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The Lead with Jake Tapper
5 Former Memphis Officers Plead Not Guilty In Nichols Case; Federal Hate Crime Charges Filed In Shootings Of Two Jewish Men; Zelenskyy Urges Leaders To "Hurry Up" With Weapons & Delivery; Trump Tried To Call Into Fox News During Jan. 6 Attack; Sen. Rick Scott Amends His "Rescue America" Plan To Add Exceptions For Social Security, Medicare; Parts Of Jackson, Mississippi Still Dealing With Boil Advisories Months After Water Treatment Plant Failed; CNN With Doctors In Turkey Performing Complex Surgery In Tents. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 17, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: The slow wheels of justice start turning.
THE LEAD starts right now
The five former Memphis police officers charged with killing Tyre Nichols are arraigned, all entering pleas of not guilty.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROWVAUGH WELLS, TYRE NICHOLS' MOTHER: I want each and every one of those police officers to be able to look me in the face. They haven't done that yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And now, the district attorney is reviewing dozens of other cases connected to those officers.
Plus, in the middle of the January 6th insurrection, then-President Donald Trump did not call the secretary of defense, the attorney general or the head of homeland security. Wait until you hear who he did call.
Then, the proposal in a mostly Black city to put unelected white officials in charge of handpicking some of the city's judges and prosecutors. Will it create a separate justice system for Blacks and Whites in Mississippi's capital?
KEILAR: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Briana Keilar, in for Jake Tapper.
We are starting in the national lead. Five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols in court today where they all pleaded not guilty. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Justin Smith, Emmitt Martin III and Desmond Mills Jr. face up to 60 years in prison if convicted. They were members of the police department's SCORPION Unit which was launched in 2021 to combat rising crime in Memphis. But after the death of Nichols, the unit was permanently disbanded.
And today, the district attorney announced he is reviewing as many as 100 previous cases involving the Scorpion unit and the officers involved.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz starts off our coverage from Memphis where Tyre Nichols' family spoke after today's hearing.
WELLS: They didn't have the courage to look me in the face.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER (voice-over): An emotional day where the five officers charged with murdering Tyre Nichols appeared in court before the Nichols family for the first time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty.
PROKUPECZ: All five pleaded not guilty to charges of second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Judge James Jones addressing the courtroom emphasizing this case could take time.
JUDGE JAMES JONES, SHELBY COUNTY CRIMINAL COURT: We understand that there may be some high emotions in this case, but we ask that you continue to be patient with us.
PROKUPECZ: After the arraignment, attorneys for the officers began to reveal how their defense will take shape.
JOHN KEITH PERRY, ATTORNEY FOR TADARRIUS BEAN: Tadarrius Bean was doing his job at that time and he never struck him, and there has been no -- no information that we have seen as of right now that indicates that there is a -- that there is any sort of information that we can rely on to say that it is murder.
PROKUPECZ: Another defense attorney invoking his client's race and warning not to rush to judgment.
BLAKE BALLIN, ATTORNEY FOR DESMOND MILLS: Let's not forget my client is a Black man in a courtroom in America. This is a country where Black people are incarcerated at five times the rate of White people. Much has been said about the way the system has failed Mr. Nichols. I will work tirelessly to make sure that the system does not fail Mr. Mills.
PROKUPECZ: For Tyre Nichols' mother, relief the legal process has begun, but the pain of her loss is clear.
WELLS: I know my son is gone. I know I will never see him again. But we have to start this process of justice right now. PROKUPECZ: The Shelby County district attorney saying his office is
reviewing up to 100 prior cases involving the now-disbanded SCORPION Unit. Seventy-five of those cases related to the five officers charged in Nichols' death. The clearest sign yet that more justice could come to the city of Memphis.
STEVE MULROY, SHELBY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We will be making decisions about charges regarding all of those people in the time ahead.
