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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Says, Husband Expected To Make Full Recovery After Brutal Attack; Feds Warn Domestic Violent Extremists Pose Threat To Midterms; Soon, Obama, Biden And Harris Stump For Democrats As Midterms Near; Nancy Pelosi's Husband Brutally Attacked At Their San Francisco Home. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 28, 2022 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'll talk about the danger lawmakers and their families with a key member of Congress who has experienced these kinds of threats firsthand, Representative Adam Kinzinger. He is standing by live.

All of this as three of the nation's most prominent Democrats are about to make high-profile campaign appearances. We're standing by for events featuring former President Obama, President Biden And Vice President Harris 11 days before the crucial midterm election.

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

Let's get right to the breaking news. We have an update right now on Speaker Pelosi's husband, Paul, and the surgery he underwent after he was attacked with a hammer in their home. We're also getting brand-new information about the suspect.

CNN Law Enforcement Correspondent Whitney Wild is covering it all for us. Whitney, so, tell our viewers what you're learning.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are learning that the San Francisco Sheriff's Office has booked the suspect, 42-year-old David DePape, on several charges, and that includes first-degree burglary, residential assault with a deadly weapon, threatening staff or family members of public officials or judges, inflicting injury on an elder or dependent adult likely to cause great bodily injury, as well as battery with serious bodily injury as well as, Wolf, attempted murder, a long list of charges here.

Nancy Pelosi's office is coming out with a new statement finally giving an update on Paul Pelosi. We know it's been a very harrowing afternoon for that family. Here is what they're saying now. Mr. Pelosi was admitted to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital where he underwent successful surgery to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands. His doctors expect him to make a full recovery.

Wolf, this is certainly frightening. Law enforcement officials I spoke with around the country taking special note of this case because they are very concerned about what it represents in this heightened threat environment.


CHIEF WILLIAM SCOTT, SAN FRANCISCO POLICE: Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. Our officers immediately tackled the suspect.

WILD (voice over): Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, hospitalized and underwent surgery after a man broke through the back through the back of the San Francisco home he shares with the speaker. Police say the suspect attacked 82-year-old Paul Pelosi with a hammer.

SCOTT: This is an active investigation.

WILD: Pelosi's office saying the suspect, quote, acted with force and threatened his life while demanding to see the speaker. Sources tell CNN the intruder shouted, where is Nancy, when he confronted her husband. The assailant tried to tie up Paul Pelosi until, quote, Nancy got home. Sources also tell CNN that when San Francisco police arrived, the assailant said he was, quote, waiting for Nancy. Police booking the alleged suspect on a list of crimes.

SCOTT: Attempted homicide, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary and several other additional felonies. The suspect has been identified as 42-year-old David DePape.

WILD: A review of DePape's social media shows multiple posts about conspiracy theories, such as links to videos by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, claiming the election was stolen, and links to YouTube videos with titles like Democrat farce commission to investigate January 6th Capitol riot collapses in Congress.

Speaker Pelosi was in Washington at the time of the attack and sources say there was no protective detail at the home. Her security team is robust but doesn't protect family members when she is away. Now, the FBI is on the ground at the speaker's residence along with the United States Capitol police and the San Francisco Police Department.

SCOTT: The motive for this attack is still being determined.

WILD: Sources tell CNN U.S. Capitol police have a feed of security cameras at the home and caught the attack on video. FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told CNN he sees a trend of people settling scores with violence, and that is becoming all too normal.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: There are way, way too many people who are willing to take their ideological, social or political grievances, perhaps very earnestly felt, and manifest them through violence. And in our system, there is a right way and a wrong way to express when you are angry or upset about something.

WILD: Something we saw on January 6th when the rioters tried to hunt down Speaker Pelosi and trashed her office.


WILD (on camera): These are the types of cases that make law enforcement very concerned, these lone wolf-style attacks that don't have any real track record, Wolf. Sources are telling us this man was not known to Capitol police and was not in any federal databases that track threats. Back to you.

BLITZER: All right. Whitney, thank you very much, Whitney Wild reporting.

There is a lot to discuss with our law enforcement and political experts.


