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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Intelligence Chief Declines To Say If U.S. Has New Information That Led To Fighter Jet Decision; U.S. VP Harris Embraces Call For War Crimes Probe Of Russia; Inflation Hits New 40-Year High, Surging 7.9 Percent; MLB Players And Owners Reach New Labor Deal; Opioid Crisis Victims Confront Purdue Pharma's Sackler Family. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 10, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The Russia keeps lying even denying that it bombed the maternity and Children's Hospital in Mariupol, where today we see these disturbing images of Ukrainians putting their war dead killed by Russia into mass graves. From Kyiv, CNN's Matthew Chance has an up close look at how Ukrainians are trying to fight back against the Russian invasion.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The aftermath of fierce fighting east of the Ukrainian Capitol. This is what you get when you invade Ukrainian land. The narrator says. These Russian forces attempt to encircle Kyiv. Ukrainian military says it's defeated and entire regiment of Russian tanks and liquidated its commander.

Drone video captured the armored column in the city of Brovary being attacked and destroyed. The latest battlefield win in what is proving for now to be a determined Ukrainian stand.

But on the diplomatic front stalemate, despite the highest level talks since this Russia-Ukraine conflict began, foreign ministers meeting in the Turkish city of Antalya. Ukrainian officials tell CNN, the Russian side appeared unwilling or unable to make a deal.

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: We also raised the issue of a ceasefire, 24-hour ceasefire to resolve the most pressing humanitarian issues. We did not make progress on this since it seems that there are other decision makers for this matter in Russian.

CHANCE: It's these gut wrenching scenes in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, provoking wide international school maternity hospital devastated by Russian forces. According to Ukrainian officials, killing at least three people inside, including a child.

Horrific images are circulating like this one of pregnant women blooded in the attack. Still, the Russian Foreign Minister is insisting this was a legitimate strike on a far right Ukrainian militia, the Azov battalion, not a war crime. SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): At the meeting of the UN Security Council, our delegation presented facts about this maternity hospital, having long been seized by the Azov battalion and other radicals and they have driven all the pregnant women and the nurses out of it.

CHANCE: But in cities across Ukraine, trapped civilians are desperately escaping the fighting, This the latest scenes from urban north of Kyiv, where the city's mayor says nearly half the population has already fled. With no peace inside Ukraine's capital is empty as Russian forces advance.


CHANCE: Well, Jake, shortly after meeting his Russian counterpart in Turkey, the Ukrainian farmers that tweeted some absolutely horrific images of a toddler who was very badly injured, being horridly evacuated from a suburb north of the Ukrainian Capitol basically saying, along with that tweet that look, this is why Putin has sent his army to kill Ukrainians, including children. He pointed out that over 70 children have so far been killed in this conflict and the foreign minister of Ukraine, saying that he will personally ensure that each war criminal faces justice, Jake.

TAPPER: Matthew Chance reporting live for us from Kyiv. Thank you. Stay safe. Here to discuss Democratic Senator Mark Warner continue. He's the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Mr. Chairman, thanks for joining us. On the question of the U.S. helping the Polish government to send the Soviet made MiG fighter jets to Ukraine. Your colleague, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democratic of New Hampshire told CNN quote, it's not clear why we are standing in the way. Earlier today and yesterday, two different former NATO Supreme Allied commanders told us that they think the U.S. should be trying to help the Polish government get these MiGs to Ukraine. Do you agree?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Well, Jake, I believe we are sending a lot of a 17,000 anti-tank tools and I just was meeting with some more British colleagues, they announced another 3,600. I think we need to get more of those Turkish drones. That had been very effective.

The question on the planes, I'd love to find a way to get the planes to the Ukrainians. What I need to get the answer to though is you will the balance of NATO agree with this? I know there's some argument coming straight from Poland versus coming from a NATO American Air Base in Germany. Is that a distinction with a difference in what I'm trying to get an answer to real time is part of the reluctance the fact that other NATO members are reluctant to have that moving.


NATO still has, I'm sorry, Ukraine still has a substantial number of its airplanes that they are able to use. The truth is a lot of the Russia -- a lot of the airspace, not all of it by any means, but a lot of the airspace where the Russians have controlled, they also have control of the airspace. That's one of the reasons why you've not seen the existing Ukrainian Air Force, for example, bomb that long column that has been sitting for so long.

TAPPER: The Director of National Intelligence testified today that there's a new assessment about Ukraine that contributed to the decision of the Biden administration to not help these Polish MiGs get to Ukraine, do you know of new intelligence suggesting that Vladimir Putin might see this as escalatory and possibly bomb Poland, bomb some other NATO ally?

WARNER: Well, clearly as some of the testimony that was even made public today that that that testimony that ODNI Haines made was before my committee. This was the open threat hearing. And then we went into a closed session. I obviously can't speak about anything in the closed session.

But there clearly is an escalatory ladder. Some of that is of course, based upon judgments. One of the questions that I think we posed, if is it that much more of an escalation if the planes fly from a NATO base than if they were somehow transported in another way from Poland into Ukraine? And the question I want answered is what to the balance of NATO nations say, we will -- this is a group that so far, I think, again, because the Biden ministration has worked hard to keep this coalition together to build this coalition.

I can assure you a year ago NATO was broken in the aftermath of Trump. It has been built back the last four months, particularly with our British allies. We've had to convince the reality of the threat and now NATO has that. What I don't want to have happen is that unified force against Putin's aggression, splinter in any way. And that's the question I'm trying to get the answer to.

TAPPER: There are all these pro Russia social media accounts trying to convince the public that these news reports about Ukrainian suffering and dying are not true. They're falsely claiming that the victims we've seen on TV are crisis actors, obviously, offensive and false. What's your reaction when you see this propaganda campaign by Russia that these are crisis actors and not actual Ukrainian victims?

WARNER: Well, Jake, you may recall, when the war first started, I wrote all of the major social media platforms to not allow Russian entities to monetize themselves during the -- during this tragedy. And I'm a big critic of the social media platforms for the most part, but most of them took off. RT took off, Sputnik, many of them made clear that there was not American advertising backing that.

On the question, and I'm trying to get more intel again of this, the fake social media posts. This is a little bit of a conundrum. We've got American companies who provide some of the Internet backbone for the internet in Russia, some of them are exiting, and on that level, I applaud and maybe some of those Russian social media fake videos cannot get out within Russia into the rest of the world.

The flip side of that, of course, is that many of the images of opposition to Russia, there was a classic example recently where there was a governor out in Siberia, at some form of town hall and Russian there -- his citizens were basically saying, Why did you send our young men who were in a police brigade to Belarus, you told us they were going for a training mission, and they're being used as cannon fodder.

So that obviously was where the internet was being used as a powerful statement for the Russian people to hear some of the protests. So getting this right, I do think the social media companies need to do more to take down these false videos. That is something disinformation, misinformation that we've been urging for some time. But taking down the whole internet inside Russia itself, is a bit of a dual edged sword at this point.

TAPPER: Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, thank you so much, sir. It is horrific, but Russia is targeting hospitals is nothing new. They've done it before. For years in another country, stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, the horrifying images of the Russian attack on the maternity and children's hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine may have shocked some but it does seem to follow a familiar pattern of Russia's appalling war tactics.

In 2019, Russia bombed four hospitals in Syria in the span of just 12 hours according to an extensive New York Times investigation. The group Physicians for Human Rights estimates under Assad and Putin over a 10-year period, there were 600 attacks on at least 350 separate medical facilities, almost 1,000 medical workers killed in total.

Recently, it wasn't just the attack and Mary Opal Ukraine on February 24, the Ukrainian head of the Donetsk region said a Russian strike injured at least six medical workers when the Russians struck just outside of hospital there.

And earlier this month the Kyiv Independent reported that Russian missiles struck near another maternity hospital. This is what Putin does on purpose.

CNN's Phil Black now takes a closer look at the grim aftermath in Mariupol to find atrocities not seen since World War II perhaps. We want to warn viewers these images are disturbing.



PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When you hear Ukrainian city is under siege, cut off and under bombardment by Russian forces, this is what that means. No one knows how many people have been killed in Mariupol. But it's too many to allow the care and dignity that usually comes with death.

Relatively few images have escaped Mariupol since the siege began. These were captured by AP photo journalist, Evgeny Maloletka, who says he saw around 70 bodies buried in this trench over two days. They arrived wrapped in whatever people could find and use plastic bags even covered.

And this shows why it's likely there are many more. Mariupol suffering from above. Before and after satellite images reveal extraordinary devastation in commercial and shopping areas, residential neighborhoods too.

Russian munitions are steadily wiping out this city. It's already unlivable. There is no food, water, or power. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, says a child in Mariupol has died of dehydration, probably for the first time since the Nazi invasion.

During a meeting in Turkey, the Ukrainian foreign minister says he asked his Russian counterpart for a humanitarian corridor to allow people to leave Mariupol.

KULEBA: Unfortunately, Minister Lavrov was not in a position to commit himself to it, but he will correspond with respective authorities.

BLACK: That means Sergey Lavrov has to ask his boss, but Russia's top diplomat was comfortable repeating Russia's explanation for bombing a maternity hospital in Mariupol on Wednesday.

The Russian version says there were no patients or staff in these buildings, just soldiers. This was the reality captured in the moments immediately after the blast. And obviously pregnant woman is stretched from the side. Another hurt, bleeding walks out carrying what she can.

Russians often honor the bravery and determination shown by their own citizens who were besieged by Nazi forces in the Second World II. Now, Russia is inflicting that same suffering on the people of Mariupol. Phil Black, CNN, London.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Phil Black for that report. Moments ago, the mayor of Mariupol said Russia's attacks on the city were quote, cynical and destructive war against humanity. He accused Putin of genocide or these attacks. Joining us now to discuss war crimes, the possibility of prosecutions for Putin's aggression, Ambassador David Scheffer, he served as the former U.S. ambassador-at-large for War Crimes Issues, is now Director Emeritus at the Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University. Thank you so much for joining us.

So the Vice President Harris called these quote atrocities of unimaginable proportions. But she deferred to the UN, on whether they're war crimes. I mean, what else could they be they are clearly targeting civilians.

DAVID SCHEFFER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR-AT-LARGE FOR WAR CRIMES ISSUES: I think the time has arrived where our officials can use the term atrocity crimes more liberally. They don't have to say war crimes. They don't have to say crimes against humanity, genocide. These are all atrocity crimes. The day will come when we define whether or not it's specifically a war crime or a crime against humanity. All of them have different standards of proof and evidence, intention, who actually commits these crimes, at what level of command are these crimes orchestrated.

But the point is atrocity crimes have arrived in Ukraine. And that is undeniable. And I think the time really has come for U.S. officials now to sort of use that term. They've said aggression. They've said investigation of war crimes. They've said atrocities of intolerable --

TAPPER: Significant proportions.

SCHEFFER: Yes. And so really, the vernacular is out there, the terminology is out there. But I think it's -- it would just be more clarifying for people to simply say, atrocity crimes are occurring, it is essential to prevent them being from being further committed. And it's also essential for those who have committed them to be punished.

TAPPER: So Putin has done this. The Russians have done this for years targeting hospitals. We saw it in Syria. You heard my introduction to the piece, to Phil's peice. And one New York Times investigation found for hospitals target in just 12 hours. And this is not this Mariupol maternity and children's hospitals, not even the first Ukrainian hospital in the last two weeks. Why does he do this?


SCHEFFER: Well I think he does the first and foremost to terrorize the population to incentivize them to flee as refugees. His tactic was the same in Syria with Assad. You terrorize the civilian population to leave the civilian populated areas, then you level those areas, you reclaim your authority over those areas.

And perhaps someday, some of those individuals returned, but they returned under your subjugation. So that's a clear tactic is one that is completely oblivious to any consideration of the legality or illegality of the tactic, but it certainly is playing out here.

And I might add, Jake, that, you know, President Putin has demonstrated that he knows what is occurring in Ukraine. He's not ignorant of it. He obviously knows. As the top leader, he has the responsibility to prevent those crimes from occurring, or and or to punish those who have committed them if he wasn't able to prevent them. He's clearly doing neither.

So he's incriminating himself every single day as the top commander, that means that when he's indicted by the International Criminal Court, and I think that will occur within two to three months, his is an easier indictment to draft than what we've had in the past where you don't sometimes know whether the top leader actually is aware of the actual crimes be occurring. They don't make public statements about it. They don't advertise themselves as orchestrating the crimes of orchestrating of the invasion.

TAPPER: Right.

SCHEFFER: But Putin has done so.

TAPPER: One other note about the creating refugees, as I just know from military sources that Putin loves creating instability in Europe by creating these refugee crisis that cause all sorts of political issues as well as financial issues.

Lastly, what do you say to somebody who says OK, Russia gets -- Putin gets indicted by the International Criminal Court. Russia is not a member of the International Criminal Court. The United States isn't either for that matter. So what does that mean?

SCHEFFER: The answer is it doesn't matter. The International Criminal Court has full jurisdiction over Ukraine in this matter for the investigation. 39 countries referred to the ICC legitimately. When he's indicted and when the generals are indicted, the sanctions that have been imposed upon Russia, the most severe in history will not be lifted until two things happen. One, the Russian military withdraws from the Ukraine and Ukraine restores its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and two, Putin and the indicted generals, the indicted fugitives from justice are surrendered to the Hague, it would be implausible for the sanctions to be lifted until that happens.

This is exactly what we did in the Balkans with Milosevic, Mladic, Melodic (ph), we kept the sanctions on Serbia until they were surrendered. And I see no basis to think that European countries or even the United States, Canada, will tolerate them not being surrendered. Those sanctions will stay in place until they are surrendered.

TAPPER: Ambassador David Scheffer, thank you so much for being with us today. Appreciate your time.

SCHEFFER: Thank you.

TAPPER: With friends like these, Democrats are piling on President Biden for how he's handling the struggling economy, that story next.



TAPPER: n our politics lead, as Russia's unprovoked war on Ukraine rages into its third week President Biden faces his biggest international crisis while here at home. And not unrelatedly soaring prices are threatening to slow a surging economy. Today's report on inflation showing the biggest increase in prices and for decades. And that's measuring the period before Russia's war on Ukraine. Experts think prices are going to continue to rise perhaps even worse, and Americans are already feeling it from record gas prices to rising rents and the climbing cost of putting food on the table.

Our panel is here to discuss all this and more. So let me start with you, West Virginia. Senator Joe Manchin told CNN this morning. He doesn't think the Biden administration has done enough to deal with inflation. Mark Kelly, up for reelection (INAUDIBLE) senator from Arizona, he's calling for Biden to suspend the gas tax. How do you get ahead of this if you're Joe Biden?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, NATIONA SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, if you're -- you've already got Democrats that are starting to, you know, separate themselves from you, it doesn't look that great in terms of being able to get ahead of it as a full party.

TAPPER: Right.

DEMIRJIAN: Because you knew you were going to have the Republicans criticizing any move, and that it was going to get even worse after this decision to block Russian oil imports, shooting up the prices more.

So you know, the President is going to be having to do a real sort of PR campaign because he's kind of boxed himself into this place where you can't undo the direction of the inflation is going in. He can try to make certain policy moves to try to minimize that effect. He can try to explain as he has in some -- to some extent, we're going to have to take on some pain here. Because everything that's going on in the world, we want to do what we want to do.

But if that's not already working with his own party, that the more moderate party, it's going to be a really difficult message to get the whole party to accept.

TAPPER: And the White House is clearly trying to blame this on Putin as much as possible even the part that has nothing to do with.

MARGARET TALEV, MANAGING EDITOR, AXIOS: No, I mean, the rollout this -- his remarks the other day, and announcing the oil embargo, not just calling Putin's war, but putting up price hikes here at home, you're going to be hearing more of that. You're going to be hearing as much of that as the market will bear, if I can mix metaphors for a second.


And like, look part of it. Sure. Part of it is Biden trying to transfer blame or make Putin easy villain. Part of it, I think is laying the groundwork trying to set Americans expectations for what's coming, which is worse. And my colleague Neil Irwin, the great economics writer at Axios has said now it looks much more likely that inflation could hit double digits that there could potentially need to be discussion of a recession to break the inflationary streak.

This is not just going to be oil, in terms of the impact of Russia, it's going to be metals too. And that's going to have an impact on cars and a whole bunch of other stuff across the chain. So, it's not only convenient for Biden to try to talk about Putin. He has to.

TAPPER: Yes. Let's take a listen to Senator John Thune today.


SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): We've been trying to get the administration's attention on this issue for a long time. Without any success, their obsession with electric vehicles, eclipses everything else, including solutions that not only would help Midwestern farmers, lower costs for consumers, but also reduce emissions.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Do you agree that the Biden administration is talking too much about green energy alternatives and not enough about what people in South Dakota might be more inclined to listen to him?

JOE WALSH, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, ILLINOIS: Jake, he certainly shouldn't lead with electric vehicles right now. I mean, there's got to be a sense of urgency. Look, Republicans are going to play politics, but we needed from the beginning, kind of like an explainer in chief.

I mean, my God, when you think about the context, we're just coming out of a once in a lifetime pandemic, there was pent up demand. Everybody wants to get out there, the supplies not there. I wish from the beginning that Joe Biden had done a better job explaining to the American people about all of this about inflation and the same thing with gas prices, don't blame other people. Explain. I think the American people would support him.

TAPPER: What do you think because this is going to be the challenge, forget the international crisis that he has to deal with, in terms of the midterm elections, in terms of his own possible reelection campaign this is going to be what Joe Biden has to deal with, like the economy's doing well, but inflation is the big headline.

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITION DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020: I agree. I mean, the one thing that clip doesn't show is one thing was on the Senate floor. He also said that Biden should reopen the Keystone Pipeline, which we know he's not going to do, he blocked on day one. And that is an important issue around climate for his base.

I think that Joe Biden, I say this all the time, he has to bring the American people in, let him -- let them know that he is empathizing. He understands the pain. He's a working class American, he gets it. He knows how hard it is like to fill your tank up.

But these weren't issues that just were around Vladimir Putin, that line is going to fade rather quickly. We don't know what's going to happen with the war in Russia. But I don't think that in the midterms that the American public is going to connect gas prices to Putin, they're going to connect it to Biden, when he has to really empathize with American people.

WALSH: Jake, Trump lied every time he opened his mouth. A big part of why I think people elected Biden was to be straight with us.


WALSH: Give us the tough medicine. Again, I think the American people would support that message.

TAPPER: But on the subject of explaining, I think, with all due respect, Jen Psaki is better explainer than other people in that building. And one of the things she said about the Keystone Pipeline, for example, is we're already getting that, we're already getting oil from Canada. The Keystone Pipeline is not an oilfield, it transmits the oil to the Gulf of Mexico. but that's not a solution --

TALEV: Would not make your gas price cheaper today.

TAPPER: Right. I mean, so I think the more they can explain that kind of thing.

TALEV: It's going to be a combination of explaining how it works, but also turning toward the idea of a greater cause. And I think we are increasingly, even if the wording around Putin modulates we are increasingly going to hear talk about patriotism, about Americans duty to defend democracy, how well he can bring that together with making Americans comfortable about what's going to cost a lot more money. It's CBD.

DEMIRJIAN: I think explanations take a long time.


TAPPER: If you're explaining, you're losing.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, NATIONA SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: That's true, right. But also Keystone Pipeline, that's something you can see, and you can hold on to right, it was Nord Stream 2 before, which isn't even running gas yet. But that became the centerpiece of the whole sanctions debate, when we were talking about maybe sanctioning the central bank, and their biggest, you know, bank, other biggest banks too that weren't the central bank. It becomes this thing of what actually sticks in the heads of Americans who are not familiar with the global marketplace and are not familiar with Russia and Ukraine. And an explanation takes a few more seconds to explain.

TAPPER: And Ashley, there's this new AAA survey showing that 60 percent of Americans say they're going to change their driving and lifestyle habits with gas over $4 a gallon.

For people in D.C. who can take the metro or only have like a five or 10-mile commute, it's one thing, but for people who are working, for people who are in rural America, for people who work in San Francisco but have to live two hours away because rents so high, this is really going to be very, very painful.

And I wonder if everybody in Washington kind of gets the message it seems I've heard people say things like, well, the American people are, you know, going to they're willing to do this for democracy. Well, if you have to spend more to get to work then you make it work. I don't know.


ALLISON: I totally agree. I think that not only is it a gas price issue, it's going to be milk. It's going to be rent, it's going to be -- all of these prices are going up. And that's why it just go back to my point is that we have to let the American people really understand it is an explanation. But if you do it well, and you're a great storyteller, I think that they will understand why we're in the situation and be committed to see it to the other side. TAPPER: Thanks one and all for being here. Really appreciate it. Great to see all of you. Take me out to the ballgame, baseball fans now have something to cheer about a rare good news story on THE LEAD, that's next.


TAPPER: We have some breaking news and some desired good news in our sports lead today. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, baseball is coming back. In the last hour, Major League Baseball announced that the owners and the players union have reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement ending the owner's lockout, which already forced the cancellation of several games this season. CNN's Tom Foreman who's a Washington Nationals fan though we will not hold that against him joins me now.


Tom everyone watching us, when the season going to start?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Phillies are going down buddy. April 7th, marked it on your calendar.


FOREMAN: April 7th. There had been a whole big push here. The original starting date was going to be March 31st. And that got pushed back to like April 14th. But now they're talking about April 7th. And importantly, they're talking about doing a full season 162 games. That was very much in question.

Right now they have this tentative deal on this five-year collective bargaining agreement, ending a 99-day lockout. The longest one in 26 years, still has to be fully ratified by the owners, players, everyone has to say we're fully on board, but that's considered a formality. So this seems like a done deal.

TAPPER: So the lockout essentially stalled free agent signings. So, the teams right now, and maybe even an opening day might look different. What are -- are we going to see a bunch of big star signing contracts over the next few days?

FOREMAN: Yes. And how. They haven't been able to talk to management since as lockout started. So now the work of four months has to be compressed down into a few weeks. They'll be scrambling to try to figure out who's playing with whom, who's on the injured list. They have to get spring training started. This weekend and bear in mind with so many players coming from overseas have to work out work visas for a lot of them, but they think they can get it all done with $11 billion in income involved. I bet they will. So, it's sort of a ninth inning save all of this when people were dreading a baseball season that would not deal.

TAPPER: Some good news. Tom, thank you for bringing in.

FOREMAN: You're welcome. TAPPER: A lot of bleak stuff out there. This is nice. Our next guest says he spent six figures on Oxycontin prescriptions. Today, he got to share his addiction story with the family behind that powerful drug. His story next.



TAPPER: The buried lead, that's what we call stories that we believe deserve more attention. Today, after years of litigation, victims of the opioid crisis got their first chance to confront the Sackler. So that's the billionaire family behind Purdue Pharma, and Purdue Pharma is highly addictive opioid drug Oxycontin.

Purdue Pharma has pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple felonies including conspiracy to defraud the United States. The Sacklers have long been fighting accusations that Purdue deceived doctors and the public about how addictive oxy is, pushing it for even lesser pain, essentially risking getting millions of Americans addicted to a potentially deadly narcotic as part of its business plan.

Purdue and the Sacklers dispute that.

But in 2020, prosecutors said quote, Purdue admitted that it marketed and sold its dangerous opioid products to healthcare providers, even though it had reason to believe those providers were diverting them to abusers, unquote. And, quote, the company lied to the Drug Enforcement Administration about steps that had taken to prevent such diversion fraudulently increasing the amount of its products it was permitted to sell. Purdue also paid kickbacks to providers to encourage them to prescribe even more of its products, unquote.

Now a federal judge has approved a bankruptcy settlement between the Sacklers Purdue Pharma, and a group of eight states and Washington DC. Under the deal, the Sacklers must pay out as much as $6 billion for opioid abatement programs, overdose rescue medicines to the states and to compensate victims.

Between 1999 and 2020, the U.S. has lost more than 560,000 people. 560,000 to opioid overdoses. Today, the judge allowed 26 speakers to share their stories, how oxy destroyed their lives or took the lives of loved ones.

My next guest was one of those victims who shared his story.

Ryan Hampton joins me now. He wrote the book "Unsettled: How the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy Failed the Victims of the American Overdose Crisis." Ryan, thanks so much for joining us.

So you testified earlier that you started taking oxy after a knee injury. And you eventually spent six figures on prescriptions over a decade before turning to the black market. What were you told by doctors when they kept prescribing you this drug?

RYAN HAMPTON, VICTIM OF OPIOID CRISIS: I mean, that's a great question, Jake. You know, I saw many doctors down in Florida, if you know anything, and that's where I was living at the time. If you know anything about where we're at in the overdose crisis today, Florida was filled with what we call pill mills.

In the 2000s when I was getting oxy, and I was being told from people that I trusted, people that I had been taught to trust since a very young age, that it would be OK, that if I experienced any symptoms of quote unquote, dependence, that it's what we call pseudo addiction that I wasn't really addicted, that they could taper me off in the office or I could do it at home. But that was never the answer.

They consistently upped the dose. I wish I would have known then. I wish my family would have known then, what we know now.

TAPPER: The current settlement is still contingent on Purdue's reorganization plan, parts of which are still playing out with another judge. For years, you protested at Purdue headquarters and the Department of Justice headquarters here in DC, begging for an investigation, begging for justice. What do you make of these pending terms Purdue and the Sacklers forced to pay out $6 billion, among other things?


HAMPTON: Look, Jake, I mean, I know this is a controversial subject for many, it has taken me some time to get to a place where I can say it's time to put this bankruptcy to a close. You know, what folks don't realize is that the bankruptcy is taking place within the confines of very complicated bankruptcy laws, and it's all civil.

So at the end of the day, this is going to end in a settlement. Right now, there's $10 billion on the table for which $750 million is for over 138,000 victims who have lost a loved one, or who have suffered as a result of addiction because of OxyContin.

Those dollars go away. If we continue this process, which the United States trustee is trying to do around these controversial third party releases. Look, I don't like the third party releases either. But 105,000 Americans died last year to an overdose.

These dollars have never been needed more than they are right now. And what victims have been asking for, like you said, I've been screaming at the top of my lungs about this, I feel like since I got into recovery is for the attorney general, or for a United States attorney or for the Department of Justice, to investigate the Sacklers criminally.

It is fascinating that I have friends who are sitting in jail for crimes way less, not even a fraction of what the Sackers have done for simple drug use or marijuana possession, yet no member of the Sackler family has ever sat for a grand jury. They've never been indicted.

The DOJ should put their money where their mouth is. They should make sure that abatement dollars get on the ground. And they should make sure that the Sacklers get the same type of justice that you and I would if we were caught for such crimes that they've committed. TAPPER: Today was a virtual hearing. And the first time opioid victims such as yourself got to confront the Sacklers. Now, no video or audio recordings were allowed. But the judge acknowledged that Richard Sackler was watching the video feed. Do you think he heard your message and what was your message?

HAMPTON: Listen, Jake, he definitely heard my message. It was under court order. His attorney was there he had to acknowledge that he heard the message and he had to acknowledge that he was listening. And he was also watching us by video.

You know, what I told Richard Sackler was that I hope for the rest of his days that he hears our names in his dreams, that he hears the sirens, that he hears the screams of family members who have lost a loved one to an overdose on the bathroom floor, that he hears the beep to the heart monitor that's failing with a pulse.

You know, I turned Richard's words against him because he said famously, he said about people like me, that we are the criminals. We are the culprits. We are the problem. And I said, Dr. Richard Sackler, you are the criminal. You are the culprit. And I said that he is going to have much higher powers to answer to than the American justice system, and the bankruptcy court one day and I hope he has made peace with that. And may God have mercy on his soul, on David soul, and on Teresa soul.

Today was the ending of a very long and traumatic process. For many victims like myself, the two dozen or so that were on board. It was a three-hour hearing. I think for my own personal mental health, I have put a period to the end of the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy, and it is now time to take this fight to the DOJ and have them stop playing political games and to do their job.

TAPPER: The book is called "Unsettled." Ryan Hampton. Thank you so much. Appreciate your time today.

HAMPTON: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: He directed one of the highest grossing superhero movies of all time that was also nominated for an Oscar, now this Hollywood director is talking about how he was mistaken for a bank robber. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Your national (ph) lead, the director of the blockbuster hits film Black Panther is now talking after having been mistaken for a bank robber. Ryan Coogler went into a Bank of America in Atlanta and attempted to withdraw $12,000 in cash from his account in January.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, sir. Give me a favor. Come this way.

RYAN COOGLER, FILM DIRECTOR: Whoa, whoa, what's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your hands behind your back.

COOGLER: Hands behind my back -- you got it. You got it. Is there any reason ya'll are doing this, bro?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give me one second. Hold on.


TAPPER: You can actually see the one police officer reach for his gun initially and then reholster. The police report says Coogler had written a note on the back of a bank withdrawal slip asking the money to be counted discreetly. It was a lot of money $12,000. The teller notified her boss that she thought Coogler was trying to rob the bank, even though he had showed her his ID and his Bank of America card.

When police arrived, they handcuffed Coogler and then asked questions. He was eventually released once they realized their profound mistake. Martin

Luther King Jr.'s daughter Bernice King, who lives in Atlanta tweeted I'm grateful that Ryan is alive. Truly. The Bank of America has apologized. Coogler says it never should have happened. But Bank of America worked with him and addressed the issue to his satisfaction and he has moved on.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at Jake Tapper. You can Tweet the show at THE LEAD CNN. We actually read them.


And if you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD, all two hours of it wherever you get your podcasts. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM," I'll see you tomorrow.