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Laura Coates Live

Mother and Daughter Released By Hamas; Frustrations Running High Within GOP; Ken Chesebro Pleaded Guilty; Children Most Affected By War In Israel. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired October 20, 2023 - 11:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Thank you for joining us on "NEWSNIGHT". LAURA COATES LIVE, as always, starts right now. Hey, Laura.

LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: I'm always live. I love that. Thank you so much.

PHILLIP: As always. Good to see you.

COATES: Nice to see you. Great show and great week. Congratulations on a wonderful week, Abby Phillip.

PHILLIP: Thank you. You too. COATES: Really.

PHILLIP: A lot of news --


COATES: A lot of news.

PHILLIP: -- on the horizon for both of us. But I know you'll be covering it.


COATES: And some pretty good news. Good news tonight. Thank you. We'll see you again on Monday.

PHILLIP: That's right.

COATES: Well, two American hostages released by Hamas. That's the good news. Now, what will happen to the rest? Tonight, on LAURA COATES LIVE.

Thankfully, a sigh of absolute relief, at least for one family, and of course, this nation. An American mother and her daughter from Chicago, Judith Tai Raanan and Natalie Raanan, who were just visiting family in Israel when they were taken by Hamas, pictured here after their release in a photo from the Israeli government. Now, President Joe Biden actually spoke with them and promised the

full support of the United States government as they will recover from their ordeal. The U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem releasing a photo late tonight. None of them, the president nor either of them, can really contain the smile that they have at what is really an extraordinary moment.

And as we wait for them to touch down and come back to the United States, there is that bittersweet feeling that is gnawing at all of us because there are more hostages. So why do they decide to only release these two? Thankfully they did. But why them and why now?

A source tells CNN it was on, quote, unquote, "humanitarian grounds," but what exactly does that mean? And can their experience be a kind of a roadmap to rescue the others?


ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The urgent work to free every single American, to free all other hostages, continues. As does our work to secure the safe passage out of Gaza for the Americans who are trapped there.


COATES: Meanwhile, back in the U.S. of A, Congress is still paralyzed. No, you did not miss somehow the news of a brand new speaker holding a brand new gavel because there isn't that news. There isn't a new speaker. They didn't want McCarthy. They didn't want Steve Scalise. Now they also do not want Jim Jordan.

So welcome to another edition of who wants to be speaker of the House of Representatives.


UNKNOWN: Can anybody here tell me we got somebody in here to get to 217?

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The most popular Republican in the United States Congress was just knifed by a secret ballot in a private meeting in the basement of the Capitol.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): It's astonishing to me and we are in a very bad position as a party.


COATES: Now this just isn't someone waiting to see who gets a rose. This is the American people waiting to see them do their job. So, if they really, they cannot do according to the rules without a speaker of the House. And just to reiterate, nothing, not aid for Israel, not aid for Ukraine, not funding for the federal government ahead of the latest deadline, remember that's November 17th, just 28 days away, none of that can get done. And the world is watching what America does as President Biden calls

all of this an inflection point, which I bet you're calling it a, are you people serious point? So, what will we do in fighting in the GOP and two wars waiting to see if Congress can move?

Here with me, two experts who can shed light on what's happening in the war zone on the military side. There's retired Colonel Cedric Leighton, who spent 26 years as intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force. On the diplomatic side, P.J. Crowley, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State.

I want to begin with CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who is on the ground in Tel Aviv. Kaitlan, so good to see you. Look, President Biden, he spoke with the freed hostages tonight. What more are you learning about how this release even came together?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a big grin on the president's face in that photo that was released by the White House of him on the phone with Judith and Natalie Raanan.


Of course, they are two Americans. They were here visiting family for Judith's mother's 85th birthday for the end of the Jewish holiday, and they were here at that Kibbutz when that attack happened.

And so over these two weeks, their family has been so desperately waiting to find out more about them. And what we've learned about what happened behind the scenes were these were very quiet negotiations happening between Qatar and Hamas as they were going back and forth. We were waiting to see why the White House had been so quiet about the American hostages while President Biden was here on the ground.

