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Isa Soares Tonight
Israeli PM Announces Delay To Judicial Overhaul; Six Victims Plus Shooter Dead In Nashville School; German Transportation Unions Strike For Higher Wages; Public Transportation Strike Paralyzes Germany; Netanyahu Announces Delay To Judicial Overhaul Legislation; More Thunderstorms For Southeastern U.S. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 27, 2023 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LYNDA KINKADE, HOST, ISA SOARES TONIGHT: A very warm welcome to the show, everyone, I'm Lynda Kinkade in for Isa Soares. Tonight, we're following two
breaking news stories. The Israeli prime minister announces a delay to his controversial judicial overhaul that -- but will it calm the atmosphere on
Plus, an elementary school targeted in the United States yet again. What we know about the multiple victims, including the children and the female --
and the shooter is female. Well, we begin with extraordinary developments unfolding tonight in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just
announcing that he will halt his controversial plan to weaken the courts.
It comes after widespread strikes and mass protests apparently forcing his hand. Mr. Netanyahu was trying to defuse a full blown crisis threatening to
tear the country apart. For many in Israel, the last straw was his firing of the defense minister who opposed the judicial overhaul plans. Workers in
virtually every major sector went on strike today, shutting down transportation, universities, restaurants and more. Protesters are still on
the streets tonight, but Mr. Netanyahu is urging unity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL (through translator): We're not facing enemies, we're facing brothers. I'm asking from you one thing, just
be responsible and do not provoke. I'll raise the right one, and everybody in the public, they recognize the need for reform.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: We first heard of the delay from Ben-Gvir; Israel's far-right national security minister who has been convicted of supporting terrorism.
In exchange for his backing, Mr. Netanyahu will allow him to run a newly created national guard. We have two reporters on the story for you. Our
Hadas Gold is at our Jerusalem bureau, and our Nic Robertson is in the crowds on the streets of Jerusalem.
Hadas, I want to start with you first. You've been covering these protests day-in-day-out. They've been going on for three months, of course, that
will past 48 hours. We've seen some of the biggest protests. Give us a sense of the feeling in Israel right now, given that the prime minister has
essentially announced that he would now delay this judicial reform and wait for some sort of debate.
HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been an extraordinary 24-48 hours in Israel, the likes of which this country has never seen. Just
the general strike that was announced today, that brought the country to a screeching halt, including the airport, it's major ports, even McDonald's
were closed as a result of this general strike and the protests in the street.
I have to say that they have felt different over the past 24 hours, and they have for the past three months or so. And what's also different about
today is the protest that Nic is in right now. These are the right-wing protest. This is the first time we're seeing the right-wing, the people who
are in favor of the reform, who support Benjamin Netanyahu out on the streets and finally protesting as well.
But what we are hearing from the opposition leadership after Benjamin Netanyahu's speech is what I would call, you know, will believe it when we
see it, essentially saying, yes, we want to talk. We want to come to a compromise, to come to a negotiation if the legislation will actually be
paused and halted.
They clearly are approaching this cautiously. They say that they do want to have compromised reforms. Opposition leader, former Prime Minister Yair
Lapid called for a writing of an Israeli constitution. There is no written constitution for Israel. He is now calling for one to be officially
written, of course, that would take some time, and Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the freeze will only be until essentially one month from now, the
end of April when the next parliamentary session comes into force.
But another thing that was very interesting from his speech is what he didn't mention. He didn't mention the defense minister that he fired,
whether he would be brought back or what the situation was with him because Netanyahu is now doing exactly what the defense minister had asked him to
do in that speech on Saturday night, to pause the legislation on these reforms as a way to protect Israeli security.
And the other thing he didn't mention is what he promised Itamar Ben-Gvir, the Minister of National Security. It is very unusual that he has promised
Ben-Gvir, his own National Guard to be run by the Minister of National Security.
It's not clear how that will fit in into the Israeli security establishment. And what will that look like? Because look at Itamar Ben-
Gvir's own history. He already has convictions on his record. He once upon a time was the extreme far-right fringe of Israeli politics. Now he'll have
his own National Guard, it's a little unusual.
KINKADE: Yes, highly unusual, and I want to go to the union, because when we heard from Netanyahu last hour, he spoke about a minority in the country
trying to tear it apart. I mean, clearly, that's not what we're seeing, we've seen widespread protests right across the country. The largest
general strike in Israelis history. What is Netanyahu's next move? Well -- how do you see this debate playing out that he's spoken about?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there's just a lot of people that believe what the prime minister is saying. I was
speaking to a young lady just now, just before we came on air with you right now. Who said to me those exact words that it's a small minority that
are holding us back.
