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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt
Israel Defends Tuesday Airstrikes on Gaza Refugee Camp; Palestinian Officials: 110 Foreign Passport Holders Exit Gaza; Biden Facing Tough Questions Over Israel; Johnson, McConnell Clash Over Linking Israel, Ukraine Aid; New GOP Package Proposes Aid for Israel and not Ukraine; One More Thing. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired November 01, 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: President Biden under pressure, as Israeli forces confirm an airstrike at a Gaza refugee camp cause casualties. The U.S.
facing questions, is Israel doing enough to minimize civilian death? Plus, the fight over military aid to Israel and Ukraine on Capitol Hill, the new
Speaker taking on Democrats in the House and Republicans in the Senate, will talk about that.
And later this hour I will interview Republican Congressman Larry Bouchard about the Speaker, Israel and more. Don't miss that. Hello, everyone. I'm
Kasie Hunt, our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's 11 am here in Washington, it's Wednesday, November 1.
There are 75 days until the Iowa caucuses only 369 days until Election Day. This is today's "State of the Race". Breaking news in Gaza, a massive blast
has rocked the Jabalya refugee camp for the second day in a row. We don't know what caused this blast at this time, but it comes as Israel defends
their Tuesday airstrike on the same refugee camp.
Israel says the first strike killed a top Hamas leader who had helped plan and execute the October 7th terror attacks that killed 1400 people. We
don't know the exact number of people killed in either air strike. But here you can see some of the bodies lined up outside a hospital in the wake of
that first strike.
Let's discuss now with our panel and Natan Sachs, the Director for the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. CNN Military
Analyst retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton and Seung Min Kim, a CNN Political Analyst, also White House Reporter for the Associated Press.
Cedric let me start with you kind of on the military aspects here. We just want to be clear what we know what we don't know. We know a second blast
has rocked this camp. Clearly, the Israelis continuing whatever operation that they had gotten to undertake yesterday around this despite the
criticism after the first airstrike.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, that's true, Kasie. The real difference here is that the Israelis, I think, believe that they
haven't quite finished the job from a military perspective. And that's going to from a public relations standpoint, certainly look very bad when
it comes to potential casualties even from the second blast.
But what they were going after not only where we would call a high value target, but also the tunnel complex that is underneath this refugee camp
Jabalya. And that, of course, is a significant area for them to go after from a military standpoint, I think they thought that they are getting
And militarily, they're actually making progress that way in their view. And they want to prosecute the target, if you will and do it in such a way
that they take advantage of the situation and the probable confusion that they Hamas fighters are under right now.
HUNT: Right. This of course, really very much a fog of war situation, in many ways and there is kind of this information component in addition to
the actual kinetic fighting on the ground. But I do want to kind of, again, we've got breaking news about this second explosion, we haven't lost sight
We just want to make sure that we bring you details on that as we get them once we were able to verify claims of who did or didn't cause this, and how
many people may have been affected by what happened. So let's continue our conversation about this first blast because Natan, obviously, this was
something that did.
I mean, the images that we have seen out of the refugee camp are very, very difficult. And there has been pressure on the IDF to explain. I want to
show everyone a little bit of what my colleague Wolf Blitzer when he was pressing an IDF spokesman yesterday afternoon, as this was all unfolding,
how some of those questions were answered, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even if that Hamas commander was there amidst all those Palestinian refugees, who were in that Jabalya refugee
camp, Israel still went ahead and dropped the bomb. They're attempting to kill this Hamas commander, knowing that a lot of innocent civilians, men,
women and children presumably would be killed. Is that what I'm hearing?
LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT, IDF INTERNATIONAL SPOKESPERSON: That's not what you're hearing. We'll have we again, we're focused on this commander.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So we'll close there, they're raising some of the questions that you know other nations in the region have pointed to. I also want to show you
what later a second Israeli spokesman had to say about this trying to explain -- perhaps. A little bit more about their objectives. And what we
may have seen in terms of the actual explosion, take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, IDF SPOKESPERSON: I also understand that there is significant structural damage around and that is because Hamas built
that vast tunnel complex underneath the buildings, and it probably collapsed as a result of the strike.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So Natan, they're basically saying that, yes, there was the Israeli airstrikes, but then there may have been the secondary effects from the
collapse of the tunnels, perhaps other, you know, ammunition in the tunnels that exploded or something along those lines. But the bottom line is there
were a lot of innocent people who were killed in this strike.
And it is causing questions that the U.S. administration, I think is going to have to grapple with. What is your take on how this is playing out? And
what happens next?
NATAN SACHS, DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY AT THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: I think you're absolutely right. And the tragedy here is that
I don't think it's ending anytime soon. For the Israelis, there are several clear objectives on which they are steadfast. One is that they're not going
back to the status quo ante that existed before October 7.
