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Appeals Court Temporarily Lifts Gag Order In Trump Civil Fraud Trial; Haley, Christie Surge In New Polling From New Hampshire; IBM Suspends Advertising On Elon Musk's X After Its Ad Appeared Next To Pro-Nazi Content; Some Young Americans On TikTok Say They Sympathize With Osama Bin Laden; U.S., China Reach Major Deal To Curb Fentanyl Production. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 16, 2023 - 15:30   ET



KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The judge appears to be biased, he -- the law clerk, appears to be biased, and that's the basis for their mistrial motion as well as this emergency action they've taken. So this one judge and associate justice at the first department, New York Appellate Court, granting at least on a temporary basis, a stay of the gag order, meaning that has lifted. That the former president and his attorneys can now talk more freely about the case and the judge and his communications with the law clerk.

You know this has been something that Trump's lawyers have made an issue of throughout the trial. Ultimately leading to the gag order on them. And their argument here is that the public needs to know what is happening inside the courtroom, and they want the public to be able to hear Trump's version of this.

But his accusations of bias, they don't want him to be infringed from making any of these allegations. They have said that imagine if this was a Trump appointed judge who was taking steps in the other direction that the public would want to know about it. This thing is only fair for Trump to be able to speak about what he alleges to be bias in this trial. In this -- in you know, entire trial now and it's seven weeks.

So for now this gag order has been lifted and the former president will be free to speak about the judge, the law clerk, any of the staff, you know, and the judge that you remember has already fined Trump $15,000 for violating the gag order. Now that is also appears to be on hold as well -- Pam.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: All right, Kara Scannell, bringing us the latest right outside of court in New York -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, Pamela. As the GOP presidential field is shrinking, Nikki Haley and Chris Christie are climbing in a new poll from New Hampshire. Donald Trump, still way out in front here to be clear. But Haley and Christie have gained support since September. And then Ron DeSantis he is down just a little bit there, a point. Let's talk about this now with CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny and CNN national political writer Fredreka Schouten. OK, Jeff first just take us through this polling here.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it confirms what we know, Brianna, that former President Donald Trump, is still in the driver's seat of this race, in New Hampshire as well. This is our new poll out from the University of New Hampshire and CNN. It was out at noon today. And let's take a look at these numbers.

Donald Trump is at 42 percent. That is up slightly from 39 percent just in September. Also, Nikki Haley 20 percent. That is up eight points from September. So she has the most movement, the most change in this race. You've seen that, of course, as her debate performance has really been one of the stronger aspects of her candidacy.

Chris Christie, also up just a bit up to 14 percent. And then DeSantis at 9 percent, that of course explains why the Florida governor is now putting essentially all of his campaign efforts into Iowa because New Hampshire has stalled a bit.

So this is where we are a little more than two months before the New Hampshire primary. They set the date of it yesterday. It will be on January 23rd. But again, Nikki Haley, having a good moment, but it's still Donald Trump's race to lose by a mile.

KEILAR: Definitely and just a little asterisk there, it looks like the Granite Staters not loving Ramaswamy so much right now.

ZELENY: He's gone down as well, from 13 to 8 just in the last couple of months.

KEILAR: Yes, that's really intriguing too, Fredreka, you say that Tim Scott who got out of the race, you know, his loss is really Nikki Haley's gain here.

FREDREKA SCHOUTEN, CNN POLITICS NATIONAL POLITICAL WRITER: You really are seeing that. I mean, he got out on Sunday and we started to see this movement of major donors and fundraisers to her. They're viewing her as the next best alternative to Donald Trump.

And one of the things that is really striking as well is the number of people who are sort of kicking the tires on her. Not just the folks who have said I'm with her. For instance, Ken Griffin, hedge fund manager, billionaire many times over, said that he's actively contemplating supporting her. That could be a game changer. I mean, this is someone who puts $71 million into the midterm races, into super PACs to help elect Republicans. Imagine if he were to sort of jump into her race.

KEILAR: It's so interesting to see this change and then what do you read in these DeSantis numbers?

SCHOUTEN: Well, it's interesting in you definitely see for him -- one of the things that's striking is I've been talking to folks in the last couple of days is that the donors who are sort of shifting over to Haley have been talking a lot about abortion and that it's a key issue. And one of the things that they are very interested in is the fact

that she has been talking about being compassionate and trying to find a middle ground. And what I'm hearing from them is concern about the six week ban that DeSantis signed in Florida.

And the fact that we've had a string of losses on the abortion issue in Kentucky and Ohio and Virginia, and they're looking for someone who can really appeal to moderate voters in a general election. And that's one of the things that has been like loud and clear in the conversations I've had with fundraisers and donors.

ZELENY: In the suburbs particularly. I mean, voters are saying that as well. So they view her as a stronger, potentially general election candidate.


But interestingly, more Republicans than we've ever seen also see Donald Trump now as a strong Republican candidate as well. Our New Hampshire poll shows that now 57 percent of New Hampshire Republicans think he has the best chance of winning a general election.

So what that has done -- obviously, Biden's weakness a bit has sort of taken away the argument that some of these candidates are making that Donald Trump can't win. Now these polls show he can, but the next two months will be very interesting. Because no one has voted yet. Polls don't vote, people vote. So let's keep our eye on this race.

As we were talking earlier, a lot of people mentioned that people aren't focusing on this as much as we are. So let's get those Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina voters to make their decisions.

KEILAR: They're starting to think about it, and we're starting to see movement. It's really fascinating. Fredreka, Jeff, thanks to both of you appreciate.

There's a sudden surge of sympathy for Osama bin Laden and this is happening on TikTok. We'll have the details behind what is really a disturbing trend next.

But first, before we head to break video of President Biden taking what they call the family photo with economic leaders there at the APEC Summit, stay with us.



BROWN: Elon Musk is being accused of using his influence on social media to promote antisemitic rhetoric. Musk recently endorsed a users post that claimed Jews pushed hatred against whites. CNN Senior media reporter Oliver Darcy is here. So Oliver, tell us exactly what he said.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes, Pam, this is just brazen antisemitism from one of the world's most influential men. And to give you an idea of how, you know, this started it started with a user on X daring people to prove that, quote, Hitler was right. And I'll read you the exchange.

One user took up this other users challenge and he wrote back: OK Jewish communities have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.

And then Elon Musk responds and says, quote: You have said the actual truth.

Later Elon Musk tried to sort of walk back what he said. He said he was only maybe referring to ADL. But to be clear, Elon Musk has engaged in this sort of antisemitic rhetoric in the past. I mean, earlier this year he went after George Soros, who has been the victim of a number of antisemitic attacks -- mostly from the rights.

And in that case, he said that, quote: George Soros wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.

And so this is not new from Elon Musk. Elon Musk often engages us in in this kind of rhetoric. And frankly, Pam, as you well know, he hasn't met a conspiracy theory that he hasn't really jumped on the bandwagon with.

BROWN: Yes, that's absolutely right. And he's facing the consequences of that, right? Because now IBM is withdrawing or suspending its advertising on X, right?

DARCY: That's right. And that's a separate matter over on X where there is so much hate on the platform now that advertisers are seeing their ads running next to actual Neo-Nazi content. And so there was this report out from the Progressive Media Matters, a watchdog group, earlier today. That said, all these brands have been had -- having their ads placed adjacent to hate speech.

And IBM coming out quickly and saying that they have quote: Zero tolerance for hate speech and discrimination, and they have immediately suspended all advertising on X while they investigate what they described as an unacceptable situation.

Again though, Pam, not new. We had a review last month at CNN that found a number of major advertisers, including the NFL and Amazon, and Big Blue chip advertisers were having their ads placed on a account for one of the most antisemitic, racist publications in existence. And so, this is a huge problem for Elon Musk and his chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, over there because they're trying to tell advertisers this is a safe place to advertise your products, to market your products. And clearly all the evidence shows it's not.

BROWN: Yes, very much to the contrary. Oliver Darcy, thanks so much -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, dozens of young Americans on TikTok say they sympathize with Osama bin Laden. They have been posting videos on the social media platform supporting a letter that the terrorist wrote in 2002 filled with antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is joining us now on this. This is -- it's, you know, it's almost unbelievable. You can tell by how I'm reacting to it. When I first heard it, I just was like what? What's going on here?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's shocking. And from our estimations these videos have garnered about 14 million views over the past few days. So look the background to this and bear with me on this, is a letter emerged in 2002 that was purportedly written by Osama bin Laden. It was called "The Letter to America." It's basically -- he attacks and tries to justify the attacking and killing of American civilians.


Now in that he tries to really go after American foreign policy, particularly Americans -- America's policy when it comes to Israel and Palestine. But also goes off on, you know, it's kind of anti -- antisemitic but also homophobic screeds, conspiracy theories within this letter.

So what's happened over the past few days on TikTok and again, this is kind of in the wider context of what is happening in Israel and Gaza right now, is people -- young people, young Americans have been sharing this letter. They've discovered it. Somehow it's been on the Internet for 20 years and they've read it. And they say, well, actually Osama bin Laden's critique of the United States, maybe he has a point.

And look, when you take a step back from it. I mean I think, you know, we often talk about the dangers of older people going online and doing quote, unquote, their own research. But clearly stupidity, you know, it's not when it comes to the internet, it's not exclusive to older generations. Like, I think what we are seeing here is fine, clearly, like clearly a lot of younger people -- and I think you know, frankly this is something that that older generations in in the U.S. have been surprised about.

That there is a lot more sympathy for the Palestinian cause and the people in Gaza among younger Americans than there are older generations. A lot of that is down to what is -- what they're seeing online, but this obviously takes us to a stupid, stupid step further. Where they are trying to say, well, actually, yes, what we're seeing here from Bin Laden, he has a point. I mean, you can get -- you can critique and criticize the U.S. government and you can find those critiques online, but you don't have to read Osama bin Laden to do that.

KEILAR: Yes, you don't have to endorse violence. Certainly, you know, to have a critique against your country. What is TikTok doing here? How are they responding?

O'SULLIVAN Yes, so TikTok put out a statement earlier today, Brianna. And they said content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules and supporting any -- any form of terrorism. They said that they are taking it down. They also claim the videos on TikTok -- the number of videos on TikTok on this issue are small and reports of a trending on our platform are inaccurate.

I will say me and my colleagues Allison Gordon and Catherine Thorbecke have been looking at TikTok all morning. We have found dozens of videos with millions of views of people praising this. Now let -- and we should stress here right? This is not hundreds of people. It's not thousands of people. We have seen dozens. But it is still stunning to see dozens of American children, young people praising this sort of thing. But clearly TikTok is not doing the job that they're saying they're doing in that statement.

KEILAR: Yes, no, this is getting around. Let's be clear. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you for the report, very interesting. And we'll be right back.



KEILAR: President Biden is touting an agreement with China to crack down on the flow of fentanyl that is making its way into America. Including going after Chinese companies that produce chemicals needed to make the deadly drug.

This year alone, the CDC reported record levels of overdose deaths. We're talking 70 percent of those involving fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. Let's talk about this now with Thomas Bollyky. He is the director of the Global Health program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Tom, thanks for being with us. I mean, let's just -- let's talk about what's at stake here.

THOMAS BOLLYKY, DIRECTOR OF THE GLOBAL HEALTH PROGRAM AT COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Yes. So, fentanyl, opioids is the largest addiction crisis in U.S. history. As you mentioned, 110,000 Americans died last year, the majority from fentanyl. That's roughly 300 Americans per day.

Now, most of the. Illicit sources of fentanyl come from outside of the United States. Typically, that supply chain starts with chemical precursors made in China, which are then synthesized and manufactured by Mexican cartels and smuggled into United States.

Now look, to be sure, solving or making meaningful progress on the fentanyl crisis in the U.S. is not just about supply. We need to meaningfully address the drivers of U.S. demand. To provide more access to treatment.

That being said, if we can have an agreement that compels or spurs China to meaningfully cut down on those chemical precursors, it can make fentanyl supplies more scarce and more expensive. And that can save U.S. lives.

KEILAR: So let's get inside China's head a little bit on this. How do they view this issue? Because this is largely a U.S. problem, a drug problem, right? With overdose deaths here as they see it.

BOLLYKY: That's right. So from a Chinese perspective, this is a geopolitical issue. China has no fentanyl addiction crisis. They need nothing from the United States to address this particular problem. They need nothing from U.S. allies. So they view this issue as a way of getting something from the U.S. as part of the broader geopolitical dynamic.

Now in the past, the U.S. and China have cooperated on trying to address fentanyl. In 2019, China agreed to schedule fentanyl drugs, that means regulate, oversee them. That broke down when Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan.

So the U.S. after that breakdown has tried to make this more of a global issue, bringing U.S. allies to pressure China. But it has really remained part of this bipartisan geopolitical dynamic.


And that's why you see this being addressed at a high level leader summit and being addressed in conjunction with U.S. sanctions on forensic labs that were taken to address Muslim minorities. So it's really seen as a way of getting the U.S. to back off on those sanctions.

KEILAR: Because how is this viewed domestically? I mean, there is nothing that matters more to a family when you have a child or a parent or a spouse dying of a preventable thing like this?

BOLLYKY: You're so right. This addiction crisis has touched millions of Americans, either directly through their own challenges with opioids and fentanyl's, or through the struggles of their loved ones. This administration, President Biden, and his team came in with a promise of a -- enacting a U.S. foreign policy for the middle class. This is precisely that middle class issue that affects so many Americans. So that's part of it.

But we're also heading into an election year. You starting to see Republican candidates for president making noise about the fentanyl issue. Republican polls show that more than 2/3 of their voters favor invading China and using military action against the cartels to address fentanyl. This agreement allows President Biden to deliver on this promise for the middle class. But also to keep the narrative on taking action against fentanyl in an election year.

KEILAR: So important. Tom, thank you for being here.

And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a short break.