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Hostage Families Call For Israel To Accept Ceasefire Deal; Multiple Explosions Reported In Rafah Area Of Gaza; Trump Hush Money Trial Wraps For The Day; Multiple Explosions Reported In Rafah Area Of Gaza; Palestinians Celebrate After Hamas Accepts Ceasefire Proposals; Israel Government Says Proposal Accepted By Hamas Does Not Meet Israel's Necessary Requirements. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 06, 2024 - 16:00   ET



PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: The Israeli military says it is conducting targeted strikes in Eastern Rafah. Benjamin Netanyahu's

government just responded to a possible breakthrough ceasefire deal with Hamas, saying Israel's operation in Rafah though will go ahead in spite of

that potential deal.

Hello, and welcome. I'm Paula Newton in New York.

JIM SCIUTTO CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: And I am Jim Sciutto outside the Manhattan criminal court where the judge in Trump's criminal hush money

trial is once again threatening former president with jail time if he continues to violate the judge's gag order. We are going to have more on

that case later this hour.

NEWTON: Jim, thank you.

And we begin with breaking developments in the war between Israel and Hamas. Hamas has accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar.

Israel says the deal falls well short of its requirements, but it is sending a delegation to keep the talks going.

Meantime, hostage families have gathered outside the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, you see the video there, they are calling on Israel to use this

opportunity to bring home their loved ones. Negotiators have been discussing a deal for the release of hostages taken from Israel in exchange

for a temporary ceasefire and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Meantime, in Gaza, scenes of celebration after Hamas accepted the agreement, at the same time though the IDF says it will continue to operate

in Gaza and the Israeli government says it is continuing a military operation in Rafah to the south.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Jerusalem. Nic Robertson is in London.

Jeremy, to you first. You've been following these fast-moving developments. I do want to get to what we know in terms of latest out of Rafah. We had

heard from someone on the ground there earlier who said that they could hear the celebration in tandem with the sound of those airstrikes.

What more we learning about this targeted approach and will it usher in a larger operation?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, you know, it is heartbreaking to see those images because there is such an enormous need for a reprieve

in Gaza to this nearly seven-months war now, and yet, those celebrations are now being matched by the cold reality that the Israeli government has

yet to actually agree to this proposal.

We don't even know yet whether this Hamas agreement is to the same framework that Israel had helped craft more than a week ago and right now,

the Israeli government and the Israeli military say that they are pressing forward with this ground operation inside of Rafah, which began today in

terms of setting the stage for that.

It began today with about 100,000 people in Eastern Rafah being ordered to evacuate northwards, and now, we are starting to see what the Israeli

military is describing as precision strikes inside of Rafah, although we do not have a sense yet of whether any Israeli troops have actually moved into

Rafah. There is no indication of that as of yet.

But in the meantime, the Israeli War Cabinet is saying that they believe that this latest proposal from Hamas is "far from Israel's necessary

requirements," but they are committing to sending a working level delegation to meet with Egyptian and Qatari mediators.

It is not clear yet whether that meeting will take place in Doha or in Cairo, but it does signal at least a willingness on Israel's part to

continue the conversation, but certainly it also makes clear that a deal is far from being achieved here and it is certainly is not hours away as those

celebrations in Gaza would have you perhaps believe.

So, this is certainly a critical moments where we could see a deal start to come together in the coming days, but it is also very clear that one is not

yet wrapped up as of yet.

NEWTON: Yes, I take your point, Jeremy, that even if this does turn out to be a deal, that it is going to take days, if not weeks, to actually see it

come to fruition.

Nic Robertson for us.

When we talk about the regional players that were involved in this, not to mention CIA Director William Burns, who remains on the ground, how much

pressure can they bring to bear on Israel at this point? I mean, Netanyahu has been unequivocal, right? We are getting rid of Hamas and that means we

have to continue with going into Rafah, which means the ceasefire will only be temporary.


I mean, it is one thing to put pressure on Israel. It is another thing to put pressure on the prime minister and I expect seasoned diplomats will be

looking to those within the War Cabinet, the most, sort of, powerful body governing Israel at the moment.


Of course, the prime minister heads that, and there is only a couple of people in it, but the defense minister being one and Yair Lapid who is in

that power-sharing, not the power-sharing, but the War Cabinet, he was the leading opposition figure to Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Both of these figures are in conversations with US officials as well. So perhaps the pressure will come in there, but at the moment, they are

speaking with one voice. The War Cabinet, as Jeremy is reporting that opting to go ahead it says with the Rafah operation that we began to see

take hold in the form of flyers and telling about a hundred thousand residents in Rafah to move location.

