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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Israeli Prime Minister: No Ceasefire, "This Is A Time For War"; Documents Show Family, Army Concerns Over Gunman's Mental State; Biden Concerned Over Rising Antisemitism On U.S. College Campuses As Administration Takes Action. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 31, 2023 - 05:30   ET



YOSSI MELMAN, SECURITY WRITER AND JOURNALIST, CO-AUTHOR, "SPIES AGAINST ARMAGEDDON" (via Webex by Cisco): So, we are expected to slow-move and I'm not sure there will be a full-scale, all-the-way ground invasion as people expected in the -- in the first days of the war. We are now on day number 25 of the war.

KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: What's your sense of why that is? I mean, right before the Israelis took this incursion up to the next level late last week there was talk about a potentially negotiated release of dozens, perhaps, of the hostages. That talk seemed to evaporate in the face of what the Israelis did do in Gaza over the weekend and what they continue to do. Now you have one hostage, they say, rescued in a special operation.

How are these two things -- the negotiations around the hostages, plus the kinetic action from the IDF -- interacting with each other right now?

MELMAN: Well, they are actually complementing each other. The number of hostages was -- went this morning up to 240. Four were released by Hamas and one last night -- actually, the night before by special forces and intelligence operations of the Israeli IDF and the security services. And it's clear that it won't be able to release this huge number of 240 by special operations.

Both sides are learning their lessons from that daring operation in which the Israeli soldier -- female soldier was released. Hamas would improve its efforts to secure their -- hiding the hostages. Israeli learned some information and some intelligence from the rescue operation.

But the negotiation is going on. It is in Doha, Qatar. The Americans are involved. They're a special envoy for prisoners and hostages appointed by the White House -- by the National Security Council. Israeli envoys are going back and forth to Qatar. It is almost a general acceptance in Israel that Israel would have eventually to release all the Palestinian prisoners or secure prisoners in Israeli jails. Their number is 6,000.

That's not the main obstacle. The main obstacle is that Hamas would like to use the hostages not just to be released but also to be kind of a human shield and to -- and to force Israel for a ceasefire. Hamas doesn't want this war to go on because they realize they are hit very hard by the IDF and will continue to be hit hard.

HUNT: So that focus that Netanyahu had on the ceasefire -- I mean, I heard it in a geopolitical context, which is to say that there's been increasing pressure at places like the United Nations from other countries around the world on Israel to -- first, the language was a ceasefire and now a humanitarian pause seems to be kind of more accepted.

But I hear you saying that the rejection of calls for a ceasefire may also be a message to Hamas around the hostages? The message from Netanyahu?

MELMAN: It's a message -- first of all, from the outset, Netanyahu -- the government said we would not allow any humanitarian aid into Gaza. The truth is that every day, dozens of trucks -- humanitarian aid is moving from Egypt and entering Gaza.

Secondly, there will -- there's going to be some sort of humanitarian ceasefire if the hostages are going to be released. The debate in Israel is whether to -- if there is a deal to release hostages in return for Palestinian prisoners, whether to do it in stages or all of them at one -- at once.

Now, as long as the Israeli casualties are very low in the battlefield of Gaza is where we'll keep the pressure. The moment of -- the moment when the numbers of Israeli IDF soldiers will be -- will be going up and up, I'm sure there will eventually be some sort of a ceasefire -- temporary ceasefire because the endgame of Israeli is not clear.

What does it mean to destroy Hamas? I can understand if you talk about destroying its military capabilities, but destroy an organization which is also an ideology -- an idea -- it's almost impossible. And most Israeli security experts are saying that it's -- it is -- it is just rhetoric to talk about destroying Hamas.


HUNT: All right. Yossi Melman, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate your time, sir.

MELMAN: Thank you, Kasie.

HUNT: And police in western Colorado say a man heavily armed with weapons and explosives took his own life over the weekend at the Glenwood Caverns amusement park. Authorities say the 20-year-old was found in a woman's bathroom before the park opened dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The words "I am not a killer" were written on the bathroom wall. Investigators say the evidence suggests he was planning some type of large-scale attack.

Speaking of such attacks, new details about what police and the military knew in the months before one of their reservists killed 18 people in Maine. Documents released by the sheriff's office detail how, in May, the shooter's ex-wife and son went to the police to report their concern about Robert Card's paranoia. The report says he had 10 to 15 handguns and rifles, taken from his brother.

