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U.S. Confirms Retaliatory Strikes on 85 Targets in Iraq and Syria after Deaths of Three U.S. Service Members; Letter Criticizes Western Policies toward Israel; China's Global Ambitions Strained by Attacks in Trade Route; Federal Judge Delays Most Serious Trial Facing Trump. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 03, 2024 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
LYNDA KINKADE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome, I am Lynda Kinkade.
After unleashing the U.S. military on Iranian backed targets in Syria and Iraq, President Joe Biden is making it clear, this is just the start of the retaliation in the deaths of three Americans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE (voice-over): This video from what appears to be one of those strikes early, Saturday morning local time. The mayor of this town says the strikes hit houses used for weapons storage.
The Pentagon says U.S. bombers hit 85 individual targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. says the locations were used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and by Iranian backed militia.
The Pentagon says each was used by Iran backed groups. The video you just saw comes from Iraq on the border with Syria. An Iraqi military spokesman says the attacks violated Iraq's sovereignty. The White House says Iraq was notified before the attacks.
U.S. President Joe Biden issued this statement, "Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing.
"The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: if you harm an American, we will respond."
This happened after the dignified transfer of three American soldiers killed in the drone attack in Jordan. The remains of Sgt. William Rivers, Kennedy Sanders and Breonna Moffett were carefully carried on a military plane in Delaware.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with their families. Presidents do not always attend the solemn ritual but this is Biden's second as commander in chief.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is live with more on the strikes and reaction in the region.
Seven strikes were hit in Syria and Iraq. Iraq, of course, hosts about 2500 U.S. forces in its country.
How is it responding?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Iraq is waking up right now so we will probably be hearing more from the Iraqi government. But as you mentioned, shortly after the announcement of the strikes taking place, we did get a statement from the Iraqi military.
A spokesman saying this is a violation of Iraq's sovereignty, that it is unacceptable, that Iraq has really been trying to keep the region stable and basically hinting that this was a destabilizing act.
You have to keep in mind, as you mentioned earlier, Iraq was given advance warning that these strikes would happen according to U.S. officials. Frankly, much of the world knew that this was coming nearly a week after that attack that killed three U.S. service members on the base, on the Jordan-Syria border.
Everyone has been waiting and expecting U.S. retaliation. And the expectation was that these strikes would take place in Iraq and Syria.
You have to keep in mind, Iraq is in a very tough position. It has for years been trying to balance its relationship between the United States and Iran. Both have significant influence in the country, the U.S. with its troops present on the ground there for years.
Iran has significant influence in the country, especially if you look at the Iranian backed militias who are really powerful, as we have seen, over the years. And the fear has always been for Iraqis, for the Iraqi government, that any sort of confrontation between Iran and the U.S. would play out on Iraqi soil.
And this is a country that stability is very fragile and there was always this concern that Iraq would be dragged into this conflict as we saw back in 2020, when the United States under President Trump at the time, targeted General Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Force leader of Iran and killed him in that strike.
And you saw the retaliation from Iran on U.S. bases there. This has always been the fear that this -- what they see as destabilizing acts in the country. A very tough position for Iraq to be in right now.
And Lynda, as we have heard from the U.S.' Arab allies time and time again, this is, of course, not happening in a vacuum. You have seen attacks on U.S. forces over the past few months and it all goes back to the situation in Gaza.
This is why you hear them repeatedly saying that the United States needs to put pressure on Israel, to work on a cease-fire, to bring the war in Gaza to an end. And they say that will lead to an end to these attacks we are seeing. At least that is what these groups, the Iranian backed groups in the region, have said they would do.
KINKADE: Jomana Karadsheh, good to have you with us on this story from London, thanks so much.
KINKADE: Joining us now is Charles Lister, a senior fellow and the director of the Countering Terrorism and Extremism Programs with the Middle East Institute.
Good to have you with us.
CHARLES LISTER, SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR, SYRIA AND COUNTERING TERRORISM AND EXTREMISM PROGRAMS, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: Thanks for having me.
KINKADE: Long-range bombers were sent from the U.S. to carry out these strikes, hitting 85 targets on seven different sites.
