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Isa Soares Tonight

Nagorno-Karabakh Leader Dissolving Self-Declared Republic; Israel's Political Turmoil; U.S. Migrant Crisis; Beloved Actor Sir Michael Gambon Dies At 82; GOP-led House Hold First Impeachment Hearing of President Biden; Two Shooting Incidents in Rotterdam Leave At Least Two People Dead; Nagorno-Karabakh Leader Dissolve Self-Declared Republic. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired September 28, 2023 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares. Tonight, we're following two

moving stories out of the United States. As the federal shutdown looms, U.S. House Republicans are attempting to push through the impeachment of

President Joe Biden.

And later this hour, Biden has his own warning for America, that something dangerous is happening right now. We'll bring you his speech on the state

of democracy when it happens. Plus, two shooting incidents in Rotterdam leave at least two people dead. We'll have an update on what we know so far

just ahead.

Well, U.S. House Republicans are holding the first hearing today in the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. They claim that he profited

off his son's business deals and abused his office. The White House denies this and the Republicans have yet to back up their claim with any type of


Impeachment inquiries usually start with more evidence, but the Republicans are going forward with it, even though it's less than three days before the

government runs out of money and shuts down potentially. Well, the U.S. President is set to speak in the battleground state of Arizona this hour

and honor the legacy of late Republican Senator John McCain.

We'll bring you that live when it happens. But first, I want to bring in CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Rodgers. Good to

have you with us.


KINKADE: So the impeachment hearing inquiry that we're seeing today is happening after almost a year of investigation. The Democrats call this a

long and discredited lie, Republicans on the other hand are saying that they've got evidence that shows President Joe Biden abused his public

office to benefit his family financially, specifically his son, Hunter.

But Republicans are yet to provide at least publicly any evidence. What should we make of what's being said so far today at this hearing?

RODGERS: Well, today's hearing is really just the beginning. It's not a fact-based hearing. They brought in some expert type witnesses who kind of

laid the groundwork for why they're starting this inquiry and whether it's appropriate to start an inquiry even if they don't have the evidence yet to

actually impeach the president.

So, nothing new was happening today. They say that they are issuing a lot of subpoenas and they have a lot of evidence to come. But as you've pointed

out, there have been years of investigation into the Bidens, and I personally think that if they had evidence that demonstrated an abuse of

power on the part of the current president, they would have made that public.

That said, you know, they do have subpoena power and the ability to hold hearings like this. So, we'll see what they come up with.

KINKADE: Impeachment offenses are of course, treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors. What are Republicans accusing the president

of that would constitute any of those?

RODGERS: They're effectively accusing him of bribery. They're saying that when he was the vice president, that he effectively sold access to himself

and potentially sold action, official acts that he promised or that he actually did in order that people would pay his son, Hunter Biden. So, it's

effectively a bribery charge.

The problem is, as we've said, we haven't seen anything to back that up, but that is the allegations that they've been working with.

KINKADE: So take us through the constitutional and legal questions that Republicans are raising, and how long is this inquiry expected to last?

RODGERS: I don't know how long it will last, (INAUDIBLE) it's really a political act, it's not a legal act. The rules of evidence don't apply, we

don't have an impartial judge who rules on events and then make other rulings. And we don't have an impartial jury who is seated to hear the case

and doesn't know anything about it, and doesn't have any stake in the outcome.

Here, the jurors, of course, are the members of the House, and many of them will vote with their party regardless of what happens in the investigation.

So, it's a completely different kind of proceeding. And to your question about, you know, what are the constitutional parameters? You know, what

does the constitution and the law require?


The answer is, it's not entirely clear. I mean, these members of the house, if they do go to an impeachment vote, will vote on impeachment, and if they

have the numbers, they'll impeach him even if they actually do not provide any evidence of the allegations that they brought forward.

