Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Hosts GOP's Lead Negotiator For Infrastructure Talks; Bipartisan Group Urges Biden Administration To Protect Afghan Translators From Taliban During Troop Withdrawal; Interview With Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO); New Police Video Shows Shoot-Out Between 12, 14- Year-Old And Police; Seven E.U. Countries Start Issuing COVID "Certificates" For Travel; Biden Declares June "Month Of Action" To Meet Vaccine Goal; American Imprisoned In Russia Calls On Biden To Take "Decisive Action" On Detained U.S. Citizens. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 02, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Seven countries now issuing COVID travel certificates.

And breaking this afternoon, bye-bye Bibi. After an 11th hour deal, it looks as though Israel's longtime Prime Minister will be shown the door.

But first, a plan to rebuild America starting with building bridges in Washington. A crucial meeting just wrapping up at the White House, which will determine how one of President Biden's major legislative priorities moves forward if at all. The President was hosting Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia this afternoon. She is leading infrastructure negotiations for Senate Republicans.

Now, the White House has made it clear they think time is running out for any kind of bipartisan deal. And they're going to be willing to go it alone if substantial progress in negotiations are not made this week. Our CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White House negotiations with the GOP at a potential make or break moment.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The clock is certainly ticking.

COLLINS (voice-over): Moments ago, President Biden sitting down with the top Republican negotiators, Senator Shelley Moore Capito, to debate infrastructure.

COLLINS (on camera): Do we expect President Biden to give her any kind of deadline for a major breakthrough on these talks to happen?

PSAKI: I wouldn't expect this meeting to be an exchange of paper. It would be more of a discussion.

COLLINS (voice-over): No other Republican or Democratic senators were invited as the two met one-on-one in the Oval Office.

PSAKI: Patience is not unending and he wants to make progress.

COLLINS (voice-over): While both sides have made offers and counter offers, they remain deeply divided over how much to spend, what to spend it on and how to fund it.

Republicans have proposed using unspent coronavirus relief money to pay for the new infrastructure which the White House has rejected.

SEN. MITCHELL MCCONELL, (R-KY) MINORITY LEADER: I'm hoping for the best that we can actually reach a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure.

COLLINS (voice-over): If there are no major breakthroughs this week, several Democrats are urging the White House to move on. And Biden's top aides are warning that the window for talks is closing.

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: You know, it's there for the taking. It's just a question of whether he can, you know, Mitch McCollum will allow it and we'll have 10 Republican senators who are willing to invest in us. But ultimately we cannot just sit and negotiate forever.

COLLINS (voice-over): In Tulsa on Monday, President Biden called for June to be a month of action on Capitol Hill and blame to the gridlock on slim majorities.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITES STATES: I hear all the folks on T.V. saying why don't Biden get this done? Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.

COLLINS (voice-over): It's not true that the moderate Democrats he referenced, Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, vote with Republicans more often than they do with Democrats. But the White House says Biden wasn't criticizing the moderate wing of his own party.

PSAKI: It was not known that he considers them both friends. He considers them both good working partners. And he also believes that in democracy, we don't have to see eye to eye on every detail of every single issue.


COLLINS: So, not a criticism there, Jake. We should note that that meeting between President Biden and Senator Capito has now ended. It lasted for about an hour, give or take some time.

And so, the next deadline that I think people are going to be looking at, Jake, is that one given by the Transportation Secretary of Monday, June 7, when Congress is back in town from their recess. And he has described it as what could be a fish or cut bait moment for these infrastructure talks.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thank you so much.

There is still hope, at least as of now, for bipartisanship when it comes to infrastructure. But it is a much different story on Capitol Hill where Democrats are laying out their next steps for an investigation into that deadly Capitol riot after Republicans in the Senate blocked a bill to create an independent and bipartisan commission.

CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins us now live.

