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CNN This Morning

Sixth Set of Hostages Expected to Be Released; Doha Talks Push Towards Extending Truce Again; One Killed after U.S. Osprey Crash off Japanese Coast; Cold Air, Wind and Freeze Alerts Across Much of U.S.; Koch Network Backs Haley in GOP Primary. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 06:00   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: You can see it right there. Eighty-four- year-old hostage wheeled to freedom. Right now, negotiators are working to extend the pause in the Israel-Hamas war, as we wait to see if two American woman are on the list of hostages set to be released today.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, an American Osprey aircraft crashing off the coast of Japan with six people onboard. One person is dead, according to the Japanese Coast Guard. Search crews looking for the others who were onboard.

MATTINGLY: Plus, Liz Cheney is naming names, calling out former colleagues for enabling Donald Trump. Hear which congressman she says called the former president "Orange Jesus."

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

Good morning and welcome. And right now, negotiators are racing to extend that truce between Israel and Hamas. Today could potentially be the final day if they fail.

Hamas released another round of hostages yesterday, with more to come today, the White House saying it remains hopeful two Americans will be among the women and children released.

HILL: And new this morning, the family of the youngest Israeli hostage, now 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, tells CNN they have been notified that the baby and his 4-year-old brother, Ariel, will not be freed today.

Hamas allowed an outside journalist who witnessed yesterday's hostage handover in Gaza. In the videos and photos, you can see an 84-year-old grandmother in a wheelchair.

A masked gunman with a rifle flung over his shoulder wheeling her to the Red Cross convoy as a crowd cheers and records on their phones.

Other images show heavily-armed gunmen escorting a 17-year-old girl, Mia Leimberg. She clutches her dog in her arms. Mia was released with her mother. This is a photo of them. You see them calling a friend for the first time, after crossing back into Israel. Phil also has some brand-new reporting this morning on the behind-the-

scenes effort at the White House to free additional hostages. Phil, what more are you learning?

MATTINGLY: Let me start this morning, Erica, with new behind-the- scenes reporting on on that intensive effort. It has been underway.

It centers on three crucial pillars, according to four senior administration officials. Pillars that are being worked on on a literal hour-by-hour basis, they say.

No. 1, getting the hostages home. That has been underway, in that process, surging humanitarian aid to Gaza and what comes next. Both in the near term. Intensive and, officials say, blunt and candid discussions on the next phase of Israel's combat operations and longer-term efforts in the region to lay the groundwork for a post- conflict Gaza.

We start this morning with team coverage. Oren Liebermann is in Tel Aviv. Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us. Oren, to start with you, what details do we have, or new details do we have about the exchange that's set for today?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, it should take place in just a few hours here. If it follows the pace we've seen over the course of the last several days. Now, that has shifted by a few hours, earlier or later.

But crucially, we have no indications that it's off for today, which means on this sixth day, what as of right now is the final day of the truce agreement, the release of ten Israeli women and children is set to proceed.

After that will be a release of 30 Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons. And that, as of right now, marks the end of the truce. There are, as you point out, intense diplomatic efforts involving, of course, Hamas, Israel, Qatar, Egypt and the U.S., to see if it's possible to continue that truce and keep it going. But it requires the release of more women and children.

There is a belief that Hamas is holding it up to extend this for at least a few days, perhaps two or three.

The immediate focus is on getting it to go another 24 hours. And that's where the effort is right now. They're already looking at the future beyond that.

Israel has promised very much to restart its military campaign in Gaza even stronger than before, as the White House tries to caution Israel away from the same sort of devastating campaign in Northern Gaza from carrying out that same sort of effort in Southern Gaza.

So as of right now, the hostage exchange, the hostage release set for a few hours from now, we'll obviously keep an eye on that. And then the movement who are trying to extend this truce even further. It remains a big question. A key point, Phil. If you want to extend it beyond women and children, that may take an entirely new set of negotiations and a new set of parameters.

Women and children have been released. One Israeli for three Palestinian. And if you're going to talk about releasing elderly men, as well as soldiers, that may be an entirely different set of negotiations.

MATTINGLY: And a very complicated set of negotiations.


I want to drill in a little bit on those negotiations. As you know, in just a few hours, we expect that final transfer of hostages, at least as now, to begin. But it's a matter of counting down to when this truce actually ends.

