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CNN Tonight

Hunter Biden Plea Deal On Hold; Giuliani Concedes He Defamed Election Workers; Military Vets Testify To Congress on UFOs; McConnell Freezes Mid-Sentence At News Conference; Israel's Judicial Overhaul Sparks Military Crisis; Federal Judge Blocks Biden's Controversial Asylum Policy. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired July 26, 2023 - 23:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Local television footage of Black Lives Matter protest in Atlanta was projected over a courthouse. Now, the video has been edited to remove all images of that protest.

The chain (ph) shortened the video by about six seconds but the scene had sparked backlash with Aldean accused of promoting racial violence. Now Aldean is standing by the song and the video in blaming cancel culture for the controversy. His record label, BBR Music Group, says that the protest footage was removed due to third party copyright issues.

And thank you for joining me tonight on "CNN Primetime." I'm Abby Phillip, and "CNN Tonight" starts right now with Sara Sidner.

SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Great show, Abby. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

PHILLIP: Have a good show.

SIDNER: Thank you.

All right, good evening to you. I am Sara Sidner. Welcome to "CNN Tonight."

The grand jury is expected to meet in a matter of hours in Jack Smith's election interference investigation. So, what will happen now with a third possible indictment of former President Trump looming? That's "Tomorrow's News Tonight."

Plus, Trump's former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has admitted he defamed two Georgia election workers. Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, suffered with threats to their lives after he and others made wild and utterly false accusations of vote tampering. Will Giuliani face consequences for the damage he has done?

Plus, a stunning day in court today for Hunter Biden. He thought he had a deal, and then it all fell apart. The judge even questioning whether the deal was constitutional. So, what's going on now? And paging Mulder, and Scully, the X-Files comes to Congress. Three retired military veterans testified today at a House hearing on UFOs. They say they are a national security problem, demanding the government stop keeping all this under wraps. I have personally spoken to a Navy pilot who told me for a while he and other pilots would see UFOs on a daily basis. Objects like this.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Whoa! Got it!


UNKNOWN (voice-over): Whoo hoo!

UNKNOWN (voice-over): What the (bleep) is that thing?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Did you box a moving target?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): No, I took an auto-track.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, okay.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Oh, my gosh, dude!

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Wow! What is that, man?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Look at it fly!



SIDNER: We hope you get that excited about this show. We've got a lot of talk about tonight. Let's begin with a dramatic day in court for Hunter Biden when the judge refused to accept the plea deal for the president's son. CNN's Kara Scannell is here. Kara?


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sara, Hunter Biden walked into the federal courthouse today expecting to put a five-year criminal investigation behind him. But instead, three hours later, he left with his plea deal hanging in the balance and pleading not guilty to two tax misdemeanor charges.

The plea deal began to unravel when Judge Maryellen Noreika scrutinized what exactly was covered under the terms. That revealed a disagreement between prosecutors who argued it gave Biden immunity to other tax, drug use, and gun charges, but Biden's lawyer said they thought it was more expansive.

After a brief recess, Biden's team came back and agreed to the prosecutors' narrow immunity deal. But then that agreement broke down again when the judge questioned the constitutionality of a diversion agreement for a felony gun charge. That deal would allow Biden to avoid a felony charge for possessing a firearm while he was addicted to a controlled substance.

The judge said it was not straightforward and she questioned whether it was constitutional. This after more than three hours the judge told Biden she was sorry, but she couldn't let him plead guilty to a deal he didn't understand, and she said she wasn't willing to rule on the divergent agreement on the fly, so she's giving both sides 30 days to brief the case. Sara?

SIDNER: That was our Kara Scannell. Thank you so much.

Now let's talk all this through with our great guest, CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams, senior political analyst John Avlon, and senior political commentator Scott Jennings.

All right, Elliot, did the judge's objection have to do with the terms of the deal, whether it was fair or too lenient, or does she have a problem with it under the Constitution, under the law?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: All of the above. Now, look, judges can -- and they do have a right. We talked about this, I think, yesterday as well. Judges cannot approve plea agreement if they think that something doesn't smell right, if the government is not being fair.

