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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Israeli Bombardment Of Gaza Intensifies As IDF Says Gaza City Now Completely Surrounded By Israeli Forces; Blinken Says He Will Discuss "Concrete Steps" With Israel On Minimizing Civilian Harm; GOP- Led House Passes $14.3B Israel Aid Package Setting Up Showdown With The Senate; Flares And Explosions Seen Over Gaza Tonight As Israeli Military Says It Has Encircled Gaza City; Under Oath; FBI Director: Antisemitism Reaching "Historic Level" In U.S.; Jewish Cemetery In Vienna Set On Fire, Desecrated With Swastikas; Trump's Two Adult Sons Testify In Civil Fraud Trial; Judge Admonishes Lawyer Over Comment Critical Of Law Clerk; John King Travels To Milwaukee To See How Dems Are Courting Black Voters; Black Voters Helped Deliver The White House For Biden In 2020; Will They Show Up In 2024? Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 02, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She's embracing the momentum but told us her defining moment is yet to come.
NIKKI HALEY, FORMER GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: My moment will be on election day.
ZELENY: And, Erin, Governor Haley is just shaking hands here, finishing an hour-long town hall in New Hampshire. But the bottom line is this race for second place is simply a consolation prize, unless Haley or whoever emerges, can start eroding some support from Trump, who has a commanding lead in this race -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Jeff, thank you very much and thanks to all of you for being with us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. With the Israeli military saying troops have now surrounded Gaza City, we have been watching for most of the evening now some especially heavy airstrikes on Gaza, intense enough that CNN Military Analyst Cedric Leighton said earlier tonight said it reminded him of what they called the "shock and awe" air campaign against Iraq. Here is some of what it looked and sounded like from Sderot, just across the border from Gaza border in southern Israel.
With flares overhead for much of the time, Israeli warplanes launched wave after wave of air-to-ground guided munitions at targets in Gaza. One ripple of tightly grouped ordnance after another could be seen streaking downward, while in the background, the sound of outgoing artillery followed by thumps of the shells and warheads landing. Shortly before this latest wave of strikes began, Secretary of State
Antony Blinken left on a swing, including stops in Israel and Jordan. His message to Israel was twofold.
ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, as we said, and it's important, Israel has the right and the obligation to defend itself and, again, to try to make sure that what happened never happens again.
No country -- no country, not the United States, not anyone else that I can think of would tolerate the slaughter of its civilians. But as democracies, the United States, Israel, other democracies have a responsibility to do everything possible to protect civilians who may be caught in harm's way. And so we will be talking about concrete steps that can and should be taken to minimize harm to men, women, and children in Gaza.
COOPER: Behind the scenes, US officials tell CNN they believe there is only limited time for Israel to try to accomplish its stated objective of destroying Hamas in its current operation before uproar over humanitarian suffering and civilian casualties reaches a tipping point.
And on Capitol Hill, a Republican-controlled House tonight passed legislation providing $14.3 billion in aid to Israel. However, because it also cuts an equal amount from the IRS and does not include money for Ukraine, the bill is expected to face opposition, some of it bipartisan in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Also, today, another 20 to 25 Americans managed to make it out of Gaza and into Egypt by way of the border crossing in Rafah before Egyptian officials closed it for the day. It's all part of the picture tonight.
Nic Robertson is at the camera position in Sderot that's been trained on those images about -- over Gaza for the past several hours.
So, Nic, do we know what we were looking at and what's been going on now on the ground?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: We believe we were looking at Beit Hanoun and -- being illuminated by that sustained use of flares and also sort of military smokescreen on the ground to potentially give the IDF a little bit of freedom of movement or make their movement safer around this town.
This town, Beit Hanoun is in the most eastern corner of Gaza City. It's about -- Gaza Strip rather. It's about 2-1/2 miles from where we are.
And a little bit later on -- after that attack, there was an attack on another -- what appeared to be another town, Beit Lahia, a little bit behind Beit Hanoun. It's very hard to tell precisely what was being achieved on the
ground, but it certainly gave the impression that all the firepower that was being brought to bear, all that illumination, all that smokescreen, that this was the focus of a very intense and concerted push by Israeli forces tonight on these particular towns -- Anderson.
COOPER: What's the IDF saying about its operations in and around Gaza City?
ROBERTSON: Yes, it's saying it's at the gates of Gaza City, that it's going into Gaza City, that it has it surrounded, which really creates the impression that the IDF has actually managed to bisect the Gaza Strip, cut the north off from the south, if they have, indeed, fully surrounded Gaza City, which is larger than Beit Hanoun, more densely populated than Beit Hanoun.
