'This Week' Transcript 6-9-24: Jake Sullivan, Alejandro Mayorkas and IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner

ByABC News
June 9, 2024, 9:12 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, June 2, 2024 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.




MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC "THIS WEEK" CO-ANCHOR: Harrowing mission, heart-wrenching reunions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are back home in Israel. They are alive. They are well.

RADDATZ: Israeli Defense Forces rescue four hostages in a major daytime raid in central Gaza.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We won't stop working until all the hostages come home and a ceasefire is reached.

RADDATZ: But with heavy Palestinian casualties reported, how will the rescue mission impact ceasefire talks? This morning, James Longman reports the latest on the hostages, plus reaction from IDF Spokesperson Peter Lerner, and White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

Clamping down.

BIDEN: If the United States doesn't secure our border, there’s no limit to the number of people who may try to come here.

RADDATZ: President Biden enacts harsh restrictions on asylum at the southern border and faces immediate backlash.

DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Biden's order is not a border security plan, it's a concession to the fact that he has lost control over our border.

RADDATZ: Our exclusive interview with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Plus, five months to Election Day. The latest from the campaign trail and the courtroom with our powerhouse roundtable.

ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now, Martha Raddatz.

RADDATZ: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.

This morning, four Israeli hostages are back in the arms of their loved ones after a dramatic but deadly rescue mission by the Israeli Defense Forces in central Gaza. Among the rescued, Noa Argamani. The 26-year-old had become one of the symbols, the human faces, of Hamas brutality. Noa was seized on October 7th from the Nova Music Festival, terrorized, thrown on the back of a motorcycle, and taken into Gaza.

And this was Noa on Saturday, reuniting with her family for the first time in eight months. Israelis cheering the news of the largest rescue of hostages since the terrorist attack in October.

But the rescue left a devastating toll for Palestinians, with more than 270 killed in the mission according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

It comes amid ongoing negotiations for the release of all the remaining 116 hostages, including eight American-Israelis, as part of a larger ceasefire in this deadly war.

ABC News foreign correspondent James Longman has spent months in Israel since October 7th, covering the war and the hostage families, and gives us the dramatic details of the rescue and the reunions.


JAMES LONGMAN, ABC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Israel is celebrating this morning. Four hostages were rescued. The agonizing wait for their families, over. But the cost of their freedom, enormous.

Hamas says more than 270 Palestinians were killed in the operation, nearly 700 injured.

Among the four rescued, 26-year-old Noa Argamani, the young woman kidnapped on the back of a bike. The fear on her face was gut-wrenching. She was driven away by Hamas militants as she reached out to her boyfriend, Avinatan Or. He too dragged away. His fate unknown.

Now, nearly eight months to the day, Argamani is free, seen here reuniting with her dad and her family. The emotion overwhelming. She told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call, it's been so long since I heard Hebrew.

Also freed, 27-year-old Russian-Israeli Andrey Kozlov, who was working as a security guard at the Super Nova Music Festival, 41-year-old Shlomi Ziv, a husband of 17 years, and 22-year-old Almog Meir Jan, who just finished serving in the Israeli military and was set to start a new job when he, too, was kidnapped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy that you are here.

LONGMAN (voice over): I spoke with his mother, Orit, and uncle, Avian (ph), just weeks after he was taken hostage. She said Almog called her as the attack unfolded.

ORIT MEIR, MOTHER OF RESCUED HOSTAGE ALMOG MEIR JAN: There are rockets and shooting all over. I'm hiding. I don't know what's going on. I'll call you every half an hour. Mom, I love you. And –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the last phone call.

MEIR: The last phone call.

LONGMAN (voice over): She didn't hear from him or know if he was alive until this video began circulating. It shows Almog held captive, frightened, at times covering his face. That fear now gone. Almog now safely back in Israel. Orit holding him close. But his father, not getting that chance. Israeli media reporting that tragically he died just hours before Almog's rescue.

MEIR: Thank you for bringing my son home to me. I'm so excited that I could hug him today.

LONGMAN (voice over): Israeli defense forces say intelligence targeted two locations in central Gaza weeks ago where they believed the hostages, code named “diamonds,” were being held. The three males, kept in one apartment, Argamani, a little more than 200 meters away in another. Israeli special forces had mockups of the building, practicing a raid. At 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, in broad daylight, the element of surprise, the launch was a go. At 11:25, the soldiers were on the move. With the rescue underway, air strikes pummeled the city. The two locations penetrated simultaneously, facing gunfire in one. An Israeli killed in the raid. But saying all four hostages, each loaded into helicopters, free after eight months of hell.

REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: This was a high-risk, complex mission, based on precise intelligence.

