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At This Hour

Pentagon: U.S. Troops At Risk From Turkish Strike On Syrian Base; Suspects In Threat Against NYC Synagogue Arraigned In Court; Germany Protests FIFA Decision Banning Rainbow Armbands. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired November 23, 2022 - 11:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Developing out this hour. The U.S. military now says American troops were put at risk from a Turkish drone strike on a base in Syria this week. CNN's Oren Liebermann joining us live from the Pentagon with these details. So, what more do we know about this risk?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Erica, this Turkish drone strike happened yesterday in a base near Hasakah, near the Turkish- Syrian border, so in northern Syria. Initially, U.S. central command which controls U.S. military operations in the region says there were no U.S. troops there. But now in an updated statement, they say that U.S. troops were put at risk from the Turkish drone strike on that base. That base is used by the U.S.-led coalition forces to defeat ISIS, as well as by Kurdish forces who are U.S. partners in that region. The Kurds did say that two of their fighters were killed and three others injured.

U.S. Central Command says there were no injuries as a result of the strike, but again, underscoring that U.S. troops were put at risk from this Turkish military operation from the drone strike on that base there. They would not provide any further information on where exactly the U.S. troops were related -- were, in relation to that strike, or what type of risk.

Earlier this morning, the top U.S. General, Joint Chiefs chair, General Mark Milley spoke with his Pole - spoke with his Turkish counterpart. They wouldn't give a detailed readout but crucially they did say the two spoke of several items of mutual strategic interest. And this puts the U.S. in a difficult position, which is why this is so significant.

Turkey is a NATO ally, and they play a critical role in, for example, the Green Deal with Russia as well as the ascension of Finland and Sweden to NATO. At the same time, the SDF forces of the Kurds are necessary in the D-ISIS coalition. The U.S. now finds itself in the middle of that.

HILL: Yes, absolutely. Oren, appreciate the reporting. Thank you. Also developing at this hour, a teenager is dead, more than a dozen people heard after two explosions rocked Jerusalem. We've also just learned Americans are among the injured. CNN's Hadas Gold is live for us in Jerusalem. Hadas, what more do we know about both the victims and the attack itself?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica, the attack -- the first attack took place just after 7:00 a.m. at a bus stop, near one of the main arteries in and out of the city. And just 30 minutes later, a second attack taking place at another bus stop just down the hill. Now, police say they believe that bags with bombs in them were hidden by these bus stops before they were detonated remotely likely by cellphone. They say that these bombs were filled with things like shrapnel, nails, and screws, things to go that could cause maximum injury.

At the first sight of the bombing, I have to say we were there all day today. And just the debris field was so wide it covered at least four lanes of traffic. And it was at that site that a 15-year-old Canadian- Israeli was killed. More than 14 were injured across both sites, including the U.S. Embassy is saying two Americans. Now, this type of attack is the kind that Israel has not seen in many years. This is a coordinated, well-organized attack.

Police say -- police said that it takes technical sophistication to plant these types of bombs in a planned way and detonate them remotely. And this is bringing back many memories for many people of the Second Intifada when suicide attacks were almost a regular occurrence on buses and bus stops. So far, though no militant group has taken responsibility. But the Israeli prime minister is vowing to find who is behind these attacks, Erica.

HILL: Hadas Gold, appreciate the update. Thank you.

Turning up the war in Ukraine. A new barrage of Russian strikes on infrastructure causing power outages across large parts of the country. In Kyiv, the mayor says three people were killed, including a teenage girl. And we're also learning a bit more about a newborn baby who was killed in a missile strike on a maternity ward. CNN's Matthew Chance is joining us now live from Odessa this morning with the very latest. Not the first time, Matthew, in this war that a maternity ward or hospital has been targeted.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, I'm not even sure it's the first time but definitely, this is yet another tragic episode incident in a sort of ongoing catalog of tragedies that are affecting this country. It happened in the region of Zaporizhzhia in central Ukraine. A Russian missile strike hit a maternity clinic. Emergency workers at the scene were able to pull a doctor -- maternity doctor and a young mother out of the rubble alive but the baby that had been delivered just two days before couldn't be saved.


And so, again, you know a very tragic situation there. And the context of it is, of course, the ongoing Russian bombardment by a missile of various locations across Ukraine, hitting predominantly not hospitals, but power infrastructure facilities in order to deprive the country and its citizens of electricity during this very difficult time. I'm talking to you now from Odessa, in the south of Ukraine, where you can see behind me, it is a big city, but it's in complete blackness because power has been cut off here as a result of those ongoing Russian missiles strikes against power infrastructure facilities. It's led to power cuts and shortages all across the country. We saw something similar taking place on the outskirts of Kyiv, the Russian capital -- sorry, the Ukrainian capital today as well. Another three people killed there. Russia appearing to really step up its missile strikes as the winter deepens.

