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Isa Soares Tonight

Israeli Tanks Push Further Into The Heart Of Rafah; Closing Arguments Wrap Up In Trump's Hush Money Trial; Search For Survivors Continues After Deadly Papua New Guinea Landslide; Trump On Trial; Defense Wrap Up Closing Arguments; Judge Cannon Rejects Trump Gag Order; Prosecution Delivers Closing Arguments; Israeli Tanks Enter Rafah City; 29 Killed In Displacement Camps In Rafah; Zelenskyy Seeks Support For Ukraine; Zelenskyy Signs Bilateral Security Pact With Portugal; Belgium To Provide 30 F-16 Fighter Jets To Ukraine; Pope Francis Apologize For Using Homophobic Slur; Controversy At The Vatican; Melinda Gates Donates $1B For Women's Rights. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 28, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News!

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, and welcome everyone, it's 7:00 p.m. in London, I am Isa Soares, and we are following two breaking stories

this very hour. First, Israeli tanks pushing into the heart of Rafah, and there are also fresh strikes on displacement camps in that area. We'll have

more in just a moment.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington D.C., it's 2:00 p.m. here, Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial is

entering its final stages. We're going to look at what is happening today and examine when a potential verdict could be reached.

SOARES: And we begin this hour with the war in Gaza. All the condemnation in the world hasn't been able to stop two new deadly attacks on camps for

displaced families in the Rafah area. One happened just a short distance from Sunday's strike that triggered that global outrage that we have been


And this is the first video we're getting from the scene, showing mourners as you can see there, gathered around bodies covered with white sheets.

Health officials say three-tenths were hit in an Israeli strike today, killing at least eight people.

They say a separate strike hit the displacement camp in Al-Mawasi, that's north of Rafah, at least 21 people were reportedly killed there, 13 of them

women. Israel says it did not strike the humanitarian zone, Al-Mawasi today, CNN asked if it attacked elsewhere in Al-Mawasi, and we are still

waiting for a response.

We are, though, hearing new details from the IDF about a strike on Sunday that targeted senior Hamas militants, but caused, of course, horrific

civilian casualties as well. We brought you that story yesterday, Israel says its ammunitions alone weren't enough to ignite the large fire that

swept through a camp, incinerating tents with families inside, at least, 45 people were killed, and that includes women as well as children.

The IDF suggests a secondary explosion may have been triggered by weapons stored near the targets, but says an internal investigation is still

underway, and it hasn't provided -- important to point out, any sort of evidence on that front. The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency

meeting on that attack next hour as Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the horror in Gaza must stop.

Now, let's get more from our correspondents covering all these trends for you. Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem, Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon.

Jeremy, to you first, I mean, we are seeing Israel's offensive against Rafah intensify in the last kind of 24 hours a day, of course, after that

deadly strike that you and I were talking about yesterday. What is your understanding, Jeremy? What is unfolding in Rafah?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, the Israeli military is not slowing down in its military offensive in Rafah, both in

terms of strikes that it is carrying out in the aftermath of that deadly strike Sunday night in western Rafah that killed at least, 45 people

according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, we have watched the Israeli military carry out another strike overnight about 150 meters away

from that initial Sunday night's strike.

One that killed eight people overnight. And in terms of the military operations in ground operations in Rafah, we're watching Israeli tanks

rolling into central Rafah today according to eyewitnesses on the ground. That is the farthest west that the Israeli military has advanced.

And certainly, they are entering the downtown area of Rafah, raising questions about whether or not, the Israeli government, the Israeli

military is crossing the red line that President Biden set out just a few weeks ago, when he said that he would withhold additional weapons from

Israel should it carry out an all-out offensive into the densely-populated parts of Rafah. Here's State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller today

when asked about that.


MATTHEW MILLER, SPOKESMAN, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: We have made clear what our policy is with respect to Rafah. We do not want to see major military

operations take place there in the way that we saw them take place in Khan Yunis and in Gaza city.

At this point, we have not seen a military operation on the scale of those previous operations. And if you just look at the number of per-days that

we're in Gaza city, that we're in Khan Yunis, this so far is a different type of military operation, but that said, it's something that we are

watching very closely, something that we are in touch with the Israeli government about.

And we will continue to press to them the importance of conducting legitimate operations to go after Hamas in a way that minimizes civilian




DIAMOND: So, as you can see, they're watching very closely, but no indication for now that it has crossed the threshold that would trigger

additional policy actions from the Biden administration.

Meanwhile, today, the Israeli military, in response, we should say to the overwhelming pressure from the United States and the international

community, we're watching the Israeli military lay out the first pieces of information that it has, as it carries out an investigation into that

strike Sunday night.

