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Isa Soares Tonight
South Africa Formally Accuses Israel Of Committing Genocide In Gaza; Zelenskyy Continues His Surprise Tour Of The Baltics; Trump Makes Closing Argument On Final Day Of New York Fraud Trial; Russian Supreme Court Rejects Kremlin Critic Alexei Navalny's Claims; Trump Speaks At Civil Fraud Trial; Iowa Caucuses Set To Be Coldest On Record. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired January 11, 2024 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, South Africa formally accuses Israel of committing
genocide in Gaza as the landmark case in the International Court of Justice begins. The South African Justice Minister will be joining us this hour.
Then Ukraine's President Zelenskyy continues his surprise tour of the Baltic states today, meeting the Latvian president to shore up support.
I'll be speaking to the Latvian Foreign Minister shortly about his visit. Plus, we are set to hear from Donald Trump this hour. He has been attending
closing arguments in his New York civil fraud case.
We have all the details for you just ahead. But first this evening, chilling overwhelming, incontrovertible. That's how a South African lawyer
describes the evidence against Israel as it stands accused of genocide at The Hague. A historic hearing began today, three months after Israel went
to war to destroy Hamas, leaving much of Gaza an inhabitable wasteland.
The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 23,000 Palestinians have been killed and counting, many of them women and children. South
Africa is asking the International Court of Justice to immediately stop the war. It's accusing Israel not just of committing genocide against the
Palestinian people, but also creating conditions of life that are quote, "calculated to destroy them as a group".
It says this intent has been nurtured at the highest level of the Israeli state. Israel will officially respond in court on Friday, but it's already
fiercely condemning the hearings as one of the greatest show of hypocrisy, their words in history. Well, South Africa's legal team says publicly-
available evidence supports their case, noting that the world has watched in real-time as the horrors unfolded. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLINNE NI GHRALAIGH, ADVISER TO SOUTH AFRICAN LEGAL TEAM: Despite the horror of the genocide against the Palestinian people, being live-streamed
from Gaza to our mobile phones, computers and television screens. The first genocide in history where its victims are broadcasting their own
destruction in real-time.
In the desperate so far vain hope that the world might do something. Gaza represents nothing short of a moral failure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: This is the first time Israel has been tried under the U.N.'s Genocide Convention. It was drawn up after the atrocities committed against
the Jewish people during World War II in an effort to prevent a genocide like the holocaust from ever happening again. Our Melissa Bell has more
from The Hague for you.
CROWD: Free Palestine!
MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Passionate protests on the streets outside of court --
CROWD: Free Palestine!
BELL: As inside, South Africa laid out the details of their case.
RONALD LAMOLA, JUSTICE MINISTER, SOUTH AFRICA: Even an attack involving atrocity crimes can provide any justification for or defense to breaches to
BELL: Israel has denied all accusations, calling the case, a quote, "blood libel". South Africa is accusing Israel of breaching the 1948 genocide
convention through its military response to the Hamas attack, which it says has killed more than 23,000 people.
ADILA HASSIM, SENIOR COUNSEL, SOUTH AFRICA: At least, 200 times, it has deployed 2,000 pound bombs in southern areas of Palestine designated as
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Israeli soldiers --
BELL: But South Africa is also accusing Israeli leaders of making no distinction between Hamas and the civilians of Gaza.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The genocidal intent behind these statements is not ambiguous to the Israeli soldiers on the ground. Indeed, it is directing
their actions and objectives. These are the soldiers refuting the inciting words of their prime minister.
BELL: The moment welcomed by international groups in support of the Palestinian people, with many noting the importance of Israel's presence to
-- there to defend its response to the Hamas attacks on October 7th that killed at least 1,200 people.
BALKEES JARRAH, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: The fact that they're here, that they're represented, and that they are presenting their
formal response to South Africa's case is significant and suggests that they attach legitimacy to the court.
BELL (on camera): Israel will be making its case here on Friday, but just after the South African delegation had finished, a spokesman for Israel's
Foreign Ministry dismissed their claims as groundless and false, accusing them of being the representatives of Hamas in court.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An effective realization --
BELL (voice-over): But South Africa's goal, a call for the world court to order Israel to stop the war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The consequences of not indicating clear and particularized specific provisional measures, would we fear the very grave
indeed, for the Palestinians in Gaza who remain at real risk of further genocidal acts.
SOARES: And Melissa Bell joins us now live with more. She is in The Hague outside the court as you can see there, along with South Africa's Justice
Minister -- you just heard in her report, Ronald Lamola. And Melissa, first of all, what we heard there in that report, there was some very compelling
as well as chilling arguments from South Africa. Just explain to our viewers first of all, why South Africa decided to take this up?
