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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Biden: Israel Should Not Stop Going After Hamas, but "Be More Careful"; CNN's Clarissa Ward Goes Inside Gaza Field Hospital; Attorney In Closing Arguments: Giuliani Made It "Dangerous" For Georgia Election Workers; Republican Iowa Voters On Their Top Pick With 32 Days Until The Caucuses. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired December 14, 2023 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "OUTFRONT": He was banned from entering the country for a long time.

He also admitted to helping Deripaska dig up dirt on a rival oligarch (inaudible). And before McGonigal was sentenced, he told the judge that he has deep sense of remorse and sorrow for his actions. McGonigal is also actually waiting to be sentenced in a separate case for concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars that he accepted from a former employee of Albania's intelligence agency.

Thanks so much for joining us. "AC 360" starts now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight on "360," only on CNN, our Clarissa Ward inside southern Gaza as President Biden warns Israel to be more careful about civilian lives as it goes after Hamas.

Also, tonight, will Rudy Giuliani have to pay $48 million or even more for the harm his election lies did to a mom and daughter who volunteered to count ballots?

Plus, with Iowa caucuses fast approaching, how Republicans there are weighing their choices or, in some cases, changing them. CNN's John King joins us with the latest on our election series all over the map.

Good evening. Thanks for joining us. We begin with a close-up and unfiltered look at life and death in southern Gaza. Our Clarissa Ward and her team are the first of many western media outlet to go there without an IDF escort.

Their reporting airs with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in Israel, holding what he described tonight as a, quote, "intense and detailed" conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his war cabinet. The conversation centering on, among other things, shifting to lower-intensity, more surgical strikes, something President Biden underscored today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want them to be focused on how to save civilian lives, not stop going after Hamas, but be more careful.


COOPER: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin heads to the region Saturday for more talks with top Israelis and leaders from Qatar and Bahrain, as well as a chance to meet some of the thousands American troops now on deployment there.

Now, in a moment, we'll be joined by CNN Military Analyst, Retired Army Four-Star General Wesley Clark to talk about the Biden administration's message for Israel, as well as new reporting, which CNN broke, that nearly half the Israeli munitions dropped on Gaza are of the non-precision variety.

First, CNN's Clarissa Ward with her reporting, some of which we should warn you, -- the viewers, is graphic. Clarissa, what did you see?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we've been trying for weeks and weeks and weeks to get into Gaza. Like everyone, we have relied on the courageous and extraordinary reporting of journalists in Gaza who have been dying in record numbers.

On Tuesday, we were finally able to get access into Gaza, into the southern part of the Gaza Strip. This is now where Israel has intensified its military operations. That is exacerbating the humanitarian catastrophe that is playing out there and leading to record numbers of civilian casualties as we saw for ourselves.


WARD (voice over): You don't have to search for tragedy in Gaza. It finds you on every street strewn with trash and stagnant water, desolate and foreboding.

WARD (on camera): So, we've just crossed the border into southern Gaza. This is the first time we've actually been able to get into Gaza since October 7th, and we are now driving to a field hospital that has been set up by the UAE.

WARD (voice over): Up until now, Israel and Egypt have made access for international journalists next to impossible, and you can see why.

WARD (on camera): Since October 7th, the Israeli military says it has hit Gaza with more than 22,000 strikes. That, by far, surpasses anything we've seen in modern warfare in terms of intensity and ferocity. And we really, honestly, are just getting a glimpse of it here.

WARD (voice over): Despite Israel's heavy bombardment, there are people out on the streets. A crowd outside a bakery, where else can they go? Nowhere is safe in Gaza.


WARD (on camera): Right.

AL-NAQBI: ... a stadium.

WARD (voice over): Arriving at the Emirati field hospital, we meet Dr. Abdullah Al-Naqbi. No sooner does our tour begin when ...

AL-NAQBI: So our ambulance (inaudible).

WARD (on camera): And this is what you hear all the time now?

AL-NAQBI: Yes, at least 20 times a day.

WARD (on camera): At least 20 times a day?

AL-NAQBI: Maybe more, sometimes. I think we get used to it.

WARD (voice over): One thing none of the doctors here have got used to is the number of children they are treating. The UN estimates that some two-thirds of those killed in this round of the conflict have been women and children.

Eight-year-old Jinan (ph) was lucky enough to survive a strike on her family home that crushed her femur, but spared her immediate family.


(CLARISSA WARD speaking in foreign language.)

WARD (on camera): She says she's not in pain, so that's good.