PROKUPECZ (on camera): And so, Brianna, you heard the D.A. there. The thing is they have to go back in at least 100 cases to look at those cases where these officers were involved in and potentially dismiss some of these cases. The fact these officers can never be used as witnesses now so it will present a pretty serious problem for the D.A. who is now reviewing all of these cases and it could grow. The number of cases that need to be reviewed could grow -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. We'll be watching. Shimon Prokupecz in Memphis, thank you for that report.
And also in our national lead today, moments ago, prosecutors in Los Angeles announcing federal hate crime charges against a man suspected of shooting two Jewish people this week.
CNN's Josh Campbell is in Los Angeles for us.
Josh, tell us about these charges.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Brianna, significant development here.
This suspect, who was arrested last night, accused of shooting two people here in west L.A., has been criminally charged by the federal government with hate crimes. Prosecutors say in this complaint that this suspect, Jamie Tran, had searched on social media for the location of kosher markets here in the area. They say that he admitted to targeting his victims because of their head gear. Authorities also say he had a history of anti-Semitic attacks. Again, he stands accused of coming here this week in west L.A., terrorizing this community.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I heard like a pop, pop, pop.
CAMPBELL: A drive-by shooting, one of two Jewish men hit by gunfire just blocks apart in Los Angeles this week. This man hit in the arm. Both victims were walking home from places of worship when they were shot by a man from inside his car. They were both hospitalized and in stable condition after the shootings.
Police have now arrested a suspect in both shootings and say the alleged shooter was in possession of a rifle and a handgun.
MARTIN ESTRADA, U.S. ATTORNEY: Hate crimes have no place in our community. Anti-Semitism has no place in our community.
CAMPBELL: The FBI has launched its own investigation focused on possible hate crimes and domestic terrorism charges.
JULIETTE KAYYEM, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: If we do not prosecute these cases as federal crimes they will continue to fester because they will be viewed as excused.
CAMPBELL: Anti-Semitic violence is rising across the country. Attacks reached an all-time high in 2021, up 34 percent from the year before, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
KAYYEM: In many ways, anti-Semitism is like the canary in the coal mine. It is telling us something about society and about the hate in society.
CAMPBELL: The attacks in Los Angeles follow last week's hate crimes charges in a San Francisco case against a man who allegedly fired a replica gun inside a Bay Area synagogue, and two other cases in recent cases where one suspect is charged with throwing a Molotov cocktail in a synagogue in New Jersey.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass tells CNN a citywide effort is underway to protect the community.
MAYOR KAREN BASS (D), LOS ANGELES: The reality is, is that if it happens to one group, it can happen to anybody. If it is a danger to one, it is a danger to all. The only way to stop hate is for all of us to be united and stamp it out.
CAMPBELL: In Los Angeles, the LAPD is ramping up patrols in the area near the shootings.
ELISHEVA AMAR, NEIGHBOR: We should be in good hands. So, I'm going to pray for that.
CAMPBELL: But some family members are still living in fear.
UUNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not letting our kids go to shoal this weekend and definitely scared to have them wear kippah, to look Jewish.
CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, Brianna, this 28-year-old suspect remains in federal custody. CNN is attempting to identify attorney information to get comment on these federal hate crime charges.
As you read through these complaints, some of the allegations that the government makes is nothing short of disgusting. Some of the language that he uses against Jewish people in the United States, the FBI accuses him of actually e-mailing classmates and blaming Jews for a litany of problems, saying they are to blame for, quote, lost revenue after the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that people should kill Jews. This is exactly what federal law enforcement and security researchers
have been warning about, that there are people out there that are espousing this hate, particularly in light of this increase in anti- Semitic attacks. There could be people out there predisposed to violence.
This appears to be someone according to the complaint and according to his alleged admission someone who is clearly anti-Semitic and came here in west L.A., wreaking havoc to this community -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Josh Campbell live for us in Los Angeles. Thank you.
