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CNN International: Ukraine: Children's Hospital Was Hit With Long-Range Missile; Ukraine Will Be Central Focus Of NATO Summit In Washington; Western Alliance Marks 75th Anniversary In Washington. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired July 09, 2024 - 11:00   ET




PAULA NEWTON, HOST, "CNN NEWSROOM": Hello, and a very warm welcome to our viewers from around the world. I'm Paula Newton in New York.

Ahead right here on CNN Newsroom, a devastating hit at a children's hospital in Ukraine has set the mood for this week's NATO summit in Washington, D.C. We will take you live to Kyiv in moments. Plus, U.S. President Biden in damage control mode now, as his fellow Democrats hold meetings behind closed doors to discuss the future of his candidacy and the party. And not just one but two highly anticipated soccer matches today, as the Copa America and Euro 2024 tournaments head into the semifinals. We are live in Munich with much more.

To be sure, the war in Ukraine will top the agenda, as NATO leaders gather for a summit in Washington, D.C., and it is also the subject of a special United Nations Security Council meeting. It was called after a Russian missile strike hit Kyiv's children's hospital. Monday's attack killed at least two people and injured more than 15 others. That was at the medical center itself. And as you can see there, heartbreaking pictures show some of the youngest victims who were evacuated and those include cancer patients.

We want to go straight to Kyiv now and CNN's Fred Pleitgen, who is on the scene there at that children's hospital. It is good to have you there on the ground, so we can see this for ourselves. Since this incident, we have been watching the rescue and recovery efforts. It's extraordinary. It's been happening around the clock at all hours. What are you seeing there on the ground now, Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. First of all, I think you're absolutely right. It's remarkable to see how fast the rescue efforts started, and then the cleanup efforts have been going on as well.

I'm actually right at the impact site where that missile hit that building, and I'm going to get out of your way real quick, Paula, we can pan up and you can see that large parts of that building has absolutely been annihilated by that missile hit. You can see that a lot of the debris over there. I was looking through it a little bit before. There is a lot of medical equipment that's actually still embedded and destroyed in that degree. So, a lot of that medical equipment right now is so important, of course, for this country, as this war is going on, also that has been lost as well, including two lives, and dozens of people who were wounded just at this site alone. Of course, we know that in Kyiv yesterday, as that massive missile attack took place, that 29 people at least were killed here in Ukraine's capital city.

I was able to speak to a doctor just a couple of minutes ago, Paula, who was actually on the scene when the strike took place. She was in an adjacent building, and she described some of the chaos in the aftermath, and how immediately a lot of the hospital staff came out and started trying to help in any way that they could. And she said the most traumatizing thing for her was coming here, seeing that building, having a lot of colleagues who worked there, patients who were in there, and not knowing whether or not they had been able to bring themselves to safety.

So, needless to say that for the Ukrainians, this is obviously not only a tragic event then, one that they're really angry about as well. The Russians, of course, have hinted that they believed that there might be some sort of Ukrainian interceptor that went astray and caused this. The Ukrainians are saying, absolutely not. They say unequivocally this was a Russian missile. They are calling this an attack on their medical system, an attack on the Ukrainian children as well, Paula.

NEWTON: Yeah. Certainly, it is a point of tension right now at this hour as that NATO summit begins in Washington. Zelenskyy will be there. Given the state of his war effort right now, he needs to lobby for more weaponry and support. Fred, in your estimation, having been on the ground now pretty much since the conflict started, do you think this is his strongest position now to be able to demand the weaponry and the support crucially of getting all that he needs from those NATO allies?

PLEITGEN: Yeah. I think that there is a lot of things that have been going on, and there is a lot of instances where I think as among the supporters of Ukraine, especially the U.S. and some of the European allies as well, they've really come a long way as far as the equipment that they're willing to give, but also as far as their efforts are concerned. And I think one of the things that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is going to get very favorable answers from the NATO partners, especially in the United States, is going to be air defense in light of what you're seeing here behind me but also in light of the frontline situation that the Ukrainians are facing right now with the Russian Air Force being a lot more effective, dropping longer-range bombs than they have been able to in the past. And so, air defense is a big deal.

On the other hand, the other thing that we're seeing as well, Paula, also looking at European countries but also the U.S. is that they started ramping up their ammunition, especially artillery ammunition production a couple of months ago, and that's sort of starting to mature right now. So, I think one of the things that you could see from European countries is bigger ammo packages, for instance, coming Ukraine's way.


But, one of the things that the Ukrainians are looking at, which I think is going to be very important for them, is how they're allowed to use some of the weapons that they believe that they will get, like, for instance, fighter jets. Will they be able to attack -- allowed to attack targets within Russia, or about missiles, and other higher echelon technology as well? Those are all things that Ukrainians, of course, are going to be talking about. They're going to be wanting to be allowed to do that. So, it's going to be very interesting to see what exactly Volodymyr Zelenskyy is going to get out of that summit. Certainly, air defense. He has always said it's going to be a big thing for the Ukrainians and one of the priorities that they definitely want to see through, Paula.

