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Pelosi Tells Jury About Attack; Eric Fingerhut is Interviewed about Support for Israel; Johnson's Move on Funding Bill. Aired 6:30- 7a ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 06:30   ET



MARC STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But there's going to be some caution. As we've heard Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen say, this is all about derisking and not decoupling, Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that is the phrase from the administration.

Marc Stewart, always good to see you, my friend. Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And it appears that huge fire that closed that really busy freeway in Los Angeles was set intentionally, according to the governor of California. We have new details on when the freeway can expect to be opened.

MATTINGLY: Also, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband publicly recounts for the first time what he felt when a man with a hammer attacked him in his own home.

Stay with us.


HARLOW: Welcome back.

Well, that huge industrial fire that forced the closure of a major freeway in Los Angeles was intentionally set. That's according to California Governor Gavin Newsom.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): They finished that investigation up about 12 hours early. And they made a determination, a preliminary determination, there was malice intent.


That this fire occurred within the fence line of the facility you see behind me. That it was arson. And that it was done and set intentionally.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: The city officials described the indefinite closure of Interstate 10 as a crisis. L.A.'s mayor is urging drivers to prepare for delays, try to take alternate routes. More than 300,000 people traveled on this key freeway every day.

MATTINGLY: Well, officials say the FBI's investigation into New York City Mayor Eric Adams is focused on campaign money and possible foreign influence. They're reportedly trying to determine whether the Turkish government benefitted from donations to Adams' 2021 mayoral campaign. Sources tell us the FBI is scrutinizing records of checks and wire transfers. They're also looking to see if Adams successfully pressed city officials to allow a Manhattan high-rise housing the Turkish consulate to open despite safety concerns of the building.

Now, Adams has a long relationship with the Turkish American community and it's no secret he has further political ambitions, including potentially the White House. Federal agents seized Adams' electronic devices early last week. He's not been accused of any wrongdoing and will be taking questions from reporters later this morning.

HARLOW: Well, today the federal trial continues in California of the man charged with attacking Paul Pelosi, the husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Yesterday, Paul Pelosi told a jury for the first time in detail the horror that he felt when he was struck in the head with a hammer, attacked inside of his own home.

Our Veronica Miracle has more from that trial.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's going on, man?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For the first time since this violent attack --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the hammer.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey. Hey, hey, hey.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is going on in there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), we're not getting an answer on callback.


MIRACLE (voice over): Paul Pelosi recounting the terrifying moments he was assaulted in his home.


MIRACLE (voice over): Pelosi taking the stand in federal court, more than a year after the attack. David DePape is accused of breaking into Pelosi's home and searching for his wife, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Paul Pelosi testifying he knew he was in serious danger when he woke up and saw a man with a hammer and ties standing near his bed. He recalled trying to stay calm and not agitate the intruder. He was able to get his phone but said he had to subtly signal to a 911 dispatcher he needed help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the Capital police around?

DISPATCHER: No, this is San Francisco -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They - they're usually - they're usually here- they're usually here at the house protecting my wife.

He - he is telling me to put the phone down and just do what he says.

MIRACLE (voice over): Pelosi testified DePape was intent on finding Nancy, calling her the "leader of the pack." DePape would later admit to investigators his true intentions that October evening.

DAVID DEPAPE: Well, I was going to basically hold her hostage and kind of talk to her and basically tell her what I do. And if she told the truth, I'd let her go scott free.


DEPAPE: If she (EXPLETIVE DELETED), I was going to break her kneecaps.

MIRACLE: Eventually Pelosi told the jury he was able to convince DePape to go downstairs right as police arrived. Pelosi said he didn't know what would happen next. He said DePape had a hammer in his right hand when he saw the police. So, Pelosi tried to grab the hammer. That's when he says DePape pushed him aside and hit him on the head.

Pelosi said he remembered waking up in a pool of his own blood. His recovery, he says, is still ongoing. Due to a fractured skull, he's relearned how to walk and managed constant headaches and dizziness. DePape is facing federal and state charges and faces decades in prison if convicted.

DePape's attorneys say that he did attack Pelosi, but this case is about the why. They argued that DePape's motives are unrelated to Pelosi's official duties. It's unclear if DePape will testify.

Veronica Miracle, CNN, San Francisco.


