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CNN Crews Witness Heavy Bombardment Of Gaza; Judge Keeps May Trial Date For Trump Classified Docs Case; Trump Again Suggests Weaponizing DOJ If Reelected; Sources: Mar-A-Lago Workers Could Testify In Docs Case; Dr. Ruth Appointed As Nation's 1st Loneliness Ambassador. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 10, 2023 - 14:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, these are pictures literally from moments ago, seconds ago. You are looking at northern Gaza, at what appears to be Israeli airstrikes.

You are looking at this from a vantage point in Israel, in Sderot, which is from the camera of CNN's Nic Robertson, who is there reporting on this.

I want to get to Nic.

Nic, tell us what you have just witnessed and what is going on there now.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, we think this is the Jabalia Refugee Camp that's being targeted at the moment. I just looked over my shoulder, and the flares have gone down now.

What we were seeing there, and I think what you can see on your screens at the moment, is a big illumination. The illumination is coming from the flares.

There's a lot of smoke around the bottom of the image there. I think that's perhaps the smokescreen for the troops that are perhaps going into that area.

This is a tag team that the IDF has been using when they -- when they go and target a particular location at night. Shroud the ground with smoke, put flares up so the soldiers can see where they're going. And we've seen airstrikes coming in from above.

It's not quite clear what is doing -- what is firing the missiles, but we've seen the missiles come down, perhaps from helicopters, perhaps these have been -- artillery strikes that have been away or strikes from aircraft.

But what is very clear in Jabalia Refugee Camp area this evening, there is an intense firefight under way. It is interesting because this is only just a couple of miles into the north of Gaza. Gaza itself, more than 20 miles long.

The IDF has been in this area of Gaza where we've seen this firefight for the past couple of weeks.

And the fact that two weeks later, they are having, again, an intense military operation there tends to indicate that there must be a Hamas stronghold or fighters in there who are putting up some resistance.

And that's after two weeks of the IDF already being in that area. So it gives you an idea of just how long the fight is going to take for the IDF in Gaza there.

A few miles further south, as well, in Gaza City, they're going to different houses there, door to door, intelligence-led searches there. They've found weapons, caches, weapons manufacturing close to schools, close to a child's bedroom in one particular house.

And this really represents the difficulty the IDF faces in targeting Hamas. They're not all sitting or weren't all sitting in one big army barracks. They're a force that's -- we've heard so many times -- hides out in the civilian population.

So they have their weapons storage in one house and manufacture in another house. So it makes it a very, very tough job for the IDF to get, A, enough intelligence, but, B, to put enough manpower in enough places to go after all of these targets.

This is really, I think, gets the part of the pressure we've been hearing coming from Secretary Blinken today saying that he feels there are too many Palestinian casualties.

And perhaps gets to partly what Prime Minister Netanyahu has described that this is going a little more slowly than he anticipated.

And to what many U.N. organizations and NGOs are saying at the moment, that even this safe area in the south of Gaza, where all the people who have been leaving the north of Gaza today along the humanitarian corridor are going to, there's no safe shelter for them, no safe sanitation, water, food.

And the fight has yet to get to the south of Gaza where there will be a greater concentration of people.

So the problems that lie ahead for the IDF and politically for Prime Minister Netanyahu, at this moment, really do seem to be mounting.

The humanitarian corridors are working to move people away. The IDF is able to fight their battles in parallel to that.

Meanwhile, so many of Israel's Arab neighbors are right now calling for a complete ceasefire. And if there was a ceasefire, you wouldn't see the fighting behind us.

KEILAR: Yes. And, Nic, just remind us, if this is, indeed, that refugee camp -- this is in the vicinity of that -- remind us what happened last time there was a strike in that refugee camp. [14:35:05]

ROBERTSON: There were several strikes in that camp, and they were big ones. And they caused many hundreds of fatalities and injuries, as well, according to Palestinian Health Authorities, Hamas-led Palestinian health authorities inside of Gaza.

They contributed to a huge outrage against Israel's tactics internationally against -- against Gaza. Something that we've sort of seen slow off over the past week, as I wouldn't say the casualty toll has gone down massively, but it has gone down a little.

That said, more than 11,000 people, civilians have been killed, we understand, from Palestinian health officials. So last time they went into Jabalia, there were very, very, significant civilian casualties.

I think it's probably accurate to say that many of those civilians will have left the north of Gaza in the weeks since, but we don't know how many, we don't know how many are left.

KEILAR: All right. Nic Robertson, thank you so much.

We're going to continue to monitor the situation there. Obviously, very serious what we're seeing developing there. This was moments ago, just minutes ago, there on the Israel-Gaza border. You are looking at northern Gaza right now. We're following all of this breaking news.

We'll take a quick break and be right back.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: There are new developments in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case against former President Donald Trump.

The federal judge overseeing the case has decided to keep the trial scheduled for May after signaling last week that she might postpone the criminal proceedings.

CNN senior crime and justice reporter, Katelyn Polantz, is with us in studio.

What is the latest? What should we expect?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: We should expect this to go to trial in May, as of now. Judge Aileen Cannon did have an order today in the court saying, yes, that trial date will stay for May.

But she's going to give the Trump team more breathing room to do the work they need to do to prepare for trial. She's acknowledging they're very busy, they've got a lot of cases on their hands.

There's -- this is a complex case. There's a lot of evidence. There's classified material in it. They're going to revisit the trial date in March at a hearing. That's

when we are very likely to see the Trump team come back into court and push again to get this moved until after the election.

Because as much as it's about documents that Donald Trump was handling, there also is a high likelihood that a very large amount of people around Donald Trump will give quite a portrait of what it was like inside Mar-a-Lago after the Trump presidency.

Including, we're learning, about people like a plumber, a maid, a chauffeur, a woodworker, all of these people who were possible witnesses in this case that could be called to the stand.

And could be testifying about the documents being around the property and Trump being quite cavalier with how he was handling himself inside Mar-a-Lago.

That would be quite a powerful moment of testimony if we do have working-class people being called in to testify against the former president at a trial in Florida in front of a jury of both their peers as well as his.

SANCHEZ: It will be interesting to see, potentially, what comes out of that testimony.

Notably, the former president, over and over again, has repeated claims that all of these cases against him are the result of a weaponized DOJ. He says this, really, without evidence.

But yesterday, during an interview with Univision, he said that if he were to win the White House once more, he would weaponize the Justice Department.

POLANTZ: Yes. He's quite unhappy about being a criminal defendant and running for president.

So this is what he said on Univision, specifically:


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What they've done is they've released the genie out of the box. If they do this -- they've already done it -- but if they want to follow through on this, yes, I could certainly -- it could certainly happen in reverse.


POLANTZ: So, Boris, a genie out of the box is how he phrases it.

But this isn't magic. These didn't just appear. These are criminal investigations that resulted in indictments.

That were investigated by multiple entities, not just the Justice Department, that he would be the president over, but also local authorities, state authorities in New York and Georgia. And they are charges, at this time. He's not convicted of any crimes.

There's many charges levied against him that have gone through grand juries. So individuals were looking at those pieces of evidence and saying these cases can go forward.

Judges also, they're looking at them. Judges are speaking up already and saying we don't believe there is some sort of political something at play here, that these seem to be valid cases.

And they will have to test the law and then, ultimately, the jury, that is the group of people that it comes down to, to decide whether the former president is guilty of crimes or not.

SANCHEZ: Yes, you need evidence deemed worthy enough of an indictment to procure an indictment.

Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much for the reporting.

We want to get some legal perspective now from Tom Dupree. He's a former deputy assistant attorney general. He actually represented George W. Bush in the Bush versus Gore case following the 2000 election.

Tom, thank you so much for being with us.

So, a plumber, a maid, a woodworker, a chauffeur, just some of the staffers from Mar-a-Lago who might be called to testify in this case.

Now, Trump owns the estate. He's the boss, right? So theoretically, he's the one signing their paychecks. Couldn't that potentially create a conflict in their testimony?

TOM DUPREE, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Potentially. There's certainly a lot of tension here.

Keep in mind, this is the same approach that prosecutors in pretty much all of the Trump cases have been using. The key witnesses in all of these cases are his former or even current employees.


Whether it's his current lawyers or former lawyers, whether it's people that work for him in the White House, in the government, or whether it's people who work on his staff at Mar-a-Lago.

These are the people who are going to be called to testify and will have to swear under oath and tell the jury what they saw and heard in their capacity as a Trump employee.

SANCHEZ: So, Tom, Judge Aileen Cannon deciding to keep a May trial date in place for now. There's another hearing coming up on March 1st.

Trump's lawyers have argued that they are drowning in evidence, classified evidence that they have to go through. How likely is it do you think that this trial starts before Election Day next year? DUPREE: Boris, my sense is that it is unlikely. Look, I think Judge

Cannon is going to take the opportunity, if she has it, to push the trial date back after the election.

Many of the comments she's already made in her courtroom signal that she will be receptive to these arguments that the Trump team is overwhelmed with having to view all the evidence and get up to speed.

They're dealing with multiple indictments on multiple fronts. And of course, their clients has a lot of other things going on. The judge has signaled she might be sympathetic to these arguments.

So even though she has kept that trial date on the court calendar for now, my best guess, it will move and, in all likelihood, move until after the election.

SANCHEZ: Tom Dupree, we have to leave the conversation there. Always appreciate your insight. Thanks so much.

DUPREE: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

So Dr. Ruth -- yes, that Dr. Ruth -- she's now New York's first ambassador to loneliness. How the 95-year-old legendary sex therapist is trying to combat that issue, when we come back.



KEILAR: Sex expert, Dr. Ruth, is now the first loneliness ambassador in the nation. Many of us remember Dr. Ruth as the plain-talking sex expert who spoke very candidly about American sex lives.


DR. RUTH WESTHEIMER, SEX THERAPIST: And I say use contraceptives.





KEILAR: Simple question. Well, that was Dr. Ruth on the David Letterman show back in 1982.

Now, 95, this sex therapist was appointed to be the ambassador to loneliness by New York Governor Kathy Hochul to help residents with social isolation associated with physical and mental health issues.

Joining us to discuss is neuropsychologist, Dr. Judy Ho. All right, Doctor, this sort of -- this makes me think of two things.

Of course, Dr. Ruth, and also, why is she the first? Because you have the governor citing studies that show individuals experiencing loneliness at a 32 percent higher risk of dying early.

Clearly, this kind of thing is needed. How is she going to be an ambassador to loneliness?

DR. JUDY HO, LICENSED CLINICAL & FORENSIC NEUROPSYCHOLOGIST: Well, Brianna, the results clearly point to these significant mental and physical effects.

But I do think this is a new concept for people, this idea of loneliness being essentially an attack on all of our systems.

And so, as for ideas for Dr. Ruth, how can she be an ambassador? I think some of this is destigmatizing this idea that actually over half of Americans have reported, at some point, that they feel lonely, either sometimes or always, according to a recent study.

And that there are these impacts, I think, people can't quite wrap their heads around because the impacts seem so negative in nature, it's almost like your brain can't compute it.

The good news is these effects of loneliness can be reversed. It's really about prevention as well as management once you notice it's a problem that needs to be addressed.

KEILAR: You mentioned a study, this recent study by the National Academies of Science and Engineering and Medicine. It finds a third of adults age 45 and older experience loneliness.

I think when you get older you have a lot of responsibilities. Some people are caregiving. Some people are ill, maybe they are starting to get symptoms of dementia or they have other health symptoms. Those are really isolating things.

How do you combat that so that loneliness isn't affecting you negatively?

HO: A great question. I think I would also add to that list that people are dealing with existential struggles as they get older. What is my life coming to? You know, what is the meaning of everything?

And that is really one of the prescriptions in terms of how to combat this, which is to live a life with meaning.

We talk about this idea of a values-based life. Not a life predicated all on goals, although goals are important. But it's about, what do you want to stand for, what do you want to be remembered by? Doing those things that are meaningful to you even when it's hard.

When people take these techniques to heart, they tend to feel more connected to people. There is a bigger purpose they can think of and they know that it's not just them. It's all these other human beings who might be having similar experiences. We're all in this together. And we can make little steps every day to make our lives increase that

meaningfulness and then increase a deeper sense of joy.

KEILAR: I like that.

OK, the same study said nearly a quarter of adults who are 65 and older, a slightly older set, are considered socially isolated.

Can you explain the difference between, hey, I'm lonely, and I am socially isolated? What's the difference?

HO: Yes, great question again. You know, being isolated means that you're maybe spending a lot of the time during your day alone. You're not necessarily living in a community of people. That does happen sometimes to older individuals.


Maybe they want to live individually, but then younger generations, they're out doing their own thing, so they're not living in the same household.

The other aspect of this is what really contributes to the feeling of loneliness. Loneliness is different. It's a perception of your connections and how you feel about them.

And a lot of people can actually be living in communities, be with people all day long, and yet still feel like I'm not connected.

So it's that idea of meaningful connection that really matters. So even people who are living alone, as long as you're making time, hopefully, every day to connect meaningfully to one person, even if it's just for a few minutes, that can be enough to move the needle.

KEILAR: All right, Dr. Judy Ho, thanks for being with us. I think this is a conversation we -- we need to continue this. So we'll see you again soon here on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

All right, now still to come, President Biden going after his likely 2024 foe while taking a victory lap for Democrats' big wins this week.

Stay with us.