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Isa Soares Tonight

President Joe Biden Issues An Aggressive New Immigration Policy Aimed At Limiting Asylum Seekers At The U.S. Southern Border; Biden Cites Netanyahu Is Prolonging The Gaza War In Order To Hold On To Power; India's Narendra Modi Wins A Third Term; Biden Unveils New Border Rules; Biden Blasting Republican Inaction; New Israeli Air And Ground Operation Underway In Gaza; Fires In Northern Israel After Rockets Fired From Lebanon; Biden Says Netanyahu Prolonging War For Political Reasons; Hardline Israeli Ministers Threatens To Derail Government; Israeli Strike In Syria Kills Iranian Adviser; European Parliament Election; Garland Defends U.S. Justice Department; Testimony Begins In Hunter Biden Trial. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 04, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, U.S. President Joe Biden is issuing an

aggressive new immigration policy aimed at limiting asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border.

We expect those executive actions to be signed this hour, of course, we'll bring that to you live. Also ahead, the U.S. President suggesting that the

Israeli Prime Minister is prolonging the Gaza war to hold onto power. We'll get reaction to that.

And Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims a third term in India, but the win isn't nearly as convincing as some thought it would be. We'll have a deeper

look just ahead. But first this hour, we are watching a dramatic shift by U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House has announced executive actions

severely limiting asylum seekers trying to cross the U.S. border with Mexico.

They will effectively shut down the border to asylum seekers crossing illegally when a daily threshold of crossings is exceeded. Now, the move

uses a regulation that was enforced under the Trump administration. And at the time was widely, if you remember, denounced by Democrats.

Record crossings at the southern border are a major issue as you all know if you've been watching the show in this year's election. And the White

House has reached out to mayors from border areas to have them attend today's announcement about the new restriction.

We are expecting to hear from President Biden, I think we have a little live shot, podium shot for you if we can bring that up, there you go. You

can see the line there securing our border, when of course, we hear from the White House, we hear from President Biden on these new immigration


Of course, we will bring that to you. In the meantime, I want to go to CNN contributor Lulu Garcia-Navarro, who joins us live from Washington D.C.

Lulu, great to have you back on the show. So, what are we likely here to hear from the President, and how soon do you think this will take effect?

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I mean, it's supposed to take effect immediately. That is what we're hearing from the president -- the president

and his supporters on this. Let me just say this is a very controversial action that he's taking. I want to just take you back to sort of set the

stage as to why the president is doing this right now.

We know that, of course, immigration has been one of the key issues of this election. If you see in swing states in particular among independents, the

key constituency that President Biden needs to win his re-election. We know that immigration really comes at the top of the list.

And when you poll people, we see that President Trump really is very strong on this issue. People trust him much more than they trust President Biden,

and that's because we've seen record numbers of people crossing the border illegally into the United States.

If you think that in December, some 200,000 people -- or rather, there were 200,000 illegal crossings across the border. And so, even though that

number has been cut in half, it's still a hugely powerful motivating issue. And so, President Biden wants to get ahead of it, wants to get ahead of it,

particularly in front of -- ahead of the debates that will happen with President Trump -- former President Trump in the coming weeks.

SOARES: Yes, and as you're talking, really, we're just showing viewers some of the migrant apprehensions because the timing of this, like you clearly

stated it's very important. Because migrant application there are indeed lower if you compare 250,000 in December to April, 128,000.

I mean, it has been down for several months or the timing of why now is critical and points to the fact that, I mean, how much is this policy-ship

a political move by this administration who has been -- who most likely will get criticized writing, get pushed back, quite fierce pushback I

assume from progressive as well as immigration advocates, let alone, you know, the Republicans too.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, we're seeing that already. If you think that this was announced and immediately, in my inbox, I have at 4:30 today local

time, progressive Democrats calling a press conference to talk to the media about their objection. It's being denounced as a quote, "betrayal' by the


I mean, when President Biden ran, he ran in 2020 on a platform of saying that he wanted to bring back sanity and compassion to the issue of

immigration and the border, pushing back very strongly against measures that President -- former President Trump took while he was in office.

If you think about the family separation policy and other very controversial acts that he took, and so, this is really President Biden. I

think there's no other way to describe it, making an about-face on this issue.

SOARES: Yes --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And part of that is because we have seen the border just become this very explosive issue for him. And there has been just

unprecedented numbers of migrants in unauthorized crossings on the southern border. And so, he's really fighting two-on-two fronts here.

He's going to be fighting his own progressive flank, who will see this as a betrayal. They want to see what is called comprehensive immigration reform.

So, not just border enforcement, but also a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. And then of course, the Republicans have come out


We've seen that almost immediately. They basically been saying that this is too little, too late, that you know, he's only taking this action now

because he's been forced into a corner --

SOARES: Yes --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: By former President Trump.

SOARES: And on that, we have heard from some criticism as you can imagine from the Republicans -- I want to play a little clip, let's have a listen

to this, Lulu.


REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): Whatever little short measure that he's going to do here is not going to solve the problem. In fact, by some estimates, it

might make it worse.

REP. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Why didn't you do this in 2021? Why didn't you do this in 2022? Why didn't you do this in 2023? Why didn't you do this last

month or the month before or the month before. How many dead bodies is enough?


SOARES: I mean, how is the Biden administration, Lulu, going to, you know, respond to this criticism? How will they frame this?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, I think that the way that you can frame this, I think factually is that the reason the Biden administration didn't take some of

these actions is that they were trying to negotiate with Congress some of those very people who as you saw there, were talking so vociferously.

They were trying to actually come up with an actual law that would pass in Congress, because no matter what the President does today, this is

unilateral action on his part, and it is almost certainly going to be challenged in court. We've already had civil liberty groups say that they

are going to sue the administration over this. And so --

SOARES: Yes --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is going to be wrapped up in the courts. And the only way really to deal with immigration is to have the body that is tasked with

dealing with immigration, deal with it, which is of course, the legislative branch, which is the Senate and the House of Representatives. And they

tried to negotiate with them that --

SOARES: Yes --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Took very many months. And what we saw was that it was scuppered by former President Trump who didn't want this to be a win for

President Biden during this election season. And so, that's --

SOARES: Yes --

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The tact I think you'll hear the Democrats take, but is that going to really satisfy the American public who aren't so familiar

with the ins and outs of what happens in Congress, I don't think so.

SOARES: Yes, and like you said, I mean, the Republicans' outrange there is completely I think it's fair to say disingenuous. They could have vote on a



SOARES: Bipartisan bill. Lulu, thanks very much, appreciate your analysis - - sharp analysis as always. Thank you. Well, CNN is covering this from all angles, we are monitoring that press conference as soon as we hear, of

course, from the president, we will bring that to you.

In the meantime, I want to go to Priscilla Alvarez in Washington, Gustavo Valdes is in Mexico City. So Priscilla, I mean, how soon then -- I was here

speaking to Lulu just there, she was telling me that this could happen. This policy could come into effect and be implemented quite quickly. Just

talk us through what we're likely to hear here.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, all officials I've spoken with say that this is something that is going to take effect in several hours.

This executive action intended to clamp down on unlawful border crossings by essentially shutting off asylum access to migrants who crossed the

border illegally.

So, breaking it down a little bit, that includes, for example, again, shutting off access to asylum for those migrants crossing unlawfully when

the daily average is over 2,500. We're already at that point, so that's what allows us to take effect pretty much immediately.

Then two, it would allow for migrants to be returned to Mexico or their origin country, and it would exempt unaccompanied children among other

select migrants, for example, victims of severe human trafficking.


Now, of course, the president will require Mexico's cooperation on all of this. And I am told by a source that President Biden and Mexican President

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are expected to connect by phone later today to discuss this very executive action. But the president is also, you know, as

you mentioned, going to talk about this himself shortly.

And in those remarks, we anticipate that he is also going to put the responsibility on Congress to pass immigration reform. Remember, earlier

this year, there was a bipartisan border measure that failed in the Senate. The administration had been involved in that, and they are now hoping to

continue to put that pressure on Congress aside from this executive action.

SOARES: Yes, we're waiting, of course, for that press to hear from those remarks from President Biden. Gustavo, to you then in Mexico City, I mean,

President Sheinbaum was only elected, you and I were talking roughly this time yesterday in the last 24 hours. In terms of policy here, what has been

the reaction from the Mexican government so far to this?

GUSTAVO VALDES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, President Lopez Obrador addressed the issue late in his lengthy press conference. He announced that call that

he's going to have with Joe Biden later today. He seemed a little dismissive of the announcement.

He said that on deportations side, deportations happen all the time. This is nothing new. On the shutting down the border, he said, this is not

going to happen. This is a -- there's no way they can close the borders to the trade --to what it represents for both nations.

So, he didn't seem so impressed if you want to say this, but he also didn't explain if he had talked to him what kind of arrangements he made with the

Biden administration because there's no way that these announcement happens without checking with him first.

You know, the Biden administration or sources prior to the election on Sunday here in Mexico, had said that they wanted to wait not to interfere

with the elections in Mexico. Now that they know who the successor is, and it's Claudia Sheinbaum of the same party as Lopez Obrador, it seemed like

they can have more buy-in or whatever policy happens to be announced and how it's implemented.

The interesting thing is that if the idea right now is to try to stop the flow of immigrants, it might have the opposite effect because we saw that

when the COVID restrictions ended, that people rushed the border and that's when we start increasing numbers.

SOARES: Very important to point that out, Gustavo Valdez and Priscilla Alvarez, thank you to you both. We'll continue, of course, to monitor that

press conference. We will wait, of course, for President Biden to make those remarks and that executive action limiting asylum seekers crossing,

of course, when that -- when we see the president, we will, of course, bring that to you.

In the meantime, votes in India are still being counted, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi is claiming victory. However, his party may need a coalition

if it wants to remain in power as the opposition has done better than expected. Our Ivan Watson has the latest from New Delhi.



IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Election workers have been counting the ballots all day here in India after the world's

largest election. More than 640 million ballots cast. That's nearly twice the population of the entire U.S. And though the process is still underway,

the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is already declaring victory, saying that this is not only a victory for his party, but for all of India.

NARENDRA MODI, PRESIDENT-ELECT, INDIA (through translator): This victory is a win for the world's largest democracy. This is a win of the country's

loyalty to the constitution. This is a win for a developed India, a win for India's 1.4 billion people.

WATSON (voice-over): But the fact is, is that the preliminary results, yes, they suggest that Modi will have one, a third term in office, but that he's

electoral mandate will likely have shrunk considerably compared to the last two national elections. In fact, his ruling BJP, that political party, the

Hindu nationalist party may have to actually govern in a coalition with other political parties, they've never had to do that before in his ten

last years in power.

The opposition is calling this a major failure and defeat for Modi. And they are arguing that Indians have stood up and said that they don't like

the way he governs the country, that he is eroding the country's democratic constitution, cutting away at freedoms of speech and the press and of


What we do know is whatever the final results will be, Modi is likely to stay in power for another term, but he'll have to govern in a new way that

he's not had to do before. He will likely have to govern with coalition partners in the lower house of parliament. Ivan Watson, CNN, New Delhi.


SOARES: Well, joining us now for more on elections in India is the editor- in-chief for "Foreign Policy", Ravi Agrawal. Ravi, great to see you. In just in advance, we are waiting to hear from President Biden. So apologies

in advance if I have to interrupt, but look, let me pick up really what we heard there from Ivan Watson. It is a historic third term, but certainly,

arriving not the landslide that Modi was looking for. What do you make of the results, and how much does this challenge, Ravi, that the call of Modi?

RAVI AGRAWAL, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, FOREIGN POLICY: It really challenges that. I mean, when is a win not a win, it's when you're expecting a lot more than

you got, and that's basically what's happened here. Just about 72 hours ago, pollsters in India were suggesting that Modi would come back to power

in a huge landslide with a bigger victory than he did in 2019 and 2014.

And obviously, that hasn't happened. It is very likely that he will come back to power as Ivan said, but he'll need a coalition partner or two or

three, and that means that he will be much weaker --

SOARES: Yes --

AGRAWAL: As a leader than he's ever been. You will know from having covered elections in the U.K. and elsewhere, Israel, that coalition governments

tend to be weaker, they tend to be less certain about how they want to govern, and that's what we're going to end up seeing in India.

Immediately, the stock markets have fallen precipitously on Tuesday, the rupee has fallen more than it has in a year, and much of that is because

investors were hoping for stability. They were hoping also that in having just one party in power, there would be sort of a direct kind relationship

between them and the government and they'd have certainty.

They don't have that anymore. But this is in a sense a win for democracy, in that all of the activists --

SOARES: Yes --

AGRAWAL: Who have been critical of Modi now get to have more say.

SOARES: And as you're speaking, we're just seeing now that India's election authority, Ravi, has confirmed a victory for the coalition. This just come

through for Prime Minister Modi's alliance. You know, and you're right. I mean, his victory, his margin of victory shrunk, so, this coalition, what

kind of shape do you think it will take, and the challenges that he may face in pushing through some key legislation here, Ravi?

AGRAWAL: Yes, I mean, Modi often just shunned parliament. He's going to have to show up in parliament a lot more than he did before. He is going to

have to care a lot more about what other people think. Modi often installed technocrats favored sort of people in key positions in his


All of that is going to have to change at least a little bit. He's going to have to be more consultative. These are things that Modi is not used to

doing, not as Prime Minister, not even when he was chief minister of the state of Punjab more than a decade ago.

So, we will, I think end up seeing a softer, more collaborative Modi. He's going to be forced into many of those things. I don't think, however, we

should overstate what's happened. Modi is still going to govern in terms of the broader agenda that he was looking to push through.

I think that's going to remain the same. I mean, he's a business-friendly leader who is very committed to growing India's economy. I think that's

still going to be issue number one for him. I think in as much as he's being chastened, I think the idea that he could divide Hindus and Muslims

and rule, I think he may have realized that there are limits to that polarization, and he may end up from here on focusing more on business.

SOARES: Yes, I mean, it really is unchartered territory for Modi, interesting that you say may see more conciliatory tone, perhaps from him.

But look, the story also is, the opposition, Ravi, be the alliance led by Rahul Gandhi, who I think it's fair to say led a pretty strong and united


They seem to do better than expected. I mean, at least, I was looking at least in Uttar Pradesh did fairly well. Just have a listen to what he said.


RAHUL GANDHI, INDIA OPPOSITION LEADER: The country has unanimously and clearly stated, we do not want Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Amit Shah to be

involved in the running of this country. I do not like the way they run this country, I do not appreciate the way they've attacked the

constitution, we do not appreciate the way they have run this country for the last decade. So, that is a huge message for Mr. Narendra Modi.


SOARES: So, I mean, given that they've done fairly well, I wonder how much he has a point there, I mean, how much Modi's campaign was in fact, was

built around the call to Modi that's hubris -- this hubris, Ravi, around him. Does -- how much do you think this challenge not just that, but also

his anti-Muslim agenda and rhetoric here. Where do you see this opposition?

AGRAWAL: So, two things can be true. I think Modi may have overstated his position, he -- this is clearly a moment of hubris. But I think for the

opposition to tout this as a win is also a step too far. They have lost.


They are not in power, and they won't be in power. So, you know, as far as what Rahul Gandhi is saying goes, he won't be in power for at least another

five years. I think the way to look at this however, is that the deck was stacked against the opposition. Narendra Modi as prime minister was seen as

someone who had eroded key pillars of democracy, the media, the judiciary, and it made it much harder for the opposition to compete.

Whether it is access to capital, campaign finance, a whole range of things. I mean, he even locked up a key opposition leader, that stuff I think will

change in the future. In all of that, in that context, the opposition has done much better than expected, but they're not in power, and we won't see

them in power for quite a while to come.

What we are going to see, however, is a more united, a more emboldened opposition, and that is good for democracy in India.

SOARES: Yes, indeed. And what we just to reconfirm and just recap for our viewers who are joining us, the breaking news that we've had in the last

few minutes that the -- India's election authority has in the last few minutes confirmed a victory for the coalition headed of course, by Prime

Minister Narendra Modi.

We did hear from Narendra Modi earlier, and we know that they are heading into the majority. They needed a majority, they needed with 272 seats.

Ravi, appreciate, want to wrap up because I see President Biden heading to the podium. Thank you very much.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Republican Congress refuse to do, take the necessary steps to secure our border. Four months ago after

weeks of intense negotiations between my staff and Democrats and Republicans, we came to a clear bipartisan deal, was the strongest border

security agreement in decades.

But then, Republicans in Congress, not all, but walked away from it. Why? Because Donald Trump told them to. He told the Republicans as has been

published widely by many of you, that he didn't want to fix the issue, he wanted to use it to attack me. That's what he wanted to do.

Is a cynical and extremely cynical political move, and a complete disservice to the American people who are looking for us to not to

weaponize the border, but to fix it. Today, I'm joined by a bipartisan group of governors, members of Congress, mayors, law enforcement officials,

most of whom live and work along the southern border.

They know the border is not a political issue to be weaponized, responsibility we have to share to do something about it. They don't have

time for the games played in Washington, they knew through the American people. So, today, I'm moving past Republican obstruction and using the

executive authority available to me as president to do what I can on my own to address the border.

Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through a bipartisan legislation because that's the only way to actually get the kind of system

we have now that's broken fixed. To hire more border patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges. But Republicans have left me with no choice.

Today, I'm announcing actions to bar migrants who cross our southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum. Migrants will be restricted from

receiving asylum at our southern border unless they seek it after entering through an established lawful process.

And those who seek, come to the United States legally, for example, by making an appointment and coming to a port of entry, asylum will still be

available to them, still available. But if an individual chooses not to use our legal pathways, they choose to come without permission and against the

law, they'll be restricted from receiving asylum and staying in the United States.

This action will help us gain control of our border, restore order into the process. This ban remain in place until the number of people trying to

enter illegally is reduced to a level that our system can effectively manage. We'll carry out this order consistent with all are responsible

under international law, every one of them.

In addition to this action, we recently made important reforms in our asylum system more efficient and more secure reforms. The goal of delivered

decisions on asylum as quickly as possible. The quicker the decision -- the quicker decision means that a migrant is less likely to pay a criminal

smuggler thousands of dollars and taking on a dangerous journey, knowing that if in fact, they move in the wrong direction, they will be turned

around quickly.

Two weeks ago, the Department of Justice stated -- started a new docket in the immigration courts to address cases where people who have recently

crossed the border, they make a decision within six months rather than six years, because that's what happens now.

Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security has proposed new rules to allow federal law enforcement and more quickly remove asylum seekers that

have criminal convictions and remove them from the United States.


My administration has also recently launched whoever is to go after criminal networks that profit from smuggling migrants to our border and

incentivize people to give tips to law enforcement, provide information that brings smugglers to justice. We're also sending additional federal

prosecutors to hotspots along the border and prosecute individuals who break our immigration laws.

One other critical step that we'll be taking, and that has made a huge difference, but continue to work closely with our Mexican neighbors,

instead of attacking Mexico and its work. We've built a strong partnership of trust between the Mexican President Lopez Obrador and I'm going to do

the same with Mexican-elected President who I spoke with yesterday.

We've chosen to work together with Mexico as an equal partner. And the facts are clear due to the arrangements that I've reached with President

Obrador when number of migrants come in and shared -- to our shared border unlawfully in recent months has dropped dramatically.

But while these steps are important, they're not enough. To truly secure the border, we have to change our laws and Congress needs to provide the

necessary funding to hire 1,500 more border security agents, 100 more immigration judges to help tackle the backlog of cases, more than 2 million

of them.

Four thousand, three hundred more asylum officers to make decisions in less than six months instead of six years, which is what it takes now. And

around 100 more high-tech detection machines to significantly increase the ability to screen and stop fentanyl being smuggled into the United States.

These investments were one of the primary reasons that the border patrol union endorsed the bipartisan deal in the first place. And these

investments are essential, remain essential. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not willing to spend the money to hire more border patrol agents,

more asylum officers, more judges, more high-tech machinery, you're just not serious about protecting our border.

It's as simple as that. I believe the immigration has always been the life- blood of America. We're constantly renewed by infusion of people and new talent. The Statue of Liberty is not some relic of American history. It

stands for who we are as United States.

So, I will never demonize immigrants. I'll never refer to immigrants as poisoning the blood of a country. And further, I'll never separate children

from their families at the border. I will not ban people from this country because of their religious beliefs. I will not use the U.S. military to go

into neighborhoods all across the country to pull millions of people out of their homes and avoid from their families to put in detention camps.

And while we're awaiting deportation, as my predecessor says, he will do if he occupies this office again. My very first day as president, I introduced

a comprehensive immigration reform plan to fix -- to fix our broken system, secure our border, provide a pathway for citizens, for dreamers and a lot


And I'm still fighting to get that done. We must face a simple truth to protect America as a land that welcomes immigrants. We must first secure

the border and secure it now. The simple truth is, there is a worldwide migrant crisis. And if the United States doesn't secure our border, there's

no limit to the number of people who may try to come here, because there's no better place on the planet than the United States of America.

For those who say the steps I've taken are too strict, I say to you that be patient, and goodwill American people are going to -- wearing thin right

now, doing nothing is not an option. We have to act. Must act consistent with both our law and our values, our values as Americans.

I take these steps today not to walk away from who we are as Americans, but to make sure we preserve who we are for future generations to come. Today,

I've spoken about what we need to do to secure the border. In the weeks ahead, and I mean, the weeks ahead, I'll speak to how we can make our

immigration system more fair and more just.

Let's fix the problem and stop fighting about it. I'm doing my part. We're doing our part. Congressional Republicans should do their part. Thank you

very much.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, is Netanyahu playing politics with the war?

BIDEN: What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I asked sir, is Prime Minister Netanyahu playing politics with the war?

BIDEN: I don't think so, he's trying to work out a serious problem here. Thank you.



SOARES: President Biden there, not taking many questions and no questions, in fact, from journalists. But what we have heard is President Biden

announcing executive actions that basically limits asylum seekers trying to cross the U.S. border with Mexico. We've heard in the last few minutes that

this new asylum restrictions are going to come into effect at midnight, and it will basically effectively shut down the border to asylum seekers

crossing illegally when a daily threshold of crossings has been exceeded.

We heard that the beginning from President Biden said in the weeks of intense negotiation, they had a clear bipartisan deal. So, framing the

position right now for him, Republicans, he said, walked away. And when he asked -- when he said -- he stated the question, why? Well, because Trump

told them to, and he called it a cynical political move, something he said that was a disservice to the American people that the importance, he said,

this border should not be a political issue, he said, to be weaponized.

So, he's moving past Republican obstruction. He would, of course, have preferred a bipartisan deal. But now, the legislation, he says, hopefully

to fix the migration issue, which he said Republicans have left him with no choice. And he then asked if those who think it's too strict, be patient,

he said. Doing nothing is not an option. We have to secure the border and secure it now.

So, lots of threads for us to go through. Lulu Garcia-Navarro was listening in and she joins us now. So, Lulu, what stood out to you, first of all,

from what you heard from President Biden?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, it was a very short statement. He did not take questions on the issue, and I think that speaks to how sensitive the topic

is. But just listening to what he was saying, he's really trying to thread a needle here. On the one hand, excoriating Republicans saying that he has

been trying to deal with this issue in a bipartisan way through the legislative branch. Pointing out that Republicans, in his view, have not

stepped up to the plate.

On the other hand, trying to remind Democrats that he is not Donald Trump on this issue, even though he is adopting, quite frankly, some of his

policies saying that he does not describe immigrants, as former President Trump has, as a poison in the blood of this country, reminding Democrats

that he is not going to separate children from their families.

So, speaking to a number of different constituencies there who are going to have trouble with this executive order for different reasons.

SOARES: Yes. And just before the top of the hour, you were saying, you know, the, he's -- that this about face, you said, will fight progressive

flank, call it a betrayal. I mean, speak to the timing of this, of course, because we are expected to see President Biden, Former President Trump go

face-to-face, right, in the CNN Debate. So, the timing of this moment right now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, the timing of it is that, we are quickly approaching an election that is absolutely close, very contested and where

President Biden is behind in many key polls, specifically on the issue of immigration. This is one of his weakest issues in terms of how the American

public views his performance. And he really wants to try and gain some traction by being seen to do something.

And so, it remains to be seen whether this will have that desired effect. I mean, if you think from December to now, illegal crossings across -- on the

southern border have gone down by 50 percent, but the rhetoric hasn't changed. The polls haven't moved. And so, this is a very sticky issue for

him because, you know, regardless, I think of what President Biden does, there is a narrative on the right, specifically coming from President

Trump, but also from all of his supporters and Republicans in Congress that continues to beat this drum that President Biden is weak on this issue,

that the Democrats want to encourage illegal immigration and that only President Trump can fix the border.

SOARES: I mean, how much is -- very quickly, how much is the appealing to independence here? Just speak to an international audience, our

international viewers, why this issue of immigration, Lulu, is breaking through so many Americans.

GOLODRYGA: I mean, it's breaking through because we've seen the issues of the southern border actually migrate to American cities. You know,

immigrants were bused to democratic cities in the north of the country, Detroit, Chicago, New York City. You saw immigrants sleeping on the

streets. This really concerned people who might not have thought about the immigration issue or thought about the immigration issue as an issue that

really didn't affect them.


And so, it is becoming increasingly of a concern, specifically among independents. If you think this election is really only going to be decided

by a very few amount of people in about four states because of the American system. And so, people that are persuadable, it's a very narrow slice and

he needs to fight for every single vote.

SOARES: Lulu Garcia-Navarro, we appreciate you staying -- sticking with us for this. Thank you, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're welcome.

SOARES: Now, Israeli forces have launched a new air and ground offensive in Central Gaza, even as a ceasefire proposal sits, of course, on the table.

Qatar is trying to help broker the deal first announced by U.S. President Joe Biden, I think it was last Friday, but it says there are contradictory

statements by Israeli ministers on the plan urging Benjamin Netanyahu's government to take a unified position. Qatar says it's also waiting to hear

an official response from Hamas.

Prime Minister Netanyahu may be feeling more pressure to accept the deal after his biggest coalition partner signaled support. He's also under

pressure to stabilize the situation on Israel's northern border after large fires broke out following a rocket barrage by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Our next guest agrees that Mr. Netanyahu is putting his own political survivor above all else. Alon Pinkas wrote a blistering editorial in

Haaretz, calling the prime minister a desperate, incompent -- incompetent, pardon me, leader who couldn't care less about the hostages or their

families. Ambassador Pinkas is a former consul general of Israel, New York, and he joins me now.

Alon, great to have you back on the show. I want to play out, if I can, what we've heard from President Biden. He was talking immigration, but he

took a question from a journalist on Prime Minister Netanyahu, have a listen to this in the last few seconds.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, is Prime Minister Netanyahu playing politics with the war?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't think so. He's trying to work out a serious problem he has. Thank you.


SOARES: He said, I don't think so, but we did hear in an interview from -- with "Time" magazine, he actually said something completely different. I

think we've got it here. I think the question was, is there any reason to conclude, he said, question, some in Israel have suggested that Netanyahu

is prolonging the war for his own political self-preservation. Do you believe that? This is "Time" magazine interview. To which President Biden

responded, I'm not going to comment on that. There is every reason for people to draw that conclusion.

Is the president right? Is Prime Minister Netanyahu, Alon, prolonging this for political -- for his own political self-preservation? And how much, in

many ways, is President Biden with that ceasefire proposal cornered Netanyahu or, you know, outed him?

ALON PINKAS, FORMER ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL: OK. Hi, Isa. OK. So, here's the thing, for the last eight months, Mr. Netanyahu has been doing exactly

that. In fact, from 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 7, 2023, he has been doing nothing but subjecting or subjugating every single move, every single

decision or indices into his political survival interests.

So, there's nothing new here, and a majority of Israelis and consistent polls believe that he's putting his own personal politics way above

national security, way above the welfare of the wellbeing of how many hostages remain alive.

Now, Mr. Biden -- President Biden not only said this in an interview in "Time" from which you just quoted, I said, but he's also been hinting to

that effect, as did Secretary of State Blinken, as did Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about a month ago when he called for Israel to replace

Netanyahu in an election.

Now, the second issue is obviously that hostage/ceasefire proposal that you just alluded to. You presented it and you're right, because that's how it

was presented as Mr. Biden playing -- you know, presenting or outlining a claim. But the fact of the matter is this is an Israeli plan.

So, we are in a weird position in which Mr. Netanyahu is considering whether to reject Israel's policy, Israel's proposal, Israel's plan. And it

seems weird and it seems bizarre, but not if you actually follow Mr. Netanyahu.

SOARES: And that has many of us, I can tell you on this side, scratching our heads because, of course, we heard from President Biden on Friday and

soon after that, it's, you know, sort of contradictory statements and comments from Prime Minister Netanyahu. But it seemed then, Alon, that the

choice for Netanyahu seems clear either takes the ceasefire proposal or really is political survival.

I want to just read out a part of your column that you wrote. You said, "Despite his recurring manipulative modus operandi over the years, there

will always be those who see some cunning and sophisticated logic guiding Netanyahu. There are hopelessly optimistic, wide-eyed, gullible analysts

out there who are a eureka moment and believe that they can actually discern an inner-logic policy."


So, putting that aside, I mean, how do you then see this playing out? I mean, what cards, Alon, does he have left to play here?

PINKAS: Well, he has three cards. I think that, in a way, he came to the fork, but unlike Yogi Berra, he can't take it. He needs to choose a side.

And it's almost a binary decision. Yes, to a hostage/ceasefire deal, or not. And I'm not saying it's an easy decision. And I understand his

predicament, but, you know, push comes to shove. He needs to make -- push came to shove, I'm sorry, he needs to make a decision.

Now, this is how it's going to be played out. If you've noticed, Isa, in the last 48 hours, roughly, he's been drawing a distinction between the

fighting, which he's OK with stopping or halting for about 42 days, six weeks to be exact, and the war, which he pledges to continue until total

victory and annihilation and eradication and destruction of Hamas. OK. Mr. Biden thinks differently.

Now, that's the sticking point, because Mr. Netanyahu understands that according to the plan that Israel itself proposed or at least the

principles of that Israel presented to the U.S., phase one, which calls for a six-week ceasefire would lead to a permanent cessation of hostilities.

Now, this is where it's going to play. I know we don't have enough time. He can make that decision at the risk of his government or his coalition

falling, which is not a certainty, but a -- there's a lot -- high likelihood that that may happen, but then call for an election.

A caretaker government, an interim government cannot be toppled in parliament. So, he has three, four months until an election in which he

could do whatever he wants. And the U.S. is getting much deeper into its own election campaign. So, he has cards he could play. But the thing is

with him, if you look back at his 15 years of -- as prime minister, he is the ultimate -- the quintessential indecision maker, not decision maker.

SOARES: So, you're saying he will choose his own political survival here in terms of the long-term really over anything else?

PINKAS: No question about it, Isa.

SOARES: Alon, always great to get your insight. Thank you. Good to see you.

PINKAS: Thank you. You too.

SOARES: Now, we are closely watching news out of Syria where Iranian media reporting advising Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards has been killed in

Israeli airstrikes. Now, it reportedly happened on Monday near the city of Aleppo. So far, Israel has not responded.

If true, this may mark the first time an RGC member has been killed by Israel since a blast, of course, at Iran's consulate for a member earlier

this year. Fred Pleitgen has the very latest.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Massive fires after what Syrian state news says were several Israeli

strikes on Monday near Aleppo in Northern Syria. Killing an adviser of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iranian media says. Identified as

Saeed Abiyar, photos of his funeral already posted online.

The strikes come just over two months after Israel and Iran came to the brink of a full-on war, after Iran's embassy compound in Damascus was

bombed, killing several top Revolutionary Guard commanders. Israel's prime minister then vowing to remain tough against Tehran.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We will know how to defend ourselves, and we will act according to the simple

principle of whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But Iran struck back for the first time from its own territory, launching hundreds of drones and missiles towards Israel, even

though most were intercepted by Israel's air defense as well as the U.S. and allied air forces. But Tehran vowing to hit Israel again will should

the Israelis strike Iranian assets inside or outside Iran.

AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI, IRANIAN SUPREME LEADER (through translator): Today, the Zionist regime is melting and ending in front of the eyes of the people

of the world. It's ending, and the people of the world are seeing this.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Iran is currently in a transition period after both their president and foreign minister were killed in a chopper crash last


In one of his final interviews on CNN's "Outfront," the foreign minister had called on the U.S. to rein Israel in.

HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, FORMER IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): And I do think that America must pay closer attention and

focus on the adventure seeking regime in Israel so that such a crisis will not happen in Gaza.


SOARES: Our thanks for Fred Pleitgen in there. And still to come tonight, a pivotal moment in Europe as 27 countries are set to vote for lawmakers in

the E.U. Parliament. We'll explain the hurdles and what it means in terms of policy just ahead.



SOARES: Well, heavy rainfall in Southern Germany has caused deadly flooding, at least five people have died, including one firefighter. In

Bavaria, one person was washed away in her car. In the State of Baden- Wurttemberg, two people died while trying to pump the water out of their basement. Authorities say six people and one firefighter are still missing,

with one town near the Austrian border now declaring a state of emergency. We will of course stay across the story for you.

And we are just two days away from the second largest election in the world starting June the 6th, 27 European member states will choose lawmakers for

the European Parliament, but it's an anything but a straightforward choice really. The E.U. has become increasingly splintered and the geopolitical

landscape is changing quite drastically, in part of course due to the war in Europe. Our Barbie Nadeau has the latest for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This concludes this unique transnational democratic exercise.

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice-over): The world is a very different place since European Parliamentary elections were held back in

2019, a global pandemic, two major wars, including one in Europe and the subsequent rise in energy costs. Farmers frustrated by E.U. red tape and

cheap imports, dumping manure in Brussels. A worsening climate with activists attacking cultural gems from Paris to Venice. And a cost-of-

living crisis are all among the issues facing Europe's 373 million eligible voters.

These elections are the second largest in the world after India and considerably bigger than the upcoming American vote.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ninety-nine amendments by the committee responsible as a bloc vote was in favor.

NADEAU (voice-over): Between June 6th and 9th, voters in 27 European countries will choose the 720 lawmakers to shape an increasingly splintered

Europe for the next five years.

LORENZO DE SIO, PROFESSOR OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, LUISS UNIVERSITY, ROME: European elections are important because in E.U. member countries nowadays,

a lot of important strategic decisions are taken at the European level.


This is why the election of the European Parliament, which is the only directly elected body of Europe, is so important. Policymaking in Europe is

more complex, and the election of the European Parliament is only part of that. As a result, usually we record lower turnout than in national


NADEAU (voice-over): Creating a functioning parliament when Europe is making a hard rightward shift won't be easy.

The first difficult task of the parliament is choosing the president of the European Commission, with the current president, center-right German Ursula

von der Leyen, leading most polls.

For the incumbent to win, she has to slalom between her center-right European People's Party and the increasingly popular far-right parties of

Giorgia Meloni and Marine Le Pen to secure the newly elected parliament's support.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are preparing to work together with the ECR with - -

URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: That's not what I've said. I want to be very clear. This is not what I've said.


VON DER LEYEN: I'm speaking about members of the European Parliament. I want to see where they group themselves. And then, we work with the groups

that are clearly, clearly pro-European, pro-Ukraine against Putin and for the rule of law.

NADEAU (voice-over): A far-right with more members could greatly influence how Europe deals with political priorities, like how to share the burden of

a regular migration and what exactly to do about artificial intelligence and regulating big tech against a more assertive China and United States.

The European Union will need the parliament to set a clear path, but with balancing the wide-ranging needs of voters against the goals of divergent

parties. Approving legislation with a fractured parliament will be complex. The stakes for Europe and beyond couldn't be higher.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, Rome.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, a new phase begins in Hunter Biden's federal gun trial. We go live to the courthouse in just a few minutes.


SOARES: And some tense moments right now on Capitol Hill as the U.S. attorney general pushes back on claims from Congressional Republicans that

the Justice Department is being weaponized against former President Donald Trump.

Merrick Garland testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, as you can see there, is vigorously defending the department and slamming what he

calls extremely dangerous narratives. Have a listen.



MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These repeated attacks on the Justice Department are unprecedented and they are unfounded. I will not be

intimidated and the Justice Department will not be intimidated. We will continue to do our jobs free from political influence and we will not back

down from defending democracy.


SOARES: And staying in the United States, it is the first time in history the child of a city in U.S. president is on trial. Testimony is underway in

Hunter Biden's federal gun trial right now in Delaware. In opening statements, prosecutors argued that no one is above the law. It doesn't

matter who you are or what your name is.

While the defense maintained that Hunter Biden was not using drugs at the time he purchased a gun. He's pleading not guilty to the charges. Of

course, we will stay across all the developments in that trial.

And that does it for us for tonight. Thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here. "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto " is up next.

Have a wonderful day, and I'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.