LONGMAN (voice over): But the human toll of the rescue is now raising serious questions. The mangled bodies of men, women and children covered on the ground outside the al Aqsa hospital, the injured crowding its halls. One woman saying two of her cousins were killed, two others seriously injured. They didn't commit any sin, she says, they were sitting at home.

Israeli officials say Hamas purposefully shields themselves within the civilian population, but the United States has repeatedly called on Israel to do more to protect ordinary Palestinians. Hamas says 37,000 have now been killed since October, but Hamas is still holding 116 hostages taken on October 7th, a third of whom are believed dead. Prime Minister Netanyahu vowed Saturday to bring them all home.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL: We're committed to getting the release of all the hostages, and we expect Hamas to release them all. But if they don't, we’ll do whatever it takes to get them all back home.


LONGMAN: Martha, this was one of the single bloodiest Israeli assaults since this war began. And as talk of negotiations continue, the fundamental problem remains, Benjamin Netanyahu says he wants to bring all the hostages home, but at the same time says the war will not end until Hamas is destroyed. And he's facing immense political turmoil. There's widespread public anger about how he's managed this war, his war cabinet is in danger of falling apart, and that will mean sustained pressure from the Israeli extreme right.


RADDATZ: Our thanks to James for that report.

I'm joined now by Israeli Defense Forces Spokesperson and Retired Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner.

It is good to see you this morning, Colonel.

We are also happy those hostages are safe.

Give us a picture of the scale of this mission – we just heard James’ report with some of the details – but the ground troops, the air strikes, how long this lasted.

LT. COL. PETER LERNER (RET.), ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES SPOKESPERSON: Martha, there was – this was a – an effort conducted and planned over several weeks in order to get the best result. And, indeed, it came together with extensive intelligence, a – a map intelligence that created a good grasp of how the enemy were holding the four hostages, and an – and that then was translated into an operational plan to actually bring them out. There was so much that could have gone wrong in this rescue mission.

We need to keep in mind that all of our war efforts is crafted and designed about bringing back the hostages. So, for the success of this operation, at this time, I believe that it was a – a huge feat from a professional perspective, but also in the level of moral and here in Israel, and it was a very, very jubilant day yesterday where people were cheering on the beaches of Tel Aviv and dancing outside of hospital, where the hostages were brought later for their medical examinations.

So, the operational side absolutely reflects and – and spills over into societal issues and there is a hope that we can continue to bring home the hostages, either through negotiations or in special force operations, like we did yesterday.

RADDATZ: And – and, Colonel, part of this mission were the air strikes. We saw buildings destroyed in a civilian area, in broad daylight. There were people on the street during this attack through the air.

Did you factor in the loss of so many Palestinians in this operation?

LERNER: So, we don’t know how many casualties were caused in the strike in the – in the release and rescue operation. And I’d be very cautious at accepting any figures and numbers that Hamas are putting out. I think –

RADDATZ: But even the Israelis – Hamas is putting out 274. But even the Israelis, your – another spokesman from the IDF said there were fewer than 100. That’s a significantamount of casualties. Did they come from those air strikes in broad daylight?

LERNER: Well, for every civilian life lost in this war is a tragedy. Every civilian life lost in this war is a result of how Hamas has operated.

Let’s think about, just for a moment, where they were holding the hostages. Within civilian houses. Within people’s apartments -- in the same apartment they were being held where the families that owned the apartments. This exemplifies specifically how Hamas operating.

And, indeed, when we extracted and snatched the hostages, Noa Argamani, Almog Meir, Andrey Kozlov and Shlomi Ziv, when we extracted them out, the forces came under extensive attack in an attempt to kill both them and the hostages.

So, the forces then had --

RADDATZ: And is that the reason for the air strikes? Tell me why those air strikes were -- were necessary, why buildings were destroyed in that attack?

LERNER: The forces -- the forces came under fire from a 360-degree threat: RPGs, AK-47s, explosive devices on the way, mortar rounds. It was and is a war zone. And so civilians in that -- the tragedy of civilians being forced up in this is precisely because of how Hamas is battling us on the battleground.

Our responsibility, our first and foremost responsibility is to rescue the hostages, to bring them home, to create a better security situation for Israelis. And I would say for Palestinians alike.

Hamas has to go. Hamas cannot be trusted with the powers of government because that is what they will do. They will build a terrorist army. They will infiltrate into Israel and abduct partygoers from the Nova party and held them hostage in places like Nuseirat in apartment buildings.

So, we --

RADDATZ: Again -- again, Colonel, I -- we are all grateful the hostages are safe, but -- but just one final question, would you carry out a similar rescue mission to get the other 116 hostages, no matter the cost to civilians in Gaza?

