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The Situation Room
Israel Says, Tunnel Shaft Found In Raided Gaza Hospital Complex; New York Appeals Court Temporarily Lifts Trump Gag Order; Damning Ethics Report On Rep. George Santos (R-NY), Botox, Spas And Lies; Jury Convicts Paul Pelosi Attacker On Both Charges; U.S. Capitol Police Warned Of Potential Uptick In Violence A Day Before Clash With Anti-War Protesters Outside DNC HQ. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired November 16, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to continue blocking Florida from enforcing its law limiting drag shows. The law makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly admit a child to a sexually explicit adult live performance that would be obscene for, quote, the age of the child present. The law was a priority for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who signed the law in May.
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Our coverage continues now Wolf Blitzer. He is next in THE SITUATION ROOM.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happens now, breaking news, the Israeli military says it found a tunnel shaft at the Gaza hospital it raided amid pressure to prove its claim that Hamas used the complex as a command center. I'll ask an IDF spokesperson about the newly released video and whether there's more evidence to come.
Also this hour, all the damning details in the House Ethics report on Congressman George Santos, prompting a new push to expel him from Congress. The bipartisan panel committee concluding the Republican used campaign funds for botox, spa treatments and other luxuries while telling a litany of lives.
And there's a guilty verdict tonight for the man who attacked Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul, with a hammer in their San Francisco home. We'll break down the conviction and the reaction from the former House speaker and her family.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Let's get right to the breaking news, new video from the Israeli military, aimed at backing up its could claim that Hamas used Gaza's largest hospital as a command center.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond has our report from Israel.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A Hamas tunnel below Gaza's largest hospital, that's what the Israeli military says this video shows. Nearly 48 hours after Israeli forces raided Al-Shifa hospital, these are the first images of what the Israeli military says is an operational tunnel shaft on the grounds of the hospital complex. CNN cannot independently verify those claims, but using this frame, CNN has geolocated this video to the Al-Shifa complex, about 30 meters away from one of the hospital's main buildings.
REAR ADM. DANIEL HAGARI, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: It is here in Shifa Hospital where Hamas operates some of its command and control cells.
DIAMOND: For weeks, Israeli officials have laid the groundwork for an operation targeting Shifa Hospital, claiming Hamas operates a massive underground complex below it. And in recent days, the U.S. has also backed up those allegations.
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: One thing that's been established is that Hamas does have headquarters, weapons, materiel below this hospital.
DIAMOND: As Israeli Special Forces continue searching the hospital complex, they are also uncovering weapons and ammunition.
LT. COL. JONATHAN CONRICUS, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: There's an AK-47, there are cartridges and ammo, there are grenades in here.
DIAMOND: Which the Israeli military calls concrete evidence that Hamas used Gaza's largest hospital to wage war.
Near the hospital, Israeli officials say they also found the body of 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, who was among those abducted on October 7th.
Israel's decision to send troops into a hospital that is drawn fierce criticism with the U.N.'s aid chief saying he is appalled by the raid. President Biden standing by Israel's actions.
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's not like they're rushing in the hospital knocking down doors, pulling people aside and shooting people indiscriminately.
DIAMOND: Amid the fighting, the families of hostages held by Hamas ramping up the pressure.
ZOHAR AVIGDORI, NIECE, SISTER-IN-LAW HELD HOSTAGE: This whole huge march of families up to Jerusalem comes to make a very clear stand to our government that they need to take any deal that they have and pay any price for these people, for their citizens, pretty much.
DIAMOND: As negotiations drag on over a deal that could see Hamas free dozens of women and children in exchange for a multi-day ceasefire.
AVIGDORI: This is my sister-in-law and this is my niece. She's 12 years old.
DIAMOND: Their families are wracked with anxiety.
AVIGDORI: It's been nerve-racking, to tell you the truth, because, again, we don't know who to believe. We are trying to kind of scrape the last remnants of faith and trust in our government that when a relevant deal comes to the table, they will take it.
DIAMOND: For now, they march and wait.
