Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Federal Appeals Court Freezes Trump Gag Order in Election Case; Israel Admits Airstrike on Ambulance Outside Gaza Hospital; CNN Confronts Rep. George Santos (R-NY) on Alleged Campaign Finance Fraud Scheme; Trump Children Tested as Former President's Business Faces Existential Threat in New York Civil Fraud Trial. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 03, 2023 - 18:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news. A federal appeals court just froze the gag order against Donald Trump in the election interference case in Washington. We're going to break down the decision and what it could mean for the former president as the criminal proceedings against him move forward.

Also tonight, Israel defends its airstrike on an ambulance in Gaza, claiming the vehicle was being used by a Hamas terrorist cell. New reaction coming into the disturbing scenes outside a hospital and the reported casualties.

And CNN confronts embattled Republican Congressman George Santos about an alleged campaign fraud scheme, the latest charge against him on top of a litany of lies. Stand by for that exclusive interview.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv, Israel, and you're in The Situation Room.

We begin this hour with the breaking news back in Washington, Donald Trump's gag order in the federal election interference case just put on hold.


CNN's Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is working this important story for us. Paula, tell us more about this ruling.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, here, the federal appeals court has temporarily frozen a gag order imposed on former President Trump here in Washington and they have fast-tracked an oral argument about whether this is constitutional and they'll hear those arguments on November 20th.

Now, this gag order was imposed by Judge Tanya Chutkan. She's the federal judge overseeing the election subversion case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith here in the district. And she imposed this gag order barring Trump from targeting witnesses in the case, members of the court staff and even the special counsel itself, the prosecutors working on this case.

And she imposed that gag order at the request of prosecutors but she did not limit his ability to talk about Washington D.C., the potential jury pool or the Justice Department, which prosecutors had also sought protections for those two groups.

But here, she has argued, she has said, look, I understand he has a First Amendment right but that must yield to the orderly administration of justice. And she said that she has to put on a trial she needs to protect members of her staff, people involved in this case just trying to do their jobs, and that is why she has imposed this gag order and she also declined to freeze it herself while these appeals play out.

The former president's lawyers, though, have argued that this is a violation of his First Amendment. They point to the fact that he is once again running for the White House and that what they describe as, quote, political speech deserves the highest protection.

But a three-judge panel will hear arguments on this issue in just a few weeks. This is a pretty fast track here, pretty quick move from this decision to freeze two oral arguments. Wolf, it appears that the court of appeals is mindful of the need to decide this issue quickly to keep this case moving along.

BLITZER: Paula, can the government appeal this ruling?

REID: Well, this is the appeals process. It will depend on what the appeals court ultimately decides. They here are going to hear arguments on November 20th. Then they will make a decision if either side does not like how that turns out, they can certainly appeal to the Supreme Court.

BLITZER: All right. Paula, stand by. We got more questions for you.

Also tonight, we're following another we're following another -- we're following new developments in another of Trump's cases, the civil fraud case in New York.

CNN's Kara Scannell is just outside the courthouse in Manhattan for us. Kara, tell us about Eric Trump's testimony today under oath and what we can expect from Donald Trump and Ivanka's testimony scheduled next week.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Eric Trump completed his testimony today. I was told he was on the stand for about four hours over the past two days. And the attorney general's office was really focusing in on these financial statements that are at the center of this lawsuit, Eric Trump testifying that he relied on accountants and lawyers. And when they gave him comfort that the statements were, quote, perfect, he said he was happy to sign off on them. He also said he wouldn't sign something that was inaccurate. And just a reminder, the judge has already found that these statements are fraudulent.

Now, outside the courthouse, Eric Trump was defiant, also standing by his testimony and attacking the attorney general's investigation. Take a listen.


ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: The last couple days have gone great. You know why they've gone great? Because we haven't done a damn thing wrong. And they dragged Don and I into it as collateral damage. You know why? Because if you can line up as many Trumps as you possibly can, she can sit in court for an extra couple of days, and then she can send fundraising emails every single day to her donor base saying, I'm going after Trump.


SCANNELL: Now, Donald Trump will be on the stand on Monday. He's expected to sit for a full day of questioning under oath by the attorney general's office. He'll be sitting just inches from the judge, who he has attacked on social media. And the attorney general is likely to be in the courtroom. She has attended every court date that the former president has been in.

Once his testimony wraps, then it will be Ivanka Trump's turn. She stopped her effort to block her testimony, dropping her appeal, so she will be testifying on Wednesday.

After that, the New York Attorney General's Office is expected to rest their case, and then it will be Donald Trump's turn to see if he's going to put on any defense. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Kara, thank you, Kara Scannell of New York for us, I appreciate it.

Paula Reid is still with us. I also want to bring in former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers, along with former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Elie Honig. To all of you, thanks very much for joining us.

Elie, let me start with you. What's your reaction to this freeze? Are you surprised?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, I've never seen anything quite like this, I have to say. And just so people can sort of follow the history here quickly, Judge Chutkan imposed the gag order first. But then she put it on hold to give Donald Trump's team a chance to appeal it. However, Donald Trump then pretty much immediately violated it while it was on hold.

And so Judge Chutkan said, okay, I'm unfreezing it, I'm putting the gag order back in place.


And what the appeals court has now done has said, hold on, we're going to put it on hold.

So, as we sit here a few minutes after 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time, the gag order is on hold, but I take two lessons out of this. First of all, the appeals court is taking Donald Trump's First Amendment argument seriously. They're going to hear him out. But second of all, they've signaled to Donald Trump, you're on a very short leash here. We intend to move very, very quickly. So, we'll have to wait and see what the appeals court does in the next couple of days. BLITZER: Important point. Jennifer Rodgers, as you know, Trump has argued that this gag order violated his First Amendment rights. And as Elie just said, it looks like the appeals court is taking that argument seriously, right?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: They are. There are some thorny issues here, Wolf. I mean, we never before have had a presidential candidate under indictment making comments about his rival and his rival's Justice Department who's prosecuting him.

So, they really are uncharted territory here, which is why I think the appellate court does want to take its time and it makes sense for them to freeze the gag order while they do so, so that Trump can't ultimately say he was somehow harmed by this.

I think, though, and Elie was hinting at this, it would be really foolhardy, I think, of Trump to violate the gag order that isn't currently in place, but to violate the terms of it now. It would give the special counsel's office a lot of ammunition to say to the appeal court, listen, this is why we need this. Look at what he's saying and look at the potential impact on all the parties here.

BLITZER: Let me go back to Paula while I have you, Paula. This is some rare good news for Trump and his many, many legal problems that we all know about. What does this order mean for the case? What do you think?

REID: Well, for the time being, he is not restricted in his ability to discuss prosecutors, witnesses and court staff, though, as our colleague just noted, find not a good idea to do that right now, right before this goes before the appellate court, but we have seen, when gag order have been lifted in the past, he sometimes takes the opportunity to really play at the edges of what he is allowed to do.

All defendants have certain restrictions. You are not supposed to intimidate witnesses, right? And it's unheard of to attack prosecutors or attack the judge, so an extraordinary circumstance here. His team, though, at least wanted to be heard by the appellate court, and potentially they could try to appeal this all the way to the Supreme Court, depending how this goes, on this issue of political speech and the potential infringement on his First Amendment.

That is the argument that they are making, and they will at least be heard before this three-judge panel. It's unclear, though, which way this will go.

BLITZER: Elie, this gag order, as you know, is put in place because Trump was accused of actually threatening people. Does that mean he could go back to doing that now, even if it's not advisable?

HONIG: Boy, I would advise strongly against that. Technically, he can now comment on the witnesses. But as Jennifer said, if he does that, this court of appeals might very well say, okay, you've pushed us here, we're going to re-institute it.

And just to be clear, Wolf, when Judge Chutkan gave Trump's team the courtesy of putting it on hold a few days ago, within hours, Trump was out on social media attacking Mark Meadows, attacking Bill Barr, both of whom are likely to be crucial witnesses in this case. It would have violated the gag order had Judge Chutkan not put it on hold.

So, both levels of courts here are giving Trump some leeway, but it would be very ill-advised to continue violating that.

BLITZER: Jennifer, do you expect that this gag order will ultimately come back at least in some form?

RODGERS: I'm sorry, Wolf, I missed the question.

BLITZER: Do you think this gag order will eventually come back at least in some form?

RODGERS: I do. I think particularly the part about attacking witnesses is bulletproof. I don't think the appellate court will overturn that. There could be some changes on the margins about commenting on the special counsel's office, but I do think certainly at least part of it, the witness part is definitely going to stay in place once the appellate court has a chance to hear it thoroughly.

BLITZER: I'm wondering, Paula, how unusual is this move from the appeals court?

REID: Well, it's not uncommon for them to agree, to hear a dispute like this. We are, as we are so often with former President Trump, just in an extraordinary situation. And the question of the limits of free speech for a criminal defendant who's also a leading candidate for the White House, I mean, that's something that's just never been contemplated by the courts before.

So, it's not surprising that this appellate court is willing to take up this case, hear arguments on both sides and render a decision, give some clarity, because this is likely an issue that could come up again in this case and potentially in other cases. Because of course, in the state level, he's also under a gag order in New York, but he's also facing another federal prosecution in Florida with a special counsel.


It's possible this could come up there. So, it would be good to get maybe some clarity, at least from this federal court, and possibly, possibly the Supreme Court on this.

BLITZER: All right. We shall see. Paula, Jennifer and Elie, guys, thank you very, very much.

Just ahead, there's more news we're following, an ambulance outside of a Gaza hospital hit by an Israeli airstrike, this as Israeli troops surround Gaza City right now.

And a CNN exclusive interview with embattled Republican Congressman George Santos. What he has to say about his political future.

Lots of news today. Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: We're back with breaking news here in the Middle East. The Israeli military acknowledging that its war against Hamas has led it to strike another controversial target, an ambulance outside of Gaza Hospital. A warning, some of the scenes from this attack are graphic.

Let's go to CNN's Nic Robertson. He is joining us from Sderot, in Israel, not far from Gaza.


He's following this breaking story for us. Nic, what more are we learning about this strike?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the hospital is saying -- Al-Shifa Hospital officials there are saying that 15 people were killed and 50 injured in this strike.

And the International Committee for the Red Cross say they are aware that the hospital was organizing a convoy of ambulances for a medical evacuation from the hospital in the north of Gaza there to the south of Gaza, where the IDF has said that there is a safe humanitarian zone. The Red Cross weren't actually involved with the convoy but they were aware that it was being established and it was leaving the hospital.

And what the IDF say is, look, we had intelligence that there were IDF -- rather Hamas operatives and Hamas weapons being smuggled out on those ambulances. And they say that's why they targeted that particular convoy. So, it was, again, intelligence leading to a specific targeted strike. But once again, as we've seen, civilian casualties as a result, the total now in Gaza, according to the Hamas- led Ministry of Health officials, there is more than 9,000 civilian deaths and more than 22,000 civilian casualties.

So, the IDF very clear this was specifically targeting Hamas who were hiding out, they say, in one of those ambulances, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Nic Robertson reporting from Sderot, in Israel, thanks very much.

I want to go to Israel's northern front right now heightened alert, I'm told, the northern front, amid a new warning from Hezbollah about potentially a wider Middle East war.

CNN's Jim Sciutto is joining us from northern Israel right now, not far from Lebanon. Jim, the leader of Hezbollah spoke publicly today for the first time since the Hamas attack on Israel. What did we learn today about that group's intentions?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Nasrallah said that he is watching Hamas closely. He praised the October 7th attacks. And he said it is possible that another front could open up, that Hezbollah could enter this war at some point. But he did not order his forces into the breach, as it were, to open up a second front here.

That had been the fear. There had been a great deal of anticipation here in the north. I know that U.S. and Israeli military officials were watching his words very closely. And as you mentioned, Northern Israel was on a heightened state of alert in advance of his speech because they feared that's exactly what the Hezbollah leader was going to do, announce he was ordering his forces in. But he didn't do that.

He said it was possible, but not doing it today. In fact, he seemed to make a case for the status quo, saying that Hezbollah's threats and presence on the southern border of Lebanon, not far from where we are right here, was enough to already occupy Israel's attention. And it is true that some 70,000 forces have been deployed to the north, but he seemed to say that is enough for now.

We should also note that he seemed to make a deliberate effort to put some space between Hezbollah and Hamas for those October 7th attacks, praising them, praising those depraved terror attacks on October 7th, but saying in his words, it was a 100 percent Palestinian operation, that is to say, Hezbollah was not involved. He even said that Hezbollah was not bothered that it had not been given advance notice of those attacks.

So, it seemed an effort there by the Hezbollah leader to put some space between himself and Hamas to say that he reserves the right to attack in numbers from the north, but, Wolf, to this point, has not yet given those orders.

And I'll tell you the anticipation, the nervousness was high given that last night we saw some of the largest barrage of Hezbollah rockets into Northern Israel. We have not, though, I should note, seen that tonight.

BLITZER: All right, that's good. Jim Sciutto, thanks very much, in Northern Israel. Stay safe over there. We'll stay in close touch with you.

Just ahead, the growing calls for a Gaza ceasefire from Democrats in the U.S. Congress. I'll speak with the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, that and a lot more coming up.



BLITZER: Tonight, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, is in Jordan after urgent war talks with officials here in Israel about the war with Hamas and the danger to civilians.

CNN's M.J. Lee is covering Blinken's mission for us. She's joining us from the White House right now. M.J., what message did Blinken actually deliver today in public and in private?

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, it says a lot that this was Secretary Blinken's third visit to Israel since this war broke out and he had a tough and blunt message to deliver to Israel. He said Israel needed to simply do more to do away with and protect Palestinian civilian lives.

This, of course, has been a big message coming from U.S. officials. And we know that this is a message that reflects the growing concern within the Biden White House about what they see as the rising civilian casualties and the humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

And we know that, privately, there have been warnings delivered by U.S. officials to their Israeli counterparts that unless Israel takes a different approach to mitigate some of the civilian suffering, that the support that Israel has from the global community is going to erode and that there isn't much time left.


And we saw Secretary Blinken taking those private warnings public when he was in Israel today.

We also know that when he was meeting with these Israeli leaders and Israel's war cabinet, one thing that he made a hard push for were these humanitarian pauses. I think we have sound of Secretary Blinken talking about the importance of those pauses. Here he is.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: With regard to humanitarian pauses, again, we see this as a way of further facilitating the ability to get assistance in.

We see it as a way also, and very importantly, by creating a better environment in which hostages can be released. And this is a very important piece.


LEE: But, of course, Wolf, we saw Prime Minister Netanyahu after his meeting with Secretary Blinken rejecting those calls for these pauses and fighting, essentially saying Israel is not going to do that unless hostages being held in Gaza can be released.

And it's important to note, Wolf, too, that here in the U.S., those calls for humanitarian pauses, they're not just coming from the administration. We are hearing a number of Democrats now joining in that call as well, including in a new letter. We saw more than a dozen Democratic senators saying that this was important for getting humanitarian aid in and getting civilians out of Gaza.

And all of this, of course, is taking place as there are also growing calls for a general ceasefire. This is something that the Biden administration has not endorsed yet, but they are certainly aware that the pressure is growing for calls for a general ceasefire. Wolf?

BLITZER: It certainly is. M.J. Lee at the White House for us, M.J., thank you very much.

Meanwhile, over at the Pentagon, the Pentagon says the U.S. military is flying surveillance drones over Gaza to help search for the more than 240 hostages being held captive by Hamas.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is joining us now from the Pentagon. He's got some new information. Oren, what exactly are these drones doing?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the purpose of these drones is to gather intelligence with the different sensors they have to see if they can pick up any sort of information that would help Israel and the U.S. identify where more than 240 hostages are being held. The Pentagon had acknowledged it would help Israel with special operations forces designed to gather intelligence and planning for a hostage rescue effort. But, of course, key to that is knowing where the hostages are.

So, take a look at these flight tracks that show you where the drones have been flying, focusing their efforts on Southern Gaza there. It's unclear what or how much they've learned or been able to pass to the Israelis, but you can see there the focus, the effort and the help the U.S. has been providing to Israel in this case and the hostage rescue effort, obviously, a key focus of both countries.

In terms of what the drones are doing, take a look at this. These are unarmed surveillance drones. They are not armed with any sorts of missiles. They're seeking intelligence on the hostages to share with Israel. And, importantly, the U.S. is not using these for targeting or for intel gathering to pass on to the Israelis for targeting.

So, the U.S. very clear there, as the Pentagon acknowledged earlier today, that these drones have been operating over Gaza since October 7th.

In terms of what else the U.S. military is doing in the region, we now have two carrier strike groups in the Middle East, the Ford and the Eisenhower, operating and exercising together. You can see the two carriers there at the bottom of that picture. This has been going on for three days. These exercises there, the U.S. with a massive show of force in the region to deter Iran and its proxies from trying to take advantage of the situation and get involved.

The Pentagon announced about a week-and-a-half ago that one of those carriers, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, would soon be transiting through the Suez Canal and head into the Middle East, putting significant forces, Wolf, on both Israel's western border and its southern border.

BLITZER: Significant developments, indeed. Oren Lieberman, thank you very much for that report.

Joining us now, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Gregory Meeks. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

Let me get your reaction, first of all, to this Israeli strike on an ambulance outside of a hospital in Gaza. The video shows a very graphic scene, as you know. The IDF claims Hamas terrorists were killed in the strike. What do you make of this? REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Well, you know, unfortunately, Hamas is the cause of a lot of this. Hamas has utilized Palestinians as shields throughout, since they've used it for a number of years. They've always used them as shields, and they continue to do so, and trying to hide or embed themselves into an ambulance, et cetera, is a difficult situation. I mean, I think Israel is going after a targeted striking to try to kill and dismantle all of Hamas' tunnels and those that were responsible for the terrorist attack on Israel on October the 7th.


That's what they're going after.

That being said, you, of course, want to minimize. A life is -- all lives, Israeli lives, Palestinian lives are important. And so therefore you want to minimize any loss of life of civilians. But we can't lose sight, Wolf, of the fact that Hamas can't be trusted and Hamas is utilizing Palestinians. So, Hamas is the enemy of Palestinians by utilizing them as the shields. And in many times, you know, in trying to escape to get to a safe place, either telling them not to leave or preventing them from leaving.

So, we can't ever lose sight on what the real cause is here. And that's Hamas and their October 7th slaughter of Israeli people. And telling, you know, as I think Secretary Blinken is doing, you know, we've got to adhere by the rules of war and we've got to try to minimize the loss of life of Palestinians because it's heartbreaking for a decent human being. You hate to see the loss of life, especially of innocent on both sides.

BLITZER: Especially innocent children as well, of course. So do you have any concerns, Congressman, that these sort of Israeli strikes ultimately will do a lot of damage to Israel's cause?

MEEKS: Look, what I think that needs to happen, and I think it's starting to happen, I know that there's dialogue and conversation that's taking place, I do think that we need to make sure there's a safe corridor. And we've got to establish a safe corridor where the Palestinians can go and get out of harm's way.

I thought it was announced this morning and yesterday that Gaza City is now encircled. That to me is significantly important because where we know that a new Israeli number of the Hamas leaders and others and their weapons, maybe a lot of it was concentrated in Gaza City, then maybe you can start securing an area and making sure that none of the Hamas soldiers or terrorists, they're not really soldiers, they're terrorists, none of them escapes into the safe zone, which causes Israel having to chase them in the safe zones.

And so -- and I think it's significantly and important also that the hostages are returned. So, I think that there's dialogue and conversation and negotiations that are taking place. And I hope that in that we can develop these safe zones so that the Palestinians have a place to go because they should not be harmed because of the terrorist attacks that took place by Hamas and/or utilized and harmed because Hamas is utilizing them as cover. BLITZER: The secretary of state, Antony Blinken, as you know, he's been in Israel today, where he discussed efforts to try to free the more than 240 hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza and get aid into Gaza. He says humanitarian pauses, he use the word pauses, would facilitate that. Do you agree with him?

MEEKS: Yes. I've said previously that I thought a humanitarian pause would be appropriate to get humanitarian aid in, to get some American citizens and other nationals out of Gaza. I think that there should be some continued pressure on Egypt, for example, to make sure that they're working together along with Israel.

But we've got to be mindful that we've got to get these hostages. That is number one for both the United States and our citizens. We've got to get them out as well as the Israeli citizens. That's important. And Hamas, I believe that there's some negotiations that are taking place, but they cannot be trusted either because they are trying to sneak their people out in some of those areas. But I think that if we could establish a zone working hard once Gaza City is completely cut off, we could have thereby some type of humanitarian pause.

Now, let's be clear, humanitarian pause is not a ceasefire because, remember, Wolf, there was a ceasefire on October the 6th. And we saw it took place on October the 7th. So, Hamas cannot be allowed to try to regain its footing, you know, get some of its people back together, gather more weapons, et cetera, so that it can go back. Hamas still says that they will attack again Israel.

So, we've got to remember that Hamas is there for one reason. They don't want peace. They want the destruction of Israel. And so they will do a number of things and, you know, and lie about it or make it look like that's something there is.


We saw the problem of what took place. They tried to blame Israel with reference to the hospital that blew up when it clearly was not. So, they are not to be trusted. And we cannot forget that, that who is the cause of all that's going on in Gaza right now, it's Hamas.

BLITZER: Congressman Gregory Meeks, thanks, as usual, for joining us. We appreciate it.

MEEKS: My pleasure.

BLITZER: And just ahead, CNN presses Congressman George Santos about alleged campaign fraud. We're going to hear some of that exclusive interview. That's next.


BLITZER: Tonight Republican Congressman George Santos is digging in amid new criminal charges. Our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju sat down for an exclusive interview with the embattled lawmaker. Manu?


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, George Santos has been defined amid all of these charges that he has faced from the federal government. Just last month, a superseding indictment, 23 counts in that indictment suggesting a range of things that he did illegally, including campaign finance fraud, something that he allegedly engaged with his campaign treasurer, who had previously pleaded guilty and actually singlehandedly -- singled out George Santos in court, and said that they worked together and conspired to commit this fraud.

I asked him about all these allegations. He sidestep some of them, said that he will fight this in court. He denied all wrongdoing, and he pinned the blame back on his treasurer, even though his treasurer said in court that the two were in cahoots.


RAJU: The feds are saying that you and your campaign treasurer conspired to make it appear your campaign was hitting fundraising benchmarks to get on the radar of GOP officials. You say -- did you know about this?

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): Manu, I never ever submitted or even looked at a single report. I'm a candidate. Candidates do not handle money. Candidates do not handle finances. Candidates do not handle filings. I don't even know what the FEC filing system looks like.

RAJU: Nancy Marks, your treasurer, she said in court, I did these things in agreement with co-conspirator number one, that's you, for his benefit to obtain money for the campaign by artificially inflating his funds to meet thresholds set by a national political committee. So, why would she say that?

SANTOS: People will say whatever they have to say, cut whatever deal they have to cut in order to save their hide. And this isn't surprising.

RAJU: You're putting this a lot on the treasurer. You're the chief of the campaign.

SANTOS: That's not true.

RAJU: You're not -- but you're in charge, right?

SANTOS: No, that's not true.

RAJU: Should the buck stop at you is my question?

SANTOS: Well, the buck should stop at the candidate. That's true.


RAJU: Now, Wolf, as part of this wide-ranging interview, we talked about George Santos' political future, about whether he would actually run for re-election, given the fact that he could potentially be expelled from the House as soon as this month. He did defeat an expulsion attempt earlier this week, but in a couple

of weeks, we expect the House Ethics Committee to release its findings into an investigation into George Santos. If the committee recommends expulsion, I expect there to be a greater chance that a two-thirds majority could kick George Santos out of the House, which would make him just the sixth House member ever in history to be booted out from his House seat.

We'll see if it comes to that. But if it does, George Santos says he's not going anywhere. He says he will run for reelection next year, put his name on the ballot and fight to get the seat back, making very clear that he is standing firm, that he has done nothing wrong despite all these allegations, despite admitting lying about his past, something he said that voters simply are not concerned about those large fabrications from his past.

We'll see if it ultimately comes to that. But George Santos says that the voters in his district have other issues, and it's not about what he said in the past. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Manu Raju, thank you very much. And you can see Manu's full interview with Congressman George Santos this Sunday, 11:00 A.M. Eastern on Inside Politics, right here on CNN.

And we'll be right back.



BLITZER: More now on an interview we brought you last hour, my conversation with Gali Idan, a victim of the October 7th Hamas terror attack. As we shared before early that morning, Hamas terrorists forced their way into her house, murdering her daughter, Mayan, and holding the rest of the family hostage for hours. All while streaming the attack live on Facebook.

The terrorists then kidnapped Gali's husband, Tsachi, and took him into Gaza. She shared with me what it's like to bury her daughter while her husband is being held hostage by Hamas.

We want to warn our viewers, what you're about to hear and see is disturbing.


BLITZER: Your kids Yael and Shakar (ph), they're okay?


BLITZER: You tell me.

IDAN: It's like insanity. One day he's up, one day he's down. They cry. They miss their dad.

BLITZER: They're 9 and 11 years old. IDAN: Yes, they are. We buried Mayan a week and a half ago. They were

there, and it was -- I think they had to do it for the closure, because I don't think you understand at that age death. I don't think you understand that your sister is dead without seeing. And actually I hope they didn't see.

The funeral was some kind of closure, and they miss her. Shakal (ph) painted a picture that he could bury with Mayan. And Yael was really, you know, quiet and didn't want to come. They didn't want to see it. It was a closed casket, of course.

You can see them. They wanted to hug her. They wanted to just pet her hair, her curls, and hold her hand, and they couldn't.

BLITZER: Their older sister?

IDAN: Yes. And they admired her. She was a loving, kind, a ray of light. She was pure, pure good. Seriously, she was so good. I don't understand how can you kill -- it's like killing a unicorn. You can never kill a unicorn.

But now we are really united and focused about bringing Tsachi home alive and well.


BLITZER: What do you think? Is it -- is it hopeful that he will come home?

IDAN: Yeah, he will come home. He will come home to us, yes. He has to, alive and well, yes. The way he got out.

BLITZER: I hope so.

IDAN: I know so. He will. I'll do anything, anything in my power or everybody's power. I will use everybody's power just to bring him and all of the hostages home, but him especially. Yes.

He's my husband. He's my better half. He's my stronger half. I need him. He needs to mourn his daughter. He needs to hug his kids.

He didn't do anything to deserve this. Nothing. Peaceful man. He just, you know, lived in a kibbutz.

He was Jewish and lived in a kibbutz. That's it. That's the reason. That's the reason Mayan was murdered.

Hateful. Just pure hate, pure hate. Nothing. Nothing more. She didn't do anything.

What an 18-year-old playing volleyball, in love with her boyfriend, can do. What did she do to them? Nothing.

Just living in the kibbutz on the border of Gaza. That's the problem. That's her fault. That's why she was murdered, yes. That's why everybody was murdered, because it was a slaughter that killed women and children.

They have a 9-month, a year old baby out there. How can you take -- what did he do to you? What? Nothing.

Is she a soldier? What did he do to you?

They have grandmothers, 85-year-old Alma, which is my neighbor. She's sick. She needed medicine. They took 15-year-old, an 80-year-old Ella. They killed her father and her almost stepmother and stepbrother. They shot him in the back.

How do you do it? Why? And they did nothing. They weren't armed. They weren't -- nothing. Nothing. Purely hate.

That won't happen. It's -- and we know that that cannot be. We had it along time ago. We said never again. And he did happen. It did happen.

So I'm asking everybody, everybody -- everybody in the world, in the U.S. everybody that can help. Stop this hatred. Stop this crimes. Bring them home. Bring the hostage home. Please.

BLITZER: Your beautiful 18-year-old daughter Mayan.

IDAN: That's Mayan.

BLITZER: As we say -- may her memory be a blessing.

IDAN: And this is Tsachi.

BLITZER: And Tsachi, let's hope that Tsachi, a 49-year-old dad, a father who's been kidnapped, being held in Gaza by Hamas, let's hope he comes home soon.

IDAN: Yes.

BLITZER: When he comes home, let me know. I'd like to come meet him.

IDAN: Okay. I will. I will. Thank you. Thank you so much.



BLITZER: And we'll be right back.



BLITZER: With the Trump family taking the stand in the civil fraud trial, Brian Todd is taking a closer look at the role Trump's three oldest children have played in the family business.


ERIC TRUMP, EXECUTIVE VP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: The Trump family business and its legacy now facing what could be an existential test. Eric Trump, Donald Jr. and Ivanka have spent most of their adult lives working for their father's company. Ivanka no longer works for the economy.

Eric Trump oversaw the family's golf business before broadening his role in recent years to become the practical leader of the Trump Organization. Both brothers saw their portfolios in the Trump Organization grow when their father was elected president and handed over the business to them.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDETN: Don and Eric are going to be running the company.

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": He trusts them more than he trusts anyone else and he respects them. As Donald said to me, he doesn't respect many people but he sure as heck respects his children.

TODD: Biographer Michael D'Antonio told us all three of Trump's children have been effective managers but haven't really been tested outside the family business and he said they honed their marketing skills even before this father's widely popular reality show "The Apprentice".

IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF FORMER PRES. TRUMP: James, do you think it shows fundamental lack of judgment?

D'ANTONIO: I think that all three kids saw what their dad was doing even before the apprentice. His ability to manipulate the media is really unrivalled.

TODD: This week, Donald Trump's two eldest sons struck defiant tones on the courthouse steps after testifying in the civil fraud case brought against the Trump Organization by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

DONALD TRUMP JR., EXECUTIVE VP, TRUMP ORGANIZATION: Unfortunately, the attorney general has brought forth a case that is purely a political persecution.

E. TRUMP: We haven't done a damn thing wrong. And he dragged Don and I into it, as collateral damage.

TODD: Trump's sons and their father are accused of inflating Donald Trump Sr.'s personal wealth and the values of his properties to get favorable loans and insurance policies. They all deny wrong doing. The brothers saying they were not closely involved in the financial statements.

TRUMP JR.: Before even having a day in court, I'm apparently guilty of fraud for relying on my accountants to do, wait for it, accounting.

TODD: What's at stake for the Trump family business if they lose this case?

NORM EISEN, SENIOR FELLOW, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: They're facing a quasi-corporate death penalty, the Trumps and the Trump businesses, if they lose this case. That's because the judge has already said I'm going to pull your certificates to do business in New York.


TODD (on camera): Analyst Norm Eisen says that's not all the Trumps stand to lose if the civil case does not go their way. The business could face fines in the hundreds of millions of dollars -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd, thank you very, very much.

And to our viewers, thanks for watching.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.