Jamie Gangel, you have been learning new details on the wake of this brutal attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband. What's the latest update on his condition?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Whitney just said, I think we have some good news. He is now out of surgery. But, Wolf, let's talk about what we learned from Nancy Pelosi's spokesman, Drew Hamill, about the surgery, a fractured his skull was part of the surgery, serious injuries to his right arm and to both of his hands.

I know Paul Pelosi. He looks to be in great shape, but he is 82 years old. I think that anyone would imagine the trauma of being hit several times with a hammer and the assailant apparently trying to tie him up. You know, this is very, very serious. And also as Whitney showed that footage from January 6th, it is just a chilling reminder as the rioters were going through where is Nancy, and this assailant said exactly the same words, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, interesting. Andrew, in the wake of this attack, federal officials are now warning that domestic violence extremists here in the United States pose what they call a heightened threat to the 2022 midterm elections coming up in a few days. What steps are law enforcement agencies taking right now to protect elections, the lawmakers, and the voters alike?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I think the first thing that we see is that bulletin that you just referenced. So, this is consistent with all of the terrorism advisories and bulletins we have seen from DHS and the FBI over the last year, certainly since January 6th, but releasing it today to law enforcement partners across the country is a way of drawing attention to this issue and saying to our law enforcement partners, hey, wake up, we have a problem now with the midterm elections both leading up to the midterm elections on Election Day and after election day, where people who might have been following these ridiculous conspiracy theories about fraud might be prone to commit acts of violence.

So, that's really the biggest thing that they can do on a national level, it's to make sure that the law enforcement communities focused like a laser on this threat.

BLITZER: Chief Ramsey, Pelosi's attacker's motive is not known yet but his social media displays clear links to conspiracy theories, as we just heard. Tell us what investigators in this multiagency probe are likely doing right now.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT: Well, they are certainly collecting as much information as possible. I'm sure that there is probably search warrants that have been executed. They certainly have gone through his social media footprint, seized any computers, telephones, anything like that, interviewing people that are somehow associated with him, whether it's family members, friends, others that he has been communicating with and so forth. So, there is a lot of work that's taking place right now behind the scenes.

BLITZER: You know, Maggie, in a new statement, Speaker Pelosi says the assailant was demanding to see the speaker. We knew she was a target on January 6th and clearly was a target once again this morning, right?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, Wolf. Look, there is a lot that we don't know about the motive here, and I think that's important, to be clear. That said, as Jamie mentioned before, there is an echo of what this assailant is alleged to have said in harming Nancy Pelosi's husband. He said, where is Nancy? He was looking for the House speaker. She has been a target for a while. This is long before January 6th, frankly, but January 6th opened a certain level of floodgates and we have seen that video over and over again.

And what this does tie to, back to the point about domestic extremism, this has been a concern of a lot of elected officials and law enforcement since January 6th, is that we are entering a new era of extremism, particularly as relates to politics. And, again, there is still a lot we don't know here but it is very concerning attack.

BLITZER: It certainly is. Jamie, how are Republicans, at least so far, responding to this brutal attack? Some of them, as you well know, have actually spewed some of the same kinds of conspiracy theories this attacker posted.

GANGEL: I have to tell you, Wolf, I just was looking through social media and, frankly, I'm shocked at some of the reactions from different people. It just seems to double down on it. We know that Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader on the Senate side, came out forcefully and called it horrible. We know that Kevin McCarthy on the House side privately, his spokesman said privately, that he had reached out to Pelosi.

I don't think he has been on Twitter or made a very big public statement yet.


And to the best of my knowledge, to this time, we have not heard anything from Donald Trump. And as Maggie said, we have been very worried about political rhetoric and the danger of violence. Words matter. And you would think that everyone would be coming out to condemn this.

BLITZER: You would think. Andrew McCabe, you are the former deputy director of the FBI. We just learned that the suspect was not known to U.S. Capitol police and was not in any federal databases tracking threats. What does that say to you?

MCCABE: Well, it doesn't surprise me at all, Wolf. You know, there is -- there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people out there who harbor conspiracy theories and grievances and who talk about those things on social media and those people aren't all under investigation nor should they be. There is a First Amendment right to free speech. It just so happens that this individual has never made what we call inappropriate contact with a public official or somebody who is the subject of a protection detail, and so he managed to stay off the radar.

