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Biden Rejects Mounting Calls For Ceasefire In Gaza; Growing Signs Of Ground Offensive May Be Imminent In South Gaza; Families Of Hostages March To Jerusalem And Tel Aviv; Colorado Judge Rules Trump Engaged In An Insurrection On Jan. 6, But Can Remain On State Primary Ballot; Xi And Biden Hold A Broadly Positive Meeting But Little Progress Seen On Taiwan's Future; Biden Rejects Mounting Calls For Ceasefire in Gaza; High-Profile Tech CEO Is Fired, Ran ChatGPT Company. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 18, 2023 - 18:00   ET



PAULA REID, CNN HOST: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Reid in Washington.

President Biden is doubling down on his support for Israel's war against Hamas rejecting mounting calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. In a new op-ed in "The Washington Post," the president writes, "As long as Hamas clings to its ideology of destruction, a ceasefire is not peace. To Hamas' members, every ceasefire is time they exploit to rebuild their stockpile of rockets, reposition fighters, and restart the killing by attacking innocents again."

This comes as Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa continues to be a key military target for the IDF claiming Hamas is using the complex as a large scale command center, a claim Hamas denies.

Hospital officials say patients and staff were ordered to evacuate the medical complex, which Israel denies. A head doctor there says six doctors are staying at the medical complex to treat around 120 too vulnerable evacuate.

But as the fighting continues in the north, Israel's military is now vowing to advance anywhere Hamas is found. There are growing signs that a ground offensive into southern parts of Gaza could be imminent.

Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, thousands gathered at a massive rally calling for the Israeli government to do more to bring home the hostages six weeks after they were first abducted by Hamas.

Let's go straight to CNN International diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson. He is live in Sderot, Israel.

Nic, what can you tell us about the situation right now?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, in the north of Gaza here, there is a lot of intense military activity going on, a lot of shells, a lot of shooting. I hear a helicopter. There have been air strikes. There is just very heavy bombardments, heavy machine gunfire as well, and I think what we're witnessing here is what the IDF spoke about -- there's another detonation -- what the IDF spoke about earlier today, that they're going to start pushing from the area that they have in the northern part of Gaza along the Mediterranean Coast, and they are going to start pushing in this direction, towards the east of the Gaza Strip so that they can get more control of more of the territory in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

So this is where the fighting is at the moment, and absolutely, both the prime minister and some of the other government officials speaking at press conferences today made it very clear, their intent is to go after Hamas, wherever they are. They have been dropping leaflets to residents in Khan Yunis, the biggest town in the south of the Gaza Strip telling people there to move to safer areas.

So every indication is said that the scenario of fighting in the south of Gaza will as it did in the north change from airstrikes and artillery alone to the possibility and the reality of ground troops going in.

We've also seen outgoing rockets coming from Gaza today, Hamas rockets, some fired in this direction a couple of hours ago intercepted by the Iron Dome defensive missile system, and all of that tends seems to indicate that while Hamas has been under huge military pressure here for three weeks with ground troops and ground forces on the ground, they still have the ability to fire out their rockets perhaps not in as big a number as before, but that shows that there are still Hamas fighters fighting on the ground.

And the machine gun fire we can hear here again just indicates the fights that are existing on the ground there, too, as the IDF continues to try to take out the remaining Hamas fighters here.

It is, and the military has said, it is going to be a very long job to do that.

REID: And Nic, today, the United Nations confirmed one of its schools in northern Gaza that was being used as a shelter was hit by a blast and this is reportedly the second such incident in 24 hours. What is the IDF saying about this?

ROBERTSON: Yes, the IDF at the moment is saying that they believe that this was -- well, the IDF is saying that they are reviewing the incident. They are looking at it right now. This is the second time this Al-Fakhura School in the Jabalia Refugee Camp has suffered in this way.


