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One World with Zain Asher

Evacuees In Gaza Have No Place To Hide; Xi Jinping Visits Europe; New Witness Testifies In Trump's Hush Money Trial; Deadly Flooding Seen In Kenya And Brazil; Judge Merchan Gave Donald Trump An Ultimatum; House Speaker Johnson Found An Ally From Opposite Fence; Hamas Accepts Ceasefire. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired May 06, 2024 - 12:00   ET




BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello everyone, I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York, and you are watching One World.

This hour, we are following the very latest on possible Israeli operations in Eastern Rafah, Gaza.

And Chinese President Xi Jinping's historic visit to Europe. We'll be live in Jerusalem and Paris, covering it all for you.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I'm Omar Jimenez outside the Manhattan Criminal Court. As we continue CNN special coverage of Donald

Trump's hush money trial. Will we see the former president thrown in jail? It was a possibility that was thrown out by the judge in this case, Juan

Merchan, who said it could happen if Trump violates his gag order again. And the prosecution has put a fresh witness on the stand that we're

continuing to follow.

GOLODRYGA Yes, it's clear the judge is quite exasperated by the president's behavior. We'll get back to you in just a moment, Omar. But first, a

humanitarian organization says Israel's orders to people in Eastern Rafah to evacuate are beyond alarming.

Jan Egeland, head of the Norwegian Refugee Council, says any operation in Rafah will cause, quote, "potential mass atrocities." The Israeli military

dropped leaflets earlier ordering people to move to an area outside of the city. The IDF calls it a limited scope operation to root out Hamas


Many people are already leaving. Rafah was supposed to be a safe place. More than a million Palestinians took refuge there after being displaced

from other areas in the enclave.

This Palestinian asks, where will they go next?


ABU AHMED, DISPLACES PALESTINIAN IN RAFAH (through translator): The Israeli occupation told people to go to Rafah and that it is a safe area. Today,

they're telling us to get out of Rafah. Where will the people go? Where will all these crowds go, 1.5 million or 2 million civilians, where will

they go? Should they go to the sea? Where will people go after they told us that this is a safe area? They want to commit a genocide. This is what we



GOLODRYGA: UNICEF says around 600,000 children sheltering in Rafah could face even further catastrophe.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond joins us now live from Jerusalem with the latest.

So, Jeremy, we have these leaflets dropped from the IDF warning civilians in Rafah to move. We're talking right now about a population of about

100,000 that they're specifically focused on. This coming just moments after the president had a conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu. What

more did we learn from that conversation and the imminency of this of this incursion?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you can be certain that the Israeli military's decision to order people to evacuate from Rafah today,

setting the stage for a potentially major ground offensive into Rafah was certainly on the agenda as the Israeli prime minister and President Biden

spoke on the phone.

But in Rafah today, there is certainly fear and anxiety, but also a sense of powerlessness as so many people who are being told to evacuate today

have been told to evacuate before from other parts of the Gaza Strip. Rafah really had become somewhat of a last refuge for hundreds of thousands of

people in Gaza who had fled homes further north in search of that elusive sense of safety.

And now, once again, they are being told to move north. The Israeli military says that they have set up what they are describing as an expanded

humanitarian area in al-Mawasi along the coastline, but also expanding that area into western Khan Yunis as well as central Gaza, where they say they

have set up additional tents as well as food, water, field hospitals also being set up to provide medical care to those who are being displaced.

But there are major concerns right now from humanitarian aid officials who worry not only that the current facilities are inadequate for those 100,000

people to flee north, but also that if this panic spreads throughout the city of Rafah, you could see tens of thousands of more people in Rafah

fleeing north and that those facilities could very quickly be overwhelmed.

Of course, this is all happening because those negotiations between Israel and Hamas, which seems so promising this weekend as this new Egyptian

framework was on the table for Hamas to consider, one in which Israel had already made quite significant concessions.

But Hamas, I'm told by two Israeli sources, is continuing to demand an all out end to the war, a commitment from Israel that it will end the war after

the first phase of this agreement is completed. That is something that the Israeli prime minister is continuing to refuse to agree to.


And so these negotiations are stalled at this point. They are not dead altogether. The CIA director Bill Burns remains in Doha, Qatar today to try

and see if a breakthrough can be reached to move past this current impasse.

And what is clear is that in the meantime, there are these tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, if you look at Rafah

altogether, whose lives are very much hanging in the balance to see whether or not a deal can be reached or if a ground offensive in Rafah is in the

offing. Bianna?

