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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Israel Confirms Airstrike Hit Gaza's Largest Refugee Camp; Speaker's Israel Aid Bill Sets Up Clash With White House, Senate; CNN Poll Shows Haley Surges In South Carolina Race For Second Place; Antisemitism In The United States Hits Historic Levels; CNN Fact Checks Joe Biden's Personal Check To His Brother; New Study Reveals That Apocalyptic Dust Clouds Killed The Dinosaurs. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired October 31, 2023 - 22:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And then there is the one against Democrat Rashida Tlaib, Congresswoman of Michigan, introduced by Marjorie Taylor Greene, to try to censure Tlaib for remarks about Israel and her support for an anti-Israel protest. Stay tuned.

Thank you for joining us. CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillip starts now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: A strike inside Gaza kills a Hamas commander but turns scores of civilians into collateral. That's tonight on Newsnight.

And good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington.

Tonight, a fight for the narrative and to explain what these pictures really mean. You're looking here at a crater. This is the aftermath of what Israel calls a wide-scale attack. But it is also a Gaza refugee camp, Jabalya, where the IDF claims the senior Hamas commander was using civilians as shields.

Now, Israel says that the strike erased the target from the battlefield, but as you can see there, it erased so much more.

Cameras captured the chaos in the minutes after the strike, the loud and frenzied race to pull people from that concrete. Now, eyewitnesses told CNN that they saw children carrying wounded children from the rubble. Cameras also filmed the eerie quiet. Palestinian body bags lined up outside of a building.

Today, we've watched IDF spokespeople come onto CNN several times to call the strike proportionate. They also cast doubt on the information coming out of Gaza. And they give a blunt response to critics who say that Israel is intentionally killing civilians.


LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: We were aiming for the tunnel complex where the Hamas combatant commander was. We didn't strike buildings. If we would try to strike buildings and cause civilian death, of course the situation would be different, but we are not.


PHILLIP: But the content and the tone of that answer is very different from this one, also from the IDF, just a few hours earlier.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you know that there are a lot of refugees, a lot of innocent civilians, men, women and children in that refugee camp as well, right?

RICHARD HECHT, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: This is the tragedy of war, Wolf. I mean, we, as you know, we've been staying for days, move south.


PHILLIP: That almost shrug of an answer raises some questions and, of course, some risks for the United States, questions such as how long can the Biden administration say the following with the full faith and confidence.


JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: We have been crystal clear that the right number of civilian casualties in this or any other conflict is zero. You don't want to see any innocent life loss.

It is not a war aim of Israel to cause civilian casualties. That doesn't mean that any civilian casualty can be excused or dismissed, but Israel is not deliberately trying to kill civilians. They are going after Hamas. We want to make sure that they do it in a cautious, careful, deliberate way. But it is not a war aim of Israel to kill innocent civilians.

There's not a single conversation we haven't had with our Israeli counterparts to better understand what they're doing to try to minimize civilian casualties.


PHILLIP: Another question tonight, at what point does American deference to Israel and its war actions send a message to the wider world, one that potentially indefinite civilian casualties are simply a part of war?

And for some perspective on this, a notable moment today inside of a Washington hearing room, just a couple of hours before we learned about that strike, rows and rows of protesters with bloody hands behind the secretary of state as he testified in defense of how Israel is fighting this war.

It is a snapshot of the unease that is growing in some parts of the country with the human toll that this conflict has already taken with no end in sight.

In just moments, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham will join me. But first, I want to turn to Palestinian-American historian Rashid Khalidi. He is the Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. Professor Khalidi, thank you so much for joining us. He's also, by the way, the author of The Hundred Years' War on Palestine.

Professor, this strike has raised a lot of questions, of course, about Israel's conduct in the war. I want to get to those in a moment. But tell us about why there would be so many people in this largest refugee camp. 116,000 people is our understanding in the northern part of Gaza, even though, as the Israelis say, they've been asked to move further south.


Why is that the case?

RASHID KHALIDI, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN HISTORIAN: Well, I can only speak to what I know about, which is some of the family that we have there who actually moved from Gaza City, from the Rimal, to the southern part of Gaza, and then moved back because they were being bombarded in the south, and there was no shelter and no food.

