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Connect the World

WFP: Famine "Imminent" in Northern Gaza without More Aid; CNN Talks to Qatari PM's Adviser on Mediation Efforts; Special Counsel Robert Hur to Testify on Capitol Hill; Abu Dhabi AI Development with New Tech Investment Firm; Qatar: "Nowhere Near a Deal" for Gaza; Soon: Robert Hur Testifies on Biden Classified Docs Probe. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired March 12, 2024 - 09:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: We live in Qatar for firsthand insight into what is holding up hostage and ceasefire talks between Israel

and Hamas in just a moment. I'll ask the Qatari Foreign Ministry Spokesperson for an update on the stages of those negotiations.

Hello and welcome. I'm Becky Anderson. This is "Connect the World". It's 4 pm here in Doha. It's 9 am in Washington. Well a Special Counsel Robert Hur

will testify about his report on Joe Biden's handling of classified documents. We will find out exactly why he called the President well-

meaning elderly man with a poor memory.

On the stock markets will open in New York in about 30 minutes from now. The U.S. consumer inflation report for February is just out. It ticked

slightly higher. Here's what Wall Street thinks of those numbers at least, so far as futures are concerned. That is the indication today on how these

markets will open, more on that at the bottom of the hour.

First up breaking news, Israel just announced the death of a U.S.-Israeli dual citizen who was believed to have been held in Gaza by Hamas. Jeremy

Diamond has the very latest for us from Jerusalem, Jeremy.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Becky, Itay Chen was a 19 year old dual American-Israeli citizen. He was a soldier in the Israeli military on

October 7th, when he was believed to have been kidnapped by a Hamas, but the Israeli military now confirming that Itay Chen was actually killed on

October 7th.

His body was taken captive by Hamas and taken into Gaza. He was one of six American citizens believed to be held alive as a captive by Hamas inside of

Gaza, but he now joins the ranks of three other dead Americans whose bodies are being held by Hamas. Now his parents have been leading a relentless

fight to try and secure their son's release over these last several months since October 7th.

They have been doing many interviews. They have met with Israeli officials, American officials. They have been using their voice however they can,

including attending the State of the Union address just this past week. I spoke actually with Itay Chen's mother Hagit as they were making their way

to The Hague in the Netherlands to press the International Criminal Court to file charges against Hamas's leaders.

And she told me about how difficult these last several months have been saying that she could not breathe anymore and saying that she dreams about

the day when she would be reunited with her son. She told me that she firmly believed that he would be reunited with her as part of a hostage

agreement, as part of the ceasefire negotiations, which we've been covering for weeks now.

And she told me that her dream was seeing him repeatedly in a Red Cross van waving to her smiling because she said he always had a big smile on his

face and that she would say I'm OK mom, why are you worried so much? I'm OK. Those dreams, unfortunately, today Becky, have been dashed.

As we've seen so many times as many of these hostages have been confirmed to be dead. We're also now hearing from the hostage forum here in Israel,

which says that his body is just looking at the statement his body is still being held captive by Hamas. Talking about him always being surrounded by

friends, a beloved individual they say who drew others to his warm presence, Becky.

ANDERSON: Jeremy, good to have you. Thank you for more on the hostages momentarily. Also, this hour the desperate struggle to get aid into Gaza

today for what is said to be the first time in this conflict and aid ship is heading towards the besieged enclave called Open Arms it left port in

Cyprus today with 200 tons of food.

Israel continues to heavily restrict land routes into Gaza. What aid does get through is extremely difficult and dangerous to deliver to Gaza

civilians, some of whom are now literally starving. The World Food Programme Director warns famine is imminent in Northern Gaza. The U.N.

Agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA says 1 in 6 children under the age of 2 are now acutely malnourished.


And in the entire Gaza Strip at least 17,000 kids are orphaned. Well Jordan's Queen Rania condemning Israel's war tactics, especially the impact

that they have had on children facing trauma and starvation. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, the Monique says what's

happening to Gaza as population is in her words, deprivation by design, and an Israeli made disaster.

Jordan is among the country's conducting aid air drops into Gaza. Queen Rania says any aid that does get through is no substitute for a ceasefire.


QUEEN RANIA AL ABDULLAH, JORDAN: There's been a slow motion mass murder of children five months in the making, children who were thriving and healthy

just months ago are wasting way in front of their parents. Not starvation is a very slow, cruel and painful death. Your muscles shrink, your immune

system shuts down your organs give out.

