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The Lead with Jake Tapper

U.S. Supreme Court Unanimously Ruled Against NCAA Over Student Athlete Benefits; For The People Act Election Reform Bill To Be Voted On The Senate Floor Tomorrow; Interview With Sen. Michael Bennet (D- CO); FL Gov. DeSantis Narrowly Edges Trump In 2024 Straw Poll; New Iran President Holds First News Conference, Says He Will Not Meet With President Biden; American Airlines To Cancel Hundreds Of Flights Through Mid-July Party Line Due To Travel Demand & Worker Shortage. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 21, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Now, under this unanimous decision from the Supreme Court, the NCAA cannot limit education-related payments. That includes money for things like computers or maybe scholarships for post-graduate education or even paid internships.

But this really does amount to a huge breakthrough for college athletes who have been fighting for years to get paid. But as the conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, he said the fight is not over. In this case, he said "The NCAA is not above the law."

And really, Jake, what he stressed in his concurrence is that there should be a way for these athletes to get compensated above and beyond. And he talked about the fact that maybe Congress will have to get involved, maybe students will actually have to engage in collective bargaining here.

And the common refrain in this opinion, is that there is this huge disparity of course between the NCAA, the officials, the coaches, the schools making millions and millions and millions of dollars. And the way Justice Kavanaugh put it, he said, "The students end up with little or nothing."

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Has the NCAA responded yet?

SCHNEIDER: They did. This afternoon they responded after the decision came down. Here's what they said. They said, "While today's decision preserves the lower court ruling, it also reaffirms the NCAA's authority to adopt reasonable rules and repeatedly notes that the NCAA remains free to articulate what are and are not truly educational benefits consistent with the NCAA's mission to support student athletes."

So the NCAA, they are sorting pumping the brakes on how expansive these education-related payments could be. But I see it as two takeaways here. First of all, the litigation probably won't stop, this will probably be ongoing. It probably won't be the last word here. And, secondly, the ship in some sense has already sailed. There are a

number of states here who have enacted laws in particular Florida and Alabama. They have laws going into effect July 1st that allow students to profit off their name, image, and likeness. So states are really taking their reigns on this and allowing for student athletes to get compensated.

It's something that the NCAA will have to catch up with, perhaps Congress will as well. But no doubt the courts will be getting involved at some point in the future on these cases here.

TAPPER: A fascinating decision. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much. Let's talk more about this with Steve Berman. He's the lead attorney on the case representing tens of thousands of student athletes. He joins us now. Steve, congratulations. What did you think when you heard the decision this morning?

STEVE BERMAN, ATTORNEY FOR THE FORMER COLLEGE ATHLETES: Well, I was ecstatic. First of all, to get a 9-0 decision out of the Supreme Court, is unheard of. And, second of all, the court really made a sweeping ruling today that knock down the NCAA's authority that it's been relying on for years. That was a case called the Regents case, and the NCAA has been using it as a defense where it says you're supposed to look very carefully, not examine the anti-trust laws like most people are subject to when you're dealing with the NCAA.

And the court today said, no, the NCAA is not above the law. We're going to examine their conduct like we examine the conduct of any other person under the anti-trust laws.

TAPPER: Have you spoken with your clients? Tell us what many of them had to say.

BERMAN: Well, it's been a long battle for them and so they are ecstatic. And, bear in mind, what your colleague just said, you know, we have a case right now that's ongoing that is for students to be able to exercise the right to monetize their name and likenesses without restriction. Right now they can't get any money even though the NCAA can off their images. This opinion, in my view, opens the flood gates in that case.

TAPPER: CNN's Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck says today's ruling opens the floodgates for an array of wide ranging claims from student athletes. Do you expect to keep pursuing the NCAA in court?

BERMAN: Well, I am, right now. As I mentioned, we have this case on behalf of the right to use their name and likeness and it's a very important case. And this case today really aides the effort we've got going on right now.