What are the challenges to secure at least a short-term extension here?

LIEBERMANN: So one challenge is that Hamas isn't holding all of the hostages, which means it needs to get them from other organizations and militant groups in Gaza to be able to carry out these hostage releases.

That was one of the big points at the beginning. Hamas needs a pause in the fighting and no drones overhead so it can move the hostages around.

For example, Israel has said that the family of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, the youngest hostage in captivity, is not actually held by Hamas. And that is a challenge in and of itself.

It also means the hostages are held in different locations. Some have said through their families they were held underground, some above ground.

Finding them, getting them to a point, and then getting the terms around that release, it remains an enormous challenge. We have seen this truce, of course, on the past several days on thin ice more than once as they try to extend it.

We'll see how thin that ice gets, how fragile this agreement gets in the final hours, at least as the agreement was explained to us, how it's set to play out.

We'll see the hostage release tonight, the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jail, and then the truce itself, if it's not extended, will expire early tomorrow morning.

MATTINGLY: Yes, the complications are so numerous here. Oren, thank you.

The major diplomatic breakthrough to secure the humanitarian pause and hostage exchange, it's really brought into sharp focus just how critical President Biden, the Biden administration have been throughout.

In conversations with senior administration officials, it came to more than a dozen calls with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At least three calls with the emir of Qatar, the central intermediary with Hamas's political wing, including a critical call multiple officials told me unlocked a major roadblock to hostage releases on Saturday.

There are also at least three calls with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, which helped structure the surge in humanitarian aid and those hostage transfers.

Arlette Saenz, over to you on the North Lawn.

For all of the moving parts here, American officials say they've kept a steadfast focus on those two American women that have not been released yet. Is there a belief day they could be released today?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, the White House is hopeful that those two American women will be released, but they have been able to offer any assurances just yet.

The White House and President Biden have been pushing around the clock to try to secure the release of these hostages. Now, these two women who the U.S. has yet to name. It's unclear where exactly in Gaza they're being held.

Administration officials have been quite frank in saying that they don't necessarily know the conditions or whereabouts of these hostages. But that they urge Hamas to ensure that they are released.

There's also the fact that there are some other groups beside Hamas who are holding some of these hostages.

But the White House also said that so far, they are not concerned. They don't believe that Hamas is intentionally holding onto American women, they believe that this is something that can still move forward, and they are hopeful that it could potentially come today. And if it doesn't, then all eyes will be on whether there will be an extension of a truce, as President Biden has said that he will not stop until all of these hostages are back home.

MATTINGLY: Yes. It's such a good point. If you want to understand the intensive nature of this, just look at who's in the region or headed to the region right now. CIA Director William Burns has been in Qatar. Antony Blinken set to head to Israel this week.

Also learning this morning Roger Carstens, the top hostage negotiator, will be heading to Israel today, as well. A huge effort under way. Oren, Arlette, thank you guys very much -- Erica.

HILL: Well, Nikki Haley getting an infusion of cold cash. But can a billionaire Republican's war chest help her topple Donald Trump?

MATTINGLY: And breaking overnight a U.S. military Osprey crashes off the coast of Japan. Who helped save one of the people on board? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


HILL: Breaking overnight, one person is dead after a U.S. military Osprey aircraft carrying six people crashed off the coast of Japan's Yakushima Island. That's according to the Japanese Coast Guard.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is live in Seoul, South Korea, with more for us this morning. What more do we know about the aircraft and what happened here, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, at this point, there's no cause known as to what exactly happened with this aircraft.

The information we do have is from Japan's Coast Guard, they say they received information about the crash just before 3 p.m. local time. And they immediately sent out a patrol boat and an aircraft to scour the area.

They say that they saw the wreckage of what was believed to be a U.S. military aircraft.

Now it's just after 8 p.m. now in the evening. It is dark, but that search operation does continue. A number of patrol boats now looking for the other five that were onboard this Osprey.

Now, we know from officials, the Coast Guard saying that they believed they received an emergency call for an emergency landing at one point during the afternoon.

Now as I said, the cause of the crash is unknown. There have been a number of crashes of these Ospreys over the past two years. In fact, just three months ago, three U.S. Marines were killed when an Osprey crashed in Australia during a training exercise.

And also, just last year, five U.S. Marines were killed during a training accident in California. Just before that, four U.S. service members lost their lives during a NATO training exercise when an Osprey crashed in Norway.

So clearly, that will be looked at very closely. But the focus now is where exactly and what has happened to the other five onboard. As we know, one has been confirmed to have lost their lives at this point. But Japan's Coast Guard say they are continuing the search into the night -- Erica.

HILL: Paula, appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, this picture that we're about to show you of Kevin McCarthy is post-January 6th. There's one, the post-January 6th visit to Mar-a- Lago. You may recall it sparked some intense backlash, even among some Republicans, according to Liz Cheney.

So why did he do it? You'll have to stick around for that. MATTINGLY: And look at this. The national Christmas tree, no match for

the gusty winds in Washington, D.C., last night. The 40-foot Norway spruce toppled at the Ellipse near the White House.


More than 10 million people are under freeze alerts this morning. Erica and I had a very scientific anecdotal discussion.


HILL: We did.

MATTINGLY: But it's cold. Meteorologist Derek van Dam --

HILL: Can confirm.

MATTINGLY: -- is tracking that cold weather and actually knows the science here. What's the latest, Derek?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Paycheck's in the mail. You know, look at that.

Listen, single-digit absolutely bitter temperatures felt right now across the Great Lakes region with freeze warnings, below freezing, all the way down to Gainesville, Florida.

The lake effect snow machine still pumping out some hefty snow bands downwind of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

This is what it looked like overnight and yesterday in Buffalo, New York, where they've received over a foot of snow. The good news is, we turn off the lake effect snow taps quickly, focus our attention on the potential of a wet weekend for the Eastern Seaboard, with a potential for severe weather for Texas tomorrow.

And this is also going to usher in some more warmer temperatures across the Eastern half of the country.

Speaking of warmth, the Florida Keys not looking that bad. Wish you were here. CNN THIS MORNING will be right back.




NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have been underestimated in everything I've ever done. And it's a blessing, because it makes me scrappy.


HILL: Well, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley there on the campaign trail in New Hampshire yesterday. One person who is not underestimating her: billionaire conservative

activist Charles Koch. The Koch network now throwing its money and influence behind Haley. Of course, the question this morning: Will that be enough to reshape the race with just seven weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses?

Joining us now, civil rights attorney Maura Wiley; former deputy chief of staff to Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Maura Gillespie; and "The New York Times" national political reporter, Shane Goldmacher.

So as we -- as we look at this, Shane, to you first, especially after this reporting, is this enough? Are there signs that point to it being enough to disrupt things?

SHANE GOLDMACHER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I mean, I think the short answer is no, there aren't signs enough to -- to disrupt Donald Trump.

But I think this does have a big disruption in the campaign and in the primary, which is there's a primary inside the primary, which is Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, trying to be the one anti-Trump figure.

And this is a real big part of that. This is a lot of money and an important group coming in and saying we think that, at this point in time, that candidate is Nikki Haley. It's no longer Ron DeSantis. And -- and that's a disruption.

Now, does either of them ever get a real one-on-one with Trump? Can they catch up to Trump? That's a different question entirely.

MATTINGLY: Maura, as someone who's been in Republican politics, I think the Koch brothers became kind of the Democratic boogeyman. There's a ton of money, as Shane was noting.

My question right now is, it's a grassroots organization that has a ton of volunteers with it, AFP, plus the money. What kind of juice do they have in this primary? Can they end Ron DeSantis? Can they elevate Haley to be the clear No. 2?

MAURA GILLESPIE, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF TO REP. ADAM KINZINGER: I think what it shows us is that they're putting their money and their team and the volunteers behind her, because they started telling us earlier this year, was anyone but Trump. It can't be Trump.

And so they're really doubling down on that and pointing out that Ron DeSantis is also not the choice for Republicans. And so looking at the field that's left, they chose Nikki Haley, who has the most momentum.

Ad we have seen that her poll numbers have increased, especially after each Republican debate, which there's another one coming on. They're putting their money behind it, and I think it's telling as well that, you know, in Iowa, Kim Reynolds she put her support behind DeSantis.

