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CNN This Morning

Donald Trump Set to Testify in $250 Million Civil Fraud Trial; Hate Incidents Spike on College Campuses Amid Israel-Hamas War; U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Rises; Deadly Blast at Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp in Central Gaza; CNN Reports on IDF Operations from Inside Gaza; Blinken Meets with Arab Leaders Amid Calls for Ceasefire; GOP Presidential Hopefuls Trade Jabs at Florida Freedom Summit. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 05, 2023 - 08:00   ET


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): -- a story from "The Guardian" about Lilie James, a 21-year-old who was found dead in Sydney, Australia.


Microsoft then published an A.I.-generated poll next to the story asking readers: what do you think is the reason behind the woman's death?

"The Guardian" CEO wrote in the letter: Not only is this sort of application potentially distressing for the family of the individual who is the subject of the story. It is also deeply damaging to "The Guardian's" hard-won reputation for trusted, sensitive journalism.

A day later, Microsoft said it had launched an investigation and shut off its A.I. polling feature. A spokesperson told CNN that in 2021, the company shifted to a system that picked stories by an algorithm. The spokesperson said, we are committed to addressing the recent issue of low quality articles contributed to the feed, and are working closely with our content partners to identify and address issues to ensure they are meeting our standards.

RYN PFEUFFER, FORMER CONTRACTED EDITOR, MICROSOFT: A lot of people don't dig deep and do their own homework to fact check anything or they take things at face value. There's far too much of that and so, they read this and they take it as the factual truth.


AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: A really fascinating report there from our Donie O'Sullivan. Thank you.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


WALKER: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. It is Sunday, November 5th. I'm Amara Walker. VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell, thank you for

joining us.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken just wrapped an unannounced visit to Ramallah, as violence continues to escalate in the West Bank. We've got details on his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and what we're learning about another explosion at a refugee camp.

WALKER: Donald Trump's feud with Ron DeSantis takes center stage as he parades his new supporters onstage at a Republican gathering in Florida. DeSantis's response, and why Chris Christie was booed on stage.

BLACKWELL: Trump is scheduled to testify in a $250 million civil fraud case against his company tomorrow. What to expect when he takes the stand in court, and how the testimony from his children will come into play.

We're starting with the new development out of the West Bank, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian President -- president of the authority there, Mahmoud Abbas. This is Blinken's first visit to Ramallah since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th. It comes as the U.S. is grappling with the growing crisis in Gaza.

WALKER: A humanitarian window to leave northern Gaza was open for four hours, it has since closed. Israel Defense Forces opened a safe road for people to leave Gaza city and move south as Israel is intensifying its attack on northern Gaza, however, Palestinian officials say more than 50 people were killed in a news really attack on a refugee camp. The strike happened south of the line where Palestinians have been told to go.

BLACKWELL: The Israeli military has not comment on whether it targeted the area, and overnight the Palestinian Red Crescent says they were heavy explosions near the Al Quds Hospital in Gaza. It says the building has been destroyed, and there were casualties, including a number of deaths.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live from Tel Aviv with more.

Ed, give us the latest.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, another excruciating night of warfare, and this morning as well, will start Saturday night with a blast that occurred at the Al Maghazi refugee camp. What's significant about this particular area is that it is south of the area where Israeli military officials have been urging Gaza residents to evacuate toward.

And in that blast, a doctor at a hospital that treated victims that were brought in from that area, the doctor counted at least 33 bodies that were brought in. The video is very difficult and disturbing to watch. Young children being carried in, the lifeless bodies of young children being carried into that hospital, women and children as well, and that was very intense. As you mentioned, the Israeli Defense Force has not said if it was

involved in the strike. The doctor believes it was an Israeli airstrike that caused this blast. This morning, there was another explosion at a building across the street from a hospital. As you know, Israeli officials have said they believe Hamas fighters use areas around hospitals as protective cover for their military operations. The Palestine Red Crescent Society says there are at least 21 people injured in that explosion, happening this morning.

