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Isa Soares Tonight

Antony Blinken Says 100 Percent Of Gaza Is At Severe Levels Of Acute Food Insecurity; Violence Explodes In Haiti's Capital Port-Au-Prince; Thousands At Risk Of Starvation Amid Sudanese Civil War; Hearing On Afghanistan Disengagement Held By U.S. House Committee; Amidst Sudan's Civil Strife, Thousands In Danger Of Famine; Texas Allowed To Enforce Contentious Immigration Legislation By The Supreme Court; Princess Kate Spotted Shopping; U.S. Government Funding Achieved A Tentative Agreement; 2024 U.S. Elections; Battleground States Now Holding Primary Elections; Nevada Marks The Beginning Of Biden's Pivotal Western State Tour; Former Senior Trump Advisor Starts Jail Term. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken

urges Israel to provide more assistance to Gaza amid urgent warnings of famine.

I will speak to the UNICEF who are in Rafah about the situation on the ground. Then violence explodes in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince. We have a

unique look at what life is like for Haitians. They're living in fear. Plus, a closer look at Sudan's civil war.

We have an exclusive CNN investigation into the tactics used by RSF militias to force people to enlist. But first this evening, Israel is

pressing ahead with its assault on Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza city as a doctor inside the complex calls for urgent intervention, warning the

hospital could turn into a mass grave.

The IDF says it's killed 50 quote, "terrorists' in close-range combat so far, it accuses Hamas of using the hospital as cover. Tens of thousands of

displaced Palestinian civilians are seeking shelter there. One woman trapped inside told CNN that Israeli forces are firing on people who look

out at windows or try to leave their rooms.

And the raid comes amid a new push for a ceasefire. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit Egypt and Saudi Arabia this week after the latest

talks in Qatar ended with no breakthrough. Today, Blinken talked about a new report on the famine, stalking Palestinian civilians. Listen to what he



ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: Hundred percent of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That's the

first time an entire population has been so classified.


SOARES: And the U.N. Human Rights chief is putting the blame on Israel. Volker Turk says its extensive restrictions on humanitarian aid could

amount to starvation as a weapon of war, which is a war crime. I want to bring in Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem for more on these threats.

And Jeremy, we've heard some very stark terminology there from the U.S. Secretary, U.S. Secretary Blinken, U.S.' closest ally, of course, which

speaks to the growing frustration I believe in Washington when Netanyahu's management of the war in Gaza and his failure, perhaps to do more to allow

aid deliveries into Gaza.

What has been the response from the Netanyahu camp? What are they doing to try and open these land crossings?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Israeli Prime Minister himself addressed some of this criticism coming from the United

States and other countries over the weekend, insisting that the Israeli policy is not to have famine, but in his words, to allow the entry of

humanitarian support as needed and as much as needed.

But in the past, even he and other Israeli officials have made very clear that they were indeed trying to allow only the very bare minimum into Gaza

as part of a policy that they have been executing during this war in Gaza.

We have seen the Israeli government begin to allow some more aid via new avenues. They opened up a kind of a test project to allow aid into

northern Gaza directly from Israel. We've only seen a few trucks go in, in via that route. They've also, of course, been cooperating with

organizations as well as other countries, so, opened up this Maritime corridor.

So, clearly, they're starting to get the message, but they are not yet doing enough. That's according, of course, to aid organizations on the

ground. But of course, also these international organizations who are increasingly accusing as the European Union's chief of Foreign Affairs

officer did, accusing the Israeli government of using starvation as a weapon of war.

And the facts on the ground, the reality that people are going through is simply undeniable, made all the more stark by this latest report by the

leading global food security authority, which said that half of Gaza's population is now on the brink of far -- of starvation, and that famine is

set to arrive in northern Gaza any day now.

SOARES: Yes, that is very concerning, indeed, what we have been seeing in terms of the warnings, we've been seeing a famine in the north of Gaza. And

of course, at the start of the conflict, Jeremy, some women, I believe from Gaza, who are facing risky pregnancies were sent to Israel.


I wonder what the upgrade -- the update is here, five-and-a-half months into this conflict. What is next for them? I know you've been speaking to

some of them.

DIAMOND: Yes, I went to Makassed Hospital the other day to meet with these three mothers and their five babies who were all just a few days older than

the war itself. They came to Jerusalem as -- getting permission to come here from Gaza because of their high risk pregnancies, they gave birth here

and they have been stuck here ever since.

