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The Situation Room
New Migrant Crisis Feared As COVID-Era Immigration Rules End Tonight; Debt Limit Talks Postponed, Biden And Top Lawmakers Won't Meet Tomorrow; Potential GPO Rival On Trump's Lie-Filled Town Hall Performance; Britain Sends "Storm Shadow" Cruise Missiles To Ukraine; Elon Musk Says He's Stepping Down As CEO Of Twitter. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired May 11, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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THE SITUATION ROOM starts with Wolf Blitzer right now.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, fears of an exploding new crisis at the southern border as migrants surge to the United States with just hours to go before Title 42 immigration restrictions expire. The White House is taking unprecedented measures as federal and local officials are preparing for the worst.
Also this hour, high-stakes debt limit negotiations between President Biden and congressional leaders have been called off for tomorrow. We're going to tell you what we're learning about the postponement as the country is another day closer to a potential default.
And new Republican reaction in Donald Trump's controversial positions and brazen lies at CNN's town hall in New Hampshire. The state's governor, a Republican, Chris Sununu, weighs in as a prominent Trump critic and a potential 2024 rival.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
The countdown is on at the southern border, the Trump-era immigration policy known as Title 42 ends in less than six hours.
We have correspondents on both sides of the border. Rosa Flores is in Texas. David culver is in Mexico. Rosa, you have been following the story closely. First of all, what are U.S. officials bracing for in the hours tonight?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, expectations are mixed. Some officials are saying that they are expecting a spike in migrant encounters and the U.S. Border Patrol chief says that the surge and the spike is now that it's been happening for the past five to six days and that he is not expecting a spike of 17,000 or 18,000 migrant encounters daily. But the Biden administration has been preparing for this for more than a year now. They have implemented a variety of policies, the app, there is various parole policies.
Now, there is a lot of minutia. I will boil it down to this. There are a lot of policies that the Biden administration has launched that what they do is they provide legal pathways for migrants to enter into the United States. But here is the thing, it also has built in legal consequences for these migrants. And DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says that the message is very simple.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I want to be very clear. Our borders are not open. People who cross our border unlawfully and without a legal basis to remain will be promptly processed and removed.
We have done all we can with the resources that we have and within the system that we are operating under. It is going to take a period of time for our approach to actually gain traction and show results. And I have been very clear about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: So, just how long is it going to take for the administration to see the results of these policies? It's unclear, Wolf. But I can tell you this. According to a source, about 155,000 migrants are waiting in Northern Mexican states that border the United States to enter the United States, and on top of that, according to this source who is familiar with federal estimates, there are hundreds of thousands more migrants in Southern Mexico and Central America. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Rosa, stand by. I want to go to David Culver right now. David, you are in Mexico for us directly across the border from Rosa. What are you seeing there?
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf, Rosa is on the other side of that border wall behind me. She pointed out one thing that I want to make reference to, and that is the hundreds of thousands that are in Southern Mexico coming to places like Ciudad Juarez, where we are in Northern Mexico. A lot are coming aboard what's known as La Bestia. It's a freight train.
We actually were on that just in the past 24 hours. I want to show you some of these images, riding along with some of the migrants who make what is a very treacherous, a very long journey. We were on it for an hour. Those folks are on it for days. One family we spoke with on 12 days worth of traveling on seven different trains. It's a lot. And that's what they are putting up with really little water and resources to keep them going and sustain them through that very long journey.
And then once they get here, a lot of them ultimately try to cross. So, we come back at here live, you can see before in the past day or so we saw big groups of migrants fanned out all along what is the Texas side of the border, though not yet across the border wall. What has changed in the past hour or so is we started to see grouping of different migrants.
And you can see families in one group. We actually have a drone up above, too. This might give you a better vantage point, we can show you that live. And you will notice there are families in one group and then you have got single men in another.
And what we have seen is some processing, so it seems, of families, and you will notice perhaps in this drone shot a big dumpster with a lot of personal items that belong to families and individuals who have dropped off their backpacks, their coats. They have shed things that they cannot take with them to the other side.
