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The Lead with Jake Tapper

CNN Obtains Audio Of Giuliani Pressing Ukrainian Official On Biden; Biden And The GOP On Infrastructure And Voting Reform Bill; Severe Drought In Western States Fuels Wildfire Danger; Violent Weekend In U.S.: At Least 17 Killed In Shootings; Around 8,200 Plus People Have Died In Shootings This Year In The U.S.; FDA Approves First New Alzheimer's Disease Drug In Nearly 20 Years; Netanyahu Accuses Rivals Of "Fraud Of The Century," Vows To Topple New Government "Very Quickly". Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 07, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Plus, President Biden facing a make or break week for one of his massive spending proposals. The negotiations could set the tone for the rest of his presidency.

And leading this hour, a CNN exclusive. We're going to play for you never before heard audio of a 2019 phone call now obtained by CNN. You will hear Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the call relentlessly pushing a Ukrainian government official, Andriy Yermak, to investigate the baseless conspiracy theories about then presidential candidate Joe Biden.

You may recall the allegations that Donald Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Biden in exchange for better relations and military aid. That was the central focus of Trump's first impeachment. Now the partial transcript of this call became public earlier this year but to hear the actual audio for the first time is quite stunning.

The president's personal attorney telling a top aide to the Ukrainian president that if they want a better relationship with Trump, if they want to solve their problems with Trump they needed to do what Giuliani was proposing and have a prosecutor publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden.

If you do this, you could get that. I think there's a term in Latin for that. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance walks us through this quite damning recording.


UNKNOWN: (Inaudible) what exactly do you mean?

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: Meaning meddling in the election.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the call that set events in motion.

KURT VOLKER, U.S. DIPLOMAT (via telephone): Okay, so, we should have on the line here America's mayor, Mayor Giuliani and we have Andriy Yermak.

CHANCE (voice-over): Frosting (ph) a reluctant Ukraine into America's divided politics. We already know through transcripts and testimony Giuliani pressured them to announce investigations important to then President Trump, but this is the first time we've heard his actual voice.

GIULIANI: I want very much to see that our two countries are able to work together.

CHANCE (voice-over): Now, Giuliani cajoled the Ukrainian presidential adviser on the other end of the line, first promoting debunked conspiracy theories that Ukraine, not Russia, was involved in U.S. election meddling in 2016 and tried to hurt the Trump campaign.

GIULIANI: Way back, in last November I got information from a reliable investigator, international investigator, that there was a certain amount of activity in Ukraine during the 2016 election that was -- that involved the Ukrainian officials and Ukrainian -- mostly officials being asked by our embassy and possibly by other American officials. Basically, I mean, the statement was to produce dirt on then candidate Trump and Paul Manafort.

CHANCE (voice-over): By the time of the call in July 2019, Joe Biden had already emerged as the Democratic Party's front-runner to challenge President Trump. Digging up dirt on Biden like the unfounded allegations of corrupt dealings in Ukraine when he was vice president had become a priority for Trump and his longtime adviser.

Throughout the roughly 40-minute call, Giuliani repeatedly pressed the Ukrainian leadership to publicly announce investigations into this, too, something that would have undoubtedly benefited Trump's re- election campaign and damaged candidate Biden. This is how Giuliani sets out what's required.

GIULIANI: And all we need -- all we need from the president is to say, I'm going to put an honest prosecutor in charge, he's going to investigate and dig up the evidence that presently exists and is there any other evidence about involvement of the 2016 election and then the Biden thing has to be run out.

I don't know if it's true or not. I mean, I see him bragging about it on television. And to me as a lawyer, to me as a lawyer it sounds like a bribe. Somebody in Ukraine has got to take that seriously.

CHANCE (voice-over): In the Ukrainian presidential office, they took it very seriously. Then, as now, the country was fighting a desperate war against Russian-backed rebels in its east and heavily dependent on U.S. weapons and military aid to hold its ground, including millions of dollars that had been frozen by the Trump administration while Giuliani pursued these political investigations.


