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Hospitals across Gaza now shuttered due to the intensifying Israel-Hamas war; U.S. President expects Meeting with Chinese Counterpart at the APEC Summit; Real Time Data Sharing Agreement Approved by SoKor, Japan, and the U.S. for its NoKor missiles; Republican Presidential Aspirant Tim Scott Suspends Campaign; Congress Under Pressure for Another Shutdown; Circus Lion Briefly Off the Loose in the streets of Rome. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired November 13, 2023 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States, in Canada and all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, Israeli forces move deeper into Gaza City as more hospitals in the enclave are closing because of the violence and lack of fuel.
US President Joe Biden prepares to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. On the sidelines of the APEC Summit in California this week, we will have a live report from Beijing this hour.
And a surprise announcement from U.S. Senator Tim Scott as he suspends his presidential campaign, thinning the field vying for the Republican nomination.
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN Newsroom with Rosemary Church.
CHURCH: Good to have you with us. And we begin in the Middle East where the medical situation in Gaza is growing even more dire by the hour as Israel steps up its war against Hamas. Israeli forces say they went deeper into Gaza City on Sunday, reaching the outskirts of the Al-Shati refugee camp. and conducting raids in multiple areas. The IDF says it has arrested 20 alleged Hamas members, including some accused of taking part in the October 7th attacks on Israel.
Meantime, multiple hospitals in Gaza are closing due to airstrikes and lack of fuel. Health officials and aid agencies say patients, staff and thousands of displaced civilians are trapped inside Gaza's biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, due to fighting nearby.
CNN's Nada Bashir has more on the desperate situation in Gaza hospitals and a warning some of the video you are about to see is graphic. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): These are the sounds of the final gasps from Gaza's collapsing healthcare system. Medical staff in Gaza City working under near relentless Israeli bombardment for over a month.
But now, this chorus of frantic voices, seen here working under torchlight, tells its own gut-wrenching story. The Al Quds hospital, the second largest in Gaza, has now collapsed, the hospital no longer operational, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. But these scenes are all too familiar across the besieged Gaza Strip.
The vast majority of hospitals here are already completely out of service, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah says. And those remaining now on a cliff edge.
UNKNOWN (through translator): There is a direct injury in the head, internal bleeding, and we can't do surgeries. No surgeries, no oxygen, no electricity. We work manually. We are using a manual resuscitator. It is a clear injury. It needs an urgent surgery, a life-saving one. He is less than a year old.
BASHIR (voice-over): Remarkably, this baby survived. But his father, who was in the very same building when an Israeli airstrike hit, did not.
At Gaza's largest hospital, Al Shifa, officials say newborn babies had to be moved and that at least three babies in the neonatal unit died after a generator-powering incubator was damaged in an Israeli strike. CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for comment. The IDF regularly says it is targeting Hamas. But doctors here say the hospital is now completely surrounded.
MOHAMMED KANDIL, DOCTOR: The situation overall is difficult. According to our colleagues there, there is no water, no electricity. They cannot communicate between each other. There is a lot of targeting around the hospital.
BASHIR (voice-over): Under a near-constant barrage of airstrikes, it is impossible for both patients and staff to safely evacuate. Doctors are overwhelmed, morgues now long beyond capacity. And with communications frequently cut off, contact between medical teams on the ground and with the outside world is growing increasingly difficult.
Hospital officials say thousands of displaced civilians are still thought to be in the compound taking shelter in what once was thought to be a sanctuary in the midst of this seemingly unending nightmare.
UNKNOWN (through translator): We thought the hospital was a safe place, but it wasn't. If we had stayed another five minutes, we would have been killed. They started to bomb us and we ran away from Al- Shifa. BASHIR (voice-over): The Israeli military says it is now enabling
passage from three hospitals in northern Gaza, with an additional route said to have been opened to allow civilians to evacuate southwards.
UNKNOWN (through translator): This is another form of torture. We have about six kilometers to go, no less. She got a stroke that caused her brain damage. She can't speak and is paralyzed.
BASHIR (voice-over): But the United Nations itself has raised doubts over the so-called safe zones outlined by Israel, warning that nowhere inside Gaza is safe for civilians anymore. And for those too injured, too sick, evacuation is impossible. Many doctors on the ground vow to stay beside their patients no matter what.
Nada Bashir, CNN in Jerusalem.
CHURCH: Israel says it opened an evacuation corridor outside Al-Shifa Hospital on Sunday, but the Red Cross says it can't confirm whether anyone actually left through it. CNN's Dana Bash asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the situation. Mr. Netanyahu says the hospital is being used as a Hamas command center and that Israel is willing to help civilians evacuate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, we've called to evacuate all the patients from that hospital. And in fact, 100 or so have already been evacuated. I've called for field hospitals. The French president has sent a floating hospital ship. I've asked the Emirates to send a field hospital. They have. And other countries have done the same.
I expect the U.N. to build this. So there's no reason why we just can't take the patients out of there instead of letting Hamas use it as a command center for terrorism for the rockets that they fire against Israel, for the terror tunnels that they use to kill Israeli civilians.
We're obviously treading carefully when it comes to hospitals, but we're also not gonna give immunity to the terrorists. And so far, even though Hamas has tried to prevent the civilians from leaving, hundreds of thousands have left, sometimes having to go through Hamas' gun points and gunfire that wants to keep them in harm's way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Dana Bash also spoke to U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. He says the U.S. does not want to see patients in a hospital killed in the battle to eliminate Hamas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: You've got a terrorist group using civilians as human shields, even using sick and injured civilians as human shields. And you've got, at the same time, an Israeli defense force that is seeking to try to root out this terrorist group and to make sure that it can no longer represent a threat to Israel.
And the hospital puts this question into stark relief. But the bottom line for the United States is that we do not want to see firefights in a hospital. We do not want to see innocent patients who are sick or wounded be injured or killed in the crossfire. So that is how we look at this issue and that is how we are communicating with our Israeli counterparts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Clare Sebastian is following all the developments. She joins us live from London. Good morning to you, Clare. So what more are you learning about the situation in Gaza's hospitals, and what else did Prime Minister Netanyahu have to say in that interview?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Rosemary, look, the majority of Gaza's hospitals are now not functioning. And we see clearly that some of the basic tenets of modern medicine are in reverse, and not working without water, without electricity, without medical supplies. This has been building now pretty much since the beginning of this conflict, but it really is coming to a head at the moment.
Now, when you hear the World Health Organization say that Al-Shifa is not functioning as a hospital anymore, I think it's worth noting that is likely a bit of a gray area because we know from the director general of the hospitals in Gaza that 650 patients, he said, are still in that hospital, including 36 babies. And we know that doctors are doing their best, are improvising to try to keep in particular those babies alive.
Three have already, we understand, died in the neonatal unit of that hospital when the power was knocked out over the weekend. So that is that situation. The IDF, meanwhile, said over the weekend that it was going to help try to evacuate those babies. In a response to a CNN question on that, they didn't address that topic. They simply said that they are taking all feasible measures to mitigate harm to civilians and that the intense battles, as they put it, with Hamas in Gaza City are taking place in the area surrounding the Al-Shifa hospital, not in the hospital itself.
But look, there are clearly serious questions that Israel is now facing, given the high death toll and the deteriorating, quickly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza about whether they might be willing to do more. We've seen now for the best part of a week these hours long humanitarian pauses, these evacuation routes in operation to get civilians out.
