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House Censures Tlaib; Ivanka Trump Takes the Stand; Rep. Shontel Brown (D-OH) is Interviewed about Abortion Rights; Republican Debate in Miami. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 08, 2023 - 06:30   ET




PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the Israeli military has opened a four-four evacuation corridor out of Gaza. It's set to close in the next half hour. Scores of Palestinians have been seen fleeing northern Gaza to the south, some carrying IDs and waving white flags.

Now, it comes as Israel says its troops are now in the heart of Gaza City, targeting Hamas infrastructure and commanders.

And just a few hours ago, Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed his objections to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.



ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: All of us want to end this conflict as soon as possible and meanwhile to minimize civilian suffering. But as I discussed with my G-7 colleagues, those calling for an immediate ceasefire have an obligation to explain how to address the unacceptable result it would likely bring about.

Ultimately, the only way to ensure that this crisis never happens again is to begin setting the conditions for durable peace and security and to frame our diplomatic efforts now with that in mind.


MATTINGLY: That statement comes as the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah says more than 70 percent of the 10,000 people killed in Gaza since October 7th have been children, women and the elderly.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And back in Washington, the House did vote to censure Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib for her recent comments about Israel just before the vote that was 234-188. The first Palestinian American member of Congress defended herself on the House floor.


REP. RASHIDA TALIB (D-MI): But let me be clear, my criticism has always been of the Israeli government and Netanyahu's actions. It is important to separate people and governments, Mr. Chair. No government is beyond criticism. I can't believe I have to say this, but Palestinian people are not disposable.



HARLOW: Tlaib posted a video on social media last week with clips of protesters chanting "from the river to the sea." And that chant is considered anti-Semitic by many groups. The Anti-Defamation League says it is a call to dismantle the Jewish state.

Lauren Fox joins us live from Capitol Hill.

I thought it was really notable that 22 Democrats, Lauren, voted for this as well. Remember, that first - with different language, but that first censure resolution failed. This one passed.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, obviously a lot of change over the last week. A lot of Democrats saying that they supported this resolution because the language was so much more narrow than that censure resolution last week brought forward by Marjorie Taylor Greene.

But an incredible rebuke of one of their Democratic colleagues, with 22 Democrats joining Republicans to censure Rashida Tlaib.

Now, there was quite an energetic and robust debate on the House floor before this vote took place.

Take a listen.


REP. MAX MILLER (R-OH): For I believe that actions have consequences. And I believe that after a long string of anti-Semitic remarks and hate-filled rhetoric, censure is an appropriate consequence for the gentle lady from Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman's time has expired.

MILLER: Never again, damn it, means never again.

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): Please stop misrepresenting Representative Tlaib's words.

Without her voice, we would lack even more empathy for the people of Palestine.

Maybe because of your lack of diversity, you lack the cognitive and emotional ability to recognize diverse opinions when they speak truth to power. (END VIDEO CLIP)

FOX: Now, Rashida Tlaib came under fire for some of her recent comments related to that phrase "from the river to the sea," which, as you noted, is seen by many Jewish groups as an anti-Semitic phrase, seen that way by many of her colleagues, clearly.

And Rashida Tlaib defended herself on Twitter back in November 3rd saying that she views this phrase as a call for freedom. Clearly not apologizing or backing off. Obviously, this is one of the strongest rebukes that can happen to a member of Congress. And while it is incredibly rare, it is obviously something that has started to happen more frequently in the House of Representative.


HARLOW: OK. Lauren Fox, thank you for the reporting.


MATTINGLY: Well, back here in New York City, fresh on the heels of her father's contentious time on the stand, it's now Ivanka Trump's turn. In just a few hours, the elder daughter of the former president will go under oath in the $250 million civil fraud case against Trump and the family business.

CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now.

Kara, we had a 24-hour breather for election day. What do we expect today from this testimony?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Ivanka Trump is going to take the stand. She's the last of the adult Trump children to do so.

And, you know, this case is about the allegation that there were fraudulent financial statements to obtain loans. So, Ivanka Trump fits into this because she helped introduce the Trump Organization to one of its key lenders, Deutsche Bank, and she was involved in some of these loans herself and some of these development deals, including the old post office building in Washington, D.C. So, there's going to be a lot of focus, testimony on her about these loans, but also the financial statements themselves.