MATTINGLY: We're going to show you live pictures right now from Israel where the families of hostages are marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem demanding their government do everything they can to save their loved ones. A live report ahead.

HARLOW: Also happening today, tens of thousands of people set to rally in Washington, D.C., in support of Israel and call for efforts to combat anti-Semitism. We'll take you there live.



HARLOW: Well, happening right now, families of hostages taken by Hamas are marching in Tel Aviv. They will be making their way to Jerusalem. They are calling for leaders to do much more to get their loved ones home.

Also today, tens of thousands of people will rally in Washington, D.C., to show their support for Israel and to denounce anti-Semitism and its alarming rise. It is just the latest example.

CNN affiliate WESW reports red swastikas were found painted on tombstones in a Jewish cemetery. This was found over the weekend just outside of Cleveland. The police department says 23 tombstones there were vandalized.

Joining us now is the CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America, one of the two groups organizing the march in Washington, D.C., today, Eric Fingerhut.

Mr. Fingerhut, thank you very much for joining us.

Tens of thousands of people. It's going to be a huge display of support for Israel fighting against this dramatic rise in anti- Semitism. And I wonder what you hope it accomplishes.

ERIC FINGERHUT, PRESIDENT AND CEO, JEWISH FEDERATIONS OF NORTH AMERICA: Well, first of all, I want to say that my grandparents are buried in that cemetery where those swastikas were found. So this is very deeply personal to me and to every - to every member of the American Jewish community.

We're going to do three things here today. We're going to stand proudly in support of Israel. And we're going to demonstrate to the leadership of this country, to the Congress, to the president. We're going to thank them for their support of Israel. We're going to show them that the overwhelming majority of Americans support these policies.

A poll released today shows 83 percent of American support Israel's right to respond to this atrocity by Hamas. And we're going to call on them to continue those policies.


Secondly, we're going to lift up the faces and the names of the over 240 hostages, not just Israelis but people of other countries and faiths who have been held for 39 days in inhumane conditions.

And, finally, we're going to stand proudly and say, we will not be intimidated in our homes, in our communities, in our places of worship. We will stand on the National Mall in the - in the most visible place in this country and say America will not stand for this and our community will not stand for this. HARLOW: And you are doing this as the Anti-Defamation League is out

with new numbers shows a 316 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents since just the terror attack on October 7th.

I know you've been coordinating with law enforcement in D.C. ahead of this event. It's a sad reality that you have to given the alert that you have to be on. But I wonder what the security protections are that you've been told and just the fact that you needed to have such concern for security of people gathering peacefully.

FINGERHUT: Well, it is a shame, but we are very grateful to the federal law enforcement agencies, Homeland Security, the FBI, National Park Police and, of course, the D.C. Police and the Metro Police as well, all of whom are looking out for the crowds coming today. And they understand that it is fundamental that all Americans should have the right to come to their nation's capital, to stand in the nation's mall and - and to express their opinions without fear, just as we should be able to do so in our homes, on our campuses and in our communities and our places of worship.

HARLOW: I thought it was interesting a few days after the terror attack on Israel, you told "Forbes" that Israel needs to be able to maintain the political support for its response and that when Israel engages militarily, that is when opposition starts to rise.

According to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Ministry of Health, the death toll of Palestinians is over 11,000 now in the response to this terror attack. We've heard in the past couple of days President Biden saying, quote, hospitals need to be protected. We heard Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that far too many Palestinians have been killed. And I wonder what your response is now to the Israeli response to the terror attack given what appears to be some growing daylight between the administration and Israel on certain aspects of how this is being carried out.

FINGERHUT: You know, look, every death of a civilian, of an innocent, is a tragedy. But the responsibility for those deaths lie with Hamas who are holding the Gazans hostage. The Israeli defense forces going inch by inch, opening pathways for people to escape. And we've seen the pictures of the Hamas terror army literally stopping people, shooting people to stop them from escaping. That is where the responsibility lies.

And as I said, the overwhelming majority of Americans understand this and support this. And I know that the Biden administration and the Congress understand it and support it as well.

HARLOW: What about - Eric, finally, what is happening on college campuses around this country. Just listen to a part of our conversation that our colleague Elle Reeve had with Jewish students at Cornell.

Here it is.


TALIA, STUDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: I was on my way to the kosher dining hall when I looked down and saw the threats.


