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Isa Soares Tonight

University Protests Disrupt Colleges Across The U.S.; Trump Hush Money Trial Resumes; Colombia Cuts Diplomatic Ties With Israel; U.S. President Addresses On Campus Protests; Donald Trump's Hush Money Cover-Up Trial; Demonstrators Occupying Portland State Library Cleared Out By Authorities; Measure To Broaden The Definition Of Antisemitism Passed By U.S. House; Biden's Lack Of Reaction Quell Unrest On Campuses Criticized By Trump; Demonstrations In Favor Of Palestine Escalated At U.S. Campuses; Continuation Of Stormy Daniels's Former Attorney's Cross-Examination; Deadly Flooding In Kenya; More Rain Predicted In Kenya, At Least 188 People Killed By Landslides And Floods; 48 People Died In Southern China Highway Disaster; Heavy Rain And High Winds In Dubai Forced The Emirates Airline To Cancel Some Flights. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 02, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CO-HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: Welcome to our special coverage right here on CNN, I'm Isa Soares in London where it's just gone 7:00 p.m.,

and we are following two major stories this hour. Firstly, the U.S. President's response to university campus protests that have roiled America

for more than a week now. We'll have much more force on his forceful message in just a moment.

ERICA HILL, CO-HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: And I'm Erica Hill in New York, just outside the courthouse where Donald Trump's criminal trial is back

underway. A key witness on the stand today, I'll bring you the very latest in just a few minutes. But first, Isa, I'll hand it back to you with the

latest on those campus protests.

SOARES: Thanks very much Erica. Well, the first time since the start of nationwide campus protests over the war in Gaza, U.S. President Joe Biden

is responding in-depth, trying to balance free speech alongside law and order. His comments come hours after intense scenes, as you can see right

there on UCLA's campus, as police cleared a pro-Palestinian encampment and arrested more than 100 protesters.

Mr. Biden told reporters demonstrations must be conducted within the rule of law. Have a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Peaceful protests in America. Violent protest is not protected. Peaceful protest is. It's against the law

when violence occurs, destroying property is not a peaceful protest. It's against the law. Vandalism, trespassing, breaking windows, shutting down

campus is forcing the cancellation of classes and graduations.

None of this is a peaceful protest. Threatening people, intimidating people, instilling fear in people is not peaceful protest. It's against the

law. Dissent is essential to democracy. But dissent must never lead to disorder or to denying the rights of others so students can finish the

semester and their college education.

Look, it's basically a matter of fairness. It's a matter of what's right. There's the right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos. People have

the right to get an education, the right to get a degree. The right to walk across the campus safely without fear of being attacked. But let's be clear

about this as well.

There should be no place on any campus, no place in America for anti- Semitism or threats of violence against Jewish students. There is no place for hate speech or violence of any kind, whether its anti-Semitism,

Islamophobia or discrimination against Arab-Americans or Palestinian- Americans, it's simply wrong.

There's no place for racism in America. It's all wrong, it's un-American. I understand people have strong feelings and deep convictions. In America, we

respect the right and protect the right for them to express that. But it doesn't mean anything goes.


SOARES: Well, since mid-April, more than 2,000 people have been arrested on campuses across the United States, gives you a sense really of the

universities where we have seen some of these protests. Josh Campbell joins us live from Los Angeles.

And Josh, we saw very dramatic scenes overnight, tonight, it seems that there's clearing up, it looks much calmer, give us a sense of what the mood

is like today after what we saw last night.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, first came the warning from police to disperse, then they ultimately went into execute arrest.

We're now seeing the clean-up. This area behind me is where that makeshift encampment was for several days.

You can see that the university has brought in this heavy equipment to clear out this area, that making very short work of this encampment,

they've only been here for about an hour, an hour-and-a-half, and you can already see that all of this is what was left over is now being moved out

of there.

Now, overnight, we saw that dramatic clash between law enforcement and the protesters that were inside. Authorities ultimately making the decision

that they would go in. You know, President Biden just mentioned in the clip you played that, you know, in the U.S., there's freedom of speech, but in

his words, not everything goes.

That's exactly what law enforcement has been saying, that look, there is no First Amendment right to protest on private property. And so, once the

order came from the university that they wanted this encampment cleared, that's when we saw law enforcement moving in.

The California highway patrol leading that effort, often clashing with protesters. I'm told that officers had things thrown at them, ultimately,

they were just over 130 protesters who were ultimately arrested.


They have been taken away in prisoner buses, and we're waiting to hear what those charges are. So, certainly, a very dramatic night here after days and

days of tension, we're now seeing this camp is cleared.

