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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden, Capito End Infrastructure Talks With No Deal; W.H.: IRS To Investigate Personal Tax Docs Obtained By ProPublica; Bipartisan Report: Police Knew Rioters Planned For Violence; VP Harris To Speak Soon On Talks With Mexico; Uyghurs Deported From The Middle East. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 08, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: 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 for this talk to actually have been productive. It was pretty clear where this was headed. They were on the verge of collapse. But now, just hours before President Biden is set to leave, excuse me, these talks have actually collapsed, Jake.

And this comes after about a five-minute phone call that happened between the White House -- President Biden and Senator Capito earlier. And now, in a statement Senator Capito is saying it was President Biden's move to end this discussion, end these negotiations that had been going on for several weeks, between the two sides.

And the White House is not disputing that saying essentially, that they could not come to an agreement on what the number needed to look like. We had seen Republicans slowly in job. We had seen President Biden come down quite far from where his initial infrastructure proposal was. But ultimately, they could not find a way to meet in the middle, Jake, because not only could they not agree on how much to spend, they could not agree on how to spend it.

And the White House doesn't feel like they came up with a sufficient way to pay for this bill without using those 2017 tax cuts. That was what were Republicans said was a red line for them to undo any of those tax cuts.

But in the readout that we're getting from Senator Capito's office, who until now has been the top Republican negotiator, she says that, while I appreciate President Biden's willingness to devote so much time and effort to these negotiations, he ultimately chose not to accept the very robust and targeted infrastructure package.

And in their discussions, arguing that they could not also agree on the way that the White House wanted to pay for this infrastructure proposal. So, Jake, these talks are now dead in the water after going along for several weeks. Progressive Democrats have become increasingly frustrated with how these talks have been going saying it's time for the White House to move on. But what else complicates this is that there is a timeline that Democrats on the Hill have wanted to pursue here. But President Biden is leaving tomorrow morning to go to Europe for over a week.

Now, we should note his chief of staff, Ron Klain, has been expected to stay back and not go on that trip. It's presumed that he will take a role in helping shepherd these negotiations wherever they do go next from here. And of course, we do still expect President Biden will be involved, but he'll also be meeting with other world leaders as we figure out where these talks are going to go from here.

TAPPER: Kaitlan, stick around. I want to keep talking about this. But let me also bring in CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju live on Capitol Hill.

Manu, now we had Plan B, this bipartisan working group. We had -- we had Senator Tester on the show in the last hour. He's one member of it. Tell us more. What do we know about them? What do we know about what they've negotiated so far?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're still working on a proposal. In fact, they are meeting tonight in about less than an hour. They're going to discuss exactly what they can agree on along bipartisan lines. What's unclear, though, is whether any sort of deal can be reached among this group. And whether that'll be enough to win over both parties, including in the Senate Democratic Caucus.

And behind the scenes, Jake, there has been frustration, ample frustration among Senate Democrats about the efforts to craft a bipartisan deal with Republicans. And now also this new bipartisan effort that is ongoing, that is being led by Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, also part of that Senator Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, on the Republican side, Joe -- Mitt Romney of Utah, as well as Rob Portman of Ohio are among the senators taking the lead here on the talks.

But there is frustration among Democrats in the Senate who say, look, if they move this far and get a deal, they're probably not going to go as far as we want. And there's a push among Democrats to essentially scuttle this effort all together, and its high skepticism that any deal that can be reached among this group would win over a majority of the 50 members Senate Democratic Caucus. So, Senate -- what's unclear, though, is how long Senate Democrats will allow those talks to move forward.

What is under discussion right now, Jake, is essentially a two phased approach. Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, is indicating he was prepared to go it alone, try to pass a bill along straight party lines, allow these bipartisan talks to continue and see if they can't get a deal on that, try to move things along this by -- this partisan Democrat only process. But they need to get the support of Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to succeed in that approach.

TAPPER: Right. And that's key.

Manu, stick around. I want to bring in Gloria Borger. That that's key, Gloria, because you can't get Sinema and Manchin, you can't get Sinema Manchin to go along with a Democrat only bill as of now --


TAPPER: -- when they're negotiating this bipartisan deal. Their whole thing is we need to exhaust every bipartisan possibility. They have to let this go forward, the Democrats do, if they even want to get to having --

BORGER: Absolutely.

TAPPER: -- the 50-vote bill.