How do these compare to strikes the U.S. has launched against Iranian backed militants in the past?
LISTER: Right, it is really important to state from the outset here, before we maybe go deeper into the issues, that the strikes we've seen tonight are, by a country mile, the most significant action we have seen the U.S. taking answer and regional proxies in Syria and Iraq at any point in history, at least since the Iraq War.
And so, in and of themselves, this is an extremely significant action. And, of course, we have heard in the administration, as you say, this will be the first of a number of rounds of strikes. So unquestionably significant.
KINKADE: But it is interesting from your assessment, the U.S. did not go after high-value targets.
LISTER: The Biden administration has made it really clear, in particular over the past five or so days since the incident that triggered all this, the attack on the Syria-Jordanian border on January 20th, the administration made it really clear it does not want to create escalation.
It does not want to be perceived as contravening toward escalation but at the same time it knew it had to respond. I think it is all to thread the needle. Its response has been directly to target the capabilities of Iran's proxies in Syria and Iraq.
But pretty clear and pretty clearly from the messaging standpoint from the administration, it has not explicitly sought to target Iranian personnel, certainly not high-value targets within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And certainly not what many of the people on the right side of the spectrum here in the United States have called for, which was to hit Iran itself.
And so taken altogether, measuring up how maximalist they could have been and how minimalist they could have been, we are essentially somewhere around the middle here, which I think is probably a pretty good place for the Biden administration to be, given where it wants to be.
KINKADE: There has been some criticism or questions about the fact that the U.S. forewarned that these strikes are going to take place.
What was the point of that?
Did that lessen the impact?
LISTER: I think it unquestionably did. It also would have contributed to a reduction in the number of potential targets we might have had.
Listen, the long-standing debate and assessment, when it comes to the activities and the threat calculus of Iran's proxies in the region, is that they understand very little except for significant force. This, what we have seen tonight, would certainly count as an example of that.
KINKADE: Given the way Iran got involved as you just outlined, how much power and sway does Iran have over these militants?
Tell us more about these militants, where they are located, how many people make up these various groups and how they are funded.
LISTER: In Syria and Iraq combined, as of today, tens of thousands of members of these militias -- and there are dozens of them in both countries together -- they have deep roots.
They were originally established immediately following the U.S. invasion of Iraq and that was in 2003. Many of these groups know full well what it is like to kill Americans. Quite frankly, Kataib Hezbollah and others were killing Americans between 2003 and 2010.
So they are also no strangers to the U.S. military. These are long time adversaries. But given those deep roots, it's going to be externally difficult, frankly, to convince them as locals to give up on the campaign they have been engaged in for more than 20 years.
And I think ultimately that is the challenge from the U.S. perspective. Iran has created proxies. There is a reason why we in the U.S. and Europe call them proxies.
They are not Iranians; they are not Iranian groups, they are proxies. So they are supposed to act on behalf of Iran.
Another one of these debates that goes on these days is, to what extent can Iran truly control these groups?
When we look at Yemen, are the Houthis acting with Iranian permission?
Are they being controlled by Iran?
It is always somewhere in the middle. Iran established these groups to pursue the Iranian agenda in the region but without having to control them 24/7, 365 days of the year.
And that is precisely why I think Iran did have to intervene at this point, because it is thought its own immediate regional interests were at stake and that it needed to restrain some of these militias.
That does not mean they have somehow gone rogue. They were designed to operate in exactly this way. That is how we need to understand them, as proxies.
KINKADE: It will be interesting to see what other attacks may follow from these Iranian backed proxies. We will wait and see. Good to have you with us. We appreciate your time and expertise, thanks.
LISTER: Thank you.
KINKADE: The leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad reiterated their demands for a potential hostage deal on Friday. They are calling for a, quote, "complete end of the aggression and the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza."
It comes after negotiators in Paris last weekend reportedly reached a broad framework for the hostages to be released and a potential cease- fire. However, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said as recently as this week that he would not agree to a full withdrawal from Gaza until Israel has completed its goal of eliminating Hamas.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society is calling for a humanitarian corridor to allow people to flee the intense fighting in Khan Younis. The relief group says the al-Amal hospital in the city has been under siege for nearly two weeks, with relentless bombing and gun battles in the surrounding area.
