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At This Hour

Israel Launches Air and Artillery Barrage amid Hamas Rocket Fire; Capitol Officers Speak on Trauma as GOP Downplays Insurrection; Politico Reports, Palm Beach Officials Planning for Possible Trump Indictment. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 14, 2021 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: It is now the fifth day of pretty devastating attacks between Israeli forces and Hamas militants. Watch.

This is just ongoing and constant. The Israeli military this morning launching a combined air and artillery barrage. It's the first time the Israelis have used ground forces in this conflict.

It is also raising questions about whether they're preparing to launch a true ground invasion as Palestinian militants continue rocket attacks against Israel on Israeli towns. The death toll rising on both sides.

CNN's Nic Robertson is on the Gaza border. He joins me right now. Nic, what are you seeing?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, these are the troops that are stationed right on the border. Behind me here, you've got armored personnel carriers. Up ahead of them, you've got tanks, the big bulldozing equipment here.

These are the troops who, if there was going to be an incursion, might be those call to crossover the border. We're not far away from the border with Gaza. But if you compare this with the past times when there had incursions, there just aren't the number of troops here.

But I can tell you what's going on. In the past couple of minutes, we saw Iron Dome intercept rockets flying out of Gaza in that direction over there. About an hour ago, they were flying over our heads this way. The Iron Dome is intersecting them up here. So those rockets are still being fired out of Gaza. We've heard Israeli fighter jets fly over Gaza. We've seen explosions or explosions have been filmed. We can't see them from here happening in Gaza still.

So this is very much an ongoing situation. We just heard in the last half an hour or so from the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he said that he would hit Hamas hard, that in the past 24 hours, he'd hit them in their tunnels. He said he thought they could escape in the tunnels. But he said Israel has shown that it can reach them and that it will continue to reach them. He's not talking about escalation. He's saying that we have hit them hard already, which is an indication that he thinks that he is doing part of what he set out to do. Has he gone far enough? Not clear.

He was praising President Biden, the British, the French, the Germans, the Austrians as well for supporting Israel and saying that Israel has the right to fire back and defend itself.

And Gaza itself, the electricity has been off. The cables, the power cables have been cut. The power station there ran out of gas. Women and children taking shelter in U.N.-designated safe houses, schools, but the U.N. saying there just not -- there isn't the capacity there. So, fear on the ground in Gaza.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and on a knife's edge once again. Thank you, Nic, for being there. We'll continue to follow these developments.

Still ahead for us At This Hour, a Republican congressman claimed the January 6th insurrection looked like, in his words, normal tourist visit. Now, the officers who were there that day are speaking out against anyone who is trying to rewrite history right now.



BOLDUAN: Those are lies. That is the blunt and dead on accurate assessment of House Republicans' attempt to rewrite the history of what happened on January 6th. And it comes from someone who knows, from someone who lived it.

We showed you this body cam footage yesterday from D.C. Metro Police Officer Michael Fanone. He has talked so candidly about how traumatic those attacks really were and the lingering and real effect that it still has on him.

Here is more now of what he is telling CNN about what we heard -- about what we all heard from Republicans this week.


MICHAEL FANONE, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER: I'm not a politician. I'm not elected official. I don't expect anybody to give two shits about my opinions. But I will say this. Those are lies. And peddling that bullshit is an assault on every officer that fought to defend the Capitol. It's disgraceful.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Jessica Schneider is joining me now with more. Jessica, Officer Fanone said so much more. Tell us.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he did. He talked about how he actually relived some of the trauma from January 6th, Kate, when he listened to the lawmakers mischaracterize what unfolded that day.


And Officer Fanone, he said he wasn't the only one. He said that he was on the phone with several other officers who were also traumatized by that rhetoric that was being used. And in addition, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn spoke with CNN this morning, and he too said the words from Republican congressmen during the hearing when they said it wasn't an insurrection, that it was more like a tourist visit with people filing through the Capitol in an orderly fashion. Officer Dunn said the words too were hurtful.

And he said, it's really hard to believe that even with the fact that it played out live on T.V. on January 6th and is still played out nearly every day, he can't believe that people still deny what happened.

Here's more of what Officer Dunn told us.


HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: It's insulting. It's a slap in the face.

This has nothing to do with politics. It was all-out attack. That had nothing to do with politics. It was just -- it's so frustrating when you hear people say things like that. Like how do you look at that tape and see anything else than an assault? I don't get it. I don't understand.


SCHNEIDER: Yes, so quite simply exasperation from these officers.

And, Kate, Officer Dunn talked about the fact that he goes to work every day in what is technically considered a crime scene. He said he has to walk by those windows that are cracked and broken and now boarded up. And that's what they relive day in and day out at the Capitol. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Look, there is nothing to add. Their words are the beginning and end of what everyone should listen to and believe about that day. That is it. Thanks, Jessica, for bringing it. I appreciate it.

Coming for us, could Donald Trump find himself as a fugitive from justice? It could happen if he is indicted in one of the criminal investigations under way in New York. A new report suggests the key to his freedom could be his relationship with Florida's governor.



BOLDUAN: Law enforcement officials in Palm Beach, Florida, are discussing contingency plans for a potential criminal indictment against Donald Trump. That is according to Politico. They report this. Among the topics discussed in these meetings, how to handle the thorny extradition issues that could arise if an indictment moves forward and it could be extra thorny because of a provision in Florida law, which allows the governor, currently, Trump ally Ron DeSantis, to essentially say, not so fast.

Another state can request Florida to turn over fugitive. But the law states the governor can ask a state official to investigate and determine, quote, whether the person ought to be surrendered. So what are local Florida officials now planning for?

Joining me, the clerk of the Circuit Court for Palm Beach County, Joseph Abruzzo. Thanks for being here.

The way I understand it, you would be the official in charge of launching an investigation into whether or not to extradite someone, in this case, it would be Donald Trump, in the event he would be charged. Talk me through where your role would be should he be charged.

JOSEPH ABRUZZO, CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT, PALM BEACH COUNTY: Thank you, Kate. I wouldn't be in charge of investigating. If that scenario takes place, the governor would be appointing an official and it could be a variety of officials he can choose from. And they would be in charge of investigating that extradition, reporting back to him. And as you pointed out, there is a gray area in that statute that could potentially allow the governor to not send the former president or anybody for that matter back to the state in this case of New York.

BOLDUAN: Can you confirm the Politico reporting that these contingency planning meetings are happening in the event he would be charged?

ABRUZZO: Sure. There has been discussions. This is unchartered territory. This is something that has never happened before. We have to look at the facts. There is a grand jury out on the former president. The district attorney of New York has been extremely aggressive, spending a lot of money and special prosecutors and expert witnesses. Just yesterday, a subpoena was put forth to the Manhattan School of former President Trump's CFO.

So we have to take this seriously. This is not something we cannot have discussions about if an indictment does come down on the former president. So, yes, we -- several of us have been talking. I've been working with my offices. Our role of the circuit court, which we package together the case, that once that extradition, the potential extradition comes down.

BOLDUAN: So, have you heard from the governor's office at all or discussed this with his office at all?

ABRUZZO: I have not.

BOLDUAN: Do you -- would you expect to hear from the governor ahead of this?

ABRUZZO: Probably not. You know, there are several different scenarios that this could go forward. Traditionally, high level indictments, they work out a surrender agreement. Where in this case, the former president would fly himself up to New York, that is a likely scenario. But if that doesn't occur, it will come down to our state and the governor is the supreme authority and will have the ability to -- his powers will stay in the law of which we have been discussing.

BOLDUAN: Have you heard anything from the New York attorney general or the D.A., who is clearly, as you point out, investigating him?

ABRUZZO: No. I wouldn't anticipate that we would hear from them. You know, this is -- this stuff is extremely confidential, especially on the grand jury. So we will know.

Now, I will say this. We will get it, it will not be public record. So, traditionally, when an indictment comes down, it will be extremely confidential. It would not become public until an individual is picked up in this case by our sheriff's department.

So --

BOLDUAN: You -- go ahead, sorry.


One more thing, you served as -- this is incredibly fraught and will be -- a million eyes will be on it, of course, because it is involving the former president of the United States, in the event he would be charged, again, hypothetical at this moment. You served for ten years as a Democrat in the Florida ledge (ph). You're also a friend and former business partner of President Biden's brother. What do you say to folks who will look at this, look at your bio and background and say, this guy can't be objective in dealing with Donald Trump?

ABRUZZO: No, absolutely a fairytale. I am -- I will handle everything above and beyond the law, everything will be beyond approach. My role in this is simply really custodian. I'm custodian of the public record of how this takes place. I have nothing to do with the indictment, how he's charged or any, if that occurs, if that occurs.

So I am -- you know, the former president is a constituent of mine. Anything that -- he will be treated just as fairly as anybody else. I respect the privacy of everybody going through legal matters, and he will be treated with the utmost dignity and respect, as anybody that comes in contact with our offices.

BOLDUAN: All important and fascinating, nonetheless. Thanks for coming on. I appreciate your time.

ABRUZZO: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, I promise I'm not going to make any nine lives jokes except for maybe one. Up next, a cat's leap that you will want to see.

But, first, so many have struggled with isolation during the pandemic, but for the millions of Americans living with disabilities, that was an everyday reality even before COVID. This week's CNN hero has faced his own struggle and is now helping others push beyond their limits.



My main goal is to teach people how to take control of their life. Take full accountability and embrace your reality.

Slowly, all right. You can stop right here.

When we go through our program, it's only the beginning. I want to be there through your whole journey because I want to see you successful.

There we go. One more.

I've gained so much from my injury, and I want other people to have that same mindset.

You're learning that you're about to do more.

I believe that once we help someone, now they have the ability to help someone else. This is something that has to have a ripple effect. We coming together, empowering each other, being inspiration for one another.


BOLDUAN: To learn more, go to We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: In Japan, there appears to be growing opposition to the Summer Olympics, which are scheduled to begin in Tokyo in just over two months. A petition calling on organizers to cancel the games received more than 350,000 signatures in the span of nine days.

Now, a top Japanese CEO is telling CNN it is just far too risky. Listen to this stark warning.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think the government has been so forceful in its determination that they will still go ahead despite the public opposition, including from business leaders like yourself?

HIROSHI MIKITANI, CEO, RAKUTEN: I don't know, to be very honest. I call this like a suicide mission, to be very honest, and (INAUDIBLE). I'm trying to convince them, but not successful so far.


BOLDUAN: A suicide mission, he says. This morning, Japan's prime minister is still promised the Olympics can be held safely despite the fact he added three more regions to a state of emergency declaration scheduled to last until the end of this month.

An update also on the COVID outbreak that we've been talking about among the New York Yankees, the club now reports eight members now, including one player, all fully vaccinated, have tested positive for COVID. It does raise new questions about breakthrough infections and what they mean. But one thing is clear, the vaccines work because only one of the eight people who tested positive had any symptoms so far at all. That's according to the team. An update there.

So now to the craziest video of the week, if we can. A black cat testing out how many lives he actually has left -- or she. Let me set the scene. A cat found itself trapped in a burning five-story building in Chicago yesterday.

People on the sidewalk looking up, they see the smoke billowing out, and they also see this cat getting closer and closer to the edge. Then look what happened. It finally jumped. Not only does it avoid a sidewalk and other death traps on the way down, but sticks the landing on a narrow patch of grass and then walks away apparently unhurt.

Afterwards the cat tried to even crawl back over a wall to get back in the building. So far, the cat's owner has not been reached.

So this is what I leave you with, does this prove cats are smarter than dogs, or prove that they are just plain crazy? Yes.

One more thing before we go because I know my producer is looking at the clock. This is a bittersweet day for us At This Hour. Today is the last day of the person who has captained this ship for the past four years, our executive producer, Ted Metzger.


Ted, you have been such an amazing, rock solid partner and friend in the wild news cycle that we've covered over these past years. Thank you so much.