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Isa Soares Tonight

Russian Airstrikes Hit Civilian Areas In Ukraine; Iranian Activist Wins Nobel Peace Prize; Biden Administration To Deport Venezuelan Migrants; U.S. Cities Grapple With Surge Of Immmigration; Trump Endorses Jim Jordan To Be Speaker; Scalise & Jordan Seek Speakership After McCarthy Ousted. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired October 06, 2023 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, deadly Russian airstrikes pound Ukraine

destroying more civilian infrastructure and claiming yet more lives. We are live from Hroza where locals are still reeling from Thursday's devastating


Then the Iranian activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize from inside her jail cell. We'll have CNN's exclusive conversation with her. Plus, the

Biden administration announces new plans to deport Venezuelan migrants, but critics warn it's a drop in the ocean.

But first this evening, we begin tonight with a slew of devastating Russian attacks in Ukraine. The latest hitting residential buildings in the eastern

city of Kharkiv overnight. Dozens were injured and a ten-year-old boy and his grandmother were killed. That follows another attack if you remember on

Thursday in the nearby village of Hroza where a Russian missile struck a cafe as well as a shop.

The death toll there now up to 52 people. The Kremlin asked about the strike, says the Russian military does not hit civilian targets, but look

at those images there on your screen. The damage in Hroza suggesting very much otherwise. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has been reporting from that same

village, he joins us now live from Hroza.

And Fred, where you are in a small village, it just seems as we saw in that picture just so much devastation, so much loss. I mean, a third of this

village wiped out in an instant. Just bring us the very latest. Describe the scene for us.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is really devastating. And in fact, I'm going to get out of your way, and you

can see the scene for yourself, thus, you can see the building that was destroyed, which, as you said had a shop and then also a cafe, and it is as

well just completely destroyed.

There's only really a shell left of it. And you know, yesterday when we were here, there was still a search and rescue operation that was going on.

This entire area here was covered in debris. That's all since been cleared, because the search and rescue crews very quickly came to the sad

realization that it was impossible to find any sort of survivors underneath the rubble that was here.

So, quickly, all this turn from a search and rescue operation to a recovery operation, and then finally, to clearing operation for what you see right

here. There were forensic crews working here throughout the better part of the day, but they certainly only found a few fields of bodies that were

still here.

So, definitely, a very difficult situation there for the search and rescue crews here, and also for this village. And I think you're absolutely right

to point out that this village originally had about 320 inhabitants throughout the time that Russia's invasion of Ukraine has been going on.

Many people left here, the Russians of course, occupied this place and then left themselves or were driven out by the Ukrainians. Right now, before

this attack took place, we believe about 150 to 160 people still lived here, 50 now killed in this attack. So, you're absolutely right, about a

third of the population was wiped out.

And I was speaking to one gentleman today who lives very close by here, his brother was killed, his brother's wife was killed as well --

SOARES: Well --

PLEITGEN: And he knows pretty much everybody who was on the list of those who were killed. There was another lady that we spoke to who just lives

across here, she came here and she laid down flowers at this sort of makeshift memorial that was set up here, and she was in tears as she

described all the people who she knew who were killed.

So, definitely, this is a devastating attack that took place -- once again, the Ukrainian authorities are saying that this was not a military target.

This was --

SOARES: Yes --

PLEITGEN: The funeral for a soldier who died about a year ago, who had been buried in the town of Dnipro, who was then being repatriated. We were

actually at his grave today, and then there was a funeral wake which was held here. So, a lot of people were killed in that attack that took place.

The Ukraine, of course, blaming it very much squarely on the Russians, and once again saying this was not a military target by any means, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, not a military target from what we learned yesterday was that a precision missile was used, and President Zelenskyy says that the only

thing that can prevent these sorts of attacks and this loss and devastation are basically more air defenses which he has been appealing for, for some

time, appealing for in Europe and Spain just this week.


All this of course as U.S. military aid hangs in the balance. Given the scores that we have seen, where you are, those injured in Khakiv, I mean,

how concerned, Fred -- just reiterate this, how concerned are officials about possible waning support here?

PLEITGEN: Well, I think they're extremely concerned about that, and I think one of the things that we've seen is, maybe somewhat of a pattern

that was developing, because what we saw was that the attack that took place in Kharkiv early this morning, that was the same type of missile,

that's the one that destroyed the building here, which once again, we have to say, this missile caused a lot of destruction here in that building.