HILL: Yes, looking to impose maximum hurt as we know by targeting infrastructure, by targeting those civilian areas. Matthew, thank you.

In Ukraine, the president there, awarding the nation's order of merit to Chef Jose Andres for providing meals to Ukrainians impacted by war. He was also given a plaque on the walk of the brave in Kyiv's Constitution Square. You see him there with President Zelenskyy, both men saying just how vital international support is to these efforts.


CHEF JOSE ANDRES, FOUNDER, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: People of America, people of Europe, people of the world, winter is coming. Today is already very cold in Kyiv and many parts of Ukraine.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: But we are no different when such people like Jose, like you, American people, when you're near us, and when you support us, we're not afraid and don't think about the bad winter. Everything will be good.


HILL: Jose Andres' remarkable nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen has delivered about 150 meals to the Ukrainian people since the start of the war. And, of course, is active pretty much anywhere there's a disaster in this world.

A plot foiled to shoot up a synagogue in New York amid an alarming rise in antisemitic attacks. The head of the anti-Defamation League joins me next.



HILL: Two men were arraigned in the New York court this morning. They've been charged with terrorism and online threats. This, of course, is related to that threat to literally shoot up a synagogue. Police arrested the man on Friday night at New York's Penn Station. And all of this comes amid a disturbing rise in antisemitic attacks against the Jewish committee -- community rather.

Joining me now is Jonathan Greenblatt. He's the CEO and national director for the anti-Defamation League. You know, what has stood out about this very disturbing threat? Also, some of this initial reporting, the New York Times had that reporting the initial tweets about this threat were actually flagged to authorities by an online security analyst with the UJA-Federation of New York. Can you just give me a sense? Based on your conversations with both law enforcement and communities trying to do their own work here, how tough is it to stay on top of all of these threats?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO & NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Well, it's incredibly difficult, Erica, and I should say we're so grateful for the FBI, the NYPD, ADL, and the community security initiative were coordinating throughout the weekend until the individuals were apprehended and arrested. Keep in mind. They literally had come into the city -- to New York City with a high- capacity firearm, knives, bulletproof vests, and a swastika arm patch. And their intent was to attack and kill people in a synagogue. So, we're grateful that law enforcement did this.

But in our environment today, social media makes all this so much more difficult. The analyst to identify this person was sitting -- sits with the ADL center and extremism team, and we have never seen such a flurry. I mean, as you mentioned in the intro, last year was the highest number of antisemitic incidents we've ever seen. And so much of this violence starts with words. And so many of the words, the antisemitic rhetoric, you know, ignites online, where platforms like Twitter, or Truth social, or Facebook are literally the frontline today of antisemitism.

HILL: What's also incredibly sobering is the rise -- this dramatic rise in antisemitic attacks and the rise I would say, in hate -- of hate in general in this country.


HILL: There's a recent poll out from GLAAD that was actually taken just before that mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado, but it shows the fear rising among the LGBTQ+ community. 72 percent of transgender Americans say they're more fearful in the current political climate, 48 percent of the community overall. When we see these attacks, are they fueling one another? Is the antisemitism fueling these attacks against the LGBTQ community, against people of color, and if so, how do you work together?


GREENBLATT: It's such a great question, Erica. There's no question that hate is on the rise period. Antisemitism is typically the canary in the coal mine. And once you start hating Jews openly, that tends to create space to hate other minorities openly. So, our hearts go out to the victims, the people wounded, their families and the tragedy in Colorado Springs and the LGBTQ community has a reason to be concerned. We've seen some really ugly rhetoric.

Frankly, on some cable news shows on talk radio indefinitely online targeting gay people, trans people, it's really quite alarming that that attack happened on the eve of the Day of transgender visibility. Now, GLAAD is doing some great work to try to stop this. And I'll share today, Erica, just last week, ADL and GLAAD announced a strategic partnership. We literally have a new analyst joining our team from GLAAD just to track anti-LGBTQ extremism and hate because we see it's so interrelated with the kind of extremism and hate that often targets the Jewish community. So, we're going to share our expertise and knowledge so we can work together.

HILL: An important relationship, important to share those resources, and what a sad commentary on the state of things in this country that there is such a need for it but glad you're doing the work.


HILL: Jonathan Greenblatt, appreciate your time as always. Thank you.

More controversy at the World Cup, Germany's team staging a protest that took just seconds but as we know, a picture certainly lasts and speaks so many words, massive impact there. We'll discuss the latest next.



HILL: A new day, a new protest at the World Cup. German players posing before their match, as you see here, covering their mouths, an apparent rebuke of FIFA's decision to ban the One Love rainbow armbands in Qatar to promote inclusion and oppose discrimination. Joining me now is ESPN commentator Patrick McEnroe, always great to see you.


HILL: So, what's remarkable to me is that it seems we start out every day with here's the protests, here's how we're calling attention to all of these issues, and then we talk about soccer.

MCENROE: I love it. I mean, I love what the German team did today. I -- you know I said yesterday when Kate was here, Erica, I don't know if you heard it.

HILL: Yes.

MCENROE: I said, I would love to see the American and the Iranian players when they play next week, go arm and arm in their protests. So, this was surprising but it was a great surprise. And you know what I say to the players at the World Cup? Bring it on. Let's see more of this. Speak out.

Do you really think that FIFA -- if both teams get on board with some sort of protest, you really think FIFA is going to say both teams, leave the pitch, get off the field, you're not going to play? Come on. This is a time for players to speak up. The world is watching. And I think it's absolutely the right thing to do.

HILL: The right thing to do to use that platform. There has been so much talk. I want to make sure we get to this. So, let's talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, who you know, 37 years old, soccer superstar, you just checked 502 million followers --

MCENROE: Million on Instagram. Right.

HILL: -- On Instagram.

MCENROE: THE most of any person on the planet.

HILL: It is remarkable. There was just a press conference for Portugal. And he was not there. Said he didn't want to draw attention away from the team. Could he also perhaps not want to answer questions about the fact that there's this mutual decision for him to leave Manchester United, and the question about where's he going to go?

MCENROE: Well, this is typical Cristiano Ronaldo, OK? This is why he's one of the highest-paid players on the planet. He's obviously one of the best players of all time. But he's getting up there in age.

He knew -- when he gave this interview to Piers Morgan, he knew exactly what he was doing. And he knew this was going to come out right during the beginning of the World Cup. Portugal is set to play Ghana tomorrow. So, I'm told, reading from some of the sources from ESPN, that the other players, they were barraged with questions this morning by the press, tons of cameras, and a couple of the players got a little bit annoyed having to hear these questions about, yes, Ronaldo, he did it again, as Ronaldo himself said, I speak when I want to speak.

He's made a living out of this, obviously what he does on the pitch, but what he does off is why he's one of the most popular humans on the planet. But it sounds like it's ruffling a few feathers the wrong way within the team. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out because Portugal, one of the teams that could make a big run at this World Cup. Not the favorite, but certainly one of the top contenders.

HILL: Any sense of where he could go?

MCENROE: You know, it's hard to -- it's -- I would imagine that he already knows even though we don't know.

HILL: Yes.

MCENROE: There's been some talk about him maybe going into another team in the Premier League, Arsenal, Chelsea, that would be very interesting because of this dynamic of him leaving Manchester United. There's also talk, maybe he goes back to his original team in Portugal and Lisbon, where he grew up, where he got his start. And then of course, always out there, Real Madrid, where he had his most amazing year, scored at least a goal a game throughout his -- I guess was nine to 10 years that he was there at Real Madrid. So, there'll be some teams -- you remember, it's halfway through the season.

HILL: Yes.

MCENROE: In a lot of these big European leagues. HILL: Right.

MCENROE: So maybe they pick him up just to kind of get them over the hump as they restart after the World Cup's over.

HILL: The World Cup not normally happening at this time of year.


HILL: Before I let you go, there has been a little bit of confusion and maybe even a little controversy about the amount of stoppage time that's being added here. It's not just the confusion about offsides because I've given up on that one.


HILL: It's the stoppage time. What is going on? Why -- as much as 27 minutes in one match.

MCENROE: You know I actually love it. I mean, I'm not a soccer expert, but I'm a huge fan of the game and they started doing this to referees by FIFA's direction in Russia at the last World Cup.


And you see it, as a fan of soccer, you see the players, you know whether they're taking a dive, they're faking an injury. Now, remember when teams get down more than one goal, they score, they run to get the ball because they're trying to make sure they get to keep continue to play. So, I think the referees are actually doing a great job of as soon as there's a stoppage, whether it's a celebration after a goal, which can take a minute and a half, two minutes, where there's an injury. And what's also new is the video replay. So, if there's a video replay that could take three, five minutes, so the referees are doing a nice job, I think of making sure they stop.

And you never quite know Erica, when it's going to end when they're going to blow the whistle. I think that adds a little of excitement to what we're seeing late in games. We're seeing a lot of teams make big second-half runs in this World Cup.

HILL: All right, we'll keep watching and we'll keep talking about it with you, I hope. Nice to see you. Thank you.

MCENROE: It sounds good. Yes, happy Thanksgiving.

HILL: Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks to all of you for joining us today, I'm Erica Hill. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this.