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Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA), Is Interviewed About Joe Manchin, War In Israel, Hostages, Hostages, Election; Sen. Manchin Announces He Won't Run For Re-election; Manchin Says He Will "Fight To Unite The Middle" As He Announces He Won't Run For Re-Election; Palestinian Islamic Jihad Says It Is Prepared To Release Two Hostages On Humanitarian Ground; Biden Brushes Off Bleak Polls After Big Dem Wins; Sources: Mar-a-Lago Workers May Testify Against Trump At Docs Trial; Sen. Manchin Announces He Won't Run For Re-Election; Actors' Union Reaches "Historic" Tentative Deal With Hollywood Studios To End Months-Long Strike; Hamas Attack Survivors Recording Their Testimonies. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired November 09, 2023 - 17:00 ET
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PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, influential Democratic Senator Joe Manchin reveals he's not seeking reelection, delivering a major blow potentially to his party's chances of keeping control of the U.S. Senate next year. We're getting new reaction from a key senator to this bombshell announcement.
Also tonight, a break in Israel's bombardment of Gaza. The White House says Israeli forces are moving forward with daily four hour pauses in northern areas of the territory to allow Palestinian civilians to get out and humanitarian aid to get in.
And CNN has exclusive new details on the prosecutor strategy in the Trump classified documents trial and a potential witness list that includes a Mar-a-Lago plumber, a maid, a chauffeur and a woodworker.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: First tonight, the breaking news rocking Capitol Hill, West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin saying he will not run for reelection. Let's go straight to our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju.
Manu, so what does this mean for the balance of power potentially in the U.S. Senate?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a huge blow, Wolf, to Democrats in their hopes of keeping control of the United States Senate already failing -- facing a very difficult map to keep control of the Senate where it sits at 51-49. Joe Manchin, one of three Republican -- Democrats coming from states that Donald Trump won who states that are in contention in the next cycle, West Virginia, Ohio, Montana being the other ones. Those senators running for reelection, Ohio, Montana. But Joe Manchin's decision today not to seek reelection will significantly increase the Republican chances of picking up that critical seat in the 51-49 Senate. That means Democrats will have to try to hold other seats in play in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania and in Arizona and also try to pick off Republican incumbents, but those are difficult states, Florida and Texas, which raises major concerns among Democrats about whether they can stay in power, something that would have huge ramifications for the next president.
Now, Joe Manchin made his announcement on social media today, and indicating that he is going to travel the country, try to galvanize supporters on both sides of the aisle to see if there's any movement to come together without any -- without specifying exactly what he means by that comment.
BLITZER: As you're saying, Manu, he talk --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): -- State Senate. But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, Wolf, I'm told that behind the scenes there was an effort by the chairman of the Senate campaign committee, Republican Campaign Committee, Steve Daines, to try to get Donald Trump to endorse Joe Manchin's key rival on the Republican side, Jim Justice. He's a sitting governor. He's facing his own primary.
The thinking among Daines and what he pitched to Trump endorsed Jim justice, elevate him in the Republican primary, help him out and then potentially that could scare Joe Manchin away from the Senate race decide not to run and consider a third party bid for the White House. Something that could possibly help Trump and hurt Joe Biden if Manchin were to go down that route. So that calculation was happening behind the scenes. Daines lobbying Trump, Trump endorsing Justice. Now Justice favored in that Republican primary and now favor to take back a critical seat for the Republicans next year, Wolf.
BLITZER: As you pointed out, Manu, Manchin actually in that video, he talked about mobilizing the middle. Could he be planning an independent bid for president?
RAJU: He has not ruled that out. He has been very, very coy when asked about that repeatedly. But me, other reporters all down the line refusing to say how he may come down. He did attend a no labels conferences. Conference, that's that group, the outside group that is considering trying to feel the third party candidate, a conference that you attended earlier this summer up in New Hampshire that critical early state for presidential primary state.