Where, they have to live alongside Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip, and wait for the next attack with people abroad, basically telling them please
do your intelligence better next time so that you can prevent the next time. On the other hand, the damage in the Gaza Strip is both heart
wrenching, and absolutely terrible.
And we see, of course, 2 million people, the vast majority of them completely innocent, obviously, the children are innocent. And this is kind
of the balance that going to have to face unlike previous rounds, where usually would see one or two terrible scenes, and then a clamp down on
Israel to stop.
In this case, because of the transformative trauma of October 7, I don't think Israel is stopping that does not mean they're going all the way to
take down Hamas completely. We don't know yet if that's their objective, but they're not --
HUNT: -- going to -- their objective. We're not sure if they can pull it off.
SACHS: They've said their objective. They've raised many very clear objectives. They've said, undermine Hamas is ability to govern the Gaza
Strip to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip. And of course, it tried to rescue the hostages. How much of the first two? And of course, the third,
they managed to do?
Can they really bring down Hamas completely, even if they did, Hamas, of course, would still exist as an insurgency and exist elsewhere? But this is
really attempt to go in not only in Jabalya, but probably later also in Gaza City is that it can take to continue. I'll add one more point that
says Jabalya refugee camp is also very symbolic one.
It's the place where the first intifada started in December 1987. It's where a lot of Palestinian resistances as Palestinians refer to it started
and this sense, this attack here, that from the Israeli perspective achieved quite a bit in hitting Hamas leaders, and also the tunnel
Also brings this kind of symbolic aspect to it. I wish I had good news is going to end in a few days. I don't think it is.
HUNT: So this is, I mean, this is why I love having you here because you have this perspective. I mean, can you kind of give us a little bit more
texture on that. I mean, is it seen as a place where, I don't even want to attempt to characterize it myself, because I'm not personally familiar with
it? But what does it mean to Palestinians that camp? And what does it mean to Israelis?
SACHS: Well, Jabalya is one of the many refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. These are refugee camps from 1948. And so we call them refugee camps, we
should have a clear image there already towns and cities of families that came in 1948 as refugees, and have been stuck there still getting aid from
UNRWA from the United Nations Refugee Agency for the Palestinians.
But they have also been hotbeds of a lot of the fighting. And a lot of the organizations early on a Fatah on the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, and in
later years, especially in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas grew. It grew in the Gaza Strip in particular, not only there, and it flourished in many of
these refugee camps.
These places these images that we're seeing, they have immediate consequence, of course, for the prosecution of this operation by the
Israelis. But the images were saying we should also remember in a generation or two. These same families, these same kids that are going to
grow up, and we're going to see a continuation of the same kind of conflict.
I mentioned before Jabalya became a symbol because in a 1987, a traffic accident that was probably an accident was interpreted as an attack by an
Israeli driver. And it sparked what became first a civil kind of disobedience and civil unrest in the West Bank of the Gaza Strip, and
turned into the full first intifada in the late 1980s.
HUNT: Very interesting. So bringing it back to today's Seung Min and how the U.S. administration is responding. John Kirby, White House Spokesman
was pressed about this yesterday, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: But it is not the goal of Israeli forces to go out and
deliberately take innocent civilian life and they have tried to make efforts to minimize that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So clearly, the White House, this is the distinction they're making. They're saying, you know, there was a terrorist attack clearly violated you
know, we don't kill civilians indiscriminately for the point of killing civilians.
What the Israelis are doing is different. But those questions are getting sharper.
SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. If there's a question that the White House and President Joe Biden's aides get, basically every single day
now is if they feel that Israel is holding up the laws of war, and what point does the White House do Americans feel that Israel has gone too far.
Clearly as we continue to see these horrific images and these horrific attacks coming out of the region. And right now, the Biden Administration
is starting to say, we know there will be, we know this is a war, we know there will be death, every civilian death is tragic. And we are urging
Israel to minimize as much as they can the risk of civilian death.
But clearly, when you see this, you see all of this continue to happen. And I think that's why you're hearing a lot of U.S. officials, including
Secretary Blinken, and obviously White House officials as well calling for what they're calling a humanitarian pause to at least get aid in and
civilians out who wants to leave civilians out?
KIM: They are careful to distinguish that from a ceasefire, because clearly that's what other people here who are critical of the administration
support on Israel, one in which the White House is not calling for at this time.
HUNT: Right. OK. So that actually brings us to our other big story today, because for the first time since the war between Israel and Hamas began
nearly a month ago. Palestinians are being allowed to leave Gaza, a few of them and cross into Egypt, and hundreds of foreign nationals will also be
able to depart Gaza under a deal that was brokered by Qatar.
Palestinian officials say that as of last hour about 110 foreign passport holders have left Gaza. And among the first who are allowed to go out were
81 injured Palestinians. The first U.S. citizens not expected to begin leaving until Thursday, a senior U.S. official says the expectation right
now is that about 500 people will get processed through the crossing today.