TALIA: I mean, it's - it's terrifying. Like, this isn't -- this isn't anything that we thought we would ever have to deal with in the United States.


HARLOW: What action do you think big universities across this country need to take that has not been taken?

FINGERHUT: Well, every university leader in this country has a responsibility to ensure that no student is intimidated or harassed on campus because of their religion or because of their beliefs. Campuses are supposed to be the places where we can go to meet and to share views. It's a terrible state of affairs and university leaders must do more.

But what I want to make sure that your listeners know is that today, on the National Mall, college students from every campus in America are coming to stand up, to be proud, to show they're not afraid, and to assert their right to lead in this country.

HARLOW: Eric Fingerhut, we'll be watching closely. As I said, one of our colleagues is on the ground covering it as well. I appreciate your time this morning.

FINGERHUT: Thank you for having me.

HARLOW: Of course.

MATTINGLY: Well, the deadline to pass a funding bill and avert a government shutdown now just three days away. What can we expect at today's House vote and if Speaker Johnson can actually stay in his week's old new role if he decides to work with Democrats.

HARLOW: Plus, the House punts on impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Why a number of Republicans, some of them, sided with Democrats.



MATTINGLY: Well, the deadline to pass a funding bill and avert a government shutdown now just three days away. The stopgap measure proposed by newly minted House Speaker Mike Johnson is facing some pretty familiar push back from the far right wing of his own party.


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): I'm disappointed in this bill. And I certainly hope that this bill is not going to proceed as it's currently structured. REP. ANDY OGLES (R-TN): Currently I'm going to lean no. Just another

clean CR that continues this - continues this status quo is not going to be acceptable.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I think it's a failure. I - I am not voting for a clean CR. I'm not carrying on Nancy Pelosi's budget.


MATTINGLY: And without enough Republicans on board, Johnson has moved to circumvent them and rely on Democratic votes to get the bill across the finish line, which, if that sounds familiar to you, is exactly what led to the ouster of the previous House speaker, Kevin McCarthy.

Joining us now, national political reporter for the "Associated Press," Michelle Price, and CNN's senior political analyst and anchor, John Avlon, is back with us.

So, Michelle, what's different now because I haven't heard that they're going to try and motion to vacate Michael Johnson. What - what changed?



PRICE: Other than that, it's hard to know exactly what's different here. You know, the only difference -- the slight difference we have is there's like a bit of a honeymoon period for Mike Johnson here, that they're willing to give him a little bit - maybe a little bit of time to strike a deal here. And his deal is this two-tiered proposal where some of the government will be funded until January, some will be funded into February. It's unclear if that is enough to get him enough support.


He's, as you've seen, you've got members of his own party who are not supportive of this. And Democrats, right now, are still playing their cards close to the vest. It's not clear if they're going to step up this time and join with Republicans to pass this.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENOR POLITICAL ANALYST AND ANCHOR: And they've also got the scar tissue of what happened after they ousted Kevin McCarthy and the fact that Johnson is so conservative personally that that all buys him a little bit of wiggle room. But, yes, this is the way things actually get done at the end of the day when you've got these kind of margins and this kind of disproportionate votes on the far right.

It's a bipartisan process. That's the spoiler alert. You're going to need some Democrats for government to function. So, welcome to reality.

HARLOW: Can you explain this two-tiered approach to people?

AVLON: Sure.

HARLOW: I'm serious. January 19th. February 2nd. What's the difference? Why would this be more palatable then (INAUDIBLE) do it?

AVLON: The idea is that we will keep government running in its essential functions in the first tier, right? So, no shutdown. Things people depend on. What will be in place, construction, Veterans Affairs, transportation.


AVLON: And then the more contentious optional things, you know, presumably some ideologic wrangling would be kicked to February 3rd, which, again, is only three weeks later. So, let's not overemphasize the amount of enlightenment that's going to occur in that period of time.

And, of course, all this is against the backdrop of a Democrat- controlled Senate. And Republican senators aren't too thrilled about this kind of brinksmanship either. But it would effectively take a lot of the essential roles and just sort of roll them forward.

MATTINGLY: And it's clean. And there's no spending cuts, which is in part why the Republicans are upset.

AVLON: Yes, which is why Democrats would support it.

