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One World with Zain Asher

Humanitarian Crisis Worsens In Gaza; Hannity Interviews Trump In A Town Hall Tuesday On Fox News; Norman Lear Dead At 101. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired December 06, 2023 - 12:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, welcome everyone. Gaza is on the verge of collapse.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: "One World" starts right now. The humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza. Key cities deteriorating by the minute

as the fighting intensifies.

ASHER: And a fiery exchange. Freed Israeli hostages not mincing words and a message to the Prime Minister. We have the leaked audio.

GOLODRYGA: And it's Taylor Swift's time -- how she's ending a record- breaking deal --and year. Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga.

ASHER: And I'm Zain Asher. You are indeed watching "One World". It is being called one of the most dangerous places in the world and the U.N. is

warning that the situation in Gaza is pretty much getting worse by the minute. Both the northern and the southern areas in Gaza coming under heavy

attack in what Israel is calling the third phase of its ground operations.

GOLODRYGA: Gaza's second largest city Khan Younis is getting hit particularly hard as Israel continues to target Hamas leadership. And as

you can see, the destruction is immense. The intense bombardment is pushing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians even further

south where shelters are already over-flowing and there is little to no space left.

Earlier, the U.N. Human Rights Chief warned that the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza could get even worse unless immediate action is



VOLKER TURK, U.N. HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: Palestinians in Gaza are living in utter, deepening horror. In these circumstances, there is a

heightened risk of atrocity crimes. Measures need to be taken urgently, both by the parties concerned and by all states particularly those with

influence, to prevent any such crimes.


ASHER: Meantime, the Israeli military, which actually provided the video you're seeing on your screen, they're saying that its forces found a huge

weapons cache in the northern part of Gaza, and that included hundreds of missiles. I want to bring in CNN's Ben Wedeman, joining us live now from


So, Ben, since the truce ended, there has been so much pressure on the IDF, so much pressure on the IDF right now to sort of minimize the civilian

casualties in Gaza, minimize the amount of destruction in Gaza. Just walk us through how their approach in the South -- in terms of their operation

in the South. How is their approach this time different compared to how they handled the North?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what they've done this time is that they put out, for instance, these leaflets that

divide 1Gaza into 623 individual districts or blocks. And this leaflet has a QR code on it, so somebody can go with their mobile phone and see where

is safe, where is not safe -- that's assuming, however, there is mobile reception -- there is internet available in Gaza -- there is electricity

available in Gaza.

And certainly, we've seen over the last few days, there have been total blackouts when it comes to Gaza. So, beyond that, if you just look at the

death toll since Friday when the truce collapsed, it's averaging about 250 to 300 a day. I, you know, certainly, there are Hamas fighters among the

dead. But I don't think 250 to 300 people a day is a tremendously positive ratio to use the term utilized by the Israeli military spokesman the other


What we're seeing is, if anything, on some days more intense bombing than we saw before the ceasefire. We've -- I spend all day looking at video

coming out of Gaza, incredible amounts of destruction, huge numbers of civilians injured, including many. And we understand the majority, 70, 75

percent of the dead and injured are women and children.


So, it's questionable whether anything has really changed.

In reality, 70, 75 percent of the dead and injured are women and children. So, it's questionable whether anything has really changed in reality for

the people of Gaza. It's also worth noting that before the ceasefire collapsed, the U.S. warned Israel to avoid further significant displacement

of people. But we know now that 85 percent of the population of Gaza has been displaced. If that's not significant, I don't know what is. Zain.

ASHER: Ben, you bring up really, really good points. That's why we love having you on the show. Ben Wedeman, live for us there. Thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, one freed Israeli hostage told the country's leaders that those still being held captive by Hamas are living on borrowed time,

playing a game of Russian roulette. Other former hostages who were held in Gaza were equally blunt as they met with the Israeli war cabinet.

ASHER: And a lot of these former hostages just feel so much anger, so much anger and frustration towards Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A

lot of them who have loved ones still in Gaza, they want their loved ones back. They want them back home now.

Leaked video from that meeting reveals some people heckling, some yelling shame at the Prime Minister, others calling on him to resign. One freed

hostage actually accused him of putting politics above getting those who had been kidnapped back home.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, such a difficult and emotion-filled meeting there. Another said that the hostages felt abandoned not once but twice. The first time

obviously on October 7th, and then every day since that they were not released. Take a listen to what two freed hostages are saying.


UNKNOWN: All day, they lie on mattresses. Most of them need glasses and hearing aids that were taken from them when they were kidnapped. They have

difficulty seeing and hearing, which affects their functioning even more. While I was there, I helped them slowly get off the mattresses and be a

little active. I don't know what they managed to do since I have left.