DIAMOND (on camera): And, Wolf, negotiations between Israel and Hamas for that potential hostage deal are still ongoing, but there are major questions, including from some of those hostage families about whether or not the Israeli government will agree to a ceasefire for several days in order to get dozens of these hostages out.
Hundreds of thousands of these families and other people supporting them are expected to march to Jerusalem on Saturday.
I asked Zohar, that man that you saw at the end there, who is missing his niece and his brother's wife, whether or not he believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu's priorities are aligned with his. He said they better be because he is working for him. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right. Jeremy Diamond reporting from Ashkelon, Israel, for us. Jeremy, thank you.
As Israel attempts to justify its raid of the Al-Shifa Hospital, conditions inside the complex are growing more dire by the day.
CNN's Nada Bashir has an update on the humanitarian crisis unfolding all across Gaza.
NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER (voice over): It's a scene that should be filled with innocence, but these drawings, sketches of houses, paint a picture of all these children have lost. Home for the displaced now makeshift shelters in Central Gaza, lives in limbo with nowhere to go.
In the south, as more children are buried, another warning. Leaflets dropped by the Israeli military on Thursday, telling civilians in Southern Gaza to move and find shelter. A foreboding signal that Israel's ground incursion could soon extend its punishing reach.
ATYA ABU JACAL, DISPLACED GAZAN IN KHAN YOUNIS: Now they are asking us to leave. Where do we go? We want to understand where exactly we should go. BASHIR: The U.N. rights experts on Thursday warned that grave violations committed by Israel point, in their words, to a genocide in the making.
As darkness encompasses doctors in the south, already grappling with the impact of Israel's intensifying bombing campaign, there are growing fears over what could come next. Desperate scenes from the north of Gaza almost entirely destroyed by Israel's unrelenting airstrikes, show just how dire a situation can quickly become.
DR. NAHED ABU TAAEMA, DIRECTOR, NASSER HOSPITAL: We have lost contact with our colleagues, patients and everyone inside the Al-Shifa medical complex.
BASHIR: Israeli forces say they are still active in and around the Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza's largest, claiming to have found an operational tunnel shaft at the hospital complex.
With no access to the complex, CNN is unable to verify either side's claims. Israel says its military operation at Al-Shifa will take time, raising fears over the safety and security of more than a thousand patients and medical staff now trapped inside.
DR. RICK BRENNAN, REGIONAL EMERGENCY DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We are looking at options for medical evacuation, but there are a lot of security concerns, there are a lot of logistics constraints, our options are rather limited.
BASHIR: Allegations of people at Al-Shifa being interrogated and even stripped are beginning to emerge. While doctors are detailing the harrowing decisions they are being forced to make, including amputating limbs to stop the spread of infection. But with the communications blackout cutting northern Gaza off from much of the outside world, CNN has no ability to verify these accounts and has reached out to the IDF for comment.
No videos have emerged from staff at Al-Shifa Hospital since the raid began in the early hours of Wednesday morning. These are some of the last pictures to have been shared with the world, premature babies and intensive care.
There is no way to tell if all are still alive. Their cries some of the last sounds heard before the voices of those inside Al-Shifa were silenced.
BASHIR (on camera): Look Wolf, there is still mounting concern for the safety and security of those patients and medical staff, as well as other civilians inside the Al-Shifa complex, as you heard there. It is extremely difficult even to begin to think about evacuating some of these patients who require specialist medical evacuations. And as we know, of course, already there are some 1.5 million Palestinians who have been displaced within the Gaza Strip.
And, of course, while there has been an intense focus on the Al-Shifa complex, what we are seeing across the Gaza Strip now is continued aerial bombardment, continued concern over the mounting death toll that we are seeing. Wolf?
BLITZER: Nada Bashir reporting live from Jerusalem, thank you, Nada, very much.
Let's get some more on all of these developments. Joining us now, a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler. Lieutenant Colonel, thank you so much for joining us.
