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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Protesters Interrupt Hearing on Aid to Israel & Ukraine; Netanyahu: Ceasefire would Amount to Israel's Surrender; U.N. Calls for Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza; Trump Mocked for making Multiple Gaffes in Recent Weeks; Trump Faces Ballot Challenge in Colorado; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired October 31, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Right now on Capitol Hill. Protesters repeatedly interrupting the Secretary of State as he and the
Defense Secretary urged Congress to send more aid to Israel and Ukraine. Plus, thrown off the ballot for Insurrection a trial, this week to decide,
if Donald Trump's role on January 6 disqualifies him under the 14th amendment, why this may go all the way to the Supreme Court?
And mock not lest ye be mocked Donald Trump quick to make fun of President via Biden's verbal missteps, now Trump making gaffes -- . Hello, everyone,
I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It is 11 am here in Washington Tuesday, October 31. There are 76
days until the Iowa caucus and 370 days until Election Day. This is today's "State the Race".
And we start this hour in Israel which say they're intensifying military operation in Gaza has hit hundreds of Hamas targets over the past day
destroying infrastructure and killing fighters, including what Israeli intelligence says is the commander who directed the October 7th attacks, in
which over 1400 people were killed.
The IDF says his death significantly harms efforts by Hamas to disrupt Israeli ground activities. Inside Gaza, eight officials say relentless
Israeli assaults are dehumanizing the entire population. The U.N.'s Emergency Relief Coordinator calls the trauma they've endured beyond
The expanding operation is complicating efforts to free 240 hostages believe to be held by Hamas in Gaza. One of those hostages and Israeli
soldier is free today after what Israel's military calls a successful rescue operation by troops and security forces. She's there in the middle
of this photo reunited with her family she is said to be in good health.
Jeremy Diamond joins me now from Southern Israel not far from the border with Gaza. Jeremy thanks very much for being here. What is underway right
now, in terms of the Israeli offensive against Gaza?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as we enter the fifth day of this ground defensive, expanded ground operations as the IDF is characterizing
it what we have been hearing and seeing throughout the day is ongoing artillery fire, you may have just heard some outgoing artillery just behind
And we've also been hearing machine gunfire indicating that there are active battles ongoing inside of Gaza, between Israeli forces and Hamas
militants. What's clear, we're getting some a bit of a clearer picture of the advance of Israeli troops who are entering not only from the north, as
we saw in the first day of this offensive.
Both the Northeastern most corner entering into Beit Hanoun, which is right behind me right now, but also along the coastline, the Northwestern
coastline, two lines of advance from the North. But then we also saw a video of a tank spotted just South of Gaza City at a main junction at the
entrance to the city, indicating that they are closing in on Gaza City.
Hamas is stronghold from three different axes. But they are proceeding cautiously. And we've been hearing as over the last several days, the
aerial bombardments have continued but they have subsided and what has taken its place is this heavy artillery fire and then also close air
So troops on the ground coordinating with the Israeli Air Force to conduct more targeted strikes on specific buildings where they've identified that
there are Hamas fighters. Now over the last day or so about 300 targets have been struck by the Israeli military that includes Hamas command posts,
as well as those underground tunnels, dozens of miles of which Hamas is using to try and evade Israeli forces to conduct attacks on forces.
As well as Israeli towns and cities by firing rockets, but also to potentially ambush those forces as they enter the more densely populated
areas of the Gaza Strip. So all of this is ongoing, and we're starting to see a pickup in some of that artillery fire. You may have just heard that
boom just now.
So again, a very dynamic situation and the Israeli military making clear that they are going to continue to expand this ground operation and
continue to add troops inside Gaza, Kasie.
HUNT: All right, Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much for that update. Stay safe. And we had here in Washington a dramatic beginning to Secretary of
State Antony Blinken testimony in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
In between the protests, Secretary Blinken outlined his case for federal aid to both Israel and Ukraine. President Biden is proposing billions of
dollars to both of those countries to support their war efforts. The current proposal has both aid packages tied together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The President's funding request has four key elements. First, it provides for our enduring support to
Israel and Ukraine. Two democracies under brutal assault by actors determined to wipe their nations off the map. It will ensure that Israel
can continue to defend his people by building on the diplomatic, security, and intelligence support that the United States has surged, since Hamas is
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: And joining us now is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut who has been attending this hearing and he is also a member of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee. Senator, thank you very much for being here today.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Yes, thanks for having me.
