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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Sen. Tim Scott To Endorse Trump Tonight In N.H.; Trump: Haley Wouldn't Be Able To Handle Being President; Trump: President Who 'cross The Line" Deserve "Total Immunity"; Alec Baldwin Indicted On Involuntary Manslaughter Charges; L.A. Innocence Project Takes On Scott Peterson Murder Case; "March For Life" Rallies Against Abortion In D.C.; Small Commuter Plane Lands On Highway Near D.C.; Union: Sports Illustrated's Publisher Lays Off Most Of Its Staff. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired January 19, 2024 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Plus, fire in the sky, massive sparks from a cargo planes engine streak throughout the night over Miami. And just this afternoon a commuter plane makes an emergency landing on a snowy Virginia Parkway. Pete Muntean with us this hour on these aviation scares.

And leading this hour, campaigns in overdrive and a shock endorsement with just four days until the first of the nation primary in New Hampshire. Tonight, Senator Tim Scott will endorse Donald Trump in announcement he teased in a video just released on social media.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Oh, man, I'm so excited for the announcement tonight. Just tune in. Pay attention. Listen closely. And let's talk about four more years.


TAPPER: Subtle. It's a blow for former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who actually is the one who appointed then Congressman Scott to his Senate seat. A source close to the Trump campaign says Senator Scott is on the, quote, "medium list for a Trump VP pick." I guess as opposed to the shortlist. CNN's Kylie Atwood is in Manchester, New Hampshire for us.

And Kylie, let's start with this Haley campaign reaction to this endorsement and the timing of it.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, Jake, I got to tell you this news broke while Nikki Haley was actually at a campaign event, one of six campaign events here in New Hampshire today. She didn't really respond to initial questions from reporters initially saying we'll see if it happens. And then, just about an hour later, her campaign coming out with a statement on her bath responding to Senator Scott's endorsement of Trump, of course, the senator from her home state saying this, quote, "Interesting that Trump's lining up with all the Washington insiders when he claimed he wanted to drain the swamp. But the fellas are going to do what the fellas are going to do."

Now I'm told that she didn't know this endorsement was coming at the time that it is coming, of course, just a few days away from the New Hampshire primary where she's trying to gain traction here in the state where her campaign feels that she can do well. So this is not something that is being welcomed by her campaign. But they're really trying not to talk too much about it because they want to focus on getting out the vote here in New Hampshire.

TAPPER: Kylie, the GOP top three are all out in New Hampshire today. How are they sharpening their attacks on one another as we get closer to the actual voting in the primary there?

ATWOOD: Yes, well, Jake, it's getting particularly heated between former President Trump and Nikki Haley with Trump saying last night that Haley doesn't have what it takes, that she's not MAGA enough, going after her strength, questioning her capability to even be a candidate falsely because her parents were not born in the United States, just a number of attacks on all fronts from Trump targeting Haley. And Haley, for her part as she told you last night during the CNN town hall, she believes that those attacks mean that he feels threatened by her. Listen to what she told reporters and supporters here in New Hampshire today.


NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll let people decide what he means by his attacks. What we know is, look, he's clearly insecure. If he goes and does these temper tantrums, if he's going and spending millions of dollars on T.V., he's insecure, he knows that something's wrong. I don't sit there and worry about whether it's personal or what he means by it.


ATWOOD: Now, Nikki Haley, for her part, has been talking about trying to go after Independent voters here in New Hampshire to try and expand the Republican base. She said, this moment should be a wakeup call for the Republican Party. She said that today saying essentially that they can choose Trump and they can choose the MAGA supporters, which is a small faction of the party or they can choose her. She is casting herself as someone who can get that MAGA support but also someone who can get Independent voters on her side and help the Republican Party in the long term. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kylie Atwood in New Hampshire, thanks so much.

Let's discuss with former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. He's a Republican who endorsed Nikki Haley just a few days ago in State of the Union. Thanks so much, Governor. Good to see you.

So, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina --

LARRY HOGAN, (R) FORMER MARYLAND GOVERNOR: Good to see you. TAPPER: -- will endorse Donald Trump tonight in New Hampshire. What do you make of the endorsement from a man whom Haley herself appointed to the Senate? And what do you think the timing of it says, given the fact that they're doing this before New Hampshire, when you think they'd wait for this to come after New Hampshire before South Carolina?

HOGAN: Well, it's an interesting question, Jake. Look, I think we're starting to see Donald Trump is the establishment of the Republican Party now as strange as that sounds, and he's really utilizing all of his strength to either, you know, cajole or entice or threaten everybody to get in line. And -- but I think the fact that he's ramping up the attacks on Nikki Haley, that he's, you know, starting to really ramp up his spending and the fact that they felt they had to pull Tim Scott out before New Hampshire maybe a sign of weakness for the Trump campaign. I mean, everybody seems to be writing Nikki Haley off but she's somebody you really can't count out. And I'm a guy who knows about, you know, about a week out from election being expected to lose by 12 points and I pulled off the biggest surprise upset in America.


These kinds of things happen in New Hampshire. So, we've just got to wait until Tuesday. But I think it shows, everybody says, oh, this is -- it means it's all over. I think it means they're worried and that it may be closer than people think. And I'm still hoping that we can get an upset victory here in New Hampshire, or at least a close second finish that'll carry her on to South Carolina.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about that. Because last night, I moderated a townhall with Nikki Haley in New Hampshire, I asked her how she will measure success in the New Hampshire primary. Take a listen.


TAPPER: Governor Sununu is predicting a win for you here in New Hampshire. But he's also saying a strong second place finish would be in his words, great. Would a strong second place finish be great for you?

HALEY: What I want to do is be strong. We're not going to know what strong looks like until those numbers come in. But you guys will all say whether it's strong or not. So, I'm sure that you'll do that. But look, I mean, we want to do better than we did in Iowa. That's my personal goal.


TAPPER: Would you be satisfied with Nikki Haley just doing better in New Hampshire than in Iowa, even if it's a far, far second place finish?

HOGAN: Well, look, you know, Jake, I think it's a case of changing expectations. So, a week or so ago, Nikki Haley was supposed to get blown out in Iowa and not place at all. She was down very low. I think DeSantis was still kind of guaranteeing he was going to win the state. And then a poll came out, I think the day before the election or two days out saying she was in second place.

So the expectations completely changed. But I think she did, you know, better than some people had been expecting the week before. Right now, you know, Trump, it was expected to win New Hampshire. But you know, Nikki Haley, the expectations are now if she doesn't win, it's all over.

So I think again, it is -- the narrative does change from day to day. But I think you've just got to see what happens on Tuesday and how close it is and whether or not she can pull off a victory or close second place. I think if it's a -- if it's a complete wipeout or it looks like Iowa, then it's a different conversation. But I'm fairly confident it's not going to look like Iowa, though it's going to be much closer.

TAPPER: So Trump refuses to debate either DeSantis or Nikki Haley. He refuses to sit down for interviews, generally speaking with anyone other than the most sycophantic interviewers. Last night on Hannity, he downplayed Nikki Haley's ability to handle the job of president. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's not going to make it. She has no chance. She's got no way. MAGA is not going to be with her.

I know Nikki very well, she worked for me for a long time. She would not be able to handle that position. She would not be able to handle the onslaught.


TAPPER: Now, she was his U.N. ambassador for years. What's your response?

HOGAN: Well, again, that's what I was just talking about. I think the fact that he's taking the shots, he's -- you don't see him talking about Ron DeSantis or anyone else. He's laser focused on hitting Nikki Haley. And that typically, you don't hit somebody if you're, you know, far ahead. You just kind of ignore them.

Look, I served with Nikki Haley, as a governor. We were on the executive committee RGA together. She was a terrific governor. She has foreign policy experience. Trump knows that she's competent. He knows she's a good campaigner. And I think that's why he's taking the shots at her.

TAPPER: Donald Trump now argues that even presidents who crossed the line should get total immunity. This is -- it's not just a legal argument, it's a political one. What do you think that would mean for democracy if people buy it, this argument, that president should be able to do anything they want while they're in office?

