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Palestinians Try To Flee As Israel Targets North South Gaza; Biden's Ultimatum On Rafah Deepening Divisions In United States; Now: Michael Cohen Testifying In Trump Hush Money Trial; 300 Plus Killed In Flashfloods In Afghanistan; More Than 35 Million At Risk As Storms Hit Parts Of U.S.; "Gold Gala" Celebrates Asian-Pacific Islander Achievements. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired May 13, 2024 - 10:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Live from CNN Abu Dhabi, this is CONNECT THE WORLD with Becky Anderson.

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Welcome back. You're with us for the second hour of the show. I am Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi, where the

time is 6:00 in the evening,

Fierce fighting underway In Jabalia in northern Gaza, where Israeli forces are now launching heavy airstrikes. They say they are trying to stop Hamas

from regrouping there, despite already supposedly clearing that area of militants.

Ukrainian officials say Russia is gaining multiple new positions in the Kharkiv region, a serious advancement in its raging war.

Plus, star witness Michael Cohen takes the stand in Donald Trump's hush money trial. My colleague Erica Hill, covering that story for us in New


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, thank you. Donald Trump's former lawyer, self-described fixer, Michael Cohen is about 20 minutes into

his testimony now. Prosecutors walking him through the early days of his relationship with Donald Trump and the Trump Organization, including how

Trump first offered him a job.

And just a reminder, there is so much focus on Michael Cohen here because he is seen as the key witness for the prosecution. The prosecution, of

course, alleges that Donald Trump ordered Cohen to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 in the days ahead of the 2016 election to keep her quiet about an

alleged sexual encounter they had had. And then they also alleged that they falsified business records to cover up that payment.

That transaction eventually drove a wedge between the two men. Cohen ended up going to jail, federal prison for breaking campaign finance laws. He has

pleaded guilty to lying to Congress. Trump for his part has denied any wrongdoing.

We're going to be closely monitoring Michael Cohen's testimony here in addition to Donald Trump's reaction. He is, of course is there in the

courtroom. And Becky, I'll be back in just a few moments with some of the latest threats from the courtroom for you.

ANDERSON: Thank you. And you'll see we have far live reporting there up on the screen.

While in Gaza, Israeli forces are intensifying their operations in the north as well as the South. People are fleeing Jabalia refugee camp in

northern Gaza, against the background of Israeli gunfire and explosions.

Israel says it is trying to prevent Hamas from regrouping there. Meantime, CNN reaching out to the IDF for a response after a director of ambulance

services said that vehicles in the area were being targeted. Well, in the south, a U.N. agency for Palestinian refugee says more than 360,000 people

have now fled the city of Rafah.

That border city wants a designated safe zone after Israel ordered evacuations of several more neighborhoods.

CNNs Jeremy Diamond has been following all of this on the ground for months now. He is live for you tonight. From Jerusalem.

Two different stories here as it were. The south and now the reemergence of activities in the north as the IDF says it is chasing reemerging Hamas


Let's start there and then we'll get to Rafah, Jeremy. What do we know about the reemergence Hamas if at all in the northeast, and what the IDF

says it's doing to counter them and to capture them?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we are witnessing a significant uptick in Israeli military activity in the Gaza Strip. The

Israeli military now says it has fighters from three different divisions, operating in southern, central, as well as northern Gaza.

And you're right to put your finger on what's happening in northern Gaza, in the Jabalia refugee camp in particular because what we are witnessing

there, what we've witnessed over the course of the past weekend is intense Israeli military ground activity In Jabalia, designed to go after Hamas

fighters who the Israeli military says had previously been routed from Jabalia and have now since returned.

And a lot of that is due to the fact that once the Israeli military did indeed route Hamas militants from the area of Jabalia, they then retreated.

They withdrew their forces from much of northern Gaza, much of central Gaza as well.


And so, what you're witnessing is in the kind of power vacuum that has emerged since that time. Those Hamas fighters have eventually returned to

Jabalia, and now, Israeli forces are going back in.

We've heard reports on the ground of very intense shelling and gunfire In Jabalia over the weekend. And it is also worsening the situation for

civilians there as well. Not only have civilians In Jabalia been ordered to evacuate once again, but the director of an ambulance service in northern

Gaza, has said that it's increasingly difficult for them, and that they are having trouble evacuating the dead and the injured from that area that he

also alleged that his ambulances have been targeted by Israeli fire.

But there is no question that beyond northern Gaza, you're also seeing this intensification of activity in Rafah in southern Gaza as well.

