Return to Transcripts main page
CNN This Morning
Israeli Forces Disguised as Civilians Infiltrate Hospital in West Bank and Kill Palestinian Militant Targets; Biden Administration Reportedly Considering Options to Retaliate against Iran or Iranian Proxies for Attack in Jordan that Killed Three U.S. Servicemembers; House Set to Take Up Mayorkas Impeachment Articles; New Bill Targets Deepfake Images, AI Robocalls; Interview with Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY). Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired January 30, 2024 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Glad you're with us. We are watching several major developments in the Middle East as tension rises in the region. New this morning, Hamas says it is, quote, studying a new proposal for a potential truce and hostage release deal, but that its priority is the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza. This comes after those negotiations in Paris where negotiators agreed to a broad framework for a three-phase deal over the weekend.
And today, the families of the American hostages still being held will meet with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan at the White House. This is new surveillance video that shows undercover Israeli special forces dressed as civilians and doctors storming a hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin and killing three men. Those men identified by both the IDF and Hamas as militants.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, the world is waiting to see how President Biden will respond to a drone attack that killed three U.S. soldiers at their outpost in Jordan. The U.S. put the blame on Iran-backed militants. The president is trying to thread the needle by responding forcefully without sparking a wider regional war. Officials telling CNN that the U.S. response is likely to be more powerful than previous retaliatory strikes in Syria and Iraq.
We have team coverage with Natasha Bertrand at the Pentagon, but we start with Jeremy Diamond live in Tel Aviv with more on those hostage negotiations. Jeremy, what are you learning about the status of where those stand after the very significant Paris talks?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: There are clearly ongoing meetings and discussions after the multiple parties involved in these negotiations, including Israel, Egypt, Qatar, and the United States, appear to have agreed to a, quote, broad framework for the next potential hostage deal. And I want to talk to you a little bit about what is in the broad
framework, according to our sources. Phase one would involve the release of civilian hostages over a period of about six weeks. Three Palestinian prisoners released for every one Israeli civilian released. And then there would be a second phase of this deal which would involve the release of Israeli soldiers who are also being held hostage by Hamas as well as the bodies of some 28 Israeli hostages who are believed to also be held as bargaining chips by Hamas. There would be a higher ratio of Palestinian prisoners released as part of that second phase of the agreement.
The question is whether or not Israel and Hamas can overcome what the Israeli prime minister's office described yesterday as significant gaps that still remain between the two sides. And those significant gaps mainly center over whether or not the next hostage deal is going to ultimately lead to an end to this war between Israel and Hamas. That is exactly what Hamas has been seeking as part of a broader agreement here. They want to see Israeli forces removed entirely from Gaza and they want to try and salvage their position inside the Gaza Strip. Hamas says that it is now reviewing this framework that has been agreed to by the other parties. They say in a statement that they are, quote, in the process of studying it and submitting its response to it on the basis that the priority is to stop the aggression, the brutal attack on Gaza, and the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces from the strip. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, for his part, they say that he has been invited to Cairo to review this proposal further with Egyptian authorities.
HARLOW: Jeremy, let's play this video of Israeli special forces, as we mentioned, dressed as civilians, some of them as doctors, going into this hospital in Jenin. What is happening here?
DIAMOND: It's remarkable footage. You can see these Israeli forces disguised as civilians in some cases. At least three of them is wearing hijabs. One of them is wearing a doctor's lab coat. Another is in medical scrubs. One is even carrying a baby carrier, or a child car seat as they move throughout this hospital, weapons drawn.
We're told that they infiltrated this hospital in order to target three Palestinian militants affiliated with the Jenin brigades, which is a kind of combination of Palestinian militant forces inside of the West Bank. They killed those three militants, both Hamas and the Israeli military agreeing at least on that set of facts. But the Israeli military says that they were actively involved in planning of further attacks. They say that one man who they apparently targeted, Muhammad Jalamneh, was transferring weapons and ammunition to terrorists. And they say that he was planning an imminent terrorist attack in the immediate future. We, of course, cannot independently confirm that.
But the hospital for its part says that at least one of these men was being -- receiving treatment for his injuries. It's important to note that hospitals are traditionally protected spaces under international law unless they are being used by militants or armed forces to carry out their military activity. Poppy?
MATTINGLY: Jeremy Diamond for us in Tel Aviv.
This morning, we also have new information on that deadly drone attack on U.S. soldiers in Jordan. Natasha Bertrand is live for us at the Pentagon. Natasha, what more are you learning about the strike and how the U.S. is thinking about its response?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Phil, we are learning a little bit more about what may have happened here that allowed that drone to hit the living quarters of this base called Tower 22 in northeast Jordan, right on the border with Syria. Apparently, according to defense officials, there was a bit of confusion about who this enemy drone actually belonged to, because at the same time, or roughly around the same time that it was approaching the base, an American drone was also approaching the base returning essentially from a mission. And so there was a little bit of delay in responding to that enemy drone because there was some confusion, according to officials, about who it belonged to and whether it was friend or foe.