It is a school where there was an estimated, a few weeks ago 16,000 or so 20,000 possibly displaced people taking shelter there. It's a UN school and a lot of displaced people in Gaza are using UN schools as a place to shelter, that sometimes are in buildings, sometimes they're not in buildings, they are in the school yards in tents. What appears to have happened here, it is clear there has been an explosion. The UN agency UNRWA which runs the refugee -- takes care of refugees inside of Gaza, they are unable to say what caused this situation this time previously, it did appear to be an air strike.

The indications here are that it may be, but the UN is not saying that at this time, but they are saying and the video does seem to indicate significant numbers of dead and injured people, civilians taking shelter in a UN school.

REID: Nic Robertson, thank you.

And today, families of Israeli hostages gathered in the streets of Tel Aviv, pleading with the government to ensure the safe return of their loved ones.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is there with more.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, 42 days after hundreds of people were taken hostage by Hamas in Israel and brought to the Gaza Strip, thousands of Israelis rallying tonight in Tel Aviv and also in Jerusalem to demand the release of these hostages. They are also putting pressure on the Israeli government to reach a deal to secure the release of those hostages.

For weeks now, there have been intense negotiations between Israel and Hamas, negotiated by the Qatari government with the assistance of the United States to secure the release of perhaps dozens of women and children being held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. So far, those negotiations have yet to actually reach a deal for their freedom.

But tonight, the pressure is being brought to bear on the Israeli government. I spoke tonight with Mia Roman, the cousin of Yarden Roman, one of those estimated 237 hostages. I asked her what her message is to the Israeli prime minister and his Cabinet. Here's her answer.


MIA ROMAN, COUSIN OF HOSTAGE, YARDEN ROMAN: I mean, our message to them which we have also, you know, communicated to them directly is we think there should be a deal now, and we understand there are very -- you know, there are things we don't know, there are considerations we can't be told about. We believe in you.

Yarden's daughter, Geffen (ph) believes in us. She always tells us that she knows we're working to get our mom back. She sees us all working there all the time, and she knows we're all doing it to get her back.

So kind of in the same way. I have to believe that they're doing everything to get her back, and our faith, you know, I hope that you can prove our faith was not wrongly given and that you can prove us right and make sure that they start coming back home because the families need it, the families need it desperately.


DIAMOND: Now, it is unclear whether these marches tonight in Israel have yielded the kind of pressure for the Israeli government to reach a deal with Hamas for the release of some of these hostages. But at least for now, it is yielding some results, and that is that the Israeli Prime Minister tonight has agreed to meet with the families of these hostages on Monday night here in Tel Aviv.

We know that that will be a very important moment. He hasn't met with these families for some weeks now, and it comes as these negotiations are reaching a critical stage and these families at least will have the chance to deliver their message directly to him and his cabinet -- Paula.

REID: Jeremy Diamond, thank you.

Alana Zeitchik has six family members being held hostage by Hamas. She spoke this week at the March for Israel rally in Washington, DC. Let's take a listen to what she said.


ALANA ZEITCHIK, SIX FAMILY MEMBERS BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS: The pain I have experienced since they were taken has been so sharp, it follows my every breath. I wake up each morning to remember this truth: My family is being held hostage by terrorists.


REID: She joins me now.

Alana, thank you so much for joining us.

ZEITCHIK: Thank you for having me.

REID: I want to ask you first, do you have any indication how your family members are doing? And have you heard anything about efforts to get them out of Gaza?

ZEITCHIK: No, unfortunately, we have no information or intel about their well-being or any insight into the actual negotiations happening.

REID: As you may know, a short time ago, President Biden wrote an op- ed that there cannot be a ceasefire in Gaza or he says Hamas will take advantage of that. What is your reaction to that in light of the ongoing negotiations to free hostages, like your family members?

ZEITCHIK: I think it's obviously a valid perspective from the president, you know, and it doesn't, as far as hostages go, I want that to be the number one priority, so that's what I'm looking for.


REID: During the rally, you said that Americans can both avoid the suffering of Palestinian families, while also being sympathetic to the suffering of Israeli families? What are the types of conversations that you're hearing from other people in the US?

