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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
IDF: Israeli Airstrikes Hit 200 Gaza Targets; Top UN Relief Official: Situation in Gaza Getting "More Apocalyptic"; Authorities Investigating Accounts of Sexual Violence by Hamas on Oct. 7th; Mother of Daughter Still Held Hostage: "We Were Sure Romi Would Be Released on Friday"; Trump Attempts to Rebut Arguments That He's a Threat to Democracy by Accusing Biden of the Same Thing; Arrest Made After Israeli Soldier Kills Hamas Attack Hero; Former Harvard Disinfo Scholar Says She Was Pushed Out After College Received $500 Million Donation From Facebook Founder, Wife; Oxford's Word Of The Year Is "Rizz"; 4th GOP Debate To Have Just Four Candidates. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired December 04, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEORGE SANTOS, FORMER NEW YORK REPRESENTATIVE: Want to make you get in trouble and want to kick you out, and make you run away, you make them put up or shut up. You stand your ground, sir, and don't get bogged down by all the haters out there. Stay strong. Merry Christmas.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "OUTFRONT": Well, we got joy out of doing that. You can tell.
Menendez, of course, had gold bars. This house has accused of acting as an agent for Egypt, even as he received top secret briefings as the chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee.
All right. Thanks so much for joining us. "AC 360" with Anderson begins right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Tonight on "360," in the air and on the ground, Israel ramps up its war in Hamas as the Biden administration weighs in on this dark question, is Hamas not freeing the remaining young women in whole so they won't talk about being abused in captivity?
Also, tonight, the man who tried to overturn the election, he lost, is now warning that President Biden, and not he, is the real threat to democracy. That, as a former top Republican warns, we are, quote, "sleep walking into dictatorship if he wins a second term."
Later, Harvard's leading expert on social media disinformation and how she says she was forced out for making trouble for Facebook founder and $500 million donor, Mark Zuckerberg.
Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin with a very full night of developments in and around Israel's war in Hamas and a new focus today on allegations that rape was a central part of the atrocities Hamas committed to start the war. It's been a heavy day and night of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, about
200 targets hit according to military officials. Separately, new video surfaced today on social media of Israeli forces using explosives to demolish a large building in central Gaza, housing the Hamas-run justice ministry and courthouses.
Elsewhere on the ground, meantime, our first evidence that the IDF is carrying out the plan it announced yesterday to launch operations in southern Gaza, video geolocated by CNN showing Israeli troops and at least one tank operating in the south. And as the fighting there picks up, the humanitarian crisis grows for Gazans who now have few options where to go and very little to eat.
A World Health Organization team visiting a hospital in Khan Younis saying conditions there are, in their words, catastrophic, and warning that intensified ground operations in the south will likely cut off thousands from health care. There's also new word tonight of a near complete blackout of Internet and phone service in Gaza. Ben CNN's Wedeman reports on the desperation.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Desperate times call for desperate measures. And in Gaza, if that means looting the local bakery destroyed overnight by an Israeli airstrike, so be it.
(IKRAM AL-RAI speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): "Look at the people," says Ikram Al-Rai, "They're doing this out of hunger." It was the Baraka Bakery. Baraka is Arabic for blessing, but now Gaza is under the curse of a war. It was the last functioning bakery in Deir Al-Balah.
(IBRAHIM DABOUR speaking in foreign language.)
WEDEMAN (voice over): People's basic needs, striking it is a kind of terrorism. Once the sun came up Monday, people of all ages descended upon the bakery, taking away bags of flour, cooking oil, scraps of wood to use for cooking and heating, and just about anything else they could carry away.
This man describes it in one word, "chaos."
The World Food Programme's Abeer Etefa warns that people of Gaza are reaching the breaking point.
ABEER ETEFA, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME'S SENIOR SPOKESWOMAN : (Inaudible) you have civil order breaking down completely because people are becoming desperate, hopeless, hungry by the moment. This is, of course, bound to happen.
WEDEMAN (voice over): And with Israeli ground forces now operating in southern Gaza, the hundreds of thousands who fled the north in search of safety are now, even more than before, in the line of fire. Gaza, after almost two months of war, has come to this.
COOPER: And Ben Wedeman joins us. How are humanitarian relief groups reacting to the Israeli moves in southern Gaza?
