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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Capitol Officer Charged With Obstruction In Case Tied To Jan. 6; Jan. 6 Panel To Hold Steve Bannon In Criminal Contempt; Rep. Elaine Luria, (D-VA), Is Interviewed About January 6 Insurrection; Biden Pitches Spending Plans As Negotiations Intensify; CNN Poll: Only 25 Percent Of Americans See Economic Bills Helping Them; GOP Slams McAuliffe For Comment On Parents And Schools; Key FDA Panel Unanimously Recommends J&J Booster Shot; NIH Study: Mixing & Matching Boosters Seems Effective; Chicago City Employees Required To Show Proof Of COVID Vaccine By Today Or Be Put On Unpaid Leave; Chicago Sues Police Union Over City's Vaccine Mandate; Australian Comedian Raises Funds For Giant Billboard In Times Square; Gunman Intends To Plead Guilty To Shooting Charges, Lawyer Says. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 17:00   ET



PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Then the person at the riot was arrested on January 19, and was asked by the FBI about communications with Riley. According to the indictment, Riley deleted his Facebook messages on January 20.

Riley appeared in court today virtually and was released on certain conditions, including that he can't have any firearms.

According to the indictment, Riley has worked with Capitol Police for 25 years. He was in the K-9 unit on January 6, and though he was not on duty inside the Capitol Building, prosecutors say he responded to reports of an explosive device on Capitol Hill that day. This comes as lawmakers investigating January 6 are sending a message to any witnesses who do not cooperate with them by moving ahead with criminal contempt proceedings against Steve Bannon was refusing to comply with a subpoena.

Chairman Bennie Thompson says pursuing charges should serve as a warning.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS), CHAIRMAN, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: I assure the public that at the end of the day, the committee expect full cooperation for everyone that we subpoena.

REID (voice-over): Criminal contempt is a lengthy process. Lawmakers will meet Tuesday night to detail their efforts to get Bannon and to comply and how he refused. That report is then referred to the House for vote. If it succeeds, it goes to the Justice Department for a U.S. attorney to possibly bring before a grand jury, but the decision is ultimately up to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

As for who else could be a target, lawmakers are not ruling out anyone, including Vice President Mike Pence or former President Donald Trump.

THOMPSON: Nobody is off limits to a subpoena from this committee.

REID (voice-over): The committee has agreed to postpone depositions with other Trump advisors, Kash Patel, Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino to give them more time for negotiations, but the committee says their patience is limited.


REID: Jake, lawmakers have a long list of witnesses lined up next week. They expect documents or depositions that they have subpoenaed from several people involved in organizing the Stop the Steal rally on January 6.

Then the following week, they have subpoenaed former justice official Jeffrey Clark. He tried to help Trump overturn the 2020 election results. Now a source tells CNN at this point, Clark's options are really limited and he may testify now that he's under subpoena after months of talking with lawmakers.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. And I have to say, just to take a moment, this Capitol Police officer is accused, he hasn't been convicted, he's accused of not only reaching out to one of the insurrectionists who criminally attacked the Capitol on January 6, but to advise him on how to cover up the crime, this is a police officer?

REID: Exactly. If I may put my lawyer hat on for just a second here, it is not a crime to reach out to someone and say I sympathize with your views. I agree with you. But he went a few steps further here. According to prosecutors, he was messaging this person instructing them like hey, you may want to delete those posts, here's why. And he specifically referenced the fact that they were investigating and potentially arresting people.

And then it goes so far as to try to encourage him to get off social media altogether. And then you see him again, trying to cover his own tracks, right, deleting his own Facebook messages. I mean, this is not an appropriate course of conduct, particularly for someone in law enforcement, which is why he's now facing these charges.

TAPPER: Keep your lawyer hat on for one second, because I just had one other quick question, briefly. You said that the other three Trump aides that were being subpoenaed, not Bannon, but Meadows, Kash Patel and Scavino, that there's time to negotiate therapy. What does that mean? What are they negotiating?

REID: So, the terms of potentially cooperating here. Look, as Representative Schiff has said, not all engagement or negotiations resolved peacefully or with an agreement. But they are trying to come up with some sort of accommodation, a waiver some of these folks to maybe provide some documents, provide some testimony, that's usually the way this works.

