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CNN This Morning

Interview with Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY); Babies Evacuated from Gaza Hospital Arrive in Egypt; WaPo: Elon Musk's X Supercharged Antisemitism Online; Former President Trump Continues Using Provocative Language to Describe Illegal Immigrants in U.S. Aired 8- 8:30a ET

Aired November 20, 2023 - 08:00   ET



ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They're more looking at the policies. And so Republicans, at least until we can get Donald Trump out of the system, they're going to continue to engage in the same type of rhetoric because it's all about the policy and keeping that base engaged.

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I've got to say, I'm not sure Donald Trump leaving the system is going to will be the thing that solves this. The cultural change that we were just talking about is very real. And people do feel like they just don't know what's happening. So an environment like this, where you have diversity at a table like the one we're all sitting at, I think that there are people in America who just don't like the America who are becoming, that's more power in the LGBTQ people, and you've got more African-Americans and women who are in charge. They're just not happy.

And they are driving the Trump train. And I think as the country changes, I think people are resistant to that. And the resistance to that change, and I think we see our politics are reflective of that change and that resistance, not the politics driving that change.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Jamal, thank you, Alice, good to have you both. CNN THIS MORNING continues now.

Good morning, everyone. So glad you're with us on I know this morning. Here is where we begin. The Israeli military is now claiming that surveillance video shows Hamas bringing hostages to Gaza's main hospital. This is that video. The time stamp is October 7th, the day of the terror attacks. One of the videos shows a man being rushed into Al-Shifa hospital by force. Another shows a bleeding man with a bandaged hand being pushed on a gurney. And this all comes as the IDF accuses Hamas of running a command center underneath the hospital.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: The IDF took CNN to Al-Shifa hospital to see a tunnel shaft that Hamas allegedly used. Our team was under Israel Defense Forces escort at all times. As a condition for journalists to go on this trip, media outlets had to submit footage filmed in Gaza to the Israeli military for review. Our team was not able to enter the shaft, but the IDF sent special gear down to show where it leads, and you can see in this video a spiral staircase. It shows a long tunnel with concrete walls. The tunnel ends at a metal door. The IDF says it has not opened that door yet because of fears that it may be booby trapped.

HARLOW: Meanwhile, there is a bit of growing hope that a deal with Hamas to release some of the hostages could be near. Sources tell CNN a recent draft of a potential deal proposes a four to five-day pause in fighting in exchange for the initial release of 50 hostages.

Also new this morning, babies evacuated from that hospital in Gaza, you can see them there, and they have started to arrive in Egypt for much-needed urgent care. They were greeted by crowds of medical workers with those incubators.

Joining us now, Barak Ravid, "Axios political and foreign policy reporter. Barak, you know the ins and outs of these things better than pretty much anyone. When you heard Jon Finer from the White House say yesterday that things are looking pretty hopeful, more than they have, and I'm paraphrasing here, does it tell you that this is going to happen, a deal for hostages?

BARAK RAVID, POLITICAL AND FOREIGN POLICY REPORTER, "AXIOS": Good morning. I think -- I don't think we should seal the deal just yet. A lot of things can happen, a lot of things can change. This hostage deal is very connected to what's going on, on the ground. And any small incident that happens on the ground can change everything. But I think that what stands behind what Jon Finer said is that Hamas after a few days, that they went underground, did not speak to the Qatari mediators. Over the weekend, on Saturday, they reengaged in the negotiations, and I think that this is why there is some progress.

HILL: Do you have a sense from any of your sources -- we've heard -- people are understandably very concerned to give a timeline, but do you think there's a better sense of a timeline emerging this morning?

RAVID: I don't think so. I mean, you hear 10 different versions from 10 different people. And one thing I heard from several Israeli officials is that they call Hamas leader Yahya Sinwa, the one that -- he's the lead negotiator from Hamas's side, they call him a psychopath. And they say that for that reason, it's very unclear whether there will be a deal, whether we are close to a deal, whether we are getting further from a deal. It is very hard to anticipate his next move. And therefore, I think things are still open.

HARLOW: What about the aid component? Your reporting talks about the sticking points, Barak, of getting to a deal. One of those is how many trucks of aid Hamas wants to see come into Gaza per day, and how many Israel is allowing in, let alone what is in those aid trucks. How much is that complicating things?

RAVID: Yes, so this might sound like a mundane issue or a side issue, but it's very central to this deal.


Hamas wants to have every day, since this deal starts and after, meaning not after the deal is implemented, the trucks are not coming in. So it wants 400 trucks of aid a day coming in from Egypt. It wants another four trucks of fuel for the hospitals, and another four trucks of fuel for bakeries in Gaza. This is a big deal, because, first, the Rafah crossing cannot really process that amount of trucks, meaning that it's not possible at this moment, meaning that there's another big hurdle to this deal.

HILL: I also want to ask you about what you wrote over the weekend, President Biden stressing that the U.S. is prepared to impose sanctions on Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians in the West Bank. What more can you tell us about that? Because that obviously is going to have an impact.

RAVID: I think this is an issue that is still quite underreported. And it's very dramatic. This is something that the last time the U.S. administration did that was the Clinton administration. So we're talking about more than almost 30 years. And Biden decided to do it again after the Trump administration, by the way, revoked decisions that were made by the Clinton administration about possible sanctions on settlers who engage in violence against Palestinians. And I think that this might be a first signal for a dramatic shift in the way that the Biden administration is looking at settlements, not only statements, but also action.

HARLOW: Barak Ravid always with the important reporting on this, thank you.

RAVID: Thank you very much.

HILL: There are deep divides in this country about how President Biden is handling Israel's war with Hamas, and age seems to be a factor as well. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten joining us this morning with this morning's numbers. So Harry, when we look at the numbers, this is a major divide, as we've been talking about all morning. What do they show us?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes. It's not just a major divide amongst Americans. It's a major divide amongst Democrats. All these numbers are amongst Democrats. So Biden's handling of the Israeli-Hamas war, look at this divide. These numbers are bonkers, frankly.

So if we look amongst those 18 to 34, these are Democrats, keep in mind, just 24 percent of Democrats under the age of 35 approve of his job performance on this war. Compare this to Democrats over the age of 65 and older. Look at that, 77 percent approve. I've never seen an age gap quite like anything like this in politics.

And this goes even fundamentally deeper. Sympathies in the Middle East conflict, again, Democratic voters that we're looking at here, look at this, voters under the age of 35, just 16 percent say their sympathies lie more with the Israelis. The overwhelming majority, a supermajority of those under the age of 35, again amongst Democrats, 74 percent say their sympathies lie more with the Palestinians. You jump up to those 65 and older, very different, 45 percent say the Israelis versus just 25 percent say the Palestinians. A very big age divide. HARLOW: It also goes deeper in terms of how much the U.S. should

continue to support Israel. What does it tell us?

ENTEN: It goes even deeper than that, Poppy. So let's take a look. Is it in the U.S. interest, in our national interest to continue to support Israel? Amongst those under the age 35, look at that, just 40 percent say yes, it is, compared to 52 percent say, no, it isn't. You compare that to those voters 65 and older, again, Democrats, 87 percent say it is, compared to just seven percent say, no, it isn't.

So perhaps it isn't surprising, should we give Israel more military aid for its war versus Hamas? Look at this, again, amongst Democrats, just 21 percent support it. Compare that to those 65 and older, 53 percent support it. Those under the age of 35, 77 percent oppose it.

Guys, I know I've used crazy words in this segment, but frankly, I've just never seen anything like this. Again, this is amongst Democrats, within his own party.

HARLOW: Yes. So interesting.

HILL: Harry, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HARLOW: So Sam Altman's firing from the A.I. company that he cofounded has shocked Silicon Valley. Now he has a new job. We'll tell you about it this morning. The details of the boardroom shake up that led to his ouster.

