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CNN This Morning
Foreign Nationals Continue to Leave Gaza; Jewish Cemetery Set on Fire; Tuesday Election Stakes. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired November 03, 2023 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Also released a statement last night saying the following, "we respect the jury's decision but we are very disappointed with the result. Mr. Bankman-Fried maintains his innocence and will continue to vigorously fight the charges against him."
We should also note that, you know, Bankman-Fried also testified during this trial in his own defense.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Right.
CARROLL: That just simply did not go well. Under cross examination he was asked repeatedly about specifics about the business. He said, I can't recall, I can't remember. Said that more than 100 times. And I think it's important for people to remember that, at the end of the day here, $8 billion, gone. Gone. This is money that could have been a retirement for someone, an investment for someone else. All that money gone. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the following. He said, this was a man who thought he was above the law. He simply is not. That the jury proved that. He's going to be sentenced on March 28th.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Jason Carroll, appreciate it. Thank you.
A Jewish cemetery in Austria was set on fire. Swastikas sprayed on its walls. It's an incident that carries disturbing reminders of the past, especially when that same room was burned down in 1938 by the Nazis.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it takes up an aspect to times where the books were burned, and it is an attack on the spiritual values of the religion and of humanity.
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ABOOD OKAL: All it takes is one missile, one airstrike to miss its target, or be to close to where you are. We're trying to stay strong but we cannot help but feel hopeless and abandoned given it's been 18 days and yet no concrete help from the State Department.
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MATTINGLY: That was Abood Okal just a few days ago when he and his family were still stuck in war-torn Gaza. This morning, however, good news to share, Abood and his wife and their son have made it out. We're told they safely crossed into Egypt early Thursday morning.
The Okals are a Palestinian American family from Medway, Massachusetts, who were visiting family in Gaza when the war broke out. We have been tracking their story on our show since the beginning. Their attorney telling CNN in a statement, quote, "the Okal family is overwhelmed with the love and support they have received from home and abroad, but they are also exhausted, physically and emotionally drained, and have a long journey ahead of them back to the United States." They also asked for prayers for civilians who remain in Gaza.
HILL: Today, nearly 100 foreign nationals have crossed through the Rafah crossing from Gaza and are now in Egypt. That's according to an Egyptian border official. Additionally, 20 ambulances were seen passing through that crossing into Gaza to bring back wounded Palestinians.
CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us now.
So, Salma, what more do we know about those coming in and also those ambulances?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica. So, this steady stream of foreign nationals continues to seep out of Gaza. Very important, diplomatic negotiations went on for weeks to make this happen. Of course, Qatar being the key mediator, but coordinating, of course, with Israel, Hamas and the United States.
And we continue to see those foreign nationals. As you mentioned, our latest information just an hour ago, 99 foreign nationals allowed out this morning of Gaza through the Rafah border crossing. Important to remember that this is a very complex process, right? They have to get out of Gaza. Then there is passport checks, security checks and then they cross into the Egyptian side. More checks there. Imagine going through airport security essentially but on a land border and one, of course, where there is a war zone on the other side. So, a huge relief for the families.
We're also tracking, as you mentioned, the Americans who are coming out. So, unclear how many of those 99 are American citizens. There's been other foreign nationals that have been evacuated as well as of yesterday. Our reporting shows that about 20 to 25 Americans had been evacuated. And yesterday there was a total of 341, according to Egyptian officials, 341 foreign nationals that were able to cross out of Gaza into Egypt, meaning that that 100 doesn't mean that the day's over yet. There -- we could continue to see more people seep out. Very important that this is happening while Secretary of State Antony
Blinken is on the ground. This is absolutely, when you look at it, a test. Hostages are absolutely not included in these negotiations, but the fact that these four countries, Qatar, the U.S., Israel and, of course, Hamas and Egypt can coordinate and come to an agreement, that's important. That's a test. That's something that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is going to point to as a success.
You also mentioned the ambulances. We continue to see wounded people coming out. But you have to remember, that's a tiny trickle of the thousands of Palestinians who have been injured in this conflict so far.
HILL: Salma, I appreciate it. Thank you.
MATTINGLY: You may not realize it, but election day 2023, fast approaching. It may not be the midterms, but there are some key governor's races and some very key ballot measures, like abortion access, at stake. We're going to break it down for you.
HILL: Happening now, we're also moderating protests in Ramallah and the West Bank. Folks taking to the streets to voice their opposition to Israel's war with Hamas.
MATTINGLY: As we continue to follow the breaking news out of the Middle East, you are looking at live pictures of a group gathered in Ramallah after Friday prayers. There have been a series of significant protests over the course of the last several weeks. We will continue to monitor what's happening here as well.
At the same time there has been a significant increase of anti-Semitic acts in both the United States and around the world since that October 7th attack by Hamas on Israel. FBI Director Chris Wray said this week that anti-Semitism is reaching, quote, historic levels in the U.S. In Austria, the Jewish community has been targeted and -- in an incident that carries disturbing reminders of the past.
CNN's Frederik Pleitgen joins us now from Vienna.
Fred, reading about this, this cemetery holds extra significance for Jews in the area. The room where you stand was actually burned down last in 1938 by the Nazis.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly was. And it's definitely something that's extremely troubling to the Jewish community here in Austria, and specifically of course here in Vienna. You can look around. I'm actually inside that ceremonial hall that was set on fire. You can see that the windows there that have been destroyed to then obviously put fire here into the room, that those have been sort of patched up a little bit. But everything that was inside, including very valuable scriptures for the Jewish community here in Vienna, was destroyed.
This is an incident that happened here in Vienna, but it's also part of what many Jews in Europe are seeing as a huge, steep rise in anti- Semitic incidents that has a lot of folks here on the continent very worried.
Here's what we're seeing.
PLEITGEN (voice over): Valuable Tarask (ph) scrolls and prayer books reduced to ashes after an arson attack on this ceremonial hall on the Jewish part of Vienna's main cemetery.
This last time this very hall was set on fire was almost to the day 85 years ago by the Nazis on Cristalna (ph) Chief Rabbi Jaron Engelmayer tells me.
PLEITGEN (on camera): How big is - is the damage, not just - not just in terms of obviously the room itself, but spiritually for you, for the Jewish community here?
JARON ENGELMAYER, CHIEF RABBI, IKG VIENNA: I think it takes us back to times where the books were burned and it is an attack on the spiritual values of the religion and of humanity, which happened here.
PLEITGEN (voice over): A swastika on the outer wall leaves few questions about the anti-Semitic nature of the attack.
ENGELMAYER: It should worry us all of the people in the free world about what's going on in the streets right now, and anti-Semitic attacks are just the top of the -- what's going on.
PLEITGEN: Since Hamas' October 7th attack on southern Israel, murdering more than 1,400 people and kidnapping hundreds, and Israel's military response in Gaza, which has also caused many casualties, anti-Semitic incidents have skyrocketed by about 300 percent in Austria, the head of Vienna's Jewish community tells me.
OSKAR DEUTSCH, HEAD OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF VIENNA: We are anxious. We are -- people are thinking about the life. The first thinking is, is Jewish life possible in Austria? The second thinking is, is Jewish life possible in Europe, or in the world?
PLEITGEN: With pro-Palestinian anti-Israel demos sweeping across the continent, Jewish groups say anti-Semitism is not only getting more prevalent but uglier. From plastering stars of David on Jewish homes in Paris, to a Molotov cocktail attack on one of the main synagogues in Berlin, and near daily assaults and insults in various European countries.
Today, just hours after the cemetery attack, Vienna's Jewish community hosted Israelis whose relatives were killed or kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. In Tal Yeshurun's family, four murdered, seven kidnapped. Tal lives in
Europe, but while he's publicly advocating for the hostages in everyday life, he feels he has to hide his Jewish identity.
TAL YESHURUN, RELATIVE OF OCTOBER 7TH VICTIMS: Not to be associated with anything written in Hebrew. Not to speak Hebrew. Not to go to places where its considered Jewish, like a synagogue or things like that.
PLEITGEN: While many European leaders have come out strongly against the rising tide of anti-Semitism, the head of the European Jewish Association says it's not enough.
RABBI MENACHEM MARGOLIN, CHAIRMAN, EUROPEAN JEWISH ASSOCIATION: We know exactly when we are in danger, and we are now in dangers. And we are now in dangers. European leaders, we need you right now to act. Never again is now, not tomorrow, not next week, it's now.
PLEITGEN: But as much as there is fear, there's also a sense of defiance. Rabbi Engelmayer himself painting over the Nazi slurs on the cemetery wall, eager to show his Jewish community will not be intimidated by anti-Semitic attacks.
PLEITGEN: And, you know, Phil, the Jewish community here in Vienna certainly got a boost also last night when there was a sea of light memorial that took place where thousands of people showed up to show solidarity with Israel, but, of course, first and foremost, also with the hostages that are still being held by Hamas.
MATTINGLY: Really important story. Fred Pleitgen, thank you.
HILL: America's top diplomat is back in Israel this morning. Antony Blinken trying to balance support for Israel's war against Hamas with protecting civilians in Gaza. So, what can he achieve? That's next.
HILL: In sports this morning, the Steelers sending their fans home happy with a win over the Titans, but it was not easy getting there. Down by three midway through the fourth quarter, Kenny Pickett leading Pittsburgh on a 11 play, 92 yard drive, ending on this touchdown. You see here that touchdown pass to Diontae Johnson. It was actually his first TD catch since 2021. Steelers taking the lead there. But then a really carry moment for Tennessee. Wide receiver Treylon Burks trying to catch this pass. You see his head hits hard on that turf. He would remain down. A stretcher brought on to the field to take him off. Burks giving a thumbs up on his way out. After the game Coach Mike Vrabel said he was alert and moving. Pittsburgh would hold on to win 20-16. MATTINGLY: Well, election day is almost here. You know that because the map is gray. Nothing's filled in yet. There's no blue. There's no red. But there will be votes. And those votes will start coming in and being counted on Tuesday.
Now, obviously, not 2024, not the presidential election or the congressional races, but races across the country will give us a critical look into the issues animating voters ahead of the 2024 presidential primaries. At stake on Tuesday, two governorships in the south. And this is really what everybody's watching to some degree. You've got Kentucky and you've got Mississippi.
There's also the Virginia legislature that's up in the air, and abortion access in Ohio.
I want to bring in Ron Brownstein, CNN's senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic."
Ron, I want to start with these two governor's races in particular, because if you switch back into 2020 and you look at these two states in particular -
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTINGLY: What you're going to see is - well, let me actually flip it to the presidential, even though it's early, Donald Trump winning in Kentucky by almost 30 points. Mississippi was even more significant. If you're looking around and saying, why are these two races actually competitive right now, tell me.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, you know, first of all, Phil, good morning.
The bottom line -- first bottom line reason is that governor races have been able to separate more from the national trends than Senate and House races. I mean there have been more examples in recent years of Democrats winning in Republican-leaning states and vice versa for the governorship than we see for the Senate.
In Kentucky you've got a popular incumbent. In Mississippi you have an embattled incumbent. You have a popular incumbent Democrat and in Mississippi you have an embattled incumbent Republican. That's the reason these races are unfolding the way they are.
But I - you know, I think the Kentucky one is actually more tied into the big national question in this election next week, which is, how does the abortion issue continue to reverberate through our politics after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. That is, I think, the critical (INAUDIBLE) --
MATTINGLY: Right. And I want to get - Ron, I want to get into that in one second, but I just - I want to - I want to stop you for one minute -
MATTINGLY: Clearly because right now I'm showing the 2019 results where Andy Bashir narrowly edged out Matt Bevin.
MATTINGLY: I think if you talk to Kentucky Republicans at the time, they didn't think Bevin was a good candidate. They would openly acknowledge - maybe not openly, they would acknowledge Bashir is a good candidate, was a good candidate back then, still is.
BROWNSTEIN: He is (ph).
MATTINGLY: Against Daniel Cameron this year. He is kind of an acolyte of Mitch McConnell. He's thought to be a rise star inside the party. And yet, when you look at polling, Bashir in 2023 still seems like he's ahead despite Biden being under water by 20 -- 15, 20 points in the state.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, partially it's abortion, and partially it's the fact that, as I said, you can separate more easily in a governor's race some attitudes about the president, even though it's becoming more correlated than it used to be.
By the way, look at your map on Kentucky. That is a really dramatic measure of what we are going to see again next week, which is that, you know, Bashir won while winning only a handful of counties.
BROWNSTEIN: Democrats continue to - you know, we continue to see this geographic polarization in our politics with Democrats running better in the biggest metro areas, and Republicans running better outside of the metro areas.
BROWNSTEIN: And that's what we are seeing, you know, in -- not only in Kentucky. Certainly that's going to be a big factor in Virginia. It's going to be a big factor in Ohio in this -- in this ballot initiative on preserving - or restoring abortion rights.
MATTINGLY: I'm up on the '19 map, and you see in the suburbs areas, in Louisville, in Lexington, Frankfurt, those are the areas where Bashir ran up his vote.
MATTINGLY: Got destroyed in most other counties around.
MATTINGLY: But, as you know, it's all about minimizing how badly you lose counties that aren't yours and trying to maximize your turnout.
But I do want to go specifically, Ron, to the abortion issue because it is so critical, has been so critical, was in the midterms as well. And what we've seen over the course of the last year and a half or so, you want to go down to the ballot initiatives. In places like Kansas. In places like Michigan. Places where this issue, when it came to abortion rights advocates, they won resoundingly.
Just pull up Kansas and look at it.
MATTINGLY: No constitutional right to abortion. The noes, 59 percent in Kansas, a red state. Saw similar results in Michigan, to some degree in Ohio as well, leading to the ballot initiative that's up this time around. What have you been seeing?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, the abortion issue, I think, is obviously -- I think that's the thing that's going to be the most important to watch on Tuesday because we have seen, I think, an -- a nuanced pattern that is important to kind of untangle. In red states and blue alike, when given the chance to vote directly on abortion rights, we have seen voters support those rights, whether it is Kansas, or Kentucky, or Montana, or Ohio, or Michigan and Vermont and California.
The electoral impact on campaigns has been more nuanced. In 2022 we did not see significant backlash against Republican governors in red- leaning states that actually banned abortion. Places like Florida, Texas, Iowa and so forth. But we did see, in blue and purple states, significant resistance to Republican candidates who carried, in effect, the threat of banning abortion, whether it was Michigan or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. And I think that is why Virginia -- you know, in Ohio, the direct vote on abortion rights, a red state, red- leaning state where Mike DeWine won a landslide re-election despite signing a six-week abortion ban is probably going to be overturned.
BROWNSTEIN: That's kind of the direct democracy.
Virginia is, I think, the most telling test of all next week because it's a state where Republicans now have a big lead on who can handle the economy, a big lead on who can handle crime and normally would be in position to win.