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CNN This Morning

Today, 400 Foreign Nationals and 60 Injured People to Leave Gaza; Israel Launches Second Strike on Refugee Camp in Gaza, U.N. Human Rights Office Warns Attacks Could Amount to War Crimes; Today, Don Jr. Expected Back on the Stand in New York Civil Fraud Trial. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 02, 2023 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A glimmer of hope, some innocent civilians finally being allowed to leave the 25-mile long Gaza Strip.

M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The administration has been working nonstop to reach this arrangement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of the many thousands of foreign nationals will get out. It's an important measure that exists in a situation that had seemed entirely hopeless.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Growing tension within the Democratic ranks over the conduct of Israel and its war.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I believe it's a war crime.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR: The House speaker is at odds with Senate Republicans over how to pay for aid.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an incredibly cynical, political bill. We will not allow them to use Israel as a political cudgel.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning, everyone, and welcome. I'm Phil Mattingly with Poppy Harlow in New York. We're going to show you live pictures at the Rafah border crossing right there in Egypt, where 400 foreign nationals and 60 injured people are expected to leave Gaza today. Ambulances have been lining up to pick up the wounded.

We just spoke to an American pediatrician who was able to get out yesterday. It was her first interview since evacuating. And she said she feels terrible for what Gazans who are still there running out of water, running of food.


DR. BARBARA ZIND, AMERICAN PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGIST HELPING PALESTINIAN REFUGEES: I'm just relieved to be here, but I just feel like awful for the devastation that the Gazan people are going through right now.

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 just outside the fence from us. They were running out of drinking water.


HARLOW: Meanwhile, Israel continues its air and ground assault on Gaza. You are looking at the devastation from a second airstrike in two days on Gaza's largest refugee camp. The IDF says it was targeting a Hamas command center, but United Nations Human Rights Office is warning the high number of civilian casualties from the strikes on the densely populated Jabalya camp could amount to a war crime.

MATTINGLY: On the ground, the Israeli military says Hamas' defensive lines are collapsing and militants are retreating into Central Gaza. This is the latest video from the IDF of Israeli tanks and soldiers advancing. At the same time, President Biden is now saying he supports a human humanitarian pause of the war to save hostages who are still in Gaza, those hostages include Americans. At a campaign fundraiser last night, a protester interrupted the president and called for a ceasefire. You can see some of it here.

According to reporters in the room, Biden responded, quote, I think we need a pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out.

Ed Lavandera is live for us in Tel Aviv. When it comes to not just the prisoners, but let's focus right now on the Americans waiting at the Rafah border crossing, do we have any sense of how many more may get out today?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are some crucial developments undergoing, as we speak, there at that Rafah crossing into Egypt. The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said just a short while ago that they are planning the evacuation of 7,000 foreign nationals in the coming days. If not, it could take several weeks, but we'll see how that plays out.

Included in all of that, Phil, as you mentioned, is at least 400 American citizens that are still almost a month into this war still trying to get out of Gaza. There were about 360 foreign nationals, including two Americans, that were able to leave through the Rafah crossing yesterday, hundreds more expected at some point today. So, we'll see how that continues to play out.

But right now, the logistical process of getting thousands of foreign nationals out of Gaza is a very delicate situation that will be going on for several days. And that process is just now getting underway. As you mentioned off the top there, ambulances arrive -- ambulances seen there at the crossing where Egypt says it was also agreed to take in at least 80 Palestinian civilians that have been wounded in the attacks there in Gaza as well.

So, all of that playing out at really the only crossing into Gaza that has seen any kind of movement, any kind of openness at this point nearly a month into this war.

HARLOW: Israel, this morning, Ed, is defending a secondary strike on that same refugee camp where they struck to take out a Hamas leader, that they said they had already taken out. Do we know why they struck again?

LAVANDERA: Well, according to the Israeli Defense Forces, the area underneath this refugee camp is an elaborate system of tunnels, where Hamas military fighters essentially hide and operate from. The IDF says this is exactly they are going after this particular area, that this was a high-ranking commander that they felt was a crucial target in this war, but all of this exists under where civilians live. And that is why these strikes over the last two days have been so controversial.

Israel continues to urge those Gazan civilians living in that area to continue moving to the south, but, obviously, that is very difficult for many people there in Gaza and remains a very controversial area.


This as the ground attacks continue in other places as well. There have been airstrikes a little bit further south there near the Al-Quds Hospital, which is about the middle part close to the middle area of Gaza. And that has -- the directors of the hospital say that is an area where some 12,000 displaced people inside of Gaza have been seeking refuge. So, clearly, the fighting continues to intensify there in that central part of Gaza. Poppy and Phil?

MATTINGLY: Ed Lavandera live for us in Tel Aviv, thank you.

HARLOW: And joining us now is Mark Regev. He is a senior adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Mark, thanks very much for being with us.

Can you help us understand why Israel struck the refugee camp again if you were able to, as Israel says, successfully take out the Hamas commander, Ibrahim Biari, the first time? What was this specific goal?

MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: I can't go into each and every operation specifically other than to say what you know to be true, that underneath the refugee camp, there is an elaborate system of tunnels, fortifications, command posts, arms depots, missile launching sites, which are an integral part of the military machine. And we are out to destroy that military machine.

We saw what sort of violence it could inflict on our people. We see it in the missiles that they are daily firing into Israeli cities. We saw that on October 7th with the terrible massacre, the atrocious murders, the horrific violence, the beheadings, the rapes, the burning of people alive that Hamas did when they invaded our country.

So, for all those reasons, we're acting now to take apart and dismantle Hamas' military structure, and those tunnels are part of that. HARLOW: Mark, you told our colleague, Kaitlan Collins, last night, quote, "If we need to attack it again, we will attack it again."

If you have all that intelligence that you just described to us, you knew that, for example, Ibrahim Biari was there, what does Israeli intelligence tell you about how many civilians are still in that refugee camp right now, as you make the calculation on proportionality in these strikes?

REGEV: So, we can discuss proportionality separately, but the truth is, over the last two weeks, the overwhelming majority of the civilian population has, in fact, voted with their feet, has taken heed to our advice and has moved out of what everyone knows will be a combat zone. Because, let's be frank, the people of Gaza, they might not be able to say so live on CNN because they face consequences if they speak out of tunnels (ph), speak out against Hamas, but they know what's underneath them. They might not know the details, but they know Hamas has built elaborate a military structure underneath their homes.

HARLOW: But, Mark, are you saying that those refugees that are still there just want to stay there and just don't want to leave? And the U.N. has called it impossible for everyone to leave.

REGEV: No, I'm saying the good news is the overwhelming majority of people have already left, and there's only a minority of civilians who have stayed because they heeded our advice. And those still there, we urge them they should move out of the combat zone. It's common sense.

We still know, and I want to stress this point, we're still in a difficult combat situation, we will continue to make a maximum effort to differentiate between civilians and between the Hamas terrorists who are our enemies, and we will fight them. We don't want to see innocent civilians caught up in the crossfire, and we urge people who can still move to move.

We understand that not everyone can, and we will make a maximum effort to differentiate, as I just said, but Hamas will be destroyed. We will take apart its military machine.

MATTINGLY: Mr. Ambassador, that maximum effort is something the White House, the secretary of state, who now shortly will be heading back to Israel, have asked for repeatedly. I want to ask about something the president said last night. He was interrupted at a fundraiser by a protester who asked him to call for a ceasefire.

He said he supported a humanitarian pause, but he also said, I'm the guy who convinced Bibi to call for a ceasefire to let the prisoners out. I'm the guy that talked to Sisi to convince him to open the door, referring to the prime minister you advise as well as the Egyptian president. Do you know what he's talking about here?

REGEV: I do, and I can't obviously go into all the confidential conversations between the United States and Israel. I can say this, if we want to talk about a ceasefire, that when they attacked us brutally on October 7th, when they butchered our people, when they machine- gunned the young concertgoers who were at that outdoor musical festival, that happened on a ceasefire. They broke the ceasefire when they attacked. And so now that we're hitting them back, they say, we want a ceasefire again, no.

They broke the ceasefire when they attacked us. We are responding.


We refuse. And I think if you were in our position, you would understand this very well. We refuse to go back to the reality of October 7th at 6:00 A.M. in the morning, where we lived next to this terror enclave with ISIS-type terrorists who just want to kill our people. That will no longer be the reality. We will end Hamas' ability to inflict the sort of horrific violence that we saw just three weeks ago.

MATTINGLY: I understand not wanting to read out private conversations, I'm very familiar with it, but that recitation you heard from the president, does that track with reality, truth based on what you know about those conversations?

REGEV: I know that Israel and the U.S. are both democratic countries. I know that Israel and the U.S. both pursue our military conflicts when we need to fight in accordance with international law. And I know both the U.S. and Israel want to differentiate between Gaza civilians and between the Hamas terrorists. We target the terrorists and we are making a maximum effort to see civilians moved out of harm's way.

HARLOW: Ambassador Mark Regev, thank you for joining us this morning.

REGEV: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: All right. We are also watching the Rafah crossing very closely. Hundreds of foreign nationals expected to be able to leave Gaza today. But what about the more than 200 hostages still being held? We'll be joined by the friend of a woman still being held in Hamas custody.

MATTINGLY: And this morning, Donald Trump Jr. returning to the stand followed his brother, Eric, as $250 million civil fraud trial in New York continues. We'll have more on that. Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: This morning, Donald Trump's eldest son is expected back on the stand in that $250 million civil trial against his family and their business. Donald Trump Jr. testified before New York judge for 90 minutes yesterday. Prosecutors pressed him on his involvement in the company's financial statements and more broadly on his roles and responsibilities in the Trump organization.

CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig joins us now from the magic wall. Let's start by taking a step back for a second. What are the core allegations made by the attorney general and where do we stand right now? ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Phil. For all the big personalities and drama swirling around this case, it really comes down to one thing, valuation.

Now this is a civil lawsuit, it's not a criminal case, brought by the New York State attorney general, Letitia James, against the Trumps where she alleges that the defendants grossly inflated Mr. Trump's personal net worth by billions of dollars.

Let me show you how it worked, according to the allegations. Let's take Mar-a-Lago. The allegation is that Mar-a-Lago was assessed by a county assessor at being worth around $20 million. However, the Trump Organization later claimed that it was actually worth not $50, 500 million. That's an enormous discrepancy.

Now, the allegation is they didn't just do this for Trump's ego. They would take this inflated number, bring it to a bank's, primarily Deutsche Bank, but others, and then use those inflated numbers to get bigger loans at better interest rates than they otherwise would have gotten.

Important to note, though, those loans were paid back with interest. Trump is arguing no victims, but it doesn't matter for some of the claims here.

Also important to remember this case is being decided by the judge, not a jury. And the judge has already decided before the trial started in favor of the A.G. against the Trumps on one of the counts in the case. The judge said the numbers they were creating is a fantasy world, not the real world. But there are other counts still in play here.

Now, the trial has been going for about a month so far. Most of the witnesses have been financial experts, accountants, but we did hear from Michael Cohen, not the best drawing, but that is Michael Cohen.

HARLOW: I was just going to say that and then I decided it wasn't going to say that, but you said it.

HONIG: Well, listen, these sketches are very good. I actually know her.

HARLOW: She's very good.

HONIG: She used to draw me, but not her best work.

This is Michael Cohen.

MATTINGLY: Sorry, Christine (ph).

HNIG: He testified that, no, Donald Trump never said to me, hey, Michael, I need you to falsify these, but Cohen said he made it known. Trump made it known to all of us that this was the M.O., this was the goal. Make him look as wealthy as possible. Use that to our advantage.

HARLOW: Okay. Don Jr. on the stand yesterday, back on it today, Eric Trump maybe today, and then Ivanka Trump is appealing, but we'll see.

HONIG: Yes. So, the three Trump children were originally named as defendants along with Donald Trump himself. Ivanka Trump has actually been dismissed out of this case as a defendant because the claims against her are too old. The allegation is that they were executive vice presidents and they were in on this.

Don Jr. has been on the stand. He took the stand late yesterday. He will resume his testimony in a few hours.

What I found really important is Donald Trump Jr. did not try to say these numbers we were using were accurate.

HARLOW: Right.

HONIG: Instead, he tried to distance himself. He was asked, did you put together, you yourself, these financial statements? He said yesterday, I did not. The accountants worked on it. That's what we pay them for.

There's also a question about will Ivanka Trump have to testify. She's appealing that now. The fact that she's not a defendant, fine, it doesn't mean she's out of it as a witness. So, I think she's going to lose that appeal. I think she will have to testify.

MATTINGLY: Mar-a-Lago, what's happening in Florida right now, you're very keyed in on that. Why?

HONIG: Yes. So, this is really important. Let's switch over to the four criminal cases, separate from what we were just talking about, four criminal cases against Donald Trump. There's a really important development. We need to look at our favorite blank calendar, which will soon not be blank.

The Mar-a-Lago federal trial is scheduled to start in late May of 2024. If it goes then, it would carry through the summer. And, remember, we have this important thing happening in November 2024, which is, of course, the presidential election, fine.

The problem is Jack Smith's other case, the January 6th related case, that has been scheduled to start in early March. And the Manhattan hush money case, a third criminal case, is scheduled to start in late March.

Now, those aren't both going to go at the same time. The state trial is probably going to fall away. But the concern that the judge in Florida said is, well, if he's got to go to trial, if Trump's got to go to trial in D.C. on January 6, that's going to push right up against our trial date. And what the judge said is, you can't make someone go to trial back-to-back like that. The judge has said, I'm concerned, he may need time to prepare, which would mean you have to push this really past the election because you're not going to start a trial in August and run it through September, October, November.

[07:20:01] MATTINGLY: I have to keep an eye on that. I just want to make clear to the sketch artist, Christine, you are always welcome to come on and critique Elie's work anytime.

HONIG: Christine has drawn me before. She's excellent at what she does.

MATTINGLY: Way to try and come back now, like cover yourself, because you know she's going to come on and see what she thinks.

HARLOW: What's great about her, she makes you look better looking than you are. She's done it to me.

MATTINGLY: You're trying too hard right now. Elie Honig, we appreciate it, man.

HARLOW: Ahead, CNN visited several American college campuses, where the response to the Israel-Hamas War is triggering serious division among students and faculty.

MATTINGLY: And people are on the move out of Gaza as we speak. Meanwhile, the families of some 240 hostages still being held by Hamas continue to hold out hope. More on that ahead.


HARLOW: Welcome back. A Palestinian official tells CNN at least 404 nationals are expected to leave Gaza today through Egypt's Rafah crossing. In addition, 60 injured people will also be allowed to leave.

Today's evacuations are a continuation of that deal brokered, allowing foreigners and the wounded to escape to Egypt. This deal does not extend though to any potential release of hostages being held by Hamas.


The families of those 240 hostages are continuing to pray and hold out hope and pressing Israeli officials to do more to bring them home.

Our next guest is a friend of Sasha Trupanov. Sasha, his girlfriend, mother, grandmother all believed kidnapped by Hamas. His father was killed in the attack. And Sasha's mother, Yelena, was one of the three women shown in a propaganda video released by Hamas on Monday. You see Yelena on the right of your screen.

Sasha Trupanov's friend, Shachar Cohen, joins us this morning. And we see them on your shirt. Obviously, you are wearing their images to keep their names and their faces very much present. It is his 28th birthday next week, Sasha's 28th birthday next week. What do you want people to know about him?

SHACHAR COHEN, SASHA TRUPANOV'S FRIEND: Wow. Sasha is so nice guy. He's smart and sensitive. He's a really good friend. I met Sasha in the college. We studied together. And he's so a cute guy and lovely. And I hope that until then, he will be back home and we can celebrate here in Israel.

HARLOW: I'm sure seeing his mother, Yelena, in the hostage video, the propaganda video that Hamas released on Monday, was very hard for you to see. But I also wonder if it gave you some hope.

COHEN: Yes. Yes. So, actually, it was really hard to see her. But it gave us hope because we saw that she's alive. And we actually hope to see more video like this of other hostages to see they also are alive. Yes.

HARLOW: And just so people understand, Sasha's entire family was either kidnapped or killed on October 7th.

COHEN: Yes. I will explain. Yes. So, 25 years ago, the Trupanov family moved from Russia to Israel. They made Aliyah. This is how we called in Hebrew. They moved to a community that called Kibbutz Nir Oz, next to Gaza border. And Sasha was the only child for Vitaly (ph) and Yelena. And a few years ago, also the grandmother, Irena (ph), came from Russia to Israel. And they don't have any other relative in Israel. So, nobody can tell the story of the Trupanov family.

And this is the reason why I'm here to representing the Trupanov family. Me and other friends are doing that. And we wanted everybody will know the story and they will do whatever they can.

HARLOW: And we're so glad you are obviously keeping them very much in everyone's mind. Shachar, thank you for being with us.

COHEN: Yes. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: One armed pilot allegedly threatened to shoot the flight's captain if they diverted the flight for passenger experiencing a medical emergency. We're going to discuss cockpit safety next.

HARLOW: And take a look at these live pictures this morning. This is the Rafah crossing. Egypt says 7,000 foreign nationals could be released ultimately from Gaza into Egypt. We know some are lined up readying right now to leave. New developments ahead.