Caused a lot of destruction, a similar one or the same type of missile in Kharkiv as well. It's called an Iskander missile, which has an extremely

heavy warhead, and it is certainly a missile that in other cases we have seen western surface-to-air missile systems be able to intercept those

kinds of missiles. So, the Ukrainians understand the more surface-to-air missile systems of western-build they have, the better chance they have of

picking off missiles like this one.

Now, there was one bright spot actually for the Ukrainians after that visit that Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to Spain, is that the Germans have pledged an

additional --

SOARES: Yes --

PLEITGEN: Surface-to-air missile system, a Patriot surface-to-air battery, that is certainly something that does a lot of good. But of course, none of

that would offset any sort of delays in U.S. aid. The Ukrainians understand that that's something that's critical. The U.S. is by far the largest donor

of military aid to Ukraine, and certainly, they also feel that there could be a chilling effect, if there's delays by the U.S. or if in fact, U.S. aid

dries up.

So, right now, really difficult situation there for the Ukrainians, one that they're hoping that, that aid does continue on the side of the

Americans, because they also understand with these missile attacks that are going on, as they believe, Isa, that these types of attacks will increase

as the weather gets colder here.

It's a pattern that we saw this past Winter as well as the Russians then started attacks on critical infrastructure, which of course, caused a lot

of people to have a very cold Winter here in this country, Isa.

SOARES: Indeed, our Fred Pleitgen and team in Hroza in Ukraine, appreciate it, Fred, terrific work, thank you very much. Let's get a closer look at

today's developments in Ukraine. I want to bring in Cedric Leighton; he's a CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Air Force colonel, a well-known face

here on the show.

Cedric, great to have you back on the show. I mean, your reaction first of all, I'm sure you were hearing Fred Pleitgen there to that attack in Hroza.

I mean, 40 kilometers from the frontline, not a military target. That is clear.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that's absolutely clear, Isa, and the key thing to remember when you look at something like this, this is

part of a pattern of Russian attacks. They attack the civilian infrastructure, they are obviously looking at things that they can get at,

that are fairly near the frontlines, but they're also going deeper than that.

But in this particular case, the attack against Hroza, that is indicative of the kinds of things that the Russians are planning. They're using

missiles that are just proportionate in terms of their size, in terms of their weight and even their range, and of course, their warheads.

And they're using those missiles in a way that, first of all, they were not designed to be used, but they're using them as terror weapons, and that is


SOARES: Yes --

LEIGHTON: Exactly what we're seeing here.

SOARES: So colonel, if you're a General right now, given everything we've just seen in Hroza, in Kharkiv, what we're hearing from the United States.

If you're a General right now, leading your soldiers on that long frontline, and you hear that your biggest military contributor, the United

States may pull out because of political wrangling in the U.S. House of Representatives. How then, colonel, do you plan -- do you plan for a Winter


LEIGHTON: Yes, you -- what you end up doing is you end up saving your resources as much as you possibly can. One thing that you might try to do

is to achieve some kind of a breakthrough so that when it comes to the political aspects, that you then have the possibility of at least

demonstrating the fact that you are using the aid money that you've already received in a wise and effective fashion.

That's one thing you can do. But if you do that, you also need to conserve the resources that you have. So --

SOARES: Yes --

LEIGHTON: It's a matter of balancing everything that you have there, and that's a very difficult choice for the Generals on the ground to make at

this point.

SOARES: I'm conserving, I'm guessing artillery because that's a huge concern, weapon will be a concern. I mean, how much do you hold back,

right? And when you're trying to push in that counteroffensive that we've seen and trying to push in the south, but also what we've seen with Fred in

the east. I mean, we've heard from NATO and British officials this week warning their ammunition stocks are at bottom of the barrel. This is a lot

of certainty -- uncertainty, I should say.

LEIGHTON: It is a lot of uncertainty. And you know, one of the things to look at also is some of the attacks that the Ukrainians have made, that

have gone beyond the frontlines, especially the attacks on Crimea have been pretty effective, and more attacks like that where this particular case

they've been able to move the Russian Black Sea fleet, in essence forced them out of Sevastopol.


That is a major achievement that we really have and focused on as much as we perhaps should. But that's one aspect. So, from a strategic standpoint

that's very effective. On the other hand, though, you also have to defend your civilian population, and that's the dilemma facing the Ukrainians.

They don't have enough weapons to do both effectively at the same time, and that's the difficulty that they're facing right now, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, indeed, and the EU says and has been saying all week as they meet -- EU leaders meet in Granada in Spain, colonel, they will stay with

Ukraine for as long as it takes. EU chief Josep Borrell said that Europe is increasing its aid to Ukraine, but it cannot replace the support provided

by the United States.