SOARES: Yes, I wonder what happens next then, Josh? I mean, what concern - - is there concern, I should ask by the university or police? Of course, the protesters will simply erect another encampment there on campus. What

are you hearing from protesters?

CAMPBELL: Yes, it's a critical point. I mean, this area behind me, the so- called quad here, I mean, this is one of many types of lawns that you would see in around UCLA. This is a very large campus. And so, that is one thing

that we're hearing from police and the university. Well, how do they protect against something like this just popping up again?

Obviously, a university is a place where demonstrations are typically welcome, people voicing their opinion. The concern here for the university

was that the longer this went, and people refused to leave, that then impacted, you know, public safety. There were some students who said that

they didn't feel safe just because of some of the chance that they were being heard.

But it's certainly a big challenge for law enforcement. Police here at UCLA certainly faced criticism after counter-protesters came, pro-Israel counter

protesters actually attacked this camp at one night. And so, law enforcement was certainly on its back foot, getting a lot of criticism

about where were you? What took so long?

We're told that now, we see these agencies fusing together multiple agencies from across southern California here are now on site. And so, at

least, we know that the information-sharing among those agencies is a lot better than it was before, but everyone is certainly waiting to see what

happens next, and if they see a repeat of something that we saw here.

SOARES: Yes, indeed, Josh Campbell for us there in Los Angeles, of course, much calmer scenes behind him compared to the ones that we have been seeing

in the last few days. Thank you very much, Josh. And we are tracking campus protests from coast to coast, including developments at the Portland State

University library in Oregon.

Just moments ago, the police department say they had cleared that building which had been occupied by protesters since Monday. And these are images

from Dartmouth College last night. The student newspapers editorial board is calling for charges to be dropped against two of its reporters who were

among those arrested by New Hampshire state troopers.

Those two-student journalists joining us now, Charlotte Hampton, Alesandra "Dre" Gonzalez. Charlotte and Dre, really appreciate you taking the time to

speak to us this evening. Just give us a sense, where you were when it all started to kick off, and what you saw and what ignited it first of all?

CHARLOTTE HAMPTON, NEWS MANAGING EDITOR & REPORTER, THE DARTMOUTH: Yes, so, we both were on the campus quad starting at about 5:30 p.m., covering a

unionization event from the graduate student workers that escalated into the setting up of an encampment by Dartmouth undergraduate students.

There were a number of Dartmouth undergraduate students circled around the encampment, protecting them and around 100 or hundreds of people of

community members and students there on campus. And then, soon after state troops and local police were called to stop the protests.

SOARES: And do we know why? I mean, Dre, I wonder if you can give some context. Why were they called in? State troopers police as well on what --

what did the university say? Did it get very heated, very dramatic?

ALESANDRA DRE GONZALEZ, NEWS REPORTER & PHOTOGRAPHER, THE DARTMOUTH: Right, I'm not sure that either of us can speak to that aspect

specifically. We don't really know what was happening from the administrative side. What we know is that we were on the ground covering

this kind of hectic scene. And then, one moment, we were there and the next moment, a large presence of law enforcement was there.

HAMPTON: What we can speak to, I think is that right before we were both arrested, a history professor here at Dartmouth was taken and arrested by

the police, and their encounter was also hectic and violent.

SOARES: And I'm guessing, Dre, you saw this happening, and just explain to our viewers on what grounds were you arrested here? I mean, did you have

press credentials?

GONZALEZ: Right, I did have a press credential, my photographer ID, I was arrested on criminal trespass shortly after I was recording the Dartmouth

history professor that got arrested. And then, I was with the press, and I got grabbed one of the crowd and arrested after that.

I wonder, I mean, speak to this moment right now that you're seeing not just in your campus, but also across the United States. Obviously, we saw

90 people arrested in Dartmouth College. I wonder what happens now because we have heard from President Biden today saying that, you know, students

have a right to protest, but not the right to cause chaos.


Are students listening to those words. I mean, what happens next?

HAMPTON: It seems to me that there is a lot of frustration nationwide. I hail from the upper west-side of New York. I know what's happening on the

Columbia campus, and have heard a lot about the hectic nature of the protests there. We also had a faculty walkout today on campus, so, you

know, I don't see these protests necessarily dying down. I think there are a trend and it seems as though they're continuing to escalate.

SOARES: Dre, on that, let me pick up on that then. I mean, there are trend. Is the anger over the handling of this campus protests by the

university, the policy by the -- by the Biden administration, talk to the mood and that discontent?

