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Police Say, At Least Three Victims In UNLV Campus Shooting, Suspect Dead; Nevada Grand Jury Indicts Six Pro-Trump Fake Electors; CNN Poll Shows Biden's Job Approval Falls To A New Low Ahead Of 2024; FBI And DHS Chiefs Warn Of Heightened Threats In The U.S. Since Start Of Israel-Hamas War; Secretary Blinken Talks Of Personal Impact Of Israel-Hamas War. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 06, 2023 - 18:00   ET


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: They're going to bring additional cases according to the Attorney General today.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Evan Perez, thank you so much.

And tonight after the Republican presidential debate, look post debate analyst hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dana Bash, 10:00 Eastern on CNN.

Coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, a shooting on the Las Vegas campus of the University of Nevada. Police say at least three victims were taken to hospitals and the shooter is dead. We're standing by for new details.

Also breaking, six more allies in Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election were just indicted. Nevada becoming the third state where pro-Trump fake electors now face criminal charges.

And new warning signs for President Biden as he faces a potential rematch with Donald Trump, President Biden's approval rating sinking to a new low in CNN's exclusive brand-new poll. This as Trump claims he won't be a dictator if re-elected except on his first day in office.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.

Let's get right to the breaking news on the UNLV campus shooting. CNN's Stephanie Elam is on the story for us. Stephanie, give us the very latest on what we know this hour.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. A terrifying day, Wolf, for the people on the campus of U.N. Las Vegas, this happening just before noon today where they were getting messages all throughout the system saying that there was an active shooter on campus. They were getting text messages and tweets that said from UNLV, run, hide, fight. In fact, take a listen from the press conference we had earlier today from law enforcement here talking about exactly what happened and where they stand right now.


ADAM GARCIA, DIRECTOR, UNLV POLICE SERVICES: We received a call of an active shooter event at 11:45 this morning. Officers immediately responded, engaged the suspect. The suspect at this point is deceased.

SHERIFF KEVIN MCMAHILL, LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE: Of course, we have no idea on the motive. There are a number of victims that have been transported to area hospitals. I want to assure the community there is no further threat. We are continuing the investigation.


ELAM: And then there was a subsequent tweet that came out from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that's from the sheriff saying that no more threat to the community, the suspect is deceased. Right now, we know there are three victims but unknown extent of the injuries. That number could change. We will update you when we know more.

We also know, based on that press conference that law enforcement has been going through each of the buildings on this expansive campus, each building, floor by floor, making sure to clear out all the floors, making sure to find anyone else who may be injured.

And on top of it, you have all these people on campus who were sheltering in place. They want to make sure that they get them out safely as well and they have set up a reunification point at the convention center there in Las Vegas to get people off of campus. And they're going to -- slowly they're transporting them there so that they can be put back together with their loved ones as well.

All of this, still having the area still blocked off, it was a sizable response with a SWAT Team. Also we saw some armored vehicles responding to the scene. We don't have a lot of information, but we do know that there have been patients that have been taken to area hospitals.

What we also understand is that this was happening near Beam Hall, which is where the Lee Business School is. It has classrooms, laboratories, and also computer labs there. There were also some reports that there may have been shots fired at the student union, which was very close to Beam Hall. So, unclear yet if there are two separate locations for this, but law enforcement officials do believe that it was just one individual and that one person has been neutralized.

But a very terrifying day for these students who were in the middle of their study period, getting ready for final examinations before their winter holiday and being on campus and having this come through and come forward. We know school has been canceled for the rest of today throughout all of the higher education institutions throughout Nevada, but still a terrifying day here but they're saying now that the threat is over, Wolf.

BLITZER: Terrifying, indeed. Stephanie Elam, thank you very much.

I want to bring in CNN Law Enforcement Analyst John Miller and Charles Ramsey.

Chief Ramsey, police say there's no more threat to the community and the suspect is dead. How will they be working now to piece together what happened here?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, first of all, it's good to be with you, Wolf, but unfortunately under these circumstances once again. Right now, what they're doing is obviously processing the scene but they're also trying to get an I.D. on the suspect. Now they may already have that.


