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Isa Soares Tonight

Truce Talks Open In Cairo As Gazans Brace For Israeli Assault On Rafah; U.S. Senate Passes $95 Billion Bill With Aid For Israel And Ukraine; Super Bowl LVIII Breaks Viewership Record; House Floor Voting On Foreign Aid Measure Encouraged By Biden; Biden Criticizes Trump For Inciting Assault On Allies By Russia; Regarding Trump Immunity Case, U.S. Supreme Court Requests Response From Special Counsel; Russia's War On Ukraine; In Recent Strike On Kyiv, Russia Deployed New Kind Of Hypersonic Cruise Missile; New Munitions Factory Built In Germany; With U.S. Help Stalling, Ukrainians Seek Additional Weaponry; Trump's Comments Against NATO Minimized By German Chancellor; Super Bowl LVIII Viewed By 123.4 Million People On CBS. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 13, 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, crucial talks in

Cairo as negotiators including CIA Director Bill Burns made to try and secure the release of hostages held in Gaza. But with Hamas not at the

table right now, can progress be made?

Then, all eyes turn to the U.S. House after the Senate passes a $95 billion aid package for Ukraine and Israel. We'll have the latest. Plus, a record-

breaking Super Bowl in more than one way, 123 million viewers tuned-in, making at the U.S. TVs biggest audience since the moon-landing. We'll have

that and much more coming up.

Do not return until everyone comes home, the living and the dead. A message today from families of hostages being held in Gaza. They're urging Israeli

negotiators to remain in Cairo until a deal is reached that secures their loved ones' release.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is hosting a new round of talks involving senior U.S.-Qatari and Israeli officials. Hamas is not there. But

says it could return to Cairo if progress is made on brokering a truce. Well, a pause in the fighting can't come soon enough for the people of


Some Palestinians who had fled to Rafah and now fleeing once more ahead of a threatened Israeli ground offensive. Even though, there's virtually

nowhere safe to go. U.S. President Joe Biden says Israel must not launch that offensive without a credible plan to protect civilians. But the IDF

says it hasn't yet presented evacuation plans to the Israeli government.

Well, I want to bring in CNN's Nada Bashir who joins us live from Cairo. Good to have you there for us, Nada. So Israel has once again launched

deadly strikes in Rafah in the south of Gaza. Human Rights Watch is calling out Israel for what it describes as unlawful acts of aggression. Just take

us through the details.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: That's right. We have seen another night of strikes carried out in the southern city. Important to remind our viewers,

of course, that more than a million people are concentrated in Rafah, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced on multiple occasions.

Many of them after they were told by the Israeli manager to move south for that protection. Now, of course, we have seen a series of airstrikes, local

officials say residential buildings were struck. We know of course, there has been a growing death toll amongst civilians.

And we've been hearing from people on the ground now is that many are choosing to evacuate themselves from Rafah and move farther north, to move

back to central Gaza, an area which again is still coming under heavy bombardment, it has been almost entirely destroyed after more than four

months of war and airstrikes.

So, you can imagine the desperation many of these families choosing to make their move over fears that we could see a ground operation. Of course, this

comes amidst ongoing negotiations, but for many, this is a moment of sheer desperation in Rafah. A warning to our viewers, some of the footage in this

report will be distressing. Take a look.


BASHIR (voice-over): Seemingly endless chaos in this field hospital in Rafah. Doctors, volunteers crammed into the small tent, delivering whatever

care they are still able to provide. Overnight on Tuesday, another round of airstrikes on a city once thought to be the only safe place left for more

than a million displaced civilians.

Just 24 hours, prior airstrikes carried out by Israel was part of an operation to secure the release of two hostages killed, more than 100,

according to the Palestine Red Crescent. The bombardment of Rafah has left widespread destruction in its wake --


BASHIR: And countless families are mourning. A warning of what could lie ahead for civilians here, should Israel launch a full-scale ground

offensive in the city. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged safe passage for civilian evacuations. But a military plan has yet

to be provided, and the prospect has heightened fears among Gaza civilians.


"The nights are so difficult here in Rafah. Where else are we supposed to go? Where else are we supposed to leave? This is the place they told us to

evacuate to."

With nowhere left to turn, some families are now fleeing Rafah to return to parts of central Gaza. Whatever belongings they have left stacked above

cars, children carried in mothers' arms. "We're tired of fleeing from one city to another, we're so tired. I just hope the world will stand with us.

Will have mercy on us. All we see is death, shelling, destruction and starvation."