And I obtained a clip of her video deposition, an excerpt from it that she gave last year. Here's what she said about those financial statements and her knowledge of them.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any recollection of your father having personal financial statements?

IVANKA TRUMP: Not specifically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about generally?

TRUMP: Well, see, I combine them all in my mind, like the statements of the company and so, I -- no, I mean, not like specific to him.

I've -- look, I have my own. I've never prepared one. I don't know. I've never made one. I'm not an accountant.


SCANNELL: Now, unlike Trump's sons, his attorney said they do intend to cross examine her. And they think that those questions could go into tomorrow. Then after this testimony is complete, the New York attorney general's office will rest their case. Trump's lawyers say they will begin putting on their case on Monday.

MATTINGLY: What do we expect that to look like?

SCANNELL: So, Trump has already hinted about this in his testimony. He said they're going to call bankers who will say that they didn't rely on these financial statements, that they weren't material to them and wouldn't have mattered, and also that they're going to call a number of expert witnesses to say that, you know, these deals were not - that the - that the valuations on these properties were not wrong. So, there's going to be a battle of the experts to some extent about what these properties were worth. Trump's side saying this could go until mid-December.

MATTINGLY: All right, Kara Scannell, keep us posted. Thank you.

Well, Ohio voters decisively move in favor of abortion rights. We're going to speak to Ohio Congresswoman Shontel Brown about what that means for the state, for Democrats, for the 2024 presidential race.

HARLOW: Plus, how Republicans in Washington are responding to the election night results.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I guess, politically, are you concerned about being on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue?




HARLOW: Those are abortion rights advocates in Ohio celebrating a big win last night. CNN projects access to abortion will now be protected in the state. Voters backed Issue 1, which enshrines reproductive rights in the state's constitution, it prevents restricting abortion access before fetal viability, that is, between 22 and 24 weeks of pregnancy.

At the heart of this fight was Ohio's six-week abortion ban. That went into effect in June of 2022, immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Just four months later it was blocked by a court, but it is still under consideration by the state's supreme court. Abortion rights advocates argued that passing Issue 1 was the only way to stop that ban.

Last night Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan downplayed the decision.



MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But does that worry you that that could turn - the presidential election could turn congressional next year, that abortion again could be the defining issue?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Oh, I think -- I think - I think - I think - I think the defining issues are going to be, we went from a secure border to no border.


We went from safe streets to record crime. We went from $2 gas to $3, $4, $5 gas. We went from stable prices to record inflation.

I think those issues are going to drive the election.

RAJU: Not abortion?

JORDAN: And -- no, I think those issues are going to drive the election.


HARLOW: Let's bring in Ohio Democratic Congresswoman Shontel Brown.

Congresswoman, great to have you.

Jim Jordan says it's mainly the economy, not abortion. But Ohio is now the seventh state, including a couple of red states, to protect, enshrine the right to abortion in their state constitution. Are Republicans out of step with the American people on this?

REP. SHONTEL BROWN (D-OH): Absolutely. We see that in the results from last night's election. And I want to thank the voters and I want to thank the volunteers who worked tirelessly to make sure that we saw victory as it relates to helping women and families protect the right to make their own health care decisions without interference from the government or fear of being criminalized. That's what Issue 1 was all about.

As Republicans continue to try to take away freedoms, you can see in the results from Ohio's election, that people want the power to remain in their hands, that issues are still important, and messaging matters.

HARLOW: Ohio's governor, Mike DeWine, campaigned hard on this against Issue 1. He called it a radical proposal. But as we got closer to Election Day, he talked about potentially softening the law, allowing -- the six-week ban, I should say, allowing some exceptions for rape and incest. But that wasn't enough to convince Ohio voters. And I wonder why you think that is.

BROWN: Well, Governor DeWine, I think, could see the tea leaves. The energy around the ground -- on the ground in Ohio was certainly in our favor. When you looked at the early vote numbers, they were certainly leaning our way.

But I also would like to say that this was not necessarily a partisan issue but a personal issue. You saw women from Democrats to Republicans, black, white, rich, poor, this was an important issue and a broad coalition of folks that decided to -- again, to protect the freedoms. Democracy won. And protecting freedoms to make your own health care decisions, again, without politicians being in the doctors' office. That was the message that resonated with people. People want to be able to make their own health care decisions and leave the government out of these personal, private, medical decisions.

HARLOW: Congresswoman, let me ask you, though, about the leader of your party, of the Democratic Party, President Biden. "The New York Times" poll a couple of days ago was really tough for him among key constituencies. And then the CNN poll, national poll, just basically confirmed that. I mean if you look at the numbers, only 36 percent of voters think he's an effective world leader. 25 percent think he has the strength to be president, only 37 percent approve of how he's handling the economy.

But abortion is where he's strong. And abortion is where we saw Democrats coming to the ballot box. But is that all he's got?

BROWN: No. I think there's an old saying in politics, there's only two ways to run, and that's unopposed or scared. And those numbers are definitely frightening.

But what we also recognize is polls don't vote. When it comes to Joe Biden, traditionally polls have not ever been favorable for him. And what we've shown and recognized when it comes to polling is, when they count Joe Biden out, he shows them they don't know how to count.

HARLOW: But you -

BROWN: Listen, it's a little bit early to be predicting what happens in 2024, but we're going to continue to work hard and make sure that people understand the accomplishments.

I think what we saw in Kentucky is demonstrative of what we have been demonstrating right here in Washington, with Leader Jeffries at the helm. We are always looking for bipartisan solutions to move forward, move this country forward. And the Democrats have been united from day one. And we're going to continue down the road and make sure that people know that Democrats have been delivering for them.

HARLOW: The gubernatorial race in Kentucky is pretty unique just because of Beshear's popularity there. But I hear you on that. I do want to ask you about what we saw in the House yesterday. The

House, and it included 22 Democrats, voted to censure Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. I should note, she's the first Palestinian American to serve in Congress. They voted this way because of her criticism of Israel and some of the phrasing that she has used, "from the river to the sea."

You voted against the censure, and I'm interested in why.

BROWN: Well, Rashida Tlaib and I don't agree on that subject. I -- but I -- what I did - what I will say is that we both agree that there should be some humanitarian and civilian aid. This is a very complicated and difficult subject, and we certainly mourn the lives lost, the innocent lives lost. And so while we, again, don't agree on that topic, we do agree that there should be some humanitarian aid as it relates to the conflict that is happening in Israel.

HARLOW: Can you - but can't the same - can't both things be true, you can disagree with her on that language and vote to censure her, which you didn't, but also push for humanitarian aid?


I just -- I want to understand your vote against the censure.

BROWN: Absolutely. I think Ms. Tlaib, Representative Tlaib, who is also a friend and a colleague, apologized, clarified her position on the phrasing. I also signed on to a letter that also stated my position as it relates to that phrasing that she used. People make mistakes, and we have to afford them grace.

But this is a very, again, complicated subject. And what's happening in Israel between the invasion by Hamas is something that none of us really wants to see. And as a Palestinian, I think her perspective that she offers and lends to the body of Congress is one that we also value and appreciate.

HARLOW: Well, I appreciate your time very much this morning. Ohio Congresswoman Shontel Brown, thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Five Republican presidential candidates who are not named Trump or Donald will face off tonight on the debate stage. What can we expect to see? We're going to tell you.

HARLOW: Plus, the youngest member of Congress raising concerns about Biden's slipping poll numbers with young voters.


REP. MAXWELL FROST (D-FL): It is concerning. We need to recreate the 2020 coalition and build on top of it. Looks like that's a little bit of in danger right now.



MATTINGLY: Tonight in Maimi, five Republican presidential candidates will face off in the third primary debate. And, once again, the frontrunner, Donald Trump, will not be there. Instead, the former president will hold a campaign rally just down the road in Hialeah, Florida.

Our panel is back with us, Jeff Mason, Natasha Brown and Geoff Duncan.

Guys, welcome back.

Jeff, I kind of illuded to this earlier that - and you didn't really sell it well why people should be watching this debate tonight.

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "REUTERS": Let me work on that for you, Phil. Let me work on that.

MATTINGLY: So, we're going to give you another shot. No, but in all honesty, as a reporter, as somebody who's covered these races for so many years, what are you watching tonight? What would be a breakthrough moment for you?

MASON: Well, first of all, I think the dynamic between Haley and DeSantis will be really fascinating to watch. They've been sort of going at each other as she is rising in the polls and really giving him a run for his money for second place. Also the fact that this is the first debate since the Hamas attack on Israel that will make foreign policy sort of the key issue. Americans don't always care that much about foreign policy. It doesn't aways resonate that much in elections. It's going to resonate now and it's going to resonate in this debate.

HARLOW: Yes, and it's a big question, Jeff, of where Americans' money goes, right, where taxpayer money goes in terms of foreign policy, Israel, Ukraine, what the House is going to do with those. Do you think that Vivek Ramaswamy changes his stance on how he talks about foreign policy given what Nikki Haley did to him before?

GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. It seems to - it seems to be a theme. His ChatGPT keeps pointing to a different data source.

Look, this -

HARLOW: Oh, burn.

DUNCAN: This is such an interesting time, right? I mean we -- I'm glad Donald Trump's not there. I think it has a high likelihood of being a more substantial conversation, substantive. And I expect Nikki Haley to really champion the point that she does have that foreign policy muscle to flex that others on the stage don't. And this time that we're in, we need to understand the complexities of all the foreign issues that are going on. And I think that puts her in an advantage. And, oh, by the way, if you just stare at the polls, there's really no reason to watch this debate, right? But if you understand the complexities of the fact that this guy in the lead's got 91 indictments and four jurisdictions, and he's just a complete, hot mess, things could change in the next 12 months, or maybe six months, and maybe we could get somebody that's got a heartbeat and no felonies to actually represent the Republican Party.

MATTINGLY: That's a high bar you set there.

Look, you guys are really not -

DUNCAN: I was wound up this morning.

MATTINGLY: No, I got it. I really feel bad for NBC the way you guys are pitching this.

I would say post-debate coverage with Anderson Cooper and Dana Bash, you should definitely watch.

HARLOW: Right here.

MATTINGLY: Natasha, I want to play, to Jeff's point, the kind of DeSantis, Nikki Haley is Nikki Haley seems ascendant over the course of the last couple of weeks.

Listen to one of her campaign ads.


NIKKI HALEY (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ron DeSantis is against fracking.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you also support a ban on fracking?

DESANTIS: Yes. Yes. Yes.

If you did offer (INAUDIBLE), you may create some jobs in that industry, but I think you probably cost more jobs overall.

HALEY: What you don't need is a president who is against fracking. He's against drilling.

DESANTIS: No, it's not true. It's not true.

ON SCREEN TEXT: Ron DeSantis, he's anti-fracking, he's anti-drilling, and he lied about it.

On the debate stage, you can't trust anything he says.


MATTINGLY: Hell yes, we're campaigning for second place. This fight, though, I think kind of illustrates a divide within this kind of final five. What do you make of it?

NATASHA BROWN: I actually think Nikki Haley is -- I'm really interested in watching her. I think she's going to do the pull away performance tonight. I think there's a number of things that have happened. I think even last night with abortion, if you noticed in the last few months, she's actually taken a more moderate position around abortion. I think she's going to use gender. I think she's going to use that she's the more sensible candidate. It's clear in that commercial that she's going after even his environmental record.

So, I do think that she's going to go after DeSantis. I think it's possible that she may gain some ground. I think DeSantis, it's his to lose. That he is -- we're going to be in Florida, so I think he's going to be very performative. But it's going to be interesting to see if he can actually make this 45-point gap that he has between he -- himself and Trump.

HARLOW: And she's going to flip, and he is going to flip on her and say China, China, China.

BROWN: Absolutely.

HARLOW: And say as governor of South Carolina you welcome Chinese business in, you gave them all these breaks. Explain that now.

MASON: And I said earlier that Americans don't care that much about foreign policy, but they do care about China.

HARLOW: They do.

MASON: It was a very effective argument for President Trump when he was a candidate in 2016, and it was a big part of his policy portfolio as president. I think that - that absolutely DeSantis will use that.

HARLOW: Is DeSantis wrong? How does she defend that?

MASON: Well, she'll - she'll -- we'll have to see what her arguments are. But I think it's an effective line. It's no doubt something that he'll attack her on.

HARLOW: That will be interesting.

Thank you very, very much, Jeff Mason, Latasha Brown, Geoff Duncan.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR AND SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Critical Democratic wins in Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Fear is an incredibly motivating force in politics.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: It is a significant victory for Governor Beshear. GOV. ANDY BESHEAR (D-KY): A choice not to move to the right or to the

left, but to move forward for every single family.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Abortion rights will be enshrined in Ohio, the first Republican state to take such a move.