So, many people have left, but many others have been afraid to leave, and they know perfectly well that they're no safer in the south than they are in the north. So there's no, there's nowhere to run to. There's nowhere to hide.

PHILLIP: Israel says that Hamas uses refugees as human shields, and they say that their warnings to move south, plus their claim that there was a target here that they killed, a senior level Hamas official that they killed, justifies this attack.

But I wonder, do you think that Hamas bears some responsibility if, in fact, they are sheltering their leaders in a refugee camp where there are so many innocents?

KHALIDI: I mean, one of the things that has to be said is that there's not very much space in Gaza. And if you are aiming as Hamas is to resist an occupation that's gone on for 56 years, and a dispossession that's gone for 75, you are going to be tunneling underneath the whole of the Gaza Strip. My understanding is that the Gaza Strip is honeycombed with tunnels, most of which are far, far deeper than wherever this horrible bomb landed.

I think that's not really the issue. There's no place to hide in Gaza. That's the whole point. There are 2.3 million people in this tiny area the size of Oakland, and Hamas is underneath them, perhaps in many, many, many, many places.

The point is Israel is using weapons with a kill radius in the case of a 2,000-pound bomb, which is so enormous that even if they are targeting a tunnel, or a Hamas leader or a building in which a Hamas official is located, they are killing scores and scores of people every time that they do that. And I think that's why you're having these horrendous casualty tolls.

The kinds of weapons used, the American artillery, and often the American ordinance that's being used, inevitably and necessarily kills huge numbers of people, even if somewhere in the vicinity there is a target that the Israelis claim is a legitimate one.

I think that's the point. You saw the devastation. If they killed one Hamas leader in order to destroy that entire neighborhood, I think we have to ask about a question of proportionality.

PHILLIP: Yes. And I think that that very much is the question that is being asked in a lot of quarters.

Professor Rashid Khalidi, thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate it.

KHALIDI: Thanks for having me.

PHILLIP: And joining me now is South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham, thank you very much for joining us in studio today.

First of all, on this IDF strike that unfolded today at the Gaza refugee camp, the Israelis say that it killed a top Hamas general. Have you received any intelligence briefings to suggest that that actually was the case that they were able to take out that general?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): No, I haven't. And, you know, the loss of life is tragic. A lot of innocent Palestinians are being killed. And the main reason is the Hamas uses their own people as human shields. So, if you're Israel, you're in a dilemma here, because to go after their leaders, you're probably going to have to hurt some innocent people. But that's the nature of this war, I'm afraid.

PHILLIP: I think that that's obviously the big dilemma that Israel faces, that the whole world is really grappling with.

What I just want to understand, though, is if this were the United States of America and there was a target that was in a densely populated civilian area, would the United States have taken a strike like that against a refugee camp?

GRAHAM: I think a better analogy, what would the United States do to knock Japan out of the war? You've got to understand this is not normal stuff in the Mideast. Hamas wants to kill all the Jews. It's not about the Palestinians. They're not trying to help the Palestinian people. They're trying to destroy Israel.

So, when we were attacked by Japan, we declared war on Germany, and how did we end the war? We dropped the bomb on several cities in Japan, breaking the will of the Japanese people. If you had asked the average American what's the proportional response after Pearl Harbor, they would say the only response is victory.

PHILLIP: Do you see why a lot of people, especially all these decades after that, would say, we have other options here? This is not a time where our only weapons are dropping nuclear bombs. There's precision weaponry. There's intelligence. We have so much more information.

So, I guess what I'm wondering is, in 2023, when militaries as advanced as Israel's and as the United States have choices, is it acceptable to drop bombs on a densely populated civilian area where there are refugees, where people are living, where there are children?


GRAHAM: Well, in 2023, who would imagine that someone who survived the Holocaust in World War II would be killed by Islamic terrorists in Israel and later in life? In 2023, could anybody imagine a group of people would come into Israel and slaughter families, rape children from the parents, burn babies alive, put a baby in the oven? Can you imagine that? I can't imagine that.

