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Isa Soares Tonight

Gangs In Haiti Battle For Control As Country Slips Deeper Into Chaos; IDF Carries Out Operation Around Al-Shifa Hospital; Putin Attends Rally In Red Square After Winning Fifth Term; Sullivan: Biden, Netanyahu Have "Different Perspective" On Rafah Operation; Donald Trump Unable To Get Bond For $464 Million Judgment. 2-3p ET

Aired March 18, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, gangs in Haiti are battling for control

as the country slips deeper into chaos. CNN is on the ground in the capital Port-au-Prince with the very latest this hour. Then --




SOARES: Terror at Gaza's largest hospital Al-Shifa after Israel launches a major military operation there. We'll have the very latest. Plus, Vladimir

Putin celebrates in Moscow's Red Square after his election victory, which the U.S. slams as neither free nor fair. That and much more head this hour.

But first, the fight for power is underway in Haiti as the nation continues its plunge into chaos. Militias, gangs, and what's left of police are

battling for control in Port-au-Prince. This as a handful of elites haggle over the makeup of a transitional council after the government's near total


The U.S. is among countries scrambling to get their people out. A State Department flight arrived in Florida earlier, carrying dozens of U.S.

citizens. Here's some of what they said after arriving in Miami. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We feel like we have no one fighting on our behalf, and finally, we got an e-mail saying, hey, we got a flight for you, so feeling


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a mixed motion. It's good to be back here. I'm safer with family, but I also need to think about the people back home.


SOARES: Well, millions of people remain in harm's way as gangs cut off the supply of food, fuel and water. CNN is the only international network on

the ground in the capital. It's taken several days for our team to get there, and we face huge access issues because of course, all the security


But our David Culver and his team are there. Here's a look at his reporting from the police station fighting off such attacks.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): So, police stations like this one here in Port-au-Prince are main targets for gangs. They feel like as

soon as they can get hold of a station like this, they can then take siege and take control of much of the community, and they've tried coming after

this one.

Many at times, reinforcements have been built up, not only because of the police, but because of the community. They've got barricades all around

here. For the police station to function properly, they need to rely on the community, and to have these almost vigilantes building a lot of the

barricades to keep out any gang members.


SOARES: And David Culver, who's been doing some terrific work and his team on the ground is live in Port-au-Prince. And David, it is clear from the

reporting that you've been doing for us of the situation on the ground, the security situation in Haiti is getting evermore dangerous with a surge in

violence, and clearly, a lack of governance. How is this affecting -- just David, just a day-to-day life in Port-au-Prince?

CULVER: It was interesting over the weekend, Isa. We were able to have some opportunities before curfew took effect to get out a bit and to see some of

the communities that for the past two-plus-weeks now have been, in many cases, sheltering in place, folks sealing themselves in.

And it was actually a bit tamer, it felt quieter at times, and folks were out and about, seemingly more comfortable. And we did hear from some locals

who say that tends to be the weekends. It's almost as if the gangs will -- even though they're unpredictable, back down a bit on some of their


That all changed this morning. In the early morning hours, one of our security sources notified us of an action that happened not too far from

where we are about 3 miles. And it was disturbing to hear about just because it could have potentially continued on down into more populated


But it did affect two communities, more affluent ones at that. And we know according to sources that ten bodies were discovered, it's not clear how

those individuals were killed or who killed them? Police denying that they are the ones that killed them. And we do know that there are gangs involved

in this attack.

So, that's what's so concerning, they could happen at any moment, it's a volatile situation. And it proved to be just that this morning. We know

that these are communities where folks were terrified, and they were messaging through WhatsApp, trying to figure out what exactly was happening

and who would come to help them.

But that goes to the strain on resources -- you saw me there walking through that police station over the weekend, those folks are running low

on ammo, morale is broken.


They tell us, the commander himself, that the gangs have more resources and money than they do. And that is why many of them have been looking for

international assistance here through a security support system that would potentially bolster they countering the gangs and their movements through

this city.

But the police are right now just so stretched that they have fallen on the community to help. And the community is stepping up in certain places, and

they're working in many cases as vigilantes. And it can get extreme, some of their actions, because they feel like they have to at times send a

message to these gangs.

So, for example, when they attack certain communities, Isa, it can be very often and it has happened, where the community members will take justice

into their own hands and will capture the gang members, and will carry out executions. Now, I've spoken to some community members who say that's not

our preferred route.

We prefer just to man the barricades. We prefer to staff that 24/7 to help police out, so that they can go through with their process of enforcing the

law. But at times, they feel that it needs to be done, Isa.

SOARES: It's incredibly desperate and dire situation you are painting, David. And on the point of international systems, I mean, you and I, you

know this, Haitians have rather complex history of intervention. So, I wonder what they want to see --

CULVER: Yes --

SOARES: Here in terms of health, because the gangs -- as we have spoken, some of our photo-journalists we've spoken to, they say, David, they want a

seat at the table. I mean, how realistic is this with this transitional council?

CULVER: If you compare to the tone that we saw, I would say about a month ago when we were on the ground here, a lot of folks were coming up to us,

saying, for one, they wanted Ariel Henry to go. Now that he has resigned as of last week, they were at the same time, though, saying that they didn't

want for an intervention, to your point, they have a very complicated history with that.

What folks have been telling us in recent days, some of them, including police sources, didn't want to say it on record, is that they need

international support. And many of them looking at that law enforcement support that would be coming in.

Perhaps, it's the Kenyan police officers, perhaps it's help from others in the international community, but they've gotten to a point, Isa, where they

have realized that maybe the necessary steps here, because it has fallen on so many within these communities to figure out how to navigate this


And we even spent time going to some of the refugee camps that you have to imagine, it's refugees or folks who have fled violence within their own

cities, they're refugees of their own hometown. And they have found any space that they can to set up camp and to make home, including schools,

because schools are not open right now.

Folks saw that as an opportunity to crowd into classrooms. One school which was not very large, maybe had about a dozen classrooms or so, had 1,500

people crammed into --

SOARES: Wow --

CULVER: It. And they realized that they are trying to flee violence from gangs, but also as they've moved into some of these communities, Isa, they

find themselves as outsiders and locals who live there are giving them a hard time too, because they fear that perhaps they being there will attract

more gang violence. It's incredibly complicated at this point --

SOARES: Yes --

CULVER: And it's situation that for them is just desperate.

SOARES: Yes, and displacement is something that we have discussed with NGOs on the ground, is something that we'll continue to do in the show. David,

we are extremely grateful for you and the team for bringing this reporting. Do stay safe my friend. Thank you.

CULVER: Thanks, Isa.

SOARES: Well, as gunmen rampage in Haiti, women and children are paying the price. U.N. agency UNICEF says a container with essential items for babies

and mothers was looted over the weekend in Port-au-Prince, and that included life-saving gear like resuscitators and other critical supplies.

To discuss this and other events in Haiti, I'm joined from Port-au-Prince by Bruno Maes, he is the UNICEF representative for Haiti. And Bruno, I'm

not sure whether you heard our correspondent who in Port-au-Prince painting a really dire picture in terms of the lack of governance and lack of

security and the level of violence we are seeing not seen in some time in Haiti. What does that -- this mean, Bruno, in reality for UNICEF, in your

efforts to try and get aid in?

BRUNO MAES, UNICEF HAITI REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, good afternoon, Isa. Since a few days, we are really just witnessing some many upscale areas of formal

plans -- attacks. Areas that were once considered safer, and this indicates that the armed groups are expanding the influence, hundreds of houses were

attacked, thousands of children and families are terrorized, fleeing the house in desperate need of security and protection.

The action police is overwhelmed, trying to respond to multiple hotspots -- more than 7,500 people left -- fled Port-au-Prince over the last few days

to the south of the country, increasing the number of internally-displaced persons in the country.


Noting that 110,000 people already left Port-au-Prince for the other departments over the past month. Three out of four women and children do

not have access to basic public health and nutrition intervention in Port- au-Prince, 60 percent of the hospital are not functional, facing challenges such as -- such as electricity, fuel, medical shortage, medical supply

shortage, blot and staffing shortage.

Essential commodities are becoming scarce, including cash, essential goods due to the ongoing situation. The city remains gripped by violence from

armed groups, the situation remain volatile and predictable. Hundreds of schools are closed today, depriving tens of thousands of children today,

right to education, and conditions on the ground remain perilous --

SOARES: And Bruno, I'm guessing with this apology and to interrupt with the volatility at the unpredictable nature of this, all this that you're

painting, I mean, I'm keen to focus on the children -- I mean, concerns on the --

MAES: Yes --

SOARES: Malnutrition, I think this is something that UNICEF had stated before, calms the concerns also with healthcare. I mean, what are

conditions like for children right now?

MAES: Yes, children are lacking food, nutrition supplies, essential commodities including medical product, and this situation occurs at a

critical moment when children need them at most --

SOARES: Yes --

MAES: Children are really bearing the brunt of the disrupted supply chain as they are not receiving essential medical supplies. Fortunately, UNICEF

was our emergency preparedness at far, we had strategically positioned warehouse in secure locations, stocked with essential supplies for

children, encompassing, has nutrition, vaccination and many more. And this issue --

SOARES: But one of your -- one -- sorry to interrupt. One of your warehouses was looted, right? I saw it --

MAES: Yes --

SOARES: On your -- on X. What did they take --

MAES: Yes --

SOARES: So, walk us through. I mean, how much has that impacted you, Bruno?

MAES: Yes, last, Saturday, one of UNICEF's 17 containers was looted at Port-au-Prince -- being bought -- they looted container's health essential

medical items for newborn mothers and children, including re-animators and related equipment totaling almost 150,000 in value.

But the UNRWA group bridged for the second time in the city port, and currently over 260 humanitarian own containers --

SOARES: Yes --

MAES: Are controlled by armed group at the port.

SOARES: Look, and you said recently, I'm quoting you here, "the cost of indifference and inaction is unconscionable." I mean, how can the

international community help? How can Haitians help themselves right now, Bruno?

MAES: Children of Haiti are desperately in need of security, protection and stability. If the Cuban situation persists, it could jeopardize also all

our operation, urgent measures are needed to secure the humanitarian access and space here, and ensuring the continuity of the aid delivery in favor of

3 million children in Haiti.

SOARES: Bruno Maes, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much, Bruno.

MAES: Thank you, Isa, thank you.

SOARES: Now, Israeli forces have launched a major assault on Al-Shifa Hospital in the ruins of Gaza city.

Gaza's Health Ministry says some 30,000 people are seeking shelter on the hospital grounds, it says there were multiple casualties including women

and children who suffocated from the fire that broke out. Israel says it had Intelligence that senior Hamas operatives were using the hospital.

It says it killed 20 militants. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed over the weekend to keep up military operations even as Israel pursues new

ceasefire talks. He sent a delegation to Qatar today. And when it comes to the catastrophic consequences of those military operations for civilians

across Gaza, the world can't say what it didn't know after months of dire warnings about the risk of starvation.

A new report says famine could be declared in northern Gaza any time between now and May. The U.N. Secretary-General calls it appalling, saying

the world must act immediately to prevent the unthinkable and unacceptable and the unjustifiable. Have a listen to what Antonio Guterres said.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: The world's leading experts on food insecurity clearly document that famine in the northern

part of Gaza is imminent. More than half of all Palestinians in Gaza, 1.1 million people have completely exhausted their food supplies and are facing

catastrophic hunger according to reports.


This is an entirely man-made disaster, and the report makes clear that it can be halted.


SOARES: Let's get more on all this threat for you from our Jeremy Diamond who joins us this evening in Jerusalem. And Jeremy, let's start first of

all with what's going on inside Al-Shifa. What do we know about this military operation and about the thousands of people trapped inside


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. There were about 30,000 people estimated to be sheltering inside Al-Shifa Hospital

when this major Israeli military operation began. Thousands are still believed to be trapped inside that hospital where they have been told to


The Israeli military launched this operation overnight. It involved not only ground forces, tanks, armored vehicles, but also apparently,

airstrikes as multiple eyewitnesses on the ground reported missiles being fired around the Al-Shifa compounds, including several according to one

doctor on the scene hitting a building within the Al-Shifa medical complex, setting the surgical departments on fire.

Now, this operation, according to the Israeli military was launched because they say that Hamas has begun using that hospital once again for its

military operations. You'll remember of course, that the Israeli military back in November raided the Al-Shifa Hospital because they claim that Hamas

was operating a major underground command and control complex.

They were able to show evidence of tunnels beneath that hospital at the time, although, it fell short of showing some extensive command center

which they had described. But nonetheless, the Israeli military now claiming that Hamas is back at that hospital again, saying that they

engaged in firefights with militants, killing at least 20 during the day.

Hamas, interestingly also said that it engaged in firefight with the Israeli military around the Al-Shifa complex. The Israeli military also

says that they killed a senior Hamas operative on the scene. But what is also clear is that they were clearly civilian casualties resulting from

some of those strikes that we saw around the Al-Shifa complex.

Major strikes to several buildings in the Al-Rimal neighborhood near Al- Shifa, and among them, we saw women and children among the deceased. We also know that the Israeli military has ordered now the evacuation of that

neighborhood, Al-Rimal in Gaza city, with people now fleeing to central Gaza, where uncertainty awaits them there as well.

SOARES: Let's talk about this new report, the humanitarian situation in this new report, Jeremy, about famine that could be cleared in northern

Gaza any time between now and May, we are starting to hear more criticism against Israel, not just from Philippe Lazzarini; the Commissioner-General

of UNRWA, who said today on X, that Israeli authorities denied his entry into Gaza, but also from the EU's chief diplomat who said this today, have

a listen to what Josep Borrell had to say.



the starvation is used as a weapon of war. Let's say that. And it's not a question of lack of sufficient supplies. We hear that there are several

months of food stocked on the Egyptian side. Several months of food is stocked.


SOARES: So, what has being then, Jeremy, the reaction from Israel, from the Netanyahu government to this criticism over aid and the restrictions of


DIAMOND: Well, Israel's Minister of Foreign Affairs responded directly to Josep Borrell on Twitter, saying that "Israel allows extensive humanitarian

aid into Gaza by land, air and sea for anyone willing to help." And then he goes on to say that Josep Borrell should stop attacking Israel and

recognize our right to self-defense against Hamas' crimes.

There is, of course, a clear evidence that Israel is not allowing sufficient humanitarian aid into Gaza, particularly into northern Gaza. We

have seen the pressure mounting on Israel including from its closest ally, the United States saying as well that Israel must do more to allow more aid

into Gaza.

And what is also clear, and what is undeniable is the reality on the ground of imminent famine, which is the wording that is now being used by the

leading authority on food security and nutrition, saying that 70 percent of northern Gaza's population is now in phase 5 of the IPC's food insecurity

scale, the top level of food insecurity, saying that famine could effectively break out in northern Gaza any time between now and the

beginning of May.

In central and southern Gaza, the reality is only slightly less grim, where they're saying that the worst-case scenario in terms of a risk for famine

could be in July 2024.


So, July of this year, nearly months away. So, what is clear is that much more humanitarian aid needs to get in, and the situation is rapidly

beginning to spiral out of control, something that will be unavoidable if more aid doesn't get into northern Gaza now, Isa --

SOARES: Indeed, Jeremy, appreciate it as always. Thank you. Well, Israel has repeatedly rebuffed U.S. calls to take greater steps to protect

Palestinian civilians. And now, more get -- aid into Gaza straining really, relations between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Joe Biden.

The leaders spoke by phone today for the first time in weeks, Mr. Biden's support of a powerful Jewish senator who criticized Mr. Netanyahu, no

doubt, deepened the rift. Chuck Schumer, if you remember, is calling for new elections in Israel. Here's how Mr. Netanyahu responded in an interview

with CNN.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: It's inappropriate for -- to go to a sister democracy and try to replace the elected leadership there.

That's something that Israel, the Israeli public does on its own, and we're not a banana republic. I think the only government that we should be

working on to bring down now is the terrorist tyranny in Gaza, the Hamas tyranny.


SOARES: But a former Israeli prime minister says Senator Schumer was speaking, quote, "truth to power". Ehud Barak is a fierce critic of

Benjamin Netanyahu and he joins us now. Mr. Barak, welcome back to the show. Let me pick up if I could with the -- your comments, for you reacting

to Senator Chuck Schumer's stinging speech, where he called Netanyahu an obstacle to peace.

You say that an election should be held ASAP, you say. You said Netanyahu is the problem, not Senator Schumer. How widely is the sentiment I wonder,

shared in Israel?

EHUD BARAK, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I think that basically Schumer told the truth, and it's time to start talking the truth in Israel itself.

I think he has all the justification to talk. He leads the biggest, most important Jewish community out of Israel.

American truly and the world truly, you know, Israeli prime minister always pretend to be the leader of the Jewish people. American truly, the great

stake in Israel, the stakeholders and their voice deserve to be heard especially when he told the truth. And you have all to understand,

Netanyahu is not Israel, period.

SOARES: Yes --

BARAK: Netanyahu is not Israel. Four out of five adults seem as responsible, being responsible for October 7th, the worst blunder in our

history. Three out of four adults in Israel want him to resign. He is technically -- he's still the elected prime minister, there's no doubt

about it, but he lost both his legitimacy and his moral or public support.

A just stick by halting alliance -- of unholy alliance of extremist that makes toppling him down technically a little bit more complicated than

expected. But I think that it will happen as well.

SOARES: Well, the U.S. has been as you well know, Mr. Barak, quietly counseling Netanyahu to do things differently in Gaza. If Netanyahu is not

listening, I wonder what the U.S. at this stage should be considering. I mean, one guest on our network said that President Biden perhaps could

address the Knesset and could address the Israeli people, that suggests there should be constraints on U.S. weapons to Israel. Are any of those

options viable in your view?

BARAK: I think that for President Biden to talk directly far from the public eye with Netanyahu and just telling him the truth. Basically

Netanyahu doesn't want the war, you know, it's quite embarrassing to follow, but members of his own cabinet, war cabinet, a General, now

politician named Ivan Kolb(ph) that the public trust much more than Netanyahu said that there are no strategic decisions made.

Netanyahu acts as if he felt his personal political survival, not the interest of Israel. And so, it's -- the criticism come from within his own

war cabinet. He doesn't make decisions. He start to drag the time, and, you know, it's unfortunate, but it probably will take more time.

I think that Biden did whatever Israel can expect. The first several days after October 7th, Netanyahu was totally out of balance, Biden stood firm,

he deterred Iran and Hezbollah.


At dawn(ph), he totally(ph), he failed the air-lift, he failed the aircraft carriers, he begged Israel, the U.N. Security Council, I cannot ask for

more, and I think that he deserved all the respect. Netanyahu mentioned that the -- why Americans didn't ask Bush Jr. to resign after --

SOARES: Mr. Barak, let me just interrupt you -- Mr. Barak, I'm sorry to interrupt you. I want to go to the White House because National Security

adviser Jake Sullivan is speaking. Let's just listen.

JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER, UNITED STATES: The women and the wounded tomorrow, there would be a six-week ceasefire. They put a proposal

on the table where they've added a series of other conditions as well. Now, the Israeli government has responded by saying they can't just accept that.

They regard some of those conditions is going too far, but that's what a negotiation is about. So, as we speak today in Qatar, you have teams from

Israel, Qatar and Egypt sitting down and banging through those details to try to arrive at an outcome over the next few days, where there is actually

a deal.

And we believe that those discussions are very live, that a deal is possible, that we should be able to achieve it, and that it is the best way

both to get hostages home and to alleviate the suffering of the civilians in Gaza. And from our perspective, we the United States are going to keep

pushing on that, and the president had the opportunity to discuss that with the prime minister today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Jake, why did the president feel that this was -- that, this was an appropriate time for this delegation to come from Israel?

And why did he feel that these conversations would succeed in ways that your outreach to the Israeli government have not previously?

SULLIVAN: Look, this is the natural evolution of a discussion between partners. We've had many discussions at many different levels between our

military, our Intelligence, our diplomats, our humanitarian experts, but we have not yet had the opportunity to have an all-encompassing,

comprehensive, integrated strategic discussion about how to achieve two things.

One, the ultimate defeat of Hamas, and two, the protection of civilians and the stabilization of Gaza in a way that will lead to the long-term security

of Israel as well as the protection of innocent human life that is in Gaza.

So, from the president's perspective, we've arrived at a point where each side has been making clear to the other, its perspective, its view, and

now, we really need to get down to brass tacks and have the chance for a delegation from each side on an integrated basis.

Everyone sitting around the same table, talking through the way forward. And from the U.S. perspective, this is not a question of defeating Hamas,

and any time, I hear an argument that says, if you don't smash into Rafah, you can't defeat Hamas.

I say that is a straw man. Our view is that there are ways for Israel to prevail in this conflict, to secure its long-term future, to end the terror

threat from Gaza and not smash into Rafah. That's what we're going to present in this integrated way when this team comes, we'll have a back-and-

forth and we'll let you know how that unfolds as we go forward. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you describe the tone of the call? There have been reports that they can be very tense, that they have ended abruptly. Can you

sort of characterize what the tone was, and then also, did the president say that an invasion of Rafah is his red line, and what does that mean?

SULLIVAN: I went over the red line issue, which I know is the obsession of this group last week, I've got nothing more to say on that front. As you

know, particularly for me, I think that's something that is posed in your questions, it's not stated as a declaration of our policy, and we've made

that clear.

With respect to the call, I'm probably not the best person to, you know, give a kind of assessment or body language and tone. I can confirm it did

not end abruptly. It ended in a totally normal way when they had each gotten through all of their points.

And I would say it was very business-like. Each of them recognize that we are at a critical moment in this conflict. They share a common objective,

that is for Israel to prevail over Hamas. And they have a different perspective on this operation in Rafah, and they went into some detail on

that, and had the opportunity really to elaborate each of their respective views in a full-throated way, in the way they always do when President

Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu talk.

So, in that sense, I would say this call was much like previous calls that the two of them have had. They each agreed to have the teams get together,

and then they agreed that the two of them would stay in touch as we go forward. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jake, the deadline for Israel to comply with the national security memorandum 20 is coming up on Sunday. Has Israel

responded in writing?

SULLIVAN: So, first, when you say to comply, what they have to do by Sunday is just provide credible and reliable assurances that they will abide by

their international obligations, not obligations we've imposed upon them, but obligations they have freely accepted with respect to international

humanitarian law, which of course, includes not arbitrarily impeding the flow of humanitarian assistance where they can control that.

So, I cannot tell you today or confirm today that they have provided that. Obviously, as you said, they have several more days before they have to do

so, and we anticipate that they will.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then on a related note, Jake, March 1st, President Biden said that he was going to insist that Israel facilitate more trucks

and more routs to get more people the help they need. On today's call, did he make that clear?


SULLIVAN: Well, even before today, the results of the President making clear that this was a priority for him and his team working that at a

detailed level operationally on the ground in Israel has resulted in certain steps, including the opening of a new gate that we have seen since

the President gave the State of the Union and work to flow more convoys to the north along the beach road as well, in addition to other steps like the

landing of the first ship through a maritime corridor on the beaches of Gaza and active work going forward to get that pier that the President

announced set up off the coast of Gaza as well.

So, we have taken steps. The President reaffirmed today the need for Israel to do everything in its power and even more than it has already done to

address the humanitarian crisis.

And obviously, we saw a U.N. report today, which Director Power of USAID spoke to quite eloquently. It's an alarming report about a possible

impending famine if everyone doesn't do their responsibility to ensure we address that. That starts first and foremost with Israel, who has an

obligation to step up and ensure that more is done to deliver food to starving people in northern Gaza.

