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Sources: At Least One American Hostage Expected to be Released Today; Israel Assessing Hamas Claim Youngest Hostage and Family Member are no Longer Alive; Schumer: "Five Alarm Fire" of Anti-Semitism must be "Extinguished"; Final Day of Current Truce, Talks Underway to Extend; Cheney: McCarthy Went to Mar-a-Lago after Jan 6, because Trump was "Depressed" and "Not Eating". Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 12:00   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Today on "Inside Politics" negotiators are racing to try to extend the temporary truce between Israel and Hamas. With just hours left before the current deal expires a top Qatari official tells CNN he's hopeful they'll be able to continue this pause.

And it comes as we are standing by for Hamas to release the final group of hostages as part of the current deal. CNN is covering this fast moving story from all angles. I want to start with my colleague, Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv. Wolf it's nice to have you on again on yet another critical day where you are.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Very critical day indeed. I'm going to tell you Dana, Israelis are very nervous right now. They want to see this temporary pause continued as well, because they want to see more hostages coming back to Israel. There's a lot of tension going on right now.

They don't know what's going to happen. Every day it seems Dana and I've been here for the past several days. Every day, there's nervousness will there be more hostages coming forward? Will there be a delay? And there have been delays in previous days, as we all remember, or will this go smoothly, more hostages will be released, more aid will go into Gaza.

And we'll see what happens. But I got to tell you that there's a lot of tension right now, maybe more so today than in previous days, because it's unclear how Hamas is going to behave and what's going to be going on.

So it's going to be a dramatic, important day to be sure, one way or another. But let's hope the temporary pause continues. So that more Israeli hostages, women and children especially those are the ones that Hamas is releasing as you know, will be able to come back home to Israel, Dana.

BASH: Yeah, absolutely. You can definitely sense that nervousness there. And Wolf, we're going to get back to you because you have an important interview that we'll bring to our viewers later in the show. Now I want to go to the White House. That's where CNN's Arlette Saenz is. Arlette you have been doing some reporting on the possibility of American hostages being released today. What are you hearing?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dana. The White House had said that they were hopeful American women hostages could potentially get out today. And the early indications, according to reporting from our colleague Kaitlin Collins, and Alex Marquardt is that it is expected that at least one American will be included in this group, leaving Gaza today.

Now this comes as the White House has said that there are two American women that they believe fall into the category of those who could have been released in this negotiated release. But the White House has not provided names or updates on their conditions.

And they're being quite careful with what they say because they want to make sure that everything goes according to plan. If you take a look at what happened with the release of Abigail Adan that four year old that had been held captive since the start of this October 7th attack.

It was not confirmed that she was included in this hostage list until the Red Cross physically had her in their hands. That is likely something that will happen today, as the U.S. wants to make sure that everything goes according to plan that these hostages are safely out of Gaza. But sources have said that they believe that there will be at least one American citizen included in that hostage release today.

BASH: Really important reporting at least one American citizen and we do want to reiterate that there are more at least five maybe more American citizens including of course men who are not on the table right now for release. Thank you so much for that -- reporting Arlette, Wolf back to you in Tel Aviv.

BLITZER: Dana, I want to get to a sobering update right now a very sobering update. Israeli forces to say they're assessing keyword assessing and claim from Hamas that the youngest Israeli hostage and the family are no longer alive. The terror group is claiming 10-month- old Kfir Bibas his 4-year-old brother Arielle (ph) and their mother Shiri were killed in an Israeli airstrike. That's the Hamas claim.

I want to bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann for us. Oren is also with -- Oren is also with us here in Tel Aviv. Hamas has often made claims like this before, Oren. What can you tell us about this Hamas claim?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, let's pick our way through this one very carefully based on what we know and what we don't know. We got a statement a short time ago from the Israeli military, the IDF saying they are assessing a claim that has come from Hamas that the family of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas the youngest Israeli hostage in captivity.

His older brother four year old Abigail and their mother Shiri Bibas were killed in an Israeli airstrike. Again Israel hasn't confirmed that news. They say they're simply assessing that and that they have been in touch with the Bibas Family.


