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Tensions Boil Over as Democrats' Israel Divide Deepens; New Postpartum Depression Drug Gets High Price Tag; Volunteers Supporting Israeli Troops and Civilians. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 08, 2023 - 15:30   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: We are following breaking news out of Michigan. Police say they have a suspect in custody for the murder of Detroit Synagogue President Samantha Woll. She was found dead with stab wounds 3 weeks ago right outside of her home, and at the time police said they did not believe anti-Semitism was a motive. Well the Troy police did not identify the suspect in Woll's murder. And it's unclear what charges the suspect may be facing -- Boris.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Tensions are rising among House Democrats over Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz making inflammatory comments about some of her colleagues over the Israel Hamas war. 15 Democrats did not vote for a resolution affirming U.S. support for Israel for a number of reasons. All of them, we should note, members of color, some of them Muslim Americans. CNN's Melanie Zanona is live for us on Capitol Hill. So Melanie, walk us through this divide.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, so the tensions in the Democratic caucus have really grown as the war in Israel has gone on.


And as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has really escalated. Democrats are, of course divided over policy. You have some Democrats who are pushing for absolute support of Israel. But you have some progressive members who are now calling for cease fire and urging the White House to pay equal attention to the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.

But Democrats are also divided over personalities and tactics and rhetoric. One example is Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who was censured this week by the House with the support of 22 House Democrats, in a rare rebuke for her use of an anti-Israel chant.

But me and my colleagues Annie Greer and Manu Raju are learning about another recent incident inside the caucus that also caused an uproar. Recently the House took a vote on a resolution in support of Israel and condemning Hamas. And at the time Manu asked Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- she is a prominent Jewish Democrat -- about the prospect of Democrats voting against that resolution. Here's what she had to say at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's this vote that's going to happen on the Israel Hamas resolution on the floor. Are you concerned that some Democrats may not support this?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): I would hope that all members would support a resolution that condemns terrorism, the brutal attacks that were perpetrated against the Israeli people that were killed. We have 218 hostages. They took 222. I -- someone who votes against this, I would think, doesn't have a soul.


ZANONA: Now those comments were made just before the vote, but 15 Democrats wound up not supporting that resolution. And members, particularly in the Congressional Black Caucus, were very upset with those comments. They were so concerned, in fact, that they raised the issue with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. He has really been in the middle trying to hear at all of his members, balance all these competing viewpoints in his diverse caucus. But this is no doubt an issue that has been playing out behind closed doors and also spilling into public view -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Melanie Zanona live from Capitol Hill. Thanks so much.

Plenty more news to come on NEWS CENTRAL, including the first pill to treat postpartum depression. It'll soon be available, but it comes with a shocking price tag. Wait till you hear how much it costs.



BROWN: A new drug could help women who are suffering from postpartum depression, but it will cost nearly $16,000, $16,000 per 14 day course. That has some doctors concerned that people who need it may not be able to afford it.

CNN medical correspondent, Meg Tirrell, is following this story. And you know, Meg, when I first learned about this drug I was so excited. I thought, this is so great. I know so many women who have had postpartum depression, but man, that is a hefty price tag.

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pam, I think doctors are pretty concerned about what that will mean for access. And you know about one in eight people who've recently had a baby get postpartum depression. This can set in really in the weeks or months after pregnancy, but also in the late stages of pregnancy. And it can really be severe or causing sadness, loss of energy, even thoughts of self harm. And so doctors were really excited, as you were, when this new drug was approved over the summer. And now is just starting to approach becoming available at the end of the year.

It's a new way to treat postpartum depression. It's the only drug that's approved to be taken as a capsule, so orally, for PPD. You take it once a day for 14 days. Now the problem of course is this price tag we just learned about yesterday. It's almost $16,000 for this two week course of treatment. We don't yet know about what insurance coverage is going to look like. But some doctors told me they're worried that patients perhaps will have to try cheaper generic antidepressants first. And if those don't work, then maybe they get to try this medicine. We'll have to see how broad the insurance coverage can be. But the concern is that when a drug has a high price point that can lead to inequities in access -- Pam.

BROWN: Right, and we know that, you know, the those cheaper antidepressants haven't always worked on women with postpartum depression. That is why this is seen as such a big deal, right? This postpartum drug. So what more do we know about insurance covering the drug?

TIRRELL: Well, there is a hope, of course, that it will cover it and that there were coverage will be broad. The companies that make the medicines Sage and Biogen, have said that they hope the coverage is broad and equitable and that there won't be a high copay. They're also planning to provide copay assistance or free drug where it's appropriate.

But when you have a high drug list price that can make it more difficult just across the system. And so that's why doctors are so concerned about this. Especially when you have a new drug that works really quickly and that's one thing these older antidepressants don't do. And so, they're really hoping people who need it can get access.

BROWN: All right, Meg Tirrell, thanks so much -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Here are some of the other headlines we're watching for at this hour. A former CIA officer is pled guilty to drugging and sexually abusing multiple women during overseas postings. The Department of Justice says that Brian Raymond admitted to sexually assaulting several women at his embassy leased housing in Mexico City and in other locations between 2006 and 2020. Under his plea agreement, Raymond faces up to 30 years in prison and he'll have to pay mandatory restitution to his victims.

Also, the Department of Justice launching a civil rights investigation into the Lexington Police Department in Mississippi. The case is going to focus on whether the department is taking part in discriminatory practices when conducting searches and arrests and whether officers are using excessive force. Last year, the former Lexington Police chief was fired after leaked audio was revealed where he was heard using racist and homophobic slurs.


And some history was made in last night's elections. And Rhode Island Democrat Gabe Ammo is the project -- is projected to become the first Black person to represent the state in Congress.

And in Philadelphia, former City Council member Cheryl Parker will become the first woman to lead the City of Brotherly Love. She'll be the city's fourth Black mayor and the 100th its long history.

Still ahead, volunteers are stepping up in Israel, feeding troops and helping civilians evacuate from the front lines. We have their stories straight ahead.



SANCHEZ: Away from the front lines in the Israel Hamas war, Israeli volunteers are stepping up for duty by flipping burgers and chopping onions. The free food not only provides a much needed respite for the troops, but it serves as a distraction for grief stricken volunteers, many of whom lost family members to Hamas in last month's attack. CNN International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is live for us in Sderot, Israel. And Nic, you spoke with some of these volunteers. What did they share with you?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, they shared their passion and their reasons for wanting to help. Help in different ways as you said, flipping burgers, helping families get out from the front lines, helping them get -- move their belongings around the country to wherever they needed to be.

You know, and one of the reasons that everyone's happy to volunteer, wants to volunteer, wants to do their bit. Everyone was touched by that horrible attack on October 7th. I'm going to ask John just to pan over my shoulder here. The dark patch you're looking at down there. That's a house. That's just a regular road in this town. Well, an elderly man was shot dead by Hamas in his house down there. Young lady, I met today, 24 years old. She was telling us how she hid out for two hours with Hamas shouting, they'd seen her running away and they wanted to kidnap her.

Everyone was touched by this, and that's why they're so ready to help the troops at the front.


ROBERTSON (voice-over): A few miles from the front lines, soldiers relax, enjoy free food and the support of their country.

REL NADEL, RESTAURANT OWNER: It's like everybody's in war, OK? People of Israel are in war, everybody wants and needs to contribute.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): An army vet turned restaurateur, Rel Nadal stepped up immediately cooking burgers.

NADEL: In the second Day of war with 1,000 burgers. Right now we deliver around 20,000.

ROBERTSON: And the soldiers, they just show up here and they --

NADEL: And they yes, yes. People coming from all over the area.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): It feels relaxed and anywhere else it might be, but so close to war it's therapy. And not just for the troops.

DUDI SHREM, VOLUNTEER: I continue to make us a good place to live here. ROBERTSON (voice-over): It's Dudi Shrem's first day volunteering

chopping onions for burgers. His only child, Liam, 28 years old, murdered by Hamas at the music festival.

SHREM: They wait and the -- and they start to shoot. Nobody stay in the car, three people. Three good friends.

ROBERTSON: And it's not just food that volunteers are stepping up to help out with. All across the country, people are doing what they can to support the soldiers and the civilians.

So you're building resiliency here.

RONI FLAMER, ONE HEART: You build resiliency. You make sure that we are our mutual responsibility is in its best.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Roni Flamer has thousands of volunteers working for him.

ROBERTSON: This is the heart of the operation.

FLAMER: This is the art of the operation, so it's starting to be hard and that's why we need to every day to rebuild the spirit.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): In this room, one of dozens like it across the country, volunteers working 18 hour shifts, rescuing families from front lines, finding them places to live.

SEAN ETINGER, ONE HEART VOLUNTEER: It helps me keep busy so you know that the head doesn't get stuck on the war and all the atrocities that happened and keep happening.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Like everyone here, Sean Etinger, a 21 year old student, sees the suffering on the other side too.

ETINGER: I do want for it to end, you know, completely, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here, here reconsider statistics.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Flamer, a third generation Holocaust survivor, fought in the last incursion, wants to build back stronger.

FLAMER: We seek for peace. Is so the only thing that we know how to do is to help. It's to rebuild. We are going to bring 1 million people to live on the Gaza border.

ROBERTSON (voice-over) For Dudi Shrem, who lost his son, Liam, that building back has only just begun.

SHREM: My son, he liked very much the life. Therefore, he asked from us and tell us, continue the life, good life. And we pray for him.


ROBERTSON: Yes, you can't help but walk away from talking to people like Dudi Shrem. Just feeling their pain for them. That was his first day out and I got to tell you, everyone was giving him big hugs there to try and give him some love and help him get through it.

SANCHEZ: Nic Robertson, thank you so much for that report. Stay with CNN.



SANCHEZ: There's so much going on in the world, we want to end on a light note and everybody knows that old saying cats have 9 lives. The science behind that is maybe a bit off, but there is new science behind a new cat characteristic. That research has been done on. Apparently cats wear their hearts on their sleeves. Researchers say they've found cats have upwards of 276 different facial expressions.

BROWN: How about that we. Get this information from two American scientists who studied feline faces at a California cat cafe. Yes, that is a thing apparently -- didn't know that. The researchers didn't determine what the various cut expressions mean that will come in a later study.


SANCHEZ: Yes, but we're going to take some guesses now. Like these two, maybe curious, cute, adorable, fun loving. This guy here though, he may have been born with perhaps a grumpy face. Or he just doesn't like being brushed. He kind of looks like a like a former president of the 1800s. You know what I mean?

BROWN: Yes, he's got a lot going on there. But, you know, cats can get grumpy too, just like we can. And we all know this face right? The hey, I'm innocent. I tell you I'm innocent. And this is not -- this one right here. This might be one of my favorites. This isn't just a stain. It is, my bowl is empty to stain. I know that feeling.

SANCHEZ: Yes, cats love. They just love differently. We got to go. "THE LEAD" starts right now.

BROWN: Having too much fun with that one.