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One World with Zain Asher

Israel Vows To Send More Troops Into Rafah; Michael Cohen Takes The Witness Stand For Another Day Of Intense Cross-Examination; Prime Minister Fico Remains In Intensive Care After Shooting Incident; Dow Crosses 40,000 Threshold For The First Time. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired May 16, 2024 - 12:00   ET




ZAIN ASHER, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: All right, political cover. Now, House Republicans slam Joe Biden for threatening to block additional aid to

Israel. Lawmakers could be voting on the bill any moment.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: "One World" starts right now. Divisions at the top. The Israeli Defense Minister publicly speaking out

against Prime Minister Netanyahu as Israel vows to send more troops into Rafah.

ASHER: Also ahead, trapped in Gaza. Heroic American doctors are pleading to come home. But right now there is simply no way out.

GOLODRYGA: And today's the day. Zain, it's here. Dow history.

ASHER: We've had a long time for a lecture, right?

GOLODRYGA: I know, where's our hat? All right, it may be fleeting, but the Dow has finally surpassed that 40,000 mark. We'll be watching it closely.

Hello everyone, live from New York, I'm Bianna Golodryga.

ASHER: And I'm Zain Asher. You are indeed watching "One World". I want to start with the Middle East right now because Israel is ramping up military

operations in southern Gaza despite numerous calls from the Americans to hold off and stark warnings from South Africa at a public hearing at the

International Court of Justice.

GOLODRYGA: That's right. In its fourth appeal for emergency measures before the world court, South Africa asked the body to order Israel to cease its

military operations in the Gaza Strip and to completely and immediately withdraw from the entirety of the territory. Israel is expected to make its

case tomorrow. Meantime, Israel's defense minister is saying that more forces will join the operation in southern Gaza in Rafah.

ASHER: Yeah, fierce fighting is also underway in northern Gaza where a massive explosion shook the area Thursday. A fireball released dense clouds

of black smoke. You see it here on your screens straight up into the sky. The IDF says five Israeli soldiers were killed there on Wednesday as a

result of friendly fire.

GOLODRYGA: Now, all of the developments come amid growing questions about a day after plan for Gaza. Israel's defense minister, Yoav Gallant, is asking

the prime minister to spell out his post-war plans.


YOAV GALLANT, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): I call on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a decision and declare that

Israel will not have a civilian rule over the Gaza Strip, that there will be no Israeli military administration in the Gaza Strip, and that a

governing alternative to Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be promoted immediately.


ASHER: Meantime, the U.S. House is set to vote on a bill to stop President Joe Biden from blocking some weapons shipment to Israel. Here's Speaker

Mike Johnson.


MIKE JOHNSON, U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: Rather than defend our closest ally at war, President Biden is using his authority to defend himself politically.

The Biden administration is defying the will of Congress and withholding weapons shipments to Israel. We want the President to hear this loud and

clear. He said just not long ago that we had to have ironclad support for Israel. Well, that's what he previously proclaimed, but his actions are

doing exactly the opposite.


GOLODRYGA: We have reporters covering all the angles. Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem for us, but let's begin our coverage with Manu Raju on Capitol

Hill. So, Manu, with regards to the bill, it's interesting the White House seems to appear to be blunting it this week by saying that it has already

introduced one billion dollars worth of additional weapons that it will send to Israel.

But that notwithstanding, for the bill itself, it's very unlikely that the Senate will pick it up. And President Biden has said that he's going to

threaten to veto it if it does end up at his desk. So, what are Republicans hoping to accomplish here?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they're trying to send a message. They know full well that this is not going to become law

because the Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, has no plans of putting it on the floor of his chamber. The President himself has

threatened to veto this over its effort to try to block his threat to withhold any additional, some key aid, ammunitions, bombs over to Israel if

in fact it moves forward with this full-scale invasion of Rafah.

That is something that the President warned about last week. That is something that this bill is intended to respond to. The question is

ultimately going to be how many Democrats ultimately vote for this because the Democratic leaders are urging the members to try to kill this when it

comes to the floor this afternoon.


In talking to members on both sides of the aisle, it's clear that this is going to come down along party lines as Republican sponsors are defending

this effort and essentially daring Republicans -- daring Democrats to try to block it. Listen.


KEN CALVERT, U.S. HOUSE REPUBLICAN: I'm not the President of the United States. He's doing what he's doing. We're doing what we're doing. We're

sending a message that we support Israel. If he doesn't want to support Israel, that's his choice.

ADAM SMITH, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT: We can't say to the President, you just have to give, you know, weapons to anybody without any restrictions. It

contradicts law. We have laws in the books that says if these things happen, you are legally required to stop sending them. It guts the Pentagon

leadership in an effort to advance this policy.