So, it's just so far removed from the way that our justice system typically works. It's kind of like apples to oranges. But you know, there are some

Republicans more in the middle who have been skeptical about this whole process. There is a reason that they didn't actually vote to open an

inquiry in the first place. So, you know, we'll have to see where in particular those Republicans are at the end of process and see whether

they're willing to go along with an impeachment vote if the evidence hasn't been developed.

KINKADE: All right, we'll leave it there for now, Jennifer Rodgers, we have had a couple little connection issues just towards the end, but we get

your point, it's loud and clear, thanks so much. Well, hard-line --

RODGERS: Thanks --

KINKADE: House Republicans are the ones driving this impeachment inquiry as well as the government shutdown that now seems inevitable. I want to

bring in our politics senior reporter Stephen Collinson who joins us live from Washington. Good to see you, Stephen.

So I want to start with the shutdown because right now, U.S. government is warning workers that they might have to go without pay because this

deadline to reach a government -- a deal to keep the government open is midnight Saturday. There has been 21 federal government shutdowns in the

past five decades. Will we see another?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER: It looks very much like we will. It's almost impossible to work out a scenario how this doesn't

happen when the money from the government runs out just after midnight on Saturday evening in Washington. The reason for this is, we have an

inoperable Republican majority in the House of Representatives, both because it is so small, Kevin McCarthy, the sneaky, can only lose four

votes and still pass a bill.

And because there is this wing of pro-Trump extremists right-wingers who are basically holding the speaker hostage and refusing to vote to keep the

government open without massive spending cuts, much lower than the Republicans have already agreed for the next year with President Joe Biden.

So, it looks like the only way this ever get solved is if there is a shutdown and pressure builds on McCarthy, if troops don't start -- if

troops start losing their paychecks.

If the air traffic control system grinds to a halt, then possibly, McCarthy will have outside leverage to bring to bear on some of these extremists.

But without that, it looks like we're heading into shutdown in a couple of days.

KINKADE: And I want to turn back if we can to the impeachment hearing underway today. Impeachment offenses as I've said, a treason, bribery,

other high crimes and misdemeanors. How do you see this hearing inquiry playing out?

COLLINSON: Well, given that constitutional standard for impeachment which you mentioned, the whole process ought to be one of the most solemn and

grave constitutional moments, and that's why it's happened very -- and frequently in American history. The hearing we saw today was none of that

really, apart from the fact that there wasn't any real evidence brought forward by Republicans to back up their charges.

The evidence they did bring didn't back up what they were accusing Biden of. Which is as you said earlier, profiting from his son's business

affairs. This hearing only will add I think to perceptions of this as an attempt by Trump's allies in the house to revenge for his own double

impeachments when he was in office, and to try to weaken Biden and to mitigate some of the criminal and other issues hanging over Trump's head as

he heads into the 2024 election, presume he is the Republican nominee.

So, it wasn't really a very serious process, even the witnesses called by the Republicans refuted many of the thrusts of the Republican impeachment

theory. So, even from a Republican point of view, it didn't seem like a very successful hearing.

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly hasn't -- witness statements so far have -- seem to have backfired. But I have to ask you about the Republicans as a

whole because there are plenty Republicans that have come out publicly and said this should not be happening. Ken Buck of Colorado said that

Republicans are itching for an impeachment, are relying on an imagined history. How quick is that fire for Republicans?

COLLINSON: Well, the idea would be that voters get alienated by examples of extremism from the Republican Party. And it reminds them of what life

was like when Donald Trump himself was president. The -- although the extremists are the most powerful sect of the Republican majority, the

maturity was actually won by more moderate Republicans who won districts in the midterm elections in 2022 for Joe Biden carried as president in places

like Upstate New York, some areas of California.


So if those voters begin to see this as an overreach and an example of an extreme Republican Party right out of control. That could hurt the GOP in

the elections next year, and Republicans and Trump especially have had this big problem in recent elections, in which they have alienated more moderate

voters in suburban districts in key swing states like Georgia and Michigan.