Imagine being a parent, having to go through that, witness your child going through that not being able to do anything to help. It is absolutely

shameful, outrageous and entirely predictable what's happening in Gaza today because it was deliberate.


ANDERSON: Well, Dr. Majed Al Ansari is the official spokesperson for the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and an Advisor to the Qatari Prime

Minister is good to have you, sir. Qatar has been heavily involved in the mediation efforts to secure a ceasefire and the release of hostages in

return for Palestinian prisoners.

The only successful ceasefire truce to date was mediated here in Qatar back in November. Given the news that we are hearing today, the news of a dead

Israeli-American hostage taken into Gaza. We have Queen Rania, they're talking about the need for an immediate ceasefire, and the situation is

catastrophic in Gaza. So where did mediation efforts stand at present?


need an end to this war as soon as possible. And that can only happen with such a deal, and with negotiations and mediations between both sides. And

we've been working tirelessly from day one to secure such a deal.

And since the collapse of the last pause, we always knew that we needed a comprehensive deal that would lead to a longer pause and would lead

therefore to a more sustainable ceasefire between the parties of this conflict. We are right now engaged in constructive dialogue between both


Situation on the ground is very much difficult, and we are nowhere near ideal at the moment, however, we are working day and night to make sure

that we have the right ideas going cross between both sides. There are things that are very difficult to work out between both sides.

Our negotiators are working around the clock to see how we can get through them. But the situation is very complicated.

ANDERSON: So you say we are nowhere close to a deal at present. Why? Who what is holding this up?

ANSARI: I can't comment on the specificities of the negotiations right now. But what I can tell you are that there are a lot of issues that need to be

addressed, that need to be finalized and regarding where you Israeli troops are going to be. The numbers of people coming out and how we are going to

bring in aid in and how much aid is going to go?

And all of these issues are in discussion. Right now we're exchanging language between the parties and waiting to see if that would accomplish

something in the next couple of days.

ANDERSON: You talk about a comprehensive agreement to end this nightmare, as I understand it that has a number of phases. And it is phase 1, at least

in principle the release of women, the children, the elderly, and the injured in Gaza at present in exchange for a temporary truce and the

release of some Palestinian prisoners.

Can you at least give me a little bit more detail on where those phase one negotiation stand and whether you think, in principle, at least, a short

period of time with the release of some hostages would allow for a pause for more humanitarian aid?

ANSARI: Becky, we've maintained the opposition that we've tried the day to day pause formula of last time and that did not work, because at the end

people on both sides will disagree over the -- how to implement them, we need a more comprehensive fast pace that would allow us some time to enact

the get negotiations for the next phases and that has to be done through a deal that secures.


First of all, the least of all civilians and all those have most interest from the hostage side and at the same time and releasing a number of

Palestinian prisoners, and it's -- especially minors and women who are still in Israeli jails. At the same time, it would allow us to bring in aid

at an unprecedented level.

Right now, any aid that goes in is less than what is needed. However, what is going right now is minuscule, as compared to what we need.

ANDERSON: Is it clear at this point, just how many of those hostages, who are there? And if you've got the number, please, you know, share that with

us? How many are alive and how many are dead?

ANSARI: We don't know of course that information. Our negotiation goes through the channel here in Doha. We don't have anybody on the ground to

corroborate any news coming out. We've been hanging the report, just as you've been hearing them about, you know, the hostages that have started

have sadly died since the beginning of this.

And we've always said that the prolonging this conflict without a pause would only lead to more hostages dying and more civilians are dying on the

Palestinian side.

ANDERSON: A Former Senior Israeli Official told me when I was doing the show from here yesterday, and this was a remote interview that Benjamin

Netanyahu is like, I quote him here attempting to avoid reaching a deal with Hamas. Is that your understanding?

ANSARI: I mean I don't want to go into this right now because of the sensitivity of the negotiations. But what I can tell you is that there are

those including Netanyahu who had the keys to securing a deal right now. We urge them to consider doing a deal right now. Because every day that goes

by is the rest of the life of the hostages, is that a rest of the life for civilians in Gaza.

And it's not in anybody's interest, especially the people of Israel, the security of Israel, for this war to continue. There are a lot of ways of

ending this. There are a lot of ways of getting over the hurdle, at least of the humanitarian pause and making sure that we have a way of securing

more robust negotiations. And that can only happen if both sides agree on the deal right now.