RAJU: So, ultimately, most Democrats are aligned with that position from Adam Smith, who's the top Democrat on the House Services Committee and

believe that they don't want to tie the president's hands on this issue, even though many Democrats do disagree, especially the pro-Israel Democrats

within the House and Senate. Democratic caucuses do not agree with how the President has threatened to pull back on military aid if, in fact, Israel

does go forward with this full scale offensive into Rafah.

But nevertheless, that split won't be evident on the House floor this afternoon, which is expected to come down along party lines as Republicans

try to wield this issue about Israel and try to exploit divisions within the Democratic caucus as they try to campaign on this heading into

November, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Manu Raju, thank you so much.

ASHER: All right, let's bring in CNN's Jeremy Diamond, joining us live now from Jerusalem. So, Jeremy, despite international opposition, not only is

the operation in Rafah pressing ahead, but Yoav Gallant is saying, listen, additional troops will be needed for this. They're literally stepping up

the amount of troops that are going to be involved in this operation. What is going to be the consequences of this operation in terms of Israel's

relationship with the West, Jeremy?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that is indeed the question. And we are watching to see whether or not these additional forces, these

additional movements by Israeli forces deeper into Rafah will eventually cross that red line that President Biden set out a couple of weeks ago when

he said that he would withhold further weapons shipments to Israel if it goes into those population centers in Rafah, carrying out this full scale

ground offensive that it has been threatening for months.

We are not at that threshold yet, it seems. The defense minister, as he was himself in eastern Rafah, visiting with Israeli troops, carrying out a

situational assessment about those military operations so far, saying that Israel will send additional troops into Rafah.

The Israeli military has already deployed an additional commando brigade to Rafah to assist the troops that are already there with their military

operations, which the Israeli military says has so far consisted of going after Hamas militants in the area, but also critically searching,

discovering and destroying Hamas tunnels that they say exist in eastern Rafah.

We know that the troops are creeping closer to central Rafah, but we have yet to see the go sign being given for an all out offensive that would

cross those red lines by the United States. We are also witnessing very intense fighting in northern Gaza in that Jabalia refugee camp, which was

the site of some of the most intense fighting in the early months of the war.

Israeli troops withdrew and now they have gone back in. And interestingly, the defense minister, Yoav Gallant, just yesterday, raising significant

questions about this overall strategy and talking about the need for a day after Gaza plan, calling on the Israeli prime minister, who is a member of

his own party, calling on him publicly to lay out his plans for the day after Gaza and calling on Netanyahu to rule out Israeli military or

civilian governorship of Gaza in the day after the war.

So, this is certainly an inflection point in so many different ways, both in terms of the intensity of the fighting that is returning to Gaza, the

intensity of Israeli military activity, but also, of course, what the United States is going to do as Israel looks to step up its campaign. And,

of course, on the ground, we are watching very closely the impact that all of these this stepped up military activity is having on the civilian

population in Gaza.

More than half a million people have already been displaced from Rafah, fleeing to areas further north. And that Rafah border crossing, which is

critical not only for getting humanitarian aid in and out of Gaza, into Gaza, rather, but also for humanitarian aid workers to get in and out of

Gaza, that crossing remains closed. Israeli and Egyptian officials still negotiating over reopening that closing, but so far they appear to be

trading blame more than finding actual solutions. Zain.

ASHER: All right, Jeremy Diamond, live for us there. Thank you so much.


GOLODRYGA: We are in the crucial homestretch of Donald Trump's criminal trial. Michael Cohen is on the witness stand for another day of intense

cross-examination by the defense. Trump's attorneys are trying to paint Cohen as a bitter liar bent on getting revenge against his former boss.

ASHER: A short time ago, the defense played a 2020 podcast where Cohen is heard saying, revenge is a dish best served cold. Cohen also acknowledged

he publicly took credit for getting Trump indicted.

GOLODRYGA: On the left side of your screen, once again, you can see key updates from the trial from CNN's reporters who are inside the courtroom.

Let's go to Jessica Schneider, who has been closely monitoring the Trump trial for us now and joins us live.

So, Jessica, a lot of intense questioning here from the defense for Michael Cohen. How has his demeanor been thus far? And the defense clearly

reiterating time and time again, their hopes to persuade this jury that this man cannot be trusted.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, the questioning has definitely been a lot more intense. The scene in the courtroom, a lot

more tense. However, Michael Cohen does so far seem to be taking it relatively in stride. The defense team is really oscillating between

questions about Michael Cohen's past criminal record and everything that goes along with that.

