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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Won't Assert Privilege Over Trump Docs Sought By Jan 6 Committee; Biden Faces Disappointing Jobs Report, Stalled Agenda; Bipartisan Criticism After Schumer Goes After GOP in Speech; Doctor: COVID Cases Falling, But "We're Still in Two Americas"; Dozens Dead and Wounded in Suicide Bombing at Afghan Mosque; Jan 6 Committee Considering Criminal Contempt Referral. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Steve Bannon, defiant for you now. But Liz Cheney is out there saying, OK, get ready for a perp walk, buddy.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Breaking today, President Biden making a move that might leave Donald Trump very few options as at the same time the alt-right Rasputin who helped Trump win the White House gives the finger to Congress and to the rule of law.

What a drag. The latest jobs report delivering dismally underperforming numbers. President Biden saying COVID cases went up and job growth went down, but is it really that simple?

Plus, more carnage in Afghanistan. A blast at a Shiite mosque killing and wounding dozens after the U.S. leaves and ISIS spreads.

Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin today with breaking news in the politics lead. A bold move from the Biden White House, minutes after the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection threatened Donald Trump allies with possible criminal charges. First, Steve Bannon, former President Trump senior adviser, defied a congressional subpoena, arguing that he's following Trump's direction to not comply. Bannon claimed it might be up to the courts to decide whether or not he will be forced to cooperate. Well, today, the chairs of that select committee, including Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney said, bring it on.

Another major development today, former Trump has been telling his allies he plans to assert executive privilege to keep documents and other information from the committee. But that's not entirely ultimately up to him. And late this afternoon, the Biden administration said they will allow those documents to go from the White House to the committee.

We're covering these stories and this big issue in our society, from every angle, starting with CNN's Ryan Nobles live on Capitol Hill.

Ryan, what is the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, what are they saying now?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, first of all they're saying that of the four men who were issued subpoenas, Steve Bannon, Dan Scavino, Kash Patel and Mark Meadows, that they are all offering up different levels or lack thereof of compliance.

As you mentioned, first of all, Steve Bannon saying that he's not going to comply, that he's going to work with the former president to defend executive privilege but the committee did say that Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff, and Kash Patel, were engaging with committee. We're not exactly sure what that means in terms of compliance. And the committee didn't say anything about Dan Scavino who, of course, we have reported they've been having a difficult time serving the subpoena.

But what the committee did make very clear is that they're going to do everything that they can to enforce the subpoenas and they're going to use the law enforcement backing at their disposal to do so. They say in a statement, quote: We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock. And we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt of Congress referral.

Now that referral is not easy. It requires a vote of the entire House of Representatives before being referred to the Department of Justice to be executed. And that statement about running out the clock, Jake, is also very important, because the Select Committee only has a certain amount of time before the midterm elections to issue a report on their investigation and it seems at least part of the strategy of Trump and his allies is to make this process as lengthy and difficult as possible -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan, thank you so much.

Evan, former president Trump says that he is going to assert executive privilege but the Biden administration may stand in the way of that. Quote: These are unique and extraordinary circumstances. Oh, Evan, I'm sorry, you should read that for us.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well, Jake, I mean, the president could try to claim the privilege. But it's not really his. It's the current president's privilege to assert. And what you see in that letter from the White House counsel to the National Archive is that the current president is saying that is not pertaining to executive privilege.

Let me read just a part of it that -- from this letter. It says: These are unique and circumstances. Congress is examining a assault on the Constitution and Democratic Institutions, provoked and fanned by those sworn to protect them. The constitutional protections of executive privilege should not be used to shield from Congress or the public information that reflects a clear and apparent effort to subvert the Constitution itself. Jake, the plain language from this administration as it pertained to

an initial batch of documents, that this committee was asking for is you should be able to get these. Now, we'll have to wait and see whether the president, the former President Trump, who makes a lot of threats but never follows through on them, whether he files a lawsuit to try to stop this.


So far, we haven't seen that and now, we'll wait and see.

TAPPER: CNN's Kaitlan Collins is at the White House for us.

And, Kaitlan, this is obviously a very big deal for the White House, the Biden White House, to deny a former President Trump's request for executive privilege. And frankly, I have to say I'm a little bit surprised because Biden is something in general of an institutionalist and knows that while this is not unprecedented, it was done during -- after the Nixon years. It is still generally breaking with tradition.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, it's a massive move by the White House to say we're not going to step in the way and try to extend this executive privilege over these documents. This first tranche of documents, we should know, that's what the White House is saying. But, Jake, they are justifying this by saying, you know, not only what Evan just said that it is a unique set of circumstances but also saying they believe these documents that the committee is requesting is actually going to help get to the bottom of really what happened on January 6 here at the White House. Which we know has been a big hole of information. We are our reporting on what the president was doing that day.

But there are still lot of questions about that and the White House feels that that justifies not extending that privilege.

Here is how Jen Psaki explained it earlier today.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives. We will evaluates question of privilege on case-by-case basis, but the president has also been clear that he believes it of the utmost most importance for both Congress and the American people to have a complete understanding of the events of that day to prevent them from happening again.


COLLINS: So they say, Jake, essentially arguing it's for the greater good and they want the committee to be able to get to the bottom of this investigation. But the White House council said they shed light on events within the White House on or about January 6 is quite significant. TAPPER: And, Ryan, you noted that some of the Trump allies are

working with the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection and two are supposed to in fact testify next week.

Is that behind closed doors and is that definitely going to happen?

NOBLES: So the answer to your second question, Jake, is with do not know the answer to that question. These depositions are suppose to take place behind closed doors. But when you look at the committee statement, at least two of the individuals, Meadows and Patel, that would indicate that there is some level of negotiation taking place that would ultimately lead to them talking to the committee on some level.

We should also point out that we did receive a statement from Kash Patel himself. He said that he did confirm that he has been in contact with the select committee, but he said that he wouldn't describe the confidential conversations that he's having with the committee. Still that shows a level of communication that doesn't exist with Steve Bannon and of course we can't rule out the other thing, we still don't know what is going on with Dan Scavino.

TAPPER: Yeah, they haven't found him yet, right?

And, Evan, this house select committee does not have the power to issue criminal charges.

PEREZ: Right.

TAPPER: Theoretically, they would refer whatever they decide to do to the justice department and then the DOJ decides whether or not they're going to pursue obstruction of justice or contempt of Congress charges. Has Attorney General Merrick Garland weighed in on any of this.

PEREZ: He hasn't said yet, Jake. And part of the process here would be for this to go to court and we know, we've seen this playbook before from the Trump team, which is to litigate and to stretch this out and as Ryan has pointed out, this committee has a limited time that they could try to do this. And they could try to run out the clock. So we don't know whether the committee is going to try to do this or they may try to do some kind of civil contempt route. There is a couple of theories they could pursue.

But keep in mind, the former president is also saying that these people don't even have to show up because he believes they have absolute immunity, which frankly is kind of laughable. At least judges have found it so far. We'll see whether -- we'll see whether any court finds standing on that.

TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez and Ryan Nobles and Kaitlan Collins, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

Today's jobs report, a major disappointment. So how is President Biden responding? And a tale of two Americas. The pockets of the United States that could be a powder keg for the next COVID surge. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead today, President Biden putting a hard spin on one of the biggest indicators missing the mark by miles. Only 194,000 jobs were added in September. That is a quite a bit lower than the 500,000 jobs that economists had expected.

This marks the second month in a row that that has happened. Here are some of the snapshots from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, education jobs down, healthcare jobs down, job numbers for women, down. The president today largely ignored those numbers trying to focus on the fact that some jobs were created.

But you've seen the signs. The jobs seem to be out there but a lot of people are not taking them.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins is back with the president's blame on Congress for the economy not being where it should be.


COLLINS (voice-over): A big economic miss as the American recovery hits a road block.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The jobs numbers also remind us that we have important work ahead of us and important investments we need to make.

COLLINS: U.S. employers adding 194,000 jobs in September. Well below the half a million that economists were expecting.

BIDEN: We're actually making real progress. Maybe it doesn't seem fast enough. I would like to see it faster and we're going to make it faster.

COLLINS: President Biden pinning it on the delta variant that peaked in September.

BIDEN: Today's report is based on a survey that was taken during the week of September 13th when COVID cases were averaging more than 150,000 per day.


Since then, we've seen a daily cases fall by more than one-third.

COLLINS: The president highlighting a drop in the unemployment rate.

BIDEN: For the first time since March of 2020, the American unemployment rate is below 5 percent.

COLLINS: But the drop from 5.2 percent to 4.8 percent could be in part because some people are leaving the work force entirely. As Biden's labor secretary struggled to explain why many jobs are going unfilled even after the enhanced jobless benefits came to an end.

MARTY WALSH, LABOR SECRETARY: Two months ago everybody was asking about the $300 keeping people out of work. The $300 now is gone. We didn't see that growth there.

COLLINS: The latest figures adding to the White House's headache as they face concerns about inflation, a worker shortage and oil and gas prices at their highest levels since 2014.

WALSH: What we're seeing I think in a lot of cases is, one, the pandemic is wreaking havoc and fear on people as far as going back to work.

COLLINS: Democrats are still battling it out on Capitol Hill, but the president said the jobs report makes the case for trillions in new spending and tax cuts.

BIDEN: America still is the largest economy in the world. We still have the most productive workers and the most innovative minds in the world. But we risk losing our edge as a nation if we don't move.


COLLINS: and Jake, we should note that what the labor secretary was talking about there, that extra $300 a week enhanced unemployment benefits, that was a really big point of Republican criticism saying Republicans, that was what was keeping people at home. Some states move to end it early, it did very little to send people back to work and as this report shows. Now that those enhanced benefits have expired completely, it also did not boost employment like the White House had hoped it would or how Republicans claimed that it would.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.

Let's bring in two people who have a key eye of what's going on, Rana Foroohar, a global business columnist and associate editor at "The Financial Times", and Austan Goolsbee, who, of course, was chairman of President Obama's council of economic advisers.

Thanks to both of you for being here.

Rana, let's talk about where we are right now as opposed to six or seven months ago. We have these amazing vaccines for COVID. Most kids are back in the school. The unemployment -- extra unemployment benefits have expired. Companies such as McDonald's, Bank of America, Walmart, Target, all of them raised wages during the pandemic. Many white color jobs are offering more flexibility for new hires.

So what gives? What's keeping people at home?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, there is a couple of big factors in play. You know, we shut down in the middle of COVID and it takes a while to ramp back up. It just does. I mean, that's the way the American economy runs. Other countries make other decisions about keeping workers on

furlough, but we go boom bust. It does take a while to get back up. I do think that we're strengthening from here.

But the other thing that I would cite, which has been mentioned yet, is technological job disruption. I mean, a lot of things are being done by software now. A lot of things are being done digitally. I think you're going to see more outsources of white-collar jobs to other countries. You know, you're seeing automated software being purchased that could strip out foreign accents from teleworkers have.

So think all of this is in play and we're just beginning to see. It's going to take many months if not years to really tease all this out.

TAPPER: Austan, the first point that President Biden noted today was the unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent down from 5.2 percent in August. That's, of course, good news. But do Americans see it that way? I mean there are help wanted signs everywhere you look. You call customer service lines. They warn that wait times will be longer due to worker shortages. What do you think is going on and doesn't that all reflect poorly on President Biden?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER OBAMA: Well, you know, when I was in the White House and out of the White House, I try to separate the jobs numbers from what the president is doing, because the White House is not in control of the economy. I've been saying, as you know, Jake, from the beginning, the overwhelming thing that drives how the economy is doing and how the job market performs is what is happening with the virus.

The virus really is the boss in the half of this year, we started getting great control over the spread of the virus. And you saw the economy come booming back. Really at a speed that was virtually unparalleled and now that you've had a resurgence of the virus, I think that part of what President Biden said is exactly right. You see the job numbers start to deteriorate, you're going to see the rebound of the economy slow down, and that's likely to show up in the next GDP numbers.

And we've got to get control of the spread of that virus. The good news is unlike a regular recession, people have money. They want to go out and spend. You got to get safe conditions. But if we get those safe conditions, I think every bit we'll be back off to the races the way we were in the first half of the year.


But if we don't get control of the virus, it's done.

TAPPER: And, Rana, as President Biden mentioned the survey for this job's report wrapped up in mid-September, which is when COVID cases started coming down, all sorts of COVID benchmarks started coming down in a good way.

Do you think the economy will get better if everything for COVID keeps going in the right direction and seasonal hiring picks up going into the holidays?

FOROOHAR: I think slowly but surely. I don't think another big boom like in the beginning that Austan just mentioned. I also think that it is going to take another month or two to see what women do.

Women are big part of the story. You saw there weren't too many teachers going back. Some of that would be remote work. But I think that women and getting kids back into school and thinking about, all right, what's the balance between the care that I still might need to provide and getting back to work. I think that that remains to be seen and it is a big part of the puzzle because many of the fastest growing job categories in care, health care, education, childcare, these are heavy female labor positions.

TAPPER: And, Austan, you were with the Obama-Biden administration during the 2009 economic recovery, obviously, different, it wasn't a pandemic, keeping people out of work. But what do you think the current White House, what do you think President Biden needs to do to help boost these numbers?

GOOLSBEE: Well, look, to help boost these numbers I still think it is mostly about health. But I feel like both sides are going to take some numbers out of this and last month's jobs reports to say we either should pass the big reconciliation bill and infrastructure, or we should oppose it. So, it's kind of become a Rorschach test in essence.

TAPPER: All right. Austan Goolsbee, Rana Foroohar, thanks to both. You have a great weekend.

Coming up, it is the facepalm that could sink the Biden agenda. Did Leader Schumer lose his most important swing vote during his speech last night? We'll talk to a key progressive lawmaker next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead an economic crisis has been averted for now. The Senate voted to temporarily raise the debt ceiling, allowing the U.S. government to pay its bills. The House is set to vote on the extension next week. But today, instead of being praised for avoiding the catastrophe, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, is facing bipartisan backlash for these comments he made after last night's vote.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Republicans played a dangerous and risky partisan game. And I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work. I thank -- very much thank my Democratic colleagues for showing our unity in solving this Republican manufactured crisis.


TAPPER: Here to discuss, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. She is the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and also from the Seattle area.

Congresswoman, great to see you as always.

So, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who support Democrats need to pass the Biden agenda, said that Schumer's remarks were not appropriate and that civility is gone and I'm not going to be part of getting rid of it.

I'm sure that you don't disagree with what Schumer said, but do you disagree with the idea that lowering the temperature right now might be a good thing for the country?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, Jake, it's good to be with you. I do think that we're all playing on the same team. I do understand senator Schumer's frustration because this has always been a bipartisan thing, raising the debt ceiling, Democrats have gone along with Republicans administrations, vice versa. This is, of course, about debt that was increased by $8 trillion over the last four years because of Republican administration. The Republican tax cuts.

But, you know, I always say, if you win, maybe just win and celebrate the win and then you could always bring those things up later. But I could only imagine the stress that the Senate majority leader has been under to get to this point.

So, you know, let's move on now. We did that. That gave us a couple of extra months. It's not the ideal thing. I wish we weren't kicking the can down the road but it is important that we don't default on this and that the world knows that the United States is good for our obligations.

TAPPER: So this temporary reprieve allows Democrats to focus on passing President Biden's economic plans, the infrastructure bill and of course the Build Back Better Act.

According to the AP, you told President Biden that the compromise for the build back better act of around $2 trillion, it is too low, you said. You think it needs to be closer to $3 trillion. If you cannot get it through the Senate, though, if the only way you could get it through the Senate to get Manchin's vote to get Sinema's vote is having it be at $1.9 trillion or $2 trillion, isn't something better than nothing?

JAYAPAL: Well, Jake, I always think about that something better than nothing phrase as being good for something at the end of the negotiations. We haven't even negotiated yet. You know, there was a deal that was passed, it was $3.5 trillion. Now we understand that the number has to come down because there are two Democrats out of all, 98 percent are there on 3.5 and what is in the Build Back Better Act and with the president and with 70 percent of the American people who want us to pass it.


But I understand. We've got to get two more on board. And so we will do what we need to do to make sure we get everybody on board. But I just want to be clear, the number comes out of the programs. So what we really need, and Senators Manchin and Sinema have different things that they each want. So, I think it's really important that two of them get together and agree and then also put forward a proposal to the other 98 percent about what they agree on in terms of what we need to do, because everyone else agrees.

And so, that is the process we're in right now. We will negotiate. We understand we have to get everyone on board. But yes, of course, I want to keep it as close as I can to at least $3 trillion because we have a lot of things we want to do.

Final point on this, Jake, remember that $3.5 trillion is over ten years.

TAPPER: Right.

PRAMILA: So if you divide that out it is very little each year, and we spent $750 billion on the Pentagon every year. And at the end of the day, this is all going to be paid for on the taxes of the wealthiest people and corporations. So, as the president says, it's a zero dollar bill.

TAPPER: Yeah, $300 billion a year is still a lot of money, but I understand your point.

We know that one of Senator Manchin's concerns is that benefits should go to people who need them. For example, he wouldn't want everyone to be eligible for pre-K for families, he wants it to only go to people who need the government to provide it for them. Families who make more than $200,000 a year, $400,000 a year, whatever, should not -- you know, they should be paying for it out of their own pocket.

We heard that President Biden is saying that he could theoretically support that, means testing some of the programs. I know it is a goal to have universal pre-K, universal elder care, et cetera, but would you be willing to support means testing so that only the people who need it -- I don't need free pre-K.

JAYAPAL: Yeah, I think it depends on really how it is structured, because if you have for example a 7 percent universal cap on childcare, that is a form of means testing because you're saying everyone has to pay 7 percent of their income. So the wealthiest people are not going to be able to pay enough childcare to reach that 7 percent cap, right? So that is a form but it is very simple and it is universal.

And it adjusts to the income levels of high cost areas. So, for example, an area like mine where we passed $15 minimum wage ten years ago is high cost of living, high housing costs, very dense, no housing available, and childcare is like $2,800 a month. So, two schoolteachers earning $68,000 are in the working class people -- you know, contingent.

So that is why we have to be very careful about means testing. I'll also say that means testing is incredibly bureaucratic. It takes a lot of administrative work and sometimes it actually costs so much and is to complicated that the very people that need to get the benefit are dissuaded from doing it because it is too complicated. So let's look at all of though things. But I think it is important that we make these as universal as possible because it is easy to explain. You don't have to go through 21 pages to figure out whether or not you qualify.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, thanks so much for joining us. Have a great weekend.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Are we coming down from the last big COVID surge? Not all health experts agree. We'll discuss next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our health lead, a tale of two Americas. The United States in general maybe be turning a corner in the pandemic, hospitalizations down, case rates down, death, all trending down at last. But as CNN's Amara Walker reports, pockets of the United States are still struggling to gain a foothold against the virus.


AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is good reason to be cautiously optimistic.

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR (RET), FORMER HHS SECRETARY: We have certainly turned a corner. Cases are down about 50 percent from the peak. We have passed the peak of delta infection and hospitalization and deaths are trailing off. These are very, very good signs.

MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: In the next three to four weeks, I think you'll see the surge having outlived its life.

WALKER: But health officials trust America is not out of the woods just yet.

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It's not a reason for us to take our foot off the accelerator or to relax our guard so to speak. We have to continue getting people vaccinated.

WALKER: While former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb predicted this may be the last surge. One health expert disagrees.

OSTERHOLM: I disagree with Scott. In the spring, when he said we won't have any cases in the summer either. So I'm one of those who believe because we still have 65 million Americans who have not yet been vaccinated who could be. This surge is over, obviously, on the way down but we're going to have more surges in the future.

WALKER: Nationwide, hospitalizations are down, with fewer than 70,000 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and the current daily average of new coronavirus infections has dropped below 100,000.

However, vaccination rates continue to slow. The average number of people starting the vaccination process has dropped. More than 40 percent over the past two months according to CDC data.


And when it comes to vaccination rates among children eligible for the shots --

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Only 33 percent of the 12 to 17-year-olds were given the COVID-19 vaccine here in the South, most of the southern states compared to 80 percent in the Northeast. So once again you have this geographic divide where parents are holding back on vaccinating their adolescents and I have to believe they'll probably hold back on vaccinating their younger kids as well.

WALKER: More shots in arms could come soon. The FDA and CDC's advisory committees will meet in the coming weeks to discuss boosters for the Moderna and J&J vaccines. And on October 26, the FDA's committee will meet again to consider the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old. If the committee recommended that the shot and the FDA okays it, a panel of CDC advisers will decide whether to recommend a vaccine for this age group. The panel is scheduled to meet on November 2nd and 3rd.


WALKER (on camera): And, Jake, keep in mind, only when the CDC has recommended a vaccine for this age group of children between ages 5 and 11 years old can shots begin to go into arms. Jake, we're also learning children have similar risks as adults to when it comes to getting the coronavirus. This is according to a new study in JAMA Pediatrics.

You know, as you know early on in the pandemic, it was believed that it affected adults more. This study suggests children also play a role and have similar -- they play similar role in transmitting the virus, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much for that update.

Joining us now to discuss, Dr. William Schaffner, professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Dr. Schaffner, good to see you as always. All the numbers right now nationally moving in the right direction. Cases and hospitalizations and deaths all down thankfully.

But you say we're living in two Americas. Explain.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, as you said, two Americas, I think what is happening is that there are the better vaccinated states and the less well- vaccinated states such as my own. And in the latter, I think we're going to see this virus continue to seek out those susceptibles who have not yet been vaccinated, and we will continue to have these new cases occur at a rate higher than you have in the well-vaccinated states. So we may not get a big surge, probably local outbreaks here and there. But we will plateau at a much higher rate than in the well- vaccinated states.

TAPPER: How could we fix this problem? How could we bridge the gap between the two Americas, the America that is getting vaccinated, and at a significant level, and those that refuse to?

SCHAFFNER: It appears to be an eternal question because the reluctance to get vaccinated is really baked in. I mean, by now every question that anyone could ask has been answered, I think, satisfactorily many times over. But people just will not avail themselves of the vaccine.

So, will mandates help? I think they will in part oblige people to be vaccinated and that will help in part. But I think we'll still going to see this divide and I see it continuing. I agree, that once the vaccines are available for the children, once again we'll see a difference in how widely they're accepted in the two Americas.

TAPPER: Admiral Brett Giroir, who was the COVID testing czar for President Trump, he was asked if he thinks the United States government should mandate vaccines for air travel. Take a listen.


GIROIR: It is a complicated issue. I don't believe we should. And the reason is this -- particularly for airline travel, air travel is safe. It is not for the protection of the people on the plane. It is just another way to sort of force people to do their vaccine. So I don't think that is justified and it will really hurt the industry and travel.


TAPPER: Do you agree?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I think he's exactly correct. The travel itself being on the aircraft is at exceedingly low risk, particularly if everybody keeps their masks on. And so that is not the issue. It is just another device to get people vaccinated.

So I wouldn't single out that industry in particular to make sure all that its customers are vaccinated. I think we're going to be struggling with this sometime, Jake.

TAPPER: So you think it is safe for example for me and my family to get on a plane right now as long as we're masked with fellow passengers who are unvaccinated, you think that is still pretty safe?

SCHAFFNER: I don't like to use the word "safe", it sounds so complete. I think it is at very low risk and as I always tell people, it is not what happens on the conveyance so much, it is what happens when you get to your destination. [16:45:06]

How free are you in your behaviors there? And of course if you're going, I would certainly recommend that everybody who is traveling be vaccinated. Heck, I recommend even if you're staying home, you should be vaccinated.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. William Schaffner, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, a mosque blast killing and wounding dozens caught in a turf war between Taliban and ISIS after the U.S. left Afghanistan, the latest next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, a mosque attacked in Afghanistan as the Taliban try to assert their control amid mounting violence. The terrorist group ISIS-K is now claiming responsibility for the suicide bombing that killed and wounded dozens of innocent people. This happened in the city of Kunduz, which is about 150 miles north of capital of Kabul which is where we find CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.

We should note the suicide bomber targeted a Shia mosque. And ISIS and the Taliban as you note, Clarissa, they're Sunni.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. And this is exactly the kind of hideous sectarian attack that Afghans have become all too used to during the past years in which some had hoped maybe with the Taliban in control and the Taliban really pushing this idea that they could provide security, that maybe this would be a thing of the past.

Well, now, we see very clearly that it is not a thing of the past. Those were ordinary Muslims, Afghans going to the mosque on Friday, today is the Muslim holy day for their noon prayers when that huge blast hit killing more than 40 people, injuring more than 100 people and we do any have a claim of responsibility as you mentioned from ISIS-K.

And this make no mistake about it, this poses a major challenge to the Taliban, because as I mentioned before, they're main appeal to many people here is this idea that they could provide security, that they could put an end to the fighting. But this is not the first major attack. We saw one three days ago here in the capitol and weeks before that at the airport. So, Taliban now has a serious issue on its hand with this growing insurgency as it tries to show the Afghan people that it is able to govern this country, Jake.

TAPPER: Clarissa, today's bombing is part of a steady increase in violence following the Taliban takeover. What is the Taliban saying about that? WARD: Well, it is interesting. On the one hand the Taliban isn't

saying much at all and they are very much trying to limit access when there was a big explosion a few days ago at a mosque here in Kabul, they wouldn't let any journalists near the area. When there were a series of raids on alleged ISIS safe houses here in Kabul that night, again they wouldn't let journalists near the area.

They released these perfunctory statements just saying, we've managed to kill this many ISIS-K terrorists or we managed take out a cell. But they're not really willing to give the public a sense of what their overall strategy here is for dealing with this. And that may be because they haven't been in that position for a long time. You know, they were the insurgents for 20 years. Now they are the ones in control and they are dealing with a brutal vicious insurgency and it seems they have their work cut out for them trying to come up with some kind of a strategy that will deal with this once and for all.

And nothing that they have said so far publicly indicates that that solution might be imminent.

TAPPER: Clarissa Ward in Kabul, thank you.

Please stay safe.

Police today acknowledging some odd behavior by Brian Laundrie's parents. We'll explain, next.



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

Leading this hour, hard ball. Breaking today, the White House is blocking former President Trump from playing the executive privilege card in the committee investigating the January 6 insurrection said Donald Trump's minions will not get away with ignoring the rule of law.

As Trump's former senior adviser, the man Trump once called sloppy Steve, but later pardoned, ignored a subpoena from Congress. Committee member and Republican Liz Cheney suggested that Steve Bannon might see a jump suit after all with criminal charges on the table for those who do not cooperate with the January 6 investigation.

Let's go right to CNN's Sara Murray who's been following this intense story.

And, Sara, Trump keeps saying he's going to assert executive privilege but what is the White House saying?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What the White House is saying essentially when it comes to these documents from the National Archive, they are not going to help the former President Trump. But, already, we could see the opportunity for a number of court fights brewing. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY (voice-over): Steve Bannon defying a subpoena from the January 6 Committee, answering a call from Donald Trump who's urging ally to derail congressional investigators.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: The anxiety, the hand-wringing, the pearl-clutching is a Democratic Party's fear of the return of Trump. That's all these committees are. That's what they're trying to.

MURRAY: A day after the subpoena deadline for Bannon, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, former Trump aide Dan Scavino and Kash Patel, former chief of staff to acting defense secretary of at the time, the House committee says some of the men have been responsive. While Mr. Meadows and Mr. Patel are so far engaging with the Select Committee, Mr. Bannon has indicated he will try to hide behind privileges of the former president, according to a statement.

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