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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Biden Rebukes Putin As Invasion Nears One-Year Mark; Ukraine: Russian Shelling Kills 5 In Kherson, Hits Residential Areas; Democratic Lawmaker Gets Threatening Messages After Being Attacked; EPA Orders Norfolk Southern To Pay For Cleanup Of Tran Spill; Supreme Court Hears Case That Could Reshape The Internet. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired February 21, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Just saying.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: That's a different airline.
GOLODRYGA: All right. Thank you so much.
And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: President Biden says, Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. Could it end up being a loss?
THE LEAD starts right now.
Two world leaders, two starkly different messages. A NATO rallying cry for Biden, while Putin blames the West for forcing him to invade. Both leaders, vowing to stay the course, as Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine nears the one-year mark.
Plus, I will speak with the congressional Democrat from Minnesota assaulted in her D.C. apartment building. Why she's now blaming a segment on Fox for threats to her that came afterwards.
And as the EPA demands Norfolk Southern clean up its toxic train wreck in Ohio, Democratic and Republican governors are blaming the company for corporate greed.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we start in our world lead today with President Biden's big speech in Poland earlier today, marking nearly one year since Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Biden reaffirmed the U.S.'s commitment to Ukraine, reminding the world that there is more at stake than one country's sovereignty. The freedom for all future generations, he says.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no sweeter word than freedom. There is no nobler goal then freedom. There is no higher aspiration than freedom. Americans know that and you know it. And all that we do now must be done so our children and grandchildren will know it as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Biden's speech also seemed a clear rebuke of Russian President Putin, whom Biden named directly ten times.
Earlier today, Putin delivered his own speech, where he suspended Russia's participation in a major nuclear arms treaty with the U.S. and tried to blame the West for the conflict in Ukraine, a claim further undermined by his own military's very -- just a few actions go on the streets of Kherson neighborhood, destroyed. A Russian strike leaving five dead. Another 16 wounded.
We are going to start our coverage with CNN's Phil Mattingly in Warsaw, Poland, where Biden delivered this historic address.
BIDEN: Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia. Never.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden, delivering an unequivocal vow to the world.
BIDEN: You have to be honest and clear eyed, and look at the year ahead.
MATTINGLY: An influential assessment of the stakes of the moment, as Russia's war on Ukraine nears its second year.
BIDEN: That is what is at stake here, freedom.
MATTINGLY: Biden's remarks, framed with the lighting, soundtrack, and thousands in the crowd for maximum effect, said Warsaw is a nod to a stalwart member of the NATO alliance, one with a history defined by transformational ideological struggles.
BIDEN: During decades under the iron fist of communist rule, Poland endured because you stood together.
MATTINGLY: Coming just hours after Russian president, Vladimir Putin, delivered his own speech, signaling Russian escalation.
But while aides said Biden's speech was explicitly not a rebuttal --
BIDEN: Appetites of the autocrat cannot be appeased. They must be opposed.
MATTINGLY: It served as a showcase for what has become a visceral disdain for the Russian leader.
BIDEN: President Putin's craven last four land and power will fail. And the Ukrainian people's love for their country will prevail.
MATTINGLY: In a clear effort to take apart Putin's central rationale for his unprovoked invasion.
BIDEN: He could and the war with a word. It's simple. If Russia stopped invading Ukraine, it would end the war. If Ukraine stopped defending itself against Russia, it would be the end of Ukraine.
MATTINGLY: Coming just 24 hours after a dramatic surprise visit to Kyiv --
BIDEN: Kyiv stands strong.
Kyiv stands proud. It stands tall and most importantly, it stands free.
MATTINGLY: Biden, reiterating unyielding U.S. support and the durability of the coalition essential to Ukraine's fight.
BIDEN: We will continue to be hard on very bitter days. Victories and tragedies, but Ukraine is still for the fight ahead.
MATTINGLY: Underscoring the necessity of Western democracies maintaining their support.