BELL: Well, I think there is this old historical tie between the ANC and the Palestinian cause. And that has been at the heart of why this case has
been brought, but it was Isa, to hear forensically laid-out the very details based upon the pronouncements of U.N. rapporteurs, a very U.N. --
senior U.N. officials, U.N agencies that have been on the ground of exactly what's gone on.
That was perhaps most chilling as you say at the pleasure of being joined tonight by South Africa's Justice Minister. We are delighted to have you
with us, Ronald Lamola. Tell us first of all how you felt, today's proceedings went.
LAMOLA: Now, I think we have presented a compelling case before the court with evidence, with the jurisprudence, and that has been backed here by
international law, including U.N. Conventions, resolutions, and also other committees of the U.N special rapporteurs as you've already said. So our
case was not just rhetoric, but it was factual, it was informed by the evidence.
And I believe that we have given the court enough to be able to reach a decision in terms of the provisional injunction that we were requesting.
BELL: And that provisional injunction for some of our viewers who may not have followed the proceedings so far or understood the details, what's
going on. What you're asking for is a pause in this war. Do you believe that Israel would listen, should that ruling go your way?
LAMOLA: Yes, we believe so, because as you have seen since we filed the papers, there has been a change of tact even by the Israel government,
where their own attorney general has already issued some instructions to the defense, and then those that are on the site to say actions and certain
words may constitute genocide, the mass deceased.
Which has never happened before we filed the papers. Even the Secretary of State, Blinken, his visit, his tone was different to the one which he had
prior to us filing the purpose. We chose that already the work that we're doing has been impactful. So we believe that the court outcome will be more
authoritative, will further influence the direction to desist, for a ceasefire and a permanent solution.
Peace for the state of Palestine and Israel to co-exist, which we believe is in line with the U.N. Resolution for a two-state solution can definitely
have an opportunity in terms of discussions and engagements by members of the global society.
BELL: Now going into these hearings, Minister, we heard Israel dismiss South Africa's case, saying it is "blood libel", dismissing what we heard
in court today as false and baseless. How do you respond?
LAMOLA: You know, as I've said, we have already presented a factual case backed by international law. And the judges will definitely have to
consider this well presented evidence, and then the blood libel is, it has got no merits, it is unfounded. And in South Africa, ourselves as this
government of the Republic of South Africa is a secular state. We live side-by-side with the Jews. We love them. They run businesses in our
They go to church freely with no problems, so it's a country or a peace- loving society, and you can ask South African Jews -- and even in the -- in the court, who were very clear that the case is not about Jews as a people,
it's about the actions of the state of Israel that is committing genocide in line with the genocide convention. And that is what must be stopped.
BELL: Regardless of the ruling, and of course, we'll have to wait no doubt, a few days, maybe a week or so until we get that preliminary ruling
on the provisional measures on the urgency with which you're asking that this war be paused. On the substance of the case though, how important,
even before the international jurisprudence is established, was it to get the facts out there as you did today for three hours in front of the
world's court in front of public opinion.
LAMOLA: Yes, it was important for us to present this compelling evidence so that Jews during Easter(ph), across the world, NGOs, civil society, and
every state across the globe, they must lend their voice in stopping the unfolding genocide so that the world does not live to regret like it
happened in Rwanda 30 years above.
We are saying, this is an opportunity for us to prevent genocide from happening, because in line with the genocide convention, they stayed passed
this to the Genocide Convention do not only have a duty to just participate, they also have a duty to stop genocide from happening.
And this is what South Africa is doing, and this is what we're calling all countries of the world, all peace-loving people in the world to stop it,
particularly for the sake of young children, women in that area, for them to be able to go back to school.
Just three months, the children of Gaza are not going to school. The world can't allow to display such an emerging generation, a young population. So
it is in our hands to protect the future of humanity
BELL: Ronald Lamola, thank you very much indeed. As you heard there, Isa, it is about the facts of the case, but South Africa is pointing this, is in
front of this court, and with all of the wait that the 1948 Genocide Convention carries, reminding parties of their obligations under it.
Tomorrow, as we mentioned a moment ago, we will hear the Israeli Defense, we've heard already from the Israeli president that we expect that to be a
defense about its self-defense in the case of Hamas, three hours, the Israeli lawyers will have to state their case.
And then within the next few days, we should get an idea of how this court feels about those very important preliminary measures. The action that
South Africa is requiring a verdict that would call on Israel to cease its hostage, is why the more substantive case of whether or not these genocidal
acts that have been committed can be considered. Isa.
SOARES: Our thanks to Melissa and to Justice Minister as well from South Africa there. Thanks very much, Melissa. We'll touch base with you tomorrow
to hear from the Israeli side. Meantime, U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken says the conflict in the Middle East is not escalating, but he
acknowledges that there are what he called lots of danger points.