I do want to bring in CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller now to talk more about this -- because, John, we heard in Josh's report there, just this kind of litany of recent event that appeared to target Jewish people, a man firing a replica gun inside a synagogue in the bay area, a man allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at a synagogue in New Jersey, a man assaulted in New York in what police say was an anti-Semitic attack in December.
How does law enforcement address this?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, law enforcement is addressing this full-on. You know, in New York City, they have the religiously and ethnically motivated extremist squad within the intelligence bureau. In Los Angeles where I was the chief of the intelligence and counterterrorism bureau for several years, you have a very tight knit Jewish community, tight knit leadership that are very closely in contact with the police on security issues, particularly in this case. They were in contact minute by minute.
But what you see is a different model today, which is these aren't groups that are meeting in the basement of somebody's mouse and plotting attacks. These are groups that are meeting on apps like Telegram and Signal and other message boards. They may not even be in the same city. They are trading documents.
I'm reviewing one of the documents that came across lately that has a swastika on the front and a gun with a silencer. But deep in the document it says, target Jewish groups, target Jewish think tanks, gas them, shoot them, it's got a sniper's target on the leader of a prominent Jewish group.
So, this is virulent and bad discussion that is going on, and because we live in a First Amendment environment, this kind of talk isn't in and of itself a crime. As we saw in this case, once that translates to action, then you can move in and bring criminal charges.
KEILAR: You see how it is enabling and encouraging some of these, including in Los Angeles it appears that may have been an aspect of this.
I do want to ask you about Memphis because we also just heard the D.A. says he is now investigating up to 100 cases involving this SCORPION unit, including most of the cases involving officers who have been charged here.
What are they looking for when it comes to these cases and what do you think could come of this?
MILLER: Well, they're looking for two or three things depending on how you view it. Number one, they're looking for cases where people may have been beaten or abused or assaulted, where that just didn't come up in the case because they may have gone quickly to a guilty plea. Number two, they're looking at cases where people may say these officers lied, there is now a record of them being charged with lying, I was convicted or pled guilty because of the idea that they were going to testify against me but now we know they had no credibility. So they may set aside convictions in the interest of justice.
And then there are other cases where they may have arrested someone with a gun where it is on body camera, where their testimony was not particularly relevant to the case, where those cases may stand. But they have to sort through all of them if any of these officers were connected.
KEILAR: Yeah, we are seeing the ripple effects of the arrests of these officers.
John Miller, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
And ahead, the court documents that reveal private conversations between some of the biggest names at Fox and executives of the network deeming it irresponsible to put Trump on the air on January 6th.
First though, Russia's invasion in Ukraine is about to reach the one- year mark. The important interview today with CNN that may signal a significant timeline on this war.
KEILAR: Topping our world lead, analysts predict it is unlikely Russia will capture the key eastern city of Bakhmut by next week's one-year mark of Putin's brutal, unprovoked war on Ukraine. Still, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants to be well-armed and ready for anything, appealing to Western leaders today with this urgent message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE: We need to hurry up. We need the speed, speed of our agreements, speed of our delivery.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour sat down with Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the Munich Security Conference.
And, Christiane, it certainly seemed that he shared Zelenskyy's urgency.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Yes, he shared the urgency, Brianna, and he also shared the fact that there has to be unity maintained in year two of this war, and that it may go on for quite a while. This is what he said on stage in his speech.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: You in your speech said we have to be ready for the long haul. I mean, you must strategize. You must think among yourselves how long this could last. Do you have a target date?
OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR: I think it is wise to be prepared for a long war, and it is wise to give Putin the message that we are ready to stay all the time together with Ukraine and that we will constantly support the country. So it is not really a really good idea that in this conference or at this podium the two of us discuss the question when exactly, in which months this war will end.
The really important decision we should take all together is saying that we are willing to do it as long as necessary and that we will do our best.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: So, yes, you can't put a target date for a month, but the question was because Zelenskyy himself addressing the conference said this war needed to be over this year. So, you know, there's a little bit of a difference in terms of urgency and speed I think.