And the whole point of plea agreement as a general matter is to ensure that the defendant's rights are protected, that he knows what he's pleading guilty to, that he can't eventually down the road be charged again for something that he sorts of think he didn't.

And the whole point here was that she felt that perhaps that gun diversion thing might have set him up for future prosecution in a way that violated his rights as a defendant. It was probably a cautious thing to do. I've never seen it happen before.

SIDNER: I was going to ask you how rare this is because usually, they have it all buttoned up, the prosecutors and the defendants. Right?


WILLIAMS: Often, they'll send you in a back room to say, wait a second, you two folks don't seem to be fully in agreement with what you thought you were in an agreement about earlier today, and you can usually go in a conference room, work it out in an hour.

I've never had a plea agreement when I was a prosecutor, just get blown up like this, but it can happen, and it's within the judge's right to do it.

SIDNER: It can happen and it did happen. I want to ask you, Scott. Hunter Biden has been under investigation for five years for his business dealings. I mean, what else can they find? I guess it is the question that has been going on for a very long time. Do you think there is more there? I have a feeling I know the answer.



-- I mean part of what was going on today, I think, was this concept that he may still be under investigation for his foreign business dealings. Did he register under the Foreign Agent Registration Act? And I think he walked in thinking he was going to be protected from all that. And maybe that's not the case.

And so, uh, from Republican perspective, it's -- there's -- there's still more Hunter Biden to know. There's stuff that has been uncovered by the congressional committee. It's why the Republicans in the House right now are talking impeachment inquiry because they feel like they need extra tools to get to the bottom of the influence peddling that they say has been going on in the Biden family. So, is there more? Yeah. From a Republican perspective, there's a lot more.

SIDNER: Okay, I do want to -- speaking of a Republican's perspective, presidential candidate Chris Christie tweeting tonight, we'll bring that up on the screen, about Hunter Biden saying this: I've seen enough. We need a special counsel who has jurisdiction over any and all Biden family investigations. This is a charade. Get rid of U.S. Attorney Weiss and appoint a special counsel who will investigate with competence and independence.

What are your thoughts, John?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Chris Christie is trying to shore up his right flank with this. This is consistent with his brand straight-talking prosecutor. And we need to remind folks that Weiss is -- it was a Trump appointee who fall -- who did -- oversaw this investigation into Hunter Biden, that he has disagreed with the reports of the whistleblowers to Congress and elsewhere.

What happened today was really a blow-up of something that had been long planned, and it's very unusual, including for the ambiguity about what it covered, right? These charges are about taxes. They're an ancillary about guns. Nothing to do with, you know, foreign influence peddling. That's a separate topic. But apparently, they're all conflated. And certainly, from the republican perspective, that's the main event ultimately.

JENNINGS: Well, the question was, is there more to learn?

AVLON: Yeah.

JENNINGS: And I think Republicans do think there's more to learn. And he's clearly still apparently under investigation for the foreign -- that's really the connective tissue --


JENNINGS: -- between him and the president.

AVLON: Yeah.

JENNINGS: The foreign influence peddling. Were you selling the name Joe Biden overseas? Did you enrich your family? Did you follow the registrations? That's a separate matter than like the gun thing.

AVLON: That's the key point. Totally separate. Nothing to do with them, and yet they thought apparently that they were somehow entwined and it was news to them that he's still under investigation by the Justice Department.

SIDNER: And so, the judge made this decision now. I'm expecting they're working this out, Elliot?

WILLIAMS: They are. I mean, they are -- they'll take up to 30 days to brief the issue, write some memos to the judge, and the judge will come with a decision and perhaps agree to the plea agreement. But we'll see.

SIDNER: All right. I got to be honest with you, I am tired of talking about this until we see something new, but we're going to talk about --

WILLIAMS: You and me both, sis.

SIDNER: The grand jury is expected --


John Avlon, I mean, you know I'm right.

AVLON: Yeah. You're not wrong.

SIDNER: The grand jury in the Trump case is expected to meet tomorrow.

JENNINGS: I'll bite. What is the story?


SIDNER: Well, the story is --

JENNINGS: What happened?

SIDNER: It's happening tomorrow, supposedly. But we were expecting the grand jury to gather yesterday, and they didn't. So, where are we now with all of this? If the grand jury meets, it doesn't necessarily mean there's going to be indictment, correct, right tomorrow?

