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First Of Three U.S. Aid Flights For Gaza Arrives In Egypt; Lawyers: Hunter Biden Willing To Testify On Capitol Hill; PA Water Authority: Pro-Iran Group Claims It Hacked Pitt-Area System; Record- Breaking Cyber Monday Sales Crush Expectations. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 28, 2023 - 15:30   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Our hearts go out to you. Dori, Thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

ROBERTS: Thank you so much, Wolf.

BLITZER: And the United States is says it's sending three additional plane loads of critical aid to Gaza as the World Health Organization is warning that more people there could die from disease than from the Israeli air strikes. We have all of those details and much more coming up when CNN's special live coverage.



BLITZER: The first of three U.S. military flights carrying critical humanitarian aid for Gaza has now landed in Egypt. The cargo being airlifted includes medical supplies, food and winter gear as the region enters its rainy season. Once the supplies arrive, they'll be distributed by UN agencies on the ground in Gaza. Officials say some 800 trucks carrying aid have made it in during this temporary truce. But the UN says that's just a drop in the ocean. They're words, drop in the ocean, compared to what is really needed. CNN's Larry Madowo is in Cairo for us. Larry, how vital is this aid that's arriving today?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it's absolutely essential, but it's nowhere near enough. To understand how much aid Gaza needs, consider where things stand after seven weeks of this war. Almost 15,000 people have died, 6,000 of them children, 4,000 of them women. 1.7 million people are displaced out of a population of 2.3 million. And the World Health Organization now says everybody everywhere has dire health needs. Listen to this warning.


MARGARET HARRIS, W.H.O. SPOKESWOMAN: Eventually we will see more people dying from disease than we're even seeing from the bombardment. If we are not able to put back this health system and provide the basics of life, food, water, medicines and of course fuel to operate the hospitals.


MADOWO: The healthcare system is all but collapsed. They don't have electricity to run generators. They don't have power to run the water desalinization plants. The food distribution system, the need is just far greater than there is availability. Even though 800 trucks have come in in this last five days of the pause, the UN has said that they would need 200 trucks coming in every day for two months continuously to meet the needs here. So you're talking about food and fuel and water and cooking gas and baby formula. And as winter gets close by, winter weather gear. Because during the rainy season in Gaza, there leads to some displacement, some flooding, so all the aid the U.S. is bringing in, the Qataris, the Egyptians are barely scratching the surface -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Larry Madowo reporting from Cairo for us. Larry, thank you very much. And we're going to have much more of our special coverage live from Israel just ahead.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Hunter Biden's lawyers now say he is willing to testify on Capitol Hill next month, but only if he can do so publicly. Earlier this month, the Republican led House Oversight Committee subpoenaed the president's son and also his brother to determine if he committed an impeachable offense through the Biden family's foreign business dealings.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: CNN's Evan Perez is following this story. So, Evan, why is Hunter Biden's legal team insisting that he do this in public?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the reasons they say is that they're used to seeing what the Republicans do with testimony that they distort and misinform, based on the testimony that they get behind the scenes. So that's what Republicans had asked for. They had asked for a deposition behind closed doors and then perhaps later on, if possible, a public hearing.

What Hunter Biden's lawyers were saying is, no, no, we're going to go straight to a public hearing because we want the world to see what the answers are and not give the Republicans a chance to sort of distort what Hunter Biden says. So it sets up a confrontation. This hearing was supposed to be on -- this deposition was supposed to be on December 13th, which is just two weeks from now.

KEILAR: Jim Jordan, who's on the committee and is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, himself ignored a congressional subpoena. Can they really enforce this in the way they want to?

PEREZ: So the problem for Republicans is that it takes some time to do that. So yes, Republicans would insist that they can enforce it, but it's -- but they've had some mixed success with judges on how far they can do it. Especially because Hunter Biden's team is saying, look, we will come in, we just want to do it in public.

And so, what it does is it shows that they're willing to provide the committee with the information that the committee wants, but not in the format that the committee is asking for. And you raise a very good point. Is the fact that Jim Jordan himself just ignored a lawful subpoena from another committee.

KEILAR: Yes, does he have a leg to stand on? It's a really interesting question.

PEREZ: No legs.

KEILAR: He set an example. Evan, thank you.

PEREZ: I see no legs.

KEILAR: I see no legs. Fact Check, no legs.

A pro-Iran group claims that it hacked into a Pittsburgh area water system that controls water pressure. The cyber-attack was discovered after a communication failure at a water station.

SANCHEZ: Yes, a state water authority official tells CNN. The group allegedly took control of the station last week and then posted an anti-Israel message on the stations computer screen. CNN Cybersecurity reporter Sean Lyngaas is here with the details.


Sean, what more have you learned and why was this station allegedly target?

SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Boris, that's right. I mean, I'm not sure if we could even say it was targeted. This seems to be very opportunistic, right? My sense is that this pro-Iran hacking group -- and there are a number of them that have sprung up around the Israel Hamas war. Some of them have ties to the Iranian government. We're not so sure about this particular one.

But they're scanning the Internet for Israeli made industrial computers that are installed at water facilities, that other critical infrastructure facilities in the U.S. and elsewhere. And they're trying to send a political message.