WEDEMAN: All of them are extremely concerned about this situation, Anderson. The World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, the UN agency that looks after the Palestinians are deeply concerned that the Israelis are essentially pushing the hundreds of thousands of people into a small corner of Gaza where there's no infrastructure. There's no shelter, there's no food, there's no water, there's no medical care. All of the problems of Gaza are being compounded into a fairly small area.
And, in fact, Martin Griffiths, who's the Chief UN relief officer, came out with a statement this evening and said, "Every time we think things cannot get more apocalyptic in Gaza, they do," -- Anderson.
COOPER: Ben Wedeman, thanks.
The United Nations today held a special session called "Hear Our Voices" aimed at raising awareness of sexual violence in wartime. As you might imagination, the allegations that Hamas carried out brutal and premeditated sexual assaults on October 7th took centerstage, allegations Hamas denied.
That said, State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller today said that he sees, quote, "no reason at all to doubt those reports." He also cited as fact that it, quote, "seems," unquote, that Hamas isn't turning over its remaining women hostages because it does not want them to talk about what they've gone through in captivity. He was asked to elaborate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW MILLER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: ... very sensitive in my language ...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any evidence to suggest that that is what it is, or is it just ...
MILLER: I want to be very sensitive in my language when talking about people that continue to be held hostage, that have families on the outside. I will -- so I will -- what I will say is we know Hamas has committed atrocities. We know they -- hold on. They continue to hold women. They were going to release these women, and then suddenly at the last point reneged on the deal and were never able to provide a credible reason why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Israeli police, along with the Civil Commission, have already gathered evidence of sexual assaults from eyewitness video, as well as what the gunmen themselves reported on October 7th. CNN's Bianna Golodryga has more. But first, a warning, some of her report is especially tough to hear.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST (voice over): The details are horrific. Listen to this Israeli paramedic, whose rescue unit responded to the massacre at Kibbutz Be'eri. He did not want to be identified.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While we were storming through those houses, one of the doors, I opened the bedroom. I see two girls, two teenagers, I guess, 13 or 14 years old. One was lying on the floor, one was lying on the bed.
The one on the floor was lying on her stomach. Her pants are pulled down toward her knees, and there's a bullet wound down her -- the back side of her neck, near her head. And there's a puddle of blood around her head. And there's remains of semen on the lower part of her back.
GOLODRYGA (voice over): A volunteer at the Shura IDF military base, where many of the victims of the massacre have been sent, testified at a UN event in Geneva last week, describing the evidence of sexual violence she saw on some of the bodies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our team commander saw several soldiers who were shot in the crotch and intimate areas in their vaginas or they were shot in their breasts. This seemed to be systematic genital mutilation of a group of victims.
GOLODRYGA (voice over): Despite all of that, the UN and its women's rights affiliates remain silent on the mounting specific allegations.
RUTH HALPERIN-KADDARI, INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Their response was really devastating, was heartbreaking for me.
GOLODRYGA (voice over): Professor Ruth Halperin-Kaddari is an international women's rights advocate and, for 12 years, helped lead the United Nations committee on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women.
HALPERIN-KADDARI: Neither of them acknowledged or recognized that the existence, the fact that sexual violence was part of the Hamas massacre and by not acknowledging this, by dismissing, by ignoring, they are, in fact, almost, I would say, legitimizing the existence of these atrocities.
GOLODRYGA (voice over): I asked a representative from UN women about that. Her answer speaks for itself.
GOLODRYGA (on camera): Is there a reason though, Sarah, that you can't specifically call out Hamas and the mounting evidence now over seven weeks that Israeli investigators have collected that we've shown our viewers about the atrocities they committed specifically on October 7th? SARAH HENDRICKS, DEPTUY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UN WOMEN: Indeed. UN
Women always supports impartial, independent investigations into any serious allegations of gender-based or sexual violence. And within the UN family, these investigations are led by the office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.
GOLODRYGA (voice over): Then three days later, finally, an acknowledgment from UN Women, a statement of their own. "We unequivocally condemn the brutal attacks by Hamas on October 7th. We are alarmed by the numerous accounts of gender-based atrocities and sexual violence during those attacks."
And over the weekend, even more accounts coming to light. "The Sunday Times" quoted a 39-year-old witness who attended the Nova Music Festival. "I saw this beautiful woman with the face of an angel and eight or 10 of the fighters beating and raping her. She was screaming, 'Stop it already. I'm going to do die already from what you are doing. Just kill me.' When they finished, they were laughing, and the last one shot her in the head."
