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Erin Burnett Outfront

Biden's Israel Warning On OutFront Makes Waves Around The World; Stormy Daniels Dares Trump To Respond To Her By Testifying; Biden-Netanyahu Relations Tested As Rafah Braces For Assault. Aired 7- 8p ET

Aired May 09, 2024 - 19:00   ET




Shockwaves around the world after President Biden told us he'll cut off weapons to Israel if Rafah is invaded. And now, the Israeli prime minister is speaking out. No sign of backing down.

The former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is OUTFRONT tonight.

Also breaking, Trump on a tirade, lashing out at the judge, on the same day that Stormy Daniels clashes with Trump's attorney in the courtroom. And a surprise move, prosecutors in the hush money case now opting not to put former playmate -- Playboy playmate Karen McDougal on the stand. How come?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight: shockwaves. President Biden's threat to stop providing weapons to Israel if Israel launches an invasion into Rafah's populace center is reverberating across the globe tonight. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was firing back at Biden after his exclusive interview with us last night.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone. Ive said that if necessary, we will fight with our fingernails.


BURNETT: Stand alone.

No signs that Netanyahu will stand down, defiance. And his national security minister waking up to news this morning in Israel time posted online, Hamas hearts Biden with an emoji. These fast, furious, emotional reactions because of this very clear statement, calmly delivered statement from the president of the United States.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I made it clear that, if they go into Rafah -- they haven't gone into Rafah yet. If they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, to deal with that problem.

It's just wrong. We're not going to supply the weapons and the artillery shells.


BURNETT: And after that, we'll show you the front pages of newspapers from around the world. Headlines, including Biden betrayal, Joe Biden's Rafah red line upends U.S.-Israel relationship. Biden makes explicit threat to withhold weapons shipments if Israel enters Rafah, Israel's fury at Biden's threat to cut off weapons over Rafah invasion. Turning point or breaking point: Biden's pause on weapons tests, ties to Israel, and it goes on and on and on.

And here in the United States, a political upheaval. Many Democrats support President Biden, but Republicans and some Democrats are bulking aggressively at Biden's warning and just listen to former President Trump at his hush money trial today..


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What Biden is doing with respect to Israel is disgraceful. If any Jewish person voted for Joe Biden, he should be ashamed of himself. He's totally abandoned Israel as nobody can believe it.


BURNETT: As for Biden and the White House, they own it. They meant what they said and they're not trying to walk the ultimate and back.


JOHN KIRBY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER: I can assure you that direct and forthright nature with which he expressed himself in his concerns in an interview with Erin Burnett is consistent with how he has expressed himself to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israeli officials.


BURNETT: Arlette Saenz is OUTFRONT live outside the White House tonight.

Arlette, the White House doubling down on Biden's extraordinary and significant warning to Israel.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Erin, the White House has been fielding questions on President Biden's comments to you all throughout the day. In fact, just moments ago, the very first round of questions to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre were about the intense pushback that has been received from the Israelis, from lawmakers, Republicans and some Democrats up on Capitol Hill to President Biden's suggestion that he would withhold further weapons shipments to Israel if they undergo a full -- a ground invasion of Rafah.

But, really, what officials here at the White House have been stressing throughout the day is that what President Biden said to you? Is what he has been conveyed to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to Israeli officials in private for months now, it really comes as the administration has been warning in phone calls and meetings that any major invasion into Rafah would not be conducted with the aid of American weapons unless there's a plan in place to ensure the safety and evacuation of the more than 1 million people who have sought shelter there.

So far, administration officials still say, but they have not seen such a viable plan.


Now, officials throughout the day, were not trying to walk back these comments from President Biden and they said that it should come as no surprise to the Israelis as he has made clear in his private conversations that this was his intention. But certainly, this is not an easy decision for President Biden to go public with this warning to Israel. Today at the White House, we also heard White House spokesperson John Kirby pushed back on those who have suggested that President Biden is trying to walk away from Israel in this moment.

What officials are arguing so far he has paused one shipment and it's simply a hypothetical well, about further shipments going forward, but all eyes will be on Netanyahu's next steps when it comes to Rafah and if President Biden will hold up the warning that he issued in his interview with you.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. Arlette.

And, of course. So the Israelis appearing, they say to be shocked and surprised perhaps that this was made public, perhaps they didn't believe he really meant it. And it's clear now that he does.

And there is backlash on Capitol Hill now, after this. Republicans incensed, and even some Democrats unsettled.

Manu Raju is OUTFRONT.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden igniting a Capitol Hill firestorm with this blunt warning to Israel.

BIDEN: If they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons.

