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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Many Republicans Plan To Skip House GOP Retreat Amid Party Turmoil; Rep. Mike Lawler, (R-NY), Is Interviewed About Republican Party, Ken Buck, GOP Dysfunction, TikTok; Rep. Ken Buck To Resign Next Week, Blaming GOP Dysfunction; House Passes Bill That Could Ban TikTok In U.S.; House Republicans Break With Trump Over TikTok Bill; Georgia Judge Drops Six Charges In Trump Election Subversion Case; Judge Set To Rule This Week On Removing Fani Willis From Case; RFK Jr.'s VP Prospect Aaron Rodgers Privately Shared Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theories; $600,000 Sand Dune Built To Protect Homes Washed Away By Huge Storm In 24 Hours; Acclaimed Author Among Group Evacuated From Haiti. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired March 13, 2024 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: I'm Jake Tapper. And this hour and overnight helicopter mission to rescue Americans trapped in Haiti as violent criminal gangs run rampant, prisoners are freed, police stations are burned to the ground. Best Selling Author Mitch Albom who runs an orphanage in Haiti was evacuated in that mission. And he'll join us live.

Plus, I've got some brand new reporting about possibly the most well- known person on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shortlist for vice president ahead of the candidates planned announcement later this month. You'll want to hear this.

But leading this hour, a new sign of the clear dysfunction in the Republican Party right now. I mean, how bad things have to be to turn down two days, all expenses paid at a luxury resort? Well, that's the reality for many House Republicans. And a source says fewer than half of them have RSVP'd yes for the annual event starting today that is meant to build party unity. Republican congresswoman Nancy Mays, she's doing a T.V. appearance instead.

Congressman Kelly Armstrong says he'd rather focus on his campaign for governor. And Congressman Tim Burchett remarked, quote, "I don't retreat I move forward. I got a farm to run." This comes just one day after a Republican lawmaker said he's quitting Congress all together next week because of the fighting and bickering. CNN's Melanie Zanona is is live for us in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, where this retreat is taking place.

Melanie, nice gig. What are you hearing from lawmakers who did show up?

Apparently we lost Melanie Zanona's sound. OK. No wonder she didn't laugh at my funny joke. Let's go now to Congressman Mike Lawler from New York, a Republican. He's live on Capitol Hill. Clearly not at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

Congressman Lawler, are things really so bad amongst House Republicans right now that you all can't even spend a few days together at a luxury resort in the mountains?

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Listen, Jake, we spend a lot of time together, obviously here on Capitol Hill. I have some events in Washington tonight. And I'm going back to my district for events tomorrow. But look, obviously, you know, we have been focused on a lot of the pressing issues. In Washington, I know, there'll be having a good retreat and discussion about the path forward on a number of key issues, including the supplemental package, which I've introduced a bipartisan bill defending borders, defending democracies to secure our border and get aid to our allies.

And I'm sure I'll get the Cliff Notes version of the discussion. But you know, look, we talk daily on these issues on the work that we have ahead of us. And you know, being at a retreat is not going to change the fact that we have a lot of work to do.

TAPPER: Right, but it is the least productive Congress since the 1930s. I've never seen it so dysfunctional. You have Ken Buck, Congressman Ken Buck, quitting next week instead of even just sticking it out till the end of his term, he announced he was retiring because of how uncomfortable and awkward and dysfunctional at all is. You're not denying that?

LAWLER: Well, respectfully, Ken Buck is one of the people that helped create some of the dysfunction by voting to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House. So that's kind of rich coming from him. But look, at the end of the day, you know, we have passed a lot of bills through the House. I know a lot of times the focus is on the House. Chuck Schumer and Senate Democrats who are in the majority down the hall have not passed much of anything.

We have been focused on issues that impact the American people from border security with H.R. 2 which we passed in May of last year to energy independence, which H.R. 1 which we passed last year, as well. So, there's a lot that we have focused on. Just because the Senate chooses not to act, can't put that solely on the House. Obviously, we would like to get a lot more legislation across the finish line. But you know, we are focused on the appropriations process.

We'll be coming back next week to pass the second tranche of appropriations bills for fiscal year '24 and get right to work on fiscal year '25. We have the supplemental package before us. I signed a discharge petition yesterday to bring that to a head because we need to support our allies, we need to secure our border. And these are issues that I'm continuing to focus on despite some of the noise, despite some of the infighting and despite some of, you know, the friction in a divided government.