LERNER: There can be a rescue mission like what happened yesterday. But there could also have been negotiations that create the opportunity. Our role is to create the conditions either way, that Hamas realizes that they should give back the hostages, they should set the hostages free.

We would not have to be at war at all with Hamas. And the war can be over today if Hamas lets the hostages free. Is that too much to ask?

RADDATZ: We appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

LERNER: Good day.

RADDATZ: I'm joined now by White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who's traveling with the president in France.

Good morning to you, Jake. I wanted to start with American support for this mission in Israel, in Gaza, the U.S. provided support for that mission. Was it just logistical or intelligence help, or were they part of the planning?

JAKE SULLIVAN, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Well, first, Martha, we didn't have any U.S. forces on the ground. Second, we've been working for months to support Israel in its efforts to rescue and recover hostages from Gaza, including the American hostages. And there weren't Americans among these four, but I'm not going to speak further to intelligence or operational matters because we need to protect their sensitivity.

RADDATZ: We're all very grateful the hostages are free, of course, but the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health says that hundreds were killed, more than 200 were killed. Do you think that is an accurate number and does that concern you?

SULLIVAN: Well, of course, the Israeli Defense Forces have put out one number, the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry has put out another number. We're looking into it. It will take some time for us to make any kind of determination. And we may never be able to definitively determine it.

But we do know this, Martha, civilians were killed. And that is tragic. It is heartbreaking. I've said before that the Palestinian people are going through hell in this war. They're caught in the crossfire.

Hamas hides among civilian infrastructure, hides underground, and puts the Palestinian people in harm's way.

And this whole thing, this whole tragedy could be over, all the hostages could be home. There could be a ceasefire if Hamas would just step up and say yes to the deal that the Israelis have accepted and that President Biden elaborated a week ago. So the world should call on Hamas to take this deal.

RADDATZ: But -- but let's go back to those numbers. The Palestinians say more than 200, the Israelis say not more than a hundred. That is a lot of people to be killed in a rescue operation.

Again, does that number concern you?

SULLIVAN: Well, every single loss of an innocent civilian in Gaza, or anywhere else, concerns us. It more than concerns us. It's tragic. It breaks our heart. It's awful. And that's why President Biden is working so hard to bring this war to an end.

And he went out and he laid out a roadmap to achieve an enduring ceasefire, all of the hostages coming home, and the capacity for Gaza to be rebuilt so that Palestinians would not just be safe but could have a better future. So as far President Biden is concerned –

RADDATZ: Jake, we're talking about this specific operation, please. Can we talk about this specific operation? Are you not concerned with either of those numbers, whether it's 100 or 200? And I know you are concerned about loss of life, but we're talking about this military mission, not the ceasefire just yet.

SULLIVAN: Well, Martha, as I just said, and I will say it again as many times as you ask the question, we are concerned about every loss of life, including in this operation. Any time civilians are killed we're concerned. Of course we are. That's why we want this war to end. The only way to get all of the hostages out and to end any more civilian casualties in Gaza is to get to a comprehensive ceasefire and hostage agreement.

So, the two are not distinct issues. They're connected issues. How do we end the death of civilians in Gaza, Martha? There is only one way, it is to get to a comprehensive ceasefire and hostage deal. That's what President Biden laid out. And that is again what he is reinforcing today because Hamas accepting that deal would bring an end to the tragedy in Gaza.

RADDATZ: So does the U.S. support Israel doing more operations like this in the very same way, even if this number of civilians were killed?

SULLIVAN: Look, the United States will support Israel in taking steps to try to rescue hostages who are currently being held in – in harm, held by Hamas. And we will continue to work with Israel to do that. We will also continue to reinforce the point that all of their military operations, including hostage rescue operations, should take every precaution to minimize the amount of civilian harm or civilian casualties. That is a point we will reinforce in all of our engagements with the Israelis going forward.

SULLIVAN: Benjamin Netanyahu said shortly after the hostages were rescued, he spoke about military missions, Israeli military missions, and he said, “Our soldiers are performing in the most valiant and moral way to end this war with a victory against these killers and against these kidnappers, and we shall prevail.”

Would you agree that these Israeli military has performed, as Netanyahu said, in the most moral way in this conflict?

SULLIVAN: Well, the first thing that I will say, Martha, is that Israel has a righteous cause in trying to bring about the defeat of Hamas, who authored one of the worst massacres in history, the worst massacre of the Jewish people since the Holocaust. And Israel has the right to go after Hamas, who conducted that attack.

