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Israel-Hamas War; Fighting Rages Nearby as Gaza's Health System Collapses; Hospital Workers in Gaza Struggle to Save the Lives of Newborns; US Airstrikes Target More Iranian-Backed Syrian Bases; Interview with Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Maryland Congressional Candidate Joel Rubin (D); Dean Phillips Ramping Up Long- Shot Challenge to President Biden; With Wife and In-Laws Missing, Samuel Haskell Scheduled to Show Up in Court; After Finding a Female Torso in Dumpster, Son of Hollywood Agent Arrested. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired November 13, 2023 - 10:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. This morning, there's a diplomatic and military standoff at one of Gaza's busiest hospitals. We are talking about the Al-Shifa Hospital, I can show you where that is, that's right here on the map right there. Now, the "New York Times" describes the back and forth over this as saying that this hospital has emerged as a symbol of the other side's inhumanity. In other words, each side saying, the other one is using this hospital for ill gains.

What are we talking about here? Well, Gaza health officials are saying that people are dying inside this hospital because fuel and supplies can't get in, there are people dying. And "Reuters" has released video of babies inside this hospital right now. These were babies born. They needed to be taken out of the incubators and put down on this bed like this next to warm water which is how they could be kept warm now.

Now, it is worth noting, Israel says, it has delivered full. The IDF has delivered fuel to the hospital. You can see this picture right here released by the IDF with soldiers delivering fuel to the hospital. Israel says, Hamas would not let the fuel get inside where it was needed. Now, health officials say, it wasn't enough fuel and it wasn't safe enough to go get it. One other thing, Israel says, consistently, and it said this for years, that Hamas is using these hospitals and its patients as human shields and has a massive tunnel operation system, a terrorist tunnel system, underneath this hospital.

And the IDF just released video from another hospital, Al-Quds, we're trying to get this video cleared right now of what they say is a terrorist with a rocket propelled grenade launcher at the entrance of this hospital, the Al-Quds Hospital. Israel is saying this just shows how Hamas is using these hospitals as shields.

Let's get the very latest. CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem in the midst of this standoff with patients. Oren, let's be clear, caught in the middle.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: John, very much so. You have what's happening on the streets outside of Shifa Hospital, outside of Al-Quds Hospital, where there is a heavy IDF presence, engaging in gunfights in an incredibly populated -- densely populated area. And then you have what's happening inside Shifa Hospital. This, as we've seen over the last few days, the rapid collapse of much of what's left of the healthcare system within Gaza.

The Red Cross says, the healthcare system there is past the point of no return. Al-Quds Hospital, the second largest hospital, went out of service this weekend. Shifa Hospital, again, the largest hospital, all of its essential units have closed, and parts of the hospital have simply had to shut down.

As you point out, the neonatal intensive care unit, whose incubators rely on generators, three babies there died over the weekend because those incubators went offline. They're now trying to keep babies there warm with hot water next to foil, that's just a hint of the condition inside the hospital as they try to somehow treat 650 patients with thousands taking shelter inside there.

We have seen the images. They are horrible of what's in there. The doctors and officials there describe how difficult the situation is, trying to work without fuel, much food, water, electricity. To the point of the 300 liters of fuel, in fact we'll get to that in a second. Listen to this from the World Health Organization describing the condition there.


DR. MARGARET HARRIS, W.H.O SPOKESPERSON: The babies aren't on life support anymore. The life support stopped. Their lungs are immature. They don't breathe normally like a normal baby does. So, there is so little time and so much need. And it -- with -- we want to make it clear to the world, hospitals should be safe havens. But they're being transformed in Gaza into scenes of death, devastation and despair.


LIEBERMANN: The IDF delivered 300 liters of fuel to the hospital. They accused Hamas of interfering with the delivery. Hospital officials say, no. They requested the fuel be delivered through the Red Cross, and their staff were too afraid to come out to get it. Either way, 300 liters of fuel is barely enough to keep the hospital running for half an hour, John.

BERMAN: Oren, while all this is taking place in Gaza, we're getting word that the U.S. conducted a new round of airstrikes in Eastern Syria, and we've seen it before. We've seen it in Deir ez-Zur and down here as well. What's going on there with the U.S. targeting these Iranian-backed groups?


LIEBERMANN: Well, the U.S. has tried to keep the conflict in Gaza separate from the rest of the region, but has been unsuccessful in doing so. U.S. Forces in Iraq and Syria have come under attack 46 times, mostly from drones and rockets over the course of the past three or four weeks or so, and that has continued.

The U.S. now carrying out its third airstrike in Eastern Syria in three weeks, this time targeting a safe haven as -- for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups, as well as a command- and-control center. There are, or were, at least, IRGC members on the ground. The U.S. believes it's unclear how many, if any, were killed in the strikes. But this is the U.S. trying to calibrate how to respond. It doesn't want to see an escalation, but it also wants to make sure Iran gets the message that they can't keep these attacks up on U.S. forces.

BERMAN: All right, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Oren, thank you very much.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Joining us now for more on all of this is Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Obama administration, Joel Rubin. He's also a Democratic candidate running for Congress in Maryland.

It's good to see you, Joel. Let's start where they ended here. An operation like these, hitting facilities in Syria used by Iran's IRGC and groups affiliated with it. I've seen this described as a significant escalation for the Biden administration. Do you see it that way? I mean, what do strikes like this in Syria do?

JOEL RUBIN (D-MD), FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE AND CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Yes, Kate. It's great to be with you. There's a reason why we have forces in Syria, and that's to deter the Islamic State from recommitting itself to the fight against our allies in the region and potentially striking us here at home.

Now, these forces, though, are exposed and there has been a detente for a number of years. Iran's decision to strike our forces through its proxies does put the region at higher risk. I think that it's crucial to continue to ensure that there is deterrence against that. You know, the big picture of question here is what will Hezbollah do? Will Hezbollah enter the fight from Southern Lebanon into Northern Israel and really expand this into a regional war?

And President Biden's decision to continue to strike outside of that theater and ensure that there is a response, hopefully gets the message across to Iran that the United States is serious and that it should not unleash Hezbollah. But this is certainly a big concern to see these strikes and to see the number of American soldiers that have been hurt. And now, clearly with those killed in action on the other side, I -- probably we'll see -- we probably will see continued strikes back and forth in Syria and elsewhere.

BOLDUAN: It also leads to a bigger question of what is Iran trying to do here if we assume Iran does not want to start or ignite a broader war. RUBIN: Yes. You know, Iran and the United States, they -- we were very close just prior to this Hamas invasion of Southern Israel to a shift in the relationship and a discussion, potentially, related to the nuclear program. There had just been the prisoner release of several Americans, and it looked like things were heading in that direction.

By Hamas taking this action though, what we have seen now is from Iran a real circling the wagons on the resistance movement, and an argument now that they are allies of the Palestinian rights, interested in supporting Palestinian attacks against Israel. And for Iran, they may very well see this as a moment to, not just strike Israel, but to push the United States out of the Middle East and disrupt our alliances.

So, this is a very significant moment. We just saw them embraced over the weekend at Arab League meetings and Islamic conference meetings. And so, it's incumbent upon us to not let this spiral out into a direct war with Iran, but certainly they see this now as an opportunity to take advantage of rather than calm things down to expand and increase the hostility and the fighting in the region.

BOLDUAN: The other thing that John and Oren were just talking about, the situation unfolding at Al-Shifa Hospital in Northern Gaza, the World Health Organization is saying that it's just -- no longer functioning as a hospital because without fuel and patients are dying, including very young NICU patients. There is a dispute between Israel and the people running the hospital over whether fuel was offered to help, keep it running or not, and the circumstances around it.

There's also new reporting. The IDF says, it's killed a group of Hamas fighters embedded, they say, among civilians at the entrance of another Gaza hospital, the second largest hospital in Gaza. It feels like something has to give soon with regard to the hospitals and the civilians that are being caught in the midst of this. What more can the Biden administration be doing here?

RUBIN: You know, Kate, this is the most emotionally difficult situation related to this war, which is that innocent civilians in harm's way, in hospitals are now under fire. Hamas is holding these hospitals hostage. What we need is a horizon of hope, quite frankly. What we need is some kind of change.


Maybe it comes through a hostage release of the 20 children that were kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th that are sitting somewhere in tunnels underneath Gaza. Is there a way to get them out? To free the children, to not make children the targets of this war? The children are the innocents in this. And as we're seeing now with the hospital, as you're describing, they are becoming horribly and regrettably targets if Hamas continues to take attacks, continues to assault from these hospital compounds. And I have no reason to believe that they're not. And I think the Hamas knows what they're -- knows what it's doing.

We've seen a lot of reporting about how Hamas understood that they would incur major Israeli response to their October 7th invasion, that they were accepting of that. We need to try to find a different angle. And for the Biden team, getting these hostages out, working with Qatar, working with Egypt, our allies in the region to try to give some hope to a potential different path right now is crucial, and I think that would be a great way to start.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It's good to see you, Joel. Thank you for coming in.

RUBIN: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Fredricka.


He is challenging President Biden for their party's presidential nomination. And he says, he will invest as much of his own fortune as it takes to win. CNN's Kasie Hunt has an exclusive interview with Dean Phillips. We'll bring that to you next.



WHITFIELD: Democratic congressman, and now presidential candidate, Dean Phillips is ramping up his long-shot challenge to President Biden for the party's nomination. So far, most Democrats have rejected Phillips' presidential bid, but Phillips is not backing down.

CNN's Kasie Hunt sat down for an exclusive interview with Phillips to push him on why he's decided to run.


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (voiceover): Dean Phillips is a long-shot.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN), U.S. DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Congressman Phillips. I'm running for president.

HUNT (voiceover): A little-known Minnesota congressman, heir to a multimillion-dollar schnapps fortune, willing to invest those millions to take on an unpopular president he says can't beat Donald Trump.

PHILLIPS: I think in 2020, he was probably the only Democrat who could have beaten Donald Trump. I think in 2024, he may be among the only ones that will lose to him, and that's why I'm doing this.

HUNT: Do you have a top dollar figure that you're willing to invest?

PHILLIPS: No, because this is so important.

HUNT (voiceover): Phillips has escalated his attacks on Biden since he launched his campaign just over two weeks ago in New Hampshire.

PHILLIPS: Bidenomics is not working. It is actually the opposite. It represents inflation, high prices. HUNT (voiceover): Phillips is defiant after Democrats rejected him. Threatening to primary him, leaving his leadership post in the House amid criticism from colleagues.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Everyone's got the right to run, but I'm sorry, I have no idea what he is running on that is different from what President Biden is running on.

HUNT: You believe you've torpedoed your own career?

PHILLIPS: I think if you listen to the conventional wisdom based on the response of the Democratic Party, I think that's fair to say.

HUNT (voiceover): Most Democrats don't believe Phillips can win the nomination. But there's worry he'll damage the president in a race where recent polls show Biden losing to Trump. And Phillips told CNN he'll welcome outside support from super PACs. That could mean millions of dollars in ads criticizing Biden in swing states like Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is time the torch to be passed to a new generation of American leaders.

HUNT (voiceover): Key to the Democratic primary, but also to the general election.

HUNT: So, you will take super PACS --

PHILLIPS: First of all, I can't, as you well know, I can't deny support from anybody that wants to get it.

HUNT: I know you can't tell them what to do --

PHILLIPS: And considering what --

HUNT: -- but you can send them a public --

PHILLIPS: The answer is yes. The answer is -- the answer is to achieve what we need to achieve, to overturn the status quo, to ensure that Donald Trump is defeated. Absolutely.

HUNT (voiceover): The other risk for Biden, a rule change in a state with a history of making or breaking political fortunes.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: New Hampshire tonight has made Bill Clinton the comeback kid.

HUNT (voiceover): That 1992 first in the nation primary night catapulted Clinton to the Democratic nomination and the White House. Working on that campaign for Clinton, Terry Shoemaker, who's dismayed the Democratic Party will let South Carolina vote first in 2024.

TERRY SHOEMAKER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I was angry, and I still am. And it was unnecessary.

HUNT (voiceover): The rules change means Joe Biden's name won't be on the primary ballot in New Hampshire. Biden allies have mounted a write in campaign to try to avoid the primary turning into another 1968 for Democrats. That year, Senator Eugene McCarthy nearly upset Democratic President Lyndon Johnson here. Just two weeks later, Johnson announced he was not going to run for re-election.

HUNT: The magic of New Hampshire, it seems to me, is that anything can happen here.

SHOEMAKER: That's correct. And anything, this year, to me, I think we're going to see some surprises.


WHITFIELD: All right. Kasie Hunt, thank you.


BOLDUAN: Coming up still for us, it is an incredibly disturbing story. A torso found in a dumpster, and police now have a man under arrest as they're still searching for his missing wife and in laws. We have the new reporting coming in about this next.



BOLDUAN: The son of a Hollywood agent is due in court in Los Angeles next hour on suspicion of murder. Samuel Haskell was arrested after a woman's torso was found in a dumpster near his home last week. It's the same home that he shares with his wife and her parents. They are all missing.

CNN's Camila Bernal has more on this. She's joining us. Camila, what more are you learning about this?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Kate. This is, obviously, disturbing and really terrifying for people in this neighborhood. But Samuel Haskell, he's 35 years old. He was arrested on suspicion of murder after someone who was in a Los Angeles neighborhood looking through dumpster bins found a woman's torso inside of a garbage bag. They, of course, called police and immediately police began this investigation. They say, that right now they're still working on identifying the human remains. They say, that is going to take a good amount of time here.


But all of that evidence led them to Haskell's home. This is a home that he shared with his wife, his two in laws, and three children. Now, authorities are saying that the three children, they're safe. They're with family. But of course, their focus now is finding the three people that you're seeing on your screen right now.

Now, according to our affiliate K.B.C., authorities also found blood and other evidence at the home, but they did not find any other body parts. But again, they're still trying to figure out and piece everything together as to what happened here. He does have that court appearance at 8:30 local time here in Los Angeles. It's unclear if he has an attorney.

And we've also reached out to his father, who you mentioned, you know, is famous here in Hollywood. We have not heard back from him. He's represented people like George Clooney and Dolly Parton, so that's interesting there as well. But we will have to wait to see what happens in terms of new details and really what happens in court today. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it's just all -- so horrible and sad. Thank you, Camila.



BERMAN: All right. New details this morning of an incident with the president's granddaughter, Naomi Biden's Secret Service detail shots fired overnight.