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Isa Soares Tonight

Israel Takes Control Of Palestinian Side Of Rafah Crossing; Ceasefire Talks Between Israel And Hamas Resume In Cairo Today; Judge Denies Trump Attorney's Motion For Mistrial In Hush Money Scandal; Israel- Hamas War; Palestinian Side Of Rafah Crossing Taken Over By Israel; Rafah Operation Poses "Grave Danger" To 1.5M People, According To W.H.O.; Stormy Daniels Called To The Stand; Donald Trump's Hush Money Trial; Trump's Attorney's Request For Mistrial Denied By Judge; Stormy Daniels Testifies At Hush Money Trial. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 07, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, and a very warm welcome to the show, I'm Isa Soares in London where we are closely following the situation

in Rafah, where Israeli tanks have entered Gaza's southern-most city and taken control of the border crossing.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And live from just outside Manhattan criminal court, I am Jim Sciutto. The woman at the center of Trump's hush

money trial, Stormy Daniels is now sharing details about what she says happened behind closed doors with the former president on a day of

sometimes explicit details. That's ahead this hour.

SOARES: Of course, we'll bring you the very latest from New York in just a moment. But first, as darkness falls on Rafah, the world's attention is

firmly focused on the next move by Israeli troops. IDF tanks rolled through the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing early on Tuesday.

That forward movement by the Israeli military stopped aid trucks in their tracks. And as the troops moved through the streets, displacement as you

can see there of Palestinians continued. One man in Rafah told CNN, death is more dignified than this.

Well, the Israeli action may further increase an already bad situation for the people of Rafah. U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres actually sounding the

alarm yet again.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED STATES: The ground invasion in Rafah would be intolerable because of its devastating humanitarian

consequences and because of its destabilizing impacts.


SOARES: Let's get the very latest. Our Jeremy Diamond joins me now from Jerusalem. And Jeremy, for the hundreds of thousands of people, of course,

in Rafah, this may be incredibly scary as well as confusing to be frank. First, Hamas accepts the deal, then the IDF tanks move in. What is going

on? Bring us up-to-date on the ground in Rafah.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, the whiplash for us, but for the people in Gaza more importantly, must be extraordinary and

extraordinarily hard to bear. We began yesterday with leaflets, thousands of leaflets falling over eastern Rafah, ordering about 100,000 people to


Later in the day, Hamas made this surprise announcement that they had agreed to a proposal, but we then learned that, that proposal was not the

same one that Israel had tacitly agreed to. And that it didn't feel like this latest proposal from Hamas met its core demands.

And, so what we saw last night was a significant Israeli military assault on eastern Rafah, not only targeted airstrikes as the Israeli military

described them, but also tanks and troops rolling into Rafah for the first time in the seven months of this war, taking over that critical Rafah

crossing, which is the last remaining lifeline, essentially to the outside world that was under Palestinian control.

The Israeli military now firmly in control of that Rafah border crossing. And at this hour, that crossing remains close with humanitarian aid

officials warning that if it is not quickly reopen, this could spell major problems for this -- for the Gaza Strip, which is already suffering

enormously from a humanitarian catastrophe that has been unfolding and worsening over the course of the last seven months.

We did hear today from the Israeli Prime Minister who talked about the decision to go into Rafah and what he feels they've achieved. Listen.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): The entrance to Rafah serves two main war goals. The return of our hostages and

the elimination of Hamas. We have already proven in the previous release of the hostages, military pressure on Hamas is a necessary condition for the

return of our hostages.

The Hamas proposal yesterday was intended to torpedo the entry of our forces into Rafah. It did not happen.


DIAMOND: And as you can hear there from the Israeli Prime Minister, beyond the military objectives here, there is also clearly a hope that this

military pressure that the Israeli military is applying in Gaza, that this incursion into Rafah could have ramifications at the negotiating table, and

could perhaps pressure Hamas further to get closer to the Israeli position as far as these ceasefire talks are concerned.

That is, of course, a hope, but certainly not necessarily an expectation at this stage. We do know that an Israeli delegation has headed to Cairo to

pursue further negotiations with Hamas. It remains to be seen whether or not the gap can be closed, and whether it can be closed quickly for all of

the folks who are hoping for a ceasefire in Gaza, Isa.


SOARES: Indeed, and I was wondering if you could help me. We just learned the last ten minutes, Jeremy, from the State Department spokesperson,

Matthew Miller, who says that Israel has committed to reopen Kerem Shalom. What are you hearing on your side, any confirmation?

