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Isa Soares Tonight

Jury Deliberating For A Second Day In Trump Hush Money Trial; Israel Claims Control Of Egypt-Gaza Buffer Zone; Pro-Democracy Leaders Convicted By Court In Hong Kong; Day Two Of Jury Deliberations; Hollywood Celebrities Wrestle With Political Endorsements; Bodies Of U.S. Couple Killed In Haiti Flown Home; Mayoral Candidate In Mexico Assassinated At Campaign Stop; "All Eyes On Rafah," Viral Post Stirs Emotions. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 30, 2024 - 14:00   ET



ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, and a very warm welcome everyone, I'm Isa Soares in London where it's just gone 7:00 p.m. Tonight,

we are following developments out of Gaza where the IDF now says it has operational control over a 14-kilometer buffer zone along Rafah's border

with Egypt. We'll bring you the latest of course, on that.

Plus, we have CNN exclusive reporting that the U.S. has broken talks with gangs in Haiti to secure the return of two missionaries bodies.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington tracking developments today in Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial,

which is where we do begin this hour. The U.S. is now waiting for a verdict as jury deliberation stretch into day two at Trump's trial in Lower


So far this week, the panel of 12 New Yorkers have been deliberating for more than nine hours. They have asked to see dense pieces of testimony from

former tabloid publisher, David Pecker, and key prosecution witness Michael Cohen.

Seven men and five women are carefully deciding whether Trump is guilty of all or any of the 34 felony charges against him, of falsifying business

records to hide in effect, a hush money payment to the adult film star Stormy Daniels. CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joins me now

from Washington.

Several questions from the jury, some of which was to hear back testimony as we mentioned there from David Pecker and Michael Cohen, and some of

which was to hear specific portions of the jury instructions given to them before they begin deliberations. Can you give us the highlights of what

they requested specifically?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they requested four different parts of testimony, and the takeaway from all of that testimony

was really this hush money "catch and kill" scheme that Donald Trump, David Pecker and Michael Cohen entered into right around August 2015.

So, all four bits of the testimony that they wanted re-read really had to do with how that scheme was initially formulated and then how it extended

in particular to Karen McDougal's deal. The fact that Donald Trump knew who she was, and that the "National Enquirer" did pay Karen McDougal off was

not reimbursed, which of course goes to this idea of working to promote Donald Trump as a candidate in violation of election law.

So, it does seem like the jury is working methodically and chronologically through the evidence that the prosecution laid out. They also wanted to

hear back jury instructions because of course, Judge Merchan yesterday gave very detailed jury instructions for about an hour, but the jury is not

allowed to take those instructions back to the jury room.

They basically have to go by memory or notes they've written down. And Jim, there were a lot of jury instructions that were read back, Judge Merchan

didn't read all of them, but they did pertain to things like what the -- what the state has to prove the whole beyond a reasonable doubt -- the

definition of that to help the jury understand how much the state has to prove its case.

It also talked about the credibility of witnesses, how much you should take and do account when you're evaluating the testimony of witnesses like David

Pecker who had a non-prosecution agreement, and Michael Cohen, who has previously pleaded guilty and been convicted of lying to Congress.

So, it was really interesting that right now the jury seems to be focused on that whole scheme to pay off people for the benefit of Donald Trump's

campaign. And then also wanting to know how exactly do we apply this again to the New York law that we are supposed to be evaluating here.

SCIUTTO: Yes, the attention to testimony about an early meeting involving Pecker and Trump and Cohen, setting out what the prosecution argued was the

big plan here not just to kill negative stories about Trump as they enter this election campaign, but also to promote positive stories, which seems

to be central to, or really we should say is central to the prosecutor's case here was that this payment --


SCIUTTO: Of the hush money to Stormy Daniels and the falsification of business records was part of a broader conspiracy -- alleged conspiracy.


SCHNEIDER: Right, and so far, Jim, they haven't asked for any specific read-back about the actual payment that's an issue in all these charges,

which is the Stormy Daniels $150,000 payment or actually, I think it was $130,000 payment. But you know, they're going to this idea of how the

scheme was developed, and again, you know, that goes to that underlying felony that they --


SCHNEIDER: Have to agree on in order to find Donald Trump guilty of these 34 counts of felony falsification of a --


SCHNEIDER: Business records. So, yes, they seem to be looking to that underlying felony that they have to find this whole intent to commit this

election fraud -- or sorry, influencing an election, and that's what they seem to be focused on.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and we should note --

SCHNEIDER: At least right now --

SCIUTTO: They could conceivably find Trump guilty of some of those 34 counts, though not all of them. But --


