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Russia Returns Body Of American Killed Fighting For Ukraine; Moscow Conducting Planned Annual Nuclear Drills Amid Mounting Tensions With The West; Sources: McCarthy To Reassure Republicans He Won't Abandon Ukraine Of GOP Takes Majority; Fetterman Backers Worry Debate Will Push Undecideds To Oz; GOP's Oz: Abortion Choices Should Be Left To "Women, Doctors, Local Political Leaders"; Unnamed Woman Alleges Herschel Walker Pressured Her Into Having Abortion In 1993; Israel's Herzog Says There Are Limitations On Supplying Ukraine With Air Defense Systems; Trump's Lawyers Accept Subpoena From House January 6 Committee; Mark Meadows Ordered By Court To Testify In Georgia 2020 Election Meddling Probe; Wisconsin Man Found Guilty Of Killing 6 In Christmas Parade Attack. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 26, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: They come in pretty colors in various sense. Pine Sol has set up a special website where you can apply for a refund, has much more information if you need it.

So you can follow the show on Twitter @theleadcnn. I'm John Berman on Twitter. If you ever miss an episode of "THE LEAD", you can listen wherever you get your podcasts. Our coverage continues right now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, Russian forces train for a nuclear strike as letter Putin loses more ground in the war against Ukraine. CNN is near the frontlines right now where Ukrainians are warning the heaviest battles are still ahead.

Also tonight, my exclusive interview with the President of Israel on the conflict in Ukraine and more. He's pushing back and pressure from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for Israel to choose sides in the war.

And in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, a second woman is now accusing Georgia Republican Herschel Walker of pressuring her to get an abortion. This, as Democrats in Pennsylvania are worried that John Fetterman's debate performance could turn off undecided voters.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin our coverage tonight with the war in Ukraine. The body of an American man killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian defenders is finally on the way home tonight after a swap with Russia. This, as Putin's army prepares for a major battle inside the largest Ukrainian city still controlled by Moscow. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has our report from the warzone. (BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Ukrainian forces trying to hit the Russians on all fronts.

This motor unit firing in the north of the country, while in the south Kyiv his continuing a counter offensive trying to capture the Russian occupied city of Kherson. We met up with an artillery unit on the battlefield.

(on camera): The soldiers tell us there's firing going on here pretty much every day several times a day. The front line is not very far from where we are at all. It's a couple of kilometers in that direction. And right now, there's not very much movement on that front line, but still, the situation is very dangerous.

(voice-over): Ukraine's defense minister says Kyiv's counter offensive here is complicated by wet weather in the area. But the commander says he believes in the end they will oust the Russians.

"BANDERAS," ARTILLERY COMMANDER: I know one thing for sure, we will never step back from here. We have no other choice, only forward. Ukraine has to get back all its territory and borders.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While Russia continues to mobilize 100s of 1000s for the war here, the Ukrainian say they found the Wagner private military company, founded by Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin is sending Russian prisoners with diseases to the front line. The chief of Ukraine's military intelligence told CNN's Nic Robertson.

KYRYLO BUDANOV, HEAD OF UKRAINE'S DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (through translator): They put on them certain wristbands in blue, white or red color. Every color signifies tuberculosis, hepatitis or HIV. It's happening on a mass scale, most of them who are taken prisoners or their dead bodies, which were found in the battlefield had those wristbands.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): CNN can't independently verify those claims. As Russian forces continue to lose ground in Ukraine, the Kremlin conducting massive annual nuclear drills involving submarine launched ballistic missiles and others launched from Russia's fleet of strategic bombers.

While the Russians notified the U.S. about the drills well in advance, Russian President Vladimir Putin with a clear warning to Washington.

PRES. VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (through translator): What they are trying to achieve we see on the example of Ukraine, which has become an instrument of American foreign policy. The country has practically lost sovereignty and is directly controlled from the United States.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): But the Ukrainians on the front line say they are fighting for their own freedom, not for anybody else.

