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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Satelite Images Show No Signs Of "Systemic Shelling" At Nuclear Plant Despite Putin Claim; Putin Tells Macron He Supports Sending Intl. Inspectors To Russian-Occupied Nuclear Plant; FL Gov. DeSantis Hits Campaign Trail For GOP Candidates; Heavy Rain Helps AZ Drought, But Not Enough To Roll Back Water Cuts. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 19, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: New satellite images obtained by CNN contradict Vladimir Putin's claims that Ukrainian soldiers are shelling Russians who are currently using the power plant. It's not clear if the facility is secure. There is a growing dispute over who actually has the rights to the power supply from that plant.

Thousands of miles away U.S. officials say they're monitoring the situation very closely. CNN Senior International Correspondent Sam Kiley joins us now live from Zaporizhzhia.

Sam, these new satellite images are a stark reminder why we need to be so skeptical of any claims made about this plant. Remind us how dangerous this situation has become.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I think first of all the military danger which we've can look at the counterclaim, if you like, from CNN zone. Investigation into using the satellite images to look at whether or not Vladimir Putin's claim reflected following his conversation with the French president that the Ukrainians were shelling in and around the nuclear power station was true. It would appear from these satellite images that it is almost certainly untrue, that there's been no significant change in the level of attacks -- evidence of attacks since the last images were taken a month ago. So, that really gives the lie to long standing propaganda line taken by the Russians that the Ukrainians are trying to shell their own nuclear power station in order to make the Russians look bad.

Now, that is on the one level. But on the other hand, we do know, because I've seen the evidence on the ground for myself, that missiles have been fired by Russian troops from very close to that nuclear power station, in a sense, almost inviting a counter attack, they have killed 13 civilians in Nikopol across the Dnieper River in a government held territory and hit several other villages, too. So, in that context, one can understand the demands being made increasingly stridently by the international community to demilitarize that area. And that is why the French president called Vladimir Putin earlier on today because of their deep concerns of some kind of military inspired catastrophe there. TAPPER: Yes, and a French source tells CNN that Russian President Putin has agreed to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA to send inspectors to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Does Putin have any conditions? I can't imagine he doesn't.

KILEY: He certainly did have conditions, one of which was that the IAEA would be -- would have to go before or whilst there was no demilitarization process. Now this is a frontline location. It is a location where the Russians are using live ammunition and killing people in the Ukrainian lines and the Russians themselves claim that the Ukrainians are shooting backwards. As we've just discussed, that's probably not true, but it is extremely dangerous. So, there's a lot to be worked out before the inspectors could actually get there at all.

TAPPER: Sam Kiley reporting from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Thank you so much for that.

I want to bring in CNN's Oren Liebermann, who's at the Pentagon.

Oren, how closely is the United States monitoring what is happening at Zaporizhzhia?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly closely. They're watching not only all the rhetoric around this from the Ukrainian and the Russian side to get a better sense of what's happening there. But a senior defense official told reporters earlier today that Russia's actions around Zaporizhzhia are the height of irresponsibility and that Russia has shown a complete disregard for safety and security around Ukraine's nuclear power plants.

Now, it is important that we say that defense officials have told us there is no indication of some Russian action or operation imminently around the power plant, but that doesn't mean there's no reason to be worried here. First, earlier on in this war, Russia has fired at or near Ukrainian power plant early on. And second, one of the things that the U.S. has watched constantly is that Russia's M.O. is essentially to accuse Ukraine or an adversary of something they're about to do. And because of Russia's rhetoric, that is one of the many reasons why the U.S. is watching this so closely. The U.S., the senior defense official offered a simple solution, Russia should get out of a power plant that it doesn't own.

TAPPER: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Oren has already thanked the United States after the Pentagon announced today it would send another $775 million in military assistance to Ukraine. What kind of assistance are we talking about?

LIEBERMANN: Well, this is the 19th package we're seeing of drawdown of U.S. inventories heading into Ukraine. That number the total committed to Ukraine from the U.S. from the Biden ministration has now crossed $10 billion. In terms of what we're looking at, first, crucially, more ammo for the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System, HIMARS. This is something that's changed the dynamic of the fight there and worked very well for Ukraine, more howitzers, 16 more smaller, 105 millimeter howitzers, 1,000 javelins and other thing anti-tank weapons, these worked incredibly effectively at stopping Russian armor at the beginning of this war, mind clearing equipment, the U.S. says Russia has extensively mined southern and eastern Ukraine, as well as 15 Scan Eagle drones for reconnaissance, Humvees, communication equipment, night vision goggles.


Jake, it is obvious when you look at this list, the U.S. doesn't see this ending very quickly. Neither of course does Ukraine or pretty much the world.

TAPPER: Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon for us, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Let's talk about all these developments with CNN National Security Analyst Steve Hall. He's the former chief of Russia operations at the CIA.

Steve, let me start with your reaction to these new satellite images showing that there are no signs of what President Putin claimed was, quote, "systemic shelling" of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Ukraine. Both sides obviously have been blaming each other for damage. It's difficult to know for sure what's going on.

But as an onlooker, how do you analyze what's going on? And how do you parse through the disparities between claims by either side?

STEVE HALL, FORMER CIA CHIEF OF RUSSIA OPERATIONS: I mean first, Jake, it's obviously no surprise that, you know, Vladimir Putin is making a claim that's obviously false. So, remember, this is the same guy who not too long ago was saying no, no, all these troops that are massing in Russia just over the Ukrainian border, we have no intention of invading. And of course, we all know how that ended up.

So, you know, whenever Vladimir Putin says something or the Kremlin says something like, well, it's the Ukrainians that are attacking us as we peacefully occupy their nuclear reactor, you have to think twice and ask yourself, why is it really going on?

In this part of the world, Jake, there's a strong tendency, which is really hard for us to understand sometimes in the west of doing something that the Russians referred to as provocations. So, they destroy something in the nuclear power plant and say, aha, the Ukrainians did it. Or they tried to set up a deal that they do damage to some other militarily important object and say, this wasn't us, this is the Ukrainians.

And this is just something that is, you know, standard operating procedure are for the Kremlin. And we have to be very careful when they start fooling around with things like nuclear power plants, so that sort of thing.

TAPPER: So, President Putin has agreed to give the International Atomic Energy Agency, the IAEA, access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with some caveats, of course, he said that they can have access without having to go through Russian occupied territory. That was an assurance made during a phone call with French president Emmanuel Macron. What's your reaction?

HALL: Well, again, one always has to look, you know, very skeptically at any assurances, and there's -- from the Russians. And of course, there's lots of things that Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin can play with, with this proposal to put, you know, international observers, IAEA people, or you know, U.N. or whatever other international entity to go in there.

That said, it's common sense that this is what should be done. I mean, neither side should really be using this power plant as some sort of, you know, some sort of trading ship. I mean, it does belong to Ukraine, and of course, the Russians were the ones who invade, and it is a strategic target. The Russians want this because they want to lessen the infrastructure capabilities of Ukraine, and of course, it is the Ukrainians by right.

But in this point, where you've got it actually, in a frontline situation, it makes a lot of sense to have the IAEA in there. But we're going to have to watch very carefully how the Russians try to manipulate that, because, trust me, they will.

TAPPER: So of course, world leaders around, you know, around the globe are terrified about what might happen here. The United Nations is pushing for the area around the Zaporizhzha nuclear power plant to be completely demilitarized to remove any risk of some sort of nuclear disaster. Russia says, of course, absolutely not. And there doesn't seem to be much incentive, beyond what's already going on the sanctions in the like for Russia to leave. What is the way to make Russia leave or at least allow the demilitarization of this one small part of Ukraine?

HALL: Yes, that's going to be the tricky part, Jake, because the Russians, of course, aren't just going to say, you know, that makes a lot of sense. Yes, let's stop messing around with this nuclear power plant, despite the fact that this is, of course, the same country that the horrific Chernobyl meltdown, you know, happened. And now, I'm quick to say that in Zaporizhzhia the situation is quite different than in Chernobyl.

However, if I were a European, you know, living sort of, you know, having Ukraine in my backdoor and having Russia do this type of thing, you know, I would indeed be very nervous because as we saw with Chernobyl, when things go bad in a nuclear power plant, the winds take materials and all sorts of bad things can happen to Europe. So, it would make sense that the Europeans are concerned, that they really ought to be concerned about how Vladimir Putin is going to try to get payback for this. If he says, OK, I'll let IAEA in there, I'll let some monitors go in, but in exchange I want whatever it is that Vladimir Putin is thinking that day.

So, he's going to try to mess with this. He's going to try to create a sort of a, you owe me if I cooperate with your type of situation. The Russians are very good at doing that. And in the U.N., they do that, you know, in spades. And so, it ought to be the U.N. that's involved in pushing this forward with Russia as well, I think.


TAPPER: And United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres was in Odessa, Ukraine earlier today. He insisted that the electricity generated at Zaporizhzhia belongs to Ukraine. Indeed, Ukraine belongs to Ukraine.

This followed reports that the Kremlin possibly is planning on diverting electricity produced at that plant, if not, cutting it off from Ukraine, and perhaps diverting it to Russian occupied territory. If Russia did that, what would that mean for Ukraine? You know, winter is coming up.

HALL: You know, this is something that the Russians have really been doing incrementally over the past couple of months since the invasion began. They've been doing things like going into territory that they have taken from Ukraine and are trying to control and doing things like, you know, issuing Russian passports to the local Ukrainians. They had been doing things like taking Russians and putting them -- you know, making them the marriage (ph) and in control of these towns.

And now, what we're seeing is them moving into significant infrastructure. This is a large electricity producing power plant that Ukraine depends on and they're going to basically go in and steal it and steal the electricity. So that's not new for Russia.

TAPPER: Steve Hall, thank you as always, for your expertise and your time. Appreciate it.

HALL: Sure.

TAPPER: Should Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton be treated the same way when it comes to how they handle classified documents? Our next guest says, yes. Then, when there's not enough water, who gets to use it? These are the decisions facing officials in one state where a water fight is churning. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Now to our politics lead, we're getting a slightly sharper picture of the focus of the DOJ in the Mar-a-Lago search. Documents newly unsealed by a federal judge include the phrase, quote, "Willful retention of national defense information." Willful, that language could possibly point to the former President Donald Trump as a possible subject of the investigation.

So, could Donald Trump be charged with a crime? Should he be? The Dispatch's David French wrote an article titled, quote, "Apply the Hillary Clinton Rule to Donald Trump," unquote. Adding quote, "There cannot be one legal standard for Republicans and another for Democrats," referencing the 2016 decision by then FBI Director James Comey to not charge then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for having classified information on her private e-mail server.

Joining us now to discuss is the author of that piece, David French. David, thanks for joining us. Good to see you.

In your article you wrote, quote, "If two men commit and identical crime and one receives twice the punishment of the other, that disparity rightly violates our sense of justice and fairness," unquote. So, in your opinion, and obviously, information is still coming in on the Trump deal --


TAPPER: -- how similar are the Clinton e-mail case and Trump having classified documents allegedly at Mar-a-Lago?

FRENCH: Now, more similar than a lot of people would like to acknowledge, to be honest. So, if you look at the Hillary Clinton situation she had on a private server, not on a government server, a private server, several e-mail changed it included top secret information, classified at some of the highest levels. So this was information that is James Comey said in his press conference announcing that he wasn't going to prosecute her. This is information that she should have known had no business being on a private server. In fact, during my time in the military had I had that kind of information on a private server, I would have expected military discipline, severe military discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Now, Trump, it appears had highly classified information, apparently marked classified in his possession improperly, there -- that's where the similarity is. And then the question becomes, was Trump's behavior in some ways, materially worse? And that's where we get into some of the other questions regarding deception or potential, you know, not fully answering a subpoena, for example. That's what -- there's a lot that we don't know around Trump's handling of these documents, but on first blush, a lot of the facts are more similar, I think, than a lot of Democrats would like to acknowledge.

TAPPER: Now, the former FBI Director Comey noted at the time that Clinton's private e-mail server had seven e-mail chains that were classified as the top level security clearance as you suggested, and we know that the FBI took one set of documents from Mar-a-Lago that were a similar level of security clearance.

FRENCH: Right, right.

TAPPER: What do you say to those who argue Clinton might have been reckless in having these discussions on a private e-mail server? But there really isn't an explanation, at least we haven't heard one, about why Donald Trump took these documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago and why he was blocking the Justice Department from reclaiming the information. That's where I think a lot of people would say, this really is very different, especially when it comes to the behavior of Clinton versus Trump.

FRENCH: Yes, well, this is -- you know, let's go back into what Comey said. This -- what Comey said was we prosecute cases that involve some combination of clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information. Exposure -- quantities of material exposed in a way to support an inference of intentional misconduct, indications of disloyalty or efforts to obstruct justice.

OK. This -- when you're talking about intentional or willful mishandling of classified information, there was a lot there that was intentional and willful about Hillary Clinton's conduct. She didn't accidentally set up a private server, she didn't accidentally discuss top secret information. But some of the other efforts, the obstruction efforts may not be the same.

So, we have to know a lot more about this. But I -- one thing I want to make clear is, you know, a lot of these folks who look back in 2016 and have this phrase, but her e-mails, are really denigrating --

TAPPER: Right.

FRENCH: -- the gravity of what she did.

TAPPER: Yes. And -- I've never done that and, you know --

FRENCH: Right.

TAPPER: -- and criticized by the left as a result. Are there differences though, do you think? Are there differences that you also see between the Clinton e-mail case and the Trump Mar-a-Lago case --



TAPPER: -- that come into focus as well?

FRENCH: Well, yes. And some of this is based on reporting that hasn't yet been fully confirmed. And so that's -- you know, with that caveat, we need to note that if, for example, Trump team did not comply with a subpoena, in other words, it held back information that was responsive to a subpoena, intentionally held that back, that's more troubling, that's very deeply troubling. If there's evidence of shifting or hiding of documents, that would be more troubling than what you had in the Clinton situation.

So a lot of that deals with this sort of notion that we've heard a million times, Jake, of, it's not the crime, it's the cover up. What did --

TAPPER: Right.

FRENCH: -- Trump do once it was known that he possessed classified information, once it was known that the government wanted that classified information back from him, how deceptive was he? And that's where he could really be in a lot more trouble than Clinton found herself in.

TAPPER: And one last thing, and we're running out of time, so this is unfair of me, but let me just say like, it does seem as though Hillary Clinton, the private e-mail server, who knows why she was doing that maybe she wanted to avoid FOIA or whatever, but she was doing her official business as Secretary of State. That's why she had --

FRENCH: Right.

TAPPER: -- those secret documents. We don't know why Donald Trump had these top secret documents in his private residence after he became president. That's the big mystery. And we still haven't gotten a decent explanation.

FRENCH: Right. I mean, there's obviously justification for Hillary Clinton while she's Secretary of State to deal with top secret information. There was no justification for the private server. Here, we don't have justification for Trump holding the top secret information now as a private citizen and we don't have justification for the location of that classified information. So, in that circumstance is -- there is a distinction.

TAPPER: David French, always good to have you on. Thank you so much.

FRENCH: Thank you.

TAPPER: The two words one Republican lawmaker refuses to say, as the GOP tries to hold on to their competitive congressional seat. What are those two words? We'll tell you next.



TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead. Quote, "I don't say his name ever." That's what one anonymous Republican lawmaker running for reelection in a competitive district told CNN about Donald Trump.

This comes as the man in charge of the House GOP strategy, Minnesota Congressman Tom Emmer, has been advising candidates not to focus on Trump but rather focus on Republican policies. Joining us now to discuss, former Utah Congresswoman Mia love and Democratic Strategist Maria Cardona.

Congresswoman, what do you make of vulnerable Republicans trying to distance themselves from Trump on the campaign trail?

MIA LOVE (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, UTAH: If Republicans are going to win, Jake, they cannot continue to hold the water for Donald Trump. They can't continue to just try and defend Donald Trump, because they missed the boat. They missed talking about doing work for the American people. They missed talking about how they're actually going to reduce inflation, how they're actually going to help Americans when it comes to making their lives better tomorrow than it is today.

I just -- I can't tell you enough how I have been begging Republicans to start talking about what they are for, the thing -- what they're going to do, how they're going to move policy forward. If they continue to defend Donald Trump, then they're not really working for people, are they? They're working for Donald. TAPPER: And Maria, we see the opposite going on. We see Democrats distancing themselves from President Biden, in many respects, not answering questions about whether or not they'll campaign with him and just more overtly distancing themselves. Is Biden a huge drag do you think on Democrats?

MARIA CARDONA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: No, absolutely not. And I actually think it's a huge mistake for any Democrat to be distancing themselves from a president who has had massive legislative wins in the past couple of weeks, and, frankly, in his first term, and it's all coming to fruition now. I think that what you're seeing is the Democrats are in an upswing in terms of the actual solutions that Mia was just talking about, she wishes that Republicans would talk about for the American people on the issues that they most care about, right?

So, the Inflation Reduction Act, you have that done that is going to help our older folks with Medicare and all of their prescription drugs, and that's hugely, hugely popular, gas prices are coming down. And you're seeing Democrats really with kind of wind in their sails looking at the midterms and saying, hey, this is not going to be as bad as everyone thought, probably we're going to keep the Senate, the house, it's possible that we're not going to see as many losses, as we thought.

And so, I think we're actually in a really good place. Democrats should not be distancing themselves from this president. And I think they should focus on continuing to talk about the solutions that they're going to try to continue to do, and frankly, the ones that they've already passed.

TAPPER: Congressman, let me ask you, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, I know there are a lot of Republicans out there hoping he'll run for president, hoping that he will take the party in a non-Trump direction. He's currently hitting the campaign trail for Republican candidates in Pennsylvania and Ohio today, including some that deny that Joe Biden won the election.


Former Congressman Joe Walsh, Republican of Illinois tweeted today, "No matter how carefully he tries to dance around it, the fact is Ron DeSantis is actively campaigning to help get election deniers around the country elected. That means DeSantis is an election denier. Period." Do you agree?

MIA LOVE (R-UT), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I -- you know, I think that Ron DeSantis is going to try -- he's going to add something different to the field. And I think from this point on, if he just focuses on issues and moves away from trying to hold the water from Donald Trump, then I think that he will have a lot to add. And there are Republicans that can jump on and and really support him.

But I wanted to mention something about what Maria was saying, I think it's fine that Democrats, if they want to come together, and talk about legislation that they've passed, and build a coalition, but it's really -- this is not really about reducing inflation. One of the reasons why I introduced the one subject at a time bill every year that I was in Congress, it's because I wanted to stop all of these pieces of -- all of these bills going into a bill and having it be called something else.

There's an independent analysis that was done by Penn Wharton that validates some of the major concerns of this bill. It does raise inflation in the near term. It reduces take home pay for Americans over the long term, and reduces GDP, not to mention the tens of thousands of new IRS agents that are going to be assigned to audit middle class families, despite hearing repeatedly from the administration, that that's not the case. It's in the bill. So there are some concerns. This bill is -- it does have some good things, but there are a lot of issues with it that are going to hurt Americans.

CARDONA: Well, I think that --

TAPPER: Maria, it is -- I want to let you --

CARDONA: Yes, yes, go ahead.