Here's what I imagine. The destruction of Hamas is non-negotiable. I hate the loss of innocent lives. The day after Hamas is destroyed, I hope we have a better life for the Palestinian people. But I'm not blaming Israel. I'm blaming Hamas. I'm not blaming Israel at all. I know they're trying to limit civilian casualties, and I know Hamas is trying to increase civilian casualties.

PHILLIP: Is there a threshold for you, and do you think there should be one for the United States government, in which the U.S. would say, let's hold off for a second in terms of civilian casualties? Is there a point at which you would start to question the --

GRAHAM: No. If somebody asked us after World War II, is there a limit what you would do to make sure that Japan and Germany don't conquer the world, is there any limit what Israel should do to the people who are trying to slaughter the Jews? The answer is no. There is no limit, but here's what you need to do. You need to be smart. Let's try to limit civilian casualties the best we can. Let's put humanitarian aid in areas to protect the innocent. I'm all for that. But this idea that Israel has to apologize for attacking Hamas, who's embedded with their own population, needs to stop. The goal is to destroy Hamas. Hamas is creating these casualties, not Israel.

PHILLIP: I don't think anyone's asking -- well, some people may be asking Israel to apologize. But that's not what I'm asking about. I think the question here is about how they carry out the war and there are choices here.

But you mentioned, and the Israelis have described it this way, they want to eradicate Hamas. And I think most people agree that that is a reasonable goal. However, how long do you think that that will take? How long?

GRAHAM: I don't know.

PHILLIP: Is it reasonably for that --

GRAHAM: Here's what I think. I think we ought to be focusing on the day after Hamas is destroyed, as well as destroying them.

PHILLIP: Do you think that that is on the table that the Israelis are thinking about what happens after Hamas?

GRAHAM: Yes. So, I'm going to have dinner with the Saudis tomorrow night. This occupation of Gaza by Israel will not be long lasting. Israel is not going to go in and occupy Gaza. That's a losing proposition. They're going to go in and dismantle Hamas. And when they've achieved that goal, the world needs to come up with a plan for Gaza and the West Bank to give the Palestinians something to live for.

PHILLIP: How do you know when Hamas is dismantled?

GRAHAM: When the Israelis tell me it is because they live next door. I would never ask the Israelis to risk another attack from Hamas. I would never ask the Israeli people to shorten this operation until they believe they're safe. Now, once they believe Hamas is destroyed, then we need to work with

the people in the region to give the Palestinians a better life. I'm not blaming every Palestinian for what happened. Every Palestinian is not a terrorist. There are Palestinian children caught up in this, and it does break my heart. I'd like to have a future for the Palestinian people that's more hopeful than they have today. Let's destroy Hamas, and that makes it better for the Palestinians and the Israelis.

PHILLIP: I mean, the Palestinians, as you say, as a people, are not responsible for Hamas. But they are dying by the thousands. I mean, the number is well over 8,000 at this point. This attack today will raise it significantly.

This is taking a real toll on a population that is almost half children.


PHILLIP: And a lot of people are simply asking, should there be more time given for more humanitarian aid to come in, for more avenues of escape to be there, for those innocents?

GRAHAM: Well, let's move people to the south. Let's create the --

PHILLIP: But should Israel pause to allow that to happen?

GRAHAM: Well, I'll leave that up to Israel. You've got to remember who you're dealing with. Hamas doesn't give a damn about the Palestinian people. Can we agree that Hamas is not trying to achieve a two-state solution? They're trying to kill all the Jews. They're trying to create an Islamic caliphate. They don't care about a better life for the Palestinians.

If we can all agree with that, then let's eliminate them. And let's try to find a way to do that without hurting people who don't buy into what they're saying.

PHILLIP: Does it worry you at all that, you know, as the Israelis have pointed out, Hamas is hiding amongst civilians in order to create a civilian catastrophe?

GRAHAM: That's right. PHILLIP: Does it worry you at all that these attacks actually play into that, first of all? And, second of all, is potentially riling up the Muslim world in a way that could create even more terrorist activity around the globe.


Does that worry you?

GRAHAM: Yes. What worries me the most is that we missed this, and that Hamas was able to slaughter these people and nobody picked up the intel. How could we have gotten it so wrong here and in Israel?