North of Rafah, the nightmare this embattled region has endured is evident. The airstrikes here are still relentless. The suffering of the Palestinian

people, unending. "Everyone has been killed. My grandchildren, Ernest(ph), look at him. He was only two years old." This grandfather says.

"He was the best thing in my life." So much pain in this grandfather's distraught cries, but there is little time to grief. Funerals here are

swift and constant. Nobody is spared the pain of this war.

"We are peaceful people. We were just in our homes, we have no involvement in politics. We just want the war to end. But an end to this war seems

elusive still. Diplomatic efforts to secure a prolonged truce have so far failed to deliver concrete results.

The CIA's chief now in Cairo for talks with both Egyptian and Israeli Intelligence officials as well as Qatar's Prime Minister. One official

calling the talks, quote, "difficult, but nudging forward". A Hamas official has also told CNN that the organization stands ready to send a

delegation back to Cairo if negotiations see progress.

But warnings of an expected ground offensive in Rafah could place those talks in jeopardy. As Hamas threatens to pull out if Israeli troops enter

the city.


BASHIR: And Lynda, we have heard from a Hamas source telling us that it now eyes the next 24 hours of these negotiations, of these talks will be

critical, that the picture will become a little clearer in 24 hours as to where we stand in terms of those ongoing negotiations.

And of course, we have also heard that it appears clear amongst the mediators that they are determined to push forward with some sort of

prolonged truce. At this stage, it's looking to be a truce that would last at least six weeks. And the hope by many in the international community, in

particular, the mediators involved in this like the likes of United States, Qatar, Egypt, and other people in the region is at this six-week truce.

If it is established and agreed upon, will provide the time and space, not only to allow for gradual release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian

prisoners, but will also allow for a framework to be established to move forward towards a lasting, full ceasefire.

At this stage, an agreement is not said to be imminent. Hamas had said that they are prepared to send a delegation, if indeed there is progress. But of

course, again, all eyes on the situation in Rafah, if indeed we do see a ground operation as many fear, we will see by the Israeli military, that

could place those talks in jeopardy. Hamas has said it will move forward with negotiations if we see that ground incursion take place, Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, good to have you reporting on those developments for us from Cairo, Egypt. Thanks so much Nada Bashir. We are of course, awaiting a

press conference from Joe Biden, that will include a speech about the aid that -- the aid package that has just been pushed through the Senate

awaiting approval in the House. It's $95 billion, which of course includes military assistance for Israel and also humanitarian aid for Gaza.

But right now, I want to take a closer look at the hostage and ceasefire talks in Cairo today. CNN's international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson

joins us from Tel Aviv, good to have you there for us, Nic. So right now, we've got the CIA director meeting with the head of Mossad, of course,

Israel's Intelligence organization along with Egypt's Intelligence chief and the Qatari Prime Minister in Cairo. Just take us through the progress

on those talks, talks for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, these talks are following up on Hamas' counter proposal which came earlier last week, which

was a response to the last time these four Intelligence chiefs met in Paris. And that was about three -- two-and-a-half, three weeks ago now.

And they put forward a proposal that was a three-phase proposal that would be six weeks of humanitarian pause, and that would allow for the release of

some hostages.


And then, if everything went well, that would roll forward for another 45 days. There would be more hostages released and so on and so forth. Now,

Hamas came back with a counter-proposal, and the first part, the first phase of their counter-proposal sounded like what the CIA and the Mossad

chiefs and the others had already put forward.

So, it seems that there is space for the possibility to move forward. We have no idea what's actually going on inside the room there in Cairo, and

whether things have now become worse and move farther apart. And that the key sticking points are that Hamas wants a large number of its home

prisoners released from Israeli jails, and it wants a permanent ceasefire out of this.

There was supposed to be a phased approach to reach that ceasefire, but at the moment, there isn't an indication that, that gap over getting over the

ceasefire should -- is any way bridged. The other thing that Hamas had wanted was the IDF to pull eventually completely out of Gaza, but out of

the cities and stop drone operations and stop military operations for those first 45 days.

Now, the fact that Hamas is indicating that if there is progress in these talks, they're willing to re-engage quickly, you know, can be taken in any

number of ways. It could be taken that they feel under pressure to make a deal that this is a good time for them to make a deal.

It can be taken, that they are merely trying to put all the international pressure, which is mounting on Israel about its potential offensive in

Rafah. Which if there isn't a deal, seems very likely to happen that Hamas is trying to leverage that international pressure on Israel.

