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Biden Campaigns In Pennsylvania Amid Calls To Step Aside; Left- Wing Alliance Projected To Win French Elections; Tropical Storm Beryl Becoming Stronger, More Organized; Jury Selection In Alec Baldwin Trial Set To Begin Tuesday; American Hurt In Hezbollah Missile Strike In Northern Israel. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 07, 2024 - 16:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

And we begin this hour in Pennsylvania, where President Biden is fighting to save his reelection effort in the state where he was born. Today, he's making two campaign stops in the battleground state as he tries to stave off growing calls to drop out of the race. Right now Biden is holding a campaign event right there in Harrisburg.

Biden's stepped up campaign push comes after his Friday interview with ABC News did little to calm the nerves of some members of his own party. This afternoon, the top Democrat in the House, Hakeem Jeffries, held a meeting with senior Democrats to talk about the president's future. And in the Senate, Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the chair of the Intelligence Committee, plans to gather senators tomorrow to discuss Biden's reelection bid.

We have a team of correspondents covering today's developments. Priscilla Alvarez is at the White House and Danny Freeman is at that Biden campaign event in Harrisburg.

Let's begin with you, Danny. What's he doing and how receptive are the supporters there?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good afternoon, Fred. I mean, frankly, the supporters here at this rally in Harrisburg are very elated to see him. You can see behind me, you can see on the pool camera, I believe, he's doing what the campaign wants him to be doing. He's being Retail Joe. He's out there shaking hands.

This is a fairly informal campaign event. He stopped at this union hall where we are. He made a few remarks, only spoke for about seven minutes or so, and then he gave the mic over to other surrogates who also came to this rally with him. Senator John Fetterman, Representative Madeline Dean from southeast Pennsylvania, and then of course lieutenant governor as well of the state.

And the whole message was, A, yes, I'm a pro-union president. We've heard him say that before, but the real practical purpose was to really reassure voters here and supporters here that he's still in this race and also tried to rally these folks up. And we saw that not only just a few moments ago here in Harrisburg but also earlier today in Philadelphia, where he spoke directly to campaign workers at a campaign office. Take a listen to what he said to try and energize his core supporters.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're drawing crowds that have been really big crowds ever since the debate, not joking, even that night of the debate we had great crowds afterwards. And so things are moving. They're moving hard. And look, the other thing is that people want know you care. They want to know we care and there's nothing letting someone know you care like knocking on doors and saying, my name, so and so, I'm here for Joe Biden. Is there anything -- what do you need?


FREEMAN: Now listen, Fred, this is a very friendly crowd. There's no mistaking that right here, but we were speaking with some voters and some folks who were in this crowd who said they do want that extra reassurance. They saw the debate. They have been seeing the headlines. They know that age and viability are a question at this point. But those folks that we've been seeing actually given the opportunity to get up and shake his hand and see a little bit more of that retail politics.


Clearly it seems that they're at least alleviated for the moment or at least energized to support their candidate as we look forward to November because Pennsylvania, Fred, crucial swing state, Dauphin County where Harrisburg is. This is going to be one of those spots where the president needs to boost his engagement, boost his turnout if he wants to have a hope of getting this state and this commonwealth in his column once again.

But this is exactly what the campaign wants him to be doing right now, out shaking hands, proving that energy and viability claim -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Danny Freeman, in Harrisburg with the president. Thank you so much.

Let's go to Priscilla Alvarez now at the White House.

So, Priscilla, you know, what can you tell us about Biden's strategy to turn his campaign around?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president and his team remain defiant. When the president arrived in Harrisburg, reporters asked him on the tarmac if the Democratic Party is behind him, and he forcefully responded yes. And we are seeing a bit of a shift in strategy here. While the president is on the campaign trail, he's seeking more of those unscripted, candid moments with voters and supporters. And that is something that his allies had requested in the days following his performance on the debate stage. Now, of course this morning the president also spoke with church goers

in Pennsylvania and then, too, at a campaign event in Philadelphia, where one supporter said, we need Dark Brandon in reference to that meme, and he said, quote, "Dark Brandon is coming back." That really captures where the president is at in all of this as he tries to show sort of that energized self on the campaign trail.