In addition to this, that drone was also flying very low, and that may have allowed it to evade the base's air defenses. So a lot of questions here about whether there need to be changes made to the base's early warning systems and air defense systems to prevent this from happening again, because there are still 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel that are regularly stationed at that base.
Now, in terms of who carried out this attack, it's still unclear. The U.S. has pointed the finger squarely at Iran-backed militias. However, they have not said with any specificity which militant group actually carried out this attack. So that is what the Biden administration is studying as they prepare a response, Phil.
HARLOW: What can you tell us about the three victims -- well, more than 40 injured, but the three who were killed, the three U.S. servicemembers who were killed in this attack? We know more about them this morning.
BERTRAND: That's right. The Defense Department did release the names of these three U.S. army soldiers who were killed in this drone attack. And they are 46-year-old Sergeant William Rivers, 24-year-old specialist Kennedy Sanders, and 23-year-old specialist Brianna Moffett. And their families, or I should say the families of Sanders and Moffett, anyway, they spoke a little bit about how they want their daughters to be remembered. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAWN SANDERS, FATHER OF SPC. KENNEDY SANDERS, U.S. SOLDIER KILLED IN JORDAN: Remember her service and the commitment and the sacrifice she made for the country.
ONEIDA OLIVER-SANDERS, MOTHER OF SPC. KENNEDY SANDERS, U.S. SOLDIER KILLED IN JORDAN: Even though her time was short on earth, she lived her life to the fullest, and she enjoyed her life. FRANCINE MOFFETT, MOTHER OF SPC. BREONNA MOFFETT, U.S. SOLDIER KILLED
IN JORDAN: We made sure that she knew how much we loved her, and that we never wanted her to feel alone, and that we would always be right there by her side.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERTRAND: Now, as you mentioned, Poppy, there were an additional 40 U.S. servicemembers who were injured in this attack, and eight of them had to be medically evacuated out of Jordan to Baghdad. Three of those who were medically evacuated are now recovering at Landstuhl medical facility in Germany. The rest of them, primarily, have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. Poppy, Phil?
HARLOW: Natasha Bertrand at the Pentagon.
And joining us now to discuss, retire U.S. Navy Commander Kirck Lippold, and Dave Harden, a former director at the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. Thanks very much for being here.
The decision the White House now has to make, Commander, how do you make that decision in a way that is effective, because the attempt at deterrence hasn't worked so far, but also does not tangle the United States up in a much broader regional war further than it is already tangled up?
CMDR. KIRK LIPPOLD, U.S. NAVY (RET): Well, good morning, Poppy. I think one of the first things the administration needs to take into account is that the enemy gets a vote on whether they are at war or expanding the conflict. Clearly, Iran is doing that at this point. And the administration has to consider that when they do strike back, doing the proxy groups is not going to be enough. And at this point, we need to look at what can we target in Iran that is going to allow us to be able to not only eliminate a threat, but also have a longer- term deterrent effect.
So it's going to have to be multipronged. It's going to have to involve more than just kinetic forces. We are going to make sure our allies are in the region, but we are going to have to look at Iran proper and not just the proxy groups in the region.
HARLOW: Looking at Iran proper, which is something that a handful of Republican senators have said directly since this weekend to do, that would certainly mean a response from Iran, would it not? Is there a world in which you see any kind of strike on our IRGC members, et cetera, that would not, or facilities that would not invite a response from Iran?
LIPPOLD: It may invite a response from Iran. But look at the consequences of what's happened to date when we haven't struck Iran direct. We have struck at the proxy groups, and what has it done? There has been no deterrent effect on Iran's ability to project power and destabilize throughout the region. So clearly, the approach we have had over the last several weeks and months has not worked in our ability to contain Iran in what they're doing throughout the Middle East.
MATTINGLY: Dave, to that point, can you game out what would happen -- and to be very clear, the U.S. officials I have spoken to have said while a strike in Iran proper is not off the table, it's not in the realm of what they are considering at this moment, at least within Iran. But were that to happen, walk through what happens next.
DAVE HARDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, USAID YEMEN MISSION DIRECTOR: Yes. Look, the families that we just saw, it breaks our hearts. So there has to be a strong deterrence and strike against Iran. If we hit Iran proper, we have to understand, as Kirk just noted, that the enemy has a vote as well. And so Iran will respond. And I think what happens is that we then become distracted in the Middle East while we have Russia on the doorsteps of Kyiv and we have China looking very closely at Taipei. And so ultimately, what we need to do -- and it's a tough one -- is to strike, contain, and deter Iran.