TAPPER: Right. But further cases, I mean. Do you think this is going to keep going for years and years and years?

BERMAN: Well, Justice Kavanaugh, I think, invited us to expand our case again to attack the ban on payments at all. He doesn't think there should be any restriction on the payments of student athletes. Now, we raise that in this case today -- before, and the court below said no. But now with this new legal ruling and Justice Kavanaugh's statements, we may seek to expand the case and attack any restraint on paying student athletes.

TAPPER: So, is there not a worse-case scenario that you have any concerns about when it comes to colleges bidding over a very promising young athlete and offering $5 million, $10 million and completely undermining any concept that this student actually will need to take classes?


BERMAN: I have no concerns for the following reasons. I examined every college president at trial and asked them, if we win and if there's no restrictions, do you think your conference is going to just engage in wide-open bidding for student athletes? And they all said no because they think that there will be some decrease in the enjoyment of amateurism.

Well, if that's true, they're going to be constrained in how they offer these students compensation. And the coaches are making millions. They're building enormous stadiums. It doesn't seem to have decreased demand for NCAA sports, so why should paying athletes decrease that demand?

TAPPER: Steve Berman, thank you so much. Congratulations again on the 9-0 decision. Very rare for this kind of controversial case. Former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth joins us now. Donte, good to see you again. You played college football at Tennessee. What was your reaction to today's decision?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL WIDE RECIEVER: I was ecstatic to hear the ruling today because it's starting to show that the NCAA is not exempt from any of these anti-trust laws that have been in place for a very long time. And the NCAA has tried to use this sort of amateurism against these student athletes and try to use it in perpetuity to keep them under their thumb while, meanwhile, the NCAA is bringing in, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars, the March Madness annually brings in close to a billion dollars a year.

And so whenever you have, you know, a case like today that explicitly states that the NCAA is not above these anti-trust laws that we have in place in this country, I think it's starting to poke some holes, and I think little by little you'll start to see more and more lawsuits from student athletes because they're a lot more aware than I was, a lot more aware than the guys that I was in school with and the people I was in school with 20 years ago.

They are much more aware of what the NCAA is doing to them and what they should be compensated for, what they should be allowed to under these anti-trust laws. So I'm expecting that this is just the beginning. And I think there'll be a cascade of lawsuits coming in the next couple of years. And hopefully it will finally bring about some fundamental change to the NCAA.

TAPPER: Do you have any concerns that paying college athletes might take some of the fun, the enjoyment out of college sports for spectators, alumni, students, that it might put too much pressure on 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds?

STALLWORTH: I don't think so. I don't think you're going to see any colleges coming out and offering guys Lamborghinis and Ferraris to drive if they come to campus. But I do believe that there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. Honestly, I don't know what that line is, but the NCAA has already crossed that line as far as I'm concerned. So, I'm willing to go across the other way and be more open to seeing what these players can be compensated for.

And again, you know, I'm not advocating that they, you know, should be, you know, could be paid $100,000 or $100,000. To me that's not even realistic. But I do believe there are a lot of things and a lot of steps that the NCAA can take and they've refused to take them because they want to maintain this amateur status so that they can continue to keep the players and the student athletes under their thumbs.

TAPPER: Will this decision potentially open doors for the less popular sports in terms of, like, audience viewing? Or is this only going to affect basketball, football, baseball, soccer?

STALLWORTH: That's a good question. I know that popularity in general of college sports has been soaring really. You look at women's softball. I mean, everyone I know was watching the women's softball college world series. And so, I just know that, you know, hopefully, because as someone who went to school at the University of Tennessee and we're, obviously, proud of a lot of our sports that we have, men's baseball team, they're doing really well.

We really want these to be something that is beneficial more so for the student athletes to give them an opportunity to be able to really enjoy their college experience. Because as of right now you can enjoy it, but it's really a job, and it's a full overtime job that you don't get paid for. And people say that we get, you know, free education, and I think they need to look up the word free in the dictionary before they call what players are free.