Mindful of the need for a strong relationship with Washington, the Ukrainian presidential adviser on the call tried to assure Giuliani the investigations he wanted would be looked at.

ANDRIY YERMAK, HEAD OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: And we'll be ready this day immediately communicated to coordinate, to work and investigate everything, which you listed.

CHANCE (voice-over): But privately, Ukrainian officials say they were alarmed of being sucked into American politics, especially when Giuliani repeatedly suggested compliance would open the door to closer U.S.-Ukrainian ties, even a presidential meeting, undermining the former U.S. president's assertions that he never sought political favors from Ukraine to secure U.S. support, so-called quid quo pro.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo.

CHANCE (voice-over): Now we can hear Giuliani set out his offer.

GIULIANI: So, if he could make some statement at the right time that he supports a fair, honest law enforcement system. And that these investigations go, wherever they have to go. It's going to be run by honest people. That would clear the air really well.

And I think it would make it possible for me to come and make it possible, I think, for me to talk to the president to see what I can do about making sure that whatever misunderstandings are put aside. And maybe even, I kind of think that this could be a good thing for having a much better relationship where we really understand each other.

IGOR NOVIKOV, FORMER ADVISER TO UKRAINE PRESIDENT ZELENSKY: To my factual knowledge they approached numerous --

CHANCE (voice-over): One former Ukrainian official who was listening in on the call understood all too well. He spoke to CNN last month of his outrage as he heard Giuliani try to force a deal that in his words threatened Ukraine's national security.

NOVIKOV: Let me remind you, we're a country fighting an active war with Russia for many years. So, anything to do with swapping, you know, favors within our bilateral relationship in exchange for trying to get us involved into U.S. domestic politics is just wrong on many levels, morally, ethically, and probably even legally.

CHANCE (voice-over): By the call's end, the Ukrainian side seemed to understand exactly what President Zelensky of Ukraine was expected to do to keep Washington on the side, and on the call at least, they agreed.

YERMAK: I'm sure that Zelensky will say that, yes.

VOLKER: Yes, good. Second --

GIULIANI: Boy, that would probably -- that would -- believe me Andriy, that would be good for all of us.

CHANCE (voice-over): Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing in Ukraine and says he was just trying to help his personal client, Trump. It was of course this and other aggressive attempts to coax Ukraine vigorously denied by then administration officials that led to former President Trump's first impeachment in which he was eventually acquitted by the U.S. Senate. It's hard to know if actually hearing Giuliani relentlessly pressing Ukraine like this.

GIULIANI: If he could say something like that, on his own, in conversation, it would go a long way. It would go a long way with the president to solve the problems.

CHANCE (voice-over): Would have in any way influenced the outcome of the impeachment vote.


CHANCE (on camera): All right. Well, Jake, the Ukrainians of course never did announce any investigations into 2016 election meddling or of course into Joe Biden and they paid a price for it because even though the White House unfroze the military aid to Ukraine, President Zelensky of Ukraine, he never got that invitation to the White House he was looking for, something he valued because it was a show symbolically of support from United States to Ukraine.

Tonight, though, Jake, that's all changed because the Ukrainian president has been in the past few hours announced that he has now finally been invited to the White House for the first time by President Biden in July. Back to you.

TAPPER: Matthew Chance, great reporting. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Let's discuss this rather stunning audio. Evan, we've, you know, we've read the transcript of this call, but it's one thing to read it. It's another thing to hear, heart the inflictions, hear the paragraphs and it's very easy to see why somebody, especially Ukrainian officials would interpret this as a quid quo pro.

Giuliani very clearly says if you do this, then this could happen. This has to do with an investigation being announced about the Bidens or Joe Biden and this is better relations with the United States than with President Trump.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, and look, that's the definition of a quid quo pro, right? I mean, the idea that the Ukrainians and the aid that is key to their defense, to their survival amid the Russian attacks that they have in the east of their country, that that is tied, the very important meeting with then President Trump was very important to them, you know, for their foreign policy.

And to have that tied to -- they don't even, you know, you could hear Giuliani say he doesn't care really whether it's true or whether this is a real legitimate investigation. All he wants is an announcement.