Israel's military claims it has killed dozens of Hamas fighters in recent days. The health ministry in Gaza said Israel has killed 112 people and wounded another 148 in the 24 hours between Thursday and Friday. The U.N. says that escalating fighting is forcing thousands of civilians to flee further south.
The U.N.'s humanitarian office says the surge of people into Rafah has turned the city into, quote, "a pressure cooker of despair."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): See my fear, danger and bombardments are coming from all directions, sufficient for us is Allah and he is the best disposer of affairs. (END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: A new report from UNICEF says the war has left at least 17,000 children in Gaza orphaned or separated from their families. The U.N. agency estimates that nearly all children in Gaza, more than 1 million of them, need mental health and psychological support.
UNICEF says children are suffering from high levels of anxiety, panic, inability to sleep, loss of appetite and emotional outbursts when they hear bombings and airstrikes. The Palestinian Red Crescent said it's been more than 90 hours since that ambulance team set out to rescue a girl believed to be the only survivor among seven families.
Family members killed in an attack near Gaza City. The girl's mother has been waiting outside the hospital, desperate to see her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WISSAM HAMADA, HIND'S MOTHER (through translator): I am expecting her to come at any minute. At any second I am waiting for my daughter. My daughter could come at any minute. I brought her things and I am waiting for her at the hospital.
Every time I hear the sound of an ambulance, I go to the door and think my daughter is coming. Every time I hear the sound of any strike, any shell or a bullet, my heart hurts because I think of this bullet being so close to my daughter. Any strike, I feel that it is coming to my daughter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: (INAUDIBLE) CNN about the circumstances involving the girl. The Israel Defense Forces said it is, quote, "unfamiliar" with the incident described.
More than 1,000 officials from the United States and Europe have signed a letter criticizing their government's policies toward Israel. They are calling on their governments to use all leverage to secure a cease-fire.
They accuse their governments of failing to hold Israel to the same standards that they apply to other nations. It comes as the U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken will leave Sunday on his fifth trip to the Middle East since the October 7th Hamas attack in Israel.
The secretary will push for the release of all remaining hostages and a humanitarian pause to allow increased aid to civilians in Gaza.
Iran tests U.S. patience across the Middle East by having allies put their necks on the line. Still ahead, we will look at the web of proxies which do some of Tehran's dirty work in the region.
Plus, the Red Sea crisis tests China's global ambitions and its economy. That story and more after a quick break. (MUSIC PLAYING)
KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade.
U.S. President Joe Biden says strikes in Syria and Iraq are just beginning. U.S. B-1 bombers struck 85 targets early Saturday morning local time. The Pentagon says each location was used by Iranian backed groups.
The strikes are in retaliation for the deaths of three Americans killed in Jordan in a drone attack. The mayor of the Iraqi town where this video was shot said the strike hit three houses used for weapons storage. That town is very close to Iraq's border with Syria. An Iraqi military spokesman says the strikes violated his country's sovereignty.
What will Iran do in the wake of these U.S. strikes?
Iran expert Karim Sadjadpour history may hold the answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: This month marks the 45th anniversary of the Iranian revolution of 1979. You basically have a 45-year case study of Iranian conduct.
I would say that on one hand this is a regime which is deeply committed to its ideology. It wants to evict America from the Middle East. It wants to replace Israel with Palestine. It wants to help bring down the U.S.-led world order.
But they are also deeply committed to staying in power. They are not suicidal. They are very good at testing U.S. resolve, constantly testing U.S. red lines. I suspect now what they are going to do, given this massive U.S. response, is to lay low a little bit.
I suspect we will not see attacks in the near term on U.S. troops. But once we are again distracted, whether it is by our presidential elections or the war in Ukraine, I think they will start to test us again, because they are committed to their ideology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: One of the ways Iran is testing the U.S. resolve is through the use of its proxies. Tehran has a sprawling network of affiliated groups in the Middle East. Brian Todd has more on those groups and the one blamed for Sunday's drone attack on U.S. troops.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. officials have said they believed Kataib Hezbollah was responsible for the attack on Sunday which killed the three American service members in Jordan.
It is one of a few groups that are under an umbrella organization, called the Islamic Resistance of Iraq. It actually operates in both Iraq and Syria. They are backed by Iran with weapons, money and training.
Kataib Hezbollah is considered the most powerful of those groups. In a surprise move earlier this week, it announced it was suspending its military operations against U.S. forces in the region and try to distance Iran from the attack that killed the Americans.
It clearly was a sign of nervousness over possible U.S. retaliation, which is going on right now. Overall, in the Middle East, Iran supports several proxy groups. But Tehran's control over these groups varies.
Iran's closest ally is the broader Hezbollah organization, based here in Lebanon. Iran supports Hamas in Gaza and the Houthis in Yemen. As for how much control Iran has over them, experts believe Iran has the most influence with the broader Hezbollah group in Lebanon.
Those smaller groups in Iraq and Syria seem to operate a little more independently of Iran. And the Houthis here in Yemen are seen as a wild card, a group that Iran has the least amount of control over.
And in fact Iran's leadership has reportedly been concerned in recent weeks over all the attacks that the Houthis have launched on commercial shipping in the region, in the Red Sea here and elsewhere.
KINKADE: Our thanks to Brian Todd.
Yemen's Iran backed Houthi rebels say their attacks from the Red Sea are in response to Israel's military campaign in Gaza. The crisis at the Red Sea is also putting pressure on China, testing both its ambitions of becoming a power player in the Middle East and its export reliant economy. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has more from Hong Kong.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Houthi rebel attacks continue to assault commercial shipping in the Red Sea and retaliatory strikes by the U.S. and U.K. threaten to grow into a wider regional conflict.
Global supply chains have been upended and China's ambitions of becoming a new Middle East power broker are being tested.
Attacks by the Iran backed Houthi militants have effectively diverted one of the world's main trade routes and the stakes are high for China, the world's largest exporting nation. Yet so far, its response has been limited to calls for end to attacks on civilian ships and veiled criticisms of U.S.-led strikes against the Houthis in Yemen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): We advocate respecting the sovereignty of countries along the Red Sea, including Yemen, and are committed to actively working with all parties to ease tensions in the Red Sea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: The U.S. has resorted to urging Beijing to use its, quote, "substantial leverage" with Iran to stop the attacks. But China's next moves will need to be carefully calculated. It has been Iran's biggest trading partner for a decade. And trade experts say last year it bought about 90 percent of Iran's oil exports.
The Houthis have said they will not target Chinese vessels. But Chinese shipping giants like Cosco and OOCL are among those rerouting away from the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
They join other big industry names like Maersk in sending vessels around South Africa's Cape of Good Hope instead. Analysts say that increases shipping times by two to four weeks and it raises costs by about $1 million per voyage.
Tesla, Volvo, Geely, these are some of the companies who have already warned it is going to take longer for their products to hit shelves and showrooms as a result. Those products may also end up costing consumers more.
The Shanghai Shipping Exchange says ocean freight rates from Shanghai to Europe surged more than 300 percent, which in November and January, are a major concern for Beijing, an increase in Western companies shifting production away from China and closer to home.
That would be bad news for China's export heavy economy, which is already struggling with a property crisis, a shrinking population and sluggish domestic consumer demand -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
KINKADE: Still to come, a federal judge delays one of Donald Trump's upcoming trials. The reason why and what it all means, just ahead.
KINKADE: Welcome back.
More now in our breaking news out of the Middle East.
[01:30:00] The United States has begun its response to the attack in Jordan, which killed three American soldiers and wounded dozens more.
The U.S. has launched airstrikes on targets in Iraq and Syria, locations believed to belong to Iranian backed militia. Iraqi officials say weapons, warehouses used by one of those groups was hit in the city of al-Qaim near the Syrian border. It is not clear yet how Iran or its proxies will respond. Nic Robertson has the regional state of play.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Of course, one of the big concerns for the United States going into these strikes is that it didn't trigger a further escalation in the region.
The tensions already clearly very high. The northern border of Israel with Hezbollah has exchange of fire every day. The IDF is engaged with Hamas inside of Gaza.
