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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Biden, G7 Leaders Address COVID-19 Pandemic, Climate Change, Threat from Russia & China; Interview with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki; Trump DOJ Secretly Subpoenaed Apple for Data from House Democrats, Staff and Family; Group of Bipartisan Senators Draft Infrastructure Proposal; Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is Interviewed About the Infrastructure Deal. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 11, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So, this obviously requires much more examination of what's going on with girls.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Absolutely.
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The president who once preached law and order apparently used the Justice Department as something of a sock puppet.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Allegations that the Trump Justice Department seized data from the former president's political enemies, including from Democratic members of Congress and even from their families. Does President Biden intend to do anything about what critics say as yet another example of Trump egregiously abusing power?
President Biden today holding his first big meeting with allies as he prepares for the showdown with Putin. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will join me live in moments.
Plus, the first fully vaccinated cruise in North America returning to port with two passengers testing positive for COVID. Are these cruise ships shoving off too soon?
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we begin tonight with the world lead and the official start of the G7 summit. Today's gathering with some of the world's largest economies, maybe one of the most consequential in recent history with the pandemic raging throughout much of the world. A global economy is still in shock and, of course, threats from Russia and China rising.
This is a major moment and test for President Biden. He has been near the center of American foreign policy literally for decades, but never as a member of the world leaders' club. President Biden has likened the summit to a wartime gathering, comparing the American vaccine sharing efforts to the production of tanks and planes during World War II.
But now as Phil Mattingly reports for us, Biden is focused on getting U.S. allies all on the same page ahead of his meeting with Russian President Putin, sending a message of unity after four years after fractured alliances.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here we go, everybody.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the world's most powerful democracies, a show of unity on the world stage.
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It is genuinely wonderful to see everybody in person.
MATTINGLY: Smiles and warmth at the start of the G7 summit, a notable departure from the prior four years, driven by one clear difference -- the U.S. president. President Biden for decades a key figure in U.S. foreign policy now leading it himself.
JOHNSON: He's a breath of fresh air. A lot of things they want to do together.
ANGELA MERKEL, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): I am of course happy the American president is present here. Being able to meet Joe Biden is obviously important because he stands for the commitment to multilateralism which we were missing in recent years.
MATTINGLY: With a clearly stated goal to leverage the strength of the seven largest economies to face down challenges around the globe and reinvigorate alliances that faced severe tests. From the real time challenge of the pandemic, where Biden's pledge to donate 500 million vaccine doses to low and middle income countries turned today to a pledge of 1 billion doses from the entire G7.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to help lead the world out of this pandemic working alongside our global partners.
MATTINGLY: To laying out the economic road map for a post-pandemic world, a driving force for Biden's sweeping domestic agenda.
BIDEN: Not just to build back but build back better.
MATTINGLY: That all too familiar phrase echoing across the Atlantic.
BORIS: We need to make sure as we recover, we level up across our societies and we build back better.
MATTINGLY: A sign of unity that underscores the embrace of the new U.S. leader, something Biden's top advisors view as a crucial element just days before a critical sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two now not scheduled to hold a joint conference, officials say, but Biden advisers have been clear, they expect the president to deliver his own clear and firm message.
As to what will that be exactly?
BIDEN: I'll tell you after I deliver it.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Jake, there's no question, there's a warmth to this meeting that didn't perhaps exist for the course of the last four years but there's also a level of urgency. When you talk to the president's advisers, when you talk to aides to the other world leaders, they acknowledge that, yes, the good feelings and the smiles and the happiness, that shows of unity -- those are important, but it's also a moment to deliver. And I think that's the focus that you're going to see over the course of the next couple of days, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly in Falmouth, England, thank you so much.
Let's bring in the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki who is traveling with President Biden in St. Ives.
Jen, thanks for joining us.
Let's start with the pending meeting with Putin.
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Thank you.