A police commander leading Israel's investigation into sexual violence and crime said, "It's clear now that sexual crimes were part of the planning, and the purpose was to terrify and humiliate people." Being able to prove that the crimes were planned is critical in prosecuting such cases.
HALPERIN-KADDARI: Recall that the massacre actually took place in 22 locations at the same time, the same method in which these horrific atrocities were executed by the terrorists in separate locations, in different locations, all at the same time. This demonstrates a preconceived and premeditated plan. And that is why it does amount to crimes against humanity.
GOLODRYGA (voice over): Bianna Goldryga, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, one of the women still being held hostage is 23-year- old Romi Gonen. She was at the music festival October 7th. She and a close friend ran for their lives and hid in bushes.
The whole time, Romi was on her phone with her family. A colleague also at the festival picked them up and tried to drive off, but gunmen attacked and murdered Romi's two friends. Romi, her parents say, was shot in the hand. They say when she was taken, they could hear an attacker say, quote, "She's alive. Let's take her." Her phone was later traced to Gaza.
Her mother, Meirav Leshem Gonen, joins us.
Meirav, I know that the risk of assault facing female hostages in Gaza is one of the reasons why you are speaking out. Do you believe humanitarian groups have spoken out enough about the plight of female hostages, including Romi? MEIRAV LESHEM GONEN, DAUGHTER TAKEN HOSTAGE AT ISRAELI MUSIC FESTIVAL:
I'm sorry to say that not the situation. I feel that the humanitarian organization, the women organization around the world, social organization, have not yet spoke enough on behalf of the women that are in Gaza now. We need more voices.
Their voices cannot be heard since they are, you know, underground, in houses, in captivity. They cannot talk. And somebody needs to raise their voice. And we are doing it, but we need the help of the international organization.
COOPER: Did you expect Romi to be released last week during the temporary truce?
GONEN: Yes. We were sure that Romi will be released on Friday. There are only 18 women in Gaza now, and we were so sure she will be released on Friday, even Saturday, but that didn't happen. It was so horrible for us. It was so terrible.
I was awake since 4:30 in the morning waiting to see if there is a list, when the list is coming out. And no list. Not just no list, the fighting started again. And, you know, we were so close, so close to have her back -- her and all the other women, and it didn't happen.
COOPER: Has anyone been able to give you any explanation why she wasn't released earlier?
GONEN: No. We have a cabinet meeting the next day. You know, it's already Tuesday in Israel. So, today we will have a meeting with our cabinet, the war cabinet. And we expect to get answers regarding the fact that they weren't released, yet we are afraid. We are worried.
It's not just her (inaudible) young women -- young women that are in the hands of those terrorists that made all those horrible actions during the 7th of October.
COOPER: We should also point out that your daughter is among a number of hostages who are known to have been injured. Your daughter was shot in the hand. Hersh Goldberg-Polin had part of his left arm blown off.
I understand some of the hostages who are released last week told you that Romi is still alive, that they had actually seen her, that you got proof of life for the first time. What did you learn? What did they say?
GONEN: They just said they saw her. She's alive. But they also said that the wound -- the shotgun wound, is not treated well, and it is neglected, and it is not properly treated. So I'm worried. We are worried to all of the people. You know, it's not just people that have been shot, the people with illnesses inside Gaza, which are not treated well. It's a matter of life and death.
COOPER: I know another reason you do interviews is if by chance Romi is able to hear you and hear something you say, so is there something you would want her to hear tonight? GONEN: Yes, yes. I will say it in English, and she understands. And
it's -- you know, it's not the world -- it's not the word, it's what I feel about her. She's a strong woman. She's a strong and very beautiful, from the inside, woman. She knows we believe in her. She knows we love her.
I told her on the phone when I thought she was going to die, I told her, "You're not alone, Romi. We are with you. I love you. I miss you. I know you are strong. I know that wherever you are, you're helping others. I know you help others and make them feel a little bit more safe together. So, I expect you to know that we are coming to take you out. We are doing everything we can to help you and all the other hostages come back home."
COOPER: Meirav, I wish you continued strength in the difficult days ahead. And I hope you have good news soon. Thank you.
GONEN: Thank you very much. Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Next, in the face of new reporting, what a second Trump presidency would look like and allegations it could be a threat to democracy, the former president points the finger elsewhere without evidence. We're keeping him honest.