First of all, what more can you tell us about this, quote, operational tunnel shaft that Israeli forces say they found inside Al-Shifa complex? Is that the extent of what the IDF has found at Al-Shifa so far when it comes to tunnels or is there more?
LT. COL. (RES.) AMNON SHEFLER, SPOKESPERSON, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: This is one of the piers that we found in the area that we're continuously also looking for other, and this shows that, clearly, there is a tunnel infrastructure underneath the Al-Shifa hospital.
We found also today a lot of explosives and other ammunitions right in that courtyard of the Al-Shifa hospital also together with what we found yesterday in the MRI room. We also found the car that you just showed that is similar to the cars that were used on the October 7th massacre and it was booby trapped, once again showing how Hamas did not care and was looking forward to explode a car inside the Shifa Hospital that would surely have killed also patients and staff of that hospital.
BLITZER: Lieutenant Colonel, can you say unequivocally that what's been found at the hospital shows this was a major Hamas command center? What exactly do you define as a command center?
SHEFLER: Yes, we can say that now clearly and now we're also showing it on top of the evidence that we knew from the intel and that the our U.S. counterparts have also verified.
What we're seeing here is a place where Hamas can gather. We saw the communication tools that they had. We saw the intel tools that they need in order to facilitate any kind of terrorist activity and carry it out from that infrastructure that they used.
Again, another civilian infrastructure similarly like they use schools like they use mosques and also like they use this hospital, the Quds Hospital, the Rantisi Hospital, to carry out and plan and execute terrorist activity.
BLITZER: The director of Al-Shifa, the hospital there, says patients there are going untreated including a lot of children. Doesn't Israel have an obligation to deliver critical supplies to at least the patients there?
SHEFLER: We have an obligation, a moral obligation, and we wish to. That is why today we brought 4,000 liters of water to the hospital. That is why we brought today 1,500 prepared meals to the hospital. That is why we're continuously talking to the administration of the hospital and the doctors and to see what is needed.
And based on what they said, we brought in the incubators, we brought in baby food, we have designated an area of the hospital, the eastern side of it, that civilians and patients that can leave should leave through the humanitarian corridors that we are continuously protecting and allowing those civilians to leave.
And that is why we're in continuous communication to find the best way that we can alleviate the suffering that Hamas is bringing on the people in Gaza.
BLITZER: Are you planning to deliver fuel to the hospital?
SHEFLER: We have offered fuel, 300 liters that our soldiers brought while taking a risk to the hospital. Sadly, the hospital did not take it in. probably because the Hamas was threatening what would happen to them if they do.
And as I mentioned, we're in continuous communication and whatever the hospital says that they need, we will try to facilitate that.
BLITZER: The body of an Israeli hostage, a woman, was found near Al- Shifa Hospital. The IDF says she was killed by terrorists. Can you explain the exact circumstances of her death, 65-year-old grandmother?
SHEFLER: 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss was found right next to the Al- Shifa Hospital and brought back to Israel to be buried next to her husband that was also murdered on the 7th of October by Hamas.
We have two goals in this war that Hamas launched. One is to dismantle Hamas and the second is to bring back the hostages that now on the day 41 are still being held by Hamas. And I want to remind everyone, the safest and fastest way for these hostages to come home is for Hamas to release them and the international community to continue pressuring Hamas to do so.
BLITZER: So, do you know exactly how this 65-year-old grandmother died?
SHEFLER: We know that she, on October 7th, was alive in her bed in Kibbutz Be'eri and Hamas came in and brutally massacred 10 percent of that kibbutz and took her as hostage together with a nine-month-old baby, children, women and elderly. And now we know that she has sadly passed away.
BLITZER: As you know, Israel has dropped leaflets in the largest city in Southern Gaza, warning civilians there to leave. The IDF previously told people to move south for safety. So, where are they supposed to go, Lieutenant Colonel?