It's so hard to read these situations, but the fact that Israel has sent its Mossad chief and the CIA chief is there, and the Egyptians have their

Intelligence chief and the Qatari Prime Minister is there, shows that there is still talking, there is still the possibility of a deal, but I think

that's all we can take away from the situation at the moment.

KINKADE: And Nic, violence against Palestinians is not just an issue in Gaza. We're seeing attacks happening in the West Bank, the United Nations

recording over 500 Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October 7th.

Now, some countries are sanctioning those Israeli settlers accused of the violence. Just take us through the details.

ROBERTSON: There's been a lot of pressure on European governments on the U.S. government and others to take action against Israel. And there's a

recognition in this region by the Gulf states and others and Jordan, you could say and Egypt certainly.

That extreme pressure to stop Israeli military operations in Gaza just hasn't happened. So they've collectively, diplomatically told all these

other countries you have to put up warning flags. You have to set red lines for Israel.

And one of those is the increase in violence that's happening in the West Bank by the military, by settlers, the increase in arrest, the increase

in the number of people killed, the fact that the economy and the West Bank has been hit hard, also over 20 percent down according to international


So, all of these things now sort of bear all that pressure from these countries is bearing fruit, if you will, and it's bearing -- and that's why

we're seeing countries like the United States, like France, most recently sanctioning 28 different settlers for their violence against Palestinians,

and those 28 that have been sanctioned, will no longer be able to travel to France. We saw the U.K. sanction a couple of settlers, just yesterday, the

United States --

KINKADE: Nic, I'm just going to interrupt you, U.S. President Joe Biden is speaking out about that $95 billion foreign aid bill. Let's listen.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hello, this morning, the United States Senate, as you all know, voted overwhelmingly by a margin of 70 to

29, to move forward with the bipartisan national security bill. Now, it moves to the House. And I urge Speaker Johnson to bring it to the floor


There's no question that the Senate bill was put on the floor in the House of Representatives -- it would pass. It would pass. And the speaker knows

that. So, I called the speaker to let the full House speak its mind, and not allow minority of most extreme voices in the House to block this bill,

even from being voted on. Even from being voted on.


This is a critical act for the House to move. It needs to move. The bill provides urgent funding for Ukraine so it can keep defending itself against

Putin's vicious onslaught. We've all seen the terrible stories in recent weeks. Ukrainian soldiers out of artillery shells, Ukrainian units

rationing rounds of ammunition to defend themselves. Ukrainian families worried that the next Russian strike will permanently plunge them into

darkness or worse.

This byproducts of bill sends a clear message to Ukrainians and to our partners, and to our allies around the world, America can be trusted.

America can be relied upon. And America stands up for freedom. We stand strong for our allies. We never bow down to anyone, and certainly not

Vladimir Putin. So, let's get on with this.

Remember, the United States pulled together a coalition of nearly 50 nations to support Ukraine. We unified NATO, expanded it, we can't walk

away now, that's what Putin is betting on, he just flatly said that. Supporting this bill and standing up to Putin, opposing it is playing into

Putin's hands.

As I said before, the stakes in this fight extend far beyond Ukraine. If we don't stop Putin's appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won't

limit himself just to Ukraine. And the cost for America and our allies and partners are going to rise.

For Republicans in Congress who think they can oppose funding for Ukraine and not be held accountable, history is watching. History is watching.

History is watching. Failure to support Ukraine at this critical moment will never be forgotten.

I want to be clear about something, because I know it's important to the American people. All this bill sends military equipment to Ukraine. It

spends the money right here in the United States of America. Places like Arizona, where the Patriot Missiles are built, and Alabama where the

Javelin Missiles are built.

And Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas where artillery shells are made. And the way it works is we supply Ukraine with military equipment from our

stockpiles, and then we spend our money replenishing those stockpiles, so, our military has access to them. Stockpiles that are made right here in

America by American workers.

And not only supports American jobs and American communities, it allows us to invest in maintaining and strengthening our own defense manufacturing

capacity. Look, this bill meets our national security priorities in the Middle East as well and includes greater support for our troops serving in

the region who continue to defend against militia attacks backed by Iran.

It also provides Israel what it needs to protect its people against the terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and others. And I will provide

lifesaving, humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people who desperately need food, water and shelter. They need help.

And finally, this bill includes critical funding for our national security priorities in Asia, because even as we focus on the conflicts in Gaza and

Ukraine, we must not take our eye off our national security challenges in the Pacific.

