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Remembering Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter; IDF: Red Cross Says 11 New Hostages Are With Them, En Route To Israel; Suspect In Shooting Of 3 Palestinian Students Pleads Not Guilty. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 27, 2023 - 15:30   ET



NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Dignitaries that will be, you know, paying their respects to this first lady who had just a remarkable, remarkable life -- Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: She certainly did. Nick, thank you so much for that. We're going to continue to watch these live pictures coming from the Carter Center.

Joining us now to talk more about the life and legacy of Rosalynn Carter is Bill Nigut. He is the Co-host of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's "Politically Georgia" on WABE radio. And Bill, when you look at the sort of the evolution of the funeral services for Rosalynn Carter wear her casket has made stops. You really see her legacy in that. Tell us a little bit about the mark that she is leaving.

BILL NIGUT, HOST, GEORGIA PUBLIC BROADCASTING: Well, it's important to note that of course they started in Plains, Georgia first thing this morning and the motorcade made its way first to a hospital in Americus where she'd been treated on several occasions.

But the first major stop was at Southwestern State University, where Mrs. Carter established an institute for caregivers. Because caregiving had always been a very important part of her life. She had had to step up when she was 12 years old to take care of her own family. And so, for much of her life. She understood the difficulties that caregivers have. So that was a very important stop for her. A wreath was laid at the site of the Institute.

And then, of course, she comes to the Carter Center. When they came back from Washington after that defeat, which by the way, Mrs. Carter said she knew was going to happen. Her husband thought they could win reelection, but Mrs. Carter said. I always knew that it was not in the cards for Jimmy to be reelected. But they come. They come now to Atlanta, to the Carter Center, and it was there that they began this extraordinary post presidential life, doing so many things that are in the service of not just the country but the world. Monitoring elections, combating severe diseases around the world, among many other things at the Carter Center, is taking on.

So tonight, the public will have a chance to pay their respects to her before what should be a remarkable service tomorrow in Atlanta, at a church on the campus of Emory University.

KEILAR: Yes, and part of the remarkable thing about this service is that her husband, who has been in Hospice, is now, we've learned, going to attend. That is -- that's a feat, certainly. And you've spent a lot of time over the years. With the Carters, married 77 years, can you tell us a little bit about their relationship? Because that's obviously a very big part of their legacy together.

NIGUT: I should first comment very briefly on what you just said. I don't think any of us thought that former president was going to be able to travel to Atlanta. As you point out, he's been in home Hospice actually since last February and he's 99 years old. But nothing President Carter does should surprise us anymore. Remember, he survived what many people thought was a fatal brain cancer several years ago. He has continued to thrive as best as possible in-home Hospice, down in Plains. And I think it's the relationship that Rosalyn and Jimmy Carter had while they were together in Plains in this last year that says so much about their relationship.

Mrs. Carter's dementia was advancing. He, of course, was certainly frail and quite ill. But Brianna, every day we're told by family they sat together in the house they've owned for -- since 1961. They held hands. They talked and every night they -- each ate a dish of peanut butter ice cream.

They have been partners their entire relationship. True, genuine partners. She helped get him elected governor. She helped him with his campaign for president. She read all of the speeches that he gave from the White House and made edits when she thought it was important. So, she was truly a partner to him. And he always looked up to her as someone who could completely relate to the work that he was trying to do and add to what he hoped to do as president and then in the post presidency.

KEILAR: Yes, really setting a precedent as an as an involved first lady that I think impacted people who came after her. And it's so important that we are seeing her honored for that as well.


Bill, thank you so much for sharing what you know and we really appreciate it.

NIGUT: Brianna, thank you for taking the time to pay tribute to her with the way you're doing it on CNN today.

KEILAR: Of course, Bill. Thank you.

So, we are also following developments out of Gaza, of course. 11 newly released hostages, most of them children and mothers. They are now said to be under Red Cross care. They're on their way back to Israel. This is the truce between Israel and Hamas has reportedly been extended by two days. Stay with us.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: 11 more Israeli hostages have just been released by Hamas. Handed over to the Red Cross, and with Qatar's announcement about a truce extension for another two days, more hostages potentially could be coming home over the next few days. Nine Americans are reported still in captivity. Maybe nine could be 7, 8 or 9. We are now told by John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council. One of those Americans, Keith Siegel, who is the father and brother of my next two guests. Joining us now, Ilan Teve (ph) and Lee Siegel. Ilan let's talk a little bit about your mother. First of all, she has been released. Show us a picture of her.

