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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Bridge Catastrophe: Search Underway For Six Presumed Dead In Bridge Collapse; John King Talks With Voters In Battleground & Border State; Cruel Reality In Gaza: Only The Fittest Get Aid Dropped Into Sea; Emerging Therapy Seeks To Treat Post-Traumatic Stress. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 27, 2024 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: I don't buy it at all. I think it's clear that it's big enough for both of them. I don't buy this James Cameron, that he's also said that for the story, Jack had to die.

I get the sense that Rose saw those sketches he was drawing and she's like, yeah, it's not going to cut in the real-world. She was like, all right, buddy.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: You think that he just confirmed what he wanted to confirm?

SANCHEZ: Confirmation bias, yes. Correct.

KEILAR: Confirmation bias. Well, it's now someone else's door, that's right.

SANCHEZ: We can test it. We should try it out, yeah.

KEILAR: That's right. Yeah, it looks like two people would fit, I think, right?

SANCHEZ: I think so.

KEILAR: Here we go.

All right. We're going to float away to --

SANCHEZ: Congratulations to the lucky bidder.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: A rescue mission turned recovery operation.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Investigators all day aboard the ship responsible for that catastrophic bridge collapse in Baltimore interviewing crew, doing inspections as the families of six bridge workers hold out hope remains will be recovered.

This hour, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Plus, the head of the Army Corps of Engineers on the enormous effect to clear all that mangled metal and reopen this major east coast shipping port.

Also on the lead, CNN's John King all over the map this time in the battleground and border state of Arizona. How voters there feel about President Biden or Donald Trump as November election creeps closer on the calendar and the shocking and very legal discovery hidden in crates of avocados.


MATTINGLY: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Phil Mattingly, in for Jake Tapper.

And we begin with that ongoing search and recovery efforts in Baltimore. Divers battling cold, choppy waters to find the bodies of all six people who are presumed dead after a cargo ship hit and destroyed the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

Today, CNN is learning more about the victims. So far, we have photos of three of them, all six, were working construction on the night of the collapse, their company, Brawner Builders, saying they were quote, hardworking, wonderful people, and now, they're gone. That company is in the process of putting together compensation packages for those devastated families.

We are also learning more about the investigation into how a standard journey for the Dali cargo ship turned into disaster. We know that just minutes before impact, the ship blacked out. In fact, a port worker claims the ship had, quotes, severe electrical problems while docked just two days before it crashed into the bridge. In moments, I'll ask Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about that reporting.

Authorities have also recovered the ship's data recorder, a black box, which could shed more light on what went wrong and why.

CNN's Brian Todd leads us off with the latest on the investigation, and what we know about the victims.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voce-over): Investigators say they're going to examine a play-by-play breakdown of the moments before a fully loaded cargo ship rammed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, killing six people. A key piece of evidence, the ship's data recorder.

JENNIFER HOMENDY, CHAIR, NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD: We've sent that back to our lab to evaluate and begin to develop a timeline of events that led up to the strike on the bridge.

TODD: National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy says, they'll use that data in addition to interviews with witnesses.

Julie Mitchell works at the port. She told CNN affiliate ITN that the cargo ship seen here with its lights flickering off moments for the crash was in port for two days.

JULIE MITCHELL, PORT OF BALTIMORE: It was just on power failures left and right. So whenever it left port, some of us feel like it should have left when it was daylight, so they can take care and see what issues they were having, too.

TODD: CNN reached out to the ship's operator, Synergy Group, for a response. We haven't heard back.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg doesn't expect the investigation will change bridge or ship design moving forward.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The bridge like this one completed in the 1970s was simply not made to withstand a direct impact on a critical support peer from a vessel that weighs about 200 million pounds.

TODD: Despite what Buttigieg says, structural experts like Timothy Galarnyk say this was all avoidable.

TIMOTHY GALARNYK, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: This bridge should have had pier protection. Dolphins or pier protections are cylindrical structures that are constructed in the -- in the navigable channel upstream and downstream from the main piers. They are designed, intended to be struck.

TODD: At this moment, Buttigieg says the major focus is reopening the port.

BUTTIGIEG: We are concerned about the local economic impact with some 8,000 jobs directly associated with port activities.

TODD: But Homendy says the investigation will look at what could have kept the bridge from coming down.

HOMENDY: We will look at areas that should have been in place to prevent this type of disruption from occurring.