ZEITCHIK: I mean, I hear I think conversations are happening separately in echo chambers, so I have developed a supportive system around me, I need that very much right now. I'm in desperation and grief for the return of my family, but I think there are -- there is an omission of the hostages in quite a lot of the conversations when the hostages are truly at the center and the core of this war, the release of the hostages is necessary for us to get closer to the end of this war.

REID: And when you were in Washington and saw the crowds, the size of that crowd rallying, as well as what we're seeing in Tel Aviv, what was running through your mind? I mean, what is your reaction when you see crowds like this pushing to help the hostages?

ZEITCHIK: Of course, I found comfort in that environment. Finally there being a space where, you know, my grief could be held by supportive communities who were doing so peacefully and, you know, in the name of the release of my family and all of the other hostages.

So on a personal level, which is what this is for me, right? It's not political, it's personal. I was very comforted by that environment.

REID: How hard is it right now to continue being hopeful? I mean, what is your mindset right now day-to-day?

ZEITCHIK: No, it's really hard. I've explained it, it is like walking around with like a dark cloud over my head. There is an emptiness and this desperation that constantly lives within me, that, you know, is very heavy, and I'm trying, I'm coping by here, you know, speaking to you and by writing op-eds, and by speaking at the March, right?

I'm doing everything I can to advocate for my family. I think putting myself into action and speaking on behalf of my family is the best way for me to cope, so that is what I am doing and we will continue to do until all six of them have returned home.

REID: And what is your message to US leaders about this situation? What do you want them to understand?

ZEITCHIK: My message is, as it has always been, the hostages need to be the number one priority. We need to get them home as soon as possible. So I want a negotiation to happen, I want it to end now. We want this over, we want our family back. It is what I've said from the beginning, it needs to be immediate.

REID: Alana, thank you so much for joining us to share your experience. We're so sorry for you and your family, but thank you again for joining us and sharing your story.

ZEITCHIK: Thank you for having me.

REID: And speaking of America's leaders, Americans will vote for president less than one year from now. Next, what we're learning in the polls as we get closer and closer to election day.

Plus, a judge says the Donald Trump's January 6 speech is not protected under the First Amendment, but that same judge is refusing to bar him from the ballot in Colorado. Later, why the company behind ChatGPT just fired its CEO. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.



REID: The first real test for the Republican candidates for president is less than two months away, and we are now less than a year out from the presidential election.

CNN senior data reporter, Harry Enten joins us to run the numbers.

All right, Harry, we've gotten a steady stream of polls, they appear to all be suggesting the same thing, right?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: They do. You know, if you see one poll that has a candidate two points down to another candidate, you say okay, this race is within the margin of error. This poll is within the margin of error.

But we've not just had one poll, not two, not three, we've had four recent polls nationally that suggests something very interesting that is that Donald Trump, the former president United States is ahead of Joe Biden, the current president of the United States by anywhere from two to four points.

Now, that's not a particularly large lead, but it is a lead that is very consistent throughout the polling. It's a lead that is holding in the swing states as well. So as we are a little bit less than a year out from the 2024 election, there is no other way I can insist on designating this race than one at this particular point that Donald Trump leads.

REID: So I know you always come armed with facts and figures. So just how unusual is it for an incumbent president to be trailing at this point?

ENTEN: Yes, me coming armed with facts and figures and historical pieces of data, I never do that, Paula, never ever, ever.

But as a matter of fact, I have this one time anyway. Look, if you go back over the last 80 years, go all the way back to FDR. What do you see? You see there, in fact, there have only been two incumbent presidents at this particular point in time, who have actually trailed for re-election at this point since 1943.

One of those I think, is fairly familiar given the landslide, that was Donald Trump back in 2020. He, of course went on to lose. But Joe Biden is just the second president this point be trailing for re- election.


The average incumbent in fact leads by a little bit more than 10 percentage points, so this is extremely unusual to find a president trailing by any margin, even when that's a two or three percentage points on average, as we saw in that first slide.

REID: Okay, well, Biden just won three years ago, so what are the big reasons that he is now trailing?