It's very unusual to charge someone with criminal contempt. So typically, there is this negotiating, but it's unclear how it's going to work out this time.

TAPPER: All right, Paula Reid, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

I want to bring in Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria. She's on the select committee investigating the January 6 attack and represents a district in the great Commonwealth of Virginia.

Congresswoman, thanks so much.

So, I do want to get your reaction to this news that a Capitol Police Officer, one of the many brave men and women who -- it's their job to protect people like you. This officer has been indicted on obstruction charges for warning an insurrectionist to take down his social media posts. What's your reaction? How do actions like this complicate your committee's mission?

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA), SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE JANUARY 6 ATTACK: Well, thanks for the question. And I think that this falls in a different category. And the Department of Justice is investigating individuals who took actions on that day, the people who brutally attacked police officers, those who entered the building, this is a new development to have a police officer himself who has been charged with obstructing justice.


So, I think that it's important when we look at the investigations overall, that we separate out the individual criminal prosecutions of these individuals, and then the work of the committee, which is broader in looking at the overall scope of the events and the causes and things that led up to January 6, and ultimately, with the goal of producing a comprehensive report and recommendations as to how to ever prevent something like this from happening in the future.

But on the note of the officer, I mean, I think it's incredibly disappointing and not representative of, you know, our law enforcement professionals as a whole that, you know, that this one person, rather than being someone who chose to uphold the law actually chose to assist someone in, you know, giving them advice in how to, you know, protect themselves from charges on that day.

TAPPER: So, your committee is moving forward with plans to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. Have you heard from Bannon's legal team in response to the committee making that intention public yesterday?

LURIA: Well, we plan to move forward on Tuesday, and that'll include a report detailing all of those communications that happen up until that point, and we plan to refer that to the full House for a vote, because truly no one's above the law. And you know, as you can see with this action, we're not bluffing. I mean, we are going to hold people accountable. And we expect people in subpoenaed to appear before this committee, as is everyone's duty before Congress. And we will take the next step, which is criminal referral.

TAPPER: So the committee votes on it, you said that's Tuesday, then the Full House would vote on it. And then Attorney General Garland would have to make a decision? Is the door closed on a chance for Bannon to negotiate an opportunity to testify? Or no, the doors open until Garland would make his decision?

LURIA: Our goal is to have him testify. I think that this will send a strong message that there are consequences for not testifying. So as we move forward with our work, if Mr. Bannon chooses to show up and testify, that is the end result that this committee wants is to make sure that we get all information necessary relative to the events on January 6. And in his role, and, you know, close communications with the president during that timeframe, you know, his testimony is very important for the committee.

TAPPER: So, you talked about how the committee has a broader task than just individual prosecutions at the Department of Justice, even though they have something like 600 going. You're looking at how this happened. When you specifically issue these subpoenas for Kash Patel, Dan Scavino, Mark Meadows, the former Chief of Staff, Steve Bannon, et cetera, what broadly are you looking for? Are you looking for evidence that Trump or somebody high up in his orbit planned, wanted planned and conspired for this January 6 rally crowd to run to the Capitol to stop democracy, to stop the counting of electoral votes? Is that basically what you're looking into to see if there is evidence that that happened?

LURIA: I would say that's in line with it. What we're looking for, and, you know, with this group of subpoenas, which were the first group that we issued, these were met to seek information for people who are close to the president, who we know be a public record and comment communicated with the president on and around that date. And this is just a starting point.

We're talking to many, many more people. But those who are closest to the president understood or would have a reason to understand his thinking, and, you know, either speak to him or observe his actions during that day and understand all of the events that transpired.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria, member of the special committee investigating January 6, thanks so much for your time, really appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

LURIA: You too.

TAPPER: President Biden hits the road to pitches massive agenda, but is the message making it to lawmakers in his own party?

Plus, nearly 13 million more people may soon be eligible for a booster shot. We'll talk to a member of the FDA vaccine panel. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our politics lead this hour, President Biden is on route back to the White House or after a trip to the nutmeg state to promote his economic agenda. Let's discuss. Ayesha, let me start with you. So Democrats still haggling over the bill? Still no compromise in sight. So, it makes it tough to negotiate if they're not price tag -- we don't know what they're actually arguing about. Do you think the President out there promoting it when they don't even actually have a bill is pointless in a way?