Both these scenarios do not choose Trump. And I think that's really telling for what people who have something to say in the party are letting us all know that we have to move beyond this. Because forward- looking --

MATTINGLY: Isn't that the whole issue? They picked two different people, therefore making it -- kind of making it more difficult for the anti-Trump vote to the extent it exists.

GILLESPIE: It's important to have choices. If we continue to follow along the Trump method, we will lose and also, our democracy will lose. Our constitution will lose. And I think people are recognizing that, within the party, the real dangers that are at play here. And they're looking for another avenue but Trump.

HILL: And part of the memo, right, was that one of the reasons we think Nikki Haley is the person to put our money behind is because she believes she can bring in some of those independents, some of those moderates who have been turned off by Donald Trump.

How are Democrats, Maya, looking at this this morning? Yes, we recognize the state of where things are in terms of the power of Donald Trump and where he sits this morning. But is Nikki Haley seen as a real threat?

MAYA WILEY, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: I'm going to go with Shane here. I think this is about the honorable mention in this campaign.

I think it is interesting. And one thing that's particularly striking from the standpoint of the statement that they made about the extremism that a Donald Trump represents and how Nikki Haley is the counter to that, kind of flies in the face of their history of actually supporting, getting Donald Trump not just elected including, you know, some of the work that they helped to fund in Wisconsin in 2016 and the ads that helped support him, by going after Hillary Clinton.

But you know, when you go back to the origins of why Donald Trump has been so dangerous for democracy, his lies about the election in 2020, you know, this all goes back to the attack on voting rights that, frankly, was a signature of the Koch brothers that began after 2008. And the efforts to make it significantly more difficult for Americans lawfully allowed to vote to vote.

And that's the origins of the great denial and the big lie. And that's something that we owe, frankly, to the Koch brothers and to Alex (ph). So the roots of this very danger to democracy is essentially coming from the same folks that are now saying, Oh, wait. Now democracy is in danger.


MATTINGLY: Maya, to pull a piece of what you said at the top, on the statement and talking about extremism, what's striking -- I think Mark gets this a lot when we talk, as well -- is there are a lot of Republicans who feel that way. There's no question about it.

And yet, take a listen to, I think, one of those Republicans and who he'd support between Trump or Biden.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if it comes down to Trump and Biden, which it most likely will, you're going to vote for Trump then?

GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R-NH): I'm a Republican.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, so you will vote for Trump?

SUNUNU: It's not going to be Trump and Biden, I'm telling you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think it will be another Republican and Biden?

SUNUNU: I will say this, and I mean this quite sincerely: the party that chooses to move on from Trump or Biden first, wins.


MATTINGLY: Shane, to his first statement, and I think this is -- This isn't just a one-off quote. This isn't just him saying something that's good sound. This is at the root of everything.

If you're not willing to say, if it's not Trump, I'm going to the Democrats, doesn't that undercut what Maura was talking about here, coalescing behind anybody else?

GOLDMACHER: I mean, this is just an ongoing challenge for a whole slew of Republicans. Right? You have the former attorney general, Bill Barr, who said that Donald Trump is, you know, not a good president and maybe a danger to this country. But if presented a choice between Bill Barr [SIC] and a Democrat -- between Donald Trump and a Democrat, he might go back with Donald Trump again.

Look, the Koch brothers are actually doing something, I think, pretty notable here, which is they are swallowing some major disagreements with Nikki Haley on a slew of foreign policy issues, in which they disagree with her. She's a hawk, and they are not.

And yet they're saying, We're going to put that aside for the domestic issues, where we think that Donald Trump is bad for the country.

GILLESPIE: And I think it speaks to bigger issue here, is that people, voters, do not want to have another matchup between Biden and Trump. People are very disinterested and they are unmotivated. And unmotivated voters, it's going to benefit Donald Trump.

So they're looking to get somebody else in there. And doing so by putting their money behind Nikki Haley.

MATTINGLY: All right, guys. Stay with us. Shane, Maura, Maya, stick around. We'll be coming back to you shortly.

An extension of that truce between Israel and Hamas could come at any moment today, amid new reporting on the diplomatic mission by the White House to save more hostages. HILL: Plus, Donald Trump bringing his legal fight over the 2020

election back to life. What he wants from the Justice Department, next.