Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Cabinet Starts Cross-Country Blitz As Campaign Ramps Up; Trump To Meet With Hungary's Authoritarian Leader Viktor Orban; Israeli Protesters Try To Block Aid Trucks From Entering Gaza; Malaysian Government May Renew Search For Flight MH370. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 08, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: You know, I don't like it. I like falling back. That's a treat in the fall. I do not like springing forward. I don't like that it's Daylight Saving singular.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: But you can't have fallen back without springing forward because then you just fall back all the way.

KEILAR: Yeah, well, all your sense making, Boris, I don't know. There's a lot of sense you're making there.

SANCHEZ: Well, we hope we made some sense. My dreams certainly didn't.

Thanks so much for joining us this afternoon.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Okay, everyone, it's about 18 hours since the big speech ended. Do you think any differently of Joe Biden?

THE LEAD starts right now.

The man Trump belittles as sleepy Joe seemed quite fiery last night as the president tries to flip the script launching a campaign blitz, just one day after his forceful kind of political State of the Union Address.

Plus, Donald Trump's one-on-one at Mar-a-Lago today, meeting with Hungary's Viktor Orban, the authoritarian leader knowing -- known for anti-immigration nationalist rhetoric, who often cozies up to Vladimir Putin.

And attempts to stop the aid. See what happened when CNN confronted Israeli protesters determined to make sure little food, if any, makes it into Gaza despite the overwhelming humanitarian crisis.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today with our politics lead in the White House, in an all-out reelection blitz trying to capture on any momentum from President Biden's fiery and rather political State of the Union Address last night in which the president referenced Donald Trump, at least a dozen times.

In less than an hour, we expect to hear from the president outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He's visiting the commonwealth, a crucial battleground state, today, along with the first lady who hails from there.

Meanwhile, the vice president is about to land in another key battleground, Arizona. She heads to another battleground, Nevada, tomorrow.

Just take a look at the travel plans for the president, the vice president, and the Biden cabinet over the next few weeks from California, to Rhode Island, Missouri, to Wisconsin and Ohio. This is what the White House sees as the official launch of the Biden Trump rematch.

Now to bolster that effort, the Biden campaign said today that they're launching 100 new offices this month, hiring 350 new team members and launching a $30 million media campaign. Those ads are expected to reflect some of the key themes we heard from Biden's speech last night, and the criticism he leveled at the man he identified only as my predecessor, along with the Republican Party.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My predecessor, a former Republican president, tells Putin, quote, do whatever the hell you want.

My predecessor and some of you here seek to bury the truth about January 6.

My predecessor came to office determined to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

Well, my predecessor and many in this chamber want to take those prescription drug away by repealing Affordable Care Act.


I'm not going to let that happen.


TAPPER: For his part, the former president, his predecessor, posted his speech reaction on Truth Social with a lot of all caps rants where he accused Biden of lying about his record, being, quote, angry as hell and shouting his speech into the microphone.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are criticizing Biden's speech as well. Among the criticisms, it was too political.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JEN KIGGANS (R-VA): It was full of lies and political rhetoric. It was a campaign speech. I kept waiting for him and talk about the State of Union.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: People got very emotional tonight because it was overly partisan speeches.

REP. MIKE BOST (R-IL): It was a campaign speech. I wanted to hear the state of the union, not a campaign speech.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I would rather go back to having an actual address that talks about the state of the Union.


TAPPER: Let's discuss all of this with my panel here me and -- here with me in studio, Republican strategist Alice Stewart and former coalitions director for the Biden-Harris 2020 campaign, Ashley Allison.

Thanks to both of you for being here.

Alice, before the speech, Republicans are saying Biden was old, weak, gaffe-prone, senile, a pushover. After the speech, unofficial Trump adviser and Fox host Sean Hannity described it instead like this.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Tonight, America saw, let's say, a very different Joe Biden. I might call them jacked up Joe. And that's being charitable. He sounded like a hyper caffeinated angry old man.


TAPPER: Hannity always known for being charitable.

