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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Israel Admits Airstrike Outside Hospital; Federal Court Temporarily Freezes Trump's Gag Order In Election Interference Case; US Surveillance Drones Flying Over Gaza To Help With Hostage Search; Gag Order Against Trump In Jan. 6 Case On Hold; Eric Trump: Dad Is "Fired Up" To Testify In NY Civil Fraud Case On Monday; Egypt: 353 Foreign Nationals Left Gaza Today; WH: At Least 79 Americans Have Left Gaza; U.S. Surveillance Drones Flying Over Gaza To Help With Search For Estimated 240 Hostages, Including 10 Americans; Pres. Biden & First Lady Honor Victims In Lewiston, ME. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 03, 2023 - 20:00   ET


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: He also worked with a group that promoted gay conversion therapy.

Our KFILE unearthing an op-ed from Johnson in 2004, where he claimed same sex marriage would lead to people marrying their pets.

Earlier today, my colleague, John Berman, he spoke to Secretary Buttigieg and asked him for his response.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, US DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I will admit it's a little bit difficult, driving the family minivan to drop our kids off at daycare, passing the dome of the Capitol knowing that the Speaker of the House sitting under that dome who doesn't even think our family ought to exist.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for joining us. AC 360 starts job.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Major developments in Israel's fight with Hamas today as international pressure now grows to curb civilian casualties.

I'm John King, in for Anderson.

We will have the latest from our reporters on the ground in just a moment. First, though, some breaking news here in the states.

A federal appeals court siding with the former president on that limited gag order issued against him in the special counsel's election interference case.

Let's get straight to our chief legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid.

Paula, exactly what did this appeals court do?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, here, John, they put this gag order on hold and then in a little over two weeks, a three-judge panel will hear arguments about whether this gag order is constitutional.

Now, Judge Tanya Chutkan, she is the federal judge overseeing the election subversion case here in Washington, she imposed a broader set of restrictions on former President Trump at the request of prosecutors and those restrictions bar him from targeting witnesses in the case, members of the court staff, and the special counsel's office.

But Trump's lawyers have argued that this was unconstitutional, that as a candidate for office, there's a very high bar for restricting his speech. But Judge Chutkan has said, look, your First Amendment yields to the orderly administration of justice.

She said in one of the court hearings, she said, look, I have a trial to oversee here and I can't have him attacking people who are just trying to do their jobs or comply with their civic duty.

So in just a few weeks, this will go before this panel. One the panel will be two judges appointed by former President Barack Obama and one appointed by President Joe Biden.

KING: So you say that panel, Paula, in a few weeks, what are the practical implications of now -- between now and then for the former president?

REID: Well, John, this is a test. This is a test of the judicial system. He is not bound by these restrictions, but if he starts to violate them, he's really going to help make the government's case for them and that's exactly what's already happened here.

Judge Chutkan already put a pause on her own gag order while these appeals played out. And what did he do? He made a series of statements attacking, among others, key witnesses in the case, so it was reinstated. So he has a choice here, whether he wants to resume these attacks and help the state make its case.

But this larger question, John, of the extent to which you can restrict the speech of someone who is running for the White House, who is also a defendant across multiple jurisdictions. This has never been contemplated by the courts before, so this is something that could potentially make its way all the way to the Supreme Court.

Now, whether they want to get involved in this. That's an open question.

KING: We will find out soon enough, I suspect.

Paul Reid, thank you so much. And we're going to have much more tonight on the legal issues facing the former president and his family, specifically, their testimony in the New York civil fraud case that threatens their business empire, that's just ahead.

Now, though, the Israeli-Hamas war, and we want to warn you, this was a bloody graphic scene outside the largest hospital in Gaza today after an Israeli airstrike on a nearby ambulance.


KING: The Israeli military confirms it struck the ambulance near the Al-Shifa Hospital. Doctors tell CNN that hospital already overcrowded because they say civilians view the hospitals as relatively safe.

The IDF claims the ambulance was "being used by Hamas" and then a number of Hamas operatives were killed in that strike.

Officials at the Hamas run Health Ministry say 15 were killed and dozens wounded in the ambulance attack. Now CNN cannot confirm either of those claims.

The Health Ministry also says the ambulance was part of a medical convoy headed toward Gaza's southern border. The International Committee of the Red Cross says it was made aware of the convoy, but was not a part of it.

The strike comes days after two separate strikes on the largest refugee camp in Gaza and late word tonight that Israel could soon be changing tactics in the coming days.

A senior Biden administration official telling CNN, they expect Israel's air campaign to "decrease" in what we've seen. The officials say there will be "more of a tactical focus on the ground campaign." It will be aimed, those officials say, at clearing out the tunnels under Gaza that Hamas operates.

