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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Biden Wraps Up First Day of Meetings, Discussed Protecting Democracy & Cyber Hacks with UK PM; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) is Interviewed About Biden's Upcoming Face-to-Face with Putin; GOP Sen. Romney: Bipartisan Negotiators Reached Agreement on Infrastructure Price Tag, But Not Specifics of Overall Deal; Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's Main Critics and Opponents Arrested Ahead of November Election; Jewish House Dems Condemn Rep. Omar. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 10, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Oh, and BLM is Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter. I know some people are thinking like, what does he want BLM? Bureau of Land Management, just being clear.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I'm very glad you clarified that.
BLACKWELL: All right. THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: President Biden trying to mend a special relationship with a guy he once called Trump's clone.
THE LEAD starts right now.
President Biden speaking in the U.K. promising hundreds of millions of vaccines to the rest of the world as Vladimir Putin rattles his cage ahead of a U.S./Russia summit that could get ugly.
A possible breakthrough for an infrastructure deal as the guy who proudly calls himself the Senate's Grim Reaper gives talks a lifeline.
Plus, 16 years old and tased. The shocking newly released video of a Texas deputy tasing a migrant boy for what seemed like forever.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we start today with our world lead. And President Biden wrapping up the first day of these high stakes international trip, his first as president.
This afternoon, Biden met with U.K. Prime Minster Boris Johnson, a man that Biden once called, quote, a physical and emotional clone, unquote, of Donald Trump. But bygones. The two seemed to set that aside today, with President Biden noting that they discussed a range of issues, including protecting democracy and cybersecurity. That was a clear nod to Biden's efforts to getting major U.S. allies
on board before Biden confronts Russia's Vladimir Putin, not to mention an acknowledgement perhaps that democracy is not fully safe and secure here in the United States, either. This afternoon, President Biden also announced what he was calling an unprecedented response taxpayer U.S. planning to distribute and donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to countries around the world.
This is more than just a humanitarian effort, we should note. It's a way for the U.S. to combat efforts by Russia and China, who are using their own COVID vaccines to expand their influence in other countries, as CNN's Kaitlan Collins now reports.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A British prime minster's legacy is often defined by their relationship with the U.S. president.
BORIS JOHNNSON, UK PRIME MINISTER: It's wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and Joe Biden. It's fantastic. It's a breath of fresh air.
COLLINS: So, the world was watching as British Prime Minster Boris Johnson sat down with President Biden today.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We affirmed the special relationship. As I've said lately, the special relationship between our people.
COLLINS: It was Biden's first trip to the UK since taking office.
BIDEN: Been to the great country many times, but this is the first time as president of the United States.
COLLINS: And it was also his first time meeting Johnson and his new wife.
BIDEN: I told the prime minster we have something in common -- we both married way above our station.
JOHNSON: I'm not going to -- I'm not going to -- I'm not going to dissent on that one. I'm not going to disagree with you there or indeed on anything else.
COLLINS: The two leaders have certainly disagreed in the past. Biden once referred to Johnson as Donald Trump's clone and was critical of Brexit, which Johnson not only campaigned on but negotiated.
BIDEN: You saw what happened in England with Brexit. It was about immigration. It was about losing identity. Those moments of instability that present opportunities for the most maligned forces in any of our countries and around the world to be able to gain power.
COLLINS: Today, Biden and Johnson looked ahead to the future, renewing the Atlantic Charter to emphasize their alliance. The agreement was originally signed by President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill after World War II and paved the way for that special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K.
BIDEN: Today, we build on that commitment.
COLLINS: Biden and Johnson also agreeing to work on restoring travel between the two nations shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But one of the biggest points of tension between the two leaders is the status of the Northern Ireland, where Brexit fueled tensions have broken out and in the past, Biden has insisted on maintaining the Good Friday Agreement.
BIDEN: We do not want a guarded border.
COLLINS: Johnson denied reports Biden pressured him to keep the agreement in place.
JOHNSON: There's complete harmony on the need to keep going, find solutions, and make sure we uphold the Good Friday agreement.
COLLINS: Biden will make with several world leaders while abroad, including a high-stakes showdown with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And First Lady Jill Biden says he's been studying for weeks.
JILL BIDEN, U.S. FIRST LADY: Oh, I think he's so well prepared. He's been studying for weeks, you know, working up to today. Of course he knows most of the leaders that will be here. And Joe loves foreign policy.