But I'm not convinced that right now is the time to hit Iran proper. You can hit Iranian assets in the sea or you can hit Iranian interests, and you must couple this with sanctions and political pressure. We have to have a strong strike. But in Iran proper, that's an escalatory risk.
HARLOW: Commander, do you think that would be enough, what Dave just laid out there, the combination of more sanctions and these strikes that are not in Iran proper?
LIPPOLD: I think it would be if we strike in a manner that makes sure that it has a deterrent effect. If we were to target, for example, the ship that's providing targeting information to the Houthi rebels, if we were to increase maritime interdiction operations. And first and foremost, let's go back and put into place the pre-JCPOA or Iran nuclear agreement sanctions and then tighten them even further. That has to be done in coordination with our European allies. It would take us away from that direct attack into Iran.
But nonetheless, we need to make it so painful to the Mullahs in Iran that they, in fact, will not continue these attacks on American forces in the region. That's the bottom line in this particular instance.
MATTINGLY: Dave, I want to ask, because we have you, we reported yesterday on the U.N. relief agency. There's an Israeli dossier that led several countries to pull their funding, or at least pause their funding because some of the U.N. relief agency's employees had participated in the October 7th attacks. Because of that pause, there's obviously significant concerns about the humanitarian crisis that's ongoing in Gaza. Can you explain to people what that pause will mean, and your reaction when you saw that some of the employees had been implicated in participating in those attacks?
HARDEN: We're facing some hard truths here. So it's true that UNRA is structurally flawed and needs massive reform. At the same time, we are on the brink of a famine in Gaza with 2.3 million people at risk. And so here are our only options. One is to continue with UNRA and to release those funds and to reform it concurrently. The second is for the Israelis, who have a duty of care under international law, to provide the health, the education, the food, and the assistance to the civilian population. Or three, it's time to bring in the Palestinian Authority under some kind of international trustee arrangement to begin that. All of these options are difficult. Netanyahu opposes all of them.
MATTINGLY: Just one of the many complicating factors as we have been discussing. Kirk Lippold, Dave Harden, we appreciate your expertise. Thank you.
This morning, we are just hours away from a rare moment on Capitol Hill as Republican lawmakers push to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. We will have the new response from Mayorkas calling the push baseless and inaccurate. That's next.
MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, Homeland Security chief, Alejandro Mayorkas is in the crosshairs of the House Homeland Security Committee as it readies to take up Articles of Impeachment against him.
Now, the two Articles accuse him of "refusing to comply with the law" and "breaching the public trust." Now over the historic surge, this all coming of migrants at the southern border.
Democrats have rallied to defend Mayorkas releasing a report on Monday calling the GOP action a sham by hardliners.
CNN's Lauren Fox joins us now from Washington.
Lauren, to that point, this is historic in the sense that this is not something that normally happens. Are Republicans online? Because if one or two decide they don't want to be a part of this, this isn't moving forward on the House floor.
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Phil. This is really the narrowest of margins, and right now, Republican leadership in the House is warning they're going to get to the whipping operation after this moves through the committee and that is what's happening in just a little over two hours.
What we expect this morning is that Republicans and Democrats are going to engage in some fireworks as they move forward with marking up these two Articles of Impeachment against Mayorkas.
Again, this is the first time this has happened in more than a hundred years up here on Capitol Hill and that is a significant moment because Democrats are arguing it's not Mayorkas who created an immigration crisis that's been going on for decades.
In fact, Mayorkas himself urged Republicans in a letter that if they wanted to fix the immigration system, they could look across the Capitol over at the United States Senate where there is an emerging deal happening.
But assuming, and we do guess that this is going to pass out of committee later today, once that does happen, then the fight becomes over whether or not the votes are there on the floor.
Most Republicans are coming out supportive of moving forward with impeaching Mayorkas, including Don Bacon, a Republican from a swing district in Nebraska, but there are others who are still on the fence. Here's Tom McClintock back in November.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. TOM MCCLINTOCK (R-CA): Mayorkas is guilty of maladministration, neglect of duties, malfeasance in office, but these are not impeachable offenses.
So if Greene and her friends are successful in redefining impeachment, well, then the next time the Democrats have the majority, I think we can expect this definition to be turned against the conservatives on the Supreme Court, and any future Republican administration.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
FOX: Now House Speaker Mike Johnson has said he does plan to bring this to the floor swiftly after the committee approves it. Then if it passes in the House of Representatives, it heads over to the Senate where there's a major question of whether or not Mayorkas would be convicted. That chamber of course, controlled by Democrats and there's a lot of skeptical Republicans over there that are already saying that moving forward with impeachment against Mayorkas, they just don't see this warranting high crimes and misdemeanors.
