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Israeli War Cabinet Again Works On Response To Iran; Blinken: United States Committed To Israel's Defense; CNN Speaks With Jordanian Foreign Minister; First Criminal Trial Of A Former President Underway. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired April 15, 2024 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome to what is our special breaking news coverage. I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi.


ANDERSON: We are following two major stories for you this hour. Israel's war Cabinet is meeting right now to decide how it will respond to Iran's

unprecedented attack over the weekend.

HILL: And here in New York, awesome, the first images of Donald Trump, today in court, where he is now the first former president to face a

criminal trial in court now. He, of course, stands accused of falsifying business records to cover up hush money payments to adult film star, Stormy

Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

A jury selection is set to begin. It begins any moment today. We're going to continue to keep you updated on that process throughout the hour.

ANDERSON: Soup up, Erica, thank you. Back to Erica a little later this hour.

Let's start here. In a region on edge. All eyes are on Israel's war Cabinet, which is meeting for a second day. At issue, how to answer the

wave of drones and missiles launched at Israel by Iran over the weekend.

These were unprecedented. A five-hour wave of attack. Israel says most of the projectiles were shot down and one person was seriously injured.

World leaders are urging restraint in the hopes of preventing a full-blown war. Iran is maintaining that this bombardment was legitimate. Tehran

blames Israel for a strike in its consulate at the beginning of April in Syria that killed several significant senior Iranian commanders.

Well, the situation is affecting Israel's war against Hamas. Israeli sources tell us that it has prompted Israel to delay the first steps of its

ground invasion of Rafah.

Let's get you to CNN's Clarissa Ward in Tel Aviv. Do we -- have any detail on what is coming out of this Cabinet meeting so far? Any indication on how

Israel might respond?


Honestly, it's been three hours that the war Cabinet has been in session. It was in session also yesterday for about three hours. And there is a

sense that there is a lot of debate going on, essentially as to how and when, and in what manner Israel should respond.

We heard yesterday from the centrist war Cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, he talked about forming a regional coalition. Then, hours later, we heard from

Israel's far right, National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who called that a hollow Western catchphrase.

And I think that kind of back and forth gives you a sense as to the different influences that are basically competing here.

At the same time, it Itamar Ben-Gvir is not in the war Cabinet. There are three permanent members of the war Cabinet -- three observers. Of course,

the other strong influence here will be from Israel's allies, particularly in the form of the U.S.

The U.S. has been urging caution, urging Israel not to escalate. And that's really what we have seen across the board, from various international

organizations and world leaders.

So, now the question becomes, what are we talking about? What are we looking at? We have heard Benny Gantz, also, reportedly thinking that there

needs to be movement or some kind of a response quickly, because there is a certain momentum, and there is a sense here in Israel, or a feeling of

belief that there is more goodwill towards Israel in the wake of this Iran attack.



WARD: So, they don't want to squander that moment. And this presumably, fairly, now a window that they have before the world's attention will once

again shift back to Gaza --


ANDERSON: Clarissa, I'm going to stop you, if you don't mind. Forgive me.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking in Washington. Let's listen in.


ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: And a scope, because it represented the first direct attack by Iran on Israel.


And its scale, because, as I said, there were more than 300 munitions fired, including ballistic missiles, as well as land attack cruise missiles

and drones.

Thanks to Israeli air defenses, as well as support from other countries, including U.S. military assets. Virtually all of the incoming projectiles

were destroyed and shut down.

As President Biden underscore to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the U.S. is committed, committed to Israel's defense. And I think what this weekend

demonstrated is that Israel did not have to and does not have to defend itself along when it is the victim of an aggression, the victim of an


In the 36 hours since, we have been coordinating a diplomatic response, to seek to prevent escalation. Strength and wisdom need to be sent the same

sides -- the different sides of the same point.

I've been in close communication with counterparts in the region. And we will continue to do so in the hours and days ahead. We don't seek

escalation, but we'll continue to support the defense of Israel, and to protect our personnel in the region.

Now, for today, let me say how pleased we are to welcome our Iraqi colleagues here to Washington. And I'm particularly glad to have the deputy

prime minister here with us this morning to kick off what is the second U.S.-Iraq higher coordination committee with the Sudani government.