And, of course, the IDF has been telling civilians there that they should move out of the way because it's dangerous. We now know that more than 9,000 civilians in Gaza have died according to the Hamas-run Palestinian health authority, more than 22,000 have been injured. And the activities -- the military activities tonight are perhaps going to contribute to that. But also, we know it's been incredibly dangerous for the IDF.
They increasingly are taking casualties. The number of soldiers who have been killed is going up. Hamas, according to the IDF, is using armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenades that puncture the heavy armor on tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. So it is very dangerous.
As it appears, Gaza City and Beit Hanoun are focuses of efforts to get in there to find the command-and-control, the headquarters of Hamas, which has been so -- and is so deeply buried underground in many circumstances, Anderson.
COOPER: And has -- have there continued to be rockets fired from Gaza into Israel?
ROBERTSON: You know, remarkably, during that intense period where there was so much firepower we saw going into Beit Hanoun, we saw rockets coming out of Gaza. It was almost -- you had to wonder under so much firepower how could Hamas do that. And I was wondering if I should doubt my eyes, but then we saw the iron dome intercept systems take off and intercept these rockets.
So remarkably, it seems despite the heavy firepower, a couple of rockets were fired out of Gaza. That said, I have to say that through the day, very, very few rockets have actually come out of Gaza that we've witnessed so today, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Nic Robertson, appreciate it from Sderot.
New video on what Israeli troops are seeing and what they -- what more they could be facing on the streets of Gaza and beneath them. CNN's Ed Lavandera has that. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Hamas propaganda video shows its fighters emerge from underground tunnels in what appears to be the northern outskirts of the most populated areas of Gaza. Hiding in the terrain, the Hamas soldiers fire away at Israeli units advancing into Gaza.
One video shows a Hamas soldier stalking an Israeli tank running up next to it and placing an explosive device on the machinery, then running away. Seconds later, the device detonates. The Hamas fighter then disappears into the ground through a trap door.
A political leader of Hamas spoke this week about the tunnel's vital role in the Hamas military strategy.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
LAVANDERA (voice over): "We have built the tunnels," he says, "because we have no other way of protecting ourselves from being targeted and killed. These tunnels," he says, "are meant to protect us from the airplanes. We are fighting from inside the tunnels."
While Israel has unleashed thousands of air strikes across Gaza since October 7th, Hamas is also trying to show off its airstrike capabilities. It released this video of a munition strike dropped from a drone over Israeli soldiers. It's not clear how many casualties it inflicted on the Israel Defense Force. Several soldiers can be seen running away from the site.
The Israel Defense Forces released this Hamas propaganda video, which captures the elaborate maze of tunnels, which stretch for dozens of miles underneath Gaza. The militant organization uses the tunnels to store weapons and to launch airstrikes towards Israel.
Veteran Israeli journalist, Shlomi Eldar, has reported on Hamas for decades. He says the underground tunnels are known as the "Gaza Metro."
SHLOMI ELDAR, VETERAN ISRAELI JOURNALIST: They're hiding there. They spend billions of dollars. They build houses, tunnels, path, and venue. It's a project. It's a huge project.
LAVANDERA (voice over): Israel says dismantling the tunnels is the only way to dismantle Hamas.
COOPER: Ed, it's fascinating to hear that interview with the Hamas official who is saying they built the tunnels to protect themselves, nothing about the civilians in Gaza who do not have bomb shelters, that Hamas has not built shelters for civilians, just for their own people.
You're in Tel Aviv tonight. What more do you know about Israel's strategy to dismantle these tunnels or fight in them, if that's what they intend to do?
LAVANDERA: Well, despite the fact that these Israeli air strikes on Gaza have generated so much controversy around the world, there's very clear indication that there is no intention of slowing down.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today that, quote, "nothing will stop us." Other officials here in the Israeli government essentially saying that this is all about a campaign to put maximum pressure on the Hamas military operation. And given what we know that that tunnel system and how vital it is to that military operation, it's hard to imagine that the Israeli military has any plans of slowing down the attack on that.
But all of this tunnel system is built around, in large part, large civilian populations. So that is the dilemma here. But it is clear there is no indication that the Israeli military forces are going to slow down the attempts to dismantle that system below ground -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ed Lavandera, thanks.
CNN Military Analyst, Retired Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling joins us now.
How effective do you think these tunnels are? I mean, that -- you know, we've seen some of the video. They've certainly been reinforced over many, many years, and a lot of money has been put into them. I mean, will IDF soldiers actually have to end up going into these tunnels, fighting in these tunnels, or will it just be an attempt to, like, crush the tunnels from above somehow?
RETIRED ARMY LIEUTENANT GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Anderson, if I can address what we've both been seeing from a soldier's perspective first, Nic Robertson has been showing some great films. Ed just showed that film of the underground tunnels.
