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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Hamas Official Claims Group Planned Attack for Two Years; Netanyahu: Hamas should be "Crushed" Like ISIS; Official: U.S. not Contemplating Sending Troops to Gaza; Netanyahu's Office Releases Photos of "Babies Murdered and Burned" by Hamas; Trump Criticizes Netanyahu Over Hamas Attack; House Republicans Set to Meet as Scalise's Speakership Bid at Risk of Collapsing. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired October 12, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNNI HOST: Hello, everyone, I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's Thursday, October

12, 11 am here in Washington, 6 pm in Israel and Gaza, and we begin our coverage there. Israel getting a strong show of support from the U.S. today

as Gaza remains under siege.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivering a message in person that Israel will never have to defend itself alone. Prime Minister Benjamin

Netanyahu says the world must treat Hamas like ISIS.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: President Biden was absolutely correct in calling this sheer evil. Hamas says ISIS and just as ISIS was

crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed. And Hamas should be treated exactly the way ISIS was treated.

They should be spit out from the community of nations. No leader should meet them. No country should harbor them. And those that do should be



HUNT: The full scale of the horror is still unfolding nearly six days after Hamas rampage across Southern Israel. At least 1200 people were killed, and

Hamas has now threatened to kill hostages. Israel is pounding Gaza with airstrikes and artillery ahead of a possible ground invasion.

The Palestinian Health Ministry says more than 1400 people have been killed, including many children. The International Red Cross warns that

hospitals "risks turning into morgues". A Senior Hamas official based in Lebanon claims the militant group prepared for the surprise attack on

Israel for two years. CNN's Sam Kiley has more on the assault. And we warn you his report does contain graphic content.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A brazen political move. Hamas demands that the U.S. negotiate the release of

American hostages on Russian TV.

ALI BARAKA, HAMAS NATIONAL RELATIONS ABROAD: They're also prisoners in the U.S., we want them of course. There are Hamas members sentenced to life in

the U.S. We demand that the U.S. frees our sons from their prisons. The U.S. conducts prisoner swaps only recently it did one with Iran. Why

wouldn't conduct one with us?

KILEY (voice-over): Confirmation of part of the intent behind the Hamas assaults in Israel. They were enabled by a failure of Israeli intelligence.

But plotted by a shadowy Hamas officer they call al Deif. The guest only two photographs exist of Muhammad Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, who's nearly 60.

He's known as al Deif because he billets as a guest in a different location every night. He's the mastermind or monster behind the murder of more than

1000 in Israel, and the kidnapping of about 150 hostages.

MKHAIMAR ABUSADA, CHAIRMAN OF POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT AT AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY: From the beginning of his life, he was very much interested in

fighting the Israeli occupation.

KILEY (voice-over): In the mid-1990s, he was believed to be behind a wave of atrocities in Israel. And in 2014, he is believed to have lost an arm

and a leg in an Israeli airstrike aimed at him that killed his wife and daughter. For the last two years, though, Hamas has pretended to focus on

welfare, not warfare.

BARAKA: All the while under the table Hamas was preparing this big attack.

KILEY (voice-over): Israel meanwhile, invested in automation and sensors a high technology iron wall around Gaza and focus forces on the West Bank

under Deif. Hamas encouraged Israeli complacency. Then last weekend, it hit hard. Attacking communication towers and automated machine guns with drones

over running command and control centers.

Killing Senior Officers among them three colonels and unleashing terror on thousands of civilians, the Israel Defense Forces found Hamas anti-tank

mines and other heavy weapons assigned they may have planned for a longer stay.


The shock infantry attack is either deliberately brutal from the start or degenerated into a massacre as Israeli defenses collapsed. It shifted

attention and power to Hamas.

ABUSADA: He has become like a God, to some of the Palestinians because of what he has done.

KILEY (voice-over): Many Palestinians are dismayed by the massacre and the bloodshed that's followed. But with the lives of hostages in his hands, the

guest now has an unwelcome place in America's mind.


KILEY (on camera): Now, Kasie, I think what's really important to remember notwithstanding how Hamas seems to have drifted into this very, very

violent new manifestation and very bold military agenda. It isn't ISIS, you played a clip there of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister

saying that Hamas is ISIS.

ISIS had a completely different agenda. And I'm sorry to say even more atrocious approach to the treatment, particularly of people inside the

areas that it wanted to control. It control and coerce people through public violence. This, whilst atrocious is quite a different approach that

Hamas have been taking.

HUNT: Alright, Sam Kiley, stay with me. Thank you very much for that reporting. I want to bring in our panel now CNN Military Analyst, and

retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton. David Tafuri Former Obama Campaign Foreign Policy Adviser, who was also a U.N. and State Department


And Olivier Knox, the National Political Correspondent for The Washington Post. He also writes for their Daily 202 newsletter. Thank you all for

being here. I want to start off, David on this point that Sam was making about ISIS and Hamas. And what we've seen, because you can see why it is

that Benjamin Netanyahu is saying this, because the way that the international community dealt with ISIS.