Now, we have said all along that Israel should be operating in a way, not just consistent with the laws of war, but taking extra precautions to try to protect civilians. We see individual instances that we have spoken out about where we would like to see them operate differently, where we would like them to be more precise, more targeted in their operations. And we will continue to speak out on those issues, to report on those issues, as the State Department did in a report it released a couple of weeks ago, but we will also continue to reinforce the point that the reason this war is going on right now, that there is not a ceasefire in place right now, is not because of Israel. It's because of Hamas.

And that point, we believe, needs to be reinforced by the entire international community, because if Hamas came and said yes to the deal on the table, there would be an end to the need for these kinds of operations because the hostages would be coming out peacefully and not through military actions.

RADDATZ: And – and how do you think rescue operations like this affect those negotiations?

SULLIVAN: It's really hard to say right now. It's hard to say how Hamas will process this particular operation and what it will do to its determination about whether it will say yes or not. We have not gotten a formal answer from Hamas at this time. We're waiting for them to communicate to Qatar and Egypt, two of the mediators involved in the hostage negotiations. And we are hopeful that with enough of a chorus, the international community all speaking with one voice, Hamas will get to the right answer.

RADDATZ: OK. Thanks so much for joining us this morning, Jake. Safe trip back.

Up next, I’ll speak with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about President Biden's move this week to restrict asylum claims at the southern border.

We're back in two minutes.



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I’m moving past Republican obstruction and using the executive authorities available to me as president to do what I can on my own to address the border.

The simple truth is there is a worldwide migrant crisis, and if the United States doesn’t secure our border, there's no limit to the number of people who may try to come here, because there is no better place on the planet than the United States of America.


RADDATZ: President Biden this week announcing his new executive action to limit most asylum claims at the southern border until migrant encounters fall below 1,500 a day for two full weeks, something that hasn’t happened in the Biden administration.

For more on the new policy and the fallout, I’m joined now by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Thanks for joining us this morning. It’s good to see you, sir.

This has been in place for five days now. What has the impact been? How many migrants have been turned away between those ports of entry?

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Martha, we’re at a very early stage. Implementation, as you noted, has just begun. Our intent is to really change the risk calculus of individuals before they leave their countries of origin and incentivize them to use the lawful pathways that we have made available to them and keep them out of the hands of exploitative smugglers.

It’s early. The signs are positive. Our personnel have done an extraordinary job in implementing a very big shift in how we operate on the southern border.

RADDATZ: President Biden said this ban will remain in place until the number of people trying to enter illegally is reduced to a level that our system can effectively manage, meaning, as we said, that average of 1,500 encounters or less over a period of 14 days.

We said that has never happened. Do you really expect that to happen in the coming months, or before Election Day?

MAYORKAS: Martha, it is 1,500, an average of 1,500 individuals encountered over a seven-day consecutive period. We are driving to that, and that’s not all we’re doing. We are also communicating throughout the region about the lawful pathways. We are driving people to use...

RADDATZ: But that’s been something you’ve been doing all along. You’ve been trying to do that with people.

I want -- I want to go back to an interview I did with you in March...


RADDATZ: ... of 2021, two months into your tenure as DHS secretary.

You seemed totally confident then that you had that under control. Let’s listen to what you told me.


MAYORKAS: We have seen large numbers of migration in the past. We know how to address it. We have a plan. We are executing on our plan and we will succeed. This is what we do.

But one thing is also clear, that it takes time.

It's tough, but we can do it. This is what we do, and we will accomplish our mission.


RADDATZ: "We will succeed." That was three years ago. Since then, 6.5 million migrants have been apprehended along the southern border.

It would be very hard to call that a success.

MAYORKAS: Martha, remember something that immigration, migration is a dynamic phenomenon. It is something that we alone are -- it’s not just us who is experiencing it, throughout the region and throughout the world.

Let’s recall what everyone expected when Title 42 was lifted of May 2023. People expected pandemonium.

Our model worked. We drove the numbers down. They go down. They go up.

What we need -- what we need is congressional action. We cannot resource the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, the Department of Justice with additional personnel. We need Congress to legislate.

RADDATZ: And we know what happened in February with Senate Republicans. President Biden told our David Muir this week that the reason he didn’t implement this plan sooner is that he would have been blamed for blowing up that bipartisan deal.

So, why did you wait four months to do this?

MAYORKAS: Oh, let’s look at the -- let’s look at the timeline. On day one of his administration, President Biden sent Congress a piece of legislation. Title 42, the public health order, was in place until May of 2023.

We implemented a regulation that restricted asylum, and then we pressed Congress to resource our department in August with a supplemental funding bill. That did not succeed.

Then in October, we sought congressional action, and then we started, Martha, the very difficult work of bipartisan negotiation with Republican and Democratic senators.

