Return to Transcripts main page
CNN This Morning
IDF: Body of Second Hostage Found Near Al-Shifa Hospital; Santos Won't Seek Re-Election After Ethics Report; Sources: No Charges Expected in Special Counsel Probe of Biden's Handling of Classified Material. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 17, 2023 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: And Shohei Ohtani winning in the AL despite missing 27 games. And he accepted the award on MLB network alongside his dog who he gave an adorable high five to right here.
Kasie, whenever you accept awards on television, I think it should be a requirement that you do it with your pet alongside you.
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, is that not just the sweetest thing? Oh, my gosh.
SCHOLES: High five, it's great.
HUNT: I love it.
I was really lucky enough to see Ohtani play at Camden Yards this season actually. It was awesome.
HUNT: Thank you, Andy. Have a wonderful.
SCHOLES: You, too.
HUNT: And thanks to all of you for joining us.
I'm Kasie Hunt. Have a great weekend. Don't go anywhere.
CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. We are so glad you're starting your Friday with us.
Here are five things to know for this Friday, November 17th.
Israel presenting new evidence of what it says is a Hamas tunnel opening at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The IDF says it also recovered the body of a second hostage near that hospital.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And new overnight, the Department of Education launching investigations into six colleges over alleged incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia. Secretary Miguel Cardona will join us live ahead.
Also this morning, an expected new push gaining momentum to expel New York Congressman George Santos after a House ethics report found substantial evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Santos already saying he won't run for re-election.
HARLOW: Rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs accused of raping and abusing his former girlfriend, R&B singer Cassie. She's suing her in federal court. Diddy denying those allegations.
And President Biden expected to avoid charges for his alleged mishandling of classified documents. Two sources tell CNN this morning that the special counsel leading that probe will instead write a probe critical of Biden and his staff.
CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.
HARLOW: All right. Here's where we begin. New overnight, Israel says its troops have discovered the body of a second hostage right near Gaza's largest hospital, where they have been conducting that military operation.
MATTINGLY: It comes after Israeli forces they found a Hamas tunnel shaft and a stash of guns, grenades and other combat gear at the hospital. The IDF releasing these videos, you see them right here, as proof, they say, Hamas says it's all, quote, baseless lies.
Now, CNN can't verify either side's claims and the United Nations' human rights watchdog wants access to the site to launch an independent investigation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now revealing that intelligence about hostages was one of the big reasons the troops were sent into the hospital.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We had strong indications that they were held in the Shifa Hospital, which is one of the reasons we entered the hospital. If they were, they were taken out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Meanwhile, here at home, we're seeing even more intense protests coast to coast demanding a cease-fire in Gaza. Protesters blocked San Francisco's Bay Bridge -- look at that -- for hours. Police say some of them parked their cars and tossed their keys into the bay.
Oren Liebermann live in Tel Aviv begins our coverage.
This is the question, right, Oren? Is it concrete evidence that the IDF is handing over, that indeed, their belief that Hamas ran a command center, a control center, into the hospital is indeed, fact? OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Israel faced tremendous
pressure to prove this assertion because it wasn't just something heard in past days and weeks, it's something they have said for years that Hamas used Al-Shifa Hospital above ground to have terror infrastructure below ground. And the first batch of evidence they showed was some weaponry, some ammunition in the hospital itself, they say, a far cry establishing decisively that Hamas used the hospital underground.
Now, they released more pictures of a hospital shaft within the hospital complex. CNN has geolocated the video showing the entrance to the shaft far closer to establishing and substantiating what they say is an operational tunnel network below the hospital, but still we clearly need to see into the shaft itself, not just the opening. They say the shaft was found near a cache of weaponry and ammunition.
Directors, health officials and the Hamas-run enclave have denied accusations saying it was only a medical complex. But it's worth noting that the U.S. and President Joe Biden threw their weight behind Israel, saying they have their own information that Hamas used the hospital itself as cover for infrastructure below the hospital. Still waiting to see more evidence and the IDF has promised more evidence and a look deeper under the hospital itself, Poppy and Phil.
MATTINGLY: Oren, there's been so much focus on the military operation. This is still, or supposed to be, a functioning hospital. The director of the hospital says it's on the verge of catastrophe.
What's being done to try and help the doctors, those working there, and the patients?
LIEBERMANN: And the humanitarian crisis inside the hospital very much deepening. We've been reporting for days on shortages of food, water, supplies and the ability to keep the patients alive and treat them.
There are some 650 patients there according to the director of the Al- Shifa's medical complex and the situation, as I said is worsening.
