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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Israel Launches 2nd Airstrike in 2 Days on Gaza Refugee Camp; Today: More Foreigners, Injured Palestinians Set to Leave Gaza; President & First Lady to Visit Lewiston, Maine Friday; Early Season Chill Runs from Texas to Maine. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired November 02, 2023 - 05:00   ET




Escape from Gaza. Foreign nationals gather at the gate in hopes that they, too, will be able to cross into Egypt today.

Plus, no accounting. Donald Trump Jr. back on the stand today after telling the court he did not handle his father's financial statements.

And going nowhere, at least for now. George Santos is still a congressman. No plans to quit after he survived a vote to expel him from the House.


HUNT: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States, and around the world. I'm Kasie Hunt. It's Thursday, November 2nd, 5:00 a.m. in New York, 11:00 a.m. in Hamas-run Gaza where officials say there were more heavy Israeli airstrikes overnight, and into this morning, this time in the vicinity of the al Quds hospital.

And civilians in the Jabalia refugee camp are digging out from an airstrike Wednesday by Israeli airplanes, the second in as many days. Hospital officials say at least 80 people were killed, and hundreds more injured in southern Gaza.

At the Rafah crossing, dozens of injured Palestinians, and more than 360 foreign nationals crossed into Egypt. Among them, citizens of Austria, Britain, Jordan, Italy, France, Japan, and at least two Americans.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a result of intense and urgent American diplomacy with our partners in the region. At first, we spent a lot of time speaking with Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and President Sisi of Egypt and others to make sure that we get over this access for people to get out.


HUNT: All right. CNN's Rafael Romo is live for us in Tel Aviv.

Rafael, what are we expecting to see at the crossing today?


The expectation is that more people will be able to pass through a U.S. State Department spokesperson confirmed one day that an initial group of foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, had departed Gaza and had made it into Egypt, although he declined to give specifics on the number of U.S. citizens who were able to leave Gaza, citing operational security concerns. He did say though that more Americans would be able to leave today, and in the next days, and that the State Department had communicated lyrically with American citizens in Gaza so that they would be ready to go.

There was also confirmation from President Biden himself. He wrote Wednesday on X that the U.S. had secured safe passage for wounded Palestinians, and foreign nationals to exit Gaza and were expecting some American citizens to exit right away with more departing over the coming days.

And, Kasie, the question is, how many Americans were stuck in Gaza in the first place? Well, at a Senate appropriations committee, Secretary of State Blinken said there were approximately 400 plus their families, about 1,000 people in total. He also said that there were about 5,000 other third country nationals in Gaza who want to get out as well -- Kasie.

HUNT: Rafael, have we learned anything more about the Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalia refugee camp? They are obviously under an incredible amount of scrutiny, and Israel is under a lot of pressure.

ROMO: Yes, that's right, Kasie.

There has been widespread condemnation since the first attack. Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel along with Chile, and Colombia, Bolivia went as far as cutting off diplomatic ties, and the United Nations Human Rights Office called the attacks disproportionate, and said that they could amount to war crimes.

It's hard for us to determine a specific number of casualties, but a director of a local hospital said at least 80 people died in the second explosion, and that there could be more victims under the rubble, adding that most of the people who died were women and children. A spokesman with the Israeli military told CNN, they do not intend to kill civilians.


But he added, the sad reality that is unfolding now is that the civilians in Gaza are paying the price for the atrocities of Hamas, and the spokesman reiterated that the Israeli government has said before that they are fighting a battle to defend, themselves and after the October 7th terrorist attacks, and they must eradicate Hamas wherever they are, he said, even if they are hiding in tunnels underneath populated areas -- Kasie. HUNT: And, of course, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on

his way soon to the region for a Friday visit with expectations that he will be talking to the Israelis about issues of proportionality among other things.

Rafael Romo, thank you very much for being there for us this morning. I really appreciate it.

And Donald Trump Jr. returns to the witness stand as his father's civil fraud trial in New York, with brother Eric waiting in the wings.

Plus, Congressman George Santos defiant after surviving a vote that his colleagues took to try to get rid of him.



HUNT: Welcome back.

Heavy airstrikes again hitting Gaza last night and this morning. Officials in the Hamas-run territories say the missiles are landing in the area of the al Quds hospital. Wednesday, there were heavy airstrikes in the Jabalia refugee camp.

CNN global affairs analyst Kim Dozier joins us now.

