Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Israel Denies That Al-Shifa Doctors Say They Were Ordered To Leave Hospital By Israeli Military; Families Of Hostages March To Jerusalem And Tel Aviv; CNN Analysis: Video Suggests IDF Might Have Rearranged Weaponry At Al-Shifa Prior To News Crew Visits; Faced With Corruption Investigation Into His 2021 Campaign, New York City Mayor Eric Adams Sets Up Legal Defense Fund; New Mexico Grand Jury To Consider Charging Baldwin In "Rust" Shooting; Town In Southwest Iceland Evacuates Amid Volcano Fears; Loose Manhole Cover Halts Las Vegas Grand Prix Practice. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired November 18, 2023 - 12:00   ET


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: I'll have more of your questions and my answers next week.

And if you want to ask me a question, scan the Q.R. code on your screen, or e-mail Remember to tell us your name and where you're from.

Don't forget, you can find all our shows online as podcasts at and on all other major platforms.

I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. Thank you for watching, and see you again next week. "CNN NEWSROOM WITH FREDRICKA WHITFIELD" starts right now.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. And we begin with new questions emerging following Israel's raid on Gaza's largest hospital.

Video evidence analyzed by CNN, suggests Israel Defense Forces may have rearranged weapons found at the Al-Shifa Hospital before international news crews visited the scene.

And it comes after the IDF claims, they raided the facility in an operation against Hamas earlier this week.

Israeli defense officials have long claimed the hospital housed a large-scale command center and Hamas tunnels, like the one that they said was revealed in this video.

Well, doctor say they were ordered to evacuate Al-Shifa hospital by the Israel military through the IDF. Though, rather, the IDF disputes that claim.

A head doctor says six doctors are staying at the medical complex to treat around 120 patients, two vulnerable to evacuate. Meantime, the first plane carrying children from Gaza with urgent medical needs to the UAE today. And it comes as the Palestinian Authority's ministry of health says only nine of Gaza's 35 hospitals are still operating.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is monitoring all the latest on the ground there from Tel Aviv. Jeremy, you're at the scene of a rally that is about to begin and supported the 237 hostages still held captive by Hamas.

What are people saying there?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, today, it's really important day, a really significant day for the families of these estimated 237 hostages, still being held in Gaza.

There are rallies today in Jerusalem and as well as in Tel Aviv, pressure the Israeli government to reach a deal to some of those hostages. We know that there has been a deal on the table to potentially free women and children, civilians held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a multi-day pause in the fighting. And certainly, we know that, that is something the Israeli government has been considering. And so, these hostage families over five days marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people were in Jerusalem today in front of the prime minister's office to pressure him to reach a deal to bring some of these hostage family's home.

And now, we are here in Tel Aviv, right next to what has become known as hostage plaza, where there have been regular demonstrations to pressure the Israeli government to bring these hostages home. It is right in front of the defense ministry here.

And we know that some of the families of these hostages are set to meet with members of Israel's wartime Cabinet, including Benny Gantz, Yoav Gallant, the current defense minister, and others. We don't know that the Israeli prime minister at this hour is going to be in that meeting. But following that meeting, those families are expected to come here.

We're already were seeing hundreds of people -- we're expecting thousands of people to continue to flood in here to raise their voices and demand that these hostages be released. Fred?

WHITFIELD: And Jeremy, today, we've seen more rocket fire from Gaza. What's happening on the ground in Gaza, as far as you know?

DIAMOND: Yes, well, inside Gaza, we have watched, of course, as the humanitarian situation has continued to deteriorate, and we are also getting a new analysis conducted by our team about some of the weaponry that was found inside Al-Shifa Hospital, as you know, Israeli Defense Forces released a video showing bags of weaponry and ammunition that they say they found inside Shifa hospital.

But the initial video that the IDF released showed only one AK-47 in a bag of weapons found behind an MRI machine. In later videos by international news crews that was filmed later in that day, or the next day, there were two A.K.-47s in that bag, which suggests the weapons may have been moved or placed by the IDF.