ANDERSON: And that's where I want to get to now. 360,000 people have fled Rafah. I mean, we cannot underscore the significance of those numbers. This

is -- this is 350,000 people -- 360,000 people on the move. Question is, to where? You and I have been talking for weeks now about whether there is any

infrastructure or anywhere, you know, designated for these people to go given they had anyway fled their homes during this conflict.

What do we know about where these people are headed -- where these Palestinians are headed to get away from what is likely to be a major

offensive in Rafah? And what do we know from the Israeli side about when that is likely to happen?

DIAMOND: Excuse me. That is indeed the right way to think about it. Because it's not just about the number of civilians who are currently living in

Rafah, some 1.4 million people before the start of this Israeli military offensive that has sparked these concerns from the United States and other


It's about the feasibility of not only evacuating that large number of people, but where they would then go. And when you think about the fact

that the Israeli military has been operating in every other part of the Gaza Strip, except for Rafah in terms of ground forces, that means that the

rest of the Gaza Strip in many areas, you have the majority of buildings that have been absolutely destroyed or partially demolished by Israeli

military activity.

And so, where they're being directed to now by the Israeli military is what's being called this expanded humanitarian zone of Al-Mawasi. That

includes not only the coastal sandy area of Al-Mawasi, which is just north of Rafah, but also west -- the western part of Khan Younis, which, again,

suffered enormous destruction during the Israeli military offensive in Khan Younis a couple of months ago, as well as some parts of central Gaza. And

what these hundreds of thousands of people who have fled Rafah and are now heading to that area have found, is insufficient infrastructure.

This area, largely, does not have working sewage, and many parts of it do not have running water lines. And there is also a difficulty for a lot of

these humanitarian aid organizations to get the amount of aid needed to sustain so many people to that area. And also, keep in mind the fact that

400,000 people were already living in this Al-Mawasi area.

So, you're facing enormous challenges on so many different levels, add to that the fact that the Rafah border crossing has remained closed over the

course of the last week. And in terms of your last question, Becky, when we will see Israeli military activities expand, we are watching them do it bit

by bit. And so, it doesn't seem clear that there will be one day where we see, you know, this enormous sweep of troops into central Rafah, instead,

it seems that they are kind of portioning it off, evacuating segments of the population, and then, moving their troops into the specified areas


ANDERSON: Good to have you, Jeremy. Thank you.

Well, top U.S. officials, issuing more start warnings to Israel to avoid a full-scale ground offensive in Rafah. Take a listen now to Secretary of

State Antony Blinken.


ANTONY BLINKEN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Going into to Rafah, even to deal with these remaining battalions, especially in the absence of a

plan for civilians, risks, doing terrible harm to civilians and not solving the problem, the problem that both of us want to solve, which is making

sure Hamas cannot again, govern Gaza.


ANDERSON: As we've been reporting the prospect of a full scale, assault -- ground assault is only part of the overall situation in Rafah. Israel is

actively bombarding the city and points north with the civilian death toll increasing.

And the mass exodus of Palestinians continues as they head to areas, as Jeremy was reporting deemed not habitable or suitable for human habitation.


Well, to a deepening debate over U.S. weapons being used by Israel, the state department says it is "reasonable" to assume Israel used American

weapons in ways that are 'inconsistent" with international law. But officials stopped short of saying Israel broke the law.

Well, some of President Biden's fellow Democrats are criticizing the government, in light of this report. Have a listen.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): And I think their report could have gone further.

Every intelligence expert has already come to the conclusion you are not going to be able to eliminate Hamas. Right? You are -- there is going to

continue to be a resistance movement to the State of Israel. And the question is, is it going to be weaker or stronger after 13,000 to 15,000

kids are killed inside Gaza. My argument is that, right now, the prospects are that it is going to be stronger.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): I think there's enough on the books to be able to point to specific cases and make specific determinations. I fear

that we have set a very, very low bar, a very low standard for what's acceptable, and I think that will come back to haunt us.


ANDERSON: While others disagree, President Biden making the stark warning that America will restrict weapons shipments to Israel, if it goes ahead

with an offensive in Rafah. Fellow democrats, Chris Coons, amongst those behind the ultimatum.


SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): I think President Biden has taken forceful action, so much so there's been a lot of blowback for his recent public statement.

And I'll remind you, other American presidents have done the same thing when a close trusted partner isn't listening to private admonitions.


ANDERSON: Well, some Republicans, however, say Mr. Biden is doing too much to rein in Israel. Let's hear what a number of voices are saying about his



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This is the worst decision in the history of the U.S.-Israel relationship to deny weapons at a time.



