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Negotiations Over Deal To Release Hamas Hostages Resume Today; Three Clinics Pause IVF Treatments Following Court Ruling; Trump Appeals Civil Fraud Judgment In New York. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired February 26, 2024 - 11:30   ET




VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: I hope it's not -- I hope it's it will not be so, but -- this way, but anyway, so if Donald Trump doesn't know whom he will support, Ukraine or Russia, I think that he will have challenges with his society. Because to support Russia, it means being against Americans.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: And be sure to watch all of Kaitlan Collins' one-on-one special interview with the Ukrainian president, Zelenskyy, that airs later tonight on "THE SOURCE," her program, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

And just ahead. Some fertility clinics in Alabama have stopped seeing patients after a state Supreme Court decision. I'll speak with a key Democrat who's now trying to help the hopeful families who are caught in the middle. Stay with us. You're live here in the CNN NEWSROOM.



BLITZER: An Israeli delegation is in Qatar right now for talks with officials from the U.S., Egypt, and the host nation as the country is trying to reach a deal on securing the release of hostages held by Hamas. The White House said officials came to an understanding on the broad outline of a potential deal in exchange for a temporary ceasefire.

CNN's Dana Bash is joining us right now. Dana, you're getting new information. What key details are negotiators working on to secure this deal?

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Well, look. What we're obviously seeing is, as you know, better than most, Wolf, is a scramble to get this together to try to find a way to get the hostages out. I mean, it has been since October 7. I mean, we are three -- four months later here.

And there not only are there over a hundred innocent civilians inside Gaza -- we believe inside Gaza, are from all over the world, mostly Israel. There are also those six Americans. And part of the toing and froing now is as it was always, Wolf, about Hamas and what Hamas wants in exchange for that when it comes to its prisoners inside Israel, but it's also about the length of the ceasefire.

And as that relates to what Israel wants to do, which is go into southern Gaza, go into Rafah, and clear out the rest of the tunnels underneath. And also they hope to clear out the rest of the leadership of Hamas.

BLITZER: As you know, Dana, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, unveiled his plan for a post-Hamas Gaza. And I know you're getting information. What is the White House saying about all of this?

BASH: It's so interesting. They don't know what's in it. I asked the President's National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, about it yesterday at "STATE TO THE UNION." Listen to what he said.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Our position is very clear about what we expect with respect to the future of Gaza, and our overall vision for the future of the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. We have laid out in detail both publicly and privately where we are in that. And I look forward to hearing more directly from the Israeli government what their intentions are. And from what I've seen in the reporting, I have some concerns.


BASH: Have concerns. Now, when I said they don't know what's in it, they haven't been briefed internally. We all saw what they have said publicly, the Netanyahu government, which is they want to keep the IDF inside Gaza for security purposes. They want to have buffer zones.

Just that alone is the opposite of what the U.S. wants. The U.S. wants Gaza to remain an independent nation, an independently run area, and they want the Palestinian Authority to maintain control. That is not what Prime Minister Netanyahu wants.

So, this is -- it's a big question mark as to when they get there to whatever post-war is. And whenever it is, but also what it looks like is already a big part of the discussion.


BASH: Clearly happening publicly much more than privately, which does that surprise you?

BLITZER: It does. That surprised me. But clearly, the U.S. relationship with the Netanyahu government is getting strained, strained, and strained.

BASH: Yes.

BLITZER: And getting pretty bad. Thanks very much, Dana, for that update. BASH: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: And Dana, of course, will be going back right at the top of the hour for "INSIDE POLITICS." We'll all be watching that. In the meantime, we'll be right back.



BLITZER: In Alabama right now, multiple fertility clinics are halting IVF treatments after the state's Supreme Court declared frozen embryos are children. The top Democrat of the Alabama State House, the Minority Leader Anthony Daniels is joining us right now. We'll discuss the fallout from this decision.

Leader Daniels, thank you so much for joining us. I know you've introduced a bill to codify into law that a fertilized embryo outside of the body is not a person. Will this bill allow facilities that have paused IVF treatments to resume those services?

ANTHONY DANIELS, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, ALABAMA: Absolutely. And it would do it immediately. Well, if I've heard from families that have called me all weekend, one family in particular said that they just recently got married. They're in their 40s. And they finally have a viable embryo for them, but their appointment has been postponed.

BLITZER: Are you confident, Leader, that you'll have enough support to actually pass this bill?

DANIELS: So, the Republicans have introduced a piece of leg -- they're introducing a piece of legislation that I think creates a separate category for potential life. That's not something that I could support. And hopefully, we can strike the deal to take the language in my bill and intro -- have that introduced in the Senate while at the same time moving my bill out of the House of Representatives.

So, that's the focus right now. That's what we're having conversations about. I think among the Republican caucus, they're having conversations about where some of their -- many of their members would be on either piece of -- piece of legislation to determine how we move forward.


BLITZER: As you know, Republicans, they're very much still grappling with the fallout from this Supreme Court decision. I want you to listen to what former President Trump has to say on this sensitive issue over the weekend. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I strongly support the availability of IVF for couples who are trying to have a precious little beautiful baby. I support it.


BLITZER: So, how does Trump's support for IVF impact what will ultimately happen in your state of Alabama?

DANIELS: I think that it will have tremendous -- it will -- it will force us to really deal with the issue and take the issue more seriously because the president does have a lot of support on the Republican side in the state of Alabama. And oftentimes, when he's in support of a piece of legislation or an idea, they typically fall in line. But the devil is going to be in the details.

Anything that prohibits the process for moving forward, as I've articulated regarding my piece of legislation, is not going to -- it's just not going to get the support it needs broadly in the Alabama legislature. So, I'm very -- I'll be very curious to see the legislation that was introduced in the House or the other side that they bring to the table. And so, I look forward to working with them on something that's going to resolve this issue immediately.

BLITZER: Do you see this Supreme Court -- Alabama Supreme Court ruling having a potential political impact come -- coming in November? Do you think it benefits Democrats?

DANIELS: I do think it benefits Democrats. But in the end of the day, for me, I want to be able to get the problem solved. I think that it also allows Democrats and Republicans to have realistic conversations about helping families.

Oftentimes, Republicans profess to be pro-life. But this is not a pro- life stance that they're taking that the results of the -- of the Supreme Court decision is not a pro-life position. And so, I'll be curious to see how they're able to come up with some type of solution or whether or not they're getting on board with the bill that I've introduced.

BLITZER: The Alabama --

DANIELS: Many have told me privately --

BLITZER: Yes, go ahead.

DANIELS: That they support my -- many have told me privately that this --

BLITZER: Well, let's see what happens. Thank you so much. Thank you, Alabama State House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels. Thanks so much for joining us.

There's more news we're following, including new news this morning. Former President Trump and his sons just filed an appeal on that massive civil fraud judgment in New York. We have details just to ahead.


[11:52:08] BLITZER: New this morning. Donald Trump, his adult sons, and two former Trump Organization officials are now appealing the $464 million judgment in the New York civil fraud case. CNN's Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is with me here right now in the NEWSROOM. Paula, what can you tell us about this?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: So, this is very much expected. Trump and his lawyers have made it clear they were going to appeal this verdict. They believe it was unfair.

They've always believed this entire case was unfair. They believe it was politically motivated, and that he did not commit fraud because there was no victim. All the banks and insurance companies went home happy.

But, Wolf, it's unclear that that's really going to be a winning argument on appeal. Moments ago, one of his lawyers, Alina Habba, issued this statement saying we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious fine, and take the necessary steps to restore the public faith in New York's legal system. But again, if you look at the opinion here, the verdict, it's very detailed and it's unclear what basis in law the Trump team thinks they're going to be able to overturn this case on.

Now, the other question, Wolf, is how he's going to come up with the cash. He either has to post cash or post a bond while this appeal is going forward. And it's unclear if he has enough in his coffers to cover this.

BLITZER: You're our Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent, so we have a legal question ongoing right now development at the U.S. Supreme Court. Apparently, they're hearing arguments, and some effort to try to reshape social media as all of us know it.

REID: Yes. This case could change the internet, as we know it. Two cases today. One from Florida and one from Texas because both of those states have passed laws restricting the ability that social media companies have to moderate what is on their platform.

Now, the states have argued that social media is the new public square. And you should have something akin to a First Amendment right on those platforms. Of course, the First Amendment right, we all know, that's about the government infringing on your First Amendment. You don't currently have protections for businesses moderating what you do on their platforms.

So, an organization has sued to block both of these laws, saying, look, you can't do this. And this could potentially have unintended consequences. Because if these social media companies, Wolf, they cannot restrict in any way what's on their platform, we're talking about hate speech, threats against judges, and misinformation about the election.

It was interesting a short time ago, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, she focused on of all things, et Cie, and why they need to control what's on their platform. Let's take a listen to what she said. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

SONIA SOTOMAYOR, SUPREME COURT ASSOCIATE JUDGE: This is so, so broad. it's covering almost everything. But the one thing I know about the internet is that its variety is infinite.


REID: Yes. She kind of took it away from these more serious somber issues to talk about et Cie, and how they really need to regulate what's on their platform, right because there's so much out there. But whatever the justices do here, this could have an enormous impact on other industries. And, of course, Wolf, it could have a significant impact on the 2024 election.


BLITZER: You're absolutely right. Paula Reid, I'm so glad you graduated from law school, and you know your legal affair. Appreciate it very, very much.

The first private company to land a spacecraft on the moon has just announced they're planning to lose communication with their Odysseus lander earlier than expected. Intuitive Machines said they intend to collect data until the lander's solar panels are no longer exposed to light, which they predict will be Tuesday morning based on the Earth and moon's positions. The company still has not released any images taken after Odysseus landed. And it says it is unclear how the communication cut-off will affect the images and information it will send to Earth.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for joining us here in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. I'll, of course, be back at 6:00 p.m. Eastern in the "SITUATION ROOM." Again, right here on CNN.

Stay with us. "INSIDE POLITICS" with Danna Bash starts right after a short break.