He wants the international community to deal with Hamas in the same way. And that's the way that they are treating this because I endured Sam's

points while taking but these actions were extraordinarily horrific.

DAVID TAFURI, FORMER OBAMA CAMPAIGN FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER: Netanyahu has a very good point. This is like ISIS. It's like when ISIS attacked Iraq in

2014. They took thousands of women and children, prisoner. They sold them as sex slaves. And they did all sorts of other atrocious things against

international law.

And ISIS was condemned by the most of the world. And they were sanctioned. And that's what needs to happen with Hamas. Also, like ISIS, ISIS was in

Mosul, which is a very crowded city in Iraq. And that was one of the last strongholds that we had to get them out of Iraq. And it was street to

street fighting as it will be in Gaza.

I spent a week in Gaza several years ago. It's a hopeless, desperate place, but it has 2 million people. The people are interspersed with the

militants. It's one of those densely populated places. It's going to be really tough fighting, complicated by the fact that there are so many

Israeli hostages. So when the Israeli IDF goes in, they could endanger those hostages.

HUNT: Yes, so speaking of that very difficult terrain. I want to show you a little bit of what Secretary Antony Blinken had to say just earlier today,

he has been on the ground in Israel. We've seen him being greeted, frankly, as a hero by those who are trying to, you know, aid Israel in this.

But he did talk about echoing similar comments from President Biden, a day before. The point that Israel has a right to defend itself, but that there

are certain rules that they need to follow, as they do it. Take a look at what Blinken had to say.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Israel has the right, indeed the obligation to defend itself and to ensure that this never happens again.

The Prime Minister and I discussed how Israel does these matters. We democracies distinguish ourselves from terrorists by striving for a

different standard, even when it's difficult.


HUNT: So that's a really important point, Colonel and what the reality is going to collide head on with that, because as David says, I mean,

certainly if they do, as we expect, make a ground incursion into Gaza. Some of the video coming out of there, it's going to be very hard to tell who is

who, what is what, what has happened?

And we certainly expect that militants would claim that civilians were being hurt, even if they hide behind them, they often use them as human

shields. I mean, talk a little bit about what the challenges are for any military assault to make sure that they are showing the world that they are

abiding by the laws of war.

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that's going to be one of the most difficult things, Kasie, you're absolutely right. And to

David's point, you know when you look at Mosul, you look at Fallujah, you look at all of those experiences that we had in Iraq, including Baghdad.

You had so many instances where it was really hard to discern the difference between a bad actor and the normal civilian population. The

Israelis are going to have the same problem. They are going to have to know when they go in there. They're going to have to figure out exactly who is


They are going to be accidents where people are killed, unfortunately, what if they do this ground incursion.


But they're also going to have to be able to figure out how to counter any propaganda that comes out of Hamas and also if they do inadvertently make a

mistake they're going to have to own up to that. That's going to be part of the new rules of warfare, especially when it comes to the public relations

part of it.

HUNT: Yes. Well, I mean, and Olivier Knox mean, the reality is, you can understand why the language that Israeli officials are using is the way it

is, right? They are talking about a siege, they are saying, you know, they are talking about this in a way that reflects the depth of their pain.

But it also is something that I think, you know, this message that the U.S. officials are trying to send, seems like it stands kind of next to that and

an important way to me.

OLIVIER KNOX, WRITER AT THE WASHINGTON POST'S "THE DAILY 202": It does. It's actually been pretty gentle, though. I mean, what President Biden and

Antony Blinken have been saying is basically like, please live up to these principles. There's no stick to this message, right? They're not saying we

can't support X, quite the opposite.

They've been sending foursquare behind Netanyahu, foursquare behind Israel, and in part a reflection, as is the language of the deep national trauma of

this shockingly sophisticated, shockingly intense massacre by Hamas.

So we can talk about Biden and Blinken sending that kind of cautionary note. But that's not the main message, their main message is that the Biden

administration, the United States stands foursquare behind Israel, and will continue to stand foursquare.

HUNT: Yes, you know, in fact, I think we have a bite that shows Blinken sending that exact message. And I think we should just show everybody to

kind of put a finer point on what Olivier just said, take a look.


BLINKEN: The message that I bring to Israel is this. You may be strong enough on your own to defend yourself. But as long as America exists, you

will never ever have to. We continue working closely with Israel to secure the release of the men, women, children, and elderly people, taken hostage

by Hamas.


HUNT: So David, again, this really underscores where the administration wants to be and is. And frankly Antony Blinken's presence in Israel today

sends a message all by itself that echoes that one.

TAFURI: That's right. I think he was the right messenger or the right envoy to go to Israel. You know, his stepfather escaped concentration camps in

Europe. He is Jewish. And he emphasized that in his discussions in Israel, and he delivered what you know, some describe as sort of a big bear hug for

the public.

