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Isa Soares Tonight

White House: Rafah Attack Did Not Cross Biden's Red Line; Jury Deliberations Underway In Trump Hush Money Trial; Polls To Close Soon In Pivotal South African Election; South Africa Elections; Trash Balloons Sent Across Border By North Korea; Jury To Decide Trump's Fate; Biden And Harris Campaigns In Philadelphia; White House's Continued Support For Israel. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 29, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: A very warm welcome to the show everyone, I'm Isa Soares. Tonight, a new CNN investigation found U.S.

ammunitions were used in a deadly strike on Rafah. We'll look at how the Biden administration is reacting to this.

Then Donald Trump's fate in his historic criminal trial is now in the hands of 12 jurors as jury deliberations now begin. We'll have the very latest.

Plus, we are just an hour away from polls closing in South Africa in the country's most pivotal election since the end of apartheid. That story, of

course, and much more just ahead.

But first this evening, the White House says its support of Israel is not wavering and no red lines have being crossed after devastating strike

killed dozens of people at a displacement camp in Rafah. A CNN analysis of video from the scene found that U.S.-made bombs were used in Sunday's

attack against two Hamas targets.

Gaza's Health Ministry says at least 45 people were killed, and that includes women and children. Israel says its investigation on what caused

the fire that incinerated tents with families inside, suggesting there may have been a secondary explosion.

Israel is brushing off global outrage, pressing ahead with its offensive in Rafah. And this, as you can see there is our first look at tanks advancing

further west near the Egyptian border. A top Israeli security official says the war could last another seven months to achieve the objective of

destroying Hamas.

Let's get more now on all of these strands, our Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem for us this evening, Kylie Atwood is in Washington. And Kylie,

let me start with you because at this time roughly yesterday, we heard, of course, the White House said that the attack in Rafah that killed those 45

people did not cross President Biden's red lines.

Today, this analysis from CNN shows weapons used in the attack were U.S. made, what more do we know about this? What has been the reaction from the

Biden administration to the CNN analysis?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. So, the administration continues to say that, you know, there are no policy changes

on behalf of the Biden administration after this. They obviously are saying that the attack was horrific in such that it killed dozens of innocent


They repeatedly say that one death of an innocent civilian is too many, but they are also stopping short of saying that this is going to change the

Biden administration's policy with continued support for Israel, because they say that this was according to Israel, a precision-guided attack

effectively gone wrong of course.

But that, they aren't actually carrying out an all-ground offensive on Rafah, which the U.S. has repeatedly warned them against doing. However,

they're also calling for Israel to carry out a swift investigation to figure out how this precision-guided efforts actually went awry.

Of course, they killed those Hamas leaders that they were going for, but they'd also killed those Palestinians. Listen to what the Secretary of

State said about this earlier today.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: We've heard from the Israelis, but again, absence -- a complete investigation, I can't verify

any of this, that small diameter weapons were used in a targeted fashion, to go after specific terrorists leaders of Hamas. Again, I can't vouch for

that in this moment, we have to see what the investigation shows.


ATWOOD: He also went on to say that Israel is going to have to consider if the incremental gains that it is having against Hamas with these attacks

are worth or stack up to, in his words, the horrific consequences even if they're unintended of these civilians dying.

This is a really significant statement for the Secretary of State because although he is not indicating a policy change on behalf of the United

States, he is saying that this is a moment for Israel to take a step back and consider if what it's doing is effectively worth it.

SOARES: Yes, we're not seeing it take a step back. In fact, we just showed viewers in the last few minutes, tanks rolling in, right? And this is

something that Jeremy and I have been discussing in fact, this week.


And Jeremy, staying on that, we also have heard in the last 24 hours from the Israeli National Security adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, that he

expects another seven months of this. What more does this say? Where does this leave Jeremy, the possibility of a ceasefire deal even?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, what it indicates is that the Israeli military is not going to stop, it's a

campaign in Gaza after it concludes this military offensive in Rafah. This indicates that the war will continue at least through the end of the year

as Tzachi Hanegbi; the National Security adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister says to expect at least another seven months of fighting to quote,

"deepen our achievements".

And he also says that it is to destroy Hamas and Islamic Jihad within the Gaza Strip. This is, you know, notable for a few reasons. Keep in mind that

the Israeli Prime Minister in April, more than a month ago said that he believed that Israel was quote, "on the brink of victory against Hamas".