TAPPER: Right. But the reason that you're signing a discharge petition to force the supplemental -- the foreign aid package onto the floor is because your speaker, even though this did pass the Senate by a big bipartisan margin, the speaker refuses to bring it up. And the reason he refuses to bring it up is not because it wouldn't pass on the floor if it was introduced. Today, it would get more than 300 votes from Democrats and Republicans such as yourself. He's afraid to bring it forward because if he brings it forward, there's going to be a rebellion from the far right and he could lose his speakers -- his position as speaker, right?


LAWLER: Well, listen, you know, obviously, we had the motion to vacate back in October of last year that ended in Kevin McCarthy being removed as speaker. I think the speaker obviously has some concern about some of our members trying a similar tactic because they don't get their way. But ultimately, the responsibility of Congress is to act. And I and others are willing to do that and will force the issue, which is why I signed a discharge petition.

You know, my hope is that Republicans and Democrats not only can unify behind getting a border security package and foreign aid package across the finish line, but protect the institution. You know, remember, it took eight Republicans and over 210 Democrats to team up to remove the House speaker in October of last year. I know Hakeem Jeffries has intimated that they won't go along with that again, you know, which certainly, I think is important for them to clarify that they would not be party to another effort at undermining the House and the institution. But we need to get our work done. It requires both parties in a divided government, Democrats control the Senate and the White House, working together to get these issues across the finish line from our appropriations bills, which we're in the process of doing to this supplemental.

We're not going to agree on everything, there does need to be negotiations that's why we've put this bill forward. But my objective and that of my colleagues, bipartisan group, many of us part of the problem solvers caucus is to get this across the finish line. Ukraine needs the support, Israel needs the support. We see the threats emanating from the unholy alliance of China, Russia and Iran. This is the moment for America to be the leader that it is of the free world and we need to pass this bill across the finish line here in Congress.

TAPPER: Speaking of China, today, you voted in favor of a bill that would force the Chinese own company ByteDance to sell the social media app TikTok to a U.S. entity or face a total ban. What do you say to your constituents who don't see the app as a national security threat, they just want to tell jokes or see funny videos or talking to their friends?

LAWLER: Look, as my colleague Ritchie Torres from New York said in the last hour, this is not about the app itself, it is not about the content on the app, or you know, what our citizens here in the United States are doing on the app. The issue is about the Chinese ownership of the app and the ties of ByteDance to the Chinese Communist Party, and the national security threat that that poses as the Chinese Communist Party and the government in China looks to use data and information gathered on apps like TikTok for their own intelligence gathering. That is the concern here. And so we have passed legislation that seeks to force ByteDance to sell the app so that Americans and others around the world can continue to use it but not be in fear of their privacy or our national security being at stake because of the ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

TAPPER: And this move puts your party in the House and Senate at odds with former President Trump, a place that your party in the House and Senate is rarely willing to go. Mr. Trump says he opposes a ban on TikTok even though he formerly had supported one or he opposes a ban on Chinese ownership of TikTok. Why do you think Trump's wrong on this issue?

LAWLER: Well, I think all of us recognize in a bipartisan way the threats emanating from China. The former Speaker McCarthy set up the select committee on the competition between the Chinese Communist Party and the United States specifically to look into many of these issues that we all agree on, especially when we're talking about the threats emanating from China, Russia and Iran. And so, you know, I think the former president certainly in the past has expressed his concern about China's ties to ByteDance and TikTok and the need to protect the security and privacy of Americans.


And so, you know, my position on this has not changed. I've not wavered on this. And I think obviously, you saw it today a large bipartisan group in the House saying that we are concerned about the national security implications here. And we move forward with the bill in a big bipartisan vote, and we'll see, hopefully, the Senate will take it up and take action so that -- again, we're not seeking to ban TikTok, we're seeking to force the sale of the app to ensure that the ties between the Chinese Communist Party and TikTok are no more. And that they're not able to use the data collected on TikTok to either manipulate our children here in the United States or pose a national security threat.

TAPPER: Do you think of TikTok is essentially spyware on the smartphones of the American people?

LAWLER: I think there is great potential for that. And that is part of the concern, when you see how the data can be manipulated, how it can be utilized, and certainly how the app is being applied in China versus the United States. The restrictions that the Chinese have put in place on TikTok versus what is being done here and how the algorithm can potentially be manipulated to indoctrinate our children here, to impact our governmental operations. I mean, just look at the fact that they were able to use the app to force teenagers and young children to call members of Congress about this vote. And I think that speaks potential to the power of the app and how they can have an impact on our own government here in the United States.

