Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Won't Seek Re-Election In Blow To Democrats; Rivals Can't Agree On Why GOP Is Party Of Losers; Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Blasts Eight Republicans Who Voted To Oust Him; Election Offices In Some U.S. States Received Suspicious Letters; Israel Agrees To A Four-Hour Pause Daily For Evacuation And Aid; A Chaotic Brawl Erupts A Special Screening Of A Documentary On Hamas Attacks. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 09, 2023 - 22:00   ET




REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): And he'll admit to you personally is he doesn't have a conservative bent (ph) in his philosophy.

If you've watched just her philosophy and the flip-flopping, yes, I don't believe she wins re-election. I don't think she will probably have earned the right to get re-elected.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: In response to that, we heard from both lawmakers, Congressman Gaetz saying, quote, thoughts and prayers as he works through his grief. Congresswoman Nancy Mace said, we have moved on to a much better speaker who is honest and trustworthy.

Of course, that new speaker, Speaker Mike Johnson, dealing with a lot of the issues that Kevin McCarty faced as House speaker. We will see that on full display in the coming days.

Meanwhile, thank you so much for joining us. CNN NEWSNIGHT with Abby Phillip starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats and Republicans giving us an instruction manual on how to make hard things harder. That is tonight on NEWSNIGHT.

Good evening, I'm Abby Phillip in New York.

And right now, we are watching both major American political parties ignore history and its lessons. Really not learning from their mistakes is always a good recipe to repeat them. But which party will ultimately bear the brunt of its willful blindness is the big question.

For Democrats, Joe Manchin is the man in the middle.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): What I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.


PHILLIP: The longstanding West Virginia senator announced today that he will not run again for re-election, but what he will do is actually now what worries Democrats. Manchin had flirted with this third-party run idea earlier this year under the No Labels banner, and that he might follow through with this. It this time, triggers a fear that he will attract voters that otherwise would have cast ballots for Joe Biden.

Now, Manchin's announcement, strangely enough, happened on the very same day that a familiar face from 2016 stepped back into public view.


JILL STEIN, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Jill Stein and I'm running for president to offer that choice for the people outside of the failed two-party system. The ruling parties that got us into this mess are not getting us out.


PHILLIP: Jill Stein's presence has kicked up painful memories in 2016 parallels for Democrats. Stein earned one point out of 4 million votes -- 1.4 million votes, I should say, and the forever ire of the Hillary Clinton campaign in the process.


HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: That is assuming Jill Stein will give it up, which she might not, because she is also a Russian asset. Yes, she's a Russian asset, I mean, totally.


PHILLIP: So, like in 2016, Democrats, again, have a candidate that even other Democrats are not fully sold on.

And Americans are really, really not sold on President Biden. Our new CNN poll shows that Biden will narrowly lose to Trump if the election were held today, so did a New York Times poll of swing state voters as well.

Now, it is a moment of acute political peril for this incumbent president. All of this, though, should seem like good news to Republicans, right? Well, it would be if they could outrun their very own real problems.

Let's take a journey back to Tuesday, that was just a couple of days ago, when Republicans lost in Kentucky and in Ohio. Those are two cherry-red states. Ohio is proof that abortion still very much matters to voters, and last night's debate offered further evidence that Republicans are still stuck searching for how to talk about it.


NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't judge anyone for being pro-choice and I don't want them to judge me for being pro- life. So, when we are looking at this, there are some states that are going more on the pro-life side. I welcome that. There are some states more on the pro-choice side. I wish that wasn't the case but the people decided.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Texas is not going to do it the same as New Hampshire. Iowa is not necessarily going to do it the same as Virginia. So, you got to work from the bottom up, you got to do a better job on these referenda.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need a 15-week federal limit.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We should not short-circuit that process until every states, people have the right to weigh in on it.


PHILLIP: Did you hear a consensus there? The headlines really don't offer much reason for optimism that Republicans can sort out their messaging struggle on this any time soon. The Wall Street Journal writes, Republicans still don't know how to talk about abortion. NBC, GOP strategists urge congressional candidates to campaign against a national abortion ban. Axios, Democrats, new abortion battle plan is to rush to get it on the ballot in 2024.