(END VIDEO TAPE) PLEITGEN: You know, Wolf, we did confront Yevgeny Prigozhin's outfit with those allegations made by the Ukrainians that he's essentially sending people with diseases to the front line, so far we haven't heard any comment from Yevgeny Prigozhin's group. However, the Ukrainians are also telling us that they believe that more and more newly mobilized Russians are being sent to the front lines right around here in the south of Ukraine, where of course a lot of the tough fighting is going on. They say these people have absolutely no combat experience and are essentially Cannon Fodder. Wolf.

BLITZER: Fred Pleitgen on Odessa for us, thank you very much. Stay safe over there.


Let's get some more on the Biden administration's war strategy right now. CNN Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly is joining us with details.

Phil, the President huddled, I understand, with his top Pentagon officials today. What more can you tell us?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, that's right. The President meeting with the top military and civilian leadership in the Department of Defense, it was framed as a regular meeting not addressing one specific issue. And it underscore just the sheer scale of tensions around the world, whether it is in Ukraine, which U.S. officials acknowledge is by far the most acute in this moment, obviously, the ongoing tensions with China, Iran as well. And we've seen over the course of the last several weeks, Wolf, the scale of the North Korean provocations with their missile strikes and the potential for a new nuclear test.

But there is nothing more front of mind right now than what's happening in Ukraine. You have seen it from U.S. officials, including the President about the concerns about escalations. The concerns as Russia has notified U.S. officials of military exercises that include its strategic nuclear forces. And the very real concerns of the potential for a false flag operation related to a dirty bomb.

Now, at this point, U.S. officials, Wolf, maintain, they have still not seen any shift in U.S. or in Russian nuclear posture, nor have they picked up any indications that they are moving towards anything like that kind of action. But the tension is real, so as the caution right now, certainly an element of the discussions between the President and his military leaders.

Ukraine, also a topic of discussion for another meeting the President had today, Wolf, with Israeli President Isaac Herzog. Obviously, Ukraine has taken a different approach than the U.S. as it pertains to Ukraine, they have provided significant humanitarian assistance, they are not sending weapons system for their own national security reasons. However, there is a shared interest in the efforts of you -- of Iran to assist Russia, that is expected to be a central component of their discussion as they meet in the White House. All of this underscoring right now that even in the midst of a very intense campaign season, the foreign policy issues, foreign policy crises the President has on his plate right now are very acute and very front and center, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, on my interview with the Israeli president, exclusive interview, I should say, coming up later this hour. Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.

Let's get some analysis right now from the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, CNN Counterterrorism Analyst Phil Mudd, and CNN Reporter Katie Bo Lillis.

Ambassador Taylor, as -- you're the former ambassador to Ukraine, how important was it that Russia agreed to a swap, in effect to release the body of this American who was killed fighting alongside Ukrainian troops?

WILLIAM TAYLOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Well, Wolf, we want to be sure we get all the bodies, all the people home, the Ukrainians want to do the same. This suggests that there are conversations that are going on, on all of these issues. We know they've had conversations about prisoner swaps, and this is another, we know they had conversations about grain. So the conversations are important to proceed.

BLITZER: And let's see what happens next. You know, Phil, Russia, as you know, is conducting right now its planned nuclear exercises, amid all this talk of some sort of tactical nuclear device or dirty bomb that they potentially could use. What should the U.S. be looking for?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Well, there's a simple lesson of leadership in this situation. That is, the hotter it gets in the kitchen, the cooler the cook gets. When you're dealing with this publicly and you're talking from the White House, keep the temperature down, don't make accusations or charges against the Russians in public.

