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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Mother & Partner of Fallen Capitol Officer Voice Frustration with Republicans who Blocked Insurrection Commission; Russian Hackers Launch Major Cyberattack just Weeks before Biden, Putin First Summit; Russia Escalates Cyberwar With U.S. Ahead Of Biden-Putin Summit; Federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson Has Long Record Of Taking On Trump And His Allies; New Book Claims Hunter Biden Pitched A Reality Show In 2019; Biden Says He Misjudged How Many Americans Would Buy Into Trump; Pressure Grows To Compensate Victims Of The Tulsa Massacre. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 28, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: After only six out of 50 Republican senators voted yes, nine Republicans and two Democrats didn't even cast a vote. In moments, we're going to have more of our conversation with Sicknick's mother and partner.

But first, let's go to CNN's Manu Raju live on Capitol Hill for us.

Manu, what kind of reaction are you hearing from both parties after the votes to form this commission failed?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats are sharply criticizing Republicans saying they're trying to suppress the truth about what happened here, given that this commission, if it were to be created, would have been 10 commissioners selected evenly between the two parties with equal subpoena power, having to report by the end of this year looking at what happened at the Capitol and the outside influencing factors that led to the attack. What Democrats are saying is that Republicans simply did not want that to shine a negative spotlight on their own party, on Donald Trump, on his roll and want to move on.

And Republicans will say very clearly that they do want to move on, they want this issue to be over. And politically speaking, they believe they're in a better ground heading into the 2022 midterms, talking about other issues and not about this issue. And they're also contending that the investigation, if it were to go and outside commission, in their view would be duplicative, even though this one would be much broader than that narrow ones that are happening right now in the Capitol.

But there are some Republicans who are criticizing their own party, senators like Lisa Murkowski and Senator Bill Cassidy among those who said we should move forward here because of the concern about getting to the bottom of exactly what happened. And the belief that if they were not an outside commission, the Democrats will take the matters into their own hands. TAPPER: Well, that's the thing, Manu, because Republicans don't control the House or the Senate or the White House. Has Speaker Pelosi said what she might do next?

RAJU: She has not said explicitly, but I can tell you in talking to a number of Democrats today, there is a big push among House Democrats to open up their own investigation. A Select Committee, one member Joaquin Castro, who is -- was an impeachment manager in the second impeachment trial just told me moments ago that indeed they should move forward with a Select Committee. And I'm hearing that up and down the line.

One Democrat said believes that Pelosi in fact will set up that Select Committee. All that would require is a vote of a majority of the Democratic led House to do. To create one, it would have subpoena power, Democrats would leave that commission. Republicans undoubtedly would push back and attack it as a partisan endeavor, despite their own efforts to scuttle this bipartisan commission.

But Pelosi has not said explicitly what she will do, but the expectation is that she will do just that. And Democrats will have their own investigation. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

In our last hour, you heard us speak with the mother and also with the partner of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick who died in the aftermath of the Capitol insurrection on January 6. They told me that they were both extremely disappointed with Republican senators for voting to block the bipartisan January 6 Commission.

And Gladys Sicknick, the mother said, some of the meetings with those Republicans on Capitol Hill yesterday were tense because, "We knew they weren't sincere." Here's the second part of our interview.


TAPPER: The people that said that they were going to vote against the commission, did they give a reason for it?

SANDRA GARZA, PARTNER OF OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: A lot of them would default to the, you know, well, you know, it's very partisan. Well, you know, that's baloney, because, you know, Senator Collins put an amendment in there to make it very bipartisan. So, you know, I don't know what they were thinking.

TAPPER: Do you think they were just looking for an excuse?

GARZA: I do. Yes, I do. And I think, you know, they just don't want to do the right thing. Again, I think they are very -- you know, I think what you're saying is the leaders I'm at its finest, they're very protected. They think that, oh, nothing is ever going to happen to me. You know, I've got law enforcement here. They live in their gated communities or very safe neighborhoods. So, they live in this magical, you know, thought process that nothing is ever going to happen to me that happens to other people. I think they need to get out of that thought process. Because, like I said yesterday, FBI Director Wray said at the hearings on January 6, domestic terrorism is a real threat.


GARZA: I think January 6 was enough for them to open their eyes and say, well, we better get serious here. And again, if not for them, if for the other innocence that were there that day, law enforcement, you know, and their constituents. Again, if they're dead, they can't do their job, you know.

