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Biden Democracy Speech At D-Day Site Draws Contrasts With Trump; Trump Takes Post-Conviction Fundraising Swing To Beverly Hills; Several Supreme Court Justices Disclose Six-Figure Book Deals; CIA Report: Netanyahu Likely To Defy U.S. On Post-War Gaza. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 07, 2024 - 17:00   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: Well, coming up Sunday on "State of the Union," Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Republican Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota. That's Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern, and again at noon here on CNN. You can follow the show on X at The Lead CNN. And if you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show wherever you get your podcast. The news continues on CNN with the one and only Wolf Blitzer in the "Situation Room."

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, President Biden takes his pitch for the defense of democracy to an iconic site of American heroism during World War II. He's invoking the legacy of D-Day troops as he urges the world to stand firmly against Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine.

Here in the United States, Donald Trump is now warning that, quote, "Sometimes revenge can be justified." We're getting new reaction to Trump as he triples down on his threats to get even with opponents after his criminal conviction.

And Trump's former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows pleads not guilty to criminal charges in Arizona where he's accused of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential results tied to a slate of fake electors.

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

We begin with President Biden's rallying cry for democracy with a poignant new backdrop. The historic cliffs scaled by U.S. troops during the pivotal D-Day invasion. CNN's Kayla Tausche is back in Paris for us after the President's forceful remarks at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy France.

Kayla, the President echoing the past to drive home his warning about threats to democracy now.

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, presidents go abroad to advance a specific foreign policy objective or to reclaim the mantle of leadership on the world stage. But today, from Pointe du Hoc, President Biden argued for the fragile future of democracy and for the protection of democracy going forward, not just around the world, but in the U.S. too.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rangers who scaled this cliff didn't know they would change the world, but they did.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): Atop the beaches allied troops stormed on D-Day to defeat the Nazis, President Biden warning of renewed threats to democracy in Europe.

BIDEN: Does anyone doubt that they would want America to stand up against Putin's aggression here in Europe today?

TAUSCHE (voice-over): And at home.

BIDEN: They fought to vanquish, a hateful ideology to the 30s and 40s. Does anyone doubt they would move heaven and earth to vanquish hateful ideologies of today?

TAUSCHE (voice-over): From the sky, Biden surveying the 100-foot cliffs American soldiers scaled, dodging the bombs that left craters in the hillside to overtake lookouts and artillery positions, paving the way for a D-Day victory and a free Europe. Those American troops honored here by Ronald Reagan 40 years ago in his iconic Cold War era speech.

RONALD REAGAN, UNITED STATES 40TH PRESIDENT: These are the boys of Point du Hoc. We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with expansionist intent.

TAUSCHE (voice-over): Army Ranger John Wardell arrived days after June 6, 1944 to replace a fallen soldier. He came back this year to remember. Wardell's fellow soldiers may be gone, but their memory, Biden said, and their mission live on.

BIDEN: They're not asking us to scale these cliffs, but they're asking us to stay true to what America stands for. They're not asking us to give or risk our lives, but they are asking us to care for others in our country more than ourselves. They're not asking us to do their job, they're asking us to do our job to protect freedom in our time.


TAUSCHE: This idea, the threat to democracy, has been a central theme both of Biden's presidency and of his reelection campaign. But this speech comes at a time when there is waning support around the world to continue funding the defense of Ukraine against Russia, which has been at war for two and a half years. And Donald Trump, Biden's GOP opponent, has pledged that he would withdraw support from Ukraine and from the broader NATO alliance. Wolf.

BLITZER: Kayla Tausche in Paris for us. Thank you very much. As president, Biden is on the world stage, Donald Trump is out there on the campaign trail here at home. He's raising campaign cash in California and continuing to threaten retribution for his criminal conviction. CNN's Alayna Treene is in Los Angeles covering Trump's west coast swing for us.

Alayna, how have Trump's felony convictions impacted, first of all, his fundraising?


ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, Wolf, it's been incredible for Donald Trump, I will say, in the aftermath of this verdict, not obviously, because he was convicted on 34 different counts, but because he has seen a huge upswing in fundraising. Just last month alone, Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee together raised $141 million and that's the best fundraising month they've had this cycle thus far. And Donald Trump is really continuing to try to capitalize that on that verdict this weekend with a series of California fundraisers. Last night, he attended a fundraiser in Silicon Valley hosted by a very prominent venture capitalist, David Sacks, and that was something that was actually put together by Senator J.D. Vance. We know that he is someone who is on the top of Donald Trump's vice presidential contender list.