We have heard repeatedly from the Bibas Family, my colleague Kaitlin Collins, and I have spoken with the family and they have really put pressure on the government and the Israeli community to do everything in their power to bring that family home.

They waited every day to see if the name of Kfir Bibas and his brother and mother would come up on the list of hostages to be released, and every day they were in anguish, as the names were not on that list. Earlier today, Hamas' military wing the Al Qassam Brigades put out a statement with very little information simply saying that 10-month-old Kfir Bibas and 4-year-old Arielle and the mother Shiri had been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

They provided no evidence to support that claim. And they do not provide a date for that airstrike. It is worth pointing out that we are on day six of a truce at this point, meaning there hasn't been an Israeli airstrike or strike otherwise in Gaza since Friday. So it's very unclear when Hamas claims this happened.

Israel clearly holding Hamas responsible even as the Israeli Spokesperson for the military, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Hamas had transferred or given the Bibas Family onto another terrorist organization or militant organization in Gaza, the IDF still holds Hamas responsible.

I'll read you a short part of the statement they put out earlier. Hamas is wholly responsible for the security of all hostages in the Gaza Strip. Hamas must be held accountable, and Hamas must immediately release our hostages.

So as we wait for more information about this, we will certainly keep you posted on anything more we learned from the Bibas Family. They obviously are trying to learn more information as well. Hamas is looking into that Al-Qassam Brigades claim.

It is also worth pointing out Wolf that the family has repeatedly called for the Red Cross to be able to visit their hostages in Gaza, their loved ones which should be allowed under international law. Hamas had not allowed that to happen.

BLITZER: Oren, what else are you hearing about the possible exchange of hostages that set for today? We hope -- we hope that happens and the possible extension of the temporary truce.

LIEBERMANN: It is a little later than we've seen hostage exchanges happen. We have seen one or two times perhaps the exchange in the release happened later than tonight. But there really haven't been any roadblocks or delays that we've heard of.

So we do expect the process here to begin pretty soon, I would imagine. It is 10 Israeli women and children on the sixth day of this truce here and we expect to see them 30 Palestinian women and children released from Israeli prisons. As of right now this is the extent of the truce and the agreements so far. But the Qataris have expressed quite a bit of optimism that it will be extended at least a day or two. That condition the Israelis have placed on it is they'll extend it another 24 hours.

The truce on the humanitarian aid going into Gaza for every 10 Israeli women and children released from captivity here. A senior Israeli official also said they're evaluating the possibility of extending the truce so that the strongest statement we've seen from the Israelis so far, Wolf will probably learn more after we see the hostages released.

BLITZER: And let's hope we do see those hostages released. Oren Liebermann reporting from here in Tel Aviv Oren, thank you very much. Dana, back to you.

BASH: Thanks Wolf. And the weeks since the October 7th attacks in Israel, killing thousands over thousand Israelis including women, children, and doing so with some barbaric ways. We have seen an alarming rise of anti-Semitism around the world, particularly here in the U.S. do hate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest ranking Jewish elected official in the U.S. just address this crisis in a powerful speech on the Senate floor.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I have noticed a significant disparity be between how Jewish people regard the rise of anti-Semitism and how many of my non-Jewish friends regard? To us, the Jewish people, the rise of anti-Semitism is a crisis. A five alarm fire that must be extinguished.

For so many other people of goodwill, it is merely a problem, matter of concern. After October 7th, Jewish Americans are feeling singled out, targeted and isolated in many ways. We feel alone.


BASH: CNN's Melanie Zanona joins me now from Capitol Hill. Melanie, it's so interesting to hear somebody like Chuck Schumer say what he just said and really take up the mantle to speak for Jews in America in a way that we don't always hear. Jewish Leaders even and especially Chuck Schumer do.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yeah. Yeah, that was a really powerful moment on the Senate floor. And for Chuck Schumer it is personal. He is the highest ranking Jewish lawmaker in the country and that is why he said he felt compelled to speak out and to draw attention to what he views as a crisis in the country.


