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One World with Zain Asher
CNN's Clarissa Ward Takes An In-Depth Look At The Destructions an=d Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza; Moms For Liberty Co-Founder Facing Calls To Resign After A Sex Scandal Surfaced; Republicans In Congress Unanimously Voted For An Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired December 14, 2023 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Almost half of the munitions dropped on Gaza pose a greater threat to civilians. "One World" starts right now. They're
called dumb bombs and they're less precise than others. CNN has exclusively learned that about 50 percent of the time it's what Israel has been
dropping on Gaza.
Also ahead, it's all about politics. That's the White House reaction to the formal beginnings of the impeachment probe into President Biden. And later,
sex, lies, and Don't Say Gay. One of the women behind anti-gay education law was having a relationship with a woman herself. We'll have more details
on the scandal ahead. Well, everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodriga. Zain is off
today. You are watching "One World". A CNN exclusive -- a new U.S. intelligence assessment that finds nearly half of the 29,000 Israeli
munitions dropped on Gaza are unguided. These so-called dumb bombs are less precise and typically pose a greater threat to civilians, particularly in
densely populated areas. When asked about it, the IDF said that it doesn't address the type of munitions it uses.
Now it comes as the death toll in Gaza continues to soar. The Hamas- controlled health ministry says since the war began, nearly 19,000 people in the enclave have been killed in Israeli attacks.
Meanwhile, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is in Israel today. Earlier, he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Sullivan's
trip to the region is part of a push to minimize what U.S. President Joe Biden called indiscriminate bombing in Gaza. We'll have much more on this
story in just a moment.
But we do want to begin with a developing story out of Europe. German and Dutch authorities say they have arrested several suspected Hamas members
for plotting attacks targeting Jewish people. We are joined now by Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen. Fred, what more do we know about
these arrests and what these suspects were plotting?
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on-camera): Hi there, Bianna. Well, certainly seems to be a pretty large operation that's
going on in three European countries. It's actually unclear whether all these arrests are all interconnected. But this is happening in Germany, the
Netherlands and in Denmark as well.
Of course, we are here in Europe where it's easy to cross borders. And basically something like that is sort of similar to if you would have raids
say in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, judging from the size of these countries. However, it seems though this is a pretty complex operation. The
Germans came out tonight and they announced that four people were arrested, three of them in Germany. and one in the Netherlands.
Now, they say that these are Hamas members and that at least three of these people had contacts, very close contacts, to the senior leadership of the
military wing of Hamas, which is of course the Kassam Brigades. And they say that these people were looking for a weapons depot that apparently
Hamas has been building up here in Germany over the past couple of years.
We're trying to find that depot and that they were tasked with bringing these weapons to Berlin for then possible attacks, as the German
authorities put it, against Jewish institutions, Jewish places here in Germany. Unclear whether or not that would be Berlin, but certainly they do
say here in Germany.
Again, three people arrested here in Germany, one person arrested in the Netherlands. Certainly a big uproar happening today in the German security
services. There have been raids going on here in the city where I am right now in Berlin.
At the same time, you have a situation in Denmark where the Danish authorities are also saying that they had anti-terror raids going on
through the entire day and through the entire country, where also three people were arrested in Denmark and one person in the Netherlands, as well.
It's unclear whether or not the Germans and the Danes are talking about the same person arrested in the Netherlands, but certainly big anti-terror
raids, as the Danish put it there, as well. The Israelis have since then come out, both the Mossad and the Shane Bate, of course, the Israeli
intelligence services saying that Hamas is responsible for what they call a foiled plot to kill civilians European soil.
So, as you can see a pretty big security situation happening in this part of Europe, big presence of police and obviously one of the things, Bianna,
that we've seen here in European countries, specifically in Germany, is that Jewish institutions have come under a lot more police protections
since the attacks of October 7th.
Certainly the Germans taking the situation very seriously, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: And these threats are not just limited to Germany. We're seeing these threats increase around the world at Jewish institutions. So, police
are taking this very seriously indeed. Fred Pleitgen, thank you.
Well, let's get back now to that U.S. intelligence assessment that reveals nearly half of all Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza are imprecise so-
called dumb bombs. CNN's Alex Marquardt joins me live from Tel Aviv. So Alex, talk to us about the significance of this detail.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are a number of significant parts of this report that there was this
intelligence assessment that was obtained by my colleagues Natasha Bertrand and Katie Bo Lillis.