And what we have seen in the time since then is the Israeli military sending ground troops back into areas of northern Gaza that it had

previously withdrawn from months ago as Hamas fighters returned to the area. And that indicates that there is a real broader strategic question of

what Israel is doing to actually secure the achievements that it is making in Gaza in terms of eliminating Hamas and securing territory.

Because clearly, as the United States and as Secretary Blinken is pointing out here, there appears to be no strategy from the Israeli government in

terms of the day after the war in Gaza, in terms of establishing some other kind of Palestinian civilian government inside the Gaza Strip.

And so, that is going to be a long-term challenge for the Israeli government and for the Israeli military, one that we have seen has really

percolated within Israeli politics and within the Israeli military itself, with a lot of questions and fingers being pointed at the Israeli Prime

Minister himself.

SOARES: Yes, and this is something -- a request we have heard from the United States repeatedly for plans for the day after something that we as -

- we understand, they have not seen. And Kylie, finally to you, we have been seeing -- I think it's fair to say outrage on social media over -- I

want to show viewers a photo of former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, ambassador to the U.N., I should say, Nikki Haley. Talk to us about this

photo in particular, and the message in them.

ATWOOD: Yes, so, Nikki Haley visited Israel over the course of the last few days. Of course, previously a presidential candidate running against former

President Trump for the Republican Party nomination. Also, as you said, the former ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration,

she has staked out very clearly that she is on Israel's side as this war has grown tremendously challenging.

She has been a voice for the Republican Party who has tried to stake out that position that the United States, there can be no daylight between the

United States and Israel. So, on this trip, she wrote on that photo that I think you put up, "finish them", on an Israeli artillery shell.

And the key thing here is not only that she wrote, "finish them", which you know, we understand means finish Hamas, of course, the terrorist

organization that Israel has been going after. But she also did that the day after there was that attack that killed dozens of displaced


Of course, Israel has said that it was a mistake for those deaths to have occurred, but the timing here was just horrendous, because there is a lot

of push-back on her for not understanding the plight of the Palestinians as they have had to endure the challenge of this continued war in Gaza, been

displaced, being killed and the like.

But for Nikki Haley, she wanted to make this trip to Israel, it was very important for her to make sure that she was the voice in the Republican

Party, saying that don't listen to anyone, Israel, the United States isn't backing away, we will be with you until the end here.

SOARES: Kylie Atwood as well as Jeremy Diamond. Thank you to you both. Well, a jury of 12 will determine whether or not former U.S. President

Donald Trump is guilty of 34 felony criminal charges. Jury deliberations are underway in the New York hush money case.

In fact, they've been deliberating for two hours and 41 minutes to be exact. And this comes after a marathon, of course, of closing arguments on

Tuesday. The defense hammered at the credibility of Michael Cohen, at one point telling jurors Cohen is the GLOAT, which stands for the greatest liar

of all time.

The prosecution in the meantime, well, it swung back, arguing, there is a mountain of evidence to prove Trump falsified business records to cover up

a damaging story just before the 2016 election.


Let's get more on all of this, CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins me now live from Washington. Jessica, great to see you. Just talk us

through what we've heard from both sides and critically, the instruction, the long list, I should say, of instructions from the judge to the jury as

they begin deliberations here.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A very long list, Isa. In fact, the judge here spent just a bit about an hour instructing these

jurors on really how to apply the specific law to all of the evidence they've heard over the past five weeks.

After that, the juries -- the jurors went into the deliberation room about 11:30 this morning, so, they've been at it for almost three hours now.

We're expecting they will go about another two-and-a-half hours until 4:30 today. Of course, unless they reach a verdict sooner. Now, interestingly,

the jury does have a laptop with them in their deliberation room where they are able to access all of the evidence that was admitted throughout this


That includes those checks that were signed by Donald Trump, that do provide part of the basis for these 34 charges of falsifications of

business records, it also includes the vouchers and the invoices. So, they will be able to look at that throughout their deliberations.

The judge, of course, was very clear to the jury, you know, they must decide this case unanimously. They must evaluate all of the facts and

evidence they've heard throughout this trial. And the judge at parts was very specific, in one part, he even said, you know, even if they find that

Donald Trump was just simply involved rather than being the main player in that scheme to falsify business records, they can find him guilty.

They also have to find in addition to the whole falsification of business records aspect, they need to find that there was another violation of the

law, like federal election law or tax fraud, that's in order for these charges to rise to felony counts. So, they kind of have to find two fold on

each count, and then the judge talked about Michael Cohen.

He noted that the jury can in fact take account of Michael Cohen's guilty plea several years ago for lying to Congress when they're considering his

credibility. And this was a really interesting part, Isa, and this is standard in jury instructions. But if the jury finds that one part of

Michael Cohen's testimony is not true, they can disregard --

SOARES: Yes --

SCHNEIDER: All of his testimony. So, that is kind of what the defense team is banking on here, that Michael Cohen and his shady past, if you will, the

fact that he is a convicted liar, they're hoping that, that will just shade all of this, and the jury might come back with an acquittal, but we shall

see three hours into deliberations, no word, obviously, on how long this could take, so, we continue --

SOARES: Yes --

SCHNEIDER: Just to wait.

SOARES: Yes, two hours, 44 minutes, and the breakdown thing, you can see there on the left or the right of your screen, I should say, seven men,

five women, that's the --


SOARES: Breakdown of the jury. Jessica, appreciate you breaking all down for us, thank you very much. Let's get more on all these strands. I want to

bring in national security attorney, Bradley Moss, who joins us now live from Washington D.C. Bradley, great to have you back on the show.

Let me pick up really where Jessica Schneider just left off, and really the jury instructions. And one of those instructions that really caught my eye

was the fact that they cannot convict Trump on Michael Cohen's testimony alone because he's an accomplice, but they can use evidence if corroborated

with other evidence. I mean, explain that and what else perhaps stood up from that long list?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: Yes, this is a longstanding principle that simply the testimony otherwise uncorroborated of an

accomplice is not on its own enough to convict someone. And there's an understandable reason for that, because if that was the only testimony,

there's only two people involved.

The only way a defendant could ever respond is somebody to testify himself, which would, you know, simply run a follow up of those Fifth Amendment

rights. It's not their burden, it's the government's burden to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed.

And so, this is how the Manhattan DA's office has structured this, was always that they built a wall in this case of evidence of documents, e-

mails, texts, other witness testimony around Michael Cohen, so that any credibility issues that he has because of his own past, his own legal

problems would not on its own crash the case.

The question is, does the jury find him sufficiently credible? Does the jury find the remainder of the evidence sufficiently corroborating to

conclude that Donald Trump, in fact, should be found guilty?

SOARES: And what we also heard, Bradley, was a judge basically telling jurors they were not to make anything -- I think the words of Trump's

decision, not to testify on his own behalf. I mean, just explain that for us. I mean, where is the burden of proof here?

MOSS: Sure, the burden of proof is entirely on the prosecutor's office. And the burden is specifically that the government has to prove you committed a

crime. A criminal defendant is under no obligation to prove their innocence. Their only obligation, their only real commitment is to disprove

-- at least, to -- yes, demonstrate there's a reasonable doubt of their criminal liability.


So, the burden is always on the government first, because someone's liberty, someone's freedom is at stake. And every person in these criminal

trials has a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves. They certainly have the right not to testify. There's no obligation to do so.

And that cannot be held against them. That's how this is different from civil proceedings where there is an inference that can be drawn.

SOARES: And as you're talking, we are seeing how long they've been deliberating for two hours and 47 minutes. We also see Bradley, that a

breakup of the jury, seven men, five women, two of those jurors from what I understand are attorneys. Does this change impact, anything you think?

MOSS: So, juries are a little unpredictable, you know, when you have attorneys on a jury, you should expect, you know -- maybe assume that at

least, one of them will sort of try to take a lead a bit if only to guide the others on some of the nuances of these legal issues. But that doesn't

necessarily mean something good or bad for either party.

Lawyers are more legally trained in the nuances, they understand details better, but they're also more attuned to how to decide what is and truly is

not credible. So, efforts to try to take down Michael Cohen with some of these cross-examination attacks on, you know, various things he said may

not play as well with those lawyers.

But in the end, this is how the criminal justice process works. These are why we put it in the hands of juries, 12 ordinary citizens. We have, you

know, several men, several women, various walks of life. This is how it's supposed to work. Donald Trump is going to be judged here by a jury of his


SOARES: Indeed, and we have heard in fact, Bradley in the last what? Let me have a look, about 45 minutes or so, the Trump allies as well as advisors

believe that every minute that the jury continue to deliberate is better for the former president. Just explain, I mean, do you agree with that?

MOSS: As a general matter, yes, I would agree with that. So, the biggest thing that the Trump team is looking for here is a hung jury. I don't

think, you know, outside of, you know, maybe, you know, those small chances that they expect an outright acquittal which would have to be unanimous.

I think what they're hanging their hat on is that, one, two, maybe even three jurors will not go along with a guilty verdict, conclude that there's

-- the jury will conclude there's no way they can reach unanimity on a decision and a hung jury is declared. Even though that means a case could

be retried, that would be a political win for Donald Trump.

He could claim that even a jury of these evil, you know, New York voters could not agree that he was guilty of this crime, the rest of the voter

voting public should ignore it as well. The longer this takes, the more likely that is. But look, this was a complicated case. I didn't --

SOARES: Yes --

MOSS: Expect them. I certainly don't expect them to reach a decision today, tomorrow is the earliest I would expect.

SOARES: Very quickly, do you expect a hung jury? What's your -- what's your feeling here? I know -- I know you don't really go on feelings, but from

what you've heard and what you've seen, where do you think this is going to go?

MOSS: I don't expect a hung jury, but if we get into Friday or even next week, Monday, it certainly would appear that, that would be more likely as

to what's going on. But if we get a -- if we have a decision tomorrow, my expectation is it will be a guilty verdict.

SOARES: Bradley? Always great to get your insight, thanks very much. And still to come tonight, three countries now say Ukraine should be allowed to

use their weapons against military targets inside Russia. How Russia is responding to that next.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Three European nations have been given the green light for Ukraine to strike Russian territory with weapons it

receives. France and Germany as well as Poland have all said, Kyiv should be allowed to target Russian military sites that are being used to attack


Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against it. This comes as America's top diplomat and Blinken visits Moldova, he is there ahead of

tomorrow's informal NATO meeting where -- in the Czech Republic where Ukraine is expected to dominate the agenda.

Our Melissa Bell joins me from Paris with more on this. And Melissa, I think it's fair to say from the conversation that you and I had just, you

know, 24 hours ago, that we are starting to see some sort of shift with individual countries, allowing Ukraine to use their weapons inside Russia.

And this, we are hearing now, it's been echoed, I should say, by the NATO Secretary-General -- I just want to play this out for our viewers and we

can talk after this. Have a listen.


JENS STOLTENBERG, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATO: According to international law, Ukraine has a right to self-defense, and self-defense includes also the

right to strike targets outside Ukraine including legitimate major targets in Russia. Some allies have not imposed any restrictions at all.

Other allies have, and I have said to that, I think now the time has come to reconsider whether it's right to have those scissors(ph) or not.


SOARES: So, what are you hearing, Melissa? I mean, are you starting to see a shift and critically, where does the U.S. stand on this?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think -- I think a definite shift. The outlier in all this was the first David Cameron, the

British Foreign Secretary, who on the 3rd of May visiting Kyiv and announcing that the United Kingdom would be delivering 3 billion pounds

worth of aid per year for as long as it took, also taking the opportunity to announce the fact that it believed that it was time for Ukraine to be

able to use the weapons as it all fit.

Then of course, the Secretary-General, not least in the clip you just played, Isa, very forcefully these last few days, hammering home that point

that he thinks it's time for the alliance to change its position as a whole. Few Britain -- sorry, there were Germany, France, Poland, then

following suit.

What we heard today from Secretary Blinken was interesting. But here's how Emmanuel Macron spoke very clearly about what was behind his shift



EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT, FRANCE (through translator): So, we're staying exactly within the same framework. We think that we should allow them to

neutralize the military sites from which the missiles are fired. And basically, the military sites from which Ukraine is attacked.

But we must not allow them to hit other targets in Russia, obviously civilian capabilities or other military targets.


BELL: Well, we've heard today from Secretary Blinken in Moldova, was something that went not quite as far as what you heard from President

Macron there, Isa, not a clear outline of a shift of American position, which is of course, what Ukraine has been calling for and Russia would be

most concerned about, given that the United States is the biggest donor of arms to Ukraine and its position within the NATO alliance.

But certainly, a suggestion that the policy may shift -- his words were that American policy has adapted and adjusted to what's been happening on

the battlefields of Ukraine consistently over the last couple of years, and that it would continue to do so.

And this, Isa, was in direct response to a question about whether or not it was changing its position. So, an interesting shift in position --

remember, just a few months before NATO marks its 75th anniversary, and even as, as you said, Russia has warned directly in the shape of Vladimir

Putin only yesterday, that this would represent a serious escalation and something as a declaration of war. It would mark the beginning from

Moscow's point of view of NATO's direct intervention on Russian soil, Isa.

SOARES: Very important there, those comments from Blinken, of course, and the timing of this. Melissa, appreciate it, thank you very much.


And I do want to stay with Ukraine, our Nick Paton Walsh has sent us exclusive report from the eastern front where he says he's hearing first-

hand how the U.S.-supplied Abrams tanks are coming up short. Have a look at this exclusive report.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They hide feverishly as they're a prime target for Russian missiles. But if

Moscow knew the trouble these U.S.-supplied Abrams tanks are causing Ukraine, they might not bother.

Let them keep them. The M1 Abrams, America's main battle tank, a veteran of fighting Saddam in Iraq and desert insurgence, but muddy Ukrainian

fields and $500 attack drones, not so much.

(on camera): There was such a fuss around whether Ukraine would get these, but from the moment the decision was made, yes, through the training,

through the time it took to get to the frontline, the war has enormously changed.

(voice-over): All 31 America gave are now in one area in the east where Ukraine is losing grounds. Training in Germany, the interior in Ukrainian,

and while there is gratitude for all U.S. help, they can't pretend this is working.



WALSH: They've learnt the hardest way here in the pitched battle for the city of Avdiivka, one of their drivers lost a leg recently. Off-camera,

they show us how they're adding active armor plates on themselves, then there are the shells, not enough of the wrong type for the wrong sort of



WALSH: Better than Soviet tanks they still say, even though, this one, fresh from Poland is already broken down. Condensation can fry the

electrics, they also say really, this is a solid gold wrench of a gift. This is a tank for a kind of war NATO would only fight backed by huge

artillery and airpower. They're being asked to do things NATO never would.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Call the aviation, call the artillery, we have no aviation and artillery. We have only tanks, and

it's the problem.

WALSH: One Abrams was captured and paraded in Red Square recently, the crew here joke, at least, the Russians managed to tow it away. They've been

struggling because these are so heavy. This threadbare army losing ground, perhaps wish they've got a gift receipt.

(on camera): If you could ask the Americans for one thing now, what would you ask for?


WALSH (voice-over): Machine's built at the peak of American hyper power decades ago sent half-heartedly it seems, to hold back a fast-changing

world. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, eastern Ukraine.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, it's smiles all around from the president of South Africa as he casts his ballot in the country's

elections. Well, will his promises persuade the voters to give the ANC another chance? That story after this.



SOARES: And a reminder, of course on the left hand -- the left side of your screen, as you can see there, we are keeping track of jury deliberations in

the Trump hush money trial. They've been going for, what, just three hours, just over three hours and four minutes, the jury of seven men and five

women have a lot to get through as a deliberative cause.

They have heard 22 witnesses throughout this hush money trial and decision, as we heard from the top of the show from legal advisers here, is the

decision needs to be unanimous. We'll keep across, of course, any developments that we get out of New York.

In the meantime, I want to turn our attention to South Africa, because polls there close at the top of the hour. So, that's about, what, less than

30 minutes from now. For the first time in many years, the position of the ruling African National Congress party is precarious. The ANC could lose

their majority, since many citizens are unhappy with the levels of unemployment, as well as rampant corruption. Our David McKenzie has all the

details for you.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They've been waiting here since before dawn in one of the busiest polling stations in

downtown Johannesburg. You can hear the noise behind me. There's some level of frustration of how long this is taking.

This is arguably the most important vote in South Africa since the dawn of democracy some 30 years ago. And this man, Cyril Ramaphosa, faces enormous

pressure to get his ANC in power, to reach that threshold of over 50 percent. Because the sense is amongst voters I'm speaking to, at least

here, is that it's time for a change.

What do you want to happen politically now because of this vote?

DAVID NGOBENI, SOUTH AFRICAN VOTER: Politically, I think anything that would boost the economy so that inflation can come down a little bit. That

would be really helpful. Then the rest we can take care of it.

MCKENZIE: Some of your friends don't want to vote today, you told me. Why do you think that is?

NEWTON UGBOH, SOUTH AFRICAN VOTER: They're seeing what's happening and they don't like it. So, they're thinking it's not going to change at all. But

then I don't believe that. So, that's why I came here to vote.

ROSELYNE TSWAKAE, SOUTH AFRICAN VOTER: No, it's not my first time. It's not my second. It's not my third. I've been voting since, but no change. We

don't see any change.

MCKENZIE: Like they are saying, unemployment, levels of crime and inequality are some of the big topics here in South Africa during this

election. Many feel that the promise of the ANC has been unkept.

If you look down here, you see how far this line is stretching, all the way down to the end of this park in downtown Joburg. It must be said this area

is a small stronghold of opposition groups out in rural areas and also amongst older South Africans. The ANC does still have a significant amount

of pull.


The question is, when the voting is done and when the votes are counted, will the ruling ANC win be able to hang onto that majority?

David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


SOARES: Well, Pyongyang calls it a freedom of expression act, while Seoul uses a very different description. It calls it trash. Overnight, bags, as

well as bags of waste materials, like toilet papers, fertilizers, as well as other, pretty, let's just say, unpleasant things, you get -- starting to

get the picture, were sent over the common border, anchored to huge balloons. Will Ripley has more details about this unexpected delivery.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This seems to be a new strategy by North Korea, sending so far hundreds of these trash-filled

balloons into South Korea. Local residents have actually been getting warnings to avoid outdoor activities because authorities just don't know

exactly what is inside these things.

Photos show plastic bags with garbage and filth, as South Korea described it, you know, scraps, paper, dirt, that sort of thing. North Korea says

this is a response to South Korean activists sending prohibited materials.

For a long time now South Koreans -- a lot of NGOs, sometimes former North Korean defectors that are now living in South Korea, they send into the

North, sometimes using balloons leaflets, food, medicine, even media like Korean dramas or K-pop, music that is forbidden for North Koreans to listen

to, programs that are forbidden for North Koreans to watch, but they send them from South Korea anyway as part of this propaganda push to try to

convince the North that there's a better way of life in the South.

This has been going on for a long time. North Korea has long accused the South of psychological warfare and has promised retaliation. So, now, by

sending these hundreds of trash filled balloons, they want South Korean authorities to experience the headache of cleaning up and locating all of

this, just like they say they've been dealing with for a long time.

But for North Koreans who receive content, particularly from South Korea, the penalties can be extremely severe. Remember, we showed you rare footage

of those North Korean teenagers, apparently sentenced to hard labor for viewing and distributing South Korean content.

There was a time, 2017 2018, when there were some brief periods of cultural exchange between the North and South, part of that diplomatic detente. And

at that time, North Koreans were allowed to legally get a glimpse of South Korean culture. But those days seem like a distant memory now, with

information controls arguably tighter than ever inside North Korea.

And now, these trash balloons being sent to the South, part of this tit for tat back and forth and just yet another sign of the escalating tensions on

the Korean peninsula.

Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


SOARES: And returning now to one of our top stories this hour, Former President Trump's criminal hush money case is now in the hands of the jury.

They began deliberations after getting specific instructions from the judge.

The jury, as you can see there on your screen, is made up of 12 people, seven men and five women. They have been deliberating just over three hours

now in nine minutes. They will need to decide if Donald Trump is guilty of falsifying business records to pay off adult film star. The prosecution

claims it's election interference, but the defense says Trump is not guilty.

Now, the demands of the trial have prevented Trump from aggressively campaigning for president, although his lack of appearances may not be

hurting him with voters. Recent polls show current President Joe Biden down in several key states.

Let's look at further larger, of course, implications of this and the trial. Excuse me. Steve Contorno. Steve, great to see you. We have seen --

I think it's fair to say, Steve, seen more of Trump in the court than on the campaign trail. How has this trial, if at all, impacted the political


STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: Well, as you said, the practical impact on the Trump campaign is he has been very limited in his calendar. He has been

forced to sit in this Manhattan courtroom day after day with limited time to go on the campaign trail and to fundraise. It has also been very costly

for him. His campaign in various political operations have spent millions of dollars fighting off these various cases against them.

From the Biden side, though, they have also acknowledged that Trump has dominated the political media landscape in the United States over the past

few weeks with this trial, and they are sort of waiting for the trial to end, for them to have an opening to start litigating, not the legal cases

against Trump, but the political and electoral case against Trump. So, those are some of the practical limitations that have been put on this race

by this trial going on.

As far as what might happen after a conviction comes. Look, this is an unprecedented case. We have never had a former president facing a criminal

trial before. I think anyone who claims to know how American voters will react to this are simply just lying at this point.

But I will say the Trump campaign believes that they have done enough on the messaging front to muddy the waters and ensure that if no matter what

the outcome is, there won't be a significant change in the polling.


Now, again, we'll have to wait and see because there are some voters who have consistently told pollsters that if Trump does become a convicted

felon, it could change their calculus. And this is going to be a very narrow race. If that has changed just a little bit on the margins, it could

ultimately make the difference.

SOARES: And just focusing now, if we can, Steve, on President Biden, because in the last few minutes, I think we've got footage, in fact, live

images, he is, as you can see there, is making a rare appearance with Kamala Harris, the vice president. He's in Philadelphia, trying to win back

African-American voters.

And this is important, of course, because the recent polling that we have seen at CNN shows Biden leading Trump in particular New York but only nine

points, like 47 to 38, among registered voters. And four years ago, Biden won the state by 23 points.

I mean, how concerned -- is the Biden campaign concerned about this sort of numbers?

CONTORNO: Well, that's exactly why they're in Philadelphia today. This is one of the key missions of the body campaign going forward is trying to win

back black voters who have been such an important part of the Democratic coalition here.

And yes, Trump seems to have made some inroads into these communities. He himself held a rally in the Bronx a few weeks ago. That's a very minority

driven community. Lots of black voters, lots of Latino voters, and he has been making the case that, look, what has the Democratic Party done for you

in all the years that you have given them your support?

Now, there are -- majority of black voters continue to say that they will support the Democratic ticket, but again, if Trump is able to shrink that

margin, even just a little bit, Philadelphia is a state where that could come -- or Pennsylvania is a state that could come into play, where Joe

Biden is today, could affect the outcome in Michigan, where Detroit could be swung by black voters. Same thing with Georgia. These are all key states

that Democrats really need to win once again, otherwise, it could be another four years of President Trump.

SOARES: Yes, Steve, appreciate you breaking it all down for us into digestible bits. Thank you very much.

Well, a judge in Kentucky has agreed to drop all charges against pro golfer Scottie Scheffler. Scheffler was facing four charges, including felony

assault in connection with an incident outside the PGA Championship earlier this month.

Police accused him of ignoring a traffic officer's instruction, then dragging the officer with his car. Scheffler claims it was all a big

misunderstanding, and the prosecution says the evidence supports that claim.

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



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. Our top story this hour. The White House continues to emphasize its support for Israel and says it's not wavering

after a deadly strike in Rafah. The CNN analysis indicates made use of weaponry provided by the United States.

But pressure is growing and not just internationally. A social media campaign title, as you can see there, "All Eyes on Rafah," has gone viral,

bringing wider condemnation and calls for change in strategy in order to avoid devastation of the civilian population, of course, of Gaza.

To get greater perspective on the wider reaction to recent events as well as revelations, let's go now to former State Department Middle East

negotiator, well-known face here on the show, Aaron David Miller, who's a senior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Aaron, Great to have you back on the show. Let me pick up, really, with that CNN analysis that we have been reporting that U.S.-made munitions were

used in that deadly strike in Rafah that killed 45 people, mostly women and children.

This time on the show, roughly yesterday, Aaron, you know, and prior, I should say to this analysis, the White House said the attack did not cross

President Biden's red lines. It falls short of what it deemed to be a ground operation. I want you to have a listen to this little excerpt.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you explain how the strike in Rafah does not cross the lines that the president has set? And many of you have repeated that

the operations be targeted and limited?

JOHN KIRBY, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNITIONS: We still don't believe that a major ground operation in Rafah

is warranted. We still don't want to see the Israelis, as we say, smash into Rafah with large units over large pieces of territory. We still

believe that. And we haven't seen that at this point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be clear, after this weekend's strike, is it our assumption that nothing about U.S. policy has changed or is changing in

regards to --

KIRBY: As a result of this strike on Sunday, I have no policy changes to speak to. It just happened. The Israelis are going to investigate it. We're

going to be taking great interest in what they find in that investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many more charred corpses does he have to see before the president considers a change of policy?

KIRBY: We don't want to see a single more innocent life taken. And I kind of take a little offense at the question. No civilian casualties is the

right number of civilian casualties. And this is not something that we've turned a blind eye to, nor has it been something we've ignored or neglected

to raise with our Israeli counterparts.


SOARES: So, it got somewhat heated, Aaron, this time yesterday. I mean, one newspaper in the U.K. says Biden's lines are becoming increasingly gray. I

mean, what is Biden's red line?

AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Look, when it comes to the U.S.-Israeli relationship red lines, and I've said this before, and the

American reaction isn't -- doesn't surprise me least.

When it comes to red lines, when it involves the U.S.-Israeli relationship, red lines are flexible and they often turn pink. If you look at the

original "red line" that the administration drew in an interview to this network, Erin Burnett, the president's language was incredibly vague. He

said, if they, the Israelis, go into Rafah, I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the

cities that deal with that problem.

What the president had in his own mind, and I think, frankly, even though that interview was quite willfully given to send a signal, that it really

was a result of tremendous frustration on the part of the president that the Israelis were using 2,500-pound bombs in densely populated areas.

What John Kirby said today -- or yesterday, seems to redefine the red line to a degree. It's large-scale Israeli operations, massive airstrikes, tanks

in the central city of Rafah, and a major ground campaign that now constitutes the red line.

But as we know, when you operate in densely populated areas, particularly when there's confusion about what represents a safe zone or a humanitarian

zone, or even if there is a safe zone, which there probably isn't, the inevitable result is going to be mass casualtes.

The -- and Israeli NSC adviser, Tzachi Hanegb, said today that the Israelis believe this campaign is going to last, not necessarily Rafah, but the

campaign against Hamas is going to last until the end of the year. And if that's the timeline, then sadly, tragically, I think we can expect a good

deal more of suffering as the Israelis try to destroy Hamas, which embeds its assets in and around civilian populations. And for the people of Gaza,

that's an unspeakable tragedy.


SOARES: Yes, I mean, it begs the question of why make ultimatums, why come up with these red lines if the lines are always shifting. And we have seen

tanks. I think we showed viewers this at the top of the show. Tanks moving in for two days now. For -- a second day in a row.

But we are -- look, we -- Aaron, we are seeing international condemnation. So, I wonder then how much this blurry line or shifting red lines or as one

journalist, Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, I think, called it turning a blind eye. How much this -- does this, if at all, undermine U.S.

foreign policy?

MILLER: Well, I think we've tethered ourselves to the Israelis. The president has tethered himself personally in the administration to Israeli

warrings with which the president shares. And the reality is, again, I understand the shock and the outrage, but if you look at why the president

seems to be giving the Israelis extraordinary flexibility and is reluctant to really get tough, it's been this way over the last nine months. Partly,

it's the president's -- this president's emotional identification with Israel.

Second, it's the fact that Israel is not involved in a conventional war against another state. It's involved in a war against Hamas, a terrorist

organization which willfully and discriminately kills civilians on October 7th, and then took hostages, which it continues to abuse. There's the

politics of it, we know well. The Republicans, in response to one pause of one shipment, became outraged.

And finally, I think it's -- in the end, I think that the Biden administration internally believes that the only way to extricate or de-

escalate this crisis is through an Israeli-Hamas deal. Negotiations, temporary ceasefire, six weeks to break the battlefield dynamic, surge

humanitarian assistance. And to get that, to get that deal, you're obviously going to require Hamas' assent, but you're also going to require

the assent of a government headed by a man who's conflated, Benjamin Netanyahu, his own political and legal travails with the prosecution of

this war, which I think he believes needs to go on.

So, it's the worst leader at the worst time in the worst set of circumstances. That's the situation the president is dealing with. And

frankly, we're approaching the ninth month of this war. Unlikely to change, it seems to me.

SOARES: Very worrying indeed. Aaron David Miller, always great to get your insight. Thanks, Aaron.

We are going to take a short break. We're back after this.



SOARES: And finally, tonight, Mother Nature is bringing apocalyptic scenes to Iceland following intense seismic activity in the southwest of the

country. A volcano eruption has forced Iceland's flagship spa, the Blue Lagoon, to shut its doors. Residents of the nearby town of Grindavik and as

well as surrounding areas were also affected. This is the second time, if you remember, Grindavik residents have had to flee spewing lava after

similar images exploded in March. They're incredible images to see. And good news, of course, that everyone is well.

That does it for us for this evening. Thanks very much for your company. Do stay right here. "Newsroom" with my colleague, Jim Sciutto, is up next.

I'll see you tomorrow.