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Inside Politics

Deal Reached To Extend Truce, Release 20 More Hostages; Authorities Give Update On Three Palestinian Students Shot; Iowa Caucuses Seven Weeks From Today; President Carter Expected To Attend Wife's Memorial Service. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired November 27, 2023 - 12:30   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: U.S. and Israeli officials and others. If little children were released, they would have to be released with at least their mothers, if their mothers were being held as well. And Raya, the mother, the sister of Yair, is still being held. She was not released.

And this is considered to be by the Israelis, the U.S. and others, a clear violation of the initial agreement. Once you release children, if they are with their parents, the parents are least as well. The children don't have to leave their parents behind. And little Hila had to leave her mother behind.

And I spoke with Yair, the uncle, about all of this, and he was very, very powerful in what he was saying, obviously thrilled that he could spend a little bit of her 13th birthday together, but so, so upset that his sister was not being released.

And I want to play a little clip, Dana, from our interview. Listen to this.


YAIR ROTEM, UNCLE OF 13-YEAR-OLD RELEASED BY HAMAS: She told me, mother is here. And they came and they took us, and they didn't give us a lot of time to prepare, but I had time to give her a hug. And Raya, my sister, her mother, was crying when the girls, the children left. And, yes, that's how it ended.

And Raya is still there. She had to just say goodbye to her mother. She don't know what is going to happen with her mother. The mother is not going -- the mother doesn't know what happens with Hila. I'm sure my sister, Hila's mother, don't know what's going to be next.

Are they going to set her free? Are they going to jail her again? Are they going to murder her? Hila and Emily, the first thing that they said when they met me was, yes, we've been with Raya the whole time, my sister. And Hila also told me, look at my hair. My mother cut it for me when we're in captivity. So they were together.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: Hamas put out a statement saying they didn't know where the mother was. The little girl, Hila, said she was with her mother the whole time, including at the very end. They know exactly where she is, but they refused to let her be released. As part of this deal, if a child is released, the mother is supposed to be released as well. And this is causing a lot of anger here in Israel.

I got to tell you, Dana, a lot of Israelis saying this is a clear violation by Hamas, and Hamas is going to pay for this. They want those kids released, but they also want the parents released at the same times so that the children don't have to be suffering.

Where's Mommy? Where's Daddy? Why aren't my parents with us right now? So they're very, very upset about this, and it's going to be a continuing issue, I'm sure, until this mother is freed.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma. I mean, such an emotional interview, but important interview, Wolf, because we didn't know if she actually was with her mother. And according to the uncle you spoke with, they were together and she was ripped apart from her mother. It's yet another thing that is unimaginable that is happening at the hands of these barbaric terrorists.

Wolf, thank you. We'll be right back to you.

But first I want to talk about the hostages that have been released by Hamas. We explained that there have been about 40. There are still hundreds more inside Gaza, including Raya, as we've been just discussing.

I'm joined now by Shira Havron. She knows firsthand what it feels like to be on the waiting side, on the -- part of the waiting game. But the good news, Shira -- thank you so much for being here -- is that six members of your family were finally released by Hamas over the weekend. We should say that one remains in captivity, 38-year-old Tal Shoham.

But first, I just want to tell our viewers that you and I spoke on October 16. You had just been in Brussels. You were pressuring members of the European Union to push for the release of hostages. Here we are six weeks later. As I mentioned, six members of your family are free. What do you hear from them? Have you been able to speak with any of them to get a sense of their situation?

SHIRA HAVRON, FAMILY MEMBERS RELEASED BY HAMAS: So, first of all, thank you for having me again. Personally, I haven't met them yet because we're taking it slow for them. They're resting, they're organizing. But my dad was there and some other family members, of course, my cousins. And, you know, they seemed physically OK, relatively.

They were talking, they were laughing, they were very happy, obviously, to see everyone and to be here back home. But, obviously, as you said, it's extremely bittersweet because we have the kids now and my cousin, their mom, but we don't have their dad with them, and they need him. And this is why we will keep fighting for him and all the other hostages that are still left behind waiting to come home as much as my family did, but definitely a relief that gives you strength to move on.


And we're showing photos of your family as they had arrived back in Israel and of your cousin, I believe, holding a teddy bear. It's just hard to imagine what it was like for her, in particular, but everybody held captive for so long, almost seven weeks.