TAPPER: So, we know that the Russian government was -- at least according to the intelligence community in the U.S. -- behind the SolarWinds hack last year, not to mention all the bad actors in Russia launching ransomware attacks on the U.S. this year.
Putin has two Americans, Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, in jail on fishy charges.
He in all likelihood poisoned and has definitely jailed dissident Alexey Navalny. He just this week outlawed Navalny's political movement.
Why reward Putin with a summit with the president of the United States? Is there really hope that there's anything that could be accomplished with this man using diplomacy?
PSAKI: Well, Jake, let me first say, we definitely don't see it as a reward. We see it as a meeting that's in the interest of the United States. Because we want to move to a place in our relationship with Russia that's more stable and more predictable.
So, he's actually meeting with President Putin not because of the -- not in spite of the differences, I should say, but because of the differences, because of all of those issues you raised, all these challenging opponents. How adversarial the relationship has been, that's not in our interest and we want to find a way forward.
TAPPER: You have said, quote, we're not expecting to have a huge outcome, unquote, from the meeting with Putin. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that this meeting is more about communication than deliverables, any tangible achievements. So why have it?
PSAKI: There's nothing that takes the place of face-to-face diplomacy, and we've seen that already at the G7, right?
We moved from 500 million doses the United States announced to now 1 billion from the G7. There's going to be agreement on a global minimum tax. We're moving towards an agreement on an alternative to the belt and road initiative that China has advocated for, pushed for around the world. These are all important developments.
But even with adversarial relationships as we have with President Putin, it's important to have that face-to-face diplomacy, for the president to have the opportunity to be direct, to be candid, to be clear about what the consequences will be, about a range of actions.
You mentioned cyber. Ransomware will also be a topic of discussion, the incursion on the border of Ukraine, problematic human rights abuses.
This is an opportunity to discuss all of those issues, but also where we can work together -- nuclear stability, negotiations with Iran. Those are issues where we see an opportunity and a forum for working together. They'll all be a part of the discussion next Wednesday.
TAPPER: Right, but Putin and people in Putin's Russia are attacking the United States right now in the cyber arena. Your energy secretary told us right now these hackers could shut down the power grid in the United States.
Do you think that Putin understands words more than he understands, say, a counterattack?
PSAKI: Well, first of all, Jake, we've never taken action or counteraction off the table. We don't always preview our punches, but we reserve every option to respond to problematic behavior. And certainly, even though these ransomware attacks came from criminals, came from actors who are not the Russian government, in our view, but that's still problematic and the Russian government has a responsibility to take action.
So, clearly, that will be part of the discussion, and we haven't taken any actions off the table either.
TAPER: Putin's spokesperson told CNN that the poisoning and the jailing of dissident Alexey Navalny is not on the agenda of the meeting. Is that true?
PSAKI: It may not be on his agenda, and that's not a surprise, but certainly the president has every intention to raise human rights abuses, the jailing of dissidents and activists, which is a violation of what we feel should be norms around the world.
TAPPER: How about Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, Americans in Russian jails right now on very fishy charges?
PSAKI: Agree, Jake, and we've raised that at many levels, raised their jailing at many levels. And certainly, again, human rights abuses, the jailing of individuals, of course, of Americans, will all be part of the discussion. The president is not going to hold back in raising issues where he has concern and he'll be straightforward and direct with President Putin. That's the benefit of meeting in person. That's different than a phone call.
TAPPER: So, here at home, I want to get your response because "The New York Times" was the first to report that CNN has confirmed Trump's Department of Justice issued secret subpoenas for Apple to get data from at least two House Intelligence Committee Democratic congressmen along with their staff, family members.
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted: The DOJ, the Department of the Justice, was aware of this scandal for years, including this year. Why is the Justice Department asking for an inspector general investigation now? This shouldn't be how the Garland Department of Justice works. Your job is not to maximize president power. Do better, unquote.
What's your response?
PSAKI: Well, first of all, an IG investigation looks into how this happened, how it could possibly happen.
