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Isa Soares Tonight

IDF Rescues 2 Israeli Hostages From Gaza; Biden To Host Jordan's King At The White House; Trump's Remarks About NATO Sends Anxiety And Anger Through Europe; Biden Set To Host Jordan's King Abdullah At White House; U.S. "Devastated" About Death Of Palestinian Girl Hind Rajab; U.K. Sanctions "Extremist Israeli Settlers" In West Bank. 2-3p ET

Aired February 12, 2024 - 14:00   ET



LYNDA KINKADE, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, a very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares. Tonight, a successful

hostage rescue by Israeli Defense Forces, but at what cost to civilians inside Gaza? We'll have the very latest on what's been happening in Rafah.

Then a high-stakes meeting at the White House this hour as President Joe Biden hosts Jordan's King Abdullah. The king is pushing the international

backing to support a ceasefire in Gaza. We'll bring you more on that this hour. Plus, Donald Trump's remarks about NATO sends anxiety and anger

through Europe. We'll explain why?

Well, the Israeli Prime Minister calls it one of the most successful rescue operations in the country's history. Benjamin Netanyahu is praising his

forces for carrying out an operation in Gaza overnight that freed two Israelis who had been held hostage since the October 7th terror attacks by


But it came at a catastrophic human cost. Israel launched blistering airstrikes for cover as forces stormed a building in Rafah, the densely-

crowded city where more than a million Palestinians is seeking refuge. It brought the hostages to safety amidst heavy fire.

The man had an emotional reunion with their families near Tel Aviv later. Mr. Netanyahu calls it a perfect operation with perfect execution. But the

Palestine Red Crescent says 100 people were killed including children. Some video we're getting from the scene is frankly far too graphic to air.

Doctors described people's limbs blown off, men, women, and children. And witnesses say some strikes hit tents, sheltering displaced families. Israel

has been threatening a full-scale ground invasion of Rafah, despite widespread international opposition. Today, the EU Foreign Policy chief

said world leaders need to stop asking nicely for a ceasefire, and instead use whatever leverage they have.



the most prominent leaders or foreign ministers around the world saying too many people are being killed.

President Biden had said this is too much on the talk, is not proportional. Well, if you believe that too many people are being killed, maybe you

should provide less arms in order to prevent so many people being killed.

So, I don't know, every member state is owner of his foreign policy, but this is a little bit contradictory to continue saying that there are too

many people being killed, too many people being killed. Please take care of people. Please don't kill so many. Stop saying please and doing something.


KINKADE: Well, that direct message for Joe Biden comes as the U.S. President sits down with Jordan's king in Washington today. King Abdullah

is on a tour of western capitals to press for an immediate ceasefire.

Mr. Biden will welcome the king to the White House later this hour. And we will take you there live when it happens. Well, there's certainly a lot to

cover this hour. I want to bring -- begin with the devastating loss of life today in Rafah. Our Nada Bashir is following the developments for us live

from Cairo and joins us now.

Good to have you with us, Nada. So, there are more than a million people in Rafah, many displaced multiple times from other areas of Gaza, and we know

that dozens of men, women, and children were killed during that land and sea attack by Israel. Take us through what you're learning.

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, there certainly was a devastating attack, as you mentioned. More than a million people are concentrated within the

city of Rafah. This is an area where many have fled too after being warned -- told by the Israeli military time and time again to move south for their

own safety and protection.

And what we have seen over recent weeks is this southern region, particularly around the Rafah area in Khan Yunis, repeatedly coming under

attack by aerial bombardment, that is certainly what we saw last night, airstrikes being carried out as part of, according to the Israeli military,

an operation to secure the rescue of two Israeli hostages.

But this has left a devastating human toll in its wake. We have seen scenes of utter destruction in Rafah.


The Palestine Red Crescent saying at least a 100 people were killed, including children. And we have seen very graphic video emerging from our

colleagues on the ground, showing areas where civilians had been sheltering in makeshift tents with bullet holes with a plastic of these tents,

civilians killed inside while they were sleeping.