But I do think privately, there are probably a couple little punches like make sure this is proportional, you know, try not to kill too many

civilians in this ground offensive in Gaza. And let's try to figure out -- yes.

HUNT: -- messages ideally, try not to kill civilians.


HUNT: I'm sorry to --

TAFURI: And also, you know, let's cooperate together to rescue these hostages. That's really going to be the most difficult part of this,

because this could go on for a couple years. Because ultimately, when we attack Hamas, we have to be careful about hurting the hostages and Hamas

knows that this was intentional. They took the hostages, and they're using them as human shields.

HUNT: It's going to be a very, I agree with you. I'm pretty soon I wonder if we'll be able to count the days of this word. Today is day six. But I

want to go to CNN's, Becky Anderson, who is live in Tel Aviv with some disturbing new reporting. Becky, what's the latest?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR CONNECT THE WORLD: The Prime Minister's office set here has just released some photographs of what they describe as babies

murdered and burned by Hamas. Now, we know that infants have lost their lives in what was this massacre on these -- on Saturday morning, we know

that we've heard that firsthand, from many family members, young, elderly, women and children have lost their lives in what was this awful, horrific

attack on Saturday morning.

We've also heard from the government here, from the Prime Minister here that the nature by which these infants were killed, has been absolutely

horrific. And there have been a number of words sort of bandied around describing how these babies were murdered. But today, these images have

been released by Benjamin Netanyahu.

He says that he is showing these images to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is here in Tel Aviv, on a mission effectively to support

Israel, and to try and affect the release of these hostages to try and open some new humanitarian corridors and to work out sort of what happens next,

as far as Israeli planned for this massive assault on Gaza is concerned.

These images, as I say, have been released by the Prime Minister's office. We're not showing them on CNN at the moment because quite frankly, what I

have seen is absolutely horrific. So trust me on that. But what we are doing is working to see how we might be able to provide some semblance of

some of this content for our viewers it is horrific.


But as I say, these are images that the Prime Minister's Office has said our babies murdered and mutilated by Hamas. And that is something we can't

independently verify, of course. I will describe to you some of what I've seen. There are three images that have been released.

One of them shows a, a baby mutilated, clearly dead, lying on lying on a bed and two images of what appears to be completely burnt, small bodies

horrific, quite frankly, tough times here. I mean, clearly, you know, Israelis are still in absolute shock and Secretary of State Antony

Blinken's journey here today.

And what he's achieved so far, I think has been very important for Israelis. He met with 24 year old Lior Gelbaum, who is an Israeli American

dual citizen who survived the massacre at the Music Festival. And we have some images. And perhaps we'll bring those up, if we can have Antony

Blinken meeting her today.

And she was very, very sympathetic very, very empathetic, she was clearly very distraught, explaining what had happened to her how she had survived

this attack what she'd been through, but also very quick to applaud Antony Blinken for being here and supporting at what is Israel's time of need.

HUNT: Yes.

ANDERSON: I think there is a concern here that as things develop and as the plan for whatever happens next in Gaza develops. That there is a fear that

there will be a huge price paid in terms of civilian lives. And clearly the hostages are incredibly important that it's their safety that the Israelis

have, you know, as an absolute priority.

But they also have a fear that the international support may wane that the tide may turn as we see the death of more and more Palestinians living in

Gaza as well. So that is the story from Tel Aviv as things stand at present, Kasie.

HUNT: Just a tremendous amount of suffering. And thank you for describing those to us. I have not looked at these pictures, I would have forced

myself to do it as I think the Prime Minister I imagine their office is putting them out there because we all need to see them to understand just

what is at stake here.

Becky Anderson, thank you very much. We're going to take a quick break here our coverage returns on our panel. We'll be back with us shortly don't go




HUNT: Welcome back, large scale strikes today and what the IDF says are Hamas targets in Gaza. This video from earlier today shows Israeli tanks or

artillery firing along the border with Gaza. There are now around 300,000 Israeli reservists there.

Meanwhile, there are warnings that people in Gaza are at risk of starvation as Israel blocks food, water and fuel from being brought in. CNN's Jeremy

Diamond is in Ashdod, Israel. Jeremy, what's the latest?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kasie, over the last couple of hours we have just had not one but two barrages of rockets coming from Gaza

in this direction Red Alert sirens going off and we had to head into the shelter. We went into the shelter with a family that is staying on the same

floor of this hotel with us.

And the father there told us that they actually live in Ashkelon, which is the city right over my shoulder closer to the Gaza Strip. They came here to

get slightly further north, slightly out of the area that is getting the most rockets which the City of Ashkelon and steroids certainly are.

And also because they're home, and Ashkelon does not actually have a bomb shelter at the last round of interceptions happened very, very close to

this hotel. The booms were much louder than we typically do hear them. But that is simply the kind of reality that folks are living with around here.