I would say the second question is the more interesting and also the much harder, that is when you're talking to the Pentagon, and we just heard the President's talking to the Pentagon. And when you're talking to European leaders, like Germany and France, a conversation about what would we do if the unthinkable happens, if the Russians use a tactical nuke? That is a really difficult conversation, because clearly the Americans are going to say we don't want troops out there. How tough can we be without putting our own forces at risk? Really tough, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. Amidst all of this, a few fault lines, Katie Bo, seem to have emerged, at least among some of the Republican leadership in the House of Representative. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader saying Ukraine can't expect a quote, "blank check" from the United States. So tell us about that.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Wolf, these remarks from Minority Leader McCarthy ignited a little bit of a firestorm in Washington that it appears that he has now had to do a little bit of clarification on with some of his senior national security leaders. What my colleagues and I have learned is that in the days following when those remarks went out on the airwaves, McCarthy spoke to a number of senior Republican national security lawmakers on Capitol Hill and sort of reassured them that his remarks were taken out of context. According to our sources, he told these lawmakers that, look, I still support ongoing military assistance for Ukraine, and that I was only supporting the idea of more oversight for how these federal dollars are spent.

But Wolf, this whole brouhaha really highlights this kind of fine line that McCarthy is going to have to walk not just on Ukraine, but on foreign policy in general, right? He's got this wing of his party that is a little bit more isolationist minded. Even if GOP sources say that that's a relatively small wing, he can afford to come completely ignore those lawmakers particularly if he wants to be Speaker of the House next year.


BLITZER: Yes. Good point. But isn't this, Ambassador Taylor, precisely what Putin, for example, wants to hear, this division emerging about Ukraine here in the United States?

TAYLOR: That's what Putin wants to hear. But it's so interesting, exactly as Katie said that both the right and the left are saying they were misinterpreted. Actually, they really do support Ukraine. They really do oppose the Russians. Mr. Putin has got everybody united in this country against him, not to mention united in Ukraine.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit more while I have you, Phil, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he says the U.S. and I'm quoting him now, "communicated directly and very clearly to Putin about the consequences of using some sort of nuclear weapon in Ukraine." We've also now learned that the CIA director actually visited Ukraine earlier this month. How do these conversations go?

MUDD: Well, there's two levels of conversation here. Look at the secretary of state level, there's only so much he can say to the Russians, because he's not going to clarify what we would do in response. It's not even clear to me and I suspect anybody at the White House what the Europeans would support. So there's a general conversation, you've got to tell the Russians are serious consequences.

Secondary conversation, do you hear anything from the Russian side on this issue of nukes on Brittney Griner that leads you to believe there's a deal to be had. The CIA piece is more interesting, and that is let's get real. What do you guys going to do?

BLITZER: We shall see. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up my exclusive interview once again with the Israeli President Isaac Herzog. He's weighing in on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the threats posed by Iran and more.

Also ahead, we're tracking the fallout from last night's heated debate in Pennsylvania. Our live report from the battleground state is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BLITZER: With more than 11 million, early ballots already cast ahead of the midterm elections. Candidates of both parties are counting on debates to sway undecided voters in the closing stretch. CNN's Jessica Dean is joining us live from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania right now where Mehmet Oz just held his first campaign event. I take it since last night's debate, Jessica. Did the debate issue come up?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It didn't really. He mentioned it briefly. He was with former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley at a law enforcement event. I shouted some questions about the debate, he did not answer but it was certainly widely anticipated talked about last night's debate.

In terms of Oz's performance, his team very pleased that he -- they believe he was able to paint John Fetterman as extreme on a lot of the issues. The Fetterman campaign, though, very laser focused on this one comment from Oz on abortion. I'll let you listen to it.


MEHMET OZ, (R) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: If I don't want the federal government involved with that at all, I want women, doctors, local political leaders, letting the democracy that's always allowed our nation to thrive to put the best ideas forward so states can decide for themselves.


DEAN: It was that bit about local elected officials, Wolf, that they really zeroed in on. They're seeking to tie Oz to the Republican gubernatorial candidate here, Doug Mastriano, who as a state senator back a fetal heartbeat bill in terms of abortion. And so they're really seeking to paint him as extreme on an issue that they're really hoping will be a strong issue for them, especially with Independent voters and suburban women in these final days.

