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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Source: Fmr. Gov. Bill Richardson Held Meetings This Week In Moscow; Ukraine's Military: Major Decline In Russian Shelling In Kharkiv; My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell Says FBI Seized His Phone At A Hardee's; CNN: More Than Half Of GOP Sen Nominees Have Rejected, Cast Doubt On 2020 Election Results; Berman: Fmr. A.G. Barr Removed Me To Help Trump's Re-Election Chances; Infowars Rep Says Views Skyrocketed While Jones Lied About Sandy Hook; New Court Documents Raise Questions About NFL Legend Brett Favre's Connection To Welfare Fund Scheme; New Study Suggests Taking Daily Multivitamins May Slow Cognitive Decline In Older Adults; Study: Climate Crisis-Fueled Power Outages Hit TX, CA, MI Hardest; Patagonia Founder Gives Up Company To Help Fight Climate Crisis. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 17:00   ET



NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice-over): The smiles for this President as genuine as the danger. Listen here, and you can hear explosions as he talks.

It may be possible to temporarily occupy our territories, he says, but it is certainly impossible to occupy our people. These last months have been extremely hard for you. This is why I asked you to take care of yourselves, because you are the most precious thing we have.

It is a victory that came at an as yet unspecified cost, this moment of silence for those dead. What he sees utter devastation, part of why Russia is losing. It's hard to occupy and defend a city in this ruin. It's hard to imagine the Russian army state of mind when it left behind this much of its armor. And what Zelenskyy did, another reason Ukrainian morale seems to remain high.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is usually hundreds of miles away in Moscow when he gives out medals. This past startling week, a tale of two nations and a gulf in enthusiasm for the fight. Moscow's man power crisis so acute. This video is apparently from a Russian prison, allegedly showing the man called Putin chef, Yevgeny Prigozhin personally recruiting convicts for the frontline.

He tells prisoners that war is hard. They can't desert get taken prisoner, drink, take drugs or have sex with flora or fauna men or women in the fight, an undesirable message to an undesirable crowd.

Russia increasingly less looking like a nation united in what it won't even call a war yet. Even Putin stooges turning. Here, Chechen leader Razan Kadyrov off again undermining the Kremlin that brutally put him in power. If you ask me, I would enact martial law and exhaust all possibilities to end the conflict with these demons, unlike a volunteer for Russia. He said, writing later, quote, "We are at war with the whole NATO block."

The unthinkable is happening. Russian dissent and criticism growing, but not yet at the speed of Ukrainian advances.


WALSH: It is startling just to imagine where we are and where we were six months ago, Jake. And the choices now are really all for Volodymyr Zelenskyy, do they continue to push towards the north of Luhansk from where they are here. Do they look at possibility pushing towards the Azov Sea and cutting off Crimea from the Russian mainland or they put more effort into the counter offensive in the south.

In the south though we've begun tonight to get a glimpse of how Russia is responding. Critical water infrastructure there hit a dam. It seems having burst and flooding down a main river there. Significant damage reported from a cruise missile strike. And we've just heard in the last hour here in Kharkiv relatively distant but significant blast as well.

Russia it seems looking to hit infrastructure, ruin the lives of ordinary people. The fundamental question, though, do they have any manpower or conventional force to reapply back into the fight here? Are all the choices now in the hands of Kyiv? Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Nick Payton Walsh reporting for us from Kharkiv. Thank you so much.

CNN has learned that former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson was in Moscow, Russia this week. CNN is told that Richardson and his team held meetings with Russian leadership. The goal of those meetings is not immediately clear. However, in the past, Richardson has worked to free Americans detained abroad and there are of course, two high profile American detainees in Russia, if not more.

CNN's Kylie Atwood joins us now from the State Department with more.

Kylie, what's at stake in these meetings between Richardson and Russian officials?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, there's a lot at stake because it comes, as you said the Biden administration has been trying to secure a deal to secure the release of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, these two Americans who are wrongfully detained in Russia, and Bill Richardson is someone who has in the past been involved in efforts to get home Americans who are wrongfully detained. So, the Richardson center isn't commenting on this visit right now, but it's worth reflecting on the last time that Richardson was in Russia.