GOLODRYGA: It's just so disappointing to see just what happened in a matter of 48 hours when there was so much optimism about a potential ceasefire

deal for the hostage families and for those citizens in Gaza who are so desperately in need of aid. And now it does appear that things have taken

taken a move south on that front.

Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much.

Well, the White House is watching the situation closely, as we mentioned, U.S. President Joe Biden, who has sounded the alarm repeatedly over any

operation in Rafah, spoke to the Israeli prime minister earlier today.

A White House official says the call was just under half an hour and all of this as negotiations for a ceasefire are stalled, but not yet over.

CIA Director Bill Burns, who has been a key player in talks, will remain in Doha today.

CNN's Katie Bo Lillis joins me now from Washington, D.C. So, Katie Bo, as we just as you just heard from the conversation with Jeremy, there was

optimism about this specific deal. Things have taken a turn for the worse.

Where do things stand right now? And what are really the focal points here? Why did this fall apart? The report suggests it was disagreements about how

long the ceasefire would, in fact, be in place.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Bianna, we've been through this cycle before where there was sort of a moment of optimism that that a deal might

be struck essentially to exchange the release of hostages for some kind of pause in the fighting, only to see it fall apart at the 11th hour. And we

seem to be be sort of watching that happen.

Yet again, CIA Director Bill Burns was in Cairo yesterday working on this, now remaining in the -- in the region in Doha to continue trying to to push

for for some kind of a deal in between Israel and Hamas.

The proposal on the table right now proposed by Egypt would essentially trade about 33 hostages for a pause in the fighting. But the big sticking

point here has been Hamas's refusal to agree to that without some kind of commitment from Israel to end the war outright.

And this is something that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has has really been unwilling to touch. He's under a tremendous amount of

pressure from the right wing of his governing coalition to pursue the dismantling of Hamas, even at the expense of the release of some of the

hostages, even at sort of the expense of trying to get the rest of the remaining living hostages out of Israel.

U.S. officials cautioning that, look, they don't think that these negotiations are entirely dead yet.

Right. We do still see Burns in the region continuing to try to bridge the gaps in between the two sides here. But U.S. officials very much see

Israel's threats about the imminent operation in Rafah as a pressure tactic. Right. It is an effort by as far as U.S. officials are concerned by

Israel to try to get Hamas to agree to this deal.

But, of course, the tricky part here is not only would you have to get Hamas and Israel sort of on the same page from a diplomatic perspective,

but there's also logistical challenges here as well. The assumption is that the leader of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar, would have to agree to this proposal.

And communication within Gaza has been difficult. And so lots of hurdles here.

And as Jeremy so aptly put it, lives in Rafa very much hanging in the balance. The stakes couldn't couldn't be higher here. Bianna?

GOLODRYGA: Yes, about a million Gazans now in Rafah, just to put in context for our viewers, that was a city that was home to about a quarter of a

million people before October 7th and before this war.

So a lot of warnings now coming both from the U.S. and other regional allies ahead of this planned operation by Israel into Rafah, where they say

they have to go to continue the elimination of Hamas.

Katie Bo Lillis, thank you so much.

LILLIS: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, any minute now, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, are expected to hold a news conference

in Paris. Xi is in France kicking off his first visit to Europe in five years.

Earlier, he met with Macron and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission. Their discussions focused heavily on Ukraine and

trade. Xi's six-day tour also includes stops in Serbia and Hungary.

CNN senior international correspondent Melissa Bell is live outside the presidential residence in Paris, where a state dinner begins in less than

an hour.

Melissa, quite notable that this is the first time Xi Jinping has returned to Europe in five years, a stark contrast from how he was received back

then in 2019. Obviously, a lot has changed, including a war in Europe. What is the mood been like in France in particular? This is his first stop.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there's a much great deal more caution this time about his visit than there was back in

2019, because those European positions have changed so much beyond the war in Ukraine.

The anger felt here by Europeans about China's continued trade with Moscow and specifically its export of those dual use components that Europeans

fear are continuing to sustain Vladimir Putin's war effort in Ukraine. But there is, of course, also the backdrop of this looming trade war between

Beijing and the European Union.

A number of investigations have been launched by the E.U. into what they believe might be unfair practices undermining European -- Europe's

automobile industry, for instance, not least amongst others, and specifically its electrical cars.

Now, that state dinner about to get underway. But before then, we're going to hear from the two presidents. We've been hearing throughout the day,

first of all, from the positions of both sides.

And, Bianna, what we've heard from President Macron was earlier in the day when he met with Xi Jinping and the president of the European Commission,

Ursula von der Leyen, a great deal more caution than we had about Europe's approach. Two things that he hoped to hear from Xi Jinping, he explained,

first of all, that there could be equitable trade rules put in place between Beijing and Brussels, but also a firm condemnation that he was

hoping to hear from Xi Jinping.

From the Chinese president himself, what we've heard so far, Bianna, was here at the Elysee Palace meeting, the bilateral meeting with President

Macron. The Chinese president opened by saying that he hoped that this could foster a new era of cooperation between Europe and China and avoid

what he described as a new Cold War or any kind of contest between the blocs that are China and the European Union.

So very different approaches to what we expect to hear from this meeting. We'll hear more, as I say, in a few moments when the two leaders speak, but

very little room for maneuver. Remember, this is the toughest crowd that Xi Jinping is going to be meeting during this European tour. That is President

Macron, but also Ursula von der Leyen.

Since after tomorrow, later in the week, he'll be moving towards Serbia and Hungary, where he expects to find far more sympathetic ears, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: And Serbia and Hungary also, out of all European nations, are the closest with Russia and in terms of their war on Ukraine and positions

they've taken against Russia compared to all other European nations. So you're right. This is probably going to be the toughest of the three spots

and the three visits for Xi Jinping, for sure.

Melissa Bell, thank you so much.

Let's go back to Omar Jimenez, who's outside the Manhattan criminal courthouse in lower Manhattan, where Donald Trump's hush money trial has

once again resumed. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Yes, Bianna, we've been following testimony from Jeffrey McConney, who is the former longtime Trump controller at the Trump Organization. So

we're continuing to monitor that.

But earlier today, Donald Trump was found once again in contempt of court for violating a gag order for the 10th time. It was his 10th violation. And

according to Judge Juan Merchan, who's overseeing the former president's hush money trial, the judge imposed another $1,000 fine and said he will

have to consider throwing Trump in jail if the violations do not stop.

Now, as for the trial itself, the prosecution has called, and who we've been following testimony from, a retired financial executive at the Trump

Organization. Jeff McConney is testifying about how the company accounts for legal expenses, including the money paid to Michael Cohen, which, of

course, is at the center of this case.

Let's go to CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider with the latest here. Jessica, obviously, we've been following the testimony from from

Jeffrey McConney here. Some might see it as a little bit more mundane, maybe a little bit more in the weeds, but no, no less significant based on

the subject matter we're dealing with here. Catch our viewers up. What have we learned so far? And why is someone like McConney so significant in the

context of this case?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This is intricate testimony, Omar, perhaps a bit mundane, but this actually goes to the core of

prosecutors charges against Donald Trump. So the testimony has been continuing for more than two hours now. The controller of the Trump

Organization during the time in question when those payments were made to Michael Cohen the year 2017.

So Jeffrey McConney, he's been asked by prosecutors to really go through every month that an invoice was sent from Michael Cohen to the Trump

Organization throughout 2017. Those invoices were to account for all the monthly payments that Michael Cohen was given as repayment for his payment

to Stormy Daniels.

So this is month by month testimony. And it's important for prosecutors because they need to prove every count of that 34 count indictment. They

need to be very detailed in their questioning.


And McConney, at least today, has become a key witness because he handled all of the money coming in and out of the Trump Organization. In fact,

prosecutors say he's the one who helped arrange for all these reimbursements to Michael Cohen.

You know, Michael, sorry, McConney has even testified as to how detailed Donald Trump was when it all came down to the cash flow in and out of the

Trump Organization, in and out of his personal account. There was even one witness where Trump called McConney into his office and jokingly said,

you're fired because the cash ledger that Trump was looking at showed less money than the month before.

So all of this is really key for prosecutors to show how intimately involved Donald Trump was in the finances. You know, at one point they even

elicited testimony from McConney that the money he repaid to Michael Cohen actually came out of Trump's personal account.

So, Omar, we're seeing McConney really walk bit by bit through every ledger, through every invoice. And the reason he's walking so particularly

through all of these very intricate accounting statements is because the prosecution needs this intricacy in order to prove their case for the 34

counts of falsification of business records.

So we're seeing a witness here that is getting very detailed. We, you know, a week or two ago, we saw David Pecker's testimony. He gave the broad

contours of this repayment scheme and the hush money scheme in general for different people. And now McConney is really focusing the jury in on these

specific 34 counts that specifically relate to Stormy Daniels. So he is he's a very important witness for the prosecution, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Yes, and one of the things you touched on is, look, it's been billed as the hush money trial in many cases, but it has to do with so much

more. Of course, while hush money is an aspect of this case, election interference has been called into question. Of course, what the charges are

in regards to falsifying business records.

And we're seeing -- we've seen the prosecution give hints and insight into how they are approaching some of, of course, these central topics of this

case. And we'll continue to monitor Jeffrey McConney to see how much deeper we get into the financial records of things.

Jessica Schneider, I appreciate the reporting and perspective, as always.

For everyone else, we've got a lot of stories that we're following around the world right now. Coming up, for one, a devastating situation in Kenya

may be about to deteriorate even further. The rains are returning.

We're going to be live with an update on the deadly flooding there and what's coming next. Stay with us.

Then the same tragic scene is taking place in Brazil, where authorities are calling catastrophic flooding the worst natural disaster to ever hit the

country's far south. We're going to have the details next.



GOLODRYGA: In Kenya, the ground is already saturated. Rivers are already dangerously swollen and the worst may be yet to come. More heavy rain is

expected after weeks of intense downpours trigger devastating flooding that has ravaged the country.

At least 228 people have been killed. Dozens are missing and hundreds of thousands of others are now homeless.

Experts say the climate crisis is partly to blame for the exceptional amount of rain. And it's not just Kenya that's grappling with extreme

weather. The situation is also dire in Brazil, where the death toll from catastrophic flooding continues to rise.

At least 78 people have been killed in the southern part of the country, more than 100 missing and 115,000 others now without homes.

Julia Vargas joins -- Jones has more.


JULIA VARGAS JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Waste deep in floodwaters, civilian volunteers work tirelessly to rescue those still

stranded. On four by four vehicles at first, helping residents save their most precious belongings. But where roads become rivers, they switch to

canoes. "I'm wet," this little girl says. "Aren't you a mermaid?" The volunteer replies. You're OK.

This volunteer telling CNN his team rescued more than 60 people on Sunday. Many children, elderly or with mobility issues. It was really stressful.

There is just so much water. We're worried about the people still stranded without cell signal, he says. I saw so many people cry today, he says,

having lost everything, their homes, their pets left behind.

But help is also coming from the skies. This rescue unit using a brick to open a hole in the roof of a flooded house where they pull out this baby.

The scenes are devastating. People are in complete despair. The fire subcommander says bodies have been recovered from floodwaters. Authorities

call this the worst natural disaster to ever hit Brazil's far south, a state larger than the United Kingdom.

Relentless rain has flooded over 300 towns, displacing more than 100,000 and affecting more than a quarter of a million people. This is the state's

fourth catastrophic flood in one year. In the capital, Porto Alegre, historical landmarks underwater. In the seawall holding the weight of

calamity on Friday, now, with water on both sides.

At the airport, flights are grounded as rain has not relented. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva calling the floods a climate disaster and

promising federal aid.

LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA, BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT: Because we owe so much to Rio Grande do Sul in all aspects, what we are doing is giving the state

what it deserves. There will be no bureaucratic obstacles for us to recover the grandiosity of this state.

JONEs: The town of Canoas, meaning canoe in Portuguese, received the brunt of the rain. Patients had to be evacuated from its main hospital before it

was almost entirely submerged. In this neighborhood, residents say evacuation alerts came too late and they could only leave by flagging down

a boat like this one and hoping they can one day return home.

Julia Vargas Jones, CNN, New York.


GOLODRYGA: And from South America to North America, parts of the United States are also dealing with relentless rain. But southeastern Texas is

finally expected to get some relief today. The deadly flooding there has stopped and now the massive cleanup efforts begin.

The body of a four-year-old boy was recovered near Fort Worth on Sunday. Search and rescue teams are now patrolling the streets in areas inundated

by heavy rain. Hundreds of people have already been rescued and the danger now moves to the Central Plains with the threat of severe storms and


Of course, we'll be following all of this for you.

Coming up in a stunning moment, Donald Trump's trial as the former -- as a judge threatens a former president with jail. We'll speak to a former

federal prosecutor about what could happen next.

Plus, fear and panic in Rafah as the Israeli military orders an evacuation of part of the city. The desperate warning from aid agencies that's ahead.



GOLODRYGA: Welcome back to One World, I'm Bianna Golodryga.

JIMENEZ: And I'm Omar Jimenez.

GOLODRYGA: We're going to get back to Omar in just a moment, but first, these developments, Russian airstrikes bombarded Ukraine's Kharkiv region

on Sunday as followers of the Orthodox Church celebrated Easter. At least one person was killed and 24 were injured in drone and bomb attacks.

Ukrainians marked Easter with services and damaged churches. In an Eastern message -- Easter message, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said God is

Ukraine's ally.

Meantime, Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines took a brief break from the fighting in order to mark the holy day, though they say they long to

celebrate with their families.

And now to a less visible tragedy of the war in Ukraine. Officials in Kyiv and human rights offices believe thousands of Ukrainian civilians are being

detained in prisons deep inside Russian territory. Some family members are trying to find answers and bring their loved ones home.

CNN's investigative producer Katie Polglase has the story.


YULIA KHRYPUN, CO-FOUNDER, CIVILIANS IN CAPTIVITY (on-screen text): My father turned 48 in captivity. On February 22, before the full-scale

invasion, he went to work. he was supposed to stay there for a week, but he hasn't returned from there yet, because he is now in captivity.


KATIE POLGLASE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE PRODUCER: Yulia is one of many people in Ukraine desperately seeking information about their relatives. Since

Russia's full-scale invasion of the country, thousands of civilians are believed to have been taken and held in detention, the Ukrainian government


Yulia's father, Serhii, is one of them.

KHRYPUN (on-screen text): I know that where he worked, on that territory, there were Russian rear servicemen. On March 24, at about 10 o'clock, he

called me and told me that there were two new cars driving around the village and that he didn't know these servicemen. I asked him if everything

was okay. He said, yes, we are sitting. I told him to stay, don't come out. He said, fine.

It seems to me that at that moment he already know that he would be taken away. That was our last conversation we had.

POLGLASE: Yulia's father is now thought to be held in a detention facility in Karmensk-Shakhtinsky. But due to legal black holes, the chances of his

release are slim.

KHRYPUN (on-screen text): From the very beginning, they were just a set of words a set of laws that were completely irrelevant. From the very

beginning, they had no understanding of civilian hostages and that someone could enquire about them.

POLGLASE: International laws prohibit warring parties from detaining civilians unless there is a serious security reason for it. Ukraine's human

rights commissioner says that Russia is pressuring Ukraine to recognize detained civilians as prisoners of war and exchange them for captured

Russian soldiers. This is not something Ukraine is willing to do because it would put more Ukrainians in occupied areas at risk. Russian authorities

have not responded to CNN's requests for comment.

Yulia and another relative of a detainee decided to set up a civic organization to raise awareness about the issue and to help them get better

access to officials. Now they hold regular meetings with the co-ordination headquarters for the treatment of prisoners of war and the ombudsman's

office. In the face of uncertainty, memories of her father help Yulia stay strong.

KHRYPUN (on-screen text): It was evening, and my father came home and brought Darla, the cat. Of course, she reminds me of my father.


JIMENEZ: All right. Thank you, Katie Polglase for that reporting.

I'm Omar Jimenez. I want to bring you outside the courthouse in Manhattan where we're following Donald Trump's historic criminal trial.

Now today's proceedings had a pretty stunning start. Judge Juan Merchan found Trump in contempt of court for the 10th time for violating his gag

order. And he threatens the former president with jail time if he violates the order again. Now as for the trial itself the prosecution has called a

retired financial executive at the Trump organization to testify today and the defense is currently cross-examining him as we speak.

Former federal prosecutor Michael Zeldin joins us now from Washington and for those who are watching as well, you'll see on the left side of your

screen. Because we do not have cameras in court, that is the live feed of what our reporters are giving us in real time, so you can follow along as

we have this discussion.

So Michael, thanks for being here. Obviously, we've started cross- examination of Jeffrey McConney here. And just in the initial lines of questioning, McConney is testifying he didn't speak to Trump often, that he

has never talked to Cohen about any of these issues personally over the course of when these were happening. What is the defense trying to do here

in their opening line of questioning?

MICHAEL ZELDIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They're trying to separate Donald Trump from the scheme. Remember, one of the things that we saw with

Hope Hicks and with Davidson, two prior witnesses, was an effort to paint Michael Cohen as a rogue employee acting on his own without the consent or

permission of Donald Trump.

And so that is going to be, I think, one of the large themes in their closing argument. And so, they're using each witness to try to get a piece

of evidence so they can say, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do you remember when McConney testified and he said that Trump had no

communications directly with and therefore the Trump didn't know and therefore not guilty?

That's the sort of theory of the defense here. And so, I think what you're going to see throughout this trial is efforts to create this separation

from Trump and the scheme, Trump and Cohen, and we'll see whether the jury buys it.

JIMENEZ: And you know, to this point, and we've talked about it a few times, that there are many elements to this case and to this trial, whether

it's election interference, whether it's how much money involves or, of course, the falsified business records at the center of this here.


Do you see this witness as a transition into actually trying to connect the dots to what the charges actually are here?

ZELDIN: Yes, he is an important witness in the beginning of the business crimes fraud component of this. Remember, Trump doesn't have to actually

commit a secondary crime. He only has to have the intention to do this. And one of the three crimes that the prosecutors say Trump had the intention of

violating was federal election laws, state election laws, and New York tax laws.

And so McConney is talking about now these payments to Cohen, $130,000 hush money payment being reimbursed to him in an amount of $420,000 and having

the records of the company reflect this as a legal retainer when, in fact, everyone knew that there was a repayment for the $130,000 hush money.

So that's what is, you know, at the heart of what McConney is here to testify about and to establish that business crimes fraud, which is the

heart of what this case is all about.

JIMENEZ: Yes. And, you know, as you've been speaking again, the defense continues to cross-examine Jeffrey McConney here. Michael, I want to get

your take on how we started the day today with the judge ruling that Trump was in contempt of court for the 10th time connected to violating the gag


And while he threatened jail, while he has mentioned the possibility of jail time before, since he didn't believe that $1,000 would actually make a

difference to Donald Trump, today we seem to see him make the most serious threat yet. But I just want your read on the judge, on the judge's

posturing today and whether you think it actually is a real possibility that Donald Trump gets put behind bars here.

ZELDIN: So, what the judge did today was very smart, I think. There were three possible contempt charges, one with respect to comments about Michael

Cohen, one with respect to David Pecker, and one with respect to the jury. He only found him in contempt with respect to the jury, saying, in a sense,

the other two are more or less fair game.

But he said to him, look, enough is enough, and if this persists, I'm going to have to do something that is going to catch your attention. And that is

the possibility of jail.

Now, he recognizes that going to a federal prison or a state prison would be very problematic. But each courthouse that I've ever practiced in has a

lockup, essentially a jail cell behind the courtroom, which is where they hold people who come from jails and then have to testify in the courtroom

so that they don't escape.

The judge could say, you know what, I'm stepping you back, putting you in that cell. You'll sit there for an hour and get a sense of what this will

continue to be for you if you don't honor my order. So, there's a possible interim step that can take place, a timeout, if you will, to think about it

in this back jail cell. And we'll see if Trump really gets the message.

JIMENEZ: Yes. Yes. That is the major question here, again, held in contempt for the 10th time in regards to violating a gag order, as we continue to

watch cross-examination from this witness, Jeffrey McConney.

Michael Zeldin, I really appreciate your time and perspective, as always.

We're going to continue to have more updates from the courthouse later today as the day continues as we continue to follow here from Manhattan as

well. But I want to send it back to Bianna for the rest of the news going on around the world.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Omar, thank you.

Well, Israel appears to be preparing for a ground operation in Rafah. It is ordering people in eastern Rafah to evacuate to an area outside the city

that an UNRWA spokesperson says is not suitable for human habitation.

Israel's military says that it will launch a, quote, "limited scale operation to root out Hamas militants."

As the White House closely watches the situation, CNN has learned that President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke

nearly half an hour on the phone earlier today. Now, it comes as talks on a ceasefire and releasing hostages have essentially stalled, with CIA

Director Bill Burns remaining in Qatar to try to breathe life back into them.

Ambassador Alon Pinkas joins us now. He is the former Israeli consul general in New York. Alon, thank you so much for joining us.

So a few days ago, things looked a bit more hopeful in terms of a ceasefire deal, where you would see a pause in the fighting and the release of

hostages. Sadly, that is not where the situation is right now.

What is the likelihood, in your view, that we could see what Israel says will be a smaller in scale, more precision-based military operation that is

a successful one that ultimately roots out Hamas in Rafah?


ALON PINKAS, FORMER ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL, NEW YORK: The chances are 50- 50, maybe slightly more than 50, Bianna. But to start with the first part of your introduction, I don't know that the chances or the likelihood of a

deal a few days ago were that high, because both sides are still at odds and have completely diametrically opposed views of what constitutes a

ceasefire and what does the end of the war mean.

And so, you know, it's almost unbridgeable and irreconcilable, which led Israel to say, all right, if that's the situation, then we'll go into

Rafah, not a large-scale operation, maybe something more limited, like you indicated. But if that's the case, Bianna, it would fail, by definition, to

topple Hamas, because to topple Hamas, you need to take over to conquer, to occupy the entire swath of the southern tip of the Gaza Strip. And I don't

see that happening. So basically, we're looking at a very, very explosive situation.

GOLODRYGA: And this coming as four Israeli soldiers were killed over the weekend after Hamas shot rockets near the Kerem Shalom crossing, which

incidentally, during the conversation between President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the prime minister said that he would ensure that the

crossing between Israel and Gaza would remain open to humanitarian aid.

What is the significance of that pledge from Prime Minister Netanyahu to President Biden, given the pressure that we now know is on Netanyahu?

PINKAS: Well, exactly right, Bianna. He did it under pressure, under duress, if you will. President Biden made it abundantly clear that he will

not tolerate another 30,000 or 30,000-plus civilian deaths in Gaza and another humanitarian catastrophe, which is, according to the American

administration, exactly what is almost inevitably going to happen if Israel does invade the south.

In order to mitigate that, Israel said it would allow for more humanitarian aid from the Kerem Shalom crossing, which is on the southern tip of the --

it's right next to the trilateral border, Egypt, Gaza, and Israel.

So, I think what the prime minister is saying that, well, at least what he's supposedly saying is that Israel would allow more humanitarian aid to

facilitate what you said before, and that is pushing civilians from the eastern part of Rafah to the western part, closer to the Mediterranean Sea.

Look, this is a very, very dense, probably the most dense swath of land on this planet. So I doubt that this could be done, even if the humanitarian

aid is tripled or quadrupled. You're going to have to move hundreds of thousands of people from one side to another, people with no homes, no

medical supplies, no food, no running water, no heating water, nothing. I just don't see that pledge being significant in the long run.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. And just to give our viewers a sense, once again, of the area we're talking about, Rafah was home to about a quarter of a million

Gazans before the war. Now you have about one million that have situated there. Israel already dropping leaflets warning at least 100,000

specifically to start moving from the area. Very precarious time indeed.

Ambassador Alon Pinkas, thank you as always for your analysis and expertise. We appreciate it.

PINKAS: Thank you, Bianna. Good to be with you.

GOLODRYGA: And we'll have more news right after the break.



GOLODRYGA: I want to bring you this news just into CNN. There are reports that Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar that

Hamas has announced that Ismail Haniyeh, the head of its political bureau, has told Qatari and Egyptian mediators that Hamas has indeed agreed to

their proposal for a ceasefire agreement.

The statement I'm going to read for you said that Haniyeh, quote, "made a phone call to the Qatari prime minister and to the Egyptian minister of

intelligence and informed them of Hamas's agreement to their proposal regarding a ceasefire agreement."

We understand a lot of moving pieces here. This is a quickly developing story. Still questions as to whether this has been greenlit by Yahya

Sinwar, who is believed to be in Rafah as well. We do know that this was made specifically by the head of Hamas's political bureau. Also, we do not

know the Israeli response to this.

CNN has reached out to the prime minister's office and is awaiting a response from them. Obviously, as soon as we do get one, we will bring it

to you.

Meantime, back to this news here in the U.S., lawmakers in the House returned to work today. And sources tell CNN that Marjorie Taylor Greene

will meet with Speaker Mike Johnson this afternoon. The congresswoman has said she'll bring a motion to vacate this week in a bid to oust Johnson

from the speakership. Few thinks Greene's motion will be successful, but she has said she'd force a vote anyway out of it.

House Democrats have already said they'd kill the motion and save Johnson's job. Many Republicans are also reluctant to show their party in more

disarray in an election year.

So let's go to CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju on Capitol Hill with more.

Manu, to be a fly on the wall in this meeting between Marjorie Taylor Greene and the speaker later this afternoon, what more do we know about

this meeting and how it came about?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She has actually called for the meeting, we were told. It's unclear exactly what her intentions are

because she has been calling for the speaker to resign for days in the aftermath of a number of deals that he has cut with Democrats, including to

provide more aid to Ukraine. That caused her effort to move forward on a push to try to oust him from the speakership.

Remember, any one member of the United States House can call for a vote to oust a sitting speaker. That happened last fall for the first time in

history, kicking out Kevin McCarthy from the speakership. It is an incredibly serious move because if there is no speaker of the House, the

House can't even act on any legislation.

It turns, throws this institution into complete chaos. But this is different than last time because Democrats are indicating that they plan to

essentially save Mike Johnson's speakership. They say they will vote to essentially kill Marjorie Taylor Greene's resolution to push out Mike

Johnson, unlike in the fall when the Democrats voted with eight Republicans to kick out Kevin McCarthy. Why? Because this time around, the Democratic

leaders have been happy with some of Mike Johnson's decisions, including providing that aid to Ukraine.

So why is Marjorie Taylor Greene meeting? That is unclear. What will she decide to do? Because she can still call for this vote, which many

Republicans simply don't want to take. They believe it's a distraction at this critical time in this election year.

One person in particular who believes it's a distraction, Donald Trump himself, over the weekend in a private meeting in Mar-a-Lago, indicating

his support for the speaker of the House. That is in line with most House Republicans, but there are still some who are furious at Mike Johnson,

including Marjorie Taylor Greene, who could still decide to make things uncomfortable for fellow Republicans.

So, we'll see how she decides to proceed. But this could all play out today. But if she backs off, we'll learn about that, too, as well, this

afternoon, Bianna.


GOLODRYGA: Interesting that even the former president seems to be indicating that he doesn't have the bandwidth for this and doesn't think

that it's a positive, a productive move. And yet she, at least as of now, appears to be moving forward. She doesn't have enough Republicans on her

side, obviously.

So this would be more of an optical message that she is sending, a symbolic message. And what is that, in fact, Manu? Is it just that you would have a

weekend speaker who she could interpret as being beholden by Democrats?

RAJU: Yes. Absolutely. Because unless Democrats change their posture, that he will remain as speaker. She wants to send the message that this is

essentially a lame duck speaker, someone who cannot continue to serve in the next Congress, because in the next Congress, after the election, they

have to, of course, elect a new speaker of the House of Republicans in the majority.

She's trying to say he won't have the support to get there. But there's a lot of time between now and then, of course. Bianna?

GOLODRYGA: All right. Never a dull moment for you, chief congressional Correspondent Manu Raju. Thank you.

RAJU: Thanks, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Coming up, we return to downtown Manhattan for the latest on Donald Trump's hush money trial, including a stern warning from the judge

about Trump's conduct outside of the courtroom.


GOLODRYGA: I want to bring you more on our breaking news out of the Middle East. Hamas has accepted the ceasefire agreement proposed by Qatar and

Egypt. That is according to a statement from the group. We have not yet heard from Israel on this deal and we'll bring you any updates as we get

them in.

But before we go, we want to check in one more time on Donald Trump's hush money trial in lower Manhattan. The court has been hearing testimony about

documents and e-mails and accounting from a retired executive of Donald Trump's company. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Yes. Once again, I want to bring in CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider with more. Jessica, just before we go, we've obviously

been watching Jeffrey McConney, who is now off of the witness stand here. What are some of the major takeaways?

SCHNEIDER: Yes. So just before this lunch break, we'll now be off till about 2:15. You know, Trump's lawyers were doing the cross-examination. And

they're once again, as they've done with other witnesses, really trying to prove their point that Trump was not aware of these transactions with

Michael Cohen, that he didn't orchestrate this falsification of business records.

So McConney has talked, talked in the cross-examination, you know, admitting that he never met with Donald Trump, that he didn't know the

particulars of the legal work that Michael Cohen was doing for the Trump Organization.


So again, Trump's team really trying to cast doubt on the prosecutor's case. So prosecutors during their direct exam, which lasted for quite a

while, almost two hours, they used McConney, who of course was the controller for the Trump Organization, to get very detailed ledgers and

invoices into the record.

And that's all to work to prove prosecutors' 34-count indictment against Donald Trump. And we saw as part of this testimony, McConney detail how,

you know, how intricately involved Donald Trump was when it came to all the cash flow in and out of the company and in and out of his personal account.

There was one instance that McConney recalled where Trump called him into his office and jokingly said, you're fired because the cash ledger actually

showed less money than the month before. So really showing just how closely Donald Trump was watching the money and where it was going.

So, all of this, you know, key for prosecutors to show that Donald Trump was intimately involved. But then we saw the defense team just get up and

try to poke holes in that, saying, well, maybe, you know, Donald Trump wasn't as involved as McConney was detailing when he had that direct


So, Omar, we are at the lunch break now, and McConney is off the stand. He was on the stand for about three hours, and it looks like we'll get another

witness after the lunch break. So, we'll wait and see who it is again, expecting big testimony from Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen at some

point. Who knows if it will be today?

JIMENEZ: We will see what happens next. Jessica Schneider, really appreciate it. And that does it for this hour. I'm Omar Jimenez outside the

Manhattan criminal courthouse.

GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. A very busy hour indeed. Thank you so much for watching. I'll be right back here in just a couple of minutes with

Amanpour at the top of the hour. Stay with us.