RADDATZ: Understood. And I know you knew we had that bipartisan deal, but it’s been four months since then and you just now decided to take this action.

MAYORKAS: Martha, the bipartisan deal was rejected once. We pressed forward again. It was rejected a second time. And then we developed this and have implemented it and we are at an early stage.

And let’s not minimize the significance of this move and the significance of operationalizing it. And it requires the cooperation of other countries which we have secured.

RADDATZ: You have been dealing with this for several years. When he ran for president -- and this is a big chance, when he ran for president, President Biden repeatedly defended the asylum process you already had -- you had in place, railed against former President Trump’s plan.

I want to read what then candidate Biden posted on Twitter back in July of 2019: Trump is fighting tooth and nail to deny those fleeing dangerous situations their right to seek asylum in our nation. We should uphold our moral responsibility and enforce our immigration laws with dignity, not turn away those fleeing violence, war, and poverty.

How is this new policy not at odds with what the president said then?

MAYORKAS: What the president said then is what we are living today. We are allowing individuals to access asylum through the ports of entry, pursuant to a program that we developed. We are allowing people to access asylum if they come from the countries of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela --


RADDATZ: But what about those who don’t? What about those who don’t?

The ACLU has pledged to sue the administration over this policy, comparing it to a Trump-era one. I know there are differences but the ACLU asserts that your policy will put thousands of lives at risk.

If this is so great, why didn’t he do it in the first place?

MAYORKAS: Martha, well, we’ve talked about that and Congress needs to act and in the wake of congressional action, this is the step that we take. And it’s not the first step that we’ve taken.

But I respectfully disagree with the ACLU. I anticipate they will sue us. We stand by the legality of what we have done. We stand by the value proposition.

It’s not only a matter of securing the border, Martha. We have a humanitarian obligation to keep vulnerable people out of the hands of exploitative smugglers. There have been many a story about the trauma and the tragedy inflicted by those organizations. That is --

RADDATZ: And how does this actually do that? I mean, that’s absolutely something you’ve been trying to do for a long time. Everyone has been trying to do.

MAYORKAS: We have increased the number of refugees that we will accept from the Western Hemisphere. We have built safe mobility offices in Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, to reach people where they are so they don’t have to take the perilous journey.

We are doing so very much to maintain the integrity of our asylum process and disincentivize people from risking their lives only to reach the very dangerous southern border in between ports of entry.

RADDATZ: OK. Thank you very much for joining us this morning, Mr. Secretary. We hope it works.

Up next, former President Trump returns to the campaign trail, as Hunter Biden heads to court. The powerhouse roundtable takes it all on when we come back.


RADDATZ: The roundtable's all here, ready to take on the week in politics. We'll be right back.



DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe we have revenge through success, but that's what I’d like to see. I want to see this country survive. Because this country’s not going to survive like this.

Revenge does take time, I will say that.


TRUMP: And sometimes revenge can be justified.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The things he said are off the wall. The – I want to be a dictator on day one. I want to move in a direction where – and he talks about, you know, suspending the Constitution.

He's about him. I'm about the country.


RADDATZ: President Biden and former President Trump this week with just five months to go until Election Day.

Let's bring in our powerhouse roundtable, “New Yorker” staff writer Susan Glasser, ABC News political director Rick Klein, NPR White House correspondent Asma Khalid, senior national correspondent Terry Moran.

Good morning to you all. Great to see you.

And, Asma, I want to start with you and talk about immigration.

You heard Secretary Mayorkas defend this new plan of – of President Biden’s, saying it was basically all right, even though his critics are saying that it's a Trump policy basically.

ASMA KHALID, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, I think the challenge for President Biden is that this immigration border policy has broadly been one of his biggest vulnerabilities in polls for – for, frankly, a couple – the past couple of years. So, he needs to do something as we inch closer to the election.

But it is a policy that is splintering his own party. Already, as you mentioned, the ACLU, folks on the progressive left are unhappy, comparing it to Trump's vision. You know, Trump's vision that I will point out is much broader and he talks about using the full force of the federal government and creating this massive deportation force.

I think the challenge for Biden will be, who will actually be won over by this policy because those who are on the right want much, much stricter immigration and border policy, and some within the left of his own party are extremely unsatisfied with this new initiative.

RADDATZ: And, Susan, clearly it was the Senate Republicans who killed this bipartisan bill with Trump pushing them in that direction. But Biden clearly feels he has to do something before Election Day.

SUSAN GLASSER, THE NEW YORKER STAFF WRITER: Yes, that's right. I mean, look, the bottom line politically for Biden is that any week that he's talking about immigration is probably not a good week politically for him. This is very clearly identified with President Trump as -- former President Trump as an issue. I think Trump believes it is the reason he became president in the first place in 2016.

So, for Biden, it’s a question of taking it off the table, at least not losing or, you know, bleeding support as a result of this. But I don't think that anyone is going to come away from this convinced, you know, that Biden is making this a centerpiece of his case for a second term.

RADDATZ: And, Rick, you watched the interview, I'm sure, and what – what Mayorkas has been saying for a very, very long time. And the Biden administration has been saying for a very long time. When you look at polling, this is clearly a huge issue. But at this point, this late really, with just five months before the election and it dominating politics, is it too late for Biden? Is it a no-win for him at this point?

RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I think the politics are a loser. I think the best he can hope for is that the policy is right. And if the policy gets to a place where we have less of a crisis and less of an urgent issue at the border, then the politics can flow out of that. I agree with Susan, I think they’re talking about immigration and the border, that plays right into Donald Trump's hands.

And I think the extent to which we’re – the Biden administration is able to downplay that or quell the disorder right now, then they’re able to move on and talk about other issues. I don't see this, though. Anyway, polling will – will – will bear it out any way that this is a winner for President Biden.

RADDATZ: And – and, Terry, one of the things they clearly want people, migrants, to get the message, don't come, don't come. They've been trying that for a very, very long time and – and they kept coming. First of all, do you think this executive order will stand legal scrutiny? And do you think it might work if it – if it does?

TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those are two great questions because the answer to the first one is probably not at this point. Look, he's trying to use executive authorities written on laws decades ago when the immigration situation was completely different, when there was no technology to accelerate it, people can get information all over the world about how to get into the United States and get there.

And then the problem for him is that, while it may work, it may send that message. If you're going to get turned back; if you aren't even being able to claim asylum in any meaningful way, that will stop people from coming. But it's unlikely because the courts are looking at the laws and they're saying essentially you're trying to accomplish something to solve a national problem that really needs to be solved by the national legislature, by the Congress.

RADDATZ: And do you think that...

MORAN: The Congress is broken.

RADDATZ: Do you think it puts people at risk?

Do you think it puts asylum seekers at risk? I mean, he's talking about, look, you know, you can go legally; you can go to ports of entrance, but that's not what a whole lot of people do.

MORAN: Right. But the -- the problem is sorting the genuine asylum seekers from the mass numbers of people who are coming for the reasons...

RADDATZ: Does it make it more difficult...

MORAN: ... people are always...

RADDATZ: ... with that?

MORAN: It -- it makes it more difficult, it does. They'll get lost in the shuffle, no question about it.

RADDATZ: On the other side of that, we have -- we have Donald Trump, who says, if he wins, he's talking about the biggest mass deportation the country has ever seen, a ten-fold increase, talking about building camps to detain migrants, ending birthright citizenship.

Will all this happen if he wins?

KHALID: Yeah, will it happen? You know, look, I will say there were things that Trump ran on in 2016 that I would say many of us who covered his election cycle then did not necessarily think he would implement. But we all remember the so-called ban on folks coming in from Muslim-majority countries that was implemented, what, the week after he was elected.

So I would not put past any of the...


KHALID: ... any of the initiatives that he is suggesting now actually being attempted to be turned into policy.

What I will say, though, to echo what Susan said earlier, immigration is a central pillar of Trump's candidacy. It is what he ran on and what he believes he has run on successfully, I would say in 2016, and also even in 2020.

I think, for Biden, he does really want to take this off the table. You listen to Biden and you push the Biden campaign on what the re-election plans are, and it is, and they have said it is finishing the job. It is essentially being a contrast to Donald Trump. They don't want immigration to be a central part of this.

RADDATZ: And they don't -- and where President Biden was this week certainly made that point. He was in France; he was in Normandy talking about NATO, talking about democracy. Obviously, it was an anniversary this week as well, the D-Day anniversary. But he wants to get his foreign policy message out there.

GLASSER: Yeah, it's really notable. I mean, at a time when there are so many foreign policy controversies, there's also this incredible contrast that the subject of America and the world offers President Biden. We don't talk about it that much, but the signature difference I would say about Donald Trump when he was president, from all other presidents I've ever seen in my lifetime, Democrat or Republican, is that this is a guy who consistently admires America's adversaries and talks down to, criticizes, doesn't have the time of day for America's allies.

And any trip abroad, especially one that offers the incredible power of this 80th anniversary of the D-Day attack, is an opportunity for Joe Biden to contrast Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump with America's historic foreign policy. And I was really -- I thought it was very powerful this week to see Biden in Normandy talking about Putin and talking about, without using his name, Donald Trump.

RADDATZ: And, Rick, again, I want to go to you for, does that resonate? Is the...


RADDATZ: Is the Biden message resonating?

Foreign policy doesn't seem to be on top of anyone's list at this point.

KLEIN: There were echos of Ronald Reagan in -- in -- in the speech.

RADDATZ: And there was a reason for that.


KLEIN: And a very good reason, talking to Reagan Republicans, maybe Nikki Haley Republicans, people -- Republicans who feel like Donald Trump doesn't represent where the Republican Party should be, where the United States should be.

That's a hard argument to make, given how Donald Trump has remade the Republican Party in his image. There are still people, and they may make a difference in some places, who aren't comfortable with Trump, won't vote for him.

But to see the way that donors have lined up, to see the way that elected officials have lined up, almost without exception, including Nikki Haley herself, saying she would vote for him, tells you where the party has moved, and shifted behind Donald Trump.

And Donald Trump goes into this -- goes into this last stretch far further ahead on policy formulation than he was eight years ago or four years ago. They have been there and done that. They have formulated specific plans to start doing things, day one, as president. This is not just a hypothetical. All of the -- all of the questions around legality, they are -- they are making active plans now to remake the Department of Justice.

When he said, "I am your retribution," there were policy implications that are already being gamed out by people very close to Donald Trump.

RADDATZ: And -- and what kind of implications do you think that has, Terry? You've covered justice. You've covered the court.

MORAN: It's a change in -- in how American law operates, if he succeeds, right? We've already seen him reshape the courts, and he was doing that essentially blind. He didn't have a sense of what he really wanted to do or who could do it.

Now, staffing the Justice Department and staffing the courts, he sees what it can do at the Supreme Court, and right through the lower courts as well.

MORAN: Dramatic changes in -- in how the courts view executive power. For example, we're talking about immigration. It is -- there's no question that the current court would look at mass deportation camps run by the military with deep skepticism, but is it possible that clever lawyers in the Department of Justice and friendly judges would say, "It's an emergency; the president has emergency powers; go for it?"

RADDATZ: Asma, I want to -- I want to switch, in these last couple of minutes, to the VP for Trump. He -- he started vetting candidates for that. What did you learn from who they are?

We've got Rubio, J.D. Vance, Doug Burgum.

KHALID: Um-hmm. I think that we're beginning to see how much he both prizes, I think, loyalty, but there's, sort of, a -- a personality component to this as well. I think there were some of the names earlier on that we heard about that are no longer in the running here.

I don't really have a clear sense of who he will choose. I'm really curious what other folks have to say on that front.


KLEIN: I think Doug Burgum and J.D. Vance have risen to the top of this.

RADDATZ: Clearly, they have -- clearly, but, OK, why?

KLEIN: Slightly different reasons. I think one thing with -- with Doug Burgum is he's quite wealthy. The other thing is that his wife has developed a very strong relationship with -- with Melania Trump, which I think is an interesting, kind of, wrinkle on the personality of this.

J.D. Vance, I think he likes the fact that he's young, that he, kind of, made himself a celebrity that was MAGA-skeptical at first, and even anti-Trump and Never Trump, but has come around entirely. To him, that symbolizes something important. And I think that generational gap is -- is something that he looks at, especially running against a candidate as old as Joe Biden.

RADDATZ: And loyalty. It's all about loyalty, right? Loyalty to Donald Trump...

KLEIN: Yeah.

RADDATZ: I mean, when you look back at Mike Pence, what -- what lessons did -- well, the obvious one on January 6th, but someone like Mike Pence, who, kind of, was in the background, and would J.D. Vance be that person?

Would Doug Burgum be that person?

KLEIN: Well, I think one thing he's got to worry about, or Trump worries about is, is it someone that outshines you? And -- and I don't think he wants that. And I think that's another reason that Doug Burgum has -- has risen.

I think Marco Rubio is an intriguing choice, too, and he's another one that's -- that has been asked for extensive documents, according to our reporting, again, someone who was very anti-Trump at one point but has come around.

RADDATZ: And, Susan, I just want to circle back to where we began the program today, in this last minute here. And it is Israel. What you watched, again, we are all so grateful that the hostages have been rescued. But what do you think the fallout is from here?

GLASSER: Yeah, I mean, Martha, it is the horror of this war, sort of, encapsulated in this operation. Hamas undertook this terrible, deadly terrorist attack. They are still holding more than 100 hostages. Israel, you know, after a long time, takes an operation, succeeds in getting four hostages, but at the price of a large number of civilian lives. Because that is the strategy, unfortunately, of this horrible war, is Hamas has embedded these hostages in a deep civilian neighborhood, near a marketplace.