Again, no clear indication, at least from the Israel Defense Force hasn't made any clear definition as to whether or not they were involved in that one. But, clearly, people on the ground inside of Gaza believe these were all directly related to Israeli airstrikes that have happened in the last 12 to 15 hours.

All of this happening as Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a brief stop in his first visit to the West Bank since the October 7th attack to meet with the head of the Palestinian Authority trying to, in his words, talk about an effort to restore calm and stability in the area.


But as is proving clear to see, reaching that goal is extremely difficult at this moment.

WALKER: All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you for your reporting.

Now, CNN is part of the first group of international journalists that has been granted access to Israeli forces inside Gaza.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond was embedded with the IDF troops where he witnessed a intense fighting in central Gaza firsthand.

BLACKWELL: So, as a condition to enter Gaza under IDF escort, outlets have to submit all footage and materials to the Israeli military for review, prior to publication. CNN has agreed to these terms in order to provide limited window into Israeli ground operations in Gaza.

Jeremy Diamond joins us now.

So, tell us about this experience, what you saw.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, when we came to Israel's ground offensive in Gaza, the Israeli military, as you said, agreed to bring us into Gaza with its troops. My day began yesterday boarding an armored personnel carrier with Israel soldiers and about 20 minutes later, after some starting and stopping to look around for potential threats from Hamas militants in Gaza, we found ourselves about a kilometer inside the Gaza Strip at an Israeli military position, overlooking Gaza City.

At the position, those Israeli troops are working to cut off the north of Gaza from the south, to establish a humanitarian corridor as well for Palestinian civilians to flee south, but we also find ourselves very close to some intense fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli soldiers.


DIAMOND (voice-over): At this Israeli military post on the outskirts of Gaza City, the fighting is fierce.

IDF SOLDIER: It's okay. It's us.


LT. COL. GILAD PASTEMAK, 828TH BRIGADE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: In the center of the Gaza Strip, IDF soldiers are fighting against militants that are using all the houses that they can in order to harm and to get to the IDF soldiers.

DIAMOND: One week into its ground offensive, Israel's military says it has encircled Gaza City from posts like this.

We're right now in an Israeli military post inside the Gaza Strip, about one kilometer inside of Gaza. Gaza City is just this way, and as you can hear behind me, there was a lot of ongoing fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants. What they are trying to do right now is to flank the Hamas positions. That's what the battalion commander just told me.

And all of this intended to try and cut off Gaza City from the southern part of the strip as Israeli forces also move in from the north.

CNN was part of a small group of reporters given access to Israeli forces inside Gaza for the first time since the outbreak of the war. Entering Gaza using the same roads Hamas militants use to carry out their brutal attack on October 7th.

PASTEMAK: And today, we're going on the exact same roads to the same neighborhoods to their area, to their trucks, you know, to go there and be able to get them pay the price and to eliminate Hamas organization that held this attack on the state of Israel.

DIAMOND: The Israeli military is taking us into Gaza. We are in the armored personnel carrier right now. We're off into Gaza, to the southern point of Gaza City.

But still, Israeli forces face the danger of ambush from underground tunnels.

LT. COL. RAN CNAAN, 828TH BRIGADE ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES And over there, over there and inside the, the neighborhood, also --

DIAMOND: So in address this area, there are at least three tunnels.

CNAAN: I believe, I believe at least, yeah.

DIAMOND: Israel says many of those tunnels lie below residential buildings, and for weeks, it has relentlessly bombed those targets, killing and injuring thousands of civilians in the process. The forces here say they are now working to secure a humanitarian

corridor to help civilians flee the heaviest fighting.

PASTEMAK: This is justice for the brigade, the battalion right here. The population will be able to go from the north to the south surely and freely, in order to get the IDF to what it has to do, north to the murderous Hamas.

DIAMOND: For these soldiers, achieving that goal may see them deployed deep into Gaza City, where the prospect of deadly urban combat awaits.

