Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

New York Times Reports, Israel Knew Of Hamas Invasion Plot More Than A Year Ago; Fate Of Rep. George Santos (R-NY) Uncertain Ahead Of Expulsion Vote; Black Lives Matter Distances From Activist's Trump Backing; Governors Newsom And DeSantis Engage In A Heated Debate; Senator Rand Paul Saves Senator Joni Ernst's Life. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 30, 2023 - 22:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not want to go down there. I knew if I went down that hole, I was never coming back out. Time froze. (INAUDIBLE) grabs my ankle. He says, come outside, it will be okay. And I climbed down into there.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: That is horrifying. The new CNN film Chowchilla premieres this Sunday at 9:00 P.M. Eastern.

Well, thank you so much for joining us. CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillips starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: What did Israel know and when did they know it? An explosive report provides an answer to both of those questions. That's tonight on Newsnight.

Good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington. And breaking tonight, The New York Times reports that Israel had the Hamas attack plan -- plan of attack more than a year before October 7th, and they chose to simply file it away.

Now, the consequences here were deadly. And now, there is a question about if at all, the war, the deadliest day in Israel's history, thousands and thousands of Palestinians caught in the crossfire of all those bombs, if it was all preventable.

The Times claims that Israel intercepted a Hamas blueprint nicknamed Jericho Wall for a sprawling terror blitz. It, quote, called for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack, drones to knock out the security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, on motorcycles, and on foot.

Now, the document, according to The Times, circulated among Israeli military and intelligence leaders, leaders who then dismissed that plan as beyond Hamas' capabilities, not just once, but multiple times.

The discovery of this document's existence also adds drama to a decision that is just hours away now. Does Israel try to push a faltering truce to an eighth day, or does Mr. Netanyahu try to bury these failures with more bombs?

I'm now joined by CNN National Security Analyst Beth Sanner, former deputy director of National Intelligence.

Beth, this has already been pretty clear to be a devastating intelligence failure for Israel, but The Times is reporting that these attacks were planned for years, that they knew about the plans, that they had even previous iterations of these written plans. Could this all have been avoided?

BETH SANNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, it probably never comes down to just one thing, right, or one moment. I think that it's possible, but a lot of things would have to be different because it's not just about paying attention to a report. It's actually about how do you think about that report.

And so you had analysts, and not just this one analyst that's mentioned here, but you had junior female soldiers on the line looking and reporting similar things weeks before, separate reports.

PHILLIP: Yes, they saw Hamas practicing.

SANNER: Right, exactly, exactly. And so those things reported up, but the mindset issues are the things that really affected decisions and they affected decisions that were political decisions, you know, big strategic decisions about where to focus intelligence and then ultimately by seniors to say, well, we don't believe these reports because it doesn't fit with our mindset.

PHILLIP: But when you see a document that is this detailed, that is this devastating if it were to come into fruition, first of all, how rare is it to come into something like that as an intelligence officer? And then are you surprised really that that would not be in any way protectively acted on?

SANNER: Well, I mean, you can take a parallel. We did have that for the Russian invasion, basically.


SANNER: And what did CIA do with it? They wrote it up. And they talked about the likelihood of it, and they analyzed it based on that.

And so I would expect, and I haven't worked directly with Israeli military analysts, which are different than the foreign Mossad, but I would have written a PDB on it that said, in our organization, this is what this says. And then you say, either you think it's right or not. And maybe you have a dissent in there where an agency says that they think it's true. But I don't think this got floated all the way up.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, I think that is now the essential question that will face Israeli leaders, perhaps when this war is over.


SANNER: Definitely. PHILLIP: But in the meantime, we're learning so much more.

Beth Sanner, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

SANNER: Thank you, Abby.

PHILLIP: And let's get reaction to this reporting from someone who is directly affected by all of this, Shany Granot-Lubaton, her husband's cousin and three of her children were held hostage by Hamas for more than 50 days. They were, thankfully, released on Sunday. That cousin's husband and eldest daughter were murdered by Hamas in the October 7th attack. Shany, thank you so much for joining us.

We just were discussing this report from The New York Times about what appears to be a clear failure of Israeli intelligence on October 7th. What's your reaction to hearing that this plan was in the hands of Israeli intelligence officials?

SHANY GRANOT-LUBATON, RELATIVES, FRIENDS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: Well, first of all, it's very important for me to say that I trust the IDF. I trust its commanders. They're doing the most important and hard work there is right now. And I don't blame the IDF, neither the commanders.

But we are very much heartbroken by what happened. And in many ways, I think it's very important to say that the only one to blame is the terror organization, Hamas, who did these atrocities and massacre and kidnapped our loved ones on October 7th. So, it's very important to remember that they were the one who did it.

PHILLIP: Yes, Hamas absolutely is responsible. But I wonder, what do you think should happen in Israel as a result of what was missed here and what could have been done differently to potentially defend Israel and your relatives against an attack like this?

GRANOT-LUBATON: Well, unfortunately, and I'm saying it with a very heavy heart, my government was busy weakening the judicial system and hurting our democracy throughout this year. And they were too busy on that instead of keeping our borders and keeping the civilians safe.

And we are extremely sad and painful and heartbroken by this. And they will need to give us answers. And I hope Prime Minister Netanyahu will take responsibility for his own failure.

But, once again, the IDF soldiers are not the ones to blame. And they have been doing the most amazing work right now. They are risking their lives. They are committed to fulfill their job and their mission to keep us safe and to eliminate Hamas because that is the most important job right now.

And, of course, we feel betrayed by our prime minister and by this government, but, once again, the only ones to blame is the Hamas organization, terror organization. They were the one who were taking babies out of their beds, not anyone else.

PHILLIP: Absolutely. Well, Shany, we thank you for your perspective on this and joining us on such short notice with this breaking news. We appreciate it.


PHILLIP: And back here in the United States, the congressman who lies over and over again is now just hours away from learning his fate. George Santos is defiant again tonight as the House prepares for a rare expulsion vote tomorrow over that damning ethics report that concluded that Santos ripped off voters and tried to enrich himself in the process. Now, that's in addition to the 23 federal charges that he is facing, including allegations of fraud.

But he still has some backers as both sides took to the floor of the House this week to make their cases.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Santos is a liar.

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Mr. Santos used tragic events in history to try and propel himself to public office.

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I have been convicted of no crimes, Mr. Speaker.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Whatever Mr. Santos did with Botox or OnlyFans is far less concerning to me than the indictment against Senator Menendez, who's holding gold bars inscribed with Arabic on them from Egypt while he is still getting classified briefings today.


REP. SUSAN WILD (D-PA): Mr. Santos has repeatedly, egregiously, and brazenly violated the public's trust.

SANTOS: If they want me out, they're going to have to go silence those people and take the hard vote.

REP. NICK LALOTA (R-NY): The facts of George Santos's fraud are not in dispute. George Santos is not the person he offered to voters.

REP. MARC MOLINARO (R-NY): Dear God, Mr. Speaker, my future former colleague is divorced from reality.

LAWLER: He's got to go. It's time to expel.

REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): You're about to go too far. Just calm down and step back.

REP. GLENN THOMPSON (R-PA): We are in uncharted waters, uncharted waters, folks. The swamp water is very murky. It's deep.

They're trying to find a lily pad to land on. But for George Santos, there doesn't appear to be a safe lily pad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You, sir, are a crook.

SANTOS: My colleague wants to come up here call me a crook, same colleague whose accused of being a woman beater.

GAETZ: Since the beginning of this Congress, there's only two ways you get expelled. You get convicted of a crime, or you participated in the Civil War, neither apply to George Santos.

And so I rise not to defend George Santos, whoever he is, but to defend the very precedent that my colleagues are willing to shatter.


PHILLIP: I want to bring in Stephen A. Smith, host of ESPN's First Take and of the Stephen A. Smith Show on YouTube.

So, Stephen A. isn't a slippery slope to expel someone before they're convicted criminally in any kind of allegation.

STEPHEN A. SMITH, HOST, FIRST TAKE ON ESPN: Well, absolutely. But in the same breath, when you're a pathological liar and you've proven that and you've lied to your constituency en route to winning an election, then obviously certain situations may call for different measures.

I don't want to call them desperate measures, but the reality is clear. He misrepresented himself. There was an abundance of lies that he told to his constituency. For crying out loud, I think at one point in time, he had lied about his mother being a part of 9/11. He had lied about that along with various other things that they said he lied about.

And so when you consider that you got elected by completely hosing a constituency, the third district in New York, then something definitely needs to be done. And it's incumbent upon his contemporaries within the House to do so.

So, I certainly applaud what they're doing in this particular situation. I'm not getting into their motives and their agendas because we always know there's something behind it. But at the end of the day, to take this kind of action against them to stand up and let the American people know that this is not something that we want to be associated with is the right message to send.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, look to the point about the ulterior motives, this is politics, so they certainly have them. But there's also just the embarrassment factor of all of this, you know, all of this George Santos stuff that he's alleged to have done, it's just the latest in a series of just bad behavior of what's happening in the United States government. I mean, how do just regular Americans who are looking over at Washington, how do they see all of this drama?

SMITH: With disgust. To look at grown men and women in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, our government, our elected officials acting like children, acting belligerent, showing an unwillingness and an incapability of working together is shameful.

Think about it, when we talk about George Santos, how did he get elected in the first place? He was lying. He appeared to be a pathological liar. So, what happens? He gets into office and they don't expel him. You have certain people that were introducing expulsion, but in the same breath, you had an abundance of colleagues that did not want to do that because they were concerned about that majority in the Senate.

I mean, my God, we've got like an eight seat advantage it could dwindle the seven seats. I mean, stop the presses. These are the kind of things and the kind of attitude that they walked around with. But when you hear and see some of the accusations that have been levied against them, $50,000 a campaign dollars being used for everything, from luxury apparel shops to Sephora, to OnlyFans, for crying out loud --

PHILLIP: To Botox.

SMITH: It's true. No, -- let's not forget the Botox. I mean, it's exists for a reason. I mean, the man definitely went to Botox and all this other stuff.

But in all seriousness, when you look at it, we don't know whether it's true or not. In this country, you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. But in the same breath, when you're an elected official, once upon a time, we were taught that they were supposed to be held to a higher standard. Their standards have dissipated and dissipated dramatically throughout the years.

And as I said to you the last time I was on this show with you, I know 20, 22, 25, 30-year-old athletes that aren't elected officials, that aren't government officials that don't have a constituency out there that voted them in the office to legislate policy and things of that nature that are held to a higher standard than grown men and women who are elected officials on Capitol Hill.


When it has gotten that bad and when we are living in a time where we have a presidential candidate that has 4 indictments and 91 counts against them and you have people saying that even if he were to be convicted and thrown in jail, we'd still vote for him, that is the state of affairs in America. It is sad, it is pathetic, it is wrong, but it is what it is.

PHILLIP: And, look, on this same theme, basically, there's Elon Musk, the owner of X, which is, you know, we know, is Twitter, he is facing all of this backlash for his recent anti-Semitic tweet -- the amplification of this anti-Semitic narrative on his platform. Advertisers have said, no, we're leaving. But now he is saying to them what he feels about that. Listen.


ELON MUSK, CEO, X: If somebody is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go (BLEEP) yourself.


ELON: Go (BLEEP) yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.


PHILLIP: I mean, look, he's getting praise among conservatives for that. But, I mean, what do you think? Is it admirable? Is it self- sabotage? What is going on here?

SMITH: It's neither. It's certainly not admirable. Let's make sure we're clear about that. There's nothing admirable about him conducting himself the way that he did yesterday, I believe, that's when that took place. But in the same breath, you know what, it's not something that's going to have a detrimental effect on him at the end of the day because he has an abundance of people out there who are supportive of him and supportive of that kind of behavior.

And this is what I think that we have to accept.

PHILLIP: But shouldn't it have a detrimental effect? Because, look, if you are a CEO of a company, if you were a woman, would you say that kind of thing?

SMITH: Well, let's not confuse what I'm saying. I'm not saying that it shouldn't be. I'm saying that's the way that it is. Unfortunately, you have people that can get away with it.

Again, what have we been lamenting for years? We have seen not just the ex-president, we've seen an abundance of politicians on Capitol Hill acting as belligerent as you can be, immature, uncivilized, unprofessional and in the working world, they would have lost their jobs.

But you know what? On Capitol Hill, if you coax your constituency into supporting you no matter how belligerent or immature or out-of-pocket you are, then you remain in office and you have a vote and that makes you a very significant individual, whether it's 435 in the House or 1 of 100 in the Senate. That's the way that it goes.

And so, you know, for me, I look at somebody like you and others, and I got to tell you something, me talking politics from time to time and stuff like that, I actually find myself feeling sorry for you all. How you all could be subjected to this stuff on day-to-day basis listening to these folks act like a bunch of damn hooligans, for crying out loud, okay?

And I know there is no way that that would be tolerated from young athletes who have no impact on anybody. You could turn off the T.V. You don't have to patronize the product of the brand and go to games and support them and all of this other stuff, and the litany is criticism and the vitriol that is aimed in their direction for the slightest thing. But these folks on Capitol Hill seem to get away with everything.

That's the time that we're living in. If there's a change that needs to be taking place, it needs to be a return to a significant level of accountability that politicians once had to face that they no longer have to face. It needs to be reversed, instead of holding kids more accountable and having no patience with them or young men and women accountable with no patience. Make sure we exercise that same level of fervor towards our politicians who are supposed to represent us properly instead of embarrassing us at every day in turn.

PHILLIP: All right. Stephen A., stand by for us. I want to ask you about Donald Trump touting an endorsement from a Black Lives Matter activist.

Plus, dramatic moments inside the Capitol today, how Rand Paul saved the life of Joni Ernst.

And we'll analyze the highlights from that Ron DeSantis Gavin Newsom debate.



PHILLIP: The Black Lives Matter organization tonight is distancing itself from one of its activists who is endorsing Donald Trump. Now, the former president says that he is very honored to have the backing of Mark Fisher, who claims to be an activist in the Rhode Island chapter, but Black Lives Matter also says that Fisher is not affiliated with any current chapter.

It's interesting that Trump is touting anything from Black Lives Matter since he has said this in the past.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: BLM and Antifa burned down cities, killed people and nothing happens to them.

We have Antifa and BLM who hate our country and burn down our cities.

Many of those who are spreading violence in our cities are supporters of an organization called Black Lives Matter.

The stated goal of BLM organization, people, is to achieve the destruction of the nuclear family.

BLM, BLM, many people were killed. These people -- I'm not trying to justify anything, but you have two standards of justice in this country.


PHILLIP: And Stephen A. Smith is back with me now.

So, Stephen, it is pretty amazing that Trump once knocked Black Lives Matter and now is honored by one of their activists' endorsement. This, of course, though, comes as Biden seems to be, at least in the polls -- polls are polls -- but in the polls, losing some support among Black voters. What's your take about what's going on here?

SMITH: Well, first of all, take a moment to give Trump a little credit. I mean, he's clearly lying. We know this, but it's what he does.


And so what happens is, is that when he said what he said, if you didn't pay attention, you really did think it was Black Lives Matter that supported Trump, if you listen to him, as opposed to seeing that it was one person who was an advocate on behalf of the organization some time ago, and it's still that way to some degree.

The reality of the situation is that you had one individual speak up on behalf of him, and you would have thought that Trump was the second coming on Lyndon B. Johnson. I mean, Trump alluded to that. He said, hey, he took that as a means to say, I'm supported by Black Lives Matter. I'm supported by the Black Lives -- by the black community. Oh, by the way, no president has done more for black Americans than me.

And he brought up Lincoln with a question mark, forgetting that it was Lyndon B. Johnson that signed civil rights legislation and voting rights legislation into law in the 60s. It was Barack Obama with the Affordable Care Act.

Now, so you could feel whatever way that you want to feel, but one could easily make the argument that there were a few others that did more for the African-American community than Donald Trump.

As a graduate of an HBCU, which is Salem State, I will give him credit for making sure to funnel some money to HBCUs. He does deserve credit for that. I won't deny that. But there's a lot of other things that obviously I would challenge him on, and certainly that would be one of the data.

Searching is wrong, it's a lie, but, nevertheless, it's very, very predictable. And he knew that most people would know better. They would assume it was Black Lives Matter instead of one individual, not necessarily associated with their national law (ph).

PHILLIP: And, look, his Republican opponents in the Republican primary are attacking him for touting this endorsement. They've already been attacking him for the First Step Act, which allowed some people to have reduced sentences or leave prison for some non-violent crime. So, we'll see how that all unfolds.

But, Stephen A., of course, I cannot have you on without asking you about a little bit of sports. Tiger Woods, he says that he'll quit when he can't win. So, his return to the green today was not quite, I'm sure, what he wanted it to be. He struggled quite a bit. He's been through a lot, especially these last few years. Is it time?

SMITH: It's been time. We don't want to say that, but it is. When you consider the health issues that Tiger Woods has had, there's nowhere to go. Tiger Woods put him on a golf course for nine holes. He can beat anybody on the planet. Go to 18 holes, he still probably could beat anybody on the planet.

The issue with Tiger Woods has rarely been his game, his skills. The issue with Tiger Woods has been, can you walk the course for four days? You start on the Thursday, you go through Friday and Saturday and the Sunday, can you do it? And the reality is, is that the car accident, the knees, the back injuries, et cetera, far the time is undefeated.

And at some point in time, I don't care who you are, you hit a wall and it's far the time reminding you, excuse me, your days are up in terms of what you used to be. Now, we can find other things for you to do, but what you used to do physically, that is no longer the case. And I think that that has been knocking at Tiger Woods door for quite some time.

He's overcome a lot. He's a champion personified, the greatest golfer that I've ever seen. I will never ever in life root against him, but there does come a moment in time where it's time for you to realize, you're just not what you used to be and you're never going to be that again.

And in his case, it ain't just because of father time, it's because of a plethora of injuries that have kicked in and incidences. You know, the car accident, he should have been -- I mean, he's lucky to be alive. I've been in California, I've been on that road where his Jeep fell over the cliff. And I'm telling you right now, he is very, very, very lucky to be alive.

Considering all that he's going through, it's just -- it's not about throwing any shade on him. It's just about accepting the fact that your days has come and gone.

PHILLIP: I mean, look, any, most other people, lesser physical athletes would not really be even thinking about getting back to a professional sport. But Tiger Woods obviously always wants to try, but we'll see what he ends up doing ultimately at the end of this.

Stephen A., always great to have you on the show, thank you so much. And, everyone, you can watch Stephen A.'s show on YouTube and, of course, First Take on ESPN. Thanks so much.

SMITH: Thank you. Thank you so much, Abby.

Two governors facing off tonight, one, a Republican presidential candidate, and the other, a key Democratic leader, Florida's governor Ron DeSantis and California's governor Gavin Newsom talking policy and politics. We'll discuss that next.



PHILLIP: Tonight, a unique and interesting clash between red and blue state governors -- Governors Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis tackling all manner of policy in an often heated debate.


RON DESANTIS (R), GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You almost have to try to mess California up. Yeah, that's what Gavin Newsom has done since he's been governor.

GAVIN NEWSOM (D), GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: But there's one thing in closing that we have in common is neither of us will be the nominee for our party in 2024.


PHILLIP: Here to break all of this down is Republican strategist, Shermichael Singleton, former Biden campaign advisor, Ashley Allison, Democratic strategist, Karen Finney, and former Trump campaign advisor, David Urban, who was just chuckling there at that dig at Ron DeSantis. You thought it worked?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, listen, I think it was very effective. Gavin Newsom is an incredibly good debater, right? I mean, he is smooth as his other side of the pillow, right? He's cool, he's a failed governor, but he's really good on television.

PHILLIP: So, he should run for president.

URBAN: Oh, listen. Listen, I think both of those gentlemen would like to see that. That's the line-up they'd like to see, right, obviously. And they're not too shy about stating it. But look, I think Governor DeSantis said it had a great opening.

He was very solid. He got some good lines that are going to be played over and over again on television. And I think both men did what they wanted to do. They showed up and kind of punched each other in the nose, blotted him, and kind of went back to their neutral corners.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I mean, the thing about is like, it's clear why this was a good idea for Governor Newsom. But for Ron DeSantis, when you're trying to say to people, I want you to see me as the next President, why are you debating the governor of California?


And by the way, his presentation tonight was better than any of the presidential debates.

PHILLIP: Maybe that was the point.

FINNEY: But again, if you can't hold your own on the debate stage with your presidential contenders, just because you did well against Governor Newsom, when it's easy to just, you know -- because remember, in a debate like this, both -- they're obviously in different places.

It's going to be red versus blue, right? But when you're -- the point in a primary is to point out, highlight the distinctions between. So, I don't think it really gets you much with Republican primary voters.

PHILLIP: So, it seemed pretty clear that Gavin Newsom, viewed his role as being a stand-in for the Biden-Harris administration. Ron DeSantis had other ideas, but just -- here's an exchange that kind of unfolded over Bidenomics. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESANTIS: He's joined at the hip with Biden and Harris. He thinks Biden and Harris have done a great job. He thinks the economy is working because of their policies for Americans and they are not.

NEWSOM: Lowest black unemployment in American history. The lowest unemployment for Hispanics in American history. The lowest unemployment for women in 70 years. The lowest black poverty rates in history. That's this administration's agenda. Here's a guy who celebrated Bidenomics just this week celebrating $28 million that came into your state because of the Chips and Science Act.

DESANTIS: They want to take this Bidenomics and they want to double down on this for the next four years. How many people are able to afford groceries now compared to what you were doing three or four years ago?


ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So, Gavin Newsom did exactly what a surrogate is supposed to do -- state the facts and then point to the hypocrisy of your opposition in terms of -- and then you accepted money into your state from a policy because of Joe Biden. The one thing we didn't play there that DeSantis said after, he said, I was talking to a mother the other day that said she had to take groceries out of her

When's the first, that's the first time I've ever heard that. I was like, well then you haven't been in America. Because I know women who have had to take groceries out of their shopping carts. That's the first time I ever heard that. I was like, well then, you haven't been in America because I know women who have had to take groceries out of their shopping carts for a very, very long time. And it's not just under Joe Biden's administration.

So, it shows how a little bit how he is out of touch. But I think Newsom did the job of standing as a surrogate and the Democrats need to get more folks out there touting the Biden record and then connecting the dots to how it can improve Americans' lives.

PHILLIP: To me that --

URBAN: Nobody believes it. That's the problem.

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: That is the problem. Look, I mean, I think Newsom is a far better articulator of Biden's successes if you're a Democrat than the President himself. However, I think there's a reason why we continue to have conversations about young black Americans not enthusiastic about Joe Biden, about black Americans seeing a 30 percent decrease and their support of Joe Biden is because Bidenomics, whatever you want to call this economic principle is not working.

Inflation, while it has decreased -- most people don't feel it. Yeah, sure. People have a job, but they're still struggling to pay for basic necessities. People are not happy about the fact that it's difficult to buy a home. If you're a young person and you're graduated from college, you're struggling to pay back that debt.

If you go to college -- if you go to college, most people, especially if you're black, are dropping out because they can't continue to go through college because they can't afford it. So, this idea of this incredible economy under the Biden administration is non-existent for most Americans, including most people within his own party.

ALLISON: But here's the thing I will say. Republicans cut Pell grants, which makes it harder for people to go to college, especially the HBCUs.

SINGLETON: I'm not disappearing but I went to an HBCU.

ALLISON: Yeah, but what I'm saying is don't tell half the story. Read the whole book. And so if you don't think Bidenomics is working, then what are the policies that the Republican Party has that's going to improve black folks, young people's lives? No party is perfect, but the contrast is like, you can't just bash one thing and then not have a civil --

SINGLETON: It's not that I, Shermichael, say to the conservative is saying it's not working. It's Democrats who are saying it's not worth it.

URBAN: Listen, Shermichael is exactly correct. It doesn't matter what we think, it's what Americans think. What Americans think, they don't think it's working, right? I'm not talking about what David or Shermichael -- what we feel. It's what people in Cleveland and Youngstown and Aliquippa feel.

You know what they feel? They don't feel like it's working for them. They go and they see they're pumping gas, they're paying for their groceries, like you said and they hear all these great things and they don't feel at home. And if they don't believe it, it didn't happen.

PHILLIP: Can I just ask though, just going back to the Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis of it all. I mean, as smooth as Gavin Newsom is, does that actually help Joe Biden or does it just emphasize that Joe Biden is not on that stage?

FINNEY: Actually, it does because again, it's an opportunity to get in front of a different audience and again, to -- for people who may not be hearing some of those basic facts that he was talking about, it's an opportunity to get in front of that audience. So actually, yes, I think it does help. And by the way, can we just point out Joe Biden has been on the phone getting hostages released from Hamas. It's not like the guys has just been sitting around. He has been hard at work helping to deal with a global crisis.


Does anybody think that Ron DeSantis would be able to do that on the phone? Come on. Baby would be like, click!

URBAN: I think so. I think they could.


URBAN: Listen, the one thing that Santa stumbled on, I think we were kind of chuckling in the green room when he was banging on Gavin Newsom for going to the French Laundry. I don't think many people in America, like many Fox News viewers are like, he's doing his laundry. I don't care if it's a French Laundry or regular laundry. You got to explain to him. It's like Michelin star, you know.

FINNEY: But at the end of the day, he's still 40 points behind Donald Trump in his own state. And what does that tell you about what Floridians think about the job that he's doing?

URBAN: Listen, I'm a Florida resident. I live there. People like the governor. He's doing a great job. They just compare him to Trump and they want Trump.

SINGLETON: This argument between both governors is about the future, I would argue, compared to the present.

PHILLIP: All right, stand by for us. There's more to discuss from this debate right after this.





DESANTIS: They're poisoning our people and Joe Biden is sitting on his hands. He refuses to take care of the border. He refuses to hold the drug cartels accountable. This is the vision of Biden, Harris, Newsom, open borders. Americans suffer and Americans continue to die because of fence and all of this. There will be, unfortunately, a terrorist attack at some point that will be able to trace back to our southern border.

NEWSOM: I'm the only guy here. It's a border state governor. You're trolling folks and trying to find migrants to play political games, trying to get some news and attention so you can out-Trump Trump. And by the way, how's that going for you, Ron? You're down 41 points in your own home state.


PHILLIP: Back to the table on that fiery debate -- on this fiery debate, by the way. But Shermichael, it is an interesting point that Gavin Newsom made at the end. Down 41 points to Trump, or whatever it is. Despite these arguments that DeSantis made today, according to you guys, pretty effectively.

SINGLETON: Yeah, I mean, look. Donald Trump has been, I guess, the person to be for every one of those candidates. And I've always argued, I'm not certain why we're having a primary process at all. I mean, we haven't seen anyone get close to Trump. DeSantis was considered to be the person several months ago when he first announced and said, this guy is going to be another Jeb Bush.

And no disrespect, David, but I was correct. Republican voters at the base don't want anyone else other than Trump. And so it begs the question, are these guys running for second place? And if they are, I certainly don't think Donald Trump would choose Ron DeSantis.

FINNEY: Are you saying we shouldn't do democracy? So we don't do a primary because we just don't do democracy anymore?

URBAN: Well, you guys are not going to do a primary.

SINGLETON: I'm just saying it just seems to be a waste of voters' money as a Republican candidate to say, give to me because I can win when you know you can't win.

FINNEY: So, all the more reason why would DeSantis think that this is a good idea to show up and debate.

SINGLETON: I don't think that it is a good idea.

FINNEY: -- the governor of California.

PHILLIP: Well, on the DeSantis issue with the migrants -- I mean, he did do this -- send these migrants from Texas, literally, sent planes from Florida to Texas to send them to Martha's Vineyard or wherever. It didn't seem to help him.

URBAN: No, I mean, it doesn't really. If you're a border state governor like Greg Abbott, right, if you're in Texas and you have people --

ALLISON: Or California.

URBAN: Yeah, or California. But, you know, look, I mean, California streets are in pretty bad shape. But if you're in Texas, you're looking at Eagle Pass, these places are just overwhelmed with migrants, right? You're got Greg Abbott, there's a legitimate, you know, kind of cause. But if you're Ron DeSantis, who's having people flow into Florida to then fly them to another state, it's artifice and it didn't work at all, obviously. It didn't get any traction.

ALLISON: I mean, it was a kind of disgusting ploy to use with human people. People who have families and might not speak the same.

PHILLIP: Some of them children.

ALLISON: Some of them children, yeah. And so -- but the point that I think Gavin Newsom was also trying to make was like, will the real Ron DeSantis, please stand up. Because throughout the debate, he was like, you know, Ron, you supported Obama's immigration policy and now you're like putting migrants and children who are migrating to this country in really dangerous positions. You supported X and now you're doing Y because you're trying to get to

the other side of Donald Trump and it's not working. So, maybe be authentic and you would do a little better. But the American people don't want that.

PHILLIP: To that point, let me just play a little bit here from the abortion portion of this conversation between the two governors.


NEWSOM: Ron DeSantis signed the most extreme anti-abortion bills in America. He signed a bill banning any exceptions for rape and incest. And then he said it didn't go far enough and decided to sign a six- week ban before women even know they're pregnant, Ron. People aren't going on and having abortion --

DESANTIS: Should it be illegal -- if it's rare, should it be illegal?

NEWSOM: It should be up to the mother and her doctor and her conscience.

DESANTIS: That is really extreme to take your tax dollars and to do this all the way up to the moment of birth.


PHILLIP: On the abortion thing, DeSantis, he did sign that six-week bill. He wanted to flip it on Newsom, but he's not doubling down on his decision.

FINNEY: No, he didn't. And look, part of what Newsom did there that was so brilliant was -- that's the exact problem for the Republican Party. Eight in 10 Americans agree exactly with what Gavin Newsom just said. A woman should decide with her doctor. You heard Hannity trying to throw in the GOP talking points. You heard DeSantis, you know, squeamishly trying to figure out what to say and not say. And the problem is, it's bad facts. They have a bad -- the position is not where the American people are.

URBAN: Well, DeSantis' position clearly is not where the American people are, right? I think the true position, if you knowledge it, is kind of in the middle, someplace.


And no -- and exactly, if you codified Roe v. Wade or kind of in that first trimester, right, that's where that's where a lot of states of -- your state of Pennsylvania, you're twenty three weeks right -- you know, there are a lot of states that have made pretty good decisions on this and they feel comfortable, right?

And DeSantis, in Florida, I don't think that he made a mistake there. And so, you see two, you know, two extreme positions here both and work -- Ron DeSantis putting out there was -- there's been a vote amongst Democrats in the Senate before we had up until you know up until birth you have -- Chuck Schumer made a lot of -- I know. Listen, they made a lot of tough votes, right? So, these guys are on

the record and they're pointing out two extreme positions here. Same on immigration before we just kind of close it out. Listen, that's going to be a topic that's brought up.

The Biden administration wants it to go away, they've got to deal with it, they've got to figure out a way to deal with it. And DeSantis lays it on the table because that's where Democrats are very vulnerable. Republicans are vulnerable on the Dobbs issue, Democrats are very vulnerable on the border.

ALLISON: Can I just say guys, we don't need --

SINGLETON: We are not winning on this issue.

ALLISON: No, so let it go.

SINGLETON: Look at Virginia. Look at Wisconsin. I can list a ton of states. We're on the wrong side of this one, Dave.

ALLISON: Can I just say, we don't need two people who are not the nominees debating on national television ever again. I'll leave it there. Cheers to that, Ashley.

PHILLIP: Let's leave it there on that point, guys. Thank you all so much. Coming up next for us, how one Senator saved another one's life on Capitol Hill in a dramatic moment today.




PHILLIP: A dramatic life-saving moment on Capitol Hill today. Manu Raju has all those details. Manu.

MANU RAJU, CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Abby, an alarming episode behind closed doors earlier today when Joni Ernst of Iowa was choking and Senator Rand Paul came to her rescue performing the Heinlein maneuver on her during the Thursday lunch.

Ultimately, she was okay. She tweeted that she was fine. She even took a jab at Democrats as she did that but they were feasting on rib-eye, on pork chops. She was actually hosting that lunch fare from Iowa, but she seemed to be fine at the end of the day.

Some Republicans were relieved as well, including Senator Lindsey Graham, who's no fan of Rand Paul, and he said, God bless Rand Paul. I never thought I would say that. Abby.

PHILLIP: Close call. Manu Raju, thank you very much and we'll be back in a moment.