HOGAN: It's crazy, Jake. I mean, we're a nation of laws. And as you know, because you've said it a couple of times, and you're a student of history, you know, my dad was on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment of Nixon and passionately, in making a decision for his impeachment said that no man is above the law, not even the President of the United States. And for our system of justice to survive, we must pledge the highest allegiance to the law itself and not to the common frailties of man. Those are 50 years ago, those words are still pertinent.

I mean, that to -- he would say he could commit any crime -- or any president could commit any crime they wanted and not have to be held accountable for it. That just doesn't make any sense. That's not -- you know, no other president, even Richard Nixon never claimed he didn't have to follow any laws. That's just doesn't make any sense.

TAPPER: Your dad Larry Hogan Sr., former congressman and former member of the House Judiciary Committee, he was a hero, indeed. And his son, Governor Larry Hogan, thanks so much for being with us today.

HOGAN: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Is at the end of an era for a mainstay of American sports? One of the nation's most recognizable magazines sees most of its staff get fired.


Plus, in charges against actor Alec Baldwin for the fatal accidental "Rust" movie set shooting and claims of new evidence and a different murder case that inspired its own movies. That's next.


TAPPER: In our law and justice lead today, actor Alec Baldwin has been indicted by a New Mexico grand jury in the fatal accidental shooting on the "Rust" movie set. Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was accidentally killed when Baldwin fired a live round during rehearsal a little more than two years ago. Baldwin has repeatedly maintained his innocence. He has been charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Elizabeth Wagmeister is with us right now. But I am going to bring in Misty Marris first to talk about that. Oh, there's Elizabeth.

Elizabeth, tell us more.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. So there are -- on this indictment there are two charges here for involuntary manslaughter against Alec Baldwin. The grand jury found that there is sufficient evidence to indict him.


Now, the key to remember here is negligence. Nobody is saying that Alec Baldwin intended to murder Halyna Hutchins. These are involuntary manslaughter charges that he is facing. This was obviously a terrible accident, a tragedy that went wrong on the set. But remember, Jake, that Alec Baldwin has continuously maintained his innocence. He has said he did not pull the trigger. Now, last year in August 2023, there was an FBI report that says a trigger was pulled, there's no way that the gun could have gone off. Now in this indictment, while there are two charges, if convicted, Baldwin would just be facing one, which is up to 18 months in prison.

TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth Wagmeister, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Let's bring in Misty Marris. She's a defense and trial attorney.

Misty, charges against Baldwin were dropped back in April. Why did this new prosecution team decide to send this to a grand jury?

MISTY MARRIS, TRIAL ATTORNEY: Yes, Jake, it requires looking back at what happened when those charges were dropped. At that time, a new special prosecutor had just been brought into the case. And based on their review of all of the investigation and the evidence that been -- had been collected to date, there was an indication that the gun at issue might have been altered or manipulated. Based on that, they actually dropped the charges against Alec Baldwin, saying that if it had been manipulated, then there's no way it would cut off his criminal culpability. But they did it without prejudice.

That means they could always be resurrected. Since then, there's been further investigation. Elizabeth referenced that FBI report about that gun. And in the fall, this case was -- it was indicated this case was going to go to the grand jury. Presumably that's because there was the determination, the gun was not manipulated, and therefore this was right for a jury to make a determination about whether involuntary manslaughter was committed.

TAPPER: So, we should know, Baldwin has maintained his innocence. He says he was told that the gun did not contain any live rounds. He also says he didn't pull the trigger. His defense team says they look forward to his day in court. It sounds like the prosecution has a lot that they have to prove to the jury and there's a lot of witnesses and, I would imagine, even film.

MARRIS: Yes, absolutely. There's -- the prosecution has the burden as always. This is an involuntary manslaughter charge, so it doesn't have to be intent. While negligence is in the statute, it's two different theories, involuntary manslaughter, negligent use of a firearm, involuntary manslaughter without due caution and circumspection, those are both going to be alternative theories. But the prosecution has to prove a recklessness standard, meaning there is a disregard for human life. That's the standard under the law.

Now, those are two different theories. One relates to Alec Baldwin's actual handling of the gun, and that critical question, Jake, did he pulled the trigger? The other is a bit broader. Remember, he's a producer on this, he is responsible for the set, there had been a walk off relating to safety concerns on the set previously, did he do his safety training? Those are all issues that are going to be prevalent at the trial. And the critical question is, what did he know? What was his subjective knowledge at the time? And did he deviate to the point where he was reckless? That's the burden of the prosecution in this case.