Can Republicans have it both ways? I mean, this also reminds me of the fact that they accused him of being a dumb puppet fool. And also this criminal mastermind, it just seems like you got to pick a lane here, right?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think when the first clips you played, when everyone agrees with Mitt Romney on this issue, I think there's general consensus amongst Republicans that Joe Biden, clearly he was under pressure to show that he had vim and vigor and stamina to be reelected.

But he came across, in many people's mind. He came across angry. He came across full of vengeance. He came across loud and grumpy.

And look, this was a partisan speech. He came right out of the gate talking about his predecessor over and over and over again and taking it to Donald Trump, instead of talking about the State of the Union, which is what this was four.

And if I wanted to go to Biden rally, I would've gotten my small snacks and Snicker bars and hit the road to a Biden rally. But this was supposed to be about the state of the Union.

And on the issues, too, we can certainly talk about that. But I think the fact that he talked about the economy, which is a big issue for people, saying U.S. is the envy of the world. We're coming back. Things are great. That's not how people feel and while he can sit there and say we're on a great economic comeback, that's not how people feel. And I think a lot of people that you should have been reaching out to, the independents and the Nikki Haley voters are saying, you know, you just don't understand how we're feeling. You're just not in touch

TAPPER: Ashley?

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, the reality is Joe Biden had to talk about Donald Trump because the state of our union is angry because of Trump and his four years, Trump was divisive. He still uses rhetoric like vermin and poison the blood.

And you have to take that on because when you don't, you will you -- again, you allow the soul of our nation to begin to deteriorate. So we are in a different time and mostly because of Donald Trump, because he had his convention at the White House, because he used the last four years violating every component of the Hatch Act.

I hear you on that. That might not be how people are feeling and I think that last night, it was important for Joe Biden in a state, all of his accomplishments. And then when he goes out and he actually talks to voters, he's really, really good at that, engaging with people.

The thing that I find interesting is that, you know, I don't think you can have it both ways and we clearly are not the same type of voter, right? We care about America, but we care about different issues in different ways.


ALLISON: But all the people that have been in a question mark phase my circle and I'm not talking about D.C. elites, I'm talking about people in the streets. They are saying last night, Joe Biden got the job done and that's what you need to do.

TAPPER: So it was -- so it was good for the base is what you're saying.

ALLISON: It was good for the base, but I do think that she did talk to -- quoting Ronald Reagan in the speech, like the first three minutes and talks about defending Ukraine, defending democracy. So he did not just cower to the left on Israel-Hamas. He talked about Israel being our ally.

And so I think he was talking to a coalition that he will need to win, which includes independents.

TAPPER: So I will say this, Alice, that like, I think a lot of people going into it thought, oh, boy, I hope he gets -- Democrats, I hope -- I hope it gets through it. I hope he doesn't like collapse. I hope he doesn't like have some major gaffe.

He certainly seemed like an 81-year-old, but he did not seem incapable of doing the job. So, I -- he -- at that at least that point, like Republicans complaining about it being political, et cetera. I'm not saying I disagree with that, but that's not the same thing as complaining about him, you know, being "Weekend at Bernie's".

STEWART: Exactly. Granted, the bar is pretty low. I mean, a lot of people thought he would --

TAPPER: Yeah, but it's the Republicans had set the bar. That's my point.

STEWART: To that point, look, he got through no major stumbles, no major tumbles. But you're talking about having it both ways, Joe Biden's trying to have it both ways. He campaigned on being the empathetic candidate, on unity, on normalcy.

That was such a divisive speech, and that was so partisan against Donald Trump. And he's talking about, we're having great comeback in this country. It was a nasty speech and he is the candidate that is saying he's going to be a unifying this country. And that speech was very far from it.

ALLISON: I think what was nasty was Marjorie Taylor Greene yelling -- yelling at the president. She gave him a button and he used the button. I mean, he was engaging with her and saying you asked me to say her name and I am saying her name, and I have compassion for the parents because I've also a lot of lost a child.

So, I mean, we -- again, we don't have to agree on this, but I think Joe Biden got the job done and I'm looking forward to the campaign.

TAPPER: To try to make Alice have to defend Marjorie Taylor Greene.

ALLISON: She's my dear friend.

TAPPER: That's dirty pool.