DIAMOND: No confirmation as of yet, we know that --


DIAMOND: That crossing has been closed for several days now, after four Israeli troops were killed when Hamas fired rockets and mortars very close

to that crossing. They've committed to reopening it, but we haven't seen any evidence of that yet.

SOARES: I know you'll stay across it for us, Jeremy, thank you very much Jeremy Diamond there for us in Jerusalem. Well, the U.S. National Security

spokesman John Kirby just wrapped up a briefing on Rafah's as well as broader crossings of which Kerem Shalom is one of course, and ceasefire

talks. Listening to that was our Alex Marquardt who joins me from Washington?

And Alex, I heard Kirby there express some optimism right, over the latest round of the negotiation and hostage talks. What more can you tell us about

that optimism?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa, I think it's an optimism that we haven't really heard from the Biden

administration in recent weeks. And so, it does really appear that the White House believes that a ceasefire deal can be struck.

John Kirby speaking with reporters just moments ago, saying that upon a close reading of the side -- of both sides, both Israel and Hamas, that

they suggest that they should be able to close the remaining gap. So, in Kirby's telling of this, the gaps that remain are not all that significant.

And that's why these working-level teams have gone to Cairo to try to close those gaps. You're not hearing the same optimism in Israel, Isa. We heard

Benny Gantz; the former Israeli military chief who is now in the war cabinet, he said that significant gaps remain.

And that what was heard from Hamas yesterday does not reflect the dialogue that they've been having with the mediators. And when you read the Hamas

response, which I have, there are a number of things in there that you know Israel is going to take issue with. But we know that progress is being


It is evidenced by the fact that you now have the CIA Director Bill Burns, he's in Cairo, he's been joined by teams from Israel, from Qatar. Hamas has

also sent a delegation, so these are movements in the right direction. But at the same time, these are -- these are working-level teams.

These are experts who work out the finer points. If we were on the cusp of something immediate, you'll probably see a more senior level delegation,

but it does appear at least from Washington's perspective, that there is significant positive progress, Isa.

SOARES: That's very good news indeed, Alex, appreciate it, thank you very much. Now, let's bring in former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, he

joins us live from Tel Aviv. Mr. Olmert, welcome back to the show. I'm just -- so many threads for us to bring in, and you're just the perfect voice

for us to talk about this today.

I wonder how much of this, first of all, propose of this deal that Hamas, of course, accepted this time yesterday. How much of that you think catch

Netanyahu and his administration by surprise?

EHUD OLMERT, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No, truly, they have updated information, to be entirely accurate. They're responding to your question.

I think that Hamas made a move which is part of the negotiating process. They wanted to create a feeling that they are coming across in order to

achieve a certain deal. And I think that there is still room for negotiation.

So, and they did this possibly unacceptable to those in Israel that have looked into it carefully, and compare this to what was before the draft

that was negotiated. But what I think is important is that it's a process that continues in the presence of Bill Burns; head of CIA in Cairo, in the

presence of the Israeli delegation is very significant.

I hope that they will continue, and I really am very hopeful --

SOARES: Yes, and we --

OLMERT: That something would come out.

SOARES: And that's the optimism that you just heard our reporter discussing there, optimism from the United States side, of course. What we know from

the Israeli side of it in the last 24 hours, that this deal that Hamas accepted were, you know, was far from meeting Israeli demands.

What do you understand, Mr. Olmert, to be missing from this deal? Because there seems to be a lack of clarity here.

OLMERT: Well, obviously, you know, if you want to look at it from a point of view of Hamas, they hold the Trump card, which are the hostages.


SOARES: Yes --

OLMERT: And they want to make the best use of the hostages from their point of view, which is absolutely outrageous and unacceptable. But this is --

name, they are murderers and killers. They have accomplished all these terrible atrocities already, and they want to use them.

Now, we -- you know, as long as they will not be certain that there is a likelihood that as a result of returning the hostages, they will be to some

extent secured from an immediate retaliation, the military retaliation by Israel. They will not make the deal.

So, at some point, I think at some point, we'll have to make up our mind what do we want? We want to kill some more terrorists and lose the

hostages? Or we will have to look -- possibly lose the appearance of complete victory, total victory is -- we have been talking about all the

time --

SOARES: Yes --

OLMERT: And save the hostages sooner or later. It's on the -- on the air all the time already. But you don't become a closer --

SOARES: You don't think -- you don't -- you don't think you can achieve both?

OLMERT: I don't think that under any circumstance, we can have what they call total victory. We already won the war. I mean, we killed more than

12,000 Palestinian fighters in the -- of Hezbollah. We have destroyed most of the command positions there, bunkers, the tunnels, and most of the


Can we destroy every single Palestinian fighter, any single Hamas person? I doubt it. And the question is, what is the cost of trying to do it? We are

taking the risk of impacting many non-involved innocent civilians that are all densely crowded --

SOARES: Yes --

OLMERT: In Rafah. And this is very serious consideration which we have to be fully aware of. And we lose the support of the public opinion and we may

lose also their sympathies of the -- a great president of the United States, who, on whom we rely a lot. So, we all --

SOARES: Yes --

OLMERT: Have to take this into consideration.

SOARES: And I think it's important, Mr. Olmert, to bring in the public opinion in this, because a poll published today and conducted by the Israel

Democracy Institute found that a majority of the Jewish public, 56 percent, you can see there on our -- on our screen agree that a deal to release the

hostages should be the top priority for Israel.

While 37 percent say military action in Rafah should be the top priority. I mean, how do you square them, the public opinion, with the decisions being

made by Prime Minister Netanyahu?

OLMERT: Well, you know, I -- to be honest with you, I think that strategic decisions can be taken according to opinion polls, which in my mind means

that long ago, we had to stop the war. Even at a time when the numbers were different.

SOARES: Yes --

OLMERT: OK, perhaps more in favor of a military action than they are today. We have to do what I think is the most fundamental commitment of the state

of Israel, which to save the citizens that were abducted from their homes, from their living rooms, from their bedrooms because of the negligence, the

arrogance and the complacency of the Israeli government and security forces.

This is not a usual event, you know, when a certain person was abducted somewhere and the government doesn't want to negotiate. We are responsible

for the fact that they are abducted and are held hostage by the Palestinian murderers.

Now, for more than 200 days, is not something that we can continue to somehow ignore. And therefore, they -- but what Netanyahu is doing is a lot

more serious than just not responding to what seems to be the majority of the public --

SOARES: Yes --

OLMERT: Opinion. He is betraying the most fundamental moral principles. What Israel is all about, and that I think should be the most important

thing in our considerations.

SOARES: Ehud Olmert, really appreciate you, sir, taking the time to speak to us. Thank you very much, sir.

OLMERT: Thank you, Isa, thank you very much.


SOARES: Thank you. Well, U.S. President Biden making what some call a landmark speech on anti-Semitism in America. His keynote address at a

holocaust remembrance ceremony comes during increase of reported anti- Jewish incidents in U.S. after the October the 7th Hamas attack on Israel and recent pro-Palestinian protests on American college campuses.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Stooge block, harass, attack or walking to class. Anti-Semitism, anti-Semitic posters, slogans, calling for

the annihilation of Israel; the world's only Jewish state. Too many people deny downplaying, rationalize and ignoring the horrors of the holocaust.


SOARES: And Tuesday's speech came alongside a series of new actions to combat anti-Semitism. The national strategy will include the U.S.

Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the State Department. That is according to the White House.

I want to hand over to Jim Sciutto, who is outside the Manhattan criminal court, and it has been a rather colorful day in court today, Jim, from what

I can surmise.

SCIUTTO: Colorful is a fitting word. Just moments ago, Donald Trump's defense mood for a mistrial in the hush money trial, based on the testimony

so far from the trial's most anticipated witness. Earlier, Stormy Daniels testified about -- and we'll just say it in so many words about having sex

with Trump, and the then reality show host did not seem like he was trying to hide their relationship, certainly not from his family, which has been

central to the defense's arguments so far.

For years, the former president has denied even knowing Daniels. The adult film actress says her motivation was not money when she tried to then sell

her story. Keep in mind, this testimony under oath. For more on that testimony, CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins us now.

And Jessica, we should note that there were salacious details shared in court today about the nature of the relationship and that sexual encounter.

But this is at the core of the prosecution's case here, to say that there was this relationship which the former president then later attempted to

hide during election campaign to influence the election. Tell us how it played out in court today.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is all prosecutors trying to get as much detail out there to the jury to really

make Stormy Daniels a credible witness. I will note, Jim, that because of all of that detail, and sometimes, you know, Stormy Daniels was actually

very verbose and sometimes the judge had to say, OK, just stick to the question.

And now that we've come back from the break, Donald Trump's defense team has moved for a mistrial, saying that this was just too detailed of

testimony, that it was unwarranted, but the judge saying he's refusing to grant a mistrial here, saying, I do think that there are some things that

would have been better left unsaid.

Having said that, Judge Merchan said I don't believe we're at a point where a mistrial is warranted. He also went on to say that, yes, Daniels was

difficult to control at times, some of the questions didn't need to be asked, and he had said that to prosecutors a few times saying, you're going

too much, we're getting too detailed here.

Can we just stick to the questions that need to be asked. And he actually - - Judge Merchan actually just said to Trump's defense team, I'm surprised you didn't object more. So, the judge here slamming any hopes for a

mistrial for Donald Trump's defense team.

But of course, it's a motion that had to be made by Donald Trump's defense team just to put it in the record to kind of lay the groundwork for any

future appeal which will undoubtably(ph) -- undoubtedly happen unless of course, there's an acquittal for Donald Trump.

So, that's what's been happening when we've just come back from the lunch break here, we're still waiting for Stormy Daniels to get back on the

stand. But Jim, as you mentioned, what we've heard from Stormy Daniels so far has been detailed, sometimes lurid testimony, you know, she talked

about the day she met Donald Trump, how she was invited up to his room for dinner, and then how that dinner turned into that sexual encounter.

She said she wasn't exactly expecting it. She wasn't exactly welcoming of it. But it happened. And then, she talked about how the last time she

really had that any meeting with Donald Trump was 2007, years later, she actually said she felt threatened by a random man who came up to her in Las

Vegas, telling her not to ever tell or sell her story.

And then years after that, of course, Donald Trump announced his run for president, and that's what set this whole thing in motion. So, you know, it

has been a very interesting day in court, Jim, not just with the Stormy Daniels testimony, which is probably the most interesting we've heard so

far, given that she was at the center of the payment that has led to this whole case and all of these criminal charges of falsification of business



But even just the inter-play with the attorneys and the judge. And you know, them trying to rein in Stormy Daniels and the prosecutors, though,

trying to get as much as many details as possible to kind of make her just a believable witness and let the jury hear her story. Jim.

SCIUTTO: No question there, as you say, the judge has denied the motion for mistrial, do reserve the right to instruct the jury at a later time to set

aside some of the details from the testimony. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much for bringing us that update.

And still to come tonight, overseas, an alleged plot to kill the Ukrainian president. Volodymyr Zelenskyy has Ukrainian authorities say than foil.

Details ahead on exactly what we know about the suspect and what they're being charged with now.


SOARES: Two colonels in Ukraine's government protection unit now detained and charged with treason. Ukraine State Security Service says it foiled a

Russian plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as other top officials. Kyiv accuses the two colonels of leaking classified

information to Russia.

Mr. Zelenskyy has reportedly faced several attempts on his life since Russia's full-scale invasion more than two years ago. And this comes as

Vladimir Putin is sworn in for a fifth presidential term. We now turn to our Fred Pleitgen who joins us now from Berlin.

Good to see you, Fred. Look, this inauguration is a road that Putin knows all too well, right? So, what could we gleam from this inauguration? Any

message for the West?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I think one of the things that Vladimir Putin made absolutely clear is

that he is not going to back down, that Russia is not going to back down. But I think more than ever before, Isa, we've seen that Vladimir Putin

appears to be in pretty much complete control of Russia.

And if we look at the inauguration today, one of the things that really stood out watching it was that, to Vladimir Putin himself, it almost seemed

like a formality. Here's what we saw.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Vladimir Putin making his own inauguration look so commonplace, he takes time to finish a phone call, before casually making

his way to the grand ceremony inside the Kremlin. Those attending cheering him on as he ascends to a record fifth term as Russia's leader.


"As President of the Russia federation, I swear to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of people and citizens to respect and protect the

constitution of the Russian federation, to protect the sovereignty, independent safety and integrity of the state to loyally serve people."

He swore, while once again, blaming the West for a deteriorating ties with Moscow. "The choice is theirs", he said, "whether they intend to continue

to try to restrain Russia's development, to continue a policy of aggression, continuous pressure on our country for years, or to seek a path

to cooperation and peace."

Putin urging the West to halt military support for Ukraine as he himself continues to send hundreds of thousands of his own citizens to fight there.

The Russian military unleashing a massive aerial bombing campaign on Chasiv Yar, making small gains here on the eastern front.

"It is due to the active use of aviation", the Ukrainian commander says, "attack aircraft carrying guided bombs. After the upgrade, guided bombs

began to hit more accurately than before. Thus, it is much harder to influence them with electronic warfare."


PLEITGEN: More than ever, Vladimir Putin's presidency is defined by war, greeting his troops as part of the inauguration events. His position

strengthened his power and yearly unchecked after a landslide victory in recent presidential elections. Putin has made clear he does not intend to

change course or to back down as he continues to steer his country on a confrontation course with the U.S. and its allies.

His friend, the head of the Russian orthodox church proclaiming Putin de facto Russia's leader for life. "God grant that the end of the century

marks the end of your stay in power", he says. Russia's constitution says Putin could remain in power for another 12 years, but that is just on

paper. In today's Russia, Putin makes the rules and steers this country in the direction he wants.


PLEITGEN: So, as we can see there, Isa, that whole inauguration as the flurry of events surrounding Putin with the troops, Putin going into that

church, where one of the things that the Russians also did to really drive home that point that Putin made about being an adversary of the West, was

they also started tactical nuclear drills near the border with Ukraine and their big ally Belarus did exactly the same thing.

Of course, sending message to the West that Russia is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons, and the West needs to watch out, Isa.

SOARES: A message that we have had -- and we've heard, I should say many times before. Fred Pleitgen, appreciate it, Fred. And still to come

tonight, intense Israeli military activity in Rafah leaves desperate Palestinians fleeing. We'll take a closer look, where exactly they're

evacuating to, that's next.



SOARES: And returning now to our top story, the U.N. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, is calling on Israel to de-escalate in Rafah. Saying he

is, "Disturbed" as well as distressed by the renewed military activity. The IDF have seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah Crossing,

which is, of course, a vital entry point for aid.

Benjamin Netanyahu says, the military incursion serves twin goals of returning hostages as well as the elimination of Hamas. But for those

civilians in Rafah, as you can imagine, it is an increasingly bleak and confusing situation. Aid agencies are already warning of dire conditions on

the ground as Israel's war cabinet vows to expand the operation in Gaza as needed.

Well, to dig into all of this, I'm joined by International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson. Nic, just -- I think we've all seen, particularly

those in Gaza, face a bit of a whiplash in the last, kind of, 24, 48 hours. We first had Hamas said they agreed to this deal, and then we saw the IDF

going in to this area here and where they now have got control, right? What does that mean in real terms?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It means several things in real terms. Number one, the Rafah Crossing here is an immediate pressure

point. Antonio Guterres today said, look, closing the Rafah -- Israel taking control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah Border Crossing

potentially cuts off all diesel fuel by the end of tonight. It could run out in parts of Gaza tonight.

But it's a pressure point because there are only three crossings into Gaza, really. This one, that was controlled by the Egyptians. This one here,

Kerem Shalom, that was controlled by the Israelis. And Erez, way, way up here in the north --

SOARES: I'm just going to bring it up so --

ROBERTSON: -- which is a crossing that's not really working. These are the two principal crossings.

So, number one, in the immediate term, it has the effect of potentially choking off humanitarian aid. Israel has control over these two down here.

They're both shut, neither of them are working. State Department wants them to get at least the Kerem Shalom --

SOARES: Which they said it would open tomorrow, right?

ROBERTSON: It will. But you know -- look, here's another thing he State Department said. The State Department said that closing the Rafah border

crossing is a limited -- here it is, a limited operation. Now, it might be limited in military terms, but in humanitarian terms, it's massive. Israel

has effectively control now -- this is what we're looking at here.

SOARES: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTSON: Of all the crossings everywhere into Gaza. They didn't have that before. So, it's a pressure point there, but it's a pressure point for

negotiations on Hamas as well.

SOARES: And we're talking about diesel. We're not just talking about the movement of aid. We're also talking --

ROBERTSON: We're talking about aid getting in.

SOARES: -- hospitals. Aid getting in. We're also talking about hospitals that rely on diesel, right?

ROBERTSON: Yes, yes.

SOARES: And sewage system --

ROBERTSON: Medical supplies.

SOARES: -- that rely on diesel, right?

ROBERTSON: All of that. All of that.

SOARES: So, all that is tied in, so that is critical. We know that the IDF had warned many of the people who were down here, right? More than a


ROBERTSON: Yes, that 1.4.

SOARES: You were down here. 1.4 million. In many of this place, three, four, five times, right?


SOARES: To move out. And these are the evacuation orders.

ROBERTSON: This is what some of the people, the residents down here, Palestinians in this area on the edge of Rafah and this more central in

Rafah woke up to yesterday morning.


Flyers dropped by planes telling them to evacuate from these areas here. This here, look, that's actually the Kerem Shalom Crossing. This isn't

densely populated. This is moderately densely populated. This is very densely populated. This is the area where about 1.4 million people are in.

And they're told to move to Al Mawasi, which is up here.

SOARES: Yes, I'll bring it back here. Evacuation --

ROBERTSON: Yes, we can --

SOARES: We can bring it back, the evacuation route of Al Mawasi because --

ROBERTSON: Yes, this is it.

SOARES: -- this is by the sea, right?

ROBERTSON: So, this is the area that Israel says that they have expanded it by -- all the way up to

Deir al Balah in the center, around Khan Younis here.

SOARES: And what is there, Nic? I mean, what exactly is there besides beach?

ROBERTSON: So, let's unpack that. So, according to Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council, there's not enough. And every U.N. official says

there is not enough housing, not enough water --

SOARES: Infrastructure.

ROBERTSON: -- not enough food, not enough infrastructure to support people. Al Mawasi, sort of, desert, beachy type area here. Khan Younis, that's now

-- Israel -- the IDF is saying, OK, that's a safe area. They just had a four month long military operation there. Much of that city is damaged and

destroyed. Deir al Balah up here, much of that is damaged --

SOARES: Can we show the Gaza damage --

ROBERTSON: -- and destroyed.

SOARES: Because I think it's important. In terms of where people can move to, this is just satellite --

ROBERTSON: So, this is --

SOARES: -- analysis of the areas we're talking about here.

ROBERTSON: So, this is what we're looking at.


ROBERTSON: Al Mawasi here.

SOARES: This one up there, yes.

ROBERTSON: And the expanded zone of the safe area up here, in areas of damaged housing. Let me give you -- look, that's red.


ROBERTSON: The damage -- that's red damage, that's red damage.

SOARES: And we're talking about damage. We're talking pretty flattened.

ROBERTSON: Let me give you --

SOARES: We've seen this, right?

ROBERTSON: -- the figures here. OK. These figures will stagger you. They staggered me. According to the U.N., 72 percent of housing in Gaza, 72

percent, three quarters is destroyed. Nine percent of other commercial business buildings are destroyed. There's 37 million tons of rubble.


ROBERTSON: It's going to cost $30, $40 to $50 billion to rebuild. It could take years. The U.N. estimates Gaza, with all this damage we're looking at

here, has been knocked back about 40 years, to the 1980s.

SOARES: Staggering.

ROBERTSON: Most people in Gaza weren't born in the 1980s. It's huge. So -- but to go back to what we're looking at down here, the operation into

Rafah, the -- I think the big picture is that Israel now controls all the access.

And it's a pressure point -- I said, it's a pressure point today because it controls aid today. But one of the things Hamas wants out of a deal is for

an influx of humanitarian aid, an influx of the rebuilding material. Now, Israel controls that, they're talking about potentially handing it off to

another agency. But now Israel controls that going forward, everything, every single thing from a match, to a piece of firewood, to a piece of

plaster to repair a house, to a piece of glass --

SOARES: If that --

ROBERTSON: --- will have to go through there.


ROBERTSON: Now, Israel says it has reason to do that because Hamas will otherwise smuggle weapons in. But that's the level of control and leverage

that Israel has now positioned itself to have going forward. And of course, that's a -- if they have a big military operation in Rafah.

SOARES: Yes, and let me, very quickly --


SOARES: The state department spokesman said, the Israeli military operation does look like a prelude of a major military operation. Do you see it that

way? Very quickly, what are you hearing?

ROBERTSON: Can we go back to that detailed map of the housing area?

SOARES: Let's go to the detailed map very quickly.

ROBERTSON: That would be really helpful.

SOARES: Let me get -- bring it up for you.

ROBERTSON: Yes, yes. But the short answer is absolutely, yes.

SOARES: Here we go.

ROBERTSON: Look, the IDF has its main border crossing, Kerem Shalom down here. I've been there. Rafah here is now under their control. They can

funnel tanks in here. This is the -- what they call the Philadelphia -- Philadelphi Corridor, so important for them to control through here.

So, militarily, this is exactly what you would want to do. If you're going to have a big operation, you can bring your forces in through the border as

they do here. You know, I've been to the border crossings in the fields around here, they open the fence and they drive in. So, that would be a

staging ground for that. But it also stops Hamas leaders and others exiting through that border crossing.

SOARES: A military tactic that for some may make sense, but humanitarian agencies as you well know, Nic --

ROBERTSON: And these are the houses -- these are the areas that people have been told to move out of. This tells you where the IDF is -- says they're

going to go.