Our Fred Pleitgen told us earlier in the week, there's some -- there's some weaponry the EU just simply does not have, the U.S. have. I want to show

our viewers this graphic here, it just shows how much the U.S. contributes to Ukraine in terms of military assistance, just that big dark chunk in

purple, that's United States.

But there's also military hardware. That's assistance, that's also military hardware. How concerned, colonel, should Europe be about the U.S. pulling

back, potentially support for Ukraine here?

LEIGHTON: Isa, I think the UN -- the Europeans should be very concerned about the U.S. in this particular case, especially given the fact that the

Republicans are in the throes of electing a speaker and the candidates that are available have either lukewarm or cold support when it comes to Ukraine

aid. So it becomes a very difficult political issue.

I think it's something that will perhaps work its way out in political compromises, but until that particular time, the Russians are going to look

at this and they're going to think that they have achieved a degree of advantage here, and that the United States may very well be withdrawing

itself from the sponsorship field of battle, if you will, and what that would mean of course, would be that about 50 percent of the aid would

disappear for Ukraine.

And that would be devastating at this particular point, particularly when Ukraine is showing some signs of success like I mentioned with Crimea for

example --

SOARES: Yes --

LEIGHTON: And that becomes a very difficult thing I think for the Ukrainians to swallow and frankly, for the history books to look at,

because if the United States pulls out now, it's going to be a very difficult time for Ukraine, and it could potentially be the biggest

strategic mistake that we've made in a long time.

SOARES: Colonel Cedric Leighton, always great to get your insight, thank you very much.

LEIGHTON: You bet, Isa, any time.

SOARES: Thank you. Well, Syria is vowing to respond with force after Thursday's drone attack on a military college killed at least 89 people.

Funerals for the victims are being held today, and Syria is declaring three days of national mourning. And you can see coffins draped with a Syrian

flag being carried through the streets.

So far, no way -- no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Syrian government is blaming terrorist organizations supported by what it

calls well-known international parties. Our Ben Wedeman is in Rome and joins me now. So, Ben, what more can you tell us about this strike in

particular in Homs, and talk also to the escalation that we have seen in violence, the bombardments we have seen recently in Syria?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, this strike took place on Thursday afternoon at the end of a graduation ceremony

at a -- at the Syrian military academy in Homs. And the latest we have in terms of death toll from the official Syrian Arab news agency is that 89

people were killed, among them 31 women and 5 children.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that the death toll may exceed 120, but we can't verify --

SOARES: Yes --

WEDEMAN: Independently any of these claims. And as you said, the Syrian government has blamed terrorists that have -- backed by foreign powers,

clearly, they're referring to the variety of rebel groups, armed rebel groups that are based in Idlib Province, which is just to the north of

Homs. And what we've seen already, even though nobody has actually claimed responsibility for this drone attack on the graduation ceremony, is that

the Syrian government has been striking at targets within Idlib yesterday according to the White Helmets, that's the civil defense group that

operates in opposition areas.

At least, 12 people were killed. Today, they say two people were killed in Idlib Province, and we're getting reports just now of more strikes --

SOARES: Well --

WEDEMAN: On opposition areas in the Idlib area. And let's keep in mind that, you know, we're focusing so much on Ukraine, Syria is a real powder

keg. You have on the ground, Russian, American, Turkish, Iranian, Hezbollah troops, Israel regularly strikes targets within Syria as well. And of

course, let's also remember that as a result of the violence since 2011 nearly or rather in excess of half a million Syrians have been killed,

nearly 13 million have been made homeless, either internally displaced or they fled into exile. Isa?


SOARES: Ben Wedeman there for us with the very latest. Thank you, Ben. And still to come tonight, an activist fighting for women's rights in Iran was

just awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, but she'll have to accept one of the world's top honors from a jail cell. We'll have her story next. And then we

look at the fallout from U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to reverse course on expanding a border wall. That's after this short break.


SOARES: Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi won this year's Nobel Peace Prize from behind bars. The Nobel Committee says they are honoring her

fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights. Mohammadi has been sentenced to more than 30 years in prison.

She's also been cut off from her family for continuing to speak out.

Iranian authorities are now slamming this news, saying it's biased and politically motivated. Let's bring in our Jomana Karadsheh who's spoken

exclusive to Mohammadi. And for those who don't really know her, have never heard of her, just talk first of all, Jomana about her tireless activism

and her bravery, because something that stood out to me was just the struggle has come at a huge cost to her.

