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CNN NewsNight with Abby Phillip

Sudden Delay In Release Of Hostages, Pause In Fighting; Netanyahu Praises Biden As Key Player In Israel-Hamas Deal; Who In GOP Field Will Emerge As The Trump Alternative; A Synagogue On The Upper West Side Gets Vandalized; Hate Crime In New York Captured In A Viral Video; Hall And Oates Head For The Skids. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 22, 2023 - 22:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Those words were set to be delivered 60 years ago today.

I want to thank you so much for joining us tonight. We'll be back here tomorrow from Israel.

CNN Newsnight with Abby Phillip starts right now.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: A deal delayed. Will a fragile pact between Israel and Hamas unravel before any hostages come home? That's tonight on Newsnight.

And good evening. I'm Abby Phillip in Washington.

Just hours from now families were hoping to welcome their loved ones that were held by Hamas and instead they are waiting anxiously at least for one more day, possibly much longer.

Now, this minute, the fighting has not stopped in Gaza. There is no truce. Israeli officials have not given a reason why the deal that was approved by Israel's cabinet last night is now on hold.

We start our coverage tonight in Tel Aviv and CNN's Kaitlan Collins is there for us. So, Kaitlan, what do we know about what might be causing this delay?

COLLINS: I think, Abby, really, it just speaks to how fluid this entire agreement, this entire negotiation has been. It's something they've been working on for so long. And officials aren't completely surprises that it is actually delayed. It is a little bit surprising because we did hear from Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier talking about how difficult it was to sign off on this agreement, to come to this agreement, to exchange 50 Israeli hostages for 150 Palestinian prisoners.

But not long after that, we heard from the Israeli National Security Council saying that until Friday at the earliest, no hostages are going to be released. That means no pause in the fighting that we are seeing happening even today in Gaza. We just spoke to an Israeli official, the former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon. He said, in part, that Israel still has not received the names from Hamas of those first initial hostages. That was part of agreement that Israel is going to provide Hamas with a list of names of people that they were going to release and vice versa. Hamas was going to provide the names of the people that they were expected to release. That still has not happened as of yet.

The other thing that he told me, which is notable as well, is they say Hamas has not yet signed off on this agreement. It is a multipage agreement, something that, of course, the Qataris have been the ones who have really been the mediating force in all of this. And so that's just part of it.

Ultimately, officials here on the ground in Israel are still hopeful that this deal is going to happen, but I think there's a bit of caution around this to ensure that it is going to happen because, certainly, you know, Hamas does not trust Israel, Israel certainly does not trust Hamas here.

PHILLIP: Yes. And there are so many moving parts of this deal that would have to all line up really for it to work.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you for staying up for us.

And up next for us, the hold-up now equals disappointment for these families that are waiting for word from the Israeli government about if their loved ones are among hostages who are potentially part of this exchange.

Joining me now is Amir Hoshen. His nephew is believed to be held by Hamas. Amir, thank you so much for joining us tonight. I really appreciate it.

This is, of course, a -- it's a tense time for you and all these other families. Your nephew, I should note, is 19 years old. He's right on the edge of that age cut-off, not quite a minor. This deal would not necessarily apply to him. It applies to children and teenagers. So, for you and your family, what is going through your mind tonight as we are on the cusp of some progress but perhaps not necessarily progress that might apply to your nephew?

AMIR HOSHEN, NEPHEW HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: We're certainly happy to hear that there is a chance to see them alive, 50 of our brothers and sisters. But Hamas, as we all experienced before for years now, it's just a terror organization. This delay is not a surprise. It's just trying to terrorize u, and, you know, put us in this emotional turmoil.

But we're hopeful. We're sure that Ram (ph) is going to get back home together with his brothers and sisters, the babies, the mothers, those elderly, they're going to all come back. I think that our president is on it.


I think he's on it and he is going to put the pressure needed to bring them back.

My Nephew, Ram, is a young man, but the way he acted that day was just inspiring to hear the stories of his braveness and his carelessness for others. So, I'm sure he's strong and we'll see him back home. We're hoping, we're praying.