And officials say that this was part of it, that they were hoping that they were making progress and they didn't want to say too much publicly about that. And so, they have been released. They were brought to the border with Gaza. They were released into the care of Israel Defense Forces. And from there they were taken to a military base in central Israel. And that is where they got to greet their family before undergoing those medical checkups, meeting with the staff of the U.S. Embassy here.

And we heard from Natalie's dad tonight saying that he does hope that they'll be back in the United States by next week.


URI RAANAN, NATALIE RAANAN'S FATHER: I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, for two weeks. I haven't been sleeping for two weeks. Tonight, I'm going to sleep good. I spoke with my daughter earlier today. She sounds very good. She looks very good. She was very happy. And she's waiting to come home. I'm going to hug her and kiss her and it's going to be the best day of my life.


COLLINS: Of course, Laura, I should note, he also said Natalie turns 18 next Tuesday, so he's hoping she's home in time for her birthday.

COATES: I can't even imagine what that has been like for him, let alone what it's like right now to hold out hope for all the other families who are hoping that they too will have their loved ones back in their arms. Are you hearing anything tonight about efforts to get the other American hostages out?

COLLINS: You know, there was a moment tonight where President Biden was asked by a reporter if Israel should wait for that pending, that looming ground invasion that everyone's been waiting on until other hostages are released. He seemed to say yes, but the White House leader walked that back and said that he was just answering the generic questions on getting other hostages released.

They say that they are still working on it. The Israeli Prime Minister's office said that in a statement tonight confirming that Judith and Natalie had been released. But Laura, I mean, as you well know, there are about 200, we believe, hostages who are still in the custody, still been captured by Hamas and are inside Gaza tonight.

So obviously those families, it's a bittersweet moment for them. They're obviously happy to see these two hostages come out and get to go home, but they themselves wish that it was their loved ones.

COATES: Of course, they do. And it's, we're all waiting to hear more news about everyone else as well. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much.

Here with me now, Colonel Cedric Leighton and former Assistant Secretary of State P.J. Crowley. I mean, this is, gentlemen, a moment to rejoice in what has been very difficult circumstances. But I want to go really deeper into the why now and why the reason they've given. They have said it's for humanitarian grounds because of the mother's health. What does that say to you about this decision to release them?

P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: Well, hostages from Hamas's standpoint are valuable as long as they're alive and good health and can be bargained for something of interest to Hamas, prisoners, conditions on the ground, et cetera.

So it was not in Hamas's interest to see an American hostage die in captivity. This indicates that they are prepared to deal, you know, through Qatar. But now I think the negotiations will become more difficult and probably more lengthy as we go through this.

COATES: Let me tap in a little bit more of that. Why do you think that this indicates a way to negotiate now?

CROWLEY: Well, I think this is -- this is a signal of good faith, you know, and obviously we should salute Qatar. They are very effective in this intermediary role. They have the ability to engage with a wide range of actors in the region.

So that conversation will continue, but now I think Hamas will put some conditions on the next release, perhaps some boundaries around what Israel will do militarily, or, you know, the delivery of more assistance to the people of Gaza. So, but there will always be strings attached the further along we get in this process.

COATES: Strings attached is what I think many people are looking at to see. But also, maybe breadcrumbs left by what these hostages who've now been freed might know.

CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it depends. You know, Laura, when you think about this from the standpoint of an intelligence officer who is going to be debriefing these hostages, you're going to look at, you know, how they, what they experienced, how they experience, what do they remember.


Now, we have to also keep in mind that these are civilians. They are not military types, they're not diplomats, they're not intelligence agents.

COATES: They have been trained to observe immediately all their surroundings at all times.

LEIGHTON: Exactly, and that's going to be a problem because like in a criminal court case, you know, if the witness doesn't remember things, there are going to be gaps in the trial's testimony, there are going to be gaps in what the prosecution can present if it's a prosecution witness. They're going to be all kinds of things that they won't know and in some cases they may even lead the intelligence analysts astray just because they may risk -- misremember something.

