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Philadelphia Recommends Residents Use Bottled Water Following Toxic Spill; State And Federal Officials Tour Tornado Damage In Mississippi; Georgia Governor Issues State Of Emergency Following Severe Storms; Biden Approves Disaster Declaration For Mississippi After Deadly Tornadoes; Benjamin Netanyahu Fires Defense Minister After Calling For Pause On Reforms; Antisemitic Incidents In U.S. Hit Record High Last Year; Federal Regulators To Testify This Week About Recent Bank Failures. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired March 26, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield, and we begin with major developments out of Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Water Department now saying it's confident that tap water from a main water treatment plan will remain safe to drink and use through at least 8:00 tonight.
Just in for the past few hours, the city urged residents to use bottled water following a toxic chemical spill in the nearby Delaware River. It happened along a tributary in the Bristol township area of Bucks County Friday night. Phillies municipal water serves more than two million people.
The city send push alerts to cell phones today urging people to drink bottled water, quote, "out of caution" due to potential dangers posed by that chemical spill. Some stores had already started limiting bottled water sales because of shortages.
CNN's Danny Freeman is live for us in Philadelphia.
So, Danny, some mixed messages there. So Philadelphia Water saying it is OK to drink but then at the same time it's encouraging people to get bottled water?
DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, I think the key word here is abundance of caution. That's the phrase that we keep hearing from Philadelphia city officials when it comes to this particular water situation, but, again, as you said, despite those mixed messaging people here in Philadelphia, they got that alert on their phones. We all got that alert who lived in Philadelphia, and it has not stopped people from coming to supermarkets like this Acme behind me and rushing to get water.
We just got here a little while ago and this Acme, it's a big one in South Philadelphia, and we went up there and they are already out. They are finished with water. The last few people were able to get a little bit -- a couple of jugs earlier. But aside from that, all of the water is gone here, and people have been trying to figure out, well, do I get vitamin water? Do I get some of these, you know, other water brands that have, you know, flavors in it?
But the regular bottled water that people were told that they should be thinking about using tonight through the afternoon into the evening by the city, they can't get here. We're seeing and we're hearing that other stores in the area have felt that.
So again, let's go back to what we do know, though, about this spill again. It all started Friday night about 20 miles north of here in Bucks County in a township that's called Bristol.
A chemical spill happened there from the company and almost immediately the coast guard, the state environmental protection workers, they all went up there to try and figure out what had happened and to control the contamination. But then it was this morning that city officials came out and said, listen, out of an abundance of caution because the Delaware River is one of the main sources of water for the city of Philadelphia, we've decided to say to Philadelphians, it might be good to boil your water and to use bottled water if at all possible.
And we asked, I should say we asked questions as to what exactly is in this water that makes it dangerous, take a look or listen rather to one of the city officials said earlier this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL CARROLL, DEPUTY MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SUSTAINABILITY: So we're looking at butyl acrylate is a chemical, that is a chemical, which was identified in the East Palestine spill in Ohio. Also ethyl acrylate is another chemical and MMA, and I'm not exactly clear what MMA stands for, but it's related to these latex painting products. These are water soluble substances that have infiltrated the Delaware.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FREEMAN: Now, again, the company that was responsible for this spill, its name is Trinseo PLC, the manufacturing company, they have been saying that they've been cooperating with all of the relevant authorities to make sure that this is taken care of. They said it's about 8100 gallons of this chemical that may have been spilled into the river. But we're still working to get specific numbers on that.
But again at this point, the main thing is that Philadelphia is issuing these alerts out of an abundance of caution.
They're saying there's very little risk in general. But as you said, until 8:00 p.m. tonight, we just got word that they're saying there is no risk at the moment and that the tap water is safe to drink. But again, we'll get more updates shortly from the city -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Danny Freeman. Thank you so much.
All right. We're also watching recovery efforts across the south and a new severe weather threat emerging just days after a devastating tornado outbreak. Right now more than 30 million people are facing a new storm threat in the Midwest and South. The storm prediction center upgrading the risk, expecting more tornadoes in Mississippi and Alabama. And that includes areas like Rolling Fork, Mississippi, already reeling after being obliterated by an EF-4 tornado on Friday.