BIDEN: The democracies of the world have to deliver for our people.
MATTINGLY: And the critical nature, the commitments that were echoed far beyond the year to come.
BIDEN: The world, in my view, is at a inflection point. The decisions we make over the next five years and so are going to determine and shape our lives for decades to come.
MATTINGLY (on camera): And, Jake, while there was certainly a split screen between President Putin and President Biden today, there was also a split screen from the last time President Biden was here in Warsaw, giving a speech, laying out the stakes. Very similar location, but very different tone. Very sober, very steadfast, very stark about what the Western world faced.
This was more of a rally, an effort to really kind of draw a contrast from that moment, really under going the fact that Western democracies have accomplished an awful lot in the last 11 months, according to White House officials, even if they have so much more to accomplish in the months ahead -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly in Warsaw, Poland for us, thanks so much. As Mattingly mentioned, hours before Biden spoke, Putin delivered his
own message to mark one year of what he calls a special military operation. Putin arguing that the West is responsible for the escalation in Ukraine, a message to the White House fervently denies.
Shortly after Putin's speech, Russia launched a new round of shelling on a residential area in Kherson, killing five people, injuring 16 more. These are former stores and shops.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports now on Putin's speech from Moscow.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): A determined Russian leader entering center stage. Vladimir Putin, showing he will not back down from the war in Ukraine, calling Kyiv's leadership illegitimate. The Kyiv regime is essentially alien to the people of Ukraine, he said. They are not protecting their own interests, but those of their mind or countries.
Putin squarely blames the West for the conflict, even though it was Russian forces that invaded Ukraine almost a year ago. The Kremlin claims Russia is under assault from the West, even more so after President Joe Biden went to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, showing the U.S.'s resolve to help Ukraine stand up to Moscow.
The elite of the West does not conceal their ambitions, which is to strategically defeat Russia, he says. What does that mean? It means to finish us off once and for all.
While Putin praised his army, he acknowledged they need better gear, as progress has been hard to come by and losses mount in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance.
Still, support among the Russians, both for what Putin called the special military operation and the Russian leader himself remain rock solid, Russia's top independent pollster tells CNN.
DENIS VOLKOV, DIRECTOR, LEVADA CENTER: Now it's about 80 percent because, again, the situation come down a little bit by the end of the year, people can -- get used to it again, and his rating stabilized.
PLEITGEN: And patriotism is on full display in Moscow, though not everyone wants to talk about it.
The operation is going to sluggishly, this man says. We must strike the centers like Germany, London.
I think the West will bend and be forced to make concessions, he says.
What opinion can there be? We shouldn't have barged into where we weren't wanted, this man says.
Putin saved arguably his biggest message for last, announcing Russia is suspending its participation in the new strategic arms reduction treaty, after Moscow last year accused Ukraine of striking an airbase for strategic bombers.
We know that NATO is complicit in the attempts by the Kyiv regime to strike our air bases, and now they want to come and inspect our bases?
While Putin says, the treaty could be revived if relations between the U.S. and Russia improve, on this day, the gulf between Russia and the West further widened.
PLEITGEN (on camera): So you see the view from the Kremlin there, Jake. I was actually able to get in touch with the Kremlin spokesman tonight, as well, and ask him about President Biden's speech, specifically President Biden's comments that Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia.
And the spokesman came back with some pretty harsh comments. He said, it's impossible to talk about destroying Russia without nuclear war. And that nuclear war would have no winners. He also said that he firmly believes, like Vladimir Putin apparently also believes, that the ultimate goal of the United States is weakening Russia and the disintegration of Russia.
So as you can see some, pretty harsh words coming out of Moscow tonight, Jake.
TAPPER: Fred Pleitgen in Moscow for us, thanks so much.
Let's bring in CNN's chief international correspondent, Clarissa Ward, who's in Kyiv, and the co-anchor of "CNN THIS MORNING", Kaitlan Collins, who's in Warsaw, Poland.
Clarissa, let me start with you. How are Ukrainians reacting to these dual speeches from Biden and Putin?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, Jake, President Zelenskyy said that he did not watch Putin's speech earlier today. But then he did, obviously, get the cliff notes, if you will, because he went on to issue a statement saying that Putin essentially is communicating as a terrorist.
The only difference is the terrorists wear masks, and these guys don't cover their faces.
That obviously, in very stark contrast to his response on Twitter to the speech that President Biden gave, where he said, I thank POTUS and all of America for their leadership in rallying the world in support of freedom. Kyiv stands strong. Kyiv stands proud. It stands tall and most important, it stands free.
Clearly, that symbolism of Biden's visit and also the symbolism that he was conjuring up in his speech today resonated very deeply. I will bring up one other top advisor to President Zelenskyy, Mikhail Podolyak who wrote this, which I think really kind of sort of hits it on the head, if you will. Comparing the two speeches.
Black and white, that and alive, the past and the future. The fading away Putin and the dominant Biden. Two speeches that put everything in its place.
I think for many Ukrainians, Jake, the takeaway here is, how on earth did you expect any kind of a political settlement to even be talked about at this stage when you clearly have Moscow living in a sort of alternate universe or alternate version of reality?
And, Kaitlan, Clarissa talked about how Biden was rallying the West and we should talk about the tone, the overall vibe of the speech today. He walks out to an upbeat song, the crowd cheering. It was very celebratory, is that how the U.S. and allies see this all, kind of a celebration because Ukraine is still standing one year in?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Maybe not exactly a celebration, Jake, but certainly an affirmation of what they've been saying when it comes to the coalition, to the alliance, so the way that NATO and its allies have rallied behind Ukraine and the way that they have to help them, whether it's humanitarian assistance or, sending weapons, or what they've done over the last, you know, 12 months as we've closed in on this one year anniversary.
And so, certainly I think there was a validation in that sense because that's really been President Biden's message ever since he took office, this idea of autocracy versus democracy. And he was saying that Putin was wrong today, saying that he believes that autocracies would get stronger, they weren't weaker. Democracies grew stronger instead of weaker, and making that point.
But I think also, the White House, you know, before they would go to the stop of celebrating, they realize that this is an increasingly complex situation on the ground in Ukraine. They're very worried about it becoming a standstill and how long it could drag out. They are worried about support waiting at home. You know, President Biden saying today that the support will never tire, that America and NATO will be behind Ukraine.
But obviously, you've got lawmakers in Washington who are already raising complaints about how much money is going there. So, I do think it's a real concern for them, even if they do feel validated in the way that Putin has been wrong time and time again over the last 12 months.
TAPPER: And, Kaitlan, this has been a big 48 hours for President Biden. He had that surprise trip to Ukraine, followed by this big speech in Poland. As the same time, you talk about the criticism from Republicans.
But also, a lot of Americans are questioning whether Biden should be reelected, due to his age. I guess I'm guessing the White House aides see the vigor and the energy he's displayed on this trip as a rebuttal to that, almost. COLLINS: Yeah, I think they think he deserves some credit here
because he left Washington at four a.m. on Sunday morning, took a ten hour train ride to Kyiv both ways, he was only on the ground for about six hours. And yes, it's a trip that other world leaders have made. It's obviously more difficult for the president of the United States, who has one of the highest levels of security of any leader in the world.
And so, the White House was kind of making the argument that he had a really good week. He had a very strong week, they believe, when he was on the ground in Ukraine. They believed it was the perfect way to set him up for this visit here in Poland. You know, 11 months after he was here last time. And so, I think that they do believe that this shows that, you know, he had the strength and the fortitude to make such an arduous journey, and then come and deliver that fiery speech, talking about there is all of the United States behind Ukraine tonight.
TAPPER: Yeah, the only time in history that an American president went to the front lines of a war zone without the presence of the U.S. military there.
