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Isa Soares Tonight

Biden Delivers Speech on Democracy and Isolationism and Threat of Putin in Europe; Biden Apologizes to Zelenskyy for Delay in Weapons- Delivery; Far-Right Gaining Root in European Parliamentary Elections; Biden: U.N. Chief Includes Israeli Military On Upcoming Blacklist Of Nations And Entities That Harm Children In Conflict Zones; Blinken To Head Back To Middle East Amid New Push For Ceasefire And Hostage Agreement; CIA Assessment Concludes Netanyahu Is Likely To Defy U.S. Pressure TO Set A Post-War Plan. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired June 07, 2024 - 14:00:00   ET



ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, President Biden delivers a powerful

speech on democracy, warning of the dangers of isolationism and the threat of Vladimir Putin in Europe.

This just shortly after Mr. Biden apologized to Ukraine's leader for aid delays. A closer look at the state of that crucial relationship. And the

rise of far-right parties could have a major impact on European elections this weekend, our interview with a 98-year-old holocaust survivor who is

urging young voters to shun this movement and not forget this past.

But first tonight, it was a dramatic call to defend democracy. U.S. President Joe Biden returning to Normandy to deliver stark message that the

fight against tyranny continues 80 years after D-Day. The symbolism was unmistakable. Mr. Biden hailed the American heroes at Pointe du Hoc where

U.S. army rangers scaled a 100 foot cliffs during a critical moment in World War II.

The president says the current generation needs to meet the moment in order to preserve freedom. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: American democracy ask the hardest of things. To believe a report or something bigger than ourselves.

So democracy began in each of us, begins when one person decides there's something more important themselves when they decide the person they're

serving alongside of is someone to look after.

When they decide the mission matters more than their life. When they decide that their country matters more than they do. They stood against Hitler's

aggression. Does anyone doubt? Does anyone doubt that they would want America to stand up against Putin's aggression here in Europe today.


SOARES: Well, earlier, President Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris. There, he announced a new $225 million U.S.

aid package, reaffirming American support for Kyiv.


BIDEN: I'm not going to walk away from you. I apologize for the weeks of not knowing what's going to happen, in terms of funding. Because we had

trouble getting the bill -- well, we have it passed, had the money in. So, some of our very conservative members have been holding it up. But we got

it done finally.


SOARES: Meantime, French President Emmanuel Macron welcome Mr. Zelenskyy for talks at the Elysee. There's plenty for us to talk about. Our chief

international anchor, Christiane Amanpour, is with us from Paris this hour. And Christiane, democracy, and the need, I should say to preserve it,

really a key theme here.

We heard it yesterday from President Biden on his D-Day remarks. And again, today, just really your reflections from what we heard today.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, today was quite extraordinary. President Biden went to that really important place, Pointe

du Hoc, above the beaches where as we know, 80 years ago, about 225 U.S. army rangers, having made it across a deadly beach front, finally to the

base of this cliff, and then up in terms of, you know, facing gunfire and so many of them died while they were climbing up.

But capturing that gunpoint, capturing that piece of high ground was the beginning of liberating France and then liberating the rest of Europe and

killing off, so-to-speak, the third Reich in Europe. And so, this is remarkable what he said there.

And of course, all in the context as he put it, so very, you know, full- throated defense of defending democracy abroad and at home, that was really important. Because this speech was more tailored to an American audience,

and he really did, you know, put it in the frame of the rangers who had scaled Pointe du Hoc and said, do you really think that they would not want

us to do the same at such perilous times now?


And then of course, you have all the images that you were just showing, because now is the parallel that Ukraine faces, and thus, all the rest of

Europe, and the idea of the international rules of the road that were created by the United States after the liberation of Europe 80 years ago.

And so, you saw, you know, the French President embrace and hug Zelenskyy and his wife. You saw Biden, and it was really extraordinary that with the

mics there, he made a point of apologizing and using the word apologize to Zelenskyy, who's been very upset by this delay, and because it's been

showing up on the front and the seven months delay in the weapons they need and the ammunition they need in Ukraine has given the Russians, again a

front foot position.

And so, they've been threatening Kharkiv, they're threatening all over Ukraine, they're threatening all the energy plants and the energy

structures and infrastructure. It's a very strong and difficult moment for Ukraine, and that -- you know, making that clear in these D-Day

celebrations and commemorations was really important and very effective.

SOARES: Yes, and we've seen the impact of course, of those delays on the frontline, like you said, not just in Kharkiv, but also in the last 24

hours in Kyiv and in Donetsk. Christiane, appreciate it, thank you very much. Let's talk further about what we heard from President Biden.

I want to bring in Bobby Ghosh; who is a senior editor for "Bloomberg" and joins me now live from New York. Bobby, welcome to the show. So, I think

it's fair to say in the last kind of two days, 48 hours, we've heard two speeches from President Biden, both with democracy as you heard Christiane

saying at the heart of it.

Democracy abroad and democracy at home, what stood out to you from what we heard and how effective and sense of urgency was his speech, given what --

we're five months from a U.S. election?

BOBBY GHOSH, SENIOR EDITOR, BLOOMBERG: Well, there was -- there was enough telegraphing from the White House, so, we knew more or less what the

content of the speech was going to be, given the -- given the context in which this speech was given, it was obvious speech for Biden to make.

But as Christiane pointed out right there, this was primarily meant for domestic U.S. audience and to some degree to an audience in Europe,

specifically to an audience of American allies in Europe, NATO, and a few other non-NATO members who are close to the United States like Ukraine.

There will be certain amount of reassurance that the American President is reaffirming his country's commitment -- there has been anxiety in those

parts. I was in London only a couple of weeks ago, and there's a quite a lot of anxiety in Europe about where America will stand and whether America

will stand with Europe should there be a change in presidency here after the election? So, there'll be some reassurance for that audience.

The larger global audience on the other hand, I'm sure will not be quite as persuaded. The global south to use the expression has some doubts about

Biden's commitment to democracy, they've heard him give the sermon often enough, but they judge his actions just as much.

And some of his actions run contrary to this message of democracy. He has - - we could argue it is for real politic reason, but he has embraced non- democratic figures, because like the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, he has embraced liberal figures like India's Narendra Modi. So,

they will balance off his rhetoric with his actions. And I think there will be somewhat less convinced.

SOARES: Yes, look, I think this is something we have heard -- I have heard here on the show, the concerns from foreign ministers about United States,

United States position should President Trump come back into office. Also concerns Bobby, that I've heard from leaders from the global south over

what they're called double standards that they have -- that they are seeing from the United States and some countries in the West as well.

We've also seen, and I think this is important because I read a piece in the "FT" this week that I think probably talks what you're talking about

here. We've seen in the last several weeks, President Biden -- and correct me if I'm wrong here, kind of moving the goal post, Bobby, on both Ukraine

and Gaza.

Kim Cat -- Kim Ghattas, I should say, wrote this piece in the "FT", that you're seeing the headline there. "Biden has put his credibility on the

line with the Gaza plan". And she writes, "in the eight months since Biden has tried to cajole cokes(ph) and pressure Netanyahu to engage in

discussions about the day after.

The White House set deadlines and even red lines, all of which faded. Biden's critics on the left say he never used real leverage.


The right lambasted him for holding up even one shipment of weapons to Israel." I mean, how much -- I don't know how much this would play for a

domestic audience, but internationally, speak to that.

GHOSH: Well, internationally, there will be concerns, of course, because it is one thing for the United States president to say that he stands firm

against sort of the forces that are threatening the international order. So, Vladimir Putin and Russia, and of course, Xi Jinping and China.

But on the other hand, that same United States, the same president seems completely unwilling or unable, which may be worse, to exercise America's

enormous leverage on its -- it's one of its closest allies and Israel. So, there is -- there is a square in the circle here, and in one into the other

does not quite go.

SOARES: Let's focus on domestic politics then, because today and the last two days, we haven't heard, Bobby, President Biden even mention Donald

Trump by name. He did touch on attacks, we've seen -- we've had previously from the president pointing to President Trump, pointing he is a danger to

democracy and authoritarian waiting.

How much do you think? And I think this is important for an international audience if we can just focus our minds here. How much do you think this

resonates with voters in the United States?

GHOSH: Well, he's trying to shore up his own base. The Trump base -- this will not make any difference to them. They've already decided how they want

to cast Biden, and I suspect nothing he can say or do between now and election day is going to greatly change --

SOARES: Yes --

GHOSH: Their perception of him. The democratic base on the other hand needs shoring up. I mean, we've seen plenty of signs in recent months,

especially after the terrorist attack on Israel on the 7th of October and the events since then. But there's a divide within the Democratic Party,

particularly the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, to that group of people who disagree strongly on this part of his foreign policy.

He is trying to send a reminder that look, you need me here on the ramparts against the greater threat that faces the global order. You may disagree

with me on Israel, but the world has big problems and you need grown-up at the -- at the wheel, and the other guy whose name as you point out, he does

not mention --

SOARES: Yes --

GHOSH: But whose -- who hangs in the background, who looms in the background. You can't trust the other guy. You could trust me, that's the


SOARES: Yes, I wonder how much that would resonate with young voters though, Bobby.

GHOSH: Good question, I am skeptical.

SOARES: Yes, we shall see. Bobby, next time you're in London, you told us you passed through, come and visit us, we'll always have time for

conversation, appreciate it, thank you very much. Let's stick with this really unfocused really what we have seen in Europe. I want to go to our

senior correspondent, Melissa Bell.

And Melissa, just sticking with what Bobby and I were discussing that President Biden's speech, calling, of course, yet again, for us all to

preserve democracy. It comes of course, at a pivotal time, not just because we have a war on our doorstep here in Europe, but also ahead of these

European election, parliament elections, where we'll possibly see the rise of far-right here. Just frame this for our global audience for us.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I think, Isa, it's important when you look back at the words that have been spoken by

President Biden and President Macron over the course of the last couple of days.

Remember their domestic contexts politically, as you were just speaking to your guest about there, Isa, of course, very much, Donald(ph) from, booming

in the background of what everything Joe Biden had to say and the entire framing of these last few days by the American delegation, the president

himself casting what happened 80 years ago in the light of what's happening today, the fight for democracy against totalitarianism of liberty, against


But it is of course, at the heart of what President Macron had to say -- important reminders for these two presidents in terms of what they're

facing domestically here in France, but elsewhere in Europe, you're quite right, Isa, these are difficult European elections that many of the center

ruling parties are facing, given the gains that we're expected to see from the far right, and what that could mean for delay of the European

landscape, largely not totally, but many of these parties far more skeptical on the continued aid towards Ukraine.

So, at these two presidents, we're also using this occasion to speak to their platforms and their plans for the future and what they believe they

represent, as opposed to what they believe their opponents would mean for the future of Europe and the United States.

Both those domestic backgrounds need to be kept in mind as does of course, what's happening on the ground in Ukraine.


This was a great international occasion to celebrate the victory of many allies coming together 80 years ago. But it's happening at a time we need

to consider the domestic situations of many different countries as well. In Ukraine, Ukrainian forces evermore on the back-foot in the northeast as a

result of that opening up of the new front by Russia in Kharkiv region.

And that of course, has focused the mind of allies as well in their need to do better, go foster to help President Zelenskyy in his fight. And it was

of course, behind what was at the heart of the Ukrainian President's words when he spoke to French lawmakers today.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): It is the same now as it was when evil was unleashing its aggression against its

neighbors in the 1930s. Hitler crossed line after line, Putin is doing the same.


BELL: An urgent call, Isa, that's minds should be focused, the results should be steady, and that there should be an under-wavering continuation

of the determination of the West to stand behind Ukraine to see off Vladimir Putin and the aggression that's happening in Ukraine in the name

of what was fought here 80 years ago, Isa.

SOARES: Melissa Bell for us in beautiful sunny Paris this evening. Thank you very much, Melissa. Well, the Kremlin accuses French President Emmanuel

Macron of readiness for direct participation in the war in Ukraine. His words amid his country's fighter jet agreement with Mr. Zelenskyy.

The accusation comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested a tit- for-tat move saying, Russia will consider sending weapons to adversaries of Western countries that supply arms to Ukraine. The Russian President made

the comments during his speech at the Economic Forum in St. Petersburg. And while there, he spoke as to when the war might come to an end. Mr. Putin

had this to say.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Our arm conflict in was some form of peace agreement. To tell the truth, as a once former

leader of a quite significant European country said to me, all these agreements maybe based either on a military defeat or a military victory.

Of course, we aim too and we will achieve victory.


SOARES: Well, our Fred Pleitgen is in Berlin with much more on that speech from Mr. Putin.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Isa, yes, the Russian president speaking today at the St. Petersburg Economic

Forum, which of course, is always extremely important for the Russian government, extremely important also for Vladimir Putin.

And he made very bullish on the Russian economy and also on the war in Ukraine as well. One of the things that he said is that he believed that

Russia's economy was still going strong despite the fact that of course, Russia is one of the most sanctioned countries in the world.

The Russians are expecting some pretty significant economic growth. He said a lot of the things that the Russians had been importing before war now

made in Russia, and he's outlined some of that as well. Essentially what Vladimir Putin was talking about was a sort of alternative world economic

order, which he believes, of course, Russia, and he himself could be at the helm of.

As far as the war in Ukraine is concerned, the Russian President there also saying that Russia continues to make advances. He says that since the

beginning of this year, that the Russian military took away 47 towns and settlements away from the Ukrainians.

He also says that right now, there is no need for further mobilization. He said that Russia now has enough troops, enough people who are signing up to

go to the military and fight on the frontlines. He also qualified some remarks that he made earlier, which had of course, been quite remarkable,

where he had said that in light of the fact that for instance, the U.S. is now allowing Ukraine to use American-supplied weapons to hit Russian


In a limited capacity, why Russia wouldn't have the right to also give weapons of the same class to the adversaries of the West to put them under

military pressure. Putin now qualifying those remarks and saying that, that is not something that is imminent. He said that, that is not something that

will happen, quote, "tomorrow", Isa.

SOARES: Fred Pleitgen, thank you very much. And still to come tonight --


LEON WEINTRAUB, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: I feel it's my duty as long as I am alive, I have to tell the people the truth what I experienced myself.


SOARES: Why this holocaust survivor is ringing the alarm bell, urging young Europeans to vote against the far-right. My interview with Leon

Weintraub, next.



SOARES: Well, right now, millions of Europeans have the chance to shape the EU's political direction for the next five years. Voting began on

Thursday and runs until Sunday for candidates in the European parliament. Far-right parties could soon emerge with big gains and significantly more

power. Our Clare Sebastian explains why.



CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From threat of mass expulsions in France to openly Islamophobic campaign material, this from

far-right Portuguese party Chega, asking which Europe do you want? Emboldened by winning elections at home, Europe's far-right is pushing the

boundaries as it eyes big gains in EU parliament elections.

CATHERINE FIESCHI, VISITING FELLOW, EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE: They've tried in different places and in different ways to kind of test the waters

in trying to be bolder if they can, right? To see how closely they can flirt with really inflammatory rhetoric.

SEBASTIAN: With just weeks to go, Germany's alternative for Deutschland crossed a line after its lead candidate claimed the Nazi paramilitary

group, the SS were quote, "not all criminals". France's Marine Le Pen, kicking the party out of her far-right coalition in the EU parliament.

(on camera): So, it's really a sort of litmus test as to how far right is too far.

FIESCHI: Yes, that's right, because you know, these parties really live or die by their own domestic public opinions.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): For Hungary's voters, culture wars are playing well. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's party has put up billboards showing

opposition leaders carrying gender, among other things, on a dinner plate to Brussels. Not clear yet how that will play out for France where

candidate Marion Marechal is promising to quote, "preserve families of values in the face of wokeism."

Or Italy, pregnant men and woke madness? "No, thank you, reads this post", from far-right deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.

FIESCHI: But then it's an upending of the natural order, right? Which is, you know, sort of the heart of ultra-conservative ideology.

SEBASTIAN: And if that doesn't work, there's always the war in Ukraine. Prime Minister Orban's party in Hungary holding a massive peace rally in

recent days. "Free, neutral, safe", one slogan from Austria's lead far- right candidate calling for an end to quote, "war mongering by Europe".

Here though divisions in Europe's far-right are stuck, Italy's Giorgia Meloni, a key supporter of aid for Ukraine. And so, in what could be

Europe's most right-wing parliament ever, alliances may be blurred. Clare Sebastian, CNN, London.



SOARES: Well, the fight for democracy is becoming a central theme of these European elections. The European parliament releasing a powerful video,

trying to persuade young voters to make sure that their voices are heard. Have a listen.





SOARES: And then not the only ones ringing the alarm bell. A group of holocaust survivors have issued a joint appeal, urging young voters to go

to the polls to exercise their democratic rights and prevent the far-right from gaining power. In an open letter, the group writes, "when the right-

wing extremist came to power the last time, we were still teenagers, some of us, even children.

They promised to make this country great again. They promised that Germans would come first and they found scapegoats for everything that didn't work,

the Jews, this Sinti, the Roma, the homosexuals, the people with disabilities, the committed Democrats.

Step by step, millions of people were stripped of their rights finally, even their right to live. We couldn't prevent it at that time, but you can

today." Well, one of the signatories of that letter is 98-year-old Leon Weintraub, you can see him there, born into a Jewish-Polish family.

He lived under Nazi rule inside a Polish Jewish ghetto before he and his family were deported to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. Most of his

relatives were killed there. Earlier today, we spoke to Leon about why he chose to sign this letter. Have a listen.


WEINTRAUB: The answer is very simple. Because I have experienced all this evil caused by people who have a special idea to think they are something

higher, something better, and they could divide people and me and them, and take the ride to decide if the others have a right to life.

I feel it's my duty as long as I am alive, I have to tell the people that those -- what I experienced myself, not reading, not looking for movies,

but my own experience. What does it mean when these right-extreme groups become the power to decide over our lives.


SOARES: Well, after the war, Leon trained as a doctor and moved to Sweden, he has made it his life's mission to really spread awareness about the

horrors of the holocaust as well as protecting the human rights of all people.


WEINTRAUB: A person is a person and there are no differences. When I used to make surgery and put the knife on the skin, whatever is the color of the

skin, age or tissue under the skin is, I can, you know, for sure say are identical on all persons undergoing surgery.


SOARES: Leon wanted to finish our interview with a final message to young voters across Europe. Have a listen to this.


WEINTRAUB: Vote for democracy. Vote for Europe, because when countries are so close, involved in each other, it's not possible to fight against each

other. And I wish everybody a good life.


SOARES: And our thanks to Leon for taking the time to speak to us. And still to come tonight, health officials in Gaza say at least 77 people have

been killed in new Israeli strikes including yet another attack on a U.N.- run school-turned-shelter.

Also, a date is now set for the Israeli Prime Minister to address Congress amid a deepening rift with the Biden administration over the Gaza war.

We'll bring you both those stories after a very quick break.



ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone. The head of United Nations has taken the extraordinary step of including the Israeli military on a

blacklist of nations and entities that harm children in conflict zones. The report will be submitted to the Security Council next week. Israel's U.N.

ambassador says he's shocked and disgusted calling the IDF the most moral army in the world.

The Palestinian Authority says the decision is a step toward holding Israel accountable for its crimes. And the news comes amid an international outcry

over an Israeli airstrike Thursday on a U.N. school-turned-shelter in Gaza. Health authorities say at least 40 people were killed, and that includes


Israel says this strike killed nine Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants. The IDF launched another deadly strike on a school linked to the U.N. today,

saying it targeted Hamas operatives. Aid groups like Save the Children say it's unacceptable that civilians are paying the heaviest price of this war.

Have a listen.


RACHAEL CUMMINGS, GAZA RESPONSE TEAM LEADER, SAVE THE CHILDREN: Yesterday, we drove towards Rafah from Deir al-Bala, and there is not one single space

in that area for people to seek shelter or any protection. There are very limited services. So what you have is a massive, congested, overcrowded

population with very limited food, very limited water, and pretty non- existent sanitation facilities.

So you have open sewage in the streets. You have children walking through those streets with very ill-equipped in terms of shoes and protection. And

people are desperately looking for somewhere safe to be.


But, of course, there is nowhere safe in Gaza.


SOARES: Well, as the death toll in Gaza continues to rise, the U.S. is redoubling efforts to broker a ceasefire and hostage agreement between

Israel and Hamas. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will head back to the region next week. He's going to visit Egypt, Israel, and Hamas. Secretary

of State Antony Blinken will head back to the region next week.

He's going to visit Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Qatar to push a deal first announced by President Joe Biden. We're also learning today that the U.S.

is privately trying to convince a key member of Israel's war cabinet not to resign.

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz has threatened to leave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency coalition. He is scheduled a news conference

for Saturday. Let's get more on all these strands. It's a very busy day.

I want to get to our Paula Hancocks, who is live for us in Jerusalem. And, Paula, this eighth visit by Secretary Blinken to the region really speaks

to the urgency and the pressure being applied on both Hamas and Netanyahu as, of course, a ceasefire negotiation stall. Just what more can you tell

us about this visit and what we can expect here?

PAULA HANCOCKS CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, it was a week ago when we heard from the U.S. President Joe Biden calling for this proposal that

Israel had put together and, they say, agreed to, to be put to Hamas. And it was a real push by the U.S. President to stamp his mark on it and to put

his leverage behind it as well, to really try and push both sides to agree to it.

But not much has changed within the last seven days. So this is why we are expecting to see the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, come back to

the region again and meet all the key players, Qatar and Egypt, the two key mediators who could put pressure on Hamas to agree to this proposal.

Now, there hasn't been an official response from Hamas at this point. A statement, when the proposal was first made, was positive from Hamas

officials. But the official response has not come. And we have been hearing from U.S. officials that they are putting any pressure to bear that they

can on those in the region that could influence Hamas to agree to it.

Obviously, the key being a ceasefire as soon as possible and being able to flood Gaza with humanitarian aid, as we have more and more reports talking

of the famine, of the desperation inside Gaza. This is really the focus that the U.S. Secretary of State will have, and the fact he feels he has to

physically come back here to try and move this process forward, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. In the meantime, as we mentioned earlier, Paula, you know, there is uncertainty in terms of political uncertainty within Prime

Minister Netanyahu's party because the former defense minister, Benny Gantz, of course, issued this ultimatum to leave the party by tomorrow. I

think tomorrow is the deadline. If Netanyahu didn't issue this plan for Gaza, the day after plan, of course, the U.S. has been asking for some

time. So I suppose he hasn't received the plan? Is he staying? Is he going?

HANCOCKS: It's the key question. I mean, we have been hearing that June 8th was the deadline. He gave this deadline last month, saying that he wants to

see Netanyahu be less vague.

Netanyahu has not been clear on any of the key issues. He's calling for a plan, an exact plan, how to get the hostages back, a plan how to calm down

the situation on the northern border and to allow tens of thousands of residents to move there, and, of course, a plan to get the ceasefire. And

the day after the ceasefire, what does Gaza look like? And we haven't heard this from Mr. Netanyahu.

We've been hearing it from the U.S. side as well, pushing the Israeli prime minister for this. So we know that 8.40 p.m. on Saturday night, Benny Gantz

will be making an announcement. We also know, according to U.S. officials close to these conversations, that U.S. officials are trying to convince

Benny Gantz not to walk away. They do not want him to be walking away at this point.

But what will happen if he walks away is the coalition itself is not expected to fall. Netanyahu will still have a majority, although it will be

far slimmer than it was before. What it does is it means Benny Gantz walks away from the war cabinets. And this is really a key institution at this

point for making some very important decisions. So that could have a very destabilizing impact and, of course, an isolating impact on Netanyahu, Isa.

SOARES: Absolutely more pressure on him. Paula, great to see you. Thanks very much.

Well, U.S. President Joe Biden has said in no uncertain terms that it's time for the war in Gaza to end. Yet a new CIA assessment concludes that

Israel's prime minister is likely to defy U.S. pressure to define a postwar plan for Gaza, as Paula was talking about. Excuse me.

It predicts Benjamin Netanyahu will continue setting vague security benchmarks instead, enabled by a lack of unity within his own coalition or

on critical, of course, postwar issues.


Stay across that for you.

Well, Americans will hear directly from Mr. Netanyahu himself when he addresses a joint meeting of Congress on July 24th. The top four

congressional leaders, both Democrats and Republicans, extended the invitation, if you remember last week. But not all lawmakers are rolling

out the red carpet.

Some Democrats are expected to boycott Mr. Netanyahu's speech, along with independent Senator Bernie Sanders. Get more on all of this. Capitol Hill

reporter Melanie Zanona joins us now. So, Melanie, what has been the response then from some Democrats here? What have they being saying?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, well -- yes, this could be a very controversial moment here on Capitol Hill. Netanyahu has not

addressed Congress since 2015. And House Speaker Mike Johnson was really the driving force between trying to secure his appearance in front of

Congress. But he needed buy-in from all top four congressional leaders, including the Democratic leaders.

Now, they did ultimately sign off on the invite. Netanyahu did accept. But the Democratic leaders are looking at this speech very differently than

their Republican counterparts.

I want to read you part of the statement from Chuck Schumer. He is the Senate majority leader. He said, "I have clear and profound disagreements

with the Prime Minister, which I have voiced both privately and publicly and will continue to do so. But because America's relationship with Israel

is ironclad and transcends one person of prime minister, I joined the request for him to speak."

Now, Schumer is the highest-ranking Jewish Democrat in the United States, highest-ranking lawmaker, I should say. But he has also called for new

elections in Israel. And some of his members in the Democratic Party disagreed with his decision to sign on to this invite.

So we could see some of them, many of them, protest this speech. There could also be some disruption. So this could be a contentious moment here

on Capitol Hill that comes at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Israel.

SOARES: Melanie, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And still to come tonight, Sudan's army is vowing retaliation after the rebel militia kills dozens of people. We'll have the latest on that attack.


SOARES: Well, Sudan's army is promising retaliation after an attack on a village reportedly killed more than a hundred people. The attack by the

Rapid Support Forces paramilitary happened on Thursday south of the capital, Khartoum. This video shows Sudan's military leader visiting the

state where the attack happened. One U.N. official described pictures of the attack posted on social media as heartbreaking.


CNN's Nada Bashir has more, and we'd like to warn you, some of the images in her report may be disturbing.


NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Awaiting burial, the victims of another costly day in Sudan's year-long civil war. At least 150 people

were killed by rebel forces in the village of Wad Al-Noora on Wednesday, local officials and eyewitnesses say, though CNN cannot independently

confirm these claims.

These images, which our teams have geolocated, were shared on social media by an activist group. Most of those killed here by paramilitary Rapid

Support Forces were civilians, locals told us, including women and children.

An RSF spokesperson said Thursday, it had targeted army bases in the area, though locals disputed this claim. The U.N.'s top official in Sudan has

called for a thorough investigation, but that may take time to heed. Wad Al-Noora is in Sudan's central Al Jazira state, where RSF fighters are

attempting to gain ground.

They already control much of the country's capital, Khartoum. Seized after RSF leader General ohamed Hamdan Dagalo fell out with army chief Abdel

Fattah al-Burhan in April last year, unleashing violence across the country.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS: Two men basically decided that they were going to resolve their differences

through fighting, that they were going to take the country down, and this was an avoidable conflict.

BASHIR (voice-over): Since then, more than 15,000 people have reportedly been killed, according to one NGO. Some nine million have been driven from

their homes, and U.N. aid chiefs warn of an imminent risk of famine. Many civilians sought safety in Al Fashir in western Darfur, but that city is

now also facing assault by RSF fighters, according to a Yale report out Wednesday, as the RSF, "continues to gain ground."

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, a trash-filled balloon fight from North Korea to South Korea has some activists reacting now. We'll have the

details of what's going on, as well as the latest very dirty deployment.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.


It is a balloon battle between North and South Korea. Pyongyang recently sent balloons, if you remember, filled with waste across the border. Now

South Korean activists are floating their own version with cash, K-pop, and TV shows attached.

Balloons have been crossing the border for years. And some South Koreans are getting tired of it. Mike Valerio has more for you.


MIKE VALERIO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a place that blooms with life, a serene and stunning setting, 60-year-old farmer Kim

Yong-bin cares for his giant onions with water flowing from North Korea.

It's part of a beautiful and, he says, inseparable bond between North and South, now fraught with tension once again. "There used to be a time when

we talked about peace," he says, "But it's all changed now. We only hear difficult situations between the Koreas, so we farmers are very


Kim tells us he's farmed this land in Cheorwon, South Korea, for 36 years, and he disagrees with this.


VALERIO (voice-over): Activists from South Korea sending balloons northbound, filled with American dollar bills, K-pop, and K-dramas

downloaded onto thousands of USBs. There's also 200,000 leaflets in bags tied to the balloons denouncing the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-


Park Sang-hak is the founder of the group behind this latest launch, Fighters for a Free North Korea. He's been doing this since 2006, and this

latest balloon deployment is in direct response to about a thousand trash- filled balloons sent from North Korea.

PARK SANG-HAK, FOUNDER, FIGHTERS FOR A FREE NORTH KOREA (through translator): We send money, medicine, facts, truth, and love, but to send

filth and trash in return? That's an inhumane and barbaric act.

VALERIO (voice-over): Park defected from North Korea in 2000, and he remembers in the early '90s when a balloon similar to one of these popped

above him, and he secretly collected a leaflet from South Korea. It told him of a better life, and he says it told him the truth.

SANG-HAK (through translator): South Korea is not an American colony or a wasteland of humanity like I learned in North Korea. North Koreans are

filled with anger and hatred and only sing military songs, but South Korea is a gentle country.

VALERIO (voice-over): Kim tells us while touring his fields, the new aerial tit for tat should stop, and if it doesn't, his life and his farm could be


VALERIO: Now, once you get up into the hills, you can actually see into North Korea. We're not talking about the fields in the foreground. We're

talking about way in the background, the DMZ about four kilometers, two and a half miles away from where we're standing. Now, Farmer Kim has told us

that during moments of heightened tension in the past, the South Korean army has kept him from entering about half of his property because it is so

close to the DMZ in order to keep him and others safe.

VALERIO (voice-over): The question now, how will North Korea respond, especially after a show of force by the United States? A B1B bomber on

Wednesday flying over the Korean Peninsula, and for the first time in seven years, engaging in land target practice with live munitions.

We asked Kim if he wants to leave. His answer, "I want to move to somewhere else, but I can't afford it. We're very upset that the balloons are making

our daily lives inconvenient in our areas seen as a war zone. It's very unfortunate. There's nothing we can do. If I could, I would want to stop

them. But it's difficult."

So for Kim, there's no choice. Staying in his field, surrounded by waters from the north, longing for a time before new heights, for tensions in the


Mike Valerio, CNN, Cheorwon, South Korea.


SOARES: Well, you have probably heard of the hit Netflix show, Baby Reindeer. The show recounts the story of a man being stalked by a woman

called Martha. Just have a little look, just in case you haven't seen it.


JESSICA GUNNING, ACTRESS, AS "MARTHA": Somebody hurt you, didn't they? Who was it?

RICHARD GADD, ACTOR, AS "DONNY": Martha, can you let go of my hand now, please? Martha, please let go.

GUNNING: Don't you dare.


SOARES: Well, internet sleuths claim to have found the real life woman who inspired the series. And now, she's suing Netflix for a whopping $170

million. Now, she claims the show caused, "mental anguish." The show was built by Netflix and its creator, Richard Gadd, as a true story. Netflix

says it plans to fight the lawsuit.

Well, a toddler had a close encounter with a giraffe at a drive-thru safari in the U.S. state of Texas. 2-year-old Paisley Toten was feeding the hungry

animal from the back of a truck when it grabbed the little girl by the shirt.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You want to feed the giraffe? Feed him. Look, feed him. Come here. Look. Oh, look. Oh, oh.


SOARES: That's when the mom starts panicking. That's when I would start panicking, too. Paisley's father says the giraffe didn't intend to grab his

little girl.


But the incident still scared him, of course.


JASON TOTEN, PAISLEY'S FATHER: Paisley was holding the bag like this, and the giraffe went to get the bag, not get her, but ended up getting her

shirt, too, and picking her up. My heart stopped. My stomach dropped. It was -- it scared me.


SOARES: Well, Paisley's mom caught her, thankfully, without injury. Afterwards, the parents bought her a stuffed giraffe at the gift shop,

saying, "She deserved it." That's absolutely super cute, but glad she is very well.

And finally, take a look at this. It's not just for cats. This is the overall winning image for the Comedy Pet Photography Awards, taken by Sarah

Haskell. The photo shows her dog, Hector, trying to squeeze through a cat flap.

The annual competition calls on animal lovers to submit pictures of their furry friends. That's a real lip image there. To celebrate the joy these

creatures can bring to us, of course, to us humans, and to support, of course, animal welfare charities.

Some of the category winners and runners-up are on your screen now. Take a look at that shot, selected from 850 entries submitted from right around

the world. I'll leave you with some fun images. Well, it's been a very busy day.

Thanks for your company. I'm Isa Soares. Do stay right here. "NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto is up next. Have a wonderful weekend.