Return to Transcripts main page

The Source with Kaitlan Collins

Biden: "We're Working Like Hell" To Get Americans Back; Israel Tells 1.1 Million People In N. Gaza To Evacuate; Trump: Netanyahu "Let Us Down" Before 2020 Airstrike. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 13, 2023 - 21:00   ET



MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: But the big picture, here, Anderson, the House Republican Party is in a full-blown crisis, all while critical issues hang in the balance, including aid to Israel, and another government funding deadline, coming up, in November.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: All right. Melanie Zanona, thanks so much.

CNN's coverage, from Israel, continues.


The race, to escape. An urgent evacuation order for the residents of Gaza, which aid groups have deemed impossible, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is warning Hamas, the recent strikes, and I'm quoting him now, are "Just the beginning."

Plus, Israel hitting hundreds of new targets, in Gaza and Lebanon, as members of the IDF, are carrying out raids, in Gaza, looking for hostages, held by Hamas.

And House Republicans, tonight, went home, without a Speaker. The chaos that is happening, on Capitol Hill, has real consequences, for what's happening, in Israel.

I'm Kaitlan Collins. And this is THE SOURCE.

Right now, Israeli forces are moving closer, to the Gaza border, striking more targets, tonight, as speculation, of a ground invasion, is growing, following Saturday's deadly attack, by Hamas.

Anderson Cooper will join us live, with his reporting, from Tel Aviv, in just a moment.

But this all comes, as there is a race against time, for what could be the next phase, of this war. Israel has issued an urgent warning, overnight, to more than a million Palestinian civilians, living in Northern Gaza, telling them to move south, within 24 hours, about 1.1 million people, in just 24 hours.

The United Nations says that is impossible. They're calling on Israel, to rescind that evacuation order, which I should note Israel has not done, tonight.

That red box, at the top of your screen, that you can see, right now, that's the Evacuation Zone, in Gaza. But here's the problem. Most of these people have nowhere to go. Entire families have been sent scrambling, piling into cars, or really whatever mode of transportation that they can find, to get to safer ground. Many of them have been left to walk for miles.

President Biden directly addressed the massive humanitarian crisis that is unfolding, today. And he emphasized that many Palestinians have nothing to do with Hamas.

The President also made a promise, to the families, of the 14 Americans, who are still missing, tonight, after a conversation that he said, was gut-wrenching.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I say, we're going to do everything in our power to find them. Everything in our power. And I'm not going to go into the detail of that. But there's -- we're working like hell on it.


COLLINS: Anderson Cooper, is live, in Tel Aviv, tonight.

Anderson, of course, since we last spoke, last night, Israel issued that warning, to Gazans, who live in the north, to evacuate their homes that the U.N. says essentially, it's not doable, with so many people, and such a small amount of time.

But it seems clear that the phase of the war, this war that we are witnessing, is about to shift, and potentially very quickly.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, it certainly does. As you know, Israel has amassed 300,000-plus of reserve forces, along the border. Artillery units are in place. There's no doubt whatever comes next is going to be violent and deadly, and a lot of people are going to die.

Hamas has told Gazans not to leave Gaza City. They do not want the civilian population moving further south. We have seen, today, large numbers of people, trying to move, traffic jams and the like.

But it is a very difficult situation. There's not a lot of places, for them to go, in the south. It's not as if there are huge tent camps that have been set up. We don't have Hamas, helping people, move to the south.

And that southern border with Egypt is closed, to large numbers of Gazans, who probably would like to cross into the safety of Egypt. That's a huge security concern for Egypt.

So, large numbers of people can't move when desperate enough. The question is, what do they move to? What happens to them when they're there? And how long is this situation going to last? COLLINS: Yes. There's fewer resources, even in the south than there is the north.

Anderson, your reporting earlier, and there was this moment, where this happened, in the background. Just want our viewers who missed it to see this moment.


COOPER: Rockets do come. Generally, they come from that direction.


COOPER: That sounded like Iron Dome interception.


COLLINS: Can you just describe what happened? What you heard?

COOPER: Yes. It was just something that hadn't happened much, in the last couple days, in Tel Aviv. Large-scale air sirens suddenly came on, very shortly after you heard one.


I think it was the launching, probably of an interceptor, and then the -- whether it was an actual rocket intercepting a rocket or not, I'm not sure. But there was a very large explosion, relatively close to this area.

But that's just a -- it's a relatively rare thing, over the last several days here, in Tel Aviv. Obviously, closer to the border, you have a lot more of that sort of thing, and much more of a back-and- forth.