The Israeli military-sub spokesman, Daniel Hagari coming out explaining that too small ammunitions weighing about 17 kilos each were used in this

strike that was targeting two senior Hamas militants on Sunday night, but ultimately resulted in the death and injury of dozens, if not hundreds who

were injured in this -- of civilians who were injured in this very same strike.

But what he said was that he believes that those ammunitions alone could not have ignited the fire that took place that night in the area where

several hundred displaced Palestinians were living. He said the Israeli military is still looking into exactly what else could have triggered that

inferno. Isa?

SOARES: Yes, and on that, Jeremy, do stay with us, Oren, just on that point and what we heard from Hagari, you know, we understand the Israeli military

has told the U.S. that the fire was caused by shrapnel, right? Hitting some sort of fuel tank in this displacement camp.

But from what I understand, and correct me if I'm wrong here, Oren, no evidence was provided. So, clearly, we've heard already from the State

Department, it doesn't seem to -- the fresh whole -- it's not -- doesn't it cross the red line that President Biden said? Just give us a sense of what

you are hearing.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, here, it's a question of what exactly happened? And that's what the U.S. is waiting to find out from

the Israelis. In cases like this, and we have seen this multiple times over the course of the past, roughly eight months.

The U.S. doesn't conduct its own independent assessment or investigation of what happened, instead, it calls on Israel to do so and then effectively

relies on that investigation because the U.S. doesn't have the tools in place to be able to conduct its own investigation.

So, inherently, the U.S. will have to rely on Israeli information, and they asked for that pretty immediately. The State Department went on to say in

that press conference there with Matt Miller, that once they got reports of what had happened and the number of Palestinian casualties here, they

reached out immediately to the Israeli government, asked for information and then asked for a thorough investigation.

At this point, the U.S. official that we spoke with made clear that they could not verify or make any statement about the credibility of the Israeli

account of how this went down, that it was a piece of shrapnel. We had heard from that U.S. official that it hit a fuel tank.

We heard Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari say that it had hit potentially munitions and caused secondary explosions. So, there's clearly a spectrum

of possibilities here of what happened there, and it seemed Hagari was really leaning into the secondary explosions possibility.

All of this has to be fleshed out here, and the U.S. is looking at this very closely, whether or not, the U.S. takes action based on what they

conclude happened here, that of course, is the main question here.

SOARES: Yes, indeed, and that's something of course, we will wait to see what the White House says, given what we heard from President Biden in that

interview, of course, with our Erin Burnett. But let me stay with you, Oren, because in the last what, 40 minutes? Less than that, we have heard

that the U.S. pier that was constructed off Gaza has broken apart.

I mean, this caused what? Three hundred and twenty million dollars, it's been operation, an awful lot -- very few number of weeks -- a number of

weeks less than that. What more can you tell us?

LIEBERMANN: It's only been operable for about a week. It started on May 17th, and then it became inoperable on May 24th. So, one week later when

heavy seas forced a number of smaller U.S. army vessels to beach, both in Israel and near the pier in Gaza.

So, what happened here according to U.S. officials is that the temporary pier itself, the causeway that connects it to the beach, that has two

parts, the road that you're seeing right there on your screen, and then essentially, a parking area. Ships come up to the parking area, drop off

their supplies, and then the trucks ferry it back and forth along that narrow causeway.

It is the parking area that broke apart from that narrow causeway, the road leading it into the beach, that happened within the course of the past

couple of days here, we need to find out exactly when it happened here, but that was another reason this pier stopped operating.

This was a Maritime corridor that the U.S. had always said would augment the land crossings where most of the aid was supposed to go through, but

repeatedly, the U.S. says that Israel is not allowing in enough aid, so, they created this Maritime corridor to bring in more aid.

And then after a week of this operation, it is already down and effectively will be half -- will have to be re-assembled?


SOARES: Yes, and those shipments, of course, aid shipments now on pause, because it's no longer operable. I know you'll stay across this for us.

Oren Liebermann, thank you very much as well as Jeremy Diamond in Jerusalem.

And these deadly attacks in Rafah come just days after U.N.'s top court ordered Israel to halt its military offensive there. Ireland's Foreign

Minister says the European Union is now considering sanctioning Israel if it refuses to comply with the ruling. He spoke after a meeting in Brussels

on Monday. Have a listen.


MICHEAL MARTIN, FOREIGN MINISTER, IRELAND: For the first time at an EU meeting, in a real way, I've seen a significant discussion on sanctions.

