Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

"Washington Post:" Trump Lawyer Tells Allies Not To Comply With Subpoenas From January 6 Committee; Interview With Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL); Pfizer Seeks FDA Authorization Of COVID Vaccine For Kids 5-11; Reuters Investigation: AT&T Helped Build Far-Right One America News; Congress Hears From Ex-Envoy Who Quit Over "Inhumane" Deportations. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 07, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone threatened to quit.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL), CHAIRMAN, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: It was Cipollone, who spoke up and said that he thought that this scenario and what they were trying to achieve was a murder suicide pact and the president should not do it.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The committee's report is the most comprehensive account so far of Trump's wide-ranging plot. New revelations include accounts from inside the Oval Office on January 3, when Trump blamed former U.S. Attorney B.J. Pak for failing to find mass election fraud in Georgia and wanted him fired. That prompted Acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue to call Pak that night to tell him to preemptively resign, which he did.

Republicans have already issued a rebuttal to the report dismissing the idea that Trump was attempting a coup, noting that ultimately, no action was taken by the DOJ.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA), RANKING MEMBER, JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: So President Trump assembled a bunch of people in his office, and they discussed what they ought to do.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): There is still more to find out, the committee is still waiting for records from the National Archives, which could shed more light on the pressure campaign coming from inside the White House. And Democrats say Jeffrey Clark has not yet agreed to interview.

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER PERSONAL LAWYER TO FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP: This has been a massive attack on the integrity of the voting system in the greatest democracy on earth.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Meanwhile, new court documents revealed Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies testified under oath that they did little to verify these false election fraud claims before blasting them out to the public. In a sworn deposition, Giuliani acknowledged he did not have all the facts before falsely accusing a Dominion voting systems executive of changing votes for Joe Biden defending it this way, saying, "We didn't pronounce him guilty. We laid out the facts that we had."

And all of this as the former President continues to insist the election was rigged, Trump released a statement criticizing the work of January 6 select committee saying lawmakers should conclude "that the real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the presidential election not on January 6."


SCHNEIDER: And the select committee just issued two new rounds of subpoenas to more people involved in planning the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 6, that was a precursor to the Capitol attack. One of the subpoenas is to the "Stop the Steal" group leader, Ali Alexander.

He actually previously claimed that he worked closely with Republican congressmen planning the rally, and that he communicated with the White House. And Jake, of course, all of those major points of interest for the select committee moving forward. Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. He's the Senate Majority Whip, and he's the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that just released this report.

Senator, thanks for joining us.

I'll get to your report in a moment. But I want to get your reaction to this breaking news from "The Washington Post," that former President Trump is telling his aides to not comply with the House's special committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, which has subpoenaed those four aides. And clearly this shouldn't surprise you, and I'm sure it doesn't. Do you think this is grounds, however, for charges against Trump and these aides of obstruction of Congress?

DURBIN: Let's take it one step at a time. I don't think Mr. Trump's aides are ever going to ask me for advice. But I would suggest modestly follow the law instead of the ravings of this former president. He is -- doesn't have the power to pardon you anymore. And probably I hope never will, again. And be careful, follow the law, even if the president is begging you to stay away because of the evidence that you might present.

TAPPER: What about holding them in contempt of Congress or holding former President Trump?

DURBIN: I'm not going to jump ahead of that script here. I think it's up to the select committee to issue the subpoenas and to react to witnesses and whether they comply with them. I'm not going to presume the outcome of that. I'll let them take care of that.

TAPPER: So let's turn to your report, which is rather stunning, it lays out some just very upsetting claims made by former Trump officials, including the acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, but is anything in here that was done by President Trump or DOJ official Jeffrey Clark or anyone else, actually a violation of a law?

DURBIN: I can't tell you, Jake, whether it's a specific law that was violated, but I can tell you this for sure, we were a half step away from a constitutional crisis, the likes of which this nation has never seen. Think back on this, November 3 election, Trump disputes the results, refuses to accept, goes to 50 or 60 courts across the United States to make his case, flops and fails and every single one of them.

Next step, let's go to the Department of Justice. He's got a new Attorney General, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen calls him immediately. And as the record we presented shows on nine different occasions, either on the phone or calling him into the White House is badgering this man to buy into the big lie theory. Gives him these crazy theories of vote fraud generated by, none other than, Rudy Giuliani and others off the internet. And Rosen just basically says, no, they're not credible. I'm not going to do it.


Then comes the moment where Trump basically threatens to take away his title as Attorney General and put his buddy, Jeffrey Clark, in the position. I want to tell you at that moment, January 3rd or fourth of this year, it was a critical moment in our nation's history.

Thank goodness the president relented at the last second. His own counsel, Pat Cipollone, basically said it was a murder suicide pack that he was considering, and that there are going to be resignations all across the country if he did anything this radical, that the president was prepared to do this up until the very last minute.

TAPPER: So, as you know, Republicans on your committee put out a rebuttal to your report, their top list -- the top listed defense of President Trump is, quote, "President Trump listened to his advisors, including high-level Department of Justice officials and White House counsel and follow their recommendations," unquote. In other words, they're saying whatever they talked about doing, they didn't ultimately actually do. How do you respond?

DURBIN: If I could put that in simple terms, I believe what they're saying, well, it wasn't a coup was only an attempted coup. Well, that's the basic evidence before us. It was an attempt by the president of United States to persuade the Attorney General to do something unprecedented in American history, and without any support in the law. And he failed in that effort. But he sure as hell tried nine different occasions relentlessly badgering this acting Attorney General, thank goodness, he stood his ground.

TAPPER: I mean, I don't disagree with what you're saying. And the report is alarming, it adds new, shocking details to what we already knew. But I guess my question is, now what, what are you going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again?

This doesn't have to do with, for instance, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, this is about corrupt officials abusing their power, and attempting or discussing disenfranchising millions of Americans. What are you going to do?

DURBIN: Well, some things have already been done. Merrick Garland, the new Attorney General, has established new standards for communication between the White House and the Department of Justice.

The last time we took a serious look at this, there was a president named Nixon in office, and we were in the middle of Watergate, but it's time to take a look at the standards of communications. Mark Meadows, every time some harebrained theory would cross his desk was calling the acting Attorney General saying, here's proof positive investigate this one. Well, those sorts of things go way beyond the bounds of what we thought were the establish standards.

The second thing is, to say that the Department of Justice has no business trying to change the outcome of an election in the United States, go after alleged illegality, for sure, but changing the outcome of the election, hold back. That's just way too far.

TAPPER: Right. But I guess one of the things that the Trump era, and especially the last few months of the Trump presidency revealed to the nation is how much of our system here in the United States depends on the honor system. And if there is a group of political leaders who have no honor, that's not going to work. So, what more can be done?

DURBIN: I'll tell you what happened here, Jeffrey Rosen was the Deputy Attorney General and I questioned whether he was ready for that job based on his background. Then came the time when he was actually the acting Attorney General for a long period of time, he stood his ground. And that really is at the core of a functioning democracy.

People are willing to stand up for principle, even under weathering political criticism. And how bad could it have been to get a telephone call after a telephone call from the president of United States?

TAPPER: Yes, but that's my point. I mean, the Liz Cheneys and Adam Kinzingers over there are the minority. Brad Raffensperger is about to lose his job possibly as Secretary of State in Georgia to Jody Hice, a congressman who was all in on the big lie. I mean, they're preparing to do it again.

DURBIN: History is going to be kind to these people, I'm certain of it. And when it's all over, that's really a measure of public service.


DURBIN: Did you stand up for principle and value even if the risk of losing an election? I think many of these people will be treated very well by history.

TAPPER: Histories written by the winner. So I guess we'll see.

Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Would criminal charges against Trump allies somehow help the party of Trump in a year or so? We'll talk about that, next.

And closer to a vaccine for kids, Pfizer going to the FDA. Could they have shots in little arms by Halloween? Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with the breaking news in our politics lead while the House Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol, issuing a new round of subpoenas today, President Trump through his attorney is instructing some of those former advisors such as former chief of staff Mark Meadows and Steve Bannon to not cooperate with congressional investigators. That's according to "The Washington Post."

Let's discuss. Carrie, let me start with you as the lawyer on the team here. The deadline for these -- for Trump allies Meadows, Kash Patel, Steve Bannon and Scavino, Dan Scavino, who they can't even find, for them to comply with the subpoenas. It's tonight. Trump is saying, according to "The Post," don't cooperate. How do you see this playing out?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Look, this is going to be the test for this January 6 committee and for the chairman and for the vice chair, how far are they willing to go in order to enforce their authority and provide for the authority of Congress to conduct this investigation.

TAPPER: What's the (INAUDIBLE) they should do?

CORDERO: The question is, is are they going to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department for contempt or even potentially for obstruction? They have a credible investigation. The vehicle for them to enforce it is that they make a criminal referral to the Justice Department and then it would be on the Justice Department to enforce that.


Congress does have an inherent contempt ability. I think it's very rare and it would be unusual that Congress would go that route. But they have the ability to go to the Justice Department, and we're just going to see how serious they are about getting the cooperation of these individuals.

TAPPER: And this is actually Congressman Jason Crow, Democrat of Colorado from a swing district outside Denver, I think, he has said a similar thing. So we're going to take a listen.


REP. JASON CROW (D), COLORADO: They continue to disregard the subpoenas, I'm going to highly encourage the authorities to pursue criminal contempt. If you refuse this subpoena. There are consequences for you. So they're darn well should be consequences for the president and his top enablers and (INAUDIBLE).


TAPPER: I have to say, I think the Biden ministration would do this.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's very possible. And I think that this is the real question facing the Justice Department, as well as this Select Committee, is what does accountability actually look like? Because, you know, the reason that they're subpoenaing documents from these witnesses is because they want to get a clearer picture of people who are, you know, associates of Trump within the campaign, within the administration, and get a sense of what the engagement had been like with the organizers of this "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the insurrection at the Capitol?

How much did the officials in the White House in the Trump campaign who were close to the former president, how much did they know about the events that led up to January 6, as well as everything that followed?

And I think one of the issues that the committee has struggled with is, you know, what will result from this? How do you prevent it from actually happening again? And so, that is really what a lot of this ultimately comes down to is, you know, it's not just about investigating and producing a report, it's actually coming up with some kind of meaningful consequences so that you don't end up with another constitutional crisis, especially since former President Trump may well run for office again --

TAPPER: Oh, yes.

SIDDIQUI: -- and may well be in the White House again.

TAPPER: Oh, yes, absolutely.

And Olivier, I was -- I have to admit, I am still capable of being shocked, if not surprised, and the fealty shown by the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Ranking Republican Chuck Grassley, who in the past has stood up for moral causes, has been one of the biggest boosters of whistleblowers in the history of the Congress, out there saying, you know, yes, he -- basically -- this I'm paraphrasing, yes, President Trump talked about committing a coup, but he didn't really actually do it. And you have something you call the Sideshow Bob defense.

OLIVIER KNOX, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, the Sideshow Bob defense drawn from the animated series, The Simpsons. The Sideshow Bob, one of the show's villains is imprisoned for trying to kill Bart Simpson. In one scene, he shot on the phone angrily deploring his fate saying, attempted murder, what even is that? Do they give out a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?

The idea being that if he wasn't able, he was thwarted in his efforts to kill Bart, therefore, he's innocent. Obviously, the two are not the same. What I will say about this argument from Republicans is it's not new. It's been bubbling up. You've been seeing it from conservatives on social media for months and months. The idea that because ultimately Donald Trump did not trigger this replacement, did not replace the acting Attorney General with a loyalist, leading to this mass wave of threatened resignations, that they didn't pull the trigger is somehow exonerated, which I think would get a skeptical hearing in Congress.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, the president had a lit match, and he sat there for three hours and he talked to the assembled in the Oval Office. Imagine that scene. And they finally said to him, you can't do it, Pat Cipollone, White House Counsel, it would be a murder suicide, and they extinguished it.

But he was ready to throw it. He was ready to do it. He wanted to do it. We know that.

But in the end, he probably made a political decision, not a legal decision, he probably had a political decision that it would cause too much of a stir just like he didn't fire Bob Mueller, right? Same thing. I don't want the political ramifications, so I'm not going to do it. But he didn't do it for ethical reasons, believe me.

SIDDIQUI: And it's well documented that former President Trump was not just pressuring top officials in the Justice Department to help him overturn the election. He was pressuring state and local officials --


SIDDIQUI: -- in Georgia --

BORGER: Right.

SIDDIQUI: -- in Arizona, he was pressuring numbers --

BORGER: Dozens.

SIDDIQUI: -- Congress, his own former Vice President Mike Pence. He was pressuring him not to certify the election on January 6. And so, you know, to Olivier's point, I think for Republicans, what they're really trying to do is separate Trump from, you know, what really was a crisis of his own making.

And you know, a lot of it has to do with, of course, tactics going into the midterms, Republican voters overwhelmingly now believe that this election was fraudulent despite that being a completely baseless theory and it just really enforces the kind of grip that Trump still has for the party that you're going to see them put out a rebuttal for what has been widely documented as being very much, you know, floated by former President Trump and his allies for months.



BORGER: Yes. TAPPER: But here's the thing Carrie, there are about 12 or 15 Republican officials from Aaron Landgraf (ph) up in Michigan, the Wayne County Canvassing Board to Bill Gates, the Vice Chair of the Maricopa County Board to Schmidt (ph) in Philly to Raffensperger in Georgia, Jeffrey Rosen, we're hearing, they're just -- 12 of them or something like that, that if they had just been weaker people or different people in those jobs, this would have been a stolen election. What can Congress do to stop it so it doesn't happen again?

CORDERO: Well, there's a political process here. And so, I think part of this is about future elections and who gets elected into these positions. Now the January 6 committee is saying that they're thinking about what laws maybe that they could pass that would prevent this.

But I think there's two pieces that were -- that constantly fall out of this conversation. One is that President Trump was impeached for this. I mean, there was actually an impeachment trial, everybody, you know, here covered it. And he was impeached for inciting an insurrection. Congress chose -- the Senate chose not to convict on that. And that was the political consequence for the actions that this report is describing.

The second piece is that, but for certain acts that happened on January 6, this would have been a different outcome.

TAPPER: Right.

CORDERO: It's not really --

BORGER: Right.

CORDERO: -- a punchline. It's that people were killed that day. And it's that -- but for the actions of Eugene Goodman, pointing people in a different direction, the actions of people who protected certain members of Congress, this could have been the courage in the moment of Mike Pence not to subsume to the pressure that was being placed on him --


CORDERO: -- this would have been a completely different outcome.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: But isn't this a little different, because what the president was trying to do in dozens of cases, and including in the Oval Office was commit election fraud. What he was trying to do was pressure people to change the results.


BORGER: And the insurrection was a part of that. But what the president was doing was as president of the United States, he was trying to put himself in office.

CORDERO: He was trying to subvert the constitutional -- BORGER: Right.

CORDERO: -- process of a peaceful --

TAPPER: Right.

CORDERO: -- we didn't have a peaceful transfer of power.

TAPPER: Right.

CORDERO: We had a transfer of power that had violence in it.

BORGER: And he can say I never constantly (ph) we would, because he never would promise a peaceful transfer of power.

KNOX: Right. And one thing about the Senate report is, you know, there are two tracks to his efforts here. There's the public track, which is the months and months and months of sowing doubt that mail in ballots would be legitimate --

TAPPER: Right.

KNOX: -- so doubt about the election. There's this public part of it. Obviously, January 6, is a huge part of the public effort. This report and a lot of reporting that we've seen in just the last couple of weeks, whether it's the Eastman memo, which are prominent conservative lawyer, basically laid out a step-by-step process --

TAPPER: Yes, how to coup.

KNOX: Right. There's a private part of this. And so we're seeing these two track now develop.

We've all watched the public part, we have all seen the public park. It was unmissable. And now we're getting a lot more. And that's what January -- that's why this committee is so important, because what they're trying to flesh out is the connections between people inside the West Wing and people on the lawn and marching down Pennsylvania Avenue to Congress.

TAPPER: And it's just incredible. Again, Chuck Grassley, the top Republican, Trump had everyone in the White House to discuss that, unanimously except for one, they said you shouldn't do what the one lawyer said he thought the president to do. The president rejected that. The President did the right thing.

That is a very, very generous to the point of delusional reflection of what actually happens.

BORGER: For three hours he tried to talk them out of it, right? And wanted to do the wrong thing.

TAPPER: And he tried to -- he told the Justice Department nine times to undermine the results of the election. Nine times.

BORGER: And told dozens of officials around the country. SIDDIQUI: Right. And former President Trump's inability to overturn the election is not for lack of trying.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: Right.

SIDDIQUI: And Republicans are aware of it. What's so striking about it is Republicans were equally in danger along with Democrats on January 6 when rioters stormed the Capitol, had every intention of inflicting violence on members of Congress, on former Vice President Mike Pence. But again, for President Trump is the figurehead of the Republican Party.


SIDDIQUI: And, you know, they've already made their bed, and now they just -- this is a never-ending cycle that we've been talking about for the last six years. And because January 6, and the idea of election is fraudulent is so central to Trumpism, Republicans are going to continue to go along with that.

TAPPER: And the last point I'll make on this is, it is unbelievable how many of the Republicans who are pretending this was normal, who are pretending this didn't happen or pretending that there was fraud or whatever, unbelievable how many of them who are participating in this lie to their voters were on the same ballots, were elected by the same people, the same day, but somehow their elections were fine. Absolutely fine.

Thanks for one and all. Appreciate it.

Pfizer asks the FDA to authorize its vaccines for young kids. So when can the shots start going into those little arms? Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our health lead now, Pfizer says it is seeking FDA emergency use authorization for its COVID vaccine for young children ages five to 11. The White House says this is a really important next step in the fight against COVID.

CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me now to discuss.

So, Elizabeth, what happens next? When will we see shots going into young children's arms?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake it actually could be quite soon. I think to get an idea for how long it will take from today when they applied for that emergency use authorization until the time when shots will go into children's arms. We can actually take a listen -- a lesson, rather, from what happened with adults when the same thing happened at the end of last year. [17:30:00]

Pfizer applied for Emergency Use Authorization. And really within weeks, shots were going into people's arms. So let's take a look. So, if we look at what's happening now, FDA advisors will meet about the children's vaccine on October 26. So that is, you know, right around the corner.

For adults, the CDC gave the vaccine the green light two days after the FDA advisors met. So in other words, two days from the equivalent of October 26th, the CDC said, let's go and people were getting shot. So really, that is, you know, quite amazing. I'm not saying it'll happen exactly that way, but it really happened quite quickly.

Now, the big question is, if we remember at the end of last year, the rollout to get shots into people's arms did not go so smoothly, it was really quite a bit of a mess for quite a while. The thinking is that that won't happen this time. Let's take a listen to Jeff Zients, who is the head of the White House COVID-19 response team.


JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We are ready. We have the supply. We're working with states to set up convenient locations for parents and kids to get vaccinated, including pediatricians offices and community sites. So we'll be ready depending the CDC and FDA action.


COHEN: So in other words, the structure is already there because adults have been getting vaccines for quite some time now. Also, pediatricians are great at giving vaccines, they're great at ordering them, they're great at giving them that's not true for all doctors. So all signs are that this will be much smoother. Jake?

TAPPER: Former FDA Commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, he predicted that this vaccine along with the authorization of the anti-viral pill from Merck pharmaceuticals, that this could essentially mean the end of this phase and the pandemic. But I know not everyone agrees with that. What do we know?

COHEN: Yes. I think what Dr. Gottlieb was saying is a little bit controversial because we don't -- nobody has a crystal ball. In June, everyone felt like this was kind of ending and then the Delta variant came around. Let's take a listen to what Dr. Gottlieb had to say.


SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER, PFIZER BOARD MEMBER: We're going to have hopefully a vaccine available for children.


GOTTLIEB: And at some point before the end of the year, we probably will have the orally available drug from Merck, if things go well, and that undergoes a table review (ph). And I think those two things are going to be sort of the bookend on the sort of pandemic phase of this virus and we're going to be entering the more endemic phase --


COHEN: Now not everyone is quite as optimistic as Dr. Gottlieb. I guess, we shall see. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

New details about how a major corporation played a key role in the birth of a far-right media conspiracy theory channel. We're going to follow the money, that's next.



TAPPER: In our money lead, we're following the money. The money behind One America News Network or OANN, the ultra-far-right cable network that's a major source of lies masquerading as facts. A new Reuters' investigation based on a review of court records reveals that OANN has flourished, thanks to financial support from a surprising mainstream source, AT&T. Yes, the same AT&T that owns WarnerMedia, the parent company of CNN.

First a little background. Robert Herring, a businessman with no prior journalism experience created OANN in 2013. Two years later, the channel began to gain a following by live streaming then presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rallies. These days, it has become one of the main peddlers of Trump world lies.


CHRISTINA BOBB, OANN HOST: Trump won the election. He'll win the recount. He'll win in court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, Joe Biden is pretending to be the president-elect.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, hear at One American News, are the only ones providing truthful, accurate numbers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're at the top of your game, what's your secret?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OAN has been fantastic, I mean, really fantastic. They've been great.


TAPPER: A live stream from the upside down. With us now CNN Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy and John Shiffman, who broke this story for Reuters. John, let's start with you. Take us through the money trail. AT&T executives in 2013 asked Robert Herring to form a conservative news channel. Did they envision this live stream of crack pottery?

JOHN SHIFFMAN, REUTERS REPORTER: I'm not sure what they envisioned. I know that the depositions that we found showed that Robert Herring testified and his son also said in court records that AT&T executives came to him -- to them, and they were talking about alternative networks.

And Herring for considering a news network or a boxing network. And when the executives told them that a conservative news network would be the way to go, Herring says he jumped at the opportunity and that's why he created One American News.

TAPPER: Yes, of course, OAN --

SHIFFMAN: He also said --

TAPPER: Go ahead.

SHIFFMAN: Sorry, he also said the other reason was because he wanted to make money.

TAPPER: Yes, I mean, the problem is, of course, OANN is not a conservative news network, it's lies. You also say, without the tens of millions of dollars that OANN gets from the satellite TV provider DIRECTV, they would have no revenue, they would likely go out of business. And just to be clear on this, AT&T owned DIRECTV then last August it's spun it off, but AT&T still retains a 70 percent stake in the new company. In other words, AT&T is still keeping this network alive.

SHIFFMAN: Well, what was remarkable was when I found a transcript of their own lawyer, OAN's own lawyer saying that if the DIRECTV contract with AT&T and OAN was not renewed, they would go out of business tomorrow.

TAPPER: Oliver, you've been working your sources since John's report in Reuters came out, what's AT&T's reaction to this report?


OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Well Jake, AT&T put out a pretty lengthy statement yesterday. It really doesn't address a lot of the substance in the reporting at hand. But I do want to read it to you. It says, in part, "AT&T has never had a financial interest in OAN's success and does not fund OAN."

The statement goes on to say that, "DIRECTV offers a wide variety of programming, including many news channels that offer a variety of viewpoints, but it does not dictate or control programming on the channels. Any suggestion otherwise is false."

Of course, Jake, that does quite sanitize what OAN is. It's not a news channel, it's a conspiracy network. And I'm not really sure why they're comparing it to here.

TAPPER: It's weird because AT&T is so supportive of the work at CNN, where we report the news and we have been fighting off this wave of conspiracy theories and lies. It's dispiriting to know that they're doing this.

And, you know, Oliver, this week, we've devoted a lot of time to covering the whistle-blower who says Facebook is prioritizing profits, over stopping misinformation that hurts people. This is pretty close to the same thing.

DARCY: Yes, Jake. I think we're finally starting to have a conversation about the companies behind the scenes that allow outlets like OAN to profit off of lies. We talked about this earlier this week, like you said with Facebook, and how that platform allows for the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

But it's also good that we're talking about it in the realm of television, because an outlet like OAN would not be allowed to spread this sort of hate and wackiness to millions of homes if not for a company like AT&T that's choosing to do business with them and, frankly, enable and platform them.

And Jake, this is important because we've seen the damage that these crazy conspiracy theories can do. Whether it's regarding the big lie in January 6 or vaccines and the coronavirus pandemic. These lies are corrosive to our country. They're damaging to our democracy, and they're being enabled by companies like AT&T.

TAPPER: John, is AT&T is making a lot of money off of this? I'm still not entirely sure why they're doing this.

SHIFFMAN: I'm not sure how much they're making off of their relationship with OAN, I can't say. But I can say to follow up on your colleague's point, we found that there was an OAN viewer, a woman who said that she got most of our news from OAN and then she sent a threatening email to the Colorado secretary of state that -- as Colorado secretary of state to very seriously. It was a kin to a death threat. So what the media publishes can definitely have consequences.

TAPPER: All right, John Shiffman, Oliver Darcy with that dispiriting news, thank you so much. We're the following the money. We appreciate John leading the way.

Coming up, he said enough after the mass deportation of Haitian migrants on the border. The special envoy to Haiti quit the Biden administration. Well, he's now speaking to Congress. That's next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, this afternoon, members of Congress heard from Daniel Foote. Who is Daniel Foote, you ask, well, he is the former U.S. envoy to Haiti. He resigned last month in protest of the treatment of refugees along the Texas-Mexico border by the Biden administration.

Let's bring in CNN's Priscilla Alvarez. So Priscilla, in his resignation letter, Foote famously blasted the Biden administration for what he called inhumane, counterproductive decision to deport thousands of Haitian migrants who had crossed the border from Mexico into Texas. So what did he have to say today?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, he repeated that, but this time in front of members of Congress. I mean, the theme of this hearing was the deteriorating situation in Haiti. This is a country rattled by an earthquake this year and the assassination of its president. So it is not a country that is prepared to receive migrants and Foote took that head on. Take a listen.


DANIEL FOOTE, FORMER U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO HAITI: Haiti's government and Haiti is a country cannot support the people it has their right now. The last thing they need is desperate people without anything to their names, because they've just spent everything trying to get the state back, and there's no safety net. It's just a recipe for human tragedy.


ALVAREZ: And he called this a human tragedy.


ALVAREZ: And the Democrats and Republicans in this hearing, they reiterated that, and it was a bipartisan criticism of the administration's actions.

TAPPER: So does the Biden administration plan to change course on their decision to deport Haitian migrants who come to the United States? Many of whom, by the way, haven't been in Haiti in a decade because they fled after the 2010 earthquake I think it was?

ALVAREZ: That's right. They've been in South America for many years. And the short answer to that question is no. The Biden administration is hanging on to that public health authority that allows them to swiftly expel migrants including Haitians back to Haiti.

Now, a Homeland Security spokesperson tells me that they anticipate that flights are going to slowly decrease as less Haitian migrants come to the border. But they're hanging on to this authority not only publicly, but in court. And I should note too, that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will be in Mexico this week, and immigration enforcement is expected to come up then as well.


TAPPER: You said that it's a bipartisan condemnation of the Biden administration, but would you also agree that there are people that -- in Congress and in the media who might be a little bit more exercised right now if this was going on under Trump as opposed to Biden?

ALVAREZ: That's a great question, and that is a question that actually comes up in the hearings. And Republicans and Democrats are going to use either administration to condemn the policies. In fact, we saw this on the border yesterday with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who said, the Biden administration needs to bring back Trump era policies.

But the reality is, the Trump era policies are still in place. These are crises that keep happening and they're being aggravated by the COVID pandemic and the mixed messages being sent by the administration.

TAPPER: And the fact that people just want to blame and not solve. Priscilla Alvarez, thanks so much.

Coming up next, to look at a rising problem that is personal for one particular journalist. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, CNN is bringing you an all new season of "This is Life with Lisa Ling". And this time around, Lisa is taking a deep dive on some of the most challenging issues that have defined this past tumultuous year. The first episode, we'll look at the recent rise in anti-Asian and anti-Asian-American hate crimes and how this is rooted in a long ugly history of discrimination in this country.


LISA LING, CNN HOST, "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING": Mr. Chang (ph), this is where your car was parked here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, so my car, they burned it here. Plus you see -- you can see black.

LING: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see, right? Burned on the street too. Black, yes, and dirty. See?

LING: So when you come out of your house and you see this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, what happened in my car. Who do my car? And fire department coming but too late.

LING: Which is sad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I said, I like no.

LING: So the only cars that burned that night was your car and another Asian man's car?


LING: Do you think it may have to do with the fact that you are Asian?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. 100 percent, I don't know. Who did fun of the car, we don't know. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: So sad. Joining us now is the host of "This is Life", Lisa Ling. Lisa, obviously, this is deeply personal episode for you. And in the episode, you talk about how you have faced discrimination and said you, quote, hated being Chinese, when you were very young. What were you hoping to uncover with this episode?

LING: Well, Jake, this season, our Season 8, we're doing something a little different, which is we are grounding every one of our episodes in a moment in American history, that didn't make it into the history books. Because so often, you can make a connection to those moments and what we're experiencing today.

And we highlight the story of Vincent Chin, who was a young Chinese- American man who, in the 1980s, during the economic downturn, particularly in the automobile industry in Detroit, was accused of being Japanese by two out of work autoworkers in a bar, and they got into an altercation.

The two men were kicked out of the bar, they waited for Vincent Chin. When he left, they chased him down and beat him to death with a baseball bat. And the two men did not serve a day in jail or prison, they paid like a $3,000 fine and served a number of months on probation.

And when you look at what's been happening in the last year and a half since COVID became rooted here, there are some similarities. The Asian community has been scapegoated.

And the virus has been weaponized against the community and attacks against Asian people has increased over 1,000 percent. And so, it's so important to recognize that this is a pattern of discrimination and abuse that Asians have dealt with, that goes back even longer, more than a century.

And so many of these episodes that are part of the season, give us a sense of of how those events impacted where we are today. And it's interesting, Jake, that one of the fiercest debates going on in government, in local legislators, in school boards, in homes, is about the telling of history and what kinds of history to teach our kids. Because we know that history is told through a certain lens.

And I for one, never learned anything about Asian-American in school -- Asian-American history in school. And when that happens, it becomes really easy to overlook and even dehumanize an entire population.

TAPPER: Tell us more about other subjects you have in store for this season.

LING: Well, we'll be looking into the roots of conspiracy theories in this country, which I know is a big topic for so many of us. We will look into this period in the 1950s when gay people were considered to be a threat to our national security. And we also look into a race riot that happened in Chicago in '19. And we draw the connection between what's happening in the streets of Chicago today. TAPPER: Can't wait to watch. Lisa Ling, thank you so much. So important that show in this series. The new season starts, "This is Life with Lisa Ling" premieres Sunday night, 10:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN. Congratulations, Lisa.

You can follow me on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to The Lead wherever you get your podcasts. All two hours, it's right there for you.

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