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Israel Says It Has Taken Control Of 11 Hamas Military Posts; British Prime Minister Pro-Palestinian Protests Won't Disrupt Armistice Day Events; Blinken Denounces Civilian Toll In Gaza; Harris Visits South Carolina To File Biden's Paperwork. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 11, 2023 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. Welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Saturday, November 11th. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. This is what we're watching for you.

Aid workers in Gaza say they are in desperate need of supplies, including fuel, and warn they could be forced to shut down operations as they are operating in the dark. And as calls for a ceasefire grow, we're learning of more explosions near hospitals, sheltering thousands of people.

BLACKWELL: The U.S. is less than a week away now from running out of money to pay its bills, to pay its employees. The major meeting is happening today among House Republicans to try to avoid a government shutdown.

WALKER: The FBI sees the cell phones and iPad belonging to New York Mayor Eric Adams as part of a federal probe into his campaign's fundraising, the dramatic way it unfolded and what investigators are looking for.

BLACKWELL: President Biden will mark Veterans Day with an event in Washington this morning. Just ahead, how the V.A. is going digital in its efforts to honor veterans.

WALKER: Right now, a seven-hour evacuation window is open, allowing civilians in Gaza to flee south if they are able and willing. The humanitarian pause is part of a promise from Israel to open corridors each day for people looking to escape. Though critics will say nowhere is safe. Today's route will be open for more than two hours, two hours more I should say.

BLACKWELL: The health care system in northern Gaza is on the verge of collapse. Hospitals are operating in the dark, some surrounded by tanks and fighting, and others in the vicinity of airstrikes. The Red Cross, Red Crescent I should say, is warning that Gaza's health care system may be past the point of no return.

And the Al-Quds Hospital is just hours from closing. It's about to run out of fuel. The Palestine Red Crescent says that many patients, including infants, will die if they do not get the supplies, they need to stay open. Doctors at the Al-Shifa Hospital say they're surrounded by Israeli forces.

WALKER: Let's get right to CNN's Ed Lavendera in Tel Aviv. Hello to you, Ed. The Israeli army says it's taking control of 11 Hamas military posts. What do you know?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this comes as it's clear that Israeli forces engaged in very intense firefighting there on the ground in Gaza, as well as continued airstrikes. The IDF saying that they've taken control of these 11 posts in that area in Gaza. This as they continue to work to, as they say, dismantle the Hamas military operations within the tunnel systems under Gaza. They say at some point they have found a vehicle filled with explosives in the area where Israeli forces were operating, and that they continue to attack the tunnel system.

It's from those tunnels that the IDF says that the Hamas rockets had been fired over the last several weeks toward Israel. So, that fighting continues to intensify. We've seen evidence today of a very intense fighting, a very dangerous situation continuing to unfold there on the ground. And this comes as a U.S. senior official is telling CNN that that there are talks underway to set up a process of releasing some of the 240 hostages that remain in Gaza.

According to this U.S. senior official, this plan could involve a days-long ceasefire in exchange for some of the hostages, not all of them. But it is not clear as to whether or not this is really going to come to fruition. The senior official tells CNN that talks like this have happened before; it is delicate, and they have fallen apart before, and it also comes at a time where there is growing skepticism here in Israel as to whether or not the Israeli military and government strategy of maximum military pressure on Hamas is actually going to achieve the goal of getting the 240 hostages home alive and safely.

And there's a, a group of us some family members of the hostages who put out a statement yesterday saying that the victory in this war should not be viewed as assassinating the Hamas leaders who were responsible for the October 7th attack. Instead, victory in this war should be viewed as getting all of the hostages home safely. So, a growing sense of skepticism as to whether or not this strategy by Israel in maximizing and intensifying the military operations there on the ground is going to achieve this goal of getting the hostages home safely. Amara and Victor.


WALKER: All right, Ed Lavandera, I appreciate your reporting. Thank you very much.

A desperate situation is unfolding at Gaza's largest hospital, the Al- Shifa Hospital. And we've just learned that three babies in the neonatal unit have died after the hospital went out of service. The Hamas-run health ministry says that the infants died after nearby shelving caused the generator to go out.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Ben Wedeman is following this story for us from Southern Lebanon. Ben, this hospital is vital for people who live in Northern Gaza. World Health Organization actually calls this the most important health facility in Gaza. Tell us more about this hospital and what we know about what's happening there.

