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Isa Soares Tonight
SCOTUS Wades Into Trump Eligibility Case; Zelenskyy Sacks Top General; Volcano Erupts In Iceland; Deepening Concern For Rafah Amid Threatened Israel Assault; Brazil's Former President Bolsonaro Under Investigation In Probe Into Attempted Coup; Iceland Volcano Erupts For Third Time Since December. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired February 08, 2024 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ISA SOARES, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, can Donald Trump be barred from running
for office? America's top justices seemed skeptical. A breakdown of the historic arguments coming up.
A major shake-up, Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskyy removes his top General. We'll ask what it means for the battlefield. We are live in Ukraine this
hour. Also, the sky caught fire and the ground shook. An Icelandic volcanic eruption put on a dangerous display for a second time this year.
But first this hour. The direction of the 2024 U.S. presidential election is literally hanging in the balance today after the Supreme Court heard
arguments on whether Colorado can keep Donald Trump off the ballot. In the nearly two-hour hearing, there were signs the justice may side with the
former president in the case.
Most notably, when Chief Justice John Roberts questioned whether a handful of states should be allowed to decide the election. Well, attorneys for a
group of Colorado voters argued Trump should be removed from the state ballot on constitutional grounds following the January 6 insurrection.
The former president uncharacteristically stayed away from the proceedings, but had, well, this to say from Florida. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In watching the Supreme Court today, I thought it was very -- it was a very beautiful
process. I hope that democracy of this country will continue. Because right now, we have a very tough situation with all of the radical left ideas with
the weaponization of politics, they weaponize it like it's never been weaponized before. It's totally illegal, but they do it anyway.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, CNN's Marshall Cohen joins us now from Washington. Marshall, we couldn't see the justices. Of course, we could only hear them for those
two hours, but give us a sense of the arguments that were made and what really stood out.
MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Isa, you know, our colleague Joan Biskupic was in the courtroom, and she was watching the justice very
closely, and her conclusion was that we may be headed to a 9 to 0 unanimous decision in Trump's favor.
That is a possibility here, I'm not guaranteeing that that's going to happen. But the tone, the tenor of the questioning puts you looking in that
direction as opposed to possibly stripping Trump from the ballot. There was a lot of skepticism, Isa, this is a court that has not done Trump's bidding
in terms of the various cases that have come to them over the years, where he has had legal disputes. They have not just had a knee-jerk, pro Trump
reaction, even though six of the nine are conservative.
SOARES: Yes --
COHEN: But this seems to be a bridge too far, Isa. They had serious concerns and serious unease about the possibility that different states
with different rules and different procedures are going to try to enforce this very old vague provision of the 14th Amendment. It was passed after
the civil war, Isa, which was an attempt --
SOARES: Yes --
COHEN: By the Congress at the time to rein in the south, rein in the rebellious states that Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out, if the
Congress was trying to rein in these states who had just succeeded, why would they give them all this extraordinary power to disqualify individuals
from the ballot?
That was just one off-ramp. There are a lot of ways that they could dispose of this. I'll play you a quote -- a clip, Isa, from Elena Kagan. She is one
of the liberals on the bench. She also had some real reservations about how this could play out if they were to allow the Colorado decision to stand.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELENA KAGAN, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state
should decide who gets to be president of the United States. In other words, you know, this question of whether a former president is
disqualified for insurrection to be president again, is, you know, just say it, it sounds awfully national to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: So, look, let's just frame this properly. It is incredible. It is remarkable that we are even here.
There are a lot of people that thought this theory was a joke and would never get its day in court. But they won in Colorado, the Colorado Supreme
Court determined that Trump was an insurrectionist and that the insurrectionist ban applies to him. That's what's being reviewed today.
But for the federal justices who get to decide the law of the land for the entire country, it seems like it might be a bridge too far.
SOARES: Marshall Cohen, thanks for breaking it all down for us. Let's get another perspective here, legal perspective. Welcoming Ross Gerber;
political investigations lawyer, he's also defense attorney and a law professor at Tulane University. Ross, great, welcome to the show.
I wonder whether you agree there with what we heard from our correspondent, Marshall Cohen, that perhaps, given the tone or the tenor, what we heard
from the justices, it might be going to Trump's favor potentially, 9-0.
ROSS GERBER, POLITICAL INVESTIGATIONS LAWYER: Yes, Marshall's coverage of this has been great. He's been following it from the beginning, and I think
he's exactly right. It seemed like, you know, going into this argument, a lot of people expected the court or at least several of its members to be
looking for an off-ramp to not have to tackle this issue about whether former President Trump actually engaged in insurrection.