But let's not forget that I think what you can't focus too intently on what Jamie said, the fact that you don't have politicians and political leadership across the country stepping out and speaking out against the use of violence, no matter what your political persuasion is, is just outrageous. And those who don't speak out against it at the end of the day are going to be liable, culpable, responsible for the violence that results.

BLITZER: Yes, that's important, indeed. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

Still ahead, we are going to get more reaction to the attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband and that new federal warning about the extremist threat to the midterm election. January 6th Select Committee Member Congressman Adam Kinzinger, he is standing by live. We will discuss right after this.



BLITZER: More now on the breaking news we are following, new details just emerging about the suspect in the brutal attack on the husband of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who has undergone successful surgery right now for a fractured skull. CNN is learning the man was not known to Capitol police in any threat database.

Let's get some more with Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He is one of only two Republican members on the House January 6th select committee. Congressman, thanks very much for joining us. I know you have yourself received various threats. So, this is personal for you. What's your reaction to what happened today to the husband of the speaker?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER, (R-IL): Wolf, it's disgusting. I mean, obviously, this is somebody that has been convinced, you know, I think even without having to do much research, he has been convinced that the election was stolen, that there is a cabal of people running the government, that it's not government for or by the people, as he has been convinced. And, you know, who knows what else is there to lead him to do this. But the fact is, is we see that all over his trace of social media. This is what happens when you convince a third of the country that the election was stolen and that the other side is an enemy. You other-ize people. You convince folks that your political opposition is out to get you and your family. So, I mean, this is the kind of stuff that every Republican needs to speak out on, just like every Democrat, Republican should speak out when Steve Scalise was shot. But the Republicans not speaking out now, let me say this, this is going to be visited on our side, not that it should actually matter what side you're on, but speak out now.

BLITZER: Yes, let me follow up on that. Because earlier today, you said this attack, and I'm quoting you now, must be condemned by every member of Congress and candidate. So, Congressman, do you expect this will be universally condemned? And if not, where do things go from here?

KINZINGER: I don't think so. I mean, I have seen people on Twitter try to explain that, you know, this might have been a false flag already because -- and these are like verified people on Twitter, not bots because, you know, how did somebody get in, this is going to lead to the same conspiracies because we have lost our humanity, generally speaking, as political movements.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope that all these candidates and members of Congress speak out. I'm afraid that they are not going to. I am afraid they are going to just use this as an opportunity with the election around the corner to make some snide reference to something. But listen, we're all humans, we have to start seeing each other as humans again. And it's really disappointing.

BLITZER: Very indeed and very worrisome. You serve on the January 6th select committee and there is a through line, I take it, from January 6th directly to today's attack. In both instances, attackers said they were looking for Nancy. Let's listen to the rioters back on January 6th.

You spent a lot of time dissecting the events of January 6th, Congressman. Is today's attack exactly the kind of thing you are working to prevent?

KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, what we're working to prevent is we're just trying to show the American people that, you know, your oath matters. You got to let people follow their oath, that believe in something and how close we are to this precipice of real issues. So, yes, I think something like today is what I'd love to help prevent.

But, you know, look, there is almost 400 million people in this country, you know? The idea that you can radicalize a significant portion of this country and not expect things like this to happen is unrealistic. And, listen, this isn't how democracies work, this isn't how self-governance works, this is -- we are in a bad moment.

BLITZER: We certainly are, and I suspect people are watching all over the world, are looking at what's going on here in the United States and wondering, is this really the United States of America? I'm sure they can't believe it themselves.


Federal officials are also now warning, among other things, that extremists here in the United States, Congressman, pose a heightened threat to the 2022 midterm elections coming up in a few days. In this political climate, do lawmakers and their families, do you believe, do they need more protection?

KINZINGER: Yes. I mean, it's a tough question because, in many cases, times in past, we've increased our budget so that we could actually hire security at events. And then people don't do it because, you know, as a member of Congress, if you walk around with security, it looks like you are not a man of the people, right?