The death toll from this weekend's storms rising to 26. President Biden approving the Mississippi disaster declaration, freeing up federal resources, and today state and federal officials saw the damage for themselves and vowed to rebuild.
DEANNE CRISWELL, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: This is going to be a long-term recovery event, and we can see just where we're standing here that one of the major issues that we're going to face is housing and how do we help. Our number one concern is still life safety because you look around here and you look at the debris, I just really encourage everybody to remain vigilant. Stay cautious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Nick Valencia is in Rolling Fork in Mississippi.
Nick, what are you seeing?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the focus here today, Fredricka, is on the recovery and the cleanup here. Now that everyone that has been accounted for that was missing yesterday, the cleanup is the focus on this area. That has really been, you know, all of it has really been touched by this tornado that ripped through here on Friday night, and it's something that we've noticed is that even those that have had their homes just destroyed, nothing left, they're chipping in to do their part to help people that are even worse off.
And earlier today, as you mentioned, we were visited by the governor of Mississippi, along with DHS secretary and the FEMA director, and it's something that they underscored as well during their press conference earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TATE REEVES (R), MISSISSIPPI: What we've seen over the last 36 hours in Mississippi, on the one hand, has been heartbreaking to see the loss and devastation of these communities, but on the other hand has been inspiring, and gives me great reason for optimism and quite frankly, it makes me damn proud to be a Mississippian because Mississippians have done what Mississippians do in times of tragedy, in times of crisis, they stand up and they show up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: One of the things that has really given us a better understanding of the scope of this damage is our CNN drone, and we wanted to show you just exactly what people here are dealing with during this cleanup. The wreckage is really everywhere throughout this community of only about 2,000 residents. It's a majority black community. It is very impoverished, with many people, we understand, don't have insurance here.
And we were in these communities earlier, Fredricka, talking to people who had survived this, including an officer who was picked up in the tub that he was with, with his girlfriend dropped down. He survived with just a few scratches, afterwards put on his uniform and went to work. This is the type of strength that we're seeing in this community. And as we look ahead to tonight, there's another round of severe weather expected, which is making here -- a lot of people here very nervous about the prospects of that -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: My gosh, understandably very nervous.
All right, Nick Valencia, thanks so much.
So for more on the severe weather threats happening today, let's bring in a CNN meteorologist Britley Ritz.
I mean, they have good reason to be very nervous, especially what they just went through just barely over 24 hours ago. So what might be coming their way, Britley?
BRITLEY RITZ, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Fred, unfortunately, it's the same threats once again over the same areas. We're watching closely this batch of storms that are now moving into north and central Louisiana. You see all the lightning associated with it. A tornado watch issued until 7:00 Central Time for that area in red, already a handful of severe thunderstorm warnings where we're dealing with thunder storms capable of producing 58-mile-per-hour winds or greater. And also large hail.
We have that severe thunderstorm watch box highlighted in yellow from Montgomery down into the Florida Panhandle. That goes until 6:00 Central Time, but notice these areas highlighted in orange, those are the severe thunderstorms. These are capable of producing golf ball sized hail. Those are some of our bigger threats. You noticed over the last 24 hours, widespread from Texas back on up into the Carolinas, numerous hail reports as well as wind and hail, and we're expected to deal with that again starting this afternoon.
We're already seeing it in parts of Texas and Louisiana, going through the rest of the overnight hours and into tomorrow morning with a couple of long-lived tornadoes and large hail, especially areas highlighted in red -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Britley Ritz, thanks so much.
All right. Parts of Georgia are also picking up today after severe weather.
Today new video just into the CNN NEWSROOM showing the damage in West Point, Georgia. At least three people were hurt when a tornado barreled across Troup County damaging several homes, as you see right there, just simply flattened down debris. Also forcing the closure of Interstate 85 for some time.
Joining us right now on the phone Derick Staley, the fire chief of West Point, Georgia, a city that suffered substantial damage.
Chief, what can you tell us about how you all are picking up the pieces and how people are trying to, you know, get through this.
CHIEF DERICK STALEY, WEST POINT FIRE DEPARTMENT: Thanks. We're right now we're focusing on recovery and cleanup. Storm hit right around daylight this morning. Kind of unexpected. We do have mass damage in the area. And luckily, we've had five injuries, all the three, all but two have been released from the hospital at this time.