BLITZER: As we all know, Jessica, John Fetterman has been recovering from a stroke since May. Last night his recovery was on full display. Tell us about that.

DEAN: Yes, it certainly was. For anybody that watched or watched clips you certainly saw, and he addressed it at the beginning, he said, I'm going to mush words together or I'm going to kind of stop and start and he certainly did. He spoke very haltingly at times to kind of lose a word, lose a train of thought. And so it's very clear, he's still very much recovering from this stroke. So that was certainly on display last night.

I talked about what the Fetterman campaign was zeroing in. On the Oz's campaign has zeroed in on his answer to fracking. He had one said he did not support it. He now says he does support it. Here's that exchange. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN, (D) PENNSYLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I've always supported fracking. And I always believe that independence with our energy is critical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is that 2018 interviewer that you said, quote, "I don't support fracking at all." So how do you square the two?

FETTERMAN: I do support fracking. And I don't -- I support fracking and I stand and I do support fracking.


DEAN: And again, that's what -- the Oz campaign zeroing in on that. And again, Wolf, this was the first and only time we're going to see these two men debating together. That's it. Early voting already underway here in Pennsylvania. And now with just under two weeks to go, we'll have to see what the voters decide.

BLITZER: We shall see. All right, Jessica Dean, thanks very much. Let's discuss all this with our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borgia, CNN Senior Political Correspondent Abby Phillip, and CNN Political Commentator Bakari Sellers.

Abby, do you think feta means performance last night at the Pennsylvania Senate debate is going to have a significant impact on voters' confidence in them?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Well, I you know, I think as Jessica just said, we have to just see what the voters decide. The factor in this race that I think is a little bit more unusual than you might typically expect is that John Fetterman has always been a bit of an unconventional candidate. I think voters have always known they're going to get something a little bit different. He's not a guy who's particularly comfortable in a suit. He's not a guy who, according to most people who know him, is particularly comfortable on a debate stage.

And so, I don't know that we know whether or not voters have already factored that in and or maybe they haven't. Maybe they feel like they didn't know what they were getting in a John Fetterman as the Democratic nominee and that they don't like what they see. I think so far though, just given the fact that he has been recovering from the stroke for months and months, he's been leading in the polls or neck and neck with Oz, pretty much that entire time. It seems to me, voters understand what's going on with his health and they're weighing it along with other more important things like how they feel about the economy and how they feel about other issues especially crime in the state of Pennsylvania.


BLITZER: You know, Bakari, as you know, even some Fetterman supporters are concerned last night's debate performance may lead undecided voters to support Dr. Oz. How does Fetterman bounce back from that now?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: John Fetterman will be fine that. You know many of the Fetterman supporters, many Democrats -- I mean look, the fact is, we're proverbial bed wetters. And so anytime we get a sense of angst, we have this level of anxiety that rises.

Debates aren't about wins and losses per se. They're about expectations. And the Fetterman campaign did a great job of setting expectations.

And one of the things that I'll talk to my Independent friends and my Republican friends is you can't come out of your mouth and say that, oh, my God, you know, Herschel Walker exceeded expectations in his debate, but then John Fetterman lost his debate. What we're seeing is that the expectations were set where they should be set for somebody recovering from a stroke, he met or exceeded those expectations. There's no question that even though he had to pause, even though he had some issues hearing or reading the words coming off the screen, he's still more than capable enough to be a United States Senator.

And I think for many of us even, I think it was actually endearing because you saw someone who's working to overcome. And what he did last night was stand on a very, very large stage and he overcame. And I think that sense of endearment is going to carry him through. And the fact that, you know, Dr. Oz wants your local city council person to be involved in your decisions about your wife and daughter's health.