And I'm told that J.D. Vance, he's someone who was previously a venture capital himself. He's very close to David Sacks. He had been working for months to have Sacks endorse the former president, which we saw him formally do last night before this fundraiser.

Then tonight, Donald Trump will be in Beverly Hills at another fundraiser, this one hosted by wealthy businessman Lee Sampson, I'm told, he's someone who has donated to Donald Trump in the past and has had fundraisers for him in the past. He's also very prominent in Jewish politics. And then tomorrow, Donald Trump will be in Orange County again, fundraising in California. And I think you see a theme here, these California fundraisers is really interesting because it's not typically something that would go for Donald Trump in the past. A lot of these people in this area in particular has traditionally been very liberal. However, many of these people, particularly in the tech interest industry, have been going for Donald Trump in recent years because they haven't liked President Biden's policies.

BLITZER: Alayna, in yet another interview, Donald Trump was once again asked whether he will seek retribution for his conviction if he were to become president again. Tell us what he said.

TREENE: Wolf, what I find really interesting about these interviews is that Donald Trump has done a series of these. They've been mostly friendly interviews in the past several days, and multiple hosts have tried to get him to actually walk away from his retribution rhetoric, but instead, Donald Trump has doubled down or I should really say tripled down on those remarks. Take a listen to what he told Dr. Phil last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONLAD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Retribution is going to be through success. We're going to make it very successful. We have to bring the country together.

The word revenge is a very strong word, but maybe we have revenge through success. Well, revenge does take time, I will say that.


TRUMP: And sometimes revenge can be justified, though, I have to -- let's be honest --


TRUMP: -- and sometimes it can't.


TREENE: So you heard it there from the former president, Wolf. Sometimes revenge can be justified. And look, this comes after he also told Fox News's Sean Hannity on Wednesday that he thinks it would be all right for him to prosecute some of his political enemies, and it would potentially be appropriate for him to go after President Joe Biden. And this is something we have heard from Donald Trump in the past. Ever since he was first indicted last year, he has promised retribution on his political opponents, and he's continuing to push that kind of language in the aftermath of his indictment.

But I can tell you, Wolf, from my conversations with Trump's campaign, they really do want him to leave this trial behind and have him start focusing on the issues important to his general election campaign. Wolf.

BLITZER: Alayna Treene, reporting from Los Angeles for us. Alayna, thank you very much.

Let's get some more on all of this with our political experts. And Audie Cornish, let me start with you. What do you make of this very stark contrast between President Biden speaking about D-Day 80 years ago, praising the heroes who really changed the course of the war led to the end of the Nazi regime in Europe and all of that, as opposed to Trump, who is once again talking about potentially revenge?

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN HOST: Well, in terms -- putting aside the revenge for a second, I think it was also notable that Biden released an attack ad that basically wraps up all the comments that Trump has made against veterans over the last couple of years. And people had been wanting, certainly, Democrats have been wanting, the president to punch back harder, right? And I think this was a good example of the campaign trying to do that in some way, to say, look, here's him looking presidential, echoes of Reagan, talking about the speech, and by the way, here's a campaign ad that's going to remind everyone at home what Trump is really like?

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Alencia, I want to play a little clip from that Biden-Harris campaign ad that was just released by the president. President Biden is going to visit the cemetery tomorrow in France where U.S. and other troops are buried, a cemetery that Trump refused to visit because he said it was filled with losers, his word filled with losers. Let's watch this Biden team's new ad. Watch this.


TRUMP: He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured.



BLITZER: This is the same video Audi was just talking about. How do you explain this?

ALENCIA JOHNSON, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, BIDEN 2020 CAMPAIGN: Listen, it is -- I'm actually really glad that the Biden-Harris campaign put this out because yes, to Audi's point, Democrats and our base and people who are swing voters have wanted to see President Biden fight back. Donald Trump gives us campaign ads like this, the things that he continues to say, whether it's about veterans, the things that he said about world leaders. President Biden being over there right now is really important and symbolic, because Trump is here talking about himself and literally saying it is OK to take retribution on your political opponents and cause more chaos here in the United States, when President Biden, in the contrast, is trying to make sure that American democracy is strong, not just for the homeland, but because the whole world is watching and depending on it. And so, it was a perfect time for them to release this ad. And I'm pretty sure we have some more up -- they have some more up their sleeves coming soon.

BLITZER: Speaking as a former aide to the campaign.


BLITZER: To the Biden Harris campaign.

Shermichael Singleton, I thought it was interesting, if you go back 40 years and listen to then President Ronald Reagan's speech at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, and you listen to President Biden's speech today on this the 80th anniversary of the D- Day invasion that changed the course of the war, led to the end of the war less than a year later, it's pretty remarkable. How will this resonate do you think with Reagan supporters out there, and there's still a lot of them, especially in the GOP?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think it matters, Wolf. What's also interesting is that the language was very similar. Forty years later, the language is very similar. And I've been throwing this term out a lot, and I want the viewers to familiarize themselves with democratic recession. I think we're perhaps in the era of democratic recessions.

We're seeing Russian aggression in Ukraine. We're seeing potential aggression from China and Taiwan, the South Chinese Sea. We're seeing what China's attempting to do with their brick system to attempt to devalue or lessen the worth of the U.S. dollar internationally. There are some very serious things with our adversaries that the U.S. has to deal with. And I think the American people, Republicans and Democrats alike, would like for the United States to continue to be that beacon of hope, leading the world forward, assisting these young democracies with fulfilling their dreams for their people.

BLITZER: Yes, but there's a lot more isolationism coming from conservative Republicans nowadays, not necessarily from Reagan Republicans, but from some of these conservative Republicans right now, including from Trump.

SINGLETON: That's a great point. You're seeing it in Hungary with Orban. You think about Bolsonaro in Brazil. There's a host of other countries where you're seeing internally this strife, where people do feel that the political system, the political class, if you will, hasn't necessarily worked for them, hasn't worked in their favor. And you're seeing it even within the United States.

And that's why, Wolf, I have been so incredibly concerned with trying to figure out how do you balance internal, I guess, criticisms, if you will, of the democratic process, which is not perfect. People are struggling. People do have legitimate issues with the way the system has functioned for decades now while still maintaining our ability to lead the world. And we haven't necessarily figured that out, in my opinion, which is why you see people like Orban or even the former president having such huge support.

BLITZER: Yes, even here in the United States.

CORNISH: And, Wolf, to your point, I don't know actually how many Reagan Republicans there are out there. I do hear sometimes lawmakers who come on sets like this talk about it, but in terms of a base that is interested in being out in the world and protecting democracy through an aggressive position, that has greatly diminished. People are not interested in that the same way, and they have often responded to Trump's way of talking about it, and that's why the America First idea is so resonant. So I think Biden was really trying to remind people, hey, this is not the Republican Party that it used to be. And the risk he has is that now he could be compared to a president who also had questions about his age and mental acuity while running for reelection.

BLITZER: It was very powerful speech that Reagan gave 40 years ago.


BLITZER: And a powerful speech that President Biden gave on this day as well. Let's talk a little bit while I have you, Audie, about the enormous amount of money that Trump is successfully raising right now, despite his criminal conviction, despite what he's talking about revenge and some other issues, the money is coming in big time.

CORNISH: Yes, and I'll leave it to the panel to get into some of the figures. But I was also under the impression that Democrats had actually been doing quite well in the money race. And so in a way, Trump and RNC and all of these entities sort of in the Republican position, not that they were trying to play catch up, but it was really a game of making sure that both candidates were going into the summer fully prepared, as we know we're in the era of the billion, $2 billion campaign. So, while this feels galvanizing in this moment, the question is, where will this be down the line? Will there be another boost just before the RNC when he gets sentenced or when Bannon goes to jail?


Or like there could be a number of things that could either turn off the faucet or turn it back on.

BLITZER: Yes. Money is coming in big time right now.

Guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, former Trump White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows enters a plea after being arraigned on charges of trying to overturn the 2020, presidential election in Arizona, we'll be right back.


BLITZER: Former Trump White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows was just arraigned on more election related charges, this time in Arizona. Meadows and another Trump ally pleading not guilty today to a scheme aimed at overturning the 2020 presidential election results in the state. CNN's Kyung Lah is on the story for us.

Kyung, tell us about these pleas.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not necessarily the pleas that we're really paying attention here to, Wolf. It's really who these people are, because especially Mark Meadows is so well known nationally. They did enter those not guilty pleas. That was something that was expected and really a fairly typical arraignment, but it is who they are, how they are known not just nationally but also within the context of this multistate fake elector scheme. Mark Meadows, as you mentioned, Wolf, He is the former White House Chief of Staff.

And then Mike Roman, a key Trump campaign figure in 2020, both of them key Trump allies during the 2020 election and in the days afterwards. They were both arraigned in Arizona today. They did enter those not guilty pleas. But they've now also been charged in the state of Georgia. Those two have been charged in Georgia.

Roman also charged this week in the state of Wisconsin. All of these charges stem back to December, 2020, November, 2020 in the days after the 2020 election. They are not the ones who assembled in these various states to sign those so called fake elector documents that were eventually sent to the National Archives. They are the ones, according to the indictment here in Arizona, that they are the ones who coordinated all of these actions in various battleground states. In the state of Arizona, total of 18 have been indicted, in addition to 11 of the people who assembled and then the seven national Trump figures, 15 so far have been arraigned in Arizona. There are more coming in the coming days, there are a total of five states now, Wolf, that have brought charges in this scheme. Wolf.

BLITZER: Interesting. Kyung Luh, thank you very, very much.

We're also getting new insight right now into the judge overseeing Donald Trump's classified documents case in Florida. CNN spoke with multiple veterans of Judge Aileen Cannon's courtroom about some of her controversial decisions and her readiness to take on a trial of such historic magnitude. Let's bring in former Trump attorney, Bill Brennan, and CNN legal analyst, Norm Eisen.

Norm, let me start with you, the attorneys CNN spoke to describe Judge Cannon as smart and diligent, but they also, quote, say, "not efficient" and quote, "very form and not very good as far as substance is concerned." Walk us through the way she's handled this case from your perspective thus far.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Wolf, I think Judge Cannon has mishandled the case from the get go. She first got it when the search warrant was executed on Mar-a-Lago. She interfered with the ability of the Department of Justice to investigate. She was slapped down, not once, but twice, by the extremely conservative 11th Circuit for her legal errors in interfering with the investigation and she's bent over backwards the opposite direction now, Wolf. She won't make a decision.

She has lengthy hearings on the most trivial questions. The clear question, for example, is Jack Smith legally entitled his position of special counsel? It's been decided over and over again by other courts, Wolf. She's having lengthy hearings and briefing. It slowed the case down. Almost any other judge in the federal system would have already had this case on track for trial or even a verdict. Atrocious performance.

BLITZER: Let me get Bill's thoughts on this. Bill, Judge Cannon has only worked, we're told, on a handful of criminal trials. Many legal experts believe she's inexperienced for the task at hand right now. Do you think she can oversee this case effectively?

WILLIAM BRENNAN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Absolutely. Hello Wolf, thanks for having me. Hello, Norm.

You know it's really easy from the armchair that we sit in, watching from the sidelines to criticize all players judges, but she's a talented individual who would not have gotten a lifetime appointment had she not been. And you know, it's common practice for judges who particularly practice in, say, the civil arena, to handle criminal cases, and she's doing just fine. We're not allowed to form shop, we're not allowed to judge shop the way that these cases are assigned, it's kind of a wheel. And when the name of the judge comes up on the wheel and the case is filed, that's who you get. So, you know, she's doing a fine job, and it'll all work out. And I have been in that position myself for 35 years wondering, you know, what judge will I get? How will it go? And you know, you really got to play the hand you're dealt.

BLITZER: You know, Norm, one lawyer told CNN about Judge Cannon, and I'm quoting now, "You can't really take issue with her, otherwise, it's going to work against you?" Is that how you see it based on some of her rulings?


EISEN: I do, Wolf. She's very prickly. So, for example, recently, she was going to reveal the names of witnesses, which can put them in harm's way. Just look at the elaborate precautions that we've had to take, for example, in Manhattan to protect individuals. The Department of Justice told her she made a mistake.

They said, reconsider, or we'll go to the 11th Circuit. She did reconsider. She reversed her erroneous decision. But who did she blame? The Department of Justice?

She has unnecessarily delayed this case. She has stalled. She does not decide motions. She schedules lengthy hearings that are not required. The job of a judge is to decide instead, she procrastinates. I think she's, if you look at the full record, one of the worst federal judges in the United States.

BLITZER: Bill, where do you see the classified documents case down in Florida going from here, given the volume of pretrial motions that Judge Cannon has put on the docket?

BRENNAN: Well, you know, it's a catch 22 because I listened to Norms points, and I have immense respect for Norm, he's a he's a sharp guy, he's been around a long time, but this isn't, you know, some dog bite case. This is one of the most influential and presidential cases in our nation's history, and she's carefully approaching it, and she's doing her job. You know, just a couple of weeks ago, Wolf, you and I were together, and we heard the opposite criticism from the opposite side about Judge Merchan, who I spent a lot of time with, trying occasion in front of. And he's a pro, he's an absolute gentleman, he handles things well. So, I think it depends a lot on who you're rooting for as to whom you criticize.

But I've seen nothing that she's done to give any pause or concern to anybody who knows how the legal system works.

BLITZER: Bill Brennan, Norm Eisen, to both of you, thank you very much.

Up next, justices of the nation's highest court are raking in a lot more than government paychecks according to their financial disclosure forms. What we're learning now about some high priced trips, book deals and tickets to Beyonce.


BLITZER: Tonight, revealing insight into some of the high dollar payments and luxury gifts received by Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, which include everything from paid foreign trips, six figure book deals, even concert tickets to Beyonce. Here now is CNN, senior Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic, for us. Joan, what are these disclosures reveal?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Nice to see you, Wolf. Yes, every year we get the formal reports from the justices that detail what they received the previous year. So what we're looking at now is what came into the justices in 2023. First of all, Justice Clarence Thomas is doing a bit of catch up. He's listed two trips from 2019 that were on the dime of Harlan Crow, a Texas -- wealthy Texas businessman who's active in conservative causes.

You might remember that the news entity ProPublica had published very strong investigative stories about these trips that Clarence Thomas had kept secret. But now he's including these, one to Bali and one to men only resort in California, the Bohemian Grove. But then the other thing that we have knew from 2023 are several of the justices lift -- list book income. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has a book coming out this September called "Lovely One." It's a memoir. And she has put down the first installment, just first installment, of the money she received from her publisher. And that's $900,000.

Brett Kavanaugh is now writing a book. When he signed that contract last year, he got $340,000. Neil Gorsuch, who has a book coming out in August, detailing his anti-regulatory bent, he got another payment, another installment toward that at 250,000. And then Justice Sotomayor picked up more royalty. She's been an author since her memoir came out in 2013. And then finally, Wolf, there are some curiosities, of gifts, and you mentioned the concert tickets. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, our newest justice and the first African American woman on the court she received four concert tickets to a Beyonce concert directly from Beyonce. And the total value was about $3,700 last year on her disclosure report, we saw that she got a very elaborate flower arrangement from Oprah, and that was worth about 1,200, so we look for those curiosities as well as the big dollar figures that I mentioned in the books.

BLITZER: All right. Joan Biskupic, thank you very much.


BLITZER: I want to bring in NPR legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, she covers the U.S. Supreme Court. And does an amazing job for a long time. Nina, thanks very much for coming in.


BLITZER: When you hear these bonuses that these justices are getting. What jumps out of you?

TOTENBERG: Well, you know these -- Gabe Roth, who's head of Fix the Court, and has been probably the most persistent critic of Supreme Court ethics, he made an observation today. These people probably could make 10 times the amount of money they make in the -- if they were in private practice, if they were lawyers instead of Supreme Court justices.


And he said that he doesn't -- isn't bothered by them getting these big book contracts. After all, journalists do this too. And it's a way to augment your income. And as long as they don't participate in cases involving their publishers, or use their official staffs to peddle their books. They're, you know, they're perfectly entitled to do this. And, you know, some of them have kids in college, and I know $300,000 which is roughly what they make, is a great deal of money. But it is not in a city like this and when you have multiple children going to college.

BLITZER: But what about Justice Clarence Thomas, who has now publicly disclosed his 2019, trip to Bali. ProPublica, estimated that that trip wound up costing about $500,000 when you include the boats and the private jets and all of all of that, that's different than a book contract.

TOTENBERG: It's very different, and it's sort of peculiar because he discloses one night in a hotel in Bali, plus meals that were, I guess, paid for by Harlan Crow. But what about the rest of that Indonesia trip? As you said, island hopping with on the Crow yacht, private jets, none of that is part of that disclosure.

Now, one supposes that he has some theory, some legal theory, I guess, about why he doesn't have to disclose those. And he did have to disclose the Bali Hotel bill for one night, but it doesn't make much sense to me. I can't figure it out.

BLITZER: Anything wrong with accepting free tickets to a Beyonce concert?

TOTENBERG: Well, you know, there is what I call "The Washington Post" or "The New York Times" rule. If you would be embarrassed by seeing it on the front page of the newspaper, you shouldn't do it. And you know, I assume that Beyonce and Justice Brown Jackson have a personal relationship that they -- that Beyonce asked, you know, invited her and gave her the tickets for her husband and two daughters. That's would be four tickets.

And I suspect that she really wanted to do it for them and for herself and but it doesn't have great optics. It really doesn't.

BLITZER: How does all of this, including the flag controversy, how does all of this reflect on the integrity of the United States Supreme Court? You've covered the Supreme Court for a while.

TOTENBERG: Well, you know, all when you're in the public eye, you have to be like Caesar's wife, and it's very difficult because things that seem perfectly normal in your everyday life. Chief Justice Roberts, for example, is criticized because his wife is a legal recruiter for law firms. Well, she took that job. She stopped being a lawyer because he became Chief Justice. And she took that job because there wouldn't be a conflict of interest.

But you can make almost anything look not great, and you really, you and I know this. I don't know about CNN, but I have an ethics czar. I have to run everything past.

BLITZER: We do too.

TOTENBERG: And they don't. That's the point. They don't. It's only their judgment, and sometimes their judgment isn't particularly wise when it comes to their own personal conduct and what they would like to accept or not accept or do or not do.

BLITZER: Nina Totenberg, thanks for your excellent coverage of the Supreme Court --

TOTENBERG: Thank you.

BLITZER: -- over these years. I'm a big fan. Thanks very, very much.

TOTENBERG: Thank you, Wolf.

Just ahead, exclusive CNN reporting, a new CIA assessment of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, what the findings say about his growing rift with the Biden administration.


Plus, the latest on Hunter Biden's trial, after a day of emotional testimony from his daughter, Naomi.


BLITZER: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scrambling right now to keep his government together, as a key member of his war cabinet faces a self-imposed deadline to quit. This, as a new assessment from the CIA is raising serious new questions about Prime Minister Netanyahu's plans for post war Gaza. CNN's Paula Hancocks is joining us live from Jerusalem right now. Paula, what can you tell us?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, just last month, Benny Gantz says that he gave Benjamin Netanyahu three weeks to meet certain conditions. Otherwise he was going to walk away from the coalition. Those conditions were that there should be a day after plan for Gaza. There should be a specific plan to get the hostages home, and also to make sure that things calm down on the northern border, so tens of thousands of Israeli residents could move back to their homes.

Now that hasn't happened. None of those three conditions have been met. So what we know at this point is Benny Gantz will be holding a press conference at 8:40 p.m. local time on Saturday night where he will be making an announcement. Now, June 8th, Saturday, is the deadline that he gave to walk away from the coalition. Now we know from U.S. officials familiar with the conversations that are ongoing, that U.S. officials have asked Benny Gantz to reconsider, as they're worried about what this would do for the hostage deal.

Now, if he does decide to walk away, it doesn't necessarily mean that this coalition collapses. Netanyahu still has a majority, although it's a slimmer majority, but there are questions as what does it do for the hostage deal? What could it do for trying to push plans forward when it comes to the war cabinet as well?

And it really does show that Netanyahu is very isolated at a time when that CIA assessment comes out, showing that the U.S. is doing an intelligence assessment on the leader of one of its main allies, and also publicizing it in this way, showing just how bad the relations between the leaders of the U.S. and Israel are at the moment. Wolf?


BLITZER: Tense time indeed. Paula Hancocks in Jerusalem, thank you very much.

Joining us now, Stuart Eizenstat, a veteran of the Clinton and Carter administrations and a former U.S. ambassador to the European Union. He now chairs the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Council here in Washington. He's also written a brand new book, an excellent new book, I must say, the art of diplomacy, how American negotiators reached historic agreements that changed the world. Ambassador Eizenstat, thanks very much for joining us.

You dive in in this book, and I've gone through it. It's really powerful. You dive into 50 years of America's most successful diplomatic initiatives. What have you learned that potentially could get the Israeli-Hamas war over in Gaza right now?

STUART EIZENSTAT, AUTHOR, "THE ART OF DIPLOMACY": Well, a large part of my book, Wolf, is on the use of military force as an instrument in diplomacy. And one of the things I learned is that before you subject your troops to combat, you have to have a post war plan beforehand, not after. And for Israel, that means that they have to disable, for sure, Hamas as a governing force. But they also have to have a diplomatic component, and that diplomatic component needs to be a coalition in which Israel is embedded with the moderate, sunnier countries, the U.S. and the E.U. to combat Iran's axis of resistance. That will only occur, however, if they have some timetable, ultimately, for a demilitarized Palestinian state, and that's the real crux of combining military force as they must to deal with a radical group on their border committed to their elimination with a ultimate peace plan.

Again, that should have been done before the first bullet was formed, and that's the lesson that I teach in my book, with Iran, with Afghanistan, with Libya. These are mistakes that we made, and by the way, that our generals before the war started after October 7th, said to the Prime Minister.

BLITZER: So what I hear you saying, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that you agree with President Biden that a two-state solution, Israel living alongside a new Palestinian state is critically important to ending the conflict. EIZENSTAT: It is because it's only that condition, even if it's a long term prospect, it is necessary to get the Saudis, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, in a moderate coalition against what is really the risk to Israel, which is an Iranian led Axis of Resistance. So that requires the combination of military and diplomatic means. You can't defeat Hamas alone by military means. You have to combine it by diplomatic means for Israel to be part of this broader coalition.

Now, frankly, October 7th has changed public opinion in Israel, even for the moderate left, toward a Palestinian state. So you'll have to do this by steps. You can't go immediately to a Palestinian step. You have to have confidence, building measures, more economic development, more economic cooperation.

BLITZER: What about the President Biden's speech today in Normandy. It was very emotional, very powerful. What did you think is it going to make a difference?

EIZENSTAT: I think it will. Because what it does is it links, in effect, D-Day 80 years ago, and I was there for the 50th anniversary with Ukraine today. And it's a measure of saying that the same kind of challenges that we had in a European continent, with Hitler trying to take over Europe are here with Putin trying to take over Ukraine. It can't be allowed. It's a great test of democracy. And Wolf, if we have an effect a Munich too, with the United States backing away from Ukraine, will have the same kind of fallout that the original 1938 Munich Agreement had in showing that he had a free hand. We cannot allow that to happen.

BLITZER: Important lessons in your new book, "The Art of Diplomacy: How American Negotiators Reached Historic Agreements that Changed the World." Thanks very much --

EIZENSTAT: Thank you.

BLITZER: -- Ambassador for writing this important book. Appreciate it very, very much.


And coming up, we had to Wilmington, Delaware, where Naomi Biden took the stand in her father Hunter Biden's defense. We're going to tell you about her really emotional testimony right after this.


BLITZER: A dramatic day in Hunter Biden's federal gun trial, the prosecution resting its case in emotional testimony from Hunter Biden's daughter. CNN's Evan Perez is live outside the court in Wilmington, Delaware for us. Evan, tell our viewers what happened.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, as you pointed out, Naomi Biden took the stand today in her father's defense. She was here essentially to try to rebut or to try to blunt some of the damage done by Hallie Biden, who is Beau Biden's widow, and who dated Hunter Biden for a period during this period that is at issue in this case. And one of the things she talked about is that she thought from what her interactions with her father in October of 2018, she thought that he looked good, that he was on the mend.

He was certainly cooperating with his drug rehabilitation. She said I was hopeful. She also said she never saw him using drugs in front of her, and she also never saw any drug paraphernalia in October, when she saw her father in New York City. Now under cross examination, she acknowledged that, you know, she doesn't know how whatever drug paraphernalia was found later on could have gotten there, because Hallie Biden has testified, Wolf, that she thought she saw a residue of drugs in his truck on October 23rd which is when she found this firearm.


And when she tried to dispose of it, which is why Hunter Biden is on trial. Now we can take a step back real quick on this trial. We've had five days of testimony over really, not much in dispute. We know that Hunter Biden bought the fire alarm. We know that he was addicted to drugs. He has admitted as much. And so the focus here is on these 11 days where he had this gun and on days before that, and where the prosecutors can prove that he knowingly violated the law. Wolf?

BLITZER: Evan Perez, thanks for that update.

Coming up, we'll get back to our top story, President Biden's impassioned defense of democracy as he invokes the legacy of American troops who risk everything for freedom 80 years ago.