The combat environment inside of Gaza -- Gaza City is just something that will help the senses. We can look from a faraway distance, as Nic is doing, and just see smoke, and lightning, and bombs blowing up, and artillery rounds landing.
If you're inside that area, and I believe that Israel has encircled all of Gaza City because, in urban combat, you want to control ingress and egress of your enemy into what their defensive positions are. So now they're trying to confuse Hamas soldiers in terms of where those tunnel entrances are. They're trying seek out the locations. They're trying to cause just confusion by those soldiers.
But in past wars, in 2021 and 2014, Israel was very effective in finding where those tunnels were when they were first built. They would drop smoke inside of tunnels and see where the smoke -- green smoke or purple smoke and see where the smoke came out in other buildings. So then they could get a determination of where the tunnels went, where the routes were going in and out. I don't think you're going to see a whole lot of the Israeli soldiers
going inside the tunnel, but they are going to continue to bombard those with the kinds of explosive devices that we've seen over the last couple of days to cause those tunnels to cave in and trap those that are inside.
Now as part of that, they're unfortunately going to be hitting cities where there are still civilians interspersed with Hamas fighters. That's why there's so much confusing in this area.
I was just looking at the film that Nic was showing, and I got to tell you, I wouldn't want to be in that city fighting if I were a Hamas soldier right now, because it's just utter confusion and assault on all of the senses.
You don't know where you are. You don't know where the enemy is. And even though the Israeli forces are going in with Merkava tanks, a little tip on that, those tanks have vision blocks in the driver's seat that are about this big.
So they're trying to figure out as the turret moves back and forth what they can see. They have thermal sights inside, but sometimes you just can't see through some of the smoke and rubble.
This is a horrendous fighting inside of a city. That's why soldiers don't like to fight in urban environments.
COOPER: And in -- if you are going -- if you surrounded it and you are moving -- I mean, I don't know if it's block by block, if it's, you know, house to house, do you hold a street you have moved down or do you operate and then move back to some other position?
HERTLING: Well, first, in normal tactics, you have to clear the buildings, then you secure it or hold it. The problem is, in Gaza, what we're talking about is not only the large apartment buildings or the rubbled buildings that are above the ground, you also have a subterranean city. So you also have to try and hold those locations and ensure the Hamas terrorists who are moving around in the tunnel, perhaps even with some of the hostages, are controlled in that area.
That's why the exits of those tunnels around the cities have to be destroyed. And that's why the Israeli Air Force is hitting some of these cities with these large super penetrating bombs that go 100 feet down before they explode. That's why you see the large craters that you're seeing now in the Jabalya area yesterday.
It's not because it's blowing up a lot of things, but it's penetrating the dirt up to 100 feet and then blowing up, which will collapse the tunnel. That's all part of the tactics of fighting a subterranean environment.
COOPER: Yes, collapse the tunnel and then obviously the buildings on top, as we're seeing. General Mark Hertling, thank you.
Next, more on Secretary Blinken's trip and how tonight's intensifying campaign in Gaza might affect it. [20:15:00]
Later, other news, a testimony from Eric Trump and more from Donald Trump Jr. on how they say others were to blame, not themselves for the financial statements. The judge in their New York civil case has already ruled were fraudulent. The question is now was what they said any more credible than those fraudulent statements.
COOPER: Good top of the program, Secretary of State Blinken is on the way to Israel and Jordan. He took off in the 1:00 PM&R hour from Washington. And at around 4:00 PM, Israeli forces launched what looked like significant air and artillery barrages on Gaza. The question tonight, how will it affect his mission, if it will, and the administration's aim in persuading Israel to conduct the war with an eye toward the end game.
Secretary Blinken restated that goal on the tarmac today.
ANTONY BLINKEN, US SECRETARY OF STATE: With regard to what comes next, again, I think understandably, people are very focused on the day of, not just the day after. But we do have to have conversations now about how we can best set the conditions for a durable sustainable peace, durable sustainable security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
COOPER: Some perspective now, a new reporting on how Israel's ground campaign is going. Joining us for that is Barak Ravid, political and foreign policy reporter at Axios.
Barak, how -- first of all, what do you make of what we have been witnessing over the last several hours? What are you hearing about what's going on on the ground?
BARAK RAVID, POLITICAL REPORTER AND MIDDLE EAST FOR AXIOS: Hi, good evening. I think that what we see on the ground right now is the ground operation.
Okay, until today, the IDF was inside Gaza, but it was on the outskirts of Gaza City. Today, the IDF basically broke into Gaza City, into neighborhoods like Tel el-Hawa, where a lot of the Hamas security services and headquarters are located to other neighborhoods in Gaza, to the Al-Shati refugee camp.
This is the real deal what we see right now. And at least from everything I hear from Israeli defense officials, I think they're much more satisfied than even, I would say, a bit surprised about how much progress they made so far in the ground operation.
