Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

Israeli Military Orders Palestinians To Leave Eastern Rafah; Ceasefire And Hostage Release Talks Stall, But Not Ended; Source: White House Pause An Ammunition Shipment To Israel; Israeli Military Orders Palestinians To Eastern Rafah; Israel Pulls Plug On Al Jazeera Operations In Country; Judge Finds Donald Trump In Contempt For Violating Gag Order Again; Death Toll Keeps Rising And More Heaver Rain Ahead In Kenya. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 06, 2024 - 10:00   ET




OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome to CNN special coverage of Trump's hush money trial, where a judge has found the former president in

contempt for violating his gag order for the 10th time, and threatening him with jail if he does so, again.

I'm Omar Jimenez at the courthouse in lower Manhattan.

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And hello, I'm Lynda Kinkade in Atlanta, where we're also following a possible Israeli invasion to the

southernmost tip of Gaza, the city of Rafah. And that would mean the 1.2 million Palestinian -- Palestinians sheltering --

We're nearly seven months into the war in Gaza, Israel appears to be readying for its long-awaited ground offensive in Rafah. It's ordering

residents in eastern Rafah to evacuate to an area outside the city that an unrest spokesperson says is not suitable for human habitation. He says the

order could impact up to 100,000 civilians.

And for those who don't flee, aid agencies of warning of a humanitarian catastrophe and the potential bloodbath. Well, adding to that fear and

panic. There massive plume of smoke from an Israeli airstrike in eastern Rafah.

Israel has been staging airstrikes in the city for months. And Gaza officials report more than 26 people were killed there overnight, including


Israel says the ground offensive and Rafah would be limited in scale, but any offensive there would seemingly defy the U.S. president's warning to

his Israeli counterpart. The moving ground troops into Rafah would cross a red line.

CNN has learned that Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu will talk to each other on the phone again today, as the White House closely watches the


Jeremy Diamond is back with us this hour. Good to have you with us, Jeremy. So, we know that more than half the population in Gaza has been pushed into

Rafah. Israel says that this operation is limited in scope, well, in fact, 100,000 people who are there, they are urging to evacuate. But these people

have already evacuated multiple times, right?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, many of them, without a doubt, Lynda. I mean, our stringer in Gaza today spoke with multiple people who

had begun to flee. One man told us that he was fleeing now for the fourth time after being displaced from different areas where the Israeli military

was conducting combat operations.

Now, this evacuation is, as you said, expected to impact about 100,000 people. But there is also broader concern that more panic could be

spreading throughout Rafah, even beyond the area where the Israeli military has directed people to evacuate.

And that is the major concern for humanitarian aid officials is that this area where they are being directed to evacuate, there are concerns that it

will not be sufficient, either for this 100,000 people living in this part of Eastern Rafah, but certainly not if more people -- more tens of

thousands of people from other parts of Rafah flee north out of concern that they will be next, as the Israeli military sets the stage for this

ground offensive, which it has been threatening now for months into Rafah.

Now, we know, of course, that U.S. officials have long expressed serious concerns about a ground offensive into Rafah over the course of the last

several weeks. And there is no sense yet that Israeli plans that have been shared with the Americans have been able to assuage those concerns about a

sufficient shelter being set up for the civilian population.

The Israeli military, for its part, says that it has brought in additional tents, food, medicine, set up field hospitals, in what they are describing

as an expanded humanitarian zone, as in Al Mawasi area of Gaza, as well as in western Khan Younis and in central Gaza.

But for now, we are not able to verify whether or not that shelter and those resources are indeed adequate. And all we can rely on for now is the

concern the anxiety of the people on the ground, as well as the concerns being expressed by humanitarian aid officials, including the United


KINKADE: Yes, the U.N., of course, warning at this full-blown famine in the north of Gaza. What more can you tell us, Jeremy, about these three Israeli

soldiers that were wounded at a border crossing in the impact on the delivery of aid?

DIAMOND: Yes. Well, three soldiers have now died as a result of that attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing -- very close to that crossing, which has been

one of the main points for humanitarian aid to not only go into Gaza, but also to be screened for security purposes before going into Gaza either

directly in that crossing or directly into northern Gaza via some of the new crossings that Israel has established.

And that attack appear -- apparently carried out by Hamas has now resulted in the closing of that crossing.


It's not clear how long it will be closed for, but there is no question that it will impact the entry of humanitarian aid into that part of Gaza.

Of course, the Israeli military has expanded the number of crossings into Gaza over the course of the last several weeks. A lot of folks have thought

that, that was also because of the potential for this ground defensive into Rafah.

You will note that this area of eastern Rafah that is -- that could potentially be the tip of the spear for this Israeli ground defensive, it

does include that Rafah border crossing. And so, there are also major questions about the future of that border crossing, which has really been a

central point for a to get in from Egypt into Gaza.