Speaking to informed sources in the region, we are going through a document that we've received that seems to provide the detail that we had heard

Hamas officials speaking about, about what they think that they've agreed to, this Egyptian and Qatari deal; also understanding as well that there

may be this window for the bridge to be gapped, that the fact that Israel is willing to send even a working level delegation to Cairo, and even

understanding that as there are explosions on the outskirts or Rafah this evening, this may not indicate the ground incursion and may be, if I am

understanding correctly what I am hearing from sources another sort of 24 hours for which diplomacy and negotiations can play out.

There is no reason to believe that they will and there is every reason to understand that there isn't enough pressure in President Biden's arsenal of

pressure that he has to stop the prime minister continuing with the operation because Prime Minister Netanyahu's own political career and

future also depends on him achieving a victory and keeping his Cabinet together of which there are right-wing members who are opposed to any deal.

NEWTON: Yes, and some of those members already called the deal, really no- deal immediately when it came out.

Jeremy back to you on this though, I just want to see if you can give us a sense of what the mood is in Israel on hearing this news.

Of course, we see the video of the families of hostages who just want to be able to hug their loved ones and get them home, but how much pressure will

there be and how much acceptance would there be of Israel not going into Rafah?

DIAMOND: Well, it depends where you fall on the Israeli political spectrum. I mean, certainly the Israeli Prime Minister with the kind of governing

coalition that he currently has is under enormous pressure to move forward with the military operation in Rafah. In fact, two of the right-wing

members of his government who could very much pull their support and collapse the government altogether have threatened to walk if this Rafah

operation does not take place in recent weeks.

But the Israeli prime minister is also facing calls from the other side, from the folks who have been protesting in front of Israel's military

headquarters in Tel Aviv every week demanding a deal to free the hostages, accusing the Israeli Prime Minister of not doing enough, not prioritizing

the release of the hostages.

And tonight, they are once again in front of that military headquarters calling for the Israeli Prime Minister and his government to agree to this

deal, which appears to be on the table, which Hamas says that they have agreed to, although again, we don't know all of the details of it and we

don't know how much it diverges from the initial framework that Israel helped craft with Egypt.

NEWTON: And Jeremy, as you're speaking, we continue to get more information about explosions in Rafah and also more warnings from the IDF that people

should move to the safe spaces that they've allocated for them.

But Nic, to you again, look, the US government, the Biden administration has made absolutely clear to the Israeli government that they do not

believe that Rafah, any kind of incursion there, even these airstrikes going on at this hour is not a good idea because it puts civilians in

harm's way.

How much more pressure, if any, can the US administration bring to bear on the Netanyahu government?

ROBERTSON: You know, it could bring a lot more pressure to bear if it so chose. But that would be perhaps politically kilometers for President Biden

in this election year. He is already facing constrictions on the voters who might come out and support him because of the number of Palestinians that

have been killed in Gaza, that if he was to withdraw some sort of military support, which there seems to be no indication is about to do that, that

could obviously cost him dearly in the elections at home.

So yes, there are plenty of people around the world who would argue there is more pressure President Biden can bring to bear on Israel, but

politically for him, that would come at a very huge cost.


You know, I think one point Jeremy is making here is very worth giving a little bit more scrutiny to we understand what Hamas has been saying about

the deal that they have signed up to, without getting into the laborious detail that they they've laid out. They have gone into and they focused on

putting out a lot of detail about how hostages would be released, precisely some sequencing, precisely some numbers.

So sort of detail that we haven't had this substantially, I don't think for some time, that in Israel, of course, creates a political force and we are

seeing that on the streets. The families of the hostages who want the government to get a deal at any price, it has bought that and made it so

much more alive.

This is almost tangibly close and could be in hand if only the prime minister would do it. So in this way, Hamas is playing also the

psychological pressure game on the Israeli public and on the Israeli Prime Minister, and this is so typical of the way that Hamas operates and it is

so typical of the way that high-stakes negotiations go.

You know, earlier in the day, it looked like an invasion force getting ready to go into the Rafah later in the day, it looks like Hamas has signed

an agreement now, later in the day, again, it looks like that invasion force is ready to go again, but it looks like there is still maybe 24 hours

left for negotiations, but that political pressure that is being conjured essentially by Hamas saying, look, here we are, we are ready, we've signed,

we are ready to do this, that puts more pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu.