COOPER: Progress in terms of, I mean, literally how many -- how much ground they have been able to move forward on or just with levels of ...
COOPER: ... casualties by the IDF? How do they measure that?
RAVID: I think it's twofold. One, how fast they were able to reach the places they've reached so far inside Gaza City. And second, the -- A, the amount of casualties the IDF had so far in this ground operation, it's close to 20 soldiers. That's not nothing, but I think they were concerned that the casualties will be much higher.
Israeli officials acknowledged that there will be more casualties going forward, but they thought there will be more at this stage. And on the other hand, the amount of casualties they managed to create on the other side. They claimed that hundreds of Hamas operatives were killed in the ground operation so far, and I think they sound pretty satisfied.
COOPER: This may be a dumb question, but in talking -- when you talk to sources you have in the defense forces, I mean, do they -- are they confident they know what they don't know? I mean, obviously, Hamas has had a lot of time in Gaza City to prepare for what -- since they were -- knew when the October 7th attack would be, they knew Israel would respond, and they knew what preparations they would make for an inevitable Israeli ground operation.
How concerned do people you talk to sound about what awaits them when they're fully in Gaza City?
RAVID: So first, everything that they thought will await them, awaited them. IEDs, tunnels, booby traps, everything was there.
But one thing that the IDF noticed in the ground operation was that Hamas' best soldiers participated in the October 7th attack, and most of them were killed in this attack. So right now, what the IDF is facing is, let's say, the second tier of Hamas' armed forces. And at least from what I hear from Israeli officials, it shows. Meaning, that in any engagement on the battlefield, the IDF feels that it is clear who is the stronger side, who's the -- which soldiers are more qualified. And at least again for now, they're very satisfied with the results.
COOPER: And what are you hearing about Secretary Blinken's trip, the likelihood of some sort of pause? I mean, they're not using the word "ceasefire," but talking about some sort of humanitarian pause. What's the reception to that going to be?
RAVID: So first, I got to tell you, Anderson, I -- at least, I don't think I totally understand what the Biden administration means when it says a pause, because there are a thousand different ways to interpret it.
What is clear -- and I hear it both from Israeli officials and from Biden administration officials -- is that nobody is talking about a ceasefire, meaning, a cessation of hostilities that both sides just stop everything, each side goes back to its positions. That's not going to happen.
And the question is, when you talk about humanitarian pause, for how long? Is it a six-hour pause just to get a truck from one place to the other? Is it 24-hour, a 48-hour pause to get hostages out? It's not very clear.
And I think that it's definitely an issue that Secretary Blinken is going to raise in his meetings. But I don't think that's the reason he is coming to the region.
One of the reasons he is coming to the region is to have this conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu, look him in the eye, and say, "Bibi, what's the plan for the day after?" And even though we are still in the very early stages, it's a conversation that the administration wants to have with Netanyahu.
COOPER: Are you -- is there a plan?
RAVID: No, there's no plan. And, by the way, you know, it is almost natural that there's not going to be a plan at the moment. We are really in quite early stages of this operation.
But what Blinken wants to tell Netanyahu is, listen, it's okay that you don't have a plan now, but if you're not going start thinking about one, then there might be a problem.
And another thing, even if you don't have a plan, when Israel goes on this ground operation, there may be things that Israel wouldn't want to do during the ground operation, thinking about the day after. And this is another message that Blinken will give Netanyahu.
COOPER: Barak Ravid, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
RAVID: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: More now on what Hamas has been saying to the world on Arabic language programs in the Middle East and what its spokesman and leaders are not saying when confronted with the barbarity of its attacks of civilians on October 7th. Randi Kaye has that.
(GHAZI HAMAD speaking in foreign language.)
GHAZI HAMAD, SENIOR HAMAS OFFICIAL (through translator): The existence of Israel is illogical.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Hamas trying to control the narrative. In television interviews, most of them with Arabic TV stations.
HAMAD (through translator): The existence of Israel is what causes all that pain, blood, and tears.
KAYE (voice over): That's Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official, speaking out on Lebanese TV. In the clip, he squarely blames Israel for causing the October massacre carried out by Hamas that left more than 1,400 people dead.
HAMAD (through translator): It is Israel, not us. We are victims of the occupation, period. Therefore, nobody should blame us for the things we do. On October 7th, October 10th, October one million, everything we do is justified.
We must teach Israel a lesson, and we will do this again and again. The Al-Aqsa flood is just a first time and there will be a second, a third, a fourth, because we have the determination, the resolve, and the capabilities to fight.
KAYE (voice over): Playing the role of victim, the terror organization designated a terror group by the US is trying to convince people around the world that Hamas' attack on Israel was justified. Despite its own random killing of hundreds of unarmed Israeli civilians and committing barbaric acts, one Hamas leader spun Israel's retaliation this way in a speech.
(ISMAIL HANIYEH speaking in foreign language.)
ISMAIL HANIYEH, HEAD OF THE HAMAS POLITICAL BUREAU (through translator): We assure the enemy and whoever is behind it that your pathetic attempts to conceal your own defeat by committing barbaric massacres against unarmed civilians with villainy will not save you from resounding defeat in the Al-Aqsa flood.
KAYE (voice over): And those hostages Hamas is holding in Gaza? Hamas, in trying to soften its image, now refers to them as guests.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We keep a diverse group of individuals currently under temporary custody, hailing from different nationalities. These individuals are considered our esteemed guests and our primary goal is to ensure their safety.
KAYE (voice over): This Hamas leader also used Arabic tv to make the case that Hamas didn't want to kill Israeli civilians. Despite the fact, video from the gunmen's own body cameras show them doing so on purpose and enjoying it.
(GHAZI HAMAD speaking in foreign language.)
HAMAD (through translator): We did not want to harm civilians, but there were complications on the ground, and there was a party in the area with population. It was a large area across 40 kilometers.
KAYE (voice over): And when facts get in the way of Hamas' message, like during this interview with the BBC, Hamas shuts down the interview.
HAMAD: I can't tell you that we didn't have any intention or decision to kill the civilians.
HUGO BACHEGA, BBC MIDDLE EAST CORRESPONDENT: How do you justify killing people as they sleep, you know, families? How do you justify killing? (Inaudible) ...
HAMAD: I want to stop this interview.
BACHEGA: ... in ...
HAMAD: I want to stop this interview.
KAYE (voice over): Randi Kaye, CNN New York.
COOPER: Coming up, the rise in anti-Semitism around the world in the wake of the October 7th attacks and the Israeli response has Jews in one capital city recalling the horrors of Kristallnacht. What happened, next.
COOPER: This latest chapter in the war between Israel and Hamas began with Hamas perpetrating the deadliest assault on Jewish lives since the Holocaust. What has followed has been a wave of antisemitic words and acts around the world.
Two days ago, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate panel that antisemitism in this country is reaching what he called historic levels. Tomorrow, Cornell University is canceling classes to acknowledge what they call the extraordinary stress of the week.
Three days ago, a student there was arrested for allegedly posting online threats to kill members of the university's Jewish community. And it's by no means only happening here in the U.S. CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports tonight from Vienna, Austria.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Valuable Torah scrolls and prayer books reduced to ashes after an arson attack on this ceremonial hall on the Jewish part of Vienna's main cemetery. The last time this very hall was set on fire was almost to the day, 85 years ago, by the Nazis on Kristallnacht, Chief Rabbi Jaron Engelmayer tells me.
(on-camera): How big is the damage, not just in terms of obviously the room itself, but spiritually for you, for the Jewish community here?
JARON ENGELMAYER, CHIEF RABBIE OF THE IKG VIENNA: I think it takes us back to times where the books were burned and it is an attack on the spiritual values of the religion and of humanity, which happened here.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): A swastika on the outer wall leaves few questions about the antisemitic nature of the attack.
ENGELMAYER: It should worry us, all of the people in the free world about what's going on in the streets right now. And antisemitic attacks are just the top of the -- what's going on.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Since Hamas' October 7th attack on southern Israel, murdering more than 1,400 people and kidnapping hundreds, and Israel's military response in Gaza, which has also caused many casualties, antisemitic incidents have skyrocketed by about 300 percent in Austria, the head of Vienna's Jewish community tells me.
OSKAR DEUTSCH, HEAD OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF VIENNA: We are anxious, we are -- people are thinking about their life. The first thinking is, is Jewish life possible in Austria? The second thinking is, is Jewish life possible in Europe or in the world?
ALL: Free, free, Palestinian.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): With pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel demos sweeping across the continent, Jewish groups say antisemitism is not only getting more prevalent, but uglier.
From plastering stars of David on Jewish homes in Paris, to a Molotov cocktail attack on one of the main synagogues in Berlin. And near daily assaults and insults in various European countries. Today, just hours after the cemetery attack, Vienna's Jewish community hosted Israelis whose relatives were killed or kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was cousin --
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Tal Yeshurun's family, four murdered, seven kidnapped. Tal lives in Europe, but while he's publicly advocating for the hostages in everyday life, he feels he has to hide his Jewish identity.
YESHURUN: Not to be associated with anything written in Hebrew, not to speak Hebrew. Not to go to places where considered Jewish, like a synagogue or things like that.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): While many European leaders have come out strongly against the rising tide of antisemitism, the head of the European Jewish Association says it's not enough.
