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U.S. Confirms Retaliatory Strikes on 85 Targets in Iraq and Syria after Deaths of Three U.S. Service Members; Hamas and Islamic Jihad Demand "Complete End of Aggression" and Full Withdrawal of Israeli Forces; Federal Judge Delays Most Serious Trial Facing Trump. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired February 03, 2024 - 02:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and all around the world. I'm Nick Watt.

It is just past 10:00 in the morning in Syria and Iraq, where the impact of the American bombardment of 85 targets is being assessed. And Joe Biden is making something clear: this is just the start. The retaliation for the deaths of three Americans in Jordan and a drone attack will go on.



We don't yet know.


WATT (voice-over): This is video from what appears to be one of those strikes in Iraq early Saturday morning, local time. The mayor of this city says the strikes it houses used for weapons storage.

The Pentagon says U.S. bombers hit 85 individual targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. says they hit locations used by Iran backed militias and Iran's own Revolutionary Guard.

The video you just saw comes from Al-Qaim in Iraq, on the border, with Syria. An Iraqi military spokesman says the attacks violated Iraq's sovereignty. The White House says Iraq was notified in advance.

U.S. President Joe Biden issued this statement.

"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."

CNN Jomana Karadsheh joins us live with more on the strikes and reaction.

Jomana, what have we heard from Iran?

Have we heard anything from Iran before or since?

JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we haven't yet heard from the Iranians since the strikes took place late night in the region. We expect, as the region begins to wake up right now, that we will be hearing from Iran and other countries there.

I think a lot will depend on what the -- what these strikes did actually hit. We know what the U.S. targets were, according to the statement from the U.S. Central Command and U.S. officials.

But we are going to have to wait and see the battle damage assessment during daylight hours in the coming hours and see what the result of these strikes have been. Of course notably that U.S. statement, pointing out that it is not just the Iranian proxies in Iraq and Syria that they have gone after.

They have also struck targets affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards elite Quds Force. So we will have to wait and see. But Nick, it is also worth mentioning that we don't expect really any sort of high- value Ukrainian targets to have been hit, individuals, commanders.

We have had reports in recent days that the Iranians have already begun moving their personnel from sites in Iraq and Syria, because, as you mentioned, Iran and much of the world knew that was coming, with the U.S. saying that it was going to carry out its retaliation in Iraq and Syria, perhaps that it was coming.

So they had time to prepare for this. So we will have to wait and see and, you know, both the U.S. and Iran have said publicly over the recent days since that attack in Jordan on the U.S. base there that killed those three service members, they have both said they don't want war.

But of course, the concern has always been that, you know, as these attacks continue to take place by these Iranian proxies, that it would be some sort of a miscalculation that could lead to that war.

So we will have to wait and see what the result of these strikes has been and whether this is enough of a deterrent, that -- if this is going to stop further attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.

Or is it going to lead to another cycle of attack and counterattack?

WATT: You mentioned Iran and the U.S. have both said they don't want war. President Biden has said that there are no plans to hit any targets within Iran itself.


Iran did say, I believe Thursday or Friday, you know, they don't want to start a war but they will respond to anybody who tries to, quote, "bully" them. So can you just get into a little bit of the relationship between Iran

and these militias?

How much control does Iran exert over them?

Particularly, since the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, who, I believe was -- had a fairly personal relationship with a lot of these militias around the Middle East.

I mean, are these militias fully under Tehran's control?

KARADSHEH: This has always been the question. Dozens of these groups, both in Iraq and Syria, thousands of fighters. We have heard from the U.S. for years, they have been trained, equipped, supported, sponsored by the Iranians.

And, you know, we are talking about decades of this in Iraq. This goes back to post-U.S. military invasion in 2003, when you saw these groups emerge, when you saw the Iranian support for these groups, equipping and training them, and these groups carrying out many, many deadly attacks on U.S. forces in the country.

And they have always been seeing these proxies in both Iraq and Syria, of course, following the civil war, a decade now, where you have had these groups getting the support from the Iranians.

They have been seen as the proxy groups that are advancing Iran's interests and influence in the region. The question has always been how much influence does it have when it comes to individual attacks.

And I think everyone would agree that it is more of the overall policy and agenda. When attacks are -- when it is going to ramp up attacks against U.S. interests, if you look at what is happening right now in the region, this all started back in October, following the October 7th horrific attacks on Israel, the war in Gaza.

What you have seen is Iran's proxies across the region, whether it is Iraq, Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah, they have all ramped up their military activities. And what we have heard is all of these groups saying that, if the war in Gaza stops, if the U.S. pushes for that cease-fire, they will stop.

WATT: Jomana Karadsheh in London, thank you very much for your time.

Now those retaliatory strikes took place just after the dignified transfer of the three American soldiers killed in that drone attack in Jordan. The remains of Sgt. William Rivers, Kennedy Sanders and Breonna Moffett were carefully carried off of a military plane in Delaware.

President Biden and first lady, Jill Biden, met with their families. Presidents don't always attend this solemn ritual. But this is Biden's second as commander in chief. CNN senior White House correspondent MJ Lee has more details on the strikes and the preparations in Washington ahead of those strikes.


MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Five days after a drone strike in Jordan killed three U.S. service members, the United States taking the first set of actions, striking seven facilities in Iraq and Syria in response to the deaths of those three Americans.

A senior administration official making clear tonight that these strikes are going to be focused outside of Iran and not inside Iran.

In some ways, not surprising, given that U.S. officials have been very clear in recent days, that striking facilities and assets inside Iran would be akin to starting a war with Iran, something that the U.S. very much doesn't want, according to White House officials.

And President Biden we're told has known for several days that tonight would be the night that the strikes would begin.

He said tonight, "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."

So, of course, the president making very clear that these strikes that we saw tonight have everything to do with those three fallen U.S. soldiers and wanting to send a message that, if you come after an American, you will pay a price.

But no indications at this moment in time from U.S. officials on exactly when and where we will see the next set of strikes from the U.S. -- MJ Lee, CNN, at the White House.



WATT: Joining us now is David Sanger, a CNN political and national security analyst and "The New York Times" White House and national security correspondent.

David, we are saying a lot that Iran and the U.S., they both don't want war here. The U.S. has an election coming up. Iran has a restive population and both sides, frankly, have memories of a quagmire in the Middle East.


Can you just talk us through a little bit of the tightrope that both sides are walking here?

I mean, there is fighting, there's bombing, people are dying. But neither side wants war.

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think a lot of it focuses on what we were just discussing a few minutes ago, which has to do with the somewhat strange and kind of arm's distance relationship between the proxies and Iran.

And while their interests converge, they aren't exactly the same. Iran has got a lot to lose when it gets into a direct conflict with U.S. It has got territory, it has got facilities, it has got nuclear facilities. It has a government that is probably about to go through a significant transition, given the age and health of the supreme leader.

The proxy forces, on the other hand, they don't have territory. They have had plenty of signaling this was coming, so they have most certainly cleared their people out of these sites and they sort of win just by holding on and feeling that they are important enough for the United States to want to strike.

So it is entirely conceivable that the proxy voices will continue to go do some attacks and then Iran will try to quiet this whole thing down.

Now we did see one major proxy voice along (INAUDIBLE) this attack say that there would be no further attacks on U.S. targets a few days ago and that clearly came after pressure from Iran and from Iraq. But whether the others would sign up to that is a really hard thing to know.

WATT: David, what does the U.S. gain from these attacks?

Obviously they destroyed some materiel, some command centers. But you know, the U.S. is already seen in the Middle East, as, you know, supportive of Israel's war in Gaza. Now the U.S. is actually bombing targets in the region.

I mean, what is the U.S. going to achieve by this apart from retaliation?

SANGER: Well, you know, last night they talked a lot about degrading the capability of the forces. But degrading them is one thing and deterring them from future attacks is another. I am sure that they have set them back some. I'm also sure that these groups have the resources from Iran to rebuild over time.

You can't let an attack on Americans go unresponded to, especially one that turns out to be deadly, like this. But you also can't convince yourself that it is going to solve a problem.

And that is the difficulty that the White House finds itself in today, which is that they had no choice but to respond. But they have no illusions that this is going to end the attacks.

WATT: Since October 7th, you know, we've been talking about the potentiality, the possibility of the conflict spreading beyond the borders of Gaza and Israel.

Is that what we are seeing now, in terms of the Houthis, this, the U.S., I mean, is this now that conflict spreading regionally?