But it's also incumbent on us, the United States, and the rest of the international community to step up as well. We're proud to be the largest

contributor of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, but there's more we can do and there's more others can do as well. This has to be an all-hands-on-deck

effort. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Jake. Given that alarming report that famine right now is imminent and the humanitarian catastrophe there, are

words enough when it comes to discussions with Israel? Does there need to be some conditions for military aid?

SULLIVAN: Well, first, obviously, words aren't enough. It's action that matters. And the action that matters is flowing trucks and ships' worth of

humanitarian assistance, particularly food, water, and medicine to people who are gravely in need of it, as elaborated in that report.

As I said in the last few days, we've seen some steps forward. We need to see those sustained. We need to see them built on. But ultimately, our

judgment comes down not to pledges or promises or words. It comes down to action. And we're going to continue to press on Israel to see the kind of

action we want to see. And then we're going to take responsibility to do our part. And that's, for example, what the temporary period is all about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But there are reports that more than 20 people have been killed in that hospital attack. How confident is the U.S. that Israel

is doing everything in its power to protect civilians?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd make three points about the reports of the attack at Al-Shifa Hospital overnight, last night, and into today.

First, Israel states that it was going after senior Hamas commanders and Hamas militants. And it is clear that Hamas fired back at Israel from that


Second, we have seen Hamas, over the course of this conflict, use civilian facilities, including hospitals, to store weapons for command and control

and to house fighters.

And that places an added burden on Israel that very few militaries have to deal with, an entrenched insurgency, a terrorist group using the shield of

civilian institutions to protect themselves during a fight rather than meeting Israel on some open field of battle.

And then third, it also tells us something else that of some concern that I spoke to in my opening comments. Israel cleared Shifa once. Hamas came back

into Shifa, which raises questions about how to ensure a sustainable campaign against Hamas so that it cannot regenerate, cannot retake

territory. And from our perspective, it is connecting Israel's objective to a sustainable strategy that is the vital thing we need to focus on right

now rather than have Israel go smash into Rafah. And that is what the President talked to the Prime Minister about today. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: During the call, did the President threaten at any point to withhold military aid to Israel if Israel moves into Rafah or a famine

does ensue in Gaza?

SULLIVAN: The President didn't make threats. What the President said today was, I want you to understand, Mr. Prime Minister, exactly where I am on

this. I am for the defeat of Hamas. I believe that they are an evil terrorist group with not just Israeli but American blood on their hands.

At the same time, I believe that to get to that, you need a strategy that works. And that strategy should not involve a major military operation that

puts thousands and thousands of lives, civilian, innocent lives at risk in Rafah. There is a better way. Send your team to Washington. Let's talk

about it. We'll lay out for you what we believe is a better way. And I will leave it at that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you talk about Senator Schumer's call for new elections and what did the President say about that?

SULLIVAN: So, the Prime Minister did raise his concerns about a variety of things that have come out in the American press. I'm not going to talk

specifically about any one of them because I want to, you know, let the Prime Minister speak for himself.


And also protect the discretion of the call. And I will just say that from President Biden's perspective, this is not a question of politics.

SOARES: And you have been listening there to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan talking, really giving us some details in terms of the call that

was had today between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the first time that both leaders have spoken in quite some time.

What is clear is that the U.S., this administration, is deeply concerned over plans for Rafah. The U.S. apparently hasn't seen -- hasn't been

presented by any plans and says that any major ground operation in Rafah would be a mistake.

In terms of the tone of the call where Jake Sullivan was asked about this, he said it didn't end abruptly and said it was businesslike. That to me

doesn't say like it isn't particularly a strong relationship, but they do share a common objective, of course that is, and putting it into Hamas, but

they have a different perspective on the operation in Rafah.

And before we went to the National Security Advisor, I was speaking to the former Prime Minister of Israel, Ehud Barak. Mr. Barak, I'm sure you were

listening in as we heard there from Jake Sullivan.

It's clear that that was -- I mean, it was described as a businesslike conversation, clearly perhaps a tense call. It seems this relationship

between both leaders has become somewhat acrimonious. And one of the glaring disagreements is what we were talking about -- what we just heard

there, is this proposed Israeli offensive in Rafah, which President Biden previously called it a red line in an interview with -- a red line -- and

we know that, pardon me, the Netanyahu has doubled down on that.

What happens? What will be the impact of this assault, not just for civilians and humanitarian causes, but also for the U.S.-Israeli relations?

BARAK: You know, I'm confident that following this conversation today between the President and the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister and the

Israeli government will consider very seriously, especially the -- especially the War Cabinet, the proposal and the issues raised by the


I'm confident that now, when we are talking, the Israeli government understands very well the need to solve, as soon as possible, the immediate

need for more supplies to Gaza. And I feel quite confident that it will be arranged within the next several weeks and it will change. About the --

SOARES: Yes, I was going to say, the Rafah operation, do you think that's still going to go ahead?

BARAK: No, I think that the humanitarian operation will be widened dramatically in the coming several weeks. And about the Rafah operation, it

should be clear to everyone, Israel has a compelling imperative to end this war with Hamas not reigning over Gaza and being unable to threaten Israel.

And there are disputes.

Americans think that it could be completed without going into Rafah. Israelis are less skeptical about it. But, you know, when you look at the

overall picture, I believe Israel has to make a decision.

In fact, it had to make it several months ago. We have a binary choice to make. Are we going with America, even if we say, yes, but we have a lot of

reservations, a lot of security interests, a lot of worries from our experience with Hamas in the past.

But the choice is whether to go with America, say yes, but, and sit behind closed doors to clarify exactly how to do it. America is leading an axis of

moderate against the axis of rogue states led by Iran and backed by Russia. And that's the choice.

Are we with America or with the racist, messianic extremists that holds this coalition?

SOARES: Mr. Ehud Barak, really appreciate you taking the time to stay with us as we, of course, were listening to that press conference, really

appreciate your analysis and perspective. Of course, we also heard that the Prime Minister Netanyahu will be sending a team to Washington to discuss

this Rafah plan. Thank you very much, sir.

We're going to take a short break. We'll be back on the other side.



SOARES: Well, attorneys for Donald Trump say the former president is not able to make the $464 million bond in the civil fraud judgment against him.

His lawyer told the New York Courts Appeals Court Trump can't find an insurance company to underwrite that bond. The former president and his

company have until next Monday to post the full bond.

CNN's Kara Scannell joins us now with more on this. So, Kara, I suppose the obvious question is, what happens if he can't get a bond? What does this


KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, if he doesn't get a bond, and if the Appeals Court doesn't step in to give him sort of this breathing room

that he's asking for, then it means the New York Attorney General's Office can move forward and try to enforce this judgment. And that could mean

moving to try to seize Donald Trump's bank accounts or some of the properties that he owns that are subject to this litigation.

So, that is what's at stake here right now. And part of Trump's effort today is to ask this New York Appeals Court group of judges to give him

time to not force him to post the $454 million he personally is on the hook for. His sons have about $10 million that they have to put up.

But in total, asking for time, saying, you know, they shouldn't be forced to put this amount of money up because it is so unheard of in terms of the

size of this judgment, and allow them to move forward and appeal this, and then afterwards saying the New York Attorney General's Office could still

seize the properties because he still owns them. He wouldn't be able to sell them secretly and would be able to collect and enforce the judgment


You know, the New York Attorney General's Office has opposed this. It's up to this Appeals Court now to decide what -- where they're going to go. We

expect a decision in that by the end of this month. But the deadline for Trump to come up with this bond is on Monday, one week from today.

And his lawyers have said that they approached 30 different insurance companies, none of them willing to underwrite the bond to take this big of

a risk. You know, some of them, they said some of the biggest insurance companies in the world have limits internally where they're only allowed to

secure a bond worth $100 million.


And then even among those, they're not willing to do it with taking real estate as collateral. They want cash. So, it's really going to be up to the

Appeals Court to define where this goes next, Isa.

SOARES: And I know you'll be keeping an eye on this, Kara Scannell. Appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And still to come tonight, Vladimir Putin spotted a rally in Red Square hours after clinching a landslide election victory. Why the West says Mr.

Putin's win is a total sham. We'll discuss next.


SOARES: And to Russia now, where Vladimir Putin has been out in Moscow's Red Square just hours after winning his fifth term as president. Mr. Putin

took home a remarkable 87 percent of the vote, but it's important to note there were no genuine opposition candidates running against him, and that's

because they've even be -- they're dead, jailed, or exiled.

Well, Putin -- Putin's allies, including China, North Korea, and Iran, have reportedly been reaching out to congratulate him, meaning, meantime, others

in the West are calling the result a sham.

Our Frederik Pleitgen has more for you.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A landslide victory for Vladimir Putin that was never in doubt, securing the Russian president a

fifth term in office and solidifying his grip on power with a record 87 percent of the vote.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): There are a lot of tasks ahead of us, but when we are consolidated, and I think now it is

understood to everyone, no matter how hard anyone tries to frighten us, whoever tries to suppress us, our will, our consciousness, no one has ever

managed to have done such a thing in history.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Both the U.S. and European countries are condemning the election. Any serious opposition candidates were banned in advance and

dissent effectively outlawed.

And yet, a surprising show of defiance, with protesters targeting dozens of polling stations across the country, setting fire to ballot boxes, pouring

dye into others. While in Berlin, Germany, thousands turned up at the Russian embassy following calls from the opposition to swarm polling


Including Yulia Navalnaya, widow of the late opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died suddenly in an Arctic penal colony last month. Navalnaya

said she wrote her husband's name on the election ballot and has vowed to continue his work.


And in his post-election address, Putin uttered Navalny's name for the first time, claiming he would have agreed to release him in a prisoner


PUTIN (voice-over): A few days before Mr. Navalny passed away, some colleagues asked me if there is an idea to exchange Mr. Navalny for some

people who are in prison in Western countries. Maybe you believe me, maybe you don't. The person who spoke to me had not finished his sentence yet

when I said I agree. But, unfortunately, what happened, happened.

There was only one condition that we will exchange him for, and that's not to come back.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Backlash not just from the U.S. and its allies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy describing the election as "a


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, ISRAELI PRESIDENT (through translator): These days, the Russian dictator is simulating another election. Everyone in the world

understands that this figure, as has often happened in history, has simply become addicted to power and is doing everything he can to rule forever.

There is no evil he will not commit to prolong his personal power, and there is no one in the world who is safe from this.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Russia's ally China, though, was quick to congratulate Putin's re-election, saying it "fully reflects the support of

the Russian people."

With no one standing in his way, Putin is now on course to rule for as long as Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.

SOARES: Let's get more on all this. Joining me now in London is Russian Investigative Journalist and author Andrei Soldatov. Andrei, thank you very

much for coming in.

ANDREI SOLDATOV, RUSSIAN INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Thank you for having me. I mean, Fred lined it up very clearly there. I mean, an election, landslide

victory, but there was really no opposition, no real alternatives and no real choice.

Why was this important for Putin?

SOLDATOV: Well, you're absolutely right, and to be honest, he is still quite popular in the country, and we see that his main selling point to

provide stability and prosperity to Russian society to some extent is still valid. We see that because of military spending, Russian regions are

getting more money and more sense of social justice, because now it's not only about Moscow, but also about regions, but it does make Putin less

paranoid. And we all understand the reason for that, because he's quite obsessed with Russian history, as we all know, and he is obsessed by the

history of Russian revolution.

So, for him, when you have a combination of the war and the political crisis, and every election they treat as a potential political crisis, they

think there might be some opportunity for a big trouble.

SOARES: So what should we expect from him for the next six years? I mean, we've already seen the last few months, a more emboldened Putin. What are

we likely to see? Do we -- do we hear anything from him today that gave us any insight of what the next six years may look like?

SOLDATOV: First of all, we see that he feels very confident, and according to Russian posters, his popularity is on the rise, despite of -- to --

SOARES: Despite the wars.

SOLDATOV: Despite the wars, people still respect him because he gives him a sense of purpose and a sense of pride, because he skillfully changed the

narrative he had in 2022.

Back then, it was about big Russia being completely humiliated by a small Ukraine. Now it's about one country standing in a fight for more than two

years with the entire West. And to be honest, I expect, unfortunately, that this war would last more and more years.

SOARES: Did he talk about the mobilization? I mean, if he's talking about the war going on longer, did he talk about full mobilization? How does that

sit with the Russians? Or did he not even go there? Because that is a very difficult, awkward topic.

SOLDATOV: Yes, it is a very sensitive topic. And nobody wants to get mobilized, to be honest.

But Putin found a way how to attract people and to actually tell them that he's going to pay a lot of money if they agree to go to the war. And for

many --

SOARES: Or pay the families.

SOLDATOV: Families and soldiers. And it is, to some families, a win-win. Even if the husbands get killed, they might get a lot of money, which is

enough in some regions to buy an apartment or even a house.

SOARES: So in terms of those who have been voting out this landslide victory, what were the most important issues? Was it economy? Was it health

services? What mattered most to Russians in this election?

SOLDATOV: I think the most important thing is this idea of being in a fight with the West.

And we need to unite together because we are not, well, standing in this fight against the whole world.

SOARES: So very much his rhetoric?

SOLDATOV: Yes. Unfortunately, people understand this kind of logic. Because the economy is still doing quite well. There is a big problem with

security. With all these drone attacks and all refineries being set on fire almost on a daily basis.


It is an issue. But lots of people are still ready to accept that.

SOARES: And we have seen, and we saw in that threat package, some acts of defiance. What happens then if, you know, in a country that is increasingly

repressive, what happens to that voice, those who are unhappy inside Russia? Where do they go? How does the opposition rise up?

SOLDATOV: It is extremely brave of these people to go and to do what they did because these people are immediately identified.

And we know that now they face at least up to five years in prison just for having sometimes a lighter and a pencil. So, it is quite marking for these


The good thing is that despite the fact that Navalny was killed, his organization and some of the networks of Russian activists are still there.

So, these people are still there despite the fact that many left.

SOARES: Andrei, really appreciate you coming in, taking the time to speak to us and hanging on to the end of the show. Thank you very much.

SOLDATOV: Thank you.

We are running out of time. Thank you very much for your company. Do stay right here. I'm sure my colleague, Jim Sciutto, will have much more on the

Russian elections. Of course, that landslide win for Mr. Putin. Do stay right here. "NEWSROOM" is up next. I'll see you tomorrow. You're watching