(HIBA MOHAMMED MUGHARI speaking in foreign language, crying.)

WARD (voice over): Her mother, Hiba, was out when it happened. "I went to the hospital to look for her," she says. "And I came here, and I found her here. The doctors told me what happened with her, and I made sure that she's okay. Thank God."

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language)

WARD (voice over): "They bombed the house in front of us and then our home," Jinan (ph) tells us. "I was sitting next to my grandfather, and my grandfather held me. And my uncle was fine. So he is the one who took us out."

(CLARISSA WARD speaking in foreign language.)

WARD (on camera): Don't cry.

WARD (voice over): But Dr. Ahmed Almazrouei says it is hard not to.

DR. AHMED ALMAZROUEI, UAE FIELD HOSPITAL: I work with all people, like adults, other children, something touching your heart.

WARD (voice over): Touches your heart and tests your faith in humanity. As we leave Jinan (ph), Dr. Al-Naqbi comes back with the news of casualties arriving from the strike just 10 minutes earlier.

AL-NAQBI: We just got a stable (inaudible) right now two amputated young male from the -- just the bombing today.

WARD (on camera): From the (inaudible) we just heard ...


WARD (on camera): ... from the bomb we just heard?

AL-NAQBI: That is my understanding.

WARD (on camera): Okay.

AL-NAQBI: They all arrived to our (inaudible).

WARD (voice over): A man and a 13-year-old boy are wheeled in, both missing limbs, both in a perilous state.

(DR. AL-NAQBI speaking in foreign language.)

WARD (voice over): "What's your name? What's your name?" the doctor asks. The notes provided by the paramedics are smeared with blood. A tourniquet improvised with a bandage.

Since the field hospital opened less than two weeks ago, it has been inundated with patients; 130 of their 150 beds are already full.

WARD (on camera): So, let me understand this, you are now, basically, the only hospital around that still has some beds?

AL-NAQBI: I guess so, yes, or maybe I'm very sure of that, because they are telling me one of the hospitals with a capacity of 200, they are accommodating 1,000 right now. And the next-door hospital, I'm not very sure if it's like fits 200 ...


AL-NAQBI: ... has maybe 400 to 500 patients. So, at one occasion, he called me. He said, I have three patients in each bed, please take them. I said, send as many as you can.

WARD (on camera): I mean, we've been here 15 minutes, and this is already what we're seeing.

AL-NAQBI: And this is -- you heard it, you see it.

WARD (voice over): In every bed, another gut punch. Less than two years old, Amir (ph) still doesn't know that his parents and siblings were killed in the strike that disfigured him.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)

WARD (voice over): "Yesterday, he saw a nurse that looked like his father," his aunt, Nahia (ph), tells us. He kept screaming, "Dad, dad, dad!"

Amir (ph) is still too young to comprehend the horror all around him, but 20-year-old Lama (ph) understands it all too well. Ten weeks ago, she was studying engineering at university, helping to plan her sister's wedding. Today, she is recovering from the amputation of her right leg. Her family followed Israeli military orders and fled from the north to the south, but the house where they were seeking shelter was hit in a strike.

(LAMA (ph) speaking in foreign language.)

WARD (voice over): "The world isn't listening to us," she says, "Nobody cares about us. We've been dying for over 60 days, dying from the bombing, and nobody did anything."

Words of condemnation delivered in a thin rasp, but does anyone hear them? Like Grozny, Aleppo, and Mariupol, Gaza will go down as one of the great horrors of modern warfare.

It's getting dark. Time for us to leave -- a privilege the vast majority of Gazans do not have. Our brief glimpse from a window onto hell is ending as a new chapter in this ugly conflict unfolds.


COOPER: And, Clarissa, I mean, in terms of their supplies, does -- I mean, it seems like that hospital is well-stocked. Is that because it's a UAE hospital?


WARD: That's right. It is definitely not the norm inside Gaza, but it is run by the UAE, the UAE has normalized relations with Israel. And so, they have an easier time than most in terms of trying to get those supplies in. They're also very close to the border. But it's tough for them too, Anderson.

And we talked to the doctors about the number of patients they have who are in such a serious situation that they really need to be evacuated to Egypt. And every day, they're petitioning the Israelis for permission to get them out. Sometimes they're able to do that, sometimes they have to wait days and days. Sometimes they never get that permission.

We talked to them about a 19-year-old boy who lost both of his legs. The doctors say they're not sure he is going to make it, and there's no guarantee as to when or if he will get that much needed permission to get out of Gaza -- Anderson.

