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Differences Between Hamas and Hezbollah; October Jobs Report; FBI Searches NYC Mayor's Chief Fundraiser's Home; Blinken Meets with Israeli Officials. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 03, 2023 - 08:30   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Hezbollah also has far more sophisticated weaponry, including precision guided missiles. Analysts estimate the group could have more than 100,000 rockets compared to only 7,000 for Hamas.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Joining us now to talk deeper, CNN's senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman, in Beirut, and CNN anchor and chief national security analyst Jim Sciutto, who is in northern Israel for us today.

When we look at where we stand here, and as Phil just laid out, there's also U.S. intel that suggests that Iran and its allies, as of now, right, are hoping to avoid a wider war with Israel.

Ben, based on what you've seen, and all of your reporting over the years, specifically with Hezbollah, what could - what could maybe shift that and how closely are those two aligning today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't believe that this is going -- this speech is going to mark the beginning of a new phase in terms of broadening the war. The expectation here in Beirut is that they're - that Nasrallah is going expand the rules of engagement. What are those rules of engagement? Until now basically there's an understanding, unwritten between the Israelis and Hezbollah, that as long as hostilities are restricted to the border zone, as long as, by and large, Hezbollah on the border really only focused on the Israeli military, most of the strikes on Israeli civilians have not - on the -- in the border area have not been done by Hezbollah. That's by other groups, like Hamas, like Islamic Jihad, like another -- other Lebanese factions operating in the south. Hezbollah is basically focusing on the military. So, perhaps we may see an intensification on the exchanges of fire on the border. Perhaps we will see some of the Hezbollah strikes going further inside Israel, but probably not beyond these so-called rules of engagement at the moment.

Now, it's important to keep in mind that as, you know, people are really watching what he's going say. In fact, people in Beirut are saying, you know, don't ask me what I'm doing this afternoon or this evening, ask me what I'm going be doing after Hassan Nasrallah makes this speech. And beyond Lebanon itself, you know, Nasrallah's sort of prestige in

the Arab world has really gone up because among all the Arab leaders, and we can consider him an Arab leader even though he's not a head of state, he's the only one who is confronting Israel as it pursues its ground invasion in Gaza. Other Arab leaders are beseeching the Americans, for instance, to convince the Israelis to introduce a humanitarian pause, but he's the only one who's actually militarily confronting Israel at this time.

So, as I said, we can expect perhaps an intensification of the action on the border, but probably nothing beyond that because, keep in mind, Hezbollah has a lot to lose if it engages in a full-scale war with Israel, and not an awful lot to gain. So, it may up the temperature a few degrees, but perhaps not take Lebanon at least into another full- scale war along the lines of what we saw in July 2006.

Erica. Phil.

MATTINGLY: Jim, I think that's such an important point Ben just made there at the end, because I think that there's a lot of nuance here and assumption that, of course everybody will be getting in, of course red lines will be crossed, of course Iran is probably pressing everybody to get it. That's not the case. There are definitely - there are issues and equities here that everybody is individually facing.


MATTINGLY: And I think one of those includes the deterrence efforts that the U.S. has made. There's two carrier strike groups. Obviously, we have significant more resources in the Middle East right now. What is not being said is what the U.S. would do if Hezbollah significantly engages here. They are intentionally not saying it. What would happen?

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, it gets to - it gets to a degree of involvement. Hezbollah is already involved, right? They've been firing across the border. We've been here a couple weeks. Launching missiles, rockets, artillery strikes. They've been floating IEDs across the border. A low - a slow burn, but they're involved. And to Ben's point, other groups operating in southern Lebanon.

We're standing above Kiryat Shmona, in northern Israel, and just to give you a sense of the geography here, just beyond that ridge line is Lebanon. This part of northern Israel sticks up into Lebanon sort of like a thumb and is particularly vulnerable to those sorts of attacks. And it's why Kiryat Shmona, like many of these northern communities, is under mandatory evacuation. This town has been emptied due to the threat of those attacks.