Clarissa, Russia shelled Kherson today, killing five people, injuring another 16. Are Ukrainians worried that after Biden comes back to Washington, D.C., all the other leaders go back home, that there could be an even greater escalation in attacks near the end of the week, as the war hits its one-year mark?
WARD: I think they're worried that this could devolve into a protracted stalemate. As you heard Kaitlan articulate there as well, it's a fear of the White House, that if they don't get the weapons that they believe they need, in order to mount a really strong counter offensive, that they are going to continue to be very vulnerable in places across the country.
And I think it's also just a really important reminder for people all across the world that this is still a hellish war. And while there may be moments of celebrating the achievements that have been made, there's still a lot of suffering going on, and a lot of work to be done to put a stop to it, Jake.
TAPPER: Yeah, the images that we're showing viewers from Kherson, I've seen some other ones from that same attack that have innocent people, their bodies on the street.
Clarissa Ward and Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much for both of you.
The challenges ahead for Ukraine, as Russia's invasion is the one your mark.
Plus, the family is taking on the online giant, Google. How's -- this case is now with the Supreme Court, could upend what you see on the Internet.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: And we are back with our world lead in the dueling speeches between President Biden and Russian President Putin. Biden, his speech delivered a clear warning to autocrats around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Democracies of the world have grown stronger, not weaker. But the autocrats of the world have grown weaker, not stronger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Retired General Philip Breedlove is with me to discuss. He's a former NATO supreme allied commander.
General, thanks for joining us.
So Biden's address, in some ways, seemed a celebration, or at least an affirmation that one year after Russia invaded Kyiv and Ukraine are still standing strong. But the war is far from over. How long do you think it's going to drag on?
GEN. PHILIP BREEDLOVE (RET.): Well, I think that that's entirely in the hands of policymakers in the West. If we give Ukraine what they need to win a set of words we have not used for sometime now, then the war will end quicker. If we decide to continue to supply them, as we are now, which we're very thankful for, but if we do not give them the decisive capabilities they need to win, then the war is going to drag on.
TAPPER: So, President Biden's public message today was that the U.S. is going to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes. But one senior administration official told "The Washington Post" a few days ago, quote, we will continue to try to impress upon Ukrainian leaders that we can't do anything and everything forever, unquote.
What do you make of the difference in the public and private messaging here?
BREEDLOVE: Well, it goes back to the sentence that he was, which I think is incomplete. We say we are going to stay with Ukraine as long as it takes. As long as it takes to do what?
Again, I say, if we are going to supply them to win, to expel this illegal, immoral, invading force from Ukraine, then we need to give them the capability to do that, and as long as it takes will not be as long if we continue at the current pace of providing the types of weapons that we are. That's sort of keeping Ukraine on the battlefield.
TAPPER: Yeah, the two leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Trump, both of them have voiced skepticism about the U.S.'s involvement in this. DeSantis saying something like, he didn't think it was smart to be involved in a proxy war with Russia. In total, the U.S. has spent about $30 billion in aids to Ukraine, and
one of the real issues here is the public support is dropping. Sixty percent of American support giving weapons in May 2022. Only 48 percent did last month.
So, there is some war fatigue setting in.
BREEDLOVE: There certainly is and I think that it's important that the president and this administration get out there now and give a strong voice to the American people of why we are doing what we are doing.
And oh, by the way, in Congress and their other candidates on the Republican side, who feel that we should be there, and all of them, including me, I'm among them, we should be articulating well to the American people why this is important.
And when it comes to the money, Jake, so let's just compare that year of funding to Ukraine to any one year in current year dollars of World War I or World War II. It's miniscule.
And so, what we are spending now and the ability to avoid a world war, I think, is something we need to think about. If we allow this to become a world war, and Russia's intentions are pretty clear about what they're doing, then the cost will just go astronomically up.
