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CNN International: Baltimore Bridge Collapse: Diver Back In The Water As Recovery Efforts Resume; Soon: Hunter Biden Hearing In Felony Tax Indictment; How Obama Plans To Help Biden Defeat Trump; Israel Agrees To Reschedule Delegation To D.C. On Rafah. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 15:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: It's 7:00 p.m. in London, 9:00 p.m. in Kyiv, 3:00 p.m. here in Washington, D.C. I'm Jim Sciutto. Thanks so much for joining me today on CNN NEWSROOM and let's get right to the news.

We begin in Baltimore and the investigation now underway into how a 984-foot cargo ships slammed into Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday.

Six construction workers are still missing, now presumed dead. As divers attempt to recover their bodies, the National Transportation Safety Board has recovered the ship's data recorder and news today of a possible electrical problem on board the ship in port days before its departure.

In the last hour, U.S. secretary of transportation said the accident could have been much worse if not for the quick response by emergency personnel.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: If not for several factors, including those responders' efforts, the mayday call, the maintenance closure that was already underway, and the time of day of this impact, the loss of life might have been in the dozens. But tragically, six people did lose their lives. And the seventh was badly injured.


SCIUTTO: CNN's Kristin Fisher is following the investigation joins me now from Washington.

Kristen, the NTSB, it's really just starting its investigation. It's going to interview the ship's crew members today. But what else have we been learning that significant so far?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, CNN's UK affiliate, ITN, they get some details from a port worker in the port of Baltimore who says that that container ship, the Dali, two days before this incident was suffering from severe power failures. And let me just read you a direct quote.

This is from Julie Mitchell who was co-administrator of Container Royalty. It's a company that kind of keeps tracks of the tonnage on these types of container ships.

She said during those two days, they were having serious power outages. They had a severe electrical problem. It was total power failure, loss of engine power, everything.

Now, we know so that there was that mayday call from the crew on the ship to officials on or near the Key Bridge in which they said, we have had a power issue shortly before that collision took place and that's why they were able to stop so many of those cars from crossing the bridge. But when you talk to NTSB investigators, they say were aware of these reports from the crew and others that this was an electrical issue, but we still need to independently verify that.

And so, Jim, that's where that black box comes into play that you were just talking about and NTSB investigators were really only able to get their hands on it last night when they were finally able to board the ship because they had to wait to let the Coast Guard take the lead because it was an ongoing active search and rescue operation. As we know now, that is now shifted sadly, to a recovery operation as those divers now try to navigate those treacherous waters and find what is likely going to be the bodies of those six are construction workers -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question. Kristin Fisher, thanks so much.

The Dali container ship is flagged in Singapore. Clues being gathered now from around the world.

CNN's Ivan Watson with this report from the port of Hong Kong.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The container ship that slammed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge is a Singaporean owned and operated vessel called the Dali. It's just under 300 meters long. That's under 1,000 feet and had a crew of 21 Indian nationals on board at the time of the deadly accident.

For those of you who've never gotten close to one of these ships before, take a look over here. This is a container ship, maybe 70 meters longer then the Dali moored here in the port of Hong Kong, stacked high with containers. The Dali's operators say that that vessel has a capacity of up to 10,000 containers like this, and it was carrying more than 4,700 at the time of the collision.

Now, the investigators, they're going to be looking closely at the Dali's safety record. In September of last year, the U.S. Coast Guard inspected it, found no problems.


But in June of 2023, authorities in Chile, they did find a problem aboard the Dali. They said it was a deficiency involving propulsion and auxiliary machinery gauges and thermometers.

Why could that be important? Well, the Singaporean operating company, Synergy Marine, in its statement, it says that the Dali's crew reported an a momentary loss of propulsion shortly before the collision, where the ship lost control. That could be a link that investigators will look at.

I want to give you some more sense of scale here. Here's another container ship. It's about 100 meters longer than the Dali, the world's trade relies on ships like this, moving your goods a two ports that ultimately you get the goods in your home. And right next to it is Hong Kong's stone cutters bridge. Now these ships are operated by other companies, not the same as the Dali, but it gives you a sense of the scale.

The Francis Scott Key Bridge was constructed in the late '70s and industry experts tell me that ships like this and the Dali simply did not exist when the Key Bridge was constructed. They were not building ships of this scale and size then, and this may be a new reality that people have to come to grips with.

Case in point, just last month, up the Pearl River from where I am right now, there was another deadly collision involving a ship and a bridge. A ship hitting a bridge in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, bringing down part of that bridge at least five people dying as vehicles then plummeted off that span of bridge. Chinese officials say that the crew was at fault for that deadly accident. It is potentially a new kind of threat and security issue that authorities around the world may have to come to grips with given what just happened in Baltimore.

