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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

New York A.G. Gears Up to Seize Trump Assets Since He Can't Pay Bond; Lev Parnas Speaks Out After Fiery Impeachment Hearing; Group Of Migrants Arrested After Rushed Past Razor Wire And Overcame National Guard Members; Suspect With A Long History Of Domestic Abuse Kills An 11-Year Old Boy; Israel Continues Its Raid On Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital For The Fourth Day. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired March 21, 2024 - 22:00   ET



ALEXA NIKOLAS, FORMER NICKELODEON ACTRESS ON ZOEY 101: And not only the power dynamic as a child being surrounded by adults, but the power dynamic of having these people be your bosses. And these people are executives, you know. And you don't want to get fired. You don't want to have the show get shut down because of what's happening. And so there's so much pressure.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Even adults have a hard time going to the boss sometimes. So, for a child of 12, that would be nearly impossible.

Alexa Nikolas, thank you so much for being willing to share your story with us.

And thank you --

NIKOLAS: Thank you for having me.

SIDNER: -- for joining us. The CNN NEWSNIGHT with Abby Phillips starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: The New York A.G. has got her eye on a marquee Trump property for potential seizure. That's tonight on NEWSNIGHT.

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

Tonight, Donald Trump's financial peril is getting very, very real. Letitia James has taken the first steps on that road to making the former president pay up. Trump has until Monday to come up with $464 million in cash to pay the bond on the fraud case that he just lost. And in the event that he doesn't, the A.G. has made a legal filing in Westchester County, just a few miles outside of Manhattan, to ensure that he'll have to hand over something.

Now, it's our very first clue as to where James plans to go to cobble together the nearly half a billion dollars in value from Trump's business holdings. This is Trump's Seven Springs estate. It is massive, sprawling, lush, beautiful. It sits on 230 acres spanning three separate towns. It has a unique history tied to some of America's most storied business families.

Trump bought it for a cool $7.5 million back in 1996. And since then, it's been his family's northern home, not quite Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster, both of them clubs where Trump spends quite a lot of time, but something more intimate, or at least as intimate as a 60-room property can be.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This place is really special to myself. It's really special to my brother, my father, really the whole family. I mean, it's just really our compound. And I've spent so much of my life here and I've spent so much time learning the Art of, you know, the Deal here on this property.


PHILLIP: And part of that art apparently was lying about the value of the property. Trump said it was worth $261 million in a 2014 financial statement. This won't come as a shock to you, but it's not worth that. And appraiser valued it as below $30 million.

The estate also features prominently in a classic Trump yarn, like that one time that he tried to AirBNB land on the Seven Springs Acres to the now dead Libyan dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.

Now, Gaddafi was never planning to actually stay in the property. He just wanted to pitch a tent on the property. That was back in 2009. Ultimately, Gaddafi never stayed there, but that didn't stop Trump from telling the tale over and over again.

Now, that aside, listen to how Trump's kids talk about Seven Springs. You can hear that for them, there is something different about this property.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's 230 acres in Bedford, New York. There's no piece of land in Westchester, government or otherwise that's even close to that size.


PHILLIP: Now, that aside, just listen to how they talk about it and you can hear that they feel like this property is part of their childhood, part of their growing up experience in New York.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we first bought the property in '96, I was about 12, 13 years old at the time. And, really, my brother and I and my father during the summers would always put us to work and we were literally riding mowers around, we were mowing all the fields, we were cutting down trees and it was probably the best experience of my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: I'm joined now by Barbara Res. She's a former Trump Organization executive. She's the author of Tower of Lies, What My 18 Years of Working with Donald Trump Reveals About Him.

Barbara, you hear Eric there talking about Seven Springs. It's a special family property the way that he describes it. Talk to us about that personal association that they have with this property. Do you think it weighed in on Letitia James choosing this one to start with? And is it something that will weigh on Trump's mind if she ends up seizing it?

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE: Well, you know, the question when Trump left New York and left Trump Tower was also, you know, oh God, he'll never, ever leave that property. And I guess, you know, the sense is now that he this Westchester property.


But it's funny listening to Don Jr. talk about it because he was actually raised more on the Connecticut property until the divorce happened. And that was, you know, the big -- that was a big family home at the time. This is, you know, the second family home. So, I don't think it's that big a deal it's just a matter of Trump losing anything at this point.

PHILLIP: Yes, and something that I guess his kids had taken a certain ownership over this one because it was acquired when they were young boys.