They have been torn during that time between longing for their families in Gaza, wanting to be by their side. But of course, the terror of having to

go back there, but this week, they will indeed be sent back by the Israeli government, and they are uncertain and afraid of what awaits them.


DIAMOND (voice-over): Little Sarah(ph) is barely six months old, born in east Jerusalem, all she knows is the safety of this hospital room. This

week, that will be torn away, war will become her new reality. "I might go back and invade Rafah", her mother Nima(ph) says, "I'll be the one

responsible for anything that harms them.

If I go back with the twins, where do I go with them? Where would I get diapers and milk. Gaza is not the same anymore." For nearly six months,

these three mothers have been living, sleeping and nursing their five babies in this hospital room together.

Before the war, their high-risk pregnancies made them eligible to leave Gaza and give birth in Jerusalem hospitals. But now, they've packed their

bags after learning that the Israeli government is sending them back to Gaza, where Israel's brutal military campaign has made survival a daily


Hanan(ph), the mother of twins says she's scared of going back to Gaza without a ceasefire. There are diseases spreading, infections, she says,

it's not a normal life. They will be among the 22 Palestinians set to be bused on Wednesday to the Kerem Shalom Crossing in the south. Her husband

is in the north, and Hanan(ph) is still trying to find a place to live.

Despite that uncertainty, Asthma(ph) wants to return to Gaza. "My daughter is there, she needs me", Asthma(ph) says. "Every time she speaks to me, she

asks when I'm coming back. Every time, there's an airstrike, children go to hug their mothers, mine has no one to hug."

At nearby Augusta, Victoria Hospital, nearly 50 Gazan cancer patients have been receiving treatments since before October 7th, watching from afar as

their families endure the horrors of war. For Mohammed(ph), one of the ten who are in remission and being sent back to Gaza, being far away from his

son, Hamza(ph) who is blind, has been the hardest to bear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly the case.

DIAMOND: But going back is also terrifying. "I'm torn", he says, "the only wish I have in life is to go back home. I regret even coming here for

treatment, I wish I could be with them because I know how they need me." In a statement, the Israeli agency in charge of their returns, had patients

who have received medical treatment, and who are not in need of further medical care are returned to the Gaza Strip.

After more than two months of pushing back on Israeli demands, Dr. Fadi Atrash says he was ordered to compile a list of patients to be sent back to

Gaza this week.

FADI ATRASH, CEO, AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL: We don't want to send them, but it's not our call at all at the end of the day.

DIAMOND: Now, he fears for his patients.

ATRASH: All the support, all the efforts that we have been -- we have been putting to try to cure them or to put them in a good condition, or to

improve their quality of life will be lost, because there is no care in Gaza. There is no hospitals, there is no healthcare. The system is totally


DIAMOND: The mothers are preparing for their journey. They bought sweets and toys for the children who are waiting for them. "If they want to throw

away all my belongings, they can, but not this bag for my daughter." It is all they can bring for the children who have endured so much in six months,

and the babies who will soon learn the reality of war far too young.


SOARES: What a choice for those families, our thanks to Jeremy Diamond there. Well, the charity World Central Kitchen says life-saving food aid

brought to Gaza by boat has now reached families facing starvation. It says nearly 200 tons of food were distributed in northern Gaza supplying 500,000



And while it's a welcome sight, of course, it's just eight trucks. Eight trucks worth of aid. Many more trucks are waiting to enter Gaza held up at

the border. UNICEF's spokesperson James Elder visited the Rafah Crossing to show the world that in his words, while famine is so terrifyingly close,

life-saving supplies are infuriatingly even close. Have a look at this.


JAMES ELDER, SPOKESPERSON, UNICEF: Outrageous how many life-saving supplies are so desperately close to those who need them. Food, water, medicines,

life-saving supplies, because we know just across there in the border, children have died of malnutrition.

Children have died of dehydration. These are the supplies that so urgently need to get across into the civilians of Gaza.


SOARES: And James Elder is now inside Gaza in Rafah and he joins us live. James, good to see you, thank you, welcome back on the show. Look, in that

clip that we just played there for our viewers to see, you called that outrageous, that there's a long line of trucks with aid waiting to get in

while Gazans, of course, are starving inside as we have reported day-in- day-out on the show. Give us a perspective, James, from inside Rafah, what are people up against?

ELDER: Everything, Isa, it's just a great fear things would somehow continue to deteriorate, and that's what we're seeing now. I'm in the south

where we have got more aid than the north, still nowhere near what children need. And you can see the gauntness in children. You can see the despair on

the streets.

