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17-Year-Old Beaten to Death in Las Vegas; Video Leak in Georgia Trump Case; Trump Files For Mistrial in Civil Fraud Case; FBI Director Warns of Increased Terror Threats; Israeli Forces Raid Gaza Hospital. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired November 15, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Right now, Israeli troops have control of Gaza's largest hospital, and they say they have concrete evidence Hamas was using it as a terror headquarters. Hundreds of patients are still inside Al Shifa Hospital, and a new effort being spearheaded by Egypt now to get three dozen newborn babies moved to safety.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: An increased threat of terror attacks on Americans. Why the FBI director just issued that warning to Congress.
SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: It hasn't happened in a year, but it's happening today. Just a few hours from now, President Biden will be speaking face-to-face with China's President Xi. What might come from today's critical summit? We will have it.
I'm Sara Sidner with John Berman and Kate Bolduan, CNN NEWS CENTRAL starts now.
BOLDUAN: A senior Israeli official says details are coming, including footage later today of what's described as concrete evidence of a Hamas terror headquarters in Al Shifa Hospital, that evidence uncovered in the ongoing raid by Israel of that medical complex.
IDF troops, soldiers, they entered the hospital early this morning, and Hamas has now acknowledged that Israel is in control of the hospital, Gaza's largest hospital. The IDF already did release this video that we're showing you right here of soldiers delivering incubators and other medical supplies to the hospital today, they say.
Now, CNN has geolocated the video, however, is not on the ground and cannot independently confirm what it shows. Also, right now, Egypt, getting involved. Egyptian officials are working, trying to spearhead and coordinate an effort to transfer 36 newborn babies in the neonatal unit out of the hospital to facilities in -- somewhere safer.
But those talks, we are told, are reportedly going very slowly.
CNN's Ed Lavandera, he's got more on all of this.
Ed, what is the very latest that you're picking up of what's happening with the raid and what's happening with this hospital and these patients? ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are waiting
to hear these crucial details from the Israeli Defense Force, this what has been described as concrete evidence of Hamas command-and- control structure and operations that exist, as Israeli military officials have been saying for weeks that it believes that the Hamas organization runs in large part in these areas underneath especially this particular hospital, the Al Shifa Hospital, which is the largest in Gaza and a very significant stronghold there inside of Gaza City.
As you can see from the map that we have showed you, it's a large complex, a lot to it as well. And that is where about, almost 18 hours ago, Israeli forces went into those -- that hospital ground. We have spoken with a Palestinian journalist inside the hospital who describes that there has been intense fighting in there as well.
But Israeli Defense Force officials say they deny that there has been exchange of gunfire inside the hospital. They said that there was some initial exchange of gunfire as they approached with the fighters outside of the hospital areas. This is what they had to say about that particular issue just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. RICHARD HECHT, SPOKESMAN, ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES: There was fire exchange before we went into the hospital. We engaged with the enemy before we entered. And since we were in the hospital, there was no engagement whatsoever inside the hospital at this moment with the patients or anyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: So, right now, the Israeli Defense Force says it is working on getting the evidence that they say will support this accusation of concrete evidence of Hamas command-and-control structure there in the area inside that hospital and below it.
They're working to get that material from the front lines, where this fighting has been engaged. They have been engaged in this intense fighting for much of the day. Israel military officials have also said that they urged patients and hospital staff inside the hospital to clear the areas around windows, to get away from that particular place, as this fighting has raged on inside of the hospital grounds there for, as I mentioned, almost 18 hours.
Despite that, hospital staff inside say it has been a horrific scene throughout the day, that you could hear the cries of terrified children and the cries of older patients inside the hospital as well, so a great deal of fighting in this very critical, key point of this hospital.
Much of the -- beyond just the military fighting that is going on there is -- this really gets to the heart of Israel's credibility in this particular war, given the amount of criticism the Israeli military has been given, based on its military operations inside of Gaza, which has extended for weeks now.
And, clearly, this evidence will be scrutinized very intensely when it -- as it comes out here in the hours ahead.
BOLDUAN: Ed Lavandera, thank you -- John.
BERMAN: All right, happening now, FBI Director Christopher Wray is on Capitol Hill telling lawmakers of a heightened threat of a terror attack on Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Across the country, the FBI has been aggressively countering violence by extremists citing the ongoing conflict as inspiration.
On top of the so-called loan actor threat, we cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here on our own soil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, CNN's Evan Perez is with us now.
Evan, what's the FBI director seeing that is causing him to issue this warning?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, there has been a skyrocketing of the number of threats not only against Jewish Americans, but also against Arab Americans, Muslim Americans in the United States.
And what the FBI has been concerned about is that perhaps October 7 changed everything with what they understood about Hamas, which until now has been viewed as mostly a threat to Israel, carrying out attacks inside Israel, obviously, a terrorist organization, but less of a concern here in the United States.
And that's one of the things you see in his remarks today, where he talked about a number of individuals, a number of people associated with Hamas now under investigation by the FBI. And, of course, that raises a lot of concerns about potential for attacks here in the United States.
BERMAN: All right, Evan Perez with that report, thank you very much -- Sara.
Sara's not here.
Evan, I'm going to ask you another question. I'm going to ask you another question, because I'm all out here by myself. Everyone just left at one time, so it's just you and me, kid, for a little bit.
Christopher Wray is testifying, talking about this heightened risk of a terror attack before Congress. The homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, is there also.
BERMAN: I imagine they are getting some criticism along with this testimony that they're providing.
PEREZ: Oh, absolutely.
Look, I mean, for Republicans, there are a lot of -- there's a lot of focus on the concerns about the border, because, as we reported in the last few weeks, John, there's been some concern about a number of people who come across the border who did not until -- it wasn't until after they were inside and given some kind of parole status that the United States understood or learned, the FBI learned, about their connections to a facilitator, somebody who was human trafficking and connected to ISIS in Turkey.
And so things like that are being brought up by members of Congress because of the concern that the border is porous, at the number of people coming across, and the ability of the Homeland Security Department and other departments to actually vet these people before they're allowed in.
So that's the focus of a lot of the questions from Republicans. Obviously, this is a bit of a hostile bit of questioning, especially for Secretary Mayorkas, who some Republicans are -- have been trying to impeach for the last few weeks, John.
Obviously, this is going to be a tough hearing for some of the members there on that panel. But the bottom line is, there's a lot of threats that are ongoing as a result of the war in Israel and Hamas.
BERMAN: Evan Perez, thank you so much for being with us.
Together, we can make TV. We don't need anyone else.
BERMAN: Thank you, sir.
PEREZ: That's right.
SIDNER: It was so mesmerizing, John, that I forgot to come out here and do some work. So I appreciate you both.
I'm joined now by CNN global affairs analyst Kim Dozier.
Kim, thank you so much for being here.
Let's start with Christopher Wray again and the fallout from the Israel-Hamas war. The FBI has been seeing this significant increase in threats since October 7, is what he reported to Congress, and that a big chunk of that has been against the Jewish community. Did you take away from these remarks that it is sort of the lone actor
that goes out and does this in response, or is that there are bigger organizations such as al Qaeda who are the most immediate threat to people here in the U.S.?
KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I don't think the FBI can discount either one, because the attacks on Gaza in retaliation for the October 7 terrorist attacks by Israel have galvanized a group of militants and terrorists across the globe and given them a new reason to recruit, to fund-raise and to plot.
So, that likely means -- the way ISIS used to reach out to people was through social media, and they could entice lone actors within the United States, within Europe to carry out plots, while they started planning larger attacks.
So I think, initially, what the FBI will be worried about is those inspired lone actors doing something low-tech, whether it be with a gun or a knife, and then the larger plots that take longer to plan and put in place.
SIDNER: Yes, we have already seen -- I think he mentioned five or six different incidents where arrests had been made, whether they were plotting or had already done something against both the Jewish and the Muslim community.
I do want to ask you about something else that Christopher Wray said, because he said that they're conducting multiple investigations into individuals affiliated with Hamas in this country.
What might that mean?
DOZIER: Well, the issue with Hamas is, it is more than just a terrorist organization. It is also a political organization. That's how it is considered and seen within much of the Arab world.
So, for law enforcement in the states, you get into that sticky area of, as they're investigating people who might be supporting the political movement, does that automatically make them supporters of terrorist violence? So you get into First Amendment issues and the difficulty of trying to get inside someone's head to see if their political support for a movement is the same as wanting to pick up a weapon and attack a target on behalf of that movement.
SIDNER: That is a really good point, because Hamas, by the United States, is -- has decreed them a terrorist organization, but they are also the government of Gaza put into place back in, I think, 2005, although there has not been another election since then.
I want to ask you about what is happening right now in Gaza. The Israeli forces are inside the Al Shifa Hospital. They have said, look, we have found -- and just in the last hour, we have found, evidence that Hamas was operating from here, and they're going to reveal that, they say, evidence. What does that mean for the work that Israel is doing right now? The
military is there. There have been thousands of people killed, many civilians killed. Does this absolve them, at least when it comes to international law?
DOZIER: Well, as John had put up there earlier, the Geneva Convention said, if a hospital is being used for storing of weaponry or for military-age males to hide, then it takes away its protection under that set of rules.
But, from the IDF's perspective, going after Shifa Hospital makes sense in terms of the actual war and the information war. It believes there's a command center under there. And for the information war, it believes it has to show actual evidence to back up what it's claimed, what the White House has backed them up on.
And they probably won't reach the Arab world, the Global South. People will say this is just planted information. But for key Western nations who are still backing them, whether it's Britain or France or Germany, they need to be able to show all these civilian casualties, as horrible as they are, were because we were being attacked from this location.
So they're hoping to defang a lot of that international criticism, which will then, they hope, allow them to continue to prosecute the war against rooting out Hamas itself.
SIDNER: Kim Dozier, thank you so much for that, explaining through what is going on. And it's changing every hour. We appreciate your time -- John.
BERMAN: I'm right here.
SIDNER: John, it's good to see you.
BERMAN: I'm here. All right.
BERMAN: Can a member of Congress cast a vote without getting elbowed in the kidneys anymore? How Congress intends to avoid a shutdown and fend off more member-on-member violence.
Las Vegas police are calling it a void of humanity. Eight teenagers have been arrested after allegedly beating a 17-year-old to death over some stolen headphones.
New details about the leaked videos in Donald Trump's election interference case. The prosecution has called for an emergency hearing.
BOLDUAN: This just in. Donald Trump is now officially asking for a mistrial in his civil fraud case in New York. Trump's lawyers are basing this request on what they argue are biased comments they believe that Judge Engoron made during the trial. The judge has already signaled, though, that a motion like this isn't likely to go far.
CNN's Kara Scannell outside the courthouse for us in New York.
Kara, what more are you learning about this?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Trump's team just filed this motion.
They already said that they were going to bring it, but now it has officially been filed asking for a mistrial in this case. They say that the judge has been biased against them from some of the rulings he's made. They have complained a lot about him cutting them off, from some of the comments he has made during the trial itself now in its seventh week, and also based on his relationship with his principal law clerk.
She sits up on the bench next to him. They pass notes between each other during the trial. And he often consults with her. That is something that they have really taken an issue with, saying that there is also bias here, because they say the law clerk is biased.
Now, she is the reason why the judge imposed the gag order in the case against Trump and his lawyers, asking them not to comment about her and specifically these communications.
So the judge has already signaled that he is not likely to grant this motion. He has said that he has an unfettered right to communicate with his law clerk, who he relies on. And so he has suggested that this is not going to go anywhere. But now it is officially filed.
And in the filing, Trump's team says that: "The evidence of apparent and actual bias is tangible and overwhelming." They say that it has tainted the proceedings.
The attorney general's office has responded to this motion, saying that Trump is trying to distract from his fraud by bringing this. Again, we expect the judge will not grant this motion. Trump's team has already asked for a directed verdict in their favor, alleging that the attorney general's office has not proved their case on the remaining six claims, after the judge has already ruled in favor of the attorney general that there is persistent and repeated fraud in these financial statements.
The judge has not yet ruled on that either -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: So, as the Trump team continues to make their case in court and this continues, great to see you, Kara. Thank you so much -- Sara.
SIDNER: All right, now to the election subversion case in Georgia. Fulton County prosecutors are asking a judge to seal evidence in that
case. Today's emergency hearing comes after video of conversations by some of Donald Trump's former co-defendants with prosecutors were leaked earlier this week.
Former Trump attorneys Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, and bale bondsman Scott Hall have all taken plea deals. We're also learning more about the timing of the Georgia case.
CNN's Nick Valencia is joining us right now from Atlanta.
Is there any indication of what the judge might do as they try to seal some of this testimony and this evidence?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't know the judge and which way they're leaning at this point.
We expect that something will be sealed from discovery materials, but it's really interesting how this all came about. There was a text thread going on, or there is a text thread going on between the district attorney's office and current and former defense attorneys attached to this, and they were trying to figure out this week who leaked those videos, those proffer videos from those that have taken plea deals already in this case.
And in an apparent admission and in a bizarre e-mail, Harrison Floyd's attorney, Todd Harding, said it was Harrison Floyd's team that leaked this e-mail. Then, in a subsequent e-mail, they called that admission a typo. All of it was bizarre enough for the district attorney's office to ask for this emergency hearing to try to seal materials.
You would think that this would all have been taken care of by now. And, in September, the DA's office did file a motion asking for the judge to seal discovery materials in this case. But that motion just sat there. The judge never ruled on it. The DA never followed up on it.
And it left the door open to leaks happening in this case. So bottom line is, even if Harrison Floyd's team did leak this video -- they're denying that, by the way -- they didn't break any law. But it's created enough of a headache here that the district attorney's office wants the judge to make a ruling on this today.
That hearing will happen at 1:30. Meanwhile, all of this is happening while we're getting some new predictions from the district attorney in Fulton County, Fani Willis, who says that a trial for Donald Trump in Georgia, she predicts, will be under way during the 2024 presidential election and will take months, likely wrapping up in early 2025 -- Sara.
SIDNER: Some of those revelations about the e-mail that went out and they said, oh, that was an accident, I mean, this is putting witnesses in danger. I'm sure the judge will be looking at this very closely.
Thank you so much, Nick Valencia, for all your reporting there -- John. BERMAN: All right, this morning, police in Las Vegas are calling the
murder of a teenager just outside his high school -- quote -- "void of humanity"; 17-year-old Jonathan Lewis was beaten to death.
Eight suspects, aged 13 to 17, are now in custody.
CNN's Josh Campbell is following this for us this morning.
Josh, what are you learning?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, quite a description from police, a void of humanity.
As you mentioned, eight juveniles are now in custody following this arrest operation by local police and the FBI. Authorities say that they will be charged with the murder of 17-year-old Jonathan Lewis Jr., who was attacked in an alley near a high school over a dispute about stolen wireless headphones and a vaping device.
Now, the beating was captured in a video that has been widely shared on social media. We are not showing the gruesome video, but a lieutenant with Las Vegas police described it in this way -- quote -- "What you see in the video is approximately 10 subjects kicking, stomping and punching our victim, Jonathan, as he is on the ground, not defending himself, to the point that he becomes unconscious."
Now, the teen's father spoke about what led up to the attack. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN LEWIS SR., FATHER OF VICTIM: He was trying to protect one of his smaller friends. There was some things that were being stolen from him, as we understand it.
And he went to kind of defend him. And three of them kind of attacked him. And he defended himself. And he -- they couldn't beat him up, so the rest of the group joined in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL: Now, an autopsy determined that the cause of Lewis' death was blunt-force trauma.
Police say the eight juvenile suspects range in age from 13 to 17, and they're still looking for more people who appeared on that viral video during the beating.
Now, the big question obviously, John, is, will they be tried as juveniles or will they be tried as adults in the government's murder case? We're still awaiting information from prosecutors on their intentions, but just a really gruesome, gruesome incident, of course, captured on video, this teen dying after this brutal beating.
BERMAN: It is awful. All right, Josh Campbell, keep us posted. Thank you very much -- Sara.
SIDNER: All right, just ahead, we are just hours away from a high- stakes sit-down on the West Coast between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi. For the first time in a year, the two will meet face-to-face. We will go live to San Francisco ahead of that meeting -- coming up.