The ambulance attack coming the same day that the United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the region. Here he is with the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog.

Blinken also spent time with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel's war cabinet before he headed to Jordan.


Secretary Blinken stressing the need to protect Palestinian civilians. However, Netanyahu said today he opposes any ceasefire, even a temporary one unless Hamas frees all hostages that it holds.

Violence also today in Israel, a CNN camera crew was in Sderot near the border with Gaza and recorded one of at least two rocket attacks on the Israeli city.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS] KING: That strike hitting the courtyard of a kindergarten. Shrapnel hit windows and several nearby cars. No injuries, though reported. No casualties, excuse me.

Nic Robertson is in Sderot and has been seeing rockets fired out of Gaza toward central Israel and intercepted just this evening. He joins us now with the latest on this war.

Nic, you were in Sderot when those rockets landed? What more can you tell us?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Interestingly, John, they landed right at 6:00 PM. We think they were probably mortars, not rockets. They appear to have been targeting the journalists on the top of the hill where our CNN team was located. Quite a collection of journalists there.

Hamas has tried to target them before. The type of weapon they're using, it is very hard to detect. The sirens went off in the town, however, it's not unusual to see Hamas fire rockets or mortars at the top of the hour, because they know a lot of journalists are broadcasting.

They believe if they can hit them, then that will get on international news and that is the sort of inertia that they would like to do, to have a strike that scores big hits for them and civilian casualties. That appears to have been what they were aiming for tonight, it didn't work out, luckily, no one was hurt there -- John.

KING: And Nic, what more do you know about that airstrike near the Al- Shifa Hospital in Gaza?

ROBERTSON: Yes, as you said, the International Committee for the Red Cross said they were aware that a humanitarian convoy of ambulances was being organized from the hospital, that's what the hospital officials say was happening.

They were due to head to the south of Gaza, where Israeli officials have said there's a humanitarian zone set up for them to go to. Of course, many Palestinians in Gaza don't really feel that it's safe to travel the roads right now because there is such a strong presence of ground troops, IDF ground troops in the area.

But what this was, the IDF say was specifically targeting Hamas operatives who were hiding inside an ambulance with weapons and they say their strike was successful.

The total number now of civilian casualties is over 9,000 according to the Hamas-led Ministry of Health in Gaza and more than 22,000 civilians injured.

It's perhaps not the sort of strike that the Israeli Defense Forces would have liked to have happened when Secretary Blinken was delivering a message to the country and the understanding of the White House now that the IDF would try to use less airstrikes and more ground operations. We are listening and standing near northern Gaza and there has been a significant number of strikes -- airstrikes in northern Gaza tonight. In fact, the IDF says the way that it operates there at the moment is for the troops on the ground to call in airstrikes when they locate Hamas targets.

It will be a significant and perhaps dangerous for the troops on the ground, changing tactics to minimize the airstrikes. So it's significant, that we're still hearing gun battles and hearing fights behind us at the northern end of Gaza knowing that the IDF has been in there for a week, yet is still fighting battles on the ground with tanks and machine guns.

It hasn't taken control of that area yet. It signifies just how big a job they have yet to do in the rest of the Gaza Strip -- John.

KING: Nic, as you noted, Secretary Blinken in the region, White House officials saying they expect some change in Israeli strategy, but from what you're seeing, at least right now, anything of note yielded from this trip?

ROBERTSON: It's more public pressure on the Israeli government to change. Look, you know, I think just a few days ago, we heard from Prime Minister Netanyahu saying absolutely no ceasefire whatsoever. No ceasefire. We're going to continue the mission to the end.

Now, he's saying no ceasefire without the release of all the hostages. Is that movement. We know that's been the trade that's been worked out in the background. All the hostages really that's a huge expectation for Hamas to handover IDF soldiers as well as US nationals civilian that they are holding, but that seems to be where we're at. Is there some ground to be covered here? The trade is on the table?

The humanitarian aid is coming in a bit better. The IDF says no fuel will go into Gaza. The hospitals are stuttering to a halt without that fuel. We're reaching that kind of impasse where everyone knows what the other side wants. Is there a deal to be done? And I think that's an open question.


Have we seen significant change here? Maybe the battle slowed down, but we've heard heavy shelling, heavy impacts in Gaza City, as I was saying gunfights and shelling and missiles behind us here in the north of Gaza this evening as well. It doesn't feel to me that much has changed on the ground yet. Of course, it could.

I think the window though, and that's pertinent to Secretary Blinken's message today, the window for Israel to continue operations as they are, that is definitely closing.

KING: Nic Robertson on the ground for us. Appreciate it very much. Thank you, Nic.