GONZALEZ: Yes, again, I just think that, as a reporter, the things that I was observing was just kind of chaos, and whether that was, I guess, an

upset between the nation at whole or just the campus itself. I'm not really sure if I can speak to that specifically for those protesters. But what I

feel that I can say is that it was a very emotionally-charged moment for everyone that was there.

SOARES: And Charlotte, on that, I mean, is the discontent because of law enforcement being brought in or the way the university handled it, or is it

because of President Biden's policy vis-a-vis, you know, the Middle East and vis-a-vis, what's happening in Gaza, the war in Gaza?

HAMPTON: I think it's kind of a combination of things. I think that students on Dartmouth campus definitely had a sense that it was going to

escalate this way. Here at the Dartmouth, we actually covered the arrest of two students who set up an encampment in the Fall in front of the

administrative building and the police were called in then just several hours after the tent was set up.

So, I think it wasn't necessarily that students were surprised that it went this way. But I think that the amount of force having troops show up in

riot gear was definitely frustrating as well as the university's stance that they have not moved on divestment.

SOARES: Charlotte and Dre, really appreciate you both taking the time to speak to us, had so much clarity, of course, to what we have been seeing,

really grateful to you both. Thank you.

GONZALEZ: Thank you --

HAMPTON: Thank you so much for that --

SOARES: Just -- very welcome. And it's not just in the United States, of course, we have been seeing student protests right around the world, and I

want to show you this in northern France at the Lille School of Journalism. Classes were canceled on Thursday because of a blockade.

There is also a small pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Valencia in Spain. In Iraq, university students and professors rallied at

the Baghdad campus. They were showing solidarity with Gaza and the pro- Palestinian protests in the United States.

And similar protests in Australia. And this is from University of Sydney, just a few days ago, among their demands that the schools disclose all

links to Israeli companies and universities and cut ties with weapons companies. Some of course, divestment that we have been seeing.

Some of the calls we've been seeing from U.S. campuses and students, I should say, protests. And we'll stay across, of course, all the developing

stories around the campus and arrests that we've seen in the United States. In the meantime, though, I will now hand it back to Erica. Erica.

HILL: All right, Isa, thank you. Court -- everybody is now back in the courtroom. It looks like according to our team on the inside here. The

attorney who negotiated the agreements with both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal back on the stand here under cross-examination by the defense.

That will be continuing. The defense said they had probably a little less than an hour left to go. And it's questioning today of Keith Davidson.

Earlier today, he testified that payments to the two women were not hush money or payouts, they were what he considered a quote, "consideration, any

civil settlement".

Now, before the testimony today, the judge also held another hearing on whether Donald Trump had again violated the gag order in this case. We

don't know today when he will issue that ruling, but of course, we'll keep an eye on that and bring it to you as soon as we learn.

CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joining me now. So, Jessica, as testimony resumes here after the lunch break, there was a lot that happened

this morning. A lot of back-and-forth with the prosecution. But now, as the defense has been cross-examining this witness, they are really looking to

poke holes in his credibility as a witness on the stand.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly it, Erica. You know, just before the lunch break, we saw this vigorous cross-

examination by Trump's defense team of Keith Davidson.


And as part of this cross-examination, they talked about several other celebrities who Davidson might have had some involvement with by

representing women who are trying to get money from celebrities like Charlie Sheen or Hulk Hogan.

And the defense attorneys, they really questioned those arrangements. They even called them extortion. They are really trying to get the jury to

question Davidson's character, that will get to the heart of kind of impeaching his credibility. And on top of that, the defense actually

started their cross-examination by asking if Davidson had ever met Trump before?

And Davidson confirmed that he's never had any interactions with Trump, he'd seen him for the first time during his testimony in court. So, in

addition to trying to impeach his credibility, his character, the defense team is also trying to stress that Donald Trump had in their view, nothing

to do with this deal with Stormy Daniels, because that is also part of the crux of their argument.

Trying to say that Donald Trump was removed from this hush money scheme, and therefore had no connection to this falsification of the business

records, which is what the charges are. You know, right before that, we saw Davidson under direct questioning from prosecutors, and in that

questioning, you know, he continued to detail how he worked with like the "National Enquirer".

Also, Michael Cohen to broker this deal with Stormy Daniels, and just going through the machinations of it and his dealings with Michael Cohen, but

again, you know, Keith Davidson not mentioning any interactions with Donald Trump. So, just going to the defense's point that this is -- this has been

removed from Donald Trump, at least in their view.

But Erica, the prosecution really having to lay this all out and sort of setting the stage. So, when Michael Cohen does get up on the stand and

finally connects all the dots to Donald Trump, there will be a foundation laid because of course, defense attorneys are going to really try to

impeach the credibility of Michael Cohen, given the fact that he was convicted for lying to Congress. So, they have to lay all of this

groundwork first before they get to Cohen. Erica?