If that happens again, this could rebound against the Republicans. So it is a risk for them, but right now, all they're concerned about is conducting

Trump's vengeance and pleasing their most committed supporters.

KINKADE: And of course, later this hour, U.S. President Biden is going to address the nation, talking about something dangerous happening right now.

He's talking about the fight for democracy. What do you expect him to say?

COLLINSON: I think it's an interesting return to a theme that has worked for the president in the past. Especially during the midterm elections in

fact, last year, when a lot of outside observers and journalists were quite skeptical that with Trump not on the ballot, this idea that America is

under siege from an anti-democratic Republican Party, which is pushing the return of an increasingly autocratic candidate, Donald Trump.

We were quite surprised, a lot of us there actually worked in the midterm elections. Biden has been having a difficult political time the last few

weeks, there's been a lot of talk about his age, whether he would get through and fully fulfill a second term, his approval rating is very low.

The public isn't believing his arguments, the economy is improving.

So what we've seen is the president really getting to give the last week or so, tackling some of those issues head on, and his returning to the

argument which actually got him into the 2020 election race in the beginning, which is that Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to

American democracy. This is not a normal election, the issue on the ballot is a survival of American democracy.

And I think that's what you will hear from the president, even though where, you know, this is September 2023 and not September 2024 just a few

months before the election. It's looking a lot like Trump v. Biden all over again.

KINKADE: Yes, it certainly is, and we will bring our viewers that speech live when it happens in the battleground state of Arizona. We'll leave it

there for now, Stephen Collinson, thanks so much.


KINKADE: Well, Dutch police saying there are at least two people dead after two shootings in the city of Rotterdam. I want to go straight to our

Scott McLean who is tracking this for us from London. So, Scott, police say the shootings happened in two different places, they have a suspect in

custody. What are you learning?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so two separate locations, Lynda, not far from each other. Both in sort of the river-front area of Rotterdam,

not far from the city's center. So, police say that it was around mid- afternoon when a first shooting was called in. This is a residential area, what looks to be a low-rise apartment building and the footage that you see

there that we have from the scene shows emergency crews, looks like they're working on one person, helping one person on the pavement, then you can see

smoke billowing out of the actual building.

According to CNN's affiliate "RTL", a 32-year-old suspect went into that building and shot dead a 39-year-old woman and injured her 14-year-old

daughter, who was seriously hurt. He then set fire to that building. Then the second location is the Rasmussen University Medical Center, it's about

a kilometer and a half or so away, a short drive, maybe 15-minute walk or so.

"RTL" reports that the suspect then went inside of a classroom and shot dead a 46-year-old male teacher. This is the very same medical school where

the suspect himself was a student. And "RTL" also reports that he did in fact have a previous criminal record, he was convicted of animal abuse back

in 2021. Now, initially, police reported the suspect was wearing combat clothes, may have been on a motorcycle carrying a handgun.

Where they ended up finding him was hiding underneath of a helipad on the campus of that university medical center. And while police say that this --

these two crimes were targeted, the motive here, Lynda, is still far from clear though.

KINKADE: OK, Scott McLean for us, good to get that detail from your reporting for us from London, thank you. Well, still to come tonight, U.S.

Army soldier Travis King is back in Texas, we'll tell you the surprising country that played a role in his trip out of North Korea. Plus, more than

half of Nagorno-Karabakh's population has fled to Armenia. We'll have the latest on that crisis there.



KINKADE: Welcome back. American soldier Travis King is back in the U.S. today. He landed in Texas early Thursday after being released by North

Korea. Officials in the U.S. thanked several countries including China for their help with his release. Here is CNN's Alex Marquardt with more.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The announcement came as a surprise.

MATTHEW MILLER, SPOKESPERSON, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE: The United States has secured the return of Private Travis King from the

Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

MARQUARDT: Now, the U.S. expects to learn what drove Private Travis King's dramatic escapade into North Korea as well as details on his more-than two

months in North Korean custody. U.S. officials say multiple countries had undertaken intense diplomacy to free King, and that Sweden which represents

U.S. interest in North Korea played a pivotal role.