CNN is also reporting that Trump is concerned about the optics of all of this, especially since, obviously, his whole identity is just tied to him being this wealthy man, the Art of the Deal. Now, he's facing a real financial crisis. What is going through his mind, you think, right at this moment?

RES: He's thinking of who's to blame for this and how much. You know, he should find a scapegoat and get back at him personally, but, you know, publicly have anything that was done wrong taken off of him and put on another person, and I think he's working on that.

He's angry. He's extremely angry. How could this happen to him? He's very, very much a victim. And in a way, I still think that he believes he'll get out of it. So, that's, I think, where his mind is.

PHILLIP: Okay. So, there's some options here for him outside of just coming up with the cash. He could file for bankruptcy.

The reporting that we have at CNN is that he's privately very much opposed to that path. It's not like bankruptcy itself is something that has never been a part of Trump's story. His businesses have filed for bankruptcy in the years past. But he tries to downplay that. And the idea of him filing for personal bankruptcy seems to be something he doesn't want to do. Why is that, Barbara?

RES: Well, you know, he can -- when it comes to the companies, I mean, way back when he was bankrupting all the Atlantic City stuff, again, he was saying, this is a brilliant move. I'm a brilliant businessman. This is what we do. These laws are available to us, Chapter 11, and we use them. It can't do that with a personal bankruptcy.

And also, with a personal bankruptcy, you tend to lose, like, really, everything. It's not like going Chapter 11 where you reorganize. That's what a Chapter 11 is for, to give a company a chance to step back away from their lenders and reorganize their companies so that they can get back.

But I remember while I was working a project in California a long time ago with Trump, and it came to a point where it had to go bankrupt because of some political things that happened. And he pulled out of the project and lost a good deal of money, but he did not want his name associated with that bankruptcy. So, he's very skittish about that. You know, it looks like more of a personal failure.

PHILLIP: Yes. He's very sensitive about, I guess, weirdly enough, separating his personal and his business life. Interesting psychology of Donald Trump that I guess we all are involved in now.

Barbara Res, thank you very much for all of that.

RES: Can I say one thing? Fortunately, Donald Jr. was a lot more than 12 or 15 years old when they bought that property. Everything is a lie.

PHILLIP: Well, we'll look into that one. Thank you, Barbara.

RES: Okay.

PHILLIP: And joining me now to look at Trump's options are CNN's Chief Domestic Correspondent Phil Mattingly, also with us, Josh Barro, co-host of the Serious Trouble podcast, and the author of the Very Serious Newsletter, Josh and Phil, good to see you.

Phil, you have some new reporting tonight about what's going on down wherever Trump is right now, Mar-a-Lago, right at the moment. What Barbara was saying about the kind of skittishness around the bankruptcy is a huge part of this. So, what are his advisers telling him are his options? What are they weighing right now?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF DOMESTIC CORRESPONDENT: The options are limited. And I don't think there's any question about it. His lawyers have said that publicly in filing after filing over the course of the last several days.

The bankruptcy issue, particularly on a business side, Barbara was making a good point. It should or could be a viable option here. That would at least delay this process for a pretty significant amount of time. The personal issue is what I've been told from several people has been what continues to come up.

And you can just go back to when Trump went through those bankruptcies in the early 90s and public interviews about that, how he made clear, never do it again, painful process, learned a lot about who was loyal and who wasn't. That matters. The personal element, how this cuts through that is really important.

In terms of the actual options, look, the irony of all this is Trump actually does have a lot of cash on hand for a developer.


PHILLIP: Yes, you have some interesting reporting on exactly how much it might be.

MATTINGLY: Right. I spent a lot of time going through his financial disclosure as a candidate. Last one was filed in August of last year. It gives ranges on that disclosure. And I followed up on some of the ranges with people familiar with his finances, he's roughly around $360, $380 million cash. That's a lot of cash for a developer. The problem is that's not nearly enough to actually finance the bond. They need more than $500 million, and some of that cash is already tied up as collateral for other loans right now. He needs a ton of money fast, and he doesn't have options right now.

PHILLIP: So, as we were just discussing with Barbara, there's the business, there's the personal, but the bankruptcy option, it's not a get out of jail free card, but it could certainly delay this process significantly. Why would he not look at that as an option?

JOSH BARRO, CO-HOST, SERIOUS TROUBLE PODCAST: Well, I mean, the judgment is against him and also some of his business entities. And so it could be a good option for some of those business entities, depending on what assets they hold.

In terms of a personal bankruptcy, I don't think Donald Trump is insolvent. And you're only supposed to be able to --

PHILLIP: Actually be insolvent.

BARRO: Right. You have to be insolvent to go bankrupt. I mean, you can file bankruptcy and then you can argue in court about whether or not you're insolvent.

But the thing is that Trump -- the asset portfolio that he has, he has that substantial amount of cash that is not enough to get this bond. He has various real estate holdings, many of which have debt against them. Some of them are office buildings. The office building market is not good right now. For example, he owns 30 percent of a trophy office building in San Francisco, but that stake may be worth almost nothing because the office market in San Francisco is so bad.

But then the other key thing he has is he has Truth Social. The parent company of Truth Social, Trump Media, is supposed to go public imminently. There's what's called a SPAC. It's one of these shell companies that they take on the market that has stock that doesn't have assets and they merge it with a private company, which will be Trump Media in this case.

And where the stock in that SPAC is trading suggests that Donald Trump's stake in what will be the public Trump Media Company is worth several billion dollars, maybe like $3 billion. PHILLIP: So, could he be waiting for that to shake out or wanting to delay this until it could?

BARRO: I think he would like to, but the problem is that that transaction hasn't happened yet and there are various restrictions on what he can do with that stock even after they go public. He's supposed to wait at least six months before he can either sell it or borrow against it.

So, those assets are not available to him right now, but those are also very real assets of his that both -- you know, that is an obstacle to him filing bankruptcy. And also if I'm Letitia James and I'm looking at this and thinking about what assets of his that I can seize, I think the stock in Trump media has to be high on that list because it is at least, you know, where the where it's trading now, it's worth more than enough to satisfy the judgment.

PHILLIP: So, you think Letitia James could be looking at that stock? Is that something that you hear from your sources in Trump's world that's weighing --

MATTINGLY: I think everybody is very cognizant of the deal, which is about to go through. People are trying to figure out the lockup, the six months that he would have to hold it. But I think one of the interesting things, and you saw this with the judgments that were filed in Westchester County today, they already have one in Manhattan, everyone is trying to figure out what's actually on the table here.

And the reality is once this company is trading public and the stocks are out there, everything is on the table so long as he holds onto it. And I think that's the one big question that you hear a lot.

The other is, is there anybody outside of Trump and Trump's kind of business entities that will finance this in and of themselves? And by that, I mean, there are so many people throwing out names about big Republican donors, billionaires that he's meeting with on the campaign finance side, saying like, are you hearing from anybody? Did you hear that this person got a call? And no one seems to be able to pin it down right now, but that's what a lot of people are talking about.

PHILLIP: It's a real question, where are all of -- there's a lot of wealthy guys in the world who could do this, where are they? And the fact that they're not raising their hand is pretty telling.

BARRO: $500 million is a lot of money.

PHILLIP: It is a lot of money.

BARRO: And you might like Donald Trump, you'd have to really like Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: There's a lot of money in the world.

Phil Mattingly and Josh Barro, thank you both very much.

BARRO: Thank you. PHILLIP: And up next, a News Night interview. Lev Parnas, the former Rudy Giuliani associate, will join me live on his fiery hearing this week, where he named names and accused Republicans of peddling conspiracies and lies about President Biden. Stand by. You don't want to miss this interview.



PHILLIP: Tonight, a convicted liar turned star witness, Lev Parnas, was the centerpiece of a bomb-throwing congressional hearing on the Biden impeachment inquiry this week.

Joining me now for his first extended interview since that feisty hearing is Lev Parnas himself. Mr. Parnas was a former associate of Rudy Giuliani's. He was also convicted of campaign finance crimes, wire fraud, and making false statements. He later spent 20 months in prison and wrote a book called Shadow Diplomacy.

Sir, thanks so much for staying up late and joining us tonight.

I want to start just with the heart of the matter here. Do you believe that there is any legitimacy to the Biden impeachment inquiry at all?


Absolutely not. What they showed yesterday was what this is all about. It's a political play. It's a sham. It was a kangaroo court. And it's just embarrassing to see our country go through that right now.

PHILLIP: Anything at all that you heard during that marathon hearing that you thought was worthy of further investigation by Congress?

PARNAS: Well there's a lot that needs to be further investigated. I mean, the first person that needs to be investigated is Bill Barr. Bill Barr has his fingerprints all over this. And I've been saying that this since my arrest going back to 2019.


And I think the world has now seen to what level of corruption Bill Barr has held at DOJ.