BORGER: Sure. And then, waiting in the wings is Senator Bernie Sanders. Don't forget -- I mean, this afternoon, he said, you know, his patience has run out. And he said we're going to start -- he's the chairman of the Budget Committee. He said, we're going to -- we're going to start marking up the budget which would include a lot of this spending as soon as July. So, and I've spoken with him about it and he has said he has very little patience for these negotiations.


They're going to continue, and I've also been told he's not -- the White House is aware of what he is doing. So, they're trying to work on two tracks. And I think their big question is, if the bipartisan effort, the newest one, falls apart, which, you know, you could say the odds are more than 50-50, can they get 50? Democrats? Can they get Bernie Sanders and Joe Manchin to agree on one spending bill?


BORGER: And that's their really big problem right now.

TAPPER: And Kaitlan, so, is the White House going to allow this two- track process to go forward? Progressives, people in the House of Representatives, Bernie Sanders going forward as if they're going to have a Democratic only bill. And then, meanwhile, Manchin, Sinema, Tester negotiating with three Republican senators trying to have a bipartisan deal, and whichever one works is probably what will happen?

COLLINS: Well, and remember Jen Psaki said earlier that they do expect President Biden to talk to that group of senators today, or at least before he leaves to go on his trip. So, they are trying to put some stock into that plan B.

It's kind of bubbling underneath the surface here in Washington for a few weeks now, in case we are the situation that we're in right now, where those talks with Capito's group and the White House had collapsed. So, they knew that this was an option that was going to be facing them. But they are also under increasing pressure from progressives on what to do and whether or not to just move on.

And I think progressives have been annoyed, basically arguing that despite these offers and counteroffers, it hasn't actually gone anywhere. And now they're going to have more of a leg to stand on with that argument now that this has collapsed. And they're moving on to the next group of a bipartisan group to try to talk to them about what this can look like.

But I think the White House is also pushing it off on the Hill saying, well, they are moving along with markups and the process basically what they would be going through to do and pursue a Democrats only bill. So they do know that that option is out there.

But I think if that -- if you see that happen, the White House is just going to argue, well, we did try to talk to Republicans, we did come up, they've been pretty precise about what those numbers were. And we just don't think that this is actually going to ultimately end up being a bipartisan bill but saying it's not their fault. It's kind of the argument that they have in their pocket right now.

TAPPER: Manu, you know what's interesting about all of this is it's so difficult for Democrats to govern with a 50-50 majority, I mean, bare majority, they're only the majority because they have the White House too. When somebody is cursing Cal Cunningham in North Carolina right now, I'm sure.

But beyond that, this is popular stuff, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on bridges and roads. I mean, the American people have shown a tremendous tolerance for deficit spending, they don't really seem to care much. And, you know, bridges and roads. So it's kind of -- it's kind of -- it kind of feels odd that we're even having this intense conversation.

RAJU: Yes. And it's really bogged down over the years on this issue, because the two sides just simply cannot agree on how to pay for such a package. Democrats have, in this particular proposal, have sought to raise taxes, particularly on corporations and the like, Republicans have tried to repurpose existing money, COVID relief money that has not been spent. That has been the nexus.

There's a reason for -- the reason for this to -- the talks collapse. But you're right, Jake, the 50-50 Senate is causing major problems for Joe Biden and his domestic agenda. They're not going to be able to get a major voting legislation through to overhaul election laws in this country. They're not getting immigration legislation passed, simply seems highly, highly unlikely. Other issues such as stemming gun violence, highly unlikely.

The one aspect is this infrastructure package because its budget related issue can move along party lines on this reconciliation tactic. But again, you need all 50 Democrats to agree to it.

TAPPER: And Kaitlan, let's go back to you because I understand you have the official White House readout in your possession.

COLLINS: Yes, and this is from Jen Psaki. It's a statement we just got a few moments ago, Jake. They're saying that yes, President Biden did tell Senator Capito that what she had put forward did not meet the requirements he had for an infrastructure bill. It does also notably say that he spoke to a few key figures today, including Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Cassidy as well, and urge them to continue their work with other Democrats and Republicans to work on it and develop a bipartisan proposal. So, three very key names that President Biden also had conversations with today. It's unclear if those conversations went longer than his talk with Senator Capito did today.

It also does say he plans to stay engaged on this effort while he is in Europe. He's got aides back here, Steve Machete, Louisa Terrell, and others who are going to be working on this.

And one more call that the President did have today, Jake, he also spoke to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to discuss the need to commence work on the budget resolution process so the legislation to advance his economic priorities can move forward this summer,

TAPPER: And Gloria, I guess the institutionally the big question is, does this all mean basically, do you think, that most Democrats are ultimately going to go ahead with getting rid of the 60 vote threshold, the filibuster?