PASTEMAK: Well, the IDF will be here as long as it takes, weeks, months, years, until he makes sure that Israel is safe and secure for the long time period. If you need to get inside Gaza house by house, it's exactly what's going to happen.


DIAMOND (on camera): And Israeli commanders on the ground told me that they have outpost like this one all along the six kilometer stretch just south of Gaza City, between the Mediterranean sea, and Israel's border with Gaza.

But while they have control above ground, they know they don't have control below ground. There are Hamas tunnels underneath that Israeli commanders believed allow them to go from north to south, and also to evade and an ambush Israeli soldiers. That is one of the biggest dangers that those forces face inside of Gaza -- Victor, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Jeremy Diamond, thank you.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has left the West Bank after a round of meetings with Israelis and Arab leaders over the weekend. Right now, he is meeting with officials in Cyprus.

WALKER: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joining us now.

Hi, Priscilla.

What are you hearing about this trip and Secretary Blinken, in the face of these international calls for a cease-fire?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, this is an opportunity for the secretary of state to raise a range of issues that the administration has been pressing on. That includes humanitarian assistance to Gaza, the release of hostages held by Hamas, and really, trying to avoid this conflict from widening.

So, today, Blinken met with the Palestinian authority president, amid rising, escalating violence in the West Bank. And that has been an area of concern for the White House as well.

And all of this, just part of the secretary's shuttle diplomacy across the region. And as you mentioned, one of the key sticking points has been calls for a cease-fire. Arab leaders called for a cease-fire in meetings yesterday. But the secretary doubled down on U.S. opposition to that, stressing instead that there should be a humanitarian pauses to also get the hostages out of Gaza and getting aid into Gaza.

And to that, he said the following. Take a listen.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's our view that a cease-fire now would simply leave Hamas in place, able to regroup, and repeat what it did on October 7th.


ALVAREZ: So, as you heard there, the secretary arguing that the ceasefire would allow Hamas to regroup. But there has been outrage, here domestically as well as abroad, as the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Now, here in Rehoboth Beach, we saw the president yesterday leading roving church, and he was asked by reporters if there is been any progress on humanitarian pauses, to that he simply answered, yes. And he has been briefed by his national security team while here, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, so all of this is continuing to develop an unfold in the hours to come.

BLACKWELL: Priscilla Alvarez for us there in Delaware, thank you. Huge crowds protested in capital cities across the world to call for a cease-fire. There were demonstrations in Berlin on Saturday, and Paris, and London. Protesters, you see here, waved Palestinian flags, express their anger at their governments support for Israel.

WALKER: In Washington thousands of protesters marched to the White House carrying signs that said, stopped the massacre and let Gaza live. Many protesters say Biden's unequivocal support of Israel could be a serious political issue for the president in 2024, if he doesn't call for a cease-fire. Right now, he is pressing Israel for a humanitarian pause.

CNN's Elliott Gotkine is in London with more.

Elliott, are we expecting more protests today?

ELLIOTT GOTKINE, CNN REPORTER: We are, Amara. I don't think they're going to be as big as the ones that we saw on Saturday, but there are protests planned outside a U.S. military base in southern Turkey, in Mexico City, and also in Athens, there's a march planned. There's also a concert being planned by Israeli, the Israeli community in Athens, along with family members of the hostages being held inside the Gaza Strip by Hamas.

But what they've been calling for, yesterday, and what they'll be calling for today, is the cease-fire which the U.S. is still not calling for. We're seeing more calls for it on the streets, in those cities you mentioned, but also in places like Melbourne, the protesters overwhelmingly peaceful. There were 29 arrests in London, including people firing fireworks at officers, also terror related offenses due to the wording of some of the banners behind held.

But these calls are growing, the crowds are growing in terms of calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. As those calls on the street are growing, they're also going internationally. We heard over the weekend from Arab leaders unanimously calling for in their words an unconditional and immediate cease fire. Of course, just this last week, we have the United Nations General Assembly calling also for an immediate durable and sustained humanitarian truce.

But Israel's position remains unwavering. Its position is, that they can be no cease-fire until such time as all the hostages, around 240 men, women, children, babies, the elderly are returned unharmed to Israel.