I think the special prosecutor that Bill Barr hired needs to be in front of Congress also and I think we need to get to the bottom of this. What was the cover-up? Why are they hiding the evidence? What are they trying to hide? Because the bottom line is the crimes that are being -- are committed are being committed by these Republicans who are trying to win an election for Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: Well, let me ask you about some of your involvement in all of this. You were Rudy Giuliani's fixer in Ukraine. A lot of the unproven claims that we hear about almost every day by Republicans and that voters are hearing about if they watch conservative media, they started with you and with Giuliani.

So, do you feel responsible for giving Republicans this ammunition to amplify these potentially unfounded claims about President Biden?

PARNAS: Absolutely, Abby, absolutely. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing. I mean, this is not fun stuff. This is something that I'm putting my own life in jeopardy. I'm putting my family in jeopardy. But I think the most important thing that I could do to make amends because of my responsibility and this whole thing is to get the truth out and expose these criminals and cowards for what they are and what they're doing.

PHILLIP: You said that you have put your life and your family's life in jeopardy. Have you received specific threats recently because of this testimony or your role?

PARNAS: Absolutely.

PHILLIP: What are they?

PARNAS: Well, not -- this is the testimony. I haven't had a chance. I haven't been home yet. But about a month ago, three weeks ago, I had to get the authorities involved because of certain death threats and they found out where I lived and got my personal phone number.

So, the authorities are dealing with that. But, you know, I get constantly on social media and, you know, nonstop, but this was something more already that hit close to home.

PHILLIP: I want to play for you a tense moment that happened yesterday at the hearing between you and the Republican witness, who's a former Hunter Biden business partner, Tony Bobulinski. Listen to what he said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's laughable that the Democrats are asking Lev Parnas to weigh in on my credibility, a convicted felon that served jail time. I have an impeccable record.

Now, he warned me earlier in this hearing that they're coming for me. I look forward to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't warn you. I said just keep talking. You'll be there soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I look forward to that, Mr. Parnas.

PARNAS: Keep lying. You'll be there soon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well -- and was that a threat, Mr. Parnas?

PARNAS: No, it's just the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: So, he's obviously -- he's raising questions about your credibility. So, I mean, I have to ask you, because when we introduced you we explained that you had been convicted of lying. Why should Americans believe what you have to say now when you were involved with this in the past and you have been proven to be willing to lie in the past?

PARNAS: Well, thank you for that. I did lie in the past. I've done a lot of bad things in the past in my life. You know, I'm 52 years old, and I've made mistakes. But since my arrest, the past four years, since I've used that time to reflect and understand and become a different person. I'm a different father, I'm a different husband, I'm a different human being. Since I left the cult of Trump, I've been able to open up my eyes and realize what really is out there.

And when we go to truth, again, I went under oath to testify. If you lie to Congress or you lie under oath, I mean, you're risking five years in prison. So, I gave the Congress eight hours of my time an opportunity for them, which you have some of the most experienced lawyers up there, congressmen, that had their opportunity to rip me apart, to show me as a liar, like they say I'm a liar, and to show the whole world that I'm a fraud, and then file criminal charges, but they didn't. They didn't because they know I'm not a liar. They know I'm telling the truth. They know that because they're a bunch of cowards.

I spent eight hours there. They haven't asked me one question. Instead of asking me one question that was pertinent to anything that I did in Ukraine, what they did do is they tried to do a show by having their heavy hitter, you call them Matt Gaetz, another clown, that came in towards the very end and tried to impeach me by saying that I'm a criminal.

But then let's take a look who their star witness was, a guy that's doing 15 years in prison and testifying out of prison. So, they want you to believe a guy that's in prison that's telling you Joe Biden is corrupt, but they're telling you I'm a criminal because I've served my time, I've made amends, and I'm not only telling you, but I'm bringing the receipts to prove what I'm saying.

PHILLIP: Can I just ask you, though? I mean, one of the things about this is that your awareness is of the Ukraine side of this. Is it possible -- I mean, Tony Bobulinski claims that he knows about the China deals.


Is it possible that you simply don't know what he has that might be evidence in this case?

PARNAS: Oh, absolutely. And I said from day one, I didn't come there to testify about China. I didn't come testify about Hunter and whatever his problems are. I came there to once and for all put an end to the sham impeachment of Joe Biden. That's what I came there, to explain that nothing happened in Ukraine, because this whole thing didn't start from China, didn't start from all of this guy. It started from Ukraine. All their witnesses were from Ukraine. We're getting Tony Bobulinski on the 24th hour basically coming in, because all their other witnesses are either in jail or hiding or being prosecuted or wanted.

