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Inside Politics

Families Of Hostages Appear With House GOP Leaders; Netanyahu: No Ceasefire In Gaza Without The Release Of Hostages; Republicans Seek Full Control Of VA Legislature As GOP Governor Pushes For 15-Week Abortion Ban; Abortion Not On Ballot, But Key Issue As VA Voters Head To Polls; Jewish Man Dies After Altercation At Rally In CA; House Set To Vote This Afternoon On Tlaib Censure Resolution; Democrats Divided On Israel Support As Israel-Hamas War Rages On. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 07, 2023 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: For 30 days now, hundreds of families have anxiously awaited word on the fate of their loved ones being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Several family members of hostages joined House Republican leaders this morning on Capitol Hill to beg for help and for an end to their silent suffering.

Here is Doris Liber. Her son Guy and his best friend were taken during the attack on the music festival near Gaza.


DORIS LIBER, MOTHER OF HAMAS HOSTAGE, GUY ILUZ: Every day is like eternity to me, and I can't wait any longer because I know that he was shot. I know. I don't know anything. I'm so proud of being in America and being an Israeli as well. But I do need you now because there's nothing helping me now. I pray, which I didn't do before, but please, please help me.


BASH: Today marks exactly one month since Hamas terrorists launched that horrific attack on Israel. Hamas is still holding nearly 250 hostages and Israeli troops are inside Gaza, encircling Gaza City. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's open to short humanitarian pauses, but no ceasefire without the release of hostages.

I want to go straight to Nic Robertson, who is live in Sderot. I know there's a lot happening at this moment, Nic.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: There is, and I'm just going to look over my shoulder here, and maybe John can just sort of go over to the horizon, pitch black. Seconds ago, we saw a series of rockets taking off out of Gaza.

What you're looking at now is in the direction of Gaza City, where the head of the IDF Southern Command says, IDF troops are currently fighting in the heart of Gaza City. Yet we've just seen a series of perhaps eight rockets at least coming out of Gaza City headed towards central Israel, and when those missiles are not intercepted here close to us, that means they -- that means they're very likely going to trigger the alarms in central Israel, perhaps around Tel Aviv, perhaps in other places, and the Iron Dome intercept rockets. Will intercept them further north from here.

But I think that just gives you an indication that while the IDF is making gains against Hamas on the ground, they said they killed 10 Hamas operatives today that they've taken control of a number of Hamas rockets, a number of Hamas rocket launchers. They're continuing to move forward on the ground.

Hamas, despite that, is still able to fire out. There is still a huge network of Hamas tunnels in the north of Gaza and the south as well that the IDF has yet to get into. And as we were -- as we've been hearing, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he is open to considering what his terming tactical pause is.

That is the humanitarian pauses the United States is pushing for. They're certainly not the ceasefire Israel's Arab neighbors are pushing for. The Prime Minister says no ceasefire without a release of all the hostages. But when he speaks about tactical pauses, he said, maybe for an hour or so, maybe we've had these before, maybe we can consider them again. Hamas is still in the -- has the ability to fire missiles into the center of Israel it seems tonight.

BASH: Absolutely. And obviously is determined to continue doing that as this war rages on. Nic, thank you so much. 30 days since you have been there reporting. Excellent, excellent reporting. We're lucky to have you there, Nic.

And up next, back here in the U.S., abortion may not technically be on the ballot in Virginia, but the results of today's election will determine the future of abortion rights in the Commonwealth of Virginia. John King was there talking to voters and will be here to preview tonight's results. Stay with us.



BASH: In Virginia, both houses of the state legislature are up for grabs in today's election, and the outcome could shape the future for Virginia's Republican governor and the 15-week abortion ban he's been pushing. CNN's John King reports.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A change of seasons in Loudoun County and a choice that will echo well beyond Virginia.

NANNETTE MEES, VIRGINIA VOTER: Abortion is tough. I have two girls. I feel personally that every woman has the right to do what she feels right for her with her body.

KING (voice-over): Nannette Mees is a registered Republican, but one of the suburban voters who changed Virginia from red to blue.

MEES: Abortion and guns, those are two big things.

KING (voice-over): Mees voted early for the Democrat in a critical state Senate race here.

MEES: Five flyers in the mail every day for the last month. It's a lot of money wasted.


KING (voice-over): Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin is among those spending millions.

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA: Holding the House, flip in the Senate. Holding the House, flip in the Senate.

KING (voice-over): Youngkin is not on this year's ballot, but his presidential ambitions are. Youngkin thinks he can reverse the Republican collapse in the suburbs, even while backing new abortion restrictions. If voters give him a full Republican legislature, Youngkin says Virginia will ban abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

YOUNGKIN: No more are we going to allow bureaucrats to tell folks that parents don't belong in a classroom.

KING (voice-over): Yet no abortion mentioned in his rally speech.

(on-camera): You said you're for tax cuts, you're for parental rights, you're for more funding for police. Isn't it strong leadership to say I'm for this too?