HUNT: Senator, I want to start with the hearing that we did see the protesters interrupt the hearing at the top holding up hands meant to look
as though they had blood on them talking about the humanitarian crisis on in Gaza. My question to you, do you think that the Biden Administration is
striking the right tone in terms of supporting Israel's right to defend itself on the one hand.
While also emphasizing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, on the other hand, or do you think that they need to change in one direction or the other?
MURPHY: I think it's absolutely critical that Hamas be held accountable for these crimes. October 7th, is just in our recent rearview mirror. But as
Secretary Blinken said, today, it is pretty stunning how quickly people have forgotten the horrific crimes committed by Hamas.
1400 plus Israelis dead, some of them in brutal execution, style murders. And it's just not in accordance with U.S. national security goals for Hamas
to get away with this. If they do other terrorist groups that have intent on attacking the United States will feel a permission structure a license
to launch attacks against us.
But of course, you don't have to choose between holding Hamas accountable and protecting civilians. And so part of this hearing is about getting some
answers to, I think, very important questions that we have in the United States Senate. Is Israel's war plan sufficient to beat Hamas?
Is it designed to protect civilians? Can we guarantee that more humanitarian aid gets into Gaza? It is not in Israel's interest for this
war to be conducted in a way that creates more terrorists than it eliminates. It's not in Israel's interest to get involved in a quagmire
here that stains its reputation, and its partner's reputation around the world. So important questions we're going to be asking today in this
HUNT: Senator, one of your Democratic colleagues in Congress, I'll be it in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Cori Bush tweeted this morning,
that, "We can't be silent about Israel's ethnic cleansing campaign". Those were the words she used babies dead, pregnant women dead, elderly dead.
She says that the U.S. must stop funding these atrocities against Palestinians. What is your response to Congresswoman Bush?
MURPHY: Well, it's a version of what I said earlier. I mean, I am only hearing that tweet right now. So I believe that the United States has a
direct interest in helping Israel hold Hamas accountable. I don't think it's good for us or for the world, if the terrorists who committed these
crimes go without accountability.
But of course, we also have an obligation to try to protect civilians inside Gaza. And obviously, we have seen an enormous casualty toll of
civilians thus far in the first few weeks of this war. Many of us think that those numbers have to come down. And those are the questions that
we're asking today in this important Senate hearing.
HUNT: Right, do you think that what Israel is doing Hamas to ethnic cleansing as she writes?
MURPHY: No, I don't.
HUNT: OK. Senator, let's talk about the aid packages moving through Congress right now. The new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson has said
that he's going to separate Israel aid from the other pieces that the administration is looking for, and also that he's going to include spending
cuts in that package, which is a very unusual way of doing it.
Do you think his approach here is productive? And what would you urge your Democratic colleagues in the House to do at least one Jared Moskowitz has
come out and said that the Speaker is laying a political trap for Democrats? He's going to vote for it anyway. Do you think others should
follow his lead?
MURPHY: Well, I don't generally give advice to my colleagues in the House and I haven't reviewed all the details of the House proposal. We obviously
are working on our own proposal in the Senate, but from what I know these are not spending cuts necessarily that it's a big giveaway to billionaires.
So what the Speaker is proposing is to eliminate funding for IRS to go after billionaire and corporate tax cheats. And it's just to me a pretty
clear signal that the most important thing to House Republicans is protecting billionaires, and they're willing to sell out Israel or Ukraine
in order to get more help to their billionaire friends.
Now, I'm equally troubled by the House's decision to split Israel aid from Ukraine aid. We don't have a lot of time between now and the point at which
Israel needs money and Ukraine runs out of money. And so we simply have to do these together, because the clock is going to run out.
Ukraine's army is going to run out of bullets now within months, within weeks. And so that's why it's critical to keep those two funding streams
together. We just don't have time to split them. I wish that weren't the case. But there is an actual clock that is ticking right now on Ukraine's
ability to defend itself.
HUNT: I appreciate you don't want to give advice to your House colleagues, but you definitely have the talking points that they are using in talking
about this bill that the Speaker has put forward. Sir, can we also talk about the Ambassador to Israel, Jack Lew, who moved through committee.
But who has come under some criticism for the way he has approached Iran in the past. Do you believe he's going to be quickly confirmed by the Senate?
MURPHY: Well, I wish he had already been confirmed. He's going to be confirmed this week. It's really important to have an Ambassador on the
ground. I guess, you know, my worry is that so much of foreign policy these days in Washington just becomes shirts and skins. I didn't like Donald
But I thought his decision to start pulling the United States out of Afghanistan was a good idea. And I supported his efforts to do so. But with
Republicans these days, it feels like anything. Joe Biden is for they are going to be against which is why you have a lot of Republicans turning
against Ukraine aid.