So let me ask you because, Ashley, today, the group No Labels announced that it is going to move forward with plans to field a third-party presidential ticket. Who benefits from that if there is a third party ticket out there under the No Labels label, this no -- you know, beyond partisan politics?

ALLISON: No one, honestly, and I don't know who they're going to pick right now. You have Chris Sununu, who was on a shortlist. Larry Hogan who was on the shortlist. Joe Manchin and Mitt Romney, all of them have said they're either not run -- they're not going to do the No Labels ticket, or they've already endorsed Donald Trump.

So the question is who and the reality I think it does matter who because if it is someone who is considered as so extreme and maybe just one step away from Donald Trump. I think it helps Joe Biden because it takes some votes away from Donald Trump.


But if it is someone potentially that I can't even -- like a Nikki Haley, which I think would be counter to what she was saying, she wanted to do, I think it would help Donald Trump.

TAPPER: So, Nikki -- I -- there's no way I think that you hear that it would do what she still wants to be a Republican president someday. But Geoff Duncan, who is, I believe still CNN commentator and our colleague, we all like him. He's a nice guy with -- former lieutenant governor of Georgia, very conservative Republican who broke from Trump.


TAPPER: He doesn't think Trump's Republican to begin with.

"The Wall Street Journal" says he might be in contention.

STEWART: I think he would be great elected official in the future for whatever he decides to run for. He is certainly a man of great conviction.

I tell you who benefits from that, it is the advisers, the people that are buying the ads, people that are doing social media, the people that are advising that No Labels ticket.

ALLISON: The consultants.

STEWART: Ive spoken with -- the consultant, the consultant class.

I've spoken with someone in that decision-making the process, they're looking for someone who is a fiscal conservative, socially moderate, and potentially with some military experience.

I think that sort of narrows it down. They're not saying if it's a male, female, Black or white, but they clearly are moving forward. And I think it will be interesting as to see who it might impact, but it really boils down to the actual name and face on that ticket as to --

TAPPER: I don't think Geoff Duncan ever served in the military, but he was a baseball player. It's pretty cool.

Thanks to both you for being here.

Coming up, what President Biden is saying today about that hot mic moment just after his State of the Union Address last night when he said something about Netanyahu that he probably didn't want folks to hear.

Plus, one friends and family are in high places, the new takeover for Trump and the Republican Party with a key leader now out of the way.

And in our money lead, a slight dip for the Dow, S&P and Nasdaq after today's rather strong jobs report. The U.S. economy added 275,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate rose to 3.9 percent.

We're back in a moment.



TAPPER: In our 2024 lead today, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is in the United States, but not at the invitation of the White House. Rather, the authoritarian leader's here to visit Donald Trump. The two meeting this evening at Mar-a-Lago.

This comes as Trumps dominance in the Republican in party grows even more evident today as a Republican National Committee elected his daughter-in-law, wife of his son, Eric, Lara Trump, to serve as the RNC's new co-chair.

CNN's Alayna Treene is in Houston, Texas, at this RNC meeting.

Alayna, how did this all play out today?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jake, Donald Trump's grip on the Republican Party is tightening as soon as he became the presumptive nominee. It's tightened even further and we saw that really play out today at the RNC spring meeting where really we saw a Trump takeover of the committee, Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman, resigned formerly from her role during that meeting really made way for more of Donald Trump's handpicked allies to succeed her.

We saw Michael Whatley, the North Carolina Republican Party chairman, swiftly be elected as the new chairman of the RNC, and as you mentioned, Jake, Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump also very quickly became and was elected to become the party's co-chair.

And that came without opposition. There were some people so in the room when I was chatting with them. They said they were surprised at how swiftly the election was. It was a very quick meeting. No one stood up to oppose them. And it really, I think underscores how much the RNC recognizes that they're in line with Donald Trump.

Now, I do just want you to listen to some of what Ronna McDaniel said as well as what Lara Trump said, while they were giving their speeches. Take a listen.


RONNA MCDANIEL, FORMER REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRWOMAN: I'm stepping aside today because I have long promised to put the nominee and their plans for the RNC first, winning the White House back is just too important for me to do, otherwise. President Trump deserves to have the team he wants in place at the RNC.

LARA TRUMP, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR: We have one goal. The goal on November 5 is to win and as my father-in-law says bigly.


TREENE: Now, Jake, the former president is also planning to install two of his top campaign advisers, Chris LaCivita and James Blair into roles at the RNC. Chris LaCivita is expected to take on the role of chief operating officer and financial officer, James Blair is expected to really lead their political strategy, and both of them are also expected to remain in their roles on the campaign.

But look, when I talked to Donald Trump's advisers, they tell me that, yes, it is normal for there to be an overhaul of the RNC for nominee or candidate to want to insert their own touch on the national committee. But the way it's been described to me is more of a takeover. They really want to merge the campaign with the RNC and have them operate as one of the same with a large focus being on Donald Trump's claims of election fraud, as well as really improving their funds raising -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Alayna Treene in Houston, thanks so much.

Last night on a hot mic, President Biden mentioned wanting to have a come to Jesus meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who needless to say is Jewish and does not believe in Jesus. What he is saying about that comment today is next.



TAPPER: Just moments ago, President Biden was pressed about a comment he made on a hot mic last night, apparently not aware he was being recorded just moments after his State of the Union Address.

Biden was making his way out of the chamber and he said this about trying to get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza.


BIDEN: I told Bibi -- don't repeat this -- I said you and I are going to have a come to Jesus meeting.


TAPPER: You and I are going to have a come to Jesus meeting, President Biden says he told the Israeli prime minister. That was Biden and -- in their huddle was Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Biden was asked about that comment today on the tarmac before he boarded his plane for Pennsylvania. Take a listen.


REPORTER: Why does Mr. Netanyahu need a "come to Jesus" meeting? What are you hoping to achieve?

BIDEN: I didn't say that in the speech.

REPORTER: After? What about after the speech?

BIDEN: You guys eavesdropping on things.

REPORTER: Does that show your level of frustration with him on humanitarian aid? Does he need to be doing more?

BIDEN: Yes, he does.


TAPPER: Meanwhile, today, in the Middle East, at least five people in Gaza were killed when an airdrop of humanitarian aid went horribly wrong. In this video obtained by CNN shows aid palettes attached to parachutes falling from the sky.


One of those parachutes sadly malfunctions, falling at a high rate of speed, landing on a residential building. We do not know which nation was behind that particular airdrop. The United States and other countries have resorted to using these desperate measures as the United Nations warns that hundreds of thousands in Gaza are on the brink of famine.

So why not get more aid in on the ground? Well, it's not as simple as it sounds, at least not to the Israeli government and others.

CNN's Clarissa Ward traveled to Israel's Kerem Shalom crossing where she confronted Israeli protesters who were trying to prevent aid trucks from entering Gaza.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They march with determination to the Kerem Shalom border as they have for six weeks. Their mission: to block international aid from crossing into Gaza. The border police are waiting for them. There's a danger of sniper fire and projectiles, the officer warns, I asked you to leave this place.

But the protesters are undeterred, made up mostly of hostage family members, former reservists and settlers, they ignore the order and change course to move closer to the crossing.

So you can see the trucks with aid over there. The police had been trying to stop the protesters, but then they've just cut through this field and they're pushing ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can anyone check these trucks and see what's inside were bags of rice that are meant to go to their children are filled with bullet.

WARD: Under international law, it's Israel's obligations to make sure that the ordinary citizens of Gaza don't starve to death. And right now, they are starving to death. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hamas is making it very difficult because Hamas is not allowing this to -- they're not holding it. They're not receiving it.

What they're doing, I'm telling you here and now, if we knew it's getting to the children of Gaza, we will do it. This does not arrive at their doorstep. This arrives into the tunnels of Hamas, that are fighting us and holding our hostages.

WARD: There's no evidence to support the idea that all of this aid is going to Hamas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not to the rest of the population. This is intelligence only for terror. That's why they're getting -- as they should get only the minimum calories required to survive.

WARD: They're starving to death.


WARD: They are starving to death.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what? If they are starving -- starving to death, give us back -- give the hostages back. No -- a single loaf of bread should go there until our hostages are coming back.

WARD: To many people in the world, listening to what you're saying, or what you're protesting for, it sounds like, A, a contravention of international law and, B, incredibly callous in the face of an epic humanitarian catastrophe, in the face of children starving to death. People can't understand why anyone in their right mind would advocate for stopping aid.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hamas has no fair play. Hamas has no rules. Hamas is holding civilians.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, even if there is a humanitarian crisis and there is not, even if there is, it's my right and my duty to prioritize a life of (INAUDIBLE). One-year-old babies a desert over any Gazan babies.

WARD: And with that, the interview is over as the protesters press on. Previously, they've managed to block aid trucks from crossing. But on this day, the police have been given their orders and no one is getting through, prompting anger from the crowd.

You are confused. Go deal with the war, this woman shouts, we came to help you.

Unable to cross here, the protesters tried their luck in another area. But the authorities are just as quick to stop them.

So, the police are now really starting to lose their patience. They've been trying to push these protesters away for hours now and still, they're not leaving.

The crowd on this day is small. But their sentiment is shared by most people in the country. A recent poll by the Israel Democracy Institute found that 68 percent of Jewish-Israelis oppose the transfer of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

On the other side of the border, the situation could not be more dire. Seven year-old Fati al-Sand (ph) is suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition. Doctors at the Kamal Adwan Hospital say they don't have the resources to properly treat him.

Fati's mother says she's already lost two children. She doesn't want to lose him.


According to Gaza's health authorities, at least 17 children have died of dehydration and malnutrition already. And with a U.N. warning that famine is just a step away, there is hardly room for debate. More aid needs to get to more people as quickly as possible.


WARD (on camera): Now, Jake, I do think it's important for our viewers to know, there was another protests yesterday as well. This was of a group that was actually trying to get a convoy of aid into Gaza. They tried to get to the Kerem Shalom crossing. They weren't able to get near it, but really this does underscore that Israel is not a monolith. There are different people who have different feelings about this war how it should be dealt with. And there are those who believe that depriving the people of Gaza of aid is certainly not the answer to -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Clarissa, what can you tell us about who these protesters are?

WARD: So, the protesters we spent time with are part of this group called Saab Nine, which literally means order nine, as in like a military order. It's a group of former reservist, primarily, but it's kind of a mixed bag which is interesting. You have some more extreme far right elements.

You have a lot of settlers, but we also spoke to an older lady from Long Island. We met a younger woman from Bangor, Maine and it is a variety of different people here in Israel who come together with this shared conviction. They believe and no amount of conversation or debate is going to change their mind that all the aid is going to Hamas, and that the only way to get the hostages back is by depriving them some of that aid. And as you heard in that poll, Jake, 68 percent of Jewish Israelis agree that aid should not be transferred into Gaza.

TAPPER: All right. Clarissa Ward, thank you so much here.

Here to discuss, retired Ambassador Mark Green, president and CEO of the Wilson Center and the former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, which is a government agency that administers civilian foreign aid.

So, Mark, thanks for being here.

What is your reaction to these protests? Is there any legitimacy at all to the concerns that some of the aid ends up in the hands of Hamas which is obviously a terrorist group that attacked them?

MARK GREEN, FORMER ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Well, I think what the report reminds us all every day is a bad day right now in Gaza. There are still hostages being held by Hamas, Israeli hostages, American hostages, and people are hungry.

It also underscores how difficult this is. Delivering humanitarian assistance during calm times is hard enough but in a war zone and where there's so much rumor and distrust, it's extraordinarily difficult to do.

I think we all understand the emotions and the humanitarian need that draws or drives us to do airdrops and to do sea bridge that they're talking about. But it's no substitute for getting in over land.

And so, it's worrisome. Its going to be a long time before this goes away. And every day, as I said, is a real bad day right now.

TAPPER: It is -- it is horrific watching the human humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and all those innocent civilians. Do you think -- or Israeli authorities. We saw the police there. Do you think Israeli authorities are doing enough to keep these protesters from blocking aid?

GREEN: Well, it's hard to know. And again, part of the problem is that rumors run rife, right? And that's what's causing panic and protests and crowds. Again, it's going to make it very difficult.

Remember that before October 7, there was something like 500 trucks per day going into Gaza and that's obviously gone down to a trickle. And so even as we talk about the era, were talking about not even a drop in the bucket of the need that's there. And the hunger is rising, the medical needs are rising, the desperation is rising. So they simply have to get to an answer and get there soon. I know that it's something that the administration missions looking at and pushing on.

As I said, it's really worrisome right now, and nobody should be led into the false hope that somehow airdrops or a sea bridge which is going to take several weeks to put together is an answer. It's something that should be done, but it's certainly not an answer to this problem.

TAPPER: I, of course, don't want any innocent people to starve for in Gaza. Okay?

So that premises, the next question which is, it's just true though that some of this aid ends up in the hands of Hamas. Of course, it does. Not just any conflict -- in any conflict when aid is going in and there is an armed militia of any sort in that area, they're going to get some of that aid. It just factually, they have the guns. GREEN: Especially when you also have Hamas, which is an elected part

of the government --

TAPPER: Right.

GREEN: -- is actually running things, so sure.

TAPPER: I mean, that's the government and the army of Gaza. So --

GREEN: This is something that is for quite some time, the diversion of aid for some time by Hamas.


Yeah. No, it's a significant problem. That's what makes this so very difficult.

Who do you trust?

TAPPER: Right.

GREEN: Who are your partners? Who are you able to work with? To not let Hamas divert? We know they've been diverting gasoline over the years. We know that they've been diverting supplies, putting them into tunnels.

Yeah. It's very, very dangerous and very, very difficult.

TAPPER: So, I mean, I guess when you worked for a place like USAID, which you don't anymore, but you -- these are just the -- look, if it was all that simple, then we wouldn't even be having these conversations, right? If it was just like, no, the Israelis are wrong. All of this is going to innocent people.

Of course, we can't say that. And even members of Hamas, as evil as they might be, have wives and children and parents, and, you know, babies and grandchildren like that need that food, too. I mean, that's what makes us all --

GREEN: Very hard.

TAPPER: Inherently compromising.

GREEN: Very, very hard.

So humanitarian assistance in my day, we lead on Venezuela and trying to figure out how you get humanitarian assistance into Venezuela and not a Maduro's pockets, right? And not allowing Maduro --

TAPPER: And you can't do that 100 percent.

GREEN: You can't do it 100 percent. There are a number of things that you can do.

David Beasley when he led the World Food Program, I think really pioneered biometric verification. But it's not perfect, especially in a war zone, especially in a conflict zone, especially when you have those who are holding terrorists also essentially running the government, makes it very, very difficult to do.

TAPPER: Again, I just want to reiterate. I'm not saying that that doesn't mean aid shouldn't get in. I'm just saying these are some of the reasons. And we had --

MARK: Right, this hasn't been taken care of and got-away, right? Why this isn't something that just like this, we were able to take care of. This is very difficult.

The professionals at USAID are just that. They're professionals. They're very, very good at what they do. But this is hard. It takes intense planning.

You have to have people on the ground. USAID isn't on the ground there, so you have to have reliable partners, trusted partners. And in a situation like this, very hard to find.

TAPPER: And just as the last point, Cindy McCain, who runs the U.N.'s World Food Programme, was here a few weeks ago when we asked her what about these airdrops and she said they're dangerous and unreliable. I mean, she said that's why we don't do them and we saw an evidence -- evidence of that today.

GREEN: It is extremely difficult. You know, it's funny when you do humanitarian work. There always people on the outside who are casual observers and they have instance solution.

TAPPER: Right.

GREEN: Right. In the day --

TAPPER: Just pull up cruise ships.

GREEN: -- put everything on the military aircraft, we'll fly them all down.

TAPPER: Right.

GREEN: It doesn't quite work that way, especially when there's active hostility, fighting going on. You've got hostages being held. You've got hostages being held in tunnels, underground, under hospitals, under some of the places where you'd like to otherwise get aid. Very, very difficult.

Yeah, the airdrops certainly understand the motivation and why the government --

TAPPER: Yeah, want to help these people.

GREEN: On the other hand, very dangerous. The professional tell you should almost never be done.


GREEN: Absolute, desperate, last resort.

TAPPER: So this conversation and just this story really gets at something which is that from the outside, as you note, it might look easy. Oh, giving food to hungry people. That's an easy job, no. It is full --

GREEN: Just back the pickup trucks there.

TAPPER: It is full of logistical challenges and ethical challenges.

GREEN: All kinds.


GREEN: All kinds.

TAPPER: Thank you for the insightful conversation.

Ambassador Mark Green, really appreciate it.

It's one of the most mysterious, unsolved tragedies in the world, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Remember that? Today marks 10 years since that fight flight carrying 239 people tragically vanished. It just dropped off radar.

There is a new effort by a Texas company to get some answers all these years later.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead today, more than 82 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. Defense Department just announced it as accounted for one of the men who was killed on that day of infamy, 21 year-old navy fire controlman, Second-Class, Lawrence J. Overley of Los Angeles, was on the USS Oklahoma. That battleship capsized and sank and only 12 minutes after multiple Japanese tornado hits.

Four hundred twenty-nine U.S. crew members were killed. There remains eventually were recovered, but most were deemed unidentifiable. The Pentagon's POW MIA accounting agency says, thanks to modern dental, anthropological, and DNA analysis, Overley's remains have been identified and accounted for. Overley will be buried later this month. May he finally rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.

In our world lead, it has been ten years to the day since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished with all 239 people aboard. And now the search for the plane could be relaunched, reigniting one of the wildest mysteries to captivate the entire world in the modern era.

To this day, there has been no concrete evidence showing what exactly happened to that plane, or its victims. Let's bring in CNN's Tom Foreman.

Tom, 10-year flashback. Experts believe there have been enough technological advances to make a difference in a new search for MH370

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're hoping so. I mean, the simple truth is when this plane disappeared, there was an international expert, the largest international search ever under the water to try to find out what happened. And now, we are at this ten- year anniversary. The somber families remembering what happened all those years ago, remembering the few pieces of debris that finally showed up over near Africa after this took off down Kuala Lumpur.

That's all there really is to work with here because nothing really was found.


The idea behind this new surge by Ocean Infinity, they've asked the Malaysian Government to say, let us come back again and try again. No investment, were just you don't have to pay anything for it will just go see if we can find something, and then we'll go from there and then we'll work out the finances if we do find something.

Basically, the idea behind this, although the company is not saying much except that they'd like to go back. They believe there have been advances, is if you combine things like better satellite analysis, artificial intelligence, better underwater sensors, may be, more sensitive ones, maybe you can find something that they could not find at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, despite this extraordinary search that went on, as you recall, Jake, for a long, long time.

That's the idea. Maybe there's some hope if they do that.

TAPPER: So that's all well and good. But what are the main problems ten years ago wasn't the technology, it was the vast area in which this plane might have gone down. Has that changed at all? Have they narrowed down the area?

FOREMAN: Unless that technology is telling them some information that they haven't shared with us, no, the problem all along was this plane took off and nobody really knew where it went? Remember, 39 minutes after taking off and disappeared from all radar and after that time -- there was no sense of whether it went down immediately, whether it kept going, turned again with this way, whatever it did, or how long it flew.

And, Jake, you know, at the speed that a jetliner is flying, it covers a tremendous amount of distance every minute. So, out in a big ocean or the Indian Ocean to third largest ocean in the world, to find it out there -- very, very difficult. So the idea that they want to go after it, maybe, maybe they can find something, maybe they can address its these -- these theories that existed from the beginning, the question of, did the crew, for some reason ditch the plane? Was it hijacked for some reason? Did these lithium batteries in the cargo hold catch on fire as some

people thought, did that bring it down? Was there a catastrophic mechanical issue of some other sort or did the plane depressurize and did everybody on board lapse into unconsciousness? And it finally crashed?

The truth is, we have no proof of any of those theories. There are just theories. That's why 10 years later, one of the biggest mysteries in the world from that moment, that the crews said goodnight to the tower and that was last we ever heard.

TAPPER: Awful.

Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

Coming up next, getting red for -- getting the red carpet ready for Sunday's Academy Awards. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel will be back at it as a host. And when it comes to roasting celebrities, all jokes are not on the table.