PHILLIP: So, with all that being said, do you suspect that there is an active, ongoing Russian effort to influence the 2024 election?

PARNAS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we haven't seen anything yet. I promise you, mark my words, that the next six months, we're going to see a lot more, because this is the most crucial election for Vladimir Putin.

His life, his reputation -- I mean, everything that he's done, I mean, this is it. If Donald Trump doesn't win, Ukraine succeeds. Ukraine wins. If Donald Trump wins, we have a different world that we're going to look at. Millions of people are going to suffer.

PHILLIP: So, did you find in your investigation -- I mean, you spent a lot of time at the behest of Rudy Giuliani looking into this stuff. When you were looking into whether Joe Biden was involved in corrupt dealings profiting off of his family's business dealings, did you find any evidence that the president was directly involved in his son's business dealings in Ukraine?

PARNAS: Absolutely not. On the contrary, I mean, I was given all kinds of bank records. I was given all kinds of wire transfers. I was led to all these things. But then when the actual transfer to Joe Biden or the actual receipt, it never came.

It was all, yes, okay, money came from Burisma. Yes, I saw money come from Burisma to Hunter Biden. But there was no ever link to Joe Biden. And that's the whole situation. And every time we would find something and we would come back with a dead end, we would be led to go to a different way, to a different path.

But the interesting part is that every path we went, all the sources of that information eventually came out from Russia, Russian agents, even Ukrainians that were peddling this information for their own purposes, not because they were against Ukraine, because they were doing it because of their own greed for political purposes.

PHILLIP: So, you know, this whistleblower --

PARNAS: They eventually realized -- yes.

PHILLIP: Yes. So, this whistleblower who was recently just arrested by the FBI, Alexander Smirnov, do you know him?

PARNAS: No, I've never met him.

PHILLIP: And according to this indictment, he made all of these claims about Joe Biden and it came straight from Russian intelligence officials. From what you've read about him, presuming that you have, do you see him as a Russian intelligence operative? Does he bear the hallmarks of someone who has that role? PARNAS: Absolutely. But you have to understand, another Russian operative where he was trained by the KGB and he's a hardcore Russian asset. No, I don't think that's what he is. From reading the indictment, I have a pretty much good idea of the people involved with them. I can't disclose it now because of certain act of things going behind the scenes.

But as far as him, he was probably a businessman, the way I see it, that was greedy and used his position with the FBI to try to maneuver and make money and got himself caught up in a situation where the people he was working with eventually got to him because of his position and made him an offer he couldn't refuse. And I'm sure it was financial to go out and put this information, this false narrative to the FBI.

PHILLIP: So, Rudy Giuliani, he is still parroting all of this stuff that you say is completely false. And these are the same claims that are being broadcast inside of Congress. What do you think is going on with Mr. Giuliani right now? Does he really believe this stuff? Is he in too deep that he can't back away from it? What's going on here?

PARNAS: That's -- I mean, he definitely doesn't believe it. I mean, he's definitely way too deep in that, you know, there's no way out. But the interesting part -- just think about it, Abby, Rudy could say I'm a liar all he wants, but I'm here and I'm telling the whole world. Any day, any time, I'll bring my facts. Let Rudy bring his facts. I asked for him to be in Congress also. The Republicans don't want to. Just think about the Republicans are refusing to bring subpoena Rudy Giuliani to the man that originated this whole demand that brought this -- all of this information that supposedly has everything on it. They won't even bring him to testify.

And the other thing is you have to understand, just think about this other thing, Abby, Donald Trump, he's a coward. He showed to the whole world he's a coward. He could tweet or he could respond to an 86-year- old lady or a 16-year-old girl, but he doesn't have the courage to respond to me even after I went to in front of Congress and explained everything that he was doing.


The reason for that is because it's a tactic that he's using, Ron DeSantis used, and a bunch of these Republicans are using, is to try to deflect and bury this information and not give it a spotlight, so this way they could change the news cycle and people forget.

PHILLIP: You mentioned that there were some things that you couldn't talk about when we were discussing that charged whistleblower. Are you cooperating as a witness in any active investigations right now?

PARNAS: No, I am not, but I like to retain whatever evidence that might be useful, if it needs to be useful, at the right time, so I could be able to be able to help if they need me.

PHILLIP: And Donald Trump, right now we've been discussing his inability to pay, you know, nearly half a billion dollars in financial penalties that he's facing and his companies are facing. Is that the exact kind of scenario that a foreign intelligence service would look at and think about ways to weaponize? I mean, he's got to find the money from somewhere.

PARNAS: I mean, one million percent. I mean, right now you have not just the Russians, but every foreign intelligence service. Not only that, but you have all kinds of criminals, all kinds of billionaires that are greedy. They are thinking a way how they're going to get into Trump's world, because everybody knows it's through money. And right now, I would be very worried to see if he comes up with this money, where it comes from.

PHILLIP: Lev Parnas, thank you very much for all of that. I appreciate you joining us tonight.

PARNAS: Abby, thank you so much for having me. And before I go, I just want to wish my wife a happy birthday, because she puts up with all of this. I love you. I'll be home soon. Thank you.

PHILLIP: Happy birthday to your wife, as well. Thank you very much.

PARNAS: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And for a reaction to all of this, joining me now is CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. Elie, what do you make of that?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, really interesting. He's an interesting character --


HONIG: -- Lev Parnas. I think it's important to remember who he is and what his past is. As you said, he was convicted of various federal crimes. He did about 20 months or so in federal prison. But before that, the reason we first came to know Lev Parnas was he was mixed up in what became Donald Trump's first impeachment relating to Ukraine.

He was working with Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani. He was sort of Rudy Giuliani's Rudy Giuliani, if you think about it that way, to try to initiate this investigation of Joe Biden. He was part -- Lev Parnas was part of the effort to remove Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, if you remember her. So, he was working really hand in hand with Trump and Rudy.

And the most important thing, I think, that he just said is this. He said, absolutely, in his knowledge, and this is a fact, Hunter Biden was receiving large amounts of money from Burisma. But he said he never saw any evidence that any of that money made its way to or was linked to Joe Biden. And that's why this impeachment inquiry has come up so flat.

PHILLIP: And it's not for lack of trying. I mean, he was literally looking --

HONIG: That was his incentive at the time. PHILLIP: -- looking for this. I mean, when, as a former federal

prosecutor, you have a lot of experience with these kinds of witnesses, right?

HONIG: Yeah.

PHILLIP: Like people who, you know, they have checkered pasts, but they're deep involved in the thing. As a source of information, how do you find Lev Parnas in terms of his credibility, in terms of what he might know and how valuable that information is?

HONIG: It's a great question. I would take his information carefully. I would confirm it before I banked on it. But yes, I've relied -- I've made cases on people who've done way worse things than Lev Parnas. The way I look at him is he's a guy who eventually owned up to what he did.

And I think, since he did his time, I'm not saying he's turned into some sort of saint, but I think the things that he said, what he said to you just now, have been confirmed and corroborated. So, I view him as reliable, but you still need to confirm what he says. But I think the information he just gave you was relevant and important and confirmable.

PHILLIP: And notably, as you said, what he's claiming is generally lining up with what we know. And what Republicans are claiming, there's very little to actually back that up. So on both ends, you have, there's just an asymmetry here in the information that's out there. Elie Honig, thanks for being with us tonight.

HONIG: Thanks, Abby.

PHILLIP: And just in, as Texas remains on edge over this controversial immigration law, hundreds of migrants have been arrested after rushing a razor wire fence. We'll tell you what you need to know and show you that video. CNN is there live.




PHILLIP: A chaotic scene at the border this afternoon in new video just in to CNN. Customs and Border Patrol says a large group of migrants were arrested after they rushed past razor wire and overcame National Guard members. CNN's Ed Lavendera joins me from El Paso, Texas. Ed, officials are now saying that the situation is under control. But what happened?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's been described to us as an isolated incident here in the El Paso area of the U.S. southern border. This happened just before noon El Paso time, where we were told a large group of migrants kind of overwhelmed a number of Texas National Guard soldiers that were manning the line along the river. And this is an area that is rather heavily fortified. There is a

border wall, tall steel border wall that has existed for years. And then there's been like another line of razor wire and chain link fence that has been added in the last few months by Texas National Guard.

And that's part of that ongoing battle between Texas and the Biden administration over immigration policy. But these migrants trying to push their way through that razor wire and that fence overwhelmed those border -- those National Guard soldiers and then ran up to the border wall. Customs and Border Protection officials say they took all of the migrants into custody.