ANDERSON: I do want to press you on Hamas, as I've just pressed you on Benjamin Netanyahu. What do you make of the argument that Hamas is under no

pressure in terms of agreeing to a temporary truce, while Israel has said effectively that there is no imminent timeline for their assault on Rafah.

Ramadan had been a deadline as far as Benjamin Netanyahu was concerned for an assault on Rafah, if this deal wasn't cut. Let me perhaps rephrase that

if the hostages were not released if Hamas is not to be routed out anytime soon, because Israel is not intent on going into Rafah with a full on a

soul. Does that leave Hamas in a better position and less willing to negotiate at this --

ANSARI: Well, I can't speak on behalf of Hamas, because as you know, but what I can tell you right now that the situation in Gaza, for all of those

living in Gaza. 2.3 billion people live in Gaza, including the families that have people who are carved holding members of Hamas, including the

leadership of Hamas, itself, that Israel says are still in Gaza.

All living in the same conditions, you know, we have famine. Well, I've seen killing children dying out of malnutrition. We are seeing a daily

count of death. More than 100,000 Palestinians are now either killed or injured in Gaza. That is not a number that would leave any house without

injuries or dead people, including the houses of people who belong to Hamas.

So I wouldn't say that there is no pressure of Hamas right now. The pressures of the field are very -- the humanitarian pressures are very --

and I do believe that there are huge elements on both sides that want an end to this conflict want to deal right now. But we have to make sure that

those in charge understand the severity of the situation on the ground and the dangers of keeping it as is.

ANDERSON: Benjamin Netanyahu's government has in the military have been accused of weaponizing aid. You've heard Queen Rania as comments to my

colleague, Christiane Amanpour, about the slow murder, mass murder of children in Gaza. What do you make of the aid efforts both from the air and

today the opening of this maritime corridor?

Qatar, as I understand it is not involved in the air drops, but certainly the U.S. planes are being loaded from here, the Al Udeid Air Base for

those. What do you make of those efforts outside of the opening up these land routes, which we know is necessary to get the bulk of this aid in?

ANSARI: Well, here's your answer, Becky, a very obviously, any form of bringing in aid through the sea or through the air is welcomed, of course,

because the people in Gaza right now are waiting for anything to come in, any box that goes in this consumed immediately and satisfies some sort of

need but it is again miniscule as compared to the aid that can go in through the land crossings.


We have a number of land crossings that are completely closed right now. Others were aid is going in at a very small ratio to what can go. In Qatar

we have an air bridge to -- when we send it through more than 85 aircraft right now going in, but the problem is that the aid is staying in, and aid

is not going in because of the restrictions in place right now, especially from Israel.

And we've said it very clearly that it is a shame on all of us, on all of humanity, that in the negotiations, we have to negotiate over aid and that

is used as leverage in the negotiation. This is in violation of all international humanitarian law and is in violation of our humanity.

ANDERSON: Can you evaluate the situation on the ground in Northern Gaza for me? There are reports that people are literally starving. And is this an

intentional effort, as far as you are concerned, on the part of the Israelis to staff the people of Northern Gaza at this point?

ANSARI: Well, Becky, whoever is responsible for blocking aid from going into Gaza blocking humanitarian workers from going into Gaza. And

establishing the needed shelters right now is responsible for the starvation and Gaza dying, but children dying out of malnutrition, more

than 70 children have died already babies because of malnutrition.

Banning baby milk powder to go and banning the necessities for sustaining life for children and women and civilians in Gaza. Whoever is responsible

for that is responsible for the humanitarian situation in Gaza as a whole, that situation in the north now we have in some reports.

More than 300,000 people completely cut off from a civilization, dying out of reasons that can be rectified just meters away across the border,

including lack of food, lack of nutrition, lack of water, lack of electricity, lack of any kind of medical assistants. I mean, bodies are

being eaten by dogs on the streets in the north. It's unbelievable. It's inhumane. And it's a test for all of us.

ANDERSON: Joe Biden has said an Israeli assault on Rafah is a red line. Israel warns an offensive is on the table, but not necessarily imminent.

Should the U.S. now call time on this and suspend military aid to Israel?

You've been in Washington recently. You will have been having conversations about what happens next. What -- should the U.S. do next? I mean, should

there be future weapon sales and shipments to Israel at this point?

ANSARI: Well, as you said, Becky, we just came back from Washington D.C. We finished the six rounds of our strategic dialogue. We were had in depth

discussions and a session about the global effects, the session about the Middle East. All of these sessions were focused on the situation on Gaza.

And we employ everybody, including the United States who has any kind of leverage over the parties of this conflict to apply it right now. This is

the time to apply it. We can't dictate to the United States or anybody else what they do in their bilateral relations. But we certainly would hope that

we see more efforts from everybody to pressure both sides to stop the humanitarian disaster taking place right now.

ANDERSON: Last question to you. You were in Washington recently, while Benny Gantz was in Washington. He is in opposition to Benjamin Netanyahu,

in a normal Israeli government, but sits in the war cabinet at present. What is Qatar's relationship with Benny Gantz and could cut out work with a

different Israeli government, a government, perhaps run by Benny Gantz going forward?

ANSARI: Well, Becky, we've been working with both sides as a mediator since 2006. We've worked with consecutive Israeli governments over aid going into

Gaza. We will be working with whoever is in power at the time in Tel Aviv, and we, to be honest, we don't really care who is in power, as long as we

have that kind of engagement and we do that, you know, the right way.

I do believe, however, that we need to engage at a more, you know, at a different level with both sides of this conflict right now, and we need

everybody to help us in the pressure to make sure that it happens, whether it is Netanyahu, Benny Gantz, we are facing structural issues right now.

And the mediation we were facing and the emotional response and the trauma that needs to be addressed. And we are facing opposition to the main

humanitarian conditions that should be applied in such conflict, including the idea of a two state solution. So we hope that we can work with whoever

is empowered to end this conflict and to continue our role as mediators and negotiators.

ANDERSON: But at this stage, let's just underscore you said we are nowhere near a deal at this point.

ANSARI: I mean we hope we end with a deal. Everything can change, of course, at one moment, but right now, we think very difficult to on the


ANDERSON: Good to have you sir. Thank you very much indeed. Was Prime Minister Netanyahu vows to press on with a Rafah operation? Details on that

app president not clear though. There is a growing rift between Israel and its greatest ally.


And now President Biden says Mr. Netanyahu is hurting Israel more than helping Israel. You can find more on that on the website or in our Middle

East newsletter meanwhile, in the Middle East. Right, you're watching "Connect the World" with me Becky Anderson out of Qatar.

Today still to come, the man who climbed to charge President Biden for allegedly mishandling classified documents takes center stage on Capitol

Hill. What we can expect to hear from Robert Hur's testimony is coming up.


ANDERSON: Well happening soon on Capitol Hill, Special Counsel Robert Hur will take center stage as he faces questions about his report on President

Joe Biden's handling of classified documents. Well in his report, Hur found that Biden did mishandled classified material but chose not to charge him

with a crime.

However, the real bombshell of that report, of course, was Hur's assessment of Biden's cognitive abilities. Hur described the President as a quote

well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory. Erica Hill is standing by it for us in New York. What are we expecting to hear from her today, Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we do actually have a copy of his opening statement which CNN has obtained. And what we're

expecting to hear in that statement is he feels that he needs to address certain things directly because there has been so much attention

specifically, he's going to talk about.

And I'm reading from this here from the opening statement, noting there's been a lot of attention paid to language in the report about the

President's memory. So let me say a few words about that he's expected to say noting his task was to determine whether the President retained or

disclosed National Defense information willfully, knowingly, essentially, and with the attempt to do something that the law forbids.

So he notes as you said, Becky, that he couldn't make the determination without assessing the President's state of mind, and goes on to say for

that reason, I had to consider the President's memory and overall mental state, and how a jury would likely perceive his memory and mental state in

a criminal trial.

Laying out he says very clearly, there's been a lot of attention to this. So I feel I need to address the elephant in the room, which perhaps is not

so quiet at that point. So you'll hear him talk about the memory. The other thing I found really interesting at the tail end of this opening statement,


Is that he goes on to say he plans to limit his answers in his responses to simply clarifying information that was already in the report that he

doesn't plan to comment or speculate on anything outside the investigation, or to discuss in his investigative steps in this case?

I think that we can both pretty confidently though expect, Becky, that there will still be plenty of questions that will attempt to in fact, push

his answers beyond that.


ANDERSON: That is fascinating. Tell us about the Trump employee meantime, who has broken his silence on the Former President's classified documents


HILL: So as you know when this comes up, there has often been a lot of discussion about the Former President and those classified documents as you

point out. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Kaitlan Collins last night, Brian Butler, who is referred to as Employee 5, talk to her about his

experience, what he went through and even the moving of some boxes, which he says he later realized were the boxes that we see in those photos. Take

a listen to one of their exchanges.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did the two of you ever talk about moving boxes or looking back on that?

BRIAN BUTLER, "TRUMP EMPLOYEE 5": Yeah, I mean, there was one time towards one of the last times I was with them, and we're talking about, you know,

boxes. And you know, well, Biden did the same thing. You know, you can't get it always got brought up about Biden and other people that did the same

thing. And then there was one time he said, you know, we're all dirty, we all move boxes --


HILL: So I do want to point out there the key that Brian Butler is referring to is not the Former President, but Walt Nauta, who was of

course, a personal aide to the Former President, and they were talking there, he was talking to Kaitlan about a time in which he realized

afterwards when he was asked to help to get some cards together to move some of those boxes.

He then realized that he saw those boxes in some of this information. And just one other thing, Becky, in that report from Robert Hur he did directly

address the differences between President Biden and Former President Trump here, talking about how in his estimation, the Former President had

allegedly attempted to obstruct justice by not co-operating and noted how President Biden did cooperate in terms of searches and interviews with this


ANDERSON: Interesting. Good to have you. And you'll be back later this hour. A reminder folks, you can watch Robert Hur's testimony right here on

CNN, our special coverage begins at the top of the hour. We'll just add on "Connect the World", if you are watching us in the United States, find out

why the Fed cares about the cost of your haircut?

This is not a trick question we will explain, after the break. Plus, Haiti's Prime Minister resigns as gang violence skyrockets across the

country, a live report ahead as chaos unfolds in the Caribbean nation.



ANDERSON: Right we're live at the New York Stock Exchange for you folks. Trading has just begun on Wall Street. Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson in

Doha in Qatar for you today and you are watching "Connect the World". The U.S. consumer inflation report for February out earlier, it ticked slightly

higher to a rate of 3.2 percent.

Showing that the path to slowing price hikes remains bumpy, fed watchers are saying don't expect to see an interest rate cut as at next week's Fed

meeting. And this is what Wall Street thinks of those numbers. Perhaps somewhat pricing in the fact that it isn't unlikely that we'll see that

rate cut that they had hoped for earlier on in the year, we'd already got that sort of news priced into the market.

Maybe that may be the reason why these markets have taken off, but only slightly today up about a half of 1 percent. CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins

us to break down those inflation numbers. What's the big picture here as you sort of drill down on these numbers as it were?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: The big picture is that it's a bumpy road to cool inflation here in the U.S.; we've kind of

been stuck above 3 percent for a little while now. Annual inflation rate is ticking up slightly to 3.2 percent. And in the month of

February prices rising point 4 percent that was largely expected in February. But I think people want to see the numbers going in the other

direction they don't want to see increases.

And largely, the February increases were led by gas prices and shelter. So what Americans pay for rent every single month that accounted for 60

percent of the overall increase in the monthly gains that we saw in February? Some good news though, food prices here in the U.S. flat at 0

percent. That's encouraging for folks going to the grocery store, but shelter 0.4 percent in February and gas prices rising 3.8 percent.

Here in the U.S. we have seen gas prices rise from about 307 a gallon in mid- January to about $3.40 today. Some of that is because of seasonal

changes in fuel blends. We always see more expensive prices in the spring and summer as more people head out on the road. But for everyday Americans,

that doesn't feel great, no one wants to spend more at the gas pump.

And this is a little bit of a problem for President Biden who has really been trying to drill down on the fact that prices have been cooling since

that 9 percent inflation rate we saw in 2022. But people when they see these kinds of price increases and inflation kind of stuck where it is,

they're not going to feel great about that. The president though has tried to create task forces to deal with something called shrinkflation that he

believes some companies are engaging in.

He's also tried to get rid of junk fees and make junk fees more transparent for everyday Americans. And he's also been sending his cabinet across the

country, trying to sort of rally the cry that prices are coming down there, so clearly more work to do in this inflation report. But we have certainly

come off those really, really very, very high highs that we saw about a year and a half ago here in the U.S., Becky.

ANDERSON: And is it worth me hanging on to get my hair cut for my next trip to the states or not? What's your recommendation given these numbers?

YURKEVICH: Well, I would say that America is doing the U.S. is doing a little bit better in terms of inflation than some other countries. But you

know, pretty sharp that's what every day Americans do. So you know price drop here and price drop where you are today, Becky.

ANDERSON: Vanessa good to have you. Thank you. Well, my home base of Abu Dhabi going big on artificial intelligence, so that is not new. But I'm now

talking big money $100 billion dollars according to Bloomberg. Now you probably know that the UAE hasn't been letting the grass grow on the check


But the idea behind its investment company MGX is to build on the Emirates existing AI investments with an eye towards boosting its future economy. To

that end, Mubadala one of the UAE's biggest sovereign wealth funds and AI company G42 had been brought in as the foundational partners. More on that

as we get in.


Well, authorities are investigating a sudden midair drop on a commercial airlines flight which left dozens of people injured on Monday. The pilot

told those on board he temporarily lost control of his Boeing 787 after one of its instruments failed during the flight from Australia to New Zealand.

CNN's Marc Stewart now reports. This incident is just the very latest to hit the troubled aircraft manufacturer.


MARC STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ambulances waited on the tarmac at the Auckland Airport on Monday to help the injured on board a

Boeing 787 just in from Sydney. Pictures from inside the jet show some of those injuries after passengers on LATAM Airlines Flight 800 were suddenly

thrown around inside.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it felt like you know when you are in a roller coaster and you just go like this, that sensation.

STEWART (voice-over): LATAM Airlines calling what happened a technical event in a statement, but did not elaborate a description prompting more

questions from the safety analyst.

DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA SAFETY INSPECTOR: Had it been a mechanical failure? They would have called it a mechanical failure and they would have

turned around and gone back or they would have gone to a maintenance base. But that's not what they did. They said it was a technical event. So I just

wish we had more information right now as to what happened here.

STEWART (voice-over): Uncertain moments for the passengers aboard.

BRIAN JOKAT, LATAM AIRLINES FLIGHT 800 PASSENGER: The plan basically stopped like it almost the best way to describe it just it's dropped out of

the air.

STEWART (voice-over): Approximately 50 people were treated for injuries, adults and children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a two and a half year old sleeping on the seat next to us on the other side. He went up in the air and landed on the

ground. But his mother was nursing a one-year-old, so she couldn't control both.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in the back row that goes in front of my girlfriend she was pretty much on the roof of the cabin. The girl next to

me hit her head on the cabin.

STEWART (voice-over): This isn't the only recent attention getting case involving a Boeing jet. On Monday a Boeing 777-300 operated by United

heading to San Francisco was rerouted back to Sydney for an emergency landing due to a maintenance issue earlier this year a door plug on a 737

Max blew out mid-flight as for the passengers on this flight a sense of relief to be back on the ground.

JOKAT: So we had about 45 minutes to fly to get to Auckland. So we hit the ground, we landed, everyone applauded and then they said right everyone sit

tight we're going to get the injured off the plane first.

STEWART (voice-over): Investigators in New Zealand have seized the planes black boxes. The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder may hold

the explanation to this latest scary mishap aboard a Boeing passenger plane. Marc Stewart, CNN Beijing.


ANDERSON: Frightening stuff. Well still to come. Haiti's Prime Minister resigns as violence skyrockets across his country. Will that stop the chaos

driven by violent gangs? More on that is coming up. And in the hot seat Special Counsel Robert Hur gets set to testify before U.S. lawmakers at the

"Top of the Hour" and defenders decision not to charge President Biden over his handling of classified documents. Our special coverage begins a few

minutes from now.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. Haiti's prominent gang leader says he will not recognize a government put in place by a Transitional Council. Now Haitian

Prime Ministerial Ariel Henry resigned after gang violence intensified recently in the Caribbean nation and says his government will leave power

once an interim council is in place.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann is following the crisis in Haiti from Cuba. What more are we learning about the establishment of any Transitional Council in

Haiti in the wake of the prime minister's resignation?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is going to take some time, because of course, you're going to have to figure out which Haitian leaders

would be on that Transitional Council. They would then name a Prime Minister an acting Prime Minister to replace Ariel Henry.

But of course, as you're hearing from this gang leader, Jimmy Cherizier is a known as barbecue, a violent former police officer who runs a coalition

of gangs that has really brought the fight to the government.

And he's already rejecting out of hand, as are some others that this Transitional Council will have any say, in the future of Haiti. And perhaps

that is because the U.S. government is saying that gang leaders, the people who have caused so much havoc and chaos on the streets of Port-au-Prince

and other parts of Haiti should not be included in any kind of leadership role going forward.

So this is the problem and as well, you know, part of the rejection of Ariel Henry by the gangs other than the fact that they banded together. And

it prevented him from returning to his own country is that he has negotiated this deal with the Kenyan government and other governments in

the region that would provide troops that will finally get troops on the ground to support the Asian National Police.

And that is what these gang members simply don't want, because that threatens other very lucrative cocaine trade, other kidnapping trade, other

extortion trade, the businesses that they have set up over the years that have made them very, very rich and their country a more poor and dangerous


So they are trying to protect their turf and are very clear that they will not accept this Transitional Council, and that they will not accept the

introduction of foreign troops. And certainly they have the manpower and the gun power to act on those threats.

ANDERSON: That seems quite remarkable. The gangs are laying down their demands. But that is the story of Haiti today in 2024. Well one of our top

stories, thank you, Patrick. One of our top stories this hour after days of crates dropping from the sky above Gaza for the first time, aid is heading

towards the war torn enclave by sea.

This charity ship left Cyprus earlier carrying nearly 200 tons of food and the need for this aid cannot be overstated. While countries work to get aid

in through air and water routes, Israel continues to heavily restrict entry and delivery by land. Top Gaza health officials say the ground aid entering

Northern Gaza is not enough for anyone. This is the UN warns famine is imminent if aid doesn't increase and I quote them exponentially.

Well, I'm here in Doha, where the last deal was mediated for humanitarian aid. The release of hostages and a temporary pause in fighting, of course,

this time around those involved in the negotiations including the United States are hoping that a pause if achieved will turn into a permanent


Well, all involved we're hopeful waiting with bated breath for this, this mediated deal to come before the start of Ramadan. But of course that

hasn't happened. And it doesn't look like it'll happen anytime soon. Here's what the spokesperson for. Qatar's Foreign Ministry told me earlier this



ANSARI: We are right now engaged in constructive dialogue between the both sides situation on the ground is very much difficult and we are nowhere

near ideal. At the moment however we are working day and night to make sure that we have the right ideas going cross between both sides.


There are those including Netanyahu who had the keys to securing a deal right now we urge them to consider doing a deal right now, because every

day that goes by is the rescue the life of the hostages is, I guess, good life for civilians in Gaza. And it's not in anybody's interest, especially

the people of Venezuela and the security of Israel for this war to continue.


ANDERSON: Majed Al Ansari speaking to me this hour. And getting that information for you is why it has been important that we are here on the

ground in Doha, in Qatar. Well moments from now, high stakes testimony in Washington, Robert Hur has just arrived on Capitol Hill.

And he faces questions about his investigation into President Biden's handling of classified documents. And why he chose not to charge him with a

crime. CNN's special coverage begins just ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, breaking news on Capitol Hill where just moments from now the man behind the explosive report that questioned President Biden's

mental fitness and described his memory as quote significantly limited. We'll face questions from U.S. lawmakers. My colleague, Erica Hill picks up

our special coverage of Robert Hur's testimony from New York. Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, thank you. I called it like I saw it. That's how Special Counsel Robert Hur is expected to defend his damning

report into President Biden's handling of classified documents when he testified before the House Judiciary Committee at the top of the hour.

Following an investigation Hur of course ultimately declined to bring charges against the president.

His findings though detailed in a 388 page report amounted to a political bombshell. They depicted an aging president with memory issues. Joining us

now to discuss Michael Zeldin, he's a Former Federal Prosecutor and Former Assistant to Robert Mueller at the Justice Department, also the Host of the

Podcast that said with Michael Zeldin, good to see you as always.

We do know what Robert Hur is expected to say. CNN has obtained a copy of his opening statement. And he is expected to talk specifically about why he

felt it was necessary to address his assessment of the president's memory in that report. There was a lot else in there in the 380 plus pages. But it

was that that really stuck out to everybody last month when it was released. How much do you think that will be a focus this morning?


MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it should be the primary focus in some respect because while Hur is going to say, I called it like I

saw it, what he saw was something that was not seeable, which is to say, he predicted how a prospective defendant Biden might hypothetically present

himself to the jury. He said that he didn't charge Biden because he projects that Biden might present himself to the jury, as an old man with a

failing memory.

That's prediction of the future about how a defendant might appear in a courtroom that is completely out of Hur's capability of knowing and is

absolutely inappropriate for a prosecutor to do. He could have said I elected not to charge Biden, because I felt that I couldn't convict him

based on the evidence I have. And that would have been fine. But to predict how Biden might present him inappropriate and me hope he's taken to task on

that, because it's not what prosecutors do.

HILL: So there were concerns raised about this before the report was released, rose to the attorney general who had to go through that report

and agree to release it. He didn't object to any of that being out there.

ZELDIN: Correct. And I think that is part of a problem that Merrick Garland created for himself, which is to say that because the way, Bill Barr that

Former Attorney General in the Trump Administration could have messed with the Muller report. Remember, he issued a summary his own summary conclusion

of what Mueller said, it was inappropriate, his summary and Mueller even objected to it.

Merrick Garland said look, to avoid any of the appearance of that sort of stuff, I'm not going to interfere at all, I'm just going to let this go as

it's presented to me. And that's how it went that way. If American said, look, I don't want to be Bill Barr.

I don't want to misrepresent things. But I want to make sure that these reports are consistent with DOJ charging policies, I think he should have

taken that sentence out. At one sentence that says, this is how I predict Biden would behave in a hypothetical trial.

HILL: So that's the only line that you really take issue with is his assessment of how a jury would in fact, assess him as a witness.

ZELDIN: Sure because Hur is appropriately determining how the evidence would stand up in a trial, how the witnesses that will be presenting that

evidence will appear in a trial. He can say I'm calling balls and strikes here. And this is what I think I see. But he can't predict how hypothetical

Biden might behave.

Because we saw look, in the State of the Union, we saw a very fiery Biden not a person who was going to be a teetering old man with a forgetful

memory that could have been well, the Biden that shows up in a courtroom, how dare you charge me with crimes, I've done nothing wrong. And that would

be my defense. And I've done zero to be charged here. That's viable and Hur has no way of knowing that.

HILL: So it's my understanding that would be a standard operating procedure for a prosecutor. It's called I believe the -- now I'm losing my words. The

type of memo, right, it needs to be written up to say, here's all my work. Here's why I decided not to charge this person. Those are memos that are

typically not made public because the decision not to charge somebody, obviously, there's concern that that could perhaps tarnish their reputation

in some way.

This is a different person. This is a different investigation. Is there anything in here though beyond that one line that you and I just spoke

about, that you believe is out of the norm, when it comes to the way a report would be written up here by the Justice Department by a Special


ZELDIN: Yeah, so the whole thing is sort of out of the norm in a sense that is prosecutors prosecute. And when they want to prosecute, they indict. And

the indictment speaks of itself. When they don't want to prosecute, they write a non-pros memo. And that is an internal memo that says this is why

we're not prosecuting. And those don't see the light of day. Special Counsels are under a different structure.

And they have to write a report to the Attorney General explaining their decisions. And this is what Hur did. I did this when I was a Special

Counsel; I investigated George Herbert Walker Bush. And we wrote a report, which we ultimately released a portion of, to the public and there you have

to be much more explicit in your thinking. But it doesn't mean you violate DOJ policies about essentially making comments about people who don't have

an opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.


So for example, you don't name somebody as an indicted co-conspirator because as an unindicted co-conspirator, they don't go to court. And they

can't say I did something I did nothing wrong, but yet there -- you know charged as having done something wrong. So it's a little bit confusing, and

I'm sorry to be confusing about it. But what he's not to do is in a non- pros memo, which is essentially what this report is.

HILL: Yeah.

ZELDIN: Make the type of observations that he did.

HILL: I would say it's not confusing. It is helpful Michael Zeldin and that's why we call on you for your expertise. I know you're going to stay

with us. I hope the viewers will be staying with us as well. Our special coverage of this hearing continues next.


HILL: Hello and welcome to our special coverage here covering breaking news out of Washington on CNN. I'm Erica Hill in New York. Just moments from now

on Capitol Hill, Special Counsel, Former Special Counsel Robert Hur is set to face Congress appearing before the House Judiciary Committee to answer

questions about his report on President Biden's declassified documents case.

It of course did not result in charges that report though and its details of his assessment of the President's memory triggered a whole lot of

blowback. Hur is expected to say in his opening statement that he did not quote, disparage the president unfairly by calling him a quote.