HILL: And Donald Trump continuing his anti-immigrant rhetoric, picking up a key political endorsement as well during his visit to the border.



HILL: Donald Trump to get the endorsement of Texas Governor Greg Abbott as he visited a border town yesterday. Trump's stop in Texas comes as he's escalated his antiimmigrant rhetoric and campaigned on hardline campaign policy proposals.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.


TRUMP: And I will shut down this travesty, terminate all work permits for illegal aliens and demand that Congress send me a bill outlawing all welfare payments to illegal migrants of any kind.

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: It's poisoning the blood of our country. It's so bad, and people are coming in with disease. People are coming in with every possible thing you can have.


HILL: Joining us now is Republican Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis of New York. It's nice to have you with us this morning, Congresswoman. We just heard the former president who said, and I'm quoting him, that undocumented immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country. How does that language sit with you?

REP. NICOLE MALLIOTAKIS, (R-NY): First, let me say that it's not anti-immigrant to say that you want secure borders. I think that's very important to make a distinction between people who are here illegally and then people who are following a process. And by the way, we have 1.7 million individuals who have entered our country, who are not the ones who applied for asylum, by the way. These are individuals who snuck in, who have gone undetected by law enforcement, by government officials. And that's important for people to know. We don't know who they are, where they are, or what their intentions are.

Now, among the 7 million that have come in and applied for asylum, only about half of them actually have legitimate asylum cases. That means the others are using asylum, they are abusing our system to gain access and gain entry. So that's important that we make that distinction. Coming through the southern border is not the proper way to be coming in the country. You should be applying from the next safe country, and then you have a process. In my office, by the way, we've helped nearly 100 people become U.S. citizens who have followed the process and did everything right. But I do not support what is happening at the southern border, because it is unsafe, and it is dangerous, and we do see fentanyl streaming in, killing Americans. And we need to do something about it.


HILL: Just to go back to my original question, though, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, do you agree with the former president's language that they are, in his words, poisoning the blood of our country? Are you comfortable with that language?

MALLIOTAKIS: Well, I don't know about poisoning the blood, but I will say they are bankrupting our country.

I mean, talk to Mayor Adams who is telling us himself that this is destroying New York. They are about to do an across-the-board cut. No more hiring of police officers. We have 6,000 police officers less than we had on September 11th and we can't hire more because he decides to put individuals in shelters and hotels and provide all these types of services that we can't afford, and that, quite frankly, American citizens don't even receive.

So what I would say, it is a major problem. It is a major problem and we need to address it. And we need Chuck Schumer in the Senate to either pass our border security bill or pass their own bill so we can reconcile the differences, but we need to take action to secure the border.

HILL: So in terms of that action, we should point out both Mayor Adams and Governor Hochul, of course, have pushed to do away with that Right to Shelter Act, which has been in place for more than four decades, that's winding its way through the courts.

In terms of what needs to be done, former President Trump over the weekend, I just want to know if you would agree with some of these proposals -- wants to expand what was his hardline immigration policies during his administration, large-scale arrests of undocumented immigrants, putting them in detention camps for migrants who are awaiting deportation.

He also talked about reinstating or expanding the travel ban for predominantly Muslim countries and bringing back at the COVID-era policy of Title 42. Would you support those actions?

MALLIOTAKIS: Well, some of them, I do. Title 42 in particular, I mean, we need to know if individuals are ill.

I mean, like even in Ellis Island, people were quarantined, right, before they were able to gain access to the country. They were not just released coming in.

And you mentioned the deportation. Look, we have people who are here that have committed crimes, and they are in the country illegally. Right now, New York City does not cooperate with any federal detainer request.

We have, under this administration, there are federal detainer requests to deport individuals who have committed serious crimes -- murder, rape either in this country otherwise -- and New York City is not cooperating with the Biden administration.

So we do need to deport individuals who are here illegally that are committing crimes, and also the other one is the remain-in-Mexico, which is another way of saying what I said earlier, which is you apply from the next safe country, and then you come when your court date is. Right now, we have court dates, backlog of 10 years. Ten years is the backlog, and they are taking people coming from the border first.

HILL: And that is something that has been discussed extensively. I do want to get your take. You talk about wanting to see some action, there is a bipartisan, bicameral legislation, the Dignity Act working its way through that would -- just for people who are not familiar with it, it would, among other things, grant work authorization for undocumented immigrants, offer a pathway to legal status, would you support the Dignity Act?

MALLIOTAKIS: Well, I think that that's a good starting point for conversations. But I'll tell you, and that is a sponsored by the way by a Republican, one of my colleagues from Florida.

But what I will say is that we need to have cooperation on border security. We can stop the unsustainable flow, we can address the problem that's already here.

And so I would say that we certainly need to add more judges to process these court cases quicker. Right now, 10-year backlog, and it is unfair that the Biden administration is actually taking those individuals that cross the border last, as opposed to those people have been waiting in the system for years, they are getting pushed to the end of the line, believe it or not.

And then on top of it, we need to make sure that we are adding visas for people who want to work. Again, we want to know who is coming in and out of our country. By adding more visas, we will know that and be able to track individuals.

HILL: It will be interesting to see that, as you said, you would support it and as I noted, bipartisan, bicameral support here for this immigration bill.

We'll continue to follow that as well.

Congresswoman, appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.


HARLOW: Well, this morning Elon Musk is responding to the criticism over his recent embrace of an antisemitic post, why hate speech has become so rampant on X under Musk's leadership.

HILL: And Grammy winner -- Grammy winning singer Shakira reaching a deal this morning to avoid a tax fraud trial in Spain just as that trial was set to begin agreeing to pay an additional nearly $8 million fine. That's in addition to the $15.6 million she has already paid.

Prosecutors were seeking an eight-year prison sentence. That plea deal though settled on a three-year sentence and instead of prison, to be paying a daily fine, which totals what amounts to about another half a million dollars.



HILL: Happening this morning, more than two dozen newborn infants evacuated from Gaza have now arrived in Egypt. Doctors say they're fighting serious infections.

CNN's Eleni Giokos is live in Cairo with the latest.

So, Eleni, there has been so much focus on this evacuation. The babies have now arrived. What more do we know about their condition?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: They are now in Egypt, which is what everyone wanted for over a week now.

Egyptian authorities are relieved and they're happy they are finally in the country. Look, of the 28 babies, the WHO says 11 are in critical condition. All are fighting infection as we speak. I've spoken to some sources, they say they're all underweight, and the

serious cases will be flown to Cairo, to be taken to various hospitals across the board.

This has been very difficult to move them out of Al-Shifa Hospital, where there wasn't any safe passage through to the Rafah Border, but that eventually occurred yesterday for the first time in many days.

We know there was an IDF raid there. We've heard the stories about running out of oxygen and milk. One mother was describing how there was just nothing available in the hospital for many days.

We know that some of the babies have tragically died, but of the 28, and this is important, only four mothers and six nurses accompanied them, which means that many people just don't know where the other parents are, whether their family members are alive.

But priority right now is to get these babies stabilized and get them the medical attention that they need, and they will be receiving that in Egypt.

When we saw those images of the babies crying out for help when they were moved to the Emirati Hospital, it just gave you a sense of what they've been dealing with and their condition.

Look, all the doctors that we've spoken to have described the very harrowing scenario and their situation and they say it right now, fragile, Poppy, but at least now they're in a state of calm in Egypt.


HILL: It is -- it is heart wrenching and yet a little hopeful at the same time. Eleni, appreciate it. Thank you.


HARLOW: So Elon Musk this morning responding to really public outcry over his recent embrace of an antisemitic post on X. This started when Musk endorsed this tweet that said -- and he said, "You have said the actual truth about Jewish communities pushing hate against White people."

Now this is what Musk writes quote: "This past week, there were hundreds of bogus media sources claiming that I am antisemitic. Nothing could be further from the truth. I wish only the best for humanity."

But a number of prominent companies suspending their advertising on X as a result. Among them, Disney, Apple Paramount, Comcast, Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company of CNN. IBM pulled its ads after some of them appeared alongside pro-Nazi content on the site.

HILL: Not everyone though has been so quick to condemn Musk. Take a listen to GOP presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis, when he was asked multiple times about Musk's comments.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have no idea what the context is. I know Elon Musk, I've never seen him do anything.

I think he's a guy that believes in America. I've never seen him indulge in any of that. So it's surprising if that's true, but I have not seen it.

So I don't want to sit there and pass judgment on the fly.


HILL: Over the weekend, "The Washington Post" reported that X under Musk has supercharged antisemitism that was rising online, and joining us now is one of the reporters on this investigation. "The Post" Silicon Valley correspondent, Elizabeth Dwoskin.

It is good to have you with us this morning.

The fact that Musk was saying this is -- they are bogus media stories claiming he is antisemitic. I'm curious how that comment sat with you?

ELIZABETH DWOSKIN, SILICON VALLEY CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": How did that come and land with me? I mean, look, every time that I think I've been covering Elon Musk for a long time, and including when he bought Twitter and every time that you think he's going to do something that's like this is the last straw for advertisers, this is the last straw for him, he just does something even crazier and more dangerous.

In this case, you know, since he took over Twitter, he invited White supremacists back on the platform, people that Twitter had previously banned. He re-orchestrated the algorithm to essentially make it pay- to-play. So people whose paid for verification had their comments, I get their comments are more viewed on the platform. And what that's done, especially with the Israel-Gaza war, is it has unleashed this huge tide of antisemitism online in the world.

And he's given that a platform more than any other mainstream platform, even more than TikTok or even more than the far-right platforms. I would argue that he has given that a mainstream platform and then he uses his own voice and megaphone to amplify it.

And then when he does, he claims that he's the victim, that all the advertisers who have left the platform are, you know, oppressing your own free speech and essentially acts like a child in the face of this really dangerous commentary and swelling tide of hate in this country.

HARLOW: You know, it rises to the headlines when it's Elon Musk, but one important thing, very important thing I think you and your colleagues point out in this piece is that hate against Jews on the internet is nothing new. In fact, it has been a feature of the internet that extremists have been sort of the early adopters of social media. Can you speak to the big picture threat here?

DWOSKIN: Yes, I mean, it's not a bug, it is a feature. I've been covering the internet for a little over a decade and one of the most interesting things is, you know, what I wanted to do in this story was trace, like almost like a 30,000-foot view of the history of antisemitism online.

And it really starts, it is as old as the internet itself, and what the experts told me is that, you know, back even before there was a Twitter or just in the early days, you saw antisemitic conspiracy theories around Jews causing the financial crisis. There were theories that Jews caused 9/11.

But just over a decade ago, 15 years ago, we would see these as fringy, and even people who prominently denied the Holocaust, they themselves, you know, had lost a lot of platforms. But look what's happened in the last decade.

First of all, you have the Charlottesville rally, where the demonstrators were chanting "Jews will not replace us," echoing the conspiracy theory that Musk talked about and you have the creation of service far-right channels like Gab, 4chan, you know, that essentially extremists in the last number of years have gotten an enormous platform to broadcast their messages and look at what's happened in the last number of years with the mass shootings among -- you know, by shooters who have been steeped in online conspiracy theories, deeply antisemitic online conspiracy theories on places like Discord, 4chan, Gab, and now Twitter.

HILL: All excellent points and I would encourage everyone to read your reporting because it really is stark and so important at the same time.

Elizabeth Dwoskin, thank you.

DWOSKIN: Thank you so much Poppy.

HARLOW: It has been nearly 60 years since the assassination of JFK and the conspiracy theories about who truly killed him have run wild for decades. Actor, producer, and now podcaster, Rob Reiner is here to discuss his new project that will certainly add to the discussion around all of this, next.