COOPER: Clarissa, I mean, you dedicated much of your life to going to conflict zones, and you've been in a lot of really horrific situations. I'm wondering how this -- I mean, I hate to -- I don't want to compare one tragedy to another, but what stood out to you here?

WARD: I mean, it's as horrifying as anything I've seen, Anderson, honestly, because of the extortionately high number of civilian casualties, and particularly children, and because of the fact that these people don't have anywhere they can go. The IDF started bombing the north. They told them to move south. Now they're moving -- now they're bombing the south. They told them to move to central Gaza. People can't move around. It's too dangerous.

They don't have fuel for their cars. They don't have water. They don't have food. They don't have medicine.

And they are literally hermetically sealed into this tiny strip, which is incredibly densely populated, 1.9 million people displaced. Two- thirds of the casualties are civilians that is so striking.

And no matter how long you cover conflict for, you never get used to seeing things like this. You never get used to talking to a little boy less than 2 years old who doesn't even know that his parents have been killed, Anderson.

It's something that sits with you and stays with you. And you can understand why so many people around the world do feel a sense of despair and a sense of impotence at being unable to put a stop to this -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Well, that little boy who we're showing right now played with a little car like every kid everywhere around the planet does, and yet his life is not like any other little kids -- Muslim kids.

Clarissa, thank you.

For more on what we just saw, as well as the growing American pressure on Israel to shift tactics, we're joined now by CNN Military Analyst Retired Army General Wesley Clark.

General Clark, I want to talk about the Israeli military campaign in a moment. First, just as someone who has seen a lot of war, commanded troops, seen the impact of war on civilians, what do you make of what we are seeing in Gaza?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it's certainly a humanitarian tragedy. It's a terrible dilemma for the Israelis. It was brought on by Hamas first, by starting the engagement.

It's -- these people have been held there because Egypt wouldn't let them leave. Israel wouldn't let them into the Negev somewhere, so they're pinned up in there, and Israel is determined to finish the job against Hamas. Hamas could surrender, this would stop tomorrow.

So we have to remember that Hamas is not just a group of terrorists, it's also the government of Gaza and has been, and has used its population as a weapon of war to embarrass, intimidate the Israelis, and to put global pressure on the United States and others who are trying to stop this conflict.

COOPER: As we mentioned, CNN's reporting that according to sources who have seen it, a US intelligence assessment says that nearly half of the air-to-ground munitions that Israel has used in Gaza since the October 7th attacks have been unguided or so-called dumb bombs, not precision weapons. Is that surprising to you at all? Do they not have an arsenal of sophisticated or, you know, precision weapons?

CLARK: No, they do have a certain number of these precision weapons. They also have a certain number of dumb bombs. And the idea would be, from a military perspective, is to use the appropriate weapon for the target. So if you have a very precise target that you need a very precise strike on, then you'd use a laser-guided or a GPS-guided bomb on that target.

If the enemy is in a building, it's a big building and you think there's no civilians in that building, you can do a dive bomb on it with a so-called dumb bomb and you probably hit within 20, 30 feet. You don't have any anti-aircraft to speak of going against these -- the Israeli aircraft.

They come in. They're at 2,000, 3,000 feet. They come in right on the target, they line up with it, they release the bomb, the bomb falls aerodynamically. It's not as accurate, but it's not like carpet bombing, Anderson, where there's ...


COOPER: Right.

CLARK: ... bombing huge swathes of territory.

COOPER: But who makes the decision? In any war, look, terrible decisions, a cold calculus is made about a target, the potential value of that -- of eliminating that target, and the potential loss of civilian life in the attempt to eliminate that target. Are those decisions that are made individually by commanders in the moment? I mean, there's not some central office that's making these decisions.

And I'm wondering is that -- I mean, is anyone looking at the big picture or is it each, you know, individual act is assessed for, okay, we think this target is worth this, and therefore, we're willing to strike it and reassess the casualties will be, you know, commensurate to the value of the target.

CLARK: Usually, it's a combination, Anderson. Usually, they're -- you get intel feeds. You look at where the enemy is. You then look at what the collateral damage might be, the surveillance, the buildings.

You have some no-strike zones on there. It would be hospital, churches, and so forth. And then you assign the mission to an aircraft with the right ordnance.

Now, in addition to those preplan, you're going to have the on-call mission. So people in contact are getting fire from a certain building. Can you identify it? You have a laser designator. Can you put it on the building or do you give its grid coordinates and the pilots overhead?

