Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is Interviewed About Ongoing Infrastructure Negotiation & Bipartisan Senate Group Working on New Infrastructure Plan; Trump's Role Absent from Bipartisan Senate January 6 Report; Major Websites & Apps Go Dark in Massive Internet Outage; A Shot to Sail?; School Infrastructure; Biden Set to Meet with Putin; Colonial Pipeline CEO on Capitol Hill; AP Statement On Israel Saying Hamas was in Its Gaza Building: We Have Yet to Receive Evidence to Support These Claims". Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 08, 2021 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Now, Macron was in southeast France to meet with restaurant owners ahead of the country's easing of COVID restrictions tomorrow.

I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you for being with me this afternoon.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So I think you forgot the insurrection part?

THE LEAD starts right now.

A bipartisan Senate report lays out stunning failures surrounding the January 6th MAGA terror attack on the Capitol, but in order to get Senate Republicans on board, the report leaves out the president's role in inciting the event. And Trump is not the only thing that's missing.

Roadblocks. Critical talks happening again today as President Biden tries to cut a deal on infrastructure. Could his whole agenda vanish into the abyss of the 50-50 Senate?

Plus, crumbling schools that were built back when Abraham Lincoln was a congressman. Embarrassing details behind some of this nation's infrastructure needs.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today with our politics lead and a harsh reality check for a party that thought controlling the White House and Senate and the House of Representatives might actually translate to power.

Today, nearly every single Democratic priority seems stalled on Capitol Hill. On infrastructure, President Biden just wrapped up a call with the lead Republican negotiator, but were both sides hundreds of billions apart, the White House is already starting to look at plan "B" waiting in the wings.

Then there's the expansive election reform bill. That's failed to earn the support of key Democratic Senator Joe Manchin even after a meeting with civil rights leaders today. This while efforts at policing reform also remain at a standstill.

So, President Biden will leave the United States in just hours for his first international trip as commander in chief with no major items from his April, May or June to-do lists checked off.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins is live for us at the White House.

Now, Kaitlan, the call with Biden and Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the lead Senate Republican negotiator on infrastructure, that call just wrapped up. Tell us what we know about it.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't seem like it had too promising of an outcome, Jake, because we are told by a spokesperson for Senator Capito that that call only lasted about five minutes. So it doesn't appear there were any breakthroughs. We weren't expecting any.

Senator Capito said earlier today she was not expecting them to come to any kind of agreement during the conversation they had today but it also didn't seem like the White House was hoping for much out of that call either given that they had already delayed it since it was supposed to happen yesterday and President Biden has still rejected the latest offer that he got from Senator Capito last Friday because he didn't feel like it came up enough in new spending. So, that basically seems like those talks are on the verge of collapse or have collapsed with the short phone call. We're still waiting to get the final White House readout.

But, Jake, this does come as you're seeing President Biden turn to another group of bipartisan senators who are working on crafting a bill essentially a plan "B" basically if those talks with Capito, the former top Republican negotiator, fell through.

And so that is a conversation we're expecting President Biden to have before he leaves tomorrow morning, early tomorrow morning, to go to Europe, but his aides are still going to be working behind the scenes on what an infrastructure proposal could actually look like back here in Washington while he's overseas because if you listen to Chuck Schumer, the senator earlier talking about what he envisioned for this, he seemed to be hinting that they could be going on a Democrats- only path. Saying that there could be an idea of doing a smaller bipartisan bill or maybe they could pass it with only Democratic support, because he said, they are not going to be able to pass what they believe the country needs in this big bold way -- were the words that he used -- in a bipartisan fashion, and he conceded that. And that comes as you've seen people like Senator Bernie Sanders

urging the president to move on because they don't feel like they are going to get ten Republicans on board on what they want infrastructure to look like.

So, Jake, it's really -- remains to be seen how this will end up, but we should note it comes of this backdrop of what is the Biden agenda going to look like because his most ambitious proposals seem to be facing some serious headwinds and a very slim majority on Capitol Hill.