AYESHA RASCOE, NPR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It's a problem, I think. And I think that part of the issue is not that you don't know what's in the bill, you don't know how people keep throwing around 3.5 trillion, obviously, it's going to have to come down from that.

But you don't know like, is it going to be the childcare bill? Is it going to be, you know, the expansion of Medicare bill? It's not clear.

So what are you selling to people? And people are already very skeptical that this is going to do anything to change their lives.

TAPPER: Yes, no. And there's this new CNN poll this week showing only a quarter of Americans think the infrastructure bill and the social safety net package will make their families better off. Bernie Sanders is on Twitter blaming this on the news media.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Which I was going to do until I read it further into the poll, and only 16percent of people are actually following it in the news. So, if only 16 percent of people are actually following this in the news, then it's not surprising that they don't think it's going to be helpful to them.

TAPPER: There is a -- I mean, I will say it, Sanders and you have a point and that there's a lot of coverage of the personalities and stuff.


TAPPER: But I know that we have described what's in the bill several times over the last few months.


TAPPER: And although I still don't know, as Ayesha points out, what actually is in the bill as the negotiator.

POWERS: Well, I'm being really serious. I actually think it's because people aren't really, I mean, they -- if they're not -- if you're not watching it, then there's no way you would have seen what you're just talking about.

TAPPER: Right.

POWERS: So, it's true they don't know exactly what's going to end up in it because they actually have some people who will not haven't been completely, well, one person who hasn't been completely transparent about what she wants and she's starting to be a little more transparent about it. But I think it's clear Biden knows what he wants to be, and he just doesn't know what's going to end up in it. So, I think I would wait and see until there's actually a bill to see how people feel about it.


And then I think once it passes, then they can start selling it. Then they can go out and say, here are the things that we're going to do for you.

BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: I just think that it is kind of -- my colleague Sarah Longo (ph) did a couple of focus groups of Biden voters, some Independents, some Democrats, and said, what do you think of this bill, seems like a lot of money?


KRISTOL: That's what -- they do know 3.5. And if you're a swing voter, Independent issue, sort of think Democrats and love spending money, 3.5 sounds kind of big.

TAPPER: Right.

KRISTOL: They'll say, you know, it's surprising (ph). There are some tax increases to pay, for instance, Biden is actually stressed, he wants to pay for --

RASCOE: Unrich people.

KRISTOL: Unrich people.

RASCOE: Very tiny person.

KRISTOL: But a lot of upper -- look, I'm OK with it personally, but a lot of middle and upper middle class voters think who they say rich people, but I don't know, are we confident about that? And literally, that's what all these voters in these focus groups that Sarah did, that's all they knew.

And it's a huge failure, I do think of White House messaging. They could have said it's a childcare bill. It's an education bill, it's a health care bill, it's an --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But they don't know --

KRISTOL: It doesn't matter.


KRISTOL: It well come up. And still they're proposing. It's an HEW, is it health education welfare bill? And said --


KRISTOL: No, but it's like --

TAPPER: No, but for the first few months it's called with the reconciliation bill.

KRISTOL: No, it's crazy.


BORGER: But also there was an infrastructure bill, everybody knows what that is. And they got a lot of Republicans to vote for it.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: And they know that it was pushed aside in the House. And they don't like that, because everybody understands where they live that they need infrastructure. So, instead of being a huge plus, it turns out to be a kind of a minus right now, because they haven't done that yet.


BORGER: And so people -- that's what people really wanted at the beginning, and they made the decision, OK, the progressive said, that's our leverage, you know, you can't vote on that now. And that could turn into a problem.

I don't think everybody in America is waiting to see whether it's one big package or two packages, but they do know that they did support an infrastructure bill overwhelmingly, and so did lots of Republicans.

KRISTOL: I mean, Biden's a little bit of victim of congressional rules, they have to do it in reconciliation --

TAPPER: Right.

KRISTOL: -- if it was one big package.

TAPPER: It means it has to start in the House.


KRISTOL: Which means you can't have -- here's $400 billion for childcare, that sounds good childcare. Here's 200 billion for education. In a rational world, you would bring each one up, debated, amended, have a long week or two on it.