NEWTON: Yeah. He definitely wants to move the needle there. And Fred, just as you're speaking here, we can hear the recovery efforts in the background. It's such a symbol of the resiliency there on the ground. Fred Pleitgen for us, really good to have you there. Appreciate it.

Now, Russia's latest attacks on Ukraine and what can be done to stop them will be, of course, a major topic, as we were just discussing, as those leaders gather in Washington. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy obviously on hand for this NATO summit, and sources tell CNN, a draft of NATO's joint communique describes Ukraine's path to the alliance as "irreversible". Now, close attention will also be paid to you as President Joe Biden. He faces mounting pressure from inside his own party to drop out of that presidential race. This amid questions about what happens if Donald Trump returns to the White House. Trump has actively encouraged Russia to attack NATO allies, not meeting their defense spending guidelines, and U.S. policy toward Ukraine and the alliance could shift dramatically if he gets a second term.

CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson is in London for us and observing all of this. A decade now, Nic, a decade since NATO has had to pivot to that defense of Europe, arguably when Russia took over Crimea, and now this war of aggression in Ukraine. How will NATO reset yet again, given the 75th anniversary?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah. I think one of the things that they'll try to do is present a really strong picture of unity, despite a few outliers, Viktor Orban of Hungary being the obvious one recently, but present that picture of unity, and by going back to the same venue that was used in 1949 to inaugurate and get NATO off the ground. They'll be trying to sort of conjure up the spirit, what's been achieved since then, but also focus on the challenges and the things that have changed and that 2014 decision at the NATO summit in Wales, UK, to increase defense spending to two percent GDP.

Obviously, some countries, we've heard from the Polish official saying that they think that actually Ukrainian defense spending should, rather, NATO defense spending contribution should actually go up significantly because of the substance of the threat. We heard from Germany's Deputy Defense Minister speaking about the same issue that really they feel that the threat is so great. He needs to grow his military more or more quickly than his budget will allow. But, the projection that you will hear won't be these little differences. It'll be that unifying message. And of course, President Zelenskyy has said specifically, he wants concrete steps and answers on air defense systems, as Fred was saying, and the indications are he'll get something on that.

The other thing that he wants, of course, you were talking about it there that could be in the communique, the word "irreversible" on a path to becoming a NATO member. That was something he so wanted last year in Vilnius when the NATO summit was there, and he didn't get it, and he is going to want that strong language, because that for him is the strongest message to President Putin that NATO isn't going away because they're giving him this irreversible path. John Kirby, that U.S. -- the White House's National Security Spokesperson, spoke about this specific issue. He didn't use the word "irreversible", though.


JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: NATO is in Ukraine's future, and there is going to be a path, what we call a bridge to NATO, that the allies will talk about this coming week, to include the signing of bilateral security agreements, which has already happened, to make sure that they have long-term defense needs met for whenever however this war ends.


ROBERTSON: But, of course, it's that Article Five that an attack on one is an attack on all that umbrella that serves all NATO's 32 nations. Zelenskyy wants to be in under that very protective umbrella. And he is not there yet, in part, because there are reforms that need to happen within the governance of the country to meet the sort of democratic standards of the other NATO members.

NEWTON: All right. Nic, we'll leave it there for now, as you continue to observe this NATO summit that will be going on for a few days here in Washington. Appreciate it.

For more on all of this, I want to bring in a guest who obviously knows quite a bit about NATO and of course U.S. politics.


Retired U.S. General Wesley Clark was a Democratic presidential candidate in the 2004 election and now he is an analyst for us. We remind everyone, he served as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. So, the tough questions to you. Look, this is a two-pronged crisis at this point in time. We've got U.S. leadership with NATO, no matter how you slice it, right, the issue whether or not the Biden administration, for all its good intentions, failed Ukraine for months as the military aid stalled in Congress, and then also the Trump of it all. So, it doesn't matter whether or not you have Biden back in or Trump there. What are the challenges facing this alliance as they look to U.S. leadership right now?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FMR. NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER EUROPE: Well, first of all, of course, members of the alliance want President Biden to be a strong leader, and they want strong U.S. leadership and strong U.S. interest in Europe. They don't want the United States to turn its back on Europe and face simply China. So, that's the first thing. So, this is so much very important. They're looking for the vigor of our President, and President Biden, this is an important opportunity for him to show the vigor of his leadership in front of the American people as well as the world.

But, NATO challenges are deeper than that, because really, there is no strategy yet on the part of NATO for how to actually succeed in the defense of Ukraine. How does Ukraine get its territory back? What constitutes a victory that President Biden has called for, for Ukraine? So, the summit is not going to exactly address this. What the NATO allies have done thus far is give Ukraine sufficient material not to lose, but they haven't stepped up to give it sufficient material to take back its territories. Last summer's counter-offensive was -- it was underprepared, under-resourced, under-planned. It wasn't going to succeed, and it was late.