Jack Lew is an incredibly capable and skilled practitioner. It was going to be a great diplomat. And just because he worked for President Obama and
Republicans oppose President Obama's Iran policy. They seem to be opposing his nomination despite how qualified he is. I think that's pretty sad.
HUNT: Senator, before I let you go here, I do want to ask you about Congressman Dean Phillips, who announced that he is going to run in the
primary against Senator Joe Biden, his message seems to revolve around one needing a new generation, a reference to Biden's age but also to his
His initial ad seems to almost echo the Make America Great Again, slogan and saying, like, get America going again. What do you have to say to your
congressional colleagues about this?
MURPHY: I haven't seen his ad, from what I can tell. He doesn't seem to be drawing much issue with President Biden's record. I think it's pretty hard
to run a presidential campaign, if you don't have any policy differences with your opponent. President Biden has done an absolutely exceptional job.
I don't think I've seen a President who has been more successful in passing serious, significant legislation in his first two, three years in office
than President Biden. Obviously, Kasie, you know how much gun violence care matters to meet it was President Biden that helped get done the first gun
safety measure of any significance in 30 years.
And I just have a feeling that if you're running against him, without any difference on policy matters, your campaign is probably going to be a
little short lived.
HUNT: All right. Senator Chris Murphy, thank you very much for joining us today. I really appreciate your time, sir.
MURPHY: Thank you.
HUNT: All right. Up next, Israel's Prime Minister says now is not the time for peace. We're going to discuss his response to those who disagree,
coming up next.
HUNT: Welcome back. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is rejecting calls for a ceasefire in Gaza delivering a forceful speech on Monday. Prime
Minister Netanyahu criticized calls for peace, and said Israel would go forward with its mission to eradicate Hamas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Just as the United States would not agree to a ceasefire after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, or after the
terrorist attack of 9/11. Israel will not agree to a cessation of hostilities with Hamas after the horrific attacks of October 7. Calls for a
ceasefire or calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas. The Bible says that there was a time for peace and a time for war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So it wasn't explicit who those words were meant for. But it does seem notable that the two comparisons he used invoked to the United States.
He gave the speech in English, he quoted from the Bible and it was all accompanied by an opinion piece in "The Wall Street Journal" that came out
the same day with the same message.
I want to bring in my panel now, to discuss all of this. David Sanger, CNN Political and National Security Analyst and National Security Correspondent
for "The New York Times", "Spider" Marks is a CNN Military Analyst and a retired Major General in the U.S. Army.
And Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief for the "USA Today". And Susan, let me just start with you big picture in terms of what Netanyahu is, who
do you think his message was for?
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF FOR "USA TODAY": Well, it's to the world and also to the American political system, because we hear rising
calls for a ceasefire, concern about what's happening with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. And this is a political problem for him.
It's a problem for President Biden. It's a problem for Israel. You said in your interview with Senator Murphy, he said you do not have to choose
between responding to those terrible attacks on October 7, and protecting civilians in Gaza. But to some degree, you do have to choose, it is very
hard to achieve both of those objectives. And that is tension that Israel is facing now.
HUNT: Yes, I mean, General can you speak to that? How I mean, what could Israel be doing differently in its military campaign that would still
potentially achieve its objectives and removing Hamas?
MAJOR GENERAL JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: The other element in this is the hostages, as we all know, and Hamas loses all
leverage if they were to give up the hostages. And so the debate is, how can we protect the civilians in the Palestinians in Gaza?
How can we recover all or as many as possible of the hostages? And how can you do more than just mow the grass? In terms of pretending and at least
putting a good face on getting rid of Hamas, you got to root all that stuff out? And I think Israel is going to be far more patient than they were
before when they went into Gaza.
I think they're willing to take the time necessary to pull the roots out this time. How you go about that when Hamas absolutely wraps itself around
the civilian population? It is immensely difficult. So what they're doing now is a far more, I think the Israelis are far more deliberate.
They're trying to be far more precise. They're trying to give the advantage to their infantry men on the ground, which means there will be some
destruction that takes place.
HUNT: So David Sanger, you have an analysis piece out in the New York Times that looks at how the U.S. Administration has evolved in the weeks since
this happened. And it seems to go right to this conversation because you say you note that while he has been with Israel staunchly since October
7th, you say his message has shifted dramatically over the past three weeks, while he continues to declare unambiguous support for Israel.
Mr. Biden and his top military and diplomatic officials have become more critical of Israel's response to the terrorist attacks and the unfolding
humanitarian crisis. What more can you tell us about this? And how does it tie in to what we heard from Bibi overnight?
DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it ties in directly because the Israelis are quite sensitive to the fact that the tone
has shifted within the administration. You're hearing Secretary Blinken, you're hearing Secretary Austin and others say, it makes a big difference
how you do this.
We heard Jake Sullivan on one of the Sunday shows during the weekend, say hospitals are not a legitimate target at the very moment that the Israelis
were sending a notification or hospitals to clear out because they believed just as General Mark suggested that there were Hamas headquarters or
command centers within the hospital.
So listen to what, Kasie, listen to what President Biden said three days after the attack. He said, speaking about his conversation with Prime
Minister Netanyahu, he said, I told him, if the United States experienced what Israel is experiencing, our response would be swift, decisive and
Those are not three words who have heard from American officials in the past week or so, because they are so concerned about being tied to this
effort. Now, it is possible that as the Israelis moves more deliberately now in what seems to be a squeeze action on Gaza City, that they'll get
more comfortable with it. But clearly, they're not yet.
HUNT: Susan, there is an uncomfortable political conversation to be had here about U.S. politics and the way support for Israel and support for
Palestinians is emerging as kind of a fall line. We are seeing absolutely horrifically ugly, ugly rise in anti-Semitism.
You are also seeing a legitimate debate between people who are supportive of the Government of Israel and people who believe that the Palestinians
deserve more than what they have right now. How are kind of the emotional ways this is playing out in our politics affecting what the administration
PAGE: Well, of course, denouncing, rising anti-Semitism also, action against Muslims in our country. I mean, obviously unacceptable to all of
us. But it is legitimate to have to debate over what the U.S. policy ought to be in the Middle East. And we found in our latest polling, a big
This is something that tends to divide Democrats, progressive Democrats and younger Democrats are the least supportive of what Israel is doing and the
most concerned about the state of the Palestinians. These are of course, everything is not political. But in this case, these are the base voters
for President Biden, if he hopes to win reelection next year.
It tends to divide I think Republicans less than divides Democrats, this is a dilemma for the Democratic Party to maintain our traditional support for
Israel. I was supportive Israel from its earliest days, while also acknowledging the plight of the Palestinians.
HUNT: Well, I mean, and David, the way it's playing out on the presidential campaign trail, I mean, you had the former President Donald Trump stepping
in pretty early on.
HUNT: And give a political opening for President Biden, but this is tough for him on the political front.
SANGER: It certainly is. And, you know, even if those younger voters stay home in some of the swing states that would be the margin or could be the
margin based on how President Biden did in the last election. Now, I don't think those younger voters, if Donald Trump is the nominee are going to go
to Donald Trump.
He does not solve that, that problem for them, but they may not vote at all. To your, the broader point of this split within the Democratic Party,
it's severe. I mean, when was the last time that you saw a democratic secretary of state being interrupted as often as he was this morning? By
people who clearly would have been on the very progressive side of his own party?
HUNT: Yes, no, I mean, it's I I'd have to wrack my -- I mean, it happens.
HUNT: I mean the Code Pink protesters and of which there are clearly a few of them in the room often are a thorn in the side of their own officials.
But it was a pretty remarkable and especially when you had a Democrat at the Dyess in Patty Murray, trying to control what was going on in that
General, you heard Senator Murphy referenced this briefly. And I know it's something that the U.S. military leaders have spent a lot of time thinking
about in the last couple of decades. And that is how to contain this problem of extremism that is you know, generated oftentimes.
I mean, Senator Murphy said, you know, we don't want to create a new generation of people who view violence as the only solution to their
problems. What are your concerns about what's going on in Gaza now, and what that portends for the future?
MARKS: Well, what we've seen over the course of the last 20 years that we've been at war, and what we're seeing played out now in Gaza, you kill
one terrorist, you grow three more. Look, Hamas is an idea. I think Israel is going to be very successful in terms of rooting out political and
military leaders in Hamas, and going after them in very pointed and very violent ways to kill every one of them.
This is not a CAPTCHA mission, this is a kill mission. And they are going to be patient about doing it. The problem is, is how to get rid of that
idea. Because that 12-year-old that watches his dad take a bullet to the head, there's going to be an angry young man, eight years from now.
Hamas has no reason to exist. I think we would all agree, right? How do you root that out in a way? And then how do you cover it up so it doesn't come
back? I'm not confident you can. And so it really goes to it really goes to what is the ultimate solution? What does Hamas after next look like?
