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IDF Says, 12 Newly Freed Hostages Now Back In Israel; CNN Speaks With Father Of Nine-Year-Old Hostage After Her Release; Liz Cheney Delivers Scathing Takedown Of GOP Under Trump; Mother Of Palestinian Student Shot In Vermont Says He May Never Walk Again After Spinal Injury; 10 Israelis Hostages Released By Hamas Today; Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Remembered By Memorial Service. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 28, 2023 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Coverage of the NBA in-season tournament tonight at 7:00 Eastern on TNT and on Max.

And then a big night tomorrow on CNN, Gayle King and Sir Charles Barkley for the premiere of their new show, King Charles, that's tomorrow night at 10:00 P.M. Eastern only, only here on CNN.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room live from Tel Aviv. I'll see you tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, 12 more hostages are now back here in Israel and heading to Israeli hospitals after spending 53 days in captivity. This is the first group release since the temporary pause was extended for two additional days.

Also tonight, a CNN exclusive, a chilling new account from an Israeli father describing how his nine-year-old daughter survived for weeks as a hostage and the joy of being reunited after originally believing she didn't survive the October 7th terror attacks.

Plus, another CNN exclusive, stunning new revelations from former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney revealing what her former GOP colleagues really thought about Donald Trump and his election lies.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv and you're in The Situation Room.

Our CNN team is here live in the region covering all the latest developments. Let's go straight to CNN's Jeremy Diamond, who is an Ashkelon, Israel, for us right near the border with Gaza.

Jeremy, first of all, walk us through the release of these hostages today and where they are now.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, earlier tonight we witnessed those 12 newly freed hostages, 10 Israeli citizens, 2 Thai nationals being a helicoptered out of the Kerem Shalom crossing towards hospitals in Central Israel. This is the second night in a row that we have seen those hostages board helicopters and go directly to hospitals. But tonight, Wolf, they crossed through that Rafah crossing into Egypt, driving that very short, less than two-mile drive to the Kerem Shalom crossing and then putting their feet firmly on Israeli soil for the first time in more than 50 days.

This now puts the total people released to 61 Israelis and 24 nationals over the course of these last five days.

But, Wolf, now as we head into the final day tomorrow of this two-day extension of that initial four-day pause in the fighting in order to allow for the release of these hostages as well as those Palestinian prisoners, there's now major questions about whether or not that truce can be extended further and whether or not groups beyond women and children could potentially also be released.

And that's where the CIA director, Bill Burns, comes in. We're told that earlier today he was in Qatar, in the capital of Doha, meeting with his Qatari, Israeli and Egyptian intelligence counterparts, all of this aimed at trying to see whether or not an additional deal to try and extend this truce further can be made and whether or not men in particular and Israeli soldiers could be included in this deal.

But there are major questions about whether or not that is something that Hamas will agree to, whether Israel and Hamas can reach terms on that. As it stands, Wolf, ten additional hostages are set to be released tomorrow as part of this initial extension. But if there is no deal beyond that, Wolf, the war could very well resume.

BLITZER: Jeremy Diamond reporting for us, Jeremy, thank you very much.

In exchange for the ten Israeli hostages released by Hamas today, Israel handed over 30 more Palestinian detainees.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is joining us live from Jerusalem right now. He's got more on all these developments. What do we know, Ben, about the Palestinians who were released today?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they were released, these 30 Palestinians, some through the Beitunia crossing into the West Bank, others who were Jerusalem residents were released at the Russian compound in Jerusalem.

Now, we understand it included 15 women and 15 boys. The oldest one was 17. The youngest was 14.

Now, for the first time, all of these 30 individuals were detainees. They were held under administrative detention.

None of them had actually been convicted of anything. And as we know, under the system of administrative detention, which dates back to the British mandate, these individuals are unaware of the charges against them, they have no access to them, and they're just held for six-month periods.


They can be extended for another six months and another after that. So, this is a system that has been widely criticized by international human rights groups. Wolf?

BLITZER: Ben, I know you were also in Jenin, in the West Bank, earlier today, where the Israeli military later raided that area. What are you learning about that?