So, it wasn't a real test of either Ukraine or NATO. But, that test is coming. This can't go on indefinitely. The war is not a stalemate. So, this is a chance for the allies to meet each other, reaffirm their commitments, reaffirm their commitment to President Zelenskyy and Ukraine, and then have to pull up their socks and really deliver the equipment they promised. And it's going to have to be operational. And there has to be a concept of operations that lets Ukraine see a win.

NEWTON: Yeah. And that seems highly questionable at this point. As you said, what is more likely is a stalemate that we're seeing now. If we go back, though, to U.S. leadership, Biden has said repeatedly, right, I'm the guy who expanded NATO. As much as that may be true, and we can argue that, how much is the current state of U.S. politics a liability? I mean, when allies look to the U.S., they are seeing, on the one hand, arguably a diminished President, and on the other, potentially an incoming former President that does not value NATO the way they would like to see it valued.

CLARK: Well, yes. I mean, the allies recognize there is politics in the United States, but this is on the lines of democracies. There is politics everywhere. France just came through a bruising parliamentary election. Britain just set up a new government in there. There is -- in every democracy, there are elections, Mr. Trump is an outlier. But, in the Republican Party, there is strong support for NATO to support Ukraine and for the United States to support Ukraine. So, even if Mr. Trump is elected, he is going to have trouble with his own party. They don't want to turn Ukraine over to Russia. 75 percent of the American people support continued assistance to Ukraine.

The real issue is, it's not a stalemate. It just looks like a stalemate right now. It's very dynamic. Russia is producing it 24x7 from its industrial complex, lining up China, bringing systems in from North Korea. Iran is there with the drones. The question is, can the West keep up? Can we get ahead? Can we break the momentum that Russia has and convince Putin that he is going to lose and that he should pull back?

NEWTON: And so -- but the point --

CLARK: It's not a stalemate.

NEWTON: OK. I understand that point that you're making. So, if it's not a stalemate, and you're saying this is still quite dynamic, in your opinion, as former NATO commander, what best to do now, because Ukraine would say every time a plan has been put in place that they have tried to push the allies on what they can do? Would you say, go to that Ukraine plan, let them target where they want to target, let them use all the weaponry the way they want to use it, without any kind of restrictions?


CLARK: Yes. But, I think you have to understand first, its defense force. So, get the air defense assets in there to protect the population, stop these horrific bombardments of hospitals. Secondly, protect the frontlines from the glide bombs. Third, deliver the F-16s, the long-range missiles, take off the restrictions. War has its own dynamic. And the administration and NATO have done their very best to stay out of this. But, ultimately, if the security guarantees mean anything, it means we must deepen our commitment sufficiently to convince Mr. Putin that he will not succeed.

And so, you can't simply say, well, we're going to help (inaudible) but no confrontation with Russia. We can't have that. We're going to have to belly up to the bar and recognize this is a vital interest for Europe. NATO's job is to provide security and stability in Europe. You can't allow Putin to succeed in Ukraine. And you've got to listen to the military experts who say, take the gloves off, let them strike deep, go after Russia.

NEWTON: Yeah. And with allies like Hungary and Turkey at the table, we will see how far they get with this meeting in the coming days. General Wesley Clark for us, always good to have this conversation. Appreciate it.

Now, will this be a decision day for the Democrats? They're holding high-stakes meetings on Capitol Hill with President Biden's political future still hanging in the balance. Plus, jury selection underway at the trial for actor Alec Baldwin for the deadly shooting of a cinematographer on a movie set.


NEWTON: Not one but two crucial meetings that could set the course of the 2024 presidential race. Congressional Democrats are meeting behind closed doors today. The question clearly at the top of their agenda, is President Joe Biden mentally fit enough to take on Donald Trump in November, or should he step aside? Just moments ago, Representative Jim Clyburn, a top congressional Democrat, came out of the House Democrats meeting and repeated his support for President Biden.


REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): We're riding with Biden. We're riding with Biden.



NEWTON: Yes. He has got a new campaign slogan there, but the storms swirling around the Biden campaign and the Democratic Party since the President's disastrous debate performance, that was almost two weeks ago, I'll remind you, shows no sign of abating.

And we are joined by our Arlette Saenz at the White House and CNN's Sunlen Serfaty. Arlette, first you, a crucial few days, of course, ahead with Biden and that NATO summit, a high-stakes press conference on Thursday. The White House aides especially right now on the hot seat about how they've handled the President's meetings and scheduled these media appearances.