And until there is an end to the war, it is a nightmare for those experiencing it. It is a political nightmare both for Biden and for Israel.

RADDATZ: We've got to go. Thank you so much for that.

Up next, a moving conversation with the mother of one of the American-Israeli hostages still held inside Gaza. We're back in a moment.



JON POLIN, FATHER OF HOSTAGE HERSH GOLDBERG-POLIN: Assuming this video is current, which we believe it is, he's alive. We've already been fighting for 202 days, at this point, for his release and the release of all the hostages. It's fueled us even more.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC "THIS WEEK" HOST: What is your message to Hersh and to all of our viewers?

RACHEL GOLDBERG-POLIN: Well, to Hersh, every single day, many times a day, I'm always saying to him, "We love you, stay strong, survive.


RADDATZ: That was Rachel Goldberg-Polin and her husband Jon in April, after Hamas released a new video of their son Hersh, showing him alive months after his October 7th capture, one of eight American-Israelis still held.

ABC's Marcus Moore set down with Hersh's mother earlier this week, before the rescue of the four Israeli hostages, as she prays for Hersh's safe return.


MARCUS MOORE, ABC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Rachel Goldberg-Polin doesn't want you to ask how many days it has been. Instead, she wears a piece of white tape with a number written in black ink. On the day we meet her, it reads 242 -- 242 long, painful days, each spent praying for her son Hersh.

GOLDBERG-POLIN: He is wild about soccer, passionate about music and music festivals, but his real bread and butter is being a citizen of the world, very curious about geography. I'm his mom, so of course I think he's a really special, special person. He's my eldest child. He's my only son. He turned 23 years old on October 3rd.

MOORE (voice over): Days later, the American-Israeli citizen was kidnapped by Hamas while attending the Nova Music Festival on October 7th, seen here with other Israeli captives, his arm injured, when Hamas militants threw a grenade into that bomb shelter.

While enduring the stress of the unknown, so much of his mother's life is now on hold.

GOLDBERG-POLIN: We're all running to the ends of the earth, and everybody is doing what they feel is the right thing to do. And I feel like I get out of bed every day and I put on this costume of a person. What I want to do is lie on the floor in a ball weeping. It's what every single person's mother or father would do. What we're doing is not unique. It's that the situation we're in is horrifyingly unique.

MOORE: Her son is one of the 116 people still being held hostage in Gaza. Goldberg-Polin and her family hold on to hope the California native is still alive.

GOLDBERG-POLIN: We're religious people. We pray every day. But I also have to work as if it all depends on what we are doing. And so there is no -- there's no day off. The hostages don't get a day off, so I'm not taking a day off.

MOORE: Hersh last seen in a video released by Hamas in April with his left arm severed below his elbow.

GOLDBERG-POLIN: No mother wants to see her child looking so pale, with bruising on his forehead, with the stump of his dominant arm. Hersh and I are both left-handed. It was challenging, but it was also miraculous, and we were thankful because we could hear his voice, see him moving.

MOORE (voice over): But each new development tests their faith, every time as word of a ceasefire proposal.

MOORE: You put much hope in this?

GOLDBERG-POLIN: Well, we always say hope is mandatory. By nature we try to be optimists. Listen, we are pawns in a game. The hostages are pawns in a game. Their families are pawns in a game. And a game that we didn't sign up for.

MOORE: Do you feel like enough is being done today to bring your son, Hersh, home, and the other hostages home?

GOLDBERG-POLIN: Well, we know not enough is being done because they are not home. I have one interest, and his name is Hersh. And it's not complicated at all. The problem is that all the parties involved here have much more complicated interests. I want to believe that people have the moral, ethical, religious, spiritual, human obligation to themselves to make this happen.

MOORE (voice over): Goldberg-Polin still praying her son comes home, and for an end to the suffering in Gaza.

GOLDBERG-POLIN: I am concerned and worried and heartbroken for all of the innocent civilians in Gaza who are in harm's way. And I am also painfully worried about the innocent civilians in Gaza who were dragged there on October 7th. You can hold those two truths. Those are not two different sides. It's such a precarious tightrope that we're all walking on, and at any second you can fall.


MOORE: And, Martha, Rachel and her husband, Jon, have reacted to the news of those four rescued hostages in a statement saying, “We had miracles here on Saturday morning, and we're thrilled for the families whose loved ones were safely rescued and returned. We continue to pray for the suffering on both sides of this conflict to end, and that we hear more wonderful news this week.”

Martha, those words from a family desperately hoping to reunite with their son.

RADDATZ: Our thanks to Marcus and the family. We’ll be praying for all the hostages.

We’ll be right back.


RADDATZ: And that’s all for us today.

Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us.

Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT," and have a great day.