PHILLIP: But the moral authority that the United States -- is there a risk that it could be lost in this war?

GRAHAM: All I'm saying is that Israel needs to destroy Hamas. You've got to go in on the ground to do that. Let's try to lessen the loss of innocent life. But it's not negotiable for the destruction of Hamas. You can't do it from the air. You have to get on the ground. They're embedded among the civilian population.

And I will say this. Do what you need as long as you need to do it from an Israeli point of view. Find out what happens when Hamas is destroyed. I'd like to learn from the past mistakes, create a better life for the Palestinians, and try to get Saudi Arabia and Israel back together.

You know why I think this attack was created? To stop the reconciliation effort between Saudi Arabia and Israel by Iran. The real culprit here is Iran.

PHILLIP: Yes. Senator Graham, don't go anywhere. We have a lot more that we want to talk to you about.

Coming up next, including the newly elected speaker, Mike Johnson, he's picking his first fight with Senate Republicans and the White House over an Israel aid package. We'll have more on that in a moment.



PHILLIP: -- is forming fast as the new speaker picks his first fight with the White House and the Senate by using war as a bargaining chip. The two person -- the person who is two heartbeats away from the presidency is a man of mystery to most of the public and, frankly, to many of his own colleagues.

But after weeks of infighting, Republicans rushed Mike Johnson into the speakership in just a matter of hours. And he's done three on- camera interviews since getting the House gavel, one with a Republican Party mouthpiece, another with a conspiracy peddler at the center of the Dominion lawsuit, and the third with Donald Trump's former press secretary.

So, here is what we've learned about Johnson since he became speaker.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun? I said, well, go pick up a bible off your shelf and read it. That's my worldview.

On the marriage issue, no one has discussed that for as long as I can remember. This has been settled by the Supreme Court.

Well, I gave my entire career for 25 years that the state should have the right to do this. There's no national consensus among the people on what to do with that issue on a federal level for certain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not convicted. He's charged.

JOHNSON: He's charged. And so if we're going to expel people from Congress just because they're charged with a crime, then, you know, they're accused, that's a problem.

The problem is the human heart. It's not guns, it's not the weapons. At the end of the day, we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves.

We have to base it upon the evidence. And the evidence is coming together. We'll see where it leads.


PHILLIP: But perhaps the most notable revelation that we've learned about Johnson as speaker is that he wants to move a standalone aid package for Israel without aid for Ukraine.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: To put it succinctly, for our adversaries, be they states or non-states, this is all one fight. And we have to respond in a way that recognizes that. If we start to peel off pieces of this package, they'll see that, they'll understand that we are playing whack-a-mole.


PHILLIP: But Johnson's plan is not as standalone as advertised. In order to pay for the Israel aid, Johnson actually wants to cut $14 billion from the IRS. Fewer agents, he says. It seems odd and really unrelated to link the IRS to emergency aid for Israel. Unless you watch enough right wing media, the IRS is one of its favorite boogeyman. Democrats, though, call this disgraceful, a non-starter, offensive, a poison pill, problematic and ridiculous.

But politics aside, here is the reality. The $14 billion is part of an $80 billion investment designed to ensure that the ultra wealthy and corporations don't skip out on paying their taxes. Tax enforcement is actually a big revenue driver for the government, without raising taxes, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation. It's been popular with every president since Ronald Reagan.

And according to the Congressional Budget Office, which is also non- partisan, investing in this enforcement at the $80 billion level was estimated to actually raise $200 billion in revenue over the next decade. So, if you hamper those efforts, it's possible that this would end up actually costing the U.S. even more in lost revenue beyond the sticker price.

Now, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, also non-partisan, defunding tax enforcement by $14 billion to pay for new spending, the House will actually add more than $30 billion to the debt.

And back with me now is Senator Lindsey Graham.

Senator Graham, there is a new speaker of the House, Mike Johnson. He is now saying he wants to pay for Israel aid by slashing funding for the IRS. Senator Schumer, your colleague, says that's not a serious proposal. Senator McConnell has also said that he doesn't think that that's a good idea. So, do you side with the top Democrat in the Senate or the top Republican in the House?