TAPPER: Right. So, let's talk about this idea that Schumer is putting out there of passing this infrastructure bill with just Democratic votes. In order to do that, they need all 50 Democrats and the two independents, all 48 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the Democrats. One of them is Joe Manchin who is Senator Capito's fellow West Virginian.

Manchin, we don't know if he would vote for such a bill. He says there needs to be more time. He says that they need to make more efforts of being bipartisan, and he's part of this bipartisan group as well.

COLLINS: Yes, and so, if they did try to go this route with only Democratic support, they have to know that they have every single on board because that's how razor thin their majority is in the Senate.


They have to have every single Democrat to vote in favor of that. So, that remains to be seen. But, Jake, also, if they go the other route and they do come to an agreement with this bipartisan group, including Senator Jon Tester, Senator Mitt Romney, it's not guaranteed that the progressive wing of his party is going to automatically be on board with whatever consensus they come to either, and we're told by sources that progressive members made that clear in the lunch with Senate Democrats today.

So really either way, there are still headwinds facing them. So it remains to be seen how this actually ends up, but I do think, of course, all eyes are on Senator Manchin given what he's said not just about infrastructure and voting rights and the filibuster this week. And so, when President Biden does return from Europe, all of these issues are still going to be at the top of his agenda.

TAPPER: Well, let's turn our eyes right now to a different Democratic senator -- thanks, Kaitlan -- Jon Tester of Montana who joins us now.

So, Senator, you are part of this bipartisan group of senators, the plan "B" as it were, if the talks between Senator Shelley Moore Capito and Biden didn't work, and it looks like they're approaching an impasse, then there's going to be this alternate infrastructure plan that you've been working on with your fellow senators, Democrats and Republicans.

Give us a reality check. Do you think the Capito/Biden deal is essentially dead? SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): Well, look, I don't think anything is

essentially dead at this moment in time, although I do think time is of the essence here when it comes to a good infrastructure bill. I do think there are a number of parties out there that are talking and the White House I believe is involved in every one of those discussions. And -- and I think that there's a possibility here, Jake, nothing -- nothing is for certain, you know, making legislation is a messy proposition as best.

But I think there's an opportunity to get here something meaningful done in the area of infrastructure. Is it going to be everything that I would want? No. Is it going to include some things that potentially some Republicans might be uncomfortable with but will still vote for? Yes.

But the bottom line, that's what it's about. It's about compromise and coming up with something that works for the country.

And here's why this is important, Jake, and we need to talk about more -- if we're going to compete and we're going to maintain our position in this world as the leader of the world, our infrastructure is as important as our defense budget. And so, we need to make sure that the infrastructure is a bold vision, a bold plan and allows us to compete in the 21st century we live in.

TAPPER: So you're meeting, I -- or at least talking with your fellow members in this bipartisan group. You need to -- do you have a name for yourselves yet? We need to come up with one. Because if we're going to be talking about you, we need to -- a gang -- are you a Gang of Eight or are you a Gang of Six, what are you?

TESTER: We're going call ourselves the Tapper group.

TAPPER: The Tapper group. OK. So when the Tapper group meets, you're hoping to settle on a price tag, a rough idea.


TAPPER: I know -- I know you haven't negotiated that number. Do you -- is there an idea of where you think you're going to land, or at least a range?

TESTER: Not yet. I don't think we're there, but I think we can get there pretty close because the numbers that have been thrown around are not that far apart. I mean, it's a lot of money. A billion dollars is a lot of money but in Washington, D.C. standards, we're not that far apart and I think we can to a -- we can come to an agreement.

I can't tell you, Jake, because we're not to a point where I can announce anything and I don't want to be until everybody agrees on it, Democrats and Republicans. And we know that we have enough people, enough members to get this bill, an infrastructure bill passed. Otherwise, all the work we've done is for naught.

So, we're not there yet. The agreement hasn't been struck yet, but people are talking in earnest, and I think that's a positive thing. TAPPER: Your colleague Senator Manchin has taken a lot of heat from

progressives because he's been pretty outspoken about not wanting to get rid of the filibuster, the requirement of 60 votes before anything can proceed to a vote.