CNN spoke with Mr. Kimmel to talk about where he's drawing any lines. That's next.



TAPPER: In our pop culture lead, time is running out to make your predictions and get your office Oscar ballots in, because this Sunday is Hollywood's biggest night, the 96th Annual Academy Awards.

And for the second straight year and fourth time overall, comedian Jimmy Kimmel returns to the Dolby Theater to host the Oscars.

CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister sat down with Mr. Kimmel to see how he is preparing for the big night.




WAGMEISTER: -- hosting the Oscars.

KIMMEL: Why would I do this four times? It makes no sense. It's not even a good round number.

WAGMEISTER (voice-over): Jimmy Kimmel is back ready to roast the stars.

KIMMEL: I saw your movies. Now it's my turn to make you sit in the theater for three-and-a-half.

God help you if I know you. Like if you're -- if you've been to my house, you're trouble on Oscar night.

WAGMEISTER: We caught up with Kimmel days before the show to hear his plans and see if anything is off-limits.

George Santos?

KIMMEL: Yeah. Safe, but I think he would -- I think it will make him so happy if he was mentioned at the Oscars and I'm not interested in making him happy.

WAGMEISTER: The Hollywood strikes?

KIMMEL: The strikes, yes, it's something I will talk about. Sure.

WAGMEISTER: Ken being nominated, but not Barbie?

KIMMEL: There'll be some version of that. Yes.

WAGMEISTER: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce?

KIMMEL: Not off limits, but probably played out.

WAGMEISTER: Now, your wife is an executive producer. Does she put up some guardrails like honey, maybe don't go there, don't say that?

KIMMEL: Yes. My wife on occasion, will say like, is it worth it? And that's the best question you can ask me because sometimes the answer is yes, it is worth it.

The first time Trump ever tries to stop someone from talking about them on television, and it's me.

WAGMEISTER: Frequent Kimmel target Donald Trump. Not only is fair game for the Oscars, Kimmel told us he welcomed Trump on his talk show.

KIMMEL: There are a lot of questions I would like to ask him and I would like to get actual answers. I think most of the interviews that he does don't require those.

WAGMEISTER: If Trump does get on Kimmel, he do what for years Matt Damon could not.

KIMMEL: I want to apologize to Matt Damon. We ran out of the timeframe.

WAGMEISTER: That comedic feud between Damon and Kimmel also could be fodder for Sunday night.

KIMMEL: He was in Oppenheimer. Everyone else was nominated except for him.

WAGMEISTER: Is he scared, the wrath of Jimmy Kimmel?

KIMMEL: It's one of the saddest things I've ever heard. He was he asked if he could come and they told him, sorry, nominees only. WAGMEISTER: If Damon's like the rest of us, watching from home, he'll have to tune in an hour earlier at 07:00 p.m. Eastern, a new start time for a notoriously long show.

Does that mean were still going to try to keep it within three hours?

KIMMEL: The show will be starting an hour early and ending just as late as ever.


WAGMEISTER: It is going to be a late night on Sunday,

But, you know, Jake, I know that you are buddies with Jimmy Kimmel. You both have been on each other's shows.


He was so excited to hear that this interview was going to be airing on THE LEAD. And since we were talking about roasting celebrities from this stage, I hope you're not mad at me, but I could not resist asking him how he would roast you. Shall we take a look at what he said?

TAPPER: Let's bring it on.


KIMMEL: I love Jake and he's a great guy. He's -- I will say Jake is very texty, like I think I get more texts from Jake than anyone in my whole life.

I would start with comparing Jake to a teenage girl and go from there.


TAPPER: Fair, tough but fair. Absolutely.

WAGMEISTER: There you go. You've been roasted by Jimmy Kimmel now, Jake. How's that?

TAPPER: No lies detected. I believe me I've been roasted worse by Jimmy Kimmel than that, but that was just accurate.

Elizabeth Wagmeister, thanks. That was a fun spot, appreciate it.

Right now, President Biden is in the Philly area. Were standing by for a speech from him as he tries to keep up that force moment -- forceful momentum after his State of the Union Address.

Stay with us.