But it hasn't yet put questions to rest as his campaign and his allies are trying to do. In fact, this morning we heard from Senator Chris Murphy, who said he still wants to see more. He thinks voters do, too.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Voters do have questions and personally I love Joe Biden. I don't know that the interview on Friday night did enough to answer those questions. And so I think this week is going to be absolutely critical. I think the president needs to do more.


ALVAREZ: Now, the president does have a big week ahead. There's the NATO summit here in Washington, D.C. The president often talks about his foreign policy chaps. So this will be a moment where he will meet with world leaders and also have a press conference. And then he will go to Michigan on Friday. That will be the fourth battleground visit that he's made since the debate, including more, quote, "aggressive travel schedule ahead," according to his campaign.

That will include a trip to Las Vegas and as well as Texas. So clearly, this is a campaign and a president that is trying to get out there as much as possible. But there are still a lot of questions, Fred. And whether or not those go away still unclear.

WHITFIELD: Also, Priscilla, we've just learned that the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, has tested positive for COVID. What more can you tell us about that?

ALVAREZ: Yes, according to his communications director, he tested positive on Saturday after experiencing mild symptoms. The vice president has also been tested. She's been on the trail. She's tested negative and is -- remains asymptomatic. All of this according to the White House.

Now I have asked the White House whether the president too has been tested. Of course, the president, you see the images there. The vice president, the first lady and the second gentlemen were all together on the White House balcony for the July 4th celebrations. They have not yet gotten back to me, but, again, what we know so far is that only the second gentleman has tested positive, and he did so yesterday.

WHITFIELD: All right. Priscilla Alvarez, Danny Freeman, thank you so much.

All right, joining me right now to discuss further, Margaret Talev, senior contributor to Axios and director of the Institute for Democracy, Journalism and Citizenship at Syracuse.

Good to see you. So how important of a restart are these stops in Pennsylvania you think for the president, first to the church of predominantly black congregation and now in Harrisburg, alongside, you know, allies like Senator Fetterman?

MARGARET TALEV, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, AXIOS: Well, Fred, thanks for having me, and hope you enjoyed the holiday weekend. It's over like the next one --

WHITFIELD: That's the point.

TALEV: This is the calm before the storm if you can believe that for this story.


TALEV: Look, President Biden has spent more time in Pennsylvania than any other battleground state, and he is still behind in the polling and that is the state that he hails from. So that is deeply problematic for President Biden. So stops like this in Harrisburg and Philadelphia I'd say arguably shouldn't be as key or as crucial as stops in Michigan or Wisconsin, but they are. And that just goes to show how razor thin this race has already been four months and now further complicated.

I think he's, you know, doing what he can to try to get back in control the narrative that he's going to have a very difficult time doing that.


Congress comes back to Washington tomorrow after this July 4th recess and it is when the members are back that we are really going to see I believe sort of much more of a deluge of wrangling debate and perhaps, you know, calls for the president to step aside from some of these members who so far have either been quiet or under the radar or anonymous. So, you know, that is on the cusp of happening.

And the conversations among donors and party leadership, these have all mostly occurred behind the scenes. Like I'd say in the next week, probably not much longer than that. If there's going to be a push, we're going to start to see it because the Republican National Convention is coming. Donald Trump is going to name a running mate. You know, I know President Biden is thinking that this narrative about what he's saying in Pennsylvania and what he's saying with NATO leaders. But the hill and the donor class and the Democratic Party have other ideas.

WHITFIELD: So, you know, five Democratic lawmakers have said out loud now that they want Biden to step aside. Lawmakers including Debbie Dingell, Bernie Sanders, you know, they are they are passionately expressing that there is no better choice to defeat Trump than Biden. This was Senator Sanders this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): What we are talking about now is not a Grammy Award contest for best single. Biden is old. He's not as articulate as he once was. I wish he could jump up the steps on Air Force One. He can't. What we have got to focus on is policy. Whose policies have and will benefit the vast majority of the people in this country? Who has the guts to take on corporate America, who is talking about expanding Medicare so we cover dental, hearing and vision?