But yes, it was certainly something, which got a lot of people's attention, here, in Tel Aviv, for a few seconds, today, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes. And I should note, we're seeing some moments, lighting up in red, from Israel, as we're looking at the sky, right now, obviously, something that we're monitoring very closely, Anderson.

I mean, what has it been like, just being on the ground, today? What's the sense after being there, now that we're nearly a week after this attack?

COOPER: Look, there's a lot of resolve here, on the ground, on the Israeli side. There's certainly a lot of anticipation of what is to come. People are saying goodbye, to their family members, reservists, who are being called up, all during this week. Some are still en route. I think people are just kind of waiting to see what is the next step.

And certainly on the Gazan side, I mean, there is tremendous struggle, as people are being buried, here in Israel. There's tremendous struggle, in Gaza, amongst civilians, and Hamas. It bears repeating, wants to use these people, as much as possible, as human shields, to prevent Israel, from being able to go after Hamas, as effectively as they would like.

It is a incredibly -- it's going to be an awful situation. And there's going to be a lot of civilian casualties. And it doesn't seem, at this stage, that there's much way, to prevent that, given the entrenched positions on all sides.

COLLINS: Yes. And I should note, what we're seeing, right now, is Gaza. These are the images that we are watching very closely. Obviously, speculation has only grown about a potential ground offensive, and what that could look like.

Anderson Cooper, great reporting. We'll check back in with you, as we monitor these developments, tonight.

Speaking, of course, of what is happening, in Gaza, which you were just looking out there, joining me, tonight, is Hani Almadhoun. He has dozens of family members, who are in that Evacuation Zone that we showed you, that tiny red box, in Northern Gaza. He is also the Director of Philanthropy at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.

And Hani, I'm so glad you're here with me, tonight. Because your mom, your dad, six of your siblings, so much of your family, is in that tiny red box, that Evacuation Zone, in Gaza. And I imagine that they are pretty terrified, tonight.

HANI ALMADHOUN, FAMILY STUCK IN GAZA EVACUATION ZONE, DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY, UN RELIEF AND WORKS AGENCY (USA): Yes, absolutely, Kaitlan. It's been a tough time, because I wear two hats, the Humanitarian Relief hat for UNRWA USA, and a family man, who has family, in Gaza.

And my in-laws evacuated, today, to a safer place, and promised safety. And nobody stopped in. They got there. And they regretted that decision, because they went to a place with no facilities. Everybody's sleeping in the street. They regretted that. And they said, "Hey, let's go back to our home," but they couldn't.

So, there is a lot of trauma there for the Palestinians. My mom is definitely in the red box. They're in Beit Lahiya. We just saw it on the map. She is unable to leave. She already left one time, from our other house, up north. And she said, "We can't leave."

Right now, she's hunkering, and sleeping, under a staircase, in our family's home. And today was the first time I was able to call her. And she, and this really broke my spirit. She said, "Can you turn the video for a minute, because it feels this is the last time I will see you." And I was surprised she would do that.

And our family, our extended family lost 16 people, 14 in one attack, and two people later. It's we have not had time to process that trauma, in our life. And I just feel, it's, there is a lot of work to do, and I can't take a break because we want to support the Palestine refugees, as you've heard the reports about UNRWA's facilities. And we work here, in the U.S., to support, and many generous Americans stepped up, to support our work.

But also, there is the personal side, which makes it a lot more painful, because it's --

COLLINS: But Hani?

ALMADHOUN: -- you know how it is.

COLLINS: You were on the phone, with your mom, today. And she said she wanted -- she wanted to turn the camera on, because she feared it might be the last time, you two see each other?

ALMADHOUN: Yes. And that was really heartbreaking, because I haven't talked to her, in about five, six days, because of the internet. The internet is down. The electricity is out. Water is scarce. And I feel like they're all abandoned.


And I'm not seeing a parade, in the U.S. And I'm sorry for Israeli loss of life. I'm seeing a parade there. Nobody acknowledges our loss of lives. And my family has nothing to do with anything. But yet, they're punished, as if they did a crime. And we're talking about 25 people, in a small apartment, trying to stay together.

Some of those families make decisions, "Should we split? Should we stay together?" Some family split, go to different locations, so this way, they could survive, if somebody happens. And sadly, my family decided to stay, to stay put, to stay together.