At the same time we saw today, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken, standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to

show no daylight between the United States and Israel as it relates to the next phase of this military campaign, which most people here are

anticipating will likely be some kind of ground invasion of Gaza.

As of yet though that decision has not been taken and it certainly has not been announced. What was especially striking today and listening to Blinken

and listening to Netanyahu was hearing the extent to which they were trying to bottle up all of the emotion that exists in this country.

The outrage over the barbarity of the attacks carried out by Hamas over the weekend killing women, children, and civilians in their homes, in those

surprise terrorist attacks. Why are they doing that Kasie, because they are trying to lay out the rationale for what is to come next.

Trying to explain the rationale for the casualties that will undoubtedly come should Israel widen its military campaign against Gaza, not only in

terms of Israeli troops who would go in, but also in terms of the civilian casualties inside of Gaza. We have watched that death toll mount as Israel

has continued to pummel the Gaza Strip.

And also criticism from international human rights agencies over the siege of Gaza that has been announced by the Israeli government not allowing

food, water or electricity into the strip until Hamas releases those hostages that they are holding. So it is remains a very volatile situation.

And certainly a situation that could still, get a lot worse, Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Jeremy Diamond in Ashdod, Israel, thank you very much. My panel is back with me. And Senior International Correspondent, Sam Kiley is

standing by in London. Sam, let me just go to you on. I want to show everyone a little bit of what Jon Finer he's the Deputy National Security

Adviser had to say about the possibility of U.S. presence on the ground.

Obviously, we know the U.S. is supporting the Israelis in a variety of ways. But he was pretty clear about boots on the ground. Take a look.


JON FINER, U.S. PRINCIPLE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: At this point, we are not contemplating a U.S. boots on the ground involved in that

mission. What we have done is sent experts from across our government to the region to consult and advise with their Israeli counterparts to make

sure that they find the best way to go about trying to get these people home.


HUNT: One concern, of course for the U.S. military would be that some of these groups might declare the various American troops that are stationed

across the region as legitimate targets should something like this actually happen. What is the understanding among the international officials at

European leaders about how this will play out?


KILEY: Well, I think, the first thing is that there will be an understanding that Benjamin Netanyahu by publishing these pictures of Hamas

atrocities, is trying to draw a direct line between Hamas and ISIS one that in terms of tactics and approach doesn't yet exist in order to

internationalize a problem that is already International. Now you had American officials, they're rolling out American boots on the ground in

terms of hostage rescues.

There are a number of British hostages, the British Special Air Service Specialist organization built in largely and successfully in the past on

hostage rescues will be inevitably present in Israel liaising in the same way that the United States is, but staying out of getting involved in any

kind of shooting war inside Gaza, because that is still seen by the international community.

Whilst it is internationally seizing of its atrocious nature in terms of the Hamas attacks, it seemed very much as a local problem for Israel at the

Palestinians, and indeed, the regional players. So I think really, that is the position of the international community deep, profound sympathy for

what has happened to Israel.

Deep concern over there nationals that are being held hostage alongside majority of Israelis inside Gaza, but no desire whatsoever to get involved

inside the country, outside the country, perhaps quite different pattern you may well see.

And I I've got no doubt that Americans are sending private messages to Hezbollah and Iran saying to Hezbollah, especially stay out of this. We

have a carrier group in the Eastern Mediterranean, probably leaving it at that.

HUNT: Well, Cedric, I mean, to that very point, as Sam was finishing that sentence, I thought, well, the message is actually pretty public. There are

parking, you know, an array of naval forces and some very angry guns right nearby.

LEIGHTON: Exactly. And quite frankly, Kasie, when you have the largest aircraft carrier in the world, that's a pretty big message heavy that it

tells you right there that we've been in business, should they do something against Israel, Oregon star forces, and that's one thing we have to watch

out for is the whole force protection aspect of this.

We are obviously seen in the Arab world is being big supporters of Israel, we've made it abundantly clear that that's exactly what's going on at this

particular point in time in this crisis. But we do not as, Sam, was mentioning, we do not really want to get involved with boots on the ground

in Israel.

Israel doesn't really want that, they want to be able to defend themselves. They want the help from us, but they don't want the boots from us.

HUNT: Yes, because the ramifications, David obviously, would be extraordinarily high, but they are going to be working very closely. And

you know, I think had some background during your work in the national security community. Can you sort of give us some texture about what is


TAFURI: Sure. I mean, I agree with the Colonel. But with the possible exception that I could see U.S. Special Forces supporting the IDF in rescue

missions to rescue hostages, especially those U.S. citizens, we know that at least 20. U.S. his citizens who are hostages are dual us Israeli


So we have more of an obligation try to rescue them. And there will be a lot of pressure on the Biden administration to help with that. I also think

if the northern front opens up in Israel, if Hezbollah takes offensive action against Israel, that is a way where the U.S. might have to get

involved not necessarily boots on the ground, but airstrikes, perhaps against Hezbollah.