It's the responsibility of a great nation, and we are a great nation that the rest of the world looks to. And I mean that. The rest of the world

looks to us. The stakes are already high for American security before this bill was passed in the Senate last night.

But in recent days, those stakes have risen. And that's because the former president has set a dangerous and shockingly, frankly, un-American signal

to the world. Just a few days ago, Trump gave an invitation to Putin to invade some of our allies, NATO allies. He said, "if an ally didn't spend

enough money on defense, he would encourage Russia to quote, "do whatever the hell they want", end of quote.

Can you imagine a former President of the United States saying that. The whole world heard it. The worst thing is he means it. No other president in

our history has ever bowed down to a Russian dictator. Well, let me say this as clearly as I can, I never will, for God sake, it's dumb and

shameful, it's dangerous. It's un-American.

When America gives its word, it means something. When we make a commitment, we keep it. And NATO is a sacred commitment. Donald Trump looks at this as

if it's a burden. When he looks at NATO, he doesn't see the alliance that protects America and the world, he sees a protection bracket.

He doesn't understand that NATO is built on a fundamental principles of freedom, security and national sovereignty. Because for Trump, principles

never matter. Everything is transactional. He doesn't understand that the sacred commitment we've given works for us as well.


In fact, I would remind Trump and all those who would walk away from NATO, Article 5 has only been invoked once. Just once in our NATO history. And it

was done to stand with America after we were attacked on 911. We should never forget it.

You know, our adversaries of long sought to create cracks in the alliance. The greatest hope of all those who wish America harm is for NATO to fall

apart. And you can be sure that they all cheered when they heard Donald Trump, heard what he said.

I know this. I will not walk away. I can't imagine any other president walking away. For as long as I am president, if Putin attacks a NATO ally,

the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory. Let me close with this. You've heard me say this before.

Our nation stands at an inflection point. An inflection point in history where the decisions we make now are going to determine the course of our

future for decades to come. This is one of those moments. And I say to the House members, House Republicans, you've got to decide, are you going to

stand up for freedom?

Or are you going to side with tyranny? You're going to stand with Ukraine or you're going to stand with Putin? Will you stand with America or Trump?

Republicans and Democrats in the Senate came together to send a message of unity to the world.

It's time for the House Republicans do the same thing, to pass this bill immediately. To stand for decency, stand for democracy, to stand up to a

so-called leader hell-bent on weakening the American security. And I mean it sincerely. History is watching. History is watching.

In moments like this, we have to remember who we are. We're the United States of America. The world is looking to us. There's nothing beyond our

capacity. We act together. In this case, acting together includes acting with our NATO allies. God bless you all, may God protect our speaker, and I

promise I'll come back and answer questions later. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Trump said that, sir, what did Putin do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's planned if the speaker doesn't --


KINKADE: You've just been listening to a very passionate speech by U.S. President Joe Biden, urging the Speaker of the House to take the bill, the

$95 billion foreign aid package, which was just voted through the Senate to the House for a vote.

Now, that bill includes military support and aid for Ukraine, it includes security assistance to Israel, humanitarian support for Palestinians in

Gaza, and also funding towards U.S. national security interests in Asia. I want to bring in our chief congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, who has

been listening to that speech and joins us live from Capitol Hill.

Good to see you Manu Raju. So, this bill, of course, had support from the Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate. But Republicans in the House

are threatening to kill it. The Speaker of the House might not even bring it for a vote. What did you make of the president's comments just then, and

how could the speaker justify not bringing it to a vote?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I'm not sure that the president putting pressure on the Republican Speaker will change the

calculation of the Republican Speaker Mike Johnson, who is aligning himself very closely with Donald Trump, who wants to kill this aid package.

Trump has made very clear, he wants the Republicans to vote against this. And a majority of Senate Republicans did vote against this on the Senate

floor this morning. Yes, it did get the support of the Senate Majority leader Mitch -- Senate Minority leader, the Republican leader, Mitch

McConnell, along with McConnell's top deputies, but Republicans have been badly split on this issue.

One of the things that Johnson has been demanding was for this package to include new border security measures, tougher border security restrictions.

Well, and the Senate had cut a bipartisan deal to deal with the southern border with Mexico. That bipartisan deal was rejected by the Speaker of the

House, who said it was too weak.

Donald Trump had urged the Republicans to kill it, and the Senate, they blocked this measure that included bipartisan -- that included that

bipartisan border security deal. So, Johnson wants to add the bipartisan -- wants to add a Republican border security bill that has no chance of

passing the Democratic-led Senate.

So, therefore, you see the challenge of getting any legislation through. Now Lynda, there is a procedure in order to circumvent the Republican

leadership on this issue, where essentially would require a majority of the House and these Democrats and Republicans to sign onto a petition to force

a vote on the House floor of this package.

That is something that has rarely been successful in modern times. But one that could become an issue as more and more members, maybe Republicans in

particular, rank-and-file Republicans side with Democrats, calling for a vote.


But at the moment, the Speaker of the House is indicating, he is not going to move on this package, very much aligning himself with Trump despite what

Biden had to say just now.

KINKADE: Yes, and it was interesting listening to the president just now, calling out Donald Trump for his comments, saying that any ally who doesn't

pay enough into NATO, he would encourage Russia essentially to attack them.

And he said, the president said, history is watching. Failure to support Ukraine here will not be forgotten.

RAJU: Yes --

KINKADE: What happens next if the Speaker of the House refuses to take this bill to the floor, and this discharge petition goes through. I mean, what

comes next? Is it a matter of going back to the negotiating table to bring in border security? Is that something that the Democrats would try and


RAJU: I think it will be of a staring contest. Really over the next several weeks here, you probably will see more and more calls from Joe Biden as

well as some other Republican supporters of this bill, including the Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell calling on the House to actually move on

this bipartisan bill.

The deal with emergency aid, then you'll see the Speaker of the House will say that, well, the Democrats in the Senate should move on the House's

border security bill that the Democrats believe goes too far. But that kind of posturing and jockeying is going to happen for some time.

And in the middle of all of it, will be aid to Ukraine. The question will be, if things for Ukraine get even more dire as they are in -- badly in

need, even more so of this aid that is stalled in the United States Congress. Does that change the calculation at all on Capitol Hill?

Does that force any change in the posture of the Republican leadership? But at the moment, there are no indications whatsoever that the Republicans in

the House will change how they will approach this issue. It will probably will only take rank-and-file Republicans trying to figure out a way to work

with Democrats to get this bill on the floor and avoid circumvent Republican leadership.

But at the moment, that is not there, that is not -- does not have enough support to succeed. We'll see if that changes though, Lynda, in the weeks


KINKADE: Yes, we will be watching it closely. Manu Raju as always, good to have you there for us on Capitol Hill, thank you.

RAJU: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, South Africa is going back to the International Court of Justice, asking it to consider whether emergency measures are needed to

prevent Israel's threatened offensive on Rafah. South Africa says it's gravely concerned that Israel's military action in Rafah, quote, "has

already led to and will result in further large-scale killing, harm and destruction."

The ICJ ordered Israel last month to take all measures to prevent genocide in Gaza in a case brought by South Africa. It hasn't yet ruled on whether

genocide is taking place, an accusation that Israel denies. Well, for more on this, I want to bring in our David McKenzie who is following the story

for us from Johannesburg.

Good to have you with us, David. So South Africa making this urgent plea to the U.N.'s top court to consider intervening when it comes to this

offensive in Rafah. Just exactly, what is South Africa hoping to achieve?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're trying to put more pressure on Israel to back away from its stated plans to

move on Rafah, that major center in the southern part of Gaza. Now that is, as Nic, reported earlier in your show, in line with some other pressure

from even allies of Israel to try and persuade the Prime Minister to not push forward with a ground offensive on that area.

And it could be, as some have speculated that Israel is trying to ratchet up the pressure for some talks, but the South Africans at least, are taking

this at face value. They have returned to the International Court of Justice with this appeal. This is basically an appeal to the justices to

try and get further what are effectively temporary restraining orders as -- or restraining orders of a kind.

They say that they want "to prevent further imminent violations of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza." And I'm quoting there. Now, they are able

to do this based on the rules of the court for an ongoing matter, if they believe, which clearly do, that there could be further violations of the

Palestinian people by Israel in the coming days if there's this major offensive.

Which would be going against on some level, according to South Africans, the ruling by the ICJ in late January. As you say, Israel has repeatedly

denied that it is conducting itself in this kind of manner. Lynda?

KINKADE: All right, we'll see how this plays out. David McKenzie for us in Johannesburg with what looks like a lightning show behind you right now.

Good to have you there for us, thank you. We're going to take a quick break, we'll be right back.



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

I just want to recap our breaking news you saw here on CNN just minutes ago. U.S. President Joe Biden calling on the House to take up the U.S.

foreign aid bill that was just passed by the Senate in the early hours this morning. $95 billion in all.

Donald Trump's firm grip on the Republican Party could derail hopes that a U.S. aid package to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan will become a reality. The

U.S. Senate passed the $95 billion bill this morning, but it faces an uphill battle in the House. That's thanks, in large part, to former -- the

former president who has made his opposition to the legislation clear.

Earlier, Mr. Trump posted, from this point forward, are you listening, U.S. Senate? No money in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country

unless it's done as a loan, not just a giveaway.

Well, will the bill even make it to the House floor? Let's welcome in CNN Political Commentator and Republican strategist Alice Stewart. Good to see

you, Alice.


KINKADE: So, this $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan passed through the U.S. Senate. We just heard that desperate plea

from the U.S. President to the Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, saying take it to the floor for a vote. There's a big question mark over whether

he'll even do that. How do you see this playing out?

STEWART: Look, I certainly applaud the president for trying to advance this, speaking directly to House Republicans, but that is going to do

absolutely nothing to sway them in any way shape or form because they are listening to one person, and that is Former President Trump.


And despite Trump's characterization that this money is a giveaway, and some people say it's charity, this is not. This is a $95 billion investment

in democracy. And providing this necessary funding to Ukraine and Israel and Taiwan is important for the safety and security of not just those

countries and those regions, but for America.

And we all know that if, by some chance with regard to Ukraine, if Vladimir Putin was successful there, that's just the first step. What is next? Who

is next? And it potentially could be the United States of America.

So, I think it's, important to advance this. Look, it is disheartening and frustrating that there was not some amendments added to this package that

would address some of the concerns of Republicans, such as a border provisions to help secure the U.S border. And also, there were some

requests to have some cuts elsewhere to offset some of the spending. None of that was added.

But look, this isn't a done deal yet. I would like to see that Republicans are going to be open to having this discussion. But speaking with rational

Senate Republicans today, they say, look, we didn't get everything we wanted, but this is better than nothing in terms of this necessary aid and

it's important to advance this. And hopefully, over in the House, they can have further discussions to get a little bit more that would help this

bipartisan legislation move forward.

KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Hopefully they can get to that point of bringing it to the floor. But I have to ask you, Alice, how much Influence, how much

sway does Trump have on the Republican Party right now? Does he have a firm grip on it?

STEWART: He has a stranglehold on it, Lynda. There's no disputing that. And look, we saw even before language of the spending plan came out, Former

President Trump had encouraged the House speaker and Republicans to oppose legislation. They weren't even exactly certain what was in this.

And you know, there's not too off the wall speculation that a big part of pushing back on this is simply because Former President Trump does not, A,

want to see the spending move forward and he wants to see some type of securing the border. And now this new talk of him saying, let's consider

this alone and not just direct payments. That's certainly never going to happen.

But there are a lot of things that absolutely need to get done. But there's the political calculation as we're months away from the next election is

that Donald Trump simply doesn't want Joe Biden to have a win, specifically when it comes to securing the border, but also in advancing legislation and

funding that would go to help some of our key allies in the globe. and it's important that we continue to support our allies because they're going

through a terrible, difficult time, and we need to be there for them.

KINKADE: And of course, throughout the next nine months, less than nine months now to this election, Trump is facing one legal case after the next.

Do you think any Will prevent him from actually being on the ticket on the ballot Come November?

STEWART: It doesn't appear that way. And, you know, more than anything, what we're seeing is that, at least in terms of his support from Republican

primary voters, only intensifies or has solidified each time there is additional support litigation or additional legal incidences against him.

Because, Lynda, as you know, he has managed to convince the Republican base that all of these legal issues against him, all of the different cases, he

wraps them up in one fail swoop and saying this is overzealous prosecutors. This is weaponization of the Department of Justice because they see Donald

Trump as a key threat to Joe Biden and they're using this as a way to inadvertently destroy democracy because he is a threat to Joe Biden.

Of course, that's not the case. Each and every legal issue is separate in and of themselves and should be addressed accordingly. But in terms of

Republicans voting for him to get on the ticket, they're not dividing him. And the issues where we have some states that have tried to prevent him

from being on the ballot, we saw it in the state of Colorado and Maine and potentially elsewhere, we're seeing that the legal system is saying, you

can't not do that. He deserves -- if he receives the number of electorates, and he -- see is the delegate's necessary, he should be on the ballot and

it's for the people to decide whether or not he gets on the ballot.

And we also are seeing the Trump campaign and the Trump team continuing to appeal each of these legal issues that comes before him. And Lynda, that

just further delays this on the legal calendar, which could potentially move it closer to or even past the election in November.

KINKADE: Yes, that is true. We are watching it all closely. Alice Stewart, good to have you with us today. Thanks so much.

STEWART: Thanks, Lynda.


KINKADE: Well, Ukraine says it has evidence that Russia used an advanced type of hypersonic cruise missile for the first time in an attack on Kyiv

last week. Ukrainian authorities say, recovered debris indicates the use of a so-called zircon missile. If true, it advances Russia's war efforts as

experts say, this type of missile is nearly impossible to shoot down.

Well, ammunition shortages have plagued Ukraine's military and they're relying on foreign allies to keep the supply of artillery shells and other

weapons coming. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen takes a look at how Europe, and Germany in particular, plan to boost production.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A German made Leopard 2 tank hitting Russian positions on the eastern front.

This video provided by the 21st Mechanized Brigade showing, they say, how effective Western weapons are on the battlefield.

VEDMIN, TANK COMMANDER, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES (through translator): Every infantry is scared of a tank. Tanks go out and work and they fire

frightfully. They fire straight into their faces, and they don't even have time to think about what to do.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The Ukrainians say they need a lot more western arms and ammo, but Republicans have blocked U.S. military aid in Congress and

their likely nominee for president, Donald Trump, even suggested he might encourage Russia to attack NATO members who didn't meet military spending


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do

whatever the hell they want. You got to pay.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Those comments literally have Europeans up in arms, now ramping up weapons production for Ukraine and for themselves. Germany's

chancellor visiting a major arms plant with Denmark's prime minister, trying to downplay Trump's comments.

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: NATO is, of essence, for the United States, for Canada, for the European countries. And we cooperated so long since

World War II, and this is really something which is a good alliance for the future. We stick to it. The president of the United States sticks to it,

and I'm sure the American people will do so.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But Denmark's prime minister says she has no illusions. U.S. Support for European NATO members no longer seems certain.

METTE FREDERIKSEN, DANISH PRIME MINISTER: No matter what will happen in the U.S. and this year, I think the conclusion has to be written already now

that Europe needs to be stronger and we need to do -- we need to be able to do more on our own.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): And ammo production is the biggest concern as NATO allies struggle to help Ukraine make up for massive shortfalls while facing

overwhelming Russian firepower.

PLEITGEN: This is one of the most important things for the Ukrainians to stay in the fight. They're not only outmanned, they're also outgunned. And

the biggest problem they have is a lack of ammunition.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): They broke ground for a new ammo plant here, and the company's CEO says they will drastically increase ammo production quickly,

especially for artillery.

ARMIN PAPPERGER, RHEINMETALL CEO: They need 1 million to 1.2 million, and if I give them 700,000, I think there are also some other producers in

Europe who have to give them something. So, 700,000 is, at the moment, the maximum that we can produce.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): And the Ukrainians say, they need the maximum their allies can give with or without the U.S. to keep their forces in the fight

against the Russians.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Unterluess, Germany.


KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, big stars and a very close game, all leading to a record setting Super Bowl. We'll have details on the most

watched sporting event in U.S. history.



KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, the Super Bowl is by far the biggest annual sporting event in the United States, and it just got even bigger this year,

scoring record TV ratings. The Chiefs victory over the San Francisco 49ers was watched by more than 123 million viewers here in the United States.

That's the most for any TV program since the 1969 Apollo moon landing.

Well, the ratings boosted by a very close game that went to overtime and perhaps the presence of Taylor Swift and her girl squad there cheering on

her boyfriend, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Well, CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy joins me now from New York. Good to see you, Oliver. So, a record number of people. Was it the

cliffhanger of the game, the overtime, the Super Bowl ads, Usher at the Halftime entertainment, or was it the Taylor Swift factor?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: I think it was a confluence of events. I mean, we've seen record ratings for the NFL this year. It's not

just even the Chiefs games. We saw in the playoffs the NFL blitz pass its own records, you know, regularly posting tens of millions of people

watching these games. And then you add in these other factors, right?

The fact that this was a thrilling game, it went into overtime. You know, you had two teams that had gone head-to-head before playing and so there's

this -- there's that. And then you also have the Taylor Swift factor, which has been a major thing this year, you know. She has lifted the Chiefs games

to ratings highs, and you even have Patrick Mahomes talking to CNN yesterday about this effect and how they love being embraced by the



PATRICK MAHOMES, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS QUARTERBACK: I think it's been cool, honestly. It's been extremely cool -- I mean, to see the support that comes

with the Swifties and how they really embraced us and the Chiefs Kingdom and they kind of combined together. I'm all about growing football and

Taylor is a great role model of someone who is great at her profession, and I'm glad that she loves football as much as everybody else. Now, we brought

a new fan base to the chase kingdom.


DARCY: It's really like, you know, you couldn't have scripted this any better. The Super Bowl, you know, going in overtime, and then you see, I

think, a lot of people hung around to see Taylor Swift get down on the field. It was a made for TV moment where she embraced her now boyfriend,

Travis Kelce, and you know, they were being showered in confetti.

And so, you can see why this Super Bowl rated so well. I will say it is remarkable that the NFL continues to post these sorts of numbers because,

broadly speaking, the industry is in decline as streaming services have really upended everything.

So, while broadcasters are seeing lower ratings, even Major League Baseball and the NBA, they've been unable to really sustain those live audiences

that they once enjoyed, you know, maybe 10, 15 years ago. The NBA is not only surviving, it's really thriving and breaking those records.

KINKADE: Yes, I mean, it certainly seems to be a good case for linear TV, but not long after these ratings came out. Paramount Global, which of

course is the owner of CBS which aired the Super Bowl, announced that it was laying off workers.

DARCY: That's right. And this comes, during -- amid speculation about what's going to happen to Paramount because streaming has upended this

business, you're seeing, obviously, a lot of mergers and acquisitions take place because these legacy media companies are now competing against these

big tech giants. So, you have a company like Amazon that's getting into streaming and, you know, broadcasting NFL games and making movies and

buying film studios like MGM.


And, you know, you have -- if you're another company, if you're like Paramount, you're trying to compete against that. And it's very difficult

because Amazon and Apple, these companies have much deeper pockets. And so, what you're seeing is these mergers and acquisitions happen among those

legacy media businesses, the -- our own parent company merged with another company, Discovery and WarnerMedia to form Warner Brothers Discovery.

And so, Paramount is on the market and, you know, not surprising to see them leaning out as they maybe, you know, engaged in one of those deals


KINKADE: Yes, interesting times. We'll keep an eye on that very closely. But for now, we will continue to watch the love story that is Taylor Swift

and Travis Kelce. Good to have you with us on this Super Bowl success story, really. Thanks so much, Oliver Darcy.

DARCY: Thank you so much.

KINKADE: Still to come tonight, scientists are coming up with innovative solutions to problems that are facing astronauts. We'll tell you about the

advances in space surgery.


KINKADE: Well, a new possible frontier in space. CNN's Kristin Fisher looks at what efforts are being made to perfect surgery on the International

Space Station. Take a look.



KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sitting on top of this SpaceX rocket when it launched in January was the first

surgical robot bound for outer space.


FISHER (voice-over): MIRA made by a company called Virtual Incision, arrived at the International Space Station in February, and on Saturday, it

did something that's never been done before.

FORRITOR: Saturday was the first time that a surgical robot in space was controlled by surgeons on Earth to perform simulated surgical activities.


FISHER (voice-over): Virtual Incision provided CNN with exclusive video as six surgeons at the company's headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska took turns

operating the robot after it was powered up by NASA astronauts roughly 250 miles above.

DR. MICHAEL JOBST, SURGEON: The adrenaline was pumping and, you know, I could feel my heart pounding. It was really exhilarating, but at the same

time -- once I saw that, you know, robotic device doing the things that I'm used to it doing, settled down.

FISHER (voice-over): Dr. Michael Jobst says he's already performed 15 surgeries with MIRA during clinical trials on human patients here on Earth.

But he's never had to contend with zero gravity or a time delay of about half a second.

DR. JOBST: A split second or, you know, a half a second is going to be significant. So, this was a big challenge.

FORRITOR: You can see a left hand with a grasper and a right hand with a pair of scissors. And we use rubber bands here to simulate surgical tissue.

DR. JOBST: So, you could think of those rubber bands as, perhaps, you know, blood vessels or tendons or other connective tissue that has elasticity.

So, we're able to, you know, grab hold of the rubber bands and then take the scissors and just basically to cut them.

All right. I'm going for it. Yes. That was one small rubber band.


KINKADE: Fascinating. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Thanks for watching. "Quest Means Business" is next.