SCIUTTO: To your point, that they do have to establish that connection to find him guilty for a felony on any of the --

SCHNEIDER: And one more thing, Jim, you know, they asked for the jury read back jury instruction on the whole idea of, if it rains the night before --


SCHNEIDER: And you go out the next morning, you can infer that it rained the night before, even though you're not seeing it actually raining, that

was really interesting because maybe that goes to part of the testimony that was read back. Well --


SCHNEIDER: If Donald Trump knew about this hush money scheme involving Karen McDougal, well, then, maybe they can infer he knew about it with

Stormy Daniels. I mean, that's one take-away from that jury instruction if that's how the jurors choose to read it.

SCIUTTO: Yes, that rain metaphor, notable. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much. I will be back with more on the latest developments in the trial

later this hour. I do want to return to Isa Soares for international stories making news. And Isa, it's quite a moment of watching that

courtroom in New York --

SOARES: Yes, indeed, nine hours and counting. Jim, appreciate it, we'll touch base with you in about 20 minutes or so. Turning our attention to

Gaza because authorities in northern Gaza say Israeli forces are withdrawing from some parts of the Jabalya Refugee Camp, leaving behind

really vast destruction.

There are some really of the first images I want to show you here right now from the scene. Gaza officials are warning people not to return home yet,

saying still too dangerous. They say some residents who attempted to enter the area were shot and wounded by critical obtained(ph) drones.

That information confirmed by a local journalist working for CNN. Israeli forces say they continue to operate against, quote, "terrorist

infrastructure". In the south, let's focus on the south because the IDF has said it now has operational control over the Philadelphi Corridor.

I want to show you what that is. We're talking about this line here, this long line here between Egypt and Rafah, that's roughly a 14 kilometer

buffer zone along Rafah's borders you can see there with Egypt. The IDF today saying it has found about 20 tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle weapons

into Gaza.

But Egypt, of course, today, saying -- denying that the tunnels exist. Meantime, Save the Children is calling for urgent international action to

protect civilians in Rafah. It says at least 66 people, including children, have been killed in attacks on safe zones there in just the past four days.

Israel has denied attacking humanitarian zones.

I want to bring in our Jeremy Diamond who is live for us in Jerusalem. And Jeremy, when the IDF -- I want to focus this on this Philadelphi Corridor,

when the IDF says it has operational control of this corridor, what exactly does this mean? Where does this leave aid distribution and how much does

this complicate Israel's relationship here with Egypt?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Isa, it's important to know that since the earliest days of the war, the words

Philadelphi Corridor have been bouncing off the halls of Israel's military headquarters. This is something that the Israeli military, the Israeli

government, has had its eyes on since the beginning of the war for a few key reasons.

First of all, it is a strategic border route between Gaza and Egypt. And secondly, the Israeli government and the Israeli military believe that

Hamas has been using this area not only to smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza, but also that a number of tunnels begin on the Gaza side of the

Philadelphi Corridor and then spread throughout the Gaza Strip.

Basically giving Hamas an area where it can smuggle weapons to the rest of the Gaza Strip. And one of the reasons why Hamas might use that area is

because of this treaty between Egypt and Israel that prevents the Israeli military from operating within a certain range of the Gaza -- of the

Egyptian border with Gaza.

Obviously, that notion is out the window with the presence now of Israeli tanks all along that 7.5 mile Strip of land between Gaza and Egypt. And

there's been a lot of diplomatic discussions between Israel and Egypt to try and avert that from becoming a point of broader tension going forward.


But nonetheless, Israel now saying that it has operational control of this. They say that they've uncovered about 20 or so tunnels already in just the

last few weeks. And now the question is, what more will the Israeli military do in Rafah?

And today, we heard from the Israeli military's sub-spokesman Daniel Hagari talking about the fact that Israel believes there are hostages being held

in tunnels in Rafah, and that, that will be a main objective for the Israeli military as it pursues a campaign in Rafah that has been far less

kind of all out and destructive than the kinds of offensives we've seen the Israeli military carry out in northern Gaza.

In Khan Yunis, for example, they appear to be taking some of the advice from the Americans to carry out a more targeted and kind of a pinpoint

special operations-led campaign in Rafah than the kind of all-out ground offensive that many --

SOARES: Yes --

DIAMOND: Had feared.

SOARES: And let me just ask you this because it's something that happened in what -- broke in the last hour or so. The turn of politics in Israel,

Benny Gantz from what I understand, has proposed a bill, Jeremy to dissolve parliament and trigger new elections. I mean, just talk us through this

bill, how consequential it is and will there be a vote on this?