And what that tells you, Jake, is that this is again, this goes to the classic use of disinformation techniques, right, which is to put it out there and then that sets upon the, you know, the gears to work for the conservative media to start feeding the frenzy, right, the feeding frenzy on Joe Biden and his candidacy.

And then it doesn't matter whether this ends up being not true in a couple of years. The effect, right, is such that it would cripple his candidacy for the presidency.

TAPPER: And that context is so important because as Matthew pointed out in this piece, his excellent piece, Joe Biden was the Democratic front-runner for the nomination. What are the odds, do you think, Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump would have cared about this if Biden weren't running for president and weren't seen as the biggest, and look, he was right, as the best chance the Democrats had to defeat him?

Would Rudy Giuliani have been pushing for this if it was just citizen Biden sitting at home?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We know the answer to that and the answer to that is no because they didn't do it for the first three years of his presidency. If he cared that much, if he was that concerned, the former president, never mind Rudy Giuliani. Just because it was a pure policy question, then they would have been doing it from the very beginning.

No. It's because of the fact that Joe Biden was -- they saw early on before he was the nominee for the Democrats as a very real threat and as you said they were right. And, you know, behind the scenes people in and around the Trump campaign, they were very candid about the fact that they were worried about Joe Biden and this is how it was playing out in extremely nefarious ways.

As you said, for the Ukrainians for whom this is not just a foreign policy question, this is a potential question about an existential threat to them because of Russia's aggression towards the Ukrainians.

TAPPER: Yes. And so we're hearing about this now. It's 2021.

PEREZ: Right.

TAPPER: Why wasn't anything -- why weren't charges brought against, I mean, if this is at least potentially illegal and it looks -- I am not a lawyer but I don't understand how that would be legal -- why weren't charges brought against Giuliani? Does he possibly face legal exposure now?

PEREZ: You know, I've heard internal conversations at the Justice Department in the past year where, you know, Bill Barr who was key to all of this, you know, expressed frustration that he essentially saved Donald Trump's presidency and then Donald Trump went and screwed it up. And what he's referring to is this because --

TAPPER: This is where he saved it.

PEREZ: This is where he saved it. He managed, right, when this -- when this first comes to the attention of the Justice Department through a whistle-blower complaint, which then gets sent from the director of National Intelligence to the Justice Department. What they do behind the scenes unbeknownst to us, they spend a couple

of weeks making sure that when this was finally made public and that Congress by the way was not told yet, when they were finally able to tell the public about this that everything had already been done behind the scenes.

And they came out immediately and told us that they investigated and determined that there was nothing to see here. That was a huge thing that the Justice Department did because what it has done essentially is let Giuliani, let Trump skate by until now that, you know, some of this is now perhaps coming to the, you know, becoming public. And also, obviously, Giuliani is still under investigation by the Southern District of New York.

BASH: Which it bears repeating because we said it so much at the time. Obviously, this whole discussion is about the first Trump impeachment or led to the first Trump impeachment. But what you just said is -- I mean, it's really remarkable that the attorney general of the United States planned this all or at least protected a lot of these people so that he could save his presidency which he messed up.

That was such a potent message that Joe Biden took to the American people on the way that the Justice Department, one of the messages he had, had the Justice Department was totally tainted by politics. And that's why you're seeing it being approached in a completely different way. Not saying that it's necessarily going to have different outcomes with regard to the Justice Department probes of various things, but he's hands off and that's why.

TAPPER: All right, Dana Bash, Evan Perez, thanks so much to both of you.


Coming up next, he's being called the new Mitch McConnell by a fellow Democrat. It's not meant as a compliment. The frustration in the party over Senator Joe Manchin, that's next.

Plus, billionaire Jeff Bezos can go practically anywhere on Earth he wants. So naturally, he wants to leave Earth and fly to outer space. That's ahead.


TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," progressives are firing at Senator Joe Manchin after the West Virginia Democrat effectively killed a sweeping election reform bill. One freshman Democratic Congressman, Mondaire Jones of New York accused Manchin of voting to "preserve Jim Crow."

Another freshman Democratic Congressman, Jamaal Bowman called him the "new Mitch McConnell," not meant as a compliment. Now, as CNN's Phil Mattingly reports, President Biden's legislative agenda faces an even tougher half forward.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He's come down quite a bit. We're looking to see more.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With President Biden sweeping legislative agenda in limbo, a critical week ahead.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: So lots going on right now, but still lots of daylight honestly between us and our Republican friends.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): As some Democratic allies worry, the window for action is closing. But for now Biden, is sticking with bipartisan talks.


GINA RAIMONDO, COMMERCE SECRETARY: There's no, you know, hard wire deadline. We are doing the work of legislating. This is a big week.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Biden is scheduled to speak with top GOP negotiator Senator Shelley Moore Capito early this week as the two sides remain in the words of one official involved, in different universes on a potential deal.

The call will be the first since Biden rejected outright the GOP proposal to increase its offer by roughly $50 billion.

PSAKI: He certainly is eager to see what that discussion can entail.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But that offer left the two sides still more than $700 billion apart after Biden tried to break the logjam suggesting he drop his original offer by roughly $1 trillion and took changes to the 2017 tax law off the table, a central GOP ask.

The White House now open to other bipartisan talks including a Senate group that includes Senator Joe Manchin, a linchpin vote for Biden's agenda who has rejected calls for the president to end bipartisan negotiations.

SEN. JOE MANCHIM (D-WV): I think we can come to that compromise to where we'll find a bipartisan deal. I'm very confident of that.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But the clock is ticking. And without Manchin onboard, Biden's options with the slimmest congressional majorities are limited, with infrastructure talks just one piece of the $4 trillion economic agenda Biden wants passed by the end of the summer.

PSAKI: Ultimately, we're looking to have enough of a coalition to move forward on these bold historic ideas and we obviously don't have that at this moment, but we're working toward that.


MATTINGLY (on camera): And Jake, Senator Capito just told our Capitol Hill colleagues, Kristin Wilson and Ted Barrett, she will speak to the president tomorrow. And it's worth noting, White House officials are keenly aware of the dynamics here. They hear the pressure from progressives to move on, but they know no

matter how large the ambitions, how much support you have from key interest parties of your -- inside your own party, nothing happens if you don't have the votes.

And right now, they don't have the votes and as one administration official told me, Biden is aware that at this point in time, deploying some strategic patience is an absolute necessity. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks so much. Let's talk for a second if we can about election reform, Paul and Amanda, because there's this so much anger at Senator Joe Manchin about this bill. Now this bill, it's very long, it's very sweeping. There's a lot in there.

It includes things that are not related to election reform like requiring presidential candidates to disclose their taxes, ethics rules for members of the Supreme Court. There's a lot in there and I'm not saying I agree or disagree with any of it.

What do you think, if you were, let's say you were a senate Democratic leader, okay. I know you're not a Democrat, but let's say you're a senate Democratic leader and you wanted to pass something to preserve the election rights that are being, let's be fair, eroded in various state legislatures by Republicans. That's just a fact. They are making it tougher for people to vote. What would you do?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I would start with the skinny HR-1 bill that focuses only on the actual election administration issues. I mean, the biggest problems we're facing have to do with the access to the ballot. HR-1 was always a non-starter because it contained just a giant wish list of all these liberal voting items that had been on the shelf long before Donald Trump started his big election lie.

So, I would take out all the parts that actually address the problems from the last election and focus on that. And I think you could actually get a lot of the way there, and either do a skinny HR-1 or a John Lewis voting rights plus because the biggest problem that I think liberals should be panicked about are these state legislatures that are enacting these laws at the last minute with very little debate, very little disclosure that restricts voting.

And so if you put those pre-clearance checks back in place that the John Lewis Voting Act would do. I think that gets you some of the way. But here's the problem. This is not a problem that Washington can solve with one big bill because the states administer the elections.


CARPENTER: And so, in conjunction, they should also be talking about what is their expectation that voters should have for access to the ballot across the country when it comes to early voting, you know, ballot design, mail-in ballots, audits, because every state is so different. This is how they get so wrapped around the axle on it. No one knows what voters should be entitled to and so just start thinking about that. TAPPER: So, you know, Paul, let me just pause it that I assume you

support HR-1 and everything.


TAPPER: Okay. But you're senate majority leader.

BEGALA: Right.

TAPPER: You got Joe Manchin, you got Kyrsten Sinema, you have a bunch of Democrats who aren't voicing it, but for instance, take a listen to Angus King, okay. He is an independent senator from Maine. He caucuses with the Democrats. I asked him about this yesterday.


TAPPER: Do you support the bill as written?

SEN. ANGUS KING, (I-ME): No, I think there are things that can be modified and Chuck Schumer knows that and Amy Klobuchar. I've said that all along. It's an 800 or 900 or 1,000-page bill.


There are clearly some things I think need to be negotiated and I think Joe Manchin realizes that.


TAPPER: So, my point is this. It's not just Joe Manchin.

BEGALA: Right.

TAPPER: It's not just Joe Manchin and there are Democratic election officials in the state who say this bill is not what we need right now. You're Senate majority leader, you're Democratic leader. What do you do?

BEGALA: What I do is I get those old schoolhouse rock videos out and teach people again how a bill becomes a law, right? This thing is -- needs negotiation. I'm for the bill completely.

TAPPER: Well, it passed the House in March.

BEGALA: It did.

TAPPER: But it can't pass the Senate.

BEGALA: I have -- I'm not a reporter, but I have spoken to people who wrote the bill and about Manchin and they said to me we're open for business, okay. They want to negotiate with Senator Manchin and others. The people who are pushing this, they've told me, Manchin was the Secretary of State in his state. He had a very good progressive pro-voting rights record. They don't view him as an enemy. I know some of the left are attacking him.

TAPPER: They say he's in favor of Jim Crow.

BEGALA: This is -- which is preposterous. This is what you have to do. They have to stand and negotiate though. And I love that they come on your show but they need to negotiate face to face rather than through "State of the Union."

TAPPER: So, one Republican who supports the John Lewis Voting Act is Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, but the other question, the other counterargument -- I hear what you're saying, okay, but the counterargument is there aren't 10 Republican votes in the Senate for anything having to do with election reform. And that's what they say.

There aren't 10 Amanda Carpenters, okay. There aren't 10 conservatives who believe in getting as many people to the polls as possible who can legally vote. This is what they say. They are saying they just don't exist.

CARPENTER: Yes. I mean, but you have to start with something that can bring Republicans to the table to even talk about it. HR-1 is the easiest thing for Senate Republicans to dismiss. I've seen the mailing coming to Joe Manchin about HR-1 saying this would allow the federal government to take over elections.

West Virginia county clerks are saying they don't want this. It is not popular in his state and he's saying listen, I support the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. And so, start with something that gets Democrats to the table before you even start worrying about Republicans. And then maybe you get a Murkowski and then you will have to do some public relations, then you have to do some strong arm politics.

And if you can't do that, and I understand that and I understand the frustration that Democrats have with Manchin because I want to see some voting reform passed too.

TAPPER: He's your senator.

CARPENTER: Yes. And also, like, it's difficult because if you can't find 60 votes for a January 6th commission to protect the institution, I'm not sure other people care about voting which is why I think once you try that, if it doesn't work, you have to pivot to a state-based campaign and make sure that the Democrats win those governorships because that's going to matter much more when it comes to protecting voting rights than anything else.

TAPPER: Paul Begala.

BEGALA: The John Lewis bill is only half of it. It only will solve future problems, not these bills that these states are passing today. You have to do both, but they have to make a deal. Manchin says it's too partisan and I understand that, but it's too partisan because the Republicans have made it partisan. The last voting rights act passed 98-0 with George W. Bush signing it. It was Republicans who changed on voting rights not Democrats.

TAPPER: Yes. Different Republican Party. Paul Begala, Amanda Carpenter, thanks so much. A graduation party as crime scene. It's just one of the multiple

shootings across the U.S. over the weekend. We're going to take a look. That's next.



TAPPER: Today in our earth matter series, what may be one of the worst drought seasons on record out west, in California alone, drought monitors show extreme conditions right now in 74 percent of the state. At Lake Oroville, north of Sacramento, known for its boat life water levels in 2011 on the left, look nothing like they do now 10 years later on the right. It's not just California though as CNN's Stephanie Elam reports. In Utah, conditions are so bad. The Governor is literally asking residents to pray for a miracle.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Crack sprawl along empty baked basins, parched farms and depleted reservoirs, all symptoms of a historic drought.

BRIAN FUCHS, CLIMATOLOGIST, NATIONAL DROUGHT MITIGATION CENTER: Most definitely what we have seen develop in 2020 and 2021 is definitely worse than what we saw in the early 2000s.

ELAM (voice-over): In California, old lines edge the size of reservoirs, marking where the water once reached.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The heights are getting a lot hotter in this state. The dries are getting a lot drier.

ELAM (voice-over): The water in Lake Oroville, the second largest reservoir in the state, is dropping so quickly. Local say they can practically see it disappearing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you look out in the distance, you can see where the lake it should be.

ELAM (voice-over): The reservoir which provides water to 29 million Californians and irrigate some 750,000 acres may get so low. Officials will have to shut down its hydroelectric power plant by the end of August. Officials warned reservoirs across the state are at about half of where they would be in a normal year.

WADE CROWFOOT, SECRETARY, CALIFORNIA NATURAL RESOURCES: We're in our second straight dry year. The dryness of this year, the lack of rain and snow this winter really ranks as one of California's driest winters.

ELAM (voice-over): But it's not just California that's dangerously dry.

CRAWFOOT: One of the real differences with this drought versus other droughts is this is region wide. This drought is impacting the entire American West. And in fact, conditions are even more concerning in the Colorado River Basin, which seven states rely on.

ELAM (voice-over): According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Colorado River Basin is in its 22nd year of drought, evident by Lake Mead's receding waterline. The National Drought Monitor Center keeps tabs on the severity of the lack of water across the country. The deeper the color, the worse the drought.


(on-camera): Is it possible that the drought won't break, that will just keep getting worse each year?

The western U.S. is prone to these long-term drought events, but they do come out. And so, we think about that in the back of our minds that is this, you know, year '20 or is this year '24 (ph).

ELAM (voice-over): That's the case in Utah, where 90 percent of the state is entrenched in extreme drought.

GOV. SPENCER COX (R), UTAH: We need more rain, and we need it now.

ELAM (voice-over): So much so, the Governor is asking Utahns to pray for rain.

COX: We need some divine intervention.

ELAM (voice-over): Divine intervention for a largely man-made problem.


ELAM: And there is another big concern related to this drought and that is the fact that we are going into the hot summer months which means wildfires could be rampant because everything out here is so dry. And also just as a little side note here, a drizzled here in Los Angeles today, but not nearly enough to make a difference. And that's why in parts of California, you may see that some municipalities may see restrictions on their water usage moving forward, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Stephanie Elam in Los Angeles, thank you so much.

A 10-year-old boy shot and killed as he stood in his doorstep, another violent weekend across the United States. When will something change?



TAPPER: Tragedy in our national lead, families and friends in Salt Lake City, in Chicago, in Portland, in Indianapolis, in Kendall, Florida woke up today without their loved ones. And that's just a few of the many mass shootings this weekend. The one in Florida was at a graduation party. In Utah, senseless drive by. In Oregon, inside a home.

Look at the right side of your screen. More than 250 mass shootings so far just this year. CNN's Ryan Young reports, it's not just mass shootings. The senselessness extends to individual tragedy such as a 10-year-old boy killed in Queens, just standing in his doorway.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An outbreak of deadly shootings in 10 different states across the country this weekend. Eight of the mass shootings were at least four people were shot, 17 people killed by gunfire and dozens injured. In Chicago, 55 people were shot in 41 incidents, five of them fatally over just 48 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our murders are up 5 percent over last year. Our shootings are up 17 percent over last year.

YOUNG (voice-over): The list goes on and on. At least eight people were wounded in New Orleans. Four killed in a shooting in Portland, Oregon. In St. Louis, Missouri, four people injured. One dead and four others injured in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two people dead and two more injured in Indianapolis. One person dead and three more were injured in Fruitport, Michigan.

Seven injured at a graduation party in Cleveland, Ohio. And three killed and five injured outside of graduation party in Miami-Dade, Florida. And in New York, a 10-year-old boy's life was taken by gunfire shot into his home.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY, NY: The fact that this reality in our nation, in our city, that a child's life is taken by gun violence is something we are way too used to is unacceptable.

YOUNG (voice-over): More than 8,200 people have died from gun violence in the United States this year. According to the gun violence archive, 253 of them mass shootings. A 23 percent uptick in deaths from gun violence so far this year, far outpacing the amount of gun deaths at this point in 2020, according to the archive. Many left wondering, what it will take for lawmakers to take action on this disturbing trend of gun violence in this country.


YOUNG: Jake, I've been talking to police chiefs across the country, they say last year was a tough year for police officers. They had a lot of retirees. And on top of that, it's hard to hire new officers because people are not wanting to take this job on as much as they wanted -- used to. But if you think about extending this, the summer months are always difficult.

They are worried about their crime plans moving into the summer, because they're always violent. And that's something they're not really prepared for. This uptick in crime is really shocking to some of the people across the nation. Jake, it's going to be a tough summer for a lot of police departments.

TAPPER: Ryan Young in Atlanta, thank you so much.

Coming up, a big and controversial step in the fight against the major disease, we'll explain next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


TAPPER: In our health lead, the FDA has just approved the use of an experimental drug to fight early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The drug is intended to actually slow progression of Alzheimer's not just the symptoms. This is the first drug related to Alzheimer's disease to get FDA approval in nearly 20 years.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. Elizabeth, you say this is a significant development for the fight against Alzheimer's. But we should also note it's a controversial one this drug was shot down for FDA approval just a year ago.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was. A team of advisors to the FDA, Jake, said, no, we don't think you should approve this drug essentially. And the FDA hardly ever goes against its advisors. So this makes this really notable.

Let's take a look at why the FDA advisors said they didn't think that this should be approved. There were two studies that we're done on this drug or was compared with placebo to see which did better. And the first study found there was no benefit to the drug. It didn't do any better than just a placebo. The second study found that there was a 22 percent reduction in cognitive decline. Now, the question is does that 22 percent make a difference to people even feel that?

So let's take a look again, at some of these specifics. Again, it was approved against the advice of FDA advisors. The approval the FDA said was based on the reduction of amyloid plaques in the brain. They said you could see that they were fewer of these plaques and tangles the telltale sign of Alzheimer's and they said theoretically that means that it should make a difference that people should feel a difference and have less cognitive decline.

The annual cost of heavy price tag of $56,000, insurance companies, of course, will reimburse it at varying rates. The concern, Jake, is that doctors will hear from patients or from family members of patients with advanced Alzheimer's who will want this drug. This drug is not for advanced Alzheimer's, it's for very early stages.

The concern is the doctors will give into patients because in the U.S., that happens a lot. Doctors like to make patients happen -- happy rather, and that it's these kinds of unnecessary high price drug prescriptions that make drug costs go up really for all of us. Jake?


TAPPER: All right Elizabeth, thank you so much.

Turning now to our world leader, Benjamin Netanyahu's decade long grip on power in Israel seems to be slipping away. His opposition led by right-wing Naftali Bennett, created a coalition with centrist Yair Lapid to form a government that is set to topple Netanyahu's government. The deadline for the official vote is next week and Netanyahu is doing anything and everything he can to stay in power.

CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem following this. And Hadas, Prime Minister Netanyahu, he's now calling the opposition, quote, far left, he's saying there was election fraud. This sounds very familiar to a lot of people in the United States.

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the Trump echoes have been quite loud in the past few days. Netanyahu even using a term like deep state, and saying the fact that right-wing parties are willing to sit with political parties like from the left is a scam on their voters. Listen to what he described it as.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER (through translations): We are witnessing the greatest election fraud in the history of the country. In my opinion, in the history of any democracy.


GOLD: The rhetoric has reached such a level though, Jake, that there is real fear here, that Israel could experience the mob style violence that happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. And it's reached such a point there have been demonstrations outside of the homes of some members of this coalition, some of them have been assigned even extra security.

And in a very rare and unprecedented public statement, the head of Israel's internal security said, that an intensifying and severe increase in the violence and inciting discourse, especially online, could lead to real world violence. And then Netanyahu has condemned any sort of incitement to violence, but he has vowed that if this coalition is voted in, he would do everything in his power to topple it, Jake.

TAPPER: And there's also drama surrounding the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament, it's called the Knesset, and when he will call the vote that would allow this new government to be sworn in, tell us about that.

GOLD: So today, he made the announcement that he had received the notification that a coalition government had been formed and people were expecting that he might announce when this vote would actually take place.

But instead, all he said was that the vote legally needs to take place by next Monday, and that it would be called at a later date. Keep in mind, that the Speaker of the Parliament is an ally of Netanyahu, and every day that passes gives Netanyahu and his allies more time to try to get defectors from this coalition that could cause it to crumble, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Hadas Gold in Jerusalem, thanks so much for that update.

Coming up next, is there anywhere Amazon won't deliver? Jeff Bezos is launching himself into space next month. We have the details. But first, a preview of a rare interview. Former President Barack Obama tonight on CNN.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight, President Obama talks one-on-one with Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: If you're right, our democracy seems to be teetering on the brink of a crisis. Are we still just teetering on the brink or are we in crisis?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A candid conversation.

COOPER: Looking back as President, did you tell the story of race in America enough, do you think?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On Anderson Cooper 360 Special.

COOPER: Are we, as a country, still willing to listen to each other stories?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Barack Obama on Fatherhood, Leadership and Legacy" tonight at 8:00.




TAPPER: In our out of this world lead, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is set to fly to space next month on the first crewed flight the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. Bezos is beating SpaceX founder Elon Musk by becoming the first billionaire tycoon to leave Earth just 15 days after Bezos is set to step down as Amazon CEO. And CNN's Rachel Crane joins us now. Rachel, how is this trip going to work?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I first want to point out that Jeff Bezos won't be taking this historic trip alone, and perhaps, the ultimate display of brotherly love, Jeff Bezos announcing that he will be bringing along his best friend and brother, Mark Bezos for this incredible journey, I mean, this perhaps the coolest gift that has ever been given.

Now, the Bezos brothers will be making the spaceflight aboard Blue Origin space tourism vehicle the New Shepard, which has been in development for more than six years and it's named after Alan Shepard, the first American to fly to space back in 1961.

It'll be a suborbital spaceflight, I mean, that they won't reach escape velocity or orbit the Earth like SpaceX's recent crewed dragon launches that we've seen, but rather these new Shepard flights, they go just above the boundary of space. And the flight will take off vertically from Blue Origin's facility in West Texas in a fully autonomous spacecraft, meaning, that there will be no pilots on board.

And the passengers, they'll be blasted up to three times the speed of sound before the booster detaches and lands at a nearby concrete landing pad while the passengers, you know, they go on to reach an apogee of over 60 miles above Earth, earning them those astronaut wings. And after experiencing a few incredible minutes of weightlessness, the dome shaped spacecraft will bring the passengers back to Earth and a parachute landing.

And Jake, this whole journey lasts only about 11 minutes. And there's something really interesting here is that the basals brothers, they're going to have a mystery passenger on board with them. That's because Blue Origin is hosting an online -- for one of the seats. The going price right now, Jake, $2.8 million.

TAPPER: OK. Rachel Crane, thank you so much.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or even the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN as well. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door, and a little place we'd like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching, I'll see you tomorrow.