BORGER: That's really a hard question to answer. I think that has a lot more to do with voting rights and it has to do with budget proposals. And I think it has to -- a lot to do with where Joe Manchin ends up on voting rights.

And I think right now, when it comes to the budget, I don't think anybody has any more appetite for a kabuki dance about how many Republicans can get to sign on to this. I mean, even if they get a couple, you know, maybe then Joe Manchin would come on board.

But again, you have the progressives out there, you have Bernie Sanders out there, they don't see any problem, as you were saying, with spending money on infrastructure and taxing corporations for it. That's very -- that's very popular.

So, when it comes to the filibuster, I think it's going to be on something that is, you know, much more long standing for people in their lives and their futures. And I think it's going to center on both.

TAPPER: Yes. Jon Tester in Montana and Angus King of Maine --


TAPPER: -- both told me, they're more likely, even though they're not in favor of getting rid of the filibuster, they're more likely to do it when it comes to voting rights.


TAPPER: Gloria Borger, Manu Raju, Kaitlan Collins, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it. Coming up next, Vice President Harris on a trip focused on operation. She still has not gone to the border. The V.P. talks about that ahead.

Plus, a secret trove of IRS files exposed showing how big time billionaires are getting away with paying almost nothing in federal income taxes. Uncle Sam, that's next.



TAPPER: A stunning report today in our money lead, revealing exactly how much money the richest of the rich make in the United States versus how little they pay in federal income taxes, sometimes even nothing at all.

ProPublica says it obtained top secret IRS tax files for the 1000s of nation's wealthy. And among notable names Elon Musk, whose wealth grew $13 billion between 2014 and 2018, getting only paid about 3 percent of his wealth in federal income taxes. And then, there's Michael Bloomberg, he only paid about 1 percent in federal income taxes of the $22 billion he earned in these four years.

Jeff Bezos added $99 billion in wealth between 2014 and 2018 and paid less than 1 percent in federal income taxes. The king of avoiding taxes in the U.S., according to this report is Warren Buffett, his wealth grew by $24 billion in that four-year period, yet he only paid 1/10 of a percent in that in taxes, 1/10 of 1 percent, unbelievable.

This is primarily the case for two reasons. One, the United States taxes individuals on their income, not their wealth. And two, our tax code is full of loopholes.

Let's bring in Paul Kiel, he's one of the reporters putting out this ProPublica report today.

Paul, congratulations, fascinating stuffs.

Typical Americans pay in tax brackets, income tax brackets, around 20 percent to 30 percent of their income. How are these multibillionaires getting out of paying so much to the IRS?

PAUL KIEL, REPORTER, PROPUBLICA: Well, in the form of income that's most comprehensively tax and it's actually easiest to tax as wages. And, you know, these are -- these top 25, and we analyze the top 25 according to Forbes, generally, these are people who set a top, you know, vast holdings of stock of companies that they've started, like, as with Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

You know, Jeff Bezos pays himself a salary of, you know, $80,000 a year and has for quite a while. And, you know, that's common of a lot of, you know, founder CEOs, which sometimes get celebrated for that. What we're pointing out is, you know, that is -- that is a form of income that is taxed at the highest rate.

And you -- in order to, you know, have income on your taxes, you have to realize your income in some way. So, if you, like, are Jeff Bezos and you're sitting atop this wealth, and you're getting, you know, richer by the day, that doesn't get transformed at income, you don't have to put that on your tax return until you, you know, sell your stock, generally.

And Warren Buffett is the cleanest example of this. He's sort of famous for holding, he doesn't even take dividends. His company doesn't pay dividends. So, when you look at his tax return, he looks more like, you know, a very well off person, you know, the top 10,000 or so, you know, earners in the U.S., but he doesn't look like the sixth richest person in the country.

TAPPER: Right.

KIEL: And that's the pattern we see over and over again.

TAPPER: So, in response to your report, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said today, first of all, that more needs to be done to make sure that high income earners pay their fair share. She also said this, take a listen.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Any unauthorized disclosure of confidential government information by a person with access is illegal. And we take this very seriously. The IRS commissioner said today that they are taking all appropriate measures, including referring the matter to investigators.


TAPPER: Well, that would seem to confirm that the tax returns you obtained are real, that they're referring it to investigators. But how did you know that the tax returns you obtained were real?

KIEL: Yes, we did a physical lot of steps of, you know, comparing stuff that was -- that appeared in the public domain in different ways. We did an exhaust amount of work with the data.