Now, the other battle for Republicans is the same as it ever was, or at least as it ever has been since 2016, Donald Trump.


DESANTIS: If his endorsement was so important, why have Republicans been losing so many of these races where he's endorsed? We have fewer governors than when he got elected president, fewer U.S. senators, fewer U.S. House members.

CHRISTIE: He has continued electoral and political poison, Mika. The Daniel Cameron race in Kentucky is one example, but in Virginia, as well.

You can't overcome the stench of Donald Trump's political narcissism. That is the bottom line.


So, what about Donald Trump's ballot impact? We'll have more on that later.

But, first, the Democrats, how does Joe Manchin affect how they can hold on to the Senate?

CNN's Harry Enten is here with me over at the magic wall. So, Harry, what is the impact here of Joe Manchin deciding not to run again in a state that, frankly, I don't know that any Democrat can win, but what impact will it have on control of the Senate in 2024, potentially?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, Abby. Look, Democrats basically have no margin for error. Here is the Senate map heading into 2024. Democrats can't lose more than one seat. 51 Democrats in the Senate or at least caucus with the Democrats, you have got 49 senators who caucus with the Republicans.

And let's take a look at how many Democrats are vulnerable this time around. Look at this. There are seven Democratic Senate seats up in 2024 in states that Trump one at least once. You mentioned West Virginia earlier, but there is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana, Arizona. So, we have a slew of these Democratic seats in these states that Trump one at least one time.

Compare that to the Republican side. You know how many GOP seats are up in 2024 that Trump lost at least once? Zero, a grand total of zero. So, Democrats have far more vulnerable ground than Republicans do. Pretty much all the Republican seats are in safe Republican areas.

And here is the other thing to keep in mind, why that's so important, because polarization has become such a thing in our politics. The same party won the Senate and presidential race in the state in 2016, for the first time ever, it was all of them. It was 34 out of 34. In 2020, it was 34 out of 35, only Susan Collins, in Maine, was the exception.

So, the fact is that, going into 2024, I would much rather be a Republican running for Senate than a Democrat, or at least put my money on them gaining the majority. And Democrats at this point at least losing it and Joe Manchin doesn't make it any easier, Abby.

PHILLIP: It is a tough map in 2024. But then, again, it was a tough map in 2022 and Democrats did narrowly expand their majority. So, we'll see how that goes.

Harry, stick around, we will be back with you shortly.

But joining me now at the table is CNN Political Commentator Ana Navarro, and also with us, Molly Jong-Fast, the host of Fast Politics, the podcast. She is also a special correspondent for Vanity Fair.

So, Ana, how are Democrats feeling, you think, right now that Manchin has sort of made this splash? He's not running, but maybe he is running for something else.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I suspect there is more than one emotion going on, right? Joe Manchin has been this problem child. But as much of a problem child as he has been, he has been a part of the family and he's helped them keep the majority. So, you kind of love and deal with him and put up with him because he helps you give the majority. So, I think right now they are grappling with the realization that he has just made losing that Senate seat a stark reality that did not look like it had he run. And now he comes out and says, and not only is he putting that Senate seat is at risk and probably losing it, he is now saying, you know what, I'm musing about the idea of being an independent and running as an independent, I'm going to go on a listening tour. It's a lot for one day for Democrats to take in just 48 hours after they were celebrating a great night.

PHILLIP: This is always what happens two days after a midterm or an off-year election. Somebody drops a he bomb into the political sphere. But in this case, what is the Joe Manchin lane? I mean, he might be one of the most disliked Democrats among Democrats.


PHILLIP: So, who is voting for Joe Manchin on a presidential cycle, potentially?

JONG-FAST: I think Joe Manchin must know that he is not a popular guy with Democrats. But I think it is this sort of middle, the sane middle, right, the people -- but I just don't see how this works, right? The sane middle is going to decide that they are going to vote for a guy who can't possibly win in order to make Trump president, right? I mean, that is what this looks like. So, I think that is a lot of the anxiety.