He is deceased. He may have had I.D. on him, may have been able to do it through prints. We don't know if this was a student. We don't know anything, at least not on the public side at this point in time. But obviously, you'd want to conduct search warrants, where the person lives, if he's a student, his room, if he had a vehicle, all those kinds of things, looking for motive, trying to find through social media or something that would lead them to understand why this was done.

So, this is going to take some time. They're still processing the scene. They're still going through all the buildings, which they have to do. Once you tell someone to shelter in place, that's exactly what (INAUDIBLE) be able to locate him, but also make sure we don't have anyone else who's injured. So, it's still a very, very active scene right now.

BLITZER: And, John Miller, as of right now, the sheriff says there are at least three victims but the extent of their injuries remains unknown. Is there any concern that number could go up as police fully sweep the campus?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: There is that concern although I think we are getting kind of good hope from the amount of time that has gone by as they've had to break in to some rooms, they've had to key get cards from other staff members to give to the SWAT Teams clearing those builds. But they still have -- these are both big buildings. And you can't just kind of clear the rooms. You have to clear the rooms, the closets, look under the desks because we have experience from prior active shooter incidents where people will hide. They'll turn off their phones so it doesn't make noise. So, they still have some clearing to do.

But the idea that the initial numbers are -- I hate to say this in this context -- are relatively small in the genre of these active shooters, this would probably be number 40 for this year, topping number 36 for last year. I think last year was a record, so we've already surpassed that year-to-date. And, hopefully, that number stays low. BLITZER: Yes, hopefully. It's very disturbing, indeed. All right, to both of you, thank you very much.

And there's more breaking news just ahead on the new indictment of pro-Trump fake electors in Nevada. We're going to break down the case and how it figures into efforts to prosecute 2020 election subversion.



BLITZER: There's more breaking news tonight, new criminal indictments in Nevada tied to the multistate fake electors scheme that was aimed at keeping Donald Trump in the White House after his 2020 presidential defeat.

Here's our CNN National Correspondent Kyung Lah.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had electors that is six-vote certified for President Donald J. Trump.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This event posing as an official ceremony is central to the indictments announced today in Nevada. A grand jury indicted these six fake electors. They now face felony charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald J. Trump of the state of Florida having received six electoral votes is declared the winner of the electoral votes for the state of Nevada.

LAH: That's a lie. Trump lost Nevada in 2020 by 33,000 votes. Joe Biden won Nevada's six electoral votes.

The document they signed that day became part of a charade seeking to undermine voters' faith in democracy. Since that day in 2020, the fake electors have faced scrutiny but they did not face charges until today, and have continued in Republican politics.

We found two of them in this Reno, Nevada, library.

You haven't spoken, that you're not going to comment on whether you've spoken to anybody.


LAH: But you do understand that's --

HINDLE: And, please, if you would turn that off, we have nothing to talk about really on that, yes. I have nothing to say.

LAH: This is Nevada Republican Vice Chairman Jim Hindle, now indicted, and Nevada Republican Party National Committeeman Jim DeGraffenreid, also indicted.

Have you been contacted --


LAH: What about your testimony in Georgia, the --

GRAFFENREID: I don't have any comment on that.

HINDLE: We've been making the road show around the state.

LAH: Crisscrossing the state, talking about next year's caucus.

Is there any irony in you going around with, to use your words, the road show, talking about 2024, when in 2020, you signed this fake electoral document?

HINDLE: I apologize, but this is not something I will entertain.

LAH: Do you still believe Trump won?

HINDLE: It's irrelevant. The Electoral College elects president. And so the Electoral College elected Joe Biden. And so Joe Biden is the president.

LAH: But how do you explain what happened in 2020, that ceremony you participated in and the document you signed?

HINDLE: Again, no comment on that.

LAH: We contacted all of Nevada's six fake electors about the state attorney general's investigation.

I'm looking for Shawn Meehan.


LAH: And this is Meehan him in 2020.



LAH: In the attorney general's investigation of the fake electors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no comment on that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You've reached the office of Michael J. McDonald.

LAH: I'm trying to reach Mr. McDonald again.

The leader of the fake electors, Michael McDonald, current Nevada Republican chairman was center stage just last month.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump, Trump. DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I want to thank Michael. He's been fantastic right from the beginning.