ILAN TEVE (PH), MOTHER RELEASED BY HAMAS: Yes. So, my mother has been released last night. We are so happy to have her. And I truly believe that it's not a miracle. It's a hard job of the U.S. government and Qatar and Egypt and the Israeli government. And I'm sure that if she is back home after 51 days of hell, as she says, we have to bring all of them home. We have to bring my dad, which he is a American citizen and we are an American citizen and we believe in President Biden to bring all of them home.

BLITZER: How's your mother doing?

ILAN: She is recovering. She will -

BLITZER: She's in the hospital.

ILAN: She is in the hospital. We hug her and she will have her few days to recover. And then we'll take her home and hug her and help her to go past this hard moment.

BLITZER: Please pass along our love to your mom --

ILAN: I will.

BLITZER: -- as well. Lee, give us a sense of how your family is doing.

LEE SIEGEL, BROTHER OF AMERICAN HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: Our family is overwhelmed with joy, the best thing that happened to me in the last 51, 52 days was to give Aviva a hug. And to give all of their children big, big hugs and see the joy on all of our faces having Aviva home with us.

BLITZER: Your brother, though, is still being held, right?

SIEGEL: My brother Keith is still being held. He's missed out on Thanksgiving this time around. We're not going to wait another year for Thanksgiving to come around. As soon as possible Keith will be with us. We know that. We have hope. We know, as Ilan said, the American Government, the Biden administration, the governments of Qatar, Egypt and Israel are doing all they can to make this happen as quickly as possible. We see hostages continuing to be released. It's not rocket science. Excuse the expression. There's a ceasefire, hostages get released and we expect that to continue until all the hostages have been returned. BLITZER: But what worries me, Lee, and I'm sure worries you -- and

Ilan, worries you, is that so far, they're just releasing women, especially elderly women, and children. Men like your brother Keith are not being released.

SIEGEL: And makes it more difficult for us. It certainly does. There are also infants that have not been released. That is indescribable. How could that possibly happen? But again, we know that over time, what needs to be done will be done. And they will all be home.

BLITZER: Show us a picture of your brother Keith. There he is right there. He's 64 years old. Tell us a little bit about Keith Siegel.

SIEGEL: Keith Siegel is the most gentle person you could have the privilege to meet. He's engaging. He will listen. He will respect everyone's thoughts, words, space. He is the epitome of a human being, the way we would like the world to see all human beings.

BLITZER: What goes through your mind, Lee, knowing now that the truce is going to be extended for at least another two days.

SIEGEL: I am happy that that is happening. I don't think that is enough. I don't think 2 days, 10 hostages at a time will bring resolution to what we're looking for.


I think that Keith, being an American citizen should have the full support -- and we know he does -- of the American government, the United States administration, the Biden administration, up and down the Congress and the Senate. We know we have been told that it is important to bring back all the hostages and within that, Keith. He's a man, he's not -- he wasn't responsible for being born a man 64 years ago. He's a human being. And all human beings deserve to be in their homes. There are people that don't call Israel their home. Who believe to be -- who should be in their home safe and sound.

BLITZER: Let's hope he's home soon. Lee, thank you very much.

SIEGEL: Thank you, Wolf, and thank you for coming.

BLITZER: Thank you, Ilan. Thank you very much.

SIEGEL: Thank you for coming back.

BLITZER: Thank you.

SIEGEL: And welcoming Aviva with us back to Israel.

BLITZER: Let's hope, yes, all right.

ILAN: And I just want to add that Abigail, which is a four-year-old, also came home last night. She is also an American citizen and we truly believe that my dad will come home tomorrow. I go to sleep tonight with the knowing that everybody's doing their best to bring him home tomorrow. Tomorrow, we will see him. He will come and hug us and hug my mother and He will be with us.

BLITZER: Let's hope that happens. Well, good luck. Thank you very much to both of you for joining us. We really appreciate it.