There is a lot of concern there now across EU meeting -- EU Council, and I remember said to him in respect of what is a clear situation where the

International Court of Justice have ruled, have made provisional orders, and the EU has always upheld the independence of that court and the need

for nations to comply with it.


SOARES: Meanwhile, in Ireland, Spain as well as Norway have followed through on commitments made if you remember, last week to recognize a

Palestinian state. Today, all three countries made it official. Ireland's Prime Minister Simon Harris says they hope to make the move after a peace

agreement, but by doing it now, the miracle of peace, they were his words, is alive.

The Slovenian government is also considering a recognition proposal. I want to turn now to my colleague Jim Sciutto, who is tracking of course, the

latest developments in Donald Trump's hush money criminal trial.

SCIUTTO: Yes, we're very much in the final stages. The prosecution has now begun its closing arguments in Donald Trump's historic criminal hush money

trial. Earlier, the defense concluded its argument, and in its closing, it particularly took aim at the credibility of Michael Cohen at one point,

telling jurors that Cohen is the GLOAT, the greatest liar of all time.

That line of course, meant for public consumption. It seems as much as inside the courtroom, the prosecution's closing argument is expected to

last for hours or so today. That means both closing arguments done today and the jury could begin deliberating the case as early as tomorrow.

The fate of the former president in their hands. CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider covering the trial for us. You were following the

defense's closing arguments quite closely this morning, and tell me what stood out to you.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jim, all the defense has to do is poke some holes in the prosecution's case to really

cast that doubt in the jury's mind. And, you know, Todd Blanche, for almost three hours, he actually, you know, he created a lot of question here,

whether it's not -- whether it's enough to rise to that level of reasonable doubt, we will see with this jury.

But there were -- there were a few themes from the defense this morning when we heard their closings. First of all, you mentioned it. The whole

idea of Michael Cohen as a liar, that's something that they repeatedly pointed to throughout this trial and really zeroed in on in those


The greatest liar of all time, the GLOAT. And that is something that they really wanted to leave as the impression in the jury's mind. What I thought

was very interesting about the defense's closing argument was they talked about the fact that look, the prosecutions entire case centers on these

payments that were made to Michael Cohen in month increments in 2017.

Well, they -- the defense said Michael Cohen actually was serving as a personal attorney to Donald Trump while Donald Trump was in the White House

in 2017. So, the defense trying to draw this doubt that maybe those monthly payments to Michael Cohen were in fact for his services as personal

attorney, even though, Jim, Michael Cohen said on the stand, hey, I wasn't paid at all for those services.

The defense saying, do you really believe that? Michael Cohen never didn't get paid at all. He always complained when he didn't get his bonus. Do you

really believe that he worked for free? So again, sort of casting this doubt that may be --


SCHNEIDER: The money was for actual legal services rendered to the former president. So, again, you know, the defense here only has to cast some

doubt in the jury's mind to get a favorable verdict.


SCHNEIDER: So, we'll see --

SCIUTTO: Right --

SCHNEIDER: You know, the prosecution beginning there will see what kind of mark they leave.

SCIUTTO: And it seems the strategy is to try to poke as many holes as possible and hope that one of those roles --


SCIUTTO: That it turns at least one juror's mind. It's all --

SCHNEIDER: Exactly --

SCIUTTO: They need for a hung jury. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much. So, let's turn to David Weinstein; he's a former federal prosecutor. And David,

a lot of attention has been paid to the defense's attempts to undermine Michael Cohen's credibility. I wonder as it goes to a jury, in effect,

you're going to have Cohen's credibility versus Trump's credibility to some degree, right?

Because jurors can certainly conclude that Cohen is not a credible witness, but they also might question Trump's credibility in this, for instance, on

the question, why do you pay all this money, right?


Someone who is very aware of how his money is spent, what he paid all this money if he didn't want the story killed, would he be aware of it. In

effect, you have more than one person's credibility on the stand. Do you not?

DAVID WEINSTEIN, FORMER U.S. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you have a number of people's credibility on the stand, Jim, and you make a good point here.

They're calling Cohen a witness who shouldn't be believed and who is not credible. And then they're trying to use that against the prosecution.

The prosecution can turn that around, and they can tell these jurors that while Cohen may be someone whose credibility has issues, look how long he

worked for the person who is on trial here. Look how much he was trusted by that person. And that goes back to your other point.

Is Trump and his lawyers credible in the arguments they're making, saying that this entire house of cards falls or rises on that single witness,

Michael Cohen.