The people are really rallying to get it cleaned up and getting roads back passable. Don't have a total of homes damaged at this time. The majority of the damage is actually on the city limits in the county, not in the city of West Point, so it's mainly in the county, but we're all working hand in hand with our partners at the county to get this cleaned up and get stuff as safe as we can and people taken care of.
We had the Red Cross in town. It has set up a shelter, providing lodging and food for them and just trying to pick the pieces up and move forward and make the best we can.
WHITFIELD: So tell me a little bit about West Point, Georgia. What this community is like?
STALEY: West Point's population about 3500. We are home to the Kia manufacturing plant. The storm went just north of the Kia plant. No damage in that area. Everything, all the damages on U.S. Highway 29 is a majority of the damage in the West Point area at this time.
WHITFIELD: So tell me about a few of the people who we understand were injured in Troup County.
STALEY: I'm not aware of the extent of the injuries at this time. Like I said, I know five have been treated. Three of them have been released from the hospital. Two are still being treated at the hospital. I don't think there's any life-threatening injuries to the best of my knowledge at this time. I'm not sure the extent.
WHITFIELD: Now what about for later on today in this evening? Our meteorologist, you know, just let everybody know that more storms are coming this evening, and it seems like they may be on the same path as what has been experienced already. How are you and others bracing?
STALEY: Yes, that's exactly what we're looking at is there's another round. It looks like it's going to be coming at us pretty much the same path. One reason we established the Red Cross shelter in the city of West Point gym to have some brick and mortar for the residents that have been displaced at this time for them to stay. We have also set up a command post in this area or emergency responders. In the event of severe weather they can shelter in that location if needed, and continue with the efforts of cleanup and salvage best we can. WHITFIELD: All right. Chief Derick Staley, we're going to leave it
there for now. Thank you so much. All the best to you and the entire community there.
STALEY: Thank you so much.
WHITFIELD: All right. President Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Mississippi to help in the recovery efforts.
CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is joining us right now.
Priscilla, tell us more about how the administration is responding.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the goal here is to get resources to the impacted communities and do so quickly. So as you mentioned, overnight President Biden approve that disaster declaration for Mississippi, which orders federal aid to those impacted areas, and that includes a few things, grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and help with removal of debris.
Now, just yesterday, President Biden said that he saw these images and he called them, quote, "heartbreaking." He said that he and First Lady Jill Biden were praying for the communities who have been impacted by these devastating tornadoes. And now comes the federal response and getting that aid to the people on the ground.
As you heard from Nick earlier federal officials have been on the ground that includes Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, as well as FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell. And they have said in their public comments that they are there to assess the damage, to see what help and resources they can provide, and do so on an expedited process as well as stay on the ground until they are up and running.
Now we also got a response from Governor Reeves to President Biden approving that declaration and in it he said that he was thankful and also that he hopes that this will help them recover quickly -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: OK, and then, you know, on a different topic, I mean, this is a real setback what I'm about to ask you for the Biden ministration.
The president's pick to lead the FAA is now withdrawing his name from consideration, and it comes after criticism from Republicans over his aviation credentials. Can you tell us more?
ALVAREZ: And it is that criticism that a White House official pointed to when news broke that his nomination has been withdrawn. In fact, in a statement, they said, quote, "An onslaught of unfounded Republican attacks led to this." Now those criticisms were based on his aviation credentials as well as legal entanglements.
Now recall this is a nominee that has been waiting to be confirmed in a really critical post, especially amid the multitude of aviation incidents in recent weeks or months. Now a Senate committee had been set to vote on him and vote him out of committee this week. That vote was postponed. That will no longer happen now that his nomination has been withdrawn. But one of the criticisms again was his slim aviation experience. He has been in transportation related positions for decades, but he has just recently gotten into aviation in 2021.
Now the White House says that they will continue to look for a nominee. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the partisan attacks, quote, "undeserved" but said he respected Phil Washington's decision -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much, at the White House.
Straight ahead, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just fired his defense minister after he pushed back on Netanyahu's judicial overhaul plan. And right now, protests in Tel Aviv ongoing. We'll go there live, next.