And Manu, which option laid out by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a way forward seems the most likely right now?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'm told tonight she's still deliberating exactly how to proceed. But what is very likely is the House Democrats plan to have an investigation into what happened on January 6, but they're still trying to figure out exactly what form that would take.

One of the four options that she laid out yesterday was trying to force the Senate to take another vote to set up an outside commission. That seems less likely because it undoubtedly would not change the outcome, which is Republicans blocking this bill from going forward, blocking an now outside commission, even with some changes that seems unlikely.

So, what she is looking at is potentially setting up a select committee, one that would be essentially like some other select committees at the past that the Benghazi select committee that Republicans set up in the aftermath of that deadly attack at Benghazi but also even empowering a standing committee of her own that exists right now like the Homeland Security Committee in the House to take the lead in investigating going forward. Those seem to be the leading options at the moment, something that she'll have to decide in a matter of days as the House returns into session the week after next, but also members will continue to talk about the way forward.


Now, Jake, at the same time Republicans say there is no need to investigate what should happen here, because there's already two Senate committees that plan to issue a report next week about the deadly attack on January 6, and the failures around it.

But that scope of that probe is narrow, only focusing on the events of that day, also information sharing that broke down between law enforcement agencies and not Donald Trump's actions, not the influencing factors leading up to January 6. And that's exactly what House Democrats plan to pursue in the months ahead here, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thank you so much. And let's discuss. Gloria, if negotiations, on infrastructure, let's start with infrastructure, don't go well today, is that it do you think? I mean, if they can't agree on roads and bridges, is there any area where they can agree?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it depends on what day it is, what time of day it is and what you call infrastructure. If the White House decides that they want to do a smaller infrastructure package, because that will get them some other votes on say voting rights. If the Manchin and Sinema, the so-called moderate Democrats will say, well, if you do this deal on infrastructure, we'll be with you on voting rights.

Would they be willing to cut a deal? I don't -- I think you have to see everything as part of a larger piece here, because this is really an inflection point. One thing is related to another is related to another. And I think that's what Joe Biden is looking at right now. I don't think he's looking at one thing individually.

And there's some disagreement inside the White House. You know, some people are saying, you got to -- you got to fish or cut bait as Pete Buttigieg told you.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: And June 7 is the deadline. Others are saying, let this string out a little bit to see if we can cut some other deals with our own party, with our own moderates related to important issues to us like voting rights.

TAPPER: So, explain for our viewers, and frankly to me, why somebody like Manchin or Sinema might be more willing to vote for a voting rights bill that is a favorite of progressives if the Biden team agrees to a smaller bipartisan infrastructure bill. What's the political calculation there?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: You know, it's interesting. I mean, when you think about these two folks, Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, who become the focus of so much of Biden's agenda because they're from moderate states. And in Joe Manchin's case, a very conservative state, they want to be seen as bipartisan.

I think if you look at the last week or so, the hopes of bipartisanship, given what happened to this January 6 Commission, I think the Joe Manchin is probably rethinking sort of the likelihood of bipartisanship on any number of issues.

You know, when you think about something like infrastructure, West Virginia is a state that has a history of passing the infrastructure, they just had a, you know, a big project pass a few years ago. You know, the politics of these folks are a little inscrutable. To me, I have to admit, they want to sound bipartisan. They know that Americans like the attempt at bipartisanship.

But at the same time if you look at the data, most Americans actually don't expect bipartisanship to happen. Something like 60 percent think that it's unlikely, whereas most wanted to happen. But given what we've seen over these last weeks, it's likely not to happen.

BORGER: But infrastructure is popular.

HENDERSON: Yes, exactly.

BORGER: People want infrastructure bills. They may disagree on whether health care --


BORGER: -- should be part of infrastructure, whether broadband should be part of infrastructure. But generally, you know the polls. When you look at people 60 percent, 70 percent say, get something done.

I'm sure a Manchin is thinking about that. He was upset about the January 6 Commission. He wanted a bipartisan January 6 Commission, that didn't happen. So, I think Biden is trying to sort of figure out what he can get if he gives a little on this.