HILL: Jessica, appreciate it, thank you. Also with me now, former White House Ethics and Special Counsel in Trump's first impeachment trial, Norm

Eisen. Norm, you've spent so much time in the courtroom. You were in the courtroom earlier today, we made you stay out a little bit longer to talk

to us before you head back in.

The point that Jessica just brought up about not making this direct connection between Donald Trump and these negotiations. How harmful is that

to the prosecution when we were talking about this witness?

NORM EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS & SPECIAL COUNSEL: It is the most valuable thing that Keith Davidson has to offer to the defense. And so, by

definition, it's a negative for the prosecution. He didn't have direct contact with Donald Trump. However, he testified that he assumed the money

for the payment to Stormy Daniels that the prosecution claims illegal campaign contribution, that, that was coming from Donald Trump.

Davidson is a bookend witness because now, between the first witness, "AMI" publisher David Pecker who led us all the way up to the Stormy Daniels

transaction, and Davidson, who does the Karen McDougal transaction and Stormy Daniels and all the way through to the end when it was exposed, you

get almost complete corroboration of Michael Cohen story, the additional thing that Cohen will bring is his direct contacts with the former


HILL: So, part of the testimony though, is, was that there was a point when Davidson said he had lost trust in Cohen. That came under questioning

from the prosecution. There were definitely some moments, right? As the prosecution was questioning their own witness, that I'm listening, I'm

thinking, boy, they are putting this on a silver platter for the defense. That's part of the strategy though.

EISEN: It is. We call it drawing the sting. You don't want the jury to be surprised by any negative information about Michael Cohen when he

ultimately testifies. So, they are planting the seed that Cohen was unreliable, that people had differences with him, that he was aggressive.

Actually thought the defense undermined that a little bit, because they asked Keith Davidson, aren't you aggressive too? And then after using

Davidson to substantiate no contacts with Trump, attacked him after the morning break as an extortionist, I think that was a mistake.


EISEN: They should have asked a few questions, sit down.

HILL: Well, but they're still going to ask more questions. We know they have a little more to go. One of the moments I know stood out to you this

morning was the specific question about 2016. There was a text message back-and-forth with Keith Davidson and the editor of the "National

Enquirer" on election night, and they basically said, oh wow, our activities here may have somehow influenced the election.

EISEN: One of the great things about being in the courtroom every day, Erica, is that you can capture all the intangibles, and of course, I've

been going to court for 30 years, that was a dramatic moment because the prosecutors' whole point here is that this scheme was set up to influence

the 2016 election, and Davidson testified, wow! It might have worked.


So, you could hear the normally quiet court room, there are 60-plus of us, journalists in there, all the keyboards started --

HILL: You're honestly --

EISEN: Clattering when he said that because it goes to the core of the case. Is this a personal peccadillo and a few mistakes on some documents,

or was it an attempt to influence an election illegally? That's what prosecutors are arguing, hammering, and that testimony really highlighted

the point.

HILL: All right, I have a feeling the defense is going to go after that. Norm. You need to get back to the court room, we appreciate you sticking

out here with us. We will have much more of our coverage of Donald Trump's hush money trial, just getting back underway now at this hour. Also still

to come tonight, a CNN investigation into an Israeli airstrike that killed ten children in Gaza.

The Israel -- the Israel Defense Forces response is next. Plus, Hamas praising Colombia's decision to break diplomatic ties with Israel over the

war in Gaza. We are live in Bogota with the latest.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Hamas is praising Colombia's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Israel over the war in Gaza. Colombian President

Gustavo Petro made the announcement at a rally in the capital, Bogota there on Wednesday -- you can see him there. Mr. Petro says the Israeli

government's handling of the situation in Gaza is quote, "genocidal".

Stefano Pozzebon is in Bogota for us with all the details. So, Stefano, I mean, what does this mean if in practice really -- do we have Stefano? No,

we don't. We had him, but we seem to have dropped him. We'll of course, we'll wait -- we'll wait to try -- we'll really recall him to see if we can

get that line back.

But clearly, it's important to see what Petro has done or what this means really in practice in terms of Israeli-Colombia relations. In the meantime,

two children were killed in an Israeli airstrike at the Al-Shaboura Refugee Camp in Rafah on Tuesday night. That is according to officials in Gaza,

over 1 million civilians are sheltering in Rafah.

In a statement, the Israeli military said remaining in an active combat zone has inherent risks, and that it was taking precautions to mitigate

harm to civilians. Well, CNN has been investigating an Israeli airstrike on another refugee camp in Gaza last month.


Ten children were killed in that attack. We must warn you that there are disturbing images in this report from our Jeremy Diamond.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Isa, two weeks ago, we brought you the story of a deadly strike on the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp.

The harrowing images of the bodies of children splayed around the foosball table in the middle of that street. And we've since spent the last two

weeks investigating that strike.

Our stringer in Gaza, Mohammed Al-Sawel(ph), he went back to the scene of the strike, documenting visual evidence from the strike marks from

shrapnel, a crater in the middle of the road, and pieces of shrapnel recovered at the scene.

Three ammunitions experts who reviewed this visual evidence say that it was caused by a precision-guided munition deployed by the Israeli military.


DIAMOND (voice-over): This grainy home video is the closest Mona Al- Detellah(ph) will ever get to seeing her ten-year-old daughter. A stack of school certificates, a wardrobe of her favorite clothes, the perfume she

used to wear, all that remains of the daughter Mona(ph) poured everything into.

"There is no Shahed(ph) now, every time she came in, she said mom, I would say my soul, my soul, my soul is gone." Shahed(ph) was one of ten children

killed when an Israeli airstrike hit the crowded street in the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp where she was playing with her friends.

Her pink pants impossible to miss among the small bodies splayed around a foosball table in the chaotic aftermath. Two weeks later, the Israeli

military still won't take responsibility for the strike that killed her. CNN provided the IDF with the coordinates and time of the attack based on

meta-data from two different phones in the immediate aftermath.

The IDF said they did not have a record of that strike. They said they carried out a strike at a different time than described, and that the

collateral damage as described in the query is not known to the IDF. The IDF makes great efforts to mitigate harm to the civilian population from

areas where strikes are being carried out.

Evidence recovered and documented by CNN at the scene of the strike paints a very different picture of Israeli military responsibility. This circuit

board and bits of shrapnel on walls and shop steps distinctively pockmarked and a small crater, barely a foot wide, all pointing three munitions

experts to the same conclusion. Carnage was likely caused by a precision- guided munitions deployed by the Israeli military.

CHRIS COBB-SMITH, WEAPONS EXPERT: I've seen these strikes so many times. There's a relatively small crater in the road. There's no large shrapnel

holes or fragmentation holes which would have been -- which would have been caused by say a mortar round or an artillery round. The fragmentation is


DIAMOND (on camera): So, in your view, this strike was caused by a precision-guided drone fired missile?

COBB-SMITH: Absolutely. This is an Israeli -- the local militias, the local forces do not have anything with this amount of sophistication.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Before carrying out the strike, Israeli drones would have surveilled the Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp from above. Seconds later, the

missile hits the street below, landing in the middle of the road, just a few feet away from the foosball table where Shahed(ph) and her friends were

playing that day, delivering certain death.

Against all odds, these children have returned to play at the very same foosball table, including some of Shahed's(ph) friends. "I miss her a lot",

Sama says, wearing a necklace Shahed(ph) made her. "She says she was nearly killed with her friends, going home moments before the strike to drink


Others were not as lucky. Eight-year-old Ahmed(ph) is fighting for his life, bleeding from his brain, his skull fractured, his chances of

surviving are slim, his doctor explains. He is fighting not to become the 11th child killed in that same strike.


DIAMOND: And Isa, sadly, we have since learned that, that eight-year-old boy Ahmed(ph) has died of the injuries sustained in that strike, becoming

the 11th child to have been killed by that very same strike. And you know, thinking back to that Israeli military response to all of this, they talked

about the fact that the collateral damage as they put it, is not known to the IDF, but nowhere in that statement did they pledge to investigate the

carnage that took place that day. Isa?

SOARES: Thanks very much, Jeremy. Important reporting from Jeremy Diamond and team there on the ground. And still to come tonight, U.S. President

Biden has asked whether National Guard troops should intervene in campus protests. What he said in a live report from the White House, that is

coming up.

Plus, of course, we will continue to monitor testimony in the Donald Trump hush money trial. We'll have the latest testimony of the lawyer who

represented Stormy Daniels. Both those stories after this, very shortly.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN. More people get their news from CNN than any other news source.

SOARES: Welcome back, everyone.

While some campus protests in the United States have been disbanded by police, there are still tense standoffs at several other universities in

the U.S. State of Oregon. Chaotic scenes as police in riot gear face off with protesters at Portland State University. Police have just said they

have cleared demonstrators who have been occupying that school's library. U.S.

President Joe Biden addressed the unrest just a few hours ago. He says, protesters on college campuses should be free to express their views, but

should not devolve into trespassing or violence.

CNN's Kevin Liptak is at the White House and joins us now. And Kevin, we had a very, a very careful, yet clear message, I think, from Pres. -- from

the President, who, I think it's fair to say, has been under pressure to respond to these protests. But he says he won't reconsider or rethink his

policies in the Middle East. Just break down for our viewers what we heard from the president today.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, and you really did hear him trying to strike this balance. On the one hand, saying that

certainly, protesters have the right to free speech, but they don't have the right to hate speech. Saying very directly that while dissent is part

of what makes up American democracy, that it can't cross the line into discord.


And the president really kind of caught in these cross currents here. Of course, many of the protesters on campus, young people are the supporters

he will need if he hopes to win reelection in November.

So, certainly, the president not eager to distance them from his position, but on the same side, he is very eager to promote this sort of law and

order position. Very eager not to appear as if he's presiding over chaos in the United States, which had been the accusation from Republicans,

including Former President Trump.

So, President Biden really trying to bridge that divide in that speech today. And we should note, this was the first time that we had heard from

President Biden in more than a week about these protests that had been spreading across the country. He had been under growing pressure, not just

from Republicans, but also from some Democrats to speak out more forcefully about what was going on behind the scenes at the White House.

There was this spirited debate about how and when he should speak out. They chose today after waking up to some pretty extreme images from Los Angeles.

Certainly, the president's advisers hoping to get in front of those and to show the nation that the president was, sort of, on top of things. And that

is sort -- is how this speech today, sort of, came about.

But it was interesting as he was departing the room, he was asked whether any of these protests would change his position when it comes to the Middle

East. His answer was, no. And I think that just goes to show how difficult this will continue to be for President Biden as he looks to contend with

these protesters. Isa.

SOARES: Indeed, indeed. Kevin Liptak, great to see you. Thanks very much, Kevin.

While the U.S. House has passed a bill, broadening the definition of antisemitism. And it comes amid heightened concerns around the Israel-Hamas

war as pro-Palestinian protests continue to grip the country. Supporters of the bill say it will combat antisemitism on college campuses, but critics

say it could lead to censorship issues. The bill will next go to the Senate.

And Former President Donald Trump and other U.S. Republicans are trying to turn the protests into a political liability for President Joe Biden. Trump

was out on the campaign trail on Wednesday in the key U.S. swing states of Michigan and Wisconsin. There, he called out President Biden's lack of

immediate response in the recent days of campus unrest as well as the police crackdowns. Have a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The radical extremists and far left agitators are terrorizing

college campuses, as you possibly noticed. And Biden's nowhere to be found. He hasn't said anything. But they're his political base.


SOARES: Well, today's gone from the campaign to the courts. So, we're on very different scenes than we are seeing today. Well, let's get more on all

of these strands. Director for the Center of Politics at the University of Virginia, Larry Sabato, a well-known face here on the show, joins me now.

Larry, great to see you. Let me get your reaction, first of all, before we even start talking Trump, to what we heard from President Biden. I don't

know if you were hearing what Kevin Liptak was saying, you know, because prior to today's comments from the president, there had been some criticism

that he had not spoken out sooner to address these protests. He's finally done so today. Did he bridge that divide? Did he -- should he have done it


LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR POLITICS, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Better late than never. And I think what he said was very useful. He made

it clear, black and white clear, what was acceptable and what isn't acceptable. And I think most people understood that anyway. But it was good

to hear it directly from him rather than having a press secretary simply read a statement supposedly uttered by the president.

So, I think they waited a bit too long. This has been going on for a while in a lot of these college campuses, and I live in one so I've seen it

myself. But on the whole, Biden's going to have to live with this, one way or the other, he's going to have to live with it. It's not going to stop

until there is a ceasefire. And one would assume a release of some or all of the hostages.

And until then, he's going to be behind the eight ball on this issue because Trump, who is rarely right about these things, was right about one

thing in the clip you just played. The young people, college age people, are generally in Biden's camp. They were strong supporters of his in 2020.

The support has dropped a bit already, maybe a bit -- more than a bit. But they're still strongly with Biden and probably will be in November. So,

he's going to be held accountable for some of what happens on all the college campuses.

SOARES: Yes. And even if these protests do quieten down, of course, we're at the end -- in nearing the end of the academic year. We have also the

possibility, don't we, of a Rafah invasion, which we know the U.S. administration has been trying to avoid, pressuring Netanyahu.


But you know, you talked about the younger voter. And I've got -- and I've -- we've got, like, a poll here to show our viewers this because approval

of President Biden's handling the war in Gaza stands at 19 percent, for 18 to 34-year olds, as you can see there. I wonder then how damaging these

protests, the policy against, you know, if Rafah -- if there is a Rafah offensive, how challenging could this be for him with an election?

SABATO: Well, very much so. It's hard to think that this is added any points to his approval. But what's far worse for Biden is he's got a

convention coming up in Chicago. I'm old enough to have been to Chicago in 1968, not the convention. But I remember what happened there.

And Biden's got to worry about to the Chicago situation. And suppose this war has not reached the ceasefire stage. Suppose it is still going on hot

and heavy. That means, inevitably, that when the colleges come back into session in August and September, you're going to see a lot more of this

leading in a crescendo right up until election day. That's the Biden nightmare.

SOARES: Yes. Look, let's tap into your expertise with universities because our colleague Stephen Collinson, who you no doubt know, he writes this, the

demonstrations also mark a new front in an intensifying cultural war over education. Republicans, who have long loved to bash elite universities, see

a populist opening to enliven their base and crush a pipeline of left-wing ideas.

I mean, do you agree with that? How much are these protests a gift to Donald Trump?

SABATO: Well, they're a gift to Trump, and he will make sure they're a gift to Trump. And Stephen was absolutely correct. We've been around long

enough to watch Republicans do this over and over again, just as I was coming of age in Vietnam.

This was a central premise of the Republican attacks on first President Johnson, and then supporting President Nixon and opposing the Democrats who

were running against Nixon. So, this is a standard part of their repertoire and you can guarantee that it will continue as long as these protests are

continuing and Trump knows how to capitalize on something like this.

He's not so good as an incumbent trying to defend what's happening in his administration if you go back to 2020. But when he's the challenger, every

single thing that goes wrong is the fault of the incumbent President Biden. And if he were only in office, there would be no problem at all, right?

SOARES: Yes. Right. And Larry, look, I think we all got a better sense, if we hadn't -- knew already, of what a second Trump presidency could be like,

right? First, he gave an interview with the "Milwaukee Journal", I think "Sentinel" on Wednesday. Saying if the election was not honest, then you

have to fight for the right of the country.

And then, I think, days prior to that he gave this bombastic and rather chilling interview to "Time Magazine". And he said, among many things, I

think we've got a little list for those who haven't had the chance to say it.

In terms of deportation camps, calling for deportation camps for migrants, allowing red states to monitor women's pregnancies, firing U.S. attorneys

who don't carry out orders to prosecute someone, pardon for all January 6th attack -- attackers, of course. The list goes on. Even saying many, you

know, that he wouldn't withhold -- they would withhold support for U.S. allies attacked in Europe or Asia, which is obviously being a concern on

this side of the pond.

I mean, is this, what we've heard, is this an exercise in just performative demagoguery or is this a blueprint here for a potential second term?

SABATO: It's very Orwellian, but this is not a novel. This is real life. One of the oldest lines in politics is when they tell you who they are,

believe them. Donald Trump not only has told us repeatedly who he is, even before this campaign began, he has proven that he really is those things.

He intends to be an authoritarian, a strongman.

And he can point to these interviews and the statements he made in the last couple of days in rallies as proof positive that he told Americans exactly

what he was going to do and therefore he's entitled to do it. So, one hopes that people will focus on that before they vote, but the way things are

going, I can't be sure of it.

SOARES: Larry, always wonderful to speak to you. I wish we had more time in the show. Appreciate it. Thank you very much, Larry Sabato there.

SABATO: Thank you.

SOARES: And still to come tonight, we continue to follow developments in Donald Trump's hush money trial. We'll speak with a former federal

prosecutor about the lasting impact of this trial. Erica joins next.




Donald Trump's legal team back to cross-examining Keith Davidson, the witness at this hour, who, of course, is also the attorney who represented

adult film star Stormy Daniels and helped to negotiate that deal where she was paid $130,000 not to share her story.

Earlier in the day, the prosecution asked Davidson to explain that whole process of negotiating the payment made by Trump's personal attorney at the

time, Michael Cohen. Judge Juan Merchan also held a gag order hearing first thing this morning to consider four new allegations from prosecutors where

they say Donald Trump has violated, once again, that gag order. Asking again for a thousand dollar fine for those alleged violations, a thousand

dollars each. The judge has not yet ruled on that issue.

Joining us now, defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, Shan Wu. Shan, always good to see you. I mean, you know, picking up on that gag

order, what was interesting was as everybody came back in after the lunch break, a little after 2:00 p.m. local time here. One of the attorneys on

Donald Trump's legal team was essentially asking the judge to OK Donald Trump's posts on "Truth Social."

And the judge saying, if in doubt, steer clear. Adding that he didn't think there was any ambiguity in the order. The fact that they would ask the

judge to basically proactively declare whether these posts would or would not violate the gag order, I imagine that doesn't often happen, Shan.

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY AND FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It doesn't. And I'm -- I can't decide whether they're actually trying to keep Trump on the

right side of the gag order with that or it's really just, frankly, a delay tactic. You can imagine how much time it would take for the judge to

constantly review ahead of time and pre-clear all of Trump's desired postings.

So, that is exactly why the judge is saying, look, you know, I'm not into micromanaging. I'm not your communications specialist. I think the order is

clear. So, you know, post at your own peril. That is an unusual situation. I can imagine a very discreet question to ask the judge about an area

posting, but this idea of like, you know, here's all the stuff we want to say. Tell us it's OK or not, that's just kind of silly.

HILL: Yes, it's yet another moment in this trial that, I think, nobody was anticipating. I want to get your take on, earlier this morning, there was

some back and forth that really seemed to be parsing the legalese, if you will. Davidson was asked if these were hush money payments. He referred to

them, and I'm quoting here as, "Consideration for a settlement agreement."

This back and forth over the words that are used and how you're qualifying things, does that ever hurt a witness with a jury?

WU: It can if the jury feels that the witness is trying to hide something. And here though -- and it can also affect, hurt the questioner or the

cross-examiner if the jury feels that the cross-examiner is fighting too much over wording and is it trying to ignore or hide the actual substance

of what's being testified to.

So. here I actually feel, like, it's a kind of coming out bad for Trump's legal team here. Adopting the tactic they have, particularly with Davidson,

who's a lawyer.


I mean, it -- it's a very bad thing to cross-examine a lawyer and you as the cross-examiner end up saying, I know we're both lawyers. I'm not

playing legal games with you. That's just a terrible look for the jury. And it, of course, implies that that's what you're doing, you're playing legal


HILL: Right. As were -- so, the defense is cross-examining again here, as I mentioned, resuming. And they're going back and forth over different

moments, basically trying to, which is the job, right, to poke some holes in Davidson as a witness and in turn in Michael Cohen. How effective do you

think, so far, the defense has been in that regard?

WU: I think they have been actually very ineffective. I mean, if I were Trump, I would be really irritated with my team. They just don't choose a

lane, so to speak. You have to have, I think, some theme in what your defense strategy is. And they repeatedly just, sort of, meander around.

Sometimes they want to poke some holes. Sometimes they want to make Davidson look like he's very sleazy, questioning his ethics, which really

pisses him off. Other times, they want him to say that Cohen is sleazy.

That's all kind of this meandering jumble of attacks. Maybe they're doing it because they think Trump likes it when they're very aggressive and

attack people. But there's no real theme to it. I mean, if you want to say that Davidson has poor memory, or he's actually lying about what the deals

were, that's got to be the theme of the attack. If you want to say that the whole thing is Cohen's idea, then you just emphasize that Davidson had no

direct contact with Trump and has no knowledge of what Trump's approving.

But this sort of meandering, kind of, occasionally nasty attack on different areas, I just don't think is going to come across very well to

the jury. It just makes the defense lawyer look kind of mean spirited. And they're not really getting any solid substance from it.

HILL: We will continue to watch it and see if we can get any of that substance. Shan, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.

Still to come here tonight, more rain in parts of Kenya causing new deadly destructive flooding. We're going to bring you the very latest on the

dangers residents are facing at this hour.


SOARES: Well, floods and landslides in Kenya have taken the lives of at least 188 people since March. That's the official death toll of a few hours

ago. The Red Cross said Wednesday that dozens of people had been rescued near Nairobi.


Hundreds of thousands of people have had to leave their homes with heavy rain destroying roads, bridges and all kinds of infrastructure you can see

there in the area. Safari camps have been evacuated as tents were swept away and the forecast isn't hopeful with more rain expected. We'll stay

across that story for you.

And devastating floods in Southern China as well. Highway there collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least 48 people. Rescuers have now found about two

dozen cars that also fell down the hill. According to local media, 30 people injured in the accident now being treated.

And heavy rain and high winds in Dubai forced the Emirates airline to cancel some flights on Thursday. The severe weather started on Wednesday.

The United Arab Emirates urged citizens to stay home, calling for remote learning and working from home. For most people, the region was hit, if you

remember, by record breaking rain some two weeks or so ago.

And that does it for us for this hour. Erica and I will be back in about an hour or so right here on CNN. In the meantime, "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto"

is up next.