Who's talking about raising the cap on the taxes that people pay into Social Security so we can raise Social Security benefits and extend the life of Social Security for 75 years? Who's talking about a permanent child tax credit to cut childhood poverty in America by 50 percent? Those are the issues he's talked about. He's got to bring them up in the floor. He's got to promise the American people that if they give him a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House, reelect him, he's going to do that in the first hundred days. That is what I think the American people want.


WHITFIELD: Do you, you know, see it as advantageous, you know, for more elected proponents of Biden, you know, to try to upstage the skeptics, especially ahead of what might be heard later on this week when members of Congress returned to the hill?

TALEV: For him, I think he's going to need that if that's, you know, if he still intends to keep pushing forward. He's going to need everyone who thinks he is the right nominee to come forward and say so and make that case. We think we'll see in the next few days how those camps truly break down.

You're right, only a handful of people have come out publicly, elected officials, and call for him to pass the torch. But behind the scenes, those conversations have divided the party much more than just those handful of people.

You know, what you heard Senator Sanders there talking about is the idea that many Democrats share that they want to get back on the offensive and be going after Donald Trump's record and be showing a contrast between the Democratic Party and Donald Trump's plans, and that they can't do that while they're talking about Biden and is Biden, you know, too old and should someone replace him? And if so, who should that be?

But the breakdown internally among these Democrats is that some say the best way to get back to talking about the policy and that contrast is to circle around President Biden and move forward, and then there are the others who say if President Biden remains in the race between now and November, the rest of the conversation is going to be about President Biden. So I think that's the strategic division inside the party.

And while everyone has been away, it has been sort of boiling beneath the surface. But when Congress comes back, a lot more of is going to be thrust into the public eye.

WHITFIELD: Yes, it's going to be an interesting week to say the least. Thought you saw some fireworks this weekend, maybe this week more.

All right, Margaret Talev, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

All right. And this breaking news out of France. Last week, the far- right party won the first round of snap parliamentary elections. Well, today voters made a surprise reversal. Plus, jury selection is set to begin this week in the trial against Hollywood actor and producer Alec Baldwin. We'll be breaking down what to expect.



WHITFIELD: All right, we're following breaking news out of France, which saw stunning results in the second round of a snap parliamentary election. A left-wing coalition is now projected to carry the most seats, overcoming the far-right party's first round lead. France's current prime minister now says he will resign from his post tomorrow morning.

CNN's Jim Bittermann is live for us from Paris.

So what is the latest?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, the latest took place just right here. We had the prime minister say that he will resign tomorrow morning just a few minutes ago from his office here, and so he is out of a job as of tonight. But on the other hand, he could be reappointed. It's possible that Emmanuel Macron, the president who has power to appoint the prime minister, will reappoint him tomorrow morning.


If he does that, he's going to run into all sorts of opposition from the other blocs that have emerged from those election. A surprise result which saw the far-left emerged, far greater number of seats that they thought. The far-right diminished somewhat and they're not living up to the kind of expectations that many of them had. And Macron himself, his centrist party lost 100 seats from what it had at the parliamentary dissolution.

So if he was hoping to strengthen his parliamentary hand, in fact, that has not happened at all. He's lost nearly 100 seats in the parliament. So that means that France is now divided in three blocks, the far-left, far-right, and the center. And as the prime minister himself said this evening, he said France is not used to having three blocks of political strings running through the country. And in fact, they're going to have to find some way to build coalitions around this.

And already now the far-left is saying that they're going to have a meeting tomorrow morning to try to decide who their prime minister is going to be. This far-left coalition is really disparate. It's from, you know, the extreme left to the left of center, and has a lot of personalities who don't agree with each other. But tomorrow morning, they're going to try and they're going to try to decide who would be the candidate for the prime minister from their point of view.

And they did get the most seats according to the projection. The most seats in the parliament that's going be assembled tomorrow -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yes, Jim Bittermann in Paris there, where lots of change happening, appreciate it.

All right. For more on all of this and the change ahead, let's bring in Sophie Pedder. She's the Paris bureau chief for "The Economist."

Sophie, great to see you again. We talked last weekend. You know, we're talking about what was a right-wing victory in the first round. And now this. What happened?