TAPPER: You know, Donte Stallworth, always good to hear your views. Thank you so much for your time today. I appreciate it.

STALLWORTH: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: To Capitol Hill next. The emerging backup plan on election reform legislation as Democrats brace for their bill to almost certainly fail in a vote tomorrow.


Plus, American Airlines canceling flights and soon other airlines may be forced to follow suit. Of course, just as you are beginning to book your summer travel plans. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," a key Biden priority is set to fail. A major test on Capitol Hill tomorrow when the U.S. Senate votes on whether to advance a sweeping election reform bill called the For the People Act.

Right now the bill has no Republican support and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia wants major changes in exchange for his support. This proposal is just one of many parts of the beden agenda facing a make-or-break week, as CNN's Manu Raju reports.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Joe Biden's agenda is stuck in the Senate with a top priority for his party bound to go down in defeat on Tuesday. A bill designed to rewrite voting and election laws faces a Republican filibuster, almost certainly dooming the issue until after next year's midterms. Even as GOP-led states impose new restrictions on access to voting.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Is the Democratic Party united? We weren't as of a couple weeks ago. That's a step forward. If and when, and as I will acknowledge, we don't expect there to be a magical 10 or more Republican votes.

RAJU (voice-over): But Democrats have been struggling to get all 50 of their members in line. That's because West Virginia senator Joe Manchin has objected to their main proposal. Though in recent days he's proposed his own alternative, including requiring an I.D. to vote, expanding early voting, and banning partisan gerrymandering of House districts. Liberals have sounded open to those ideas.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): It sounds like I'm open to doing everything I possibly can to protect the American democracy.

RAJU (voice-over): But Republicans are still strongly opposed.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The real driving force behind S.1 is a desire to rig the rules of American elections permanently, permanently in Democrats' favor. That's why the Senate will give this disastrous proposal no quarter.

RAJU (voice-over): For many Democrats, they hope the GOP blockade will finally convince Manchin to change the opposition to gutting the filibuster. Yet, Manchin has been crystal clear, he won't endorse eliminating the filibuster's 60-vote threshold.

RAJU (on camera): Some of your Democratic colleagues say Joe Manchin should agree for an exemption, allow voting rights to pass on a simple majority, change the Senate's filibuster roles and do that. Would you be open to that?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I asked everybody, how well did the 2013 nuclear option worked when in 2017 it came back and took it off the Supreme Court? That's all. What goes around comes around, so let's work together. Let's find a pathway for it.

RAJU (voice-over): Manchin is also at the center of another issue, infrastructure. Bipartisan talks in the Senate over $1.2 trillion proposal continue to drag on even as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is preparing to go forward with a party line approach to pass a much larger package.

But he will need the support of Manchin and other moderates to get a Democratic-only bill to Biden's desk.

(On camera): Have you gotten a commitment from Senators Manchin and Sinema that they would back a party line vote via reconciliation?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I'm not going to get into my individual talks with members. We all know we've got to come together or nothing gets done.


RAJU: Now, those bipartisan talks of infrastructure are still continuing tonight, but they're still not in agreement among the negotiators themselves about how exactly to pay for that plan. That's because the White House came back and rejected the idea of raising the gas tax versus subject to inflation. This was a fee an electric vehicles. So they are coming back and looking for other alternatives to pay for that plan.

And, Jake, talks are still continuing with Joe Manchin over that bill to overhaul election and voting rules. Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat just told me moments ago that he does not know if Manchin will be with the rest of his 49 Senate Democratic colleagues and if all 50 Democrats will vote yes tomorrow. Jake?

TAPPER: Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado. Senator, thanks for joining us. So, you're a co-sponsor of the For the People Act, which is going to hit the Senate floor tomorrow. The smaller Manchin election reform proposal is gaining traction. Do you support Manchin's plan? Would you vote for it?