So, the pressure is not only going to come from outside, from those world leaders whether its Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey doesn't carry much

weight in Israel or President Xi of China who said that he wants to see a ceasefire in Gaza or many of the other leaders in Europe who also are

calling for this.

Perhaps the most real pressure is what is happening on the streets in Israel. It is a political future of Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is the

will of the Israeli people and the desire to get their hostages back that Hamas has seemed to make real again when three hours ago, four hours ago,

it didn't feel that real.

NEWTON: As you said, so tantalizingly close for these families and so heartbreaking and I will note in terms of regional players, Biden did meet

with King Abdullah earlier today and he is warning that any incursion into Rafah risks a massacre in his words.

Nic Robertson, we will continue to check in with you. Thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Donald Trump's hush money trial is back in session. The day began with a stunning warning from the judge after Trump was found to have again

violated his gag order. That's next.



SCIUTTO: Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial has just wrapped up for the day, a little bit early. Prosecutors are getting to the heart of their

case in earlier testimony. Trump organization employee, Deborah Tarasoff has finished testifying.

Former Trump organization executive, Jeffrey McConney had taken the stand just before her. He said that Trump's fixer, Michael Cohen, was paid some

$420,000.00 in 2017. Most of that money came from Trump's personal account cited as a legal expense.

This though, is a big part of the prosecution's argument, which says the money Trump sent Cohen was in fact reimbursement for Stormy Daniels' hush

money disguised as a legal expense, Katelyn Polantz joins us now from Washington and Katelyn, I think for folks watching this from a distance,

this can seem like minutiae here, an accountant, lots of attention to the paper trail, but explain how this fits into the case, what they are

alleging here is this was Trump's personal money from a personal account, not legal expenses at all, but reimbursement for hush money.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE SENIOR REPORTER: Right and signed by him on those checks.

Jim, sometimes you have these trials with star witnesses and these people in this trial, these big bold names in Donald Trump's media or political,

or campaign, or legal universe, but today is a day where the prosecutors are putting in front of the jury the paperwork, the invoices from Michael

Cohen to the accounts department within the Trump Organization and the checks themselves that were being sent back to through Donald Trump,

through the White House signed by him, FedExed from the Trump world and back to get that money to Michael Cohen to reimburse him.

That is a very important part of the case because what the case needs to do here for the prosecutors if they want to convince the jury is they have to

show every single step of how this money was billed by Michael Cohen for reimbursement because he had wired $130,000.00 to Stormy Daniels to pay her

off and they are also going to have to show how Donald Trump himself was aware of these payments and that they were not just for legal retention

fees to keep Michael Cohen on staff as a lawyer.

They are trying to prove that this is money being paid to Michael Cohen to reimburse him for that money to Stormy Daniels. And so what you are seeing

is the step-by-step of that process in 2016 and then into 2017. First Jeff McConney overseeing the accounting department at the Trump Organization,

setting up how those invoices were coming in from Michael Cohen asking for the reimbursement of $130,000.00 plus $50,000.00 more to be paid out to

Michael Cohen, $35,000.00 a month.

And then in 20 17, how that actually was paid largely as you said through Donald Trump's personal account.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and of course the rhythm of a case like this is you have at times, high profile witnesses like we saw with Hope Hicks at the end of

last week and then some of the more minutiae here to establish the issues behind their actual criminal case here, which is a violation of the law.

Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much.

Well, the day began with some major legal fireworks as well. Judge Merchan doubled down on his threat of potential jail time for the former president

after ruling that Trump had again violated his gag order. This marks the tenth time Trump has been found in contempt.

Judge Merchan said the court would consider a jail sanction going forward, noting that the fine so far at $1,000;00 per infraction have not yet

deterred the former president. Despite that threat Merchan told Trump, "The last thing I want to do is to put you in jail."

Thomas Moukawsher is a former Connecticut Superior Court judge. He is also the author of "The Common Flaw."

Good to have you on.

First, if we could talk about that threat from the judge because that is how we began today here. We have seen him fined, this president, this

former president, a former billionaire as the law allows $1,000.00 per fine. The judge saying that clearly has not deterred, I reserve the right

to put you in jail.


Is that a substantial threat from this judge, as you see it?

THOMAS G. MOUKAWSHER, FORMER CONNECTICUT SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE: I think absolutely. I think Judge Merchan has handled this completely by the book,

which means you follow a progressive discipline. You give some warnings, you impose some fines, impose some more fines. And then you give one last


And from what I saw today, I think Judge Merchan was giving that final warning that the next step, if warranted, is likely to be incarceration,

and I don't think he has any other cards to play. I think he asked to follow through on the promise that if he continues to violate his orders,

that Judge Merchan will incarcerate former President Trump.

SCIUTTO: That is remarkable. What would the law allow for in the state of New York? Would it be a day behind bars, multiple days?

MOUKAWSHER: Well, that is a situation of criminal contempt and normally it is a day or a few days in a circumstance like this. I think Judge Merchan

has to be careful to measure it correctly here, which is that if it is too brief, if it is too comfortable, then there won't be the deterrent effect

that is necessary under the circumstances of criminal contempt like this.

So I would say that if I were doing it, I would start in the three days incarcerated under circumstances, obviously that have to be acceptable to

the Secret Service. But not so comfortable that he doesn't notice it.

SCIUTTO: That is a truly remarkable prospect.

Onto the case as it stands given your experience, the witnesses you saw today, some of the nuts and bolts of the case here establishing a paper

trail, but also Trump's direct involvement and Trump's own money -- moneys direct involvement in this, tell us about the significance of that to the

broader criminal case?

MOUKAWSHER: Well, I think the theme that they are following here is that Donald Trump kept very tight control over his finances that the personal

checks had to be signed by Donald Trump. They had to be sent to Washington, that they were to Michael Cohen. It would say on it that it was legal fees.

It sounds from the evidence that he would know that he was paying these things, calling them legal fees. From earlier testimony, we know he was

trying to deal with quieting down this Stormy Daniels information. So there are some things that are being put together, but they certainly haven't got

the whole thing tightly wrapped up yet with respect to the thing that's very important, which is that Donald Trump knew what this was, what it was

for, knew it was being mislabeled and intended to do it in order to have an influence over the election.

And those are the things that they've got to keep hammering away at. It is all nice to see the checks and things like that, but what is in them is not

really much in dispute. It is what Trump knew and how he dealt with them.

SCIUTTO: So, to get to that, because as I understand it, intent is essential to proving that the felony counts here in effect, backing them

up. What more does the prosecution have to account accomplish before wrapping up their case to do that?

MOUKAWSHER: I think they have to tighten the intent aspect of it that Trump both knew and intended to link these two bookkeeping falsification and to

try to influence the outcome of the election. I think they're going to have to look in part to Michael Cohn for that and we've heard plenty about

foundation being laid for his testimony.

If the prosecution is smart, they are going to be working hard as they've already done some work to inoculate against the fact that his credibility

is going to be under a massive assault, Michael Cohen's credibility, that is and that is going matter very much on that critical thing of what did

Trump know, and what did he intend. So that's not -- that is yet to come.

SCIUTTO: Understood. And certainly more high-profile witnesses possible coming, including Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels.

Thomas Moukawsher, thanks so much for joining us.

MOUKAWSHER: Thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: And just after the break, we are going to have more on ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, stop and start talks you might call them

and what it could mean for civilians in Rafah who Israel has warned to evacuate. That's coming up.



NEWTON: And we are back to our breaking news here on CNN. Multiple explosions have been reported in the Rafah area of Gaza. Remember that's to

the south. This comes after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire proposal put forward by Qatar and Egypt and the Israeli Prime Minister's Office

responded with a brief statement and it says: "Israel will send a working delegation to speak with mediators" even though the proposal accepted by

Hamas is in Israel's words far from its requirements.

It also says the War Cabinet unanimously decided to continue that operation in Rafah and at this hour, multiple explosions have been reported in that


Colonel Cedric Leighton is a CNN military analyst and joins us now. Really good to have you to help us analyze what is going on.

The IDF said it so far has hit 50 terrorist targets. It continues to try and tell really hundreds of thousands of people that they need to go to

safer parts of Gaza. How do you see this unfolding now? Do you see it as a negotiation tactic or do you believe that Israel is going to use whatever

time in the interim of this negotiation to do what they can in Rafah to get to the Hamas militants that they say are seeking safe harbor?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: You know, Paula, I think it might be a little bit of both because I think what the Israelis are

doing is using this military capability that they have with this military operation to move forward just as they've promised in Rafah.

But they are also of course using it as a negotiating tactic, and they are doing it in a way that really puts in their view maximum pressure on Hamas

to basically give more concessions, to provide more concessions to the Israelis and also in essence, to lend credence to Prime Minister

Netanyahu's desire not only break Hamas as a military organization, but also as a political organization.


So the Israelis think that if they exert maximum pressure especially in this way, then they are more likely to get a way forward that is more

suitable to what the Israelis actually want to do.

NEWTON: You know, if we talk about how tough Benjamin Netanyahu has been on this topic, he says that any military operation they've taken in Gaza has

helped bring the hostages home. I think we can see from the hostage families, we have had on our air and also the protests that they've

mounted, that they're not entirely convinced of that.

Isn't it really incompatible to say that you are going to destroy Hamas? Because to do that means you need this operation in Rafah on a large scale,

something the United States and a host of other Israel's allies has said you cannot do, you will not do.

LEIGHTON: Yes. This is I think really the kind of the quicksand that Netanyahu finds himself in at the moment, Paula, because on the one hand he

has this political goal of destroying Hamas, that is, as you pointed out, an absolutely unrealistic goal because Hamas is more than just an

organization. It is an ideology, it is also an essence in organization that can morph with the times and with these kinds of impacts.

And it is an organization that will in some way survive this kind of operation. These kinds of operations are not going to really change the way

in which Hamas operates. It may mean different players, it may mean different leaders. Hamas as an organization is not going to die because of

what the Israelis do. That's in spite of their goals and in spite of the Israeli efforts in this particular case.

Now, when it comes to the hostage families, you know, Netanyahu may be right in the sense that the first series of hostages that were released

were basically released to some degree because of Israeli pressure on Hamas, as time has gone on, we've seen it become much more difficult for

Hamas to release the hostages, it's also become much more difficult for the Israelis to get the hostages back.

Both in a military operational sense as well as in a diplomatic sense. And so, this is kind of the situation that he finds himself and it's going to

be difficult for him to achieve any of the goals, whether it's destroying Hamas or getting the hostages back. And he's clearly put the former in

front of the latter and that is, I think, compounding some of the difficulties that the world is having in dealing with this particular


NEWTON: You know, it was clear that Hamas wanted to come out on the front foot of this, regardless of what they've agreed to, they've decided to put

it out there quite publicly. And that's how Israel found out about it. What are the risks -- pardon me, for Hamas right now and all of this?

LEIGHTON: Well, the biggest risk, I think, Paula, is that Hamas may find its leadership in a very difficult situation in terms of their physical

safety. The really space for maneuver that Hamas has is dwindling in essence by the minute, because as far as we know, their operation in Gaza

is basically concentrated in the Rafah area. Now their political wing is active in Qatar, so that organization will continue to survive in one way

or another.

But it is definitely a physical risk to Hamas' leadership. And also to many of the military elements of Hamas, because they are, in essence, being very

easily put into cannon fought or motive, I can call it that, as the organization tries to resist the Israeli efforts, even though, of course,

they've accepted this particular peace proposal, Hamas is definitely, in essence, at the whim of the Israelis when it comes to these bigger military

operations, although they can mount smaller operations against the Israelis, not quite at will, but they can certainly still conduct

operations that will cause damage to Israeli forces.

NEWTON: Yes. And we just had four killed with rockets which was a fairly rare occurrence and Hamas really flexing its muscles and understanding that

they still have capability. Cedric Leighton, we will leave it there for now. Thanks so much, Colonel. Appreciate it.

Now, President Biden spoke with Netanyahu for about 30 minutes but this was before the news of the proposed ceasefire broke. M.J. Lee joins us now from

the White House. At a significant timing, the White House made it clear that they did not know that Hamas would accept this. On the other hand,

made it clear that the CIA Director William Burns was appraised of each and every detail minute by minute.

What more are you learning about how, you know, really, the White House is viewing the events of the day so far?


M.J. LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the official war that we are getting from the U.S. so far is that U.S. officials are still

examining the details of this framework, and exactly, as you said, that when President Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke earlier

today, that was actually before Hamas had said that they were agreeing to this framework.

So, what the White House is saying is that the two leaders would not have discussed the particulars of this specific framework, but they also made

clear that as the president has been doing in all of his recent conversations with the Prime Minister, he did basically exert some pressure

trying to encourage the Prime Minister to get to a yes on some sort of a framework.

Now, as you know very well, U.S. officials have been working intimately for months with various mediators to try to get the parties to agree to a deal.