KINKADE: And Jeremy, we know the CIA director of Bill Burns is in Doha for talks regarding a ceasefire or hostage exchange. What more can you tell us

about those talks? Because we understand he was meant to go to Israel, but instead extended his stay in Qatar.

DIAMOND: Well, going into this weekend, you know, there was a lot of optimism about the possibility of Hamas and Israel reaching an agreement

over this Egyptian framework. That was really a last-ditch attempt to try and avert this Rafah offensive to try and secure a week's long ceasefire

deal that would see dozens of Israeli hostages release as well as hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

But over the weekend, these talks have now stalled. And that optimism has considerably declined since then, two Israeli sources are familiar with the

talks telling me that the key sticking point now is Hamas's demand that these negotiations result in an Israeli commit -- were all together.

And that is something that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says simply will not happen that he cannot agree to as part of these

negotiations. So, for now, these negotiations have stalled, they are not dead altogether.

The -- as you said the CIA Director Bill Burns is still in Doha, Qatar trying to push these negotiations forward, trying to see if they can get

beyond this current impasse.

But obviously, this Rafah offensive could very well move forward if there is not an agreement very soon.

KINKADE: All right. Jeremy Diamond, staying across all those developments for us in Jerusalem. Thanks so much.

Well, an additional layer of unbearable tragedy. Those are the words from the head of the U.N. aid agency, UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini, says an Israeli

ground operation would make it even harder to reverse the famine that exists there.

France and the European Union also stressing their firm opposition to such an operation.

Well, for Palestinians who have crammed into Rafah, the question is, where do they go? UNRWA says, the area where they've been told to evacuate is not

fit for the influx. And UNRWA says most buildings there are gone. Food is scarce, and the IDF says it's beefed-up supplies and facilities. But some

displaced Palestinians say they feel that there is very few alternatives.


ABU AHMED, DISPLACED PALESTINIANS (through translator): The Israeli occupation told people to go to Rafah, and that -- it is a safe area.

Today, they are telling us to get out of Rafah.

Where will the people go? Where will all these crowds go? 1.5 million or 2 million civilians. Where will they go? Should they go to the sea? Where

will people go after they told us that this is a safe area? They want to commit a genocide. This is what we understood.


KINKADE: Well, the Biden administration has put a hold on a shipment of ammunition to Israel. It didn't say why. A source says the pause is not

connected to the anticipated Rafah operation and wouldn't stop other shipments from moving forward.

While there any tea leaves to read there, CNN's Arlette Saenz is at the White House. So, Arlette, what are you hearing? Is it a logistics issue? Or

could they be trying to pressure Israel not to launch this offensive?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, that certainly is one of the key questions here. The White House, so far, and Biden

administration have not said why exactly they paused those -- the shipment of those -- that U.S. made ammunition to Israel.

As you noted, a source familiar with the matter said that they claimed it's not part of this potential -- or not due to the fact that there could be

this potential operation into Rafah, and that it won't impact aid shipments going forward.

Now, Senator Chris Coons, a key Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said earlier today that he had heard it was due to some

logistical issues. So, we will see if there's any further reaction or explanation from the Biden administration on this matter.

But it does come as the White House is watching Israel's moves related to Rafah incredibly closely. We know sources have told us that President Biden

would be speaking by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning before he departs for Wilmington, Delaware, where he has spent

the weekend.

And it comes as the U.S. has repeatedly raised concerns with Israel about a potential operation into Rafah. The president, himself, spoke with

Netanyahu eight days ago. The White House saying that he made clear to Netanyahu what his position was on Rafah.


The administration has been pushing Israel -- Israeli officials to come up with a workable plan to ensure the safety and the evacuation of the more

than 1.4 million Palestinians who are currently in Rafah. Many who had been displaced to that area due to fighting in their home areas within Gaza.

But so far, we know that just last week, Israeli officials had briefed U.S. officials on their thinking relating to an evacuation of Rafah. But sources

stressed that what was presented was not a final plan, that they did not present final plans relating to a military operation.

And so, that is still something that the White House is viewing with great concern, especially at a time when the president is also facing significant

political pressure back here at home when it comes to his approach of this conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Now, I will also note, this is all playing out against the backdrop of those negotiations that are still -- administration officials say are still

ongoing, relating to the securing of hostage releases, as well as a potential ceasefire.

The administration really views these talks as the best hope to try to ensure the safety and survival of these hostages, as well as avoiding any

potential operation into Rafah.

So, we will see whether President Biden is pushing Netanyahu not just when it comes to taking greater care when it comes to considering an operation

into Rafah, but also when it -- what it -- how it relates to a potential hostage deal at a time when we've heard Israeli and Hamas officials blaming

each other for what they view as extreme view.