But it's still worthwhile because they will have had firsthand experience. They might give a telltale clue about a location. They might be able to say, hey, you know, when we passed a certain point, I don't know where it was, but I heard this particular sound and that then can be correlated to perhaps a landmark or some other situation, you know, where they can say, OK, this is here, this is where these people were, and they may still be there, they may not. But it's still something that's very valuable from an intelligence standpoint.

CROWLEY: And also, you know, who had them, if they can remember any clues like that, and were they part of a larger group, or were they separate? Because ultimately, to get these people back, either diplomatically or militarily, intelligence is going to be critical.

COATES: Well, I'm thinking about all the senses, right? What did you see? What did you smell? What did you hear? Who was with you? Were you separate? Were there a lot of people there? How were you treated though, is also part of the conversation.

And we heard the father at one point earlier this evening suggested his daughter said something that she was, you know, she was treated well or she was treated nicely, I think is the phrase that he used.

This tells me something about what they're trying to signal to the world. It does not, it's not lost on me. I'm sure it's not to you all. First, you had a release of a hostage video of a French-Israeli citizen. Now you've got the release of two Americans. Does that strike you as telling? CROWLEY: Absolutely. I mean, this is a complex crisis. There are

ultimately military dimensions to this, political dimensions to this. Public opinion is going to be critical, not just in terms of who's perceived as the villain, who's perceived as the hero, but what will be the condition both during the conflict as we continue to see it unfold. But what happens on the other side when the conflict's over? What are you left with on the ground to try to build some sort of process, peace process out of this?


LEIGHTON: And in a more immediate sense, Laura, the other thing is this. I think what they're signaling is we don't want to fight the United States or Europe right now. French hostage video. American hostages released at least those two. So, there's a signal there, I think, that they're saying, you know, our fight is with the Israelis, not with you at the moment.

COATES: I mean, and of course, even you think about the language that can be used, you know, trying to get goodwill, a gesture, et cetera, treated nicely. These are hostages who were taken violently for doing nothing other than being where they were. And part of a plan from Hamas, a terrorist organization, to do something about it.

So it really is counterintuitive to people thinking about any goodwill or a gesture that could actually work. But diplomatically, this means something more.

CROWLEY: Right. Well, I mean, all of this is counterintuitive.


CROWLEY: You know, Hamas is baiting Israel to overreact. It has succeeded in taking the Palestinian issue, which had been on the sidelines for years, and now bringing it back to the center. Obviously, as we've all noted, it was also done to short circuit the ongoing negotiation among Israel, the United States, and Saudi Arabia.

So they're -- they've done something that's counterintuitive. The hostages are part of that. They have signaled that we are willing to give back foreign hostages, you know. But obviously, that those deals will be something that we'll see, we'll try to see, you know, what are the conditions? What are the terms? What do they want? What will either side give in the process? And that's where Qatar is at the center of this.

COATES: Let's go back just two weeks. And we remember there was a moment when they would, probably two weeks ago, they would talk about, there had to be a warning, otherwise they would execute hostages. They would harm hostages. Warnings about whether there was going to be any attacks or even ground incursions or invasions. Where do things stand now, given the release of these hostages?

LEIGHTON: Well, it's very interesting because the Israelis have actually issued warnings. And in fact, tonight we heard about a hospital in Gaza saying that they had received warnings from the Israelis. The problem now is that hospital says they can't evacuate. There's nowhere for them to take the patients. There's nowhere for them to go.


And they don't have the ability to really honor, in essence, the Israeli message to them to evacuate. So, in essence, we have a bit of a problem here, to say the least.


LEIGHTON: And it could be a very tragic situation because right now the Israelis, you know, are following, in essence the rules of war by saying, hey, we're going to bomb what is a civilian target. The reason we're doing it is because we believe that Hamas is using that facility either above ground or most likely below ground for their purposes, and therefore in their minds it becomes a legitimate target. So that's why the civilians are told to get out of there and do, you know, what they can to minimize the damage.

COATES: But even Americans are getting warned about going overseas. The State Department advised all Americans overseas, and here's their quote, "to exercise increased caution." So, when you look at that, what strikes you?