Blinken wrapped up his five-day tour of the region by meeting with Egyptian President El-Sisi. He applauded Israel's decision to allow a United Nations
team north of Gaza to assess the situation and see what has to be done in order for Gazans to begin moving back to their homes.
Blinken also says the Palestinian Authority agreed to what he describes meaningful reform. Well, the leader of the Houthi rebels is vowing that any
aggression from the United States in the Red Sea will not go unanswered. He accused the U.S. and U.K. of trying to involve other countries in the
fighting against Yemen.
And says the recent response from the U.S. Navy is proof that Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea are making an impact. Meantime, Iran says
it has ceased a whole tank in the Gulf of Oman that was the focus of a dispute with the United States.
Iranian officials are calling the seizure lawful, the vessel was captured - - actually captured by the U.S. last year after claims that Iran had violated American sanctions by selling oil. Our Nada Bashir joins me now
from Beirut with more on both those strands. And Nada, first on the Houthis, I mean, the question that I suspect the diplomats will be asking -
- not just the question, but also calculation here is what to do with the Houthis because they're becoming more brazen as we just outlined.
And deterrence clearly isn't working. Just talk us through the options and what we've been hearing this week.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, look, Isa, we have been hearing now vocal condemnation from the United States and its international allies, of
course, on this. We heard from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that there will be consequences if further attacks aren't carried
out by the Houthis along that Red Sea shipping region.
Of course, today we heard from the U.N. Security Council again, calling for cessation to the violence on the Red Sea, calling for an end to those
attacks. And crucially, calling on the Houthis to release a vessel which it seized back in November. There's a Japanese-operated vessels said to have
ties with an Israeli businessman.
And of course, they have called crucially for the release of 25 crew members on board. Now, today, we have heard from a senior member of the
Houthi rebels, calling the U.N. Security Council decision as something that is playing politics, in his words, again from the Houthis, condemning
attacks on Gaza, characterizing their attacks along the Red Sea, as in his words illegitimate act of defense against Israel's attacks on Gaza.
Of course, we have also heard from the leader of the Houthis, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, he issued a warning to the United States, that any attacks by
the U.S. on Yemen would trigger a response. They would not go unpunished, and that those attacks would be far more significant and severe than
previous attacks we have seen.
Of course, on Tuesday, the U.S. confirmed that its Navy had shot down 21 Houthi missiles and drones fired from Yemen. Again, we've heard those
warnings reiterated from the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken saying that if there are any further attacks that could trigger a military
response, not just from the United States, but from the U.S. and its western allies.
SOARES: Tensions as you've outlined, clearly, very high and high-stakes too. And today, as we mentioned earlier, Iran said it's seizing oil tank in
the Gulf of Oman. Just what more do we know about this? How should we interpret Iran's actions here, Nada?
BASHIR: Well, we're also getting more details around the circumstances around the seizure of this vessel in the Gulf of Oman. As we understand it,
it was then ward-off towards Iranian territorial waters. We have just in the last couple of hours heard from the U.S. State Department, I'll just
read you a bit from their statement earlier today, saying that such attacks will add further uncertainties to global supply chains, to global
economies, potentially even making it more burdensome to families around the world.
Now, of course, according to Iranian media, that vessel was seized off the Gulf of Oman and then taken to Iranian territorial waters as an act of
retaliation after that very same vessel was seized and confiscated last year by the United States while carrying Iranian oil. Now, according to the
U.S. Department of Justice, a court found that it had been transporting and selling Iranian oil.
Of course, in contravention to sanctions on Iran to a customer abroad, and other time, having carrying almost 1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil.
Now of course, that would be in contravention of those sanctions today. Iranian media saying that an order had been sent down by an Iranian court
for the seizure of this vessel. But of course, there is concern around these circumstances of the situation that crew members on board are facing.
U.K. Maritime Authority say that the vessel off the coast of -- Gulf of Oman was boarded by at least four armed individuals, setup and wearing
black military-like uniform with their -- with their faces at covers. A significant concern there, but we are of course, still getting more details
around the current situation this vessel now faces.
SOARES: Our Nada Bashir for us this hour in Beirut in Lebanon. Thanks very much, Nada, good to see you. And still to come tonight, as Ukrainian
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits Latvia on his tour of the Baltic region. I'll be speaking with the country's Foreign Minister Krisjanis
Karins. That is next.
Plus, former U.S. President Donald Trump takes the campaign trail into the courtroom. The latest in his civil fraud trial in New York next, those
stories after this break.