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She's incredible. I mean, the personal sacrifice --


KARADSHEH: All that she has done, all that she has lost over the past few decades, and all for this dream, this goal of a free Iran that she

believes in so much, and we managed to ask her these questions, we sent her questions through intermediaries in Iran, and she responded to our

questions in writing, and this of course, all happening before she won the Nobel Peace Prize.

And she also wrote a letter from prison -- I mean, this is a woman who has not stopped. She has been very vocal, speaking out against the regime,

speaking out for the voiceless people in Iran, and it's something that she has really dedicated her life to, and she has lost so much. Take a look at

what she told us and what we heard from Narges Mohammadi.




KARADSHEH (voice-over): Not even the darkest cells of the notorious Evin Prison have silenced this fearless fighter for freedom. Narges Mohammadi, a

name that's become synonymous with the battle for human rights in Iran.


KARADSHEH: Her life has been a cycle of arrest and re-arrest. Now serving a 10-year prison term and sentenced to 154 lashes, not only has the regime

taken away her freedom, the last time she held her twins, Ali(ph) and Kiana(ph) was 8 years ago, they were only 8. A sacrifice so painful, but

life without liberty and equality she says is not worth living.

For her activism, Mohammadi has been accused of actions against national security and propaganda against the state. And she's now facing more

charges as she continues to defiantly speak out from behind bars.


KARADSHEH: In an exclusive recording from inside Evin, Mohammadi reads excerpts of a letter she sent CNN.

MOHAMMADI (through translator): This letter is not written by a free feminist in a developed democratic society benefitting from civil protest

methods and human rights, but rather, by an imprisoned woman who like millions of Iranian women has been living under the authority and

oppression of a military system with ideological, patriarchal and tyrannical foundations. Since the age of six, deprived of life, youth,

femininity and motherhood.

KARADSHEH: In her lengthy letter, Mohammadi rails against the regime's compulsory hijab. Mohammadi calls out what she says is the hypocrisy of the

religious authorities. Female protesters and prisoners sexually assaulted as Iranians rose up on the streets last year, she lent her powerful voice

to the uprising, and for that she was recently sentenced to another year in prison.

(on camera): But that hasn't deterred Mohammadi, who with the help of intermediaries responded to CNN questions in writing, detailing incidents

of sexual assaults dating back to 1999, she also mentioned her own experience. But since the protests, she says, they have increased

significantly, describing them now as systematic.

(voice-over): She writes "in prison, I have heard the narratives of three protesting women who were sexually assaulted. One of them was a well-known

activist of the student movement who upon entering the prison filed a complaint with the authorities and announced that after being arrested on

the street, her one hand and one leg were cuffed and tied, and in that position, she was sexually assaulted.

I went with one of my cell mates under the pretext of taking food for a prisoner, we saw bruises on her stomach, thighs, arms and legs." The

Iranian regime has denied allegations including a CNN investigation of using sexual violence and rape to suppress the protests, calling them

baseless and false. For years, Mohammadi has been the voice of the voiceless, fighting for political prisoners against the death penalty and

solitary confinement.


KARADSHEH: Something she and her husband, Talli Rakmani(ph) have both endured. Rakmani(ph), a former political prisoner who was jailed for 14

years now lives in exile with the children in Paris. He's had to be both father and mother to Kiana(ph) and Ali(ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Kiana(ph) used to always say when mom is here, daddy isn't. And when daddy is here, mom isn't. It's not good,

but when someone chooses a path, they must endure all the hardships.

KARADSHEH: The last time they were allowed to call her was 18 months ago. Ali(ph) still vividly remembers the day his mother was taken away from


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It was around 6:00 or 7:00 a.m., my mom made me eggs, she said take care of yourself and study hard and

said goodbye, I got into the car and went to school. When I got back, my mom wasn't there anymore.

KARADSHEH: Ali(ph) says he's proud of his mom and has accepted this life. He says it's for freedom for Iran. Rakmani(ph) shows off all the award his

wife has won while in prison, "she's an endless energy for freedom", he tells us, and unstoppable force. Her fight extending deep inside Evin where

she leads women who continue to protest.

Their chants of woman, life, freedom captured in this recording shared with CNN. They sing the Farsi rendition of Bella Ciao; the Italian anti-fascist

resistance song now an anthem for Iran's freedom movement.


SOARES: Just incredible bravery. Well, we've just heard in the last few minutes from Iran regarding the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to

Mohammadi. I'm just going to read it out. They call it biased and politically motivated. I want to say -- they go on to say, "the action" --

and I'm quoting them here, "of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is a political maneuver in-line with the interventionist and anti-Iran policies

of some European governments including the whole state of the Nobel Committee."


This is how Iran reads it. For many, this will be -- this award will be a message to the world, to Iran that the world is watching. And just

yesterday, you and I were talking about another young lady, 16-year-old Armita(ph) who was in a coma. So the timing of this and this award to this

incredible human being who is fighting for so many women is really important.

KARADSHEH: Absolutely, not surprising. The sort of reaction from the Iranian government that is still trying to contain this movement in the

country, this woman, life, freedom movement that emerged from the protest, following the death of Mahsa Amini. And as the husband of Narges Mohammadi

said today, he said, this is not just recognizing Narges and her work and what she has sacrificed.

This is also recognizing the Iranian people, the men and women who rose up over the past year, those who were killed in the protest, those who are --

SOARES: Yes --

KARADSHEH: Still fighting --

SOARES: Still fight --

KARADSHEH: For freedom in the country. And we have to mention also, Isa, we don't actually know if Narges Mohammadi --

SOARES: That is --

KARADSHEH: Right now knows if she won or not.

SOARES: And we don't know because you were telling me while this was playing, you were telling me that, they don't get calls, right? In Evin

Prison on certain days.

KARADSHEH: This is our understanding from the family is they don't know that the news has reached her, because on Thursdays and Fridays, political

prisoners in the women's ward in Evin Prison are not allowed to receive phone calls. And this is how they get their news from the --

SOARES: Yes --

KARADSHEH: Outside world. So, we don't know if she received that news, but she did have a prepared statement that we received, that --

SOARES: Yes --

KARADSHEH: She prepared in the past few days that was passed on through intermediaries in Iran, because her name was being circulated and reported

as a potential winner this year. And she says in that statement that she will continue on this path, and she's ready to spend the rest of her -- of

her life in prison for the people of Iran --

SOARES: And as we just heard there, she's continuing that path inside Evin Prison. Very quickly, you've covered the plight of Iranian women since

Mahsa Amini's death really. What has been the reaction within NGOs, human rights groups, people on the ground to this award? Because it's for them


KARADSHEH: Absolutely, I mean, this is exactly what people are saying. This is recognizing this movement, recognizing the women of Iran. Human

rights organizations are taking this opportunity again to call for the release of --

SOARES: Yes --

KARADSHEH: Narges Mohammadi and so many other women and men who are just fighting for their most basic of human rights, being accused of being

criminals and jailed for years and decades.

SOARES: Iran is calling it biased and politically motivated. Thank you very much, Jomana. We will take a short break, we'll be back after this.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. The Biden administration calls it a key piece of its effort to curb a surge in migrant crossings at the U.S.

southern border. It's begun deporting Venezuelans who illegally cross from Mexico into the United States. The White House announced the policy shift

on the same day it said it would expand sections of the border wall, something President Joe Biden long opposed. Many of the migrants flooding

into United States come from Venezuela, desperate to escape crushing poverty, food shortages, inflation and political turmoil. Men, women and

children risking their lives to make the long, as well as dangerous journey in the hopes of a better life.

In the past two years alone, hundreds or thousands, I should say, of Venezuelans have trekked through a jungle region known as the Darien Gap

between Colombia and Panama, in an effort to reach the U.S.-Mexican border.

Today, the presidents of Panama and Costa Rica toured that treacherous migrant route by helicopter. They'll give remarks to reporters in about 20

minutes or so, 20, 30 minutes.

Let's get the very latest from Stefano Pozzebon who joins us from Bogota in Colombia who's also joined by Kevin Liptak in Washington. Kevin, let me

start with you. I mean, that decision from the Biden ministration, first of all, to start deporting Venezuelans is quite a policy shift from the U.S.

in this administration. So, explain how exactly this is going to work.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, it was remarkably the second policy shift on immigration and just the course of the day. And what

American officials say is that because of this surge of migrants from Venezuela, across the southern border that have been crowding cities in the

U.S. that they will now be able to deport them back to Venezuela. And that had been something that they weren't able to do for the last several years,

because of the crisis in that country, because of the dire circumstances from which people were fleeing, the U.S. hadn't had that option in their

playbook of ways to handle this migration issue.

Now, they say they do have this option. But as you alluded to, the logistics of this are very complicated. The U.S. doesn't really have formal

diplomatic ties with Venezuela to begin with and, you know, the situation there is so precarious. I think this is a decision that they were hard to

come by. But because of these political pressures, including from Democrats of major -- who are running major cities in the United States, they really

felt like they had no option. And it really does show you the binds that President Biden finds himself in on this issue of immigration.