SCIUTTO: It strikes me too, and I wonder in your experience that --


SCIUTTO: The fact of the matter is a lot of crooks have gone to prison based on the testimony of crooks, right? That it's not unusual to have

criminals, convicted criminals come to the stand and a prosecution depend their case in part on their testimony and juries make judgments, right, to

accept at least the account that, that particular person is saying under oath is believable even if they've had lies elsewhere.

I'm just curious what your experience is when you bring if imperfect is the phrase, but imperfect witnesses to the stand.

WEINSTEIN: It happens all the time, Jim, and as a prosecutor, what you tell the jurors is simply, the only people who know what happened inside the

conspiracy, the only people who know exactly what takes place and where the bodies are buried, so-to-speak, are the people who were part of that


And you know what? These people, some of them have been convicted and are not testifying against their former accomplices, and you can take their

testimony for what it's worth. You can accept all of it, some of it, none of it, but you know what? They're the people who were there and it happens

all the time.

We see it happen time and time again in any case where a former co- conspirator comes in to testify against a person who was part of that conspiracy. It's not unusual. It's quite common --


WEINSTEIN: In jurors convict based on testimony of former co-conspirators. So, it could happen here as well.

SCIUTTO: We should note as I mentioned at the top of this segment that the prosecution is now into their closing arguments. They've been focusing to

some degree on the defense's questioning about some of the evidence presented.

But before we go, I do want to ask you about the step that is required to convict here in terms of the falsification of the records alleged in

furtherance of another crime to make it rise to the level of a felony. Has the prosecution in your view made that connection?

WEINSTEIN: They have, Jim. Now whether or not the jury wants to believe it, they have made that connection by circumstances, by text messages, by

records, and by the connecting testimony of Michael Cohen. If the jury accepts all of that, then they've made the connection that the records were

falsified to cover up what took place in furtherance of the election fraud that they're claiming happened here.

And that's what the jury needs to find. But look, the defense has said that's not why it happened, there were other things going on here, there is

no crime that was being covered up. They're giving the jurors a place to hang their hat and say, well, you know, there are false records here,

perhaps, but not for the reason the prosecution has stated that could lead to a hung jury, that could lead to an acquittal. It could lead to a

conviction on misdemeanors instead of felonies. You know --


WEIINSTEIN: The options are almost endless.

SCIUTTO: And we should note, the prosecution has just recently been drawing attention to other witnesses' testimony, David Pecker, for instance, the

former publisher of "The National Enquirer", to show that their case goes beyond Michael Cohen. David Weinstein, thanks so much for sharing your


WEINSTEIN: You're welcome.

SCIUTTO: And still to come tonight, local officials say huge rocks and debris are still falling days after a massive landslide in Papua New

Guinea. We're going to have the latest on the evacuation next.



SOARES: Well, Georgia's parliament has now voted to override the presidential veto on the foreign influence legislation. This move clears

all obstacles for the contentious bill which has sparked weeks of course, of protests. Georgia's president claims it has parallels with the Kremlin

law and could prevent the country from joining the European Union.

Government officials in the remote region of Papua New Guinea have ordered thousands of people to evacuate. Huge rocks as well as debris continue to

fall four days after a massive landslide. The conditions are making recovery efforts even more dangerous, of course, as crews struggle to reach

the area. Our Anna Coren has the latest.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Last week's deadly landslide in the highlands of Papua New Guinea that is feared to have buried alive more

than 2,000 people is still active and growing, according to government officials, triggering mass evacuations in the area.

The PNG defense forces have told more than 7,000 people to leave as the threat to life continues. It comes as villagers and emergency crews tried

to dig through the debris, which officials say stretches over nine hectares, more than nine football fields and a 6 to 8 meters deep in earth,

rubble and boulders, some as large as shipping containers.

Heavy earth-moving equipment has reached the area but is unable to be used on the site due to the instability. The densely-populated village that was

hit on Friday at 3:00 a.m. while people slept, was located on a highway, the lifeline of the region, which locals say had more than a 100 homes,

shops or school, church, gas station and a lodge, all of it is now buried.

The people who live there were mainly subsistence farmers. A handful of bodies have been recovered so far and funeral processions have begun. U.N.

officials who visited the site said the community is grieving and still in total shock.

MATE BAGOSSY, UNDP HUMANITARIAN COORDINATION SPECIALIST: They're mourning their dead, and they are looking forward to receive some assistance, which

is already coming. But I think the main question is right now, the population is caught between the trauma of what just happened and the

uncertainty about the longer-term future.

COREN: Basic aid, food and clean water has reached the area, but more humanitarian assistance and medical supplies from the U.N. NGOs, Australia

and New Zealand should be arriving in the coming days along with engineering specialists to provide technical support over what has

tragically become a mass grave. Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


SOARES: We now turn to south Asia where the death toll from Cyclone Remal has risen to 36. The storm brought heavy winds and flooding to eastern

India as well as parts of Bangladesh on Sunday, downed trees and uprooted power lines left millions disconnected from electricity and mobile phone



Remal is the first major cyclone of the year to hit the region. More than a million people were evacuated in both countries on Sunday ahead of the

storm and the cyclone has now weakened into a depression. Forty one people remain in hospital following the severe turbulence on last week's Singapore

Airlines flight from London, and that is according to hospital officials in Bangkok where the plane was forced to land, at least five patients are

still in intensive care.

Following the incident, Singapore Airlines says it will adopt more cautious safety policies including having crew members return to their seats when

the seat belt sign is on. And lawmakers in Taiwan now have new oversight powers after a parliament passed a controversial reform bill.

That is despite the protests -- the protesters, I should say outside, who continue to demonstrate against that bill among their slogans, no democracy

without deliberation. The bill pushed by the opposition, criminalizes contempt of parliament by government officials and requires the president

to give regular reports to parliament.

And still to come tonight, closing arguments continue in Donald Trump's hush money trial. We'll have a live update on what the prosecution has been

saying with our Jim Sciutto. That is next. Plus, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy is traveling across Europe to get additional support to win the

war against Russia. We'll have a live report for you after this short break, you are watching CNN.


SCIUTTO: Welcome back. The defense in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial has now made its final pitch, its closing arguments to the jury.

Trump's lead attorney, Todd Blanche, spent the morning and afternoon trying to convince the jury there is simply not enough evidence to convict the

former president on those 34 counts of falsifying business records. They're felonies.


Now, it is prosecutor's turn to speak. For weeks, they have been working to prove that Trump took part in an illegal conspiracy to undermine the

integrity of the 2016 presidential election by paying off Stormy Daniels and her story of an affair, an alleged affair with Trump. Moments ago, we

heard from Donald Trump Jr. expressing support for his father's attorney.


DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF DONALD TRUMP: I think Todd Blanche summed it up best. If there was an MVP, if there was a GOAT of liars, it is Michael

Cohen. Michael Cohen is the embodiment of reasonable doubt. And this entire case hinges on someone who has quite literally lied to every single person

and body he's ever been in front of.


SCIUTTO: He also worked for his father for a number of years in a very senior role. The other case we're following closely is the classified

documents case. Federal Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee, has rejected the special counsel Jack Smith's request for a gag order against

Donald Trump. That gag order, the reason being that Trump suggested that Biden, in effect, empowered those raiding his home for those classified

documents with killing him. Not true. In fact, they were following standard procedures.

The judge is now slamming prosecutors for not giving the defense enough time to discuss the request before filing it on Friday. Katelyn Polantz,

she's been keeping a close eye on today's closing arguments, both cases really. She joins us now live from Washington.

Briefly, let's just be clear to people what that gag order was that Jack Smith was seeking. He didn't want the former president and current nominee

for president to suggest quite publicly that Biden, in effect, was empowering federal officers to kill him as they went to get back these

classified documents from the former president's home.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right. The Justice Department said that that sort of statement from Donald Trump,

which he had repeated over and over since a court filing was released previously last week, that had some standard operating procedures for an

FBI search about how deadly force could be used, if there was a dangerous situation that arose, very standard policy for that search.

That was extremely dangerous and false is what the attorney general of the United States as well as prosecutors were saying. They went to Judge Cannon

late on Friday afternoon saying, we want a limit placed on Donald Trump from what he can say. He should not be able to speak about law enforcement

that were involved in that search of Mar-a-Lago in August of 22 like this. Please stop him from repeating this misleading piece of information.

And Judge Cannon today said no, she's not going to do that. They can try again. They can come and ask her again. But they acted in a way that was

fairly unprofessional, according to the judge's words. They did not give Donald Trump's legal team enough time to talk with them about this and to

give their own side of the story and their own position on the matter.

So, procedurally, Judge Cannon said, she's not doing this. You didn't do it right. You didn't follow the court process. But we could hear again from

the Justice Department still trying to limit Donald Trump's speech with a gag order in this case. It's not over yet.

SCIUTTO: Well, we should note that Judge Cannon has repeatedly made decisions here which have effectively dragged this out, and there's been a

lot of criticism from lawyers, frankly, in both parties about how that has played out here. Perhaps this is one of the same. Katelyn Polantz, thanks

so much.

