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U.N.'s Top Court Hears Genocide Claim Against Israel; Blinken Meets with Egypt's President, Wraps Up Middle East Tour; Next Hour: Trump Civil Fraud Trial Closing Arguments; Haley, DeSantis Spar in Last Debate Before Iowa Caucuses; New Data: U.S. Ended 2023 with Annual Inflation Rate of 3.4 Percent. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired January 11, 2024 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Well this is the scene outside a New York court where we expect to see former president and current presidential candidate
Donald Trump this hour. His lawyers will make closing arguments in the civil fraud case against Trump, his adult sons and his company.
It is 9:00 a.m. in New York. It's 6:00 p.m. here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. This is CONNECT THE WORLD.
Also happening over the next two hours, we'll explain how South Africa argued the case that Israel is guilty of genocide. That first day of this
consequential trial wrapping up just hours ago as protesters on both sides of the issue made their voices heard in The Hague.
ANDERSON: And a big day on the U.S. markets set opening about 30 minutes from now in the futures -- well, about quarter of 1 percent down. Let's
call it that. The consumer price index came out about 30 minutes ago.
That is the last inflation reading for 2023. Investors pawing over that for clues as to when and whether the Fed will start cutting interest rates.
More on that at the bottom of the hour.
Well, Israel is facing accusations of genocide in front of the world court. Today, the South African government presented its case at the International
Court of Justice in The Hague.
It is accusing Israel of engaging in genocidal acts against the Palestinian people in Gaza, and it is urging the court to order Israel to stop its
military campaign in the enclave. Israel will formally present its defense a day from now, but it's always said it's actions in Gaza are in self-
Melissa Bell joins us live from The Hague. Jeremy Diamond is in Tel Aviv.
Melissa, first to you. What did we see in here in court today, and just explain if you will be significance of this case?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the overall significance and the weight and the shadow over all of this that is cast and gives it all of the
gravity that it took today is of course that the case that they are bringing here, Becky, at the International Court of Justice, is based on
the 1948 Genocide Convention to which both Israel and South Africa are signatories and it was created in the wake of the holocaust so that mistake
countries could try and urge in real-time other states for refraining genocidal acts, things that could lead to genocide.
The South African case was laid out in an 84-strong page document outlining many of the accusations that you heard during their testimony here today. A
lot of it based on the words of U.N. rapporteurs, U.N. agencies over the course of the months and years, and I think would give a tremendous
strength is based on the document what you heard today, laying out this position and the historical context.
South African delegations speaking to what it described as a 75 year long system of apartheid. What was happening in Gaza was pointed out several
times in the course of the hearings what's happening on territory that was fundamentally controlled by Israel. A lot of what they said was about
preempting what we expect Israel's defense to be tomorrow, that it was acting in self-defense against Hamas. Also, that it is doing what it can
So you heard the South African delegates rise to try and prevent a lot of that over the course of the 93 hours of testimony. What was striking as
well, Becky, and sobering and chilling was to hear in such great forensic detail the accusations leveled at Israel about what's going on inside of
Have a listen, for example, to what South Africa's lead counsel had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEMBEKA NGCUKAITOBL, SOUTH AFRICAN SENIOR COUNSEL: Israel has a genocidal intent against the Palestinians in Gaza. That is evident from the way in
which Israel's military attack is being conducted, which has been described by (INAUDIBLE) it is systematic in its character and form. The mass
displacement of the population of Gaza headed into areas where they continue to be killed, and the delivered creation of conditions that,
quote, leads to a slow death, unquote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: There were both from several of the barristers who rose to speak -- rose to speak, Becky. The laying out of the facts of their case, the
accusations that through killings, the conditions that have been the result of the siege of Gaza, that acts of genocide have been committed since it is
part or whole of the Palestinian people in Gaza that are it is said being sought to be destroyed.
That's at the heart of the case. But as you pointed out a moment ago, these hearings this week and the ones that we heard today that were here the
South Africans, is specifically on the initial part. Special provisions that south Africa is asking the International Court of Justice to rule on
that would request, they would demand that Israel seek its hostilities immediately where the substance of the case of accusations can be
considered, and it is that much lower bar that it is hoped by those watching this case could allow a ruling in South Africa's favor, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yeah, this is very interesting. So wrapping up the case, then this genocide case, South Africa said that The Hague must order Israel to
halt this war.
Jeremy, let me bring you in at this point. Israel will defend itself at the ICJ's hearing on Gaza and the allegations of genocide in Gaza tomorrow.