SOPHIE PEDDER, PARIS BUREAU CHIEF, THE ECONOMIST: Yes, what's an extraordinary outcome, nobody saw that coming, not a single one of the polling groups expected this to take place. I mean, one of the things that happened I think it's important to stress is that between the two rounds in about 200 constituencies, there are 500 and the National Assembly. In 200 constituencies, there was a kind of tactical arrangement that went on between the center.

That's Macron's bloc and the left-wing alliance to try to block the far-right. And what they did is they stood down, if they had a third- place candidate, they stood the down each of them in a way that it would avoid splitting that vote. And so in a run-off, you often had three candidates qualify. One stand down, in the end, one take on the far-right, and that is what seems to have made such a difference. Because ultimately what this vote shows is that there is not a majority in France in favor of the far-right.

There's a majority against it. And that has come through in this second round. So, although we're facing huge uncertainty now about what the next government will look like, we do know that it will not be a far-right government.

WHITFIELD: So instead it will lean more left. What will that mean in terms of, you know, the experience of voters, their policy changes or impact?

PEDDER: Well, I mean, the first thing has got to happen is there's got to be a government, you know, as Jim was just pointing out. You know, the left wing alliance is the biggest bloc, but it's very far away from a majority. So it can't govern by itself unless it risks having a no confidence motion tabled against it and falling almost as soon as it's been constituted. This means it's got to seek partners. It needs to form a coalition. And the only coalition partners that it recently looked to are Macron centrists.

But again, those are blocs that just really have very little in common. They don't trust each other. They don't like each other. And I think you're going to find an incredibly difficult series of weeks possibly longer of discussions trying to form a government. So we're not even at the level of policy and they policy will get in the way of forming those coalitions because if you look at the left-wing alliance, it's planned the minimum wage, to cap energy prices, to bring about the wealth tax, or a lot of things that Macron centrist will not like.

And so although the best hope for the president is that some kind of a collision can be formed, it's not at all obvious how that's going to go come about.

WHITFIELD: So what might President Macron be thinking right now about his leadership as he has known it?

PEDDER: Well, I'm sure he'll be feeling a look better this evening than he was at the beginning of the first round voting. The worst fear was that the far-right would take over government.


But it's a complicated for him. You know, that -- there is an option, an option for him to move ahead and that would be that the left-wing alliance splits, that somehow the moderate elements within it can join up with his centrist and some of the center-right, and there could be a coalition that's broadly supportive of him. But I think that that's only going to work under this new sort of parliamentary mood if it comes from parliament. It can't come from the president.

You know, whether or not that happens is, and whether he can go forward, remains to be seen, but he will be feeling a lot better about things now that he was a week ago.

WHITFIELD: How might all of this influence the dynamics there, especially in Paris, just three weeks or so ahead of the Olympic Games?

PEDDER: Well, it's a difficult scenario. One of the things that could happen is that Macron could reappoint his prime minister as a sort of caretaker and a role to play through the period of the Olympics, possibly even the summer holidays. French like to take a bit of a break during the summer holidays and want all these negotiations to take place. This could be one option to bring a bit of stability to reassure people that the same team in place, at least in a very technical capacity.

It would just be literally signing the checks and keeping government ticking over, and not taking any big decisions. And that could enable the Paris Olympics to go ahead without too much turbulence.

WHITFIELD: Well, volatile times there in France.

Sophie Pedder, thank you so much. Good to see you again.

All right. Several hours from now, Tropical Storm Beryl in this country will reach the Texas coast. The big question, will it strengthen back into hurricane strength when it does?



WHITFIELD: All right. Texas officials gave an update on Tropical Storm Beryl. People are being urged to prepare now for power outages and flooding.

We spoke to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who warned today is the day to evacuate.


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R), TEXAS: I want to get the message out to all the people who are vacationing along the coast, who are wrapping up your, your trip, your four-day weekend to get on the road today and get home because we don't want you on the road tomorrow. You will not be able to get on the road tomorrow. Wherever the storm hits and it could grow to a category two, by the way, in the last few hours, there will be significant rain six to ten inches. There will be significant when 80 to 90 miles an hour, you're not going to be able to drive tomorrow.

