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GOP Hard-Liners Get House Committee Assignments; Document Investigation Continues; Russell Gage Is Released From Hospital; AZ Suburb Sues Scottsdale For Cutting Off Its Water; Investigation On Near Collision At JFK Airport Is Underway. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired January 17, 2023 - 23:00   ET




LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: House Republican leaders giving freshman New York Congressman George Santos not one but two committee assignments despite the countless lies he told during his campaign. He joins with other controversial colleagues as well who also have new committee assignments.

Tonight, we're talking about all of that and what it tells us about Speaker McCarthy's hold on the GOP or maybe their hold on him. I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres of New York. He is one who has been calling on the Federal Election Commission to launch an investigation into Santos over allegations that he broke campaign finance laws.

Congressman, thank you for being here this evening. This is certainly a congressman and a colleague who has a lot of questions surrounding him. I wonder -- I mean, you have questions about in particular, the more than $700,000 that he seems to have spent on his campaign. Why do you ask the FEC to investigate this in particular?

REP. RITCHIE TORRES (D-NY): Well, of all the 535 members of Congress, both in the Senate and the House, there's no one who poses a greater threat for the integrity of Congress than George Santos. We know he has lied about every aspect of his life. And even worse than his lying is his possible lawbreaking.

And for me, the $700,000 question is, where did all the money come from? A decade ago, George Santos was a wage earner at a call center, accumulating thousands of dollars in debt, facing evictions. As latest 2020, he reported a salary of $55,000.

And then miraculously, in 2021 and 2022, he became a multimillionaire. He claims to have earned millions of dollars from clients, yet he disclosed the names of none of those clients on his congressional disclosure as required by federal law.

And that's why I filed an ethics complaint against George Santos for falsifying his financial disclosure. We're finally getting a clear sense of exactly how the money flow from various entities into the coffers of the Santos campaign. COATES: You know, for so many who are looking at this issue, congressman, they're wondering whether there is a mechanism to have somebody who has been accused of lying, who has admitted to lying, who has the allegations you're speaking about and the questions you've raised, to have them no longer be a part of Congress.

As you've said, you call him one of the biggest dangers to our democracy, but also to our national security. There's a distinction there. The integrity of Congress and also national security. On that latter point, what is the nature of your concern there?

TORRES: Look, when you're a member of Congress, you receive security clearance by virtue of your position. So, George Santos has access to sensitive information.

And he's about to sit on the small business community, which is an important committee. It oversees the PPP program, the Payment Protection Program, which is one of the largest government programs that the federal government has ever enacted.


And can a fraud like George Santos be trusted to root out rampant fraud in the PPP program? The answer is obviously no. And keep in mind, the House Republicans have defunded the Office of Congressional Ethics at a time when George Santos threatens to corrupt the institution from within.

COATES: We are talking about, obviously, the concerns you've raised. I mean, so many are sharing these similar concerns about the security clearance, about the access. The idea that he was even placed on a committee was surprising to some.

There was concern and question whether McCarthy would ultimately seat him as a member of Congress on a committee or essentially render him legislatively impotent in terms of being able to be on these committees.

But there is a -- I want to play for you what Congressman Barry Loudermilk had to say because there is a question my colleague, Manu Raju, asked him about having him placed on a committee. Listen to this.


REP. BARRY LOUDERMILK (R-GA): He hasn't committed a crime. He hasn't been indicted on anything at this point. And in this country, you are innocent until proven guilty. So, we are going to treat him like any other member and, you know, keep an eye on it.


LOUDERMILK: So -- but --

RAJU: You know, there has been precedent. Steve King lost his committee assignments after a controversy. What's different here?

LOUDERMILK: Well, I think it's the nature of what was said. You know, this feeling like some of the things that others have said in the past were condemning of other people. I mean, basically, he said some things about himself.


COATES: Do you buy that distinction, congressman?

TORRES: We know that George Santos defrauded his way to the United States Congress. He has no business being in Congress, let alone on a committee.

And keep in mind that there's a disconnect between local Republicans who have heard directly from voters and who have called on George Santos to resign, whereas republican leadership, particularly Speaker McCarthy, needs every vote that he can get, and he needs George Santos to remain in power. So, Speaker McCarthy and House republican leadership have no incentive to drain the Santos swamp in Washington, D.C.