SHEFLER: We're the ones that are actually continuously communicating with the people of Gaza, looking for the safer areas where they can be, because we knew that Hamas has its headquarters mainly in the Gaza City, that is where operationally we chose to start. [18:15:01]
But, sadly, as we know, Hamas is operating all over the Gaza Strip. More than 10,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli civilians, and this includes coming from the southern part of Gaza.
So, Hamas is not operating only in Gaza City, it's operating also in the south. And in order to reach our number one goal, which is to dismantle Hamas, we will go to them wherever they are. Yet, we are looking for the safest places for the civilians of Gaza.
And that is why we've asked them initially to move to the southern part of Gaza, south of the body of Gaza. And now we're telling them specifically where to move within that area.
And also, while doing so, we're continuously in communication with any international organization that wants to aid the Gazans, bring in any international medicine, facilities, food that can be helped, including field hospitals that we're inviting any country that wants to donate them to bring them to the southern part of Gaza, so we can help the Palestinians.
As we said, reaching the goal of dismantling Hamas will not only bring it to be safer for Israelis, it will also bring it to be safer for the Palestinians living in Gaza.
BLITZER: Lieutenant Colonel Amnon Shefler, thanks so much for joining us.
SHEFLER: Thanks for having us.
BLITZER: Just ahead, New York appeals court lifts a gag order on Donald Trump for now. What it means for the former president's civil fraud trial and other major legal troubles.
BLITZER: A New York appeals court has just lifted a gag order on Donald Trump, at least temporarily. The ruling comes after Trump's attorneys argued his right to free speech was being unfairly restricted.
CNN's Kara Scannell is outside the courthouse in Manhattan for us. Kara, so what's the impact of this order?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, as you say, a New York appeals court judge has lifted a gag order at least for now after Trump's claims that it was unconstitutional. Trump's lawyers had filed a petition just earlier this week and there was an emergency hearing on that today and that is after that hearing the judge has issued that ruling from the bench.
And the gag order was put in place by Judge Arthur Engoron who is overseeing the civil fraud trial. He put it in place after Trump had made baseless claims about his law clerk on social media and then extended it to Trump's attorneys after they raised questions about communications the judge was having with that same law clerk who sits just a few feet from him on the bench.
So, the judge in the case had also sanctioned Trump $15,000 for violating that gag order, but now after this appellate court judge stepped in, Trump is free to say whatever he wants about this case.
Now, Trump's attorney, Chris Kise, said this after the hearing, fortunately, the Constitution and the First Amendment protect everyone, including President Trump.
So, this freeze of the gag order will remain in effect until briefing is heard on this case. Those briefs are not due until the end of the month and this trial wraps next month, Wolf. So, this gag order could be lifted for the duration of the trial.
BLITZER: Kara Scannell reporting for us, thank you for that update.
Now, I want to go to an exclusive new CNN report on the special counsel's Hunter Biden investigation. I want to get some more from our Chief Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid.
Paula, I understand you've learned Joe Biden's brother has been subpoenaed.
PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Multiple sources telling CNN that prosecutors are now using a Los Angeles grand jury to gather evidence related to Hunter Biden's finances, signaling that additional charges could be coming for the president's son.
Now, multiple witnesses have received subpoenas for testimony and documents. One of those witnesses is Hunter's uncle, James Biden. He was also his former business partner.
Now, it appears that this investigation is looking into Hunter Biden's alleged tax violations for allegedly not paying taxes in certain years. Now, that was something that was supposed to be resolved by a plea deal that fell apart earlier this year.
Now, the special counsel has already filed gun charges against Hunter Biden in Delaware. That's where most of the investigation into the president's son has been conducted. But these alleged tax crimes happened in Southern California. That's also where he lives. So, the fact that they're now using a grand jury there signals more charges could be coming.
BLITZER: And, Paula, I understand there's also new information about another special counsel investigating President Biden's handling of classified materials. What are you learning?
REID: Well, Wolf, multiple sources telling us that no charges are expected to be filed in special counsel Rob Hur's investigation into the possible mishandling of classified materials at two locations connected to President Biden.
He will though issue a report, which we were told, is expected to be extremely detailed and also critical of the president and his team for how they handle these sensitive materials.
Now, a lot of comparisons will likely be made especially by Republicans and Trump allies between the Biden documents case and the Trump documents case, which is, of course, now going to be a criminal trial next year.
But three key differences. The first, volume, the second, cooperation with the government, and the last is dissemination. In the Biden case, we're talking about dozens of documents, in the Trump case, talking about hundreds of classified documents.
Also the Trump team did not fully cooperate when the government signaled that they wanted these documents back. And, of course, there is no evidence suggesting the president disseminated any of these sensitive materials where former President Trump is heard on tape appearing to share some of the sensitive information with people who did not have clearances.
BLITZER: All right. Paula Reid you reporting for us, thank you, Paula.
Just ahead the damning House Ethics report on Congressman George Santos, where the committee says the Republican lawmaker spent campaign cash for many personal purposes and what it means for his political future.
BLITZER: Republican Congressman George Santos says he will not, repeat, not run for re-election after the House Ethics Committee has now released a scathing long-awaited report. That investigation found Santos used campaign cash for personal expenses, including travel, luxury shopping, Botox and other cosmetics.
Our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju has the latest.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): He's been under scrutiny all year for the lies he's told about his past and for the 23 federal criminal charges he's facing.
But now, GOP Congressman George Santos could be expelled from the House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Santos is a fraud. He should not be a member of Congress. RAJU: This after a month's long investigation from the bipartisan Ethics Committee, alleging criminal wrongdoing, saying he sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.
The panel finding that Santos blatantly stole from his campaign, including for travel and Botox, even making a payment to OnlyFans, also alleging he reported fictitious loans and sustained it all through a constant series of lies.
REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): I think the people of his district need representation and they're not getting that right now.
RAJU: The damning report concludes that he knowingly filed false reports with the FEC and made willful violations in financial disclosures with the House.
The GOP chairman of the Ethics Committee, Michael Guest, planning to file a resolution to make Santos just a sixth House member in U.S. history to be expelled.
REP. MICHAEL GUEST (R-MS): That will be enough for members to be able to make a decision as to whether or not they believe it would be proper to expel Representative Santos.
RAJU: In an interview with CNN this month, Santos acknowledged making mistakes in his filings.
They said you made up your income and that could be a problem for your ethics problem. What happened? I mean, did you not list your income properly here?
REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): All I can say is, first, no, that's not true. Second, were there mistakes made on those terms (ph)? Now I know they were. Was I -- were they malicious? No. I didn't understand how that worked. And I'm a new candidate and I'm sorry that like mistakes were made.
RAJU: And denying making fake loans to his campaign.
Because one of the things they say is that there's a $500,000 loan that you made.
SANTOS: Oh, I made $500,000.
RAJU: But you had $8,000 in your bank account and they say there's no evidence that that $500,000 loan was made.
SANTOS: Like I said, I made -- I can guarantee you that I made the financial loans to my campaign that are on the record.
RAJU: Today, Santos blasting the bipartisan committee, calling the report biased and a disgusting politicized smear, yet announcing he would not seek a second term next year, saying his family deserved better, despite saying this just two weeks ago.
So, if they expel you and then they put someone else in the seat, you're going to run in 2024?
RAJU (on camera): And support is growing for George Santos' expulsion. There are a dozen Republicans right now who have previously opposed the expulsion, now supporting it. We calculate they will need about 50 Republicans on order to get to that two-thirds majority. And if he is expelled, it will narrow the House Republican majority likely the 221 to 213, meaning any three Republicans who defect could scuttle party line votes.
But it would truly be a historic move, unprecedented, Wolf, because never before in American history has someone been expelled who has not been convicted or was not fighting for the Confederacy. And, Wolf, the speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, his spokesman, putting out a statement saying that you can considers the finding, quote, very troubling, but to consider the impacts on the institution as members weigh their next step. Wolf?
BLITZER: Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill, Manu, thanks for that report.
I want to get reaction from our political experts right now, and, Audie Cornish, let me start with you. The level of detail in this report is really, really intensive. It's stunning. Have you ever seen anything like this before? You've covered Congress for a long time.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN HOST: I have. And I've actually covered a case of the Louisiana congressman who was found to have $90,000 in his freezer, William Jefferson. He actually also ran for re-election and was not elected and he was not voted to be expelled. Lawmakers are very loath to kick people out if they are not convicted for a crime.
What's interesting about this report, though, is it's so specific, not just about Botox and some of this other sort of funnier stuff, but about him manipulating and lying to donors, and that's a no-no. You're tapping into the pool of everyone else and messing with everybody's money and I think that that's something lawmakers really don't like in the party.
And it was showing that he was double dealing with the loans, et cetera, but he was also using the fact that he was in Congress to continue to reach out and continue with some of those manipulations.
BLITZER: I totally agree. I've covered Congress for a long time as well.
Kevin Madden, what are you hearing from Republicans right now about these truly shocking details in this extensive report?
KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, there's been a big shift, I think, in sentiment about whether or not they should put a premium on defending the Republican majority. We have a razor-thin majority, as Manu just mentioned. Now, this would reduce the margin to about three Republican votes. That is very quickly dissipating. The big concern has to be about whether or not you have members of Congress that are going to be able to ever go home and defend an institution that would then say that, well, we have to give everybody due process when you have a report like this that is as scathing and has as much detail about the malfeasance that took place. So, if they're ever really going to defend their own majority, they have to take action.
So, I think the one thing that you're seeing now, growing sentiment, growing levels of pressure on members to actually take action against Representative Santos.
BLITZER: Including a lot of Republicans on this issue as well. Kate Bedingfield is with us.
Santos has survived one expulsion vote already. You think he can survive another?
KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's hard to imagine given the specificity and the egregiousness of the allegations that are made in this report and the fact that it is a bipartisan report. It has Republican imprimatur as well.
I think the previous votes were, again, prior to this report coming out. There's now -- there's more sort of substance.
And to Kevin's point, they're going to have to go home to their districts and defend it. And I don't think anybody wants to defend payments that, you know, bilking donors for payments to OnlyFans or Botox.
So, it's hard to imagine he survives. Again, it's going to be a very narrow -- it will create a very narrow margin. And there's always some desire to try to preserve your majority. But I think the severity and the specificity of the report means that it's very hard for them to do that.
And for, you know, Democrats, for example, who didn't vote to expel him previously, their objection was largely procedural and largely the fact that, you know, historically, you would not vote to expel a member of Congress who hadn't been convicted. Now, we have this very specific report that makes it easier for them to take that procedural vote.
BLITZER: And as Manu reported, you need a two-thirds majority to expel a member of Congress.
Audie, while I have you, I want to turn to this brand new CNN poll just released today in New Hampshire. And take a look at some of these numbers. Donald Trump is still out in front significantly. But look at Nikki Haley right now. She's jumped to second place, nearly doubling her support from September.
CORNISH: I think it's easy to look at those numbers and think absolutely, obviously, Donald Trump is so far ahead. But what you also see there are double digit percentages of people in the electorate who want another choice. They haven't coalesced around one in particular, but that doesn't mean the hunger isn't there. That's how you can see numbers nudging up.
And I think part of the problem is the -- and Kevin will talk about this more, someone has got to drop out. Somebody's got to say, look, I'm the most likely if there's even a fighting chance to have a conversation about a real choice.
BLITZER: Is Nikki Haley now the number one threat to potentially to Trump getting the Republican majority (ph)?
MADDEN: Yes, I think she's the top one now. I mean, I think she's -- clearly, she has momentum, right?
I would say that this is a three Cs are in play right now. First is you have more curiosity about Nikki Haley, right? And that's a good thing. But are you able to convert them into, you know, real genuine supporters? Are you able to get more fundraisers on your side, more grassroots support? And then the last part, which I think is the hardest part is consolidation. Are you going to see more people start to drop out, more of the other candidates start to drop out and move their support to Nikki Haley? Those last two, I think, right now are all question marks.
We shall see what happens. It's interesting to say the least. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.
This note to our viewers, you can find Audie's podcast, and it's truly an excellent podcast, entitled The Assignment, wherever you get your podcasts. So, check it out.
Just ahead, new reaction to the breaking news on Israel's claim of a tunnel shaft found at the Al-Shifa Hospital. The Palestinian Authority's health minister is standing by to join us. We'll discuss when we come back.
BLITZER: We're following breaking news in the Israel-Hamas War, the Israeli military releasing video claiming to show an operational tunnel shaft at the Gaza hospital it raided. Israel says it's evidence that Hamas had a command center at the Al-Shifa hospital where IDF forces are still searching and patients are suffering.
And joining me now from Ramallah on the West Bank, the minister of health for the Palestinian Authority, Dr. Mai al-Kaila. Dr. al-Kaila, thank you so much for joining us.
As you know, doctors at Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital say they've had to amputate patients' infected limbs. They've lost power, medical equipment, medicine. Have you had any contact with doctors there? What are you hearing? DR. MAI AL-KAILA, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY HEALTH MINISTER: Yes, we have contact through a focal point that is contacting with them. And we hear the same. We heard that amputation of legs are done without anesthesia. A caesarean section for a pregnant woman was done without anesthesia because of lack of medication and the necessity and urgency to do these operations. As well, there is no protection for these operations by antibiotics, as it should be in such cases. And, therefore, the situation is really very difficult and very horrific.
BLITZER: Israel says that they found a Hamas tunnel shaft, a command center with guns and ammunition around the hospital, underneath the hospital, in fact. How much responsibility, Doctor, does Hamas bear for endangering doctors, patients and sheltering civilians there?
AL-KAILA: I have seen this, as everybody has seen this on the videotape that was published. However, actually the hospital of Al- Shifa and the patients there, there shouldn't be any price for this. And they should be protected by the international humanitarian law. As you might know, that international humanitarian law protect the hospitals and protect the medical staff, the ambulances, and the civilians. And this is not the case in this war.
You know, the Geneva Convention, the third, the fourth, and its annexes as well as the Security Council Resolution 2286 of the year 2016 affirmed that what came in the international humanitarian law and in the Geneva Conventions.
Therefore, the civilians and medical staff, patients and ambulances, they should be protected by law.
BLITZER: As you probably know, there's only one -- there's only one hospital in northern Gaza that seems to be left right now. Give us your sense of the magnitude, Doctor, of this health crisis, indeed, across the entire hospital system in Gaza right now.
AL-KAILA: In Gaza, there's 55 hospitals, public and private, and charitable hospitals. Out of these hospitals, there are 26 hospitals are not in service now because of the bombardment of the occupying power to the -- some of the hospitals, or because there is lack of fuel and medical supplies and medicines.
Now, when we say 26 hospitals are not operating, this means the majority of the hospitals, nine hospitals, are left and they are the most of them, they are in the south, functioning. But still, they are not sanctioned. Now, in the north area of Gaza, there is 24 hospitals and the Shifa is the north area. And these 24 hospitals, one is left functioning, is allowed hospital in the upper north, in Jabalia, and part of the Arab Ahli hospital, part of it is working.
BLITZER: Dr. Mai Al-Kaila, thank you so much for joining us.
AL-KAILA: Thank you.
BLITZER: Coming up, a federal jury reaches a verdict in the trial of a man who bludgeoned Paul Pelosi with a hammer. We have details on that decision. We'll share them with you right after a quick break.
BLITZER: In San Francisco today, a federal jury convicted the man who brutally attacked the husband of Nancy Pelosi with a hammer last October.
CNN's Veronica Miracle is joining us now from outside the courthouse with an update.
Veronica, so what exactly did the jury decide? What do they find?
VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the jury decided that David DePape is guilty on both counts, both federal charges that he was facing. They say that he did, he was facing, the attempted kidnapping of a federal official as well as the assault on the immediate family member of a federal official. They found him guilty on both of those counts. They also found he used a dangerous weapon in the attack. And he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.
Now, immediately after the verdict was read, a spokesperson for Speaker emerita Nancy Pelosi put out a statement, saying in part, Speaker Pelosi and her family are deeply grateful for the outpouring of prayers and warm wishes for Mr. Pelosi from so many across the country during this difficult time. The Pelosi family is very proud of their Pop, who demonstrated extraordinary composure and courage on the night of the attack a year ago, and in the courtroom this week.
We do have video of the attack on Paul Pelosi. It is disturbing. During his testimony this week, he said that last year has been incredibly trying. He had to re-learn how to walk. He goes -- undergoes physical therapy multiple times a week, still to this day, and go and has the dizzy spells and headaches constantly. It's been very traumatic.
Next, David DePape goes to his state trial where he's facing attempted murder charges among others -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Veronica, thanks for that update. Veronica Miracle reporting.
Coming up, why U.S. Capitol police believe they were prepared for an anti-war protest that turned violent.
BLITZER: Tonight, CNN has learned that U.S. Capitol police were warned that potential violence linked to events in Gaza, a day before they clashed with anti-war protesters.
We were told the intelligence assessment helped officers prepare for what unfolded outside of Democratic Party headquarters here in Washington overnight.
CNN's Brian Todd is at the scene of the clash for us, tonight.
Brian, activists are turning up the heat, clearly, on top Democrats including the president.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They certainly are, Wolf. The barricades here at Democratic national headquarters in Washington still up after those violent protests last night. That event, plus what happened just a short time ago in San Francisco or shortly carbon the attention of the president and fellow Democrats tonight.
TODD (voice-over): Today on San Francisco's Bay Bridge, pro- Palestinian protesters brought traffic to a standstill for hours during rush hour. Eighty arrested and 29 cars towed off the bridge, a direct message to President Biden, who's attending the APEC summit nearby.
And last night, this melee at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington. Peace activists calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, police forcefully moving protesters down a flight of stairs. The protesters at certain points block the exits. At least ten Democratic lawmakers, including top party leaders, who are inside at the time, had no way out and had to be evacuated.
REP. BRAD SHERMAN (D-CA): We were told we were locked down and would not be allowed to leave. And then the police came in and evacuated us to the basement.
TODD: It's led to a he said she said regarding what side provoked the violence. But U.S. Capitol police, in a statement, said the protesters were the aggressors and, quote, six officers were treated for injuries from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched. The protest organizers said the police rush the crowd without warning and were not provoked.
RABBI JESSICA ROSENBERG, JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE: They pepper-sprayed and kicked and pushed and pulled people's hair, while we lit candles and prayed and sang.
TODD: These protests, emblematic of a broader political problem for President Biden and Democrats. Progressives in the party are increasingly splitting with Biden and moderate Democrats over Biden's steadfast support for Israel in this war.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: A lot of Democrats, including Democratic voters, want to see the president more forcefully call for extended pauses or a cease-fire.
TODD: Earlier this month, organizers of the pro-Palestinian really directly told the president what he stands to lose among Muslim voters and others. NIHAD AWAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS:
Our message is no cease-fire, no votes. No votes for you anywhere, if you do not call for a ceasefire now.
TODD: Many Muslim voters, a key constituency in the crucial swing state of Michigan, have lost enthusiasm for the president over his stance on the war, but analysts say there's even more at stake.
BARRON-LOPEZ: It's also young voters. We are seeing them rally around civilians in Gaza, calling for a cease-fire. Not happy with the way the president is addressing the war. And so, young voters are really key to Biden in states like Michigan, in states like Arizona, and states like Georgia.
TODD: Now, the president and his team have shifted their rhetoric in recent weeks to call for a reduction of civilian casualties in Gaza. But the president says he's still got Israel's back and analysts say that's a political tight rope that he's going to have to walk from now until Election Day -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting -- Brian, thank you very much.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.