MILLER: We thank Sweden and the People's Republic of China for their assistance in facilitating that transfer.

MARQUARDT: King was taken from North Korea to the Friendship Bridge with China in Dandong, where he was met by the American ambassador and defense

attache. From there, he flew to Chen Yen in China, and then onto the U.S. Airbase Osan in South Korea, before flying back to the United States.

MILLER: We expect him to arrive in the coming hours.

MARQUARDT: The U.S. providing no clues as to why the North Koreans decided to expel King now.

(on camera): Was there anything that the North Koreans asked for or received in exchange? Was there a trade at all?

MILLER: We did not give them anything, we made no concessions as a part of securing his return.

MARQUARDT: Do you have any idea why they decided to suddenly expel him?

MILLER: I am going to follow my general here, and not try to get into the heads of foreign governments and certainly not that one.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): King is set to be in good health, very happy to be free and eager to see his family. A spokesman for his mother saying in a

statement she quote, "will be forever grateful to the United States Army and all its inter-agency partners for a job well done. King's family had

previously said they didn't understand why King had done what he did.

JACQUEDA GATES, SIBLING OF TRAVIS KING: This is really hard on my mom. You know, that's her baby boy. His room is still in her house.

MARQUARDT: When King fled from the airport in Seoul, South Korea to the DMZ, he had been ordered back to Texas to face discipline after pleading

guilty in South Korea to assault, for which he was sentenced to 50 days of labor in South Korea.


KINKADE: Our thanks to Alex Marquardt there. Well, China played a key role in the release of Private Travis King. So, how did this happen? I want to

bring in CNN correspondent Paula Hancocks who has more on this. It's such an intriguing story, Paula. You know, why did the private run across into

North Korea? Why did they hold him for two months?


Why was he released without conditions? And obviously, all the other international countries involved in his release. Take us through what we


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Lynda, as to why he did it certainly, that's something that we're hoping for

answers, from Travis King himself. We've certainly heard from North Korea why he did it. So Pyongyang saying through state media that he was running

away from what they called racial discrimination in the United States.

But we haven't heard from Travis King himself. So, that's really North Korea's version of events. Now, over the next days and weeks, certainly,

Travis King will be questioned about this. Now, we've heard from U.S. officials that the priority at this point is his health, obviously,

physical and also emotional. We don't know what conditions he's been under for the past couple of months in North Korea.

But they will be interested to know exactly what North Korea asked him, and of course, what information he may have given them. Now, North Korea did

say that they had carried out what they called an investigation, what everyone else widely believes to be extensive questioning of this army


They may not have been privy to any specific information, certainly no confidential information, but he is still a U.S. soldier who was stationed

in South Korea. So, certainly, there would have been extensive questioning of this individual, and that's the sort of thing that U.S. officials would

like to know about what information potentially did North Korea gauge from him?

There is an overwhelming feeling among many who follow North Korea. That North Korea potentially had what they needed from this individual. They had

questioned him and they simply wanted then to give him back. It does potentially show that there is very little will on North Korea's side to

want to engage with Washington or with Seoul.

We've seen Kim Jong-un in Russia, we've seen him get closer to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, and in the past in this situation, a detainee,

certainly, a U.S. detainee could be used as a bargaining chip to entice a high-level U.S. individual to Pyongyang. We've seen former U.S. Presidents

go to Pyongyang to try and secure the release of detainees.

There was none of that this time. We heard from North Korea, he would be expelled. They didn't have -- it appears, the interest in having a high

profile U.S. guest to come to Pyongyang to lobby for someone's release. So, the way that, that is being interpreted in many circles is that it shows

just how little Pyongyang has a desire to speak to Washington at this point.

KINKADE: All right, Paula Hancocks, we'll leave it there for now. Paula Hancocks reporting for us in Seoul, South Korea. Thank you. Well, Ukrainian

air defenses have shot down more than 30 drones as Russian forces launched attacks on southern Ukraine and the Odesa region. That's according to

military officials.