Let's bring back former state and federal prosecutor David Weinstein. He joins us now live from Miami, Florida. OK. Back to the Trump criminal hush

money trial. We're watching the prosecution make its closing arguments now. They bring up a point which I -- you and I have discussed before, is that

Cohen, while he has lied before, actually went to jail for being involved, in effect, in this scheme of paying folks off, to, in effect, interfere

with an election by buying and killing stories, et cetera.

I wonder how that factors in, not just to the prosecution's case, but also a jury's judgment as to his credibility here. Because yes, he has lied

before, but he actually did go to prison for involvement, going to different charges, federal case, but involvement in the same scheme.

WEINSTEIN: Well, Jim, I think it helps bolster his credibility. Look, anytime you put on a cooperating witness, you tell the jury what benefits

he's received or she's received, as well as what they've admitted to doing.

And here, as you just pointed out, Cohen's admitted to doing exactly what they're claiming the former president did. That is lie, manipulate, alter

records to cover up something that happened in an effort to influence the election. And he's admitted to doing that, and he went to jail for that.


So, the fact that he's now here testifying about it again gives credibility to his statements, despite the fact that, in the past, I think we can all

agree, he's been untruthful.

SCIUTTO: OK. Let's talk about what happens after the closing arguments, as this goes to a jury, perhaps as soon as tomorrow with those jury

instructions. First of all, why are the jury instructions so important to the jury's consideration of this case?

WEINSTEIN: Well, it's the roadmap that they're given by the judge as to how they're supposed to apply all of these facts that they've heard over the

course of the last 20 or so days to the law, and then decide whether or not the prosecution's met their burden of proof.

It's the instructions to the game. You have to read the instructions if you're going to play the game. And these are the instructions that they

have to follow. It answers questions about what is sufficient, how much evidence they can consider, what does the prosecution have to prove, what

is a reasonable doubt.

And so, that's why they're so important, particularly in this case, where the biggest question is, did all of this happen to cover up another crime?

How is that other crime been defined? So, it's the guidelines they need to use when they're sitting back in that jury room.

SCIUTTO: OK. So, closing arguments for both sides. And today, the jury's get the -- the jury gets those instructions tomorrow. They begin

deliberating. What are the potential outcomes here? You -- of course, you have conviction. You have the possibility of a hung jury. You have the

possibility of acquittal. But if there's a conviction, is it a financial fine most likely or is jail time a realistic possibility?

WEINSTEIN: I think the potential to put the former president in jail is a possibility. The question becomes, is it a realistic possibility? Is this

judge really going to sentence the former president to time in jail if, in fact, he is eligible for that based on the crimes he's been convicted of?

If it was any other defendant, I'd say that a conviction is going to result in some jail time. Because it's punishment, it sends a message to others,

and quite frankly, it's a possibility that's going to be considered by the judge here. But the complicating facts there are, where do you put someone

who is a former president? And what do you do about the upcoming election that he's set to run in?

Now, all of this is going to have to go up on appeal. So, even if he were sentenced to jail, I don't think we'd see that happen before November.

SCIUTTO: That's a good point. There is a possibility of appeal if there is a conviction on some or all of these charges. David Weinstein, thanks so


Still to come tonight, Ukraine's president Zelenskyy is in Portugal to get additional support in his country's ongoing effort to defend itself from

the Russian invasion. We're going to explain what exactly those two countries agreed to.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Eyewitnesses tell CNN that Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have been seen in the center of Rafah. For months, the

U.S. has warned against any offensive in the Southern Gaza City.

Meanwhile, Gaza's ministry of defense says at least 29 Palestinians were killed in two Israeli attacks on displacement camps. That was on Tuesday.

And the international outcry, of course, continues over Sunday's strike on Rafah by the Israeli military.

To recap and evaluate really the latest developments in the Israeli-Hamas war, we're joined now by CNN military analyst former commanding general of

the U.S. army Europe and 7th Army, Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.

General, great -- always great to have you on the show. We are -- I think it's fair to say, we heard this off the top of the hour with -- from our

Jeremy Diamond on the ground, that, you know, Israel's offensive against Rafah seems to be Intensifying and we're hearing reports from sources of

tanks already in Rafah. And this comes despite, of course, the international condemnation following that strike that we saw that killed 45

people, including women, of course, and children.

Now, in the last 30 minutes, I think it's important to add context here. We have heard from the State Department, who has had this to say. Have a



MATTHEW MILLER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: We have made clear what our policy is with respect to Rafah. We do not want to see major military

operations take place there in the way that we saw them take place in Khan Younis and in Gaza City.

At this point, we have not seen a military operation on the scale of those previous operations. And if you just look at the number of brigades that

were in Gaza City, that were in Khan Younis, this so far is a different type of military operation. But that said, it's something that we are

watching very closely, something that we are in touch with the Israeli government about, and we will continue to press to them the importance of

conducting legitimate operations to go after Hamas in a way that minimizes civilian harm.


SOARES: So, reading kind of in between the lines from what we heard there, the U.S. doesn't seem to be equating this as an offensive or indeed as a

red line, which is what we heard from President Biden in that interview with our Erin Burnett. Your thoughts here, General.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: It's interesting, Isa, because what we're seeing is a continuation of the operation, but on a

different scale, as the State Department spokesman just said.

I've been watching it very closely. It appears to me, from what I'm getting, not only from open-source intelligence but also from my contacts

in the Israeli army, that they have reduced their strikes. They have been more precise in their strikes.

The events over the weekend where Hamas ministry of health has claimed, you know, the amount of deaths and pointed to the Al-Mawasi camp, the Israelis

came back immediately and said that was not the case. That that strike hit outside. It hit between two mosques where Hamas was using the area to fire

up to 15, from what I understand, missiles toward Tel Aviv.

So, you're getting the kind of back and forth that you always get in these kind of terrorism -- counterterrorism operations, where the conventional

military is saying one thing, the terrorists are saying another thing, and we have to continue to remember that Hamas' strategy is to make Israel look

as bad as possible in every event. That's their messaging. It is their strategy.

So, we have to take all of this with a grain of salt. And what I see Israel doing right now is actually conducting less intensive operations with more


SOARES: Yes, and it's interesting you said that. Clearly, they're pushing ahead with this offence in a very different way. In fact, according to 'The

New York Times," General, and I think that speaks to exactly what you're hearing in your assessment of it, Israel's moving more deliberately,

advancing a few meters at a time at night, excuse me, and using less air power. Basically, forcing Israeli soldiers to engage kind of in urban


Speak to the risks and the challenges of such an operation in such a densely packed area.

HERTLING: Well, that is a great question, Isa. It is extremely difficult. Anytime you do urban operations, especially urban areas that have large

buildings, that have a lot of infrastructure, and then you combine that with what we've repeatedly said, underneath Rafah are all sorts of tunnels.


There was a film shown earlier today where Israel blew up a tunnel that was close to a mile and a half long, 800 meters wide, and it was just

unbelievable. And it was a transfer point to allow Hamas terrorists to go back and forth between Khan Younis and Rafah.

So, what we're seeing is not only the tough indicators of what happens in an urban environment but also, an urban environment where most of the enemy

is fighting from underground and they're surrounding themselves and using the infrastructure of the Palestinian people to hide their activity. So, it

is extremely difficult.

I got to tell you, I've been in a lot of combat, Isa, this is one I'm glad I'm not in, because it's putting a lot of pressure on the Israeli Defense


SOARES: General is always, always great to get your insight. Thank you very much.

Now, Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is now in my hometown of Portugal as part of a campaign to get more support for his country's war


Zelenskyy and the Portuguese prime minister signed the Bilateral Security Pact. Portugal also pledged at least EUR126 million in military aid to the

country. And this agreement comes shortly after signing a similar one with the Belgian prime minister, as you can see there. That pact is worth more

than $1 billion and includes fighter jets, tanks, and military training.

Ukraine has signed a series of such agreements with its western partners, but that may be more difficult, of course, moving forward. Hungary has

blocked an agreement that would allow the European Union to give more than EUR6 billion to Ukraine.

Joining us now from Paris with the very latest is Melissa Bell. And, Melissa, President Zelenskyy, of course at this juncture needs all the help

he can get. As we've been reporting here on the show, Russia continuing to pound Ukraine, attacking those fruit frontline positions near Kharkiv. Talk

us through the pledges that've come in so far, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this latest that you mentioned, Isa, signed between Portugal and Ukraine is the 12th

such bilateral deal that's been signed. This was a result of a pledge that was made last year in Vilnius after the G7 called for it, that individual

countries should do all they could to help.

And of course, as you say, it's all the more crucial that the European Union itself is struggling to get passed. Once again, the resistance is

being put up by Hungary. Remember, it happened again -- it happened already back in December with that EUR50 billion tranche of aid that the E.U. was

hoping to get to Kyiv. It's happening again now with the tranche of aid that's now being held up to the tune of some $7 billion.

So, these bilateral deals that have been struck, specifically ones as large as those we saw signed by Spain and Belgium this week are, of course,

crucial. And a lot of that aid, particularly in the case of Spain and Belgium, will involve that much needed help for Ukraine's air defenses.