DIAMOND: Well, so, it's important to note that while this bill has now been brought up, introduced into the Knesset, it's not expected to come up for a

vote anytime soon. This appears to be a parliamentary tactic being carried out by Benny Gantz's party to ensure that this bill could be brought up in

the coming months should Benny Gantz and his party feel like they have the numbers required.

It's actually dissolve parliament and lead to new election. At the moment, they do not. And what is also notable about the timing as it comes on the

heels of new polling that shows Benny Gantz actually losing numbers, losing some of his gains we should say that he has been making since the beginning

of this war.

He's still favored to be the person charged with leading the next -- or trying to form the next government, winning the most seats in the Knesset

with his party. But that being said, he is losing seats compared to what he was -- the numbers he was polling about a month ago or so.

But we do know that, that -- there is another date coming up, and that is June 8th, about a week from Saturday when Benny Gantz has said that if the

Israeli prime minister doesn't give answers about a long-term strategy in Gaza a day after strategy, although, a Palestinian body that would be able

to take the reins and fill the power vacuum once Israel defeats Hamas.

That he will leave the governments, and it appears that, that is very much what is going to happen that won't lead to the dissolution of the

government because Netanyahu still has his right-wing coalition keeping him in power. But we could be approaching some really interesting moments in

Israeli politics that could have, of course affect the course of the war as well.

SOARES: Indeed, June the 8th is the day to watch for. Jeremy as always, thank you. We're having more now on the disturbing news coming out of

Jabalya in northern Gaza. Some residents tell CNN, they returned today to serve at their homes and instead found, well, total destruction.

Others attempting to enter the area were reportedly fired on by drones. Our Nada Bashir has all the details for you.




BASHIR (voice-over): Yet, more scenes of utter horror as the wounded are carrying to whatever safe place they can find. Faces, limbs bloodied. These

casualties were among the hundreds of civilians who returned to Jabalya on Thursday. News of an alleged withdrawal of Israeli troops quickly

overshadowed by the sound of artillery fire in the northern refugee camp.

Local officials warning that Israeli quadcopter drones had targeted civilians attempting to return to the city. The Israeli military on

Thursday saying its troops were continuing to quote, "operate against terrorist infrastructure and operatives in Jabalya".

But in areas where Israeli forces have seemingly drawn down their presence, there is nothing left but destruction. Desecrated cemeteries, almost

unrecognizable. And the U.N.-run schools which have become vital shelter since the beginning of Israel's assault in Gaza now reduced to charred


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): We returned in the hope of salvaging whatever we can. But unfortunately, everything has been

destroyed. Everything has been burned. Even my children were killed in this war. We have nothing left, no house, no displacement centers to take

shelter in, this is all that I have managed to salvage.

BASHIR: For so many, making the journey back to Jabalya, there is nothing left to return to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We don't know where else to go, where will we live? Look, they're still dropping bombs on us, but they've

already destroyed everything. We don't know where to go.

BASHIR: Earlier this month, Israeli forces doubled-down their assault on Jabalya, once home to thousands of Palestinian refugees, the vast majority

of whom were forcibly displaced to parts of southern Gaza, which are now also coming under heavy bombardment by the Israeli military.


In Rafah when more than a million civilians have been squeezed into densely-populated encampments, Israel has continued to conduct devastating

airstrikes, killing dozens of civilians in just the last week. And overnight, striking a Palestine Red Crescent ambulance, killing paramedics

Hassam(ph) and Tabalsi(ph) and Sohail Hasuna(ph).

ASHRAF ABU LEBDA, PRCS PARAMEDIC (through translator): We were informed that there were matters and wounded people in Talal Soltin(ph) in Rafah,

two of our ambulances headed to the site, and suddenly, one of them is directly targeted by a Scantin(ph) plane.

BASHIR: But with much of northern and central Gaza now destroyed, Israel is only tightening its grip on the south.

Civilians left with no option, but to wait for the next deadly strike. Nada Bashir, CNN, London.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, NATO's top diplomats meet in Prague where the focus lies squarely on Ukraine, we'll have much more. Plus, some

activists and politicians in Hong Kong are facing possible life sentences in prison. Coming up, what the trial means and why it's happening.


SOARES: Well, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Prague for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers. Top of the agenda is support for Ukraine

and the prospect of Kyiv boosting its defense with the ability to use western weapons to strike targets within Russian territory.