Some of these little details, we don't think about, like, the women, now sort of fear -- so fearful of taking a shower, because they know that a bomb would come, and then they would have to run naked, in the street, or if they die, then they're not going to be decent, and people will take their bodies. There is no shortage of challenges, and trouble, and struggling people, 1,900 or more dead, in Gaza now. And you know --

COLLINS: You family, they're scared to take a shower, because they're scared that if they're showering, a bomb will go off, and strike them?

ALMADHOUN: Right. And it's not like they have water. They have water for two hours.

And then, my sister, Niveen, she asked me if she -- if I could adopt her daughter, in case anything happens to her. And I was like, these stories get to you, because you don't think about -- you know, I'm a parent too. And I don't think about like, "Hey, what's going to happen to my children should anything happen?"

There is a live mental trauma, in addition to what people are seeing. There is no dignity, even in death, in Gaza. People get buried, and nothing. The best funeral is something, in Facebook, your picture, and Rest in Peace. There is no time for people to bury.

The fridges in the hospitals are filled with bodies, many children. I'm not going to quote numbers. The numbers change, by the minute. And I hope that people see this.

And we don't -- where -- a lot of civilians, in Gaza, people, just there is no facility for them to go anywhere. And right now, I'm hoping the U.S. administration will step up, and just make sure that international rights are guaranteed. We've did it for Russia, for Ukraine.


ALMADHOUN: I feel a little bit we have not gotten the courage, to say what we already see, in other places, that collective punishment is not agreeable.

COLLINS: Well, Hani, I mean, we saw the IDF. They dropped thousands of pamphlets, over Northern Gaza, earlier, telling, urging people to evacuate.

Hamas is saying the essential, complete opposite, telling residents, telling Gazans that they need to stay where they are.

I mean, what is your family planning to do? Are they planning to evacuate?

ALMADHOUN: Right. We've seen this pamphlet.

It's not like Gaza is a big place. You're talking about two main streets, and people just go from one site to another. It's essentially the size of Washington, D.C. It's pretty fairly small place. So, the reality is the family didn't evacuate, because they don't have a place to stay, had we had relatives in those areas.

And by the way, 30 people were bombed today, UNRWA (ph) bus go into that shelter zone or safe zone. So, there is no guarantees. Even, UNRWA, for example, was relocated, from the Central Command, in the Central City, to Rafah. And there was reports of bombing, at the new site.

So, this is really, there is a lot of things that are happening that are not correct. Obviously, you want to make sure we've -- UNRWA lost 13 staff members. These people work for the U.N. I work, here in the U.S., to support UNRWA's work. And a lot of people are suffering, including my family, and many families, here.


ALMADHOUN: Let's talk about Americans stuck in Gaza. There's about 60, or more Palestinian-Americans, stuck in Gaza. They don't feel safe enough to go anywhere. The Embassy has so much backlog, I'm not feeling that there is compassion to get them out. I'm hoping that they will be out soon. I could give you names, stories of Americans, got bombed, inside the Rafah Crossing, and running for their lives with their babies. But again, I know those stories are real for me. And I know that my fellow American-Palestinians, we're not just Gazans. We're Palestinians, in Gaza. So, I want to just establish that.


ALMADHOUN: We're not just like some, you know?

COLLINS: Hani, I mean, I can't even imagine the pain, of a conversation, like that, with your mother. And we are obviously thinking of all of your family. And I'm grateful to you, for joining me, tonight. Please stay in touch, and keep us updated.

ALMADHOUN: Appreciate it. Thank you.

COLLINS: Thank you.

Tonight, CNN has new reporting, on U.S. intelligence, what it showed ahead about Hamas' planning, of that deadly attack, on Israel. There were two intelligence assessments that showed there was an increased risk of violence. The questions about who knew what and when? We have the details.

Also, with Congress, still shut down, with no House Speaker, tonight, Republicans have picked a new candidate. But they have the same problem. There's not enough votes, for that candidate.

Republican presidential candidate, and former Vice President, Mike Pence, and House member, will join us, here shortly.



COLLINS: Tonight, the House of Representatives is in turmoil, with no end in sight, and no Speaker. That sounds familiar. It's a pattern that we have seen play out, time and time again, for the last 10 days now.

Republicans did pick a new nominee, for the job, today. That's Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio. But they still have the same math problem that we told you about two nights ago. More than 50 Republicans voted, against supporting Jordan, on the House floor. So, the Ohio congressman does not have the votes to actually get the gavel.

The frustration, in the Republican Party, is very clear tonight.