Police visited the shooter's home just weeks before the massacre after another soldier was concerned he would quote, "snap" and commit a mass shooting.

After a medical evaluation in July, the Army declared he, quote, "should not have a weapon" and was, quote, "non-deployable" over concern for his well-being. He also spent 14 days at a psychiatric hospital.

Let's bring in Juliette Kayyem, CNN national security analyst. Juliette, good morning. It's always good to see you.


HUNT: This is incredibly alarming. I mean, police have gotten multiple warnings.


HUNT: They had gone to his house two times but they'd never talked to him.

I mean, how did this ball --


HUNT: How did this happen?

KAYYEM: Yeah. So, I mean, it's like a -- there was like a dozen red flashing lights and everyone is behaving well. I mean, in other words, everyone sees what's going on from his Army employers to the ex-wife, to the brother. They're trying to get someone to pay enough attention to be able to confiscate the guns.

And so -- I mean, I think what we -- what we understand happens now is no one really invokes what's called the yellow flag laws in Maine. In other words, that you would actually start a legal proceeding in a courtroom to then begin the formal process of getting him away from the guns that everyone knew he shouldn't be with.

There's -- and the second is that these families -- at least in this case -- often think that they can deal with it on their own. They -- for whatever reasons, they don't -- you know, they don't -- they don't want him to be part of the -- of the criminal process. And so, the family begins to make representations that they'll deal with the guns. It's obviously the case that they didn't.

So that when the cops finally -- local police officers finally intervene, they're kind of dependent on everyone wanting him to be committed without guns and have the guns taken away. And you're just not seeing that alignment of interest even though everyone knew -- everyone. I mean, everyone is saying he is a ticking time bomb -- of which he clearly was.

HUNT: Yeah. I mean, what should the military have done --


HUNT: -- differently in this specific way?

KAYYEM: Well, so it's complicated. There's references to the National Guard. The National Guard has nothing to do with it.

It is -- it is what we would call "Big Army." Big Army realizes that he no longer can serve or is not serving, and then make -- the only thing that they can do is tell local law enforcement of their concerns. They have no ability to sort of take him themselves and take the guns away from him themselves. They just don't have that sort of oversight or -- because he's not on base. He's not residential. And so they're dependent on local law enforcement.

And they do the right thing. They tell local law enforcement this guy is a problem. We no longer essentially own him or want him. And that's where we see that breakdown.

Local police did arrive at the house. They are -- it's sort of unclear what happened at the house but they did not have interaction with Card but possibly family members who are warning them that he is -- he is unsafe.

And I -- you know, the frustrating thing when you see this six-month period he's becoming more psychotic, everyone's noticing it, no one's taking away the guns is that there's about 12 moments of potential intervention where someone -- anyone could have probably stopped this mass killing.

And I think there's a lot of lessons to learn in this regard about whether Maine should have stronger red flag laws. What the family's responsibility is in this case, including the access to the guns, which may have been the brother's -- his brother's.

HUNT: Yeah. I mean, it does sound like his family did -- or at least his ex-wife --


HUNT: -- and his son did what they could do here.

KAYYEM: Yeah. We ask so much of people. You know, I hate to say this person did this thing wrong or that person. In the end, we ask so much of people because of the kind of weaponry we have. There's not a lot that an ex-wife can do. The laws aren't in their favor. The gun laws aren't in their favor. I mean, ultimately, he's responsible.


And -- but we sometimes -- you know, it's important to always talk about the big picture. The access to guns like this that are going to kill this many people is also part of this story. HUNT: No. It's at the heart of the --


HUNT: -- political debate that we have after one of these things happens. And it's very -- it's very sad and difficult that it is the same every time. Nothing seems to change.


HUNT: Juliette Kayyem, thank you very much for being with us this morning. I appreciate your insight.

KAYYEM: Thank you. Good morning.

HUNT: And the White House taking action on a surge in antisemitic incidents in the United States. How President Biden plans to try to stop the spread of hate on college campuses.




KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: To the students at Cornell and on campuses across the country, we're tracking these threats closely. We can't stand by and stand silent in the face of hate. We must, without equivocation, denounce antisemitism.


HUNT: That was the White House press secretary yesterday as the president announces new action to try to combat antisemitic incidents on college campuses. These incidents of hate are not just spiking in the U.S.; they are surging in all corners of the world.