I have had so many people that will tell me in an accusatory tone, members of Congress get all these security details, which we don't. But I think, sadly, we are at the point where we have to rethink what the threat environment is. A threat isn't really something that's called into your office. That's just somebody venting in many cases. A threat, how do you find it? Because like in this guy's case, I don't think there is a paper trail of him threatening the speaker. And if there is, there certainly is a lot of people that are dangerous out there that would not put it on paper.

BLITZER: Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thanks very much for joining us. Stay safe out there. We'll stay in touch with you.

Coming up, we are learning new details about the condition of Nancy Pelosi's husband after he suffered that very violent attack. This as former President Barack Obama hits the campaign trail hoping to boost Democrats just ahead of the midterm elections.



BLITZER: We're following breaking news on the suspect in the brutal attack on the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi's husband. Top Democrats expressing their concern for the Pelosi family on a high-profile night for the party. Former President Obama, President Biden and Vice President Harris are all taking part in midterm campaign events tonight.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports from College Park, Georgia, for us. That's where former President Obama will be taking the stage in just a little while, what's the latest there.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail firing up Democrats in hopes of stopping a Republican wave in the midterm elections.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Hello, Atlanta. ZELENY: This first stop is Georgia, where Democrats are suddenly sounding the alarm about the Senate race with Democratic Incumbent Raphael Warnock locked in a tough race with Republican Herschel Walker. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said so himself this week in a hot mic moment with President Biden.

The former president is trying to boost enthusiasm among Democrats and for weeks has been popping up in television ads and campaign videos across the country.

OBAMA: Pennsylvania, it's up to you. You can count on John Fetterman.

Wisconsin, you've got a big responsibility this year.

Gretchen Whitmer is Michigan tough.

Katie Hobbs is up to the challenge.

This is going to be a close race and we can't afford to get it wrong.

Vote Democrat on November 8th.

ZELENY: But during his time in the White House, midterm elections were hardly his strong suit. In 2010, Democrats lost 63 seats and control of the house and six Senate seats.

OBAMA: I am not recommending for every future president that they take a shellacking like I did last night. I am sure there are easier you ways to learn these lessons.

ZELENY: And in 2014, when Democrats lost the Senate. Obviously, Republicans had a good night.

ZELENY: But he is answering the call from his party again, starting tonight in Georgia followed by visits to Michigan and Wisconsin on Saturday, Nevada on Tuesday, and a likely trip to Pennsylvania for the final weekend of the race. Congresswoman Nikema Williams, who leads the Georgia Democratic Party, said Obama has a unique ability to motivate Democrats.

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): He can help us drive that message home and drive home what's at stake for not just our base but younger voters who remember some of the excitement around his election.

ZELENY: Meanwhile tonight, Biden and Vice President Harris are making a rare joint appearance in Philadelphia, home to an equally critical Senate race. Their visit comes as Democrat John Fetterman seeks to reassure Pennsylvania voters after a shaky debate performance against Republican Mehmet Oz.

LT. GOV. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): I may not get every word the right way, but I will always do the right thing in Washington, D.C.

ZELENY: In that tarmac conversation with the president, Schumer was more upbeat than many Democrats. But that remains an open question as Democrats fight to maintain their narrow Senate majority. (END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY (on camera): And the former president has been talking about the rising threats to democracy. I am told he is going to hit that point very hard here tonight, Wolf, when he takes the stage within the hour. I'm told he also is going to draw a sharp contrast between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock. Of course, that key Senate race could be the key to the Senate majority.

I'm told the former president is not likely to address the attack on Mr. Pelosi. He has been in touch with Speaker Pelosi. Of course, he is close friends with Speaker Pelosi, but I am told that he is going to leave politics out of that and focus on threats to democracy and, of course, voting in Georgia. Wolf?

BLITZER: That's interesting. All right, Jeff, stay with us as we bring in more of our political team right now.

Gloria Borger, how do you expect news of this attack on Pelosi's husband might change what we hear from President Obama later tonight as he campaigns for Democrats in Georgia?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I'm sure he is going to mention it. He is very close to both of them.


He credits Nancy Pelosi herself with getting Obamacare through the Congress. And don't forget that the former president, Obama, has a lot of experience with being threatened in his life as a politician. I remember when he was running for president, and he was still a junior senator, he got security. And that was in 2007. And there have since been stories about people who were threatening him, who were threatening his wife, threatening his family. So, I think this is something he'll have to give a nod to and then talk about how important it is to get out the vote and he will say that would, hopefully, stop a lot of this rancor.

BLITZER: Yes. Let's see what happens.

Nia-Malika Henderson is with us as well. We are now just, what, 11 days from the midterm elections. We are getting new warnings now from federal authorities of heightened threats to the election in the wake of this attack. What does that tell you?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That we are in a highly partisan time, a time that is driven by ideological grievances. And this warning is really saying that the possible targets of attacks could be elected officials, could be election workers, could be religious and racial minorities, could be political rallies, the kind of rally we are going to see tonight from former President Obama. It's a really worrisome time.

And it isn't unexpected, right? We saw this on January 6th. We saw how the big lie has driven grievance, has driven violence as well, and we saw, of course, the guy who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband spout some of these conspiracy theories and essentially echo some of the chants that we heard on January 6th.

Ideally, you would hope that politicians would kind of tamp down their rhetoric going into this last stretch of the midterm cycle, but in all likelihood, they will ramp it up because that's what happens near the finish line. You are trying to draw your side out. You are trying to connect with people emotionally. So, I imagine that some of this rhetoric, I don't think it's going to be toned down and it might actually be ramped up, which, again, goes to why there is this threat. And you have the DHS saying this is a real problem for this country.

And not only leading up to the elections, but after the elections, right? Will there be sort of attacks on the election? Will there be different groups not believing the results of the election, not believing that the winner is actually somebody who should be certified to be the winner? So, this is a really troublesome time.

BLITZER: It certainly is. Michael Smerconish, you are in Pennsylvania, where President Biden and Vice President Harris are campaigning tonight. How do you expect news of that violent attack on Speaker Pelosi's husband will resonate with candidates and voters there?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't seek to minimize it, Wolf. But I went to the grocery store this afternoon and it was like going to the grocery store before a snowstorm has hit. It was packed and it was packed because everybody is there stocking up so they can watch the Phillies tonight because the World Series is about to begin.

If I can piggyback on what Nia-Malika Henderson just said and Gloria to a limited extent, both sides have issues that are great for their base. The Republicans have the economy and they have crime and they have the borders, and what do we say about the Democrats? They have abortion and, to a lesser extent, January 6th. I say to a lesser extent because that issue hasn't really resonated. The attack on democracy hasn't resonated.

Maybe this changes it because, you know, an attack on democracy, we think of January 6th, but it's still a little bit esoteric. But now you have got a very recent, tangible example of, you know, one of these conspiracy seemingly kooks, who is taking matters into their own hand and seeking to do harm to the speaker's husband. I mean, it really brings it all home ten days from the election.

I would be shocked if President Obama didn't work this in tonight. I am really surprised that Jeff said he is not expected to do it.

BLITZER: We will see soon enough.

You know, Gloria, we have not yet heard from former President Trump in the wake of this attack, but former Vice President Pence, he called the attack on Paul Pelosi an outrage. Does that condemnation speak to Mike Pence's relationship with Pelosi?

BORGER: I think it does. I think they are on different sides of the aisle. And you saw in that video on January 6th, you saw Pence in agreement with Nancy Pelosi saying, we've got to finish this up, we've got to finish this certification up, and you saw Nancy Pelosi saying to him, Mr. Vice President, we're concerned about you. We're worried about you. Are you okay, or words to that effect.

So, she was concerned about his health and well being. At the same time, of course, and she didn't know this at the time, but she was the subject of the attack in many ways on January 6th.


So, there he is, people screaming for Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol. Mike Pence is hiding in the Capitol for good reason, and the two of them kind of came together and said, we have to do this, and she showed a lot of concern for him.

And that was striking to me at the time. And I think his tweet today stood out among a lot of Republicans who said this is an outrage and should never happen. Mitch McConnell called it horrific. But there are other Republicans who are being pretty sordid and ridiculous about this and disgraceful. So, I think Mike Pence's tweet stands out.

BLITZER: We just heard from Vice President Harris speaking out, reacting to the attack on Paul Pelosi. Listen to this.


KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I did talk with Speaker Pelosi this morning. And, I mean, this was an act of extreme violence and I think we're looking at it at a time in our country where there is so much discourse that it's fueled by hate and division. And anyone who professes be a leader, I think, has to really understand that the meaning and the impact of their words and their posture on things like this.

I pray for Paul's recovery. I know the Pelosis and this is tragic. Somebody literally broke into their home saying, where is Nancy? And I strongly believe that we all, each one of us, have to speak out against hate, we have to speak out against violence, obviously, and speak to our better selves. There is absolutely room and it is important to have public discourse when there are disagreements about policy. But what we've been seeing recently is so base in terms of the -- reducing it down to something that I think is beneath the dignity and intelligence of the American people.


BLITZER: Vice President Harris speaking out just moments ago. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, how serious are Paul Pelosi's injuries and what is his recovery timeline looking like? We'll discuss with Dr. Sanjay Gupta when we come back.


[18:40:00] BLITZER: Right now, we want to get an expert opinion on what the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, is going through after he was hit with a hammer during a break-in to their San Francisco home. The speaker reporting he is expected to make a full recovery.

CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining us right now. Sanjay, you are a neurosurgeon. What does that statement tell you about how serious Paul Pelosi's injuries are?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they said it was a successful operation to repair a skull fracture and also injuries to his right arm and both of his hands, which are particularly defensive injuries when someone is trying to defend themselves, for example. The concern obviously about the skull fracture to the head, that is the biggest concern, really, and I am sure they wanted to evaluate where exactly on his head the fracture occurred. There are some parts of the skull are thinner than other parts of the skull. There is -- you know, what kind of hammer was it, what kind of force.

We had a pretty good idea he was going to recover well from this because even before the operation, the doctors said they expected a full recovery. We know that at the scene he was struggling with his assailant. So, he had not, you know, been rendered unconscious. We know the speaker was able to speak to her husband before the operation, so those are all good signs.

So repairing that fracture -- a lot of times, a fracture can be depressed, sort of pushing inward towards the brain and that's why it needs to be repaired, Wolf. Again, based on the statement, it sounds like the operation went well. He should have a pretty rapid recovery. He is 82 years old, so that may slow things down a bit but it sounds like he's otherwise healthy, and within a couple of days usually should have a pretty good recovery.

BLITZER: Let's hope. We wish him all a very speedy recovery. Sanjay, thank you very, very much.

The breaking news here in THE SITUATION ROOM continues next with more on the disturbing new information emerging tonight about the man now charged with attempted murder in the vicious attack on the husband of the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi.



BLITZER: The violent attack today against the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband came just hours before federal officials here in Washington warned of the extremist threat to the upcoming midterm elections.

Conservative lawyer and contributing columnist for "The Washington Post", George Conway, is joining us right now. George, thanks very much for coming in, and I'm anxious to get your

thoughts. This is this a turning point in the wake of the January 6th insurrection?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: I wish it were. I wish people would pay more attention to what happened on January 6th and the underlying causes like the big lie of this. I'm afraid if January 6th itself hasn't caused as much consternation among some segments of the public that it should have, I am not sure that this one event, tragic and horrible as it was, is going to add to it.

I fear that some of the rhetoric is still not going to be tamped down. I fear that the former president, who is probably going to run for re- election, if not only because of his own ego, but because he is seeking to avoid criminal liability, and he's -- you know, he is going to actually -- he is going to try to use fomenting violence as a form of defense.

BLITZER: So, you think this kind of violence is going to continue?

CONWAY: I am fearful that it will. And that's the thing that frightens me most about this. I don't know that this one incident, again, as terrible as it was and it affected the spouse of such a high official, is going to do it. I just think that I worry that we're going -- we're facing an era where we're going to see more of this.

I'm very disturbed that people on the conservative side aren't calling this out enough the way, you know, Mike Pence did today.