WHITFIELD: Fast moving developments out of Israel where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fired his defense minister. The move comes after the minister called for a pause on the government's controversial judicial overhaul. The reforms have sparked weeks of protests across Israel and right now spontaneous protests in the streets of Tel Aviv.
Journalist Elliott Gotkine is there.
Elliott, tell me more about what's happening.
ELLIOTT GOTKINE, JOURNALIST: Fredricka, you know how the old saying goes, if you're going to shoot the king, you better not miss, but it seems like the defense minister Yoav Gallant missed when he came on television and gave a press conference on Saturday evening coming out as the first minister in the government against this judicial overhaul, calling for it to be paused.
And I can tell you that I've been here for the past hour or so, and people just keep streaming here to this part of central Tel Aviv to express their support for the now ex-defense minister and to reiterate their opposition to this judicial overhaul that Yoav Gallant came out against on Saturday evening and which has now cost him his job.
And of course, we've seen these protests going on now for some 13 weeks every Thursday, every Saturday evening. This is a Sunday evening. This is not a normal time that these people you see here come out on the streets to protest, but they have done so in direct response to Netanyahu's sacking of his defense minister.
We heard from the opposition leader, Yair Lapid, former prime minister of course, saying that this is just effectively Netanyahu looking after himself again at the cost of the state of Israel security because Yoav Gallant is a very respected military man. He was obviously the minister of defense and the sacking of him is not something that is taken lightly in this country where the defense establishment and where most adults served in the army at some point in their lives. And so it's a very big move by Netanyahu.
And I suppose what really happened here is that there was hope. There was hope on Saturday evening on the part of these protesters and on the part of people in Israel who are against this judicial overhaul that you have Gallant's statement that is called report to this judicial overhaul would put pressure on Netanyahu, on the prime minister, to do exactly that, to pause this overhaul.
But the sacking of Yoav Gallant simply means that Netanyahu is not going to be accepting challenges to his authority of the overhaul. This judicial overhaul will continue. And now the other people in his own Likud Party will see what's happened to the defense minister, they would perhaps be thinking twice before they too come out against this judicial overhaul, which is very much supported by Netanyahu and which could and which will in its current state pretty much removed all checks and balances on the government by allowing it to put its allies in the Supreme Court and preventing the Supreme Court from striking down laws passed by the government except in very narrow circumstances.
So all these thousands of people you see here out on the street this evening to show their support for Yoav Gallant, the ex-defense minister, and their opposition, reiterating their opposition to the judicial overhaul that Gallant called to be paused and which has now cost him his job -- Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, it'll be interesting to see if any other member of the cabinet is just as outspoken.
Elliott Gotkine, thank you so much.
All right. Coming up an alarming trend in the U.S. Antisemitic activity has hit the highest level since the 1970s. The head of the Anti-Defamation League joining me next.
WHITFIELD: All right, this just in. A real heartbreak, a true tragedy in Tennessee where authorities say six girls ranging in age from 1 to 18 were killed in a car crash along Interstate 24 this morning. Robertson County emergency crews responded to the scene where they say they found woman in critical condition. First responders believe all the victims were ejected from the vehicle. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.
And a disturbing new report shows that antisemitic incidents in the U.S. hit a record high last year, according to the Anti-Defamation League. There were nearly 3700 incidents reported last year. That's a 36 percent increase compared to 2021, and the highest level since the organization began recording in 1979. CNN's Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last October, a former student at the University of Arizona kills a professor who he believed to be Jewish, according to authorities. February of this year, a man is charged with two hate crimes in Los Angeles after he allegedly shot two people at two separate synagogues, incidents that were part of a horrific spike of acts of physical assault, vandalism, and harassment against Jews in the U.S. over the past year.
That's according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League, which says a record number of antisemitic incidents were reported last year, nearly 3700.
JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO AND NATIONAL DIRECTOR, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: It tells us something sick about our broader society. This was the highest year the ADL has ever seen in almost 45 years of collecting this data.
TODD: This month, Stanford University police launched a hate crime investigation after a drawing containing swastikas and an image resembling Adolf Hitler was found on a Jewish student's dorm room door. The ADL report says last year there was an increase of over 40 percent of antisemitic incidents at colleges and universities, and a jump of almost 50 percent at K-12 schools.
GREENBLATT: Kids repeat on the playground what they hear from their parents, and we know parents will repeat what they hear from people like presidents or members of Congress.
TODD: Or pop culture figures, people as famous as Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who last year tweeted that he was, quote, "going death con 3 on Jewish people," a message picked up by others who showed signs of support for Ye on banners and on messages projected on the sides of buildings.
GEORGE SELIM, FORMER DHS DIRECTOR FOR COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS: When someone who has the size of a social media following that are popular culture or an artist like the artist formerly known as Kanye West has, I mean, there was broad reach there, and we've seen the reverberation effect play out time and time again.
TODD: And experts who monitor these trends say there's a tie in between antisemitism and other forms of extremism.
JONATHAN LEWIS, PROGRAM ON EXTREMISM, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: When you look at conspiracies around COVID-19, around election fraud, when you really peel back that curtain, what you see is under these layers you have the core of these conspiracies is antisemitic, right? Alleging there is some shadowy cabal, that there is this deep state.
TODD: And what keeps experts up at night is the idea that anyone can pick up on an antisemitic trope and act on it.
LEWIS: All it takes is one individual with easy access to a firearm and a target, and that's really pointing to a likelihood that there will be increased threat of attacks like this going forward.
TODD (on-camera): What has to be done to reverse this trend? Experts on extremism and officials at the ADL say more people with influence from the White House and Congress to school principals to pop culture artisan influencers have to speak out more against antisemitism. But they also say it's got to get more personal with conversations inside American households.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
WHITFIELD: All right, joining me right now is the CEO and national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt.
Jonathan, good to see you. So, I mean, this upward trend is alarming, and you just said in Brian Todd's piece that, you know, this trend says something sick about broader society. What's the cure?
GREENBLATT: Well, look, there is no single antidote to antisemitism, I would say. There's no sort of magic cure. It's going to take a whole of society, you know, strategy to fix this problem, but this is a deep-seated problem and it didn't just start this year. Three of the past four years have seen the highest number of incidents on record. We're breaking the record every year. Over the past decade, it's been a 500 percent, you know increase.
Imagine any other condition in society have been increased 500 percent there would be an all hands on deck effort. There would be business leaders, cultural figures, elected officials, yet for some reason, the antisemitism while we continue to try to bang the drum, we simply don't see the widespread response that we want. And if you drill down on some of these statistics, the number of assault are up 30 percent but the number of assaults against Orthodox Jews increased 67 percent year over year.
The vast majority of people being targeted and victimized with violence are Jewish people who appeared Jewish. They're wearing kippah, they might wear a black hat or a shtreimel. And that is incredibly depressing that in America 2023 you can be assaulted in broad daylight simply because of how you pray or the way you dress.
WHITFIELD: Yes, in fact, I got more numbers on that. I mean, the report shows an increase across a range of incidents, including everything from offensive comments to physical assault sometimes, as you said, in broad daylight. I mean, what -- you know, we get that it is a societal problem, but it's like in order to try and to rectify stuff, you know, besides talking about it, there has to be some kind of look into why is this. I mean, what's at the root of it? I mean, I know you mentioned, you know, being passed down generation to generation, but I mean, don't we all just have our hands thrown up like what in the world. GREENBLATT: Well, I think there are a few things we can pinpoint. So
number one I think you have people in positions of authority who commit this sin of co-mission and weaponize antisemitic tropes for their own like political purposes.
You know, saying there's a great replacement theory or a shadowy cabal or globalists lurking behind the scenes. We're saying that the Jewish state is committing genocide or its supporters are manipulating Congress. All that are sins of co-mission. There are also sins of omission. So oftentimes antisemitism isn't included in D.I. trainings. Oftentimes on college campuses when people rant against Jewish conspiracies, college presidents just say, you know what? That's freedom of speech. Can't say anything about it, or that's somehow political.
So I think we need people in positions of authority to speak out, number one. Number two extremists feel emboldened right now. I mean, Marjorie Taylor Greene was at the Trump rally in Waco of all places yesterday. That should terrify all of us because she's, you know, the favorite of the QAnon crowd. And on the other side, we have hardened and anti-Zionists who are trying to again push their agenda at town council meetings and corporate boardrooms.
It's crazy, too. So we've got that. And then, thirdly, something I think we've talked about before, Fredricka. It is social media and social media is a super spreader of antisemitism and other forms of hate. We need once and for all, just like congressional leaders helped TikTok accountable this week. They need to hold Instagram, they need to hold Facebook, they need to hold Twitter accountable, and finally take action against these companies who operate with impunity.
WHITFIELD: And you think that's at the root of why there is a significant rise in antisemitic incidents at K-12 schools.
WHITFIELD: You know, you were just talking about the litany of adults, you know, and irresponsibility, but it is trickling down to kids whether they know what they're saying or not.
GREENBLATT: Yes. It is -- this is a public health crisis because make no mistake antisemitism may start with the Jews, it never ends with the Jews. It's an indicator of getting deep seeded sickness in society, so just like we tackled cigarettes because we realized they hurt the smoker and secondhand smoke hurt all of us, so antisemitism victimizes Jews, but it infects our whole society.
We need a public health approach which means schools got to teach anti-bias education. We should be mandating holocaust education. And we've got to make sure our educational environments aren't, you know, battlefields for bigotry. I think it can be tackled if we've got the will and the intention to do something about it.
WHITFIELD: Jonathan Greenblatt, great to see you. Thanks so much. Coming up, federal regulators will be on Capitol Hill testifying about
the banking crisis. Will they be able to calm fears and restore consumer confidence in the banking system? We'll discuss straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: This week, federal regulators will be on the hot seat on Capitol Hill as they testify before House and Senate committees about the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. The bank failures have caused shockwaves throughout the banking industry, sending customers fleeing from regional banks and leaving financial markets in a frenzy. Lawmakers now want to know why regulators didn't see the collapse coming and how to prevent failures from spreading.
With me now to discuss is Catherine Rampell. She is a CNN economics and political commentator and an opinion columnist for the "Washington Post."
Good to see you. So do you think these hearings will --
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Great to be here.
WHITFIELD: -- be able to, you know, determine why these banks got into trouble?
RAMPELL: I hope so. But I am not super optimistic about that. I think most of the commentary you've seen from politicians recently has been basically a retreat to partisan talking points. You know, on the left, it's all about, well, this is because of the Dodd-Frank rollback and Trump's anti-regulatory posture, which might be true but we don't necessarily know yet if that was the reason why there was an oversight failure.
And on the right it's a combination of blaming woke banks, which is sort of patently ridiculous as well as categorically denying that the roll back -- the 2018 rollback of Dodd-Frank could have had anything to do with it. So I would love to think that these lawmakers are going into these hearings with an open mind, but I suspect that there is going to be some grand standing prioritizing over necessarily seeking out the truth.
WHITFIELD: So then it doesn't sound like you have much hope in whatever comes from, you know, testimony that that will even restore some confidence in the banking industry.
RAMPELL: Well, there will be other independent investigations into what the source of the failure was. So I don't think that it's a complete loss that there will be some additional testimony that gets on the record this coming week, but I think what is required to restore faith in the banking system probably requires supervisors, regulators being relatively open about what they got wrong, stepping up their oversight in the meantime when there are reasonable things to anticipate going wrong again in the future, as interest rates continue to rise.
And basically just maintaining vigilance over the financial sector because when interest rates rise this quickly, which to be clear I think that they have needed to rise. You know, we've had a problem with inflation, but when they do rise this quickly that can cause things to break. And we need the regulators, the supervisors paying closer attention to what potentially could go wrong and giving greater assurances to the public that they're not asleep at the switch.
WHITFIELD: That was one of your suggestions. You know, when you wrote a piece this week in the "Washington Post" saying, you know, these federal officials need to clarify if all, you know, bank deposits are insured.
I mean, there has to be I guess some more oversight here and real transparency.
RAMPELL: Well, look, bank deposits up to $250,000 are absolutely insured by the FDIC so we know that is the case. There's a lot of ambiguity about the fraction of deposits that are not under that threshold, what happens to them, and right now the ambiguity I fear is leading people to pull their money -- you know, small businesses that have to make payroll that might have an account larger than that, for example, they might be pulling their money out of the smaller and regional banks and into the larger banks.