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This Al-Shifa Hospital, which is the biggest hospital in Gaza. I was treated there after by Israeli forces in October 2000. It is the best medical facility in Gaza but the situation there by all accounts is catastrophic and only getting worse.

CNN was able to speak with the Director General of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Munir El-Bursh, and he said that Shifa at this point is completely surrounded by Israeli forces, Israeli tanks, and there are Israeli drones overhead. That anybody who tries to step outside the buildings, there are several buildings that make up the complex that is the Shifa Hospital, anybody stepping outside comes under fire.

Now, there are 20,000 people taking refuge in the hospital itself, in addition to the 400 patients that doctors are treating. We understand that the generators that are providing the electricity to the hospital have either run out of fuel or have been damaged by Israeli strikes. As a result, the intensive care unit, the pediatric unit, and oxygen devices are no longer functioning.

And basically, what we understand from people in the hospital is that there are 36 babies in the hospital who are being kept alive by manual respirators. So, the staff have to constantly be pumping oxygen and air into the lungs of these 36 babies. Now, staff are utterly overwhelmed at the moment with, in addition to simply the amount of the battle that's raging around the hospital, the lack of supplies, the lack of food, water, electricity.

And in addition to that, there are dozens of bodies of people who have been killed that are essentially piled up outside the hospital, but they can't be buried because of the fighting that's going on around it. Victor, Amara?

WALKER: Yes, and as, Ben, you know, the civilians are dying by the thousands, of course, we heard from U.S. diplomats in these cables, you know, warning the White House of growing anger in the Arab world. Of course, that underscores a concern for a wider conflict. I know at the Lebanon-Israel border, there has been some exchange of fire. What do you know about that?

WEDEMAN: Well, to get to the first part of your question about rising in the anger world, it's unfortunate that you can't see, for instance, Al-Jazeera, Al-Arabiya, the Arabic news channels that have multiple correspondents on the ground conveying absolutely horrendous images of civilians who have been killed, wounded, lost their homes. These pictures are going out to the entire Arab world and they are definitely having an impact on how people view the United States, which is the major supporter of Israel. Regarding the situation here in Lebanon, what we've heard for several

hours was intense bombardment along the border to the south of us, about 20 kilometers from here. And this is more intense from what we've seen over the last few weeks, and significantly, today this morning, there was an Israeli drone strike on a truck about 25 miles to the north of the border which represents the deepest Israeli strike into Lebanon of that sort since the 2006 war.

Now, in less than an hour, Hassan Nasrallah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah will be giving another speech that will probably give us an indication of whether Hezbollah is going to change its stance at the moment of just maintaining limited hostilities on the border or to broaden it. What we've heard from analysts is that their red line before really engaging in full-scale war with Israel is how Hamas fares in Gaza.


At the moment, it does appear that Hamas is putting up a fairly strong resistance to the Israeli forces. But if this continues, the situation here in Lebanon could change dramatically. Victor, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Ben Wedeman for us there in southern Lebanon. Thanks so much.

Britain's Prime Minister says that pro-Palestinian protests today will not disrupt events marking Armistice Day in London.

WALKER: Now, Armistice Day commemorates the end of World War I. Since the October 7th attack, there have been four major protests in support of Palestinians in the British capital. The prime minister had originally wanted to ban today's protest because there were concerns that protesters would vandalize historic war memorials. CNN's Claire Sebastian is joining us now from London. Claire, what are you seeing? What's the expectation?

CLAIRE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Amara. I can't give you exact numbers on this, but I can tell you that there is literally a sea of people who are heading up north from behind me towards the top of Hyde Park in Central London where this protest is set to get underway. One of the groups organizing this told me that they expect around a million. We obviously cannot verify that at this stage, but they are expecting this to be the biggest one yet.

The march is set to go down to the south, across the River Thames and culminate at the U.S. Embassy in London. I think that, in itself, a measure of where some of this anger is directed towards Western governments, towards the U.S. for supporting Israel. One of the people we spoke to here saying that they're staggered by the hypocrisy, she said, of Western governments supporting Ukraine at Palestine. So, it's sort of devastating here.

Obviously, this protest in itself was incredibly controversial in the lead-up because the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, had wanted to ban it because of it happening on the same day as obviously the 11th of November, the traditional armistice events. And we did see some disruption around where those commemorations are taking place, around at the Cenotaph, which is the memorial where that actually happens, and far-right groups clashing with police.

Our team heard a lot of noise on the ground, counter-protesters. And this is really what police have been worried about. Not necessarily the main protest, but other groups splitting off and causing trouble. They've had to make a hundred arrests so far in protest since the October 7th attacks, some of them for hate crimes. So, this is why we see this incredibly increased police presence today. Everyone on edge here.

WALKER: All right, Claire Sebastian, thank you so much for watching that for us. We, of course, will check back in with you later. Now, at home and abroad, there are rising concerns over the Biden administration's continued support for Israel's bombardment of Gaza. For days now, protesters in major cities and on college campuses have been calling for change.

BLACKWELL: And CNN has obtained cables from American diplomats, as Amara mentioned just a moment ago, that the U.S. is, "losing badly" on the messaging battle space. CNN's Arlette Saenz is with us now. Warnings coming in both domestically and internationally now of the consequences, as they would be described, of how the president is handling Israel's war with Hamas. What do you know?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, President Biden is confronting this growing discontent with the U.S. support for Israel at a time when the civilian death toll in Gaza has been increasing, and part of that discontent is coming from the Arab world. There is a diplomatic cable sent by American diplomats this week issuing a stark warning about the long-term impacts that this could have.

This cable, which was sent from a top official at the U.S. Embassy in Oman, sent to the White House, FBI, and CIA, said that there is, the U.S. is, "losing us Arab publics for generation." That is U.S. support for Israel. And they also added that the U.S. support for Israel at this time is seen as, "material and moral culpability in what they consider to be possible war crimes."

This is a very stark warning to the administration about that growing frustration in the Arab world. There is also frustration and discontent here at home, something President Biden saw as he was traveling on the road this week in Illinois, he was actually interrupted by an audience member calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. There were pro-Palestinian protesters lining the streets outside of his events.

But we have started to see this subtle but notable shift in the language and tone that the administration has been using when talking about these civilian deaths. Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday, in very blunt terms, said that far too many Palestinians are dying and that more is needed to be done in this moment to prevent further casualties.

Of course, the U.S. has been pushing for these humanitarian pauses, you've seen Israel start to implement those, but it's clear that the administration believes that more can be done to try to protect these civilians. Arlette Sands, for us at the more can be done to try to protect these civilians.


BLACKWELL: Arlette Saenz, for us at the White House, thank you so much. Joining us now for analysis is former State Department Middle East Negotiator, Aaron David Miller. Aaron, good morning to you. Let's start with these new comments from Secretary Blinken. I want to play for you what he said this week in New Delhi.


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks. And we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximize the assistance that gets to them.


BLACKWELL: Now, for people who have been watching the coverage over the last month or so, these seem like just stating the obvious, but from a diplomatic, a foreign policy perspective, what does this new statement mean to you? What does it suggest about what's happening?

AARON DAVID MILLER, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT MIDDLE EAST NEGOTIATOR: You know, Victor, first of all, thanks for having me. I think the U.S. position is evolving. The preternaturally pro-Israeli frame that President Biden created on October 10, and that powerfully emotional speech in the aftermath of the slaughter and brutality that deeply affected him on October 7th, Hamas terror surge against Israeli civilians, I think the administration started to fill in in response to a humanitarian catastrophe, the exponential number of Palestinian deaths, and the general situation in Gaza.

The secretary's comments weren't an observation. Implicit, I suspect, is a warning. Far too many Palestinians being killed implicitly suggests that the Israelis need to fundamentally revise and alter their current strategy. So, I think the pro-Israeli frame still applies. I think it still, in a sense, conveys the message that the administration is prepared to give the Israelis the time, the space, and the support to do what they need to do in Gaza.

But as their operational clock is ticking, it's ticking is a much slower pace, Victor, than Biden's political clock Is he under enormous pressure particularly at home from Democrats, basically to Find a way to persuade the Israelis compel them to alter approach.

BLACKWELL: The administration's called for humanitarian pause not a ceasefire, but you've pointed out that the White House now through John Kirby, the spokesman for National Security there, is now qualifying rejecting the ceasefire by saying, a ceasefire is not right at this time, or a ceasefire is not appropriate now.

Does that suggest, from your highlighting it, that you think that the U.S. will get to a point where they call for a ceasefire publicly, where they will get to a point where they go more than saying that far too many Palestinians are dying. They will say outright that the approach needs to change from the IDF.

MILLER: That Kirby statement actually mentioned "at this time" three separate times. I think the administration may have said that before, but that was more or less to me an emphatic signal that the administration might even consider at some point revising their very hard position now against a ceasefire.

But I have to say, Victor, that time has not yet come. What it would take to bring the administration to that position, because let's be clear, a ceasefire right now or in the weeks to come would clearly not only be perceived as a Hamas victory, it would be a Hamas victory.

The question is, in the end, is the president prepared to say, do this, dot, dot, dot, or else? That's the key question. And I very much doubt we're at that point right now.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the hostages. The U.S. believes that there is progress toward potentially a pause in exchange for a large number of hostages being released. There's also this poll that found that 38 percent of Israelis support negotiating for hostages while fighting continues. That group larger than any other in the poll. Those who say no negotiations, negotiations after fighting or negotiate immediately.

From a practical strategic point, what would be the point or the value for Hamas at this point to release hostages just for a pause? I mean, that would seem to be the only leverage that they have. And do you believe that that is plausible, that that could happen, that Israel would pause to get those hostages released?

MILLER: Look, the head of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, the Military Chief, was one of those Palestinian prisoners exchanged in 2011. 1,079 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for one Israeli corporal, Gilad Shalit. It took five years, by the way, to negotiate that deal.

Sinwar knows very well the psychological impact of Israel's priority in redeeming Israelis who were either killed in battle or taken hostage. And he's playing, Hamas is playing on those fears. We also don't know the terms of the deal. My understanding is that there may actually have been a demand by a master released Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.


I think the Israelis would find it hard to do that in exchange for a dozen, 15, 20 hostages, but I think the Hamas understands improving their image which frankly is already being buoyed as a consequence of the pictures, of the destructive destruction the Israelis visiting on Gaza in an effort to destroy Hamas' military organization.

It's in many respects psychological torture, but that's the, that was the point after all that you're grabbing as many as 240 people and taking it back to Gaza.

BLACKWELL: Aaron David Miller, thank you. WALKER: Still ahead, can lawmakers avoid another potential government shutdown, which is just days away? Yes, we are here again. Plus, federal officials are investigating suspicious envelopes sent to election offices nationwide containing powdery substances.


WALKER: This morning, House Republicans will hold an urgent meeting aimed at preventing a government shutdown in the coming week.

BLACKWELL: Just yesterday, credit agency Moody's downgraded the outlook of the nation's debt to negative, moving the U.S. one step closer to losing its last perfect credit rating. Let's get an update now from CNN's Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill.


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, guys. We can finally get a window into Speaker Mike Johnson's thinking because we are told that he is planning to release bill text for a government funding plan today with the hopes of putting it on the floor on Tuesday. And we're also told that there's going to be a House Republican conference call at 11:00 a.m. this morning to brief members on that plan and to try to rally the Republican conference around whatever that plan is.

But up until this point, Speaker Mike Johnson has been keeping his cards very close to the vest as he weighs this very consequential decision. And the reason for that is because the conference is so divided right now over what path they should pursue. There are moderates and appropriators who are pushing for a more clean stopgap spending bill that would extend funding through either the end of this year or perhaps in early next year. But conservative hardliners are pushing a much more complicated idea that would extend funding for government agencies for various lengths of time, essentially setting up multiple fiscal clips.

Now, that option would be dead-on-arrival in the Senate, so would risk a government shutdown, which Speaker Johnson says he absolutely does not want on his watch, but at the same time, he does not want to infuriate his right flank, especially so early on in his tenure. A very familiar dynamic and one that his predecessor, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, faced as well. Now, I will say that conservative hardliners have signaled they are willing to give a longer leash to Mike Johnson, but no doubt a big moment for the new Speaker that's going to tell us a lot about how he plans to govern. Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Melanie. As President Joe Biden celebrates Tuesday's election victories, including the re-election of Kentucky's governor, the president deployed Vice President Kamala Harris to South Carolina to rally African-American voters. Biden faces an expanding list of third-party presidential challengers, including Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, CNN's Eva McKend has more.


EVA MCKEND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice President Kamala Harris on the trail in South Carolina.

KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Officially presented with our papers.

MCKEND: Filing paperwork for the Biden-Harris team to appear on the state's Democratic primary ballot.

HARRIS: It was South Carolina that created the path to the White House for Joe Biden and me.

MCKEND: In 2020, Biden's decisive South Carolina primary victory helped propel him to the party's nomination.

HARRIS: I'm here to say thank you. I am here to say let's do it again.

MCKEND: Harris also taking a moment to celebrate big Democratic election wins this week.

HARRIS: We are here with the wind in our back because did anyone notice what happened on Tuesday?

MCKEND: President Biden also touted those wins at a Chicago fundraiser Thursday, blaming Donald Trump for the Republican losses, saying, "We haven't stopped winning and he hasn't stopped losing. The truth is, this guy can't get tired of losing."

Tuesday's election results in Ohio, Kentucky, and Virginia signaled abortion rights remain a galvanizing issue for Democrats, a point Biden emphasized during the fundraiser, saying: "They practically dared the women of America, while adding Trump is the only reason there are abortion bans in America." Those comments coming amid a series of polls showing signs of cracks in Biden's coalition. Allies acknowledge there is still work to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are some people that are not in sync with the campaign. And what we've got to do is make sure that people understand what we've done and why we did not do more.

MCKEND: Also complicating matters?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The political system is broken.

MCKEND: The field of third-party candidates growing, with Jill Stein announcing her bid for the Green Party nomination, joining Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West running as independents.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): What I will be doing is traveling the country and speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle.

MCKEND: And West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin stoking speculation about a White House bid after announcing he won't seek re-election, a challenge to Democratic hopes of maintaining control of the Senate.



MCKEND: And Biden facing another potential threat, no labels a group that brands themselves as a voice for America's common-sense majority.

Well, they say they're still mulling over presenting an alternative unity presidential ticket.

That group will hold media briefings next week. Victor, Amara?


A Senate hearing on Capitol Hill this week addressed close calls on runways at airports across the country. One official testified that they are short more than a thousand air traffic controllers. We'll discuss that.


BLACKWELL: The CNN has learned that federal agents confiscated electronic devices owned by New York Mayor Eric Adams, as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of illegal donations from the Turkish government, during Adams' 2020 to 2021 campaign.

Now, according to sources, FBI agents approached the mayor in public on Monday, after a recent raid on the home of Adams' chief fundraiser.

Adams says he is cooperating fully and he expects all members of his staff to do the same.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: This week, a key Senate subcommittee opened hearings on a series of miracles joins between aircraft on runways. According to the chief operating officer of the FAA, in fiscal year 2023, there were 1,756 total runway incursions, including 23 near collisions or potential collisions.


One of the main culprits may be the shortage of air traffic controllers. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association president, told the committee that they are 3,600 people short of the 14,000-staffing goal for air traffic controllers.

You know those people that stand in those towers and make sure that planes land and take off safely. Yes.

Joining me now to talk about it is CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general with the Department of Transportation.

Mary, great to see you. Mary Schiavo.



WALKER: When was the last time you saw an air traffic controller shortage like this? I mean, why is there such a shortage? SCHIAVO: Well, that's a great question. Really, I suppose it will, if you had to put it in the most, you know, bleak terms. So, last time, we saw shortage like this was literally decades ago when all the air traffic, not all, but most of the air traffic controllers got fired for going on what the president at that time President Reagan said was an illegal strike.

But then they build up the workforce, and that workforce is, of course, retiring. The other problem and or has retired -- other problems that during COVID, the FAA ceased training programs, they are -- they're -- the amount of air traffic controllers, they were training slowed with triple. There's lots of reasons for that parts, of course, a cat two (PH) because persons were not required to go through training during that time, and then during budget cuts, they stopped training.

And so, attrition and new workflow, we have to remember too, that the number of flights are up 50 percent since a decade ago. Yet, the number of air traffic controllers is down 1,100 from a decade ago.

So, that -- put that statistic, puts it in perspective, we just simply don't have enough. And that the hearing this week, the air traffic controllers meant something that many of them work in 60 percent overtime their regular shift. And then, you know, turning around working another shift. So, it's a very bad situation.

WALKER: Yes. I mean, they are tired. Right? And we heard Rich Santa, the union president, say that some of these pilots are working six-day weeks. and you know, and did he say 10-hour shifts?

Jennifer Homendy, the chair of the NTSB, which investigates plane accidents and near collisions, this is what she told the committee about, you know, the shortage compromising our safety. Listen.



JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: What's happening from the staffing shortage, is that air traffic controllers are being required to do mandatory overtime. And what happens with mandatory overtime? You -- it ends up leading to fatigue and distraction, which is exactly what we're seeing as part of these incident investigations.


WALKER: Do you agree with her, Mary? And also, just to draw from your time you know, because you've been a part of these investigations of accidents -- plane accidents.

When human error is involved in a plane collision, I mean, how often does it come down to pilot fatigue?

SCHIAVO: Oh, pilot fatigue, air traffic controller fatigue, fatigue of the whole system, equipment fatigue, or equipment's wearing out. Well, we actually know that statistic. My old office, the Office of Inspector General and, of course, the NTSB has studied it. And they say, 60 percent of the time, a near miss or we have them, collisions is caused by a pilot error, often tired pilots. 20 percent is air traffic control and 20 percent, it's something else on the runway equipment, confusion, runway gate confusion, et cetera.

So, it's about 60 for pilots, 40 for other reasons. According to studies, the NTSB and others have completed.

WALKER: Right. I meant to ask you about air traffic controller fatigue, but yes, thank you for answering that question --



WALKER: -- in a well-rounded way.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Union president, I mentioned, Rich Santa, he told us up committee that only six fully trained controllers -- six, have been added to the workforce over the past year.

That seems incredibly low. Why is such an incredibly slow pace of hiring?

SCHIAVO: Well, you know, those are really a good point. And one thing that surprised me at the hearing is not only that they have this the slow pace of hiring, which is obviously greater than COVID. But the number of washouts.

So, they put approximately 1200 to 1500 people through the training per year. They need more than that, but one of the senators in the questioning said, well, but you have a 30 percent washout rate. So, you have to put many more people in the system.

So, the air traffic controllers obviously made a great point, is that your training, OK, FAA, you say you're training between, you know, 1,200 to 1,500 a year, but we need far more than that.

And literally, they said they are -- they are trying to pick up the pace, they're recruiting and doing what they can, and the shortage continues because of the gap in hiring and training, and also, the washout rate.


According to the hearings this week in the Senate.

WALKER: OK. So, it's going to be really fun to travel this holiday season, right?

SCHIAVO: Well, let's hope the air traffic controllers can get some rest because for right now, that's the system that we have.

Now, there's also the equipment problem which they touched on the hearing, which we can take up at another time, but that is not present at all airports, and some of the near misses, the senators mentioned were caused by near collisions at airports that do not have this important surface detection equipment.

And so, that will be another issue going forward for the air traffic controllers. Let's get this equipment in, because it will save lives.

WALKER: Yes. Thank you so much, Mary Schiavo. Appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

SCHIAVO: Thank you.



WALKER: You're looking live at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

And just a few hours, President Biden will lay a wreath there to honor America's veterans. The long-held tradition takes place each year on Veterans Day, a holiday marking the anniversary of the end of World War I.

BLACKWELL: Every U.S. service member has a unique story behind the service. This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been expanding its online platform for remembering the nation's veterans.

CNN's Karen Kaifa has more from Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, let some get into easier.

KAREN KAIFA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At Riverside National Cemetery in Southern California, Linda Monroe makes a visit to her husband of 55 years, Bob Monroe.

LINDA MONROE, WIFE OF UNITED STATES MILITARY VETERAN: He was a Vietnam veteran, very proud of being a Marine.

KAIFA (voice over): As she researched Riverside ahead of his burial, she came across the digital Veterans Legacy Memorial Project. Since then, she's crafted a page full of photos and tributes that tells the story of Bob's life in service and what's happened after.

MONROE: Being a family member, you can go in, and create an account, and add all of their military history and their accomplishments.

KAIFA (voice over): James LaPaglia is a digital services officer with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He says the goal of the Veterans Legacy Memorial project or VLM, which started in 2019 is to tell the stories behind the V.A. markers at cemeteries like Riverside.

JAMES LAPAGLIA, DIGITAL SERVICE OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Family members and battle buddies and friends can find their veterans in a digital space and honor them by telling story, sharing memories.

KAIFA (voice over): Veterans Affairs populates online pages with military service and cemetery information. Family, friends, and others can submit photos and mementos and the public can search and learn.

LAPGLIA: Educating about the veteran experience is just as important as family members and others being able to tell stories and remember their veteran.

KAIFA (voice over): Ahead of this Veterans Day, the platform doubled to nearly 10 million profiles. It includes those buried in V.A.'s national cemeteries, Department of Defense cemeteries, like Arlington National Cemetery, V.A. funded cemeteries.

And now, those buried in private cemeteries who have a V.A. marker to honor their service. Linda Monroe says her husband died of pneumonia and COVID 19 in January 2021.

Since then, updating Bob's page has also continued a dialogue between her and her husband, with updates on grandchildren and more.

MONROE: You're so used when you're married, talking to each other and things that you remember her that happen.

KAIFA (voice over): Creating a more vivid portrait of the life one veteran lived and the legacy that lives on.

In Washington. I'm Karen Kaifa.


WALKER: All right. it is time -- that time of the morning, first of all is coming up at the top of the hour. Victor, tell us what you've got on your show?

BLACKWELL: Well, as we're coming out of a story about Veterans Day, we are going to have a man who has celebrated Black Veterans Day, November 7th, in this country. The first time it's been celebrated here. It's happened in Canada before.

So, we're going to have him on to tell us about that.


BLACKWELL: We're starting the show, though, with these new poll numbers that came out this week from CNN that show the president has some work to do in his coalition from 2020.

Specifically, we're focusing on men of color and some of their dissatisfaction. He is running about even with Donald Trump in this latest poll on men of color.


WALKER: Wow, wow.

BLACKWELL: And what that means and where it could flip a state back to Republicans.

WALKER: Super interesting.


WALKER: All right. Thank you so much, Victor. See you in a bit.




WALKER: We're going to get -- we're going to get used to this. OK? I like it.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I just replacing Victor. No.

WALKER: The Michigan sign stealing scandal taking another turn overnight. Andy Scholes is here.

SCHOLES: Yes. Yes, Amara. So -- yes, the newest overnight was, you know, the Big Ten today announced this suspension for head coach Jim Harbaugh, he is going to be out the rest of the regular season.

Well, last night, the school filed a temporary restraining orders to try to allow Harbaugh to be on the field for their big game today at 10th-ranked Penn State.

So, the Big Ten, in their announcement, they said that the Wolverines violated the league's sportsmanship policy by conducting an impermissible in person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromise the integrity of competition.

So, if this suspension hold, Harbaugh, he would still be able to coach during the week, but not on game days.

Now, he has denied having any knowledge of an in-person sign stealing scheme. Now, ESPN Stephen A. Smith, He joined Abby Phillip last night, and said, Michigan deserves a much harsher punishment than just a three-game suspension for Harbaugh.


STEPHEN A. SMITH, HOST, FIRST TAKE, ESPN: As long as there's an open investigation, devoid of a conclusion by the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference. Michigan should not be allowed to participate in the college football playoffs.

By the way, still, we can still coach the players during the week, by the way, you just can't be on the sideline for the day at the game, and he could come back for the college football playoffs. How in God's name is that a viable punishment? That is nonsense. I stated it then, and I'm stating it now.


SCHOLES: All right. So, the third ranked, Wolverines, they take the field at noon, Eastern today in Happy Valley. We're going to wait and see if a judge in Michigan is going to hear the school's emergency motion to allow Harbaugh to coach in time for that game.

All right, we had nine in season tournament games in the NBA last night, and that means all the colorful floors were out. And we got our first look at the one in Phoenix as the Sun's hosted the Lakers, and boy, is it purple? Take a look.


SCHOLES: Kevin Durant and LeBron going head-to-head. Both on their game in the fourth. Durant here the lefty layup to go. He had a game high, 38 points. Sounds about two at that point.


LeBron though, then, the fadeaway jumper here. He finished with 32 in the game. And moments later made the big assist. He finds Cam Reddish, he was going to knock down at three. That put the Lakers of five with a minute to go. They would hold on to win that one 122 to 119.

Now, the Mavs, they are not the only hot team in Texas right now.

How about then, Houston Rockets? They had a four-game winning streak going into their game against the Pelicans. Houston was down five with just over a minute to go. But Fred VanVleet, coming through in the clutch, base back-to-back threes.

Rockets closed game on a nine one run to beat Pelicans 104 to 101 They have now won five games in a row. And Amara, someone from Houston. Finally, excited about my rockets, because they were the worst teams in the league the last three years, they have been miserable.


WALKER: Is that why you're such a good mood? You're actually in a good mood this morning. So --

SCHOLES: that's a big -- yes, I know. Yes.

WALKER: He is not grumpy. Andy, thank you.

And that does it for this -- for CNN THIS MORNING.