So wherever you are on the coast, and if you have family, friends there, email, text, or call them and say, hey, I know you're away. Do you know that Beryl is on its way?


WHITFIELD: All right. Let's go now to Derek Van Dam, who's on the Texas coast in Port Lavaca. What's happening there?

DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah. Fredricka, we are staring down what will highly likely be the first U.S. hurricane strike of this Atlantic 2024 hurricane season. We're in Port Lavaca, and we are overlooking the Bay of Port Lavaca.

And this is -- this area is preparing itself for this oncoming tropical storm. And we know that it's got a dubious track record considering that it's already impacted several different countries made two different landfalls about to make a third landfall. And we know that its track history and its track record has been deadly as well.

There are some positives working in our favor and that is the fact that is running out of time before it makes landfall. So it takes away the opportunity to strengthen significantly before so. And it's likely to make landfall around low tide as well, so that could help minimize some of his storm surge impacts and also the fact that this will be a quick moving system. So that will limit the potential of extremely heavy rainfall, although flash flooding is still a threat.

So let's talk about the potential impacts tier across the central Texas coastline. Still a tropical storm, Beryl, what I'm noticing about this satellite imagery is that there is a distinctive eye, so it has closed off with that thunderstorm convection around the center, and it's tapping into the warm Gulf of Mexico waters which are three degrees Fahrenheit above average for this time of year.

Now, look at the forecast cone, this is the official path from the National Hurricane Center. And this does not explicitly say a category two, although there are 12 hours separating that 7:00 p.m. a.m., and 7:00 a.m. forecast cone time frame. So the potential here for this to intensify to a cat-2 before making landfall, even though its not explicitly shown on our graphing thanks is definitely a possibility.

So the wind threat will be greatest from west of I-10 and south of I-4 or -- excuse me, west of I-45 and south of I-10. That is just west of Houston.

And, of course, the storm surge component here, four to six feet where the storm makes landfall, there could be, of course, tornadoes in the vicinity of the right quadrant of this storm, which is common during these types of landfalling tropical systems.

But again, low tide will help minimize the greatest storm surge threat. And, of course, the flash flooding. We have the potential for five to ten inches of rain locally higher up to 15 inches. That's over a foot of rainfall.

But this story form is different than previous storms. Listen to help people are preparing.


TERRY BRADER, OWNER, TERRY'S SEAWORTHY MARINE SUPPLY: Whether this turns out to be nothing or something catastrophic, we don't leave any rock. And turned in preparation that's for sure. After Harvey, just every -- every hurricane approaching is huge.


VAN DAM: Yeah, this will not be another Hurricane Harvey because Hurricane Harvey sat over Texas for four days after making landfall, tropical storm Beryl by three days from now, it will be well on its way to Canada -- Fredricka.


WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. All right. A significant conditions, significant ongoing threat.

Derek Van Dam, thank you so much.

VAN DAM: All right. So, Beryl's not are only extreme weather story today. A dangerous and potentially deadly heat wave is breaking records across the U.S. Today, more than 70 million people are under heat advisories with additional cities expected to see record her at high temperatures in the coming days. Death Valley could hit a blistering 130 degrees by Tuesday, and weather officials say the heat wave is expected to stay into mid-July.

CNN national correspondent Natasha Chen trying to stay cool there in Los Angeles with a bunch of new friends out there.

So how are people keeping cool?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, there could be a maximum of 3,000 new friends. That's the capacity of this aquatic center behind us, that really has gotten packed since we got here this morning. In fact, there are still people waiting in line right now to get in because they're just trying any which way to beat the heat.

We talked to the very first person who waited two-and-a-half hours at the front of that line before doors opened. Here's how he described this heatwave compared to he'd seen in previous years.


JEFF SALAZAR, WAITED 2+ HOURS FOR POOL ACCESS: I guess with global warming, how things are. It's getting worse and worse every year. When it's winter, it's colder here, because we're in a bowl, San Fernando Valley is a bowl. So all the air either gets flies right over us, which is what's happening here. And then the heat sticks here. And then in the winter, it just slams in here. So it's -- it's one of the two of extremes all the time.