SOARES: Welcome back. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in the Baltic region this week, having made an unannounced visit to Lithuania
yesterday to discuss the war as well as Ukraine's integration into the EU and NATO. He has been in Latvia today speaking with the country's
president, as you can see there about not giving Russia the opportunity to ramp up its military production as the war continues. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): To not allow the conflict to freeze, to not give Russia the opportunity to prepare for a
powerful counter-attack in a year, in two, in three, in five, to not let them do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, the Baltic states are some of Kyiv's strongest supporters, providing Ukraine with military aid, even in the run-up to Russia's
invasion in 2022. Joining me now from the Latvian capital, Riga, is the country's Foreign Minister, Krisjanis Karins. Foreign Minister, welcome
back to the show.
Let's talk about this visit from President Zelenskyy and the tour also of the Baltic states as we mentioned, speaks perhaps -- and correct me if I'm
wrong to the urgency of this moment. How do you assess the juncture that we're at?
KRISJANIS KARINS, FOREIGN MINISTER, LATVIA: Well, we're at a very clear if not difficult juncture, that we have to realize collectively in the West
that we have to help Ukraine stop Russia. It's very clear that Russia will not stop by itself, it can only be stopped, and it must be stopped, and it
is in our collective power to do this.
Remember that if we take all of NATO combined, our combined economic potential, military potential is around 20 times that, which is Russia. So
there's no question. Do we have the ability? The question is, do we have the steel nerve to stay the course? Because those who speak of negotiation,
remember, Ukraine starting to negotiate after 2014, after Russia illegally occupied Crimea and started the war in Donbas.
Those negotiations lasted for about eight years with results two years ago, they started a full-out war. So Russia is not interested in negotiation.
They view negotiation as simply a time to build up their own military resources. Let's not repeat in a sense the mistake of 2014, thinking that
only negotiation will help.
We have to help Ukraine actually stop the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and to make sure that the Russian military leaves that country.
SOARES: How do you stop Russia, I saw your comments on the FT. You said Russia will not stop. Russia can only be stopped. How do you do that? What
is the strategy?
KARINS: Well, the strategy is to make sure that we arm Ukraine, and that we provide Ukraine with the needed funds to do the -- to do the task. It's
very clear that the Ukrainian people, the military, they have the will, they have the stamina and the determination to do the job. They simply need
the right tools.
They need especially now as we see the war is starting to change, it's becoming a war also of technologies --
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: They need the advanced technologies to overcome the Russian aggressor in this case.
SOARES: We have seen lots of promises from the West. We have also seen Foreign Minister, some wobbles from some of Ukraine's allies. I'm thinking
here of the United States, who, as you well know, is dithering over the question of funding.
In some ways, you could say that Ukraine has become a subject for political horse trading.
Does the West you think, acknowledge the gravity of this moment? Does it acknowledge the decision it faces. You were talking about nerves of steel.
Is Euro -- is the West losing that?
KARINS: I don't think we're losing it. I think what we're starting to see is that no politics and democracies is politics in Europe right now. We're
in the process of deciding on how we are going to make sure that Ukraine gets the 50 billion they need over the next four years.
And we see the similar discussion happening in the U.S. Congress. That's the nature of democracy, and it's very different than Russia. There's
autocracy, there's one decision-maker. He wakes up in the morning, he says, let's do this. Everyone does this. In democracies, we need to come together
to date. We have been able to come together and to provide the support Ukraine needs.
We simply have to persevere, make the decisions and move on. And we have to take away the illusion that if somehow, stopped helping Ukraine, the war
would simply go away. The war would not go away. Not having stopped Russia in Ukraine would mean an even greater problem for all of us in the West,
because Russian aggression will continue.
We don't know where it will continue, but --
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: Guaranteed that it would continue. And it would cost us even more in the future.
SOARES: Do you believe then on the U.S. and the funding, do you believe that U.S. will come through? And what happens if it doesn't. Do you believe
the EU can fill that hole, Foreign Minister?
KARINS: I think that both in the EU and in the U.S., the funding will come through. In the EU, it's rather clear what the negotiating parameter is.
The will is there, the money is there. Just some decisions have to be taken and we're planning on doing this at the very first of February.
Within the U.S., the discussion is a little different. It has to do with domestic policy and domestic politics. But I am actually quite certain that
the bipartisan support for Ukraine truly is there. And that U.S. politicians will come through with a decision.
SOARES: And your country -- and yes, I'm just going to ask my producer to bring a map up, I just saw -- our viewers can see really where Latvia sits
in all of this. Your country and other Baltic nations as well as Finland, are really on the frontline, and as we look at this map between NATO and
the EU on one side, and on the other side, of course, Russia.
Talk us through what measures you're putting in place. I mean, if you're saying that, as you told me earlier, that Putin -- what Russia will not be
stopped, he needs to be stopped, right? What -- how confident are you about this newly over-confident Putin and what -- and what his strategy is?