But we know that in terms of the hostage negotiations that a deal was being considered, this was according to a senior U.S. official familiar with the talks. that involved potentially a days-long pause to get a large group of hostages out. Now this is something that Benjamin Netanyahu addressed in his interview with CNN and made it clear that there are limits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: I said that we're going to pursue the battle to destroy Hamas to its end. But I also said that the only ceasefire that we would consider is one in which we have our hostages released. And that remains true. It doesn't mean that we can't give humanitarian pause for a few hours in a place, a specific time and place, where we want to have a humanitarian corridor and have the people leave safely. We've done that, and hundreds of thousands. have left the fighting zone in that fashion.
DANA BASH, HOST, "STATE OF THE UNION": So how long of a pause would you be willing to support?
NETANYAHU: Well, so far we've dealt with a few hours. If you're talking about a ceasefire, well, I'm not going to get into that.
BASH: No, I'm not talking about a ceasefire. Just a longer pause days, for example.
NETANYAHU: That's not a pause. If you're talking about stopping the fighting, that's exactly what Hamas wants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SEBASTIAN: So Prime Minister Netanyahu making it clear that a days- long pause he feels would amount to a ceasefire. So essentially that is not on the table. I think that makes it very clear just how difficult that intense diplomacy is to get those hostages out all the while it's becoming increasingly clear how urgent the situation on the ground in Gaza is becoming. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Our Clare Sebastian, joining us live from London. Many thanks for that.
Well, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are facing harsh criticism for failing to foresee the October 7th terror attack beforehand, the deadliest in Israel since the country was founded in 1948. And CNN's Dana Bash asked him additionally whether he should take personal responsibility for failing to prevent the attacks and to protect Israel that day. Here's how he responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NETANYAHU: I've already addressed that many times. And I said this whole question will be addressed after the war, just as people would ask. Well, did people ask Franklin Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor that question? Did people ask George Bush after the surprise attack of November 11?
Look, it's a question that needs to be asked.
BASH: I think these questions were asked. NETANYAHU: And these questions will be asked. And I've said -- I've said that one thing that is important. And I've said we're going to answer all these questions, including me. I'm going to be asked tough questions. Right now, I think what we have to do is unite the country for one purpose, one purpose alone, and that is to achieve victory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: International pressure is intensifying on Israel to agree to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. And I spoke earlier to Trita Parsi, the executive vice president at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. He says the U.S. is not doing enough to stop Israel's bombardment of Gaza. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRITA PARSI, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, QUINCY INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT: There's only one thing that can really make a difference here, and that is that President Biden decides to actually use the tremendous leverage that the United States has over Israel to push and secure a ceasefire that, of course, would also entail the release of hostages held by Hamas.
So far, however, Biden has absolutely refused to use that leverage and has only pushed for much more insignificant measures that will not make a significant difference on the situation, certainly is not going to alleviate the suffering, nor is it going to get the release of the hostages.
And at the same time, this status quo, this approach, will further increase the risk of the conflict spreading and potentially involving Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iraqi militias, as well as potentially Iran. That would be a disastrous scenario. But that is where we are essentially heading. And it's a bit odd to see that Biden has so far not used the leverage that he has.
CHURCH: Right. I mean, that is the big concern, isn't it? The expansion of this. And of course, it has to be said the actions of Hamas on October 7th were abhorrent. But after more than a month of Israeli strikes on Gaza, there are indications that President Joe Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken are getting increasingly uncomfortable with their support for Prime Minister Netanyahu's war, given the thousands of Palestinian civilian deaths and no indication that Israel is working and showing focus on releasing those hostages. Many Israelis demonstrating over the weekend calling for more to be done on this particular issue.
So what could this mean for Israel standing in the world if Netanyahu does not end this war immediately and focus more on the release of hostages and if, as you say, President Biden doesn't play his part in using his considerable leverage to see all this happen?
PARSI: There was a significant outpouring of sympathy for Israel after Hamas' October 7 attacks for very understandable reasons. There was a very large number of the people who were attacked that were civilians and taking hostages, taking children hostages, these are all war crimes and they should be condemned and they were by the world.
But what followed, this indiscriminate bombing of civilians, the complete destruction of large parts of Gaza. Talked by Israeli cabinet ministers of a new Nakba, a new disaster, you know, essentially the ethnic cleansing that took place in the formation of Israel. All of this has caused Israel to be completely isolated in the world on this issue.
When you take a look at what happened in the United Nations General Assembly, resolution calling for a ceasefire was supported by more than 120 countries, only 14 countries. voted with Israel and the United States. The United States was the country that vetoed the resolution, calling for humanitarian pause introduced by Brazil, the same measure that Biden now supports.
This has cost Israel tremendously internationally. It is also costing the United States tremendously internationally. Just take a look at the large protests worldwide. This is not just in the Middle East. It's in Latin America. It's in Indonesia. It's in South Africa. The cost to the U.S. for having supported this and not prevented it by standing in the way of a ceasefire is going to be as costly, American diplomats themselves say, as the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq was for the U.S.'s standing in the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Well more than 180,000 people marched against anti-Semitism across France this weekend. Sunday's demonstration in Paris is reportedly the largest such march since the desecration of a Jewish cemetery in France more than 30 years ago. 105,000 people filled the streets of the capital city and nearly 3,000 police officers were on hand to keep them safe.
The demonstrations come amid tensions over the Israel-Hamas war and a spike in anti-Semitic incidents. French President Emmanuel Macron posted on social media, our France where our fellow Jewish citizens are afraid is not France.
Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon travel to the United States where he is set to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden, a look at what's at stake for the two leaders that's next on CNN.
Plus, the U.S. Defense Chief has signed new agreements in Seoul aimed at countering missile and nuclear threats from North Korea. A live report from the South Korean capital just ahead.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, for the first time in more than six years, Chinese President Xi Jinping will soon be in the United States. He's expected to meet with President Joe Biden this week on the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco, their first meeting since last year's G20 summit in Bali. The two leaders are looking to stabilize relations in the midst of growing geopolitical conflicts.
CNN Beijing bureau chief Steven Jiang joins me now. So Steven, what's at stake here and what's China hoping to get out of this meeting?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Yeah, Rosemary, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, the stakes are high, expectations are low, challenges are plenty, and implications are global because whatever these two men say or do, do affect the world economy when you have the world's two biggest economies at loggerheads, which has been the case for the past few years.
And that's why analysts agree it is important for them to meet. But whatever comes out of San Francisco can only be best described as tactical stabilization, according to many experts, because fundamentally how each side views their own strengths and the other's intentions have not changed.
In Washington, China remains perhaps the only bipartisan consensus being viewed as America's menacing strategic competitor. And here Xi Jinping has made clear that the U.S. is out to contain China's rise and suppress Chinese interests. That's why they have to fight back.
And that has translated into policy measures, including growing emphasis on self-reliance in key economic sectors, especially in tech, but also expanding counter-espionage efforts that have now impacted foreign, including American businesses and their operations and confidence here, not to mention growing military close encounters in this region with each side blaming the other as the culprit. But that really in a way points to the importance of military-to-military communications to avoid miscalculation or worse.
That, of course, has been cut off by the Chinese since last year when then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan. So that's why analysts say the biggest deliverable out of this meeting could be resumption and normalization of such communications at all levels, government-to- government, but also people-to-people, we have seen some positive signs at that front with resumption of more nonstop flights and more American academic and cultural delegations visiting here.
Now Xi Jinping, of course, faces a lot less pressure and constraints compared to Biden, but he does have incentives to repair and improve ties as he faces strong economic headwinds at home as well. That's why he may be put on a charm offensive in San Francisco meeting business leaders, meeting his old American friends and as many have suggested, Rosemary, if he really wants to win American hearts and minds, he should consider sending another pair of pandas to the U.S. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right, Steven Jiang, joining us live from Beijing. Many thanks for that report.
Top defense officials from the U.S., Japan and South Korea have agreed on a plan for real-time data sharing on North Korean missile launches starting next month. [03:25:06]
The agreement came during annual security talks in Seoul over the weekend, which Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has been attending. The talks have largely focused on ways the three countries can counter threats from North Korea, including a strategy in which the U.S. will use its military and nuclear assets to deter Pyongyang and defend allies.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is standing by in Seoul. She joins us now. Good to see you, Paula. So what more are you learning about this plan and of course the security talks between the US and South Korea and how's North Korea likely to react?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, there is a key security agreement which has been updated. The defense ministers of the U.S. and South Korea saying in a press conference that it was necessary to really to reflect the growing threat faced by North Korea. It is a security agreement which encompasses the extended deterrence from the United States, effectively meaning that the U.S. would come to the defense of any of its allies using all of its capabilities, including its nuclear capabilities.
But it had been updated over the past couple of years to reflect the fact that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs have significantly improved over recent years. So really updating the security agreement between the two countries to better reflect the fact that there is a greater threat now from the abilities of North Korea.
Now also one tangible change we did see on Sunday, after the defense ministers of the U.S., the South Koreans, and also of Japan, spoke about the fact that they were going to update this scheme that they had to share real time intelligence and data on any missile that North Korea would launch.
Now, this had been agreed politically back in August when the leaders of those three countries had met at Camp David in the United States. But this is really the military making sure that it can be put into practice. We're being told that the final practices are undergoing, the final testing is underway at this point and they're expecting this scheme, this procedure to be in place by the end of December.
Now we also saw that Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense for the United States, met with South Korea's President, Yoon Suk-yeol Sunday night. President Yeol pointing out that you cannot ignore the two wars happening in the rest of the world and also pointing out that North Korea is either directly or indirectly linked to those, pointing out with Hamas, for example, with the Hamas-Israel war that they have been vocally supportive of Hamas and we have seen North Korean weapons in the arena there.
And then also pointing out the concern there is that North Korea and Russia have this increasing security partnership. And we heard from the spy agencies here that they believe that North Korea has actually given some one million shells to Russia since early August. Rosemary? CHURCH: All right. Our thanks to Paula Hancocks for that live report
from Seoul. I Appreciate it.
And still to come, a surprise announcement from Tim Scott as the US Senator says he's suspending his campaign for president, reportedly leaving his aides and donors stunned.
Plus, New York City Mayor Eric Adams says he will work with federal investigators as he faces an expanding inquiry into his campaign finances. That's all ahead.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: The field of U.S. Republican presidential candidates is shrinking after this announcement from Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina Sunday night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But when I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. I think the voters who are the most remarkable people on the planet have been really clear that they're telling me not now, Tim. I don't think they're saying, Trey, no, but I do think they're saying not now. And so I'm going to respect the voters and I'm going to hold on and keep working really hard and look forward to another opportunity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: We're told Scott's announcement to suspend his campaign caught many of his aides and donors by surprise, even though he was facing an uphill battle against Donald Trump, the clear frontrunner in the party. Scott says he won't endorse another candidate right now. He plans to serve out his term in Congress, which runs until 2028.
Members of Congress are working against the clock with a Friday deadline to avoid a funding crisis and keep the government running. The new Speaker of the House is pushing an unconventional plan that would provide staggered funding into the new year, but it remains to be seen if lawmakers will approve it.
CNN's Manu Raju has more.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Speaker Mike Johnson in his first test as speaker unveiling a plan to keep the government open with just a handful of days before the end of the week deadline, but already facing fire from his right flank, members of the House Freedom Caucus in particular are concerned about the lack of spending cuts in this plan. Democrats didn't want any spending cuts and said they would vote against it.
However, Democrats are concerned that it does not have aid to Israel and aid to Ukraine, and they're criticizing the unconventional approach taken by Speaker Johnson. Some federal agencies would be funded up until mid-January, others until early February. This is an unusual type of approach, but one in which Johnson believes can help achieve their legislative objectives.
But nevertheless, the question is how many folks on the right will push back, will try to push him out because of the lack of spending cuts and whether they will actually try to push him out. Recall that just not too long ago, Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker lost his job because, in major part here, because he advanced a bill to keep the government open with Democratic support that did not have spending cuts. I asked McCarthy himself whether or not he is concerned or whether he believes Johnson's job could be a risk by taking a similar approach.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): No, look, you get a honeymoon and they can't go through it again. I mean, think about how long it took last time. So do you think they would do that again?
RAJU: So even if he goes and relies on Democratic votes the way you had to do it, you think that he would be safe and not be pushed on the speakership?
MCCARTHY: Oh yeah. I don't think anybody can make a motion to vacate for the rest of this term. I think he's safe regardless.
RAJU: Democrats are still weighing exactly how they will proceed. They're still watching how Republicans are dealing with this, and I'm told from House Democratic sources, it's still uncertain whether they will carry this across the finish line and how many votes. Johnson will ultimately need from Democrats, but there is hardly any time left.
As Senate Democratic leaders are signaled that they could be open to this, the White House has criticized this approach. House Democrats are remaining mum and a lot of questions as we head into yet another week of shutdown fears on Capitol Hill.
Manu Raju, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Joining me now is Larry Sabato, the Director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. Always a pleasure to have you with us.
LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: So here we go again, the U.S. just days away from a possible government shutdown. And while the new speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, does have a plan, it doesn't look like he has much support on either side of the political aisle. So what is the likely path forward here?
SABATO: I think for the new speaker, the only real hope is that he's still in what we might call the honeymoon, if there is one anymore for House speakers. I don't think the people who put him into office, and even the Republicans who weren't enthused about him, want to cut his legs underneath him this quickly. Give him a few months.
But I think they'll try and help him get through this. But he has to remember it isn't his entourage there in the House, his conference that he has to please alone. He has to get this through the House as a whole, then the U.S. Senate and the President has to go along as well. And none of them really are in agreement. And they've got five days, five days. They had 22 days of a clown show picking him as speaker.
CHURCH: And of course, sir, it never does the GOP any good to take this risky action. They seem to be able to pull it together at the very end, don't they? I mean, can we be hopeful that this will get done?
SABATO: Oh, absolutely. We're entering the holiday season. I believe in being hopeful.
CHURCH: Good. And of course, Larry, we just got news late Sunday night, the GOP presidential hopeful Tim Scott is dropping out of the 2024 race. What impact, if any, will that likely have as Republican candidates battle it out?
SABATO: It's a good decision for Tim Scott. He was going nowhere and he clearly recognized it. He suspended but of course that's what Mike Pence did is what most candidates do it's a way to get out without dropping out completely.
He had no chance of being the nominee and he has very little support really. I don't know how you divide up his several percent of the vote but I doubt it makes much difference. And there is donors that's more interesting he has some very wealthy people behind him. Where will they go now? We don't know.
CHURCH: Yeah, we'll watch to see what happens there. And of course, I do want to revisit the big voting wins for Democrats last Tuesday night. All three victories in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia were linked to abortion rights and all this coming, despite troubling polling numbers for President Joe Biden, putting him behind Donald Trump in key swing states and a hypothetical matchup. What do you make of this apparent contradiction?
SABATO: I think that voters send messages in different ways. They send messages with their answers to polling questions, but they send messages with their votes in elections. And between the two, it's obvious which one is more important. You know, elections are forever, at least until the end of the term, or as long as an amendment will last to the state constitution. But polls are ephemeral. There'll be three tomorrow and four the next day. CHURCH: Right. And of course, given what we saw Tuesday night, how
likely is it that abortion rights will still prove to be a major issue rallying Democratic voters come November 2024?
SABATO: Normally I'm doubtful that issues last all that long, but it's already clear that this decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade in the summer of 2022 had a big impact in November '22 and then it had a big impact very recently in the '23 elections. I think there's a very good chance from everything we're seeing and all the referenda that have been passing in deeply-red states, pro-choice referenda of various sorts, that it will be an issue, probably a major one in the presidential race and the Senate races and the House races and the gubernatorial contest next year.
CHURCH: And Larry, Joe Manchin just announced he won't be running for reelection next year for the Senate. Fueling speculation, he could run as a third party presidential candidate. If he does that, how will that likely impact support for Joe Biden and Donald Trump if Trump ends up being the GOP presidential nominee, which looks like is the case?
SABATO: Well, some are contending that Manchin would end up hurting Trump as much as Biden. I don't believe that.
When you look at Manchin's voting record and his profile, I think he would take a lot more votes from Biden. Biden needs the moderates and moderate liberals much more than Trump needs the moderate conservatives or even some of the never Trumpers.
So it would be very damaging to Biden if Manchin actually ran for president. But you know what? I don't think he is. I don't think he wants in the history books to be listed as the cause one, two or three of Donald Trump getting another term in the White House.
CHURCH: And Larry, of course, you are in the business of projecting elections. Are you ready to go out on a limb and project for November 2024?
SABATO: Too early. Not a chance, Rosemary, even for you.
CHURCH: That's a pity. I was really hoping you would do it.
SABATO: You know, ask me again in a couple of weeks. I never can tell.
CHURCH: Definitely will. Larry Sabato, always a pleasure to have you with us. Many thanks.
SABATO: Thank you, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Well the mayor of New York City will continue to cooperate with federal authorities, according to his chief counsel. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York are investigating Eric Adam's campaign finances. On Sunday, The "New York Times" reported that authorities are also looking into whether Adam's pressured officials to approve a Manhattan high-rise housing the Turkish Consular General.
Polo Sandoval explains.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did New York City Mayor Eric Adams pressure fellow New York City officials to sign off on the building that houses the Turkish consulate? That is now among the growing lists of questions surrounding this federal probe.
That's especially in light of some "New York Times" reporting in which the outlet cites three different unnamed sources saying that the FBI is now looking into the possibility that Mayor Adams, which was actually Borough president at the time, may have pressured officials at FDNY to sign off on the occupancy of his Manhattan skyscraper that houses that consulate, in spite of some safety issues that were reported at that building.
Now, Adams campaign spokesperson today, responding to that reporting, saying that his bureau president at the time, that Adams would routinely hear from some of those constituents about some of those issues, and they would often relay those issues to other city officials, essentially saying that something like that would not be unusual as part of his daily duties.
The campaign spokesperson also repeating what we heard on Friday after that information came to light that he had some of his electronic devices seized by federal authorities, that the mayor has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and that he continues to cooperate with federal investigators as they press forward with this public corruption probe.
Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Well fire damage has shut down part of a major freeway in California. A section of Interstate 10 in Los Angeles known as the Santa Monica Freeway is closed after a fire broke out at a pallet yard. It was whipped by strong winds and covered some 80,000 square feet at its height. More than 160 firefighters responded.
The blaze damaged parts of the highway as it passed from one storage yard to another. Much of the fire was extinguished in less than three hours, but authorities say this part of the highway will stay closed until further notice. The fire's cause is still under investigation.
Well still to come, the U.S. launches its latest round of strikes in Syria. It's the third in the last three weeks for the region. That's just ahead.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CHURCH: The Pentagon says the loss of at least five U.S. service members after their helicopter crashed in the Mediterranean during a training flight was not related to the fighting in the Middle East. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin paid tribute to the troops and their service as he visited a war memorial in South Korea Sunday. Officials say they are continuing to gather more information about the deadly crash.
The US has conducted a fresh round of strikes in Syria against targets linked to Iran. It's the third time the US has struck in the region within the last three weeks. CNN's Oren Liebermann has more.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. once again carried out strikes in eastern Syria, targeting facilities used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, marking the third time in three weeks that such strikes have been carried out.
This time, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the U.S. targeted a training facility as well as a safe house in eastern Syria used by the IRGC and affiliated groups. This marks the third time in three weeks we've seen the U.S. carry out strikes against the IRGC and its affiliated groups. And that's because of the ongoing attacks the U.S. has seen on its forces in Iraq and Syria.
As of the latest update on Thursday, the U.S. has seen about 46 attacks against its forces, mostly drone and rocket attacks, in Iraq and Syria. Those attacks, according to the Pentagon, have resulted in 56 injuries to U.S. forces, mostly minor traumatic brain injuries and minor injuries. It is because of that the U.S. once again felt the need to act, trying to calibrate the response to send the message of deterrence to Iran while also not escalating the situation.
Austin called these precise strikes and says they'd been directed by President Joe Biden. We saw the U.S. target weapons and storage facilities over the course of the past several weeks again calibrating those responses to try to avoid a further escalation. The U.S. has been watching very closely what's happening with the conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, but it has tried to separate that from the rest of the region.
Still, it hasn't been successful in that effort, as groups affiliated with Iran have continued to carry out attacks on U.S. forces. The U.S. responded to those, trying to send a message to Iran not to attack again. We're also trying to make sure the situation doesn't escalate unnecessarily and the conflict in Gaza spreading farther in the region.
Oren Liebermann, CNN in Tel Aviv.
CHURCH: We'll be back in just a moment. Do stay with us.
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CHURCH: Breaking news just into CNN, U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman has been sacked by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This according to UK national news agency P.A. Media. According to P.A., Braverman was asked by Sunak to leave the government today. It comes as Braverman faces accusations of stoking tensions after she accused U.K. police forces of showing bias in its treatment of protesters.
Iceland is under a state of emergency due to the threat of volcanic eruptions. It comes amid an intense wave of recent earthquakes in a region well known for seismic activity. CNN's Allison Chinchar has the latest.
ALLISON CHINCAHR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: There has been a lot of seismic activity in just the last 72 hours. Most of that focused on the southwestern portion of Iceland. You can see all of these dots here indicating an earthquake that has happened. Now one thing to note, the vast majority of this earthquake activity has been incredibly shallow. We're talking depths of about 10 kilometers at absolute best.
What that usually signifies is movement of magma underneath the ground. Now it doesn't guarantee a volcanic eruption, but the key thing to notice is this particular area is one of active areas on the planet the Eurasian and the North plate. Now because of the flurry on that southwestern side, Iceland did declare a state of emergency and evacuating the town of Grindvik again in anticipation that something may or may not happen in the days.
Now, one thing that is going to be looked at and kept a close eye on, not only now, but over the next few days because we have seen this in the past. If it does trigger some type of volcanic eruption, the concern becomes all of those particulates going up into the air and any impacts it may have on air travel.
Right now we've got two different systems out over the Atlantic storm Debbie, which is making its way towards the U.K. and a secondary low pressure system. Both of those systems as they continue to slide the next couple of days are going to keep most of the winds around Iceland pushing down towards the West and Southwest, which means that there was some type of eruption. It's going to keep those particulates away from mainland Europe. However, a lot of that can change, and it also depends if and when there even is some type of eruption. So certainly something will have to keep a close eye on in the coming days.
CHURCH: And before we go, a seaside town near Rome can breathe a lot easier now that a circus lion is no longer roaming around. And you can see the lion just walking the streets Saturday. Police are investigating whether the animals let out on purpose after an employee reportedly found a broken lock and saw three people running from the lion's cage.
The mayor announced on Facebook the lion had been recaptured and returned to the circus after being on the loose for five hours. The mayor added that he hopes the episode can help put an end to the exploitation of animals in circuses.
And thanks so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Enjoy the rest of your day. "CNN Newsroom" continues with Max Foster, next.