That could ramp up to 1000 a day beginning later on this week. Our Becky Anderson joins us live now from Doha, Qatar and Qatari officials, of course
instrumental in striking this deal to get foreign nationals into Egypt from Gaza.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR CONNECT THE WORLD: Yes, and Kasie, this has been a harder and success in what is a very dark time, of course, 110 as we
understand it, 110 foreign passport holders now moving out from Gaza into the Rafah crossing and then into Egypt.
It's a process it takes some time. It's not like just unlocking a gate and walking these people through. It's a process that takes time. In addition,
we are talking about some 80 Palestinian civilians who are severely or critically injured who need surgical intervention.
And we have seen evidence of some of those already in Egypt, in Irish, and in some medical tented facilities already through into Egypt, the good news
on the injured Palestinian side, also good news that we are only now hearing the beginning of these evacuations.
Jordan, for example, has said that it is in the process of evacuating those Jordanian civilians who were in Gaza. As you rightly point out, we're
looking at as many as 500 within the next 24 hours going into Thursday, that number is expected to increase. U.S. official saying there are some
400 as we understand it, foreign nationals or U.S. passport holders, with their families that as many as 1000 people are hoping to get evacuated on
Thursday or certainly in the next few days.
But be aware this is going to take some time. And let's be quite clear about this. This is a different track from the Qatar-led negotiations
between Hamas, Israel at the moment ongoing as I am told for the release of those hostages in Gaza not all held. Let's be quite clear about that by
So we know that those negotiations are ongoing. And to the point that you've just been discussing, I thought that was really interesting what you
were just discussing at the U.N. Security Council. At present, we know that there is a text, which calls for humanitarian pause and or pauses.
That text has not been presented for a vote at present. The Chinese have taken over the revolving presidency today. There was a window to a certain
extent more the Brazilians held that presidency until today, but as we understand it from sources I've been speaking to that text still exists.
Obviously there is some negotiation on what it says at present, but whether to be a vote on humanitarian pause or pauses that would be significant. Of
course, as your guests rightly point out, the Israelis have categorically ruled out ceasefire at this point, which is what Hamas had been appealing
for, or demanding in these hostage negotiations, Kasie?
HUNT: All right, Becky thanks very much for your report. I really appreciate it. Up next here the tough questions U.S. President Joe Biden is
facing as scenes out of Gaza really play into politics here at home.
HUNT: Welcome back, President Joe Biden facing questions about Israel's commitment to minimizing civilian deaths in Gaza including this airstrike
on the Jabalya refugee camp on Tuesday. President Biden's defensive Israel's response to the Hamas terror attacks even has some of his allies
According to CNN reporting, the White House says President Biden discussed the safety of civilians when he spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu on Sunday and CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is live at the White House fronting this reporting for us. Priscilla, thank you very much for being
here, help us understand the questions that the White House is facing right now.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, to your point, a lot of those questions were about that airstrike that hit the refugee camp in Gaza
just yesterday. And what that did was really vividly capture the tight rope that the Biden Administration is walking here while they're maintaining
that Israel is trying to contain casualties and protect innocent civilians, as the President himself has told the Prime Minister to do.
They're also grappling with the photos of destruction in Gaza and the public outrage that is fueling. And so these concerns are held among
officials here, all the way up to the top to President Biden, who as I've mentioned, did speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about
Now, they are also ratcheting up the pressure on Israel to protect innocent civilians. And they're doing that publicly and privately and according to
CNN reporting aids to the President believe that it is in the private discussions where those messages of warnings are more effectively
But all the same, what we are seeing from officials throughout the course of the week is that they are continuing to deliver empathy, acknowledge it,
and acknowledge the situation on the ground in Gaza. But also make the point that Israel has the right to defend itself.
And all of this of course, is part of the reality for the administration which also has to contend with Reps and within the Democratic Party over
the support for Israel so all of this weighing on the White House as this continues to unfold moving forward.
HUNT: Very tricky for the White House indeed. And you know, some of that also, I think is going to extend to the politics within his own party,
which we hopefully are going to talk about here in just a second. Priscilla Alvarez, thank you very much for that. My panel is here.
Joining me Natan Sachs and Seung Min Kim and Jeff Weaver Former Campaign Adviser for Former U.S. Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, thank you
all for being here, Jeff, welcome.
JEFF WEAVER, FORMER SENIOR CAMPAIGN ADVISER FOR BERNIE SANDERS: Thank you.
HUNT: But Natan, let me start with you just for big picture quickly here, because we were talking earlier about how this plays specifically in the
region. But it is going to be a significant challenge. And our reporting says it's going to, it has become a significant challenge for the Biden
Administration both geopolitically and politically at home.