We just had an excellent meeting with Prime Minister Sudani. I'm grateful to him for receiving us this morning. And, of course, we look forward to a

meeting shortly between the prime minister and the president.

But I think everything we are seeing today highlights the importance --


ANDERSON: Antony Blinken, then, with some words ahead of his meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, who was on a visit to Washington. A rare sort of

ally of both the U.S. and Iran. It has to be said he is from the Iran aligned group in the Iraqi parliament, whatever what was said to be

discussed and economic support for Iraq -- and Iraq going forward with less or no U.S. security presence, overshadowed somewhat, it will have been by

what we have witnessed over this weekend.

Let's get you now to CNN's Clarissa Ward, once again in Tel Aviv.

I mean, just listening in there to Antony Blinken. Apologies, I cut you off in your prime as it were. Anything in what Antony Blinken just said which

surprised you?

WARD: I don't think there was anything surprising there. It's very much sort of the official U.S. line, urging calm, talking about America's, you

know, ironclad support for Israel's defense. Talking about as well, the U.S.'s freedom to protect its forces or commitment, I should say to protect

its forces in the region.

But I think that privately, you can be assured, Becky, that there have been some pretty long conversations between the U.S. administration and between

Israel's leadership, really urging for any response to avoid becoming an avert escalation that could really precipitate things into a direction that

no one wants them to go into. As it is we're in uncharted territory.

But there are a number of different ways that Israel could potentially respond here. There could be a direct tit-for-tat in the form of a direct

hit on Iranian military targets inside Iran, they could engage in some kind of an asymmetric attack, potentially looking at Iran's numerous proxies in

the region. They could look at a cyberattack.

They could also explore the diplomatic option. At this stage, we don't know where exactly their thinking is at, although, it does seem from hearing the

rhetoric coming from Israel's leaders that they believe a solid response is, in fact, necessary. And hardliners really pushing to, "sort of

reestablish the deterrent with Iran.

Although, again, important to underscore that those hardliners are not necessarily hugely influential in this because they are not part of that

war Cabinet. Becky.

ANDERSON: Similar narrative, it has to be said on the very right of the U.S. political spectrum as well. You know, a real push by some key voices

for President Biden to actually do more and get more involved, not less.

So, let's just wait to see what happens with that war Cabinet to keeping a very close eye on what's going on there.


Clarissa Ward is in Tel Aviv for you.

Well, a key regional player is, of course, Jordan. One of the countries located between Iran and Israel. And its foreign minister, Ayman Safadi

summon the Iranian ambassador to warn against the airspace violations in the wake of the attack.

I spoke with somebody earlier. And he also told me that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would use Iran's attack to deflect attention

away from his government's actions in Gaza.

Let's have a listen to that interview, where I began by asking al-Safadi about his message to Iran.


AYMAN SAFADI, JORDANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We don't want conflict with Iran. We don't want conflict in the whole region. But in order for good relations

with Iran to develop, we have to address all causes of tension with Iran, which include some intervention and some threats or national security,

including through or by militias affiliated with Iran, that they are trying to flood Jordan with drugs and weapons.

But again, I think we need to be focused. The issue here is not Iran. The issue here is the aggression on Gaza. The issue here is the extremely

illegal and harmful measures to the Palestinians of the West Bank. This has to stop.

As you said, Becky, nobody wants escalation. We all want to calm things down. But the first step towards that is ending the aggression. And we're

seeing that aggression continuing. And I think one more point I want to say is that, look, the Israeli prime minister has always wanted to invoke some

sort of confrontation with Iran.

Now, as the international pressure on Israel, to stop the aggression in Gaza continues. invoking a fight with Iran is something that we believe he,

he thinks could dilute that pressure and take attention away from Gaza, and focus on this new confrontation.

What we tell all our partners in the international community, the issue is in Gaza and the West Bank, and our focus needs to continue to be on that,

because unless we solve that, then the chances for regional coalition will continue.



And you and I have spoken about this at length over months and months. Even before October the 7th, you have been warning of the potential for a

widening escalation here.

King Abdullah has spoken to Joe Biden, the U.S. president, and he has warned him that any escalatory measures would widen this conflict. And

again, you've warned since October the 7th, and before that, this region is being driven to the abyss. We hear those sentiments echoed around the wider


Do you genuinely believe that the Biden administration will be able to use its leverage with Israel to contain their situation, given that you've just

said, you believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is intent on widening this war?