Again, you know, I think a lot of people did not think Joe Manchin would run again because the numbers looked bad, you know, Jim Justice is wildly popular.

PHILLIP: It's just an almost political impossibility now in that state.

JONG-FAST: But I think people would like him not to now go around trashing President Biden, I mean, or, you know, shopping some kind of a unity ticket, which is a total nonstarter, and will never ever, ever work.

NAVARRO: It's funny. You asked about the Joe Manchin lane, and I can only think about the No Labels lane, right, which is a bunch of very wealthy, elitist, former this and former that, the former governor of Utah, former senator from --

PHILLIP: But No Labels is a real thing. And to your point, they have a lot of resources. Is this something --

NAVARRO: Frankly, Abby, I happen to love Labels. They don't appeal to me, whatsoever. They do appeal to somebody like my husband. But I just think this idea is destructive, and I want to know if they want to live with the responsibility of having helped Donald Trump, who is a threat to democracy, and a threat to American values, go back to being president. If they can live with that -- JONG-FAST: And I would say one other thing is No Labels are largely funded by Republicans, right, because -- yes, nobody is naive there. We see what the play is. So, I mean, look, the people who started it had a sort of break with the Clintons and then kind of took this -- you know, started this thing, but it is Republican money, and I think there is a Republican goal here.

NAVARRO: And a lot of older and middle-aged men with a need and thirst for relevance.

PHILLIP: So, we were just talking about Jill Stein. I just want to play a little bit more of her announcement today.


STEIN: Democrats have betrayed their promises for working people, youth and the climate again and again, while Republicans don't even make such promises in the first place. And both parties are a danger to our democracy.

So, forget the pundits and the attack dogs who tell you to ignore your misery and just keep voting for those who caused it in the first place. Change won't come from the ruling elite. It comes from we, the people.


NAVARRO: This lady is like Jason in Friday the 13th. Just when you think she has gone away, she pops up again. I mean, as if she hasn't done enough harm in the past.

PHILLIP: This is a multi-front problem for Biden. I mean, it is not just Joe Manchins, it's not just the Jill Steins, there's Robert Kennedy Jr. I mean, there are a lot of people, and Dean Phillips. I mean --


NAVARRO: And you better mention Marianne Williamson. Some people get very angry when she's not --

JONG-FAST: I mean, Dean Phillips is Steve Schmidt, and lots of Republican strategist's way of trying to get money. He is pulling at like 2 percent. I mean, he's really -- but, yes, I agree, there is a --

PHILLIP: 1 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent in states they won by 5,000 to 10,000 votes.

JONG-FAST: Yes. And remember we have an Electoral College. It is not about the popular vote. Like Biden probably would win the popular vote, but it is about these little pockets of votes in six states, yes.

I mean, look, there is clearly an effort here. I mean, I don't think it is coordinated. I think that there is just, you know, a lot of anxiety and uncertainty and people running for president.

And, look, the other thing is there is a perverse incentive structure for people running for president. If you look at the GOP debate stage, you can see that is Vivek going to be president? No. Does he want a podcast? Yes.

PHILLIP: Ana, you mentioned that people should be concerned about these candidates potentially, basically unwittingly electing Trump, but it seems like that argument is not good enough, that they should fear Trump and so, therefore, vote for Joe Biden. Otherwise, we would see Biden performing better in some of these polls.

NAVARRO: Well, you know, these polls, I think, need to be taken with a grain of salt, because we look at the polls and he's supposed to be such a drag on the ticket and he's supposed to be in so much trouble, and then Democrats have this great night.

So, yes, I think voters right now are grumpy. And wouldn't you be grumpy if you had been looking on T.V. at people in the Middle East killing each other for a month, if you feel the malaise that's going around? Of course, voters are grumpy. But when the rubber hits the road and they have to choose between voting for Joe Biden and the Democrats are cuckoo bird Republicans who are constantly fabricating and manufacturing culture wars, so are you going to vote for the actual outrage that is taking away choice from women or are you going to vote for the manufactured outrage against Mickey Mouse and drag queens?

PHILLIP: We'll see.


We have to leave it there, but we will see how that ends up. I agree with you, polls are polls, votes are votes, which is a totally different thing.

