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Isa Soares Tonight

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu Rejects Hamas' Proposed Ceasefire Terms; Ukraine Lawmakers Pass First Reading Of Mobilization Bill; Nikki Haley Vows To Stay In Race Following Embarrassing Nevada Defeat; Israel- Hamas War; Blinken To Talk In Tel Aviv At Any Time; Offer Of Truce Rejected By Netanyahu; Trump Likely To Avoid Supreme Court Deliberations; Appeals Court Rejected Trump's Ideas On Presidential Immunity; Putin Interview With Tucker Carlson Confirmed By Kremlin; Taylor Swift Mania Hits Japan; Wildlife Photographer Of The Year: "Ice Bed", Young Polar Bear Drifting To Sleep. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 07, 2024 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares. Tonight, Israel's Prime

Minister hasn't committed to Hamas' proposed ceasefire terms, saying he wants total victory in Gaza.

We hear from the U.S. Secretary of State this hour on the ongoing negotiations. Also ahead, as Ukraine's war grinds on, Kyiv tries to push

through new laws to draft more soldiers. Many families just want their loved ones home.

And troubling signs for Republican candidate Nikki Haley as she loses to none of the above in a meaningless vote in Nevada. Confused? Well, many

American voters are. We're going to explain that coming up.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to continue operations inside Gaza until they achieve, quote, "complete victory". He says it would

take a matter of months and then went on to say that Israel must be able to act inside Gaza at anytime in the future.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): We are on the way to complete victory. The victory is achievable. It's not a matter

of years or decades, it's a matter of months. The IDF is doing amazing things, methodically, progressing and achieving the aims that we have


Shattering the -- Hamas, destroying them, getting the hostages, and promise that Gaza will not be a threat on Israel. I have established that this

complete victory is our aim. This is the decision I brought to the government at the beginning of the war and we will not do less than that.


KINKADE: Well, Mr. Netanyahu's comments come just one day after news that Hamas was presenting a three-phase plan in response to a proposed hostage

deal. It includes the complete withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, as well as freedom of movement for people inside the enclave.

And Mr. Netanyahu earlier was quite clear, saying Israel hasn't committed to any of Hamas' quote, "crazy demands". The prime minister was speaking

following his meetings with the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has been carrying out a day of crucial diplomatic talks in Israel and the

West Bank.

Well, we do expect to hear more from Mr. Blinken later this hour, and we will bring you those remarks live when they happen. International pressure

for a truce has intensified amid an Israeli assault on Rafah. More than a million Palestinians are now squeezed into the southernmost town in Gaza,

pinned near the Egyptian border with virtually nowhere else to go.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is sounding the alarm, saying if Israeli forces press into Rafah, it will quote, "exponentially increase

what is already a humanitarian nightmare with untold regional consequences". Well, these satellite images of makeshift tent cities give

you an idea of how many lives may be at risk.

A top Israeli commander says there is no place -- no plan in place yet for how the IDF would minimize civilian deaths. And while there's no ground

offensive yet in Rafah, Israel is repeatedly striking buildings from the air after previously encouraging Palestinians to flee to that spot.

Well, the situation has gotten so dire that some families are pitching their tents in cemeteries. One father says he fears safer living among the



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): People were forced to come here to the safe place, the cemetery among the dead, which is better than living in

the residential areas where the houses could collapse over our heads. We came to live among the dead because of fear and horror.


KINKADE: We are just learning that the Secretary of State Antony Blinken has raised concerns about Rafah during his meetings with Israeli officials

today. We have that reporting from our very own Jeremy Diamond, who is joining us now from Tel Aviv.

Good to have you with us. So the Secretary of State is in the region, a crucial day of meetings, and today, of course, marks four months since the

Hamas terror attack. What more can you tell us about what Antony Blinken is saying?


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Secretary of State has been meeting with Israeli officials throughout the day. In fact, we

just heard his motorcade drive right by our position. And what he's been doing is reviewing Hamas' latest counter proposal with Israeli officials to

see what the next steps of this negotiation will entail.

But as he was doing that, the Israeli Prime Minister coming out very strongly in a news conference with all of the kind of fire and brimstone

that he is known for, rejecting Hamas' counter-proposal, making clear that Israel will not commit to what he described as Hamas' crazy demands as it

relates to the number and the types of terrorists that should be released.

And of course, as it relates to the broader idea of a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, which Hamas is very much still pushing for. Instead, the Israeli

Prime Minister pushing for absolute and total victory, vowing that military pressure should continue on Hamas, and that surrendering he said to Hamas'

demands would be only asking for another massacre akin to October 7th.

Now, that is the Israeli Prime Minister's public posturing, and we have to keep that in mind because this is Bibi Netanyahu after all. When you look

at what they're doing behind the scenes, it may be something else altogether. It's clear that the Israeli government is not going to accept

Hamas' counter-proposal, but it doesn't mean that they won't continue negotiating.

In fact, they very likely will continue to negotiate -- where they end up is another question, but what we do know is that the phase one proposal

that Hamas put on the table as opposed to the broad framework phase one proposal that Israel had offered just over a week ago, they're actually

quite similar.

So, there are certainly some differences, but there is also real possibility, real opportunity for these two sides to begin to move forward

towards at least perhaps an agreement on that first phase. But again, the larger question is, do they need an agreement on all of these phases?

Will they accept an agreement on one of these phases in order to move forward with a temporary ceasefire with the release of hostages. Those are

the questions to be answered, and those are the questions that the Secretary of State is probing today as well.

KINKADE: And of course, these are all short-term options under consideration. We did hear today from Saudi Arabia about long-term options.

They put out a statement saying they won't resume ties or have ties with Israel without the recognition of a Palestinian state.

This is the statement, he said "the kingdom has communicated its firm position to the U.S. administration that there will be no diplomatic

relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized as per the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital."

So, take us through the various positions because we know for a long time now, the U.S. and U.K. have said that a two-state solution should happen.

What is Saudi Arabia's position and where does Israel stand right now?

DIAMOND: Well, it really seems to be a question of timing, certainly, as it relates to the U.S.' position versus the Saudi position. I mean, Saudi

Arabia here is making very clear that there needs to be international recognition of a Palestinian state before they will agree to normalize

relations with Israel.

The United States in contrast has perhaps talked about finding some kind of way to get commitments, to get a kind of a clear timetable, a clear process

for the establishment of a Palestinian state. And that perhaps, that would be enough for Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel.

Now, as it relates to the Israeli position, it is completely far away from both of those. And that's because Bibi Netanyahu; the current Israeli Prime

Minister has repeatedly not only taken credit for the fact that a Palestinian state does not exist today, but he has also vowed that Israel

must retain security control, that effectively a sovereign Palestinian state will not be established on his watch.

And so, that is certainly a big part of the discussions that the Secretary of State has been having today, not only here in Tel Aviv, but also in

Ramallah where he met with the Palestinian Authority President. And the U.S. is also pushing for major reforms to the Palestinian Authority in

order to make that body more capable of governing, not -- governing, not only in the West Bank, but also in Gaza and more palatable to Palestinians

who viewed that Palestinian Authority as corrupt, as lacking credibility.

And of course, reforms that will be necessary for the Israeli government to also accept what they view as necessary reforms to that body going forward.


KINKADE: Jeremy Diamond for us in Tel Aviv, good to have you there staying across all those developments. Thank you. And of course, we will bring you

the Secretary of State's press conference when it happens. Well, the enduring pain of war while the fighting rages on. Israel is trying to cope

with what is a roller coaster of emotions, mourning the loss of loved ones while cherishing the lives of survivors. CNN's Nic Robertson has more.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Bitter, sweet grandfather and granddaughter born while her father, Sagui(ph), an

American held hostage.

JONATHAN DEKEL-CHEN, FATHER OF HOSTAGE: For me, the birth of his third daughter just multiplies my desire and my absolute commitment to getting

Sagui(ph) reunited with them. Some of them, entire families actually, and that were murdered.

ROBERTSON: We first met Jonathan a month after the Hamas attack. His Kibbutz, Nir Oz, taking refuge in a seaside hotel, reeling dozens dead,

more than 70 including his son Sagui(ph), taken hostage from their Kibbutz. A few weeks later, more than 30 of them released and the first

confirmation, Sagui(ph) was alive.

DEKEL-CHEN: And there was a wonderful moment for sure. Since then, of course, our worries have only grown. If things were urgent when we last

spoke, I think they've only become more urgent.

ROBERTSON: Others from Nir Oz, who we met last year, like farmer Nir Adar, who helped his two daughters survive the attack by telling them fairy

stories in their rocket shelter. The past month also, an emotional roller coaster

NIR ADAR, BROTHER OF HOSTAGE: Because the way I told them at the beginning, so they don't have inside them the experience of trauma.

ROBERTSON: His grandmother at 85, the oldest hostage, released along with more than a 100 hostages during a week-long truce last November.

ADAR: She said, I got -- I got more mature, like -- so this is very happy thing and moment for us.

ROBERTSON: But a few weeks after that, the news Nir feared most, his beloved brother, Tamir(ph), dead. His body still held by Hamas.

ADAR: He died while he was fighting. He had the chance to fight to save some people. So it's a smaller relief maybe.

ROBERTSON: Amidst all the torment though, a ray of hope. The Nir Oz community welcome to a new town and new homes.

YONATHON BAR, FORMER RESIDENT OF KIBBUTZ NIR OZ: We've got a big house with all these furniture that we didn't pick out.

ROBERTSON: When we last met banker Yonathon Bar and his son Uri(ph) from Nir Oz, life was on hold. Now, Uri(ph) has a new school and his best

friend, Ethan(ph), who was the hostage who worried about most was released. He visited him in hospital the next day.

"We hugged in hospital. I was very happy", Uri(ph) says. "He has been here playing with us many times since." Even despite these important pleasures,

life for the whole Kibbutz locked in the trauma of loved hostages, dead and alive, still held.

BAR: It's like life is moving forward, but we're still stuck on the 7th of October because it's -- we're not finished with all our friends there,

they're still there.

ROBERTSON: What has changed, anger with the government is growing.

DEKEL-CHEN: They're prioritizing a certain way of finishing this conflict that will for them serve as a kind of poster for what they have done. But

we are aware that we were abandoned on October 7th by this very same government and this prime minister.

ROBERTSON: Nic Robertson, CNN, Kiryat Gat, Israel.


KINKADE: Well, a massive Russian missile and drone attack has hit cities across Ukraine, including the capital. Local officials say at least four

people were killed in Kyiv on Wednesday, at least 38 others injured. The strikes also knocked out power lines.

This marks the third missile attack on Kyiv this year. Strikes were also reported in at least four other regions. Well, as Russia's war on Ukraine

approaches the two-year mark later this month, Ukrainian lawmakers are hoping to bolster the country's military forces with a new mobilization


Part of the proposal would lower the minimum draft age from 27 to 25 and reduce the term of service. As CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports, Ukraine

needs more soldiers on the frontlines.



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The explosions are dangerously close as the drone team from the 92nd Assault

Brigades set up their bird, attach the bombs, and head off into battle. While drone technology is often seen as the realm of tech savvy youngsters,

one of the pilots here is over 50.


"One way or another, everyone should serve", he says, "it is our duty to defend our land, our families, our motherland. If you do not want to fight,

what kind of citizen are you?" Ukraine is badly outgunned by the Russians - -


PLEITGEN: But the reality is, they're also outmanned, unable to recruit enough soldiers willing to join the military especially younger ones.

Decimated and exhausted, Ukraine's top General, Valerii Zaluzhnyi has called for a new mobilization drive, maybe including up to half a million


President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is unconvinced, and sources tell CNN he has informed Zaluzhnyi he'll be fired with differences over troop numbers, a

key reason why. Mobilization is unpopular and in front of Ukraine's parliament, some are protesting for their spouses to be de-mobilize.

Antonina says her husband is too old to be serving this long. "My husband is 43 years old", she says. "It is difficult for him to endure all this

time on the ground, jumping from shells and performing all those tasks at the front line. And there are many people like him."

"I'm here for my dad to come back." Her son says. But on the frontlines, like in this rocket-launching unit, some say they need more people to give

those who have been in combat nearly nonstop, a breather. The commander of this launcher is 59. In Ukraine, people can only be drafted until they're


"All of Ukraine is at war, and each and every man who thinks he lives in Ukraine must go through it", he says, "it's irreversible. People here are

tired". Ukraine's parliament is working on a law to make mobilization more appealing and possibly allow soldiers to exit the military after three

years. But back at the drone unit, they don't believe the talk.

"There should be no illusions" he says, "also among soldiers whom politicians have given hope that there will be demobilization. There will

not be any." Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.


KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, a house in disarray. We'll tell you about a double defeat for Republican leadership on Capitol Hill. And will

explain why Nevada is holding two Republican presidential contests this week. Tuesday's results are already in for Nikki Haley, and soon, it will

be Donald Trump's turn to win over voters.


KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Well, it was a stunning defeat for House Republicans, especially considering that

they are the party in charge of that chamber. An effort to impeach President Joe Biden's top border official, Alejandro Mayorkas failed last

night on the House floor. Speaker Mike Johnson couldn't whip enough votes from the Republicans' very narrow majority.

And right after that, another key bill failed to pass, this time as standalone measure to provide billions of dollars in aid to Israel. One GOP

lawmaker summed up the frustration, speaking with our Manu Raju.



REP. TROY NEHLS (R-TX): I had many people reach out to me via text message and say, what the hell are you guys doing up there? I think our base a

little frustrated, but we've said this many times that when you have such a small majority, are we really in the majority here?

We may have the gavel, but we're not acting like we're in the majority.


KINKADE: Well, over in the Senate, a vote is underway right now and whether to advance, hard fought by partisan border security deal that also includes

funding for Israel and Ukraine. Opposition from MAGA Republicans and their leader Donald Trump could end up sinking that deal.

Well, let's bring in Melanie Zanona live for us on Capitol Hill. Good to have you with us, Melanie. So, a lot of wheels spinning in the Capitol --

in the Capitol, and they don't seem to be going anywhere. Just explain the dysfunction we're seeing.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, dysfunction and chaos is hardly a new storyline for this Republican majority here in the House. But

those embarrassing floor defeats yesterday were particularly astonishing and stunning in part because it was the speaker's decision to put both of

those bills on the floor.

Now, leadership knew that the standalone Israel aid package was going to fail because they were bringing it up under a special process that requires

two-thirds support from the entire chamber in order to succeed. And there is opposition from both Democrats and Republicans on the right.

But that impeachment vote to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas; the Homeland Security Secretary, that one caught Republicans by surprise. They knew that

there was going to be three Republican defections heading into the vote, but they thought it was going to be enough for them to prevail.

But the problem is that at the very last minute, a Democrat who is supposed to be absent as he was recovering from surgery showed up and voted and

changed the map in the margins, which ultimately led to a defeat there. Now, Speaker Mike Johnson, for his part, has acknowledged it's a difficult

job governing over this majority, but he also defended the situation and defended his rookie speakership. Let's listen.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Democracy is messy. We live in a time of divided government, and we have a razor-thin margin here, and every vote counts.

We're governing here. Sometimes it's messy. You're seeing the messy sausage-making, but the process of democracy play out, and it's not always

paying, it's not always pretty, but the job will be done at the end of the day.


ZANONA: So Republicans really trying to pick up the pieces here. I'm also told that they will try to bring the impeachment articles back up for a

vote potentially as early as next week, they're confident that when Steve Scalise; he's the House Majority leader, comes back after receiving cancer

treatments, that they ultimately will have the votes to succeed.

But no doubt, this was an embarrassing setback, and it's raising fresh questions about the GOP's ability to govern, and how they're going to hang

on to the majority this November.

KINKADE: Melanie Zanona, it's good to have you there on the Capitol for us, keeping a check on it all, thanks so much. We are going to stay on this

story for more on U.S. politics. I want to welcome Larry Sabato; he is the Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and joins us

live. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So Larry, the Republican Party is being described as a mess right now, it's so divided that they can't get anything done there, odds on

support for Ukraine, odds on support for Israel when it comes to the bills that they're trying to push through.

They failed to pass the funding for Israel. They failed to pass the immigration reform, despite large concessions by the Democrats. And they

failed to impeach the Homeland Secretary. Just explain for us how you would describe the dysfunction we are seeing from the GOP right now?

SABATO: A lot of it stems from the fact that Donald Trump is on the rise again within the Republican Party. He's now very likely to be the

Republican nominee for president again. And he's calling the shots. And then he was perfectly happy if the House had impeached the Homeland

Security Secretary -- Homeland Defense Secretary.

But the problem there is, it would be immediately dismissed by the U.S. Senate. You need 67 votes to convict anybody who's been impeached on any

position, whether it's the president or a member of the cabinet. And there's zero chance of getting probably even 50 votes for that, much less

the 67 they need.

So, this is a waste of time. It's a waste of money. Most people catch on to the fact that it's just for the Trump base, for the base of the Republican



It doesn't benefit the general public at all. And as far as the policies are concerned, you enumerated them correctly. The shocking thing about this

is, the Democrats actually gave in on many key points about border policy that the Republicans have been asking for, for years.

They won, and now, they have lost because they chose to throw it all the way. I mean, it's beyond embarrassing. Its irrational.

KINKADE: And I want to turn if we can to the presidential race. But those around the world not following Nevada closely, explain what just went down.

Because voters there were given the option to tick none of these candidates. And that option won.

SABATO: Yes, now, we would need to revise the use of the word, "embarrassing", because we've got to come up with something stronger. You

know, losing a race is never easy, but losing it to none of these candidates by a landslide. I mean, 63 percent or so voted for none of these


And Nikki Haley was in the upper 20s. Really -- all it really says is the Nevada Republican Party, like so many state parties is under the control of

the Trump forces. They put these two separate contests in an argument with the non-Trump forces, essentially making the primary toothless, no

delegates were allocated yesterday in the primary, all the delegates will be up in the caucuses tomorrow.

Donald Trump will get either almost all or probably every single delegate from Nevada. Haley isn't even contesting the caucuses, which is the only

place where you can get delegates, which were essential to win the nomination. So her campaign is in a shamble, and you and I have about the

same chance she does of being the Republican nominee for president.

KINKADE: Clearly, neither of us are running. But Nikki Haley has gone on the attack when it comes to age, attacking both Joe Biden and Donald Trump

for their age, posting a picture, using the film "Grumpy Old Men", and this is the image just to show our viewers right now. But she also is calling

for mandatory tests for politicians over the age of 75. I just want to play some sound.


NIKKI HALEY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Don't you think it's time we had mental competency tests for anyone over the age of 75.


HALEY: And listen, I'm not being disrespectful when I say that. We all know 75-year-olds, they can run circles around us. And then we know --


KINKADE: So -- and she's not just talking about those two, obviously, there are -- there are plenty of senators that are well over the age of 75.

There's a Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Louisiana, he's 90 years old, the Democratic Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois, he's 78, obviously,

the Republican leader Mitch McConnell, he's 82, and obviously severe concerns over his health.

How do you -- how much support do you think they would be amongst the general population in the U.S. for a politician to go through a test, once

they pass 75 years of age.

SABATO: You might even get a majority of the public in favor of that. It's ageist in a way I say that as somebody in my 70s, I'm very offended by that

proposal. But nonetheless, even with popular support, there's no chance it will ever happen.

The constitution sets forth the qualifications for each of these major positions. There's nothing about age. The founders of the republic and the

United States believed that the voters would have the good sense to select people who were mentally competent.

They may have been wrong in their judgment, but that is what they assumed back in the 1790s. It's not going to go anywhere, but she makes a good

rhetorical point, which is we're getting to the point where we're nominating people especially for president who are beyond the age when most

people can spend 12 or 14 hours a day on the days when it's demanded in an office like the president.

KINKADE: Right, and it's interesting to know the average age in the Senate is 64. But you --

SABATO: Oh, wow --

KINKADE: A young and fit Larry -- good to have you --

SABATO: I'll say very young, very young, 64.


KINKADE: Good to have you on the show as always, thanks so much.

SABATO: Thank you, Lynda. OK.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, any moment now, we expect to hear from U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken. He's been in Israel and the

West Bank today for a crucial diplomatic talks. We'll bring you that live when it happens.



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

Any moment right now, we're expecting to hear from the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. He spent time in Israel and the West Bank today,

holding crucial diplomatic talks with top Israeli and Palestinian officials. Blinken has been meeting to discuss the ongoing efforts to free

hostages from Gaza, to push for a humanitarian pause, and to put an end to the devastating fighting.

Well, as we wait for his remarks, there are some pretty big questions about what progress could be made. I want to bring in Natan Sachs, he's the

director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institute and joins us now live. Good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So, Hamas has proposed a three-phase plan, a de-escalation and a release of some hostages starting with women and children under the age of

19 who are not enlisted in exchange for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire. What's your reading of this phased approach?

SACHS: Well, Hamas was replying to a plan put together by several of the mediators, involving Israel as well, that was headed by the United States

together with Egypt and Qatar and others. Hamas's reply included some very stringent demands. In particular, the withdrawal of Israeli troops

completely from the Gaza Strip and a permanent ceasefire, an end to the fighting completely with Hamas still in place in the Gaza Strip.

And so, the reply was dead on arrival. There was no chance Israel was agreeing to that. One of the central goals of Israel's operation was to

make sure Hamas could not stage another attack like October 7th from the Gaza Strip. And the horrendous devastation that we've seen in the past four

months was in pursuit of that. Unfortunately, we're likely going to see a continuation of this.


As we stand right now, the differences between the parties are significant.

KINKADE: They certainly are, especially when you listen to what the Israeli Prime Minister had to say a short time ago in a press conference.

Certainly, a great deal of strong rhetoric, again saying, complete victory is our aim. If you take Netanyahu at his word today, it sounds like the

negotiations are at a standstill. Where then does that leave the U.S. Secretary of State who's in the region right now?

SACHS: Well, taking Netanyahu's word is not always the best idea if you take the word too literally. Netanyahu was trying to articulate why Israel

could not agree to this proposal by Hamas, which I think many in Israel agree to. But he's also under a lot of pressure, both from the families of

the hostages, and they are many, and from the very substantial support that they have throughout the Israeli population, and also members of the mini

war cabinet, the ones running the war, which is Netanyahu, Gallant, and Benny Gantz who joined from the opposition.

Israel has been trying to get there. Netanyahu certainly has a strong impetus -- political impetus even to try to reach a deal. But he's also

pulled from the right. Pulled against a deal that would seem as too high a price. And this stems from the original two goals that Israel had for this

operation, this very bloody operation.

The first, as I said, was to remove Hamas from control in the Gaza Strip so that it could not stage another attack like the horrific attack of October

7th. And the second was to bring back the hostages, or as many of them as possible, alive. And the two, of course, have tension. There's a tension

between these two goals. Hamas is holding these hostages as human shields. And it's no coincidence that the Hamas leaders are trying to use this as

the final bargaining chip to bring about their survival as in power in the Gaza Strip.

And Israel is confronted with the same dilemma, essentially the same dilemma it faced on October 8th. The day after the massacre, it's still the

same one today, even as it's brought Hamas down in much of the Gaza Strip, along with the devastation that we've seen.

KINKADE: When Netanyahu spoke earlier, he said that in the last four months, they have wiped out half of Hamas. He said, soldiers methodically

go into Hamas hiding places, and they've taken out at least half of Hamas.

Obviously, we haven't seen any evidence of those numbers. but it doesn't seem very methodical when you look at the sheer carnage in Gaza, the 27,000

innocent people who have been killed as a result of this military operation that has happened over the past four months. How much support does

Netanyahu have in Israel right now?

SACHS: Well, the Israelis have a very different view than many people abroad. For them, October 7th was a truly historic moment, and one that

brought home an imperative that's shared very widely in Israel, which is that that kind of attack can never be allowed to happen under any


The attack has enormous devastation in the Gaza Strip, as you mentioned. I should say it also has a -- it has a very different phase. The first phase

was an aerial one and the second, of course, a ground operation, especially in the Northern Gaza Strip. It's been quite different in the southern Gaza

Strip, still extremely damaging and we have already a humanitarian crisis, but a very different mode of operation. Much higher casualties for the

Israelis as opposed to the first stage of the war, and also a much more methodical approach to the tunnels in particular.

Whereas in the north, it was a lot of an aerial campaign followed by the ground troops entering. Here we have the ground troops going from tunnel to

tunnel, trying to root out the Hamas leadership, and at the same time to weigh the fate of the hostages.

And this is part of what Secretary Blinken is facing. He's now in the region, of course, as you said, trying to bring about this kind of

ceasefire and trying to restart these talks. Even now with the failure of the first effort to achieve a ceasefire now, we hear that the negotiations

may continue in Cairo very soon. And that's, of course, what Blinken will likely be addressing very shortly.

KINKADE: And we have obviously heard some of the readout from Blinken's conversation with Netanyahu's -- with the Israeli defense ministers,

rather, talking about the humanitarian death toll and how he is concerned about any further military expansion into Rafah. We will of course bring

those comments from Antony Blinken live when they happen. We are going to take a short break. If you can stick around with us, sir, as we await the

secretary of state's press conference, that would be great.

For now, we're going to take a quick break and we will have more on Donald Trump's lawyers who are soon going to go to the Supreme Court to argue in

what could be one of the most critical legal cases facing him. So, will the former U.S. president join them and make an appearance in court like he has

in the past?



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, unlike other legal proceedings, Trump has used his campaign stops. He won't be expected to be at the U.S. Supreme Court

Thursday when justices hear arguments over whether he should be on Colorado's primary ballot. Well, the state's high court ruled that Trump

should be disqualified for running for the White House again on constitutional grounds for his role in the January 6th insurrection.

Sources telling CNN that Trump, "Understands just how serious this is." It comes on the heels of a major legal blow to the U.S. President. A U.S.

appeals court ruled Trump does not have immunity for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Well, CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic joins us now. Good to have you with us, Joan. So, this case tomorrow could determine whether

Trump -- if Trump is ineligible to run for a second term. This is going to be a landmark case. What's at stake here?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Sure, Lynda. Good to see you. You know, I -- we really can't overstate how important this will be.

First of all, will he be on the ballot? And also, you know, it will determine, in some ways, who could become the next president of the United


So, it's -- it will be interesting to hear the nine justices parse this section of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that is intended to

bar from any future office, any previous office holder who had taken an oath to uphold the constitution and then who engages in an insurrection.

The Colorado voters who are challenging Donald Trump, who want him off the ballot, are really going to try to focus to the nine justices on that --

the part of the provision that talks about insurrection. And to say, look at what happened on January 6th and look at his role in it. Whereas the

lawyer defending Donald Trump is going to try to focus on key words of that 14th Amendment provision and say, they do not apply to the President.

For example, there's a reference to an officer of the United States. I know it sounds counterintuitive, Lynda, but they are going to argue that based

on the terms used in the constitution in this provision that was enacted after the Civil War, it does not cover the president as a, "Officer of the

United States."

So, you're going to hear a real mixture of technical arguments going to the text of this provision and to its history. Its history from the 1800s. You

know, what was in the minds of the drafters, but then also the effort to bring back these justices to the events and violence of January 6th and the

attack on the U.S. Capitol.


KINKADE: Joan Biskupic, it's going to be an interesting case to watch. We will be following it closely right here on CNN. Good to have you with us as

always. Thank you.

BISKUPIC: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, the Kremlin has confirmed an interview of Russian President Vladimir Putin by right-wing U.S. media personality Tucker Carlson. There

are no details on what was discussed or when the interview would be posted. Carlson is a former "Fox News" host, and he said he went to Moscow for this

very reason. Take a listen.


TUCKER CARLSON, NEWS ANCHOR: Not a single Western journalist has bothered to interview the president of the other country involved in this conflict,

Vladimir Putin. Most Americans have no idea why Putin invaded Ukraine, or what his goals are now. They've never heard his voice. That's wrong.


KINKADE: And that is not for lack of trying. CNN has, in fact, asked for interviews with the Russian president. The Kremlin also corrected Tucker

Carlson, saying they haven't granted requests because they view most traditional Western media as one sided.

Well, joining us more is CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy. Good to have you with us, Oliver. Clearly, Tucker Carlson isn't a journalist. This

is something that his former employer argued when they went to court to fight a defamation case and won back in 2020. And the headline at the time

from the "Business Insider" made it clear. It said, "Fox News" won a court case by persuasively arguing that no reasonable viewer takes Tucker Carlson

seriously. So, is anyone going to take this conversation with Putin seriously?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: They shouldn't. I mean, they should not take him seriously, especially given the absurd things he's

already saying ahead of the interview. You know, the idea that no Western journalist wants to interview Putin, obviously, that's not true.

You know, he's making these claims that Western media isn't interested in telling the Russian side while a "Wall Street" journal -- journalist Evan

Gershkovich, sits in a Russian prison for doing precisely that, trying to report while inside Russia which has been very difficult under Putin who

has, you know, targeted the press and targeted big tech companies for information on the internet that he doesn't like.

Unfortunately, though, Tucker Carlson does have an audience in the United States. You know, it's not as large as it was when he was on "Fox News",

but he does still have an audience. And if he does humanize Putin, you know, you could see the people on the right who do pay attention to what he

says. You know, Donald Trump's a big former supporter of his and has embraced him as of late. You could see how this could influence some of

their thinking when it comes to looking at the war in Ukraine and what Putin is doing to that Eastern European country.

KINKADE: All right. We'll wait and see what comes of this interview and when it happens. Oliver Darcy, thanks so much.

DARCY: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, Taylor Swift mania has arrived in Japan. We'll take a look at fans excitement from this, the special outfits,

to the friendship bracelets, even the special vacation plans. And one fan who quit her job to go to the concert.



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

Well, ignoring a phone call from your boss after hours could have severe consequences no matter how much you want to hit that decline button. But in

Australia, there may soon be consequences for your boss. The Australian government is making moves to tighten how much bosses can contact employees

outside of working hours. It's called the Right to Disconnect Law.

On average, Australians work about six weeks of unpaid overtime every year, that's according to the Greens leader Adam Bandt. He goes on to say, that

time is yours. Not your bosses. And if your boss breaks the new law, they could potentially face some hefty fines. The bill is expected to be

introduced into Parliament later this week.

Well, the era of Taylor Swift continues this time in Japan. The Grammy winner has brought her Eras Tour to Tokyo, and fans around the world are

ready with costumes, bracelets, and special vacations. Here's CNN's Hanako Montgomery with a look at Swifty Mania.



HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So long, LA. Hello, Tokyo. After picking up her 14th Grammy in Los Angeles,

international pop star Taylor Swift is now in Japan, kicking off the international leg of her record-breaking Eras Tour, much to her fans


CROWD: And I cried like a baby coming home from the bar, oh. I'm fine, but it wasn't true. I don't want to be --

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Amid this lavender haze, Swifties are relishing this once in a lifetime moment.

ANDI FACHRUL, TAYLOR SWIFT FAN: I am super excited to see her, because this is actually my first time seeing her.

MONTGOMERY: First time?

FACHRUL: This is my first time seeing her. And just imagine, this is the very person that I grew up with. This is the very person whose music I've

been listening to since 2012.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Other Swifties say the four concerts just aren't enough.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, so I quit my job when she announced this Eras Tour.

MONTGOMERY: You quit your job when she announced the Eras Tour?


MONTGOMERY: Can I ask why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because, last time I went to six shows on her Reputation Tour. But, yes -- you know, it wasn't enough.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Tens of thousands of fans lined up for souvenirs as other Swifties exchanged friendship bracelets and flaunted their Eras

themed outfits.


MONTGOMERY: And Taylor Swift is bringing the fans and the big bucks to Japan. Experts that we spoke to estimate that she will generate more than

$230 million U.S. for her four-day concert here in Tokyo.

MONTGOMERY (voice-over): As fans from South Korea, China, New Zealand, and the United States descend upon Tokyo to see their favorite pop star.

They're making the most out of their Swiftcations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've always wanted to go to Japan, so it just -- yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we come and make it count.


MONTGOMERY (voice-over): Now, the billion-dollar question, will Swift make it in time to kiss her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce

before the 58th Super Bowl on Sunday? All signs point to yes, as it won't take a time machine, just a private jet.

CROWD: Woah.


MONTGOMERY (voice-over): But for now, Swifties in Tokyo are only worried about one thing, dancing along with Swift, who's written the soundtrack to

so many fans' lives.

Hanako Montgomery, CNN, Tokyo.


KINKADE: Well, Taylor Swift fans are speculating if and when the singer will make it to Las Vegas from Japan for this Sunday's Super Bowl. But now

they have -- they may have one less source to rely on. Swift's legal team has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Jack Sweeney.


He's a college student who tracks the private jets of celebrities and public figures to calculate their carbon footprint and then he shares the

information on social media. An attorney for Swift has accused Jack Sweeney of, "Stalking and harassing behavior." And she says if Sweeney continues to

publish Swift's air travel information, she will pursue any and all legal action available.

Well, finally tonight, this stunning image of a young polar bear drifting to sleep wins the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. The shot was

taken by British photographer Nima Sarikhani and was titled "Ice Bed". It was selected from a short list of 25 images. After a three-day search for

polar bears, Nima captured the moment in Norway's Svalbard Archipelago showcasing both the beauty and the fragility of our planet.

Well, organizers say more than 75,000 people voted in this year's competition, a record number. As well as the winner, there are these four

highly commended finalists. The competition is developed by London's Natural History Museum where all five images will be on display until June


That does it for this show and those beautiful images. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us. "Quest Means Business" is next.