BLITZER: On that point, Gloria, you just heard Republican candidate Dr. Oz say decisions about abortion should be left to women, their doctors and local governments. Who was he trying to appeal to with that answer?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the local political leaders phrase is I think what got everyone going because I don't know many people who'd want to leave decisions in their lives up to their local political leaders, especially something as important as abortion. And what he was trying to do, I think, was to say he doesn't support a federal ban on abortion, period.

He's trying to differentiate himself from Lindsey Graham in the Senate who wants to pass legislation to that effect. He's trying to appeal to suburban women, to more Independent voters, perhaps to that small sliver of undecided voters. But Oz, I mean -- but Fetterman came out with an ad on it today because they believe it's kind of bring out and drive out there voters. It wasn't a great phrase.

BLITZER: Yes, important information.

Abby, we're also just learning of a new allegation, a new allegation against the Georgia Senate candidate, Herschel Walker, as an unnamed woman now alleges he also pressured her into an abortion back in 1993. Walker says this is a lie. Do you think this is likely though, to have an impact on that race in Georgia?

PHILLIP: Yes, I think no question it's going to have an impact on that race. Pretty much everything from here on out matters because voters in Georgia are voting, and they're voting in large numbers and they're taking all of this into consideration.

The interesting thing, though, it seems like Republicans are brushing all of these allegations aside. The question is, what does it do to the kind of winnable voters, the Independents who -- maybe it's not the abortion issue, it's the flip flopping that's a problem for them, I think that's where this is going to matter.

BLITZER: OK, guys, thank you very much.

Up next, Ukraine pressuring Israel to supply it with defense systems against Russian missiles. We're going to talk about that and more in my exclusive one-on-one interview with the Israeli president.



BLITZER: Now a CNN exclusive, I sat down just a short time ago with Israeli President Isaac Herzog following his meeting with President Biden over at the White House in which they discussed the war in Ukraine and the threats posed by Russia and Iran.


BLITZER: Mr. President, thank you so much for joining us, and welcome to the United States.

ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Wolf.

BLITZER: I know you just came back here from your meeting with the President of the United States. Ukraine is a really important issue right now. And I know you're following it very closely, as well.

Did the President Biden ask Israel to start providing air defense systems to Ukraine, because as you know, they've been pleading with Israel for such equipment?

HERZOG: First of all, I had an excellent meeting with President Biden. President Biden is a very close friend of the State of Israel, the Jewish people. He's always been like that throughout his political career.

I had the enormous pleasure of hosting President Biden in Israel, in Jerusalem in the President's home and honoring him with a Presidential Medal of Honor, and which he showed me proudly in the Oval Office. And then we had an open and frank discussion on a variety of issues. Clearly, the issue of Ukraine is very important to the world, to us, and naturally to the leader of the free world, to President Biden.

I must say openly and frankly, I don't go into details of discussions. But all in all, I can say the following, you know, Israel has been a member of the entire community that supports Ukraine in the international community, Israel has been enormously supportive of the Ukrainian people in a variety of fields. Hebrew is the most spoken language on the ground in Ukraine with volunteers of civil society. Me and my wife, specially my wife, has worked diligently to have -- on helping Ukrainians in post-traumatic and traumatic treatments. And we have supplied a variety of products that are non-lethal to the Ukrainian people. And we've offered the Ukrainian government help in early warning detection systems against missiles and drones for civilian population.

There are things that strategically and technically we cannot supply. We're discussing it intimately with all our partners. And of course, we have to take into account certain strategic elements that pertain to Israel's functioning both vis-a-vis our region and vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

BLITZER: Just wondering, did President Biden ask you, ask Israel to start providing Ukraine with these air defense systems, which they desperately need to deal with the missiles coming in the rockets, coming in the drones coming in?

HERZOG: So we discussed the drones, because the drones first and foremost, are a blatant lie of the Iranian regime, claiming that they have not supplied drones that are killing innocent Ukrainian citizens in Ukraine. The President himself did not come and say, Now you find a solution to undermine or bring down those drones. It doesn't work this way. This is a very professional thing to do when deals with those drones.