The action coming during an unannounced visit to Kyiv by NATO Secretary- General Jens Stoltenberg. He issued this assessment of the Ukrainian counteroffensive.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: Today, your forces are moving forward. They face fierce fighting, but they're gradually gaining ground.

Every meter that Ukrainian forces regains, is a meter that Russia loses.


KINKADE: Well, NATO has donated billions of dollars worth of weapons to Ukraine, but has stopped short of bringing it into the alliance. Well,

still to come tonight, the president of Nagorno-Karabakh says the self- declared republic will no longer exist in 2024. I'll be speaking to Armenia's ambassador at-large about the growing crisis there.

Also, ahead, the cleanup begins after Greece is hit by yet another storm. But things could get worse with more rain on the way. We'll have a live

weather report.



KINKADE: Have you with us. Well, we are waiting for U.S. President Joe Biden to deliver an address and issue a stark warning. It will be about

Donald Trump, the Republican presidential frontrunner, and likely nominee who could face Biden next November.

Specifically, the president will focus on what he calls the danger that Trump poses to America's democracy. Biden will speak at an invent also

honoring his close friend, the late U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona. And of course, we will bring that to you live.

Well, the self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh will cease to exist from next year. Its president has signed a decree dissolving state

institutions from January after Azerbaijan seized control of the region last week. As a reminder, Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan borders,

but has for decades operated autonomously with a de facto government of its own.

Well, thousands of ethnic Armenians have already fled the state and that number keeps rising. Our Scott McLean reports.


MCLEAN (voice-over): The satellite images show the scale of the exodus from Nagorno-Karabakh, a seemingly endless snaking line of vehicles

interrupted only by the military checkpoints along the way. This video released by Azerbaijan shows police handing out water to waiting cars,

though some inside fear what or who else they might be looking for.

Aid is getting into Nagorno-Karabakh, but the U.S. State Department says it could be days before a mission of international observers is organized.

That may be too little, too late.

NIKOL PASHINYAN, PRIME MINISTER, ARMENIA (through translator): Analysis of the situation shows that in the coming days, there will be no Armenians

left in Nagorno-Karabakh. This is an act of ethnic cleansing.

MCLEAN: There also won't be anything resembling an independent state either. The president of the break-away Armenian majority region says, the

self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh ceases its existence. Clearly, not by choice, but due to the current difficult military political

situation. And to ensure that ethnic Armenians including the militants who lay down their weapons can get out.

Well over half of the Nagorno-Karabakh population has reached Armenia. And officials say the pace has not slowed down. They come packed into cars,

buses or in the backs of trucks, carrying whatever they can. Some, overwhelmed by their sudden new reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We had horrific days. I could have never imagined that we would come to this point. We're leaving our caravan

(ph) and going away.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Zhaklin Avetisyan is a doctor in Armenia, seeing patients soon after they arrive, hungry, stressed, depressed or worse.

DR. ZHAKLIN AVETISYAN (through translator): The situation is very bad, especially for the children. They mostly have a cold. For example, one

group came in a open body car. They were under the rain for two days. Imagine how cold and soaked they were.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Prominent business man, philanthropist and former state minister of the separatist government, Ruben Vardanyan, did not make

it to Armenia. Video published by Azerbaijan's security services showed him being forcefully led into a cell by masked soldiers.

Now he has been accused of financing terror and involvement with illegal armed groups, though Baku has not presented evidence. And the forces that

Azerbaijan considers illegal, Armenian separatists considered their legitimate army -- Scott McLean, CNN, London.


KINKADE: For more on all this, I want to bring the Armenian ambassador at large, Edmon Marukyan. He joins me now from Armenia.

Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: Ambassador, tens of thousands of people have now fled the region. According to our interviews, they are hungry, traumatized, some with just

the clothes on their back. Even a newborn baby, just two weeks old, one of the many fleeing with their family.

How would you describe what's unfolding?