What does Israel and Palestine look like? Is it a two state? I'm not here to suggest to you that it's a two state solution. But it's not what it was
HUNT: Right, very briefly.
SANGER: Two quick things about that. First, this takes time. Amos Yadlin the former Head of Military Intelligence for Israel, it took us five years
to basically root out ISIS.
SANGER: But not all of it is gone. And the second point is the administration does have an opening here on two state solution. But it's
going to be a very hard one to get the Israelis to engage in while they're at work.
HUNT: Yes, very difficult, all right, thank you, General and David. Is Joe Biden up next or Donald Trump too old to be U.S. president? Or age is back
in the spotlight as Trump makes mistakes on the campaign trail, we'll show you that.
HUNT: Welcome back. As we know, from all the polling, the president's age is a big issue in this race for the White House. President Biden is 80-
years-old, the oldest Commander-in-Chief in U.S. history. And the Republican front runner as of now, of course, not far behind, Donald Trump
And he would also be the oldest person ever inaugurated if you were to win the 2024 election. But this weekend as Trump was mocking his 2020 rival for
making gaffes looking confused, implying President Biden is too old for office. Well, he said this during an appearance in Sioux City, Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: Thank you very much and a very big hello to a place where we've done very well, Sioux Falls, thank you very much. So
Sioux City, let me ask you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Sioux City, let me ask you. Sioux City it's a lovely place. I've actually been to both Sioux Falls and Sioux City, they're sort of anyway,
and they're not very close together. So Sioux Falls is in South Dakota. There will be no Iowa caucuses there.
I want to bring in Alex Thompson, he has been covering this issue as a National Political Reporter for Axios, Alex, thank you very much for being
here. Why are we choosing to kind of pick on Donald Trump on this?
It's because he picks on other people for doing the same thing. I want to show everybody what Trump had to say about Joe Biden in 2020, when Biden
made a similar mistake, watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Did you ever watch Biden, where he's always saying the wrong state? It's great to be in Florida, Florida. No, it's Ohio. I love the state of
Iowa, Sir, sir, it's Idaho. He does it all the time, to something going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So mock not lest he'll be mocked. You're writing today about how this has suddenly become something of a thing that Trump is dealing with as
well, which honestly hampers his messaging?
ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Absolutely, I mean, it's hard to argue that the 80-year-old is too old for the presidency when you
yourself are 78. And you would be as you noted, the oldest president ever inaugurated. And he's made a number of slips just in recent months. You
said Obama and the Obama Administration when he meant Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
He said that he thought Joe Biden might get us into World War Two, not World War Three as he was trying to trying to say. And what makes this even
more of an issue, at least from a reporting standpoint, is we know nothing about Trump's health. We don't even know if he's seeing a doctor.
We ask the Trump campaign for anything. We would have given taken, you know, a flattering doctor's note, like the one that he released in 2015.
HUNT: Because you say that one was -- and that big little piece of political history there. Sorry, go ahead.
THOMPSON: Exactly, no, exactly. But at least we had something on the record from a doctor who we could interview and obviously that provide a lot of
content. But that doctor who treated Trump for 20 years died in 2021. And we don't know if the White House physician, which is the last known doctor
is treating him, so he is 78. We don't know almost anything about his health except for that he self-reported recently that he weighs in at 215
HUNT: Fair. I'm not sure. All I know. I don't know. There are many male friends in my life who will say that that seems a little bit ridiculous.
Maybe we'll ask Charlie Dent who's here on the panel. If you think he actually weighs 215 pounds?
HUNT: My panel is here actually, Charlie Dent, Ashley Allison, Susan Page? Look, Charlie, this is something that, you know, clearly, the former
president is willing to mock the president outright on the trail. More polite people will try to do it in anonymous quotes, but people will raise
questions about his age.
I want to show everybody the Ron DeSantis war room has started picking up on this. I think as they try to kind of scramble to get any sort of
traction here at the end of the Republican primaries. They've just said, you know, to hell with it, we're going to throw this at Donald Trump. Here
are the clips that they compiled, some of which Alex just mentioned, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We would be your World War Two, very quickly if we're going to be relying on this man. And I'm really shocked that the Obama Administration
can be out there saying I hope they don't attack from the north, some of them like McMaster in South Carolina like you go up to South Dakota. And
you see the great job that I'll tell you, you have a governor in South Carolina, Nikki she did some, she did some job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So you have it, Charlie Dent. It is, I mean, it just show you the pitfalls of making fun of somebody when you know, you could go out there
make the same mistakes yourself.