REP. VERN BUCHANAN (R-FL): I don't like the way this whole thing has played out. So, we'll see how that goes.

REP. MARCUS MOLINARO (R-NY): Problem has been consistently that we've allowed emotion, to get in the way of logic, and in the way of the necessity to actually govern.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we can't get 217, there's got to be a new candidate.


COLLINS: CNN's Melanie Zanona has been reporting, all of this, on Capitol Hill.

Melanie, I mean, emotion in the way of logic, as one Congressman put it there, I mean, the fact that Republicans went home today, with no House Speaker, clearly means they don't think Jim Jordan is close to getting the votes anytime soon, at least.

ZANONA: Right. House Republicans are really in a crisis, right now.

Now, I will tell you that Jim Jordan is going to spend the weekend, trying to win over those holdouts. He's going to be working the phones, trying to assuage their concerns, seeing if he can get there. There's also some hope that the base is going to get fired up, and that they will start urging members to get behind Jim Jordan.

But Kaitlan, it is very clear that at this point, Jim Jordan is going to have a math problem, just like Steve Scalise did, and just like Kevin McCarthy did. In fact, in a secret ballot vote, today, we're told that 55 Republicans indicated that they would not back Jordan, on the floor, and he can only afford to lose four of them.

I caught up with one of those holdouts. Here's what he had to say.


REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): It takes four or five to take them down.


BUCK: And you got 55.


BUCK: I mean, you do the math.

Memory with Steve was he had 17 noes, and somewhere in that range. So 55 noes is very difficult.


If it's not Jim, then I think the door opens. But it's much more likely that we get somebody quickly, next week, so.


ZANONA: Now, Jordan is going to try to take this fight to the floor, potentially on Tuesday. If he can't get there, we could see other dark horse candidates emerge. But at this point, Kaitlan, there's no consensus, no Speaker, and no ability to govern, all while critical issues, including aid to Israel, hang in the balance.

COLLINS: Yes, a lot of them.

Melanie Zanona, thank you.

My next guest is running to be the Republican presidential nominee. Former Vice President, Mike Pence, is here.

And, Mr. Vice President, when you look at what is going on, on Capitol Hill?


COLLINS: I mean, how does this reflect, on the Republican Party's ability, to govern, and aid a U.S. ally, when they can't even elect a House Speaker?

PENCE: Well, Kaitlan, as you know, before I was Vice President, before I was a Governor, I was a leader in the Congress of the United States. And I still find it incomprehensible that eight Republicans, partnered with every Democrat, in the Congress, to oust a Republican Speaker of the House. I mean, everything goes back to the Chaos Caucus of Eight.

But the fact that the Conference voted, in the majority, for Steve Scalise, but he was not able to marshal the sufficient 217, to me, is also, I really do believe it's not the way the Republican Conference is supposed to work. You're supposed to be able to meet, as a team, the majority votes, and then you go to the floor.

My hope is that early next week, when the Congress reconvenes, that members of Congress will have had the opportunity, to speak to Jim Jordan, to talk about their issues, their concerns, and that they'll go united, to the floor of the House of Representatives --


PENCE: -- and vote to elect a Speaker of the House.

Jim Jordan would be an outstanding Speaker of the House. He is a principled conservative, just as Steve Scalise is.

And at a time, when we see war, raging in Eastern Europe, the worst attack on the Jewish state of Israel, since its refounding in 1948?


PENCE: Challenges, here at home, in our economy, a crisis at our border? The American people want to see the Republican Conference come together, elect a Speaker, and get back to work.

COLLINS: Well, it's interesting to me to hear you say that that Jim Jordan would be a great Speaker, given he was someone, who sent a text, to the Chief of Staff on January 5th, that outlined for you to violate the Constitution, and block the certification of the election. I mean, do you really believe that's someone, who should be third in line to the presidency?

PENCE: I have immense respect, for Jim Jordan. He's a man of integrity. And I've known him, for many years. I was not aware of his opinion, going into January 6th.

COLLINS: So, that doesn't bother you?

PENCE: My interaction, with Congressman Jordan, in December, was simply over the legitimate objections, that members of Congress were permitted to file, under the law. But look, we may have a difference of opinion, about my duties, under the Constitution that day.

But I'm very confident that if Jim Jordan becomes Speaker of the House, that he'll lead with integrity. And the most important thing is that the Congress come together, the Republicans come together, and elect the Speaker.

