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CNN International: Biden Makes The Case For Wartime Aid To Israel And Ukraine In Primetime Address; Rafah Crossing Not Expected To Open Friday For Vital Gaza Aid; Israeli Defense Chief Says Troops Will Soon See Gaza From Inside; Biden Makes Case for Mores U.S. Aid to Ukraine, Israel; U.S. Citizens Advised to be Extremely Cautious Overseas; China Calls for Two-State Solution Amid Israel-Hamas War; Jordan Refusing to Step Aside; Ex Trump Attorney Powell Pleads Guilty, Cuts Deal. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired October 20, 2023 - 01:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and I'm John Vause at the CNN Center. It's just gone 1:00 a.m. here in Atlanta, and we begin with a rare national address from the Oval Office by the U.S. president urging all Americans to stand firm with both Israel and Ukraine, arguing that economic and military assistance to both countries is in the vital interest of global stability as well as U.S. national security.

During his 15-minute long speech, President Biden said well, Ukraine and Israel face a very different enemy. The threat is the same annihilation by tyrants and terrorists.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Hamas and Putin represent different threats. But they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate in neighboring democracy completely annihilated.


VAUSE: Biden now plans to ask Congress to $10 billion in emergency assistance for Israel, $60 billion for Ukraine. Just a day earlier, President Biden was in Tel Aviv a dramatic show support for Israel, which also sort of deal to allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza.

Well, let's go to London now live London CNN's Katie Polglase is standing by. So I guess what's going to be the reaction so far, I guess the President Biden's speech and this call for U.S. leadership around the globe. And also what we're looking at the humanitarian assistance seems to be a key to winning support for Israel and preventing this conflict from going into a wider regional conflict. So where does this all stand now? Bring it all together?

KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Morning, John. Well, yes, clearly Biden speech here was to address the issue of funding to Israel. Also the humanitarian situation in Gaza, as you mentioned, worth noting, we are still waiting to see if that border crossing, the Rafah crossing into Egypt is going to open today. That is what Biden claimed as one of the successes of his visit, they agreed to open this crossing.

But we've been hearing just in the past day, that there are U.S. officials familiar with the matter that say it may not be today, it may, in fact, be tomorrow. So clearly, that is still underway.

And part of this is about Biden is a classic tactic really the Biden has done before going on the ground, talking to people face to face, and trying to show that if he talks to people, you can come to some agreement, and that may impact how events then unfold. That was the point of this meeting in Israel with Netanyahu.

Now this address, he came straight back to the U.S. addresses people directly the American people, and really he is putting to the American people that the importance of America playing a role on the global stage. Have a listen to what he said.


BIDEN: American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances what keep us America safe. American values, what make us a partner that other nations want to work with. To put all that at risk if we walk away from Ukraine, we turn our backs on Israel. It's just not worth it.


POLGLASE: Now he's mentioning Ukraine there as you did as well, John, and that is the cause really, in the past few months, we've seen public support in the U.S. waning for funding. Ukraine. We've seen just in a poll back in August that CNN conducted that 55 percent over half of Americans no longer thought Congress should be providing aid to Ukraine.

Now, obviously, the situation with Israel is different, but still opinion is not that unified. There was just 35 percent that agree that there should still be funding to Israel at this amount. So clearly, a lot still, for Biden to unite in the States as clearly the situation on the ground is escalating as we speak, John.

VAUSE: Katie, thank you. Katie Polglase there live for us in London. The U.S. president was expecting trucks filled with relief supplies to begin crossing from Egypt into Gaza in the coming hours. But now as we just heard, multiple sources tell CNN the Rafah crossing is not expected to open before Saturday.

Right now thousands of trucks waiting on the Egyptian side of the border. Aid groups including the World Health Organization say the moment the crossing is open they'll be ready to move.


TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, W.H.O. DIRECTOR-GENERAL: Our trucks are loaded and ready to go. We'll work working with Egypt and Palestine Red Crescent societies to deliver our supplies into Gaza as soon as the Rafah Crossing is open.


VAUSE: Israel has essentially sealed off Gaza, refusing to allow on supplies of food, water and fuel. Electricity has also been cut off and will only be restored once Hamas releases all hostages being held in Gaza, according to Israeli officials who do add humanitarian assistance crossing from Egypt will be allowed into Gaza providing reaches civilians only.