TAPPER: And also, I'm told the gun was damaged during FBI testing. It seems to me, I'm no lawyer, but it seems to be that might make it harder for the prosecution to prove their case if the gun is damaged.

MARRIS: Absolutely. A gun was actually destroyed during the course of testing, that leaves the door open for the defense team to really attack that presumption that the trigger had to have been pulled in order for the gun to discharge. That's critical to Alec Baldwin's defense. And the defense is going to say, we never even got the opportunity to do any independent testing. These results are unreliable.

And guess what, the gun is no longer here it is destroyed, so we can't even conduct that at this point. So, that really leaves a door open and I expect the defense to really focus on that in order to raise a reasonable doubt in the courtroom.

TAPPER: Misty Marris, stay with us because I have more questions for you based on the next story, which is the murder case of Laci Peterson and her unborn child, Conner, that captivated much of the country's attention and news coverage in the early 2000s.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A massive search underway in central California for a missing woman who is eight months pregnant. Twenty-seven year old Laci Peterson disappeared Christmas Eve while walking her dog in Modesto, California.


TAPPER: Decades later, that case is back in the spotlight. Scott Peterson was convicted in 2004 of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son, but he's getting his case taken up by the Los Angeles Innocence Project. The nonprofit group claims Peterson's innocence is supported by newly discovered evidence. CNN's Camila Bernal brings us up to speed in this murder case was -- which also involves an affair leading up to Laci's disappearance.



CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Almost two decades after Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn son, the possibility of new evidence has emerged in the case that captured the nation's attention. A motion filed by the Los Angeles Innocence Project says key evidence was withheld from his first trial.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: The Innocence Project does look to exonerate people who are factually guilty but also who had been wrongfully convicted based on due process issues.

BERNAL (voice-over): Their attorneys filed a motion asking for post- conviction discovery and the testing of evidence for the presence of DNA to support Peterson's claim of actual innocence. They indicate newly discovered evidence in the motion references of burglary across the street from the Petersons in the week leading up to the day Laci Peterson was killed. They also want more information about a van found after Laci's disappearance that appears to contain blood evidence.

JORDAN: One of the things that they're looking for is DNA on a mattress found in a burned out van by the Modesto Airport.

BERNAL (voice-over): The motion also asking for DNA testing of duct tape recovered from Laci's remains, as well as tape and twine tied around the neck of the baby's remains, and points to findings from former journalist Mike Gudgell.

MIKE GUDGELL, RETIRED JOURNALIST: I think there's enough evidence that it's probable that someone else may have committed a crime. Enough evidence for law enforcement to investigate further.

BERNAL (voice-over): Scott Peterson reported his pregnant wife Laci missing on Christmas Eve 2002 after he returned home from fishing that morning. Four months later, her body and the body of her unborn baby named Conner washed up separately in the San Francisco Bay, two miles from where Scott said he had been fishing. Court testimony from Amber Frey, a woman who claimed to be dating Scott before Laci went missing, pointed to a possible motive.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She was the star witness for the prosecution because in November of that year, she had started dating him and she asked Scott Peterson, are you married? And he said, no, my wife died. I'm single. And a month later, Laci went missing.

BERNAL (voice-over): Scott Peterson was convicted of murder in 2004 and was sentenced to death in 2005. The California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence in 2020, but upheld the convictions. Peterson is serving life in prison without parole, and is petitioning the court to order the prosecution to provide discovery, including DNA retesting and other evidence. He maintains his innocence.


BERNAL (on camera): And there's a lot of evidence that these attorneys want either tested for the very first time or retested because of technological advancements. A lot of it is stuff that washed up on shore when Laci and Conner's remains were found. Now, in terms of who's paying for all of this? It is the L.A. Innocence Project with funding in part from the Department of Justice. What they want here is this conviction vacated and of course, they're hoping for a new trial, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Camila Bernal, thank you so much. Back with us is defense and trial attorney Misty Marris.

First of all, what do you make of the L.A. Innocence Project taking up this case? They usually -- well, you know what I'm getting at? What do you make of it?