ENTEN: Yes, I would say it comes down to age. You know, it's age in one way, it's age and the fact that voters overwhelmingly believe he's too old to be effective as president.

We had a recent New York Times/Siena College poll that found that about 70 percent of likely voters, in fact said that very different from four years ago when that number was about half. But it's also age in another way, it's age, if you look within the electorate and see where Joe Biden has lost support.

Take a look at voters under the age of 35. This is the margin, Joe Biden versus Donald Trump. Four years ago, Joe Biden won these voters, overwhelmingly. He won them by over 20 percentage points.

Look at where he is now. Now, he is still ahead of Donald Trump, but he is only ahead by five points. And of course, elections are all about margins. When you look throughout the different age groups, you see, essentially that Joe Biden's margins are actually holding amongst the older voters, but younger voters have been swinging away from him.

And if this ends up being the margin on election day, it would be the smallest margin for a Democratic candidate among voters under the age of 35, since I was actually eligible to vote, so that's how long it's been. Donald Trump would absolutely take this. I may be young, Paula, but I ain't that young.

REID: Well, turning to the holiday next week. I'm told that I have to ask you this question, this is the one I'm most curious about your response. Thanksgiving is on Thursday. What are you most thankful for, Harry?

ENTEN: Yes, I made a deal with your executive producer, Tim on this one. I said I had to get to this slide. He actually came through here.

I went last week to a Columbia Lions football game on the northern tip of Manhattan. Great student journalists there. They lost last week. They won this week. It's another losing season for Columbia. But I still love my Lions. My father took me to the games as a kid I still, root for them. Roar lions, roar. They won the day, way to go on a high note, boys.

REID: That's so cute. I think I'm most thankful for my daughter. She just started walking and yesterday she added a new word to her vocabulary, "cookie." Girl after my own heart.

Harry Enten, thank you so much.

ENTEN: Bye-bye.

REID: And be sure to check out Harry's podcast, "Margins of Error." You can find it on your favorite podcast app or at A judge in Colorado says Donald Trump's speech on January 6th incited imminent lawless violence, but she says he should still remain on the ballot for the Republican presidential primary. We will break it down with Colorado's Secretary of State, next.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to walk down to the Capitol and we are going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we're probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength.

We fight. We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.


REID: A Colorado judge ruled yesterday that President Trump, "engaged in an insurrection on January 6," becoming the first judge to do so. But she will allow him to remain on the state's primary ballot.

Joining me now is Colorado's Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Thank you so much for joining us, Madam Secretary.

JENA GRISWOLD, COLORADO'S SECRETARY OF STATE: Of course, thank you for having me on.

REID: So we've been waiting for this decision for a few days now. What was your reaction?

GRISWOLD: Honestly, it's a surprising decision. The judge decided that Donald Trump is eligible to be on the ballot, but that he did engage in insurrection. And I think what's surprising about this decision is that it basically gives a Get Out of Jail free card to the presidency, at least for insurrection and rebellion.

So while other officials, if they engage in insurrection or rebellion would be barred from further holding office, but I guess under this decision, the president is not, and that Paula is troubling, I believe for the entire nation.

REID: Would you like to see this question go to the Supreme Court? Obviously, if it's appealed, the first step is the appellate court, but that's not binding on the whole country. Would you like to see the Supreme Court weigh in here?

GRISWOLD: Well, the people who brought this case were six Colorado voters, Republicans and unaffiliated. They have already indicated that they are going to appeal this decision.

So the next stop in this case will be the Colorado Supreme Court and we will see whether the Colorado Supreme Court upholds the district court's interpretation.

But I think regardless if Donald Trump is on the ballot or not, the fact of the matter is that the court has already decided that he committed insurrection, that he engaged in an insurrection against the United States Constitution and that is a clear message to the entire nation that Donald Trump is a threat to American democracy, and whether he's on the ballot, American voters have all the power in the world to protect our democracy through the presidential election next year.

REID: Some legal scholars have suggested that officials like you might have the unilateral ability to bar him from the ballot. Do you agree with that? And is that something you would consider?