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): I think any plan that would give us those 50 votes tomorrow, 50 plus one with the vice president would be an important signal to send to the American people. And I think it's important for them to also know what's in this bill. I mean, what Mitch McConnell just said on your program that what's in the bill is not a description of what's there.

What's there are voting reforms that we passed long ago in Colorado, that is one of the reasons why Colorado has the second highest voter participation rate in the country. So this bill is about getting more people to vote, not fewer people to vote. And I wish we could get some Republicans to actually pass it tomorrow.

TAPPER: One of the items that Manchin wants to include is requiring identification to vote. It would not require a photo I.D. It would let voters use documents such as a utility bill. Now, progressives say that those types of laws are discriminatory and disproportionately affect voters of color.

But according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 35 of the 50 states have laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of I.D. at the polls, including your home state of Colorado. Stacey Abrams didn't rule out supporting Manchin's bill if the voter I.D. requirement was included. Would such an inclusion be okay with you?

BENNET: I think it needs to be as broadly written as possible because the point is to try to make it easier for people to vote, not harder for people to vote. In Colorado where almost 100 percent of voters cast a mail ballot, what we have discovered is that the signature verification is actually much more reliable than voter I.D. is in other places. So, I'll have to see what the proposal looks like, but I think if it's drafted broadly, it should be okay.

TAPPER: "The New York Times" editorial board has a very sharp criticism of the For the People Act. They say, "The legislation attempts to accomplish more than is currently feasible while failing to address some of the clearest threats to democracy, especially the prospect that state officials will seek to overturn the will of the voters."


Now, I've spoken with a number of officials, Democrats and Republicans, who are concerned about the fact that you see in different states Republican legislatures and governors taking power away from local election officials and putting it in the hands of the partisan legislature. Do you understand those concerns and should you not instead be focusing on that threat given what we all went through in 2020?

BENNET: Well, I definitely understand those concerns and I share those concerns and we should be doing both. We should be addressing both. And, by the way, you know, one thing I'd like everybody to remember as we're considering passing this legislation here in Washington, there is legislature after legislature after legislature that are passing bills all over this country with only Republican votes. And there is no filibuster in any one of those American legislatures.

So, when Mitch McConnell is talking about trying to preserve an American institution, what he's really talking about is his abuse of the filibuster, which is different than what any other legislature in America is using today, including the ones that are trying to suppress the vote by Americans or put the decisions in partisan elected officials' hands about whether to certify elections at the end of the day. That would be a terrible thing for the country. And, unfortunately, Georgia has just passed such a law.

TAPPER: Would it not be better for the country if this were a bipartisan effort? In other words, I don't know, I'll just make it up. You and Senator Murkowski or you and Senator Sasse got together and wrote something that could get 60 votes and pass in a way that people would have respect for it across the board? I mean, the election was saved from being overturned because of not

just Democrats but some Republicans all over the country, election officials and judges and the Supreme Court. It was a bipartisan effort to save the election from being overturned. Don't you need to save future elections in the same way?

BENNET: Well, it would be great if we could figure out how to do it in a bipartisan way here. I want to underscore what you just said, which is because of local elected and appointed officials around this country, many of them Republicans, some of them appointed by Donald Trump and supporters of Donald Trump because they upheld their oath to the constitution, because they upheld their oath of office.

They saved our democracy in places like Arizona, in Michigan, and Georgia. That's absolutely the case. Unfortunately, in the halls of Congress, most of the Republicans here in Congress did not uphold their oaths. And I think it would be difficult to expect that they are going to help with a bipartisan bill to make it easier for people to vote.

I wish that were the case, Jake. And I'm certainly open to doing that. But I don't think it's realistic in Mitch McConnell's senate to expect it. This is a long-running play that he has been engaged in from all of the work he's done to undermine the campaign finance laws in this country, to get rid of transparency in our politics --


BENNET: -- and to deny people to vote. And that's what's going on here.

TAPPER: But, senator, so I agree that most House Republicans did not uphold their oath of office because they voted to disenfranchise Pennsylvania and Arizona voters based on election lies. But that's not the case in the U.S. Senate.

BENNET: That's true actually. Most of the Republicans in the Senate voted to certify the election the night that the capitol was invaded in an insurrection. And I appreciate the fact that most of them did that, and I'm very sorry for the colleagues that helped to bring the mob here. But I still don't see in Mitch McConnell's Republican senate the opportunity to be able to work in a meaningful way to reform, to protect Americans' right to vote.

I regret that deeply. But when you look, for example, at the way people here on the Republican side of the aisle have completely shifted after Shelby on the issues around preclearance of elections, just to take that is a major stumbling block for the American democracy, you know, I think it would be irresponsible of me to stand here and give you a lot of hope that we're going to be able to get a bipartisan result when what you're seeing is a partisan effort all over the country to disenfranchise people from the right to vote.

TAPPER: Democratic Senator Michael Bennet from the great state of Colorado. Thank you so much, great to see you.

BENNET: Thanks, Jake. Great to see you.

TAPPER: Donald Trump may have an influential hold on the Republican Party, but he might not be their favorite for president in 2024. So who might have an edge? That's next.



TAPPER: In our "Politics Lead," this weekend, former President Trump is returning to the campaign trail, but if he were to officially throw his hat into the ring, it's not certain that he would be the Republican Party's presidential nominee.

New early straw poll data shows that Florida governor, Ron DeSantis had a narrow edge over the former president in a survey conducted over the weekend at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver.


Former Vice President Mike Pence was in tenth place just after Donald Trump, Jr.

So that's a straw poll, but let's discuss with the former Mayor of Baltimore Stephanie Rawlings Blake and conservative commentator, Bill Kristol. Good to see both of you and great to see both of you in- person.


TAPPER: Mayor, let me start with you. It's just a straw poll, OK. We know it's not scientific, but to say that this was a relative unknown, before becoming governor in 2018, he probably will be reelected just based on Florida's composition, who knows, but next year. If he wins reelection, do you think he could be potentially be a strong candidate?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: Definitely. DeSantis knows how to play the game. He is following the Trump handbook. He is going after the Republican bread and butter issues. He's playing cultural wars down in his state and it's winning for him. He's gotten so many hits on, you know, the Republican news network that he is really taking over.

TAPPER: He is doing a lot of these culture war issues when it happens to do a moment of silence against trans athletes, there -- any against I think critical race theory in schools. There's like a checklist of them. And he is doing it. It's very -- and as the Mayor says, it's very popular with Republican voters. What do you think about his prospects as a Republican presidential candidate?

BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: Yes, if he holds the Trump base, assuming Trump doesn't run I think, and then -- but, you know, there's some sliver of Republicans who are feet Trump's kind of a bridge too far.

Maybe again, you know, they swallowed hard and butter from the first two times, unfortunately, but -- and DeSantis, they can tell us, he's got over a major state, you know, some things OK I guess in Florida. So I do think that DeSantis might be the might be -- that's his theory anyway. He could be the Trump candidate without all the Trump baggage. On the other hand, I think Trump's going to run and I don't DeSantis can actually beat Trump.

TAPPER: Are you surprised that Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, Tom Cotton, Rand Paul, were all more popular than Vice President Pence in this straw poll? Again, it's just a straw poll but, you know, we're just trying to get a feel of what it will look like. And, you know, usually the Vice President then becomes the nominee, as we saw with George H.W. Bush after Reagan.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think that three of us would be more popular on the straw poll. I mean --

TAPPER: No, just the two of you. I would be at the bottom.

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: The former president really did a number on Mike Pence with his supporters. You know, he was just heckled and called a traitor. It's going to be almost impossible for him to recover from that. Even if he regains some of his respect in the party, he's not going to get the popularity. He really never had it. You know, he was hoping that Trump's coattails would take him into the White House in the future. But he has to understand Trump wears the coat and the coattails.

TAPPER: And then there's this new Monmouth poll, Bill, that finds that 32 percent of registered voters continue to believe the lie that Joe Biden only won because of fraud. It's not true. It's a lie. Monmouth has done similar polling in November, January March, the number 32 percent, it's pretty consistent. It's obviously higher with Republicans and Independents. It's a pretty big number, a third of the country, a third of registered voters rather, believing something that is just patently false.

KRISTOL: And two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. That is amazing. I mean, that's -- and that's been totally steady since Trump started to sell the lie and right after November 3rd, which does suggest that for now at least, and it is a long way away and all that, to be a viable Republican candidate, you have to bought in on the big lie.

So Tom Cotton, who is a pretty conservative Republican and has done a whole lot of things in a frumpy lane that someone like me is disappointed by and so forth. But he did vote to certify the election. He hasn't really echoed the big lie. He's out if two-thirds of the Republicans think that's a core belief of theirs.

TAPPER: Yes. And I think Governor DeSantis, I have not heard him say anything, any lie about the 2020 election. He signed a more restrict voting law -- more restrictive voting law that makes it more difficult to vote, et cetera. And like you say, he certainly hasn't been out there chastising Trump for the lie, but he hasn't spread the lie that I can see that does one have to do that to become the Republican presidential nominee. RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think that's yet to be seen. The numbers suggest that at some point you're going to have to get on board unless those numbers shift. But DeSantis is really -- he's doing the tightrope. He's walking --


RAWLINGS-BLAKE: -- that delicate dance trying to hold on to the Trump support without doing what I think, you know, most forward thinking Republicans understand that the election was not a lie. You know, so he's going to do that dance for as long as he can stay in it.

TAPPER: I want to play sound and get a quick reaction from you, Mayor, former President Barack Obama pushing For the People Act, the sweeping election reform legislation that's going to come up for a vote tomorrow.



BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the aftermath of an insurrection with our democracy on the line, and many of these same Republican senators going along with the notion that somehow there were irregularities and problems with legitimacy in our most recent election, they're suddenly afraid to even talk about these issues and figure out solutions on the floor of the Senate.


TAPPER: Will this affect any Democrat or Republican in the Senate?

RAWLINGS-BLAKE: I think this Senate is -- the Congress is so partisan, so divided, you know, I don't see them coming together on this issue. It is not in their individual interests, and so few, unfortunately, are willing to do what's in the country's interest. And it just reminds me that elections matter, local elections matter, state elections matter.

These are where these decisions are being made, and we have to pay more attention. There's no way with the President that we had that we should have lost seats in Congress. Democrats really have a lot of work to do to write the ship if we're going to see these voter protection laws go into effect.

TAPPER: Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Bill Kristol, thanks to both of you, really good to see both of you. Thanks so much. Thanks so much.

Today, a newly elected world leader said he, quote, doesn't want to meet with President. Find out who and why it's so critical for Biden to manage, next.


[17:40:46] TAPPER: In our world lead, in his first press conference since the election, Iran's new president-elect says he is not open to meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden. Hardliner Ebrahim Raisi easily won last week's election in which he had no significant opposition and attracted the lowest voter turnout since the founding of the Islamic Republic 40 years ago.

Raisi is a notorious human rights abuser allegedly participating in a death panel in the 1980s where he oversaw the execution of some 5,000 political prisoners. Amnesty International has called for an investigation into Raisi for crimes against humanity.

CNN's Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen is live for us in Tehran. Fred, President-elect Raisi does not want the U.S. to come back to the Iran nuclear deal, but he won't concede on other key points. What did he say?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. Jake. I think one of the things that we really learned today, and I think this was quite surprising for a lot of observers, is that right now, what you have is with Ebrahim Raisi with that hardline new incoming government is the 100 percent on the same page, as Iran Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and that means a really tough line towards the United States.

When Raisi was asked whether he'd meet with President Biden, he didn't just say, oh, I don't want to do that. He said, No, that's all he said. No, there was no explanation, nothing.

He says, if the U.S. wants something from Iran, they have to come to the Iranians. Now, of course, there is that idea that the U.S. has put forward of an expanded nuclear agreement which could also encompass Iran's ballistic missile program and some of others Iranians actions here in the Middle Eastern region. But Raisi, when I asked him about it, absolutely shot that down. Let's listen in.


EBRAHIM RAISI, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF IRAN: My serious proposal to the United States government is that is for them to return in an expedient manner, to their commitments, and do away with sanctions, in doing so by -- they would prove their sincerity. Regional and missile issues are not up for negotiations.


PLEITGEN: So there you have it, the ballistic missile program, not up for negotiations. Raisi there is saying, of course, there is still hope out there, and some decent hope that the original nuclear agreement could be brought back on track before Raisi takes office. That's actually at the end of August. However, one of the things that I think the Biden administration is in for is a very, very tough ride with the Iranians the next couple of years. They say their foreign policy is going to be both active and dynamic, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. So he does want the U.S. to return to the deal, but he's not willing to negotiate anything necessarily. And let me ask you, President-elect Raisi also signaled he wants to build a relationship with longtime regional rival Saudi Arabia, what might that mean for the U.S.?

PLEITGEN: Well, look, I think one of the things that the Iranians are gearing up for right now is less U.S. engagement here in the greater Middle Eastern Region, and certainly also with the Saudis over the next couple of years. We've already seen the U.S., of course, remove some military equipment from Saudi Arabia.

And I think that the Saudis are also seeing the writing on the wall a little bit that they have a lot less backing from the Biden administration that did, for instance, under the Trump administration, especially, for instance, when it comes to Saudi Arabia's engagement in Yemen. The Iranians are saying they want to continue those negotiations.

They've already somewhat started, but you do see the Iranians really forcefully pushing their diplomacy here in the Middle East and showing they are a really, really important player, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Fred Pleitgen in Tehran, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Here in the United States, some much needed help that cannot come fast enough for oh, so many people in this country forced to choose between parenting and a paycheck right now. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead today, the Help Wanted signs are becoming more pronounced in our new post-pandemic life. The New York Post is reporting today, a restaurant food supplier based in the Bronx cannot find enough local truckers so he's bringing in drivers from Alabama.

Many childcare centers cannot find enough staff forcing parents to put their kids on long waiting lists. And if you're booked to fly anytime soon, heads up, American Airlines is the first airline to warn that they cannot keep up with travel demand. Airline plans to cancel hundreds of upcoming flights.

I want to bring in CNN Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean to discuss the airline angle. He's at Reagan National Airport just outside D.C. Pete, is it simply that the airlines are overbooked?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, so many passengers are going to be surprised by this, Jake, because airlines are surprised by the sheer number of people coming back following the pandemic. You know the TSA screened 2.1 million people at airports across the country just yesterday. That is the highest number we have seen since March 7th, 2020. The fifth time we have seen a number higher than 2 million this month alone.

[17:50:03] It's so significant because that number about 75 percent of where we were back in 2019 pre-pandemic and that number just keeps going up and up. But now some airlines are struggling to keep up. American Airlines had to cancel about 6 percent of its flights on Sunday, about 180 flights in total. It's just because of weather and maintenance issues, but also because of staffing shortages. And that is the problem that is not going away.

So now Americans taking this one step further proactively canceling about 1 percent of all of its flights from now through mid-July. That accounts for 50 to 80 flights each day. You know, you could be rebooked on a different flight. Airlines are trying to do this a little bit early. But this is a sign of growing pains of industries who's trying to come back to normal and the airlines are no exception here, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Pete Muntean with some sobering news there. Thank you so much.

New child tax credits set to roll out next month could get more Americans back to work. Millions of eligible parents will receive up to $300 a month for an entire year. As CNN's Adrienne Broaddus reports, that money will be a huge help for so many Americans who are barely getting by who say they simply cannot afford to go back to work right now.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four packs of two.


BROADDUS (voice-over): Bags of free diapers are handed off to Youngstown, Ohio residents lining up for help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right this in the front row (ph)?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Have a good rest of the day.

SINGH: Thank you, you too.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Mothers like 28 year-old Cassandra Scene (ph).

SINGH: I have three children, 20-month-old twins, a boy and a girl, and a four-year-old.

BROADDUS (voice-over): She says the pandemic forced her to choose between parenting or paycheck.

SINGH: It's been really tough on everyone not being able to go to work because we don't have a babysitter and -- when all the daycares closed down. BROADDUS (voice-over): Before the pandemic, about 57 percent of kids 18 and under in this hardhead former factory town, lived below the poverty line compared to less than 15 percent nationwide. Now President Joe Biden has promised and enhanced child tax credit even for those who pay no taxes starting in July. Parents who qualify will receive $3,600 per child under six and $3,000 per child under 18 this year.


BROADDUS (voice-over): That comes out to several $100 in monthly deposits for parents like Jasmine Hollinshead and her three children.

JASMINE HOLLINSHEAD, SINGLE MOTHER OF THREE: My checks only be like two, a little bit over that. So that would be a big, big difference.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Hollinshead says she recently started working 20 hours a week at a deli.


BROADDUS (voice-over): After staying home during the pandemic to care for her children.

HOLLINSHEAD: It was hard to pay rent, hard to put food on the table.

BROADDUS (voice-over): The money will more than double her monthly income but it won't last long.

HOLLINSHEAD: I have a card note (ph) that's 250. There my rent, there my electricity, clothes for them, shoes because they're going every day.

BROADDUS (voice-over): The White House says the enhanced credit will help more than 39 million American families at a cost of an estimated $110 billion. But critics say it discourages work.

In a joint statement earlier this year, Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee called the credit, quote, welfare assistance, adding, "Congress should expand the Child Tax Credit without undercutting the responsibility of parents to work to provide for their families".

I understand people's reticence and just giving money. But I don't know how you start if you don't meet the immediate needs.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Sheila Triplett is the Chief Executive Officer of a nonprofit that runs the diaper bank, the Mahoning Youngstown Community Action Partnership, or MYCAP for short.

SHEILA TRIPLETT, EXECUTIVE DIR., MAHONING YOUNGSTOWN COMMUNITY ACTION PARTNERSHIP: That takes more than just giving money. It's jobs, it's affordable housing, it's education, it's looking at, you know some of the underlying causes of poverty.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BROADDUS: Meanwhile, all working families can receive the full credit if they earn up to $150,000 per couple or $112,500 for single parent households. Jake?

TAPPER: Adrienne Broaddus, thank you so much for that report. Important stuff.

The U.S. Navy triggered in underwater explosion as powerful as a magnitude 3.9 earthquake, and they did it on purpose. This is the must see video of the day, that's next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, if you're old enough to remember President Gerald Ford, then you probably know he was a tough enough to take a hit or a stumble and keep on going. Well the new aircraft carrier named after Gerald Ford can take a hit to, an even bigger one than when Ford was playing center and linebacker for the University of Michigan football team.




TAPPER: That was on purpose. U.S. Navy set off a huge undersea explosion near the carrier to make sure that the vessel can withstand the shock of battle conditions. It's called a Full Ship Shock Trial, it took place last week off Florida. The explosion registered as a magnitude 3.9 earthquake. Carrier is scheduled to undergo maintenance and modernization before it is fully deployed.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll see you tomorrow.