TAPPER: So, Gloria mentioned that there are people in the White House in the Biden administration who think it's like, it's time we can go this alone. We only need right 50 votes in the Senate and then Vice President Harris can break the tie, it's fine. But there are also people in the White House who think that a bipartisan bill is smart politics for Biden, smart politics for Democrats.

Politico says, Steve Ricchetti, who's a counselor to President Biden, told Democrats that he's open to letting infrastructure talks, play out even longer than scheduled.

HENDERSON: Yes, because if you think about if you are a House member who's running in a difficult district going forward in 2022, you want to be able to say, listen, we pass this bipartisan infrastructure deal. It's going to bring roads and bridges to your communities. Because you know that Republicans attack on Democrats is going to be about the culture wars, it's going to be that they're about socialism and they want to take the country in a very different direction.


So, I do think if you are an average Democrat who's going to be running, bipartisanship is probably better than not. But in the end, listen, if you're an average voter and a bridge starts to be repaired because of this bill, I don't think you care whether or not you got Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, a collection of Republicans to vote for.

BORGER: But you know, the question is, of course, as it always is, have you paid for it?


BORGER: And Republicans are saying, use money leftover from the rescue plan, we're not going to raise -- we're not going to raise corporate taxes. What Biden is saying is, well, we're going to raise corporate taxes. That is also popular with the American public. They know what the American public says is OK.

And infrastructure is OK. And raising taxes on corporations to pay for infrastructure is OK. And Mitch McConnell is saying, no, no, no. So, we're going to have to see where he comes out on that.

But I agree with you Nia, I don't think it's bad politics for the White House to say, OK, we're going to give a little on this, but they do want to get something for it. They're just not going to give and get nothing.

TAPPER: All right, Nia-Malika and Gloria Borgia, thanks to both of you. I really appreciate it.

We're following breaking news in our world lead right now. A deal in Israel that could mean the end of Israel's longest serving prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Stand by for details on that.

Plus, he served his country as an Army Ranger. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and now Democratic Congressman Jason Crow is on a mission to help some of those people who helped keep him safe. Congressman Crow will join us live, next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We're following a breaking story in our world lead right now. A coalition of Israeli political parties just announced a deal to form a new government. And this paves the way for toppling longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Bibi Netanyahu. CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem for us.

Hadas, this is a huge news, Netanyahu the longest serving Prime Minister in Israel. Tell us about this deal.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is history in the making and could be the beginning of the end for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As you noted the longest serving prime minister of Israel, which is 38 minutes until that midnight deadline. The centrist leader Yair Lapid informed the Israeli President they had finally managed to form a coalition government.

Under the terms of this deal, it will actually be the right wing Yamina leader, Naftali Bennett, who will first serve as prime minister for two years, followed by the centrist leader, Yair Lapid, as sort of a part of a rotating leadership deal.

Now this coalition will be comprised of a wide swath of political parties from the far left Merritt's party through the center -- to Naftali Bennett's Yamina Party, which is right wing.

And in a historic moment tonight and making history, an Arab Israeli party, the United Arab List said that it will also join as part of a coalition. That's the first time in Israeli history that an Arab Israeli party has said that they will sit with a coalition. Now not much unites all of these party other than wanting Netanyahu out of office. So it may be a fragile coalition, a fragile government to start.

And it's not over, even though they have announced that they've been able to form the coalition, now, it has to pass a vote of confidence in the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. And that has to be done within about seven days of the Knesset of being informed. So we might not actually get a vote on this until as late as potentially June 14. And that gives a lot of time for Prime Minister Netanyahu and his allies to try and get a few defectors from this coalition.

And only a handful of defectors or some sort of outside event, think about the ceasefire with the Hamas led militants in Gaza. If that falls apart, any sort of event like that could cause this coalition to crumble.

