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Israel Military Has Captured Gaza Side of Rafah Crossing; Hostage/Cease-Fire Talks Scheduled in Cairo Today; Aid Agencies Concerned about Israel Ordering Rafah Evacuation; Stormy Daniels to Testify in Trump Hush Money Trial; Putin Sworn in for Fifth Term; Presidents Macron and Xi Discuss Trade and Ukraine War; U.S. President Joe Biden to Deliver Holocaust Memorial Keynote Address. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 07, 2024 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This hour, we are following the very latest on Israel

taken control of the Rafah crossing in Gaza.

And Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic visit to Europe, we'll be live in Jerusalem and in Paris for you.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Omar Jimenez outside the Manhattan criminal court as we continue CNN's special coverage of Donald Trump's hush

money trial.

We're watching the prosecution as they're expected to call adult film star Stormy Daniels to the witness stand today.

B. ANDERSON: Good stuff, Omar. Back with you a little later.

There is sharp reaction here in the Middle East, as Israel says, it has taken control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing. That Rafah crossing,

of course, between Gaza and Egypt.

Egypt condemning this operation, saying it threatens the lives of more than 1 million Palestinians. Hamas calling for U.S. and international pressure

on Israel to stop what it calls a humanitarian catastrophe.

Israel's war cabinet says it will continue targeted attacks in Rafah while its delegation engages in further hostage ceasefire talks in Egypt.

Medical officials say 23 people, including children, were killed in Israeli strikes in Rafah overnight. Well, let's break all of this down with our

international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, and CNN's Arlette Saenz at the White House.

Nic, I want to start with you. And Hamas because it is in Rafah that Israel reportedly believes at least four, quote, "battalions of Hamas militants"

remain. And that is the reason why they are, they say, so intent on targeting this border town with this offensive.

This is not a full-on military offensive at this point but certainly there is an operation now on the ground and people are being killed.

Meantime, we have ceasefire talks going on in Cairo. Once again, there's been some confusion as to where those stand. You have Hamas' position as it

were with regard these ceasefire talks. I think it's important that we just get that for our viewers to work out where we are at and where these talks

are going.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Taking control of the Rafah side, the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing, by Israel is certainly a

pressure point on Hamas at the moment.

If you look at this as negotiations are ongoing, which they still seem to be, that there's going to be an effort.

Israeli delegation may get to Cairo, expected to get to Cairo later today - - that there could be more ongoing talks to resolve the difference between what Hamas says have signed up to and what Israel said, that the way that

this falls short of their expectations or where those differences lie.

This has been a series over the past 24 hours or so of pressure points.

Why is the IDF taking control of the Rafah side, the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing, a pressure point?

It's a pressure point because it controls access of the humanitarian aid -- fuel, food, all those things you heard the U.N. secretary general just a

few minutes ago saying that he's very concerned that, by doing this, this could actually cut off fuel supplies into Gaza and fuel, diesel fuel could

run out as early as this evening.

Now that's the U.N. secretary general saying that. So that's a pressure point that Israel is applying on Hamas.

But Hamas equally has applied a pressure on Israel by essentially wrong footing them yesterday on what appeared to be the potential of the eve of

this major, expected major military operation in Rafah.

It hasn't begun yet but another precursor was the dropping of the leaflets. And Hamas said, no, look, we've signed an agreement. And what we're hearing

from Hamas today in a statement from their leadership is saying, very clearly, they're saying this.


The resistance factions, Hamas, will not back down from their demands, including the agreed-upon proposal; foremost, the cease-fire, complete

withdrawal, dignified exchange -- hostages, prisoners -- reconstruction and lifting the blockade.

So again, lifting the blockade is an important point here to understanding this pressure point that Israel has now at the Rafah crossing. It's not

just a pressure point as talks stutter and potentially move forward.

It's a pressure point even if the talks are successful. Israel will have full control over every access into Gaza and one of the things that Hamas

wants as a result of these negotiations is much more humanitarian aid into Gaza and a reconstruction effort.

And there are many things that Israel worries about, not least Hamas regaining control and initiative on the ground, but at a minimum as well

the potential for the influx of humanitarian aid, to bring in goods that can be used as weapons or in nefarious ways by Hamas.

So Israel, if there is a deal, is effectively making sure they've got a lock on that. And if they don't get a deal then having control of Rafah is

a very strategic, important point for the Rafah border crossing.

Is a very strategic, important point for a full-blown operation on Rafah, which I understand could come as early as tomorrow.