And for specifically for this story, we approached everyone who was mentioned in the story. We said, here's what we have, here are the numbers that we have. Gave them a chance to respond, a number them did. We have responses from Warren Buffett, Carl Icahn and others in the story, and no one has disputed the figures.

TAPPER: So, journalistically, there is an ethical question here. And I'm not faulting you, I wouldn't have made a different decision. But I wonder, when you -- when you discuss this with your editors, given the unknown provenance of the documents, and you don't know where they came from, it could be a foreign actor, theoretically, right? I mean, was that a discussion you have?

KIEL: Yes. Well, our main concern was, was it authentic? And was it tailored for us in some way? And that was not the case. We had to work for months on this to get it into a shape where we, you know, we're satisfied that it was, you know, it was accurate and it was saying something clear.


And so, you know, that was our main concern was that, you know, we're not being led into something. We have a chance to sit with this for a long time and come to our own conclusions, which is what happened.

TAPPER: All right Paul Kiel, thank you so much. Congratulations on the big scoop.

I want to talk about it with Richard Quest, CNN Business Editor-at- Large. And also with us, CNN Economics Commentator, Catherine Rampell.

Richard, let me start with you. So, Senator Elizabeth Warren, she has proposed a way to get around this issue by proposing a wealth tax, which would be a 2 percent tax on an individual's net worth above $50 million.

She tweeted today, in response to this ProPublica report saying that it shows, "Our tax system is rigged for billionaires who don't make their fortunes through income, like working family's do."

What do you think?

RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Well, I think the two things on the ProPublica report, the first is that the tax code is full of loopholes. And you can't blame the rich for making use of loopholes.

Remember the old saying, you know, there's nothing wrong with avoiding tax, every person's duty is to avoid tax. The problem is evading tax. And the reality here is there are loopholes in the system, which these people have been able to exploit.

And I'm not sure you should blame them for exploiting things. You can blame the for lobbying, you can blame them for putting them there in the first place for arguing for them, but they are there and Congress can always remove them.

The second thing is, I think taxing on wealth rather than income does create some difficulties. Because what you do when the wealth goes down on those years, do you then as Donald Trump did, manage to claim a tax loss. A tax loss by the way, that Donald Trump was able to roll forward for many years thereafter.

Taxing wealth is a great and beautiful idea to grow the president baps, the former president, but the reality is, it's difficult to do. There are inherent problems, and the loopholes still remain. You start with the loopholes, and then you worry about the wealth.

TAPPER: Catherine, ProPublica writes about quite an interesting year for Jeff Bezos saying, "In 2011, a year in which Bezos' wealth held roughly steady at $18 billion, Bezos filed a tax return reporting that he lost money, his income that year was more than offset by investment losses. What's more, because according to the tax law, he made so little," according to the tax law, "he even claimed and received a $4,000 tax credit for his children."

So, again, as with almost everything in the United States, the scandal is not what's illegal, it's what's legal. But the guy has $18 billion, and he takes the tax credit?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR: Yes, you mentioned exactly the phrase that I was going to offer up which is that what -- especially when it comes to the tax code, what is scandalous is what is legal, not what is illegal.

And by the way, I should disclose, Jeff Bezos, personally owns "The Washington Post," which I work for. But look, this is the tax code working as it was designed to do. As we collectively as a society have programmed it to do.

We could make different choices here, we could change the tax code, so that people who are very high net worth individuals do fork over more money to Uncle Sam every year, or more frequently in any event. You could do that a few different ways. For example, the main subject, the main -- the main cause for all of these high net worth people paying so little in income taxes is that basically we only tax most assets when they are sold. This is called the deferral benefit.

So, you could get rid of that deferral benefit. You could do mark to market for assets, which is complicated for a lot of reasons, Richard, I'm sure we can go into. You could have what's called a retrospective wealth tax, which is when these assets are sold. You kind of like work backwards and figure out how much they would have paid if they had mark to market every year.

You could do more radical things like having a consumption tax, so that when rich people borrow against their assets, in order to fund their lifestyles, they're still paying taxes on you know, the boats and mansions and whatever else they are spending money on. Of course, consumption taxes have other problems, including that they hit poor people as well.

But these are choices we have made as a society. Elizabeth Warren has offered one possible proposal, which you mentioned an ongoing wealth tax, but that could potentially have some constitutional issues as well, as well as administrative ones.