Ivan Watson, CNN, in the port of Hong Kong.


SCIUTTO: Thanks to Ivan Watson for that report.

Joining me now for more is David Marquet. He is a retired U.S. Navy nuclear submarine commander.

Thanks so much for taking the time this afternoon, David.

DAVID MARQUET, RETIRED U.S. NAVY CAPTAIN: Yeah. Thanks, Jim, for having me on the show.

SCIUTTO: So, first, I want to talk about the reactions of the crew. Let's begin with the moments just before this ship crashed into the bridge. We're going to play the video again here, and you can see as it's drifting there, the lights flickering indicating that apparent powder -- power outage during which time the crew communicated this and they were able to stop traffic on the bridge according to transportation secretary.

You have crewed very large submarines I'm sure in crowded waters before, what's your view of the crew's reactions and communications here? MARQUET: Yeah. Well, it's great that they got the word out and the

bridge operators were very able to react so quickly. I'm sure every night, goes by, nothing happens as 1:30 in the morning and all sudden you get this call. Hey, you need to shut down the bridge so you can see the typical reaction. What? Really? Are you sure?

But that's not what happened in this case. They acted quickly, responded that the bridge shut down, so that tremendously job well done.

So I want to talk a minute about power versus propulsion. A ship like this has to power systems. One is they have a very, very big diesel engine which drives the propeller, just one propeller, one big propeller. Then they have four in this case a diesel generators, which make electricity

Now, to get communications from the bridge to the rudder or to the bow thruster, or down to the engine room to tell them what speed drive the ship, you need electricity. Likely its going to have UPS supplies for those critical systems and the communication systems but what you see is when the lights go out on the ship and especially now with the reports that there were electrical problems for the ship going underway, to me, that's a bit of a smoking gun that we would need to look at the electrical system.

The other thing is when the ship is in port, they have a certain electrical lineup as they're going through this maneuvering time, whether maneuvering out of the harbor, they generally try to have the most redundant, resilient electrical line of possible. But then when you get out to see, you kind of shut down all your electric equipment.

So if it's a crew were making that transition prematurely, and there was somehow a mistake, then you can see cascading problem and that lights go out.

SCIUTTO: Okay. A few questions because you raised a few, a few interesting points there. First of all, you're saying the ship could have lost power, but not propulsion in other words, the electrical system, but that the screw, that the propeller was still churning?


MARQUET: Yeah, that's two different -- it's one diesel engine, one big diesel, and 50,000 horsepower for the for the screw. And then four separate diesel engines to make power.

SCIUTTO: Okay now, on those power system --


MARQUET: They could be like -- sorry.

SCIUTTO: Just so I understand because remember we were talking to laymen here, for those power systems, you're saying that a ship like this would have backup systems, would have fail-safes in effect. But you're saying a possibility here was that they were turned off prematurely or is it possible as well that all the all the fail-safes failed?

MARQUET: Well, it seems really unlikely. I mean, the ships pretty modern. It's only a 10-year-old ship. So it would have the normal stuff that you would think in modern ship would have.

But when you see all the lights go out and then it's like a minute before the lights come back on to me. If you have your electrical, if you've been testing regularly, your backup system sounds like we would do in the Navy, it just takes a second for that backup generator, come up to speed, then you start powered the ship from the backup, or if its from a battery that's even that's just second.

So why is there this long delay that's very concerning the ships basically driving without anyone under control at this point.

SCIUTTO: Well --

MARQUET: One last thing is --

SCIUTTO: That's notable because --

MARQUET: -- I want to give a sense of scale.

SCIUTTO: It's still has a lot of power. I mean, if the engine is still going, but you cant drive it, then that gives you a sense of why it has so much force when it hit there.

To the -- to the issue about what this port worker is telling are CNN affiliate ITN that two days prior, it was having serious power outages in ports. I mean, why would it have been allowed to leave port if it had such issues? I imagined that they must they must have thought they were working again, but that's quite a red flag.

MARQUET: That's a huge red flag. What kind of power problems could they have? They could have had problems with the switch gear, with the breakers. They could have had problems of one of the generators. They could have had problems with the fuel.

There was a situation in Singapore two years ago where there was where's about 200 ships with contaminated fuel, and the fuel that gums up the works and then the engine shut down. The big engines the generators would shut down.

So, any of these problems. They didn't maintain the engine's properly, weren't cleaning the filters. Now they've got a problem.