B. ANDERSON: Arlette, we know that a full-blown military offensive on Rafah is a red line for the U.S. president.

The U.S. administration leaning heavily on Israel to provide a plan for the evacuation of civilians out of harm's way before they give any blessing to

an operation.

What have we heard in reaction to what we have seen on the ground over the past, what, 24 hours?

And what is the White House position on where these ceasefire talks are now headed across the border, of course, in Cairo?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The White House has yet to weigh in on the specific development, that Israel has taken control of the Palestinian

side of the Rafah border crossing.

But last night, as that operation was getting underway, officials said that they were watching it with concern but that they also did not believe that

this was the beginning of that widescale expected military offensive into Rafah by the Israelis.

Now it comes as the White House has repeatedly warned against conducting such an operation. President Biden reiterated his position in a phone call

with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu just yesterday.

Here's National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby as he talked about the concerns for civilians as they have pushed Israel to develop an

implementable plan when it comes trying to secure the safety and evacuation of the more than 1.4 million Palestinians in Rafah before they launch any

ground offensive. Take a listen.



around Rafah that make it harder for the people that are seeking refuge there and shelter to be safe and secure.


SAENZ: So this is something that the White House will continue to watch and press Israel on as they are weighing that potential ground operation

into Rafah.

But it also is playing out against the backdrop of those negotiations to try to secure the release of hostages and have at least a temporary

ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

So there was a lot of back-and-forth yesterday, quite a bit of confusion. People here at the White House trying to keep up with the latest that was

ongoing in those hostage negotiations.

Now even as Hamas said that they had accepted a proposal here at the White House, U.S. officials really believed that this wasn't accepting the actual

agreement. This was a counterproposal to what had been presented.

CIA director Bill Burns has been in the region for the past few days. He was in Cairo, then he traveled on to Doha. And he worked with the Qataris

to kind of rework the framework that then Hamas responded to.

Burns will now be back in Cairo today as these talks are progressing. But officials acknowledged there is still a bit more negotiating that needs to

occur in order to get Israel on board, either to get Hamas to a place where they can all come to an agreement.

But the U.S. still believes that reaching an agreement is the best way to ensure not just the release of these hostages but also to avoid a full

military operation into Rafah at this time.

B. ANDERSON: Israel continues to say the two are not mutually exclusive. This operation, it says, will continue.

More as we get it. To both of you, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Egypt's ministry of foreign affairs is underscoring how the talks are directly related to what we are seeing on the ground in Gaza.


Here's part of their statement, quote, "Egypt called on the Israeli side to exercise the utmost levels of restraint and to stay away from a policy of

brinkmanship that has long-term impact and that would threaten the fate of the strenuous efforts made to read a sustainable truce inside the Gaza


Of course, Egypt, one of the key mediators alongside Qatar in what are otherwise these indirect talks between Israel and Hamas on an end to this


Well, the U.N. Agency for Palestinian Refugees says Israel's capture of that Rafah crossing could bring humanitarian efforts in the besieged

enclave to a complete standstill. And the situation there, as we know and have been reporting for months now, is beyond dire.

Earlier, I spoke to Scott Anderson, the senior deputy director of UNRWA war affairs in Gaza. He's the -- in the Western part of Rafah, overseeing the

organization's operations in the entire Strip.

And I asked -- started by asking him to tell me what his teams on the ground are seeing.


SCOTT ANDERSON, SENIOR DEPUTY DIRECTOR, WAR AFFAIRS IN GAZA, UNRWA: We do have people on the ground in east Rafah.

They're primarily tracking displacement of people that are leaving the neighborhoods that were asked to evacuate. And we're also seeing a lot of

movement across all of Rafah, including neighborhoods, where people were not asked to evacuated.

So we do have teams on the ground tracking the displacement and we're trying to make sure we understand where people are moving so we can provide

services to them where they are.

But I think the situation on the ground is a little bit confused. Yesterday, we went from what people thought was a ceasefire overnight to an

operation this morning. And people being unable to leave through Rafah.

And as I said, I think people find it quite confusing and they're quite scared and we're seeing mass displacement across Rafah.

B. ANDERSON: Let's talk about this Rafah crossing and, indeed, Kerem Shalom. The two main aid entry points to the south have now been closed.

Can you just explain what the immediate impacts of those closures will have on Palestinians who are sheltering in the south?

S. ANDERSON: They'll have an impact on Palestinians across Gaza; in particular, the Rafah crossing from Egypt is where the United Nations

international humanitarian community get all our fuel. We need at least 194,000 liters of fuel a day; we currently have access to 60,000 liters,

which obviously is only a third of a day.

