, but eight-month-old babies that were taken from my kibbutz, my neighbor's two doors down, grannies that could barely walk, that were loaded onto Hamas trucks, they are also, part of these hundreds of people who are being held, people, civilians, you know, teachers, doctors, as seamstresses that are being held by Hamas now.

So, in as much as one can be encouraged when one's loved ones are being held by a mass murdering organization that is also keeping its own people captive, so yes, I suppose there's a degree of hope and encouragement.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I certainly understand what you're saying there. You had this call though with President Biden today, one of several families who are represented there. What did the president say and were you satisfied with what he had to offer to you and the other families?

DEKEL-CHEN: Yeah, well, I would say, you know, I won't lie. It was not an easy conversation. Many representatives of families are, as we can all understand, really upset and looking for answers that really no one can give right now.

What I can say about President Biden, who spent about 45 minutes with us, there are about 20 representatives, about 20 families there, as an American citizen, as an Israeli citizen, as someone whose beloved son, we are sure, is being held alive, dead, wounded, we don't know.

I could not possibly ask for more than President Biden expressed about United States' commitment to getting these people back. Not just the American hostages, but all of the Israeli hostages, and that he and the administration are in this for the long haul.

As crazy as this must sound, at that moment, as proud as I am to be an Israeli, I was no less proud to be an American as a result of that phone call. And honestly, most of the time he was listening to people's stories and their desires for his action. And his answers were inspiring.

Not that he could give information. I don't think there's much information to give right now, but his willingness to listen, I found it extraordinary. And to empathize with the people who are in enormous pain.

PHILLIP: Yeah. But could he give you any information about what those efforts might look like?


You have said that you want to see the U.S. government talking to other countries in the region, trying to get them to help negotiate with Hamas to get your son back. Did you hear anything concrete about what that might look like?

DEKEL-CHEN: Just a small correction. I haven't demanded anything from the U.S. or any other government. You know, in my mind, just based on the experience of hostage negotiation in all sorts of scenarios. I mean, third-party contacts are often part of deal-making, deal- brokering.

Of course, the United States is free to do, for the purposes of first locating, ascertaining if these people are alive, to do whatever is necessary. And the president was clear and convincing, at least for me, that the United States is prepared to do anything necessary to get these people home, not just the U.S. citizens, which are a fraction of the total number of Israelis being held.

And I have faith in that. We've been contacted repeatedly by agencies of the United States government. They are in the game at least as much as the Israeli government is in terms of support for the families of hostages, Israeli or American or Israeli citizens. And so, I wasn't personally, I'm an old soldier, I wasn't expecting the president or the secretary of state to give us intimate details about how they're going about this search.

But I'm absolutely convinced that this is a sincere effort and it's an impossible task. I am also aware of that, given who we're dealing with, which is a terrorist state and whose only purpose in these massacres, not just at the rave concert, but in these 15 communities that were utterly devastated. It's an uphill slog at best for the U.S. government and the Israeli government, as well.

PHILLIP: And Jonathan, just in the last moments that we have with you, I just want to give you an opportunity to just speak to your son, if for any reason he can hear you. What would you say to him tonight?

DEKEL-CHEN: I would say, my little boy, we'll get you. We'll get you home. We'll get all of these people home, along with the dozens of other hostages taken from our kibbutz alone of all ages.

But I'm looking him squarely in the eye now. And I know he's strong. And we will do everything. We'll turn over every rock and break through every wall to get you and everyone else home.

PHILLIP: Jonathan Dekel-Chen. Thank you so much for joining us and we continue to hope alongside with you for your son's safe return.

DEKEL-CHEN: Thank you for your concern.

PHILIP: And ahead for us, Carl Bernstein will join me on the new revelations that U.S. intelligence forecasted potential violence days before this attack by Hamas, plus breaking news from Capitol Hill. The House Speaker's race election gets even messier this week.

Republicans nominating Jim Jordan to be their next speaker. But he is far, far short of the votes that he actually needs to clinch that post.




PHILLIP: There are currently two major wars abroad with global implications. Another government shutdown deadline is looming, and the United States House is going home for the weekend.

Without electing a new speaker, by the way, after staging a mutiny and ousting the old one, House Republicans tonight are nominating Jim Jordan to be speaker.