And just yesterday there was a pickup in those strikes. One of the rockets landing on a main street here and setting cars and shop fronts alight. So, there is involvement from southern Lebanon, but to date it has been in a limited fashion.

So, going forward, it speaks to the calculation that you were talking about, Ben, and that - sorry, that Ben was talking about, that you were talking about, Phil, what does it have to gain and what does it have to lose here.


He is an Arab leader. He's got a political base to some degree. A large portion of that political base is pushing for some sort of show of force against Israel here. We had a letter from Hezbollah fighters earlier this week asking for some sort of involvement. Of course, he is the boss.

On the other hand, Lebanon has suffered in recent years. Ben knows this better than anyone. And they do not want to suffer again with a full-scale war with Israel. In 2006, the Israeli strikes during that war, were hugely damaging to southern Lebanon. And in recent years, the Lebanese economy in tatters. He has to be aware of that as well. Those are the calculations he has to face.

In addition to that, to your point, Phil, you've got two U.S. carrier strike groups in the eastern Mediterranean right now. And when you hear President Biden, when you hear Secretary Blinken explicitly say, if you're thinking about getting involved in this war, and I'm paraphrasing here, don't, that is a message to groups like Hezbollah that you have the U.S. military here, which could respond. It doesn't want to get involved in a regional war either, but, again, pressure points, red lines, how far do they go. We'll be listening to those words like the - like the residents of Beirut today to see what kind of signals Nasrallah sends.

MATTINGLY: Yes, the entire world will.

Ben, Jim, invaluable. Thank you.

HILL: This just in here. We have the October jobs report. We're going to break down those numbers for you just ahead.

MATTINGLY: And we're waiting to hear from Secretary of State Blinken, in Israel, after meeting with officials there. This as a diplomatic source tells CNN that he's pushing Israel to pause fighting and allow mediation. More, next.



MATTINGLY: Well, just in, fresh economic data. The Labor Department just released the October jobs report. And the economy added 150,000 new jobs last month.

Let's get right that it. CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon.


MATTINGLY: All right, you've looked at the numbers. Ten minutes after the release, what have we got?

SOLOMON: Yes, I'm filled with paper here. So, 150,000 jobs added in the month, as you said. So, that was cooler than what we were expecting and also cooler than we have tended to see. So, we were expecting a number closer to 180,000. This is also a lot cooler than last month, although that seemed to be a bit of an anomaly.

So, the unemployment rate did tick up slightly to 3.9 percent, but we have been in this range for unemployment under 4 percent or at 4 percent for, like, the last two years or so. So, we're sort of still in this tight range.

And we want to show you sort of some of the sectors where we saw job gains. We saw job gains in - we can pull it up here for you, health care. That added 58,000 jobs. Government added 51,000 jobs.

Where we did not see gains was manufacturing.


SOLOMON: And this is actually in the very first paragraph you can see. And this is due to strike activity. This is due to the UAW manufacturing, auto manufacturing, auto workers. So, you saw that impacted here.

And I should say that that also sort of explains why the headline number is a little bit softer. You've seen that as well.

Now, if we look at sort of what this means in terms of for the Fed.


SOLOMON: I mean we just heard from Jay Powell earlier this week and he talked about the greater supply of workers. That we've seen more workers essentially coming off of the sidelines and assisting. And that has sort of helped in terms of wages.

And that's another thing we saw in this report. We saw that wages continue to moderate, both on a monthly basis and on an annual basis. So, that is good news for the Fed.

In terms of what this means broadly speaking, it's a cooling of the labor market, but it is still a pretty strong labor market. It's sort of a normalizing, right? So, it would be like, Phil, I don't know, it looks like you work out. You look fit. Like it would sort of be like if you were -

MATTINGLY: Hell (ph) ya.

SOLOMON: If you - if you were working out, you're sprinting, you're going hard, and at some point you probably might want to start jogging, right?


SOLOMON: At some point you might want to catch your breath. You might want to get to a more normal pace for you. So, that's sort of what we're seeing in the economy right now. Still in shape. Still looking relatively strong. We heard Jay Powell use that word earlier this week, it's still a strong economy, but it appears, at least according to this report, to be normalizing and catching its breath.

MATTINGLY: This is the nicest thing any colleague has ever said to me. I'm going to clip this and post it and I deeply, deeply appreciate you.

SOLOMON: Fit Phil.

MATTINGLY: Both for your economic knowledge and also that.

Rahel, we appreciate it. Thank you.

SOLOMON: Good to be with you.


HILL: You can go back to that again and again and again, my friend. It's good stuff. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Just don't skip leg day.

On a much more serious note, here in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams' chief fundraiser's home raided bit the FBI according to multiple law enforcement sources. Now, this stems from an investigation into an alleged scheme into whether Adams' 2020 mayoral campaign funneled foreign money into its campaign coffers. Sources close to that investigation telling CNN investigators are searching for evidence that foreign nationals bundled donations by going into New York's Turkish American communities, getting U.S. citizens of Turkish origin to then act as straw contributors.

CNN's Gloria Pazmino is joining us here with the very latest.

This feels like a little bit of a twisted web. So, what more do we know this morning?

GLORIA PAZMINO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica, so it's important to note, first things first, the mayor has not been implicated in this investigation so far. And he has made it clear that he has not been contacted by the FBI or any investigators.

But what we do know that happened yesterday was that his chief fundraiser, Brianna Suggs, the woman who has been raising money for him for his 2025 re-election campaign, and the woman who raised millions of dollars for his first mayoral campaign, her home was raided by the FBI, along with several other homes in the area.

And what we are being told by our law enforcement sources is that they are looking into the possibility, searching for evidence, that the campaign might have conspired with Turkish foreign nationals to get campaign contributions and funnel them to the campaign. Now, it sounds complicated, but foreign nationals can't make donations to political campaigns here in the United States, so you would need to find people in the community who are American citizens in order to make those campaigns.


That's what they're looking at so far.

Now, we did hear from the mayor on this late last night. He was asked about the investigation, especially after he rushed back from Washington, D.C. He had a really important meeting with the White House yesterday. And shortly after the raids started, the mayor turned back around to New York to said - to say he needed to deal with this matter.

This is what he said.


MAYOR ERIC ADAMS (D), NEW YORK CITY: All my campaign to the highest ethical standards, any inquiry that is done, we're going to fully participate and make sure that is done correctly. I have not been contacted by anyone from any law enforcement agency.


PAZMINO: So, I think this is just the beginning. We'll see how much more comes out and whether or not this is going to get to the mayor. But, right now, it's certainly very, very close.

HILL: Yes. Are there concerns about political impact at this point?

MATTINGLY: Yes, like the actually political impact. Because, you mentioned, there's 2025, re-election campaign.


MATTINGLY: She's raising for it.

PAZMINO: Yes. Yes. I think it's early, but it is New York City. So, certainly, yesterday, people were circling the political wagons wondering what does this means for the re-election.

Now, Eric Adams is run unopposed. He is the incumbent. Usually what we see in New York City, in Democratic races, is that the incumbent can easily win.

Now, there's going to be a lot that has to happen between now and the re-election to suggest that maybe Eric Adams might be politically in trouble here. We're certainly not there yet. But I think people are certainly watching and so far there is no one who has said they're going to challenge him either on the right or on the left.

But I think people are certainly watching this to see how much more comes out, if anything at all, and to see if there is an opening to indeed challenge him.

MATTINGLY: They always are. Not an ideal headline.

PAZMINO: Not an ideal headline.

HILL: No, not so much.

MATTINGLY: Gloria, we appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, in just a few hours, President Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, will travel to Lewiston, Maine, to honor the 18 people who lost their lives in last week's mass shooting there. The White House also announcing this morning that its office of gun prevention, along with the FBI and Department of Health are working closely with Maine's governor to support the community in any way they need it in the wake of the tragedy.

HILL: We are waiting for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who's expected to speak very soon. He is, of course, in Israel this morning where he's been meeting with Israeli President Herzog. We're going to take a closer look at what's been discussed, what the message was going in.

Stay with us.



HILL: Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to speak any moment from Israel after meeting with Israeli officials. Diplomatic sources telling CNN Blinken had planned to push Israel for a pause in fighting to allow for mediation.

Joining us now, CNN global affairs analyst Kim Dozier.

Kim, always good to see you this morning and to get your perspective on this.

Look, we know this is what he was intending to say. We got a little sense when we heard briefly from him and President Herzog earlier this morning. I guess the question is, what's the sense of how well that will be received?

KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, look, the U.S. is seen as the only one that can deliver this message, that Israel needs to ratchet back -- it needs to reconsider some of the strikes that it's taking when it can see that there are going to be a large number of civilian casualties. But Israel, at this point, has its foot on the gas in this campaign. It also knows that the clock is running out with world opinion turning against Israel and, therefore, against the U.S. So, there's this feeling that it's trying to accomplish as much militarily on the ground inside Gaza before it has to pull back some.

But this will probably mean, instead of taking air strikes, which is safer for Israeli troops, more on the ground actions, which are more dangerous and Israel has already taken something like 20 casualties and dozens of wounded.

MATTINGLY: Kim, we spoke to Senator Chris Murphy earlier. He's one of 13 senators to come -- Democratic senators to come out and call for a cessation of hostilities. He called for a more targeted military approach.

I want to play what he said about ceasefires.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): A ceasefire, which sounds to me an open- ended cessation of hostilities, would simply allow Hamas to regroup to attack Israel again. And you heard yesterday directly from the leader of Hamas that Hamas is not done. That they are intent on murdering more Israeli civilians. And so I just don't believe there's a choice to be made.


MATTINGLY: He is -- it was a very notable move for him to put out a statement and call for a recalibration of strategy, more persistent strikes. Murphy is a very key voice inside the Democratic Party but saying a ceasefire is basically an impossibility at this point.

How do you thread the needle here?

DOZIER: Well, it -- what the U.S. could pressure Israel to do is declare a certain route for civilians to leave Gaza City from heading south and say they're not going to bomb that. Of course, the risk is that then Hamas will evacuate some of its fighters, perhaps some of its wounded fighters that it's been demanding treatment for as part of the negotiations down that route. I can see Israel possibly agreeing to something like that in the sort of mental state they're in.

Look, the head of the air force, it was reported in Israeli media, just carried out personally one of the strikes on Gaza. That's how much it means to the Israeli defense forces to prosecute this war against Hamas.

The other problem with, yes, you could have a humanitarian pause, but a lot of the roads leading south have been damaged or are currently blocked by Israeli forces. So the question is, how would they pull back and would they want to pull back to allow anyone out.

And then the last point, and that is, Hamas hasn't let a lot of people leave.


HILL: This stood out to us in "The Wall Street Journal," the editorial board highlighting the axis between Iran and Russia against America, writing, "America's enemies are working together, and it is strategic folly to think the U.S. can treat them like isolated problems. Letting Russia subjugate Ukraine will give Vladimir Putin an opening to further help Iran against Israel."

This has to be playing into some of these decisions as well, Kim.

DOZIER: Absolutely. We're looking at what the head of Hezbollah will say today and the overall conclusion of a lot of watchers of the region, including me, is that, you know, Hezbollah and its Iranian ally, they're very good at calibrating, going just to the edge, and that that's what they're going to do because right now this is making Israel look bad and the U.S. by example. And when the U.S. tries to take the moral high ground in terms of Ukraine, later, it won't be able to because it supported Israel and what it's doing now.

MATTINGLY: All right, Kim Dozier, we appreciate it, as always. Thank you very much.

And as Kim noted, we are waiting for that speech from Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah. A significant moment but all people, national security advisers, national security analysts, intelligence officials, just normal people, as you see there, waiting for those remarks from Hassan Nasrallah. We will bring them to you, or parts of them, as they come in the next hour.

"CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after this break.

Have a good weekend.