And if we don't get fuel, then tomorrow we're going to see an impact at hospitals in water generation, in aid distribution, solid waste management

and sewage being pumped. So it literally impacts everything we do in Gaza. Everything starts with diesel.

Now Kerem Shalom has been the main lifeline for supplies for everyone in Gaza. We've been importing 300 trucks a day at a minimum. And that has all

stopped. The international humanitarian community, under WFP, we have enough food to get through the rest of the week.

And at that point, if we don't have more supplies coming in, we will not have food to distribute to people that are very much in need of food.

And it's also more than food. It's also tents and women's hygiene kits. And all these things that people need just every day to meet their basic

necessities. All that will stop if the crossings aren't reopened.

B. ANDERSON: And this -- yes.

And this, of course, is not a full-on offensive at this point, a military offensive. This is Israel effectively occupying the area ahead of what is

an anticipated offensive.

From your perspective, I know that that is very, very significant. You're talking about what's needed on the ground for those who are there at

present and are -- I want to say relatively safe from any of the activity at present.

But if this is to be a significant full-on offensive, what evidence do you have that Israel has effected plans to ensure civilians are not in harm's


Because the Americans have asked for that and they've said you don't get our blessing unless you provide a plan.

Is there any evidence to your mind that there is a plan, a clear plan to protect civilians?

S. ANDERSON: What I can say is I have not seen a plan.

I know that's been reported. Briefings have been done to others in the United Nations and the U.S. My concern is there are 1.4 million people in

Rafah. Over half of them are children. All are innocent civilians.

And what's needed is a way for them to remain safe in either a limited military operation or a full-scale operation. To move that many people

somewhere safe is not something that will take days; it's something that will take weeks.


And our concern, as I said, it's the innocent civilians, innocent children and that they're given the opportunity to move somewhere safe in Recife


B. ANDERSON: So just 24 hours ago, Israel dropped leaflets over Rafah, where half of Gaza's population is now sheltering, ordering them to

evacuate. You've said that the area Israel's military is ordering them to move to in Al Mawasi Is not, quote, "suitable for habitation."

Just explain.

S. ANDERSON: There's no basic infrastructure for people there.

So firstly, there are a lot of people already there, up to 400,000 have sought shelter there. Some have tents, most are in makeshift plastic


But there isn't a water infrastructure, there isn't a sewage infrastructure and there aren't latrines. So anything that happens there is trucked in by

the United Nations or other international partners.

But it's very much something that's -- it's a beach, essentially, that we're asking a bunch of people to set up and live on. And it's just not

something that's suitable without significant preparation. It would take months to put that kind of infrastructure in place.

And adding potentially another million people to that is, in my mind, something that just calls for disaster. Very significant challenges around

sewage and what could be an outbreak of disease.


B. ANDERSON: And more on the conflict coming up this hour.

I want to get you over to New York, cross over to New York, and our Omar Jimenez is outside Donald Trump's hush money trial.

JIMENEZ: Well, Becky, you know, we're following this breaking news this hour, that one of the prosecution's key witness is adult film actress

Stormy Daniels, is expected to testify in Donald Trump's criminal trial today.

We do not know at what point; the day certainly has not started with her on the stand but that is something we are for sure watching for.

Trump's attorneys said in court that the defense team was informed she will be the second witness.

Now it's the latest twist in a years-long saga over Trump and Daniels' alleged affair and hush money payment. Her testimony will allow jurors to

hear from the person at the center of the prosecution's case against Trump.

Now remember, the former U.S. president has pleaded not guilty to falsifying business records to cover up payments to Daniels to buy her

silence. Now prosecutors say it was all part of an attempt by Team Trump to mislead voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

I want to bring in CNN's Jessica Schneider, who has been following the trial closely for us from Washington.

So Jessica, obviously we did not start out with Stormy Daniels today. Doesn't mean we haven't seen interesting testimony. We've been hearing from

Sally Franklin, the SVP at Penguin publishing house here.

What did we learn so far from Sally Franklin?

And what more are you learning about the expected appearance of Stormy Daniels?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Sally Franklin has been detailing details about some of the books that Donald Trump has written.

I'll get to that in a minute.

But all eyes are on when Stormy Daniels will take the stand. Presumably, it will be after this initial witness, Sally Franklin. And Stormy Daniels will

be the blockbuster witness in this case because she'll be able to detail the terms of that hush money payment, really how it came about. Obviously

that's all at the center of this case.