And that seemed to be where all of the justices were headed. They're looking for a way to decide this case without having to take a decision.
And interestingly, you know, the question of whether the former president engaged in insurrection, which is the standard here, really wasn't
addressed very much at all in today's arguments.
The focus was, as Marshall noted on whether, you know, every state, each state could decide this issue of who is eligible to be the president
themselves? Or whether the decision has to be made by a federal body, which, you know, and then presents that question of, you know, which body
SOARES: Yes, and it's interesting, you know, that you bring that up because -- and I just want to put this into perspective for our
international viewers because at the heart and we didn't bring -- we didn't mention this at the top, but at the heart of the argument here is of
course, section three of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, which shares -- want to bring it up so viewers can see, "no person shall hold any
office who shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."
So, this is, Ross, pretty ancient language, right? And what we heard today for two hours, I heard all of it was heavily legal. But Trump's lawyer,
Jonathan Mitchell said, we've never accepted this was an insurrection. He actually went on to call it a riot.
So, the justices, do they even need to be considering whether Trump engaged or aided an insurrection? Because they didn't -- they didn't go there.
GERBER: No, it was actually very interesting because both sides in a way were totally fine. And in some ways eager to have the court take on this
issue of whether the former president engaged in an insurrection. The court didn't seem to want to deal with that question. Insurrection --
SOARES: Why not?
GERBER: Well, because it's very politically fraught and it's very ambiguous, and also it involves facts. The Supreme Court of the United
States is not generally --
SOARES: Oh, it seems that we froze --
GERBER: That normally when a case gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, the question is about legal issues, not factual issues. And so the court just
didn't want to get into that issue. And also, you know, they care about the reputation of the Supreme Court. And so much of the public is so divided in
the United States on this question, the court just didn't want to touch that.
SOARES: So what happens next? I mean, when it comes to a ruling, does the breakdown here, Ross, does it matter at all, which -- you know, what
numbers -- how that breakdown goes.
GERBER: Well, it could matter for both the reputation of the Supreme Court, and I think the justices are aware of that, and for the perception
of this case generally in the public. And so, I think there's going to be an effort on the Supreme Court to make this a unanimous decision.
So, I wouldn't be surprised to see all the justices coming together and agreeing on this. And they focused very closely on this issue that Marshall
discussed, which is wait a minute, how can it be then, every state, state by state by state by state --
SOARES: Yes --
GERBER: Gets to decide who is eligible to be president of the United States. I think they're going to coalesce around that issue and decide that
no, it can't be state-by-state-by-state. And then the interesting question is going to be what they say after that.
Maybe I think they're going to say it's actually the Congress that gets to decide that, which may mean that we're back to this original question, if
Donald Trump is re-elected, it's going to be the Congress that gets to decide whether --
SOARES: Are you saying they're going to kick the can down the road? They're not going to -- they're not going to -- they don't want to be
making this decision here, passing the --
GERBER: I think --
SOARES: Buck to Congress?
GERBER: Yes, I think that's what's going to happen and it's not unusual for the Supreme Court to do that. They don't want to decide issues they
don't have to decide. So, I think what they may decide, what they may get to in this case is if Donald Trump is re-elected, then it's going to be up
to Congress to decide whether he's eligible or ineligible to hold office.
SOARES: And how soon, Ross, do you think this will take in this sort of decision?
GERBER: Yes, I think they're going to expedite this, and I think we're going to see a decision I think within the next month or so.
SOARES: But if you were in Trump's camp today, Ross, would you be rubbing your hands with glee?
GERBER: Look, I think it's hard for anybody to say that this wasn't a good day for --
SOARES: Yes --
GERBER: Trump in the campaign. I think we're going to see fundraising efforts by the former president --
SOARES: Yes --
GERBER: Based on today, the court was very favorable to his side.
SOARES: Ross Gerber, always great to get your insight. Thanks very much, Ross, appreciate it.
GERBER: Good to be with you.
SOARES: And still to come tonight, a major shake-up in Ukraine's military and what it may mean for the war going forward. We have a live report from
Kyiv, that's just ahead. Plus, Iraq is lashing out after U.S. strike in Baghdad kills an Iran-linked militia leader. We'll have details on that
next. Both of those stories after this short break, you are watching CNN.
SOARES: Well, nearly two years into the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired his top commander. The dismissal of General Valerii
Zaluzhnyi is the biggest military shake-up since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.