What can we expect to hear from them?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Israel maintains this is a distortion of the 1948 genocide convention. You can expect them tomorrow to
talk about the ways in which they have sought to protect Palestinian civilians, talking to the dropping of leaflets, the evacuation orders that
have been made before Israel has made major military events in certain areas.
You can also expect them to point the finger back at Hamas, talking about why this war started, talking about the horrors of that October 7th
terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas, and the fact that more than 100 Israeli hostages still remain in captivity in Gaza. But on the whole,
Israel's point basically is that these allegations are baseless in their view.
We heard the Israeli President Isaac Herzog making that case. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: There's nothing more atrocious and preposterous than this claim. We will be there at the International Court
of Justice and will present proudly our case of using self-defense under our most inherent right under international humanitarian law where we are
doing our utmost and under extremely complicated circumstances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: And Israeli prime minister also this week saying that Israel is fighting Hamas, not the Palestinian people, and in fact, perhaps in the
clearest way that he has so far, he said in this video that Israel has no intent of displacing Palestinian civilians living in Gaza. And that is
perhaps notable that this case seems to have drawn him to make that kind of a definitive statement, even as he has remained largely silent as members
of his own government, those on the far-right of his governments have made or have argued that Israel do exactly that.
Now Israel's ministry of foreign affairs has also been arguing that this is one of the greatest hypocrisy shows in history, and talking about these
claims of genocide, and also arguing that South Africa's case ignores the fact that Hamas uses civilians as human shields and operates from within
civilian areas, including protected spaces like hospitals and mosques.
ANDERSON: So this goes on at The Hague, and we will once again be live from there tomorrow. This is really important stuff, Jeremy.
Meantime, Antony Blinken has left the region after what can only really be described as a crisis trip, and a trip that certainly did not calm the
He actually foreshadowed more military action against the Houthis in the Red Sea. This strip frankly cannot be qualified as a success from the Biden
administration's perspective, can it?
DIAMOND: I think what we still have to see is what the results are of the strip in the weeks to come. We certainly haven't seen a lot of concrete
deliverables from this multi day trip by the secretary of state throughout the region, including right here in Israel. But I think that the jury is
still out on what the impact will be in the longer term.
And a lot of the issues that he was trying to address do have longer term consequences, whether it is trying to prevent this escalation, this
conflict from escalating into a broader, regional conflict, or whether it is the securing the release of the hostages and other hostage deals, or of
course the next phase of the war in Gaza and what exactly postwar Gaza reconstruction in governance actually looks like.
We know that the secretary of state was discussing all of these issues with Israel as well as other regional partners, but I think it is not clear yet
exactly what the concrete results of those negotiations have been. If in the weeks to come, though, there are no results, I think you're exactly
right, Becky, that it's hard to see how the Biden administration could call this trip is access. But I also think sometimes you see these trips kind of
lay the groundwork for additional actions in the future, and we could certainly see that with this trip as well.
ANDERSON: Yeah, it's interesting. We talked to sources, certainly around this part of the region, Jeremy, the Gulf part of the region, there is real
frustration, real concern about where this is all headed, and frankly real frustration with a Biden administration that does not seem to have a long
term view on where this is headed and sort of where the solutions may lie. But as you say, sometimes this is about laying the groundwork for work to
come, as it were.
And, Melissa, thank you from The Hague.
Well, next hour, Donald Trump will be in a New York courtroom for closing arguments in the civil fraud trial against himself and his adult sons, but
he is not expected to speak despite the fact that he wanted to. We have just seen Trump's motorcade departing from Trump Tower to head to the
courthouse. These images from moments ago.
The former U.S. president was barred from making comments because he would not agree to the judges restrictions on what he could say in court as he
has done another legal cases against him, Trump is railing against the trial, calling it rigged and unfair.
Kara Scannell is in New York.
Kara, we are now not expecting to hear the former president speaking in court. He is not even required to be there. It does seem as if he will the
given that we've just seen the motorcade leaves Trump Tower.
And quite frankly, whether or not he has been told not to speak, anything seems possible these days, right?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it absolutely seems anything is possible with this trial. This will be Donald Trump's tenth time attending
the trial. He came here for opening statements and he's coming for the final word, the closing statement.
Now, the judge did say because Trump wouldn't agree to certain conditions, he wasn't going to let him participate in the closing statements, but as
you said with the trial, anything is possible, and so we will see once Trump arrived today in court and before the judge if any plans to shift.