We've reached out to them for comment. So far, they have not answered. But we know, of course, that Israeli forces are continuing to operate inside Al-Shifa Hospital to uncover what they say is a massive underground complex below Shifa Hospital.

They have already found, what they say is one entrance to a tunnel on the grounds of Shifa Hospital, about 30 meters away from one of the hospitals main buildings. And they say that it may take days or perhaps even weeks uncovered the full extent of what they say is evidence of a massive underground complex that Hamas operates below ground. Hamas, for its part, of course, denies these allegations. Fred?


WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much. Good job and, you know, maintaining your concentration there. Those are a lot of details we'll have to regurgitate a bit later because it is very difficult to hear you understandably.

All right. Let's talk more about what is happening there in Gaza. Let me bring in Kimberly Dozier, she's a CNN global affairs analyst. Kim, good to see you.

So, it was difficult to hear all of the details, but the bottom line is now, there are some disputes about the weaponry that was found and in a -- and being associated with Hamas there at the Al-Shifa Hospital. So, what do you suppose will be at hand now for the international community to try to get to the bottom of what authentically and realistically happen versus what is being said?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, CNN's reporting shows that Israel understands how important it is to show the goods. It made these claims for weeks that one of the reasons the main reasons it was closing in on Shifa Hospital, was that it was allegedly site of a command center, something that the White House also said that separate U.S. intelligence backed up.

Someplace where Hamas had a nexus of its operations. But in making those public claims, Israel also handed Hamas an opportunity to move whatever it had in that location away. There is a huge tunnel network that Hamas in Israel have talked about, that Israel has found evidence of underneath Shifa, as it is underneath many buildings throughout the entire Gaza site.

So, in those tunnels, they can move, say, was it a bunch of computers? Was it a bunch of communications equipment? Was it a bunch of weaponry, they had days of Israel's advanced above ground to move that sort of thing below ground.

And what Israel has also had to do to explore those tunnels to find this evidence is because they've already found many of these tunnels have been booby trapped, and left wired with explosives of various sorts. Instead of sending troops down they are sending down robot drones, things like that. And whatever those drones have been able to find, it's not the pictures that the public was expecting to see. And it's a public relations coup of sorts for Hamas.

WHITFIELD: And then how do you suppose, Kim, this might help leverage be used as leverage and the growing calls for humanitarian, a ceasefire, that the IDF, that Israel is being pressed on. Show the evidence, show the justification for some of these targeted strikes?

DOZIER: Well, the Netanyahu government, and Israeli Defense Force officials have all been talking about this clock that they knew was ticking down on them. That while they had a goal that could take weeks, if not months, of taking out all of the Hamas' military capability and its political capability, that the pressure on them would inexorably increase.

It seems that the Israeli Defense Forces had hoped that by taking Shifa, they would have a win on the public relations to the information war side of this fight that would buy them some time to keep pursuing their military operations.

Instead, since so far, they haven't been able to produce that, and what they have produced, now, it seems there have been some soldiers on the ground doing something with that equipment, maybe trying to please their bosses. But it looks to from open-source reporting of those photographs, as CNN has analyzed, that someone tampered with the evidence.

So, that further damages their credibility. And that's going to increase the calls worldwide for some form of ceasefire, some form of longer pause in fighting, and the White House is inevitably going to have to pressure Israel to follow through.

WHITFIELD: And Netanyahu's Cabinet is meeting today about the lifting of the fuel blockade in Gaza. Not everyone agrees over what should be done. The UN says at least, 200,000 liters a day are needed far less than that is actually getting through right now. How will this decision be made?

DOZIER: Yes. So, Israel right now has essentially has two cabinets. It's got a war cabinet that includes a members of the opposition and it's got the original governing Cabinet, members on that side, the more extreme government that Netanyahu rules over have protested even those two fuel trucks going in and have demanded a change in policy.