SAFADI: Look, I mean, we do hope that will be the case. reports about American positions have clearly said that the U.S. has told Israel that it

should not escalate, that it will not even support Israel, if it if it decides to go against Iran.

And as I said, I mean, Israel attacked the embassy, the consulate -- and the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Iran retaliated, it said it will do no

more. So, I think that should stop now. And I think the whole world has an interest in making sure Israel gets that message and is not allowed to

invoke another confrontation with Iran.

As to your second question, look, we've said it before. I think, I said it on your show, Becky, before that, as the pressure on Netanyahu mounts, as a

result of the continuation of the war in Gaza, he will be looking for ways to dilute that. And I think he has an interest in the conflict continuing

so that he doesn't face the reckoning that he is inevitably going to face in Israel.

And therefore, we should all be cognizant of that fact. And we should all work to make sure that this escalation doesn't happen, that the war in Gaza

stopped so that we all start working on a once and for all solution that will end this conflict on the basis of a two-state solution that would

filter legitimate rights of the Palestinians to freedom and statehood, and also address Israel's legitimate security concerns.

Other than that, we're going to be in this cycle in and out. And history has shown that the region conflict unless the root cause of the conflict,

which is the occupation of the Palestinian territories, the measures that are being taken by Israel systematically to kill the two-state solution are



And again, you see what's happening with the West Bank in Gaza --



SAFADI: Since Friday, six Palestinians have been killed, over 60 injured. House and cars have been put on fires by settlers who continue to rampage

Palestinian communities.

So, that is the danger that we are focused on right now. Again, the only way to deescalate is to stop the aggression, create real credible political

horizons that will take us to a solution that will be there.


SAFADI: Palestinians, Israelis, and everybody else.


ANDERSON: Well, that was Ayman Al Safadi, the foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan. This is, of course, a fast moving and complicated

story. We've got you covered on the show, as well as on our digital platforms where you can find live updates on what is happening in Israel,

in Gaza, and across the region.

CNN also has in depth analysis to make sense of why and how this is unfolding in our newsletter. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, you can head to

our web site or scan the barcode on the bottom of your screen. Have that delivered straight to your inbox three times a week.

Well Ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, we go back to New York, where the historic criminal trial of Donald Trump is now underway. What the prosecution and

the defense will be looking for as they start by selecting a jury?


HILL: And welcome back from New York where Donald Trump is now the first former president to stand trial on criminal charges. We are waiting to

beginning of jury selection in the coming moments. The judge they're starting off the day by denying a motion that he recused himself.

Trump's legal team had asked for that motion the judge saying Trump was using a "series of inferences, innuendos, and unsupported speculation to

make his claims recusal, and that motion was then denied.

In terms of jury selection, 12 men and women of course will determine Trump's guilt or innocence on these 34 felony counts of falsifying business

records. This is all tied to a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

Felony counts here, because the prosecutor alleges those payments were made to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. These counts

are each punishable by up to four years in prison. Looking at everything that is coming ahead here, it's important to note, the former president has

pleaded not guilty. He denies any wrongdoing here.

He has also repeatedly bashed the judge and the prosecutor in the case and the case itself, calling the trial rigged, and a sham. Katelyn Polantz is

back with us this hour.

So, Katelyn, as we wait for jury selection to begin, give us a sense of what both prosecutors and defense attorneys are looking for as they see

this jury.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, both sides are going to want to have jurors that they think could be advantageous to

their side.

But what the judge wants to do here, and what should be happening in any court proceeding is weeding out jurors that might have bias or impartial --

the ability where they can't be impartial.


So, in this case, the jurors are going to be brought into the courtroom about 100 at a time and they're going to be given a set of written

questions. 42 questions that get a sense of who they are, what their professions are, if their family member is in law enforcement, if they have

experienced with the criminal justice system in the past. And then there will be questions about their level of engagement in politics, not who they

voted for or if they voted for Donald Trump in the past. If they're Republicans or Democrats, those questions aren't going to be asked, but

there will be plenty of questions asked of these jurors about how much they have engaged in fringe extremist politics in the United States, left-wing

groups, right-wing groups, as well as attendance at Trump rallies in the past.