And maybe he has the right weapon. Maybe he doesn't have quite the right weapon, but there's a certain urgency to it. He comes -- rolls in on the target any way. It's a combination of these things. But I just can't imagine, Anderson, that the Israelis aren't doing everything that they can to commensurate with their interpretation of their mission to reduce these civilian casualties.

They're getting so much pressure from all over the world, plus from the United States. I'm sure they're doing what they can. But they've said they're going to eliminate Hamas.

COOPER: A senior US official told CNN that the Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar's, quote, "days are numbered," and that since Americans were killed in the October 7th attacks, Sinwar had US blood on his hands. What does that say to you about the level of cooperation between Israel and the United States to find and eliminate Hamas's leadership?

CLARK: I think there's a lot of intelligence sharing in there. As always, there are probably some elements of intelligence that aren't shared between nations, but generally, the cooperation seems really good. But that's not the same as the US picking the targets, putting the rules around the target as to what can be struck, and what -- where you get the trade-off between the value of the target and the risk of damage to civilian structures and hurting innocent people. The Israelis are making those decisions themselves.

COOPER: General Clark, thank you for your time.

Coming up next, the man who spread election lies even during the penalty phase of his trial for spreading election lies. We're going look at what jurors could make Rudy Giuliani pay for those lies and whether he's got even a fraction of the millions that could be.

And later, John King in Iowa and at the Magic Wall as Republican voters start making up their minds for the caucuses just about a month away.



COOPER: Eight jurors resume deliberations tomorrow morning over how much Rudy Giuliani should pay for ruining the lives of two women. It could run into the tens of millions of dollars.

A judge has already ruled that he made false and defamatory public statements about Ruby Freeman and her daughter Shaye Moss who served as volunteer election workers in Georgia during the 2020 vote recount. It is the penalty phase began earlier this week, he repeated those falsehoods on camera.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Of course, I don't regret it. I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: And they weren't. There's no evidence of that. He also promised to back up these claims, which again, a judge has already ruled are false and defamatory. And no surprise, America's former mayor never did, nor did he take the stand as expected today.

For more on the day and what the jury is considering, let's go to CNN's Katelyn Polantz outside the federal courthouse in Washington. So, what -- I mean, what more happened in court today to this guy?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Rudy Giuliani, he didn't take the stand, but Rudy Giuliani's words is -- are exactly what this jury has to weigh now when they decide how much he should be paying Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, these two Georgia election workers for their emotional distress, for the reputational damage he has done to their good names, and for the amount that he must pay to be punished for what he said.

Now, in court today, we essentially heard closing arguments. That was the bulk of the day before the jury deliberated before about 3-1/2 hours and was clearly getting into the nitty-gritty of the numbers. They looked at how an expert had determined $48 million should be the amount at least that he should have to pay.

And what one of the lawyers for Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, Michael Gottlieb, what he argued to the jury was that Rudy Giuliani was a powerful person. He was an attorney for so long, he was so successful, he should have known better than what he had been doing after the election. He should know what defamation is, and he should have known that this was a sustained campaign of lies that would deeply hurt them, that he was using his platform and orchestrating this in a way that was totally unfair and inappropriate for these women.

This is one thing that Gottlieb said to the jury in his closing argument, "He thought they were ordinary and expendable. He didn't see them as human beings. It's dangerous for them to be Ruby Freeman or Shaye Moss because of Giuliani and his co-conspirators."

And, Anderson, I should add those co-conspirators in this case are the Trump campaign, Trump lawyers, and Donald Trump himself.

COOPER: So Giuliani chose not to testify today, which is probably the only smart move he's made in several years. But Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss did testify earlier in the trial. Can you just remind people what they said? Because, again, these were volunteers.

POLANTZ: They were. Well, Ruby Freeman was a volunteer, and Shaye Moss was a paid Georgia election worker who took quite a lot of pride in doing that job, and that's what she told the jury. But they both took the stand over the course of this week as the jury listened to them.


And not only did they speak what they did after the 2020 election and how their names have been ruined, how they fear for their lives, how they are afraid to introduce themselves to others, they also, when each were on the stand, there were voice mails, chilling voice mails, racist voice mails and text messages read and played for them. And then their lawyers had them react to them.

And they described how scared they were, how they went to the police, how they were advised by the FBI to flee their home, and how terrifying it was not just in the days after the 2020 election as Rudy Giuliani and others were saying these things about them, but in the years since that they still live in fear, that they still live with depression, anxiety, that they still are in a state of concern over being able to use their names to introduce themselves even to their neighbors.