We know that CIA Director Bill Burns is still in the region pushing on this. And we know that so much is on the line for the U.S. despite an

administration and also the president himself, including of course seeing an end eventually to this conflict, getting all of the hostages out,

including of course several Americans who are believed to be remaining still in Gaza in captivity and also avoiding a major Rafah incursion.

Now, I had this exchange with White House spokesman John Kirby about this idea of a limited Rafah incursion by the Israelis. Take a listen.


LEE: John, what is the president's position on a limited operation in Rafah?


operation in Rafah. Operations is in general that put at greater risk the - - more than a million people that are sheltering there. And the question right now is a hypothetical question.

LEE: Right. You know that they are asking people in the area to evacuate and the possibility of a limited Rafah operation is on the table. So, I'm

asking does the president believe that Israel can execute a limited operation in Rafah while adequately protecting the lives of civilians


KIRBY: The president doesn't want to see operations in Rafah that put at greater risk.

LEE: So, he will support a limited operation in Rafah.

KIRBY: I think I've answered the question.


LEE: So, I think that was clearly a reiteration of the U.S.'s position that they do not want Israel to go into Rafah, bottom line, making clear of that

repeatedly in recent weeks. And they've also said, of course, that they have yet to see a plan from the Israelis on how exactly they intend on

protecting civilians, moving the 1.5 million people that are in this area right now out of that spot and also making sure that they can be housed,

that they can be fed, and making sure that they have all of the sort of humanitarian aid that they would need if an operation were to go forth.

And I think it's also just worth reminding everyone that what President Biden has said recently is that a major military incursion into Rafah he

would see as a crossing of a red line. Paula?

NEWTON: Yes, M.J. And I appreciate you pressing him on that because we don't even know what we're looking at this hour in terms of the operation

in Rafah. And it certainly has been a red line for the White House and many others, including King Abdullah, who met with Biden earlier today, who says

they risk massacre there if they continue. M.J. Lee for us at the White House. Really appreciate it.

Now we do have more information into us about the Israeli response to this latest ceasefire proposal. Benny Gantz, a member of Israel's war cabinet

said Monday there were, "significant gaps between Israel and Hamas after Hamas accepted that Gaza ceasefire and the hostage deal that was mediated

by Qatar and Egypt." Now Gantz said that the Hamas version of the proposal does not correspond to the dialogue that had taken place so far with the

mediators and has significant gaps.

Despite this, he says we continue to turn over every stone and a delegation will go to Cairo. But also, I want to note that he added the military

operation as we were just discussing in Rafah is also an integral part of our continued efforts and commitment to bring our hostages home. Remember

that that is a point of contention, whether or not this is actually helping to bring the hostages home.

I will note that Mr. Gantz is perhaps more on the moderate side of the Israeli war cabinet and many allies, including the United States, have been

trying to appeal to him to make sure they are looking at each and every opportunity to make some kind of a deal with Hamas.

Stay with us. We will be right back with more news after a break.



NEWTON: Chinese President Xi Jinping says France and China should work together to "prevent a new Cold War." He and French President Emmanuel

Macron have been meeting in Paris. It is Mr. Xi's first official visit to Europe in five years. The trip comes at a time of growing trade tensions

and European concerns over China's deepening ties with Russia. CNN's Melissa Bell has the latest.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The French President had opened his meeting on Monday with Xi Jinping and Ursula von der Leyen in the European

Commission, presenting that what he sought from his bilateral meetings with the Chinese President was twofold. First of all the idea that Xi Jinping

would accept the idea of a level playing field between the European Union and China on trade questions, but also he was hoping for a firm

condemnation by Beijing of the war in Ukraine.

This just ahead of the Russian President's due visit to Beijing later this month. Xi Jinping, for his part, had open remarks by explaining that the

point of his visit from Beijing's point of view was to prevent what he described as a possible new Cold War between blocs like the E.U. and China.

What we heard in the press conference between the two men was something of an explanation that there was some room for maneuver, for instance, on

trade issues.

President Macron explained that he was happy to hear from the Chinese President of his willingness to look again at the question of French cognac

exports talk then on the question of trade. Although no sign for sure that the trade war will is set be averted. On the question of Ukraine, the

French President explained that he'd been reassured by Xi Jinping's promise that there would be no sales of arms to Russia, but also that they would

avoid selling dual-use components that might be used to sustain Russia's war effort.

What he said was that he'd been reassured by the nature and the quality of the assurances that he'd been given by the Chinese President.

Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.

NEWTON: And we will be right back with more news in a moment.



NEWTON: We're turning to our top story on the war between Israel and Hamas. Hamas has accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar. Israel

says the deal though falls short of its requirements, but it is sending a delegation to try and keep these talks going. Now hostage families have

gathered outside the IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv. They're calling on Israel to accept their proposal.

Gaza meantime, scenes of celebration after Hamas accepted the agreement. At the same time though, the Israeli government says it is continuing a

military operation in Rafah in southern Gaza at this hour. Families of Israeli hostages have been gathering as we were just saying tonight in Tel

Aviv. And they're calling on the Israeli government to use this moment to bring home their loved ones.

The mother of a hostage spoke with our Bianna Golodryga about these new developments. It was just moments after Hamas said it had accepted a deal.



MEIRAV LESHEM GONEN, MOTHER OF ROMI, KIDNAPPED IN OCTOBER 7: It's challenging. This is a small word. But this is challenging each day,

especially today. When we thought maybe this is not happening, and now there is a new opening door for a possibility of an agreement. So, we are

aiming there. We want the agreement to be in. So only we'll be -- well, you know, I'm pretty much excited because of the news because it took, you

know, it took us just a minute ago just before the broadcasting.

And I wasn't prepared for that. And neither air for that. This is an option. This is a good option which we have to make sure will happen.


NEWTON: You just heard her there. Joining me now is Jasmine El-Gamal. She is a political analyst and former Middle East advisor at the U.S.

Department of Defense. I want to thank you for joining us. I want to start by asking you, what is each side risk here by letting down their people? I

mean, you saw the celebrations in Gaza, and we just heard from that mother. I can't imagine what she's going through at this hour.

JASMINE EL-GAMAL, FORMER MIDDLE EAST ADVISOR, U.S. DEFENSE DEPARTMENT: Absolutely. And this is such a strange mix of emotions and of scenes that

we're seeing across the two different sides. You know, you have the Palestinians who have just heard that Hamas has accepted the deal

celebrating. People were handing out sweets, you know, getting their hopes up that this could finally be the thing that prevents a Rafah invasion from

happening, which is something that they've been dreading for so many weeks and fearing.

And of course, now on the Israeli side, the hostage families are really, I can only imagine, feeling incredibly heartbroken as the Israeli Prime

Minister's office puts out a statement saying that this is not really the deal that we were talking about. This deal was modified. There are some

things that are unacceptable to us. We'll continue talking about it. But in the meantime, we will also continue this Rafah operation.


It's a very strange thing to be conducting a military operation at the same time that negotiations are happening to stop that very thing. So, it's a

very tense time for both sides. It's a very trying time for the negotiators and the mediators who have been trying to get to a deal for the last

several months.

NEWTON: Yes. And we all know that one hiccup and there'll be no deal to speak of anymore. I want to ask you, if you're the United States, if you're

the Biden administration right now, you've got the CIA director there in theater. He is minute by minute. They describe in real time keeping up with

this. What can you do to bring more pressure to bear? Because it is clear that the regional allies have tried to do what they can to get Hamas to the

table, even though Israel claims that that's a ploy. But what do you do to put more pressure on the Israeli government?

EL-GAMAL: You know, certainly the Biden administration has been trying for months to get the parties closer to a deal. But one thing that has been

hampering their efforts is their lack of effectiveness and frankly, lack of seeming, lack of an ability to control the Israelis on their end and to

provide any guarantees that will hold up in these negotiations. So, as Bill Burns is in the region trying to get these negotiations closer to fruition,

Prime Minister Netanyahu is going in to Rafah.

The IDF is going in to Rafah. And reportedly, the Biden administration was told about this the night before. And so, it's really difficult for a

negotiator. This is an any peace process in any conflict situation. There has to be a guarantor in the process in order to make the negotiations to

give -- to give guarantees to each party, to get them to take risks and make concessions that they don't want to make. There has to be a guarantor.

And so far, the U.S., which is in the natural position to play a guarantor, has not really been able to do so effectively. And that's been a huge issue

in these negotiations and why they, at least partly, why they've been -- they've been stalling. Of course, the other one is Prime Minister

Netanyahu's unwillingness to actually reach the deal in fear of his coalition disbanding.

NEWTON: Yes. At the end of the day, he does not want to lose power and fears it will, unless he takes a harder line. I will leave it there for

now. Thanks so much. Really appreciate it. And we'll be right back. And we will be right back with more news in a moment.


NEWTON: And to bring you right up to date now, there are reports of multiple explosions in the east of Rafah and that is in southern Gaza at

the sour. An area the Israeli military had ordered an evacuation of civilians that happened earlier today. Meantime, a very different picture

in other parts of the Palestinian enclave, you can see their scenes of celebration after Hamas accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and


Israel says the deal falls short though of its requirements, but it is sending a delegation nonetheless to try and keep these talks going.


They will send that delegation to Egypt. The Israeli government says it's continuing. Meantime, a military operation in Rafah. And to the other major

story we are following today, Donald Trump's criminal hush money trial has been wrapped for the day. Two Trump organization employees took the stand.

Accountant Deborah Tarasoff and former executive, Jeffrey McConney both of them testified about payments made to Michael Cohen.

Now, the real drama happened this morning. Judge Juan Merchan ruled that Trump had yet again violated his gag order. He said the court would have to

consider jailing him if he violates it again. Merchan made clear that putting Trump behind bars is in fact the last thing he wants to do. Jim

Sciutto has been covering this from -- covering this for us outside the courthouse here in New York.

Jim, I mean, just when I -- just -- that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? You know, a former president once again being fined, held

in contempt and a judge saying, you know, I don't want you -- I want to want to put you in prison, but I will if I have to.

SCIUTTO: No question. I mean, it comes to the judges in patients here, but also Trump's continued willingness to violate the letter and it seems the

spirit of these gag orders which are intended to prevent him from attacking specifically jurors, witnesses, et cetera. Trump has claimed that his First

Amendment, free expression rights have been taken away when in fact the gag order still allows him to question the case as a whole, even to attack the


But when Trump has crossed the line and for instance, attack the jury pool as being fundamentally unfair or the witnesses' credibility, the judge has

imposed sanctions. Now, those sanctions might matter to you and me, a thousand dollars per violation. They have not seemed in the judge's view to

matter to Donald Trump. So, the Trump has said, if this behavior continues, I, the judge, reserve the right to impose other penalties, including


Now, that, of course, would be quite a major step. A former U.S. president spending a night, perhaps multiple nights behind bars. We'll see if the

judge takes that step. But he did reiterate today, Paula Newton, his willingness to do so at the behavior and the violations of the gag order


NEWTON: Yes. And at that point, really, the exasperation is pretty clear from this judge in terms of what goes on. Before we moved on to the other

big news of the day, just quickly, there were really accounting issues that were brought up in court today. And yet that's crucial if the prosecution

is going to get a conviction here.

SCIUTTO: Right. Listen, this was a nuts-and-bolts day. Of course, end of last week, you had Hope Hicks, who was quite a -- quite a close advisor to

Trump speaking about her knowledge of Trump's desire to essentially kill this story about the Stormy Daniels alleged affair. Today is more about the

finances behind it, because that is essential. It is essential to the prosecutor's case here that there was money spent to quiet this story.

The Trump was aware of it. It was his money and that he was involved and had intent to use this money to kill this story. So today, really, you had

accountants, you had employees of Trump organizations speaking to where that money came from and Trump's part in the decision-making about that

money. And one of the witnesses testifying in effect that not only was Trump signing the checks, but he knew where this money was going.

And that is, while somewhat small bork compared to the broader outlines of the case, it is essential to the prosecution's case as they see it and as

is required if they're going to prove that he committed felonies here.

NEWTON: All right, Jim. We are almost out of time. But before I let you go, I do want to ask you, in terms of the White House, and I know how closely

you've been following this, do you believe that they can and will put more pressure on Netanyahu? As I said, you've been covering this closely. I know

we don't have a lot of time, but any thoughts?

SCIUTTO: Yes. Well, they've been putting some pressure. They've been saying it, and that CNN's reporting behind the scenes. The question is, is it

enough pressure to move Bibi Netanyahu here? He has his own calculations, his own assessment of any potential deal with Hamas, but also in the view

of U.S. officials and others. He has his own political calculations, which is the potential of the right wing of his coalition leaving if he goes

further than they're willing to go here. So, we're caught in the middle of that tension right now.

NEWTON: Jim Sciutto for us in New York. Really appreciate your insights on both of our breaking news stories this afternoon. Appreciate it. Jim, we'll

see you again tomorrow. That's it for this hour. I'm Paula Newton in New York. Our breaking news coverage continues. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper

starts right now.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.