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The Lead with Jake Tapper

D.A. Fani Willis Can Stay On Georgia Elections Case After Top Prosecutor Nathan Wade Resigns; DOJ Hands Over 30,000+ Documents In Trump New York Hush Money Case, Likely Delaying Trial; Mike Pence Says He Will Not Endorse Donald Trump; WSJ: Cockpit Mishap May Have Caused Terrifying Plunge On Latam Flight; Tornadoes Kill 3 In Ohio, Injure Dozens Across Midwest; White House Urges Republicans To Drop Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 15, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: No one was off limits. The pesky insects even attacking the chair umpire, appearing to sting him in the head.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Oh, my God, so mysteriously or luckily, is there a beekeeper in the House? Apparently, there was.

SANCHEZ: Yes, there is.

KEILAR: Beekeeper turned rock star, Lance Davis, rushed to the court to vacuum these guys up. Don't worry. He transferred them to one of his personal hives, so humanely, and afterwards even posed for photos with the bees. So the bees posed, too, I think, just kidding.

SANCHEZ: How did he transfer them to his personal hive?

KEILAR: He vacuumed them and he sent them right on over to THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starting right now.

SANCHEZ: And a bee vacuum.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Wades out. Willis can stay, but at what cost?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Breaking news, Nathan Wade, the top prosecutor in Donald Trump's Georgia election case, resigns hours after District Attorney Fani Willis was given an ultimatum. Either he goes or she does? So where does the case against Donald Trump go from here?

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is a huge tornado. Wow! Oh, my God!


PHILLIP: Utter devastation after a string of tornadoes hits the Midwest, at least three people killed, dozens injured, and there's a chance for more severe weather tonight, with more than 25 million Americans at risk from hail tornadoes, and flooding.

And as if Boeing needed any more problems today, major news alerts about pilot seats on some aircraft. After report says a cockpit mishap may have caused a passenger plane to plunge mid-flight.


PHILLIP: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Abby Phillip, in for Jake Tapper. And we start with a breaking news from Georgia.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can keep her election case against Donald Trump because her top prosecutor has now resigned. That was the one big condition that the judge said had to be met after he decided in a ruling earlier today not to disqualify Willis from the case.

This is a win for Willis. If the judge had ultimately disqualified her, the entire case against Donald Trump and his allies likely would've crumbled and perhaps never even gone to trial. On the other hand, though, these disqualification hearings have left a mark on the district attorneys reputation before a jury will hear this case.

The biggest one perhaps of her career, and one of the biggest cases in the nation right now.

CNN's Nick Valencia is outside the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta.

Nick, Nathan Wade, he's resigned. What is he saying in that letter?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Abby, this is what we were all expecting, but now it is official. Nathan Wade is out as the lead prosecutor in this case. His resignation coming just hours after a judges order basically laid out that he was either him or District Attorney Fani Willis, that had to get off this case in order for it to proceed, and we had all assumed that it wasn't going to be Fani Willis.

And this is what Nathan Wade is saying in part of his resignation letter: I am proud of the work our team has accomplished in investigating, indicting and litigating this case, seeking justice for the people of Georgia and the United States, and being part of the effort to ensure that the rule of law and democracy are preserved. It's been the honor of a lifetime.

Wade was part of this case, an instrumental part of this case for 865 days, joining the team in November 1st of 2021, and part of the team that issued historic indictments against the former president and his allies, and also part of the team that was able to secure four guilty pleas.

But ultimately, Fani Willis was the one that had to stay and she highlighted these accomplishments in a glowing response to Nathan Wade's letter and this is what the D.A. is saying in response to the resignation. Quote: I will always remember and well remind everyone that you were brave enough to step forward and take on the investigation and problem prosecution of the allegations that the defendants in this case engaged in a conspiracy to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election.

So, what happens next? Fani Willis could proceed with the team she has now, or she can go outside and try to hire a special prosecutor. But if she does that, that comes with its own set of unique challenges, not just the media attention around this, but politics as well as the safety issues. The bottom line though, is Fani Willis is in place and she's the most important team, the most important part of this team -- Abby.

