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CNN International: Stark Warning About Second Trump Term; U.N.: Civilian Casualties in Gaza Rapidly Increasing; Urban Warfare in Gaza; U.S. Aid to Ukraine Running Out. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired December 05, 2023 - 04:00   ET



BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Bianca Nobilo, live from London. Max Foster has the week off. Just ahead for you on CNN NEWSROOM.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fresh warning from a leading critic of Donald Trump about the danger posed by the former president to American democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you thought he was going fast and furious on the first time around, you've seen nothing on second time around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Israel expands its ground offensive into southern Gaza, Brigadier General Hisham Ibrahim says tanks will once again be central to Israel's urban warfare strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just destroy what we have to destroyed.


NOBILO: It's Tuesday, December the 5th, 9:00 a.m. here in London with just six weeks to go before the Iowa caucuses. Four Republican presidential candidates are set to face off in Alabama on Wednesday for the 4th presidential primary debate. Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie and Vivek Ramaswami will meet in the smallest debate line up so far. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum failed to qualify for the debate and announced that he was ending his campaign. Burgum criticized the qualification process.

Saying: Our decision to run for President came from a place of caring deeply about every American and a mission to reestablish trust in America's leadership and institutions of democracy. While this primary process has shaken my trust in many media organizations and political party institutions, it's only strengthened my trust in America.

Former President Donald Trump will skip Wednesday's debate as he has all three of the previous meetups, he'll attend a Florida fundraiser instead. Former U.S. House Republican Liz Cheney has new warnings about Donald

Trump, saying a vote for the former president next year could be, quote, the last elections in which Americans get to vote. While out promoting her new book, Cheney predicted that if Donald Trump wins reelection, he will absolutely try to stay in power forever. Our Kristen Holmes explains.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A fresh warning from a leading critic of Donald Trump about the danger posed by the former president to American democracy.

LIZ CHENEY, FORMER U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: A vote for Donald Trump may mean the last election that you ever get to vote in.

HOLMES (voice-over): Those comments come as Trump attempts to turn the table on such warnings.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joe Biden is not the defender of American democracy.

HOLMES (voice-over): The former president, who is facing felony charges over his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, claiming President Joe Biden is the real risk to the country.

TRUMP: Joe Biden is the destroyer of American democracy.

It's him and his people. They're the wreckers of the American dream.

HOLMES (voice-over): A spokesman for the Biden campaign calling Trump's comments a, quote, desperate attempt at distraction.

Trump's attacks come as Biden and his allies frame the 2024 election as a choice between democracy and authoritarianism, signaling how both candidates are increasingly focused on a potential general election rematch, even as the first votes in the Republican-nominating contest won't be cast for another six weeks.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to stand up for American values embedded in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, because we know that MAGA extremists have already proven they won't.

We have to stand up for our constitutional institutions of democracy, because MAGA extremists have made it clear they're not going to.

HOLMES (voice-over): In his latest bid for the White House, Trump has continued to rail against democratic institutions and make false claims about the 2020 election.

TRUMP: They rigged the presidential election in 2020, and we're not going to allow them to rig the presidential election in 2024.

HOLMES (voice-over): He also suggested the U.S. Constitution should be terminated in a social media post. And the former president has outlined plans to dramatically reshape the federal government, including a pledge to use the Justice Department to target political opponents.

TRUMP: I mean, if somebody -- if I happen to be president and I see somebody who's doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them. Mostly that would be -- you know, they would be out of business. They'd be out. They'd be out of the election.

HOLMES: The former president has also said that he would make it easier to fire civil servants so he could replace them with loyalists if he was elected again.


That he would also expand on his hard line immigration policies, including calling for mass deportation. He has really laid out in great detail what a Trump second term would look like. And he still remains in first place in the GOP primary, according to a number of polls. And with just six weeks to go until those Iowa caucuses, he is also leading among Republicans in that state as well.

Kristen Holmes, CNN, Washington.


NOBILO: Trump may be holding on to his political lead, but he's losing the fight to talk as he wishes about the fraud case against him in New York. Trump's bid to overturn the gag order in the case has been denied and will remain in place at least through next Monday, when he's expected to take the stand to testify. The former president's lawyers filed a motion Monday asking the appellate court to let them appeal the gag order and accuse the Attorney General's office of trying to run out the clock on the trial to keep Trump silent.


CHRIS KISE, TRUMP ATTORNEY: Right now, President Trump can't even comment on why he believes he's not getting a fair trial here in New York. That's what we're going to do. We're going to run out the clock on President Trump's rights.


FOSTER: Former Republican Congressman George Santos is making videos for the celebrity video message platform Cameo less than a week after he was expelled from the U.S. House. He's charging $200 per video message, and Democratic Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania paid for one. It's meant as a jab at his embattled colleague Robert Menendez of New Jersey, who Santos referred to as Bobby.


GEORGE SANTOS, FORMER U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: Hey, Bobby. Look, I don't think I need to tell you, but these people that want to make you get in trouble and want to kick you out and make you run away, you make him put up or shut up. You stand your ground, Sir, and don't get bogged down by all the haters out there. Stay strong. Merry Christmas.


NOBILO: Fetterman and several other Democrats are calling for Menendez to resign over corruption and bribery charges.


SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): If you expel somebody like, you know, George Santos, how can you allow somebody like, you know, Senator Menendez, remain in the Senate as well too? Because I promise you that one of the main -- major differences between representative -- former representative Santos and Senator Menendez is $300 million of munitions, you know, with Egypt as well, too. And Santos has never accused of being a foreign agent as well. You know, there's a lot more serious kinds of issues here, and we really need to expel Menendez in order just to be fair.


NOBILO: The U.N. Secretary General is criticizing Israel's order for residents of Gaza to evacuate, saying there is nowhere safe to go. Israeli forces have moved their ground campaign into southern Gaza in an effort to root out Hamas militants. Israeli troops say they have now, quote, completed the encirclement of the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. The U.N. Relief Agency says the number of civilian casualties in the territory is rising rapidly.

The Israel Defense Forces tell CNN that a ratio of two Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza for every Hamas militant is tremendously positive, given the challenges of urban combat. According to the Hamas run Ministry of Health in Gaza, nearly 16,000 people have been killed in the enclave.

Live now to Paris, where CNN's Melissa Bell is following these developments for us. Melissa, what has been the reaction to that statement from an Israeli spokesperson about the civilian casualty ratio?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the -- it probably brings questions fairly quickly, Bianca, about where this can be expected to end. Not just in terms, of course, the IDF determination to root out Hamas militants, but what that means for the civilian population of Gaza. That that ratio should be accepted and acceptable raises all kinds of questions for what happens next inside the Gaza Strip. And this is something that humanitarian agencies have been warning about for some, many weeks.

The very latest on the ground, Bianca, that we're hearing is that there are aerial bombardments to the south of Gaza now that these ground operations have been spread throughout. But the real aim we understand from the Israeli Defense Minister who spoke to this only last night. Is that the operations that are kind of going on in the north of the Gaza Strip are aimed at entirely breaking Gaza City and everything north of there. And that the expectation on the part of the IDF is that that should be happening fairly soon. So, you're seeing that targeting -- as you mentioned of the Jabaliya refugee camp now entirely encircled.

Also, we've been hearing a great deal of artillery fire and aviation raids on the Kamal Adwan Hospital complex in the north of the Gaza Strip. Already under tremendous strain.


As we've seen throughout this, these are the hospitals in which civilians are seeking refuge. This, though, is what the IDF has to say.


REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, IDF SPOKESPERSON: We are pursuing Hamas wherever Hamas is hiding in the north and in the south. Every rocket launcher, weapons depot, command and control center, senior commander, underground infrastructure and any hideout where our hostages may be held. Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza.


BELL: But of course, for the people of Gaza that are seeking refuge in and around hospital complexes where they can, Bianca, that is of little comfort. There is at this stage 1.9 million people that have been internally displaced by this conflict already. And as the U.N.'s now been warning, there is simply nowhere for them to go -- Bianca.

NOBILO: And Melissa, there's been new rhetoric from the U.N. emphasizing how this is a civilian catastrophe and essentially saying that Israel isn't making any changes to try and avoid more civilian deaths. There's been pressure from the United States also recently with quite a decisive shift in how they've been referring to it and their expectations for Israel. Is there any evidence yet in Israel's actions that they're trying to be more precise or changing their tactics at all to take this international pressure into account?

BELL: I think what you saw in the immediate aftermath of those calls and with the resumption of the fighting where those leaflets dropped around the Gaza Strip to -- Khan Younis, for instance, warning that this was now becoming the focus of their next military activity. Warning civilians to get out. The trouble is, of course, with the near blackout of communications, and we've heard more confirmation this morning that at this stage there is no internet available right now inside Gaza.

It's very difficult to see what hope there could have been that these messages that came in the shape of QR codes that were meant to be delivered to civilians, urging them to move to safer parts, could even have been received.

The added pressure, of course, problem, Bianca, is that the pressure had already been on the south in terms of the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding. And the extra pressure that these bombardments now throughout the Gaza Strip are bringing will only bring, of course, a great deal more misery to an already impossible situation there in the very south of the Gaza Strip -- Bianca. NOBILO: Melissa Bell for us in Paris. Thank you very much for joining

me today.

With criticism of the Israeli bombardment growing, a Brigadier General insisted the Israeli military make sure cities and buildings in Gaza are clear of civilians before launching any strikes.

Our Jeremy Diamond gained exclusive access to the IDF's tank corps in order to learn about their methods on the battlefield.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Israel expands its ground offensive into southern Gaza --

BRIG. GEN. HISHAM IBRAHIM, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: I think it's no more question if the tank is relevant or not relevant for this war.

DIAMOND (voice-over): -- Brigadier General Hisham Ibrahim, the head of Israel's armored corps, says tanks will once again be central to Israel's urban warfare strategy.

IBRAHIM: Our tanks is everywhere in the urban area. When you attack you have in the beginning the tanks firing and the attack first and then just the infantry come and be close with the tank.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Israeli tanks were at the tip of Israel's offensive into northern Gaza in late October, clearing the way for infantry troops to move into dangerously and densely populated cities.

DIAMOND: You are using these tank so they can clear the area so that infantry troops can move in.

IBRAHIM: Yeah, exactly.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Ibrahim says this kind of coordination is a lesson learned from Russian failures in Ukraine.

IBRAHIM (through translator): We saw that where the Russians fought only with tanks alone, they were more vulnerable. This combination of combined power overcomes almost every problem on the battlefield.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Israeli tanks are pushing through, not around residential buildings, reducing entire neighborhoods to rubble to minimize the risk to Israeli troops.

DIAMOND: But that also means that you have to destroy a lot of residential buildings.

IBRAHIM: Yeah, that's exactly what we do. We are firing for the buildings, we destroyed, but we make sure that this building is empty from citizens and we just destroy what we have to destroy.

DIAMOND: And we see a lot of civilians die in Gaza.

[04:15:00] IBRAHIM: Yeah, but we make sure that before we attack Gaza that the citizens go south. You know, this is war.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Israeli tanks have also become a top target.

IBRAHIM: They have RPG and they want to destroy the tank because for them this is the win picture.

DIAMOND (voice-over): In a series of propaganda videos, Hamas fighters are seen ambushing Israeli tanks. But General Ibrahim says these fiery explosions often show the tank's anti-missile systems in action.

DIAMOND: No tanks have gone out of commission?

IBRAHIM: Zero. Zero. We have tanks that we have to us some, maybe few days to fix them and they do back to the battlefield. But destroyed? Zero. Zero.

DIAMOND (voice-over): His troops though are paying a heavy price.

EITAN, ISRAELI MILITARY RESERVIST WOUNDED IN GAZA (through translator): The first RPG that was fired hit the tank, penetrated and I got hit by the shrapnel.

DIAMOND (voice-over): During a visit to wounded soldiers, General Ibrahim says his corps has suffered more casualties per capita than any other.

IBRAHIM (through translator): This is because we are on the front line. The tank corps is the corps that is winning this war. This is our war.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Jeremy Diamond, CNN, near the Israeli Gaza border.


NOBILO: Israel's intensified attacks are causing the few operating hospitals within the enclave to be flooded with people needing medical treatment. Displaced residents say they follow the orders of the IDF and believed that they were in a safe area, but the attacks continued. One resident says that there is no safe area in all of the Gaza Strip. Here's more from a father trying to save his newborn son.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They told us to leave Gaza. There's a war in Gaza, so we left and came here to the south, just like they asked. But this is what we found in the south. What can we do? This is my son. He was born on the second day of the war and we haven't been able to register his birth yet.


NOBILO: Aid agencies say 10s of thousands of displaced Palestinians have arrived in Raffa over the past two days. The recent evacuation order creating, quote, panic, fear and anxiety and shelters are overcrowded, increasing the risk of disease. The World Health Organization is also worried about major outbreaks in the area. W.H.O. officials say they can't afford any further decline in Gaza's health system.


DR. RICHARD BRENNAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We're hearing of 200 people sharing one toilet. So you know, with toilets overflowing, open defecation. These kind of conditions are ripe for the spread of disease. And we're seeing increased numbers of respiratory infections, of diarrhea. We've had over 1,100 cases of jaundice which would make us concerned about the spread of hepatitis as well as terrible skin infections, scabies and head lice, and so on.


NOBILO: A brother and sister freed by Hamas have finally been reunited. 21-year-old Maya Regev and her 18 year old brother, Itay, had been attending the Nova Music Festival when they were abducted. Maya was shot while she was on the phone with her father during the Hamas attack, but her injuries thankfully were not life threatening. The siblings were greeted by a cheering crowd in Israel on Monday.

Multiple U.S. officials tell CNN that negotiations over the release of additional hostages in Gaza appear highly unlikely to resume anytime soon. The White House has said there's one American woman and seven men unaccounted for after the October 7th mass attacks. U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says securing their release is of paramount priority.


JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: We continue to do everything in our power under the President's leadership and guidance with his direct involvement and participation to try to bring all of these Americans home as well as all of the hostages, and we will not rest until we have succeeded in doing so.

Right now Hamas is refusing to release civilian women who should have been part of the agreement. And it is that refusal by Hamas that has caused the end of the hostage agreement and therefore the end of the pause in hostilities.


NOBILO: Still to come, the U.S. is running out of money to help Ukraine, as Russia's bombardment continues. But Republican senators are threatening to block a crucial new aid package.

And the Governor of Arizona is speaking out after a border crossing was shut down in her state. What she had to say, just ahead.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) NOBILO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will appear remotely

at a classified briefing on Capitol Hill Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants lawmakers to hear first hand what's at stake with the U.S. funding bill for Ukraine still stuck in partisan limbo. The White House is pushing Congress to approve more funding, warning that. The U.S. will kneecap Ukraine on the battlefield without it. CNN's Melanie Zanona has more.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, there is growing doubt in Washington right now that Congress is going to be able to pass a package for additional aid for Israel and Ukraine, at least before the end of the year. At issue here is a complicated debate over the border. Republicans are insisting that stricter immigration and border security provisions be attached to any additional aid for Ukraine.

Now there was a working group, a bipartisan group, that was trying to hammer out a deal on the border. But we're told that over the weekend those talks hit an impasse. So, we'll see where the discussion goes from here.

Now Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority Leader, has signaled that he's just going to put a package on the floor to provide aid for Israel and Ukraine without those additional border security provisions and essentially dare Republicans to vote against it. But so far, Republicans saying that they are not backing off of their demands. Let's listen.

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): This side of the aisle has been clear that a security supplemental must include funding and policy reforms to address the crisis at the southern border. And if that doesn't happen, we will not proceed.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), U.S. SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Democrats want to be reasonable on immigration.


We're willing to make concessions, but not -- we will not keep going in circles if Republicans aren't interested in even meeting us halfway.

ZANONA: And the White House has really been stepping up their messaging on this issue. Warning that if the United States does not pass additional funding for Ukraine before the end of the year, that it's going to kneecap the country in its war against Russia. The Senate is also going to have a briefing from White House officials on Tuesday about Israel and Ukraine. But at this point, no signs that Republicans are backing down and unclear what, if anything, they're going to be able to pass.

Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NOBILO: A federal decision to temporarily suspend operations at two

ports of entry between the U.S. and Mexico is causing some frustration. Last week, vehicle processing was shut down at the Eagle Pass in Texas and reduced at the Lukeville Arizona border crossing. A current spike in migrant encounters on the southern border is requiring more agents to help Border Patrol take the migrants into custody. The goal for the government is to transfer them to locations where they can be processed quickly and deported if they have no legal basis to stay in the United States.

But Arizona's governor says she's extremely frustrated with the decision after the suspension went into effect in her state on Monday.


GOV. KATIE HOBBS (D-AZ): We need the federal government to act and provide more resources, and we've been very clear about that consistently. This is a bad decision that impacts our border security. It hurts our economy because it's a putting a damper on trade and tourism.


NOBILO: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Monday about Purdue Pharma's controversial opioid settlement. The company produced and promoted the addictive drug Oxycontin for years. Under the deal, the Sackler family that owns Purdue Pharma, would pay up to $6 billion to victims of the opioid crisis. The Sacklers would then be protected from future opioid related lawsuits.

The U.S. Justice Department blocked that agreement, asking the Supreme Court to review it. Some justices emphasize that most victims are in favor of the deal.

And Los Angeles prosecutors have charged Jarrid Joseph Powell with murder for allegedly killing three homeless men last week. Police believe that he shot them while they were sleeping on sidewalks or in alleys. Powell is also accused of killing another man during a robbery at his home. He was in court Monday, but he wasn't able to enter a plea, since his arraignment was pushed to January. He's being held without bail.

The Public Defenders Office says they are committed to presenting a vigorous defense for Mr. Powell. Investigators are still trying to find a motive.

"The Washington Post" reports that the U.S. has set records for the highest number of deaths from mass shootings and the highest number of mass shootings in a single year. A shooting in Dallas over the weekend pushed the U.S. past that tragic milestone. A 21-year-old is suspected of killing a toddler and three adults at a neighbor's house. According to the analysis done by "The Post," most of the mass killings occur in private homes.

As of December 4th, there have been 38 mass killings with guns this year. "The Post" analysis defines a mass shooting as four or more people killed, not including the shooter. The newspaper says 197 people have been killed in those shootings this year and 91 injured. "The Post" used its own metrics and parameters with data compiled from other news and academic sources.

We're hearing new witness accounts of Hamas atrocities and Israel is begging the world not to look away, when we come back.