Some perspective now on those airstrikes by Israel in areas with very heavy civilian populations. I'm joined by Michael Oren. He's Israel's former ambassador to the United States.

Ambassador Oren, thanks for your time.

As we see, as the world sees images like the strikes on the Gaza refugee camp in recent days, or the ambulance strike in Gaza today, do you think Israel is going to have to adjust its strategy when it comes to the civilian casualties in this conflict?

MICHAEL OREN, ISRAEL'S FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: I don't think so, John. I don't think Israel can.

Keep in mind we're dealing with enemy here who is using its own population as human shields, that's what Hamas does, it is preventing Palestinian civilians from fleeing to the relative safety of the south, and is particularly concentrating them around their headquarters, which are located under hospitals and under schools.

So in order to get at those headquarters, Israel would have no choice but to destroy those buildings and hope the Palestinian civilians will get out, they are still sending tens of thousands of leaflets. We're sending text messages by the hundreds of thousands.

We're sending these like non-lethal projectiles onto buildings. It's called knock-knock. It hits the building, let's the people know in the building that the building is about to be hit and hope that Palestinians will get out. Hamas doesn't always let them get out. And I just do not think at all that Israel can or will stop because we have to destroy Hamas, or we ourselves will die.

KING: Point taken, but you hear the conversation around the world. Help us with just today's diplomatic events. Put them in perspective. What do we take away? What do you take away from the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu appeared to say no to Secretary of State Blinken after he visited today?

OREN: Not surprising, because among the Israeli population, the notion of a of a humanitarian pause is very unpopular.

Keep in mind, we have the families of 240 hostages who've been taken by Hamas. The humanitarian assistance, if you will, in Gaza, is their only leverage to get back from Hamas, some indication of the whereabouts of their loved ones, even whether their loved ones are in captivity. Many of these families don't even know whether their loved ones are in captivity or if they are missing, to have the Red Cross visit the hostages, nothing. Israel have no leverage.

So we have internal politics as American have internal politics and I think that there's also a fear that any aid that gets into Gaza will find its way into Hamas, and why supply our enemy with vital supplies that will only cost us in terms of our soldiers' lives.

KING: Sometimes words used by diplomats matter. Help us understand here. Is there a difference in your view between what the United States calls a humanitarian pause and what the Prime Minister calls a temporary ceasefire? OREN: It's a good very good question. A pause is essentially a temporary ceasefire. It depends whether it's geographically located, and you can have a pause in a certain part, for example, of southern Gaza for a certain population that is missing a certain degree of food or medicine.

And I think it's very important to point out, John, that I'm not a spokesman for the state of Israel. I'm a private citizen today. And I understand where Secretary of State Blinken is coming from, America has internal politics.

I understand the administration is under increasing pressure from its own party, certainly from international partners about the rising civilian casualty rate in Gaza and so I understand where he's coming from. And I hope that Israel would find a way at some point to let these pauses and these limited corridors go through.

At the end of the day, I think it's in Israel's interest as well, because we have to create time and space for our army to do what it has to do, which is basically save this country.

And we can't -- we won't have the time and space if international pressure is mounting for a ceasefire and a ceasefire means Hamas wins. As simple as that. A ceasefire means Hamas gets away with mass murder.

KING: I accept the point. You're a private citizen now, but you're very well plugged in in Israeli politics and with the Israeli government.

We have seen the release of some hostages since the war began. Any leeway in your view in the Israeli position that all hostages would have to be released before a ceasefire or a much broader pause is possible?

OREN: I think the significance is again here, diplomatic language counts. I think the prime minister was saying that pause would be considered were the hostages to be released or if the Red Cross could visit the hostages, and I want to be very careful here because again, I'm not a spokesman, that's what I understood from his remarks. There has should be some kind of quid pro quo.


KING: The question is, is there anyone who could help? As you know, from Israel, Secretary Blinken went on to Jordan to meet with Arab regional partners about security, trying to make some progress in the release of hostages. This is one of the defining questions. Do you think there is anybody, any other country, any other entity that has the type of leverage with Hamas to make that happen?

OREN: Qatar. Qatar. Qatar. Qatar -- three answers. Qatar is the godfather of Hamas. Qatar hosts some of the leading figures in Hamas. It is the bank role of Hamas in many ways.

So America has influence over Qatar. America has a major naval base in Qatar. Qatar has major business interests in the United States. I think that pressure be put on Qatar to at least let the Red Cross visit these hostages.

KING: Ambassador Michael Oren, grateful for your time, sir. Thank you.

OREN: Thank you, John.

KING: While the United States pushes for a diplomatic solution we are learning today the American military is flying drones over Gaza to help locate the more than 240 hostages still missing.

Oren Liebermann joins us from the Pentagon with that reporting.