But as it goes for now, Trump's team is expected to give their closing statement. Their arguments why Trump should not be found liable for
inflating his financial assets, for making false business records, and for issuing false financial statements that New York attorney generals office
seeking 200 and $70 million in what they called ill gotten gains. That's money that he shouldn't have gotten, but for these inflated financial
So once Trump's team finishes their closing arguments, then it will be the New York attorney general's team. We are a bit delayed this morning,
although the proceedings are expected to continue as planned, there was a bomb threat at the judge's home, the judge overseeing this case early this
morning. A bomb squad arrived at his home and cleared the area, but things are a little bit delayed.
Normally at this point, we would all be inside through the multiple areas of security, which are enhanced because former President Trump will be
arriving here. So, there's always additional layers of securities when he's here. This morning, we're also seeing just a little bit more -- a little
bit more of a delay, but the proceedings are expected to go on as planned.
This is the culmination of this trial that has been going on for three months. There's a lot at stake for the former president.
Not just the money, but the New York attorney generals office trying to ban him from doing business in New York and potentially shut down some of his
I know the judge is not expected to rule today. He is expected to issue a written opinion, perhaps as soon as the end of this month, but there is a
lot on the line today, and that is why we are seeing the former president arrived today whether he speaks inside the courtroom. We do expect some
speak in the hallways to reporters we has done so nearly every single time he has been here -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Good to have you. Thank you.
Donald Trump once against skipped the Republican debate last night that was hosted by CNN. Presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis did
though make it to the stage, and they duked it out without him. They got into heated exchanges over the economy, of immigration, conflicts happening
across the world.
CNN's Eva McKend has more on the last debate before the Iowa caucuses, which, of course, kick off this presidential year.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Governor Ron DeSantis taking center stage in the
final debate before the Iowa caucuses. And the gloves were off.
NIKKI HALEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he would spend as much time trying to prove why he thinks he would be a good president, he would be
doing a lot better in the polls.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the U.N. way of thinking, that we are somehow globalists. You can take the ambassador out
of the United Nations, but you can't take the United Nations out of the ambassador.
MCKEND: While the front runner was absent, Trump chose to attend a separate Fox News town hall event, and teased a possible vice president.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I mean, I know who it's going to be --
MODERATOR: Give us a hint.
TRUMP: I'll give you -- we'll do another show sometime.
MCKEND: The dueling events taking place as one of Trump's biggest critics steps aside.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anyone who is unwilling to say that he is unfit to be president of the United States is unfit
MCKEND: The former governor of New Jersey also found himself in a hot mic moment, criticizing Haley.
CHRISTIE: She's going to get smoked, and you and I both know it, she's not up to this.
MCKEND: Trump seizing on it.
TRUMP: I know her very well and I happen to believe that Chris Christie is right. So, I am not exactly worried about it.
MCKEND: Haley and DeSantis reminding voters of Trump's absence from the debate stage, again. Something they both agreed on, but which voters don't
seem to mind.
HALEY: I wish Donald Trump was up here on this stage. He needs to be defending his record.
DESANTIS: Donald Trump should be on this stage. He owes it to you here in Iowa.
MCKEND: But neither took the opportunity to strongly denounce him or argue he is unfit for office.
HALEY: So, when you look at Donald Trump, I have said I think he was the right president at the right time. I agree with a lot of his policies, but
his way is not my way.
DESANTIS: If Trump is the nominee, it's going to be about January 6th, legal issues, criminal trials. The Democrats in the media would love to run
MCKEND: But DeSantis and Haley spent most of the debate going after each other, and trying to prove who can be the toughest on stage.
DESANTIS: Do not trust Nikki Haley with illegal immigration. That is like having the fox guard the henhouse. Nikki Haley also opposed the border wall
in 2016. She said that -- she ridiculed it when Donald Trump was for it. I'm telling, you need a wall.
HALEY: Go to desantislies.com, I said you can't just build a wall, you have to do more than build a wall. It was having the wall and everything
else. You can't trust what Ron is saying.
MCKEND: DeSantis arguing Haley's record as South Carolina's former governor proves she isn't ready for the White House.
DESANTIS: She said she has always supported school choice, and she failed to deliver. She blames other people. Leadership is about getting things
done, stop making excuses. It could happen.
MCKEND: Haley firing back in a blistering takedown of his campaign.
HALEY: If leadership is about getting things done, how did you lose it $150 million in your campaign?