We haven't heard anything from President Trump. We haven't heard anything from a lot of people on the conservative side.

And I think part of the reason is that they're trying to pretend that this has nothing to do with the conspiracy theories that have advanced among their voters. And, again, this person, in your program earlier pointed out that he wasn't on anybody's database. Well, how many more people are there like him who they're posting conspiracy theories online, and some of the stuff -- if I saw some of the material that was attributed to him, if it was correctly attributed to him, was extremely anti-Semitic.

How many more people like this who are pushing conspiracy theories about vaccines, conspiracy theories about January 6th? How many more are there like that, and if in the next two years if the former president runs and takes the position that people are understandably upset because he's being persecuted for, you know, hiding documents at Mar-a-Lago, I fear that we're going to see more of this. And I'm not sure we're ready for it.

BLITZER: So what more can be done to stop this so-called normalization of political violence here in the United States?

CONWAY: Ii mean, I think the people -- I think people throughout the political spectrum have to speak out. I congratulate former vice president pence for his words today. I think more has to be said about it, and more has to be -- we have to be -- we have to stop the rhetoric and the demonization of people just because we oppose them or people oppose them who oppose their views. And we have to really work harder to disseminate truth.

BLITZER: What does Trump's silence, at least so far on this day, say to you?

CONWAY: I don't know. He may say something later. I don't know. I think it would fit a former president to immediately call this out. But it's not -- you know, it's hard to know that he'd be sincere about it.

BLITZER: George Conway, thanks very much for coming in. I appreciate it very much. We'll have more news right after this.



BLITZER: There's a lot of concern and even fear tonight here in Washington after the attack on the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband at their home in California.

CNN's chief political correspondent the co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION", Dana Bash, is here with us.

Dana, I know you've covered Congress and covered Pelosi extensively over the years. What's your reaction to what happened?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's absolutely horrible. It's almost hard to put into words the notion of somebody breaking into her house and using a hammer at the head of her husband, looking for her.

And especially covering her for as long as I have, knowing that, yes, of course especially as speaker she has to have security. But she -- and she says this to her members as well -- they want to have access to their constituents. And so, finding that balance is really hard. But when you feel like you're putting your family members in danger, which is not her fault what happened, it's a whole different ball game, it's absolutely horrible, and of course we all wish him well.

BLITZER: Yeah, we wish him a speedy, speedy recovery. Let's talk about this special interview you have that's going to be airing this weekend with Doug Emhoff, the country's second gentleman, as he's called.

Tell us a little bit about this.

BASH: Well, there are a lot of firsts with the second couple. It is that he's the first man, but also he's the first Jewish person to be in this role. And they at the Naval Observatory they put up a mezuzah, it's a commandment of god to have it at the gates of your house. Have you been the victim of anti-Semitism? Listen to our discussion.


Have you been the victim of anti-Semitism?

DOUG EMHOFF, SECOND GENTLEMAN OF THE UNITED STATES: It's interesting. I have been around when people don't realize I'm Jewish. A lot of times in the business, in my business career I'll be in a room and people are having their drinks and talking and someone will make an anti-Semitic remark not realizing that I'm Jewish.

BASH: And what do you do?

EMHOFF: And sometimes I would say something. Sometimes I should've and I didn't, depending on the circumstance. And I look back now, and I'm mad still. There are a few moments that I wish I would have said something.

But you're young, you're in the business world, and you just don't know how to react. That's why I'm always going to speak out and live the way I'm living right now.


BASH: And he is speaking out. We spoke just before the whole Kanye West controversy and of course all of the hate that followed that, the unfurling of that banner over the 405 freeway in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles. He put out a statement saying that hate has no room in this country.

But this is one aspect of an hour where we take a tour of the grounds of the Naval Observatory and talk a lot about how he's trying to create this role, which has never existed before, wolf.

BLITZER: We're really grateful for you, Dana, for doing this interview. Thank you very, very much.

BASH: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: And to our viewers, you can watch Dana's full exclusive interview with the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, tomorrow 8:00 p.m. Eastern. And don't forget to tune into "STATE OF THE UNION", 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Sunday. Dana will be anchoring this weekend.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.