CHEN: So he's noticed a difference even in the 12 years that he's lived in this area.

And let's take a look at some of the all-time records that were set yesterday. You've got the cities up and down California starting from Northern California and reading at 1:19, then coming down here, you've got Palmdale, Paso Robles, Lancaster, Sandberg, all breaking, all-time records. Those last two are just 50, 60 miles north of where I'm standing right now.

And this is going to continue for a few days. So authorities are very concerned with duration of this heat wave. The CDC and other federal agencies have definitely noted a lot more heat-related illnesses out of the whole general enroll ER visit data as well.

So we're taking a look at that. Not only dangerous for people as they tried to stay hydrate and try to stay cool, but also very dangerous for fire conditions and we are seeing in Santa Barbara County, the lake fire know containment so far, more than 13,000 acres burned. That is actually near Neverland Ranch.

And then you've got the Basin Fire, which is actively burning in Fresno. Fresno, which also saw super high temperatures yesterday, that's about 60 percent contained, but that's grown in acres. That's 14,000 acres there.

So you've got a very big challenge for firefighters right now, and a lot of people worried about how folks are behaving out in public, trying to stay cool. You've got lifeguards here telling us, that they're keeping a close eye to make sure that there are enough adults supervising per child. And making sure that people are staying hydrated because they've had people pass out before and they don't want that to happen today, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Yeah, very dangerous. All right. And very serious threatening conditions there on the West Coast and even parts of the East Coast as well.

Natasha Chen, thank you so much in Los Angeles today. All right. Two and a half years after that fatal shooting on a movie

set in New Mexico, Alec Baldwin get set to stand trial, we have a preview of what to expect next.



WHITFIELD: Jury selection for Alec Baldwin's criminal trial is set to begin Tuesday in New Mexico, and it comes almost three years now after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was shot and killed while filming the movie, "Rust". Baldwin had been pointing revolver at Hutchins during a rehearsal when the gun went off, the actor claimed he never pulled the trigger.

I like to bring it now, jury consultant Melissa Gomez.

Melissa, great to see you.

I mean, these charges against Baldwin were dropped last year and then a grand jury came back, indicted him one more time. I mean, this is a high-profile trial with a celebrity defendant. No one can get past that right there. The celebrity factor, I mean, well, that make it harder to seat a jury?

MELISSA GOMEZ, JURY CONSULTANT: It could potentially it just adds another layer of questions that the attorneys and the judge need to ask about their familiarity with Alec Baldwin. Of course, there isn't going to be anyone likely to be anyone on the panel, just know who he is. But the real question is whether they've already gathered opinions based on what they've seen in the media about this specific case.

So just knowing him, just being a fan of his are not being a fan of his is not going to be enough to cause the judge to say that person is not eligible to be a juror.

WHITFIELD: No one can never predict how long it might take or what the makeup of the jury might be, but in anticipation of this being high profile celebrity driven, is this the case where the jury pool from which the attorneys have to make a selection is particularly sizable?

GOMEZ: Most likely so looking at this, I mean, the length of jury selection, the length of time it takes, and the process is really driven by the judge and from the looks of it, what I've seen is that this judge is expecting openings to happen on Wednesday. So it sounds like she runs a pretty the tight ship.

So they may have to get a larger pool than usual in order to exclude those people who outright say they cant be fair and impartial who say they already have an idea of what they think the right decision is even before hearing the facts of the case.


WHITFIELD: Wow, do you think that's possible to be able to see the jury in a case like this of this caliber in a day?

GOMEZ: The judge is the boss. So its going to depend on the questions that the attorneys are allowed to ask. How in depth they're able to get those opinions, but to really get a thorough evaluation of the jurors, it should take more than a day, but we'll see.

WHITFIELD: What kind of role, if any, do you think a defendant, Alec Baldwin, my play in terms of him sitting in the courtroom, you know, eye contact being made involving the perspective jurors -- how influential, do you think that might be?

GOMEZ: I think it's as influential as any defendant. I mean, the fact of the matter is though is that he is someone who is known and whether he's known by someone who has admired him or someone who is known by someone who criticized him.