This is something the U.S. has so far opposed, but that position may be softening. I want to go live to Melissa Bell who has been following the

story for us. Melissa, what we have been seeing of the course of the last few days, you and I have discussed this in fact over the last few days, is

this growing chorus of allies and it's important to mention that all are on board who are willing to let Ukraine use their weapons inside of Russia.

How much is this conversation, Melissa, and the potential policy shifts here been front and center of this discussion with NATO foreign ministers?

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jens Stoltenberg in his speech has placed it at the very heart of the discussions, telling in

his speech today in Prague, saying that he believed that it was time that because of the nature of events on the battlefield and specifically, tying

this growing call that he's had.


But as you say, others have followed for these weapons to be used, where the green light rather given to Kyiv to use them on Russian soil, that it

was the nature of the evolution of the battle around Kharkiv that had led to this shift in his position, not least, that it is time that Kyiv now be

allowed because of the strikes that are coming from just over the border and because of the advances that have been made as a result of this, the

opening of this third front by Moscow.

The pressure that the frontlines are being brought under, but of course, the pressure as well as the civilians up in Kharkiv region which has been

considerable over the course of the last week or so. And this, he explained is why it's important now that Ukraine be allowed to use these weapons.

France has said now that it can use its weapons as it chooses, as has Germany, as has Poland, and there are those still recalcitrant or concerned

about what it would mean. And of course, we've had the response very clearly from Moscow over the last couple of days repeatedly, very strong

response about what this would mean.

And yet, the feeling is very much among some of those foreign ministers who are gathered today in Prague, that it is time to allow the Ukrainians to do

what they need to do with the weapons that have been gifted to them. At the heart of those discussions also, I think this is important is what's

happened, the gap that there's been, Isa, between what the West has been able to deliver to Ukraine and the needs on the battlefield.

And I think from what we heard from Jens Stoltenberg, this is something that the meeting will urgently be looking to address. How the West can

better fulfill its promise of helping Ukraine in a way that is much more efficient and doesn't allow for six months or a year-long gap, which allows

of course, the enemy to prepare for whatever weaponry might be on its way.

And I think that's going to be part of these two-day discussion as well. This is a preparatory meeting remember, for the 75th anniversary of the

alliance in July, and NATO allies are going to be wanting to get their ducks in a row in terms of what they're able to do and the messages they're

able to send. Isa.

SOARES: Well, let's get some answers then from the Foreign Minister of Latvia, Melissa, appreciate it very much. Baiba Braze, she joins me now,

Foreign Minister, welcome to the show. Let me pick up where our correspondent Melissa Bell really just left off in, you know, her and I,

we've been discussing this for a couple of days, and this is possible shift by Ukraine's allies to allow their weapons to strike inside Russia. Where

does Latvia stand on this?

BAIBA BRAZE, FOREIGN MINISTER, LATVIA: Well, it's not the southern shift and thanks for having us here from Prague, and the sort of -- after dinner

live engagement. But there hasn't been a shift. I mean, there have been countries that very clearly had a legal stance after it became clear that

Ukraine is fighting the war, that they're not giving up in the Spring of '22.

There was a discussion amongst the allies, including international lawyers, including various parts. What happens if you start providing weapons to

Ukraine? Do you become a party to support or not? What is covered under international law? And there's a self-defense.

And it became very clear that actually the U.N. Charter article -- Christie(ph) won, the right to self-defense covers -- pause, the right to

Ukraine to self-defense with weapons provided by other countries, with all those countries becoming party to support. But also, it provides a right to

Ukraine to self-defend by preventing Russian attacks on it from Russian territory.

So, legitimately, military objects are covered under this right of self- defense for Ukraine. So, that's --


SOARES: So, I assume from what you're telling me, Latvia is backing it -- sorry, go ahead.

BRAZE: So, when Latvia actually provided those weapons, we never imposed any limits on them, and many countries had provided weapons results, saying

they provide weapons. But also without imposing any limits on them. So, this discussion has now become public.

But actually, that has been happening for a while because it's covered under U.N. Charter right to self-defense.

SOARES: Understood, and I understood as well very clearly the Latvian position, and we've heard from our correspondent there, the French, the

German and the Poles seem to be on board. The U.S. though, Foreign Minister, doesn't seem to be there yet.

And we know, and we've known it for some time that this was a red line for them. Having said that, I want to play a little clip of what we heard from

Secretary Blinken. Have a listen to this.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: Another hallmark of our support for Ukraine over at least now, more than two years has been to

adapt as the conditions have changed, the battlefield has changed, as what Russia does has changed in terms of how it's pursuing its aggression,

escalation. We've adapted and adjusted too. And I'm confident we'll continue to do that.