COATES: Congressman Torres, thank you so much for your time this evening.

TORRES: Of course.

COATES: I want to turn now to former Republican Congressman Joe Walsh, CNN political commentator Karen Finney, and national political reporter Eva McKend as well.

I want to pick up on that latter point, Karen, because -- I mean, the idea of Congressman Loudermilk, the distinction being that one was talking about someone else, the other talking about himself. So, there is a distinction there. He is talking about himself not as an insult. He's talking about himself and professing to be something other than he actually was.


COATES: What is the distinction that's happening here?

FINNEY: There is not a distinction, actually. The distinction is political convenience as far as I can tell. The other point about, one of the things that makes him a danger to national security is, given how many lies he has told and these financial entanglements, he's also very vulnerable to being blackmailed.

And that's one of the things that -- you know, constantly, when you go for security clearance, that's one of the things they look at, what is your financial situation is, because they want to know if you could -- if you are somebody who could be vulnerable to being blackmailed.

And look, the other thing that surprised me, this is a moment where Kevin McCarthy actually could've shown some spine, in my opinion, and said, you know what, we're going to let the Ethics Committee process and these legal cases play themselves out, and as they're doing so, we're going to not see you on the committee.

That actually -- now what he has done is he has given us a talking point every single time to talk about the lack of seriousness of this Congress and the fact that clearly, Kevin McCarthy has such a narrow margin that he had to put a liar and put him on a committee in charge of lots and lots of dollars.

COATES: In fact, on that very notion -- I mean -- and somebody I wish -- I want to hear more from about this area was Sen. Mitch McConnell. I've been wondering what he had to say about the idea of the spine you're speaking about. Here he is.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) (voice-over): Hopefully, McCarthy was not so weakened by all this that he can't be an effective speaker. I'm pulling for him. I think he was the right guy for the job, and I'm hoping it's going to settle down and work out well.


COATES: I mean, maybe weakened by the concession, Joe, or weakened now, to Karen's large point -- you know, if you not only give away the keys to the castle, but now you're saying, hey, listen, I don't care who's inside, is that a problem?

JOE WALSH, PODCAST HOST, FORMER ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: This is who he is, Laura. And I think we all make a big mistake and we should -- it is good TV -- focus on Santos. We focus on Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar being put on the Oversight Committee. We focus on the 10 to 20 super crazies. But Kevin McCarthy has an entire caucus full of election deniers, an entire caucus full of January 6th sympathizers.


COATES: Hold on. I'm having a problem hearing you. Apparently, the audience -- we think what you're saying is really important, so I'm going to get your mic changed.

WALSH: Okay.

COATES: I'm giving you the nod, knock on mic, yes. I'm going to turn to Eva. I'll come right back to you, John. Eva, I mean, on this point, the idea of the vulnerability and how this looks. I mean, Washington, D.C. and politics more broadly run on a business, in some respects, of optics. Does this look right for Republican voters?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Listen, I think that there is a situation basically where McCarthy probably felt as though he had no choice. But it does seem curious, right? Congressman Israel (ph) by, I think, some metrics maybe was the accusations against him were not even as bad as the territory that Santos is in.

But, you know, this is -- this is where things are. We know that political faiths changed pretty dramatically. And clearly, they think that Santos is someone that they are going to need for quite some time.

COATES: I want to come to you --

MCKEND: Oh, also, I do want to mention this idea of like top tier committees --

COATES: Right.

MCKEND: -- and companies that are not as important, I think that that characterization is really problematic.


MCKEND: If you are sitting on small business, if you are overseeing science and space, you know, those things are equally as important, too.

COATES: Oh, of course.

MCKEND: So, this idea that we're just going to give him lower tier committees and they don't matter, they're not consequential, I think is really, really problematic.

COATES: It is a problem overall. I mean, main street oftentimes more important to our economy than Wall Street for so many reasons in this world.