But you said, today, you're not ready to scrap the filibuster, same as Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly from Arizona, Senators Hasan and Shaheen from New Hampshire. Senator Angus King from Maine.

How many Senate Democrats share these concerns behind the scenes but haven't been asked 300 times a day like Manchin has?

TESTER: Well, look, I think that the filibuster ends up producing I think legislation that stands the test of time. That being said, the filibuster can and has been abused greatly and continues to be abused. Look at the -- the January 6th commission as a prime example.

So, look, I want to see the filibuster stay in place, but if people are going to use it just to block legislation because they can, then we're going to have to re-evaluate it. I'm not there yet, but I will tell you votes like the January 6th commission were very disturbing.

I was here. I saw what happened. You saw what happened. This is a big deal. We need to get to the bottom of it.

And it's not about politics. It's about this nation. It's about how we move forward. It's about if we're going to let domestic extremism and domestic violence rule the day.


And I'm not in that group. I think we need to find out what happened and need to make adjustments.

TAPPER: So, it's interesting because you sound a lot like Senator Angus King, the independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats. He told me Sunday he's not in favor now of removing the filibuster, the 60-vote threshold, but if it comes down to preserving the filibuster or preserving voting rights in some sort of legislation that would fight to protect the ability of the American people to vote, he's going to go with the voting rights.

What's the line for you?

TESTER: Angus King is a good friend and a wise man, and I will tell you that voter suppression is a huge problem in this country and the dark money that comes into these campaigns and I speak from personal experience. It's a big, big problem, because it sets up agendas that don't fit one state.

And so, I -- I'd feel strongly in S-1 and I think we need to pass something that stops voter suppression and adds more transparency to elections. I'm more in Angus King's camp than I am in the other.

TAPPER: All right. Democratic Senator Jon Tester of the beautiful state of Montana -- thanks so much. Good to see you. Hope to you back soon.

TESTER: Thank you.

TAPPER: Damning details of the security failure surrounding the January 6 terror attack on the Capitol. But a bipartisan Senate report left out one of the main inciters of the riot.

Plus, get the shot or get fired? A group of nurses walk off their job over their requirement that they get the COVID vaccine.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, a stunning yet incomplete bipartisan Senate report released today detailing security failures that led up to the January 6th insurrection. Even as the capitol police's own intelligence unit apparently knew there was a potential for violence in the days and weeks leading up to January 6. The report, however, fails to mention former President Trump Donald Trump's role in the insurrection in any way, and sources say that words such as the word, quote, insurrection, unquote, were purposefully left out of the language in the report.

Let's get right to CNN's Ryan Nobles.

Ryan, let's start with what we did learn from the report.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and, Jake, there's no doubt that this was the most comprehensive look at to what went wrong on January 6th, at least on the day itself and we learned a lot about what Capitol police knew leading up to the event that we knew there was a potential for violence, that intelligence agencies had a very difficult time sifting through the variety of messages talking about what could potentially happen on this day and interpreting it in a way that would be meaningful in preparing the Capitol.

Also that these intelligence agencies failed to communicate with each other about what they were learning and how it could impact the events of January 6th. Then on the date itself we're also told that the Capitol police were just not trained well enough to respond to this type of riot and that also it took too long for them to respond to get into riot gear, to get in position to stop the riot from happening. This has already led to a list of some 20 different actionable events that could take place in the near future and 65 recommendations long term.

So there was a lot that we learned from this report but, Jake, to your point there's a lot they left out as well.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about this. Why did this committee, why didn't they look into Trump's role and why didn't they call this a insurrection which it obviously was just by the definition of the word insurrection?

NOBLES: Yeah. We're told, Jake, that in order to make this report bipartisan, and it is a bipartisan report, that Republicans asked that this be confined to just the events of that day and that they were not going to look into the motivation of the rioters that took place and that the former president's role in all of this would also not be included, and specifically the language that was used was also a part of this conversation. As you point out, they went to great pains not to call January 6th an insurrection.

I actually asked the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell if he would define the events of January 6th as an insurrection and he refused to do so. He said he talked a lot about that day both on January 6th and then later on after the Trumpism people proceedings but we went back and locked at those speeches, he never used the word insurrection and refused to use it again today.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan, thanks so much.

Let's discuss about my august panel that I have with us.

Let's start with just generally speaking, broader picture at this investigation which obviously brings out some important conclusions about lack of preparedness, but the report does not go into Trump's role inciting the riot. It doesn't look into how all these people got to Washington and why they were there. It doesn't even use the word insurrection outside of quotes and footnotes.

Do you think this report is a whitewash?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it's reflective of the fact that Republicans in order to participate in anything that looks at the January 6th insurrection want to basically let bygones be bygones. They don't want to talk about how people got there, why they were there in the first place. Anything touching on Trump.

So, yeah, it is a whitewash of what happened and it's probably as much as we're going to get here. There's a sense here based on what Ryan just said, even Mitch McConnell who was actually one of the most vocal in blasting Trump around the insurrection, even after the impeachment proceedings still doesn't want to go there. He doesn't want to go there because he wants to let the past be the past and I think that's the Republican position going forward.

TAPPER: Because he needs Trump to be supporting him and the Republicans to win back the House and Senate.

PHILLIP: It's all politics, yeah.

TAPPER: It's all that.

So, Laura, Republican Senator Robert Marshall of Kansas, he told Manu Raju today that every question surrounding January 6th has already been answered with the exception of the delayed arrival of the National Guard. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEOI CLIP)

SEN. ROGER MARSHALL (R-KS): They have arrested 50 people. This has been investigated. There's only one question that's not been answered.


Who stopped the 15,000 National Guard troops from being here that Trump requested? And, again, I think that's a question for the speaker of the house to answer.


TAPPER: I mean, that's not true. I have 100 questions that I could list off the top of my head that have not been answered including how did all these people get there and what was the coordination going on with the White House and Roger Stone and others?

What do you make that have?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a bit of a revisionist history, right, because of the fact we know that there was about three hours or so delay between Trump actually requesting the National Guard, and there's a lot of questions to be answered why was there that delay? How long did it take for the National Guard to get there? When did Trump actually request them?

And, you know, what is not in this report is arguably more important because of the fact that, yes, this has to do with the security of the campus of the Capitol and this lack of communication among the Capitol Police, but there are bigger roles of democracy and democracy issues and whether or what led to these right wing extremists being incited, why there's a growth of right wing extremism across the country and this growth of white supremacist threats across the country.

And those are all questions that could be answer federal there were a bipartisan commission that looked into the root causes and what is leading to this and what led to January 6th.

TAPPER: I want to ask you guys a question that I was asked today by someone at "The Philadelphia Enquirer" and I'll give you my answer after you guys answer, OK? We were talking about history and we're talking about what is taught.

You just got back from Tulsa, that racist massacre 100 years ago. I did not learn about it until I was well into my adulthood.

Do you think that future generations are going to learn about the January 6th MAGA terrorist attack, the insurrection on the Capitol? Do you think that that is definitely going to happen?

PHILLIP: They will definitely learn about it. The question is how?

And there's always been a risk that this could become another version of a lost cause, the sort post-Civil War era in which the South sort of remade the reasons for the Civil War as being about Southern rights or whatever it is. This is what we are at risk of doing here with the January 6th insurrection is papering over the real reasons for it which is that the former president Trump lied about the election and lied about whether there was fraud and spun up his supporters into a frenzy so much so that they attacked the Capitol.

So what happens on Capitol Hill isn't just about forcing Republicans to say the word insurrection. It's also about how we teach that history, not just whether or not people learn about it, but how they learn about it and whether they learn the actual truth about it.

TAPPER: What do you think?

BARRON-LOPEZ: I think that there could very well be certain states that learn the truth and the actual history of what occurred that day and that there could be other states, Republican-led states, where they control the curriculum, and there's a very different story that will be told there and could be taught --

TAPPER: An untrue story they were saying.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Right, exactly, one where they are saying is these weren't necessarily MAGA-incited mobs and that isn't true. And so, there could be children growing up where some learn the truth and some don't.

PHILLIP: And that's exactly what happens in the United States today --


PHILLIP: -- when it comes to how we teach about the civil war so that's not a far-fetched scenario.

TAPPER: No, not at all. That's why I brought up the Tulsa racist massacre. That's not even taught in lots of places.


TAPPER: My answer was I don't know because history is written by the winners, and I don't know who is going to win this fight for democracy. I don't.

Abby and Laura Barron-Lopez, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.

Amazon, Hulu, Spotify and other major website are down with the nation already on edge for the criminal hack attack. What caused that crash?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Our tech lead today. A major slew of major websites and apps around the globe went dark including Amazon, Hulu and Spotify, even our own after what appears to be an outage with the cloud service provider Fastly.

And while the outage does not appear to have been caused by a hack, major companies continue to be on edge about the possibility of a cyber attack. As CNN's Alex Marquardt reports, the CEO of Colonial Pipeline just testified on Capitol Hill today, and he shed light on the growing threat facing American businesses.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One month after the cyber attack by Russian hackers that crippled Colonial Pipeline and caused long lines at gas stations up and down the East Coast, the company's CEO today defended his decision to pay the attackers $4.4 million.

JOSEPH BLOUNT, COLONIAL PIPELINE CEO: It was the hardest decision I've made in the 39 years in the energy industry and I know how critical our pipeline is to the country and I put the interests of the country first.

MARQUARDT: CEO Joseph Blount who said his company carries almost half the fuel on the east coast said he was deeply sorry for the impact of the breach but argued his focus was getting operations back up and running.

BLOUNT: I believe with all my heart it was the right choice to make, but I want to respect those who see this issue differently.

MARQUARDT: Blount admitted that despite spending $200 million in the past five years on cyber security, they did not have a plan for the growing wave of ransomware attacks.


In the immediate aftermath of the attack on Colonial's I.T. system, Blount said they contacted the authorities.

BLOUNT: And we reached out to the FBI within hours.

MARQUARDT: It was that cooperation, both he and the Justice Department now say, helped the FBI track down and recover most of the ransom paid, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin to the Russian hacking group DarkSide.

LISA MONACO, U.S. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Ransomware attacks are always unacceptable. But when they target critical infrastructure, we will spare no effort in our response.

MARQUARDT: The six-day shutdown of the pipeline was a startling reminder of how vulnerable the country is. It was immediately followed by another attack also by Russian cyber criminals on the world's biggest meat producer, JBS Foods, which took all of their American beef plants offline.

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI): Cyberattacks used to be merely an inconvenience. We now know that they're becoming attacks on our very way of life.

MARQUARDT: And hours before today's Senate hearing started, news broke that a service for constituents in almost 60 congressional offices had been targeted in a ransomware attack. So far, there's no evidence any sensitive information was obtained. But it underscored our new reality.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): No one is safe from these attacks, including us.


MARQUARDT: It's rare to hear cyber issues mentioned so frequently as a presidential level priority heading into a series of major international meetings.

But, Jake, that will be the case over the course of the next week, with these issues being raised by President Biden, not just with the G7 and NATO partners, but, of course, in that face-to-face meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, in which President Biden is expected to tell President Putin that he has to crack down on these attackers who are operating out of Russia against the United States.

TAPPER: When I asked energy Secretary Granholm over the weekend, could these bad actors shut down our grid, she said yes. Shocking. Terrifying.

Alex, thanks so much.

Turning to our world lead: The stakes and expectations could not be higher for that summit that Biden is about to have with Vladimir Putin. Sources say the Trump-appointed ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, who's still serving in the post, he privately warned lawmakers that the Biden administration, in his view, is at risk of making the same mistakes as previous administrations when dealing with Putin.

CNN's Natasha Bertrand joins us now with this new reporting.

Natasha, what did he have to say?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Jake, so the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John Sullivan, essentially said that he is concerned about the U.S. giving concessions to Moscow, in hopes of restoring the relationship, and getting nothing in return.

The overarching theme of this briefing, we're told, is that Vladimir Putin really has not changed his stripes in the more than two decades that he's been serving as president and prime minister alternately of Russia.

And so this was a kind of warning by the U.S. ambassador to lawmakers that this administration risks repeating some of the mistakes of its predecessors, if it doesn't go into these meetings and these talks with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin with very clear eyes. And senators who came out of that briefing afterwards or did not seem very reassured by the ambassador's comments, saying -- Tim Kaine, for example, said that he didn't see any upside to the president holding this meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Of course, Mitt Romney, who is a Russia hawk, also said that he did not think now was the right time to be holding this summit. Other Democrats who were in the briefing say that they trust Joe Biden, and they feel that, because he's such an experienced diplomat who has dealt with Russian President Vladimir Putin before, they feel that he will speak too strongly to him and convey the Russian -- the U.S. concerns, but otherwise a very stark warning coming from the U.S. ambassador to Russia there.

TAPPER: All right, Natasha Bertrand, thanks so much for that reporting.

In our national lead: As hundreds of billions of dollars continue to be negotiated to try to improve America's schools, CNN is uncovering how many of them are dilapidated or downright dangerous for our kids.

CNN's Bianna Golodryga takes a closer look now.


ROGER LEON, NEWARK PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: We did not need a global pandemic to realize what the needs were at a school such as Lafayette Street School, as well as other schools throughout our city.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (through translator): From inadequate ventilation.

LEON: The windows. This is the only ventilation that this school actually has.

GOLODRYGA: To antiquated heating.

LEON: We have a boiler system that runs on oil that is way close to 50 years old.

GOLODRYGA: Poor lighting and asbestos beneath floor surfaces.

LEON: Changing these floors has an environmental impact given what's under the floors.

GOLODRYGA: New York school superintendent Roger Leon points out just a few of the massive infrastructure problems plaguing Lafayette Street Elementary School.

GOLODRYGA (on camera): So, when exactly was this school built?

LEON: 1848.

GOLODRYGA: So before Abraham Lincoln was sworn in?

LEON: Yes, before Abraham Lincoln was the president, this building erected and children began to attend it.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Leon says 29 of the district's 64 schools are over 100 years old.


Throughout the years, renovations have been made, but the fixes, he says, have been more like Band-Aids.

LEON: The funds to actually do the major reparations that are required aren't here.

GOLODRYGA: In 2016, the district, one of New Jersey's poorest, asked the state for $311 million to fund more than 150 projects. As of today, only 11 have been approved.

Across the country, thousands of superintendents find themselves in similar positions, structural crises that President Biden hopes to tackle as part of his nearly $2 trillion infrastructure plan.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them.

GOLODRYGA: The administration has allocated $100 billion for new school construction and upgrades to existing buildings.

The American Society of Civil Engineers has given the nation's approximately 84,000 public schools a failing grade of D-plus. According to their analysis, 53 percent of school districts need to upgrade or replace multiple systems in their buildings.

The infrastructure bill has earmarked more than $100 million towards the expansion of high-speed Internet. About a quarter of U.S. students do not have adequate broadband at home, with 35 percent of rural homes lacking proper access; $45 billion would be used for clean drinking water.

While Leon wouldn't share the exact figure his district would be allocated, he's already planning how to spend it.

LEON: We have a three-inch binder on every single one of the schools. So we have a good sense of what the needs were.

GOLODRYGA (on camera): How long will it take for that to be implemented?

LEON: I envision, once these dollars, through our application, have, in fact, been assured, immediate evidence of impact.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): The New York native sees the investment as a big step towards a more level playing field.

LEON: The country needs to understand that children in urban school districts are important towards changing the reality of their life.


GOLODRYGA: And, Jake, we should note that that interview in Newark was conducted at the end of April, when President Biden was still hoping to pass an infrastructure bill close to $2 trillion.

Well, given that the administration has now cut its price tag by half, I reached out to Superintendent Leon to ask if he was worried about possibly receiving less aid whenever a deal is finally reached. And here's what he said.

"We are proceeding with our planning, as we have built flexibility into our process in anticipation of potentially changing timelines. We do not believe that funding delayed is funding denied."

And you could see the infrastructure problems at that school Jake. This was pre-COVID. And that's not the only school that needs dire help right now to fix their infrastructure issues.

TAPPER: All right, Bianna Golodryga, thank you for that report, as always.

Will you need a vaccine to stuff your face and listen to bad comedians at sea? One cruise line standing by its decision.

That's next.



TAPPER: In our health lead today: Get vaccinated or be suspended from work or even possibly fired.

Several health care workers at a hospital in Houston, Texas, chose the ladder and joined supporters in protests last night. In Florida, Norwegian Cruise Lines is threatening to defy state law and require vaccines before passengers board its ships.

Both cases get at this growing debate over personal rights vs. public safety, as CNN's Erica Hill reports.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Support for health care workers in Texas refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should be allowed to make our own decisions.

HILL: Staffers at Houston Methodist Hospital had until yesterday to get vaccinated. More than 100 employees filed a lawsuit last month citing concerns over the vaccine's emergency use authorization, rather than full FDA approval.

The hospital's chief executive pushing back.

DR. MARC BOOM, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL: These are remarkably safe. We're not making anybody take the vaccine. What we're saying is that, in order to care for our patients and work at our institution, you have to have the vaccine. If that is something you're not comfortable with, of course, you can exercise that choice and you can move someplace else.

HILL: The decision to require vaccines playing out in businesses large and small nationwide. Norwegian Cruise Line ready to set sail from Miami in August, all passengers must be fully vaccinated, a direct challenge to Governor Ron DeSantis, who has barred Florida businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom over fascism.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, MUSICIAN: In order to be able to celebrate.

HILL: Bruce Springsteen is back on Broadway at the end of the month.

SPRINGSTEEN: Kindness, optimism, civility.

HILL: Tickets for the fully vaccinated only, as New York City marks a vaccine milestone.

BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: More vaccinations have been given in New York City than there are people in New York City. That's a great, great sign.

HILL: Statewide, nearly 70 percent of adult New Yorkers have had at least one shot.

In West Virginia, it's barely 50 percent.

GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): I just don't get it. I really don't get it. We have got to get vaccinated. That's all there is to it.

HILL: A new CDC study finds fully vaccinated people are more than 90 percent protected from infection, and, even if infected, their symptoms are more mild and they're less likely to spread the disease.

Meantime, the administration tempering expectations on its looming goal to get at least one shot in 70 percent of adults by next month.




HILL: So, not the end of it, as Dr. Fauci said there.

He went on to say he's confident he believes that in fact the country will hit that goal of 70 percent of adults with one shot by July 4th but he said if they don't, it doesn't go away. They keep working on it and keep pushing until they get to that and then ideally move beyond it, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Erica Hill, thank you so much.

Coming up, the Israeli government giving a more detailed explanation of leveling a building that contained news media offices in Gaza, but is there any evidence to back up these claims?

Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our world lead, the first public justification from Israel's government came (INAUDIBLE) Gaza office building that the Israeli military reduced to rubble last year.


That building contained office of the Associated Press and other news outlets. The journalists had an hour to evacuate.

The Israeli ambassador to the United States and United Nations met with the AP CEO and tried to explain that the building also housed Hamas which the U.S. government classifies as a terrorist group and specifically Israeli Ambassador Erdan claimed that Hamas used the building to develop a system aimed at jamming the so-called Iron Dome, which is Israel's missile defense system.

CNN's Hadas Gold is in Jerusalem for us.

And, Hadas, what has been the response of the heads of AP and Al Jazeera which was also in this building about this claim?

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Israeli officials have been claiming from the start that Hamas was using this building but this is the first we're getting details of what the Israeli officials specifically think Hamas was doing within that building. Although I should note, they haven't presented any hard evidence at least publicly.

Now, they say that this electronic equipment was being developed that could jam the Israeli Iron Dome. This is the missile defense system that intercepts midair that could be landing in civilian areas.

Now, the Israeli officials say this was a high value military target and that the equipment was in the building when it was destroyed. Now, the Israeli officials say they do not think that the AP was aware that Hamas was using the building and have accused Hamas of purposely, they say, hiding behind civilian infrastructure.

Now, for the AP's part, they said in a statement that they welcome the meeting with the Israeli ambassador to the United States, saying that it was positive and constructive but did say in a statement and I want to read this to you that Israeli authorities maintain that the building housing our bureau was destroyed because of Hamas presence that posed an urgent threat. We have yet to receive evidence to support these claims. AP continues to call for the full release of any evidence that the Israelis have so the facts are made public.

And so far, Jake, I will note that al Jazeera has not publicly commented -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. So on this evidence, the Israeli military not known for sharing intelligence supporting this allegation, they did with the U.S. Why did they, and what do we know about that?

GOLD: So we do know that the Israeli officials did share their intelligence on the building with the Americans. Secretary of State Blinken confirmed that. Prime Minister Netanyahu also confirmed that they had shared that intelligence with the Americans. We don't know how the Americans took that intelligence, how they interpreted it.

But listen, Jake, there was a huge uproar, of course, when this building was taken down because of the media being housed in it. International Press Freedom organizations said that it was unacceptable, that it was a threat to press freedom because while nobody was killed from these organizations obviously if you destroy a building housing the media, they can no longer do their work -- do their work in the same way, especially this was in the middle that have 11-day conflict within Gaza.

And I think the Israelis recognize what effect this had. You can see that with the ambassador going to visit the AP CEO trying to even offer to say that Israelis would help the AP rebuild this building there. I think they recognize what an impact that this had by destroying the building and the uproar that it caused. And clearly, this is not over because the AP is saying they still want to see more evidence. The AP wants to see an independent investigation into this incident -- Jake

TAPPER: All right. Hadas Gold, thanks so much. Appreciate it.


TAPPER: So you're watching images of French President Emmanuel Macron getting slapped in the face at a rope line. Macron was in southeast France to meet with restaurant owners when a bystander smacked him in the kisser.

The 28-year-old attacker was arrested along with another man. He shouted the Macronee which is a French media slang term for Macron's presidency before delivering that open-handed blow.

Far right rival Marie Le Pen who is neck and neck with Macron in the 2022 election polls said that the attack on Macron on her rival was, quote, unacceptable. Mon Dieu, it's got to sting. Macron continued shaking hands with his fellow Frenchmen shortly after. He was also wearing a mask so one could not see if the slap created a Macron rouge.

Breaking news from the White House, it looks as though the infrastructure talks that have been going on for weeks have crumbled. We'll have that story for you next.

Plus, did you pay more in federal income taxes than Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk did some years? You might have. Leaked IRS files reportedly show how the super wealthy are avoiding the tax man. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, Vice President Harris is preparing to face reporters in Mexico as President Biden preps for his first trip abroad as commander in chief. Major tests for the president's foreign policy. That's ahead.

Plus, the most comprehensive government report yet into the January 6th insurrection except the report pretty much avoided using the word insurrection, and that's not the only thing that was left out.

And leading this hour, breaking news. President Biden is done. A Biden administration official telling CNN that infrastructure talks between the president and the lead Republican negotiator, Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, are over. Instead, Biden is going to shift his focus to a bipartisan group of senators dealing with this issue.

Let's get straight to CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, we know that Biden spoke to Capito this afternoon for just five minutes. What went wrong?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think, Jake, a lot needed to go right here.