Because, as you've reported, on your airwaves, we may well, as we sit here, be just a few hours away, from when this war, initiated by Hamas, with brutal assaults, on men, women and infant children, will enter a whole new phase.

And it'll be important throughout that time, that America speaks with one voice that our nation stands with Israel that we will stand with Israel today, tomorrow and through all the difficult days ahead.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, it's remarkable to hear you say that about Jim Jordan.

But on Israel, they have warned more than a million Palestinian civilians, to leave their homes, to head south, within 24 hours.

What would a President Pence do, to help those civilians, like the guest I just had? His family is 25 family members, in one house, tonight. They have nowhere to go. What would a President Pence do, to help them, tonight?

PENCE: Well, the first thing I would do is pick up the phone, with President El-Sisi, and tell him, "You got to open your border." And then I would make it clear to Egypt with whom we have we have worked on counterterrorism measures, in the past, that we would assist them in in establishing refugee facilities.

But look, I have great compassion, for innocent civilians, in harm's way, wherever they are in the world. But Israel has no choice, in this moment, but to crush Hamas.


Since 2005, when Gaza was turned over to Hamas, essentially, Israel and the United States, in supporting them, have taken a position of containment. But what we saw unfold, before the eyes of the world, shocking the conscience of our nation, and good people, all over this planet, is categorically reprehensible, and unacceptable.

And Israel is going to have to do what it needs to do, to go in, to hunt down, to crush, and to destroy Hamas, once and for all.

And so, I would urge anyone, in that community, to heed the warnings that have fluttered down from the skies, to head south. And then, I would work with Israel, or with Egypt, or with others, to make it clear that innocent civilians need to be out of harm's way.

COLLINS: But that --

PENCE: But we have got to support Israel, in the hard fighting that is ahead, because they have no choice but to crush and to destroy Hamas.

COLLINS: Would you urge Israel to wait until there was a humanitarian corridor, if Egypt did open its border, the Rafah Crossing, really, the only way for them to get out, before going into Gaza?

PENCE: Look, I would urge Israel to move on the actionable intelligence that they have. Look, we know that some of the leadership of Hamas has already left the country. We have evidence of that, at least that I've seen in public reporting, Kaitlan.

And also, we know that there are American hostages and Israeli hostages that are being held.

I said, a couple days ago, if I was President of the United States, I would have directed Joint Special Operations Command, to signal to our Delta Force, to our Navy SEALs, to begin to immediately work with IDF, to support efforts, of -- to tell Hamas, "You're going to turn our hostages and Israeli hostages loose, or we're going to come and get them."

But look, at the end of the day, we know who's pulling the strings here. I mean, Iran is the sponsor of Hamas, the sponsor of Hezbollah.

And it's one of the reasons why I really do believe that it'll be imperative, for the United States, to put snapback sanctions, into place, immediately, against Iran, that we ought to cancel that $6 billion transfer, to Iran, and for that matter, transfer it to Israel, while Congress of the United States is tied up in its current controversy.

And I believe it's essentially important, I believe the USS Eisenhower just shipped out yesterday. I think the battle group for the Ike ought to head to the Mediterranean, so that we send a clear and decisive message, with the Ford and with the Eisenhower, in the Eastern Mediterranean, that whether it be to Hezbollah, in Lebanon, whether it be to Assad's regime, in Syria, whether it be to Iran, or any other actors, in the region --


PENCE: -- that you need to stand down --

COLLINS: Well, obviously -- PENCE: -- and that Israel do what it needs to do.

COLLINS: Obviously, a Special Ops operation will be incredibly difficult, given we believe Hamas has the hostages spread out throughout the area. They put them in tunnels. I mean, that is something that the Administration has talked about.

I do want to ask you to clarify something though, Mr. Vice President, given you were there?

PENCE: But Kaitlan, if I can? If I can?

COLLINS: Go ahead.

PENCE: If I can? That's what our Special Operations do. I'm telling you. I was at Fort Bragg. I've been on the beach, the Coronado, in California with our Navy SEALs. They are the best in the world. And they know how to do this.

COLLINS: Yes, I'm not denying that.

PENCE: And we ought to be sending a message to Hamas that you're --

COLLINS: It's just an incredible difficult operation.

PENCE: -- "You give them up, or we'll come get them."

And but I -- beyond that, I just think look, if the world knows nothing else, the world needs to know this. In this moment, in this dire hour, America stands with Israel.

COLLINS: Yes. Mr. Vice President, I want to ask you, because you were the current Vice President, at the time that this happened, when the U.S. issued a strike that killed the top Iranian General, Soleimani.

PENCE: Right.

COLLINS: This is what former President Trump said about that the other night.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I did have a bad experience with Israel, though. When we took out Soleimani, it was us and Israel, working as a group.

And the night before it happened, I got a call, that Israel will not be participating, in this attack.

I'll never forget that Bibi Netanyahu let us down. That was a very terrible thing. I will say that.


COLLINS: Is that how you remember it? Didn't Israel help coordinate that? PENCE: Israel did play a role in that.

But I also remember the former President's frustration, at the time.

But look, all of this is out of place, in this moment. And it's reckless and irresponsible for President -- former President Trump, or any American leader, to send any message, other than full and unconditional support to Israel.

And taking this moment to criticize the Prime Minister of Israel is just, it's reckless and irresponsible.

COLLINS: But is what he's saying?

PENCE: And I've said so.

COLLINS: Is what he's saying inaccurate there?


PENCE: Look, there was intelligence that was shared around that. I thought it was an extraordinary accomplishment, of our Military, to take down the most dangerous terrorist, in the world, Qasem Soleimani.

But look, the President's had his differences.

COLLINS: And Israel helped?

PENCE: The former President's had his differences, with Prime Minister Netanyahu, including, after we left office, where he has been harshly critical of him. He's entitled to his opinions about it.

I will tell you, Prime Minister Netanyahu has been my friend, for many years.

But whatever differences that there are, whatever arguments there are, over the past, they're out of place, in this moment. We ought to be speaking with one voice that we stand with the people of Israel, we stand behind Prime Minister Netanyahu, because there are very difficult days ahead.

I was pleased -- I was pleased to see President Biden say the United States stands with Israel. But the challenge is going to be standing with Israel, when the next phase of this war begins, because it's going to be difficult. It's going to be heartbreaking. There are going to be tragic losses.

But I say, again, after that barbaric and horrific attack, on men, women and children, by Hamas, overtaking towns, in their murderous rampage, I believe Israel has no choice, but to move forward --


PENCE: -- to hunt down and crush Hamas. And the United States of America has to make it clear we will stand with them, until the fighting is done. COLLINS: Trump also praised the Iran-backed militant group, Hezbollah, as very smart. Do you think he understands the difference between good and evil?

PENCE: Hezbollah is not very smart. Hezbollah is evil. And again, we --

COLLINS: Does Trump understand that?

PENCE: We need leaders, in this country -- we need leaders, in this country, who will speak in moral terms, in these moments.

I mean, this is -- I must tell you, look, during our four years together, I heard him often use flattering terms, to speak about authoritarian leaders. But I think it's out of place, always, but especially now.

This is a dire moment. And we are on the cusp, of literally Israel leaning in, moving in ground forces, and hunting down, and destroying those, who would seek to destroy Israel.

And, I think, in this moment, we've got to send a clear and unambiguous message that we stand with Israel. And we stand against Hamas, and we stand against Hezbollah, we stand against any who would oppose her.

COLLINS: Former Vice President, Mike Pence, thank you, for your time, tonight.

PENCE: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: We have exclusive CNN reporting, tonight, learning about U.S. intelligence, and the warnings that came in the day before that deadly attack, nearly a week ago, and the potential for violence, by Hamas. That's next.



COOPER: Tonight, even more airstrikes, loud explosions, this hour, in Gaza City. We have seen and heard at least a dozen explosions, lighting up the night sky, in Gaza, in just the past 30 minutes.

It comes with an ominous warning, from Israeli Prime Minister, today. Quote, "It is only the beginning," he said.

It's also comes, as CNN has new reporting, tonight, about what the U.S. intelligence community knew, in the days before the October 7th massacre. Sources say the Biden administration was warned by both its own intelligence community, and Middle Eastern allies, about potential for violence, by Hamas.

Details now, from CNN's Natasha Bertrand, one of the reporters, who helped break this story.

So, how specific was it? Where did this information come from?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Anderson, these were reports that were produced, by the intelligence community, in the days leading up to the October 7th attack.

One, on September 28th, which said that there was an increased possibility that Hamas was going to start launching rocket attacks, across the border.

And then, another one, on October 5th, which kind of just warned vaguely, of potential increased violence, by Hamas.

And then, there was a third instance, right the night before this attack happened, on October 6th, when the U.S. began to circulate internally, Israeli reporting, warning that a potential attack, by Hamas, was imminent.

Now, none of these warnings really raised serious alarm bells, across the government, because they are so routine. The U.S. government gets these kinds of intelligence reports, disseminate it across the administration, constantly warning of potential violence, flaring up, between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

And as one source put it to me, quote, "The problem is that none of this is new. This is something that has historically been the norm between Hamas and Israel. I think what happened is everyone saw, these reports, and were like, 'Yes, of course. But we know what that's going to look like.'"

Clearly, they did not, Anderson.

COOPER: One of these reports came from Israel, you're saying, the last one. So Israel obviously was very aware of that.

And the intelligence for these other two reports, did that also come from Israel, the raw data, on that, did that come from Israel?

BERTRAND: So, a lot of the intelligence, including, we understand, the intelligence that informed these two reports, is based in part or much of it is based on Israeli reporting, because the U.S. really relies pretty much, entirely, on Israel for its reporting, and intelligence gathering, inside Gaza. The U.S. does not have great visibility, into Israel's really own backyard there. So, they rely a lot, on the Israelis.

Now, as far as how high this was briefed, and to whom? That remains to be seen. But again, U.S. officials were broadly aware that tensions were rising here. The Israelis got this warning, a night before. But clearly, Anderson, it just wasn't soon enough.

COOPER: Yes. And clearly, Israel knew this same information, and did not act, in different ways, it seems.

Coming up next -- Natasha, appreciate that reporting. Thank you.

Coming up next, the White House, saying it is looking into quote, "Whether it's possible to help Americans leave by land and by sea." The first charter flight, carrying Americans, out of Israel, landed today, as thousands more, are asking the State Department, tonight, for help. And a lot of them are in Gaza. Ahead.



COLLINS: President Biden says he had a gut-wrenching call, with the families of 14 Americans, who are still unaccounted for, tonight, after the Hamas attacks on Israel.

The first charter flight also, today, that was organized, by the U.S. State Department, to help U.S. citizens, leave Israel, landed earlier today.

CNN's Sara Sidner is live, in Tel Aviv, and tracking all of these developments.

Sara, it's so good, to have you there, given you know, Tel Aviv so well. You lived there, previously.

We know U.S. officials estimate that between 160,000 and 170,000, I believe the numbers are lately, Americans are in Israel, residents, tourists, some other capacity. How many have contacted the State Department? What does that look like right now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR & SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Look, about 20,000 Americans have contacted the State Department, just trying to get information, some of them trying to leave. That's a lot of people. But not all of them are asking to leave.

People, obviously, extremely nervous about what has been going on here. And if they have the option to leave, and they want to leave, and they want to get back to the States? They've had a very, very difficult time, trying to get a flight out, a commercial flight, out of Tel Aviv, because so many airlines have canceled their flight. There are just very few flights going. And those get filled up very, very quickly.

I do want to tell you that, a few hours ago, I was on the phone, with a woman, who up until literally a few hours ago, she said that she was very close, to the Gaza border. She was in southern Israel.


And that she had been calling the State Department, trying to get any information. And she was told to stay in her safe room, in her home, and not to travel to Tel Aviv, because at that moment, they felt like it was not safe enough. And that was just yesterday. It was Friday night, here in Tel Aviv.

So, there is a little bit of confusion. But there is a lot of concern that it is taking so long, for some Americans, to be able to get out of the country, also knowing that with all of these troops amassing, on the border, there is a real concern, that this is going to be the beginning, of the ground war, as Israel continues to pound Gaza, from the sky.

And anyone that is anywhere near that, that is anywhere along the southern border, who may want to leave, who may want to come back, to the United States? They're going to try to do that as soon as they can. But it is just very difficult, right now, commercially.

I flew in, yesterday. There was almost no one, on the flight, coming here. The flight was packed, full, going back to the States.

COLLINS: Yes, I bet.

SIDNER: Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Sara, stay safe, obviously, on the ground, in Tel Aviv. Keep us updated, on what you're hearing. Thank you.

This has obviously been an incredibly painful week, for so many people, just to process the horror, of what we have seen happen, in Israel.

The Rabbi, from the Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh, comforted his community, after the deadliest anti-Semitic attack, in this nation's history. His advice, for keeping the faith, in times like this, next.



COLLINS: Nearly a week ago, we witnessed the kinds of horrors, that will take years, if not decades, if not multiple decades, for Israel, and the entire world, to process.