KRISTOL: And people say oh, that seems like a pretty good idea. But they can't do that because of the way Congress works.

TAPPER: Perhaps even more frustrated than Bill is Terry McAuliffe --


TAPPER: -- who would love to be out there right now talking about his close relationship with President Biden who just passed this immense infrastructure bill, which is going to bring build -- bridges and roads to Virginia, and he's not able to do that

RASCOE: He's not able to do that. He did get some help from former President Trump this week, who you know, said that Youngkin, you know, is a great guy, hopefully we can get him in there in Virginia. But no, he's having a problem because he can't point to what has been done.

They are bringing in Joe Biden, who is supposed to be very relatable, they're trying to bring in, you know, the kind of the heavy hitters to back him up because obviously they are concerned about this election.

TAPPER: Yes, let's look at that. I just do -- I think we have a graphic, the McAuliffe campaign calling in the big guns. We have President Biden, First Lady Jill Biden, Barack Obama, Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, Governor Ralph Northam, Stacey Abrams, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senator Amy Klobuchar. And Glen Youngkin, the Republican running for governor, he says, this is what Terry McAuliffe has to do because he can't win on his own. He needs to bring in all these people.

POWERS: Oh, so now having surrogates is suspicious behavior.

TAPPER: Well, he's trying to turn -- I think Youngkin is trying to turn the fact that he doesn't want Trump to come in --


POWERS: Exactly. Yes, I mean, that's the point. It's that he's trying to distance himself from Trump while also getting all the Trump voters because it's Virginia. And so there are voters there that are moderate and aren't going to like Trump. So, he doesn't have anybody who can call in because he doesn't want to.

He doesn't want everybody to know that he's aligned with Trump. So, I just think that's a campaign that's. That's a functioning campaign.


KRISTOL: Well, but I would say one thing, I mean, and I'm for McAuliffe, just to be clear, but I mean Youngkin has done a pretty good job of presenting himself as an outsider, whatever one really thinks of that, and there's some appeal to that. McAuliffe was governor for four years. And actually I -- he was a pretty good governor. And honestly, once you've been governor for four years --

POWERS: Well, that terrible resume if you think you're governor.

KRISTOL: But look, if the voters are so intent on change, I mean, Virginia is a well governed state.



KRISTOL: It has low crime, it has good job growth, low unemployment, you got to run on that if you recall it. But I do kind of agree bringing in all the surrogates is a little bit like that's what you do if you're an unknown congressional candidate, not if you're the former governor.

TAPPER: And Gloria, one of the big issues that Youngkin is trying to make is education --

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: And local control of education. And listen to this -- what Terry McAuliffe said at a debate that is now all over --


TAPPER: -- the media from Youngkin trying to push this. Take a look.


TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GOV. CANDIDATE: I'm not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decision.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You vetoed it. To tell the parents, you vetoed it.

MCAULIFFE: So, yes, I snap the bill that I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.


TAPPER: So, they're making that a big deal. I don't think parents should be telling schools --

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: -- what they should teach. I mean, obviously, there's an argument there about letting the school do what it wants to do.

BORGER: Right.

TAPPER: And obviously parents should have input, et cetera.

BORGER: Right. It's a cultural debate that Youngkin can kind of glom on to, you know. And if you're a Republican, you want to run on a cultural debate, you want to run on crime, that kind of thing. If you're Democrat, you want to run on COVID and Donald Trump.

And so, you know, I think Youngkin was smart to pick up on that and say, well, who is Terry McAuliffe, you're in charge of your kids.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: You're in charge of whether or not you want to get a vaccine, right? You -- I personally got a vaccine says Youngkin, but, you know, you make up your own mind. So, he was trying to sort of pick up a cultural issue where he may be more comfortable than culturally aligning himself --

TAPPER: With Trump.

BORGER: With Trump and the insurrectionists, for example. TAPPER: Right. Although he had trouble because at the -- at a rally --

BORGER: Yes, yes.

TAPPER: -- the call in rally for Glenn Youngkin, Donald Trump called in, Youngkin was --


TAPPER: -- I don't even know if he was in the United States. He was so far away.