SANGER: It has spread but it hasn't gone out of control. And the fact that Iran is not directly in it is one of the biggest and most important signs. And it is entirely possible that if the administration is successful in putting together a cease-fire or a pause in the fighting following a prisoner exchange, you will see a lot of this activity just go away.

That is what happened during the brief pause back in November, when there were prisoner exchanges and so forth. So it is entirely conceivable that the shortest way to defuse this is to get a cease- fire, which is I think part of what the intent here is of these proxy groups.

But that tells you just how fragile all of this is.

And ultimately, what do these groups want?

They want to drive the United States out of the region. And I'm sure the Iraqis are saying, well, we are negotiating about sending home the 2,500 remaining Americans who are still in Iraq, who are the ones hunting ISIS. So you know, I think they would like to have a calm down and get those troops out by negotiation.

WATT: And the fact that Antony Blinken is heading to the region next week is a good sign that diplomacy is also being pursued and not just bombing. David Sanger joining us from Berlin, thank you so much for your time.

Much more -- thanks, David -- much more on the breaking news. Ahead, we will examine what can come next after those U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria. Stay with us.

Plus, a revered military commander in Ukraine now reportedly about to be out of his job.


We will explain how, even on the bad side of president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.




WATT: The U.S. has carried out its plans to attack Iranian backed assets in the Middle East. It has launched airstrikes on 85 targets in Syria and Iraq. U.S. President Joe Biden says this is only the start of retaliation for an attack in Jordan that killed three U.S. soldiers.


WATT (voice-over): U.S. B-1 bombers struck early, Saturday morning, local time. The mayor of the Iraqi town where this video was shot says the strikes hit three houses used for weapons storage.


A closer look now at those retaliatory strikes. CNN military analyst and retired U.S. Air Force Col. Cedric Leighton spoke with our Kaitlan Collins just a little earlier.


COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: One of the key things to think about here is where this actually happened. And this is the Euphrates River, right here. It was during -- in this valley, in Syria, that most of the attacks occurred.

Right here at the border crossing, at al-Qaim, between Iraq and Syria, was also a place where the attacks occurred.

And then, the Euphrates continues into here. [02:20:00]

All of these areas are basically places where these militias operate. And they also operate in areas of western Iraq, right here, and some in the northwest, as well as in other parts of the country of Iraq.

But because they are doing all of this, these areas become so important, from a military standpoint. Because what they're doing is they're taking out all of these different nodes, like you mentioned, and Oren mentioned in his report, the command and control nodes, the logistics, areas, all of that.

Because this is the main supply route, for these militias, to get the stuff that they need to do their work, from Iran. And that's why these areas are so important, from a military perspective.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: The B-1 bombers that flew, all the way from Texas, I should note, seems to be a kind of a show of force from the U.S., because obviously, there's carriers in the region. But they used these B-1 bombers. It's a 6,000 mile non-stop flight.

Can you just kind of walk us through how the U.S. carried this out?

LEIGHTON: Yes. So this, the B-1 bomber is an aircraft that is capable of flying non-stop with refueling. And it can do that to any point in the globe. So that makes it an important, really a strategic asset for the United States.

And these bombers have done missions like this before. The first time the B-1 flew in combat was actually in 1998 for Operation Desert Fox, which was also done here in the Middle East.

But the key thing for this particular operation was they were able to fly non-stop, from Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, all the way to Syria and Iraq. And they were able to do this, because they had the capabilities.

And of course, they also have the weapons on board, to do the kinds of things that they need to do, in order to really go after those 85 targets that were hit. (END VIDEO CLIP)


WATT: Joining me now is Malcolm Davis, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

Let's keep with the B-1s for a second. So they flew from Texas to hit Syria.

Is that basically saying to Iran, hey, we could fly from Texas to hit you as well?

MALCOLM DAVIS, SENIOR ANALYST, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE: Essentially, yes. We have a long-range heavy bomber, such as the B-1b or the B-2 or even the new B-21. You have that ability to project airpower at great distances.

These aircraft can carry a very accurate precision bomb. They can also carry standoff weapons, which can then strike at a target 1,000 kilometers beyond the launch distance of the B-1.

So this bomber capability that the Americans have, very few other countries have it, is a unique capability. The (INAUDIBLE) says we can fly anywhere around the world and strike with precision and with surprise. And really there's nothing that can be done to stop us.

WATT: And what do you expect to see over the next couple of days?

Let's start with the Americans and move on to the Iranians and their proxies.

More strikes from the U.S.?

The weather will probably get iffy but more strikes from the U.S. and then what from the other side?

DAVIS: Look, I think you will see more strikes. Certainly this will not be the end of it. You will see additional sorties with probably more B-1s but also I think naval assets, potentially getting involved because you've got a Carrier Task Force in the region.

The ability to strike at the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and militia supply network. The logistics, their weapons stores, to basically to whittle down their ability to strike at U.S. and allied forces in the region.

And I think that that process will carry on for some time. You might see -- or you won't see other types of military actions occurring, Special Forces and cyber operations, that sort of thing.

But when the Biden administration says an ongoing, multidimensional campaign that is across several phases, I think that is what they are talking about.

WATT: And then what you expect to see from Iran, from the Houthis in Yemen, from any one of these groups in Iraq and Syria?

Anything from them, do you anticipate in the next couple of days?

DAVIS: Absolutely. The Iranians will simply not walk away and give up in the face of this. I think the Iranians will probably lay low for a bit but then they'll strike back probably with the IR -- with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and also these militia groups.

And potentially they will do it asymmetrically. So, it may not necessarily be an attack in Iraq or Syria. It could be assisting the Houthis to launch more attacks on U.S. Navy vessels in the Red Sea.

Or it could be some sort of cyber attack on the U.S. or it could be some sort of terrorist incident. So I think the Iranians have a lot of asymmetric, indirect hybrid option that they can pursue to strike back at the U.S.


The Iranians will not give up. They don't want war necessarily but they are simply not prepared to just accept an American strike and say that our efforts are over.

WATT: I think a lot of people are taking comfort in this, you know, belief that Iran doesn't want war.

Do you really subscribe to that?

You think we can hang our hat on that?

DAVIS: As I was saying in an earlier interview on CNN, I think we need to be cautious about assuming that the Iranian government is some sort of homogenous, monolithic entity.

There are various different factions and groups and individuals within the Iranian government and within the Iranian military and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In other words, the Iranian security state that have their own differing agendas and objectives.

So whilst the public statement coming out of Tehran might be that we don't want war, we can't necessarily bank on that. We can't assume that actually they are telling the truth.

And we can't assume that elements within the Iranian security state wouldn't take advantage of a situation to pursue their own political and personal objectives. So I think we need to be cautious about an assumption, that somehow escalation is not going to happen.

It could very well happen. We could end up in a regional war and we have to be ready for that possibility.

WATT: But if we get a cease-fire, some kind of prisoner exchange, some kind of calming in Gaza and Israel, does that take the heat out of all of this?

DAVIS: It takes the heat out to a certain degree. But the problem then is that Hamas still exists, still maintains much of its capability. I don't for a minute believe they will surrender all of the hostages.

And certainly, from Israel's perspective, they cannot afford to basically accept a peace situation where Hamas is once again able to build up their forces and then launch another October 7th style attack.

So I don't necessarily think this is resolved for the long term. I think what it does is damp down the tensions and the risk of a wider war for a period of time. But the basic causes that led to October 7th with the Hamas attack on Israel and the ensuing Israeli military retaliation are still there and still unresolved.

WATT: Malcolm Davis joining us, thank you very much for your time.

Much more ahead on the U.S. retaliation. We will have the latest from the Pentagon after the break.





WATT: The United States is promising even more action against Iran- backed militias after hitting dozens of targets in Iraq and Syria overnight. The U.S. did not confirm exact locations inside those countries but security officials in Iraq reported damage in the city of al-Qaim, near the Syrian border.

The Syrian military says towns in its eastern region were hit, causing, quote, "significant damage" and also claims an unspecified number of civilians and soldiers were killed. CNN cannot independently verify those claims.

The strikes marked the first military response to the attack on a U.S. base in Jordan that killed three American soldiers. CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann has more details.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. carrying out strikes at seven locations across Iraq and Syria, four in Syria, three in Iraq, targeting 85 different targets and using over 125 precision guided weapons.

That is an order of magnitude more powerful that the strikes we've seen the U.S. carry out in Iraq and Syria over the course of the last several months. It's also worth noting this is the first time we have seen the U.S. strike Iraq and Syria simultaneously.

Meantime in a briefing following these strikes, the White House and DOD say, from what they initially know of the strikes, they were successful at hitting the targets they were going for. That included a long list of facilities used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and associated militias here.

Command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, weapons storage facilities, you can really see the targets, the U.S. going after the types of weapons used to target U.S. forces in the region and all of the logistics and command and control needed to carry out those sorts of attacks.

The U.S. had made it clear it wasn't trying to start a war with Iran here and very much trying to avoid that possibility. No strikes in Iran. But very much going after Iran's proxies in the region and the ability of the proxies to carry out attacks on U.S. forces.

These strikes come five days after a drone attack in the region killed three U.S. service members in Jordan and wounded scores more.

But it's not just that. There have been more than 160 attacks on U.S. forces in the region and this was effectively a more powerful response to all of that. And yet there's no expectation that this is the end of it.

President Joe Biden saying there could very well be more to come. And Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin being more blunt on this in a statement after, saying this is the start of our response.

The key question here, of course, what does the rest of that response look like? And where does it play out? -- Oren Liebermann, CNN, in the Pentagon.


WATT: Now to elsewhere in the Middle East, 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 to the aggression" and, quote, "the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza as part of any deal."

This comes after negotiators in Paris last weekend reportedly reached a broad framework for hostages to be released and a potential cease- fire in the war.


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.

Meanwhile, a new report from UNICEF says the war has left at least 17,000 children in Gaza unaccompanied or separated from their parents. The U.N. agency estimates that nearly all children in Gaza, more than 1 million, 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. They add that relatives who take in children whose parents have been killed are already struggling to care for their own families, because of the humanitarian crisis. (MUSIC PLAYING)

WATT: Ukraine's military chief is still attending top level meetings, despite reports that he is about to be fired. On Friday, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with General Valerii Zaluzhnyi and other officials to discuss military matters.

Mr. Zelenskyy later referred to him as the commander in chief in a social media post. Sources have told CNN the general is expected to be out of a job by the end of the week. His dismissal would be the biggest military shakeup in Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion.

But many Ukrainians see Zaluzhnyi as the right man for the job and someone who was key in holding back Russia's onslaught in the early days of the war. Fred Pleitgen explains how the popular general fell out of favor with the president.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Since Moscow's forces invaded Ukraine almost two years ago, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi has been the man behind the military effort to push the Russians back, a successful effort but one requiring great sacrifices in Ukrainian blood.

Zaluzhnyi, a respected commander close to his troops.

"The path to our victory is very hard," he said at a military funeral, "and the price for this victory is the lives of our warriors, the best citizens of Ukraine, who have stood in the defense of the country with weapons and their hands."

But after Ukraine's large-scale counteroffensive failed last year, Kyiv's forces making little headway while suffering major losses, relations between Zaluzhnyi and Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, appeared to fray.

Zelenskyy seemingly critical of his top general strategy.

"I have working relations with Zaluzhnyi. He has to answer for results on the battlefield as commander in chief, together with the general staff," Zelenskyy said. "There are many questions."

Zaluzhnyi remains extremely popular. A December Ukrainian poll finding nearly 90 percent supported him compared to around 60 percent for Zelenskyy.

Another point of contention between the two, further mobilization of soldiers to beef up the armed forces but also to give troops, fighting on the front lines for months, a breather.

Zaluzhnyi saying, "It's going too slow. As for the local mobilization offices as of now, frankly speaking, I am not satisfied with the work of the mobilization offices. If I were satisfied with their work, we would not discuss this bill right now." But Zelenskyy is critical of further mobilization, an unpopular measure for many Ukrainians.

"And what, everyone, take everyone away because they don't have money?" this man asks. "That really smells like slavery."

"As harsh as it may sound, in my opinion, it's necessary," this man says, "because it's really a matter where it seems to me there is no choice."

Outmanned and outgunned, Ukraine's army is struggling to hold the Russians up while the president's relations with his top general seem damaged, possibly beyond repair -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Kyiv.


WATT: The International Court of Justice says one part of the genocide related case brought by Ukraine against Russia can proceed. Ukraine filed the case just days after Russia invaded.

Moscow had claimed their invasion was sparked by Ukraine carrying out genocide in the east of Ukraine, where the two sides had been fighting since 2014. Ukraine wants the court to declare that that is not so. And the court will now proceed on that. But the court will not rule on Ukraine's claim that Russia's invasion itself is genocide.

Still ahead, one of former U.S. President Donald Trump's upcoming trials is now on hold. The reason a federal judge is granting the delay.


WATT: That is next.




WATT: We are following airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, where the U.S. says it hit 85 targets linked to Iran backed militias. The attacks launched at midnight, local time on Saturday, in response to a drone strike in Jordan that killed three American soldiers last Sunday.

Syrian military says the strikes caused, quote, "significant damage" and killed civilians and military personnel in the eastern region of Syria, near the Syrian Iraqi border. CNN cannot independently verify the number or nature of those casualties.

The U.S. warned this is only the beginning of its response. But a senior White House official confirmed that the U.S. will not strike inside Iran.


It's only focusing on targets outside of that country.

The federal judge overseeing Donald Trump's election interference trial in Washington, D.C., has postponed the case. It had been set to start on March the 4th but, as CNN's Katelyn Polantz reports, the delay is due to Trump's claims of presidential immunity.


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.

The reason?

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.


WATT: The historic trial of the mother of a mass shooter who killed four of his classmates at a Michigan high school in 2021 goes to the jury on Monday.

Closing arguments wrapped up Friday, in Jennifer Crumbley's trial on four counts of manslaughter. Earlier in the day, she faced an aggressive cross-examination by prosecutors. Crumbley acknowledged that she did not tell school officials her son was given a gun as a gift. The teen used that gun in the deadly shooting. Take a listen.


MARC KEAST, ASSISTANT PROSECUTOR: You don't deny that you didn't tell school officials, Mr. Hopkins at EGF (ph), about the gun-purchase on the 26th?

JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, ETHAN'S MOTHER: No, we had stated that we went to the shooting range -- I went to the shooting range with my son on Saturday.

KEAST: You didn't tell them that you have gotten him that Christmas gifts?

CRUMBLEY: I didn't think it was relevant, no.

KEAST: Do you acknowledge that you didn't go home to look for that firearm after the meeting at the school?

CRUMBLEY: We wouldn't have a reason to.


WATT: Jennifer Crumbley's husband goes on trial next month. There have been several other cases in which parents were charged for shootings carried out by their children but not one in a school mass shooting.

There has been a magnitude 5.1 earthquake in Oklahoma. The epicenter was a not far from Oklahoma City. It is just the latest and largest of several quakes that have hit the state recently. So far there have been no reports of injuries or significant damage.

The key indicator of the U.S. economy has exceeded expectations. The country added more jobs than most experts were predicting. The latest numbers after the break.





WATT: Back to our breaking news on those U.S. strikes in Iraq and Syria. Washington is making it clear that Saturday's retaliatory attacks are not its last word. And more military action will come at the time and place of its choosing.

The U.S. said it struck more than 85 targets, all associated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and its affiliated militias. The Syrian military says the strikes caused, quote, "significant damage" and killed civilians and soldiers.

The U.S. blames those militias for Sunday's deadly drone attack on its military outpost in Jordan, which killed three U.S. troops and wounded dozens more. A senior U.S. official says Washington will not conduct strikes inside Iran.

The U.S. economy has again defied predictions, adding more than 350,000 jobs in January. That's about double what economists were expecting. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent. And December's job gains will revise sharply upwards to a total of 333,000.

Markets initially fell on the robust numbers but bounced back before the close.


Few investors are expecting the Fed to cut rates when it meets in March.

Apple has just introduced its Vision Pro, this is the company's first new product in seven years.


WATT (voice-over): CEO, Tim Cook, celebrating the launch at the Apple store in New York City with about 200 people from all around the world. The wearable device is a mixed reality headset, blending virtual reality and the real world.

Apple says you can navigate its apps with your eyes, hands and voice. It promises the ultimate personal theater experience for about $3,500. It is now available in the U.S. But Apple has not said when it will be sold internationally.


WATT: Thanks very much for joining us. I'm Nick Watt. We will have more news after the break.