Now they go to see, maybe they think they fixed it, or maybe they're going to see was one of the generators down so now in the less reliable then you have a problem with the one that's left. Now, you're down to zero.

SCIUTTO: Right. Yeah, that's problematic.

I want to ask just a bigger question here, because the point has often been made that when for instance, this bridge was constructed, you didn't have container ships the size. I mean, they'd ballooned in size over time. I wonder if that's a warning sign here because the size is not just about mass if you run into something, it's also just about maneuvering and busy ports. I mean, have we caught up, have our ports caught up to the size of these giant ships?

MARQUET: No. Back in 1980, down here where I am, 20,000-ton ship, so that's one-fifth the size of this ship, hit the Tampa Bay Bridge and took it out and there are more fatalities then. So that ship was one- fifth the size.

So since then -- so one of the things you can do is around those pillars that you see that the ship hit. If you could put a lot of shallow water, you could put a lot of mud so that the ship actually runs a ground, stops before it actually just drives into that pillar at full speed get whatever speed it was going.

But those standards Key Bridge since it was built in '77 and Tampa happened in 1980. So the standards didn't come into place until after the Key Bridge. So, any bridge built earlier, and I'd say probably about 2000, isn't going to have as reliable. They didn't build these 100,000 tons ships until just the last two decades.

SCIUTTO: Yeah. Yeah, amazing.

Well, David Marquet, we really do appreciate your perspective.

When we come back phoning a friend. President Biden is turning to his old running mate, former President Barack Obama, to raise money and energy for his reelection campaign. I'm going to bring you that new reporting, next.



SCIUTTO: While the political fight over Hunter Biden's finances is losing steam on Capitol Hill, his legal case is moving forward. Today, the president's son's lawyers will be in a courtroom in Los Angeles for the nine felony tax charges he is facing. Biden's attorneys will push today to throw out all or some of those charges in part because of the political firestorm that's engulfed Hunter Biden's business dealings.

CNN reporter Marshall Cohen is outside the court with more -- Marshall.


MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Hey, Jim, in just a little bit. Hunter Biden's attorneys will be arguing in this courthouse behind me, trying to get his tax indictment thrown out. Remember he's facing nine criminal charges that were brought by special counsel, David Weiss, including some serious felonies for alleged tax evasion and filing false tax returns. Now, of course, Hunter Biden did eventually pay that full tax bill, but that doesn't mean that you can't bring a case.

So his attorneys are trying to get those charges thrown out. They've attacked this indictment from every direction. Their most aggressive line of attack centers on what they believe is a political prosecution.

They are arguing that special counsel Weiss only brought this case because of pressure from Donald Trump and Republicans who were outraged when Weiss was proposing a plea deal last year.

Weiss is Republican and he is a Trump appointee, but he vehemently denies the allegations at this case is tainted by politics. He said it was a conspiracy theory and in court filings, they said very clearly that they only brought this case because they think Hunter Biden is guilty not because of any politics.

Jim, if the case moves forward, the trial is scheduled for June.


SCIUTTO: Lots of trials this year. Thank you, Marshall Cohen, for that report.

Turning now to the 2024 campaign.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It also gives the Internet one last chance to talk about our bromance.


SCIUTTO: Well, bringing back the bromance.

As the reelection effort for Biden heats up, the president is turning to his old former boss, former President Barack Obama, beginning with a star studded fund raiser this week in Manhattan, and a potential Obama college tour in the fall.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny has the story.

Jeff, you report that meeting last Friday between the two presidents is where they discussed this plan.

So, tell us about that meeting, how they're approaching this race, and perhaps I suppose intertwined with that is how worried they are about this race.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, that clip you played of them there was in the final days of the Obama-Biden administration when Obama was giving then Vice President Biden the medal of freedom.

At that point, both men thought that they would be taking their lead from public life. Of course, that has changed dramatically, but at a more recent meeting in the White House, just on Friday, former President Obama, I'm told, spent significant time with President Biden, talking about the matters so at hand, the reelection efforts, as well as the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. That's something that they were -- they're celebrating together and having a message with a supporters.


But also in that meeting, we are told that the former president essentially said he believes that the State of the Union message was really something that the president needed to jump-start his general election campaign with Democrats, and it worked. He gave him a high approval rating for that and applause for that, and he said he does believe it's starting to turn the tide here a little bit.

But the fundraiser on Thursday night in New York City is something that really has been a strong suit for the Biden campaign. They are far all right ahead of the Trump campaign in terms of raising money and they're going to have a lot of star power there helping them raise money. It's a meeting in an unusual meeting of a rare club, the presidents club, if you will, Bill Clinton will be there, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden.