Let's start kind of with your world view. This is something I think that Western allies are increasingly going to be pressuring the U.S. about, and
it is starting to feel like increasingly, Israel and the U.S. are standing together, but alone. Is that your sense? And how do you think this evolves
SACHS: Well, it's not exactly true. We see with U.S., alongside the U.S., you see the United Kingdom, also sending even troops to several other
countries. Moreover, I'd say that in private, you can see even a lot of governments in the region, of course, saying all they need to say for
public opinion, which is very, very clearly hostile to Israel right now in its operation in particular.
But a lot of governments, there's no loss, no love loss there between them and Hamas, and there's a desire to see Israel win. But on the backdrop, as
you do discussing before, we also see these negotiations for a hostage deal. And we see also questions of humanitarian corridors and even pauses.
So the question from the Israeli perspective, even when they started this ground operation, was how do they apply pressure that would also get Hamas
to a reasonable deal on the hostages? Hamas was demanding everything for the hostages, all prisoners complete ceasefire, indefinite ceasefire, in
essence, free card, free check --
HUNT: -- status quo and the wake of their terrorist attack.
SACHS: Just give back the hostages. So Israel decided that was part of the motivation, at least, to go in start the operation that they had planned,
apply pressure to Hamas, I don't think the deal is off the table. As you reported before, the Head of the Mossad was in Doha, we might see some
I don't get my hopes up, my hopes too high. But you can hope that at least some more of the hostages can come out. And some more humanitarian relief
can also come into the Gaza Strip. The pressure, however, is continuing. President Biden has chosen I think a strategic position on this he's
committed a lot of forces also to deterring other actors from coming in that I don't think is changing.
But the pressure is not going to stop the images are clear, there's so much attention on this. And the bottom line, and part from a PR perspective, is
that one side is stronger and one side is weaker. And therefore now the sympathies are necessarily going to the weaker side.
HUNT: Yes. Now our reporting says, you know, some allies and administration are worried defending the response to the terror attacks could become
untenable position to the White House, which I think for the White House, which I think you're speaking to, I want to talk about what's going on here
inside the U.S., though.
And Jeff Weaver, for, you know, those of our guests, who aren't as familiar with your work as I am, since you and I worked together for over the years,
you have a very good understanding of kind of the progressive wing of the party, obviously, that does lump together some people who aren't
necessarily focused on exactly the same issues all the time.
But there are, you know, a handful in the progressive wing right now in Congress, elected democratic voices, who are very unhappy with what the
administration is doing. The perhaps loudest and most critical among them is Rashida Tlaib. And we can put up a graphic of what she had to say
So this was October 18. So you know, 10 days ago, and obviously well, before this strike to our President, I want him to know as a Palestinian
American who is also somebody of Muslim faith. I'm not going to forget this. And I think a lot of people are not going to forget this.
I am wondering we obviously know the members of the squad very well. Their positions are very clear. My question is, is this starting to change inside
the progressive movement? Are more Democrats on the left beginning to become more uncomfortable with where the administration is on Israel? And
how do you think that's going to affect the administration's actions if at all?
WEAVER: Right, well, I'd say it's not about their opinion of Israel is the question of how Israel is responding to the barbaric attacks that happened
against their people by Hamas. You know, Hamas is should not be the standard of conduct by which we measure ourselves.
Those of us who, you know, adhere to the rule of law and international law, know that you have to do everything you can to minimize civilians.
HUNT: Of course.
WEAVER: And I think for people on the left and the progressive movement, what this comes down to is an understanding that whatever the conflict is.
There's always poor people working people, women, children who suffer the ultimate consequences of war, whether it's small farmers in Israel or
concert goers in Israel, or whether it's people living in a refugee camp in Gaza, you know, the war has got to we got to destroy Hamas.
But we got to do it without killing all of these people. And it you know, Wolf was talking to a retired general yesterday, you're calling Wolf
Blitzer, who said that under American political doctrine, they probably would not have dropped these bombs in the Gaza Strip. So, you know, we have
to hold ourselves and our allies to a very high standard.
HUNT: Seung Min. You're covering the White House. You've covered Capitol Hill for much of your career. I mean, how do you feel in talking to your
sources and members of Congress that this is playing out? Is there something changing here about how especially Democrats are viewing the
administration's position and stances on the unfolding events in Gaza?
KIM: I think administration officials are aware that public opinions certainly could change as the conflict wears on and you've already seen how
they're trying to assuage the Muslim American community. President Biden had a private meeting with Muslim leaders last week, you do see that
But my colleagues at the AP and I reported exclusively overnight, that the White House had actually been planning a rolling out or announcing that
they were going to work on this National Strategy to Combat Islamophobia. It's similar to that national strategy on anti-Semitism that the White
House announced earlier this year.