WILLIAMS: No, not necessarily. But in order for there to be an indictment, the grand jury has to meet. Now, prosecutors would go into the grand jury, present evidence and information. Within an hour, they can just spit out an indictment.

So, I think what we'll all be watching to see is do they meet, what happens, are prosecutors there, and does an indictment come, but it could be imminent after the grand jury gets together.

SIDNER: All right. Let us talk about Rudy Giuliani, and I want to go to you, John.

AVLON: Yeah. SIDNER: He has now conceded that he has made these defamatory statements about these two election workers in Georgia, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss. Watching them testify was really hard to watch. Their lives were put in jeopardy. They were afraid for the work that they were doing, which was being citizens and doing the right thing with the job. He has now said this. Let's go ahead and go to sound of Rudy Giuliani talking about this.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Ruby Freeman and Shaye Freeman-Moss, and one other gentleman, quite obviously, surreptitiously passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine. I mean, it's obvious to anyone who's a criminal investigator or prosecutor, they are engaged in surreptitiously illegal activity, again, that day.


SIDNER: That's a lie. I just want to remind people that it's not true, and these two women have suffered because of it. Can I ask you, he's saying he's protected by free speech, is he?



AVLON: Well, look, I think when you level accusations -- this is about defamation, this was a demonization of public scapegoating, and that Rudy acknowledged today was baseless. Look, as you know, I worked for Rudy Giuliani for many years when he was mayor of New York, and the dissent of Rudy to what he has become today bears very little, if no resemblance, to the person I worked for and the person who was one of the most respected federal prosecutors of his era as U.S. attorney.

By conceding this, his team says, look, this is really about just stopping discovery, which itself would be typically a mess in the case of Rudy Giuliani circa 2023. But it's a concession, in effect, that all those accusations made so publicly were lies.

SIDNER: And what can they do about it? I mean, will he face some sort of punishment per tap civilly or criminally?

WILLIAMS: No, I think he might, and he seems to be trying to minimize how much trouble he can get in by owning it and accepting responsibility for it.

The problem is that number one, that's potentially evidence in other lawsuits that he has admitted to. And number two, he has admitted to a central part of what would be a defamation claim, which is that you admitted that you were lying and that it was false. It's a bizarre strategy to be perfectly candid as to why he would do it.

AVLON: But it's about containment.

WILLIAMS: Yeah. AVLON: He's trying to contain the damage with regard to all these other lawsuits for possibly financial and other reasons.

JENNINGS: These women, by the way, not public figures.

SIDNER: Right.

AVLON: Correct.

JENNINGS: Humble --


JENNINGS: -- servants of our electoral system. Our diffused election system depends on people like these women to show up and volunteer or make very little money to execute our elections. To be treated the way they were was an abomination.

He -- whatever happens to him, whatever can happen to him, he deserves every bit of it because this -- this is not like a political debate between two politicians.

SIDNER: Right.

JENNINGS: They're not public figures.

SIDNER: They are now, unfortunately.

JENNINGS: And it's his fault. And it's totally unfair and there has to be consequences for it.

SIDNER: All right. We will wait and see what happens there. Just up next -- oh, thank you, gentlemen. Good to have you here late at night. Appreciate it.

Up next, warnings from three military veterans in today's UFO hearing in Congress. I'll talk to Congressman Tim Burchett, who pushed to hold today's hearing.


REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): This is an issue of government transparency. We can't trust a government that does not trust its people. We're not bringing little green men or flying saucers into the hearing. Sorry to disappoint about half you all.





SIDNER: It used to be, if you believed that UFOs existed, people would write you off as a nutcase. Well, times have changed. Exhibit A, what happened today on Capitol Hill. Military veterans testifying to Congress that they have seen UFOs or what the Pentagon now calls UAPs, Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. And now, lawmakers and some veterans are demanding the government be more transparent about the strange objects they've been seeing in the sky.


UNKNOWN: You're talking something that can go into space, go someplace, drop down in a matter of seconds, do whatever it wants and leave, and there's nothing we can do about it.