So, there's going to be a press conference this evening in Tel Aviv with Netanyahu and his war Cabinet. Let's see what kind of compromise they come down with.

But Netanyahu is facing political pressure that could tear his government apart and eventually trigger more elections.


WHITFIELD: All right. Kim Dozier, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much. In the U.S., the division over the Israel-Hamas war continues to grow. The Department of Education is launching an investigation into seven schools after increasing anti-Semitic and Islamophobic rhetoric on campus. Cornell, Columbia, and the University of Pennsylvania are among them.

But as CNN is Rene Marsh shows us it's not only an issue at colleges.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is significant because these are the first campus hate investigation since the October 7th Hamas attack on Israel. And it's also quite significant to have so many campus' hate investigations happening simultaneously.

But it speaks to the unprecedented level of hate boiling over on U.S. campuses.

So, of the seven schools, they include universities like Cornell, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, and one K-12 school in Kansas.

And the investigation stemmed from complaints filed by students and advocacy groups. Five of them were anti-Semitic incidents, and two were Islamophobic incidents that allegedly happened on campuses.

And as the agency is working to stem rising tensions at schools, here is the education secretary and his message to parents.


MIGUEL CARDONA, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Your child should be unapologetic about who they are. Expressing who they are. They shouldn't have to hide their identity, to learn on campus or in a K-12 institution.

And that is our responsibility to protect them. And we're doing everything in our power to enforce that. And if we see that there are places that are not doing it, we're going to open up an investigation. We're going to provide support, but we're going to open up an investigation to make sure that we're doing our job as educators.


MARSH: Well, Cardona says that he's never seen this intensity of hate on school campuses. And he does anticipate that the agency will launch even more investigations. They will make recommendations for fixes at the schools. And if the schools do not comply, they do risk losing federal funding.

We should note that CNN reached out to all of the schools under investigation, most of them replied, saying that they will cooperate with the investigation.

Rene Marsh, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, New York Mayor Eric Adams is setting up a legal defense fund in the wake of the public corruption investigation into his 2021 campaign. We'll talk about what that means next.



WHITFIELD: All right. We're learning new details about a sweeping criminal investigation involving New York City Mayor Eric Adams. A source tell CNN, FBI agents searched the homes of another Adams' aide and the home of a former Turkish airline official.

Federal agents are reportedly trying to determine whether the Turkish government benefited from donations to Adams' 2021 mayoral campaign.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us right now. What can you tell us about these new developments?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Fred, in the face of this mounting federal investigation, the Eric Adams campaign has now established a so-called Legal Defense Fund. Now, the campaign itself has been quite upfront about the purpose of this, in fact, an affidavit that was signed by Eric Adams earlier this week, the mayor's campaign, saying that it is "necessitated by, and intended to defray, legal expenses in connection with inquiries by the office of the U.S. Attorney," General, rather, the "U.S. attorney," I should say, "for the Southern District of New York related to the operations of the Adams' 2021 mayoral campaign committee."

Now, we should mention that according to that guidance had been posted by the city's conflict of interest board, city employees are actually permitted to establish these kinds of funds to pay for any mounting legal bills.

However, there are certainly restrictions and regulations that they would adhere to not only with that board, essentially monitor that fun, but also, here is just a few of the restrictions that the campaign will have to adhere to, for example, donations, individual donations will not be able to exceed $5,000, all of their legal expenses will have to be disclosed to the board.

Adams cannot solicit money from subordinates or anybody essentially doing business with the city. And then, finally, this fund cannot accept any donations for any companies or any corporation. So, it is fairly restrictive in terms of who can donate and exactly just how much. Those are just a few of the restrictions.

And, of course Adams since the beginning maintains that he has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

He did, however, retain the services of a private attorney as this investigation continues to press forward.

And finally, as you mentioned, this comes after new information came to light that now shows that two additional people with direct ties to Adams had their home searched earlier this month, not only a second eight of his, but also that official with Turkish Airlines. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Polo Sandoval in New York. Thank you so much.