PHILLIP: We are all hoping for that as well. And as you just mentioned, your nephew acted heroically on October 7th, by all accounts, by trying to keep people calm. He was handing out water. He later carried two girls to safety when he was shot in both arms. You can see a little bit of an image there. What can you tell us about what kind of person he is?

HOSHEN: Well, you know, anything I would say would be a cliche. Just hearing the story of what he did, it's a split of a second to choose either to run away or to help, and he decided to help. We know this from a survivor. It said this young kid comes up to me in this midst of, you know, horrific time, and all you see is smoke and blood, and it's such a scary scene, and this kid comes to her and says, I'll protect you. I'm here for you.

It's inspiring, because I remember myself when I was 19. I know, you know, soldiers and leaders at 19, how do you take a decision like that to go out and, you know, save a young girl, take her to safety, and go back again? And then on the third time, it was the last time.

So, yes, it's a split of a second. That's what makes people different, you know? It's like what do you choose to do? Do you choose to help others, or do you think of yourself? How can I get away, you know? So, that's the kind of guy he is. He'll do a favor to a friend. You want him on your team. That's the kind of guy, loyal.

And I hope he can hear or see me now, and to tell him that, you know, we're sure that he's coming back. He's coming back. We want him in our life. It's just crazy times. It's surreal, but we're hoping, we're praying.

PHILLIP: I hope he is hearing you tonight and you're doing such an extraordinary thing by speaking out on his behalf.

I do want to ask you, I mean, this is the potential beginning of larger amounts of hostages being let out of Gaza.

What do you think it would take for all of these hostages to be brought home? What do you want to see the Israeli government putting on the table to bring your nephew and the hostages home?

HOSHEN: That's a very good question. Simple answer is just impossible. These people are looking to terrorize and scare the Israelis, the Jewish people, and they'll do any trick. So, the government is doing the best they can.

And I think that me, as living in the U.S., our president, Joe Biden, just like he said to Hezbollah, one word he said, don't. And I say to Joe Biden, do put that pressure because the Israeli government, of course, they'll do really as much as they can to bring them back. I don't think -- at the beginning I heard that the Hamas is not trustworthy because they don't trust the Israelis and the Israelis don't trust them, but we have every reason not to trust them. And every time in the history of the Jewish nation, you can see that if we give you a word, we stand by it.

So, I think our government is doing the best they can and I'm sure they're all coming back, whoever is alive. Whoever is alive is going to come back. And the price, it's something for the coalition. It's a coalition between Israel and the allies and the United States' pressure on Hamas. It works. We know that. We know that. Whatever -- yes, whatever pressure that our president is going to put on it's going to work.


It's going to bring alive buses of hostages to Israel. And that will make the whole planet, I think, happy. The whole world will be a better place when we see them back.

PHILLIP: And we absolutely share that optimism that something will work.

Amir Hoshen, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

HOSHEN: Thank you and I really appreciate this opportunity. Really great of you and I appreciate it. And to whoever see us now, just pray for our brothers and sisters, we want them back.

PHILLIP: Thank you, Amir.

And these negotiations, they have been a persistent point of contention and cooperation between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel.

Here to share his perspective with us is Nick Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times. Nick, thank you for joining us tonight.

What do you think is ultimately going on with this delay? I mean, obviously, Israel is anxious to get their hostages back. We thought it was going to be Thursday now, Friday. What do you think is going on here?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: You know, there's just -- I mean, as you suggested earlier, Abby, there is just so much that can go wrong and it's doubly complicated because the Hamas people are, you know, underground in tunnels. It's difficult for them to communicate. The messages are going through Qatar, in some cases through Cairo, you know, and there is just such a deep suspicion on both sides.

I do think that after some delay, this will begin. I guess I worry maybe even more that after it has begun that it's so easy for things to go wrong and it to be disrupted. You know, the Israelis spot a Hamas target and arrest him, some Hamas guy shoots an Israeli soldier, Islamic Jihad fires a rocket. There's just so much that can go wrong in this context of enormous suspicion and just send everybody back to shooting each other again.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, from that perspective, I think that's all the things that could go wrong. But what about the possibility that this truce, which is the longest that we've -- I shouldn't call it that -- this pause, the longest that we have seen in this conflict, is it potentially an opportunity to open a door for a political solution to this crisis?