We've been hearing from civilians on the ground who had said they spent the whole night hearing the destruction around them, the airstrikes taking

place, buildings being struck, the Palestine Red Crescent and local municipality officials say at least a dozen residential buildings was

struck, two Mosques also sustained damage was struck as a result of those airstrikes.

The Palestine Red Crescent also saying Israeli helicopters used machine guns to fire on the border regions. You can imagine the horror that many of

these civilians have faced overnight. Again, we have seen airstrikes in the Rafah and in the south repeatedly now over the last few weeks.

But this is really raising concern of foreboding warning over what this city could face if indeed a ground operation, a full-scale ground operation

is launched from the city of Rafah, a place where hundreds of thousands of civilians are taking shelter, and also of course, crucially, a vital

gateway for aid to get into the Gaza Strip.

KINKADE: And Nada, I want to ask you more about those threats from Israel of a fully-fledged ground operation in Rafah. Because the big question is

where are all those people meant to go, where -- is there any other safe place? And secondly, what could be the repercussions because we've already

heard from Saudi Arabia's threatening repercussions. Should Israel go ahead with this ground offensive?

BASHIR: Look, in terms of where people can go, the message has been clear from aid groups and the United Nations, there simply isn't anywhere left

for civilians to turn to for safety. We've heard from the Israeli Prime Minister saying he has directed the Israeli military to prepare for a mass

evacuation of civilians from the Rafah area where they will be evacuated to is unclear.

We have little to no detail from the Israeli side. And as we know, the vast majority of northern and central Gaza has been almost entirely destroyed by

more than four months of airstrikes and ground operations by the Israeli military and on the ground fighting.

And of course, as we have seen over the last few months, civilians have repeatedly been told to themselves, this is an area where they have

concentrated. We've seen these sprawling huge tent cities being set up where civilians are sheltering there in these makeshift tents, little

protection and the elements where they go next, it's really anyone's question because there's simply nowhere safe left in Gaza.

And as you mentioned, the threat of a ground operation in Rafah hasn't -- morally bears civilian consequences, but also could place diplomatic

efforts in jeopardy as well. We've been hearing from regional leaders, we've been hearing from elders here in Egypt of course, particularly

because over the situation on their side of the Rafah border saying that this could really play such diplomatic efforts into a state of jeopardy,

that this would be unacceptable. A red line for many in the region.

We've heard from U.S. President Joe Biden and the White House saying that while they have said they are not opposed to the Israeli military carrying

out a targeted operation in Rafah, they would have to be credible, executable efforts to protect the lives of civilians, and this is a

priority at this stage.

We are seeing or had little clarity and what that would look like. So mounting concerns particularly from international aid organizations for

many around the potential this could have for civilians in the area. We've heard from the U.N.'s Human Rights chief who has warned that we could see

many more lives lost as a result.

KINKADE: Nada Bashir for us reporting on those developments from Cairo, Egypt. Thanks very much. I do want to stay on this story and bring in

Jeremy Diamond who is in Tel Aviv for more on that dramatic hostage rescue in Rafah. Good to have you there for us, Jeremy.

So, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu claims that the release of these two hostages means that the military pressure is working. But the big

question is, at what cost? Because obviously we saw the land and sea bombardment. Explain how this hostage plan unfolded.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was a very dramatic and daring overnight raid carried out by Israeli Special Forces. And I'm

told that it was nearly a month in the making. Israeli military and domestic intelligence services gathering the Intelligence that led to this

raid for weeks of the forces that carry this out, preparing and practicing this operation.

And then at 1:49 a.m. is when the moment of truth came. They breached the wall of a residential building in the heart of this southern most city of

Rafah. They entered that building on Intelligence that these two hostages were held on the second floor.

They went up there and they were able to grab these hostages and rush them out of harm's way. We are told that they escaped under fire and shortly

thereafter, they were put on helicopters and whisked to a hell -- a hospital on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.


That's where they had an emotional reunion with their families after more than four months in Hamas captivity. But what we also know is that the

Israeli military, one minute after that breach happened, started bombing parts of Rafah in that area where they say they were targeting Hamas


But of course, what we've seen in the aftermath of this, is that many of those who were killed were also civilians, women and children being pulled

from the rubble, being rushed to hospitals, some of them alive, some of them, not. And it just gives you a sense of what could potentially happen

if an Israeli military offensive is indeed carried out in Rafah without sufficient evacuations for civilian, a city that is so densely-populated at

this moment with so many displaced Palestinians.

KINKADE: And we saw just a short time ago those images that the two hostages reunited with their families to manage 60 and 70. What more can

you tell us about those hostages?

DIAMOND: It was obviously a very emotional reunion as they hug to their loved ones. Louis is 70 years old. Louis Har, Fernando Marman is 60 years

old, and they were actually held hostage, held captive for a good part of their captivity at the beginning with other members of their family, at

least, three other members of their family were also held hostage.

You might remember Mia Leimberg, that young girl who was -- who had a dog - - who was held in captivity with her dog and managed to be released as part of that week-long truce with Hamas. At the -- at the end of November, she's

related to this family as well. And so, obviously, a very emotional reunion, a reunification of a family in many respects that was separated

for so long.

But now, the question is, will negotiations lead to the release of more hostages? Because we know that this is only the second time that the

Israeli military has actually successfully carried out a raid to release these hostages. The rest of the hostage releases, of course, have come

through diplomacy.

And tomorrow, we expect that in Cairo, Egypt, there will be a major meeting of key Intelligence figures to discuss the possibility of yet another

hostage deal. A lot, of course, riding on the line is more than 130 additional hostages are still believed to be held in Gaza.

KINKADE: All right, Jeremy Diamond for us in Tel Aviv, good to have you there for us. Thank you. Well, for more on this, I want to welcome former

hostage negotiator for Israel, Gershon Baskin. Good to have you with us?


KINKADE: So, you're a journalist, a former hostage negotiator. You've worked on the peace process. I want to start with the current hostage

situation. We saw two men released while a bombing campaign took place to give the IDF cover, where dozens of men, women and children were killed.

The Israeli Prime Minister described it as the perfect operation. How would you describe it?

BASKIN: I would describe it as a heroic operation of Israeli commandos with a great price to the civilian population in Gaza. I've been saying since

the very first day of the war that the only way to bring all the hostages home safely and alive is through a negotiated agreement with Hamas.

There were likely to be attempts set military rescues. There have been as was said, this is the second successful attempt, and three hostages have

been brought back this way. There are still 134 hostages in Gaza. It's believed that between 30 and 50 of them have already been killed, either an

Israeli bombings or by executions by Hamas.

There's no doubt that every day they stay in Gaza, it's a risk to their lives. The Israeli assumption is that they are somewhere between Khan Yunis

and Rafah in the 20 percent of the southern part of the Gaza Strip where more than a million and a half Palestinian civilians are also waiting for

this war to end.

There's no positive scenario in military operations attempting to bring the hostages home, but for the Palestinian civilian population and probably for

the hostages, and it's best that, that meeting that's taking place tomorrow in Cairo come up with some new ideas to enable at least a renewed ceasefire

and the return of some of the hostages.

While perhaps during a 40-day ceasefire, we come up with some ideas, how to have a diplomatic end to this war. Because the war going on is just going

to kill more innocent people and bring more suffering to everyone.

KINKADE: I want to get your take on that diplomatic end to the war in just a moment, but first, I want to get your response to the proposal that Hamas

put on the table, because we know the Israeli Prime Minister says that military pressure is the only way to bring these hostages home. But Hamas

has put forward a three-phased plan.


The first part of the plan would be women and children in exchange for some Palestinian prisoners. What do you make of that proposal?

BASKIN: Well, the main problem with the proposal is if there's a linkage between phase 1, 2 and 3, because phase 3 is the end of the war and Israeli

withdrawal, leaving Hamas in control of Gaza. And that's unacceptable to Israel. The problem with the proposal that was put forth by Hamas in phase

one is that they were demanding from Israel to release 1,500 prisoners of which 500 of them are serving life sentences for murdering Israelis.

There's a total of 559 prisoners, Palestinian prisoners in Israel who have murdered Israelis and are serving life sentences. So, this term of zero

point-of-view is a non-starter, both in the number of the Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands as they call it, the large number of

1,500 for the civilian hostages.

And if there's a linkage after a 45-day period to the phase 2 and 3, which ends the war with Hamas in power, then for Israel, it's total defeat when

Israel wants to make sure that this war ends without Hamas in control of Gaza.

KINKADE: This war, of course, has been going on for over four months. You've thought about what happens after the war. What needs to happen?

BASKIN: Well, the first thing is I've said, we need to hope that they can separate phase one of this deal from phase 2 and 3, which would enable this

calming period, the cooling off period of 45 days during which time, what needs to happen is both at the international, political level, there needs

to be a plan that President Biden has already spoken about the path toward Palestinian statehood.

We don't need a path, we need the United States and the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Japan, other countries to recognize the

state of Palestine, because we need to make Palestine real for Palestinians to know that they can live for Palestine and not only die as martyrs for


We need the Palestinian Authority President to step aside and appoint a prime minister or at least, a temporary administrator for Gaza who's a

technocrat, who can build a new government in Gaza to take over from Israel, because the longer Israel stays in Gaza, the more I promise you,

there will be armed insurgency against Israeli soldiers who will be coming back in body bags.

We need an international effort to put down a commitment now to rebuild Gaza, and a regional framework which will promise security, stability and

economic development. All that needs to happen with the hostage still being done, prisoners being released, Israel withdrawing from Gaza and creating a

situation where Hamas will no longer rule Gaza --

KINKADE: Yes, that certainly --

BASKIN: You also need to secure the Gaza-Egypt border.

KINKADE: Yes, that certainly is key.


KINKADE: We appreciate your perspective on all of this as always. Gershon Baskin, good to have you on the program. Thank you.

BASKIN: Thank you very much.

KINKADE: Well, still to come tonight, Donald Trump's remarks at a weekend rally is stirring of a political firestorm from Washington to capitals

across Europe.



KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade, good to have you with us. Well, shock and alarm from NATO countries today over remarks made by former U.S.

President Donald Trump. He told rally goers in South Carolina that he would encourage Russia to do, quote, "whatever the hell they want" to any NATO

country that doesn't meet defense spending guidelines.

The NATO Secretary-General responded by saying, quote, "any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all our security, including

that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk." The EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell slammed Trump, saying, quote,

"NATO can be an alacarte military -- cannot be an alacarte military alliance."

Well, I want to bring in someone uniquely qualified to speak about this, General Wesley Clark; the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander. Good to

have you with us, General.


KINKADE: So, I want to start with Donald Trump's comments. For those viewers who may have missed them, I just want to replay what he had to say.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the presidents of a big country stood up, said, well, sir, if we don't pay and we are

attacked by Russia, will you protect us? And I said, you didn't pay. You're delinquent. He said, yes, let's say that happened. No, I would not protect

you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.


KINKADE: So, General, as a former commander of NATO, what do you make of those comments?

CLARK: First of all, I'm not sure it actually happened, but we do know that Donald Trump has been angling to disassemble NATO from the time he came

into office. And he's tried various ways, including his statements, his actions at NATO summits, his disregard for procedure, his lack of


He thinks NATO is like a country club membership or you don't get to swim in the pool if you don't pay. But that's not what NATO is at all. So, it's

deeper than that though. I think Nikki, I think really he just doesn't understand how effective the United States is in the world, because we're

united in this alliance with NATO.

This is our diplomatic political base. This is what gives us the legitimacy in international affairs. It strengthens America's voice, and everything

we're trying to do in the world is not a military alliance. It fundamentally -- it's a political alliance. And it's only military in the

sense of, it does have a commitment to respond if one member is attacked, and according to the treaty, that's viewed as an attack on all, and the

members have to take appropriate actions.

But I don't think Mr. Trump wants America to have those kinds of commitments. He sees the world as a sandbox in which he can play with other

powerful figures, cutting transactional deals without regard to the past or the future, simply watching his personal interest at the time. What's

amusing and entertaining doing at the time.

And he doesn't understand, doesn't respect the weight of history, the obligations, the legal system that were under, and how this has preserved

peace for 75 years in the world.

KINKADE: Yes, but it's interesting when you listen to a former presidential candidate and former critic of Trump, Marco Rubio, say Trump's just

talking. It's just all talk. I just want to play his sound.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Donald Trump was president, and he didn't pull us out of NATO, you know, in fact, American troops were stationed throughout

Europe, he's not the first American president. In fact, virtually, every American president at some point, in some way has complained about other

countries in NATO not doing enough. You know, Trump is just the first one to express it in these terms.


KINKADE: What do you make is the fact that many Republicans just dismissing Trump's speech that those words, those comments is just rhetoric, just


CLARK: Well, I have to respectfully disagree with the senator on this. In fact, President Trump did try to get Americans out of Germany. He gave

orders to try to reduce the U.S. force presence in Europe to the -- to the Secretary of Defense while he was president.


This was part of it. He delayed providing military assistance to Ukraine until his hand was forced by the United States Congress. So, he does take

action on his -- on what he says. And he does work against the values that the United States has. I think a lot of these senators are simply saying

what they're saying. It's convenient for them.

They don't want the Trump-bites to oppose them, and they certainly don't want to offend Donald Trump because he's basically the king of the party

right now.

KINKADE: In the past, Trump has claimed that he would end the war in Ukraine within 24 hours. The -- Ukraine's President Zelenskyy said that

would be very dangerous. When it comes to Russia's war on Ukraine, should Donald Trump be elected for another term this November? What do you believe

could happen under Trump presidency with regards to that war?

CLARK: Well, I think he would move as quickly as possible to cut off all U.S. support and assistance, not only the financial support we're giving,

but the Intelligence support and the training and the other things, the weapons, everything he would attempt to cut off because that's what he


He's basically partnering and his view of the world with Vladimir Putin. And then there's just no other way to look at it, from the time he had the

meeting in Helsinki, two hours in private session with Putin -- we've never really heard the results of that in which he said that Putin had no motive

to interfere in a U.S. election.

We know that's untrue on both counts. He did have motive and he did interfere. And so, you know, Mr. Trump's biases are well-known, if he is

elected, I think it's going to be a very dangerous time for the United States and for our friends in Europe.

KINKADE: General Wesley Clark, good to get your perspective on the program, thanks very much.

CLARK: Thank you.

KINKADE: Well, despite fierce opposition from Donald Trump, the U.S. Senate worked over the weekend to advancing $95 billion foreign aid bill. The

procedural vote exposed deep divisions in the Republican Party with Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell and 17 other Republicans defying Trump to

support the package that includes aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

The former president took to social media to demand a radical overhaul in U.S. foreign aid. He wrote "from this point forward, are you listening U.S.

Senate, no money in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it's done as a loan, not just a give-away."

Well, still to come tonight, President Joe Biden is set to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House. We'll go there live. Plus, one

young boy's escape from Gaza, in his own words, fleeing what he calls the worst war he's ever seen.



KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Good to have you with us.

Well, any minute now, U.S. President Joe Biden will host Jordan's King Abdullah at the White House. The White House says the leaders are expected

to discuss the war in Gaza and efforts to produce an enduring end to this crisis. The King is also pushing for the protection of civilians and more

humanitarian aid in Gaza on a permanent basis. This visit is part of a tour to several Western countries addressing the war. The two leaders are due to

speak in about an hour and a half at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

And CNN's Kevin Liptak joins us now from the White House for more on this. Good to see you there, Kevin.

So, King Abdullah has made it pretty clear in the past that the carnage in Gaza is excessive. The Biden administration knows also press Netanyahu to

be more strategic in his response, yet he continues to provide weaponry. What can we expect from today's meeting?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, I think certainly President Biden and the White House generally view King Abdullah as a key

partner in the region and he has visited the White House for every year of the Biden presidency. But there are some significant differences between

these two men and King Abdullah is arriving to this meeting calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. And certainly he has been outspoken about the

plight of the Palestinians along with his wife, Queen Rania, who will be here at the White House today as well.

And when you talk to White House officials, they do really view the centerpiece of this meeting as a discussion about these continued efforts

to secure the release of hostages that are continuing to be held in Gaza. That is something that the two men will really want to discuss. And this

has been sort of an ongoing process that is now, according to officials, reaching something of an end game.

The White House saying that there is a framework now on the table between Israel, Hamas and all of the mediators to try and come up with an agreement

that would secure the release of those hostages in partnership with a prolonged pause in the fighting. But the real impediment, of course, at

this point is Israel itself and the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who just last week called Hamas' counterproposal crazy. So, there are

significant differences and President Biden is dispatching his CIA Director, Bill Burns, to Egypt this week to continue those discussions.

And so when President Biden sits down with the King of Jordan, who is expected to arrive here in the White House any moment now, that will be

something that, I think, they will really want to discuss. In addition to this key question of what happens once the war in Gaza is over the question

of a Palestinian state, that is something, again, that has been a point of difference between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu. But it is

something that the U.S. sees Jordan as a key partner in as they continue these discussions, Lynda.

KINKADE: And Kevin, you mentioned that Bill Burns of the CIA is going to Egypt this week. He's been there many times before since this war in Gaza

erupted, just explain his mission this time.

LIPTAK: Yes, and it is really to try and get this deal over the finish line. And you'll remember there have been these proposals that are going

back and forth through the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, to try and come up with some sort of plan that would pare the release of these hostages with

prolonged pauses in the fighting. And the latest proposal was sort of a phased release of hostages. First, the civilians, then IDF fighters, and

then the bodies of those hostages who have died while they're in captivity. And each one of those phases would come with it, a pause in the fighting of

a specific flank.


And certainly that is something that the President Biden, that is, has been very forceful. And in fact, when he talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu

yesterday, their phone call, it lasted 45 minutes. And really the center of their discussions were these ongoing talks to try and secure the release of

the hostages. Really, in the minds of American officials, the real hope is that if there is a pause in the fighting that lasts longer than a couple of

days, it could provide something of a diplomatic space for these discussions about what happens next to continue forward, talks about a

permanent ceasefire, talks about an eventual Palestinian state, and that is the real hope among the American officials as they try and get this deal

across the finish line, Lynda.

KINKADE: All right. Kevin Liptak at the White House, we will continue to monitor the pictures there, and we will bring those pictures live to our

viewers when King Abdullah of Jordan meets with the U.S. President Joe Biden.

Well, the State Department says it's devastated about the death of a 5- year-old Palestinian girl in Gaza named Hind Rajab. She captured the world's concern after she became trapped in a car that had come under

Israeli fire, making a desperate call for help. Her fate was unknown for days. The Palestinian journalist said over the weekend that Hind had been

killed, along with all of her relatives who were in the car with her.

The Palestinian Red Crescent also says two ambulance workers sent to rescue her were also killed. The State Department spokesman says the U.S. is

pressing Israel to investigate.


MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We are devastated about the reports of the death of Hind Rajab. I will tell you that I have a

little girl that's about to turn six myself, and so it is just a devastating account, a heartbreaking account for this child, and of course

there have been thousands of other children who have died as a result of this conflict. And every one of them is a tragedy that I know I can tell

you everyone in the United States government feels quite deeply.


KINKADE: We're now to a story about a young boy who escaped from Gaza in his own words. We closely followed Ibrahim and his family's journey to

Egypt from Gaza back in 2023 through Ibrahim's eyes. Well, now we see it through his son's eyes. Zaid tells his story in Arabic with illustrations

to underscore the horror he experienced.


ZAID, BOY WHO ESCAPED FROM GAZA: (Speaking in a foreign language)


KINKADE: The U.K. has announced sanctions against a group they call as extremist Israeli settlers. It says the four men of committed human rights

abuses in the West Bank, accusing them of violently attacking Palestinians, threatening families at gunpoint and destroying property. An Israeli

watchdog group says 2023 was the most violent year on record for settler attacks in the West Bank.

Well, still to come tonight, outrage in Nepal after local manner recruited to fight in Russia's war in Ukraine. What the Himalayan country says is

doing to stop its citizens from going to war.



KINKADE: Hello. We want to take you live to the White House now. You're seeing pictures of Jordan's King Abdullah meeting with U.S. President Joe

Biden and his wife Jill there. The two are going to speak over the next hour and a half. We will bring you their press conference, which is being

held at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. That's less than an hour and a half from now.

The King of Jordan, of course, is a longtime ally of the U.S. And for quite a few months now, he has been calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. And that is

what he'll be pressing the U.S. for -- to push for when next to Biden speaks with the Israeli Prime Minister. The US President, of course, spoke

to Mr. Netanyahu yesterday to again press for Israel to rethink any planned military operation in Rafah, which is very close to Egypt's border. One

million people there displaced right now seeking shelter.

So there you see the U.S. President and the first lady with Jordan's King Abdullah, where they are expected to meet for the next hour and a half or

so. We will bring you their press conference when it happens at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, less than one and half hours from now.

Well, it was a busy day for Donald Trump and his legal team. They're battling on three fronts. This is the last day to request the Supreme Court

pause, the election subversion case against him. And here in Georgia, a hearing related to accusations of impropriety at the District Attorney's


Earlier today, Trump showed up at the courthouse in Fort Pierce, Florida. This is for a hearing related to his alleged mishandling of classified

documents. Donald Trump has maintained his innocence. CNN's Jessica Schneider is joining us from Washington. Good to have you with us, Jessica.

So certainly a lot of legal cases to stay across today. Three happening, one over the classified documents, of course, at Mar-a-Lago. The appeal

deadline for the immunity case, and of course, the subpoenas hearing here in Atlanta over the election interference. Take us through them.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, let's start first with what we've seen throughout the day so far. And that's the court

hearing that we saw behind closed doors in Florida between Trump's legal team and the federal judge in the classified documents case. That's Judge

Eileen Cannon. Now, they spent hours actually discussing which classified documents Trump and his legal team should have access to as they move

forward in this case. Trump just left, and now it's prosecutors from the Special Counsel's team who are set to meet with the judge. They're doing it

in two parts.

And the big sticking point here is which documents can the government continue to keep secret? Because remember, we're dealing with a case

alleging that Trump illegally withheld classified documents after he left the presidency. In fact, the FBI had to search Mar-a-Lago in August 2022 to

get many of those documents back.


So, if Trump's team can keep pressing this point, that they should have more access to the classified documents at issue in this case, it may prove

impossible to keep that May trial date that is right now slated for the case. You know, we've seen that delay tactic in several of the legal cases

play out.

And also likely later today, we'll also see maybe some delay tactics. Trump's team has a deadline to file with the U.S. Supreme Court to put an

appeals court ruling on hold. And that appeals court ruling had said Trump is not immune from prosecution in the D.C. case related to January 6th,

also brought by the special counsel. So the Supreme Court, once Trump's team files for them to step in, they'll decide at some point, you know,

whether to continue pausing the appeals court decision, whether they might hear the case.

But Lynda crucially, if the Supreme Court doesn't step in here, this case out of D.C. will be back on track, which means we could see a trial date in

the next few months. The trial date was initially slated for early March. That's been taken off the calendar, but it still could move quickly if the

Supreme Court doesn't step in. So, we are seeing a lot start to unfold as we're getting into 2024, you know, just months away from the election, but

a lot of legal cases regarding the former president are swirling here, Lynda.

KINKADE: Yes, a lot to stay across. Jessica Schneider for us in Washington, D.C., thanks so much.

The U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is back in hospital. And according to doctors at Walter Reed Medical Center, he's undergone a non-surgical

procedure under general anesthesia. Austin was -- had to cancel an upcoming trip to Brussels while he's being treated for what's being described as an

emergent bladder issue. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early December and was hospitalized in January after suffering complications due

to treatment.

A White House spokesperson says President Biden is not concerned about Austin's ability to serve.

Well, Russia has recruited as many as 15,000 men from Nepal to fight in its war. Sources tell CNN that Moscow announced a lucrative package last year

for foreign fighters to join its military. But as CNN's Matthew Chance reports, some of them came back traumatized. Others didn't return at all.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It should be a world apart from the battlefields of Ukraine. But this

Himalayan state has become an unlikely casualty of Russia's brutal war. Nepalese like Ramchandra, who escaped the Russian army with his life, now

praying for his comrades still fighting on the front line. He took a bullet and shrapnel in Ukraine, he told me, and saw many Nepalese killed.

"Some complained they were sent forward while Russian troops held back," he tells me. "But the main problem was the language barrier. Sometimes you

couldn't even understand where you're supposed to be going," he says, "which way to point your gun."

But that chaos hasn't stopped Nepalese signing up. Many posting upbeat videos on social media of their military training in Russia where they're

meant to be prepared for the hardships of the Ukraine war. In reality, several former Nepali recruits tell CNN they were sent into battle after

barely two weeks to fight for the Kremlin armed with a rifle and a contract for a few thousand dollars a month, a fortune in Nepal, where unemployment

is high.

CHANCE: Well, the vast majority of Nepalese fighting for Russia in Ukraine are doing it for the money and they come from these down at hill

impoverished areas across the country. We've actually come to one of them now on the outskirts of Kathmandu to meet a woman who, in the past few

days, has learned that her husband has been killed, fighting in that distant war. Hello, hi Namaste. Namaste.

CHANCE (voice-over): "He was with a unit of Nepalese battling Ukrainians," she tells me, "when he was gunned down." "It was my husband's friend, his

Nepali commander in Ukraine who called me in the middle of the night and told me he'd been killed," she tells me, still shocked at the news.

"There's been no notification from the Russians," she adds, "nothing."

It's a growing frustration with Russia's treatment of Nepalese as cannon fodder in the Ukraine war shared with these protesters near the Russian

embassy in Kathmandu.

CHANCE: Hello sir.


CHANCE (voice-over): And the Nepali foreign minister who told me he's pressed Moscow to curb recruitment to no avail.


SAUD: They have told me that they will sort it out, the concern of Nepal.

CHANCE: So they've told you they will sort it out?

SAUD: Yes.

CHANCE: But they haven't done anything yet?

SAUD: Yet. They didn't have -- we don't have any information of our doing anything.

CHANCE (voice-over): There's not much information either on how many Nepalese are even fighting for Russia, about 200 according to Nepali

officials, but multiple sources including campaigners, lawmakers and returning fighters tell CNN as many as 15,000 Nepalese could be fighting in


CHANCE: But we've asked the Russians how many Nepalese they've recruited and how many have been killed and what the Kremlin calls its special

military operation. So far, there's been no response, but there are concerns here in Nepal that casualty figures may be high. CNN has learned

that hundreds of Nepalese who joined the Russian military are out of contact and it's uncertain if they're dead or alive.

CHANCE (voice-over): Jenaca, a young Nepali mother, is assuming the worst. Her husband hasn't called for more than two months now. "The children ask

me when their dad is coming home," she sobs, "even if he doesn't love us anymore. We just want to see his face." But another Nepali recruit to

Russia's war may never be seen again.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Kathmandu in Nepal.


KINKADE: We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.



KINKADE: You're watching Kansas City Chiefs tight end, Travis Kelce, singing to the tune of We Are The Champions after the Chiefs made it back-

to-back Super Bowl victories on Sunday. They beat the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 in overtime in Las Vegas.

Kelce was also spotted dancing with girlfriend Taylor Swift after the game in this video. For those of you keeping count, the Chiefs have now won the

Super Bowl three times in the last five seasons, all of them with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Well, singer Usher's Super Bowl halftime performance had fans saying yes. You can see the R&B singer there delivering a show-stopping spectacle even

on roller skates at that point in time. The eight-time that Grammy winner was joined by some of the artists that he's collaborated with over the

years, including Ludacris, Lil Jon, H.E.R. and

Well, thanks so much for watching tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade. Stay with CNN. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.