Again, we want people to be able to use social media to express their First Amendment rights, to be able to communicate their ideas, to be able to create videos and entertainment. But at the end of the day, we want to protect the privacy and security of American citizens -- TAPPER: Right.

LAWLER: -- and our national security. And that's what this is about.

TAPPER: Why do you why do you say TikTok forced teenagers to do that instead of enabled or empowered teenagers to reach out to their representatives in Congress?

LAWLER: Well, certainly look, obviously, you know, everyone is free to call their member of Congress and they should, but when you have that type of coordinated effort and basically telling these children that, you know, this is going to ban TikTok, when that's not exactly what the bill does. The bill is intended to force a sale, which is something by the way that the Chinese do continually do American companies operating in China. And so, you know, this is again about national security interests here in the United States and protecting the privacy and security of American citizens, including our young children.

TAPPER: New York Republican Congressman Mike Lawler, thanks so much. Appreciate it, sir.

LAWLER: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, a judge tosses some of the charges against Donald Trump in Georgia. But what does that mean for the overall election subversion case?

Plus a group of Americans say they were safely evacuated out of Haiti in the middle of the night. Helicopter operation acclaimed author Mitch Albom was one of them. He was rescued as part of that mission. He runs an orphanage in Haiti. He joins us live ahead.



TAPPER: In our law injustice lead, a surprise ruling in Georgia today dealt a blow to the case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis against Donald Trump and his codefendants. Judge Scott McAfee today tossed out six of the 41 charges against Trump and his codefendants in the Georgia election interference case. Trump still faces 88 criminal charges and four different indictments just no longer 91. Still, this is a legal win for Trump and some of his codefendants who had filed to dismiss those counts on the grounds that they were, quote, "legally deficient."

Apparently the judge agreed writing, quote, "As written the six counts contain all the essential elements of the crimes but failed to allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of their commission, i.e., the underlying felony solicited," unquote. Let's bring in CNN, Elie Honig.

Elie, translates for that for us. I'm not a lawyer. What does that -- what does that mean? He took the six counts about trying to get an officer to violate his oath of office, right, the one about the Secretary of State and said, you can't do that. Why not? ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right. So Jake, the very fundamental purpose of an indictment is to serve notice, to notify the defendant, here's what you are charged with doing that was illegal. And in this case, the six charges, they all relate to a sort of unusual Georgia law that makes it a crime to ask a public official to violate his oath of office. The way those charges are charged in the indictment here it says while the defendants tried to get certain Georgia public officials to violate the Constitution, and the judge said that's not specific enough because there are dozens if not hundreds of separate provisions in the constitution. So, you haven't adequately informed the defendants what actual crime they're specifically being charged with, that's why the judge threw out those six counts.

TAPPER: Could they have been written in such a way that they would have stood this test?

HONIG: Absolutely and quite easily, prosecutors would have written that the crime here was soliciting a public official to violate the constitution specifically, for example. And I think if they try to go back and fix this they will say something like, specifically the equal rights, equal protection provisions of the Constitution, the provisions of the Constitution that ensure a person's right to vote and to have that vote be counted. They haven't specified that.


And it's their job as prosecutors, fundamental job, to inform the defendants of what the charges are. That's the failure here.

TAPPER: So is it just bad lawyer? And I don't understand.

HONIG: It is bad lawyering. That's exactly what it is. And this is why I respectfully disagree with your guests from the last hour who said, well, it's no big deal. It is true that this will not -- this dismissal will not change the broad contours of the case, will not really change the evidence that prosecutors can use. But the DA's office, prosecutors, they're the ones who control the indictment, they're the ones who draft it.

The DA's office is the one who has been telling us this is the most important indictment we've ever seen. This indictment will vindicate the cause of democracy, yet they make an amateurish error like this, an unforced error that's entirely on them. And I think it undermines their credibility, their competency and the seriousness of this office.

TAPPER: It's also weird because you would think that there are any number of liberal or conservative judges, attorneys, Michael Luttig, for one, who would be willing to take a look at something like this and just give him an extra set of eyes, do a little editing as it were, you know, right? I mean, do prosecutors ever do that?

HONIG: Oh, my gosh, there's always a chain of command here, Jake. And this is the kind of mistake that if a first year prosecutor made you'd say, OK, we need to do better next time, but let's not let it happen again. And I want to make this point, Jake, one of the issues in the other conflict here, the conflict of interest case, is that Fani Willis brought in Nathan Wade, to lead this case, even though Nathan Wade has never prosecuted a felony trial as a prosecutor. Well, this is a rookie mistake. And it's not a mistake that anyone who's has any real experience would ever make.

TAPPER: We're still waiting to hear the judge rule on that and whether or not he is going to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis over her affair with Mr. Wade. Is there reason to be concerned about her handling of this case overall? And do you think he's going to dismiss her?

HONIG: So I think if we look back at the history of this case, there are a lot of warning flags about the way that the DA has handled this case. If we go back before this case was indicted, the DA got herself disqualified because she created a political conflict of interest for herself. She subpoenaed a Republican and then headlined a fundraiser for the Democrat, a different judge threw her off that portion of the case and said, quote, "What were you thinking?" The DA has made dozens upon dozens of public statements, some of which go to the substance of this case, which is inappropriate. The DA has served subpoenas on Republicans, Lindsey Graham, and then use that subpoena immediately to try to solicit donations for her campaign. I think that's improper.

Now we have six charges being thrown out because of a prosecutorial mistake and we have the pending conflict of interest issue which we'll get a ruling on any day now.

TAPPER: All right, Elie Honig, thanks so much. Good to see you.

HONIG: Thanks, Jake. All right.

TAPPER: An America teacher Trump for hours under rubble after her home in Gaza was hit. Her message for President Biden as she watches neighbor after neighbor being buried. That's next.



TAPPER: Back with our world lead now. This afternoon, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Israel government and military must do more to get aid into Gaza. Blinken also addressed today's strike on the United Nations facility in Rafah in Gaza. That strike killed five people according to a doctor there. Secretary of State Blinken said an investigation is ongoing. But all of this serves as a stark reminder of how hard, if not impossible, it is for aid workers to do their jobs in Gaza.

CNN's Nada Bashir shares with us now the story of an American woman in Gaza whom after barely surviving a strike on her home has a resounding message for President Biden.


NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Smooth and vital pockets of peace of a war torn Gaza, yet another round of humanitarian airdrops from international donors. Civilians on the brink of famine desperately scramble to see what has arrived today. Yet, amid each delivery, the war continues. More homes destroyed, more people killed.

Deborah, an American woman living in central Gaza says she has lost count of the number of wars she has lived through in the beseech strip. But this time, she almost did not survive. An Israeli strike, she says, left her crushed in the ruins of her home for hours, rescued and treated without anesthesia. She now wants answers.

DEBORAH DROLL, AMERICAN CITIZEN LIVING IN GAZA: I'm not throwing bombs. I'm not shooting anyone. Why did they come and target me? I need an answer for that. Joe Biden, I need an answer. Why are you letting them target Americans in Gaza?

BASHIR (voice-over): The English teacher says there is no worse safe left in Gaza. Some of her neighbors being buried as she speaks.

DROLL: Yes, I could run, I could go back to America. But I would feel like it was not right to do that, I should stand beside them. I should try to help them.

BASHIR (voice-over): A voice of solidarity with those in Gaza trying to survive the unthinkable.

Nada Bashir, CNN, London.



TAPPER: And our thanks to Nada Bashir for that report.

Coming up next, I've got some brand new reporting about a very high profile person -

Coming up next, I've got some brand new reporting about a very high profile person on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. shortlist for vice president, reporting that you will not want to miss. Stay with us.


TAPPER: We have some breaking news just in. I have some exclusive new reporting with CNN's Pamela Brown. One of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s prospects for vice president he has acknowledged is New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. CNN has learned that in private conversations, Rodgers has shared wild and unhinged conspiracy theories in which he claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was not real.

CNN knows of two people with whom Rodgers has shared these views with including CNN's Pamela Brown. In 2013 when CNN's Pamela Brown was covering the Kentucky Derby, she was introduced to Rodgers hearing that she was a journalist at CNN, Rodgers began attacking the news media for, quote, covering up important stories. Rodgers then brought up the Sandy Hook shooting, and said the news media was intentionally ignoring that the shooting wasn't real, that it was a government inside job.


I remind you the shooting, of course, was very real, very tragic, 20 children and six adults were murdered that day. When Pamela Brown asked Aaron Rodgers for evidence of what he was talking about. Rodgers then began sharing various theories that have been disproven numerous times by evidence. Rodgers falsely claimed to Pamela Brown that there were men in black in the woods by the school, and he asked if she thought that was odd. Brown says that she found the entire encounter disturbing.

CNN has also spoken with another person, one who would like to remain anonymous in order to avoid harassment, who had a very similar encounter with Aaron Rodgers saying that Rodgers claimed that, quote, Sandy Hook never happened, quote, all those children never existed. They were all actors, unquote. When asked about the grieving parents, many of whom I've met, and they and their grief is real.

The source recalled that Aaron Rodgers said quote, they're all making it up. They're all actors, unquote. Aaron Rodgers through one of his agents declined to comment to CNN. RFK Jr. told CNN in an interview on Tuesday that he had recently met with Aaron Rodgers as well as with former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura about the possibility of joining his campaign as vice president. Kennedy is expected to announce his pick on March 26th.

One of the winningest college football coaches of all time is now sounding the alarm why Nick Saban is now calling out the system he says, let universities buy the best players and his concerns for the future of college sports that's coming up.



TAPPER: In our Earth Matters Series, nearly $2 billion worth of property in Massachusetts is at risk of coastal flooding after the Atlantic Ocean wiped away a sand dune in just 24 hours and that was after homeowners had spent $600,000 to rebuild, said dune. CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir visited this beach in Massachusetts to talk to homeowners about how they're going to try to protect their property going forward as well as the risk to beachfront property because of climate change across the country.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last half century, the folks in this part of Massachusetts to watch the sea, swallow their beach, foot by foot, year by year.

JOE ROSSITTO, SALISBURY BEACH RESIDENT SINCE 1966: I had pictures of my kids down there, you know, playing on the ocean going shooting up toward the cottages, the cottages were this big -- WEIR: Because they are so far up.

ROSSITTO: Because they were so far up.

WEIR (voice-over): So they began fighting back with sand, trucked in by the ton a couple of times a decade. Since the state refuses to restore dunes on private property, neighbors banded together to buy $600,000 worth of sand last month, thinking it would defend their homes for at least the next three years. But then came yet another freak storm at king tide. And over half of it washed away in a single day.

TOM SAAB, PRESIDENT, SALISBURY BEACH CITIZENS FOR CHANGE, RESIDENT SINCE 1971: Everybody lost about 50 percent of what they put in.

WEIR: In a day?

SAAB: In less than a day, right. So, but they're sacrificial. OK, so we call them sacrificial dunes. They did their job. Only cost us $300,000.

WEIR: What do you think about long term? You got kids? You got grandkids? I mean, what does Salisbury Beach look like when you look at the sea level rise projections, the storm projection?

SAAB: So I will tell you that back in the early 1970s, people were telling us that, you know by the year 2000, this beach would be gone. We're here 2024. It's not going. It's like, it's as long as you keep rebuilding, it's not going to go away.

WEIR: Do you believe that climate change is no raising this? I don't believe in that?

SAAB: No, I don't believe in that. No.

WEIR: Really?

SAAB: I don't think it's climate change.

ROSSITTO: I wasn't a believer in global warming or ocean levels. But I mean, historically, there's no precedent to this. So I mean, I'm willing to consider things that, you know, previously I could put, I'm not sure.

WEIR (voice-over): Using the tides in the year 2000 as a baseline, the state is officially planning for up to a foot of sea level rise by 2030 and four feet by 2070. And Salisbury Beach is just one of 79 cities and towns in the state within coastal surge zones. Defending them all could cost billions.

WEIR: So you know, there's hundreds of scientists within an hour drive up here warning us of what's happening when it comes to a warmer planet.

SAAB: Yes.

WEIR: And what's going to happen to coastal communities like this, you don't believe them or?

SAAB: Yes, I'm not a climate change guy. And I believe that climate does have some effect. But I don't believe that this beach will be gone and destroyed 20 years from now, 30 years from now.

WEIR: But will it take a million dollars-worth a sand every year to keep it at the current rate?

SAAB: It may. It might. But you've got a couple of -- you have $2 billion in property here. We just need to state to help with the funding to protect the properties. What do you do? Just say OK, goodbye to $2 billion of property?


WEIR: Jake, despite his thoughts on climate science, that gentleman, Tom Saab, was really responsible for rallying these homeowners to getting these dunes built for reference. They came on all the way out under the staircase. It meant to last several years, lasted just a few hours. And not all homeowners kicked in. Here's a house that did not. As a result, the waves went right in through the living room, just a stark example as the planet warms up, and the tides rise, it comes down to the haves and the have nots, who's defended and who pays for it. Jake?


TAPPER: And our thanks to Bill Weir for that report.

Coming up next, a daring mission to rescue Americans in Haiti trapped as a swell of violent gang activity plagues the country Best Selling Author Mitch Albom runs an orphanage in Haiti, one that was evacuated, he was evacuated, and he joins me live.



TAPPER: Our World Lead now, the office of Haiti's embattled prime minister says Haiti's Constitution gives him the power to sign off on the council that will replace him and his current government. Now on the outside that sounds like a reasonably Democratic transition of power, but to the violent criminal gangs, who are actually ruling much of Haiti right now, it's an empty statement.

The situation is so volatile, the U.S. is sending a marine unit specializing in terrorism to support security at the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Since Haiti declared a state of emergency earlier this month, there has been some Americans in Haiti who have had to find a way to keep themselves safe, and try to find a way out, rescued in an overnight operation organized by Republican Congressman of Florida Cory Mills on Tuesday, was acclaimed author and journalist Mitch Albom, his wife, and a few volunteers from the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage operated by Albom's nonprofit.

And we're honored to have Mitch Albom join us now. Mitch, we're so glad that you and the others made it out of Haiti safely. What was the situation like before the evacuation? And what was the evacuation like?

MITCH ALBOM, FOUNDER, HAVE FAITH HAITI: Well, the situation was terrible, Jake. You know, there every night gunfire that we hear from outside our gates while kids are praying, building set on fire, police stations set on fire, neighborhoods chased out, we have people living with us who were chased out of their homes by the gangs and just can't return this. And that's been going on for a long time. It got much worse over the course of the last 10 days or so with prisons were broken into. This is all while the Prime Minister was out of the country.

And ultimately, when the airports were closed down, the ports were closed, the borders were closed, the streets were blocked, it became apparent that we weren't going to be able to get out anytime soon. And with a bunch of volunteers that have come down to help out our orphanage, I felt it was our obligation to get them out. I go every month and have been for the last 14 years operating our orphanage.

So this isn't that new to me. We were actually there when the President was assassinated. And the same kind of thing happened, the country shut down. But these guests, you know, needed to get out. And so as you mentioned, there was middle of the night helicopter operation that was able to get us out safely.

TAPPER: And we know you were forced to leave behind the kids from the orphanage in Haiti who's taking care of them, and how is their safety being preserved?

ALBOM: Well, the people who take care of them or the people we take care of them, we're not there the other three weeks of every month. I mean we have a full staff, we have security rooming our property we have for a long time, we use the time that we were there to stock up on water and food and fuel wherever we could get it because we've been through this kind of thing, unfortunately, before. And sadly, you know, while we learned a very harrowing lesson about what it's like not to be able to move, not to be able to go when you want to go or leave when you want to leave. That's the way Haitians live all the time. And that's the way our kids live all the time.

Our kids at orphanage haven't been out of the orphanage in nearly three years, because it's not safe to go outside in the streets of Port-au-Prince. And imagine, you know, you can't even go for an ice cream. You can't take kids to the beach. You can't go out for the park. And so I'm trying to use the opportunity that this provided to tell people the world that, you know, it's not about stories like people like us who manage to get out. It's about that people in Haiti have to live like this all the time, because the terror of the gangs and something needs to be done. And I'm beseeching our leaders to get more involved than just putting money towards it.

TAPPER: What do you think needs to be done? Obviously, Haiti has been incredibly troubled for decades now. You've seen what Haiti was like after the disastrous earthquake in 2010. How can Haiti fully recover? ALBOM: Well, first of all, they have to have free elections, and they have to be able to choose their own people. This isn't for someone else to determine from the outside. But right now 80 percent of patients actually want outside intervention. Because these, you know, when you have -- when the country doesn't have guns, and gangs have guns, they can pretty much control everything, and they sort of do right now. The streets are or basically the police officers are demoralized, it might be 1,000 of them left.

And the gang members actually get paid salaries to be in the gang that are more money than police officers get paid to be police officers. So you see, we're a poor country, you know, where are people going to turn? So until they can have free elections and free leaders. First, they need to get the violent stuff. They need to make it safe. And that's going to require, in my view, outside intervention. And I know they're talking about a force from Kenya coming in. Still hasn't happened. But until something like that can get in there and wrestle control back from the gangs, the situation is going to be dire for children like ours and for every citizen of Haiti.


TAPPER: Former U.S. special envoy to Haiti Michael Foote recently told NPR that, quote, let the Haitians have a chance to mess up Haiti for once, end quote. He's arguing that the U.S. and the international community should stop intervening in Haiti is politics and let the people of Haiti hash it out. It sounds like you think that's a horrible idea.

ALBOM: It doesn't matter what I think, Jake, they've already asked the people of Haiti, and 80 percent of them said, we need help from the outside. I would listen to them.

TAPPER: And lastly, if people want to help the Have Faith Haiti nonprofit and orphanage that you run, how can they do so?

ALBOM: It's very simple, We have 60 children there right now. We don't adopt them out. They see that come with us. They stay with us. We educate them. They're taking care of with health, with nutrition, with education. And so far all of our kids have earned college scholarships. We even have one in medical school. So if you want to believe in giving children a future, that's what we're there to do. So if they care to help us.

TAPPER: Mitch Albom, thank you so much for joining us. And thank you for what you do really appreciate it.

ALBOM: You're welcome, Jake. Thank you.

TAPPER: In our Sports Lead, the current landscape of college sports is partly why Nick Saban, one of the most successful college football coaches, ever decided to retire. Here's what Saban told a bunch of senators on Tuesday during a roundtable discussion on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NICK SABAN, FORMER UNIV. OF ALABAMA FOOTBALL COACH: All the things that I believed in for all these years, 50 years of coaching, no longer exist in college athletics. Name, image and likeness is a great opportunity for them to create a brand for themselves. I'm not against that at all. But to come up with some kind of a system that still can help the development of young people I think is paramount to the future of college athletics.


TAPPER: Statements concern is shared among many who believe that the focus of student athletes and universities making money is throwing the competitive balance of college sports and personal development out the window. Let's bring in CNN's Coy Wire who played football both in college and the NFL. Coy, what do you make of Saban's comments?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Well, some argue that it's actually making college athletics more competitive when it comes to the balance, more parody as opposed to some of these dynastic runs because you have more schools who are able to snag some top talent. And when it comes to making money, the universities have been making money, coaches have been making money. Coach Saban was often higher paid than most every NFL coach. These schools are building 40, $50 million plus athletics facilities. They're using funds generated from their sports programs to market for their enrollment at their universities.

The problem started, Jake, about three years ago with NIL now with the players making money is completely disrupted, the machine, these college coaches are finding that they have to often re recruit even the players already on their team so that they don't go looking elsewhere for path possible higher pay. An example of the predicament these coaches are in, Jake, comes from a recent press conference, Tulsa head football coach Kevin Wilson, talking about a text he received from a player he was recruiting. Listen to this.


KEVIN WILSON, UNIVERSITY OF TULSA HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: And go just asking, you know, about money, not money hungry person, don't need a ton of money. But this is a transfer I've been getting about 6 to 7k a month. I got three dogs to go for him. So what do you think I'll get there? And I said the first thing you do is drop the dogs and I'm not sure about the girl.


WIRE: So there's a glimpse. Nebraska Head Coach Matt Rhule at the football program that he said, a quarterback now and the transfer portal costs 1 to $2 million if they want to try to, you know, snag him and so it is creating all sorts of chaos and headaches for these coaches. But on the other side of that is the positive for the athletes who now can earn some money for the work they're putting in, from any school or company rather than is willing to pay them. Caitlin Clark, Iowa basketball star making approximately a million dollars a year through deals with companies like Nike, Gatorade, and State Farm, Jake. So Wild West for now. We'll see how it goes TAPPER: Do any of the athletes at the professional level or the collegiate level with whom you talk, do they share Saban's concern about the future of college sports?

WIRE: Yes, I've talked to several coaches who are afraid now, there's no universal rules around this. These NIL deals differ from state to state. But I have talked to coaches who they're saying I can't take this anymore. And we're seeing a lot of college coaches who are either leaving a head coaching job in college to take an assistant or position coach elsewhere or jumping to the NFL where they don't have to deal with the headaches these college head coaches now are having to deal with across all sports right now in the college landscape.

TAPPER: All right, Coy Wire, thanks so much. Always good to see you.


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