They were in the -- they were being processed. We saw as they -- many of them were loaded onto a fleet of buses and taken to a border patrol processing station. But Abby, it's important to point out at this point, we really don't have a clear understanding of what triggered this very tense situation, what sparked it and what led up to it.

PHILLIP: Yeah. A lot of questions remaining here. Ed Lavandera at the border. Thank you very much. And I had Speaker Mike Johnson pouring gasoline on that rift between President Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu. Hear what he's proposing, next. Plus, a story that I need to share with you tonight about a boy, his mother and the fragility of life.


PHILLIP: Tonight, I want to tell you a story about a hero. And yes, that word does get thrown around far too much in our society, much too easily.


But this young man -- this young man is a true hero for all of us. This is Jayden Perkins, a beautiful 11-year-old boy who had his entire life ahead of him. He spent his days in Chicago with his friends, playing football, running across the cross country. Jayden's fans say that his laughter was infectious, his smile, too.

Jayden was a straight-A student. He made the honor roll quite often. But his passion, where he shined the brightest, was under the brightest of lights. The stage. He played lead in several school plays, including "Finding Nemo". He danced. Boy, did he dance -- Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop. His fans say that he was a helping hand, a natural leader. And that was the trait, that selflessness, that might have saved his family, but cost him his life.

It shouldn't be that I'm talking about Jayden in the past tense but last Wednesday morning, in his final moments, Jayden had been getting ready for school, just like any other 11-year-old. His mother, who is pregnant, was there, so was his five-year-old brother. And in an instant, a moment that was like dozens of others that had come before it, suddenly became a nightmare.

The suspect, with a long history of domestic abuse, invaded their home, stabbed his mother several times. Jayden was the one who jumped to her defense. He was her protector, at just 11 years old. Because of his courageous act, an act of instinct, an act of love, he, too, was attacked. He didn't make it. His life ended in what was supposed to be the safest of places.


UNKNOWN: I will be honest, I'm struggling this morning, having to do this work, and we all do this work. Imagine these officers showing up at a home and seeing an 11-year-old boy bleeding out, who was trying to defend his mother.


PHILLIP: Jayden's mom did survive and his little brother watched him breathe his last breaths. As is so often the case, the grown-ups here failed Jayden Perkins. This attack was not unexpected. It was not a surprise. And it should not have happened.

A decade ago, this suspect had been sentenced to 16 years for domestic abuse and for a violent home invasion. And just last year, he was released on parole. After violating that, he was sent back to prison. Then, just weeks ago, Jayden's mother filed for a protective order against this suspect, whom she had a relationship with more than a decade ago. But she never got one.

A judge denied her request, saying there was no emergency because he was still behind bars, even though the suspect allegedly sent her threatening messages, warning her that he would kill her and her children. Despite all of this, last week, he was again released on parole. And not 24 hours later, he came to their home. He was accused of following through on those very threats.

Notably, the Illinois Prisoner Review Board says they were not aware of that protective request. But Jayden's mom will never see him grow up. She'll never see him go to prom, perhaps star on Broadway, become a dad. Tonight, his bed is empty. His pillow is still there, carrying his scent, his book bag, just as he left it.

Jayden's community is stunned, understandably. The outpouring of messages of grief, of regret, it's palpable. Somehow, the system failed Jayden. The adults who were supposed to protect him and his whole family failed. But Jayden gave us a lesson before leaving this world, to be kind to one another, to smile, to stand up for those who are helpless, for those that you love. And perhaps, above all, what Jayden is telling us, his little brother and the unborn brother that he just saved, as the song goes, I hope you dance.




(COMMERCIAL BREAK) PHILLIP: New tonight, the U.S. resolution to the U.N. Security Council that calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is set to be voted on tomorrow.

[22:55:00] This is coming as Israel continues its raid on Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital for the fourth day. Meanwhile, back here in Washington, House Speaker Mike Johnson says that he plans to invite Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a joint address to Congress.

Now, this is at a moment when the relationship between Netanyahu and President Biden is pretty strained. For more on this, I want to bring in the author of "The Genius of Israel", Dan Senor. He's also the host of the "Call Me Back' podcast. The latest episode out today features Israel's War Cabinet member, Ron Dermer.

Dan, good to have you here. If Netanyahu were to take Speaker Johnson up on this invitation, would it be kind of a signal that he's sort of poking in the eye of President Biden to address Congress at a time when they're not really talking all that much?