Kim, good morning. Thank you so much for being here.

I know you have had a lot of experiences over the course of the past week with the Israeli embassy and others that gives you some insight into what the challenges are in terms of the Israelis trying to maintain world support as they mount this campaign against Hamas terrorists. The secretary of state obviously expected to be in Israel on Friday. As he tries to maintain these connections with the Israelis and try to urge them in the direction that the U.S. wants them to go.

Can you kind of take us behind the scenes and help us understand what these conversations are like? What is the push and pull?

KIM DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, from the White House perspective they know every single strike near or on civilian areas blows back not just on, Israel but on the U.S. And you can see it in the U.N. vote that went against Israel, and that it declared the need for a cease-fire. But it didn't condemn Hamas, and demand the release of hostages.

So the White House needs Israel to ratchet back, to be more careful about civilian casualties. But I have to tell you talking to a senior military official, and some of the former national security folks who are briefed on some of these decisions, they feel like this is an existential threat and they are going to keep moving forward. I think even if the White House starts asking them publicly to move back, they are just going to accomplish what they see as their mission which is dismantling Hamas.

HUNT: So, Kim, you spent some time based in Gaza, which is a pretty rare thing for an American foreign correspondent.

Can you help us understand why -- I mean, the other path of this is, I saw some video the Israelis show to American journalists of these horrific attacks, and it gives you a sense of the way many of the -- at least the supporters of Hamas in Gaza, the way they talk about this, they used to pretty horrific language. I think it might help people understand why it is the Israelis feel the way they do to feel about this.

Can you kind of take us inside some of that experience that you had? What you saw when you lived there, and also what you've seen in the wake of this attack?

DOZIER: Yes, people walk on memory lane in that I was part of the cadre of journalist who covered the peace process before the Oslo accord that started in Cairo. And then, you know, I covered the first uprising that led to that peace process, and then a second uprising years later.

And what I saw is that after this initial hope for peace, each side getting so alienated from each other, hope being lost time and time again, each one disappointing each other, and especially inside Gaza, once Hamas used to be an entity that took care of its people better than the Palestinian authority, which was seen as widely corrupt. I interviewed a family of -- with ten children, misled we can't get help from the PA, but Hamas comes by every week with aid. So that's how they got into power.

But once they got into power, they literally threw PA officials off rooftops, in expelling them from Gaza, and instituted education where the Anti-Defamation League can give the chapter a verse of the town of textbooks that are taught in Gazan school that say things about Jews that basically make them seem like not people. And that's the only way I could explain the brutal attacks that we saw in that raw video that Israel has shown to groups of journalists, pen and pad only. They are not releasing to this to the world, so yes these videos are independently verified.

But the kind of things said in the video, like a young fighter calling his friends back in Gaza and bragging about how he killed Israelis with his bare hands, I did see that kind of sentiment when I would go to Gaza to report on incidents there during the second uprising.

HUNT: Yeah, and that, of course, that clip you mentioned they did play at the U.N., the audio of the person who had called his parents. And it is really tough to listen to.

Kim, briefly, long term, what does it look like when Israel says they want to, you know, end Hamas?


That's strategically -- I mean, I've talked to some experts on terror groups, and, you know, militar -- former military officials who basically say that that's not possible. What's your take on that? DOZIER: Yeah, they say they're going to end Hamas like the U.S. and

world ended ISIS. Well, ISIS hasn't ended. We still have U.S. troops in Syria, Iraqi forces are still battling them. ISIS still demands -- shakes downs local leaders in Iraqi towns and villages.

So, Hamas unfortunately is likely to rise after this incident as seen as a hero across the Arab world. And even though they might smash all the current leadership and dismantle the current military structure, it will rebuild in the years and decades afterward. So I don't understand how this is going to work. They've tried to root out extremism in the West Bank, the same way.

When people have no hope, when they have no hope for a separate state, two-state solution, that frustration breeds some really horrible violence.

HUNT: Yeah. No, it's -- I'm glad we -- we talked about, both are there is a dehumanizing aspect in terms of the issues, but also how the circumstances under which these people are living generate a situation where there is really nowhere to go, and you have as you point out no hope. It becomes an impossible situation.

Kim Dozier, thank you very much for being up early with us. I really appreciate your time.

DOZIER: Thanks.

HUNT: And just ahead here, remembering basketball legend Bobby Knight, known for his talent and his temper.