Your aunt is 67, your cousin is 38. And then there's the children, Nave, eight, Yahel three, and Noam, 12. What do you hear specifically? And we're showing photos of them on the screen right now, Shira. What do you hear specifically about the children? Children are obviously resilient, but they store trauma pretty deep.

HAVRON: Yes. You know, now they're just playing with everyone and happy to see everyone and excited. But, obviously, things will come up, we assume. We know it's going to be a very long process of recovering and healing, and we are here to hug them and to be with them and do whatever they need and support them.

And, you know, I'm sure that very soon, if not already. They've been asking for weeks, where is their father? Who knows how long they didn't see him? And obviously they need him, as I said. So I'm sure it's such a shock to them, but also very exciting.

I'm sure they're confused how -- I mean, how do you even start to imagine what they've been through and how they've been through so much more than me in the past 50 days --

BASH: Yes.

HAVRON: -- 52 days. You know, it's -- really it's shocking and it's good and it's complicated. So --

BASH: Very complicated.

HAVRON: -- through their feeling --

BASH: Yes, very complicated. And have you been able to get any information, maybe your father, who was with them about what the situation was like, what the conditions were like during their time in captivity?

HAVRON: You know, besides the fact they're all taken out together. They'll have to be obviously investigated and talked to the authorities. And, you know, for now, we can't really know. But I'm sure as the time goes by, they'll talk more and we'll know more whenever they feel prepared to talk to us and share.

And we just hope it was, you know, bearable at some level. But obviously, you know, I can only imagine what they've been through. BASH: Yes, absolutely. And we should say that your grandparents were the founders of kibbutz Be'eri back in 1947. And also, as I mentioned, three members of your family, Avshalom, Eviatar and Lilach were all murdered. So may their memory be a blessing.

Thank you for sharing your story, and we're happy to hear that six of your family members are back home. Thank you, Shira.

HAVRON: Thank you so much. We need to keep this on the agenda, even though, you know, we have releases now. We need more. Thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

And here in the United States, a suspect was arrested in connection to the shooting of three Palestinian college students in Burlington, Vermont. The investigation into whether this could be a hate crime is ongoing.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is live in Burlington with the latest. Polo, you just heard from local law enforcement moments ago. What did they say?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. And I just stepped out of Burlington City Hall, Dana, where that press conference is ongoing right now. So here's what I can tell you. Here are some of the key takeaways thus far as that conferences continue. Those three young Palestinian American men who were shot here in Burlington on Saturday evening, they continue to recover, some more injured than others.

But also what we heard just a short while ago was a little bit more about the investigation that led to the arrest of a suspect just past midnight. And 48-year-old Jason Eaton who made his first court appearance earlier today entering a plea of not guilty to triple attempted murder. But the police chief here in Burlington also telling us more about what led investigators to their suspect.

It was a series of door knocks. Basically investigators going door to door in that community not far from where I'm standing. They eventually knocked on Mr. Eaton's door. And that is when, according to court records and according to what I just heard from the police chief say. He said, something to the effect of "I have been waiting for you".

The investigation then proceeded, they moved forward, they eventually detain him, eventually secure a search warrant that leads investigators into Mr. Eaton's apartment. And that is where they discover a 380 caliber pistol.


Now, interesting detail that we just learned right now, according to ATF ballistics just back, the police chief saying that they have been able to connect that pistol that was seized from inside of the suspect's apartment to the casings that were found on that sidewalk where those three young Palestinian-American men were shot.

Now, the big question that still lingers here, that remains unanswered even today is a motive. Authorities saying that they are cautioning the public not to jump to any conclusions. They are certainly looking into the possibility that it was a hate crime, but at this point in time, as of this moment, they are not prepared to officially classify it as such. But federal authorities are certainly standing by waiting to intervene if it does reach that point.

BASH: Yes, a very important unanswered question. And no matter what, it's very good news that the three young men who were shot are still recovering in the hospital.

Thank you so much for that, Polo. Appreciate it.

And up next, again here in Washington, we are -- and in the United States generally, it is seven weeks to go until the Republican primary campaign is officially underway, and that will be in Iowa. The battle between Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley is only getting hotter.

We have some new details after a short break.



BASH: Welcome back to Inside Politics. We are seven weeks away from the Republican Iowa caucuses, which means voters will finally have their chance to weigh in on who will be the GOP presidential nominee.

Joining me here to discuss is CNN's Political Director David Chalian. David, open your giant political brain and let us know what the state of play is at this moment seven weeks out.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, we're about to enter a new phase of this campaign. Yes, Donald Trump is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination. But as you just noted, no voter has actually weighed in on that yet.

And so we are now entering a phase inside of 50 days for the Republican caucuses where one of these other candidates are now going to have to be on a proving ground that they are the alternative to Donald Trump, namely, that is a battle between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.

They are going to be in a whole new context with each other in these next weeks ahead, and that is both on the debate stage, on the ground in organizing, and of course, in tens of millions of dollars of advertising on the airway.

BASH: OK, so let's talk about the advertising because we have a breakdown of what Iowa voters are seeing. Never back down. That is the DeSantis PAC, 16 -- almost $16.5 million that they've spent so far in advertising. SFA fund, that's Nikki Haley's group, $13.5. And MAGA, of course, we don't need to tell you who that is, over or at least the outside group, almost $11 million. What does that tell you?

CHALIAN: And that is, as you note there, what has been spent.

BASH: So far.

CHALIAN: When we also look at the reservations from here on out, we see Nikki Haley's campaign, not her Super PAC now getting in the game in a way that they weren't. And you see that with the other campaigns as well.

Now it's time for the campaigns themselves to start not necessarily delivering their closing message. I think we're a few weeks away from that, but start owning their own framing of the narrative around these candidates.

To me, the two big dynamics down at a watch. Ron DeSantis has put all his chips on Iowa at this point. In fact, coming up this coming weekend, he's going to hit his 99th county, the full Grassley, if you will, touring the entire state.

He's put all his energy there. He needs to show an actual, if not outright win against Donald Trump, a clear success that boosts him out of Iowa to have staying power in this race. Nikki Haley's chosen a different strategy. She's playing in both Iowa and New Hampshire, trying to emerge from the first two contests as the last person standing against Trump to head into her native South Carolina and try to take him on there.

BASH: And the Wall Street Journal's headline kind of speaks to that last point you made, Nikki Haley's Challenge, Keep Anti-Trump GOP Vote, Add Some Trump Backers.

To me, this has been the most significant challenge of the Haley campaign. She has done really well with independent-minded Republican primary voters, with suburbanites, with some of, actually, the demographics that Republicans are so eager to do well with in a general election context.

But Donald Trump is still dominating with the hardcore Republicans and the like and his committed supporters. The question is, are there enough Republican primary voters, Dana swimming where Nikki Haley is fishing, or it seems perhaps not. And she does need to convert some people who are with Trump or with DeSantis and bring them over into the Haley fold.

BASH: Yes --

CHALIAN: That is a key challenge.

BASH: And it's an open question, particularly given how poll after poll, you come on the show and talk about how sticky Donald Trump's support is. It is.

CHALIAN: There's no doubt about it. It's one of the most identifying characteristics of Donald Trump and this era of the Donald Trump sort of owned Republican Party. But polls aside --

BASH: Yes.

CHALIAN: -- voters are going to actually get to weigh in here, which is going to, in and of itself, help alter the dynamic in the race.

BASH: No question. And Iowa is a very different electorate than New Hampshire, which we'll talk about --


BASH: -- a lot in the weeks to come. Thanks so much, David.

CHALIAN: Thank you.

BASH: Appreciate it.

And up next, we will remember Rosalynn Carter. The former First Lady's motorcade will make its final journey across southern Georgia, allowing her beloved Georgians to say goodbye.



BASH: New information just into CNN. President Jimmy Carter is expected to attend his wife Rosalynn Carter's memorial service tomorrow. That is according to his grandson.


Today, the former First Lady will be lying in repose in Atlanta for members of the public to pay their respects. People from across the state and across the country made their way to her hometown of Plains, Georgia, in the past week to celebrate her life and her legacy.

Earlier, a motorcade traveled through the city of Americas for wreath laying ceremony at Carter's alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, for a final goodbye. Carter died peacefully earlier this month at the age of 96.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are expected to attend a tribute service tomorrow. A private funeral service for family and friends is set to take place on Wednesday morning.

Thank you so much for joining Inside Politics today. CNN News Central starts after a quick break.