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The Lead with Jake Tapper
WSJ: San Jose Gunman Detained in 2016 by Boarder Officials Who Found Notes about Terrorism, Hatred of Workplace; Data Obtained by CNN Shows Interest in Vaccinations Increased after CDC Updated Mask Guidance; Biden: DNI Report on COVID Origins will be Released; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is Interviewed about COVID Origin, Force Labor, Afghans; Blinken Warns Israeli Leaders Evictions Of Palestinians Could Spark Renewed "Tension, Conflict And War"; Family, Supporters March To Louisiana Governor's Compound; Demand Arrest Of Troopers Who Beat. Tased Ronald Greene; GOP Releases $928B Counteroffer, Well Short Of Biden's Latest $1.71T Infrastructure Proposal; Relative Of Detained Iranian-Americans Describes Feeling "Betrayed," Pleads For Help From Biden Admin. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 27, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And then, of course, raising questions about whether they were possibly miss signals here, information that should have been shared with law enforcement.
The Journal noting that they the DHS said -- did not say whether or not that information was actually passed on to officials. We've reached out to local officials here, as well as the Department of Homeland Security. But of course, concerning reporting there, could this information had been passed and what would have happened had it been shared.
This is coming as we're also learning Jake, new details about what actually transpired here. Yesterday, I spoke with the sheriff here in Santa Clara County. Just a short time ago, she said that it appeared as though the suspect may have been targeting specific people as he open fire. She told me that there was one individual that the suspect went up to, this was not an employee but a local union official and apparently told this person I'm not going to kill you, but then continued his shooting rampage.
So, disturbing details there. Of course, authorities still working toward that motive. Nothing that we've uncovered yet.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Josh, we also learned the shooter was carrying three guns at the time of the shooting, lots of ammunition. Tell us more.
CAMPBELL: That's right. Originally today, authorities said that there were two handguns that were recovered. That number was revised just a short time ago. The sheriff's department saying that he was actually carrying three handguns as well as 11 magazine. So a significant amount of ammunition that he brought here. Investigators are also looking into this fire that happened around the time of the shooting at the suspect's house. That currently is under investigation. There's a team from the FBI and the ATF at the suspects residence going through that scene.
The sheriff telling me, Jake, that she thinks that that could have been timed with some possibly some kind of sophisticated device that allowed that fire to start while this rampage was ongoing. Of course, one theory being perhaps the suspect was trying to get rid of evidence at his residence, as he conducted the shooting rampage.
A lot of unanswered questions here. But of course, this community continues to demand answers. And we now have nine more families in the United States that are grieving the loss of a loved one after yet another mass shooting. In fact, the 17th just in the past week, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Josh Campbell in San Jose, thanks so much.
Let's discuss this all with former Homeland Security Official Juliette Kayyem and former FBI and CIA Analyst Phil Mudd.
Juliette, let me start with you. You worked at the Department of Homeland Security, what would the protocol be? Customs and Border Protection Agency stop this guy, he's got a bunch of books on terrorism. He has a memo book in which he's talking about how much he hates his workplace. What's the protocol?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY: So there -- there's not a standard one, but let's just put this in. So, 1983, he has a misdemeanor, and then nothing until 2016 and then apparently nothing until 2021. I'll tell you I'm not buying it.
I think, you know, it says someone doesn't go from having a few books to killing a lot of people in that five-year period. So, that's why what happened in 2016, that "The Wall Street Journal" talking about is relevant, because we have to think about preventing these things from happening as being about both gun control and access to guns and everything, but also, each moment becomes a moment for disruption. And it looks like 2016 was -- he was in the Philippines alone, a middle- aged man. I am just, you know, telling you what might trigger the CBP to wonder whether it was drugs or some sort of trafficking or other things that happened in the Philippines, he's likely pulled over for that reason. That's when they find things. And then the protocol would be as we've seen, we put it into a DHS database. And then whether that's shared with others will depend on other information.
If he only has something from 1983, it's unlikely that it was shared. So, my guess is he was -- let me -- not guess, based on experience, he was -- he was stopped from the Philippines, a single male for concerns about drugs, or other illicit activity. And then that led to this search.
TAPPER: Phil, what was your reaction when you heard about this memo?
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER: Penalty flag. I mean, if you look at if you look at the memo, and it looks to -- looks to anybody reading it, like the U.S. government should have done something. My penalty flag is hold off for a second.
A couple questions I'd ask, first, don't look at one individual. There's 330 million Americans.
MUDD: Every time you see indicators, whether you're a DHS, the FBI, local police, that somebody hates their workplace, you want to record that and do something about it, that's 10s of millions of cases.
Let me give you another practical problem I see. There's 10s of 1000s, hundreds of 1000s of officers working for the federal government on borders and airports. Think of the line you go into at the airport. You want to train every single one of them to try to understand and interpret psychologically when somebody hates somebody in a way that might lead to murder. That's not going to happen, Jake. It's just not going to happen. That's a free speech issue.
TAPPER: Juliette, what do you think? What do you say to those who say, you know, it's outrageous that the Department of Homeland Security knew this for five years and didn't do anything? I think it is a little different Phil than people hating their workplace versus somebody having a memo book in which they've written so many times how much they hate their work.
MUDD: I don't. I actually don't.
TAPPER: You don't think it's different?
MUDD: I do not.
TAPPER: OK, let me -- I'll come back to you in a second.
TAPPER: Juliette, what do you think?
KAYYEM: So, it's not just the memo, right? It is also whatever materials that they're calling terrorism materials, which is broad enough, would be at the very least you would want -- you know, this is not -- yes, this is not like, you know, 30 years ago, we have Joint Terrorism Task Forces, we have mechanisms in which that information would be shared. Like Phil, I agree, there is a lot of information. This is -- I'm not saying, you know, we could have stopped him in 2016.
The way we have to look at this now, is that we are trying to minimize all the different risks out there, whether it is from guns that kill people quickly to how much ammunition he had to, you know, every interaction with law enforcement. And your hope is, is that the totality of those things will just save more American lives. And so, this is a moment in which he touched, you know, law enforcement, and nothing happened.
So, it does become relevant because, you know, a lot of people touch law enforcement, and they're not killing nine coworkers, right. So, in other words, this is something that was relevant for likely what happened five years later.
TAPPER: Phil, to what I was saying earlier, you don't see a significant difference between somebody who hates their workplace which might describe 10s of millions of people versus somebody with a memo book in which he's written how much you hate their work.
MUDD: Not in terms of stopping people at airports or coming in from the Philippines. Let's make you quickly a DHS officer. We've got to train you. And we also have to have very specific guidance and protocols for you, that says when somebody says he hates somebody, Mr. Tapper, that border security guy, that's OK. But if you see this kind of documentation, and I've got to train you on that, that's going to trigger something beyond just talking to them.
How do I do that? How do I tell you this document's OK, that's not OK? This kind of hatreds, OK, that kind of hatred is not OK. And the final thing is, how do I pass a law that says hate speech is something that I can investigate? That's a tough one, Jake.
TAPPER: And Juliette, the gunman's ex-wife also said that he spoke angrily about coworkers a decade ago. She said he had a history of mood swings. Would any of that raise red flags for the red flag law they have in California, which would prevent somebody from being able to purchase a firearm?
KAYYEM: This is the limitations of red flag laws. I mean, in other words, an ex-wife might not be a legitimate witness to get this away. You would need to trigger the red flag laws is a number of people in the community who were reliable to trigger it.
And then of course, look, we don't know where he got the ammunition from and when he purchased it in terms of these allegations. But what we do know now is there's a number of pieces that now looking in hindsight, might have -- should have been put together, could have been put together.
The employer, and this is where each of us can be helpful, right? The employer seems to have no idea that this guy is holding on to these things, at least not what we've heard so far. And once again, I can't say, there is no magic bullet to saving more American lives, but the more pieces that we can try to just basically slow down this slaughter, you know, maybe we can just try to limit the number of mass killings we have. I'm not -- I'm not naive. I know there's not a single solution. I just want you know, 1000 things thrown at the wall at this stage to try to limit this, you know, this --
KAYYEM: -- pandemic. TAPPER: Yes.