GRISWOLD: In the state of Colorado, there is a law that allows for presidential primaries, voters to file a lawsuit and have a judge to decide whether someone is qualified or not. My job as Secretary of State is to follow the law and uphold the Constitution, and there is a clear law on this in the state of Colorado.

So I think the judicial system is working exactly how it should be. And I will, of course, follow whatever judicial decision is in place by the time I certify the ballot.

You know, in opposition to this, as soon as this lawsuit was filed, Donald Trump started crying from the rooftops, oh, this is election interference. He has continued to use litigation like this, that has a reasonable question to be asked to a judge. He uses these cases to spread lies and disinformation about elections.


So I think this judicial proceeding has been just fine. When there are big questions about the Constitution, it is appropriate for a judge to weigh in. And that's exactly what's happening in the state of Colorado.

REID: So to that point, this is now the third state that has sort of rejected this argument to try to keep him off the ballot. We know some other states are considering this. What would be your advice to other states? Should they litigate this or instead focus on 2024?

GRISWOLD: I think whether a state wants or does not want to litigate is really not up to the state. In this litigation we have here in Colorado, it was actually Republican and unaffiliated voters that brought the case. And I think it's appropriate. There are big questions around Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars officials from holding office once they've engaged in insurrection or rebellion.

Now, you're very right. This has now been litigated in at least three states, and three states have provided different reasoning to how the system works. So I do think it's appropriate in this case to have Colorado Supreme Court weigh in. I look forward to hearing their guidance and I think it will be, hopefully, helpful to election workers all -- or election officials, excuse me, all over the United States. REID: Colorado Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, thank you so much for joining us.

GRISWOLD: Thank you.

REID: And coming up, President Biden is rejecting calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and spelling out why. The latest, next on the CNN NEWSROOM.



REID: A key face-to-face meeting this week between President Biden and China's President Xi was broadly seen as positive and may have even helped relax a strained relationship between the two countries. Both leaders promised to reopen high-level military channels, but some tensions are clearly still in the air.

After the summit, Biden described Xi as a dictator for the second time this year. And there was little progress made when it comes to Taiwan. Will Ripley has more from Taipei.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Taiwan will never forget those four tense days when former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit triggered unprecedented Chinese military drills, widely seen as a dress rehearsal for war. More than a year later, on the streets of Taipei, for some the prospect of war feels closer than ever.

(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Of course, we are concerned that what happened to Ukraine could happen to Taiwan. I'm a mother and I have kids.

RIPLEY (voice over): President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping's marathon meeting in San Francisco aimed at dialing down the temperature on a host of hot-button issues, especially Taiwan. The most important and sensitive issue in US-China relation, Xi was quoted in Chinese state media, "Washington has no plans to stop selling billions of dollars in weapons to Taipei, military operation, including US training of Taiwanese troops at the highest level in decades."

The US formally switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We maintain agreement that there is a One China policy, and that I'm not going to change that.

RIPLEY (voice over): As for the future of this self-governing democracy, Xi says China will realize reunification, this is unstoppable. SU TZU-YUN, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE AND SECURITY RESEARCH, TAIWAN: Beijing's activity become something like Nazi Germany did during World War II.

RIPLEY (voice over): Su Tzu-Yun is director of Taiwan's Institute for National Defense and Security Research. He warns China's military buildup, the biggest in a century, may be just beginning. He says it can only be deterred by massive military power.

RIPLEY (on camera): Does that deterrent force need to include the help of larger militaries like the US, like Japan?

SU: Sure. Taiwan enjoys a very important location. If Beijing can occupy Taiwan, it's become a so-called "Chinese Hawaii." They can send their submarines from east Taiwan, and such submarines can reach West Coast of United States to strike United States.

RIPLEY (voice over): Last year, Beijing fired ballistic missiles over Taiwan.

RIPLEY (on camera): Here, in Taiwan, people have lived their entire lives with the reality that China has an arsenal of missiles pointed at this island that could be raining down in a matter of minutes. That's why here, in Taipei alone, there's an estimated 90,000 air defense shelters ready for whatever comes.