From there, that's when both sides the prosecutors and the defense team will be able to question them individually. And there'll be weeding people

out if anyone says that they can't be impartial. They can't be fair toward Donald Trump. That's it. That person will be not on the jury. The judges

made that quite clear. There are other reasons they may not be on the jury and both sides. They can strike people just because they want to, if they

give an answer that they that makes them too uncomfortable to have that person sit on the jury, each side has 10 strikes.

So, ultimately, they'll need to get 12 Jurors seated, six alternates this could take several days, Erica. And jury selection hasn't even begun yet,

20 minutes into this proceeding, after the case was called this is the people of the state of New York versus Donald J. Trump. That's what the

clerk in the courtroom called the case to start us off about 20 minutes ago. After that case was called there's still some table setting to be done

by the attorneys on both sides as they discuss how the days are going to unfold with the judge.

And, of course, Donald Trump had some things to say as well. Here is what he said, headed into court this morning.


DONALD TRUMP (R), FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Again, it's a case that should have never been brought. It's an assault on

America. And that's why I'm very proud to be here. This is an assault on our country.


POLANTZ: But Erica, we are in such an unprecedented moment, where we're not going to be able to see it physically. There are no cameras in this

courtroom, capturing what is happening. But we are now in a place where whatever Donald Trump says to the cameras, that's one thing, what happens

now, the thing that matters is what is said to and in front of those jurors that ultimately are selected for this case.

HILL: Absolutely. And really quickly, Katelyn, just remind us to this questionnaire that the jurors have, as you point out, there's certain

things that can't be asked, right? But there are a lot of things that they will ask in terms of where they get their news, whether they're associate

with any fringe group, as you pointed out.

Getting to those 42 questions, that involve a lot of back and forth.

POLANTZ: Yes, there is a lot of things in these questions that are going to be asked of the jurors. The news question is actually really an interesting

thing. That allows an opening for a lot more discussion, where the prosecutors and the defense side can get a little bit more information.

But the judge really is going to want to limit exactly what's going to be questioned, people aren't going to be able to be asked the same question

over and over and over again. And so, it's a very controlled environment whenever you're seeking to seat these jurors. And of course, both sides

have entire teams around them.

So, not only are they listening closely to who these jurors are, they're trying to get a profile of these people that might get seated on the jury.

But Erica, one more thing to point out, these jurors are going to be remaining anonymous, we are not going to know their names that is barred by

the court. The parties get to know their names, but there will not be public disclosure of them. Their faces won't even be drawn in any of the

court sketch artists drawings that will be seen from inside that courtroom.

HILL: Yes, and that is an important for their safety.

Katelyn, really appreciate it. Thank you.

Also, with me now, former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin. Michael, good to have you with us, as always. So, Katelyn laid out some of how this will

play out. We know 100 jurors will be brought in at a time. Ultimately, you need to find 18. So, 12 for that jury, six alternates.

As we are looking at this from each side, can you paint a picture of sort of the ideal juror for both the prosecution and the defense here?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, not exactly sure that each side will agree what is ideal for them. What is ideal for the criminal justice

system is a juror who will listen to the evidence, follow the judge's jury instructions, and render a verdict based on that evidence and not on

predisposition, or politics or anything that's extraneous to the four corners of what happens in that courtroom.

That said, each side has their own view of what is a juror who will be sympathetic to their points of view. There are different theories about

jurors that each -- or the prosecutors and defense attorneys will have.


Do they want someone from the Upper East Side, the Lower West Side, from Staten Island, from Westchester?

All of those sorts of demographics. Do they want an old person or a young person? All those things will factor into the calculus that lawyers bring

to the preemptory challenges.

Those which allow people to be removed because of just those types of subjective evaluations. And there for cause challenges. You work for the

Trump Organization? You're a member of the Biden team, those people get struck for cause.

So, you're really looking for people who you think you can relate to as a lawyer who hear your argument, find it persuasive, and then, hope that

they'll follow the jury instructions.

HILL: There is -- and for those of us who've been through and full disclosure I have as if the Americans been through jury duty. And these

questionnaires before. There is always talk, as Katelyn has laid out as well about the implicit bias that people have whether they can set certain

things aside to be a fair and impartial juror in their view.