GRAHAM: I side with Israel, and I want to get them as much money as they need as quickly as they can get it, so to the House. I understand we need to start paying for things around here. I get that, but this is truly an emergency. And I don't think we've ever offset an emergency aid before. When we have a disaster, when it's a hurricane that hit South Carolina, we don't have pay-fors because it's an emergency.

What I don't want to happen is that the support for Israel become partisan, right? I think there's probably 400 votes in the House to support Israel. And when you start putting things like pay-fors on the table, then you break that coalition apart. And that's what I worry about.

PHILLIP: So, you're saying Speaker Johnson is wrong.

GRAHAM: Well, I'm not saying he's wrong. I'm saying the reality is that when it gets to the Senate, it's not going to go forward the way it's constructed. We just don't have 60 votes for this. So, rather than focusing on having pay-fors that Republicans like and Democrats don't, why don't we agree with the idea that all of us need to support helping Israel now?


He can do whatever he wants to in the House, but when it comes to the Senate, I promise you there are not 60 votes for this.

PHILLIP: Do you believe that a Ukraine aid and Israel aid should remain together?

GRAHAM: Firstly, I do.

PHILLIP: And do you think that that will ultimately happen? GRAHAM: I think it will in the Senate. You know, if Putin gets away with invading Ukraine, there goes Taiwan. Putin hosted Hamas, I think, yesterday in Moscow. So, all this is really interconnected to me.

PHILLIP: Why don't your colleagues understand that?

GRAHAM: Well, listen, because I say it doesn't mean -- I'm just telling you what I think. There's a lot of people believe that Ukraine is not a good investment. I'm not one of them. There's a lot of people believe you can let Putin get away with invading Ukraine, it won't matter. I'm just not one of them. There's a lot of people want to vote on it separately, but I don't. Let me tell you why. It's in America's national security interests to get this right.

We need to secure our border. We need to help Ukraine. We need to stand with our friends in Israel. And we should all do it together. Because if we don't get all three right, we're in trouble, if we don't secure our border, we're in trouble, if we let Putin get away with invading Ukraine, we're in trouble, and God knows, if we don't have Israel, they're in trouble.

PHILLIP: All right. I want to turn now to politics. There is a presidential primary going on in your party. New CNN poll shows that Nikki Haley, someone you know very well, is in second place in South Carolina both of your home states? It's followed by Ron DeSantis and then Tim Scott.

Should the candidates at this stage who are not at least polling in the double digits think about getting out of this race?

GRAHAM: Well, the last person needs -- they need to get advice from is me. I ran for president. I don't think I ever got 1 percent. I got out cost a run out of money. That will work. But Nikki has done a heck of a job, I think, articulating a foreign policy I agree with. Tim Scott is one of the most intriguing, talented people in the Republican Party.

Now, why am I with Trump? I like both Nikki and Tim. I believe if Trump were president now, this would be going on, if he gets to be president in 2025, this could end pretty quickly. Will you like Trump or not? There was order in the world that's been lost.

PHILLIP: Well, Trump just recently said that he thought Hezbollah was smart. I mean, should someone who said something like that be president of the United States?

GRAHAM: Yes. Well, he killed Soleimani, and I don't think Hezbollah is smart, but I take --

PHILLIP: But he said that.

GRAHAM: I will tell you what, if he were president of the United States, Hamas would not have attacked Israel. I really believe that. Putin wouldn't have invaded Ukraine because they're afraid of the guy. Nobody is afraid of Biden. A lot of people are afraid of Trump.

PHILLIP: Senator Graham, do you think that Nikki Haley ultimately is the best alternative to Trump?

GRAHAM: I think she's incredibly talented. If she won the nomination, I think she'd be a good president. I think Trump is going to win the primary in South Carolina and other places because most Republicans believed he was a good president for causes. He was a strong leader on national security. And I think most Republicans want him back in the White House.

PHILLIP: One other point here, I mean, as you just mentioned earlier, Hamas is trying to stop a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel that is being brokered by the Biden administration. They're doing this because the Biden administration is moving forward with basically an expansion of the Abraham Accords.