UNKNOWN: If you appear foreign drones, it is an urgent national security problem. If it is something else, it is an issue for science. In either case, unidentified objects are concern for flight safety.


SIDNER: Joining me now for more, Congressman Tim Burchett. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. First, congressman, I do want to hear your thoughts and whether you think that UFOs are a serious national security threat.

BURCHETT: That was discussed. And all three of the gentlemen, brave gentlemen, they're patriots, came forward and said they thought that they were. I differ on that. We've known about these. I mean, you read your bible, Ezekiel saw the wheel in the Old Testament. But if you -- but, you know, we've known about these for quite some time.

And if they have the technology that was -- that's exhibited in the Tic Tac videos like the candy. Not like the Chinese propaganda TikTok, but Tic Tac videos. If you google it, you can read and watch the videos. Um, they have that kind of technology. It can do those things that defy our laws of physics and can withstand those kind of G forces.

I think we are -- those are the videos right there. You all are doing great. They could do us in if they wanted to. It's -- it's not -- sorry, my lights went off.

SIDNER: It's all right. You still look good.

BURNETT: Yeah. Thank you. But like I was stating, if they have this kind of technology, man, they could have done us in a long time ago. I'm not really worried about that. I'm more worried about and people should be worried about our government and our Pentagon who continuously stonewalls us, and members of Congress and staff who stonewall all us with this committee.

We weren't even allowed to get down in (INAUDIBLE) to, um, to talk to one of the -- one of the people testifying today about some things that he talked about, and we're not allowed to say in public because of security concerns.

So, you know this thing has gone on and on. Pentagon says they don't exist, yet they change the name from UFOs to UAPs. And now, they're encouraging -- I believe they're lobbying for more money to study these, in my opinion. And you as a journalist, tell me.

But I think that the transparency issue, they need to just turn loose what they have. Them, NASA, our military institute, our Department of Defense that have been studying this for years. When they show us a file, it looks like a piece of Swiss cheese. Literally looks like somebody shot it with a 12-gauge shotgun. You can't make heads or tails out of what's in it. But obviously --

SIDNER: You're talking about -- the documents are redacted. There's so much redaction that you can't really make heads or tails of it. I do want to talk to you about the video that was released actually by the Pentagon in 2021. And we're hearing different things now, though, that take this a bit further. The Pentagon has never said, yes, we believe there are aliens out there.


But now, they're saying, yeah, there are unidentified flying objects out there or UAPs, as you call it or they call it now. But a former Air Force intelligence officer, David Grusch, testified that based on his own experience and conversations with experts, he believes the government is in possession of potentially non-human spacecraft. Do you believe that?

BURNETT: Yes, ma'am, I do. I've talked to too many people. It's just -- there's just too much evidence out there and too many of these veterans have come forward. And honestly, citizens.

I've had members of Congress talk to me about the issue, about their sightings and things. Jimmy Carter, President Ford both had sightings. There's too much evidence out there that this is out there.

We believe that they have these crafts. They use -- they reversed engineer. It's probably handed off into the business world, in the business community to where it can't be FOIA, Freedom of Information Act.

So, you know -- and I'll tell you this. I actually presented an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill that just said if an airline pilot sees a UAP, UFO anomaly in the air, in the report they make to the FAA, that they would have to make issue that report to Congress. Well, the intelligence community, not the intelligence committee, but the intelligence community block that bill. I wasn't even allowed a hearing on it. It was not even voted on, ma'am.

So, you have unelected bureaucrats in our military industrial complex who are telling your Congress what to do. That's a very chilling effect. And this -- this committee today was bipartisan. I was proud of my Democratic friends and my Republican colleagues on my side of the aisle that testify or that asked these questions. It is something that the American public deserves to know.

SIDNER: Congressman, for decades, through every administration that I can think of, there have been questions brought up by civilians, but they've always been said that they're nuts or that they're just making this stuff up. And now, here we are in 2023 actually talking about this and seeing some evidence of it. So, it is a remarkable moment in our history.

I do want to quickly ask you. I know you came here to talk about UAPs in the hearing. But I do have to ask you because I am a journalist and this is in the news. About Hunter Biden. His deal blown up by the judge. Prosecutors and the defense usually have their stuff together when it comes to putting these plea deals together. But the judge wasn't having it. Where do you see all of this going?

BURNETT: Yeah, I keep thinking it's another nail in the coffin, but it's just -- they just keep knocking the nails. You know, it just -- it doesn't seem to affect you. In my opinion, ma'am, the Justice Department is very aloof right now. They are a rudderless ship. They need to get their act together.

The judge obviously executed their option and through this horrible plea agreement out, which honestly, if that was in Tennessee, I've seen people get, you know, get stronger punishment for a traffic violation. Literally, he walked on a gun charge.

And now, I think they're realizing what's going on in these committees, in the Judiciary Committee, in the Oversight Committee about what's going on with Hunter Biden. And I think they're paying attention to that. And this judge realizes that there's more to this and that this deal is a bad deal.

SIDNER: Would you vote for an impeachment as a lot of folks are talking about in the GOP when it comes to Joe Biden?

BURNETT: From the evidence I've seen, I would, ma'am. You're talking $10 million from Burisma. You've got money coming from China.

SIDNER: But even though there's no evidence --

BURNETT: There is no evidence that anyone even paying any taxes on this money.

SIDNER: Right. But Congressman, even though there's no evidence, that we have all seen, that has been shown to the public, that has been put forward from the Congress, from the GOP, that there are ties, very clear ties between Hunter Biden's business dealings and Joe Biden, correct?

BURNETT: Let me correct you on that. It is the FBI's informant, not the Republican informant, not the Democrat. The FBI's own informant was the one that notified us of some of the most damning information. And it just goes on and on.

What are they paying these millions of dollars for? The grandkids, minors getting tens of thousands of dollars. What are they getting? They always say, well, the Trumps, the Trumps, the Trumps. Well, President Trump was selling tough steaks and crappy ties. We know that. But what is Hunter Biden selling? Nothing but influence. And so --

SIDNER: But couldn't he be selling that influence, sir? Couldn't he be selling that influence, sir, if that is the case, without his dad knowing? In other words, selling it using the name without -- you know what I mean?

BURNETT: Well, President Biden changed his story once again today and said that -- first, he said he has never talked to me about business, which to me is just absurd. I mean, you talk to your dad.


I talk to my dad about everything. My business, my political life, my love life for goodness sakes, or lack thereof, I guess. But, you know, to say that he's not talking to his dad about it, and then his dad says, well, we didn't talk about that business. And then -- you know, it's just too much, ma'am. Tens of millions of dollars.

Let's be honest. If they have paid that money to the Trumps and there was no -- and you'd be asking, where's the quid pro quo? And this is just the reality of what's going on. And the money laundering is pitiful. I mean, it's --

SIDNER: But I just want to be really clear, congressman. Yeah. Congressman, look, nothing has been made public yet that shows us all of this. When and if it is, we will get back to you. We'd love to talk to you if you have the evidence to show. But at this point, we haven't seen -- the public hasn't seen any of this hard evidence that has been brought up by members of Congress.

BURNETT: I don't know what -- you have $10 million coming from Burisma. You know, they're accusing Biden -- they accused Trump of doing what Biden actually did, $10 million of bribery, and they fired a guy. I mean, you can follow the money, ma'am. And these are FBI informants. These are FBI confidential.

SIDNER: Right, but it has to be proven. There has to be some proof. You can't just say it happened. There has to be some proof, right?

BURNETT: Well, what was the dossier on Trump? There wasn't really any proof. It was all hearsay. And now, here you've got an FBI document, an official document showing that. So, you know, we can sit here and argue about it, and I get it, you know, you've got your base, I've got mine, but I've seen the documents.

SIDNER: I don't have a base. I'm a journalist. I don't have a base, Democrat or Republican.

BURNETT: I understand, ma'am, you work for CNN. But let's be honest, if you work for Fox, it'd be the right wing and you all are the left wing. And I get it.

SIDNER: We are not. I'm not.

BURNETT: It's politics as usual, ma'am.

SIDNER: You don't know my politics, sir. You really don't know my politics.

BURNETT: Nobody believes that, ma'am. You can say that and you can have your fingers crossed under the table. SIDNER: But again, there has to be proof, sir. There has to be proof both with my politics and with whether or not Joe Biden is involved. Thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate you talking about UAPs and the issue with Hunter Biden. I appreciate you coming on, sir.

BURNETT: Yes, ma'am. Thank you for having me on, ma'am. It has been my pleasure.

SIDNER: Thank you. All right, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell freezing mid-sentence during a press conference today for nearly 30 seconds. It was a disturbing moment. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to tell us what might be going on with his health, next.




SIDNER: Tonight, questions about the health of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after he stopped talking mid-sentence and froze for about 30 seconds during a news conference. Here's that unnerving moment.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We're on a path to finishing the NDA this week. It has been good bipartisan cooperation. And a string of --

UNKNOWN: Are you good? Mitch?

UNKNOWN: Mitch? Anything else you want to say? Do you want to say anything else to the press?

UNKNOWN: Go ahead, John.


SIDNER: No matter what your politics are, that was really hard to watch. Ten minutes later, though, McConnell returned to the podium to answer questions, saying, I'm fine. One of his aides said that the senator felt lightheaded.

Let's bring in CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta here again with us tonight. Thank you for being here, Dr. Gupta. When you saw this moment play out, what were your concerns?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I found it concerning. There's no question there was some sort of neurological event that happened there. I mean, as you mentioned, it was about -- it happened just before 2:00 this afternoon. It was about 25 seconds before somebody came and asked the senator if he was okay. Thirty-two seconds that he was actually standing at the lectern there unable to speak seemingly. He was moving his arms and his legs. I was looking for all sorts of different things. But clearly, something happened there. About 12 minutes later, he came back and said he was fine. We still don't know if he has seen somebody about this. But this is the kind of thing you got to get checked out.

There are a few things, you know, that come to mind. Common things being common, Sara. Dehydration, something like that. Fighting off an infection, a medication interaction. Those types of things can sometimes cause this. But what is known as a TIA, a mini-stroke, that's something that I think doctors might want to rule out, or even a mini-seizure.

Keep in mind, back in March, you may remember, Sara, he had this pretty significant fall. He had a concussion, he broke a rib, he needed rehab. After a brain injury, which is what a concussion is, a mild brain injury, people even months later could have some consequences of that, including seizures.

So, was this a mini-seizure? Whatever it is, he does need to get this sort of thing checked out to make sure that you can figure out that it's not something bad, but also to try and prevent it happening again in the future.

SIDNER: I think I was just personally surprised to see that he didn't go to the doctor immediately after and go get fully checked out. Should he have at that moment?


GUPTA: Yeah. I mean, look, you know, I think most people know if we're concerned -- if there's a concern about stroke, for example, TIA could be a mini-stroke, one of the big things is even though his symptoms did seem to resolve, he got better, you worry that it could happen again and it could turn into a more severe stroke if they're not adequately addressed.

So, that is something, I think, everybody learns when it comes to these types of symptoms. You got to get it checked out. You got to get it checked out fast because time really does matter in terms of preventing this from happening in the future.

SIDNER: That's right. All right, Dr. Gupta, I want to turn to another story that's developing. We're learning more about LeBron James's 18- year old son, Bronny. We talked about what happened to him, suffering a cardiac arrest during basketball practice earlier this week. What do you know now about his condition?

GUPTA: Well, there are a couple of details that we learned today and that is that a couple of months ago, as a prospective player, he underwent some screening tests, including what is known as a transthoracic echocardiogram, I'm going to show you what that means, as well as an EKG.

So, with an echocardiogram, they basically put an ultrasound probe, as it were on the chest, and they're looking at the heart. They're looking at the big blood vessels of the heart, they're looking at the muscles of the heart, they're seeing if there's any kind of anatomical problem with the heart. It's something that he may have had done again while he was in the hospital. But he had this done a couple of months ago. What we heard is that it was normal. That's a good sign.

He also had an EKG, which a lot of people have heard of that, but that's basically looking at the electrical patterns in the heart, make sure there's not an abnormality, and at least that snapshot EKG that he had a couple of months ago were told also was normal. So, that's a very good sign.

If you add to that, Sara, that he was in the ICU, but then let out of the ICU very quickly, that's another good sign. It basically means that he was stable and that they didn't find any sort of permanent or sort of longstanding consequence on his heart. His heart function was normal at the time that they let him out of the ICU.

So, these are all good signs. They still got to figure out exactly what happened here and that probably means putting a longer-lasting EKG sort of monitor, something known as a Holter monitor, to look at his electrical pattern of his heart over a longer period of time to see if there are some abnormalities that isn't caught on a snapshot. But that's probably what's happening now.

But the picture is increasingly looking better for him. Not out of the woods. Still got to figure out what exactly happened here. But the last couple of days in terms of getting out of the ICU quickly and those screening tests from before, they paint a better picture, Sara.

SIDNER: I love a great basketball player of which he is, as well as his father. We really, really hope that he is able to get back on the court and do what he loves.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, love having you on. Thank you. Appreciate it.

GUPTA: Any time, Sara. Thank you.

SIDNER: There is a growing crisis in Israel. Following Prime Minister Netanyahu's judicial overhaul, a number of army reservists are saying they will not serve. I'll speak with one of them and ask him why. Coming up, next.




SIDNER: Israel's Supreme Court announcing it will not issue an injunction against a controversial law passed by parliament this week. The new law strips the Supreme Court's power to veto government decisions on the basis of whether they are reasonable. Instead, the court rules it will debate the law in September.

Today's ruling comes as protesters, including my next guest, continue to take to the streets in response to the judicial overhaul happening within Israel.

Joining me now, Ron Scherf, co-founder of Brothers in Arms and former lieutenant colonel of the Israel Defense Forces. Thank you so much, sir, for joining us. You are among the protesters taking to the streets. Can you explain to us the significance of some of Israel's military reservists saying they will not serve because of this new law?

RON SCHERF, CO-FOUNDER OF BROTHERS IN ARMS: Yes, so, hi, good night, good morning here in Israel. So, we're in the streets for six months. You described it very good because the government is doing a judicial overhaul and wants to gain endless power and with a series of laws that frees the government from the court's legal review.

Think of it that in the U.S., the government -- the court will be only a recommendation. This is unreasonable and actually makes Israel not democratic anymore. It's a steep slope from a democratic country to being a dictatorship. And people are afraid of unlimited power in the government's hands.

That's why we're in the streets for six months. And it's across all the people and all the organizations and very frightening. The public in Israel is very afraid. Brothers and Sisters in Arms is an organization of reservists, starting of reservists, but now including a lot of people.

To your question, Israel's security is based on the reservists. It's something -- it's -- in Israel, the army is the army of the people. We're a small country. We have a lot of external threats. And the army is based on all the people or -- a big part of the people.


As the army of the people, we swore to serve a democratic country. And we feel now that this basic contract between the country and the people and the soldiers is broken by the government.

SIDNER: That's a really powerful statement that you're making there, that you as a reservist believe that the contract to serve a democratic country has been broken by the government itself.

You also, I think, have said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is in power right now, is ultimately responsible for this crisis. Why do you say that?

SCHERF: Yes, of course, because the Israel Army is in crisis now. It's not because people will not go and serve a dictatorship. Again, we swore to serve a democratic country. It's so basic that -- you know, people cannot understand what's happening. But dictatorships start like this. They're starting with rules that overcome the court, and then it will come to the press, and then it will come to the freedom of speech. And this is really happening.

And what we feel, the person who is responsible for this is the prime minister. He is responsible to breaking this contract between the people and the government, to driving this judicial overhaul, and he must stop.

SIDNER: Thank you so much, Ron Scherf, for explaining all this for us. I lived in Israel in 2012 for quite some time, and I've never seen protest this large from the Israeli community. I appreciate you coming on and explaining your part in this to all of us. Have a great morning there.

SCHERF: We really feel that we are in a crisis and a threat from inside. And that's why we as reservists are coming up to defend our country. Because if Israel will become a dictatorship, it will not be Israel anymore.

SIDNER: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. We will be right back.




UNKNOWN: Secretary Mayorkas is going to try to paint a rosy picture of this disastrous mismanagement of our border. But the numbers don't lie.

UNKNOWN: Secretary Mayorkas, you must resign. Will you resign?

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: No, I will not. I am incredibly proud of the work that is --

UNKNOWN: I understand.

MAYORKAS: -- being done in the Department of Homeland Security.

UNKNOWN: Secretary Mayorkas, if you will not resign, that leaves us with no other option. You should be impeached.


SIDNER: All right. You were listening to several Republican lawmakers there threatening to impeach the Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas. He's facing accusations from that Republican-led House Judiciary Committee of having lost control of the southwest border.

Now, while border crossings remain high, there have been fewer border arrests in recent weeks. Still, House Republicans have started to lay the groundwork for potential impeachment proceedings against Mayorkas.

Lots to discuss now with Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Thank you so much for joining me, congressman. Can you give me a sense? What's happening at the southern border?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): Well, what you see is that border crossings have gone down 70% in the last few months since the end of Title 42. And the Biden administration has tried to do a few things. First, they have offered a way for people to apply for asylum from their home countries and other places before they make the dangerous trek to the US-Mexico border. And they also improved an app that quite honestly was having a lot of problems at the beginning.

But what we're also seeing is Republicans taking barbaric actions in their treatment of asylum seekers. Greg Abbott has put out what I consider death traps and drowning devices in the Rio Grande, razor wire literally that is invisible to people until they run into it, and has also put out these barrel traps that have netting that people get caught in. On top of that, he has instructed DPS troopers not to offer water to anybody, even people that are dying of thirst in 105, 110- degree weather.

Those are the kinds of headlines and policies that you would expect to see coming out of a place like North Korea, not the United States of America.

SIDNER: Some of the border cities, though, run by Democratic mayors are saying, we also need help. They have not seen the surge that they thought they were going to see after Title 42 ended, but they do feel that they don't have enough help. What do you say to them?

CASTRO: I would say that they're right. They should get all the help they need. And the Congress and the president, over the last year in particular, have legislated billions of dollars in trying to be helpful and trying to improve the situation on the border.

So, some of that aid has gone directly to the cities and counties that you're talking about, including my hometown of San Antonio that was seeing thousands and thousands of people every week.

SIDNER: I do want to talk to you about what happened with the courts. A federal judge blocked President Biden's asylum policy just yesterday, which has leaned on the measure to drive down border crossings. They do remain high, but crossings have plunged, as you mentioned, since Title 42 was lifted on May 11th. Fellow Democratic congressman of Texas Henry Cuellar stands by the controversial policy. I want you to listen to what he said.


REP. HENY CUELLAR (D-TX): I support the policy. And, in fact, I've been asking the administration to do this for the last two years. If you're claiming credible fear, you're passing countries where your fear is gone. And that's why this transit country policy is something that I've supported.


And I hope that the -- and probably we'll go up to the Supreme Court. I hope that the Supreme Court will look at this favorably.


SIDNER: Congressman, you have been a vocal opponent of the president's asylum policy. How should the Supreme Court justices respond in your view? Should they hear the case?

CASTRO: Yeah. I mean, I think the court in this case did the right thing. And I disagree with what I consider a transit ban that the administration put in place and also that the Trump administration had put in place.

And I disagree with my colleague from Texas and friend, Henry Cuellar. You know, when you think about credible fear and where somebody is going to present for asylum, let's take the fact that some of these people are from Central America and we may be asking them to stay in Mexico.

A lot of Americans won't even drink the water in Mexico. They're scared of the drug gangs and the violence in Mexico. They don't want to cross over the U.S.-Mexico border to go into Tijuana or Rios or Ciudad Juarez (ph). And yet at the same time, we're supposed to consider that for asylum seekers a safe place. I just don't think that's realistic. And we shouldn't be banning people from applying first in the United States for asylum.

SIDNER: We have heard over and over and over again from every single administration and every single Congress that there is a problem with our immigration policy, and yet it goes unfixed. Can this be fixed and can it be done soon?

CASTRO: We came close in 2014 when the Senate passed in a bipartisan way comprehensive immigration reform and then John Boehner, the speaker at the time, refused to put it on the House floor for a vote. I believe that we can get there again.

SIDNER: Hopefully, the two sides can come together. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate your time, congressman.

CASTRO: Good to be with you.

SIDNER: And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.