CHARLIE DENT, FORMER UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Well, to be kind, the former president has never been particularly precise in his language. He
speaks in word salads. He makes outrageous comments. And this is why close to two thirds of American public thinks that one of the two candidates is
too old and the other two crazy.
And in Trump's case, look, he shouldn't be talking about anyone else being senile, or, you know, losing a step. Because he clearly makes all these
outrageous statements, some of which are intentional, some are not. And so I think, you know, he's, he's got a real problem, because a lot of voters
do think Joe Biden's too old.
But a lot of people don't think that Donald Trump has it all together, either. And you know, we could you could have, you could, you could watch a
day's worth of video of Trump making ridiculous comments like that.
HUNT: Susan Page, you have seen a lot of this polling that Charlie mentioned, including there's some new polling out from USA today. I mean,
what do you understand about how the public sees all of this?
PAGE: Here's the problem for the White House. And it is so annoying to them. When President Biden makes a gaffe, people think, Oh, my God, is he
too old? And when former President Trump makes a gap, people think, oh, it's Trump. That's what, Charlie just said.
So it doesn't, it may raise questions about his state of mind. But to many voters, it does not raise questions about his age or his vigor. We know
from all the polling that's been done, how much concern there is about the age of, of not just Biden, but of our politicians generally.
You know, we did a poll last week with Suffolk University in which 72 percent of Americans said, we should set a maximum age for federal office
holders for the president and for members of congress. And if we did that, there are a whole lot of senators and members of congress who would be
ruled ineligible to serve.
HUNT: Yes. And in fact, there are other, you know, Western democracies that have those rules. And a lot of times when I talk to people who live in,
say, the UK, they're kind of like, wait, why don't you like, why do you let these people stick around for so long?
But actually Allison, I mean, speak a little bit to the frustration that the White House has, because it's very real. I mean, these two men, and
we're, you know, we're making an assumption that Donald Trump ultimately becomes the Republican presidential nominee, his challengers are all much
younger. But right now, the polling just shows he's running away with it. There you know, only about three years apart in age.
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And you're right when people see Joe Biden trip or stumble or make a misstatement which most
human beings do, regardless of your age, they always assign it to him being too old. The thing that will be interesting though in the general election
is when they are three years apart, and they both get up there and they make stumbles, perhaps or misstatements.
What Joe Biden will be able to do though is say, Trump's misstatements probably will be a little off the rail though. They will be, you know,
World War Two, not when we already have fought in World War Two. They will be misquoting who was elected and maybe making some very inappropriate
statements saying like Hezbollah is smart. And so Joe Biden can take that and say, this is why he is unfit to be president and then potentially be
able to pivot whether you agree with his policies or not.
I may be 80, but I have been able to govern by part with bipartisan nature, here's my policy, here where I am. And I think the voters will then be able
to make that distinction. But right now, it really is working in Trump's favor for some strange reason.
HUNT: Alex, you're a sharp observer, you know, the campaign trail and how these things kind of play out in the long term. It certainly doesn't seem
to me that if we do end up with a rematch of 2020 and it's Trump Biden through the fall, that the Trump team is going to give up on this line of
attack on Joe Biden, regardless of how many mistakes Donald Trump does or doesn't make.
THOMPSON: Absolutely and it's because as you know, Susan noted that this is Joe Biden's biggest vulnerability. If Joe Biden was 20 years younger, I bet
you the polling would look substantially different than what it is now, which essentially shows a jump ball between the two, if not a little bit of
a Trump edge with the Electoral College.
The fact is that and this is also why the White House is so defensive, whenever this is brought up and they bristle at the suggestions because,
but the back matter is also that there's a performance aspects of this job in this era.
And Joe Biden, whenever he performs in front of the cameras, in some ways actually makes voters more concerned about the age about his age. And so
that is where the White House finds itself, you know, a year away from Election Day.
HUNT: Yes, there certainly are a lot of democratic aides who said every time he kind of goes out and does something and if you watch them, they
visibly look nervous until the event ends. Alex Thompson from AXIOS, thanks very much for being with us today. I really appreciate your time.
And as we said, Donald Trump is the front runner for the Republican nomination. But there are questions about whether his name might be on the
ballot and a key state. Turn up next to the trial going on right now that could play a role in determining whether it happens.