MATTINGLY: But it's -- what's really great is we get to do the countdown close again in January.

HARLOW: Oh, my God, no.

MATTINGLY: And then again February.

HARLOW: Can't wait.

MATTINGLY: And then probably again in March.

HARLOW: And just keep going.

MATTINGLY: It's going to be great.

AVLON: Exactly.

MATTINGLY: It was interesting last night the -- there was a proposal on the House floor to impeach the Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas.


MATTINGLY: This has been something a number of Republicans have been talking about in the House since they took the majority. The snap impeachment proposal was not passed. It was kicked to a committee. Eight Republicans voted against it. What did you make of it? PRICE: There was an impeachment inquiry already going on in this

committee. So it's - there's some Republicans who said they just want to let that process play out. This, again, feels very similar to the last time we had a shutdown. We also had the Biden impeachment inquiry kind of pending. So, we've got Republicans who are supposed to be governing who are also having these impeachment inquires happening at the same time in the background. And this is a question of priorities and how they're choosing to spend their time right now.

But Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who put that measure out yesterday, has said she will do it again. So, this might not be gone for now.

HARLOW: What did you make of the Republicans who voted, just to name some of them, Ken Buck sided with Democrats on this, Patrick McHenry, a name we all know very well now.


HARLOW: Virginia Fox. Mike Turner.

AVLON: I was surprised to see names like - like Virginia Fox in particular -


AVLON: Because usually they would lose no time in embracing anything Marjorie Taylor Greene does.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

AVLON: I think what it basically is, is a push to, let's do things in something resembling regular order, even though this is a stunt process. Let's have the committee do it. And that kind of a traditionalist approach.

I do want to say, though, I mean all this kind of stunt impeachment politics, which we've seen a lot of, is occurring against the backdrop this week of President Biden meeting with the Chinese Premiere Xi, right? And it just reminds you of the stakes of reality in places where there is common ground getting tougher with China.

HARLOW: China.

AVLON: But yet, still, they can't push through a funding - you know, a balanced proposal pushed forward by the president dealing with Taiwan funding, Ukraine funding, Israel funding, and the border wall.

HARLOW: None of that is in these.

AVLON: None of that's in there. And that's the kind of thing that should be. There's something for everybody, particularly if you're on the right side of the aisle.

So, it's a question again, if you want to demonize is DHS secretary, OK. If you want to deal with the issue, fund it. Fund it, border enforcement. Fund more judges to expedite asylum claims. Those are concrete things you can do to solve a problem unless you just want to demagogue them to death.

MATTINGLY: Just for a point of clarity, it's former House Speaker Patrick McHenry. Just want to make that -

AVLON: Is it -- technically, is there an asterisk? Is it like Roger Maris.

MATTINGLY: Former House Speaker pro-tem.

This is the big - important - the big -

HARLOW: Mattingly just wanted to say pro-tem.

MATTINGLY: I really just wanted to say pro-tem.

This is the huge question. Is there any pathway for Ukraine and Israel funding going forward?

PRICE: I mean this is - this -- Israel at least there is some -- more bipartisan support, including in the House.

MATTINGLY: House Republicans passed a bill. Yes.

PRINCE: Ukraine is a bigger question. But so far we've seen Democrats in the White House saying they don't want to decouple those, that they want those to go through together. So, you know, we'll see as they get into these negotiations if that is something that they're going to crack on.

HARLOW: They may not want to but will they have to decouple the two of them?

AVLON: I think they will. And, look, Mitch McConnell and other leading Republicans want to make sure we're standing up for Ukraine as well because this is the kind of investment that stops Vladimir Putin from further aggression. The balanced plan is the wise way out of this. Everybody gets something. You care about the American border. You care about Taiwan and standing up to China. You know, Ukraine and Israel. That's the path forward that clearly gets bipartisan support. The attempt to decouple it is an attempt to scuttle it and this sort of, you know, Trump, sort of, neo-isolationist wing that wants to downplay Putin's invasion of Ukraine, even as they rally around Israel, is logically inconsistent and national -- and dangerous in terms of national security.

HARLOW: John Avlon, Michelle Price, great to have you.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, guys.

HARLOW: Thanks so much.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: Israel saying there is a Hamas commander center hidden under a children's hospital.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Hard to imagine how civilians endured the bombardment here.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A hospital must be protected.