And I hate to be that blunt about it. And again, I know yesterday, I made some of them very uncomfortable, but you know, I'm going to be real about it.

TAPPER: Well, one of the Republicans you met with was Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, Republican. He has repeatedly downplayed what happened. He has said that he wouldn't -- he didn't fear for his life. He would have if it was been Black Lives Matter protesters. He's called that peaceful protests. What did what did you have to say to him?


GARZA: I say to him that he got lucky. They got lucky. It could have been very different that day.

I said to a lot of them that were resistant, I said had those two pipe bombs detonated, that would have been a completely different, you know, story. Resources, law enforcement resources would have been diverted. And who knows what would have happened?

So, those who want to run with this narrative that, you know, well, it was, you know, a tourist day and I didn't feel threatened. Yes, I mean, they got lucky. That's the, you know, the truth of it.

TAPPER: Gladys, you're not a political person. You're not a political activist. This is your first real intense submersion in this world. What do you think of it? The good and the bad?

GLADYS SICKNICK, MOTHER OF OFFICER BRIAN SICKNICK: No, I just -- I said -- I said this morning, I said, I can't believe that I have a child that's going to be in the history books for all the wrong reasons. Because he was he was such a good person. And he was so good at his job.

And he -- you know what, he was texting all his buddies to see if they were OK on that day, while he was fighting for four hours, four plus hours, without any help.

TAPPER: You were introduced to some of Brian's colleagues, police officers, yesterday, friends of his. Tell us about that?

SICKNICK: They're just -- they're just wonderful people. And it's a family. They consider themselves family. And they really have each other's backs. They were devastated, absolutely devastated.

I mean, and all these other people that are saying that it was no big deal, they went home that night to have dinner with their families. And then, did they watch television and see what happened? And did they didn't feel anything? Just -- it's amazing to me.

And all these -- all the cops that were hurt, I mean, there are a whole bunch of them that were hurt quite badly.

TAPPER: Forever.

SICKNICK: Forever.


SICKNICK: I think people don't realize how badly some of them were hurt.

TAPPER: And Brian didn't get to go home.


GARZA: No, he didn't. He didn't.

It's very disturbing to know that his last moments on earth were, you know, dealing with that day. And I think what a lot of the general public aren't aware of is that, you know, the sliver of video footage that was released to the public only show a very small part of the story.

Officer Edwards, the female officer that was standing next to him prior to that incident that was caught on camera, she actually was assaulted brutally and was slammed into the ground headfirst into the concrete and suffered a severe concussion, but yet went back out again. As did Brian, he had been in another area of the Capitol grounds and had been fighting vigorously, and had been moved to that area with Officer Edwards, and had just been caught on camera at that moment.

So, I mean, this is the thing that the officers had been through that day. I mean, some of them had been severely hurt, you know, and just got back up and dusted themselves off and went back out again.

TAPPER: And I know that Brian was sprayed with a chemical spray during the insurrection, he collapsed after returning to his division office. What is your understanding about how he died? What the cause of death was?

GARZA: So, I'll say this, you know, I accept the medical examiner's, you know, report conclusion of his death. And, you know, I understand it just as everyone else does. You know, I don't want to get into the details.

TAPPER: Right. No, we don't have to.

GARZA: But you know, accept the science and what they have said. And until, you know, something else comes out, you know, I can only go by what I know right now. You know, that could change, I don't know.

But I will say that, you know, stress does a terrible thing to the body. Who knows what would have happened? Had he not encountered what he did that day?

TAPPER: Yes. And I'm sure you feel the same way. If he -- if that had not happened, do you think he still would have been alive --

SICKNICK: Absolutely.

TAPPER: -- if there if there had not been an insurrection?

SICKNICK: Absolutely. He's very, very healthy. He was just writing (ph) that he was on the bicycle division. It's a very hard job. People don't realize how hard it is. And he was in very good shape.

TAPPER: He deployed twice as part of the New Jersey National Guard. Did you always know he was going to serve his country?

SICKNICK: No. He never wanted to join anything, even as a child, and when he was -- then he comes home one day and he says, I joined the International Guard. I'm like, well, you made up the lost time, didn't you?


TAPPER: That's funny.

SICKNICK: Yes, he was really quiet, very quiet.

TAPPER: And then, when -- then became a policeman?

SICKNICK: That's what -- that's what he did in the Guard.



TAPPER: No, but I mean, even after that?