All right. Still ahead, the Thanksgiving travel rush kicks off soon. What to expect this year if you're planning to be on the move? By car or by plane?



WHITFIELD: All right. We're introducing you to the 2023 top 10 CNN Heroes as you get to vote for your favorite for CNN Hero of the Year in the next three weeks. Here is Yasmine Arrington.


YASMINE ARRINGTON, NOMINATED FOR CNN HERO OF THE YEAR FOR NONPROFIT, SCHOLARSHIPS: What we're ultimately doing is ensuring that young people who have incarcerated parents are overcoming systemic barriers, and also changing the trajectory of not only their lives but their family's lives, and breaking the stereotypes and the stigma around having an incarcerated parent.

Getting ready for graduation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm not congratulate -- I'm so excited!

ARRINGTON: What keeps me going, it's that proud mama effect to see our scholars just achieve and accomplish and over time gain a sense of healthy confidence. Just a little bit of support can go a very, very long way. It really is a snowball effect.


And Yasmine has supported more than 80 scholars working toward their college degrees. Go to right now to vote for her for CNN Hero of the Year or any of the other top 10 favorites.

All right, it's already a very busy holiday travel season.


According to AAA, more than 55 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more for Thanksgiving, making it the third busiest since AAA began tracking holiday travel, and the biggest since the COVID pandemic.

And with all those extra people, airport officials are warning that security checks could take longer.


ROBERT SPINDEN, FEDERAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, HARTSFIELD-JACKSON ATLANTA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT: We will do our best to screen standard passengers in under 30 minutes, and passengers enrolled in TSA PreCheck, in under 10 minutes. There might be occasions where wait times may be longer, so, we encourage passengers to arrive early, pack your patience and reach out to us on social media or text us before arriving to the airport if you have any questions about our security procedures.


WHITFIELD: CNN's Pete Muntean has more on the turkey track to see family and friends.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Here is the good news. A government shutdown was averted, which means that air traffic controllers and TSA officers will be working with pay, no impact on travel there. But the bad news is that this Thanksgiving travel rush is going to be busy.

TSA says the rush has actually already started. It began on Friday. And they are expecting to screen about 30 million people through airports nationwide through the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving -- the 21st, 2.6 million people expected at airports. Wednesday before, 2.7 million people. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, 2.9 million people at airports nationwide. That would make it the biggest day ever for air travel.

Now, AAA expects 55 million people will travel 50 miles or more at a two percent increase over last year, making it the third biggest Thanksgiving travel Rush since 2000.

Now, airlines say there is a trend here. They're saying there's longer demand that is less concentrated. And AAA spokesperson Aixa Diaz, says remote work and hybrid schedules that really changed everything.


AIXA DIAZ, SPOKESPERSON, AAA: The reality is many people are leaving on Tuesday, on Monday, and also, may be coming back to Monday after Thanksgiving, because they know that Sunday is going to be such a mess on the roads and at the airports. So, people are being a little bit more flexible.


MUNTEAN: Even still, Thanksgivings really more of a driving holiday. AAA anticipates 49 million people making road trips. That's a six percent increase compared to last year. Thanks to gas prices being down about 10 percent compared to last year.

The worst time to drive, Wednesday afternoon. That's when traffic in many spots, AAA says, could be 80 percent higher than the norm.

Pete Muntean, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: All right. And from the Thanksgiving travel to another centerpiece of the holiday, the food. It looks like this year's Thanksgiving dinner will be less expensive than last year. Thanks to a drop in Turkey prices. But nonprofits are still reporting a huge demand for families who need help putting food on the table, and charities across the country are racing to help.

One of the biggest meal giveaways is underway right now in Atlanta where a charity that has been feeding Metro residents for decades is holding a drive thru Turkey giveaway.

CNN's Rafael Romo is there for us. Rafael, what can you tell us about this unique event and how much Thanksgiving might cost folks to put the food on the table this year?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. Hi., we're here in the middle of the action. These wonderful volunteers delivering food to many families here in the south side of Atlanta.

This is an effort, Fred, that has been going on for longer than I've been alive. They started in 1971, helping homeless man. Today, they expect to help 800 families and many of them here together. They have been lining up for hours, getting these boxes of food and getting water as well.

And let me tell you, today, they expect to help 800 families. And if you multiply that for an average of four people per family, you can begin to get an idea of how important this effort is.

A few moments ago, I had an opportunity to talk to Elisabeth Omilami. She is the daughter of the organization founder, civil rights leader Hosea Williams, the late Hosea Williams. And she told us that even though this financial situation of the country is a little bit better this year, the need that they are seeing from some of these families is still great.

Let's take a listen.


ELISABETH OMILAMI, PRESIDENT, HOSEA HELPS: They will get a 14-pound turkey, they will get macaroni and cheese, green beans, rice, corn, cranberry sauce, which is very hard to find.

They will get everything they need for a modest Thanksgiving feast. And so, without coming here they wouldn't have had that.

TONIA BRYANT, PICKING UP THANKSGIVING MEAL: It's beyond words. The food is so expensive. And when the Hosea Helps comes around, I'm so grateful because I can't afford to get a turkey or ham.


You know? I was thinking about not even cooking on Thanksgiving. But now, I have opportunity to do so, and I'm so grateful. I'm so, so grateful to God.


ROMO: And let's talk a little bit about how your Thanksgiving dinner is going to cost this year is going to be slightly cheaper than last year. Just to give you an idea, Fred, a 16-pound turkey will be $27.35, which is 5.6 percent, less than last year, a Thanksgiving meal for a family of 10, 61.17. That's 4.5 less than last year, but 25 percent higher than in 2019. And that's the key for many of the families here. Fred, Omilami (ph) was telling me that in spite of the fact that there are some good news when it comes to gas prices, some of the staples falling down in price. Many of these families are families who have lost their jobs, were affected, maybe some of them by the pandemic and they're still trying to recover. So it's great help that they're getting here, many of them happy and just to see them work these volunteers so hard makes you want to say Happy Thanksgiving already. Fred, back to you?

WHITFIELD: Well, let's say it Happy Thanksgiving and thanks to them for bringing so much joy to so many people. Thank you so much Rafael Romo. Appreciate it.

All right. Still ahead, new video services of Alec Baldwin firing a prop gun on the set of the movie "Rust" as prosecutors prepare to present evidence to a grand jury in the 2021 fatal shooting of a cinematographer, could new charges be next.



WHITFIELD: All right, a grand jury in New Mexico could decide in the coming weeks whether charges should be refiled against Alec Baldwin for that deadly onset shooting. Involuntary manslaughter charges against Baldwin were dismissed back in April. But prosecutors are now preparing to make their case to the grand jury.

And just this week, videos exclusively obtained by "NBC News" show Alec Baldwin handling at least one prop gun while filming scenes for the movie "Rust." The footage was taken in 2021 just days before Baldwin's prop gun went off on the set killing cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, and injuring the director. Have a look.


ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Step back to your original mark, so one, 1,000, two, 1,000, three, I'm getting up.


BALDWIN: Then when he drops his arm, Halyna get out, he drop so, that means Brady's close. I'm going to start to really get up.



BALDWIN: Here we go. Let's try it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rolling, rolling.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- to be right here, like in the pass of the gun, could you please move?

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right, with me here to talk about this is Ted Spaulding. He has a personal injury lawyer at Spaulding Injury Law. So good to see you Ted. So first off, how unusual you'd have dismissed charges, only to now be I guess reopened before a new grand jury that this case is not quite done for Alec Baldwin?

TED SPAULDING, PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER, SPAULDING INJURY LAW: Yes, it's obviously not unheard of, but unusual. And it makes you wonder, just thinking the other day, what new evidence do they have? His video then comes out. Is it the video? Is it something else we don't know about? That's what's going to be interesting because it is abnormal to view it this way?

WHITFIELD: Yes. OK. What is this video, from what we've seen, what is this video tell you? I mean, I'm not a lawyer. But he's going through the steps. He's treating this, even though it's a prop gun, right? Everyone on the set knows it to be a prop gun with a seriousness as if it were a live gun. But how would that be used against him? How is that incriminating, potentially?

SPAULDING: So I think it might be a part of the evidence that a prosecutor could use to show criminal intent, those sorts of elements. I don't think in and of itself, it helps them a lot. What I mean by that is in my realm, it would be massively helpful. It shows duty, it shows he knows what the standards are, hey, don't stand in front.

WHITFIELD: In your realm, if you were the defense attorney, you were defending him.

SPAULDING: Correct, correct.

WHITFIELD: OK. Continue.

SPAULDING: So my thought would be, it might be part of the elements to build something, but I don't think it's this -- it's no pun intended, the smoking gun, right? I don't think it's the end all be all. They seem to be more focused on him saying he didn't pull the trigger versus what does the physical evidence show, did he actually pull the trigger or not? So they seem to be leaning more that way than this video? So it's going to be real interesting to see how that plays out?

WHITFIELD: And isn't that a centerpiece of the case still, what you knew prior to pulling the trigger, whether you pulled it or not because here you are the actor, you got to scene, you want it to look as real as possible, you're going to pull the trigger of a prop gun, but isn't the issue what you knew about that gun and whether it was loaded with live ammunition before pulling the trigger? If that is still the predicate of the entire case, what difference does it make about your familiarity with the scene, you know, role playing, when you're going to use the gun, when you're going to pull it, where you're going to point it?

SPAULDING: Yes. That's the whole point. It doesn't matter in my opinion. It matters to the extent it establishes negligence. So he knew the duties, he knew the standards, he knew the rules and holding this gun and how to use it. But they've got to show in the criminal context. In essence, gross negligence, recklessness, that's where more of --

WHITFIELD: Meaning you knew it was there because potentially be alive around in there and you're waving around willy-nilly?

SPAULDING: Absolutely. Exactly, exactly. Gross negligence is what we're looking for here. So we need more.

WHITFIELD: OK. Have a listen to the New Mexico District Attorney about why she wants to bring these charges in this manner.



MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, NEW MEXICO FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY: There was such a lack of safety and safety standards on that set that there were live rounds on set. They were mixed in with regular dummy rounds. He didn't check it. He didn't do any of the things that he was supposed to do to make sure that he was safe or that anyone around him was safe. And then he pointed the gun at Halyna Hutchins and he pulled the trigger.


WHITFIELD: So is that for him the actor or the producer to do or for the prop master to do?

SPAULDING: Well, that's certainly part of the defense, right? Alec is going to say, look, that's why we have all these people on set, including the armorer who is supposed to be doing all of this. So I'm the actor, I get the gun, I'm relying on everyone else, that's going to be his defense. Now, of course, the prosecutor is going to say, it does not matter who else you have. When you're holding the gun, the law says you have to know. And you have to be following all of these policies and procedures.

Again, as you heard her say at the end, that's where the video might come in. He pointed the gun at her. We see in that video he was talking about, hey, staying on the other side of the camera, so I'm not pointing the gun at you. So that's what I meant.

WHITFIELD: So it shows that he has awareness.

SPAULDING: He has awareness of it. So it might be an element that can be used, but they've got all of these things they need to prove to get to gross negligence, that extreme recklessness to have criminal culpability.

WHITFIELD: Alec Baldwin has already settled a lawsuit with the family of the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, who was killed, but could the video that we see have any, I guess, new potential impact on a civil case?

SPAULDING: I don't think so it depends on the agreement that was reached. But in ordinary civil cases, you're going to settle any and all claims forever. And that's going to be a huge document, multiple pages, going to cover every single scenario, new evidence that could come in, we are settling and resolving all of it. So I don't think this has anything to do a civil.

WHITFIELD: Yes, somewhere along the line, it would seem in terms of the investigative end of this. We see this video. That is prior to, you know, the incident, obviously, somewhere in investigative phase, there has to be a tracing of that weapon that he's firing there where nothing terrible happens to and in between the moment where something terrible happens, a death and injury happen. How vital is that? And now, what is going to be presented to the grand jury? I mean, it seems like that's the difference of case dismissed. And now we have enough for a new case.

SPAULDING: Yes, I mean, I think you're absolutely right. And from what I understand the defense had already been talking about that out in the public. They were wanting DNA testing of the bullets.

WHITFIELD: Right. Fingerprints --

SPAULDING: Who knew what, when, how did we know we had live ones in with dummy ones?


SPAULDING: Were -- who was the person that was negligent in that scenario? So yes, all this testing very, very important because the defense is going to poke at every little thing. Hey, you didn't do this testing. You didn't do that testing. We don't know what happened with the gun for X amount of hours in between or days in between. So the defense is going to poke holes any which way they can prosecutors need to shore all that up.

WHITFIELD: All right, we will see. Ted Spaulding, thank you so much. Good to see you.

SPAULDING: Thank you. Good to see you.

WHITFIELD: Happy Holidays.

SPAULDING: You as well.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

SPAULDING: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks for coming in.


All right, still ahead, bracing for it to blow, what officials in Iceland are saying about a possible massive volcanic eruption?


WHITFIELD: Alright, let's take a closer look at the other headlines today. Sean "Diddy" Combs and his former girlfriend, Cassie Ventura, have reached a settlement after she accused the music mogul of rape and physical abuse. Ventura who is also a singer claims that she was lured into a quote, fast paced to drug fueled lifestyle, end quote, after she was signed to his record label, "Bad Boy." In a statement obtained by CNN, Combs now says quote, we have decided to resolve this matter amicably. I wish Cassie and her family all the best. Love, end quote.

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter is now in hospice care at her home in Plains, Georgia. The 96-year-old was diagnosed with dementia back in May. The Carter Center released this statement saying quote, Jimmy Carter and his wife of 77 years are spending time with each other and their family. The former president also began home hospice care in February after a series of short hospital stays. He is 99 years old.

A town in southwestern Iceland is evacuating over fears of a deadly volcanic eruption. After hundreds of earthquake tremors were detected below the ground this week. Scientists say a river of underground magma could explode at any time. Here's CNN is Michael Holmes.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A town on edge, steam seeps through large cracks in what used to be a main street in Grindavik, Iceland. Residents say it's a hellish slight. The ground hot and unstable and there is a deserted and eerie feel since the town was evacuated a week ago.

STEFAN VELEMIR, POLICE OFFICER: There is some volcanic activity going on, very high activity. So we had to take measures and evacuate the whole town, the town of Grindavik is 3,800 people. And now there's no living here from 3,800 to zero.


HOLMES (voice-over): Police have closed off the roads to the town. Geologists say a 15-kilometer river of underground magma is sneaking its way towards the sea and could erupt at any time. Residents are lining up outside the barricades. No eruption yet means there's still time to retrieve a few belongings. Authorities are allowing a handful of people back in at a time for just five minutes in their homes. Precious moments as the wait for what comes next stretches on.

PILOT ELNAR DAGBJARTSSON, GRINDAVIK RESIDENT: It's like sitting in a very boring movie. But you're stuck there, you can't get out of it. It's unreal. It's hard to digest.

HOLMES (voice-over): Experts say the area around Grindavik is still experiencing hundreds of earthquakes a day. That's a slight decrease from the thousands of daily tremors in recent days. But seismologists say the threat is still imminent.

FREYSTEINN SIGMUNDSSON, GEOPHYSICIST: That a steady flow of new magma into this crack on this widening and this is causing ground deformation on the surface, both widening of few centimeters per day but also subsidence on vertical moments in the town of Grindavik causing the possibility for fractures. HOLMES (voice-over): And it's somewhere along that fissure, geologists say a volcanic eruption could do extreme damage, with Grindavik at risk of being completely destroyed. But for some residents waiting to retrieve their valuables waiting for whatever the lava will do next, the damage is already done.

ASGEIR ORN EMILSSON, GRINDAVIK RESIDENT: They are less than that excited to go back there. Because I don't think we'll ever feel safe after going with us haven't there.

HOLMES (voice-over): Michael Holmes, CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right back in this country, Las Vegas is hosting Formula One for the first time in decades. And it's not been a smooth ride so far after a rough start involving manhole cover. We'll explain next.



WHITFIELD: All right welcome back, a loose drain cover halted a practice session of Formula One's highly anticipated Las Vegas Grand Prix this week, I should say Grand Prix. A red flag was issued after one of the drivers apparently ran over the covered damaging his car. Organizers checked all of the other manhole covers but that practice session was suspended.

CNN world sport anchor Patrick Snell is with me now. So tell us more about what happened. They did get a practice in after all that right but it's the big night.

PATRICK SNELL, CNN ANCHOR, WORLD SPORT: Yes. That was not a good look for Formula One, no question, especially when you consider returning to Nevada.

WHITFIELD: These cars are expensive to damage --

SNELL: Yes. I know for that, you know, --

WHITFIELD: -- of that.

SNELL: Formula One returning to Nevada for the first time since 1982, really hyped event, Fred. One of the biggest probably the most hyped events on the calendar this year, the sporting calendar.

WHITFIELD: I was there.

SNELL: Yes, me too. I will say. Yes Carlos Sainz in his Ferrari but the build up to it all, it's just that controversy reference. That was actually Thursday night Vegas time. That practice session, the first one, had to be called off within the first 10 minutes, like only nine minutes were up on the clock, Fred, on the Spanish driver, Carlos Sainz, he hits a loose man cover, manhole cover. The Ferrari badly damaged as well. They did do the second session. You can see the frustrations there for him.

The second session did happen but it was delayed by something like two and a half hours. And given that it was by 2:30 a.m. in the morning this time, there were no fans. It took place in front of no fans as well. I will say today, Saturday, has gone a lot smoother for race organizers because we had qualifying but where else but in Las Vegas, Fred, where qualifying begin at Friday Night midnight, local time. That's the scene there.

It is impressive. This is what they wanted all along, the famous strip, all the coveted hotspots, the casino hotels, the dazzling backdrop to it all. So much of the focus on Max Verstappen, of course, he's the reigning World Champ. And he's been very vocal. He always says what he thinks, Max Verstappen. He said this Vegas race was 99 percent show and 1 percent a sporting event. It was also less than complimentary by comparing it to of course the storied history of the Monaco Grand Prix.

I will say he was third fastest here on Saturday. He's going to benefit as well from misfortune from Sainz. Sainz, he finished second, was given a 10 place grid penalty for using too many engine parts, Fred. He'll start in 12. And that's part of the fallout from hitting that drain. He needed a new engine, a chassis, a new battery. So he's been badly impacted by the fallout to it all.

Charles Leclerc, another Ferrari driver, the 26-year-old from Monte Carlo, he's been looking really good in practice. He has pole position now going into the big race. That's his fourth poll this year. Third in the past four races, he is still seeking his first win of the season. Verstappen will start alongside the Leclerc after Sainz's penalty. Let's hear now some of the drivers.


CHARLES LECLERC, 23RD CAREER POLE POSITION: To be starting from Baltimore is great. However a bit disappointed with my laps in Q3. I didn't do a good enough job but it was an awful faulty ones. So that's all we need. And now full focus on tomorrow to try and put everything together in the race.


MAX VERSTAPPEN, 3-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION: I think already the whole weekend so far we've been lacking a little bit of one lap performance and that was also quite clear.