We live in a world where it's hard to imagine there's anybody who does not know who Donald Trump is certainly in New York City. What are the more

pointed questions that we'll get at, how a prospective juror will be able to lay those -- their own personal feelings aside?

ZELDIN: Think you touched on it with Katelyn, where they gathered their news? How are they informed about the world in which we live will be, I

think, an important factor for the lawyers to make determinations about whether they want to keep a person on the jury or not.

If you are getting all of your news from one side of the political spectrum or the other then, I think each side is going to try to keep those people

off the jury. The prosecutors don't want people who are gathering news from alt-right sides and vice versa, but the defense attorney.

So, I think they're going to try as best they can to figure out where did these people gather news? What's their worldview? Do they believe in the

big lie? Do they believe in other conspiracy theories? Do they believe that Trump is a menace to democracy?

Those types of subjective evaluations will, I think, feature prominently in the examination of prospective jurors, and will determine the basis by

which prosecutors and defense attorneys try to keep jurors on or off this jury.

HILL: We've talked so much in the lead up to this trial, and frankly, a number of others involving the former president about the tactic that we've

often seen of delay, delay, delay -- attack and delay. Is there an opportunity for the Trump team to try to further delay throughout this jury

selection process?

ZELDIN: No, I think that it has been joined. The judge is pretty much going to control the jury selection process, the lawyers will get their

opportunities to ask some questions on the margin. But jury selection these days is really a court managed proposition. And I think that this will go

slowly, because you want to make sure that you have called out all the people who will not follow the evidence or the jury instructions.

It will take a week or two, I think to do that, but I don't think Trump is going to be able to delay this trial. The interesting sub part of what's

going to happen today, potentially, is what they call a sand able hearing, which is Trump has said that he may testify.

And so, they want to want to figure out, what can he be cross examined, if he does take the stand? And there going to be a hearing potentially today

or earlier in the course of this event to figure out if Trump will testify. And if he does testify, what he can be cross examined on? That's another

important aspect of this pre-evidence inclusion, part of the process that we're watching.

HILL: Michael Zeldin, always appreciate your expertise. Thank you.

Stay with us. We have much more ahead on this historic trial. And of course, the developments in the Middle East.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson here in Abu Dhabi for you.

HILL: And I'm Erica Hill in New York, where Donald Trump is making history today as the first former U.S. president to face trial for criminal

charges. We have images of him today. He, of course first arrived at court this morning.

Jury selection set to get underway a short time from now. Donald Trump is charged with 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to allegedly

hide the reimbursement of hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the lead up to the 2016 presidential election.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He's called the criminal trial a quote assault on America. We'll have much more on that

throughout the hour. But let's move these over now to Becky Anderson who is following the other big story of the day, of course out of the Middle East.

ANDERSON: And I appreciate it. Looking forward to getting back to you.

Israeli officials tell CNN, the country's war Cabinets has been locked in a heated debate over how and when to respond to an unprecedented attack from


That Cabinet has wrapped up today's meeting after hours of talks on Sunday, ended without a resolution.

Meantime, leaders in the Middle East and around the world are scrambling to contain the conflict. At Sunday's emergency session of the U.N. Security

Council, America's deputy ambassador said Iran will be to blame if either it or its proxies act against the U.S. or Israel.

Well, as we are seeing the crisis is drawing in multiple players in the region. Let's get more insight from a regional expert are based in

Washington for us. Mark Saad is the Director of Outreach and a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. He joins me now. For us, as we look at

how Israel may respond. We are dealing with two realities here. First, this was a direct, unprecedented attack on Israel by Iran. At the same time, it

was widely telegraphed, as we understand it, and we know it causes very minimal damage and injuries inside Israel.

With that in mind, and with your ear to the ground, particularly when it comes to gulf thinking, thinking about what is going on both with a Saudi

perspective and around this region where I am.

What are the options on the table here? And what would be sufficient, as far as you can assess for those who are calling for real de-escalation here

and profound concern about what happens next.

FIRAS MAKSAD, DIRECTOR OF OUTREACH, MIDDLE EAST INSTITUTE: Thank you. First, it's good to be on the show again. Thank you for having me.

I think there's an understanding both here in Washington, D.C., but also in other influential regional Arab capitals, that there will be a response.

There has to be an Israeli response.