SOARES: They're going to -- humanitarian agencies are raising alarm, of course, over this movement. Very concerning. Nic, really appreciate you

breaking it all down for us. Thank you very much.


SOARES: Well, let's focus now on the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe there. The World Health Organization warns the current situation is putting

1.5 million people in grave danger. And 600,000 of those lives are children. The organization calls for the immediate opening of the Rafah

crossing. So, hospitals, of course, as Nic was saying, can be stocked with the supplies they desperately need.

Joining us now from inside Rafah, the spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Hisham Mhanna, joins me now. And Hisham, really

appreciate you taking the time to speak to us. We were just laying out there with our correspondent what we're likely to see, what we have been

seeing, in fact, in the last 48 hours.


Give us a sense of what you have been seeing. What have you been hearing from those, and what's happening in Rafah, critically.

HISHAM MHANNA, SPOKESPERSON, INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS: Good evening, Isa, and thank you for having me. Over the past 48 hours, the

level of panic, fear, stress and anxiety has been more vivid in the streets as we were looking at people who are moving from the eastern side of the

Rafah City.

The very areas that received evacuation orders yesterday, moving using vehicles, cars, carts dragged by donkeys. They grabbed whatever they could

have from their belongings. Their clothes, their mattresses, their pillows, their cooking gas vendors, and they just started to move with no clear

destination to where to go.

We could witness an intensified, you know, hostilities. Massive loud explosions every now and then, pillars of smoke started to pile up in

around the western -- the eastern side of Rafah City. So, it's becoming a precarious situation more than ever, noting that the situation has been

dire and very dangerous over the past weeks in Rafah specific.

SOARES: Yes, I mean, it looks -- it sounds absolutely petrifying for so many. Trying to understand exactly what is going on and the whiplash they

faced just in the last 24, 48 hours, and also the last six months of what they have been pretty much through hell.

Let me ask you in terms of the humanitarian areas. You know, Nic Robertson, our correspondent and I were talking about the fact that many people being

told to move to Al Mawasi. What is there in Al Mawasi? Is there any, sort of, infrastructure in place to accommodate to have so many people, more

than a million people move there?

MHANNA: Well, we still do not have clear information about the parameters of this -- of the humanitarian zone announced by Israel, that people are

being instructed to move towards to. It's -- as mentioned before, it's an empty space, close to the beach. There is no much of infrastructure. There

is bomb damaged roads. There is a high level of water contamination that is still unassessed, and this is a looming cause of zart (ph) that could cause

injuries to anyone.

So, there are many questions that remain unanswered about the whereabouts of people, how they are going to be transferred or moved from different

areas of Rafah towards this area, given that there are elderly people, sick and injured, persons with disabilities who cannot move as quick as that.

Even people if they choose to stay voluntarily, they remain protected according to the international humanitarian law. And this is, now more than

ever, needed to be ensured by parties to the conflict according to their legal obligations.

SOARES: Yes. And also, what we know is -- you know, that the crossings have been closed. Kerem Shalom Crossing has been closed. The U.S. has said in

the last, what, 20 minutes -- 40 minutes, I should say, that that should be open tomorrow. That has not been confirmed from the Israeli side.

But talk to those urgent needs. This is something that U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres is talking about. The important -- the need to have these

crossings open for diesel, of course, and for just delivery of aid. The common upkeeping of hospitals. Talk to that.

MHANNA: We have witnessed a significant increase in the amount of aid that is entering Gaza recently, by air, by land, by sea. And this is, you know,

we are -- we encourage this, and we would like to see more portals, more gateways opened on the border that would allow humanitarian aid and not


Unfortunately, after the military invasion of Rafah has started as of yesterday, the closure of the Rafah Crossing, it's not only about the entry

of aid. It's also about the people who need or wish to leave Gaza, including seriously injured and sick people who were supposed to receive

medical treatment abroad were able to leave Gaza even in small numbers, but now they are even prevented from that.

So, it could be threatening the lives, at least for this specific group of people. Nonetheless, Israel has, as an occupying power, must ensure that

people have access to everything they need, to food, to water, to, healthcare.


MHANNA: And both parties of the conflict shoulder the accountability towards ensuring the protection of civilian population and whatever is left

of the civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

SOARES: Hisham, really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us there. Hisham talking to us from Rafah. Appreciate it. Thank you, Hisham. Good to

see you.


And still to come tonight, adult film actress Stormy Daniels has been called to the witness stand. We'll have the very latest from Donald Trump's

hush money trial. That is next.


SCIUTTO: We're turning now to Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial and a critical moment. Stormy Daniels, the adult film star at the center of

this case, now on the stand. This, after the judge denied a defense motion for a mistrial. Daniels' story of both her relationship with Trump and how

Michael Cohen paid her to keep quiet about it is absolutely essential to the prosecutor's case against Trump.

Prosecutors have been taking her through a detailed history of her connection to Donald Trump, including the night she went into Trump's hotel

room. It appears to be an effort to remove any doubt about Daniels' credibility and her relationship with Trump as recounted in the courtroom,

a sexual relationship.

Criminal defense attorney Joseph Tully joins me now. Good to have you on. I want to ask you because there were clearly some moments when the judge in

this case believed prosecutors and Stormy Daniels, by the way, went too far in terms of sharing details, sometimes physical, uncomfortable physical

details of their relationship. That led to the defense attempting to call for a mistrial. Of course, the judge denied that. But do you believe

prosecutors went too far?

JOSEPH TULLY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure. Yes, I believe that they purposely went too far. However, that's very common in a courtroom. It's an

adversarial process. The important question, I think, is that, was a judge proper in denying a motion for mistrial. And I don't think that the

prosecution went so far that it would cause a mistrial.

And you see the two different sides. The defense first, the court, the defense is saying, give me a mistrial. Give me a mistrial. All these bad

details came in that were overly prejudicial, and the judge turned around and flipped it back on them and said, I was surprised I didn't hear more

objections. So, I thought that was interesting.

SCIUTTO: But let me ask you because you -- I know that a lot of those details were uncomfortable to hear. They were, frankly, uncomfortable for

me to hear as well. But they get at the facts, in effect, of the sexual relationship, which is relevant to the case because prosecutors are saying

that is a sexual relationship, that the former president did not want to come out during a presidential campaign. So, what was the line that defense

attorneys were claiming had been crossed there?


TULLY: Sure. So, one of the key points is that in any state case, federal case, when there are certain details that are in question, the judge has to

balance details that are probative, you know, what -- do they go to any points as you just brought up. They go to establishing Stormy Daniels'

credibility and they go toward harming Donald Trump's credibility who has denied all allegations that there was a physical relationship between them.

On the other hand, if something is probative, but it's outweighed by its prejudicial value, then the judge has to keep that out. And the argument

that Trump's team was making was that there is other things thrown in there that, you know, Stormy Daniels testified that she was threatened in a

parking lot, and that she was afraid for her safety.

And, you know, Trump's team was saying, look, that has nothing to do with any details of the trial. It shouldn't have come in. And now the jury is

overly prejudiced. And the judge denied that, saying it wasn't enough to irrevocably harm this case.

SCIUTTO: Right. And the judge, we should note, reserves the right to give instructions to the jury to, in effect, set aside some of that testimony

and stay focused on the testimony relevant to the case. You have made the point that testimony yesterday from accountants from Trump organization was

key though, and that it provided, in your view, some separation between Trump and the accountant's decision to classify the payments to Stormy

Daniels as legal fees. Why is that significant?

TULLY: Sure. So, all of these charges are based of their felonies. And in order to get to a felony level because the misdemeanors would be time

barred by the statute of limitations. So, they had to get the felony to bring charges, and to get to felony, they had to allege that the improper

payments were done with the specific intent to break another law.

So, just the fact that these hush money payments were made, whether or not they're legal isn't the issue. The issue is, was Trump thinking in his

mind, I want to violate campaign law. You know, I want to keep this record off my campaign and violate campaign law. Let's structure this like this.

And two key witnesses testified yesterday, Jeffrey McConney and Deborah Tarasoff, that Trump did not tell them how to classify it, that the

decision to classify these checks as attorneys' fees versus, you know, settlement payments regarding, you know, protecting the campaign had

nothing to do with Trump. And in my mind, that established a defense right then and there.

SCIUTTO: We'll see how that plays out going forward in closing arguments and the remaining witnesses. Joseph Tully, thanks so much.

As you heard it there, and as you can see on our screen, Stormy Daniels remains on the stand. Answering questions from prosecutors. We'll continue

to cover all the developments, and we'll be back after a short break.



SOARES: And finally, tonight, a new Guinness record has been set in the world of baking. On Sunday, French bakers made the world's largest --

longest baguette, I should say. It measured 140.53 meters or 461 feet long. Bakers began kneading and shaping dough at 3:00 a.m. before putting it in

an especially, clearly made oven. Congratulations to them.

That does it for us. "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto" is up next. I shall see you tomorrow. Bye-bye.