But this is a key point. He doesn't have the votes to get elected, and it's not clear that he has any chance of getting there. Let's discuss this with Frank Luntz, a Political Pollster and Communications Strategist, who also happens to know a lot of these members quite well. What are you hearing from them about all of this mess, frankly?

FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGIST: Embarrassment, disappointment, and a frustration that when we need Congress to function, more so now than ever, it's dysfunctional more so now than ever. And frankly, what I hear from the voters is that they're going to get punished next year if they don't get their act together.

It seems impossible to make an argument for good governance when this is what it looks like on Capitol Hill. But at what point do Republicans -- look, it's not just Jim Jordan, Steve Scalise didn't have the votes. There are some names being thrown out here that are people -- most people have never heard of, frankly, just to be honest.

No one seems to have a path to the votes that they need. At what point do they start looking for alternative paths to just getting a leadership in place, maybe working with Democrats perhaps?

LUNTZ: It needs to happen, but you have to have Democrats to work with. And I get chewed out, because I know congressmen watch this show, and I'm going to say that the Problem Solvers Caucus did not deliver for Kevin McCarthy, and I'm sure that I'm going to get an email from several of you within five minutes of this.

The problem is you have to have people who not only say that you put people above politics, but actually do it. And we are so divided in Washington, and frankly, it's just a reflection of America. And the public is saying, in a single word -- enough. Stop.

It's one of the reasons why the Problem Solvers Caucus was so essential and why the group no labels every single survey, every poll that's done, more and more people are saying no to Joe Biden, no to Donald Trump. That they want something different. PHILLIP: Here's the thing, you know, when Kevin McCarthy was trying

to scrounge up the votes, he didn't ask Democrats for help.


He said he didn't. He said he doesn't want their -- he didn't want their help. So, I mean, I don't know that he can really blame any of them for the fact that he didn't even go to them to say, like, how can we work together?

Well, there were meetings, there were discussions. It is correct that he was not willing to do what they asked of him to do. And in the end, we have to put aside our pride. We have to put aside our partisanship, and we have to do what the public asks of us.

And if we have a government shutdown, there will be hell to pay economically, financially, and it could happen. And we've got this war that's going on right now, and the fact that they're not here doing what they need to get done is sad.

PHILLIP: I think it makes no sense. But on Kevin McCarthy, I mean, he is a friend of yours.

LUNTZ: We're friends.

PHILLIP: And you've been on the show defending him before. Does he regret taking his name out of the running even after he was ousted as speaker? Right now, I mean, you could probably say Kevin McCarthy has as good a chance as anyone to be elected given where the numbers have ended up for two alternatives, Scalise and Jordan.

LUNTZ: Kevin is the most respected House Republican by far. He is the most appreciated. The members now are sorry that they allowed eight members to control the fate of the other 200 and --

PHILLIP: But do you think he's comfortable with the decision he made?

LUNTZ: I know he is. He's more comfortable than his friends are. He's more comfortable than his allies are. There are still people that are pushing to put his name into nomination. He's telling them no. I think there is a wonderful outcome of this in this way. He kept the government open. He did what he promised.

He put the public ahead of his own personal career. He knew that he was in trouble. And he did it anyway. And this is something that we can teach young people, that sometimes you do the right thing, not because it's easy, but because it's hard.

PHILLIP: All right, Frank Luntz. Thank you.

LUNTZ: Thank you.

PHILLIP: Appreciate it. And we're learning tonight that the U.S. had intelligence of an increased risk of violence before Saturday's surprise attack by Hamas. We'll break it all down with legendary journalist Carl Bernstein. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



PHILLIP: New reporting tonight on warnings before the Hamas attacks. Sources telling CNN that U.S. intelligence signaled the potential for violence in the days and the hours immediately before it unfolded. Now, here to discuss this is CNN Political Analyst and renowned journalist and author Carl Bernstein.

Carl, this reporting says that U.S. intelligence was circulating warnings about a rocket attack and violence as early as September 28th. Some of this information is coming from Israel, but if this ends up being substantiated, this seems to signal, as maybe we suspected, a colossal failure of intelligence. What happens next after something like that?

