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CNN This Morning
Israel-Hamas War Sparks Protests And Fear On College Campuses; Pilot Indicted For Threatening To Shoot Captain During Flight; Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) On GOP'S George Santos Surviving Vote To Expel Him From Congress. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 02, 2023 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: It's yet another example of rising antisemitism around the U.S., overtly so. Anti-Israel graffiti was found on a mural at the famous Canter's Jewish Deli in Los Angeles. The Antidefamation League posting the image of the vandalism showing the words, quote, "Free Gaza" and "Israel's only religion is capitalism." The ADL confirming that the LAPD are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
Now, the mural itself was created in 1986 by artist Art Mortimer to honor and represent the Jewish community in Los Angeles.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And a rash of antisemitic acts on college campuses has so many people on edge across the country. Columbia University announcing it will now form a task force after a series of antisemitic incidents were reported on its campus. And the university says its task force will ensure the campus is safe, welcoming, and inclusive for Jewish students, faculty, and staff.
The president of Israel's top universities has penned a letter expressing concerns. Here's what it reads, in part. Quote, "...college campuses have been breeding grounds for anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments largely fueled by naive and biased understanding of the conflict."
Cornell University has canceled classes on Friday to acknowledge the extraordinary stress the campus and the whole students and staff have been under. A Cornell student has been arrested and charged after a series of violent threats against Jewish people on campus were posted online.
CNN correspondent Elle Reeve recently traveled to Cornell, to UPenn, and Drexel to speak with students and faculty there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the river to the sea --
STUDENTS: From the river to the sea --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- Palestine will be free.
MALAK ABUHASHIM, STUDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: I'm Palestinian. I have family in Reza (PH). So this has been an issue that's affected me my entire life. Like, I'm calling them and there's bombs in the background. They need to go somewhere safe.
ZOE BERNSTEIN, STUDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: I have a lot of family and friends in Israel just having so much hate thrown at and so much misinformation as well about what's going on just shared on campus and on social media has been challenging.
ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's tension at hundreds of colleges across the U.S.
At Tulane, a fight broke out after someone tried to burn an Israeli flag. At Harvard and Columbia, a doxing truck showed up on campus naming students who allegedly belonged to organizations that released an anti-Israel statement.
EVE M. TROUTT POWELL, MIDDLE EAST HISTORY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I'm shocked at the temperature on campus. I could never have imagined it would be like this. There's a level of -- I don't want to say hatred but anger and fear.
BENI ROMM, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: The AEPi, the Jewish fraternity, was hit with a graffiti attack of "The Jews are Nazis" earlier this weekend.
REEVE (voice-over): CNN visited three campuses where the response to the war has had major consequences -- the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel, where students were part of a nationwide walkout in support of Palestine; and Cornell, which this weekend faced antisemitic threats.
TALIA, STUDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: I was on my way to the kosher dining hall when I looked down and saw the threats.
REEVE (on camera): How did you feel?
TALIA: I mean, it's terrifying. Like, this isn't -- this isn't anything that we thought we would ever have to deal with in the United States.
REEVE (voice-over): The posts on a Greek life website threatened to shoot up a kosher dining hall and kill Jewish students. They were signed "Hamas soldier." But on Wednesday, Patrick Dai, a 21-year-old Cornell student, was arraigned on a federal charge for making online threats.
BERNSTEIN: I think that the quick response by the university really did quell a lot of students' fear. I know a lot of people are choosing to do Zoom options for their classes. They're asking for special accommodations because they just don't want to put themselves at risk.
REEVE (on camera): What did you think when these antisemitic threats were posted online?
ABUHASHIM: I think those were very hateful things to say. It's very disturbing to see such hateful comments being made in the name of Allah. I feel like that's very disrespectful. Antisemitism will never be accepted in our movement. And hateful comments such as these, whether they be Islamophobic, et cetera, have no place on our campus or anywhere, really.
REEVE (voice-over): Abuhashim is the head of Cornell's Students for Justice In Palestine, a group whose national chapter has drawn a ton of criticism for saying the Hamas attack was a historic victory. And some other college chapters have posted images of paragliders. But Abuhashim says her group acts independently and she doesn't get talking points from the national chapter.
ABUHASHIM: Cornell SJP -- we make statements based on what our students are feeling and what needs to be said. Just having that equal treatment from administration.
REEVE (voice-over): Some Muslim students say they're frustrated they're constantly asked to denounce Hamas. That it's a distraction from their message about Palestinians.
REEVE (on camera): There is a lot of concern that pro-Palestinian students are pro-Hamas and pro-terrorist tactics.
MOMODOU TAAL, PHD STUDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: Yeah. Yeah.
REEVE (on camera): -- going all the way up to the national politicians.
REEVE (on camera): Is that true?
TAAL: Absolutely, not true. My condemnation is inconsequential. I think it's quite racist and Islamophobic that before I'm allowed to have a view on genocide I have to condemn a terrorist organization.
REEVE (on camera): But is it so hard to say, like, yeah, I condemn Hamas?
TAAL: But what does that do? Why is there immediate association I support Hamas? I can say clearly, categorically, I abhor the killing of all civilians no matter where they are and who does it.
I don't go around asking white people do you condemn the KKK. Why is the assumption that you support the KKK in the first place?
STUDENTS: From the river to the sea --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Palestine will be free.
REEVE (voice-over): "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," heard in many campus protests, has become a lightning rod. YOUSSEF RAFEH, STUDENT, DREXEL UNIVERSITY: A free Palestine is when
Palestinians can live with food, water, electricity, and have the equal rights that all humans deserve.
SEAN, STUDENT, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: You're completely ignoring the fact the people chanting that have lost all their family members. Have had neighborhoods wiped out.
REEVE (voice-over): Many Jewish student leaders see the chant as a threat -- a call for Jewish genocide in Israel.
BERNSTEIN: From the river to the sea -- the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea -- Palestine will be free. Free of what? Free from who? What will happen to the people who live there? That, to me, sounds like a call for genocide or an ethnic cleansing, and that really does terrifying me, honestly.
ROMM: Chanting slogans of "from the river to the sea" and intifada, right, is never going to invite a conversation with Jewish students of hey, look at me -- I'm also experiencing and suffering as a result of the events in Israel.
STUDENTS: Free Palestine.
TAAL: What "from the river to the sea" means is that Palestinians will live freely in that region away from secular violence. That's not calling for the extermination of Jewish people.
STUDENTS: From the river to the sea --
POWELL: This (INAUDIBLE), it works two ways. I mean, I don't hear people talking about Israeli violence pre-October 7. I'm not hearing it. If the term makes you uncomfortable, then ask why it makes you uncomfortable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) Palestinians.
REEVE (voice-over): The students at the heart of this remain proud of who they are.
TAAL: In my lifetime, it may never change, but I feel encouraged. At the end of the day, I feel like we are on the right side of history and I can go to bed quite comfortably.
BERNSTEIN: I'm very, very proud to be a Jewish student on this campus. Seeing the resiliency of community and seeing the unity of my community, it really has only strengthened me and my pride since October 7, and I hope that will continue for a very, very long time.
MATTINGLY: Elle Reeve joins us now at the table.
I feel like you're going to ask about this with anything that's going on right now in the world. What role does social media play? You had -- talking to people was so valuable, but what does social media do to this very complex issue?
REEVE: Well, the protests are not just campus protests now because they're filmed and they immediately go all across the internet. And so, that means that anyone can pluck a student from obscurity and hold them up as a representation of everything you think is wrong with the world.
And that's really made students afraid to speak to each other. They don't trust each other. They're afraid of being doxed on social media. And so, a lot of them were afraid to talk to us.
MATTINGLY: It's just interesting how it continues to exacerbate the divisions and the problems --
MATTINGLY: -- and just seems to escalate.
HARLOW: I'm interested in what it felt like being there, right? Because we're like here talking about what's happening on college campuses but you were on a lot of them in the middle of this.
HARLOW: What did it feel like?
REEVE: They're very emotional. I mean, this is -- they're really young, right? They're born after 9/11.
REEVE: And this is the first huge event that's happened in their lives where they feel really connected.
One student told us that she can't sleep at night because she feels like she has to stay up all night watching the news and knowing what happens in Gaza.
MATTINGLY: It was such an interesting window into things. Thanks so much for doing it. Appreciate it.
REEVE: Thank you.
HARLOW: So, Congressman George Santos staying in Congress, at least for now, after surviving a vote to expel him from the House. We'll speak with one of the House Republicans who advocated for his expulsion next.
MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, we're learning of yet another frightening moment in the air, this time involving a former Delta co- pilot who was armed and allegedly threatened to shoot the captain of a commercial flight. His name is Jonathan Dunn. The incident happened last year but he was just indicted last month.
Now, according to the Department of Transportation's inspector general, quote, "Dunn told the captain they would be shot multiple times if the captain diverted the flight" because of a passenger's medical emergency.
Officials say Dunn was authorized to carry a gun onboard as part of the TSA's federal flight deck officer program. It was put into place after 9/11 as a way to respond to an in-flight attack, like a hijacking attempt.
Now, Delta says Dunn has been fired, responding in a state, quote, "Out of respect for the ongoing aviation authority investigation, Delta will refrain from commenting on this matter but will confirm that this first officer is no longer employed at Delta."
Joining us now, CNN safety analyst, David Soucie. He is the former FAA safety inspector. David, we appreciate your time.
Can I ask I think the question that I assume most people are asking because they've seen multiple events like this -- this is probably the most dramatic -- is it safe right now --
DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST, FORMER FAA SAFETY INSPECTOR, AUTHOR, "MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370" AND "SAFER SKIES": Yeah. I -- yes, it's always been safe and it will continue to be safe. These individual incidents that happen next to each other is -- although is not a coincidence.
I think there is an underlying problem that the FAA needs to look at, which is the fact that pilots are basically encouraged to lie on their medical application if they have any kind of anxiety or they're going through any mental issues at all. Because if they do so -- if they say on their medical exam that I've got some anxiety that I'm dealing with, some minor depression -- anything like that could lead to them losing their jobs completely.
HARLOW: What's the solution for that that I think addresses a severe mental issue that might make it not safe for them to fly while also allowing them to continue with their job when they are dealing with something that a lot of Americans deal with?
SOUCIE: That's a great point and the FAA is a little bit ancient when it comes to these rules. But what has to happen is that the unions have to fight to protect people to allow them to put the correct information on their medical and not lose their jobs. You need to have -- it needs to be part of their benefits package. It needs to be part of what happens. There needs to be a safe environment for them to deal with these issues before they exacerbate and become something much larger for them to deal with.
MATTINGLY: Do you feel like this is something that's particularly acute in this industry -- in this profession -- or is this a reflection of kind of, to Poppy's point, where a lot of people are at this point?
SOUCIE: Well, you know, it is -- anxiety is prevalent right now. We've gone through everything from 9/11 to now COVID, and then other anxiety that was not present before when the FAA wrote these rules and regulations. So they just need to update. They need to understand that times have changed. People are under a lot more stress -- not just airline pilots. Anyone in a safety-critical business that we're relying on needs to be able to deal with any kind of anxiety openly and freely and, frankly, privately with their doctor.
HARLOW: David Soucie, that's so helpful. Thank you very much. Good to have you.
SOUCIE: Thank you -- you, too.
MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, six Americans have arrived on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing after being trapped in Gaza for weeks.
HARLOW: This comes after several Americans were able to leave yesterday, including Dr. Barbara Zind. We'll hear from here just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I will continue to fight to defend myself. I will continue to serve the Third Congressional District of New York until the people choose to not have me. I'm claiming a victory. I'm just saying that this is a victory for the process. Due process won today; not George Santos.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: New York Republican Congressman George Santos still a member of Congress. The embattled New York Republican survived last night's vote to expel him from the House -- a vote that was brought forth by some of his fellow New York Republicans.
Now, Santos has been indicted on a wide range of charges, including conspiracy, wire fraud, identity theft, credit card theft, and more. He's pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The resolution to oust him failed to reach the required two-thirds vote threshold or even a simple majority.
Here's what Democratic Congressman Dan Goldman had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN (D-NY): I rise today in support of this resolution to expel George Santos from Congress as I did in May when I co-sponsored a similar expulsion resolution that the sponsors of today's resolution, my colleagues from -- my Republican colleagues from New York did not support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Joining us now is Congressman Nick LaLota. He's one of the New York Republicans who has advocated for Santos' expulsion and pushed yesterday's vote.
Congressman, I appreciate your time.
And look, to be very clear, that is a New York Democrat who would like a New York Democrat to win your seat next November. However, to Congressman Goldman's point, the idea that this time around, after deciding not to last time around, you wanted to expel, why? Why the change?
REP. NICK LALOTA (R-NY): Well, I wouldn't say he's as phony as George Santos is, but Dan Goldman's a phony, too. He's a guy who is constantly doing stock trading while he should be a member of Congress focusing on bills. And he has yet to denounce the Democrat socialists of America in his own Manhattan borough. His constituents want him to do that. So I'm really not going to focus most on -- much on Mr. Goldman and his phoniness.
But I will say that recently, George Santos' treasurer pled guilty to being in a conspiracy with Mr. Santos to defraud donors to ensure that he was elected to the Congress, and that is the new information which has given this resolution to expel Mr. Santos some more thrust.
We're pleased to see that 24 of my Republican colleagues supported the resolution to expel Mr. Santos last night. It is a step in the right direction, yet short of the number of votes that we need. We probably need to pick up about 90 more votes, by the way, from both sides of the aisle. Thirty-one Democrats did not vote for the resolution to expel Mr. Santos last night.
We have some work to do now between last night's vote and the vote we expect in about three weeks after the Ethics Committee submits its report to House members.
MATTINGLY: The campaign treasurer you're talking about -- his name is Thomas Datwyler. That new information did -- sorry -- you're shaking your head no?
LALOTA: No, that's Nancy Marks. Nancy Marks is the treasurer who pled guilty to the conspiracy with Santos. She pled guilty --
LALOTA: -- probably about two or three weeks ago, during that time that we didn't have a speaker. It was at that time that my colleagues and I put forth the resolution to expel Mr. Santos, and we attached a privilege to it a couple of days ago.
MATTINGLY: I see what you're saying. I understand. I do want to ask, though -- "The Daily Beast" reported last week that an accountant, Thomas Datwyler, who claimed in January that Santos wrongly listed him as a campaign treasurer, actually did work for the Santos campaign, according to his lawyer. I believe that individual is your campaign treasurer as well -- as well as several of your colleagues.
What's your response to that?
LALOTA: Yeah. I understand that my treasurer has -- does services for about 100 different members. I haven't confirmed what the Beast reported yet. I'm going to -- I'm going to hold out on commenting on that until I'm able to confirm some of that information myself.
MATTINGLY: I was struck by -- you know, the letter you and your colleagues wrote pushing for this, making clear that in your view this wasn't a political issue; this was a moral issue. If you view it through that lens, your speaker did not support you. Your new speaker did not support you largely because of the fact you have such a slim majority.
Does that concern you?
LALOTA: Well, I'm not sure that was necessarily his reasoning. But 31 Democrats and many Republicans did not support the resolution last night. Many hung their hat on process. Many hung their hat on that we need to see something in writing -- either a conviction by a jury, a guilty plea, or in this case, findings from the House Ethics Committee.
I expect in three weeks, many more Republicans and those Democrats to flip their votes -- to vote yes to expel -- when they can hang their hat on something.
For me, I don't need that. I already know all the facts. I am in Long Island at the epicenter of the George Santos disaster. I understand all the facts. That he defrauded donors. That he lied to voters about everything -- his education, his professional background, his association with 9/11. He even claimed that he was Jewish when he wasn't.
I understand that lie -- that alternate persona that he created was the basis upon which voters and donors relied so they could contribute money to him. So they could vote for him. But for those lies, he would not have been elected to Congress.
I understand it all because I live right there. I'm at the center of the George Santos disaster. And I expect in the next few weeks after that Ethics report is finalized and published, that many more of my colleagues will come to the same conclusion that I have come to.
MATTINGLY: You've got some electoral juice in your area where you live around there. Are you going to get behind someone in the primary to take his seat?
LALOTA: I'm certain that I will. I'll probably defer to the local Nassau County GOP on who it picks, and I'll probably put a lot of my force behind that candidate to ensure that candidate wins. It's a battleground seat like mine is. And if we are -- if we perform well in the elections, we can hold the House and we can focus on the things that matter, like our budget, like securing our southern border, like holding this administration accountable. It's important that we hold that seat.
MATTINGLY: And just one -- you've said this, but to close it out, you believe George Santos will be expelled in the coming weeks.
LALOTA: I do believe that, because I do believe that the Ethics Committee report, which is expected to be published in the next couple of weeks, will give many of my colleagues from both sides of the aisle something to rely on to cast their vote.
It's a serious vote to expel. It's not something that should be taken lightly. It's not something, historically, that gets done that often.
LALOTA: And some of my colleagues want to have more to lean on when they vote yes. And yes, I do expect that to happen in a few weeks.
MATTINGLY: New York Republican Congressman Nick LaLota, we appreciate your time, sir. Thank you very much.
MATTINGLY: Our coverage continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK REGEV, SENIOR ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: When they attacked us brutally on October 7, when they butchered our people, when they -- 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 us.
We refuse to go back to the reality of October 7 at 6:00 a.m. in the morning where we live next to this terror enclave with ISIS-type terrorists who just want to kill our people. That will no longer be the reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Hello, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow with Phil Mattingly in New York.