But what he really wanted to convey here were the fears and anxieties that Jewish Americans feel in the country right now. He ticked off a number of incidents since that October 7th attack. And he also described what it felt like to hear some of his fellow citizens say that the war and that Hamas was justified in some way a message that could have been directed at some of the members of his own party.

Now, of course, this speech comes as Congress has been wrestling with trying to do an aid package for both Israel and Ukraine. As of right now though, that package really hinges on whether they can find bipartisan agreement on a border security provision package.

That is something that Republicans have been demanding be included in any aid package that includes money for Ukraine. But that is a complex issue Dana. As you know, it's something that has long eluded Washington for many years. So we'll see if they can get it done.

As of right now, they are trying to make some progress, hoping to get a handshake deal by the end of this week on that part of the package could see something on the floor next week. But it's a high task over here in Congress to get something like that done so all eyes will see what whether they can get it done Dana?

BASH: High task ticket anything done in Congress these days --


BASH: -- probably fair to say, even in especially things that historically have had a lot of bipartisan support. Thank you, Melanie I appreciate it. We're going to take a quick break. Stay with us. We'll be right back.



BASH: Welcome back. I'm Dana bash in Washington.

BLITZER: And I'm Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv. We're standing by to hear if Israel and Hamas will extend their temporary truce with just hours to go before their current deal expires. Earlier today, we drove the carcass of North of Tel Aviv to sit down for a one on one very special interview with Arab Israeli Knesset Member Mansour Abbas. He's a Palestinian citizen of Israel, watch this.


BLITZER: Israeli government of Prime Minister Netanyahu. They say their goal is to destroy Hamas in Gaza. And they say that will bring peace. But what if any role should Israel be playing -- let's say they do defeat Hamas in Gaza? What role should Israel play in the future of Gaza, if any?

MANSOUR ABBAS, ARAB-ISRAELI KNESSET MEMBER: First, it's important to note that the problem that we see that Israel is working right now on a military action solo. And what the state wants to do is also offer a diplomatic approach simultaneous that will correspond with the military approach.

Because what we've seen, at least in the first half of this war, is that the number of victims is too high, both on the Palestinian side and on the Israeli side. And the continuation of only militant approach will not bring peace. It needs another diplomatic angle in the same time as well as trying to defeat Hamas.

But we talked about the day after the war the first thing that needs to be done in order to see real change is to strengthen the Palestinian authority. Doing so needs to come through recognition, recognition through the UN Security Council that will immediately recognize Palestine.

And this stage next to work on removing all militant groups and taking down the arms of any militants group existence, and to work with the international community to strengthen the values of peace within the Palestinian community reconstruction of Gaza, and to start working towards a diplomatic approach for a peace with the Israeli side.

So both sides need to work simultaneously. And the Israeli side needs to bring a diplomatic approach to end this conflict. On the Palestinian side, it needs to take down all militant groups, and work as one state as well, and both sides work together we can see real change.

BLITZER: Did Israel go too far in its military response to Hamas, because as you correctly point out, thousands of innocent Palestinians in Gaza were killed and injured in the course of the Israeli military action, airstrikes, the ground operations. Did Israel go too far?

ABBAS: Looking at the Israeli response, it's clear that the response happened due to what happened on October 7th. About 1200 people were killed, the vast majority of them civilians. And we saw a very harsh response due to the horrors that Israel saw on October 7th.

But it's important to mention that the use of force and this is why we saw the use of force in that drastic numbers that affected Palestinian civilians and brought it to the death of a lot of Palestinian innocent people. But it's important to say that the use of strength and power alone does not work.

It didn't work to protect the people of Israeli citizens living across from the Gaza Strip. They were attacked regardless of Israel's existing military power. And on the same time, the military power that Hamas tried to exert through the military groups has also have not brought any successes or any achievements to the Palestinian people.

So both sides need to realize that the use of power on both sides have not had led us to any successes or any improvement of the situation. The only thing that's happening is that we're breeding more and more hate on both sides.



BLITZER: And I got to tell you Dana that Mansour Abbas this Palestinian citizen of Israel, a member of the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, very impressive. He's got very strong views on a wide range of very sensitive issues. And we're going to have a lot more of this special interview coming up later tonight in "The Situation Room" as well.

But he's very impressive. I got to tell you, he's got some good ideas on what to do going forward. So it's worth hearing what he has to say.

BASH: Oh, absolutely. I look forward to hearing the rest of this interview on "The Situation Room" later. A couple of things Wolf, one is the last thing that he was talking about. What an important question that you asked about whether Israel, of course, he is a member of the government in Israel, whether Israel went too far.

And he didn't say yes. He didn't say no, but he didn't say yes. And his response was so thoughtful. Basically saying, I understand why Israel did what they did, because so many civilians were so brutally murdered. And yet, the problem is that now there's a war and it's breeding even more hate.

BLITZER: Yeah. I just want to be precise. Mansour Abbas was a member of a previous Israeli government. He's not a member of Netanyahu government right now.

BASH: Thank you. Thank you for clarifying that.

BLITZER: He is a member of the Knesset. And let's not forget about 20 percent of the citizens of Israel are Palestinians, Palestinian Muslims, Palestinian Christians, Jews others. And he speaks for so many of them. So he's got a very, very influential voice in this country.

BASH: Yeah.

BLITZER: But he's diplomatic to a certain degree. But he's very blunt. And he wants to work. Exactly I think what President Biden wants to see what's called a two state solution, Israel living alongside a new state of Palestine. He doesn't know if that's going to happen.

But he'd like to be able to do whatever he can to try to make it happen. He wants to work with everyone outside Arab countries the international community to see if that could get going. And I'm sure he'd be more than happy to meet with President Biden to see if there's anything he can do to help get the so called two state solutions off the ground. We'll see what happens on that front. But it's worth hearing what he has to say unique voice in Israel.

BASH: Yeah, he is. And he -- as you said he is quite influential. It was also interesting Wolf, to hear him talk about the need for a two state solution, as you said, but the need for diplomacy with the Palestinians.

The question now has been the question for many years, which is with whom? Who is going to be that diplomatic partner for Israel, which I'm sure you will get into as well with him later in the interview. Thank you so much for bringing some of that to us Wolf I appreciate it.

BLITZER: Thank you. BASH: And money from deep pockets of wealthy donors. It's what every 2024 candidate wants, and it's what Nikki Haley just scored. But first, CNN exclusively obtained Liz Cheney's new book and the Former Congresswoman is spilling a lot of tea. What she's saying about her former Republican colleagues and their weight, unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump, that's next.



BASH: Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney is delivering a scathing critique of the GOP calling her former colleagues enablers of Donald Trump. In her new book exclusively obtained by CNN, Cheney condemns her party for publicly backing the Former President unsubstantiated claims of election fraud after many rejected the claims in private.

In one astonishing episode, she writes about Republican Congressman Mark Green on January 6th, signing objections to election results "As he moved down the line signing his name to the pieces of paper Green said sheepishly to no one in particular, the things we do for the orange Jesus".

Let's discuss this with our panel. Jackie Kucinich, the Washington Bureau Chief of The Boston Globe, Margaret Talev, Senior Contributor to "AXIOS" Tia Mitchell, Washington Correspondent for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and CNN's Special Correspondent, Jamie Gangel, who is the one who obtained this book ahead of its release next week.

Thank you all for being here, Jamie. We can start with orange Jesus. But as you mix in orange Jesus into this conversation, I want to pull one more quote from this book that you obtained. This is a conversation that Liz Cheney says that she had with Kevin McCarthy.

"Mar-a-Lago, what the hell, Kevin McCarthy, they're really worried Trump's not eating so they asked me to come see him. Cheney, what you went to mar a Lago because Trump's not eating McCarthy? Yeah, he's really depressed.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So there have been -- there's been a lot of pickup on this story in various other news organizations. One headline said the most bonkers explanation for why Kevin McCarthy went to Mar-a-Lago and I think it's true. That was just three weeks after January 6th we have to remember.

And he thinks that Liz Cheney is going to believe that that's why he will went running back to Trump. But this book is filled with things that are stunning as we say but not surprising.