And clearly, we want to have less suffering for the Ukrainian people. So these are things that are discussed in close quarters in various professional meetings with our allies pending our strategic limitations.

BLITZER: Am I right, and hearing you say your strategic limitations will prevent Israel from providing these air defense systems that the Ukrainians are built on?

HERZOG: Depends which air defense system.

BLITZER: Well, which ones are you prepared to provide?

HERZOG: I'm not going to negotiate with you. Let's first put things in perspective. There are weapons that the American situation is not supplying to Ukraine. There are weapons that Europe is not supplying to Ukraine. On the other hand, there's a lot of issues and things that can be supplied to Ukraine. We identify with the suffering of the Ukrainian people. We want this havoc to end. We want to find solutions to this conflict. And definitely we support the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

So as far as we can go, in many non-lethal products we can do. As far as dealing with Ukraine, Iranian drones, were definitely analyzing the situation, because of the fact that Iran following its activities in killing its own citizens even today, in working towards nuclear weapons, endlessly with endangering the entire world and the region and now killing innocent civilians in Ukraine. Clearly, that gives you a picture of what Iran is all about. And that was the main point of my meeting with President Biden. BLITZER: I'm asking you these questions about Ukraine because President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said this, he asked Israel to choose a side and he asked if Israel is quote, with the democratic world, or with those who turn a blind eye to Russian terror.

HERZOG: It's an unfair judgment. We have respect for President Zelenskyy. I, myself, have met President Zelenskyy year ago, and we have a dialogue with President Zelenskyy. And we understand the enormous plight and pain of the Ukrainian people.

We are treating hospitalized Ukrainians in Israeli hospitals. We have absorbed many refugees in our country, including, personally, me and my wife, we've absorbed and assisting a family of refugees in Israel. So we are definitely there. And I think rhetoric of that nature does not help.

BLITZER: As you know, there's also been some serious criticism of Israel coming from both Democrats and Republicans, members of Congress, who would like Israel to be more assertive in helping Ukraine right now.

HERZOG: So I've discussed it with the important leaders in the House, including with Speaker Pelosi, who I have very strong relations with. And she's a great friend, which I personally also have seen hosted in Israel and I respect a lot.

There's nothing I can say that's different from what I said so far. It's very easy to come to Israel with questions and comments on this issue, after all, and there are many, many solutions and products that can be supplied to Ukraine. There are things that we can't even do it technically, for example, there are weapons that we don't even have next quote version four. There are things that we don't want them to fall in the hands of our enemies.


There are secrets that we can't deliver. But wherever we can help we're trying to help. And we set it out right.

BLITZER: As you know, President Biden just the other day, warned, had a stark warning that if the Russians were to use a dirty bomb, or some sort of tactical nuclear weapon that would be in his words, a serious mistake. Do you think Israel would change its policy if Russia were to do so to use a dirty bomb or some sort of nuclear device?

HERZOG: We are all watching, the entire world is watching the situation carefully. And naturally, we all express deep concern about the situation. I would not go into any theoretical replies on any theoretical situation. And it can only add salt to the wounds and to the pains that we're seeing anyway. And then I would leave it at that at this moment. I sincerely hope that the international community and world leadership will find ways and means to de-escalate the conflict.

BLITZER: President Zelenskyy has warned without evidence that Russia may actually be paying for Iranian weapons drones among other weapons by providing assistance to Iran for its nuclear program. What do you say about that?

HERZOG: I don't have any specific information to that effect. But we are seeing what I've said all along, people tend to kind of extend their hand to the Iranian government. They say let's go into an agreement with Iran. Let's go to the famous JCPOA, the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program. Let's be -- let's extend our hand, and we will show their reciprocate to us with a smile while it hasn't happened.

What we're seeing is a constant Iranian policy activity. And by the way school of thought, which is extremely dangerous to the world. It aims to radicalize and destabilize the entire region. They operate with all over the region. They've sent assassins to kill Israelis in Turkey. The assassination attempt against Salman Rushdie is the school of thought of the Iranian government.

And as we see this combination today, 40 days to the death of Mahsa (ph) in, Mahsa (ph) in Iran, the heroic woman was killed by the Iranian regime. You have thousands of Iranian citizens who are harassed, or tortured, or arrested and killed by vicious and malicious regime as they are protesting for their own civil rights and liberties against the human feeling of independence and freedom. The Iranian regime is crushing them.

And now moving forward with a nuclear program, which will endanger the entire region and the world. And you want another proof, they have supplied hundreds of drones in order to kill innocent civilians in Ukraine. So what else does the world need in order to understand that Iran is an extremely dangerous country to world order and stability.

BLITZER: So what is Israel going to do about that?

HERZOG: Well, we don't only advocate, we also carry out a lot of operations and efforts part of it have to do with our frontier with Syria, it's no secret to all of you. And we're trying to do our best to mitigate and limit the Iranian influence in the region. But for that we call on the international community and the world at large to understand the danger that emanates from Iran.

BLITZER: We're out of time, but very quickly before I let you go, Mr. President, I know you got a lot going on. A very quick question, because I know it came up during your meeting with President Biden at the White House, an increase of anti-semitism here in the United States. And we saw that just in recent days with Kanye West and now known as Ye. How did that discussion with the President go? And I know you're very much concerned about what's going on in this country.

HERZOG: And we are all concerned by anti-semitism all over the world and, of course, anti-semitism here and everywhere. And the President was clear -- crystal clear was on target is in fighting anti-semitism with all tools possible. It's anti-semitism is racist, it's racism, xenophobia, these are the challenges of the era.

But unfortunately, history teaches us that usually it starts with hating Jews, with blaming Jews with terrible rhetoric that people say, you know, OK you said it. And that's why I'm extremely pleased. Objectively, as an Israeli, as a Jew, as a human being, I'm extremely pleased to see this overwhelming reaction against the comments by Kanye West.


BLITZER: It's a problem not just in the U.S., but globally as well.

HERZOG: Absolutely. Absolutely, it's a global problem. We see it in many places. We also assume that whenever you have an energy crisis and other economic crisis, the first ones to be blamed for, unfortunately, throughout history of the Jews, the lessons are clear. We raise our voice loud and clear on this issue. It's an issue of morality, which goes way beyond any other issue of the relationship that we have with other nations.

BLITZER: Mr. President, I know you have a lot going on, you got to run. But thank you so much for joining us.

HERZOG: Thank you very much. It was an honor and pleasure to be in your program.


BLITZER: And just ahead, the subpoena from the House January 6 Select Committee now in the hands of lawyers for former President Trump. We'll take a closer look at what happens next. Stay with us.



BLITZER: Tonight sources are telling CNN that lawyers for former President Trump have accepted the subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez is here with me in THE SITUATION ROOM. So Evan, what happens next?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the clock is ticking, Wolf. November 4th is the deadline that the House committee, the January 6 committee has given Trump and his team to turn over records that they've subpoenaed.

We still don't know whether the former President plans to cooperate. He has hinted he has spoken on his social media platform that he does want to testify. He wants to cooperate with the committee but we still don't know yet. He has not formally replied. And so we will wait to see what November 4 is a day they will comply.

BLITZER: We'll find out soon. Pretty soon, I'm sure. I also want to get to the grand jury investigation down in Georgia, in Fulton County, Georgia. Judges ruled that Trump's White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows must testify about Trump and his allies efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. How big of a deal is this?

PEREZ: It's a big deal. He's a very important witness, Wolf. He was present during some of these meetings that Trump and some of his allies had as they were trying to overturn, particularly the Georgia election results. This is obviously the center of what this investigation is in Fulton County.

Also, you know, Mark Meadows was on the phone when the former president was pressuring Brad Raffensperger to find exactly the number of votes that he had, that he could win Georgia. He went down to Georgia for one of the artists. There's plenty of questions that they want to ask him.

Meadows has indicated that he is appealing this ruling from the South Carolina judge who says that he should appear so the fight is not over yet. Obviously, there's also a little bit of a time crunch for the investigators there in Georgia. They're hoping to get all witness testimony by the end of the year. So you know there's an effort here perhaps by meadows and some of the Trump allies to run out the clock. We'll see whether that succeeds or not.

BLITZER: We will. Evan Perez, thank you very, very much. And we'll have more news right after this.



BLITZER: In Wisconsin tonight, some closure for the families of six people killed by a driver during last year's Waukesha Christmas parade. Our Brian Todd is joining us with details on the verdict.

Brian, I understand a jury convicted Darrell Brooks on all counts, including six counts of intentional homicide.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Tonight the Waukesha County DA saying that this is a relief that justice has been served. 40-year-old Darrell Brooks found guilty as Wolf mentioned on six counts of first degree intentional homicide, 61 counts of recklessly endangering safety with the use of a dangerous weapon plus other charges.

This stemmed from a ramming incident at a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin in November of last year, when six people were killed, dozens more wounded, an SUV striking these victims from behind. This was a jarring case with disturbing video of the incident played in court. One of the bizarre turns was Darrell Brooks defending himself in this case, claiming that the ramming of 68 people was an accident.


DARRELL BROOKS, DEFENDANT: When I'm confident that the evidence will show, sorry, I'm getting a little emotional, when I'm confident that evidence will show is that this incident was not planned. This incident was not intentional. In this incident, it's never even thought about.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TODD: The prosecutors countered by arguing how can you hit one person and keep going striking more than 60 others if this was all an accident. Other very strange moments came when Brooks acting as his own lawyer, as we mentioned, repeatedly disrupted the proceedings with accusations and rants. Here's an exchange where he interrupts a prosecutor and gets into it with Judge Jennifer Dorow.


BROOKS: It's a lie.


BROOKS: Because at the end of the day --

DOROW: Let him finish, Mr. Brooks.

BROOKS: If we don't open the door -- she want to make a record and not be accurate. So let's be accurate on the record since you think you know so much --

DOROW: Once again, Mr. Brooks is being loud --

BROOKS: So we can open the door. We can open the door.

DOROW: -- disrespectful, interrupting.


DOROW: He is over the top --

BROOKS: Just like that. Did you know that?

DOROW: Mr. Brooks, I'm ordering you to sit down and to left.

BROOKS: No. I'm not going to see here let somebody be inaccurate on the record and why on the right.

DOROW: Under Illinois versus Alan, I've worn him repeatedly. He's being removed from the courtroom. And you know what? Let me dial that back. We're just going to take an early lunch.


TODD: The judge repeatedly had to place Brooks and a separate courtroom because of moments like that. He initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in this case. He later withdrew that plea and his public defenders quit the case. He now faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison for all of these convictions, Wolf. He never really should have been even on the street at the time of that incident. He was out on bail on a separate case where he allegedly ran over his girlfriend who was the mother of his child.


BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much. Coming up, we're counting down to the midterm elections here in the United States, and following new developments and to closely watch Senate races that could potentially determine which party will be in control. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Happening now, new uncertainty and a make-or-break U.S. Senate contest after Democrat John Fetterman shaky debate performance in Pennsylvania. Will it be a turning point in the race? We're getting new reaction from voters this hour.

Also tonight, CNN is there as Russia returns the body of an American killed fighting for Ukraine. We'll go live to the warzone for a detailed account of the transfer reported first on CNN.

And the Trump team received the subpoena for the former president to testify in the January 6 investigation. This is Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is fighting a new order for him to testify in the Georgia probe of efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.