SICKNICK: Right, right.

TAPPER: Yes. And where do you go from here? I mean, so there isn't going to be a bipartisan commission this way. It's possible that Speaker Pelosi will try to form a Select Committee.

How else will you two continue to fight for Brian's legacy? And what can those people watching right now who are also disappointed, what can they do?

GARZA: They can definitely write their senators and congressmen and say that they want answers, that they want democracy protected. Because again, it's not just about, you know, and I don't want to get political here, but it's not just about Democrats winning, right? Democrats. This could happen to a Republican, right, that --

TAPPER: Oh, Mitt Romney, we saw him running for his life during the insurrection.

GARZA: Exactly, exactly. So, I mean, you know, they're not using their head here. And you know, I have to say, I really feel that had January 6 not happen and embolden a lot of people, you know, Officer Billy Evans might still be here.

So, I mean, again, this is a ripple effect, this needs to stop. You can do something by writing your congressman, your senators and say, you want this to stop.

TAPPER: And I want to ask you, Gladys, we've heard a little bit about Brian, and we've been covering him since the horrible day. What else should we know about your son?

SICKNICK: That he has a gentle soul, except when he's pushed into the corner, you don't -- you don't mess with him. But otherwise, he would do anything for anybody.

TAPPER: And I want to ask you about the necklaces that you -- that you wear. Tell us about that.

SICKNICK: Well, each of us have a necklace from the funeral home, they made these up, they're from -- with his ashes in them. So we always have them. Have him with us.

GARZA: It was Demaine Funeral Home.

SICKNICK: Yes, Demaine Funeral Home.

GARZA: Demaine did these necklaces, and they have Brian's ashes in them. And we're so grateful to have these and -- yes.

TAPPER: Tell me what it feels like to have that around your neck? Is with you?

SICKNICK: Yes. Because you know, when I walk -- I take long walks. And when I walk, I'm always holding, I don't realize I do until I do. And because when I walked, he work from three to 11, and then I would take a walk, and he would leave the house went back 2:00. And so, I would talk to him or text him back and forth. And so, it's kind of like, you know, that when I'm walking I'm holding him.

TAPPER: And we are so grateful for your activism, and for your presence here today and talking to us. And this is not the last day that I'm going to say Brian Sicknick. And this is not the last day that I'm going to remind people of what happened that day and how it wasn't just an attack on Brian, it was an attack on democracy as you put it, Sandra. So thank you so much for being here.

GARZA: Thank you.

SICKNICK: Thank you.

TAPPER: And may his memory be a blessing.

GARZA: Thank you so much. SICKNICK: Hopefully what he does is good thing what he did in his life.

TAPPER: It will be a blessing.


TAPPER: It is a rare honor that journalists get every now and then to talk to real people who are trying to turn their grief into something good for the rest of us. And I do want to thank Sandra Garza and Gladys Sicknick again for trusting us with that interview.

I want to bring in the panel right now again to talk about what we just heard. Paul, your reaction. You hear these two very strong women, grieving women, frustrated, begging Republicans in the Senate to vote just to create a commission to look into what happened when the Capitol was attacked. And yet 35 of them voted against it.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Just amazing grace under extraordinary pressure that Mrs. Sicknick just showed there, Jake, in that interview. Every parent's nightmare, every partner's nightmare.

TAPPER: I think, I can't hear Paul. So, I mean, let's go -- we lost Paul's audio.

S.E., let's go to you. I know you're disappointed at your party and what -- how they voted today. 35 Republicans voting against it nine Republicans not even bothering to show up to vote.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, my question to the Republican Party would be, what are you here for? What is your function, if not to, you know, preserve the republic and protect American democracy? If you have no curiosity about what happened on January 6, first of all, I think it's just because you believe it will implicate you.


But also, I'm not sure what you stand for as a party. You know, certainly not the Republican Party I was, you know, taught about in school and learned as a young adult and joined as a young woman. And I -- if you if you look at the way America is set up, and the two parties are set up, the point of having too strong parties is to bring a competition of ideas to the table, and one party is bringing those ideas. I might not agree with many of them. But the other table is coming to that meeting, speaking gibberish with nonsense talking about Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head and conspiracy theories and lies, making inane absurd comparisons between the Nazis and masked mandates and literally not showing up to do their jobs.

So, we don't have too strong parties. That's clear. We have almost a failed, a failed party on the one side and that's awful for the country.