One of the really difficult issues is that the West has essentially admitted that they just do not have at the moment the production capacity to replenish the rapidly dwindling stockpiles of ammunition because this war is just using so much. Certainly, the Ukrainians are firing many, many shells every day. So this is a real challenge. That's what all of the defense ministers are talking about.
Now, how to ramp up, you know, the armaments industry really, the procurement industry, because the secretary general of NATO said that while maybe in the past it would have taken 12 months between placing orders and receiving them, now it is 28 months. That is time that they simply cannot afford.
Finally, of course, Olaf Scholz is coming to Washington. He will be meeting with President Biden. There was a huge American delegation here led by Kamala Harris and Congress people from both houses, both parties, and there's a lot of show of force from the Americans, too, on sticking by Ukraine's side.
KEILAR: As we're approaching this anniversary, this terrible anniversary in Ukraine.
Christiane, thank you so much for reporting from Ukraine. We appreciate it.
And not only do new court documents reveal how Fox anchors really felt about former President Trump's election lies, now we are learning what executives at the network refused to do for Trump as the January 6 Capitol riots unfolded.
KEILAR: During the January 6th Capitol attack, former President Donald Trump notably did not call his secretary of defense, the attorney general or the secretary of homeland security. Now we have learned Trump did try to call Lou Dobbs at Fox. That is according to new court filings released from Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox.
New text messages also reveal how several big names at the network really felt about Trump and those pushing his 2020 voter fraud claims.
Sean Hannity at one point texting that Rudy Giuliani was, quote, acting like an insane person. Laura Ingraham texting Rudy is such an idiot. And in one message, founder Rupert Murdoch calling Trump's lies, quote, really crazy stuff.
CNN's Oliver Darcy is here on this.
So, Oliver, let's start with Trump trying to call into Fox during the Capitol attack. What do we know about this phone call?
OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: That's exactly right. According to this Dominion filing which has so much information behind the scenes of what took place at fox during the aftermath of the election, according to the filing, Trump tried calling in to Lou Dobbs's show. Lou Dobbs was someone spreading a lot of election conspiracy theories and couldn't get -- put on the phone with Dobbs because Fox executives vetoed this. This is according to testimony Dominion cites from the Fox Business president who said it would be irresponsible on January 6th to have allowed Trump to go on the network and spread his election lies.
KEILAR: And these text messages, what can you tell us?
DARCY: I mean, they are so, so damning. It really reveals that behind the scenes, Fox executives, people like Rupert Murdoch, as well as Fox News hosts, people like Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, they were privately acknowledging and, frankly, mocking a lot of the Trump election lies that were being spread.
But this never made its way to the audience. They never shared this with the audience. In fact, as recently as yesterday, you have Tucker Carlson going on air and sowing doubt about the validity of the 2020 election. So it really shows that behind the scenes, Fox News hosts, Fox News executives are saying one thing and then they are going in front of the camera and saying something completely different to their audience, seemingly in search of profit or power or whatever it may be. But it is really quite reprehensible, Brianna. KEILAR: Yeah, telling their audience what they think their audience
wants to hear, and not what those hosts believe and know to be true.
Oliver, thank you so much.
And I want to talk about this with our panel.
You know, Abby, people knew who Donald Trump had not called touring the January 6th riot, but this -- this attempt to make sort of an appearance on Fox, this wasn't known about.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. That is the fascinating part about this. Our colleague Annie Grayer says her sources on the January 6th committee said they didn't know Trump attempted to call into Fox News, and there's been so much attention about what was he doing in those hours when the Capitol was breached. Now we know.
I mean imagine what could have happened if instead of his aides really twisting his arm to put out, you know, a statement on Twitter and a video trying to maybe get the people out of the capitol he had called in to Fox Business and egged them on. I think we could be looking at a very different scenario here.