I'll also note, today, President Biden is set to have lunch with Jordan's King Abdullah here at the White House. The king is a key player in the

region. And so, certainly, these latest Israeli moves, the latest developments in Gaza could come up in those conversations. But we will see

what else the White House has to say after Biden speaks with Netanyahu this morning.

KINKADE: All right, we will. Plenty to stay across for us, Arlette Saenz, outside the White House. Thank you.

Well, it's against this backdrop that Israelis are observing Holocaust Remembrance Day.


KINKADE (voice over): On Sunday night, dignitaries marched the solemn occasion with a ceremony in Jerusalem to mark the 6 million Jews who

perished. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a not so veiled reference to the tensions with the United States.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: 80 years ago, in the Holocaust, the Jewish people were totally defenseless -- are destruction. No nation

came to our aid.

Today, we again confront enemies bent on our destruction. I say to the leaders of the world, no amount of pressure, no decision by any

international forum will stop Israel from defending itself.

As the prime minister of Israel, the one and only Jewish states, I pledge here today from Jerusalem on this Holocaust Remembrance Day. If Israel is

forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.


KINKADE: I want across now over to New York, in Omar Jimenez, who is outside Donald Trump's hush money trial. Good to see you, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Good to see you, Lynda.

We've been following a lot going on already. today. Today's proceedings began with the Judge Juan Merchan ruling that Trump violated his gag order,

once again, fining him another a thousand, but also, appearing to threaten jail time if this continues.

Now, testimony has resumed with prosecutors calling former Trump Organization executive, Jeff McConney to the stand.

And as a reminder, with no cameras in court, you're going to see on the left side of your screen right over here, the updates that we're getting

live from inside the courtroom.

Now, Brynn Gingras, who has been in and out at points joins me now outside the courthouse.

I want to start with the gag order, because obviously, this is not the first time he's been found in contempt of court -- the 10th time, actually.

He's been fined $1,000 to this point. Now, the judge is threatening jail time.


JIMENEZ: What is so significant about this (INAUDIBLE)?

GINGRAS: Yes. Well, let's first remind the viewers, for this, a second time the prosecutors brought these accusations against him and to the judges,

you know, attention, there were four separate examples.

So, he only fined him for one of those four. So, there was a bit of an argument that was made by the defense for those other three examples. The

one that it was, was about the jurors.

You know, Trump spoke to a local media and basically said something about the jurors. The judge didn't like that. And then, he went further, like

you're saying and threatened -- and jail time, which he's threatened it before.

But this one seems pretty serious. You know, he said, the last thing I want to do is put a former president of the U.S. and possibly the next

president, as well into jail. And the magnitude of that decision, the judge said is not lost on him.

So, he said, listen, you are willfully violating this gag order, and I will put you in jail if I need to. So, he'll instead have to pay $1,000 for now,

by Friday.

JIMENEZ: Yes. This is the most stern language we have seen yet from the judge. ow, look we are also resuming testimony here with the prosecution

side of things.


Jeffrey McConney is on the stand. Who is he?


JIMENEZ: What is his significance here?

GINGRAS: So, he was former Trump Org controllers. There for 35 years. And just a reminder also to the viewers, he testified at the Trump civil fraud

trial, he actually cried on the stand a couple of times. He doesn't like being in the witness box. He's had to testify many times in Trump

different, you know, issues that he's had in the courts, actually another time in front of Judge Merchan.

So, he doesn't like it. He actually, you know, admires Trump. He's actually going through that right now with prosecutors about times where he

appreciated Trump, But, now, you're starting to see prosecutors get into the paperwork that, you know, documents and stuff, continuing that

argument, which they need to spell out for jurors, because those are the charges that are front of them to consider.

So, he basically, you know, deals with accounts payable, where the money is coming into Trump Org.? Where it's going out. And so, likely we're going to

start seeing that testimony and maybe even some paperwork showing what prosecutors hope is going to show jurors, hey, Trump had an idea for this

hush money payment, and he knew about it and why.

JIMENEZ: And look, for those that might be casually following this trial, I think, you know, they hear, hush money payments trial.


JIMENEZ: But there is so many elements here. There are elements of election interference.


JIMENEZ: There are -- there are hush money payments involved. There is also, obviously, what's being charged here, falsifying business records.


JIMENEZ: So, sort of can you lay out sort of what aspects we are looking at here? And where are we as far as the journey of these charges here?

GINGRAS: Yes. So, the big -- you -- like you said, the hush money. That's where it seems like everyone's getting the intention. That's where all the

blockbuster testimony is coming from. But what prosecutors have to say is that Trump falsified 35 business records, but he did it with the intention

to basically sway the election in 2016. That's the felony here.

The falsifying business records is just a misdemeanor. But they have to tie it all together and figure out the intent why did Trump do it? And that's,

that's a hard road to, you know, bridge to -- what am I trying to say here? I'm --


JIMENEZ: Yes, yes. It's a hard bridge to cross. Yes, yes, yes.