RAJU: Prompting GOP outrage. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Horribly bad decision.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): This is insane.

SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Joe Biden's day facto position is for a Hamas victory over Israel.

RAJU: And dividing his party between pro-Israel Democrats --

SEN. JOHN FETTERMAN (D-PA): I'm concerned that in some sense, some way, it demonstrates to Hamas that they are winning the PR war.

RAJU: And those who accuse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of recklessly targeting Palestinians in the war initiated by Hamas' brutal October 7th attack.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): The president has made clear by his actions that all U.S. military aid is conditioned. In this case, Prime Minister Netanyahu has created a humanitarian disaster and he will be held accountable for that.

SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): This should not be a blank check to the Netanyahu government. This will not emboldened Hamas in any way. Hamas is actually benefiting from the fact that the humanitarian crisis is so bad.

RAJU: Last week, Biden prevented 3,500 bombs from being shipped Israel, out of fears that it could be used in densely populated Rafah, a southern Gaza City with more than 1 million Palestinians. Yet, Biden says the U.S. will still provide aid to Israel and help its defense against Hamas, winning applause amongst some senior Democrats.

SEN. JACK REED (D-RI): Their goal should be to separate Palestinian people from Hamas.

RAJU: But should he be telling Israel how to conduct its war?

REED: Well, we are providing a huge amount of support.

RAJU: This all comes amid the unrest within Biden's own party campus demonstrations and protest votes in swing states, threatening his chances at reelection.

SEN. KATIE BRITT (R-AL): It's disgusting and disturbing to see President Biden continued to play more into election politics.

RAJU: Yet some vulnerable Senate Democrats in swing-state uneasy with the president's move.

Are you comfortable with the president holding shipment to Israel?

SEN. JON TESTER (R-MT): I think he should release it.

RAJU: You do?

TESTER: Yeah. RAJU: Why?

TESTER: Because Congress passed it. That was their intent. They should put -- this should release it. Israel should be able to protect themselves.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): I've made clear from the beginning that Israel has the right to exist and defend itself. I've also made clear that humanitarian aid needs to get to Gaza. And nobody should stand in the way of that. I need to know more about the president's proposal.

RAJU: So do support it yet?

BROWN: Need to know more about the proposal.


RAJU (on camera): Even as he has won some praise from progressive Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez heralding the president's move, there has been some silence, Erin, amongst some top quarters of Democratic leadership.

In fact, Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, the first ever Jewish majority leader of the United States Senate, did not address this issue at all on the Senate floor today. He was asked yesterday about the initial delay of those weapons to Israel when he was asked about it, he said that the Israel and America had an iron-clad relationship. And he says, quote, I have faith what the Biden administration is doing -- Erin.

BURNETT: Manu, thank you.

And OUTFRONT now, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

President Biden, making it clear to me that if Israel launches a ground invasion into Rafah, into the population center, that the United States will halt weapons shipments.

Here's what he said.


BIDEN: And I made it clear that, if they go into Rafah -- they haven't gone into Rafah yet. If they go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities, to deal with that problem.

We're going to continue to make sure Israel is secure in terms of Iron Dome and their ability to respond to attacks like came out -- the least recently but it's -- it's just wrong.



BURNETT: What do you say to him? NAFTALI BENNETT, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MNISTER: Well, certainly, President Biden has always been a great friend to Israel, but I think this decision is deeply misguided what are we being told here? We have a radical jihadist terror organization on our border that's telling us it's going to continue trying to murder as many Jews as possible. Obviously, we have to get rid of it. We have no choice.

Now talking about civilians, if Hamas is granted immunity because it hides behind civilians, that's not only a problem with Hamas, that means that the whole global jihad organizations are all going to adopt human shields as the core wherever of conducting terror.

So this would be a profound mistake and we think that we have really no choice and we've got to do what we got to do.

BURNETT: So let me just ask you though because he made very clear to me that some of the weapons that the United States has provided, including those powerful 2,000-pound bombs, he says that those bombs have been used by Israel to kill civilians in Gaza. That that has happened.

I want to play that exact sound bite for you.


BIDEN: Civilians have been killed in Gaza as a consequence of those bombs and other ways in which they go after population centers.


BURNETT: Are you able to confirm whether U.S. bombs have killed civilians in Gaza?

BENNETT: Well, of course, bombs when they target Hamas, there are sometimes is collateral damage, in all wars. All wars and every urban war in the history of the world, there's collateral damage, especially when Hamas is using the civilians as a human shield. There's no doubt.

