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CNN This Morning

Israel Defense Forces Says It Has Established Evacuation Route Near Gaza's Largest Hospital; Senator Tim Scott Drops Out of Republican Presidential Race; Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-FL), Interviewed on Her New Comprehensive Immigration Bill and Former President Trump's Proposed Immigration Plan Should He Regain Presidency; Trump's Message; New Book Details the Rupert Murdoch Era at Fox News; Democrat Dean Phillips Escalates Challenge to Biden. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 13, 2023 - 08:00   ET



JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Was there a terrorist threat to New York City? And when all those phone calls were made, it wasn't a terrorist threat. It was a public corruption investigation. So at that point, I think they were interested in saying less.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, well, reporters will have a lot of questions tomorrow when you speak to them. John, thank you for the reporting.

CNN THIS MORNING continues now.

Good morning, everyone. So glad you're with us on this Monday. We hope you had a nice weekend. There's a lot to get to at the top of the hour here. Israel's military says another evacuation corridor in northern Gaza is open for the next several hours. It is unclear if and how far that announcement is known, though, without any cell service or Internet connectivity.

And new this morning, further exchanges of fire reported across the Israel-Lebanon border. The Israeli Defense Forces say two mortars launched from Lebanon landed in open territory in northern Israel on Monday. And also overnight, the U.S. did carry out a new round of air strikes against Iran-backed targets in eastern Syria.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says those strikes targeted a training facility and a safe house. Officials believe Iranian proxies are responsible for at least 46 rocket and drown launces against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria since October 17th.

This all comes as fighting intensifies in Gaza. The medical system there, it's collapsed. Some of the images you are about to see, we want to warn you, are disturbing. Hospitals are running out of fuel, water, and supplies. Doctors overwhelmed as thousands seek refugee from Israeli air strikes at the medical centers. Meanwhile, the IDF says it advanced its ground operation deeper into Gaza, arresting 20 Hamas operatives, including, quote, "terrorists involved in the October 7th attacks."

Let's go straight to CNN's Nada Bashir live in Jerusalem. Nada, the evacuation route back open now, or a new one is opened. Are people from the hospital able to leave from that route?

NADA BASHIR, CNN PRODUCER: Well, look, the situation is deeply complex around the hospital, particularly around the al Shifa hospital, which is Gaza's largest hospital. We heard yesterday from the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who told CNN that there is no reason why patients, why medical staff on the ground and civilians shouldn't be able to evacuate. He acknowledged the IDF had established an evacuation route on the eastern side of the hospital.

As we know, there are in addition to the patients there, thousands of civilians on that side of the hospital, on the hospital complex, who are trying to take shelter here. They are, of course, completely displaced and are hoping to take shelter in what they believe to be a sanctuary. Clearly, not the case.

But the message that we've been hearing from the doctors on the ground is that in most cases, it is simply impossible to evacuate patients and staff. You have patients who are 100 percent reliant on medical care that they are receiving, albeit reduced medical care, given the situation inside the hospital. But we are also hearing from doctors, from Doctors Without Borders, though, that because of the near constant bombardment in the vicinity of the hospital as well as reports of on the ground fighting in the vicinity of the hospital complex, it is impossible for people, for patients and staff and civilians, to move between the different buildings around the hospital complex.

And we did hear from the IDF spokespeople yesterday who denied that any civilians had been fired at while attempting to move between hospital buildings. But again, the message that we're hearing from the doctors on the ground is that that bombardment, that fierce fighting in the vicinity, is constant. And of course, as we know, we heard yesterday from the IDF saying that they had distributed some 300 liters of fuel to the entrance of the hospital. Important to underscore here the doctors have said that that would only be enough to power the hospital for about 30 minutes.

But even so, doctors have said, the hospital director there saying that doctors were too afraid to go out and actually get the fuel. They have requested more fuel in order to keep those generators going. But as you can imagine and hear from doctors on the ground, the situation outside in the vicinity of the El Shifa hospital is deeply fraught, to say the least.

MATTINGLY: Nada Bashir, thank you.

HARLOW: New overnight, Republican Senator Tim Scott has suspended his race for president. He made the announcement during a live television interview. CNN learning of it the way many of his own staff members and donors and certainly that audience did. MATTINGLY: Here's a look at the GOP field now. Scott is leaving the

race just two months before the Iowa caucuses. He says he doesn't plan to endorse anyone else in the primary and he has no intention of being somebody's running mate. Harry Enten is here to break down the decision here. Harry, how big of an impact is this on the standing race?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: I don't think it's that big of an impact, in part because Tim Scott, simply put, really did not have that much support. Nationally, he was at just three percent. Iowa, his best state, he was at seven percent. Take a look at this South Carolina number -- six percent. That is his own home state.


He was not first, he was not second, he was not third, he was running fourth in South Carolina in a number of polls. And then Nevada, another two percent.

So the fact is, across the board, Tim Scott, simply put, did not have that much primary support either nationally or in the early states. One big reason why, Tim Scott had a problem. He was liked, but he wasn't loved. So the very favorable ratings, this is the love. This correlates best with how you tend to do in primaries. You could see here, Tim Scott, just 18 percent of Republicans in Iowa had a very favorable rating of him. Compare that to Donald Trump, 42 percent.

But again, he was liked. Look at this. They had a 43 percent somewhat favorable rating, so his favorable ratings overall were into the 60s. But the fact is, when you're trying to stand out in a primary, you need to be loved. You need to stand out from those other Republicans. And simply put, Tim Scott was basically the type of guy to say, yes, I like him, but, no, I'm probably not going street for him.

HARLOW: I think it was also interesting, a couple of things. One that he is not endorsing explicitly. But also, too, the fact that he said he didn't rule it out in the future. He said, not right now, that these feelings would change going forward.

ENTEN: Yes, I think, look, when we go forward in a campaign, I think, you know, this is just 2024. We'll see what happens in 2028, 2032. Tim Scott is a relatively young guy, especially the frontrunners for the GOP and the Democratic nomination. So this isn't his only chance. I'll also note another big problem Tim Scott had, he was burning through money really, really fast. Look at this. He spent over $12 million in the third quarter. He took in less than $5 million. You can't keep a campaign going, going, going, especially when you need to be able to convert people who may like you into loving you.

And I'll just note, this is another sign that the field is winnowing. GOP primary candidates, at its peak, it was 13. We were asking about 13 candidates in the CNN-SSRS national poll. We're down to just seven today. If Republicans want a chance of beating Donald Trump, this is going to have to keep going down, down, down, and down, get it to maybe one or two people taking on Donald Trump. At this point, it's dropping. We'll see if it continues. The field is winnowing. This is what's supposed to be happening.

MATTINGLY: Harry Enten, your very favorable rating is 100 percent on this team, my friend.

HARLOW: Obviously.

MATTINGLY: Thank you.

ENTEN: You two combined, 300 percent. I've giving you more than 100 percent.

MATTINGLY: He's the numbers guy.

ENTEN: Thanks for having me back. Thanks, buddy.

MATTINGLY: Donald Trump, meanwhile, leading the Republican field, has also begun laying out his immigration policies for a potential second term. A source telling CNN that we can expect a massive expansion of the hardline immigration policies we saw in his first administration. Here he was speaking last week in Hialeah, Florida, a city in which three quarters of the residents are foreign born.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Anybody ever hear of Hannibal Lecter. He was a nice fellow, but that's what's coming into our country right now.

Come 2025, we will find you and we will deport you. We will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.


MATTINGLY: Trump's plans include rounding up undocumented immigrants in large-scale raids and arrest operations and placing them in detention camps to await deportation.

Joining us now, Republican Congresswoman from Florida, Maria Elvira Salazar. She's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is co-sponsor of a bipartisan and very comprehensive immigration bill known as the Dignity Act. I'll get to government funding in a minute, but I want to start there, because I think people need to understand what you have put on the table in a bipartisan manner is a significant and comprehensive proposal.

And it strikes me, and pieces of it are very innovative, if somewhat untested, compared to past proposals. When you see what the former president would like to do in a first term, it seems to run completely opposite to what you've put on the table, which you've called the Dignity Act. How do you respond to that?

REP. MARIA ELVIRA SALAZAR, (R-FL): No, thanks for the opportunity. I think that elected officials are trying to fix the problem. And during his first term, President Trump had quasi-successful run with immigration. But the problem is that immigration is very complicated, very complicated. And what I'm doing, and I thank you very much for praising my

immigration reform law called the Dignity Act, is that it goes to what's practical. Seal the border, put order at the border, and then give those people who are already here that don't have a criminal record, who have been here for more than five years, that are working, that want to pay taxes, that want to go home for Christmas, just give them dignity.

I'm not talking about path to citizenship. I belong to the largest minority in the country, the Hispanics. I represent the city of Miami. I know exactly what my people need. And my people need dignity, which is to work and live a dignified life in the promised land. The problem we have is that both parties, both parties have not understood what's needed. And on top of that, now you have a national security issue. With the border open, 6 million illegals have come in in the last three years. That's unsustainable.

On top of that, you have a business class that is telling you, hey, I need hands, I need hands to work. I cannot find people to clean the toilets or to change the sheets in the hotels. So this is a very massive problem, and the Dignity fixes it. It's just that we need political willingness from both parties.

MATTINGLY: You know, and I think, to that point, it just seems that from a policy perspective, a pure policy perspective, what the former president and his team are putting on the table, again, doesn't seem to be taking the path that you're taking.

I want to quote Stephen Miller, one of the president's top advisers, certainly his top adviser on immigration. You spoke to him back in 2021 in a closed-door meeting. There was some reporting about that where you exchanged your different positions. He says in "The New York Times" "Trump will unleash the vast arsenal of federal powers to implement to most spectacular migration crackdown. The immigration legal activist won't know what's happening." Is it possible to support Donald Trump as your party's nominee if he gets that given his position compared to yours?

SALAZAR: I think you mentioned Stephen Miller, and I would love to sit with him and explain to him what life really looks like. What reality is all about. He may write whatever -- I'm sure he means well, but in reality, he doesn't get it. That's the theory. Now, what's the practice? It's like communism. It's fantastic what it says on the sheet of paper, now put it into practice, it's miserable.

So Mr. Miller, I would love to have a conversation with him and explain to him what reality looks like because you know what is one of the big problems that we have is the entrepreneurs, the small business owners, the big people that are in the private sector, they need hands. You have 8 million jobs available. Who's going to fill that? The people who are already here. Or also we need to fix the legal immigration so we can allow and accept those who want to come in from Ukraine, from Russia, the big minds that need to go to Silicon Valley or to the tech capital of the world, Miami and work and pay taxes and be part of the promised land. That's the problem. It's the politicians. The political willingness to

fix the problem is the only problem, not the policy. And that's why I wrote a pretty good bill called the Dignity Act. It's good for everybody.

MATTINGLY: On a more micro-problem that you guys are dealing with right now, you have about four days to fix. There is a -- the speaker has put out a laddered proposal. There are no deep spending cuts. The defense portion is in the second half of that. Will you support it, and do you think enough Republicans can get behind it to pass it?

SALAZAR: Sure. Listen, the best thing that could have happened to the Republican Party is Mike Johnson, because the job, a very big elephant fell on his lap. And I know he's a decent guy, he has conservative, but he is reasonable. So no criticism to Mike Johnson. He's doing the best he can with the tools that he has been granted. And I'm sure that from here to Friday, if my conference gets together and understands that we need to move forward, buy some time, so we can do the appropriations, and obviously, reduce spending, because you know that it's impossible for this country to continue spending $6 billion a day -- a day -- and it's like, that's around $75,000 a second. Let's put it into perspective, right? We've got to stop, rein that in, so we don't have to pay for that debt.

So Johnson is going to do what's right, buy time, and then come together with the Dems and work in a bipartisan fashion, which is what the American people want. CNN, I'm sure that many Dems watch this station. FOX, many Republicans -- it doesn't matter. We're all Americans. And we're all here in the promised land. And we want to continue living the American dream. That's what we're working for in D.C.

MATTINGLY: Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar, we appreciate your time. Thank you.

SALAZAR: To you, sir.

HARLOW: That was a great conversation.

Donald Trump vowing to root out the political left in a speech he gave for Veterans Day. Brian Stelter here with us in studio to talk about the president's warnings and his new book, next.

MATTINGLY: And Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips revving up his long-shot challenge to President Biden for their party's nomination. He's vowing to put his own money into the race. What he tells CNN, that's ahead.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous, and grave than the threat from within.

We will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country that lie and steal and cheat on elections.


HARLOW: Donald Trump vowing to "root out" the political left, that was a speech he gave on Veterans Day.

Trump is seeking a second term. He continues to repeat false claims about election fraud, and our next guest has a whole new book telling you about the origin story of Trump trying to tear down the guardrails of American democracy and the right-wing media's mission to put him back in office in 2024.

We are so happy to be joined by our friend and former CNN anchor, Brian Stelter. He's the author of "Network of Lies: The Epic Saga of Fox News, Donald Trump and the Battle for American Democracy."

So good to have you, friend.

BRIAN STELTER, AUTHOR, "NETWORK OF LIES": Good morning. So great to be here.

HARLOW: Congratulations.

STELTER: Thank you.

HARLOW: Early in the book -- let me read, this is page eight, right before you get into Part One: "Hopefully, you'll come away feeling the way that I do, empowered and equipped to tell the truth more loudly than ever." You're still hopeful?

STELTER: Absolutely. Because I think most people just want to know what's real and true in the world, and that's why the so-called network of lies, this disinformation machine that includes parts of Fox News, but also, you know, the Steve Bannon's of the world, right- wing podcasts, all that machinery that's trying to re-elect Donald Trump.

It is important, it's got to be reckoned with, it's got to be scrutinized. It deserves all that scrutiny. But most people actually still want to know what is real and true in the world.

You know, we have to be louder than the liars in this environment, and the liars come in lots of different directions. Just the other day, I was almost fooled by some AI deep fake from the Trump campaign, trying to trick people into thinking NBC was saying something that it wasn't. A lot of that noise is out there. And of course, we, in the media, we get to help break through that noise.

MATTINGLY: To counter your glass half full.

STELTER: Oh, no, don't do it, Phil.

HARLOW: Come on, on a Monday morning.

MATTINGLY: No, no. But I think what's so disconcerting to some degree is we saw this in some of the text messages that came out during the Dominion lawsuit.


MATTINGLY: You dig in on this in such a fulsome way, is the perverse incentives.


MATTINGLY: That create, you know Fox's internal conundrum of our viewers want this, even though it's not true. We have to give it to them because of stock prices, because of ratings, because of all those things.


What changes that?

STELTER: Right, what changes that is, I think a one by one, day by day, person to person conversation. The awkward conversations that some of us are going to have at Thanksgiving next week, the family members might dread scene, they are the ones that we have to talk with, and listen to, and learn from.

And I think there are examples of that happening I write about that toward the end of the book because I wanted to write an optimistic story, even though this is rooted in the lies of the 2020 election. I had to write it because there were so many e-mails and texts that came out and they were so revealing about how it worked inside Fox, but also how it is working to this day.

You know, all of these big lies about the 2020 election, they are the predicate for Trump's re-election campaign, and I'm glad you just played that clip of him describing his opponents as vermin. That's a horrifying clip. That's a fascist clip.

You know, oftentimes, fascism is perceived as an expansionist, warlike idea from the 1930s, from Hitler's Germany, but Trump is this kind of isolationist, fascist in terms of his rhetoric over the weekend.

He goes to give a Veterans Day speech, and then talks about rooting out vermin from the left? That is shocking, and it is not the kind of thing we can ever get numb to.

HARLOW: One of the things you discuss in here is the weaponization of language, and you use the example of Bret Baier saying on air and by the way, I think, a really strong journalist and important for Fox, in many respects. I think people wouldn't have expected some of this stuff from him.

He said: "We're not going to stop digging and following up on leads," and you write, "The language of journalism was being exploited to cover far-fetched theories in the cloak of legitimacy." It points to a bigger issue of the lack of media literacy that gets

more and more dangerous with AI as you just pointed out.

STELTER: Yes. A hundred percent.

There's lots of stuff out there that's not news but smells like news or pretends to be news and that's what was happening with the big lie in 2020. And again, continuing to this day, this idea of an alternative reality of what Naomi Klein calls the mirror world, where you can believe whatever you want to believe.

But I still -- I came away from this believing there is still ability to make change. Some people can still be shamed into doing the right thing.

You know, there are many Republican lawmakers, elected officials who are still in a reality-based environment who do want to do what's best.

Of course, what they're up against is that kind of extremist rhetoric that we're hearing from Trump.

MATTINGLY: What goes through your head when you see photos or tweets from the UFC fight over the weekend and Trump standing with Tucker Carlson.

STELTER: Yes, you see this, Tucker Carlson.

MATTINGLY: After saying, he could be vice president.

STELTER: Yes. So interesting. I think, clearly Trump is trying to dangle the idea of an alliance with Tucker Carlson.

You know, Tucker Carlson is a kind of figure even though he's been diminished since being fired by Fox, he had not reached nearly as many people as he used to. He's trying really hard, though, to create a new media brand on the site, formerly known as Twitter.

He wants to be seen as a Trump ally, even though of course, he famously said in the Dominion messages --

MATTINGLY: That's what he said.

STELTER: Yes, that he hated Trump passionately.

The reality is, guys like Tucker Carlson, they think they can out- Trump Trump. They think they're smarter and more effective than Trump. In some ways that might make them more dangerous.

HARLOW: Big picture. You write about the lack of civility and as we look forward on what's to come, also the end of an era at Fox in terms of Rupert Murdoch.


HARLOW: I think that this week -- STELTER: This week, Rupert Murdoch, semi retiring, yes.

HARLOW: Right? What happens to civility going forward?

STELTER: I look at groups like Better Angels and More In Common that are designed to start to foster conversations and dialogue. And I think you're never going to reach everybody, you're never going to break through to everybody.

But when presented with what is real in the world, most people still do gravitate toward that. And by the way, every so often, even in an environment full of this noise and misinformation that you all cover every day, there still are elections, we still get to vote.

And there are so many people from so many parties and so many stripes still working hard to defend that. That's why I've mentioned American democracy in the title. This is a battle for American democracy.

And Trump, for what it's worth, for better or worse, he is making a very clear -- he is creating a very clear delineation for 2024. He's presenting a very clear choice for the country.

MATTINGLY: When you say semi-retire and --

STELTER: Semi-retire. Yes.

MATTINGLY: What do you mean? What's the dynamic right now? And for people who only see it or have only seen "Succession," what's the dynamic right now at the news network?

STELTER: Ninety-two-year-old Rupert Murdoch, he is never truly going to retire, but he is stepping away from his boards. He is handing over all the power to his son, Lachlan.

Someday, there will be a battle for control because the more liberal son, James, would like to take over Fox News and drag it more to the middle, but that doesn't happen until Rupert Murdoch dies.

As one source said to me for the book, Rupert Murdoch's death will change the Republican politics even more than Trump's descent down the escalator.


STELTER: The idea that Fox could be up for grabs in the future, it gets lots of people talking in political circles, but it's all just a guessing game, because Rupert Murdoch is apparently in fine health today.

HARLOW: Brian Stelter, so many congratulations.

STELTER: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Good to see you, buddy.

HARLOW: This, a second of great books, thank you very much. STELTER: Thanks so much. Glad to be here.

HARLOW: This book, "Network of Lies." Pick it up, available tomorrow. Be sure to grab a copy.

President Biden facing a growing number of third-party challengers for his seat in the Oval Office. How he could navigate the mounting challenges ahead.

MATTINGLY: And on her first weekend back on her tour, Taylor Swift, yes, she broke the internet again. It had to do with her and what guy?

HARLOW: You want to stick around, Brian?

MATTINGLY: Travis Kelce.

STELTER: They kissed. That is so cute.

HARLOW: They are so cute.

STELTER: They are adorable.


HARLOW: I know.

STELTER: They are perfect.

HARLOW: I know.



MATTINGLY: Well, Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips is amping up his long-shot challenge to President Biden for their party's nomination. Democrats have overwhelmingly at least, at this point, rejected Phillips' campaign.

Phillips says he believes he has likely torpedoed his own political career, but as the president is in grave danger of losing to Trump next year, so someone with "courage" had to step up.

CNN's Kasie Hunt joins us now.

Kasie, you sat down with him. I guess, my biggest question beyond why is what does he think his chances are at this point?

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, Phil, never be surprised by how someone who thinks that they should be president can believe that they can be president, but I will say Dean Phillips has had a really rude awakening in the last two weeks.

I mean, Democrats have all but thrown him out of the party over this. But in response, Phillips isn't backing down. He is pressing ahead.


HUNT (voice over): Dean Phillips is a long shot.

REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): I'm Congressman Phillips. I'm running for president.

HUNT (voice over): A little known Minnesota congressman, heir to a multimillion dollar schnapps fortune, willing to invest those millions to take on an unpopular president he says can't beat Donald Trump.

PHILLIPS: I think in 2020, he was probably the only Democrat who could have beaten Donald Trump, and I think in 2024, he may be among the only ones that will lose to him and that's why I'm doing this.

HUNT: Do you have a top dollar figure that you're willing to invest?

PHILLIPS: No, because this is so important.

HUNT (voice over): Phillips has escalated his attacks on Biden since he launched his campaign just over two weeks ago in New Hampshire.

PHILLIPS: Bidenomics is not working. It is actually the opposite. It represents inflation, high prices --

HUNT (voice over): Phillips is defiant after Democrats rejected him, threatening to primary him, leaving his leadership post in the House amid criticism from colleagues.