His campaign promises really running up against the reality of governing. You saw that in the issue with the border wall yesterday, and you're seeing

it with his issue with the deportations as well. So certainly President Biden facing a lot of tough political questions today on these reversals on

this issue, Isa.

SOARES: Yes, so no -- we don't have much clarity that is clear on how it's going to work on the logistic. But Stefano I mean, this still begs the

question, what kind of deal, if any, was done behind the scenes here with Nicolas Maduro? What does he get in return, do we know?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa. Well, on the record, we don't know it yet so we know just that Venezuelan authorities and the U.S.

authorities have been speaking for quite some time. We also know that nothing has actually changed in Venezuela this year that could, in a way,

motivate a bilateral change of policy.


You know, just as you said in the introduction, the situation in Venezuela, the humanitarian situation remains Extremely precarious, with over 80% of

the country's population living below the poverty line, according to an independent research by private universities in Caracas.

And it's interesting to note that just hours after the United States announced that it was going back to deport migrants who enter the country

illegally back to Venezuela, well, just hours after that, the Venezuelan Attorney General, Tarek William Saab, who is a very close ally of Nicolas

Maduro, issued an arrest warrant against Juan Guaido, who is the former head of the Venezuelan parliament. You probably remember him from 2019. He

was, at times, recognized as the legitimate Head of State of Venezuela by more than 50 countries, including the U.S.

Well, since those years he has left the country, Maduro has just cemented his power, his power grip over the Venezuelan state and he's living in the

U.S. So today, I was able to speak with Guido himself, who is now in Florida, to ask him if he thinks that his arrest warrant is in a way

connected and how -- what he thinks should happen about the Venezuelan migrants who are reaching the U.S. in record numbers.


JUAN GUAIDO, FORMER VENEZUELAN OPPOSITION LEADER: It's because the starvation, it's because the lack of opportunities, but in Venezuela,

that's what's happening. That's what's happening in Venezuela every day. Every day. New York only saw a little bit what's happening in Venezuela

every day, hopefully. If we want to stop the situation, to stop the immigration, we have to put in the cost, the immigration, that is the

Maduro regime.


POZZEBON: So Guaido's point is that in order to address that immigration policy, you really need to address the root causes of migration and the

root causes is that Venezuela is in dire humanitarian need, because of a undemocratic regime in power, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. And he's not the only leader who has been saying exactly that in the last few days or, former leader I should say. Kevin, back to you. I

mean, the Secretary of State Blinken is in Mexico, I understand. Mayor of New York is also visiting. And in the last 30 minutes, I think, we have

heard from Mexican president, Manuel Lopez Obrador, AMLO. He said the U.S. plans to build a wall. He called it, Kevin, a publicity stunt. So, talk to

the timing here of this decision. And what the U.S. is hoping to achieve with Blinken going to Mexico here.

LIPTAK: Yes. And I think that comment really kind of underscores the predicament that they find themselves in, because AMLO the president of

Mexico, is someone that the Biden administration is really trying to work together with to try and curb these migration flows that travel from

Central and South America through Mexico to the southern border, and they had felt like they were making some progress on that front with him, and

that was one of the reasons why the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, along with the Homeland Security Secretary, traveled to Mexico City just

this week to discuss these issues with him.

But, of course, he is a devout opponent of this border wall. He has been since the Trump administration, when President Trump made that his

signature of his migration policy, so it shouldn't necessarily have come as any surprise that he would react so fiercely against this wall, including

while these top American officials were in Mexico City there to speak with him and it does speak to sort of the chaotic nature that they were rolling

all of these new decisions out.

Of course, the Biden administration says this isn't a new policy and that they were forced into it. But certainly it is having repercussions that

could have follow-on effects to the very policies that they're trying to enact now, Isa.

SOARES: And Stefano, I mean, final question to you, you cover Venezuela, you've covered Venezuela for years. Give me a sense of what you are hearing

for human rights groups from people on the ground in Caracas about this decision by the United States, do they believe it's going to work because

it completely overlooks what drives migration to start off with.

POZZEBON: Yes, exactly. The reality is that Venezuela remains in deep humanitarian crisis. Inflation, Isa, is at over 400 percent. The Caracas is

now one of the most expensive cities in South America and that is why we see more and more migrants leaving the country and definitely not thinking

of going back. The Maduro government has launched a program called the Vuelta a la Patria.


Which is return to the homeland to invite people to go back to Venezuela because, of course, migrants are often the youngest, and the most fragile

segments of the population. And frankly, Venezuela, or some parts of it, is almost risking off of getting depopulated because most of Asia and frankly,

Venezuela or some parts of it is, is almost risking off of getting depopulated because most of the active workforce has left the country.

In terms of like the political situation, we just need to look no further than just a month ago when the United Nation fact-finding mission over the

situation of human rights in Venezuela remember the word, there are about more than 280 political prisoners in the country. So, nothing has really

changed in Caracas from the years when you and I were there, 2019, 2017. The crisis is very much still there and it remains a critical situation

that we are looking closely and very, very -- monitoring very closely, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. And situation very real still. Thank you very much, Stefano Pozzebon,. Appreciate it for us there in Bogota. Thanks to Kevin Liptak,

too, in Washington.

Well, as the U.S. government debates the best way to handle the immigration crisis, the influx of migrants continues in cities across the country. From

Denver to New York and Chicago, thousands of people arrive daily looking for help as CNN's Whitney Wild explains. Officials in Chicago say they need

aid now.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the end of a six-week long journey from Venezuela for Carla Garcia and her 5-year-old niece,


CARLA DANIELA GARCIA GONZALEZ, MIGRANT FROM VENEZUELA (through translator): So tired. We don't have a decent place to sleep.

WILD (voice-over): They sleep in a corner of a Southside Chicago police station, while dozens more migrants line the sidewalks. More than 3,000

migrants live at City police stations and airports.

BRANDON JOHNSON, CHICAGO MAYOR: Up and over the course since I've been in office, we have been flooded with buses, with individuals who are in very

desperate circumstances.

WILD (voice-over): Mayor Brandon Johnson expects the number of migrants who have descended on Chicago to reach 20,000 in coming days. Migrants started

arriving in August 2022 when Texas Governor Greg Abbott added Chicago to a list of sanctuary cities where he planned to send buses, saying relief is

needed for overcrowded southern border towns.

JOHNSON: This is very much tied to the politics of the Republican Party that has made it very clear they want to destabilize cities like Chicago.

WILD (voice-over): Tension is flaring between Illinois leaders and the White House for more help. The pressure to manage this crisis will only

grow. Next summer, the Democratic National Convention comes to town, officials believe that will prompt even more buses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are other things the federal government can do other than sending us money that they haven't yet done. And I do believe

and I have spoken with the White House since even over the weekend and the letter to make sure that they heard us.

WILD (voice-over): Johnson's administration is working rapidly to house migrants opening one shelter per week, but closing some public facilities

to make room for migrant housing has angered some residents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our rights are being infringed upon because instead of having the ability to say yes or no.

WILD (voice-over): The city has inked a nearly $30 million deal for military grade tents, a temporary solution while the city races to move

migrants off the street before Chicago's brutal winter sets in.

JOHNSON: I'm very much committed to making sure that we get people off of the floors of police districts and police stations and out of our airports

because it is not humane. These are awful conditions.

WILD (voice-over): Back at the police station, Carla isn't sure leaving Venezuela was worth the sacrifice.

GONZALEZ (through translator)L But again, we don't know yet because we're here, all this uncertainty and just sleeping here. If you're thinking about

coming here, think twice because this is very hard.


WILD (on camera): The Department of Homeland Security sent people here to Chicago to assess the situation. Meanwhile, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson

says he plans to go to the southern border. He said he understands what southern states are dealing with but he wants to go himself to assess the

situation. Whitney Wild, CNN, Chicago.

SOARES: We're taking a short break. We'll be back after this.



SOARES: Donald Trump is picking Ohio's Jim Jordan to replace ousted U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. The former president's endorsement is a snub

for Jordan's fellow Republican candidate Steve Scalise of Louisiana. It also comes after Trump suggested he might service speaker personally. News

broke earlier today both Scalise and Jordan have pulled out of the TV forum on Fox News.

Before that, Jordan spoke with CNN's Manu Raju about picking Trump -- about being Trump's pick.


JIM JORDAN, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Look, I like the job I got now. I never wanted to do this job. But someone has to who can bring the team together

and can go communicate to the country and that's why I'm running.

MANU RAJU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What were your conversations like with Trump? Given you got his endorsement, what do you expect him to do to try to get

you the votes in this race?

JORDAN: I appreciate the President's endorsement. He's the leader of the party. He's going to be our presidential nominee and I think he's going to

be our next president so I appreciate that. But we're focused also on -- the key thing is our colleagues.


SOARES: Let's get more into this. CNN's Eva McKend live in Washington. Eva, just explain what the reaction has been then to Trump endorsing Jim Jordan

for speaker.

EVA MCKEND, CNN U.S. NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, you know, what is striking to me is that Congressman Scalise, Jordan's opponent, his

reaction has been kind of temperament to all -- temper to all of this. And I would say that is because the Trump endorsement in some wings of the

party is more of a liability than an asset. And that Congressman Jordan, those far right members, they would have supported him anyway. So I'm not

sure what all it does, but it does pretend maybe for some theatrics next week, the former president floating that he could come to Capitol Hill to

continue to shake things up.

We also potentially were going to see Congressman Jordan, Congressman Scalise spar in a debate next week. But then when moderate members caught

wind of this, they really pushed back in a fulsome way, and said, listen, this is already enough of a circus so that's why that has been called off.

So, in the days ahead, what we're going to see is we're going to see these members that are going to go into a room and they are going to cast secret

ballots for their choice for the next speaker. And that is really an interesting process, Isa, because they of course, could tell us one thing,

us reporters who they're going to go vote for, but then when it's secret, could do something else. And then after that, there will be a floor vote

shortly after. That, of course, is not a secret process and ultimately, either of these candidates have to get to 218 votes.

SOARES: Eva, I appreciate it. Thanks for laying it all down for us. Thank you very much. And this just coming in to CNN, the President of the United

Auto Workers Union says there has been significant progress in negotiations with the big three U.S. automakers and that for now, strikes against the

companies will not expand. Shawn Fain just spoke to striking workers and said the union received a major concession from General Motors. The UAW is

now in its third week of strikes, if you remember against the three big automakers, that's GM, Ford, and Stelantis. And, of course, this is no

doubt good news hearing that strikes aren't expanding following General Motors making some sort of concessions. We'll have much more on this story.

QUEST MEANS BUSINESS at the top of the hour. We'll have more details on exactly what those concessions are.

And still to come tonight, as Joe Biden's dog leaves the White House with his tail really between his legs, we'll take a look back at other

presidents' pets and then misbehaving antics, that story after the break.



SOARES: The Biden's family dog, Commander, is no longer at the White House. The 2-year-old German Shepherd is known to have bitten people in 11

different incidents with several more going unreported according to sources, but Commander is not the first presidential pup to be a bit

naughty. Tom Foreman has the details.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost a dozen Secret Service personnel and plenty of staffers, sources tell CNN the Presidential dog,

Commander, has bitten more people than previously known. And after this latest snap, he's been relieved of command.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Commander is not presently at the White House.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Presidents have had pets from the nation's beginning. Bears, birds, tigers, possums, horses, alligators, raccoons, Teddy

Roosevelt had the most, Woodrow Wilson had sheep to trim the grass. Calvin Coolidge had a hippo, but there have often been pet peeves. In the 1930's,

Franklin Roosevelt had a big dog named Major that bid a British prime minister. During World War II, political foes falsely said he sent a Navy

destroyer to fetch his little dog named Fala after it was left behind on a presidential junket.

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (via recording): Of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family don't resent attacks. But Fala does

resent attacks.

FOREMAN (voice-over): In the '50s, opponents accused vice presidential candidate Richard Nixon of misusing campaign donations. Among the gifts was

a cocker spaniel puppy his daughter named Checkers.

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And I just want to say this right now that regardless of what they say about it, we're going to keep him.

FOREMAN (voice-over): In the '60s, Lyndon Johnson outraged some dog lovers by lifting his beagles by the ears and, of course, a previous Biden family

dog was also banished for biting. And ironically, just like FDR, snappy German Shepherd, his name was Major. Still comedy writer Jill Twiss, who

wrote a children's book about him, notes at least this is a different kind of political scandal.

JILL TWISS, AUTHOR, MAJOR MAKES HISTORY: Yes, I feel bad for the dog. That is what dogs do when they get freaked out. I feel bad for the family

because families love their dogs. I obviously feel terrible for people getting bit because getting bit is terrible.


But I'm not mad at anybody. And that's just really a good feeling.

FOREMAN: At best, White House dogs can be happy and really humanize a president, making the most powerful person in the world look like a lot of

us, just hanging out with a best friend. But at worst, sometimes for the dog and everyone, a lot of us just hanging out with a best friend. But at

worst, I'll sometimes for the dog and everyone else, it just bites. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


SOARES: And finally, tonight, we want to return to one of our top stories about this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner, you can see here. That's Narges

Mohammadi, the jailed Iranian human rights activist has been a prisoner for most of the past two decades, and it's her words we want to leave you with

tonight. "Standing alongside the brave mothers of Iran, I will continue to fight against the relentless discrimination, tyranny." And she went on to

say, "gender-based oppression by the oppressive religious government until the liberation of women. We'll leave you with our thoughts.

Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS", Richard Quest is up next. Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you

next week. Bye-bye.