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House to Vote on Speaker; Inside Tel Aviv's Underground Hospital; Trump Organization's Civil Fraud Trial Resumes; Hamas' Social Media Surges. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired October 17, 2023 - 09:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Take this further.

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, that's - that's the obvious message here of deterrence with the carrier battle groups. And I suspect there are other things going on that we don't know about. And, again, getting back to the messaging theme, there's clearly a message here to Iran not to unleash their surrogates, Hezbollah, in an all-out attack on the northern regions of Israel so that Israel doesn't -- isn't confronting a two-front war, which would be very daunting for them.

So, again, that's what -- why the trip, as risky as it is, as pretty high stakes, and lots of messaging here.

I'd also mention, I think this is implicitly a message of support to the loved ones of all the hostages, whether American or any other nationality. So, I think the president's conveying a lot of important messages here.

BOLDUAN: There is a lot of different tentacles to all of this and what's at stake here. And you lay it out really well.

It's great to see you, Director. Thank you.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, it is a huge day in Washington. Within a few hours, there could be a new speaker of the House or, frankly, not. Jim Jordan takes his quest to the House floor. We have a new whip count of how far away he is from success.



BERMAN: So, the countdown is on. A vote for House speaker happens very soon. And by CNN's count, Congressman Jim Jordan is still short of the 217 votes he needs to win the gavel.

Let's get right to Capitol Hill. CNN's Lauren Fox is there.

Jordan has made some progress, Lauren, but how close is he or is he not?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, let's put this in perspective, John. He has made progress. Over the course of the last several days, he picked up some big endorsements from Mike Rogers, from Ann Wagner, people who on Friday were saying that they would never vote for Jim Jordan. Now, however, he still is short the votes he needs when he goes to the floor this afternoon.

By CNN's tally, which has been kept meticulously by Haley Talbot, our House producer, one thing has become clear, there are nine members who are either leaning no or a hard no against Jim Jordan, and there are dozens more who have not made clear yet how they will vote on the floor of the House this afternoon. When the House opens at noon today, we expect that it will take about a half hour to 45 minutes before they will begin that first balloting of voting.

And one thing to keep an eye on is, we don't expect that this will only go one round. One of the things that Jordan allies have been making clear to us is that they believe that even if they are short in that first round of votes, that they can continue to move and pick up support on the House floor if they go round after round.

Now, the question becomes, how patient is the Republican majority with Jim Jordan? Are they going to be as patient as they were with Kevin McCarthy, giving him 15 opportunities to lock down the votes he needs?

Another thing to keep an eye on, does he come to the floor with at least 200 votes? That was the floor that McCarthy had back in January and he never dipped below that. So, those are two things that I'm going to keep an eye on when Jim Jordan comes to the floor at noon.


BERMAN: Just to set expectations again here, so we can be clear, if we can put that chart back up on the screen of the firm nos. There were five firm nos that I counted there as of now. He can only lose - actually this first vote he can only lose three because he has one supporter who won't be there for the first vote. But three or four max he can lose. Five definitely not. So, if you are expect -- your expectation should be that Jim Jordan, if this chart is right, will not win on the first ballot. It could be a long afternoon.

Lauren Fox, thank you very much. Keep us posted if any of those votes change.

All right, let's get back to Tel Aviv right now. Sara Sidner is there.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, John.

Here in Tel Aviv, the war has changed the way one of Israel's largest hospitals is operating. It's an emergency plan years in the making. But now they're ready to put it into action.

I had a chance to see it firsthand, an underground hospital prepared to care for every single patient that comes in as rockets come in from Israel's south and north. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SIDNER (voice over): A doctor checks in on a patient. Just an ordinary day in the hospital. Except there's nothing ordinary about where this is taking place.

RONNI GAMZU, CEO, TEL AVIV SOURASKY MEDICAL CENTER: This is the bunker underground hospital. This is a functioning hospital in the highest level. Every service, every technology, everything that they need, we provide them. And everything is being supplied here.

SIDNER (on camera): It has the look and the feel of a regular hospital with all the things that you'd expect, except for when you turn the corner and you can really see this is an underground parking garage. At least it was.

SIDNER (voice over): Vehicle parking spaces are now for patient beds. Driveways, for push carts. This is how Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center is preparing to treat patients in wartime.

SIDNER (on camera): So it's as perfectly normal as usual in the most abnormal scenario.


GAMZU: Exactly. Yes. This is the right place to put it.

SIDNER (voice over): This is the result of 14 years of planning for war.

GAMZU: We planned this underground hospital 14 years ago, more or less after the second Lebanon war. Tel Aviv was - was, for the first time, got missile attack.

SIDNER: That was then, before Hamas stormed across the border by land, air and sea on Shabot (ph), killing, kidnapping and maiming men, women, and children.

Several floors above the hospital bunker, 60 hospital beds are now filled with victims from the Hamas attack.

TOMER ZADIK, WOUNDED AT FESTIVAL ATTACK: I went to a party with my friends. It was a music festival. And then, 6:30, something like that, it all started.

SIDNER: He and his friends managed to jump in their car, but then -

ZADIK: There was a squad of (INAUDIBLE) terrorists that just started spraying at us, shooting without conscience.

SIDNER (on camera): Just shooting at you? Just indiscriminate?

ZADIK: Yes, just shooting without conscience.

SIDNER (voice over): His car among those abandoned on the side of the road. He ran and hid for the next five hours, blood pouring from his arm where a bullet smashed through his skin and bone.

ZADIK: There is no one in this world who wants peace more than I do. Trust me. I've been (INAUDIBLE). I got shot over peace. I don't want this - none of us wanted this to happen.

SIDNER (on camera): Do you still think that peace is possible?

ZADIK: Wow. I used to believe in peace all the time. But right now, after seeing what I saw, it's (INAUDIBLE) who was the prime minister of Israel said something very important.


ZADIK: Yes. He said that peace you don't make with friends, you make with enemies. But even enemies, need to be human beings.

SIDNER (voice over): No matter who you are, this hospital will treat you deep below the earth's crust. It has already moved a whole section of the hospital to get the staff and patients prepared for life below during war.

SIDNER (on camera): What do you think about being in a parking garage?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's - he's enjoying every minute of it.

SIDNER: Does this feel different this time?

GAMZU: It feels different because we know that we -- it's not like kind of a limited operation. It's a wartime.


SIDNER: It was just an incredible look at what has to be done here for fear of rocket attacks hitting a hospital.

I do want to talk just a second about Tomer, the young man that you saw there that survived the attack at that dance party. It was remarkable to hear him talk about peace after he was a victim of being shot and hiding for five hours wondering if he was going to make it. But he is still convinced that peace is possible between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And he said, look, the civilians there, I'm worried about them just as much as I'm worried about the civilians here.


BOLDUAN: It's holding on to that hope that is, as hard as it may be, that is the only way that there is another side of this, right? Incredible is the right word, Sara. Seeing how they have set up in that underground parking garage is incredible to see.


BOLDUAN: It's great stuff.

SIDNER: It is. BOLDUAN: We'll get right back to Sara in Israel. Thank you so much, Sara.

Coming up still for us as well, Donald Trump arrived at a New York courthouse just moments ago. We're going to take you there for the latest on the civil trial that could decide the fate of his business empire.



BOLDUAN: Right now, Donald Trump is back at a Manhattan courthouse where the civil trial threatening his business empire is about to pick back up. Just yesterday the chief operating officer for Trump hotels testified, took the stand and testified that the amount detailed on Trump's 2021 financial statement, quote, "appears to have been overstated."

CNN's Brynn Gingras is outside the courthouse with the very latest.

Brynn, what's expected to happen today?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, let me first start with what we're not expecting to happen, and that is a face-off between the former president and his former personal attorney fixer, turned foe, Michael Cohen. He actually was supposed to testify in this civil fraud trial today, heading into this week, but he had a medical issue, got a doctor's note, and now he is no longer testifying. There was some speculation as to why not, knowing that the former president was going to be here for that testimony. He went on Twitter saying he's not bowing out, he's not nervous about it and that he is going to testify. We do expect that to happen sometime next week.

Keep in mind, the bigger picture here, Michael Cohen is the person -- part of the reason, a major reason, as to why this entire civil trial even started because his 2019 testimony to lawmakers said that the former president did inflate his assets. And that is why the New York attorney general eventually sued in this trial.

So, we do expect that testimony to happen, just not today.

Testimony we do expect to happen will be continuing from Trump Organization members talking about the bookkeeping, talking about getting to the nitty-gritty details of how assets were determined, how everything is sort of figured out inside the Trump Organization.

So, the former president is inside the courtroom. We wonder if he is going to say anything, as he did when he first came to this trial in the - in the first days of it, if he's going to say anything outside the courtroom doors. So we'll be expecting to wait for that.

But we will continue to follow the updates inside that courtroom, Kate.

[09:50:02] BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Brynn, thank you so much for being there.


BERMAN: All right, Hamas carried out these terror attacks in these kibbutz (INAUDIBLE) in Israel, leaving 1,200 plus dead. Some 200 hostages might be held in Gaza right now. Meanwhile, Hamas is seeing interest in its social media accounts boom.


BERMAN: All right, Hamas killed as many as 1,400 people, currently holding as many as 200 hostage. Yet, this morning, they are seeing a surge in social media interest, despite being barred from many apps. Since the October 7th terror attacks, its followers on Telegram have tripled and the number of views on their videos has skyrocketed tenfold.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has been tracking all of this.

Donie, what are you seeing here?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, John. Yes, look, Hamas is - and here in the U.S. is a designated foreign terrorist organization and in the European Union, you know, new -- quite recent, actually, new internet laws there have made it almost essentially illegal for major, big platforms to have accounts run by the likes of Hamas on their platforms.


But then there is Telegram. It's a tool that's not very widely used here in the U.S., although it did become popular among a lot of Trump supporters, also among a lot of people on the far right after the January 6th Capitol attack. That's when, you know, a lot of the kind of big peddlers of election conspiracy theories got kicked off the big platforms and they moved to this app Telegram. The reason why is because it's a bit of anything goes there. You can post anything. It has basically no moderation. And that is where Hamas is posting right now.

And I want to show you just some stats. And this is just one example. They run many channels across Telegram. But the day before the attack they had about 200,000 followers. Today that is up to almost 700,000 followers. You mentioned as well that views on videos being posed by these Hamas channels have just increased tenfold.

Now, why, you know, why is Telegram allowing Hamas, a terrorist organization, to stay on its platform? Well, the CEO of the company, and we have a -- part of a statement from him. He said it's complicated. He said, "it's always tempting to act on emotional impulses. But such complex situations requires thorough consideration that should also take into account the differences between social platforms."

His point there is that Telegram is a bit different to other social media platforms in that it doesn't algorithmically promote content, yet he is still giving a massive audience to this group.

And, finally, John, I should mention, of course, that, you know, while a lot of folks will say these accounts should be shut down, right now for the families of hostages, for others, I mean that is where - where we've seen the hostage videos and other things being posted. So, it is a perverse source of information in some ways. But it's a conversation and a debate that will be ongoing, of course.

BERMAN: That's a good point, a depressing point that I hadn't thought of.

Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much for your reporting on this.


BOLDUAN: President Biden expected to leave the White House today for his wartime visit to Israel. And we are also hearing a new plea from the mother of one of the hostages kidnapped by Hamas.

Stay with us.