RIPLEY (voice over): When the People's Liberation Army surrounded the self-governing democracy, Chinese state media said they were simulating a blockade, practicing a possible precursor for a full- scale invasion, jolting Taiwan into a new risk-filled reality, putting high stakes diplomacy to the test.


RIPLEY: We're also watching very closely some major developments here in Taipei. On Saturday, two opposition parties announced their joint presidential ticket. They are going to be posing an unexpected and very credible challenge to the ruling DPP.

The current vice president is the presidential candidate. He was considered a shoo-in until this surprise union between these two opposition parties, which notably tend to have a more pro-Beijing or at least pro-cooperation with Beijing stance, whereas the DPP has long said that you have to stand up to China with strength. If you give an inch, they say they'll take a mile. But either way, the result of next year's Taiwanese presidential elections will have huge implications for Taiwan and also the US-China relationship.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.

REID: Turning to other international affairs, President Biden has written an op-ed in "The Washington Post" where he rejects calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. He also says both Putin and Hamas are fighting to wipe neighboring democracies off the map, and insists that the US cannot and will not let that happen.

General Wesley Clark joins us now. He is a military analyst and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander. General, thank you for joining us.

I want to get your reaction to this new op-ed. The president calls the United States a, quote, "essential nation" and says, "The world looks to us to solve the problems of our time. That is the duty of leadership, and America will lead. For if we walk away from the challenges of today, the risk of conflict could spread, and the costs to address them will only rise. We will not let that happen."

Is he right, first of all, to link the conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East? And is he correct that the US should take a leading role here?

GENERAL WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I believe he is correct in linking the conflict in the Middle East and Ukraine. Russia has a strategic relationship with Iran. Iran is the source of the current problems in the region, in the Middle East, and so the -- Iran is also supplying weapons to Russia to attack Ukraine, but it's broader than that.

I mean, Putin wants disorder. He wants chaos in the international community. He wants to invalidate American leadership. He wants to change the rules-based international order.

He wants to go back to a strong-man diplomacy of three or four dictators in the world, carving up the world, and get rid of the ideas that we put in -- the Americans put in after the Second World War, that there were human rights, that nations had a right to choose their own course, and so forth.

So Putin is against all of that. He's using Iran and, yes, definitely, it's linked.

REID: As we just heard the president, of course, met with Xi Jinping, easing China-US relations a bit, but there's still this dangerous impasse over Taiwan. Xi says reunification is, quote, "unstoppable." What is your reaction to that?

CLARK: Well, I think, with China, we have to cooperate where we can on things like climate change. We're going to compete economically with things like infrastructure, mining in Africa and other things. And we have to recognize that we have conflicting interests in Taiwan, and that it could come to war. And that we need to have the military power to deter Xi Jinping should he choose to invade Taiwan and take it by force.

It's always been a policy that has a certain amount of ambiguity in it. Under President Biden, we have become more and more clearer that the United States will commit forces to defend Taiwan if China attacks.

So this is on China, and President Xi has many problems other than Taiwan. He's got a real estate problem. He's got a population problem. He's got other issues to work with, not just Taiwan. So we shouldn't overreact to this. We should stay strong and, as President Biden said, we are the essential nation. We do have to provide leadership. If we don't, no one else can.

REID: So to make sure I understand you correctly, you're saying that the US should be willing to go to war if China invades Taiwan?


CLARK: We've said increasingly that we're prepared to help defend. Now, we've still said it's a Two China policy. We still maintain a certain degree of ambiguity in this, but we are definitely preparing the forces that would be used if war came in the Pacific.

And those forces are there. They signal strength and they signal to Xi Jinping that he's got a lot more to worry about if he invades -- tries to invade Taiwan than simply Taiwan.

REID: What was your assessment of this US-China meeting? Do you agree that it was mostly positive for relations between the two countries?

CLARK: I do think it was positive. And I think it's always a good thing when leaders get together to talk. I think the idea of having military-to-military communications, that's important.