Ana and Molly, thank you both very much.

And one candidate says that Republicans are the party of losers. We will take you behind the numbers in the Trump era.

Plus, alarming news tonight, election offices in several states receiving threatening letters in the mail.

And what happened outside of a screening about October 7th organized Israeli actress Gal Gadot. We will speak with someone who was there when chaos erupted.


PHILLIP: This week, Republicans have arrived at a crossroads after losing at the ballot box again. It was rare that the object of consensus on the Miami debate stage was this.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have become a party of losers at the end of the day.

DESANTIS: Republicans were going to get tired of winning. Well, we saw last night. I'm sick of Republicans losing.


PHILLIP: But the GOP continues to litigate the why of it, why are they losing. Some point to issues, like abortion, and others see a clear and obvious answer, and his name is Donald Trump.

President Biden tonight rubbing salt in that open wound for Republicans saying at a fundraiser, we haven't stopped winning and he hasn't stopped losing. The truth is this guy can't get tired of losing.


But like the climate deniers among us, there are plenty of Republicans who see the evidence and say something else is afoot and Donald Trump is not the one to blame. Take Trump acolyte Vivek Ramaswamy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump was the leader of the party through those elections. Doesn't he share some responsibility for the losses?

RAMASWAMY: Not in 2022 or 2023, Stuart. I think we have to -- we've gotten into the bad habit of somehow pinning the tail on one man, that's Donald Trump.


PHILLIP: CNN's Harry Enten is still with us over at the magic wall. So, Harry, Trump is the Republcian Party's North Star, but how is that working for Republicans at the ballot box? What do the numbers say?

ENTEN: It ain't good. It ain't good. I mean, look, change in GOP seats from before Trump's 2016 win and out, House seats down 25, Senate seats down 5, governors down 4, across the board down.

And you spoke about -- or Vivek spoke about that 2022 midterm. Look, the 2022 midterm was the first time since 1934, the opposition party did all of these combined, had a net loss in governorships, had a net loss in Senate seats, had a net gain of fewer than ten House seats. This was a tremendous midterm for the Democratic Party.

And one of the big reasons why is take a look at these Trump-endorsed Senate candidates. They lost some key Senate races in 2022, Blake Masters, Herschel Walker, Adam Laxalt, Dr. Oz. And that's a big reason why Democrats were able to hold on to the Senate despite the fact, as you mentioned earlier, a lot of people were saying that math was pretty bad for Democrats going in, but they were able to hold on.

And I think here is the biggest one for you, right? This is the margin over Biden for 2024 and polls from those six swing states from New York Times/Siena College. Look, Donald Trump is ahead of Joe Biden by three points but Nikki Haley leads by nine points and a generic Republican leads by 15 points.

Look, Trump can definitely win but he is far from the safest bet, and the past few elections perhaps should tell Republicans, hey, if you want to win, maybe you should cast your lot with somebody else.

PHILLIP: Well, look, Republicans' voters say this is good enough for them. Harry Enten, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

PHILLIP: I want to bring in Republican Congressman Tim Burchett from Tennessee. He was one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust then- Speaker Kevin McCarthy back in October. Congressman, thank you so much for being here again.

REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): Thank you for having me, ma'am.

PHILLIP: So, as you may know, in an interview with CNN's Manu Raju this week, former Speaker McCarthy really unloaded on you and seven other Republicans who ousted him or led that charged. Listen to a little bit of what he had to say.


MCCARTHY: I think the two that were really different than all the others were Tim Burchett and Nancy Mace. That's just -- the others hadn't voted for me before anyways. They were disruptors the whole time.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What about them surprised you, Burchett and Mace?

MCCARTHY: They just didn't -- it seemed out of nature, but they seemed to had changed during that time, they care a lot about press, not about policy. So, they seem to just want the press and the personality.


PHILLIP: Your response, Congressman?

