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State of the Race with Kasie Hunt

Sources: Deal Close On Release On Fourth Hostage Group; Israeli PM Netanyahu Shows Elon Musk Kibbutz Attacked By Hamas On Oct. 7; Israel Has List Of Hostages To Be Released By Hamas Today. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 27, 2023 - 11:00:00   ET




KASIE HUNT, CNN HOST, STATE OF THE RACE: Good day, everyone. I'm Kasie Hunt to our viewers watching in the United States and around the world. It's

Monday, November 27. It's 11 a.m. here in Washington. It's 6 p.m. in Israel and in Gaza, and we begin our coverage there.

We are now on day four of the truce between Israel and Hamas. And one big question remains, will that truce be extended, or will Israel resume

military operations in Gaza? Both sides say they're open to extending it. But, not all of the hostages are being held by Hamas, and that could

complicate things.

At this hour, negotiators are still working to resolve issues surrounding today's planned release. Sources tell CNN that they're close to working

something out. The main issue that's been holding things up, the number of mothers on the list of people said to be released today. Israel says that

as part of the agreement, mothers and their children who are being held captive should be released together. The sources say a new list includes

additional names to be freed today, and that the hostage release is on track. If all goes well today, Israeli officials say they're prepared to

continue the hostages for prisoners swap.


EYLON LEVY, ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN: The framework remains in place for the release of more hostages after tonight's batch, providing an

additional one day of hostage release pause for every 10 additional hostages who are released. Under the agreed 3:1 one ratio, that would allow

for another five days of a hostage release pause for another 50 hostages, should Hamas agree to release those people from captivity.


HUNT: And then there is this, Elon Musk alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toward a kibbutz attacked by Hamas on October 7. Musk is visiting

Israel amid a firestorm of criticism after he endorsed an antisemitic conspiracy theory on his platform formerly known as Twitter. He is set to

meet with Israel's President today.

Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman is live for us in Jerusalem. Ben, thanks for being with us. What is the latest here as we wait to see if

they can work out all of the challenges they're facing as they try to get today's hostages released?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, the biggest challenge for today's release is this question of whether Hamas

will release mothers with their children. So, if that hurdle is jumped over, it does appear that it will go ahead. And of course, this is the last

exchange of this four day of exchanges between the two sides. And it does appear that certainly there is a will on all the sides. We've seen

statements from Hamas, heard from Israeli officials, the United States, and Egypt, all seem to think there is a very good possibility that the deal

will be extended.

Now, Hamas put out a statement saying they would like to see a larger number of Palestinian prisoners released so far. There have been 117

Palestinian prisoners and detainees released. But, it's worth keeping in mind that in the same period, according to the Palestinian Prisoners

Society, which is an NGO that looks after the situation of prisoners and detainees in Israeli prisons, they say that 112 people have been detained

in the same period that the 117 were released. Kasie.

HUNT: All right. CNN's Ben Wedeman for us. Thank you very much for that report.

Let's dive straight into all of this with today's panel, CNN Military Analyst Col. Cedric Leighton; Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst,

and Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief for USA TODAY. Thank you all for being here.

Peter Bergen, let me start with you on the question of releasing mothers and their children together, because clearly that was a misstep that was

made earlier in this process. Now, it does seem like they're trying to correct it. How do you think that that has affected what we're seeing play

out today?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: One thing is you have so many parties to the negotiations. I mean, you have the Egyptians. You have the

Americans. You have the Israelis. You have Hamas political wing. You have Hamas's military wing. You have Qatar. And then, you also have Palestinian

Islamic Jihad.

According to Becky Anderson of CNN, up to 40 of the hostages are being held by groups other than Hamas. So, when you have seven or eight parties to a

negotiation, obviously things are not going to go as smoothly as possible. And actually -- it's actually somewhat surprising it's gone so well so far.

I mean, obviously, these are the easiest cases for women and children. It's going to get harder and harder once we introduce military-age males, female

Israeli soldiers, Americans who are male, and obviously male Israeli soldiers.


All that will be much harder.

HUNT: Right. That all makes sense, and that order is -- that you put them in is clarifying. We heard from the National Security Council Spokesman,

John Kirby, earlier today on CNN this morning, talking about some of the challenges here that could really come into play, as we look to see whether

or not this truce is going to be extended. Take a look at what Kirby had to say this morning.


JOHN KIRBY, STRATEGIC COMM. COORDINATOR, U.S. NATL. SECURITY COUNCIL: These groups are operating in Gaza. We know they have some connectivity with

them. I'm not suggesting there is some sort of strong chain of command here. But, clearly, Hamas, they would know how to get a hold of these

groups and to get additional hostages released from these groups if it's within their -- if they believe that they want to do that.


HUNT: So, Colonel, he seems to be suggesting there that they believe Hamas is in contact with these other groups that hold these additional hostages.

That could potentially mean that this truce could be extended even further if those communication lines are strong. No?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST, & U.S. AIR FORCE (RET.): Yes. It could, Kasie. And the thing about this is, how strong are those

communication lines? I think they're there. But, I think the one problem that you have is the degree of control that Hamas has may not be as

extensive as Admiral Kirby mentioned. It may be quite tenuous, and it's also subject to the vagaries of their relationships. If there is some kind

of dispute between those groups, then the hostages are at much more risk than then they would be if there is no such dispute.

HUNT: And do you expect in the event that if we hit the truce deadline tonight that we're going to see Israel potentially resume its bombing

campaign? Or how do you expect that piece of this to play out as we kind of wait to see if it's going to be extended?

LEIGHTON: Yes. I think it depends on several factors. One of them is, does there appear to be the will to extend this on both sides? Right now, we

think that there is that will. So, I don't think if that holds, I don't think that there will be an immediate military operation. However, if one

of the hostages is somehow injured or through the actions of Hamas, or if the elderly lady who was transferred into Israel just yesterday, if

something happens to her medically, like she passes away, that could perhaps change the equation here.

So, I think that cooler heads will prevail at the moment. But, there is definitely a risk that things could change. So, I think it's -- right now,

things are on track for it, not happening for a military response not to continue. But, if things change or if the atmosphere gets tenser, then it

could be different.

HUNT: Final word too. OK. Susan Page, I want to talk a little bit about the President -- President Biden's involvement in this deal. And I want to show

you a little bit more of what Kirby had to say this morning, when he talked about how President Biden had a hand in what we've seen play out. Watch.


KIRBY: The President has been personally engaged in this entire deal. Now, he has been personally involved in moving things forward. Obviously,

Abigail was on everybody's mind. Just turned four on Friday. Just a little girl who had to watch her parents get slaughtered right in front of her.

So, clearly, we obviously felt a special need to try to get her out. But by no means are we forgetting the other Americans that are being held hostage,

including these two American women that, again, we hope are on the list today.


HUNT: Susan, how has Biden been personally involved in this? And what is the imperative in terms of getting additional Americans out? Obviously,

there have been so much focus on Abigail, and it has been a joy at least to see her reunited with her parents.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, USA TODAY: Yes. We know that President Biden has been deeply involved in this and closely involved with this,

including talking to Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders in the region, and talking to his staff. We've seen -- he himself went to Israel. His top

aides have been to the region and back. And this pause, I mean, it's fragile. It's not going to last forever. We know that. It has been a chance

for the White House to argue that he has been pressuring the Israeli government to take some steps that he is under tremendous pressure to take.

His public position has been very much a staunch ally of Israel. That is costing him support among some Americans, among Democratic voters, among

some in the State Department, even some on the White House staff.

So, this is a chance for the White House to argue that that stance he has taken to support Israel publicly but pressure it privately to take some of

these steps is paying off.

HUNT: Yes. And we're going to talk a little bit about the tension inside the White House and that quote that the White House has taken on some water

in its support for Israel. Coming up a little bit later on in the show. But, I do want to talk for a moment about Elon Musk, Peter Bergen, because

he -- we did show him with Benjamin Netanyahu. He is in his meeting today with the Israel President. He seems to -- this is of course all in the wake

of him reposting this horrible antisemitic conspiracy theory and taking fire for it. He did an audio interview with the Israeli Prime Minister

where he seems to have learned some things on his trip.


Take a look.


ELON MUSK, TESLA CEO AND X OWNER: It was troubling in that movie, especially, to see the joy experienced by people that were killing innocent

civilians, including kids and babies and defenseless people, essentially. So, you know, it is one thing if, obviously, if civilians die accidentally

but it's another thing to revel in the joy of killing civilians. That's not, you know, that's -- frankly, that's evil.


HUNT: Indeed, it is. Peter Bergen, this man controls one of the world's -- was one of the world's preeminent purveyors of information, quite frankly.

He seems to have learned a lot about the Hamas attack in viewing this footage from the Israeli government, frankly, information that was

available should he have cared to even look on his own platform. What do you make of what we saw there from Mr. Musk?

BERGEN: Well, I mean, Musk is, like a lot of tech guys, a libertarian who thinks that the government shouldn't have a role in telling him or his

company what to do. And Twitter, now, X, has clearly become less -- I mean, content moderation is less of a thing at Twitter now than it used to be.

So, the result is that you're going to have more antisemitic and or other hateful content on that platform. The social media companies can take this

content down. It requires people. I mean, Facebook, as you know, I can't remember, at least 10,000 plus content moderators, and Twitter, under Elon

Musk, has sort of pulled back from that.

HUNT: Well, I mean, it's not just that they've pulled back their moderators. It's the man himself that runs the platform, is circulating the

stuff that like previously the moderators would may -- perhaps have been in charge of taking down.

BERGEN: That's a good point. And also, I mean, he is powerful in so many other ways. I mean, the Ukraine war could not proceed without Starlink,

which he controls. So --

LEIGHTON: Yes. Well, Peter, yes, that's right. On the one hand, he, with Ukraine, specifically, he was a savior for Ukraine when it came to

Starlink. On the other hand, he has been touting a lot of pro-Putin type messages, either directly or indirectly, by allowing those messages or

forwarding those messages, reposting them, as we say now. And it really, I think, speaks to the fact that we have a real problem with educating people

on history in, not only in this country, but throughout the world.

People that have all these great technical backgrounds, great engineering skills and all of that, they have a real problem understanding how things

have developed, what the past is, what the present is, and what the future is going to hold, because they don't understand where we've been, and they

don't understand the reason that we exist in a democratic society.

PAGE: This would be shocking for an eighth grade social studies student --


PAGE: -- maybe, to not really understand. But, this is one of the richest and most powerful people in the world. And so, I think it is a surprising

his lack of knowledge.

LEIGHTON: It's also inexcusable, quite frankly. I mean, just to put it bluntly, this man and anybody else in positions like that, whether it's him

or Tim Cook or any of the other tech Titans, they really need to understand the role that they're playing here, because it's a major historical role

because of the type of platforms that they have. And if you don't understand this stuff, you're condemned to repeat it, even worse.

HUNT: Right. It's a really, really very important point. I also seem to recall Elon Musk sending the U.S. government into a tizzy because he said

one day, kind of out of the blue, he talked to Vladimir Putin --


HUNT: -- about something. Right. So, also kind of an imminent national security risk ongoing if you are participating in this way. All right.

Colonel, this is why we have you on. Thank you very much. Peter Bergen, thanks to you as well for being with us today. Susan Page is going to stick


Up next, police have arrested a suspect after three Palestinian college students were shot in Vermont this weekend. We're going to have more from

Burlington up next.




HUNT: Welcome back. In Vermont, the man accused of shooting three Palestinian college students over the weekend had his arraignment in the

last hour. He pleaded not guilty. According to authorities, the students were out walking when the suspect fired at them "without speaking." Two of

the victims are now in stable condition, but the third is more seriously injured. Their families along with civil rights organizations are calling

for an investigation into possible bias by the attacker. And the family's lawyer says this was a clear case of a targeted attack.


ABED AYOUB, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIMS' FAMILIES: From our understanding and from our read of the facts, hate and the ethnicity and the race of these

individuals did play a factor in them being targeted. And I think as the investigation plays out and as we get deeper into the suspect's mindset,

we're going to clearly see that this was a hate crime.


HUNT: Our Polo Sandoval is following this for us in Burlington, Vermont. Polo, very difficult news to come to you this morning. What's the latest?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, at least all three are live, though at least one of them is in critical condition at last check, and two others

are stable. And we'll tell you a little bit more about these three young men in just a second. But first, Kasie, let me get you and our viewers the

latest that just came out of court a few moments ago, is 48-year-old Jason Eaton, who actually lives on the block that you see behind me which is

where that shooting took place, he faced a judge, entered a plea of not guilty to three charges of attempted murder. In addition to that, a judge

ordered that he be held without bond until the next hearing. So, he will remain behind bars while this investigation process forward, as authorities

here in Burlington seek to answer that key question of what the motive was.

And what you hear from the families of these three young men identified by an organization that's working with the family as Tahseen Ali Ahmad, Kinnan

Abdalhamid, and also Hisham Awartani, who are the three young men that are seen in a photograph that's been shared by their family. That photo, Kasie,

actually taken just moments before the shooting itself. And in that photo, you could see that traditional Palestinian scarf that the families believe

may have made them a target.

In the meantime, though, investigators here in Burlington saying that they are not at the point of this investigation where they can conclusively say

that this is the latest potential Islamophobic incident, a violent incident that took place. They say more evidence needs to be gathered at this point.

But, one more thing that I can also tell you about what took place just yesterday when they arrested Eaton, the suspect in this. According to some

newly released arrest records that I just had an opportunity to read through literally in the last few moment, it paints a clearer picture of

how that arrest went down.


And according to that court documents that I've had an opportunity to review, it was local police together with ATF agents that actually made

their way to the house of the suspect, which is just to my left shoulder right in front of where the shooting happened, that they made their way

into the home after investigating, and inside that house, they found a 380 pistol. Now, it's going to be up to ballistics to determine if it's the

same pistol that was used in the shooting of these three young men that are recovering in a hospital.

HUNT: All right. Very, very difficult. Polo Sandoval in Burlington, Vermont, thank you very much for that brand new reporting.

Let's bring our panel in now. We're joined by Republican Strategist Doug Heye, and CNN Political Commentator Maria Cardona. Susan Page also back

with us. Thank you all for being here.

Maria, this was just a very, very difficult thing that happened in Burlington, Vermont.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, & U.S. DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: So awful, and I think it just shows you just how this horrendous foreign war

is affecting people here in the United States. And it's, I think, one of the most difficult issues facing the administration, but also facing the

American people just because of the history, because of the changing demographics in so many of these states, and frankly, the hate on both

sides, the Islamophobia, the antisemitism, and how personal it is becoming. And it is really, I think, taking a toll on people's daily lives.

And so, I think this is one of the most difficult issues that leaders, both from a local standpoint as well as a national standpoint, are going to be

facing. And there is no question that this is a hate crime. There is no question that hatred of this kind or at least that's what they're saying --

HUNT: Yes. Let me just push pause --

CARDONA: Yes. Yes. Yes.

HUNT: -- because I do want to be a little bit careful here --


HUNT: -- since we're talking about ongoing investigations, because we don't know yet the motive of this man who was arraigned. Here is what Merrick

Garland had to say at the Department of Justice earlier today.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Even as we speak, the ATF and the FBI are investigating the tragic shooting of three men of Palestinian

descent in Vermont. That investigation, including whether this is a hate crime, is ongoing.


HUNT: So, of course, the involvement of the Department of Justice, the FBI in this way suggests that obviously they are taking things very seriously,

as Maria was outlining. And Susan Page, I kind of want to bring this conversation, Maria touched on some of these elements, but the division in

the country over this horrendous series of events, the terror attack on October 7, followed by the humanitarian toll that's unfolded in Gaza in the

wake of it. The Washington Post had a big story over the weekend about the White House itself and the White House staff. And they talk about the

division inside the White House, which they call to some degree between Biden's senior longtime aides and an array of younger staffers of diverse


But, even the top advisors, the older ones, say they recognize the conflict has hurt American's global standing. "We're taking on a lot of water on

Israel's behalf", one senior official said.

PAGE: Yes.

HUNT: What do you make of that?

PAGE: Well, I think it's been some something of a surprise to some of those senior aides. October 7, everyone appalled by the attack on Israelis. But,

in the weeks since then, the bombardment of Gaza has touched a lot of hearts too. And this division you see on the White House between older

officials and younger ones is the division you see in the country at large. You see enormous sympathy and empathy for the plight of the Palestinians

among younger Americans. That is a new force, I think, in American politics. This is not something we have seen in this -- to this degree


HUNT: Doug, how would you make of all this?

DOUG HEYE, U.S. REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, it's not just the White House. We we've seen a lot of divisions on Capitol Hill on this, not just between

Republicans and Democrats, but there are a lot of Democratic staffers who are threatening to leave their offices if their boss doesn't vote the way

that they would want them to on this issue. And everything we see sort of ties into the issue of division, but not just division, but rage. And

whether we're talking about this conflict or frankly anything else that happens in American politics right now, there are real ramifications that

come out of this, and to Maria's point, that deal with our everyday lives. Whether somebody wears a yarmulke or a Palestinian scarf or anything else

that we've seen going on in this country over the past few months and years.

HUNT: Yes. I mean, it's all -- it's just so incredibly troubling, honestly. I do want to spend a minute talking about a concrete issue here in

Washington which is going to be, whether or not we're going to see conditions placed on aid to Israel, which is not historically something

that is part of the way that the U.S. supports Israel, but it has become part of the conversation on the left for some of the reasons that we have

been describing. And Senator Chris Murphy, over the weekend, joined calls from the progressive Senator Bernie Sanders to do this, to put some strings

on this money.


Take a look at what Murphy had to say.


SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): I guess I'm not sure what would be controversial about simply saying that aid we give any country has to be used in

compliance with international law. And yes, of course, I do think that Israel needs to be more careful in the way that it is conducting these

operations. I think that you can defeat Hamas without this level of civilian casualties.


HUNT: So, Susan, he said he is not sure what would be controversial about saying it would have to comply with international law. Help -- explain why.

PAGE: Well, it's a limitation on Israel we haven't placed on it before. And it's a suggestion that we don't trust them to follow international law if

we don't put this limitation on it. On the other hand, he is a -- Senator Murphy is a very respected, not a figure, a moderate figure who works

across the aisles, for him to accept this condition I think is a signal that it's a way to get the aid to Israel, which I think has really broad

support, while acknowledging concern about what's been happening with the deaths and the plight of civilians in Gaza.

CARDONA: Can I just --

HUNT: Very briefly. Last word.

CARDONA: Yes. I think one of the things we have to keep in mind is the reason why so many people like Senator Murphy are now focused on this, it's

because the Netanyahu government, and we have to acknowledge this, is really far to the right of any other government that this country and our

leaders have dealt with before. That's what they're responding to. And I think it's the right thing to be thoughtful about it. Even President Biden

said it because they don't want to be seen as giving Israel and their very far right extremist government the green light to do anything that they

want and something that is -- has become so violent.

HUNT: There has been a real -- and that The Post story kind of digs into the way that Israel has changed --

CARDONA: That's right.

HUNT: -- for years since President Biden first started --

CARDONA: Exactly.

HUNT: -- first developed his very close relationships there, as they have been in -- they're in a much different place now than they were in the 70s

and 80s.

All right. Ahead here on State of the Race, if you build it, they will come. Just seven weeks to the Iowa caucus. Will anyone be able to slow

Donald Trump's march to the Republican presidential nomination? That's next.




HUNT: Welcome back to State of the Race. I'm Kasie Hunt. We're live in Washington. And welcome to the week after Thanksgiving, when it is

officially no longer too early to talk about Iowa. The caucuses are just seven weeks away now, and they represent the first real test of whether any

GOP candidate can slow Donald Trump's march to the Republican nomination. The caucus is do or die for Ron DeSantis, who has all but moved there.

Nikki Haley is working to stay competitive with DeSantis ahead of New Hampshire where she is polling a clear second. Chris Christie has not set

foot in Iowa this cycle, but he is not far behind Vivek Ramaswamy in polling, or he is right there with him. As for the frontrunner, Donald

Trump has appeared in Iowa at least four times so far this fall to try and keep DeSantis in check, after he learned a tough lesson about how the

caucuses can surprise when he narrowly lost to Ted Cruz in 2016.

And there, frankly, is risk for Trump in losing or even barely winning, because Iowa can be as much about the narrative that explodes after the

polls close, as it is about whether you win place or show, that cliche of political reporting that there are three tickets out of Iowa.

Kristen Holmes joins me now here in Washington, although not on set. Hi, Kristen, down the hall from us. This is going to be the first time we're

actually going to get to see voters test this, what we've seen in the polls from Donald Trump, as to whether or not he is going to remain the

frontrunner. I know you and some of our colleagues have some great reporting out this morning about -- basically previewing what it's going to


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Look, a lot of this is about momentum. So, if you talk to any of Trump's advisors, they will

tell you that they believe that if Donald Trump can win Iowa that he will take it away, the nomination, that is. They also believe that there is a

lot of risk involved if he doesn't take that. Now, despite the public polling, despite the fact that Trump has shown enormous lead in the state,

I have still heard from some of these advisors who say that they just know that Iowa can be a wildcard. They have obviously been watching the rise of

Nikki Haley. They know Ron DeSantis is competitive, despite the fact that he has been dropping in the polls. But, they do feel some confidence there.

And part of that is because they actually have a strategy this time around that they just didn't have in 2016.

You mentioned those four events that he has held. It's actually -- I think it's been closer to six, but four of them have been these commit to caucus

events. And what that is, is essentially having people come, show up and pledge to caucus for Donald Trump. They're also using years of data that

Donald Trump's team had gathered since he first visited the state back in 2015. That had largely gone untouched until this campaign cycle, trying to

bring those people back out to vote. But, that's one part of this, is that what's going to happen on caucus day. We also have seen what is going on

with Nikki Haley. She is pledging to spend $10 million across New Hampshire and Iowa. She needs a strong finish in Iowa to continue going on, although

she has obviously pledged to continue at least through South Carolina.

DeSantis, as you said, has been all in on Iowa. Where is that going to go? And again, it raises this question of momentum. What does it mean if Donald

Trump wins, or what does it mean if he loses? I've heard from some Republican operatives who say if he loses, it could mean a very long

primary cycle.

HUNT: Yes. Very long, for sure. And again, it's the first time he is really going to face the set of real risks out there. So, Kristen Holmes, I know

you're going to have a busy couple of months ahead of you. So, thank you for being here today.

And our panel rejoins me now. Doug Heye, Maria Cardona, Susan Page. Doug Heye. Kristen mentioned that Haley has been spending money attacking

DeSantis. She has been on the air and New Hampshire and Iowa. The Allied Super PAC, The New York Times, reports has spent $3.5 million on ads and

other expenditures attacking Mr. DeSantis in the last two months in Iowa and New Hampshire, but not $1 explicitly opposing Donald Trump.

HEYE: Yes, and that's not surprising, given everything that we've seen in this campaign so far. Republicans other than say Chris Christie, maybe Asa

Hutchinson, have been reticent to take on Donald Trump. But, the nomination doesn't go around Donald Trump. It goes through it. So --

HUNT: Yes.

HEYE: -- all of this jockeying we hear often, it's about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. And the reality is, we're looking at rearranging

deck chairs on a boat that may not be leaving port. And if Nikki Haley comes in a strong second, but really is 30 points behind, that doesn't

matter if you've beaten Ron DeSantis by two or three points. She needs a strong showing, and part of that is going to be taking on Donald Trump,

whether you criticize him directly for things that he has done or may do or may have done, or saying, look, he is distracted, because he has got to be

in all these courtrooms, and we need somebody who is going to be focused on Donald Trump.


That's an argument that could win if a Republican would actually try it.

HUNT: Yes, and potentially put money behind it. Let's put up some of these numbers to kind of underscore the scale of the challenge for the back half

of the field. At first, the Iowa Des Moines Register poll with NBC News from the end of October, Trump 43 percent, DeSantis 16 percent, Hailey 16

percent, Scott seven percent, Ramaswamy four percent. The story of this poll was really the movement of Haley up towards DeSantis. DeSantis falling

a little bit back there.

Now, let's go to New Hampshire. This is a CNN poll from earlier this month. It has Trump at 42 percent, Haley at 20 percent, and more clear there, you

can see it there, second place for her in New Hampshire than in Iowa, Christie at 14 percent, Chris Christie, and then DeSantis has fallen all

the way back to nine percent, Ramaswamy at eight percent.

Susan Page, this is really -- it paints a picture of a field. Haley does, I think, have an opening here to become the clear second choice. But, there

are two issues. There is Donald Trump, which Doug covered. The other issue may be Chris Christie in New Hampshire, because he was on -- he had said

something similar to this. She asked him if you're going to be in the -- through the -- in the race through the New Hampshire primary. He says that

he expects to be in through the convention. He was very explicit with me when I asked him, are you going to drop out before New Hampshire? He said,

no. And then, this is kind of how he put it more broadly in terms of the consolidation of the field. Take a look.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This race is consolidated very nicely. You really now and in live view have four major

contenders for the nomination, Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, me and Nikki Haley. And the fact is that we're the major contenders for the nomination.

And everyone else who is still hanging around the fringe of the race is not a serious contender.


PAGE: Bad news for Chris. This Republican Party is not going to nominate him for President, not this time around. It might nominate Nikki Haley. And

I'd like to disagree with Doug for a moment. Here is what I think the Nikki Haley strategy is. So, if there may just be two tickets out of Iowa, if

Nikki Haley can beat Ron DeSantis, who has put all his chips on Iowa, if she can beat him in Iowa and go to New Hampshire, which is in some ways a

friendlier state for her --

HUNT: Yes.

PAGE: -- a harder state for Governor -- for President Trump, then the race is two -- it's effectively a two-way race with Chris Christie in New

Hampshire. That means that if for some reason Trump is vulnerable, and he hasn't been so far, to be fair, even despite indictments, but we know -- we

don't know what's going to happen. If Trump does show some vulnerability, Nikki Haley will be positioned to take real advantage of that.

HUNT: All right. That's a great point. I'm sorry to have to cut this conversation short. Doug Heye, Maria Cardona, Susan Page. But, we do have

some breaking news. Just in to us here at CNN, Qatar says an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce in Gaza for an additional two

days. That's according to a social media post by Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokesman. This comes as we're awaiting news on today's release of hostages

held by Hamas. Sources tell CNN that issues surrounding that release are close to being resolved.

So, coming up here, we have homecoming celebrations in Israel that are bittersweet as many hostages still remain in Hamas hands. We're going to

get an update from Tel Aviv, ahead.




HUNT: News just in to CNN, Qatar says an agreement has been reached to extend the humanitarian truce in Gaza for an additional two days. That's

according to a social media post by Qatar's Foreign Ministry spokesman. This comes as we're awaiting news on today's release of hostages held by

Hamas. Sources tell CNN that issues surrounding the release are close to being resolved. Oren Liebermann joins us now live from Tel Aviv with more

on this breaking news. Oren, what's the latest?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kasie, these are two big bits of news we're looking at right now, first, that the hostage release tonight is

expected to go forward. The outstanding issues are close to being resolved, if they haven't been resolved already. And even though we have seen some of

the roadblocks that we've seen a couple of days ago, it is expected to proceed as per the agreement, which means we'll see a release of hostages.

And then later on this evening, perhaps very late this evening, a release of Palestinian prisoners. At the same time, this could have been the end of

the truce with the release of these hostages.

But, Qatar announcing that they've secured two more days in the truce, which means that in each of these days, according to the agreement, 10 more

Israeli hostages will be released, women and children, in exchange for Palestinian prisoners being released. So, that is a bit of good news. It

will certainly allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza. And for the families here in Israel who've been watching this, it means that tonight there will

be some more celebrations of reunions even as those who haven't been able to see their loved ones released keep waiting.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): A moment of joy after 50 days of darkness. The families from Kfar Aza who saw so many of their community killed and

kidnapped on October 7, finally had some of their own come back to Israel, released from Hamas captivity.

ORIT ZADIKEVITCH, KFAR AZA RESIDENT: We didn't know if they were alive or not till today. So --

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Most of the hostages released on day three of this truce came from this tiny community near Gaza where Orit Zadikevitch's ex-

husband was killed. It has been seven weeks of hell for her before this night.

ZADIKEVITCH: We've been through a Holocaust. We still have eight hostages that we are praying for them. We don't know if they're alive or not.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The country as a whole has rejoiced as families have come together once again, like the unbridled joy in the face of Thomas

Hand as he embraced his daughter Emily for the first time after seven weeks of captivity. Israel has found unity in this pain, coming together in the

thousands to press for the release of all of the hostages. But, these notes are bittersweet for the families who are still waiting.