GINGRAS: That's a hard thing to connect. Yes, thank you. It's a hard thing to connect for the jurors. And so, that's why while all this big

blockbuster, people are coming to the stand, prosecutors really have to pinpoint did Trump know? And did he do it purposely for this reason, and

it's not clear if that's been made yet, but they also, at this point, have to still get all that paperwork in to, to show that he was falsifying

business records.


GINGRAS: So, there is sort of two sort of stories that need to be told here.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And as we talked about beforehand, this can be a long road here.


JIMENEZ: So, while we haven't gotten there yet, that's not to say we won't get there.


JIMENEZ: And obviously, prosecution is continuing to build their case, as they continue to call witnesses here. As we mentioned, Jeffrey McConney is

on the stand right now, former longtime Trump controller.

As Brynn spoke about, we have a lot more that we're going to be following, including over the course of this hour. But I'm going to send it back to

you for now, Lynda.

KINKADE: Update, Omar Jimenez. Thanks so much. We will come back to you shortly.

Well, at least two major universities are making changes to their commencement ceremonies in the wake of the protests on campus. We'll have a

live report coming up next.

Plus, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Europe for his first trip in about five years, but it takes place in a dramatically changed climate. We'll

have a live report coming up.



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade.

A number of U.S. colleges are still struggling to contain growing pro- Palestinian protests and encampments, while others are trying to return to business as usual.

Well, in New York, an official says Columbia is canceling the university- wide commencement ceremony plan for next week and holding smaller events instead, due in part, to those security concerns.

Here in Georgia Emory University, plans to relocate its commencement to a suburb of Atlanta, citing security concerns.

In D.C., George Washington University's president sent a letter to the campus community on Sunday with a warning about the protests there. She

said the pro-Palestinian encampment that's occupied part of the school for more than a week is no longer a peaceful protest and must be disbanded.

And UCLA officials say faculty are encouraged to resume in-person instruction as soon as possible, but may continue to conduct courses

remotely at their discretion in the wake of those protests.

We'll CNN's Rafael Romo is caught following all these stories and joins us now live in Atlanta. Good to have you with us Rafael.

So, obviously, the fallout from these protests continue. We have seen all these different ceremonies, postponed, moved, canceled, et cetera.

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Lynda, it's happening all across the nation. But let me tell you, I just returned from

Florida, where we witness orderly and peaceful commencement ceremonies at both University of Florida in Gainesville, and Florida State University in


But there's a new controversy here in the south. The University of Mississippi, also known affectionately here in the United States as Ole

Miss, has opened an investigation into a confrontation between pro- Palestinian protesters and counter protesters on the school's campus.

A confrontation caught on multiple cell phone cameras, has prompted allegations of "hostility and racist" overtones being portrayed during the

heated exchanges.

One video, in particular, shows a group of mostly young white men in the counter protests yelling at a black woman. That's happening in Mississippi.

The president of George Washington University, as you were mentioning at the beginning, located in the capital, of course, said last night that the

pro-Palestinian protest encampment that had occupied part of G.W.U.'s campus for more than a week, it's still there, is no longer peaceful and

must be this banded.

President Ellen Granberg has said the following in a statement. And here, I quote, "The demonstration she said, like many around the country, has grown

into what can only be classified as an illegal and potentially dangerous occupation of G.W. property."

And Lynda, the president gave multiple examples of inappropriate conduct to support her conclusion, saying that, among other things, in the last five

days, protesters have vandalized a university statue and flag surrounded and intimidated G.W. students with anti-Semitic images and hateful


They've also chased people out of a public yard and pushed police officers and university maintenance staff. And officials at the University of

California, Los Angeles, on the other hand, announced last night the school would return to regular operations today and plan to remain this way

through the rest of the weekend.

Lynda, as you may remember, UCLA canceled classes last week following a night marred by violence, in which, pro-Palestinian protesters were

attacked by masked men for hours without police intervention.

And finally, last night, the University of Southern California posted an announcement online saying the encampment at UPC, meaning University Park

Campus has been cleared. Officials there had earlier said that the campus had reopened to students, faculty, and staff, but we're still asking for

valid identification to enter the campus. Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. We will continue to stay across all these protests. -- going on a hunger strike to.

Rafael Romo for us in Atlanta. Thanks so much.

While protesting gulf college campuses across the U.S. pro-Palestinian demonstrators have also spread to other parts of the world. Take a look at

this. Down town Tokyo, where hundreds of people attended a free-Palestine protests rave today.

People waved free Palestine banners, and held Palestinian flags and chanted free, free Palestine in English, while music played in the background.

Well, Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Paris right now, meeting with the French president, Emmanuel Macron. This is Mr. Xi's first official visit to

Europe in five years.