That was in February. And when he came home from that trip after meeting with Russian officials, he briefed White House officials according to a source familiar on what the Russians were willing to do and how they were willing to do it in terms of a deal to get home Trevor Reed, that's another American who was wrongfully detained in Russia at the time.


Now, fast forward two months, in April there was a prisoner swap, of course that prisoner swap was carried out by the U.S. government. But it is clear that Bill Richardson could have played a role in that prisoner swap coming to fruition. And so that is why this is such a significant trip right now.

TAPPER: What does the Russian government have to say if anything?

ATWOOD: They're saying that they have no comment. They're saying that Richardson didn't have any meetings at the Kremlin. But we should know that the Biden administration is actually expressing some frustration over this, some concern, because what they are saying is that Richardson didn't coordinate with the U.S. Embassy in Moscow surrounding this trip. And they're also saying that any efforts that don't go through this U.S. Russia government channel are likely to hinder the U.S. government efforts to get home Griner and Whelan. Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kylie Atwood at the State Department for us, thank you so much.

Joining us live to discuss, Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby, who serves on President Biden's National Security Council.

Admiral Kirby, good to see you. Let's start with Bill Richardson's reported visit to Moscow this week. He said he's not trying to replace the U.S. government. Do you think he shouldn't be there? As Kylie just reported, is that the position of the Biden administration that he's hindering or than helping?

JOHN KIRBY, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Look, I will let Mr. Richardson speak to his own travels and discussions. I would remind the State Department does have a travel warning out advising Americans not to traveled to Russia. This is not the time to be in Moscow or in Russia at all.

We are continuing our discussions and our attempt at negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home. And those efforts are continuing. And we believe that the way you get traction on something like this, Jake, is to government to government dialogue. And that's what we're pursuing.

TAPPER: So, if Governor Richardson's walking -- watching right now, your message to him is come back to the United States?

KIRBY: Our message is that private citizens should not be in Moscow at all right now, and that private citizens cannot negotiate on behalf of the United States government. Look, we share Mr. Richardson's desire to see Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home with their families and her teammates where she belongs and where he belongs, and we're working very, very hard at doing that through government channels. That's the appropriate way to do that. And those efforts are ongoing.

TAPPER: Given Russia's rather humiliating losses in Ukraine this week, do you think that puts Russian President Vladimir Putin in a position where he is less likely to cooperate with efforts to get Americans out?

KIRBY: It's difficult to know what Mr. Putin is going to decide or think on any given issue. We would hope that an effort to arrange for the return of two American citizens that are wrongfully detained can be held separate and distinct from Mr. Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine and whatever woes he might be feeling on the battlefield. These are not related issues. And we're pursuing the return of Brittney and Paul in a separate complete different channel because they need to be treated that way.

TAPPER: You shared yesterday that more aid to Ukraine could be announced in the coming days.


TAPPER: That the U.S. is having real time discussions with the Ukrainians about what they need most militarily. What are their biggest needs and what are their biggest asks right now?

KIRBY: Well, you know, Secretary Austin just held another meeting of the contact group over in Germany. Just this week were more than 50 countries gathered to talk about exactly this issue. I don't want to speak for the Ukrainians, I'll just tell you that we are in lockstep with them talking to them every day about what they need. And we're going to continue to provide additional security assistance. As I said yesterday, probably here in in very short order in coming days.

And what it'll be, well, we'll announce it when we can. But I think you're going to see us continue to try to give them systems and capabilities that are going to help them in this fight that they're in. Now they're on the offense in the Donbass and they're on the offense down in Kherson, we want to make sure that we are giving them the tools that they need to continue those offensive operations and be as successful as possible. So I think you'll see, you know, continued provision of artillery, continued provision of long range rocket type systems that allow them to strike deep behind Russian lines. And what they're doing right now with those systems is pretty impressive.

TAPPER: Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling shared his concerns about the fatigue in the Ukrainian army. He tweeted, quote, "Units will begin to fail if they aren't rested on day five of an offensive and commanders and leaders start making really bad decisions after three days of little or no sleep," unquote. Are you concerned about Ukraine holding the gains they've made? Are you concerned about them, being able to expand on them? How big of a threat is fatigue, do you think?

KIRBY: Fatigue for any military in any operation, whether it's air maritime or on the ground is always a factor that commanders have to weigh. And we know, we're in touch with our Ukrainian counterparts, we know that they're weighing a lot of factors during these counter offensive operations to include their logistics and sustainment, their air support. I mean they have planned these operations now for weeks and we think that they're dutifully mindful of the effect on their troops and what they've got to do to keep them in the fight.


TAPPER: Russia's withdrawal from the Kharkiv region was not careful, it wasn't cautious. They ran, they fled. What does it tell you that the Russians could not hold this territory that is so close to their own border?

KIRBY: I think there's a lot there, Jake. I mean, first of all, they we know that they had to divert manpower from the east from the Donbass and that Kharkiv area to -- down to the South because they knew that the Ukrainians were going to move on the south. So, they didn't have as much manpower in the east as they did in the south. I think that was a factor.

This is an army that has from the very get-go had logistics and sustainment problems of their own unit cohesion and morale, poor leadership, poor command and control. And while the Russians have tried in the last couple of months to fix those problems, it's clear that they haven't fully done so. And that all those factors are weighing in to the poor performance we've seen from Russian soldiers in the north.

TAPPER: Rear Admiral John Kirby, thank you so much. Appreciate your time today.

KIRBY: Yes, sir.

TAPPER: What really happened in a Hardee's fast food restaurant with the FBI and that erratic My Pillow CEO? Stick around.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Mike Lindell, that erratic My Pillow CEO who became an enthusiastic mouthpiece for Trump's deranged lies about the election, Mike Lindell says the FBI has served him with a subpoena for his cell phone. Lindell says the encounter occurred yesterday while he was in his car in a drive thru lane at a Hardee's restaurant in Minnesota. CNN's Evan Perez joins us live with more on this.

Evan, what are authorities looking for from Mr. Lindell?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, according to the subpoena which Lindell shared a copy of with us, it says that, you know, they're investigating this computer tampering this voting machine tampering investigations as part of a voting tampering investigation out of Mesa County, Colorado where Tina Peters, who was the County Clerk there, is already facing state level charges. She's pleaded not guilty to those charges. But she is facing charges with regard to allowing unauthorized people access to these voting machines in that county. Now, according to the subpoena that we've now seen, what the federal grand jury says that they're investigating is identity theft and intentional damage to a protected computer. And this is now obviously a federal investigation. This is the FBI looking at the same thing, things that the that the state authorities have been looking into, which is the idea that Lindell and a host of other characters, including Tina Peters, are trying to use this episode as a way to undermine, you know, the election results from 2020, Jake.

TAPPER: So the Justice Department as we've been reporting all week, you and your colleague, Sara Murray, the Justice Department issued a sweeping number of subpoenas more than 30 in the last week. Is Lindell subpoena part of that investigation or separate?

PEREZ: This appears to be a separate investigation. And again, it's based on a grand jury down in Colorado who -- that is looking at this. But Jake, what we've from -- looking at the subpoena, it is clear that the FBI, the prosecutors have a window now using Lindell and some of the other characters that were involved in this election denier group here, it appears that what this giving them a reason to do is is to ask questions about some of these efforts in other places around the country. We know that there are efforts to get into voting machines in Georgia and other states. And it's clear that the FBI is interested to know more about this broader effort around the country.

TAPPER: Evan Perez, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this with "New York Times" Senior Political Reporter Maggie Haberman and the former Director of Strategic Communications in the Trump White House, Alyssa Farah Griffin.

Maggie, Mike Lindell, of all people has been a central figure in Trump's spreading these lies about the 2020 election. What do you see as the significance of this subpoena?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE NEW TIMES": There's a couple of things, Jake, number one, Mike Lindell, as you said, he has been at the center of this with Trump for a while, he was the person who was encouraging the idea that Trump could be reinstated to office, which is not possible. And it's really important to note that because it shows just how extreme what he's talking about is.

Number one, this shows the DOJ is still very focused on people who were trying to get Trump to -- or trying to work with Trump and Trump's desire to subvert the results of the 2020 election. But this particular subpoena seems to have ties to local officials. This is not just about, quote unquote, "fake electors" as we knew it to be, this seems to go in a different direction.

Now, I think we need to note for people it doesn't mean the charges are imminent with any of these things. We have no idea what it means, but it does mean there's an active investigation on going into a new area we hadn't seen before.

TAPPER: And Alyssa, I wish I could say that the election lies were only coming from characters like Mike Lindell, but we saw in New Hampshire last night a sweep for election liars. The Senate candidate, House candidate. What's going on with your party?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, I think it shows MAGAism is bigger than Trump himself. He would didn't even endorse in most of these New Hampshire races, but the candidates who espouse his lies, who modeled his kind of behaviors are the ones who are elected, and it's to the detriment of my party. So, Bolduc, the Republican nominee for Senate now is almost certainly going to lose to Maggie Hassan, a fairly popular Democrat in a seat that was winnable.

The NRSC tried to recruit Governor Sununu for that seat, one of the most popular governors in the country, my personal favorite governor, he didn't want to run. And in what scenario would a, you know, popular governor want to be in the Senate that's going to be as divided as the one that we expect it to be in this sort of Trump era? So, I mean, he's got a huge hold on the party.

I think the makeup of Congress, if Republicans take it back is going to look very different than it has. You're going to have a large number of election deniers, a large number of people we would have considered fringe many years ago, but now it's the mainstream.

TAPPER: So, on that topic, I've been working on a documentary that's coming out on Sunday night about the attempted coup and what the January 6 committee has come up with, I interviewed you two for the previous one, number one in this and I interviewed only you for this one, sorry, Alyssa. But in your stead is Sarah Matthews, the former Trump deputy press secretary who sat with me for an interview. And let's play a little bit of the clip. This is Sarah talking about President Trump.



TAPPER: Based on all of this, do you think your former boss, Donald Trump, is fit to be president?

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: No. Well, I support, you know -- I never would have worked for him if I didn't support his agenda, that's why I went to work for him. And I thought that he did do a lot of good during his four years. I think that his, you know, actions on January 6 and the lead up to it, and the way that he's acted in the aftermath, and his continuation of pushing this lie that the election is stolen, has made him wholly unfit to hold office ever again.


TAPPER: Your reaction?

GRIFFIN: She's absolutely right. I think that the biggest thing -- listen, well, we'll see where Trump's legal woes go. There's many of them, there's DOJ, there's the Southern District of New York, there's Georgia, but at the end of the day, it's his character. This is a man who lies with impunity, who treats people terribly, who, you know, basically betrays anyone who's not directly loyal to him, he lacks the character to be an office, that's the most fundamental thing. Like as we think about 2024 to anyone considering voting for him, that is the reason he should not be in the Oval Office.

TAPPER: We have never seen a sitting U.S. president and potential Republican nominee for president or major party nominee, have so many people who work in his administration and in his White House, people with firsthand experience, say so loudly and clearly this person is not fit to be president. And yet it seems to have no impact on his hold of the Republican base.

HABERMAN: Actually not sure that that's true that it's no impact, Jake. I do think that the public hearings that the House Select Committee has held, certainly the last couple I think with Cassidy Hutchinson in particular, I do think that that left an impact with some people. I think that hearing what she was saying did impact people. I think that at least on the margins, I think that has made some people think twice.

But look, I was thinking, as Alyssa was talking about how everything she said about him, and this is a critique that's been made by many, many, many people, it was made by many, many people to your point prior to the 2016 election too, and so, you know, people tend to vote in their own self-interest. And unless that they have reason to believe that their self-interest is not voting with Donald Trump, you know, they will continue to support him.

And I think that the reason that all of these House members getting elected is so significant is not just about, you know, the speaker's race and it's not just about the composition of Congress, these people are going to be involved in certifying or not certifying the 2024 election. And it's really important to bear that in mind.

GRIFFIN: The one thing I'll just say on that, that is I don't really understand is it's not a binary choice between Biden and Trump right now. So for Republicans --


GRIFFIN: -- I do think we vote our self-interest. So if you say, you know, the economy was better, I had more in my 401k under Trump, that's a valid position. But it doesn't need to be him, it could be virtually any generic Republican and you're going to have the policies you saw under him. That's what people seem to forget.

TAPPER: What do you think about the fact that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who maybe is one of the people you're thinking about, has been out there endorsing and trying to get elected a bunch of these election liars, whether Kari Lake in Arizona or Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania? He is -- he hasn't really been all in on the election lie, but he's out there pushing people who are.

GRIFFIN: It's -- he has his finger on the pulse more so than most politicians other than Trump before at the basis, DeSantis does. And so he sees that the election lies still widely believed, as much as 60 percent of Republicans believe it.

TAPPER: But it's immoral is what I'm saying.

GRIFFIN: So, I think he's -- right. To me, that is a character litmus test. DeSantis is not my candidate. We'll see if he gets the nomination. But there -- I think that is a -- the best example of somebody's character they would have in office is if they're backing people who are literally spreading lies to the public.

TAPPER: Liz Cheney has said that it's a litmus test for her also, the fact that DeSantis is out there supporting people who are all in election liars, in some cases, frankly, Looney Tunes.

HABERMAN: Look, I mean, DeSantis is clearly a very ambitious politician. My colleague, Matt Flegenheimer, has a really big piece out about him this week, I would encourage people to read them.

TAPPER: That's great, in the Times Magazine, it's fantastic piece.

HABERMAN: Terrific piece.


HABERMAN: And it really does walk through his evolution on a bunch of issues in which, you know, he, like many other politicians, have made themselves more purely MAGA as opposed to where he started or where he thinks the basis, to Alyssa's, point about having his finger on the pulse. But I do think that there are some people for whom and, you know, you heard Sarah say it, Alyssa has obviously said it many times, Liz Cheney clearly says it, there are people for whom January 6, and even before that after November 3, was just a bridge too far, that the things that he was saying you just simply could not accept somebody refusing to go along with a peaceful transfer of power. And there were too many people, Alyssa was not one of them, but there were too many people who were trying to pretend that it wasn't going to a bad place who continued --



HABERMAN: -- to work for him when it was pretty obvious it was.

TAPPER: So in the last hour, I spoke with another former Trump administration official, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoff Berman. And he told me that he thought it was basically because of the investigation into Igor Fruman, what are their names, Fruman --

HABERMAN: Lev Parnas.

TAPPER: -- then Lev Parnas, and the investigation into Steve Bannon --


TAPPER: -- which were bubbling up, it hadn't been broken yet, that that's the reason he was fired. Take a listen.


GEOFFREY BERMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Bill Barr no doubt believed that if he removed me and replaced me with someone from the outside who we trusted, he would remove an obstacle from Trump's reelection.


TAPPER: Do you agree?

GRIFFIN: Well, I think that's probably true. I will say this, I -- every time I was in the room with Bill Barr, he gave some counsel to the former president. Hands down, he stopped him from invoking the insurrection act sooner than he wanted to. That said I very much agree with Geoffrey Berman's assessment.

I think, and by the way, can we just say this? Steve Bannon committed fraud, he defrauded mostly Republican voters who wanted the wall and made a profit off of it. He should have been in jail, he shouldn't have been pardoned, but I agree with his assessment.

TAPPER: All right, Maggie Haberman, Alyssa Farah Griffin, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Join me for a new CNN special report. It's American Coup, the January 6 Investigation. That documentary begins Sunday night at 9:00 only here on CNN.

Things are getting even more bizarre on the Alex Jones Sandy Hook parents trial including witnesses who appear not to know very much about the subject they were called to testify about. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead now, today in a Connecticut courtroom, a clearer picture of how Alex Jones profited off of Sandy Hook family's grief. A representative for the conspiracy theorist company Infowars testified that viewers, quote, skyrocketed while he was spreading lies about the 2012 shooting. CNN's Drew Griffin is following the second day of this trial against Jones. Drew, it was all about Jones business dealings today.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, certainly not emotional but it was bizarre. On the stand, Jake, an attorney hired to represent the Alex Jones company and testify on the company's behalf. But she didn't seem to know much about the company at all. Brittany Paz was her name. She's not a Jones employee. Has never worked there, but was paid by Jones to testify as a representative of his company. She responded, I don't know, so many times that I lost track and admitted she hadn't even read some of Jones own depositions.

But what she could do, Jake, was provide a backdrop for the victims' attorney to outline the numbers of viewers who heard, saw or read Alex Jones lie about Sandy Hook. And they were in the tens of millions. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It goes from 49 million users with this business.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 4.6 million users to 6.3 million users, correct?

PAZ: That's what it says, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It goes from 24.9 million pageviews to 35.7 million pageviews, right?

PAZ: That's what it says, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you know that from December 14th, 2012, all the way through the end of January, Alex Jones and free speech systems were repeatedly publishing claims at the shooting stage, correct?

PAZ: I believe so, yes.


GRIFFIN: Jake, our previous reporting on Alex Jones shows all those users and page views equals big cash, Jones sells supplements on his site, and rake in $165 million over a three-year period making up to $800,000 in a single day. Of course, he's already been found liable in this case, just like in the Texas case. So it's up to the jury to decide how much money toward these many families that he lied about and put in danger.

TAPPER: Drew, Jones has been doing this conspiracy nonsense and lying about people for decades. I just saw a clip the other day, and right after 9/11, where he blamed Israel for 9/11. How is this nonsense? How are these lines allowed to continue?

GRIFFIN: You know, he was de-platformed by YouTube, Facebook and Twitter in 2018 but that really didn't harm him at all because he has this vast business that exists online. This show is on a website, basically. So he doesn't need advertisers. He has a supplement business. And he just says whatever he wants. Seems to be untouchable, except by these lawsuits and we'll see if that puts a dent in his business structure.

TAPPER: All right, Drew Griffin, thanks so much.

NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre, the former governor of Mississippi and a volleyball stadium, why text messages are raising new questions. That's next.



TAPPER: We're back with our sports lead, new questions being raised today about NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre of a college volleyball facility and money that was meant to help needy families. As CNN's Dianne Gallagher reports, Favre's lawyers are denying any wrongdoing.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New court documents filed this week include text messages that appear to show Mississippi's former governor helping NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre secure millions to build a volleyball facility. Money that came from funds meant for needy families in one of the nation's poorest states. A fact that Favre's attorney claims the former quarterback did not know at the time.

PAUL H. 'BUD' HOLMES, ATTORNEY FOR BRETT FAVRE: Brett couldn't have been more honorable in any of it. He had no idea where it came from.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): The text messages first revealed by Mississippi today as part of its years long investigative reporting into the scandal were entered into the state's civil lawsuit on Monday by an attorney for the nonprofit founded by Nancy New, who has already pleaded guilty to charges related to the overall welfare fund scheme, which the state auditor has called the largest public fraud scheme in Mississippi history.

New's son has also been pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme. Court documents show that he knowingly transferred public funds intended for needy families for the construction of the volleyball facility.


The batch of Nancy New's text start in 2017 and appear to show former Governor Phil Bryant, Favre, New, and others working to secure the money to build a volleyball center at Favre's alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, where his daughter then played the sport. On August 3rd, 2017, court documents show that Favre texted Nancy New, "If you were to pay me, is there any way the media can find out where it came from and how much?" She responded, "No. We have never had that information publicized. I understand you being uneasy about that though."

The next day, adding, "Wow, just got off the phone was Phil Bryant. He is on board with us. We will get this done." On that same day, Bryant texted New, "Just left Brett Favre. Can we help him with this project. We should meet soon to see how I can make sure we keep your projects on course."

Favre and New text regular updates on their continued conversations with the governor, 40 each other messages from Bryant on the funding status. In August 2019, Favre tells Nancy New, "He sent to me just a second ago that he has seen it but hint hint that you need to reword it to get it accepted." He then forwarded a message allegedly from the governor instructing how to rework the funding proposal.

At one point, New asked, "Confidential. Do you get the impression the governor will help us?" Favre responded, "I really feel like he is trying to figure out a way to get it done without actually saying it." Months later, Governor Bryant asked New whether she had gotten any of the new programs from the state's Department of Human Services. New responded, in part, "Someone was definitely pulling for us behind the scenes. Thank you." Bryant responded with a smile emoji.

Neither Favre nor Bryant have been charged with anything related to the welfare fund scheme. In a statement, the former governor's attorney told CNN in part, "Cases should be tried in courts of law where Rules of Evidence govern and privileges are respected. They should not be tried in the press where innuendo and speculation sometimes get confused with actual facts."

Mississippi Today Reporter Anna Wolfe told CNN she began digging on the volleyball center funding in 2020, asking both Favre and Bryant about the project then.

ANNA WOLFE, INVETIGATIVE REPORTER FOR MISSISSIPPI TODAY: And Brett Favre told us that he did not discuss the volleyball project with the governor which is obviously flat out, you know, proven to be incorrect by the text messages that we uncovered this week. And the governor also, you know, trying to distance himself from the project said that he didn't know anything about it.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): This is not the first time the former quarterback's name has been associated with the scheme. Last year, he was forced to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars that the state auditor said was illegally paid to Favre from welfare funds for speeches, the auditor claimed Favre never gave. The Mississippi native said in May of 2020 that he had no knowledge the money he'd received was misappropriated.


GALLAGHER: Now there have been six people criminally charged in connection with this welfare scheme. And in May the state of Mississippi filed civil suits against 38 individuals, including Brett Favre. The former Republican Governor Phil Bryant has not been included in any of this. He's not a defendant there. Although U.S. Representative Bennie Thompson did ask the DOJ to look into both Bryant and Favre's connections.

And, Jake, just one more thing here. The breadth of this scheme, we are talking about, according to the auditor, $77 million misspent from a welfare fund of the poorest state in the country with more than 200,000 children live below the poverty line.

TAPPER: That's terrific. Dianne Gallagher, thanks so much.

Could a multivitamin a day keep memory loss at bay? The new study that's done even the scientists doing the research.



TAPPER: In our health lead now, taking a daily multivitamin could possibly be a health benefit not just for your body but for your brain. A new study from the Alzheimer's Association suggests that it may slow cognitive decline in older adults to help us understand this encouraging news in regards to finding potential ways to combat Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Let's bring in CNN's Dr. Tara Narula. Dr. Narula, tell us more about this new study.

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So this was a study of 2,200 older Americans. So over 65 average age about 72. And researchers wanted to see if they gave them a supplement either a cocoa extract supplement, or a multivitamin could they protect their cognitive function. So they gave them a cognitive test at baseline. And then after three years, they looked after three years, they would test them year one, two, and three.

And essentially, they thought they might find a benefit with the cocoa extract group. But they did not, what they did find was a significant benefit in the multivitamin group. They found that it basically slowed the decline of cognitive aging by about 60 percent. In addition to that, in those patients or subjects that had underlying cardiovascular disease, they saw even more benefit.

TAPPER: So people seem really excited about this. Why? Other than the obvious reasons, why do you think it's so interesting?

NARULA: Well, prior reviews of nutritional supplements have really shown insufficient evidence to recommend that to protect cognitive function. So this is kind of the first large scale, what we call randomized controlled trial of high quality study to show a potential benefit. There's no FDA approved interventions for older asymptomatic adults to protect cognitive function.

So when you think of the potential public health impact of something as simple as a multivitamin that's safe, accessible, affordable, if it really is effective, you can have the potential to help millions of Americans we know that 6.5 millions of Americans have Alzheimer's disease. When you look worldwide, we're talking about 46 million adults who suffer from Alzheimer's dementia or some form of dementia, so real potential.


TAPPER: So what's are the takeaways? Like what should people at home be doing right now because they're watching us?

NARULA: Well, it's important to emphasize this is not practice or guideline changing yet. This is definitely preliminary.

TAPPER: It's one study.

NARULA: One study important to replicate it in larger studies, studies with a more diverse population. And what we really counseled people for in general is to eat a well-balanced diet, right? There's tons of bioactive nutrients in a good diet, and you can get them that way. There are certain populations that certainly need supplementation. And then there are other low-cost strategies that you can do to improve your cognitive function. Things like exercise, things like managing your stress, sleep, avoiding too much alcohol or cigarettes, social stimulation, mental stimulation. So these are easy strategies to use.

TAPPER: And I have heard in the past, people in the medical community express concern about supplements.

NARULA: I'm so glad you asked this question because this comes up all the time. And many times patients don't actually tell you they're taking supplements. So it's really important for health care providers to ask that question, are you taking supplements. And to review with patients what they're taking the supplement industry is not regulated by the FDA as a drugs, they're regulated as foods.

So essentially, they get put out on the market without having to prove safety. The labels may not always be accurate. And so there have been many cases of supplements having contaminants in them, heavy metals, other chemicals, other types of drugs, sometimes they can interact with prescription meds that you're taking. And people have ended up in the emergency room or hospitalized because of supplement use.

Now, multivitamins in general are probably relatively safe. But even those it's important to discuss with your primary care doctor, your doctor, this is what I'm taking, is it OK? Because in some patient populations who have underlying conditions who are taking other drugs may not be OK.

TAPPER: If you're wondering why they're not regulated by the FDA, it's because the supplement industry is very wealthy, and they have powerful lobbyists that tell Congress they don't want to be regulated.

Dr. Tara Narula, thank you so much.

Lights out. What has sparked more than 80 percent of power outages in recent years? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our earth matter series, extreme weather as a result of the climate crisis has caused a massive jump in power outages, according to a new study. From 2011 to 2021, there was a 78 percent jolt in weather-related outages compared with the previous decade. And loss of power, of course, can have deadly consequences. Texas officials estimate that over 100 people died during the February 2021 cold snap that resulted in a power grid failure, mostly because of people freezing to death.

Let's bring in CNN's Rene Marsh. Rene, what are -- what other states are affected by this massive uptick in power outages?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I can tell you that a large swath of the United States has experienced these weather-related power outages. I'm going to show you this map here. Because of all of the states highlighted in orange, Texas saw the most of these outages, followed by Michigan, and California. And just take Texas for example. This summer, a heat wave knocked six natural gas power plants offline there.

And so, Jake, as we continue to see these weather events, these extreme weather events, these outages, sadly, are going to become more common because the grid was just not built to withstand these long stretches of things like heat waves that we have been seeing, Jake.

TAPPER: And what are states doing to try to mitigate these power outages because, obviously, this is becoming more of a problem whether it's becoming even more severe?

MARSH: Yes, I mean, sticking with the Texas example, I mean, during these heat waves, some of these state grid operators are asking people simply to use less electricity. We saw that in Texas this year. This summer, they asked people to keep their thermostats at 78 degrees or higher during that heatwave and avoid using large appliances that suck a lot of power at peak hours.

In other states, Jake, they are using the mechanism of rolling blackouts where they're essentially triggering blackouts so that they can better manage the grid when supply and demand fall out of balance. But really, a lot of these are reactionary measures. I spoke to many energy experts who say, look, we need more energy sources, which include renewable energy.

And also, when you speak about the grid operators, they have a role to play here too. In many cases, they're using historical weather, date weather, weather data, in order to essentially decide what their investments would be for the future and for the grid. The problem is that's a major mistake, Jake, when you talk about planning for the future when you have climate change and the sort of unpredicted weather events that are slamming the states, summer after summer.

TAPPER: Yes. Obviously, winters right around the corner.


TAPPER: Are there any steps that can be taken in the next few months to try to prevent this from happening again, these power outages?

MARSH: Yes, I mean, and we also -- you mentioned off at the top in Texas, that ice storm that caused an issue as well, it was quite deadly. And the problem with these power outages is that when they are happening for an extended period of time, we now become an issue of not just it being an inconvenience, but it'd being an issue of life and death and other health consequences. I would expect to see that, you know, again, the most that states can do is essentially asking people to conserve until we build a much more resilient power grid. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Rene Marsh, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Sticking with our Earth matters series, the founder of Patagonia is giving away his company to fight the climate crisis. The outdoor apparel and equipment company will now be split into two with most of the profits going to a nonprofit focused on protecting nature and biodiversity and fighting environmental issues. The rest of Patagonia stock will fund a trust to ensure the company can never deviate from this new plan.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD from whence you get your podcasts all two hours sitting there like a big pumpkin.

Our coverage now continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in a place called "THE SITUATION ROOM". See you tomorrow.