MARUKYAN: So what's happening, it's very well organized, first of all, very well planned and organized and executed ethnic cleansing against

peaceful people of Nagorno-Karabakh. And at this moment, already 78,000 people crossed the border.

And of course, it is a big humanitarian crisis for Armenia as well because a small country with small resources, it's a very big crisis. We expect

more and more.

And after this invasion, after Azerbaijani military attack on September 19, Armenian people, people in Nagorno-Karabakh, they cannot imagine how

they're going to leave their ancestral homeland because of these attacks, because of these violations, mass violations.

And no one guaranteed the rights and securities under any mechanism before we were talking about international mechanism. Under any mechanism, to

leave and continue (INAUDIBLE) their homeland.

So they are, all of them, they are forced to leave their ancestral land and they are refugees now in Armenia. So to me, as a lawyer, it is a violation,

it is a crime against humanity. And it is clearly well orchestrated ethnic cleansing committed by the leadership of Azerbaijan.

KINKADE: Ambassador, the government of the self declared republic Nagorno- Karabakh has been forced dissolve parliament and the president of the region says it will cease to exist from next year.

What does that mean --


KINKADE: -- for those that stay behind?

MARUKYAN: Well, you know what?

In what condition is the, you know, the president of the Nagorno-Karabakh sign this document?

In what condition he is?

In what condition they are?

So we are talking about people who became hostages in this military attack without -- by any protection, without any right, without any guarantees.

As you know, already, we have illegally detained people from a (INAUDIBLE) bridge and, you know, (INAUDIBLE) the people to human rights, to secure the

right to life and to protect them from torturers.

But this is happening and they already have more information coming, they have lists of about a couple hundreds people, to detain and bring them to

Baku prisons. Until now, we have (INAUDIBLE) in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani prison. Also Syrians (ph) in Azerbaijani prisons, who were kept with

violation of this (INAUDIBLE) statement.

It was signed in November 2020.


KINKADE: And just to be clear, Nagorno-Karabakh has been home to Armenians for centuries. But internationally, it's recognized as being part of

Azerbaijan. The foreign policy advisor to Azerbaijan's president spoke in Brussels on Tuesday. And he had this to say.


HIKMET HAJIYEV, FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: Azerbaijan doesn't have any (INAUDIBLE) goals and objectives of the sovereign

territory of the Republic of Armenia. That is not completely out of Azerbaijan's agenda.

Azerbaijan is only intruding there so (INAUDIBLE) integrity and also recent counterterrorism actions on the ground for very limited and local by nature

and it was a very short period of time that has been engaged.


KINKADE: So he speaks very fast but basically he was saying that Azerbaijan doesn't have any military objectives. This battle to retake the

region, though, has claimed the lives of at least 200 people; hundreds more injured, tens of thousands have fled that are nondisplaced.

What is Azerbaijan's objective, as you understand it?

MARUKYAN: So Azerbaijan objectives is the population of the (INAUDIBLE) of Nagorno-Karabakh. So we were talking during the negotiations about people.

All our questions that we were raising are about people.

They were concentrated on lands so need lands without people because, for them, the people became a problem. Because these people, arguing and

fighting for their rights, for their freedoms, and it's not now -- I mean, it's already more than 30 years, if we look at collapse of the Soviet


So what's happening here, so after the self declaration of independence, they started to bring their statehood (ph) and they built institutions,

state institutions and about terrorists, they're talking about terrorists. There are no terrorists.

So the (INAUDIBLE) institutions in Azerbaijan talks to this institutions, these military against these institutions. Doesn't matter. Civilian doesn't

matter. Military, but this attacks are against institutions that these people are building.

So of course, nobody recognized the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh but the Nagorno-Karabakh always had autonomy, always had self government

and self-governance.

So what will happen after this?

So they just were arguing that you must dissolve everything. And we are not going to guarantee any rights and securities on the international


That means that these people must leave the territory; otherwise, we already know what's going happen with that. As you said, (INAUDIBLE) were

killed, wounded; people are in Baku prisons tortured.