CNN's Nick Watt takes a closer look.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A scuffle at Tulane after a pro-Palestinian demonstrator tried to burn an Israeli flag. At Cornell, Jews were threatened with death and cold pigs in an online forum Saturday, according to The Cornell Daily Sun.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL, (D) NEW YORK: No one should be afraid to walk from their dorm or their dining hall to a classroom.

WATT (voice-over): But that's the reality.

Another post read going to shoot up 104 West. That's the address of the college Center of Jewish Living and the kosher dining hall.

MARTHA POLLACK, PRESIDENT, CORNELL UNIVERSITY: We will not tolerate antisemitism on this campus. JEAN-PIERRE: There's no place for hate in America and we condemn any

antisemitic threat or incident in the strongest -- in the strongest terms. To the students at Cornell and on campuses across the country, we're tracking these threats closely.

WATT (voice-over): At George Washington University, "Glory to Our Martyrs" among the messages projected on a library wall.

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Celebrating the individuals who murdered and massacred Israeli civilians.

WATT (voice-over): And it's not just college campuses. Slurs painted on the building in Beverly Hills where a Holocaust survivor and her daughter live.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any time someone hates you it hurts.

WATT (voice-over): A Florida congressman posted Saturday "...the temple I belong to was targeted by five people wearing ski masks and shouting 'Kill the Jews!' as congregants left."

REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL): This has gone into a horrible place that reminds the Jewish community, quite frankly, of the reason why Israel was created in the first place.

WATT (voice-over): Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. are up nearly 400 percent since the Hamas terror attacks of October 7, according to preliminary data just released from the ADL.

GREENBLATT: And let's keep in mind that prior to October 7, we had already seen the highest number of anti-Jewish acts in America that the ADL had ever tracked in the last 45 years.

MOSKOWITZ: Quite frankly, there is -- there are very few corners of the world right now in which you won't see that sort of craziness. Different levels, of course, but it's everywhere.

WATT (voice-over): In Paris, four Jewish educational institutes received bomb threats. In China, normally strict state censors appear to be allowing extremist antisemitic posts online. And in southern Russia, a mob -- some carrying antisemitic signs -- broke into an airport Sunday apparently to meet a flight from Tel Aviv.

MOSKOWITZ: That was an angry mob that broke through security in an airport looking for Jews. And I'm pretty sure they were not looking to have a robust foreign policy conversation.

WATT (voice-over): At least 10 people were injured, say local officials. The airport had to close. Flights from Israel are now being diverted elsewhere.

WATT (on camera): After watching that video, one U.S. State Department official said, "It looked like a palgram (PH) to me."

Here in the U.S., the White House has announced more measures to try and keep Jewish students safe on American college campuses.

And I was speaking to a Jewish friend of mine today -- about my age, so lived a little -- and she said that she's never before felt actually scared -- scared for herself. But now, she does.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


HUNT: Just really tough.

Let's bring in Oren Segal, vice president at the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League. Oren, thank you very much for being here.

You know, and I've got to say -- so I attended one of the universities that was featured in that piece. I have a lot of friends from that time in my life who I remain friends with today who I'm hearing similar messages from that they are more afraid now than they ever were before. And in many cases, saying that they never expected to feel this kind of fear here in the United States of America in the year 2023.

Can you talk a little bit about what it means, and what the community is feeling, and what everyone should be doing about it?


OREN SEGAL, VICE PRESIDENT, CENTER ON EXTREMISM, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE (via Webex by Cisco): Sure. You know, we are hearing not only from students but from parents who are sending their kids to these universities expressing deep concern about not only the antisemitic incidents that are happening on campus but also the seeming embrace of terror movement ideology and rhetoric.

I mean, one of the shocking things that we're seeing, in addition to the threats, et cetera, is that there have been so many events happening on college campuses that seem to glorify or celebrate or justify the massacre on October 7. So as a foundational element, one needs to reject violence against innocence.

But even on campuses, that hasn't happened in the fundamental rhetoric. How are kids supposed to have conversations and feel safe when there's not even a recognition of Jewish lives mattering on that campus?

HUNT: Can you help us understand a little bit -- I mean, I've covered the Trump administration and the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. We saw a rise in white nationalist groups and there was rhetoric around the Charlottesville rally, for example, that obviously came out of the right. A lot of what we're seeing play out on college campuses seems to be coming from the left.

Can you help us understand -- I mean, why we see this on both ends of the political spectrum? SEGAL: I mean, antisemitism has forever been the common bond behind haters no matter what part of the ideological spectrum they come from. No matter what political party, right? Hatred of Jews is sort of the go-to.

And that's what we're seeing now. Even during this uptick of nearly a 400 percent increase in antisemitic incidents that we're documenting since October 7, they're coming from white supremacists who are putting flyers or banners alluding to the conflict. They are also coming from the far-left as it were, where people are justifying and glorifying violence against Israelis and Jews.

And so, antisemitism is not the sole domain of any one political or extremist, or ideological movement. This is what happens, though, when there is conflict in the Middle East. This is not spontaneous per se; this is something that has been planned. These are deep feelings that people have held on and off campus that are now given, honestly, an opportunity to express that hatred.

HUNT: All right.

Oren Segal, of the ADL, thank you very much for -- I know you got up early, but this is a really important conversation and I'm glad we were able to bring it to folks even though it's only 5:52 in the morning. So thank you very much.

SEGAL: Take care.

HUNT: All right.

Breaking sports news overnight. There's been a blockbuster trade in the NBA. That's next.



HUNT: Welcome back.

Monday was a special day for sports fans here in the U.S. -- a so- called sports equinox. All five major men's professional leagues playing on the same day.

Andy Scholes joins me. Andy, I'm going to set aside that I would like to know the next time that there is a women's sports equinox.


HUNT: However, that being said, this is the only time this has happened this year, so let's start -- I will admit I don't know if I was blocking it out for my own reasons. The Orioles are not in the World Series --


HUNT: -- so I kind of forgot that it was even playing. But apparently, it was the biggest game last night.

SCHOLES: Kasie, don't get me started. I'm the Astro fan here and we couldn't win --

HUNT: Yeah, yeah.

SCHOLES: -- a game at home to save our lives. So yeah, we're watching the Rangers in the World Series.

But it was definitely a multiple T.V. kind of night -- you know, the World Series between the Diamondbacks and the Rangers. They're shifting to the desert for game three tied a game apiece. This is the first time the Fall Classic was back in Phoenix since 2001.

And we had a big moment in the second inning of this game. So, Christian Walker, after a lead-off double -- he's going to blow through the stop sign from the third base coach on this Tommy Pham single and going to get thrown out a home. Arizona ends up getting no runs when they could have had first and third, no outs.

And the Rangers -- they would immediately capitalize on that. Corey Seager -- he gets ahold of this one in the bottom -- or the top half of the next inning -- a 2-run home run. It made it 3-0.

That's all the Rangers would need. They win 3-1 and are 9-0 on the road this postseason. The first team ever to win nine road playoff games.

Game for tonight at 8:00 Eastern there in Phoenix.

All right. Monday Night Football, meanwhile, had the Lions hosting the Raiders. And after getting blown out by the Ravens last week, Detroit getting back on track. And it was a breakout night for rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. He ran for a career-high 152 yards, including that 27-yard touchdown in the third.

The Lions would win 26-14. They're now 6-2, their best start to a season since 2014.

The Warriors, meanwhile -- they're off to a 3-1 start to their season. Steph Curry just unstoppable in New Orleans last night. He made seven threes on his way to 42 points. The Warriors would win 130-102. And after a dismal record on the road last season, the Warriors are a perfect 3-0 so far this year.

All right. And we had a fantastic finish in the Ducks-Penguins game last night. Time winding down. Pittsburgh on the power play but Adam Henrique steals the puck and gets it ahead to Mason McTavish who scores the winner with just under 12 seconds to go. The Ducks would win that one 4-3.

In the first round of the MLS last night, Orlando City taking on Nashville SC. And check out the strike from Wilder Cartagena here. Twenty-five yards out -- beautiful goal there. The crowd would go nuts in Orlando and that would be the difference as Orlando wins that game 1-nil. [06:00:00]

And finally, breaking overnight and according to multiple reports, the 76ers finally have traded James Harden to the L.A. Clippers. The Sixers getting four players back and some draft picks, Kasie. This was the drama of the NBA season thus far -- what was going to end up happening with James Harden there in Philly. But he is now on his way to the Clippers.

And hey, guess what? We could have more trade fireworks later today. The NFL trade deadline is on Halloween, so we'll see what happens today.

HUNT: All right, Andy Scholes. Thank you very much --


HUNT: -- for that. And as a Philly person, see you later.

All right. And thank you for joining us. I'm Kasie Hunt. Don't go anywhere. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.