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we've known from the beginning that there has been a colossal failure of intelligence, as you've put it, as well as a colossal failure in terms of the military response and the immediate readiness after Hamas crossed into Israel.

And it's very obvious where this is going to go, as happened after other wars in Israel, including the disaster of the Yom Kippur War. And that is a commission of inquiry that is going to establish the facts.

This will happen after this war has ended, after Israel has buried its dead, after the world has gone through this cataclysmic experience that we have no idea where this story is going. What is going to happen to the Palestinians? What is going to happen to the Israelis?

This story is just beginning and it is beginning in a way that is disturbing to the nations of the Middle East, the leaders of the Middle East, to the United States, much more than the White House has acknowledged. There is great fear and concern at the White House today, tonight, about where these events are leading.

PHILLIP: Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of people are concerned about a spiraling, not just in this conflict, but others, as well. Look, there's some new comments tonight, Carl, from Former President George W. Bush, urging a hard line in the U.S. response to the attacks. Just take a listen to what he said.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm kind of a hard liner on all this stuff. But I never thought we should try to accommodate Iran any way, shape, or form. I always felt the objective ought to be to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon to prevent a cataclysmic event in the Middle East.

And these are the kind of people that if you show softness, they will take advantage of it. The administration started off on the right foot, it seems to me. Pretty bold statement, and that's good. And you got to take some heat, you know. Both parties have got isolationist tendencies. And, you know, we shouldn't get involved, who cares? Well, we should, we should care.


PHILLIP: I don't think it's a surprise to many people that he would describe himself as taking a hardline response after 9-11, but I think what people are looking at now is what happened then, which is a decades-long conflict that really had no real end. What are your thoughts about what lessons we really can take from former President Bush?

BERNSTEIN: Mixed. He led us into a disastrous war that cost us great treasure that upended the equation in that part of the world, that we were perhaps in the wrong place at the wrong time in our response to the events of 9-11.

And at the same time, I certainly understand what the former president is saying about the danger and the threat from Iran. And the question of Iran since the fall of the Shah has been one that has vexed the United States, has vexed the Europeans.

We have a fundamentalist theocracy, a murderous fundamentalist theocracy in Iran that is one of the great threats to humankind, as we're seeing in genocide of the Israeli people by Hamas, by its instruments, an instrument of Iran.

But I think where President Bush's comments and the earlier ones that we were talking about go to this greater question that is of such concern today especially, to the Biden White House, to the European leaders, I've talked to people all day about this.

The response of the Arab street to Hamas' brutal, un -- totally inhuman, barbarous, murderous, genocidal actions, killing Israelis, babies, children indiscriminately, that the reaction in the Arab street as we saw today has been jubilation, has been celebration, has been dancing in the streets over the graves of murdered babies, of genocide of the Israeli people.


And what has got not only the White House, but also Middle Eastern leaders? One of the reasons that we are seeing Secretary Blinken, making this rapid trip around seven countries in the Middle East is because the Arab Street can dictate the terms to the leaders of these Arab countries how it is going to respond.

And so far, the response in the countries of the Middle East is not what Israel or the United States desires. Only two countries in the Middle East have come out and condemned what Hamas has done here.

And the danger, as Secretary Henry Kissinger said today, that this is a danger to the world order, because what Hamas has tried to do here is to end any normalization of relations with Israel and the Middle Eastern powers. And the result that we're seeing in the street with these celebrations is to put pressure on the leaders from Yemen to Bahrain to Saudi.


BERNSTEIN: And so far, we are not seeing a great U.N. cry from the leaders of those countries to stand with Israel the opposite. We have not seen the condemnation of Hamas by these leaders.

And the longer this war goes on, the great fear in Washington today, is the longer this war goes on and the more dancing in the Arab streets there are, the worse it is, not only for Israel, but for the United States and for the international world order.

And Secretary Kissinger and I, we've known each other half a century, not always agreed. But his comments today deserve great attention.

PHILLIP: These are really important questions that you're raising and concerns that you're raising, and we'll continue to follow them. Carl, always great to have you. Thank you for joining us tonight.

And we're getting some breaking news now. Israel says that it has struck Hezbollah after an infiltration, so stand by for that breaking news.