She said, how is that democracy when they go on strike and stop the buses and disrupt the country with protests? How is that democracy? And this is
very much a similar narrative to the narrative that's used by Prime Minister Netanyahu that we are the government. We have these judicial
reforms that are planned.
We believe that they're necessary, and we believe that it is -- it's as he describes a small minority that's holding them up. It doesn't look like a
small minority to many people, but that's the narrative that the government is using. So I think when people believe that, that they're being held back
by a small minority, then they're going to continue to want to challenge and continue to support the government, and continue to want to get those
judicial changes that they -- that they think are fitting.
So I -- my sense at the moment is that people are going to want to see those changes happen. And indeed, there's a tinged, I would say, the
conversation with the young lady, tinged with the fact that she would like to see the changes now. But recognizing what the prime minister says that
he doesn't want to tear the country apart.
But there is, you know, within the political right of this country, and within the prime minister's coalition, a lot of pressure on him to keep
track and keep on with those changes, and it's far from clear just what he's going to press for in the next session of parliament, and what that
may -- and what that may look like. We could be back to exactly the same point come the intensity of the debate then.
KINKADE: Nic Robertson for us on the streets of Jerusalem, our thanks also to Hadas Gold in our Jerusalem bureau, much appreciated. Well, earlier
today, we saw dramatic scenes in the Israeli parliament as protesters rallied outside.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Opposition lawmakers shouted their frustrations, some of them banging on tables and chanting shame! Opposition leader and former Prime
Minister Yair Lapid said Israel has never been this close to falling apart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YAIR LAPID, FORMER ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): What happened during the past 24 hours is madness. It is a loss of senses and
loss of track. It is proof that this government has lost the brakes. It is dangerous for the state of Israel. It endangers Israel's security. Our home
is in danger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, I want to bring in a former adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, Aviv Bushinsky is joining us from Tel Aviv. Good to have you
with us, thanks so much for your time.
AVIV BUSHINSKY, FORMER ADVISER TO BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: Hi Lynda, thank you for having me.
KINKADE: This has been an extraordinary 24 to 48 hours in Israel. Explain for us if you can, the sense of the state of Israel right now.
BUSHINSKY: It all began with the reforms that Netanyahu and his allies said that they're going to execute once they will be elected, and
eventually they were elected and they wanted to do so. But Netanyahu presented a huge package of reform, maybe too many to absorb, and he didn't
anticipate the amount of demonstration and opposition that this will lead to, and that's eventually what happened.
And I think that there may be -- it's the first time in the 30 years or so of Netanyahu's career that he has to back off because of pressure,
because of the internal pressure. And so, he did. He said he's going to freeze the legislation, you know, tried to resume it in a month or so from
now. And in the time-being, will negotiate where they're the opposition members.
I'm quite doubtful that this announcement as he announced today will lead to ease of the detention, and that, we won't see any demonstration from now
KINKADE: I mean, because those demonstrators wanted this completely shelved, not suspended, right? So you're saying that given the fact we saw
Netanyahu sack his defense minister over the weekend, who had called for a delay to this judicial reform. Mr. Netanyahu now saying it will be delayed.
You're saying he completely misread the electorate.
BUSHINSKY: Yes, he misled -- he misread the opposition, and he thought that since he had this surprising victory, having the majority of 64 seats
in the parliament, he'll be able to conduct everything he wants to. But apparently, he realized that there's not only opposition in the street,
opposition in the parliament, opposition around the world, including President Biden.
And the economic effect because of these things. And I think that Netanyahu was caught in between, on one hand, to try to deliver to his constituency,
and on the other hand, to try not to tear the country apart, including former soldiers or reserve soldiers that said that they're going to -- not
going to serve in the idea due to those reforms.
But I think that it's way more to that now. I think that a big portion of the demonstrators are not doing it solely because of the legislation
reforms or revolution as they define it. It's also because they just don't like Benjamin Netanyahu and what he presents and the way he behaves. His
allies, you mentioned Itamar Ben-Gvir, the religious parties, et cetera.
So, I think that this also added fuel to the flame. But my assumption is that gradually, all parties will coincide and try to adapt what the
president move forward some kind of a compromise. So, on the one hand, they tried to balance the different powers, the judicial power, the parliament
and the government, but not to the extreme as Netanyahu and his allies wanted to.
