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One World with Zain Asher

President Biden Off To Valley Forge, Pennsylvania To Kick Start Campaign For Re-Election; Israel Unveils Its Plans For The Next Phases Of The War In Gaza; Former Olympian And Paralympian Oscar Pistorius Released From A South African Prison; Hamas Survivor Speaks Out; Europe Gets Heavy Rain; Dog Eats Cash. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired January 05, 2024 - 12:00   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Head to head, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are hitting the trail for the first time in 2024.

ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: ONE WORLD starts right now. The race is on. We are just days away -- days away from one of the most important days in American


GOLODRYGA: Also ahead, my exclusive interview with the woman who spent 50 days as a Hamas captive alongside her two young daughters.

ASHER: And later, it is a story you'll have to see to believe the mysterious case of a family, their dog, and $4000 in cash that went


ASHER: All right, coming to you live from New York -- so good to have you back.

GOLODRYGA: Finally. Happy New Year, my friend.

ASHER: Happy New Year, my dear. I'm Zain Asher.

GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. You're watching ONE WORLD. Well, brace yourselves. The 2024 U.S. presidential campaign is clearly hitting

its stride. You'll be seeing a lot of split screens like this one going forward with dueling campaign events. Both President Joe Biden and Donald

Trump are trying to win a second term. Right now, Mr. Trump is battling to win his party's nomination.

ASHER: All right, the first contest just starts in about 10 days or so from now. That's when we'll have one of the most crucial events on the

presidential campaign calendar. I'm talking about the Iowa caucuses. A win in Iowa is huge. It is so important because it creates momentum for the

candidate if they win Iowa heading into the next few primaries.

In terms of what's on tap for today, President Biden is just leaving Washington. He's on his way to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to kick start

his campaign for re-election. Later on today, he's going to give a major speech near one of America's most historic sites from the revolutionary war

to call on Americans to embrace democracy and reject the January 6th insurrection.

GOLODRYGA: It is coming on the eve of that horrific day in U.S. history. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is heading to Iowa. While he has a huge lead over

his Republican challengers, he's looking for a decisive win there. That was his message delivered last night via telephone.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to be coming out there on Friday. I'm going to be there Friday

and Saturday. Then I'm coming back the following week. And I'm going to caucus probably in Des Moines. I'll be doing caucus with you. We're going

to work it. And we can't take any chances and everybody has to get out because we don't want to sit back and rely on the polls.


GOLODRYGA: The latest campaign spot from the Biden team says the future of democracy is riding on this election.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT (voice-over): There's something dangerous happening in America. There's an extremist movement that does not share the

basic beliefs in our democracy. All of us are being asked right now, what will we do to maintain our democracy? History's watching. The world is

watching. Most important, our children and grandchildren will hold us responsible.


ASHER: And instead, Donald Trump has actually chosen to focus on what he believes is President Biden's weak spot in this election, and that is the

economy. Take a look here.


UNKNOWN: Everywhere you look, Trump beats Biden on the economy. Take home pay up six grand under Trump. Under Biden, down $7000. Personal and

retirement investments up 40 percent under Trump. Under Biden, your investments fell, along with other things.


ASHER: Our Priscilla Alvarez has more on that.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: President Biden is going to set the stakes for the 2024 election in his remarks this afternoon.

Protecting American democracy has been the centerpiece of the Biden campaign and the President is going to double down on that in his remarks

by calling back to the January 6th insurrection in 2021 and also arguing that the former President, former President Donald Trump is a threat to


Now, all of this is an extension to the President's 2020 bid for the White House when talked about battling for the soul of the nation, but also his

own re-election video a year ago where the first images and videos in that video were of the insurrection and the President arguing that it is -- this

is an important election for democracy and for freedom. And this is all of what campaign officials say is an urgent threat that they are tackling

starting with these remarks from the President.


Now, the site of this speech is also important, it's against the backdrop of the Revolutionary War site in Valley Forge. That's where George

Washington commanded his forces. And President Biden is going to talk about George Washington and how he willingly gave up power after two terms as

President, drawing the contrast with former President Donald Trump, who has not accepted the 2020 results.

The President will also be talking about political violence and, again, about the January 6th insurrection. Well, it's clear here that the

president is jump-starting his campaign into 2024 with what his campaign sees as a potent political issue, that being protecting American democracy

and really underscoring the urgency and the stakes of this election.

They're also doing that through a campaign ad that will be running in key battleground states. But all of this is just the start of what is going to

be a heated election cycle. Back to you.


