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Source: Jordan Won't Hold 3rd Speaker Vote Today; GOP Hardliners Rail Against Plan To Give More Powers To McHenry; House May Empower Interim Speaker McHenry Through Next Year; Tonight: Biden To Make Case For Wartime Aid To Israel, Ukraine; Egypt-Gaza Crossing Will Open To Aid Friday Morning; Israeli City Ashkelon Faces Barrages Of Rockets From Gaza; CNN Speaks With Relative Of Israelis Found Dead After Hamas Attack. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired October 19, 2023 - 12:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Today on Inside Politics, Jim Jordan abandons plans to force a third vote to make him speaker. Now Jordan will back someone else temporarily to get the government up and running after more than two weeks without a House speaker.

Plus, a primetime test for Joe Biden. Tonight, the president will make a rare Oval Office address to lay out the stakes for American support for two democracies under siege, Israel and Ukraine. Plus, the kraken cracks. Sidney Powell admits that, yes, she spread lie after conspiracy after lie about the 2020 election. And that yes, she will testify at trial including against Donald Trump.

I'm Dana Bash. Let's go behind the headlines at Inside Politics.

Up first, the best laid plans scrapped. We entered today expecting a third vote. Right around this time to try once again to give Jim Jordan the gavel, that vote is no longer happening. Now we are told that Jordan will get behind plan D or E or kind of lost track of the letters at this point.

But sources are telling us that Jordan will back giving more power to a speaker placeholder, Patrick McHenry. And that will happen while the Ohio Republicans tries to continue backroom dealing to get his way to the gavel over the next few months.

Let's go straight to CNN's Manu Raju, who is all over this on Capitol Hill. Manu, what is the latest at this moment? Has Jim Jordan come out of this meeting? And has he formally publicly said, amen to this temporary plan?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He has said this behind closed doors is according to several of the members who have merged here, but there are a number of fast-moving developments in this saga. That's GOP leadership crisis that has paralyzed the House for more than two weeks.

There are some signs that perhaps this crisis temporarily can end. Jordan has indicated that he will back a plan to keep Patrick McHenry as interim speaker, empower him till January. They will need a resolution on the floor that could be voted on as soon as this afternoon to give him that power.

But the catch here is that Jordan says, he is not going to drop out of the race to be speaker. He said that he will still be the speaker designee, meaning he will try to become speaker of the House eventually is January when Patrick McHenry's powers would run out under this resolution of the House could vote on today.

Now that House Republicans are badly divided over this resolution. Many of the hardliners oppose empowering Patrick McHenry have come out and said, very strong words against that idea. And some of the Republicans who oppose Jim Jordan's candidacy are strongly opposed for him staying in as a speaker designee. Several of them told me that Jordan needs to drop out altogether as they consider a new speaker candidate.


REP. DON BACON, (R-NE): I hope he touch on a third vote and that he will concede, if he loses more votes.

REP. MARC MOLINARO, (R-NY): I certainly will be we advocating for temporary empowerment of the Speaker pro tem, allow the conference to decompress, reorganize, but most importantly, allow us to get back to work.

RAJU: Is that a problem for you if he stays the speaker, does it mean?

REP. CARLOS GIMENEZ (R-FL): Friends how long?

RAJU: Until January. It sounds like it's going to be too (ph).

GIMENEZ: A big problem.


RAJU: So, now the big question is how many Democrats will support that resolution to empower Patrick McHenry. He's expected to be introduced by Republican Congressman David Joyce. But given the divisions within the Republican ranks, Democratic votes will be absolute essential.

And at this moment, House Democrats are meeting behind closed doors to figure out their strategy. Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader who I asked about this multiple times over the last day, he had not yet taken a position yet, saying that we needed to discuss this with their members.

Some of their members want concessions from Republicans in order to support it. Other ones said, we need to just get behind this in order to get the House moving and beyond the state of paralysis over the last couple of weeks.

So, a lot of questions here about how this will play out. What this means for Republicans going forward? And also, what legislation could move under an interim speaker, Patrick McHenry? All huge issues as these fast-moving developments happen right now at this hour to try to unstick this paralyzed House.

BASH: Manu, before I let you go. I know that you're trying to talk to members as they leave this Republican meeting, but it's given how many have spoken to even just this morning. Is it your sense that with Jordan backing this idea of giving McHenry this temporary power that that could help at the very least, get a majority of Republicans on board with it or is it too soon because the Republican conference is just so divided.


