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President Biden's Brother Subpoenaed; New Trump Audio Released; Israel Claims Hamas Tunnel Found at Al Shifa Hospital; President Biden Meets With Mexican President. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired November 17, 2023 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Now the border crisis. After hailing progress with China, President Biden is set to meet with the president of Mexico any moment now, migration, fentanyl and relations with Cuba on the agenda. We're going to bring you the meeting live.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Plus, pressure builds on the Israeli government to secure the release of more hostages after troops recover another body in Gaza. Meanwhile, the IDF makes new claims about Hamas' weapons at Gaza's largest hospital.
And disturbing allegations of rape and abuse against Grammy-winning rapper and producer Sean "Diddy" Combs.
We are following these major developing stories and many more all coming in right here to CNN NEWS CENTRAL.
KEILAR: Here in moments, President Biden will be closing out the APEC summit with Mexico's president. Biden has spent most of his time in San Francisco focused on cooling tensions with China, promoting U.S. economic interests in the Pacific, and, of course, the ongoing war in the Middle East.
But, today, he's expected to turn to immigration and border security, as record numbers of migrants cross into the U.S. from Mexico this year, straining resources both in border towns and in major cities hundreds of miles away.
The two leaders are set to speak here in minutes.
And we have CNN's David Culver in San Francisco following all of this.
David, what are their priorities today?
DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Brianna.
I'm actually hearing movements of the motorcade right now. We expect President Biden to be here shortly meeting with the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. And, of course, migration is going to be a huge topic for them to cover, and it's something that's impacting really both countries.
I have spent a lot of time in Mexico in recent months. They're dealing with the influx of migrants coming through most of Latin America and then coming up, waiting within Mexico to get here into the U.S. And so that, of course, is causing, as you point out, a huge strain on our Southern border.
I spent some time in the past couple of weeks in San Diego County with landowners who are right at the border with Mexico. They're frustrated, they feel helpless, and I give you a sense now of what we saw as we were down there. Take a look.
CULVER (voice-over): For years, migrants who crossed illegally would run from law enforcement, terrified to be caught. Here, we watched them run to them, eager to be processed, knowing they will be released in a few days to await court dates that could be years away.
It all seems so orderly. They're given a tag for their carry-on, line up to show their documents, which are then scanned using an app, the men handcuffed to each other before boarding. After what can be several days in CBP custody, the migrants are then bused north into San Diego.
Each day, several hundred are released at this makeshift logistics hub funded by San Diego County. It's here nonprofits help coordinate travel to other cities.
JIM DESMOND, SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, SUPERVISOR: But now our San Diego County tax dollars that should be going to issues that we have here in San Diego County are going to migrant and immigration issues, which should be managed and handled by the federal government.
CULVER: Brianna, I'm going to have more of that report and take you to some of those landowners tonight on "A.C. 360."
But one thing that really stood out to me was, often, we're expecting most of those migrants to be from Latin America. But the vast majority were not Latinos that we encountered, but from other countries, including many, many from China. So it shows you just how international this crisis has become for CBP officials in particular.
And it's something that Mexico obviously is going to have to play a huge role in coordinating with regional partners to try to figure out how they can stem the flow.
KEILAR: Yes, that is hugely noteworthy.
And, David, the latest CBP data shows migrant encounters at the Southern border dropped roughly 14 percent last month. Are you hearing any officials offer reasons for that?
CULVER: And you look at month by month, and, yes, we will see these up and down.
And I think that's something that can be misleading at times, because we say, oh, perhaps things are now successful when it comes to limiting the flow into the U.S., and then we see them spike, and that causes more concern.
I think you need to take a step back. And we look at numbers, for example, for fiscal year 2023, more than 230,000 encounters for the San Diego CBP sector. That is a record number for them. So, really going back for two decades, they have not seen numbers like that. So it's quite significant when you look at the collective of all of this.
And, Brianna, to answer your question, I mean, it can be kind of seasonal on how it fluctuates. Sometimes, it'll just be migrants who are getting word of mouth to perhaps stay in Mexico longer and wait it out. And then they will figure out when a good time is to cross, and they will come in large numbers.
KEILAR: All right, David Culver, such a critical time as we are watching this meeting. We appreciate the report -- Pamela.
BROWN: Let's turn now to the Israel-Hamas war, where the IDF says troops found the body of a second Israeli hostage near Al Shifa Hospital.
Israel says the remains of 19-year-old Noa Marciano, a corporal in the Israeli military, were found on Friday. Inside Al Shifa, a doctor tells Al-Jazeera the majority of ICU patients on ventilators have died. The doctors warn that the lack of water and electricity also leaves little hope for the premature babies in their care.
The U.N. is calling on Israel to grant access to investigate IDF claims that it found an operational Hamas tunnel inside that hospital complex, as well as a snatch of guns, grenades, and other combat gear.
Hamas is rejecting the claim as baseless lies. CNN cannot independently verify the claims of either side.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Tel Aviv.
Oren, what is the IDF saying about this U.N. request to have access to that hospital?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, it's up to the Israeli government if they want to let in the U.N. high commissioner for human rights or one of his representatives, to examine the tunnel. But I think, given the situation, that's unlikely right now.
And that's because Israel has a deep-seated distrust for the United Nations. Instead, it's on Israel, and we have seen the international pressure, to put out more evidence that this tunnel is in fact a Hamas operative tunnel, as they have said it is, and not simply a tunnel of some part of the infrastructure of the hospital itself.
Israel revealed those photos and images yesterday, and they promised more are to come. That is the focus of the effort in the Al Shifa complex. And we have geolocated that tunnel entrance to the Al Shifa Hospital complex. But, obviously, we can't see inside.
We don't know how extensive it is. We don't know how far down it goes. Those are the sorts of questions that we either need to see ourselves or the IDF needs to present convincing evidence of before we know that this is truly what Israel has asserted for years is there, and that is what they have called Hamas terror infrastructure.
It's worth noting, Pam, it's not just the IDF's credibility, Israel's credibility that's on the line here, the U.S. and President Joe Biden very much throwing their weight behind Israel, saying they have independent information and intelligence that Hamas has built facilities underneath the hospital itself.
BROWN: And we now know about two hostages found dead right near that hospital. What more do we know about that, Oren?
LIEBERMANN: This is information we have received in the last day or two from the Israelis, two bodies of two Israeli hostages found near the Al Shifa complex, essentially adjacent to the complex itself, but not on the complex.
The first was 65-year-old grandmother Yehudit Weiss, who had been kidnapped on October 7 during the attack from kibbutz Be'eri. Her husband had been murdered. And the second just released a few hours later from the IDF was 19-year-old soldier Noa Marciano. Her body was also found and brought back to Israel for identification.
Her family had been notified several days earlier that the IDF believed she was no longer, in fact, alive. It is the concern over the hostages that has driven a march from the families of the hostages that started not far from where we're standing in Tel Aviv.
Tomorrow, they will arrive at the prime minister's office where they are demanding first a meeting with the prime minister and, second, a hostage exchange to bring their loved ones home.
BROWN: All right, Oren Liebermann, I can't imagine what those families are going through. Thank you -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, let's talk more now with retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt.
General, thank you so much for taking us through some of this.
You have Israel saying that they have discovered this tunnel, an operational tunnel shaft outside of the Al Shifa Hospital complex. Is this evidence to you that Hamas has been operating in that complex?
BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT (RET.), FORMER U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR PLANS AND STRATEGY: Well, from the appearance it is, but I think, as Oren said, it needs to be objectively analyzed.
Somebody needs to get in there, take pictures, confirm where it is. I'm surprised that they haven't gone in yet, but I suspect they will. And I think we're going to find out it is. KEILAR: There's a little bit of drone video, as we understand it.
They say that they have sent a drone in, but not very far. They're worried about explosives and that kind of thing, but it's essential that they do get further in there.
KIMMITT: Yes, because this is all about trying to prove the notion that they have got tunnels underneath a hospital. It has to be beyond doubt before most of the world will believe it.
KEILAR: So let's talk about the raid in general. This really goes to the heart of that question.
Was Israel's raid here appropriate? Civilian buildings, of course, are protected under international law. However, if Hamas is using them for military purposes, that does change things. It does. It's very much a change. Even so, Israel's also supposed to weigh the risk to civilians as it balances that with military gain.
KIMMITT: Well, first of all, it's entirely appropriate to go into a hospital if it is being used for military purposes. We saw that in Iraq. We saw that in Afghanistan.
But you have got to be very careful, because the lives of the doctors and the lives of the nurses are under separate humanitarian law. You see this type of equipment. Again, I think this is good to see this, but I don't think it's persuasive.
If you're for this war, you're going to say, look, this is all staged. This is probably equipment they picked up. This is just the Israelis trying to demonstrate to the world. I'm not convinced.
On the other hand, that sure looks like what they would be carrying and conducting firefights from inside that building as well.
KEILAR: But enough? Is it enough? Even if you are looking at this from a perspective of being sympathetic to the Israelis, would this be enough to warrant what's happened so far?
KIMMITT: Well, I think sympathetic to the Israelis, yes.
On the other hand, those that are sympathetic to Hamas and this notion of Palestinian persecution, they have already made up their minds well before we saw this.
And so there's obviously a trust issue here that you have going on both sides here.
OK, let's talk about some next steps here, because you have leaflets that have been coming down on Southern Gaza. And it looks as if this ground operation of Israel's will now be pushing towards the south. How is that going to change? What is that going to look like, considering this is a contained space? People have been pushed into the south. And they really don't have
that many places to go,even though the leaflet is telling them to look for shelters.
KIMMITT: Yes, well, I think they're really talking about the near south.
There were three areas subdivided, the Gaza area, the center area here, and, of course, the humanitarian area down here. I can't believe that the Israelis would be attacking humanitarian areas that have been clearly set up by the Israelis for the purposes of bringing the civilian down. It would just defeat the entire purpose of getting them out of Gaza.
KEILAR: We have seen an uptick, of course, in attacks in the region. That's what we are looking at. I know that you were very much zeroed in on that on U.S. troops in Iraq, in Syria as well.
How should the U.S. respond? Because it has a range of options, but, obviously, it's concerned about the ramifications of those responses.
KIMMITT: Oh, absolutely.
And I think let's just talk about one, Iraq. All the attacks, for the most part, have been going on in this portion of Syria. You will notice that the Iraq's -- the responses have not been in Iraq. Primary reason for that, this is Sudani's government. This is a sovereign country. We are expecting them to take out these attacks inside of Iraq.
If we do this unilaterally, it could bring down the Sudani government. So I think we have been very circumspect about attacking inside of Syria, not attacking inside of Iraq. Here, it's less about more fighting for Israel and more about maintaining a friendly government to the United States.
KEILAR: That response so far, what the U.S. is doing, is it deterrent enough? Is it enough of a flex?
KIMMITT: Well, the deterrent has been effective, in my mind, against Hassan Nasrallah, who has a significant capability down here to affect with their 100,000 weapons, 100,000 rockets.
The fact that nothing has come from Hezbollah in Lebanon tells me, to some extent, the deterrence that has been put into place by the United States is helping.
KEILAR: General, we appreciate your insights. Thank you so much.
And Congressman George Santos' days in Congress, well, they may be numbered after the House Ethics chairman introduced a resolution to expel him. This is really big. We're going to tell you what is going to happen next here.
Plus, an ABC News interview with former President Trump just two months after January 6 may become key evidence in the special counsel's case.
And sources tell CNN exclusively that the special counsel investigating Hunter Biden has now subpoenaed his uncle James Biden using a California grand jury.
You're watching CNN NEWS CENTRAL. We will be right back.
KEILAR: Let's listen in, as President Biden is meeting with Mexico's president.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Needs to be made further. Progress needs to be made to address the migratory phenomenon. We're working on that jointly, in coordination.
And we wish to thank President Biden, because he is the first president in recent times in opening legal pathways for migration.
In the past, there were no possibilities for people who needed to come to the United States. So there were no legal possibilities open. And it is President Biden who opened up this possibility upon a request placed by Central America and the Caribbean countries. They file a petition.
And after an assessment is made, they are allowed to enter the United States, which means that they no longer have to cross our country with all the suffering and risks such endeavor poses. It's a humane way to address the migratory phenomenon.
And I would also like to express and to state that he is the first president of the United States in recent times who has not built walls. It is true. And we need to continue to support one another, so migration is an option and not enforced.
We wish to assess the people in their countries of origin when they are forced to migrate. We are fully satisfied in holding this meeting. And as regards to drug control, Mexico's undertaking is to continue to support, so we do not allow the introduction of chemical components and chemical precursors to fentanyl, because we're fully aware of the damage it poses to the United States' youth.
This is a matter of humanism. It's an act of solidarity. We are sincerely committed to continue to assist our fullest capacity to prevent drug trafficking, namely, the entrance of fentanyl and other chemical precursors.
I'm pretty certain that we will continue to evolve our good relationship. And I would like to also take this opportunity to greet our paisanos, the Mexican migrants who are living and making a life and working in the United States.
Around 40 million people have made the United States their second home, their second country. And I would also like to inform those who may not be aware of this that, in recent years, there are many American citizens who are moving to Mexico to stay there, to live in Mexico. So, welcome,because we are brotherly countries.
Thank you. This is what I wanted to say, as well as that we have a great relationship. And you have an extraordinary president in the United States, a man with convictions, a man, a good man.
QUESTION: Mr. President, what are the Qataris saying about the hostage --
KEILAR: All right, and that's sort of the tail end of this meeting here between President Obrador of Mexico and President Biden.
President Obrador promising to be a partner in preventing drug trafficking, specifically of fentanyl. And this is a meeting that almost didn't happen. Obrador initially was not going to attend the APEC summit, but here he is, and with some glowing words for President Biden as well.
He's also looking to take up the case for more -- better relations between the U.S. and Cuba as well. They certainly have areas of disagreement. You didn't hear too many of them there, but this is a critical meeting, of course, as well as what -- we look to the border and see what is going on there, certainly a stressor on American cities, as migrants are crossing and coming into the U.S.
In the meantime -- and, actually, I want to head over to Pam.
BROWN: All right, Brianna, thanks so much.
Now to what is expected to be critical evidence against another politician in trouble with the law. We have this newly revealed audio recording, former President Donald Trump heard talking about what he wanted to do on January 6, 2021.
Trump was speaking about two months after the Capitol insurrection to ABC's Jonathan Karl, we know, who's asking the questions in this clip. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you look at the real size of that crowd, it was never reported correctly.
There were -- it's the biggest crowd I have ever spoken in front of by far.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Really?
TRUMP: By far. That went down to the Washington -- that went back to the Washington
KARL: You told them you were going to go up to the Capitol. Were you just --
TRUMP: I was -- no, I was going to, and then Secret Service said, you can't.
And then, by the time -- I would have, and then, when I got back, I saw -- I wanted to go back. I was thinking about going back during the problem to stop the problem, doing it myself. Secret Service didn't like that idea too much.
KARL: So, what's --
TRUMP: And I could have done that. And you know what? I would have been very well received.
Don't forget, the people that went to Washington that day, in my opinion, they went because they thought the election was rigged. And that's why they went.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Karl writes about this exchange in his new book called "Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party."
We may be hearing this audio again, because, as we know, Trump is set to go on federal trial in March for his actions on January 6.
So, let's turn now to CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams. He was a federal prosecutor.
So, I'm wondering, as you listen to this audio, is there anything in this that you think the prosecution would be especially interested in?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's Donald Trump's voice.
WILLIAMS: And you're hearing him speak about the events of January 6.
Now, to be clear, he has not been charged with violent crime in connection with January 6 or seditious conspiracy for things that happened on that day. So there isn't a ton of new revelations that came out there. We knew from extensive testimony at the January 6 Committee that he wanted to go to the Capitol.
We knew that he was very concerned with the crowd size and all of that. What prosecutors want here is his voice, and that's the power, that you're hearing from a witness or a defendant. BROWN: In the audio, we also hear the former president saying he
wanted to go to -- quote --"stop the problem," the problem presumably being the violence.
BROWN: So does Trump's desire to stop that violence help his case?
WILLIAMS: Yes, maybe a little bit. But, again, if this were charges relating specifically to the violence, then, absolutely, it would help his case.
Remember, he's charged with, in effect, the fake electors scheme and a lot of the conduct leading up to January 6 following the 2020 election. So this is all helpful. It gets in his head. It gets you to what he's thinking. But I don't think it moves the needle a great deal in either direction.
BROWN: It's interesting that, if this had come out before, you would have been it would have been used in the impeachment proceedings.
WILLIAMS: Oh, no question.
BROWN: Trump's defense would have been all over that.
WILLIAMS: And, again, a lot of things that maybe don't weigh in a criminal case are relevant to whether somebody should be impeached or, frankly, should be elected.
WILLIAMS: And that's for voters to decide when they hear an individual's voice.
But in terms of its impact on a criminal proceeding, eh, may not be that much.
BROWN: Which I think is important, though, because he is the leading Republican presidential candidate. So people can listen to this and decide for themselves, outside of the legal proceedings going on.
BROWN: So we have all of these different cases involving Trump. In Fulton County, you have that case as well. Do you think this could be relevant to that case?
WILLIAMS: Insofar as it touches on election subversion and interference. And what you have is Donald Trump's conduct, his voice, what he was thinking as we approached.
Again, any time someone's recorded, you also run a risk because you could have competing statements from a witness where he says something in this proceeding that contradicts something he says in Georgia. It's still relevant. It's all useful. Prosecutors want to get their hands on it, make sure they can understand it, and, if they need to, turn it over to the defense and use it at trial.
BROWN: All right, Elliot, we will come back to you in just a moment. Stand by.
Let's turn now to a CNN exclusive on another federal investigation.
Evan Perez has been very busy lately with all these investigations.
This one, we're talking about here is into President Biden's son Hunter and his business dealings. CNN has learned that special counsel David Weiss is now using another grand jury. This one is in Los Angeles. Weiss had been using a grand jury in Delaware. It indicted Hunter Biden on three gun offenses.
So let's bring in Evan Perez on that.
What is Weiss looking to find through this grand jury in L.A.?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, what he's asking for is documents and testimony from a number of witnesses.
And one of those witnesses is James Biden, his uncle, Hunter Biden's uncle, the brother of the president of the United States. And what we know is that this is an investigation that is looking at Hunter Biden's business practices, his business dealings during this period of years, 2017, 2018.
It is the period during which prosecutors have been investigating him for not paying his taxes on time. He has since satisfied those tax liens from the IRS, but this investigation has been now ongoing for over five years.
This investigation has looked into everything from money laundering, whether he violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act, the FARA law, as it's known, and what we know -- we don't know exactly the scope of this investigation as it stands, but this is a big indicator that David Weiss is getting ready possibly to seek charges against the son of the president, and that could happen anytime soon.
You know from covering these things that bringing this thing to a grand jury is a huge, huge step. And so we don't know when these people are being asked to show up. We don't know when they might turn up for testimony, but this is a big indicator that we're nearing an inflection point of this investigation, Pamela.
BROWN: It certainly is. Excellent reporting from you and the team, including Paula Reid. Appreciate it, Evan.
CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams back with us now.
So, I mean, this is really illuminating essentially, right?
BROWN: Could the use of a grand jury mean Weiss is preparing to seek new charges in this case? And the question is, what could those new charges be?
We know that some of the tax issues had to do, had touched California. There's a question if that's going to be involved in this, violations of potential Foreign Agents Registration Act. What do you think?
WILLIAMS: I think it's not just new charges. It's new charges in two different jurisdictions.
So you would have the same prosecutor possibly bringing cases, bringing charges in Delaware and in California. And exactly like you said, I find the foreign agent registration question interesting. It happens a lot in sort of official Washington, where you have to register with the government if you are representing the government of another country here.
And I guess -- and it can be sticky. It can be a blurry line between what's just advocacy and what's going to bat for a foreign country. Paul Manafort --
WILLIAMS: -- this is what he was charged with.
Pras from the Fugees, the hip-hop group, Senator Menendez have all been charged with this. And so it's a common crime. And then, certainly, obviously, there are financial irregularities that I think he might be charged with here.
BROWN: Why would the grand jury want to hear from President Biden's brother James?