The question really is though, at least for the defense team, will she be able to shed light on the main question in this case, which is, did Donald

Trump not only direct that payment but did he also actively participate in that its scheme to cover it up and then falsify the business records?

It's unclear she'll be able to shed light on that. It's really assumed that the only person who can really do that is Michael Cohen. Of course, he

hasn't been on the stand yet. And as Trump's defense team knows, Michael Cohen really has credibility issues because he's been convicted of lying to


So nonetheless, we're expecting that Stormy Daniels will be able to fill in a lot of the gaps in this hush money scheme. We've heard about it so far

from David Pecker of the "National Enquirer." He talked about that scheme to cover up any of Trump's bad, bad deeds.

But now soon, we'll hear from Stormy Daniels, who was at the center of this payment and whose payment is at the center of this criminal indictment. So

Omar, we are hearing from Sally Franklin. She worked at Random House and she's talking about excerpts from a few of Donald Trump's books.

The excerpts really detailed Trump as a ruthless businessman. It also details his role at the Trump Organization and how things ran.

And what prosecutors are getting at here is how closely, again, Donald Trump paid attention to all of the finances. That's something we heard

stressed yesterday with the accounts payable supervisor. We also heard it from his controller, Jeff McConney.

And this book, the excerpts from the book that are now being introduced in the courtroom, it talks about, you have to pinch pennies and you have to

watch every cent.


So again, prosecutors hammering home how diligent what Donald Trump was, to pay attention to everything that happened in his company. And likely

they're introducing these excerpts of these books to continue to hammer home that message, that Donald Trump knew exactly what was going on, Omar.

But we're going to wait and see when Stormy Daniel takes the stand. We're still waiting for cross and then the redirect of this Random House

executive to conclude, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Yes, Jessica, and, you know, those excerpts really interesting because, to this point, there were questions about when the prosecution was

exactly going to tie some of what's been discussed to the defendant himself, which is Donald Trump.

And that may be one of the beginning pieces of them that start to put -- connect some of those dots. We will see. Thank you, Jessica, as always.

Really appreciate the reporting.

As she mentioned, we are continuing to monitor testimony from Sally Franklin, the -- from the publishing house. But again, we do expect Stormy

Daniels to be the second witness. We will actually wait to see if that becomes a reality.

Coming up, though we are following a lot of other stories going on around the world.

For example, on his first trip to Europe in five years, China's President Xi Jinping has been visiting France's Emmanuel Macron. He says China wants

to support peace in Ukraine. We'll have more coming up.




B. ANDERSON: Well, we're getting more detail now on a foiled plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Kyiv's state security

service says two Ukrainian officials have been detained over a suspected Zelenskyy assassination plan.

Now these two officials are accused of leaking classified information to Russia. Well, at the Kremlin in Russia, a short time ago, Vladimir Putin

was inaugurated as Russia's president again.


B. ANDERSON (voice-over): We have been down this road or through those doors before. This is the Russian leader's fifth inauguration. Russia's top

military and political figures showed up for today's ceremony.

But the U.S. and many European countries refused to send representatives, claiming the March election was a sham.


B. ANDERSON: Well, Clare Sebastian back with us this hour. She's been watching the event.

What struck you most, Clare?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, after 24 years, 20 of those as president, I think that President Putin is perhaps more powerful than ever.

This was the official, the ceremonial rubber stamp of that record, 87 percent majority that he secured in March elections, albeit without any

serious opposition and having criminalized any form of dissent, especially against his war.


So look to the Russian people, this was a chance to foster patriotism and that sense of permanence around his rule. Internationally though, I think

we got a sense that that policy of confronting the West, of painting the West as the aggressor in the conflict in Ukraine, is going to continue.

Take a listen.


VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): We do not refuse dialogue with Western states.

The choice is this, do they intend to continue trying to restrain the development of Russia, continue the policy of aggression, continuous

pressure on our country for years or look for a path to cooperation and peace?


SEBASTIAN: What's clear is that he's ready for dialogue with the West. He says but only on Russia's terms. And those terms likely involves the West

not continuing to support Ukraine.

We also know from events of the last 24, 48 hours that Russia is going to continue to use the one lever that it sees as especially effective in this,

which is the nuclear threat. The ministry of defense, just one day before the inauguration, saying that it's preparing a military drill to sort of

simulate the use of tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons.

That does not, of course, mean that they're going to use them. The U.S. for its part says it sees no change in Russia's nuclear posture but it does

show that they are willing to keep using this threat, especially when faced with suggestions that we saw from David Cameron, the U.K. foreign secretary

and from Emmanuel Macron of France.