But is Israel using bumps to target civilians, absolutely not. Never. We never target civilians. In fact, we have the lowest ratio of collateral damage in the history of urban warfare. There's about, let's call it, 32,000 Palestinians who died, half of them are terrorists. That's one-to-one.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, it was one to nine, for every terrorists you killed, there were six, seven, eight, nine civilians. We're bending over backwards in order to prevent unnecessary deaths. Otherwise, we'd get this whole thing done within three days if we didn't care about it. So, Israel is not cavalier about this.

BURNETT: All right. So are you going to continue? I mean, there was a video just put out by Prime Minister Netanyahu. And what appears to be very clear and aggressive response to Biden. He says, quote, if we have to stand alone, we will stand alone.

And then the IDF said Israel has the weapons for Rafah invasion. My first question to you, I guess on this is a very basic one. Are any of those weapons that the IDF says that you have stockpiled for a Rafah invasion American weapons and stockpile?

BENNETT: I don't know. I assume that some of them are. I mean, just -- I'm not in government right now.

BURNETT: So do you have any doubt when you hear that, that Prime Minister Netanyahu plans to go forward with a full incursion into Gaza -- into Rafah?

BENNETT: We should have done Rafah four months ago. I don't know why this wavering. We should have just done it, stops talking about it all day. Just go and destroy Hamas, destroy those four battalions, kill the leaders of Hamas. Unless they are release the hostages. That's what I would have done.

We're doing this way too late, but it's better late than never, and really we have no choice when there's four battalions.

Just imagine to find on the border of Texas, you had a ISIS that murdered roughly 50,000 Americans, kidnap 6,000 Americans in a highly populated city in Mexico. What would America do? What would you do?

So we're going to do just that and we have to do it. There's no choice. We don't -- this is not on the other side of Earth. This is on our border.

BURNETT: I'm just doing the math here. If you did that, right, so you'd have 50,000 times 17.5, that would mean the United States was willing to kill 875,000 Mexicans. Do you think we'd really do that?

BENNETT: The United States, rightfully so, during World War II, killed hundreds of thousands of Germans, millions of Japanese, in order to bring an end to the war, the best way to save lives is to end the war as quickly as possible.

This lingering is the problem. If we have the backing of the United States, that'll happen.


I also want to say one more thing. This partial embargo sends a very bad message to Yahya Sinwar, the commander of Hamas, because if he was going to reach a deal, he'll say I don't need to do a deal anymore because anyway, Israel can't come into Hamas if America is not supporting it.

Moreover, Hezbollah in the north, all the terror organizations in the Middle East are going to say themselves, wait, if America is withholding arms from Israel, this is a great time to attack Israel because they wont have enough arms.

So I think this is not the right approach.

BURNETT: One more question I wanted to ask you about the response within your government. Biden's comments have sparked a lot of anger and alarm, clearly. Netanyahu's national security minister reacted by posting a tweet. And it says Hamas heart emoji Biden. It was all he posted. I've seen it. You've seen it.

Is that the right sentiment?

BENNETT: That's a childish and infantile response and I'm certainly not going to defend every stupid thing that any minister says.

I'm speaking mostly on behalf of mainstream Israel, right and left, religious, secular, we want to be close with the United States of America. We know America is our biggest friend.

This is a time where were being attacked from Yemen, from Iraq, from Iran, from Syria, from Lebanon, from Gaza. This is the time where we need to stand together, fight back terror, win, and get it over with.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. I appreciate your time.

BENNETT: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, Stormy Daniels going toe-to-toe with Trump's lawyers, pushing back after hours of cross. Did the Trump team's strategy backfire?

And they're paying people to stand in line for hours for them in the hopes of getting a glimpse of what's going on inside the Trump courtroom.


REPORTER: What time did you get here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Twelve-thirty a.m.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Went here before 4:00.



A new video just in of a strike in Rafah. We're going to take you inside southern Gaza where people are now bracing for that all out assault.



BURNETT: Breaking news, Stormy Daniels breaking her silence after testifying in Donald Trump's hush money case, taking a clear shot at Trump posting online: Real men respond to testimony by being sworn in and taking the stand in court. Oh, wait. Never mind.

Of course, Trump is not anticipated to take the stand.

And that post comes just hours after we also saw it different side of Stormy Daniels on the witness stand. Daniels is defiant as she repeatedly sparred back-and-forth with Trump's lawyer, hitting back at attempt after attempt by the defense to discredit her and disparate her.

Paula Reid is OUTFRONT.


PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump continuing to fight back today.

TRUMP: There's no case. It should never have been brought out.

REID: As his hush money trial entered its 14th day. His team attacking Stormy Daniels' credibility in a tense cross-examination.

You have a lot of experience of making phony stories about sex appear to be real, defense attorney Susan Necheles said.

Wow, Daniels replied with a pause. That's not how I would put it. The sex and the films is very much real, just like what happened to me in that room.

Necheles asked Daniels if she made up the story with Trump. If that story was untrue, I would have written it to be a lot better, Daniel shot back.

The defense zeroing in on small inconsistencies and the details of Daniel story, hoping to undermine her credibility with the jury.

Your story has completely changed, Necheles said. Daniels in a raised voice replied: No! You're trying to make me say that it changed, but it has hasn't changed.

And then they question Daniels' earlier testimony that she felt powerless in Trump's hotel room.

You acted and had sex in over 200 porn movies, Necheles said. But according to you, seeing a man sitting on a bed in a T-shirt and boxer shorts was so upsetting that you got lightheaded. This wasn't the first time in your life someone made a pass at you.

Daniels replied: No, but it's the first time they had a bodyguard standing outside the door, adding Trump was twice her age and bigger than her.

When pressed, Daniels explained: My own insecurities made me feel that way. He did not put his hands on me. He did not give me any drugs or alcohol and he did not hold a weapon or hold me or threatened me.

Necheles, also highly critical of how Daniels profited off the encounter, even calling out her strip club tour make America horny again. Daniels responded, I did not name that tour and I fought it tooth and nail.

But Necheles said Daniels has made nearly one million dollars from a book deal, documentary, and selling products on her website. You're celebrating the indictment by selling things from your store, right? Necheles pressed. Daniels quipped: Not unlike Mr. Trump. Trump frowned as photos of the various merchandise were shown before the court.

Daniels defended herself by saying she did in an interview with Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes" for free.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Did you want to have sex with him?

STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: No. But I didn't -- I didn't say no. I'm not a victim.

REID: The prosecution later calling two witnesses who were involved in Trump's business, a junior bookkeeper at the Trump Organization, and Madeleine Westerhout, the former director of Trump's Oval Office operations. She confirmed evidence that supports a key part of the prosecution's timeline. An email setting up a February 2017 Oval Office meeting between Trump and Michael Cohen, which Cohen has claimed was to discuss reimbursement for Daniels hush money payment.


REID (on camera): Prosecutors are expected to call a few more witnesses like those to help them bring in evidence before they call the man whose testimony could decide this case, Michael Cohen. And depending on timing, they could call him late tomorrow, but more likely they will want to kick off with him on Monday and his appearance on the witness stand is expected to last at least through the week -- Erin.


BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Paula.

Ryan Goodman, Terri Austin are back with me.

So, Ryan, you know you warned that the extended cross exam of Stormy Daniels, which was a choice, they could be done, they could've gone fast. They decided to sleep on Wednesday and come in and try to make this a dry doubt thing on Thursday and really humiliate her, that's what they tried to do. Did it backfire?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: It sure seemed to. I think the one word that's been most commonly associated with Stormy Daniels testimony today that she was unflappable. So she came across very credible and if anything, they went deeper about what happened with the sexual encounter and she comes across as credible, and knowing the details and staying consistent in this small minutiae of discrepancies that they find doesn't really undermine the core account that she's given.

So I think at the end of the day, she comes out ahead, which is quite remarkable, given that this was cross-examination by the defense counsel against her.

BURNETT: Right. I mean, Terri, you know, they're spending time to -- did you mean the tiles were this color or that color?


BURNETT: I mean, that's just in a sense, and it's also the bizarre thing for any person, but certainly a woman asking a woman to actually think you're going to remember that. I mean, that was bizarre.

AUSTIN: It was bizarre and it wasn't just the way that Necheles was asking the questions. It was what she was asking to your point, she asked about the floor, and what color it was, and she kept harping on these very small issues like, well, did you go to dinner because when you were at this interview, you didn't mention that. It was dinner. You said it was a meeting, and here you said, yes, you went to dinner.

And it was just minutia that didn't make any sense. Did you walk to the hotel or did you call the car? And every time Stormy Daniels actually had a decent explanation or explanation for the food was it was a dinner meeting. We didn't eat. If we had --

BURNETT: Right, she showed up, she said and then there was no food which she thought they might go downstairs. They didn't. They sat there upstairs. She said and no food came.

AUSTIN: Correct. And then for the car, she said she started walking, but then she ended up taking a car. So I think Necheles made a mistake trying to get these discrepancies that really were so minor.

And to your point, I do think that she really held up well on cross- examination.

BURNETT: She even had a reason, right, for why she took the car because her shoes were too high heeled and so she took a car. I mean, you know I had reasons for these things.

Ryan, you felt there was one thing that was sort of under the radar today. So I'm going to read exactly what happened in this exchange. Tell me why it matters.

So this is the prosecution when you're on redirect and Stormy Daniels. So she's asked by the prosecution, do you recall that his attorneys, Mr. Trump's attorney in court papers in June of 2018, confirmed that Donald Trump had reimbursed Michael Cohen's company Essential Consultants for the $130,000 that was paid to you in 2017? Daniels' answer is: Yes, I saw that prosecution. So that was confirmed and Mr. Trump's submitted court papers, correct? She answers: Correct.

Okay. Put that in English.

GOODMAN: So it's really remarkable now its thinking that there'll be a moment at which the prosecution would try to enter this into the evidence, and this is what they did. So there is a civil bunch of civil cases that are going back and forth between Stormy Daniels and Donald Trump in California. And in 2018, Donald Trump's submits a court filing in which he admits to most of the facts in this case and the fact that he admits to is he paid -- repaid --

BURNETT: That he reimbursed Michael Cohen for --

GOODMAN: For $130,000 for hush money to Stormy Daniels pursuant to the NDA. So that's all -- that's the scheme.

And just to contrast it with the opening statement by Donald Trump's lawyer, Todd Blanche, in this trial, Todd Blanche in this trial says to the jury, you're going to hear that there was no reimbursement.

What happened today? They just said, well, Donald Trump himself in a court filing in 2018 in California, said that he did reimburse him and that's really, deeply --

BURNETT: And there's no way for him to say someone else did that filing or he didn't sign it or he didn't know, right? This isn't a court filing and under oath sort of equivalent?

GOODMAN: Yes. And it's just -- and it is Donald Trump is this representation in that court and it's the statement that he made. And also I should say, not only did he make it in the court, but there's then a subsequent court opinion in California and it actually says we consider that to be an admission by Donald Trump.

BURNETT: So let me ask that as a follow-up to that though, a reimbursement at this goes back to one of the key things in this case, right, is when you reimburse somebody for business expense or legal fee, it's a one for one, but that's not how this was accounted for. That's already been established that this was accounted for. They did it doubled to account for taxes.

How does that fit?

AUSTIN: Well, you know, one of the things that the prosecution is trying to say is that they entered all of these payments as retainer agreements in that Michael Cohen was giving them legal advice. And in fact, it was reimbursement for this hush money. So it's inconsistent. I think that helps the prosecution and it hurts the defense.

And I do think it's something that's slipped under the radar.

BURNETT: How does it fit this admission to a reimbursement with what we saw in the documentation with Jeff McConney that showed gross up and a double the amount to Michael Cohen? Do those -- these two things fit?


GOODMAN: Absolutely. They completely fit because that is actually McConney as the control of Trump Organization and Weisselberg as the CFO in their handwriting, writing down the true scheme, the true underlying scheme, which is as Terri just said, it's a reimbursement and then they're grossing him up times two and then McConney actually rights for taxes.

And what is the predicate crime here that can make this a felony that they were doing it for taxes, that was committing tax fraud because on their tax papers, they were not saying that this was a hush-money payment. They were saying legal services. That's why he earned twice the amount.

BURNETT: So, now, it's all there. It's just getting Donald Trump to know that he knew that that piece of paper happened, but that grows up happened.

GOODMAN: That's right.

BURNETT: And that's what were going to see if they are able to prove with this crucial Michael Cohen, who we anticipate coming at any moment out to the court.

All right. Thank you both very much. And next, we're just learning prosecutors will not call Karen McDougal, who also claimed to have had long-term sexual relationship with the former president. They will not call her to the stand. Why? Many had thought they would.

Ronan Farrow has reported extensively on McDougal's relationship with Trump. He's OUTFRONT next.

And caught in the crosshairs more than 1 million refugees in Rafah are bracing for a full-on assault by Israeli forces. Even as President Biden has now told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in no uncertain time, in terms this is the red line. Our Clarissa Ward is on the ground.



BURNETT: Tonight, keeping Karen McDougal off the stand. Prosecutors in Trump's hush money case, revealing they do not plan to call the former Playboy playmate to testify about her alleged affair with Donald Trump. That major development coming shortly after Trump's defense attorneys filed a motion today to try to block McDougal from taking the stand, following Stormy Daniels' six hours of graphic testimony about her affair with Trump, and what happened after.

OUTFRONT now, Ronan Farrow, contributing writer for "The New Yorker", who's done incredibly extensive reporting on Trump's hush money payments wrote the book "Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators".

And, Ronan, is so great to have you back.

So you broke the news about Trump's alleged affair with Karen McDougal for "The New York". That was in 2018. So you broke that news as a journalist, you're also, of course, a lawyer.

Why do you think she is not being called to testify in this case? In the first days, her name was front and center, if anything, uttered more than Stormy Daniels.

RONAN FARROW, CONTRIBUTING WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, we carried the first on the record, comments from McDougal about it, and the first detailed account of that affair. "The Wall Street Journal" had also done excellent prior reporting where they acknowledged that the transaction had happened, that the allegation of the affair existed out in the world. This is very much something a lot of publications contributed to meaningfully.

Now, in terms of this particular witness not making it into the case, it makes a lot of sense with the way that the prosecution has structured this for the jury. They've started out by laying out the part of the story that Karen McDougal would have featured in. Her alongside another story that we've broken the New Yorker about a doorman who was paid off to conceal a rumor about a love child, those figure in this scheme that prosecutors say was undertaken with AMI, the publisher of the "National Enquirer", to cover up unflattering during stories during the election.

And that step in the story is necessary for providing contexts so that by the time you get to the testimony we've seen this week, where they're talking about what exactly happened with Stormy and the transactions between Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniel, and their allegation that those were disguised, those were concealed. You need to know the preceding information.

Now, it makes a lot of sense that they ultimately chose to go with David Pecker, the former head of AMI, because he was the one who is in the room for the hatching of those schemes. So there are selecting him over Karen McDougal as a voice. You could actually speak to that intent very directly. I think it was a smart play ultimately.

BURNETT: And crucial and because Trump, of course, was at that meeting as they laid out with David Pecker.

Now, Karen McDougal post to fixture on social media over the weekend of your book, reading your book. And she writes in the post, quote, reflecting. So she's relaxing the bath of the glass of wine and your book reflecting.

So, what -- what -- what did you interpret it as you saw that?

FARROW: Well, you know, it's some expertly judged shade right at the heart of this trial, where people know that she is one of the examples that goes to this case, prosecutors are making for intent, where she was as prosecutors acknowledged today, on their witness list. She was very much in the air as a name that was mentioned a lot during this trial. For her to post with her bubble bath and joining herself on a Saturday night with a book on this subject is obviously something pointed, and there were a lot of chuckles about it in circles around this story.

BURNETT: So we know Michael Cohen is going to be coming up really any day tomorrow or Monday. Paula Reid is reporting that he will be the last big name expected to be called by the prosecution. And it's expected to last all next week, which, of course, we're going just to be clear, that would be three court days.

Now, you talked with him many times for these stories in recent years. How do you expect his examination and cross-examination are going to go, right? This is what it all comes down to.

FARROW: Well, one of the weaknesses in this case for prosecutors is that when they actually grilled the Trump Organization folks who were involved in bookkeeping, you know, they had to concede that they didn't have knowledge of Trump directly ordering the covering up of these payments. It all went through intermediaries and prosecutors would argue that's by design, that the effort to cover this up that is at the heart of this case, to some extent worked.

But nevertheless, they need a connecting voice, somewhat like Michael Cohen, who could say Donald Trump actually knew about this and ordered it. And so Cohen is indispensable to the prosecutors' case. He also presents challenges.

Michael Cohen has admitted to lying to Congress in other contexts, and he's also been very noisy in a way that has armed prosecutors.


He tweeted not that long ago: Hey, I'm now going to shut up. So they're hoping they can make the most of him as a witness.

BURNETT: All right. Ronan, thank you very much. Great to see you.

FARROW: Always a pleasure.

BURNETT: All right. And next, we do have new video into OUTFRONT. This is a strike we are learning of in southern Gaza. People screaming for help. There are no ambulances. We'll take you to the region next.

And just in, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now speaking out about where things stand right now when it comes to his room relationship with President Biden.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We've had our disagreements. We've been able to overcome them. I hope we can overcome them now.




BURNETT: Tonight, Rafah, bracing for a full-on assault. President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are at a critical crossroads over Israel's plan to invade Rafah.


It is the biggest public rift yet. And then my interview with President Biden, he gave Netanyahu an ultimatum: don't do it, or the United States will cut off weapons. It comes as we have a new video and to CNN, which I warn you is

incredibly disturbing. This is Israeli forces today targeting a mosque in Rafah. In this video, you see survivors carrying out bodies of the dead and injured from the rubble. One man is heard yelling, there are no ambulances to help the wounded in Rafah.

Clarissa Ward is OUTFRONT in Jerusalem tonight.

And, Clarissa, President Biden sent shockwaves around the world. Of course, when he issued this ultimatum to Netanyahu, he also admitted that American bombs were responsible for the deaths of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. What has been the reaction in Israel?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, Erin, this really was a pretty stark admission even though those of us who are following this conflict very closely know that U.S. bombs have been killing Palestinian civilians to hear the president express that. We have seen Amnesty International has released a number of investigations over the past few months where they have found us munitions at the site of strikes where dozens of people, many of them civilians, have been killed. We have seen, of course, the video, the aftermath that these 2,000-pound bombs, which have left honestly much of Gaza looking like a sort of moonscape, if you will.

But it was that ultimatum to Netanyahu that really has people here in Israel talking. We have seen very strong reaction comes from a number of the officials, Prime Minister Netanyahu himself saying, today that if Israel needs to go it alone, we will, saying that we will fight if we have to win our fingernails. We also heard from war cabinet minister Benny Gantz who said, quote, the U.S. has a moral and strategic obligation to supply Israel with the necessary tools to complete its mission.

We heard from far-right national security minister Ben-Gvir, who just posted on X saying Hamas hearts Biden.

But perhaps most importantly, we also heard from IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Erin, who said that this is not going to change things essentially, and that the IDF does have the weapons. It needs to continue its fight in Rafah, Erin.

BURNETT: To go and do it alone with the stockpile that they have. Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was telling me assumes that many of that stockpile is also U.S. weapons, but ones that Israel already has.

I mean, this comes down to Clarissa, the agony and the suffering in Gaza. And the more than a million refugees in Rafah who have sought refuge there. How dire is this situation now for them?

WARD: The situation is absolutely dire. We are seeing a number of aid organizations who are really sounding the alarm bell -- 1.4 million people have been hunkered down in Rafah, somewhere between 80,000 and 150,000 people have already evacuated since the IDF started this latest operation. But the places that they're being evacuated to al- Mawasi, for example, these so-called designated safe zones, simply don't have the infrastructure or the space to support them.

And perhaps most crucially, these border crossings, Erin, which are a very limited but vital lifeline to get aid in, to get personnel aid, personnel and to get fuel in according to the U.N., no trucks have been passing through Kerem Shalom, Rafah is closed according to the Israelis, dozens, the State Department said some, we just don't know.

And very tellingly, we saw a really stark warning from the U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths. He took to X as well, and he posted a lot longer posting basically that they have not been able to get anything in, in three days and talking about the impact of that, no fool fuel for generators for hospitals. And he finished with this one line. Our teams are stuck. Civilians in Gaza are being starved and killed. And we are preventing -- we are prevented from helping them. This is Gaza today, even after seven months of horror, Erin.

BURNETT: Clarissa, thank you very much, live from Jerusalem, of course, of course, has spent time in Gaza in this horrific war.

It all happening as the complicated relationship between Biden and Netanyahu is now coming to a head.

Oren Liebermann is OUTFRONT.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An airtight embrace between world leaders in the days after October 7 has given way to barely contained anger, a personal and political fight decades in the making.

President Joe Biden has more than 50 years of history with Israel, dating back to 1973.

BIDEN: I've worked with every prime minister of Israel, from Golda Meir, right through to the present prime minister.


LIEBERMANN: He first met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the '80s, Biden, a young senator on the Foreign Relations Committee.

BIDEN: Whether or not in Israel, the United States of America would have to invent an Israel.

LIEBERMANN: Israel's longest-serving leader then working at the embassy in D.C.

The relationship has more often than not had some friction.

BIDEN: I signed a picture long time for Bibi. He's been a friend for over 30 years. That said, Bibi, I don't agree with the dam thing you say, but I love you, but we really are good friends.

LIEBERMANN: Biden has long been seen as a pro-Israel Democrat. He surged aid to Israel after October 7th and signed off on Congress's supplemental designating $14 billion for Israel. Under President Barack Obama, Biden was seen as an asset, able to work with Netanyahu.

But the tension between Biden and Netanyahu burst into the open last year when Netanyahu tried to push through a major judicial overhaul.

BIDEN: Like many strong support, Israel, I'm very concerned and I'm certain that they get this straight. They cannot continue down his road.

LIEBERMANN: Even so, never before has it spilled over like this.

BIDEN: I've made it clear to Bibi and the war cabinet. They're not going to get our support if in fact they go on these population centers.

LIEBERMANN: In an exclusive interview with Erin Burnett, Biden said the U.S. would not supply bombs to Israel if it invaded Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians have sought refuge.

BIDEN: We're not walking away from Israel's security. We're walking away from Israel's ability to wage war in those areas.

LIEBERMANN: Biden has grown increasingly frustrated with Netanyahu, telling his advisers that the Israeli leader is ignoring his advice. The relationship may be beyond repair.

ALON PINKAS, FORMER ISRAELI CONSUL-GENERAL: It can't get better as long as Mr. Netanyahu was in power. What may happen is that these differences could be mitigated, alleviated, but that would be only a temporary relief.

LIEBERMANN: Seven months into the war, the U.S. openly opposes an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah, one Netanyahu promises is still coming.

NETANYAHU: If we need to stand alone, we will stand alone. I have said that if necessary, we will fight with our fingernails.

LIEBERMANN: The short statement posted on social media didn't mention Biden, but it didn't need to.


LIEBERMANN (on camera): Adding to the tension between the two leaders is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's internal domestic politics.

And that's because of the far-right flank of his coalition. They have threatened his government if there is a ceasefire and the war stops. So, Erin, for Netanyahu, months of war is not a threat to his government. A ceasefire may be.

BURNETT: All right. Oren, thank you very much.

And next, a special report on what it takes to score a spot inside Trump's trial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been here since 11:00 p.m. last night.

REPORTER: But you haven't slept?





BURNETT: Tonight, the hottest ticket in town, Trump's hush money trial has drawn crowds from far and wide, many hoping to get at coveted seats in history. Some even paying line sitters to wait hours on their behalf.

Brynn Gingras has been there, talking to them day after day and she's OUTFRONT.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five-thirty a.m. and the shadow of the Manhattan criminal courthouse, align.

What time did you get here?


GINGRAS: What --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was here before 4:00.

GINGRAS: More than 100 people hoping for a coveted seat inside the Trump trial.

MUNKES: I mean, its the first time in history that president has been brought through this process at its very historic.

GINGRAS: Usually no more than 12 members of the public get inside the courtroom where Trump is just yards away. Those are the green ticket holders awarded to the first view in line.

TIM KIMURA, PAID TO HOLD SPACE IN LINE FOR TRUMP TRIAL: I've been here since 11:00 p.m. last night.

GINGRAS: So you haven't slept?

KIMURA: What sleep?

GINGRAS: He is a professional line holder, making roughly $50 an hour to stand here and guarantee his client entry.

KIMURA: Since this whole thing started, we've been getting calls constantly that we've been here almost every day.

GINGRAS: Joseph Waldbaum is a retired criminal defense attorney. He's been here all week.

JOSEPH WALDBAUM, LINED UP TO GET INSIDE TRUMP TRIAL: I went to REI and bought this and I also bought yes. A tush cush, because those wooden benches, a brutal.

GINGRAS: You're now very prepared.

WALDBAUM: Yes, the most prepared one on line, I think. And I can sell both of these for a hefty profit.

GINGRAS: There are more seats available in the overflow room. This golden ticket gets about two dozen more people into a room located down the hall from the proceedings. There boxes on large TV screens show the judge lawyers, Trump, and witnesses like Stormy Daniels.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like watching a soap opera.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm fascinated by the whole thing, just wanted to see that people, the characters.

GINGRAS: Hamilton Clancy and his wife, Karen, came to court Tuesday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those my birthday wish. I mean, it's here in New York. We're here in New York. This is a once in a lifetime thing. Who wouldn't we want to be here? It's democracy in action.

GINGRAS: Those here say the wait goes quickly, either with a good book, coffee or friendly debate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a fake trial and I can't believe that they do this. They're doing this to him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's fine to disagree and that's how much worth to the trial.

GINGRAS: Like more testimony, Michael Cohen, possibly Trump himself.

This line expected to only get longer.


BURNETT: And, Brynn, you know, I've seen you out there talking to people and you've had such amazing people you've met.

Are the lines getting longer?

GINGRAS: Yeah, listen, this is the longest line that we have seen yet, people fully knowing that Stormy Daniels was going to be back on the stand today. But listen, Erin, this is where they actually line up, right? The public really forms this line here. And then over here is really for the press and like I said, we might start seeing people within the next few hours because people are anticipating Michael Cohen to take the stand.

And I have to point out we have actually met people from all across this country. I talked to one couple from Utah in New York city as a tourist and they were like, hey, lets just go line for the Trump trial.

Everybody really wants a piece of this history, Erin.

BURNETT: Well, it's nice to see people care so much and be willing to do that.


BURNETT: Fifty bucks an hour for the line sitter. He's busy man.

All right. Thank you so much, Brynn.

GINGRAS: I'm going to let your husband know your birthday present, Erin.

BURNETT: That's right.

And thanks so much to all of you for being with us.

We appreciate it.

It's time for Anderson.