This is his forte. Oh, my gosh, he's overprepared.
COLLINS (on camera): And, Jake, there were some questions about whether or not that meeting was still going to happen after a Russian court labeled those two groups linked to Alexey Navalny as extremist groups, seeming to send a message to Biden just days ahead of that summit. But the White House says President Biden is not deterred. He's going move ahead with that meeting that is scheduled for just a few days from now.
But, Jen Psaki, the press secretary, said she believed it was going to be a straightforward and candid conversation. And, Jake, we know, often, when you hear officials use those terms, it means they know it's going to be tense.
TAPPER: That's right, that's the translation. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
Joining us to discuss, Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas. He's the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Congressman, good to see you as always.
So, President Biden is going to spend the next five days meeting with top allies before he sits down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
How important do you think it is for him to get all of these countries on board -- the U.K., NATO, the E.U. -- before confronting Putin?
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): I think it's very important. I think that's a good strategy. You want our NATO allies and partners on the same page, when it comes to things like these cybersecurity attacks, when it comes to Nord Stream II pipeline that unfortunately the president had a waiver, that it was in the national interest of the United States, to allow to Putin to complete that pipeline into Europe, making Europe for energy-dependent on Russia.
But I do think -- I agree with him, he goes to the table with more strength if he has our allies behind him.
TAPPER: Some Republicans have criticized Biden for even having this meeting with Putin. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska wrote, quote, we're rewarding Putin with a summit? This is weak.
Obviously, U.S. intelligence says that the Russian government itself was behind last year's SolarWinds hack and, of course, the bad actors in Russia have been fingered as having been behind other ransomware attacks this year. Do you think this summit is a mistake?
MCCAUL: Well, I think he is rewarding Putin by having this summit, you know, in Russia with Mr. Putin. And I would not criticize the meeting as much as the concessions that were made prior to this meeting. You know, the national waiver interest with Nord Stream II. The idea of all these cyberattacks that have taken place. I think that should be a big part of this conversation, is to how -- you know, to get them to stop this major cyberattacks on our critical infrastructure.
Also, Navalny, that was mentioned by your reporter. He has allowed -- basically called his entire organization extremists. So they have -- will have no opportunity to challenge Putin's party in the Duma and, therefore, pretty much nullifying the elections.
And Navalny, remember, was poisoned by a chemical weapon that violates our chemical weapons sanctions. And yet, the president has yet to put those sanctions in place, nor the congressionally mandated sanctions to stop Nord Stream II.
TAPPER: Yeah, the meeting that Putin and Biden are having I think is Geneva, Switzerland.
But let me ask you, I want to get to everything you just mentioned there. In addition to the two Americans that are in Russian prisons that you've been talking about, and I've been covering, Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed, but what do you think Biden should do to stop these cyberattacks by the Russian government and bad actors in Russia? What kind of retribution would you support? MCCAUL: I think he needs to make it clear that's unacceptable, whether
it be Russian-sponsored, state-sponsored attacks, to Russian mafia, which I think Putin has tacit approval of, that we're not going to let these go without consequences in the future, whether it'd be sanctions or whether it'd be, once we do the attribution, to hit them back.
We had the Colonial Pipeline CEO testify, and I asked him about -- you know, they can't hack back. What do you think the federal government should be doing when a nation state attacks our interest in critical infrastructure like a pipeline? And would you support the ability to really respond and hit them back hard?
I think only until we have consequences to bad behavior will the bad behavior stop.
TAPPER: Right. And as you've noted, the bad behavior has been going on and Biden lifted the sanctions, having to do with Nord Stream, the gas pipeline. Obviously, basically outlawing Navalny's party was off -- not to mention poisoning him and imprisoning him as well, was provocative.
But at the same time, there is this imperative to relations, because the U.S. and Russia do need to have some relationship. The relationship right now between the U.S. and Russia is so bad both countries recalled their ambassadors earlier this year. Biden hopes, sources tell CNN, that they're going to be able to reach a point where they send back their ambassadors to Washington and Moscow.
I mean, would you applaud that step? I get that there's -- it's a tough line to walk here.
MCCAUL: Well, I met with the Ambassador John Solomon just last week, and I think the reason why they're not pushing forward with these sanctions that I quite frankly think gives the president a position of strength rather than weakness going into this summit. But they have chosen not to do this because they think it's going to rattle Putin's cage and be counterproductive to their meeting.
My only hope is that they come out with agreements on cybersecurity attacks, the invasion of Ukraine, in Crimea for instance, the release of Trevor Reed, as you talk about, and Paul Whelan, American marine soldiers, one from state of Texas who have been held hostage, and Trevor Reed has COVID right now.
I hope there are some positive outcomes that come out of this. But I'll be honest with you, Jake. You're dealing with a former KGB officer. Once KGB, always. And I'm not entirely optimistic that we're going to see any major results coming out of this.
TAPPER: Yeah, we'll have you back to talk about what he gets out of it if anything.
Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas, thank you so much. Appreciate you as always. MCCAUL: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: More on President Biden's plan to send hundred of millions of vaccines around the world. Could the U.S. be doing even more? Should the U.S. be doing even more? The White House global coronavirus response coordinator joins me next.
And newly released video of a Texas sheriff's deputy tasing a migrant teen for more than 30 seconds, and then calling him el stupido. Why is it being seen this video a year later?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead, the Biden administration is purchasing and donating 500 million -- 500 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to other countries. All doses are going to go through COVAX, which is the international vaccine initiative. They will be sent to 92 low and lower income countries.
But as CNN's Erica Hill reports, this move comes after weeks of criticism that the U.S. has not led the way in vaccine diplomacy or done nearly enough to save the lives of people who are not Americans.
ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Half a billion shots heading to nearly 100 countries around the globe.
BIDEN: This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can.
HILL: The first doses set to ship in August.
Back home, a focus on children, as an FDA advisory panel decides what should be considered before authorizing the vaccine for kids 11 and younger.
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DISEASE DETECTIVE: What they are talking about today is the nitty-gritty, the logistics and practicalities of doing clinical trials in children as young as five or even as young as six months of age.
HILL: This morning, Moderna filed for emergency use authorization of its vaccine for 12 to 17-year-olds. Pfizer's EUA was expanded for 5 to 15-year-olds late last month. About a quarter of that age group has now had at least one shot.
DR. JORGE RODRIGUEZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: If everybody else gets vaccinated percentage-wise, children will be the most susceptible section of our population to get COVID. So we need to protect them, first and foremost.
HILL: More than half the residents in these eight states are now fully vaccinated. Nationwide it's just over 42 percent.
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We knew it was going to get harder as this effort went on. But one thing we've learned more clearly than anything else is that this vaccination effort will move at the speed of trust.
HILL: Trust with a dose of incentive.
GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: Mark, you won the million dollars. How are you guys doing?
MARK CLINE, OHIO VAX-A-MILLION WINNER: Pretty surreal, you know, from the moment we looked out and saw you on our doorstep.
HILL: If cash isn't enough to encourage more Americans to roll up their sleeves, officials hope their warnings about the fast-spreading Delta variant may do the trick.
MURTHY: This variant is more transmissible than the U.K. variant, which is more transmissible than the version of virus we were dealing with last year. And there's also some concern it may be more dangerous as well.
HILL: Good news for J&J's single dose vaccine, the FDA just said it could be stored for 4 1/2 months. That's six weeks longer than previously allowed.
The news comes days after Ohio warned some 200,000 J&J shots would soon expire.
HILL (on camera): And, Jake, just another note on that Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA commissioner and current member of J&J's board, told Poppy Harlow earlier this morning that the bottom line is they just don't know at this point how long that vaccine can be stored because this has all happened so quickly. He said in his words, you know, because this was part of an emergency, we weren't able to take the time to see just how long they can last. He said those studies, Jake, are ongoing.
HILL: All right. Erica Hill, thank you so much.
Here to discuss all of this is Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator who is with the president in England right now. Specifically, he is in Cornwall.
Jeff, good to see you.
Five hundred million doses, that's a lot of doses. But the global need, as you know, because you're the coordinator for the global response -- the global need is in the billions and there are a lot of countries that think the United States is not doing enough.
JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Well, half a billion doses is a lot of doses and all of these doses, Jake, are going to go to the hundred lowest income countries. They're going to be donated to those countries.
Now, the 500 million is in addition to the 80 million doses the president announced a couple of weeks ago that are beginning to ship to countries around the world.
And we're going to continue to give away doses from the U.S. supply across the summer months.
So this is real American leadership in terms of the half billion doses that are announced today. It's an historic announcement. Nothing like it has ever happened before.
And I think the U.S. is also catalyzing and leading efforts by other G7 countries and democracies to add more doses.
So, this is -- this is an effort of the world's democracies to help vaccinate the world.
TAPPER: Jeff, the Biden administration, as you know, has been under a lot of pressure to share unused doses that are in, you know, warehouses here in the United States with other countries. Since supply started exceeding demand here in the U.S., that happened back in April, so what's taken so long to get us to this point of the 500 million announcement?
ZIENTS: Well, importantly, the first priority was to make sure that we secured enough doses for all adult Americans. That did happen a few weeks ago and concurrent with that, President Biden announced the commitment of 80 million doses as I mentioned earlier. Those doses are beginning to ship as we speak. And we will continue to share any additional doses in the U.S. inventory across the summer months.
TAPPER: Jeff, there's nearly 11 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that have not been administered and many of them are going to expire, as you know, soon. Why aren't those going to other countries right now?
I mean, if a choice between giving it to our friends in Canada or Mexico versus them expiring, it's a no brainer, it would seem.
ZIENTS: Well, we are shipping Johnson & Johnson doses to other countries. There are doses you're referring to in the States. We're encouraging state and local officials to get shots in arms as soon as possible.
There also looks to be a high probability that the expiration date on those Johnson & Johnson doses, at least many of those doses, will be extended. So, the high priority here is taking the doses that are already out in the field, getting shots in the arms, while we will export doses, including Johnson & Johnson doses of U.S. supply to other countries.
TAPPER: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is certainly doing a lot of innovative things to try to get shots in arms. But in terms of these J&J vaccines expiring, he said Ohio doesn't have the legal options to send the vaccine elsewhere, either to other states or to other countries. Why not?
ZIENTS: Well, there is the possibility of moving doses across states, and that has happened as part of the vaccination program. States do not have the legal ability to export doses.
But I think it's most importantly here is Governor DeWine is being innovative and creative in getting shots in arms. And if we get the news of the extension of the expiration date, that will be further good news to make sure that those Johnson & Johnson shots are being put into people's arms as soon as possible.
TAPPER: There are a lot of countries, especially in Latin America, that have been buying up large numbers of Russian and Chinese vaccines to fill the gaps in their own rollouts. Those vaccines are not as good but better a vaccine there than nothing.
Do you think the United States missed an opportunity here to assert itself on the world stage with vaccine diplomacy?
ZIENTS: Well, there's no vaccine diplomacy here in terms of any dose that we're sending. It has no strings attached. I want to repeat that.
We're not sending doses with strings attached. We're sending doses for humanitarian reasons and also it's in our interest to vaccinate the world to protect Americans. We're not safe until the whole world is vaccinated.
I think, importantly, the 500 million doses that the U.S. is purchasing today to donate to those hundred countries that I talked about, the lowest income countries, are the Pfizer vaccine, which is the mRNA platform, which has proven to be very safe and very effective, including against all known variants.
So, these are the very best vaccine doses that are made in America by American workers, and this is all part of American innovation and American ingenuity.
TAPPER: Jeff, it's kind of -- it must be kind of weird in your job because other countries, especially in poorer countries, people are desperate to get vaccines. They're begging for it.
Meanwhile, in the United States, people like Governor DeWine have to offer a million dollar lottery to get people. There's all these efforts to bribe Americans who are vaccine skeptical or just haven't gotten it with free booze, free joints out in Washington state.
What's that disconnect like?
ZIENTS: Well, I think, you know, the most important incentive for people getting vaccinated is when you're vaccinated, fully vaccinated, you're protected. And when you're not, you're not protected, and you're also putting other people at risk.
So, everybody should go get vaccinated. And there's plenty of places to get vaccinated. If people have questions, there's ways of getting those questions answered by their doctors or their local community members and leaders. So we really want to encourage Americans who aren't vaccinated to get vaccinated.
At the same time, as we talked about excess supply, we will send to other countries and this 500 million doses that have been purchased by the U.S. government to give to the lowest income countries is completely unprecedented and is a sign of real American leadership and it's what America is all about, caring about each other and caring about people across the globe.
TAPPER: Yeah, I didn't think you were going to bite on that one.
Jeff Zients, thank you so much. Travel safe. Appreciate it.
A possible breakthrough in the new effort to strike an infrastructure deal, but it's news to some of the negotiators. Details next.
TAPPER: In our politics lead now, what might be an incremental breakthrough on infrastructure talks, emphasize on maybe -- Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney, who's one of the lead Republican negotiators, says that the bipartisan working group that's trying to hash out a deal, that that group has agreed to an overall dollar amount for the size of the infrastructure package.
However, when asked about it, Democrat Jon Tester of Montana, who's also part of the group says that development was news to him. He's in that bipartisan group.
CNN's Ryan Nobles is on Capitol Hill for us.
Ryan, help me out here. Are the beginnings of a deal starting to take shape?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly seems, Jake, as though we're heading in that the direction. But to your point, there are different layers of optimism, depending on who you talk to within this group of 10 Republicans and Democrats that are trying to hash out this deal. And we don't know what form or fashion this deal could look like when it actually does emerge, right? They seemed to have agreed on a top line spending, somewhere near $1 trillion. They don't want to raise taxes but instead pay for these packages through a series of fees and tax increases tied to inflation.
But at this point, there's only ten people in this room, and those are the only ten votes that can be guaranteed if they do have a deal. There's yet to be any buy-in from Republican or Democratic leadership or the Senate at large. But Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, did give this group a degree of optimism when he talked about their negotiations earlier today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-TX): We're trying to get an outcome on infrastructure, something that is popular on both sides of the aisle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So it seems as though McConnell wants to get it done, but the problem, Jake -- and this has been the problem when it comes to these infrastructure negotiations from the very beginning is that everyone seems to have a different definition as to what success is. And Democrats want to see a package much bigger than what Republicans are talking about. They also want to see taxes increase to pay for it. Right now, they are not on uncommon ground which is why if this deal is hatched, it may have a very difficult time passing -- Jake.
TAPPER: Yeah, well, that's ten senators. You need 50 more.
Ryan Nobles, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
A close look now at what's to gain theoretically from all this wrangling over infrastructure. All this week we've shown you where money might go to help rebuild crumbling roads and bridges, schools in need of repair, the digital divide, high speed internet.
Today, we're going to take a look at efforts to upgrade the nation's power grid and CNN's Jason Carroll reports for us now from northeastern Iowa, in Monona.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever want to do something else? It was farming, something that you're always --
BRIAN MEYER, FARMER: No, that's been in my blood since I was 4 years old.
CARROLL (voice-over): For just about as long as Brian Meyer can remember, he's focused on the 2,000 acres of corn and soybeans he farms in Monona, Iowa.
But talk about his land and the push to get the country to go green under President Biden's infrastructure proposal --
MEYER: Slow down. Don't shove it down our throat. Let us choose it.
CARROLL: Now, having said, Meyer also says he's like a number of Iowans, conservative and practical when it comes to the environment and to Biden's proposal, which calls for Congress to invest $100 billion on power infrastructure and renewable energy.
MAYER: I think we got to look at the big picture.
CARROLL: And for Meyer, that mean agreeing to be involved in the SOO Green Link, a $2.5 billion project to build underground transmission lines along rail lines and highways. An effort that could be made more cost effective due to tax credits in Biden's plan.
TREY WARD, CEO, DIRECT CONNECT DEVELOPMENT CO.: We have very ambitious climate goals. If you want more renewables you need more transmission. So, this really has urgency about it that we haven't seen before.
CARROLL: Iowa is one of the country's leading states for generating wind energy. In the past, that energy was transmitted with above ground power lines, like these. There were plans to construct more towers to handle the increase in wind energy but building them faced fierce opposition from Iowans like Meyer.
MEYER: I don't like power poles.
CARROLL: And state representative and farmer, Bobby Kaufmann.
BOBBY KAUFMANN, IOWA STATE REPRESENTATIVE AND FARMER: They wanted to come through, tear farms in half, cut farms like this right in half.
CARROLL: But the technology changed and so did their minds now that the power from wind turbines can be transmitted underground and cheaper than in the past.
Think of the project like this, like it's one long extension cord running underground along this rail line, transmitting and connecting green energy from Monona, Iowa, all the way to Chicago, Illinois, more than 200 miles away.
A rail line runs right through Meyer's land and gave SOO Green permission to dig, although he suspects some of his neighbors might take issue with his decision, not because of the environmental impact but he says because of the politics surrounding it.
MEYER: Oh, I'm sure there are some that are real shook up but --
CARROLL: Shook up because?
MEYER: Worried about the administration benefiting off of this.
KAUFMANN: I'm a conservative Republican and I am fully on board.
CARROLL: Why has it become so political?
KAUFMANN: I think everything has become political. I think where to go for lunch has become political. I'm somebody that's a staunch supporter of President Trump, but I have friends that are staunch liberals and, you know what? We work together.
DARUS ZEHRBACH, PRESIDENT, ZEV ELECTRIC VEHICLE: That's how much noise this makes.
CARROLL: Four states away in Westover, West Virginia, just outside Morgantown, Darus Zehrbach worries more about rhetoric coming from the left.
ZEHRBACH: I wish they would quit and stop this idea that you're just going to replace all gas vehicles.
CARROLL: Zehrbach, a self-described conservative, is president of ZEV, Z Electric Vehicle, where he builds and sells a line of electric motorcycles and small vehicles.
ZEHRBACH: This is for people who are afraid of falling down.
CARROLL: Yeah, that's me.
Overall, he says the Biden administration has caused a flurry in his business.
ZEHRBACH: Just the fact that it's being discussed is causing a lot of people to think, well, I should invest in this. I better look at it.
CARROLL: If all goes well, he plans to leave this small garage and take over the local abandoned Sears store where he hopes to bring green jobs and maybe change a few minds along the way.
CARROLL (on camera): And, Jake, a common thread we heard between Zehrbach there, who you heard from there in West Virginia and the farmers that we spoke to in Iowa, they all say in order for Biden and his administration to get more conservatives on board, they say more carrot, less stick. And they say less spending -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jason Carroll, thanks so much. Fascinating.
Coming up next, the shocking video of a Texas sheriff's deputy tasing a 16-year-old migrant boy for quite a long time. Why are we only seeing this one full year later?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our national lead, today, new reaction today to body camera footage showing a Texas sheriff's deputy tasing a 16-year-old migrant boy for more than 30 seconds. The video was first reported and released by the non-profit news outlet Reveal. The tasing happened last year at a migrant shelter in San Antonio, Texas. The shelter called deputies because the boy was, quote, angry, and uncooperative and damaging furniture.
But the boy did not harm or threaten any person. Instead he sat and yelled from inside a bathroom when the deputy arrived. After several minutes, the staff said they wanted to press charges and the deputy yelled commands at the boy in English. When the Spanish-speaking boy did not respond, the deputy tased him.
I want to warn viewers what you're about to see might be disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) POLICE OFFICER: Turn around now.
POLICE OFFICER: El stupido.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins me.
Priscilla, this happened in May 2020. The sheriff's department only started investigating it last month. Why the delay?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: The Texas Sheriff's Office said they were alerted to the incident last month and they launched an internal affairs investigation, as well as put the deputy on administrative leave. But this isn't only catching the attention of the sheriff's office.
In fact, Congressman Joaquin Castro who represents San Antonio where this facility was located told us in a statement, it is, quote, horrendous and a clear example of excessive force and overpolicing. He also said he is urging a full investigation by Health and Human Services inspector general.
Now, we reached out to the department for comment and they have not responded.
TAPPER: Is this typical of how unruly kids are treated in these shelters?
ALVAREZ: Now, the care provider policy is that if there's an emergency incident they are to reach out to law enforcement when appropriate and then file report.
I think the question here is whether the response was appropriate. But the Office of Refugee Resettlement oversees an expansive network across the country of these types of facilities, including influx facilities.
We should note, Jake, that there's a record number of unaccompanied minors in these facilities now. More than 16,000 unaccompanied kids. TAPPER: All right. Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much. Appreciate
your reporting as always.
Political opponents arrested as the strong man tries to put a final nail in the coffin of democracy. That story next.
TAPPER: In our world lead, democracy is hanging on by a thread in Nicaragua. High profile opposition leaders arrested one by one in just the last few days months before a crucial election in which strong man, President Daniel Ortega, is trying to cling to his 14 years of power as fears grow this is only going to get worse.
CNN's Matt Rivers reports, as the U.S. is levying sanctions.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing concerns a Central American strongman clinging to power by silencing his biggest critics.
In Nicaragua, leader Daniel Ortega's forces have arrested more than a half dozen opposition leaders in just the last week, months ahead of November's elections.
It started with the arrest of Cristiana Chamorro, a prominent opposition figure and the daughter of former president, Violeta Chamorro, who ended Ortega's first stint as president in 1990.
Police took over the street, outside Chamorro's house, pushing journalists back as they went to arrest her for charges, including, quote, ideological falseness, in relation to a free press group she ran in the country after harassing her with allegations of money laundering.
Chamorro had recently announced her presidential campaign and was widely seen as someone who could challenge Ortega at the polls.
This is the product of the fear and terror that Daniel Ortega has in the face of transparent, competitive election, said her cousin, Juan Sebastian Chamorro, who is also running for president for a separate party.
But just a few days after that interview, he was also arrested. At least seven opposition leaders, including four presidential candidates have been detained and charged with vague, quote, national security violations. They'll all likely be disqualified from running for office, moves human rights groups say clearly show that Ortega, who returned to power in 2007, is trying to wipe out competition and secure a fourth term.
JOSE MIGUEL VIVANCO, DIRECTOR OF THE AMERICAS HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: What we have in Nicaragua at this stage is pretty much a facade of democracy.
RIVERS: Though critics say Ortega has long been undermining Nicaragua democracy, 2018 was undoubtedly a turning point. Massive anti- government protests led to a crackdown that left more than 300 people dead, according to human rights groups, the majority killed by security forces.
But protests became the government's justification to enact a slew of vague new laws that have banned protests and essentially criminalized anyone who speaks out against the government.
(translated): If the government knew you were speaking to foreign journalists, what would happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): They'd consider me a traitor to the country. They can make up some crime and take me to jail for who knows how many years.
RIVERS: We're hiding the identity of a man we'll call Juan for his own safety. He opposes Ortega and took part in the protest but says the government has terrified citizens like him into silence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Here the person that raisers their voice basically gets marked or identified as a traitor the country.
RIVERS: And human rights groups say so-called traitors often experience torture, at the hands of the country's notoriously ruthless security services.
A lawyer of one of the presidential candidates now in custody, Felix Maradiaga, said in a statement that Maradiaga was, quote, very badly beaten shortly after being detained.
The Ortega administration did not respond to request for comment, but other governments are speaking. A senior U.S. State Department official tweeted that Ortega's recent actions, quote, should resolve any remaining doubts about Ortega's credentials as a dictator, the international community has no choice but to treat him as such.
RIVERS (on camera): Now, the U.S., Jake, has already levied targeted sanctions against certain top Nicaraguan officials, including Daniel Ortega's daughter. But those are targeted sanctions, and, of course, the U.S. could impact the economy more broadly.
But then they run the risk of punishing ordinary Nicaraguans for sins of their leader, and also of creating a situation where more migrants might want to flee Nicaragua. That is something, of course, the Biden administration wants to avoid right now, Jake.
TAPPER: Indeed. Matt Rivers, thanks so much for that report. Appreciate it.
A Democratic congresswoman and member of the Squad ignites another fight within her own party. That's ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, President Biden on the world stage announcing a major helping hand for the world as Biden prepares to face Putin. But are all these vaccines the U.S. is donating too little, too late?
Plus, a confrontation that could turn ugly. Why the historic drought in the west of the United States is prompting fears of farmers taking matters into their own hands.
And leading this hour, controversial comments from Democratic Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar that are sparking outrage from her fellow Democrats. The Minnesota Democrat appeared to compare what she called American and Israeli atrocities to those committed by the Taliban and Hamas, which the State Department designates as a terrorist group.
Multiple House Democrats have called her statements offensive and demanded that she clarified.
This afternoon, Congresswoman Omar released a statement attempting to do just that, other progressive allies of hers attacked their fellow Democrats for being racist and Islamophobic, as CNN's Sunlen Serfaty now reports.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Following outrage from Jewish members in her own party, today, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is attempting to clarify, saying she was in no way equating terrorist organizations with democratic countries with well- established judicial systems.
At issue, this controversial tweet Omar posted on Monday, appearing to liken American and Israeli atrocities to those with Hamas and the Taliban.