KARINS: Well, in terms of what we are doing, we have provided about 1 percent of our GDP support to Ukraine, and we will continue in terms of our
own defense where 2.4 percent of spending on defense were acquiring new weapon systems. We've reintroduced the draft, we're beefing up our own
forces and our NATO partners who are present in Latvia are doing likewise in kind. So on the NATO side, we're certainly beefing up our own defenses.
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: From the Latvian side -- own, but also aiding Ukraine
SOARES: And finally, before you go, Foreign Minister, you have thrown your hat in the ring, I think -- and correct me if I'm wrong to become NATO's
next Secretary-General. Mr. Stoltenberg, who I spoke to on the show yesterday, he is stepping down, I believe in October. You said recently
that the job should go to someone from a country that walks the talk on defense spending. Just explain.
KARINS: Well, it's actually quite simple. In order for NATO to live up to its own commitments, we have to make sure that all of us invest into our
individual defense, thereby having enough money for the collective defense. We have set a floor of 2 percent, not all members are doing that.
The next Secretary-General will have to convince those who are not yet spending to make those investments. And if the Secretary-General comes from
a country which is spending at or above, it's a very easy argument. I did it, so can you. And if the Secretary-General comes from a country which is
not spending on defense --
SOARES: Yes --
KARINS: It's very difficult to imagine how that person could help convince those that are not yet doing this to do that. And I think it's really quite
SOARES: And by that, you're putting your -- you're saying that you're the man for the job, we wish you the very best of luck. Foreign Minister, thank
you very much.
KARINS: Thank you, bye --
SOARES: Now, Russia's Supreme Court has dismissed both of Alexei Navalny's claims against the Justice Ministry. In a video-linked court hearing, the
jailed Kremlin critic argued for the right to longer meal times. He says he's subject to a ten-minute limit on eating food. He also demanded access
to more religious books. Navalny says he's restricted to only one piece of religious literature in his cell.
Earlier, he described the harsh Arctic conditions in the Siberian Penal Colony, where he's currently detained. Have a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXEI NAVALNY, RUSSIAN OPPOSITION LEADER (through translator): The punishment cell is often a very cold place.
Do you know why people choose the newspaper there to cover themselves?
Because with a newspaper, I can tell you, judges, it is a much warmer place to sleep, for example, than without one. And so you need a newspaper so as
to not freeze.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: And still to come tonight, Donald Trump returned to a New York courtroom today. Why that didn't really take him off the campaign trail.
We'll explain next.
SOARES: Breaking news, we're going to take you to New York. We're expected to hear right there from Donald Trump, who, of course, attended his civil
fraud trial earlier today. We'll be listening in to the former president Trump.
Of course, he -- four days to go before the Iowa caucuses. Important context here. He left the campaign trail, choosing to instead go to his
appearance at a full trial. Brynn Gingras joins now in New York.
And Brynn, we are seeing the live images right now. We are expected to hear from him before -- of course, I will interrupt before he starts talking but
just give us a sense of what we heard today from Donald Trump at this hearing.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Donald Trump actually got a moment. The judge allowed him three to four minutes to speak after his lead defense
attorney finished his closing arguments.
And during that time, Trump kind of reiterated some of the points his attorney basically said in his arguments, saying that the facts are the
financial statements, which are at the heart of this case, are perfect.
There are no witnesses against us. The banks got all their money paid back. There were great loans and calling this, this was a political witch hunt.
That is something that the judge then sort of jumped in and basically reiterated that he's not going to allow Trump to make this sort of a
So all we did hear from him, we actually heard from Trump several times because he would come outside the courtroom and kind of reiterate the same
point. You have to remember that this case really speaks to the livelihood of --
SOARES: Brynn --
GINGRAS: -- his family's --
SOARES: -- I'm going to interrupt. Apologies for interrupting. We'll listen to the former president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The judge is obviously extremely friendly with the group, and we'll see what happens, I think he -- maybe he
will surprise people on a surprise positive side. We'll have to see what happens exactly. But we've proven this case so conclusively. We've asked for directed verdict many
They don't have any facts. They don't have any evidence against us. Millions and millions of pages, years of litigation, and all politically
motivated. She campaigned on, I will get Trump, if you've ever seen any of the -- seen any of her clips, the horrible clips, actually, the anger.
She's got serious Trump derangement syndrome. There's no question about Letitia James, the corrupt Attorney General of New York.
So we've proven our case, there's not one witness against us other than one person who is a deranged. He's got a lot of problems. He's a man who's been
convicted of lying. He's a felon, convicted felon, and not a good person. But that's their only witness, and he's now crashed and burned. They have
And by the way, that witness took back everything that he said. He took back everything he said in court, took it all back. So they have no case.
It's a shame that a thing like this is able to happen.
Businesses leave New York. She went after Exxon, and they decided to move to Texas. And hundreds of millions of dollars they pay in taxes. I paid
over $300 million of taxes over the last number of years, $300 million, and they don't recognize that. They don't recognize anything. So not think of
it. Not one witness, millions of pages of document, years of this nonsense, and now it goes on. And one other factor, we won this case already in the
Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals voted in favor of us. But this judge has been very, very slow to accept that opinion because that's not the opinion that he
wants. But we won in the Court of Appeals. That's the boss of this judge who has to know that. And it was a conclusive victory, statute of
limitations, and other things. And that case has already been won. So that's the story, and I thought we'd come down to 40 Wall Street, which is
a great building, and you'd get a chance to see one of the nicest buildings in New York and a convenient place.
And I don't have to pay any rent because we have it, and it's been a very successful building. But it's a shame to have to have gone through this for
years and years and years. And now we'll see if we're going to get an honest verdict, we didn't have a jury. We had no rights to a jury. It's a
statute that's never been used before for a purpose like this. I just watched a certain broadcast, and they said, you know, they've been looking,
has it ever been used before.
This is a statute that's a consumer fraud statute, never been used for anything like this before. And it's a shame. It's really a witch hunt in
the truest sense of the word. It's election interference. And it just came out. This is just -- right now, Letitia James visited Joe Biden in the
White House numerous times during the Trump witch hunt. And this just came out about 10 minutes ago. I got it. And so it's all a conspiracy to try and
get Biden who can't put two sentences together, trying to get him into office.
So I just want to let you know that, you know, we have our best poll numbers. We have the best everything, despite this, and maybe because of
this, because the people of the United States, all of those people back there, but the people of the United States really get it. They get it
better than anybody else.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, do you agree with your lawyers what they said on Tuesday, that you should not be prosecuted or could not be
prosecuted if you ordered SEAL Team Six to kill a political rival?
TRUMP: Well, you're talking about a totally different case. The immunity. I say this, on immunity, very simple. If a President of the United States
does not have immunity, he'll be totally ineffective because he won't be able to do anything because it will mean he'll be prosecuted, strongly
prosecuted, perhaps, as soon as he leaves office by his -- by the opposing party.
So a President of the United States, I'm not talking just me, I'm talking any President has to have immunity. As an example, Biden could come out and
you could get him on the border. You could get him on what happened in Afghanistan, the horrible, most embarrassing moment in the history of this
You could get him on a lot of different things. You could get him taking cash from countries. You could get him on the prosecutor, not prosecuting
his son or the company or whoever it was, Burisma, in Ukraine. You could get him on that, where he -- it was a quid pro quo, if you remember that.
If they don't drop the prosecutor, we're not giving them a billion dollars of U.S. funds. If you don't have immunity, you can, you know, I mean, you
won't be making any decisions. So you have to have it.
And I like it to the fact that police have to have their control back. They have to have respect. And you could always have a bad apple. You could
always have something happen happened, but at the same time you have to stop crime in this country. It's very much like that. It's very similar to
that. But you have to have immunity for a president. And I think most people are seeing that.
I've read a lot of legal reports lately and scholarly reports that are saying you really have to have a president of this country, has to have
immunity, or they're not going to be able to function in office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump, we're just days away from the Iowa caucuses. What percentage of your time these days is spent on your
campaign? What percentage is spent on your legal issues?
TRUMP: We'll see my legal issues, every one of them, every one, civil and the criminal ones are all set up by Joe Biden, crooked Joe Biden. This is
something that's never happened in this country. Even when you look at this, this is all about Biden and her meeting.
So even the civil ones, this is civil, they're set up by Biden. Every single, just about, case that I'm involved in, is set up by Biden. They're
doing it for election interference. And in a way, I guess you'd consider it part of the campaign because if you really look at it, they are doing this.
It's never been done like this in this country. It's like we're a third- world country, a banana republic. But every one of the things that you write about are Biden indictments. And I don't know, you know, I just got a
We just had a poll. It just came out. And we're leading massively in Iowa. We're leading very big in New Hampshire. We're leading because the people
understand this stuff. These are all set up. Every time somebody sees me in court, remember, Joe Biden and his thugs that surround him did it. They're
trying to get a man in office that can't put two sentences together, and they're doing that. But so far, we seem to do very well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have the Iowa caucuses Monday, an event in New Hampshire Tuesday, are you going to be back for the E. Jean Carroll case on
TRUMP: Yeah. Well, that's another one, that's sponsored by Reid Hoffman and some Democrat operatives. I never saw this woman in my life other than they
have a picture with her and her husband, John Johnson, a nice guy who was a newscaster many years ago.