What more are you learning about how they're going to change the narrative in the next few days?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, President Biden's campaign has insisted that the President will be out there on the campaign trail, trying to make his case directly to American voters. But, they also are fully aware of the debate that's currently playing up out on Capitol Hill. Sources in and around the White House and campaign acknowledge how critical of a day to day will be as these Democratic lawmakers are assembling together for the first time since -- in-person, since that debate performance last month.

Now, the President and his team have been conducting outreach in recent days. And what they've also been quick to highlight is the support that the President has been getting, even as there is a small group that has publicly called for the President to step aside in this race. So far, there have only been six House Democratic lawmakers who have said that it's time for Biden to go. Others have expressed these concerns privately. But, at the same time, you do have some rallying of support around the President, particularly from the Congressional Black Caucus.

President Biden yesterday spent a little over 30 minutes on the phone in a virtual meeting with these lawmakers of the CBC where he thanked them and asked them for his support going forward. A source telling CNN that there was no pushback from these lawmakers in the meeting. Those are some of the most forceful defenders that you've seen from President -- of President Biden since this debate has played out. The President also spent some time yesterday on the phone speaking with the donors of his National Finance Committee. And I'm told that today, the President also will be reaching out to Democratic mayors from across the country. A source telling me that tonight, the President will join a virtual zoom call with these mayors, part of his latest effort to try to shore up support within his party.

But, of course, a lot of eyes will also be on the President, as he conducts himself throughout the NATO summit playing out here in Washington, D.C. this week. On Thursday, the President will hold a solo news conference, which is something that lawmakers -- that aides and lawmakers and Democrats are watching very closely, as the President's team has acknowledged that he needs to be out there doing these more impromptu events, taking questions from the reporters, all in the hopes of showing Americans that he is up for serving a second term in office.

So, the White House and campaign are fully cognizant of what a critical week this is for President Biden, as he looks to continue to rally support around him. But, so far, the President, of course, has shown no signs of backing down from this race.

NEWTON: No, and has shown in fact defiance.

Sunlen, to you now, I know how closely you've been watching whether it's representatives or senators, especially those who are in tough districts, right, in terms of being down ballot and worrying that a weakened President will really hurt them in those other races. So, in terms of what people were saying going in and coming out, are you hearing anything different? Do you see any kind of further strength or resolve on some of those Democrats that were wavering to actually back the President now?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. It's interesting, Paula. Emerging from this meeting, many House Democrats told us privately that there really was no consensus in the room, that there still exists this very large divide between them. There are some that think that they need to replace Biden on the top of the ticket and there are some that say that he needs to stay in place. And one source telling CNN that the sense in the room, as they huddled this morning just off of on Capitol Hill, was one of sadness. And this person said it was a sadness that comes from talking about someone you love, who is in obvious decline. That notable comment that that tone was what was paramount in this meeting today.

Now, we heard that this was essentially a listening session among top leaders in the room, listening to what the House Democrats believe, and that both viewpoints were heard that many people just essentially went up to an open mic and told the room what they felt about Biden's future. Now, we heard from Congressman Jerry Nadler going into the room. Now, he was one of those people, one of those congressman that privately has expressed that he does not think Biden should continue on top of the ticket. He said that he believes that -- he says, whether or not I have concerns is beside the point now, though, he is going to be our nominee, and we all have to support him. Here is more of what he said this morning.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The President is determined that he is the best candidate. And given the fact (inaudible).


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (CROSSTALK) in your heart of hearts, do you believe Democrats can still win? NADLER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you wish that President Biden would reconsider?



SERFATY: So, that in part, a small change in tune of what he is saying behind closed doors and in public. And it's very clear, Paula, that Democrats are working this through today. There will be many, many additional meetings, not only House Democrats, but Senate Democrats as well, as they try to come to terms with where they are, where they are with Biden's candidacy.


Now, notably, one Democrat, Lloyd Doggett, he was actually the first House Democrat to formally call for President Biden to step aside. He believes, this is what he told CNN moments ago, he believes that there'll be many more House Democrats to come out in opposition to Biden today, calling on him essentially to withdraw his candidacy sooner rather than later. Paula.

NEWTON: Well, really stark there in terms of what the Democratic Party is dealing within the days to come. Arlette Saenz for us at the White House, Sunlen Serfaty in Washington, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

We want to bring in our political panel now. CNN political commentator Maria Cardona, she is also a Democratic Strategist, and Farnoush Amiri, she is a congressional reporter for the Associated Press. And good to have you both.

Now, Maria, before you go off, because I've heard you're one of Biden's strongest backers, I want you to listen first, though, to Representative Mike Quigley this morning. He, of course, is from Illinois, and was in that Democratic caucus meeting. Listen.


REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): The fighting spirit and pride and courage that served the country so well four years ago help Joe Biden win, we will bring the ticket down this time. He just has to step down because he can't win. And my colleagues need to recognize that a dismissive letter not going to change any bias.


NEWTON: Maria, by any measure, this weakens President Biden. How to overcome this now? You just heard Sunlen say that there are still congressional Democrats saying he has got to step down.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, & DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, and that is certainly the reality of it, Paula, and that is something that President Biden and the campaign and the White House are going to have to contend with. But, the reality is, Paula, you say I'm one of Biden's biggest supporters, and I do support him, and the reason I support him is because I have been listening to a lot of what the grassroots voters are saying out in the states, even in the swing states.

There was a recent Bloomberg poll that actually had President Biden closing the gap with Donald Trump and had him up in every single swing state except Pennsylvania, where he was tied. There was a Reuters/Ipsos poll that had Trump and Biden tied. And if you remember, in 2022, all of these polls, and so many talking heads, were warning how the Democrats were going to get blown out of the water in the midterm elections. There was a huge red tsunami coming and it didn't materialize. Because you know why, Paula? A lot of the voters out in the states are not -- their sentiments are not being measured correctly by these polls.

And what I'm hearing from these grassroots Democrats is they are still firmly backing President Biden because he delivered for them, and they prefer Biden on his worst day than somebody who represents an existential threat to our democracy, to their communities, and, frankly, to the global world order, if Donald Trump gets anywhere near the White House. And so, as long as that is the case, as long as President Biden enjoys the continued support of grassroots Democrats, the 14 million people who voted for him during the nomination process, the 4,000 delegates that are promised to him, he is going to stay on the ticket. And if he is going to stay on the ticket, the only way he wins is for the vast majority of Democrats, including lawmakers, to support him.

NEWTON: Now, I hear you, and perhaps that is what will end up happening. But, as you just pointed out yourself, the contrast between the two candidates isn't being made right now, because everyone is so distracted, distracted by whether or not President Biden is fit to serve out another four and a half years.

Farnoush, to you now, that is what's at stake here in terms of not just winning a campaign, but also being able to govern for the years coming. I mean, how do you see this in terms of Joe Biden saying very clearly to those closest to him, to voters, to congressional Democrats, to senators, I'm not going anywhere? Do you think he wins at the end of all this? Like, as long as he has a good press conference on Thursday, it's conversation over.

FARNOUSH AMIRI, U.S. CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, AP: Yeah. I mean, what you're seeing is that there is so much frustration, not just about the President's debate performance a couple of weeks ago, but about the response from the White House and Biden supporters since then. I've spoken to many Democrats, both publicly and privately, who've told me, if he would have reached out, if he would have picked up the phone and called me that Friday, the Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and said, hey, listen, I had a bad night. I can overcome this. I need your support. This is how we're going to move forward. But, he didn't do that.

The first recorded public calls to Democratic leadership didn't come till Tuesday or Wednesday of the next week. He allowed that time to go for members of Congress to be able to percolate amongst themselves saying, what are we going to do? How are we responding to reporters who, like myself, are messaging and calling Democrats all weekend long, being like, what is the next plan?


And so, what the many frustration among Democrats is the handling of the post-debate performance. You're asking, can he overcome this? I think what we've seen in the last 48 hours is a lot of Democrats, even those who have been publicly saying that this man should step down, he should not be their nominee, are coming to terms with the fact that he isn't willing to do that. And he is the only person that can force that decision to happen. But, I think what you're going to see is, if the White House and Democratic supporters of President Biden do not assuage these concerns that even these Democrats who are privately having them have, we're going to see these numbers of opponents continue to rise.

NEWTON: And I don't have a lot of time. But, Farnoush, to you first, do you think the polls are the deciding factor here? And Maria, I'm going to ask you the same question. Do you think it's just other factors that are going to come into play here?

AMIRI: I mean, what you saw today, I mean, the fact that Democrats met at the DNC, shows that they were talking about politics, that they cannot talk about on -- at Capitol Hill. They were talking about polling. They're seeing how Biden's performance post-debate is doing among voters in swing states. And -- but I think at the end of the day, what they see is, who can beat Donald Trump in November?

NEWTON: Right.

AMIRI: Right?

NEWTON: Right.

AMIRI: And I think that that's what you're going to see going forward.

NEWTON: And Maria, in terms of the grassroots that you've been speaking to, do you expect to see it? Will we be speaking in a week or two with you to say, look, Democrats are solidly behind Biden, never mind the lawmakers, never mind the media, it's these grassroots folks?

CARDONA: I think so, because that is what both the campaign is seeing when they go door to door. Grassroots leaders across the country are seeing that door to door. Reproductive women's rights groups are hearing that. Immigrant rights groups are hearing that, black voters, Latino voters who understand what's at stake, who understand what danger their community would be in if Donald Trump gets another four years. Those are all of the voters that frankly a lot of the Democrats that are supporting Biden on the Hill, that is what they're hearing.

There is clearly challenges. No question, Paula. I think the next couple of weeks are going to be telling. But, again, as long as President Biden is dug in and he says he is not going anywhere, the leadership of the Democratic Party, if they stick with him, and right now they are, this --


CARDONA: -- is our nominee.


CARDONA: And if we want to win, we got to support him.

NEWTON: OK. Maria Cardona, Farnoush Amiri, we have to leave it there. Thanks so much to both of you.

CARDONA: Thanks, Paula.

NEWTON: Still ahead for us, CNN visits the Israel-Lebanon border to get a firsthand view of the hostilities that are threatening to erupt into a full-scale war on another front. We'll have that.



NEWTON: This just in to CNN. A court in Moscow has ordered the arrest of Yulia Navalnaya. She is, of course, the widow of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. She is accused of participating in an extremist group. Now, though Navalnaya lives outside of Russia, the arrest warrant means she would be arrested if she were to return to the country for any reason. Alexei Navalny died in prison back in February.

Israel is pressing ahead with a major military offensive in Gaza City, as Hamas warns the attacks could send ceasefire efforts back to square one. Israeli forces report close-quarters combat with Hamas fighters, saying they are destroying terrorist infrastructure. Hundreds of thousands of people, meantime, are fleeing their homes once again under yet new evacuation orders. Gaza's Civil Defense says bodies are trapped under buildings and lying in the streets, but it's just too dangerous for crews to try and retrieve them. The Palestinian Red Crescent says all of its medical clinics in Gaza are -- in Gaza City are now out of service.

We want to go to our Jeremy Diamond now for more, who is live for us in Jerusalem. What a nightmare repeating itself here again? I mean, evacuations ordered, and again, it's a familiar horror, right? Where the heck do these people go? What more are you learning about exactly the Israeli operation that is underway, and what it means for civilians?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right, Paula. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are once again on the move. We have seen, over the course of just the last week, evacuation orders for parts of Khan Younis and then in northern Gaza, several evacuation orders in different neighborhoods of Gaza City.

And that is where the Israeli military has been concentrating its military operations over the last 48 hours or so inside Gaza City neighborhoods where the Israeli military says that Hamas has returned to areas that the Israeli military had previously cleared, and that is what we are continuing to see in Gaza, absent a long-term strategy for the governance, an alternative to Hamas' governance in Gaza, the Israeli military going back into areas that it had previously withdrawn from, and not only is that resulting in increased fighting, increased artillery shelling, airstrikes, but also, of course, the impact to civilians, not only those who were killed and wounded in the fighting, rescue workers having trouble actually reaching the dead and the wounded as a result of the heavy fighting.

And then, of course, as we were talking about, the tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, in some cases, of people who are moving to areas of central Gaza to that Al Mawasi coastal area, where they are simply finding that there are not enough resources for the number of people who are currently displaced in Gaza. Even things like tents are running in short supply in Gaza at the moment. And for now, the only salve that they could potentially get is if indeed there is a ceasefire agreement. We are seeing those negotiations continuing this week in Cairo, as well as in Doha, Qatar, but for now, no deal as of yet. Paula.

NEWTON: The other aspect that you've been following closely has been whether or not this will also be a conflict on another front, Israel's northern border. What did you learn by visiting?

DIAMOND: Well, late last week, we traveled to Shtula, which is just a few 100 feet away from the Lebanese border, to get a sense of just how tense things are there and to see some of the destruction wrought by Hezbollah as anti-tank missiles.


LT. COL. JORDAN HERZBERG, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: They're going to see us right when we get up there, and we have three minutes.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Col. Jordan Herzberg is talking about Hezbollah.

HERZBERG: After three minutes, though, they can start the fire. So, we're going to go very quick.

DIAMOND (voice-over): He is taking us to an Israeli community on the frontlines of Israel's simmering conflict with the Lebanese militant group, up a winding mountain road, past a roadblock and a security fence and into the village of Shtula, which sits right on the Lebanese border.

DIAMOND: We just entered the village of Shtula. This is a community of about 300 people normally. But, right now, it's just an absolute ghost town. Let's go quick.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The three-minute countdown starts as soon as we are within line of sight of southern Lebanon --

HERZBERG: Look how close we are to the border here.

DIAMOND (voice-over): -- where Hezbollah militants armed with anti- tank missiles are closely watching the border, prepared to fire once again.

HERZBERG: This house was hit by the anti-tank missile right here, past the window.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Two homes, one next to the other, hit in the same attack, according to the Israeli military.

DIAMOND: This is one of the most dangerous places in northern Israel right now. We're in Shtula, and you can see the Lebanese border just right across there, across from those concrete barriers. We are just a few hundred feet, and what that means is that we are within range of those anti-tank guided missiles and that is exactly what has wrought this destruction on the civilian home.

DIAMOND (voice-over): The threat of anti-tank missiles is part of why Israel wants to push Hezbollah back to the Litani River, about 18 miles north of the border, outside the range of those missiles.


HERZBERG: OK. We have 35 seconds.

DIAMOND: We've been here for three minutes. The Colonel has been watching his watch the entire time that we've been here and now he is telling us it's time to go.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Hezbollah has been firing rockets, missiles and drones at northern Israel since October 8. Israel has responded with airstrike after airstrike, devastating parts of southern Lebanon, where more than 90,000 people have fled their homes since October. In northern Israel, about 60,000 Israelis have been displaced, people like Ori Eliyahu and his nine dogs. His grandfather was among the first people Israel settled in Shtula in the late 1960s. And after spending his summers there as a child, Ori decided to move there.

DIAMOND: Shtula is a special place for you.


DIAMOND: And if you could return to Shtula, you would.

ELIYAHU: Of course. I will return and the first moment I would be able to. Yeah.

DIAMOND (voice-over): But, he says that may not be the case for families with children.

ELIYAHU: I don't think that there is a condition that will make them come back, because whenever they know that Hezbollah is like Hamas can do what they did on October 7, and attack them, they want to be with them. And there is no real solution because a big war might win everything.

DIAMOND (voice-over): A big war is exactly what the Israeli military is preparing for.

HERZBERG: Our division has been training for this war for a long, long time.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Whether that will or materializes, is unclear. But, for Colonel Herzberg, the objective is obvious, get Israel's northern residents back into their homes.

HERZBERG: Whether it happens before a major ground operation or after a ground operation, I can't tell you. I'm on a tactical level, not at the clinical level or the policy level, but the people are going to come back sooner than later.


DIAMOND: And Paula, the situation along that border still remains very, very tense. And it's not clear yet whether it will blow up into that all-out war that has been feared. What we do know, though, is those ceasefire negotiations happening this week in Doha, Qatar, they could not only unlock a ceasefire in Gaza, but they could also potentially unlock a broader peace in the region.

NEWTON: Yeah. And as you pointed out in your report, tens of thousands of people on both sides of the border want to get back to their lives. It's obviously an agricultural hub as well. And we'll wait to see if there is progress on these ceasefire talks. Jeremy Diamond for us, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Now, jury selection is underway in Alec Baldwin's involuntary manslaughter trial in New Mexico. This follows the fatal shooting of a cinematographer nearly three years ago on the set of the film "Rust". Baldwin has pleaded not guilty to one felony charge. Now, he previously told CNN, he did not pull the trigger. But, he has admitted to pulling back the hammer of the gun. The charges against Baldwin were previously dismissed. However, last October, prosecutors said new facts in the case showed Baldwin had culpability in this shooting.

Joining us from Los Angeles now with the latest is Elizabeth Wagmeister. You've been following this case very closely. We did have a ruling early on that seemed to perhaps be in Baldwin's favor. What more do we know?

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. Yesterday, a big victory for Baldwin and his defense. In a pre-trial hearing, the judge ruling that Baldwin's role as a producer cannot come up in trial. Now, the reason why this is a significant win for Baldwin is the prosecution has said that they intend to bring up his role as a producer to show the jury why he held more responsibility, essentially saying that he is the boss. So, therefore, he would have been responsible for the safety on set. Let's take a look at what the judge said yesterday.


VOICE OF JUDGE MARY MARLOWE SOMMER, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF NEW MEXICO: One of the reasons why I think I'm having a hard time wrapping my hand around it to be able to say, Mr. Baldwin, because he was a producer and he was the boss looking at those contracts, he couldn't do a thing without running it by, including hiring somebody without running it by whatever that entity is in the contract. So, I'm denying evidence of his status as a producer.


WAGMEISTER: Now, the judge said that bringing up his role as a producer could be confusing for the jury. And there are many different types of producers. Some are just creative producers. Some put their name on it because it helps a project get sold. But still, even without that, the prosecution has accused Baldwin of being negligent and reckless. He faces a charge of involuntary manslaughter, which is the same charge that the armor from the film, Hannah Reed Gutierrez, was also facing, and she was sentenced to 18 months this past April.

Now, as jury selection is getting underway, Josh Campbell and our crew down in New Mexico, they spotted Baldwin entering court this morning.


He also entered with his wife Hilaria Baldwin and one of their young children. So, it appears that they will be in court to support Baldwin, as he faces a maximum of 18 months if he is sentenced. Again, jury selection getting underway right now. Opening statements could begin as soon as tomorrow. And this is expected to be a two week trial for Baldwin.

NEWTON: All right. Elizabeth Wagmeister for us, thanks so much.

Now, still ahead, will Spain's youthful side be able to overcome France's experience? We'll have a live preview of tonight's Euro 2024 semifinal match.