KRISTOF: I don't know that it's really a door toward a political solution, but I think that it is a pathway perhaps to reduce the scale of suffering. I mean, I think that Israel is resolved to resume the war once this pause is over.

I think they are determined to dismantle Hamas. But I think that's a hard thing to do. And that's one reason why this was so controversial within Israel. There were a lot of cabinet members who thought that once we have a ceasefire, then it's really hard to start dropping bombs again.

And I think that's fundamentally right, that there will be a lot of pressure, there will be a lot of stories coming out from Gaza. And I would like to see, as a result at least, some more humanitarian aid coming in. That seems likely. And perhaps when the war does resume, at least more precise targeting of Hamas military targets and less just leveling of entire neighborhoods.

PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, you alluded to this but what do you think the world will see once the bombs pause for a few days? And do you think that that could have a measurable impact on Israel's strategy going forward?

KRISTOF: So, I think Israel is quite nervous about this. And, you know, the understanding is that when you get aid workers coming in, when you get people recharging their cell phones, sending off pictures that have been accumulated, you know, you're going to have a lot of stories of what we have heard, but this will be -- you know, this will be -- those tragedies cubed.

It will be stories about kids who had their legs amputated without anesthetic. It will be about -- you know, I've been in touch with a scholar in Gaza who was with his two children, who was eating leaves to survive. And I think there are going to be a lot more stories about that.

I think that, you know, that is going to put pressure on Israel. You know, I don't think it's going to be enough to extend the ceasefire. I think that it might be enough to help shape the way that they conduct operations in Southern Gaza, which seems to be the next big target.

PHILLIP: Yes. All right, Nick Kristof, we really appreciate you joining us on all of that.

KRISTOF: Good to be with you, Abby, and happy Thanksgiving.

PHILLIP: You too. And ahead for us, the NYPD arresting a former Obama-era national security official for an Islamophobic rant that was directed at a food vendor.


Plus, Fox News erroneously reports an attempted terror attack at the border today. And some Republicans stepped in the bad reporting.

And some breaking news in the 2024 race, the head of Ron DeSantis' super PAC just quit suddenly. The Republican governor, Chris Sununu, joins me live.


PHILLIP: Tonight, it's the undotted Is and uncrossed Ts that are leaving many families in limbo. The final details of this deal between Israel and Hamas are still not ironed out. And that lingering uncertainty means that the soonest these hostages will be released from Hamas' captivity is now Friday.

Joining me now is the Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu. Governor Sununu, thank you so much for joining us again.


PHILLIP: On this deal, do you think President Biden deserves credit for applying the diplomatic pressure here to get it to the finish line?

SUNUNU: Well, look, this is a deal that is being negotiated between the Israelis and Hamas with a lot of different intermediaries. So far, nothing has actually come of the deal, right?


So, let's see where this actually goes, how long the ceasefire actually holds.

Israel has a mission to wipe Hamas out and they deserve every right to do that. Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization.

And so this is about getting hostages back home safely. I don't think anybody should be worrying about who takes credit for it right now. The only thing that matters is getting the hostage freed.

PHILLIP: Do you think that this pause in fighting should be more long lasting, either because it might help for more hostages to be freed or because of just the sheer human toll that this has taken on civilians in Gaza?

SUNUNU: Well, look, if more hostages can be freed with a longer lasting pause in ceasefire, then that's a good thing, because I think the hostages need to be the top priority. But make no mistake about it, you know, if the Israeli military feels like the mission is not completed and the terrorist aspects of Hamas still exist, you can fully expect them to go back in there and make sure it gets wiped out.

Folks seem to forget that Israel isn't just surrounded by Hamas. They are surrounded by six or seven other countries in that region that would love to see them wiped off the face of the Earth. They are constantly under threat, if not by Hamas, then by other organizations around that entire area.

So, yes, it's fully understandable that they want to go and finish the job that if they feel they haven't finished yet with Hamas, they're going to do it. You have tunnels, you have Hamas hiding under hospitals of the Palestinian people, you have this terror organization that does not care about the Palestinian people, that is using them as human -- their own people as human shields.

But Israel is going to make sure first and foremost that they get those hostages back, they protect their citizens, and they have every right to do so.

PHILLIP: I want to switch now to politics, which you are deeply ingrained in, as you are in one of the early states here that will go in 2024. Just asking you bluntly, are there too many people in this 2024 field right now?

SUNUNU: Oh goodness, no. Are you kidding? At this point in 2016, there were 13 people in the debates, 13 people. There's four now in 2024. So, no, it's a whole different ballgame. The Republican Party has narrowed this field down, as we said we would. Folks said that wouldn't get to happen, but it did. You probably have three legitimate candidates going into Iowa and likely New Hampshire, the three governors of Chris, Ron, and Nikki. And they'll be battling it out to see who will kind of be the one to take on Trump.

And when that gets to a one-on-one race, it's really a 50-50 gambit at that point. And everything is up for grabs, which is exactly what we want to see in the Republican Party who want the choice. So, no, there's, I think, every couple of weeks, somebody keeps dropping out. We're down to basically three or four quasi-legitimate candidates. And I think that's a tremendous opportunity that wasn't there in 2016.

PHILLIP: But, you know, I mean, nothing has changed Trump's lead in this race, despite those candidates dropping out. I mean, isn't it just kind of a fever dream that this idea that the 48 percent or so of Republicans who haven't made up their minds in New Hampshire, for example, are going to just suddenly break for someone not named Donald Trump?

SUNUNU: Well, to your point, they're already breaking for somebody not named Donald Trump. That's half the base voters of Republicans are already breaking for somebody not named Trump. You're forgetting the fact that independents can vote in states like New Hampshire, I believe even in Michigan as well. So, that will come into play quite a bit. And a third of Trump voters are willing to move somewhere else.

This is the fever dream of the national media, that this is some sort of fait accompli. But the vast majority of people won't decide who they're voting for well after Thanksgiving. And I think it will even be later because the whole process has been delayed pretty good, I think even into the New Year, folks will be deciding. Those first couple weeks, they'll have conversations with their coworkers, their friends, their family over the holidays. And then they'll figure out where they're going.

I think the top three candidates are still looking to really crafting more Iowa-specific message for Iowa, New Hampshire-specific message for New Hampshire, and that's about the time that it happens. And to your -- to what you said earlier, there's not 13 people in this race this time. There's really three or four, and that's a fundamental difference in choice.

And I think if, without a doubt, Trump is worried about that. He's starting to have to spend money in these states because he knows when it's one-on-one, he's in trouble.

PHILLIP: Yes. Well, one other thing I want to ask you about, because you've spent some time with Ron DeSantis this week. The head of his super PAC is now out. He's left that group. The reason this matters is because this super PAC had basically taken over a good chunk of what a normal campaign would do. And it seems to signal, in addition to the fact that DeSantis' numbers seem to be moving in the wrong direction here, it seems to signal some turmoil in his orbit. Does any of that give you pause?

SUNUNU: No. There are two things. That's just -- that's a Ron DeSantis super PAC thing. Ron has a lot of resources.


I was on the trail with him and Chris and Nikki. I went to all their different events in the past 48 hours. They're all doing great on the trail.

Super PACs tend to have a lot more money. There are typical organizational changes as you move from a more nationalized message to a localized message. So, to see any sort of shake up whether it's in Ron's campaign or into the other super PACs, that's nothing abnormal.

PHILLIP: I want to just turn now to Trump. I mean, we've been talking about him but his comments recently about, you know, vermin and whatnot have gotten a lot of scrutiny, but this is from Peter Wehner. He's a Republican who worked in the George W. Bush White House.

And he wrote this in The Atlantic today. He said Trump is doing two things at once, pushing the narrative that his enemies must be defeated while dissolving the natural inhibitions most human beings have against hating and harming others. He explicitly says in this piece that Trump's rhetoric is fascist. Do you think that the former President Trump is bending toward fascism?

SUNUNU: No. Look, when you look at articles like that, that is liberal media doing everything they can to distract from the fact that the left wing progressive have supported --

PHILLIP: This is a conservative, by the way. This is someone who worked for a Republican president.

SUNUNU: I know. But I'm telling you there's a national effort to try to distract on the Trump stuff, or on anything, any of the Republican candidates are going to say, to distract from the massive amount of anti-Semitism you're seeing out of the Democrat Party, the massive amount of people calling for a second Holocaust, and too many people in the media and otherwise not pushing back on that narrative.

What we're seeing in our colleges and our university is very real, it is hateful, it is unprecedented. If you told me that we were going to see this kind of stuff just a couple years ago, I never would have started. So, no, that's a big distraction to try to push away from Trump and the Republican Party.

PHILLIP: I take what you're saying about it. I take what you're saying about concerns that, by the way, a lot of Democrats share about what's going on in their party, what's happening on college campuses as it relates to anti-Semitism. However, just to clarify, the comments that Trump made calling his political opponents vermin, that's what this op-ed, which I should repeat, was written by a Republican, is about. Do you think that that is fair game for Trump to say?

SUNUNU: Oh, absolutely -- oh, no, no. Don't misunderstand me. I mean, Trump has a whole history here.

PHILLIP: Well, I want to understand what you're saying. That's fine.

SUNUNU: Yes, no, Trump has a whole history here. It starts back in Charlottesville when he's equivocating white nationalists with, you know, there's good people on both sides and all that sort of stuff. Everyone knows what the word vermin means in this context. Of course, that's it. But I don't want that to be a distraction. I think we have great candidates on the Republican side. I think they're putting up great messaging.

PHILLIP: Well, look, it's not a distraction. It's not a distraction.

SUNUNU: It's not just a Trump story.

PHILLIP: It's not a distraction. He is the frontrunner. He is polling 20 or 30 percent ahead of every other person in this race. So, it does matter, Governor.

SUNUNU: Well, look, it matters in the context of if Trump was just the absolute nominee, I don't think he's going to be the nominee. I think one of these candidates is going to serve. I can't even tell you who it's going to be. I don't think Biden is going to be on that ticket. I don't think Trump is going to be on that ticket and America is going to rejoice in both of those aspects actually.

So, I appreciate why it's a story, but at the end of the day, my focus is on galvanizing the Republican Party, giving something -- helping these candidates give something to America that everyone can be hopeful and inspired for. I understand that there's a lot of -- you know, everyone wants to kind of go to the negative side right now. It's real, it's tangible. But at the end of the day, my focus on the political aspects today is making sure we have strong winner that isn't named Trump out of Iowa and New Hampshire, build some momentum on that and put this kind of, what you want to call it, the white nationalism, the anti-Semitism, and any of any that type of rhetoric, which is very real, very hurtful, very harmful, put that in the rearview mirror for the Republican Party.

PHILLIP: And just to be clear, are you suggesting that that rhetoric is white nationalist, anti-Semitic? Is that what you're suggesting, that rhetoric from Trump?

SUNUNU: Sure, of course. Well, look, we've heard that before. I guess my -- you should -- are we surprised? I mean, are we really surprised --

PHILLIP: I'm not surprised.

SUNUNU: -- the Donald Trump says something outrageous and hateful and awful? I mean, that's just -- that's the way he works.

PHILLIP: I'm not surprised. I'm just -- the reason I'm asking is because you argued that this was a media fantasy, that we were making up outrage about this, but then proceeded to criticize it. So, that's why I wanted to clarify where you stood on this.

SUNUNU: Yes. I think the media uses it to blanket the entire Republican Party, and that is a complete -- that's a complete unfair assessment. That's my point.

PHILLIP: We'll leave it there.

SUNUNU: Trump is Trump. He's in his own orbit.

PHILLIP: But I think -- we'll leave it there. But I think you understand that this was a question about the frontrunner in your party.

And I appreciate you, though, Governor Sununu, coming on and answering all of those questions. Thank you.

PHILLIP: And up next, a conversation with the head of the Anti- Defamation League on more anti-Semitic threats across the country and why he is praising Elon Musk despite the ex-owner's checkered history of spreading conspiracy.



PHILLIP: Tonight, in New York, another disturbing incident of anti- Semitism is under investigation. A synagogue on the Upper West Side was vandalized after graffiti, including a swastika, was found on the door.

Now, it's uncertain how exactly this took place, but members of that synagogue's staff were those who made the discovery. Joining me now is Jonathan Greenblatt. He's the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League. Jonathan, great to talk to you tonight.


PHILLIP: And I should say, unfortunately, in the wake of a horrible -- you know, attack like this -- an anti-Semitic attack, we've been talking about this deal that has led to potentially the release of hostages and a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.


Do you think there's any hope that perhaps that might take the temperature down, might increase the possibility that this incredible surge in anti-Semitism will level out in this country?

GREENBLATT: Well, Abby, I think that's a great question. It's a fair question. It's a very, very hard question. I mean, I'm not a geo- military strategist. But I think getting the hostages home really, really matters. Minimizing the loss of life on both sides is incredibly important.

You know, at the same time, I think the vandalism that happened on the Upper West Side, the tsunami of anti-Semitic incidents, we've been tracking, 1400 plus in the 40 days since the initial mass current on October the 7th. It's really unprecedented.

And so, I do worry a great deal about how events in the Middle East are triggering attacks on Jews here at home. Acts of harassment and vandalism and violence. Abby, we've never seen it so bad. We've never seen it like this, where you know, Jewish vandalists killed in Los Angeles, people assaulted across the country. And I saw the prior segment with Governor Sununu. I mean, the issue on college campuses -- it is abhorrent. And it's the level of anxiety is really through the roof.

PHILLIP: It really is. Look, we've been talking all week really about this. X, which was formerly known as Twitter, it's currently under fire after Elon Musk appeared to post an endorsement of this anti- Semitic replacement theory. It was posted by another user. He responded to it, endorsing it. Major advertisers have, you know, basically left the platform. But you recently came out in defense of Musk in this particular instance. Why?

GREENBLATT: Well, let's step back. So, indeed, last Wednesday. Musk retweeted, actually he responded to a user who posted again this ugly conspiracy theory blaming Jews for immigration, suggesting there was some plot. It's the oldest anti-Semitic conspiracy in the books.

And again, go back to Charlottesville, go back to Pittsburgh, go back to Poway. Frankly, the shooter in Buffalo, many of these people believe this lunatic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. And Elon responded to it positively, called it the actual truth, and then took a shot at ADL, by the way. So, what did I do on Wednesday night? I criticized him, because it was

incredibly problematic and dangerous to see one of the most prominent private citizens on the planet suggesting there's even a scintilla of truth to that sick idea. There's not.

And then on Friday, he did something that was actually promising. He tweeted out that he was going to start taking down, because it's a violation of the terms of service, calls to decolonization, a river to the sea, which pursuant to the last line of discussion about college campuses, these are incitements to violence that have been spurred by what's happening in the Middle East. So, I gave him credit where credit was due and I called them out when that was appropriate.

And then I think my job at ADL is not to be a congenital critic. It's not to be some gullible, you know, cheerleader. It's to look at the fax as they happen to assess them as they happen and then to call balls and strikes and that's what we were trying to do in this case.

PHILLIP: And so, I want to just read this from your predecessor at the ADL uh... who appears to have taken a swipe at you. He tweeted this, "No amount of acrobatics can justify Musk's frequent embraces of anti- Semitic themes and providing X as a major platform for his anti- Semitism."

It's an important point, Jonathan. I mean, this is not the first time we had you on the show about a month ago about a different incident in which he amplified something that you called anti-Semitic.


PHILLIP: So, what's your response to the fact that this is a pattern?

GREENBLATT: Well, look again, like we have called it out again and again and again when Elon's gotten it wrong. And then we'll get him credit when he gets it right. Now, I continue to have hope. You can't do this job of fighting aid, Abby, if you don't have hope.

And I try to live by a dictum, not of cancel culture, but of council culture. So, when someone gets it wrong, rather than just ejecting them, I'll try to bring them in and help them get it right. That's what we're trying to do here.

PHILLIP: Do you trust -- but do you trust that Elon Musk is at, so, I mean, this is at the heart of it. He does a couple of things that you like, right?


PHILLIP: But mostly in response to the fact that his advertisers were fleeing. But do you trust that there is a fundamental belief that this platform needs to have an actual policy that does not encourage this kind of anti-Semitism and hate speech across the board.


Do you trust that? GREENBLATT: Well look, I don't know what his motives are. I don't know

if it's because the advertisers are fleeing or not. So, I'm just going to say right now, I don't know what's in his head or even in his heart. I've got to focus on what actually happens.

So, to answer your question, you know, I believe in this ethos of trust but verify. If he tells me he's going to do something, I'm going to hold him accountable to it. And if he gets it wrong, Abby, if we don't see him taking down that content, then guess what? I'll be the first to call him out.

So, it's less about, do I trust him, and it's more about, does he move in the right direction? I want to encourage that if it happens. And then I'll judge him on whether or not there's follow through. That's really how we think about this, rather than saying dogmatically, nope, never, can't happen. I mean, X is too prominent.

It's too big a platform just to say, we're going to, you know, pretend as if it's incorrigible. But we've got to do the best that we can to fix it. A better, healthier, safer X is better for the Jewish community, it's better for all marginalized communities, it's better for the world. I hope we can get to that point.

PHILLIP: All right, Jonathan Greenblatt, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

GREENBLATT: Look, thanks for having me, Abby. I appreciate it and Happy Thanksgiving.

PHILLIP: You too, Happy Thanksgiving. And that fatal incident today at the Canada-U.S. border, causing mass panic and leading Fox to falsely label this event as terrorism. We'll tell you what happened next. Plus, an ex-Obama administration official arrested tonight on hate crime charges. We'll bring you the details of this disturbing case next.



PHILLIP: Tonight, we're getting more details about the explosion at a crucial bridge linking the U.S. and Canada. The FBI saying tonight that there is no connection to terrorism in that fiery car crash and that no explosive materials were found at the scene. Instead, we're learning that a 2022 Bentley, two-door coupe, entered from the U.S. side and quickly accelerated before hitting a curb and going airborne.

Now, Governor Hochul says a resident from Western New York was involved in that crash. But in the hours before we had a clear picture of what was going on here, it didn't stop one network from linking it to possible terror.


ALEXIS MCADAMS, FOX NEWS NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What I've been told is that this was an attempted terrorist attack. They believe the two people in that car who are now both dead after that large explosion there have packed that car full of explosives. As for what types of explosives, we're not sure just yet.

UNKNOWN: We don't know how long the people who perpetrated this attack have been in this country. Did they come in the country legally? Did they come across illegally and claim asylum? Where they -- some of the nearly one million gotaways who've come into this country --

MORGAN ORTAGUS, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Remember that most of these terrorist organizations -- they're Gen Z, right? They're young. If you look at the -- if you look at what Hamas puts out online, they're online, on TikTok and they're very sophisticated. It could be that these people were just inspired. It's pretty easy to figure out how to do this online, unfortunately.


PHILLIP: And joining me now for more on this is CNN's Oliver Darcy. Oliver, wow, I mean, what can you tell us about how long they were reporting this as a terror attack so confidently? And how many people this bad information could have reached?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yeah, Abby, this was irresponsible reporting. This was reckless reporting. And by all accounts, it was inaccurate reporting. We now know that the governor's saying there was no indication that there was a terrorist attack, but that's not what Fox News initially reported and reported for hours.

I want to give you a sense of how they reported this early on in the afternoon. They sent a push alert to all their mobile phones people with the mobile app installed and it said that the New York vehicle explosion is attempted terror attack according to sources of theirs. They plastered this on the front page of their highly traffic website.

And of course, Fox is a very highly rated channel. So, millions of people probably saw this information just from Fox News alone and of course, then there's the word of mouth factor. So -- and a lot of people were misinformed by this inaccurate report.

And that's why Fox News really owes their audience and everyone else a correction but they still have not actually issued a correction, you know. They quietly edited out the huge mistakes on their digital online pieces. The correspondent who inaccurately reported this, she went on air and walked back the reporting while basically blaming her sources for bad information taking no responsibility of her own for this.

And that's really what separates, Abby, I think a real credible news organization, one that you can trust from a -- outlet that really doesn't have much credibility these days in reporting facts. When you make a mistake, you're transparent to the audience. Fox is not doing that. They made a bad mistake and they're really hiding from it.

PHILLIP: And it penetrated even to, you know, political figures, people like Vivek Ramaswamy. You actually saw him in one of those clips and Kerry Lake out in Arizona. They amplified the claim that this could be terror on social media. That was wrong too, and it had real impacts.

DARCY: That was definitely wrong. And you know, if you look at Vivek's page, you know, all those tweets about the border and possible terror attack, those are still live on his page. And he's the guy who purports to apparently care about the truth. Why hasn't he corrected this to his audience?

You know -- and Fox News itself, they were talking about Islamic terrorism on the air. I mean, this was not a small mistake. This was a huge mistake. If it was happening at a serious news organization of say, "The New York Times" or CNN had made a mistake like this, there would be a huge autopsy.

People would be suspended and maybe they'd lose their jobs over this. But you know, in the right-wing information space, there really is little accountability for getting stories wrong, even if you get them this wrong.


PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, it did fit a particular narrative. It just turned out that narrative wasn't true. Oliver Darcy, thank you so much for coming in for us.

DARCY: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And a viral video of hate. A former Obama official caught on camera haranguing a Muslim immigrant. He's now under arrest and his legal troubles might not end there. We'll tell you about this story next.


PHILLIP: Tonight, there has been a hate crime arrest in New York. Thanks to this viral video.


UNKNOWN: I mean they're putting signs here that say this guy is police in Hamas.


UNKNOWN: Do you want to buy something?

UNKNOWN: No, I don't.

UNKNOWN: Okay. Why are you still here?

UNKNOWN: I won't give you a penny of my money. But you're a terrorist. You support terrorism.

UNKNOWN: Listen. No. I'm not a Bart Simpson (ph).

UNKNOWN: No. You support terrorism.

UNKNOWN: I'm not some -- no. I'm just working here.

UNKNOWN: You're a terrible person. I didn't kill children.

UNKNOWN: Oh. Okay. Why still here?

UNKNOWN: You know why, if we killed 4000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn't enough.


PHILLIP: Wow, that man who gleefully accosted a food cart vendor -- his name is Stuart Seldowitz. He's a former Obama National Security Council Advisor, and he's now facing multiple charges connected to these videos.

Now, the comments we showed you -- they were pretty terrible on their face, but what we aren't showing you -- they were even worse. Seldowitz taunting this vendor with Islamophobic slurs, mocking Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, and this alleged harassment took place over two weeks -- two weeks.

Now, Seldowitz confirmed to CNN that this is, in fact, him in these videos, and he's already lost his job at a consulting firm and drawn condemnation from New York's mayor and New York's governor, as well as the attorney general.

And next for us, Hall versus Oates. The rock duo is going to court, but over what is really anyone's guess?





PHILLIP: So, one of rock and roll's greatest partnerships now seems to be headed for the skids. Hall is suing Oates after eight platinum records and six number one hits. Why is really a mystery as whatever they were singing about in "Private Eyes", we will find out, I guess, but that's sad that they've broken up. Thank you for watching "NewsNight". "Laura Coates Live" starts right now. Laura, hi.

LAURA COATES, CNN ANCHOR: I'm not going to tell you that one of my theme songs was, "Oh, here she comes, watch out, boy, she'll chew you up. She's a man eater." I'm just kidding. I would. Oh, here she comes. Oh, I'll do the whole thing. You have no idea.

PHILLIP: Oh, yeah.

COATES: "Sarah", everything. All of it. The Hall and Oates -- I'm with you. Thank you so much.

PHILLIP: I know, it's so sad to see this, yeah.

COATES: Well, what did he say? Some kind of shade like, he was my business partner, not my creative partner. There's a story there and I want to hear it.

PHILLIP: Yeah, for sure.

COATES: Different night though. Have a great night, nice to see you.

PHILLIP: Thank you, Happy Thanksgiving.

COATES: Happy Thanksgiving, may you have a hand sweat dance.