KINKADE: We'll have to leave it there for now but we do appreciate your time. Ambassador Edmon Marukyan of Armenia, thank you very much.

MARUKYAN: Thank you. Thank you for having me. Thanks.

KINKADE: Well, and on Monday on this show, we will be joined by the Azerbaijan ambassador to the U.K., Elin Suleymanov. We heard his view very

briefly in this interview but we will have much more from him on the ongoing crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Historic rainfall has shut down parts of central Greece after thousands of people were evacuated. Roads, businesses and homes were underwater. Several

months of rain came down in less than a day. These communities are still struggling to recover from a deadly storm that just hit two weeks ago.


VASSILIS KOURSOVITIS, HOMEOWNER: The catastrophe last night was biblical. The river overflowed, the water was two meters high. An oil mill was

damaged and the oil tanks spilled into the street.

We stayed at our homes to avoid harm. I was afraid; the water had reached here to my chest. I was afraid and I stayed in the house and I kept

thinking I would drown.


KINKADE: People there are bracing for even more rain.



KINKADE: An update on the story we are following. A third victim, a 14 year old girl, has now died of her injuries in the Netherlands shooting.

She is the daughter of the 39-year-old who was also killed.

Police have a 32-year-old suspect in custody and they say the victims were targeted. The first shooting took place at a house, where a woman and a

girl were shot and killed. The second at a classroom at the Erasmus University Medical Center. Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is offering his

condolences to the victims and their families.

Still to come tonight, should it be harder to remove a prime minister from office?

Israel's supreme court is looking at a law critics say personally protects Benjamin Netanyahu.





KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us.

Israel's supreme court heard challenges a new law that makes it harder to declare a prime minister unfit for office. The hearing wrapped up just a

few hours ago. It is not clear when we will have a ruling.

The law could apply to any prime minister; the critics say it is built to shield the current leader, Benjamin Netanyahu. His efforts to overhaul the

courts have been met with mass protests.

And Mr. Netanyahu has been on trial for alleged corruption, which he denies. To break down what's at stake, CNN's Hadas Gold joins me now from


Good to have you with us. Netanyahu is obviously facing this ongoing corruption trial. And this law that was passed earlier this year would make

it harder to remove someone like him, a prime minister, from office. Take us through the arguments and the appeal that happened in the Supreme Court


HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of all the cases being heard in the supreme court, this could have the most direct significant personal

impact on Benjamin Netanyahu and his ability to serve.

It's because his hearing today heard challenges to the law that was passed essentially to help protect Benjamin Netanyahu. This was passed very

quickly in March and it essentially put down into law that the only way you can remove a prime minister from office for declaring him unfit to serve is

for physical or mental reasons.

The prime minister can do it themselves or a supermajority in the Israeli cabinet ratified by the Israeli parliament could then remove a prime

minister from office. If you know anything about Israeli politics, getting a supermajority in the parliament is very difficult to do.

To be clear, there wasn't any sort of settled law before this passed about exactly how you can remove a prime minister from office. But case law had

suggested the attorney general could do it.

As you noted, Benjamin Netanyahu has been facing an ongoing corruption trial and there were serious possibilities that the attorney general would

have declared Benjamin Netanyahu unfit for office because of the circumstances surrounding his ongoing corruption trial.

Again, he's denied all the charges. But this law was passed, seen very much as protecting Netanyahu. And today in court, we actually heard from the

lawyers representing the parliament, essentially admitting, yes, sure; this law does help Benjamin Netanyahu.

But they believe it should stand because they say, if the supreme court knocks it down, they argue the supreme court would be doing damage to

democracy, taking away the millions of votes who voted for Benjamin Netanyahu, wanting him in power.

The petitioners who were arguing for the law to be annulled, they say it is a misuse of constituent power. And the attorney general, a member of the

government technically, does not necessarily political ally of the prime minister, she's on the opposite end of the government on this.

Lawyers representing her said that a basic law cannot be used as a kind of private resource that removes personal problems from the field of morality

and criminal law. They are arguing that at minimum if the law is not going to be taken down, at least it should be delayed.

It should only take effect in the next parliament, which could be a few years from now. We do know this case needs to be decided by January when

some of the justices retire but it is possible we will likely get a decision on this specific case possibly within the next few weeks.

KINKADE: We will check in with you in the coming weeks with regards to that. Good to have you with us, thanks so much.

We are tracking the aftermath of a deadly wedding hall fire in northern Iraq. The interior minister says 14 people have been arrested amid

allegations of negligence and corruption.

This comes as funerals have begun. Authorities say illegal building materials fueled the blaze that killed at least 100 people. Scores more

were injured. I'm going to show you video of the moment the fire began. We need to warn that some viewers may find this disturbing.


KINKADE (voice-over): It shows a packed venue, celebrating a young couple's marriage. The fireworks shoot up during a dance. That is when the

wedding turns into a nightmare.

Sparklers light the ceiling on fire and send people running for their lives. The guests say the bride and groom survived but are, obviously,



KINKADE: Texas governor Greg Abbott is hitting back at criticism surrounding his response to the migrant crisis. He says, while New York

City officials believe their situation is unsustainable, Abbott says his state has endured it for years.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): But I can tell you, what you're dealing with in New York, what you're seeing and witnessing in the state, is a tiny

fraction of what is happening every single day in the state of Texas.


KINKADE: Abbott also defended his efforts to bus migrants to cities in the northeast, saying migrants often choose New York as their destination.


KINKADE: CNN's David Culver is in Mexico and gives us a glimpse at the difficult journey these migrants are making.


DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're here in southern Mexico and we're walking with a group of migrants, we actually met

this group in Guatemala. And they have been making the trek for about 18 days. They're originally from Venezuela. A couple of families and some

other stragglers who have come together and they've gotten to know each other along the way.

Interestingly enough, the reason we're walking right now with them and some of them are trying to hurry up is because they're trying to go around a

migration checkpoint. They were picked up on the riverbank on the Mexico side. And they were taken in a van.

They of course, had to pay and brought to just before the checkpoint, that's when they were all unloaded. And you can see that's where these

folks are walking behind high grass. And they're finding their way to catch up with that same van but on the other side of the checkpoint.

We should point out; we're able to go around it because we can choose any route we're here illegally. They are not in Mexico legally, that they have

not entered any of the countries since leaving Venezuela legally. Their hope is, of course, like everyone else to get to the U.S.

But this just shows you how extensive even what is normally an hour drive and what's going to be a whole day for them turns out to be.


KINKADE: Our thanks to David Culver.

Still to come, we pay tribute to the beloved Harry Potter star, Sir Michael Gambon.




KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

U.S. secretary of state Anthony Blinken is well-known on the diplomatic stage. But he may also have a future on a concert stage, take a look.



KINKADE (voice-over): Blinken there showing off his talents at the State Department Wednesday as he announced a new music diplomacy initiative.

He joked, "If this doesn't clear the House, I don't know what will."


KINKADE: He actually sounds really good.

We end the show with some sad news. Unfortunately, beloved Irish actor Sir Michael Gambon has died at the age of 82. He's known for his extensive

catalog of work across television, film and radio, his career beginning on stage in the 1960s.


KINKADE: But it wasn't until the '80s that he became a household name, playing the lead in the miniseries, "The Singing Detective," though it was

as the Hogwarts' headmaster Dumbledore in the Harry Potter franchise that he will perhaps be best remembered.


KINKADE: In the words of Sir Michael's Dumbledore, "Do not pity the dead. Pity the living and, above all, those who live without love."

I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us today.

Before we go, we are waiting to hear from the U.S. president, who is going to deliver an address on what the White House is calling the threat to U.S.

democracy. We will bring it to you live when it happens.

Thank you for watching. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.