KINKADE: And, of course, and Netanyahu is already the longest-serving prime minister in Israelis history. And as you said, the U.S. President
Biden reached out to him and said, you need the checks and balances if you're going to have a thriving democracy. This law, of course, would make
it much harder for the courts to remove a leader who is deemed unfit for office. And this does come as Netanyahu is facing these corruption trials,
BUSHINSKY: Yes, but again, what Netanyahu says, and the majority of the people need to say that we had elections, was under the -- it was a fact, a
known fact that Netanyahu is under trial, and yet, over a million and a half people supported Netanyahu, and he reached the majority. I think that
Netanyahu is and was surprised that the Biden administration was so furious to those attempts, again the judicial attempts.
And you're right that -- and the fact that he also combined some personal - - as we define personal legislation to this package deal did upset many people in the country. I'm quite surprised that Netanyahu didn't read the
map. Accordingly Netanyahu is the most experienced prime minister in Israel, and even, I can -- it reminds me that it's not the first time that
he didn't fire his defense minister.
He did so in the mid '90s. I don't think that the fact that he fired the defense minister is the peak of this whole phenomenon. The bottom line is
that Netanyahu realized that there is a limitation to his political power, and due to the fact that he faced it, he had to back down, and now offer a
compromise which I quite doubt if the opposition will give them this letter to step down from the reforms that he wanted to conduct.
KINKADE: And just quickly, do you think he'll reinstate the defense minister?
BUSHINSKY: He didn't mention his name in his speech today. My gut-feeling is that he -- that the decision has been made, and you have Gallant, our
defense minister will no longer serve as our defense minister, but it's quite hard to tell because Netanyahu wants to keep his party in line, and
if you'll eventually execute his decision, going to have an internal opposition.
And up to now, Netanyahu enjoyed a very cohesive and clear support from his party and from his political allies. So it's a kind of a risk, but I assume
that he finish his term.
KINKADE: All right Leviv(ph) -- Aviv Bushinsky, good to have you with us, we appreciate your perspective, thanks for your time.
BUSHINSKY: Thanks a lot. Good night.
KINKADE: Well, Ukraine says it just received its first main battle tanks and other armored vehicles from its western allies, and that includes
Challenger 2 tanks from the U.K., and Germany's chancellor says they've just delivered Leopard 2 tanks as well.
And this, of course, comes as the battle for Bakhmut enters its most intense phase. That's according to Ukrainian military commanders, with both
Russian and Ukrainian forces caught in what they are describing as a bloody stalemate. The founder of the Russian private military company, Wagner,
visited the frontlines inside the city. He insists that his fighters will quote, "have the victory".
This new video shows how much that's costing them. It appears to be hundreds of fresh Wagner graves at a cemetery in southern Russia. The
person in this video says these graves have fighters who have died since the end of 2022. Well, the Kremlin says criticism from the West will not
stop Russia from stationing tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.
President Vladimir Putin announced those plans Saturday. It was met with strong condemnation from NATO and European countries. Our Jill Dougherty is
an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a former CNN Moscow bureau chief, she joins us now from Washington. Good to have you with us,
Jill. So --
JILL DOUGHERTY, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Lynda.
KINKADE: So why would Russia move these tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus? Is it fair to say that if Russia really wanted to use them, they
could fire them from Russia.
DOUGHERTY: Well, that is very complicated because if you go back to the end of the cold war, Belarus and Ukraine and Kazakhstan signed documents
officially to give up nuclear weapons. So it would be a very big deal if Belarus you know, had nuclear weapons. And it's -- I think it's important
to point out what President Putin is saying that they're going to deploy these weapons, not exactly clear when, but they're not going to be under
control of the Belarusians.
They're going to be under control of Russia. So he's making the arguments, well, this is just kind of what the United States does and NATO does with
tactical nuclear weapons. But this is -- it gets really complicated, really fast. I mean, just about a week ago, when Xi Jinping went to Moscow, both
Putin and Xi agreed that weapons should -- nuclear weapons should not be spread outside of the boundaries of a country.
So I think what Putin is trying to do is essentially scare people. I mean, every time he uses the word nuclear, he gets a lot of attention obviously.
And then, you know, read the fine print. When are they going to go into place? You know, he can drag this out, but I think it's a sign that he has
a lot of problems, and this is what he resorts to when he has no other -- let's call them rhetorical weapons, and that is frightening statements
about nuclear weapons.
KINKADE: And of course, Russia would potentially face even more sanctions if they proceed with this plan. NATO and the EU, of course, have condemned
the move. What could we expect in terms of additional sanctions?
DOUGHERTY: Well, there could be a variety of those, but you know, I think another part of this we really should pay attention to is, why is Belarus
doing this? I mean, Belarus, President Putin said they've been asking for nuclear weapons, and actually, you can see in Belarus, see in propaganda on
TV. They're saying well, now we're -- we have nuclear weapons.