And then the other wildcard here is what is Iran going to do we know Iran supports Hamas. We know they train them. We know they fund them. We don't

know if they were actively involved in planning this operation. But we need to make sure that they stay out of this. And we also simmering underneath

all, this is the fact that Iran is moving towards having nuclear weapons. The U.S. has been trying to do a deal with Iran. That may not work now.

HUNT: Yes. So Olivier, I mean, he raises a good point about the pressure because I was just spinning through my email, I think I may have lost it

because the volume is just so high, but the White House has is packaging together and blasting out, you know, comments, basically praising the

administration, the President for strongly standing with Israel, because this is the kind of crisis that you know.

It is entirely plausible that these hostages could be held for months, if not longer. We are heading into an election year here in the United States.

And, you know, we obviously are still in the thick of covering this crisis. But these two things are going to be inextricably connected.

KNOX: That's absolutely right. And yesterday, the Biden-Harris campaign actually put out a long release with the way that the President's speech

was received in Israel, all the praise for the President's remarks in Israel. So they are very, very keenly aware of the political dimension


They're currently in a bit of an argument with Former President Donald Trump who praised Hamas, praised Hezbollah, and derided Benjamin Netanyahu,

and they've called those comments unhinged and inappropriate. They're very aware of it. The pressure on the administration, I think, is lessened if

unless Israel comes out and says we need more from you.

That's, I think one of the, where the political pressure might really come into bear. They're talking about advisors, right, helping the Israelis

plan, hostage retrieval.


But it changes if the Israelis commands say, we are not getting enough Intel sharing, we're not getting enough, whatever it is, that's when the

political pressure comes up. You know, and of course, they are very mindful at 1600, Pennsylvania of what happened with the Afghan withdrawal, right,

and the dual citizens left behind. That's been a cudgel with which the Republicans have beaten this White House for a year and a half.

HUNT: Well, and in many ways, that was actually a turning point for the administration for the president in terms of kind of the public narrative

on his competency, especially on him. And he takes great pride in his foreign policy expertise. I mean, David, you, you have been in the position

of obviously, when you are working as a national security official inside an administration, your obligation is first to that, but these are

ultimately people who are elected.

And that does come to bear. I mean, what how would you respond to kind of what Olivier laid out there that if there is a situation where the Israelis

are saying, hey, we're not getting enough, what do you as someone inside of the administration consider in those moments?

TAFURI: Well, you know, the number one responsibility is to protect U.S. national security and to follow U.S. foreign policy, but U.S. foreign

policy is very closely tied to Israel. And we want to make sure that alliances remain strong. So I expect the U.S. will provide Israel almost

anything it needs, except anything that Israel could obviously use to target civilians.

And I don't think Israel is going to ask for that from the U.S. And secondarily, I think that the U.S. will provide any other financial support

that is necessary to Israel. But also behind the scenes, the U.S. is trying to make sure the other Arab Gulf states stay out of this that they don't

side with the Palestinians. They don't provide support to the Palestinians. And that's one of the most important things we can be doing.

LEIGHTON: Of course, they're also going to be leveraging the support and aid that to the Gulf States already provided to Hamas. Qatar is also useful

interlocutor, when it comes to the hostages are listed potentially useful interlocutor. And so that's, that's something where that diplomatic angle

plus the military angle can play a large role in this.

HUNT: Yes, Olivier.

KNOX: Just to say that like, like the situation in Ukraine that one of the top Biden Administration priorities is to prevent this from widening.

HUNT: Right.

KNOX: Turning this into a regional war would be an absolute nightmare for the United States. And that --

HUNT: Then the world.

KNOX: And the world, that's, of course, correct. And that's why you're seeing a lot of it, the back channel diplomacy, you know, the pressure on

China to talk to Iran, the United Arab Emirates to talk to Iran. There's pressure now in Qatar, which hosts some of the Hamas leaders, but that's

one of their absolute top priorities.

And so while it is an area where we might see American involvement, if say, Hezbollah tries to mount an offensive from the north, they're very, very

mindful of trying to keep this bottled up.

HUNT: Right now. We're going to take a pause on this conversation, because we, unfortunately are going to return to what we discussed earlier images

of murdered children in southern Israel. I do want to give you a warning give you plenty of time here, what you're about to see is extraordinarily


The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has released what they describe as, "Horrifying photos of babies murdered and burned by Hamas

terrorists". We are going to show you one of those photos. So I'm just letting you know that right now, trying to give you an extended moment.

If this is something you feel like you don't want to see, I certainly don't want to make myself look at it anyway. CNN's Becky Anderson is live for us

in Tel Aviv. Becky, I don't have any words.

ANDERSON: No, its tough, isn't it? This is one of three images that the prime minister's office here, released just a short time ago. They are

images that he says are amongst the number that that he has shown to the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is here in Tel Aviv. The other

two images I've seen they are of small bodies burned beyond recognition. But we're not going to show those because --

HUNT: But you're saying that what at least the one we saw is the one that's easier -- .