You might also fear that on the other -- on the flip side ah, the managers of these banks perceive that all of their deposits are in fact fully insured when they may not be and might take bigger risks as a result, so I just think it would be very helpful to have some clarity about what the actual policy is under what circumstances we could expect the Fed, the FDIC, the Treasury secretary to step in and say if there's another run on a bank this means we will treat it as fully insured or not. We will abide by the usual $250,000 cap.
And right now, I worry that we have kind of the worst of both worlds, both deposit flight and potentially what economists call moral hazard, basically more gambling with people's deposits.
WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Catherine Rampell, good to see you. Thanks so much. Have a great week.
RAMPELL: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Mr. Pickles is going viral after achieving a rare accomplishment at the ripe old age of 90. Ahead find out why the zoo is making a big deal out of it, next.
And fitness is essential for healthy living, but for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities who face a greater risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it's vital. This week's CNN Hero is a dad whose daughter has cerebral palsy and for eight years has made it his mission to get people like her moving through opportunities to build muscle community and a sense of pride. Meet John Watson.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN WATSON, CNN HERO: We want to lead people to a lifetime of fitness. Safety is first, but we want them to have fun. We want them to want to do it.
When we connect with them on that level, they'll show up to exercise. We do Pilates, yoga, dance.
We have a wide range of abilities. Somebody that may have limited movement we specifically trying to get them to move to how they can. It's goal system based on how many classes you go you earn certain things.
She might have a few challenges, but she never lets it stop her. Rafiqa.
We all want to be part of something. They just don't get the opportunity that often. We create a sense of pride, belonging and love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: To see John's full story and nominate your own CNN Hero, go to CNNHeroes.com right now. And we'll be right back.
WHITFIELD: Now an update out of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Water Department now saying it's confident that tap water from a main water treatment plant will remain safe to drink and use through tomorrow night at midnight. Just in the past few hours the city urged residents to use bottled water following a toxic chemical spill in the nearby Delaware River. And it happened along a tributary in the Bristol township area of Bucks County Friday night.
Philly's municipal water serves more than two million people. The city sent push alerts to cell phones today, urging people to drink bottled water, quote, "out of caution." Well, some stores had already started limiting bottled water sales because of shortages.
And now becoming a father at the age of 90, well, not exactly common, but for the oldest animal at the Houston Zoo, a tortoise named Mr. Pickles, well, it was no big deal.
CNN's Jeannie Moos has more.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tongues are wagging at the Houston Zoo. All eyes are on the zoo's oldest resident, a 90-year-old tortoise named Mr. Pickles who has managed to father three little pickles named in keeping with a pickle theme. [16:55:01]
TARA CORNELIUS, DIRECTOR OF ANIMAL CARE, HOUSTON ZOO: So Dill, Gherkin and Jalapeno.
MOOS: Their 90-year-old father was dubbed Playa for his virility, celebrated with "Atta boy."
(On-camera): Is it a big deal that he could sire these baby at age 90?
CORNELIUS: It is a big deal, so it's a big deal that, well, he could sire them but also that our animal care staff -- our herpetology keeper happened to be in the right place at the right time.
MOOS (voice-over): A keeper stumbled on Mrs. Pickles laying her eggs and moved them to safety. Houston soil isn't conducive to incubating the eggs of the endangered, radiant tortoise, native to Madagascar.
Now Mr. Pickles has become the Larry King of the tortoise world, though truth be told the departed talk show host fathered his last child at 66. So Larry is a piker compared to Mr. Pickles. That son of Larry's displayed a healthy fear of poisonous frog.
LARRY KING, FORMER TALK SHOW HOST: He's not going to hurt you.
MOOS: Like Larry, Mr. Pickles has a much younger mate. Mrs. Pickles is 53. The pair had only one other hatchling so to have three this late in life, well, it's a little like the tortoise and the hare.
But when the hare lollygag the tortoise triumphed. Slow and steady, Mr. Pickles won the race to procreate.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks, Jeanne Moos.
And Adam Sandler and his friends are coming to CNN. The Kennedy Center presents the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor celebrating Adam Sandler tonight, 8:00 Eastern Time.
I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for being with me today. The CNN NEWSROOM continues with Jim Acosta after this.