TAPPER: All right, retired general and former NATO supreme allied commander for -- thanks to you. Appreciate it.
This evening, CNN's Wolf Blitzer will speak with former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Plus, fresh off Biden's speech in Poland, Polish President Andrzej Duda will talk with CNN's Christiane Amanpour. You can see those interviews at 9:00 p.m. Eastern this evening, only here on CNN.
Thursday, it's a special CNN town hall. "Russia's Invasion of Ukraine: One Year Later". Top Biden national security officials will join CNN's Fareed Zakaria. That's Thursday night at 9:00 Eastern, only here on CNN.
Coming up, a congresswoman assaulted, forced to throw hot water on her attacker, and that's not the end of it. I will speak with her about the threats that came later.
TAPPER: In our national lead, a Democratic congresswoman is facing a new wave of violent threats just days after she was physically assaulted in her apartment building. Congresswoman, Angie Craig, who represents suburban Minneapolis, says, the threats came after a segment on Fox, where one of the hosts, Jeanine Pirro, tried to use the violent assault on Congresswoman Craig to make a political point of some sort.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS HOST: If you want to defund the police, we will notify 911. Whenever you call them, you don't get the police. But now that the congresswoman has been victimized, now she feels your pain, nonsense. And for those who say at least now she's on our side, baloney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Craig's office says, she has a, quote, proven record of supporting law enforcement and fighting to ensure they have the resources they need to do their job safely and effectively, unquote.
But these are just some of the calls she has received since that segment aired.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
CALLER: I'm reading Democratic lawmaker tried to defund the police, called for a crackdown on crime because you were assaulted. You know, I've got to tell you, you are a hypocrite.
CALLER: That's what happens when you defund the police, genius. I hope it happens to you again because you deserve it.
CALLER: Didn't you support defund the police, I'm so glad you got attacked. Maybe now you will hear about somebody else (EXPLETIVE DELETED) asshole, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hypocrite, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you, (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: Congresswoman Angie Craig joins me now. Congresswoman, I want to ask about the threats and allegations. But first, how are you doing? How is your family doing?
REP. ANGIE CRAIG (D-MN): Well, we are doing as good as we can, Jake. I appreciate you having me on here this afternoon. You know, the initial assault was, I was just another woman getting into an elevator at a random attack. But with the national Republican Congressional Campaign Committee and Fox news has done is really just, you know, accelerated the number of attacks that were getting directly and specifically at this point.
TAPPER: You're still getting and having to report these threatening calls and messages. What's been your reaction watching all of this unfold?
CRAIG: Well, look. The lies are dangerous and what I want the GOP to do is, I want them to stop lying about my record, and about the record of Democrats in general across the country. You know, I have a strong relationship and track record of supporting law enforcement in the second district of Minnesota. In fact, I was literally endorsed by the police in my last election. And I think that this is so dangerous. One of the problems that really
unearths is when we create a political wedge issue out of something that people ought to expect, which is, everyone deserves to feel safe in their own communities. And if you use it as a political wedge issue and you just sort of lobbed these attacks in general, it's really not supporting law enforcement.
TAPPER: Yeah, so what was interesting is, you actually have never called for defunding the police. I mean, my staff and our looking and the Fox story that one of your colors was quoting from said that you had ties to defund the police, based on some comments that a staffer made before they joined your staff, some organizations you've affiliated yourself with. But nothing you have said expressly, accept saying that there should be counselors, not cops, for some situations.
As you note, this does appear fueled by a seven put out by the National Republican Campaign Committee, which still says, still, to this day, on their website, says: Violent crime is running rampant while hypocrites like Angie Craig are backtracking on the previous support for defunding the police. In recent years, Craig received donations from organizations that support defunding the police, even hiring defund the police advocates and siding with Ilhan Omar 92 percent of the time.
So, I mean, it's really spurious stuff. I've never found any evidence that you ever called for defunding the police. I just wonder, like, the NRCC, these are people that, these are colleagues of yours. I mean, the chair of the NRCC is somebody who works in Congress. Did they really put that statement out after you were physically attacked?