YOUNGKIN: It's very clear where I stand on this. We're running a big advertising campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here's the truth. There is no ban. Virginia Republicans support a reasonable 15-week limit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: MAGA Republicans, like Juan Pablo Segura, want to ban abortions in Virginia. Criminalizing abortions is wrong.

KING (voice-over): It is a giant test of whether Republicans can end a streak of punishing election losses since the Supreme Court tossed out Roe v. Wade.

YOUNGKIN: Discussion around abortion is one between an extreme position from the left and a reasonable position from all Republicans.

KING (voice-over): The Youngkin events look like a presidential test run. This is in Henrico County, the fast growing Richmond suburbs. Democrats hope to unseat a big Youngkin ally and prove the abortion debate still cuts their way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's nothing reasonable about banning abortion, but that's exactly what Republican Siobhan Dunnavant wants to do.

RACHEL KULAK, VIRGINIA'S VOTER: During the COVID lockdowns it was Siobhan Dunnavant that really worked to get our kids back in the classrooms. And I'm deeply appreciative for that.

KING (voice-over): Rachel Kulak calls herself a conservative independent, supports Donald Trump, prefers a six-week abortion ban, but is open to compromise.

KULAK: I don't support abortion, but if he can get it to 15 weeks, I think perhaps that's a fair middle ground.

KING (voice-over): Loudoun County is 40 miles west of Washington D.C. It still leaned red when Xi Van Fleet moved here 18 years ago. Loudon was home to just shy of 100,000 people then. It is more than four times that now, and 20 percent of the county's voters are Asian.

XI VAN FLEET, VIRGINIAN VOTER: My neighbors are Indians, Vietnamese, Korean, and Chinese. And if you talk about diversity, this is a very diverse area.

KING (on-camera): It's also become more democratic out here. Does that bother you?

FLEET: It bothers me, yes.

KING (voice-over): South Carolina born Gladys Burke, is part of Loudon's evolution. She is an independent who leans blue, owns a promotional products business, and takes issue with Youngkin's education agenda.

GLADYS BURKE, VIRGINIA VOTER: This thing about not teaching black history in the schools, not recognizing our black history, because I lived it.

KING (voice-over): But still undecided on the state senate race that could tip the balance of power.

BURKE: I've never been this torn before.

KING (on-camera): But you're open to some restriction --

BURKE: Absolutely.

KING (on-camera): -- on abortion actually.

BURKE: Oh, yes, absolutely.

KING (voice-over): Even if she votes Republican this time, Burke says Youngkin is wrong to think Virginia will return to red next year.

BURKE: Absolutely Biden, Biden, Biden, Biden.

KING (on-camera): You like him?

BURKE: Absolutely. I think he's done a great job. KING (voice-over): Nannette Mees is the face of Virginia's suburban shift. Her last Republican vote for president? George W. Bush back in 2004. That is the last time the Republican nominee carried Loudoun County and Virginia. Still a registered Republican, but ready to cast a fifth consecutive Democratic vote for president next year, but with hesitation.

MEES: I don't think he's the perfect one. But if I have to pick between him and Trump, who I would never, ever, ever vote for, it'd be Biden. And just pray.

KING (voice-over): That's for next November. First, this year's big test.


BASH: So interesting to hear all of those voices that will determine, not just today, but next year. This is where you're going to be all night?

KING: This is where I'm going to be all night.

BASH: Give us a preview.

KING: And think about Virginia. Joe Biden carried the state by 10 points, right? So why are we talking about Virginia? We're talking about Virginia because in Loudoun County, this is where some of the key races are. You just -- most of those voters are from Loudoun County.

State Senate race that goes right out here that could decide, does Virginia adopt abortion restrictions? Look how much. Look how much, 25 points. Joe Biden carried the county. But when then Youngkin run for governor, he didn't win the county, but he narrowed the gap considerably in Loudoun County, in Henrico County.

The margins matter in the suburbs. Youngkin was able to run much better than Donald Trump in the suburbs. Another thing to watch here in Loudoun County. We focus a lot on black voters, they matter. Latino voters, they matter. Growing Latino population here, but Asians are more than 20 percent of the voters here. It's one of the most important places in the country when you come to a critical swing constituency.

Not only tonight, but in 2024, they have trended Democratic. Youngkin believes they're coming back his way because of dissatisfaction with Biden. They like Youngkin's education and economic policies. A suburban battleground tonight, that'll tell us a lot about next year.


BASH: OK. So you're going to be on this date. We're going to be at the Commonwealth. We're going to be at Kentucky.

KING: It's Commonwealth night.

BASH: It is, that's right. Kentucky as well, in Ohio and more. Thank you so much.

KING: All right, thank you.

BASH: Such a good piece.

Up next, the House could vote in the next hour on whether to censure Rashida to leave for her anti-Israel. Some consider antisemitic comments. Will any Democrats or fellow Democrats support it? I'll talk to one of our colleagues next.