GRAHAM: The Jewish state could be destroyed.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): He said it's reasonable to assess. He said that like three or four times, it's like he was coached to say that as if it was

some magic talisman to help them walk the political line they want between the pro-Hamas wing of their party and the vast pro-Israel majority of the

American people.


ANDERSON: Arlette Saenz joins us now from the White House. Two things here. That report which was released late on Friday didn't mandate any actions to

be taken by Israel. And then, you've got this sort of narrative over the weekend. This, push and pull on whether Biden is doing enough, or whether

he's out stepped his mark at this point. What's the sense at the White House about how this is all developing?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, the administration over the weekend really tried to amp up their warnings

against an Israeli invasion in into Rafah.

But it does come as the president has been facing significant pressure, both internationally and here at home to adjust some of the way that he is

handling this conflict between Israel and Hamas.

You saw the President just last week go public with his threats that the U.S. could withhold further weapons shipments to Israel if they move

forward with that full on ground invasion into Rafah.

Now, one thing that administration officials over the weekend were trying to stress was that Israel needs to come up with a plan to ensure the safety

and evacuation of civilians, the more than 1.4 million people who have been in Rafah. We have seen that about 360,000 were evacuated within the last


But the administration is also pushing Israel to develop some type of plan for what happens in Gaza after this war ends. Secretary of State Antony

Blinken warned of what the repercussions could be without a plan in place if Israel moves forward with a major ground invasion into Rafah.

Take a listen to what he said just yesterday.

BLINKEN: They will be left holding the bag on an enduring insurgency because a lot of armed Hamas will be left no matter what they do in Rafah.

Or if they -- if they leave and get out of Gaza as we believe they need to do, then, you are going to have a vacuum, and a vacuum that's likely to be

filled by chaos, by anarchy, and ultimately by Hamas again.

SAENZ: Now, the administration and Blinken specifically also pushed back on some of the criticism following that state department report that found

that it's reasonable to assess that Israel has used U.S. weapons that are inconsistent -- or in a way that's inconsistent with humanitarian law

without actually concluding that, that was that the case. A conclusion would have threatened further aid for the country, but Blinken said in

interviews over the weekend that there is no double standard, even as some lawmakers have argued that over the course of the weekend.


The -- Blinken trying to stress that the U.S. is still maintains -- Israel, as an ally still will continue to support them. But there are some concerns

about the way that they have conducted this war.

ANDERSON: Good to have you. Thank you.

ANDERSON: Oe of the major diplomatic blow, Egypt has said it will formally join South Africa's case against Israel at the International Court of

Justice. That case accuses Israel of violating the Genocide Convention in the war in Gaza.

Egypt said its decision to intervene was taken "in light of the escalating severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the

Gaza Strip."

Remember, Egypt was the first Arab country to establish diplomatic ties with Israel back in the late 1970s. Turkey and Colombia have also recently

joined that case.

Let's get you up to date on what is happening in Donald Trump's hush money trial in New York. Erica Hill back with his from there. Erica.

HILL: All right, Becky. Thank you. Michael Cohen, of course, who famously once said he would take a bullet for Donald Trump is testifying this hour

about the relationship that they had, about what he would do for Donald Trump when he was in his employment, testifying, of course against the

former president at that criminal trial here in New York City.

He is painting this picture of what a close working relationship they had. Jessica Schneider, joining us now, as we look at all of this part of that

relationship. There was a lot made of the fact earlier in the trial that Michael Cohen had 30,000 plus contacts in his phone.

We are seeing part of the reason why and it does have to do with Donald Trump, Jessica?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's really interesting. Michael Cohen testifying to the fact that he was so close with Donald

Trump. That they had such this symbiotic relationship that, at one point, Michael Cohen decided to link or sync, I should say, his phone to Donald

Trump's phone. So, they had all the same contacts.

So, if someone was calling Michael Cohen would know exactly who was calling how he might be able to help the situation. Because as Michael Cohen has

acknowledged, already, in his testimony this morning, it is fair to call him the fixer. He didn't -- he doesn't really like that term, as he said,

but he has acknowledged in court that he really was Donald Trump's right- hand man who would fix any problem that came about.

In fact, earlier in the testimony, he talked about how at one point there were about 20 subcontractors who had submitted bills to Donald Trump.