Again, it's going to be a very unique unity government with a very unique prime minister, leading a very interesting coalition. It's not clear what they will be able to agree and what they will be able to advance substantively when it comes to the issues, especially in dealings with Palestinians, especially with any sort of future peace deal two state solution.

But it will be definitely a historic not only because the participation of the Arab Israeli party as part of the coalition, but because they -- if they managed to get this through the parliament, they managed to pass the confidence though, then because they have managed to topple Benjamin Netanyahu, the ultimate survivor of Israeli politics.

TAPPER: The strangest of bedfellows, and as you noted Hadas Gold, united, perhaps most strongly in opposition to Netanyahu. Thank you so much for that report live from Jerusalem.

In our politics lead, with the United States just months away from a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, there continue to be growing fears. Afghan interpreters who worked with the United States will be targeted and murdered by the Taliban.

And now, veteran and Congressman Jason Crow, is leading a bipartisan group of 15 members of Congress who are all coming together to call on the Biden administration to do something to protect these 1000s of interpreters and their families. Outlining why their service was so critical for troops in a new T.V. ad made in partnership With Honor Action.


REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): It's been America's longest war. And when our troops have been sent into harm's way, they've been on our side.

REP. PETER MEIJER (R-MI): Afghan interpreters who've risked everything, putting their lives on the line to save the lives of American service members, and help us complete our mission.

FLO GLOBERG, RET. U.S. ARMY CAPTAIN: Now, as we bring our troops home, we can't leave them behind.


TAPPER: That's a Medal of Honor recipient Flo Globerg. We also saw Congressman Peter Meijer, Republican of Michigan in that ad.

And Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado joins us now to talk about it.

So, for people who don't know you, you're retired Army Ranger, you served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. So you have firsthand experience, understanding how critical these translators were during your time. Tell our viewers.

CROW: Hi, Jake, thanks for having me. Yes, this isn't hypothetical for me. I mean, there's certainly moral arguments be made here. There are national security arguments to be made here.

But this group, this bipartisan group that has come together, many of us veterans, this is real and personal for us. I mean, we consider these Afghan interpreters, these translators as brothers and sisters of ours. I can say, it is not a hyperbole for me to say this, that I very well wouldn't be here today hadn't been for the service of some of these men and women that helped us communicate, but also helped us work through the culture and some of the challenges of being in Baghdad or being in the mountains of Afghanistan.


I remember very clearly one moment in the summer of 2003 working with interpreter in Iraq, and I was communicating with one of the local leaders. And my interpreter said, you know, he's lying to you, he's lying to you. And, you know, I think he's a part of the insurgency, which then of course, led us to dig deeper and look into things and really help protect me and the men that I was leading. So, these folks have proven themselves in service to our country, and it's time that we stand by them.

TAPPER: I have not seen the sense of urgency and the rush to solve this problem from the Biden administration that I would think would be there. I have literally been reporting on the story for years.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin today, it's been reported that he's asked top generals to start looking into options to evacuate translators and interpreters, I think task and purpose reported that. What kind of options do you think would be appropriate? And do you think that Biden is acting with the urgency this issues requires?

CROW: Oh, Jake, as of today, we're almost 40 percent done with the retro grade, as they're calling it, which is the military term for the withdrawals. This is happening very fast, it's extremely dangerous. We already have our Afghan partners and allies who have been murdered in years past and continue to be right now. So there is an urgency to this over the next couple of months.

And what I can say is, you know, my friends and contacts in the DOD want to do this, and senior military leaders continue to say that we can do this, we can get it done. As recently as today, actually earlier today, some senior folks in the Department of Defense said, you know, we are developing plans to do an evacuation. Same thing with the State Department who have said to me repeatedly that this is something that we can do and that they would like to see done.

So, you know, what this ad has intended to do, that we did in collaboration With Honor Action, the organization is send the message to President Biden into the White House, that this is something that the American people support, that they're behind, and that we are willing to help them accomplish, that there is popular support for it. And that's consistent with the values of our country. And it's something that we want them to do.