Will he decide to run? That is still uncertain. He is 76 years old, Wolf. And also there's a recognition among Manchin allies that he would probably have a very narrow path to winning the White House if he decided to go that route. But still Manchin's comments will only fuel speculation about his next move or if he's planning to hang it up for good.
BLITZER: All right. We shall see. Manu Raju, thank you very much for that report.
Manu, by the way, has an exclusive interview with the former speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy that will air on Inside Politics Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
Turning now to the war in the Middle East, as the White House says Israel has agreed to daily four hour humanitarian pauses in portions of Northern Gaza. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is joining us now live from Tel Aviv with the latest.
Jeremy, how are these pauses supposed to work?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Israel has already been implementing some version of these pauses for about five days now, allowing civilians in northern Gaza to flee South using evacuation corridors during windows of about four to six hours over the last five days. But today, the White House's National Security Council saying that Israel effectively is formalizing these pauses, allowing four hours or more windows of pauses in fighting to allow those civilians to flee south. A senior Israeli officials is calling these pauses, quote, "Tactical localized pauses, giving civilians in different parts of northern Gaza each day, the opportunity to flee south." We know of course, that Israel has been calling on civilians in northern Gaza to flee south for weeks now. But those orders or those recommendations by the Israeli military have been very hard for Palestinian civilians to follow.
The evacuation routes have been very dangerous. Sometimes they have been struck by the Israeli Air Force. And in addition to that, people don't have the resources sometimes to flee. But now as the humanitarian situation is worsening very rapidly in northern Gaza, 10s of 1000s of these civilians are taking advantage, 50,000 people yesterday 80,000 people today, as we were watching in northern Gaza, as food, water and medicine is becoming increasingly scarce. Now, President Biden taking some credit for this saying that he's been pushing the Israeli prime minister for some time now for these pauses and even saying that these has taken, quote, "a little longer than he had hoped for this pause to be implemented."
BLITZER: You know, Jeremy, what else can you tell us about other efforts to try to free the hostages?
DIAMOND: Well, Wolf, there have been negotiations ongoing for weeks now mediated by the Qatari Government involving the United States, Israel and Hamas as well. And for weeks now, we have watched as these talks have appeared to make progress and then completely broken down once again. But today, the top intelligence officials for Israel and the United States meeting with the Qatari prime minister in Doha, Qatar today to discuss a potential plans release 10 to 20 hostages in exchange for a three day ceasefire, as well as the entry of additional humanitarian aid into Gaza and Hamas to provide a list of hostages being held at the sea. We don't know yet whether those talks are actually going to produce a deal, but it is significant that they are happening and that talks appear to be progressing and perhaps those humanitarian pauses will help as well. At the same time today, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, one of the militant groups inside of Gaza, releasing a video showing a 77 year old and a 13 year old Israeli hostages who they say that they are holding, they say they're prepared to release them on humanitarian grounds. But as of yet, they've yet to say exactly when or under what circumstances they would do so. Wolf.
BLITZER: Are the U.S. and Israel, Jeremy, on the same page as far as the length of any of these so called pauses in fighting?
DIAMOND: Well, what appears clear is that there is going to be -- these are going to be for about four hours each day. Today we saw the Israelis extend that pause for a couple additional hours. What appears to be more up for debate is exactly the terminology of what they are calling these. United States is very much referring to these as humanitarian pauses, as pauses in the fighting. The Israelis for their part, they don't want to say that at all.
They are simply saying this is an evacuation corridor and that people can safely move along those lines. And the Israeli prime minister tonight also reaffirming that this is not a ceasefire and that there will not be a ceasefire unless hostages are released.
BLITZER: Jeremy Diamond reporting for us from Tel Aviv. Thank you very much.
For more on all these developments, let's bring in the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democratic Senator Mark Warner.
Senator, thank you so much for joining us.
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: I want to get to the developments in Israel in a moment. But first, let's start with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, your colleague, announcing today he will not run for re election. How damaging potentially is his decision to Democratic hopes to retain the majority in the U.S. Senate?
WARNER: Well, Wolf, Joe and I are great friends. Matter of fact he and I were governors together. I was the guy he called when he was thinking about coming to the Senate. I encouraged him to come. And I hope your viewers remember he replaced Robert Byrd who was a icon in what Just Virginia.
And Joe Manchin has delivered for the people of West Virginia in ways that I'm not even sure all the folks in West Virginia realize. And I think he's had an incredible record. I mean, every one of these bipartisan efforts, whether we thinking about the CHIPS bill, the infrastructure bill, obviously the IRA, some of the final efforts, even under COVID funding under President Trump, and Joe was part of, he was integral to. I was part of all those groups as well. And I think he's left a great legacy, I'm going to miss him.
Now in terms of what happens in 2024, you know, I'm not going to try to tell your audience or you that West Virginia is not going to be a steep, steep hill for a Democrat to climb. But I'd also say this, you know, four days ago, people didn't think, in Virginia, that we'd win the House and the Senate and the legislative races. So I'm going to keep an optimistic view going forward.
BLITZER: All right. Senator Manchin as you know, Senator, says he will be traveling the country to create a movement to mobilize Americans, in his words, in the middle. Are you concerned he will launch potentially a third party challenge to President Biden?
WARNER: I think that I cannot imagine a world in which Joe Manchin would do anything to help Donald Trump get reelected. So, give him his space to advocate processes and bipartisanship. I think that's a positive thing. But I can't imagine any world in which he does anything that will help Donald Trump get reelected.
BLITZER: If he were to do that, presumably, he certainly would help Trump in the final outcome. Let's turn to the Middle East right now, while I have you, Senator, The White House says Israel will pause military operations, at least in parts of northern Gaza for four hours, four hour periods each day. But do these pauses actually go far enough from your perspective as Palestinian civilians are killed and injured every day?
WARNER: Well, listen, I think it's an humanitarian interest to provide these pauses, and I heard your previous reporter, in terms of the semantics of we're going to call it a pause or a cessation of hostilities. You know, I think at the end of the day, they ought to be judged on can we get assistance to Palestinians who've been under, you know, enormous strain over the last month with the bombing, with the amount of deaths? And I would argue, this make -- is in Israel's best interest. They're going to need to keep American support and world support to go after the Hamas leaders, the terrorist who created the atrocities on October 7.
But it's also important in terms of not opening up a second front on this war. I have been concerned, I contacted with a number of senators, the administration and they have put pressure, I think, finally on the Israeli government to try to stop some of the settler violence in the West Bank against Palestinians. Because if the West Bank security services, the Palestinian security services, all quit, that would create the possibility of a huge conflict on the West Bank. And part of that keeping the temperatures under control is trying to make sure that the non-Hamas Palestinians in Gaza get the kind of humanitarian assistance that is civilized and appropriate. And I think this is a step forward.
BLITZER: All right. This Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, another terrorist organization in Gaza said -- it says it is prepared to release two Israeli hostages on what they call humanitarian grounds. Put on your hat as the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, what do you know about this? And what can you tell us about the groups, this group besides Hamas that are holding hostages?
WARNER: Well, one thing you know, Wolf, I was chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I'm not going to share any intelligence that we or the Israelis might have about the hostages. I think anything that get hostages free is a step in the right direction. I think it is also, as I'm sure most of your viewers, and I know, you understand, the vast majority of these hostages are still held by Hamas. It's one of the reasons as they -- as the Israeli forces now surround Gaza City.
You know, the real challenge is going to be how do you get into some of those tunnels and eliminate some of the Hamas leadership without putting all of these hostages in further in harm's way? And that's something that obviously the Israelis, I think, are focused on.
BLITZER: On a political note, Democrats had a big election night in several states, including your home state of Virginia. Abortion rights for women was a key issue in many of those races. Do you believe Democrats won because of President Biden or in spite of him?
WARNER: I think, Wolf, Democrats won a lot of times based on specifics in their individual state. And abortion in Virginia was a big issue. But I think a bigger issue, frankly, than President Biden pro con is the fact that in Virginia we obviously are affected a lot by the federal government, a lot of federal workers, a lot of defense establishments, they've seen the craziness that's been coming out of the house MAGA crowd, they've seen the extreme positions.
And even when you had folks in Virginia that were saying, hey, no, we're not that kind of extremist. We're going to try to bid reasonable limits on say, a woman's health care choices. Virginians just didn't believe it. And I think there is this seepage of the Republican brand being taken over by the MAGA crowd, they're driving the bus. And I can tell you in Virginia, no matter what the governor or some reasonable Republicans said, there was a fear that if they won that extreme group, not just on women's health care choices, but on voting rights, on gun laws, and on basic Democratic tenets could all be in jeopardy.
BLITZER: Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, thank you so much for joining us.
WARNER: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, we'll have more on Senator Joe Manchin's decision today not to seek reelection and how it potentially complicates Democrats prospects in 2024. And upcoming next to CNN has exclusively new reporting on the Mar-a-Lago workers who may testify against Donald Trump in the classified documents case. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: All right. There's more breaking news. Right now, CNN has exclusive new reporting on what to expect in Donald Trump's criminal trial in the classified documents case down in Florida. CNN's Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is joining us. She's got the details. What do you -- what have you learned Paula?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this could be one of the most significant cases in U.S. history, and CNN has learned that among the witnesses who could be called at trial, a maid, a chauffeur, a plumber, and even a woodworker and prosecutors could also of course called secret service agents or intelligence officials. But these folks who are working in and around Mar-a-Lago are the eyes and ears of the resort and they could provide the public and the jury with new insight into the environment at the club, and just how vulnerable our nation's secrets were during this time.
Now let's look at some of the testimony they may be able to provide. Let's take the woodworker. We've learned that this individual was installing crown molding in Trump's bedroom in February 2022 and saw some papers. Now we don't know if they were in fact classified documents. But we know he's been interviewed by federal investigators multiple times.
And we've also learned from our sources that Trump was increasingly frustrated as investigators got deeper and deeper into Mar-a-Lago. We're told that when he found out that the maid who cleans his bedroom was speaking with investigators, he, quote, "went ballistic."
Now, the other thing about witnesses like this is these are real people, these are not political actors, these are not politicians, they're really going to resonate with a jury if they are called to testify. Now, of course, in order for them to be called to testify, there has to be a trial. And right now the trial is scheduled for May 2024. But the judge overseeing the case is currently considering whether to push that back until after the 2024 election.
BLITZER: All right, Paula stay with us. I also want to bring in our legal experts. So Shan Wu and Jennifer Rodgers.
Shan, these staffers were the eyes and ears of Mar-a-Lago as we know, how valuable would they be as witnesses?
SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They will be very valuable, Wolf. With that cast of characters reminds me of the old board game Clue, the murder mystery. And of course, the best prosecutions are presented to a jury and the fact finders as that kind of a compelling story told by people who can testify to what they saw, what they heard, what they said. And so, a lot of Trump's defense wants to really focus on more legal, esoteric arguments. What was the scope of his authority, for example, declassify?
But these folks are the eyes and ears on the ground. And as Paula has pointed out, they really will supply the details of how those documents really were being treated.
BLITZER: Jennifer, what do you make of the pretty extensive network of witnesses and evidence the special counsel is building for his case? What picture will the special counsel be trying to paint?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jack Smith wants to paint a complete picture, Wolf. And that's why federal investigators are so thorough as they go through all the people who might have relevant information. So, it's not at all surprising that they're not only talking to people like government employees, secret service agents, and so on. They want to talk to the people who were in and out of these rooms in the months and weeks before the FBI went in. We have a snapshot in time of the day that the search warrant was executed.
Of course, we know what was there, how it was kept on that day. But they want to know about what was happening in the time period before that. And not just when Trump was in the room with his secret service agents, they want to know who was in there, what it all looks like, and who had access to those rooms and those materials when he wasn't there. So they're putting together a comprehensive picture. And it's going to be a compelling case, I think, when it does finally get to trial.
BLITZER: Paula, as you know, many of these employees still work at Mar-a-Lago and will be getting legal support from Trump. Potentially, how does that complicate this -- their position?
REID: It's incredibly complicated, Wolf, because not only are these people trying to keep their jobs, and many of them cannot afford legal counsel in a situation like this. And the fact that the former president has extended this assistance to a lot of these witnesses, that's how his legal team has been sort of kept in the loop about exactly who investigators were speaking with and what they were learning. But again, these witnesses, they're going to be critical to the case. Many people I think were shocked to see those photos in the indictment, those boxes of classified documents on a stage at a ballroom or to bathroom, places they don't belong. But these are the kinds of witnesses who can really talk about just how vulnerable those materials were.
BLITZER: Shan, as a defense lawyer, how would you advise these Mar-a- Lago workers going into this?
WU: Well, the ethical thing to advise them on, Wolf, would be tell the truth and nothing but the truth. I think there's a pressure aspect here, as Paula was alluding to, the fact that it's the Trump team, basically really finding the lawyers and Trump paying for them does more than just give them an insight into what the people may testify to which is really valuable, but it also increases the pressure on them to not be as forthcoming. And as a defense lawyer, that's a very delicate balance. I mean, you need to have your loyalties completely focused on the client. But you also have to recognize the economic pressures that they're under.
BLITZER: Jennifer Trump apparently went ballistic as we heard when the maid who cleans his bedroom at Mar-a-Lago was asked to speak with investigators. So what do you make of that?
RODGERS: Well, Trump famously values loyalty over everything else, including truthfulness, honesty, and integrity. He wants people to be loyal to him no matter what, no matter the cost to them. So, you know, it's not surprising that he went ballistic when he found out that people that work for him are being questioned. But that's what investigators do. They're trying to get to the truth.
So they're going to talk to everybody. And as Shan and Paula were just talking about, you know, it's a problem if people who want to tell the truth have lawyers who have different interests, right, a conflict with that and want to advise them otherwise. So, Jack Smith, and his team has been very good about going to the court and saying, we need to have a hearing here about whether this lawyer is properly advising the client or there's a conflict there. So hopefully, they will continue to be on top of that issue so that they make sure they're getting the accurate testimony here.
BLITZER: Paula, you reported that the judge of this case is weighing whether to push the trial until after next year's presidential election. What would be the impact of that?
REID: Yes, that photo right there, that's Judge Aileen Cannon. She is the federal judge Trump appointee overseeing this case, and she is currently mulling whether she should push this back. And look, trials get moved all the time, they get postponed. But the unusual factor here is she's considering whether she should push this back until after the election. If former President Trump is reelected, he could likely make this entire case go away.
It also does not allow the American public to see a resolution to this case before casting their ballot. But based on what we saw in the last hearing related to this issue, it does appear that she may push this back until the end of 2024.
BLITZER: Paula Reid, Shan Wu, Jennifer Rodgers, to all of you, thank you very much.
Up next, Senator Joe Manchin says he won't run for reelection. So what does that mean for Democrats and the 2024 race for president? We'll discuss that when we come back.
[17:31:52] BLITZER: News developing tonight from Capitol Hill as Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says he will not seek reelection next year. Our political experts are here to discuss. David Chalian, you're a political director, Democrats were already facing an uphill climb in their hopes to retain the majority in the U.S. Senate. What is this move from Manchin due to their chances?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it makes that climb dramatically steeper. You are right. This was going to be a tough cycle for Democrats to hang on to the majority. You know, they only have a 5149 majority right now, in the Senate, Wolf. Manchin is basically the only Democrat that could have a chance at winning in West Virginia. And that wasn't even assured this next cycle.
So with his departure from the race, that seat is all but certain to fall into Republican hands. And that means there's no margin for error for Democrats. And they've got to win elections in red states in a presidential year, like in Montana or with Sherrod Brown in Ohio. Nevermind in all the battleground states where there are a lot of competitive Senate races, Wolf. So it is a steep climb for the Democrats to maintain their majority.
BLITZER: Geoff Duncan, the former Lieutenant Governor of Georgia, does this announcement from matching essentially guarantee a Republican pick next year in West Virginia. What do you think?
GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it certainly looks that way. Like David said, I mean, I think Joe Manchin was the one unicorn that could win in a state that Donald Trump won by 40 points, which is just an amazing number. You know, I think, you know, Democrats are showing up with a problem that Republicans, you know, we talk a lot about Republicans having to figure out a way to win the suburbs. Democrats got to figure out a way to win rural states like West Virginia.
And you know, Joe Manchin has worked hard. And you know, he's the guy without a party at this point, which is probably explains why he's had so many pivotal roles over the last couple of years with so many important issues.
BLITZER: Ashley Etienne with us as well. I want to play actually a key part from Manchin's video announcement today that potentially could cause a lot of concern over at the White House. Listen and watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I will not be running for reelection to the United States Senate. But what I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Ashley, do you see that as Manchin potentially saying he's exploring a potential run for president? ASHLEY ETIENNE, FMR. COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR FOR VP HARRIS & SPEAKER PELOSI: Yes, I mean, he's been flirting with this idea of a third party run for some time. So the announcement that he was leaving the Senate was not it -- didn't come as a great surprise to many Democrats. And as you can imagine, there were some that breathe a sigh of relief, because they felt like he's been a thorn in the side of the President and running interference on his agenda.
You know, I reached out to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign. And here's what they're saying that they're expanding the battleground field, going into the next cycle that they're going to include now Florida and Texas. They're already making incredibly big investments. The President went up with an ad last night that's targeted to Latino voters. And both of those states, you got very vulnerable Republicans who barely won their last cycle.
We've got two Democratic candidates or challengers I should say that are outpacing and out fundraising the Republicans on the other side. So we're in this is somewhat of, you know, this puts the Senate and of course on unchartered territory and makes it, you know, unclear what's going to happen with Democrats. The, you know, the Senatorial Campaign feels like there's quite -- there's a lot of opportunity in Florida and Texas that they're going to explore.
BLITZER: David Chalian, as you know, no labels the group that many Democrats fear will launch a third party presidential ticket has already released a statement praising Manchin. What do you make of that?
CHALIAN: Well, they have held events that Joe Manchin has appeared at and talking about a potential independent run or third party run from the White House. Wolf, no labels recently has been indicating they think their best shot would be with the Republican atop the ticket, not a Democrat on top of their bipartisan unity ticket.
But the reality is, when you do the electoral math, what happens more often than not with a no labels candidacy is that Donald Trump gets elected to the White House. And so that is something that Joe Manchin or anyone else considering running with no labels, we'll have to take into consideration the real potential impact on the race.
BLITZER: Ashley, let me get back to you and ask you some other news that developed today. Jill Stein, she announced today that she's again running to be the Green Party nominee. Many Democrats blame her for Hillary Clinton's loss back in 2016. How significant is this development?
ETIENNE: Well, I mean, I think the real question is, if you have two- third party challengers that get on the ballot in many of these really, really tight states, it could cause a problem for the President. But here's the reality, is the President's in the strongest position as any other president that we've seen at this time in their tenure. He's, you know, outperformed, Democrats have outperformed Republicans in the last four cycles. He's had the best midterm and off year of any president in 20 years. So I think that, you know, wherein this is bad news for the Senate. I think the Biden campaign aren't sweating that much.
BLITZER: Geoff, while I have you on, I want to get to another topic that developed today. Federal law enforcement officials are investigating disturbing reports of suspicious letters containing powdery substances sent to election offices in several states including your state of Georgia. What's your reaction to that?
DUNCAN: Well, it's despicable to think somebody would go to those lengths to hurt somebody. Obviously, it feels as though it's a terroristic move. It's a power move by somebody who's disillusioned by the facts, you know. And but this is the kind of stuff that happens when you're willing to fanned the flames on outright blatant lies, and continue to cultivate those lies years afterwards. And the most important people in the world like Donald Trump and those closest to them, fan those flames. It cultivates a chaos and chaotic and crazy atmosphere. And, you know, I just feel for those that were affected. And I hope it stops quickly.
BLITZER: Yes. Very disturbing indeed. Geoff Duncan, David Chalian, Ashley Etienne, guys, thank you very much for joining us.
Just ahead, the Actors Union reaches a tentative deal with Hollywood studios to end a long and very costly strike. We're going to tell you about what's in the agreement and what it means for the industry and what you'll be able to be seen. Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: The Actors Union is ending its months' long strike after reaching a tentative deal with Hollywood studios, meaning movies and T.V. shows will be back in production soon. Brian Todd is following these important developments for us. Brian did the actors get everything they wanted.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, industry watchers believe the actors got most of what they wanted. But between this strike and the writers walk out billions of dollars were lost in the entertainment industry. And now production has to rev up again quickly.
TODD (voice-over): For nearly four months, stars like Jessica Chastain, Bob Odenkirk and others, walked the picket lines with their lesser known colleagues during an actor strike that raised serious questions about whether the movie and T.V. industry as we know it could survive. But tonight, a sigh of relief, Hollywood actors have reached a tentative agreement with the major film and T.V. studios to end the strike.
FRAN DRESCHER, SAG-AFTRA PRESIDENT, ACTOR: There is so much language in this contract that covers so much new ground that has never been in any other contract before.
TODD (voice-over): Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it still has to be ratified by the Actors Union members. But according to a statement released by the Union, the deal will give actors the famous and obscure a historic pay increase.
SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: You have to remember SAG-AFTRA represents 160,000 workers. And these are not necessarily big time rich actors. A lot of these folks are just starting out and living paycheck to paycheck.
TODD (voice-over): The agreement also gives actors better residuals for streaming programs. But at the center of the strike was the use of artificial intelligence, which Hollywood actors and writers have feared could someday replace them, or at least part of their work. The deal calls for actors to be able to have consent and compensation when an AI likeness of them is used.
DUNCAN CRABTREE-IRELAND, CHIEF NEGOTIATOR, SAG-AFTRA: They're intended to be protections that not only we'll make sure that our members have the right to control the use of their image and likeness today. But as the technology develops and grows in the industry, we'll continue to provide them with that kind of control. And it's so essential because it's really their persona that's being used.
TODD (voice-over): The actors and writers walkouts the first time both entities had been on strike simultaneously in more than 60 years, proved incredibly costly over the course of the last six months. In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom estimated the loss for his state's economy was more than $5 billion. Now the key question --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take you with me. Do what I say, when I say it.
TODD (voice-over): -- when I say when will we see new episodes of popular shows like Max's "The Last of Us" or the "White Lotus" both from CNN's parent company Warner Brothers Discovery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes just watching him eat every night makes me want to damage my eyes at.
TODD (voice-over): As analyst, Sara Fischer, says some shows might come back as early as the first quarter of next year.
FISCHER: Going to be hard to start production immediately. They're going to have to wait a few weeks. In order to get schedules, vendors, sets moved. And then once that starts, things will move pretty quickly.
TODD: Now while the actors are getting historically higher pay with this new deal, one industry analyst says, there could be less overall work to go around for them in the future because he expects the studios and the streaming services might reduce the numbers of movies and shows they order to save money. Wolf?
BLITZER: We shall see Brian Todd, thank you very, very much for that report.
Coming up, survivors of the deadly Hamas terror attacks in Israel are preserving their memories of October 7th for the historical record. We'll have a live report when we come back.
BLITZER: Some survivors of the deadly Hamas terror attacks in Israel are now recording their testimonies to preserve their witness accounts of that day for future generations. CNN's Nick Watt is joining us live from Los Angeles right now. Nick, how is this effort coming together so quickly after the attacks?
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, they mobilized very fast understanding the benefit of capturing memories while they are still so fresh, but they do plan to go back and re-interview everybody once they've had a chance to process what's happened. You know, some of the people at Shoah Foundation spoke to some of the people you're about to hear from still have children held hostage in Gaza.
WATT (voice-over): Tomer Peretz was collecting bodies at kibbutz, bury within hours of the slaughter October 7th.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. What the --. The entire village is like full of buddies. I --
WATT (voice-over): He'd gone to Israel for a family wedding ceremony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: State your name.
TOMER PERETZ: Tomer Peretz.
WATT (voice-over): Now back home in L.A., taping his testimony at the Shoah Foundation.
PERETZ: I was to cower to be on the side of the head. They want to see faces. And then my time to touch the dead body came. It was the first time. You work like that, you know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rolling.
WATT (voice-over): For decades, the Shoah Foundation has collected the testimonies of Holocaust survivors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never touched a dead body before. I've seen dead bodies, well somebody else came, we just put the body out, one body. Well, it didn't take long before that was multiplied by thousands. PERETZ: Every year at school in Israeli, we used to get a lecture from a Holocaust survivor. And as a kid, I was always getting bored listening to them, like, OK, OK, we got, OK, OK, so they killed eventually. All right, all right, let's move on. It will never happen again. It's history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in Foreign Language).
WATT (voice-over): October 7th, saw the largest loss of Jewish life in a day since the Holocaust. Now, the Shoah Foundation is taking testimony from a new generation, October 7th survivors.
ROBERT WILLIAMS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, USC SHOAH FOUNDATION: It's about providing a platform for the voices of survivors to echo for future generations. For the better part of a year, we've resolved that we need to begin taking testimony on contemporary anti-Semitism. But then October 7th happened. And we had to ramp up our efforts very, very quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did worse than Nazis. The Nazis had, you know, the -- a little human in them just to gas us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My two little daughters, and they were like crying, weeping. Amit was kidnapped. Amit was kidnapped. Amit is my son.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With the knife in my hand and the baby on the other hand, trying to keep her not crying so no one will hear us. And it went, and it felt like forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My village was destroyed by the Hamas. There is no village to return to.
WATT (voice-over): Peretz told his interviewer what he cannot tell his own children.
PERETZ: Lie to them. Don't tell them the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's tissue there if you like.
PERETZ: Slightly, then.
WATT (voice-over): The killing goes on, Palestinians also suffering and no end in sight for anyone.
(on camera): Is there a way out? Is there a solution? Is there light at the end of some tunnel?
PERETZ: I think so. I think so. But I think we've got to go so low. Both sides, I guess needs to get a big slap before something good will come out of it.
WATT: Might this be that moment?
PERETZ: I hope so.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WATT: Now, the Shoah Foundation is only taking testimony from the
Israeli victims, the victims in Israel of the October 7th attacks because they say that those attacks were anti-Semitic. So they fall squarely within the mission of the foundation. However, they say if anyone would like to take the testimony from Palestinian civilians, the Shoah Foundation is very happy to share their methodology. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Nick Watt thanks for that report, very important indeed.
Coming up, we're going to have much more on our top story. Senator Joe Manchin announcing he will not run for reelection putting Democratic hopes of holding the majority in the U.S. Senate in serious jeopardy and raising questions about a potential presidential bid.
BLITZER: Happening now, breaking news, Senator Joe Manchin throws a major new curveball at fellow Democrats announcing he won't seek reelection. The powerful moderate giving Republicans an opening to flip his state and grab Senate control from his party.
Also breaking, the Mar-a-Lago employees who may testify against Donald Trump in the classified documents trial. CNN has exclusive new reporting on the prosecution's criminal case.