WEDEMAN: Yes. This was a fairly -- this is actually an ongoing raid that happened just it began just a couple of hours ago. According to witnesses we've been in touch with, it involved 130 military vehicles, 6 bulldozers, their drones flying over the refugee camp there, which we're told, is now surrounded. However, there are militants in the camp who have been fighting back. This is a place where just last week five people were killed, several militants, but also several civilians.

Now, when we were there in the camp today, where you see a lot of destruction, where these bulldozers just basically plow up the asphalt of the roads there, residents were telling us that since August there have been more than 30 individual Israeli incursions into that camp, but this one appears to be the biggest so far. Wolf?

BLITZER: Ben Wedeman reporting for us from Jerusalem, Ben, thank you very much.

We're also right now starting to hear some of the really terrifying and heartbreaking stories of what hostages experienced while in Hamas custody for more than seven weeks.

CNN spoke to one father, Thomas Hand, whose nine-year-old daughter, Emily, was returned to him on Saturday.

CNN's Clarissa Ward is joining us right now. Clarissa, what did you learn about Emily's story and the toll being held hostage took on her?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, 50 days, Wolf. That's the amount of time that Emily spent in captivity. For Tom, it was just an incredibly painful roller coaster. Originally, he had been told that Emily was dead, that she had been killed in the October 7th attacks. Then he was told that they believe she may indeed be alive in Gaza. And then, finally, he got the news that he really never even dared to dream of that she would be part of that release. He went to greet her and he described to us the incredible, searing moment when he first laid eyes on her. Take a look.


THOMAS HAND, NINE-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER RELEASED BY HAMAS: She said, she'll be here in a couple of minutes. I was like, oh, I don't believe it. And all of a sudden, the door opened up and she just ran. It was beautiful, just like I imagined it, running together.

I squeezed. I probably squeezed too hard. And it's only when she stepped back a little, I could see her face was chiseled like mine, whereas before she left, it was a chubby, curly, young kid face. Yes, she's lost a lot of body weight. And the color, I've never seen her so white.

The other and the most shocking, disturbing part of meeting was she was just whispering. I couldn't hear her. I had to put my ear on her lips like this close and say, what did you say? And she was like, I thought you were kidnapped.

WARD: She said, I thought you were kidnapped?

HAND: She thought I was in captivity. They thought they'd kidnapped me. She didn't know what the hell happened apart from that morning. So, she's presumed everyone's kidnapped or killed or slaughtered or she had no idea.


WARD: Now, Thomas said that Emily has not really been able to talk a lot about what she experienced and that psychiatrist, Wolf, have told him that he just needs to be patient and allow her to reveal and share things at her own pace.

But he is starting to put together something of a picture about her captivity. He had assumed, for example, that she was held in the tunnels deep underground. In fact, he says she was held in houses and moved regularly from house to house.

She is in physically good shape other than having lost weight, but she is deeply frightened.


You heard him talk about how she was whispering. He said she's only just starting to get her voice back, that the only word she learned in Arabic during her captivity was the word to be quiet, that they spent their days doing things like drawing and playing cards because they weren't allowed to make a lot of noise.

And she also lost complete track of time. He asked, did she have a sense of how long she had been held for? And she was held for 50 days, as we said. And she looked at him and she said, I think I was held for a year.

So -- and then, of course, he had the heartbreaking task of having to inform her that his ex-wife, who had been something of a second mother to Emily, was actually killed in the October 7th attacks. And he said he struggled, she kept asking about it, he didn't know how to answer, whether he should answer. And the psychiatrist at the hospital said, you have to. You have to be clear, you have to do it quickly, but gently. He did and he described this moment that her eyes kind of glazed over and she gasped as she did a sharp intake of breath.

And so you have the picture all together, Wolf, of a very fragile, sweet little girl who will be grappling with this for a long time to come. And yet, unmistakably, she is one of the lucky ones, he is one of the lucky ones, and that's why Thomas really wants everyone's focus, right now, to be on getting the rest of the hostages out as quickly and as safely as possible, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's all hope that happens as quickly and as safely as possible. Clarissa Ward, thank you so much for that report, our hearts go out to that family.

Just ahead, no Americans were among the 12 hostages released by Hamas today as we approach the final day of the truce. A key member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee standing by live to discuss.

Plus, something you'll see first right here on CNN, that bombshells from former Congresswoman Liz Cheney about her GOP colleagues.

Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.



BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Tel Aviv, Israel.

12 more hostages were released from Hamas captivity today but American women were not on the list. Now, just one day remains for them to be freed before the end of the temporary truce.

I want to bring in Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut right now. He's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, thanks so much for joining us now.

More hostages were, thankfully, freed today, but, again, not the two American women the White House strongly advocated for. There's still one day left of this temporary truce, but is it a failure that, at this point, at least until now, the Biden administration has not secured their release?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, every release is really important. And, well, we obviously place a priority on Americans, we know that it is important to get every single one of those hostages out of captivity and back home to their loved ones.

So, we will continue to press for the release of all Americans and all Israelis. I hope that Hamas accepts the fact that they can continue to release hostages and, in return, save the lives of their own citizens at the same time. But our work is not done until everyone is out of Gaza, no doubt about that.

BLITZER: Senator, do you believe Hamas is strategically holding back these Americans for leverage?

MURPHY: I know that Hamas is pure evil. They unquestionably use humans inside Gaza as shields to protect them. They hoard supplies and fuel and keep it from civilians inside Gaza. So, it's not outside the realm of possibility that they are deliberately keeping Americans in harm's way in order to try to provide some leverage over the United States. I don't put anything past Hamas.

BLITZER: As you know, the CIA director is currently in Qatar trying to lengthen this truce and include the release of men and soldiers. How likely is that, you think? And what exact deal do you want to see come out of these current negotiations and trying to extend the truce?

MURPHY: Well, where credit is due, President Biden and his team has already achieved something very important, a pause in hostilities, which helps get humanitarian aid out to people in need, innocent people in need in Gaza, in exchange for the release of prisoners. We can continue to build on that arrangement in the coming days and weeks to get more prisoners out.

So, I hope that you will see more prisoners released. I hope you will see an extension of this ceasefire. But let's also be clear, Israel is not done. Israel is going to destroy Hamas' military capability. I believe they have a moral obligation to do that. I believe it's in the United States' strategic interest for Israel to destroy Hamas.

So, these are temporary pauses necessary to get the hostages out. But if Hamas thinks that they are going to use these hostages to get away with the murder of 1,400 Israeli citizens and Americans, they're wrong about that.

BLITZER: Prime Minister Netanyahu says this war will continue until Gaza, and I'm quoting him now, is no longer a threat. Your Democratic colleague, though, Senator Peter Welch, just called for an indefinite ceasefire. How do you respond to him?

MURPHY: Well, I don't support an indefinite ceasefire, which sounds to me like Hamas getting off the hook. That sounds to me like the planners and the executers of the attack on Israel not being held accountable.


Listen, I've been clear about the fact that I think the civilian death rate inside Gaza has been too high. But I do not think that Israel should stand down at a moment when there are a lot of perpetrators of those attacks who are still on the loose inside Gaza. And Hamas still, as we speak, has the capability to launch future attacks against Israel.

I think Israel can be more careful about civilian casualties but I also don't think it's in any of our interests for the fight against Hamas to end before Hamas is militarily decapitated.

BLITZER: Senator Chris Murphy, thanks so much for joining us.

MURPHY: Thank you.

BLITZER: And coming up, an exclusive first look at private GOP conversations after the 2020 presidential election in the United States, what former Congresswoman Liz Cheney is now saying about just how far some in her own party will go to protect Donald Trump.

Plus why House Republicans are saying no, at least for now, to an offer from Hunter Biden for public testimony.



BLITZER: We're back with a CNN exclusive right now. Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney paints a scathing portrait of her former House GOP colleagues as enablers and collaborators of Donald Trump and blasts them for what she calls the cowardice they showed in the face of Trump's lies about the presidential election.

These stunning new revelations come from her upcoming book entitled, Oath and Honor, A Memoir and a Warning.

CNN's Jamie Gangel got an early look at the book and she's joining us now. Jamie, so what is what is Liz Cheney revealing in this explosive new book?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is an extraordinary book because it takes you behind the scenes. She names names. She has the receipts. And as you just said, a big part of it is calling out the Republican Party for supporting Trump for his election lies.

Here's one quote from the book. Donald Trump cannot succeed alone. He depends upon enablers and collaborators. Every American should understand what his enablers in Congress and in the leadership of the Republican Party were willing to do to help Trump seize power in the months after he lost the 2020 presidential election and what they continue to do to this day.

Wolf, it's important to note the book draws from text messages, emails, calls, meetings, as well as personal conversations. This is a picture behind the scenes of what was really going on in the Republican Party and we're learning about it for the first time, Wolf.

BLITZER: Let me ask you this question, Jamie. Liz Cheney shares two very telling stories about the ousted speaker, Kevin McCarthy, and the current speaker, Mike Johnson. Walk us through those.

GANGEL: So, Wolf, first of all, Cheney accuses McCarthy, and there are a lot of examples in the book, of repeatedly lying and choosing what she calls, quote, the craven path of embracing Trump.

She recounts the first moment that she found out just three weeks after January 6th that Kevin McCarthy had secretly gone down to Mar-a- Lago to try to get back in Trump's good graces. The picture we're looking at right now, Cheney writes, she thought it was a fake when she saw it, and she writes, she said to Kevin, Mar-a-Lago, what the hell, Kevin? McCarthy, they're really worried. Trump's not eating, so they asked me to come see him. Cheney, what? You went to Mar-a-Lago because Trump's not eating? McCarthy, yes, he's really depressed.

As for Johnson, Wolf, Cheney writes -- she wrote this book, we should understand, before Johnson became speaker. But what we find out is that Johnson played a critical role in helping Trump behind the scenes, and she writes, quote, when I confronted him with the flaws in his legal arguments, Johnson would often concede or say something to the effect of, we just need to do this one last thing for Trump.

Wolf, we just see over and over again throughout the book, Cheney writes how her Republican colleagues were saying one thing in private, another in public. But in this book, she has the quotes, the text messages, the personal conversations. Wolf?

BLITZER: Very, very exciting stuff indeed.

Jamie, I want you to stay with us. I also want to bring in former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger, who also served as a member of the January 6th Select Committee, along with CNN Senior Political Analyst Gloria Borger. To both of you, thanks for coming in.

Adam Kinziger, you and Liz Cheney, of course, went through a lot of this together when you were both in Congress. What's going through your mind hearing all these developments, all these things she's now suggesting in her new book?

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely, utter zero surprise. A lot of this I know, I've known some of it, just stuff that was specific to her. But, I mean, Kevin McCarthy, the interesting thing is, he's always -- whenever he tells a story, he's always like the hero in his story.


So, in this case, he went down to feed the president or whatever.

And in my case, I remember hearing him say something along the lines of, he just happened to be in Florida for a fundraising trip, and you got to go see the former president.

When Liz says that she thought that picture was fake, I did too, because you have to take yourself back to that moment. And at that moment, we were all sitting around. There was kind of the silence in the conference, the conference being all the Republican members of Congress, where it was like, we don't know where the party is going.

I had actually considered doing a vote of no confidence against Kevin McCarthy and actually thought I might be able to get it passed. It goes to show how stuff changed so quickly. But we're sitting in that silence. The second he shows up at Mar-a-Lago, we thought it was fake, because, first off, it was so unbelievable that just three weeks after this, he would do it. And it goes to show that the only thing he cared about was craven power.

I'll just say quickly. He knew he wanted to be speaker. And I think he went through a calculation in his head, do I take on the Trumpers, basically, and try to throw him out of the party, because I think it was doable at that time, but he realized he could not do that and still become speaker of the House. So, he made a craven political decision to simply embrace Trump, to try to get him to embrace him and become speaker. He became speaker and it lasted about, what, nine months.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, speaking of Kevin McCarthy, what's also interesting in this book is that just two days after the election, according to Liz Cheney, McCarthy said to her, he knows it's over, that Trump knows it's over.

And given what Jack Smith, the special counsel, is looking into, as he talks about somebody who was trying to subvert the election, that's an important piece of information. We know that he's been told that from other people the special counsel's office has spoken to. But Liz Cheney is saying right here that McCarthy said that Trump knows it's over and then, of course, you know, lied about it. And I think, you know, that's really an important thing to understand as you read this book.

BLITZER: Jamie, what stark warning does Liz Cheney give about the 2024 presidential election?

GANGEL: So, Wolf, I think it's important to know that the book is really a roadmap. It starts with the election and the lies goes through the January 6th committee. But it concludes with really a chilling, stark warning, and that is that she believes that if Trump is re-elected, if he's allowed to go back to the White House, that the checks and balances of our system will not hold, that the guardrails won't be there, the kinds of people who sort of held it together in the first Trump administration as best they could and not always, that he simply won't have people like that, and that democracy really will be in peril.

And she has said, Wolf, that she will do anything to keep Trump from ever going back to the White House. She thinks he is the most dangerous person, she says in the book, to ever be in the Oval Office.

BLITZER: Yes, very strong words indeed.

Adam Kinzinger, Republicans like you and Cheney, want to move away clearly from Trump, and today, we saw the very influential Koch brothers throw their weight behind Nikki Haley. Do you see the course of the 2024 election potentially changing it all right now?

KINZINGER: Well, no, but I think it's possible. I mean, look, I don't want to write that off. I think certainly Haley is surging, and I think Chris Christie is surging in New Hampshire. I think Chris Christie is one to watch in New Hampshire, and, by the way, the only one really out there telling the truth to people. But that said, anybody but Trump -- well, I guess I could name a couple still that I want to see in the party, but, really, you know, yes, there is some surge.

And I think, you know, people have an ability to be more hopeful now than they would have been maybe a month ago. Donald Trump is collapsing. I mean, I don't know if his support is collapsing, but you just see what he puts out on his fake Twitter and all this other stuff. And it's just -- he's like losing his mind. And that gets into the psyche of who he is.

So, I think there's still a chance. I think once he starts going to trial and Mark Meadows is cooperating, it's going to be a whole different ball game when people see it. BORGER: Well, we also know from looking at the polls that if he were to be convicted on anything, a lot of people would change their minds. I think the interesting thing to see right now is that a lot of the big money people, the Koch brothers, as Wolf mentioned, maybe Ken Langone, are going to be supporting Nikki Haley. And that's money that Trump would have wanted. And I think that that doesn't make the Trump campaign very happy.

They have an enormous lead, but nobody has voted yet. And we'll have to see what happens in Iowa. If Nikki Haley were to come in a very strong second in Iowa, for example, I think that would catapult her to New Hampshire and then South Carolina.


So, we'll just have to see. All right, guys, everybody, thank you very, very much.

This important note to our viewers, be sure to check out Adam Kinzinger's terrific new book entitled, Renegade, Defending Democracy and Liberty in Our Divided Country, a very important book indeed. You'll want to read it.

Up on Capitol Hill tonight, we're following new developments in the Republican-led investigation into President Biden and his family with the president's son, Hunter, offering now to testify in public before the House Oversight Committee. But the committee is for now, at least, rejecting that offer.

CNN's Melanie Zanona is live up on Capitol Hill for us. Melanie, what's going on? What's the latest?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes. Well, Wolf, this is really shaping up to be a showdown between Hunter Biden and the committee. House Republicans have long been clamoring for Hunter Biden's testimony, and last month, the committee issued a subpoena to Hunter Biden for him to appear for a closed-door deposition in December.

However, Hunter Biden's legal team has already rejected that offer. They say they believe that Hunter Biden should be able to tell his own story and that they are worried about potential leaks from the committee.

So, we've already heard from Chairman James Comer. He is the head of the committee, and he said he is rejecting that offer and still is insisting on that closed-door deposition.

Let me read you part of his statement and his reasoning here. He said, Hunter Biden is trying to play by his own rules instead of following the rules required of everyone else. We expect full cooperation with our subpoena for a deposition but also agree that Hunter Biden should have the opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date.

Now, Republicans had hoped to wrap up their impeachment inquiry into the president as soon as possible, even though they do have yet to establish a link between the president and his son's business deals, which is a focus of their committee investigation. But this back and forth really potentially could delay their probe and is throwing into question their timeline and their potential proceeding efforts against the president. Wolf?

BLITZER: Melanie Zanona up on Capitol Hill, thank you, Melanie, very much.

Just ahead, my conversation, and it's a special conversation, with a woman here in Israel dealing with a mixture of both joy and grief. Two family members recently freed by Hamas while another remains held in Gaza.



BLITZER: Tonight, 12 more hostages have been freed from Hamas' captivity. Today, I talked with Abbey Onn, an American who lives here in Israel. Two of her relatives were released by Hamas yesterday, but one remains held in Gaza.


BLITZER: You've lost relatives, but you've also been reunited with freed relatives.


BLITZER: Talk a little bit about that.

ONN: It has been an emotional roller coaster since October 7th. At first, we thought we had five hostages, and ten days, in we learned that Carmela and Noya had been murdered, and it got harder for us because we had to find a way to keep fighting and not grieve. And now, 52 days in, Erez and Sahar have been returned to their mother, which is something we believed would happen, something that we hoped and fought for and yet we're not whole yet because Ofir is still there and there's more than 170 other hostages that are still being held.

BLITZER: So, what's it like seeing people who survive but at the same time suffering because some of your relatives were murdered?

ONN: There's so much trauma and I think I haven't let myself really think about what it meant to be held in captivity, to be held underground, to not be given food or go to the bathroom when you want. You don't know where they're sleeping or if they're warm. And to know now that they're out and that there's the beginning of that healing, beginning of that processing, but also knowing that their father is still there and so many others are, we feel truly like a part of a larger family of all the people who have hostages and we won't rest until every single person is home.

BLITZER: So, Abbey, how are you and your family finding strength in the midst of all of this?

ONN: We are lucky. We have a lot of people who are in this fight. We have met new family members. We have found each other and we're all mobilized. We are all strong in the belief that if we fight hard enough, we are going to bring not only our family home, but everyone.

BLITZER: And how do you share this with your young kids? What do you say to them?

ONN: That I think has probably been the hardest for me as a mother to sit with them the day after we learned that Carmela and Noya were murdered and to truly explain to them what happened on October 7th in stark terms, what terrorism is, what Hamas is, what it means to be kidnapped or held hostage and to know that there's fear for them, that they're afraid that something like that could happen to them, that they're living through sirens, that they're spending time in bomb shelters.

These are things growing up in the United States and even living here for the last nine years, I never thought I would have to explain to my own children.

BLITZER: So, what do you say to them when they say, mommy, I'm scared?

ONN: Say that we live in a country that invested in defense, that we have the Iron Dome and we have bomb shelters and that those are secure things and that we're doing everything we can to fight for our family and to fight for everyone that doesn't have a voice and that we're fighting for them also.

BLITZER: So, when you saw your relatives come back, you gave them a big hug, obviously.

ONN: I haven't hugged them yet. Their mother has. They're still in the hospital. They're being treated. But for me, the only outcome was for me to see their mother hug them and I got to see that and that's enough for right now.

I feel like last night, we had joy and an exhale and some relief, but knowing that today we would start the fight again for Ofir.



BLITZER: Part of my conversation with Abbey Onn earlier today.

And we'll be right back.


BLITZER: We're learning new details about the conditions of the three Palestinian college students who were shot in Burlington, Vermont.

Brian Todd is following this important story for us. What's the latest, Brian?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we've just learn that the parents of one of the victims, Kinnan Abdalhamid, have identified him as the one victim who has just been released from the hospital. The parents say they are relieved, but that their son has told them he was afraid to leave the hospital. This comes as we get new information on the investigation and on the other victims.


TODD (voice-over): From the relatives of three young Palestinian victims, jarring new accounts of Saturday nights shooting in Burlington Vermont and a disturbing prognosis for one victim. The mother of 20-year-old college student Hisham Awartani told CNN that doctor say he's lost functional mobility in both his legs.


ELIZABETH PRICE, MOTHER OF HISHAM AWARTANI: The prognosis is bad. The prognosis is that he won't regain it. We are determined to work with him, and support him and get the best possible care so that he can, I believe that Hisham has the determination and the courage and the resilience to regain his leg's movement, but the doctors currently say that it is not possible.

TODD: Hisham Awartani suffered a bullet wound to the spine in the attack. He was wounded along with fellow Palestinian students Kinnan Abdalhamid and Tahseen Ali Ahmed. Awartani's mother told CNN this attack could well have been fatal.

PRICE: I worry that the shooter stayed for a short period and left and the man was going to continue to shoot them and kill them.

TODD: The suspect, Jason Eaton, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and has pleaded not guilty. Officials say federal prosecutors and Vermont are investigating whether the shooting may have been a hate crime. The victims' families are calling for that. Police say moments before the shooting as they were taking a walk, the young men were speaking to each other in Arabic and English and relatives say this.

RICH PRICE, UNCLE OF HISHAM AWARTANI: And they were wearing their coffee as, which are traditional Palestinian scarves. And this gentleman stepped out of the dark and pulled out a handgun and fired four times.

TODD: But even though the Burlington police chief has called this a hateful act, he's indicated it is not clear whether they can cross the legal threshold to charge Eaton with a hate crime, that they have yet to uncover specific evidence to establish his motive.

What would they need to charge him with a hate crime?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You are looking at the animus, what precipitated it, why it began. They look for the affiliations of this particular person. They will look for who he was responding to and communicating with. They will look at what his beliefs are.

TODD: And, analysts say, they will look at this crime in the context of the climate of tension in the U.S., connected to the Israel-Hamas war.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: These events overseas can really be triggers, opportunities for people who harbor races, or extremist views, to really set them into motion.

All the indicators are that people who harbor racist or extremist beliefs are particularly energized right now. And that is a very volatile situation.


TODD (on camera): The Burlington police chief told CNN that to get some insight into Eaton's possible motives, they will work with the FBI to analyze devices taken from his apartment. Court documents say those include five cell phones and an iPad, a backpack full of hard drives -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much.

Coming up, America says goodbye to former First Lady Rosalynn Carter during a very emotional memorial service today.



BLITZER: We want to take a closer look right now the hostages released by Hamas today. And they include nine adults and one teenager. They are -- let me read the names and their ages -- Ditza Hayman, age 84, Tamar Metzger, 78, Ada Sagi, 75, Merav Tal, 53, Ophelia Roitman, 77, Gabriella Leimberg, 59, Mia Leimberg, 17, Clara Marman, 63, Rimon Kirsht, 36, ad Norlin Babdila, 60. Two Thai nationals were also released as well.

We are so glad they are all coming home and hope there are many more to come home as well. Thank you very much for that.

Meanwhile, family and friends remember former First Lady Rosalynn Carter during a very moving memorial service in Atlanta today.

CNN's Eva McKend has more.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A beautiful and moving tribute to the life and memory of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

KATHRYN CADE, LONGTIME AIDE TO ROSALYNN CARTER: Today, we do indeed warrant a remarkable person, one of the truly good people in this world. MCKEND: All of Carter's four children and 11 grandchildren were there,

as was her husband of more than 77 years, Jimmy Carter, today marking an increasingly rare public appearance by the former president, since entering hospice care in February.

The Carters grandson telling CNN that his grandfather would not have missed today service for the world. He was able to talk through his youngest daughter, Amy.

AMY CARTER, ROSALYNN CARTER'S DAUGHTER: Because he isn't able to speak to you today, I am going to share some of his words about loving and missing her.

My darling, every time I have ever been away from you, I have been thrilled when I returned to discover just how wonderful you are. While I'm away, I try to convince myself that you really are not, could not be sweet and beautiful as I remember. But when I see you, I fall in love with you all over again. Does that seem strange to you? It doesn't to me.

MCKEND: Carter was a staunch advocate for destigmatizing mental illness, and along with her husband launched the Carter Center promoting human rights around the world.

JUDY WOODRUFF, JOURNALIST: Because of Rosalynn Carter, millions of lives are better off. What a gift she left.

MCKEND: Despite her many accolades and accomplishments, Rosalynn Carter's family says she was just like everyone else.

JASON CARTER, ROSALYNN CARTER'S GRANDSON: She was my grandmother, first. And she was like everyone else's grandmother in a lot of ways. Almost all of her recipes call for mayonnaise, for example. We all got cards from her on our birthdays, 20-dollar bill in it. When I was 45, 20 dollar bill, like --

MCKEND: Rosalynn Carter died at age 96.

JAMES EARL "CHIP" CARTER, ROSALYNN CARTER'S SON: My mother, Rosalynn Carter, was the most beautiful woman I have ever met. And pretty to look at, too.

MCKEND: Following the ceremony, Carter's casket was taken back to her hometown of Plains, Georgia, where she will be laid to rest in a private ceremony Wednesday.

Eva McKend, CNN, Atlanta.


BLITZER: And "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.