He is trying to quiet critics over recent trade investigations and arrests for alleged espionage on behalf of China.

European leaders are also concerned about President Xi's growing ties with Russia amid its war in Ukraine.

Anna Coren is following the story and joins us now from Hong Kong. Good to have you staying up late for us there in Hong Kong Anna.

So, we've been seeing these pictures of the French president, the Chinese president, their wives, meeting at the Elysee Palace. Talked to us about

their agenda today.

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, Lynda, Xi Jinping, he is holding a bilateral meeting with French president Emmanuel

Macron as we speak at Hotel in Berlin in Paris.

Earlier, they met with the European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, at the Elysee Palace.

And speaking to the media afterwards, von der Leyen said they had an open and honest exchange. Now, top of the agenda, trade between China and the

E.U., but also the war in Ukraine. That really is overshadowing discussions that it's now in its third year. And China's support for Russia's wartime

economy is a huge and troubling issue for the Europeans.

Macron and von der Leyen, no doubt reiterated U.S. calls for China to stop exports to Russia of dual use and other technologies that are propping up

Russia's war effort. And they also want Xi to use his influence on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the war.

I think it's important to note, Lynda that Putin is traveling to Beijing later this month, and it reinforces the closeness of that relationship,

which is alarming to the west.

On the issue of trade. She is hoping to head off a trade war with the European Union as tensions rise over exports of Chinese electric vehicles

and restricted market access for European companies in China. That is something that they are really complaining about.

Xi, he said that he wants more Chinese companies to invest in France. France is China's third largest trading partner. And there are reports that

an order (PH) will replace with Airbus for around 50 planes. You know, that will be incredibly lucrative.

Analysts say though that this visit is more than just shoring up trade. It's part of China's strategy to exploit differences inside Europe. And

they also believe that Xi will use this opportunity to encourage Macron to pursue greater autonomy from the U.S., as it tries really to weaken

Washington's dominance.

Now, after the bilat, Xi and Macron will hold a joint press conference. Then, there'll be a state dinner, and later, they will travel to the

Pyrenees Mountains for some one-on-one time.

Then, after that, Xi is off to Serbia and then, Hungary.

KINKADE: The Pyrenees Mountains sounds delightful. That part of the trip and it all over.

COREN: It does.

KINKADE: Sounds good. Anna Coren, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.

COREN: Thank you.

KINKADE: I want to get you up to speed on some other stories on our radar right now. bodies have been found in the Mexican state of Baja California

Friday. They've been confirmed to be the three missing surfers.

The two Australian brothers and their American friend were missing April 29th. And on Sunday, the state attorney general said the three victims had

been killed with gunshots to their heads.

Kyiv says thousands of Ukrainians have been sent to Russian prisons where they are being held as bargaining chips. More on that later. And it comes

as Russian airstrikes bombarded Ukraine's Kharkiv region.

At least one person was killed, with 24 people injured in drone and bomb attacks as people celebrated orthodox Easter on Sunday.

Well, as Gaza nervously waits for a possible ground invasion of Rafah, Israel continues to pound the territory by air.

The Gaza Civil Defense says, at least, 34 people were killed, 25 wounded overnight across Gaza. 26 of the victims were in Rafah, and included

children and babies.

Well, it's still to come, Israel's moved to shut down Al Jazeera in the country spots worldwide concerns over press freedom. I'll speak with the

news director for Al Jazeera English when we return.



KINKADE: Welcome back to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Linda Kinkade, good to have you with us.

Well, Israel is ordering Palestinians in the eastern part of Rafah to evacuate the city, it comes ahead of Israel's long threatened ground

offensive in Rafah.

Israel's military says it's preparing to stage a limited scale operation to find Hamas militants and residents are being told to move to an area

outside the city that a U.N. Relief spokesperson says may not be suitable for human habitation.

Now, this warning comes a ceasefire talks stall between the CIA director who remains in the region. The executive director of the World Food

Programme says northern Gaza is experiencing a full blown famine. Cindy McCain says famine conditions are rapidly moving southward. McCain is

calling for a ceasefire an unfettered access for aid groups.


CINDY MCCAIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: We need to make sure that the world understands we can't let this happen. It just -- in

this day and age when they -- when the world has the ability to feed itself 10 times over, nobody should starve.


KINKADE: Well, one of the ways Palestinians, Arabs and many across the world have remained informed on what's happening in Rafah and in Gaza more

generally is through the Al Jazeera news channel.

Now, the United Nations and human rights groups are condemning Israel's decision to ban Al Jazeera's news network from the country, our Jomana

Karadsheh reports.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A dark day for democracy. That's what the Foreign Press Association has called the Israeli decision

to shutter the local offices of Qatari news network Al Jazeera. This video obtained by CNN shows Israeli officials raiding and confiscating the

channel's equipment in Jerusalem. The network has called it a, "criminal act" and saying it wouldn't affect its coverage of the war.

MOHAMED MOAWAD, MANAGING DIRECTOR, AL JAZEERA ARABIC: Al Jazeera affirms its right to continue to provide news and information to its global

audiences. Israel's direct targeting and killing of journalist, arrests, intimidation and the threats will not deter Al Jazeera.

KARADSHEH (voice over): Israel's move comes one month after it passed a law placing strict restrictions on the channel's operations. Back then, the

United States called the move concerning.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We believe in the freedom of the press. It is critical, it is critically important. And the United

States supports the critically important work journalists around the world do. And so, and that includes those who are reporting in the conflict in


KARADSHEH (voice over): The network has long been considered a thorn in the sight of Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government. He's accused of being

a mouthpiece of Hamas, accusations the network denies.

But the network is also known for its target on the ground reporting on Israel's war on Gaza and its operations in the West Bank. Now, after a

Cabinet decision Sunday, it's official.


SHLOMO KARHI, ISRAELI MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS (through translator): The government has now unanimously approved the closure of the incitement

mouthpiece of Hamas in Israel, Al Jazeera channel. The orders have just been signed, we are executing them. Anyone who harm the security of Israel

and the soldiers and fighters of the IDF will no longer broadcast here from Israel.

IMRAN KHAN, AL JAZEERA CORRESPONDENT: If you're watching this prerecorded report that Al Jazeera has been banned in the territory of Israel.

KARADSHEH (voice over): In this pre-recorded video, Al Jazeera correspondent Imran Khan give details of the closure.

KHAN: Al Jazeera, he's now enacted that law. Let me just --

KARADSHEH (voice over): The ban is initially set to last 45 days. Until then, at least the channel will remain off air in Israel, a country

described as the only democracy in the Middle East.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN.


KINKADE: The latest report from the Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 97 journalists and media workers, the vast majority of Palestinian

have been killed since the start of the war. And that includes journalists, working for Al Jazeera.

I want to bring in the news director for Al Jazeera English Salah Negm, good to have you with us.


KINKADE: So, just tell us quickly how this unfolded, how this ban came about because we saw those pictures of Al Jazeera's office in Jerusalem

being raided and equipment confiscated.

NEGM: As you mentioned or have seen in Imran Khan, our reporter recorded message, we knew about the law being passed in the Knesset for some time

and there were threats from government officials that they are going to shut down Al Jazeera.

But actually, we were hopeful until the last minute that this is not going to happen because we are in the 21st century, and actually shutting down

and closing down on all of that, that's a measure that goes back to the '60s and '70s, when the only way to obtain news was to be on the ground.

But now, we are not just dependent on our correspondent on the ground, there are news agencies, social media, citizens shown that there's a lot of

other sources that will enable us to continue covering from inside Islam in the same strength, objectivity and accuracy.

KINKADE: It's interesting, because Israel's war cabinet "AlJazeera, the mouth mouthpiece for Hamas", I want to understand how legally you will

challenge this move.

NEGM: Well, I think the Israeli government and they distinguish between Israel as a country and nation an Israeli government. Israeli government

apparently wants a mouthpiece for Israeli government. And anyone who's giving the complete picture, their own point of view, and other point of

view, they consider it a mouthpiece for what they consider the enemy. We are just a news organization, which are committed to accuracy and balance

and that's what we do.

KINKADE: We know Israel, of course, has not only closed your office, but also confiscated equipment, blocked websites, how will this impact your

coverage of the war?

NEGM: It will not impact our coverage of the war, it will deprive Israeli citizens, Arabs and Jews, from knowing in -- from independent news

organization that actually operates on the ground in those bank as an Israel, but our coverage will continue as strong as it is.

KINKADE: It says that it will be blocking your websites, has that happened at this point in time within the country?

NEGM: I don't know because I don't have fresh information about that. But I know that even when a country blocks website, via VPN people get access to

the website, that's very easy to happen.

So, I don't understand the logic behind that. Apparently, whoever took the decision doesn't know the model technology and the ways audience consume

news and the news sources.

LIPTAK: And so, talk to us about how your news operation will change going forward. How many journalists do you still have in the region? How many

journalists in Gaza?

NEGM: In Gaza, we have three crews and in those bank, we have three or four. In Israel, we have three close as well. And we told them if they're

free to come back to Doha now or just spend few days to see the country talk to the people, that's up to them. They are now not working. So, we

have some employees still in Israel, but on their own now.

KINKADE: We've had so much combination -- condemnation for this decision by Israel's war cabinet, how would you describe it the fact that they're

shutting down and forcing Al Jazeera out of their country?


NEGM: Well, the condemnation is, of course, it should be condemned. Because it's not in the 21st century, and after all these decades of talking about

free media under media and guarantee the freedom of expression everywhere. And then you have one country act.

I have seen that only from other countries in dictatorial countries, let's say that they take arbitrary decisions like this. So, that's the only thing

that could be said.

It's not expected. It's not fruitful or beneficial. And it's not -- it's not helping the Israeli government or the Israeli people even.

I mean, what do you think it's better to appear on a channel we invited Israeli guests and politicians to give their point of view, or just to

don't appear there? So, you have only one voice and one view coming from one place? Is that the way things are?

KINKADE: Salah Negm, from the director of news for Al Jazeera English, we appreciate your time today. Thanks so much for joining us.

NEGM: Thank you very much.

KINKADE: Well, up next, we'll head back to New York where a longtime Trump Organization executive is on the stand talking about a key issue in hush

money trial. How Donald Trump's expenses were locked.


JIMENEZ: Welcome back to lower Manhattan, (INAUDIBLE) third week of testimony is underway in Donald Trump's hush money trial. We now know Trump

has been ordered to pay another $1,000 for violating the gag order in this case.

The judge, though, has said that that violation has to do with Trump's comments about the makeup of the jury. And first on the stand today, the

former controller -- the former controller at the Trump Organization, Jeffrey McConney says, he oversaw the accounting department.

And remember, at the heart of this case are charges that Trump falsified records to cover up a hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

We don't have cameras inside the court. But you'll be able to follow updates there on the left side of your screen that we're getting in real

time from our reporters.

I want to bring in Attorney David Weinstein. He's a former state and federal prosecutor joining us from Miami today.

Now, David, for you, look, we're listening to Jeffrey McConney's testimony, to the layman's -- in layman's terms, maybe not the most exciting testimony

as they go through individual ledgers and accounting practices at the Trump Organization. But why is someone like him so significant in this case for

the prosecution?


ATTY. DAVID WEINSTEIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, Omar, you're right. He's not exciting, he's not titillating. He's not going to have the

headline grabbing statements that he's making. But he's important, because he helps the jurors track the transactions that are contained in the

documents they're seeing.

They're given a lot of documents are told about payments that are coming through. And what's important about these payments are two things, one, who

are they going to and two, who's directing where those payments are going. Meaning, how much does the defendant Donald Trump know about the payments

and where they're going?

So, he's helping the jurors understand this by interpreting these documents, by telling them what notes from other people mean, and about

where the money trail is going. And that money trail is very important to what the prosecution is trying to establish here.

JIMENEZ: Yeah, and, you know, up to this point, and, you know, I should point out as well that the attorneys for Donald Trump did object to some of

these documents being presented in court. But the judge has overruled -- has noted the objection and overruled that objection.

But to your point, you know, up to this point, what we've heard from prosecutorial witnesses has largely focused on the motivations and sort of

the background around not just the relationship between someone like Michael Cohen and Donald Trump, but also why the Donald Trump at the time

would have wanted to make these hush money payments, and potentially even the timing around them.

It does seem we're entering into a next phase of the prosecution's argument in regards to actually laying out the processes of these payments that were

going on. What comes after that? As you watch this case, from prosecution - - from a prosecutor's perspective, where do you see them building and going with this witness here?

WEINSTEIN: It's all building to one witness who is going to be the apex of their case, and that's Michael Cohen. And so, they are asking all these

witnesses about Cohen, the ones that we've heard testified in the last couple of weeks, this witness about the transactions, because we've heard

the defense, they're going to attack Cohen as an unreliable witness. It's a man who sold his soul who will lie about anything.

Well, the prosecution supports his statements by showing them documents that can't really be cross examined, because they say exactly what's in

those documents.

So, they're setting the stage for Cohen to get on the stand and continue to explain why he got the money, how it was tied to the election, where the

money was going, and who knew why the money was coming to him and why it was being routed the way it was, and that who is Donald Trump. So, that's

where all of this is leading right now.

JIMENEZ: And we have seen so far McConney already testified that the monthly wire -- that money being sent to Michael Cohen was coming from

Donald Trump's personal account as far as again, what he's testified today.

I want to ask about how we started the day today, the judge ruling that Trump was in contempt of court for 10th time, tied to violating gag orders

for a 10th time and now saying the $1,000 penalty here is not effective, the next time you're looking at jail. Do you think that's the right move

from the judge here? How do you see it?

WEINSTEIN: It has to be. I mean, quite frankly, you have to look at it at its lowest denominator here. It's punishment. And for example, when you're

punishing a child, when the child doesn't react to the punishment you're giving them, you have to increase the next level of punishment because

quite frankly, they'll just keep exhibiting the same bad behavior.

And in this instance, the $1,000 fines, they haven't been deterring the bad behavior, the former President goes out and he makes the same out of court

statements, he violates the gag orders. And the judge is really left with no choice.