And then, you know, they keep harping on the fact that Michael Cohen obviously has this huge animosity toward Donald Trump. So, those are really

the two lines of questioning. You just heard the defense team asking Michael Cohen about how he really wanted to be picked as chief of staff,

again, going to this idea that maybe Michael Cohen is just seeking revenge in some sense against Donald Trump, particularly in testifying at this


It was interesting just before the morning break that happened around 11:30. It was Todd Blanche, the defense attorney, who really, for the first

time, waded finally into questions that went to the core of this case. He did ask Michael Cohen about that home equity line of credit that Michael

Cohen drew from to make the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels before being eventually repaid by Trump.

Blanche asked Cohen about the fact that he hid the loan details from his family. And that was pretty much the extent of the questioning when it went

to the actual payment to Stormy Daniels. It seemed like Todd Blanche was maybe trying to bring that up to cast some doubt on sort of Cohen's, you

know, whether he really did care about his family, as he previously testified he did, that they were the real reason he pleaded guilty to those

federal crimes.

But guys, it was really the only time in this cross-examination, we've done hours of cross-exam between Tuesday and today, that was really the only

time that defense attorneys have brought up the core of this case, the repayment to Stormy Daniels and how it was accounted for. Other than that,

the defense team has really been hammering Cohen's criminal record and also his credibility, casting doubt on his motives for testifying in this case.

That seems to be the tact they're going with, this whole liar, liar idea.

But it'll be interesting to see if the defense team gets back at all to what's at the core of this case. I mean, Michael Cohen offered some very

damaging testimony repeatedly about how Donald Trump, in his words, knew about this repayment to Stormy Daniels and how it would be accounted for,

leading to these false business records charges. So, we'll see if the defense hits on that and how much this, you know, trying to damage Michael

Cohen's credibility is going to work with the jury, guys.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, in a shortened week for this trial, we should note there is no court tomorrow given that the judge has allowed the former president

to attend his son's high school graduation. Jessica Schneider, thank you.

ASHER: Thank you, Jessica. All right. Former Department of Justice Prosecutor Joseph Moreno is closely following this trial from Washington.

He joins us live now. Thank you so much for being with us. A couple of questions here. What do you make of Todd Blanch's strategy throughout the

cross-examination, first and foremost?

I mean, this idea of painting Michael Cohen as a liar, not exactly difficult when you consider campaign finance violations, false statements

to Congress, tax fraud, as well. But is that going to be enough? Is that going to be enough to convince jurors that he's lying about the heart of

what is at stake in this hush money trial?

JOSEPH MORENO, FORMER DEPT. OF JUSTICE PROSECUTOR: Hi, Zain. Well, I mean, I practiced law with Todd Blanch for several years. I can say he's a very,

very talented litigator. And I have to think that he has a sense of what the jury is hearing from their body language, their eye contact, basically

the feedback he's getting. And so, obviously, what he has to do is he has to undermine Michael Cohen's testimony.

We've heard over the last few weeks a lot of ancillary evidence about Donald Trump. We've heard that he was very focused on the election in 2016

and his image among female voters. We heard that he was very picky about every expense that the organization would incur, including personally

writing checks.


We've also heard that he's told people, take care of this. What's missing, of course, is what Michael Cohen can provide. What did Donald Trump know?

Was he aware that the accounting entries were done in a surreptitious way that were meant to camouflage their ultimate purpose? And did he have the

intent to evade the law, whether it's campaign finance laws or other kind of fraud?

And so, Michael Cohen has to provide the prosecution with that key component. So, it makes a lot of sense that the defense would undercut him

any way they can, showing his side incentives to lie, showing his past lies, showing that he's an unreliable witness, because at the end of the

day, that's probably what this is coming down to. Does the jury believe Michael Cohen or does the jury believe Donald Trump?

GOLODRYGA: And that's going to be the key question. At what point, because it's already established, he's already admitted and served time for lying.

At what point did Michael Cohen start telling the truth? Given everything that you've seen from the defense thus far, Joseph, and from how Michael

Cohen has been composed himself and how he's been handling some of these tougher questions, do you expect a redirect once again from the

prosecution? And if so, what is it you think they should be focused on?

MORENO: Sure, Bianna, I would have to think so. I mean, it sounds like the defense is doing a pretty decent job of sort of battering up Michael Cohen,

sort of beating up a little bit on the stand. And so, I definitely think the prosecution will want to rehabilitate him a little bit, probably not go

overboard. There is always a risk that a jury can kind of overhear things and kind of get tired of it.