KAYYEM: Yes, this carnage.
TAPPER: Juliette Kayyem, Phil Mudd, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
We're waiting that key vote in the Senate as the mother of a fallen officer makes it clear to Republicans to back the January 6 Commission.
Plus, fears of an Olympic strain of coronavirus as cases serge in Japan and officials push forward with the games regardless. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead and top Senate Republicans saying they are extremely confident they will be able to defeat this vote tonight on this key bill, which would create a January 6 Commission, a bipartisan commission meant to investigate the deadly insurrection of January 6, meant to figure out ways to prevent such an attack from happening again. They're going to block that bill. CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins me now live.
And Manu, this -- and frankly, it's unusual for senators to not want to have a bipartisan commission to look into something like this. And in fact many of the report tonight were out there saying that they wanted an investigation like this, a few days after the January 6 attack.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look no further than Senator John Cornyn, a member of the Republican leadership, someone who said in February, they should in fact have a commission. Instead, he said, I agree with Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker he said that at that time.
But just earlier this week, when I asked him about that tweet, he said times have changed, essentially. He said that he's concerned that this could turn into a political committee, it could essentially, in his view, be something that could be detrimental to the Republicans going forward because of the overall concern that they or Democrats would somehow hijack this process.
Never mind that this this commission, if it were to be enacted, would have 10 commissioners, five reselect it from Republicans, five from Democrats who have joined subpoena power and then had to issue a report by the end of the year. But the overall concern that Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader and others are voicing publicly and privately is the fear that having this commission will just keep it in the news, would keep it as an issue heading into the 2022 midterms, when of course, control of Congress is at stake.
TAPPER: Yes, that's not actually a principle though. Manu today, the mother of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who died in the aftermath of the January 6 attack. She met with multiple Republican senators on Capitol Hill. What did she have to say to them?
RAJU: Well, she wanted to talk about her experience and her suffer, her loss when Brian Sicknick, of course, died after defending this building here and tried to urge them to vote in favor of the commission. That was what she said to Republican senators, even ones who are planning to vote against it later tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: This was to uphold the Constitution. And right now, I don't think they're doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, these meetings though, don't appear to have changed many minds. Republican senators who have met with our have come out afterwards and said they just simply disagree with her. They've said these meetings have been civil, and they've listened to her concerns, obviously heard the loss of her son here, but they say that the end of the day their votes haven't changed. Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Manu, thanks so much.
New reporting right now, that's first on CNN, a group of four Homeland Security Department secretaries who served in the Bush and Obama administrations are issuing a joint statement calling on the Senate to, "Put politics aside" and support the creation of a January 6 Commission.
It's a sentiment we're also hearing from Capitol Hill police officers. Many of whom told CNN they feel like they've become political pawns for the lawmakers they have sworn to protect. As CNN Whitney Wild now reports.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many Capitol Police officers, January 6 brought lingering trauma and what was at times a tense relationship between the Capitol Police and some lawmakers has only gotten worse. Particularly alarming the words of some members who have tried to whitewash the attack suggesting it was just a normal day.
REP. ANDREW CLYDE, (R) GEORGIA: You know, if you didn't know the T.V. footage was a video from January the six, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's insulting is a slap in the face and it's like -- it's kind of like we're being dismissed as -- our opinions and what we experienced didn't matter.
WILD: Hurt and ignored. We spoke with more than a dozen current and former officers anonymously so they could openly share their feelings. Some officers told CNN some members and staff seemed to dismiss their authority even after proving their dedication through blood, sweat, and many tears.
One officer telling CNN, "They treat us like Paul Blart Mall Cop." Another officer who recently left the department saying, "They think we're like servants." Adding, "I would rather have to deal with people overdosing on drugs than deal with members as staff."
More than 70 officers have quit since the insurrection. And according to one law enforcement source, more are expected soon. Officers say thinning ranks have left some of them on the job without days off. One officer reported working more than two weeks straight.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: They tried to disrupt our democracy. They fail.
WILD: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's words on January 6 convinced another officer who spoke to CNN that Congress was committed to finding the truth about the riot. "I got fooled," the officer said. Some officers hoped a January 6 Commission would bring about meaningful change, an opportunity they now worry will be missed.
"We are political pawns," an officers said, "Now the people we are sworn to protect and did protect on the sixth don't want to fund us or figure out what really happened that day."
(END VIDEO TAPE)
WILD: Jake, officers also feel like they've been thrust into the political fray in smaller ways as well. For example, manning the metal detectors outside the House chamber has them feeling more like hall monitors because they're citing members for rules violations. Again, feeling more like home monitors than police officers, Jake.
TAPPER: Whitney Wild, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, the CNN exclusive showing that some actions did work to get more Americans vaccinated. We'll explain, next.
TAPPER: In our health lead now, some good news about the battle with COVID. Data obtained exclusively by CNN shows an interest in getting vaccinated increased after the CDC announced two weeks ago that fully vaccinated Americans, adults, could take off their masks to sign that the promise of life returning to normal works and convincing people to get shots in their arm. CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now to tell us more.
Elizabeth, what more can you tell us about this new data? ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is very interesting, Jake, because there have been so many questions did that May 13 announcement change anything when Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said hey, if you're vaccinated, you can take your masks off indoors outdoors in most situations. So we went to vaccines.gov. That's where you go, you put in your zip code, and you get a list of places near you that will offer a vaccine.
Look what happened when Dr. Walensky made her announcement. So, if you start on the left, the numbers were, you know, pretty even. And then at around noon, they dipped down. That's typical for vaccines.gov. They tend to go down in the afternoon.
But look at that first arrow. That's when Dr. Walensky made her announcement or approximately, and the numbers went up that is very atypical for this site at this time. And they kept going up. And you see they reached a peak when President Biden spoke about this at a White House briefing.
The numbers then went down, but they actually stayed up compared to the previous week. So, there was some sustained interest.
Now, let's take a look at actual vaccinations because of course, that's what we're really interested in. April 11, we started a downward slope. You see that kind of like ski mountain going down. That's not good. Vaccinations were going down. Then Walensky made her announcement, they went up.
Now, at the almost the exact same day that she made her announcement 12 to 15 year olds were allowed to get vaccines. So not surprising when you add 17 million people to the list of people who can get vaccinated that the numbers would go up. But still, we did the math to factor out those young people and still the numbers went up. Jake.
TAPPER: And Elizabeth, President Biden says the Director of National Intelligence report on the origins of COVID will be declassified when that report is issued. What might we find in that report?
COHEN: You know, there are several things that experts tell me we should be looking for. So, you want to look for when these people in the lab got sick, what were they tested for? Were they tested for the flu? Were they tested for other things that can look like COVID?
Were blood samples taken? And were they -- were they retained? Do we have blood samples from those workers at that time? That is really crucial, because that can tell us a lot.
Now, we're told by a U.S. investigator who worked with the World Health Organization that these folks, these workers tested negative for COVID antibodies. What test was done? Was it the right one? Can we see it? Can we retest those people? That's what's important here.
TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
TAPPER: The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks joins us now.
Chairman Meeks, thanks so much for joining us.
So, President Biden says the DNI report on the origins of COVID will be released in a declassified version. If it is proven that the virus did start in a lab in Wuhan. What would be the appropriate step for the U.S. to take?
REP. GREGORY MEEKS, (D-NY) FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHAIRMAN: Number one, thanks for having me. Jake, it is good to be on with you.
I believe that what the President is doing is a very good thing. Let's get to the essence of what it is and what happened and how it happened to the degree that we can. Let it be declassified when, you know, I've had classified and meetings, which I can't discuss.
But I think what the President is doing to give it so that it becomes very apparent to the American people to agree that we will know what takes place if the intelligence agency can let us know. And I think then we can take the appropriate actions as well as making sure that we're prepared to prevent and analyze the deficiencies in our response to the pandemic, which took place, and what we need to do to make sure that it never happens again. And working in coordination, for example, with the World Health Organization and making sure that happens. I think that -- and then -- and holding folks accountable as a result of that.
TAPPER: Let me ask you another question related to China, some American companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, they're suspected of directly benefiting from Chinese forced labor of Uyghur Muslims who are being held in concentration camps in China. As you know, the U.S. State Department has labeled what the Chinese government is doing to Uyghurs is genocide.
Right now there are two bills in Congress that would ban the import of goods made with forced labor from the region. Do you think they will pass and does more need to be done even?
MEEKS: Absolutely. Well, they will pass out of by committee. And in fact, just this last week, we -- I introduced a bill called the Ensuring American Global Leadership and Engagement Act, or the EAGLE Act. And what we put in that bill, which we will be marking up in our committee, and hopefully we'll get it passed before the end of this summer.
You know, bolstering our diplomacy, having cooperation, because we've got to do this with our partners and our allies. Also putting America in the lead today, we can hold China accountable for what's happening with the Uyghurs. And we've got to stand up for human rights and what our values are.
So we made sure that human rights and climate and the holding China accountable is included in the EAGLE Act so that we're standing up for what our true values are. So yes, Jake, this specific answer to your question, I think that those bills will pass the House. And yes, we are coming forward with a strong bill that specifically deals with China and some of the challenges of China that we're calling the EAGLE Act. We'll begin working on that on the Foreign Affairs Committee starting in the beginning of June.
TAPPER: The Pentagon is in the early stages right now of planning for the potential evacuation of the Afghan nationals who's worked for the U.S. translators, et cetera. Who's worked for the U.S. could make them Taliban targets, after the U.S. has completely withdrawn from Afghanistan.
How can we ensure their protection? Where should they go? Is the U.S. government operating as if this is the emergency that it truly is?
MEEKS: Yes, I think that we're looking right now at several members of Congress, folks on the committee at what we could do to expedite some individuals who might be in danger as a result of them cooperating with us and lifting certain visa requirements to get them here, like quick and timely fashion. For example, I know I've seen one where we just talked about lifting maybe the requirement to get a health requirement initially, and they can get examined once they're here.
So, I think that we're looking at it. I mean, we -- I believe that the Biden administration has done the right thing because we're not going to have a military solution to Afghanistan. We've been there for over 30 years. I don't think there's anything else to do there.
We've got to look at it in a diplomatic form. Make sure that we know how we're going to protect our diplomat, and also get those that were -- that are in jeopardy that we're supporting the (INAUDIBLE) see that we can give them some refuge right here in the United States.
TAPPER: Lastly sir, I want to ask you Secretary of State Blinken told Axios, that when he was in the region, he warned Israeli leaders that further evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem or further unrest on the Temple Mount could spark renewed tension, conflict and war. Do you think that that is the right step, the right warning for Blinken to be giving to the Israelis and what more needs to be done to bring more peace to the region?
MEEKS: Well I think that what has to be done, we've got to sit back to the table and get both sides to the table so that we can negotiate a two-state solution so that they can live and work collecting together. I've had some great hope when I started looking at the Abraham accords. Here are other countries, Muslim countries who are now acknowledging Israel's right to exist and they are talking about how they can exist, work, trade, benefit from the technology together. We need that kind of dialogue and conversation.
Now, I agree with the Secretary Blinken and that I do not think that the way to go is to have further annexation of property. And I think that we've got to see -- I agree with the Biden administration, when they're looking at making sure there's humanitarian assistance for the Palestinians in the area and we look how to rebuild (ph). I also agree that Israel has the right to defend itself and shooting for Hamas, shooting 4,000 rockets at Israel. Thank God, we did have the dome defense mechanism that was there to protect Israel.
So -- but I think that we've got to look at it. And looking at it means that, yes, I don't believe that we need -- annexation of land is not the appropriate way to go, and that needs to come to a halt.
TAPPER: The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Gregory Meeks, thank you so much, sir. Good to see you today.
MEEKS: Thank you. Good -- thank you for having me, Jake.
TAPPER: Breaking news out of Louisiana, family and supporters of a black man who died after state troopers tased him and dragged him, are marching right now at the state Capitol. We're live on the scene next, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is not a day to die.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Today is not a day to die.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is not --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Breaking news on our national lead, family and supporters of Ronald Greene, the man tased and dragged by Louisiana State Troopers two years ago after which he died, marching just moments ago at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge. The march happened after the family met with the Louisiana's Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards.
Let's get right to Nick Valencia live in Baton Rouge with that group have just arrived at the Governor's mansion. Nick, you spoke with Mr. Greene's mother, what did she have to say to you?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they spoke to us just after they met with Governor John Bel Edwards to say that the meeting was really nothing of substance. It lasted about 45 minutes, Jake, and said that the meeting -- the mood in there was really respectful but it was also tense. They asked for substantive demands, or were told to just really be open to new information and open to the information that they've seen so far.
The Governor did release a statement saying that he's praying for the family and that the actions of those officers seen on the body camera do not represent how he wants the Louisiana State Police to be seen here. However, the family has not been kept from calling this a cover up just how the evidence has trickled out. Remember, we should remind our viewers that the body cam footage was not officially released by the police, it was leaked to the Associated Press. And it was just last week that we saw that the highest ranking officer on the scene did not originally submit his body cam footage to investigators. It's because of that that the family has called this a cover up. But it was earlier at a press conference that they did remain hopeful.
After meeting with the district attorney they said, it should be a matter of days perhaps weeks that we see arrests and perhaps even charges in this case. However, the attorney, one of the family attorneys, Lee Merritt, said that this is a state that does not have a taste for justice. And he called out the Governor here, John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, for scolding the family, for talking about this incident. They don't believe that the authorities here and the people in power have been transparent all along.
Today mark 747 days since the death of Ronald Green and it was initially told to the family that he died as a result of his injuries caused in a car crash. We all saw the video they say what we saw on tape was a murder caught on film. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Nick Valencia in Baton Rouge, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Turning to our politics lead now, President Biden says he will meet with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia next week on infrastructure after Republicans presented their $928 billion offer to his $1.7 trillion counter offer. The White House saying that they will consider the Republican's latest proposal. But as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports for us now with the Republican counter proposal, hundreds of billions of dollars away from where Biden wants it to be, the question remains, if there's really any chance of any compromise at this stage?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are generational investments. Private sector does not make these kinds of investments.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIE WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden underlining his push for a sweeping infrastructure plan in Cleveland today.
BIDEN: United States of America is viewed to have the 13th best infrastructure in the world. Come on. This United States of America for God's sake.
COLLINS (voice-over): But in Washington, the White House and Republicans are still deeply divided in attempting to salvage negotiations.
SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): We believe that this counter offer delivers on what President Biden told us sticking to the core physical infrastructure.
COLLINS (voice-over): Republicans today releasing a $930 billion counter offer that would provide $260 billion in new spending, a fraction of what Biden want in his latest $1.7 trillion offer.
Instead of raising taxes on corporations, Republicans want to pay for the infrastructure plan by repurposing COVID-19 funds.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): I would say to President Biden, this is something that will work, it will help the country, it will help us move forward.
COLLINS (voice-over): Press Secretary Jen Psaki quickly dismissing that.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We think there are better ways to pay for it. And we think people should have a full understanding of what that is proposing.
COLLINS (voice-over): The President is under pressure from his party to move on from talks with Republicans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an all expressing, fish or cut bait.
COLLINS (voice-over): Biden setting another meeting with top GOP negotiator Senator Shelley Moore Capito, while warning the window for talking is closing.
BIDEN: She's going to contact me next week. I told her we have to finish this very soon. But we're going to have to close this down soon.
COLLINS (voice-over): Amid the tense talks, President Biden is also preparing to unveil his budget.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you confirm the top line number?
BIDEN: Well, we'll confirm that. That will all be distributed.
COLLINS (voice-over): Sources say Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget tomorrow that would send the U.S. to the highest levels of federal spending since World War II.
COLLINS: And Jake, you're seeing all these offers and counter offers go back and forth between the White House and Republicans, but the bottom line is they still don't even agree on how to fund an infrastructure proposal with President Biden saying he wants to raise taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. Some of the Republicans have said they're opposed to and Republicans suggesting that they use those repurposed COVID-19 relief funds, which the White House said today, it made pretty clear that they're opposed to. So, Jake, they appear to be at a bit of a crossroads.
TAPPER: Indeed. Kaitlan, let me ask you. With Congress gone next week for what they call Memorial Day holiday work product or work district area. When does the White House think they're actually going to be able to restart talks with Republicans? Is it next week or is it the week after? When?
COLLINS: Well, you heard President Biden say that he believes he was going to meet with Senator Capito next week. It's not really clear when that's going to happen since they will be in recess, if she's going to stay in town with the other GOP negotiators. But Congress is actually back until June the 7th. So that could really push these talks another two weeks. A lot of lawmakers were hoping to see some kind of action by this week. And if not, you've seen Democrat ramping up that pressure on their own party leaders to move on from working with Republicans here to just try to get a really big infrastructure deal passed.
And so, whether or not it ultimately comes to that, it remains to be seen. But the White House is still trying to say they are working towards bipartisanship, Jake. But right now, it doesn't seem like there's a lot of movement in one direction for both sides.
TAPPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, two Iranian Americans still detained in Iran, left behind when other Americans were freed. And now one family member is telling CNN that he fears what will happen if his father and brother are forgotten yet again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BABAK NAMAZI, FATHER & BROTHER DETAINED IN IRAN: They will destroy them. They will kill my father for sure. I mean, they will -- it will destroy me (ph).
TAPPER: In our world lead, a heartbreaking story. A family member of two Iranian Americans who are currently being detained by the Tehran regime is speaking out and he's pleading with the Biden administration to not forget about his loved ones who stand accused of working for the U.S. He spoke with CNN National Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Babak Namazi is living in fear.
NAMAZI: Undescribable nightmare.
ATWOOD (voice-over): Both his brother and his elderly father are detained in Iran. And while the Biden administration is in talks to reenter the Iran nuclear deal, he's worried about them getting left behind again. His concerns are justified. American prisoners were released from Iran in 2016. On the same day, the U.S. officially entered the Iran nuclear deal. Then in 2019, as part of a prisoner swap and once again just last year, but every time Babak's family members remained in Iran. NAMAZI: Each time I saw lights at the end of the tunnel. It's turned out to be a fast-moving train unfortunately.
ATWOOD (voice-over): He fears for their lives every day, particularly if they are abandoned once again.
NAMAZI: I have no doubt that Siamak and my dad will not survive. Siamak has said so much himself, and how much can any human being endure in these kind of conditions to be mistreated, to be tortured six years of this been going on and then also be betrayed by your own government in a sense.
ATWOOD (voice-over): The family's nightmare started when Siamak was taken into custody in 2015, accused of working with the U.S. government, which the family denies. The following year when American prisoners were freed as the Iran deal was implemented, Babak was told his brother would be released within weeks. But that never happened.
NAMAZI: That tried and failed catastrophically because not only Siamak was not released, but within weeks my dad was taken, and as well as other hostages.
ATWOOD (voice-over): His father, Baquer, flew to Iran to get his son out. And that's when he was arrested by Iranian authorities, charged with the same alleged crime. And while in prison, the 84-year-old had two heart surgeries and nearly died. His sentence was commuted last year, but he's still not allowed to leave Iran. Babak says his brother, Siamak, has been tortured in Evin Prison.
NAMAZI: He was beaten up physically, he was tased he was tied down, he had wires connected to him with threats of electrification.
ATWOOD (voice-over): Babak is in Washington this week. He will meet with Members of Congress and see State Department officials who he's in regular contact with. He's requested a meeting with the White House, but that has not been granted.
(on-camera): Your heart has been broken multiple times before, right? What gives you any confidence that this time it won't happen again?
NAMAZI: I don't have a good answer. I guess faith and humanity. I still have that faith.
ATWOOD (voice-over): The State Department says securing the Namazis release is a top priority.
ROBERT MALLEY, SPECIAL ENVOY FOR IRAN: We can't forget them and anything that happens on the nuclear side whether we succeed or fail, our goal is going to be to get them back home.
ATWOOD (voice-over): There are some signs that talks over the Iran deal are happening in parallel to the discussions about the release of his father and brother, but Babak says the release may require bold action. NAMAZI: I think the expectation I have from President Biden along with I've had from all other presidents is to be prepared to make difficult decisions, to make courageous decisions.
ATWOOD: Jake, one thing that I want to point out is the weight on Babak's own shoulders is truly unimaginable. He says that this engulfs him every single day from the minute he wakes up until the time he goes to bed at night. And one devastating thing is that his son recently graduated from college, and he was just torn apart that both his son and his father couldn't attend. Jake?
TAPPER: That's awful. Kylie Atwood, thanks so much for bringing that story to our attention.
Coming up next, the stunning report alleging that Donald Trump before he was president, trying to bribe a U.S. Senator to stop investigating his favorite football team. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Our sports lead now, Japan is about to decide whether to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo as that country faces a fourth wave of new COVID cases and is about to see the Summer Olympics start in just two months. There has been widespread criticism from health experts including the head of the Japanese Doctors Union who said, if the Olympic Games go on, it could lead to the emergence of an Olympic coronavirus string. But the International Olympic Committee says the games will go ahead as planned.
Let's bring in CNN's Sports Analyst Christine Brennan. Christine, canceling the Olympics, obviously, that would be a huge deal and would be very expensive. But should the Olympics happen in a country where only 2 percent of the population is vaccinated?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: That's the problem, Jake. It's 2 percent, 3 percent, whatever it is, when you consider that we're at what, 40 percent or so. And Japan has known for years, they're hosting the Olympic Games, you would have thought that just out of civic pride alone, if not for the health of everyone that you would have gone ahead and gotten as many people vaccinated as possible. That's the problem moving forward because if there is another outbreak say in three or four weeks, that's when the difficult decision is made. Because, right now, as you said, the IOC is moving forward, the Olympics are on.
What do I think is I've covered 18 in a row, I'm gearing up to cover this one? If you don't have the Olympics, it's a -- tragedy. But obviously, if you have the Olympics, could it be a national or international tragedy. And I think that's what everyone is weighing right now. And what a shame, because this was supposed to be the world's coming out party after COVID. Instead, it is magnifying all the problems that we're still having within the pandemic. TAPPER: Christine, I really want to ask you about my favorite story of the week. ESPN has a new piece out claims the President Trump before, he was president, tried to bribe, by offering campaign contributions, then-Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, in order to get him to drop a congressional investigation into Spygate investigation into the New England Patriots for illegally videotaping other football teams. Trump, who denies this, was said to have been doing this, on behalf of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who is a friend of his and who also denies this, but I should note this is all according to Arlen Specter's son.
BRENNAN: That's correct. And the Washington Post is also corroborated some of it with the co-author of another book by the late Arlen Specter. This is -- I think the reason this is resonating, Jake, is because it is so believable. Obviously, we don't know for a fact, but you have some credible sources saying that Donald Trump was trying to bribe a U.S. Senator at the time. Of course, he was trying to -- Arlen Specter wanted to investigate, have a congressional investigation of Spygate and, of course, the NFL didn't want that, and Robert Kraft didn't want it. And so, you've got these allegations that Trump was trying to bribe Specter with actual campaign contributions, not just cold hard cash.
And apparently, there was a meeting in -- down at Mar-a-Lago between then-Senator and of course, Donald Trump then what a good 10 years away from becoming president, eight years away from becoming press of the United States. So, Trump has always been involved with sports. He yelled (ph) at U.S. football -- USFL football team, Jake, as you know. He wanted to be an NFL owner. And so, as I said, I think it resonates. I think this is creating headlines because it is so darn believable.
TAPPER: It sure is. Christine Brennan, thanks so much. Good to see you.
In our world lead, no help from the Russians. For the second time in two days, an international flight to Moscow had to be canceled because Russia would not let the airline change its route in order to avoid flying over Belarus. Airlines are trying to steer clear of Belarus airspace because that country essentially hijacked a flight from one democracy to another, Greece to Lithuania. On Sunday, they forced the plane to land in order to capture a dissident journalist who was aboard.
Austrian Airlines canceled today's flight from Vienna to Moscow because the Russians would not let them reroute the plane. Air France canceled a similar flight for the same reason yesterday.
Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter at JakeTapper. Tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues right now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in The Situation Room.