ANDERSON: Ah, I guess you could put it that way. And none of these reasons to look at of course.

HUNT: No, another memories you kind of -- .

ANDERSON: Yes. What, what we do know is that there were kids murdered in the massacre down in southern Israel on Saturday morning. We know that

because, you know, I have and a number of our colleagues here have been meeting family members of those who lost kids, moms, grandmothers.

You know, we know what the story is. It's horrific. But we haven't seen a lot of image of the actual, you know, the actual babies who were affected.

Look, this is these are bloodied and burned. Babies that the prime minister's office say were murdered by Hamas. CNN can't verify where those

photos were taken or when of course. But you know this is just us reporting the facts as we have them.


These images have been released by the prime minister's office, and they say they are of babies burned and mutilated by Hamas at the massacre on

Saturday morning. And that's the extent of the reporting on this.

HUNT: Yes.

ANDERSON: Frankly, Kasie.

HUNT: All right, CNN's Becky Anderson live for us in Tel Aviv. I look at that picture and I can see as my seven month old daughter. Becky Anderson

is live in Tel Aviv for us, we'll be right back.


HUNT: All right, former U.S. President Donald Trump is criticizing Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli intelligence. Trump speaking to supporters in Florida

recalled an incident involving Israel's role in a 2020 U.S. drone strike. He said Prime Minister Netanyahu pulled out of the plan to kill Iran's top

security and intelligence commander.



DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: When I see sometimes the intelligence you talk about the intelligence or you talk about some of the things that

went wrong over the last week, they've got it straightened out because they're fighting, potentially a very big forest.

I did have a bad experience with Israel, though, when we took Soleimani. He was -- at 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.


HUNT: All right, Olivier Knox, the Author of The Washington Post's Daily 202 and of course, the National Political Correspondent is back with us on

this. So Olivier, the stakes are very high, of course with this story. But the reality is quite par for the course when it comes to Donald Trump.

KNOX: Yes, it really is. I mean, we still we have to start by saying who knows if what he said is true, even. But --

HUNT: Yes, we're trying to figure that out as you and I speak. So that's an important caveat. I'm glad you raised it.

KNOX: Yes. But you know, we've watched, we've watched the Israeli response to the Biden Administration support over the last few days. You know,

Benjamin Netanyahu has just repeatedly praised the Biden Administration. You saw the show of solidarity today with the Secretary of State Tony


It's not super hard to figure out why Donald Trump might be angry of Bibi Netanyahu now. And I don't think it has a lot to do with the years old

arrayed against airstrike, I should say, against a top Iranian general. It's it is par for the course in another way, which is, of course, that he

has historically said a lot of nice things about a lot of bad people.

He's praised Kim Jong-Un; he's praised the Chinese response, the Chinese crack down to Tiananmen Square.

HUNT: Yes.

KNOX: He just praised Vladimir Putin. This is as you say its very par for the course. But I don't think we should look away from this.

HUNT: No, I'm glad you, I'm glad you put it that way. I agree. And I'm sure that there are people that were missing. I want to bring in the rest of our

political panel here. Now joining us is Brian Fallon. He is the Co-Founder of Demand Justice, and the former Press Secretary for Hillary Clinton's

2016 Presidential Campaign.

And we also have Sarah Matthews, the former Deputy Press Secretary with the Trump Administration. So Sarah, before I get to, before I get to the White

House response and talk to Brian about it, I just like to kind of give you a chance to respond to what the former president said here about this raid.

I mean, do you have any knowledge of what did or didn't happen that you're able to share with us in terms of determining the veracity of what he has

to say? And if not, and perhaps it's classified. So perhaps I'm assuming that if not, I'm just curious kind of your take on what his motivations

might be in saying this now.

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: I wasn't at the White House when this raid happened. And so I can't really

speak to that and his thinking on that specific thing. But I think something that is really important to note is that it was reported in 2021,

that Donald Trump was very unhappy with Netanyahu, because Netanyahu was one of the first people to congratulate President Biden on his win in the

November election.

And so, I think that that is actually what is most significant and driving Trump's beef with Netanyahu and why he made those remarks. He might say it

has something to do with that Soleimani strike. And that could be part of it. But I do think that it's actually that he was upset that Netanyahu

acknowledged that Biden won the election fair and square.

And so, that seems to be the driving force here. But it is really disgusting. These remarks that I think he made where he's, you know, the

former president is praising Hezbollah. And I think a lot of Republicans who have been critical of Congresswoman Tlaib for refusing to denounce

Hamas, should be equally upset then with the former president for praising Hezbollah and making these remarks at a time when we need to show

solidarity with Israel and show unwavering support.

HUNT: Yes, you know, and I'm glad you mentioned what Trump had to say about Hezbollah. Our viewers may not have gotten a chance to see that yet so. I'm

going to show them, here's what the former president said about Hezbollah.


TRUMP: That's why they're doing this. They have so much money; they don't know what to do with it. They had no money, they were broke. And then there

was the inevitable attack four days later, which I predicted. And then two nights ago, I read all of Biden security people.

Can you imagine National Defense people? And they said, Gee, I hope Hezbollah doesn't attack from the north, because that's the most vulnerable

spot. I said, wait a minute. You know, Hezbollah is very smart. They're all very smart.


HUNT: I mean, to Olivier's point, Donald Trump has a history of praising forces that are dark off and dictatorial. Brian Fallon, the White House put

out his statement in response to those comments calling them dangerous and unhinged completely lost on us, why any American would ever praise an Iran

backed terror organization as smart, your take?


BRIAN FALLON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMAND JUSTICE: Well, the White House has to be somewhat measured because Donald Trump is a political candidate, Joe

Biden is running for re-election. But the rest of us on the outside not currently actively serving in the federal government, the DNC Democrats on

Capitol Hill.

I think we should all be jumping on this point that Sarah just made, which is where the rest of the Republican Party in the aftermath of these

comments by Donald Trump. I take Olivier and Sarah's suggestion that these comments attacking Bibi Netanyahu are probably done out of pettiness and

personal spite.

But we saw in the immediate aftermath of these attacks by Hamas, leading figures in the Republican Party like Ronna Romney McDaniel, go on

television and call it a great opportunity for Republicans to contrast themselves with Democrats and Joe Biden in particular, when it comes to

their handling of Israel and their closeness of the Israel relationship.

And they went on to unfairly criticized President Biden and suggest that the recently negotiated hostage deal with Iran somehow financed this attack

by Hamas. And in the day since you've seen Joe Biden give speeches that have been warmly greeted and received by Israeli officials, the former U.S.

ambassador here from Israel, called it the most pro-Israel speech from a president he's ever seen.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump is on the stump attacking the Israeli government. So where is the rest of the Republican Party? They criticized Joe Biden

unfairly in the immediate aftermath of these attacks, whereas the rest of them distancing themselves from what Donald Trump is now doing.

I think you have to consider it pretty hypocritical to be going around criticizing Rashida Tlaib and other democratic officials all the way up to

Joe Biden and now will be silent when Donald Trump is openly attacking Bibi Netanyahu.

HUNT: Sarah, what's your response to that?

MATTHEWS: I agree, I think it's, if you're going to be outraged at the squad for their refusal to condemn Hamas, or you're going to go after

President Biden for his policy with Iran, then I think that we need to have equal outrage at the former president for his remarks. I mean, look, we're

looking at Israeli families being slaughtered, women being raped and dragged through the streets.

And instead of showing empathy in this situation, and his support for Israel, he chooses to attack them in their leader. And that couldn't show

how unfit he or couldn't show more how unfit he is to serve as our Commander in Chief.

HUNT: Yes, it's pretty; it's pretty remarkable at that, at this point. Olivier, let me give you the last word here. Do you think, how do you think

this carries through the next year Trump's comments?

KNOX: Well, I think if there's something we know about Donald Trump is that he is extremely likely to replace these outrageous comments with other

outrageous comments. I mean, this is sort of the pattern of the last eight years. He's not going to give commentators or analysts or anyone else, a

lot of breathing room to parse these comments for any great length of time.

I do sit, as I said, before they get support not to look away, it's important to follow what he says on the stump. You know, he has, he has the

ability to shape the entire Republican Party on major issues of global importance.

HUNT: Yes.

KNOX: And so, we do have to watch and listen and not platform in the traditional sense. Not just broadcast his comments, but do what we're doing

now, which is to say reporting on them.

HUNT: Right. I did say Olivier was going to get the last word. But Brian, I actually want to finish with you here, just because I want to follow up

with what you had to say. How do you think Democrats should be addressing what Rashida Tlaib and Cory Bush have to say that they're taking this

particular moment to call for an end to aid for Israel?

FALLON: Yes, I think that there's a little bit of a reckoning happening within the Democratic Party here. We talked about Donald Trump and how he

needs to be called out. But I think that there are elements in the Democratic Party that are not rising up to the moment here.

Everybody's first second and third reaction to this should be to call out the horrific scenes that have emerged over the last several days, based on

what Hamas instigated. And we've seen Democratic Socialist factions and chapters in New York City, organized rallies trying to draw attention to

the Palestinian situation, which obviously is a situation that needs to be discussed.

But in the aftermath of an incident, like what we've seen with these terrorist attacks, try to be shifting focus away from what Hamas has done,

or to be suggesting that Israel is to blame for an attack on their own people is uncalled for.

And I think that you're starting to see pressure be put on. Progressive elements, like the democratic socialists of America that we're starting to

work in to the mainstream and certain corners of the Democratic Party. Or they were helping advance conversations around policing reform a couple

years back.