So this is something that happens with every criminal defendant at every trial is the jurors are going to be watching him, seeing how he reacts, is he responding. Does he seem to care, does he seem concerned? And so, you know, but there may be additional expectations put on him as someone who is a celebrity particular who is an -- who is an actor, and trying to determine what is he thinking? What is he feeling, and how he's responding to the proceedings?

WHITFIELD: All right. It's going to be a fascinating week and thereafter.

Melissa Gomez, thank you so much.

GOMEZ: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: An American citizen is badly hurt after Hezbollah fires anti-tank missiles at northern Israel.



WHITFIELD: All right. We're following a developing story out of Israel where an American citizen has been badly hurt by shrapnel from a missile fired into northern Israel by Hezbollah. The Israeli military said the Iran-backed militant group fired dozens of projectiles and anti-tank missiles from southern Lebanon. Israel defense forces released this video of its return missile strike.

Elliott Gotkine is joining me right now.

Elliott, what more we do we know about this American injured?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Fredricka, from what we understand, he is a 31-year-old male American citizen and that he was injured as you say from shrapnel from anti-tank missiles fired by Hezbollah from the other side of the border. That's according to the IDF, and that he was injured in his upper body.

Now, he was taken to hospital to the Galilee medical center he was operated on and at the time, they said that his condition was serious, but stable, but then subsequently they put out a statement saying that his condition had deteriorated. Now, we've reached out to the state department to see if it had any more information on this citizen. Nothing more on that for now, and obviously, were continuing to keep in touch with the hospital to ensure that we know if there's any change to the American citizens situation -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Okay. And keep us posted on that.

Meantime, do know anything new about these ceasefire negotiations that will be resuming this week. What is the latest?

GOTKINE: Fredricka, nine months to the de since the Hamas-led terrorist attacks, there is probably more optimism about the progress in these talks and it has been since the first and only ceasefire back in November. And we know that Bill Burns, CIA director, is heading to Doha this week. He'll be meeting with his counterparts from Egypt and Israel, also the Qatari Prime Minister as well, to try to progress further on these talks.

Now, one of the main reasons for the optimism is Hamas's response, which took his time in coming, but from what? Hamas senior official telling CNN that it may be willing to no longer insist that there be a full cessation of hostilities, right up front before going into the first phase of the ceasefire. And that was a big red line for Israel.

In fact, Prime Minister Netanyahu, his office putting out a statement on Sunday reiterating that that was one of his red lines adding three other red lines saying that there must also be no smuggling from Egypt to Hamas over the border into Gaza, saying that there should be no return of armed terrorists to the northern part of the Gaza Strip and saying that Israel will maximize the number of living hostages released by Hamas.

Now it's barely there are still 116 hostages, about a third of whom believed to be dead, still being held in Gaza. And that is a statement from Netanyahu. And there are protests again, on Sunday, nine months on from when those hostages were abducted and taken to Gaza -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right. Elliott Gotkine, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: A third of shark species are facing extinction. Overfishing is the biggest cause, but pollution is also a major threat.

The non-profit PADI Aware is trying to fix that with its Dive Against Debris program in today's "Impact Your World".

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JACK FISHMAN, PADI AWARE FOUNDATION: Dive Against Debris is a citizen science monitoring program were scuba divers can remove marine debris that they find on the sea floor. As divers, we can quickly see what is not actually supposed to belong underwater. From plastic to metal, to all sorts of things that we may find underneath the waves, as plastic enters the marine environment, it breaks down over the course of time and so, when small organisms eat that, it starts with the next level of fish, all the way up to the top of the food chain, which sharps.

The most commonly found item across the world by scuba divers is plastic fishing line. And that can create a tearing effect. You can create abrasions where it moves and starts to hurt sensitive marine organisms such as corals and animals can find themselves entangled.

Once the debris has been safely removed, underwater, we sort it, we record it, and then we report it to our database.

Over the past 10 years of according data, we've actually moved more than 2.3 million pieces of marine debris around the world. When divers remove this, they're not only making the marine life underwater safer, governments can use that information to create new the policies that might prevent the spread of marine debris, especially plastics in their local --