SIEGEL: Thank you.

BLITZER: Earlier today I had a chance to speak to the uncle of an Israeli child hostage named Hila Rotem. Hila was released Saturday without her mother, which Israel says violated the terms of the truce agreement with Hamas. Hila's uncle, Yair Rotem, talked about how significant it was that he was finally getting together with his niece, who turned 13 today. Today is Hila's birthday. She's currently over at the Children's Hospital outside Tel Aviv in Ramat Gan. The uncle and I had a very emotional discussion and I want to play a little clip from our special interview. Watch this.


YAIR ROTEM, UNCLE OF 13-YEAR-OLD RELEASED BY HAMAS: She told me, yeah, mother is here and they came and they took us and they didn't give us a lot of time to prepare. But I had time to give her a hug. And Raya, my sister, her mother was crying when the girls, the children left. And yes, that's how it ended. And Raya is still there. She had to just say goodbye to her mother. She don't know what is going to happen with her mother. The mother is now going is -- the mother doesn't know what happens with Hila. I'm sure my sister, Hila's mother, don't know what's going to be next. Are they going to set her free? Are they going to jail her again? Are they going to murder her? Ella and Emily, the first thing that they saw that they said when they met me was, yeah, we've been with Raya the whole time -- my sister. And Hila also told me look at my hair and my mother cut it for me when we're in captivity. So, they were together.


BLITZER: We are, of course, so, so glad that Hila Rotem Shoshani is home. And we hope her mother will soon be released as well. You can see the full interview with Yair Rotem later, right here on CNN, in "THE SITUATION ROOM" beginning 6:00 p.m. Eastern. We'll have that special interview coming up. You're going to want to see it.



KEILAR: Right now, the Justice Department is investigating whether a shooting that injured three Palestinian college students is a hate crime. Police charged Jason Eaton with three counts of attempted second degree murder. He pleaded not guilty in court today. And according to court documents, these victims were just walking down the street on Saturday, when a man approached them and started shooting. At the time the students were speaking a mix of Arabic and English and two were wearing traditional Palestinian scarves. The families are calling on authorities to consider hate crime charges.

For more on this, let's bring in CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller. John, the state Attorney's office here says that there is not yet enough evidence to add a hate crime enhancement to the charges. What type of evidence would be needed to support a hate crime enhancement?

JOHN MILLER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: They would need evidence to prove that not just that the crime happened and that he was guilty of the crime, they would need evidence to prove that the chief motivation behind the crime was hate against a religion and ethnicity or race, or so on. And they don't have that. Now, Brianna, from a practical standpoint. He's facing 20 years to life times three. And a hate crime enhancement wouldn't make much difference. But from a community standpoint, the community wants to know, was this a hate crime? What was the motive? And so far, that evidence hasn't emerged?

KEILAR: Yes, it sends a signal, I think, right? It's important -- an important recognition as you said for the community. What are you learning about what led authorities to Jason Eaton?

MILLER: What led authorities to Jason Eaton was the lack of video showing a perpetrator captured on video, a perpetrator running to a car, a suspect that they might be able to get an identification of.


And so, they started from scratch, which is knocking on doors and asking neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the shooting. What did you see? What did you hear? And when they knocked on his door -- this is an ATF agent who's part of their gun violence task force of the Burlington, Vermont PD. He knocks on the door with his partner. And according to him, Sam Brown, the agent says, he came out. He looked a little bit shocked and shaky. He said, I've been waiting for you. And then put his hands out as if to offer himself to be handcuffed. So first, from an officer's safety standpoint, they asked him if there was any weapons in the apartment and he said yes, a shotgun -- according to the affidavit. They then handcuffed him and he said I want a lawyer. And after that they weren't able to talk to him.

They were able to get a search warrant. And they did, according to the affidavit, recover a Ruger 380 semi-automatic pistol and a box of ammunition. The gun has been ballistically matched, according to the ATF, to the shell casings and the ballistics recovered from the crime. And the bullets are these Hornady hollow point rounds that have this particular red tip that make them distinctive. And they've recovered a box of those as well on the same dresser.

KEILAR: Yes, that'll be obviously key with that marking. John Miller, thank you so much. We do appreciate it. And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after this short break.