RAJU: May this is too soon to tell. But I can tell you, some of those people who are aligned with Jim Jordan on the hard right, are strongly opposed to this idea, coming out and saying that they will absolutely not support it. And one Congressman Jim Banks from Indiana who's running for the Senate, told me that this would be the biggest fu to voters.

If Republican voters, if they go along with it, showing just how much Republicans are concerned about Banks went under call it, a betrayal to Republican voters and predicted a minority Republicans would vote for this on the floor of the House. So just shows you that tension that is still lingering here more than two weeks after McCarthy's ouster.

BASH: Lingering and obviously growing. Manu, thank you so much for that reporting. Here with me in the studio, to share their reporting CNN's David Chalian, CNN's Audie Cornish, and CNN's Jeff Zeleny.

I mean, wow, we just heard it, the sort of the tone and the tenor from Manu's reporting. I spoke to somebody who has been around a lot of internal Republican battles in the House, who said that they have never seen it this toxic. Toxic is the word that the source use.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Undoubtedly, it's toxic. And we've been seeing, it's so toxic, it has caused our government to be in a state of paralysis for these many weeks now. Dana, your last question to Manu, I think is so critical about this McHenry plan, and if a majority of Republicans will come on board and have Jordan's backing it, brings the majority of Republicans.

Because think about the tactics that Jordan and his allies have been using, unsuccessfully to get Jim Jordan to be speaker. That whole Republican echo chamber and getting Sean Hannity and firing up the grassroots. Well, you just heard what Manu was saying about Jim Banks.

So, I think we have to pay attention to, does that whole Republican echo chamber go along with what Jim Jordan wants to do here to preserve himself some time? Or do they rail against this notion of Republicans getting into bed with Democrats in some fashion to get government rolling again, because you can see if they do, Jim Jordan, just endorsing it may not be sufficient here. If the grassroots get really riled up as thinking that this is somehow giving up what is about winning the majority. Well, winning the majority is all about for them.

BASH: And Audie.


BASH: Yes. And as you do, I just want to underscore that people tuning in, my girl, OK, whatever, it must be a day that ends in why, there is dysfunction in Washington. This is different. This is different because there is no speaker of the House for more than two weeks. And please go ahead.

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. I mean, one thing I was going to say where Jordan probably miscalculated is, he's not as scary as Trump and he doesn't carry any other powers. He doesn't fundraise for anyone and no legislation he's ever introduces become law, which means he literally has no experience in getting people to do anything.

And I think that assuming that he could somehow use the media in a moment when the media is deeply preoccupied with a war was a huge miscalculation. People are paying attention to Hamas, as terrorists are paying attention to what Biden is saying.

There's lots of concerns about Iran. I think it was far harder for them to break through in this news cycle. And no one cares that much about who is speaker. But they do see is how long it's taking them to do something that is extremely basic.

BASH: And another that's extremely basic.

CORNISH: Yes. But since January, rightly, so instead of just being like, oh, voters won't care about that by next year, the defining thing about your entire majority will have been this.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Without a doubt, I mean, you've heard member after, member after, member said that they do believe their majority is threatened. But I mean, set aside that for a second. And also set aside the idea of Jim Jordan trying to become speaker at some point down the road. I mean, that is very much an open question. It's hard for me to even imagine that happening.

As David was saying, if the grassroots is even a fraction as angry, as Manu was suggesting that the fu language there, he'll have a hard time doing this. But I think the bigger point here is what is Hakeem Jeffries going to do? What are Democrats going to do? Are they going to essentially bail them out?

My sense is probably yes because this has gone on so long. And there is a worry among some Democrats I speak to members and others about, well, they didn't cause any of this. It certainly has seeped into the atmosphere that they did not help Kevin McCarthy. Every time Kevin McCarthy speaks about this, he blames Democrats. And of course, it's not the Democrats fault, but this is a moment when they can help out.

So, I think the burden is on them as well. So, what he decides this afternoon, is also important to Democrats showing that they too can govern. Will the White House get involved? We're not sure this is moving very quickly. But that's something to keep an eye on.


BASH: You know, that's such an important point. David, I spoke just before coming on with a House Democrat who was talking about. My question was, how many Democrats are going to cross party lines? And again, this is not to vote for a Republican speaker This is just to give the temporary speaker powers to help the nation govern. And the answer was, I know, just a small thing like helping the nation govern.

The answer was that similar to what you just said, which is that just on the raw politics of it. At first, this was, ah, look, Republicans can't govern. But as this goes on for a while, it does seep into democratic territory, whether they like it or not, whether it's fair or not. It's just, people are just frustrated. So, it potentially would help Democrats to look like the cavalry is coming in.

CHALIAN: Which is why I think you've seen Hakeem Jeffries doing. He's been doing over the last couple of weeks, which is saying, my door is open to engage in some kind of negotiation here, not to just wall it off. I interviewed this morning, the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who's in charge of winning back the House for Democrats this cycle.

And I asked her specifically, what is it you would be looking for? And she just kept saying, oh, no, we're open. We're just waiting for the Republicans to engage. Well, clearly Republicans are going to gauge that. Well, one thing she said to the concessions point, Jeff, this is Congresswoman Suzan DelBene of Washington.

She said, we want bipartisan legislation to be brought to the floor under this speaker McHenry. That's what we want to see. And we need to trust that they're willing to do that, not just pursue a Republican only agenda. That in a majority rule situation like the House, that's kind of unheard of.

BASH: It is unheard of. OK. Everybody standby because this is one of many giant stories that we are covering today. The Oval Office serves as a backdrop tonight for a presidential primetime address with giant global consequences. We're going to go live to the White House in minutes.




BASH: Tonight, the president will marshal the full pump and power of the bully pulpit to sell the world on what he views as a necessary and righteous mission to support democracies who are currently in significant peril.

In a matter of hours, the president will sketch out his vision for aid, both humanitarian and military, to Israel and to Ukraine. The speech happens at a critical, potentially outcome altering moment in both conflicts. It is also a time when Congress as we've been talking about is stuck in neutral, unable to drive forward without a House speaker.

CNN's MJ Lee is live at the White House. MJ, what are you hearing about what we should expect to hear from the president tonight?

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana, as President Biden has been watching these horrific scenes of violence pouring out of Israel. We are told that he expressed to his advisers in recent days, his desire to try to speak directly to the American people, not just about the situation in Israel, but the ongoing war in Ukraine as well.

And that he basically believes that there is an opportunity here to not just send a message to the world about the importance of the U.S. supporting its allies as they are being attacked, but also that this can be set up as a message about the importance of U.S. national security and national security matters as well.

Now, this moment, of course, is incredibly important for the White House in terms of trying to sort of shore up the public support, as we have talked about a lot. When it comes to supporting Ukraine, the public support for that has begun to wane in recent months. And while there is a majority support for the people of Israel and a lot of sympathy, there is a sort of a mixed response when it comes to the prospects of U.S. involvement.

Now, we've also reported that the White House is preparing to make a supplemental national security request to the tune of some $100 billion, some $60 billion of that I'm told will go towards Ukraine, the other $40 billion or so will go to Israel and Taiwan and other matters related to the U.S. southern border. So, this is an incredibly important moment for the president. And the fact that this is taking place in the Oval Office, sort of tells you the gravity of the situation.

BASH: MJ, thank you so much for that reporting. And today in Israel and in Gaza, seems like ceaseless carnage ahead of the president's primetime moment here in Washington. This is Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, pictures of a mad dash to save Palestinians plucked from the rubble. But at this hour rare. glimmers of hope. We are getting word that the Rafah crossing will open sometime tomorrow to allow humanitarian aid to cross into Gaza.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Ashkelon, where there has been heavy, heavy shelling over the past week. Plus, Jeremy, what's happening at this moment?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look Dana, today we spent our day walking around the city of Ashkelon to get a sense of what life is like in the most fired upon city in Israel. About 25 percent of all the rockets that have been fired from Gaza into Israel have targeted the city of Ashkelon. And of those 1200 rockets that have rained down on the city, about 200 of those have made direct impacts on apartment buildings and offices, restaurants, et cetera.

About 90 percent of the businesses here are closed. And we visited a command center today, where essentially the city has set up a combination of police emergency services, military, to coordinate responses to these rockets as they fall down on this city.

Now in the broader context of things, but we also found as a city and a country that is really waiting and anticipating the next stages of this campaign. We're seeing several pretty bellicose comments from the Israeli prime minister, the defense minister as well as some generals in the field, talking about the fact that the next phase of this operation of this military campaign against Hamas will involve going into Gaza. And so, that is what this country is waiting for.


At the same time, as you have mentioned, we have seen both the, you know, devastating humanitarian situation inside of Gaza in particular, after that deadly blast at a hospital in Gaza. But we are seeing those glimmers of hope with the potential after President Biden visited here yesterday for humanitarian aid, at least 20 trucks of humanitarian aid to begin flowing into Egypt this week.

The next question, of course, is whether any civilians who are inside of Gaza, who really have no safe place to go, whether they will be able to go through that Rafah crossing into Egypt as well, that remains to be seen. Dana?

BASH: So many unanswered questions that are life or death, unanswered questions for these civilians. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, Jeremy. Last week, Ido Dan, an Israeli whose family was abducted from a kibbutz by Hamas, joined our show.

At the time, Ido had five family members missing. Today we have the sad news to share that two of those family members have been found murdered. Carmela Dan was 80 years old and was also a U.S. citizen born in Massachusetts. And Noya, Carmela's granddaughter and Ido's cousin was just 13 years old.

Ido joins me now. Carmela we are so, so sorry for your loss. We're so sorry to hear about your aunt and your cousin. Can you share how you got this news?

IDO DAN, FAMILY MEMBERS MISSING OR KILLED: Oh, I need to breathe. Such a thank you for having me again, Dana. So just yesterday, you know, in a moment of normality, we celebrated, you know, with all the people of Israel, Carmela's 80th birthday. It was 17 -- October 17. And, you know, we plan this his birthday for four weeks, you know, before we -- before she got abducted.

And we just had, you know, we just had a symbolic and hopeful praying for a safe return home with the whole country. Everybody sang and recorded themselves and then they sent it to us. It was very heartwarming. And then the night after the, like 4 pm the day after.

As if God let us celebrate before we got the news, the uniform military officer came to us and informed us officially that they're both brutally slaughtered by the border of Gaza, and not in the kibbutz, after the abducted from Kibbutz near us from the home in the small community.

And you know, we're just, were crushed and our hearts are shattered. And, you know, Carmela and Noya were inseparable, you know, in life and in death. And I'm sorry, this is an impossible situation because at the same time -- -

BASH: There is no need to apologize.

DAN: Thank you. At the same time, you know, we mourn, you know, the unimaginable disaster. We must also, you know, continued optimistic search and optimistic struggle to bring the other three American family members home, which is Ofer the father, who is 53, Sahar who is 16, she is 16 and Erez the 11-year-old boy.

If we saw last week that abducted and we saw this video footage of him get abducted by the Hamas and we just were devastated. Because we know that the hourglass is running out. And if they're not, you know, released immediately. The faith maybe, you know, the same as Carmela and Nayo, and this frightened us a lot.

BASH: Did the officials tell you I don't want to get too graphic, and you just share what you want to share. But why it took so long to figure out that they were murdered?

DAN: Yes. So, actually, as you can imagine, we asked all those questions, and actually civil war. And they don't have all the information handy. But the estimation is that they were got murdered after they got abducted when they cross the border together, maybe because they were too slow.

Maybe, you know, because Carmela is 80 and she has heart problem. So, she's walking pretty, you know, she walks pretty slow. And Nayo when she gets stressed out because she's in the autistic spectrum. She starts yelling and she usually stays in the same place. And we're afraid that this was the reason. I'm sorry, but we don't know that for sure. I'm sorry.


BASH: You don't.

DAN: This is not an act of terrorism. This is just extermination. This is not an act of terrorism. You know, we felt that terrorism is the worst thing that we can call, hate crime. But this is -- this needs a new terminology, what happened there? And since it's so different, we have to behave differently. And we basically call the condition any, any, any aid, whether it's humanitarian or any other aid on the Giza population. You know, with the immediate release of the hostages, especially the kids and the elderly. It's unbelievable, you know,

BASH: Well, you mentioned -- you mentioned, the first of all, your pain is palpable and understandable. And we are so sorry for your loss of your family members, may their memories be a blessing, but you mentioned the kids.

And we do want to say once again, that there are three other members of your family who are unaccounted for Erez Kalderon 12, Sahar Kalderon, and also Ofer Kalderon, their father. So, we are praying for their safe return. And I really, I know, this is, was not easy to come on. But I really appreciate you continuing to share the story of your family even and especially with this grim, grim news.

DAN: And Dana, can I say just one last sentence?

BASH: Please.

DAN: Do we have time to say one last sentence.

BASH: Please.

DAN: You know, yesterday, President Biden visited Israel. And when he left -- and I know that he was pressuring Israel to agree for humanitarian aid, with nothing in return, and we understand his policy, because the U.S. care as much as we do for any human beings anywhere else on earth, especially in conflict area.

But since this is such a different disaster in such different magnitude, we think that in that specific case, I think that the least we should do is that when we give military (ph) aid to the Palestinian people, we cannot let our, you know, especially your citizens, but also Israeli citizens be below the ground in tunnels without water, without any -- like basic condition for human beings.


BASH: Yes. It's impossible. I say, I understand, but it is impossible to understand. But thank you for adding that. Again, thank you for coming on, Ido.

DAN: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: We'll be right back.