There are some 36 premature babies, several of them have already died because the incubators couldn't be powered by the generators. There are about 45 patients who need dialysis. One of them, according to the director of the hospital, has also died. There have been efforts, at least some communication between the IDF and the hospital complex to try to move patients, but it's not clear that that's even possible. The director says doctors have to make harrowing decisions including amputating limbs of some of the injured because they can't prevent infection.
HARLOW: Oren, sad news this morning, that the IDF says they found bodies of two hostages, two Israeli hostages near the hospital. Do we know anything more about them?
LIEBERMANN: At this point, not much beyond what the IDF has said. They announced in the course of the past several hours that they have discovered the body and brought it out of Gaza of 65-year-old grandmother Yehudit Weiss. She was kidnapped from kibbutz Be'eri on October 7th. Her husband was killed in the attack itself.
And then they also announced they brought out the body of a young female soldier Noa Marciano. They had announced several days ago, she had died in Gaza but had not been able to locate her body. They say both bodies were located in the area of the Al-Shifa complex and they brought those out after identifying those and notified the families.
Those are the first two Israeli hostages who have died in Gaza that we know of. But there's little information of where the other 238 or so might be what condition they're in and little on the state of negotiations whether there will be a deal soon or not. The broad framework appears to be there, but getting it over the line, that has not happened yet.
HARLOW: That is the crucial aim. Oren, thank you for the reporting from Tel Aviv for us.
And we do have new CNN exclusive reporting this morning. The Department of Education launched investigations into seven schools after receiving complaints about antisemitism and Islamophobia. This is according to an administration official. The investigations include five antisemitism cases and two Islamophobia cases among the schools, a K-12 school in Kansas and six colleges. Those include Cornell University, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania, of course, college campuses have seen such a rise in tension over this since October 7th. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona will be here to talk to us next hour about all of it.
Also new overnight, the government shutdown has been averted. Thank goodness. President Biden signed a short-term funding bill into law last night. It kicks the can down the road until January and February.
MATTINGLY: Well, growing calls this morning for Republican Congressman George Santos to be kicked out of the House of Representatives. Those calls coming after an explosive report from the House Ethics Committee found he repeatedly used campaign funds for personal expenses, including thousands of dollars worth of high-end designer goods, Botox treatments and apparently some OnlyFans watching.
The committee voted unanimously to refer its findings to the Justice Department. Now, Santos says he will not run for re-election. However, in her social media posts, Santos says it has been a, quote, year from hell but he will never back down. He also announced a news conference outside the Capitol on November 30th.
CNN's Lauren Fox is live for us in Washington.
I don't want to ask you what he's going to talk about on November 30th because goodness, who knows at this point. My question right now, is they have tried multiple times to get him out of the House, to expel him, to condemn his actions. They have not been able to. Is it different now? LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Definitely, the
tide is starting to turn, Phil. And you've already seen more than a dozen Republicans who had voted against past efforts to expel him who now say they are prepared to vote "yes". Here's a little sense of why from this ethics report that came out yesterday.
FOX (voice-over): New York GOP Congressman George Santos facing possible expulsion again from the House of Representatives.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if he had any ethics and any respect for our government, he would step down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He literally lied to voters and everybody that he represents.
FOX: After a months-long investigation, the bipartisan House Ethics Committee says it found substantial evidence that Santos violated federal law, saying he sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.
The report's finding paint a picture of a cash-strapped candidate who used campaign money to fund a lavish lifestyle, that included unrelated travel and buying luxury goods. In July 2022, over $2,000 was spent in Atlantic City resorts, with no records of campaign events occurring there.
Also, a Federal Elections Commission report list that on July 7, 2022, the campaign spent over $3,000 on an Airbnb, reported as a hotel stay, despite Santos being off at the Hamptons, as per the campaign calendar.
It also lists services that don't appear to have a campaign purpose, $1,400 at a spa for Botox, more than $200 at CityMD, $1,500 more for Botox, more than $1,000 for an esthetician in Rhinebeck, New York. More than $4,000 purchased at Hermes. Smaller purchases at OnlyFans, Sephora, meals and parking.
The damning report concludes Santos knowingly filed false reports with the FEC and made willful violations and financial disclosures with the House.
The GOP chairman of the House Ethics Committee, Michael Guest, planning to file a resolution to make Santos just the sixth member in U.S. history to be expelled.
REP. MICHAEL GUEST (R-MS): That will be enough for members to be able to make a decision as to whether or not they believe it would be proper to expel Representative Santos.
FOX: According to a panel, Santos refused to participate in an interview or provide a written response, and the panel did not subpoena him. Santos posting on X, criticizing the committee's finding, calling it
biased and a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk.
Santos also saying he will not seek reelection.