NEWTON: More Kenyan troops are headed to support a UN security mission in Haiti, where gang violence is rampant. According to a statement from Kenya's police, 400 more security officers have completed their training, their mission, to try and restore security and public order that is crucial for fighting hunger in this Caribbean nation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the heart of the city of Port-au-Prince, hunger is everywhere. About five million people, half of Haiti's population, are struggling to feed themselves. Armed gangs have cut off the capital from suppliers. Rita Losandieu has two young grandchildren she is trying to provide for.

RITA LOSANDIEU, GRANDMOTHER (Interpreted): I have two grown-up sons. They give me economic support to eat with these two children. Things are very expensive. It's a problem to buy anything to eat. You must have a lot of money in order to just buy enough for three meals. It's very difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Poverty and gang violence have forced residents to find shelter in makeshift camps set up in schools where medical care and food are provided. PETER DAVE CHERILUS, NUTRIONIST (Interpreted): The most urgent matter with children in camps is that when these children move with their families to a camp, it's because they have problems with healthy nutrition, and our role is to help them develop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, armed gangs have overrun the capital.

GARRY CONILLE, HAITIAN PRIME MINISTER (Interpreted): Haiti is currently at a critical point, with 12,000 armed individuals holding a population of 12 million hostages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And despite a small number of Kenyan police now deployed in the capital, the gang presence is pervasive.

JEAN-MARTIN BAUER, WORLD FOOD PROGRAN DIRECTOR IN HAITI: And the main land routes to Port-au-Prince linking the hinterland to Port-au-Prince are under the influence of armed groups. So, you can try to travel but it's dangerous. This has made sourcing the food we use for our programs quite complicated. What we've done in response is shortened our supply chain. So, outside Port-au-Prince, we try to do as much as we can with local farmers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without any kind of income, families rely on food and hygiene kits from aid groups, and inflation has fueled the crisis.


Fresh fish sold for 60 percent more in March than a year ago, while the cost of cooking oil and rice soared by 50 percent. Street vendors who used to sell their wares from stands in the capital have set up shop in the makeshift camps, doing all they can to keep their businesses afloat. But, there is hope for a more secure future in Haiti. The Kenyan-led police force will eventually grow to a total of 2,500 personnel from around the world, an important step towards stability in preparation for Democratic elections in 2026.



NEWTON: Now, before we go, soccer fans, football fans, rejoicing. It's a big day on the pitch right around the world, Copa America entering the semifinals, and a leg injury apparently won't stop superstar Lionel Messi and the Argentina squad going up against Canada tonight. Canada is on a surprising run, surprised if you weren't like my family and saw them actually qualify with snow on the sidelines. But tomorrow, in fact, will decide tonight's winners, who will face off in the finals when Colombia and Uruguay face off. Now, we go to the Euro Cup, Spain, France face off in the semifinals in just a few hours. Fans are ready.


It's going to be a good one in Munich. Spain has thrilled fans with its energetic goals. The big question now, will French superstar Kylian Mbappe play after being injured, and will he play with that protective face mask?

CNN's Sebastian Shukla with the best assignment today on record for CNN. I will not force you to speak of Canada. Take it away on this epic match to come in Europe.

SEBASTIAN SHUKLA, CNN PRODUCER: So, Paula, I mean, we've come out of the city. Now, we've come about 25 minutes north to the stadium to this arena, one of the great football stadiums of the world here in Munich, and the atmosphere both in the city and here is building slowly, I'd say, throughout the day. There have been pockets of fans of both red and blue, coming together to sing songs and chant for their teams, and also to take in the Bavarian sunshine and the fantastic weather that we've had today, which is basically the perfect combination for football, sunshine and beer. The gates of the stadium are not yet open. We think they're going to open in around 10 minutes' time and at which point we will really be in the build-up to this game.

As you say, Paula, the key to France winning this is going to be Kylian Mbappe. He has been playing with that face mask which he -- which is a result of a broken nose he sustained in that very first game that France played. But, since then, they haven't actually scored a goal in open play, relying on penalty, one penalty and two own goals. Spain, on the other hand, have been free flowing and free scoring, led by their two young starlets up top in Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams, but strengthened with their base that they have in midfield with the likes of Rodri, arguably the best player in the Premier League last year. Spain, for their difficulties that they will have tonight, will be without their two key defenders, Dani Carvajal and Lemand (ph) -- Le Normand, excuse me.


So, we will have to see how that will affect Spain, who were not maybe the favorites coming into the tournament, but certainly have developed into one of them. And France have been boring as they have been labeled by their own fans and media, and Didier Deschamps, the French manager, said, well, if you don't like it, you don't have to watch it, Paula.

NEWTON: And I actually loved that comment. We have fans behind you who are ready, at the ready, Sebastian, to really cheer on their teams. We will be watching quite carefully here to understand exactly the kind of matchup that it is going to be there in that stadium. Sebastian Shukla for us in Munich, Germany, outside the stadium. Stay with CNN, as we continue to update on the all-important football matches.

I want to thank you for watching. I'm Paula Newton in New York. I will be back in just a moment with One World.