So, my guess is that the prosecution does a redirect. They'll keep it to the point. They'll keep it to two or three questions, basically. Why are

you here? Are you telling the truth? And is the information that you've provided accurate? He'll say yes, yes, yes. That'll be the end of it.

ASHER: All right, Joseph Moreno, live for us there. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MORENO: Thanks, Zain.

GOLODRYGA: Thanks, Joseph. Well, breaking Wall Street news for the first time ever. Oh, just below.

ASHER: It actually is just below. I think it went just below just before we got on air.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. It's my bad. Well, the Dow did cross 40,000, that 40,000 threshold for the first time. The U.S. markets rallied -- thanks to the

latest inflation report showing a cool down for the first time in months. And that, of course, has raised hopes that the Federal Reserve could start

cutting interest rates as soon as September.

ASHER: All right. Joining us live now is business correspondent, my good friend, Rahel Solomon in New York. So, Rahel, we have, I mean, I think it's

been about a couple of months, right? We've had you on a few times talking about, oh, my gosh, is the Dow going to get to 40,000? Is it going to get

to 40,000? Today, it finally did it. And obviously, a symbolic milestone. But I think it really does underscore the differences at this point in time

in terms of how Main Street feels and how Wall Street feels about the economy.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: That's a very fair point, Zain. Good to be with you both. Yeah. I mean, Wall Street isn't necessarily Main

Street in terms of how Americans are feeling about the economy. But I will put out one little caveat that about two thirds of Americans are invested

in the markets in some way or another.

So, yeah, I mean, you do like to see the markets do well. You look at your retirement account and feel just a little bit richer. But a few things

really driving the enthusiasm or the jubilation, if you want to call it that, in the markets today.

So, one was that inflation data that you just pointed out, Bianna, that came in cooler than we were expecting. And that is a difference than some

of the last inflation reports we were getting. So, inflation moving back in the right direction and also this expectation now that rate cuts are

coming. They are back on the table for 2024 because we also got some retail sales data that was actually softer than expected.

So, you put it together and you have a scenario where it's looking like maybe we might see a rate cut maybe in that September meeting. And so that

sort of sort of is what investors are sort of, you know, reacting to. We also had really good earnings from a Walmart this morning -- part of the

reason why. I want to just point out, guys, that it's not just the Dow, but also the S and P also having a pretty nice year. S and P, I think, hit a

new record yesterday, up 12 percent for year to date NASDAQ up 13 percent.

But Zain, I want to sort of circle back to something you pointed out, because it's an important point that the state of the consumer, right, when

you think of the U.S. consumer, that's about two thirds of U.S. GDP. So, as goes the consumer, so goes the economy.

And I was just in the last hour speaking to one of the senior economists of Bank of America, and I asked him, how would you describe the state of the

U.S. consumer these days? And he said, benign moderation. Consumer spending is seeing a benign moderation.

So, they're still feeling pretty optimistic about the health of the consumer, i.e., the U.S. economy. But they are seeing a moderation. But for

the two thirds of Americans that are invested in the markets in some way or another, you might want to look at your 401K today, you might want to look

at your portfolio today. It might make you feel a little bit better about things.

ASHER: You know, I think it is important to point what Rahel was just saying, just this idea of investors still feeling good, still feeling

optimistic, despite what we've been through, despite elevated interest rates, despite inflation, despite the geopolitical strife happening all

around the world.


And years of recession warnings obviously didn't materialize, but still the fear that came from that, investors still feeling good.

GOLODRYGA: "Benign Moderation", the name of our new upcoming rock band, Rahel, Zain and Bianna.

ASHER: Fronted by Anthony Blinken, by the way.

GOLODRYGA: Exactly, fronted by Anthony Blinken. Rahel, it's always great to see you.

ASHER: Good to see you.

SOLOMON: Likewise. It's good to see you, ladies.

ASHER: All right, still to come, two world leaders are making a public show of mutual support and solidarity as Vladimir Putin is on a state visit to


GOLODRYGA: Plus, police charge a man suspected of shooting Slovakia's prime minister as Robert Fico remains in ICU in serious condition. The latest on

the investigation, just ahead.



GOLODRYGA: Chinese President Xi Jinping rolling out the red carpet for an old friend on Thursday. Russia's President Vladimir Putin kicked off his

two-day state visit to Beijing with all the usual pomp and circumstance.

ASHER: Yeah, the two leaders signed a joint declaration to deepen their strategic partnership. They're also hoping to show the world that China and

Russia are very close and actually are only growing closer.

GOLODRYGA: It's their 43rd meeting as leaders. Well, just within the last hour, the Slovakian prosecutor's office identified the suspect in the

shooting of Prime Minister Robert Fico. They confirmed that he is a 71- year-old citizen described in some media reports as Eurasian. This is video of the alleged gunman being taken into custody on Wednesday. The country's

interior minister says that he was acting as a lone wolf and is not a member of an extremist group.

ASHER: Meantime, the Prime Minister remains in intensive care. He is in serious but stable condition. Slovakia's President-elect says that Fico is

conscious and that he is able to speak.

GOLODRYGA: CNN's International Diplomatic Editor Nic Robertson has the latest from London. So, that is reassuring to hear that it does appear that

the Prime Minister's condition has stabilized. What more do we know, though, about how he is doing?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The information is not particularly strong. We haven't had doctors tell us the precise nature of

the injuries. We do know that there were two surgeons in there, Bianna, for those five hours -- one a trauma specialist and another a more general

surgeon familiar with these types of injuries, of course.


But we don't know. We know five bullets were fired. We don't know if all five impacted. We don't know where they impacted. They appeared to be aimed

sort of towards his abdomen, stomach area. But we really don't know the state of his internal injuries. And I think we kind of got a hint of that

or the real significant impact these injuries are having on him from the President-elect, Peter Pellegrini, when he spoke outside the hospital.


PETER PELLEGRINI, SLOVAK-PRESIDENT-ELECT: It was a very personal discussion about how he feels and that I am very happy that he survived. I told him

that we stand behind him and we think about him and we're sending him a lot of energy that he will handle this very difficult situation. So, it was

such a kind of discussion, very personal. I know him over 20 years. So, it was quite logically that we will speak about these kinds of things.


ROBERTSON: Yeah, these are all political partners, clearly. But I think there was one line in there from the President-elect, maybe not what he

said precisely there, but he referenced it, this idea of giving him energy. We need to help him be positive. So, you do get the idea that although, you

know, President-elect, he's the personal friend of the Prime Minister and he is really thinking that they really need to be geeing up the prime


So, that does give you an idea of just how damaging these injuries may be. And, you know, nobody's talking about life-changing injuries yet, but we

don't know the injuries and you get a sense that the recovery period may be a long period.

GOLODRYGA: And the President-elect really, I think, hitting on just what a shock this shooting and assassination attempt was for the entire country,

as well. Nic Robertson, thank you.

ASHER: All right, still to come, CNN speaks to one of dozens of American medics currently trapped inside Gaza. We'll have that report for you just




ASHER: All right, welcome back to "One World". I'm Zain Asher.

GOLODRYGA: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. A team of 17 international medics, including 12 Americans, are currently trapped inside Gaza. They are in a

hospital north of Rafah.

ASHER: Yeah, they were due to leave the enclave through the Rafah border crossing on Monday, but were unable after Israeli forces seized the Gaza

side of that border. CNN's Jeremy Diamond spoke to some of those who are trapped.


AHLIA KATTAN, ANESTHESIOLOGIST AND ICU MEDIC: We were evacuated from that safe house, which was supposed to be in a de-conflicted zone.

DIAMOND (voice-over): After more than two weeks in Gaza, Dr. Ahlia Kattan should be back home in California with her three children.

KATTAN: This is where we've been sleeping.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Instead, she's sleeping on the floor of Gaza's European hospital as her five-year-old daughter wonders when her mom will

come home.

UNKNOWN, VOICE OF DR. KATTAN' S DAUGHTER: I love you, Mama. You are the best. When will you come back? I want you so much. Happy birthday to Mama.

You are the best ever.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Dr. Kattan and her husband are among at least 22 American physicians now trapped in Gaza after an Israeli military offensive

in Rafah shuttered the critical border crossing to Egypt.

KATTAN: The Rafah borders are now closed. And that was our safe entry and exit. The WHO is trying to negotiate a safe exit for us, and it's not


DIAMOND (voice-over): As Israeli and Egyptian officials trade blame for the crossing's closure --

KATTAN: I'm just on my way to the operating room.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Dr. Kattan and her colleagues are doing what they can to keep this overwhelmed and under-resourced hospital running.

LAURA SWOBODA, NURSE PRACTITIONER: We were not aware of how dire the situation is here. There wasn't soap to wash our hands between infected

wounds with maggots. There wasn't sanitizer wipes to wipe down the tables after each patient.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Israel is now threatening to widen its offensive in Rafah.

SWOBODA: Always, we can hear the drones in the background.

DIAMOND (voice-over): A move that the U.S. and international aid groups warn will have dire humanitarian consequences. One that will put even more

strain on Gaza's already overwhelmed hospitals.

