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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Norfolk Southern CEO Testifies On Hill About Ohio Derailment; DeSantis, Youngkin Bring Education Fight To Forefront Of Culture War; DeSantis, Youngkin Bring Education Fight To Forefront Of Culture War; GOP Ad Highlights Democratic Support Of Controversial D.C. Crime Bill; Ex-Girlfriend Files $30M Lawsuit Against Tiger Woods & Trust; U.S. Military Has Yet To Implement Suicide Prevention Law. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 09, 2023 - 17:00   ET



ALAN SHAW, NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORPORATION PRESIDENT AND CEO: I'm terribly sorry for the impact this derailment has had on the folks of that community.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A public apology from Norfolk Southern CEO acknowledging mistakes were made.

SHAW: It is clear the safety mechanisms in place were not enough.

SERFATY (voice-over): And promising to do more.

SHAW: Norfolk southern will clean the site safely, thoroughly and with earth urgency.

SERFATY (voice-over): But those promises falling far short of specific commitments wanted from many on the ground and senators on the committee today.

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA), ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE: Will you again compensate these families for their diminished lost property value for homes and small businesses?

SHAW: Senator, we've already committed $21 million and that's a down payment.

MARKEY: Yes, it is a down payment. Will you commit to these innocent families do not lose their life savings in their homes and small businesses? The right thing to do is to do is to say, yes, we will.

SHAW: Senator, I'm committed to doing what's right for the community and we're going to be there as long as it takes.

MARKEY: No, what's right for the community will then be balanced --

SERFATY (voice-over): Shaw also refusing to commit to pausing stock buybacks or offering paid sick leave for all Norfolk Southern employees.

SHAW: I will commit to continuing to discuss with them important quality of life issues with our local craft colleagues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With all due respect, you sound like a politician here, Mr. Shaw. Paid sick days is not a radical concept in the year 2023.

SERFATY (voice-over): In the wake of the derailment on Capitol Hill, there is a bipartisan push to hold companies like Norfolk Southern accountable.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): The company followed the Wall Street business model, boost profits by cutting costs at all costs. The consequences for places like East Palestine be damned.

SERFATY (voice-over): With a new bill to increase safety and boost regulations on the rail industry requiring new safety procedures for trains carrying hazardous materials, advance notice from railways about the contents on board, two person crews aboard every train, and boosting fines for rail carriers for wrongdoing, among other provisions.

SEN. JD VANCE (R-OH): Do we do the bidding of a massive industry that is in bed with big government? Or do we do the bidding of the people who elected us to the Senate into the Congress in the first place?

SERFATY (voice-over): Shaw today refusing to outright commit to the legislation.

SHAW: We are committed to the legislative intent to make rail safer for residents.

SERFATY (voice-over): For residents watching in East Palestine today, Shaw's evasions felt hollow.

KATHY REESE, NEGLEY, OHIO RESIDENT: He just keeps saying, I'm committed, I'm committed, I'm committed. But like, even when they said yes or no, it's I'm committed. He never answers yes or no. So I think he's full of it.


SERFATY: And we heard from many East Palestinian residents today watching this hearing who also believed that Shaw was skating around these questions. And also from those on Capitol Hill, many senators leaving that meeting saying that they were not satisfied by what they heard. Now the push for the bipartisan legislation will continue on the Hill, but it's facing opposition, Jake, from some Republicans, leaving the fate of this bill very much in question.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Sunlen Serfaty, thank you so much.

Let's bring in Misti Allison. She's a member of the group. Moms Clean Air Force, it's an environmental organization. She's a mom of two young children. She lives just over a mile from the site of the train derailment in East Palestine.

Misti, thanks for joining us. Why was it important for you to come to D.C. today to watch this Senate hearing in person?

MISTI ALLISON, RESIDENT OF EAST PALESTINE, OHIO: I think it's important to have a visual representation of the people of East Palestine and the surrounding area. This is not just a political issue, this is a people issue. And I'm here to represent not only moms like me, but other people in the area that have been impacted.

TAPPER: Your house is only 1.2 miles from the derailment site. You have a one-year-old and a seven-year-old. Do you feel safe having your family in your home? Are you satisfied with the cleanup so far?

ALLISON: We currently do not feel safe. We are at home, but we definitely question if we're making the right decision being here or not. I will say I have had some health issues, my children have had some health issues, and then in the community as well, you keep hearing lots of anecdotes of other people having some issues too.

There has been some data out there, and we are hearing that the air is safe, the groundwater is safe, the soil is safe. But I really think that there needs to be a lot of long term testing and more data that comes out to suggest if we are making the right decision of continuing to stay in East Palestine for our family and for all of the residents.

TAPPER: I don't want to pry into your own personal health issues because of this derailment, but can you give us an idea of the kinds of health issues that people in East Palestine are having that you've heard of or experienced firsthand?

ALLISON: There are a lot of common ailments that people are having congestion, bloody noses, different, you know, like sinus type of issues. There's been some people that have been mentioning that they have coughs, skin irritation problems to name a few.


TAPPER: Just -- and just to be clear, we're talking about still not like just in the day or two after the spill weeks ago, but still having them?

ALLISON: That is correct. So, last weekend, the excavation of the contaminated soil did start, and now there is a smell in the area. We are being told that the smell is like not at toxic levels, but you can notice that. And when you smell that and you're hearing of people getting sick or you're having some, you know, of your own health issues, you do question is it safe to be here or not?

TAPPER: Yes, of course. A lot of your fellow East Palestine residents and business owners are facing the dilemma right now. Tests might show that the water and the air are safe, although there are still questions about the soil, of course, but businesses are struggling. It's not easy to sell a home.

Senator Ed Markey earlier today pushed Norfolk Southern CEO on the indirect cost of the train derailment. I want you to take a listen to that.


MARKEY: When you say do the right thing, will you, again, compensate these families for their diminished lost property value for homes and small businesses?

SHAW: Senator, we've already committed $21 million, and that's a down payment.

MARKEY: Will you commit to ensuring that these families, these innocent families, do not lose their life savings in their homes and small businesses? The right thing to do is to say, yes, we will.

SHAW: Senator, I'm committed to doing what's right for the community, and we're going to be there as long as it takes.

MARKEY: No. What's right --


TAPPER: I mean -- well, let me ask you, what did you think about that answer from the Norfolk Southern CEO?

ALLISON: So, I was in the audience at the Senate hearing today, so I heard that first hand. I was in the room when it happened. And that was just something -- there will probably be a picture of me because my jaw just dropped as other people were mentioning that you had interviewed. He kept saying that we are going to commit to doing the right thing, but there were no clear cut answers to what that is, and it's very subjective.

So, if Norfolk Southern thinks that they're doing the right thing, is that what the residents think is the right thing? I'm a homeowner as well, and I'm definitely very concerned about that as well, about our home value. But I'm mostly concerned about the safety because my family chose to move to East Palestine. My husband is from East Palestine, and we chose to move from a big city to come back to East Palestine to raise our family in small town America.

We love it there. It's a great community, and we want to make East Palestine great again.

At the hearing, Alan Shaw said that he wants East Palestine to have the greatest comeback in American history and that he is committed to making that happen. So, I just really hope that he stays true to his word and that the policymakers are able to hold him accountable, the EPA is able to hold him accountable and that we're able to make that happen. But without having a clear cut plan of how that is going to be, and he wasn't able to commit to anything today, it's really hard to see how that great comeback story is going to come to fruition.

TAPPER: Would you like to see President Biden visit East Palestine?

ALLISON: I would. I think that he should have been here already, quite frankly. And so, it's very disappointing that we haven't had that type of support. I know when a Secretary Buttigieg came, he did admit that he should have come sooner. And it's so worthwhile to actually come to an area and hear stories and see that first hand. It's one thing about getting a briefing and it's one thing about seeing some news stories, but to actually come in person, not only are you able to have some empathy and be able to lead with empathy and then therefore action, you are actually really able to see what the people are going through. And that not only sets a precedent for other people to care as well.

In East Palestine, we are Americans too, and we definitely want all of the support that we can have from anybody, and especially the current president.

TAPPER: Yes, indeed. Misti Allison, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

ALLISON: Thank you for time.

TAPPER: Coming up, an update on the American people -- I mean, update on the Americans kidnapped in Mexico. The cartel believed to be responsible has just issued an apology letter. Then the foods you should be eating to reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our world lead now in Putin's brutal quest to inflict terror on the entire country of Ukraine. Officials there say Russia launched 84 missiles and at least 11 people were killed from east to west in Ukraine. CNN's Alex Marquardt is in western Ukraine right now, where, hundreds of miles from the frontline, innocent people are feeling Putin's wrath.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Firefighters frantically looking for survivors as others cleared the debris from an overnight missile strike in Ukraine's western Lviv region. This Russian missile was destroyed by air defenses, but falling fragments started a fire that destroyed at least three residential buildings and left at least five people dead. According to local authorities, the residents were at home, the victims of Russia's latest terrorizing countrywide missile and drone attacks far from the front lines.

This is horrible. I don't know what to say, this man said, calling Russians the devil.

All across Ukraine, 84 missiles were fired and eight drones launched at 10 different regions from Lviv in the west to Kherson in the south, all the way to Donetsk in the east. In the capital of Kyiv, at least three people were injured. These cars burned out from more burning fragments.

For the first time, Ukraine was bombarded with many different types of missiles, according to a spokesman for the Air Force. It was a range of cruise missiles launched from the air and sea, including six hypersonic missiles, as well as guided missiles and two types of Iranian made kamikaze drones. All told, at least 11 Ukrainians were killed and more than 20 wounded.


On Facebook, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called Russia's strikes "an attempt to intimidate Ukrainians again, returning to their miserable tactics. The Occupiers can only terrorize. That's all they can do. But it won't help them."

Ukrainian officials described the wave of attacks as yet another strike on the country's critical infrastructure. Power was affected in several areas, including at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which had to switch to diesel generators before power was restored. The Air Force said 34 missiles and half of the drones were shot down. But several of the types of Russian missiles fired can't be taken down with Ukraine's current air defenses, which the Biden administration says they're working to bolster.

JOHN KIRBY, NSC COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: Certainly we see that there is a real air defense need, and that's why we're trying to focus on the kinds of air defense capabilities, short and medium range, that the Ukrainians really could use to help knock down some of these missiles. And they were successful in knocking down quite a few of these from last night.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): Russia quickly claimed responsibility, calling the strikes massive retaliation for an alleged cross border attack in Russia last week by a pro Ukraine group. Russian officials said that two Russians were killed. CNN has not independently confirmed the event, which President Vladimir Putin called a terrorist attack.


MARQUARDT: And Jake, the highest death toll of today's missile strikes was here in the Lviv region, five people from two different families. This region did not lose power, unlike many others. Tonight, the energy minister says that they are working on fully restoring power in those regions. He says that they are making good progress. He praised the resilience of those power workers.

Jake, the power is back in Kyiv, but one third of the homes are without heat. And of course, it is very cold here in Ukraine in March.

Now, this is, according to the minister, the 15th major strike against Ukraine's energy infrastructure since the war began. And the minister talked about this new tactic that the Russians are using of combining these different types of missiles, cruise missiles, hypersonic missiles, as well as drones to carry out these devastating and terrorizing attacks. Jake.

TAPPER: Alex Marquardt in Lviv, thank you so much.

Also on our world lead, the cartel believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of four American tourists last week, after which two ended up dead, issued an apology. Not only that, the cartel handed over five of its members to local authorities. This is according to images circulating online in a version of the letter obtained by CNN from an official familiar with the ongoing investigation into the kidnapping. CNN's Rosa Flores has been following this story from Brownsville, Texas, near the U.S. Mexico border.

Rosa, Mexico also says it's sending hundreds of soldiers to that border town. Tell us more.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Mexican authorities announcing that hundreds of soldiers will be sent here to Matamoros, Mexico. Mexican authority saying that it includes about 200 Mexican army soldiers and 100 Mexican National Guard members.

And it's important to note that usually when there are high profile incidents, like in this case, the kidnapping and killing of Americans, that's usually what happens. That's usually what a Mexican government does. They send reinforcements to the border.

Now, Jake, here where I am, what you see behind me is the international crossing between Brownsville and Matamoros, Mexico. We've learned from Mexican authorities that the repatriation of the two Americans who were killed is expected to happen in minutes. And what we are expecting to see is a caravan of vehicles that will be bringing those two Americans back to U.S. soil. Once they are in Brownsville, Texas, we're expecting them to be taken to a funeral home where autopsies will be conducted shortly after that. Jake.

TAPPER: And, Rosa, we've seen the president of Mexico pushing back on Republican lawmakers here in the U.S. who have injected some politics into the kidnapping. Today, the president of Mexico said Mexico is not a colony of the United States.

FLORES: Yes, the president of Mexico lashing out on Republicans after Republican Lindsey Graham announces that he was planning to introduce legislation that would designate Mexican cartels as foreign terrorist organizations and that it would authorize the U.S. military to operate in Mexico. Well, that didn't bode well with Mexico's president. He lashed out, saying that was offensive, that Mexico is a sovereign and independent country and that it is not a colony of the United States. Take a listen.


PRES. ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICO (through translator): We are not going to allow any foreign government to intervene, much less the arms forces of a foreign government to intervene in our territory.



FLORES: Now, Lindsey Graham did respond to the comments made by the Mexican president saying that he doesn't care if the president is offended. He said that people on both sides of the border are hurting and that enough is enough. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

Coming up next, we're going to take you to a key 2024 state where Republicans are waffling over their nominee over breakfast. Stick around.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, now, even though the Democrats are ditching Iowa as the starting point for next year's presidential nominating process, it's still first in line for the Republican Party. A quick glance at the calendar there shows the state is already attracting plenty of attention from candidates and potential candidates, including Nikki Haley today, and upcoming visits from Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. CNN's Jeff Zeleny is also in Iowa. He's talking to Republican voters.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Iowa, breakfast is served with the hardy side of politics.

KIM SCHMETT, WESTSIDE CONSERVATIVE CLUB: Welcome to the Westside conservatives.

ZELENY (voice-over): In less than a year, these Republicans will help start the 2024 presidential contest. Yet talk has already turned to the end of the campaign, revolving around one question above all.

SCHMETT: We like him. The question is, can he win?

ZELENY (voice-over): He, of course, is Donald Trump, who remains at the center of the conversation at a regular gathering of loyal conservatives that Kim Schmett presides over.

SCHMETT: Right now, he's closer to getting that majority, probably in the party than anyone else. But it didn't work last time, and we're concerned about that.

ZELENY (voice-over): A clear sense of Trump fatigue has set in among many Republicans, but not Terry Pearce. He still proudly wears his Make America Great Again hat and believes, to his core, the former president can win again.

TERRY PEARCE, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I think Donald Trump is the only one that can lead us back to where were in 2020.

ZELENY (voice-over): Others are more blunt.

BRAD BOUSTEAD, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'm a Trump supporter, and if he's not on the ballot, I'm going to write him in.

ZELENY (voice-over): The Republican field is slowly taking shape. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visits Iowa for the first time on Friday. Former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley is on a three-day tour here this week, and Trump comes Monday.

KELLEY KOCH, CHAIR, DALLAS COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: He's going to have to sell himself.

ZELENY (voice-over): Kelley Koch is driving around Dallas County, the fastest growing in Iowa, where she leads the Republican Party. She admires Trump, but is bracing for rising attacks among GOP rivals.

KOCH: We don't want two strong candidates to shred each other, you know, and duke it out in the boxing ring and see the best man standing. So, hopefully, grace, dignity, poise, smarts calculation, because in the end, we're all wanting to support the nominee.

ZELENY (voice-over): David Oman, a Des Moines businessman, said Republicans need a fresh start.

(on camera): Should the party move on from Trump?

DAVID OMAN, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'm not sure he needs a third nomination. Donald Trump's message is getting a little stale, a little old, looking backwards more than forwards.

ZELENY (voice-over): Bob Vander Plaats is president of the influential Christian group, The Family Leader, he, too, believes it's time to turn a page.

BOB VANDER PLAATS, PRESIDENT, THE FAMILY LEADER: There is an appetite for somebody other than Trump.

ZELENY (on camera): Is that Trump fatigue?

VANDER PLAATS: I think part of it is. I think there's of an exhaustion. I think there's also some people saying, I'm looking to the next generation of leaders.

ZELENY (voice-over): But a field too large and unwieldy, he said, will only benefit Trump if.

VANDER PLAATS: If Trump wins in Iowa, I don't see anybody stopping him after that.

ZELENY (voice-over): Republicans like Mary Ann Hanusa are listening and sizing up all of the contenders, mindful the Iowa caucuses have a long history of humbling, frontrunners and elevating alternatives.

MARY ANN HANUSA, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: It's not a two man race at all. I think it'll be a wide open field, not necessarily in terms of 15, 16 people running, but I think open in terms of that everybody's got a chance at it.


ZELENY: Now, admiration for trump's policies, Jake, are clear in conversation after conversation. But there certainly is trepidation, exhaustion, fatigue, you name it, about the former president himself. Some say it in whispers, some say it as loud as they can they are ready to move on. But the question is, what does that base of the party feel?

Of course, they will get a new look at a different candidate tomorrow when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis makes his first trip ever to the state of Iowa. Jake.

TAPPER: That should be interesting. Jeff Zeleny in Nevada, Iowa, thanks so much.

Let's discuss. Van Jones, let me ask you, as DeSantis heads to Iowa to meet with state legislators, the state senate in Florida -- I'm sorry, the state senate there just passed a bill that would require a students to use school bathrooms that align with their gender assigned at birth. We know that education and the school issues as culture war issues have been successful at the state level, both for DeSantis and for Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, who might be asked about this issue tonight in our CNN town hall. Do you think, more broadly, the fight over these education issues make people like DeSantis or Youngkin standouts in this Republican presidential primary process?

VAN JONES, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Well, I think that they have zeroed in on something that is real, which is I do think that parents coming out of COVID we were much more just aware of what was going on in our schools and people, I think, in this idea of parents rights, I think, really resonated. But that doesn't mean that you should run for office as a bully and as a bigot targeting, you know, transgender kids and making them the punching bag for a whole political party. These are very fragile and vulnerable young people by all standards and estimations.

And I just think it's a shock. I mean, there's so many things that are going on in our schools and with our kids that this is the issue you're going to pick on and this is the population you're going to pick on. I think it's disgusting. It may work, but that doesn't make it right.

TAPPER: Scott, what do you think? Is there any risk for the Republican Party talking about these trans issues and trans kids as often as they do?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the overall issue of schools is going to resonate inside the Republican primary. It's not just about, you know, the issue of the bathrooms that you brought up. It's just about -- and I agree with Van, parents are now a lot more aware of what's going on in school.

And one thing they're aware of is what's in the curriculum and why are the kids in my school not able to read, write and do arithmetic? And I think there are a lot of parents out there who think there are a lot of people involved in leadership of schools who care more about these cultural issues, that cultural agenda than they do about the core thing that you expect to sort school to do, which is to teach students. And so I think if I were advising a candidate on these matters, I would say I think talking about the bathrooms is fine, but you got to couple it with what do you want out of a school? And I want them to read, write, and be able to do math. That's what any parent wants. And so I think as long as you are touching on both, it can be a resonant topic in both the primary and in the general election frankly.

TAPPER: Van, the senior editor for The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein, today says that leading GOP candidates are trying to ignite a procession of culture war firefights. He writes, quote, "Biden, by contrast, is working to downplay or diffuse almost all cultural issues. Instead, Biden is targeting his communication with the public almost exclusively on delivering tangible economic benefits to working class families, such as lower costs for insulin, the protection of Social Security and Medicare, and the creation of more manufacturing jobs."

There is another view of this strategy, although agreeing that it is a strategy. Here's how Bill Maher put it. We're going to rerun our special with him tomorrow night. And here's something -- I don't think this made the final cut, but it's relevant to this point.


BILL MAHER, HOST, REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER: Joe Biden does -- his -- I think his default setting for this is just -- I don't argue with the far left on those issues that are important to them. I mean, for some reason, Gen Z thinks of Trans as the civil rights issue of their time, and Joe's just not going to fight them on that.


TAPPER: How do you interpret Biden's hands off approach on some of these social issues?

JONES: Well, I think that he is more in the traditional mold that you bring. The common economic pain can create common economic purpose. And so I think he's trying to focus the conversation on the shared economic pain of the vast, vast majority of Americans that are still coming out of this COVID crisis dealing with inflation, afraid about a recession.

And when you look at his agenda, his agenda is a pocket book, lunch, pale set of issues, which is what he's been about the whole time. And I think he's clear. I mean, I think he's appointed transgender people. I think he's clearly on the side of civil rights for everybody.

But the -- I think he's smart not to get pulled too far into this, because at the end of the day, his ability to move -- to build a massive majority, a winning majority, is going to be based more on his economic ideas. And the Republicans are out of economic ideas less on these issues.

TAPPER: Scott, there's another issue the Republicans talk a lot about, and that is crime. Republicans, in fact, have a new ad hitting House Democrats for backing the D.C. crime law, or at least not going against D.C.'s decisions on its own city, which would lower maximum penalties for some violent offenses.

Here's an example of that ad targeting, I believe, it's Abigail Spanberger, a Congresswoman from -- Democratic Congresswoman from Virginia. Take a listen.


REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D), VIRGINIA: Murderers given reduced sentences, carjackers given slaps on the wrist by pandering politicians, not just the D.C. city Council. 173 House Democrats voted to support reduced sentences for violent crimes. So crazy, even President Biden won't support the anarchy. What's next? Defund the police? Tell Abigail Span burger to keep Virginia families safe.


TAPPER: What do you think, Scott? Is that effective?

JENNINGS: Oh, yes. It's going to work. And it's the reason Joe Biden changed his position on this topic. He knows he can't carry this position that they're taking in Washington, D.C. into a reelection campaign, just like he knows he can't carry some of the immigration problems into a reelection campaign.

It's why he's considering, I guess, going back to some of the Trump era policies on immigration that has Democrats up in arms. He's got a real issue with the idea of overall national security.


And by national, I mean, what's going on right here? Cities with crime, the border, you've got the Chinese balloon thing that still, you know, was totally mishandled and miscommunicated to the American people. I think there is a sense that the Biden administration doesn't have its arms around the security of our homeland.

And so it's pretty easy to see why he had to change his position on this. And I think it's totally right for Republicans to hit on it because you do have a lot of Democrats out there that are advocating for exactly what the ad said. And that's not going to play in this upcoming election. It's not going to play anywhere because we've got cities drowning in crime out there.

TAPPER: Van, last word?

JONES: I think it's just a demagoguery. You know, it is inconceivable that some of these things are overcharged and you can make adjustments without saying it's anarchy. But what you have now is just pure demagoguery. Nobody wants to get the crime problem under control more than people who live in cities affected by it.

If you don't let the people who live in those cities make those adjustments, then I don't know how you can say that you're a commonsense conservative who believes in global control and democracy. This is being demagogue. Will continue to be demagogue. Doesn't make it right. TAPPER: All right. Van Jones, Scott Jennings, thanks to both of you. And be sure to tune in tonight for a CNN town hall, "The War Over Education" with Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin. The governor will take questions tonight from parents, from educators, from students, that will be live tonight at 09:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Golf legend Tiger Woods heading back to court. Why his ex-girlfriend is suing him for millions of dollars. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our sports lead now, the former longtime girlfriend of Tiger Woods has filed two lawsuits against him. In the first, Erica Herman is asking for $30 million after alleging she was unlawfully kicked out of their home. In the second lawsuit, Herman is asking to be released from the nondisclosure agreement that she previously signed.

CNN's Jean Casarez and CNN Legal Analyst Joey Jackson are with us to discuss. Jean, can you break down these two lawsuits for us?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sure. The first one is alleging that the relationship was six years long, that she lived with Tiger Woods in his home, and that she signed at the beginning of that, an oral agreement, an oral tenancy agreement that she could live in the home, everything would be paid for. And that agreement goes on for five more years.

And she should be able to live in the home for the next five years. She also says that before she left the home, when she was still there, she got a phone call and it said pack your bags, get to the airport, you're going to take a short vacation. And this was from the trust representatives. She's suing the trust, the land and the home are held in a trust.

So she gets to the airport. She says at that point trust representative said you're locked out of the home, you are not invited there anymore. She says that her personal belongings were taken out of the home and then they misappropriated $40,000 cash of hers.

Now she is asking for an excess of $30 million, which she says is the rental value of the rest of the time that she should be able to be in the home. The second lawsuit has to do with a nondisclosure agreement because Tiger Wood's side wants it litigated privately arbitration. She's saying no, it should be null and void.

And Tiger Wood is saying you -- I invited you into my home during this relationship. When it was over, I asked you to leave. There was never an oral tenancy agreement.

TAPPER: And Joey, based on what you know, do you think her legal case has any merit? JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So it's premature. Why do I say that? I say that for the following reasons, Jake. This is a nondisclosure agreement and in a nondisclosure agreement, she has a legal obligation not to fully disclose, right, that information, which could give rise to a further lawsuit. That's why it's not to get to legal a declaratory judgment.

She's asking for guidance from the court as to whether she could get out of this disclosure agreement. Now, just to be clear, there's a federal law signed by Biden last November, the Speak Out law, and it nullifies NDAs, nondisclosure agreements, which essentially say you cannot disclose the basis, the information, other facts predicated to relationships.

However, it's only valid as it relates to sexual harassment or sexual assault. So, there's no indication at this point whether or not there was any of that, that would validate or invalidate, rather, the agreement. I think that would be the subject of further proceedings, perhaps before the court such that she could give information as to whether she actually -- that law applies to her. And if it does apply, then perhaps she can get out from under this NDA. At this point, it's not known.

TAPPER: Joey, do you think it's likely the court will rule that her NDA has to be enforced then?

JACKSON: I think, look, an NDA is an agreement. People enter into agreements. They have to have the benefit of their bargain. That being said, Jake, right, I know now they are disfavored. They were not disfavored then.

But this law, federal law, says if it relates to sexual assault or harassment, then you can nullify it. There are not sufficient facts upon which we could say that it relates to that. And if it doesn't, then a court would have no reason to undo it. If it does, a court would. So I think a court may inquire and want further information so that they can make an informed judgment and decision as to whether that NDA should be declared valid or invalid.

TAPPER: All right. Jean Casarez, Joey Jackson, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the foods that could reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. I'll give you a hint, it's not ice cream.



TAPPER: Now for our buried lead, that's what we call stories we don't think are getting enough attention. It has been more than one year since Congress passed the law requiring the U.S. Military to step up efforts to prevent suicide among service members. More than a year, and that law has yet to be implemented.

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Oren Liebermann went looking for why. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On June 25th, 2018, Brandon Caserta set the law that would bear his name into motion.

PATRICK CASERTA, BRANDON CASERTA'S FATHER: He said, I'm depressed. They said, suck it up and get back to work. And you can't have that. That's not how you deal with that.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The young sailor bullied and hazed in his Navy unit, according to the letter he wrote his parents. Took his own life at Naval Station Norfolk. The Brandon Act became part of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law 15 months ago.

If a service member seeks mental health services or self-reports a problem, the Brandon Act requires a mental health evaluation. It also allows service members to seek help confidentially, outside the chain of command.


TERI CASERTA, BRANDON CASERTA'S MOTHER: Basically, his letter led us to this. He wanted us to do something about suicide and the toxicity that happened in our military system. That's why we created the Brandon Act.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): But the Defense Department hasn't followed through and issued guidance for the military services, which means there's no process in place to enact the requirements listed in the law.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton sponsored the Brandon Act and worked with Caserta's parents to craft the legislation. He met with them again on their trip to Washington to pressure DOD to move.

MOULTON: We hear the rhetoric all the time, but we need action. They've been sitting on their hands, and more Americans die every day as a result.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): 519 service members died by suicide in 2021, the latest year for which numbers are available. That's a slight decrease from the previous year's 582. But any amount of deaths by suicide is too many.

Last year, three sailors assigned to the USS George Washington died by suicide in a single week. Then in December, four sailors at a facility in Norfolk, Virginia, died by suicide in a month. The Brandon Act could have been named after any one of them.

MOULTON: It doesn't require any more legislation. It just requires the Secretary of Defense and his department to do their job. LIEBERMANN (voice-over): CNN has reached out to the Pentagon about the delay in implementing the Brandon Act. Last month, the Pentagon's Suicide Prevention Independent Review Committee unveiled 127 recommendations to combat military suicides. The Pentagon promised to review the recommendations closely.

BRIG. GEN. PATRICK RYDER, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Even one suicide is too many, and we will exhaust every effort to promote the wellness, health, and morale of our total force.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): For the parents of Brandon Caserta, it sounds like more consideration and reviews and waiting when they have the Brandon Act ready right now.

P. CASERTA: It's painful as this has been, had someone else done this before us, our son would be alive. So we want to be that person that saves lives later on.


LIEBERMANN: Part of the idea behind the Brandon Act was to create a military reporting system similar to sexual assault, where you can report confidentially, and then there are a series of required steps that commanders have to take. Or at least the idea of the framework is there. And yet the Brandon Act has yet to be implemented.

And, Jake, that's even more surprising because Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has repeatedly said mental health is health. This has been a focus of his, and yet the Brandon Act is still just waiting to be implemented.

TAPPER: All right, stay on top of this, because there's no excuse for this. It's ridiculous. Oren Liebermann, appreciate it.

And remember, if you or someone you love is in crisis, you can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling or texting 900, that's 988. Please remember, there is help for you. There is love for you.

In our health lead, it turns out eating certain foods might reduce Alzheimer's and dementia risks and slow cognitive decline. This is according to a study published yesterday by the American Academy of Neurology.

CNN's Jacqueline Howard looked into the study. And Jacqueline, I'm guessing you're not going to tell me that I can have a diet of pizza and mint chocolate chip ice cream.


TAPPER: So what should people be doing? What should they be eating?

HOWARD: Well, sadly, you're right. Not pizza and ice cream. But the study did look at plant-based diet, specifically the Mediterranean diet and the MIND diet. And researchers found that adults who stuck to a Mediterranean style diet, or the MIND diet, they had lower amounts of beta amyloid plaques and tau tangles in their brains.

And those are proteins, build-up of proteins that are associated with Alzheimer's disease. And it was interesting, Jake, the researchers actually performed autopsies on the brains of more than 600 adults after they died. And these are adults who took track of what they ate each day. They recorded their diet.

And the researchers found that the adults who ate a Mediterranean style diet or the MIND diet in the decade leading up to their death, they had lower amounts of the plaque and tangles. So much so that that low amount was similar to being 18 years younger than the adults who did not follow a Mediterranean or MIND diet. So those 18 years, Jake, that's what was really surprising here.

TAPPER: So which foods are we talking about? Which are the most helpful in reducing the build-up these proteins associated with Alzheimer's?

HOWARD: Well, the study found the strongest association with leafy greens. And we know that the Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables. We're talking vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, fish, and the food is cooked in olive oil. And this is a diet low in red meats, sugars, eggs, and butter.

And we also know, Jake, the Mediterranean diet has been associated with better heart health, with living longer. And now with this new study, we see this association with reduced risk of Alzheimer's.

TAPPER: All right, Jacqueline Howard, thanks so much. And I will see you back here at 09:00 p.m. Eastern for our live town hall, "The War Over Education" with Virginia's Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin. The governor will take questions from parents and educators and students.


You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues next with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". I'll see you in a few hours.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, Russia launches one of its biggest aerial assaults of the war, unleashing a deadly barrage of dozens of missiles across the country. Civilians and critical infrastructure among the targets of this truly massive attack.

Also tonight, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is in the hospital here in Washington, being treated for a concussion after tripping at an event. We'll have the latest on his condition.