BASH: It has been one month since Hamas terrorists attacked Israel and murdered some 1,400 civilians. Since then, with the war between Israel and Hamas raging, antisemitic incidents and threats have increased vastly across the U.S. and across the world.

Just yesterday, a Jewish man in California died after suffering a head injury at a demonstration where both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters gathered. A man identified as 69-year-old Paul Kessler was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with at least one counter protester when he fell and struck his head. Kessler's death has been ruled a homicide and the investigation is still ongoing.

Here in Washington later today, the Democratic Party's divide over U.S. support for Israel will be on full display. Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib is facing two censure resolutions for her comments on Israel that many view as antisemitic.

Joining me now to discuss this and more is New Jersey Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer. Thank you so much for joining me. Let's start with a vote that may happen pretty soon this afternoon, and that is to censure Rashida to leave for a number of things including having -- making statements that suggest that Israel should be annihilated.

This is a -- from the river to the sea. She says it's just about an aspirational call for freedom. Most people, most Jews say it is about the destruction, not just of the Jewish state, but of Jews.

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D), CO-CHAIR, PROBLEM SOLVERS CAUCUS: That's universally accepted and known, that's what that means, river to the sea. That's the destruction of Israel, land of Israel, and of course, the Jewish people. It's basically a call for a second holocaust. So --

BASH: So will you vote to censure Rashida Tlaib?

GOTTHEIMER: If Mr. McCormick's resolution comes to the floor, I will be supporting that, yes.

BASH: How tough a decision is this for you?

GOTTHEIMER: And I'll be honest with you, you know, I've really grappled with the fact that over the last weeks, one, Ms. Tlaib came out a couple weeks ago after the hospital bombing which was awful, the bombing next to the parking lot. But there was news that came out on many stations that that actually was Israel doing it. And the truth came out thereafter. Not listening to Hamas's intelligence, but to American intelligence.

And that was launched by Islamic Jihad, that bomb that hit next to the hospital. And I asked Ms. Tlaib to please take down the false information, the disinformation that it was Israel that had bombed that hospital. And as you know she is yet to take that information down or change the story there. And these things have a huge impact on the rest of the world.

Millions of people listen to what members of Congress like Ms. Tlaib say and that disinformation leads to more antisemitism, I think it leads to more destruction and terror and death. And now claiming that, you know, and saying that -- and repeating river to the sea on a video that she put out, including saying the president of the United States supports genocide. Those things are just unacceptable and I think there has to be consequence for saying things that will lead to destruction, antisemitism and terror.

BASH: Is there any concern that censoring Rashida Tlaib could backfire?

GOTTHEIMER: I think, listen, there has to be -- when you say things knowingly and when people ask you to please not to say those things, or to correct them, to take them down --

BASH: Which you did.

GOTTHEIMER: -- many people have asked for that. Many people have requested that she not spread this information, this disinformation, which causes more antisemitism and harm, and she's chosen not to. So I think there just has to be consequence for that and that's -- and the House has a vehicle to do that.

BASH: Let's talk -- well, first of all, part of the video that she put out, which said, from the river to the sea, at the end was very strident when it comes to her fellow Democrat in the White House, President Biden, about his support for Israel, saying that he's going to effectively pay the price at the ballot box in a year.

She's not the only one. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said that she believes that President Biden's stance on Israel will hurt his reelection chances. Listen to what she said.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: This is the first time, Jen, that I have felt like the 2024 election is in great trouble for the president and for our democratic control, which is essential to moving forward because these young people, Muslim-Americans, Arab-Americans, but also young people see this conflict as a moral conflict.


JAYAPAL: And a moral crisis. And they are not going to be brought back to the table easily with, you know, if we do not address this.


BASH: Your response?


GOTTHEIMER: Listen, on October 7th, we know what happened. Hamas terrorists came in and butchered, massacred, raped, burned, beheaded 1,400 people, including dozens of Americans. Americans are still hostage, and hundreds of others are still hostage, right? I believe the president's strength and resolve to crush and kill Hamas, to get humanitarian aid into the region, which I think is critical, and get the hostages home.

Is why we're going to show the American people that our commander in chief is standing tall and strong for the United States of America, and standing up against terror. And I believe people will, at the ballot box, and right now, and I've talked to Democrats and Republicans who are saying that we have no choice as a country but to back those who want to destroy terrorists who want to seek us harm, who are actually, as we speak, launching rockets and not only to Israel, but at Americans, right?

As you've seen, there's been attacks against Americans, right, from Iraq, from Syria, from Houthis, right, going after Americans. The commander in chief's job is to protect America, to protect our allies, and to stand up to terror. Hamas has made it clear, as you know, Dana, that October 7th, leadership of Hamas (ph) is only the beginning.

They said there'll be a second, a third, a fourth October 7th. They will not stop. So the president said you can't just let them go on.

BASH: Congressman, thank you. Unfortunately, we're out of time up against the end of the show. Thank you for coming on. Appreciate it.

GOTTHEIMER: Thanks, Dana. Thank you.

BASH: Thank you for joining Inside Politics. CNN News Central starts after a quick break.