As you mentioned, this is an unprecedented attack directly from Iran, on Israel, despite the long history of conflict between the two.


Iran has never attacked Israel directly. It always had a preference for indirect attack using many of its proxies and militias in Arab countries,

Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and others.

So, the unprecedented nature of this attack will necessitate a response. Now, that said, what's being communicated to Israel from Washington and

from other capitals is, that this response need to mirror the actions undertaken by Iran.

It was telegraphed. It was -- it took 12 days. I think the Israelis are also trying to sort of thread that needle, walk that line where they do

respond, but they respond in a telegraphed way, they take their time, and they do so in a manner that doesn't trigger a wider regional configuration.

ANDERSON: Well, Saudi Arabia has restored ties with Iran, there is no love lost between the kingdom and Iran's proxies around this region. I'm talking

about the Houthis. I'm talking about Hamas in Gaza. We're very specifically here. I am also talking about Hezbollah. Any asymmetric response by Israel

could be with Hezbollah in the South of Lebanon, in the crosshairs.

How would Saudi Arabia respond to that?

MAKSAD: Well, I mean, I think the Saudis, but also, other regional partners of the United States have done already quite a bit here. It's remarkable to

see that Jordan, the Saudis -- even the Qataris, there was a lot of reporting leading up into this conflict that some of them had chosen to

restrict American movement on their bases, on their territories.

That was not the case. The CENTCOM area of operations, the U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, which integrated Israel, under its umbrella

three years ago, for the first time, operated jointly in an integrated fashion, to contribute to the defense of Israel.

And I think leaders in Israel need to take a moment, think about that, and maybe use that as a moment to try and understand, and maybe to flip over

from focusing on Gaza.

There is no strategic victory to be had in the alleyways of Gaza. We need to start talking about the day after. And then we need to get back to where

America's focus was before the October 7th attack, which is normalization and regional integration.

If there is a strategic victory to be had. Vis-a-vis Iran, it is to continue down that path of regional integration and normalizations. That I

think the Arabs have shown quite a -- quite a bit of goodwill, in terms of the role they played in the defense against Iran's attack a few days ago.

ANDERSON: And the kingdom holds some cards it has to be said, with Washington and this Biden administration, and the administration going

forward. This is a bipartisan position the normalization with Israel by Washington for its Middle East pillar.

So, where do -- where as you understand it, do things stand at present with regard the offer of normalization? What -- you know, what are the details

on that? And what's the quid pro quo, as you understand it? What's the kingdom asking for at this point, from Washington?

MAKSAD: Well, Becky, let me say that I think the kingdom has played its cards very carefully. It has created options for itself. Yes, it was like a

much closer relationship with the United States with Washington, D.C., but also certainly still coordinating with Russia on oil policy, and OPEC Plus,

still hosting President Xi and open to the Chinese and coordinating with the Chinese.

On normalization, it is looking for a defense pact that would have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate, and also is looking for a cooperation on a

civil nuclear program.

Now, on both those tracks, there has been a tremendous amount of progress. They've been very close, they were very close pre-October 7th, and I think

the Iranians knew that very well.

But there is also a Palestinian component to this. It's not true that the kingdom is ready to sell the Palestinians down the river. And in fact, more

so after October 7th, due to public opinion, they are unwilling to move without Israel coming to the table with a promise of a roadmap towards a

Palestinian state.

And my understanding is that through the shuttle diplomacy that's taking place, Senator Lindsey Graham leading these efforts, some visits to Riyadh

announced some not, that there has not been progress because the Israelis have, until now, not really put anything significant on the table.


ANDERSON: The Jordanian foreign minister told me earlier today that any escalation between Iran and Israel will prove simply a distraction to the

focus that ultimately needs to be kept on Gaza on a resolution for Gaza, on a ceasefire, the release of hostages in return for Palestinian prisoners,

and for an opportunity to open the aperture as you have rightly pointed out for discussions about what the day after looks like, and what a Palestinian

horizon might look like.

The detail on that, on what a Palestinian horizon will look like does seem unclear at present. To your mind, what is it specifically that the kingdom

is looking for, at this point, if it can get Israel to the table as a partner for peace?

MAKSAD: Well, Becky, I can't speak for the kingdom. But I think that the foreign minister of Jordan, Ayman Al Safadi is absolutely correct. And you

know, the roadmap is pretty clear. We need to get to a ceasefire in Gaza six months on with over 33,000 dead, mostly civilians, woman and children.

Israel cannot handle the day after in Gaza without Arab buy in. I mean by U.N. estimates, there is over $20 billion in reconstruction aid that is

required to get people back into their homes. Where are all these Palestinians going to go? Even if you do let them return up to northern


They need to 20 -- but they need Arab buy in for that coffer. So, we need a ceasefire, we need to talk about the day after. And then there needs to be

a roadmap, a pathway towards a viable Palestinian state.

And the politics on either side is not clear on the Palestinian side, obviously, still with the issue of Hamas on one hand and Fatah on the

other. But also, the Israeli domestic scene is very complex, and the prime minister there is looking at a maximalist right-wing coalition that might

not last. And so, there might need to be a reformulation of that government that perhaps or the election in Israel. The pathway is clear. Getting there

is certainly more complicated.

ANDERSON: Firas, it's always a pleasure having you on. Your insight and analysis. And I've said this before, and I'll say it again, it's so

important to us. It is so good to have you, and we'll have you back on.

Still to come, more on our other big story happening today, right now, in a New York courtroom. U.S. Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump

facing criminal charges that could just land him in jail. That is ahead.



HILL: Donald Trump making history today as the first former U.S. president to go on trial for criminal charges. He is of course now inside that

Manhattan courthouse. Jury selection will begin later today. The judge beginning the day though, by denying a motion from the former president's

legal team to recuse himself from the case. They had wanted the judge, of course, recuse himself.

Donald Trump is facing possible jail time stemming from these 34 felony charges of falsifying business records. The entire trial is expected to

last six to eight weeks, and Donald Trump is required to attend.

Joining me now is the founder and director of the University of Virginia Center for politics, Larry Sabato.

Larry, always good to see you. You know, there's been so much made of what this case, what any of these cases that the former president is facing the

impact that they could ultimately have on voters.

I was struck by an ABC News poll that found -- that asks, if Donald Trump was convicted of a felony, what that would do to people's opinion? 70

percents of their opinion would be the same as it is now. 21 percent said they'd have a lower opinion five percent said higher. Does that surprise

you at all?

LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Not really. Actually, the 70 percent is low, because you're going to have at

least 90 percent of the electorate not changing sides, I think it will be closer to 95 percent or more.

We are absolutely locked in to our positions on Donald Trump in every survey and study, more extensive than individual polls have indicated that

Trump's support is solid, they are not moving. And those opposed to Trump are also solid, they are not moving.

There could be some movement between the two major party candidates, Trump and Biden, and the three independent or third-party candidates. That's

where there ought to be a little movement.

But honestly, Erica, we're talking about three, four, five, six percent of the electorate at most, that maybe is even eligible to change their mind.

HILL: It's interesting to say maybe even eligible. How closely then do you think given how dug in, and your estimation people seem to be? How closely

do you think people will be following the trial?

SABATO: Well, you know, the same as usual, there's people who, who will follow civic events and public events will spend a lot of time and effort

on it. I think, particularly of older voters and those who are retired for example, and have extra time to do so. Most people will simply glance at

the headlines or see a two-minute piece in their favorite evening news program. And that's going to be pretty much, yes.

Because, they think, maybe incorrectly, but they think they already know the story here. They think they have known it since October of 2016. I'm

sure there will be new information provided in the trial. I'm not at all sure that anything will be provided that will really change the focus of

this election.

HILL: Donald Trump, of course, has to be in court. This is expected to last -- also, jury selection one to two weeks, the entire trial itself, six to

eight weeks.

He will, of course, be back out on the campaign trail on the weekends. No cameras in court, but we will see him. Speaking to the cameras as he did

this morning upon arrival, lightly speaking afterwards putting out play a message is there on True Social.

Do you see his approach to this changing at all, or do you think that messaging from him will continue to be that he thinks this is rigged. That

this is, you know, the judge shouldn't be there, on and on and on, the greatest hits we've seen?

SABATO: Oh, yes. he sticks to his greatest hits. Erica. Don't forget about Wednesdays, he's got Wednesday too. The court doesn't meet Wednesday.

HILL: True.

SABATO: So, he'll be jetting around the country, at least, to the swing states that a relative handful of swing states, making news and that will

be the news peg until he starts campaigning and traveling around on Saturday and Sunday.

You know, in a way for him this that while he doesn't want an indictment, he doesn't want a trial. It's not a bad setup for him and that it reduces

the wear and tear on him as a candidate. And it gives him plenty to talk about and plenty to keep his troops, his base, outraged about.

HILL: Larry, always good to have you with us. Thank you.

And we'll continue to update you here from New York. We are also of course, watching what is happening in the Middle East, the West Bank, now seeing

its fiercest violence since Israel launched that war against Hamas. What's behind the new wave of attacks by Israeli settlers? That's next.



ANDERSON: Welcome back. All eyes on Israel this hour as it wrestles with the question of how to respond to a major Iranian attack. Sources tell us

that there has been heated debate in the Israeli war Cabinet.

Members have just wrapped up -- wrapped up -- let me say it again. Cabinet members have just wrapped up another hours-long meeting and have not

released any details on what was discussed or possibly decided.

Officials have said military options were on the table as well as diplomatic steps to further isolate Iran on the world stage.

From all directions, world powers are cautioning against any further escalation and they are rightly concerned about global stability. But we do

not want to lose sight of what is happening inside Gaza and the West Bank.

Israeli officials reporting a second delivery of aid is gotten into Gaza through a new crossing point. That is part of a new humanitarian push to

fend off a looming famine there.

Meanwhile, the Gaza health ministry says 68 more people have died as a result of Israel's military operations. And in the occupied West Bank,

Israeli police say a man who threw a grenade at Israeli forces during a security operation was shot dead.

That's on the heels of an intense new wave of violence there. Israeli settlers going on the attack after a teenager was found dead. This report

from Jeremy Diamond.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): For the second day in a row, armed Israeli settlers descend on Al-Mughayyir, burning homes and

vehicles in this village in the occupied West Bank, when suddenly, a shot rings out.

A dozen men rush a wounded man into an ambulance.

DIAMOND: They are setting fire to vehicles just as they did yesterday. And also we have heard shots being fired. One Palestinian man was shot in the

leg. We saw him being taken out by ambulance and we're still hearing shots in the distance.

DIAMOND (voice over): These settlers are on a revenge campaign, attacking Palestinians after the missing 14-year-old Israeli Binyamin Achimair was

found dead near a neighboring settler outpost.

The Israeli military says he was murdered, calling it a terrorist attack. Although they did not provide any evidence.

His mother pleading for her son's return, the day before his body was found.

Binyamin went out this morning to let the sheep graze on the farm where he works, and he has not yet returned, she says.

A mother's pain now being weaponized by some Israeli settlers, triggering a new wave of violence in the West Bank. Even before Israeli authorities

alleged Binyamin was murdered, hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed Al- Mughayyir on Friday, shooting at Palestinians who responded with rocks.

Amin Abu-Alia, says his 26-year-old cousin Jehad was killed Friday by those settlers. A bullet to the head, cutting his life short, just two months

before his wedding.

Jehad was a kind decent person Amin says. He liked to help people, he loved the life, he loved people. His wedding was in two months. His only crime is

that he loved this land and that he was getting married. That's all.

As Jehad's family and friends carried his body to the cemetery, news that Achimair's body has been found begins to spread. And the next wave of

settler attacks begins, targeting not only Al-Mughayyir, but other Palestinian towns in the West Bank, wounding nearly two dozen Palestinians.


The Israeli military said Israelis were also injured. Israeli authorities have not shared any evidence linking Palestinians in Al-Mughayyir to

Achimair's death. People here see it as just a pretext for more violence.

ABED ABU ALIA, RESIDENT, AL-MUGHAYYIR: This is an execute to destroyed, to attack people. You can see your live between us now, no one have gone, no

one -- no one can go as any danger for any Israeli settlement or settle up. So, why that? Why we can't live a freedom.

DIAMOND (voice over): Instead, a life filled with uncertainty and the fear of the next attack.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Al-Mughyyir, in the West Bank.


ANDERSON: With that, that's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. Stay with CNN, there is a lot more on the Middle East tensions ahead on "NEWSROOM".

HILL: Donald Trump's criminal trial.