BURCHETT: Well, it's kind of like the pot calling the kettle black, really, ma'am. I mean, honestly, I made it pretty clear where I was the whole time on this. We were at 32, now we are at $33 trillion in debt. We were up against a September 30th deadline, as you remember, and then we took the whole month of August off, two weeks into September, and, you know, then we rushed back from Washington, to do what, to name two post offices, ma'am. We've got a country to run and that was the priority, and it was the same old thing.

And it was really -- we do these continuing resolutions in the past. They were done for emergency reasons. It was literally an emergency (INAUDIBLE) support system, and it has become our transit system, really, in Congress. And there, again, we were backed up against another wall and we do that. And we do these continuing resolutions because the folks in power like to pack on full (ph) things for their lobbyist buddies and their special interest, and that's exactly what we did. And then we didn't have any access to do anything. We weren't voting for individual spending bills and nothing was changing.

And then --

PHILLIP: Can I ask you about that, Congressman? Let me ask you about the continuing resolutions, because this is salient, we're a little over a week away from another potential government shutdown. I'd want to play -- you and I spoke back in September. This is what you told me then.


BURCHETT: Well, never say never, ma'am. But the way you get somebody off a heroin is not giving them more heroin.


And the way you get people of this country off these so-called continued resolutions is quit passing these dad-gum continued resolutions.


PHILLIP: So, the current speaker, Mike Johnson, it sounds like he's about to pursue a strategy that relies on continuing resolutions to keep the government funded, to buy time, which is pretty much the same thing that Kevin McCarthy was doing that you decried at that time. Why is he allowed to do that but McCarthy wasn't?

BURCHETT: Well, Kevin McCarthy started in January, if you remember, ma'am, and then we went to almost the week of September 30th doing something. And he, in fact, the emergency.

And what I wanted to say before was I said on your station that I was going to pray about it. And then when Kevin McCarthy called me on the phone, the two things that he really insulted me about was he said he made fun of the fact that I was going to pray about it. And the second thing that Kevin said was, I said about the schedule, and he said, well, I don't set the schedule.

Now, could you imagine Nancy Pelosi saying something like that or any leader, say, putting the blame, and he blamed it on Steve Scalise or something? It just -- we just continue down this road.

Now, Mike Johnson is in an emergency situation. He has been thrown in the deep end and he is clearly looking for an answer. And the only answer is to pass a budget. But you can't pass a multitrillion dollar budget in the matter of a couple of weeks. And so he does have his back against the wall. That is why this laddered approach that has been put forward by some of the more conservative members is possibly an avenue out where we do it segmented, we do it over time and we don't allow the government to close down and we don't pass a multitrillion dollar budget with a bunch of goodies packed in it, which is what exactly what the lobbyists and folks like Mike Johnson's predecessor wanted to do. So, there is a complete difference there. It is an emergency situation. He does have his back against the wall and this --

PHILLIP: This laddered approach, I mean, your colleagues in the Senate have said they don't understand what that means or how it would even work. And it actually seems to rely on the House basically continuously passing short-term bills to fund different parts of the government in order to buy more time. That seems awfully risky given that your party has really had some trouble, even this week, getting to consensus, even internally, on certain parts of your spending agenda.

BURCHETT: Yes, and that is an excellent question. And the answer to that is it is a staggered approach because not everything runs out at certain times. There are certain things that would run out at different times, and they would, in fact -- there are certain aspects of government that would stay afloat and that would not -- even during a shutdown, would still remain operational. So, you would prioritize the things like that we need, like national defense, things like that, and then you move in the direction of completing the entire budgetary process. So, it is a staggered approach. It is not everything --

PHILLIP: How is this any different, really, from what we faced just a month-and-a-half ago? I mean, it feels very similar. We are eight days away. There is really no real plan to get to a funded government before the deadline. This is deja vu, isn't it?

BURCHETT: Well, for the last 30 years, ma'am, both parties have done exactly what we were doing prior to Speaker Johnson's approach. So, I would say that it is different. Because for the last 30 years, we have done continued resolutions after continued resolution, then an omnibus, which just a mass Nancy Pelosi we got to pass it before we know what is in it type situation.

And so this is a more of a staggered approach, and also you will see what you are voting for. It is not just jam-packed with everything and your back is against the wall. You have a certain timeline, and you know what you have to pass within that timeline. It is no different than other in the past other than that you will know what is in it and it will be over a staggered approach and more focus can be put on individual spending aspects, which I think is something that we should all do, which is what we do in Tennessee when we pass a budget.

PHILLIP: All right. Congressman Tim Burchett, thank you very much for joining us on all of that.

BURCHETT: Thank you, ma'am. It's been a pleasure.

PHILLIP: And next, election officials across the country are being sent suspicious letters, some potentially laced with fentanyl.

Plus, Israel has agreed to daily four-hour pauses in strikes on Gaza, and I'll speak with a Palestinian-American who has lost 17 family members in Gaza since this war started.


PHILLIP: Election workers across the country are on edge tonight after suspicious letters were sent to election offices in several states. Some of them were potentially laced with fentanyl. And among the states that were hit, Oregon, Nevada, California, and Georgia; there was Washington where it was confirmed that fentanyl was in fact found in an envelope received by elections officials in King County that is home to Seattle. It was discovered among the counted ballots from Tuesday's elections.

Washington's Secretary of State Steve Hobbs joins me now. Secretary of State Hobbs, thank you for joining us. You have called this a domestic terror attack. What can you tell us about that white powder that was found and confirmed to be fentanyl?

STEVE HOBBS (D), WASHINGTON SECRETARY OF STATE: Thank you for having me on, Abby. Yes, we've had five of our counties who received this letter, four of which have been, sorry. Three of the four have been confirmed receiving fentanyl, the fifth one. Luckily, because we put the word out, the letter was identified and set aside and was not opened.

Again, this is a horrible tragedy and just bringing terror and fear to these election workers who are just trying to do the right thing and just process the election.

PHILLIP: As we go into this election year, are you worried that this is the climate that election workers are going to be operating in, fearing literally for their lives as they try to do their jobs?


HOBBS: Abby, this is a prelude to what's going to happen in 2024. So you have an individual mailing fentanyl, and our election workers have got to sit there and fear, you know, is this envelope I'm going to open up or ballot is going to have a powder of some kind? Is it going to hurt me?

On top of that, of course, you know, CNN is reporting this. Other news networks are reporting this. But the misinformation that's going out there that's generating the aggression and the hostility against our election workers, which is why, I hope, my state passes a bill to protect our election workers and the federal government does the same thing.

PHILLIP: With so many lawmakers in Washington not even believing the last election was legitimate, I mean, do you even think that's possible?

HOBBS: You know, what we have to do is we cannot give up. Elections are the foundation of our democracy, and if that fails, democracy fails. And so what we have to do as secretaries of state and election officials is go beyond telling the voter about remembering to vote on election day, or in my case, put the ballot in the mail in the drop box. What we have to do is tell about the election process, right? So in my

state, we check every signature. The tabulation machines are not connected by the internet. And this is across the country. Anyone can observe their elections.

A lot of people don't know that. And because we took elections for granted, the false narrative took hold. And that's why you had January 6th. We have to turn this around and myself and others, the secretaries of state across the United States are trying to turn this around.

PHILLIP: Alright, Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, thank you for joining us tonight.

HOBBS: Thank you very much.

PHILLIP: And next, I will speak with a Palestinian American who has lost 17 members of his family in Gaza since the start of the Israel- Hamas war.

Plus, Israeli actress Gal Gadot organizes a documentary screening in Los Angeles of Hamas's brutality from October 7th. But the result was this, fights in the street. Someone who was there will join us next.




PHILLIP: As calls for a ceasefire grow inside the United States, tonight Israel has agreed to four-hour pauses each day to allow aid to get into Gaza and for civilians to get out.

But a senior Israeli official says that this will only apply to specific neighborhoods in the war zone. Some Democrats though say that this is not enough. My next guest knows firsthand just how devastating this violence has been for families still inside of Gaza.

Sami Shaban is a Palestinian-American. He has lost 17 family members since this war began. That loss amounts to four generations now gone. Sami, thank you so much for being here. And I'm so sorry for what is really a profound loss for your family. You, we were just speaking, 11 of the 17 members basically lost in one incident. Tell us about what happened to them.

SAMI SHABAN, PALESTINIAN-AMERICAN WHO LOST 17 FAMILY MEMBERS IN GAZA: Yeah, they were lost, but they were specifically killed. I mean, that's the word. A bomb dropped on them. It was ironic because my cousin Abdullah's house, who lives there, told my uncle, it's safer where I am, they're bombing over there. Come to my house, he went there and they were bombed.

Nine of them were killed then. Two survivors were my uncle and my cousin. She survived only for a few days, going through surgeries where there's no anesthesia. They cut directly into you in the hospital. My uncle survived for 10 days, but he eventually succumbed to his wounds. He was burned from the head to toe.

And you know, he was one of the best of us. Like he was a person that from the time he was young was just a beautiful person. He would line up for prayer. He would always be trying to guide towards good. He was always somebody that people looked up to. And so to have that loss, for me, it breaks my heart that I'll never be able to see him again.

PHILLIP: You also have a lot of family members who are still in Gaza. I do. What are you hearing from them? What are their lives right now?

SHABAN: It's horrible. I mean, they see the water tanks have been attacked, the bakeries have been attacked. There's no access to basic necessities. My aunt, who's dependent on lifesaving drugs, is running out of those medicines as we speak. My uncle, who requires oxygen tanks, is running out of that.

When they are surrounded, it took four days for my uncle's family to be excavated. And when they finally did take them out of that rubble, they could only pull them out in small burnt chunks. Indistinguishable, they couldn't tell who was who, especially the children, they had to lump them together.

PHILLIP: How many children were there?

SHABAN: There was four children.


SHABAN: One of them wasn't even a year old. Oh my God. I have a picture that I shared with you all. In that one picture at a wedding, they all look so happy. Not one of them is alive right now.

PHILLIP: You have a cousin, my understanding, who is or was pregnant.


PHILLIP: How is she?

SHABAN: She, I mean, she's surviving. She was pregnant. She went to the hospital. They refused her at the hospital. She ended up having to have a cesarean section, which, as any mother will tell you, is a very, I mean, when my wife had it, there's a million doctors. There's all these, she had nothing. She went to a small room. They did the surgery. They had to have her out within 10 hours of that. And now she's had to move several times within Gaza just to be able to survive with these wounds.

PHILLIP: Shortly after having a baby, what is your reaction to this news that there are going to be these four-hour windows each day to allow civilians to move around within Gaza from the Israeli government?

SHABAN: We, you know, as a Palestinian, I welcome it because that's my family, but it's not enough. More needs to be done. There needs to be a ceasefire. There needs to be an end to the blockade of humanitarian aid. These people are dying. They are running out of food. My cousins are telling me there's literally no water or food for them to eat or drink. We need to open this up. These kids have done nothing wrong. 4,000 children have been killed at this point. 4,000, that's more than 9/11.


This is a humanitarian crisis at epic levels. We need to stop, and it's our government that is partially responsible, and we need to be able to stand up, have the bravery to stand up to anybody in the world and say, you need to stop. You need to stop this. There are better ways to do this. If there was a mass shooter, you know, huddled in a school, you wouldn't blow up the whole school, right? You need to be technical about how you're gonna go after this because in the meanwhile, my family members, the innocent people there are being killed. They're being slaughtered. This is turning into a genocide. We need to stop it now.

PHILLIP: Sami Shaban, I appreciate you sharing your perspective. And again, I'm incredibly sorry. This is, as I said earlier, it's a profound loss, that number of people from your single family. Thank you again for joining us and sharing that with us.

SHABAN: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And up next for us, Israeli actress Gal Gadot organizing a screening about Hamas's atrocities from October 7th, but outside of that theater, there were fights breaking out in the streets.




PHILLIP: It's a place that's meant to be focused on peace, but instead it became the site of violence. This was the scene outside of the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles yesterday. Inside of that museum was a screening of footage released by the IDF and organized by Israeli actress Gal Gadot showing the horrors of the Hamas attack on October 7th. Now chaos broke out between pro-Palestinian and pro- Israeli demonstrators.

My next guest attended that screening. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the Director of Global Social Action at the Simon Wiesenthal Center and Tolerance Museum. And he joins me now. Rabbi, thank you so much for being here. What is your reaction just to seeing those scenes breaking out, people punching each other, basically outside of an event like this?

RABBI ABRAHAM COOPER, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL SOCIAL ACTION, SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER FOR TOLERANCE MUSEUM: So Abby, first of all, thank you for having me on. And before we get to talking about last night, I want to express my condolence directly to Sami Shaban, who described the horrific loss of life in his family.

But I also want to say to him and to the people in Gaza, the blood of these innocents are in the hands of Hamas. Right now, we have 240 people being held still, including 32 kids and nine-month-old, a month into this as hostages. And tragically, you see that essentially all of Gaza and Gazans are used as human shields by this terrorist group. So my heart breaks. I have two daughters and eight grandchildren in Israel.

And this is, I think, for so many of us here in the United States, very intensely personal. And last night, you know, I've been working for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which deals with the Holocaust, etc., for 46 years. The footage that we saw for 43 minutes, most of which was taken from cell phones that the Hamas terrorists themselves took, depicted such atrocities that I wish in some ways we never had to watch any of it, but in other ways, I think there's been a fundamental problem in that. Everyone just assumed that this is round five between Israel and Hamas. It happened before it happened again. What transpired? The mass murders, the rapes, the kidnapping, the hostage taking.

It was something totally different. So the people inside our Museum of Tolerance, about 200 or so members of the entertainment community, some diplomats. It was a long 43 minutes to watch. It was extremely difficult as a parent and a grandparent to even try to absorb. As far as outside and what took place, first I give high grades to the LAPD. Thank God in the end, no one was seriously hurt, although we've already had a situation where an American Jewish protestor, the other day, was killed in Los Angeles. Of course, you have to be extremely concerned that we have potential flashpoints all over the U.S. and beyond on our campuses today at UCLA.

And I think there's a lot of blame to go around. The universities are not doing their job. And just so you should know that today was Kristallnacht, the 85th anniversary when 1,000 synagogues were destroyed by the Nazis in one night. The United Kingdom had 1,350 percent increase in anti-Jewish hate crimes. The week after, France had a thousand cases. Germany had 2,600 Hamas-related hate crimes. So there's an unbelievable amount of emotion that's out there. And I think what everyone has to understand is one way to stop all of this terrible thing is for those hostages to be released. And when Hamas will give up, that'll be the end of the shooting. But in the meantime, they've used UNRWA schools as launching sites. They take nine-month- old Jewish babies and entire families of Palestinians, do whatever they have to do to protect their leaders who are hiding underneath the hospitals.


So I would just say that what I looked at last night as a parent and grandparent, at the time, it took place on Simchat Torah, the happiest day in the Jewish calendar on a Sabbath is really beyond the pale. And I will say, at least my personal view, I never thought I would ever say such a thing. But Hamas in a way is worse than the Nazis, because the Nazis worked very hard to erase evidence of their crimes against humanity. Hamas has live streamed them. This is a whole new ballgame.

And as I said, my heart goes out to the innocents. But Israel has no choice. There can't be the next round when these people can come into people's homes and just burn them, shoot them. I won't say, you know, the rest of it. It was a very tough 43 minutes. And as I said, my heart goes out. You were there with this gentleman in the studio. We need peace, but we'll get peace the day after Hamas is eliminated.

PHILLIP: Rabbi Abraham Cooper, I appreciate you sharing all of that. And I also just want to say, I do appreciate you extending your condolences to our previous guest. I think part of the problem here, so many people don't see the validity in each other's pain and suffering. And I appreciate you sharing that as you shared what you saw last night. Thank you so much for joining us.

COOPER: Abby, if I could just say one very quick thing, there will be peace. We were involved in the events leading up to the Abraham Accords. Jews and Arabs are not, do not have to be lifetime enemies. We need new leadership and when we get it, there will be peace.

PHILLIP: They certainly do not have to be lifetime enemies. Thank you so much, Rabbi. I appreciate it.

COOPER: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And up next for us, a stunning award, 35 years later.