KATTAN: All of us don't want to leave unless we're replaced by physicians and medics and nurses and all the people that are keeping this hospital

going. My message to the U.S. government is, however they can help to maintain a safe corridor for medics to come in and out to bring supplies

and themselves to support the innocent civilians and women and children, to please do that.

DIAMOND (voice-over): But until that happens, Dr. Kattan is stuck, unsure when and how she will make it home.

DIAMOND: What's the most difficult part of that uncertainty right now?

KATTAN: Missing my kids and waking up in the morning and realizing they're not next to me. But the harder part is knowing that I get to leave

eventually and I get to go home and be safe. I've developed a lot of friends here who are the same age as me and have kids my age and they don't

have those securities and those basic necessities.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Jerusalem.


GOLODRYGA: Well, in the words of the Israeli defense minister, indecision is also a decision. And in a stinging rebuke, he challenged the country's

prime minister to come up with a plan for Gaza once the fighting ends and to do it now.

ASHER: Yeah, deep divisions within the Israeli war cabinet were on full display Wednesday when Yoav Gallant stepped in front of the cameras and

delivered a very public broadside to Benjamin Netanyahu's leadership. The former general demanded the prime minister commit to Palestinian governance

of Gaza as opposed to Israeli civilian control or military rule.

And he said without a political strategy, no military strategy can succeed. The prime minister, for his part, rejected those arguments and said

discussions of the day after in Gaza are meaningless until Hamas is defeated.



BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Until it's clear that Hamas does not control Gaza militarily, nobody will be prepared

to take upon himself the civil management of Gaza out of fear for their lives. Therefore, all the talk about the day after, while Hamas remains

intact, will remain mere words devoid of content.


GOLODRYGA: Time now for the exchange and our conversation with Alon Pinkas. He's the former Israeli Consul General in New York and joins us live from

Tel Aviv. Good to see you, Alon. So, just to read for our viewers the exact comments from Yoav Gallant.

He said, "The end of the military campaign must be a political act. The day after Hamas will only be achieved through the rule of Palestinian elements

that form an alternative to Hamas. Above all, this is an Israeli interest. Unfortunately, no such plan has been brought for debate. And worse yet, no

alternative has been presented in its place."

This was an argument echoed by Benny Gantz, as well as the Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari. We've already heard from the usual suspects on

the far right in this government who are calling for Gallant to be fired. He has incidentally been fired in the past during the judicial reform

overhaul there. And in all of that, the crisis that ensued, he was brought back into the government. What do you make of the timing here and of any

political ramifications for Gallant following this statement?

ALON PINKAS, FORMER ISRAELI CONSUL GENERAL, NEW YORK: Well, the truth is, Bianna, that, you know, it's a eureka moment. Some think it's a eureka

moment for him. This should have been done seven months ago and six months ago, and five and four and three and two.

This is something basic. This is something fundamental. When you go to war, that you align military means and military operation with tangible and

attainable political goals. And this government did not do so. And he was the defense minister throughout this process. That said, as goes the

cliche, better late than never.

He basically presented the prime minister with a very simple thing. You've been told, you've been asked, you've been implored by the U.S.

administration, by the Biden administration to come up with a postwar plan. You've been given all the support in the world from both the military and

in terms of on the ground, U.S. diplomatically.

And seven months later, or seven and a half months later, you still didn't even give it a second of a day to come up with a plan. So, you better do

this because the military, the IDF, is essentially in a Groundhog Day situation. They're going back into places they just cleared supposedly

three, four weeks ago or two weeks ago to get your act together. What that means politically is a different question.

ASHER: Alon, some people say, look, it is easy to sit there and criticize Netanyahu when we haven't walked a mile in his shoes. Obviously, the sort

of lack of decision comes from the fact that it is a very complicated decision to make. It's difficult to be an armchair prime minister in this


When you think about what is ahead and what is in front of Netanyahu at this point in time, he has to figure out how to ensure that the

Palestinians in Gaza have some degree of autonomy once the war is over, while at the same time making sure that Hamas never, ever comes back. How

on earth do you do both? How do you thread that needle?

PINKAS: You think you come up with ideas. You engage the Biden administration on the Biden plan. You don't say no to everything. You do

not defy everyone. You do not dismiss any idea. You do not deride any concept. You come up with a plan. Yes, it's difficult to be, it's ludicrous

to be an armchair prime minister. No one is pretending to be. But then again, he is the Prime Minister.

He failed in everything that he's done in terms of decisions. He has not set achievable, deliverable political goals, political objectives to this

war. No, I have the fullest sympathy in his predicament because he's the Prime Minister of my country. But that said, it's been seven months, for

God's sake. We're not fighting the German Wehrmacht in World War II. This is Hamas for seven and a half months. This is -- this is, the result is

this, you know, this begs a lot of questions.

GOLODRYGA: You know, what struck me and not just Gallant's comments, but the fact, as I mentioned earlier, that they were backed up and publicly

supported by Benny Gantz, by the IDF spokesperson.


And that makes me wonder how much longer the IDF, the troops, the families of these troops support this specific operation and the war.

Especially since, you know, most Israelis, all Israelis would argue that this was a just war to begin. But here you are, seven and a half months

later, you're going back into areas of Gaza that they believed that they had taken out Hamas terrorists only to go back and fight there again. New

polling suggests for the first time that the majority of Israelis, at least according to this one poll, now don't believe that this war can be won. So,

how much risk lies there among the soldiers, among their families?

PINKAS: Well, it's a very good question. I think it's reaching a critical mass, Bianna. I mean, look, you have to understand the Israeli psyche. It

goes like this. There's, there was fatigue after nine months of demonstration, of mass demonstration against the constitutional coup d'etat

now instigated. Then came the war.

And with it, devastation and agony and humiliation and anger and resentment and frustration. And what have you. And everyone knows someone who's in the

army. A son, a brother, a cousin, a neighbor, a college roommate. And you don't demonstrate. The Israeli psyche, you don't demonstrate in that

situation because it's, we're all in this together. But one month goes by and another month goes by and another goes by. And this Prime Minister does

not assume responsibility. Does not, is not willing to be held accountable.

There's no mea culpa at any point. And it goes on and it goes on. So, my point is, it is reaching a boiling degree. It is reaching a critical mass

in which, you know, a combination of the public, the hostages' families, the media, the general public, the U.S. administration are going to say to

Netanyahu, enough is enough, Sir, because you don't seem to know exactly what you're doing.

Now, as for what you said about this poll, look, consistent polls show that over 70, seven to zero percent of Israelis want him to either resign now or

resign immediately after the war. Over 50 percent support an immediate election once the war is over. And now, you're coming with this correctly,

with this new piece of data, new piece of information that Israelis don't think it's winnable.

It is winnable. It's not winnable according to the platitudes, I'm sorry, and cliches that he spread. Total victory, eradication, alliteration. Come

on. You want to topple Hamas? You do that. The only way to do that is diplomatically. You don't do another military operation because that's not

going to get the job done.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah. What else he said was something that they were one of their top priorities, was bringing home the hostages. And we have yet to

see that happen, as well. Over 100 Israelis remain currently held hostage in Gaza. Ambassador Alon Pinkas, thank you so much for your time.

ASHER: Thank you, Ambassador. All right. Still to come here, Trump's lawyers continue their cross-examination of Trump's former fixer, Michael

Cohen. We'll have the latest developments in the trial just ahead for you.



ASHER: All right. Let's return now to Donald Trump's hush money trial. Plenty of heated exchanges between Trump's lawyers and Michael Cohen as

they grill the prosecution's star witness.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah. Attorney Todd Blanche trying to paint Cohen as a lawyer and someone who lacks a moral compass by catching Cohen in a new lie about

his past statements regarding a pardon from Trump. Blanche also spotlighting Cohen's perjury conviction after he lied under oath to

Congress in 2017.

ASHER: Joining us again now is CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider, who's been watching very closely what's been happening in the courtroom.

So, Jessica, how is Michael Cohen coping under the pressure of the cross- examination? And is the liar liar strategy by Todd Blanche actually working?

SCHNEIDER: You know, I have to say I'm following along with our reporters in the courtroom. It is very disjointed, this cross-examination. The

questioning has really been bouncing back and forth between topics. We've seen a lot of focus on Michael Cohen's criminal convictions, but also about

his bitterness toward Donald Trump, you know, especially after not getting a post at the White House.

I will say that in the past few minutes, Todd Blanche has sort of refocused and he's moved back a bit to more questioning that goes to the heart of

this case, the payment to Stormy Daniels. So, right now, Todd Blanche is questioning about phone calls that apparently happened in October 2016,

phone calls that Cohen had with Trump where the payments to Stormy Daniels were discussed. Basically saying, I think at one point, one of the phone

calls said that Cohen said it's all taken care of.

Other than that, though, Cohen's really saying that he doesn't recall a lot about the phone calls. It does seem that Todd Blanche is trying to poke

holes in Cohen's memory of these phone calls and maybe in some of the details. But again, a lot of this has been a bit hard to follow just

because it's been all over the place. It's interesting. It'll be interesting to see, you know, maybe how the jury's reading this. I guess we

won't know until a verdict.

But in terms of the actual Stormy Daniels payment, this is the second time over hours of questioning that Todd Blanche has waded into these questions

about the core of this case. The first time was this morning, just before the morning break. You know, Blanche asked Michael Cohen about the home

equity line of credit that he drew from to make that $130,000 payment before he was eventually paid back by Trump.

In that instance, Todd Blanche really was stressing that Michael Cohen didn't bother to tell his family that he had taken out this line of credit.

So, to that point, he was sort of poking at Michael Cohen's credibility and his truthfulness and his honesty. So, the questioning has really run the

gamut this morning. The courtroom seems to be a bit more tense than it was on Tuesday.

But this questioning has been all over the place, mostly focused probably on Michael Cohen's criminal history, but also, you know, talking about the

fact that he might have an axe to grind against Donald Trump. And then little by little, they're bringing up Stormy Daniels issues, as well. But

there's definitely not a through line of questioning. They're just kind of hitting Michael Cohen from any angle that they can get at.

ASHER: Yeah, an axe to grind in terms of his relationship with Donald Trump, but also the financial incentives, as well. He's made a lot of money

in terms of books, merchandise, the podcast, as well, where he obviously goes into detail about his relationship with Donald Trump. And obviously,

the relationship --

SCHNEIDER: Yeah, the defense really harped on that on Tuesday.

ASHER: Right.

SCHNEIDER: They talked a lot about how he's profited off of his relationship and animosity with Donald Trump.

ASHER: Right, right. Jessica Schneider, live for us there. Thank you so much. All right, still to come, the first Biden-Trump U.S. presidential

debate of 2024 is set for June 27th right here on CNN.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, look back at the impact debates have had on the outcome of the elections over six decades and how this high-stakes event is breaking

the mold.



GOLODRYGA: U.S. presidential debates over the last 60 years have had their share of memorable high-stakes moments.

ASHER: They have. So, what exactly does it take for a candidate to win over votes? CNN's Brian Todd takes a look.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 60 years, televised presidential debates have provided us with extraordinary,

decisive moments, which often changed the tenor of the race.

UNKNOWN: The candidates need no introduction.

TODD (voice-over): September 1960, in the very first televised presidential debate, Richard Nixon, who was ill, was visibly sweating compared to his

cool and youthful opponent, John F. Kennedy.

TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: When the two were viewed side by side and you asked yourself, whose finger would you like to be on the

nuclear button, it became clear you didn't want the sweaty guy from California.

TODD (voice-over): In 1984, Ronald Reagan, then 73 years old, used humor to deftly deflect concerns about his age in a debate with Walter Mondale.

RONALD REAGAN, 40TH U.S. PRESIDENT: I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.

NAFTALI: The effect was magical and politically devastating for Walter Mondale.

TODD (voice-over): Most of those defining moments came with no warning or calculation.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: A bad moment in a debate can hurt you significantly more than a good moment can help you.

TODD (voice-over): In the vice presidential debate in 1988, Dan Quayle characterized himself as a Republican version of a young John Kennedy,

which teed up his opponent, Lloyd Benson, perfectly.

LLOYD BENTSEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.

Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.

TODD (voice-over): That election season, Benson's running mate, Michael Dukakis, in his debate with George H.W. Bush, was asked a fateful question

referencing his wife by CNN's Bernard Shaw.

UNKNOWN: Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?

MICHAEL DUKAKIS, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I don't, Bernard. And I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my


NAFTALI: It was terrible. This was his opportunity to show humanity. And instead, he made himself look like more of a humorless, emotionless robot

than he had seen before.


TODD (voice-over): There were the wordless missteps, the body language gaffes -- 1992, George H.W. Bush looking out of touch by glancing at his

watch when an audience member spoke about the lagging economy, 2000, Al Gore audibly sighs. And in another debate that year, Gore gets a little too

close to George W. Bush on stage.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Any little tick or habit that a candidate may have is something that voters could seize on. And it could change the way they view

the candidate.

TODD: If there are colorful moments like those in the debates coming up, Analyst Laura Barron-Lopez says she doesn't believe they'll be as impactful

as those past moments were, because she says so many Americans have already decided who they're going to vote for. And those moments, no matter how

sensational, simply won't move the needle as much. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


GOLODRYGA: You know, "The New York Times" had a headline that said both of these men, Biden and Trump, are teetotalers. But the audience will

definitely need a drink from watching that.

ASHER: I'm like, that's an interesting line. I will not be missing that debate for sure -- June 27th, right here on CNN.

GOLODRYGA: Well, that does it for this hour of "One World". I'm Bianna Golodryga.

ASHER: I'm Zain Asher. Appreciate you watching. Amanpour is up next.