And so that is what the jury is going to be weighing. We do expect them to come back sharp at 9:00 AM tomorrow morning. They will be continuing deliberations. But there is a lot at stake for Rudy Giuliani, potentially an astronomical sum that he may have to pay these two women.

COOPER: Katelyn Polantz, thanks very much.

Some reaction now from a former member of the House January 6th Committee, which heard in great detail from Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, CNN's Senior Political Commentator and former Illinois Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger joins us. I mean, what does it say that Rudy Giuliani, A, did not end up testifying before this case went to the jury, which makes sense from a legal standpoint, even though he and his attorney previously said he would?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, look, this is what Rudy Giuliani does. This is what, frankly, Donald Trump does, and this is what others in the Trump camp do, which is they say they have evidence. I mean, Rudy Giuliani is like what is your evidence? He's like "stay tuned."

COOPER: Right.

KINZINGER: Okay. How many times have we been told to stay tuned? And what happens is the people hear that, they believe that Rudy now has evidence, and then they don't see the follow-up about him not testifying and him not saying anything.

I think it goes to show, obviously, he's a pathological liar or he's insane. And I'm not quite sure he's insane. I just think it's important to note at this moment because I was thinking about this in the lead-up here is like how far this guy has fallen.

COOPER: Yeah, it's incredible.

KINZINGER: I mean, I think when he -- it is. I mean, any other day, I think when he will die someday, like they would have named every elementary school in every town Rudy Giuliani elementary, and he threw that all away. It's sad.

COOPER: I just again want to play the clip of Giuliani outside the court Monday attacking, again, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, even though his lawyer acknowledged in court that they had suffered harm. Let's play this.


GIULIANI: But everything I said about them is true.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you regret what you did to Ruby ...

GIULIANI: Of course, I don't regret. I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: There's no proof of that.

GIULIANI: Oh, you're damn right there is. Stay tuned.


COOPER: I mean, it's just -- I would say it's embarrassing, but he has no shame, so it's certainly not embarrassing for him.

KINZINGER: No, shamelessness is a superpower. It's one for him. That was the whole stay tuned at the end is that like there's no, oh, well, stay tuned, I'll give you that. How many times has the My Pillow Guy, has Rudy Giuliani, has Donald Trump said there's evidence, stay tuned, it's coming, we're on the edge of it. It's just a liar.

And the other thing that's sad, and this is -- again, this is Rudy and others is how they consistently punch down. You pick two innocent women that probably got paid almost nothing to count votes that day.

And you pick them, why? Well, let's be honest, because they're black. And that's when Rudy Giuliani was talking about they passed this thumb drive like it was a vial of crack ...


KINZINGER: ... or whatever he said. Well, that's an interesting thing to say.

And as she mentioned, I think it was Shaye that had said like they were passing ginger mints to each other.

COOPER: Right.

KINZINGER: But what they do is, this is a fascist way, frankly, of intimidating political opponents. Are you going to go -- who's going to want to go work counting votes in the future if you think you could get called out like this?


KINZINGER: This is what we have to be aware of. This is an attempt to scare people, and Rudy Giuliani should pay a huge sum.

COOPER: I mean, I remember their testimony before the January 6th Committee, which you were on. And I want to play a bit of Ms. Moss's testimony in which she describes the impact that these lies have had on her life.


SHAYE MOSS, GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: It's turned my life upside down. I no longer give out my business card. I don't transfer calls. I don't want anyone knowing my name.

I don't want to go anywhere with my mom, because she might yell my name out over the grocery aisle or something. I don't go to the grocery store at all. I haven't been anywhere at all.



COOPER: And yet, people hear that and plenty people continue to believe the lies about the 2020 election being stolen. I mean --

KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, it's -- at some point, people have to look in their heart and determine what kind of a human being do you want to be and I can't answer that for you. But if you want to be the kind of human being that thinks it's funny, or it's OK, that two innocent women feel like they can't go to the grocery store, and I understand that feeling.

You know, I chose what I did on January 6. I knew some of the impacts that were going to come. They didn't do anything but decide to serve their community. And their names are probably better recognized than mine and almost as recognized as yours, Anderson. And they didn't ask for that. They just wanted to serve their country, and they have to live with this the rest of life.

And look, most Americans probably when they see him, will thank them, will call them heroic as they are. But there is a certain number of Americans out there that have been convinced that truly believe they are part of this satanic plot to overthrow God's chosen one Donald Trump. I mean, that's -- it's just such a twisted logic. It's sad. And as an -- Americans, we have to think about what kind of humans and what kind of country we want to be.

COOPER: Yes. And again, I mean, your point about him, you know, he's going to, you know, one day be found in some hotel room somewhere, you know, dead on the floor, you know, by the housekeeper comes into the room service, and there'll be a bottle of Bourbon somewhere in the room, and the obituaries are going to be brutal. I mean, this is this man's legacy.

KINZINGER: Yes. I -- you know, I think everybody, no matter who you are, you think about what is my legacy going to be? How am I going to be remembered? I'm only 45 and I think about those things. But like, he could have gone from America's mayor, this hero. I mean, he still can redeem himself if he comes out and tells the truth, but he has turned into a joke. And it's sad to see and there are so many people in Donald Trump's orbit that have done the same thing.

COOPER: Yes. Adam Kinzinger, thanks so much.

Just to be clear on exactly what Giuliani falsely said, Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman were passed around. It was, quote, "Passing around USB ports like they were vials of heroin or cocaine."

Next, John King is back with a new all over the map report with less than five weeks until the Iowa caucuses. He went back there to talk again with Republican voters he met earlier this year, most supported former President Trump. When John spoke with them last time, the question now has that change? Answers ahead.



COOPER: Tonight, we have a new installment of 360 series all over the map with John King with the Iowa caucuses about a month away. He went back to the state to revisit with Republican voters that he spoke with months ago. Support for the former president obviously strong in the state.

In the latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll, he's at 51 percent. Governor Ron DeSantis at 19 percent, Nikki Haley at 16 percent. DeSantis has gained three points since October. Haley is unchanged. Given that, do the voters that John spoke was still support the former president? John, what did you find out?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the president's support is strong. You see it, you feel it, you hear it. He's above 50 percent in that Iowa poll, the latest one which is significant. First time he's been above 50 percent.

But about half of the party still would prefer someone other than Trump and this is anecdotal reporting. It's not data. It's not science. But in the voter group, we've been falling for five months now, we do notice I would say a shift toward Haley among Republican women. Now, can she build on it? They know they have 32 days to try to pull off a surprise.

KING (voice-over): Low rolling hills of Southwest Iowa, Shanen Ebersole's happy place.

SHANEN EBERSOLE, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'll just sit out here with my cows and take a breath and everything goes back to the way that it should be.

KING (voice-over): A family cattle farmer for 25 years. A two-time Donald Trump voter.

EBERSOLE: I love what he did for small businesses. I love what he did for agriculture. I wish he could have done it a little bit quieter.

KING (voice-over): The loud part is why Ebersole has shop.

EBERSOLE: Because he wasn't as respectful as they think our president should be. Because he didn't bring us together.

KING (voice-over): Shopping for a conservative doesn't scare her liberal friends. EBERSOLE: I would lean towards Haley. I think that in the face of people calling names, in the face of people yelling and screaming in front of her, she held her composure. I think that she has the demeanor and the life experience that is more connected to actual Americans.

KING (voice-over): Trump's support is deep here, especially in rural counties like Ringgold. But if there is to be an Iowa surprise, Republican women will power it.

This is Priscilla Forsythe making Christmas crafts with friends in Sioux City. Five months ago when we first spoke, she was leading Vivek Ramaswamy.

PRISCILLA FORSYTH, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I really got the feeling. He's brilliant. He's got energy. He's young.

KING (voice-over): Now she urges friends to vote Haley.

FORSYTH: Usually to me the debates don't make a big difference, but they kind of did this time.

KING (voice-over): Forsyth caucus for Trump when he wants Sioux City back in 2016. Now she sees something else taking shape.

FORSYTH: I think they're underestimating the people who don't want the chaos anymore.

KING (voice-over): There's a lot of that in the Des Moines suburbs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to turn a chapter. We want to go to something new.

KING (voice-over): Betsy Sarcone hopes Iowa uses its first in the nation vote to elevate one strong Trump alternative. This is what she told us back in August.

BETSY SARCONE, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I do find -- I am pulled towards DeSantis.

KING (voice-over): And this is now.

SARCONE: I am likely, Nikki Haley caucuser.

KING (voice-over): Sarcone says her brother and parents are also leaning Haley. But she's not final just yet.

SARCONE: If people were going to consolidate, I would go with DeSantis. That's not what I'm seeing so far. The suburbs out here you're likely going to see a lot -- it's going to be DeSantis-Haley.

KING (on-camera): But if it's DeSantis-Haley, Trump wins, doesn't he?

SARCONE: He does. I mean, that's the question, right? How do you get people to consolidate.

KING (voice-over): Jaclyn Taylor is another mom and entrepreneur who hopes the suburbs send a message.

JACLYN TAYLOR, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I see Nikki Haley helping us identify back with what our culture is, what our vision is and what our mission is, as a United States, not a divided states.

KING (voice-over): But as Taylor tries to recruit friends, there's a lesson about Trump's resilience.

TAYLOR: And they say, oh, I really like Nikki Haley. I really like Ron DeSantis. But when it comes down to the voting in the primary, I'll probably just vote for Trump because he's going to get it anyways. And that just really frustrated me. The influence of the louder voices is how having an impact on people.


KING (voice-over): This is Chris Mudd's big change. Midwest solar is growing and needed a new office. Same candidate though, same confidence.

CHRIS MUDD, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: You know, you got to have thick skin to be for Trump today. And so I think those people that say their form are going to show up.

KING (on-camera): When you hear DeSantis say, you know, we got to stop losing or Haley say, no drama, no chaos, time for a new generation of leadership. You say?

MUDD: There are 30, 35, 40 points behind Trump. I would say that they're the chaos and that they should stand down and support Trump.

KING (voice-over): Mudd doesn't care about polls showing Haley run stronger against President Biden. He doesn't care Trump could be both the Republican nominee and a convicted felon by summer.

MUDD: I think Trump has been pushed into a corner. I think he's got lots of targets on him. And I think he's doing a great job of deflecting every one of them.

KING (voice-over): Dozens see January 6 as disqualifying to the contrary.

MUDD: You know, why did Nancy Pelosi have the National Guard there?

KING (on-camera): That's a separate question, though, isn't it?

MUDD: No, it's not.

KING (on-camera): That's a legitimate -- it's a legitimate question. But just because there weren't enough cops there, does that give people the right to blow through those barricades to beat those -- in some cases beat those officers?

MUDD: No, it doesn't. But the people that were there were negligent from stopping it from happening. They wanted it to happen because they wanted Trump to not be eligible to run again. I think it was set up to end Trump.

KING (voice-over): There is zero evidence to support that and it is talk like that, that is a big reason. Shanen Ebersole says enough.

EBERSOLE: Inflammatory acts did not happen by President Trump, but he inflamed a lot of people to do a lot of crazy things that I don't think Americans -- I don't think that's really who we are.

KING (voice-over): The cows are still here because the freeze is late, but they will soon have to move and Ebersole knows that means time is running short for Republicans like her who hope Iowa sends a message -- it is time to move on.


COOPER: So John, what should people look for in the caucuses?

KING: Who votes and where they vote, Anderson. The who part is important. I just want to show you the Iowa caucus electorate in 2016. Remember, Ted Cruz won Iowa in 2016. Donald Trump won New Hampshire and the rest is history. But Donald Trump came in second in Iowa. Essentially, that's where he proved he had appeal among Republican voters.

This was the electorate then. More than half the electorate was men in 2016. If more than half of the electorate on January 15th is men, Donald Trump is likely to win and win big. You have to see what's the composition of the electorate.

Haley's only chance is women. Is if women finally decide and you hear it, when you're on the ground there, they don't like the toxic tone, they want to move on. Even some of the voter of Trump twice and say they would probably vote for him against Biden in November. They just want to move on.

So that's the who. And then it's the where. If you just look since 2016, this is the 2020 election that Trump won Iowa quite easily. But since 2016, the massive growth here, especially in Des Moines and the suburbs around it. Now they're not all Republicans.

But when you're there, it's -- you know, I've been doing this, this is my 10th presidential campaign. When I go there now, it is a very different place from when you went there, even four or eight, but it's particularly when you went there 30 years ago, that's the fastest growing part of the population.

And we know from 2018 and 2020, the suburbs are Trump's kryptonite. Do enough people turn out in the suburbs? Or do Republicans come out to vote against Donald Trump? And it's interesting. Again, this is anecdotal reporting, but that farm was down here, a tiny county.

Priscilla Forsyth is out here, a Republican county. Is there a movement? Is it enough? Or is it just, you know, did Haley does better but not good enough?

COOPER: That farm, that cattle ranch was beautiful. KING: It's gorgeous -- and it's gorgeous land down there.

COOPER: Yes. John King, thank you. And thanks, everybody participating that.

Just ahead, the impact the war between Israel and Hamas is having here in the U.S. There's been an alarming increase as you know of recent antisemitic incidents across the nation. CNN's Omar Jimenez has been tracking them, has details next.



COOPER: Disturbing details emerge today about a 13-year-old Ohio boy who authorities say had a, quote, "detailed plan", unquote, for a mass shooting at a synagogue in Canton, Ohio. When authorities learned of it, the FBI questioned him at his home, and he's since been charged with misdemeanor counts of inducing panic and disorderly conduct. Certainly one in a string of recent antisemitic incidents stretching from California to North Carolina.

Omar Jimenez has details.



OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The week of Hanukkah is supposed to be a time of joy. But for many Jewish Americans, some of that joy has been replaced with fear. In Greensboro, North Carolina, a man was arrested for vandalizing a holocaust monument. It was defaced with graffiti that included a swastika inside of the Star of David at the base of the monument, according to the local nonprofit that built the monument.

In Oakland, California, the city's largest menorah was destroyed and pieces of it were thrown into a nearby lake, according to images and video from the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Bay Area. The words "Free Palestine" were also sprayed in Arabic around the edges of the amphitheater near where the menorah had been standing.

RABBI DOVID LABKOWSKI, CHABAD JEWISH CENTER OF OAKLAND: I don't know why anyone would do this. I know that it's toxic. The air is toxic these days. And it's just -- it shouldn't be that way.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): In Ohio, a 13-year-old is facing criminal charges after allegedly crafting a detailed plan for a mass shooting at a synagogue even weeks before Hamas's October 7th attack on Israel. In the Los Angeles area, two men were charged Tuesday with hate crimes. One, in connection with an alleged December 9th attack on a man wearing a yamaka and another in a separate late November incident for allegedly spraying swastikas on a number of buildings including a temple and a church.

Earlier this week at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, someone placed a Palestinian flag on a campus menorah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Enough is enough.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): In the little more than two months since the October 7th attacks and ensuing war, there have been more than 2,000 antisemitic incidents documented in the U.S. That's a 337 percent increase compared to the same period last year, according to the Anti- Defamation League.


JIMENEZ: And, you know, the ADL has called it part of a pattern that they saw start with October 7th and a pattern they say they haven't seen any signs of diminishing at this point. But I also want to point out, this isn't happening in a vacuum. The Council on American Islamic Relations has also reported what they say is an unprecedented rise in the amount of anti-Arab and Islamophobic incidents that they've been following as well.


And it's something Attorney General Merrick Garland has said it is on law enforcement's radar, but clearly something to monitor moving forward.

COOPER: Yes. Omar Jimenez, appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, what officials say were thwarted terror plots in Europe and who was behind it.


COOPER: Tonight, eight alleged members of mosques are in custody after being suspected of plotting terror attacks in Europe. Now, the arrest comes as many fear violence stemming from the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Just this week here in the U.S., the FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a statement warning that the war likely heightens the threat of violence during the holiday season.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now with more on today's arrest. So Fred, where were these people arrested and what are they suspected of planning?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Anderson? Well, there were two sets of arrests. One of them happens in Denmark where four people were arrested in total in terror raids related to that. Three of them were actually arrested in Denmark, one person was arrested in the Netherlands.


And the interesting thing about those arrests is that the Danish authorities are saying these were anti-terror arrests. They said there were raids in the entire country. But the Danish authorities themselves actually didn't mention Hamas. It was the Israelis, the Israeli intelligence service, both the Shin Bet and the Mossad that then came out and said that they believe that these were thwarted terror attacks, and that they happened on the orders of Hamas.

Now what the Danes have done, Anderson, is they've strengthened security around Jewish institutions around Denmark. So clearly, they're taking this extremely seriously. At the same time, you have these terror raids that happen in Germany as well, where also four people in total were arrested, three of them in Germany, one person again in the Netherlands.

And the Germans are being a lot more clear. They're saying that at least three of these suspects were long term members of Hamas and they're also saying that all of them have very close ties to Hamas as senior leadership into the military wing of Hamas, the al-Qassam Brigades, Anderson?

COOPER: Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much.

Coming up next, the jaw dropping moment of the day a bull where you would never expect anything but trains that one of the busiest locations for New York area commuters.


COOPER: Check out this wild delay for late morning commuters in New Jersey. A bull, that's right, a bull got on the tracks at Newark Penn Station. Trains to and from New York City were delayed for 45 minutes until it ran off the tracks.

Police eventually corralled it in a fence. No official word where the bull came from. There are reports that could have escaped a Newark slaughterhouse or on route to one. In any case, the breakaway works, the bull has been moved to an animal sanctuary to live out the rest of its days. They've named him Ricardo and we certainly wish him all the best.

That's it for us. The news continues. The Source with Kaitlan Collins starts now. See you tomorrow.