You mentioned that the 30 F-16s gifted by Belgium, that matters a great deal because the F-16s, although they're not operational on the ground yet,

once they do get used on the ground in Ukraine, it is believed will provide that extra layer of help in Ukraine's air defense system. So, they're


This whistle stop tour very much, of course, about drumming up support, even as Ukraine is trying to fend off that pressure on its northeastern

front. And it's happening also, Isa, in a context where there's this growing talk that started with Jen Stoltenberg last week and has been --

come up over and over again this week about whether it is time now to -- for all of the alliance members to lift the restrictions they have on their

weaponry being used against Russian targets.

And we heard today from the Russian president himself speaking very directly to that in Uzbekistan saying, look, NATO allies need to be very

careful about what they're considering because the use of such long-range equipment against Russian targets, he suggested, would imply a western

intelligence, NATO military personnel, even if they weren't on the ground, and NATO members need to be very careful about the consequences -- what the

consequences would be. Specifically, he suggested smaller and more densely populated countries, referring there clearly to NATO's eastern flank.

So, this is a dangerous escalation, no doubt, that presents itself and yet, believes Jen Stoltenberg something that is now inevitable for cities like

Kharkiv to be able to defend themselves. Isa.

SOARES: Yes, and this is something we heard quite forthrightly from the Belgian today as, of course, they signed that deal. But I wonder if we're

going to start seeing some sort of policy shift given what we've been hearing from Stoltenberg. Melissa, as always, great to see you. Thank you

very much.

And still to come tonight, the controversy at the Vatican over reports the Pope used an anti-gay slur. We'll look at the allegations and what was

said, without us saying it, next.



SOARES: Well, Pope Francis has apologized for using a homophobic slur. The pontiff reportedly made the homophobic remark in a meeting last week, when

telling Italian bishops that gay men shouldn't be allowed to train for the priesthood. The Vatican said the Pope never intended to offend or express

himself in homophobic terms. Even his supporters are shocked, given his recent overtures, as we all know, towards the LGBT community.

I want to bring in our Vatican correspondent, Christopher Lamb, for more. Christopher, great to see you. So, the Pope has now apologized for using

this derogatory term. But just explain, first of all, the context in what - - when these comments were made, and how his words critically are being received here.

CHRISTOPHER LAMB, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa. These remarks by the Pope have caused a lot of upset amongst gay Catholics who seen Francis as a

sign of hope for them because of his welcoming approach to gay people.

Now, the context is, is that Francis is reported to have made this anti-gay slur when in a meeting, a behind closed doors meeting with the Italian

bishops on May the 20th. And the discussion that was taking place when he made the remark was whether to admit gay men to the seminary for training

for the priesthood.

Now, it has been the Vatican's policy not to admit gay men, openly gay men to train for the priesthood and Francis has upheld that. And during the

discussion with the Italian bishops, he once again said no to gay men being admitted to the seminary and then made a remark that says -- that there was

already too much of a gay climate within the seminary.

Now, this used a phrase, which was very offensive. But the Vatican responded today with a statement, and I quote, saying, "That the Pope never

intended to offend or express himself in homophobic terms, and he extends his apologies to those who felt offended by the use of a term, as reported

by others. As Francis has said on several occasions, in the church, there is room for everyone, everyone. No one is useless, no one is superfluous,

there is room for everyone just as we are. Everyone."

Of course, this has been the Pope's consistent message during his pontificate, particularly when it comes to LGBTQ plus people. Of course,

the Pope early on in his pontificate was the one who said, who am I to judge when it comes to gay priests? And he's offered possibility of

blessings for same sex couples. He's called for the end of criminalization of homosexuality.


So, this has -- these remarks really have caused a lot of surprise and a lot of upset. Now, it has been reported that the Pope may not have been

aware of just how offensive the Italian term he used was. Of course, Italian is his second language. And the statement that was made by the

Vatican is clearly saying he didn't intend any homophobia. But Francis has felt it necessary to apologize for his mistakes.

SOARES: I appreciate it, Christopher. Good to see you. Thank you very much.

LAMB: Thank you.

SOARES: And finally, tonight, Melinda French Gate says she will donate $1 billion to advance women's rights, including support for reproductive


French Gate, who is one of the world's wealthiest and most prominent philanthropists, says she felt compelled to offer financial support

following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in 2022, which allows, of course, individual states to decide abortion rights.

And that does it for us for this hour. Thanks very much for your company. I'm Isa Soares in London

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington. I'll be back at the top of the hour with more headlines from the Trump hush money trial and other stories

we're following. Please do stay with CNN.