I remember him, and she said horrible things about him since. I mean, horrible, horrible things, called him bad names. I have no idea who this
woman is. I have absolutely no idea. The whole thing is ridiculous that this is even a case. This should never have happened.
But again, this is sponsored by the Democrats. It's another case, all sponsored by, it's a demeaning kind of a thing, and that's what they want
to do. It's called election interference. And yeah, I'm going to go to it, and I'm going to explain. I don't know who the hell she is. I have no idea.
They called me up years ago, and they said, do you know about this woman 25 or 30 years ago?
She doesn't even know the date, the time, the month, the season. She has no idea. And if you read it -- if you watch, take a look at the Anderson
Cooper interview of her. And if you take a look at that, Trump is so innocent, but we have been given a very unfair trial there too. I don't get
very fair trials in New York.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you made decision about whether you're going to show up for the federal trials? You've showed up here in New York for your
civil fraud trial. You just said you're going to show up for the E. Jean Carroll case. Are you planning to show up in court --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- when they begin, whenever they begin.
TRUMP: Sure, sure
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In that documents case and the January 6th case?
TRUMP: I would do that. Well, the documents case, I just hear where they want to try and exonerate Biden, and he didn't have the Presidential
Records Act, and I do. What I did, nothing wrong. What he did, a lot of people say, substantially wrong.
You can't have two tiers of justice in this country. But no, I want to go to all of my trials. These are all, again, these are all set up by Biden
and the Democrats. This is their -- this is their new form of cheating. This is like last time, this is their new form of cheating. So far, I think
it's gone very much against them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh, yes. During the hearing, you said that Exxon left New York and because of the New York Attorney General's case, but she
actually -- Exxon actually left in 1989.
TRUMP: No, they took the rest of their divisions out. They left earlier. They were treated very badly in New York. You could have had them in New
York. They could have been paying a lot of money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it wasn't Letitia James?
TRUMP: No, I think -- if you take a look, you read the case, study the case, you'll see that they took big divisions out after that. They
originally left and then they took the rest out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said you're going to -- you could get President Biden on various issues, you outline?
TRUMP: I didn't say I could get him on anything. I said he is using the weaponization of the DOJ and the FBI to go after his political opponent,
and you just can't do that.
Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Former president Trump there, making some remarks at the end of his civil fraud trial, remarks that sounded a bit like, correct me if you
disagree with me on social media, a campaign. Stop.
He said, we have proven this case. So conclusively, his words, there are no facts. They don't have any facts, they don't have any evidence.
They're all politically motivated, which is something that we've heard time and time again from him.
Then he had a ton of accusations against the attorney general. I will not go through them with you.
He said, we'll see if we're going to get an honest verdict. But he said something that we -- that he said throughout, saying that this is a witch
hunt. There's election interference and it's a conspiracy, he says, to get Biden into office.
He then went on to say, you know, that he has the best poll numbers despite all because of this, the people of the United States get it. Brynn Gingras
was listening to that with me.
And Brynn, I mean, it was supposed to be remarks following him from the civil fraud trial but it did sound like a campaign stop.
GINGRAS: It certainly did. And Isa, it's sort of what he's done many times before. He's been to this trial as it lasted for 2.5 months, 10 times
total. And each time he would take numerous opportunities to go in front of the camera and reiterate some of those same points that you just heard
Talking about how this is politically motivated, how this is a witch front against him, how this is a way to get him -- interference for him getting
back into the White House. So it's not surprising that he did use this moment to make those claims again, even getting a moment inside the
courtroom to do similar things within less time.
But yes, it is a campaign stop for him. It's certainly trying to take some of the oxygen out of the room from the actual debate last night with his
opponents. And then also heading into the Iowa caucuses.
So certainly that is his intention and it, really quite honestly, has always been, using these moments at big trials where he is a defendant to
make campaign stops and to continue trying to drum up more money and drum up more polling numbers.
SOARES: And draw up more support. And, of course, important to point out, we are four days from the Iowa caucuses, a context, of course, is
Brynn, as always, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
We're going to take a short break. We're back after this.
SOARES: The Iowa caucuses, as you heard me say just before the break, are four days away and the U.S. presidential candidates are not pulling any
punches. Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis came out swinging at last night's Republican debate, hosted by CNN. Here's a look at.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. GOV. NIKKI HALEY (R-SC), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He spent more money on private planes than he has on commercials, trying to get Iowans to
vote for him.
If you can't manage a campaign, how are you going to manage a country?
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do not trust Nikki Haley with illegal immigration. That's like having the fox guard the
HALEY: He can call me whatever name and be demeaning as much as he wants. It doesn't change the fact that Ron is lying because Ron's losing.
