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Steve Anderson is Interviewed about Israel's Moves in Gaza; Barbara Zind is Interviewed about Getting out of Gaza; Senators Lash Out at Tuberville. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 02, 2023 - 06:30   ET




BOBBY KNIGHT, HALL OF FAME COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH: An absolute moron. An absolute moron with the things that have been laid down on me to grab a kid in public and curse at a kid in public.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: But that incident turned out to be the final straw for Knight in Indiana.

MYLES BRAND, FORMER INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I gave him the option of resigning as head basketball coach. He declined, and I notified him that he was being removed as basketball coach effective immediately.

SCHOLES: Knight continued coaching after Indiana, spending seven seasons in Lubbock coaching Texas Tech.

KNIGHT: This is without question the most comfortable red sweater I've had on in six years. I can't tell you.

SCHOLES: After retirement, Knight, who had little patience for the media, became a media member himself, broadcasting college basketball games for ESPN. And during the 2016 presidential campaign, Knight tried his hand at politics, stumping for Donald Trump.

KNIGHT: You folks are taking a look at the most prepared man in history to step in as president of the United States. That man right there.

SCHOLES: In February of 2020, after years of turning down invitations, Knight finally made his return to Assembly Hall. Knight attending the Hoosiers game for the first time in 20 years. He was surrounded by former players and received a huge ovation from the home crowd.

Brash, intimidating, unapologetic, mad genius, Bob Knight has been described a lot of ways, and always true to form, those opinions never seem to matter much to the general.

KNIGHT: When my time on earth is gone, and my activities here are passed, I want they (ph) bury me upside down and my critics can kiss my ass. (END VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: It was the introverted subtlety of Bobby Knight that I think really was captured by Andy in that piece.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Last quote says it all.

MATTINGLY: Ohio State grad.


MATTINGLY: Probably the most notable part in his career.

HARLOW: Our thoughts with his family. And - and what a run he had.

MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, Israel forces say Hamas' defense lines continue to, quote, "collapse" in northern Gaza. The latest on the fighting, that's ahead.

HARLOW: What does this mean for the over 200 hostages still held in Gaza? You're looking at three of them on your screen. We will speak with a friend of a woman believed still to be in Hamas custody.



MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, Israeli forces say Hamas' defense lines continue to collapse in northern Gaza. A spokesman says IDF troops continue to take control of central areas. That update comes as satellite images just into CNN are showing the impact of the Israeli airstrikes in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. The left side is before the bombardment on Tuesday. The right is after. You can see the crater left by the first round of strikes. This photo was taken before a second round of strikes on Wednesday, meaning the destruction is likely much worse now.

Joining us now is retired Army General Steve Anderson.

General, I appreciate your time because there hasn't been a ton of concrete information about what's actually happening on the ground in terms of the operation from the IDF. But we do have geolocated videos that give people a sense of where troops have gone in. Pulling up the map right here, and you see, if you want to centralize Gaza City as clearly being kind of the point where they want their forces to converge, you can pull out in to see different places where videos have been geolocated.

Here at a hotel you see an Israeli flag being raised by troops. If you move out a little bit over to the east, you see a tank moving through rubble. And then coming back down towards the south, you see what we showed you earlier in the week, a video of a tank seeming to open fire on a vehicle.

When you look at kind of these three points of entry, General, what do you see here? BRIG. GENERAL STEVE ANDERSON, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED): Well, I think,

Phil, that they are to be commended for their methodical approach. They're doing it exactly like they need to. What they need to do is surround the city and strangle hold the city. And they've got, I think, about 30,000 soldiers inside of Gaza right now. Perhaps the elements of three divisions attacking, as you show, from the north, two points of attack in the north, and then along the coastline, perhaps six kilometers or so of penetration.

But, most importantly, they're moving in the middle towards the Alzara (ph) area to essentially cut Gaza in half. It's only about eight kilometers from Israel all the way to the mediterranean. So, it's not difficult to do. But when they do that, that will allow them to surround the city and control everything that's moving in and out of Gaza. They can leverage that blockade, food, fuel, water, et cetera, and continue to conduct target attacks on arms cashes, and tunnels and headquarters, locations, et cetera.

And very importantly, Phil, they've got to get as many civilians out of Gaza City as they possibly can. And they need, of course, time to develop a political solution. They need to replace Hamas. Hamas has highjacked the Palestinian state. They need a develop a two-state solution before they start doing the tough fighting inside of Gaza City.

MATTINGLY: Yes, the long-term plan here doesn't have a lot of answers. I'm not sure anybody has them.

I do want to pull back out, though, to what we were just talking about because if you look at the entry points here, coming here with the tank division, down here, down here, and to your point, kind of all heading towards the Gaza City area, surrounding it. When you talk about civilians being a necessity, getting them out, humanitarian aid, if you were trying to essentially have an almost pincher movement to encircle the city and strangle it to some degree, how is it possible to do both of those things, get civilians out, have humanitarian aid come in, if you are trying to encircle where they believe militants have gone back and into tunnels?

ANDERSON: Well, they need to establish a refugee corridor, a humanitarian corridor, that allows them to get the civilians out.


I mean there's no reason why they couldn't do that. I mean Hamas wants to use as many civilians as possible as human shields. I mean we've seen that on the attacks on the refugee camps and whatnot. But every time that they conduct an attack on a refugee camp, it turns world opinion against the Israelis and, of course, it plays right in the Hamas narrative that there's nowhere safe to go. You know, so they need to establish humanitarian camps in the south and they need to establish some sort of a humanitarian corridor, perhaps what President Biden said yesterday, conduct a pause where they allow the civilians to get out.

It will be impossible to get them all out, but they've got to do that because every time they attack a refugee camp, it's just more ammunition to the Iranians and their proxies who are looking for justification to escalate the war. And, of course, they would like to see nothing better than to see Israel bogged down in some sort of terrible, urban fight inside of Gaza City.

MATTINGLY: Yes, that regional war, the exact conflict the U.S. wants to avoid.

Retired General Steve Anderson, thank you.


HARLOW: All right, my next guest is one of the people finally allowed to leave Gaza yesterday. Dr. Barbara Zind, who you see there at the Rafah border gate waiting to cross into Egypt, well, she's made it. She's an American pediatrician. She had been trapped in Gaza for 26 days. It was supposed to be routine children's relief mission organized by the Palestine Children's Relief Fund.

And, Dr. Zind, if you can hear me, we are so -- and we can see you. I thought you were on the phone. We are so glad you have made it - you have made it through. I know you're joining us from Cairo. How are you doing after all of this?

DR. BARBARA ZIND, AMERICAN PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGIST HELPING PALESTINIAN REFUGEES: I'm doing pretty well. I think I'm in a halo of just relieved to be here. But I'm just feeling awful for the devastation that the Gaza people are going through right now.

HARLOW: Of course - of course, because I smile, we're delighted to see that you're OK and you're out, but all the people you went to help and save the children, they're - they're not out. And they may not be able to get out. How do you wrestle with that?

ZIND: Well, it's difficult. I mean part of it is just getting the word out about what a situation is like in Gaza is important. And I think what you guys do is important. And knowing that there's not much I can do if I stay. I wasn't - I wasn't able to do any pediatrics while I was there. And so my staying wasn't really helping anything.

HARLOW: Right. Talk to us about -

ZIND: But -

HARLOW: Go ahead, Doctor.

ZIND: No, go ahead. Sorry.

HARLOW: Can you tell us what the last 24 to 36 hours have been like from when you got notice that you were going to be able to leave, to how it actually happened, what - what that was like?

ZIND: Yes. So, that would be the night before last. I was just -- woke up in the middle of the night. I was checking any, you know, messages and I had an e-mail my - I can't check the email, but my husband had sent me an e-mail saying for Americans to be ready in the next few days. We'll be notified when we're on the list for that day.

I never got any other notification. I started contacting my State Department contact at that point and asking, is this - you know, will all my group - we were a group of eight then, with four Americans, will all my - the Americans in my group be able to move at the same time, because that was our plan. Would the internationals we were with, who were also sharing the same transportation, be able to move at the same time? And asking her all those questions. And she didn't know.

In the meantime, simultaneously, other people in my group, especially the internationals, were getting calls from their embassy saying be at the border at 7:00. So, we got there a little before 7:00. And 12 hours later, it was a long process, but it was a process that moved slowly, we were out on the Egyptian side heading toward the parking lot. And then last night we drove here to Cairo.

HARLOW: You know, Doctor, I remember the first time I saw you on CNN was with our - our colleague and friend Wolf Blitzer. And in the middle of that interview, that was near the beginning of the war, there were -- we could hear - we could hear the bombs going off right behind you. And now 26 days later, you've made it out.

Can you talk about how dire the conditions became, especially at the end? I mean we had heard one toilet for 800 people, for example. Very little food. Very little clean water.

ZIND: Right. Right. So - so, yes, we left Gaza City. We stayed at three U.N. facilities. And then - then at the end we were staying at a kindergarten, probably appropriate for a pediatrician, right? But - but they -- in the beginning we were in Gaza City and we were told to move south. There was going to be intensive bombing in Gaza City, and there was. That's when I had that initial interview.

And -- but moving south, there was still a lot of bombing. And so there was -- there's really no safe place for the Gazan people.


So, when we went to the U.N. facility, all the Gazans who were trying to go south, the first place usually - that they usually would seek refuge is the U.N. schools, which were already full. So you had 1 million people, and we were going to U.N. facilities that were not camps. They were vocational schools and storage centers. And so the - the toilets for those people, the water for those people was not adequate for the tens of thousands of people who showed up. We ended up, for about two and a half weeks, in basically a parking lot that was cordoned (ph) off from the rest of the people in the - that were - the rest of the Gazans who were staying there. And we were relatively lucky, but were running out of food and water also.

HARLOW: Running out of food and water and, what, sleeping in the car at the end?

ZIND: Well, you had your choice, you could sleep on the car. You could sleep on a foam pad with a blanket on the ground. I preferred the ground.

Yes, pretty much camping for the last several weeks. But it's been scary in the last two weeks. There -- we kept running out of water. And that was water to flush the toilet. We always were fortunate to have drinking water, which was not true of the Gazans that were just outside the fence from us.

They were running out of drinking water. And -- but we ran out of water for washing and sanitation. We were having more and more cases of diarrhea show up in our community of 50. So, I can't imagine what it was like outside the camp - outside in the general camp area. And then at one point we (INAUDIBLE) our food and we only had enough for two days.

HARLOW: Only two days left of food, and that was you. And I think it's fair to make the assumption, you were in sort of the best of what circumstances could be for people there. I mean I think that that says it all.

You know, we keep hearing from the Israeli government, Israeli officials, well, you know, we -- we told people to move south. And your point is, there was still bombing along the way. And the Israeli government has refused to allow fuel in. Can you speak to the reality of what that means on the ground, just in terms of even clean drinking water, if they maintain that position?

ZIND: Right. So, the desalinization plants have closed down because of not enough fuel. There's not fuel for ambulances. Even getting food. So - so even we have the privilege of our - our NGOs were paying for cooked food to come in. And we couldn't get it anymore because taxis didn't have any fuel to even bring it in. And just people getting around. So, the lack of fuel was a huge thing.

HARLOW: I was watching your husband on last night with our colleague Erin Burnett and you could tell how - how anxious he is to see you. I know hopefully you're going to make it home today or tomorrow. Has all of this sunk in what you have gone through for almost the last month and what it's going to be like to step foot back at home?

ZIND: No, it hasn't. I'll just wait and see. I mean I feel like most of the last few weeks have been, you know -- I - I try to sign up and volunteer for things and -- but it will - it will sink in, in the next few weeks probably.

HARLOW: Doctor, do you think one day, if you can go back to help those kids, you will?

ZIND: Oh, yes. Yes, for sure. I'm not sure if my husband will let me go back to Gaza, but definitely to the other places that I've been going to. I mean we need to wake up to what's going on. I mean you always have to look at the root cause of conflict like this. And - and really it's -- they live -- in good times they're under siege all the time. So, we need to look at the conditions that they look - that they live under on a constant basis.

HARLOW: Doctor, you - you have been an extraordinary voice guiding so many people through all of this. Thank you for that. And thank you for what you do for the kids. And enjoy that big hug when you get home.

ZIND: I will. OK, thanks. Thanks. I really enjoyed the shower last night, I'll tell you. It was wonderful.

HARLOW: I bet. Oh, I'm so glad you got that. Dr. Zind, thank you. Easy - easy travels from here on home.

ZIND: OK. Thank you. Thanks for listening.

HARLOW: Of course.

ZIND: Bye-bye.

HARLOW: What a woman. She really has guided us, certainly me at this desk and I think our views, through these past few weeks.

MATTINGLY: That's such a good point. And you pointed out, we kind of first connected with her watching her with Wolf.


MATTINGLY: You've spoke to her several times. And the number of people we've had, whether it's Ibrahim Dahmana, our colleague who is still -

HARLOW: Stuck.

MATTINGLY: In the Khan Younis area, families, friends, it gives you kind of a personal view of, there's so much -- it's so overwhelming right now and so horrific that following the individual people, what they're going through, helps us tell their stories, but also sometimes we actually get good news.


MATTINGLY: And she's pretty - pretty wonderful.

HARLOW: She's an amazing woman.

MATTINGLY: Well, also this morning, the latest effort to expel Congressman George Santos fails in the House.


What's next for him?

HARLOW: Also, what Senator Bob Menendez, who is facing federal corruption charges, including allegations of improperly assisting the government of Egypt, what he said to our Manu Raju when asked this.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're being accused of aiding a foreign government. Why is that appropriate for you to go into a classified briefing?


HARLOW: Fury erupting on the Senate floor from Republicans after one of their own fellow Republican, Tommy Tuberville, individually objected the 61 military appointments during a four-and-a-half-hour marathon session.


SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): Generals and admirals who are being held up, hang in there. Hang in there. Some of us have your back. We have your back.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): No matter whether you believe it or not, Senator Tuberville, this is doing great damage to our military.

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN): To undermine the safety and security of the American people, during this perilous time, just doesn't make any sense to me.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): And it's simply a, in it my opinion, a -- an abuse of the powers we have as senators.


SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): I really respect men of their word. I do not respect men who do not honor their word.


HARLOW: Just so you know, those are five Republican senators, by the way, calling out Tuberville. His blocks on military appointments come at a precarious time with worries about an escalating conflict in the Middle East intensifying and the continuing war in Ukraine. The Alabama senator vowed to block all military appointments until the Pentagon agreed to stop paying for travel expenses for service members to receive abortion care.

Senior political analyst, anchor, John Avlon here at the table.

I say -- it's important to point out, those were five Republicans.


HARLOW: And Dan Sullivan's words, you know, quoting the moto of the Marine Corp., always faithful. And he says, "this body is not keeping faith with our military" right now because of one senator.

AVLON: One senator. And the fact that his fellow Republicans are starting to call him out, because this is hurting military readiness. I mean Dan Sullivan, the senator said, this was national security suicide. Mitt Romney said this is - this is an abuse of our power as senators. And you heard - you heard the comments.

And what's particularly galling is that Senator Tuberville said he'd agree to individual votes, but then they were brought up and he blocked them all. And this is an absolute insult to our national security and our military. And this -- Republican senators are starting to stand up to him.

MATTINGLY: And that explains that - what you heard from Senator Joni Ernst there about people who keep their word versus people -


MATTINGLY: She was talking specifically to Tommy Tuberville, who I don't think was in the room at the time. And I think they gets to the point. Joni Ernst, Mitt Romney, Dan Sullivan, these are sober, these are not hyperbolic Republicans who are cable news chasing -


MATTINGLY: As much as we'd love for you to be on cable news. They are level-headed members of their conference who don't yell at their members of their conference very often.


MATTINGLY: Like, listen to what Sullivan - more of what Sullivan said. We should listen to this.


SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): Xi Jinping is watching this right now going, I can't believe they're not letting these guys command. I'm scared to death of subs. He's loving this. So is Putin. They're loving it. How dumb can we be, man?


AVLON: How dumb can we be? Look, I - you know, I -- this is an important point. And you've heard actually other Republicans make this recently, not only in relation to this, but in regard to the self- inflicted dysfunction that has overtaken our democracy when a handful of small folks end up blocking an entire process.


AVLON: It makes democracy look bad. It makes democracy look divided and dysfunctional and weak. Now explicitly our military. So, those are the stakes. Make no mistake. When these people grandstand and they hold up the ability to function as a nation, it makes our country look bad.

HARLOW: Moving to the House and the real first test for Speaker Mike Johnson is, can you get funding through for Israel? Can you get it through for Ukraine? He doesn't want it packaged up. But there is now a cost from the CBO to the Israel proposal.

AVLON: This is mind boggling and it really deserves some accountability. So what he's offered to do is say, we're going to offset the cost, the $14 billion, for Israel. We're going to offset it by taking money away from IRS enforcement. And then came the Congressional Budget Office estimate. And the

Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility saying, this is utterly self- defeating stunt. It would actually cost more money than it would raise. It wouldn't offset that cost because if you take money away from IRS enforcement, quick, let's do the math here, you get less revenue down the line. It would cost twice as much as simply paying for it up front.

And these are, you know, fiscally conservative organization. It's just one more case where these sort of stunt performative fiscal responsibility is exactly the opposite. People should understand it and call it out.

MATTINGLY: George Santos, we have 45 seconds left, still a member of Congress. Go.

HARLOW: Thanks to some Republicans and Democrats.


AVLON: Yes, 24 Republicans trying to push him out, including New York regional Republicans particularly from swing districts because they realize that Santos is poison for their re-election efforts. It makes a mockery of law and order. It doubles down on the lying that's incubated here.

He did not get expelled last night. We're waiting for an Office of Congressional Ethics report later this month that could be even more damning. But they realize it's a problem for them, these swing district folks. But Johnson and other Republicans say, we've got too narrow a margin to sacrifice a seat.

HARLOW: Why did - why did some -- 31 Democrats didn't vote to expel him?

AVLON: Yes, some voted present. Some -- because they're like, why should we help you clean up your mess. Also, the -- one legitimate point. This is an indictment. It's not a conviction. Beware of the precedent. Even in egregious, absurd examples like this, be careful of the precedent.

HARLOW: John Avlon, always a pleasure. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, buddy. Appreciate it.

HARLOW: CNN THIS MORNING" continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Biden calling for a pause in Gaza to allow for the release of more hostages.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: New devastation and fear at a Gaza refugee camp rocked by a secondary Israeli airstrike in two days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fear is that there is simply nowhere safe to turn.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An underground city that's an integral part of their military machine. If we need to attack it again, we'll attack it again.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: A glimmer of hope. Some innocent civilians finally being allowed to leave the 25-mile-long Gaza Strip.

MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The administration has been working nonstop to reach this arrangement.