SOARES: So, the keywords -- so that to me, Foreign Minister was adapting and adjusting that we heard there from Secretary Blinken. Does this sound

to you like the U.S. may be considering this?

BRAZE: It's a -- U.S. has a sovereign right to decide what types of weapons does it provide, and what limitations does it put on it? I'm not going to

dictate for the Secretary, Blinken, or the U.S. authorities what they should do. But our clear view is that indeed it's an interest of all of

NATO that Ukraine is able to defend itself with the best in the best possible way without any limitations.

SOARES: Foreign Minister, I appreciate you taking the time from a very busy schedule to speak to us live from Prague. Thank you very much, Foreign


BRAZE: Thank you so much, sorry for the noise, we have lots of ministers here --

SOARES: No worries, I know it's very busy, thank you. Now, a court in Hong Kong has found 14 pro-democracy leaders guilty of subversion, and all of

them could face up to life in prison. The opposition figures are part of a group of 47 defendants known as the Hong Kong 47. Kristie Lu Stout has the

very latest on the trial.


KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A dramatic day in court in Hong Kong as dozens of pro-democracy campaigners learn

their fate in a landmark trial verdict.



LU STOUT: Forty five people convicted of subversion charges under the city's national security law, all now face a maximum sentence of life

imprisonment. They are part of a group known as the Hong Kong 47, politicians and activists who were accused of organizing an unofficial

primary election in 2020, they were arrested in dawn raids across the city back in 2021, rounded up after Beijing imposed draconian security laws

following six months of anti-government protests across Hong Kong in 2019.

Fourteen of the group were found guilty on Thursday, 31 had already pleaded guilty in advance, including high-profile activist Joshua Wong, who is

already in jail.

(on camera): Here in Hong Kong, there were tears in court as the verdicts were read out. Family members crying openly as they learned the news that

their loved ones could face life in prison.

(voice-over): Two others were acquitted due to lack of evidence. The first acquittal so far during the national security trials. Outside the

magistrate's court, they gave thanks to their supporters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much for the concern, all the defendants of this case, please, carry on your concern, even love of us entirely.

LU STOUT: Sentencing will be announced at a later date, then the cases will likely go to appeal. Hundreds of people showed up to witness the trial

including diplomats from the U.S., EU and elsewhere, surrounded by tight security from police. Amnesty International called it a sham trial to purge

political opposition.

In a city which once prided itself on its freedom of speech and right to public protest. Chinese officials deny that the laws have suppressed any

freedoms, saying they restored stability to the city, but experts say Hong Kong's legal system has been dramatically altered.

JOHN BURNS, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: It's absolutely clear that the national security law reduce the independents and the autonomy of the

judiciary. No juries much more difficult to get bail.

LU STOUT: So far, Hong Kong police say nearly 300 people have been arrested under the laws, which now include new legislation introduced in March. Six

people were arrested on Tuesday, accused of writing Facebook posts with seditious intent against Chinese officials, a sign that the crackdown on

dissent in the city is expanding. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.


SOARES: And still to come tonight, jury deliberations continue in the trial against Donald Trump, we'll take you -- we'll tell you what the jury is

reviewing today. Jim Sciutto will have the very latest for you after the short break.



SCIUTTO: It is day two of jury deliberations in the criminal hush money trial against Former President Donald Trump. Of course, current candidate

for president as well. We're a little over nine hours in, as you can see there, into jury deliberations.

Yesterday, on their first day of deliberations, the jury made two requests. First, for the judge to read back portions of testimony from witnesses

Michael Cohen and David Pecker. We'll get to the significance of that in a moment. As well as portions of the 55 pages of jury instructions from the

judge. The jury then presented a third note a few hours ago, also involving those instructions.

And New York State jurors are not allowed to have a physical copy of the instructions given to them by the judge before they begin their

deliberations. A bit of an impediment given how long and complicated they are.

Joining us now, Defense Attorney Misty Marris. Misty, good to have you on here. You know, I'm reluctant to ask you to read tea leaves that this is --

these are 12 people in there making a decision in private by design. But we do get an indication as to what they're focused on based on these requests

to the judge.

First of all, on the portion of the jury instructions that they're asking to have read back here, can you explain to our viewers the significance as

you can tell of that, or at least the focus of the jurors based on what they asked to have read back to them?

MISTY MARRIS, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Absolutely, Jim. So, first of all, they wanted the juror -- certain sections of the jury instructions read back. No

question that 55 pages of a jury instructions, when you don't have it written in front of you, you might need to hear a little bit of a repeat.

But the significance is they were really looking at the legal standards. They wanted to hear about reasonable doubt. They wanted to hear about what

the prosecution has to prove. They wanted to hear about how to make evidentiary inferences. What does that really mean? So, it tells me that

the jurors are very, very focused on getting the law right. They want to understand what those legal standards are, the burden of proof, and the

obligations of the prosecution in this case.

So, all in all, these were the types of things that are really, really central to the case and it seems like they're getting really down to the

core by virtue of what they were looking for.

SCIUTTO: To the testimony they asked to have read back, as I mentioned briefly there, David Pecker as well as Michael Cohen. Now, two portions of

testimony that -- when they happened live, were many days apart, now they're hearing them together. And they relate to a meeting early on in

which David Pecker, the former publisher of National Enquirer, Cohen, of course, Trump's then fixer, et cetera, and Trump discussed, prosecutors

allege, a broader plan of catching and killing negative stories about Trump during the election and promoting positive stories.


Significance in your view of a jury asking for that particular testimony?

MARRIS: Now, as you said, we never really know what's in their mind, but to me, I thought this was very, very telling on a couple of different fronts.

Number one, that meeting, the prosecutors said in their closing arguments, you have to look, jury, at every piece of evidence through the prism of the

meeting that took place in August 2015 between Pecker, Cohen, and Trump.

The prosecution's theory at this meeting, a plan is hatched, and every single thing that happens after that is in furtherance of the plan. Whether

or not Donald Trump is actually right there very close to the transaction, or it's Michael Cohen, or it's somebody else, it's all in furtherance of

this plan or scheme. So, that's really telling.

And the other part of it, Jim, is that that's central to the predicate crime, which is conspiracy to prevent or promote an election through

unlawful means. So, that really speaks to that meeting of the minds. Now, again, we also know Michael Cohen, his testimony. Obviously has credibility

issues. So, the other piece of that is, the jury may be looking back and comparing consistencies or inconsistencies between Pecker and Cohen. So,

all very central to the case.

SCIUTTO: To that question of credibility, they also asked for a repeat of some of the guidance there, I think we could put some of the details up on

the screen, which relate to how much you have to believe in effect to some degree of those witnesses. But also, what proximity to those issues or the

instances as described that witness needs to have, significance of the jury re-write -- re-hearing, rather, those instructions?

MARRIS: Definitely, because that really relates to how the jury weighs the credibility of each individual witness. And the jury makes a determination

about whether or not they find any witness credible. And there is an instruction that says that -- those are all the standard instructions about

what to take into consideration. So, that's very relevant.

There's an instruction that says, if you don't believe that somebody was telling the truth about a material fact, you can actually disregard all of

their testimony. So, the jurors actually have to weigh the credibility and then they have to determine whether or not a certain aspect of the

testimony they are going to say they believe it and then they actually have to put weight on that as well.

So, it's really something that I think is relevant that they wanted to dig into that, especially when we have a problematic witness from a credibility

perspective like Michael Cohen.

SCIUTTO: Misty Marris, thanks so much.

MARRIS: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, this November election in the U.S. may have a little less Hollywood star power for President Joe Biden this time around. In the 2020

election, both Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and rapper Cardi B endorsed Biden, but this year both say they will not publicly endorse any candidate.

Stars however, such as George Clooney and Julia Roberts are publicly supporting Biden. They will be hosting a fundraiser in fact for Mr. Biden

in June. Remains to be seen if younger Hollywood stars will follow their lead. Many are hesitant in part due to the war in Gaza.

Joining us now from Washington is Kayla Tausche. And I wonder how the White House is receiving this, right? Because, listen, they're on a fundraising

spree right now, and Hollywood money often flows their way.

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, which is one of the reasons why the next big fundraiser outside of one that's being hosted

in Greenwich, Connecticut this upcoming week is going to be in Hollywood with some of those bold-faced names, not only Former President Barack

Obama, but as you mentioned, George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

But there seems to be this very clear generational divide between older Hollywood, longtime Democratic loyalists, like some of those names that we

just mentioned, and the younger sort of zeitgeist of Hollywood, the Gen Z type stars who feel that potentially now the risk reward calculus doesn't

really weigh in favor of Biden and Harris, that the cost to their audience, to their ability to sell tickets, sell records to a Gen Z audience and the

TikTok generation is simply too high.

But that presents a very unique challenge to the campaign because it is among younger voters where the president is seeing his approval rate

flagging quite a bit, and the administration, the campaign know this. Michael Tyler, who's one of the top communications advisers for the

campaign has commented extensively on the need to reach out to younger voters.

And certainly, there is still some hope, Jim, that maybe later on in this cycle, around October, there could be some stars who come out and end up

supporting Biden. That's what happened last cycle. But according to Priscilla Alvarez and Elizabeth Wagmeister, who did much of the reporting

on this story, you know, they're also very wary of cancel culture too.


Mariah Carey visited the White House last Christmas and her social media was flooded with negative comments about being perceived to support

genocide and support the president's policies that many in her social media feed did not support. So, certainly, there's quite a bit of awareness on

that front, too.

SCIUTTO: No question, Kayla Tausche at the White House, thanks so much.

Still to come tonight, the bodies of an American couple killed by Five gangs in Haiti are now back home in the U.S. We're going to have exclusive

new details of the negotiations that secured their remains returned.


SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. And turning now to a CNN exclusive. Sources tell CNN, for the last week, the U.S. has brokered talks between the

Haitian government as well as gang leaders. The aim, getting the bodies of two murdered American missionaries back home.

Missionaries Davy and Natalie Lloyd were killed when a gang attacked their orphanage in Port-au-Prince just last week. And now, their bodies have

arrived back in the U.S. on the first commercial flight from the capital in months.

Port-au-Prince has been overrun by violent gangs for months. We brought you the story here. Effectively cutting off the city from the outside world.

Nearly 5 million people are still experiencing food insecurity. Our David Culver who brings us this exclusive reporting, who has extensively traveled

to Haiti to report on the crisis unfolding there, he joins me now.

David, good to see you. Just what more can you tell us about the talks and how the U.S. critically here was able to bring back the bodies? Because I

can imagine what an ordeal this must have been for these families.


DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Isa, good to see you as well. It's remarkable. I mean, to think of the logistics that had to

go into making this happen over the past week or so, and the multiple individuals who were involved, not only organizations and government

agencies from the U.S. side and the Haitian side, and then local organizations on the ground, but then, as you mentioned, gang leaders


And when we look at Port-au-Prince, the capital, you've got roughly two dozen gangs that operate there, and these are not folks who are all on the

same page necessarily. Sure they have an alliance that they say is strong, but communication, I can tell you having experienced it firsthand, is not

always guaranteed.

And so, when you think about recovering the bodies of Davy and Natalie, and of course, there was a third person killed, that's Haitian Jude Montis, but

getting the Americans back to the U.S. was extremely challenging. And we know that there was an ambulance service that was contacted by the U.S. And

the U.S. officials trying to then send that ambulance into contested territory to recover Davy and Natalie's remains and to bring them out.

But as they went forward to try to do that, they were blocked by one gang that then required a conference call of sorts to come together, likely

through intermediaries that the U.S. motivated this, and the decision was made by one gang leader, Vitel'Homme Innocent, somebody who we met

firsthand last month and went into his territory and talked to.

And Vitel'Homme apparently, on this call said, those are my bodies, requesting possession of them and requesting that the ambulance be allowed

to proceed. It's remarkable when you think about that, and there are perhaps many reasons as to what motivated him to allow that. But certainly,

it made it easier for that ambulance to go through without any further conflict to bring the bodies out.

And as we've learned now, just in the past few minutes, they have been guaranteed to have -- they've confirmed to have arrived in the U.S. And I

haven't listened to this sound yet, but the State Department was asked about this just a short time ago. So, I think we can play a little.


VEDANT PATEL, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON: Which is that we extend our deepest condolences to the families of these two American

citizens on behalf of the president. Our ambassador in Haiti has been in touch with the families. The State Department has been in touch with the

families. And we know that they are experiencing unimaginable grief.

I can also add that today was when those repatriations happened in line with the family's wishes. And so, our officials in Port-au-Prince worked

with the families to make arrangements for those transports back to the United States.


CULVER: I've got a few more details from sources, Isa, as to what that reparation looked like. We know that it was on an American Airlines

outbound flight. And perhaps overshadowed in this, is that this was the first American Airlines -- U.S. carrier rather to go back into Port-au-

Prince in three months since the airport has been shuttered because of all the violence.

And so, it went in this morning, bringing passengers into Port-au-Prince and on the outbound leg returning to Miami, it brought the remains of Davy

and Natalie. It also brought the U.S. ambassador who escorted those remains and U.S. security agents who will continue to stay with those remains as

they make their way back to the homes of both those young missionaries.

SOARES: I appreciate, as always, you're reporting not just, of course, on the two missionaries, but also a continue focus on Haiti. Thank you very

much, David.

Now, on a turn to Mexico, because elections continue there to be tainted by political violence, even as candidates made their final pitches on

Wednesday. A mayoral candidate in the southern part of the country was shot point blank during an event, marking the end of his campaign. The state's

attorney general's office says an investigation into the assassination is underway.

Now, several organizations say these elections have been the most violent in the country's recent history. One of them reports that nearly 40

candidates, 40, four-zero, have been killed as Mexicans head to the polls this Sunday. Rising levels of violence may impact voter support. And we'll

have a focus on the Mexican elections this time in tomorrow's show.

And still to come tonight, it's the image that's been shared millions of times dominating social media. The viral post causing a stir, just ahead,



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. If you've been online lately, there's a good chance you've come across a post that's been dominating social media.

The A.I. generated image, "All Eyes on Rafah," you can see there, has been shared more than 46 million times on Instagram alone. It is unclear what

the image exactly is, but it is stirring up emotions.

Some argue posting an ambiguous graphic does not depict the sheer horror, of course, that is taking place in Gaza, while others say it can be used

and as opportunity to raise awareness. So, there's lots for us to discuss here. I want to bring in our media correspondent Hadas Gold.

And, Hadas, this is -- this -- I mean, this is pretty much everywhere on social media, Instagram, X, TikTok. And it's an A.I. image, like we said.

Do we know at this stage where the phrase may have originated from? Who may be behind this image?

HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: So, actually, the phrase "All Eyes on Rafah" is something that we have seen pro-Palestinian activists using for

some time and it's thought to have originated back in February when a World Health Organization representative used it in an interview, and we saw it

on signs in some of these campus protests.

But then, it's really taken -- and you can see it right there, there's some signs from those college protests using the phrase "All Eyes on Rafah," but

this viral image really took off over the last few days, and it's been stunning to see how many people are sharing it. These -- everything from

big named celebrities like Mark Ruffalo, Dua Lipa. But also, I follow just some, you know, makeup influencers who most of the time are just posting

about things like lipstick, and they very rarely weighed into world politics, and they were posting this exact image.

And I think that goes to show you how striking this image is and also, how a viral moment can really take off. As you noted, it's been shared, I

think, more than 45 million times. It's been traced back to an artist in Malaysia. It's pretty clear that it is A.I. generated, first of all,

because, you know, even if it is either trucks or tents, that's not what those tent camps in Rafah look like, also there are snowcapped mountains in

the background of this image. There are no snowcapped mountains in Gaza. But that almost doesn't matter. What matters is the message and what

matters is it's a striking image that is being shared.

Also, I think what's interesting is one of the reasons that it's being shared so widely is because it's so easy to share. The original user, when

he posted it, he used the add yours feature on Instagram, which makes it really easy for somebody to share the image with just a couple clicks and

add their own captions or tax to it. So, it was super shareable, and it's a really arresting image that sort of catches your eye, even more so than if

it was an actual picture of something that's happening in Gaza.

And also, Meta, which owns Instagram, it would filter out anything that's too graphic, and this isn't a political statement on what's happening or at

Meta, what they want to do with what's happening -- the coverage of what's happening in Gaza or in Israel, it's more to do with just graphic imagery.

They don't want graphic imagery to be on this platform. But this, of course, is not graphic. It doesn't show anything graphic. In fact, it

doesn't even show a human being.

You get the, the sense that there's many millions of people represented in this image, but you don't see an actual human being. So, you don't have to

worry about the Meta filters in there. I think that's also why it's taking off the way it does.


Now, as you noted, there are some questions about, you know, does this work? Does this help in any way? We saw something similar in Black Lives

Matter. If you remember, there was those people would post like black squares taking over your feed, Blackout Tuesday. And there were some

questions of whether that actually did anything to help. Some people call it slacktivism, or they call it performative allyship.

And there's still -- you know, experts sort of argue back and forth about whether this will actually work, but it's definitely garnering attention.

But some pro-Palestinian activists are saying what they really need is actual action and not so much Instagram post.

I should also note that there is sort of a counter movement also, some pro- Israel accounts have started posting their own A.I. images saying where were your eyes on October 7th with an image of a baby in front of what

appears to be Hamas militant. That baby is supposed to look like Kfir Bibas, who is, of course, one of the children that was taken hostage, still

believed to be held hostage. And so, they are saying that this should also be going viral in the same way.

SOARES: And, of course, this A.I. image that we said that we showed, "All Eyes on Rafah," started to pick up steam. I think it's fair to say after

that attack that we saw in Rafah just over the weekend where 45 people had died. Hadas, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

That does it for us for tonight. You stay right here. "Newsroom with Jim Sciutto" is up next.