But they actually delayed the announcement of that, because they were worried, there were concerns from Muslim Americans that they've kind of
lost a little bit of credibility on this issue. And there's a big debate inside the administration right now on how to handle all this. So there are
a lot of --
HUNT: -- lost credibility in the wake of the terrorist.
HUNT: And support for -- .
KIM: Right. And the concerns that we've heard are that, for example, you've heard President Biden really openly questioning the death toll in Gaza. You
also hear from leaders about the White House's refusal to call for a ceasefire, which obviously the White House is not going to do at this time.
You do see a lot of these conflicting concerns and within the Democratic Party, within people who are generally supporters of President Biden and
these are really tricky waters that the White House has to navigate from here on out.
HUNT: Yes, very emotional on all sides. All right, thank you all. Natan, thank you very much for being with us today, Jeff and Seung Min are going
to stick around, because coming up next, the new House Speaker with a risky gambit see prepares to send an Israeli aid package to the House floor. Why
Mike Johnson is getting pushback from both parties and our panel will be here to discuss.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". I'm Kasie Hunt live in Washington. The newly minted House Speaker says he hopes to get an Israel
aid bill on the floor for a vote as soon as tomorrow. Mike Johnson is sure to meet some opposition from Democrats over a provision that cuts about $14
billion from the Internal Revenue Service to pay for the aid package.
But that's not all. A group of Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell oppose Johnson's refusal to link the bill to aid for
Ukraine. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This Israel aid package, standalone Israel aid the reporting is that there will be a vote hopefully Thursday, is that the
timeline you're looking at?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That I'm hoping Thursday.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Not surprising. But in order to make a law to pass both bodies and be signed by the president. My own view I just
expressed is that we need to treat all four of these areas, all four of them, Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: All right, let's bring back our panel. So, I'm going to Jeff back with us and we're welcoming Maura Gillespie, who advised both former House
Speaker John Boehner and House Republican Adam Kinzinger. Seung Min, I have to tell you, I couldn't really it made me laugh a little bit like if you
really listened to what McConnell was saying there. He's kind of it's a little bit of Schoolhouse Rock how a bill becomes a law aimed at the House
Speaker of his own party.
KIM: Exactly. It's because what, the position that the new speaker has taken out with how he's decided to approach the Israel aid bill is to
really govern from the hard right of his party, because it's one thing to say you should have Israel separated out from the Ukraine, Ukraine funding,
a lot of Senate Republicans even feel that way.
But when you decide to pay for it was something that is a complete non- starter with the White House with Senate Democrats. And also I should add, actually adds to the deficit, it actually cost $27 billion dollars when
they're trying to find $14 billion. The map isn't really mapping there.
Mitch McConnell is kind of telling the House Speaker there, you know, you're a big boy now and you kind of govern that way. And kind of think of
all the different constituencies involved, not just the House Republicans but a democratically controlled Senate and a Democrat of the White House.
HUNT: Yes, no, you have to you have to shoulder some of that stuff that, you know, ran Kevin McCarthy out of town on the rails, right. It's not so
easy as it looks. Maura Gillespie, I want to kind of show you though, too. I mean, Mitch McConnell is obviously an Institution in Washington.
As you can see he's had a couple of, you know, incidents in the last year related to his health and his age. You can almost see in watching him, the
old GOP kind of exiting stage left. And what's coming behind him are these other Republicans who are much more in the mode of the new populist, some
would argue nationalist GOP.
I honestly have got three or four of them to choose from here. Let's start with Senator Rick Scott of Florida in terms of what he wants to see on this
Israel Ukraine aid bill, look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): The Republican leader right now is the Speaker of the House, that's going to start the House, but we have a Republican
majority in the House and so we have to delist what they want to do. And my understanding is Speaker Johnson has been clear. He is going to not put
Ukraine aid together with aid for Israel. And I completely agree with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNT: So more Rick Scott has some other issues with Mitch McConnell, they've kind of gone at it over the last couple of years behind the scenes
in a pretty nasty way. But I think it does represent kind of what's going on here that this sort of tide is against, is against Mitch McConnell and
honestly against Ukraine right now, in terms of how this plays out.
MAURA GILLESPIE, FORMER ADVISER TO FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: And Republicans have really lost a lot of their opportunities to have a seat at
the table, because they squandered that opportunity by having this in-house fight for three weeks and really putting us in a bad position. But what
you're seeing here is one, financial ineptitude, because he doesn't understand how this works.
As you pointed out, the Congressional Budget Office has said that his plan that he put forward, Mike Johnson, would add to our deficit by 14 to $26
billion. But you know, they need a messaging strategy, they need to be somehow unified.
And what he came in saying is, is like, and this will resonate with American people, although it's disingenuous. We're going to get the IRS
more money, of taxpayer dollars to then let the IRS take more taxpayer dollars. That's their messaging. It's disingenuous and it's not accurate.