The West's help for Ukraine could even step up again. So this is the situation that we're in, a policy of confrontation with the West and that

is said to be one of the hallmarks of this fifth term, Becky.

B. ANDERSON: I started by just alluding to the detail on an inside plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Ukraine.

Briefly, what further details do we have?

SEBASTIAN: Not the first time we've seen an assassination attempt, Becky, but this one is interesting because the Ukrainian state security services

says that they have now arrested and charged with treason two pretty high ranking officials in the Ukrainian secret service.

That is the department charged with protecting President Zelenskyy and other top officials, two colonels. They are alleged to have been part of a

network of agents, they say, working for Russia's FSB, Russia's own security, and passing information to Russia about the whereabouts and

classified information around President Zelenskyy himself.

And also the head of the Ukrainian state security services and the head of Ukrainian defense intelligence. As I said we've seen assassination plots

before. One was just three weeks ago where a punishment was arrested for allegedly passing information to Russia.

But this potentially is a good look for Ukraine that they managed to foil it but also embarrassing, perhaps, that it affected such high ranking

officials in Ukrainian secret service. No comment, as of yet, from Moscow on this.

B. ANDERSON: Clare Sebastian on the story.

Thank you, Clare.

President Xi Jinping has said that France and China should work together to prevent a new cold war. During the joint press conference with the French

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, Xi said the two countries should jointly oppose building walls and barriers.

President Xi is in France during his six-day visit to Europe, amid growing China-Europe, tensions which, of course, have been exacerbated since the

beginning of Russia's war with Ukraine.

Beijing is hoping to use this trip to present China's own narrative. Joining me now from Paris is senior international correspondent Melissa


Is it clear what the outcome of the meetings between Xi and Macron were and what's been achieved during this trip?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we had from the outset yesterday in and around central palace, the Elysee Palace, a

trilateral meeting between Ursula van der Leyen, the European Commission president, the Chinese president, the French president.

And then later the bilaterals between President Macron and President Xi were each side, the European on one hand, the Chinese on the other, very

clearly stating what it was they hoped to achieve with these series of meetings from the point of view of the Europeans.

A cooling of temperatures with regard to the looming trade war that threatens to disrupt relations between Europe and China but also a firm

recognition by China of the need to more firmly condemn the war in Ukraine than President Xi has done so far.

Now that was the European position on the part of view, the point of view of the Chinese present, as you say, his idea was that it was time that

everyone worked together.


That barriers and walls be set aside. But still, we heard at the end of that meeting with Ursula van der Leyen, in which she said that Europe would

be taking any measures that it leads to, Becky, in order to protect its markets.

The Chinese president very curtly replying, there was simply no overcapacity when it came to Chinese electrical vehicles, which are at the

heart of one of the trade disputes that threatens relations between the European bloc and Beijing.

So by the time President Xi and President Macron rose to speak, we were curious to see what room for maneuver there might have been, what progress

might have been made. Both men were relatively vague.

We did hear from President Macron that he had had from President Xi Jinping reassurances that China would not be giving weapons to Russia that would

feed his war or indeed supplying those dual-use components that have been so contentious and that Western allies fear Beijing has been giving to

Russia and helping it to feed its war effort.

Now we didn't hear that from Xi Jinping himself. We heard from Macron that the nature and the length of the exchanges had led to his being encouraged.

So very little in what is in terms of concrete results of that meeting, that dialogue now continuing today in a much more informal setting down in

the Pyrenees.

The idea that at least some of the heat may be taken out of those discussions that have so divided the two sides, Becky.

B. ANDERSON: Good to have you. Thank you.

Well, with hopes of an immediate ceasefire dashed and Israeli tanks on the move, people in southern Gaza are wondering what they do next. The view

from there is after this.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

JIMENEZ: All right, everyone, we are back at the Donald Trump criminal trial in New York, where adult film actress Stormy Daniels has now been

called to the witness stand to be questioned by prosecutors.

This is obviously a big moment, Stormy Daniels at the center of this case here, of the 34 counts of falsified business records here that the former

president is now facing for alleged repayments to Stormy Daniels for -- to cover up an alleged affair that she had with the former president; just a

citizen at the time, though.

Brynn Gingras joins me now, has been closely following from in and out of court.

Brynn, just tell us the significance of the Stormy Daniels -- Stephanie Clifford is her legal name -- is testifying at this point in the trial.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, she needs to close the loop. Right. She's the one who allegedly received these payments. So prosecutors

need to elicit how that all went down.