TAPPER: And Richard, Warren Buffett, we should know, he's long been trying to get higher taxes for the rich. It was eight years ago when he famously pointed out that he paid lower income taxes than his secretary. Why is changing the tax code so difficult for those who have the power to do so?

QUEST: Lobbying, money, army of advisors, there's an entire industry. I was going to say cottage industry, it's not. It's a vast industry that's designed to find the loopholes. And if you can't find a loophole, get it inserted into a piece of legislation so that you reduce your taxable income.

[17:25:05] That's the reason this is so egregious. That's the reason it's so offensive. And remember, Jake, the tax code has to be universal. You can't have a Bill Gates tax, you can't have a Jeff Bezos tax, it's got to be a tax for all billionaires, it's got to be a tax that applies across the board. And ultimately, it has to be seen to be fair and manageable.

And the reality is, the people who get the worst side of it, I'll tell you who gets the word side of it, the upper middle classes and the middle classes in the sense because they don't have the assets or the ability to manage to use the tax code to their benefit. It's usually income from wages, whereas the super rich have this wealth investment income or not income asset gain, and they managed to play it to their benefit. But until Congress does something about it, it will continue however badly it smells.

TAPPER: But it sounds to me like all three of us agree that the viewers watching right now have every right to be pissed off about this. Richard Quest, Catherine Rampell --

RAMPELL: But be angry at Congress, angry at Congress, that's where we should be angry at.

TAPPER: Angry at Congress, yes. Be angry at Congress. Well, I'm a little mad about Bezos and that child income tax credit, that's a little -- that's a little much. But I'll just say that's me.

Thanks so much. Good to see you, both of you.

Coming up, disturbing new details, social media posts ahead of the January 6 insurrection telling rioters to bring guns and to surround the exits. I'm going to talk to an officer who was there during the attack. That's next.



TAPPER: Our National Lead today is about the most comprehensive government report yet about the January 6th insurrection. The report was released today by a bipartisan group of senators and reveals new details about the security and intelligence failures and the extent of communication among the rioters' weeks before the attack. But the report compiled by the Senate Homeland Security and Rules Committees has some glaring omissions, as CNN's Whitney Wild reports.


WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shocking and damning. A new Senate report is detailing the catastrophic operational and intelligence breakdowns within Hill security and intelligence agencies.

SEN. GARY PETERS (D-MI), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: It was widely known that it would be a very likely violent crowd that was coming to Washington D.C. WILD (voice-over): The 127-page report shows U.S. Capitol Police knew in December about pro Trump blog posts, urging people to confront members of Congress and to carry firearms to the protest. A December 21st report flagged a map of the Capitol campus and about 30 screenshots of comments on a pro Donald Trump website such as bring guns, it's now or never, and surround every building with a tunnel entrance slash exit.

The report also says too many Capitol Police officers lacked riot training, proper equipment, and leadership on the ground the day of the insurrection. One officer is reportedly heard on the radio asking, does anybody have a plan?

PETERS: Clearly a failure of leadership.

WILD (voice-over): The report points out intelligence agencies struggled with weather extreme comments were protected or constituted real threats and find that some officials were left in the dark because of a quote, decentralized operation. The report is bipartisan and the deepest analysis yet of the day's failures coming from thousands of documents, statements from 50 police officers and testimony from current and former officials involved.

But the report is also notable for what it doesn't say. There's no analysis of the origins of the attack, or then President Donald Trump's role in sparking the mob.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore.

WILD (voice-over): The word insurrection doesn't even appear outside of quotes and footnotes steering clear of a word that could have turned off some Republicans.

PETERS: It's very clear, the facts show that. The report is just focused on the security but that's why we need a commission.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): It is important to know root cause of anything, period.


WILD: Jake, much of this report focused on the U.S. Capitol Police because in no small part because Congress has to compel the Capitol Police to give them information. They're basically the boss in this scenario. Capitol Police has said that the fact is no law enforcement agencies knew that there would be, they ended up being basically a small army descending on the Capitol. They see the intelligence just never supported that conclusion, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Whitney, thanks so much. Let's talk about this with Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. He was one of the officers who heroically defended the Capitol on January 6th, and joins us now live in studio.

First of all, let me just say face to face, we've talked before, but face to face, thank you for what you did that day. And what you do. I want to get your reaction to the report. What do you make of the fact that they had to not use the word insurrection as of, you know, in -- the outside of quotes and footnotes? They couldn't declare that it was an insurrection because they didn't want to lose Republican senators support?