CRAIG: Jake, five days after I was attacked, they put the statement out. At literally, I took a punch to the face in the physical assault. And the bruise had not healed from my chin, with a cut on the bottom of my lip, when the statement went out.
And it really just is egregious. I mean, it's so egregious that this morning, today, and yesterday, the head of the Minnesota police and peace officers association, the rank and file members of law enforcement here in Minnesota, put out a press release saying, just how ridiculous these accusations have been because, you know, I've done nothing but help local law enforcement.
So, you know, this is really just an illustration of how gutter politics and outright lies and absurdities have infiltrated our politics, and frankly, Fox News, and many of the commentators who work there, and it's dangerous. It's dangerous to elected officials like myself, it's dangerous to our democracy, when you can't tell the truth to your viewers.
TAPPER: Yeah, I mean to be clear, even if you had called for defunding the police, and that doesn't mean that anybody should be making light of you being punched in the face. I mean, it doesn't matter your political position, but that said, they're also just lying. It's also just a blatant lie. Do you need additional security? Are you worried about your safety? CRAIG: Well, look, we all have been worried about our safety. We all
have received threats over the last couple of years, especially. They've gone up tremendously of members of Congress.
You know, I spent a whole lot of time making sure that we had security presence and public events here in Minnesota.
Obviously, members of Congress had done a number of things to protect our own homes.
More difficult is sort of the random assault that might occur. But of course, every member of Congress is concerned about keeping themselves and their families safe, but not just because their members. Every American has the right to feel safe and be protected. So, you know, public safety is a huge issue when, you know, the incident that I experienced in Washington was really the intersection of homeless individuals with mental health issues, with addiction issues, who also had a number of assaults on the record.
And I was the 13th assault on this person's record, and, you know, the intersection of all of that is something that I feel like I really need to work on. Because every American, every Minnesotan deserves to feel safe.
TAPPER: Yeah and certainly in D.C. here as well, and there's a conversation to be had about repeat offenders, and whether letting them out on the streets so easily is the right thing to do for the safety of the public.
Lastly, before you go, if you could address the people who are lying about your record here or the people who think it's okay to call you up and threaten you, what would you say to them?
CRAIG: Well, look, it's super dangerous to the GOP, to its leadership, to the NRCC. I would say that it's out of control. I think we need to stop lying about our records and you are part of the problem if you are compelling folks to use violence against your colleagues.
You know, I would just say that GOP needs to get to work. They need to get to work to lower the cost of health care in our country, to lower the cost of gas prices, and actually address public safety. Not as a political wedge issue, but let's figure out how we work together to get law enforcement, what they need to be successful to keep our communities safe.
TAPPER: Well, Democratic Congresswoman Angie Craig, we are glad that you are feeling better. Thank you so much for coming on today.
CRAIG: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Coming up next, why the mayor in East Palestine, Ohio, called President Biden's trip to Ukraine, a big slap in the face to the citizens of his area. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our national league, earlier today, the mayor of East Palestine, Ohio, attacked President Biden for visiting Ukraine on Monday, as his village is dealing with a disastrous train derailment. He called it a slap in the face to the people of East Palestine. Meanwhile, government officials are pointing fingers at Norfolk Southern, referring to the company's arrogance and incompetence in corporate greed in the company's handling of the derailment.
EPA today ordered Norfolk Southern to pay for the entire cleanup of toxic chemicals it spilled nearly three weeks ago.
But as CNN's Miguel Marquez reports for us now, it's unclear if this demand for accountability will satisfy the residents of East Palestine.
MICHAEL REGAN, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: Thank you for inviting us into your home.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly three weeks after the derailment, people in East Palestine, Ohio, still concerned.
CAROLYN BROWN, EAST PALESTINE RESIDENT: We need to feel safe.
BROWN: I don't even walk on my grass because I don't know what's in it.
MARQUEZ: Officials say, the air and water deemed safe, so far, but not everyone is convinced.
BROWN: So, it's safe to drink the water. I haven't even brush my teeth with it.
MARQUEZ: East Palestine resident, Carolyn Brown, hosted the EPA administrator, Michael Regan, and Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, in her kitchen. Both assuring her her municipal tap water is safe.
REGAN: We believe in science. We don't feel like we are your guinea pig, so we don't mind proving to you that we believe the water is safe.
BROWN: Okay, I really appreciate that.
REGAN: Cheers to Carolyn.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheers to you. MARQUEZ: They say the village tap water testing will continue for years and anyone with a private well should have it tested as well.
GOV. JOSH SHAPIRO (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Norfolk Southern's corporate greed, incompetence, and lack of care for our residents is absolutely unacceptable to me.
MARQUEZ: The governor of neighboring Pennsylvania announced his state made a criminal referral to investigate Norfolk Southern's handling of the derailment. This as the EPA announced it is ordering Norfolk Southern to complete all of the cleanup, or the agency will immediately take over and seek to compel the company to pay triple the cost.
REGAN: I expect with the next 48 hours, Norfolk Southern will begin work working with the agency on the contents of the work plan. They have to put together a work plan that's going to be very prescriptive.
ALAN SHAW, CEO, NORFOLK SOUTHERN: We are going to be here tomorrow. We are going to be here a year from now, and we are going to be here five years from now.
MARQUEZ: And the CEO of the railroad says, it's already committed to doing what's right.
SHAW: We are going to invest in this community. We are going to do it in the right way, and we are going to do it at the right time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our presence be pointed in this direction.
MARQUEZ: At a church across town, eight new medical clinic opening up today to help people concerned about getting sick from the chemicals spilled and the derailment in controlled burn.
WES VINS, COUNTY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We want to help get people on the right track, navigate through the health care system.
MARQUEZ: But there is much more to be done.
ANNE VOGEL, DIRECTOR, OHIO EPA: We are moving as fast as we physically can. Of course, time is of the essence.
MARQUEZ: While trains are running through the town again, the soil underneath the open tracks, still contaminated.
VOGEL: We know this oil is contaminated under there. They know it's contaminated. They know it's contaminated with, we've done that testing. There is a long term remediation plan that includes getting that soil out from under those tracks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at zeroes.
MARQUEZ: For now, it's all about building trust and getting people the help and answers they need.
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: We are going to continue to follow the science. We will continue to listen to the experts who understand this.
MARQUEZ: But the toxicity, the cleanup, and the distrust is also political.
MAYOR TRENT CONAWAY, EAST PALESTINE, OHIO: That was the biggest slap in the face.
MARQUEZ: The mayor of East Palestine on Fox News, criticizing President Joe Biden for going to Ukraine, instead of coming here.
CONAWAY: He can send every agency he wants to, but I found that out this morning in one of the briefings that he was in the Ukraine, giving millions of dollars to people over there, not us. And I'm furious.
MARQUEZ (on camera): So, we are about a mile and a half from the derailment site in East Palestine. We will want to show you some of the effort to clean this up. This is a confluence of two creeks in the middle of town, they're both contaminated. They're sucking the water out of it, trying to clean it up, and then injected back in. The mayor today at the press conference tried to play down those comments on Fox News, saying that the president is welcome to East Palestine, and that this is not a political situation -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Miguel Marquez in East Palestine, Ohio, for us, thanks so much.
I will host a special coverage of this environmental disaster in Ohio tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern here on CNN. Toxic train disaster, Ohio residents speak out, a live CNN special tomorrow night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up next, here the reluctant tone from Supreme Court justices, as they heard a case aiming to reshape Internet algorithms.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: For nearly three hours today, Supreme Court justices questioned attorneys in a case that could, could completely upend the Internet. The family of a woman killed in an ISIS attack argued that YouTube should be responsible for her death, because YouTube 's algorithms promoted ISIS-linked videos that radicalized viewers.
Now, under this legal theory, big tech companies could face liability and an endless wave of lawsuits, and so could, frankly, individual users, potentially even including you.
But as CNN's Jessica Schneider reports for us now, the justices today appeared to be a bit skeptical.
JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Lawsuits will be nonstop.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Supreme Court, taking on a case that could reshape the Internet. Hearing arguments from a family who has lost a daughter and who now wants big tech to pay.
BEATRIZ GONZALEZ, SUING GOOGLE: We continue in this fight because we are seeking justice.
SCHNEIDER: The Gonzalez family's long legal fight started when their 23 year old daughter, Nohemi, was killed in Paris in 2015. Nohemi Gonzalez was at a bistro when ISIS terrorists unleashed gunfire, part of coordinated city-wide attack of bombings and shootings that killed 129 people. She was the only American.
GONZALEZ: It was a terrible, horrible moment in my life that I can not describe, the pain.
SCHNEIDER: The Gonzalez family now wants YouTube and parent company, Google, to be held liable for Nohemi's death. Their lawyer are going to the Supreme Court to say that because YouTube not only allowed ISIS videos on its site, but also recommended those videos to certain viewers, the social media site should be held responsible for aiding and abetting terrorism.
ERIC SCHNAPPER, GONZALEZ FAMILY ATTORNEY: When they go beyond delivering to what you've asked for, to start sending things you haven't asked for, our contention is they're no longer acting as an interactive computer service.
SCHNEIDER: But Google says that they're protected by the broad contours of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Congress passed the law in 1996 shield internet platforms from being sued for harmful content posted by third parties on their sites.
Google's lawyer argued, that shield also applies to any recommendations the site might make.
LISA BLATT, ATTORNEY FOR GOOGLE: Exposing websites to liability for implicitly recommending third-party content defies the text and threatens today's Internet.
SCHNEIDER: This is the first time the Supreme Court has considered the scope of Section 230. The justices acknowledged that if the Gonzalez family succeeds, that would open up tech companies to a flood of lawsuits and would require social media sites to heavily police the content posted. And the justices also asked whether it's Congress and not the courts who should clarify how much tech companies are protected.
JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT: Every other industry has to internalize the costs of misconduct. Why is it that the tech industry gets a pass? A little bit unclear. On the other hand, I mean, we are a court. We really don't know about
these things. You know, these are not, like, the ninth greatest experts on the Internet. Isn't that something for Congress to do, not the court?
SCHNEIDER: The Gonzalez family has lost the case at the lower courts, but they continue to search for justice after the death of their daughter at the hands of terrorists.
GONZALEZ: Nothing is going to get me back my daughter, but at least there is something good that can be accomplished.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): Now, the Supreme Court will hear another related case tomorrow morning that will determine or social media companies are responsible for the terrorist content on their sites, under an anti-terrorism law. But Jake, that case does not involve section 230, so these are two distinct cases, though related. And of course, big tech is really bracing for when the rulings of these cases come down sometime before the end of June.
TAPPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, fascinating. Thank you so much.
Coming up, his father is on trial for the murder of his mother and his brother. Now the only surviving son of Alex Murdaugh is testifying.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, a mother and his brother was murdered. And now the only surviving son of Alex Murdaugh, Buster Murdaugh, is testifying in his father's murder trial.
Plus, lawmakers in Idaho want to make it a felony for physicians to give specific care to transgender youth, including sex reassignment surgery, or hormone therapy or puberty blockers. We are going to talk to a family who is trying to stop the bill.
And leading this hour, a tale of two presidents into speeches with very different messages. Russian President Vladimir Putin took the stage first, early this morning in Moscow. He justified his yearlong invasion of Ukraine by blaming Ukraine, the United States, and other Western allies for the war.