TODD: The six workers who were killed were on the bridge filling potholes at the time, including Dorlian Castillo Cabrera from Guatemala, who has been working in the area for three years and loved his job, and 38 year-old Maynor Sandoval from Honduras, a father of two. His brother told CNN he loved his family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He was a loving guy, a happy guy, a guy with vision.


TODD: So far, no bodies have been found, but divers are still doing dangerous recovery work around the wreckage.

BUTCH HENDRICK, FORMER RESCUE DIVER; If those bodies are entrapped in the physical structure, what has to happen is pieces of metal and steel and cement have got to be moved. Diver could be dead in a matter of seconds and he wouldn't even know it. TODD: Buttigieg says cleanup crews are working to clear out the hundreds of millions of tons of wreckage, so shipping can resume and the bridge can be rebuilt.

BUTTIGIEG: We know that it can't happen overnight. And so we're going to have to manage the impacts in the meantime.


TODD (on camera): Federal officials now say there are ten ships in addition to the Dali that are now stuck inside the port of Baltimore, they include three bulk carriers and oil and chemical tanker and a vehicle carrier.

Officials, a short time ago also said that all 22 crew members of the Dali we are still on board the ship and are cooperating with investigators -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: CNN's Brian Todd for us on the scene.

Let's turn now to CNN's Tom Foreman.

And, Tom, you're learning more about how the ships size may have contributed to this tragedy.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Phil, Brian led into this perfectly, while public officials are now calling this an accident, some engineers are indeed suggesting it may have been an accident almost 50 years in the making for two key reasons.

First, the size of the ship. Much of our coverage has noted that the Dali is longer than three football fields and carries tens of thousands of tons of weight. But such monster ships are a product of just the last couple of decades.

When the Key Bridge was built in 1977, opened up then big cargo ships were generally only big enough to handle up to 2,500 shipping containers each, about 20 feet long.

Then, as worldwide trade blossomed, and electronics appliances, furniture, cars, and other consumer items, the size of cargo ships exploded bigger, much more powerful, heavier.

Today, some can carry ten times, as much as they used to carry. The Dali fits somewhere in the middle here toward the higher end. And some engineers believe dozens, maybe hundreds of bridges under which these ships pass all over the country have not been kept up with that technology. Well, many believed these safety experts that were talking about, say there should be fenders of some sort, protective barriers of concrete or steel like what you see over here around this something that will deflect or fuse the impact on structures like Key Bridge. Now whether or not they would actually stop things here if they came in, if there were a bigger protection down around here around the bottom, that's a question.

As we noted, Secretary Buttigieg says he doesn't think that any bridge could have withstood this correct impact. I'm sure, Phil, you're going to ask him about that in a few minutes.

But the bottom line is that's what a big rallying cry is right now to say, maybe this bridge could have withstood this impact, but it didn't really have a chance.

MATTINGLY: You know, Tom, first up, the pictures and it seems crazy to say there's almost don't even do it justice. You see it in person. The scale of the enormity of the ship and what transpired after that contact is remarkable.

But there's an irony here and that consumer demand is what I think drove the growth of these enormous shifts because beyond the immediate human cost of this accident, consumers are almost certainly at least as the second-order effect going to have to pay because of this, right?

FOREMAN: Yeah, that's right. So many consumer goods pass through this port, including last year 850,000 vehicles, cars, light trucks, and so on. If this harbor is not reopened quickly, the shock of this accident could ripple all across the country, perhaps most of all, if you're out there expecting to buy a new car anytime soon -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: All right. Tom Foreman for us, thank you as always.

Now, more than one thousand U.S. Army Corps of Engineer personnel now activated to help in the aftermath of Baltimore bridge collapse. A main part of their mission to clear the shipping channel, a critical shipping channel at that.

With us now to discuss all this, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commander and chief of engineers, Lieutenant General Scott Spellmon.

We appreciate your time. I know there is an enormous amount on your plate and the plate that your team right now.

Just -- can you explain to people how big of an issue this is, the undertaking you guys are currently experimental.

LT. GEN. SCOTT SPELLMON, COMMANDER AND CHIEF ENGINEERS, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Phil, thanks, first of all, for having us on the program. On behalf of the 38,000 men and women in the Army Corps of Engineers, our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones in this terrible accident.

As Governor Moore said yesterday, job number one is returning those loved ones back to their families. As the president said, our role in the recovery from this tragedy is reopening this ship channel and your team of graphics and showed it very well to your viewers.

We're going to go about this in three steps. The first is to get the steel trust out of a 700 foot wide by 50 foot deep channel out there on site yesterday. We are back in D.C. today lining up some additional resources that we need.

We're going to cut that -- those members out of that 700-foot channel and then we're going to look at the bottom and see what concrete members are down below.


When these ships come into Baltimore harbor, there's anywhere between a foot and a foot of clearance from the bottom. So any piece of concrete, any piece of steel on the bottom is just as much as the hazard as that in the channel. So that's step one, that's going to allow us to get one-way traffic going in and out of the port of Baltimore again.

The second will work very, very closely with the coast guard. We've got that ship right now is just on the lip of the channel. There are containers on top of the vessel that need to be stabilized, that work will be done in supervised by the Coast Guard.

We've got to lift that trust bridge. That's overlaid over the top of that vessel get that off. So it can be tug to a safe part of the port that will allow -- by removing the vessel, that will allow us to reopen two-way traffic.

Then, of course, our third step would be to take out the remaining 2,900 feet of steel and all the associated concrete and roadway that's at the river bottom. We're up to this task. We have all that we need.

MATTINGLY: To be very clear, I don't think anybody questions that at all. You know, it's interesting the secretary transportation earlier today speaking at the White House, said that you guys have been aggressive in getting resources and going after resources for what you're going to need. I think sonar has been activated, trying to get a full sense of the picture there.

But what you're describing sounds like in enormous undertaking. Do you have any sense of how long that would take?

SPELLMON: We'll know more in the next couple of days on duration. What you don't see on the footage is what's underneath the water and the conditions that these divers will be working in. A lot of sharp, razor sharp steel that can be lethal to our divers, and certainly their equipment.

We have a lot of underway quarter technology and cameras at work right now, just outlining that the work ahead, we've got to figure out how were going to cut those members, how were going to lift them out of the channel safely.

MATTINGLY: I know that you guys are looking forward. This isn't as much of a look back responsibility at this point, but when you look given your guys' expertise, when you look at what happened from the crash to just how quickly the bridge collapsed, do you feel like there was anything that could have been done in terms of the design that would have prevented something like this?

SPELLMON: Phil, I'm today responsible for maintaining 577 federal navigation channels across 1,200 ports in the United States. This is one of them. I think as the National Transportation Safety Board continues their investigation, were going to learn things that we should consider doing differently in the years ahead.

MATTINGLY: What do you draw in terms of past experiences or past efforts that you've been involved with that you can utilize here?

SPELLMON: Yeah, this is a very delicate operation for us. Obviously, we're dealing with the loss of loved ones and it's not lost on us that we're dealing with a very similar situation to have been for months now in the ongoing wildfire recovery on the island of Maui, very similar circumstances. We want to be sensitive to those families, but lean ahead on all the hours that we have doing ahead, to lean head for the important work that we have ahead of us.

MATTINGLY: You mentioned the divers, the conditions right now. Obviously, it's been raining in the area. Cold waters, choppy waters, how does that complicate this process?

SPELLMON: Yeah. So we've all seen steel construction going up, multi- story steel construction. And if you're familiar with that, it's very methodical. It goes up member by member.

But now were dealing with a five-story structure that's below water, right? So very, very dark, you've mentioned cold and these are not clean members. So, a lot of jagged still below us, a lot of twisted rebar and heavy concrete. They're going to be working amongst all of that very, very dangerous conditions.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, we're certainly thinking about you and your personnel as you go through, what is a significant undertaking.

Lt. General Scott Spellmon, we appreciate your time, sir. Thank you very much.

SPELLMON: Thank you. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: And up next, the most pressing issue for the Biden administration as the port operation continues, I'll ask Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about all of that next.

And later, treating trauma with trauma replayed like a black and white movie. Jake Tapper spoke with the founder of this technology, calls it a breakthrough treatment needed for PTSD.

Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: We are back with the latest international lead, the devastating bridge collapse in Baltimore. Right now, the records still blocks the key channel into Baltimore's normally very busy port. And there's no specific timeline for to reopen. This impacts supply chains tens of thousands of workers and ultimately, family's livelihoods. That means the entire her city of Baltimore will remain under a state of emergency for the foreseeable future.

And we turn now to the secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg.

Mr. Secretary, we appreciate your time, especially very busy time for you. When you were in Baltimore yesterday, we were up there as well, and you see kind of the full constellation of federal, state, local officials and entities that are now hard at work.

When you look forward, what do you feel like its the biggest issue that DOT is dealing with right now?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I was very impressed with the coordination that I saw state, county, or local federal. We saw the Army Corps of Engineer, Coast Guard, NTSB that we just mentioned, so many different players working together.

From a transportation department perspective, it really comes down to four things, get that bridge back up, help Maryland in their work to do that. That's number one.

Number two, in the meantime, make sure that the traffic impacts can be dealt with. Number three, get that poured back open.

And, number four, in the meantime, make sure that the supply chain impacts can be dealt with. And we've got work underway on all of those.

Just moments ago, we received an emergency relief -- a funding request from the state of Maryland. That's the first step that makes it possible for us to get federal funds to help them in their rebuilding efforts. Also, this afternoon, our federal highways team is working with them to start looking at design and procurement.

Meanwhile, on the port front, that's really the most acute short-term concern, especially for the workers who are impacted about $2 million a day in wages depend on the work that goes on in that port. And while it is not the largest container port in the U.S., it is the busiest of vehicle court.

And getting cargos diverted to other ports up and down the eastern seaboard will be possible, but it will not be simple. I'll be convening different players across the shipping sector and supply chains tomorrow to try to get a better sense of their data, their plans, and their concerns, and how we can help.

MATTINGLY: You know, your point about not being simple is actually one that I wanted to ask you about. These ports, are they prepared, are they capable of taking the incoming loads that will be headed their way now? Or are there things that they're going to need to do to change their operations in order to deal with that?


BUTTIGIEG: We are getting early indications that would suggest that many of them have some additional capacity that they could surge to absorb and accommodate the cargo that's being diverted, but it really shifts from one type of cargo to another. Containers are pretty standardized, but this is actually an important port for sugar shipments.

There are not a lot of terminals that can take sugar. So we're -- we're looking at what alternatives there are there. So it's really going to vary product by product. Those are exactly the kinds of issues that our new multimodal freight office is dealing with.

This is an office it was actually yet another thing created by President Biden's infrastructure law. It's not a piece of physical infrastructure. It's a -- it's a piece of administrative infrastructure that can help us better coordinate those players. It's coming in really handy at a time like this.

MATTINGLY: You mentioned the types of cargo that goes in and out of this port there. I think are 4,700 cargo containers on the Dali. There are ships that are still in port right now until it reopens.

Are those goods all going to be recovered and transferred out or some of them lost? Do we have a sense of that?

BUTTIGIEG: I can't speak to the goods that are on the ship itself. As for the rest, there were a number of ships that were inside the port, inside of the bridge as that happened. And they're not going anywhere until that channel can safely be cleared.

So the task has been to offload that cargo, transfer it over land. Get it to another port as you can imagine, a complicated operation, but one that's well underway right now.

MATTINGLY: You mentioned that the first request had come in just over the course of the last couple of hours. My understanding is there are pots of money that DOT has access to that they can tap into pretty quickly. How quickly will the federal government be able to bond and start deploying some of that money?

BUTTIGIEG: My intention is to get this first request and processed immediately and start those dollars flowing, even in these earliest days. There her expenses that can be associated with the design planning, engineering, other things that need to go into getting that bridge restored. And we will make sure as the president has directed, that financing and administrative issues are not a barrier to getting that done quickly.

We do have resources to get to work right away. If we need more, we will approach Congress and let them know what we think is needed.

MATTINGLY: To that point about barriers, do you have a sense of regulations that you will need to try and bypass or go around in order to speed up the process?

BUTTIGIEG: I can tell you that were not going to allow red tape to present any unnecessary barriers to getting this done. Look, this is federal taxpayer money. Obviously, it has to be spent within some very strict checks, balances, and conditions to make sure that it is spent well, but we're not going to allow that to be something that's slowed down the process. We're just going to hurry up and get it right the first time.

MATTINGLY: In terms of cost, Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen earlier today, she believed that at least in part insurance would be utilized here to cover some of this financing. The president saying yesterday, the federal government will cover everything.

Do you have any sense right now of if insurance payments will be coming forth in the weeks and months ahead or if U.S. taxpayers are going to have to finance all of this?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, it's too soon to say what all of the liability findings will be, although that's another piece of what's at stake in the investigations that law enforcement and NTSB are pursuing right now.

What I will say is, of course, any private party that bears responsibility and is accountable will have to be held liable. We just can't wait for that process to play out to get the funds out that are going to get this bridge backup in this port reopened. So, you know, of course, we will expect that kind of accountability when the time comes, but in the meantime, we're going to make sure that those federal resources are put together upfront, so that nothing unnecessarily delays the roadway back to normal.

Workers are counting on it. People who depend on these shipments, whether they realize it or not they are, counting on it, and about 30,000 vehicles a day that go over that bridge, they're counting on us doing everything in our power to get them back to normal. It will not be quick and it will not be easy but we're committed to do it as long as it takes.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, a critical point on all of those fronts.

Secretary -- Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thank you, sir, for your time.

BUTTIGIEG: Thank you

MATTINGLY: And in politics, CNN's John King -- well, he's been all over the map. Hear what voters in Arizona are telling him about the 2024 matchup between President Biden and Donald Trump, and what's driving decisions in this border in battleground state.

That's next.



MATTINGLY: Welcome back.

In our 2024 lead, here are some headlines you may have seen about the border over the past week. How the political system failed to solve the border crisis. More than 100 migrants break through razor wire, knock down guards as they illegally cross El Paso border wild scene. Biden administration accused of ignoring the border crisis, real life threats.

These are the national takes about what border states face. But how did people who actually live near the border field are John King went to Arizona and ask them?



JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Air Force veteran Melissa Cordero voted for Trump in 2020.

CORDERO: I was a small business owner at the time.

KING: Cordero works for a conservation non-profit now and will not vote for Trump again.

CORDERO: Reproductive rights, you know? As someone who was raped, who's actually assaulted, I had the opportunity to make that decision on terminating the pregnancy.

I can't imagine in future years to come if that happens to me again or to somebody else, them not having that.

KING: Likely Biden, but Cordero will study third options

CORDERO: You know, my biggest -- my biggest issue with Biden is the Palestine issue. You know, you fight for queer, trans, BIPOC, immigrant, access to vote, veterans being deported, access for veterans to vote while they're overseas, you know, then also, you just should care if people are getting killed at that, at that rate.


KING: Ray Flores is no fan of Biden or Trump, thinks both are too old to be president.

RAY FLORES, ARIZONA VOTER: At this juncture, they both had for years and I'm just eight years more frustrated than I was before.

KING: Flores runs El Charro, a family business for 102 years, a Tucson landmark, famous for Carne Seca and the Chimichanga.

Washington's immigration paralysis hurts business.

FLORES: I mean, a clear process for work visas would be amazing. You have your technology company, you can get an engineer and you can get them immigrated and you can get a work visa. Why should I well do that with the chef? Oh, with a really good waiter?

KING: The immigration conversation tends to be different in places at or near the border. More polite, more nuanced focused on solutions, not slogans.

EVAN KORY, ARIZONA VOTER: It's a unique situation where you have two countries that create a community, and actually it's mutually beneficial for both countries.

KING: Walk through the Nogales border crossing in the first business you see is Kory's bridal shop. Evan Kory's Korea is fine with the wall, but didn't like it when Trump added the razor wire. He bristles when the former president talks about the border and Mexicans.

KORY: We've always depended on are Mexican neighbors to support our local economy


MATTINGLY: John King joins me now from New York.

And looked, Jake, I came down to D.C. usually we sit in your office and talk about the details of what you've picked up. You ran away to New York, so, I'm going to do it anyway, on live television. I've always struck by your pieces about the difference for the contrast between what voters on the ground think and say versus maybe what's being reported at a national level, on this issue specifically, why do you think there's a very different national perception than what you seem to be hearing from the people on the ground?

KING: Because a lot of the people doing the yelling on this issue don't spend enough time with the people who actually live it every day. It's just a fact of life.

Look, Evan Kory, you just saw at the end of the piece there, he's a Democrat, he's a Biden voter, but he's also somebody whose family has had a business for 77 years, steps from the Mexican border, to ask him his favorite restaurant. You'll take a few blocks away in Mexico. You go through the border.

These people are used to going back and forth day to day, the Americans and the Mexicans who either live in sometimes work in the United States or just come to the United States to buy a wedding dress, right up the street from Kory's or Davids western wear.

He's a Republican, David Moore. He makes these amazing handmade cowboy boots. Ill get your pair where I go back to visit him, Phil. He's a Republican. His mom's from Mexico.

So when he hears Trumps say immigrants poison our blood, it just hit -- he's repulsed by it. So, look, they say it's a crisis. They want more and Evan Kory, a Democrat, wants more border patrol.

He doesn't mind the wall. He just hates the razor wire. He thinks its just ridiculous looking and it's on the American side. So what good does it do? It's bad to look out the window.

They say crisis, they want help, they want more border patrol, but they just say the rhetoric they hear from both liberals and Trump are as alarmist. And if you say you don't know border patrol, their mean people, they say no, we need that help.

And basically, Phil, they want people to have adult conversations and to go into a room and figure it out and they'd love to give them advice. They just say they don't come.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, wildly divergent from the political messaging versus the actual policy that's necessary at this point.

To broaden it out a little bit, look, we've both covered the White House, sat in the very tiny booths, have these scars probably to show for my time there, when you look at the current inhabitant of the White House, polls right now say the election is going to be incredibly close, so close, former President Obama is warning, quote, its an all-hands-on-deck moment for Democrats.

Tomorrow, president vital join forces with Obama, former President Bill Clinton for a fundraising event, Radio City Music Hall. Do you think Biden is kind of the critical surrogate -- Obama as the critical surrogate for Biden, particularly with the subgroups of the Democratic coalition that seemed to be soft right now for 'em?

KING: You make a key point at the end there, subgroups, subgroups. So that's why the former president is correct in saying it's an all hands on deck moment.

Now, if you're 25, now, you were what? Fifteen, 16 when Obama left office, or 17 or 18 when Obama left office. It's been 7-1/2 years since he left.

So Joe Biden has a huge problem with young voters. They used to be a big part of the Obama coalition. The youngest voters now don't really remember Barack Obama, but can you help? Of course, he can. He has energy as a campaigner, can put people in a room.

In our travels, one of the things we have noticed dramatically is that Joe Biden has a enthusiasm problem among African-Americans. You know, Barack Obama had historic Black turnout in 2008 actually, dropped a little bit in 2012, but there's no question he can help with Black Americans and the Democratic base who are disillusioned.

Some of its personal to Biden, some of it just were exhausted from COVID and then came inflation. We don't see Washington doing anything that helps us. So I agree with the all hands on deck. How much can Obama himself bring?

In my travels fill, you probably heard this when you travel, too, a lot of Democrats say, we will take them, but we prefer Michelle.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Always viewed, I think over the course of the last couple of cycles is the real most valuable surrogate.

I'm interested also, I think you referred to yourself as a 20-year- old, it felt like you were saying that at least to some degree, which seems right. You know, in your travels, it becomes so clear how many people don't want this rematch that they're getting, whether they like it or not or whatever conspiracy theory says, otherwise.


We just hear a voter you spoke to in Arizona said they look at the third parties, one man in Texas so frustrated, he's legally changed his name to, quote, literally anybody else, and announced that he's running for president, which would probably do pretty well in polls.

Obviously, literally anybody else, probably isn't going to be the next president. But talk about third parties right now. The numbers and we were talking about this a couple weeks ago. You're looking at the swing states. These are sticky numbers and they're lasting a lot longer than I think people expected.

KING: There are several states, if you look in 2016 and 2020 where history has told us, doesn't mean it'll apply in 2024, but that its really hard for Donald Trump to get to 50 percent. If you look at all the -- all the data available to you, there's not majority support for Trumpism. But he can get to 46 and he can get to 47. And we know we can get 48.

And so, if the third party candidates are drawing the vote, ask Hillary Clinton about Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016, they can have an impact.

Now, it was interesting today, Donald Trump put out along statement about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. At the end, he said, I'm glad he's running. At the beginning, he attacked him. So it tells -- you know, most people think Kennedy hurts Biden, but I've talked to voters who voted for Trump in 2016, who liked Kennedy.

So I think both candidates are trying to -- they know these third- party candidates could have a big impact and they're trying to figure out just how and just where. It will vary state by state.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. It's going to be fascinating to watch play out. John King, we're going to be looking out for your full all over the map report on "ANDERSON COOPER 360" tonight at 8:00 Eastern. We always appreciate your time, my friend. See you soon.

KING: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: And up next, what it's really like on the ground in Gaza as parachutes float down to deliver aid, see how the goodwill missions turned into a dangerous fight for food.

Stay with us.



MATTINGLY: In our world lead, a heartbreaking story shown in a way only CNN can, unfathomable suffering and hunger in Gaza has led many to risk their lives for their families. Some swimming into the ocean to recover aid dropped from the sky, a method of distributing life- saving aid that is neither safe nor effective, but one of the only ways for the world to help the starving people of Gaza as Israel continues to block some of the land crossings.

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh brings us this report. First, we must want our viewers what you're about to see is very important. It's also very hard to watch.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As they spot a plane and the aid begins to drop, they run as fast as they can.

It's the rush of people so desperate, so hungry, but would do anything to feed their children now on the brink of starvation. This is what survival in Gaza has come to, fighting for food.

That little bit of aid that makes it into the north where man-made famine now looms.

People chase parachutes that fell into these choppy waters. It is desperation that drives them into the sea. What you're about to see next is disturbing.

It's the reality of war growing more cruel by the day. The fastest, the fittest emerged with boxes of American issued meals ready to eat. Others didn't make it out alive. People gathered around the thin, frail body of a man who drown trying to reach that aid, 12 people drowned according to paramedics.

The parachutes fell into the water, Abu Hamad (ph) says, but people want to eat. They went into the water and drowned. The current was so strong. They didn't know how to swim. It's what you do when you have nothing left to lose.

A man goes in swimming to get food for his children. He returns dead, this man says.. Bring us aid through the land crossings. Our children are dying. We are dying. What are you doing? Where is the world?

The world has been piling up life-saving aid into trucks stuck at land crossings, seemingly powerless in the face of Israel that's accused of using starvation as a weapon in this war, a charge it denies. Forcing some the international community to resort to dropping aid from the sky. Several countries carried out aid drops on this day, deliveries that have been criticized for being ineffective, insufficient, and unsafe.

Earlier this month, another airdrop disaster when a parachute failed in aid packages came crashing down, killing at least five people. It's a war that's testing humanity, and many say this is what failure looks like.

Jomana Karadsheh, CNN, London.


MATTINGLY: Our thanks to Jomana for that very powerful piece.

Ahead, what could be relief for millions of people dealing with the agony of PTSD, a therapy that essentially replays your trauma back in black and white. Two military veterans who say it worked. That's next.



MATTINGLY: At some point in their lives, according to the V.A., 7 percent of veterans will experience post-traumatic stress in 15 percent of veterans who went to Iraq and Afghanistan experienced post- traumatic stress in just the last year.

As Jake Tapper shows us, a relatively new therapy called the reconsolidation of traumatic memories or RTM, is being used to try and help them in black and white.


MIKE MORENO, VIETNAM WAR VETERAN: I was born and raised in Hell's kitchen, hey, you going to be tough. But when you got to Vietnam, you find that you weren't as tough as you thought you were.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Mike Moreno had spend 50 years of his life battling what he calls the demons, a rifleman during the Vietnam War, Moreno, like many veterans, returned to the U.S. with post-traumatic stress.

MORENO: I started having nightmares and flashbacks. I didn't know what it was. Years later, I heard something about post-traumatic stress disorder and just symptoms, and I said these symptoms are what I have. The V.A. didn't know what it was. They really didn't have a therapy for it.

TAPPER: Last year, Moreno was introduced to Dr. Frank Bourrke, a PhD who has dedicated his entire career to try to help people with post- traumatic stress.

After 9/11, Dr. Burke was on the ground in New York City treating World Trade Center survivors.


Today, he's the founder of a cutting-edge therapy called the reconsolidation of traumatic memories protocol, or RTM.

DR. FRANK BOURKE, FOUNDER, THE RESEARCH AND RECOGNITION PROJECT: This is the breakthrough treatment for PTSD that we've needed for the last 75 years. This thing is almost too good to be believed.

TAPPER: Burke estimates that he is treated 3,000 people and trained more than 300 licensed therapists and the procedure.

Here's RTM works. A person imagines himself or herself inside a movie theater re-watching the traumatic event in black and white. The goal is to make the core aspects of the memory like the color or the vividness less harmful for a person.

BOURKE: The memory is being processed while the person is relaxed. It separates the traumatic feeling from the memory.

TAPPER: Another bonus, Dr. Bourke says the therapy can be completed in only a few days and it can all be done online.

MORENO: I didn't believe. I said, come on, I had therapy for decades, you're going to tell me in five days, the demons are going to go away? Now way.


MORENO: The demons were gone. No more nightmares. Not one.

TAPPER: Unlike prolonged exposure therapy, which is commonly used to treat veterans, but it can be painful to relive the trauma, leading to high dropout rates, TRM's movie theater based approach seems promising.

JEFF TURNER, IRAQ WAR VETERAN: I have done cognitive behavioral therapy. Ive done cognitive processing therapy and I've done EMDR.

TAPPER: And they didn't work?

TURNER: They worked. The problem is, is that veterans are just a stubborn bunch so as me going through one and saying, oh, I'm good until I wasn't.

I'm Sergeant Jeff Turner.

TAPPER: Jeff Turner was a cannon crew member in the Iraq War in 2004.

What made you try RTM?

TURNER: Because I was stuck. Sometimes these things just pop in your head like a flashback, you know?

TAPPER: And what do you do now when it pops in your head?

TURNER: It just pops in my head a lot less. None of this goes away. I don't think I'll ever get rid of it.

TAPPER: But you can deal with it better?

TURNER: That I can deal with it better. And that's the point

TAPPER: Right now. The Veterans Administration offers a number of evidence-based therapies for post-traumatic stress. The V.A. says the knowledge about TRM's effectiveness is still evolving. The V.A. also says the protocol's results, quote, are promising, but it is not recognized as an evidence-based treatment for PTSD in any of the five current practice guidelines.

V.A. provides veterans who experienced PTSD proven effective patient- centered treatment options.

Advocates for RTM protocol suggests the V.A. is dragging its heels.

BRIG. GEN. LOREE SUTTON (RET.), FORMER ARMY PSYCHIATRIST: The V.A. has never tested RTM on its merits. Test it, but don't say that there's not enough research because you're exactly the institution who's in a position to fund that research.

TAPPER: Dr. Bourke's clients say veterans could benefit from the protocol today.

MORENO: Therapy for the V.A. in my opinion is archaic. It hasn't changed in decades. There are new therapies out there that work.

TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


MATTINGLY: The Uniform Services University has been working on a study about RTM for about the last four years. Hopefully, when those results are published later this year, more will be known about the protocol's effectiveness.

And always important to note if you or anyone else you know, is struggling with post-traumatic stress, you can text or call 988 for help.

We'll be back in a moment.



MATTINGLY: And this just in, and topping our leads around the world, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis says, yes, she will give House Republicans access to documents related to her case against former President Donald Trump. But she says she will make sure this won't get in the way of prosecuting Trump and his allies. Republicans asked for the documents saying they're investigating how Willis' office is using federal funds. Willis says the request was politically motivated.

Now, through South America and we call this a startling fine and a creative avocados, Colombian authorities say they found nearly two tons of cocaine hidden in a shipment. It's just during a routine inspection on Monday. That's a surprise.

And also, Iowa's Caitlin Clark could team up with hip hop artists and actor Ice Cube. TMZ reporting Ice Cube offered her $5 million to join his Big Three League, wouldn't confirm the figure, but posted on X, quote, why wouldn't we? Caitlin is a generational athlete who can achieve tremendous success in the Big Three.

Clark, of course, is expected to be the number one pick in next month's WNBA draft.

And now for the worst news, if you're German and loved the iconic dachshund dog breed, endearing sausage dogs, they could soon be banned in Deutschland, new draft law aims to curtail, quote, torture breeding. Dachshunds often end up with back problems due to their very short legs and long bodies. The German kennel club is barking mad, of course, and has launched a campaign to bury the bill. For now, sausage dogs fans are trying to focus on the paws-pletives (ph). Germany's agriculture minister denies they're trying to say, auf wiedersehen to the dachshunds.

My kindergarten German teacher is cringing at my efforts to once again use the language.

Before we go, an important update to an interview clip that aired during a piece earlier in the show. An allegation was made that the cargo ship that crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge had been experiencing power issues while in port. The interview was done by a CNN affiliate. Since we aired it, we've been told the subject of the interview has informed our affiliate that she cannot stand by what she told them. Disclosure of transparency, they matter.

The news continues on CNN, next.