OFFICER MICHAEL FANONE, DEFENDED THE CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6: Yeah, I mean, I thought it was significant. But I wasn't surprised. I guess that word is triggering for some members on the Hill. But it doesn't change the fact that it was an insurrection.

TAPPER: And what do you make of the fact that the Committee decided not to explore how President, then President Trump, incited what happened or even just looking into the origins of how all these people ended up in Washington, D.C., I mean, very few of the people there were Washingtonians. There was a move to get them there. And the report didn't go into that.


FANONE: Correct. Yes, so I mean, I'll be at full disclosure, I only looked at the Cliff's notes version of the report, a 127 pages. I started falling asleep just during the summary. But I don't -- so I thought it was a good start. I mean, it addresses physical security concerns.

It addresses the, you know, lack of dissemination or even, you know, proper collection of intelligence. And, you know, it addresses some training and equipment concerns that I think are very important to U.S. Capitol Police officers.

But like you said, it doesn't go into the root causes. Some of the questions that I still have are, you know, who are these groups that were involved in the insurrection that day? What is there, if any communication that they may have had with members of our government and their staff? And also, where's the funding for these groups coming from and what type of communication had they had prior to January 6th?

TAPPER: That's a great question, kind of unbelievable that Congress doesn't want to have a commission to explore, or I should say, Republicans in Congress, most don't want to have a commission to explore them. Why do you think that is?

FANONE: I mean, unfortunately, from a lot of the conversations that I've had, I feel like it's just not politically advantageous for certain members of the government to, you know, to investigate or look into those things. I don't know. I'm not going to speculate on the reasons why. But I mean, ultimately, I think there's, you know, concerns about re-winning the House and Senate. But I think some things are more important than, you know, the future of a political party.

TAPPER: Yes. No, you're not a part of the Capitol Police. You're part of the Metropolitan Police Department, which is the D.C. Police. But the Capitol Police is main intelligence unit, we learned was aware of the potential for violence in the days and weeks ahead of January 6th. Not everyone was aware in terms of Capitol Police officers. Were you aware as an MPD officer? Did you did you have an inkling or were you told that there might be violence that day?

FANONE: Yes, I mean, as an MPD officer, I was aware of the fact that there was, you know, some significance behind January 6th. Again, like I work in, you know, primarily narcotics centric unit within the Department.

But I knew that our leave had been restricted for that entire week, and also days off had been canceled. What we refer to is like an all hands on deck event for January 6th. So that told me that, you know, someone in the Department knew that there was some significance and potential for violence on January 6th.

TAPPER: When you see the rebroadcast of the rally that day, where then President Trump said what he said, and where Rudy Giuliani talked about trial by combat. When you see clips of President Trump lying about the election today, what goes through your mind as somebody who was there, literally putting your life on the line to defend the Capitol from these people who had been lied to and were violently trying to get into the Capitol to change the results of the election?

FANONE: Yes, I mean, when I listened to, you know, the rhetoric that was used in the speeches leading up to the insurrection at the Capitol, I mean, there's no other word to describe it, at least from my perspective than incitement. You know, and in some degrees, I would go even further and say that is sanctioned that behavior, certain rhetoric that was used by certain individuals that day.

I mean to hear people after the fact downplay the event, knowing what I went through and what hundreds of other officers went through that day. I've said before, it's disgraceful.

TAPPER: So you have said that this report does makes, it's a good start, you said?

FANONE: Correct.

TAPPER: But does it whitewash some parts of what happened?

FANONE: I don't know if I go so far as to say whitewashes it? Again, I haven't read the entire report. I did, like I said, found it was, you know, interesting that they admitted, you know, the word insurrection, even though that's obvious what that event was, it was an insurrection. It was, you know, violence perpetrated by individuals against the U.S. government. Yes.

TAPPER: All right, Officer Michael Fanone, thanks for what you do. Thanks for being here today. Really appreciate it.

FANONE: Thank you.

TAPPER: Former President Obama is also giving his take on the aftermath of the Capitol attack. In an exclusive CNN interview, he told Anderson Cooper that some right wing media outlets are to blame for not only riling up their viewers but profiting from their fear. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Certain right wing media venues for example, that monetize and capitalize on stoking the fear and resentment of a white population that is witnessing a changing America.



TAPPER: CNN's Brian Stelter joins us now. He's the author of the book "Hoax: Donald Trump, Fox News, And the Dangerous Distortion of Truth." And Brian, you updated your book in the paperback version to include new reporting on the post to 2020 election Fox News and more. Tell us what you've learned.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the book required a full rewrite, Jake, because so much has happened in the last six months. I now open with the riot because "Fox" has radicalized in the past few months. I learned a lot about riot denial and working on this book, Jake, because "Fox" staffers who leaked to me by the dozen said they were distraught that the network has downplayed the crimes at the Capitol.