TAPPER: -- just to talk about what the Congresswoman just said, it is true that I -- in my opinion, and the opinion of a lot of journalists and others, including economists, that a more accurate title for the bill would be a climate change, health care, tax reform bill, than Inflation Reduction Act, because the question about whether or not will reduce inflation, as opposed to reducing costs, which is a separate issue is really hotly disputed.

CARDONA: Well, if you are a middle class or working class family, Jake, and you are looking at huge -- hugely increased prices on your prescription drugs, and you are seeing a way that that is going to be reduced, call it inflation, call it reduction of costs. What you're going to see is that you're going to be paying less for what you need so desperately. And that I think is the key here, right, for the needs of middle class, working class families right now, and the needs of the country and frankly, the world right now on climate.

And you're right, that is a big piece of this and we should tout it from the rooftops, we should be very proud of it. It is a hugely popular part of this bill, and a very important way to move forward, not just in terms of growth, but also in terms of reducing inflation in the long term. That's a very important piece of this.

Again, Democrats are focused on solutions. Republicans are focused on closing the door on anything that Democrats have tried to bring up to reduce inflation. And I think that it's a wonderful contrast for Democrats to be making going into the midterm elections.

TAPPER: Congresswoman, quick question for you. On Saturday, Republican New York congressional candidate Carl Paladino said that Attorney General Merrick Garland should be executed following the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CARL PALADINO, REPUBLICAN NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: So we have a couple of unelected people who are running our government with -- in an administration of people like Garland, OK, who should be not only impeached, he should probably should be executed. The guy is just lost. The raid the home of a former president is just -- people are scratching their heads and they're saying, what is wrong with this guy?


TAPPER: And Paladino later said he was being facetious with that comment about execution at this time that they're all these death threats to Merrick Garland. The number three Republican in the House, Elise Stefanik, she endorsed Paladino in this race, do you think she should take back her endorsement?

LOVE: Yes, I do. I think there's no room for that kind of language, that kind of sentiment. And this is why I'm so actually really pleased that Mike Pence is out there telling people, hey, we -- we're not going to -- we shouldn't be attacking the rank and file of the FBI. We should be celebrating them. They're doing some very difficult work. It's OK to ask questions but we shouldn't be doing that.


I -- this is why I agree with Mitch McConnell because if we have candidates like this, that are making these comments, they are poor candidates and they're going to lose.

TAPPER: Congresswoman Mia Love, Maria Cardona, thanks to both of you. Have a great weekend. Always good to see both of you.

CARDONA: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up, the growing anti-Semitism threat. We're going to talk to a former skinhead about why some people are drawn to hate more than others. That's ahead. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Our faith lead today is an important as well as disturbing topic, anti-Semitism in the United States which is increasing, due in large part to the way bigotry spreads so rapidly online and on social media. In a new CNN documentary, rising hate, anti-Semitism in America. My friend and colleague Dana Bash sits down with a man who used to perpetuate that hate, a former skinhead, someone who knows firsthand how easily vulnerable people can fall into this world of bigotry.


DAMIEN PATTON: Their recruiting is pretty sophisticated.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Recruitment into the world of hate is something Damien Patton understands well. It happened to him.

PATTON: And this is ultimately where I was recruited into gangs.

BASH (on-camera): Right here?

PATTON: Right here.

BASH (voice-over): It was the 1980s, Patton was a runaway, homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.

PATTON: How the skinheads approached me was really with a business card.

BASH (on-camera): Yes.

PATTON: A business card is reserved for adults, it's reserved for people who are successful, for people in business.

BASH (on-camera): You thought they're successful?

PATTON: They're successful.

BASH (on-camera): I want to be like that.

PATTON: Exactly. That's -- it's how it all started. And it had nothing to do with ideology in the beginning, ahead everything to do with wanting to be like them and wanting that in my bad situation.

BASH (voice-over): He came from a broken home, a single mom, she was Jewish.

PATTON: The part that probably resonated with me in their message was I was angry. And so, anti-Semitism was really saying, I was anti my family.

BASH (voice-over): Patton became a skinhead, the movement which erupted across the U.S. in the 80s with violent attacks and murders, often targeting Jews. He rose in the ranks, becoming a recruiter himself. Patton says these days, it's easier than ever to lure people in.

PATTON: These white supremacists are sitting at home today, looking for the vulnerable online. You can be on a thousand street corners at once now. And that's the big difference.


TAPPER: Such an important documentary. Dana, thank you so much for joining us. Congratulations. What did Damien tell you about how he thinks we can stop anti-Semitism from spreading in the future?

BASH: You know, he, like so many people who are experts in this say that the technology is -- exists or is almost there perfected. And certainly, the intention should be there by social media companies and others, to make sure that this hate that is spreading like wildfire. I mean, how memorable was that line that you can recruit on a thousand street corners at once right now online to make sure that doesn't happen as rapidly, but the reality is it is.

And Jake, one of the things that we explored is what happened during COVID when people were sitting at home on their computers. How the spike particularly in 2021, according to the Anti-Defamation League's data was even more dramatic. And it's because people were just kind of sitting at home online, but it's also because of one of the age old tropes, age old conspiracy theories about Jews, which is that Jews are the cause of disease, that Jews run the world, that Jews perhaps, in this case, were responsible for trying to make money off of the vaccines. Those are so prevalent in some of the -- many of the online tropes and attacks that we saw in looking into this.

TAPPER: And also, I know -- and I know you touched on this in the documentary, kids --

BASH: Yes.

TAPPER: -- can be -- they can be susceptible to this by online gaming, where there are plenty of references to anti-Semitism.

BASH: Jake, I mean, I know you have children, I have a son who is on these platforms, particularly for kids even younger than us. The parents think that they are safe but they are going on Minecraft, on Roblox and they are able to see a lot of really hateful things. Some of these companies are trying to deal with it, but they don't always catch it all. Parents should really be aware of those.

TAPPER: All right. Dana bash, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

BASH: Thank you.

TAPPER: Again, be sure to tune in for Dana's new CNN special report. It's called "Rising Hate: Anti-Semitism in America," will air this Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Coming up, climate conflict, the tough questions that communities must confront as the Southwest runs out of water. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our Earth matters series, drought conditions in the southwestern United States are slightly improving because of an onslaught of rain but the ground is too dry to soak it all up. The monsoon rains could lead to more dangerous flash floods. It turns out like these from last week that stranded drivers in Western Arizona which led to a dramatic water rescue.

In total, nearly 10 million Americans across the southwestern United States are under flood alerts this weekend. And as the Southwest gets pummeled with this rain, a new reality of water conservation is setting in. CNN's Bill Weir is in Arizona that's a hotspot in the immediate impact of the human caused climate disaster.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summer monsoons are adding a few precious inches to the Lake Mead waterline but not nearly enough. America's largest reservoir is still 25 feet lower than last summer. So this fall parts of Phoenix will see unprecedented tier 2 cuts of their share of the Colorado River joining Arizona farmers at the end of the water rights line.

(on-camera): Do you foresee a day when it's tier 3, tier 4, a mandatory cuts that will get really severe?


KATHRYN SORENSEN, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH, KYL CENTER FOR POLICY, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY: So absolutely. I am genuinely worried about the possibility of this system hitting Deadpool.

WEIR (on-camera): You are?

SORENSEN: Absolutely, I am.

WEIR (voice-over): Deadpool is when Mead gets low enough to crash the whole Colorado system. And when Kathryn Sorensen was running water departments in Phoenix and Mesa, it was the biggest worry. But now it's worse. And the feds are begging Western states to cut up to one out of every four gallons consumed.

(on-camera): I know from our reporting, there was some Western water managers that were frustrated that the Bureau of Reclamation wasn't tougher. They said you guys work it out, or we'll work it out for you but they didn't do that.


WEIR (on-camera): What are your thoughts on that?

SORENSEN: Well, you know, it is disappointing, because the longer that we have to endure the uncertainty, the more risk the entire system is. And I don't envy the federal government. You know, the Biden administration, they have some really tough choices to make. No elected official wants to be the person saying who gets water and who doesn't. I'm sure they are desperately searching for the least worst option. But in the meantime, water levels continue to fall.

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): And we will invest heavily in conservation, efficiency, reuse and advanced water technologies like desalination.

WEIR (voice-over): Arizona's outgoing governor wants to build a desalination plant in Mexico and canals in Kansas to bring more water eventually. But in the meantime, the call to use less puts fresh scrutiny on thirsty industries like golf, especially after an Arizona republic investigation found that 30 to 50 percent of courses here use more than their share water with little oversight.

(on-camera): State record show that the water cops of Arizona have issued a punishment against a golf course, exactly twice in the last 20 years. So it's pretty obvious that from the feds down to the locals, people aren't exactly lining up to be the tough sheriff desperately needed to tame water use in the wild west.

SORENSEN: I don't golf. So I don't feel a need to defend golf. But I will say this, people focus on it because it's visible. But there are lots of things about what we do, what we consume, what we eat, what we wear, that are also very water intensive. So I don't like to think of it in terms of we don't have enough water.

I like to think of it in terms of what do we have enough water for? Do we want to build semiconductor factories or do we want to grow cotton? Do we want to grow subdivisions or do we want to have high density development that is more water efficient? Those are the conversations we need to have.


WEIR: For example, Kathryn tells me that it takes about four times as much water to grow an acre a cotton, Jake, then to grow a subdivision on an acre of land both, of course, have their tradeoffs. And that's the discussion about 10 percent of Arizonans golf, 100 percent of them eat and most of the Colorado River water between 70 and 80 percent goes into growing food in California. The down basin states there, so it's so complicated, but such that really complicated conversations that need to be had from now forward in this climate crisis.

TAPPER: Bill Weir, on top of the climate crisis for us as always. Thank you so much for that report. Appreciate it.

In Arizona, Senator Democrat Mark Kelly, will join us on State of the Union this Sunday in his first ever Sunday show interview as a senator. Also joining me will be Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas, and the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff. That's at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern only on CNN.

Coming up, a positive update on that Little Leaguer who almost died after falling out of his bunk bed in the dorm at the Little League World Series. Some good news, next.



TAPPER: Today's sports lead is about much more than a game when we discussed the Little League World Series this year. It's about a 12- year-old boy beating the odds by just staying alive. CNN's Jason Carroll is live for us in Williamsport, Pennsylvania where the Little League World Series has been playing. The boy from a Utah team fell out of a dormitory bunk bed. He hurt his head significantly. And Jason, he wasn't expected to survive.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. Easton Oliverson by all accounts was not supposed to make it, this is what doctors were saying. His condition, Jake, was so severe but we've just gotten an update from the hospital and they now tell us he's in fair condition. His family just earlier this afternoon sent us some video of him walking for the first time since his injury with the help of nurses again, incredible when you consider what his father told us, which is just a few days ago doctors were telling him they were not sure his son was going to make it through the night.


JACE OLIVERSON, EASTON'S FATHER: Doctors are saying he's 30 minutes max from dying with so much pressure on his brainstem. That here we are not even three full days late he has his mobility, his brain function and it's not by coincidence.


CARROLL: Incredible recovery here and also the families send us some pictures of Easton watching a Little League game from his hospital bed. As the game was getting underway when they announced his name, Jake, the entire stadium stood up and applauded. Also his little brother, his 10-year-old little brother who -- Brogan -- who stood in his way who basically came out here and said I'm going to go out and play for my brother. They stood up and applauded for him as well.

So incredible to see the amount of support even from the opposing team, Tennessee, who were baseball caps and supportive of young Easton. So a lot of support out him for here today, which goes to show you he's a winner no matter what. Jake?

TAPPER: Yes. We'll continue to keep Easton in our prayers. Jason Carroll in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, thank you.

Our coverage continues now, with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. I'll see you Sunday morning.