But it's going to resonate, it's going to make them seem like they are a team together. And I say they because it is not what I am talking about
that Mitch McConnell is, that John Boehner is and how they used to operate. That's not part of what my Republican Party is doing. And also, it's just
lying to the American people. That's not the truth of the matter here.
HUNT: Jeff Weaver, what's your sense of, of how Democrats are looking at what Mike Johnson is going to put on the floor? I know I've heard some who
are very pro-Israel, excuse me are basically saying I'm voting for this anyway. I realized like they're trying to set a political trap for me, but
I'm not going to step into it.
Support for Israel is too important, but there are others obviously who are going to be given pause by this. I mean, what's your view of it?
WEAVER: Well, what's really outrageous about this is whether or not you support the money for Israel, is that Johnson is asking for a giant tax cut
for the rich. This money that's going to the IRS and why it's going to cost the government money, if we don't spend it is to keep ultra-rich people and
large corporations from bilking the American government of taxes that they should be paying.
And so basically, what they're saying is, in order for us to move this Israel bill forward, you're going to have to let rich people and large
corporations continue to build the American public of taxes that they owe. I mean, that's, that's the offer that's on the table.
HUNT: Yes. So I think just to clarify for folks, and Seung Min, correct me if I'm wrong, because I know you've done a lot of reporting on this. But
basically, the reason this would cost money is because what it would do is remove money for programs inside the IRS, where they go after companies,
people who make a lot of money and get taxes that are owed to the U.S. government.
So by cutting money to chase the people who haven't paid their taxes, they are then losing out on all of that tax revenue that they would have
collected if they had actually enforced the tax laws. Do I have that right?
KIM: That's precisely correct. The administration Democrats have wanted to invest a little bit of money to get a lot back.
HUNT: Got it. So basically, what you have more is, I mean, this is one of those. And for Mike Johnson, this is obviously a critical test of
leadership. And he is showing I'm going to take a hard right priority, right, something that is, you know, in the conservative media ecosphere has
been you know, is talked about and focused on by a certain segment of the party.
And I'm going to mainstream it next to an issue that is, you know, so central to every mainstream person who works in and around politics,
period, the end. I mean, that says a lot about the new speaker.
GILLESPIE: It absolutely does. But it also shows his inexperience and inability to rise as occasion because that's not going to work. I mean, it
just isn't going to happen. And that is a waste of whatever capital they had remaining by throwing that out there in the first place.
You're not taking this seriously, because if you were you recognize this as an emergency funding bill, and what's happening with our allies, demands
attention now. And you can go ahead and have these conversations during appropriation season and have that conversation. This is emergency funding.
HUNT: And Jeff Weaver, it does seem to open and I think you kind of alluded to this earlier. It does seem to open some doors for Democrats to run
against this in the fall.
WEAVER: 100 percent. Look, you know, I don't want be too partisan here, but I will.
HUNT: Feels -- we invited both -- .
WEAVER: Republicans waste no opportunity, however crass and vulgar it is to try to give tax cuts to the rich, regardless of what the crisis is. It
doesn't matter what the crisis is, there's always an opportunity to spread large debts on people who already have too much. So that's what's going on
here. And it really is kind of vulgar, frankly.
HUNT: All right. Well, that I mean, that I'm going to leave in your partisan mouth, not take that out myself. But thank you guys, I really
appreciate it, coming up next here on "State of the Race, Congressman Larry Bouchard joins the show to talk about his Republican Conference under the
newly minted leadership of Speaker Mike Johnson.
HUNT: Welcome back. The House could vote on an aid package for Israel as soon as Thursday with two things in it that Democrats are not thrilled
about. It is funded by cuts to the IRS and does not include money for Ukraine. Republican Congressman Larry Buschon of Indiana joins me now.
Congressman, thank you so much for being with me. And you know, first out of the gate, I'd like to ask I mean, do you plan to vote in favor of this
package when it comes to the floor as the speaker has outlined it?
REP. LARRY BUCSHON (R-IN): Yes, I'll be voting for it. Look, we need to get money right away to help the Israelis replenish their Iron Dome and other
things they need to protect themselves and defend their country. So yes, I'll be voting for it.
HUNT: Do you have any concerns at all about the fact that this could mean that the process takes longer than it takes longer to get the money out the
door? Because, frankly, it doesn't have the support in the Senate or the White House that it will need to become long?
BUCSHON: Well, that I'm aware of the Senate hasn't passed a bill yet. So yes, I have concerns if they don't take up something soon. But no, I don't
have any concerns. Otherwise, this is how the process works. Look, I know people on the House side, the Democrats disagree with offsetting the money
but the reality is Senate hasn't done anything. So they're usually the rate limiting step. You know, let's see what the Senate can do. But I'm not
worried that this will delay the money at all.
HUNT: Do you think that Israel the money for Israel should be tied to the money for Ukraine or not?