CROWLEY: It's very prudent. I mean, two things. One is we've got demonstrations in every major city in the region against Israel, against the United States to have an American citizen walk into the middle of that is dangerous. And we do have the risk of escalation.

We've seen during the course of the week these stray missiles and drones coming from Yemen, attacks against U.S. military forces in the region. So, you know, while we hope to contain the crisis to the parameters that we now have, there's no guarantee that will happen.

COATES: You know, CNN's Clarissa Ward, she was actually at the Rafah crossing. It's a really important one to talk about today with the U.N. secretary general, in fact. It got really tense to your larger point and the risks that are involved in all of this in the region. I want you to listen, though, to what she had to say as a part of her reporting. Listen to this.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres hoped to be here for a much needed diplomatic win. Instead, he found himself in the midst of a protest, his remarks drowned out by the crowd.

People are chanting over and over again, with our blood, with our souls, we will defend Palestine. There's a huge amount of anger, a huge amount of emotion, much of it directed at the West.


(END VIDEOTAPE) CROWLEY: How long can this go on? Well, if we're talking about the conflict, it can go on for weeks or months. If we're talking about hostages, it can go on for weeks, months or years. You know, Israeli soldiers have been captured before, and it took years to negotiate a prisoner exchange. So, you know, there's no scoreboard clock.


CROWLEY: This will -- this will unfold. And the decisions that Hamas makes, the Palestinian people make, Israel makes, the region makes, the United States makes, we'll all factor into that.

LEIGHTON: And the key thing is this, this has been going on really since Israel --

COATES: Right.

LEIGHTON: -- started as a nation in 1948. And this is just another chapter in that -- in that battle and in that whole story. And until the Palestinian issue is solved, until everything is done so that there is at least some degree of political responsibility for everybody, it's not going to go away.

CROWLEY: Just to add quickly to that, you know, we're focused on the military dimension, but this challenge is largely a political challenge. And coming out the other side, we've -- we need to have something that we can build on to try to find a way to back to a process that leads to a negotiation between the Israelis and Palestinians, something that hasn't happened in more than a decade.

COATES: And a humanitarian crisis spiraling out of control.

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

COATES: Colonel Crowley, Lieutenant Leighton, excuse me, P.J. Crowley, thank you so much to both of you.

Well, as war rages between Israel and Hamas, the United States Congress is powerless to do anything while Republicans time after time have now failed to elect a speaker. Next, I'll ask one Republican congressman, what exactly happens now, as this party seems to be in complete chaos?


MCCARTHY: The amount of damage they have done to this party, and to this country, is insurmountable. I've never seen this amount of damage done to just a few people for their own personalities.




COATES: All right, for those of you counting out there, which is everyone, we've gone 17 days without a House speaker and 13 days since Hamas attacked Israel. And there have been three rounds of voting just this week alone. In fact, do you know, it's the longest the House has been without a speaker in American history. I think you're frustrated at what's going on in the Hill. Listen to how a few members of Congress are feeling.



UNKNOWN: I mean, look, having the American people be able to see how we are wrestling with the tough decisions.

UNKNOWN: I think it makes Congress as a whole look very bad.

UNKNOWN: I think Americans are sick of it. It is time for big boys and big girls to stop with the nonsense and get back to work.


COATES: Joining me now is Congressman Cory Mills of Florida. Congressman, thank you for being here. You are frustrated by what's been happening right now. So many people are, voters, members of Congress. It looks awful that the government is paralyzed by not being able to have a speaker?

REP. CORY MILLS (R-FL): Well, look, we've gone through three speakers. We've gone through Kevin McCarthy. We've gone through Steve Scalise. We've gone through Congressman Jim Jordan, who is the second most popular conservative member in Congress.

We have to acknowledge the fact that this is truly an example of what Congress represents, which is the brokenness. It's an institution which its actual, you know, approval rating right now, I think, is being generous. If it's in low digits, I would actually think that would be a step above what it should be.