RASCOE: Far away. Far away.

TAPPER: But they had a flag --

RASCOE: From the insurrection.

TAPPER: -- from the January 6, and Glenn Youngkin had to go out there and say that that's not appropriate.


TAPPER: So I mean, no matter how moderate he might seem, he is the leader of a party in Virginia that is pretty extreme right now.


TAPPER: The Republican Party of Virginia.

RASCOE: He's trying to walk this fine line. And even with the parental rights issue, I mean, a lot of that is obviously wrapped up in race and this idea we don't want our children learning about --

TAPPER: Critical race theory.

RASCOE: -- you know, racism, critical race theory --

TAPPER: Which is not thought in Virginia.

RASCOE: It's taught in Virginia. And this, you know, I mean, some of these books that are being taken out are about, you know, just integration. Like these are the things that are being deemed off of the charts or on --


POWERS: I think what's unfortunate is the way he said it, the way McAuliffe said it, because it's not even clear what he's talking about, right?

TAPPER: Right.

POWERS: So it's this general thing.

BORGER: It's probable what he wanted. POWERS: Parents shouldn't be allowed, you know. And so, people -- some -- even some people will be like, well, what does that mean? Parents aren't supposed to have input into the schools. If people knew exactly what he's talking about, then I think it might be different.

It was interesting Youngkin's response to the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag that flew over the Capitol on January 6.


BORGER: The word was weird. He called it weird. And he said, well, that was weird. And, huh?


BORGER: But how do you walk that line? I guess he was trying.

TAPPER: Thanks so much.

We got a Virginia voter here. I noticed that -- are you the only Virginia voter at the table?

POWERS: I'm Maryland.


TAPPER: Do you think Youngkin is going to win? Do you think it's going to pull it out?

KRISTOL: No, I think McAuliffe is going to win.


This afternoon brought important news in the fight to control the coronavirus pandemic, a member of the FDA advisory panel will join us to discuss, next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our health lead, the big day for a key FDA advisory panel recommending a booster for people who received the one dose, Johnson & Johnson vaccine, lots of questions, a lot at stake.

Joining us now, a member of that FDA advisory panel, Dr. Paul Offit. He's director of the Vaccine Education Centre at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Offit, you just left the FDA meeting. What went into this decision recommending, yes, Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients should get a booster?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Yes, it's probably more reasonable to think of it as a second dose. When we considered the one dose vaccine at the end of February. We knew that the vaccine was roughly 75 percent effective at preventing all illness and about 85percent effective at preventing serious illness, which compared a little less favorably to the mRNA vaccines, but it was a single dose. And for certain populations that was very attractive.

But while we were considering that in February, they were in the midst of doing a two dose trial, a 30,000 person to dose trial. And then a few months later they had finished that trial and we now know that that's about 94 percent effective now in prevention against symptomatically. So it's much more similar now to the mRNA vaccines. And so making a second dose recommendation was really easy. So the recommendation is two doses of J&J vaccine, at least with the second dose at least two months after the first dose.

TAPPER: So just to be clear, the mRNA vaccines are the Pfizer and Moderna ones, and the booster for them is only recommended for certain groups, people 65 and older, adults who have immunity problems or underlying conditions.

The Johnson & Johnson second dose that you're now recommending, is that for everybody or just the same groups of older Americans and people with underlying health conditions?

OFFIT: I think it's for everybody. I think anybody who's gotten one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine can benefit from a second dose of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Yes.

TAPPER: Pfizer and Moderna boosters recommended six months after the first round is done. Why such a short two month time frame for the J&J vaccine?

OFFIT: Well, so that was the way it was tested. I really think that if this were not a pandemic, this vaccine might have launched as a two dose vaccine with that second dose two months apart. But now because many people got this J&J vaccine, you know, a while ago to just say we'll get the second dose only two months later would exclude a lot of people. So I think the recommendation is anytime after two months, which will then include virtually everybody.

TAPPER: So, it's speculated that a lot of the people who chose the J&J vaccine did so because of convenience. It's obviously a lot easier to get one vaccine than two, maybe some of these people are in rural America, maybe some of these people, you know, are -- have very busy demanding jobs work, two jobs work, three jobs. Are you worried that this push for a second shot for J&J will be harder to convince people to get because they are, by definition, one and done people?