PHILLIP: What about, Nick, that Trump and his co-defendants, how are they responding to this now that Fani Willis actually is going to stay on the case? They did not succeed. And ultimately, what their goal was here?

VALENCIA: You know, they're not altogether happy, but they do in part feel vindicated. And I did reach out to Ashleigh Merchant. She sent me a statement a few hours after the order came out, and this is what Merchant is saying. She's the attorney that first surface these allegations, saying, quote, the judge clearly agreed with the defense at the actions of Willis are a result of her poor judgment and that there is the risk of the future of this case if she doesn't quickly work to cure her conflict.

That conflict, of course, has been cured with the resignation of Nathan Wade. But we should stand by for an appeal launched by defense attorneys in this case, principally Steve Sadow, the attorney for the former president -- Abby.


PHILLIP: Nick Valencia, thank you for that report.

And there's a lot to discuss here with my panel of insiders.

Let's start with Paula Reid.

Paula, Nathan Wade resigned and Fani Willis is staying. But this ruling from the judge was pretty scathing. It did not leave her without some black marks on her reputation.

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Well, the judge found that she did not engage in a corrupt scheme to profit from investigating Trump and his associates. He criticized her judgment, her honesty, and her professionalism.

And now, Abby, she's going to go into a court of law in try a case in front of the same judge, and then let's talk about the court of public opinion. We know Trump is trying to undermine trust in the judicial system. He goes after anyone who investigates him, or brings a case against him. And here, he doesn't even need to make things up. You can just quote from this opinion.

So she certainly is not emerging unscathed, but this is a self- inflicted wound it certainly is.

And, Elliot, do you think that ultimately this will have an effect on the case at all to have the lead prosecutor suddenly yanked off of it when they're trying to move this case quickly forward.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, look, it's -- it happens all the time of -- in prosecution or in government where someone leaves a case, people retire, people move on, and so on. So certainly the Fulton County district attorneys office can still proceed with the prosecution when someone's senior leaves. The bigger issue and we've talked about this, you know, Paula touched on this a little bit. There's a sort of public reputation issue that comes up and people will certainly ask questions about the integrity of the prosecution and should Fani Willis have stepped down and that's going to dog the case, frankly, in perpetuity.

But the simple fact is this prosecution can still proceed and will, there may be some delay, but it's hard to see how the removal of even one senior prosecutor dooms anyone case.

PHILLIP: Yeah. And ultimately, this ends up being really about Fani Willis and her judgment.

J. Tom Morgan, Judge McAfee admonished her behavior pretty much throughout this decision, describing her actions as bad choices, saying she made a tremendous lapse in judgment and slamming the manner of her testimony as unprofessional. By the way, testimony she chose to give. How much damage did the judges decision do to Willis's reputation here and it has it impacted her ability to prosecute this case and perhaps get the guilty verdict that matters the most here against Trump.

J. TOM MORGAN, FORMER DEKALB COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Abby, happy Friday. I hope you all are doing well.

A couple of points, the defense can appeal, and I'm sure they will from what Mr. Sadow has already released in the judge has to decide whether he's going to let that appeal go forward. If you less appeal go forward to the court of appeals, this case could be delayed as much as a couple of years.

Secondly, this is a perfect example of be careful what you ask for. Mr. Wade is no longer in the case. So you have a lead. Prosecutors never tried to felony case before out of the picture. And this gives Ms. Willis, a chance to put in a prosecutor who is experienced to what they're doing.

And then finally, when this case finally does go to trial, what you and I are talking about today will long be forgotten. It has been my experience that jurors have memory of a gnat.

PHILLIP: The jurors have a memory of a gnat. I'll remember that one.

Charlie Bailey, you know, the players here while you've worked closely with D.A. Willis and your wife is part of her communications team. What's your sense of how she's taking this decision today? We got a window. I think in a little into our psyche earlier when she talked testified. She seemed pretty angry about all of this.

CHARLIE BAILEY, FORMER FULTON COUNTY SENIOR ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, she has calls for the angry about a bunch of defendants led by adjudicated sexual assaulter in Donald Trump questioning her and calling her corrupt. And let's not lose sight that that's what the defense attorneys did with their motion here.

And the overarching thing, Abby, is that the judge slapped that down. The idea that Fani Willis brought this case, not because the evidence and the law required it, but because she couldn't afford a cruise to Aruba and had to hire someone one that would then pay for it, that is what they alleged in the motion that was slapped down firmly by the judge today.

And as to the comments about the judge, about her professionalism on the stand, you know, even judges can make mistakes and I would take strong disagreement with that depiction, I think Fani was real on the stand and I think that people of Fulton County and the people of America saw someone that rightly took umbrage with being called corrupt and called it out.


PHILLIP: Paula, Fani Willis was originally aiming to take this case to trial in August. That would have been already a pretty aggressive timeline. You heard J. Tom saying maybe years?

Do you have a sense of what the timeline really could look like now?

REID: Yeah, you had always seemed like that was ambitious to bring a sprawling RICO case against this many defendants as early as August and now we've lost a few months based on these proceedings. And now she needs to find someone new to lead the case. So, Abby, it's really unclear if this case could even possibly go before the election.

And if former President Trump is re-elected, it's unclear if it will go at all because then wed have the issue of trying a sitting president. But right now, Abby, in the past 24 hours, they've been a lot of developments and right now, it's unclear if any of Trump's four criminal cases will go forward.

The one that before the election -- the one that was on the calendar, Manhattan district attorney's case, just last night, the D.A. said they wouldn't oppose a 30-day delay. Defense attorneys want a 90-day delay.

And, Abby, as we've seen, if you grant one delay, there's always a possibility you come back, ask for another delay. That was the only case that was firmly on the calendar. The two federal cases, one in limbo, the January 6 case until the Supreme Court rules on immunity, classified documents case.

We're still waiting for a firm date from Aileen Cannon at this point, Abby, it is unclear if former President Trump will face criminal prosecution before November.

PHILLIP: And that is in fact the big picture here of all of this.

Charlie, a final word to you. Fani Willis is up for election in November. What's the landscape here? Because she faced a fight for reelection?

BAILEY: Well, right now the one person is qualified to run against her in the Democratic primary should take place in May. Another person's qualified to run against her in the general election in November. I'm not concerned about either of those. I think Fani Willis will win the nomination -- renomination easily, the Democratic nomination. And I think shell dispatch with any Republican opposition in November easily as well.

PHILLIP: All right. J. Tom and Charlie, thank you both very much for joining us today.

Paula and Elliot, stick with us a little while.

Coming up next, could another Trump trial that was scheduled to start later this month now be delayed until the summer? The arguments from Trump's lawyers today is next.

And more severe weather is on the way after a string of deadly tornadoes in the Midwest reduced some towns to rubble.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's one coming right at us.

ANDREW DAY, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Boomed me back about 15 feet from there to about right there in that debris, and I just held on and whatever I could grab a hold of.




PHILLIP: We're back with more in our law and justice lead, this time, turning to Donald Trump's hush money case over his payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair that he had before the 2016 election.

Now, yesterday, the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg said that he would be open to delaying the start part of that trial by 30 days. But today, lawyers for Donald Trump said that's not enough. That's because federal prosecutors just handed over more than 30,000 documents in this case, the trial was set to begin in 10 days on March 25th.

CNN's Paula Reid and Elliot Williams are back with me now.

Paula, what's going on here? First of all, it's interesting that there's so many pages of documents being handed over at the last possible second, it seems. REID: Yeah. As you said, this was supposed to start in ten days. This was the one criminal trial against former president Trump that appeared to be firmly on the calendar. And then you see even prosecutors are saying, look, were okay if you delay this a month, whereas defense attorneys want to push this case back three months so that they have enough time to go through these tens of thousands of pages of new evidence.

And this new evidence comes from a federal prosecutor's office in New York. This is a state case. Now, these are being handed over right now, even though the district attorney actually requested these documents from federal prosecutors over a year ago, earlier this year, though the Trump team subpoena these documents and have been a lot of accusations flying back and forth to prosecutor sit on these. That's what defense attorneys allege that prosecutors are alleging that the Trump team just waited to the last minute to try to subpoena these.

There's also conflicting accounts of how relevant these documents are. So, Abby, this will all be up to the judge overseeing this case to maybe press the parties for some clarity and then decide where on that crowded calendar this trial is going to go.

PHILLIP: That's a lot -- a lot in there. Paula, look, Elliot, it raises a lot of questions including strategically could Trump and his team have wanted this to come in at the last second to allow them to delay. But regardless, will the judge have to consider perhaps something longer than 30 days just because of the volume and because it seems no one knows what's in them?

WILLIAMS: Well, an important point Paula made is that because no one knows what's in them, 30,000 pages can mean a lot of things -- or 30,000 documents can mean a lot of things. It can be a lot of forwarded emails and attachments and so on. So it's hard to know what exactly is in there.

Now, in terms of the 30 versus 90 days, certainly both parties are in agreement about extending the timeline somewhat and it's just a question of how much time they actually need. I can't underscore enough though how delicate this area of criminal prosecution is.

Prosecutors, Abbey, have an obligation under law to turn over documents to the defense at the start of litigation. And frankly, the one way to screw up a prosecution is to mess this up. And if there is an error in not making a defendant -- giving defendant an ability to review documents, that can actually get a conviction tossed out if he's ultimately convicted.

Now, that said, the former president has a long documented and demonstrated history of trying to slow cases down. But this is really one area where prosecutors really have to be careful and make sure that they don't make a big mistake.

PHILLIP: Paula, what about that? I mean, are there concerns that this could be more than just a question of time? It could also be a question of the rights of the defendant here and whether that could imperil the entire case. REID: Look, Abby, I have a lot of questions, so I imagined the judge

has a lot of questions about what exactly happened here. I think what's interesting though is this is another example of how the system, either the Supreme Court or in this case, prosecutors appear to be helping Trump in his delaying strategy.


We talked a lot about how that's their legal strategy to try to push everything back until after the election. But they're getting a lot of help from the Supreme Court offering to take up the issue of immunity when they could have done it months ago or here where prosecutors for some reason are just hanging think over tens of thousands of documents now.

I think the judge overseeing this case, its going to probably seek some clarity if he doesn't already understand exactly what has happened here. And then, Abby, the biggest question is, okay. How much more time is he going to give them? And what else could potentially happen here to possibly continue to push this case, which is why I say it's not clear right now that any of these criminal while cases are absolutely going to go before November.

PHILLIP: Yeah. Wow. Never dull moment around here.

Paula Reid, Elliot Williams, thank you very much.

And we do have some breaking news now. Mike Pence just announced whether or not he will endorse Donald Trump for president. Hear his explanation next.

And new reporting today that a plane that plunged hundreds of feet mid-flight, why a meal service to the cockpit could be to blame. That's next.



PHILLIP: And we're back with our breaking news lead for 2024 race.

Former Vice President Mike Pence making a significant announcement about his support or lack thereof in this presidential race.

Let's get right to CNN's Kristen Holmes.

Kristen, what did Pence say?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is both surprising and unsurprising at the same time. There was a lot of speculation as to what vice president or former Vice President Mike Pence would do when it came to Donald Trump because of their fraught history between both him being the vice president and the Trump Pence administration, and then also their breakdown over January 6. There was a lot of speculation that Vice President Pence Mike just not say anything at all. But he in fact was unequivocally clear that he would not be supporting

former President Donald Trump in this cycle. Take a listen.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESDIENT: Donald Trump is pursuing and articulating an agenda that is at odds with the conservative agenda that we governed on during our four years. And that's why I cannot in good conscience endorse Donald Trump in this campaign.


HOLMES: Somewhat interesting, given that, look at what exactly he's putting this on, saying that Donald Trump is not a true conservative that he's putting forward an agenda that is not a true conservative agenda. Nothing about the breakdown in their relationship, which I will remind you after extensive pressure campaign by Trump and his allies for Pence to overturn the 2020 election, Pence did not, which led to complete fraction between the two men.

Then they ran against each other when Donald Trump routinely attacked Pence as weak, unable to actually do the job. Finally, you started hearing some pushback from Mike Pence in that role? Again, Mike Pence has said and various occasions that his life was threatened on January 6, when that mob attacked, yet that's not the point he was making here. It was all about a conservative agenda.

One thing I will note is that Pence is new endeavor is to raise $20 million on conservative principles. So that might give you an idea of why he took this path, instead.

PHILLIP: No endorsement for Trump. I wonder what else he's going to do instead.

Kristen Holmes, thank you very much for bringing that to us.

And now onto some stories leading around the world. In Ukraine, officials say a quote, terrorizing double strike killed at least 20 people and injured 73 in Odesa. Russian missiles first hit a residential area and then struck the first responders trying to save lives on the scene. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called it, quote, a despicable act of cowardice.

While in Russia, brave acts of defiance on the full first day of voting in so-called elections there. A woman in Moscow poured green dye on the ballot box. Russian media reports, she could face up to five years in prison.

Another in southwestern Russia similarly destroyed valets, actions Russia sees as provocations rather than protests. Putin himself chose to vote online. And he's expected to remain in power.

And now to Gaza, you're looking at the first shipment of aid to reach Gaza by sea. World Central Kitchen led by chef Jose Andres organized this delivery. Gaza's population is teetering on the brink of famine right now as aid groups accused Israel of obstructing deliveries of aid by land.

And back here in the United States, what could be major news for people trying to buy or sell a home. A settlement announced today eliminates the 6 percent real estate commission, which was the standard in home buying. As you know, you usually have that commission goes to the seller's agent. The other half goes to the buyer's agent. And if a judge approves this agreement, buyers could shop around now for agents who are offering to charge less.

And in our national lead, we are learning new details today about what may have caused that Latam passenger plane to take that terrifying nosedive during a flight to New Zealand earlier this week. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that a flight attendant may have accidentally hit a switch that pushed the pilot seat into the controls causing the planet in to suddenly drop. It injured dozens of people after some passengers were thrown into the roof of the cabin.

Let's bring in CNN's Pete Muntean.

Pete, wow, what happened and what might have caused it. Tell us more about that.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is more about that. This is really interesting. Abby, because the Boeing announcement to airlines to say that they should inspect the pilot seats combined with reporting from "The Wall Street Journal", really raises a new set of alarm and a new warning for investigators to look deeper into this account about the pilot seats.

The account from "The Wall Street Journal" after speaking to two U.S. officials, says that there was a flight attendant on board in the cockpit of this 787 serving meals on Monday when they accidentally bumped into a switch on the back of the seats here on the 787, that switch will actually actuate the seat 4NF (ph). It's located right about here. And that can slide the seat 4NF. And after on an L-shaped track, it's covered by this plastic panel here you flip that panel up, you can move this switch in the two positions.

The track is here, and the thinking is that the seat went toward the control column here and ended up pushing the control column forward and the nose of the airplane down. That was a really scary moment for a lot of passengers on board, ultimately about 50 passengers treated after this flight landed in Auckland, New Zealand, about 12 of them seriously play and they said that they were thrown up to the ceiling of the airplane. It really flies in the face of the account that passengers got from one of the pilots as they were exiting the plane that the pilot said that their screens initially went dark, causing them to briefly lose control of the airplane.

So this is something where the investigator haters will also need to look at the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder. The flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder make up the two black boxes. The flight data recorder will be key because it will be able to show if the linear movement of the seat translated into the linear movement on the control column here. Also the cockpit voice recorder will be key because the sensitive microphones inside the cockpit that well be able to pick up if there was some sort of struggle with the seat. If somebody said, hey, stumps have stopped, the seed is moving.

So this is a really interesting development here. Abby and investigators really have their work cut out for them.

PHILLIP: Wow, its hard to even know what to say in the face of all of that. Boeing though, is in the middle of just a huge firestorm over a number of things. What have they been saying? And how does this factor into this scrutiny that they're already facing?

MUNTEAN: Boeing underscores that the investigation is just beginning, but the message now from Boeing to airlines that operate the 787 is to essentially inspect the airplane at the next maintenance opportunity, inspect the switch because they feel like it could get stuck in the wrong position.

When you think about what is going on with Boeing, this falls into one of two categories. There's one category, the 737 MAX 9 incident that caused the door plug blowout on Alaska Airlines Flight 1282 back in January, that exposed some really serious quality control issues of Boeing because that airplane left the factory without four critical bolts according to the NTSB. This incident is more of a one-off, more of an accident.

And so, there's so many incidents that have been highlighted like this recently, although this is probably not necessarily on Boeing, though clearly they're taking it very seriously.

Even as an accident, you wonder how could that even happen? That's the question I think a lot of people are asking today.

Pete Muntean, we know you're always on top of it. Thank you very much.

And right now, rescue teams are digging through the rubbles searching for any survivors after a string of deadly tornadoes. CNN is live in one of the heart hardest hit cities, next.



PHILLIP: In our national lead like a bomb going off. That is how an Ohio sheriff described last night's deadly and sudden tornado outbreak in Ohio.

At least three people were killed then dozens more were injured across the Midwest in those storms. Indiana resident Jacob Hudson tells CNN that he was trapped inside a Walmart when a tornado hit. He crouched in a family restroom with his three young kids who were, quote, crying and screaming. Thankfully, everyone was okay.

But it took nearly four hours to clear the debris and eventually for him to get home.

CNN's Whitney Wild is in hard-hit Winchester, Indiana. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYLA ALLAMAN, TORNADO VICTIM: She was screaming, please help me. Please help me. The house is on top of me. Please get me out.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kyla Allaman says the frantic call from her mother came in around 8:15 Thursday night after an EF3 tornado ripped her mother's home from its foundation while she sheltered inside.

ALLAMAN: The house was over there and they got thrown across the street.

WILD: How do you feel knowing that she survived that?

ALLAMAN: I'm really surprised digging through this and looking where she was buried.

WILD: Allaman's mother and brother were found under a wall of the home with only minor injuries. Now, Allaman and her siblings pick through the debris, still stunned. This is all that's left.

ALLAMAN: Oh, look, there's grandma's picture.

They literally lost everything. So were just trying to dig up any part of their life for them to have anything. My dad's awards from the Army, clothes, anything that we can try to save for them.

WILD: Only yards away, Andrew Day was washing dishes inside now obliterated Taco Bell when the tornado hit.

ANDREW DAY, TORNADO VICTIM: And just started shaking and boomed me back about 15 feet from there to about right there in that debris. I just held onto them whatever I could grab a hold of.

WILD: It seems like this stretch from Kentucky to Ohio after strong storms and tornadoes moved across the Midwest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my God! We need to leave.

WILD: Hail-shattered windshields from Missouri to Illinois --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've never seen anything like it.

WILD: -- to Indiana.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got to go. Oh, my god. Look at the hail.

WILD: In Ohio, at least three people were killed by the storms.

In Indiana, first responders worked overnight and through the day searching through the wreckage.


DOUGLAS CARTER, SUPERINTENDENT, INDIANA STATE POLICE: We don't know the extent of the damage to actually go through and sub-divide every single one of those properties. And do everything within our power to find out if there is anyone still within the confines of those collapsed buildings.

WILD: As Allaman looks at the piles of debris around her, mostly what she sees is a miracle.

ALLAMAN: I'm just thankful that they're alive and I mean, stuff can -- some stuff can be replaced. But, you know, lives can't.


WILD (on camera): Abby, the destruction stretches for blocks. Let me show you that Taco Bell. This again, this was Andrew Day's former workplace, that is history truck flipped over, his Jeep Laredo flipped over in that Taco Bell. It's just a stunning sight to see.

Power crews are now out here, Abby, trying to get this area back to some level of normalcy. This cleanup is going to take quite a bit of time, Abby, 22 homes were destroyed, 110 homes were damaged.

Back to you.

PHILLIP: Just horrible devastation there. Whitney Wild in Winchester, Indiana. Thank you very much.

And let's bring in now of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who is in hard- hit Logan County, Ohio, at Indian Hale High School, where behind you, just an incredible show of generosity from that community.

Governor, you've been out there. You've been touring the damage and Ohio. Tell us what you've been seeing and what the reaction has been to all of this.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: Well, we're at Indian Lake High School. And what you see behind me, I think gives you a pretty good indication of how resilient, how tough, how strong, and how caring people are. They've just flooded this gym with -- you know, with food and with clothes.

I had the opportunity this afternoon to drive and see -- (INAUDIBLE), just hundreds and hundreds of residences are they're either gone or dramatically hurt. We talked to one person, have a couple that crawled out of -- out of a crawl space. They've literally got there just in time. For that description of that that you've heard of a freight train going over and that's what -- that's what they heard.

But this community's tough. Ohioans are strong. They're coming back. They want to rebuild.

This is a beautiful lake. People come here all year, that live here all year, but we have -- also have a lot of people who come in during the summer. The fishing is good and -- but if you just go around, you'll see so many of the businesses that we all know have either been totally destroyed or significantly destroyed, and then so many other, other residences. So it's -- it's a tough, tough situation today, but people are strong

and they're determined and they're optimistic.

PHILLIP: Yeah. What do you think people need right now for these areas that are so hard hit? Where is the urgent need and if people are listening and they want to help, what can they do?

DEWINE: Yeah, I'm sure there's some funds that will have been shut up but, you know, one of the main things for us being here today is to communicate to people there will be some state help, there'll be some obviously some federal help as well. They've actually, if you look behind me, stop anything coming in as far as people bringing anything in for a few hours. So they have the chance to kind of sort what they have out here.

So, you know, people are being very, very generous. I think probably the most important thing is once we get back up come back to Indian Lake. It's a -- it's a great place to fish and boat and people just absolutely love it. And, you know, their hearts are broken when they see what Indian Lake looks like today.

But there's just a great sense of optimism that I feel as I talk to people and they were coming back, we'll get ready. We'll be ready for the summer.

PHILLIP: Well, its really good to know that, at least right now, the needs are being met. And folks can plan their trips to Indian lake later on. Thank you so much, Governor DeWine, we appreciate you.

DEWINE: Good to be with you, Abby. Thank you.

PHILLIP: And House Republicans are now facing a dilemma of their own making. They don't have the votes to impeach President Biden, but ending that investigation hands him a win in an election year. So what do they do?

We'll discuss that next.



PHILLIP: In our politics lead, it's time to move on. That is the message of the White House is now sending to House Republicans over their stalled impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

This morning, White House counsel Ed Siskel sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson, saying this impeachment is over. There's too much important work to be done for the American people to continue wasting time on the charade.

The spokesman for the speaker fired back in a statement saying, quote, the White House does not get to decide how impeachment gets resolved. That is for Congress to decide.

Let's bring in David Frum, a staff writer for "The Atlantic". David, thanks for being here.

Republicans, they've interviewed dozens of witnesses, including President Biden's son and his brother. But they've still failed to prove any criminal wrongdoing by the president himself. Do you agree that it's time for Republicans to move on?

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, we're a month pass the embarrassing fiasco, embarrassing for the House Republicans, that is, of the attempted impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. As you'll recall, the impeachment was put to a vote once, it failed, it collapsed, with losing Republican votes. It was then re- voted a second time. This time, it squeaked through.

But the Republicans in the House still not forwarded those articles of impeachment for Mayorkas to the Senate because they know they're going to be dismissed instantly because essentially, they impeach the commissioner of roads for not paving the roads while refusing to vote the funds for the road paving themselves.

I think with -- they're now facing an equally embarrassing situation are made obviously a greater -- more embarrassing situation was President Biden. They don't have the facts. Such facts as they thought they have turned out to be provided to them by a source working for -- work for and with Russian intelligence.

The whole cases which was always incredible, has now become farcical.


Yet they can't give it up, but they can't go for it either.

PHILLIP: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, they're under a lot of pressure from Donald Trump to keep it going. House Oversight Chairman James Comer just indicated that he will be issuing criminal referrals to the Department of Justice. And here's what he said in a recent interview on Fox about that.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): If Merrick Garland's Department of Justice won't take any potential criminal referrals seriously, then maybe the next president with a new attorney general will.


PHILLIP: It's almost giving away the game in a certain way. That seems like the definition, the very definition of politicizing the Justice Department.

FRUM: Look, it is. He's got this enormous embarrassing problem, which he built his entire case on the testimony of someone who has been criminally referred and has been indicted and has been indicted for working with a hostile foreign power. So the whole thing is just a giant mess. So a lot -- remember the impeachment began by saying, we need to have

something embarrassing on President Biden to compensate for the fact that we he all stood by Donald Trump is he tried to overthrow the Constitution of the United States by violence on your television set. Everybody saw that happen. So we want to make it out.

But the next guy is as bad as the man who did the most anti- constitutional events by any president in American history. We want to create that alternative reality. So we need a witness.

Well, the witness turns out to be exactly thing that people accused us of, the witness turns out to be someone who worked with has been indicted for working with the full hostile foreign intelligence agency.

Now, I suppose you can put your fingers in your ears, a la, la, la, don't hear that, but everyone notices the fingers are in your ears and everyone notices that you're saying la, la, la.

PHILLIP: Yeah, I mean, it's really questionable how much impact this will ultimately have but, David, I want to get your reaction to some breaking news that we just reported moments ago. Former president -- Vice President Mike Pence now saying that he, quote, in good conscience, cannot endorse Donald Trump. We noted on this program, he did so based on Trump not being a true conservative, doesn't mention the fact that Trump tried to get him to overturn an election.

FRUM: Yeah. Vice President Pence is a devout Christian. In the Christian Bible, it says that if someone strikes one cheek, you turn the other. If someone takes your coat, you give them the cloak as well. But it doesn't say that if a former president tried to incite a mob to murder you and your family, that you have to give him your endorsement and the subsequent election.

So, as good a Christian as he, is ready to turn the other cheek, he does have to face the fact that the former president tried to have him killed. And that's a hard thing for former vice president to get passed, understandably and correctly so.

PHILLIP: Even after all the water under the bridge between those two, it still seems to be something that Pence doesn't want to lean in on fully.

David Frum, thank you. Great to see you.

FRUM: Thank you. Bye. Bye.

PHILLIP: And the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is often remembered for her famous dissenting opinions. And now her family is issuing one of their own. We'll tell you what's behind that, next.


[16:57:41] PHILLIP: A dissent has been issued from the family of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. They want her name taken off an award after the foundation gave -- in charge of that award, gave the honor to both Elon Musk and conservative media mogul, Rupert Murdoch.

A family statement says that the Opperman Foundations restraint far from the original mission of the award and from what Justice Ginsburg stood for. They say that they are not affiliated with the award and the award used to recognize women of distinction, but was expanded this year two include men. The 2023 honoree was Barbra Streisand.

And we have a great lineup coming up this Sunday morning on "STATE OF THE UNION". Speaker emerita, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, is there. Also, JFK's grandson, Jack Schlossberg. Also -- as his cousin, RFK, Jr. runs for president. Plus, California Democratic representative and current Senate candidate, Adam Schiff, South Dakota Republican Senator Mike Rounds, and Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine.

That's Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, and again at noon right here on CNN.

And then Sunday night, look for a brand new episode of "UNITED STATES OF SCANDAL WITH JAKE TAPPER". Jake is going to dig into the downfall of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, who resigned two decades ago.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Governor, thanks so much for doing that.


TAPPER: So, your story is so interesting because you were living a lie, the secret life. How did you justify this to yourself? Was this just -- well, this is what gay men have to do, and I just have to pretend to be something else? And lots of other gay men are in politics pretending? Like what? What?

GREEVEY: I mean, you know -- they didn't wake up and say, you know, I'm going to be deceptive for the sake of deceiving. I'm going to create this whole double ledger. No. I didn't make that decision prior to gubernatorial campaign. I made it I got seven or eight years old.

I can remember this as if it were yesterday. I go to my local public library and I'm pulling the card catalog, looking for the word homosexuality. And it said underneath, see psychiatric illness.

And it was just like this thing, at least then in America called gay, wasn't a good thing. I realized at that point in time that life is going to be a very painful trajectory if I own this and you just tried make an accommodation albeit an unhealthy accommodation.


PHILLIP: That's a new and fascinating episode of "United States of scandal". This Sunday night, 9:00 Eastern and Pacific, here on CNN.

And I will see you later tonight on "NEWSNIGHT" at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now.