HUNT: Alright, welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt, we're live in Washington. Day two of a trial unlike anything we've seen before in
American politics, a small group of Colorado voters, citing the 14th Amendment argue that Donald Trump should be taken off the state's 2024
presidential ballot because of his role in the January 6 Capitol siege.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC OLSON, ATTORNEY FOR COLORADO VOTERS CHALLENGING TRUMP: Trump incited a violent mob to attack our capital to stop the peaceful transfer of power
under our constitution. And we are here because Trump claims after all that he has the right to be president again. But our constitution, our shared
charter of our nation says you cannot do so.
SCOTT GESSLER, TRUMP ATTORNEY: Frankly, President Trump didn't engage. He didn't carry a pitchfork to the Capitol grounds. He didn't lead a charge.
He gave a speech in which he asked people to peacefully and patriotically go to the Capitol to protest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: Alright, here's what section three of the 14th Amendment actually says. U.S. officials who take the oath to uphold the constitution are
disqualified from holding future office if they, "Engaged in insurrection or rebellion". Trump denies wrongdoing.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs expected to call several witnesses to the stand today, including experts on extremism and constitutional law. We're
joined now by CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams, former Federal Prosecutor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs at the
Elliot, it's always wonderful to see you. I think we should underscore for our viewers, especially those who don't live here in the U.S. that this was
put into the constitution in the wake of the Civil War. So that was a pretty specific situation in terms of "Rebellion" et cetera.
What is the fundamental legal argument here? And can you explain why it's unlikely that like what this court decides is ultimately going to have a
say and why it's going to likely end up in the Supreme Court?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, the fundamental legal argument is that the framers or frankly, the folks who wrote the 14th amendment 100
years or so after the country was framed, was never really said, how what the process would be, or getting someone who is identified as an
insurrectionists out of office or not running from office.
And that's going to be the big challenge here, sort of what's the roadmap? How do you define first of all, what insurrection actually is, what
someone's conduct could be that could lead, they'll be defined as insurrection? And then what the process is for getting them to not run for
office or removing office from, you know, take them out of office?
So for instance, if it is decided that Donald Trump was an insurrectionist per the definition in the constitution, what do you do? Do you have a court
say that he can't run? Does every state then have to have a lawsuit that bars him for money? So it's just complicated and the kind of thing that
really only exists in law school classrooms.
HUNT: And what's the Supreme Court role in this, if any?
WILLIAMS: Well, because it's a question of, of interpretation of federal law, or of the constitution, the Supreme Court probably is going to be the
final word on this. Because once this goes through Colorado and perhaps gets the Colorado Supreme Court, there's still an open question as to how
to read the constitution.
The U.S. Constitution that's going to come out of this. The only body that really can make the final call on that is the United States Supreme Court.
And again, I think other lower courts in America, other states, or maybe even federal courts are probably going to take this question up. I don't
think Colorado is the final word. And I really do think this ends up in the U.S. Supreme Court at some point.
HUNT: Right. So the rest of my panel is back with me now too. Charlie Dent, can I go to you on, what you think the political implications of this are?
Because it is, you know, as Elliott notes, it's a convoluted legal process to decide if Trump did these things, that the 14th Amendment bars and then
of course, would have to be implemented somehow.
There is a lot of possibility here for really making voters pretty angry, feel disenfranchised. It seems like there's some risk to this approach,
despite the fact that clearly Trump had a role in getting that mob of people to the Capitol on January 6. What is your view of the politics of
DENT: I think the politics is very risky. I mean, look, we can, I think clearly state that Trump's behavior was reprehensible on January 6, and I
think he certainly was very much involved with a sole insurrection. That said, I think, ultimately, this is all going to end up in the Supreme
Court, they're going to end up making the decision.
It'd be very difficult for secretaries of states around the country to determine the eligibility of Donald Trump. I think it's hard, I think most
are going to not want to be in that position. They're going to stay let the voters decide. But I think the politics are very risky for these, for these
state officials who think they can determine eligibility without some finding from a court about Trump's behavior on that day.
HUNT: Yes, I mean, Ashley Allison, do you think this is the best way for Democrats to try to defeat Donald Trump?
ALLISON: I think its one way I don't know if it's the best way. Look, I think if this goes to the Supreme Court, you have Donald Trump yet again
being able to make the talking point that the big state is out to get me. I also think though, because it is in the state of Colorado, which Joe Biden
won by 55 percent, the likelihood that the voters become so outraged in the state of Colorado that they would protest.
Because they feel like they've been disenfranchised if Donald Trump is removed off the ballot. Might not have as been as big as political
consequence as say if it was in a Wisconsin or a Pennsylvania or a Michigan because those are deciding state.