U.N. says food stocks could run out in a few days, and people face a growing risk of waterborne illness. Doctors Without Borders as the main hospital in Gaza. The Shifa Hospital in Gaza City only has enough fuel to run generators for another 24 hours.

Getting humanitarian aid into Gaza is just the first step, serious questions looming over the safety of the convoys and how to distribute supplies. More details now from CNN's Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Well over 100 trucks with tons of supplies idling on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing into Gaza. Stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other aid to help displaced Palestinian civilians have already arrived in Egypt.

President Biden says he has secured an agreement for the Rafah Crossing to be open to allow as many as 28 trucks at first into southern Gaza. But aid officials say that's not nearly enough.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS, UN EMERGENCY RELIEF COORDINATOR: Needed to go in at scale. We need to start with a serious number of trucks going in and we need to build up to the 100 trucks a day that used to be the case of the aid program going into Gaza.

TODD: Meanwhile, inside Gaza, the desperation mounts empty shelves as food runs love. Long lines for the last remaining drinking water. Hospitals on the verge of collapse. No electricity plunging the streets into complete darkness at night. Gas stations nearly depleted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We have been here for two days trying to get water and there is no gas. For God's sake, have mercy on us.

TODD: But once the aid trucks get in, experts say there are major challenges to get the supplies to those who need the most starting with bombed out roads.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roads need to be repaired. There are major disruptions to the infrastructure.

TODD: Then there's the hurdle of actually directing the aid trucks. DAVID SCHEFFER, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Where do the trucks actually go in Gaza? Will there be central areas where they can park and these supplies can actually be in a coherent measure unloaded and provided without triggering chaos.

TODD: Another huge concern will the humanitarian convoys and the aid workers be safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is impossible to deliver assistance when there's airstrikes and shelling.

TODD: Israeli war planes have already damaged the Rafah Crossing near where the aid trucks have been staging. Could an aid convoy be hit by an Israeli airstrike?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until now there is no a safe passage that's been granted.

TODD: And there's another security concern, the possibility that Hamas or other militants might hijack the aid for themselves.

SCHEFFER: At some point, there has to be clarification as to what secures these trucks from any kind of intervention by parties that simply are not entitled to the supplies on those trucks.

TODD (on camera): And the on the ground bureaucracy is also a major hurdle. There are sticking points over who transports the aid between the U.N., the Red Crescent and other groups and aid monitors say part of the deal to allow aid in is that each truck has to be inspected to make sure there are only humanitarian supplies inside. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Live now to Jerusalem and Shaina Low, a communication advisor with the Norwegian Refugee Council. Thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: OK. So what's the latest information you have regarding repairs to both the roads around the Rafah Crossing and the border crossing itself? Is there any indication of when those repairs may be done when the crossing may actually be open?

LOW: I haven't heard yet about when the crossing might be open. My understanding from the reports I read today is that it does not seem likely that the crossing will open today. Regardless of when the crossing gets open, as was, as was indicated in your last report that Eric, just before I came on, the most important thing is that once that aid gets in, that it can be safely distributed and reach the people in need.

Well, with that in mind, here's the spokesman for the U.S. State Department outlining the biggest concerns Israelis have with that humanitarian assistance entering Gaza. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: The concern the Israeli government has and they've said this publicly and they certainly said it privately does is that any assistance that goes in will be diverted once it's inside Gaza.

The people with guns inside Gaza are Hamas. And so Hamas may try to divert this assistance and keep it from getting to the civilians who it is intended for.


VAUSE: You know, without wanting to be glib here if you are placing bets, what are the chances Hamas will cease, if not this first flow of aid, then whatever follows.

LOW: I mean, I can't. I'm not a betting person. I can't place bets. But what I do know is that the humanitarian organizations operating inside of Gaza, as well as U.N. agencies have been working under difficult circumstances in Gaza for the last 16 years of siege and have developed mechanisms and tools to ensure that aid is not diverted and are conducting due diligence to make sure that aid hands up ends up in the hands of those who need it most.

VAUSE: Can you explain how that actually works? How can you ensure that Hamas officials won't just take this?


LOW: I'm not really able to talk about the details of how it's done, because we need to protect the procedures and make sure that there aren't loopholes developed to go around them.

VAUSE: OK. Israeli officials have ordered this total evacuation of Northern Gaza, the Secretary General of the Region Refugee Council released a statement saying my colleagues inside Gaza confirmed that there are countless people in the northern parts who have no means to safely relocate under the constant barrage of fire.

You know, and you can add to this whatever aid is allowed, if it goes that if and when it happens, it will not be allowed to move north recon unit. So how many Palestinians are stranded in the northern? How much worse is their situation about to get?

LOW: I think estimates are around half a million or more people remain in northern Gaza. We need to be insisting that aid be able to reach those people, many of those people are either unable to leave because of disability or illness, they have no place to go. And those people should not be restricted from receiving aid. What we need is there needs to be at least at the very least a pause in hostilities so that aid can reach them and be distributed there.

VAUSE: When this convoy does move, it'll be a convoy of about 20 trucks filled with humanitarian assistance, 20 trucks for a million displaced people, or thereabouts. And more than 12,000 people have been wounded. And a territory which is running low on fuel, food, fuel, or just about everything else hardly seem to enough.

LOW: No, it's not enough. As the U.N. is reported a minimum of 100 trucks are needed each day in order to meet basic needs of Palestinians in Gaza. The situation couldn't be more dire each day, I'm on the phone with my colleagues talking to them. They're asking for updates. They're disconnected from the world. They don't know what's going on.

And each day, they ask, is there aid coming in? Is there food coming in? And unfortunately, up until now, the answer has been no. There -- the situation could not be more dire and we really need to be pushing third states need to be pushing, the international community needs to be pushing to get this aid into the people who need it as quickly as possible.

VAUSE: And again, there are so many contingencies out here and conditions which could see this all come and done. The Israelis could suspect that Hamas has taken the shipments. There could be Israeli airstrikes, which disrupt whatever convoys go into Gaza. It does seem tenuous at best.

LOW: Yes, it's extremely tenuous. And we need assurances that the aid will it be able to be delivered safely into Gaza. And that it will it be able to be distributed safely. Otherwise, there's no point in bringing aid in if it can't reach the people who are starving and in need of clean, potable water.

VAUSE: Just very quickly, how Palestinians surviving up until this point?

LOW: Palestinians are using whatever they can to survive. We're hearing reports that, you know, only Palestinians are consuming three liters of water per day. That's not just for drinking. That's also for cooking, for cleaning, for hygiene.

The World Health Organization recommends at least 50 to 100 liters per day, people are not only relying on the bare minimum that they can use to survive, but they're drinking, you know, on potable water untreated water that making it a serious possibility that people will end up with infectious diseases. We have people in close quarters, and disease can be spread very easily in those close and unsanitary conditions.

People are relying on whatever they can. Days ago my colleague told me that there was no bread available for him to buy for his family. And he was searching for alternatives, cookies, biscuits, crackers to feed them. It's been five days I think since he told me that and so people are just coping with whatever they can, however they can, without electricity without water without gas to run their stoves. It's unbelievable that people are able to find ways to survive at this point. I can't imagine what will happen if this goes on any longer.

VAUSE: Shaina, Thank you. Shaina Low from the Norwegian Refugee Council, thank you for your time.

LOW: Thank you. VAUSE: Well, the buildup of Israeli troops and tanks continues on the

Gaza border. Expectations are growing a ground invasion of Gaza is imminent. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with troops along the border Thursday, see an increase in the area report an increase in military activity. The defense minister saying troops you see Gaza now from a distance you will soon see it from the inside.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): There is no forgiveness for this thing. Only total annihilation of Hamas organization, terror infrastructures, everything that has to do with terrorists and whoever sent them. It will take a week. It will take a month. It will take two months until we eliminate them.


VAUSE: And CNN senior international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson reports ahead of any ground incursion into Gaza. Israeli forces are now moving on Hamas targets in the West Bank.



NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (through translator): In Israel's war with Hamas, more than 60 of the terror groups, operatives arrested early Thursday in the West Bank. The clock now ticking on a far more dangerous phase of the war for the IDF going into Hamas's heartland, Gaza.

NIR BARKAT, ISRAELI ECONOMY MINISTER: The Israeli government made a decision getting green light to the army, wiped them out. And now it's in the hands of the army.

ROBERTSON: Israeli politicians are preparing expectations for a long war. And for the first time hinting at what an end of war may look like.

AVI DICHTER, ISRAELI ARGICULTURAL MINISTER: The Gulf free all along will have a margin that they will not be able to get in, it will be a fire zone. No matter who is who are you, you will never be able to come close to the Israeli border.

ROBERTSON: Dichter, a former head of Israeli Security says what Israel wants is the level of security control they currently have in the West Bank, complete access on their terms.

DICHTER: It today, whenever we have a military problem in every single place in the West Bank, we are there.

ROBERTSON (on camera): So that's what you have in Gaza going forward?

DICHTER: Gaza in terms of security, remember that in the Gaza Strip. While there is no administration, it has to be built another administration.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): But as these plans take shape, and troops prepare to go into Gaza, airstrikes are triggering international calls for a humanitarian pause to ease civilian suffering. Dichter rejects the need for a pause.

DICHTER: We don't activate against civilians.

ROBERTSON (on camera): But there are civilians collateral damage.

DICHTER: In the war (INAUDIBLE). In a war we do understand and unfortunately we have suffered.

ROBERTSON (voiceover): With or without a pause in strikes. 20 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid are expected to enter Gaza from Egypt soon against the scale of need. It's a token ahead of a possible ground incursion, maybe all that gets through for a while. Nic Robertson, CNN, Sderot, Israel.


VAUSE: The Pentagon says the U.S. Navy destroyer shut down multiple drones and missiles that may be heading towards Israel. U.S. officials say they will want to buy Yemen's Houthi backed rebels. Before the destroyer USS Carney destroyed them in the Red Sea. The Houthis are backed by Iran. And according to the Pentagon, the U.S. is still trying to find out for certain what the intended target was.


BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PRESS SECRETARY, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Information about these engagements is still being processed. We cannot say for certain what these missiles and drones were targeting, but they were launched from Yemen heading north along the Red Sea, potentially towards targets in Israel.

Our defensive response was one that we would have taken for any similar threat in the region where we're able to do so against our interest personnel and our partners.


VAUSE: U.S. officials say there were no casualties among U.S. forces and there were many civilians being injured as well. Much more to come here on CNN, we'll show you the terrifying moments Hamas attack and stormed a kibbutz. We hear from some of the volunteers who fought the buildings off for hours.



VAUSE: Nearly two weeks since the deadly Hamas attacks in Israel and we're still hearing new stories of bravery and survival at the Mefalsim Kibbutz near the border with Gaza. Security cameras show the initial Hamas attack. Volunteer security forces outnumbered and outgunned spent hours exchanging files militants. Some of the men who defended the kibbutz described that morning to CNN.


YARDEN RESKIN, MEFALSIM VOLUNTEER SECURITY FORCE: Early shot from his kitchen, right he showed me his balcony. I shot from in between houses of people I know all my life. He had to throw his kids over a balcony to another guy's house. I mean it's real. It's not when you're combat soldiers and you go whatever to do whatever you go, OK, it's totally different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have civilian.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not combat. Totally different story.


VAUSE: And Israeli first responder group says plans to attack the kibbutz were recovered from a dead Hamas fire. CNN reviewed the documents which show in depth knowledge of the kibbutz but also revealed the attacks did not go according to plan.

Anger outraged continues to spread across the Middle East and around the globe with a number of -- with a growing number of anti-Israeli and pro Palestinian protests. CNN's Nada Bashir reports now from Jordan.


NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voiceover): The people demand freedom for Palestine. It's a decade's old rallying cry, but one that still resonates across the Arab world. Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have ramped up across the Middle East, a growing movement denouncing Israel's continued aerial bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip, which began in response to the Hamas attacks of October 7.

But here in Jordan, the plight of the Palestinian people is an issue which lies at the very heart of the country's identity. More than 50 percent of the country's population is Palestinian, or of Palestinian descent. The neighborhood of Baqaa just outside of Amman is one of several historic refugee camps established to house Palestinians displaced by the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

Kalil Raet (ph) has lived here for most of his life, and has spent years painting murals depicting the Palestinian experience. Each wall tells the story of the injustice Palestinians here say they have faced for more than 75 years.

BASHIR (on camera): This is the symbol of the right to return?

KALIL RAET, BAQAA RESIDENT: Yes. Yes. And I still have it.

BASHIR: Outrage over Israel's relentless airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than 2 million people is felt by so many here in Jordan. Mohamed Qasem has been attending protests in Amman from the outset of this war. It is a movement that has drawn people from across the country old and young.


MOHAMED QASEM, AMMAN RESIDENT: We know the narrative. Because we survived it. We lived it. And, you know, our grandparents lived. Our parents lived it. We lived it. We thought we were going to tell stories. So kids, but now they are witnessing it as well. It's been 75 years. And right now it's happening all over again.

BASHIR: Protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people have gripped countries across the region, including Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Arab leaders to have been vocal in their condemnation of Israel's air strikes on Gaza and the rapidly rising civilian death toll. But there is also mounting concern that this war could create a deeper rift between the Arab world and the West.

AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The growing perception on the street, as they see this unequivocal ICHR ironclad support for Israel of this war. It is a growing perception that this is a Western- Arab Muslim world. That's a place we don't want to get to.

BASHIR: But it's not just the Arab world. The outrage and frustration felt in the Middle East is also mirrored and protests taking place further afield. From London to Washington DC, as millions across the globe, just like Mohamed and his family, demand and enter Israel's air strikes an end to the siege of Gaza, and an end to the suffering of the Palestinian people. Nada Bashir, CNN in Amman, Jordan.


VAUSE: When we come back, fresh from his trip to wartime Israel, President Biden makes a rare Oval Office address on the urgent need to give Israel and Ukraine supplied with weapons and ammunition. More on that in a moment.



JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

U.S. President Joe Biden says two allies, Israel and Ukraine, are in great need of additional U.S. military assistance as they fight their respective wars. But Congress remains paralyzed in its power to act on anything.

Thursday, President Biden was on national television telling his fellow citizens why sending more weapons and ammunitions to both fronts was vital to America's long term national security interests.

CNN's Kayla Tausche has our report


KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden in an Oval Office address making the argument that the world is at an inflection point -- democracies against dictators. And that Ukraine and Israel are on the front lines of this war.

He also made the argument that the U.S. needs to continue investing to help Ukraine and Israel win that war. Here is the president.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with.

To put all of that at risk, if we walk away from Ukraine and turn our backs on Israel, it's just not worth it.

TAUSCHE: Biden called it a smart investment that would pay off for generations. And also alluded to the fact that it would help keep U.S. troops out of those conflicts and keep the conflicts from widening.

It all comes ahead of the White House asking Congress for roughly $100 billion in new aid to fund these crises. About $60 billion dollars of that would help Ukraine continue defending itself as Russia's unprovoked invasion nears the two-year mark. And Israel, as the war with Hamas enters the two-week mark, would see about $ten billion from that package.

But there remains to be seen what the path is for that package in Congress, where there is a leadership vacuum in the House of Representatives, and very clear consternation among both fiscal hawks and progressive Democrats about writing blank checks to many of these countries.

The White House is confident that there remains bipartisan support, and that there is rough agreement among many lawmakers that the U.S. will end up on the right side of history.

Kayla Tausche, CNN -- the White House.


O'DONNELL: David Sanger is a CNN political and national security analyst, as well as "New York Times" White House and national security correspondent. He is with us this hour from Boston. It's good to see you, David.


VAUSE: Here's a little more from the U.S. president, making the case that helping Ukraine and Israel is not just vital to U.S. interests, it's also vital to U.S. global leadership. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: I know we have our divisions at home, but we have to get past them. We can't let petty, partisan, angry politics get in the way of our responsibility as a great nation. We cannot and will not let terrorists like Hamas or tyrants like Putin win. I refuse to let that happen. In moments like these, we have to remind -- we have to remember who we are. We're the United States of America.


VAUSE: The problem it seems, is that the American public see these two conflicts very differently. And over the last what -- almost two years support for Ukraine has fallen since the early days of the war.

So did the president here make the case that, you know, the public should be put to one side, because everything is politicized these days, and face this threat together, you know, as one nation as a global leader?

SANGER: He did, the question is whether that message got through. You know, what struck me, John, is that you have seen the president at his most passionate when he has been discussing the struggles for Ukraine preserving its independence and for Israel and freeing it of the threat of terrorism.

In the Ukraine case, you saw it back in, what was it, May of 2022, when he said, for God's sake, this man must go, referring to Vladimir Putin.

In the past few days, you've heard it in his comparisons to the Holocaust and the kind of attack that Israel endured on October 7th.

And I think that, on Thursday night, what you heard was an argument that only America can bring order to this kind of chaos. That's been the traditional role of the United States.

The thing is Joe Biden is of a different generation. He's probably the last American president, certainly the last American president to have been born during World War II, probably the last to have really dealt seriously with the Cold War.


SANGER: His relationship with Israel is so deep and long that he tells stories about talking to Golda Meir in the Israeli prime minister's office. Well, that was 50 years ago.

VAUSE: Well, President Biden also is now reportedly seeking about $10 billion dollars in emergency assistance for Israel and $60 billion dollars for Ukraine. He plans to ask Congress for that on Friday. Here he is.


BIDEN: Tomorrow, I'm going to send to Congress an urgent budget request to fund America's national security need, to support our critical partners including Israel and Ukraine. It's a smart investment that's going to pay dividends for American

security for generations, help us keep American troops out of harm's way, help us build a world that is safer and more peaceful and more prosperous for our children and grandchildren.


VAUSE: This argument that aid to Ukraine is not charity, it's an investment, it's an investment in U.S. security. The White House has not made very well over the last 18 months or so.

And how does it all play out? We're leading aid to Ukraine, which has become quite political, with aid to Israel, which is mostly a bipartisan issue. Does that mean Congress either agrees to both or what happens or neither?

SANGER: Well, the president is going to try to package them together as your question suggests, John. And the theory that in the enthusiasm to help out Israel, they'll bring Ukraine along and take that off the plate for another year.

The Biden argument's very simple and it goes back to one that Republicans and Democrats have made, presidents have made back to the beginning of the Cold War era, which is, it's a whole lot cheaper to do this now than to pay for a war later. And if Putin keeps moving toward NATO nations, we would be obligated by the treaties around NATO to go in. And that would be a lot more bloody, and a lot more expensive.

But convincing Congress of that when it's so easy to demagogue this by saying, why are we spending the money here and not on the border, as if that was a choice, that's what he's going to run up against.

VAUSE: Well there was a poll taken by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday. Voters were asked about Biden's handling of Russia's invasion of Ukraine: 47 percent approve, 45 percent disapprove. 8 percent had no opinion.

They were also asked about his response to the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel: 42 percent approve, 37 percent disapprove, 21 percent had no opinion. Those numbers are, I guess, for Biden, pretty good. They're very strong numbers, especially when it comes to foreign policy.

But you touched on this. There is a bigger picture here among a lot of Americans and this growing reluctance for the U.S. to be everywhere all at once and be committed and to be sorting out the world's problems.

SANGER: You know, it's a fundamental difference of view. Tony Blinken, the Secretary of State, has this favored phrase, he's had it for years. I don't know how many times I've heard him say it.

The world doesn't organize itself. And so, if we leave vacuums, it usually gets organized by somebody whose interests are deeply opposed to our hours. That might be Russia, that might be China, it might be Iran or North Korea, but it's someone we're not going to care for.

So if you want to get a world that is a more pleasant environment for the United States to operate in, you have to invest in that, just as you have to invest in every other relationship.

VAUSE: David, it's good to have you with us. There's a lot of complex issues for the administration here, especially for Biden, because it is a changing and difficult world.

Good to see you. Thanks for being with us.

SANGER: Good to see you.

VAUSE: Earlier I asked a spokesman for the Israeli military about the roads near the Gaza-Egypt border that are badly damaged, delaying the arrival of humanitarian assistance and what the status is on their repair.


LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESPERSON: Definitely hope it does since the president himself was involved in it, and I think it's an important topic to deal with and the IDF isn't there on the ground. This is an area controlled by Hamas.

The IDF has definitely not struck the area recently, and since it is a sensitive area. But I know that last time the crossing was supposed to open a few days ago to allow internationals out. Hamas didn't allow the opening.

And I've heard some different information coming from Egypt and Gaza. Bottom line is whenever it will be decided by the Israeli cabinet that it is approved, the IDF will facilitate and implement it.

It is up to Hamas to open the crossing, and it's up to Egypt to deliver the aid. We will be monitoring one specific thing -- to make sure that this humanitarian aid doesn't reach Hamas.


VAUSE: Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, a spokesperson for the IDF speaking just a short time ago.

Well, the U.S. has issued a worldwide alert advising Americans to be extremely cautious amid protests which have erupted over the Israel- Hamas war.


VAUSE: The warning cites increase tensions in various locations and the potential for terrorist attacks. Also points to demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. Citizens and diplomatic compounds.


MATT MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We're monitoring conditions around the world, we're monitoring conditions in the region. We take a number of factors into consideration when making that determination.

It's not necessarily any one thing, but everything that we're watching around the world.


VAUSE: Still to come on CNN, as world leaders go to Israel to show their support, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country is fighting an axis of evil.


VAUSE: U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is heading into day two of his trip to the Middle East. He's there to show support for Israel, but also to stress the need for humanitarian assistance to reach the people of Gaza. He's expected to travel to Egypt in the coming hours.

Sunak met with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Thursday. Sunak says Israel says its offensive will continue until all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza are released. At least 1,400 people were killed in the Hamas attack almost two weeks ago.

Both leaders agreed on the importance of defeating Hamas, which Netanyahu says his country is now fighting as an axis of evil led by Iran.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Hamas are the new Nazis. They're the new ISIS and we have to fight them together, just as the world -- the civilized world united to fight the Nazis and united to fight Hamas. It must together now stand with Israel as we fight and defeat Hamas. This is not merely our battle, it's a battle of the entire civilized world.

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: You described this as Israel's darkest hour. Well then, it's for me to say, I'm proud to stand here with you in Israel's darkest hour as your friend. We will stand with you in solidarity. We will stand with your people. And we also want you to win.


VAUSE: The British prime minister also met with the Saudi Crowned Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Riyadh on Thursday. The two agreed on the urgent need for humanitarian access into Gaza and provide vital water and food and medicine.


VAUSE: China's President Xi Jinping is calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war. And according to Chinese state media Xi is also pushing for a two-state solution to this decades-old dispute between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Live now to Beijing for more, our Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang is

with us.

You know, two-state solution has been pretty much in deep freeze for a long time now, did Xi Jinping offer any details on how to unfreeze it?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: No that is the thing, right. What Xi Jinping said is not surprising but not even new as you mentioned. He was merely reiterating what his foreign minister have been saying for days in terms of cease-fire, in terms of the two-state solution being the fundamental way out of this conflict.

And also remember he said thi8s during his meeting with the visiting Egyptian prime minister where he also said China is ready to work with Arab nations to promote a lasting comprehensive solution to this issue.

All of this sounds reasonable. But as you mentioned and a lot of analysts have pointed out, this is far disconnected from reality. So a lot of people see similarity in terms of the Chinese response to this conflict versus their response to the war in Ukraine where their good old friend Putin launched. In both cases some analysts say China seems to be more interesting projecting this image of being a peacemaker than acting as one.

Of course they're saying they're sending their special envoy to the region and also calling for a peace conference. But we've also seen their foreign minister in the past few days expressing a more hardened position towards Israel. Saying the Israeli action has gone beyond self-defense while they have still refused to even name Hamas in any of their condemnations and statements.

This is also reflecting their state media coverage, they're selection of sources. And it is very much focused on the Palestinian cause. And also of course in their tightly controlled social media we have seen this explosion of anti-Israel and often anti-Semitic views and post.

Remember this is a country where the authorities can literally flip the switch to shut down any conversations they don't like. So the fact that these comments are allowed to exist and flourish, according to some experts is a reflection of where the government's positions truly lies despite their official pronouncement

Now all of this, of course, is also very much connected to these tensions between Washington and Beijing. We have seen their officials, and state media increasingly turning their fire Washington, really blaming the U.S. being the ultimate culprit here and that, you know, really driving home the point of U.S. being the factor of instability in contrast with China being the factor of peace, John.

That, of course, is very much in line with Xi Jinping's desire and the willingness to really reshape this U.S.-led world border, John.

VAUSE: Steven, thank you.

Steven Jiang, live for us there in Beijing. Well, we're just hours away from the next vote for the U.S. House Speaker, not looking good though for Jim Jordan. His latest message as extensions explode within the GOP.



VAUSE: For Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, if at first you don't succeed, then try and try again. And so would be in his bid to elected speaker.

Jordan lost the first vote on Tuesday, a second on Wednesday notably by a wider margin. Later, Friday he's expected to hold a news conference ahead of what would be a third vote for Speaker.

Jordan is bleeding support the longer this goes on and is under growing pressure to drop out amid some ugly party infighting. Some Republican holdouts who spent hours in closed-door talks with Jordan say they have not changed their minds.


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): We made the pitch to members on the resolution as a way to lower the temperature and get back to work. We decided that wasn't where we're going to go. I'm still running for speaker and I plan to go to the floor and get the votes and win this race.


VAUSE: The U.S. House has now been without a speaker since Kevin McCarthy was ousted more than two weeks ago.

Former Trump campaign lawyer and prominent peddler of conspiracy theory has cut a deal with prosecutors on the eve of their trial. Sidney Powell admits she tried to interfere with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

CNN's Paula Reid explains why her guilty plea could have a huge impact.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you plead the six counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties?


PAULA REID, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Former Trump attorney Sidney Powell appeared in a Georgia courtroom this morning. The second person to plead guilty in the sprawling case over efforts to overturn the 2020 election in that state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you understand that by pleading guilty, you are giving up the right to trial by jury.


REID: As part of the deal, Powell will amid her role in the January 2021 breach of voting systems in rural Coffee County, Georgia; be required to write an apology letter to the citizens of the state and pay nearly $9,000 in restitution and fines as well as turn over documents.

Powell admits to taking steps after the 2020 election for the purpose of willfully tampering with electronic ballot markers and tabulating machines, which were overt acts to affect the objects of the conspiracy and with the intention of taking and appropriating information data and software, the property of Dominion Voting Systems.

But she is not expected to face jail time. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of six years' probation.

One name that did not come up at Thursday's hearing, her co-defendant, Donald Trump. The deal is the first by a member of his inner circle.

POWELL: I am going to release the kraken.

REID: Powell was among the most vocal of his lawyers and pushing outlandish claims about the election, including that millions of votes were flipped in a global scheme against Trump.

POWELL: There should never be another election conducted in this country. I don't care if it's for a local dog catcher, using a Dominion machine.

REID: Repeating those conspiracy theories eventually proved too much, even for Trump, and she was ousted from his team. And her plea raises new questions about a deal in the federal election subversion in case.


REID: Trump is the only individual charged in that indictment, but Powell has been identified by CNN as one of the six co-conspirators listed by special counsel Jack Smith, who has signaled other people has signaled other people could be charged.

JACK SMITH, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: The Department of Justice has remained committed to ensuring accountability for those criminally responsible for what happened that day.

REID: That federal trial is expected to begin in March of next year.

It's one of the reasons that Powell's plea deal in Georgia is so significant, because now we're watching to see what it could mean for that federal trial here in Washington, which could be the only prosecution that Trump faces before the 2024 election.

Now, all eyes are on Kenneth Chesebro, the other defendant who is expected to go on trial this month alongside Powell to see if he too will strike a deal with state prosecutors.

Paula Reid, CNN -- Washington.


VAUSE: well, some top Hollywood stars are pushing a plan to help end the actors' strike by their own dues. George Clooney, Tyler Perry another A-listers have recommended removing the $1 million cap on union membership fees.

That alone could bring in an additional $50 million a year. The plan would allow the top earning actors to help pay for healthcare benefits for their colleagues who earn a lot less than they do. It also would help bridge a gap in talks with major studios.

Contract negotiations with those studios broke down earlier this month. The actors have been on strike since July.

Hurricane Norma expected to dump heavy rain and flooding in parts of western Mexico through the weekend. Now category three storm and the National Hurricane Center says Mexico state of Baja, California is in the cross hair. It's expected to weaken to a category two later today but Norma could drop 5 to 10 inches of rain, likely produce flash flooding, along with a possible mudslide in areas with high elevations.

I'm John Vause. I'll have the very latest on the Israeli war with another hour, right after a very short break. See you then.