Recent tensions between the popular general and the president surfaced after comments Zaluzhnyi made about Kyiv's counter-offensive, calling the
situation on the battlefield the stalemate as well as the differences over mass mobilization.
Joining us now with more is our Fred Pleitgen who is live for us in Kyiv. And Fred, there has been mounting speculation, hasn't there, over
Zaluzhnyi's position for some time. I mean, he even wrote an opinion piece for cnn.com recently, speaking of the challenges holding his country back
But do we know at this stage, why he was let go?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think exactly for that. I think that the Ukrainians have realized that the way
things are going right now for them on the battlefield is simply not sustainable. They understand that at this point in time, Isa, they are
essentially in a slugfest with the Russians, and they simply don't have the manpower or the ammunition to keep that up.
And it was quite interesting because I was reading some of the comments that Volodymyr Zelenskyy made after he dismissed Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and he
said, look, they have to acknowledge that the counteroffensive has essentially failed, that on the ground, things aren't going well.
They also have to acknowledge that they are obviously short on ammunition. And if they need fresh thinking, new thinking to move forward -- now of
course for Zelenskyy, first and foremost, that means relying on drone technology, unmanned systems, he's just put together a plan for a special
command for unmanned systems, but that is now going to be headed by someone else. I want to listen into some of what Volodymyr Zelenskyy had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): I am grateful to General Zaluzhnyi for two years of defense. I'm grateful for
every victory that we achieved together. And thanks to all Ukrainian soldiers who were heroically and during this war. Today, we had a frank
discussion about what needs to be changed in the army. Urgent changes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: So urgent changes is what Volodymyr Zelenskyy is talking about, and the man that he has tapped now to be the new commander-in-chief is the
former commander of the land forces, Oleksandr Syrskyi; he is someone who is very well known here in Ukraine, was very instrumental in the offense of
Kyiv and pushing the Russians back from there.
Also at the end of 2022, making major gains against Russian forces in the northeast of the country in the Kharkiv region. However, recently, he's
still been the commander, especially in the eastern part of the frontline, the Ukrainians, of course, they remain bogged down, especially in the area
around Bakhmut, making very little advances.
In fact, the Russians making advances there. And again, the Ukrainians now saying that they are going to have to become a lot more agile than they
have been in the past couple of months to turn this thing around, Isa.
SOARES: And you know, I made a reference to Zaluzhnyi's op-ed that he wrote, opinion piece that he wrote for cnn.com, and I was just -- part of
what he wrote in that, he said "we remain" -- Fred, he said, "we remain hamstrung by the imperfections of the regularity of framework in our
country as well as the partial monopolization of the defense industry.
These lead to a production bottlenecks in ammunition, for instance, which further deepens Ukraine's dependence on its allies -- on its allies for
supplies." I know you've been speaking to a member of the German parliament about ammunition and the push, of course, to get more ammunition to
Ukraine. What did he have to say?
PLEITGEN: Yes, you're absolutely right, and you know, it's something also that we've seen here on the battlefield to pretty much every single place
that we've gone, that the Ukrainians have said two things. Manpower is a big issue, but the biggest issue right now is a lack of ammunition,
especially 155-millimeter artillery ammunition the Ukrainians say they badly need.
You're absolutely right. I did speak to a conservative member of parliament, you know, the -- or part of the Foreign Relations Committee of
Germany's parliament, Roderich Kiesewetter and here's what he had to say about what the partners of Ukraine need to do. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RODERICH KIESEWETTER, MEMBER OF GERMAN PARLIAMENT: First of all, there's misproportion that Ukraine has available about 2,000 shells a day, whereas
Russia is sending about 10 to 15,000 shells every day to the trenches, but also to the cities. So, they have to increase.
But this lack and this deficiency urges Ukraine to be very clear in the targeting. So, the production is lacking, and therefore, the European Union
has promised about 1 million shells until the end of this month, but the promise is only to be fulfilled by 40 percent.
So, this is a lack, not only of promise, but of reliability, and this shows Russia that the European Union is not able to fulfill its own promises. So,
we have to speed up the industry, the production, not only in Ukraine, but in the western countries.
PLEITGEN: What do you think Germany has to do, because Germany has big defense companies and money?
KIESEWETTER: Well, at least, two major decisions assigned to the United States for a fair burden-sharing, that Europe, led by Germany, is able to
do more. But second, and this is of utmost importance to change its way of procurement, not to have European tenders, but first of all, to start with
national production and not to wait for other advertised programs.
This is very important that Germany starts by its own. The German defense industry has promised, if they get the guarantees to produce 400,000 shells
this year and 700,000 every year beginning in '27. So, the production capability is there. We need the political will, and the money to fund it.
PLEITGEN: How concerned are you about Ukraine's ability to continue to defend itself if the U.S. does not make a decision to continue funding. Is
-- are the Europeans going to be able to step in?
KIESEWETTER: Unfortunately, this is a clear signal to the United States. Europe is not aware of what is going on with the United States. It is for
me as a parliamentarian, we are quite keen to learn more about this deadlock caused by some very famous and very well reputed politicians in
So, we are really concerned. The key is that we Europeans understand a signal of burden-sharing to the United States and a signal to Putin that
Trump cannot single-out Europe and cannot destroy Ukraine. Therefore, it is very important that we increase our own production rates, and that Europe
is also learning from Ukraine how they cope with deficiencies, they start a drone war.
They equip more than 300,000 drones, probably up to 1 million this year, and this is replacing artillery, but it is not replacing our support. So,
we need to step in as Europeans, but we have to make clear that Trans- Atlantic security builds on burden-sharing, and also that we need the United States as European power.
We cannot afford to lose the nuclear umbrella. We cannot afford to invest in a French nuclear umbrella. So, we need the Trans-Atlantic nuclear
reliability and Article 5 of NATO.
PLEITGEN: And finally, and I do have to ask about this. A lot of people are concerned about what's going on in the U.S., but some people are also
concerned about what's going on in Germany with far-right parties like the AFD becoming very strong, but also demonstrations you have against them as
How strong do you think German democracy is, and is it going to persevere?
KIESEWETTER: The right-wing parties are tools of Putin, and they try to destroy the cohesion -- for societal cohesion of our society. So, the
demonstrations against this right, extremist parties is also a demonstration of European sovereignty, citizenship and responsibility. So,
this is also a signal to the United States to avoid a second January of 2021.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PLEITGEN: Roderich Kiesewetter there who is actually a former colonel in the German military, he's from the CDU, and also their defense expert as
well, Isa, making very clear that he believes that the Europeans need to now step up production of artillery shells, but also of other arms as well
to arm themselves, but also of course, to aid Ukraine. Isa.
SOARES: Yes, and what we know and what we've heard on the show, you and I have discussed this, is that Europe is really behind when it comes to those
PLEITGEN: Yes --
SOARES: That were made last year. Fred Pleitgen for us there in Kyiv, as always, Fred, I really appreciate it. And still to come tonight, the latest
on the dire humanitarian situation in Rafah, from an aid worker on the ground, we'll go live to Gaza just ahead.
And the former President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro is under investigation. Details ahead on the extensive criminal probe.
SOARES: Welcome back everyone. Iraq is lashing out after American drone strike in Baghdad on Wednesday, saying that the U.S. mission there has
become a factor for instability. The strike targeted a senior -- and killed, I should say, a senior Commander of Kataib Hezbollah and an Iran-
backed militia who the U.S. says was responsible for recent attacks on its forces in the region.
It is part of an ongoing U.S. response, which has included retaliatory strikes against groups in Iraq and in Syria. I want to bring on Oren
Liebermann who joins us now from the Pentagon. And Oren, what more do we know at this stage about the strike and the commander who was killed, what
are you learning?
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was a drone strike carried out Wednesday night in Baghdad, right, essentially in the eastern
part of the city there, the target was Wieza Mohammed Sub-l Ossadi(ph) according to a source familiar with the operations of Kataib Hezbollah, he
was in charge of logistics for the organization, as well as a part of their drone and rocket operations.
U.S. holds him responsible for taking part in the attacks on U.S. forces in the region. There you can see the ID card on your screen here. This was
clearly a targeted attack, so unlike the broader strikes we saw in Iraq and Syria on Friday, this targeted one specific vehicle, U.S. Central Command
says according to initial assessments, there were no civilian casualties or collateral damage.
But Iraqi police say there was at least one more person in the vehicle. Part of the challenge here for the U.S. is the anger you're seeing from the
SOARES: Yes --
LIEBERMANN: Iraqi government who called this a new aggression from the U.S. government that undermines the understandings between Washington and
Baghdad. So, this could eventually make it difficult for the U.S. to operate. The U.S. also saying they did not give the Iraqi government an
early heads-up or advanced notification about this, but they insist, they did say there would be continued responses to that deadly drone strike that
killed three U.S. service members at the end of January.
SOARES: Oren Liebermann there for us at the Pentagon. Thanks very much, Oren. Well, the U.N. is sounding the alarm today, not just about -- not
just about the devastating loss of life in Gaza, but also the vast destruction of civilian infrastructure. U.N. Human Rights chief Volker Turk
said his office has recorded widespread destruction and demolition by Israeli forces of homes, schools and universities in areas where there is
not active fighting.
He also issued this warning. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLKER TURK, HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, UNITED NATIONS: The Israeli Defense Forces are reportedly destroying all buildings in the Gaza
Strip that are within a kilometer of the Israel-Gaza fence, clearing the area with the objective of creating a buffer zone. Destructions carried out
to create a buffer zone for general security purposes do not appear consistent with the narrow military operations exceptions that are set out
in international humanitarian law.
Extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity, and carried out unlawfully and wantonly amounts to a grave breach of the fourth
Geneva Convention and a war crime.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: Well, the U.S. says it has raised the issue of buffer zones with Israel, it says it opposes any reduction of Gaza's territory and will
continue to engage with Israel on this matter. Well, the U.S. is also ramping up warnings about Rafah, where more than half of Gaza's population
is now seeking refuge from the war against Hamas.
Many Palestinians in Rafah have been displaced again and again by Israeli ground operations as troops battle their way south. You can see there on
your map that the clearing operations -- Israel now threatening a full- scale assault on Rafah as it escalates deadly airstrikes. Witnesses say at least 14 people were killed today, including five children when several
residential buildings were hit.
Just moments ago, a top White House spokesman said Israel has a special obligation to protect innocent civilian life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR: Absent any full consideration of protecting civilians at that scale in Gaza -- military
operations right now would be a disaster for those people, and it's not something that we would support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SOARES: John Kirby there, strong words from him. What the Norwegian Refugee Council says, an offensive on Rafah could severely impede the flow of life-
saving humanitarian aid. If it doesn't shut it down entirely, we want to get to an aid worker on the ground in Rafah right now.
Yousef Hammash is an Advocacy Officer with the Norwegian Refugee Council. Yousef, we really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. As you
hear there, the Israeli military turning their assault to Rafah, that's already clearly very overcrowded, as we said. What are you -- what are you
-- what are you fearing right now?
YOUSEF HAMMASH, ADVOCACY OFFICER, NORWEGIAN REFUGEE COUNCIL: First of all, thanks for hosting me. And regarding the Israeli announcement that they
will expand their operation in Rafah, that's a huge concern for the families who came to Rafah seeking safety and to protect their families and
children. It's a chaos situation and chaos -- chaotic circumstances that people are going through currently while they are displaced in Rafah. And
that's another wave of horror into their mental, into their heads that they have to think again, where is -- what is the other options?
And unfortunately, for families who have been forced to flee from northern part of Gaza and Gaza city in the middle area and the waves of displacement
in Khan Younis, currently for people who have been displaced in Rafah, there is no other options.
We are trapped one side by the Egyptian border and the other side we have the Israeli tanks who are doing their ground operation in Khan Younis.
Unfortunately, there is no option for families who have been displaced in Rafah now.
SOARES: So absolutely no options anywhere, you can't really move anywhere. So just explain to our viewers what conditions you use it for live right
HAMMASH: Yeah, you have to understand that Rafah has a city, it's 55 square kilometers, currently is hosting more than 1,500,000 citizens who have been
forced to flee from different areas from Gaza Strip. Rafah has a city, doesn't have the capacity or the infrastructure or the public services to
serve all that amount of people.
We have the Egyptian border from aside, the Israeli military operation in the other side and people of Rafah are trapped in between trying to do
their daily challenges that daily life missions to provide food or water or the needs of their children, which is a bit impossible somehow even to --
to find water, sometimes it takes hours from you. And to find bread, it's another challenge that you have to do. Imagine the scale of needs that we
have here for the families. And if you're going case by case each family that the entire daily life is just to provide the needs.
Now, it's a role for the parents and people have the ability just to find a way to provide the needs of their families. So add to that the horror that
they are going through in the night because there is no big distance between Rafah and Khan Younis.
We clearly hear the clashes and the bombing in Khan Younis and we are thinking. What is next? That's -- that's a question in everyone's head
SOARES: What are you -- I mean, you, I know you have already been relocated, right? You've already left, you went to Rafah with your family,
your son, your little boy, I think, and your daughter. I mean, what are you going to do? What are you being advised? What are you advising others?
HAMMASH: At the beginning of this war, I had to flee from Jabalia, the northern part of Gaza, to Khan Younis, then from Khan Younis to Rafah, all
of that just to provide safety for my own children.
Now, unfortunately, I don't have options. Even I, similar to the situation for the more than a million and a half who displaced in Rafah. We don't
have options. We -- I fled several times just to find the sense of safety for my own family. Now, it's impossible to find it. We are thinking, what
are the solutions that we have? And unfortunately, we don't have any solutions ahead of front of us.
Either we go to allocate ourselves in a different area in the middle area, or I don't know if we had an option to go there, or we go just like the
others are thinking that we'll be pushed towards the Egyptian border. And I don't think that the Egyptians will welcome us that way. So unfortunately,
we lack -- we are lacking options and solutions.
SOARES: You mentioned finding water, for getting -- infrastructure is a problem, but even finding something like water is a problem. I want to show
our viewers a little photo. I think it was of your little boy, Ahmed. You posted it on social media.
You said, my son Ahmed after having yoghurt for the first time since 117 days of war. I mean, he's beyond cute, Ahmed, by the way. I mean he's
really cute, Yousef. So how do you explain this I wonder? You know, I'm a mother of two boys, too. How do you explain this to your kids?
HAMMASH: And first of all, we had -- we all -- we finished all of our justifications for our children to explain for them what is the
circumstances that we are going through, either from the continuous earthquake that we are having from the bombardment or the bombing itself or
the Navy shell because we are in the moose area, western of Rafah, near the sea.
It was -- to be honest, it was special to find something. And it was a rare moment when they allowed through Kerem Shalom as a commercial border to
allow for yogurt and milk to came into Gaza. And trust me, my children didn't know what is that yogurt. Somehow they forgot because we are in that
for a long time for them as a children. And again, we ran out of justifications for our children. My son Ahmed, who's two years and a half,
now understands the difference between a missile and a tank shell.
He understands that this isn't from the sea. He doesn't know what's the drones. And I don't think that's fair, for my young boy who's two years and
a half to understand that. I don't think that they deserve what they are going through now, unfortunately.
But unfortunately, as a father, I'm used to this in front of them. I don't have the ability to protect them. Now, we are somehow as parents in Gaza,
we became useless in front of our children and in front of our responsibilities to our families that we cannot fulfill it now, which is
the basic one of them, is to provide them with safety.
SOARES: Yousef, I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. We'll stay in contact as we monitor, of course, the real dire situation
happening right there in the Strip and in particular, seems like militarily in Rafah. I will stay in contact. I really appreciate you taking the time
to speak to us. Thank you.
HAMMASH: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you.
SOARES: Now, a series of attacks on Pakistan's election day and just ahead of, it has killed dozens of people and left many others injured. A military
statement says 51 terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan through the election season.
And that more than 130,000 personnel were deployed to provide security. Despite this, attacks on Wednesday and Thursday killed at least 33 people.
Vote counting is now underway. The party of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is favored to win the most seats.
The youngest candidate for the top job is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto. Some analysts have described
these elections as the least credible in the country's modern history.
And still to come tonight, the world just experienced the warmest January on record and we could reach dangerous heat levels for the rest of the
year. Details ahead on the Copernicus report.
And check out these fountains of molten rocks viewing from the earth. Right now, Iceland is dealing with yet another volcanic eruption. We'll have all
the details for you after this.
SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. In Brazil, we've learned that former President Jair Bolsonaro is under investigation as part of an extensive
criminal probe. It has to do with the post-election riots of January 2023, which police are calling an attempted coup.
Four people have been arrested, including reportedly two Bolsonaro aides. Bolsonaro himself has not been charged or arrested, but one of his aides
says he's being investigated and is surrendering his passport.
Police say they're targeting an organized group who plotted for months before the 2022 election to keep Bolsonaro in power. CNN Brasil's Americo
Martins is here with us to talk about the extensive criminal probe.
Americo, great to have you here. Let's talk about this kind of stark, I think, escalation in this investigation because it's all moving very
quickly. Tell us what they're looking into.
AMERICO MARTINS, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST FOR CNN BRASIL: It's a kind of political earthquake that's happening in Brazil,
and as you said, they are moving very quickly. Apparently, they have very good, strong evidence showing that Bolsonaro himself and a lot of aides
around him, including some generals and some military, high-ranking military, were involved in a plot to override the elections and to keep
Bolsonaro in power.
So they asked Bolsonaro to hand over his passport, and he cannot be in touch with the other people under investigation. But there is no charge
against him so far. They arrested four people, two aides that are very close to him, including one that was his former advisor for international
relations, foreign policy, and they also raided the houses of some very high-hunting military officials there.
So they have very strong evidence that they had meetings, they had papers, they had documents, they have a very detailed plan, apparently, according
to the investigations that we have at CNN Brasil, for example.
SOARES: What has CNN Brasil seen -- CNN Brasil seen any of these evidence?
MARTINS: Yes, and they talked to a lot of my colleagues at CNN Brasil, in Brazil in Sao Paulo. They talked to a lot of sources from the federal
police, from the judiciary, and apparently they had very solid evidence that they had a sort of a very detailed plan.
First of all, they had --
SOARES: Talking about the coup here?
MARTINS: Talking about the coup.
SOARES: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
MARTINS: Apparently, that's what the federal police is working, and that's what they are investigating deeper. Apparently, they had a plan to
obviously, first of all, put doubts into the election itself. Bolsonaro has been talking about that for months.
SOARES: Which he always has done it for a long time, right?
MARTINS: Yes, he has done that since the beginning.
SOARES: Even the ballots, talking about --
MARTINS: Yeah, even when he won the elections, the first time, he argued that if the elections were fair, he would have won in the first round of
elections, not in the second round. So he has always put that in doubt, from his all-time in power.
But that's one thing, when you doubt something or you make allegations, the other is the evidence that they found out, apparently, showing that they
had, first of all, this idea of putting questions and doubting the results of the elections, but then putting track a lot of different movements.
So they were, for example, following some of the justices in the Supreme Court, because they knew the Supreme Court as one of the key institutions
for democracy in Brazil would not accept, necessarily, any coup attempt.
So they had, apparently, the involvement of some military. But it's very important, as well, I think, to put that the high ranking, like the
collegiate of the military, capital discipline did not turn into any adventures, and that was probably a key element in all this.
Obviously, everything is under investigation. We cannot just assume that Bolsonaro, for example, is guilty of that. But to do that kind of
investigation, to ask him to hand over the past support, to arrest people - -
SOARES: And so yes, perhaps they have more -- that more is coming, right?
MARTINS: So yes, they have very strong evidences.
SOARES: What is Bolsonaro -- because I know Bolsonaro spoke to our colleagues at CNN Brasil, what did he say about this?
MARTINS: He said that he's been persecuted, that he left power for more than one year now and he's still being persecuted.
SOARES: Sounds very Trumpy.
MARTINS: They were -- very, very similar to Trump. I think that you can make lots of parallels.
SOARES: Yeah, yeah.
MARTINS: Very different cases as well, but lots of parallels. He also mentioned that there was no coup attempt because there was no soldiers.
Nobody mobilized the soldiers or the army or anyone to go. He has said that before.
MARTINS: And again, he's under investigation. There is no proof so far or any, we cannot say that he's guilty of anything at this stage.
SOARES: Yeah, he denies everything, and yeah.
MARTINS: The fact that they are doing what they're doing, the way they are doing, arresting people.
SOARES: And not this pace.
MARTINS: Checking -- they're checking like the former, the details and documents of the former head of the Navy, the former head of the Army, the
former Defense Minister, so.
SOARES: Who is leading -- very quickly, who is leading this investigation?
MARTINS: The federal police and obviously the authorization of the Supreme Court.
SOARES: Americo, always great. I have a feeling that you and I will be speaking more often.
MARTINS: Hopefully. Thanks for having me.
SOARES: Thank you very much.
Now, the European Union's climate and weather monitoring service Copernicus reports, the world is continuing to get dangerously hotter. Its data shows
that the earth for the first time reached a critical global warming limit for the full 12 months. We've already seen new heat records set on land and
sea making 2023 the warmest year ever.
Last July and August as we all remember were the two warmest months on record according to Copernicus research.
Let's get our Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir. So Bill, you've been going through all this data, just talk us through what you've seen, what
does it show?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, this is the culmination of all the times we talked, all year saying we did it. We
topped 1.5 for the week, for a month or for two months. And here it is, for the first time ever, a full 12-month stretch ending in January.
If we can show just the anomalies, this is over. That line at the top is 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels. You can see
this last year tipped over at 1.52 actually there. And this, of course, means hotter oceans.
And if we look at the other sea surface anomaly temperatures right now, leading up to just a few weeks ago, you can see we are off the charts, even
compared to what it was last year, if we have that other line graphic to show you. I believe it's number two in our set up here.
SOARES: It's coming, I'm told.
WEIR: It's coming. But --
SOARES: Talk to us.
WEIR: -- there are line graphs that tell us what we're feeling.
SOARES: There we go.
WEIR: There it is. There we are, February 3rd at the very top. You can see last year's record. This is sea surface. Some of this is due to El Nino,
the natural warming phenomenon that happens in the Pacific. But, Isa, we also just got a warning today of a La Nina watch, which means El Nino could
shift to La Nina, a cooling pattern. What does that mean? That just generally means more powerful hurricanes in the next few months.
So on top of that record warm ocean temperature, once you switch to La Nina, set up the conditions for more hurricanes, the Atlantic coast is
going to have to brace, I'm afraid, in the summer and fall.
SOARES: I mean, given everything we've seen, the wildfires in Latin America as well, just in the last week, record heats in Brazil, one of my friends
was telling me as well, this is very, very concerning. Question viewers will probably want to know is, can -- is this reversible here?
WEIR: Well, the only way we can find out, and there are lots of science that says it is reversible, but it has to happen with an end to fossil fuel
pollution. And of course, humanity is emitting at record rates. It's sort of tipped off a little bit in recent years, but no -- nothing as dramatic
as what science is calling for to decarbonize global economies. It's a very difficult problem. There's so much renewable energy coming online. It's so
cheap. And the surge in adaptation there has really been just as sort of breathtaking as the records that have fallen on the temperature side, but
it's not replacing legacy fossil fuels nearly fast enough. And that's the idea here, is that you have to swap out one for the other, which is kind of
like changing out, you know, engines on an airplane while in flight. The global economy is so dependent on these entrenched fossil fuel interests,
they show no interest in backing off after years of record profits right now.
But it won't be until that moment that we can hope to control this global thermostat.
SOARES: Yeah, I really worry given what we saw, you and I, discuss just last year, particularly here in Europe, and those wild fires in Greece and
even in my own home country, Portugal, I am very worried for what summer brings.
Well, thank you very much, Bill Weir, there. Appreciate it.
WEIR: You bet.
SOARES: Thank you, Bill.
And still to come tonight, a volcano in Iceland erupts for a third time with lava flows as tripped as much greater than anticipated, where the
emergency response stands now after this break.
SOARES: Well, a volcano in southern Iceland is erupting for the third time in two months, pumping lava some 80 meters into the island. I'll show this
live video coming into us, showing molten rock, as you can see, they're shooting out of the ground.
While the pictures are impressive, of course, the danger is very much real, as our Sebastian Shukla now reports.
SEBASTIAN SHUKLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fresh reminder of the Earth's spectacular power. Around 6 a.m. Thursday morning, the country known as the
land of ice and fire belched another slew of molten lava into the sky. For the third time since December, Iceland is experiencing major volcanic
This time, a 3-kilometer, 1.8-mile eruptive fissure, essentially a huge rip in the Earth's crust, has torn through Iceland's rugged landscape. The
rivers of magma are slinking westwards, worrying experts and forcing emergency services into action.
RIKKE PEDERSEN, LEADER, THE NORDIC VOLCANOLOGICAL CENTER: Heading towards the hot water pipes supplying hot water to the general recognize area. So
that's -- that's serious news.
SHUKLA: Alongside the pipes, emergency services have already started trying to shore up the thermal power plant by building 8-meter-high dikes. And the
magma has caused enough concern for tourists to be evacuated from the popular Blue Lagoon as the flow engulfed roads.
The eruption happened northeast of Grindavik, which saw its 4,000 residents forced to move in November with little prospect of return. At the moment
though, there are no concerns about other towns seeing a similar fate.
This volcanic system was awakened from an 800-year dormancy in 2021 and shows no signs of cooling off. The fiery deluge visible 40 kilometers away
in the capital, Reykjavik, Icelanders may be seeing more of this.
Sebastian Shukla, CNN, Berlin.
SOARES: Now, officials in Japan say a pot of orcas seen trapped by sea ice, if you remember, is believed to have escaped to safety. This drone footage
from local wildlife organization, Wildlife Pro, showed at least 10 killer whales struggling in the ice earlier this week. We brought that story to
you here on the show.
But on Thursday, officials from one coastal town said the ice drift had loosened, and there had been no sighting of the whales in 24 hours. That is
indeed good news.
And finally, the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Medals are revealed, and the winners will get a piece of French history, no less.
Each medal contains an original piece of iron from the iconic Eiffel Tower. Some fragments were removed from the monument when it underwent renovations
last century, and they've been carefully preserved ever since. The committee says it hopes the design will give historic metal a second lease
And that does it for us for this hour. Thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.
We'll leave you with some more amazing life pictures coming to you in class from Iceland. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.