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CNN This Morning

Today, IDF Says Evacuation Corridor in North Gaza Open; Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) Drops Out of Presidential Race; Today, Trump Team Begins Defense in Civil Fraud Case. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 13, 2023 - 07:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you. I appreciate it, Errol, Kasie.

CNN This Morning continues now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza as Israel faces growing pressure to take civilians more into consideration.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The health care system has been set to be on the brink of collapse. The Al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, facing relentless bombardment.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: The only ceasefire we would consider is one in which we have our hostages released.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Tim Scott abruptly announcing he is suspending his presidential campaign.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a surprise, but it's also not a surprise. He just hadn't caught fire.

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to hold on and keep working really hard and look forward to other opportunities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chaos and finger-pointing among House Republicans as the U.S. barrels towards another spending deadline.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mike Johnson unveiled an unconventional plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is unclear is whether all Democrats will oppose this proposal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump will launch his defense in the civil fraud trial against him, his two adult sons and his business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put the son back on the stand, they will continue to be the notion, what are we doing here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the defense has already concluded they are going to lose. (END VIDEO CLIP)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Well, good morning, everyone. There's a lot of news to get to, but we start with this. This just in from Israel's military, the IDF says another evacuation corridor in Northern Gaza has been opened today, even as fighting intensifies and the medical system collapses.

We're going to warn you some of the images you're about to see are disturbing. Medical officials report that they are running out of fuel, supplies, and water and doctors are overwhelmed as thousands seek refuge from Israeli airstrikes at hospitals. Newborn babies have been taken off incubators and placed next to hot water to keep them alive.

HARLOW: At Gaza's largest hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital, the lights are out and the director there tells CNN that all essential units have collapsed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that hospital, though, is being used as a Hamas command center. The group has denied that.

Meantime, the IDF says it advanced its ground operation deeper into Gaza, that's what you're looking at arresting 20 Hamas operatives including, quote, terrorists involved in the October 7th attack.

Let's go straight to Oren Liebermann, he joins us live from Tel Aviv. Oren, tell us what happened on the ground and also how dire these circumstances are at Al-Shifa.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: A lot of the focus on Al-Shifa Hospital right now, both what's happening inside and outside. Inside the hospital, a director says all essential units have collapsed. That's after within the past several days. The operating units went offline. The NICU, the neonatal intensive care unit, went offline because the generators couldn't power the incubators to keep the oxygen supply running and keep the babies warm. As a result of that, three babies died.

And now the hospital director and officials there is have had to put the babies near hot wart and tinfoil to try to keep them alive. That as the hospital is taking care of some 650 patients with thousands more taking shelter inside. Increasingly dire situation there as they run out of water, fuel, electricity and food. Here is a window into what's happening inside Al-Shifa Hospital.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a direct injury in the head, internal bleeding. And we can't do surgeries, no, surgeries, no oxygen, no electricity. We work manually. We are using a manual resuscitator. It is a clear injury. It needs an urgent surgery, a life-saving one. He's less than a year old.


LIEBERMANN: Doctors Without Borders says the Gaza health care system is past the point of no return. The IDF tried to drop off 300 liters of fuel. They say Hamas got in the way. Meanwhile, the hospital says that should have been delivered through the Red Cross because the staff is too afraid to go outside to get it because of fighting on the street.

MATINGLY: Oren, there are still ongoing negotiations are attempts to negotiate related to the 230-plus hostages. It was striking yesterday. The White House in a readout of a call between President Biden and Qatar's leader tucked into it that there's a hostage being held that's a three-year-old American toddler whose parents were killed during the October 7th. There's been so little information about American hostages. What more do we know about this?

LIEBERMANN: This is the first we have learned that there's such a young American citizen who is being held hostage, three years old. President Biden said in his call with the emir leader of Qatar that he insisted all the hostages should be released as quickly as possible, at the same time affirming U.S. support for a future Palestinian state and said Hamas has been an impediment to the establishment of future Palestinian state.

So, again, that is the youngest American citizen we've learned who is held hostage in Hamas, the families of the hostages demanding that the Red Cross be allowed access to them, as they should under international law. Meanwhile, at the same time, there's also a nine- month-old Israeli baby who is being held hostage by Hamas. As you point out, hostage negotiations ongoing, but very difficult to see progress at this point.