And so that is an indication that they are being processed, but so far, we have only seen, Wolf, the families being processed and the individuals, mostly the men, who are in another group, have not yet been put through into some of the vans and then taken across over.
So we are watching that closely to see how it might change here, but a lot of movement, and you can even see this has changed in the past day, Wolf. Right behind me, you have got Texas National Guard. They are armed. They are a lot closer to that barbed wire. Before in the past few days, we saw many migrants who would just go right under and join the rest of them. Now, that is no longer being allowed. You have got Texas National Guard and Texas State Troopers, so law enforcement that are keeping those migrants from continuing to continue over into the U.S. side. So, for now they have made a clear presence they are not allowing more to be joining the rest of the group and get processed.
BLITZER: All right. David Culver and Rosa Flores, guys, thank you very, very much.
I want to turn now to another very urgent problem, the threat that the United States may be just weeks away from a catastrophic default on the federal debt. A planned meeting tomorrow between President Biden and congressional leaders has now been postponed.
Jeremy Diamond is over at the White House for us. Jessica Dean is up on Capitol Hill. Jeremy, first to you, what's behind this delay?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, two sources familiar with the meetings tell me that they are making progress in these staff level negotiations, but that ultimately they feel like they need more time before they bring this back to the president and to the level of these congressional leaders.
Remember, when the president met with those congressional leaders on Tuesday, he said they would reconvene again on Friday, but now these sources tell me that there was a broad consensus between the White House and the congressional negotiators that they needed more time and that, ultimately, those negotiations between the president and the congressional leaders will be more productive if they postponed until early next week.
Now, I'm told in terms of what has been happening in these early stage negotiations that, really, this has been focused on trying to narrow the scope of the negotiations, to try and more clearly define the contours around where a deal can be achieved in terms of potential spending cuts going forward. As part of that, I'm told that the White House has been making very clear what they will not negotiate on.
And at the top of the list of the items that they are taking off the table is the president's landmark Inflation Reduction Act, which made historic investments in combating climate change that House Republicans have already targeted as part of their bill. Student debt forgiveness, Medicaid and SNAP benefits, I'm told, are also things that the White House considers as off the table here.
But, ultimately, there is a growing acknowledgement in the building behind me, Wolf, that they will need to accept spending cuts. They will need to come to some sort of agreement that results in the federal budget having less money over the next coming years. But the White House also wants to ensure that they don't find themselves right back here next year.
And so they are pushing for a debt ceiling increase that would last at least a year. But, again, as part of that, they are willing to entertain some kind of spending caps, but not spending caps that would last for ten years or something long-term like that. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Jeremy, stand by. I want to go to Jessica up on Capitol Hill. Jessica, what is the speaker, McCarthy, what is he saying about this?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we just heard from him a short time ago, Wolf, and then he outlined a lot of what we just heard from Jeremy, that staff members had been meeting, that they would not meet tomorrow and that they would meet next week. He thought it was a better use of everyone's time that the staff members continue to meet.
We also heard from some House GOP members today and they kind of outlined some contours of what they think may be places where they can potentially find a deal, that there were four key areas that they mapped out that could be places where they could potentially move forward, and those included permitting reform, unused COVID funds, work requirements and spending caps.
That was the direction they were looking in. And, in fact, one House GOP member, Garret Graves, said, look, you can call these meetings whatever you want. The fact is he believes these are negotiations, that that is what they are beginning. And Dusty Johnson, another GOP member, was quoted as saying that the last 48 hours has given him some reason for hope, Wolf.
Now, we do know that they met for about 2 hours and 15 minutes up here on the Hill today. These were staff members from the Senate, from the House and from the White House, and that they will again meet tomorrow. There is some hope there that they are at least continuing to meet. But here is Speaker McCarthy. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The staff has met the last two days. We think it's productive for the staff to meet again. I have not seen from there a seriousness of the White House that they want to deal. It seems like they want to default more than they want to deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: So, again, Wolf, look, it's worth underscoring there is a long way to go here. The key thing to know is they are continuing to meet, but they are still pretty far apart and there is a lot of work to be done. A reminder for everyone, the deadline, June 1st.
BLITZER: Stand by. I want to go back to Jeremy over at the White House. What's on the table, Jeremy, potentially for the White House? What are you hearing?
DIAMOND: Well, what's interesting, Wolf, is that there is some overlap between what you just heard from Jessica there in terms of what House Republicans are looking for, permitting reform, although Democrats and Republicans seems to have a bit of a different definition of what exactly that entails, it is something that the White House is interested in having a conversation about.
There are also -- you know, the president said earlier this week that clawing back some of those unspent COVID funds is certainly something that he would have on the table in terms of potential areas of cuts. They've also talked about trying to expand Medicare's ability to negotiate drug prices. That could also result in more savings for the federal government.
But what's really interesting here, Wolf, overall is that, look, the president is still maintaining this line that he will not negotiate over defaults. He will not negotiate over the debt ceiling. And yet, in parallel, we are seeing these very intense negotiations taking place over federal spending. And that is ultimately where a potential agreement could come here.
McCarthy is going to continue to say that he is negotiating over the debt ceiling, and as part of that, he is going to get spending cuts. The White House is going to be able to say that they negotiated purely over the federal budget, not the debt ceiling. But at the end of the day, if there is an agreement, it will be along the lines of the kind of the spending cuts that both sides are clearly looking at here. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Jeremy, thank you. Jeremy Diamond, Jessica Dean, guys, we will stay in touch with both of you.
Just ahead, I'll ask a key House Democrat about the migrant influx and the debt limit showdown as both issues weigh on White House right now. Congressman Adam Schiff joins us next right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: We're following late developments in the standoff over raising the federal debt limit. Talks that were expected to take place at the White House tomorrow have now been postponed.
We are joined by Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, he's a member of the House Judiciary Committee, he's also a candidate of the United States Senate from California right now. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
With a few weeks until a potential, God forbid, default of the nation's debt, how concerned are you to hear tomorrow's planned meeting between President Biden and the congressional leadership has now been pushed back?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, I'm mostly concerned with the Republicans that continue to insist that they will default on the debt if they don't get the draconian budget that they want. They are more than content to have the debt ceiling raised while Trump was president. They weren't threatening to derail the economy at that time. But now they want to use this as a big bludgeon and their continued insistence on that really threatens from the perspective of Californians the social security checks of about 6 million Californians.
Their budget alone would threaten millions of visits to the V.A. in California by veterans. So, they're basically saying, pick your poison. We can cut veterans' benefits, we could cut food for people who are hungry or we are going to take the economy over the cliff and cost Californians and people around the country about 20,000 of their retirement savings.
BLITZER: Should Speaker McCarthy keep the House in session until this crisis is averted and should President Biden skip the G7 summit in Japan?
SCHIFF: Well, I think what McCarthy ought to do is schedule a vote on a clean debt ceiling bill. Democrats will support -- he can vote against it if he wants. I think there are enough reasonable, rational -- there are at least a dozen Republicans who will support that rather than go over the cliff. So, we don't really need to keep the Congress in session. We just need to be able to vote. He should schedule a vote on a clean debt ceiling and that would resolve that and, separately, we'll debate the budget. If he wants to shut down the government later over the budget, he has done that before, Republicans have done that before, I think it's a disaster for the country. But we shouldn't even flirt with defaulting on our debt.
BLITZER: Absolutely. That would be a disaster for the country, indeed.
Turning to the end of what's called Title 42, Congressman, the Biden administration is known for two years that this policy would eventually end. So, why are they just now scrambling to implement new measures to deal with this surge? SCHIFF: Well, there was some uncertainty in the courts about when it would come to an end. Now, I favored it to coming to an end. But I think that what they are trying to do in surging -- you know, surging folks from the guard to the border to help with ministerial tasks, not with law enforcement, will provide additional resources.
We are also going to have to surge resources to some of these communities along border that, for a long time, have been, you know, making their shelter and food and other humanitarian supplies available to migrants. These communities will also need help. And we ought to be treating migrants, you know, which, I think, warm hearts because of what they have gone through to get there, I don't think we should be treating them like criminals.
So, it's a big task. It's been big for the last couple of administrations. But what we need most of all is a comprehensive approach to our immigration policy that reflects the values of the country and that we have been pushing as Democrats for a long time, but we haven't found a willing partner in the GOP.
BLITZER: House Republicans did just pass a border security bill that would restart construction of the border wall and reinstate Trump's Remain in Mexico policy.
Does that speak to how far apart each party is right now to addressing the clearly broken immigration system?
SCHIFF: It really does. And we have come a long way since George W. Bush was president when he supported a comprehensive immigration solution to now where the GOP, they view essentially a crisis at the border as a political gift that never stops giving to them. So, they haven't shown any interest in really solving this. Their border plan would just go back to the Trump-era of trying to build a wall, trying to separate kids from their families, trying to turn people who are fleeing to this country because it's unsafe for them at home into criminals. This is certainly not the answer. But it's the only answer they have been giving now for years.
I do wish there was some good faith like there was back in the days of George W. Bush and a realization that the system is broken. It's going to take both parties to fix it. And I do think that Democrats, while we control both Houses and the presidency, need to invest the political capital to get this done as well. But right now, as the government is divided, it will take both parties to fix this.
BLITZER: Congressman Adam Schiff, thanks so much for joining us.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, authorities in New York are preparing to arrest the former U.S. Marine who held a man in a chokehold on the subway that resulted in his death. We have details just ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:25:00]
BLITZER: The former U.S. Marine who held a man in a deadly chokehold on the subway is expected to be arrested in New York tomorrow.
Our Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller is following the story for us. John, what are you learning from your sources about the charges this former Marine is facing and when he is expected to turn himself in?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: He is expected to turn himself in to police tomorrow morning and then be brought over to the courthouse for arraignment. He is going to be charged with manslaughter in the second-degree under New York State law.
And what that means is, under New York State law, a person is guilty of manslaughter in the second-degree when that person recklessly causes the death of another. Recklessly being the operative word, that means engages in conduct that creates or contributes a substantial and unjustifiable risk to another person, that another person's death will occur.
So, this is going to be something where he will be charged tomorrow and then within five days, that has to go to a grand jury of 23 citizens who will then take the next step and decide whether or not to indict.
BLITZER: Interesting. John, stay with us. I also want to bring in our legal experts, including Elliott Williams. What kind of calculations was the Manhattan district attorney making to determine how to charge this case, Elliott? What do you think?
ELLIOTT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, look, Wolf, it was ruled a homicide right off the bat. That's where one person causes the death of another. The question is was it, for lack of a better term, justified in some way or was there some defense that takes away from the homicide that makes it not a crime you can charge.
Now, back to John Miller's point a moment ago about what constitutes manslaughter, it's when someone is aware of and consciously disregards a risk to another person. So, the calculus is, number one, what happened prior to the video that we've all seen and what was the scene that led up to this? Number two, what was going on sort of in the circumstances around involving other people and so on?
What jurors and prosecutors are going to have to assess here is the reasonableness, and that's a word out of the New York State law, of the actions in taking someone's life. Was this simply an act of self- defense or was this such gross negligence that ought to be -- ought to lead to a manslaughter conviction. So, that's what we will be seeing between now and whether this goes to trial.
BLITZER: Interesting. Areva Martin is with us as well. Areva, based on the evidence you have seen, at least so far, do you agree with this charge of manslaughter in the second-degree? AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY AND LEGAL AFFAIRS COMMENTATOR: Absolutely, Wolf. From the reports that have been put out to date, this man, Jordan Neely, who was killed by this chokehold, was not physically assaulting or, in some estimation, threatening Daniel Penny. Now, clearly, he was on the subway. Some say he was asking for food, some say he was asking for water. He may have been using loud language. He may have been acting what some say erratically, but there is no evidence to-date that's been published that suggests that he was dangerous in a physical way or that he physically assaulted Daniel Penny. Other witnesses say they walked away. They moved away.
So, when you think about the reasonableness of a conduct of this Marine, this 24-year-old Marine, I think there are some serious questions about whether he could have just walked away. Did he have other choices? Could he have removed himself from the situation rather than using this chokehold, a chokehold we know that has been outlawed by police departments, including in New York City?
And I have a real concern, Wolf, about the way this case is being reported. So much evidence -- not evidence, so much information about Jordan Neely, his mental health issue, his criminal background, but not very much information being told about Daniel Penny. It's almost as if Daniel Penny had this information when he made the decision to put Jordan in the chokehold, and we know he did not. So, they are demonizing Jordan in a way that's really disturbing.
BLITZER: And it's clear, John -- I want to go back to John Miller -- we don't know what exactly happened before this chokehold began. What kind of factors need to be taken into account to determine whether the suspect actually acted in self-defense?
MILLER: Well, when you look at this video, it's very disturbing. Because what you're watching is the slow motion death of another human being at the hands of the man who intervenes here. But what it doesn't tell you is what occurred before that. So, witnesses will testify in the grand jury that Mr. Neely entered the car. He was saying -- he was yelling, according to the witnesses' statements to police, I don't mind going to jail, I don't care if I do life, I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, he takes off his jacket at some point and throws it on the ground and then balls his hands into fists, according to the reports that were taken by police from the less than a dozen people that were in that train car. And according to the statements of Daniel Penny, he says, when I saw him ball his fists up, I thought he was going to hit somebody and I sought intervene.
I mean, I think Elliott's point and Areva's point is the grand jury or a petty jury is going to have to decide what was going through his mind and did he intend to kill this man or did he have reckless regard to the idea that this sustained chokehold was going to lead to his death. One of the factors you will hear about in this case from a defense, as it goes forward, is that that's how he was trained as a Marine to knock someone out, not cause their death, which is documented in the training material.
But this is going to be a complicated and controversial case that's going to inflame a lot of passions on all sides.
BLITZER: Elliott, what do you think?
WILLIAMS: Yes. I mean, I think a relevant piece of evidence that is going to come up here is the fact that I don't believe, based on what has been reported thus far, that the two men had any interactions immediately prior to the chokehold being applied. It will be one thing if there had been a scuffle or a fight or some -- you know, I am going to threaten you -- the victim says I am going to threaten people, I'm going to punch somebody out here and then the chokehold is applied.
It appears, again, this is just based on what is publicly reported, this kind of stuff John was talking about, the fists get balled up and then Neely just came from behind and put the chokehold on. That seems at this point to poke holes in the self-defense argument. But, again, all we've seen here is what appears to be a three-minute video of a seven-minute confrontation, based on some estimates. So, there is still more evidence that needs to be filled in. But that -- the self- defense argument is going to be hard one to get over just given the length of time that this transpired.
BLITZER: Elliott Williams, Areva Martin, John Miller, guys, thank you very much.
Coming up, the heated reaction to Donald Trump's performance at CNN's town hall in New Hampshire and his repeated refusal to tell the truth. I'll speak with an outspoken GOP critic of the former president, the New Hampshire governor, Chris Sununu, that's coming up.
BLITZER: Donald Trump has given Americans and indeed the world a vivid preview of his 2024 presidential campaign and potential, potential return to the White House. His defiant lie-filled performance at CNN's town hall in New Hampshire is stirring up lots of controversy as Trump supporters clearly cheer him on.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny has a wrap of all the key moments.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Former Donald Trump picked up where he left off, lying about the 2020 election.
TRUMP: That was a rigged election and it's a shame that we had to go through it.
ZELENY: Trump made clear the 2024 presidential bid would follow the same script of his two previous campaigns, presenting himself as a defiant messenger unburdened by facts and unwilling to move on.
SCOTT DUSTIN, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: Will you suspend polarizing talk of election fraud during your run for president? TRUMP: Yes, unless I see election fraud. If I see election fraud, I think I have an obligation to say it.
ZELENY: He falsely said Vice President Mike Pence could have acted to overturn election results as the vote was certified on January 6th. Trump said he did not owe Pence an apology for failing to call off supporters, who threatened his life as they stormed the building.
TRUMP: No, because he did something wrong. He should have put the votes back to the state legislatures, and I think we would have had different outcome.
WAYNE BEYER, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: Will you pardon the January 6th rioters who were convicted of federal offenses?
TRUMP: I am inclined to pardon many of them, I can't say for every single one, because a couple of them probably they got out of control.
ZELENY: The audience of Republican voters at Saint Anselm College applauded for much of the night, even as Trump he belittled and demeaned former magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll, a day of after a New York jury found him liable of sexually abusing and defaming her.
TRUMP: I have no idea who the hell -- she's a whack job.
ZELENY: Pressed by Kaitlan Collins about whether the verdict would deter women from voting for him, he said this.
TRUMP: No, I don't think so.
ZELENY: Seven months before voting begins in the Republican presidential primary, Trump is leading the field, even as he faces multiple legal challenges over interfering in the 2020 election and more. He also brushed aside questions about another probe involving classified documents taken to Mar-a-Lago.
COLLINS: Did you ever show those classified documents to anyone?
TRUMP: Not really. I would have the right to. By the way, they were declassified --
COLLINS: What do you mean, not really?
TRUMP: Not that I can think of.
ZELENY: That, of course, remains an open question and a key part of a federal investigation.
Trump took personal credit for the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe versus Wade, citing his three appointments to the high court.
TRUMP: And I was very honored to do it.
ZELENY: But he repeatedly dodged questions about whether he would sign a federal abortion ban. TRUMP: I'm looking at a solution that is going to work, a very complex issue for the country. You have people on both sides of an issue.
ZELENY: On foreign policy, Trump once again showed his affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, declining to call for his punishment for leading the invasion of Ukraine.
TRUMP: If you say he's a war criminal, it's got to be a lot tougher to make a deal to get this thing stopped.
ZELENY: He also declined to say who he wants to prevail in the war, despite the U.S. and allies investing billions to help Ukraine defeat Russia.
COLLINS: Do you want Ukraine to win this war?
TRUMP: I don't think in terms of winning and losing. I think in terms of getting it settled so we stop killing all these people.
ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Washington.
BLITZER: And joining us now, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu. Governor, welcome to Washington.
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): Thank you.
BLITZER: Welcome to THE SITUATION ROOM.
SUNUNU: It's exciting. There is always something going on in Washington. Being with Wolf Blitzer is the place to be.
BLITZER: Governor, thanks so much for joining us. As you know, the former president, former President Trump, he spoke directly to New Hampshire voters in the CNN town hall last night. What does it say to you that he is still clearly the Republican presidential frontrunner?
SUNUNU: Well, he is the former president and the real race has not really picked up yet. You saw a lot of candidates that might get into the race. The first debate won't even really happen until the end of August. So, there is a lot to play out. And even in a place like New Hampshire, I mean, I'll say that two-thirds to three quarters of the voters won't even make up their minds until about three weeks before the first in the nation primary, so a lot to play out, a lot of politics to go.
Obviously, he's kind of taking advantage of his opportunity with his name I.D., all his controversies to stay on the headlines before other candidates get in and finally he's starts throwing in and giving punches, which is what has to happen and, hopefully, a cordial manner and in a respectful manner. But those debate stages are going to be very important. BLITZER: What message did it send last night that he was mocking E. Jean Carroll's rape allegation against him?
SUNUNU: Awful. Look, and, I get it, that room was kind of full of a lot of his supporters and I was kind of embarrassed when they were giggling at that. But that's exactly what's wrong with kind of going back to a former President Trump who is only about his issues, who is only constantly trying to defend himself and his drama, if you will. Everyone is tired of the drama, Republicans and Democrats. Everyone is just tired of the drama. They want leaders that get stuff down.
And I think that's the opportunity that Republicans will be able to show. And at the end of the day, whether you support the president, former president, or not, he can't win in November of '24. The math doesn't work out any which way. And you can govern if you don't win. So, we just have to have party to move on.
BLITZER: So, what are you saying? If he is the Republican presidential nominee again and he is running against President Biden, he can't win?
SUNUNU: Not only will he not win, he will drag the rest of the ticket down. Republicans will lose U.S. Senate seats, like we did in '22. We'll lose the House seats like we did in 2020. So, his message and his brand has just not been successful for the Republican Party. It drags us all down with him. So, there's opportunity to change it and I think we will take advantage.
BLITZER: So, tell us a little bit more why you are so confident Trump would lose, he couldn't win a general election again?
SUNUNU: Oh boy. I mean, well, he lost in 2020. If we had these outstanding wins with his candidates and his message in '22, I'd say, you know that, maybe America is looking for this leadership to come back, but they are not. I mean, we took the losses. So, when we lose House seats in '18, lose everything in '20, lose the Senate in '22, I am a Republican, I think we should have 53, 54 U.S. senators right now. We are lucky to have 49. That is a losing way. So, if we haven't learned the first three times with him on top of the ticket of losing, I hope we don't stand for a fourth.
BLITZER: On the substantive issues that did come up, whether it was Ukraine or the debt, you know, debt ceiling, substantive issues like that, what did you think of his answers?
SUNUNU: Dodgy, right? So, he wasn't clear. He wasn't confident. He was dodging around it. If anything, as a candidate, especially if you're going stand on the national stage, you've got to be transparent. You've got to know where you are, be clear with your answers, be able to stand behind them. Maybe it's not what the base wants to hear or what this side wants to hear, but just be yourself. Be genuine and --
BLITZER: And he refused to say whether he wants Ukraine or Russia to win that war. SUNUNU: Crazy. Ukraine has to win the war. We have to back Ukraine. Ukraine should win. We have never had a better opportunity to kind of put our foot down on that tin can army of Russia. And not only do that, but show our allies we'll stand strong with them, show our enemies that we're resolved if they try to push against us. That world peace that we had was driven by America's strength. We have to be clear and decisive with both our allies and enemies.
BLITZER: And you've said that pretty soon, your words, pretty soon, you are going to decide whether or not to run for the Republican presidential nomination. What does pretty soon mean?
SUNUNU: Probably in the next month or so. Look, as soon as I really make a firm decision, I will say it. I don't have it in me to be coy. I don't really have my patience for that. So, I think within the next month, all the candidates really have to decide logistically. You can't wait. You need to get ballot access and all those sort of things to get on the debate stage. My family is behind it. We see a clear path to doing this and being successful and victorious.
But, you know, part of my mission has also been, okay, I want to make the party bigger. I want independents to get back on our team.
I want young voters to be excited to get back to with the Republican team and they have been disenfranchised for obvious reasons. So, I think there's an opportunity --
BLITZER: Did Trump's performance last night further encourage you to run for the Republican nomination?
SUNUNU: No, look, his performance last night was exactly what I thought I would be, right? It was weak. I think it's kind of wimpy.
It didn't have a lot of conviction. He was kind of angry, bitter, and overly defensive. That's not leadership. And we kind of knew that that's whether it was going to be.
So, it didn't really affect my decision. I don't -- would have -- I don't think it will affect other candidates' decisions. My guess is you will have eight, nine, 10 candidates in this race, kind of a full crowded stage early on.
BLITZER: So, it sounds like you're going to be one of them.
SUNUNU: We'll see, we'll see. I really have -- as soon as I know, you'll know. And I really -- I mean that quite sincerely. It's great to have all the support and a lot of folks want me to run.
But it's got to be not just the Chris Sununu show. It's got to be good for the party, you know, and right for New Hampshire.
BLITZER: Governor Sununu, good luck to you. Thanks very much for joining us.
SUNUNU: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, a significant new weapon for Ukraine. Why it could be a game changer for the long awaited counteroffensive against Russia.
BLITZER: Tonight, a significant new boost for Ukraine's fight against Russia first reported here on CNN. The United Kingdom sending long- range cruise missiles to Ukraine, just ahead of Kyiv's expected counteroffensive against Russia.
Our Brian Todd is digging deeper on the impact this potentially could have out there on the battlefield.
Brian, what are you learning?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've learned that these new British missiles can strike deep into the heart of Russian-held territory in Ukraine. But they were only delivered after the Ukrainians made an important promise to the British government.
TODD (voice-over): A senior U.S. military official tells CNN it's a game changer for Ukraine on the battlefield, the Storm Shadow cruise missile. CNN chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto reports Great Britain now delivered multiple Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine. A weapon that has the capability to strike deep into Russian-held territory in eastern Ukraine.
Jim Sciutto cites a Western official as saying Britain received assurances from the Ukrainian government that the missiles will only be used within Ukrainian sovereign territory, not inside Russia.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It's notable that U.K. officials said repeatedly they view Crimea as sovereign Ukrainian territory, illegally annexed by Russia. This leaves open the possibility that Ukrainian forces can use this not only to attack Russian forces in eastern Ukraine but also in Crimea, which Russia views as strategically important.
TODD: As this video from the manufacturer MBDA Missile System shows, the Storm Shadow is launched from the air, flies low to the ground, and it's range is what will make the difference for the Ukrainians. 155 miles, about triple the range of the missiles the Ukrainians have that were provided by the U.S.
What part of Russia's forces can Ukraine degrade with the new Storm Shadow?
THOMAS KARAKO, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: It's going to allow them to strike much deeper and to go after, especially fixed targets. Whether it be ammunition depots or runways or any kind of big instillation that the Russians have been able to operate with immunity.
TODD: The Storm Shadow doesn't complete Ukraine's wish list. The Ukrainians have long been asking the U.S. to provide the long range surface to surface Army Tactical Missile Systems, called by their acronym ATACMS, that have a range of 185 miles.
But analysts say the Storm Shadow has capabilities that the ATACMS system doesn't have.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Those capabilities include a GPS NAPA Viewer navigation capability, and the reason for that, it actually allows for more than efficient use of firepower and more effective targeting.
TODD (on camera): Now this isn't the first time that Britain has gone further than the U.S. in providing Ukraine with advanced weaponry and sometimes doing its sooner. Britain was the first ally to commit sending modern Western tanks to Ukraine, the Challenge 2 tanks before the U.S. announced it would send the M1 Abram tanks -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us, thank you very much.
Coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" right after THE SITUATION ROOM, the former CIA Director David Petraeus discusses the latest in Russia's war in Ukraine. That's coming up 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right after our program.
Up next here in THE SITUATION ROOM, Elon Musk says he's stepping down as the CEO of Twitter.
BLITZER: Tonight, a new tweet from Elon Musk announcing that he'll be stepping down as the chief executive of Twitter because he's hired a new CEO.
CNN senior media reporter Oliver Darcy is working the story for us.
Oliver, what are you learning about Musk's decision, and how does it fit into his controversial reign over the platform?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yeah, Wolf. Elon musk's controversial reign over Twitter is finally seemingly coming to an end. He just posted on twitter, excited to announce I hired a new CEO for X/Twitter. She will be starting in six weeks. My role will transition to executive chair and CTO overseeing products, software and sysops.
And, Wolf, this is not too surprising given that he did post that poll a few months ago, you'll remember, asking Twitter users to vote whether he should step down and they voted he should step down. He said he would find a new chief executive at some point. And it seems now that he has. This person, though, will be inheriting a platform in utter chaos.
During Elon Musk's few months as CEO, he has dissolved the board of directors at Twitter. Laid off most of the staff. Other staffers have quit in protest. He has eliminated verification system on Twitter, causing mayhem there.
He has assailed newsrooms causing organizations like NPR, for instance, to stop using the platform. He has alienated advertisers. Many advertisers have gone away. He's tried launching a subscription product with very limited success.
And so, this is all to say that the person who does come in as head of this company is going to have their work cut out for them -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Indeed this person will. She will.
Oliver Darcy, thank you very much.
Also tonight, for the first time, Israel is apologizing for the death of an Aljazeera journalist a year after she was killed during a military operation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGAN, IDF CHIEF SPOKESPERSON: We're very sorry of the death of the late Shireen Abu Akleh. She was a journalist, a very established journalist, and we want journalists to feel safe in Israel, especially in wartime and even if they criticize us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: A CNN investigation found Israeli forces intentionally targeted her. So far, no one has been charged or disciplined. Her family is calling for accountability.
And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNSitRoom.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.