Now, it doesn't mean he's going to take him and throw him in the jail cell immediately and make him stay there overnight. Although, that's a

possibility. The judge has to look at political repercussions from that, what it's going to do, how that's going to work outside of the courtroom,

but he could do it in incremental steps.

And by that, I mean, there are breaks that occurred during the trial during which the defendant is allowed to walk out of the courtroom. The next time

he's finding -- he finds him in contempt, he may say, you know what, the next time we get a break, whether it's the 15 minute breaks, whether it's

the lunch breaks, I have a holding cell behind my courtroom, all courtrooms have holding cells, that's where you're going, he will be in there with

Secret Service agents, there won't be anybody else back there. And that's where you're going to sit. And maybe that will impress upon you that I'm

serious about this gag order.

Now, it could ultimately lead to an overnight incarceration. But that logistically is a lot more complicated. But I think that the specter of him

giving from a taste of a jail cell is certainly down the road.

JIMENEZ: That is interesting. I mean, the overall point that judge has been making is what penalty can we impose actually to make you take this

seriously because clearly, the $1,000 up to this point has not stopped him from violating these gag orders now as we know for a 10th time.


David Weinstein, really appreciate the time and perspective. For everyone else, we're continuing to watch testimony from Jeffrey McConney. Again, the

longtime -- the former longtime Trump Organization controller as they've been going through.

A little bit of the particulars of how the finances have worked over the course of this time period. And of course, the significant portion being

right before the 2016 election, and we're going to have a look at all the other stories going on around the world as well, stay with us on the other

side of the break.


KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Linda Kinkade.

More than 25 million people in America's central and southern plains are under severe storm threats. It comes in search and rescue teams and parts

of Texas are patrolling neighborhoods looking for people trapped by floodwaters.

Even though the weather has improved some, for some, the flooding goes on. More than 200 people have been rescued from flooded homes and vehicles in

the Houston area.

Sadly, one little boy lost his life. 4-year-old Lucas Warren was swept away by the Texas floodwaters.

Well, in Kenya, the heavy rain and deadly flooding could get worse before it gets better. That's according to some forecasters. It's been several

weeks of unrelenting rain and intense flash flooding. The bad weather has killed at least 228 people, with dozens more missing and more than 200,000

forced from their homes. More heavy rain remains in the forecast for northern and western Kenya.

Experts say El Nino and other natural weather patterns are to blame for the onslaught along with global warming.

Our Larry Madowo joins me now from Nairobi. Larry, certainly still seeing a lot of floodwaters that is. It's certainly a time when you normally see a

rainy season but this is far from normal, right?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, the March, April, May months in Kenya are what is called a long rain season. That's


Two, that Kenya Met Department did project enhanced rainfall as they call it because of the El Nino weather phenomenon. But they also admit that what

we have seen, the level of rainfall has been unprecedented. Look at this. This is a major highway. It's called the U.N. Avenue because we're just a

few 100 meters away from the U.N. Office at Nairobi. Just a few 100 meters away from the United States Embassy.

This is a high end neighborhood in Nairobi, exclusive neighborhood with multimillion dollar homes that are now submerged, some completely

underwater. You see that over there is a wall that has broken down. The iron sheets is really a tough government measures, a temporary measure that

used to be a wall that was broken down by the floodwaters on either side of it.

So, part of the problem here which has become a real issue in the season, is some of these expensive homes are built on what is called riparian land.

They are on riverbanks that are not supposed to be built upon because they're very close to the river and are prone to flooding.

In informal settlements in the city, in slums, those shanties have been forcefully demolished by the government, people have been forcibly

evacuated from there.

But in this richer part of the city, they were able to stay back and we're seeing the effects of that. They're sort of close most of the day because

of the risk of extreme flooding here. And people, there's a bicycle there. There's motorbikes over there, people are driving on it. These are all

dangerous things that the government does not encourage.


But people don't really heed that attention, heed that guidance even though we have seen people getting swept away. We've seen cars getting swept away,

people on boats getting swept away as every river, every dam , every stream in most parts of the country is overflowing.

In fact, the Kenyan government has identified 178 different dams that are full or near full that people had to evacuate from, they put a 24-hour

notice. And after that Friday evening, they were evacuated.

The big story here is that President William Ruto says we're living with the effects of the climate crisis and these people are the victims of

climate change. And we have to do everything to make sure that we are responding adequately or we will keep remaining in the cycle of extreme

rainfall or droughts.

Kenya just completed the worst drought in 40 years after five failed rainy seasons. And now, this.

So, Linda, this, the government says is going to be the new normal.

KINKADE: Wow, yes, extreme droughts followed by extreme floods. Good to have you on the story for us, Larry Madowo in Nairobi, Kenya.

Well, that does it for this hour of CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Linda Kinkade, thanks for being with us. Stay with CNN, "NEWSROOM" is up next.