But it's interesting moment in history here are where they are coming together to try and defeat another former president.

So, just yet another reminder that this is a very unusual campaign. You can see the details there of the fundraiser, certainly star- studded and filled with cash. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Obama has certainly stumped for Biden and other candidates since leaving office.


SCIUTTO: But not as major figure as some in his party may want. Is this a shift here?

ZELENY: Look, I mean, he definitely has been active in the fundraising front and he's essentially raised about $15 million already for the Biden campaign. But it's going to be a shift in the fall. The advisors to former President Barack Obama tell me that if he's out there every day on the campaign trail, his words will not be as noticed or perhaps be seen as special or be as effective.

It's also a recognition of Mr. Obama has other things to do in his day time. He, of course, is that producing movies, writing books. But in the fall, I'm told, he will be active on the campaign trail, trying to win over the Black voters, Latino voters, young voters, and potentially a college tour as well.

So don't look for him to be campaigning as much. He'll be doing videos and things. But by the fall, I'm told, he'll be out there on the campaign trail, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much for your reporting.

ZELENY: You bet.

SCIUTTO: So, can Obama make a difference on the trail, help build, rebuild the Democratic coalition? Here to discuss, two expert strategists and CNN political commentators Maria Cardona, Alice Stewart.

Good to have you both back.



SCIUTTO: Maria, I wonder how you review this. How much of a difference could Obama make, particularly on base voters, some of whom Biden has been losing?

CARDONA: I think that he can make a huge difference, Jim. As you know, President Obama is still an incredibly beloved figure not just among Democrats, but I think among Americans. And, yes, very specifically with young voters, with young black voters, with young Latino voters who as you said, its not that necessarily Joe Biden is losing them, is that they haven't yet engaged and have not come back to the Democratic coalition, which with Obama's help and with everything that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are doing and will do between now and November, I am confident that they will come back home.

But there is no question that President Obama is a very strategic, very motivating, energizing figure within the Democratic Party. And I'm so glad that he is involved now and will continue to be involved into the fall to make the case that Donald Trump is an existential threat to our democracy. And then what Joe Biden has been doing for the past four years is exactly what needs to be done and that he needs to be given yet another four years to finish the job to help American families

SCIUTTO: OK. Here's another line from Jeff Zeleny's and MJ Lee's reporting on this, saving the former president until the end of the race at the time when voters are paying the most attention is how Obama and his advisers believe he can be the most effective.

I wonder, Alice, strategy Democrats believe will work with base voters. How about independents? Do independents look at Obama in the same way? Is he someone who could move independent voters who are frankly most likely to decide this race?

STEWART: Well, if he's going out and messaging directly to them, he certainly can be a big help for Joe Biden. I agree with my friend Maria, that President Obama is a very motivating and inspirational leader and he can not only impact Biden's voters to come out, but I do see him reaching out to others that will make a huge difference.

And here's one thing I take away when we've heard President Obama saying, now it's all hands on deck for Joe Biden, that's because the Biden vote is taking on water and he is sinking. He is thinking in the polls, in battle -- key battleground states, he's sinking in polls from voters who say he doesn't have the stamina and fitness to serve another four years.

And he's also facing the oncoming issue of the independent candidate RFK Jr. in the race that is siphoning votes from Joe Biden. And as much as the Democrats like to say the economy is good and the border is secure and people are safe, they don't feel that way and many people look at this -- this country during the Trump years and they felt the economy, the border was more secure, and they felt more safe.

So that's the message that I think Republicans need to focus on moving forward because that's a winning message for voters, especially those all important as you say, Jim --


SCIUTTO: Independents.

STEWART: -- those independent voters first that are going to make the difference

SCIUTTO: Maria, Alice mentioned the independent candidate RFK, Jr., and he, of course, announced his VP pick, the Silicon Valley attorney Nicole Shanahan. Trump's reaction was welcoming because of course he sees it as in his interests. He said, I guess this would mean he is going to be taking votes from crooked Joe Biden, which would be great -- a great service to America. I loved that he is running.

The polls have been inconclusive as to who he pulls more votes from. And perhaps we don't know and it's early. We're number of months out.

Do you believe RFK as a threat to steal some votes from Biden, more so from Biden, more so for Trump or is it a push?

CARDONA: I think that Republicans need to be careful about welcoming RFK into the race because this is somebody who is focused on conspiracy theories, anti-vaxxer, anti-science. He has said some very horrible things about Jews, and that is exactly where Trump voters are.