We have to point out that the water facility told CNN that there was no threat to drinking water at any point. And they were able to detect the intrusion and sort of seal things off. So this is very much a psychological message to anyone using Israeli made equipment. And it startled the general manager of the facility, who told me he'd never in his wildest dreams would he think he'd be caught up in this in some sort of hack to this, you know, cyber-attacks accompanying the this war in the Middle East. Here we have a county, you know, outside of Pittsburgh that is serving 15,000 people. So it's a very bizarre situation for them. But they're taking more precautions, and they're realizing that they can also be targeted if they have exposures online to this sort of thing -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, appears to be an unexpected front in this conflict. Sean Lyngaas thanks so much for the reporting.

So the busiest shopping season of the year is off to a record-breaking start. Cyber Monday sales absolutely crushing expectations, pouring even more fuel on a hot month for stocks. So what about that potential slowdown that people have been talking about. We'll discuss when we come back.



SANCHEZ: An update now on some of the other headlines that we've been watching.

This dramatic video showing airport workers running to stop a Southwest Airlines passenger who got on the tarmac after officials say he opened an emergency door and climbed onto the wing of his plane. It happened in New Orleans as the plane sat at the gate before takeoff. The sheriff's office believe the man was suffering a mental health emergency. He was taken to a hospital. He's not expected to face any charges.

Meantime, Alex Murdaugh is set to be sentenced today for nearly two dozen state financial crimes, including money laundering, conspiracy and tax evasion. The disgraced former attorney and convicted murderer pleaded guilty earlier this month as part of a deal, and he is expected to receive an additional 27 years in prison. He's already facing two life sentences for the murders of his wife and son back in 2021.

KEILAR: And Tiger Woods says that he will walk away from golf when he believes he can no longer win. But he insists that is currently not the case. That is what he told reporters today before competing in and hosting the Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas. The 15 time major winner has not played a tournament since withdrawing early from the Masters in April. The Bahamas event tees off on Thursday.

SANCHEZ: If an economic slowdown is coming, the start of the holiday shopping season did not get the memo. Cyber Monday sales, smashing expectations soaring to a record-breaking $12.4 billion. That's according to Adobe Analytics. That's up nearly 10 percent from last year, and it comes on the heels of a record setting Black Friday, that saw Americans shell out nearly $10 billion online.

KEILAR: Now there are a couple of caveats here that we should mention, right? A lot of this is fueled by deep discounts and a big surge in those buy now pay later purchase plans. CNN's Matt Egan is here with all of the details. So, Matt, there have been many warnings about a coming slowdown. Is there evidence of that here?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Brianna and Boris, no. You know, Americans are not slowing down when it comes to shopping, they're speeding up. $12.4 billion spent online shopping Cyber Monday alone. Some context -- that's over a billion dollars more than last year's Cyber Monday, which was the previous record. So that means that yesterday was the biggest online shopping day ever.

And so, this is more evidence of the "R" word. Not the recession that so many economists predicted we'd be in right about now. The other "R" word, "resilience." Because even though the cost of living is still high and borrowing costs are elevated. You really can't bet against the willingness of Americans to shop, especially when there are deals to be had.

Now, retailers did feel the need to offer some deep discounts up. Up to 31 percent off list price for electronics. My almost four-year-old will be thrilled to hear that toys were priced up to 27 percent off list price. Because he knows that lower prices means more toy monster trucks. But we also saw deep discounts for apparel, furniture and appliances.

Now one thing we do need to keep an eye on is how much of this is being fueled by debt. Including that short term financing known as "Buy Now Pay Later." Adobe found that "Buy Now Pay" later usage spiked by over 42 percent this Cyber Monday versus last Cyber Monday to almost a billion dollars. So we do need to monitor that. But still big picture, this holiday shopping season appears to be off to a very solid start -- especially online shopping.

SANCHEZ: And perhaps one of the best gifts this holiday season thus far have been gas prices, Matt. They've been down now for 60 days in a row. Why?

EGAN: Yes, Boris, this is a big win for consumers.


Now it is normal for gas prices to dip once the summer driving season is over. But what's interesting here is the magnitude of this decline. Look at that chart. You know, just about two months ago, we were concerned about the potential for $4.00 a gallon gas. But look at this. The national average is now down to $3.25 a gallon. It's down 61 consecutive days.

So why is this happening? Well, oil prices have plunged. There's some concerns about weak demand out of China. And some of those fears about supply disruptions in the Middle East caused by the Israel Hamas war. Those fears have not borne out. And so, no matter the reason, we actually now see that 15 U.S. states are averaging $3 a gallon or less for gasoline. That includes South Carolina, Wisconsin and Ohio. Now everyone wants to know how long this is going to last. Now it's hard to say for sure, right? A lot depends on oil prices. Lot depends on what OPEC does. But veteran oil analyst Tom Kloza, he said that this streak is going to likely continue, perhaps through the end of the year.

KEILAR: Matt Egan with all of the takeaways, including that his four- year-old is quite the little economist, I have to say. Matt, thank you.

EGAN: Thanks guys.

KEILAR: And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a quick break.