Now before she even took the stand, even before jurors were in the room, there was a discussion between Trump's attorneys, the prosecution and the

judge about how much evidence they are going to allow in with Stormy Daniels, as she says she prefers to be called on the stand.

And they said they can make the fact that there was some sort of sexual relationship but they can't get into details, like it's not necessary. The

jurors don't need to hear about that. The judge was very clear about that. But she's certainly obviously a big witness. People were very interested in

what she is -- how she is on the stand. She said she's there because she is -- a subpoena to be there. The interaction about Trump that we're told from

our colleagues inside the courtroom now, he has turned his body toward her.

Again, a reminder to everyone that the witness can't actually see Donald Trump at the defense table. So there's a lot of interest in exactly what

she is going to say and how much she is going to be helpful or not helpful for prosecutors.

JIMENEZ: And obviously, she's one of the marquee witnesses here, her and Michael Cohen are the other two -- is the other name that many are


For someone like her, what is -- what is the moment?

What is it really, I guess you would say, is the motivation for actually wanting to testify here?

What can she do for the prosecution?

GINGRAS: Yes. I mean, it's going to be -- we have to see. I think when we talk about these key witnesses, we're all kind of hyped up about it because

we're interested to hear from them. This is the first time she's been on the witness stand in front of Donald Trump.

There's a lot of drama in the courtroom, I imagine right now.

JIMENEZ: But the substance is different.

GINGRAS: Yes, the substance is. Those 34 falsifying business records, it is the paper trail and however she can sort of connect those dots for

prosecutors is really what jurors need to hear.

Now what jurors hear is the question.

What are they going to actually deliberate when her testimony is given as to be fact and important to the actual case for prosecutors?

So that's sort of what's interesting. It's hard to detract from all the drama that's probably happening in that courtroom right now. But they need

to connect the dots for jurors. They need to prove that not only did he fake these businesses records but he did it for another reason, to

interfere with the 2016 election.

He wanted to hush her up, as we've been talking about, with these payments. So her testimony obviously is very important but also dramatic.

JIMENEZ: And to your to your latest point, I want to bring in Shan Wu, a former federal prosecutor for us and CNN legal analyst, where, look we've

known the name Stormy Daniels for a while.

Obviously, she's been in the headlines since 2016 to this point. But to Brynn's point, there's a difference between being a marquee name and the

substance of what you're actually going to be able to testify to. And I'm curious.

From your perspective, I mean, does her testimony make or break the case here?

I mean, where does her testimony fit into the prosecution's argument?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Her testimony really brings to life the heart of the theory, which is that Trump allegedly wanted to cover up something

about his sexual relationship or affair with her.

So she's there really to corroborate that part of the factual timeline. And she's very important in another way, which is Trump's team is having a

little bit of a hard time figuring out what their strategy really is in their attack or defense of him.

To the extent they have to decide whether to really lean into Trump's kind of general notion, this was all a fabrication; she made this up. She's an

extortionist like the Keith Davidson who represented her.

It does place within the jury's decision realm whether they believe her or not. I suspect she's going to come across as very sympathetic and

believable. So she's important to the overall credibility because the extent that they believe what she's saying happened, then that

automatically impugns the defense.

And the notion that Trump is saying, don't believe her, she has other motives. So the more that she comes across as being nervous, credible,

sincere, the more generally bolster is the timeline of, yes, this happened. Now let's turn to the legal cover-up, the fraud part of it and the intent

to help his election campaign.

So that's where she really fits in this as a matter of substance.


And for the viewers watching, you'll notice on the left side of your screen, those are the exact updates in quotes that we're getting in, in

real time, from our reporters inside the courtroom. So you can follow along as we're having this discussion.

Shan, I also want to ask that, look, we learned from prosecutors that they believe they've got about two weeks left in their case at this point. We've

heard from some of the minute details around the financials.

We of course heard about some of the nature in which these financial payments were being -- were happening, so to speak.

What do you think the prosecution has left to prove to this point, including from what we might hear from Stormy Daniels?


WU: I think what they have left to prove is to tie all of that together as much as they can to connect Trump.

They need that connective tissue to his directing the process, his being aware of the process. They've done a lot of that circumstantially. I mean,

there's enough circumstantial evidence that it's pretty easy to argue that to the jury.

But the more detail they can supply on that, the better. And that most likely is going to come in the form of Michael Cohen. And in many ways, I

see the whole trial up until now as pre-corroborating Cohen's testimony, which is to shore up all the details that he will reference, to lay the

groundwork for that.