It's also just incredibly embarrassing to watch an American political body cower as they have just to fetishize and service the emotional narcissism of one guy. The guy by the way, who lost it all for you. Who lost. It's maddening. It's maddening.

And when I watch, you know, women, like you had on who lost people on that day, it is -- it's worse than maddening. It's infuriating. It's a disgrace.

TAPPER: Paul Begala, I think your audio is back. You were saying, nobody ever wants to be thrust into a position like this. You're praising Sandra and Gladys.

BEGALA: They're just remarkable people. And the courage that they showed, the courage Officer Sicknick and his sisters and brothers in law enforcement showed that day is extraordinary. And we're not calling on politicians to show that kind of courage. We're not calling on them to risk their lives, risk their lives, risk their eyesight, risk their lives the way those Capitol and Metro Police officers did.

Just to stand up and look at the facts, and just so people know, there were two pipe bombs. Mrs. Sicknick referenced them, two pipe bombs found there. Eleven Molotov cocktails, a dozen firearms, including a nine millimeter and an assault weapon. Thousands of rounds of ammunition. Weapons were used, even a policeman's shield was used as a weapon, flagpole baseball bats bear spray, this was a terrorist attack. And the only thing that saved our democracy was Officer Sicknick and those other Capitol Police officers and later the National Guard.

And for politicians, to not even be willing to cast off vote to investigate when these officers lay down their lives. It's just outrageous. I don't know how they could look Mrs. Sicknick and Ms. Garza in the eye.

TAPPER: And S.E., as if to illustrate the point about what is happening to this one's great political party, Congressman Paul Gosar, of Arizona Republican, a few hours ago tweeted a tribute to one of the insurrectionists who was killed on that day by Capitol Police. And he actually was quoting the lyrics from the YouTube song, Pride in the Name of Love about the assassination of Martin Luther King to apply to her being killed by a police officer, a law enforcement officer, while his Republican Senate colleagues were voting to kill this commission.

CUPP: And also conducting a phony audit of the election at the same time. It's, again, it's maddening and disorienting. It's also just lunacy. And it's such an embarrassment. This is a serious issue.

And look, Republicans took a lot of flack for all of the Commission's and investigations they had for Benghazi. And I think Benghazi needed investigating, that was a tragedy what happened that day and it should never happen again. But what they were saying at the time was it's important to know why something like this could happen. And this didn't happen in Libya, it happened on our doorstep. It happened in our front yard, at the United States Capitol.

To not want to know more about that, to not want to ask questions on the record, and find out how to prevent this from happening again, is complete -- it's completely indefensible. It's indefensible. There's no good reason other than you think it will implicate you. And I think that's what Republicans are worried about.

TAPPER: Paul, I guess the big question for Nancy Pelosi is, does she do something that is under the guise of being bipartisan in the same way this commission was going to be -- oh, we lost Paul Begala.


Well, then I'll ask you S.E. If -- it's up to Nancy Pelosi, should she just do a traditional Select Committee, which is the majority controls the committee. And Republicans get to name their people, and it just becomes a traditional committee? Or does she try something new, which is probably outside her comfort zone to trust Republicans and, you know, put Liz Cheney on the committee or whatever, and have it actually be 50-50 and try to keep it bipartisan.

CUPP: I think keeping it bipartisan would definitely give it more credibility. But look, there is a wing of the Republican Party, it's a majority of the Republican Party, to be honest, that is not going to care no matter what comes out of this. And that is Donald Trump's most lasting damaging legacy.

The way he set up the system, completely undermined the idea that facts and truth exists, that one can arrive at a fact or a truth. So, it doesn't really matter, I think, to convincing a large majority of the Republican Party what comes out of this. What will matter is for the records of history, and the rest of the country who really, I think, deeply cares, not about the politics of why this happened, but how it happened, and how to prevent it again.

TAPPER: S.E. Cupp and Paul Begala, thanks so much to both of you.

Coming up next, the e-mail that Russian hackers sent out to 1000s of people to execute a global attack, we have the details on that.

Plus, getting real of the choice words former President Obama reportedly had for his successor, Donald Trump. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead today, Russia's cyber war against the United States is clearly escalating just weeks ahead of President Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin.

Microsoft has detailed a global cyberattack on more than 150, 150 government agencies think tanks and other organizations, most of which were in the United States. CNN's Alex Marquardt reports for us now. The company believes the hackers are part of the same Russian group behind last year's devastating attack on the software vendor SolarWinds.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): More than 3000 email accounts in 24 different countries hit by hackers from Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, government agencies think tanks, human rights and humanitarian groups all targets. Microsoft first reported the hack saying the attackers used an e-mail platform used by the American aid agency, USAID. One e-mail from this week promised a new document from Donald Trump on the election. Instead, it contained a malicious link designed to allow hackers in and to infect other computers.

It was allowed brazen attack, the hackers likely knew they get caught.

JOHN HULTQUIST, FIREEYE: They seem to not really care, right? They are they clearly know that this is going to be discovered. It's really hard to carry out a 3,000 person spear phishing incident across governments and organizations all over the world and not get discovered.

MARQUARDT: Unlike last year's stealthy, sophisticated SolarWinds breach that infiltrated at least nine U.S. government agencies, which the U.S. Intelligence Community said Russian intelligence also carried out.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We concluded that they had interfered in the election, and SolarWinds was totally out of -- inappropriate.

MARQUARDT: Last month, the Biden administration sanctioned Russia for its malicious cyber activity and kicked out 10 Russian diplomats. But President Joe Biden also proposed a face-to-face summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease tensions set to happen in under three weeks.

BIDEN: We want a stable, predictable relationship.

MARQUARDT: The American punishment and prospect of a meeting between the leaders clearly doing little to deter Russia from stepping up their cyberattacks.

HULTQUIST: This is probably preparation for the upcoming summit. They want to know what we're thinking when we go into that door. You can't really -- they don't really believe in going in negotiations not knowing what the other side is thinking.

MARQUARDT: In an exclusive interview with CNN, Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin said the military has the ability to go on the offense if the President chooses.

LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I have a number of offensive options. And yes, and we will always maintain credible, effective options.


MARQUARDT: And, Jake, we just got an update from Microsoft with some good news. They said in part, we are not seeing evidence of any significant number of compromised organizations at this time. That's similar to what I've heard from the White House as well that there appears to be limited impact from this Russian series of attacks. Now, the Biden ministration has not yet accused Russia of being behind this. But this certainly could make this summit in Switzerland between Biden and Putin next month more contentious. The Kremlin told CNN they don't believe these hacks, alleged hacks they say, will affect the summit, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Alex Marquardt, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Chris Krebs, former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security under President Trump.

Chris, good to see you as always.

I want to share the e-mail that went out to 3,000 different accounts across 150 organizations. How sophisticated was this attack?


I, you know, it actually reminds me of some of the spear phishing or e-mail based attacks that the Russian SVR which is the Foreign Intelligence Service, the same as the -- from the Nobelium or SolarWinds attack that they used to use. Very kind of loud, almost pray and pray and hope they get somebody to click through. In fact, FireEye, one of their seniors, John Hultquist said the same thing earlier today on Twitter.

So, look, I think that this is pretty standard operating procedure for the Russian intelligence service right now with the intent of collecting as much diplomatic intelligence as they can.

TAPPER: Microsoft says that they think these are the same hackers from the SolarWinds attack in 2020. We know that group was affiliated with the DNC hack back in 2016. That means, of course, over the period of three different administrations, Obama, Trump, Biden, nothing has stopped or changed the behavior of these Russian operatives?


KREBS: Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. My assessment is that they likely see this, whether it was earlier attacks against compromises of the DNC, or the solar winds campaign or this one, they see this probably as a espionage style attack, which is not, you know, destructive, so it doesn't cross any red lines. You know, I think this is where we need to have a conversation on whether any of these have been truly norms breaking. And if they have, what are the options we have that are potentially non-escalatory, that we can get to change their behavior and get him to knock it off. And at the same time, we need to be focusing on the ransomware problem. And, you know, it's two weeks on, people are getting gas in their car and it seems like we've almost forgotten and moved on from that event, Colonial Pipeline.

TAPPER: Yes. And Biden did try some response. He tried sanctions last month in response to the solar winds attack, obviously, they didn't prevent this attack from happening. What can the U.S. do to hold Russia accountable because the belief is that if Russia really wanted to stop these operatives from doing it, whether they're gangsters or part of the government, they could, what more can the U.S. do to hold Russia accountable within the realm of, you know, not starting an actual war?

KREBS: Well, I think we have a number of economic options at hand. And we should be partnering with our partners, our allies, like the United Kingdom and other European allies, to really cut the Russians off from the global economy. If this is what we've decided is beyond acceptable behavior. But we also need to cabin up what we think is too much, and what may be still within the acceptable bounds of espionage. And I am firmly of the belief that ransomware is gone on for far too long under the watchful eye of the Kremlin, they know exactly what they're doing. That needs to stop. We cannot have any more hospitals, any more schools, any more critical infrastructure like Colonial, that has to stop and the Biden administration has an opportunity this summer to send that message loud and clear to Moscow.

TAPPER: Well, if you were advising President Biden he, like you note, he's going to meet with Vladimir Putin in just three weeks in Geneva. If you were advising him, a, would you tell him he should meet with Putin, even though these attacks are going on? And, b, what would you have him say to Putin, if you don't stop it, we're going to do attacks on your critical infrastructure, and you'll see how bad it can actually get?

KREBS: I don't think that that's a path to success. I don't think that offensive operations against their own infrastructure, they don't have the same vulnerabilities we do. They don't have the same level of connectivity. We need to look at what's going to make them blink (ph). And that is things like their oil and gas shipments. You know, it's a little known fact, but the United States still imports Russian oil, we could change that.

We also need to take a hard look at what's going on in Europe, in Germany with the Nord Stream pipeline that's coming into Germany, that's another lever that we could pull. There are options. There are Russian oligarchs that own soccer teams in the United Kingdom. There are things that we can take off the table for them that will put pressure amongst Putin's group of friends on him to knock it off.

TAPPER: Chris Krebs, thanks so much. Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend. Appreciate your time.

KREBS: You too, Jake, thanks.

TAPPER: Up next, one federal judge's ruling is getting some attention and not for the first time, we'll explain. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead now, typically federal judges get notice for their rulings. But District Judge Amy Berman Jackson is, once again, getting attention for the words she uses to explain her decisions. And an opinion this week, the Judge wrote, "The steady drumbeat that inspired defendant to take up arms has not faded away. Six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near-daily fulminations of the former President". That was to keep a man in jail who prosecutors say wanted to shoot Speaker Pelosi on live television, as CNN's Tom Foreman now reports for us, this is far from the first time Judge Berman Jackson has used her bench to take a stand.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Amid all the former President's complaints about investigations, accusations and court cases, Amy Berman Jackson stands out as a federal judge who takes on Team Trump.

AMY BERMAN JACKSON, TRIAL-LEVEL FEDERAL JUDGE: The courts are not supposed to direct or control grand jury investigation, but they do have some supervisory power.

FOREMAN (voice-over): That's her in 1995. She's not on camera often, but her sharp rulings resonate throughout Washington.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Total exoneration, complete vindication.

FOREMAN (voice-over): When then-President Trump said the Russia investigation cleared him and Attorney General Bill Barr essentially backed that false claim, she suggested Barr was acting more like a PR flack than an officer of the court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a loyal supporter of Donald Trump.

FOREMAN (voice-over): When she gave Trump associate Roger Stone more than three years in prison for lying to Congress, Trump and his supporters screamed bias. She hit back. He was not prosecuted, as some have complained, for standing up for the President. "He was prosecuted for covering up for President". Trump commuted the sentence anyway.


Jackson sentence former campaign manager Paul Manafort more than seven years for financial crimes, saying he knew exactly what he was doing. Trump pardoned him too. Manafort associate Rick Gates got 45 days plus probation, as Jackson recognized his cooperation with prosecutors, saying, "If people don't have the facts, democracy doesn't work". Shan Wu represented Gates.

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY/FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Her demeanor, whether it is in a sparsely populated courtroom, or one packed with national media is always the same. And I think that says a lot about her integrity as a judge.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Born in Baltimore, she went to Harvard, then Harvard Law with the now Chief Justice John Roberts. She became a defense lawyer.

JACKSON: (INAUDIBLE) doesn't indict all the time. And in 2010, Barack Obama nominated her for the federal bench. She's handled cases tied to the Capitol riot, the Benghazi probes and political corruption taking Democrats to task same as Republicans, telling one, "As a public official, you're supposed to live up to a higher standard of ethics and integrity. And that's not unfair. You chose that role for yourself".


FOREMAN: It all fits into the role Judge Jackson has chosen for herself as a painstaking thorough and blunt champion of integrity in a town where sometimes there aren't many. Jake?

TAPPER: There certainly are not. Tom Foreman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the politically connected family member reportedly pitched their own reality TV show, and it was not someone with the last name Trump. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, a new book chock full of interesting anecdotes and racist expletives from the Biden-Obama world is offering an up close look at the divide in the Democratic Party. Perhaps getting the most attention is what former President Obama really thought about his successor, Donald Trump.

We're joined now by the book's author, Edward Isaac Dovere. Isaac, thank you so much and congratulations.


TAPPER: The book is great, "Battle for the Soul inside the Democrats Campaigns to Defeat Trump". Now, but let me start with the thing that's getting a lot of the attention. Obama called Trump -- behind the scenes because he really publicly until last year kept his mouth shut pretty much -- he called Trump a madman, a racist, sexist pig. He referred to him one time as that f-ing lunatic, except, he said the word, he called him a corrupt mother f-er. So this is really what was going on while Obama was holding his tongue for all those years.

DOVERE: Yes, the book traces what happened starting from election night 2016. It's got Obama and Biden watching Trump win in the prologue of the book and traces that all the way through. February, actually, I had an interview with President Biden talking about this. And all of what was happening behind the scenes. Obama is a perfect example of it. There was the sense that he was detached.

He wasn't really caring what was going on. But when I showed this in his private moments, he's reacting to this. He's really upset about what's happening. He's really upset about Trump, doesn't like what's going on. And then you see it start to come out, as you say, by the time he's on the campaign trail last fall, and he's almost cursing in public, but not.


DOVERE: These are the curses that he was using in private.

TAPPER: All right, that's interesting. You also describe President Obama in rather harsh terms, although, I've heard other Democrats express a similar sentiment as a parasite on the Democratic Party because he didn't look after other Democrats once he was elected. He didn't build a bench you write, quote, the numbers are hard to ignore, during Obama's eight years in office, he oversaw a net loss of 947 state legislative seats, 63 U.S. House seats, 11 senators, 13. governors. You also say Obama aides describe the former President's treatment of the party in that sense as benign neglect. Is Biden learning from this?

DOVERE: It seems like. I mean, when Trump won in 2016, a lot of Democrats like, how did this happen? The total surprise. What I started out in the book is looking at what it was that went into that sort of rot under the surface, and then how that was attempted to be corrected by activists who were doing things like the Women's March right out on their own, but also by people who were moving very quietly, having these quiet dinners that are reported in the book, all sorts of other things. And then some of the leaders that led to that giant primary field. 26 people running and, of course, Biden figuring out a way to win in the end.

TAPPER: I have to say one of the most shocking stories that you break in us, and it's full of scoops, but one of the most shocking one is about Biden's son, Hunter. You reveal in the summer of 2019. So his dad is running for president.


TAPPER: He's actually pitching a reality show about himself to producers. And you say, quote, If Beau Biden didn't need Joe, that's his late son, Hunter had spent his life trading on his father's name.

DOVERE: Yes, if you think about it, Beau Biden, famously when he was serving in the National Guard, didn't have his name Biden on his uniform so he wouldn't be treated differently. But Hunter Biden has gotten a lot of jobs, a lot of contracts, because people know who his father is. And this was, Joe Biden is already running for president. People are aware that Hunter Biden is a problem, that already been that story in the New Yorker that Hunter Biden had done on his own.

And then in the summer of that year, he is meeting with producers, as he said, pitching a reality show. One of the producers says to him, does your father know what you're doing here? And he says, yes, yes, he knows, he knows. And Joe Biden himself has sort of -- described in the book as a sort of willful naivete about this. He was always saying to Hunter, you know what you're doing, right? You know, I trust you and Hunter Biden was not always living up to that trust and exactly the way that Biden or the people close to him would have wanted. TAPPER: And what was the show supposed to be?

DOVERE: There were a couple of a loose concept of it. It never really got to like, the pitching of Sirius (ph) thing. There was some travel ideas. It was very weird and the producers that I spoke to about what they were getting.

TAPPER: You interviewed Biden, President Biden, as you note. After he was inaugurated, he told you how he misjudged how many Americans would buy into Trump's politics, including this madness, this insane lie that the election was stolen.


Is he under any illusion that that he is actually healing this nation? Because even though I believe his hearts in the right place, he isn't.

DOVERE: Well, of course, we're only four-ish months in. I think Biden has a concept that is both that he will try to just lower the temperature --


DOVERE: -- lower the partisanship, and then that will have an effect over time. But when he came in, and I guess we should go back, when he got into the race initially, he did have this idea that he would be the dealmaker and sort of resetting politics. He learned from the campaign, from Trump going after him, Trump going after his family, from the way the Republicans reacted, he saw the riot, he, I think, is entering this presidency, thinking about everything differently and thinking about Republicans differently. And so, yes, he is negotiating with them a little bit and talking about but he's also aware that it might take a firmer hand going forward.

TAPPER: Yes. It might. All right, Isaac, "Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats Campaigns to Defeat Trump". Great book. Thank you so much for being here.

DOVERE: Thank you.

TAPPER: Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Appreciate it.

Coming up, victims and descendants of the Tulsa race massacre have long called for reparations. Now with Democrats in power in Washington, might that actually become a reality? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead now, the Department of Homeland Security confirms that it shared safety information with local authorities ahead at this weekend's events marking 100 years since a horrific racist massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While there is no specific threat, official say the events may be an attractive target for white supremacists and you've seen in film about the Tulsa massacre. Dreamland premieres this Monday.

Right now, our own Anchor Abby Phillip looks at what's being done to compensate the massacre's few remaining survivors and the descendants of other victims.


REGINA GOODWIN (D), OKLAHOMA STATE HOUSE: How long would you wait for your justice, right?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lessie Beddingfield Randle, Hughes van Ellis, Viola Ford Fletcher, these are the last three known survivors of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

VIOLA "MOTHER" FLETCHER, 107-YEAR-OLD SURVIVOR OF THE TULSA RACE MASSACRE: I will never forget the violence of the white mob when we left our home. I am 107-year-old and have never seen justice. I pray that one day, I will.

PHILLIP (voice-over): For decades, massacre victims and their descendants have called for reparations. But now, with Democrats in power in Washington, the issue is being seriously debated and studied.

REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA): The victims of this atrocity have been denied justice for far too long.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's only one reason why descendants of the Tulsa massacre have not been compensated. And that reason is racism.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Today, this mural and half a city block are all that is left of Greenwood, also known as Black Wall Street. 100 years ago, it was a vibrant city within a city where black businesses, entrepreneurs, art and culture thrived. In 18 hours, it was destroyed and burned to the ground by a racist mob. Historians believe, as many as 300 black residents were killed.

(on-camera): What do reparations mean to you?

DAMARIO SOLOMON-SIMMONS, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING TULSA RACE MASSACRE SURVIVORS: Well reparations, what it means, the root word is to repair. We must have financial compensation to those who suffered the massacre.

PHILLIP (voice-over): With the eyes of the world now trained on Tulsa, Attorney Damario Solomon-Simmons is fighting back, suing the city for restitution and calling for the Massacre Centennial Commission to give back to the victims some of what has been raised.

SOLOMON-SIMMONS: Now people are really starting to understand, you know, what happened in Tulsa and the magnitude of the devastation and destruction.

PHILLIP (voice-over): Today, white-owned businesses and corporations are rapidly developing land in Greenwood as black businesses see their presence dwindling through gentrification. Across the country, reparations have taken different forms. In Evanston, Illinois, the city will distribute $10 million to black residents as reparations for discriminatory policies from the 1920s to the late 60s. And in California, the state may return millions of beachfront property taken from a black family in the 1920s. But here in Tulsa, there has been far more resistance from elected officials, including the Mayor G.T. Bynum.

MAYOR G.T. BYNUM (R-OK), TULSA: Getting into trying to make cash payments to people, it divides the community on something that we really need to be united around.

GOODWIN: I disagree. And again, what is divisive is when we're not willing to talk about the truth, or we're not willing to talk about the harm done. What I am saying is, even as a descendant, let's take care of the survivors right now that are in our face. And let's take care of them.


PHILLIP: Many black Tulsans that we spoke to said that reparations should not just be about paying money to the victims of the massacre, but also about rectifying the long-term harms caused by it and the decades of systemic racism that followed. Abby Phillip, CNN, Washington.

TAPPER: And our thanks to Abby Philip for that report. Be sure to tune in to the CNN film, "Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street", it premieres Monday at 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Also on Sunday, be sure to tune in the State of the Union. My guests will include Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, he's the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, he's the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

Until then, you can follow me on Facebook or on Instagram or on the TikTok or on the Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer who is, guess where? Right next door in The Situation Room. I'll see you Sunday morning. Have a great weekend.