First, the really large scale of the number of bombs that have been dropped, some 29,000. And then to find out that so many of them are these
imprecise, unguided so-called dumb bombs is really quite extraordinary given what we know now about the civilian toll.
But also what we know, generally speaking, about how dense the Gaza Strip is, how closely people are packed together, you would hope that as Israel
goes after members of Hamas and the Hamas leadership that they would use as precise the weaponry as possible.
So, what this assessment has said is that out of the 29,000 bombs that have been dropped from the air to the ground, 40 to 45 percent of them are these
unguided, dumb munitions. Bianna, that means that some 12 to 13,000 of the bombs that Israel has dropped really don't have any guided systems.
Now, a U.S. official spoke to CNN saying that Israeli pilots use a tactic called dive bombing, which essentially is a plane that makes a steep
descent and will drop a bomb right over a target to be more precise. But of course, that is not going to be nearly as precise as, say, a GPS guided
bomb or a laser guided bomb.
Now, we did hear from the IDF in response to this, a spokesman telling me that the IDF uses what they call high quality munitions that are operated
by skilled pilots. This spokesperson went on to say that the type of munition used depends on the characteristics of the target and that they
make, of course, every effort to mitigate harm to civilians.
Now, Bianna, the U.S. has been providing all kinds of ammunition and weapons to the Israelis, including thousands of dumb bombs called MK-82s,
5000 in particular, but they've also been providing them kits turn dumb bombs into precision-guided bombs.
And then, Bianna, I'll just note that the national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, is here on a day at this point in the war where there's major
U.S. concern about how precise or the lack of precision that these Israeli strikes are. And it comes after we know that President Biden has just said
that he believes that Israel carries out what he called indiscriminate bombing in Gaza.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah. And just a few moments, I'll be speaking with Mark Regev, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu and this is indeed one of the
topics that we will be talking about. Alex Marquardt, thank you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: We are looking at Israel's military pressing on with its aggressive offensive against Hamas. The IDF says that its forces are
battling Hamas fighters at close quarters across the enclave. This is the city of Khan Younis where the IDF says that its special forces conducted
targeted raids on a number of locations over the last day.
Israeli officials have been telling civilians via social media to move away from certain parts of the city for their own safety. But it's not clear how
many people in Gaza are able to see the messages due to power disruptions and sporadic access to the internet.
Meantime, our Clarissa Ward has been inside Gaza to get a closer look at the destruction and the humanitarian crisis taking place across Gaza.
CLARISSA WARD: CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You don't have to search for tragedy in Gaza. It finds you on every street,
strewn with trash and stagnant water, desolate and foreboding.
WARD: So, we've just crossed the border into southern Gaza. This is the first time we've actually been able to get into Gaza since October 7th, and
we are now driving to a field hospital that has been set up by the UAE.
WARD (voice-over): Up until now, Israel and Egypt have made access for international journalists next to impossible. And you can see why.
WARD: Since October 7th, the Israeli military says it has hit Gaza with more than 22,000 strikes. That, by far, surpasses anything we've seen in
modern warfare in terms of intensity and ferocity.
And we really, honestly, are just getting a glimpse of it here.
WARD (voice-over): Despite Israel's heavy bombardment, there are people out on the streets. A crowd outside a bakery. Where else can they go? Nowhere
is safe in Gaza.
ABDULLAH AL-NAQBI, DOCTOR: Used to be a stadium.
WARD (voice-over): Arriving at the Emirati Field Hospital, we meet Dr. Abdullah Al-Naqbi. No sooner does our tour begin when --
AL-NAQBI: Our ambulance --that's the real life.
WARD: And this is what you hear all the time now?
AL-NAQBI: Yes. At least 20 times a day.
WARD: At least 20 times a day.
AL-NAQBI: Maybe more sometimes. I think we got used to it.
WARD (voice-over): One thing none of the doctors here have gotten used to is the number of children they are treating. The U.N. estimates that some
two-thirds of those killed in this round of the conflict have been women and children.
Eight-year-old Janan was lucky enough to survive a strike on her family home that crushed her femur but spared her immediate family. She says she's
not in pain, so that's good.
WARD (voice-over): Her mother, Hiba, was out when it happened. I went to the hospital to look for her, she says, and I came here and I found her
here. The doctors told me what happened with her, and I made sure that she's okay. Thank God.
They bombed the house in front of us and then our home, Janan tells us. I was sitting next to my grandfather and my grandfather held me and my uncle
was fine, so he is the one who took us out. But Dr. Ahmed Almazrouei says it is hard not to.
AHMED ALMAZROUEI, DOCTOR, UAE FIELD HOSPITAL: I work with old people, like adults, but the children, something touching.
WARD (voice-over): Touches your heart and tests your faith in humanity. As we leave Janan, Dr. Al-Naqbi comes back with the news of casualties
arriving from the strike just 10 minutes earlier.
AL-NAQBI: So, just got a stable -- right now, two amputated young men -- from just the bomb --
WARD: from the bomb we just heard.
AL-NAQBI: This is my understanding.
AL-NAQBI: They will arrive to our radio.
WARD (voice-over): A man and a 13-year-old boy are wheeled in, both missing limbs, both in a perilous state. What's your name? What's your name? The
doctor asks. The notes provided by the paramedics are smeared with blood. But the tourniquet improvised with a bandage.
Since the field hospital opened less than two weeks ago, it has been inundated with patients. One hundred and thirty of their 150 beds are
already full. So, let me understand this. You are now basically the only hospital around that still has some beds?
AL-NAQBI: I guess so, yes. Or maybe I'm very sure of that, because they are telling me, one of the hospitals with a capacity of 200, they are
accommodating 1000 right now. And the next to a hospital, I'm not very sure he said like 50 to 100, maybe 400 to 500 patients. So, at one occasion he
called me he said I have three patients in each bed, please take any, I didn't. Send as many as you can.
WARD: I mean we've been here 15 minutes and this is already what we're seeing.
AL-NAQBI: This is what you heard it, you see it.
WARD (voice-over): In every bed, another gut punch. Less than two years old, Amir still doesn't know that his parents and siblings were killed in
the strike that disfigured him. Yesterday, he saw a nurse that looked like his father. His aunt Nahaya tells us. He kept screaming, dad, dad.
Amir is still too young to comprehend the horror all around him. But 20- year-old Lama understands it all, too well. Ten weeks ago, she was studying engineering at university and helping to plan her sister's wedding. Today,
she is recovering from the amputation of her right leg. Her family followed Israeli military orders and fled from the north to the south.
But the house where they were seeking shelter was hit in a strike.
The world isn't listening to us, she says. Nobody cares about us. We have been dying for over 60 days, dying from the bombing, and nobody did
anything. Words of condemnation delivered in a thin rasp. But does anyone hear them?
Like Aleppo and Mariupol, Gaza will go down as one of the great horrors of modern warfare. It's getting dark, time for us to leave, a privilege the
vast majority of Gazans do not have. Our brief glimpse from a window onto hell is ending as a new chapter in this ugly conflict unfolds.
GOLODRYGA: Our thanks to Clarissa Ward for that really important reporting inside Gaza there. Well coming up for us --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHIP ROY, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: This is an impeachment inquiry. That's all. What are my Democratic colleagues afraid of if there's nothing to see
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: House Republicans vote unanimously to formalize an impeachment inquiry into the President despite a lack of any evidence. A live report
from Capitol Hill, ahead.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome back. Well, my next guest has worked in the Israeli government for more than 30 years and now he is a Senior Adviser to Israeli
Prime Minister Mark Regev. Mark, welcome back to the program. It's good to see you.
So, yesterday we heard President Biden speak out really aggressively against what he views as an aggressive policy and what we're seeing play
out there by the IDF in Gaza, calling it indiscriminate bombing, and saying that that's leading to less international support for Israel's operation.
And now, today, CNN, as you know, has been reporting that nearly half of the 29,000 bombs that the IDF has used in Gaza are so-called dumb bombs,
thus they are less precise. Israel has the technology to use more precise bombs. Why aren't you using more of that that's in your arsenal right now?
MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, I would get the assumption that this is probably somehow --
GOLODRYGA: Mark, I can't hear you. I'm sorry. Can the control room -- can you hear Mark? I don't know if this is on my end or if it's -- okay, Mark.
Okay, Mark, we'll work out the technical issues if we can. We're going to go to a quick break, and we'll be right back.
GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to "One World". We are still trying to work out the connection issues with Mr. Regev there, a senior adviser, Mark Regev, to
Prime Minister Netanyahu. But in the meantime, this story.
A member of a conservative organization in the U.S. known to advocate against the talk of gender and sexuality in schools is caught up in a
sordid affair of her own. The co-founder of Moms for Liberty is facing calls to resign after a sex
scandal had surfaced involving herself, her husband, and another woman. CNN's Carlos Suarez has the story.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDOLPH LUCEK, SARASOTA RESIDENT: Having sex with another woman in a threesome with her husband is not the issue. But when you claim the moral
high ground and then you attack the moral integrity of others, the blatant hypocrisy of Mrs. Ziegler and how it reflects on the credibility of this
board is a significant concern.
CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rudolph Lucek is talking about this woman, Bridget Ziegler.
BRIDGET ZIEGLER, CO-FOUNDER, MOMS FOR LIBERTY: Know who their candidates are for school board, know where they stand and hold them accountable.
SUAREZ (voice-over): She's a co-founder of the conservative group Moms for Liberty and on Tuesday was asked to voluntarily resign from the Sarasota
County School Board.
UNKNOWN: If you are in support of everyone having, you know, these illicit types of relationships, that wouldn't matter.
SUAREZ (voice-over): Ziegler, a close ally of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis helped author Florida's parental rights in education law, dubbed by critics
as the Don't Say Gay bill. It removed discussion of sexual orientation and identity from public schools' curriculum. DeSantis also appointed her to
the board that manages Disney's special taxing district.
KAREN ROSE, SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD CHAIR: The resolution recommends that Bridget Ziegler immediately take all steps necessary to voluntarily
SUAREZ: Now, she's under intense criticism for a sex scandal involving her husband, Christian Ziegler, the chair of the Florida Republican Party and a
woman accusing him of rape. According to an affidavit, the woman told police that there was a planned sexual encounter with both Christian and
Bridget Ziegler in October.
Bridget cancelled leading the other woman to also cancel, but Christian still showed up at the woman's home. Bridget, who hasn't been accused of
criminal wrongdoing, admitted the couple had a previous three-way sexual encounter with the woman, quote, "over a year ago and that it only happened
UNKNOWN: Ms. Ziegler, you have tarnished the soul of the school board here with hypocrisy and duplicity.
SUAREZ: Ziegler sat stoically through the three hours of public comment at a school board meeting Tuesday night and gave no indication of stepping
down from the school board as her husband is being investigated.
ZIEGLER: As people may know, I serve on another public board and this issue did not come up and we were able to forge ahead with the business of the
SUAREZ: Still, she got an earful from the community.
SUAREZ: The majority of those that showed up criticized her, though she did have some support.
UNKNOWN: What an adult does in her private life is hers. It's not for you to judge.
SUAREZ: But some in the community are pointing to Zeigler's hypocrisy and passing judgment on others.
TOM EDWARDS, SARASOTA COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER: We hear about all of those hypocrites for my entire life. It's always do as I say, not as I do.
SUAREZ: The fallout from the sex scandal and the criminal investigation has been swift. A Moms for Liberty chapter in Pennsylvania split from the
national group and top Republican officials in Florida, including Governor DeSantis, have called on Christian Ziegler to resign.
RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know that you have any real standing without hanging over you.
SUAREZ (voice-over): In a statement, Christian Ziegler's attorney said, quote, "We are confident that no charges be completely exonerated."
SUAREZ: The board does not have the authority to remove Bridget Ziegler, only Governor Ron DeSantis can. And so far, he has not called on her to
step aside. As for Christian Ziegler, the Executive Committee of the Florida Republican Party will meet this weekend to decide whether they are
going to suspend Christian Ziegler and take up a vote of no confidence. Carlos Suarez, CNN, Sarasota, Florida.
GOLODRYGA: So, let's try this again. We have with us Mark Regev, senior advisor to Israeli Prime Minister. Mark, this may be the first time that
you have followed a U.S. sex scandal story, but we really were trying to get you on as urgently as possible. So, thank you so much for being
available now. Hopefully everything's worked out.