And Senate Republicans take on one of their own for holding up military confirmations.



HUNT: Welcome back.

We've got some quickest across America now.

The president and first lady are set to visit grieving family members and first responders in Lewiston, Maine, tomorrow following last week's deadly mass shooting. Biden has repeatedly urged Congress to address gun violence.

Tennessee families with transgender kids are calling on the Supreme Court to review the states ban on gender affirming care for minors, which they say is unconstitutional. A federal judge initially blocked the ban, but an appeals court reinstated it over the summer.

Republican senators are taking aim at colleague Tommy Tuberville, who they say is single-handedly holding up efforts to fortify the U.S. military.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. DAN SULLIVAN (R-AK): We do not want to be responsible for a Senate inflicted hollowing out of our most experienced military officers, especially given how dangerous the world is right now.


HUNT: Another 61 top nominees were blocked by the Alabama Republican just last night. Tuberville objects to the Pentagon's service member abortion policies.

And an early seasonal chill gripping much of the country, bringing record low temperatures from Texas to Maine.

Let's get straight to our weatherman, Derek Van Dam.

Derek, good morning.

I have to say --


HUNT: -- that I was freezing coming in here this morning. As my phone told me it was 35 degrees outside. It sounds like I am not alone.

VAN DAM: No, you're not. My home weather stations had 30 degrees, so we officially dropped below freezing, and I am so glad that I am meteorologist and I'm able to tell you at home that this is effectively ended the growing season. I'm not a garden season, got the last of my tomatoes, got the last of my peppers, because I knew that this was the -- this is the end, right? It is cold.

And that's why we have these frost and freeze warnings, likely much of the southeastern U.S., because that cold air has advanced, just as we warn you the past few days, we have these alerts that stretch all the way from Texas to the mid-Atlantic, even portions of the northeast as well.

So freeze warnings. Temperatures have dropped below freezing. Here's what it feels like on your skin as you step outside, lower 30s, upper twenties, it is downright chilly outside. So grab a coat. Heading out the door this morning, plan accordingly because it significantly colder than what we started the week as, and the good news is we're going to see a whole new trend.

So, check out these temperatures. These are morning lows for some larger cities, Chicago, to Atlanta. You see the mercury in the thermometer starting to climb slowly back, back and back. So we will replace the blues with the oranges, and the above average temperatures are welcomed. Again, will hold on to them as long as we can.

It is the sunshine that is given kind of a deceiving warmth to the air outside, along the East Coast. Let's enjoy it while it lasts, because no real active weather for the eastern two thirds of the country, but the Pacific northwest, it is a whole other story.

You have an atmospheric river. What is that? That is literally a river in the sky that is pointed directly into the Pacific Northwest with a significant amount of moisture. So two to four inches of rainfall is expected to cross into this region, highest elevation is getting the snowfall. Mount Baker, into the Olympic range.

And then we get a break with more range for the weekend. So, yes, winter is settling in, I should say autumn, for the Pacific Northwest. So, Oregon to Washington, even into northern sections of California, some much needed rainfall for these parts of America -- Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Our weatherman, Derek Van Dam, thank you very much for being there. See you tomorrow, my friend.

VAN DAM: Have a great morning.

HUNT: You, too.

President Biden telling a closed-door fund-raiser last night that there should be a pause in Gaza. What does that mean?

And Donald Trump Jr. testifying in a New York courtroom with his younger brother about to do the same.



HUNT: Welcome back. Good morning. Thank you for being up early with us. I am Kasie Hunt. Just before 5:30 here on the East Coast.

President Biden calling last night for a pause in the fighting in Gaza. The president was interrupted by an audience member in a closed- door fund-raiser in Minneapolis. The person shouted, quote: As a rabbi, I need you to call for a cease-fire right now, end quote.

Mr. Biden replied this way, quote, I think we need to pause. A pause means give time to get the prisoners out, end quote.

What's not clear is whether the president was actually endorsing a cease-fire, which his administration is not back so far. In fact, this precise language around a pause is very distinct from the calls for a cease-fire. So, it's a little bit of a disagreement with that protester there.

In southern Gaza this morning, more foreign nationals injured and Palestinians are expected to pass through the Rafah Crossing into Egypt. Those who came through on Wednesday, they were the first non- hostages to exit Gaza since the war began more than three weeks ago.


BIDEN: American citizens were able to.