GRAHAM: I got nothing but praise for the Biden administration.

PHILLIP: Well, I mean, in that respect, I mean, how would Trump have acted differently to prevent the attacks?

GRAHAM: Well, I think the Abraham Accords came about because the Arabs believed he would stand up to Iran. The only reason the Arab nations followed his lead to normalize with Israel is because they felt that he was going to stand up with a common enemy, which is Iran.

PHILLIP: But I guess what I'm asking is you don't think -- do you think that Trump would have pursued a different policy toward normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel than the Biden administration?

GRAHAM: No. I think this is a natural extension. I want to compliment the Biden administration for building on what Trump did. I'm trying to work with the Biden administration to get an agreement between Saudi and Israel that would make the world more stable.

Iran's biggest nightmare is that the Arab world joined with the Israelis to move toward the light away from the darkness. So, I want to help Tony. I want to help President Biden in this endeavor, because this is the right policy.

PHILLIP: All right. Senator Lindsey Graham, good to have you here in the studio.

GRAHAM: Thank you.

PHILLIP: Thanks for joining us.

And up next, an ominous warning from the FBI director.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: The ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole another level.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: Those comments coming as we learn about an arrest over those anti-Semitic threats at Cornell University. Geraldo Rivera joins me next to discuss.



PHILLIP: It happened there and it can happen here. Today, a sobering warning from the FBI director about Hamas-styled and Hamas-inspired terror.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration, the likes of which we haven't seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago.


PHILLIP: Now listening to the FBI director, it suggests that Hamas hopes to copy that ISIS model. You could see it on social media after October 7th. The propaganda videos called from GoPros worn by terrorists and snuff films shot on iPhones that glorified savage murder.

The potential downstream consequences of all of this are big and they are lethal. ISIS directed or spawned hundreds of attacks since 2014. And this new threat is uniquely tailored to target one group in particular, Jews.


WRAY: The Jewish community is targeted by terrorists really across the spectrum. Homegrown violent extremists, foreign terrorist organizations, both Sunni and Shia, domestic violent extremists. And in fact, our statistics would indicate that for a group that represents only about 2.4 percent of the American public. They account for something like 60 percent of all religious-based hate crimes.



PHILLIP: For more, I want to bring in journalist and former Fox News host Geraldo Rivera. Geraldo, thanks for being here as always.

Just as we were coming on the air, the U.S. Attorney General announced that a student at Cornell University, a 21-year-old, Patrick Dye, he's a junior at the college, he's been arrested for making those threats against Jewish students on campus. These were vile and violent. threats, blatantly anti-Semitic, what is going on in this country that a college junior at an elite school like Cornell would be responsible for something like that? GERALDO RIVERA, JOURNALIST AND FORMER FOX NEWS HOST: Mostly at this

point, Abby, it has been angry rhetoric, but ugly words have a way of, you know what, translating into violence eventually. And when you have these really ugly, vile things being shouted one side against the other at some of the most elite schools in the country, it's really unnerving.

Particularly, I'm like millions of other American parents tonight. Abby, you know, our kids are filing. college applications. This is the season for that. We have a high school senior and we wanted her, we want her to go to the best school she possibly can get into. We care about the quality of education, the reputation of the school, the location. We never thought that we'd have to worry about our daughter being Jewish.

And now with this guy, Patrick Dye, and some of the other things that are being said on the streets of campuses throughout the country, the most elite colleges in the country. You know, you start to worry. This thing in Cornell where this kid was putting out threats, slit throats and stab and shoot and rape and throw off cliffs.

You know, we have friends who have kids in Cornell, Jewish kids in Cornell. They were locked down. It was so terrifying. And I think that, you know, I worry that you go from verbal to actual as this rhetoric turns really metastasizes into violence, Abby.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, look, it's incredibly, incredibly disturbing what we saw there and what we're seeing all over the country. You mentioned the rhetoric here. I mean, look, people feel really strongly about this issue, the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians has been going on for 75 years.

But we're also seeing some examples here of some rhetoric. This is from Congresswoman Cori Bush. She called Israel's actions in a tweet. She called Israel's actions an ethnic cleansing campaign. She's not alone in that, by the way. I mean, many on the left are calling it that, accusing Israel of genocide.