Later, a troubling story about a hero who was saving civilian lives, but ended up shot by an Israeli soldier.
COOPER: Facing criticisms and concerns about his recent declaration about how he'll run a second term in office and the threat, some say, it poses to democracy, the former president is responding in a pretty familiar fashion. He's accusing the accuser. Here's how responded to the idea of President Biden campaigning on that notion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: So, if joe Biden wants to make this race of a question of which candidate will defend our democracy and protect our freedoms, and I say to crooked Joe, and he's crooked, the most corrupt president we've ever had. We will win that fight and we're going to win it very big.
Joe Biden is not the defender of American democracy. Joe Biden is the destroyer of American democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The former president over the weekend, perhaps it should go without saying, there's no actual evidence that President Biden is the destroyer of American democracy. Also, this is nothing new. Here's his response during the final 2016 presidential debate to Hillary Clinton's allegation that Vladimir Putin wanted him to win.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.
TRUMP: No puppet, no puppet.
CLINTON: And it's pretty clear ...
TRUMP: You're the puppet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The man would become the 45th president of United States. His former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen calls it deflection by projection. Whatever you want to call it, the former president has done this again and again. The difference this time, though, a Trump presidency is one with no guardrails.
And Congresswoman and staunch conservative Liz Cheney this morning issued this warning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, MSNBC HOST: Do you believe if Donald Trump were elected next year that he would try to stay in office beyond a second term, That he would never leave office?
LIZ CHENEY, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: There's no question, there's no question.
GUTHRIE: Do you think he would try to stay in power forever?
CHENEY: Absolutely. A vote for Donald Trump may mean the last election that you ever get to vote in. And again, I don't say that lightly. And it -- I think it's heartbreaking that that's where we are, but people have to recognize that a vote for Donald Trump is a vote against the constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Perspective now from CNN's Chief Correspondent and Anchor of "The Source," Kaitlan Collins, also CNN's Senior Political Commentator and Former Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger.
Congressman, what's your reaction when you see the former president trying to flip the script like this?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, it's his thing. This is what he does. He'll never admit fault. He always blames everybody else. He's the biggest victim of, really, any politician ever. He's always the victim of a circumstance, despite being the most powerful man in the world at one point.
But, look, I don't think anybody's seen him say that actually believes it. Nobody believes it, whether you're left, right, or center. The problem is we've gotten to such a tribal moment that the Republicans, many of them, particularly elected officials, have given up. They basically compromised themselves to empower the former president.
And now, when he says something like that, they won't call him out because now, if you turn around and call the former president out, you have to admit your role in what you've done to empower him. And trust me, Anderson, it's much easier to go back to the tribe, have everybody put their arm around you, say you're fine, just stick with us, everything will be okay, then actually looking in the mirror and admitting this.
So nobody believes what he's saying. All that matters though instead have tried staying together.
COOPER: But there's plenty of people actually do believe what he's saying. I mean, a lot of his supporters believe what he's saying, no?
KINZINGER: Oh, no. Yes, yes, no, they believe what he's saying. But when he says, like, you know, Joe Biden is a bigger threat to democracy, well, yes, of course, there are going to be some people that believe it. But the vast majority of people in the job I used to have, for instance, in congress, they know that's bunk.
If you put them on CIA truth serum, they're going to tell you, yes, Donald Trump is a bigger threat to democracy. It doesn't mean you have to agree with Joe Biden's points and his policies, but absolutely.
And that's the problem is when leaders don't come out and say that, then people that are watching TV or watching the former president, they have no counter that they trust to what the former president is saying.
COOPER: Kaitlan, how confident do you think the Trump team is about this kind of redux of the no-puppet strategy.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHO, "THE SOURCE": It's completely predictable, but it's more sophisticated if that's really the term to use here given how much they're making it part of the campaign.
This isn't just him spit balling. He isn't just saying this, you know, off the cuff, Anderson. It's in his speech and prepared remarks. He's reading off a prompter. They've printed off signs saying, "BIDEN ATTACKS DEMOCRACY," in all caps. That's what they're passing out at these rallies.
And it is exactly the same playbook that we have seen Trump use time and time again. I mean, remember when he brought the Clinton accusers out before one of the debates after that that says Hollywood tape had came out, and his personal life was the subject of all of the headlines and the front pages. And his conduct, obviously, he was the one running for president then.
And so, it's entirely predictable, but they're fashioning it into an actual campaign tool now. And they know -- and what was very clear to me this weekend, listening to those speeches from the former president, is they know Biden's chief argument going into 2024 is going to be about Trump being a threat to democracy. He used it the last time, and they're trying to push back on that by basically equating it.
And what's striking about it is Trump is literally accused of trying to overturn the election. I mean, he is going to be on trial for that not long from now potentially. And so I think that is at the heart of this is, even though he's trying to accuse Biden of being the person who's antidemocratic, he is literally going to be on trial on charges that he tried to overturn the election.
COOPER: Kaitlan, I mean, you've done a lot of reporting on Trump and his supporters. Do you think when he says it they believe it?
COLLINS: Yes, I think they wholeheartedly believe it. And I don't think that they draw the distinction.
I think that some Republican lawmakers certainly are disingenuous, and they say one thing publicly and they'll privately acknowledge another thing. But I think when you go to these rallies -- and I've been to more Trump rallies than you can count on one hand or many hands -- that you see it. They really believe it, and they really do listen to him.
And so when he continues to push this and push this narrative about President Biden, I do think it gets through to them.
COOPER: Congressman, how do you explain -- I mean, we're seeing some Republicans who allegedly don't support the former president from what they've said, start to kind of get wobbly.
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, when asked on a podcast recently, if he would support President Biden or the former president. They were the nominees for 2024. He said, quote, "I'm a Republican."
You got Bill Barr, who eviscerated Trump on Kaitlan's program this summer, said the former president shouldn't be anywhere near the Oval Office. He said he still wouldn't rule out voting for him because I mean, can you reconcile that?
KINZINGER: Yes, Anderson, I have lost your audio there, but I'll tell you, like, look, I did catch the question. Yes, I mean, the bottom line on this is it doesn't make any sense to me. It doesn't make an ounce of sense that a Republican, who says that Donald Trump is a big threat, the biggest threat.
He's -- you know, he was awful in the Oval Office -- would then turn around, purely based on politics, purely based on a dislike of Joe Biden's policies when there is such a big threat. It makes no sense to me, except to say that, look, it's hard.
If you would say, I'm not going to support former President Trump against Joe Biden, you're going to lose your base. People are going to be upset at you. But, again, that's what leadership is. And just quickly on this whole, like, Donald Trump kind of, you know,
switching the script, keep in mind, he constantly says Joe Biden is weak on china. And I don't agree with everything Joe Biden does on china. But I sat in the Oval Office meeting where President Trump begged us -- begged us -- to allow China ZTE to continue to operate in the United States because we were trying to ban it through the National Defense Authorization Act because he made a personal plea or a personal promise to Xi Jinping. That's what he does.
It's just whatever he feels like saying, he'll say, but he is the direct opposite usually of what he says.
COOPER: Kaitlan, what do you think the biggest difference would be between a Trump first term and a possible second term?
COLLINS: The one main thing that sticks out when I talk to people who worked for Trump in the White House the last time around is any time he wanted to do -- it was all the art of how to deal with him, how to negotiate with him, how to navigate him that even his own staff when they were trying to figure out how to talk him out of things that he wanted to do.
And often, one of their most successful arguments would be, if you do this, it's going to hurt you with voters. It's going to hurt your chances at reelection, and it was effective. It was one of the only ones -- that and him getting bad press. And so that would be completely gone.
And I think he has this idea of just the people that he hired himself working against him, that the people he would hire this time, he would ensure that they would be people who would not do that, who would, you know, for what Bill Barr has said that he, you know, won't rule out whether or not he'd vote for Trump. He was certainly someone who blocked a lot of the things that Trump tried to do because he felt that they were illegal or just wrong.
Those kinds of people wouldn't be there. It would be the Kash Patels, the Rick Grinnells, the other officials who he did install into top positions who could be at even more senior roles that do work to carry out what -- not only what he wants, but also what they themselves want. And I think that would be what would be so remarkably different is that and that he doesn't really have anything to fear because he's -- it would be his last term being in office.
COOPER: Congressman, earlier -- I mean, a year ago, two years ago, people would say, oh, well, you know, who's he going to get to work for him in a second administration.
COOPER: I think we're going to see, there is enough people out there who are happy to subvert democracy or be on the winning side no matter what the effect on the country is.
KINZINGER: Well, look no further than Jeffrey Clark at the Department of Justice, you know, basically, wanting to be attorney general. This is before it became cool to be against the constitution in the GOP. But he basically was telling Donald Trump, I will do whatever you want.
This is around the time that Donald Trump was wanting the Department of Justice -- think about this -- to say, just say the election was corrupt. We don't need you to do anything else. Just say it was corrupt and then leave the rest to me and the Republican congressman.
What he's saying and it's what he continues to do is just put a little stamp of doubt like an official stamp of doubt and then we will exploit that doubt to actually, you know, benefit in the minds of the American people.
Look, I guarantee you, Donald Trump can easily find 10 people, and he gave them pick the best of the 10 that would easily say, Mr. President, I will do whatever you want, regardless of what the Constitution says. Those people are out there. And guess what, Anderson? Those people are actually pretty smart. That's what I'm -- worried about to.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Congressman Kinzinger, thanks. Kaitlan, we'll see you at the top of the hour for The Source.
A program note tomorrow night, our special guests will be former Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney, 8:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN.
Just ahead tonight, why Israel initially failed to investigate the killing by a soldier of an Israeli civilian turned hero during a deadly attack by Hamas. And what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meant when he said, quote, "that's life".
COOPER: When two Palestinian gunman opened fire at a bus stop in Jerusalem last week in a terror attack, an Israeli civilian, a lawyer Yuval Castleman acted heroically to stop them, running toward the attackers firing his weapon at them. Three Israelis were killed by the mosque gunman, seven injured.
Hamas claimed credit for the attack. Despite giving every indication he was not a terrorist including kneeling with his hands up and opening his jacket to show he had no suicide vests, Castleman was shot during the attack by an Israeli soldier.
Adding to the controversy, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's initial comments when asked about the mistaken shooting and civilians carrying guns, said, quote, "that's life".
Alex Marquardt has more on the belated investigation. And tonight, an arrest. And we warn you, what you're about to see is disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Video posted online shows Yuval Castleman, a former Israeli police officer with his hands in the air, then he shot at twice, then twice more. On the ground, his shirt bloodied and clearly in pain. He later died of his wounds.
Castleman had sprung into action when this light colored car pulled up on Thursday at a Jerusalem bus stop. Two Hamas gunmen jump out and open fire on the crowd to try to run away. Three are killed. As the terrorists tried to drive away, Castleman runs across the road and opens fire with his pistol to help take down the attackers.
But an Army Reservist here also opens fire on Castleman. Two soldiers from this red car run out with their weapons. Castleman apparently trying to show he's not an attacker. He has his hands in the air and his jacket open. But he appears to have been killed by the reservist, a fellow Israeli.
In Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's first comments about Castleman's death, he said "that's life" when civilians carry guns which he supports. That comment angering many Israelis. Netanyahu later called Castleman's actions supreme bravery.
Friends and family gathered Monday night for Shiva, the Jewish mourning period at the home of Castleman's father. His sister Noga and best friend Guy Itzkovich showed me a photo album of Castleman's life. Itzkovich is also a former police officer and says their outrage that Castleman was shot with his hands up.
GUY ITZKOVICH, FRIEND: Yuval was not gun down. Yuval was murdered.
MARQUARDT (on-camera): So what is the hardest part of all this for you?
ITZKOVICH: I lost my brother because of a stupid mistake. It was a stupid mistake. It should never have happened. And if -- I know that if they were following the same orders that I was given and the day will given, my friend is still be alive.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Castleman's father Moshe sits low on the floor as his custom, as guests pay their respects. Moshe calls his son a hero and wants an investigation of what happened
MOSHE CASTLEMAN, FATHER: (Speaking Foreign Language).
MARQUARDT (voice-over): All his life, Yuval was that kind of person, Moshe said. That's how he behaved. Despite knowing that he was taking a risk and endangering his life, he didn't hesitate.
COOPER: And Alex Marquardt joins us now from Tel Aviv. What more can you tell us about the person who's been arrested?
MARQUARDT: Well, this reservist, he has been detained, he's being investigated by the military police. He has been identified, Anderson, by the Israeli press. His name is Aviad Frija. The IDF has cautioned that there wouldn't be an indictment until this investigation is over.
They have underscored what they call a clear moral rule in the IDF that when someone puts their hands up that you don't shoot. Initially, we have seen a steady stream of high profile politician is going to sit Shiva with the family. President Isaac Herzog of Israel, the war Minister Benny Gantz.
While we were there earlier tonight, we saw a senior member of the Likud party which is Benjamin Netanyahu's party. This is a story that has really touched this country profoundly, Anderson. It's also playing into this debate over gun control. It's similar to debate -- the debate that we have in the U.S. over the theory of a good guy with a gun.
Here was a good guy with a gun, who was shot and killed, trying to intervene in a terrorist attack, Anderson.
COOPER: Alex Marquardt, thanks very much.
Coming up, a former Harvard scholar who specializes in online disinformation, claims the school forced her out after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife gifted Harvard hundreds of millions of dollars. Harvard denies the allegation.
Donie O'Sullivan has the story next.
COOPER: When the former president who tried to overturn an election calls the man who legally succeeded him a threat to democracy, it should be obvious facts are at a premium in the 2024 presidential race. That may be one reason why a new allegation from a former Harvard scholar who specializes in disinformation, about the alleged influence of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife on her work is raising concerns.
Donie O'Sullivan tonight has details.
JOAN DONOVAN, PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM, BOSTON UNIVERSITY: This was going to be a knockdown, drag out fight for my academic freedom.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, Dr. Joan Donovan has been widely considered one of the top experts on social media disinformation. She wrote dozens of papers, authored a book about extremism online, even testified before Congress.
DONOVAN: Misinformation is a threat to national security.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): She led a special program at Harvard called the Technology and Social Change Research Project, until she says she was forced out.
DONOVAN: Harvard tried to destroy my career. I believe it was just the decision of the dean to terminate me because I was making trouble for the donors.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The donors, she's referring to, are Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, who both attended Harvard. They gave a $500 million donation in 2021. But the trouble is part of Donovan's research involves holding big tech companies like the company Zuckerberg founded Meta, which includes Facebook, accountable for everything from disinformation, to teen suicides, to war propaganda.
In 2021, when a Facebook whistleblower leaked thousands of internal company documents, Donovan began building a database at Harvard to make all the documents publicly available.
DONOVAN: I believe these were the most important documents in internet history. I saw these Facebook papers as evidence that Facebook knew the harms it was causing and did nothing about it, akin to the way in which tobacco companies tried to hide research about lung cancer.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): After that, she believes Meta began turning up the pressure on Harvard.
DONOVAN: I don't think I would have been in the position that I'm in right now if I had not proceeded with this project.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Donovan would help from a group called Whistleblower Aid sent this complaint to Harvard, the U.S. Secretary of Education, and the Massachusetts Attorney General, alleging Harvard officials began adopting Meta's language and questioned Dr. Donovan's research methodologies, specifically, with respect to Facebook.
Leadership was taking cues from Meta and acting on behalf of Meta's best interests and compared Meta's behavior to big tobacco, oil and gas and Big Pharma, each of which manipulated institutions into producing research products that supported their respective industries.
DONOVAN: This field is being run by tech oligarchs who believe that academic research should be a wing of their PR.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Meta has long pushed back against research that blames the company for harming society, but the company did not common for this story. Harvard told CNN in a statement, "Allegations of unfair treatment and donor interference are false. The narrative is full of inaccuracies and bases insinuations particularly the suggestion that Harvard Kennedy School allowed Facebook to dictate its approach to research."
The spokesperson said the Facebook leaked document project ended up going ahead and the university's work on online disinformation continues. But Donovan says Harvard has damaged its credibility. DONOVAN: I mean, it's got it. Here I am at Harvard believing that they would protect the sanctity of the truth, and that they were understanding that this work was going to ruffle some feathers. But what I didn't imagine was that I would need protection from Harvard itself.
COOPER: And Donie O'Sullivan joins us now. What is the status of the doctor's research?
O'SULLIVAN: Yes, so Dr. Donovan now is working at Boston University. But a big part of her problem is a lot of the research she did at Harvard, it's kind of locked in at Harvard and a lot of that data. As you heard in that piece, Meta, which has a very substantial communications department, had no comment on this story today, which is quite unusual for a company that likes to defend itself.
The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, however, which gave $500 million to Harvard, just in the past few hours, put out a new statement that said that they had no involvement in heard Dr. Donovan's departure from Harvard and was unaware of that development before public reporting on it.
Look, Harvard is strongly, strongly denying this, I will say from speaking to other researchers in this space, this is a kind of -- they weren't entirely surprised when they heard this about Dr. Donovan. And just taking a step back further from this, this is all coming as we're going to 2024 disinformation, researchers, people who are calling out this sort of stuff, how it's happening on social media, where it's coming from, how it's affecting people.
They're being attacked on all sides because you have the Republicans in the House of Representatives who are subpoenaing them. They're getting sued left, right and center. There really is an attack on academic freedom, generally, in this country, in this space, which is really a crucial space, particularly going into 2024.
COOPER: Donie O'Sullivan, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
Up next, in a word, Harry Enten joins me to reveal Oxford's 2023 Word of the Year.
COOPER: The publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary has announced his pick for the 2023 Word of the Year. Our resident expert, Harry Enten, joins us with details. So?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: So do you have a guess of what the Word of the Year is?
COOPER: I don't even -- how would I guess what the Word of the Year is? ENTEN: I thought maybe you did some --
COOPER: I don't know, mishegoss.
ENTEN: Mishegoss, no, that would have been my Word of the Year. No, the word of the year was rizz, R-I-Z-Z. Do you have any idea what this word might actually mean?
COOPER: I do not.
ENTEN: I have been told that it is a noun or a verb. It can be either way and it basically, it's like, the charisma to attract somebody. So this is a word, obviously, I'm very promoted --
COOPER: Oh, yes, I just saw this online yesterday.
COOPER: Maybe that's why I saw it because -- yes.
ENTEN: See, so you were reading.
COOPER: It's the charisma to attract somebody.
ENTEN: Yes, it's like the charisma --
COOPER: So you've got rizz, clearly.
ENTEN: I've got --
COOPER: You've got a lot of rizz.
COOPER: You've got buckets of rizz.
ENTEN: Right. And Tom Holland didn't have rizz. This is one of the reasons it became the big thing. Like, he said, oh, I didn't have a lot of rizz, and, you know, I played the long game to get Zendaya, and this is how this became sort of the word of the year -- rizz.
ENTEN: OK? Now I do have some other questions for you. Do you know, happen to know any of the finalists words?
COOPER: How would I -- if I didn't know rizz, how would I even know --
ENTEN: You did know rizz. You did see it, right?
COOPER: OK. If Mishegoss wasn't, how about shanda?
ENTEN: Shanda, yes. Shanda. What a shanda. It would be such a shanda if you did not know these words.
COOPER: So what were some of the finalists? ENTEN: One of the -- some of the finalists, OK. One of them is a situationship.
COOPER: That I have not heard.
ENTEN: I have not heard that either.
COOPER: So that's like a -- it's not a relationship, it's just a situation shift?
ENTEN: It's like you're not sure where it's going. You know, you're kind of going out with somebody.
ENTEN: You know, you're not really sure where it's heading. I should point out that --
COOPER: It's like a little Netflix and Chills situationship.
ENTEN: Yes, that's exactly right.
COOPER: OK. All right.
ENTEN: A little -- it's something that I used to be familiar with now.
COOPER: Swiftie must -- that's clearly not Swifty Lazar. We're talking about Taylor Swift.
ENTEN: That is correct. It's a massive fan of Taylor Swift. And I know, of course, you're a massive fan of Taylor Swift, right?
COOPER: Yes, of course.
ENTEN: Of course. I am --
COOPER: I actually do. I think she's great.
ENTEN: She is great. She is great. I should just also note on the short list. I feel like we're just making up words sometimes. So a beige flag instead of like a red flag. It's just like --
ENTEN: A beige flag.
COOPER: That I've never heard.
ENTEN: I've never heard --
COOPER: Is that really a thing? Has anyone ever -- anyone else here heard of that?
ENTEN: No, no, no. COOPER: Kevin, you're very in tune with the kids, no? No?
ENTEN: The kids, I don't know. I'm out to lunch. I'm a millennial, not a Gen Z.
COOPER: All right, I'm going to put a beige flag on that one.
Harry Enten, thanks very much.
Coming up next, who has qualified for Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate? There won't be as many candidates as last month's showdown. We'll tell you who's out.
COOPER: The Republican National Committee has just announced that only four candidates will take part in Wednesday night's fourth GOP presidential debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie.
The former president is not expected to attend. Asa Hutchinson didn't make the cut due to stricter polling and fundraising rules. And the rest have suspended their campaigns after not getting traction, including North Dakota Republican Governor Doug Burgum, who announced today that he is out.
Well, a post-debate coverage Wednesday night. I hope you join us. The news continues. The Source of Kaitlan Collins starts now.