You will return them all. They will not wait 50 days. They will not wait another year because you claim that they are strong enough. You have no

information. You have no information. The fact that we were shelled, the fact that no one knew anything about where we were.


GOLODRYGA: Just unimaginable pain there from those survivors. Netanyahu reportedly told the families that it was Israel's aggressive bombardment

and ground operation that finally pressured Hamas to start releasing some of those hostages.

ASHER: All right, I want to bring in retired IDF Colonel Mary Eisen, currently the Director of the International Institute for Counter-

Retaliation. Mary, thank you so much for being with us. I mean, just obviously there's just so much anguish for a lot of the former hostages,

for those who have relatives in Gaza still at this point in time. They witnessed over a hundred people be released and obviously their loved ones

are still trapped. That has got to be incredibly frustrating.

As I understand it, there are really only two options that Netanyahu has at this point in terms of getting the hostages back. One would be targeted

raids conducted by the IDF inside Gaza just to sort of try to free some of the hostages. I mean God knows that is brought, of course, with so many

risks. The other would be a second truce with Hamas. Which one at this point do you see as the more realistic option?

MIRI EISIN, RETIRED COLONEL, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: So I'm going to add in an additional option if I'm allowed which is what we are doing --

ASHER: Yes, please.

EISIN: -- which is incredibly heavy military pressure on the Hamas leadership. Because at the end of the day, Zain and Bianna, what we want --

we want Hamas to release them. And everybody calls everybody on Israel to stop. And nobody says to Hamas to stop.

Here we are today. We had sirens today. They continue to fire rockets into Israel. They continue to hold the hostages. So, let's not remember there's

that third option of, as I say, the military pressure, let alone international pressure on Hamas as opposed to anything else.

I don't see Israel doing military raids right now. We did that once successfully, very much at the beginning, right at the beginning of the

ground operation. And that has to do with the disbursement of these hostages all over the place on purpose in that subterranean arena. I wish

we could do so. It isn't as easy as that. To do a truce, and it's interesting - sorry. Please.

GOLODRYGA: No, go ahead, go ahead. Sorry, Mary.

EISIN: To do a truce -- and it's interesting, the wording in that sense, as I was listening to Ben and I've known Ben for many years and I have such

appreciation of his knowledge of the Palestinian side and what it means right now. To do a truce, who says that in the truce, Hamas is going to

release hostages?

Look at how a truce that when he said the ceasefire ended, ceasefire didn't end. The Hamas broke the truce. Hamas broke that by not continuing what it

had committed to do with the release of hostages.


And I do not believe them -- the Hamas. And I think that they would continue to do the same thing. So, you're in a very tricky situation where

if you do the truce, that still doesn't mean you get the hostages back and you're paying a horrific price when it comes to Hamas showing that it is

the one in control. They're the ones who are now taking the humanitarian supplies from the people of the Gaza Strip who need it. They're the ones

who are controlling it, taking it. It's absolutely horrific.

GOLODRYGA: Mary, an IDF Commander said that they are currently now in the most intense stage of this fight. And U.S. officials have told CNN that

they believe this stage of the fight could go into January. What do you make of that? Do you agree with that assessment? And what does that look

like in terms of the ground operation and the scenes that we will be seeing on the screen every single day?

EISIN: So, I'm breathing in deep together with you and my, as I say, I really want in that sense of better future for us and for the civilians,

the Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip. What does it look like? It looks like bombardment, military capabilities inside the densely populated area,

not just of the northern Gaza Strip, where we were active until the truce was ended by Hamas, but also in the South.

Right now, the focus is in the area of Khan Younis. There are different maps showing it right now, a lot of the footage is showing the destruction

inside Khan Younis. Khan Younis is where Yahya Sinwar, the commander, the planner, the executioner of this horrific genocidal plan, that's where he's


There's no question that we're trying to focus on this top leadership, trying to get to where their bunkers are, most likely in the subterranean

arena underneath Khan Younis. Khan Younis is a city of, you know, half a million people, so it's dislocation, it's moving people. When I say moving

people, this is about saving their lives. It is not a happy situation. It is horrible.

But let's save the lives. Let's get to those horrible, horrific people that need to be arrested or killed so that we can finish this and get to the

hostages. Because until then, as I said, the Hamas are holding us all hostage, not just the 150 Israelis held there inside the Gaza Strip.

ASHER: And, Miri, you mentioned that, you know, a truce with Hamas is, of course, politically problematic for Israel, because, of course, you know,

as you point out, it puts Hamas in control. It puts a terrorist organization in control.

And there are many who say that, you know, having a truce with Hamas, even though it's good in a sense because you get the hostages back. In another

sense, are you rewarding terrorism? Are you encouraging kidnapping of Israelis at a later date? My question to you is, under what circumstance --

under what circumstances would it be appropriate for Israel at this point in time to consider another truce, a second truce with Hamas. What are your

thoughts on that?

EISIN: My thoughts are that when Hamas are the ones who approach the mediators, which we all know who they are, if it's Qatar or if it is Egypt

and of course the United States behind in that sense, when the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is the one that approaches and said, okay,

stop the firing. We're willing to negotiate. That's a different situation.

What they're saying right now, we have no problem. Keep on going. They are sacrificing their own people in that sense because they surround themselves

by them. And in that type of pressure, I say sadly, this does not make me happy in any way, comes out of the military operation.

And I'm so open to any suggestion to a different way to remove Hamas from the Gaza Strip -- all of the good people who have good ideas. But at the

end, this is about what pressures Hamas, not what we want to have hope happening. And right now they are under pressure. And this is the way they

went into the negotiations before the first truce. It was because they were under heavy military pressure.

GOLODRYGA: Just begs the question, what did Hamas expect would happen after October 7th and the atrocities they committed? Because it seems they

expected what we're seeing play out right now, and that is just carnage and heartbreak -- heartbreak on both sides. Mary Eisin, thank you.

EISIN: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Please come back soon.

EISIN: Thank you so much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, we're also learning more about the premature babies that were evacuated from a crumbling and now defunct Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.

ASHER: Yes, so many people are concerned about what ended up happening to these babies. What we're now learning is that, of course, more than two

dozen babies were transported to Egypt. This was two weeks ago. And CNN's Larry Madowo and his team gained access to the hospital where doctors are

actually caring for them -- where doctors are treating them. He gave my colleague, CNN's Poppy Harlow, an update on how they're doing. Take a look.


LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're doing well. In fact, they're doing so well that a few of these pre-term babies, when they arrived here just

over two weeks ago have been discharged from the NICU into the general nursery and they are in the oral feeding phase.


Most of them still remain in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and all of them are making good progress. The doctors here are very pleased with how

they're doing. All but one are out of danger. We have just one of the pre- term babies that remains on a ventilator. They're watching closely to see if he makes progress, but the rest of them are doing well.

We've seen them -- they're taking great care of them. And some of them are starting to get a sense of where they are and where they're living now. And

a few parents are starting to show up, Poppy. So, it's a big progress. And the doctors here say that the business is saving lives. So, if they can

discharge some of them from the NICU into the general ward, then that's massive progress that they've made.

ASHER: When you think about what these babies have actually been through in their short lives and it's so heartening to hear that they are, indeed,

doing well. One sliver of hope in this, in other words, carnage, as you were just saying earlier.

All right, still to come, some of the top universities in the U.S. are facing a lot of criticism over their handling of anti-Semitic activity on

their campuses. How school leaders responded.

GOLODRYGA: Also ahead, as Israel investigates allegations of sexual violence committed by Hamas on October 7th, we take a closer look at the

horrific reports and why so many stayed silent for so long.


ASHER: All right, so many international bodies have come under just a lot of criticism for failing to condemn Hamas' alleged sexual violence and

sexual assault and rape -- alleged rape of women on October 7th. Hamas, just to point out, has denied the fact that its fighters committed sexual

violence during those attacks on October 7th.

Israeli authorities say they have been gathering evidence, though, that proves otherwise and have actually opened an investigation. They're using

forensic evidence, video, witness testimony, and information gathered from interrogating suspects to document rapes committed that day.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, the most recent global leader to speak out about this is President Biden last night addressing this and condemning these alleged

atrocities, as well. We want to show you some of these allegations of sexual violence that have been shared with CNN. We've been covering -- I've

been covering this, and CNN has been covering this for weeks now. A warning that this report contains graphic and disturbing content.



GOLODRYGA: The details are horrific. Listen to this Israeli paramedic whose rescue unit responded to the massacre at Kibbutz Beri. He did not want to

be identified.

UNKNOWN: While we're storming through those houses, one of the doors I open is a bedroom. You see two girls, two teenagers. I guess 13 or 14 years old.

One is lying on the floor, one is lying on the bed. One on the floor, she's lying on her stomach. Her pants are pulled down towards her knees and

there's a bullet wound on her -- the backside of her neck near her head. And there's a puddle of blood around her head and there's remains of semen

on the lower part of her back.

GOLODRYGA: A volunteer at the Shura IDF military base, where many of the victims of the massacre have been sent, testified at a U.N. event in Geneva

last week, describing the evidence of sexual violence she saw on some of the bodies.

SHERI MENDES, IDF VOLUNTEER: Our team commanders saw several soldiers who were shot in the crotch, in intimate areas -- their vaginas, or they were

shot in their breast. This seemed to be systematic genital mutilation of a group of victims.

GOLODRYGA: Despite all of that, the U.N. and its women's rights affiliates remain silent on the mounting specific allegations.

RUTH HALPERIN-KADDARI, INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Their response was really devastating, was heartbreaking for me.

GOLODRYGA: Professor Ruth Halpern-Kaddari is an international women's rights advocate and for 12 years helped lead the United Nations Committee

on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

HALPERIN-KADDARI: Neither of them acknowledged or recognized the existence, the fact that sexual violence was part of the Hamas massacre. And by not

acknowledging this, by dismissing, by ignoring, they are in fact, almost, I would say, legitimizing the existence of these atrocities.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): I asked a representative from U.N. Women about that. Her answer speaks for itself.

GOLODRYGA: Is there a reason though Sarah that you can't specifically call out Hamas and the mounting evidence now over seven weeks that Israeli

investigators have collected that we've shown our viewers about the atrocities they committed specifically on October 7th?

SARAH HENDRIKS, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR U.N. WOMEN: Indeed. U.N. Women always supports impartial independent investigations into any serious

allegations of gender-based or sexual violence. And within the U.N. family, these investigations are led by the Office of the High Commissioner of

Human Rights.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Then, three days later, finally, an acknowledgement from U.N. Women, a statement of their own. "We unequivocally condemn the

brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7th. We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those


And over the weekend, even more accounts coming to light. "The Sunday Times" quoted a 39-year-old witness who attended the Nova Music Festival.

"I saw this beautiful woman with the face of an angel and eight or ten of the fighters beating and raping her. She was screaming, 'Stop it already --

I'm going to die anyway from what you were doing. Just kill me!" When they finished, they were laughing and the last one shot her in the head.

A police commander leading Israel's investigation into sexual violence and crime said, "It's clear now that sexual crimes were part of the planning

and the purpose was to terrify and humiliate people." Being able to prove that the crimes were planned is critical in prosecuting such cases.

HALPERIN-KADDARI: Recall that the massacre actually took place in 22 locations at the same time -- the same method in which these horrific

atrocities were executed by the terrorists in separate locations, in different locations, all at the same time. This demonstrates a preconceived

and premeditated plan. And that is why it does amount to crimes against humanity.


ASHER: All right, that was certainly heavy stuff. As Israel investigates allegations of sexual violence committed by Hamas during its October 7th

attacks, I want to take a closer look at those reports.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, joining us now is Ruth Halperin-Kaddari who you just saw in our last story. She's an expert on family law and international women's

rights and a professor. Professor Kaddari, thank you so much. You have been such an invaluable resource and expert and voice for the voiceless, really,

throughout this story.

So, the bare minimum has happened. There has been acknowledgment. There has been condemnation from women's organizations, from world leaders and NGOs.

What needs to happen next? Can these crimes be prosecuted?

HALPERIN-KADDARI: So, as you said, the bare minimum has happened, but there's a lot more that needs to be done.


First of all, more bodies and more human rights agencies and entities have to step in and voice their condemnation and their recognition and

acknowledgement and show Hamas for what it is, a terrorist organization that committed the most horrific kind of crimes, crimes against humanity,

including sexual violence and gender-based atrocities on October 7.

And I expect not just U.N. women. I expect other agencies to join in -- the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the High Commissioner on Human Rights in

Geneva. They all need to join and to recognize and to stop their silence.

Now, in terms of investigation, there is a range of possibilities that I and others, civil society in Israel, and I hope also the Israeli government

expect to come and to see for themselves and report, apart from the investigation, which you also reported on, that Israel is engaging in. You

know, the largest, most complicated, most challenging criminal investigation ever.

But the criminal investigation in Israel is for the purpose of bringing the individual perpetrators to trial, to justice, to convict them for their

crimes, each and every one of them. And an external investigation needs to be done in order to tell the whole story, the totality of the story. And in

fact, not just the sexual crimes and the gender-based atrocities that were committed. This is just part of the picture -- a very specific part.

ASHER: Ruth, Zain here. Just in terms of what some information we're getting from the State Department, Matthew Miller has come out and said,

look, one of the reasons why not as many female hostages, or Hamas stopped releasing female hostages last week towards the end of the truce, is

because they worried, or they were worried, they were concerned about what some of those female hostages would say about how they were treated in


My question to you is, how concerned are you about, you know, some of the women that are held, are still held right now, are between the ages of 20

and 39. How concerned are you about how these women are being treated by Hamas while in captivity right now?

HALPERIN-KADDARI: We are very concerned. We are very concerned in light of what we know that happened on October 7th. We're very concerned because

most of those who were assaulted and raped on October 7th were killed immediately. And the few that survived, some of them were taken hostages

and we're concerned about how they're being treated and what they are going through as we speak.

We're concerned that Hamas was not willing to let them go as part of the deal that took place last week during the ceasefire. We have reasons to be

concerned for their fate. And this is precisely the reason why the world needs to be united and to call Hamas for what it is, a terrorist

organization that inflicts the most horrible kinds of terror, both on the individuals and on the whole world.

GOLODRYGA: Ruth, on October 9th, two days after the atrocities, you had reached out to your former colleagues at U.N. women's organizations and

their affiliates to sound the alarm about the accumulating evidence that you had already seen. And as we know, subsequently, there were weeks of


Can you talk about the damage that occurred? Because of that silence, perhaps, God forbid, what has happened since to those hostages, because

there wasn't more universal condemnation. I know you had described it as a sense of betrayal when you heard silence. How damaging, though, has that

window been?

HALPERIN-KADDARI: I really -- I refer to it as a case study in a failure -- a huge failure of the system. They not only failed us in Israel -- women in

Israel and civil society in Israel, but they failed the whole human rights system. By keeping silent, they legitimized these kinds of atrocities and

they legitimized those who legitimized it.

There are those who still speak of these atrocities as a legitimate way of resistance. Then there are those that think that if there had not been,

since there had not been universal condemnation, then these kinds of crimes can actually go unaccounted for. It's a horrible message for others who

might distortedly think about using, can actually go unaccounted for.


It's a horrible message for others who might distortedly think about using. this as a weapon of war in other conflict zones, in other conflict areas.

And they actually undermined the very reason for which they were established. So, I really think that this is a dark stain on the whole

universal human rights system.

GOLODRYGA: But the silence, indeed, has been shameful and consequential. Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, thank you so much for all your time and

hard work in sounding the alarm around the world about these atrocities.


ASHER: Thank you, Ruth.

HALPERIN-KADDARI: Thank you for the report. Thank you very much.

GOLODRYGA: Well, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is now walking back comments she made on CNN over the weekend about Hamas' alleged use of

sexual violence against women. For those of you who missed it, listen to how the Congresswoman appears to deflect or equivocate when Dana Bash asks

her about accusations of Hamas' use of rape as a weapon of war.


PRAMILA JAYAPAL, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: Rape is horrific. Sexual assault is horrific. I think that it happens in war situations. Terrorist

organizations like Hamas obviously are using these as tools. However, I think we have to be balanced about bringing in the outrages against



ASHER: Those comments set off a firestorm among some of her Democratic colleagues. Now, Jayapal is actually clarifying those remarks in a new

quote. In a new statement, she says, quote that she "did not intend to minimize rape and sexual assault in any way" and that, quote, "We must

stand with our sisters and families and survivors of rape and sexual assault everywhere to condemn this violence and hold perpetrators


All right, the fallout continues for the heads of some of the top universities in the United States after lawmakers grilled them about

various incidents of anti-Semitism on their campuses. The presidents of Penn State, MIT, and Harvard all testified. When pressed on anti-Semitic

conduct at Harvard, its president refused to condemn after several chances to do so.


ELISE STEFANIK, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSWOMAN: At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules of bullying and harassment, yes or


CLAUDINE GAY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: It can be, depending on the context.

STEFANIK: What's the context?

GAY: Targeted as an individual. Targeted at an individual.

STEFANIK: It's targeted at Jewish students -- Jewish individuals. Do you understand your testimony is dehumanizing them? Do you understand that

dehumanization is part of anti-Semitism? I will ask you one more time. Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules of bullying and

harassment, yes or no?

GAY: Anti-Semitic rhetoric.

STEFANIK: And is it anti-Semitic rhetoric --

GAY: Anti-Semitic rhetoric, when it crosses into conduct, it amounts to bullying, harassment, intimidation. That is actionable conduct and we do

take action.

STEFANIK: So, the answer is yes, that calling for the genocide of Jews violates Harvard Code of Conduct. Correct?

GAY: Again, it depends on the context.


GOLODRYGA: It depends on the context. Imagine those words and those descriptions being used for any other minority. There would be outrage.

These women had days to prepare for these comments. And they also had minutes there to address the congresswoman saying, are you sure you don't

want to retract your words? Are you sure you don't want to take anything back?

It's just breathtaking to watch there. Hedge Fund billionaire Bill Ackman reacted to Tuesday's exchanges by saying the presidents of all three

universities should resign in disgrace.

ASHER: All right, so to come here on "One World", it seems like an easy answer to a question. If elected, would you act like a dictator? But wait

until you hear Donald Trump's answer.

GOLODRYGA: Plus, Republican lawmakers say they're prepared to block more funding for Ukraine unless their demands are met. That is ahead.



GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to "One World", everyone. I'm Bianna Golodryga.

ASHER: And I'm Zain Asher. With about one month to go until the Iowa caucuses, this really is the moment of truth, right? This is the moment for

the Republicans who are challenging Donald Trump. This is the last scheduled debate before voters get to weigh in January.

GOLODRYGA: And we'll see if it even makes a difference. Four Republicans will be on the stage, including Trump's closest rivals, Nikki Haley, and

that's all relatives speaking closest -- Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis. Trump, like he has done for all debates, thus far, is skipping the event.

ASHER: So, what did he do instead? Instead, former president, leading the Republican field by a distance, worth-noting as Bianna just said, held a

town hall Tuesday on Fox News. He was asked whether he would abuse the power of the presidency. This is an important question. He was asked

whether he would abuse the power of the presidency if he won in 2024. And oh boy, his answer raised a lot of eyebrows.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Under no circumstances, you are promising America tonight, you would never abuse power as retribution against



HANNITY: Except for?

TRUMP: He's going crazy. Except for day one. Meaning? I want to close the border, and I want to drill, drill. He says, you're not going to be a

dictator, are you? I said, no, no, other than day one. We're closing the border, and we're drilling, drilling. After that, I'm not a dictator, okay?


ASHER: Our Jeff Zeleny is at the site of tonight's debate in the University of Alabama. So Jeff, I could go on and on about what Donald Trump said

there, but I'm going to focus instead on the debate tonight.

So, a lot of people just sort of feel as though Donald Trump's nomination is more or less inevitable at this point. A, would you agree with that? And

if there was one person who actually stood a chance, at least for second place, if nothing else, who would that person be? Would it be Nikki Haley

at this point or Ron DeSantis?


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well Zain, it certainly is far from inevitable. Things in politics generally aren't.

Voters have not weighed in yet, not a single vote has been cast. That said, Donald Trump is in command of this race. All metrics would show that is

true. However, I'm struck by talking to voters as we travel around.

There are more open minds than you may think. And the comments from last night that you just showed our viewers about the dictator, that certainly

will be part of the conversation tonight. So, seeing how Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie and the others sort of respond to that and

if they are deciding to again go after Donald Trump.

He's been remarkably stable in this race but the rest of the race has moved around a bit and it's the fight for second place if you will that will be

front and center tonight. And Nikki Haley comes into this debate with a bit of a head of steam. She's done -- had very strong performances in previous


But Florida Governor Ron DeSantis clearly, is trying to stop her lead. He's been saying she's not a true conservative. She, of course, refutes that.

So, I expect that argument to continue on stage here tonight.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and to add to that momentum that we've seen recently from Nikki Haley, she has received some prominent endorsements as of late. Jeff,

just within the last hour we got news that former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will be leaving and retiring by the end of the year. Talk about

the significance of that and what the reaction you have heard has been thus far.

ZELENY: Bianna, certainly a big moment in American domestic politics. Kevin McCarthy had a bit of a rise to the speakership, and it was a very quick

moment. His speakership lasted about eight months or so. Certainly, very few surprises about his decision to retire after this term.

A former speaker does not necessarily want to be, you know, just a rank- and-file member of Congress. So, very -- not many people are surprised by that. Certainly, we've been getting indications of that for weeks to come.

But what it does show, there are so many retirements in the U.S. Congress.

It really will change the shape of Congress next year, but he is staying in through the entirety of his term, so all next year. The reason he's doing

it now is the filing deadline for people who are running for his seat is at the end of this week in California. That's why he's making his


But look, it just marks another moment in the Trump era, and it shows that Trump loyalists are not necessarily rewarded. That certainly is true in his

case. It also reminds us that Speaker Mike Johnson, the current Speaker of the U.S. House, also has a precarious road ahead as he deals with funding

disputes and funding the government. How long will he last? Also, an open question.

ASHER: And, Jeff, just in terms of tonight's debate, I mean, what are some of the key issues that are likely to come up tonight? I mean, of course,

Israel, Hamas, but just give us your take on one of the things, on some of the things that viewers should really be watching out for tonight.

ZELENY: Well look, I think one of the things that Congress is talking about right now, the funding of Ukraine, the funding of Israel, and of course

funding along the border. Nikki Haley has really made foreign policy a central theme of her campaign.

So, I expect her to continue to do that tonight. And she's been on the hawkish side of the Republican Party. Her views have been among the hawkish

of all of the candidates. So, look for her to continue that argument. But look, there simply has not been the appetite for a continuing --

ASHER: All right, Jeff, Jeff. I have to interrupt you because President Biden is speaking right now about funding for Ukraine. Let's listen in.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: The President has to uphold the national security needs of the United States and, quite frankly, of our partners, as

well. This cannot wait. Congress needs to pass supplemental funding for Ukraine before they break for the holiday recess. As simple as that.

Frankly, I think it's stunning that we've gotten to this point in the first place. While Congress -- while Republicans in Congress are willing to give

Putin the greatest gift he could hope for and abandon our global leadership, not just in Ukraine but beyond that.

We've all seen the brutality that Putin has inflicted on Ukraine, invading another country, trying to subjugate his neighbors to his iron rule,

committing atrocities -- atrocities against Ukrainian civilians, trying to plunge them into the cold and darkness of winter by bombing their

electrical grid so they don't have any heat during the winter, or electricity for that matter. Kidnapping thousands of Ukraine -- thousands

of Ukrainian children from their parents and families and keeping them in Russia.

Russian forces are committing war crimes. It's as simple as that. It's stunning. Who is prepared to walk away from holding Putin accountable for

this behavior? Who among us is really prepared to do that? You know, for the better part of two years, the brave people of Ukraine have denied

Russia a victory on the battlefield. They've defeated Vladimir Putin's ambition to dominate Ukraine.


The brave people of Ukraine have denied Russia a victory on the battlefield. They've defeated Vladimir Putin's ambition to dominate

Ukraine. And the people of the United States can and should take pride. They should take pride that we've enabled Ukraine's success -- thanks to

the steady supply of weapons and ammunition we provided them together with our partners and our allies.

I just did a meeting with the G7, which was one of the issues we discussed, all the European leaders. We are prepared to stay with us -- stay with

Ukraine, and our European friends are, as well. Who in the United States are prepared to walk away from that? I tell you, I'm not prepared to walk

away. And I don't think the American people are either.

If Putin takes Ukraine, he won't stop there. It's important to see the long run here. He's going to keep going. He's made that pretty clear. If Putin

attacks a NATO ally, if he keeps going, and then he attacks a NATO ally, and we've committed as a NATO member that we defend every inch of NATO

territory, then we'll have something that we don't seek and that we don't have today.

American troops fighting Russian troops. American troops fighting Russian troops if he moves into other parts of NATO. Make no mistake. Today's vote

is going to be long remembered and history is going to judge harshly those who turn their back on freedom's cause. We can't let Putin win. Say it

again, we can't let Putin win. It's in our overwhelming national interest and the international interest of all our friends.

Any disruption in our ability to supply Ukraine clearly strengthens Putin's position. We've run out of money to be able to do that in terms of

authorization. Extreme Republicans are playing chicken with our national security, holding Ukraine's funding hostage as their extreme partisan

border policies.

Let me be clear, we need real solutions. I support real solutions at the border. I put forward a comprehensive plan the first day I came into

office. I made it clear that we need Congress to make changes to fix what is a broken immigration system because we know -- we all know it's broken.

And I'm willing to do significantly more. But in terms of changes of policy and to provide resources that we need at the border, I'm willing to change

policy, as well. I've asked for billions of dollars from more border agents, more immigration judges, more asylum officers.

Republicans have to decide if they want a political issue, if they want a solution at the border. Do they really want a solution? It cannot be

sustained as it is now. We need a real solution. And my team has been engaged in negotiations with Senate Democrats and Republicans at border


Democrats -- Democrats have put forward a bipartisan compromise on the table. Leader Schumer and Senate Democrats also have offered to let

Republicans propose amendments to that border proposal. But Republicans have objected and said, no, we don't want you to even introduce your

proposal because they were not going to, even though the Democrats say you can amend it any way you want. No, no, we don't want to do that.

This has to be a negotiation. If Republicans think they can get everything they want without any bipartisan compromise, that's not the answer. That's

not the answer. And now they're willing to literally kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield and damage our national security in the process. Look, I know

we have our divisions at home. Let's get past them.

This is critical. Petty, partisan, angry politics can't get in the way of our responsibility as a leading nation in the world. And literally, the

entire world is watching. The entire world is watching. What will the United States do? And think if we don't support Ukraine, what's the rest of

the world going to do?

What's Japan going to do with supporting Ukraine now? What's going to happen in terms of the G7? What's going to happen in terms of our NATO

allies? What are they going to do? We walk away now lonely and bold and other would-be aggressors.

So, I'm calling on Congress to do something and do the right thing to stand with the people of Ukraine, stand against the tyranny of Putin, stand for

freedom. Literally stand for freedom. Let's get this done. We're the reason Putin has not totally overrun Ukraine and moved beyond that. And you all

have heard me talk about it before.

If, in fact, we walk away, how many of our European friends are going to continue to fund? And at what rates are they going to continue to fund it?

This is too serious. Like I said, I am willing to make significant compromises on the border. We need to fix the broken border system.


It is broken. And thus far, I've gotten no response. So, I just -- we're going to be voting a little bit later today. We'll know where we go from

there. But I wanted to make this comment before the vote, and I'm sure I'll be talking with you after the vote. Thank you very much for listening.

Appreciate it.

REPORTER: Mr. President, given the current impasse, would you be okay with Democrats willing to put more on border policy to get this current package



REPORTER: Would you be okay with Democrats agreeing to --

BIDEN: I've already laid out in our negotiations with Lankford and others what we're willing to do. Significantly more. Particularly they started off

equipping the border capacity that we need on the border, from judges to more border security, in addition to making some substantive changes. But

they're unwilling to do it. We thought we -- I really thought -- I felt good for a while. I thought we were making some real progress. Lankford is

a decent guy. It looked like he was prepared to move in a way and a direction that we could come up with a compromise, both changing in

substance, changing policy on the border, as well as security at the border. But they've walked away. It's -- take everything we have here,

their one proposal, which is extreme, or nothing. In the meantime, the nothing means we don't get any support for our friends and our innocent

people of Ukraine. Anyway, I'll talk to you more after the --

REPORTER: President Biden, on Ukraine and also China, there is polling by "The Associated Press" that shows that almost 70 percent of Americans,

including 40 percent of Democrats, believe that you acted either illegally or unethically in regards to your family's business interests. Can you

explain to the Americans -- to Americans at this impeachment inquiry why you interacted with so many of your son and brother's foreign business


BIDEN: I'm not going to comment -- I did not and it was just a bunch of lies.

REPORTER: You didn't interact with any of their business associates?

BIDEN: Bunch of lies. I did not. They're lies.


GOLODRYGA: Okay, a last-minute plea from the president there ahead of a procedural vote in the Senate that is at this point likely to fail in not

meeting the 60-vote threshold to pass the national security package that the White House has been urging Congress to pass. Now, remember, they

wanted this as part of the bill to keep the government funded.

That was not included in the CR. Instead, this is a standalone, but this includes crucial funding, $110 billion in total crucial funding that would

go help Ukraine, Obviously, Israel, as well, and border security. The concern is among Republicans that not enough funding and attention, in

their view, is going to the latter.

ASHER: Yeah, President Biden saying that this is in the U.S.'s best interest, that this essentially, if you don't fund Ukraine anymore, this

would be the greatest Christmas gift ever to Vladimir Putin, and who's to say he would stop at Ukraine? All right, we'll have much more news after

the break. Don't go away.


ASHER: All right, some sad news to leave you with. The television world has lost an icon who pretty much reshaped the entire television industry.

Norman Lear has died at the age of 101. He dominated American television, especially in the 70s, with massive hits that found ways to make us laugh

while also raising awareness about issues like racism. Perhaps his biggest genre-defining hit was "All In The Family".




GOLODRYGA: In many ways, a man who was ahead of his time. Later, "The Jeffersons", another hit show, was hailed as the first show on TV to depict

wealthy African Americans who still struggle to be accepted in white society.



GOLODRYGA: Norman Lear was also a figure in progressive politics speaking out against the influence of religion and politics.

ASHER: He remained active in film and TV productions in to the 90s. Norman Lear, dead at the age of 101. He will be missed and what an icon.

GOLODRYGA: Grew up watching so many of the shows he produced. Well, that does it for this hour of "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga.

ASHER: And I'm Zain Asher. Thank you so much for watching. Amanpour is up next. You're watching CNN.