But do you think that kind of rhetoric, even as hot as the opinions are, you know, is justified in this kind of environment?

RIVERA: First of all, we have to acknowledge that what happened on the 7th of October was something that no hyperbole can possibly match. Babies and pregnant women and bellies cut open and people killed in front of their children, their hands amputated before they were murdered and the horrible crimes committed.

And then you have this attack on the Jabalia refugee camp on the other side and you're seeing babies being taken out the rubble. You see how Palestinian and Israeli or Jewish alike, how there's plenty of reasons for provocation. This is, a war is hell. This is really horrible what's happening. Israel has every right to avenge what happened and bring the perpetrators to justice and free these hostages.

The Palestinians are trying in their own way to live when they have Hamas, a terrorist group that perpetrated this crime, and they made it as horrible as they possibly could specifically to encourage or to provoke Israel into responding, and then they hide behind their civilians.

You know, the words are horrible, but the actions are even worse. What we don't want is the words here in the United States to become action. What we don't want, hate crimes and violence. This kid, Patrick Dye, you know, who was he speaking with on this chat line? This is a bright kid by all accounts. He had Bitcoin companies and crypto and virtual reality and all the rest of it. This is a kid who looked like he was living the American dream, and he turns into this monster, at least in terms of what he is saying.


And what if someone hears this literally and then and then acts on it because there certainly have been and there will be even greater provocations going forward. I think that President Biden has to step into this right now. He has to calm the American people down. Yes, you have a right of free speech. Yes, you have a right to protest and to demonstrate. What you don't have a right to do is tell someone you're gonna slit their throats, shoot them, rape them, or throw them off a cliff.

I think that I am pleased at the action of the FBI office in Albany, the New York Capitol, in catching this kid. I want to know who he was talking with, whether any of them were spreading this hate. They've got to make sure they've got to nip this in the bud, because it spread. Every Ivy League school, every major college in the country now is witnessing these passionate protests.

PHILLIP: And of course, we should say that this suspect who was arrested is accused and has not been convicted of these allegations, but we will see where that all goes. Geraldo, thanks for all of your insights into all of that.

RIVERA: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: Thank you.

And coming up next, a claim from House Republicans that they say points to wrongdoing by Joe Biden, now undercut by new evidence. We've got the fact check, next.

Plus a new study into what led to the extinction of dinosaurs. And it turns out it may have been dust that did them in.



PHILLIP: In tonight's fact check, Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer called into question a 2018 personal check to Joe Biden from his brother James. He took issue with the words loan repayment written on the check and repeatedly saying in interviews that he didn't believe that Joe Biden had actually made a loan to his brother.

Well, CNN's Daniel Dale is here with us now to walk us through what exactly we're talking about here. Daniel, what do you know?

DANIEL DALE, CNN SR. REPORTER: I can tell you, Abby, that the available evidence suggests this was indeed a personal loan from brother-to-brother, just as James Biden's lawyer and House Democrats have said. Now, we do not have comprehensive evidence absolutely proving it was a loan, but the partial evidence we have is firmly on the Democrats' side.

So let me explain. Congressman Comer released an image of one check, a 200,000 check from James Biden to Joe Biden in March 2018, and noted that James wrote it on the same day that James got $200K from a healthcare company he did business with. So Comer said he didn't believe this check was actually a loan repayment, even though again it said loan repayment on the front.

What Mr. Comer did not release though, Abby, is an additional James Biden bank record that undercuts his case. That additional record, which CNN was provided by a source with access to the documents subpoenaed by his Comer's committee, shows that less than two months prior to writing that 200K check to his brother, James Biden received the exact same amount, 200K, via a wire transfer.

And here is the key thing. Other records that CNN obtained from the source strongly suggest that the wire transfer was from Joe Biden. If people go to, they can find my article explaining how the evidence connects Joe Biden to that account. Regardless here, the main point is this, Democrats have significant corroboration for their assertions that it was a loan.

And one more point, Abby, I think is hugely important here. Joe Biden was neither in government nor a political candidate at the time this happened in 2018. To date, Republicans have not provided a shred of evidence that Joe Biden did anything in office to benefit his brother in his brother's dealings with this health care company. And that might well be because Joe Biden was not even in office at all at this time.

PHILLIP: That seems to be a pretty salient point when it comes to the issue of corruption.

DALE: It certainly is. There is no proof provided here that Joe Biden did anything wrong.

PHILLIP: Well, we'll keep asking and we'll keep waiting for the evidence that they say is there, but so far we haven't seen it yet. Daniel Dale, thank you as always.

And up next, a new study gives the world an answer to a 65-million- year-old question about the fate of dinosaurs. That's next.


[22:52:34] PHILLIP: It's been more than 60 million years since the dinosaurs ruled the Earth, and after a city-sized asteroid wiped out three- quarters of all living species on our planet, but how exactly this doomed the dinosaurs remained unclear for a long time.

Now, scientists previously thought that this was due to the soot produced from wildfires triggering a global winter, but there is a new study out that suggests that the fine dust from the pulverized asteroid may have played a bigger role than previously known, blocking out the sunlight and shutting down life for nearly two years. That caused a massive collapse in the food chain, ultimately leading to a mass extinction and the end of the dinosaur age.

Joining me now to discuss this is astrophysicist Hakeem Oluseyi. And Hakeem, you are here to really solve a huge mystery for me and so many other people. This is a study published in the journal "Nature Geoscience." And it seeks to answer this question, why is it that we didn't know this before? And do you think it's plausible, personally?

HAKEEM OLUSEYI, ASTROPHYSICIST: Well, it's plausible because it is based on real data. So the actual material, it's crazy, but it's 66 million years old, but we can still go and gather it and see what's in there. And so they actually found this fine dust, and that was the experimenters. But then on the computational side, they had to actually create these models that show not only how the dust interacts with sunlight, does it absorb it, does it reflect it, but also how does the dust interact with the atmosphere.

And what they found is that this particular type of material could stay airborne for 15 years.



PHILLIP: And producing a basically chain reaction.


PHILLIP: Killing off plant life first.

OLUSEYI: Yes. Yes.

PHILLIP: And that is what would have caused the dinosaurs to basically go extinct?

OLUSEYI: Right, so when you shut down photosynthesis, right, so basically sunlight isn't making it to the ground. So plants aren't able to make their food, so the plant eaters have no source of food to eat.

So now what does that mean? That means that everything that eats plants is gonna die and everything that eats those animals is gonna die. So what really determined who was gonna live and who was not gonna live when this event occurred was how much you needed to eat. So for example, why did the dinosaurs die, but the crocodilians and the alligators, they survived.


The reason is because dinosaurs were warm-blooded like us. And just like we need to eat three meals a day to live, those big dinosaurs needed a lot of food. A crocodile today, because they're cold-blooded, they don't need as much energy, so they eat once a year they can survive. So the small thing survived, the cold-blooded small thing survived. But if you were big and warm-blooded, once the food web shut down, your days were numbered.

PHILLIP: So the science behind this relies on a computer model that's simulated what the atmosphere would have been like at that time. Is there anything that we can take away from that as we try to project forward? We're talking a lot about climate change and how our activity as humans is affecting our atmosphere. What can we take away?

OLUSEYI: Well, one thing to know is that our atmosphere is a really, really thin layer. So even in the lifetimes of modern humans, we've had three big atmospheric emergencies. We've had acid rain, we've had the hole in the ozone layer, and now we have global climate change, the warming of the global climate.

And so this isn't the first time it's happened. That event did it, so outer space can do it through impacts, geology can do it through volcanoes, and life also does it. So what does this mean? What we've done so far is we've just lived our lives. And then we go, oops, look what we did. Let's find a way to solve it, right? We could be a little bit more mindful and also recognize that this particular type of particulate matter does have this big, outsized impact at cooling the planet and shutting down sunlight. So, you know, it's another thing to watch out for.

PHILLIP: I mean, it was a catastrophic event, but a single event that had such an incredible impact on this planet. So interesting. Hakeem, thank you so much for joining us.

OLUSEYI: Thank you for having me.