Oren, what have you learned about this mission for the US drones?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: John, these drones fit into the bigger effort from the Biden administration and from the military to try to help Israel in any way it can when it comes to the intel aspect and the planning aspect of the hostage rescue effort.

We've seen flight tracks on flight tracking websites showing what are unidentified aircraft on the flight tracking websites, but what we have since learned from multiple US officials are American drones circling repeatedly over southern Gaza in an attempt to try to gather any sort of information, anything that can help the US and Israel identify where the hostages are or where a hostage rescue effort could or should proceed.

Now it's unclear if there has been any breakthrough on that. We haven't heard that they've located the hostages or gotten a clear sense of where they are, but that effort continues and it has been ongoing since October 7th, again, to try to help in any way possible, to try to move forward the hostage rescue effort.

Now, it is important to note, these are unarmed surveillance drones. They are not part of targeting, so they're not passing targeting info on to the Israelis are intel used in targeting.

It is solely and narrowly used to try to gather intel to try to find some sort of progress in the effort to rescue hostages -- John.

KING: To that end, tell us more about the MQ-9 Reaper drone, is that what we're talking about here? And who in the United States military is responsible for flying them over Gaza?

LIEBERMANN: What should be clear is that the drones over Gaza, we are not clear if they are MQ-9 Reaper drones, but they probably are and that's because a pair of drones, we saw off the coast of Lebanon were MQ-9 Reaper drones, according to a US official. So it's likely the same type of asset.

These are advanced and sophisticated surveillance drones capable of picking up a number of different kinds of signals, so effectively, this is exactly what you want flying over Gaza to see if you can get any sort of Intel.

They also have a long loiter time, so they're able to stay there and gather any sort of signals, any sort of intelligence possible to try to move that effort forward in terms of again, the hostage rescue effort.

KING: Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon. Thank you so much.

And there's still much more to come tonight.

The head of Hezbollah hasn't made a public speech in about 17 years. Well today, he uttered his first words in public praising the October 7th attacks and he spoke about whether the war Israel is fighting could escalate beyond Israel's northern border, where of course Hezbollah is located.

Also, more tonight on the former First Family's legal issues. Eric Trump testified today and we will tell you what he said about his father doing the same thing next week in their New York civil fraud trial.



KING: Israel's military says it is on a "very high level of alertness" at its northern border with Lebanon. While skirmishes occur almost daily, the announcement comes a day after an unusually strong exchange of fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah, and after the leader of Hezbollah today made his first public remarks since 2006, praising the October 7th attack on Israel.


HASSAN NASRALLAH, HEZBOLLAH SECRETARY GENERAL (through translator): It was an action that was heroic, brave, innovative, and it was very well-executed. It was great. It was a huge earthquake in the region.


KING: Nasrallah also threatened the possibility -- a possibility of an escalation of fighting on Israel's northern border, but he did not directly state that Hezbollah is planning to launch a larger fight.

Let's get to CNN chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto.

Jim, you've been in that region for quite some time. You've seen the skirmishes day-to-day. What is the current state of play? And how is the Nasrallah remarks being interpreted? You could read them any number of ways.

JIM SCIUTTO CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, there was an enormous amount of anticipation in advance of this speech. Fear even here in northern Israel that Nasrallah would announce a major escalation in this war. We were in the midst of Israeli live fire exercises yesterday, preparing for the possibility of an escalation.

We saw Israeli military leaders saying they were on a very high state of alert, we witnessed that high state of alert here. We were on a hillside in a northern city earlier today where they were posting lookouts to look for potential rocket strikes.

In the end, Nasrallah said that such an escalation is on the table in his words, but he did not order it yet. He said that it would depend on Israeli military action, Israelis' decisions going forward. That's notable because you may remember that the concern had been if and when Israel began major ground operations inside Gaza, that that might be the trigger. In fact, we've seen the beginning of major ground operations inside Gaza and that has not triggered that major response from Hezbollah yet.

I will tell you, though, that that does not mean that the alarm here is gone. You still have large swaths of the northern part of this country that have been evacuated. Those people are not going home anytime soon and those 70,000 Israeli forces that have been stationed on the border in anticipation of such an escalation, they're not leaving either -- John.

KING: Jim Sciutto, thanks so much for that reporting.

Let's add to it now with perspective, from Rami Igra. He is a former chief of hostages at MIA unit of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

Rami grateful for your time tonight. As we mentioned, the IDF says the Israeli military is on "very high level of alertness" at that northern border. Where do you see this headed there? Especially after the Nasrallah speech?


RAMI IGRA, FORMER CHIEF OF HOSTAGES AT MIA UNIT OF THE MOSSAD: Nasrallah's speech was very interesting in many respects. One thing is, Nasrallah is telling us that he was not pre-informed of the Hamas operation in Israel. He and the Iranian, his backers, did not know anything about what Hamas did.

He reiterated that this is a Palestinian question, and it is not a Lebanese question. He really, in many ways, disconnected himself from what's happening in the Gaza Strip.

But he said, we have been there in the war since the 8th of October, which is true in a way. They have been in light skirmishes, and they have been put down by the Israeli army, as your correspondent said before, which is stationed there.

Nasrallah, it looks like, he does not want to be connected. Nonetheless, Nasrallah, like Hamas is not predictable and Israelis should take his words with a pinch of salt and see what happens.

KING: That's the interesting and fascinating point, because you could read what he said a couple of different ways, so what do you see as the threat, the possible threat from Hezbollah, and we have so many Israeli troops on the northern border, which obviously could be used in Gaza if you thought it was safe to do that.

But the IDF at least at the moment does not think that's the smart move. What's your assessment?

IGRA: I don't think that the IDF needs any more troops in the Gaza Strip. There's enough troops down there. Remember, Gaza City is not a very big place. There are enough troops there. They're working slowly. It's a war of attrition.

The Hamas is underground and coming out once in a while from the piers and being -- and fighting the Israeli troops. In the north, you have to remember that even though Hezbollah has a huge amount of rockets, that Hezbollah is a much stronger force than Hamas is. Israel has been a bigger wars in the past.

If you rethink of the 1973 War, the 1973 War was against two major armies and with all due respect to Hamas and Hezbollah, we can deal with them, we wouldn't like to do it, but we can deal with it.

I would like to also add to your conversation before about the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas -- the major objective of Hamas now is to go back to a ceasefire. Hamas wants to go back into the old paradigm of rounds of fighting. They will fight us, we will let them regroup and they will come back.

Israel is not going to allow this and it's not going to allow even the small pause that Secretary Blinken asked for and the reason is very simple. Hamas right now is underground. Hamas doesn't know what's happening above ground.

Having a pause, even if it's for several hours will change Hamas' sight of what's happening and its fighting tactics. Not only that, Hamas will use any pause for propaganda. They will bring in reporters from all over the world and try to market their fake news like today's fake news about the ambulance.

KING: Rami Igra, interesting perspective. Really appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.

Up next for us, more on our breaking news here in the states on the gag order against the former president now on hold in the special counsel's January 6 case and what Eric Trump said today about his father testifying next week in the New York civil fraud case against the Trump family business.



KING: Again, our breaking news from the top of the hour. A federal appeals court temporarily froze the gag order against former President Trump in the special counsel's election interference case, while the appeals court considers his claim that those restrictions violate his First Amendment rights.

Until then, Mr. Trump allowed to speak freely about the case and criticized witnesses, prosecutors, and court staff. Meanwhile, at a courthouse here in New York today, after two days of testimony, Eric Trump said his father is, quote, "fired up" to take the stand on Monday in that $250 million civil fraud trial against the Trump family business.

The former president's daughter, Ivanka, who was not part of the lawsuit, will also testify next week after she failed in a bid to get that testimony pushed off. The judge in this case has already ruled there was, quote, "persistent and repeated fraud". Now he must determine six other claims, including falsifying business records and insurance fraud.

The Trumps and other executives at the company are accused of inflating the value of properties to secure more favorable loans and insurance policies. They all deny wrongdoing. CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now from the courthouse in Lower Manhattan. Kara, first, let's start with Eric Trump. What can you tell us more about his testimony?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, so this is Eric Trump's second day on the stand. He testified for a total of four hours over two days. And today in his testimony, he was standing by the accuracy of these financial statements. The ones that the judge has already found to be fraudulent. He said that he was speaking with attorneys and lawyers and he was comforted by them that these were, quote, "perfect financial statements".

And he said he was more than happy to sign them. He also said he would not have signed any statements that he believed to be inaccurate. So really doubling down on the accuracy of the statements. And also today, the judge extending the gag order in this case saying that it no longer just applies to the former president, but it also applies to the attorneys in this case.

He was saying that no one is -- can talk about any of the communications that judge has had with his law clerk. It has been something that Trump's attorneys have brought up repeatedly during the trial, saying that there is a perception of bias by the law clerk who is passing notes to the judge. The judge saying now that is off limits. He said they've received hundreds of threatening emails, letters and packages to their -- to his chambers. And he said that far outweighs Trump's First Amendment rights. John?

KING: And Kara, take us ahead to next week. Former President Trump will take the stand. His daughter, Ivanka, will take the stand. There'll be a lot of theater there. What's the important substance?

SCANNELL: Right. I mean, well, this is going to be Donald Trump under oath, having to answer questions about his financial statements, which has been the focus of his life for more than 50 years before he even ran for president.

So the actual accuracy of these statements, his role in this statements is at stake, and it is going to be theater. It is going to be filled with tension. He's criticized the judge who will be sitting near feet from. The New York attorney general is expected to be in attendance. She's been in court every time the former president has been there.

[20:35:08] So it's expected to be a lot of tension, a lot of theater, but there's also a lot at stake since the issue here for the judge to decide is what happens to the future of Trump's business in New York and him and his family's ability to conduct business in the state.

Once his testimony wraps, Ivanka Trump will be on the stand. She's expected to testify on Wednesday. She will be the state's last witness, and then New York will rest its case, and it will be Donald Trump's turn to put on any kind of defense. John?

KING: Fascinating next week ahead. Kara Scannell outside the courthouse, thanks so much.

Let's get more perspective now on all of this from the former federal prosecutor, Jessica Roth. A professor at Cardozo Law School now, as well as our CNN Political Analyst, Maggie Haberman. She, of course, the New York Times senior political correspondent who has covered the former president for decades, and also the author, you see it there, of this best-selling book about him, "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America".

Again, so many conversations about Trump and the family. Now you have the Court of Law and the Court of Public Opinion. That's where we are. The Sons. Helping him or hurting him?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it depends on how you look at this. I think that there was nothing that was a bombshell that you saw. There was a moment with Eric Trump's testimony yesterday in particular, where he was confronted with saying something that he had not been involved in a piece of, I believe, it was a certification.

And he was -- there were some emails suggesting that he did know that Trump's sons had blamed things they didn't recall on memory lapses. I think that Donald Trump Jr. was generally perceived as fairing better than his brother did.

I don't know how much of a difference it makes in a case -- you will have a probably a stronger opinion on this than I do. I don't know how much of a difference it makes in a case where the judge has already done a partial summary judgment and there are just these outstanding claims. And clearly, the judge is already questioning the credibility of all of the Trumps.

KING: I want to get to that, the legal part, the court part in a minute, but the former president on the stand. Eric Trump says he's fired up to testify.

HABERMAN: I think that's definitely true.

KING: That's definitely true. But you also know, better than most, Donald Trump and discipline aren't often in the same sentence. What are the risks there?

HABERMAN: There are a number of risks, you know, and this is a kind of setting that he has not been in in 10 years. He last testified -- other than actually previously briefly in this case -- he last testified in May of 2013 in a case -- a civil case in Chicago against him that he won. A lot has happened since then.

This is going to be a performance. In one on one direct interpersonal confrontation, he tends to back off. I don't see that being the case here. He is so angry. He has had some time to look at how this courtroom is, how this judge is, because he's been sitting in the trial in the courtroom, which he didn't have to do over a couple of days.

But who knows? I mean, he has a history of, you know making extemporaneous remarks during depositions that don't always help him. If he gets himself all worked up, we could see him get himself in trouble. I do think you are seeing just one pause here in terms of what he might be attempting to do.

He's not good at discipline, but he can be good at theatrics, and they are clearly trying on the Trump team to try to create a trail to accuse the judge of bias and conceivably ask for a mistrial.

KING: So let's come to those legal points. So let's start first with the testimony of the sons. Did anything -- did you see anything that actually helps the Trump family defense?

JESSICA ROTH, FORMER PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY: I didn't. I mean, they were making the case we expected them to, which is that essentially it was the accountant's responsibility to prepare these financial statements. To the extent you see our names on that, that's really essentially just because our role was to sign, but we had no involvement in the valuation and we didn't really review what was in -- substantively what was in these valuations.

We relied on the experts for that. That was expected. But the documents which the judge has already relied on in granting partial summary judgment on that really important first cause of action really do link the brothers to these transactions and suggest that they were involved and that they did sign off on them, which would suggest some intent on their part.

Now what remains for the judge to decide in the remaining causes of action is whether they actually did intend to defraud as opposed to just have involvement in the creation of statements that were objectively false and fraudulent. So the judge is going to be making a credibility determination in evaluating their denial that they acted with intent to defraud.

KING: And to Maggie's point about the former president on the stand, he is clearly trying to make the case this is not fair. He's not being treated fairly. There's been this dust up and back and forth continuing throughout the week over the judge's clerk and characterizations of whether the clerk is being fair or not.

Do you see, is there -- if you were on the Trump legal team, do you see enough seeds there to put together a path for an appeal?

ROTH: I do not on the issue of bias at all, but I do think we're seeing a strategy both to distract today from what was happening in terms of the Trump son's testimony and how it wasn't particularly helpful to the Trump defendants by focusing on the clerk. And I think maybe also an intentional effort to provoke the judge.

The judge issued a very strongly worded order this evening, extending to the lawyers, the gag order that he had already imposed on the former president not to speak about his staff. And of course he's being protective of his clerk primarily. The lawyers know that judges communicate with their staff and their law clerks throughout proceedings. That's normal part of the process.


So it was really ridiculous that they raised this issue of passing notes. And it makes me think that it was strategic in order to perhaps provoke the judge into reacting or to just distract from what was otherwise not a particularly good day for them in court.

KING: Jessica Roth, Maggie Haberman, grateful you're both here tonight to help me understand all that. Thank you. Thanks for coming in.

And coming up for us, for the third straight day, those desperate to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, some have been able to do so. We'll take you live to Cairo, next.


KING: People desperate to leave Gaza can only do so in one place. You see it right there, the Rafah crossing into Egypt. For the third straight day, a number of foreign nationals and injured Palestinians were some of the fortunate to get out.

Let's bring in CNN's Melissa Bell. She is in Cairo joining us with more. Melissa, do we know what are the latest numbers of Americans and foreign nationals who've been lucky enough to get across that border?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know, John, first of all, that there were 350 -- just over 350 more foreign nationals that made it through Rafah to the safety of Egypt today. As for Americans themselves, the latest White House figures that they put out yesterday was just over 100. But this is, of course, extremely fluid, and the numbers are changing all the time.

It is a very complicated system at the Rafah crossing. We've been speaking to people coming out. It is difficult for the people inside to make sure that their name is on that list day in, day out to get themselves to the Rafah crossing and to get themselves across specifically because we've been hearing a lot of stories about people whose names are on the list and then find that their wives or their childs or their parents are not so they're staying behind to be with them until it can be sorted out.


So quite a chaotic situation. We've also been hearing a bit more this evening, John, about the frantic negotiations that took place to allow the opening of the Rafah crossing and all of these exits by foreign dual nationals to take place with an administration official speaking to the fact that initially Hamas had insisted on some of its wounded soldiers being able to come out at the same time. That was pushed back on very firmly by Israel and the United States.

A second round of negotiations led to the agreement that in the end led to that breakthrough that we saw on Tuesday. And that was that foreign nationals would be allowed out if wounded Palestinians could be allowed out as well, as long as Hamas soldiers were not amongst them.

And that is what began happening on Wednesday morning. This is, as you said, now the third day of these people being able to come out. We understand that all 7,000 will, over the course of the coming days, and despite those logistical difficulties, be able to get out through the Rafah crossing, extremely good news for them.

But it is a tough call for all those families, not just negotiating that way, their way through the Rafah crossing, but making the decision sometimes to leave their loved ones behind. We've been finding out, John.

KING: And Melissa, tell us more about what you're hearing. It's again, you're telling these personal stories, these painful stories, not just about the process, but about what the Gaza they've left behind.

BELL: That's right. Remember that a lot of these people coming out are essentially either aid workers or people who had ties to Gaza. So Palestinian Americans, for instance, many different nationalities who've been visiting with family and found themselves on the 7th of October on the wrong side of the border.

So these are people who've witnessed very closely what's happened over the course of the now nearly month of this war. And for many of them, we've been finding out that it was extremely hard to decide to leave however dangerous and desperate the situation inside.

We met, for instance, this morning, John, with a couple who left on Wednesday, some of the very first to get out. An Italian aid worker and his Palestinian wife who were some of the first people on that list. And yet, the decision was not an easy one.


JACOPO INTINI, TRAVELED THROUGH RAFAH CROSSING: So many people are talking about this coming out as a victory for us, but it's not a victory. Like, we are -- like, it's a loss for everyone.

AMAL KHAYAL, TRAVELED THROUGH RAFAH CROSSING: To be honest, since yesterday, I was already regretting going out because I was -- the entire day, I was unable to reach my family. So I couldn't even tell them that I made it safely and I'm OK. And they know that's, you know, my mom, she actually begged me to go out.

For me, I wouldn't have done it. And they still feel I shouldn't have gone out. You know, the survival guilt.


BELL: Of course, we expect, nonetheless, that process to continue over the coming days, and of course, given what this young couple told us, which is that every day things seem to be getting worse. You can expect that a lot of people will be having an extra sense of urgency getting them down to the Rafah gate to see whether or not their names appear on that list, John.

KING: Melissa Bell in Cairo. Melissa, thank you so much.

It's been nearly one month now, as Melissa noted, since the Hamas attack on Israel and the kidnapping of the estimated 240 people who are now thought to be hostages in Gaza. Ten were believed to be Americans.

The hope is those U.S. drones we spoke about earlier in the program will help find and locate them. But, who are the Americans, and what do we know about their abductions? Randi Kaye has more.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Israeli-American citizen, Liat Beinin, hid in a safe room when Hamas attacked the Nir Oz kibbutz. Her father, Yehuda Beinin, told CNN his daughter and her husband are both missing.

Yehuda says Liat is a 49-year-old high school civics and history teacher who also works as a tour guide at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem.

YEHUDA BEININ, FATHER OF AMERICAN WOMAN MISSING IN ISRAELI: Until they're back home safely, I'm not going to let myself get overly confident or overly hopeful that there'll be a sound resolution to this crisis.

KAYE (voice-over): The parents of Omer Neutra are waiting for their son's safe return.

ORNA NEUTRA, SON ABDUCTED: Omer was in a tank, so we know that he was taken out of the tank.

RONAN NEUTRA, SON ABDUCTED: We saw him walking.

KAYE (voice-over): Omer Neutra grew up in New York, where his parents, Orna and Ronan Neutra, still live. He moved to Israel for a gap year before college and ended up joining the Israeli military. He was taken hostage while in his IDF uniform. His parents last spoke with him just hours before the attack.

O. NEUTRA: Ronan immediately tried to contact him and call him. There was no response, of course.


KAYE (voice-over): Omar Neutra turned 22, a week after being taken hostage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Load, load, load them. Come on. KAYE (voice-over): These images show 23-year-old Hersh Goldberg-Polin being led away by Hamas after his left hand and part of his arm had been blown off by a grenade. Hirsch had been sheltering with dozens of others at the music festival when the gunman attacked.

RACHEL GOLDBERG, SON ABDUCTED BY HAMAS AT MUSIC FESTIVAL: I personally feel like we have to keep running to the end of the earth to save him. And there are also the moments in this universe that we now live where you say, maybe he died on the truck. Maybe he bled out in that truck. Maybe he died yesterday. Maybe he died five minutes ago.

KAYE (voice-over): This is what American-Israeli citizens Judith Weinstein-Hagi and her husband Gadi Hagi saw as Hamas moved across the border from Gaza to Israel. Judith, who is 70 and Gadi, 72, were on their regular morning walk when the attack began.

The couple's daughter tells CNN her parents were about 1.5 mile from their home in the Nir Oz kibbutz. Their daughter, Iris Hagi Leni Otto (ph), said her parents tried to call for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom is 70 years old, you know, like, why would they kidnap 70-year-old?

KAYE (voice-over): Their daughter told CNN that a paramedic said her mom told him they'd been shot by terrorists on a motorcycle. The daughter also confirmed that her parents' phones last pinged from Gaza.

Nineteen-year-old Itai Chen (ph), an Israeli-American citizen who's serving in the IDF, is also believed to be a hostage in Gaza. He'd been deployed to defend Israel when he disappeared. His father says he last spoke to his son from a military base that was under attack.

RUBY CHEN, FATHER OF MISSING IDF SOLDIER: What we do know is that he was active and was seen two hours afterwards. But beyond that point, no one has seen him.

KAYE (voice-over): Samuel Keith Siegel (ph) is also missing. His family told CNN he's a U.S. citizen and is being held in Gaza along with his wife. His family says there was a sighting of his car crossing the border. Siegel's brother told CNN that he grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and works in the pharmaceutical industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My brother is a very giving human being. My brother is always looking for the next person to help.

KAYE (voice-over): Sagi Dekalchen (ph) grew up at the Nir Oz kibbutz. His father says he disappeared as he and others tried to protect families at the kibbutz from the Hamas gunmen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're waiting for Sagi to come home. We do not know what fate he met.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sagi is 35 years old. He's the father of two daughters and his wife is pregnant.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.


KING: Randi's reporting there are just some of the estimated 240 hostages inside Gaza.

Coming up, President Biden and the First Lady honoring the victims of last week's horrific mass shooting in Maine. More on that and who else is in Lewiston to comfort those impacted? That's next.



KING: The president and first lady visited Lewiston, Maine late today to honor the 18 people killed and 13 injured in last week's mass shooting. They paid their respects to families and victims of the massacre after meeting with first responders.

Also in Maine to comfort those impacted by the tragedy, you see right there, this golden retriever named Cooper and his handler, Andy Garmezy. Both are volunteers with the National Crisis Response Canines. On the flight there, according to USA Today, Garmezy read some notes that passengers gave him for the people of Lewiston. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a world where there seems to be no love, know that Southwest Flight 1843 is full of people praying for all the families who went through this horrific act of hate. Love and prayers for all those in Lewiston, Maine. Thank you all.


KING: Love and prayers as well from all of us here at CNN.

That does it for us on AC 360. Tonight the news continues. "THE SOURCE WITH KAITLAN COLLINS" is next.