But sadly, we have seen Jews, murdered in cold blood, here at home as well. The deadliest attack, on Jews, in the U.S., happened nearly five years ago. It's hard to believe it's been that long. At the Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh, a 11 Jews were killed, as they were worshipping, an attack that was motivated by anti-Semitism.

Yesterday, before the Sabbath, I spoke with the Tree of Life Rabbi, Jeffrey Myers, about coping, finding comfort, faith, and strength, after an unimaginable tragedy.


COLLINS: Rabbi, thank you, for taking the time, to join me, tonight.

I mean, these attacks have deeply shaken, the Jewish community. How difficult has this time been, for you, for your congregation?

RABBI JEFFREY MYERS, TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: It's been very difficult, when you combine the trauma of what's happening, in Israel, with a community that has experienced trauma, and will be remembering, once again, on October 27th. It's, to say doubly difficult, is an understatement.

COLLINS: Yes, the five-year anniversary, of that attack, of course, is just, in two weeks from now.

I mean, when that happened, you said that your holy place was defiled that day. But you said that your faith grew stronger.

I mean, what do you say to people, tonight, who are questioning, what to even think, in the light of what happened, on Saturday, in Israel?

MYERS: I found that the most comforting thing is when we gather together, as community.

Judaism is one of the longest existing faith communities, in the world, having been present here, for over 4,000 years. When there are challenges, to our faith, what we do is we gather, as community, because we find strength, comfort, reassurance, by being together with each other.

So, I would encourage people, not to stay home alone, to gather with your community, be it for Sabbath worship, daily worship, whatever works best for you, because it's in community that we find encouragement, and hope.

COLLINS: It really is. I mean, and when you look at this, and what this means, even from a historic perspective, it's the deadliest day for Jews, since the Holocaust. It's been called Israel's 9/11.

Secretary Blinken said it's actually more like 10 9/11s, when you put it in perspective, in terms of the size of Israel.

What do you want people, who are watching, to know, about the magnitude of grief, that Jewish people feel, right now, but also the magnitude of fear that this has instilled in people?

MYERS: Several things. Number one, that people, for example, will regularly ask me, "Do I have any family in Israel?" And my answer is, "Yes, I have 7 million brothers and sisters who live there." So, it's been an attack upon my family. Because family is not merely a geographical location. It's my entire family.

But what do I say to people in response is, it could be very easy, to go down that dark path, and begin to turn towards evil yourself. The challenge is to uphold the highest standards of what it means to be Jewish, which is to love our neighbors, as ourselves, is to do the good work, that God demands of us, to make the world an even better place.

Times like this, it gets even harder, which to me means we roll up our sleeves even more, dig down even deeper, and recognize we have far more work to do. But that work is not alone. It's with all of the good people in the world, who abhor what has happened, and want to see that we have a good world that we can raise our children in.

COLLINS: How do you still have hope after something like what happened this week?

MYERS: I would say, over the past five years, I've gotten so many cards, letters, emails. And just in the past few days, continued communication, from pure strangers, who have sent words of comfort, consolation, hope and encouragement. To me, that says that there are far more good decent people, in the world, than there are not. And to me, that's reassuring.


The challenge is how do you take this silent majority, of the good, decent people, and turn them into a vocal majority that chases away all of the evil that exists out there? That's the challenge for each of us, as human beings.

COLLINS: It certainly is.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers, we're thinking of you, and your congregation, especially ahead of that five-year anniversary. Thank you for joining me.

MYERS: Thank you, Kaitlan.


COLLINS: And we'll be back in just a moment.


COLLINS: There was a terrible reminder, today, of the dangers that journalists are facing.

A Reuters news videographer, Issam Abdallah, was killed, as he was working, in southern Lebanon. Two other journalists, who were working with him, were also wounded. And the crew was reportedly covering back-and-forth shelling, between Israeli Defense Forces and Hezbollah.


The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 11 have been killed, in just a week of fighting that we've seen so far. Our thoughts, tonight, are with their families, their friends, their colleagues, all of our colleagues, who are in harm's way, to bring us the news, tonight.

And before we go, so many people have reached out, this week, since Saturday's awful, brutal attack, asking how they can help, who they can trust, where they can try to make an impact.

CNN's Impact Your World team has updated its list, of vetted organizations, that you can trust. You can go to, or you can text RELIEF, to 707070, to donate.

And so grateful to so many people, who have reached out.

Thank you so much, for joining us, on this incredibly busy week.

"CNN NEWSNIGHT" with Abby Phillip starts, right now.