We went and saved our money. Make sure we spent it right because you have to understand, it is not your money. It is other people's money, and you
have to know how to handle it.
If he can't handle the financial parts of a campaign, how is he going to handle the economy when it comes to the White House?
ANDERSON: That's where things stand, folks, and we will have more on the countdown in the shadow of the Republican front runners legal drama. We'll
be joined by CNN legal and political analysts later this hour, watching as Donald Trump arrives at court today.
First up here on CONNECT THE WORLD, excuse me, Russia's main opposition leader makes a case before the country's highest court over what he calls
brutal conditions inside of his prison. A look at what the court decided is up next.
ANDERSON: Russia's Supreme Court has rejected Alexey Navalny's claims over brutal conditions inside of his Arctic prison. The Kremlin critic outlined
his case via a video link before the court dismissed his two lawsuits earlier today. Navalny complained of freezing conditions inside his present
and argued for the right to longer meal breaks and access to more books.
Supporters of Navalny have long claimed his incarceration is a politically motivated attempt to silence his criticism of President Vladimir Putin.
For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian in London.
Clare, I guess we should be asking what happens in Navalny's lawsuit. The answer is probably pretty clear. I mean, it would -- it would be news if we
thought he would be able to win this. So, what we are learning though is that the sort of conditions that he is imprisoned under at this point.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and that's really the point of this, Becky. This is the platform that he can get under current conditions.
We have heard from his spokesperson that the court has rejected both of his claims. By the way, this was not specifically about his own conditions of
This case in the ambitions of this protest, this case was to the Supreme Court, it was a lawsuit against the Russian justice ministry and the rules
governing prisoners and Russia are not fair insured be overturned. That is been rejected. That is really to the number of religious -- and there was a
second complaint about the amount of time that they were given to eat.
But he's all of, this you have a lot of time to talk, to really shed light on those conditions. You talked about how some prisoners will choose
newspapers or other books, including for example the Quran because they use the newspapers to keep warm. He talked about how the ten minute eating
window was given -- into a experience with boiling hot water's in this place of ten minutes.
This is on top of what we already heard from him in another hearing on a social media post on Wednesday that he is back in the punishments of, a
strict solitary confinement. This is the 24th time according to his team.
So, this gives them a platform. He's able to get's case heard at least overseas. I will say that in Russia, it is largely ignored, and that is a
measure of where we are. I think it adds weight to the argument from his team, from his aides, to his supporters that the Kremlin is really trying
to silence him, and that is why he has been banished to this remote penal colony in Siberia. All of this in just two months or so before elections in
Russia -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Well, as we continue to keep an eye on Navalny's case, I also want to focus on Russia's war on Ukraine, and Zelenskyy being welcomed in
Eastern Europe today.
Why is he there and what is his message, Clare?
SEBASTIAN: So, he is on a three-country tour. It's this first sort of diplomatic foray of the New Year, and then today in Estonia and then on to
Latvia. These are his staunchest allies. I think there's merit and doing this a time when support from the likes of the U.S., parts of the European
Union has wavered. These are countries that have not only donated and percentage terms the highest amounts of their GDP, and terms of movement
military aid and have a real vested interest in Ukraine's fight themselves being on the border with Russia and having themselves sort of come away
from Russian control at the end of the Soviet Union.
So he is there to get across the message that we have heard him repeat over and over again that if Ukraine isn't able to resist Russia, then they might
not stop at Ukraine. He said, look, if there's a day after Ukraine, you might see a day after Moldova, or a day after the Baltics, a day after
So, that's part of the message. More air defenses, and he was asked Becky several times about the possibility of freezing the conflict given the
situation on the frontlines. He has dismissed that, and today he reiterated that that would be a situation that would only benefit Russia.
ANDERSON: Good to have you, Clare. Clare Sebastian on both of those stories out of London for you today.
Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.
And authorities in Somalia say efforts are underway to rescue up to eight people who are on a U.N. helicopter that made an emergency landing. It says
that the aircraft came down in an area controlled by the terrorist group al-Shabaab.
The first U.S. approved bitcoin exchange traded fund, or ETFs, are expected to start trading today after final approval by federal regulators. That
means that investors can buy and sell the ETFs without the risks involved in holding bitcoin directly in the digital wallet. Financial analysts are
calling this a new asset class and so some caution. It is still vulnerable to fraud.
And we have a new clue in to how the inflation fight is going in the United States at least. The latest consumer price data and what it could mean for
interest rates is up next.
ANDERSON: The opening bell ring on the New York Stock Exchange. Transocean, the world's largest offshore drilling contractor doing the
honors this Thursday. That's the change.
You're with CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson, in Abu Dhabi for you where the time is half past six, half past nine, of course, in New York.
As those markets open, they have been mostly flat. It has to be said, all this, week after what has been a tough start to the year. And if you're
hoping to make money out of these markets as they go higher, as investors await information on the inflation fight.
Well, just about an hour ago, they got the latest, the consumer price index, the last one for 2023 out this morning.
For more on what those numbers suggest, Matt Egan joins us from New Jersey -- Matt.
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Becky, this inflation report was a bit disappointing. Everyone is waiting for more cooling. Obviously, Wall
Street, Main Street, the Fed, and, of course, the White House. That did not happen.
So I have to say, I'm a little surprised at how the markets are taking this very much in stride. When the numbers hit, we saw futures dip, but they
didn't dive, and U.S. stocks are open in the green, slightly higher, so investors are basically shrugging it off for better or for worse.
Let me bring you through some of the numbers here. So, these latest reports show that consumer prices increased by 3.4 percent on an annual basis. Now,
that is, of course, is a massive improvement from the peak above 9 percent in the summer of 2022. But this is an acceleration from the month before,
and it is hotter than expected.
Core inflation, that, of course, strips out food and energy, that cool to 3.9 percent. That is the best since May of 2021. And when you zoom in and
you look up prices move month to month, the CPI report showed that prices increased by 0.3 percent between November and December.
Again, that is hotter than expected, and it's not really consistent with getting to 2 percent on a sustainable basis. A few reasons why inflation
was higher than expected -- energy, rents, and airfare, all of them increased.
Becky, I think when you put all of this together, it is a reminder of how yes, inflation is gotten so much better than it was, but that last mile of
giving it back to the 2 percent the Fed is targeting, that last mile is not going to be easy. It does racing questions over whether or not investors in
some economists are a little bit too optimistic about the prospect of rate cuts in the coming months -- Becky.
ANDERSON: It's fascinating, isn't it? It's not -- it's not fuel that we are concerned about at this point, but as you say, these numbers are
suggesting that food and rent keeping those numbers stronger than had been expected.
Still trending, there's no real spikes here, and so trending in the right direction. Still, although, as we say, a little bit stronger and not
perfect, as far as the fed is concerned, if indeed it's been looking at lowering rates.
Good to have you, Matt. Always -- always a pleasure.
Well, yesterday at this time, we brought you the headlines from two gloomy reports on the global economic outlook, and wanted to take a closer look at
the World Bank's forecast, because it was pretty dire, it has to be said.
It came in a lengthy report predicting significantly lower growth. The foreword using the word dismal and, putting up lately, quote, the end of
2024 will mark the halfway point of what was expected to be a transformative decade. What looms instead is a wretched milestone: the
weakest global growth performance of any half decade since the 1990s.
One of the brains behind that report, Ayhan Kose, is the World Bank's deputy chief economist, and he joins me now live.
Sir, it's good to have you. You're one of the teams behind this report, as you put this together, what we are key takeaways?
AYHAN KOSE, DEPUTY CHIEF ECONOMIST, THE WORLD BANK: Becky, there are some good news when we think about the short term. You just talked about, you
know, recent inflation numbers. Inflation has been coming down. Growth is slowing.
But at the same time last year, January, we were expecting a very serious downturn in the global economy. That did not happen, and we did not see a
major financial crisis.
So, all in all, the global economy has been remarkably resilient. But when you look at the big picture over a long time period, the multiple crisis
we've been through over the past five years took a toll on the global economy, and we ended up with the weakest half decade growth performance
over 2024 since the early 1990s.
ANDERSON: No one will have forecasted a conflict the likes we have not seen in Ukraine, Russian war in Ukraine, which of course had significant
impacts on the global economy, enormously inflationary. We have seen and continue to see this conflict in Gaza, the likes of which is spilling.
There is concern about a wider regional war.
How concerned are you at the bank about continued inflationary pressure on inputs as we see what is going on in the Red Sea at present. These are the
sort of things that you may sound a tone of optimism here, but you certainly have said that I don't suggest that we pop the champagne corks as
How concerned are you about what we are seeing and reporting on as we speak?
KOSE: We are very much concerned when we think about the overall geopolitical tensions. You mentioned a war in Eastern Europe, major
conflict in the Middle East.
These are basically the supply half of the global economy, and then the tensions with respect to what is going on in the Suez Canal, quite
worrying. We are expecting inflation to come down this year, but to the levels that central bankers are going to be comfortable with.
But there is a big but, and that but is that if conflict escalates, we see deeper disruptions in the Suez Canal, obviously, that will have
implications for headline inflation, and it will make life much more difficult for people on the street, and it will have implications of course
for economic growth.
Most of the time, you worry about financial stress because of high interest rates, that levels. Nowadays, the number one global risk is actually these
ANDERSON: No, and you make an extremely good point there.
Your colleague, chief economist Indermit Gill said that without a major course correction, the 2020s will go down as a decade of wasted
Let's get a little bit glass half full here. What could that course correction be? What would it look like, and how important to are, for
example, the economic leaders of A.I., tech, and the likes. What sort of impacts are they going to have going forward?
KOSE: We are of course optimistic about the implications of these A.I.- based technologies. Hopefully, they will have an impact.
But at the same time, we are a developing institution. We look at reality on the ground, you travel especially run the Middle East, and the big
challenge is that at the global level, they need leaders to work together, address the bigger challenges that global economies are facing in the
context of climate change, in the context of debt problems, and we see especially in low income countries, and especially in the context of food
insecurity in the Middle East.
But at the national level, we need much higher investment growth. For that, we need stronger fiscal frameworks and we need ultimately much better
institutions, better environments for private sector.
ANDERSON: And you talk about this part of the world. It's very -- it's very fractured sort of picture when you look at this part of the world, the
Middle East and North Africa, isn't it? Where I sit here in the UAE today, it is a very different story than that of Egypt, for example, or North
You look at sort of South Asia, Pakistan is a very different picture of that than India. It's good to have you on, sir. It is really important that
we drill down on the sort of thinking that you -- that went into this report, and we very much appreciate having you on, thank you.
Well, we are keeping an eye on Manhattan in the courthouse there. Donald Trump due to arrive any minute now for closing arguments in his fraud
trial. There is Trump, the defendant, of course, and Trump the candidate. And we will discuss both after this.
ANDERSON: Donald Trump now at a New York courthouse for closing arguments in his civil fraud trial. Just one of a number of trials of course he is
involved. And Trump is not expected to speak at the proceedings after a ruling by the judge, but we could hear from him before he goes in.
So, these are the live pictures for you. Trump, his sons, and his company artist of overstating in financial papers how much their properties were
worth. He says that he did not do anything wrong. This is one of a myriad of cases that Donald Trump is juggling as he campaigns for reelection.
Let's bring in defense attorney Misty Marris and Republican strategist Doug Heye.
Misty, from a legal perspective, as we take a look at the images there and if we do hear Trump speak then we will go to it, but from a legal
perspective, what do we expect Trump's lawyers to argue in the closing today?
MISTY MARRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, absolutely. So we did find out that we are not going to hear from Donald Trump. He made an application to the
court to be a part of today's what are called closing arguments. This is an opportunity for both sides to ramp up the case and do their final
presentation on both the liability and damages aspects to the judge here.
This is a bench trial, and then Trump wanted to actually speak directly to the court. The court set some parameters, and then ultimately, he declined
based on those parameters through his attorneys.
And what we can expect to hear today from the defense, from Donald Trump's team, is the argument that we've seen throughout the case. The argument has
been that there was no intent to defraud and there were no victims for the crimes. All of the banks and entities that are at issue here actually
benefited from the relationships. So that is the argument from one side, and, of course, the attorney general will argue both their ill gotten gains
to the tune of $375 million and also seeking to stop Trump from doing business in the state of New York.
So, all of that will be piece together in today's closing arguments.
ANDERSON: And when we look at the orbit of Trump's legal cases, Misty, it can get pretty confusing particularly for international viewers who aren't
watching this sort of minute by minute.
How important that is this case, in the grand scheme of things for Donald Trump?
MARRIS: Absolutely. It is very tangled web. This case, it's important to recognize, is a civil case. So, this case relates to money and that will
ultimately be the result here. It will be how much, if any, is Donald Trump's organization, Donald Trump himself owe, and his ability to do
business in New York state.
Now, that being said, the other cases are criminal. That's a completely different analysis that could result in a guilty verdict and ultimately, in
some cases, could be jail time on the penalty aspect. But this particular case, it's important to recognize is civil and ultimately the result will
be some amount of money.
Now, again, this case is also noteworthy, there is going to be an appellate proceeding. It will have finality in the courtroom at some point in the
near future with respect to the fraud case. It will go up to the appellate division. His lawyers have guaranteed this case will make its way up the
ANDERSON: Great. Okay, that is really useful. Thank you. Stay with us.
Doug, Trump, the defended then, also Trump the candidate. He's still the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination. That makes for a
busy calendar for him.
Is appearing at events like this, to your mind, part of his strategy?
DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Becky, without question. What we're going to see today, yes, a court proceeding, but it is also very much a
campaign event for Trump. And we tried to over the past year or so separated into a "what's legal and what's political"?
But for Donald Trump, this isn't a Doctor Jekyll versus Mr. Hyde. It's sort of a Mr. Jekyll and Dr. Hyde. Donald Trump is symbiotically in both roles
at once, he understands the value and the power of imagery, he's gone to court proceedings he didn't necessarily have to. It's why he's made remarks
when he didn't necessarily have to.
And the language that he uses outside of the courtroom is very similar to the language that he uses, let's say, if he's an Iowa appearing in a
campaign rally. The same language because the same intent in the same purpose.
ANDERSON: Let's just take a step back, Doug, if we can, and explain for international viewers what an unprecedented situation this is, just days
out from what is the first real contest of this election year. That being the Iowa caucuses.
Just explain the significance here.
HEYE: Well, it's unprecedented. We've never seen anything like this, a former president running for reelection as unusual in and of itself. But
then to do so when you are under a criminal conviction, criminal indictment, multiple indictments, something we've never seen before.
Donald Trump is also a politician that we've never seen before and very bizarrely for Trump, he is able to turn what is otherwise a weakness into
strengths for him, at least in the primaries. And so, if you see the language that Trump has used the first-time, second, time, third time he's
been indicted, he says this isn't about, me it's about you, the voters. They're coming after me to get to you. There's a two tiered system of
justice. Things like that.
And what is also unprecedented, I've never seen this in American politics, whether you're running for mayor, senator, congressman are certainly
president, Trump's own opponents for the better part of a year now have not only defended Donald Trump or declined to go after him, they use Trump's
Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley both say Donald Trump is right, he's a victim here, was a two tiered system of justice, the Department of Justice has
been weaponized. So, it gives voters no place to go ultimately, whether you're talking about Iowa or New Hampshire. They made their own jobs harder
by their own rhetoric and backing up Donald Trump almost every step of the way.
ANDERSON: Yeah. It's interesting, isn't? Because Chris Christie, who dropped out of the, race of course, just before the Iowa debate, the CNN
debate with Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis last night. He is -- was the only candidate who is actually calling Donald Trump out. He hasn't said who he
will back, was caught on a hot might being pretty worried about both candidates, it has to be said.
Misty, let me bring you back in at this point. You talked about potential jail time.
I, wonder how does that impact Donald Trump's race for the White House?
Explain to us here the legal impact, even if voters don't care.
MARRIS: Absolutely. So, as we discussed, the case that we're talking about today, this is a civil case. There are other pending criminal cases where
Donald Trump is facing that potential issue.
Now, what is funny, there's a lot of unclear questions with respect to the Constitution in this sphere of Donald Trump, whether a sitting president or
a former president can be convicted of a crime, all sorts of constitutional issues.
What is interesting is there is one that's very clear cut. Nothing in the Constitution that would preclude Donald Trump from running for president,
even if he were convicted of a crime prior to -- prior to the election.
So, that's interesting component, because we're dealing with a lot of issues that are likely to go up to the supreme with respect to many of
these cases. That's one that is pretty much resolved. He could actually still run for president.
Now, what would it mean if these cases are delayed, which seems to be a part of the Trump team's tactics, delayed so that none of them go forward
before the election, hypothetically, he wins? Well, the federal cases would likely go away but their state cases as well in New York and Georgia, those
may remain. So, this is a really unprecedented loan from a legal perspective.
ANDERSON: Yeah, it's absolutely fascinating. Let me bring, Doug, back in as well.
We talked about Chris Christie, who was, of course, Donald Trump's most vocal critic. He's of course now out of the race. I suggested he was caught
on a hot mic just before he actually dropped out of the race yesterday, discussing both candidates.
Let's have a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's going to get smoked, you and I both know it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Right, she's going to get smoked, you and I both know it.
That, of course, was Chris Christie talking about Nikki Haley. Look, how will this dropout impact this race, do you think?
HEYE: Becky, I remember a conversation I had in London with Boris Johnson when he was mayor back in 2015, when we are in Republican primary mode. I
told him, then which is true now, Chris Christie is too good not to have a moment into good to make mistakes. Last night was a moment but not a
mistake, not an accident that, just before the run debate featuring Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley alone, there is a hot mic that catches -- not an
accident, Chris Christie criticizing both candidates, who he declined to endorse.
So, ultimately made no impact directly on that debate, on to what's going to happen in Iowa or New Hampshire. Not a surprise. What we heard from
Chris Christie, I admire Christie's passion and I certainly admire his truth-telling over this campaign where a lot of Republicans have been
hesitant to do so.
But ultimately, he said, I'm pure and virtuous, everyone else is terrible, this is actually all about me at the end. That's why I think we haven't
heard the last of Chris Christie, perhaps a no labels candidate or part endorsement of Biden down the line.
ANDERSON: Oh, that's interesting, that's really interesting.
Just tell me before I let you go, why -- why was he polling so badly? What is it about Chris Christie that the American voting public just didn't get
HEYE: Well, two things. One, his message was not popular with Republican primary voters. This is a party of Trump. And so, if you are running in
opposition, full opposition of Trump, you're not going to get very far.
But also New Hampshire specifically, 60 percent of New Hampshire voters said they had a negative impression of Chris Christie. If your marbles are
all in the New Hampshire basket, those are numbers that are completely unsustainable.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. Look, to both of you, super having you on. So important hat we get your analysis and insight on what is such a crucial
time. It feels like we are way into 2024 already. We're only 11 days in and we haven't even really started with this is going to be an absolutely
Today, it's just part of that. We are waiting to see Donald Trump in that courthouse in Manhattan.
We are going to take a very short break. It is 54 minutes past nine in the morning in New York. Stay with us. "
ANDERSON: All right. Let's listen to Donald Trump. He is in the Manhattan courthouse in New York.
TRUMP: We're going through it but it is indeed a terrible which hunt. We are going to have a news conference a little later on. As you, know I want
to speak. I want to make a summation. At this point, the judge is not letting make a summation because all bring up things he doesn't want to
hear. And it's very unfair judge, never seen something like this. I don't think I've ever seen a --
We have a situation where the statute was use that doesn't get me a jury so I have no jury. I really have no rights and nobody thinks it's
constitutional. Legal scholars are writing about it like it's something they've never seen before. So, it's interference, it's political
interference and something that shouldn't be allowed.
So, I am hoping to speak to -- my lawyers reveal all of the defects of this case which should have never been brought. Very, very strong financial
statements. They thought it was the opposite and they had no idea and then they saw it and it knocked our socks off and they couldn't believe it.
But great financial statements. Everything is good. We have a level of deep law in our defense that nobody has ever had, this is the case that should
have never been brought and it was broad and it's fair and it's pretty unfair and it is very bad for New York state. Companies are fleeing, people
are fleeing, streets are crime-ridden.
And, Letitia James, that's all she thinks about is get Trump, she's been dreaming about it for years. It's not the way stay should be run because
this is a state that's been in a big trouble. You have all the businesses fleeing and the people fleeing. People that pay taxes and people that don't
pay taxes are coming in, and that's not what you want.
So, I want to think -- we could have a news conference today, don't have the time. We'll notify you let sometime in the early afternoon at 40 Wall
Street. So, we'll give a news conference where it will actually speak and have the microphone, because even that, they don't want to stay really
don't want speak too much.
So, we'll see whether or not the judge allows me to speak, perhaps he won't but I certainly would like to. Thank you very much.
ANDERSON: Well, Donald Trump now at a New York courthouse for closing arguments in his civil fraud trial. He isn't expected to speak at the
proceedings after a ruling by the judge. But as you just heard, he says, let's see whether he is offered the opportunity to speak.
We have just heard from him before he goes into that courthouse. Very unfair, he says, accuses the attorney general in this case of being out to
get him. He says he will hold a news conference at some point after this. Trump, with his sons and his company are accused of overstating in
financial papers how much their properties are worth. Donald Trump refuting that and suggesting they have done an extremely deep dive on the financials
and they more than hold water, I am paraphrasing him here. He says, certainly, he didn't do anything wrong.
Let's get you back to defense attorney Misty Marris.
So, Misty, what do you make of what we just heard?
MARRIS: Okay, let's start with the idea of Donald Trump speaking in the closing arguments. Now, just first of all, as a New York lawyer, it is
unusual for a client, for the defended to speak directly in the courtroom. Generally, that type of thing.