And so I think that he can pull as many Trump voters as he would pull from President Biden's voters. But the Biden campaign is focused as they should be on making sure that they our communicating the message of President Biden's accomplishments, which I think is going to be something that will draw in the majority of Americans, including independents at the end of the day, because the contrast with somebody like Donald Trump and the message will be that a vote for RFK will be a vote for Donald Trump.

And that contrast, I don't think at the end of the day, Americans are going to want a fraudster, a sex offender, a criminal in the White House. Another four years given what he did, the damage he did to this country for the four years that he was already in there.

SCIUTTO: Alice, I wanted to talk to you if I can just about Trump now selling $60 Bibles. It's quite a moment. I suppose we should be used to unusual moments on this -- on this campaign or previous campaigns. But have a listen because I have a specific question about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All Americans need a bible in their home and I have many. It's my favorite book. I'm proud to endorse and encourage you to get this Bible. We must make America pray again.


SCIUTTO: I mean, I'm just curious, Alice. Does that work with Republican voters? I mean, do they buy that? Do they buy that he has several copies of the Bible at home? Do Christian conservatives buy that? But also, does it turn off Republican voters that he's raising money for himself, right, to protect himself, to pay his legal fees?

STEWART: Look, I think what we've seen over the past several years is Republican voters are more focused on the issues that he's promoting than the products he's pimping. And that goes for the golden sneakers, the trading cards, this Bible, Trump steaks, vodka, wine, you name it. That's one aspect of what Donald Trump as a businessman does in order to raise money.

Most Republicans are looking to vote for him based on the policies and he will implement and look, you know, say what you will about Donald Trump. I'm not a big apologist for him, but he's a businessman at heart and he -- two rules of being a businessman, you know, your product and know your people.

And Republican voters, especially his base, they love God and they love Lee Greenwood. So let's put that in leather bound book and sell it for $60. I expect he's going to sell quite a few of them.

SCIUTTO: Before we go, Maria, in Alabama yesterday, a Democrat flipped a seat in a special state house election, ran heavily on abortion rights, IVF. I don't want to overstate how indicative, particularly a state race is. But when you look at the collection of special elections, both at the state and the federal level, you have seen Democrats over performing, but you've also seen this other phenomenon is going heavy on the message of reproductive rights.

And I wonder, do you see this as a positive sign for Democrats' chances in November or could it be exaggerated?

CARDONA: There's no question that this is an indication of how front and center the issue of reproductive rights will be in the 2024 election, Jim, and it's not an exaggeration and I don't think we're actually talking about it enough.

You know, people tend to sort of move to the side when women are concerned about something. They did it in 2022, and look what happened, the red wave never appeared because American women, along with the men that love them, want to make sure that they live in a country and that our daughters grow up in a country that has as much -- as much rights as we did. And right now, that country does not exist.

And so it will be front-and-center, Jim. It is not an exaggeration. And for people who want to push it aside and not give it its due, bring it on because we're going to show just exactly what happens when American women and the men that love them come out to vote.


SCIUTTO: Maria Cardona, Alice Stewart, thanks so much for joining us.

CARDONA: Thanks so much, Jim.

STEWART: Thanks, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Still to come this hour, the latest on ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, are they going anywhere? We'll have an update.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

Are cooler heads prevailing in the diplomatic divide between Israel and the U.S.?

Last hour, Israel agreed to reschedule its planned delegation to Washington focused on a possible military incursion into Rafah. It's a reversal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Monday abruptly canceled that visit, angry over a U.S. vote in the U.N. Security Council. Meanwhile, ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas have reached another stalemate, according to the latest reports.

Those sources tell CNN talks do continues.

CNN's Natasha Bertrand is following all this.

First, Natasha, what do we know about this latest round of negotiations? I mean, they've been off and on and off and on again. Where do they stand right now?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to reporting from my colleague, Alex Marquardt and Jeremy Diamond, those talks are essentially stalled, but they're not over. The two sides continue to kind of trade proposals back and forth. However, proposal put forward by Israel that was proposed by the United States originally to Hamas, in which Israel had agreed to release about 700 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 40 hostages being released from Hamas's captivity. That has been rejected by Hamas as of this morning.

And so, now, they're kind of going back to the drawing board here. Of course, the key sticking points remain in that Hamas is really demanding some maximalist objectives, including the withdrawal of Israeli troops, talks about a ceasefire and ultimately discussions about ending the war completely, as well as the ability of Palestinians in the south of Gaza to move back home in the north at that is where they originally came from.

And so, these are the main sticking points, right? It now and it does not appear that officials are overly pessimistic about the trajectory of talks however, there has not been any momentous kind of movement on this in the last couple of days, including last night when Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with CIA Director Bill Burns, who has been leading the U.S. side of this, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Familiar headline, stalled talks.

Natasha Bertrand, thanks so much.

Well, Hamas is now calling on overseas donors to stop parachuting food aid into Gaza. The airdrops have become controversial, sometimes violent, in some cases, deadly. Palestinian paramedics say that at least 12 people drowned on Monday as they tried to retrieve aid parcels that fell into the sea.


CNN's Jomana Karadsheh has the details. We should warn you, the story contains graphic images.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As they spot a plane and the aid begins to drop, they run as fast as they can.

It's the rush of people so desperate, so hungry, but would do anything to feed their children now on the brink of starvation. This is what survival in Gaza has come to, fighting for food.

That little bit of aid that makes it into the north where man-made famine now looms.

People chase parachutes that fell into these choppy waters. It is desperation that drives them into the sea. What you're about to see next is disturbing.

It's the reality of war growing more cruel by the day. The fastest, the fittest emerged with boxes of American issued meals ready to eat. Others didn't make it out alive. People gathered around the thin, frail body of a man who drown trying to reach that aid, 12 people drowned according to paramedics.

The parachutes fell into the water, Mohamad (ph) says, but people want to eat. They went into the water and drowned. The current was so strong, they didn't know how to swim. It's what you do when you have nothing left to lose.

A man goes in swimming to get food for his children. He returns dead, this man says.. Bring us aid through the land crossings. Our children are dying. We are dying. What are you doing? Where is the world?

The world has been piling up life-saving aid into trucks stuck at land crossings, seemingly powerless in the face of Israel that's accused of using starvation as a weapon in this war, a charge it denies, or some the international community to resort to dropping aid from the sky. Several countries carried out aid drops on this day, deliveries that have been criticized for being ineffective, insufficient, and unsafe.

Earlier this month, another airdrop disaster when a parachute failed in aid packages came crashing down, killing at least five people. It's a war that's testing humanity, and many say this is what failure looks like.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


SCIUTTO: Joining me now to discuss, CNN political and global affairs analyst and "Axios" politics and foreign policy reporter Barak Ravid, along with national security analyst, former deputy director of national intelligence, Beth Sanner.

Good to have you both on.

Beth, watching these images, is this any way to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza? I mean, it's remarkable that even Israel's closest allies, the U.S., this is the only way, the primary way they could get aid in. I mean, we've seen incidents like this for weeks now.

BETH SANNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yeah. I mean, no one says that this is an optimal way. It shows the desperation of the situation.

I have to say that, you know, part of the problem is that there really is no plan or means to distribute the aid that comes in through the trucks. And so, it is incredibly inefficient and aid doesn't always make it to the right people. You have Hamas taking some of it.

It is so, so complicated. But I think that that last note of how, you know, this kind of a really underscores that things are not going well and the trajectory is not good, right? I don't see this getting better in the near term.

SCIUTTO: I mean, listen, starving people drown in the water trying to get food and clearly, something's wrong.

I wonder, Barak Ravid, is the Israeli leadership or is the Israeli public at all critical of scenes like this or the ongoing difficulty of getting basic aid in or do they continue to prioritize Israeli military operations there?

BARAK RAVID, CNN POLITICAL & GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, the answer to this is twofold. First, unfortunately, and I know it might be amazing to hear, most Israelis are not exposed to what we just saw. The Israeli press is not really covering humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which is extremely unfortunate and problematic. And this is why Israeli public opinion even if people, let's say, say, okay, I don't care, at least they can know what is going on. But a lot of people just don't know what is going on in Gaza.

And second is that Netanyahu and many members of his security cabinet and security chiefs, the IDF chief of staff, and others knew many, many months ago that this will -- the issue of humanitarian aid is key to continuing the war.

[15:40:13] They said it publicly, and this is why this failure is so huge, because it was clear to everybody that this will be a key issue and still this is not functioning and we see what the result is on the ground

SCIUTTO: On the ongoing hostage talks that just seem to hit a brick wall every few days now, Barak, you've been reporting on these talks for some time, is this a stalemate that can be broken? And I suppose a bigger picture question, is a deal really a priority for either side at this point?

RAVID: Well, I think that it is a priority for Israel, depends who inside the Israeli government. There are several factions. Some of them think it's the top priority is someone say this is not a top priority. And it's unclear where Netanyahu stands or he shifts his position from one day to another.

But what I hear from people that are intimately involved in negotiations is that the last ten days I think made it clear that on many issues, Hamas has its positions and its not going to move from this positions. For example, the return of Palestinian civilians to the north. And many Israeli officials are saying that the Israeli government needs to take a strategic decision on whether it says, you know what, we're willing to give up on this because we want the hostages back, or they say, you know what, the hostages are not such a priority, and the issue of the norm what is more important to us.

This is the key thing, the return of Palestinian civilians to the north, all the other issues that are still undecided can be bridged. This is the only thing that I hear from many Israeli officials. It's a yes-no question.

SCIUTTO: Beth Sanner, the U.S.-Israeli relationship has soured in recent weeks. You had Netanyahu calling off these meetings in Washington. They're now back on again.

But let's be frank, it's been very public and private criticism from the U.S. to the Israeli side. I'm curious, is this bat largely between Biden and Bibi or is it part of a broader deterioration in the U.S.- Israeli relationship? And it is that the personalities or is it the countries at this point and therefore more lasting?

SANNER: Well, let me just first link the two questions that you've just asked and that is that the United States really wants the ceasefire as much as anybody else more because it's key to actually being able to turn on the aid flows, right? So it's very hard, quote, to flood the zone if you don't have the ceasefire and that's why -- one of the reasons why this is so key.

Now, in terms of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, there's always been strains between Bibi and Biden, but what I'm concerned about, I think a lot of people are concerned about is that yes, this is spreading, this is becoming more of a populations not understanding each other. And I think that Americans have a lot of trouble understanding what Barak is talking about, which is that 70 percent of Israelis don't want any aid to go into Gaza unless the hostages are released and part of that is because they don't see what's going on, but also because of the trauma that their societies have.

But a new poll really shows to me that this is a lot -- you can't separate politics right now from these issues. You can't separate Israeli politics and where Netanyahu stands and the fact that he needs this war to keep going, and the fact that, you know, support for the war in the United States is dropping like a rock, 10 percent down in terms of disapproval ratings. And that is really high in Democratic Party. Only 18 percent of Democrats say they support what Israel is doing.

SCIUTTO: That's remarkable.

I think, Barak Ravid, I'd be surprised if Netanyahu and others didn't notice that even Donald Trump said that Israel is largely alone on this now. I mean, if there was an expectation that if say Trump would be reelected, that Netanyahu would get a friendlier ear on these issues. It seems that Trump sees that declining support as well.

Does that -- first of all, is that getting through to the Israeli public and does it concern that does the deterioration that relationship -- particularly given that the bear hug that Joe Biden delivered to Israel in the days right after October 7. Does it concern the Israeli public? Does it concern anyone in the Israeli government, if not Bibi himself?

RAVID: No, I think it's definitely something that many Israelis are concerned about.


And you see it in the polls. And I think a lot of people, again, inside the government are concerned about it. And I think Netanyahu is concerned about it.

Why? Because Netanyahu finds himself in the weakest point he has ever been not only in Israel, but also in Washington. He doesn't really have any real strong allies in Washington right now.

And you mentioned Donald Trump. When you -- when you see what Donald Trump is saying since the beginning of the war, he did not express any support for Netanyahu, not even once, since this war started.

And in many, many ways, the Republican candidate for president is far, far, far more to the left on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on the war in Gaza than the rest of the Republican Party. Trump called -- just in the last week, he called twice to end the war quickly.


RAVID: He didn't say that the war needs to end in a hostage deal. He didn't say -- give any contact. He just said the war -- the Israelis need to end the war. They need to do it quickly because they're losing support internationally.

This is bypassing Biden from the left. And I think this is what's very, very interesting right now, because Netanyahu has problems with Biden, and he has nothing to look for from Trump (ph).

SCIUTTO: Notable.

Beth Sanner, Barak Ravid, good to have you both on.

RAVID: Thank you.

SANNER: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: And still to come, this hour, more on the crash that took down Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge and all the ramifications of it, coming up.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

More than a day after the Dali cargo ship crashed into Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge, authorities are still searching for six people who remain missing. There were workers on that bridge when the ship struck at cold water, choppy waters affecting divers' attempts to find the bodies of those six now presumed dead.

Joining me now to discuss the truly difficult task facing divers is Bobbie Scholley. She's a retired navy captain, retired navy diver as well.

Thanks so much for joining us.


SCIUTTO: So we've heard a lot about the conditions of this search and you have so many pieces. You've -- you've got the water temperature, it's cold, the weather, the current, the debris, damaged containers, some potentially containing hazardous materials.

How do those factors impact how divers are searching right now?

SCHOLLEY: Well, first of all, I'm going to say that my heart goes out to the families. So those victims and in my experience that even though we've moved to the recovery stage from the rescue stage, those divers are going to continue to be so motivated to bring back if those victims to help the families move on.

But these are very hazardous conditions and it makes this a very difficult job for those divers, especially because of the weather, the ice cold waters that they're diving in and the debris field that there'll be working in which is not a stable field.


The bridge and the debris that's from the bridge and the cargo ship is going to make it difficult for those divers to swim around down there without putting the divers at risk. If you can imagine flooding your basement with ice hold water, and turning out all the lights and trying to find something down there when your basement is filled with all the stuff that you store in your basement, and then you're looking for something with all your winter gloves on and trying to search for that just by feel.

It's almost an -- difficult, almost impossible task. And that's what the divers are up against in freezing cold water.

SCIUTTO: Sure. Let me ask you this because there's -- I'm looking at it there. I mean, if you have current, right, that may mean that the debris moves, but that the bodies might have moved as well. I mean, how big would the search area be?

SCHOLLEY: That's exactly right. The bodies could be floating. They could be drifting. They could be moved around within the debris field or outside of the debris field.

And the bridge is quite long to begin with, so that debris field is going to be sizable to begin with. And then if the bodies have drifted outside of that the debris field, it's going to be quite large.

The dive teams are probably using technology, sonar, ROV is remote operator vehicles, which are like underwater drones to help them in searching for the victims as well. And those can be operated by people on the surface with the assistance of Coast Guards or are there other team members which will help in the search and save some of the man- hours under the water.

So, all that comes into play as they're doing the search phase.

SCIUTTO: The -- it has moved to a recovery as opposed to rescue operation because those six missing workers sadly, are now presumed dead.

Does that change how divers conduct the search? This is the pace of it, the resources, et cetera.

SCHOLLEY: It doesn't change the divers' determination from my experience. Those divers are going to be just as committed. But I imagined that it's going to make sure that the divers and the organization are looking very closely at the safety of the divers. They're going to kind of take a breather and make sure that they're not doing anything that's going to put those divers into any harm especially with the debris that could be not stable and could jeopardize the divers safety with something falling down there.

And this is not going to be fast, Jim. This is going to take days and maybe even longer because of the size of the area that they're going to be searching in. So, they --

SCIUTTO: No question and that's just search and not get into the clearing of the wreckage and the rebuilding. It's a long, long process.

Bobbie Scholley, really do appreciate having your perspective and experience.

SCHOLLEY: My pleasure, Jim

SCIUTTO: Still to come the moment of joy on the soccer field for war- torn Ukraine.



SCIUTTO: Before we go a moment of true joy for war-torn Ukraine. And it came on the soccer pitch. Ukraine's national soccer team secured a place in the Euro 2024 competition with a 2-1 victory over Iceland. This will be Ukraine's first major soccer tournament since Russia's invasion.

Here's CNN's Fred Pleitgen on exactly what this win means for Ukraine.



As you can imagine, a lot of cheering going on in Ukraine to the extent that that's possible, of course, with that brutal invasion by the Russian still very much going on. But also among Ukrainians outside of the country as it is now clear that Ukraine will be part of the Euro 2024 football tournament which is set to be held here in Germany very soon.

It wasn't easy for the Ukrainians. They had to go to a knockout stage where they defeated Iceland in the match last night. It wasn't looking good for the Ukrainians there either in the beginning. The Icelanders actually scored first, but the Ukrainians then made a second half comeback and just a few minutes before the end of the match managed to score the go ahead goal and with that, will be making their way here to Germany.

Now, Iceland is actually a pretty good team in international soccer. They threw England out of the Euro 2016 competition, so definitely a team to be reckoned with. For the Ukrainians, it's fourth time in a row that they are able to participate in the Euro tournament.

And, of course, it is also the first major soccer tournament that Ukraine will participate in since Russia started its very brutal, full-on invasion of Ukraine. Obviously, a huge deal for the country.

But one of the things that also happened is that because, of course, the war is raging there in Ukraine, the Ukrainians weren't able to play their home matches inside of Ukraine, of the match last night actually happened in Poland, the Ukrainians, of course, very happy about all this. Their first match will be on June 17th against Romania. And, of course, right now for them, everything is possible on the European stage, Jim.


SCIUTTO: Our thanks to Fred Pleitgen for that story, a little good news for Ukraine.

Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm Jim Sciutto.