But, of course, as this public pressure for a cease-fire grows, as the political pressure internationally grows, the window for Israel's operations during which you can still have the U.S. in its corner, maybe diminishing. And we understand at CNN from sources close to advisers to the president, that they believe that this window of operation could just be a matter of weeks rather than months, in terms of Israel's ability to fulfill its objectives and destroy Hamas. And that, I'm sure Israeli military chiefs, will admit is a very tall order indeed -- Victor, Amara.

WALKER: Well, we'll see if the Biden administration can get a meaningful humanitarian pause, in due time. Elliott Gotkine, thank you very much.

Still to come, 2024 GOP hopefuls exchanging jobs at a summit of Florida voters, and while most candidates focused on each other, one got into it with the crowd.

BLACKWELL: And the GOP front runner, former President Donald Trump, will take to the stand this week. What we can expect from Trump when he testifies in this quarter billion dollar civil fraud trial.



BLACKWELL: Former President Trump spoke later in the day at the Florida Freedom Summit, but there was a lot of talk about him earlier in the event, as the presidential candidates traded jabs. Now, the crowd was not very responsible to that criticisms of the former president, including when former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie turned on the crowd.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What a shock, you're for Trump. I'm going to fall over dead. The problem is, you fear the truth.

ASA HUTCHINSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can say that there is a significant likelihood that Donald Trump will be found guilty by a jury on a felony offense next year.


WALKER: Last night summit is just a preview of what could happen later this week at the Republican debate, the third one.

Here is CNN's Alayna Treene with a recap.


ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, Victor and Amara, the former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have been battling for the lion's share of support, as well as donors, in their own backyard. And we saw that take front and center stage in Florida this weekend. And really, the summit was an opportunity for many of the leading Republican primary candidates to make their case to Florida voters for why they should be the Republican nominee.

And that was especially important to Ron DeSantis, the highest ranking official in the state, but all of them were really overshadowed by the enthusiastic support from the audience for Donald Trump. We heard many of the audience members say that they really still are very much excited about Donald Trump, that they want him to be the candidate on the ballot. We really saw that play out during the event on Saturday.

Now, Ron DeSantis did receive a warm reception when he delivered remarks, he touted his agenda here in Florida, and he also made some veiled jabs at Donald Trump's, but did not they name him directly. But later that evening, when Donald Trump took the stage, the venue was very packed, and he went after DeSantis directly. And that did receive some tears from the audience. Let's take a listen.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: And I said, let's hit him hard, right now. And my people said, sir, don't hit him, he's a Republican. I said, I don't care if he's a Republican. And we hit him hard, and now he's like a wounded falling bird from the sky.

TREENE: Now, Victor, and Amara, Donald Trump went into the event this weekend with the upper hand. He had received a fresh round of endorsements on Saturday, many of whom had defected from Ron DeSantis, and change their support to Donald Trump.

Many the speakers on Saturday were also people who had endorsed Donald Trump, people like Senator Rick Scott, the former Florida governor who recently endorsed him last Thursday, as well as Congressman Matt Gaetz and Byron Donalds.

Back to you.


WALKER: All right. Alayna Treene, thank you very much.

Joining us now is "Punchbowl News" Congress reporter Mica Soellner.

Mica, good morning. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Let's start with this fight for her home turf, between Trump and

DeSantis. As you saw, and as Alayna reported, Trump dominated at this Republican Party event yesterday. But Ron DeSantis, he is the sitting government in Florida, who won reelection in a landslide victory, let's not forget, just last year, but as Alayna was reporting, Trump has the upper hand in Florida for 2024. Why is that?

MICA SOELLNER, CONGRESS REPORTER, PUNCHBOWL NEWS: Yeah, that's exactly right. I think we're seeing this especially given some of the recent endorsements that Trump has received from members of his now home state of Florida. We saw Rick Scott, a prominent senator from Florida endorsed Trump, some of that is related to some of his personal relations with Governor DeSantis in the past. We saw another Florida state representative endorsed Trump.