We were talking about your reaction in the IDF's use of nearly half of their bombs being dumb bombs, less precise bombs, specifically knowing THAT
Israel does have technology where they have more precision bombs in your arsenal?
REGEV: Oh, I wouldn't -- the use of the dumb bomb but --
GOLODRYGA: Okay, Mark, I'm sorry. I don't know what the issue is. For some reason, I guess we were not supposed to be speaking today. The Skype
connection -- I just can't hear you.
So, we will try to have you back on hopefully tomorrow. I apologize to our viewers at home. We really do want to spend time talking about these
critical questions. Mark Regev, thank you. We'll be in touch, and we'll be right back with more.
GOLODRYGA: The U.S. president calls the vote by Republican lawmakers to launch an impeachment inquiry, a quote, "baseless political stunt". In a
statement, Joe Biden says instead of doing anything to help make Americans' lives better, they are focused on attacking me with lies. House Democrats
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMIE RASKIN, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: After 11 months of this, no one can tell us what President Biden's crime was.
JIM MCGOVERN, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: They know their whole impeachment inquiry is a sham, and it will evaporate into thin air when people realize
what a pathetic joke it is.
HAKEEM JEFFRIES, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: The puppet master in chief, Donald Trump, has directed the sick offense to target Joe Biden as part of an
effort to undermine President Biden's re-election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted strictly along party lines Wednesday to approve an investigation into
whether the president improperly benefited from his son Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings. Despite not finding any evidence of wrongdoing
by President Biden, Republicans want to keep trying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMER, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: We have a simple question. I think an overwhelming majority of Americans have. What did the Bidens do to receive
the tens of millions of dollars from our enemies around the world? We're very pleased with the vote today. I think that sent a message loud and
clear to the White House. We expect you to comply with our information requests and our subpoenas.
ROY: This is an impeachment inquiry. That's all. What are my Democratic colleagues afraid of if there's nothing to see there?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona joins me with more. So Melanie, there were few things that the House could agree upon this week
before they leave for the holidays and the end of the year, yet this was something that was very important for them to unanimously agree upon.
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yeah, you're exactly right. Republican leaders were really hoping to show momentum for this impeachment
inquiry. It was opened unilaterally back in September, and at the time, they didn't have the votes to be able to formally authorize this on the
And so, it was really important for Republicans to be able to do a big show of Republican support for this inquiry and talking to members, a big
turning point for them in recent weeks was this White House letter to House Republicans saying they don't view the impeachment inquiry as legitimate
because there wasn't a floor vote.
So, now, Republicans really hoping to strengthen their hand in court as they try to enforce these subpoenas as they look to wrap up their
impeachment probe. But, Bianna, there are going to be a number of major speed bumps in the final leg of this inquiry.
Number one, they really want to talk to Hunter Biden. He has become central to this investigation into the president and his son's foreign business
deals, but getting him to come speak to members of Congress has been quite a showdown. He refused to sit for a closed door deposition.
He said he would only appear in public, but Republicans say that's not good enough. He needs to comply with their subpoena, and now they are planning
to initiate contempt proceedings against the president's son.
And then the other element here is that, it is so far from certain that Republicans are going to have the votes to be able to actually impeach the
president. Yes, they voted for the inquiry, something that had already been going on for months, but many moderate and swing district Republicans say
they are not sold yet, that there's been any evidence of high crimes or misdemeanors.
And it's true, Republicans have not yet proven that the president profited off his son's foreign business deals or that he took any official actions
or made any official policy decisions because of those deals. So, there's a lot of work for Republicans to do in selling their conference on
impeachment, putting now and January or February, which is when they are hoping to wrap up their probe and make a decision about whether to pursue
actual articles of impeachment. Bianna
GOLODRYGA: Melanie, how much of this has to do with what the former president wants to see happen, specifically given that he himself was
impeached. He's now facing four criminal indictments on 91 charges. Is this in large part to appease him?
ZANONA: Well, Republican leadership will say this is not political, they are just trying to follow the facts where they lead. But no doubt,
privately, Republicans say that a lot of this is motivated by revenge for having seen Donald Trump impeached twice. When Democrats had the majority,
they have been itching to impeach President Biden since the day he took office.
And no doubt there has been pressure growing within the Republican base which is why you are now seeing Republicans really make this push to
impeach President Biden after resisting it for months and months. But like I said, there's still a lot of skepticism.
And there's also some concern that this could actually backfire and it could politically help President Biden and have Democrat rally around him
if he is potentially impeached early next year. So, we'll have to wait and see. Of course, Republicans trying to make this push, trying to get that
But they have a lot else on their plate to next year, trying to still do government funding, trying to still pass aid for Ukraine, Israel and the
border. So there's going to be a lot on Congress' plate early next year, Bianna.
GOLODRYGA: There sure will be. Melanie Zanona, thank you. Well, time now for of The Exchange. We want to dig deeper into the politics behind this
Republican move. Joining me now is our friend, CNN's Senior Political Analyst and Anchor John Avlon. He is also an author and host of the CNN
digital series, "Reality Check Extreme Beat".
John, great to have you on.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to see you, my friend.
GOLODRYGA: John, so, what does it say that Republicans in Congress unanimously voted for an impeachment inquiry, one that we should note and
we've been reporting many of them behind closed doors where we're quite squeamish about doing just days ago, given as Melanie laid out, as our
reporting has laid out that there's no evidence suggesting the President did anything wrong.
AVLON: Well, they're squeamish because there's no evidence the President did anything wrong. And particularly for the 18 Republicans who serve in
districts that President Biden won in 2020, every time they get corralled into supporting an initiative from the far right, they saw a little bit
more off the plank that they exist on.
Because these play to the base initiatives are not rooted in reason or evidence. They're designed solely to play to a pretty inflamed Trump base.
But that doesn't reflect the interests or in any sense of the word interests of independents, moderates, even moderate Republicans.
So, I mean, you know, I'm a history nerd, right? So --
AVLON: Impeachments are very rare in American history. They have a very high standard. High crimes, misdemeanors is the term which even Republicans
have acknowledged has not been met.
It happened once in the 19th century -- Andrew Johnson. It happened to the threat of impeachment pushed Richard Nixon out of office in 1974. Bill
Clinton was impeached for lying about an affair in the 1990s.
And then Donald Trump was impeached twice for accusations, allegations, evidence-based actions he took as President which were far more grave in
terms of the national security and upholding the constitution element than previous impeachments in American history.
This is purely tit for tat. You heard Melanie explain how people say that in the past. This is about muddying the waters. I don't know that they'll
be able to get a majority given how narrow their majority is. And the argument they're using is this is just an inquiry.
AVLON: So, vote for it. It'll feel good. And it'll help you avoid a primary on your right. And that's what's -- the dog, the tail's wagging the dog in
our politics here. This is all about avoiding a primary.
GOLODRYGA: I seem to recall, Speaker of that time, Pelosi, being very reluctant to bring up an impeachment inquiry and then hearings and charges
against the former president with regards, this is the first impeachment, to his handling of Ukraine and sending over additional weapons to Ukraine
because of this very reason. And now here you have Republicans eager to at least show the optics of their -- they're wanting to open an inquiry.
But what does that say, bigger picture, John? I believe this is the second least productive Congress in terms of the optics of their wanting to open
But what does that say, bigger picture, John? I believe this is the second least productive Congress in terms of passing legislation. They go home,
tomorrow it appears. without any aid to allies in Ukraine or Israel or Taiwan or even to what they say is a very pertinent issue, border security,
and yet they have time to pass this impeachment inquiry.
AVLON: Look. Chip Roy is a Congressman from Texas. You aired him before in that package. He somewhat infamously said on the floor, give me something I
can tell my constituents that we've done in this Congress as Republicans because he said that we haven't done anything in his words.
But there's been a lot of time for these sort of dog-whistle votes, these play-to-the-base votes that are symbolic and extreme and degrade our
democracy because they're essentially defining deviancy down. The standard of high crimes and misdemeanors that would normally connotate an
impeachment is high.
And you're exactly right, by the way, to point out, good memory, that Nancy Pelosi initially resisted calls to impeach Trump on the first item, which
was withholding arms and aid to Ukraine unless President Zelenskyy announced a showboat investigation into Joe Biden designed to help Donald
Trump politically here at home.
That is so outrageous, but she resisted it until more information came out. Typically, that's how these things happen. There's evidence presented
either by the press or by whistleblowers. None of that's happened. So, it really is just a further degradation of our democracy, but that seems to be
a hobby for some folks on the far-right these days.
GOLODRYGA: You mentioned the focus on the primaries. You know, we're just 32 days until voters cast their votes in the Iowa caucuses, and though we
still see Donald Trump ahead in polls by a large margin, it's interesting that he's now targeting not only Ron DeSantis, but also Nikki Haley, who's
had a bit of a moment lately, as well. What do you read into that?
AVLON: I think he recognizes that Nikki Haley is a more serious challenge. And Republicans who say consistently their number one priority is to find
someone who can beat President Biden, Nikki Haley does that in every poll, including CNNs, by the widest margin. She's got the most appeal to moderate
voters and independent voters.
And so he's not, it's, it would overstate it to say he's run scared. He's not. He's in a poll position. But if momentum were to shift and the caucus
is a typical place where that occurred, or New Hampshire, where Nikki Haley just received the endorsement of New Hampshire's governor, that could
I'll say also, because it's important, you mentioned earlier, the fact that the Congress has not moved on urgently and Ukraine, the way that aid has
been politicized by folks on the far right and some folks on the far left, to their discredit. But they also turned down a chance to get a deal that
President Biden is apparently working on with regard to the border.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, $3 billion, right, yeah.
AVLON: Now, some Democrats may upset that. Right. And frankly, that's an opportunity for Democrats to deal with one of the real weaknesses of this
administration. And it's an opportunity for the right to get something that's a real policy priority for them. That's a win-win for the middle 60
votes in the Senate.
And that's the kind of thing we should be talking about, the people working to find solutions on these issues across partisan lines. But instead, it's
the extremes always hijack the process and don't get anything done except further dividing America.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, it is telling that you actually had some Democrats who expressed concern about how willing and how far President Biden was
offering to go, and continues to in terms of border funding and more money and investment there. Obviously to get in return what he wants in the
supplemental and that is billions of dollars in aid to go to U.S. allies.
Another big issue obviously for voters, the biggest issue historically at least is the economy and we do see the odds of a recession continue to go
down. It appears we may actually see interest rate cuts next year.
The stock market hit an all-time high, obviously a difference and a disconnect between the stock market and the overall economy, but perception
does matter and it's something that the former president used to tout a lot. How much momentum does this give Biden because that doesn't seem to be
reflected thus far in the polls?
AVLON: It is not reflected in the polls thus far and in fact, ex-president Trump on the campaign trail is trying to say that America's on the brink of
a great depression. That's not even remotely connected to reality which shouldn't surprise anybody these days because all the economic indicators
have actually been trending decidedly in the right direction.
Now, at the outset of the Biden administration, you know, we saw a lot of problems with inflation and in reaction high interest rates. That takes,
that's painful for people. Frankly, we had a period where people took low interest rates and low inflation for granted. I don't think they're likely
to make that mistake again. But every major economic indicator is moving in the right direction.
Inflation's going down, unemployment at a record low, stock market a record high, wages outpacing inflation. The defense bill, they're debating right
now in Washington, would have the greatest, the highest raise for military service members in 20 years.
Eventually, one would think that reality would take hold in people's lives. It's a lagging indicator in some respect. But it's a sad fact that
partisanship tends to distort people's perception of the economy, which should be more basic. And the Biden team, I don't think, has sold their
economic record especially well. And they're going to have to double and triple down on that because that's where people live.
GOLODRYGA: Yeah, we don't seem to hear the phrase Bidenomics that much these days. Didn't seem to work well. But also we know that voters even
tend to look at issues like the economy along party lines more and more so. So it will be a challenge for this administration, no doubt. John Avlon,
always great to see you.
AVLON: Always a pleasure
GOLODRYGA: I learn so much every time we talk. Thanks for the history lesson, too.
AVLON: Be well.
GOLODRYGA: Well, today, the Israel Defense Forces announced that they destroyed two tunnel shafts in southern Gaza. A U.S. official says Israeli
forces are testing a new strategy to try to degrade the Hamas tunnel network by flooding them with seawater. It's being done on a limited basis
for now to see if the operation could be scaled up. But it also comes with risks, as CNN's Nic Robertson reports.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): The tunnels themselves are big, big enough for fighters and their weapons, seen
here in this Hamas propaganda video, which was also posted by the Israel Defense Force. They are reinforced with concrete, too.
Two years ago, Hamas claimed to have built 500 kilometers, more than 300 miles of them. The tunnels are spread all over Gaza. This map, over two
years old. The IDF says they have discovered 800 tunnel shafts so far and have destroyed 500 of them. The entrances are often well-hidden, as I was
shown by the IDF near a Gaza hospital, really well hidden, which means the tunnels can be really hard to find.
ROBERTSON: The idea of flooding the tunnels using the abundant seawater that's along the many miles of Gaza's Mediterranean shore is apparently a
creative idea, not just to destroy Hamas and quite literally flush them out, but also to reach the parts of tunnels that might never be discovered
from above ground.
Now, it's not without its risks. There could be hostages in those tunnels. There are very few details about how precisely the water is getting into
the tunnels, how much water, how fast it's going in, or what you do if you suddenly discover you're flooding hostages other than the IDF say they have
begun carefully testing it and that this method is being trialed on a limited, limited basis.
UNKNOWN: This is a tunnel.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Some of the tunnels are thought to be five floors deep. Some of the hostages who were freed have described them. This elderly
hostage helped by her daughter.
YOCHEVED LIFSHITZ, FORMER HOSTAGE (through translator): We began walking inside the tunnels with a wet ground. It was moist all the time.
UNKNOWN: There are huge, huge network of tunnels underneath. It looks like a spider web.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The IDF says it will proceed cautiously to make sure they are not flooding tunnels where the hostages are being held.
ROBERTSON: It's significant that more than six weeks into the ground campaign, the full scale of the tunnel problem is only now really becoming
apparent. Even controlling the streets above is not enough to locate all the tunnels. So, flooding seems to be the new best option to really probe
the extent of the invisible subterranean network, both destroying Hamas, hiding that and denying it their use.
Of course, a key caveat in success here is if you can't find the tunnel and it's not connected to a system, you're already flooding. How effective can
you be about flooding it and knowing that you're hitting, destroying the whole of the tunnel network? Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I'm a skinny Santa!
GOLODRYGA: You're not seeing things. That is former president Barack Obama spreading Christmas cheer to kids at Parkside Academy in Chicago. He
brought a sack full of gifts to the pre-K class. He also spent time reading the book, "Santa's Got to Go". The surprise visit was the perfect gift for
students ahead of their winter break.
GOLODRYGA: Well, viral videos come in all shapes and sizes. The one that caught the eyes of CNN's Jeanne Moos today features a grandpa who had a bit
of an adventure putting his granddaughter down for her midday nap. Here she is.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A loving grandpa goes to tuck in his granddaughter and ends up tucking himself in. No wonder
Ramon Aranda is laughing as he looks at the now viral video laughing at all of our questions.
MOOS: So, both of you are in the crib with your shoes on.
MOOS (voice-over): His then two-year-old granddaughter, Lina, had been climbing out of the crib, so they lowered the mattress. A little too low
for Ramon, who proceeded to lose his balance and his phone.
Watch it flashing like it's disco night at bingo, as someone commented. But Ramon just calmly adjusted his glasses, stood up and climbed out. He says
even as he fell, he was careful not to land on her with his 165 pounds.
RAMON ARANDA, FELL IN CRIB: I just love my granddaughter to death. That's for sure. Cause that's the only one we have.
MOOS: You almost loved her to death.
MOOS (voice-over): Once out of the crib, Ramon immediately gave Linda her bottle.
And then as he was leaving, her mom Kelsey says --
KELSEY: She kicked her feet up at the end to take her shoes off.
MOOS (voice-over): But Ramon was too rattled to remember to take off her shoes. He never actually told Lina's mom, who only found the mishap on
video, because she was helping grandpa look for his phone.
ARANDA: I would have been embarrassed if somebody saw me.
MOOS (voice-over): Now, millions have. Mom posted it on TikTok a year and a half after it was shot. Even a lullaby wouldn't have made this a normal
nap. And down will come. Grandpa. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: Not the most artful fall by grandpa there and of course narrated as ever by our great Jeanne. We appreciate that. A good laugh for all of
you at home. Well, that does it for this hour of "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga. Thank you so much for watching. Amanpour is next. I'll see you
right here, tomorrow.