The fact that Trump was seemingly censored by even Fox on that day really undermines the conservative argument that these technology companies like Twitter and Facebook were totally off base in worrying what Trump could do with his platform on and after January 6th.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: And this is the latest in the series of things we learned because we know they were texting Mark Meadows and urging the White House to do something. Sean Hannity did it repeatedly. Laura Ingraham did as well.
So, what this really has done is kind of answered the question that many of us who have known some of these hosts for a long time having wondering, do they really believe what they saying, and they don't. It is certainly a question for Tucker Carlson. He certainly has had many stripes over the years, but this sort of laying bear to all of this. The reality is the hosts from the beginning when they were seeing the images, they were trying to get the White House to stop him and it went on from there.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL C OMMENTATOR: I think we know something even more sinister, which is that profits were put over the truth, right? They believed and they were more concerned in many of those texts with the stock price. You see texts talking about we are losing audience share to Newsmax. They were more concerned about that than trying to say, how do we help our audience understand the truth of what is actually happening?
And then the fact that they went after people who actually tried to do fact checking and tried to get those people fired. Again, profitability over telling the truth.
DAN EBERHART, GOP DONOR: To me what this shows is the emperor has no clothes and it is the modern version of that. Everyone was focused on the fact Trump was president and trying to stay in his good graces, in his orbit, when in reality the ice cube was melting and Trump lost the election and voters were searching for more information.
I would like to have seen a lot more unbiased reporting from Fox where they were more focused on what was actually happening and whether or not these claims were true instead of just carrying this information.
KEILAR: Because they knew, right? So they could have provided that.
KEILAR: That's what we've learned.
I'm curious what you guys think about how this information could play out at a moment, say, during a Republican debate. I mean, what would that look like? You would expect that Donald Trump would be asked, hey, you know, during January 6th, you didn't call your defense secretary or your homeland security secretary but you were calling Fox News.
DON EBERHART, CEO, CANARY: Trump has a problem. Look, in 2016 when he ran he -- he didn't have a record so he got to be the disrupter. He got to be the outsider and he didn't have a record to run on. In 2020 he just got the party's nomination, so we haven't seen, you know, in round three we will have to see Trump have to defend his record in a Republican primary. I think he is going to have to answer questions like these and also questions about many, many other decisions he made and I think a lot is not going to wear well with the base. I think there's an awful lot of fodder for Nikki Haley and whoever else jumps in to pounce on him with.
PHILLIP: I think we should remember though that the reason Fox in this context was afraid of, you know, these election lies and telling the truth about it is because the audience was demanding it. They wanted it. Even to this day, a lot of Republicans, they may be tired of Trump, but a lot of them still believe these lies.
So to your question about what happens on a presidential debate stage, they're going to be trying to make the case against Trump without disavowing Trumpism because this stuff right now I think is pretty baked in in the Republican electorate. Huge swathes of the Republican base believe it to be true and I don't think there's a Republican who has a chance of winning the nomination who can say what we know to be true, which is all of this is false, it was made up.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Which is why Trump would probably lean right into it and say, I was trying to call to make sure people knew the truth and look what they did to me. He would go, as he always does, to being -- you know, calling himself the victim of the media elites. Again, because he knows that he has that one-third of that base that will always believe him, that will be with him. I think one of the things we are going to see play itself out in the 2024 primary is when is the point, who creates the permission structure for those voters to might say, I'm still loyal to Trump but I think it is time for someone else? Somebody is going to have to help create that bridge for those voters.
KEILAR: Doesn't it reinforce though what general -- in the general election what we have learned from the mid terms, right, doesn't it reinforce what general election voters don't like about Trumpism, what they've rejected?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Sure, absolutely. That is why one of the things that worries Republican leaders more than anything is what has happened over the popular vote for the last seven or eight elections, as Nikki Haley pointed out this week, where Republicans have lost the popular vote seven out of the eight presidential elections. That is sort of the question hanging over all of this. This is a defamation lawsuit. This is only the very beginning of what we are learning.
We're going to learn a lot more as Oliver was reporting, much of that information was a redacted. So we will learn a ton. Who knows if they will win the defamation lawsuit but by the end we will learn a ton. It is hard to imagine some heads might not roll at Fox. It is a precarious situation for them and the family.
KEILAR: We have already learned a ton.
I do want to ask you, Abby, Rick Scott actually amended his "Rescue America" plan after President Biden criticized Republicans for trying to sunset all federal legislation after five years including Social Security and Medicare. The new language makes an exception for Social Security, Medicare, national security, veterans' benefits and other essential services. Rick Scott also includes this reading, quote, note to President Biden, Senator Schumer and Senator McConnell, as you know, this was never intended to apply to Social Security, Medicare or the U.S. Navy.
I'm not so sure that is accurate there, but what do you make of him changing his plan? It is hard not to draw a direct line to the State of the Union Address.
PHILLIP: Oh, absolutely. This only happened because Biden really successfully used this to change the subject to turf that is very fertile for Democrats. It really just shows that -- I mean, this Rick Scott plan was not really ready for primetime. It is one of those things that maybe it seems like it got cooked up in a think tank and they didn't really think about what it would be like when people started to scrutinize it.
One of the people who looked at that pretty early was McConnell and basically said, this thing -- he literally -- he was literally like, it is going in the trash can. We are not doing this.
EBERHART: I think he tried very hard to put it in the trash can, right? Didn't quite make it.
PHILLIP: It was not -- I don't know how we were supposed to know all of those things were exempted except via mind reading, but it wasn't in the text. Now that it is in the text it is a change.
ZELENY: And Rick Scott never said it. He was interviewed so many times over this. He didn't say it.
EBERHART: The direct line, Brianna, it is between Rick Scott's 2024 reelection and this plan.
And that's why I think he amended the plan. I think that's what he is looking at, the fall-out from all of this and he is looking ahead to his reelection and saying, hey, look, I got to button this up. This could be a big problem for me in Florida.
No state has more senior citizens in Florida. So, it seems antithetical of what you would think he wants to portray. Social Security is an important safety net and entitlement program and especially, especially in Florida.
KEILAR: What do you think of him saying, no, this never applies to Social Security?
FINNEY: Yeah, typically gaslighting. I mean, you know, and that was his only out, right, was to say, that's not what I meant. It was very Trumpian. It was very obvious what he was doing.
But, look, he's still going to be accountable for having said it. He didn't just say it, it was on paper, despite Mitch McConnell's best efforts to get rid of it. It is still out there.
KEILAR: Thank you guys so much for the conversation. I appreciate it.
The roundtable continues on "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillips. That is Sunday morning at 8:00 Eastern and again at 11:00 here on CNN.
We'll see you then, Abby.
And ahead, the plan to create a court system for the wealthy and mostly white parts of Jackson, Mississippi, and separate from the system for the mostly Black community.
KEILAR: New video showing parts of the train wheels overheating on the Norfolk Southern train that derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.
In the surveillance video, you can see there are sparks, bright light coming from the wheels 43 minutes before the train derailed. While NTSB investigates what caused the overheating, Ohio's government this morning calling a waterway near the derailment, quote, severely contaminated. The governor says it will take a while to clean it up and encouraged anyone who has not yet had a private well tested to keep drinking bottled water. Concerns over drinking water are not limited to Ohio. The water crisis
in Jackson, Mississippi, is still a major ongoing problem. Back in August and September, residents had to wait in long lines for bottled water just to be able to drink, to cook, to brush their teeth when the city's main treatment plant failed.
At times, the water pressure in Jackson is still low and boil water advisories are still frequent. Jackson's mayor is here with us now, Chokwe Antar Lumumba.
Thank you, sir, so much for being with us.
I do first want to play a little bit of what the EPA administrator is promising folks in Ohio. He spoke to my colleague Jason Carroll. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So we're going to be here a year from now, two years from now, to come back, test the water, test the soil.
MICHAEL REGAN, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: I'm very clear when I say as long as it takes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Knowing where things are for your community with their own disaster, if you were the mayor of east Palestine, would you believe that promise?
MAYOR CHOKWE ANTAR LUMUMBA (D), JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Yes, I would, but only because I have the benefit of and experienced relationship with Administrator Regan. I know there's a significant path ahead of restoring confidence to the residents, that there is long-term safety with respect to the environment. And, you know, experience that I had with Administrator Regan is one where he committed he would support the resident of Jackson and was able to accomplish that in a historic way. So my prayers are with the mayor and the community there in East Palestine, and they have solidarity in Jackson, Mississippi.
KEILAR: I really want to ask you about something that could also affect Jackson. It is a Mississippi bill that would give the state control to appoint unelected judges and prosecutors for the party or city where the vast majority of white residents live. And then the people who would make those appointments are also white, even though Jackson is 83 percent black.
What is your reaction to this bill?
LUMUMBA: Well, I think that, you know, we would be less than honest if we called it anything other than racist. It is fraught with constitutional issues and it is an attack on black leadership. It is brought under the Trojan horse of public safety, but it is a district which is largely comprised of the areas that have the lowest crime rates. Those judges not only would have the power -- those unelected judges would not only have the power to hear criminal matters but civil and chancery matters as well, which have nothing whatsoever to do with crime and public safety. So it is -- you know, it is truly an attack on black leadership.
KEILAR: In 2021, "The Washington Post" found that Jackson had the highest murder rate in the country, three times that of Chicago. Republicans argue this bill is meant to address the growing crime problem.
What do you think will lower the crime rate?
LUMUMBA: Yeah. Well, you know, they would first have to acknowledge the things that I just said if your true intention is to deal with the crime rate, then you wouldn't choose the safest portions of the city in order to create this district.
Secondly, there has been a deliberate indifference or a willful neglect of state leadership to support the things that we've been asking for, things that help support our police department, technology, ballistics technology that helps them close cases, connect guns to prior crimes, support of our real-time command center, which is a 21st century technology that supports our police officers, supporting the vein of credible messenger and violence interruption training we have been asking for, where the state has been neglectful we've had organizations like the National League of Cities and Wells Fargo Bank to step up to the plate and provide resources so we can start an office of violence prevention and trauma recovery.
Jackson residents, those of us who work on these issues every day know what we need, and what we don't need is a takeover of our city and a plan in order to protect the most densely white populated portions of our city.
KEILAR: The bill's sponsor, who is Representative Trey Lamar, he represents a rural area quite far from Jackson. He says, quote, my constituents want to feel safe when they come here. Where I am coming from with this bill is to help the citizens of Jackson. What is your reaction to that?
LUMUMBA: Well, my reaction is, first, Trey Lamar has not done his due diligence to either talk to me, any other leadership in Jackson or the residents of Jackson. I even find individuals who live within the proposed district who are opposed to it, both Democrat and Republican. Some that are opposed to this court system and know the lack of equity and justice that it sets the stage for.
And so, you know, while it is his capital city and everyone's capital city, it is our home. We will be the most adversely affected by these decisions. So, once again, it is a Trojan horse in order to take over, seize power where it cannot be seized electorally. They want to pass policy that can take over our city.
KEILAR: Mayor, thank you so much. We will be watching to see what happens with this Mississippi bill. We appreciate your time tonight. LUMUMBA: Thank you.
KEILAR: Ahead, when even the hospital is not safe. The remarkable operations doctors are pulling off in the middle of an earthquake disaster zone.
KEILAR: In our world lead, 11 days after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Syria and Turkey, 44,000 people are dead as rescues from the rubble become more improbable and remarkable by the day, like 33-year-old Mustafia (ph) pulled from a collapsed hospital today in Hatay, Turkey. His friend was shocked to hear his voice.
CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta is in Turkey where hospitals rendered useless by the quake are forcing doctors to get creative.
SANJA GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are watching an operation on this 35-year-old Hasan Gozher (ph). He has two fractures in his femur. These doctors are working intently to stabilize the bone.
Just watching this, you probably can't tell where this operation is actually taking place.
Just to give you an idea, we're in a tent in the middle of a parking lot outside the hospital in a quake zone and they're doing orthopedic surgery here.
DR. GREG HELLWARTH, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON: Is that Dr. Gupta?
GUPTA: Yes, it is.
HELLWARTH: Oh, my gosh. Good to see you.
GUPTA: How are you doing?
This is Dr. Greg Hellwarth, an orthopedic surgeon from Indiana who flew over as soon as he heard of the earthquake.
Right now, Dr. Hellwarth is worried about bleeding. So over here in another part of the tent, they found his brother to be a match and have him hooked up and quickly donating, a true blood brother. In the middle of a natural disaster, you do whatever it takes to save a life.
What would have happen to someone like him if he didn't have the operation?
HELLWARTH: I worked in places before where people like this don't have the operation and lay at home, languish. Some of them would get bed sores, blood clots, pneumonia and maybe die from that. GUPTA: Before the earthquake, Hasan would have likely got this
operation here at this hospital in Antakya, in southern Turkey. It's still standing on the outside, yes, but completely wrecked inside, no longer functional.
DR. ELLIOTT TENPENNY, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL HEALTH UNIT FOR SAMARITAN'S PURSE: This hospital is destroyed so there is no other place to seek care. Not just about broken bones and crush and injuries. It's about these patients also. Supply chain is a challenge.
GUPTA: This is the team from Samaritan's Purse. Elliott Tenpenny is an ER doctor from North Carolina.
TENPENNY: We had after shots and sways the tents back and forth and knocks things over but nothing major.
GUPTA: So all the work you need to do can still be done?
GUPTA: Over just 36 hours, they put up all these tents, set up generators, communication dishes, even brought their own water purifiers.
TENPENNY: We use this machine here. It's a reverse osmosis machine that allows us to get it from anywhere including the ocean.
GUPTA: And you just keep it in the bladders and these look full. So, you -- this is a process constantly happening.
TENPENNY: That's right.
GUPTA: All of this so they're able to give the best care to their patients, like this 1-year-old Mehmet (ph). His mother Salsan (ph) glued to his side, telling us her story through a translator.
What was happening to him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He couldn't breathe anymore.
GUPTA: She thought he had the flu the past few days but things got worse this morning. Maybe from the fumes. As many people have been doing, they were burning plastic to stay warm. The diagnosis, bronchitis and asthma. So severe he was put on gases to open up the airways and keep him alive.
Hasan is alive as well, recovering with his brother's blood providing sustenance. Care plus prayers is giving these patients hope and an entire community devastated with loss, a lifeline.
GUPTA (on camera): Brianna, I got to tell you. I covered so many of these disasters and obviously, they're so tragic and you do see people rising up and as you say being creative to try and save lives. [16:55:07]
Baby Mehmet who you just saw there is doing well. We got photographs. I don't know if you can see those, Brianna. People are holding him, keeping his airways open and he was flown to a different trauma center and we understand he's expected to make a good recovery.
That's the kind of care that can be provided in a tent, in a parking lot in the middle of a quake zone when people actually rise to the occasion, Brianna.
KEILAR: Yeah, we see those photos. What amazing work that is being done there. Thank you, Sanjay, for bringing us that story.
And this Sunday on "STATE OF THE UNION", Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul and Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, plus, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas- Greenfield. And an exclusive interview with Senator Brown of Ohio. That is all Sunday at 9:00 Eastern, and again at noon here on CNN.
I'm Brianna Keilar in for Jake Tapper.
Our coverage continues after a short break with Pamela Brown, in for Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".