But the other thing is yet again, for Democrats provides an opportunity to say Donald Trump is not fit to be president and to be elected again,
because he played a substantial role in the insurrection and it is a threat to our democracy. So there are many cases I think, is another reminder to
voters, why we don't want Donald Trump.
And honestly I mean, Republican candidates in the primary won't use this right now. But they can use this to their advantages. Another citing if
they wanted to attack Donald Trump about why he shouldn't be the Republican nominee because he is just so riddled with legal problems related to
January 6, plus many other reasons.
HUNT: Yes, imagine if Ron DeSantis had tried to make that argument you know, six months ago instead of.
HUNT: He'd not even being willing to touch it right now. Susan Page, I mean, to the point that Ashley's making about, you know, reminding people
of what's at stake here. This is a very rare thing. Congressman Eric Swalwell testified at this trial yesterday to really try to bring the jury
inside the room on January 6.
I was at a complex, one of my very close friends and colleagues was in the room, actually sitting with some of these members of congress. And Eric
Swalwell talked about watching another one of his colleagues, Ruben Gallego who had military training, tried to show him and his colleagues what to do
in the event that the mob actually breached the doors, take a look at what Swalwell had to say yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): He also -- sitting on the table prepared to debate her. And he said to me, -- near you just on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: If any of them get near, you put this in there next. Susan, I mean, I you know, I honestly spend a lot of time trying not to think about what
happened on January 6. But clearly, I do it a lot for my day job anyway. How do you see this going forward in terms of basically how people will
think about it and experience it?
PAGE: So January 6, a terrible event in our nation's history. But we have now a situation where millions of Americans do not believe we have free and
fair elections. And if you knock Trump off the ballot in Colorado or anywhere else, you're going to have him 100 percent say he's not being
It's a violation of his rights. It's a violation of the rights of the people in those in that state to vote for him to have him on the ballot. It
seems to me that it is a huge risk, not for Republicans, this is a huge risk for Democrats, as well, if they go through, if they win in these
lawsuits in Colorado, or elsewhere.
If you want to defeat Donald Trump, defeat him in a national 50 state election by the rules that we've all agreed to play by, to experiment with
a new interpretation of the constitution we've never applied before. I just think that comes with a huge political downside.
HUNT: All right, that fair enough. Elliot Williams, thank you very much for being with us today, my friend. It's always great to have you and your
insights. And coming up next, my panel rejoins me with one more thing, don't go anywhere.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". My panel rejoins me. And before we go, we're going to ask for "One More Thing" on the campaign trail or in
Washington you're watching for in the coming days. We have about 30 seconds each. So Charlie Dent, let me start with you. What are you looking for?
DENT: The privilege resolution wars in the house censures and expulsions of Santos, centers of Taylor Greene and Tlaib. That's what I'm watching for
HUNT: Yes, let's -- if you live with their names, it'll definitely pop a little bit more. Marjorie Taylor Greene, George Santos, Rashida Tlaib, all
lightning rods. It's a good one. Ashley Allison, what are you watching for?
ALLISON: 26,000 voters were recently purged from the rolls in Ohio just weeks before an election when there's a constitutional amendment about
reproductive freedom. I'm really interested to see in a state that has been trending pretty red what happens because of those purges. And actually what
happens in terms of the voters saying whether or not they want abortion rights enshrined in their constitution next week?
HUNT: Yes, we really have seen I mean, voters have been pretty obviously not unanimous. But the support for abortion rights that has been very
obvious in surprising places is going to get some key tests coming up here early next week with those elections, definitely watch that as well. Susan
Page, what are you looking for?
PAGE: OK, in the World Series, I'm pulling for the Texas rangers because here in my town, we know they are really the former Washington Senators.
HUNT: That's a good one. See, I got to be honest with you. I'm an -- fan. I turned off the playoffs. Maybe you know, I just I couldn't take it maybe
next year. Good luck there though. Alright, and you know what, I am watching for here as we head in to this week is what are university
presidents and administrators going to do about anti-Semitic and incidents across American college campuses.
We have just seen devastating experiences for Jewish communities. Cornell is one of the worst examples of what's happened at George Washington
University, which happens to be my Alma mater had slogans cast up on the library.
And there are I know, many people who were unhappy with how the administration has handled it so far. I'm watching to see what if anything
they do next in this as we all struggle and grapple with incidents of hate and discrimination against Jewish people, also, of course, against Muslim
Americans as the war in Israel and Gaza unfolds.
I am Kasie Hunt. That is the "State of the Race" for today, Tuesday, October 31st. You can always follow me on Instagram and the platform
formerly known as Twitter. But don't go anywhere. "One World" is up next.