You can hear the drones in the sky and other sense of psychological trauma that children know that drones drop bombs here. I mean, I promised myself,

Isa, I'd never get to the point of saying, you know, we can't describe this. We must find ways today. I just wished I could have just captured the

number of moms who just breathe at me in tears, just simply in tears because they are running out of ways to protect their children from

starvation and from the bombs.

They're doing everything they can, Isa, but they know decisions about their children's safety are being made elsewhere.

SOARES: Yes, and look, I want to focus on the children because the levels of malnutrition, dehydration are a huge concern. Catherine Russell, of

course, who is the UNICEF executive director said this in the last few days, James, "I've been in wards of children who are suffering from severe

anemia, malnutrition. The whole ward is absolutely quiet because the children, the babies don't even have the energy to cry", she said.

I mean, I wonder inside these hospitals, James, do they have the means to treat these children and this malnutrition? What have you been hearing from

your teams there?

ELDER: It's a great question. On one hand, no, quite simply no, because again, we are not able to get the supplies we need. We've reached a point

now with imminent famine that we need to flood the Gaza Strip. So, the Gaza Strip has received a fraction over five months of the aid that these

children need.

Now, we need to flood it. That is simply not happening. So, no, they don't. Not only do the hospitals not have what they need, but two-thirds of them

are in no way functioning, and those that are partially functioning -- I went today, Isa, to Nasser Hospital, it's a place I spent a lot of time at

when I was last here, biggest functioning hospital in the south, incredible health staff, despite how many children had malnutrition or how many

children had the wounds of war, it's no longer.

I mean, it's physically there. But there are no patience whatsoever, no one sheltering in Khan Yunis; the suburb where Nasser Hospital is --

SOARES: And we're looking at your video from Khan Yunis right now, it's total destruction from what I can see. Thank you for that video, James, go

ahead, continue.

ELDER: Yes, I've never seen anything like that. I honestly -- I just in my 20 years, I don't think I've seen that devastation almost combined. Every

street we turned down, that's what Khan Yunis look like, that's what Gaza city looks like. Now, this segues into this idea that there might be an

offensive, Isa, in Rafah now, which is a city of children.

Rafah, where today I've been and families everywhere who once had homes and regular living rooms and kids with bedrooms, now sleeping on the streets

twice the population density of New York City, but no one is in a high-rise -- an offensive there. I mean, it's -- that's catastrophic, it's obviously

an offensive idea. But these are the terrifying thoughts that are being shared right now.

SOARES: Yes, and one thing that we have heard time and time again from Prime Netanyahu is that, you know, doubling-down on this offensive that

this will happen, clearly, a red line as we've heard from the United States in the last few days, James.

But Netanyahu has been saying that they'll be moving Gazans from Rafah to humanitarian enclaves. What does that mean? Where would they go?

ELDER: I mean, you go north. If you just -- your viewers, Isa, saw those pictures of Khan Yunis, that's what it looks like up north. So, let's be

real on this in the same way that we were promised safe zones.


But unfortunately, they never were safe, and families in Rafah can testify to that as they hear the drones again now, hope to go north. These families

would apparently to go -- go to the north. They would go to areas that look like Khan Yunis too. There is no way -- we have to be clear on this. We at

least have to deal with the truth of the situation, and it is catastrophic hunger for children, disease like we've never seen.

These two things together are a nightmare for children, and 90 percent of children we think have some sort of infectious disease. And to move people

again, you're moving them to nowhere, middle areas --

SOARES: Right --

ELDER: There is horrendous damage of sewage, so, no ceasefire, Isa, ceasefire.

SOARES: Look, you're talking about the truth here. And I think we -- what we have been seeing, you can correct me, I would like to get your

perspective on this. We have been seeing more aid, air-drop packages, the planning of Maritime corridors, the building potentially here of peers,

when really as we've heard on the show from various NGOs and from the United States as well.

This should be a compliment too, and not a substitute for, James, these overland routes. We know the U.S. is continuing to press Prime Minister

Netanyahu on aid. I want to play to you what Netanyahu told CNN just in the last few days. Have a listen to this.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: We have increased the number of trucks entering the north. I don't think -- I think I'm up-to-date, and I

know these numbers. And we know that there is a -- there is an increase, but we also know that we have a job to do to prevent the looting.

Because, you know, at the end, we bring in the trucks, including to the north, and then they're looted by remaining Hamas terrorists.


SOARES: What do you say to that on the question of looting?

ELDER: Well, there is no doubt there is desperation among people, but there is a way that you stop their desperation is to ensure that when people see

a truck, a flour, it's not the first food they've seen for two weeks. And they know they'll see more of the following day. You know, it's not

looting, it's just desperation from people --

SOARES: Yes --

ELDER: And the vast majority of aid will get to those civilians. The hospitals I've seen in the north, where you give aid to, you know, 70-year-

old matron who knows the entire community, I'll go again on an aid convoy on Thursday to the north. So, the fact is that, yes, there's insecurity,

there's insecurity in Afghanistan and on the border areas of Ukraine and the Russian federation.

We deal in these places. We know how to do aid distributions. The fact is, for weeks in the north, we weren't able to do any aid distribution. So,

yes, if I was a father, as you saw those parents -- if I was a father, I hadn't seen food for three weeks, I'd jump on a truck, and that's what's

been happening.

We need to guarantee for the families there, the civilians which make up the bulk of people, the civilians that they are going to see aid day-after-

day, not once in a few weeks.

SOARES: Yes, and that clearly speaks to the utter desperation for so many families really trying to keep themselves alive, but also their children

alive. James Elder as always, really appreciate your time, thank you very much, James.

Now, the Dominican Republic is responding to the chaos in neighboring Haiti. The two countries share the Caribbean Island, but the Dominicans

have been reluctant to open their borders to a new wave of refugees. The Dominican Foreign Minister spoke to CNN in the last hour. Here's what he

had to say.


ROBERTO ALVAREZ, FOREIGN MINISTER, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Armed intervention by itself does not solve the Haitian problem or any country's problem for

that matter. It's only the Haitians themselves that will eventually, they will have to pulled themselves by the bootstraps eventually.

And they are the only ones who can do it. However, in order to get to that point where you can have certain level of peace, security, some basic law

and order for that today, international assistance is required.


SOARES: Well, CNN's David Culver and his team have been reporting from inside the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, as we brought you the story all

this week. He has this look at a city scarred by gang violence.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Port-au-Prince feels post- apocalyptic.

(on camera): This is basically the aftermath of a warzone.

(voice-over): Driving through the battlegrounds between gangs and police, we dodged massive craters and piles of burning trash. The police controlled

these roads leading to Haiti's international airport for today, at least. It's been shut for weeks out-front. Checkpoints to search for suspected

gang members and an armored truck to keep watch.

It sits beaten and battered. Less than a month ago, we flew in and out on commercial flights here. Now, it's desolate. The country is in chaos,

essentially held hostage by gangs eager to expand their reign of terror. Over the weekend, more businesses looted and cars stolen, gangs leaving

behind a scorched path of ruin.


We're headed to one of the last remaining hospital trauma centers that's still functioning in Port-au-Prince.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: February 29th was probably the worst.

CULVER: And as soon as we meet one of the doctors, a call comes in.

(on camera): Go ahead if you need to get it.

(voice-over): A gunshot victim heading into surgery, he takes us to him.

(on camera): Most of those cases that are brought here are gunshot victims from the gang violence.

(voice-over): With the patient's family giving us permission, we go in as staff prepare to operate. We're told the 24-year-old truck driver was

caught in a crossfire between police and gangs.

(on camera): The doctor is showing me here images that are very disturbing, but they show an entry wound of a bullet, basically around the temple and

went right through and caused damage to at least one eye.

(voice-over): The doctor tells us, the man's lost vision in both eyes. Another bullet hit his arm.

(on camera): And so, they will have to amputate his arm?



CULVER (voice-over): We peer into the ICU, it's full.

(on camera): Are most of these gunshot victims?


CULVER: All of them are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's in pain, she feels the pain in her leg.

CULVER: And so, how did it happen? Where were you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was going to the market.

CULVER (voice-over): Eighty six years old, a reminder, no one is shielded from the violence that's gripped Haiti's capital in recent weeks. Police

are exhausted. One local commander telling me, morale is broken and that the gangs have more money and resources than they do. Low on ammo, their

squad cars out of gas. It is personal for the commander.

(on camera): He was forced out with his family from their own home. And now, this is his home, essentially.

(voice-over): The police, at least, in this community, do have backup in the form of local residents.

(on camera): Do you feel like gangs are trying to move in and take this area?


CULVER (voice-over): What many community leaders call for peace, they admit they're tired of feeling threatened so much so, some have created their own

checkpoints and barricades, staff 24/7, redirecting traffic and determining who comes in. Not everyone gets out.

(on camera): You can see right here at this intersection, there's a massive burn pile. This is actually where the community takes justice into their

own hands, about a week ago is the most recent such case. They captured four suspected gang members. They brought them here, killed them with

machetes and set their bodies on fire.

(voice-over): The gruesome vigilante acts recorded in part as a warning to the gangs, but even amid utter turmoil, life moves forward, and with it,

moments to celebrate. Outside the church, these bridesmaids excitedly awaiting their cue to walk down the aisle. Port-au-Prince is a city now

shattered by the relentless blast of violence that have forced more than 300,000 of its residents out of their homes.

(on camera): Why are you staying here? Where's your home in this facility?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right up there.

CULVER (voice-over): They take refuge in places like this school classrooms turned dorm rooms where more than 1,500 people cram in.

(on camera): So, she's showing us, this is all her stuff --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's her stuff --

CULVER: She was able to bring --


CULVER: And this is where she is set up right now --

(voice-over): In the classroom next door, we meet this woman, her husband killed by gang members. She and her five-year-old, like many here have been

forced to move every few weeks. "We're sleeping hungry. We're in misery", she tells me. We'd probably be better off dead than living this life.

(on camera): Adding to the complication for those folks is the reality that they are not only facing threats from gangs, but as they describe it to me,

they're also been ostracized from the communities in which they are now essentially camping out in.

They say those neighbors don't want them there, and will likewise attack them because they feel like having these refugees now within their

community is drawing the gangs' attention and potentially bringing more violence to their homes. David Culver, CNN, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, the clock is ticking, negotiators on Capitol Hill are facing a serious time crunch with the U.S. government

shutdown looming. Plus, a hearing in the U.S. about the chaos surrounding in the military withdrawal from Afghanistan. We'll have a live report next.

You are watching CNN.



SOARES: And breaking news just into CNN. The U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for Texas to enforcing a controversial immigration law. It

basically allows state officials to arrest as well as detain people they suspect of entering the country illegally.

The bill was signed into law by Texas Governor Greg Abbott back in December. And it has raised concerns of among other things, increased

racial profiling in Texas. Just news coming in, the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared the way for Texas to begin enforcing this controversial immigration


We'll stay across, as soon as there are any more developments, we will of course, bring out to you. And staying in the U.S., a hearing is underway

examining the military's withdrawal from Afghanistan. The House Foreign Affairs Committee is looking at the chaos surrounding the fall of Kabul and

the Biden administration's role in it.

General Mark Milley started his comments by acknowledging the families of those who died and how the withdrawal and their deaths was personal for

him. He then stated the only -- he only supported withdrawal if certain conditions were met. Have a listen to this.


MARK MILLEY, FORMER CHAIMAN OF JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Without this support, it was my view at the time that it was only a matter of when, not if, the

Afghan government would collapse and the Taliban would take control. Again, I previously, publicly testified, and I consistently supported a negotiated

end to the war, but only if there was a reduction in violence leading to a permanent ceasefire, and there were Afghan-to-Afghan negotiations leading

to a power-sharing agreement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

And it was my view that absent those conditions, I was not in favor of a unilateral withdrawal of U.S. forces because of my assessment of the

associated costs and risks.


SOARES: Let's get more on all of this. Joining us now is Oren Liebermann who's been listening in. I did see that Mark Milley said this is personal

to me -- you have been listening to what else has been said. Just talk us through the key lines here, Oren.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Isa, we have heard from these two Generals before, General Mark Milley, who you saw right there as well

as General Frank McKenzie, who at the time was the commander of U.S. Central Command.

And both reiterated their recommendation that at the time they said the U.S. should keep 2,500 to 4,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, that in and of

itself would have come with coalition troops as well. They have said in the past, they feel their opinions, their recommendations were heard, but

ultimately it was the Biden administration that went in a different direction, withdrawing from Afghanistan.

They said that, that was a decision that had to come as a result of the Trump administration's deal with the Taliban. Now, one of the questions

here was, would we hear more from these two retired Generals because they're now civilians. They have retired from the military and are no

longer bound by the same sorts of requirements.

Now, one of the interesting points they have gone on to make is that they both blasted the State Department for waiting too long to order a non-

combatant evacuation order. That is a State Department decision. They said, the DOD, the Defense Department, planned that for months in advance, what

it would take, how it would look, the forces it would take. But ultimately, they can't do anything until the State Department orders what's known as a

NEO, a Noncombatant Evacuation Order.