MARRIS: The L.A. Innocence Project is a very powerful organization that has a lot of resources. And they look at cases where they believe if the result has been unjust, for there's convictions that should be overturned, and there should be a new trial. They have a rate of about, you know, just under 50 percent success, Jake. So the fact that they're taking this case up from their filing 800 pages leads me to believe that perhaps there's something out there that we just don't know about today with respect to this new evidence.

TAPPER: Yes, it's a very credible organization. It's -- I mean, the fact that they're involved is one of the reasons, if not the main reason, we're covering it. And they want DNA testing of items that they say were not included in Peterson's first trial, some of which includes items inside a van that was set on fire close to the time Laci went missing, which had a mattress with apparent bloodstains. How would this help prove Scott Peterson is innocent?

MARRIS: Yes, so that -- my eyes went directly to that as well, Jake, because there's a long standing defense theory in this case that was presented at this trial that Laci Peterson actually witnessed a burglary on the night that she was killed and that she was kidnapped and killed by those burglars. Now that van is under the defense theory is in connection with the burglary and there was a mattress with blood on it. So the Innocence Project is looking to DNA test that mattress, obviously DNA testing the technologies increased tremendously in the past 20 years to see if there's any indication that Laci Peterson's DNA is on that mattress. So that's how it fits into their theory. And if it is, well, that's an alternative theory that defense can raise about who could have done this.


On the other hand, there's DNA evidence that was tested at the time, but because of that increase -- the just exponential difference in technology, they want to retest it. Now, something interesting is they said, there's a lot that's missing from the trial records, so the Innocence Project is looking for that as well. So, it seems they're taking this approach of not only newly acquired evidence DNA testing, but also looking back and doing a diagnostic on what happened during the trial, and maybe raising other arguments on that front. But the big thing is, appellate courts do not like to second guess juries. So whatever happens, whatever evidence they're presenting, it has to be enough that it would likely change the jury's determination or be likely to raise reasonable doubt, it's a very high standard.

TAPPER: Very high standard and a very fascinating case, one that we'll be following.

Misty Maris, thank you so much appreciate it.

MARRIS: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: One of the most controversial issues in the U.S. poised to be a major driver in this year's elections. The political and personal cost of abortion and abortion bans in America. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)



REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I am myself a product of an unplanned pregnancy. In January of 1972, exactly one year before Roe v. Wade, my parents who were just teenagers at the time, chose life. And I am very profoundly grateful that they did.


TAPPER: That was Speaker of the House Mike Johnson speaking to anti- abortion activists gathered here in Washington, D.C. today, steady snow and freezing temperatures did not stop the 51st annual March for Life rally. The anti-abortion activists also face a tough political climate this election year. Abortion rights advocates have won major victories in Ohio and Kentucky and Virginia last year following the 2022 Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade. CNN's Gabe Cohen joins us now. Gabe, this was the second rally since Roe v. Wade was overturned. What did you hear from those who spoke at the rally today?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, it was a mix. We heard a pretty tempered message from Speaker Johnson who didn't talk about the need for new abortion restrictions or a federal abortion ban. Instead, he spoke about the need to change public opinion on this issue and the need for more resources like health care for mothers. But we did hear some of that more extreme anti-abortion rhetoric which came from New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith. Take a listen. Here's a little bit of what each of them told the crowd.


JOHNSON: This is a critical time to help all moms who are facing unplanned pregnancies to work with foster children, and to help families who are adopting to volunteer and assist our vital pregnancy resource centers and our maternity homes and to reach out a renewed hand of compassion and to speak the truth and love.

REP. CHRIS SMITH (R-NJ): We reject the violence of abortion, dismemberment, child beheadings, and abortion pills that literally starve the baby to death.


COHEN: But look, Jake, overall, most of the speakers and organizers we heard from were much more in line with Speaker Johnson's toned down language. The theme this year was with every woman for every child, very intentional language, putting the mother first. There was a lot of conversation about supporting mothers in what seemed to be an attempt to really reframe this issue because over the past year and a half or so since the Dobbs decision here at the Supreme Court, it has been a winning issue for pro-choice advocates and for Democrats to frame this as Republicans stripping reproductive rights away from women. But look with abortion bans in more than a dozen states and restrictions and several more, Democrats are going to continue to try to capitalize on this in November and make it a key issue on the ballot. We expect statewide initiatives on the ballot in several states, including swing states like Florida and Arizona, given the success of other initiatives, the ones you mentioned, and even in red states like Ohio and Kansas and Kentucky.

And we know that Democratic candidates are also going to try to talk about this issue with the Vice President hitting the road on Monday heading to Wisconsin and then several other states, Jake, to talk about abortion rights and abortion access and try to contrast what Democrats are doing on this compared to Republicans.

TAPPER: All right, Gabe Cohen, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Jessica Valenti. She's a journalist and an abortion rights advocate. She has been covering since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the effect of abortion bans on women and girls. Jessica, on Wednesday, you testified in front of Senate Democrats in your prepared remarks you wrote that you quote, get more messages than I could ever answer. What is the most common experience women are having when they weren't right to you?

JESSICA VALENTI, JOURNALIST: A lot of them are afraid, Jake. They're afraid that if they go to try to get care that they're going to be arrested, that their loved ones are going to be arrested if they happen to help them. They don't know what's legal and what's not. There's a lot of confusion around emergency contraception because of really successful conservative campaigns around that issue. And so there's a lot of fear, a lot of confusion, and honestly a lot of anger as well.

TAPPER: In 2022, the CDC found that mental health conditions, including deaths because of suicide and overdose and poisoning related to substance use disorder, that that is one of the leading causes of pregnancy related deaths in this country. Last month "Roll Call" reported that 18 states have implemented abortion bans that specify that mental health or suicidality do not qualify as health related exceptions for the woman. You know, you argue that this is not a coincidence. Tell us more about that.


VALENTI: This is what I said at the briefing this week. It's very deliberate. And I think it's one of the most telling things that we have in terms of anti-abortion legislation, when they sat to write those exceptions for the life of the mother, they put a caveat in that says, if you have a life threatening emergency, you can have an abortion, unless that emergency is suicide. And if that emergency is suicide, you can't have an abortion. To me, there is no clearer example that they know and they knew and they know that forcing people to be pregnant will make them want to kill themselves and they enshrined into law that they don't care.

TAPPER: You also say that a lot of the confusion that is followed after Republican controlled state started in enacting these restrictive bans is by design. Tell us more what you mean by that, as well as elaborating on what you just said.

VALENTI: The more confused people are, the more afraid they're going to be, right? And that's not just for patients but for doctors as well. There's a reason that they have written exceptions. And I don't think exceptions are real. So I put them in scare quotes or say so called exceptions. There's a reason that those were written in such a vague and confusing way because they want to make sure that people are too afraid to get abortion care or to provide abortion care.

TAPPER: And that's because in your view, they don't care about the women or they care so much that these pregnancies are carry to term. What's the motivation if you could?

VALENTI: You know, I think that for a lot of people, this can be difficult because so many of the laws coming out are so extreme, right? Like Kate Cox's story and watching someone with a non-viable pregnancy. And the state telling them, it doesn't matter if that's non-viable. You need to carry it to term anyway. It sort of doesn't make logical sense. But when you start to understand that this was never about women or babies or families, but forcing pregnancy, enforcing pregnancy and childbirth, no matter what the cost or consequence, it starts to make a little bit more sense.

So, no, they don't care about women. They don't care about babies. The infant mortality rate is going up in states like Texas where they have a strict abortion ban. And so this is very much about power and control, specifically power and control over women. And has nothing to do with babies or families or life, frankly.

TAPPER: Jessica Valenti, thank you so much. Appreciate your time today.

VALENTI: Thank you.

TAPPER: If you or someone you know needs help, there is the National Suicide Hotline. The number to call or text on your screen is 988.

Sparks stream from a plane as another lands on a busy highway. What is happening up in the air? That's next.



TAPPER: In our National Lead, a couple things you don't expect or particularly want to see. First --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god, it's on fire. Oh my god. I'm sorry.


TAPPER: Yes, those flames and sparks coming from a cargo jet over Miami last night. The plane did land safely thankfully and no injuries were reported. And today this, a small commuter plane on a busy highway in Virginia. Nobody was hurt when this one made an emergency landing this afternoon just after taking off from Dulles Airport in Virginia outside D.C. CNN's Pete Muntean is here. Thankfully that emergency landing, Pete, ended the way it did and not in death and disaster. But what happened?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say any landing you could walk away from is a good one. Exactly what happened here everyone on board OK, just like the Atlas Air engine fire last night, just like the Alaska Airlines door plug blowout two weeks ago. This latest incident at 12:50 this afternoon at the most dangerous spot for an in-flight emergency, right after takeoff. The airplane a single engine Cessna Caravan, not a private plane, not a charter, this was a scheduled airline flight to Lancaster, Pennsylvania operated by a company called Southern Airways Express.

I want to show you just how little time the crew had to react to this from takeoff to the apparent problem, a minute and 40 seconds. The flight was on the ground only 27 seconds later. Every second after an engine failure counts. It means altitude loss, so you really have to commit. The crew made a left turn and put it down on the Loudoun County Parkway. And this is what the crew radioed to the tower.


PILOT: 246 on the ground.

CONTROLLER: 246 did you say you were on the ground?

PILOT: We are on the ground.

CONTROLLER: 246 understand you're on the ground. We are dispatching emergency services to your location now.

PILOT: The runway from across from Wendy's and Aldi's.

CONTROLLER: 246 roger. Understand across from the Wendy's and Aldi.

PILOT: Affirmative. All passengers and pilots are alive and well. No injuries.


MUNTEAN: Across from the Wendy's and the Aldi's if you couldn't make it out. Landing on a road is not easy, wires, telephone poles, street signs. One witness said it looked like the plane came under a traffic light. But Jake, this is kind of operation where typically pilots are cutting their teeth trying to get into commercial aviation, give this pilot a promotion. They did a great job getting this airplane on the ground and everything OK.

TAPPER: I have to say, Pete, 2024 seems to be off to a rather unusual beginning for aviation. What's the latest on that blowout that happened on that Alaska Airlines Flight two weeks ago today? MUNTEAN: I just talked to NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy about this. A special team went to Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas to retrieve records there. That's the company that builds the fuselage and the door plug for Boeing. It is a subcontractor. They've also retrieved records from Boeing now. We're just waiting for the ungrounding. It could come any day now and we're waiting on the FAA to issue a final directive to unground those planes and make airlines do those checks so the Max 9 can fly again.


The big point here though is that in all of these incidents, the system worked. There was only one break in the link of chain. And so the crew in every situation reacted appropriately and everyone came out unscathed. We're really seeing an impressive run here of incidents, but they're not turning out to be any injuries or fatalities.

TAPPER: All right, Pete Muntean thanks so much. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: We have breaking news in our Tech Lead, Microsoft says a hacking group backed by the Russian government access e-mail accounts of some of its senior leaders. Microsoft says this, quote, nation state attack was detected last Friday January 12th, but actually began last November. Microsoft claims the hackers were able to access some e-mails and attach documents. And they are in the process of notifying employees who are affected. An investigation is still underway. Keep in mind Microsoft provides a great deal of technological service to the U.S. government, including a Cloud at the Pentagon.


In our Sports Lead, an iconic magazine may be shelved for good. Today, most are, quote, probably all of union represented staff at "Sports Illustrated" were laid off. That's according to a memo from the magazines owner reviewed by CNN. Authentic brands group has owned the "Sports Illustrated" magazine and website since 2019. It's sold publishing rights to another company, the Irina Group. That company missed a recent payment for those rights. So they were revoked.

Let's bring in CNN sports analyst and USA Today columnist Christine Brennan. Christine, first of all, let's talk about "Sports Illustrated's" legacy, the -- I remember as a kid, my dad getting "Sports Illustrated," and it was always so exciting to see who would be on the cover and the photographs and the coverage. I mean, it's having a huge impact on sports fandom.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Absolutely, Jake. It really was a pillar not just of the sports world, but of our culture at large. And I've had that same kind of story. Everyone watching, everyone whoever has probably love sports or cared about sports has that same story. I went for my 10th birthday, I asked my mom and dad could I get a subscription to "Sports Illustrated" and they got it for me. Very few girls were probably doing that back in the day. But I was and I love sports. And they did that. And that was such a treasured and cherished gift for me. And I'm sure you remember racing to the -- to your mail slot and -- at home or whatever, wherever you heard the mail person arriving to especially on Thursdays, I think it was, to grab that "Sports Illustrated" and start to read it.

And you're right, the cover was iconic. It was much more than just a magazine. Now for people listening who are younger kids, they may not really understand the magnitude of what this meant to be on the cover of "Sports Illustrated." But it was the greatest achievement really, you could have as an athlete, whether it was the 1999 Women's World Cup team was it, you know, President Ford was on the cover, of course, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, over and over again and major issues also Jake, as you know, from steroids, to drug use, to racial issues, to issues involving women, although not so many of those assay wasn't great on that issue but on that topic.

But all those major cultural issues that sports brought us to that conversation, well, "Sports Illustrated" was number one in terms of leading the charge on that conversation.

TAPPER: Yes, I remember when Gary McLain, I think from Villanova wrote, I think it was a cover story about his drug problems, that was a big story. I do also remember the "Sports Illustrated" curse. If you're in the middle of a tournament and you appear on the cover, at least, according to folklore, that was bad news. You might lose. But it has journalistically been very important. Is there really no place for it in this world?

BRENNAN: Well, you would think so, Jake, and I'm glad you mentioned that because it is great journalists, colleagues and friends of mine, heroes of mine, Frank Deford, Dan Jenkins, Curry Kirkpatrick, you know, on and on my good friend to this day, Rick Reilly, so many of them, especially when we were growing up as kids and reading them, and they were iconic. They were as big as stars and some of the athletes to those of us who were reading their every word.

And, yes, the long form journalism that is, you know, is -- that is a great question. Does our culture, does our society want that? And I think right now, unfortunately, we're getting the answer. And instead, we're seeing the Pat McAfee's thriving on ESPN with guests like Aaron Rodgers just making stuff up. And that seems to be what people want, versus what "Sports Illustrated" gave us which was class and dignity and beautiful writing.

TAPPER: Yes. Idiocracy was supposed to be a satire. It was not supposed to be soothsaying about American culture, or maybe, I don't know, maybe it is. Let's turn to the weekend, the NFL divisional playoffs. Who you got?

BRENNAN: Yes. Well, I think Baltimore, it's really going to be an interesting test for Lamar Jackson, MVP again, second time for sure. But he's only one in three in the postseason. And so I think Baltimore and, you know, I would love to say your Eagles but they seem to be nowhere to be found unfortunately, Jake. San Francisco I think wins. Detroit, the Detroit Lions I grew up an hour away. The Lions have never won anything but they seem to be America's team now and at least a popular choice will see the Lions, you know, potentially.

And I do think that, you know, that's of course where we are right now. But and then the big one is Buffalo and Kansas City. I think that will be the game of the weekend. And I'll go with Buffalo, the home team with all that snow even though it's really bad I think to root against Mahomes in the playoffs. This is his first time ever playing on the road in the playoffs except in a Super Bowl. Kansas City almost always is at home. So I'll go with Buffalo in a close one. And that will be the night before that we'll make it through. San Francisco and Baltimore, of course, right now were leading the charge and look like the best to get into the Super Bowl itself.


TAPPER: All right, Christine, good to see you. Thank you so much.

Coming up, a heroic pop, who proves without a doubt to be its owner's best friend. Dog lovers, you're not going to want to miss this next story. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our Good Dog Lead, a Michigan man's dog helped save his life after he'd fallen through the ice on a lake and a state policeman couldn't safely pull him out. Enter our hero in, the man's dog, Ruby. Watch this from the officer's body cam.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Call her. Call her.


TAPPER: The officer tied to disk and rope around Ruby's neck. The man in the water then called her over, grabbed the disk and was pulled to safety. Everyone's fine. God could not be everywhere so he gave us dogs.

Coming up, Sunday on State of the Union, Republican presidential candidate Governor Ron DeSantis just two days out from the New Hampshire primary, that's Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern and again at noon.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. I'll see you on Monday.