And I have to ask you on this and come back to you. I mean, you mentioned the idea of Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and her committee assignments as well. I mean, talk about the importance of this, because she is now going to be on the Homeland Security Committee, which was formed, just for the audience's sake, after the 9/11 attacks, that she has pushed conspiracy theories in the past, even surrounding 9/11.

I think it's a really important point to underscore that this is the committee she will have access to and information now on that very notion. In fact, I want to play for the audience hear some of the comments that she has said in the past about 9/11.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): But we've witnessed 9/11, right? We've witnessed 9/11, the terrorist attack in New York, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, and the so-called plane that crashed into the Pentagon. It's odd there is never any evidence shown for a plane in the Pentagon. But anyways, I'm not going to dive into the 9/11 conspiracy.



COATES: So-called were the words she used.

WALSH: The committee formed because of 9/11, and now a person sits on that committee who questioned our government's involvement in 9/11. I mean, that perfectly, though, Laura, crystallizes where my former party is. Marjorie Taylor Greene is not republican fringe. We were talking about it before.

We focus so much on Greene and Gosar and Boebert as we should because they're crazy, but Kevin McCarthy has an entire caucus of election deniers. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar are election deniers and they're on the Oversight Committee. And that's horrible. But good luck trying to find some Republican to put on that committee who is not an election denier. That is really McCarthy's problem.

MCKEND: And there is all this discourse now about the great transformation, you know, of Congresswoman Greene. And I'm sorry, I don't really see it as such. I more see it as the transformation of the Republican Party and what Republicans sort of view as acceptable.

FINNEY: It's also -- let's just take a step back. Kevin McCarthy put the national security of the United States of America on the table as a chick to be bargained with, bartered with for his speakership. That's what he did, because Marjorie -- the Homeland Security Committee also does election security.

COATES: Uh-hmm.

FINNEY: And she's an election denier. Marjorie Taylor Greene also has said that there is a Jewish cabal that has their own laser and that's actually what started the California wildfires in 2018. And this woman will not have a security clearance and have access to sensitive information about our country. Somebody who thinks there are -- who doesn't believe in 9/11, as you said.

And I think you made a great point, Joe, that, you know, how do you even find -- do a committee without election deniers? You now actually have four on this Oversight Committee.

WALSH: Yeah, yeah.

COATES: I mean, when you think about the idea -- to your point, Eva, the idea of importance of each and every committee. It's not just about who is on it, but what information they have access to and then what could be possibly relayed. We talk about homeland security in particular. We talk about what could actually make its way into the public sphere in ways it never ought to be. Are those concerns ruminating among Democrats right now on the hill?

MCKEND: I think so. I'm really curious to see what becomes of the House Oversight Committee chaired by Congressman James Comer. I actually know him a long time because I used to cover Kentucky's congressional delegation.


When he was a ranking member of that committee, he would often talk about how there were areas of bipartisanship where he could work with Democrats, specifically on the area of foster (ph) reform, that there was room for Democrats and Republicans to work together on oversight. I haven't heard him say that as much since he has become the chair.

But we'll have to see what eventually becomes of that committee. (INAUDIBLE) and many others will have awesome power, the power to subpoena and then, of course, to hold these high-profile committee hearings.

COATES: The power to subpoena, to have the committees, and the responsibility to protect and safeguard, nothing to sneeze at. Thank you so much, you guys

We do have investigations continuing, including around documents, and it may be the Biden administration's biggest unforced error to date. So, what is going on in the White House now, and will anyone on the team become a scapegoat or take the fall?




COATES: As criticism continues to mount over the Biden administration's handling of the discovery of classified documents at the president's former private office and at his Wilmington home, a top official saying tonight the White House will continue to cooperate and fully with the DOJ's investigation. And a Biden aide also saying the president has -- quote -- "confidence" in his team.

Joining me now is Chris Whipple, author of the brand-new book "The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden's White House." What a timely book to have right now, Chris. A lot of people are looking at this and wondering about what they're calling an unforced error in some respects. But you've got the press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, saying that there is confidence from the Biden administration. In fact, I want to play for you a little bit of what she had to say and get your reaction.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I can tell you this, that the president and his team rightfully took an action when they learned that the documents existed. They reached out to the Archives. They reached out to the Department of Justice.