You know, we were elected into Congress to be statesmen, not politician, not play partisan gamesmanship, but to get legislation across that helps the American people. Secure our borders, protect our children, put more money in our pocket, stop the runaway and out of control spending.

These are the things that we were elected to do to govern. And we need to actually have someone who can unify us, who can actually come from the diverse and unique backgrounds that represent all of America. And I truly do think that that person, in my personal opinion, and a person that I wouldn't divorce and stand behind, is Congressman Byron Donalds.

COATES: A fellow congressman from Florida as well, do you think he would have the votes to be able to get there? Because so far, we have not seen from Scalise to Jordan, and obviously 15 rounds to McCarthy, to get there. Does Donalds have it?

MILLS: I think he does and I'll tell you one of the big difference. A lot of people who've been in Congress for 10 and 15 and 20 years, over time they've built bad blood. Maybe there's some animosity there. Maybe there is some disconnect between the various kind of individual families as they call them whether you know the Freedom Caucus or whether it's R.G. to Main Street, et cetera.

Byron hasn't been there long enough to develop all of these bad blood but he also represents not only the fact that he's a true strong legislator. He understands finance and economics. He sits on the financial services. He's been an appropriator. He's been a state legislator. But he also represents the uniqueness and diversity of America, of our country.

You know, he was raised by a single mother. This is a man who grew up in rough parts of New York who understand the importance of a safe and stable community. Not trying to look at all the criminality that's going on with the soft on crime policies. This is a person who truly has been, you know, a mediator in many ways.

And I've seen him personally. Whether it was the H.R.2 Secure the Border Act, whether it was H.R.1, the Low Cost Energy Act, come in between these five families, these various factions within the Republican conference, --


MILLS: -- and really try to unite and bring them together. And that's what we need right now.

COATES: Well, I remember his name being raised the first time when Kevin McCarthy was introduced as potentially trying to get the gavel. He did not secure a number of votes. He's only, not even, I believe, nine, 10 months away from when he didn't get them back in January.

And some could argue for the very reasons you say, not having been long enough in Congress, not having a lot of legislation passed, that might be the things that are stacked against him. Why would it not be?

MILLS: Well, I'll tell you, I think nine, 10 months ago, we were a totally different conference. I think that if you look at just what we've achieved, let's just say during that 10 months, right? We passed H.R. 1, Lower Cost Energy Act, H.R. 2, Secure the Border Act, H.R. 5, Parental Bill of Rights. We passed Limit Save Grow, and then also FRA.

There's a lot of things that people said that couldn't be achieved that was achieved that he was a very instrumental piece of. I think that there was personality conflicts and animosity though that had taken down the speaker and allowed us to basically be in a position that we're in right now. But I also think that there was also promises made that weren't kept.

And so, Byron has not made any promises, any backroom deals. He's here to actually get us forward and actually govern.


COATES: But he hasn't, excuse me, I don't want to cut you off there.

MILLS: Sure, please.

COATES: But on that point about that, he has not been in the position to try to secure the gavel, to make whatever deals would be necessary. Because there's eight people, right, who voted down McCarthy. They're all still in Congress right now. They're still in motion to vacate. Is he able to withstand that level of scrutiny? And does he have the support of them? Because he hasn't always.

MILLS: You know the best part about Byron? He doesn't want this job. That's exactly what we need. We need someone who doesn't want this job. This is a thankless job that is going to come under tremendous pressure. We have appropriation bills to try and get through to ensure that we get the necessary cut reform and revisions to actually improve our economy. This is the person ready to do that.

You've got a person who wants to be able to unite and be able to try and continue to keep the government funded responsibly. This is a person who has an actual plan. A lot of people want to have it in the Wikipedia entry. This is a guy who actually wants to try and govern because that's what the American people want.

COATES: But they, do they want him?

MILLS: What we see right now though, is chaos.

COATES: Do you want him?

MILLS: What we need, we need serenity now. And that's really the key for all of this right now is to try and come together, to unify, to lead. And I personally stand behind him and I endorse him and I think that he's the right person to lead this conference.

COATES: Well, we'll see if what a difference a 10 month can make since we're all looking back to January. But before you go, I do want to say, this must be very personally frustrating for you, that there's the paralysis, because this means Congress can't get things done.

You are a veteran. You have most recently even gone to Israel to try to help return Americans home. None of that is getting done, because people are being put forth who cannot get the votes. And so far, Donald is probably one of those people. Isn't this personal to you in that way, to secure the right person to make sure that can get done?

MILLS: It is, it's very personal. You know, I conducted ground evacuations that got over 96 Americans out and there's many more that still needs to go. Our country understands that we're in turmoil, both here at home and abroad, and that weakness symbolizes aggression.


We need to have a strong unified house. We need to come together. We need to demonstrate that we have a right to be the majority and the right to the ability to govern.

COATES: Congressman Cory Mills, thank you so much for joining me today.

MILLS: Thank you.

COATES: Well, another pro-Trump lawyer flipping in the Georgia election subversion case, really pleading guilty. So how will this affect the former president and others who were named today in the plea? We'll dive right in next.


COATES: Well, tonight, there's a little more trouble for former President Donald Trump. Another one-time member of his inner circle has now flipped against him, pleading guilty.


Ken Chesebro, the pro-Trump attorney who helped orchestrate the, well, that's not him there, that's someone else, but somebody else who actually pled guilty earlier, to work into the 2020 fake electors plot, took a deal today in the Georgia election subversion case.

Now as part of that deal, Chesebro, there he is, admitted that he conspired to put forward fake GOP electors in Georgia with Trump and former Trump lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman. Now Giuliani and Eastman, they have both already pleaded not guilty in the Georgia case, and they now face the prospect of Chesebro taking the witness stand against them.

I want to dive in now with the former associate White House counsel to President George W. Bush, Jamil Jaffer, along with national security attorney Brad Moss.

So, listen, we're seeing already, we've already had one plea, two pleas now, three pleas happening. There are still at what, 15 more at least, people who are on the docket. When you saw this, did you think that it would be a felony and he would actually name Trump, Giuliani, and Eastman in the discussion?

BRADLEY MOSS, NATIONAL SECURITY ATTORNEY: I wasn't surprised because, think of what we saw just yesterday with Powell. Powell got it, pled down to misdemeanors. The early fish gets the worm. As we keep going further down the line, as we get closer and closer to the bigger trial, which will be the one will have Donald Trump and any of the remaining defendants, any plea deals will be more harsh, will be more punishment compared to what these initial people got.

So, with Ken Chesebro, he pleaded to one felony. It's going to certainly be a problem for him keeping his bar license. He pleaded to a particular criminal act that implicates Donald Trump, the fake elector scheme, the documents themselves. The dominoes are starting to fall. How many? We have to see.

COATES: You know, people may have missed it. When you said the law license, remember the attorney said, I just want to be clear this was not a crime of moral turpitude. And every lawyer was like, because you want to keep your bar license.


MOSS: Yes.

COATES: The moral turpitude is a part of what we have to actually have. You can't have a crime of moral turpitude to actually be a barred attorney. That was sort of that inside lawyer baseball there.

But Jamil, when you think about this, are there going to be other pleas that you think soon from, say, an Eastman or a Giuliani or others who are hoping to preview all of this trial testimony and figure out whether they had enough against them.

JAFFER: Well, look, I think this is how it works, right? I mean, they can certainly see more people going down now. Eastman, Giuliani is harder, I think, to pin down.

COATES: Really?

JAFFER: He's got a lot more at stake.

COATES: Is he, you say? I'm interested in how you mention that. He's harder to pin down.

JAFFER: You know, you know, America's mayor, he's changed a lot over the years, right? And he's gone down a road that's challenging. So, it's going to be hard, I think, to see him plead. I think Eastman is much more likely, although it will be a difficult one as well. But the more you see this happen, right? This is classic, you know, Rico move, right?

You start working down the lower level, folks, giving better plea deals, as Brad was saying, exactly right. It gets harder and harder as you get further along, right? And eventually when it gets to big fish, in this case, Donald Trump, they're working their way up. They're going to keep doing it.

COATES: What struck me as well was not only that he has now testified in other cases, But I think it's Fulton County. You're also talking about potentially Jack Smith's case, because I think he is, was the co-conspirator five, unnamed of course, in the Jack Smith indictment out of Washington, D.C. So that could actually be a deal or interesting for that case, right?

MOSS: Yes, as is Sidney Powell, one of those other --


COATES: Exactly.

MOSS: -- unindicted co-conspirators. These same various people who are coming up in the Georgia case will make an appearance in the federal case to some degree if they've made these plea deals. They're no doubt going to be trying to talk to Jack Smith's team saying, let's figure something out. We'll cooperate. We just want to get this put there behind these clients. You know, what can we do here?

As these various cases start to overlap with each other and start to intersect and more people start cutting deals, it's going to get more and more pressure on the former president. It's going to make it more and more difficult for him to hold the line that he's kept this far.

COATES: You say cooperator. Some are already using the word snitch. You're talking about somebody who is basically like a rat -- a rat in a suit, right? They think about that sort of thing. But the attorney for Chesebro is already saying, no, you've got this all wrong. He's not snitching. He's just trying to be accountable for what he has done. Listen.


SCOTT GRUBMAN, KENNETH CHESEBRO'S LAWYER: He didn't snitch against anyone. He went in there. He accepted responsibility for what I would view as one of the minor kind of tag on charges in the indictment. And that was that. I mean, I could absolutely tell you that again, if he's called, he'll go testify and answer their questions, but I would disagree.

I don't think Mr. Chesebro snitched against anyone. I think he simply decided it was time for him to put this behind him and go on with his life.


COATES: Why do you think he's saying it in that way, Jamil?

JAFFER: Well, I mean, Laura, you know the old phrase, right? Snitches get stitches, right? And so, he doesn't want Donald Trump coming out swinging against his client, saying, this guy is coming after me. He's going to do it anyways. It's happening. His lawyer's trying to head that off.


But the reality is that Ken Chesebro is going to have to testify against Donald Trump, certainly in Georgia, maybe in the federal case. This is not going to go well for Donald Trump. Trump world has got to be freaking out right now seeing Powell and Chesebro now go down.

Powell in particular knows a lot about what happened on the inside. And while she didn't plead to the kind of charge that Chesebro did, both the felony and something involving that direct Georgia plot, right? She pled to the stuff happened down that one county.

Nonetheless, the fact that she knows all this stuff and if she doesn't testify to the satisfaction of Fani Willis, right, they can bring these charges back, right? They can get rid of the plea deal. And so, there's a lot of room here. A lot of us were critical. I was critical of the firewalls indictments, right? They were too broad, too aggressive, right? All the Rico charges.

And yet, this is really a vindication of her strategy. It's working. It's going to harm Trump, not just in Georgia, but in the federal court as well.

COATES: I mean, look, as a prosecutor, the more valuable a witness you would be for me, the more gracious my plea offer might be if I can't get it from anyone else. But you're right about Trump world. They're already on notice, essentially, about what he can and cannot say. He's already violated a gag order.

A judge in New York is fining him, what, 5,000 bucks, if he keeps doing it. So, we'll see if that is a warning for other areas as well. Do you see him violating the, you know what, rhetorical. It's OK, it was rhetorical.

MOSS: Gee, I wonder --


COATES: I don't know.

MOSS: I wonder if he might violate it.

COATES: Or keep doing it, the judge thinks he will. We'll see what happens at the end of the trial, gentlemen. Nice to see you.

JAFFER: Absolutely, sure.

COATES: Jamil Jaffer and Brad Moss, everyone. And up next, very seriously, I mean, we talk a lot about what's happening in the war in the Middle East, and we talk about all the diplomatic and military figures who are important in the discussion, but what about the children? The truly innocent ones in all of this is taking its toll. We'll tell you how next.



COATES: Conditions on the ground in Gaza are deteriorating as Israeli strikes continue and aid agencies are warning that humanitarian supplies are desperately needed. The most tragic victims in all of this, the children.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the death toll in Gaza has climbed to 4,127. And do you know that 1,661 of them are children?