And the State Department waited to make that order because they didn't want to signal to the Afghan government, the Afghan people, that they had lost

faith in the, in the ability of the Afghan government to hold together. And it was that delay that is part of what contributed to the chaotic

withdrawal from Afghanistan.

So, in the past, we have heard both Milley and McKenzie say they were waiting on the State Department. Here, we heard it clearer than I think

we've heard in the past, how much that contributed to the issues with how this all played out in the end, Isa.

SOARES: Yes. And, Oren, I mean, Biden supporters will say that, you know, Republicans are seizing on this chance to come down on the president. What

are we expecting to come out? I mean, what else after this is done, this U.S. House committee, what happens next?

LIEBERMANN: So, the chair of this House committee representative Mike -- Michael McCaul, a Republican, has his own ongoing investigation into the

Afghanistan withdrawal, that's been going on for years. Who knows when it will come out or what will come out of it. But that is clearly an ongoing

effort here. And there are family members of those who were killed in the Abbey Gate bombing in the closing days of the withdrawal.

But you're right that Democratic lawmakers ripped this as a political hearing. In fact, one of those representative Sherman said this was

initially called Biden's strategic failure. And he says, it was his understanding that Milley and McKenzie refused to testify if that was the

title of this.

So, you have clear accusations of this being a political show with nothing new in it. That it's simply a chance for McCaul and other Republicans to

try to score political points by, again, hammering the Biden administration on the withdrawal.

SOARES: Yes, and that hearing is underway as you were speaking. We're looking at live images. I know you'll stay across it for us. Oren,

appreciate it. Thank you very much.

And still to come tonight, thousands in Sudan are at risk of starvation. CNN gets an exclusive look inside the ongoing civil war and the harsh

ultimatum many children are facing, that is next.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

We now turn to the deadly civil war happening in Sudan. After nine months, more than 13,000 people have been killed and more than 7 million have left

their homes. In an exclusive report, CNN found that the Rapid Support Forces militia is forcing civilians, including children, into a deal with

the devil, enlist or starve.

CNN's Chief International Investigative Correspondent Nima Elbagir has a story for you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The heroes are everywhere in Al Jazira.

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Propaganda video from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, the RSF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): For much of the last year, they have slashed and burned their way through the country. This video shows them triumphant and

entrenched in the very heart of Sudan, Al Jazira State.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): And they are recruiting local men in the hundreds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I declare joining the RSF.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): But it's impossible to tell who here is a willing soldier and who has been forcibly conscripted. Eyewitnesses have told CNN

that RSF soldiers are giving civilians an ultimate, enlist or starve. Our investigation shows how almost 700 men and 65 children have been forcibly

recruited to swell RSF ranks, and that's just what we've been able to verify in Jazeera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): A lion cub.

ELBAGIR (voice-over): Across Sudan, reports and images like this one are emerging. Children in RSF uniforms. As across Sudan, millions forced from

their homes by violence now face famine. CNN spoke to three dozen eyewitnesses, survivors and the families of victims. The RSF, they say, is

weaponizing hunger, denying food to those who won't join.

Aid groups say almost 4 million children in Sudan are already malnourished as the country faces mass starvation. If aid agencies can't get food to

those in need, almost a quarter of a million children could die. Jazira is Sudan's breadbasket. It's heartland. To control this part of Sudan is to

exert control over who lives and who dies.

The RSF deny they are responsible for the hunger gripping the country. Yet, they control every aspect of farming this land. They control the warehouses

of food and aid meant to support the most vulnerable. They control the seed supplies, fertilizer, pesticides, agricultural machinery and irrigation


And it's not just the infrastructure. Farmers are being targeted, brutalized, degraded, and even killed. Not just to control food, but to

force allegiance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in a foreign language).

ELBAGIR (voice-over): You hear shots off camera as six of the men are executed, according to survivors who spoke to CNN. Those who were spared

say the RSF threatened to starve their families if they didn't join.

The RSF sit in the heart of Sudan, hoarding food meant for millions. From here they can wait out, starve out Sudan's people and its army. Fear,

uncertainty, despair cascade as the months of war drag on and the world looks away.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


SOARES: And the RSF did not respond to our request for comments. CNN shared these findings with the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of

Slavery, who said the evidence we uncovered of forced enlistment is tantamount to contemporary slavery.

I want to return to our breaking news that we brought you in the last 10 minutes or so. The U.S. Supreme Court clearing the way for the state of

Texas to begin enforcing its controversial immigration law.


We're joined now by CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic and White House Correspondent Arlette Saenz. Arlette, first to you, if we

could, could you just give me a sense of what the White House, if the White House, is reacting to this and how it's reacting?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Isa, officials at the White House are still combing through this decision from the Supreme Court,

but it's certainly a disappointment for the Biden administration.

The Justice Department had long argued that as before, this immigration law enacted by the state of Texas would contradict the years of precedence

where the federal government was in charge of immigration enforcement. The White House has called this unconstitutional and has pushed back on this

specific law waiting for this court to make a decision.

Now, President Biden right now is traveling in Reno, Nevada. He just speaking -- finished speaking at an event with campaign workers and

volunteers, so we will see whether the president directly will have any comments on this in the coming hours. But it does come as we have seen

these clashes between the federal government and the state of Texas over the issue of border security.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott taking several steps, including with the state of Texas passing this immigration law which would allow its state agents to

arrest people that they suspect have entered the U.S. illegal, that is something -- illegally, that is something that is typically been left to

the federal government.

Of course, there will still be an appeals process, a legal process that plays out as other challenges are being made to this law. But it does come

at a tense moment when it comes to border security policy, especially within the 2024 campaign. We have seen Republicans really tried to use the

issue of the U.S. southern border against President Biden, trying to turn this into a major liability for him heading into the election at a time

when immigration and border security has really risen among the top concerns for American voters heading into November.

President Biden, of course, had pushed for that bipartisan border security bill, something that was negotiated over in the Senate, but ultimately was

squashed by Republicans at the urging of Former President Donald Trump.

So, this enforcement of the law certainly will be a disappointment for the Biden administration. We are still awaiting official reaction, but it comes

at a very tense moment around the debate relating to border security policy and what President Biden has or hasn't done in the views of many

Republicans relating to that issue.

SOARES: Yes, and it's a concern for many Americans, as we've seen in the polls, of course. Thank you very much, Arlette.

Joan, let's go to you. If you -- I wonder if you could break it down for our viewers right around the world. The immigration law here, what is being

suggested, what is being imposed?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SENIOR SUPREME COURT ANALYST: It's very strong measures by a state, and that's what's so unprecedented here. Now, the fact that a

state is trying to have its own power over immigration, which has traditionally been the domain of the federal government, and also the

Supreme Court's intervention at this time. The Supreme Court's action, it might be short lived over the long haul if this law is eventually struck

down, but for now, it's the first time it's allowed a law like this to take effect.

And, you know, Arlette just said that the administration's, you know, combing over the opinion. The administration is not going to see the

Supreme Court's rationale. The majority did not explain itself. There were two justices who concurred, who basically said, let's let the lower court

decision on the law take effect at this point.

But let me just tell you what the three dissenters said, and I think it gives the context of the dispute here between the federal government and

the states. Justices Sotomayor and Jackson wrote, today, the court further invites chaos and crisis in immigration enforcement. Texas passed a law

that directly regulates the entry and removal of non-citizens and explicitly instructs its state courts to disregard any ongoing federal

immigration proceedings. That law upends the federal state balance of power that has existed for over a century.

And then the third liberal Justice Elena Kagan added, the subject of immigration generally and the entry and removal of non-citizens

particularly are matters long thought to be the special province of the federal government.

And that's the real clash here. You know, everyone knows there's this terrible crisis at the border. A lot of, you know, lives at stake. And I

think people recognize that it's a problem for Texas. The question is, who should have authority here? And this is the first time that a state is

going to be able to take the matter into its own hands.

As I said, the proceedings on the merits are going to continue to play out. A lower federal court, the Fifth Circuit, is going to hear oral arguments

on the merits on April 3rd, but there could be many, many more months of this law being enforced to one extent or another before there's any kind of



SOARES: Yes. And then I'm guessing in terms of arresting, deporting, what measures are we looking at here, and penalties that people could face here?

BISKUPIC: Yes. Well, the law, as I said, this would be the first time it would be enforced and it does allow state officials to arrest and detain

people who they suspect of entering the country illegally. And, you know, there have been provisions and statements from Texas officials of places

that they won't try to arrest people. But a lot of that is still up in the air, only because this will be the first time it's actually employed.

And, you know, there probably will be some places that will be safe for folks, but the criticism from the immigrant rights groups that have

complained about this is that it will increase racial profiling. Remember, you know, there are about 40 percent Latino in the state of Texas.

SOARES: Yes, and that is one concern that we've heard throughout this.


SOARES: Joan, really appreciate it. Thank you very much.


SOARES: Some may say even a blow to President Biden, of course, on an issue that has been really defined this election campaign.

BISKUPIC: So true.

SOARES: Really appreciate it, Joan. Thank you very much. We'll stay across this thanks to you.

Still to come tonight, meantime, Princess Kate has been spotted out shopping near her home. Will this end the speculation about her

whereabouts? We'll have the very latest for you, that is next.


SOARES: Well, up to rampant speculation about her whereabouts, Catherine, the Princess of Wales, has been spotted out. This video was taken on

Saturday in the family home in Windsor. It appears to show, as you can see there, Princess Catherine out with Prince William at the local farm shop.

Our Max Foster has the latest for you.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Smiling, happy and seemingly healthy. New video, not sanctioned by the palace, but

reassuring royalists that the couple are well. British tabloids also celebrating Kate's re-emergence and apparent recovery from surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's good to see that she's back and, hopefully she's doing well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure that it will be quite nice for her to walk around, do some shopping with her husband.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't really have any doubts. I don't know. Just a bit of a weird one, isn't it?

FOSTER (voice-over): Weird because of the conspiracy theories that have swamped social media in recent weeks, filling a void of information from

the palace. And the video did nothing to quell them, as it was accused of being fake. Trust in any royal imagery undermined in part by Kensington

Palace itself after it sent out not one, but two, doctored photos to the news media. Both taken by the princess.


Kate's edited Mother's Day photo manipulated in several places. And now this one, released last year, which "Getty" images has now labelled

digitally enhanced. CNN found inconsistencies in several spots, such as a misalignment on the Queen's skirt and blanket, strands of Princess

Charlotte's hair appear to have been cloned, and Prince Louis's shoulder is blurred, overlapping the background.

"Getty" told CNN in a statement, it's reviewing all so-called royal handout images and placing where relevant an editor's note saying it could have

been digitally enhanced.

KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: William and Kate Kensington Palace was so trusted at Christmas. And now three months later we have a situation

in which whatever photo is put out people don't believe it.

FOSTER: The lack of information coming from the palace about the princess has created conspiracy theories, often wild ones. Which get worse when the

palace has been found to be manipulating images.

WILLIAMS: Either they should have said nothing and kept with that, just as they said they were not going to say anything until there were significant

updates, or they should have put out a few little statements, perhaps a little statement from Kate saying thank you for the lovely cards, and kept

people updated to a degree.

FOSTER (voice-over): Seemingly unfazed and in good spirits, Royals refusing to be distracted in public. Prince William making a long-planned visit to a

homelessness project in Sheffield.


CROWD: Whoa.

FOSTER (voice-over): No lack of support there or from the papers as the rumors continue online.

Max Foster, CNN, London.


SOARES: We're going to take a short break. We'll be back after this.


SOARES: While U.S. lawmakers are racing against the clock to try to avert a government shutdown, congressional leaders have reached a tentative budget

deal, but members of the House, as well as the Senate, still have to review as well as vote on the legislation before the Friday night deadline.

President Joe Biden welcomed a development. Saying once an agreement is finalized, it will sign -- he sign it immediately. Of course, we'll stay

across that story for you.

And a Biden Trump rematch is set, as you all know, but voters are still going to the polls in a number of key U.S. states. ?Arizona, Florida,

Illinois, Kansas, and Ohio are holding primary elections.


Last week, President Joe Biden and Donald Trump clinched the nomination for their respective parties.

Meanwhile, President Biden is in Reno in Nevada. It's his first stop on a west coast campaign swing where he will make a pitch to Latino, as well as

independent voters. Later, he is scheduled to visit Arizona. In 2020, if you remember, Biden narrowly won both Nevada and Arizona and he will face

another tough challenge in those states this November. Nevada is expected to be a tight race. In a "Fox News" poll shows Donald Trump with a slight

edge In Arizona.

And a former top aide for Donald Trump is now behind bars. Peter Navarro surrendered a few hours ago to begin serving a four-month sentence in Miami

federal prison. He was convicted after refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House Committee that investigated The January 6th insurrection.

Navarro is the first former white house official to be imprisoned for contempt of Congress.

And that does it for us for this evening. Thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here. "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto" is up next. I

shall see you tomorrow. Have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.