Well, they actually don't because if we believe Putin, they're under control of Russia. But why is the President Lukashenko of Belarus agreeing
to do this. I mean, in my book, I would say it's also a sign of weakness on his part. He is very dependent on Russia economically right now, and so you
might, you know, surmise that Russia is putting pressure on Belarus to allow the stationing. We'll have to see how this plays out.
But I think it's a bad sign for Belarusian -- let's say sovereignty, to have these weapons that are really Russian weapons on their soil.
KINKADE: Yes, all right, Jill Dougherty for us, so we will stay across these developments if and when they happen. Good to have you with us from
Washington. Well, we have some breaking news out of Nashville right now. Three students and three adults have been killed in a shooting at a school.
Emergency services have been responding to the incident and confirmed the shooter is also dead.
Speaking moments ago, the Nashville police said that the shooter was a 28- year old female. They gave more details on what happened when police entered the building. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DON AARON, SPOKESPERSON, METROPOLITAN NASHVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Officers entered the first story of the school, began clearing it, they
heard shots coming from the second level.
They immediately went to the gunfire. When the officers got to the second level, they saw a shooter, a female who was firing, the officers engaged
her, she was fatally shot by responding police officers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: All right, I want to bring in our CNN anchor Amara Walker is following all the developments for us. Good to have you with us, Amara.
This is a horrific story. We cover these time and time again, but this is quite unusual to have a female as the shooter here. What more are you
AMARA WALKER, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY WEEKEND: Yes, that is exceedingly rare, Lynda, that we are talking about a female mass shooter suspect. Here in the
U.S., yes, mass shootings have become quite common, also with schools being targeted. But what we have seen time and time again, the shooter is in most
cases -- in almost every case is a male.
What we know about this female suspect, according to police, initially, they thought she might be a teenager, but now we're being told she's 28
years old. We don't have any more information about her. Police -- Nashville police still trying to identify her. We don't know what her
connection is to the school if she has any.
But what's so disturbing is knowing, according to police that she was heavily-armed, two assault-style rifles and a handgun. That is what she had
on her. When she entered this little school, you can see the steeple there in the picture. This is a Presbyterian Church, inside this church is what
houses this very small private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee.
We are told there about 200 students there on a given day, and about 40 to 50 staff members. So, you can only imagine what a small, tight-knit
community, probably only a few classrooms inside this church. The suspect, the female suspect entering the church according to Nashville police from a
side entrance, was traversing to the second floor, shooting when gunmen arrived -- excuse me when police arrived.
About five police officers arrived, two shot at her and killed her. The police response is also remarkable. The call came in at 10:13, by 10:27,
the gunman, or I should say the female shooter was dead. We know now that three children, we don't know their ages, but we know this is a school
where little children, maybe as young as four because it's a pre K, pre- kindergarten, and perhaps as old as 12 attend this school.
We know now that three children were shot and killed by the perpetrator. Three adults staff members, perhaps of this church or the school
authorities are saying it's kind of hard to determine that right now, but three adults also killed in the shooting, a total of six victims, the
seventh person being the shooter killed by police. No other injuries, except for a police officer who had some cuts from shattered glass.
But look, I mean, this is still an unfolding scene. There is a location not far from the school at another church nearby, where parents have been told
that they can head over there to find out if their child made it out alive. That is a reality here in the U.S. You can see some parents, perhaps staff
members congregating in this location, you know, but -- and a lot of emotions obviously.
I'm not very clear on the protocol, but from what I understand, when these parents arrive at these reunification centers, they tell the police their
child's name, and they wait to, you know, be reunited with their child. It's for sure, excruciating scene for all the parents, who not only attend
have their children attend this school, but all the parents in the U.S. thinking, God, could this happen to my child? So this is still unfolding,
Lynda, it's an active scene.
FBI, federal resources have also been deployed, and that is all we know right now. The Biden -- President. Biden has also been briefed on this, and
we heard from the first lady, we saw the anguish in her face, she was giving a speech at an event where she said, this is happening way too
often, and Congress, our lawmakers need to do something about it --
KINKADE: Yes, absolutely --
WALKER: Yesterday --
KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Amara Walker, thanks very much for that update, and we do expect to hear from President Biden in the coming hours. We will
bring you that when it happens. Thanks, Amara. Well, still to come here, a huge walkout in Germany just a day ahead of new major round of strikes in
France. We'll have a live update on those strikes in just a moment.