His mood has been very clearly. I saw him this morning. He's been very focused. I was with -- I traveled with him this weekend. He wants to make sure that he's continuing, and we are continuing to deliver for the American people.


COATES: Well, she talks about his mood and his attitude about the matter. In your time with the president, how do you think he is handling this crisis behind the scenes?

CHRIS WHIPPLE, AUTHOR: Well, I think he is frustrated. You know, it hasn't been the White House's finest hour by any means. It's a drama they really didn't need. But in some ways, you know, it doesn't surprise me. I spent the last two years speaking with almost every member of Biden's inner circle.

And while this White House may look like a fairly well-run machine on the outside, it turns out there's a lot more drama behind closed doors than you might imagine. And I write about it in my book, the disagreement over the Afghanistan withdrawal, tensions between the president and Kamala Harris, fraught relationship between Joe Biden and his Secret Service. There's a lot of that playing out behind the scenes, again, even though things may look smooth on the outside.

I think in this case, what we are seeing is a real tension and disagreement between communications people and the lawyers. The lawyers don't want any information out there. And I think people like Karine Jean-Pierre would like to be more forthcoming. But it's a tricky balancing act to pull off.

COATES: I'm really intrigued by what is going on behind the scenes. You're talking about what appears to be obviously on the surface and the well-run machine versus what you're writing about in your book. And to that point, I mean, you reveal in the book not only there are some tensions between him and, of course, the vice president of the United States, but also with his Secret Service. There has been suspicion there.

You write, in light of January 6th, it wasn't just MAGA writ large that bothered Biden. He felt its influence all too close to home, in his Secret Service detail. Lately, the Secret Service had looked both incompetent and politicized. Wary of his own Secret Service agents, the president no longer spoke freely in their presence.

That is pretty stunning, to think about somebody who knows that he has to entrust his own life with them has some distance.

WHIPPLE: It was stunning to me when I found this out in the course of my reporting. You know, it is a fraught relationship between Joe Biden and some of his Secret Service detail. And it is sort of the most dramatic close-up example of the one thing that has surprised Joe Biden more than anything else during his presidency, and that is the staying power of Trumpism.

He thought that this would fade over time. He thought he had a mandate. He thought that he could put it in the rearview mirror with, you know, seven million more votes than Donald Trump in 2020. But it stayed despite Trump's troubles. And, of course, he saw it within some of his Secret Service details. It's a much bigger group than he used to have.

And, well, it may not be surprising because, after all, law enforcement is full of deeply conservative people. It is still -- it bothered him. And it bothered him because -- you know, it seems to me that a president has a right not only to be protected by his Secret Service detail but also to have his secrets kept, and I not sure Joe Biden thought they would.

COATES: Talk to me about the way -- him and Vice President Kamala Harris.


COATES: I'm intrigued by your book on this note in particular.

WHIPPLE: Yeah, this is really a fascinating, complicated relationship. There's no question that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had a very -- they really had warm bond in the beginning. They were thrown together by COVID. They were in meetings together all the time. Joe Biden valued her input and gave her important national security roles.

I tell the story about how, on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine, she met privately with Volodymyr Zelenskyy and warned him that the Russians were coming not only for Ukraine but for him and his family. So, he gave her important assignments.

But they ran into trouble over her portfolio. A number of her allies were complaining that the northern triangle and voting rights were just mission impossible. And then word got back to the president that the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, had been complaining about this around town, and that really did not sit well. So, it's a fascinating, complicated relationship.

COATES: Well, the book certainly explores that and so much. And, of course, there are a lot of things happening right now in the White House, how one is able to grapple. Maybe it will give you some insight into how he will and the administration will go about dealing with what's happening right now.

Chris Whipple, thank you so much.

WHIPPLE: Thank you for having me.

COATES: Well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage has been released from the hospital after he was injured on the field in last night's game against the Cowboys. We have all the details on it, next.




COATES: Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage is out of the hospital tonight. He suffered a concussion near the end of Monday's NFL wildcard playoff game. He was swarmed by medical staff after struggling to stand up on the field.

He was tweeting, earlier today, I appreciate all of the texts, calls, thoughts and prayers you all have expressed towards my family and I. I just want to let you all know that I am doing great and in great spirits. Thank you.