So, we're going to continue to push them. I think in the direction we need to go we need to do an evacuation is the bottom line. We have a special immigrant visa program that's in place is going to take years, though. Even at best, it'll take years to get everybody through the SIV process. There are asylum processes available to folks, that's not going to do it either.

It is time that we look at an evacuation much like we did after Vietnam, much like we did with the Kurds in 1996, and the coast of ours after that. We have done this before, we know how to do it. It's time to do it again.

TAPPER: Well, you're telling me that there's a bipartisan group in Congress that wants to do it. And I was just talking to the Republican -- ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Sunday, Michael McCaul, who agreed, you're telling me that there are people at the Pentagon that want to do it, people at the State Department, they want to do it.

What you're not telling me is that there are people in the White House that want to do that. And ultimately, they're the ones that have to say, Secretary Austin do this. So why aren't they?

CROW: Well, that that's a political decision, ultimately, right? State Department and DOD, they're the ones are going to have to effectuate that. They can't make that policy. They can only carry out that policy. So, that's why we formed this group, Jake.

We formed the group, this bipartisan, you know, honoring our promises. Working group is what we've called it in Congress. We have this ad that's going up, we put out op-eds. We're trying to send a very strong message that the American people really think this is important and we want to do it, because ultimately we understand that this is a political decision.

And you know, President Biden has a lot on his plate, I get that. We have a pandemic. We are trying to pass an infrastructure bill. There's all sorts of international crises. There are hacks, cyberattacks, ransomware attacks, there's a lot going on.

What we're trying to say is, this is one of them, and this should go on the priority list because we don't get a second shot at this. We have a couple of months. If these people are killed under our watch, and because of our neglect, then we will carry that with us. And not only is it a moral issue, but it's a national security one.

And let me flush that out very briefly, if I may, you know, we're withdrawing from Afghanistan that's a decision that is not without risk, but it's one that I support and we're pivoting to other great dangers and threats around the world. We're going to need partner wherever that happens to be, whether it's countering China, countering Russia, Central America, South America, but we never do it alone.


And those people, those future partners are looking very closely and watching us how we treat our current partners. And if we don't stand by them now, people are not going to be there for us in the future.

TAPPER: Congressman Jason Crow, thank you so much for your time and thank you for your service. Appreciate it, sir.

CROW: Yes, thank you.

TAPPER: Not old enough to drive but armed with an AK, the shocking police shootout involving two children. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you in our national lead. We just got brand new video of a shootout between two children and sheriff's deputies in Volusia County, Florida. One of the kids is a 14-year-old girl, the other is a 12-year-old boy. We do want to warn you that the video is disturbing and this is not the raw video, it's a compilation that was released by the sheriff's department.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 104 they're shooting at me, hold there. Don't let me do this. I don't do this.


TAPPER: The sheriff says that the kids were armed with three guns including an AK-47 and 200 rounds of Ammo that they reportedly found in a house into which they had broken. The 14-year-old girl was shot by a sheriff's deputy. She's in the hospital, quote, fighting for her life. The 12-year-old boy surrendered uninjured, we are told. The sheriff says this could have been much, much worse.


SHERIFF MIKE CHITWOOD, VOLUSION COUNTY, FLORIDA: My deputies showed more restraint that I'm showing right now, because I am furious that we could be burying somebody tonight. They shot through the bedroom window, they shot from the garage door. I mean, this is like Bonnie and Clyde, 12-year-old -- 12 or 14 years of age. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: CNN's Leyla Santiago is in Florida following this. Leyla, what else do we learn from the video?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, not only do we see sort of how officers dealt with the situation at times hiding behind the tree, you also learn quite a bit from the radio traffic, hearing the officers get instructions to not challenge the two and asking for deescalation.

And, in fact, according to the sheriff, they tried several tactics to deescalate from throwing in a phone to even calling for tear gas. So how does this all end? Well, you said it, the 12-year-old surrender and the 14-year-old was shot and then they go in to get her to medical treatment. But, you know something that happened after all of that. Detectives were able to interview the 12-year-old and from that interview, we learn more disturbing details.


CHITWOOD: The advice of the 14-year-old made a statement, I'm going to roll this down like GTA, referring to the video game Grand Theft Auto. He stated if the female fired multiple shots at deputies from or outside of the residence, he then noticed green dots were on him. So he fired the double barrel shotgun at deputies as well.


SANTIAGO: Now the sheriff was very critical of the juvenile justice system and also said that the home where these children lived, an emergency shelter, really can't handle children that fall under this system. The home in a statement to CNN said that their plan for now is to stop their emergency shelter program until they feel that they can safely provide care for the children.

They also said that they are overwhelmed and, "The situation is tragic and is the result of the system failing our children. These children are in desperate need of care and the appropriate setting which is a higher level of care than we provide."

Jake, tonight, I also spoke to the homeowner who says that he too is struggling with what happened there, struggling to find a way to get his daughter's back into the home and feel safe again.

TAPPER: Yes, the Florida foster care system has been criticized for a long, long time. Leyla Santiago, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

What you'll need if you plan to travel to Europe in a post COVID world, that's next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, starting today, seven European countries are issuing the first E.U. digital COVID certificates. Meaning, the COVID vaccine or negative COVID test will be the new entry requirement for many destinations this summer. CNN's Melissa Bell joins us now live in Paris. And Melissa, how is this going to work and what might this mean for Americans who are eager to travel to Europe this summer?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's be clear, everyone at this stage is eager to be able to travel once again. The good news today, Jake, is that these seven countries slightly ahead of the rest of the European Union, but not terribly so. By the first of July, this will apply to all 27 European countries.

With this digital certificate, you can come and go as you like, it shows either that you've been inoculated or that you're immune (ph) because you've recently had it or that you have proven negative to the virus in the previous 72 hours. It allows the free movement of people across borders, crucial, of course, to the existential integrity of the European Union. And I think that's why they've been able to act so fast on it.

But, interestingly, open to those from outside. So in theory, Americans, to those seven countries where it's online, can now go if they've been fully vaccinated, if they can show they've been fully vaccinated, can now travel there again. By July 1st, that mean, Jake, for the first time in over a year, you should, if you've been completely vaccinated and can prove it, be able to fly for the first time to cities like Paris.

TAPPER: All right, Melissa Bell, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Let's discuss this and more with CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Dr. Reiner, good to see you. A quick reaction to that report is do you think it's a good idea for countries in the European Union to require proof of vaccination upon entry? And if you do, should we be replicating that in the United States?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think it's a great idea. I think -- look, what the European Union is saying basically is that they want to limit further infection. As they start to beat this virus, they want to keep folks who are unprotected from traveling to their nations. And I think that's a very reasonable thing after the last 14 months. You know, the problem is that there's been big political resistance to the United States to creating the so-called vaccine passports.


Now, the European Union is wary of that same kind of politics, so they're calling it a vaccine certificate. They're allowing people to have any kind of proof of vaccination or prior infection. But these kinds of documentation of immunity is really -- the really old (ph) pro-business kind of thing.

It allows businesses to fill their restaurants, it allows airlines to know that their passengers are immune, and it allows borders to know that people coming across the borders are not likely to be infected with the virus. The U.S. is behind in this. TAPPER: Today, President Biden announced a renewed push to get more Americans vaccinated, the number of doses administered has been dropping every day. As you know, it's down 63 percent from its peak in mid-April. Do you think we're going to get to that goal that President Biden set for July 4th, 70 percent of adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day?

REINER: Yes, I predict we'll get there on July 1st. So we need about 17 million more people to be vaccinated. Right now, we're vaccinating about 1.2 million people a day. As you say, it's dropping every day, but we're averaging about 600,000 plus new vaccination today, first vaccinations. And if you do the math, that's 28 more days to get to 70 million, to get to 70 percent. I think we'll get there a day or two before July 4th.

TAPPER: So even if we do reach that level --


TAPPER: -- that's nowhere near the herd immunity where all of the population would be at 70 percent, it's just adults.

REINER: Right.

TAPPER: And, obviously, this nation is not just adults. Right now, the number of adults fully vaccinated is 41 percent. What more can the Biden administration do?

REINER: Well, they're doing a lot. And, look, a year ago, if you told me that we were going to have to bribe and beg people to take this magic vaccine that works incredibly well, I would not have believed it but here we are. I don't call this herd immunity, I call it community immunity, because it's going to be different all over the country because the adherence to vaccination is different all over the United States.

So where I live in Maryland, for instance, we just passed 70 percent of adults with at least one shot, and our positivity rate is less than 1 percent, but in places like Alabama, you know, the positivity rate is over 12 percent. And about 35 percent of people of adults have had at least one shot. So it's going to be a much longer road to get to community immunity there.

Look, we have to keep pushing, I think we need more grassroots -- grassroots effort to get people in these vaccine hesitant communities to understand. I love the idea of reaching out to NASCAR, reaching out to Nashville, getting local community leaders to talk to people in the communities.

But we have a long way to go. 15 percent of our population will not be vaccinated because they're less than 12. So that leaves us with 85 percent of the population. And most people think that we need somewhere between 70 percent to 75 percent of the United States vaccinated to get this so-called community immunity or herd immunity, that means, we have to vaccinate just about everyone else. So we can't leave anyone behind. TAPPER: Do we have any idea what the percentages of American adults or children are both who cannot be vaccinated because of medical complications and issues that they have? At a restaurant not long ago, I met somebody who can't be vaccinated. So he's relying on everyone else to get vaccinated because of his own health issues.

REINER: It's not only people who can't be vaccinated, and there are relatively few people who, for allergic reasons or other reasons, can't be vaccinated. There's a bigger group of people who, in whom, we're not sure the vaccine works. Those are people, for instance, organ transplant, patients who are immune -- on immunosuppressants, people with certain autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, that get disease-modifying agents that perhaps reduce the efficacy of the vaccines.

These folks, and I have people like this in my family who I care, you know, quite a bit about, these folks will be potentially susceptible to infection if there's a lot of virus in the community. So vaccination is not just for you, it's for your community, and it's for people who will remain vulnerable going forward.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Reiner, good reminder, thank you so much. Appreciate your time today. Good to see you, sir.

REINER: Thank you.

TAPPER: In a CNN exclusive, an American citizen detained in Russia has a message for President Biden about Biden's upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We have a CNN exclusive for you in our world lead now, a plea for President Biden to take decisive action at his upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin to win the release of Americans detained unfairly and unjustly in Russia.

We've already told you the story of Trevor Reed, the former U.S. Marine held in a Russian prison under what looked to be trumped-up charges. This plea that we're telling you about now comes from Paul Whelan. He's an American citizen who's been held for nearly two years after the Russians accused him of espionage, an accusation Whelan vehemently denies.

CNN's Matthew Chance reports.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than two years, Paul Whelan has languished in Russian jails, insisting he's an innocent pulled (ph) in a political game.


PAUL WHELAN, DETAINEE: I want to tell the world that I'm a victim of political kidnap and ransom.


WHELAN: There's obviously no credibility to the situation.

CHANCE (voice-over): Now, the former U.S. Marine has spoken to CNN from his remote Russian penal colony, ahead of a much anticipated summit between the U.S. and Russian presidents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And if you forget a message to President Biden ahead of this meeting, what would it be?

WHELAN: Decisive action is needed immediately. The abduction of an American citizen cannot stand anywhere in the world. This is not an issue of Russia against me, it's an issue of Russia against the United States and the United States needs to answer this hostage diplomacy situation and resolve it as quickly as possible. So I would ask President Biden to aggressively discuss and resolve this issue with his Russian counterparts.

CHANCE (voice-over): It was at this upscale hotel in Moscow in December 2018, where Whelan was detained by the Russian security services, the old KGB, and accused of receiving a flash drive containing classified information. In a closed trial, he was sentenced to 16 years after being convicted of espionage. Trumped-up charge, he says, intended to make him a valuable bargaining chip for the Kremlin, something Russian officials deny.

WHELAN: It's pretty simple. There was no crime. There was no evidence. The secret trial was a sham. As I said, you know, the judge when I was sentenced said I was being sent home. This was done purely for political motive. And it's really up to the governments to sort out either an exchange or some sort of resolution. My hope is that it will be quick. It's been, you know, more than two years.

I have not had a shower in two weeks. I can't use a barber. I have to cut my own hair.

CHANCE (voice-over): Ever since his arrest, there have been serious welfare concerns. The state of Russian prisons is poor. Now, Whelan tell CNN he spends his days sewing clothes in a prison factory, but that health issues, especially during the COVID pandemic, are a worry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So tell me how are you doing, how are you feeling?

WHELAN: I'm doing OK. I've got some sort of illness right now. I call it a kennel cough. It kind of comes and goes in the barracks. People have it get better then have it again. Getting medical care here is very difficult.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are there concerns about COVID still where you are? I imagine the vaccine hasn't you?

WHELAN: We have serious concerns about that. I just had one shot and I should have a second shot -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow.

WHELAN: -- I think two weeks.


WHELAN: So that's a step in the right direction.

CHANCE (voice-over): A step in the right direction, perhaps. But for Paul Whelan, it may still be a long road home.


CHANCE: Yes, a long road, Jake, because it's not clear how high up on the list of fraught issues are going to be discussed between President Biden and President Putin when they meet in a couple of weeks' time. The case of Paul Whelan and the other American here is going to be, they've already got, you know, the hacking situation, the military buildup in Ukraine, the crackdown on dissidents, suppose the Putin regime here. But as we heard, Paul Whelan hopes that this summit is his best hope at the moment for a negotiated release.

TAPPER: And Matthew, Paul Whelan, of course, is not the only high- profile American prisoner in Russia. As we mentioned, former Marine Trevor Reed is also in prison there.

CHANCE: Yes. Yes, I mean, he's in prison for, you know, for nine years, he's been put in prison for essentially assaulting a couple of police officers. And there's a big question mark over the extent to which that actually happened. But, you know, look, the general view is that both Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan are being kept as high-value negotiating chips by the Russians so that they can potentially exchange them to prisoners in American jails that they weren't released.

The problem is the sort of level of those prisoners that have been talked about and spoken off publicly are so high up that U.S. officials say they just simply don't fall into the same category of criminality, as Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed do.

TAPPER: All right, Matthew Chance, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

New developments in a scandal at the Kentucky Derby, a second drug tests that could put a legendary trainer out to pasture for a while. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our sports lead now, Japanese broadcaster NHK reports that about 10,000 people have withdrawn their previous offers to volunteer during the upcoming Olympic Games which will begin next month. Japan, of course, is enduring a surge in coronavirus cases and states of emergency will be in effect much of this month and several important regions of the country. However, Olympic officials are determined to press ahead. People with

the Tokyo Organizing Committee tells CNN they still have about 80,000 volunteers signed up, 54,000 for the Olympics and 26,000 for the Paralympics that follow.

Also in our sports lead today, Hall of Fame horse trainer Bob Baffert suspended for two years from racing any horses at Churchill Downs racetracks including at the Kentucky Derby. The announcement comes on the heels of a second drug test confirming that Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit trained by Baffert had a banned anti-inflammatory drug in his system.

This also raises the possibility that Medina Spirit's Derby win might be invalidated. Neither Baffert nor the horse are taking part in this week's Belmont Stakes. You can follow me on Facebook Instagram, TikTok, Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM".