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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Deadly Collapse: 10 Confirmed Dead, 151 Still Unaccounted For; White House Refuses to Answer if Biden Will Sign Infrastructure Deal Without Reconciliation Proposal; Interview With Sen. Mark Warner (D- VA); Doctors Warn Time is Running Out for Parents to Get Their Kids Fully Vaccinated Before School Starts; Trump Organization Lawyers Meet with NYC Prosecutors, Try to Convince Them Not to File Criminal Charges. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 28, 2021 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Just into CNN, condo owners in Champlain Towers South were facing assessments for $15 million worth of repairs. Those payments were days away from beginning when the building collapsed.

We will continue to follow all of the latest developments out of south Florida for you.

And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Another exhausting and emotional day for families and for those searching through the rubble.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The death toll rising in the Florida condo collapse and families of more than 150 people still hoping and praying for a miracle as we learn there were concerns about cracks in that building years ago.

The U.S. launching deadly airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, taking out what the Biden administration calls militia groups backed by Iran. Why the White House is calling these strikes self-defense.

Plus, time may be up for the Trump Organization. The ex-president's company facing a deadline today and at least one top executive with the company is expected to face charges as early as this week.


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

We begin today with our national lead. The death toll rising today in that horrific condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, outside Miami Beach, as rescue crews continue to search for any sign of life. The Miami-Dade County mayor announced one more person has been found dead, bringing the total number to ten, with 151 people still missing.

And now, we're learning about an independent report from three years ago produced for the condo association that detailed significant structural damage that it already happened to the building including cracks and breaks in the concrete under the pool and parking garage. It is unclear how much or if any work had been done to repair those cracks or whether the issues in the report contributed to this disaster.

As President Biden calls into a federal investigation of what happened, residents are now -- also now questioning into the safety of other coastal high-rises in the area. And officials are trying to take steps to prevent this from ever happening again.

CNN's Boris Sanchez starts us off today from Surfside.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officials pleading for patience in Surfside, Florida, and vowing to get answers.

MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: I repeat -- the search and rescue operation continues. There is going to be a thorough and full investigation of what led to this tragic event.

SANCHEZ: The cause of collapse remains a mystery, though a report done three years ago by a consulting company hired by the condo association is raising serious questions. An engineer describing major structural damage to the concrete slab under the entrance drive and the pool. The report said, quote, the water proofing below the pool deck and entrance drive as well as all the planter water proofing is beyond its useful life and therefore must all be completely removed and replaced.

The 2018 survey called for quick repairs to prevent bigger problems, warning failure to replace the water proofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially. Emails posted on the city of Surfside's website show repairs would be extremely expensive, potentially more than $9 million. The report was sent to a Surfside building official, Rosendo Prieto (ph), who two days later assured the residents the tower was in very good shape, according to town meeting minutes obtained by CNN.

The engineering firm, Morabito Consultants, said it had been retained this month by the condo association for the building's massive repair project. The company says roof repairs were taking place at the time of the collapse but concrete restoration had not yet started.

Prieto, who no longer works for the town of Surfside, has not yet responded to CNN's request for comment.

ROBERT LISMAN, RESIDENT OF CHAMPLAIN EAST TOWER: They knew in 2018 there was a massive threat to the building, that there was damage, and yet nothing was done, so did they make the decision to do nothing? Did the town make the decision to do nothing? Someone knew, yet nothing was done. (END VIDEOTAPE)

SANCHEZ (on camera): And Jake, we learned just a short time ago that condo owners in the building had actually approved $15 million of assessments for repairs on the tower back in April. Payments for those repairs were actually set to start on July 1st, exactly one week after the building came crashing down -- Jake.

TAPPER: Boris Sanchez in Surfside, Florida, thank you so much.

Dozens of family members are still waiting for news, good or bad about their loved ones. Many are holding out hope and praying for a miracle.

Let's get right to CNN's Rosa Flores. She is live from the family reunification site in Surfside.

And, Rosa, what have these family members been telling you?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake, hearts are heavy. We actually are across the street from the reunification center out of respect for the families, but as you might imagine, they are desperate for information.


And as the days go on, the desperation grows. They want information about their loved ones yesterday.

They want information that their loved one is alive yesterday. They want to learn that their loved one can be pulled alive from that rubble yesterday. And so, the wait really is the worse part for these families, having to wait at the reunification center hoping and praying for a miracle.

My colleague Nick Valencia has been in contact with Pablo Rodriguez. His mom and grandmother lived at this condo. And he called -- excuse me, she called him the night before this collapse, and that call now means so much more. She was complaining about creaking noises.

Pablo Rodriguez is growing more and more difficult by the day. It's more and more difficult for him to speak about this, and he's turning more towards accountability. Take a listen.


PABLO RODRIGUEZ, MOTHER AND GRANDMOHTER ARE MISSING: As the days tick on it's harder to hold on to any little hope we do have that we'll get to see them again alive. It's been especially difficult this weekend because they would always come over on the weekend, we would be together. So, my son is asking when we can call them, when they can come over, when are we going to see them again, and we can't tell him yet that he's not going to be able to see them again.


FLORES: Pablo Rodriguez says he has still not told his son about what happened, and as you can imagine, trying to figure out the words to use to explain that to him.

Now the families asked to go to the site of the collapse. And officials say that they were allowed to go to the site, most of them, and they were able to observe what is being done to try to rescue their loved ones.

Officials described that these family members were able to see how rescuers are using their hands to remove the rubble in buckets, how they're using large pieces of equipment to peel off and delayer this pile of rubble to try to get to their loved ones. They also saw some of the obstacles like giant pieces of concrete, concrete the sizes of basketballs. And, Jake, it is just heartbreaking to learn about these details because as you might imagine, what these loved ones were hoping to see at this collapse site is their loved one coming out of there alive -- Jake.

TAPPER: Heartbreaking. Rosa Flores, thank you so much.

Let's bring in the vice mayor of Surfside, Tina Paul.

Ms. Paul, thanks for joining us.

It's been five days since the building collapse. Crews have obviously been working tirelessly in the search and rescue mission. It's exhaustive, sometimes dangerous work. How much longer do you expect the search is going to continue?

VICE MAYOR TINA PAUL, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: Jake, I wouldn't be able to determine that, but I want to search to continue until everyone is found. I'm hoping we will still find survivors, but I want to search to continue until everyone is found.

TAPPER: An official from Surfside assured residents of Champlain Towers South that their building was in very good shape. This was back in November 2018, even though that same official received the report that warned of major structural damage to the tower just two days earlier.

What is the city of Surfside doing to make sure that this doesn't ever happen again?

PAUL: Well, Jake, before I -- before I answer that, I want to still speak about the victims and the families that are waiting to see if they have survivors or to find out where their loved ones are, because right now, the families, they're homeless. And they're in a hotel.

And I'm just hearing now from one of their advocates that they may be having to vacate the hotels in a few days and be place in the temporary housing, which is not acceptable, because a lot of funds have been raised for them, and the money needs to reach them now so they can relocate in a better way so that they're not going from place to place. They're traumatized. They're going through a lot. And their lives need to be made easier.

We're dealing with a lot of different agencies, it's a collaborative effort, and I appreciate all the assistance we're getting especially from Miami-Dade county and the rescue workers and all our neighboring communities, but our concern still has to be with the victims and those who are still missing.

I will answer you, though, about the building. I have seen the document, the report of the 2018 condo association -- the evaluation of what should be done, and it reads like a standard inspection report. And these are things -- you have to realize, these buildings are old. It depends on the maintenance, it depends on when they were built, and it depends on the level of maintenance they have been doing.

A building like that should not collapse in this sort of way based on routine maintenance.


There were severe issues in the report. I noted them on page 7. However, the work was starting to get under way.

I can't speak for the building official. I was on the commission at the time, and this report did not come to my attention until it was released to the media, and that's the first time I had a look at it.

I never received complaints from anyone personally. I respond to my emails, I respond to phone calls and the issues that were brought to my attention was the beach path being closed and only recently we had an issue about the tar smell from the roof repair.

So those are the only things that came to my attention. I wish something had come to my attention. I certainly would have looked into it. But the chain of command is I would have brought it up with my town manager and then followed up with him on that.

TAPPER: So, just two follow-ups to what you just said. First of all, based on what you just told me up top about victims of this disaster who are staying in hotels being threatened with an eviction from the hotels, which doesn't make sense, as you note, because of all the money that has been raised for these individuals, what is going to be done to prevent that from happening?

PAUL: Well, I'm not sure. I just was alerted to it so I need to investigate that and see what can be done, because, you know, we can't have people being sent away and going from place to place, and then without enough funds. I was told that a single person gets the same amount of funding as a family of four. I haven't confirmed that information. But this is concerning to me, so it's something I want to look at and I want the public to be aware that, you know, we need to -- we need to help our residents more.

We need to make sure that they're not just being kicked out of hotels and being sent to housing somewhere, and that's also temporary.

TAPPER: Right.

PAUL: I believe they're not getting the right information of what FEMA will help them with, and so there needs to be more outreach to these victims and displaced people so they cannot have this on top of the burden of loss of home, loss of family.

TAPPER: So, the other follow-up I have you, Vice Mayor Paul, is, what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future? As I don't need to tell you, but maybe our viewers are not necessarily aware -- after Hurricane Andrew in the early '90s, there was an effort in Florida, especially in areas vulnerable to hurricanes to make sure that the construction was more substantial. This building was built in 1981, before that.

What can be done to make sure this doesn't happen again? There is this impression, rightly or wrongly, that real estate developers in Florida kind of do whatever they want to do and government regulators and those trying to make sure buildings are safe are not as empowered.

What are you going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again?

PAUL: Well, Jake, I'm speaking with my town manager and building official, and we will -- we have to get through this first, because we're in an emergency situation. But we want to move forward with creating an ordinance that can strengthen how we inspect the buildings, how the 40-year inspection is done, how it can be done more frequently, and what else we can add to it so that we can insure the safety of our residents.

But in all reality, these certifications are done in 40-year, 50-year, and 60-year. We can do -- we can certainly require more and start to have them done sooner. But these are standard procedure. So in my humble opinion, I do believe that there's more to this than just about whether the report about this condition of the building is responsible for this collapse. I believe there are other factors.

We hired an engineering -- a structural engineering company from D.C. And they have been involved with the Pentagon and several other collapses, KCE Structural. And they are looking at everything.

I'm working behind the scenes.


PAUL: I've brought to them a satellite infrastructure managing company, and I'm also gathering information from the historic preservation community because they reached out to me, and they feel there's a connection between the Eighty Seven Park demolition and construction, between that building and this building because they sit right next to each other.


PAUL: And there's virtually no space between them.

So we are going to look at everything, and we're looking at the tidal conditions and the full moon at the time this happened. Our structural engineering team are highly professional, and they are going look at everything that is brought before them.

[16:15:02] TAPPER: Okay. Vice Mayor Tina --

PAUL: But it is an ongoing investigation.

TAPPER: Yes, of course.

Vice Mayor Tina Paul, our thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Sunrise (ph), Florida, especially those that suffered from this horrific ordeal. Thank you so much for your time today.

Coming up, he struck a deal and then he stepped in it. How President Biden is trying to get himself out of a mess after nearly unraveling his own infrastructure bargain.

And I know you don't want the hear this before the Fourth, but there's one back to school item you must check off the list now for a safe return to class.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, the White House has been in damage control mode of a sort after President Biden seemed to backtrack on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that he and Democratic and Republican lawmakers had finally agreed upon. Biden said that he would not sign that bill into law if it was not accompanied by the larger budget reconciliation package, which will contain more funding for social programs such as child and elder care and much more.


And as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports for us now, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is warning Democrats that if the budget package is directly linked with roads and bridges funding, that infrastructure bill could be a bridge too far.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The investments we'll be making --

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden attempting to salvage the bipartisan infrastructure deal he pushed to the brink.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that the statement was quite lengthy and quite detailed in the president's name.

COLLINS: The president and his top aides spent the weekend working to get the deal back on track after it was nearly derailed by his own comments.

PSAKI: He indicated he refused to sign the infrastructure bill if it was sent to him without his American Families Plan. That statement upset some Republicans. COLLINS: Biden's assertion that he wouldn't sign one without the

other set off a frenzy among Republicans and moderate Democrats.

BIDEN: If only one comes to me, I'm not -- this is the only one that comes to me, I'm not signing it. It's in tandem.

SEN. TIM ROMNEY (R-UT): The president's other agenda was never linked to the infrastructure effort.

COLLINS: Biden issuing an extraordinary statement reversing his position, saying: My comments also created the impression that I was issuing a veto threat, which was certainly not my intent.

That statement appearing to settle the dust for now.

ROMNEY: I certainly understand why not only myself but a lot of my colleagues were very concerned about what the president was saying on Friday, but I think the waters have been calmed by what he said on Saturday.

COLLINS: The White House today declining to confirm that Biden will sign the bipartisan bill on its own.

The White House is not going to say yes, he will sign the infrastructure bill if it comes alone to his desk?

PSAKI: The president expects to sign each piece of legislation into law.

COLLINS: Senator Mitch McConnell is calling on Democratic leaders, not Biden, to separate the plans.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: He doesn't determine that. And so, what I'm asking the president to do is to call on the majority leader and the speaker to deal with these issues separately.

COLLINS: Democrats remain divided on how big their party should go when going it alone on infrastructure, with moderates warning they will not vote for trillions more in spending.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): If they think in reconciliation I'm going to throw caution to the wind and go to $5 trillion or $6 trillion when we can only afford $1 trillion, or $1.5 the trillion or $2 trillion and what we can pay for, then I can't be there.

COLLINS: But the progressive wing of the Democratic Party wants to go big.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We are here to make sure that he's successful in making sure that we do have a larger infrastructure plan.

COLLINS: Now, the White House will not say, yes, President Biden will sign that bipartisan deal if it's the only one that comes to his desk or if it comes to his desk before that bigger Democratic only expected reconciliation package makes his way to his desk. But if you look at the statement that they put out on Saturday afternoon, which as you know is pretty rare. It's a long statement that we were told was carefully edited by his aides.

President Biden said, quote, I fully stand behind it without reservation or hesitation reservation. Giving you a pretty good indication of where it is that he does stand on signing that bill if it did come to him alone. But, Jake, the fact they won't say it does speak to how delicately, although the way the White House is handling this given what happened last week.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House, thanks so much.

Let's discuss with my august panel. They still are not saying we will sign the infrastructure bill if it comes alone. They're still refusing to. Take a listen to Kaitlan Collins talking to the White House today.


COLLINS: Senator Romney told Jake Tapper that his reading of the president's statement over the weekend was if the infrastructure bill reaches his desk and it cops alone, he will sign it. Is that an accurate reading of that statement from the president?

PSAKI: The president looks forward to and expects to sign each piece of legislation into law. And he's going to work his heart out getting both of them across the finish line.

COLLINS: So the White House is not going to say, yes, he will sign the infrastructure bill if it comes alone.

PSAKI: The president expects to sign each piece of legislation into law.


TAPPER: This is really silly.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: It's a little tedious. It's all about the sausage making of this deal. Listen, he will sign it when it comes across his desk. If it's the first, you know, if the reconciliation deal is three days later, or five days later or 10 days later, who knows? I mean, they laid out a deal that both of deals would perfectly land on the desk at exactly the same time and the sequencing in the House and the Senate would be great.

Unlikely, right, because of what we know about Congress. I think they're trying not to stiff arm progressives who are nervous about the prospect of this reconciliation bill.

TAPPER: But why are they so worried about progressives if it is very clear, from everything we heard from the White House, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, is that they still plan on bringing this Budget Reconciliation Act and passing it with only Democratic votes?


We know that, we all know that. So why won't they just say, yeah, we'll sign that -- we'll sign the infrastructure, whichever gets to us, we'll sign it?

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: I think they're just going to continue playing the sort of delicate balance between keeping progressives and moderates. And as you've pointed out, it's going to get more challenging because everyone know what's going on here. They've admitted it. There's two tracks and they're going keep pushing for both of them.

But this is why this is deal is going to be so hard because every day, these questions are going come up. Progressives are going to find new things that they're concerned about and it's going to be tougher and tougher to maintain Republican support. So, it's going to be a challenge for the White House between now and final passage because of this reconciliation bill that looms large over the bipartisan bill that they've very carefully crafted.

TAPPER: And, still, the Republicans who were so upset who worked on the infrastructure bill seem to be assuaged. I mean, they seemed to be reassured although on Friday, it looked like Biden might have blown the whole thing up. Take a listen.


ROMNEY: I am totally confident the president will sign it if it comes to his desk.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): I was glad to see the president clarify his remarks.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): We were assured that the two would not be linked. I hope it's enough. We'll see going forward, but I'll continue to work for the bill.


TAPPER: But you know what wasn't on board?

HENDERSON: Mitch McConnell.

TAPPER: Mitch McConnell.

HENDERSON: Right, and I imagine he probably isn't going to be on board. The question is, can he convince those folks to decamp from the bipartisan bill? I think there are 11 Republicans or so who have signed on to it. They have been reassured as they said there.

He clearly has been trying to toss a wrench into this whole thing, not only the bipartisan part of it, but the reconciliation as well, saying it has to be decoupled. Schumer and Pelosi have to decouple, and they haven't been willing to do that. So, we'll see. McConnell is a clever strategist. So, I'm sure he has

more tricks up his sleeve.

PARTI: Yeah, I think McConnell will keep trying bring up the bill because of the price tag, which also remains in flux.

TAPPER: Somewhere between $1 million and $6 trillion, in that range.

PARTI: Exactly. A huge number. So he's going to keep trying to bring that up to try to derail this infrastructure package for which he had not voiced much support or opposition for previously.

Nia-Malika Henderson, Tarini Parti, thank you so much. Really appreciate you both being here.

Breaking minutes ago, rockets launched at U.S. forces in Syria. Possible retaliation for the U.S. airstrikes. The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee will react next live with us.



TAPPER: Breaking our world lead, CNN has confirmed that multiple rockets landed at a U.S. military base in Syria in what appears to have been an act of retaliation. Early reports say that no one was hurt at the U.S. base, but a U.S. defense official says it's likely those rockets were fired by Iranian-backed militias, perhaps the same ones that were targeted by U.S. airstrikes yesterday along the Syria- Iraq border.

The Pentagon claims the militia groups have been attacking U.S. forces in the region with a new type of drone, which is able to evade U.S. surveillance.

Joining us to discuss, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee,.

Chairman Warner, thanks for joining us.

If Iran-backed militias are responsible for firing these rockets at U.S. forces, what do you think is the appropriate response?

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Well, the United States obviously has the right and the necessity to protect any of our troops in harm's way.

I was notified this morning, as chair of the Intelligence Committee, that we were taking some of these preemptive strikes against some of these Iranian-backed militias. This is obviously a very dangerous neighborhood. And I expect the president and commanders on the ground will take appropriate steps.

I'm glad to see that, at least so far, there are there are reports of no casualties. But, as we have -- as you indicated in your breaking news, the ability for the bad guys to constantly upgrade, whether it's use of drones or other devices that cannot harass or harm our troops, it's an ongoing threat.

TAPPER: I don't disagree with the your description of the bad guys. But there is a question out there about, why are we there? Why are we in Syria?

National security reporter Spencer Ackerman, for instance, tweeted in response to the airstrikes by the U.S. against these Iran-backed militias -- quote -- "The strikes happened because U.S. forces are targets of opportunity by an adversary entirely different than the one they're supposedly still there to fight. No one bothers to pretend anymore that strikes like these accomplish anything" -- unquote.

How do you explain why we're there? I mean, I think we were there to fend off ISIS. The Iranian-backed militias are a completely different group, not even the same branch of Islam. At some point, it just becomes a revolving -- like a vicious cycle, no?

WARNER: Well, Jake, you're right on that.

I have seen over my decade-plus a lot of bad plans around Syria. I have never seen any good plan. Obviously, for a while, we were there backing our Kurdish allies, who were very effective in terms of pushing back on ISIS.


Unfortunately, President Trump kind of left them in the lurch. We are seeing now, in the case of Afghanistan, I think President Biden making the tough choice, but the appropriate choice, in terms of withdrawing our troops.

We're trying to do that in as orderly a fashion as possible. But this region has been more than a bit of a mess and chaos literally for the last two decades.

TAPPER: And there's this debate going on right now in Congress about the authorization for use of military force in Iraq from 2002. Is that the authority under which these troops are there firing at Iran-backed militias, the 2002 AUMF?

WARNER: Unfortunately, Jake, you're right.

That is, for the most part, the authority. And my friend and partner Tim Kaine from Virginia has been rightfully saying, under both Obama, Trump, and now under Biden, that it is time for the United States Congress to get its act together. And if we want to authorize these forces, let's put our names on the board in authorization, not simply require -- allowing each of these administrations, again, literally, for close to 20 years, to rely on legislation that was passed, I believe, back in 2002 or 2003.

TAPPER: Right.

Let's turn to infrastructure.

I want to ask, would you be OK if a bipartisan infrastructure deal is signed into law on its own by President Biden with no linkage with the larger budget reconciliation package that I know Democrats also want to do?

WARNER: Jake, this infrastructure package, $579 billion of new money in five years, biggest infrastructure investment in our country's history -- and it's not just roads and bridges. It's water. It is also broadband, as we were talking about off air, how important that is.

There's a whole lot of things around moving towards a cleaner power generation, smart grid, E.V. infrastructure, a lot of great things, and I hope that moves as fast as possible. But I'm also very committed -- and I'm one of the -- I think I'm the only so-called Democratic moderate on the Budget Committee.

I'm prepared to work with Senator Sanders and others to start down the path on a budget reconciliation process. We got to get all the Democrats on that. I think -- I intend to move forward on that kind of legislation. I was just going through some of the revenue sources, revenue sources that we couldn't use for the infrastructure package, but that can be used on this reconciliation package.

I don't think it's fair -- and I say this is a former business guy, but I don't think it's fair that American businesses are 35 out of 35 industrial nations in terms of lowest amount of taxes paid as a percentage of GDP.


WARNER: I think there's a fairer tax system.

TAPPER: So let me ask you about that, because the chairman of your committee, Bernie Sanders, he has proposed about a $6 trillion price tag for this budget reconciliation bill.

Your fellow Virginian, Tim Kaine, he says that about $4 trillion would be OK with him. Senator Joe Manchin, who worked with you on infrastructure, he seemed to suggest his top line would be $2 trillion.

Where are you?

WARNER: Well, Jake, that's why I get to be in the middle of these negotiations, is to how to find some breakthrough between where Bernie's at, where Joe Manchin is at, how much a lot of what I will be able to support will be based upon how much additional revenue we can raise.

And there are a variety of sources there. But having gone through a number of these negotiations, we put together a bipartisan plan back in December. We called it the $908 billion plan. I just came out of literally weeks on end with my Republican colleagues on this record infrastructure investment.

Now I'm going to switch to where -- again, I probably won't be where Senator Sanders is, but I think there's a lot of worthy goals in his plan. But I find it's better to try to negotiate that with my colleagues, rather than through the press.

TAPPER: Is it -- I hear what you're saying, but is it fair to say that you start off at least somewhere closer to Tim Kaine, your fellow Virginia senator, around $4 trillion?

WARNER: I wouldn't be viewed as one of the moderate guys if I wasn't more on a plan that is going to be a little bit more moderate, but is going to also be able to be paid for.

But one thing, one thing, Jake, I do want to make clear, I absolutely believe, when we see these record high temperatures, not only on the East Coast, but we see record high temperatures in the Northwest and Canada and elsewhere, anyone that denies the reality and the economic duress that is being caused by climate change obviously isn't spending a lot of time outdoors.


This is a once-in-a-generation time, where we can make meaningful changes in terms of climate, to invest in a cleaner grid, invest in cleaner vehicles, in moving towards a clean energy standard. Heck, I'm even open to a phase-in on a carbon tax.


WARNER: But if we don't take advantage of really wrestling with climate change in a meaningful way, we're not doing our job.

TAPPER: Democratic Senator and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner of Virginia, thank you so much, sir. Good to see you.

WARNER: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: If you want your teenagers fully vaccinated before they go back to school, you better get moving -- the warning for parents ahead.



TAPPER: In our health lead today, an urgent reminder for parents if you want to get your kids over 12 vaccinated before school starts, this is against COVID obviously, you need to act fast. That's because it takes five weeks to be fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, which is the only shot right now that's authorized for children 12 to 17.

Dr. Ashish Jha joins us.

Dr. Jha, what's your message for parents who are wavering on whether or not to get their kids vaccinated before heading to school?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yeah. So, Jake, first of all, thanks for having me back. My message is really clear, you should get your kids vaccinated. I have two teenagers, both of whom have gotten vaccinated. The safety profile on these vaccines are really quite extraordinary, and they're much, much safer than getting COVID.

So, I have been encouraging of it. I've practiced it myself. And that's what I would tell parents.

TAPPER: Yeah, our 13-year-old is fully vaccinated with a Pfizer vaccine, no side effects. We're just waiting for under 12 to be authorized so our 11-year-old can get it.

The FDA has added a warning to both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines because there is this very, very slim risk of a rare and treatable, we should note, heart inflammation condition in teens and young adults after getting the shot. What should parents know about the risks here?

JHA: Yeah. So, look, nothing is completely without risk. And these vaccines, as safe as they are, do appear to cause this inflammation of the heart muscle in a very small proportion of children, and a bit more often in boys than girls, in young men than young women. But, thankfully, most of those cases are resolved with no treatment at all. And a small proportion of them end up having to be hospitalized.

It's not great. Obviously we wish there were zero side effects. But, again, the counter of getting COVID itself is so much worse that to me the risk benefit here really is no-brainer.

TAPPER: And even for those rare accounts where it is hospitalized, it is treatable, though?

JHA: It is treatable. We have, thankfully, not seen anybody die of this myocarditis, this heart inflammation. We're not saying it will never happen, but again, most of them get better on their own. And the small proportion that do, they can get treatment and get better. And thankfully everybody who's had it has recovered.

TAPPER: The pace of vaccinations among kids 12 to 15, it's drastically slowed since late May. Dr. William Schaffner says he thinks that the Biden administration has not done enough marketing to parents about the importance of vaccinating their kids. Do you agree?

JHA: You know, I do. The Biden administration has been trying to get the word out and they've been doing many things. But I think we just need much more of a concerted effort for parents, also targeting young adults who have also not been getting vaccinated in the same numbers. We've got to really ramp up our vaccination, especially with Delta variants spreading much more widely across the country.

TAPPER: Dr. Ashish Jha, good to see you as always, thank you so much.

JHA: Thank you.

TAPPER: One last chance for the Trump organization today with criminal charges likely looming. That's next.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, Trump Organization lawyers meeting this afternoon with New York City prosecutors ahead of possible criminal charges against the former president's company. The Manhattan district attorney is looking into potential tax violations and illegal benefits for company executives of the Trump organization.

CNN's Paula Reid joins us now from New York.

And, Paula, what do we know about this meeting?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Look, Jake, today's meeting, it's the second meeting between prosecutors and lawyers for the Trump organization in just the last week. But it's not expected to change the trajectory of this investigation.

Based on our reporting, we still expect possible criminal charges against the Trump Organization and longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg as soon as this week. The company was allegedly trying to avoid taxes on benefits that it gave to employees like free cars, free apartments, even school tuition.

And when it comes to Weisselberg, the allegation is that he was allegedly one of the employees who received these perks. But, Jake, it's very unusual to charge a company for not paying taxes on perks like this. So we really have to see what, if any, charges are filed and how they're supported by evidence, how much they really have. They have been at this investigation for over two years, and if this is all they can come up with, it's not much.

TAPPER: Yeah, I was going to. This is going to be very disappointing news for Trump haters out there. Is there any chance that the former president will be charged?

REID: At this point our reporting indicates that there is no expectation of criminal charges against the former president or his family at this time. But, Jake, I will note this investigation is active, it's ongoing, all eyes are on Allen Weisselberg.

Our Kara Scannell reports that he's made it clear to prosecutors he's not going to cooperate, he's not going to flip. But sometimes after prosecutors file criminal charges, people change their minds. If he was to cooperate, that could potentially change the equation for the former president or his family. But right now, based on our reporting, there is no indication that there are imminent charges against the former president.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid in New York, thanks so much for that. Appreciate it.

Family members seeing the rubble for the first time as they hold on to threads of hope that their loved ones could still be pulled out alive. The latest from the scene in Surfside, Florida. That's next.


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

This hour, it is ridiculously hot, the highest temperatures ever recorded in a part of the country that's typically totally cool, even without air-conditioning.

And Bill Barr calling the big lie BS. The former attorney general giving details of his breakup with Trump. But is the Bill Barr reputation rehabilitation tour a little too little too late?

First, however, leading this hour, a community finding strength in one another as every second that goes by makes it harder to hold onto hope. The desperate and dangerous search continues in surfside, Florida, after that shocking high-rise condo collapse. And we learn engineers may have been warning of dangers to the building years ago.

Let's go straight to Ryan Young who's live at the family reunification site in Surfside, Florida.

Ryan, what are family members telling you?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, we've been talking to families for about four days, Jake, and I can tell you this day seems worse for a lot of them.