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Vigil At UGA Honoring 2 Students Who Died On Campus Last Week; Mexico City May Be Months Away From Running Out Of Water; Key Figure In Fake Electors Plot Concealed Damning Posts On Secret Twitter Account From Investigators. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 26, 2024 - 15:30   ET



FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER AND COMMUNICATION STRATEGIST: So here we are, nine months away from the election with Democrats and Republicans supporting the two candidates from 2020, which 70 percent of Americans say they don't want. If you want to understand why people are so upset with politics, why they're so divided and why they're so disappointed with democracy, this is the reason why.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: As we watch this realignment, as you say, that this is here to stay. Frank Luntz, thank you for being with us. We appreciate it.

LUNTZ: It's a privilege. Thank you.

KEILAR: Right now, there's a vigil that's being held on the University of Georgia's campus for Laken Riley, the nursing student who was found dead after she went out for a morning run and didn't return home. We're going to take you there next.



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Right now, a massive vigil is underway at the University of Georgia. The students are gathering to honor two young people who are gone too soon.

22-year-old Laken Hope Riley, who attended a nearby school, was killed last week. Her body was found near a lake after she went for a jog on campus. Student Wyatt Banks is also being remembered. He died one day earlier on campus.

CNN's Ryan Young is at UGA in Athens, Georgia. So, Ryan, what are you seeing and hearing there from students?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Boris, truly emotional in terms of what these students not only are experiencing, but reacting to in real time. That's the student union in that direction over there. You can see some of the students who've spilled out after this has sort of wrapped up. There wasn't a dry eye. People were crying consistently for about a half hour, remembering their friends. Obviously, this has shattered a lot of the peace that they had when it comes to this university. People say they can't imagine running some of these trails that they used to run, feeling as free as they did.

And you can understand the pain they're kind of going through. A lot of these young people have said off camera that this is the first time they've ever had a loss like this one. And to have two back to back like this really has a lot of them just sort of questioning what's going on.

And there was a lot of talk about faith during this memorial, sort of. And so you can see the students who are pouring out. In fact, as far as the eye could see, you could see students lined up, mostly standing in silence. They played music.

When you talk about Laken Riley, some of her other nursing students from her school showed up here all in their blue coats standing. You got to remember, she was an honor roll student.

There's still so many questions about this case in terms of the fact that she went for a jog and then all of a sudden she's tried to call 9-1-1. And at that point, she was being attacked. Listen to her sorority president talk about her life just a moment ago.


CHLOE MELAS, ALPHA CHI OMEGA PRESIDENT: We feel the love, prayers and thoughts. We are so thankful to be a part of such a compassionate and caring community. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to say thank you.

We extend our deepest condolences to the brothers of Kappa Sigma and to Laken's family. We love you. We're praying for you and thinking of you and we will be here for you always.

Campus is really heavy right now. We're all heartbroken. I want to use this time to tell you about Laken and all she was to Alpha Chi.

It is so obvious to me why it feels so dark right now, and that is because we lost one of the brightest lights that there's ever been. This campus and our sisterhood will never be the same without Laken Reilly.


YOUNG: Yes, some of the things that I wrote down, Boris, while she was talking is tell your friends you love them. We can all understand that. Apparently she loved sweet treats and loved going for that run.

There's also this idea of service and the fact that she wanted to serve her community and make this place a better world. And that's why she wanted to be a nurse. So you felt that impact, especially with all these people who want to be health care workers who are lining up around this service, who also still want to help people on a day to day basis. And when it comes to the questions about what happened on that trail,

that's what so many people are sort of concerned about. The fact that she was killed by blunt force trauma.

We do know the police chief said they did not know each other. And this was a crime of opportunity. That's not satisfying a lot of people because obviously they want to know more. We know a camera network was in place to sort of help police make that arrest. Jose Ibarra, who's 26, we know he's a non-citizen. So students on top of that want more security here on campus.

But right now they're holding hands. They're crying. They're trying to come together because obviously this is something that many of them will never forget for the rest of their lives.

This is the largest university in the state of Georgia. It's the premier university here. So you can understand so many eyes across the state are on this.

We know resources have been pouring in to make sure this is investigated thoroughly. But still, at the same time, there's a family outreach here where people are concerned not only about her family, but her sisters and the fellow nurses who all kind of walked out here together holding hands at the end of this moving memorial service -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Ryan Young from an emotional day on the UGA campus. Thanks so much, Ryan.

An almost unimaginable crisis in one of the world's biggest cities. Mexico City is going dry. They're running out of water. We'll explain in just moments.



KEILAR: One of the world's biggest cities could be just months away from running out of water. Mexico City, home to nearly 22 million people, but years of severe drought combined with a crumbling infrastructure and increased demand have created a critical water shortage that could have the city's taps running dry by the end of June.

We have CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent Bill Weir joining us now on this story. How did it get to this point, Bill, and what's being done here?


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, that city of 22 million people lives on top of an ancient lakebed, high-altitude lakebed, that underground is the aquifer that provides about 60 percent of the water to Mexico. They have been pumping that aquifer so relentlessly. The city is sinking at about a foot and a half a year, adding to the infrastructure headaches that's happening. The other 40 percent of their water is piped, often uphill, and

officials say they lose about 40 percent to leaky infrastructure there as well. You add all of those sort of generational infrastructure problems on top of a climate crisis now, in which the water cycle has run amok, and here we are.

They say there will be no day zero like they had in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018. That city relying pretty much on one source of water, on desalination. There are multiple sources in Mexico City here, but now it's the haves or the have-nots, like the woman you see on your screen.

Folks who are forced, they're breaking the law by dipping water down, buckets down, to pull out of underground water systems there as well, but they have no other choice. They can't afford the $100, $200 water truck that comes by periodically. The wealthier neighborhoods in Mexico City are not feeling this as much.

As for the officials, CONAGUA, the National Water Service, refused our request for comments. They did say on their website they have a three- year project, that they're updating their systems, digging more wells.

The president of Mexico in recent years has even called for the big breweries, Mexican breweries so popular in the United States and other places, to move further south, away from the very arid north, into places like Mexico City, but now they have their own water crisis there as well. They say any warnings of a day zero in Mexico City are, quote, fake news. Local politicians are saying sort of ginned up by the opposition in an election year.

But water experts that we talked to are really concerned that at the current status quo, they could reach a point of dire water emergency in that massive North American city.

KEILAR: Yes, you can see how it would end up being day zero for people who can't afford it, even if in effect it isn't here, Bill. So in the long term, is there a way to turn this around, or is it just a matter of finding some kind of alternative?

WEIR: Well, it's a matter of adjusting to this new planet Earth, unfortunately. You know, so many of our cities were built at a time when we didn't have these crazy water cycles that we're experiencing right now.

So it's a shift in mindset about conserving every drop, about harvesting fog and rainwater, about cleaning up gray water supplies, and just trying to maximize the stuff of life as much as we can. Because in a concrete and asphalt city like that, the aquifer is not getting recharged. That may have to change a little bit. But it really begins with just a new mindset that none of this can be taken for granted.

KEILAR: Yes, unbelievable that the city is sinking at that rate that it is as well. Bill Weir, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

And still ahead, CNN exclusive reporting shows right-wing attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who helped devise the Trump campaign's fake electors plot in 2020, concealed a secret Twitter account from prosecutors. What is this going to mean? We'll have more on that story next.



SANCHEZ: Kenneth Chesebro, the attorney who was a key figure in crafting the Trump campaign's fake electors plot, actually had a secret anonymous Twitter account.

Some of his tweets from that account undermined statements he made to investigators looking into his role in the scheme to stop the counting of electoral votes on January 6th and hand the 2020 election to Donald Trump. CNN's KFILE senior editor, Andrew Kaczynski joins us now. Andrew, Chesebro denied even having this burner account, right?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Yes, that's right. So Chesebro was cooperating in multiple state investigations into that fake elector scheme. And when he was asked last year about whether he used social media, he said, no. Listen to this.


INVESTIGATOR: Do you have any social media presence? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?

KENNETH CHESEBRO, ATTORNEY WHO HELPED ORCHESTRATE 2020 FAKE ELECTORS PLOT: No, I mean, no, I, I, for whatever, I mean, before the --

INVESTIGATOR: Any -- alternate IDs that you're using for that kind of stuff?

CHESEBRO: No, I mean, I don't, I don't do any tweeting.


KACZYNSKI: So Chesebro has portrayed himself as sort of a moderate middleman who claimed he was misled by more radical elements within the Trump campaign about how they planned on using fake electors. But these secret tweets really reveal an entirely different story. They show how he promoted a far more aggressive strategy than he later told investigators.

And now we were able to link this anonymous account. It was called a "badger pundit" to Chesebro. Based on various details, we found that matched his biography and his lawyers then later admitted to CNN that Chesebro was behind it.

And I want to walk people through some of the contradictions here. Here is a really important one. Chesebro told Michigan investigators that he only wanted electors as a contingency so that if Trump won these court cases, winning a state, then that state would still have Trump electors that were available on January 6th when Congress certifies the vote.

So here's what he told investigators about that.


CHESEBRO: I wanted conditional language in all the states that I suggested three times to Trump campaign on December 12th, that they make it conditional on winning litigation.



KACZYNSKI: But, but on his secret Twitter account, he didn't say anything about contingencies. Look at this tweet from November 5th of 2020.

He said that Trump doesn't have to have the courts declare him the winner of the vote. He just needs to convince Republican legislatures that the election was systematically rigged, but it's impossible to run again, so that they would appoint the electors instead.

SANCHEZ: So Andrew, what is Chesebro saying about this now?

KACZYNSKI: So we reached out to Chesebro's attorney and they did tell CNN that there is clearly a conflict between some of these tweets and what he told prosecutors.

And he told -- they've told CNN that they've actually gone back to the state investigators to correct the record. And in a statement to CNN, Chesebro's attorney said that Chesebro: When he was doing volunteer work for the campaign, he was very specific and hunkered down into being the lawyer that he is and gave specific kinds of legal advice based on the things that he thought were legitimate legal challenges versus Badger Pundit, who is this other guy over there, just being a goof, according to his attorney.

SANCHEZ: Let that be a warning to folks out there with burner Twitter accounts, KFILE is out there and they will find you. Andrew Kaczynski, thanks so much.

Coming up next, a pool noodle, mud duel, a catalytic converter race and beer sumo wrestling. A look at the Florida man games when we come back.


KEILAR: The first ever Florida Man Games poked fun at being Floridian in a whole new mullet wearing beer toting kind of way.




KEILAR: Yes, that was the weaponized pool noodle mud duel. There was also sumo wrestling with floaties and brew in hand. SANCHEZ: It sounds like a great weekend.

Contestants also competed in the Category 5 cash grab where they tried to haul in as much money as they could in faux Category 5 hurricane winds.

Another event included a catalytic converter race. Competitors pedaling as fast as they could with a catalytic converter in hand.

You see somebody holding a gator there. Typical of Florida. They're also, my favorite, the evading arrest obstacle course. They had to run away from actual police. Nobody was actually arrested, though. The game's founder explained the spirit behind the self-mocking.



PETE MELFI, HOST, FLORIDA MAN GAMES: I wanted to do an event where you could live a day in the life of a Florida man without going to jail for it. So this is it. The Florida man games.


SANCHEZ: Brilliant. Of course, all the contestants were winners since they're still in Florida.

Sadly, I could not get my PTO approved in time to participate. But next year, next year, Brianna.

KEILAR: Next year, says this Florida man who wants to win. I think you can do it, Boris.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.