So by the time he gets there to tell his part of it, the jury has really a very small target to look at, which is, do they believe him talking about

these historical facts?

The defense will try to slide them up, saying he's generally not credible. But the prosecution's laying the groundwork for it. There's all this

credibility. It's already been corroborated by other people, including people who are close to Trump, who are loyalists.

And so that's what they're really trying to set up, is to have Cohen be able to testify from a very solid and narrow area as to that particular

detail -- connecting Trump, that is, Trump's awareness.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And I want to bring Brynn Gingras back into the conversation, who has, of course, been following this case from both inside

the courtroom and taking time to be out here with me.

I really appreciate it. Look, one of the things when prosecute -- when a witness to the stature it comes to the stand, yes, the prosecution has a

chance to directly examine her. But you also potentially leave some vulnerabilities on cross-examination.

Do we have a sense of what the defense is going to try to do or what they may try to accomplish with the opportunity, some may say, of her being on

the stand today?

GINGRAS: I mean, their strategy has been sort of distancing Trump all they can from people that have been taking the stand.

I don't know how they would do that with regards to her since it's pretty - - it seems like the prosecution's going to lay out there was a relationship there.

But again the point is how much did Trump know?

Did Trump even know about these records that went to Stormy?

So how much she's actually going to give, score points, I guess, is the best way to say, for the prosecution it's unclear. But the defense is

usually just going to keep her at a distance from Trump.

And it does seem like Trump is actually taking less interest in what she has to say right now as they're going through her backstory, leading up to

obviously when the two met.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And look, that's what we've seen up to this point, even in a testimony to happen before Stormy Daniels with the publisher. They were

going through the definitions of how much a ghost writer actually does.

Because the defense was trying to distance him, it appeared, from some of those words that were actually happening. Brynn Gingras, really appreciate

the time.

Shan Wu, appreciate your time in Washington as well.

A little for everyone. As you've been listening, we've been watching or getting updates from Stormy Daniels, who has now taken the stand for the

prosecution. We're going through a lot of the background, essentially, of how she grew up; in some cases, likely working toward the relationship and

potentially the alleged affair between herself and Donald Trump.

But of course, that is at the heart of this trial. The hush money payments were made allegedly in an attempt to keep her quiet ahead of the election

in 2016. So we will watch to see what details come out of there, reporting from here in New York. We're also going to have more news after the break.

Stay with us.





B. ANDERSON: Well, negotiators are back at work today after a brief burst of hope for a ceasefire and a hostage deal in Gaza.

The U.N. secretary general, Antonio Guterres, making an urgent play in the last hour for Israel and Hamas to strike a deal, in quotes, "stop the


Well, the urgency rising with Israeli tanks on the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing for a second day. People who are already displayed

and living in tents are packing up to escape whatever comes next.

What that next is is unclear at this point. In the next hour, U.S. President Joe Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks for the U.S. Holocaust

Memorial Museum's annual Day Of Remembrance ceremony.

In his keynote address, Mr. Biden is expected to comment on Hamas' October the seventh attack on Israelis and announce several new actions to counter

growing anti-Semitism. Well, CNN senior White House reporter Kevin Liptak joins me now.

This speech, in the next hour or so, as sort of a -- the backdrop of both these hostage talks and an operation, at least if not a full-scale military

offensive by Israel on Rafah.

Kevin, how does the president expect to deal with this moment?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that the White House really does view this as a tent pole speech. And certainly that

backdrop that you described is this moment that he really does want to speak to.

Because, of course, the situation in Gaza is causing so much anger on college campuses in the United States and sometimes that has spilled over

into incidents of anti-Semitism.

They really do view this as all together kind of an important moment for the president to put a stake down and really kind of -- certainly condemn

anti-Semitism but also speak to the broader moment that the U.S. and Israel are reaching.

And I think when it comes to those talks over the hostages in Gaza, that is sort of the president's ultimate goal. The real view here at the White

House is that, if a deal can be secured that would release the hostages but also result in a temporary cease-fire, that it could lower the temperature

and potentially cause some of these tensions to cool.

And so when we hear the president speak, in about an hour from now, he will speak to all of that. Certainly he will draw on memories of the Holocaust

and the 6 million people who died in that horrific event.

Remember, those speak to some of the survivors. He will also draw on the October 7th attacks as another example of modern-day anti-Semitism and use

that to sort of launch into a remembrance and reflection on the horrors of anti-Semitism.

But I think you will also see him really trying to strike this balance. While he is supportive of free speech in the United States, he doesn't want

to see that tipping over into hate speech.