YAIR KESHET, FAMILY KIDNAPPED BY HAMAS: It's -- actually, it's a little bit happy and scarier. It's horrible. We going up and down.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Yair Keshet is waiting for the release of his family, including Kfir Bibas, the youngest hostage in Hamas captivity who

turned 10-months-old in Gaza. They had hoped Hamas wouldn't hold someone so young for so long.

KESHET: They want to make us suffer as much as possible. That is why everybody thought maybe the youngest will be -- will come -- will come


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Families have been desperate for news of their loved ones still being held in Gaza, praying that their names come up on

the list to be released. Too often, it is more waiting and more pain. But, sometimes, the kidnapped become the rescued. The list of missing grows

shorter, and a community that can grow again grows even closer.


HUNT: And a girl just four-years-old was among the hostages released by Hamas on Sunday.


The first dual American-Israeli citizen freed since the truce began, Abigail Edan, she became an orphan when both of her parents were killed in

the October 7 attacks. Abigail was actually only three at the time. She marked her fourth birthday in captivity. President Joe Biden welcomed her

release in an address to the American public.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: She has been through a terrible trauma. Her mom was killed in front of her when her kibbutz was

attacked by Hamas terrorist on October 7. Abigail ran to her dad then, who then was gunned down, gunned down as well while using his body to shield

little Abigail. What she endured is unthinkable.


HUNT: The Biden administration worked hard behind the scenes to secure Abigail's release, closely following her movements through Gaza on Sunday.

A U.S. official says there was no sigh of relief until she safely crossed into Israel.

This truce, just extended, is allowing humanitarian aid to reach people in Gaza. Hundreds of trucks are bringing in food, water and medicine, life-

saving supplies for many families who've lost everything in the war. So far, it is just a tiny fraction of what's needed. This drone footage shows

apocalyptic scenes in Gaza City, residential buildings and entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees is

warning of unprecedented need.


ADNAN ABU HASNA, UNRWA SPOKESPERSON (TRANSLATED): We need 208 trucks a day continuously for two months at least to meet the needs. We need even more

fuel, so we can operate the services and sectors we support, like water desalination, sewage, hospitals, bakeries, and UNRWA services and

communications. The aid going in at the moment is just a drop in the ocean of humanitarian needs.


HUNT: All right. For more on these breaking events, I want to bring back in our national security panel, CNN Military Analyst Colonel Cedric Leighton,

and CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen. Thank you both.

Of course, the extension of this truce for an additional two days will allow humanitarian aid to continue going in, Cedric -- Colonel. We saw the

scenes from above of what Gaza city looks like right now. What does the truce mean, the extension of the truce mean, for, of course, those who need

humanitarian help in Gaza, and also for the families of those hoping beyond hope that their loved ones will be released?

LEIGHTON: Yes. If we're the humanitarian aid recipients, those that need that kind of aid, Kasie, this is a welcome break. As the gentleman from the

UN was just saying, they need a lot of aid, basically 200 trucks worth a day. That's really a drop in the bucket. And that's nowhere near the

peacetime flow of material goods into Gaza, during the period just before the 7th of October. So, that's one big thing. As far as the families of the

hostages are concerned, this is going to be a critical time for them. Of course, they are hoping that they will get their loved ones back. But, from

that standpoint, it is a necessary psychological boost, I would say, that they at least have this hope that they will get somebody, their loved one

back from this captivity that they're undergoing right now.

HUNT: Peter Bergen, we -- just to bring all of our viewers up to speed on this breaking news if they're just joining us, Qatar announced an agreement

has been reached to extend this humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip for an additional two days, and this came from a social media post from Qatar's

Foreign ministry spokesperson, and the announcement does come, according to a source familiar, after the U.S. President Joe Biden held a call with the

Prime Minister of Qatar on Monday. So, this clearly coming out of those negotiations. This also seems like a good sign that we're on track to see

hostages released today. There have been some snags. No?

BERGEN: Yes. I mean, if the -- if it's been extended for two days, it implies that whatever snags there were today are kind of moot because

otherwise you wouldn't have extended it for another two days. It also points to the credibility of Qatar in these negotiations that a tweet from

that Foreign Ministry spokesman would be taken so seriously.

And just picking up on the discussion about aid, as kind of Leighton was saying, the pre-October 7, about 450 trucks going in every day. So, now

that the number is getting up to 200, it obviously is very helpful. Those trucks' fuel is what is needed, principally for bakeries, for sewage

plants. There is also a desperate need for cooking oil. All those things, all that aid needs to keep flowing in. And it's very good that there is an

additional two days of truce, it seems, that will allow more of this aid to come in, Kasie.


HUNT: Yes. Colonel, what does this say about the incentives at play here that both sides of this negotiation are interested in seeing this continue?

LEIGHTON: Well, I think it's very interesting because, on the one hand, Kasie, you have the United States being Israel's primary donor, primary

sponsor, if you will. And it's in the U.S. interest both politically and from a geostrategic standpoint, that there be a break in this fighting. On

the other hand, for Hamas, their principal donor in this is actually Qatar. And Qatar is putting a lot of pressure on Hamas to extend the ceasefire.

Their stated goal is to have a durable ceasefire and -- as opposed to as a temporary truce, and that is something that is pretty congruent with the

U.S. desire right now.

So, those two countries, Qatar and the United States, working in essence together with their respective parties, that makes a big difference, I

think, in this, and it could potentially lead to a longer situation where there is at least some type of cessation of hostilities. But, we can't hold

our breath until further agreements are made, of course,

HUNT: And a little bit more news from our international team. They're reporting Hamas said that they agreed with Qatar and Egypt to extend the

truce for an additional two days "under the same conditions reached before." Peter Bergen, do you agree with the Colonel's kind of assessment

of the state of play here?

BERGEN: Yes, 100 percent. And -- I mean, I think where we'll get complicated is on day seven, because in a sense, the women and children are

obviously the easiest hostages to turn over. So far, the agreement, as you know, Kasie, has 10 hostages for every three Palestinian prisoners. But, as

the numbers of women and children go down, you're going to be left with different categories of prisoners who are military-age males, potentially

Israeli male soldiers, potentially Israeli female soldiers, also American males and males of other nationalities. So, we have seen quite a large

number of Thai nationals be being released. But, there are a bunch of other dual nationals that are there from around various European countries.

So, let's see what happens on day seven, because I think the negotiations over specific categories of hostages are going to get more complicated.

HUNT: Yes. No. Fair enough. All right. Peter, Colonel, stay with me. I want to go, though, to Larry Madowo, who is following developments out of Cairo,

specifically some of what we were showing you just moments ago, pictures from a Gaza City, the humanitarian need that is just so acute.

Larry, you have been covering this issue day to day. How is the news that this truce is going to be extended for two days going to be received there?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It will be well received, because a lot of people in Gaza have been calling for it. The people will be speaking to say

the aid has been coming in. While it's helpful, it's not nearly enough. The UN in Gaza said that they would need 200 trucks coming in daily for two

months just to meet the need, and that the idea that only northern Gaza needs the most aid is inaccurate. The needs are overwhelming. They're all

across the strip.

Part of this deal included a ceiling on how many trucks can come in, 200 every day. And yet, that's not nearly enough. For some days, it didn't even

hit that. Part of the problem on Saturday which led to Hamas delaying the release of the hostages, Kasie, was that not enough aid was going into

northern Gaza. The UN now tells that the Palestinian Red Crescent that at least 150 trucks have gone in by Saturday -- by Sunday. Another 50 trucks

were sent in today. They need a lot more of that.

But, the Qataris, the Egyptians, and the people who are trying to mediate and extend truce say they want that amount of aid coming in to be

dramatically increased. That's part of the problem. For instance, they are sending in medicines, and they are stuck on the Rafah Border Crossing on

the Egyptian side for sometimes up to two weeks where they're no longer necessary. They're no longer -- they've expired, in some cases. And so,

they want the problem -- the process to go much faster.

Part of the issue here or at least the positive thing is that with a pause in finding over the last four days, people have been able to go back to

their markets, will be able to buy some essentials. People have been able to see family. And everybody on the street in Gaza badly needs this. I

wanted to hear really quickly from one individual.

HUNT: All right, Larry. I'm not sure that we have this -- the sound that you were looking for there. But, I want to say thank you very much for that

report and for bringing us some insight from those who've been suffering in Gaza through all of this.

I want to bring back Peter and Colonel Cedric Leighton just -- we normally end this show on one more thing, and obviously we're in the thick of

breaking news coverage here.


But, both of you are experts. You've seen so much from this region, and I'd like to know kind of what you are each watching for as this truce --

tenuous truce continues. Colonel, I'll start with you.

LEIGHTON: So, yes. Larry pointed out some very interesting things, I thought, and that is the basically the role that bureaucracy plays in all

of this. There is something to be said for the way in which Egypt is handling this. They really do need to make sure these aid shipments are

sped up through the border processing at Rafah. And that's going to be, I think, critical to the success or the failure of the --

HUNT: Yes.

LEIGHTON: -- extension of this truce.

HUNT: For sure. Peter Bergen.

BERGEN: Yes. I mean, I think President Biden has kept up the pressure on, you said more than dozen calls with Netanyahu on this issue. He has spoken

to the Emir of Qatar and also the Prime Minister of Qatar on this issue. He has also spoken to Egyptian President Sisi on this issue, and he is using a

lot of his political capital to get this done.

HUNT: Indeed he is. All right. I'm Kasie Hunt. Thanks to all of you for watching. You can always follow me on Instagram and the platform formerly

known as Twitter. But, don't go anywhere. Stay with CNN. One World is up next with all the breaking news.