BUCSHON: Well, I don't and the reason I don't is because there's not enough political support for that across the country amongst the Republican base
and the voters that we represent. Look, I support Ukraine funding. I think I've said that on your network multiple times. And I think we'll get that,
I think we'll get that done.
But I think at this point, if we're going to get this money to Israel quickly, the way to do that is separate the two, let's get the money to our
ally in the Middle East as quickly as possible. And then this talk about Ukraine funding and how we're going to get there.
HUNT: Is your vote of support for the way that the speaker has structured this again, Israel plus cuts to the IRS. Do you expect that that will
actually become law? Or do you think that that's a messaging move on the part of the speaker?
BUCSHON: Well, I don't know yet. First of all, let me just clarify. It's not cutting the IRS, the IRS is not being cut. This is money that was in
the Inflation Reduction Act. It's extra money to the IRS that the Democrats think is going to raise more money. And look, the Congressional Budget
Office may have come out with a score on this.
I saw that in your previous segment. But we just disagree with them, you know, adding 80,000 IRS agents to go after American citizens to raise more
money is not the right approach. So this money is from the IRA. It's not the baseline funding. And I don't think this will hurt the IRS 's ability
at all because people that make a lot of money and corporations are ready or mostly audited by the IRS.
You know, our feeling is you add 80,000 more people to the IRS, it's going to go after Middle America. So we just have a fundamental disagreement on
this. And I have no problem with the offset. And I think it will potentially stay in there because people realize this is extra money from
the IRA. This isn't baseline funding to the IRS.
HUNT: OK, fair enough. Let me ask you about other priorities in what's up next, because the funding for the government is coming up soon. We've just
about two weeks before that set to happen. Are you confident that Republicans in the House are going to be able to vote to keep the
BUCSHON: 100 percent. And that, let me just say this, you know, we're passing appropriations bills, the Senate hasn't passed any. We're going to
do three more this week. But the reality is, is you know, the timeline is coming up pretty quickly. So, you know, I think we're going to end up with
another CR probably into the first of the year.
That's a continuing resolution for your viewers that will fund the government. And House Republicans don't want to shut the government down.
But we also want to get control of spending. And we want to put our priorities out there. Look, we're in the majority in the House. And we want
to work with the Senate and work with the White House to fund the government for the American people. And I think we'll do that.
HUNT: Before you can get to the Israel aid package or funding the government for that matter. There are a couple of resolutions, privileged
resolutions to use the parlance of the chamber, that are set to come up, central resolutions against one of your colleagues, Marjorie Taylor Greene
and another against a democratic colleague Rashida Tlaib.
But what I want to ask you about first is actually this planned expulsion vote for GOP Congressman George Santos, do you expect that to proceed? And
if so, would you vote to expel him?
BUCSHON: Well, I don't know what's going to happen with that. There's going to be a motion to table that probably most likely, I would suspect and
here's the thing. Everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty. So let me just leave it at that. I don't know which direction this will go.
I understand my colleagues from New York are having political trouble because of the actions of Mr. Santos. But you know, you're innocent till
proven guilty in this country. I don't approve of the things he's been charged with, of course, but I don't know which direction this will go. So
we'll have to see how it happens real time, you and I both on the House floor today.
HUNT: Sir, do you think that the Speaker, the new Speaker, Mike Johnson is more open to expelling George Santos over the things that we have come to
learn about him than the former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was?
BUCSHON: Honestly, I have no idea. I wouldn't even think about speaking on behalf of Mike Johnson.
HUNT: While you're on these private meetings where these conversations play out.
BUCSHON: Yes, private conversations are private conversation. So I really couldn't speak on behalf of the Speaker, Mike Johnson, or Speaker McCarthy
for that matter. So I really wouldn't know.
HUNT: All right, fair enough. Let me ask you about 2024. Because you, of course are from the state, the Hoosier State of Indiana and you had
endorsed Mike Pence, who I actually covered. He thought about running for president back in 2010. And I covered his conversations about that.
I know you had endorsed him, he dropped out of the race this week. What do you have to say about how his campaign went? And do you have plans to
endorse a different presidential candidate?
BUCSHON: Well, let me just say this, Mike Pence is a great American. And I told him, I appreciated him stepping forward. His is an important voice for
the country. And I hope that that continues. But it became clear, you know, both financially and in polling that it wasn't quite going to work out for
the former vice president.
And you know, he did the right thing. He understood that, but I also think that his voice is very important going forward. And at this point, I don't
have any idea of who I might endorse. In fact, I may not do an endorsement at all going forward. So we'll see.
HUNT: You might not do an endorsement at all going for it. It almost sounds to me like you're not sure that there's anyone else besides Donald Trump,
who might be worth endorsing.
BUCSHON: No, I think everybody else is still in the race is worth and worth potentially becoming the president. I just, it's new that Vice President
Pence dropped out of the race.
And I really hadn't thought about that much going forward, but we'll see where it goes. But you know, at the end of the day, ultimately, it's up to
the voters, you know, the primary voters and all the states to pick the candidate that represents the Republican Party in the presidential
election. And, you know, I've got confidence in the voters that they'll make the right decision.
HUNT: Sir, do you have any concerns about the Republican Party in 2024 nominating someone facing for criminal trials?
BUCSHON: Well, if they're still active, yes, of course, I mean, I think, you know, going into an election, whether you're in the Republican Party or
the Democrat Party, it's never a good political thing to have charges against your candidates. So you know, whether that will still be the case,
when the election comes around, whether former President Trump will be the candidate is remains to be seen, I think. So, you know, of course, I have
concerns if our candidate has active lawsuits against them.
HUNT: Well, I mean, the big trail supposed to start around March and you know, a lot of the primary may be wrapping up by then.
BUCSHON: But that could be true, but again, it's up to the voters. It's up to the courts. And you know, former President Trump has the legal team,
it's up to them to make the case why these charges are unfounded. And so we'll see. I think, you know, like I said, it's never a good thing.
If you actually have a candidate once the election comes around, that has active charges against them. Politically that's not very good, obviously.
And I don't think anyone would disagree with that. So we'll see where it goes.
HUNT: We will see if that comes to be true that statement, because I agree with you and that it doesn't seem to make sense on its face. But we've seen
a lot of things that I'm not sure we ever expected to in recent years. Congressman Larry Bucshon, thank you very much for joining us. You're good
BUCSHON: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
HUNT: And a big moment in a New York courtroom could be happening soon. The son of former President Donald Trump is scheduled to testify today although
that could be pushed until tomorrow. It's all part of the former president's $250 million civil fraud lawsuit.
It was brought by New York's Attorney General's Office against Donald Trump, his company, several executives and three of his adult children. The
lawsuit accuses Don Jr. and his brother Eric of knowingly inflating their father's net worth to try to get better terms on loans and for insurance.
And speaking of lawsuits, there's another one for former President Trump. He is suing from former President Trump I should say, he's suing the state
of Michigan over the upcoming 2024 election. A group called "Free Speech For People" filed a lawsuit in September trying to get Trump kicked off the
They say it's based on the 14th amendment's insurrectionist's ban. This is similar to a case in Colorado that's been heard this week. On Tuesday,
Trump filed a countersuit saying that Michigan doesn't have the power to block his candidacy on 14th amendment grounds. Coming up my panel rejoins
me with one more thing, don't go anywhere.
HUNT: Welcome back to "State of the Race". My panel rejoins me. Now before we go, we always want to ask for one more thing on the campaign trail on
Washington across the world really, that you're watching for in the coming days your thoughts? 30 seconds each. Seung Min Kim, I'll start with you.
KIM: So next week is the first Tuesday in November, which in the U.S. means Election Day.
HUNT: Voters are voting.
KIM: Voters are voting and voters actually building right now because of early voting. But as a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I'm
watching the Virginia races very closely. Obviously the control of the Virginia Legislature it's up for grabs.
It's very important and critical to key policy issues such as abortion. Republicans are pushing for abortion restrictions in the state. But I'm
also watching to see the impact on Governor Glenn Youngkin. First term governor could have national ambitions and how -- turns out will be very
important for him.
HUNT: Right, Jeff Weaver?
WEAVER: Yes, well, it may be a big political brouhaha building in New Hampshire. The president has a new primary opponent there to state where
the president --
HUNT: Yes, I love the story.
WEAVER: Has voluntarily taken himself off the ballot and is running kind of a weirdly message a writing campaign of Dean Phillips can sort of put it
together in New Hampshire. And New Hampshire is you know always unpredictable.
And then when in Michigan, he could be on his way to the nomination. It's a long shot right now, but I think there's something we should sleep on.
HUNT: Very interesting. Live Free or Die state. Always, always fun. Maura, let's say one more thing.
GILLESPIE: Please go out and vote. Yes, I went voted early voting in New Jersey yesterday. And I say that for the primary, that's super important.
But as we look ahead to the GOP debate that's coming up on Wednesday, especially for Republican voters, it's really important to pay attention.
I know everyone's kind of disenfranchised by all of it because of the last couple debates. But this is important, and we need to find a candidate
that's not Donald Trump.
HUNT: And actually, I will pick up on that because I am looking for at that debate, whether any of this status quo can change. Because so far, I mean,
people have been throwing spaghetti at the wall, I guess against him, except for the spaghetti related to his legal problems. I guess we'll see
if maybe that changes.
Thank you all for being with us today. I'm Kasie Hunt. That's the "State of the Race" for today, Wednesday, November 1st. You can always follow me on
Instagram and the site formerly known as Twitter. "One World" is up next.