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports on how the war is impacting children who make up nearly half of Gaza's population. And I want to warn you, what you're about to see is graphic and disturbing.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why? Why have you gone my son, he wails. He wanted to be a pilot. You're only sleeping, he says, kissing his boy's lifeless body. Every day of this war has brought pain. Pain no parent wants to ever live through.

Every 15 minutes in Gaza, a child is killed, aid groups say. More than 1,500 children killed so far in a war that's only just beginning. A war they didn't choose. One for which they are paying the heaviest price.

Those who live haunted by what they've survived. The lucky ones still have parents to hold their hands. Ten-year-old Abdulrahman (Ph) still doesn't know the strike that left him injured took away his mom, dad, and three sisters. His aunt, the only one left to try and comfort him. He wakes up, he cries, they give him painkillers, and he goes back to sleep, she says.

I'm worried about him, the shock when he wakes up and finds out that his mother and father are gone, his aunt says. He's the youngest, he was so attached to his parents. He used to play football with his dad. He would go with him everywhere. Families here say they all heeded the Israeli military's warning and moved south, thinking it would be safe. But it wasn't.

Malek (Ph) is injured in the hips and legs. She lost her mother and siblings in an air strike. A girl in the third grade, what did she do? Her aunt asks. Did she shoot Israelis? She didn't. We're peaceful people in our home, she says. We didn't launch any rockets or shoot. We didn't do anything.

Nine-year-old Mahmoud (Ph) was out playing when his family home was hit. He's in hospital with head and leg injuries.

"We were playing in the garden and suddenly a missile landed on us," he says. "Trees fell on me. My mother, my father, my brother and grandfather are injured. My uncle brought me unconscious to the hospital."

Most of the injured in Gaza, doctors say, are children and women. With no power, no water and medical supplies running out the health care they need is on the verge of collapse.

Around half of Gaza's population are children. Most have only ever known life under a blockade and war. Now in this kill box, no place safe from Israel's relentless bombardment. Desperate for any promise of safety, many have flooded a Shifa hospital grounds. The constant buzz of military drones overhead has become part of existence in Gaza.

Some find a little escape from this living nightmare no child should ever endure. Though Jane (Ph) and Julia (Ph) say their neighborhood was flattened by airstrikes.


"We've been living in so much fear, panic and anxiety," she says. "Whenever I hear airstrikes, I don't know what to do. I hug my mom." Seven-year-old Julia (Ph) says she holds her mom to and hides. They're now living under the stairs. "I get upset when I see injured here in the hospital," Julia says.

When I grow up, I want to become a doctor so I can treat them so they can get better." It's a war on Hamas, they say, but it is the youngest who bear the brunt. Ensnared in violence they can't control, trapped in this race against death.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


COATES: These are children. Children. Just human beings. And what -- what are they to do? It really breaks my heart. It breaks all of our hearts to see how these children are suffering, the little girl with the glasses talking about what she wants to be when she grows up, and thinking about what is happening on a daily basis, as families in Gaza and families in Israel being torn apart by this war. Losing their loved ones, losing their lives, some and others taken in hostage, all wondering what the future will be like.

In Tel Aviv, the moving site of a Shabbat dinner table with 200 empty chairs, more -- for more than the 200 hostages who've been held and are being held by Hamas in Gaza. Mothers and fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, sons, daughters, human beings. A sign of unity seen around the globe.

Shabbat tables for hostages all -- also set up in the Jewish quarter of Rome and in Australia's Bondi Beach. You know, so many of us are watching what is happening in the world right now and it's impossible to feel like we're anything at times but helpless. But up next, we'll tell you how you can help as we're all bearing witness.



COATES: You know, the news that's coming out of the Middle East can leave us, a lot of us, feeling helpless. But you know, there are things that you can do. For more information about how you can help humanitarian efforts in Israel and also in Gaza, go to or text relief to 707070. That's 707070 to relief, to donate.

Thank you so much for watching. Our live coverage continues after this short break.