But China is still -- it's got social control and their investors are concerned. They go in there. They may not get their funds back.

Everyone sees what China did to Hong Kong. There's no relief on that. And President Biden said it very clearly, Xi Jinping has virtually almost total power right now in Beijing. He is, in essence, a dictator.

Now, he's got internal opposition. There are people who are concerned, but they don't have the influence to really change the course of China's policy.

So I think, yes, the meeting is positive. It's a step forward. We have to find a way to live with China in the long-term.

Russia, different problem. Putin is a real source of disorder and chaos in the world community. China, not necessarily. We've got to find a way to live with China. They've got to find a way to live with us.

REID: General Wesley Clark, thank you so much.

CLARK: Thank you.

REID: And, next, in a stunning move that is sending shock waves through the AI community, why the company behind ChatGPT abruptly fired its CEO. We'll discuss, next.


[18:50:38] REID: A high flying technology CEO has suddenly been fired from one of the top artificial intelligence companies, OpenAI. Sam Altman has been pushed out by the board of directors, leaving many people in the industry in shock. Jon Sarlin joins us now.

Jon, thanks for being with us. Of course, there aren't many details officially available here except that it appears the board felt like it couldn't, quote, "trust him." Can you translate that corporate speak for us?

JON SARLIN, CNN DIGITAL PRODUCER: It's hard to do. I mean, this is one of the stunning moves in Silicon Valley history, right? Sam Altman was not only the face up until this week of OpenAI, he was really the face of artificial intelligence after OpenAI, the company that he cofounded, launched ChatGPT less than a year ago, right? It was only a year ago.

Since then, Sam Altman has been traveling the world, meeting with heads of state. He's testified in front of Congress, and he's led OpenAI through this massive boom that's being valued at one of the largest startups in Silicon Valley history what now in a stunning move, he is out.

Now, what do we know about that? This is the question in Silicon Valley, from Wall Street. They are all asking.

Alluded to (ph), the board was kind of cagey with the reason. They said that Sam Altman wasn't truthful with them. Now, what was he not being truthful with them about? We don't know.

Now, there's speculation on what it could be. Our colleague, CNN Contributor, Kara Swisher, says that this stems from an internal fight at OpenAI, irresponsible way to build A.I.

Now, we know, of course, all these concerns about AI. The people most concerned with AI are the people closest to it, right? Sam Altman testified in Congress that AI could be an existential threat.

Well, those divisions were raging within OpenAI. Some people saw this incredibly valuable product and wanted to push forward. Others were more cautious, saying that they had to, you know, be responsible for humanity.

The structure of OpenAI is a kind of interesting setup. It doesn't maximize profit in a way that a typical corporation does, and that clearly had some impact in leading the board to kick Sam Altman out.

REID: I also want to ask you about the growing controversy at the platform formerly known as Twitter, now known X. Major media companies are pulling their ads, including CNN's parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery. And this happened after the owner, Elon Musk, publicly endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory popular among white supremacists, that Jewish communities push, quote, "hatred against whites." How much trouble is X in here?

RIPLEY: I mean, a tremendous amount of pressure, right? You know, X was already in financial trouble before Elon Musk (inaudible) out, right, fixing advertisers. Leave it, this is a company worth a fraction of the many billions that Elon Musk spent to pay for it. But Elon Musk's blatant antisemitic post accelerated trends that we had already seen. You know, he had hired as CEO, Linda Yaccarino, who had close ties to advertisers to try to bring blue chip advertisers back to the site.

Well, as we said, advertisers are now fleeing the site. Advertisers like Apple, one of the largest advertisers on the platform, NBC Universal, Comcast, Lion's Gate, Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of CNN, are leaving.


But you know, Elon Musk, on the other hand, is the richest person in the world, right? So, you know, yes, X is bleeding money. The question now is, will he continue to bleed cash, right? How valuable is X to Elon Musk?

REID: Jon Sarlin, thank you.

And there are new signs tonight that Israel's military could soon take its ground offensive to southern Gaza. The latest in a live report, next.


REID: You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Reid in Washington.