DAN SENOR, AUTHOR,"THE GENIUS OF ISRAEL": Look, I don't think we're there yet. I think the bigger step is the next, next week. Prime Minister Netanyahu and the War Cabinet are dispatching this team to go to Washington to try to work with the Biden administration, get them comfortable with their plans for how they want to deal with this final stage of going into Rafah, which the administration doesn't want them to do. But --

PHILLIP: Right. And has said that they have not seen the plans to protect civilians.

SENOR: Right. And when I interviewed Ron Dermer, who you mentioned in my podcast, I was just in Israel, I landed this morning when I was just in Israel last night. I was in Jerusalem at the Prime Minister's office. He basically made the point, he said, look, we're 80 percent there.

That's also what Minister Gantz has said, who's really a political opponent of Prime Minister Netanyahu's, but he's serving in this emergency war cabinet. Minister Gantz has said, we're 80 percent there.

Now, if a house is burning down and you send the fire department and you ask them to leave after extinguishing 80 percent of the fire and hope that you want to --

PHILLIP: You're talking about 80 percent of the way toward eliminating Hamas?

SENOR: Exactly. Exactly. That's the metaphor. That's the analogy. Yeah. And they say we're 80 percent there. If we leave now and keep 20 percent intact, and that 20 percent loosely defined is about these four battalions in Rafah. It basically is the Hamas leadership. They basically argue Hamas will come out of the rubble. They'll be able to say they unleashed the worst massacre on the Jewish people since, in a single day, since the Holocaust. And they're still standing. Not only will it be a propaganda victory, but it'll really be a strategic victory for a number of enemies throughout the region.

PHILLIP: They're going to have to, as the administration has insisted, show that they can do that without a catastrophe in a place where there are so many civilians. But on that note, an interesting thing at the U.N. The U.N. now has this resolution to have an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

It's in the context of a hostage deal. Bring the hostages back home and they support an immediate ceasefire. This is actually pretty far from where the United States has been in the U.N. What do you think is going on here? Is this an attempt to kind of bring the world back to the table when it comes to the issue of Israel?

SENOR: Yeah. I'll say, first of all, I think the administration knows there's no way Israel at this point will accept a permanent ceasefire. Like full stop. There's no way. I spoke to Israeli government officials from right to left over the last couple of days. And you speak to the Israeli public, you see it reflected in the polling. From right to left, nobody wants a permanent ceasefire until Hamas is defeated.

So, there's -- no matter what the U.N. does, Israel is not going to stop the operation of a permanent ceasefire yet before they go into Rafah. However, I think the administration knows that. But they want to appear domestically to be doing everything they can to stop the war fighting and to stop Israel.

Keep in mind, the Biden administration does have a political problem here in the United States. The progressive base of their own party is very hostile to what Israel is doing in its response in this defensive war it's fighting. So, the administration feels some pressure to at least project that it is kind of acting as a check on the Netanyahu government, even if they're going to let the government do what it's going to do.

PHILLIP: So, as you've been saying, you have been traveling around Israel, you've been talking to a lot of people. It does feel now like there's a lot of distance between the Biden administration and the Netanyahu government. Is it worse in your mind than how bad it was between Netanyahu and Obama back in the day?

SENOR: Not at all. I think there's a key difference. The major problem in the breakdown in the Netanyahu-Obama relationship is all their disagreements, or many of them, were aired in public.


SENOR: And so, it always made Israel feel very defensive, that any disagreement they had, the administration was lashing out at Israel in public.

PHILLIP: But similarly, Netanyahu came to the United States and spoke before Congress to embarrass Obama.

SENOR: He didn't try to embarrass Obama. The U.S. was about to work out a deal with Iran that the Israeli government felt would pose an existential threat to Israel. So, Israel didn't criticize Obama by name, he just made the case against the ratification of this policy. With the case with Biden, what they say, and Ron Dermer talks about it in my podcast, he says, look, we've had disagreements since October 7th. You just don't hear about them, because most of them are kept behind closed doors.


And actually, more can get done when allies disagree, and they keep those conversations behind closed doors, unfortunately because of the domestic political pressure over the last couple of weeks. You've seen the Biden administration speaking out more publicly, and you've seen Schumer as well play this out a little publicly.

PHILLIP: Yeah, they're definitely feeling the pressure, and feeling the need to at least show responsiveness to an important part of their case.

SENOR: Signaling, exactly. It's a signaling effect.

PHILLIP: Yeah. Dan Senor, thank you very much for bringing all of that to us, and thank you for watching NEWSNIGHT. "LAURA COATES LIVE" starts right now.