RABBI MENACHEM MARGOLIN, CHAIRMAN OF THE EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION: We know exactly when we are in danger, and we are now in danger. European leaders, we need you right now to act. Never again is now, not tomorrow, not next week, is now.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): But as much as there is fear, there's also a sense of defiance. Rabbi Engelmayer himself painting over the Nazi slurs on the cemetery wall, eager to show his Jewish community will not be intimidated by antisemitic attacks.
(END VIDEOTAPE) PLEITGEN: You know, Anderson, the Jewish community here in Austria, they do tell me that they are very happy with the response that they got from the Austrian government. They say the Austrian chancellor came out strong in their favor and condemned that attack. And if we look, for instance, to Germany, that government today actually banned Hamas on this very day.
Nevertheless, the Jewish communities here across Europe are saying that they do feel antisemitism is very much on the rise, and that they are feeling increasingly unsafe. Anderson?
COOPER: Fred Pleitgen, thank you.
Coming up next, not one, but two of Donald Trump's sons taking the stand in New York City, in New York's civil fraud case facing the family business. Some tense moments as they responded to accusations of repeatedly lying about the value of the company's assets. Live report from the courthouse next.
COOPER: In a New York courtroom today, the former president's two adult sons took the stand in the civil fraud case against the Trump family business. Important testimony from both, who helped run the organization while their father was in the White House. They, along with the former president and other executives, are accused of overvaluing properties to win favorable loan terms from banks.
The judge in the case has already ruled that annual financial statements submitted to banks and insurance companies, quote, "clearly contained fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business".
Well testimony today from Eric Trump grew tense at times as he was pressed about his understanding of his father's financial statements. Earlier in the day, his older brother Donald Trump Jr. wrapped up his second day of testimony, repeatedly saying the company's accountants, not him, handled the financial statements.
CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now from the courthouse. So how did the testimony unfold?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Anderson, began with Donald Trump Jr. on the stand, and he was confident deferring all of the expectations and blame on the financial statements onto the accountants. And then when his brother, Eric Trump, took the stand, it became much more tense and a bit more combative.
Well, Donald Trump Jr. had said it was the accountants. Eric Trump took it further, saying that he was unaware of the financial statements at the heart of this case, and the ones that, as you said, the judge has already found to be fraudulent. He said he wasn't aware of this until the attorney general's investigation came to fruition. So after he made that statement, that is when the lawyer for the state then spent about an hour and 15 minutes going through email, some of them dating back to 2010, with references to the financial statements, including one where Eric Trump provides an internal accountant with a valuation for a golf course of $200 million, pressing him, saying, do you want to change your testimony? Do you now want to admit that these were financial statements that you were aware of them?
But Eric Trump dug in, grew agitated at times his voice rising, saying that he did not know about these financial statements, that were his father's, trying to draw a distinction between the financial statements that are at the issue in the case and saying just other financial statements that the company may have produced.
Now he was also saying that even if he spoke to internal accountants about some of these properties, he said it never registered to him that it would be used in the financial statements that were given to banks. So his testimony is expected to continue tomorrow, and then next week it will be Donald Trump taking the stand on Monday, followed by Ivanka Trump on Wednesday. Anderson?
COOPER: And the judge took issue today with a comment from one of Trump's attorneys related to the court clerk. What happened there?
SCANNELL: Right. So Donald Trump was being -- excuse me, Eric Trump was still being questioned and then one of his attorneys had objected to the line of questioning and had made a reference to the clerk that sits right beside the judge passing a note to him, objecting to that saying that it appeared to be biased and improper.
Now, the judge got upset with that. He pounded his fists on the bench, saying that he is -- that Trump's attorney is not to speak about his clerk, saying that he is tempted to even extend the gag order in this case, which currently only applies to Trump, saying he can't talk about any court staff, but threatening to extend it even further.
Now, Trump's attorney saying that he was just trying to make a record. They're building this record in this case for their -- what they expect to be an appeal of this decision when it ultimately comes out. But certainly, a tense moment and something that we'll look to see if it carries over into tomorrow. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Kara Scannell, thanks.
Next, John King continues his 360 series all over the map with a stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We're concerned over black voter turnout next November has the attention of the Biden campaign. That's next.
COOPER: John King is back tonight with another installment of our 360 series all over the map, leading up to the 2024 presidential election, where he talks to voters in battleground states about the issues that really matter to them. And for tonight's report, he traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where high turnout is key for Democrats in the state's largest city. Nearly 40 percent of Milwaukee's population is black, a crucial voting bloc. But voter frustration could be a problem for the Biden camp. John King joins us now with more.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Frustration is an understatement, Anderson. Remember how important black voters were. They rescued Joe Biden's candidacy in the 2020 primaries. That's why he flipped the calendar and put South Carolina first. He won more than nine out of 10 black votes in the general election, critical in the big battleground states against Donald Trump.
One of them was Wisconsin, a foundational element of the president's coalition, and one year out, let's go to Milwaukee. He's in trouble.
KING (voice-over): Devonta Johnson is a foot soldier for democracy in one of its most crucial battlegrounds.
DEVONTA JOHNSON, CANVASSER, BLACK LEADERS ORGANIZING FOR COMMUNITIES: Hello, I'm Devontae for BLOC, Black Leaders Organizing for Community.
KING (voice-over): This stop is encouraging.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so happy that it's a black man out here that's going from door to door.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's a tough one.
KING (voice-over): Fellow organizer Des Woods, though, gets the response far more common these days.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't talk about the elections.
KING (voice-over): Woods is trained to keep trying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So are you not a voter?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I want to and right now I don't want to.
KING (voice-over): The predominantly black neighborhoods on Milwaukee's north side can look and feel forgotten.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the main things you care about --
KING (voice-over): The canvassers meet often and share what they are hearing. Good paying jobs are scarce. Rent is up. The streets used to be cleaner and safer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you all hear people say, it ain't nothing happening, it won't affect us, it don't? Raise your hand. Raise your hand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. All they be saying is like, ain't no change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we see all these other areas.
KING (voice-over): BLOC founder Angela Lang outlines this week's agenda and next November stakes.
ANGELA LANG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLACK LEADERS ORGANIZING FOR COMMUNITIES: There's no way to win a statewide election that doesn't run through the black community. What happens in Milwaukee can impact the rest of the state which ultimately can impact the rest of the country. No pressure.
KING (voice-over): The president was last here in August for a green energy event, and this old industrial site is being cleaned up with Biden infrastructure money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putting in the work for black America.
KING (voice-over): But early spending on radio and TV ads targeting black voters is proof the campaign sees the problem. Those ads don't mention one issue critical here.
LANG: People are wondering, what is he doing in terms of police accountability and criminal justice reform.
KING (voice-over): Lang also says the president better show up more.
LANG: People always want to see -- people actually paying attention. And sometimes that means being able to physically be here and engage.
KING (voice-over): Black turnout soared here in the Obama years, but it dropped in 2016 and was flat in 2020.
(on-camera): On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you grade the Joe Biden presidency in terms of its impact on your life and your community?
DAVETTE BAKER, MILWAUKEE VOTER: A four?
KING (on-camera): A four?
BAKER: Yes, and I love Joe.
KING (voice-over): Davette Baker, though, sees a reason for optimism.
BAKER: The alternative is the man whose name I try not to say.
KING (on-camera): Well, I'll say it. When we sit -- as we sit here today, the likely alternative is Donald Trump?
KING (on-camera): Would that be enough to motivate people, even if maybe they're a little on Biden? BAKER: I think so.
KING (voice-over): Joanna Brooks is one such voter. She owns a yoga studio, just across the Milwaukee line in Glendale.
JOANNA BROOKS, MILWAUKEE VOTER: All right, Shaw (ph).
KING (voice-over): Like many we met in the city, Brooks says black voters get taken for granted.
BROOKS: Black people in general, I think, tend to be pretty loyal to the Democratic Party. And sometimes I wonder just based on how that party has performed thus far for people of color, if we should continue to be.
KING (voice-over): But Brooks says that accountability exercise must wait until after 2024 because of constant Republican attacks on abortion rights and voting rights.
BROOKS: I grew up almost certain that my rights were guaranteed, right? I took it for granted. And now, as I sit and watch the work of so many black folks during the civil rights movement so many women who fought for women's rights, when I see all of their work slowly being undone, that was a wake-up call for me for sure. You have to fight.
KING (voice-over): Eric Jones is no Trump fan, but he thinks it's foolish to bet on Trump motivating black turnout.
ERIC JONES, MILWAUKEE VOTER: I get people saying they're not going to vote. That's my fear. That if they see those two and they're going to say, screw it. We're damned anyway.
KING (voice-over): We met Jones at the 5th anniversary of the Bronzeville Collective. Several local artists sell their goods here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
KING (voice-over): It is a source of smiles and hope in a community often defined by poverty and a high incarceration rate.
E. JONES: When the factories and the manufacturing left, jobs left. When jobs leave and opportunities leave, then you have certain things that are domino effects, right?
KING (voice-over): Jones says the president should stop by and learn a lesson.
E. JONES: You bring opportunities, you bring jobs, you get votes. Plain and simple.
KING (voice-over): For the president, it is the mood a year from now that matters most. But the mood today is bleak.
(on-camera): If you're Joe Biden and you want to be re-elected, he'd have a problem today, right?
JOHNSON: Yes, he would. He'll have a big problem.
KING (voice-over): Johnson's work could well help the president. But listen.
(on-camera): If it were just Biden and Trump, who would you vote for?
JOHNSON: That's just a tough one.
KING (voice-over): A young man who says the country needs big change, determined to boost Milwaukee's black turnout. Yet, not sure who gets his vote.
COOPER: John, where else besides Wisconsin will black voters be crucial for President Biden?
KING: Well, everywhere, Anderson, because they're such a big part of his coalition. But let me just give you five states. There's Wisconsin, where we just were in Michigan. Here's Pennsylvania. Here's Georgia. Even out in Arizona.
Why do I circle those five states? Let's go back in time. Donald Trump won them all in 2016. It's not just black voters. Joe Biden did better in the suburbs. Joe Biden in 2020 did better with some working -- white working class voters. But to keep these blue, part of it is turning out black voters.
Look at the percentage, in Georgia, 32 percent. Nearly a third of the eligible voters in Georgia are black. In Michigan, it's 13 percent. Pennsylvania, 10 percent. Wisconsin, 6 percent. And in Arizona, 5 percent. These are just five of the most critical states for him to get his electoral math again.
And again, we've placed phone calls into some of these places, but when we were in Milwaukee and heard it on the streets, Anderson, it's not all about Biden, but people are just despondent. And when you hear older black women say, I might not vote, that better be a wake-up call to the president or he's in trouble.
COOPER: Yes, John stayed there. I want to bring in CNN Political Commentator Van Jones, a former special adviser to President Obama. How concerned, Van, are you about enthusiasm levels for President Biden among black voters?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There's no word big enough of the amount of concern because people are just hurt. It's remarkable. I think when you remember 2008 the hope and 2016, the determination, 2020 -- 2016, people kind of took their foot off the gas with Hillary Clinton.
I think that police reform, nothing. Criminal justice reform, nothing. Voting rights, nothing. Like the things that black people came out and voted for and voted about, George Floyd, the John Lewis civil rights, nothing has gotten done on the black card. And so it's starting to feel like, wow, like, you know, the economy isn't that good and our issues didn't get taken seriously and what are we supposed to do?
And I also think that people think that black people are going to be single issue voters. We don't like Donald Trump. I don't think that's smart. There might be some black single issue anti-Trump voters, but you also got people who are having problems filling up their gas tank and they've got other stuff that they're concerned about.
So I -- look, John King has put his finger on exactly what is happening across the board. You're hearing in every black church, every black community center, every barbershop, every nail salon, exactly what he found.
COOPER: Van, I mean, to your point, there was the guy in John's story who said that it would be foolish for people to think that Trump will motivate voters, but black voters to turn out for Biden.
V. JONES: Look, there will be some people like, you know, just not liking Trump is enough. But there's other people who feel like, man, like, what do we have to do? We stand in these long lines for hours and hours and hours. You know, we're getting gerrymandered. We have to fight so hard just to vote. And then the neighborhood's not any better.
And then affirmative action gets taken away. And then the voting rights is worse. And the gerrymandering is worse. And nothing is happening. So, I'm just saying, this is the moment right now. After a campaign and, you know, people have got a chance to go out there and make the arguments and really get close to making the comparison, it may change, it could shift. There's a fight to be had.
But I just want people to know, you're not starting from a 2008-2012 Barack Obama high enthusiasm from black voters, you're starting from the opposite. If you don't know that, you're not going to appoint -- you're not going to volunteer right, you're not going to donate right and the Democrats are going to be caught sleeping at the wheel.
COOPER: And John, you heard that from voters you talked to that, you know, they'd hope for a voting rights bill or police reform or criminal justice reform, something.
KING: Everything, the older black voters, women are often the glue in these black communities, Anderson. When you hear women say, you know, people died for my right to vote, and then women had the right to vote, and I might not vote? I mean, it's stunning.
And it actually, like, it blows away the organizers who have done this in campaign after campaign after campaign. One of the reasons this block group is out there now every day is they understand how tough the challenge is. You know, Van has done this for a living.
They're knocking every week. They do neighborhood cleanups. They do everything to be in touch with these people because they know everyone's going to be knocking and calling and texting next November and they want to be the familiar face. But I'm telling you, we knew it was bad from our phone calls before we went out there. It is. It is beyond bleak.
It's -- you heard the young black man, Devonta Johnson right there, not sure who he's going to vote for.
KING: Might vote for Trump. Voted third party last time. Older black women saying, I might not vote. For an older black woman to say that after all they've lived through, it just tells you everything about their despondency, their disappointment.
They look around and they don't see change and they also don't see the president. He better get out there.
COOPER: John King, Van Jones, thank you. We'll be right back.
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