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Journalists Tell CNN Dozens Of Bodies To Be Turned In Al-Shifa Hospital Yard; New Videos Show Ex-Trump Lawyers Telling Georgia Prosecutors About Efforts To Overturn Election; NYC Mayor Eric Adams Speaks Amid FBI Investigation. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired November 14, 2023 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST & ANCHOR: Dangerous to our democracy.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And the one that wasn't physical, you're saying is the worst?
AVLON: The one that -- yes, much more because it's not just calling opponents vermin, which is a -- is something that dictators are demagogues have done you know, throughout history. It's the policies that are backing it. It's that this is a revenge campaign that is embracing autocracy. And there seems to be a constituency for it.
And these cowards who are fighting in the halls of Congress are all backing this cat while he's doing that. They don't have the courage and the spine to stand up to a real bully, who's try --who's saying he's going to run a retribution-based campaign, and demonizing everyone who disagrees with him. And so, it's not just a rhetoric, it's the policies.
And so, they're connected. Until Congressmen start standing up and having a civic backbone, and enough courage to stand up to real bullies, and run descending this kind of name-calling, we're going to see more of this kind of behavior.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Margaret, have the last word on this. I heard a Republican, Dusty Johnson. He said this morning about this. I can't defend that -- defend that rhetoric. Why -- I want to talk and win over the policy debate by being more hopeful. That's not -- that's not winning over in the Republican base right now, or Donald Trump. That's why he's leading because he's running the way he's running.
MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I mean, I will continue to remind all of our viewers that the Republican base that has stuck with Trump is 25, 30, 35 percent, perhaps 40. The majority of Republican primary voters want somebody other than Trump if you look at every single primary contest, especially the early ones. So, Trump has a lock on his portion of the base and the rest of us idiotic Republicans are dividing the vote again in order to prevent -- in order to ensure that the bad guy gets nominated again.
I mean, it's so crazy. If we can't learn the lessons of our own history, then we'll know. We don't actually deserve to have Donald Trump back. And so, I hope -- you know, I hope that we can learn this lesson pretty quick. Iowa's coming up.
BOLDUAN: Great point. It's good to see you.
HOOVER: Great to see you. Thank you.
AVLON: Thank you, guys.
BOLDUAN: Thank you for showing.
BERMAN: You got guts. You got guts. Both of you have guts, unlike -- you know.
AVLON: The table's good. We should be.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
AVLON: Thanks, guys.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Still ahead. Hospitals destroyed by the war between Israel and Hamas, and more U.N. employees killed than in any other conflict in history. We'll speak to a U.N. official about what their staff is facing as they try to save lives.
WHITFIELD: A horrifying scene playing out at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Today, doctors and nurses will begin to dig graves and bury more than 100 bodies. A journalist told CNN some of those corpses had been in the hospital's courtyard for five days.
Israel along with U.S. intelligence officials maintain Hamas uses hospitals like Al-Shifa to shelter their military operations. A CNN team embedded with the IDF was taken into Rantisi Children's Hospital where the IDF says it found a stash of weapons and signs hostages were held there. Something the hospital director denies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: By bringing us here to this hospital and showing us the connection that you believe exists between the terrorists and possibly hostages, what does it say about the other hospitals here in Gaza?
BRIG. GEN. DANIEL HAGARI, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: Cynically, Shifa Hospital is no, by fact, by intelligence to be a terrorist hub. And also, it's suspicious also in holding hostages. This is the best shelter for the terror war machine of Hamas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by Laila Baker, the Regional Director for Arab States with the United Nations Population Fund. Laila, so glad you could be with us, joining us from Cairo. Just to see these images of bodies outside of the hospitals, no ability for proper burials or for morgues, the numbers are just so high. What is your reaction to this?
LAILA BAKER, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR ARAB STATES, UNFPA: In my 30 years of U.N. experience, this is the worst humanitarian crisis and situation. It's beyond imaginable. A hospital is a lifeline. It's a place of refuge, a place where you take shelter.
By the continuous bombing and the assault on the hospitals that has rained down on Gaza for the last nearly 40 days, it's turned the hospitals into morgues and into a death trap. For the women who have to deliver in those circumstances many times without anesthesia or clean bed or even water, you can only imagine what it means for them and their families.
WHITFIELD: How concerned are you about the medical staff, what they're enduring, without medical supplies, and their own well-being and health as they also worry about their own family members?
BAKER: You know, under International Humanitarian Law and humanitarian principles, under no circumstances are hospitals the target. But I think if you just think about humanity, it's inconceivable that you would target a place -- a hospital, a place where people are supposed to get well. If you are a physician, you've taken an oath to help people. And I think that the physicians who are left behind right now who are trying to care for the wounded, who are trying to care for all of the people who they have to see on a daily basis without medication, without any surgical equipment, oftentimes now without water or fuel, it is a dire, dire decision but a heroic one as well, where they are risking their own lives to save those of others.
And you were alluding to the fact that the bodies were dying so quickly that they couldn't even give them a burial. What kind of a situation for humanity where we will all be judged for our inability to provide for a ceasefire, protect the hospitals, the hospital staff, the patients, and those who are sheltering within them?
WHITFIELD: And, Laila, I mean, the anguish and the outrageous widespread over, you know, the sick and the vulnerable in Gaza hospitals unable you know, to find safety and refuge and proper medical care. The Israel Defense Forces, you know, is maintaining that the anger should be aimed toward Hamas for putting these facilities and civilians in harm's way. The IDF strategy is undeterred. So, what possible intervention do you see?
BAKER: The United Nations and specifically for the United Nations Population Fund. Under international humanitarian law, it is completely a breach to hold a civilian population, in this case, 2.2 million strong, under siege, without water, without shelter, without electricity, without medication, without access to any type of protection, under the pretext of security. For us as the UN, that is an outrageous proposal, and it is completely -- it's completely a breach of humanitarian law. That is why we are requesting, one, a complete ceasefire. (INAUDIBLE)
WHITFIELD: All right, it looks like we know but I do understand that you are asking for a complete ceasefire in that joint statement with the regional directors of your group, UNICEF, and the WHO asking for urgent international action. Laila Baker, the Regional Director for Arab States with the United Nations Population Fund, thank you so much for being with us. Joining us from Cairo. John.
BERMAN: All right, revealing new videos in the election fraud case against Donald Trump with two of his former attorneys told Georgia prosecutors about how far he was willing to go to stay in office. And then any moment now, New York City Mayor Eric Adams will take questions about the FBI investigation into his campaign financing and possible foreign influence.
BOLDUAN: We are hearing former Trump allies in their own words revealing new details of what they knew, did, and heard throughout the broad effort to overturn the 2020 election and keep Donald Trump in power. Video Clips obtained by ABC News and The Washington Post depict some of what attorneys, Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis, you see, they're what they told prosecutors after agreeing to cooperate with their case against Trump and others in Georgia. Ellis, in one clip, goes through a conversation that she had in late 2020 with Dan Scavino, a top Trump aide. Scavino allegedly telling Ellis, the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: He said to me, and in a kind of excited tone, well, we don't care and we're not going to leave. And I said what do you mean? And he said, well, the boss, meaning President Trump. And everyone understood the boss, that's what we all called him.
He said the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We're just going to stay in power. And I said to him, well, it doesn't quite work that way you realize. And he said we don't care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That video was recorded on October 23. The next day, Ellis pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting false statements. Now, neither Scavino nor his attorney have commented on what she told prosecutors. As for Sidney Powell, who pushed some of the more fringe conspiracy legal theories after the election, she described her encounters with Donald Trump after he was told by White House attorneys that he had actually lost the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was President Trump's reaction when, I guess this cadre of advisors, would say you lost?
SIDNEY POWELL, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: It was like, well, they would say that and then they'd walk out and go, see, this is what I deal with all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: In exchange for her cooperation, Powell pleaded guilty to six lesser misdemeanors. Let's talk about what this provides and what we can see -- what we know from this. Joining us right now is Caroline Polisi. Federal and white-collar criminal defense attorney. She's also a lecturer in law at Columbia Law School.
It's great to see you, Caroline. You describe these proffer videos as they're called as a goldmine for prosecutors. Tell me -- tell us why.
CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL & WHITE-COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. I think this was part and parcel of Fani Willis's plan from the start. Obviously, she knew when she indicted this case, she wasn't going to go to trial with all 19 co-defendants. So, this is you know, what prosecutors do. They go sort of up the chain from the bottom first and get cooperators to flip.
It is, you know. These proffer sessions are really gold mines for prosecutors in this case because they go to President Trump's state of mind, right? We heard there that you know, multiple lawyers were telling Trump at the time he lost the election.
I think the Dan Scavino quote from Jenna Ellis's perspective is a pretty big deal saying the boss wasn't going to leave. That tells you that, you know, regardless of any merit with respect to these election fraud allegations, it wasn't going to change President Trump's mind at the time. He was -- he was going to you know, fight it until the end, regardless of what the facts said.
BOLDUAN: Trump's lead attorney in Georgia put out a statement to ABC News about the L.S. kind of commentary -- the L.S. reporting, I guess I'll call it. And they said this, in part. The only salient fact to this nonsense line of inquiry is that President Trump left the White House on January 20, 2021, and returned to Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
Essentially, they say that this is all meaningless because he did leave the White House. How strong of an argument is that?
POLISI: Yes, that's sort of classic Trump bravado. Really -- you know, first of all, an out-of-court statement like that has you know nothing to do with the actual trial. Yes, he went back to Mar-a-Lago, but the indictment has to do with everything leading up to that eventual plan. So, it's really -- you know, it's meaningless. I think, likely his attorneys are getting a little bit nervous at this point. The co-defendants, you know, those -- that testimony, those proffer sessions not only implicate Trump, but lower-level co- defendants in this case as well, going back to that idea of flipping up the chain. So, the other co-defendants are likely, you know, talking with their attorneys now saying maybe I should flip too.
BOLDUAN: So, this -- yes, this could be --
BOLDUAN: There could be more proper videos to come --
BOLDUAN: -- or plea deals to come even from what -- even from -- as a result of what we're seeing here.
POLISI: It's true.
BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Caroline. Thank you for coming in. Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: All right. Right now, thousands of people gathered on the National Mall for a pro-Israel rally. A march begins about an hour from now. Stay with CNN for live coverage.
BERMAN: All right. Breaking News. New York City Mayor Eric Adams answering questions about the FBI investigation into campaign finances, and possible foreign influence. Listen.
ERIC ADAMS, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK: Cannot emphasize this enough, and I'm just going to continue takes a lot of discipline. This is an ongoing review. And as a former member of law enforcement, it is always my view -- it's always my belief, don't interfere with ongoing review and don't try to do these reviews to -- you know, to depress.
You know, we are fully cooperating with whatever the reviewers are looking for. We are fully cooperating with it. And my role is to allow them to do their job without interference. And I have to do my job of continuing to make sure the city navigates the various issues that we -- that we are facing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mayor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you have to do a budget modification on Thursday? We already know that the next class and school safety officers -- 250 safety officers are not going to be hired. I wonder -- it's a multi-part question.
I wonder, are you concerned about the fact that that cut is going to compromise school safety? But also, I wonder if you could lift the veil and some of the other painful cuts that you're going to have to make. And if you could talk about how painful this first round of cuts is going to be for New Yorkers across the borders, also.
BERMAN: All right. That was New York City Mayor Eric Adams saying he was not going to answer questions about the FBI investigation into his campaign finances and possible foreign influence. He kept on calling it a review. To be clear, our reporting is this is a federal investigation, not a review.
BOLDUAN: He was issued a warrant.
BERMAN: And so, there's a lot going on here. Not taking questions there. Obviously, he will face more of them in the days and weeks to come.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Thank you all so much for being with us today. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL. "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next.