I think the Trump has really made Florida his own home to over the years, his increasing attacks on DeSantis I think are only making that split more even between those two.

WALKER: We're seeing the pictures now, when Trump trotted out some of the Republicans in the state who have endorsed him, that includes Rick Scott, and State Representative Randy Fine, who recently dropped on the Trump bandwagon.

DeSantis said last night that he's not concerned about these defections. Should he be?

SOELLNER: Well, I think DeSantis needs to be concerned about his campaign overall. I think he has still like of staff because of his polling in the way that the campaign was going, I think that a lot of DeSantis world people believe that the governor was going to be in a much stronger position than he is


I think there's been some criticism of how he's been handling himself at debates, and I think that, you know, his campaign is just struggling, and a lot of it is on life support. So, I don't think -- if he's not able to support endorsements in Florida, I think that's going to spell trouble for all you could -- go even further nationwide.

WALKER: I do want to play a longer sound bite of Chris Christie last night taking his combative style straight to the audience, berating Trump supporters, to what you get a lot of boos.



CHRISTIE: Well, now, it feels like home, thank you all very much.

Your anger against the truth is reprehensible.

The problem is, you want to shout down any voice that says anything different than what you want to hear. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WALKER: So, what exactly is Chris Christie angling for here? I mean, is he really trying to be the Republican nominee?

SOELLNER: I think that's the question that's on everybody's mind. Clearly, Chris Christie is in the minority of Republicans who are opposed to Trump. I also would say, you don't want to go into a room full of Republican primary voters and dismiss and attack Trump, who remains the clear favorite, that's only going to get you, you know, how -- the boos that he got.

So I think that it's becoming a smaller group of Republicans that are vocally against Trump but I do think there is a sentiment that I think some members of the party privately feel that they should move forward from Trump. But, you know, saying it publicly is, it makes for such a bad move, especially when Trump, you know he's going to publicly attack his opponents as well.

WALKER: That is the expectation, of course. I do want to bring up, Mica, a new "New York Times"/Siena College poll that just came out. It's got to be concerning, because it shows President Biden trailing Trump in five battleground states. That would be Nevada, Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

What do you think that comes down to? Is it age? Is that the economy? Is what?

SOELLNER: Yeah, it's certainly a number of factors that I think is plaguing Biden right now. I think largely it is the economy, now he's going to have issues with the foreign relations with everything going on in Israel, as well as Ukraine, and a lot of these global conflicts that he's had to deal with in his presidency. You know, some of it I think, you know, could be related to his age, I know that there is some house lawmakers who will privately criticizes age.

And we also saw that Dean Phillips launched his own presidential campaign, you know, related to concerns about his mental acuity and his age. I think a lot of it is going to come down to the economy. Americans pocketbooks, inflation, and where that's going to be in the next year or so, and where it is now.

WALKER: Speaking of Dean Phillips, he did say on Saturday that he would end his campaign on after Super Tuesday on March 5th, if his bid isn't viable. Well, the latest polling from Quinnipiac University shows it isn't viable, Biden was 77 percent versus Phillips right now with 6 percent, among Democratic and Democratic-leaning votes.

Can Dean Phillips do any damage -- a little bit of damage to Biden's candidacy?

SOELLNER: I think the message is more so that he felt the need to kind of publicly do this, and especially kind of citing, you know, Biden's awareness and age as a factor. I think sentiment surged to Democratic voters, or their base. But I think most of the Democrats have been very critical of Phillips

for doing this in the first place, they've been largely behind Biden. And Dean Phillips really has no national name recognition. So, you know, I don't really know how far his campaign really would have gotten or will go. So, I think, largely, Democratic Party is standing behind President Biden.

WALKER: Yeah, as we see in those polls.

Mica Soellner, appreciate you. Thank you.

And be sure to watch state of the union at the top of the hour. Dana Bash will speak with Senators Lindsey Graham, Richard Blumenthal, and Bernie Sanders. That's at 9:00 Eastern, right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Former President Trump is scheduled to take a stand to his $250 million civil fraud trial. So what should we expect from this testimony tomorrow?

That's next.



WALKER: This morning, police in Germany are saying a 4-year-old girl is their top priority in a standoff situation at Hamburg Airport. A police spokesperson says a man crashed his car through security barriers at the airport and managed to maneuver and park underneath an airplane last night with his 4-year-old daughter inside.

Authorities currently say they assume he is armed and possibly also has explosive devices of an unknown type. The man's wife had previously warned police that their child was missing. Police are asking people not to travel to the airport as they continue to negotiate with the suspect.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing 150,000 Hollywood actors may be inching closer to reaching a deal with major studios. A source tells CNN that striking actors are considering a proposal presented to them yesterday described by major studios as their, quote, "last, best and final offer." Actors have been on strike since July, which is more than 100 days now.

BLACKWELL: Tomorrow former president Donald Trump is scheduled to testify in the $250 million civil fraud trial against the Trump Organization, several family members and executives. After he testified Friday, Eric Trump told reporters his father is fired up to be coming to New York and testifying.

The trial has put a focus on the Trump family business dealings including the role Trump's children had played.

Former Manhattan prosecutor Jeremy Saland joins me now.

Jeremy, good morning to you. So for all the anticipation -- [08:34:55]


BLACKWELL: -- ahead of Trump's testimony, he could just invoke the Fifth Amendment over and over and over, right? That's a possibility.

SALAND: Certainly that's a possibility. And we saw a lot of that in his deposition. But remember, you know, unlike the criminal trial, at a civil trial, if he does that, ultimately there could be an adverse inference from the court. And we already know as we look at what's going on, Judge Engoron already has -- it seems to be, an adverse inference, so he's (INAUDIBLE) through all the evidence.

So he's in a difficult spot, Donald Trump, especially when he likes to go off on tangents and say things that damn him later on.

BLACKWELL: So let's assume that he will engage and answer the questions. The judge here has already determined that the practices were fraudulent. So then what hangs on or hinges upon the Trump testimony?

SALAND: Well remember, and I think it's lost on some people, that that's just a piece of it -- granted it's a large piece.


SALAND: There's the falsification of business records claim, pardon me; insurance fraud claim; conspiracy to commit those offenses. So there's still a lot there and ultimately the judge has to determine the magnitude of the fraud and what the penalty should be.

So there's a lot that hinges here. There's a lot in the balance. And if he can't answer his questions tightly and in a credible way where the court believes what he's saying, he's at a real risk of (INAUDIBLE) later.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And that's a discipline that we've not seen, at least in the depositions that we've watched in the past. This will be of course, publicly there in the courtroom.

Ivanka Trump comes up on Tuesday. We've talked about how her undue hardship of this happening when her children have to go to school was dismissed. She's not a party to the case. She was dismissed in June. So what's the value of her testimony here?

SALAND: Well she, like her brothers, is immersed in this. At least that's the allegation, right -- intimately involved. And she was involved in some of these big loans with Deutsche Bank. She was involved with the post office in D.C.

She has very intimate knowledge alleged by the attorney general and we would expect that she's going to be consistent which is what -- I didn't sign off. I listened to the accountants. I was not immersed, despite being a fiduciary, despite an executive vice president. So she's fighting this for a reason. And it can't be that she has

extreme hardship to get a babysitter. She's fighting this for a real reason. And my assumption is if she's truthful and honest, there will be some damning evidence that could come from her.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the gag order because we start this week with an expanded gag order. There was one in place starting a month ago against Trump and talking about court staffers. They've been complaining about this law clerk who has been passing notes and whispering to the judge. The judge says I can have any counsel that I want.

It's now been expanded to include Trump's attorneys, Christopher Kise has been saying some things as well. What's the logic here if there is no evidence and there is none that she's Schumer's girlfriend as Trump said or that she is biased. Is this for the potential appeal here? What do you see here?

SALAND: Yes. I think that Trump's lawyers have to set up anything they can for an appeal because there is a very real risk that we're seeing unfold now that things are not going to go his way.

So I think there's part of that. On the outside though -- outside the four corners of the courtroom, I think part of this is also, I need to get elected, this is campaigning, this is electioneering. I'm the victim here.

And we see that in many places. We see what happened with Judge Chutkan and we see what happened with the appellate -- the appellate division there.

So I think that any avenue that the former president can pursue to protect that record and make it seem like there's a mistake that could potentially overturn a conviction or finding of liability, he's going to do it. But he's got to be very careful.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about this case down here in Georgia. This is the state election results case here. And lawyers for Harrison Floyd, they're suggesting their defense will include the accusation that the 2020 election was stolen.

They are requesting thousands of documents related to the election. They want voting machine records and absentee ballots. Is it likely they will get it?

SALAND: You know, I think the judge has to hear the argument. There's one hand that says, you know, listen, we're not having a trial within a trial about whether or not the earth is flat. The earth isn't flat. We're not going to litigate this. So there's that argument.

There's another argument of the magnitude of materials you're going to have to get, to review, and examine could be an extreme burden. Not only that, extreme time consumption.

[08:39:48] SALAND: So you know, there's real issues, and I think the judge will give it a fair shake. But then if I'm the defense attorney also, I don't want to be burdened with now saying, you know, making this an election case in and of itself and relitigating that matter and basically taking that responsibility on my own to disprove.

So there's a lot of moving pieces here. There's a lot of juggling kind of like all the other cases combined. But, you know, the judge has to hear it. I think it's a very difficult lift for Team Trump.

BLACKWELL: All right. Of course we'll all be watching that Trump testimony tomorrow.

Jeremy Saland, thank you.

WALKER: Just ahead, there are growing concerns on college campuses as protests unfold over the Israel-Hamas war. What are officials doing to put students at ease?



BLACKWELL: Well, as protests over the Israel-Hamas war are held on college campuses across the country, campus administrations are trying to figure out how to deal with the controversies that can follow.

WALKER: CNN's Danny Freeman went to the University of Pennsylvania on their homecoming weekend to see how people are responding.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, Amara -- it's been an incredibly challenging and charged few weeks on college campuses really across the country.

And the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University they faced it as much as anyone. Cornell University, of course, they had to cancel classes back on Friday after a student was arrested for making anti-Semitic threats against other Jewish students.

Then here at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where we are there was actually backlash against university leaders for not doing enough to potentially protect Jewish students or to fight back against anti-Semitism.

Well, on Saturday, both of those universities they came to this homecoming weekend at the University of Pennsylvania to face off on the football field. And there was really an effort to show a spirit of cheerfulness and happiness for this homecoming weekend.

But make no mistake, the conflict and the challenging nature of the past few weeks has been at play here throughout the weekend.

Take a listen to what one student and a few alums had to tell us about how they're feeling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FREEMAN: Do you feel other students feel safe?

AHNGELIQUE DAVIS: I want to tell you they don't. Right now I think people are unsafe emotionally at the pain of other people. Watching it, feeling it and seeing it is absolute trauma.

MARCI DOSOVITZ: Luckily Penn has not seen some of the violence that occurred at Cornell or NYU. But that's just around the corner. That's how I feel.

DAVID HARRIS: Hopefully they continue in the direction of protecting all our students, whether they're Palestinians, Jews or anybody.


FREEMAN: Now Victor, Amara -- this past week the president of the University of Pennsylvania actually said that they're going to put into play an action plan to combat anti-Semitism saying in a message to the larger Penn community "we must find and build common ground and be a community that sees, hears and supports all of its members".

But again, a challenging few weeks leading up to an otherwise happy homecoming weekend -- Victor, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Danny Freeman, thank you so much.

Still to come, this disturbing trend. The mortality rate of infants in the U.S. Is up for the first time in more than two decades. We'll look at what's driving that increase.



BLACKWELL: A new report released by the CDC this week shows that kids today are using fewer tobacco products. A survey of middle schoolers and high schoolers show that 10 percent of them reported using tobacco products, about a 4 percent decline from last year.

But even though there was a steady decline in tobacco use, e- cigarettes were still the most popular tobacco product for kids. Among the millions of students who use e-cigarettes, about a quarter of them said that they used them daily. And most of them said they prefer flavored products. And although health officials believe this decline is a good sign, they say there is still much more work to do.

WALKER: The National Center for Health Statistics says the infant mortality rate went up last year, the first time the U.S. has seen an increase in more than two decades.

Here is CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: This is heartbreaking, Victor and Amara. The rate of infants dying in the United States last year rose to a rate of about six deaths for every 1,000 babies born. This is based on provisional data from the CDC, which shows that rate

is 3 percent higher than the rate in the previous year of 2021. Now, this is the first year-to-year increase in the rates since 2001 to 2002.

And there were some regional differences, as well. Compared with 2021, the infant mortality rate last year declined in only one state, Nevada, and it increased in four states -- Georgia, Iowa, Missouri, and Texas.

Now, as for what caused most of these deaths among the ten leading causes, the infant mortality rate increased for two -- maternal complications and bacterial sepsis. Victor and Amara, back to you.

WALKER: All right. Jacqueline Howard, thank you.

And we'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: Michigan's football team is mired in another controversy, but it is not affecting their play on the field.

WALKER: That's right. Coy Wire is here. The Wolverines blowing out every team they face?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are. And this is despite, you know, Coach Jim Harbaugh. He was suspended, the head coach for the first three games of the season for recruiting violations. And now here we are, Harbaugh's program under investigation for a side-stealing controversy of which Harbaugh says he was unaware.

On Friday, the school told CNN that a staffer at the center of the scandal resigned and couldn't comment further.

Still the third-ranked Wolverines steam rolling opponents. This time Purdue. Semaj Morgan hit that 44-yard touchdown there. Blake Corum had another huge day, punting his third touchdown of the day, blowing out the Boilermakers, 41-13.

And all the best of college football has to offer on full display in Denver. The future defenders of the nation, Army taking on 25th ranked and undefeated Air Force. But Army's ground game, just too much for the Falcons to handle.

Quarterback Bryson Daly (ph) rushing for 170 yards, two touchdowns, Army's defense for six turnovers, a 23-3 upset, ending Air Force's perfect season and all but dashing their hopes of becoming the first military academy to ever play in a new year's 6th Bowl Game.

Finally, bust out the bratwurst, the (INAUDIBLE), the drink, the first-ever NFL game in Frankfurt, Germany with the Dolphins and Chiefs kicking off in about 30 minutes from now. German reporters have been on point all week, but by far the best

question of the week went to Dolphins' quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We learned how to pronounce Tagovailoa over the last year, Indiana (INAUDIBLE) but we struggled with the long version of your first name. Can you tell us how you pronounce that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no idea. Way too long to remember.

TAGOVAILOA: Does anyone know how to say it? We can get Mike White up here and say it. Mike White knows how to say it. Tuanigamanuolepola and then Tagovailoa.



WIRE: All right. Pop quiz, hot shot. Can either of you pronounce that name? You just heard it. Give it a shot.

WALKER: Tuanigamanuolepola --

WIRE: There you go.

BLACKWELL: Tuaniga --

WALKER: It still goes on --

BLACKWELL: That's the last name.

Tua -- no, Tagovailoa.

WALKER: Tagovailoa.

BLACKWELL: That I heard.

WIRE: We can stick with Tua.

WALKER: Tagovailoa. Ok. Coy say it.

WIRE: Tuanigamanuolepola Tagovailoa.

WALKER: You weren't even reading up the screen.


BLACKWELL: Well done. Well done. Let's take this off --

WALKER: I'm glad your name is three letters.

WIRE: Coy, that's it. BLACKWELL: Thanks for watching this morning.

WALKER: "STATE OF THE UNION" is next. Have a great day, everyone.