MATTINGLY: Some of those Republicans involved in the negotiations over that bipartisan effort, which I'm not going to ask you, Lauren, when the text is coming, because every congressional correspondent hates that, but I may ask you later today.
Lauren Fox, I appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, a new effort to prevent deepfakes from fooling you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAKE JOE BIDEN ROBOCALL OBTAINED BY CNN: It's important that you save your vote for the November election.
Voting this Tuesday only enables the Republicans in their quest to elect Donald Trump again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: What you just heard was not President Biden, but an AI generated robocall. How a new bill could fight back against the fakes? That's next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:25:35]
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Democrats in Congress fighting robocalls with a new piece of legislation after a fake robocall that really impersonated President Biden targeted thousands of New Hampshire voters. This new legislation would vastly expand the definition of what a robocall is. It would include any call or text that includes artificially generated or pre-recorded messages. It would also double potential fines for violators.
Efforts to regulate artificial intelligence have been getting a lot of attention lately, but not a lot of action yet on Capitol Hill.
Our next guest first introduced a bill last May that would make non- consensual deepfake images a crime. His bill has been stalled in committee for months, but after explicit AI deepfakes of Taylor Swift sparked outrage over the weekend, there is a renewed push to take action and joining me now is that Democratic congressman, Joe Morelle of New York.
I'm so glad you're with us. Good morning.
REP. JOE MORELLE (D-NY): Good morning. Thank you.
HARLOW: You've been working on this for years -- certainly before this latest call it attempt and what they've done to Taylor Swift -- for years. What does your bill do?
MORELLE: Well, I became concerned about this when I was a member of the New York State Legislature and we successfully passed a law that prohibited the use of people's images and likenesses without their consent.
So when I got to Congress, I wanted to continue to work on this and recognize that these tools are continuing to be developed and refined and made easier to use.
And so what happened, unfortunately to Miss Swift is happening to thousands of women across this country each and every day. And so the legislation is intended to give them protections to make it a federal crime if you post without someone's consent, artificially derived images or created by artificial intelligence.
So these deepfakes are dangerous. They're traumatic to women, they could cause reputational harm, financial harm, not to mention the mental anguish that they go through.
HARLOW: I read through your bill. It's not long. It's 11 pages. Anyone can look through it.
It includes a potential big fine, but also potential imprisonment for up to 10 years. You said post. So if someone unknowingly posts something that was made by someone else with artificial intelligence, would they be subjected to this as well?
MORELLE: Well, I don't know how you would post something without knowing what the images are. So it's your responsibility what your posting to make sure that they're legitimate.
HARLOW: Yes, knowing if they're real or not. Yes, okay.
Let's move on because, as part of your work on this, as I said, over the years, you're also not really focusing on celebrities. You're focusing on people that don't get a platform and don't get the attention. For example, high school girls in New Jersey who have been victims of this.
Talk about what you've seen.
MORELLE: Yes, we had a young woman, a very courageous young woman who came to Washington just a couple of months ago in December to talk about her experience in New Jersey, where she -- she is 14 years old. She and classmates had images posted by what we believe were other students in the school, the Mani family came, Francesca, who was incredibly strong, and her mom who came to testify and talk about how that their experience has been.
And again, this is traumatic, and yes for celebrities, and I'm grateful that the issue is being talked about. I'm obviously sorry for what Taylor Swift has gone through, but again, thousands and thousands of women.
So when people are thinking about this, this could be your daughter, your sister, your mom -- anyone can use these -- and with the advance of these tools that has made it so much easier than it would have been possible to do even just a couple of years ago.
HARLOW: It was interesting, a couple of days ago, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, who is -- they're huge in this space -- sat down with Lester Holt from NBC. Here's part of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SATYA NADELLA, CEO, MICROSOFT: I go back to I think, what's our responsibility, which is all of the guardrails that we need to place around the technology so that there is more safe content that's being produced and there's a lot to be done there and not being done there, and we can do especially when you have law and law enforcement and tech platforms that can come together, I think we can govern a lot more than we think give ourselves credit for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Do you agree with him on that last point, Congressman? We can govern whether it's tech companies doing their part that they need to do, but also that Congress can govern this and make regulations.
You know, many people say, oh, they don't all understand it, and that may be true, but there is more action that can be taken now, is there not?
MORELLE: Oh, there's absolutely more action that can be taken. We've really begun, and I think, look, we will work with industry partners certainly to develop those standards, but clearly, it is going to take the Congress, it is going to take our law enforcement agencies and it is going to take the private sector to build these safeguards.