Michael Cohen called them all up and said, look, you're going to take a fraction of what we owe you. And all but two of them said, OK, and that was

just how Donald Trump did business. He was always trying to maneuver to get out of payment or full payment, and Michael Cohen was the man who did his


Interestingly, Erica, Michael Cohen has also talked about the fact that Donald Trump was very much a micromanager. He was asked point blank by one

of the prosecutors, was Donald Trump a micromanager, Michael Cohen said yes. So, that is how the prosecution is going to build on Michael Cohen's

testimony to prove -- the prosecution will try to prove that Donald Trump knew exactly what was happening with this hush money scheme, Donald Trump

knew exactly how it was going to be orchestrated, how it was going to be hidden. And that is the key to their case.

So, Michael Cohen already starting to lay that groundwork. Now, it's just a matter of how this jury believes Michael Cohen. Again, the defense team is

really going to try to cast all the shade they can at Michael Cohen, he is a convicted liar. He pled guilty to lying to Congress. So, that is

something that defense team is going to seize on.

But for now, Michael Cohen acting very relaxed on the stand according to our team inside the courtroom. And coming across very cool and collected

and calm, Erica.

So, we'll see as things get as the testimony gets heated up a bit. But for now, Michael Cohen is quite cool and calm.

HILL: All right. Jessica, appreciate it. Thank you. Stay with us. We're going to take a quick break here. Much more to come after that. You're

watching CNN.



ANDERSON: A Ukrainian general in Kharkiv says the situation there on the ground in northeast Ukraine remains difficult, as Ukraine's forces trying

to repel the biggest cross border assault since the late summer of 2022.

Russia launched the assault on the Kharkiv region on Friday, and it's claimed to have captured as many as nine villages. There are reports of

massive shelling around Vovchansk, a symbolically important village that Russia is trying to recapture after Ukrainian forces liberated it 18 months


Clare Sebastian back with us this hour. And we were talking last hour and I think it's important to lay this out for our viewers just how significant

what we have seen over the weekend is, and what the likely consequences could be.

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. This was really the first cross border attack we've seen since the early stages of this war. Very

significant. Some analysts have suggested taking advantage of this delay in western weapons arriving in Ukraine as we've seen Russia do for several

weeks now.

Now, look, we know that the second city of Kharkiv has been a target for Russia in recent months relentless aerial bombardment. It seems that if you

talk to analysts that what's happening right now is not so much about trying to take over that second city, which Russia has never managed to

occupy over the course of this war.

It's more about drawing forces away from the eastern front where they've been making their biggest push and trying to create a buffer zone to

prevent Ukraine from shelling the Russian border region of Belgorod. Now, all of this is happening, as well, Becky, as a shake up in the Russian

government is taking place.

Putin announcing a reshuffle and removing his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, who had not only been in that position since 2012, but had been a

government minister since 1991. A very significant move perhaps a clean up after a corruption scandal at that ministry, somewhat expected. But also

raising significant questions about what this means for the conduct of the war going forward. Take a look.


SEBASTIAN (voice over): Center stage, but already on shaky ground. This, was to be outgoing Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's lost victory


Much less ceremony, the Kremlin's announcement of his replacement, Sunday.

DMITRY PESKOV, PRESS SECRETARY, RUSSIA (through translator): Today, on the battlefield, those who are more open for innovations, more open towards a

quick implementation of the innovations win.

That is why it's natural that on the current stage, the president to take a decision for civilian to be in charge of the ministry of defense.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): The nominated civilian is Andrey Belousov, a career economist and former First Deputy Prime Minister. That choice coming as the

Kremlin made a rare admission that defense spending is approaching Cold War levels, its factories pushed to their limits amid sanctions and the labor

force decimated by war.

MARK ESPER, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Russia is moving to a war economy and it is true. Seven percent of their GDP now is focused on

defense. They're on a war footing.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): That demand for weapons unlikely to slow. Ukraine frantically evacuating civilians in the Kharkiv region this weekend, as

Russia launched a major cross-border offensive Friday, taking advantage of a narrowing window of opportunity as Kyiv waits for promised U.S. aid.

An official video from a Russian military brigade purportedly showing a massive glide bomb hitting the Ukrainian border town of Vovchansk.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): The idea behind the attacks in the Kharkiv region is to spread our forces in, and

undermine the moral and motivational foundation of Ukrainians' ability to defend themselves.


SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Russia's attack on Kharkiv may also be an attempt to form a buffer zone. This, the aftermath of what Russia claims is

Ukrainian attack on a residential building in Belgorod. Russian state media reports more than a dozen dead. Russian lives, the other spiraling cost of

Putin's war and Shoigu's legacy.


SEBASTIAN: Becky, Andrey Belousov, who is the new guy in this job has yet to be confirmed. There are consultations happening in Parliament at the

moment. He was up today, made some comments about improving conditions for servicemen. That, of course, is part of the gigantic bill that Moscow is

having to foot for this war. And that is where you really get the sense of what this shift means, really tightening the links between the economy and

the war, trying to make that supply chain of weapons and troops financially sustainable, even as we see these offensive not -- offensive is not only in

the Kharkiv region, but at multiple points along that frontline.

ANDERSON: Clare Sebastian on the story. Clare, thank you.

Well, to Georgia, where demonstrators staged an all-night protest outside the country's parliament. They want to block lawmakers from entering

Parliament for final debate on the Russian-style foreign agents bill, which is set for Tuesday.

Now, a key committee has already approved a third reading of the bill. If passed, the law would require groups receiving more than 20 percent of

their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents or face heavy fines. While protesters warn it would turn their country into something



TEKLA, STUDENT PROTESTER: I want Giorgia to leave in Europe, I want I do not want to wake up in Russia. And I really hope that our generation is

going to have a bright future. Because I want to get education. I want to get educated in Europe, not in Russia.

And I have this sincere fear, and I want to ask these government, what does it really gave you that it cost you our fear?


ANDERSON: Well, the E.U. says the law could jeopardize Georgia's candidate status to join the block. Jury selection is underway in the corruption

trial of U.S. Senator Bob Menendez.

It is expected to take one day with opening statements beginning on Tuesday. Menendez and his two co-defendants are set to face the jury.

They've all pleaded not guilty to allegedly engaging in corruption to help the Egyptian and Qatari governments in exchange for hefty bribes, which are

said to include cash, gold bars, and a luxury car.

Well, joining me now from outside the courthouse is CNN U.S. national correspondent to Jason Carroll. Jason, this has been some time in coming,

this trial. Just line out what we should expect.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, here is what's going to be happening today. Jury selection is already underway. Both the attorneys for

the prosecution and defense will be looking at a pool of 100 potential jurors, asking them questions such as, have you heard of Senator Menendez?

Do you have an opinion -- an opinion of the New Jersey senator? What are your thoughts about people from New Jersey? Do you think just because

someone is from New Jersey, they would have committed a crime?

So, these are just some of the questions that they're going to be asking some of these potential jurors. Once jury selection gets underway, and

that's expected to last throughout the day, then, we move on to opening statements. That's where both sides, both the prosecution and the defense

are going to be basically outlining whatever it is their case is to jurors.

The prosecution has already made it very clear what their position is. They say Senator Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are guilty of accepting bribes

over a period of time. Bribes, in exchange for the senator's favor and influence when it comes to things like a criminal trial that was going on

in New Jersey, to influence with the government -- with the governments of Egypt and Qatar. All of that, they say, in exchange for bribes that the

senator received that came in the form of gold bars that they found at his home, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and other items found at

his home as well.

Now, the defense for their part, Senator Menendez, saying this is the government overreaching. Senator Menendez, saying that he is not guilty of

any of this. Saying that whatever he did, he was doing for the benefit of his constituents.

And Becky, one of the overarching questions over this trial is going to be whether or not, Senator Menendez, actually ends up pointing the finger at

his wife. The reason why I bring that up is, if you look at some of the pretrial documents, there is one passage that reads, and it's pretty

significant, it says the following:


"Senator Menendez intends to present a defense arguing, in part, that he lacked the requisite knowledge of much of the conduct and statements of his

wife, Nadine, and did not agree to join any of the charge conspiracy.

So, that seems to indicate that perhaps, just perhaps, the defense will be pointing a finger at Nadine Menendez.

She for her part, Becky, is going to be tried separately, that trial will probably be coming up in July.

So, that's just sort of the rundown of what's going to be happening out here today. Jury selection now well underway, Becky.

ANDERSON: Thank you, Jason. Check back in with you as things progress.

Coming up, the deteriorating situation in southern Gaza as hundreds of thousands -- some 360,000 to be correct, food and supplies, they leave and

food and other supplies are becoming even more scarce for those who stay. I'm going to talk with a member of the aid agency Archer (ph) for the

picture on the ground and what happens next.


HILL: Welcome back. We are of course following all the developments at the criminal court trial for former President Donald Trump in what is perhaps

the most anticipated and biggest day of testimony yet in this trial. Michael Cohen, who is a key witness for the prosecution here, the former

lawyer and so-called fixer for Donald Trump, his right hand man in many respects, testifying now and talking about what it was like to work for

Donald Trump in that role, including at times he said he would lie to people, he would bully people.

Michael Zeldin, joining me now to discuss what we've heard from Michael Cohen so far in his testimony. Michael, of course, is a former federal


So, a couple of the things that have really stood out to me so far this morning, is Michael Cohen, first of all, making the point that there was no

e-mail here with Donald Trump, which we've known about, he doesn't really like a paper trail, even an electronic paper trail, if you will.

But he said that to Donald Trump, e-mails were like written papers. Testifying, he knows too many people who've gone down as a direct result of

having e-mails that prosecutors can use in a case. And the prosecutor then asked him to clarify if he meant going down meant getting in trouble of

some sort. Michael Cohen says, yes.


How important is that moment, Michael?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, I think it helps the jury understand why there aren't written communications between Trump and

anybody else involved in this case.

You know, an ordinary person would think in a case of any type, that there would be a paper trail linking all the participants, that's just the way

people communicate these days. Trump is an outlier in that respect. And I think it needs to be explained to the jury, you are not seeing e-mails

outlining all this stuff, for a very specific reason, which was Donald Trump doesn't believe in e-mails because he's fearful that they could

create a record that would come back to haunt him. So, I think that was an important point to be made.

HILL: We're seeing some of the developments on the screen here from our teams inside the courtroom. They're walking through this deal, essentially,

that was made between Donald Trump via Michael Cohen and David Pecker at the National Enquirer, to make sure that during the campaign season for the

2016 election, there were negative stories about Donald Trump's opponents in the National Enquirer.

As they're going through all of that, just to explain to people what they're seeing on the side of their screen. I just want to talk about a

moment when Michael Cohen was laying out what it was like to work for Donald Trump, and how involved Donald Trump was in everything. This is

something that we had heard from prior testimony from other witnesses that he is a micromanager. He is very involved.

The defense tried to undercut that a bit last week with a former White House assistant who said, oh, you know, he would sign checks. He was

multitasking. He didn't really know what he was signing.

But interesting, Michael, that the prosecution is coming back to this point of Donald Trump knew exactly what was happening at all times when it came

to his business.

ZELDIN: Exactly. And if you think about what's going to be the endgame here, which is two lawyers making clothing arguments with themes, the

prosecutor is going to say, ask yourself using your common sense, is it credible to believe that Donald Trump didn't know what was going on, given

that we have testimony that he was a micromanager, that he watched his money very carefully. Is it credible to believe that Donald Trump wasn't

involved in this?

The defense on the other hand is going to say, reasonable doubt, we have no direct evidence, there isn't a direct link. And so, what Cohen is trying to

do is create that direct link and undermine the defense theory that Cohen was a renegade, acting on his own behalf. And Donald Trump, in a sense, was

a victim of Michael Cohen.

HILL: Will he put the prosecution here to just remind people who are watching, what they have to prove is that there was an intent on the part

of Donald Trump to commit or conceal another crime. And that would be in the labeling of the payments to Michael Cohen to reimburse him for that

hush money payment, labeling those as legal fees, they have to show that there was an intent that he wanted to conceal this essentially to break the

law. But they don't actually have to show that Donald Trump broke the law.

ZELDIN: Correct. The way the statute is structured is a little bit odd. You have to engage in the conduct business records fraud, with the intent to

commit a second crime, that crime could be campaign finance violations, it could be business tax obligations to New York.

And so, all you have to say is, he did this behavior, writing the false ledgers with the intent to violate the other law, not that he in fact,

violated the other one.

It's sort of like attempted murder, you don't have to prove that he murdered anybody, but that he was attempting to.

HILL: As we're watching this testimony and following along, what are you -- what are you looking for as a prosecution go through? What is a fairly

methodical routine examination of this witness that that they want to put a certain set of facts out there and put his biography out there?

ZELDIN: Exactly. The expectations for Michael Cohen coming into this, we're so incredibly low, that notions that Hope Hicks, gratuitous -- gratuitously

said that he was a fixer because he broke things. Those sorts of things, they need to say, look, Michael Cohen is a human being, just like everybody

here, he has a family. He got a job with Donald Trump, it was the best thing that ever happened to him in his life.

And in fact, I saw a note in the comments that Michael Cohen seemed wistful that this had all come to an end because these were -- these were the

happiest days of his life. And he's sad in the sense that it has come to this, but it has come to this and he is here to tell the truth about what

it was even though it might be painful to him, you know, sort of a breakup in a relationship that you'd never wanted to have broken up.


HILL: Michael Zeldin --

ZELDIN: I think it's important.

HILL: -- always appreciate your insight and your expertise. Thank you.

ZELDIN: Thank you.

HILL: We're going to continue to follow those developments out of the courtroom here in New York City, stay with us for that, as well as the

day's other headlines from around the globe. We'll be right back.


ANDERSON: Welcome back, nearly quarter to 7:00 here in the UAE, I'm Becky Anderson with CONNECT THE WORLD.

In Afghanistan, more than 300 people have been killed in what a devastating floods that have hit the country's northern region. Torrents have washed

away people, animals and houses, that is the latest climate disaster death the country that went through a summer of intense heat and drought. The

World Food Programme calls the situation catastrophic.

CNN's Anna Coren has more. And a warning, some viewers may find some of this video in the story disturbing.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The ferocious roar of water heard moments before if devastating arrival. Runaway people, yells a

villager. Oh, brother, runaway.

The flash flooding in mountainous Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan hit on Friday. Many men were at the mosque for prayers, while women and

children stayed home.

Their mud brick dwellings engulfed with raging torrents of water.

These four siblings including a 2-year-old Aria (ph) were rescued. Take off the rope from his body, instructs the man recording on his phone. Bring him

to his mother and get him warm.

Their uncle spoke to CNN and told us that all 10 family members survived the flood and are now being treated in hospital. But everyone is filled

with fear of what Mother Nature can unleash.

This is the roof of the madrasa and the flood has swept everywhere, explains the villager. This man held me tightly, otherwise, I was gone.

For this little girl, there were no miracles that day. The flood took everything, she cries shaking, my mother was swept away.

In a central hospital of Baghlan province, the bodies of dozens of children have been brought here to prepare for burial.

Most of these victims are children, explains the man and so many more are still missing.


The World Food Programme says it's sending emergency aid some via donkey to now inaccessible areas in a region that was already poverty stricken.

TIMOTHY ANDERSON, HEAD OF WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: There's been a system to identify the most vulnerable in danger, essentially, of starvation. These

areas are among those hotspots.

So, it was already pretty grim. And now it's catastrophic.

COREN (voice over): The Taliban says it's mobilizing all available resources, but it's calling on the U.N. and humanitarian agencies to


For a country devastated by decades of conflict, suffering an economic crisis, and now bearing the brunt of climate change, this current disaster

is one the people of Afghanistan must also endure.

Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Well, at least 43 people have been killed after flash floods and cold lava flowing from an active volcano on Indonesia's Sumatra Island. The

floods affected four districts sweeping people away in some merging buildings. Officials say more than a dozen people were also injured and 15

are missing.

Cold lava is a mixture of water volcanic material and pebbles that flows down and volcano's slopes during wet weather.

And more than 35 million people in the U.S. are at risk of severe storms today, the Storm Prediction Center says the slow moving weather system

that's been impacting southeastern Texas and Western Louisiana could bring hail, damaging winds and potential flooding. It says, wind gusts could

exceed 112 kilometers an hour.

Well, those are -- those are significant numbers. Let's check in with meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Worldwide flooding making life miserable for

so many people.

Before we get to what is going on around the world, just give us a sense of what is happening here in the States.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, there are so many different threats posed along the southern Gulf Coast states. But we're trying to just wrap

up what has happened across the globe. We're seeing pictures of extreme weather right now coming out of Mumbai, India, we've got our current

ongoing flooding throughout Afghanistan, and then portions of Brazil, and now the United States as well.

So, let's try and recap all of them as best we can. You can see this is Afghanistan, here's Kabul. And the latest satellite, this is really since

May 8th that shows rounds after rounds of showers that have moved across this region.

And it's interesting to note too, that this has got the fingerprints of climate change written all over it. But yet, some of these areas produced

the least amount of CO2 emissions in the world. So, kind of paradoxical there.

So, let's look at the rainfall forecasts. You can see generally another few 50 millimeters or more of rainfall going forward.

And then we go to Indonesia, where we had the recent cold lava. We refer to that as lahar, which is a mixture of volcanic ash, and basically, the heavy

rainfall and mud and debris down the side of a volcano.

Well, this is Sumatra where that active volcano brought that destruction with the cold lava. And unfortunately, there is more rainfall in the

forecast for Western Sumatra going forward. Rainfall totals there could exceed 150 millimeters.

And then, we go to the southern hemisphere. This is in Brazil. And of course the ongoing story with the flooding coming out of the Rio Grande del


I want to point your attention towards this Porto Alegre where they've had about 67 millimeters of rain over the past 24 hours.

But collectively through the month of May, they have seen three times, at least, their monthly average since the beginning of the month.

So, that is a significant amount of rain. And that's why we're experiencing some of that flooding and the story doesn't get much better from here, you

can see this particular location is still under the threat of additional rainfall in a saturated environment. That means the potential for more

flash flooding for those hardest hit areas.

And then we move to North America where the Gulf Coast is just dealing with its own set of problems right now, flood watches stretching from the

Florida peninsula all the way to hard hit Texas.

Remember, that's been a topic that we've been discussing, the recent flooding just north and east of Houston along the Trinity River. Well, this

is where the rainfall is forecast through Tuesday. We have several different rounds of rain hugging the coastline, but impacting portions of

the southeast as well. But it's also the severe weather threat.

We've been talking about several weeks of tornadoes across the United States. Well, guess what, more tornadic activity possible today, even

though the greatest risk of severe weather will be hail, and also straight line winds across the Gulf Coast states but you can see the radar already

busy with more storms and severe thunderstorm watches that have been posted, Becky.


ANDERSON: Absolutely. Thank you.

Well, coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD, a golden celebration on the red carpet for the who's who of the Asian-Pacific Community. We're going to get

you a look at the winners of the Gold Gala, just ahead.


ANDERSON: Well, the stars were out for L.A.'s Gold Gala. This annual event aims to honor Asian-Pacific contributions to the creative arts and more.

Kristie Lu Stout has the story.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Stars arrived at the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles Saturday to attend the Annual Gold

Gala, a gathering of who's who in the Asian-Pacific community.

The event celebrates the non-profit Gold House's A 100 list, 100 change- makers making a significant impact, in areas like entertainment, fashion, technology, and more.

PRABAL GURUNG, FASHION DESIGNER AND GOLD GALA CREATIVE DIRECTOR: It's great to see that kind of visibility. There's a long way to go still. You know,

obviously, we feel that way. But the progress is being made.

STOUT (voice over): Among this year's honorees Padma Lakshmi.

PADMA LAKSHMI, AUTHOR AND TV HOST: I just feel seen. I feel so humbled to be included.


LUCY LIU, ACTRESS AND ARTIST: It's a really important time to be two gather in this community.

STOUT (VOICE OVER): When it comes to Hollywood, Asians have historically been underrepresented or stereotyped. But that's changed in recent years.

A joint study by Gold House and USC Annenberg found the percentage of speaking Asian characters and top box office films in the U.S. rose from

3.4 percent in 2007 to 15.9 percent in 2022. The roles themselves are more complex.

The age of streaming has also ushered in more opportunities for diverse storytelling.

LAKSHMI: I think what the industry has realized is that Asian creativity and Asian talent is, A, different and B, lucrative. You know, that's been

wonderful to see people take chances and how we have knocked it out of the park.

JOEL KIM BOOSTER, ACTOR AND COMEDIAN: Events like this are so exciting to me because when I was coming up in this industry, I think there was a lot

of energy of like, there's only going to be one of us in the room. It's so rewarding to be in a space like this where we're all coming together and

we're all supporting each other as a community. It's not something that I grew up imagining I'd have for myself.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


ANDERSON: Well, tennis star Novak Djokovic suffered a shocking defeat at the Italian Open on Sunday. Chile's Alejandro Tabilo beat the world number

one, 6-2, 6-3 in what was just the third round in just over an hour.

Now, this comes after Djokovic which was accidentally hit on the head with a water bottle following his second round when, on Friday, he told

reporters, he didn't know if that incident had impacted his performance.

One of the year's most anticipated film festivals is getting ready to kick off the official poster for the 77th festival Cannes was revealed on

Sunday. This year's images taken from the legendary Japanese director Akira Kurosawa's film Rhapsody in August. Event organizers say it serves as a

testament to the power of cinema.


Cannes Film Festival begins on Tuesday and runs until maybe 25th.

And finally, this evening, two Austrian skydivers who have made history by becoming the first people to complete a wing suit flight through London's

iconic tower bridge. The two have leapt from a helicopter 3,000 feet above the River Thames on Sunday. They reached a top speed of 246 kilometers an


The stunt came after extensive training, you'll be able to hear which involve the use of cranes to simulate the dimensions of the bridge, blink

and you miss it. Oh, my lord.

That's it for CONNECT THE WORLD, stay with CNN. "NEWSROOM" is up next.