DESANTIS: Leadership is about getting things done, stop making excuses. (INAUDIBLE).
HALEY: If leadership is about getting things done, how did you blow through $150 million in your campaign and you were down in the polls?
DESANTIS: We don't need another mealy-mouthed politician who just tells you what she thinks you want to hear, just to try to get your vote, then to
get in office and to do her donors' bidding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, both candidates agreed Republican front-runner Donald Trump should have been onstage. The former U.S. president skipped the debate. But
stayed in Iowa by taking part in a FOX News town hall.
While the race for the White House heats up on Monday, amid a bitter cold week, by the way, in Iowa, I think my producers telling me expected to be -
18 Celsius in Iowa next week.
Radio host Jeff Stein joining us now from the Hawkeye State.
Jeff, welcome to the show. We just heard there. We played for our viewers a little short clip from the Republican candidate. There is a lot of
bickering. And this is the sort of thing I'm used to hearing at home with my two young kids.
What did you make of it?
JEFF STEIN, RADIO HOST: Well, I had predicted, first of all, that the moderators would seem like parents trying to referee a dispute between
quarrelsome teenagers. But apparently it would work for young children as well.
They both know how important it is to finish second in Iowa. If Nikki Haley finishes second in Iowa, she is already second if you believe the polls in
New Hampshire, her home state of South Carolina comes after that. It really sets her up very nicely.
If Ron DeSantis does not finish second in Iowa, I have to ask his people, what's the path?
How do you turn this around when you have put everything you have into Iowa, if you don't finish second and actually a strong second to Trump?
SOARES: Who has then, of those two, has a better chance of winning in Iowa?
Just tell me what you've been hearing from your listeners.
STEIN: The establishment Republicans and the evangelical leadership has solidly gone for DeSantis. But it has not had the reaction in the polls
that you might have expected.
In fact, after some of those folks started endorsing him last fall, he actually went down in the polls. Haley had been on the uptick. But she had
a pretty dreadful week in terms of making various verbal mistakes and even telling the folks in New Hampshire that it was their job to correct the
vote in Iowa.
That's not a strong position for a closing statement. DeSantis probably has the stronger ground game in the state. But again, Haley was seen as the one
who might be more electable against Joe Biden. So right now they are neck and neck. They have been for the past four months. And it's all going to
depend on turnout, on a very cold Monday night.
SOARES: And how, on that, on the cold, expected to be bitterly cold, what is being done to make sure that people can turn out, that it's slightly
cozier and warmer for people to turn out?
We're looking at some pictures and, right now, just from Tuesday, it looks bitterly cold.
STEIN: Well, that was before the cold came. That was just a foot of snow. We're used to that here. We're supposed to get another 10 inches of snow
Yes, the -80 Celsius wind chill is not something we're used to. But frankly, Iowans are used to the weather occasionally being a bit cold. They
take this very seriously. I don't think it's going to affect turnout that much.
And frankly, don't think it favors one side or another if turnout is lower.
SOARES: And you've been a radio host for, what, some 40 years or so, Jeff. So this is not your first political rodeo. Just talk, just tell our
international viewers here.
What do people in Iowa, what do they want to see, what matters most to them?
It's the question the other side will always wonder.
STEIN: Well, you're right, this is the 12th caucus that I have covered. I started when I was quite young and it's made me quite old. But what Iowans
want is genuineness. They want honesty and they have a pretty good detector of such things, which is why it makes Iowa a great first stop.
Because they can ask tough questions; they'll ask a follow-up. They'll cut through the rhetoric and the talking point. And that's really what they're
looking for, is someone who is genuine about wanting to help the country.
SOARES: And what we, just, before we came to you, a bit late coming to you, of course, as you've seen, because we just heard from Donald Trump.
Trump, we saw today Trump, the defendant but also Trump the candidate.
As our viewers will know, Trump is facing what four criminal indictments spanning some 91 felony counsels.
So do your listeners or at least the ones you've spoken to, do they care about this?
Do they care about these charges against him?
STEIN: They care about them but they think that it is something that is put on, that other people are treated differently. Trump has done a
masterful job of grabbing the public relations spotlight on this and making himself the victim.
And every time a new allegation comes out, every time a new indictment is filed, not only does he rise in the polls, he draws in a tremendous amount
of fundraising revenue. It is contrary to anything that we normally see in American politics.
SOARES: Jeff Stein, so good to have your perspective and insight on this. Thank you very much, Jeff, do stay warm.
STEIN: Thank you.
SOARES: And thank you for your company. That does it for us this hour. Do stay right here. QUEST MEANS BUSINESS up next, I shall see you tomorrow.