And with the Buccaneers loss, the Cowboys ending their season. It's also raising questions about the future of star quarterback, Tom Brady.

Joining me now to discuss all of this, CNN contributor Bob Costas. Bob, good to see you tonight. You know, I have to tell you, when we saw the injury of Russell Gage last night, a comment you made to me in the past several weeks came to mind, the idea of it is possible to make the sport safer but not entirely safe, and injuries like we saw seeming to be more and more part of the game.

I wonder, from that perspective, the fact that this is a sport where people are coming to expect, unfortunately, injuries, is -- are the players protected in their contracts or incentivized to play hurt?

BOB COSTAS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there are some contracts, not all, but a great many contracts in the NFL are not guaranteed. Even if they seem to be multiyear-contracts, they are renewable at the team's discretion along the way.

There are some contracts, Damar Hamlin's was one, as a matter of fact, where you actually receive less compensation if you missed games for being injured, which creates some incentive for players to try and cover up or play through injuries.

Now, in the case of Damar Hamlin, obviously, the league will foot all of his medical bills. And because he is such an inspiration story, they're going to take care of him. Whether he can play football or not after this, he will be an ambassador who have some kind of role. And any injury that is incurred while you're an active player, then the league is responsible for that coverage.

However, it is not widely known that you have to play in the league for at least three years to be eligible for post-career medical coverage. And that coverage lasts only five years. And many of the worst effects of playing football, the brain trauma, the cognitive decline, the neurological damage, much of that manifest itself only many years down the road.

And it is already obvious, it's been proven and the league eventually acknowledged that a very significant number of its players will have some measure of dementia or Alzheimer's or neurological difficulties, statistically, at a much higher rate than the general population. But at least that is known now.

Previously, they were in the same position as the tobacco companies denying any connection between their product and its deleterious effects. Now, everybody is advised, and they make their own calculus about risks and reward. There are significant rewards. There are also significant risks.

Those risks are brought to mind by the fact that the Damar Hamlin situation, as rare as it is, was on a nationally-televised game. And so is this one, also on a Monday night during the playoffs. But stuff like the Gage injury, not so much the Hamlin situation, but the Gage injury, that is not that uncommon in football, but it just had a larger audience at this point.

And what we all have to do is we make our peace with it one way or another. There are some people who will not play even though they're athletically gifted or who retire early. There are some fans and some who covered the game who may feel ambivalence about it, but they are drawn by the undeniable drama and excitement, the shared experience. These playoff games recently have been tremendously exciting and interesting.


So, it is kind of a dance that people do to varying degrees to reconcile what they have to know by now about the nature of the game with its undeniable appeal.

COATES: I mean, part of the appeal in some instances are the actual players themselves taking on a life outside of the sport, obviously. You've got celebrities like, well, Tom Brady, a star quarterback. People are interested in his life more broadly, and even his return to football this year alone.

I know that no one wants to read the tea leaves, have a crystal ball, all those who predicted before ended up being right. One week, wrong. The next week, about Tom Brady and return to football. Any sense of whether he, in fact, will return to the sport given all the factors you just laid out?

COSTAS: We just be guessing. I don't think, given the fact that Tom is a pocket quarterback and has always been very adept, he has had only one significant injury in his career, that very long career, very adept and avoiding significant contact, I don't think the safety issue would be the major factor in his decision.

No matter what, he has got options, including if he just wants to go sit on a beach somewhere for a year. He's got a television option. Fox has a contract waiting for him that is stratospheric. And even dwarfing his football compensation, there are teams that would want him to play for them.

If he feels like he doesn't have as good a shot at the Super Bowl with the Bucs as he once did, where he won it once and came close to second time, but this year, they were under 500, there are teams that he could probably go off and be part of.

The Las Vegas Raiders have mentioned Derek Carr as their starting quarterback, apparently over. Whether he wants to align himself with the outlaw raider brand is another thing given his generally positive image.

And the most obvious one would be the San Francisco 49ers, a very good team, still alive in the playoffs. That's where he grew up. That's the team he grew up rooting for. He likes to tell the story of being a little kid and watching Joe Montana at Candlestick Park for the 49ers back in the day.

But there is just one problem. The 49ers quarterback, Brock Purdy, the last player taken and in last round of the draft, the so-called "Mr. Irrelevant," as the good-naturedly dubbed "the last player taken to the draft," is doing just great. And Brady should be able to relate to that, because unlike Brady's most accomplished contemporary, Peyton Manning, who was the number one pick in the draft and highly touted, Tom was the 199th player taken, not the last but close to the last, and then goes on to become the most accomplished quarterback in NFL history.

If the 49ers were in desperate need of a quarterback, which apparently they are not, that would be perhaps the perfect closing chapter to go back home where he grew up, for the team he grew up rooting for, and write the last chapter in his career, but that avenue doesn't appear to be open.

COATES: Well, a lot others do, Bob Costas. I want to point out the difference between the future for someone like Tom Brady and to your first point, the idea that many players only get one or two years and they're fighting for a chance to even have medical coverage after they leave. Really important point. Thank you so much.

COSTAS: Correct. Thank you, Laura.

COATES: Thank you. Well, look, because of the mega drought in the Colorado River, Scottsdale, Arizona will stop providing water to neighboring communities. And one of those communities who wants the water is now suing to keep the tops flowing. Yes, in this country, next.




COATES: Well, there is a fight over water that is heating up between two Arizona cities. Residents of Rio Verde Foothills are suing neighbor city, Scottsdale, for cutting off their water.

Now, Rio Verde had been buying water from Scottsdale, getting it trucked in, as a matter of fact, from a private supplier until that is the first of this year. That is when Scottsdale closed up the tap for the unincorporated neighborhood in efforts to conserve water for its own residents in Scottsdale, which they had warned that they would ultimately do.

They finally, of course, announced the end of the deal late last year. That is when CNN's Lucy Kafanov took a trip to check out the situation. Here she is speaking with one of the owners of a water hauling company that had been delivering Scottsdale supply to Rio Verde.


JOHN HORNEWER, OWNER, RIO VERDE FOOTHILLS PORTABLE WATER HAULING: There is no question about it. The draft is reality. Rio Verde is the first domino to fall because of the drought that we are in.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are people taking it seriously enough?

HORNEWER: They are not. Water is more precious than you realize. And once you go to your faucet, you turn it on, there's no water.


HORNEWER: Then its value becomes real.


COATES: I want to bring in two Rio Verde Foothills residents who are now dealing with the lack of water. Christy Jackman and Cody Reim join me now. Welcome to both of you. I'll begin with you, Christy, on this matter. Please, jump in on the conversation as well, Cody. How have you been getting water since the Scottsdale water was cut off?

CHRISTY JACKMAN, RIO VERDE FOOTHILLS RESIDENT: You should start with Cody on that one because I actually have a well.

COATES: You have a well. Cody, how are you getting your water?

CODY REIM, RIO VERDE FOOTHILLS RESIDENT: I am not getting water. There was one gracious donation by a friend of mine that had access to some water. But that met its goal and that was a one-time donation that brought us about a week or two.


COATES: We're hearing from "The New York Times" reporting that people are using rainwater, for example, to flush toilets, using paper plates, trying to do anything that they can to use less water.

I'm curious, Christy, with you well. Do you still have an impact -- are you still impacted by not having the access from Scottsdale, Arizona?

JACKMAN: I think the impact is on the whole community. There is well homes and there is (INAUDIBLE) homes, we're neighbors and we're friends, and we don't want anybody to go without water.

COATES: When you look at this, of course, there was the warning, we mentioned this in the beginning, that there had been a warning or a notification, so to speak, from Scottsdale, that there would be a water stop. We talked about this back in October of 2021.

They also seemed to have made it clear back in 2015 that this arrangement of them supplying water, which apparently is actually funded by their own residents, would ultimately come to an end. When you learned of this, did you take it seriously or thought there would be some way for them to restructure it, Cody, in a way to allow access to continue?

REIM: Did they send that to me? I never received that from the city of Scottsdale. There were offers made.

