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Laura Coates Live

CNN Covers Israel-Hamas War; House GOP Has New Speaker Nominee, Same Math Problem. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 13, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, good evening, everyone. This is Laura Coates live. It has now been 24 hours since that stark warning from Israel's military, the warning for more than a million people living in Northern Gaza to leave their homes, essentially get out or else. Well, we don't actually know how the people can really get out, and we don't actually exactly know what the what else or else will really mean.

But that means 24 hours now of desperation, of terror, of fear, people who are caught in the middle with nowhere else to go. And then to complicate and confuse this even further, Hamas is telling the people to stay where they are. So, how do the people in the region even know who to listen to?

Well, here's what we do know right now. Gaza is bracing for a potential large-scale ground operation against Hamas in the wake of the deadly terror attacks in Israel just last week. Now, it's not clear, sitting here today, how many hostages may be held captive in Gaza. President Joe Biden said this with the missing American hostages.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're going to do everything in our power to find them. I'm not going to go into the detail of that, but there's -- we're working like hell on it.


COATES: Now, if you're concerned about what all of this means for the people in Gaza and the people in Israel, well, so are we. If you're concerned about the emotions that are running very high here at home, so are we. And if you're concerned about what all of this means for the region and what this means for the world, so are we.

And that's why we're here to bring you the facts, to give you the information, and to put the big questions about all of this to the smart people who know the region and can help us try to untangle the military, the diplomatic, the humanitarian issues. They're here tonight. And here with me is James Clapper, the former director of National Intelligence who can tell us what's likely happening behind the scenes and what could happen next. Also, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, who has been writing about and reporting from the region for literally decades. And Dr. Guy Ziv, who is from American University School of International Service, who work at the State Department and on Capitol Hill, and brings his expertise as well.

I want to start, though, with CNN's Nada Bashir, who has been digging very deeply into what is happening in Gaza. Nada, I mean, this time yesterday, we were reporting that the U.N. was told they had 24 hours to evacuate Northern Gaza. So, what do we know about where the evacuations stand now?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, look, Laura, so far, it is understood that tens of thousands of people inside Gaza, in that northern region of Gaza, have so far evacuated. That's according to the U.N.'s Humanitarian Affairs Office. But that's in addition to the already more than 400,000 people inside Gaza who have been displaced by Israel's airstrikes over the last week.

Now, as you mentioned there, we saw that warning yesterday, that dramatic footage of pamphlets falling from the sky in northern Gaza, a warning from the Israel Defense Forces telling civilians there to evacuate southwards for their protection and for their safety. And as you mentioned there, there was also that counter warning from Hamas telling people to remain steadfast, to stay put, accusing Israel of engaging in psychological warfare.

But as you can imagine, this is a hugely difficult, terrifying time for civilians in Gaza. We're talking about some 1.1 million people in that northern region alone now told that they have to evacuate, to quickly gather their things and move southwards in search of safety.


You can imagine how difficult this is under the current circumstances with airstrikes continuously raining down. Now, this is a move that has been condemned by rights groups. We heard yesterday from the U.N.'s humanitarian relief coordinator saying that the noose around the neck of Gaza's civilian population is tightening.

The Norwegian Refugee Council has characterized this as an act of enforced removal. They have said that there is no guarantee of safe return. They are accusing Israel of engaging in what they've described as a war crime here.

And we've also heard from Palestinian Americans who've received emails now instructing them -- from the U.S. State Department's Consular Affairs Crisis Management Service indicating that their loved ones may be able to evacuate via Egypt. However, at this stage, State Department officials say that they are still engaging in discussions around this with their partners in both Israel and Egypt.

COATES: Nada Bashir, so important to hear this tonight. Thank you so much. I want to bring in Major General Spider -- James Spider Marks. He's at the magic wall for us right now. I'm going to rely on him to really show us what could happen next in Gaza. As we just described, there are desperate people who are trying to flee a potential ground invasion.

Let me ask you this, major general. I mean, we already heard more than a million people are told to evacuate, are told to leave. No clear direction of where they will go, where they might be welcomed, where they could stay, if they could even return. So, is it even possible to have this evacuation occur in time, let alone at all?

JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, we certainly don't know, Laura, when the -- when the ground assault is going to begin. If it were to begin in the next couple of hours and it is daylight now in Israel, I think the short answer would be no, there'd be movement of humanity from the northern part. Let me move to the map right here. The northern part of Gaza, and there would be along these two major avenues, steady stream of humanity trying to get out of harm's way.

So, can they do it? Not really sure. But what the Israelis did do is they said, look, we're about to begin a ground assault. We want you to get out of harm's way because we are going to do as best as we can, this is Israelis, to precisely target command and control facilities that belong to and supporting facilities that belong to Hamas. There is no fight against the Palestinian civilians. It's against Hamas.

But what Hamas has done is they've violated the international humanitarian law, which prohibits the use of civilians as human shields. And that's exactly what they are demanding. Hamas has said, don't move, we want you to stay in place, which complicates the issue for Israel and certainly puts civilians at risk.

COATES: Yeah, that's a very interesting point, the idea of why Hamas, the intention for telling people to stay in the area. Is it, as you describe, for a human shield? Is it for other reasons? We are still learning all this.

But we all are saying -- I want you to help me explain or help explain to the public really about the process of these raids. There have been raids into Gaza by the IDF after days of bombardment. There appears to be a chronology that's important here and a choreography that might lead to a military advantage. So, walk me through these raids. What would be the purpose, the strategy behind them? What are they looking for? What's all this mean?

MARKS: Yeah, I think what the purpose of the raids were, they came very, very quickly, right? And I think what that means is the IDF probably had high level of confidence on some intelligence of where some hostages might be located.

And so, they probably took some very limited assaults into the area, going after targets that they felt were going to be locations where they could strike and potentially get some hostages out. It was not intended exclusively to be an intelligence preparation task. But what happens when you conduct operations like that is you always expand the amount of intelligence that you have. So, they clarified a number of things about the area that they went into.

But this was not the beginning. This was not the harbinger. This was not necessarily the first step of a ground assault. This was an opportunity to go after hostages and potentially to go after some known targets. But these were limited strikes, limited in scope, limited in distance. And then probably, they returned into Israel. Now, they've improved their intelligence, hopefully. Maybe they've retrieved some hostages. We don't know that yet.


MARKS: But now, the IDF is in a position to begin this assault.

COATES: General Marks, please stick around. We really want to rely and lean into this even more. Here with me now as well is Director James Clapper, Peter Bergen, and also, Dr. Guy Ziv is here as well. This is incredibly difficult to wrap one's mind around.


Even with a powerful military, a well-regarded military as the Israeli defense system is, you've got hostages on the ground, we believe. You've got a civilian population, Director Clapper, who is trying to get out. How on earth are you able to think about how you could move militarily?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: It beats me. I don't see how this works, frankly. What you're doing is or the expectation, I guess, is to cram people that are already in the most densely-populated -- one of the most densely-populated areas in the whole world into an even smaller area with no organization on the part of their government even if they were disposed to -- I don't think they have a capability to organize any sort of evacuation.

I hope -- I would like to presume that the Israelis have some information that leads them to a terrorist location or hostages. If they do, that's amazing at this point to know where the hostages are. So, I have trouble getting my head around what the logic is here other than we sort of check the block by warning the population that we're coming. And then after that, it appears to me that -- pretty much Katy by the door.

COATES: It strikes me, what you are talking about substantively, and gentlemen, feel free to join in, the intelligence will be so important here. The intelligence of where hostages might be, why this might be strategically advantageous. The intelligence needs to be top of mind.

But we're also learning from sources who have been telling CNN that for days before the attack, there was some U.S. intel that was circulating about reports of possible violence from Hamas. We don't know if this was shared with Israel. We don't know what the information actually was. But what do you make of that intel picture?

CLAPPER: Well, first of all, in the absence of knowing inter-Israeli government communications, it's really hard for us to know based on this kind of sparse reporting what all this means.

COATES: You seem doubtful.

CLAPPER: I'm sorry?

COATES: You seem a little bit skeptical.

CLAPPER: Well, I'm skeptical of characterizing this as warning. There might be rocket attacks from Gaza. Well, what's new? The problem, as I've indicated the last time we were together, was, is the intelligence information that is presented sufficiently compelling to get somebody to do something about it?

And that's always the problem you have, having spent decades trying to warn people of things, that always the issue is not that you don't have intelligence, but is it sufficiently compelling to get a president, a prime minister, a commander, anybody to do something?

COATES: What do you make of that?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Um, you know, often, after a big event, whether it's 9/11 or Pearl Harbor, people talk about an intelligence failure. And, you know, intelligence failures really are often policy failures, because we're going to find out -- we're already finding out the Egyptians apparently gave them a heads up, there's this other information, and there was really just an assumption about Hamas by policymakers in Israel, which turned out to be totally erroneous.

The assumption was, you know, they're getting jobs, they're getting aid from Egypt and Qatar and a certain amount of -- you know, kind of dealings with the Israeli government, and that somehow, they'd forgotten that their main goal was the eradication of the state of Israel. And so, if you go in without assumption, you're not going to interpret intelligence that might be useful because you're just going to discount it.

By the way, the Israelis did this during the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago, which is the Egyptian army and the Syrian army were moving, and they were interpreted as troop movements that just were regular troop movements rather than a preparation for an invasion. So, you know, we've seen this story before. More will come out.

COATES: Well, Guy, you know, we are learning about the intelligence as we're all talking about today, but there's also -- I mean, a 24- hour warning was issued 24 hours ago. There is a sense of dread and doom and despair about what might happen in Gaza. We don't have the specifics, but there is certainly dread. This is playing out with the world watching. And how is this playing on the international stage, even among Israel's allies, that uncertainty of what could happen there next?

GUY ZIV, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL SERVICE: Well, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is very real and it's very tragic. But Laura, I want to -- I want to be clear here. I think it's Hamas that represents the single greatest obstacle to addressing this humanitarian crisis. Hamas knew exactly what it was doing when it attacked Israel in the most brutal terrorist attack in the country's history. They put their own people in grave danger.


We've learned that since the evacuation order, the Hamas instructed their people to ignore that evacuation order, which can clearly save lives. Moreover, today, we learned that Hamas actually placed roadblocks to prevent innocent civilians from fleeing to the south.

So, I think we need to focus on the real obstacle here, the real adversary here that has prevented their own people from thriving, from living better lives, and I'm hopeful that some sort of humanitarian corridor will be created through the Rafah border that would enable food and medicine, other supplies and aid workers to come in through Egypt and assist ordinary Gazan civilians.

COATES: I'm so glad you mentioned the bordering countries and, of course, what all this means because this is confined for now in Gaza and Israel, but this is going to have a ripple effect on other nations, a ripple effect on how the policy positions are. Is there a concern about how this would not or that it could expand into a broader regional war and conflict?

CLAPPER: Well, certainly. The immediate concern is what's going on in the North and what's the threshold that's going to cause the Iranians to direct Hezbollah to engage in a more all-out attack. So that's what my concern is, that this broaden very quickly, particularly given the plight of the Palestinians in Gaza with this evacuation, which to me just makes it worse for them, where it makes the conditions worse.

And I certainly agree, it'd be wonderful if Egypt would agree to open a border so you've got a place they could go, because if they go south, at this point, as I understand it, the Egyptians are not allowing them into Egypt. They can't walk across the water. So, where -- you're just compressing all those people into an even smaller area.

COATES: You know, and remember, some of the warning was leaflets from the sky. I mean, just imagine the context here and what this must be like in addition to all we've learned over the past almost a week now. Stand by, everyone. We're going to come back, of course, and I'll lean on your expertise even more.

My next guest is desperately hoping that his cousin, who is being held hostage in Gaza, will be rescued, and he says negotiation, not violence, is the only way to bring the hostages home safely. I'm going to talk to him about that, next.




COATES: Tonight, Israeli soldiers are searching for people who were taken hostage by Hamas. The Israel Defense Forces said that it has notified the families of 120 hostages taken captive during the attack.

My next guest is one of those family members who is desperately holding out hope that the hostages will be found safely. Udi Goren, his cousin remains missing after an attack on his family's kibbutz near the Gaza Strip. Udi, his wife, and young daughter were able to escape Israel on Sunday and are now in Cyprus. Udi, I am so sorry to be talking to you under these circumstances. Are you hearing anything at all about what happened to your cousin, Tal (ph)?

UDI GOREN, COUSIN HELD HOSTAGE IN GAZA: No. So far, we haven't heard anything.

COATES: And are you feeling -- I mean, when you have the Israeli -- it was reservists who are mobilizing. They are likely mobilizing, obviously, for an incursion, what could be happening in Gaza. It could be imminent. Without hearing any information about Tal (ph) or any of the others, are you worried about what this means for your cousin's safety?

GOREN: Of course, I am. I'm not worried. I'm terrified because, for example, Tal (ph), the last time his phone was located, was in Southern Gaza. So, maybe he was moved to the north, and then they're going to find him. Maybe he's going to be the first guy to be found in the first house they go into. But maybe, as his captives see the army is coming, they're going to execute him and run away. That's also very plausible.

COATES: This must be just the thought of that, and having to think about those possibilities. It's unimaginable to so many people to think that has to be anticipated. There must have been such an emotional evolution and toll this is taking on you and your family. What has this been like?

GOREN: I can only describe it as sitting on the edge of an abyss full of sorrow and grief. That's really what it feels like for most of the time.

COATES: Your mother's whole family, I understand, was living in the kibbutz, and you were texting them as the attack unfolded. Can you describe what that moment was like?

GOREN: You know, these people have been living there their entire lives. They've been through all the assaults from Gaza, all the incursions, everything. They are very tough people. And, you know, as we were texting with them, you couldn't tell what they were going through at those very moments.

Only later did we find out that my mom's cousins, people in their 60s, were locked in their bomb shelters, fighting with terrorists on the outside, inside their homes, fighting with terrorists to hold the door locked, literally holding the door locked for their lives because had people gone in, well, we know how that ended for other people.


COATES: We're hearing all these reports, Udi, about a potential response on the ground in Gaza. The eminence likely of violence. There are conversations about civilian casualties. You believe that perhaps the violence we're seeing though from Israel and Gaza will backfire on the Israelis. Why do you think that?

GOREN: I don't believe it. I know so for a fact. You know how I know it? Because ever since the disengagement from Gaza in 2007, we have seen rounds of violence every -- two years at first, then every year. And then every five to seven years, something major. And every time, it gets worse.

So, you know, history doesn't tell us -- it's going repeat itself for sure, but we can assume that it's just going to be the same. I mean, what's going to change? What is going to change after this?

So -- I mean, you have very intelligent people in the studio right now. And I want to thank Mr. Clapper for his very poignant points about putting things to -- you know, really kind of describing what it is on the ground. What does it mean when they say, you know, 1.1 million people need to evacuate? Just imagine telling 80% of the residents of the Bronx, you need to leave in 24 hours. Even the U.S. can't do it.

And what -- and again -- and you know, all of this, I'm making a point because I want to refer to Mr. Blinken. And I don't think there's an Israeli right now that doesn't appreciate him being in Israel and standing by our side. You know, not hesitating for a second to say that the U.S. is backing us up. We are very, very appreciative.

But I want to quote what he says, that the value that we place on human life and human dignity, that's what makes us who we are. And I think he is 100% right. It's the life of everyone, not just my cousin. It's the life of Gazans, of Gazan civilians who have done nothing wrong. And it's the life of the other 150 hostages who are being held there.

You know, as a Jew, our Bible says that whoever saves a life, it's as though he had saved the lives of all men. So, is Israel willing to give up some of the lives of the hostages? Is my cousin less important than anyone else? And what about the soldiers that are going to go on the ground?

I would please offer you to ask the experts. What happened in the last incursions when Israel went into the Palestinian cities, when entire buildings were rigged, when dozens of soldiers were killed, when people, even if they didn't lose their lives, they stayed there for the rest of their lives because of PTSD? The meaning of saying Israel is going into Gaza --

COATES: Uh-hmm.

GOREN: -- is I wouldn't say it's a suicide mission, but it's not far from there. My other cousin -- I mean, I have more family. My other cousin's son is in the Army. He might be the one going into Gaza. His life is no less important than my other cousin who is now being held hostage. I don't want to risk one life for another. COATES: Yeah. Udi, your words are so poignant. And you know what I'd like to do, Udi Goren. Thank you for being here. I want to turn those questions that you have that are so important to the experts here in this studio as well, because we are thinking of what you are saying and we are taking it very seriously.

Let's just open it up right now, gentlemen, because you heard what Udi is speaking about and, of course, this conundrum, for lack of a better word, of what you do, the value of the cost benefit analysis of war and the strategies of what comes next. There are hostages on the ground. There is an incursion or invasion that may be imminent. What goes through the strategist's mind?

MARKS: The strategist has already established what he or she wants to achieve. And I think it's a far-reaching goal, which is the elimination of Hamas. As you look at what is going to occur on the ground, you can speculate. I think Hamas will be bloodied. We've discussed what the civilian casualties will look like. This will be brutal. But I think that Hamas, in some form, will probably survive.


BERGEN: Yeah. I mean, on the hostage rescue issue, even SEAL Team 6 can kill inadvertently hostages when they go in. And obviously, the hostage takers themselves can kill the hostages. And actually, I looked at a data set of about 42 cases. Westerners were taken by terrorist groups. In 20% of the cases, the hostages were killed. So, this is a very dangerous moment when you -- and you obviously only mount that operation if you think the hostage is potentially -- that life is in danger. So, anyway, it's very, very tricky.

And I understand that, you know, Tony Blinken is visiting the Qataris. The Qataris do have some leverage with Hamas. They do have a record of getting American hostages out. They were instrumental in getting the five Americans out of Iran last month. So that is a vector where there could be a peaceful resolution for some of the Americans and also other Westerners who have been held by Hamas or other terrorist groups.

ZIV: And I'll just add that Israel has had a history of taking great risks to rescue its hostages, including paying a big price for prisoner exchanges.

In 2011, it was actually Prime Minister Netanyahu who negotiated through intermediaries with Hamas to release one Israeli captive soldier, Gilad Shalit, in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian prisoners, including many with blood on their hands.

This situation seems different. We're talking about 150 hostages. They are clearly not in one location. Islamic Jihad, for example, claims to hold about 30 of them. And the priority here seems to be a military victory which supersedes every other consideration. I'm hoping that they'll be able to rescue some if not all the hostages, but it seems to be a very tall order.

COATES: I mean, this paints a very bleak picture. CLAPPER: I think Mr. Goren, I think he asked the key question, what's going to change? So, by this strategy, whatever it is, are we simply going to -- even if we kill every last Hamas terrorists there, are we now going to spawn even more because of the treatment that these Palestinians already, which has been terrible, as a result of this operation, are you going to spawn more terrorists? So, I think the question is, what's going to change is key.

COATES: I mean, the policy implications and all you describe, it's terrifying, frankly, to think about. And sadly, the reality of war. But in the immediacy of whatever operation has to occur to achieve that directive, we've been seeing the sea, right? We've been talking about what's going on in land and the air, but we also know there are aircraft carriers. There is the sea that borders.

Tell me about what you think a military operation is going to be looking like to accomplish the directive in light of what we've discussed.

MARKS: Well, what the United States has done is they've already moved the forward carrier battle group into the Eastern Med. That's primarily to send a signal to Iran. But the tactical and operational requirements that we're looking at will be, I think, as a planner, I would think that there would be Israeli Navy patrol boats of some sort on the coast of Gaza, blockading. They have gunfire capabilities. They've got the ability to go after very specific targets.

I do think that once a ground assault occurs, I think it will come not only from the north of Gaza, from Israel directly down, and there also I think would be an assault from the Wadi Gaza, from the kind of the west to the east to the sea.

So, you have Israeli forces coming across in that direction toward the sea. You would have Israeli forces coming down from the north. They link up, and then the Israelis would begin the assault on targets that they know where they can go after the command and control facilities for Hamas and began -- simultaneously began the -- hopefully the rescue operations of the hostages.

But I think what we're seeing right now, unless this assault takes place today, I mean, it certainly could take place at any time, but I'm saying that maybe what we've been discussing is what's taking place right now, which is the anticipation. Is there a scintilla, a hope that there might be some type of a negotiation? Are we at the point where the Qataris and the Israelis and Hamas might be able to have discussion about release and a trade-off?

COATES: Possible? I mean, the idea of diplomacy, is that possible still? I ask the question not rhetorically, but the (INAUDIBLE) pauses speak volumes, frankly, given all that we've seen, I guess.


BERGEN: I mean, that's why Tony Blinken is going on the most, you know, the largest Middle East tour he has ever embarked on, right? I mean, clearly there is an effort. And he speaks for President Biden. Everybody knows that.

COATES: General Marks, Director James Clapper, Peter Bergen, Guy Ziv, thank you all so much. Your expertise really has been invaluable and will continue.

Up next, the race for the speakership on Capitol Hill taking another dramatic turn. And Congressman Jim Jordan seems to be following the mantra of if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Will he be able to lock up enough votes to secure that gavel?



COATES: Tonight, House Republicans nominating Jim Jordan, the congressman from Ohio, to be their new speaker. But more than 50 Republicans voted against supporting him on the House floor, which means the House is still in disarray.

Joining me now to talk about all of this is master communications strategist, Mark McKinnon. He's also the executive producer of Showtime's "The Circus."

So, I mean, Mark, we've gone now 10 days without a House speaker. Why can't a group of adults elected officials come together to figure out how to have a path forward when, of course -- I mean, the stakes are so high.

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER ADVISER TO GEORGE W. BUSH AND JOHN MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF "THE CIRCUS": Well, I mean, first of all, you got to look at Kevin McCarthy sold his soul in order to get the speakership in this and trade off this motion to vacate, which is, you know, it's Chekhov's gun. When you introduce a gun in the first act, you know that somebody's going to use it before the play's over. And they did. They took him out.

So, they've got this, you know, crazy set of rules now, and I'm not good at math, but 55 votes are way, way short of what Jim Jordan will ever need.

So, Jim Jordan ain't going to fly, and that's what we heard from Ken Buck on our show last Sunday. He said Buck is not going to fly. He said Scalise isn't going to fly. And if Kevin McCarthy won't fly, you know those guys won't fly. So, it's a really -- it's unfortunate and sad, particularly at a time of crisis right now when we need leadership so badly.

COATES: I want to play that because you actually spoke with Congressman Ken Buck on "The Circus" just last week about this whole -- I mean, let's call it a debacle. Listen.


MCKINNON: Obvious candidates are Steve Scalise, Jim Jordan. Jordan is a Freedom Caucus guy. So, in your opinion, it would be good to have a Freedom Caucus guy? REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): I think that Jim would have a very steep hill to climb to get this job.


COATES: I mean, steep hill, I think, might be a bit of an understatement with 55 votes. They're saying they're not going to do so. So, why do you think it's such a steep hill for him? What specifically is it about Jim Jordan? Is it the politics? Is it the alignment with Trump? Is it his tactics prior to elevating the way he has?

MCKINNON: Yeah, his history, his tactics. You need a consensus builder. And Ken Buck, who likes him, who is also a Freedom Caucus member, says he's a bomb thrower. You can't have a bomb thrower as the speaker. Kevin McCarthy was far from a bomb thrower, and they dumped him. So, the answer is not going to be Jim Jordan.

And particularly from all those -- you know, there are 18 Republicans who were elected in Biden districts, districts where Biden won the presidency, and they won as Republicans. They're never going to vote for Jim Jordan.

So, listen, I think it's going to take a lot more happening. And I think ultimately, it may fall to somebody like Patrick McHenry or somebody that's just -- you know, he's just not controversial. He's just a nice guy. Everybody likes him and he can just preside.

COATES: You know, this really is uncharted territory. You're talking about the person who's a temporary speaker right now. There are three other branches or two other branches of government -- excuse me, speaking of not doing math well tonight -- there are two other branches of government. But without a House speaker, Congress is really paralyzed. They can't pass legislation. They can't provide aid domestically or abroad, and the deadline is now in the middle of November.

This, taking a step back, says a lot about our democracy and maybe is answering that old question of a republic, if you can keep it, question mark.

MCKINNON: Yeah, it really does. We've clawed our way to the bottom. And listen, we -- you know, we covered Matt Gaetz a lot earlier on.

And it was really clear when we talked to him in earlier iterations of Matt Gaetz at the gates of hell. He basically said, listen, I'm not interested in governing. I'm going to be on TV. I don't need to even -- you know, I don't -- you know, I don't even need to vote. I'm just going to be a social media presence. I don't give a damn.

And if we, you know, my -- his goal was just to really just throw, you know, to stop the engine of government from running, and he has been successful. Now, we're seeing the consequences.

You know, I think -- you know, those people on the fringe right, the MAGA thing, you know, we don't really need government. Well, now we're seeing that we actually do.

COATES: I'm reminded of a song my kids keep singing by Doja Cat, and she says, I said what I said, I'd rather be famous instead. Apparently, that might be the tactic of government these days.

Catch more of Mark this Sunday, everyone, on Showtime with a new episode of "The Circus." Mark McKinnon, thank you so much.

MCKINNON: Take it. Thanks for having me.

COATES: And yeah, I quote Doja Cat. Well, there are tens of thousands, tens of thousands of Gazans who have fled their homes since Israel's warning to leave, leaflets from the sky. But what's happening to those who are still there? We have a report from CNN's Clarissa Ward, next.




COATES: Parts of Gaza are abandoned tonight as more than a million people desperately try to evacuate their homes amid signs Israel is ramping up a potential military offensive against Hamas.

Now, Gaza's humanitarian crisis is deepening. CNN's Clarissa Ward explains the rising fear felt inside of Gaza.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They grab whatever they can and set off. Many of them on foot with no set destination. After six straight days of relentless bombardment, Palestinians in Northern Gaza woke up to leaflets from Israel's military, ordering them to move to the south of the densely-populated enclave. The deadline given to the U.N. was 24 hours.

But there is nowhere for them to go. Efforts to open a humanitarian corridor through Egypt have so far been fruitless, and shelters are completely overwhelmed.


The head of the U.N.'s Palestinian refugee agency called the order -- quote -- "horrendous" and said the enclave was rapidly becoming a hellhole.

The streets of many neighborhoods are already ghost towns, hollowed out by ferocious strikes. Those who remain, alone with their grief.

My sons, my daughters, my neighbors are all gone, resident Abu Hassan (ph) says. I only have one message to the Arab and Islamic world. Have mercy on us. For God sakes, there is nothing left.

In several cities across the world today, there were protests in support of Gaza. But the drumbeat of an invasion is growing ever louder here. And the price that Gaza's civilians are paying for Hamas's bloody attacks is already so high.

At the Shifa Hospital yesterday, some of the youngest victims lined the hallways. On a stretcher on the floor of the hospital, a young girl pants with fear. You're a good girl. Praise God you're here, the man tells her. Don't cry, my dear. Everyone is dead, she says. There's only a few left.

In another bed, a young boy lies, heavily wounded, reassuring his father. Don't be scared, don't be scared, dad, he says. I am fine. But with no promise of safe refuge, fear is the only sane reaction.

Clarissa Ward, CNN.


COATES: It's absolutely heartbreaking to see children suffering. Clarissa Ward, thank you so much for telling their story. Ahead, there's much more on the breaking news coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. We'll be right back.




COATES: We told you at the top of this show about the fear and the concern that is gripping all of us over this war between Israel and Hamas. And even if it may seem like you're powerless to do anything about it, there are actually ways that you can help. For more information about how to support humanitarian efforts in Israel and Gaza, go to or text relief, relief to 707070 to donate.

Thank you all for watching. Our live coverage continues after a short break.