And he did sort of reflect on that last week very briefly from here at the White House. And what today's speech is is sort of an expansion on this

dissertation, that certainly Americans and students and young Americans do have a right to protest and a right to protest what's going on in Gaza.

But they don't have a right to cross the line into anti-Semitism. And I think his goal is really to define where that line is.


And some of the actions that you'll see the administration taking today are meant to help solidify that definition of anti-Semitism.

So for example, the Department of Education today will write a letter to schools as sort of spelling out some examples of what anti-Semitism might

look like. That's sort of a position that the U.S. government and the White House really wants to make clear as President Biden sort of steps into this

fray later today.

B. ANDERSON: Thank you. Kevin.

That speech coming up, as we say, just an hour from now. More news after this short break stay with us.




JIMENEZ: All right, welcome back, everyone. We are back at the Donald Trump criminal trial in New York, where adult film actress Stormy Daniels

is on the witness stand, being questioned by prosecutors now.

So far, they've been asking about her childhood, how she got into the adult film industry and they've now moved on to how she met Donald Trump.

She, of course, significant, because she is the adult film star who took payments to buy her silence about an alleged affair with Donald Trump as

the centerpiece of this trial has pointed to ahead of the 2016 election.

Now CNN's Brynn Gingras has been following closely the trial for us from just outside the courtroom here in New York.

You've been in there at points as well, Brynn, so I know I touched a little bit on it.

But what have we heard from her so far?

GINGRAS: Yes. So it's really building up who she is. And just like Shan Wu said in the last time you spoke to him, it's -- she has to be credible to

the jurors. Whether or not she's accomplishing that is the question.

There are moments in here where apparently she's making some sort of jokes on the stand and laughing at her own jokes. And our court reporters are

essentially saying jurors aren't really reacting at all.

So she's probably very nervous. I know she's there under a subpoena. She probably didn't want to testify. It's the first time she's actually having

to testify in front of Donald Trump about this story, even though she's talked about it many times before in the public.

But yes, she's there pretty much going through her life history, how she became an adult film star and then now, to the point of where she actually

met Donald Trump and the relationship that follows. So the really in the beginning of this testimony.

Again, it's important to get this there, as Shan mentioned, because they need to have some credibility about who she is and the testimony she's

giving. But eventually they're going to have to get to those documents which show that she received that payment and why.


And for folks watching, not to state the obvious, but you can see the updates, the real-time updates we're getting in court from our reporters.

Brynn, just sort of catch, catch reviewers up.

How do we get here to Stormy Daniels?

Obviously she is not the first witness that was called here.

But what stages and phases have we seen up to this point?

GINGRAS: Yes. I mean, she's definitely one of the big name witnesses that we have been waiting for. Michael Cohen, obviously being another one. But

prior to this, we were sort of just hearing the groundwork of the industry in general.

Why Donald Trump would want to actually have these hush money payments but then also how. Yesterday was a big deal on the how did it happen, right?

The paperwork trail between Donald Trump and his Trump Organization executives, the checks that were cut, the checks that were signed, where

they were sent, the reimbursement.


So all of the details the jurors really need to know about in order to decide whether or not he's guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business

records. That has gotten us to this point.

And again, as we've said it, when people you've spoken to, it's laying the groundwork so that when you actually hear from these other witnesses, like

Stormy Daniels, like Michael Cohen, jurors can sit back and be like, oh, yes, I heard that before.

But now, do I believe what they're saying is true or are they not credible or they are credible?

So personally, I don't know. I think it's good to ask some of these legal experts what's going to happen in the two weeks, that prosecutors still


Because she's a big witness and we know Michael Cohen is another big one.

So who else is after this?

It's unclear. But we're getting closer and closer to the prosecution really wrapping up.

JIMENEZ: We've seen such a wide range of witnesses, including literally people from C-SPAN, to talk about how government records of the former

president were entered into the public record.

Of course, from a book publisher as well, to begin the day, going through excerpts from some of those books. Brynn Gingras, really appreciate it.

As we've been talking about, Stormy Daniels is testifying as we speak. The prosecution called her as a witness. They are in the initial stages of

that, going through the background of who she is and building up to how she met Donald Trump.

And likely will then go from there into sort of the central crux of moments of this case. I'm Omar Jimenez in New York. I'm going to be back next hour

with more headlines from the Donald Trump trial.

B. ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD. But I'll be back right after this break for an interview with the

Jordanian foreign minister about what we are seeing in Rafah and in Cairo with the cease-fire and hostage negotiations. More on that after this.