COATES: Have you ever received that, Christy? JACKMAN: We have been told that yes, they were not going to continue to supply us forever, but we were also told that if we supplied them with water, they would process it for additional fee. We met that criteria. We've had two different offers given to them that would completely cover our water and the water usage, and we would pay them to process that. They are still refusing to work with us. We need cooperation from the city while we get our long-term plan, which is at core in place.

COATES: Cody, I cut you off before, but I do want to hear your response, especially the idea that you have not seen these warnings. But I wonder how much more money you are having to pay or you had to pay in order to even have access still.

REIM: Well, I just second what Christy said. You, know there was a discussion of this, and at the city level, it was always if someone could bring us water on your behalf, then we would process that water. You would just pay a fee and you would continue to be able to receive water at historic location that you have received it in the past.

My water bill will go from approximately $300 a month to over $1,100 to $1,200 dollars a month, over five times my electric bill in the summer. So, this is unacceptable. This shouldn't happen in this country.

COATES: Those numbers are stunning, when you think about that, Kristie. I mean, this is not sustainable, as you mentioned. You were talking about a plan. What is the next step here? Is it just waiting to see if there will be cooperation? What is the plan? I mean, there is a lawsuit now. What is the plan to meet your immediate needs of water?

JACKMAN: Well, unfortunately, we have to wait for the lawsuit. There's a law in Arizona that is on the books that states that a municipality that serves in unincorporated area, water may not discontinue that. And that is what we are asking them to do, just follow the law.

COATES: Cody Reim, Christy Jackman, we will continue to think about you and also follow the story. Thank you so much.

REIM: Thank you, Laura.

JACKMAN: Thank you for having us.

COATES: Well, there was an incident that could have ended in a disaster. And that's the understatement of the year. A near collision between two planes at JFK Airport in New York. The new details on the latest headache in the aviation industry is next.



(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COATES: So, here's a question a lot of people continue to ask, especially recently. What is going on with the aviation industry? Authorities are now investigating what led to a near collision between two packed planes at New York's JFK on Friday.

Here is CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, there are urgent new questions from investigators and experts following the near disaster on the runway at JFK. The National Transportation Safety Board tells CNN, interviews are ongoing, after a Delta Airline 737 and an American Airline 777 were on a collision course Friday night.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): American 106 heavy, American 106 heavy. Hold position.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Air traffic control recordings detail how the American flight was told to go to the end of JFK's runway 4 left, but instead crossed that runway in the path of the Delta flight that was taking off, a mistake caught by air traffic controllers with just seconds to spare.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): (Bleep). Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance. Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Rejecting.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): The Delta pilots slammed on the brakes. The FAA says stopping approximately a thousand feet before where the American Airline flight had just crossed the runway.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DIRECTOR: It would've been catastrophic had a collision taken place.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Former NTSB managing director Peter Goelz thinks investigations will now dig in to whether the fault lies with the pilots of the American flight apparently confused over directions from air traffic control.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): The last clearance we were given we were cleared to cross. Is that correct?

UNKNOWN (voice-over): American 106 heavy, we're departing runway 4L. I guess we'll listen to the tapes. But you are supposed to depart runway 4L. You're currently holding short of 31L.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): After the incident, the American Airlines flight continued on to its destination of London Heathrow. The airline has not said why it did not go back to the gate.


In a new statement, American Airlines says it is conducting a full internal review and cooperating with the National Transportation Safety Board in their investigation.

GOELZ: There were plenty of visual cues for this flight crew to know that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Meanwhile, the FAA has not said how it will fix its computer system that failed last week, causing a nationwide ground stop and thousands of delays and cancellations. Sources tell CNN that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is pushing for upgrades faster than planned. Even still, the FAA has no Senate-confirmed administrator leading the agency.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We're going to clear the runway. So, there will be an administrator, and that administrator can do his job.

MUNTEAN (on camera): There is one issue with the American Airlines flight continuing on to its destination of London Heathrow. Experts are worried that means the audio from the cockpit voice recorder might be lost. Typically, they record for only two hours. The NTSB wants that up to 25 hours, something the FAA has not acted on. Laura?


COATES: Pete Muntean, thank you so much. And thank you all for watching. Our coverage continues.