LAH: McDonald has been summoned by both the January 6th grand jury and in the fake electors case. McDonald is also now indicted.


LAH (on camera): And these are very serious felony charges. If convicted, they potentially face years behind bars. And Nevada isn't the only place where we're seeing some news out of fake electors cases. In the state of Wisconsin, ten of the fake electors there issued a statement as part of a settlement saying that they disavow their actions from 2020, Wolf, and they do believe, indeed, that Joe Biden won the state of Wisconsin in 2020.



BLITZER: Kyung Lah reporting for us, thanks for that report, Kyung.

Let's get some more on this with our team of experts, and, Elie Honig, let me start with you. How serious are these charges against these six fake electors in Nevada? And how tough will this case be for prosecutors to prove?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, if I think we need to be clear here, these charges are difficult to bring and even more difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. It's not as simple as just these folks signed these documents, they were false, therefore, it's a crime. You have to be able to prove as a prosecutor specific, guilty knowledge and intent as to each individual person.

And if we want proof of that, there were seven states that submitted false slates of electors. Only three now, including Nevada, have brought any criminal charges against the fake electors. And if we look at Georgia, they charged their case extremely aggressively. They had 16 fake electors, but only chose to charge 3 of the 16 with the crime.

And I think that reflects the fact that you need that specific proof of fraudulent intent. I think we can presuppose that Nevada has that here. They wouldn't have brought these charges. And perhaps that came from Kenneth Cheseboro, who pled guilty in Georgia, and we know was involved in the broader scheme here.

So, they've got a tough road ahead of them, these prosecutors, but, presumably, they wouldn't have brought these charges unless they thought they could walk it.

BLITZER: Good point. Jamie Gangel, how much do these indictments actually worry Trump?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, look, you never know with Trump what really worries him, but let's put it this way, they should worry him, even though he is not named in this case, the way he was in Georgia. Additional charges conceivably could be brought, but I think there's another reason for him to worry.

Kenneth Chesebro is a critical witness, and he is now going from state-to-state giving evidence. Also, what does this mean in the federal case, with Special Counsel Jack Smith, where Trump is the one named person? Wolf?

BLITZER: Good point indeed. You know, Paula Reid, as we know Georgia prosecutors have now gone ahead and officially listed former Vice President Mike Pence and several other key former Trump administration officials as possible witnesses in that case. Tell us a little bit about that.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: So, this witness list is not public, but our colleagues have learned that among the witnesses who are going to be called, former Vice President Mike Pence, former Attorney General Bill Barr, National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, and, of course, longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon.

Now, when it comes to former Vice President Mike Pence, that's significant, because while he has testified and has been interviewed in the context of the federal investigation, he really hasn't been much of a factor in Georgia. So, this is the first confirmation we're getting that they could call him in the context of a trial.

And many of these other names, they all make sense in the larger context of this investigation, but this is the first confirmation we've gotten that they're on the secret, secret list.

BLITZER: Yes, important point. Elie, former Vice President Pence is someone directly involved in Trump's efforts to try to overturn the presidential election. So, what do these moves tell you about the prosecution's case right now?

HONIG: Well, first of all, Wolf, it tells me that the Georgia D.A., the Fulton County D.A.'s case, is very similar to Jack Smith's case. I think they're looking at very similar conduct and they're going to be calling a very similar slate of witnesses, including very powerful people up to and including the former vice president.

You know, Mike Pence is an imperfect witness for prosecutors, but still, I think, potentially a very powerful one. On the one hand, on the bad side for prosecutors, Mike Pence was very slow to disavow these election fraud claims. He wrote an article in March of 2021, two months after January 6th, saying he still had concerns about the integrity of the 2020 election. That's not going to be good for prosecutors.

On the other hand, he's a firsthand witness. He was the person who Donald Trump pressured. He was the person who resisted that pressure and refused to throw the election.

So, if I'm a prosecutor, I see Mike Pence absolutely as a witness, not as a slam dunk, but as an important part of the story that I'd willingly put on the stand.

BLITZER: You know, Jamie, if Pence does go ahead and testify, it would be pretty remarkable to see that moment, to see him testifying in court against his former boss, the then president of the United States, aide for these other officials, and the same thing for these other former Trump officials as well.

GANGEL: No question about it. It would be remarkable if the former vice president does testify, same for the former attorney general, Bill Barr.

I just want to underscore something that Elie just said about his being an imperfect witness. While it is true that he was a firsthand witness, he had conversations with Donald Trump, he has said that Trump was wrong to do this, we have seen Mike Pence straddle his relationship with Trump and January 6th, as Elie pointed out over and over again.

Cross-examination by Trump lawyers could be something the prosecutors take into consideration before they actually call him.

BLITZER: Yes, it's an important point as well.


Paula, are there executive privilege claims that Trump, Pence or any of these other former Trump officials could assert here?

REID: Well, this question has really been tested, especially at the federal level with the other cases trying to assert privilege. And so far, those attempts have not been successful. This is a slightly different context. It's a different investigation and it's at the state level.

But we have to remember a lot of the things that they're going to be asked about, forget about privilege, these guys have written about in their books, Attorney General Bill Barr, the former vice president, they've talked about a lot of the key moments here. So, the idea that they're going to be able to use privilege to not talk about something that they've made money off of in books, highly unlikely.

BLITZER: Good point, indeed. All right, guys, thank you very much.

Coming up, U.S. aid for Ukraine and Israel facing right now an uncertain future after the Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote on the bill because of a border security dispute.

And we'll have more in our top story right now, the shooting at the university campus in Las Vegas. I'll discuss with one of the Senate's top gun control advocates, Senator Chris Murphy. He's standing by line.



BLITZER: So, we're following breaking news out of Congress. U. S. aid for Ukraine and Israel is in very serious jeopardy right now after Senate Republicans blocked a procedural vote on the bill just a little while ago.

CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona is joining us right now. Melanie, so what happens now that this vote has failed?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Wolf, the path forward right now is very uncertain, but it's very clear that Republicans are not backing down from their demands that border security provisions be attached to any additional Ukraine funding despite increasingly dire warnings from the White House, including from the president himself today who accused Republicans of playing chicken with our national security.

Now, Republicans insist that they are still committed to trying to find a bipartisan solution on the border. Republican James Langford said this is not the end. And Republicans are planning to send over a counterproposal on the border, but very unclear if it's going to break the impasse.

One of the key sticking points has been on asylum laws. That's something that Democrats have signaled some openness to in terms of enforcing some stricter provisions there. But Republicans have been pushing for much stricter hard-line crackdowns on asylum laws and that is seen as a nonstarter with Democrats.

So, we'll see where they go from here. But even if they can agree on something in the Senate, it's far from certain they'll be able to agree in the House. Over there, Speaker Mike Johnson doesn't want to include Israel and Ukraine in a package together. He wants to keep those two issues separate. And he's also been pushing for a very strict partisan House GOP security bill to be part of the deal. And that has been a non-starter with Democrats as well.

So, they are divided over policy, divided over strategy, and that is why there are doubts right now in Washington about whether they're going to be able to prove this critical aid to our allies before the end of the year, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Melanie, thank you, Melanie Zanona reporting from Capitol Hill.

For more on the Ukraine-Israel aid package and other news, I'm joined now by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, thanks for joining us.

I know you're leading these negotiations over the aid bill. Republicans just sent a very clear message that the bill isn't going anywhere without very serious border reform. Do Democrats need to make more significant compromises, as President Biden put it, to get this over the finish line?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): The decision that the Republicans have made is dangerous. It's reckless. Listen, there's lots of extraneous policy that I want passed as well. I support changes in our gun laws to make sure that we don't have any more mass shootings, like we just saw at UNLV. But I'm not demanding that my list of proposals on guns be enacted into law in order to save Europe from Vladimir Putin. That fight is too important. And yet Republicans are essentially holding hostage support for both Israel and for Ukraine based upon their extreme demands about changing border policy.

Yes. I've been in the room for three weeks trying to deal with this Republican hostage taking exercise. So far, they have not put on the table any proposals that could win Democratic votes. Maybe we will get back to that negotiating table tomorrow after this unfortunate failed vote today.

But Republicans have to understand that we are not going to shut down the border completely. We need to at least have the ability for people fleeing terror and torture to come to the United States and shutting down the legal pathways in the United States. All that does is just encourage people to come here illegally, to sneak into the country, making a bigger mess than we have today.

So, hopefully, we'll be back to talking reasonably and rationally about this tomorrow. That's my hope and that's my plan.

BLITZER: At this point, Senator, do you think you and your colleagues will be able to actually strike a deal before recessing for the holidays? And just how big of a failure would it be to U.S. allies if you don't?

MURPHY: Well, obviously, this is the fate of the world at stake, because if the United States doesn't support Ukraine, Ukraine cannot win this war. Ultimately, Kyiv will be a Russian city, and we will rue the day that we left Ukraine to hang out to dry because Putin then could likely move into Europe or into a NATO country, putting the United States directly at war with Russia?

Yes, I plan on U.S. passing Ukraine funding, and my hope is that Republicans will be more reasonable tomorrow in their demands. I'm ready to support immigration changes that dramatically reduce the number of people who show up at the United States applying for asylum, but designed around trying to stop people who don't have meritorious claims.


I'm not interested in a complete 100 percent shutdown of the boiler. There is clearly room for an agreement, and hopefully we'll get closer to that goal tomorrow.

BLITZER: Senator, turning to the shooting you just mentioned at the Las Vegas campus of the University of Nevada, you just called on the Senate to pass universal background checks today. As an advocate for gun reform for years, what's going through your mind seeing yet another shooting like this one today?

MURPHY: Yes. I went to the floor today and asked for the Senate to move forward on my background checks legislation supported by 90 percent of Americans, the idea that everybody should prove they're not a criminal or seriously mentally ill before they buy a gun.

Expectedly, Republicans blocked it. They also blocked legislation to ban assault weapons in this country, and then three hours later, another tragic mass shooting.

I'm heartbroken by this, but I'm buoyed by the fact that last year we finally broke the logjam. We beat the NRA last summer. We passed the first major anti-gun violence legislation in 30 years. And though the mass shootings have not declined, overall gun violence rates have declined by as much as 10 to 12 percent in some of our biggest cities.

So, we have seen what happens when you pass legislation tightening our gun laws, less people die. And, hopefully, we can get back to that work very quickly.

BLITZER: All right, we shall see. Senator Chris Murphy, thanks, as usual, for joining us.

MURPHY: Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead, CNN's exclusive poll maybe sounding alarm bells in the Biden campaign, as Donald Trump is speaking out on whether his second term would actually be a dictatorship.



BLITZER: Tonight, CNN's exclusive new poll shows President Biden is heading into the 2024 election year with his lowest, his lowest approval rating yet. The survey shows 37 percent of Americans approve of the job he's doing, the worst rating for any modern president, at the same point in their first term. Deep concerns about the economy are helping to drive President Biden's numbers down.

Our political experts are here with more on this poll and the race for the White House. And, David Chalian, you're our political director, let's talk a little bit. These numbers are pretty dismal right now. How worried should the White House be?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, they should be pretty worried. This is not where any sitting president would want to be as they're about to turn into the election year.

Now, the election is a year away, so I don't think anybody needs to be setting their hair on fire that this means he is certain to lose. That's certainly not what this poll is saying, but it does, I think, show some really clear areas of concern across demographic groups. He is below majority approval with some of his own base of support. That's a concern, not just the overall number.

And as you note, Wolf, the number one issue we ask open-ended, what is your top issue? It is the economy by far. And on the economy, his approval rating is even lower than his overall approval rating. So, that's a big problem for him. BLITZER: It certainly is. And, Gloria, if we take a closer look at the polling, David mentions this among key parts of the Biden coalition, independents, blacks, Latinos, young voters, Biden is under 50 percent with all of them.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's grim for him. I mean, particularly when you look at younger voters who were so important to his coalition last time, independent voters, you've got a country where seven out of ten people believe things are not going well and they blame the president. And young voters look at the economy and say, I'm not getting ahead. My mortgage rates are high, et cetera, et cetera. I think the White House understands that they've got work to do here because it is a year out, but it still doesn't paint a pretty picture.

BLITZER: Ashley, what do you think about these numbers?

ASHLEY ETIENNE, FORMER COMMUNICATINS DIRECTOR FOR VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS: No, I mean, I would agree with Gloria. I mean, I think the White House is hyper focused on these numbers, but no hair on fire. It is still a year out.

Here's the thing, is Joe Biden is classic, put your head down, do the work. He would often tell us Twitter is not reality or X is not reality. These polls aren't reality. And so I think that's what the White House, although concerned they're going to continue to put their head down and continue to plow through it and message forward.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that's one of their downfalls is they don't look at reality. They look at what they see as numbers that are in their favor, what they perceive. But the reality is the perception by the American people is that the economy is not good. Biden and the administration will go out there and say everything is fine, when, in fact, it's not.

And four in ten say that they're worried about rising costs. And seven in ten of those in our poll say they side with Republicans on the economy, on crime, on immigration, and on policing. And those numbers are dire for President Biden. And it does, it's a positive sign for Republicans as we head into --

BORGER: Republicans, but not necessarily Donald Trump. That's the question.

BLITZER: Alice, let me get your thoughts on Trump. He made some shocking comments in that Fox town hall last night. Let me play a clip. Watch this.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Under no circumstances you are promising America tonight you would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?

TRUMP: Except for day one.

HANNITY: Except for?

TRUMP: He's going crazy. Except for day one.

HANNITY: Meaning?

TRUMP: I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill.

He says, you're not going to be a dictator, are you? Are said, no, no, other than day one. We're closing the border and we're drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I'm not a dictator.


BLITZER: Those are pretty stunning comments coming from the Republican frontrunner.

STEWART: Right. And Sean Hannity was there trying to help him, help himself, and he wouldn't do it. Look, yes, that was a dumb thing to say, but, clearly, I'm very critical of the former president. But he was clearly joking and he didn't mean that. And that's about as believable and credible as what he will be able to do as when he ran before saying, I'll build a wall in Mexico.

BLITZER: How do you know he was joking?


STEWART: You could tell in the way he was acting and the way it was received by handy it was clearly not something he was serious about. Look, and I think the good thing is there are enough guardrails in place, if and when he were to be elected, that he wouldn't be able to accomplish a lot of those things that he's doing.

And I think the bigger concern I feel like is something not what President Trump joked about but what President Biden actually did say recently in a private conversation where he said, the only reason I'm running is because Donald Trump is in the race. And that's a concern because he's not running on his record. He's running just because he doesn't like Donald Trump.

ETIENNE: I mean, here's the thing, I think, Liz Cheney said it best, which is that we're slow walking as a nation towards a dictatorship. I don't know anyone that would not take Donald Trump at his word. When he came down that escalator, he made very clear what his objectives were going to do.

I was on the frontlines working for Speaker Pelosi. He did all of those things in absolutely more. 1 million Americans lost their lives because of COVID. He had net negative gain in jobs, right? He admittedly tried to steal and cheat the election, right, and antagonize and attack on the Capitol.

Why would we not believe any word, what his word? Why would we think that that was a joke? I mean, I think that's the real concern is that Republicans and the Republican primary voters are not living in reality when it comes to Donald Trump. And I think Liz Cheney has it right, which is that, as a nation, we're slow walking. And I think that's also bearing out in her --

CHALIAN: Wolf, I -- Oh, sorry, go ahead.

BORGER: Sometimes Donald Trump is very candid and I think in the Hannity town hall, he was candid, not as candid as he could have been when he couldn't just say, no, I'm not going to be an autocrat. He had to say, well, on day one, and I want to drill, drill, drill, you know, but that's not what Hannity was talking about.

CHALIAN: Exactly. I think this is so key. Whatever perverse joke he was making about dictator on day one, and if you want to -- that's a joke, what he didn't do was Hannity pressed him very specifically on whether or not he would rule out the notion of abusing power while in office and he refused to rule that out.

So, apart from whatever he said about day one on drilling, and he didn't -- he would not rule out the notion of him abusing the power of his office.

ETIENNE: And more importantly, they've been screaming headlines from The New York Times to The Washington Post about what Trump's second term agenda is going to be, and it's radical.

BLITZER: All right.

BORGER: I think there are going to be fewer guardrails because, as we all know, he's kind of appoint people if he were to be elected who are in sync with what he wants to do.

BLITZER: All right. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, some of America's top security officials are issuing blunt warnings about the rise of terror threats since the start of the Israel-Hamas War. We have details, that's next.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We're getting breaking news on a shooting today at the Las Vegas campus at the University of Nevada. Police are now saying three victims are dead and one additional victim is in critical condition at a local hospital.

Meanwhile, two top national security officials are offering very stark assessments on the increased threats here in the United States since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, which has energized extremists here in the United States.

Brian Todd has the story.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, a new and sobering warning from the secretary of homeland security.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We are definitely in a heightened threat environment and we are proceeding with vigilance.

TODD: Alejandro Mayorkas' comments to CNN mirror those of FBI Director Christopher Wray who told senators the current threat environment inside the United States is different now from periods he says when individual threats popped up here and there.

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: I've never seen a time where all the threats or so many of the threats are all elevated all at exactly the same time. That's what makes this environment that we're in now so fraught.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Would you say that there's multiple blinking red lights out there?

WRAY: I see blinking lights everywhere I turn.

TODD: Wray said the FBI is working, quote, around the clock to disrupt potential attacks by people who are inspired by Hamas' terror attacks on Israel on October 7th. Since that day, Wray has spoken often of an increase in threats inside America's borders related to the Israel- Hamas war.

What's different about what's happening right now?

MILLER: Director Wray is talking about this. The threat stream has become a bit of a waterfall. You are seeing threats come from foreign terrorist organizations, ISIS and al Qaeda, domestic violent extremists. These are people who are following the propaganda coming from overseas who could be lone wolf attackers.

TODD: Experts say the constant stream of televised images of October 7th and the Israel-Hamas war has led to a flood of propaganda from terrorist groups and extremists from all sides. Propaganda and often misinformation that can be almost impossible to filter.

MILLER: They exist on message boards. They exist in chat rooms. They exist in private groups. They exist in large groups.

TODD: And the spike in antisemitic and Islamophobic threats and attacks has been significant, from the wounding of three Palestinian college students in Vermont to a Cornell University student being charged with threatening to kill Jewish students.

MILLER: The greatest danger is that lone offender who may be isolated, may be ostracized and is reading these messages and saying, I could step out and do something.

TODD: Analysts say the ongoing Israel-Palestinian conflict even before October 7th has often been a touch point for hatred in the U.S.

JONATHAN LEWIS, PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: What you are seeing individuals who are taking the justification they've been looking for and using it to go do the violence. These are individuals who have long wanted to commit violence, have long been, you know, filled with that hatred of Jews, of Muslims, of individuals who are in their in group.


TODD (on camera): Now, on the difficult task of trying to protect the public from this violence, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas says government security agents have just today put out brand new guidance to faith-based institutions with specific suggestions, ranging from building fencing and installing security cameras to places of worship to encouraging religious leaders to develop their own relationships with law enforcement -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Very scary, indeed.

Brian Todd, thank you very much for that report.

Coming up, Secretary of State Antony Blinken shares a very personal take on the Israel-Hamas war and the rise of antisemitism tonight on CNN's "KING CHARLES". Gayle King and Charles Barkley will join us live with a preview.


BLITZER: Tonight on CNN, Secretary of State Antony Blinken opens up about the Israel-Hamas war in a new and very personal way. He's a special guest on CNN's "KING CHARLES".


Take a listen to this as host Gayle King and Charles Barkley talk to Blinken about his Jewish heritage and how the war is impacting him and so many families.


CHARLES BARKLEY, CNN HOST: My son-in-law is an amazing man and a great husband. He's also Jewish. And you're Jewish.

He's taking this Israel thing very personally. And how are you feeling -- how does it affect you? Because he's struggling. You as a Jewish man, how are you handling the entire situation mentally?

GAYLE KING, CNN HOST: And the stepson of a Holocaust survivor, too, which I think adds another layer of pain in this particular story.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, of course, it's affected me personally and I've talked about that a little bit. It's affected me personally because yes, my late stepfather survived the Holocaust. He was in the concentration camps in Majdanek, in Dachau, and Auschwitz.

And then my father's father in a different generation, the turn of the last century, got chased out of actually what's now Ukraine by pogroms that were designed to kill or chase Jews away. So when I saw what happened on October 7th, of course, it had a

personal resonance.


BLITZER: Gayle King and Charles Barkley are joining us right now.

Thanks so much for doing this interview.

KING: Hi, Wolf.

BLITZER: Gayle, let me start with you. I know you also asked Secretary Blinken about the hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza. And once again, he got very personal. Tell us about that.

KING: Well, you know, that's where we started, Wolf, with the hostages because everybody -- that's the question on everybody's mind. What is being done about freeing these hostages? He said, of course, it's top of mind for the Biden administration, top of mind for himself. I thought it was interesting that he told us he has pictures of all the hostages in his office and that he looks at them on a regular basis so they are never far from his mind.

What I liked about this interview is that so many times, you've interviewed politicians. Charles and I were talking about it earlier. Politicians normally just stick to their talking points and make a point and that's it, and they don't deviate from that.

But I thought he was very engaging with us. I think that he actually, dare I say, Charles, enjoyed the conversation.

BARKLEY: I enjoyed it. It was an honor. He was awesome.

KING: I enjoyed it, too.

BLITZER: Charles, what else stood out to you the most in your conversation with Secretary Blinken?

BARKLEY: Well, you know, me and Gayle were talking before you got -- we came on. I think our country has done a really brutal job with hate crimes. Whether you know, it's been happening to the Black community quite a bit. It's been happening to Asians a lot the last couple of years. And now it's in full effect with antisemitism.

And I wanted to get -- we're behind and now we're trying to play catch up and we've just done a really poor job in this country when it comes to hate crimes. Look at the three Palestinian students who got shot last weekend.

KING: In Vermont.

BARKLEY: One is paralyzed from the waist down.

KING: Yeah.

BARKLEY: Our country just needs to do a much better job and I'm glad he got a chance to address antisemitism. But also, whether you're Black or Hispanic, Asian, whatever, we need to do a much better job of punishing criminals when it comes to hate crimes.

BLITZER: What surprised you, Gayle, about this interview?

KING: Well, we asked him what his personal mantra is and I'm not going to tell you what it is, Wolf, because you have to tune in to find out what that is. But he has a personal mantra that he lives by.

You know, he is a husband. He is a father of young kids. What does he say to his own children? How does he rectify what is happening in this country?

Does he feel hopeful? Does he feel encouraged about where we are? Also, he has a very, very, very hard job.

BLITZER: Charles, I'm really happy you got into this personal aspect. You've spoken about it in the past. But this is really important to hear him say what he's saying right now. I assume you agree.

BARKLEY: Yeah. You know, Wolf, as a Black man, anytime something happens in the Black community when it comes to whether it's police violence, you know, George Floyd or anything like that. It hurts you in your core.

So I wanted for him to know what he was feeling as a Jewish man with his thing going on. It's obviously painful. It's disappointing. He said it's frustrating.

But anytime something happens in your part of your life, it's really, it's tough. Me and Gayle talked about it.

KING: You do take it personally.

BARKLEY: You do take it personally.

KING: Even when it has nothing to do with you.


KING: You do take it very personally.

BARKLEY: And I thought he was awesome because -- listen, he's got a job that's really, there's always got to be putting fires out because I asked him was why does the United States have to be the police for the rest of the world in every country. And he gave -- he gave a great answer, but, man, he's got to put out fires all the time, all over the world. It's just an unthankful job.

KING: Wolf, you'll like this in the news business because that moment went viral when President Biden was talking about the meeting with President Xi of China and the moment went viral. Antony Blinken's reaction to that.

So we asked him what he was thinking in that moment. His answer may surprise you. BLITZER: I'm looking forward to watching the whole interview.

Charles Barkley, Gayle King, congratulations on the new program.

And to our viewers, be sure to watch "KING CHARLES" later tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Very important show tonight.

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

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.