They've been involved in a lot of the labor strikes productively in the last couple of years, but in this issue, completely out of touch and tone-


We're going to go now, though, to Capitol Hill because Mike McCaul, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has been standing by very

patiently, and he joins us now, sir, thank you very much for being here.

REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): Thanks for having me.

HUNT: So, sir, we just showed our viewers, the ones who didn't want to look away. This photo that Benjamin Netanyahu's office, they actually put out

three photos. Two they say have burned babies who died, one the bloodied body of a baby that we did show to our audience. I know you've talked a

little bit about this in some of your interviews, but I just kind of wanted to start there and ask you what your response is.

MCCAUL: I mean, it's horrific, and I know people don't want to see these pictures, but I think it's important they do. I know there have been --

there's some doubt that this happened. So actually, I think Netanyahu did the right thing by releasing these photos. You know, I was in the kibbutz

that got massacred, the one right next to Gaza, I was there a year ago with Speaker McCarthy and, you know, got a tour. All those people that I met

with were massacred. But the saddest thing, Kasie, is a daycare center that I toured and saw the children, they were slaughtered as well, and the

babies and some of the children were actually beheaded.

And I know that some of the press don't want to believe that happened. But I think sometimes you have to see the best evidence, which are the photos

to see how -- what monsters Hamas really is, that they're very, very much like ISIS in a lot of ways.

HUNT: That, of course, the argument that Netanyahu is making. And I understand what you're referring to, and I don't think any of us will

hesitate to report once we have seen evidence like that of it happening. But there has been a little bit of confusion and back and forth. So we're

just being particularly careful to make sure that we characterize things that we've actually seen.

So let's kind of move on to what we're learning from U.S. officials here because, after a briefing with U.S. officials, you had said that Egypt

actually warned the Israelis three days before the attack, that something like this could happen.

And the White House National Security Spokesman John Kirby was asked about your comments yesterday. I just want to show you what he said and then ask

you about it, take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Speak to the reports that Israel was warned by Egypt. Has that been discussed at all? Or is that something you're looking into?

JOHN KIRBY, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: I can't speak to specific intelligence matters. Again, there will

be a time to look back at this as we always do. And we will. Right now, we're sharpening the intelligence gathering and cooperation and sharing

with Israel as we should, since they're involved in active operations. And we're making sure that they get the tools they need.


HUNT: So what do you say to John Kirby? And can you share anything else that you know about this possible warning?

MCCAUL: Well, I don't always agree with him. But actually, I do on this one, that that's something we need to analyze afterwards, kind of like with

9/11, which was a failure. We know Hamas was planning this for months, without any awareness. And it has been reported.

What I had stated, it's been reported publicly. But I'll tell you this. I know Bibi Netanyahu very well. And if any of that got to his level or his

attention, he would not hesitate to take action. So I don't -- if that, you know, intelligence was reported to the Egyptian or to the Israeli Defense,

IDF, I know that if he got that intelligence, he would have acted on it.

HUNT: So I want to ask you also about the other major unfolding story today. And that is, of course, the Republican conference's efforts to pick

a speaker. And this matter is not least because the White House has a request in, and they're already trying to work on getting together a new

aid package for Israel that I know the vast majority of Republicans support. Do you think there's any chance that there's going to be a speaker

by the end of the day, by the end of the week?

MCCAUL: God, I hope so, I didn't think we were going to oust Kevin McCarthy. This is very dangerous, Kasie, in my judgment. I'm getting ready

to go into another conference to try to get unification with our party. But I don't like playing games with fire. I mean, the world is on fire right


Whether it be, you know, Ukraine to the Pacific with Chairman Xi now, this war in the Middle East, after Hamas terrorized Israel. And we cannot afford

not to have a speaker in the chair. I have a resolution condemning Hamas supporting Israel.


Four-hundred-fifteen co-sponsors, I can't get that voted on the floor because we don't have a speaker in the chair be very important for the

American people through their Congress to show that support to Israel. But until we have a speaker, I can't pass that.

And as you mentioned, the aid package, I've talked to the administration, quite a bit about getting a national security aid package done, which would

include Israel, because they're going to need additional funding within a matter of weeks. We can't afford to let this drag out much longer. You

know, a lot of lives are at stake here.

HUNT: Very briefly, sir, do you think there's going to be a vote on that House speaker today on the floor?

MCCAUL: You know, I hope so. I'll probably know more after this noon session that we're having. I'm getting ready to go there right after this


HUNT: Yes.

MCCAUL: But for the sake of the nation, and the American people and the world, quite frankly, because they're all watching this, we need to move


HUNT: Yes, all right. Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul feel free to come back and tell us what you learned after the meeting and thank you very

much for being here today.

MCCAUL: Yes, thanks.

HUNT: I really appreciate your time sir.

And I am Kasie Hunt. CNN's coverage continues after a break. A quick break, don't go anywhere.