FOX (on camera): And, yesterday, we did get a statement from the office of the speaker, Mike Johnson. His spokesman, Raj Shah, saying, quote, as members from both parties and the Ethics Committee and Representative Santos return to Congress after the Thanksgiving break, Speaker Johnson encourages all involved to consider the interests of the institution as the matter is addressed further, obviously warning everyone including congressman Santos, to consider the next actions that they want to take, because as you noted, Phil, there is growing calls for him to be expelled from the U.S. House of Representatives.
MATTINGLY: Lauren, I know we kind of numb to the George Santos stuff at this point. You read this report you actually have to try to attempt to break as many laws, or rules, inside the House, as he did as alleged in the report.
Lauren Fox, great piece. Thank you.
HARLOW: What a week of bad behavior by members of Congress.
MATTINGLY: Not a great, not the best week on the Hill.
HARLOW: Not the best.
MATTINGLY: Hey, but we don't have a government shutdown.
HARLOW: I know. I'm very happy about that.
MATTINGLY: It's Friday.
HARLOW: Yeah, amen. And the lights are on.
A second grand jury has been called and the president's brother has now been subpoenaed. We have exclusive CNN reporting on the Hunter Biden probe. That's next.
MATTINGLY: And a new CNN polling in New Hampshire shows former President Trump continuing to dominate but there's a new runner-up. More on the Haley hype. That's ahead.
HARLOW: Welcome back.
President Biden's brother now subpoenaed in the criminal investigation of Hunter Biden's business dealings. Sources tell CNN the special counsel is seeking documents and testimony from multiple witnesses and he's now using a grand jury in California, not just the one in Delaware. That suggests new charges could be coming for the president's son in a second state.
Joining us now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers, CNN senior political analyst and anchor John Avlon, and CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis.
Let me start, Counsel, with you.
This was a big part of the Republicans' criticism of the first part of this probe, which is what about California? Why didn't you pursue things in other jurisdictions? What does the grand jury there with what we know tell you?
JENNIFER RODGES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, nothing good for Hunter Biden that's for sure. I mean, we already have the gun charges in Delaware. And now, it looks like they're seeking to up the ante from the misdemeanor charges they were going to file on the tax side in Delaware to felony probably tax charges, perhaps other charges in California. So, they're expanding their investigation, too. It's not just a matter of finding a grand jury to charge in. They're obviously issuing subpoenas and looking to go outside of what they've done before.
HARLOW: Can I just ask? Is the criticism then warranted? Why didn't you follow this lead before?
RODGERS: Well, listen, I don't know exactly what David Weiss and his team did, but they worked on this for a long time. There was no reason to think he wasn't uncovering every lead and doing a good job.
So, you know, I -- listen, Hunter Biden, if he were anyone else, I think, would not face the situation he's facing, would not be facing this extensive investigation, would have wrapped this all up with probably civil resolution. So you know, whether it's fair or not I don't know. They're certainly going after it and I guess we'll see what they've come up with.
MATTINGLY: There has been a view, especially of the White House, that the political pressure is the large reason why they ended up at this point. Obviously, the judge as well.
And that brings you to our reporting that President Biden is not going to be charged for the classified documents case. He will, I think, be chastised, quite clearly. We'll wait and see what Robert Hur, the special counsel, has to say.
But to that point, the political pressure to try to, A, equate this with Trump's classified documents, but B, to immediately, I assume, jump on no charges and say this is an example, once again, of bias?
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, look, that's just evidence I think of bad faith because you're damned if you do, damned if you don't, right? I mean, you know, if the president is not charged, then it's evidence of a two-tiered system. If he's charged, then it's vindication.
You just got to look at facts. Again, the underlying principles equal justice under law. What Biden is accused of doing and appears doing, what Mike Pence was accused of doing. These documents are biased end up in people's homes. The question is, was it done, what's the intent? What was the alleged purpose?
And in the case of Donald Trump, we see that he knew he was in possession of documents, he was asked for those documents, and he seems to have taken action to hide those documents, in addition to using or at least talking about national documents with significant national security implications. The details of that still need to be played out in court, of course, but equating the two doesn't the fit the fact pattern, and that's what you keep your eye on.
HARLOW: Interesting development here in the Trump -- Trump and Trump Org civil fraud trial. They have temporarily -- the court lifted the gag order. Why?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. An appellate court decided it was maybe constitutionally impermissible to slap a gag order on Donald Trump about the statements he makes outside of court. Meaning, the suggestion here is that Judge Engoron may overstepped his boundaries and you can put orders on him about what he says when he's in the court and possibly on the courthouse steps but if he's out in the world, do you really have the right to limit his speech?
It's an interesting question, as a hypothetical. The reality, of course, is that it was made out of a certain exigency, that there are hundreds and hundreds of threats being aimed at not just the judge but his staff member.
LOUIS: In part based on what Donald Trump is saying on social media and elsewhere.
LOUIS: And she's had to change her phone number and so forth and so on.
So, you know, look, a real argument that those statements are not just free speech but they are actually behavior that is interfering with the administration of justice, but they seem to have lost this stage of that argument.
AVLON: And here's, also, the basic principle of equal justice under law seems to be breaking down. If any other defendant was sending forth missives, attacking people in court who are part of the apparatus in personal terms and their family in a persistence way, they'd get the book thrown at them within the context. But Donald Trump is effectively daring people to hold him accountable because then presumably he can play the victim.
MATTINGLY: Can you ask you a legal-based question on the Santos stuff we've been talking about? I don't want to wait until 7:00 or 8:00 to get to the OnlyFans side of this. In this very too long, didn't read, I'm not mad, don't say I'm mad Twitter statement, he says in part, what the ethics did today was not part of due process. What they did was poisoned the jury pool on my ongoing investigation with the DOJ. This is a dirty, biased act, one that tramples all over my rights.
For people who don't necessarily understand what the Ethics Committee does versus what the Justice Department does, does he have any basis for that claim?
RODGERS: Well, listen, I mean, to the extent that he wants to argue that his jury pool is poisoned when it comes to that, they obviously can do extensive and through voir dire to make sure that the jurors are not biased. But what the House does, the ethics does, is it decides whether its members are complying with its rules and whether they should stay in the House. Law enforcement is different obviously, they're enforcing criminal laws.
So, you know, you can't just say the house isn't allowed to kick me out and investigate me because I have a criminal case ongoing. We really don't want to rely upon the justice system to make sure the House is upholding its ideals, right? That is up to the House.
So, there's no merit in it, but, listen, his judge will be smart to make sure voir dire excludes all of those who have a view of things base on, for example, having read the investigative report.
MATTINGLY: Does anyone not have a view of George Santos after the last -- you know, whatever the view is, there's been a lot of George Santos, and to your point, we got to go, the Ethics Committee always takes great pain to give the Justice Department space, delays investigations so that the Justice Department can complete their investigations. So, and did here as well.
RODGERS: It's a little hard for them to -- you know, I'm glad that they managed to do their investigative report given that.
MATTINGLY: Jennifer, John, Errol, thanks, guys. Appreciate it.
Well, Elon Musk under fire for endorsing an antisemitic post on X, formerly known at Twitter. The fallout ahead, that's already led to one company pulling its ads.
MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, forecasters are keeping an eye on the tropical cyclone forming in the South Caribbean.
Meteorologist Derek Van Dam is here to break it all down for us.
What are we seeing here, Derek? DEREK VAN DAM, AMS CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, the hurricane
season actually ends at the end of the month, but Mother Nature says, hold my beer. I've got one more trick up my sleeve. There is a storm developing across the Central Pacific. Here it is on the satellite, it's called potential tropical cyclone 22 and it is going to create a very wet weekend and early parts of the Thanksgiving week ahead across places like Jamaica, into Cuba, Haiti, as well as the Caribbean, and the Turks and Caicos.
So, if you've got a cruise or a family vacation, heads-up, it's going to be extremely wet across that part of the world.
On the flip side, now there's this, at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, the town of Barrow, Alaska, most northern town in America, known as Utqiagvik, is going to be lunged into darkness for the next 66 days. This is called the polar night, and any town within that arctic circle the red ring on the 3D globe actually doesn't see the sun officially rise above the horizon the next two months.
Now, on the flip side, in the summer months, they see, well, the sun for 24 hours a day, for several months at a time.
Now, this is all very fitting considering that Anchorage, Alaska, could see their snowiest November in history. So, yes, it is winter in that part of the world -- Phil, Poppy.
MATTINGLY: I mean, I'm going to be honest, Derek, I would hold your beer and watch you work on that thing for long periods of time. That was awesome. That is super cool.
HARLOW: You should have heard the control room during your hit, Derek, like that is so cool. Thank you.
VAN DAM: Happy Friyay.
MATTINGLY: Yes, sir. Thanks, buddy. Appreciate it.
HARLOW: All right. Turning to very serious allegations, hip hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs is denying this morning allegations of rape and years of abuse by his ex-girlfriend. We have the details from the court filing, ahead.
And drag shows in Florida secure a legal win against Governor Ron DeSantis. The details of the Supreme Court's ruling on the state's anti-drag law.