KINKADE: Welcome back, I'm Lynda Kinkade. More nationwide strikes against the French government's pension reforms are expected Tuesday. The famous
Louvre Museum in Paris was closed Monday, as some workers there demand the withdrawal of these pension changes. Authorities say they will deploy an
unprecedented number of police officers right across the country ahead of Tuesday's strikes.
And we're also seeing a quote, "mega strike" in Germany, that's bringing public transportation to a halt. Airports, train stations, even some
shipping ports are affected. The spokesperson for the German railway system says the strikes are hurting millions of commuters. Right, I want to bring
our Sam Kiley, he joins us live from Paris who's covering both stories. Good to have you with us, Sam.
I want to start with Germany because it's highly unusual right, to see these mass strikes, impacting airports and train services right across the
country. Just explain what's happening.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in Germany, they have a very strong unions, often with a place on the boards of some of the
big corporations, and collective bargaining is very much the way that they do things. So when things fall apart, when the negotiations don't go well,
the unions are capable of calling out these very substantial mass strikes.
So you've had some 400,000 transport workers stayed away from work today, 380,000 airline passengers affected, most of them had cancellation or
postponed flights, only of the major airports, only Berlin was struggling to stay open. The rest either closed partially or entirely inter-city. Long
distance, railway travel was suspended as were a lot of the commuter trains in the morning.
So it had a very profound effect, and at the heart of this strike is an old fashioned wage dispute. The unions are asking for 10.5 percent, inflation
is running at about 8.7, and the government and other parts of the economy and the private sector too are saying that we want to give you 5 percent.
There have been earlier strikes earlier in the year, which resulted in from the strikers perspective, improved wage deals.
And this is coming on the back, Lynda, of similar scale of strikes and disruptions that the United Kingdom has witnessed also over many months,
because, of course, right across Europe, the inflation is biting, eroding into people's wages and interest rates are increasing, meaning that people
are really struggling very often, particularly those that obviously at the lower end of the income scales, Lynda.
KINKADE: And, of course, when it comes to Paris, the protests have continued there, somewhat subdued today. But all eyes really on tomorrow.
KILEY: Yes. I mean, talking about people at the lower end of the income scale is precisely those people whom the unions here and opponents of the
Macron reforms, Emmanuel Macron, the French President trying to bring in a new age, for pensionable age to be 64, rather than 62 for most people. Very
often, and particularly in the Anglo-Saxon world, it can be 67, at least. So, it doesn't strike many people outside of France as that radical a
change, but that is because the unions would say that that is -- the reason for this is that it disproportionately hits the people who go into work
earlier in life, and people who don't earn a lot in the first place.
The government is saying that by 2027, just on the pensions file, they'll have a 12 1/2 billion euro deficit annually. Against all of this, though,
there have been demonstrations and strikes since the middle of January. It's really getting increasingly violent. Over the weekend, they were very,
very violent, but separate protests, involving protests over an ecological issue and the building of reservoirs.
But the local police here in Paris are saying they're having to increase the numbers nationally, but -- to 13,000 being deployed for these protests,
5 1/2 thousand. So, violence is expected here from what the government called Ultra leftist extremists, Lynda.
KILEY: No doubt, a busy day for you tomorrow. Sam Kiley, good to have you with us from Paris. Thanks very much.
Well, still to come, new tornadoes slam southeastern United States. We'll have more extreme weather on the way as well. We're going to have a live
report from Mississippi when we come back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. I'm Lynda Kinkade. We return now to our top story. After a day of mass protests and widespread strikes, Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu has delayed his plans to overhaul the judiciary. Just over an hour ago, the Israeli Prime Minister addressed the nation, saying
he was taking time out for dialogue and debate and urged unity amongst his people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I'm not ready to tear the country apart. I called time after time to speak and to
debate in order to reach a solution, and I remember that we are not facing enemies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, the Legislation will still be put to the Knesset. But now, not until its next session, which begins in late April. Thousands of people
have filled the streets in opposition to the proposed reforms and in anger over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to fire his Defense
Minister who said that the plans should be delayed.
Now those protests are still going on right now. These are live pictures coming to us from Jerusalem, plenty of people still out on the streets of
Tel Aviv as well.
We are also getting reaction from Washington and all the events taking place in Israel. Moments ago, the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-
Pierre, had this to say. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: -- continue to call for it. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: We do have a bit of an issue with that tape.
Well, I want to turn now to the tornados happening here in the U.S. The southeast of the country bracing for more extreme weather. More than 20
million people will be at risk in the coming hours in a region already battered by days of deadly storms. Tornadoes slammed into Troup County,
Georgia on Sunday where violent weather tore off roofs and destroyed up to a hundred homes in the town of LaGrange. And at least 26 people were killed
in Friday's tornadoes. CNN's Nick Valencia reports from one of the worst hit towns.
ANTWAN JONES, TORNADO VICTIM: First I come back since the storm.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you think?
JONES: Just blessed to be alive.
VALENCIA (voice-over): As the massive EF4 tornado headed towards his Rolling Fork apartment, Antoine Jones, a local police officer, took cover
with his girlfriend in their bathroom tub.
JONES: About to lift from over us, and the storm actually placed us down where the bathtub was originally.
VALENCIA: I mean, you have to think that this is maybe the end for you. You're up in the air. You're floating around.
JONES: Yes, sir. We thought we were -- thought we were going to die. That I was going to die.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Miraculously, both survived with just a few scratches. Then Jones, who was born and raised in Rolling Fork, put on his
uniform and went to work.
JONES: Once I realized that I was OK, It was time to get into the first responder mode.
VALENCIA (voice-over): A few blocks away, we meet Amanda Kelly and her boyfriend, Scotty. In February, she says, she was diagnosed with
spinocerebellar ataxia, a Parkinson's-like condition that affects her ability to walk and talk. And now this.
AMANDA KELLY, TORNADO VICTIM: If it was not for Scotty, and God, I wouldn't be here. There's no doubt because I wouldn't have been able to get from my
room to the hallway by myself. And I wouldn't have been able to hold myself down.
VALENCIA: You were getting blown away?
KELLY: I was literally getting sucked up. We both were.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Kelly lost both her walkers in the tornado, along with so much else. But like many here in Rolling Fork, their material
possessions are meaningless to them given the fact they survived when so many didn't.
ELIJAH WASHINGTON, TORNADO SURVIVOR: The house went to shaking and I said, yes, it's really serious this time.
VALENCIA (voice-over): For 65-year-old Elijah Washington, this is the third tornado he survived. This one, he says, was by far the worst. But there
were smile. He says he's lucky in this devastated mobile home park where eyewitnesses tell CNN several people died. Washington says he was one of
the few of his neighbors who had home insurance.
WASHINGTON: I heard somebody moan and said a stick though somebody's head, a couple of legs broke, you know, and stuff like that, so.
VALENCIA: And here you are with just a scratch on your finger.
WASHINGTON: A scratch on my finger and walking around. I walked out of here last night. It's just amazing.
VALENCIA (voice-over): Amazing is one word for it. Antwan Jones would rather see his story of survival as a sign from God. And he says he's going
VALENCIA: That was your girlfriend that you were in the tub with?
JONES: Yes, sir.
VALENCIA: So, you got to get married now. You know that, right?
JONES: Yes, sir. That's coming.
Yes, sir. Can't let her go.
KINKADE: Well, Nick joins me now from Rolling Fork. Nick, just extraordinary scenes there. You've been speaking to survivors of these
horrific tornadoes, many which lost everything. What do they feel, given the fact that that there are more forecasts on the way?
VALENCIA (on camera): Yes, it is devastating to see these images here, Lynda. It's sobering, you know, to see this devastation all throughout this
town, just very few portions of it were left untouched by that EF4 tornado that ripped through here. Just behind my camera, an open field. It tore
through here and had nothing to break it up except these homes.
And Joyce Brewer, your home was one of the first that got hit by the tornado.
JOYCE BREWER, HOME WAS HEAVILY DAMAGED IN ROLLING FORK: Yes.
VALENCIA: You were home with your 3-year-old granddaughter. TELL me what happened?
BREWER: Well, you know, I looked out the door and I could see that it was bad outside and I told my son to get up off the couch and get in the tub
with her and he got up and I shut the door and my husband hollered, "You all get in the hallway." We got in the hallway. And next thing you know, it
VALENCIA: I want to look behind us here because he was sitting right there with that brick wall collapsed with his 3-year-old and just in a matter of
BREWER: Yes. If he wouldn't have got up, they would probably be gone.
VALENCIA: How are you guys coping today? I mean, it seems as though we're here just a few days removed from the storm and it's starting to hit some
people here. How are you doing?
BREWER: Well, I'm doing a lot better because I got a place to live and we got our lives. So, that's --
VALENCIA: That's amazing.
BREWER: You know, like I said, material things can be replaced, but lives can't.
VALENCIA: What does it say right there on your shirt?
BREWER: Mississippi Strong.
VALENCIA: What's that mean to you?
BREWER: Hey, we're strong. We're going to survive one way or the other.
VALENCIA: God bless you. I know you're going through a lot right now. We really appreciate you taking the time.
BREWER: Thank you.
VALENCIA: Thank you. Joyce Brewer, just one of the many extraordinary stories that we're hearing of survival. Her neighbors, Lynda, right next
door, an elderly couple, you see that big rig right there, that 18-wheeler? Their bodies were found right underneath here. So, this was a community
that was hard hit and there were lives lost in this really, you know, in this subdivision here. It is going to take a long, long time for this to
get back to normal here, Lynda.
KINKADE: Yes. And certainly, a sense of resilience from those survivors there. Nick Valencia, great reporting from Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Thank
I want to discuss how climate change could be a factor in this month's deadly storms. And to discuss this is CNN's Chief Climate Correspondent
Bill Weir, who joins us now from New York. Good to have you with us, Bill so these tornadoes this sort of extent are rare in terms of how fast the
wind moved, how widespread the damage was. We know that we're seeing more extreme weather events as a result of the warming climate. But what do we
know about this event and our understanding of climate change?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: It's going to be tricky to do attribution for this particular event, especially for tornadoes in general,
of the confidence science has about what's being affected and by how much, from droughts we know extreme, heat waves, those are easy to attribute. The
-- but the quicker much faster harder hitting lower to the ground storms like tornadoes, it's hard to make a correlation. They seem to be shifting
eastward. The tornado alley that was sort of in the center part of the United States is moving, if you look at the trends to the east side of the
Mississippi, where that that town is there in Mississippi to -- and a lot more population density is over there. Sometimes a tornado will hit a
populous area, and the fatality numbers will be much higher than another year where there were much more tornadoes that hit in rural mountain out
areas, for example.
But we do know that tornadoes love warm, moist air and winds that change speed dramatically. That's the ingredients. And we know we're getting more
of that on a warmer planet. But, again, it's going to take time to specifically attribute but it's sort of like loading a dice. You know, the
odds are of these devastating events, there seem to be clustering more on fewer days. This is a result of what we've seen across the world.
KINKADE: Yes, and of course, Bill, right now here in the United States, we are experiencing record-high temperatures. And even during winter we had
many days that felt like the middle of summer. What impact is that having?
WEIR: Yes, it throws off the water cycles, you know, the hydraulic cycles of rain and evaporation, seeing that play out in terms of drought in some
places. These atmospheric rivers are coming ashore way too much at once and you get water not enough in some places, too much in others, it has that
effect as well, you know. Heat deaths are the invisible killer and so those who are -- their bodies are stressed due to age or, or illness as well,
especially vulnerable as things heat up as well.
But all of this conversation plays into a bigger conversation about adaptation and being resilient. And sadly, a lot of the communities you see
get just destroyed by these sudden bursts of tornadoes are mobile homes or manufactured housing that just can't stand up to this new age, this sort of
new planet we've built for ourselves. All of this has to be, sort of, cautionary tales going forward, planning for the worst and hoping it
KINKADE: Yes, exactly. Bill Weir, as always, good to have you with us from New York. Thanks to you.
WEIR: You bet.
KINKADE: In any moment, U.S. President Biden is expected to speak about the latest mass shooting at a school in Nashville. We'll bring you that when it
happens. We're going to take a quick break, we'll be right back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. U.S. President Biden is speaking right now about the mass shooting at the school in Nashville. Let's listen in.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- what happened and why. And we do know that, as of now, there are a number of people who are not going to
-- did not make it, including children. It's heartbreaking, a family's worst nightmare. And I want to commend the police who responded credibly
swiftly within minutes in the danger. We're monitoring the situation really closely, Ben, as you know. And we have to do more to stop gun violence.
It's ripping our communities apart, ripping a soulless nation -- ripping at the very soul of the nation. And we have to do more to protect our schools
so they aren't turned into prisons.
You know, a shooter, in this situation, reported we had two assault weapons and a pistol, two AK-47. So I call on Congress again to pass my assault
weapons ban. It's about time that we began to make some more progress. But there's more to learn. But I just wanted to send my concern and hearts out
to so many parents out there. I've been to so many of these sites, as Ben knows, by virtually every one. And one of the things you folks you should -
- I know you do know, what you should focus on.
You know, just like when in the military, when my son was in Iraq for a year, and other places, you -- so many members of the military coming back
with post-traumatic stress after witnessing the violence and participating in it. Well, these children, these teachers should be focusing on their
mental health as well. And so I'm grateful anyway. Sorry to start off that way but I couldn't begin without acknowledging what happened. And now I'm
grateful that all of you are joining us here today. Natalie, thank you for that introduction. And for doing such an amazing thing in Detroit. Detroit,
making change -- charges for electric vehicles in the Motor City.
KINKADE: That was U.S. President Biden there addressing the latest mass shooting at a school in Nashville. It happened at a Christian school, three
children and three adults were killed. Mr. Biden praised the quick response of the police who shot dead the suspected shooter who is believed to be a
28-year-old female who was armed with two assault rifles and a handgun. Mr. Biden again called on Congress to pass his assault weapons ban. We will
continue to follow that story. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, they are images that tricked the internet. Over the weekend, photos of Pope Francis wearing a stylish white puffer
coat went viral. The problem is they're completely fake. The images were created using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence tool, that can
generate scarily realistic images. One entrepreneur says these images could be cause for concern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SINEAD BOVELL, FOUNDER, WAYE: We've known for years that A.I. generated imagery, it presents quite a looming threat on democracy and on societies,
you know, a world where we can't distinguish what's real and what's fake. And what this weekend's viral images show of the Pope is that world is
here, that world in which images, video may not longer be synonymous with the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, Sunday was Election Day in the Caribbean nation of Cuba. 470 candidates ran for the 470 seats in the National Assembly. One of them is a
very familiar face outside of the Island Nation. Elian Gonzalez looks set to become a lawmaker according to the preliminary results, and it comes
from 23 years after he was caught in a U.S.-Cuba custody dispute. And as he told our Patrick Oppmann, that experience taught him a lot about U.S.-Cuban
relations, and about his own father.
OPPMANN (voice-over): Elian Gonzalez walks with his wife and their daughter in his hometown of Cardenas, Cuba, preparing to step back into public view.
Gonzalez is here to vote for himself and the other candidates for Cuba's National Assembly. Candidates run unopposed, so he's all but guaranteed to
win. It will be Gonzalez's first official role since the legal battle that brought him back to Cuba nearly 23 years ago.
Early on in our interview, Gonzalez makes it clear the U.S. is still on his mind. "I'm someone the American people know and I can help bring the
American and Cuban people together. And not just the people," he says, "That our governments reach an understanding and remove all the barriers
between us. Our country doesn't have any sanctions on the U.S."
Now that he's a father himself of a 2-year-old girl, Elian says he better understands the ordeal that his own father went through during the bitter
custody fight with his Miami relatives, as well as the pain of all Cuban families separated by political divisions. "It's helped me to understand my
father," he says. "It's made me more sensitive. It's helped me understand how all the Cubans feel who were separated from their families, and fathers
who aren't able to give all the attention and things their children want."
By joining the 470-member National Assembly, Gonzalez can become a high profile spokesman for the government, something his Miami relatives said
they were afraid would happen if he was returned to the island.
Despite being one of the most famous people on this island, Elian Gonzalez says he's led a pretty low key life since returning to Cuba. Now that he's
going to become a member of the Cuba's National Assembly though, he'll be returning into the public spotlight and no doubt using his celebrity to
defend the revolution that brought him home.
Even as he is an unabashed supporter of Castro's revolution, Gonzalez also strikes a conciliatory tone rarely heard on either side of the Florida
"Cuban exiles, what we want one day, is that they are no longer exiled, that they come home, that everyone understands that all the youth that is
left, that when they're willing to work for Cuba, the well-being of Cubans beyond a political party and ideologies," he says, "That our doors are open
to build a better country, which is what we need."
It is a hopeful sentiment of someone uniquely connected to both Cuba and the U.S., and Gonzalez may prove to be instrumental in uniting Cubans and
rebuilding the island, even if he has a long road ahead of him. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Cardenas, Cuba.
KINKADE: A royal source is telling CNN that Prince Harry is not expected to meet his brother Prince William during his surprise trip to the U.K. The
Duke of Sussex was at the High Court in London earlier Monday for hearing into his claim against the publisher of The Daily Mail. The Prince and
several other high profile figures like Elton John and Elizabeth Hurley began legal action last year, alleging that the media group had used phone
tapping and other invasive -- invasions of privacy to gain information.
And before we leave you this hour, a quick reminder, our top story, protesters are still on the streets in Tel Aviv. Some Scuffles broke out
moments ago so things haven't fully calmed down yet.
About an hour ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a delay of his controversial judicial reform legislation. CNN will monitor this story
over the coming hours.
Thanks so much for watching tonight. I'm Lynda Kinkade good to have your company. Stay with CNN. Richard Quest with "QUEST NEEDS BUSINESS" is up