They've looked at the other way, made excuses for the rioters, Laura Ingraham just last night on the air saying this was not an insurrection. But of course, the voices that are leaking to me, they're the minority, right? Denial has won out at "Fox." And today the network has barely covered this new Senate report. They have stuffed this down the memory hole.

TAPPER: They barely covered the Senate report. It's one of the --

STELTER: That's right.

TAPPER: -- biggest stories of the day.

STELTER: Not over there.

TAPPER: Let me ask you, "Fox News" is now facing legal and financial ramifications. Smartmatic is suing them for $2.7 billion. Dominion is suing for $1.6 billion this is because of the election lies that they either allowed, platformed or shared themselves by the hosts. Has this impacted their programming at all?

STELTER: The short answer is no. This is an attempt these defamation suits to repair the damage done by last year's big lie. But of course, the lies have mutated into new forms since then. These lawsuits may if they will -- if these companies prevail, may punish the Murdoch's in their wallets eventually, years from now.

But for now, it's not having a serious impact on programming. "Fox's" lineup has really been radicalized even in the last six months. It's changed a lot as this channel is taking on more extremely partisan content. And ultimately, it's the Murdoch's who are letting that happen by not having a strong hand on the wheel.

They've allowed the car to drive off the ditch and onto the side of the road. They're letting "Fox" run to the right, because they're afraid of "Newsmax" and "One America News," and in some ways afraid of the former president. In the words of one source at "Fox," we've turned so far right, we've turned crazy. But ultimately, that's the Murdoch's who are responsible.

TAPPER: I have to say, just, I don't want to get into a dispute with you, but I don't think it's -- they're becoming more conservative. I mean, Liz Cheney is conservative. Mitt Romney is conservative. It seems like --

STELTER: That's right. Conservatives is not the word. That's right. It's this radical form of culture war programming --


STELTER: -- that has very, very little to do with actual conservative values.

TAPPER: Yes, that's the only point I wanted to make. Brian Stelter, thank you so much. The book is terrific. And of course the paperback version is in stores now. Thanks so much. Congratulations.

Vice President Harris is about to face reporters during her first trip abroad as Vice President. Stay with us. We'll be right back.



TAPPER: In our World Lead, any minute we're going to hear from Vice President Kamala Harris. She's wrapping up a day of meetings in Mexico, including with the country's president as part of her first international trip as Vice President. And CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live for us in Mexico City. Jeremy today, the Vice President is once again pushing back on criticism on why she has not yet visited the border on this trip, which is focused on the migration crisis.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Jake. And listen, the Vice President has been asked this question many times before. And so it's strange to see that she doesn't seem to yet have a kind of clear and consistent answer on this.

Yesterday, when she was asked by "NBC," she compared it to not having visited Europe yet as Vice President. And today, this is how she answered it when she was pressed again on this very same question of visiting the border.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Listen, I I've been to the border before I will go again. But when I'm in Guatemala, dealing with root causes, I think we should have a conversation about what's going on in Guatemala. (END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: And the shrug at the end there, Jake, is really only being followed by more criticism from Republicans who have tried to tie the Vice President's to the crisis at the border. Of course, Vice President Harris was assigned by President Biden to focus on the root causes of migration. So that is a false comparison that Republicans are making.

But nonetheless, the Vice President certainly not doing herself any favors in the way that she's been answering these questions about visiting the border. She could clear it up by saying that, yes, she intends to go and kind of letting that rest, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes, I know, it's curious. She's also being criticized today, this week by progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for very directly telling migrants in Central America not to come to the United States.

And, look, I mean, it's true now that she's Vice President and one of those in charge. She sounds quite different than the progressive presidential candidate who said in 2019, for example, that the U.S. is a quote, nation of strength with strong arms that when people are fleeing harm, we will embrace them, unquote.

DIAMOND: Yes, no doubt about it, Jake. And it's important to look at the context too of her remarks. It came a couple days after the Guatemalan president who she was meeting with essentially said that the Biden administration's more humane policies and the perception of those more humane policies is also in his view, at least a root cause of migration.

And so the Vice President certainly trying to tamp down any perception in the region that the Biden ministration is welcoming migrants rushing to the border, you know, with open arms. That being said, it is true. The overwhelming majority of migrants are being turned away at the border. But unaccompanied children who had been a big part of this surge that we've been seeing at the border, many of them are still being processed and accepted into the United States.

But the Vice President is doing a kind of tough balancing act here, especially in this region, where on the one hand, she does want to discourage that migration, that dangerous journey as she described it yesterday.

But at the same time, we all heard her talking about the fact that her visit was meant to try and show people that there can be hope that the United States wants to improve the situation in Central America. So that those people can have hope, not just hope to come to the United States but hope to stay in their homes with a better economic situation back home, Jake.


TAPPER: And good governance issues are big in Central America as well. Jeremy Diamond traveling with the Vice President, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

A new report says that China, the Chinese government has tracked down hundreds of Muslim minorities fleeing their country and forced them back to China, where there's fear of prison and even death. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In World Lead, a search for a safe haven is turning into a nightmare for many Uyghur Muslims who have escaped with the U.S. has labeled, a genocide, in China's Xinjiang region. For months we've been bringing you stories of this vast Muslim minority group has been working in camps, some giving us first-hand accounts of gang rape and torture even forced abortions. All claims that Beijing of course denies dismissing them as propaganda and saying the camps are merely vocational training centers for combating religious extremism.

But now our recent Human Rights Watch report says China has even been tracking down hundreds of Uyghurs across the globe and forcing them to return to China, where they face persecution, including inside predominantly Muslim countries as CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This quiet Uyghur protest outside Istanbul's infamous Saudi consulate is a race against time. Nuriman's father's fate hangs in the balance.

If he sent back to China he'll be imprisoned and there's danger of death, she tells us. Her father, Hamdullah Veli, a Uyghur Muslim scholar was nabbed by Saudi authorities in November while on a pilgrimage to Islam's holiest city. For her father, there is still time. For others, there is little hope.

(on camera): Activists say at least five Uyghurs have already been deported from Saudi Arabia. Over the course of our investigation, we have also found cases of Uyghurs forcibly returned to China from the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, a violation of international law and where they may face with the U.S. has labeled, a genocide.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt did not respond to our requests for comment. China is a major trade partner to these autocratic governments, who voiced support for what China insists is a counterterrorism campaign. Believed to be acting at the behest of the Chinese government, Egypt rounded up dozens of Uyghurs in 2017, and forcibly returned more than 20 China according to human rights groups.

HAMDULLAH VELIM, UYGHUR ACTIVIST: No 21, but exact number, maybe it will be more.

KARADSHEH (on camera): Hamdullah Veli is a Uyghur activist. He says he's documented at least 28 deportations by these Middle Eastern countries. But no one really knows how many Uyghurs maybe behind bars in the region or how many have already been deported back to China. Too often family members fear that going public would only make things worse for their disappeared loved ones.

(voice-over): Amannisa Abdullah is tormented by devastating survivor's guilt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In two years, this kind of guilty feeling there's always inside of me and I'm not able to sleep, not able to, even like, if I feel happy, I have no right to feeling happy. I have no right to smile. I'm living like this.

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Her husband, Aihemaiti have lived and worked in the UAE for 10 years. He was detained in Dubai in 2018. It was two weeks from hell for a nine-month pregnant Amannisa and her son. She says no one would even tell her what Aihemaiti was accused of only that he was wanted by China.

This document Amannisa obtained from Dubai's public prosecution confirms the Chinese extradition request. It also states the prosecution decided to close the case because Chinese authorities failed to provide the required documents. But Aihemaiti was transferred to Abu Dhabi and a few days later, Amannisa was told he was sent back to China.

I think Ronnie commented Anika why they don't tell me why join on on tell me one of the most difficult question in my life as Where is my dad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If my husband have any crime he committed any crime why they don't tell me? Why China don't tell me? One of the most difficult question in my life is where is my dad?

KARADSHEH (voice-over): Eight-year-old Musa (ph) is left with photos and patchy childhood memories. Musa (ph) says he's lucky his little sister, Amina (ph), never met her father. With nowhere left to turn, Amannisa says she once asked for directions to the sea.


KARADSHEH: And Jake, Human Rights Watch says in many cases, it is impossible to find out what has happened to Uyghurs were forcibly returned to China. We did reach out to the Chinese government but they did not respond to our requests for comment on our reporting. But as you know, Beijing has repeatedly denied allegations if you human rights abuses targeting its Uyghur minority and accusations of genocide, its Foreign Minister recently calling these accusations preposterous, Jake.


TAPPER: All right. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching.