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House Speaker's Funding Bill Passes Amid Exploding GOP Feud; U.N. Says, Only One Hospital In Northern Gaza Still Operational; Thousands Rally In D.C. To Support Israel, Combat Antisemitism; Paul Pelosi Attacker Takes The Stand, Describes Moment Of Brutal Assault. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 14, 2023 - 18:00 ET
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Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. I will see you tomorrow.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. The new House speaker just cleared a very significant hurdle, getting his plan to avoid a government shutdown approved with the help of Democrats. At the same time, anger amongst some House Republicans is clearly boiling over with one GOP lawmaker accusing another of elbowing him in the back.
We're also following the rapidly worsening health care crisis in war- torn Gaza. The United Nations says there's now only one working hospital left in the north as fighting rages and civilians are dying, this as thousands of Americans rally in Washington showing their support for Israel and its war against Hamas, as anti-Semitism is surging in the U.S. and around the world.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.
Let's get straight to the breaking news out of Washington. The House of Representatives voting tonight to keep the federal government open until at least early next year, as tensions boil over within the very chaotic House Republican conference.
CNN's journalists are standing by up on Capitol Hill with new details on both of these breaking stories.
First, let's go to CNN's Melanie Zanona. Melanie, how did Speaker Johnson get the votes for this bill and what happens next?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Speaker Johnson had to rely heavily on Democratic votes to get this over the finish line. In the end, the vote breakdown was 209 Democrats and 107 Republicans ended up voting for this plan. So far, more Democratic support than Republican support and almost an exact identical vote tally to the one that got Kevin McCarthy ousted not too long ago.
So, now, this bill is going to head over to the Senate, where we are expecting it to easily pass before the Friday deadline.
But one of the big questions looming over this House vote was whether Speaker Johnson was going to suffer the same fate as Kevin McCarthy. As a reminder, he was ousted from the speakership for putting a stopgap spending bill on the House floor that didn't include spending cuts and that also relied heavily on Democratic support.
But in my conversations with conservative hardliners, including some of those eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy, they say they are willing to give Johnson a pass here, and that has prompted some of McCarthy's allies to accuse them of hypocrisy. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RALPH NORMAN (R-SC): Mike has got trust. We trust what he's doing. He came and met with us last night and laid out -- he, in his opinion, had no other choice. We've got a three-vote, two-vote majority.
REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): Let's be clear, Kevin McCarthy was not thrown out because of the stopgap funding measure. That was the excuse people used. There were people fixing for a fight.
REP. PATRICK MCHENRY (R-NC): I mean, hypocrisy in Washington is nothing new.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: So, Johnson has managed to avoid a right-wing rebellion, at least for now. But there are signs of challenges to come, and that is because Johnson has promised that this will be his last stopgap spending bill that he puts on the floor, so that could be a difficult promise to keep in the months ahead. And all eyes right now are on those next government funding deadlines early next year, Wolf.
BLITZER: Melanie Zanona up on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
For more news right now we're following up on Capitol Hill, tensions boiling over after the former speaker, Kevin McCarthy, allegedly elbowed a fellow Republican lawmaker in what's being described as, quote, a clean shot to the kidneys.
Our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju is joining us right now. Manu, these are adults whose salaries are paid by American taxpayers. Tell us what happened.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, devolving into something beyond that, Wolf, after the aftermath of morning meeting, which Kevin McCarthy walked out of the room allegedly, according to Tim Burchett, sucker punched him in the back, led to hitting in the kidneys, leaving Burchett in some pain.
Burchett said that he then followed the former speaker down the hallway, they got into a heated back and forth, he said, then, ultimately, they moved on with their day.
But the former speaker simply denying that, saying this was a narrow hallway they were walking down that he accidentally bumped into the Tennessee Republican. But the fact that Burchett was one of the eight Republicans who ousted Kevin McCarthy has made Burchett believe that this was fully intentional and that what the speaker is saying -- former speaker is saying, it's just not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: If it was an accident, then why was he in so much pain? Why is he saying he's in a lot of pain afterwards? I mean, you can accidentally bump in --
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Come on. If I don't even know it happened, he's in pain, I guess he needs to try (INAUDIBLE).
RAJU: He said, if it was intentional, you would know it and you'd be on the ground. Your response.
REP. TIM BURCHETT (R-TN): I mean, is he 12? Come on. I'm just not going to get down, might going to swing at the low pitches. He knows what he did and he suffers the consequences.
RAJU: Are you in pain?
BURCHETT: A little bit, yes. I mean, it was just a clean shot to the kidneys, and that's all it was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, still saying he's in a little bit of pain.
But, Wolf, the former speaker simply dismissing that outright, but he did tell me just a few days ago that people like Tim Burchett, who voted to oust him, are more interested in the press than they are about dealing with any of the substantive issues on Capitol Hill. So, you can just see the tensions that are still lingering more than a month after McCarthy's ouster, Wolf.
BLITZER: And if that were not enough, Manu, also today, a Republican senator attempted to physically fight a witness during an actual hearing, right?
RAJU: Yes. This was a Teamsters representative who was testifying before the Senate HELP Committee. This senator, Senator Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma read out some tweets from that witness, attacking him, criticizing him, suggesting that they should get into some sort of altercation. Then Mullin challenged him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARKWAYNE MULLIN (R-OK): You want to run your mouth. We can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here.
SEAN O'BRIEN, GENERAL PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS: Okay, that's fine, perfect.
MULLIN: You want to do it now?
O'BRIEN: I'd love to do it right now.
MULLIN: Well, you stand your butt up then.
O'BIREN: You stand your butt up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on, stop it, hold it. No, no, sit down, sit down. You're a United States senator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, afterwards, I asked Markwayne Mullin about that episode. He said he has no regrets. He simply wanted to ask that witness if he could back up his tweets. I asked him if it was appropriate to have a fight to try to resolve things by physical violence. He said that's the way he was raised in Oklahoma. I said, well, you are a United States senator. He said, I'm still a guy from Oklahoma. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Manu, Manu Raju reporting from Capitol Hill as well, thank you, Manu.
Let's get some more on all the breaking news. I want to bring in our political experts. And, Gloria Borger, let me start with this chaos we saw up on Capitol Hill today, a former House speaker allegedly assaulting a fellow member, then a U.S. senator challenging a witness to a fight during an actual committee hearing. I have never seen anything like this going on up on Capitol Hill. Have you ever seen anything like this?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this kind of nonsense, I think this session of Congress actually began with a little rumble on the House floor during the whole McCarthy speaker debate, and then it seems to have descended even lower today.
And, you know, it's hard for the American public to have a lot of respect for a place when you see these kind of schoolyard things going on. And the best part of that hearing today, and you played a little bit of it in the Senate, was when the chairman of the committee, Senator Sanders, had to remind Mullin that you're a United States senator. And no wonder why we have such low approval ratings.
Well, I checked today, the approval ratings of Congress right now are at a soaring 17 percent, 17, and they could go lower after what occurred today.
BLITZER: Yes, it's pretty awful. Children, if you will.
BORGER: Boys will be boys, yes.
BLITZER: Kristen Soltis Anderson -- yes -- is joining us as well.
Kristen, Congressman Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker, denies the assault. Senator Mullin says he has no regrets. Should Republicans be so embarrassed by these two incidents today?
KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, Wolf, the first rule of fight club is that you don't talk about fight club. No, I'm being flip. But this is ridiculous. It's very silly. It's also a reminder that a lot of what we're seeing in Congress right now is not about policy. There's a lot of attempt to try to figure out, well, was Kevin McCarthy ousted as speaker because he was too moderate, he can't do enough for the conservative or for the right wing (INAUDIBLE)? Everything we've seen from the stopgap bill passing to this strange kerfuffle on the -- among members of Congress is just a reminder that so much of this is personal rather than ideological. BLITZER: Ashley Allison is with us as well. Ashley, what do you make
of what we saw today?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's an embarrassment. The Republicans should be embarrassed. And not to make light of it, but some could say that men are too emotional to lead. I mean, from the House to the Senate, we are trying to keep our government open, there are wars going on in our world, (INAUDIBLE) issues. It's embarrassing and we deserve better --
BLITZER: Yes. It reminds me of what I used to see in fifth and sixth grade, maybe.
Gloria, Speaker Johnson's plan to fund the government that just passed the House with support from House Democrats, and now the White House says it's prepared to sign this bill. This is a big win for the new speaker, right?
BORGER: Well, that's one good thing that happened on Capitol Hill today, right? They actually got something done and passed this clean continuing resolution that Republicans objected to. Over 90 Republicans opposed it. It passed with overwhelming Democratic support. They had to get it over the finish line that way.
So, it is a big win for the new speaker. But he's going to have to face more contests like this along the way when you come up with another spending bill. And he's still got the same problems that Kevin McCarthy had, which is balancing the right in his caucus with the regular conservatives, let me put it that way, in his caucus. And he's still got those problems. So, he knows it isn't going to be easy and he can see it in this vote result.
BLITZER: It's interesting, Kristen, a clean spending bill without cuts to government funding backed by Democrats is exactly what got McCarthy ousted from his job. So, why does Johnson appear to be safe right now?
ANDERSON: Well, there is a little bit of latitude given to someone kind of on a personal basis on a lot of things, right? You have Nixon can go to China. You have someone like Donald Trump who talks tough about crimes, the one who's able to pass criminal justice reform.
And it may be that it needs to be someone who's built up some measure of credibility with the further right of the caucus in order to bring them along on even the sorts of bills that could have been identical to what Kevin McCarthy would have advanced. Because there's a belief that there's trust there, that, ultimately, even if this is not the bill when they get their win that, further down the road, conservative spending bills will get passed.
So, that's part of why I think -- again, remembering that so much of this is personal, not just about policy, and Speaker Johnson does have a bit more personal credibility with some of those more cantankerous members.
BLITZER: Everyone, thank you very, very much. Good discussion.
Just ahead, we'll haven update on the war in Gaza right now as Israel claims Hamas has lost control in the north.
Plus, why Donald Trump's criminal trial in Georgia may still be going on after the 2024 presidential election.
BLITZER: Tonight, U.S. officials are sounding optimistic about talks aimed at freeing more hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Listen to President Biden's response earlier today when he was asked about a potential deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I've been talking with people involved every single day. I believe it's going to happen, but I don't want to get into detail.
REPORTER: What's your message for the families?
BIDEN: Hang in there, we're coming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Let's get some more on all of this. CNN's Nic Robertson is joining us from Israel right now. Nic, so based on your reporting and all our CNN reporting, where do these hostage negotiations stand right now?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Prime Minister Netanyahu here today said that he continues to work relentlessly towards that release. The government position here continues to be a ceasefire only for the release of all hostages. The best understanding at the moment is that it's possible that about 100 women and children may be released, but not all at once, and that will be done on the basis of sort of rolling ceasefires, rolling releases or rolling pauses in the fighting, if you will.
I've talked over the weekend to some of the families of hostages, and they've been telling me, some of them in particular who have sons or brothers, men who are sort of in their 30, 40-year-old age bracket, they're very concerned that the men may get left behind in all of this, that there may be a big effort to release the women and children, which they say is absolutely right. So, a lot of pressure on the government here to get all the hostages back.
And I was speaking with one of those family members who I met with over the weekend here in Israel, he's been in Washington at the big march there today, has been meeting with government officials, met with very senior White House officials. And he said he's not -- from those meetings, he's not been made more optimistic but he's been reassured, reassured that everyone he's speaking to in the government, the U.S. government, is aligned on this issue, and wants all the hostages released, and wants to have a strong, good and positive, firm relationship with all the families. So, I think there's a reassurance, not so much the optimism, Wolf.
BLITZER: Nic, give us an update Israel's operations inside northern Gaza right now. You were embedded with the IDF there yesterday.
ROBERTSON: Yes. And we got a firsthand look at how the fight is going in the north of Gaza, that it is still street to street, that the tanks, the IDF's tanks' crews are right there in the heart of some of the dense neighborhoods, still engaged in firefights with Hamas.
But we've heard from the defense minister here today who says that Hamas has lost control over the north of Gaza, both above ground and below ground. And to that point, we're hearing jets right now and all through the day with some very big explosions and detonations and been able to see from a distance that fight continuing.
But the IDF's position, very clear, they're gaining stronger and stronger control in the north and they're still also committed to going into the south of Gaza, Wolf.
BLITZER: Nic Robertson doing excellent reporting, as he always does, thank you very, very much.
Now, to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, we're getting new accounts of civilians, including babies, caught in the crossfire with war-ravaged hospitals unable to treat them.
CNN's Nada Bashir has our report. I want to warn our viewers, some of the images you're about to see are disturbing.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): How do you begin to explain the nightmares of this war to these children? Injured, distraught, now grieving. The lifeless body of little Hamoud (ph), cradled in the arms of his father, killed in a strike on the northern Jabalya camp. In the central region of Deir al-Balah, yet more goodbyes, yet more children killed. The wounded rushed to a hospital already on the brink of collapse. Struck, they say, as they attempted to evacuate southwards.
HASAN BAKER, INJURED RESIDENT: What did our children do to deserve this? Were they carrying weapons? Were they confronting the tanks? No. we are civilians. We were trying to move from one place to another. We were following the orders of the occupation forces.
BASHIR: In the north, there is now just one hospital left operational. The rest paralyzed by shortages in fuel, medication and essential supplies. With each passing day at the Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest, there are more bodies. But there is no more space in the hospital's morgues.
DR. AHMED El MOKHALLALATI, SENIOR PLASTIC SURGEN, AL-SHIFA HOSPITAL: Today, there was an initiative by the civilians within hospital, that the situation is horrible and they started digging in the -- within the hospital to bury the bodies on their own responsibilities without any arrangements by the Israeli side.
BASHIR: With no oxygen supplies left in the hospital, doctors at Al- Shifa have been forced to remove premature babies from their incubators. The cries of Gaza's most vulnerable huddled together, wrapped in foil and blankets to keep them warm.
The Israeli military says it has offered to provide Al-Shifa with more incubators and support for evacuating children but no details have been shared as to how an evacuation plan could proceed.
DR. MUHAMMAD QANDIL, AL NASSER HOSPITAL DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT: So, basic requirement for Shifa Hospital, Indonesian Hospital operation, like if you want medical supply, safe inlet and exit are urgently required.
BASHIR: Israel has long held that Hamas has positioned a command and control center beneath the Al Shifa Hospital, a claim now echoed by U.S. officials. CNN is unable to verify this allegation, which has been staunchly denied by both Hamas and medical officials on the ground. Many doctors expressing alarm over suggestions that hospitals could now be considered targets.
Medical staff from Doctors Without Borders saying Tuesday that bullets were fired into one of three MSF premises near Al-Shifa, with intense fighting in the vicinity. The Israeli military says it has allowed an evacuation route from the hospital. But medical staff say it is near impossible to safely evacuate patients and civilians amid ongoing bombardment.
NEBAL FARSAKH, SPOKESPERSON, PALESTINE RED CRESCENT SOCIETY: We have received hundreds of calls for people crying while they are trapped in their homes in Gaza City and the north. They are unable to evacuate their homes because the whole area is -- there is a military operation and simply anyone who tries to go out will be a target for Israeli militaries. BASHIR: Many patients are simply too sick to embark on the long and dangerous walk to Southern Gaza, some, like this toddler, even dying on the way.
But even in the south, in areas outlined as so-called safe zones by the Israeli military, deadly airstrikes continue. Family members and medical staff standing shoulder to shoulder for funeral prayers, for many in Gaza, now a daily ritual.
BASHIR (on camera): And, look, Wolf, we know these evacuations from Northern Gaza to Southern Gaza are extremely difficult, particularly for those hospital patients, not least for those newborn babies you saw in that report. And, of course, as we know, airstrikes are still ongoing in Southern Gaza. The U.N.'s own humanitarian chief warning there is simply nowhere safe for civilians to turn across the Gaza Strip. Wolf?
BLITZER: Nada Bashir reporting from Jerusalem, so heartbreaking indeed. Nada, thank you very much.
Coming up, the U.S. Justice Department's new argument for keeping a gag order on Donald Trump and the prosecutor in the Trump election subversion case in Georgia is offering a new timeline on how long the trial may last.
Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.
BLITZER: Tonight, we're learning more about the estimated timeline for Donald Trump's criminal trial in Georgia.
CNN's Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is joining us right now. Paula, what is the Fulton County D.A., Fani willis, saying today?
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, for the first time today, Willis giving The Washington Post in an event her estimate of when she might be able to bring her sprawling RICO case to trial. Of course, this is a case that had been filed against former President Trump and some of his allies. Let's take a listen to when she expectations to complete this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I believe in that case there will be a trial, I believe the trial will take many months. And I don't expect that we will conclude until the winter or the very early part of 2025.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Now, prosecutors have said they expect that case to last between four and six months. But if you look at the calendar for 2024, it's pretty crowded and you can't find a chunk of time that large until later in the year.
Now, Willis said she does not take into consideration the election calendar, but the fact is, many of those are not election events, they are other criminal trials. And the calendar doesn't free up until later 2024, which is why she likely expects to bring this trial late next year and possibly into 2025.
BLITZER: Interesting. And, Paula, I understand there's also an update on the special counsel's Trump January 6th case and the Trump gag order.
REID: That's exactly right. The special counsel and Trump's lawyers will be before an appeals court here in Washington on Monday arguing about whether Trump should be forced to abide by a limited gag order put in place by the judge overseeing his January 6th trial.
And today, the special counsel filed a brief laying out why they believe this is necessary. They insist that he has a pattern going back years of identifying people and who are then threatened, who face harassment, and in this case, he has done that. They allege to try to intimidate the court, the special counsel, and witnesses, as recently as this weekend. He was threatening and talking about the special counsel and his family.
Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We have deranged Jack Smith, the Trump-hating prosecutor in the case. His wife and family despise me much more than he does, and he decides, I think he's about a 10, they're about a 15 on a scale of 10. And he was involved, you know, Jack Smith, the deranged one, I call him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: The special counsel notes that no defendant in history has been able to simply malign prosecutors and judges and the court this way without some limitations. While Trump's lawyers have argued that this gag order infringes on his First Amendment, impedes his ability to campaign, the special counsel insists that this is narrowly tailored to protect people who have faced threats and harassment because Trump has named them publicly.
BLITZER: Paula Reid reporting for us, Paula, thank you very much.
I want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Codero and Elie Honig.
Carrie, let me start with you. First of all, what's your reaction to the D.A., Fani Willis, saying she doesn't anticipate this trial will wrap up until early 2025? CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, she knows the evidence in her case the best and so that makes sense from the perspective of she knows what she would have to put on. She knows how long it would take her to try the case if no more of the current defendants pled in advance. And so that's her judgment.
But there are other factors at play here. There is what the judge in that case would view as an appropriate timeline, both for when the trial starts and for how long it actually goes. And then there's the federal cases that in the sound bite that you played, it doesn't sound like she addressed, which is the fact that the federal election interference case and the classified documents case also would have to factor into the schedule at some point.
BLITZER: And, Elie Honig, prosecutors, as you know, also filed what's called an emergency motion after the leak of discovery materials in this case. I want to play for our viewers a key part of that from former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis recounting a conversation with Trump staffer Dan Scavino. Watch and listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: And he said to me in a kind of excited tone, well, we don't care and we're not going to leave. And I said, what do you mean? And he said, well, the boss, meaning President Trump, and everyone understood the boss, that's what we all called him, he said the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We are just going to stay in power. And I said, well, it doesn't quite work that way, you realize. And he said, we don't care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So, what are these videos reveal about the strength of this case?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, this tells me that Jenna Ellis is starting to emerge as potentially an extraordinarily powerful and valuable witness for the prosecutors. And it's quite remarkable when you think of just how aggressively Jenna Ellis was defending Donald Trump and out there perpetrating the election fraud live for many, many years and months.
But now, she seemingly has made a full break. This happens to people sometimes. When they get charged with a crime, they realize that it's in their best interest to come clean. Jenna Ellis also could be extremely valuable because she's an insider, as this conversation she's testifying about here with Dan Scavino illustrates the innermost people within Donald Trump's closest circles of power felt comfortable telling her about the plans. And if she's now telling that to prosecutors, then she could be a really valuable witness.
BLITZER: She certainly could be. Carrie, what stands out to you about this?
CORDERO: Well, again, I echo what Ali says in terms of the importance of her. I do also wonder, you know -- again, my mind goes to the federal cases. I wonder whether she also has information that potentially could be relevant to Jack Smith's election case as well.
But she is a very compelling witness.
She is the one individual who has so far pled guilty to a felony. Some of the other lawyers that were working for the former president had pled guilty to only misdemeanors.
And so she really was facing some more severe consequences that perhaps have motivated her to be this forthcoming with prosecutors.
BLITZER: Yes, good point. Elie, what do you make of the differences, and there are differences, in what we're now hearing from Jenna Ellis and from Sidney Powell?
HONIG: It's night and day, Wolf. And I think this is a good example of how cooperation does work and does not work. Cooperation only works if the person is all in, as I think we appear to be seeing with Jenna Ellis. We're only seeing excerpts of her testimony.
But when you look at Sidney Powell, she got the same essentially similar deal that Jenna Ellis got, which is a very light disposition probation only. But the difference is Sidney Powell, after she took her plea, was right back there in public on her X, Twitter feed, repeating the claims of election fraud and sort of doubling down on this notion that the election was stolen.
And basically, her position now is, yes, the 2020 election was stolen. I said it then. I said it now. I told Donald Trump then. He was right to listen to me. And so that makes her useless as a witness to the D.A.
So, I think you're seeing quite a contrast here between Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis.
BLITZER: Good point. Guys, thank you very, very much.
Just ahead, new video just coming into the situation room of a U.S. strike this past weekend in Syria. We'll have a live report from the Middle East that's coming up.
BLITZER: We have breaking news on the U.S. military striking targets in the Middle East affiliated with Iran following attacks on U.S. forces.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is joining us live from Tel Aviv right now. Oren, the Pentagon, I understand, just released new video. What does it show?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the U.S. has struck Eastern Syria three times in the last three weeks in response to a barrage of rocket and drone attacks on U.S. forces. And now they have just released video of the most recent attacks.
This first video is in Al-Bukamal, on the Syria-Iraq border. It is, according to the U.S., an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps training site for Iran. You see about four buildings there. First, one explosion, then a short time later, a second explosion.
And if you keep watching this video, it appears there are secondary explosions indicating either that weapons are held there that were set off by the initial strike, or perhaps fuel, or some other combustible material there, as this video continues.
Here is the second video. This is from Mayadin, Syria, which is inland or in towards the heart of Syria from Al-Bukamal. This is a headquarters center. You can see the explosion there. These two strikes carried out over the weekend.
The problem is the attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have continued. According to the Pentagon, there have now been a total of 56 attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria since October 17th. And several of those have come since these most recent strikes.
Asked today about these strikes, the Pentagon said that deterrence was working. The U.S. has tried to calibrate these strikes in a way that it first sends a message to Iran, but also doesn't escalate the region.
Still, the question of whether deterrence is working is very much an open one, because as the Pentagon says that, we have seen continued attacks across the Lebanon-Israel border, targeting Israel, we have seen the Houthis get involved launching ballistic missiles and cruise missiles towards Israel from Yemen, and we've also seen these continued attacks on U.S. forces in the region. Those 56 attacks have led to nearly 60 minor injuries among U.S. forces. And at least as of right now, Wolf, it doesn't look like that's slowing down. The U.S. promising that if they continue, it will carry out more strikes.
BLITZER: Yes, indeed. All right, Oren Liebermann reporting for us from Tel Aviv, thank you.
Just ahead, a massive gathering in Washington today in support of Israel and against growing anti-Semitism. We're going to have a live report from the National Mall. And the head of the Anti-Defamation League is standing by live. We will discuss.
BLITZER: Tonight, a huge demonstration of support for Israel here in the United States. Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. to send a message about the war in the Middle East and antisemitism here at home.
CNN's Brian Todd is on the National Mall for us.
Brian, you were there. Tell us more about this rally that broke up a little while ago.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Wolf. The security perimeters are still up but the crowd has now dissipated after a massive rally here, a very emotional event showing solidarity with Israel and with the hostages being held by Hamas.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: We stand!
CROWD: With Israel!
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A show of support drawing tens of thousands in Washington, including lawmakers from both parties.
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The survival of the state of Israel and her people unites us together and it unites all Americans.
TODD: A rally to support Israel in a time of war.
ERIC FINGERHUT, JEWISH FEDERATIONS OF NORTH AMERICA: We support Israel's fight to rid itself of the terror threat and restore safety and security to its people.
TODD: And to push for the release of hostages held by Hamas.
The mother of hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin pressing for action.
RACHEL GOLDBERG, SON WAS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: Why is the world accepting that 240 human beings from almost 30 countries have been stolen and buried alive?
TODD: Shaked Haran has seven family members who have been kidnapped, including a 3-year-old niece.
SHAKED HARAN, SEVEN FAMILY MEMBERS KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: I don't know if anyone is holding her hand, or keeping her warm. We don't know anything.
TODD: She came here from Israel, worried that the public's attention is focusing elsewhere.
HARAN: People are talking about a cease-fire, about a pause. But they're not talking about the hostages.
TODD: The rally also focused on countering antisemitism amid a spike in incidents at college campuses and elsewhere.
TOVAH FELDSHUH, ACTRESS: College and university presidents, if you remain weak, if you remain silent, you are complicit.
TODD: Political graffiti against Israel was found at the rally site this morning.
ARI MOSKOWITZ, RALLY ATTENDEE FROM MARYLAND: What scares me now is what I'm seeing. The antisemitism I'm seeing in the U.S., seeing that out in the open is really terrifying. So it's also good to be here with people in solidarity.
TODD: Today, calls for action against hate.
DEBRA MESSING, ACTRESS: Like our ancestors who for 3,000 years looked hate straight in the eyes. We, too, will prevail.
TODD: Tight security in D.C. with roadblocks and checkpoints, with rallies to support Israel dueling with rallies to support Palestinians in a battle to win over public opinion.
MOSKOWITZ: I support everybody's right to protest. I just wish that people would come at it from a perspective of peace and coexistence.
TODD (on camera): Now, several people here told us that they hoped there was an understanding that a rally here in support of Israel was not an anti-Palestinian rally.
One of the keynote speakers, Alana Ziecheck, who's related to six hostages being held by Hamas, well, she told the crowd that the simple truth is, you can still abhor the suffering of Palestinian families and abhor the suffering of Israeli families like hers -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd, reporting for us, Brian, thank you.
Joining us now, Jonathan Greenblatt, he's the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
Jonathan, thanks for joining us.
I know you -- you were there. You joined in today's march. What went through your mind, Jonathan, simply being there?
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, I got to tell you, this was an extraordinary day. There weren't tens of thousands of people there, wolf. There were hundreds of thousands. The report that I've heard is upwards of 300,000 people.
And it was a rally filled with hope and filled with joy. You can see the Israeli flags. You can see the American flags. What really struck me was the unity. You had Jews from all four corners of the country, from all political persuasions, from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, different levels of identity, different kinds of observance, who all came together and said, free the hostages from Gaza, free Gaza from Hamas, and demonstrate that this terror act is not going to deter us, not on our college campuses, not on our public spaces, nowhere -- nowhere at all.
BLITZER: In the U.S. alone, Jonathan, the ADL, your organization, has now counted more than 800 antisemitic incidents since the Hamas attack. That's a 316 percent increase since last year. How is it that the Jewish community is facing this level of danger now when it's still reeling from such a heinous terrorist attack?
GREENBLATT: Yeah, it's extraordinary. We were dealing with records of level of Semitism before October the 7th. And there's been a tsunami over the last month. On our campuses alone -- on our campuses alone, Wolf, we've seen almost ten times increase in the last, in this period versus last year.
And I'm talking about an assault at the University of Massachusetts, right? I'm talking about another assault at Tulane or at Harvard University, vandals and harassment everywhere. So, our community is seeing the anti-Jewish hate that we've never seen before.
But we are not daunted. We are not deterred. And we are not going away. And you saw that here today. Jews again from across the political spectrum came together and said, anti-Zionism is anti- Semitism, and we are not going to be intimidated by the intolerance of our haters.
And, by the way, Wolf, we will continue to say no to anti-Semitism. We will stand with Israel and we'll stand with the Palestinian people. But we will not stand with, we will not stand for Hamas, and the hostages should be released immediately. And then we can talk about a ceasefire.
BLITZER: They should be released immediately. Gaza's hospitals, as you know, Jonathan, are in crisis. Doctors there say newborn babies are dying. Is Israel risking losing global support for its war against Hamas when it's taking such a catastrophic toll on Palestinians in Gaza?
GREENBLATT: In fairness, I am not a geo-military strategist, Wolf. I think that the loss of any incident life is horrendous and a tragedy. I hate to see these pictures from the hospital in Gaza, but I equally hate the fact that Hamas embeds themself in the hospital, the level of evil here is off the charts that they would put their command center inside a place of healing and hope. These people are evil that would use their own sick and defenseless civilians as shields.
I mean, the level of derangement isn't like anything we've seen before, so, God willing, Israel will be able to dismantle Hamas while protecting and saving as many as civilian lives as possible. But I must say, Wolf, I don't think they'll have a choice. Hamas has said they will repeat October 7th again and again and again. They want to murder Jews. I think Israel has no choice.
BLITZER: Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL, thank you very much for joining us.
GREENBLATT: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, dramatic moments in court today as the man who brutally attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband takes the stand in his own defense. We're going to tell you what David DePape is saying about why he did it and whether it was part of a larger plan.
BLITZER: In a San Francisco courtroom today, the man who brutally attacked Paul Pelosi last October took the stand in his own defense.
CNN's Veronica Miracle is outside the courthouse for us.
Veronica, tell us what happened.
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, one of the most striking parts about David DePape's testimony was that he actually was remorseful for hurting Paul Pelosi. He said he was never actually the target. He said, quote, I hit him in the head, I reacted because my plan was basically ruined, I felt bad for him because we had a really good rapport and things were going good until the very last second.
He told the jury -- DePape told the jury exactly what he told investigators right after the attack which is that he went to the Pelosi residents to find Nancy Pelosi and to gave her an opportunity to tell the truth because he said she was spreading lies in the media. And DePape said that if she didn't, he was going to break her kneecaps.
Obviously, she wasn't there that evening, and Paul Pelosi ended up taking the hit. We do have body camera video of the attack. We're going to show it to you. It is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POLICE OFFICER: How are you doing? What's going on, man?
DAVID DEPAPE, ATTACKER: Everything's good.
POLICE OFFICER: Drop the hammer.
POLICE OFFICER: Hey, hey, hey. What is going on?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MIRACLE: Now, DePape said in the moments after attacking Paul Pelosi, he felt very bad. He feared for his life, and that he didn't actually know that he survived until he was faced and he learned that he was facing an attempted murder charge.
He apologized to Paul Pelosi and said that Nancy was really the target. He is -- he talked a lot about these conspiracy theories, including the fact that he believed that 9/11 was an inside job, started sobbing when talking about former President Donald Trump. We expect this trial to wrap this week -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Veronica Miracle, thank you very much. And thanks to our viewers for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.