GOLODRYGA: All right, our thanks to Priscilla. Well, it is no surprise that Joe Biden is making the January 6th insurrection a central part of his

platform. He has called the 2021 riot a threat to democracy, but he may face some issues when making that argument to the American people.

ASHER: A new poll from the Washington Post and the University of Maryland found that a quarter, right, a quarter of those polls believe that the FBI

actually organized and encouraged the January 6th attack. They believe it was an inside job. Fewer than 50 percent of those polls say that is not


GOLODRYGA: So, let's get some perspective on that and the news from the campaign trail. We're joined by our good friend. What a lovely face to see

-- my first interview back in the New Year. It's our friend CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon. Good to see you. So --


GOLODRYGA: Happy New Year, too. Let's get to the bet that President Biden has been making and listen, it's a recurring theme of his. Every year, he

seems to be delivering a speech around the January 6th anniversary. Is this where the rest of the public is? And I'm not just asking about Republicans.

Even among Democrats, is the fight for democracy top of mind for them going into the 2024 election?

AVLON: I think it will be. Polls show that Americans are concerned about the state of our democracy, Democrats and Republicans for different

reasons. And remember, in the run up to the 2022 midterm elections where a lot of pundits over confidently predicting a red wave, President Biden

decided to double down on his message about defending democracy. A lot of people said he shouldn't do that. He should focus on economic issues,

kitchen table issues, so-called.

And He was rewarded the exit poll show. Democrats did much better than expected. And you've had elections where people are voting in reaction to

the overturning of Roe v. Wade here in the United States. Economic issues are important to people. But at the end of the day, democracy is the

foundation for it all.

And I think, unfortunately, what you're seeing is that there's good reason to campaign on defending democracy given Donald Trump's rhetoric, given his

increasingly autocratic policy menu. And I think one thing you've got to give President Biden credit for is from the very beginning of his campaign,

he has said that we are living in a time of a contest between democracy and autocracy. I think that's right. I think geopolitics and domestic politics

show that to be true.

And so going to the iconography location of Valley Forge as a sometime Washington biographer, I think is resonant because it's where, you know,

we've faced difficult times in our past, times when it looked like America's back was to a wall. We always come back, we come back stronger.

And I think that's a good message to send.

ASHER: Polling also shows, though, John, that Biden has a hard time with non-white voters, with young voters. I mean, we just actually listed a poll

that showed that a quarter of those poll -- this was a "Washington Post" poll -- a quarter of those poll believe that the -- January 6th was an

inside job, right? I mean, that tells you what President Biden is dealing with at this point in time.


ASHER: How many people have already, really sort of made up their mind when it comes to this election already?

AVLON: You know, elections in the United States are decided by independent voters, moderate voters, swing voters. Hard partisans are deeply dug in.

What I think is important to recognize is, for example, that while Donald Trump has a, you know, a firm grasp on the base of the Republican Party,

polls show that around 37 percent of Republicans would support him no matter what.

That's an impressive number, but primarily in the context of a close partisan primary. It translates to around 11, 12 percent of the American

people as a whole. The polling, you cited, is frankly dispiriting. It shows the cost of disinformation and misinformation that a quarter of Americans

have been duped into believing a lie.

But they've been duped into its repetition primarily by Donald Trump and other candidates who want to find ways to absolve themselves of the fact of

the matter, which it was Trump supporters motivated by Trump's lie about the election that led them to try to stop the certification of an election,

in an attack on our democracy.


That's the fact. And so, I think it's important to not just, you know, look at the poll. We need to look at the poll. Understand it's a quarter of

Americans. The other 75 percent of Americans don't believe that. But to make very clear that they have been duped into believing a lie and there's

an obligation to confront lies with the truth.

GOLODRYGA: Many have gone ahead and predicted that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. If you look at the polling, he's some 30 points

ahead in Iowa of both Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley. We hosted both of them last night in a very interesting CNN Town Hall back to back.

For the first time, we've seen a shift, in particular, I think, with Ron DeSantis and his approach to take Donald Trump. Maybe not head on, but a

bit more aggressively. Is it too late, in your view, John, for either one of them to catch up to where the former President is?

AVLON: No, it's not too late. There have been far too many pundits and people opining that Donald Trump has this going away. Before a single

person has actually voted, I think it's cowardly that, for example, the Republican leadership has all coalesced around him in even before a single

person has voted in the first caucus state, Iowa.

And "The New York Times" reported the other day that when Tom Emmer, Republican whip, endorsed Trump after being viciously criticized by Trump

just a few weeks ago, scuttling his attempt to become Speaker of the House, Trump sort of marveled, they all take the knee. They all take the knee


Well, you know, polls don't vote. People do. And I'm a big believer in letting people vote. I think polls can often overstate support. There's a

lot of noise in the polls, particularly in caucus when citizens reason with each other. I think there are a lot of people persuadable within the

Republican Party looking for an alternative to Donald Trump.

And I think DeSantis and Nikki Haley both did themselves a great service last night. They were polished. They were clear. They were hitting their

stride. Is it -- is it -- should they have drawn the contrast with Donald Trump more clearly three months ago rather than 10 days out? Yes, Chris

Christie was the only one doing that at that time. But Nikki Haley in particular has an electability argument that's profound if you look at the

polls, would be a historic candidacy.

And so, nothing is over until people vote. There are issues with winner take all election rules that will give Trump an advantage down the line.

But momentum can shift decisively, particularly when you're dealing with these early states of Iowa and New Hampshire, known for their independence.

So, don't count anything out. I think that does disservice to democracy itself.

ASHER: So, anything is possible at this point in time.


ASHER: I mean, if you put the polls aside, though, I mean, once Iowa happens and once, you know, let's say that Donald Trump does win Iowa, I

mean, it is highly likely, but let's say that happens, what happens next? Doesn't that have an impact on New Hampshire, on South Carolina, on Nevada

as well? Because of course, as we all know, Americans love winners, especially when it comes to politics.

So, if Trump wins Iowa, it effectively -- I don't want to say over, but you know, does that mean --


ASHER: -- that it is highly likely that Donald Trump becomes the nominee?

AVLON: No, but it is a momentum game. And I want to separate the two things you said. The winner of Iowa, historically, has not gone on always

to win the nomination. I looked at a little homework, because I'm that kind of a nerd. In 2016, the last poll before the Iowa caucus showed Donald

Trump five points ahead of Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz went on to win the Iowa caucuses, reversing around an eight-point spread between the last polls and the results. And by the way, important to

note what Donald Trump did. He said that Ted Cruz had stolen the caucus. He said it was rigged against him. That's his go-to whenever he loses, which

shows you how thin and flimsy and fundamentally false his impulse of accusations often are.

But -- so anything can happen. You're right. The early states are a momentum game. But traditionally, Iowa and New Hampshire often vote in

different ways. For example, in 2000, George W. Bush won Iowa Handley. John McCain went on to win New Hampshire by 19 points.

One of the big differences, aside from the evangelical votes in the Midwest, are that independent voters make up a plurality of voters in New

Hampshire, and they can vote in either primary.

So, yes, there is a momentum effect, but there's also an expectations game with polls and politics, as you know. And if Trump's victory in Iowa, as

polls predict it is, is narrower than expected, that itself sets its own momentum. And you can see his campaign in the message you played earlier,

he's nervous about his folks not turning out.

So, don't count anything out. Yes, momentum matters in politics. So do expectations. But I think a lot of Republicans know in their gut that

Donald Trump is a deeply damaged person, though he definitely has a hardcore support that would support him literally no matter what.


GOLODRYGA: There may have been a first that we've seen, that I've seen, where the candidate calls in to his son on his cell phone and leaves a

message for his supporters, but there's also been a lot of firsts with Donald Trump. John Avlon, thank you.

AVLON: You know, the nice part of the way, he's telling his supporters to show up, but he's barely bothered to show up in Iowa today.

GOLODRYGA: Right, right.

ASHER: Right.

GOLODRYGA: Exactly. Exactly. Thanks, John.

ASHER: All right, let's talk about what's happening on the ground in Gaza because civilians there are facing another -- another day of airstrikes,

explosions and evacuations as well as Israel really intensifies its operations in central Gaza and in southern Gaza. U.N. humanitarian workers

tell CNN and that no place in the enclave is safe at all for Palestinians.

GOLODRYGA: And every day, families mourn the death of yet another loved one. The Hamas-controlled health ministry says more than 160 people have

been killed in the past 24 hours. Listen to this man describing a strike on his sister's house.


MOHAMMED FAHIM AL ZAQZOUK (through translator): There was no prior warning. They were not given a warning. They were at home -- the parents

and the kids. They were playing, eating, drinking. The situation was normal. There was no warning or notification. The house was hit with no

prior warning or call.


ASHER: I want to bring in CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who has much more on their plate. I want to warn you that his report does contain graphic images.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The lifeless body of yet another child carefully pried from the rubble. Gaza's civil

defense says this is the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in Deir el- Balah, a city where tens of thousands are seeking shelter, heating evacuation orders like this one dropped by the Israeli military.

ABDUL RAHMAN, INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSON IN DEIR EL-BALAH (through translator): There is no place to set safety in this area. There is no

water. There is no electricity. We are just surround by all the war and they bomb and attack us without any alarm.

DIAMOND (voice-over): It's not just Deir el-Balah. Several cities where civilians have been told to flee have been hit in recent days, including

this camp for displaced Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah, where the Hamas-controlled government media office says Israel has struck six

locations over the last three days.

At Al-Nasr Hospital, the dead lay waiting. After an Israeli airstrike killed 14 people, including nine children, according to the Hamas-

controlled Ministry of Health.

MAHMOUD SALEH, GRIEVING UNCLE (through translator): Where is international law? There is no law. They kill children. Children -- they are getting

shelled as they are sleeping. They are bombing them, killing them with what blood? What blood?

DIAMOND (voice-over): Even the emblem of the Palestine Red Crescent Society is no shield. The group's headquarters in Khan Hounis struck for

the second time just this week, killing one and wounding six.

The IDF told CNN it was reviewing the previous strike and held a, quote, "operational debrief to draw immediate lessons". Amid the strikes, some are

once again on the move. Mattresses and blankets carried however they can.

FULLA QADOUHA, INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSON IN DEIR EL-BALAH (through translator): My house is gone. The houses of my sisters are also gone. I'd

rather go back home and live in a tent than living here.

DIAMOND (voice-over): For many, that exhausting, elusive search for safety is over.

ABU ADNAN, INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSON IN DEIR EL-BALAH (through translator): I tried to go back home twice, but my children pulled me

back. There are no toilets, no food, no water, no clothes. With all this, I prefer to go back home and die with dignity than dying this way.

DIAMOND (voice-over): That pursuit of dignity is all that remains.


DIAMOND (on-camera): And we are getting more testimonials today from so many displaced Gazans echoing those very same sentiments that they simply

do not know or do not want to evacuate to yet another place anymore because it seems that everywhere that they evacuate to ultimately becomes a target

for bombardment by the Israeli military.

Now overnight, the Israeli military says that they struck over a hundred targets in the Gaza Strip, a lot of activity concentrated not only in

Southern Gaza but also in Central Gaza, including as you saw at the top of the piece there in Deir el-Balah, which previously thousands of people had

been told to evacuate to.

ASHER: All right, Jeremy Diamond, live for us there. Appreciate it. All right, in the meantime, Israel is unveiling its plans for the next phases

of the war in Gaza. The Defense Minister -- they're basically saying that forces are going to be focused on raids, on special operations and the

destruction of Hamas tunnel networks.


Yoav Gallant is also floating a final day after plan for when the fighting ends, saying that will retain full military control of Gaza with no Israeli

civilian presence and with a multinational task force involved in the territory's quote rehabilitation.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, notable that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not endorsed this plan as of yet but already, a far right settler leader is slamming it.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smoczic is calling it a re-run of the day before October 7th. Smoczic, you may recall, has sparked outrage by previously

calling for the resettlement of Gazans outside of Gaza.

These developments come as a number of prominent Republicans visit Israel to pledge their support, including U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who met

with Prime Minister Netanyahu Thursday. Prime Minister reaffirmed his goal of destroying Hamas.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We're absolutely committed to achieving our war games, that is destroying our war goals, destroying

Hamas, releasing our hostages, making sure Gaza doesn't become a threat again. And also, making sure that we can return our citizens in the north

and in the south and for that will apply maximum power with maximum precision everywhere that's needed.


NETANYAHU: Thank you.


ASHER: I was actually against this backdrop of tension that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading back to the region. He actually just

landed in Turkey. There he is getting off the flight from Istanbul. This is the first of many stops across the region.

GOLODRYGA: In fact, it's his fourth crisis visit to the region since the October 7th terror attacks and the start of the Israel-Hamas war. There are

fears that a recent series of violent incidents could spark a wider regional conflict.

CNN's Chief National Security Correspondent Alex Marquardt joins us from Washington, D.C. And Alex, gone are the days where the focus was strictly

on Gaza. Now, you have concern about the Houthis and the Red Sea. You've got concern about Lebanon and Hezbollah there and Iran and Iraq. What are

the plans that the Secretary of State is planning to unveil as he meets with leaders in all of these countries that he's making this trip to visit?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, the State Department has been very reluctant to define the goals, the

accomplishments that he hopes to come away with and I think that's really a reflection of how tough the situation is, not just between Israel and

Hamas, but all across the region.

There are clear priorities for this whirlwind trip. It's really extraordinary -- nine different stops all across the region. Israel, I

think, will be the focal point, really the centerpiece of it, those meetings with Israeli leadership. And it's clear that, as the State

Department has said, more progress needs to be made, the U.S. thinks, when it comes to what Israel is doing in Gaza.

The U.S. has repeatedly said that they want civilian casualties to go down, civilian deaths to go down, that more humanitarian aid needs to get into

Gaza. And that is so difficult because of the ongoing fighting.

The U.S. does not want to be seen as telling Israel what to do, dictating terms, but it's clear that the Biden administration wants that transition

from what's been called a higher intensity phase of the fighting, which we've seen for the past three months, to a much lower intensity phase. When

that's going to happen is unclear. It's expected to happen in the coming days and weeks, but gradually. We're already beginning to see signs of


But Bianna, beyond Israel, lots of stops and regional aero capitals , as well, we're --they will talk about those crises around the region, which of

course there are major fears that those could spread.

You mentioned some that we've seen attacks --repeated attacks, more than 20 by Houthi rebels from Yemen against commercial shipping. We have seen more

than 115 attacks by Iranian-backed groups against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria.

Just yesterday, the U.S. responded. Targetting a leader -- a militant leader in Baghdad, in the Iraqi capital, which is quite extraordinary. But

I'm told, Bianna, that the biggest concern, the one that U.S. officials are losing sleepover, comes from Hezbollah and the prospect of a second front

being opened up with Israel in Israel's north.

Of course, we saw the assassination of a Hamas leader in Beirut, and that raised fears that Hezbollah could take the fight in an even harsher way to

Israel. So it certainly concerns about this fight broadening out from just Israel and Gaza to the greater region because of the spate of incidents

we've seen in the past week. Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, and Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, again, just hours ago, making threatening remarks as he did earlier this week, as well. Alex

Marquardt, you'll be covering it all for us. Thank you.

ASHER: All right, still to come here on ONE WORLD, a new batch of Jeffrey Epstein documents are unsealed. We're actually going to be hearing from the

journalist who broke the original story. That's next.




ASHER: All right. Former Olympian and Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has been released from a South African prison after serving nearly nine years for

killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius has always maintained that he thought he was shooting, that he was killing an intruder at the


GOLODRYGA: Steenkamp's family has released a statement saying the pain is still raw and very real 11 years after Reeva's death. CNN's David McKenzie

takes a look back at the case that drew global attention.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Back in 2012, this was Oscar Pistorius, a world-class athlete and role model,

overcoming incredible odds. His legs amputated below the knee at 11 months because of a birth defect. The Blade Runner competing at the able-bodied

London Olympics in 2012.

UNKNOWN: He's done magnificently well and I think everybody's proud of him.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Months later, Oscar Pistorius' global fame became a sordid global notoriety.

REEVA STEENKAMP, MODEL: Hi, I'm Reeva. I've been busy shooting the December cover for FHM.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): On Valentine's Day 2013, he killed his up-and- coming model girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, shooting four times through the locked bathroom door. The police finding him bloodied and in shock.

Pistorius said it was an accident and he thought Reeva was an intruder. The state charged him with premeditated murder, his trial, a riveting courtroom

drama followed by millions.

GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTOR: I will build my case to say that when you got up, you had an argument, that's why she ran away screaming.

UNKNOWN: She wasn't breathing.

BARRY ROUX, PISTORIUS' LAWYER: Is the state saying that within two minutes on the state's version on the shooting or five minutes on our version -- in

that traumatized state of mind he worked out this grand scheme? Doesn't make sense, my lady.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): The defense claimed Pistorius was a vulnerable, now broken man who deserved leniency.

ROUX: He suffers from an anxiety disorder. We know that the uncontested evidence was that when he was on his stomach his balance was seriously

compromised and without anything he would not be able to defend himself.

NEL: You killed a person, that's what you did, isn't it?

UNKNOWN: I made a mistake.

NEL: You killed Reeva Steenkamp, that's what you did.

BARRY STEENKAMP, REEVA STEENKAM'S FATHER: I don' t wish that on any human being -- finding out what happened. It devastated us.


MCKENZIE (voice-over): After a nearly 50-day trial stretched over seven months --

THOKOZILE MASIPA, JUDGE, PISTORIUS TRIAL: The accused is found not guilty and is discharged. Instead, he is found guilty of culpable homicide.

MCKENZIE (voice-over): Pistorius in a private cell in this prison's medical wing, released after just a year, one-sixth of his sentence, to his

uncle's mansion under house arrest. But Pistorius' legal woes didn't end there. On appeal, his conviction converted to murder. He was sent back to

prison. His sentencing for murder then extended by the same Appeals Court.

Reeva's family saying she could now rest in peace. Oscar Pistorius, for years in the public eye for the right -- very wrong reasons faded from

public view until now. David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.


GOLODRYGA: I can't believe that's already been nine years. Well, in other news, more documents in the 2015 civil lawsuit connected to Jeffrey Epstein

have been released. It is the second batch stemming from a court order last month. This time, 19 documents are revealing more information about the

convicted sex offender who died in jail.

ASHER: Including -- just in terms of the newest information that we're getting, an Epstein accuser says that former President Bill Clinton

pressured "Vanity Fair Magazine not to write stories about Epstein. The magazine's editor or former editor, though, is denying that. Earlier, CNN

spoke with a journalist who broke the story.


VICKY WARD, AUTHOR: When I was profiled to write about Jeffrey Epstein, actually profiled to write about his finances. And remember, this is a time

when nobody knew who this guy was other than he lived in the most expensive townhouse in Manhattan. I learned not of the horrific sex crimes going on

that we now know about increasingly in more detail.

I did hear about the story of two sisters, Maria and Annie Farmer, and they were on the record detailing to me at the time the abuse they had suffered

at the hands of Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. When Jeffrey Epstein realized that I was in possession of their allegations, He appeared in the

offices of "Vanity Fair".

I knew about this because the fact-checker who was fact-checking my piece at the time sent me an email saying, oh my God, he's standing here in the

office. And, you know, I've said before, you know, the pharmacist's allegations were suddenly cut from the piece that was ultimately published.


GOLODRYGA: And get ready because more documents are expected to be unsealed in the coming weeks. Well coming up, my exclusive conversation

with a Hamas hostage who made it out alive. It's her first interview with international media and it's right here, next.




ASHER: Welcome back to ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher.

GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. Psychological warfare. That's how Doron Asher, who was held hostage for 50 days by Hamas, describes her time

in captivity. CNN has been following the Asher family's story ever since the Hamas attack on October 7th, when Doron and her two young daughters

were kidnapped. Now, she's telling her story to international media for the first time. I traveled to her home near Tel Aviv to talk to her.


DORON ASHER, RELEASED ISRAEL HOSTAGE: I don't have enough tears.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Nearly six weeks ago, Doron Asher and her two young daughters returned home after spending roughly 50 days held captive

in Gaza.

D. ASHER (through translator): The first thing that I did was to go outside, to feel the wind on their skin and how good it feels, because we

were never outside. We didn't see daylight that entire time.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Perhaps not yet fully able to process what happened, she exudes remarkable resilience.

D. ASHER (through translator): While we were hostages, all of my energy was dedicated to the girls because if I were to get lost in grief there

would be no one to take care of them. So I was acting on auto-pilot. I was building walls around me and I'm still on auto-pilot.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): The three were visiting Doron's mother for the weekend at kibbutz Nir Oz where the girls love to play. That's five-year-

old Roz in the pink dress on the right while three-year-old Aviv holds on to her stuffed animal. This was their last photo taken before Hamas

terrorists rampaged through the kibbutz, killing 48 residents, including their uncle, Ravid.

D. ASHER (through translator): We woke up to the sound of sirens, and we were inside the shelter. And then rumors started to come in that terrorists

had invaded the kibbutz.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): They hid in the safe room along with Doron's mother and her partner, 79-year-old Gadi Moses, a man the girls called

Saba, grandfather in Hebrew.

D. ASHER (through translator): He tries to speak with them in Arabic, to give them money, try to save himself. And then after a few minutes there

was silence and we understood that they took him with them.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Eventually, another group of terrorists would arrive, this time taking all four women with them to Gaza. Only three would


D. ASHER (through translator): They have led us through the fence near the kibbutz, and then they put us on a tractor with other Israeli hostages. And

on the way there, there was shooting going on. That's how my mother was murdered. I was hurt in the back, and Aviv, my youngest, was hurt in the


GOLODRYGA: Once you got into Gaza, what happened?

D. ASHER (through translator): We got into our hiding place, an apartment that belonged to a family. We were inside the room without the ability to

get out, of course, closed door, closed window. And after 16 days, they relocated us to another place, a so-called hospital.

GOLODRYGA: Did anyone tell you what was going on, why you were there?


Were they members of Hamas?

D. ASHER (through translator): They didn't give us a lot of information. They mainly tried to say that Hamas wants to release us, but in Israel, no

one cares about us which wasn't true. We didn't believe most of the stuff that they were saying.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): And, of course, it wasn't true. Just over the border in Israel, Doron's husband Yoni never gave up hope.

YONI ASHER, WIFE AND TWO YOUNG DAUGHTERS CAPTURED BY HAMAS: We are begging for your help. My babies, Raz and David, doesn't have much time. I got to

see how hell looks like.

D. ASHER (through translator): The stuff that they've seen on October 7th, I couldn't hide from them. It's like we were in a war movie. But after

that, it was very important to me that they wouldn't feel danger. And I told them there are no terrorists anymore. And we are with good people who

are guarding us until we can return home.

GOLODRYGA: Were they good to you? The people?

D. ASHER (through translator): They didn't physically harm me, but there was a lot of psychological warfare.

GOLODRYGA: Like what?

D. ASHER (through translator): That we won't return to live in the kibbutz because it's not our house, it's not the place where we belong.

GOLODRYGA: Did you know if they were Hamas or just citizens in Gaza?

D. ASHER (through translator): They didn't give me a lot of info about them. I don't even know their names. I guess that the father is with Hamas,

but they didn't even give me much info. I just know he worked in Israel in the past and that's how he knows Hebrew and that's how we communicate it.

GOLODRYGA: Were there other children there?

D. ASHER (through translator): Yes, he had children and grandchildren and basically his children were watching us 24-7. If they knew anything about

my family -- if they knew anything about Gadi, about my brother, about my brother's baby girl. They didn't give me any answers.

GOLODRYGA: Why do you think they moved you after 16 days?

D. ASHER (through translator): I think they tried to gather hostages together because the day that we arrived to this so-called hospital, other

hostages arrived there as well. And that was the first time that I met other hostages.

GOLODRYGA: Why do you keep saying so-called hospital?

D. ASHER (through translator): A hospital needs to treat sick people. It doesn't hold hostages. There were a few times when the girls had high fever

and they were sick and I had to take care of them and I needed to get them medication. So, they brought someone who they said that was a doctor. And

the next day, I got medication from him for the girls but it wasn't enough.

I used to put Aviv in the sink with cold water to bring down her temperature but she was screaming and they would tell us to keep quiet. And

Aviv had high fever but I had to take care of her somehow.

GOLODRYGA: Could you hear the IDF bombing? Did you know what was going on and were you worried that by mistake that -- you and your girls would have

been in danger as Israel was trying to retrieve you?

D. ASHER (through translator): I heard the fighting and yes, we were scared. The noises were very strong, very loud, but at least that's how we

knew that something was going on in order to get us back home, to put the pressure on Hamas to release us.

GOLODRYGA: What did you fear the most when you were there?

D. ASHER (through translator): Surprisingly, it was the day that we were released. They were smuggling us out of the hospital and they got us on a

Hamas vehicle to get to a meeting point with the Red Cross. We waited a long time for the Red Cross and we were very scared because we didn't know

what was going on. No one gave us any info.

Once the Red Cross vehicles had arrived, thousands of Gazans -- thousands - - children, elderly, everyone came in and started to climb on the cars and bang on the cars. I was holding my girls and I was scared of a lynch mob.

And this was the first time that Raz had said to me after a month and a half of me protecting her, mommy, I'm scared.

They absolutely put on a show to dress me up in nice clothes and shoes before I was released when my girls and I were barefoot for 50 days and we

were cold because we were wearing short sleeves in November. It's one big show.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Today, the girls are back in kindergarten and with family therapy, for the most part, are readjusting well.

D. ASHER (through translator): There was one day that they saw a tractor here and they asked if the evil men are here and I had to tell them, no,

the tractor doesn't belong to the evil men. The evil men are in jail.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): And while they mourn their grandmother, Doron says the healing can't really begin until all of the remaining 129 hostages are

released, including Gadi.

D. ASHER (through translator): Yes, absolutely. The world has to understand the reality that the hostages are in. They're not being treated

as human beings. They don't give them medication. There's barely any food. Taking a shower is not something that's happening. We came back sick

because of the poor hygiene. I don't want to think about how they're treating men there.


GOLODRYGA: Doron is one of the strongest women I've met.


I mean, it was hard for me to keep it together, and yet she was describing with such grace what she did to take care of her two daughters. Those

hostages that she said, she met in the so-called hospital, they were all part of the initial release as well, except for one man who she said stayed

behind and not been released according to her knowledge.

And the reason she's speaking out is because she's desperate for the release of all the hostages including Gadi Moses who is like a father

figure to her.

ASHER: You're right. Her resilience -- absolutely remarkable. I just kept thinking about her children.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah. All right. Well, I'll be back at the top of the hour on Amanpour, talking about the race for the White House, just days before the

first nominating contest in the state of Iowa.

ASHER: ONE WORLD continues next on CNN.


ASHER: All right, soggy and brutally cold. It's really been a damp first week in terms of starting the New Year across much of Europe. You've got

heavy rain, reaching havoc in parts of Western Europe. In London, a party boat on the River Thames actually sank amidst heavy rain and flooding, as

well. And in Northern Europe, temperatures as low as minus 44 degrees Celsius gripping Scandinavia. I'm sure many people there are wondering when

things are going to warm up and dry out. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has that forecast.

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, Zain. Well, it certainly has been a tumultuous start to 2024 from flooding over parts of Western Europe to

extreme cold across the northern sections of the continent. We'll start off with the rain and this is coming out of northwestern France.

Look at the amount of water that is piled up across this region after several storm systems have impacted the area. There has actually been

authorities going from door to door, checking to see if anybody is in need of assistance.

Rainfall totals -- they don't all that impressive, but nonetheless it was enough to overwhelm the drainage systems there and we caused some of that

localized flooding. Again, northwestern France -- rainfall totals across the U.K. and into France ranging in the 30-millimeter range to about 75

millimeters from this most previous storm, which, by the way, is exiting to the east.

We're going to start to see that rainfall and even high elevation snow shift to the Mediterranean and into the Adriatic. More on that in just one

moment. Here's the very busy, very active satellite move over the past 24 hours, and that's the storm system that brought the rainfall to

northwestern France, moving across the English channel.


Again, a lot of that energy being absorbed into one larger storm system that will bring rain to Italy, as well as the coastal areas of Croatia,

with high elevation snowfall expected across the Alps. Look at that. That could measure over 50 centimeters in some locations.

Italy's meteorological organization actually has orange warnings out for flood risk in and around Florence with a low risk of flooding extending as

far south as Rome. So, the cold weather now shifting eastward from Scandinavia, so mainly located across Siberia, but wow, was it ever cold

across northern sections of Sweden's setting record low temperatures for this part of the world. Zain.

ASHER: Thanks, Derek. We'll be right back with more.


ASHER: Now, talk about expensive taste. A couple in Pennsylvania got a shock when their beloved family pet ate his way through $4000 in cash. And

wait till you see how his owners managed to recoup their losses. CNN's Jeannie Moss has more.


JEANNE MOSS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He is soulful. He is noble. He is a --


MOSS (voice-over): As his owners put it. This is Cecil. He has never done anything bad in his life until he ate $4000.

CLAYTON LAW, CECIL'S OWNER: And I was like, oh my gosh, and I saw all this cash just strewn on the floor and then Cecil just standing there like --

MOSS (voice-over): Clayton Law arrived at his Pittsburgh home from the bank and laid an envelope with four thousand bucks in it on the counter.

The money was intended for workers who built a fence. But half an hour later, Clayton found it in bits. And in the middle of the night, Cecil made

like an ATM.

CLAYTON LAW: He throws up and I was like, wow, there's a lot of hundreds.

MOSS: This is a golden doodle that wouldn't touch a steak if you left it on the table. But there was something about the smell of money.


Money makes all birds all out, the birds all out.

MOSS (voice-over): That Cecil couldn't resist. Clayton and his wife, Carrie, began taping the bills together. But first they had to gather

Cecil's deposits he left in the yard. Cue the jokes about money laundering.

MOSS: How bad a job is it to kind of have to launder your dog's poop?

CLAYTON LAW: It's rough. The first time we did it, it was like kind of gag worthy.


MOSS (voice-over): But they persevered, piecing together bills like the puzzle no one wanted to complete this Christmas.

MOSS: The bank knows this is common.


CARRIE LAW: Our bank was really nice about it.

MOSS (voice-over): So, far they've resurrected.

CLAYTON LAW: That's another 50 bucks.

MOSS (voice-over): A total of $3,550. People think Cecil looks like a human is trapped inside.

CARRIE LAW: We joke around that he has a Civil War veteran stuck in his body.

MOSS: Not to mention 4000 bucks. Talk about a treat?

CARRIE LAW: Look at that.


Money, money.

MOSS (voice-over): Jeanne Moss, CNN.


It makes the world go round.


ASHER: The lengths they went to get that money back. That does it for this hour of ONE WORLD. I'm Zain Asher. Thank you so much for watching.

"AMANPOUR" is up next.