The question is, could these strikes then trigger a misinterpretation of another move?
Could it trigger one of Iran's proxies in Iraq and Syria to strike back aggressively and therefore escalate the situation?
Well the first we've heard is from the Iraqi government. A spokesman for the army there is saying it is a violation of their sovereignty. Now we've heard them say this before, so that in itself not necessary an escalation.
The biggest and strongest of the Iran backed militias, Kataib Hezbollah, just before the strikes, minutes before the strikes on their Telegram channel, they said they were waiting for orders about what to do next.
An indication that they're waiting for Tehran, their main sponsor, to tell them how to respond to the events of the night. It's not clear yet how much damage has been done, how many of the IRGC members and how much of their weapons have been damaged and destroyed overnight.
But I think perhaps, looking toward the president of Iran, who said, he said, we're not looking to get into a direct fight with the United States. But he is clearly hinting very strongly that there will be a response. He said, we will deal with bullies authoritatively.
I think in the language of this region, that means United States strikes, though there will be more, they certainly won't be the last word from Iran's proxies in the region -- Nic Robertson, CNN, Tel Aviv, Israel.
KINKADE: Joining me now is Malcolm Davis, a military analyst and senior analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
Good to have you with us.
MALCOLM DAVIS, SENIOR ANALYST, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Thank you for having me.
KINKADE: The U.S. did not strike any targets in Iran but rather attacked Iranian backed militia in Iraq and Syria. Explain why that was important.
DAVIS: I think the objective of these strikes is essentially to degrade the ability of groups like Kataib Hezbollah and the other militias as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to continue strikes against U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.
It was not necessarily to deter further strikes although I think that that should have been a goal but I don't think the way the strikes are going on at the moment will achieve that. It certainly wasn't to attack Iran directly because, as your analysis is saying, to do that would certainly have led to dramatic escalation and a wider war.
That is not to say that we cannot end up in that place at some point; it largely depends on how Iran now responds to these U.S. strikes. But certainly the goal initially seems to be degrade the enemy's military capability rather than to launch a wider war.
KINKADE: So you say the aim of this was to degrade but not to deter?
What would deter these groups from further strikes and further attacks?
DAVIS: I think to deter would have required a much more robust response. That may come. President Biden is saying this is going -- this campaign is going to continue on for some time. He is indicating it will not necessarily just be missile strikes and bombing.
It could be a multidimensional, multilevel campaign. But right at the moment, it does not seem to be set up to deter.
In particular, the very fact that the Biden administration has telegraphed these strikes, you know, many days after the initial attack on the U.S. forces, has given the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and militias time to evacuate their high-value targets.
KINKADE: Why would it do that?
Why would the U.S. give warning before carrying out these strikes?
DAVIS: That is a question I think everyone is quite legitimately asking. And I think it probably was designed by the Biden administration to avoid the risk of unnecessary escalation.
[01:35:02] But it does mean that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the militias have had time to not only withdraw their personnel but also some of their more critical capabilities.
So as a result, the actual effectiveness of the strikes in terms of bomb damage assessment may mean that it does not have the sort of strategic operational and political effect we are looking for. But it does inflict damage on residual capabilities left by those forces.
KINKADE: Iran's president has said Iran does not want to start a war. The U.S. has said the same, that it doesn't want to start a war with Iran. But Iran, of course, is promising, its president promising to respond to what he calls a bully.
What do you think that could entail?
DAVIS: I think we should be cautious about Iran saying that it does not want to start a war. Iran's government is not a homogenous, monolithic entity. It is a collection of groups, individuals, paralytes (ph), all with their own agendas.
And there might be elements within the Iranian government and within the Iranian system that actually do see escalation as being -- as matching their agenda and their objectives. So we should be cautious.
I do not think the Iranians necessarily want to get into a full-on direct conflict with the Americans now. What they do want is to see the Americans forced out of the region and they want to do it indirectly.
So that is why they are using these militias, it is why they are supporting groups like the Houthis to try to inflict sufficient damage on the Americans so the Americans will withdraw rather than having to choose to go into essentially another endless Middle East war, particularly in a presidential election year.
KINKADE: If that is the objective, it is an interesting way that they are responding because the U.S. is sending more aircraft carriers. The B-1 bombers we just saw to carry out these strikes as a result of the Iranian backed militia attacks.
Iran, of course, is a country where people are executed for opposing the government. And we saw just the last couple of weeks ago a 23- year-old who worked in a barber shop, killed for taking part in those antigovernment protests against Iran.
Are you saying that Iran's objective is to make sure that the U.S. leaves the region?
What are the other objectives then?
DAVIS: They clearly want to be the hegemony in power in the Middle East. They certainly do not want to see the U.S. signing peace deals for Israel and Saudi Arabia. So they want to sabotage any dealmaking that could lead to greater stability in the region. They ultimately, as I said, they want to be the hegemonic power. If
they can get the U.S. to be confronted with a choice of either withdrawing or accepting being drawn into a Middle Eastern war, which the U.S. doesn't want, they are betting the U.S. will pull back.
And so therefore they are using proxy forces and militias to try and inflict cost on the Americans, to get them to pull back and create a strategic vacuum that Iran would then seek to fill.
KINKADE: Malcolm Davis, good to have you on the program. We appreciate you sharing your perspective and expertise. Thank you so much.
DAVIS: Thank you.
KINKADE: Donald Trump will no longer go to trial on March 4th to face charges he interfered with the 2020 election. The federal judge overseeing the case postponed those proceedings over claims of immunity. Katelyn Polantz is in Washington with the details.
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump's first criminal trial will no longer be about the 2020 election and the end of his presidency. That is because a federal judge on Friday said it could not begin on March 4th.
It is because the law has not been worked out yet. There are questions about presidential immunity, whether Trump could face trial before an appeals court. That appeals court has not ruled in weeks.
And so as the wait for the opinion continues, day after day after day, that means Trump's team is not preparing for trial and the trial is not going to be able to go forward as scheduled.
This is the trial in Washington, D.C., a federal case against Trump. But he is still set to go to trial in March. In the end of March, in fact, is when the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg is said to put on his case against Trump, now, as a defendant related to a hush money scheme and the falsification of business records.
Right now, that is supposed to be the first criminal trial against Trump on the calendar. There are a lot of moving parts here, trial dates do move.
And this case with Judge Tanya Chutkan, there is much anticipation of when the appeals court will determine what the law is here, when it will go back to the judge and when that 2020 election case could be put back on the calendar, especially whether it will happen before the presidential election of 2024. Something the Justice Department very much wants to happen, no matter
when the Manhattan DA's case and other cases against Trump go forward. So we will wait and see that.
Trump, of course, does not want this trial to happen before the presidential election in November. It would shine quite a light on the end of his presidency, how he managed his White House. There would be former officials called to testify against him, very possibly his own former vice president Mike Pence.
It would put a spotlight on how Donald Trump viewed elections in a critical moment where he is still running for the American presidency -- Katelyn Polantz, CNN, Washington.
KINKADE: The International Court of Justice says a genocide related case against Russia can and will proceed. Ukraine filed the case after Russia invaded two years ago. It claims Russia falsely used genocide law to justify its brutal invasion. The U.N.'s top court says it has the jurisdiction to hear the case. Here is what Ukraine's lead attorney had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTON KORYNEVYCH, UKRAINE'S LEAD LAWYER: So it means that the obligation of the Russian Federation to immediately suspend all the military activities in the territory of Ukraine is there.
And it is a legal obligation which the Russian Federation must fulfill. And every day of Russia's brutal war in Ukraine is a violation of the provisional measures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: In an unusual trial in the U.S. state of Michigan, a jury will decide whether the mother of a teenage school shooter should go to prison for her role in her son's crimes.
KINKADE: Welcome back.
The mother of the Michigan high school shooter who killed four of his classmates and wounded six others and a teacher has wrapped up testimony in her manslaughter trial. On Monday, the jury is expected to begin deliberating on whether she should go to prison for her role in her son's actions. Jean Casarez reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KAREN MCDONALD, OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We actually saw the last day he was practicing to kill four of his classmates. And there was only one person with him that day, ladies and gentlemen. Her name is Jennifer Crumbley.
SHANNON SMITH, CRUMBLEY DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It was unforeseeable. No one expected this. No one could have expected this, including Ms. Crumbley.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorneys making their final pitches to persuade the jury in this historic trial of the mother of the Oxford, Michigan, school shooter.
MCDONALD: He walked out of that school with the smallest of things. Could have stayed, could have helped Hannah and Tate and Madison and Justin. Just the smallest of things. And not only did she not do it, she doesn't even regret it.
SMITH: The Crumbley son was a skilled manipulator and they didn't realize it. He's not sick, he doesn't have a mental illness. No parent would purchase a weapon if they believed their child had mental illnesses.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Before closing arguments began, Crumbley faced cross- examination, testifying she knew her son was acting depressed after his only friend moved away just one month before the shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You knew it to be true in November of 2021 that he had no peer support.
JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, ETHAN'S MOTHER: I don't know what he had in school. He told me he had friends in school he talks to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. You never met them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And he didn't have any clubs at school he was a part of.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Jennifer Crumbley is charged with four courts of involuntary manslaughter. She has pleaded not guilty. The prosecution pressing Crumbley on her actions the day of the shooting. That morning the school called in Jennifer Crumbley and her husband after discovering a violent drawing their son made on his math worksheet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the (INAUDIBLE) help me?
Did that ring out to you?
CRUMBLEY: Yes, that was concerning to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blood everywhere, there's a bullet. And actually, you were the one who bought the bullets on November 27th. CRUMBLEY: Correct.
You later came to know those bullets were used in the shooting.
CRUMBLEY: I did.
CASAREZ (voice-over): In the meeting at school, Crumbley did not mention the gun purchased four days earlier for their 15-year-old son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't tell them that you had gotten him that Christmas gift.
CRUMBLEY: I didn't think it was relevant, no.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You acknowledge that you didn't go home to look for that firearm after the shooting at the school.
CRUMBLEY: We would have no reason to.
CASAREZ (voice-over): Her son used that gun to kill four of his classmates after that meeting on November 30, 2021. The prosecution asking Crumbley whether she neglected her son, talking about how often she spent time with her horses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your son could have been with you those three, four, five times a week when you were at the barn.
CRUMBLEY: He could have, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on November 30, 2021, at 12:51 pm, you could have been with him.
CRUMBLEY: I could have, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you didn't.
CASAREZ (voice-over): In closings, Crumbley's lawyers dismisses that argument.
SMITH: Just because she spends money and time on horses doesn't mean she doesn't love her son.
CASAREZ: Closing arguments concluded late Friday afternoon. The jury will return on Monday, when they will hear instructions from the judge. Then they will begin their deliberations -- Jean Casarez, CNN, New York.
KINKADE: The U.S. is retaliating after a drone strike killed three American soldiers in Jordan. We will have the latest in the Middle East after a short break.
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KINKADE: More now on our breaking news out of the Middle East, where we are following airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. says it hit 85 targets linked to Iran backed militia.
The attack launched at midnight local time on Saturday was in response to a drone strike in Jordan that killed three American soldiers on Sunday. The mayor of al-Qaim, Iraq, says it was hit in the strikes.
The U.S. has not said which cities were hit but it has warned that this is just the beginning of its response. A senior White House official confirmed that the U.S. will not strike inside Iran but they are focusing on targets outside the country.
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says what the White House is trying to accomplish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: This is the first stage and it is more than proportional of sending a signal not just to the popular mobilization forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq but also to the Iranian government.
This is telling them we are coming after you. We will not put up with these continuous harassing attacks that truly we have been putting up with before the 7th of October. This is something the Iranian government has been supporting for years, if not decades, against U.S. forces and against Israel as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: The strikes came on the same day that the three American soldiers killed in the drone attack in Jordan returned home.
The remains of Sgt. William Rivers, Kennedy Sanders and Breonna Moffett were carefully carried off a military plane in Delaware during a dignified transfer. President Biden and first lady Jill Biden met with their families before the solemn ritual.
I'm Lynda Kinkade. Thanks for being with us this hour. My colleague Nick Watt is up next with our continuing coverage of the U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria.