Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Interview With Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); V.A. Health Care Workers, New York City & California State Employees All Now Facing Vaccine Mandates; Trump Ally Tom Barrack Pleads Not Guilty To Charges Of Illegal Foreign Lobbying And Making False Statements; Infrastructure Deal On Shaky Grounds As Blame Game Begins; House Committee Prepares For First Capitol Riot Hearing; U.S. Warns Of More Airstrikes Targeting Taliban In Afghanistan; U.S.-China Meetings. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 26, 2021 - 16:00   ET



BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Those two officers -- heroes, veterans of the force. The driver of that car, behind bars right now on many charges including driving while intoxicated.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: It's just remarkable.

GINGRAS: Incredible.

BLACKWELL: And after all of that, they will get out of the hospital likely this week.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: We hope. We hope and pray.

BLACKWELL: Brynn, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Brynn, thank you very much.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The governor selling anti-Fauci merchandise now overseeing the biggest explosion of COVID cases and deaths in the country.

THE LEAD starts right now.

There are plenty of COVID shots, and this didn't have to happen. But as the U.S. averages more than 50,000 COVID cases a day, again, vaccines are now required for a federal agency for the first time.

The Riot Act over the riot probe. The feud between House Speaker Pelosi and Republican Minority Leader McCarthy boiling over with the Capitol insurrection committee set to start its work tomorrow.

Plus, Tokyo now bracing for a typhoon with the Olympics now in full swing. CNN now spoke to one group of Olympians who might be happy about this news, the U.S. Surf Team.


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

And we begin this hour with our health lead, as the pandemic spirals out of control across the United States again.

The nation's largest city, its largest state, and one of its largest federal agencies all announcing today that vaccines will become mandatory for government workers.

This started with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordering city employees to be vaccinated by mid-September. California Governor Gavin Newsom followed suit requiring proof for all state employees and healthcare workers.

Then this afternoon, an unprecedented move, President Biden confirming that the Department of Veterans Affairs is requiring all healthcare workers to get the shots.

The orders come as doctors and public health experts continue to raise the alarm about this latest wave of increased cases, increased hospitalizations and increased deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci telling me that the U.S. is, quote, going in the wrong direction. And despite the highly contagious delta variant, terrifying health officials, there are so many sources of misinformation and lies about the vaccine continuing to spew almost like Mount Vesuvius.

Plus, so many unvaccinated Americans throwing caution to the wind. Florida health officials at this musical festival in the Miami area trying to push vaccines there, trying to encourage safe behavior to slow the spread.

Florida, which had more COVID deaths than any other state in the past week, the state reporting more than 10,000 new cases a day, as Athena Jones reports.



ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: America facing a crisis all over again. New coronavirus cases surging in nearly every state. The country averaging more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, up more than 60 percent over last week's seven-day average. Hospitalizations nationwide more than doubling over the last three weeks.

DR. JEROME ADAMS, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: This pandemic is spiraling out of control yet again, and it's spiraling out of control because we don't have enough people vaccinated.

JONES: More than four in ten people are living in a county with what the CDC considers to be high transmission. Like every county in Florida and Arkansas, which along with Louisiana lead the nation in new cases per capita. Daily COVID cases in the Sunshine State tripling over the last two weeks.

FAUCI: Since we have 50 percent of the country is not fully vaccinated, that's a problem, particularly when you have a variant like delta which has this extraordinary characteristic of being able to spread very efficiently.

JONES: Major medical groups calling for all healthcare and long-term care employers to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for workers.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio today announcing all city employees must either be vaccinated by September 13th or begin testing weekly, urging private employers to do the same.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: I would strongly urge vaccination mandate whenever possible or as close to it as possible.

JONES: California also announcing a requirement for vaccination or regular testing for all state employees and healthcare workers.

And Kansas City, Missouri's, mayor is considering a similar requirement, while the indoor mask mandate in St. Louis goes into effect today.

DR. SAM PAGE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Mask will allow businesses to remain open. Mask will allow our economy to continue growing and will keep people employed.

JONES: Officials in Provincetown, Massachusetts, adopting an indoor mask mandate effective immediately after the more contagious delta variant drove an outbreak of 430 confirmed COVID cases, 69 percent of them in people who were fully vaccinated. As doctors warn --

DR. JONATHAN REINER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: If you are not vaccinated right now in the United States, you should not go into a bar.


You should probably not eat in a restaurant. You are at a great risk of becoming infected.


JONES (on camera): And in talking about California's new vaccine mandate for state employees, Governor Gavin Newsom put it this way, he said, you don't have a choice to go out and drink and drive and put everybody's lives at risk. That's the equivalent of this moment with the deadliness and efficiency of the delta virus. You're putting other innocent people's lives at risk -- Jake.

TAPPER: Athena Jones in New York City, thanks so much.

On the federal level, a major move today by the Biden administration announcing the V.A. will now require vaccines for all healthcare workers. As Kaitlan Collins reports, pressure is mounting from all sides on President Biden to turn this pandemic around.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the delta variant fueling outbreaks across the U.S., vaccine mandates are gaining new traction.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, veteran affairs is going to in fact require that all docs working in facilities are going to have to be vaccinated.

COLLINS: President Biden confirming the Department of Veteran Affairs will now require all medical staff to be vaccinated within the next eight weeks. It's the first time a federal agency has mandated COVID- 19 vaccines and comes after four unvaccinated V.A. employees died from COVID-19, three due to the delta variant.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world.

COLLINS: The Biden administration also confirming today it won't lift international travel restrictions directly tying the decision to the delta variant.

PSAKI: Driven by the delta cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead.

COLLINS: Given just 49.1 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the spread of the variant is now the number one concern for the White House.

PSAKI: We are seeing a significant rise in cases in certain parts of the country and among certain populations.

COLLINS: The federal government even taking a major step toward backing vaccine mandates after medical groups representing millions of doctors and nurses argued that all U.S. health personnel should be required to be vaccinated.

PSAKI: These actions, in our view, are meant to keep patients and employees safe, and, in fact, I expect our own federal healthcare providers may look at similar requirements.

COLLINS: Some nations are issuing new restrictions on those who choose to not get vaccinated, like barring them from entering restaurants or museums without proof of a negative test.

Asked if Biden favors similar restrictions, Press Secretary Jen Psaki pointed to the CDC.

Does the president favor restrictions for unvaccinated people when it comes to restaurants, museums, concerts?

PSAKI: The president favors using the CDC as his North Star and what the health experts are going to advise.

COLLINS: The nation's top health officials are actively debating whether to issue new mask guidance for those who are fully vaccinated.

FAUCI: This is under active consideration.

PSAKI: There, of course, is an active discussion about a range of steps that can be taken.


COLLINS: Now, Jake, the Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the largest federal employers. And the V.A. secretary told the "New York Times" they've got about 70 percent of their front line workers already vaccinated. But this new mandate that they have to comply with over the next eight weeks will help get them over the finish line.

And he told "The New York Times" he believes this is the best way to keep veterans who are seeking care and treatment safe.

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

Let's talk about this now with Dr. Paul Offit. He's director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital Philadelphia. He's also a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee.

Dr. Offit, good to see you again.

So, President Biden affirmed today that the federal government will now require all healthcare workers with the V.A. to get vaccinated. This is the first federal agency to enact these requirements.

What do you make of this mandate?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR OF THE VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: I think it's where we are right now. I mean, I think we've done everything we could to make this vaccine available. It's free. It's easy to access it. Most pharmacies have it. It's just two shots if you get the mRNA vaccine three to four weeks apart. We did everything we could to educate, to try and decrease misinformation, to provide incentives like, you know, win a lottery or you get a free beer.

And now, we're at a point where there's a solid 25 or 30 percent of the population saying they don't want to get vaccinated, that they're okay with allowing this virus to continue to spread, continue to do harm. And, worst of all, continue to possibly create variants that are going to be resistant to vaccine-induced immunity.

What do you do when you're at that point? And I think what you do is exactly what President Biden is doing, which is you try and mandate to the degree that you can. I think those mandates ultimately to be effective are going to have to be at the local level and state level. I mean, there's only so much you can do with federal mandates. But that's where we are right now. I think it's just really frustrating. TAPPER: So, where you are, you would -- you would want Governor Wolf

of Pennsylvania, you would want Mayor Kenney of Philadelphia, you would want them to impose similar mandates on state and city employees?


OFFIT: Yes. You know, I'm going to give you one quick story, if I might, about something that happened in Philadelphia in 1991 because I think it was constructive.

In 1991 in Philadelphia, we had a measles epidemic like no other. There were 1,400 cases of measles and nine deaths in our city over a three-month period. That epidemic centered on two fundamentalist churches that chose not to vaccinate their children. Five hundred of the cases were in that group and six of the deaths and 900 cases and three of the deaths in the surrounding community.

So, that -- those two groups, those two churches that were faith- healing churches made the decision not only for themselves but for those in the surrounding community.

What we got to in our city, and this is going to surprise you, but what we got to was compulsory vaccination, which was approved at the sort of state Supreme Court level. Those children were vaccinated, period, against their parents' will. It wasn't a mandatory vaccination where you have outs like you don't necessarily have to work at the place you want to work at or go to the school you want to go to. Those children were vaccinated against their parents' will.

The most amazing part of that is what those parents were doing was perfectly legal. We had a religious exemption of vaccination on the books for ten years. And so, the -- one of the pastors of one of the churches got the -- asked the ACLU to represent them. And the ACLU, which is perfectly willing to represent unpopular causes like the neo- Nazis marching down the streets of Skokie, Illinois, refused to do it.

And the statement that they made, and I remember this well, (INAUDIBLE) Levy (ph) at the Pennsylvania "AP", she said, while you were at liberty to martyr yourself to religion, you are not at liberty to martyr your child.

And that ended the epidemic. Philadelphia was a feared destination. There were schools canceled trips to the city. People were afraid to come into the city.

And that's sort of where we are here. This virus is devastating. And when people choose not to get vaccinated, ultimately, I think they're going to have to be compelled to do it.

TAPPER: President Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, took a different tone this week and he tweeted: Vaccinations picking up -- about 790,000 in the past 24 hours per CDC report. It might be the biggest 24-hour period since early July. Thanks to everyone involved.

Obviously, he's trying to take a different approach. He's trying to talk positively.

What do you -- what do you make of that? Is it a little too Pollyanna for you?

OFFIT: I think he is whistling past the grave, as they say. I mean, the delta variant is remarkably contagious. I mean, the alpha variant, which certainly took over from that first variant, this variant is a hundred times more virus shed from the upper respiratory track than the alpha variant.

And we're heading into winter. I think that this is a confluence of events that is going to be tough. The delta variant, winter, and a relatively unvaccinated population, I think it's going to be a rough winter.

I hope we can have a vaccine for children before we hit late fall, early winter, meaning children 5 to 12 years of age, but we might not. If I was the parent of a 10-year-old right now, I'd be scared to send my child to school.

TAPPER: Well, I have an 11-year-old and we're all very concerned.

The White House says it supports an effort for more than 50 healthcare groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association to mandate all healthcare workers, all of them to be vaccinated. I assume based on what you're telling me that you agree.

OFFIT: Of course, especially healthcare workers. I mean, at our hospital, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, people who choose to work in our hospital are working around vulnerable population of hospitalized children, many of whom aren't going to be vaccinated either one, because they're too young and even if they're not too young, meaning 12 to 18 years of age, they may be too sick to get a vaccine.

So I think you have a responsibility there if you choose to work in that setting. I feel the same way about society. Remember, there are many people who can't be vaccinated in our society. They depend on those around them to protect them because they're getting cancer chemotherapy of biological agents for their chronic diseases. I think you -- as a member of society, you are responsible for them, too.

TAPPER: Yeah, Dr. Offit, I have to say, I've been interviewing you on this topic for about a year now. Tonally, you sound very frustrated and almost a little angry. Am I wrong?

OFFIT: Well, I think it's a lot angry. It is really frustrating to me that we have our ticket out of this mess. You get your golden ticket, which is a vaccine, and people are simply choosing not to do it invariably based on bad information or, worse, conspiracy theories.

TAPPER: Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much. Good to see you again, sir.

The chairman of Donald Trump's inaugural committee heckled as a traitor before pleading not guilty in federal court today. What could Tom Barrack know about the inner workings of the Trump White House?

And the January 6th committee set to begin its work tomorrow. I'll ask a committee member what could happen if the former president refuses to cooperate.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead today, with a GPS monitor bracelet tracking his every move, billionaire and longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack entered a not guilty plea in federal court this afternoon. The chairman of Trump's 2017 inaugural committee is charged with illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of the UAE and with making false statements to federal agents when asked about that alleged lobbying.

CNN's Paula Reid was at the hearing today. She joins me live from the federal courthouse in Brooklyn.

Paula, take us inside the courtroom. Did Mr. Barrack speak?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Barrack spoke little during this hearing, Jake. He entered his plea through his attorney, entered a plea of not guilty to these accusations that he was acting as a foreign agent on behalf of the United Arab Emirates and that he lied when asked about it by the FBI.

But when he left court, he was asked by a reporter how he thought things were going. Here's what he said.


TOM BARRACK, FORMER TRUMP INAUGURAL COMMITTEE CHAIR: As you'd expect, the system is working and it takes sometimes. But, I think we can all find that the evidence will be absolutely and (INAUDIBLE) disproven 100 percent.


REID: In addition to that brief statement, his spokesman also issued a paper statement and his lawyer addressed reporters, so it's clear, Jake, not only do they want to be heard inside the federal courthouse. They're also taking their arguments to the court of public opinion.

TAPPER: And, Paula, when Mr. Barrack was first arrested last week, prosecutors called him a serious flight risk, in part, because of his incredible wealth.


Besides the GPS monitor, what other restrictions are keeping Barrack from going anywhere?

REID: Look, to most people, these will seem like restrictions, small R, unless of course you are a billionaire used to having your own jet.

Now, among the restrictions is he has to fly commercial. He must submit any travel plans ahead of time. And his travel is limited to New York here, where his case is being tried, Colorado, where he has a primary home, and southern California where he has family.

He's also barred from transferring any money overseas, and his domestic transfers are limited to just $50,000.

Now, all of these restrictions will remain in place as he is out on bail. Ahead of his expected trial, his attorneys say not only is he not guilty, he intends to fight this. And according to my sources, Jake, he does not intend at this point to cooperate and enter into any kind of plea deal with the government.

TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid in Brooklyn, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Things are so twisted in Washington right now that a Cheney is being mocked by the House Republican leader as a Pelosi Republican.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Like too many of our nation's roads and bridges, infrastructure talks are crumbling on Capitol Hill. Democrats say Republicans are trying to move the goal posts. Republican Senator Mitt Romney says that's, quote, laughably false.

So with their latest self-imposed deadlines just days away, is there still hope for a bipartisan infrastructure deal?

CNN's Ryan Nobles is live for us on the Hill.

And, Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it clear he wants this done before the August recess, which is just days away. Is that possible?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the majority leader made it clear he is going to keep his fellow senators here until they reach a deal, even threatening that he could keep them here through the weekend and as you mentioned into that August recess because he really wants to see this bipartisan infrastructure deal get over the finish line.

But there was clearly a breakdown in communication over the weekend. Democrats offered up Republicans what they called a global offer, hoping to solve all the many differences the two sides had. But Republicans came back and said that that global offer went back on the deal that they had originally hatched. And that's why they're running into problems right now.

The two sides, though, are still talking. They're expected to meet later this afternoon to try and hash out some of these details. And the White House has signaled that they are not ready to back away from the table yet either.

So, there is optimism that a deal can be reached before they break for the recess. But, Jake, it is clear they still have a lot of work to do.

TAPPER: And, Ryan, tomorrow, this special House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection will hold its first hearing. There's still a chance, you say, that more Republicans could be added to the committee?

NOBLES: Well, Democrats have signaled that they are open to it. And the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not ruled it out. She's obviously already appointed Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger to this panel. They're the two obvious choices.

The problem for Pelosi may be that there aren't any other Republicans willing to take on the risk, the political risk of accepting an appointment from her. Pelosi has already said that she is willing to allow those three Republicans that were appointed by Kevin McCarthy to serve if they are willing. But McCarthy was the one who pulled them off the panel.

McCarthy and the rest of the rank and file Republicans, aside from Kinzinger and Cheney, have made it clear that they do not support this committee moving forward.

So even if Pelosi wanted more Republicans to serve, she may just have a hard time convincing one of them to take on that responsibility.

TAPPER: All right. And we're going to talk to one of those three House Republicans who was pulled from the committee by McCarthy coming up. Ryan Nobles, thanks so much.

But joining us right now, let's talk to a Democrat on the committee, congressman and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff.

So, Mr. Chairman, thanks so much for joining us. This special committee to investigate the insurrection on January 6th has been in preparation sessions today to get ready for tomorrow.

We have heard from lawmakers in both parties. We've heard from some of the police officers involved. We've seen dozens of videos from that day.

Are the American people going to learn anything new tomorrow?

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, I hope they'll get a much better sense of what it was like to be on the front lines that day, what these officers endured. The fact that many of them thought it was going to be their last day of life, that they were going to die defending the Capitol, and sustained grievous injuries. They'll see some footage that they've never seen before. But mostly, they'll hear these first-hand accounts, which, you know,

those of us that live and breathe this may be familiar with some of that. But most of the public is not. And it's all the more important now that people are trying to whitewash history and reinvent January 6th as some normal tourist day.

TAPPER: House Republican Leader McCarthy was at the White House for an event earlier today. I want to play you a little bit about what he said about Speaker Pelosi's decision to reject two of his five choices for the committee and his conversation with Speaker Pelosi about that decision. Take a listen.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: It just makes the whole committee a sham. So, the outcome is predetermined.

I think it's contentious, yeah, because I don't think -- I don't think -- the speaker doing something unprecedented to Congress, denying the ability to have thought process, denying a person who's a Navy veteran to Afghanistan, denying a ranking member who has the jurisdiction to oversee it.


TAPPER: So, just in case people couldn't hear, if you couldn't hear it, he said it just makes the whole committee a sham. So, the outcome is predetermined.

He said the conversation was contentious because the speaker was doing something unprecedented to Congress by denying these two individuals, one of whom was a Navy veteran to Afghanistan, as well as the ranking member who has jurisdiction to oversee it to be on the committee.


So, the question I have for you is, this is a bipartisan committee, because Pelosi has put Kinzinger and Cheney on the committee. There are seven Democrats, but how do you really, truly make this bipartisan in a way that convinces not just Democrats and the base, but the American people?

Are you in the Democratic majority, are you going to take extra care to listen to the advice of Cheney and Kinzinger about what they think is the best way to get the information out there?

SCHIFF: Oh, absolutely.

And in the discussions we have had so far, that's really been very much our approach, which is to work collaboratively. Look, this should not be a partisan endeavor. And I think the nine members that we have so far are all determined to get to the truth, not to make this a partisan thing.

And the proof will be in the product. If the hearings that we put on are good and thorough and objective, if the report that we develop and the evidence we find is objective and the recommendations are sound, we will be judged on that.

But McCarthy didn't want any investigation to go forward. He had a chance to embrace a commission that would have been five Democrats and five Republicans, without anyone, I think, having a veto, but he chose not to do that because Donald Trump didn't want it. And now he's complaining, well, the speaker is appointing a select committee.

Yes, that's the result of his obstructionism.

TAPPER: Moments ago, the chairman of this committee, Bennie Thompson, told "The Wall Street Journal" that your committee will not hesitate to subpoena your fellow members of Congress if you think it's necessary or Donald Trump.

So, potentially, theoretically, you would be willing to go to court to compel Kevin McCarthy or Jim Jordan or anyone else to testify, if you felt it was necessary?

SCHIFF: I think we should take whatever steps are necessary, including subpoena, going to court, contempt, enforcement through the Justice Department, whatever is necessary to get the truth, whatever is necessary to provide that exhaustive report.

Our goal and the gold standard is really the 9/11 Commission report. To the degree that witnesses don't willingly provide documents or are not willing to testify, and we have to compel them, then we need to do whatever's necessary to get to the truth.

TAPPER: The new Capitol Police chief stopped by the committee preparation session earlier today in order to -- quote -- "make sure things are safe and secure" -- unquote -- before the hearing tomorrow.

Have there been credible threats of violence or attempts to disrupt the hearing?

SCHIFF: Well, I don't know whether there have been specific threats vis-a-vis the hearing.

But, certainly, many of us that are on this committee, I have had to deal with numerous threats over the years, and those haven't stopped. And I think it's really, obviously, the goal of the sergeant at arms and the head of the Capitol Police to make sure that not only does this hearing go off safely, but that the members are safe throughout the course of their responsibilities.

TAPPER: You have said that you think it will be difficult for this select committee to finish your investigation by the end of the year.

When do you think you will be done?

SCHIFF: You know, Jake, that probably depends on what level of obstructionism we face.

As we have seen in prior investigations, those who didn't want to testify could string us out in the courts for long periods of time. Now, there are ways to combat that we didn't have in the last four years. But we're not completely in charge of the pace.

All I can tell you is, we have a sense of urgency about it. I don't think it's practical to think that we will be done in the few months remaining in this year. But I would hope that we could do it expeditiously and enforce whatever subpoenas are necessary, and do so in a time-sensitive way.

TAPPER: Is the committee going to be willing to look into why there was such inadequate security on January 6, even if that leads to questions about briefings to Speaker Pelosi or Senator Schumer? Are you willing to follow that evidence wherever it goes?

SCHIFF: We're certainly going to be following the evidence in terms of the security going into January 6, the intelligence leading up to it. Why didn't we have better intelligence? Was the intelligence that we had shared? Why wasn't it acted upon if it was shared?

The whole host of issues into why the Capitol was so vulnerable. But let's not mistake what's at issue in terms of Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi. I saw the same thing during the impeachment proceedings. This is the way of those who are not interested in getting at the truth to distract.

Let's call the speaker as a witness. Let's call Adam Schiff as a witness. Let's call the whistle-blower as a witness. We have been down this road before. It is just their effort to distract.


But we will certainly be looking into the security on that day, and making recommendations going forward how to make sure the Capitol is secure going forward.

TAPPER: One last thing about the use of Kinzinger and Cheney and any other Republicans you might get to join the committee is, I think a lot of people, a lot of observers, and I certainly was surprised when Adam Kinzinger, the congressman, Republican, who voted for impeaching President Trump in January, when he was eager to speak at length about why he was voting that way.

But Democrats did not offer him any more than the one minute that was being allotted every single other Democrat. And I thought, politically, just as an analysis, that that was a missed opportunity by Democrats to have a Republican take center stage to talk about these issues.

And I wonder if that's something that is in your mind when you think about the role of Kinzinger and Cheney?

SCHIFF: Well, I'm sure you're correct, Jake, but I'm not familiar with the circumstances around that speaking time.

But in terms of the select committee, I am certainly encouraged that we give our GOP colleagues ample time to make their views known, to make sure that they speak for Republicans who are interested in getting to the truth, of which there are millions around the country. So, yes, I -- we want to treat them as co-equals in this process, have

respect for their views and make sure that the many millions of Republicans they represent have a seat at the table.

TAPPER: Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California, thanks so much for your time, sir.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

TAPPER: Why China just warned the U.S. to stop playing with fire.

That's next.



TAPPER: In our world lead: Stop playing with fire.

That message delivered today by Chinese diplomats to Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman during a new round of high-level talks between the U.S. and China.

Senior national security correspondent Kylie Atwood is at the State Department for us.

Kylie, why are the Chinese so upset?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, what's really clear, Jake, is that Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was very precise in raising U.S. concerns about things that China has done in these meetings.

That's something that the Biden administration has clearly said they're going to do, in public and in private, raise these concerns. Now, according to the State Department readout, there were some specific topics that she mentioned, on human rights, the ongoing genocide in Xinjiang, concerns about the anti-democratic crackdowns in Hong Kong, concerns about what Beijing is doing in cyberspace, just to name a few.

So, clearly, these things that the Biden administration is bringing up in these meetings are getting under China's skin. Even before Wendy Sherman finished her meetings in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry was coming out and saying that there appears to be a whole-of- government, whole-of-society approach to bring down China, so they are clearly very concerned.

Now, the Biden administration is saying that their approach to China is multipronged. They think that they can come down on them, that they can voice concerns alongside allies over things that China is doing, and then they can simultaneously work with China on areas of potential mutual interests, things like Iran, nonproliferation, DPRK, Afghanistan.

The question is, can they be successful, particularly as China is clearly growing more and more concerned with the Biden administration and what they're saying?

And I just want to note that Wendy Sherman in an interview said that their discussions on some issues were substantive, but she said, we will have to see where that goes.

TAPPER: All right, CNN's Kylie Atwood at the State Department, thanks so much.

Also, in our world lead today, U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan is not entirely over after all. A top U.S. general serving notice that the U.S. intends to continue supporting Afghan forces with airstrikes on the Taliban, who are gaining control of that country.

As CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports, this comes as United Nations reports record civilian casualties, as U.S. forces withdraw and the Taliban surge.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 20-year U.S. war in Afghanistan isn't over just yet, the Biden administration now stepping up their strikes against the Taliban, hoping to bolster increasingly vulnerable Afghan forces.

GEN. KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND: The United States has increased airstrikes in the support of Afghan forces over the last several days. And we're prepared to continue this heightened level of support in the coming weeks if the Taliban continue their attacks.

STARR: Airstrikes have hit Taliban targets in Kandahar, a key stronghold where fighting has raged. Several strikes have been aimed at military equipment the Taliban captured from Afghan forces.

But can those Afghan units hang on against the Taliban, who now control half of all district centers? A grim assessment from the director of the CIA.

WILLIAM BURNS, CIA DIRECTOR: The Taliban are making significant military advances. They're probably in the strongest military position that they have been in since 2001.

STARR: The chairman of the Joint Chiefs says Afghan forces are trying to regroup and defend major cities.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Strategic momentum appears to be sort of with the Taliban.

There's a possibility of a complete Taliban takeover or a possibility of any number of other scenarios, breakdowns, warlordism, all kinds of other scenarios that are out there. We're monitoring very closely. I don't think the endgame is yet written.


STARR (voice-over): The price of Taliban violence doesn't end for the civilians. Nearly 2,400 Afghan civilians were killed or injured in May and June, according to the U.N., the highest number for those months since recordkeeping began in 2009.


STARR (on camera): So now the question may be, will U.S. airstrikes buy enough time for the Afghan forces to launch some kind of counter offensive that's effective against the Taliban, Jake?

TAPPER: That's effective is the key phrase there.

CNN's Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you so much.

Coming up, I don't think this is quite what the beach boys had in mind. But a new group of Olympic athletes going for the gold in waves. And CNN spoke with them exclusively.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Our sports lead now. Olympic athletes are already dealing with the pressures of performance and pandemic restrictions, extreme heat, being a world away from their families, and now, a typhoon is looming off the coast of Japan.

Now, to one brand new group of Olympians, that means the surf is going off, it's pumping. And CNN's Will Ripley got rare access to the U.S. Olympic surfing team as they make history at the Tokyo Games.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): About 90 minutes outside of Tokyo, the sleepy surf town of Ichinomiya, the vibe, Japanese with a touch of California and a sprinkle of Hawaii.

Carissa Moore studied Japanese in her hometown of Honolulu.

CARISSA MOORE, TEAM USA SURFER: I really wanted to show my appreciation. So I was practicing all morning and I wrote a little speech down. I think the Japanese people are definitely ambassadors of the aloha spirit.

RIPLEY: That aloha spirit, the coordination of mind and heart, Moore's mantra in life and sport. She has her own charitable foundation for the next generation of young female surfers. She's a four-time World Surf League champion.

MOORE: It's easy to get too far ahead of yourself when you think about how big it is.

RIPLEY: Moore is one of two female surfers making Olympic history for Team USA.

CAROLINE MARKS, TEAM USA SURFER: It's just really fun. They have a lot of experience and it's fun to kind of soak that all in.

RIPLEY: Caroline Marks from Florida is not even 20. She was surfing at 10.

To be an Olympian at your age, how do you top this?

MARKS: I mean, I don't know. I, like, love surfing so much. I have tons of goals. But right now I'm just trying to live in the moment and enjoy this.

RIPLEY: While popular here in Japan, Chiba prefecture is not exactly known as a global surfing destination, but these Summer Games cements its place in Olympic history.

International recognition for the sport, a long time coming says the CEO of Surfing USA.

GREG CRUSE, CEO, USA SURFING: When I was in high school, surfing was a counterculture sport. I would go to take a girl out, and she'd tell her dad that I was a surfer. And it was, like, oh, my God.

RIPLEY: Today, the biggest surfing stars can make millions. And the biggest name on Team USA, John John Florence, world famous for his powerful barrel riding, an aerial tricks tailored made for the towering waves of his home state.

JOHN JOHN FLORENCE, TEAM USA SURFER: I grew up in Hawaii. We have a lot of power in the waves.

RIPLEY: Japan's waves, relatively tame by comparison.

So, in some ways, it's harder when it's like this.

FLORENCE: Yeah. For me, I find it a lot harder in the smaller waves.

RIPLEY: Florence and the team have been training intensively in this world-class wave pool. There were whispers of moving the Olympic competition to PerfectSwell Shizunami, but a typhoon in the region is serving up some even sweeter swell on the coast -- an Olympic dream becoming reality on the black sands of Japan.


RIPLEY (on camera): So, Jake, the typhoon is moving in faster than they had predicted. So the rain's kind of coming at me sideways and from behind, which is quite a nice experience at 5:00 what are it is in the morning here. So, the surfing competition they've also had to move up by a day. I don't know how this is supposedly great surfing weather, but they are super, as they would say, stoked, that the waves are going to be bigger because of this typhoon.

TAPPER: All right, Will, in Tokyo, stay dry and safe. Thanks so much.

RIPLEY: It's too late for staying dry, but yeah, I'll stay safe away from the surf.

TAPPER: All right. That sounds good.

The January 6th committee will hold its first hearings tomorrow. Coming up, I'm going to speak to a Republican who was picked and then pulled from the committee.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, coronavirus is surging in unvaccinated hot spots throughout the United States. We'll talk to a state health official who calls what she's seeing disturbing.

Plus, withdrawing from Afghanistan. And now, this afternoon, President Biden announces the U.S. military will end its combat mission in Iraq. The implications ahead.

And leading this hour, tomorrow will be the first hearing of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection and what went wrong in that deadly day.

CNN talked to some of the law enforcement officers who are sharing their harrowing stories from inside the violence. And we'll discuss with one of the Republican lawmakers who was initially named to that panel before Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy yanked his Republican picks from the committee.

But first, the tension overshadowing this committee between Speaker Pelosi and Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

CNN's Manu Raju is live for us on Capitol Hill.

And, Manu, you're learning about this heated phone call between the two congressional leaders. Tell us more.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Last week when Nancy Pelosi made that decision to pull back to reject two of McCarthy's picks Jim Jordan and Jim Banks because of her contention that they would undermine the integrity of the investigation, the two had a contentious phone call, sign of just their deteriorating relationship between the two leaders, voices were rising.