Let me be absolutely clear, the behavior, these actions, the president finds them absolutely appalling. He ran for president in part because of the abuse of power by the last president and by the last attorney general. And he also served, as you well know, in Congress for 36 years as a senator and certainly sees that as a respected and third body of government.
So this behavior is atrocious and certainly will not be a model for how we behave. And there's an investigation as you noted that was also announced today to look into this awful behavior from the prior administration.
TAPPER: The U.S. embassy in Afghanistan today shut down visa services because of the surge in COVID cases in that country -- visas that thousands of Afghans who spent years, decades in some cases, helping the U.S. military, have been desperately trying to get because their lives are tangibly at risk with the Taliban reportedly hunting them down.
Republican Congressman Michael McCaul, top Republican on House Foreign Affairs, he's calling for the Biden administration to evacuate these Afghans who helped our service members while they wait for their visas because the process is taking way too long.
Will President Biden commit to getting these Afghans who helped our men and women out of the country as soon as possible before U.S. service members leave in September?
PSAKI: Well, first of all, let me say, the president values the role, the incredible bravery, the courage that these translators and individuals who have every right should be applying for these visas. We've actually taken steps in recent weeks to expedite processing and put more staff and resources on it and obviously the COVID pandemic is impacting countries around the world, including Afghanistan in very devastating ways.
In terms of the process for how that would work, that would really be under the purview of the State Department. I know that's a part of the government and part of the administration, but I just simply don't have an update on that. But I can tell you that is a priority and one that we will absolutely be looking into.
TAPPER: All right. I mean, this is a story we have been covering now for years and under the Biden administration, for months, and literally they're being slaughtered by the Taliban. Now, I get that Biden's only been president for a few months, but this is going happen on his watch and -- I mean --
PSAKI: Well, but, Jake, but, Jake, to be clear, though, we have in recent months, we have expedited processing, we've increased the number of staffing there, because we agree, and we recognize the courage and bravery of these individuals, it should be something -- we do everything we can from the federal government to address.
You're asking me specifically about expediting the departure of individuals out of Afghanistan. I just don't have more information for you on that, but that doesn't change the fact that these are individuals we want to help. We've taken steps in recent weeks to help in order to help address the challenges they're having on the ground. We agree with you.
TAPPER: Okay. Finally, royals watchers were quick to catch you calling queen will you say the queen of England. This is not a mistake I would have caught, to be completely candid, but as I'm sure you are now well aware, there hasn't actually been a queen of England since 1707. Her majesty is the queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. And --
PSAKI: Absolutely. She --
TAPPER: Go ahead.
PSAKI: She certainly is. I appreciate the opportunity to correct myself. I will note that it was in an engagement of answering questions on Twitter. Not that that excuses it, but you're absolutely right and I will forever never make that mistake again about her majesty, the queen of the United Kingdom.
TAPPER: And Commonwealth. PSAKI: And Commonwealth, thank you.
TAPPER: All right. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, thanks so much.
PSAKI: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: More ahead on stunning abuse of power allegations. President Trump accused of siccing his DOJ on sitting members of Congress, Democrats, seizing their data. This afternoon, Trump's former attorney general responded to the story.
And do we have a deal? Ten senators working on infrastructure say they hammered it out, but the White House and progressives are saying, not so fast.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our politics lead, the Justice Department's watchdog, inspector general, will now investigate what very well appears to be a chilling potential abuse of power at the direction of former Attorney General Bill Barr under then President Donald Trump. Sources tell CNN that Trump's Department of Justice went to great lengths to secretary subpoena data from Apple to get phone and email records from more than 100 accounts that targets key members of Congress, including two Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee, Chairman Adam Schiff and Congressman Eric Swalwell, both from California. And those are just the ones we know about it.
The motive is to track down sources behind news reports that revealed contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials. We learned just this week of similar efforts that targeted reporters at "The Washington Post," "The New York Times," and here at CNN.
So, just how egregious was all this?
Let's bring in two former Department of Justice voices. Elliot Williams was the deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs in the Obama administration. Bill Burck was the federal prosecutor and is now lead counsel for Trump White House lawyer Don McGahn at Queen Emanuel law firm.
Thanks to both of you for being here. Appreciate it.
So, Elliot, it's not unusual for the Department of Justice to pursue subpoenas for data, but it is unusual to do that for members of Congress, right?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is incredibly unusual to do it for member of Congress and particularly for members of Congress when the president has been so explicit about the need to go after his political opponents. Now, look, certainly, members of Congress can engage in wrongdoing and can mishandle information and can potentially get caught up in criminal liability. If they do, they should be investigated and prosecuted.
The problem is that President Trump had a long track record of even identifying Adam Schiff by name. In February 25, 2020, he has a press conference in India and says Adam Schiff is out here leaking. We need to, you know, investigate Adam Schiff, and so on. And so, you know, even though it's incredibly uncommon and par for the course for President Trump.
TAPPER: So, Bill, Apple publicly shares how often the U.S. government makes requests for data, which didn't begin under Trump, we should note. But in the first few months of 2018, when the Department of Justice was going after Schiff and Swalwell, Apple had requests for nearly 2,400 of its accounts. The requests more than doubled in Apple's last report.
It's the metadata that the Department of Justice is going after, which is not the content of the emails or the content of the phone calls or voicemails, but who was talking to who and when and where.
What is the bar for making such a request? Because I would think, and maybe I'm wrong, that it would be kind of high, but sounds like maybe it isn't all that high?
WILLIAM BURCK, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it should be very high. And I think just, as you know, as people are just saying, the fact that they're going after the Democrats isn't in and of itself a problem if there's actual proof of a crime, if there's actually some kind of leak coming from the congressman, from the --
TAPPER: Would they need to know that first? Would they need to -- let me just invent something? Congresswoman Smith, okay? Would they need to have evidence Congressman Smith talked to this reporter two days before this broke? Therefore, let's search for his metadata. Or is it a fishing expedition? I hate Congressman Smith, let's search his metadata.
BURCK: Well, the thing about subpoenas is that subpoenas really don't have the same kind of level of protection that a search warrant has. Subpoenas are actually pretty much -- pretty commonly used. But as you said, the point is, in a particular case like this especially when you're looking at reporters and metadata and when you look at congressman metadata, it really should be a very high standard.
The standard is left to the discretion of the department and internal rules of the department, and that's very hard for anybody to actually penetrate. And particularly with reporters, when you're going after reporter metadata, that really cuts to the core of the First Amendment and raises significant doubts about what the basis would be. Because obviously what the effect is going to be you're going to have a massive chilling effect on reporters.
I think the congressman and intelligence committee is different. I think the question there is what was the intent of the investigators? Were they really going of a leak, or do they have political motivations? Reporters, I don't see any justify communication for going after their metadata except in some extraordinary circumstance.
TAPPER: Well, as you've noted, if it's left to the discretion of the Justice Department, then you're leaving things to the discretion of the prosecutors I wouldn't want to leave anything to the discretion of the prosecutors, but I want to play this sound because according to "Politico" today, Elliot, Barr said he didn't know about a leak investigation at the lawmakers. He says Trump didn't know.
But in a moment from his testimony from 2019 when he was being confirmed stands out. This is then-senator now vice president, Kamala Harris, questioning Barr. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
THEN-SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?
BILL BARR, THEN-ATTORNEY GENERAL: I wouldn't -- I wouldn't --
HARRIS: Yes or no?
BARR: Could you repeat the question?
HARRIS: I will repeat it. Has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone. Yes or no please, sir.
BARR: The president or anybody else?
HARRIS: Seems you'd remember something like that and be able to tell us.
BARR: Yeah, but I'm trying to grapple with the word suggest. I mean, there have been discussions of matters out there that they have not asked me to open an investigation.
HARRIS: Perhaps they suggested?
BARR: I don't know, I wouldn't say suggest.
BARR: I don't know.
HARRIS: Inferred? You don't know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's certainly interesting in retrospect and given the fact that this seemed to have started under Attorney General Sessions and was continued by Barr, I mean, you could see why he might give an answer like that. Does he face legal repercussion repercussions?
WILLIAMS: No, no legal repercussion. But look, there's one answer to that question in a functioning government and the answer has to be no. The president of the United -- even though the Justice Department is installed by the president of the United States, it operates independently of him.
And if -- you need to be able to say as attorney general of the United States, no, the president hasn't asked me that. The idea that he just doesn't have a recollection of it raise questions and it falls to Congress having oversight authority of the Justice Department to ask the questions now and bring him back there. You know, they can -- he can come voluntarily, and they can ask him before he gets to the question of subpoenaing the testimony, ask him to come and negotiate over it and then bring name.
TAPPER: Bill, final thoughts?
BURCK: I think that the key issue here. You know, Attorney General Barr said that he wasn't aware of the investigation of the congressman. I take him at his word on that. I think he's gone on the record to say that this was not something that he knew about.
The question -- prosecutorial discretion is the key issue just as you've raised. As a defense lawyer, that's what I do all the time, I'm a criminal defense lawyer. Vast majority of prosecutors, they exercise the discretion well.
I may not agree with it, I may think it's wrong, I might have clients who I think are being mistreated. But at end of the day, they do it the right way. And the question here, especially the way this was done, going after reporters and going after people who are potentially political enemies, that's a real problem so that's where the discretion has to be reined in.
WILLIAMS: It would never be, we're going to --
WILLIAMS: -- a little bit, it would never the case that a member of Congress would be investigated, and the attorney general wouldn't be briefed on it. It's inconceivable.
Elliot Williams, Bill Burck, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
Ten senators working on infrastructure say they have a deal.
Now the White House is pumping the brakes.
That's next. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: In our politics lead, questions need to be addressed. That's the White House's reaction to a possible infrastructure deal negotiated by a bipartisan group of ten senators, five Republicans and five Democrats, a deal that is far from being completed.
TAPPER: CNN's Ryan Nobles joins me now.
Ryan, do we know any more details about what's in this proposal?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know a little bit, Jake. This group of ten senators, five Republicans and five Democrats did release the top lines of this agreement that they hatched yesterday, and they say it's going to be focused on core infrastructure projects. They plan to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2 trillion over the course of eight years.
They also say they can do it without raising any taxes and they are going to add about $579 billion in new spending. That's all we know about this package. There are a lot of details that need a to be filled in before you're going to get a real understanding of just how much support there is for this legislation.
Already some raising some questions, both Republicans and Democrat, even the White House not 100 percent sure they are on board with this, but at this point it's the only proposal on the table so this is what everyone is talking about.
TAPPER: All right. Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.
Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state joins me now.
Congresswoman, thank you so much for joining us.
What do you make of this bipartisan proposal? If it came up for a vote, would you be a yay or nay?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I just don't think it's going to get there, Jake. It's too small. It's a little bit higher than the last one.
But, remember, the president's original proposal is $2.3 trillion, and I think any smaller proposal that doesn't raise taxes and that is so significantly less is a disservice to the American people.
Now, we progressives have said that if we are going to vote on a smaller bipartisan proposal in any situation, we would need to make sure that the reconciliation package with everything else is moving at the same time, that that agreement is done with 50 Democratic senators. But I just have to say that we have no reason to believe that this is going to lead to ten Republican senators coming on board without losing Democratic senators along the way.
TAPPER: Is there any wiggle room on your end that you could see could allow for a bipartisan deal? I mean, Biden has come down from the $2.2 trillion to I think $1.7 trillion. Is there no give on the progressive side?
JAYAPAL: Well, no. I think he's come down to 1.7 but look at the number now being proposed, $579 billion. I mean, it's like if you buy -- if you go bid on a house and you offer as your first negotiation and your second negotiation and then your third negotiation and you're still not even, to you know, 30 percent of the -- of the original asking price, it wouldn't be considered a real negotiation.
So I just don't understand why we keep negotiating with these numbers that are so small when Biden has made a significant concession on the top end.
TAPPER: You tweeted, quote, Mitch "100 percent of my focus just on stopping the new administration" McConnell thinks the era of bipartisanship is over. Shocking. Now let's move forward on this bill alone.
Now, as you note, there's a chance you could -- Democrats could get something through the Senate by a simple majority if it's done through reconciliation, but you need Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and other Democrats.
Do you have any reason to think that they would be on board for what you want?
JAYAPAL: Well, I think that they would be on board, I hope, for what the American people want, Republicans, Democrats and independents. I understand that they and the president needed to really try to get Republicans on board.
But what I'm saying is it was five and a half weeks ago that Mitch McConnell said 100 percent (AUDIO GAP) Biden's agenda, and it was three and a half weeks ago that we got the first Republican negotiation that was something like $250 billion, right, in new spending.
So we've barely moved in these negotiations and at some point, we have to recognize that the Republican Party that we're trying to negotiate with right now is the same Republican Party that did not provide a single vote for the American Rescue Plan even though they went back to their districts and touted what a great thing it was. They didn't tell their constituents they voted no.
This is the Republican Party that didn't provide us for ten votes, Republican votes for a January 6th Commission. So what makes you think that Mitch McConnell five and a half weeks later is going to change his mind and allow ten members of the Republican Party to go along with this? I just don't buy it.
TAPPER: Before you go, I want to ask you because your fellow progressive, Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is being scrutinized (AUDIO GAP) U.S. and Israel and together with the Hamas and Taliban. She later clarified the statement saying she was not trying to equate Democratic countries with terrorist organizations. In response, Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, another
progressive, tweeted: Freedom of speech doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress.
The benefit of the doubt doesn't exist for Muslim women in Congress. House Democratic leadership should be ashamed of its relentless, exclusive tone policing congresswomen of color, unquote.
Do you agree with Congresswoman Tlaib?
JAYAPAL: Well, I feel that anybody who listened to Representative Omar's initial statement understood that she wasn't equating those things. She was talking about those countries in the context of the ICC. She clarified her statement.
And I think there is no question that her view is incredibly important to the Democratic Caucus, the Congress, and certainly the Progressive Caucus where she serves as the whip and on the Foreign Affairs Committee. She's raising important issues, and I think there's a continual attack on her as a Black Muslim woman from the right wing.
I don't want to see Democrats, know, fall into that and allow these kinds of things to be used.
So my statement yesterday said, I hope all of our colleagues should pick up the phone and talk to each other when there are misunderstandings. We can work this out as a Democratic Caucus without doing public statements that allow the Republicans and the right wing media to exploit things that they suddenly smell as perhaps divisive.
So that's my plea. Let's just pick up the phone and talk to each other. We're all on the same team here and we desperately need Representative Omar's voice, just as we do with every member of our caucus.
TAPPER: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, it's always good you have to on the show. Thank you so much for joining us.
JAYAPAL: Great to see you, Jake.
TAPPER: The first test for cruises in the post-COVID world hits a bit of a rough tide. That's next.
TAPPER: In our health lead, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one shot and they have had several missed hits along the way. Now, CNN is learning one of their early obstacles might be cleared.
Back in March, you might recall, J&J doses developed at the Emergent plant in Baltimore plant were paused by the FDA because of red flags such as cross-contamination, improper handling and storage and employees who were not properly trained. But now, sources tell CNN the FDA is expected to clear 10 million Johnson & Johnson doses from that same Baltimore plant.
Let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, can someone who gets a Johnson & Johnson dose trust that it is safe?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, and I realize that sounds counterintuitive given all that you've just said but what has happened here is that the FDA has now gone back in and inspected these doses specifically, looking for their quality checks and all that. So the doses that are cleared, these 10 million doses, you can feel very confident in. I should add there were 660 million doses that they did not authorize to be dispensed.
So, you know, it wasn't like they were letting everything go through in the facility itself still has not been cleared. But those dose, they have kind of gone through, you know, a very significant inspection. You should feel confident in them.
TAPPER: Let's talk about the last frontier for vaccine eligibility, children under the age of 12. Dr. Cody Meissner, who is the part of the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee, said this: Before we start vaccinating millions of adolescents and children, it's so important to find out what the consequences are because the COVID-19 disease is disappearing in adolescents and children.
Other members of the committee completely disagreed. They pushed hard for authorization for kids under 12. One top adviser reminded the committee that COVID can still kill children and has killed a couple hundreds in the United States.
You spoke with Dr. Meissner. What did he have to say?
GUPTA: Well, he was -- it was very interesting conversation, Jake. He was framing this as we've got to real be careful about the risks and the benefits, which is an obvious thing to say. That's what you're always doing. You get an EUA because the benefits outweigh the risk, and it is true that the risks are lower in kids and, therefore, the benefits have to be -- there's even a higher bar that the benefits will have to meet.
But, you know, it's important to keep in mind, that you know, this disease, you can not just look at hospitalizations and deaths. We know that people that even have mild illness can have long-term symptoms. I mean, this is real concern. About a third of patients have had these long COVID symptoms and that might happen in kids as well.
We also know that kids are largely increasing a reservoir of the virus in country, where it's circulating among kids. Practically speak, Jake, we get to the fall, you may have these increases or upticks in case rates again. You don't want at that time to be saying, oh, now, we need to figure out how to vaccinate the kids.
They want to work on that process now so by the fall when the wither gets cooler around drier they can be in good shape.
TAPPER: And, Sanjay, we learned some new information about the rare reports of heart conditions among kids. What do we know about that?
GUPTA: Yeah, we're getting some numbers now to be able to look at this and we can show you the numbers here, but one thing that they always do when they are looking at this from a public health perspective. Keep in mind we're talking about myocarditis here, there's going to be what's called a background rate. How frequent would it be if we weren't in the pandemic just for any reason at all?
So, look at the number on the left, age 16 to 17, about 2.3 million doses have been given, they saw around 80 cases of myocarditis, typically up to 19 cases, and you can see the same sort of breakdown for older people 18-24. It's rare, these kids, for all of them -- the symptoms resolved. They were easily treated.
So it's something that does seem to have a link here but maybe not that concerning in that these were mild cases and easily treatable.
TAPPER: We learned last night that two cruise ship passengers who had no symptoms tested positive for coronavirus at the routine end of trip test. It was the first post-COVID voyage for Celebrity Cruise's Millennium ship which set sail Monday. They say they had a completely vaccinated crew and all the passengers were vaccinated, but still, you had these two infections. Again, they were not sick. They were asymptomatic.
Should vaccinated Americans be worried about traveling?
GUPTA: I really don't think so. I mean, you know, that's the thing. You know, everyone has the hangover effect with what happened with Princess Diamond Cruise Line, you remember. I think may have pulled the numbers, but, you know, 3,700 people, 700 people got infected, seven people died. If you're vaccinated, you're really well protected.
I mean, there may be other reasons to not take a cruise, even pre- pandemic, but as far as COVID goes, if you're vaccinated, you should be in good shape.
TAPPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Good to see you again.
A politician facing a pile of shocking scandals may be gearing up to run again. We're not talking about Trump.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our national lead, early signs show that New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo might be trying to run for re- election for his fourth term. A record even his father, Governor Mario Cuomo, was not able to achieve.
Now, the son Andrew Cuomo might have a more daunting task as hand because he's the subject of at least two investigations by the state's attorney general, one looking into sexual harassment and assault allegations against him and another on whether Cuomo misused state resources to write and promote his book. Cuomo also faces a federal investigation into whether he hid nursing home data from the public.
As CNN's Brynn Gingras reports, each these, to say nothing of all of them, could be something of a political problem.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cutting ribbons.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Vax and scratch.
GINGRAS: Promoting vaccine incentives, carrying on business as unusual.
CUOMO: Top of the morning to you.
GINGRAS: That despite multiple ongoing investigations questioning his conduct and his administration's, and soon he may be asking voters for a fourth term.
Cuomo has not formally announced a campaign for re-election but the embattled governor is holding fund-raisers, including a $10,000 a person gathering later this month, according to the governor's website.
HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL STRATEGIST: There are some people who are hesitant to attach themselves to him because of all the investigations, and I'm going to say, wait a second, by the way, I'm with him, and there will more people that say that than not.
GINGRAS: The New York attorney general's office is more than three months into investigating sexual harassment allegations made against Cuomo but several former and current aides.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought he's trying to sleep with me.
GINGRAS: CNN has learned that several of the women are in the process of giving sworn testimony to state lawyers and according to "The Washington Post" one witness said those lawyers went beyond the subject of harassment and asked whether staffers were required to dress a certain way and if senior aides were complicit in the alleged misconduct.
Governor Cuomo says he's never touched anyone inappropriately and has never made any inappropriate advances, and says his actions have been misinterpreted.
Some of his latest comments adding to the controversy.
CUOMO: If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment. That's you feeling uncomfortable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who has written a book --
GINGRAS: The A.G.'s office is also investigating whether Cuomo improperly used state resources while writing and promoting his book about leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
CUOMO: The people volunteered to work on the book.
GINGRAS: And Cuomo is the subject of another probe by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Brooklyn. They are asking his administration's handling of nursing home death data during the pandemic, accused of covering up COVID-19 deaths which he denies.
"The Wall Street Journal" reporting that investigators subpoenaed materials related to the Cuomo's memoir.
Cuomo's office says they're cooperating with all the investigations.
SHEINKOPF: The only thing that can hurt him and put him out of business is, frankly, a criminal indictment. If that occurs, he's gone but until then he's not leaving Albany.
GINGRAS: According to a Siena poll released last month, 49 percent of New Yorkers don't think he should resign but 53 percent of voters asked said they are ready to elect someone new in the 2022 election.
GINGRAS (on camera): Now, Of course, there's a more slowly moving investigation by the state assembly judicial committee here in New York looking into a host of issues surrounding the governor and at this point, Jake, there's no clear timeline when the A.G.'s report will be release. We do know from "The Washington Post" that Cuomo and his top advisers have not spoken to the attorney general's office or the FBI so we'll have to see how this plays out throughout the summer -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Brynn Gingras, thanks so much.
More ahead on stunning new abuse of power allegations, the Trump Department of Justice having seized House Democrats' data from Apple. Will Congress call Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions to testify?
Stay with us.
APPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, we're hearing from Vladimir Putin's spokesman right before Putin goes face to face with President Biden. What does he have to say about the relationship with the United States? That's next. Plus, terrifying and disturbing threats. How election officials and their families in the United States are being targeted by those inspired by Trump's big lie just for doing their jobs.
And leading this hour, the Justice Department inspector general is now investigating an extraordinary action by the Trump Justice Department as an apparent response to news items about ties between team Trump and Russia. Sources confirming to CNN the "New York Times" report that Trump's Justice Department subpoenaed Apple for data for more than 100 accounts starting back in 2018. Among those affected, House Intelligence Committee Democrats, along with staffers and their family members.
"The New York Times" reports prosecutors were looking for the sources behind those stories Trump hated so much and we're now just learning about it because Apple was under a gag order that expired this year.