MATTINGLY: Oren Liebermann live for us, thank you.


HARLOW: So, the United States has carry carried out a new round of airstrikes against Iran-backed targets. This strike was in Eastern Syria.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the strikes were directed by the president, and they targeted a training facility and a safe house there.

The United States believes Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard is responsible for at least 46 rocket and drone launches against U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria over just the past month.

Natasha Bertrand joins us live from the Pentagon with more. Natasha, good morning to you. There have been these 46 attacks on U.S. forces, I think 56 injured with sort of minor to severe injuries. So, this is the U.S. responding. Tell us about the new strikes.

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Exactly right, Poppy. So, this is the third strike in three weeks that the U.S. has launched against the IRGC, the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and its proxy groups targeting a training facility and a safe house in Eastern Syria that the U.S. says these Iranian-backed groups were using in order to carry out these attacks on U.S. troops. As you mentioned, there have been over 46 attacks in recent weeks by these groups, over 56 injuries of U.S. personnel, including traumatic brain injuries. So, the U.S. taking this very seriously, sending a message to these groups that this is unacceptable, sending messages directly to Iran that they expect them to rein in their proxy groups, and, of course, retaliating by trying to degrade their infrastructure, trying to degrade the facilities they use, the weapons that they store in order to prevent these attacks from happening again in the future.

However, so far, the Iran-backed groups have not been deterred. After these strikes, we have continued to see those attacks on U.S. coalition, U.S. bases and coalition bases in Iraq and Syria.

But here's what Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said about the U.S. strikes and about how the U.S. is prepared to defend its troops.


LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We will take all necessary measures to protect our troops. The safety of our troops and our civilians are of utmost importance to the president of the United States and to me.


BERTRAND: Now, at least 25 of these injuries suffered in recent weeks by U.S. troops have been traumatic brain injuries. Others have been fairly minor. But this is just really an example here of how the tensions in the region are escalating.

And the U.S. is launching these self-defense strikes to try to prevent them from spiraling out of control even further. But so far, as I said, these groups have not been deterred.

MATTINGLY: Natasha, while we have you, five U.S. service members were killed in an aircraft training accident in the Eastern Mediterranean. What more do we know about this point, about what happened there?

BERTRAND: Well, so far we know very little. The Defense Department has not released a ton of information because they want to give the families of these five service members who were killed some time to grieve. So, we do not know their names or their identities.

But we do know that this was an aircraft, military aircraft mishap, that is what the Pentagon is calling it, that happened in the Eastern Mediterranean during a training refueling exercise just last week. And the Pentagon said in a statement that, quote, during a routine air refueling mission as part of military training, a U.S. military aircraft carrying five service members suffered a mishap and crashed into the Mediterranean Sea.

The president as well as the secretary of defense sending their condolences, but, obviously, you know, this is a very serious moment, something that they want to give the families some time to process before they release their names. Guys?

HARLOW: Of course. Natasha Bertrand for us at the Pentagon, thanks very much.

MATTINGLY: And new overnight, Republican Senator Tim Scott dropping out of the race for president. He made the announcement during a live T.V. interview. We're told it caught many of his own staff members and donors by surprise. It also very clearly caught the T.V. host off guard, the T.V. host who is his longtime friend and former South Carolina congressman, Trey Gowdy.


SCOTT: When I go back to Iowa, it will not be as a presidential candidate. I am suspending my campaign. I think the voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet, have been really clear that they're telling me not now, Tim. I don't think they're saying, Trey, no, but I do think they're saying not now.


HARLOW: Here's a look at the GOP field as it stands, Scott suspending his campaign just two months before the Iowa caucuses. Sources close to his campaign tell CNN his team was worried about if he would qualify for the debate next month, and that is leaving the race -- and that leaving the race now allows him to return to the Senate without an embarrassing finish in Iowa.

Let's bring in Eva McKend, who has been following all of this. Well, you know this so closely. I'm not sure if you were surprised. But the fact that Trey Gowdy was surprised on that live on-air announcement says a lot, doesn't it?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: It does, Poppy and Phil. You know, good morning to you. I was watching this back this morning and it really seemed like no doubt that this was a decision that was informed by his faith.

The timing was a surprise but not the announcement itself.


That's because there were several warning signs. But most of the people in his campaign had been telling me that they were going to press on until Iowa.

But you are right, they were worried about qualifying for the fourth Republican Debate next month. He was the last candidate to meet the donor and polling thresholds to make last week's debate. And he clearly wants to pursue perhaps another run again. He really indicated in that interview. And it seems as though, by leaving now, he is best positioned to do so was his reasoning.

But don't expect him to endorse anyone else in the field quite yet. It didn't seem like he is going to, for instance, endorse Nikki Haley, like some of his fundraisers have overnight. He says he thinks it's best for him to keep quiet. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SCOTT: I'm going to recommend that the voters study each candidate and their candidacies and, frankly, they're passed and make the best decision for the future of the country. The best way for me to be helpful is to not weigh in on who they should endorse.


BERTRAND: So, Scott really centered his campaign on hope and optimism, but, evidently, that was not a message that Republican voters had an appetite for at this time. Phil, Poppy?

MATTINGLY: Nor one that Trey Gowdy was expecting. Eva McKend, we appreciate it. Thank you.

HARLOW: House Speaker Mike Johnson facing his first big test as Speaker, but is planned to prevent a major government shutdown in four days already facing right wing resistance.

MATTINGLY: And just hours from now, the Trump legal team will mount its defense in the New York civil fraud trial. Don Jr. is set to take the stand with his family's business empire on the line. We're going to break down what we are expecting to hear. That's next.



MATTINGLY: Today, Donald Trump's legal team will be launching its defense in the New York civil fraud trial against the former president, his adult sons and his business.

Now, the first witness they'll be hearing from is the eldest son, Donald Trump Jr. You'll recall he already testified earlier this month when he was called by New York Attorney General Letitia James' office. He and his brother, Eric, are accused of knowingly participating in a scheme to inflate their father's net worth to obtain financial benefits, like better loan and insurance policy terms.

Joining us now is CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. Elie, let's start with the witnesses. Don Jr. is up first, coming back for a second time, and there's others, they may do the same, right?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, as the great philosopher, Yogi Berra, said, deja vu all over again. Donald Trump Jr. will be back in the courtroom today.

Now, it's going to be different, though, than the first time, because the first time Donald Trump Jr. was on the stand a couple of weeks ago, he was actually called to the stand by the other side, by the attorney general's office. And the way that works is they got to question him first.

Now, Trump's own defense team could have cross-examined him if they wanted. They chose not to. But if they had, they have to stay within the bounds of whatever the A.G. asked Donald Trump Jr. But now, what's happening is Trump's own team is calling him to the stand so they can ask him whatever they want within the bounds of relevance. So, clearly, they've chosen him strategically, tactically, as sort of their lead-off hitter.

What other witnesses could we see from the defense? All of these boldface names were called by the A.G. All or any of them could be recalled for the same reasons we just discussed. I don't think we're going to see Michael Cohen again. I don't think they want him back. I don't think we're going to see Ivanka Trump again. They were reluctant to have her testify the first time. Will Donald Trump himself take the stand again? I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. Eric Trump, we could see take the stand for similar reasons that they're recalling Donald Trump Jr.

But I think the real heart of the defense is going to be accountants, experts, valuation experts, people who aren't as known as these people. But that's going to be the heart of the witnesses, I think.

HARLOW: What are the core defense arguments?

HONIG: Yes. So, the first argument that the defense is going to make, they're going to try to defend some of their valuations of their properties. The core of the case here, the allegation is they vastly overinflated those values. But we're not talking about just bridging a gap of a few percentage points here. I mean, Mar-a-Lago, according to the A.G., is worth $20 million. According to Trump's team, it's worth, they said previously $500 million. And then Donald Trump got on the stand and said, actually, it's worth $1 billion.

So, will there be experts who can justify these higher valuations? We'll see. That's an awful lot of discrepancy to bridge.

The other main theme, I think, we're going to see from the defense, is this is something Trump's lawyer, Chris Kise, said in court just on Friday. He said, there's no victim. There's no complainant. There's no injury. What he means by that is the banks who gave the loans to the Trump Organization, they're sophisticated parties. Deutsche Bank knows what it's doing. They got repaid. They got repaid with interest. So, I think those are going to be the primary defense themes that we see.

MATTINGLY: Can you remind people what's at stake here?

HONIG: Yes. So, a couple of things. First of all, important to remember, the judge has already ruled for the A.G. and against Donald Trump on one of the causes of action, the judge found that there was, quote, persistent fraud or illegality. But there's still a lot in play here. There are six other causes of action, conspiracy, insurance fraud, false statements, and, finally, the judge, and remember, there's no jury here. This is all up to the judge. The judge has to assess damages. The A.G. is looking for $250 million. And perhaps, more importantly, she's looking to suspend the Trump Organization's business certificate, which would effectively put them out of business in New York and perhaps.

HARLOW: Indefinitely.

HONIG: Yes. Indefinitely, it would be close to the death blow for the Trump organization if that's how it comes out.

HARLOW: Thank you, Elie.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, buddy.

Well, the weight loss drug, Wegovy, showing some promising results after a landmark clinical trial. The details on that ahead.

HARLOW: And this is just in Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger of Virginia says she will not run for re-election next year. We've got new reporting on what she plans to do instead. That's next.



HARLOW: This morning, results of what is being called a landmark clinical trial for the first time, that a weight loss drug used to treat patients with heart disease can indeed reduce their risk of complications, like heart attacks and strokes.

Meg Tirrell is here with more. This is great news.

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a really huge trial. We've heard a ton about these medicines, Wegovy, Ozempic. They're all in the same class because they induce such large amounts of weight loss. But for the first time, we are actually seeing in a major clinical trial that that weight loss perhaps translates into this major benefit in preventing heart attacks and strokes and heart- related death.

So, they ran this trial in more than 17,000 patients. They followed them for an average of more than three years. Folks in this study had a BMI of at least 27, putting them in the overweight category. And what they found is that an induced weight loss of just less than 10 percent, we also saw benefits in things like blood pressure, blood sugar, markers of inflammation, triglycerides, and, importantly, that main goal, a reduction in the risk of those heart events by 20 percent compared with placebo.

And so a lot of the questions people are asking is, does this finally show that losing weight can protect your heart? And while it's not completely clear that's the answer, is it the drug or is it the weight loss, certainly this drug and expected this class of drugs is having this really positive effect.


MATTINGLY: What do we know about safety?

TIRRELL: So, in turn, they didn't see any new safety risks in the trial. So, that's really important to know. We did see high levels of G.I. side effects, so the nausea, vomiting, diarrhea that you see with these medicines. 10 percent of patients on Wegovy stopped the trial because of those side effects compared with 2 percent on placebo. And so those are things that you do see.

HARLOW: 10 percent is a lot.

TIRRELL: Yes, we see, we hear about 5 percent to 10 percent in the real world of patients can't tolerate these medicines.


HARLOW: The big question has been, will insurance cover it? And it's so expensive without it.

TIRRELL: Yes. It costs more than $1,300 per month without insurance. And the expectation is once they've showed a benefit beyond weight loss, you know, because a lot of people consider that cosmetic. If you can show insurers that this will actually prevent heart attacks and other, you know, heart-related events, this could save them money. And so there is a hope among the medical community that this will lead to increased insurance coverage.

MATTINGLY: You've done a ton of great reporting on drug shortages related to these types of drugs. What do we know right now?

TIRRELL: Well, this one is in short supply. Wegovy right now can be hard to get these starter doses, the lower doses that you start on, because the company just can't make enough to satisfy demand.

We did just get a second weight loss drug approved last week in the United States called Zepbound. It's a different medicine but works very similarly. This doesn't have the heart-related benefit trial results behind it yet. That is in the works. But we expect both of these drugs will probably be in super high demand.

I was at this American Heart Association conference on Saturday where the results were presented, room full of cardiologists. A lot of them, if they're not already prescribing this drug, they're going to start.

HARLOW: Yes. Wow, fascinating. Meg, thank you for the reporting.

MATTINGLY: Well, Speaker Mike Johnson laying out a plan for Congress to prevent a shutdown this Friday. Why his own party could hold up the progress.

HARLOW: Also, childcare providers facing a crisis after pandemic era funding expired at the end of September. What does that mean for your family, ahead.



MATTINGLY: We've got some breaking political news just in. Democratic Congresswoman from Virginia Abigail Spanberger announced that she will be running for governor next year --