OFFIT: Well, so the good news is, is that even a single dose induces immunological memory cells. And those cells are the cells that are responsible for protecting against serious illness. I mean, we always talk about neutralizing antibodies, neutralizing antibodies fade over time, but memory cells don't, they remember. So they're there for a long period of time.

And the interesting thing about the J&J vaccine versus the Pfizer and Moderna, mRNA vaccines is really just a single dose of the J&J vaccine was able to induce excellent immunological memory, which really wasn't true of one dose of the mRNA vaccine. So that was the advantage of the J&J vaccine. Hopefully, people will get the second dose. But even if they don't, I mean, they are pretty well-protected against serious illness from the single dose.

TAPPER: So, there's also this debate about mix and match boosters, whether if you got a Pfizer, you can get the booster from Moderna, et cetera, et cetera. Do you expect a vote on your FDA advisory panel on that issue, mix and match, anytime soon?

OFFIT: So those data were presented today, actually. So looking at people who got an mRNA vaccine, and then boosted with like a vectored virus vaccine and vice versa, or primary boost with different mRNA vaccines. So those were studies of about 50 people in each group, which are really too small to make a recommendation. So we really didn't vote on that today.

But I suspect in the near future, we will be voting on that. And then the CDC will be making clear recommendations about how best the mix and match.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about the decision to recommend the Moderna booster yesterday that you all voted unanimously for that yesterday, but one of your fellow committee members, Dr. Patrick Moore, said to the Wall Street Journal, "It was more gut feeling rather than based on really truly serious data. The data itself is not strong, but it is certainly going in the direction that is supportive of this vote." A gut feeling on such an important decision?

OFFIT: Well, yes, it is hard. I mean, so for example, when Pfizer submitted their vaccine for us, two-dose vaccine, that was a 40,000 person trial. When they submitted the three-dose vaccine, that was about 306 people who got it. So you see what their immune response was when they got a third dose. Same with Moderna, Moderna that was a 30,000 person, two-dose trial. That the trial for three doses was 170 people.

So yes, it's -- you know, when you're making decisions under uncertainty, when you're trying to make decisions based on what's going to happen when you give a vaccine, not to 170 people, but to, you know, 10 million people, obviously, you'd like to have as much data as possible. But certainly, the immunology data regarding the Moderna vaccine was very clear, that there was a clear booster response associated with that. So really every reason to believe that it would be a value for those certain groups. The over 65-year-old, the person over 50, who have certain health care conditions, I think there is clearly value in that.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Paul Offit, thank you so much and condolences on the Eagles last night.

In Chicago, a standoff between the city and the police. The mayor of Chicago will join us next. Stay with us.


[17:36:58] TAPPER: Chicago's new vaccine mandate tops are nationally now. Today is the deadline for all Chicago city employees to be fully vaccinated or be forced to take unpaid leave. The police union in Chicago estimates that the mandate will result in up to half of all Chicago police officers coming off the streets.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live for us in Chicago. And Omar, this dispute between the mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot and the police union is now headed to court.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. There's actually a court hearing ongoing right now, we're just a few months ago. City lawyers argued that the head of the police union can't keep holding the city hostage with his words on this. And as part of why they filed their court documents asking a judge to stop the head of this union from threatening a work stoppage because of this vaccine mandate.

As you can imagine, as you can imagine, the union disagrees. And in this court hearing that I mentioned, is ongoing, they said well, because it's going to take a few days to verify who is in compliance with this mandate and who isn't. There is no emergency of a work stoppage. There is no threat of officers being off the job at least this weekend into the next few days.

And they also alleged in their own court documents that the mayor, the city and the Chicago police superintendent acted unilaterally, which goes against their collective bargaining agreement. As you can imagine, the city disagrees.

Now this all stems, of course, from the requirement for city employees to report their vaccination status by today. If they don't, they would get placed on basically unpaid leave. So you either have to be vaccinated by today, or opt in to the twice weekly testing for COVID. That is an option for unvaccinated people through the end of the year.

And, of course, as you mentioned earlier this week, it was the union head who said that according to him, he claimed that up to 50 percent of officers would not comply with this. There's no way to corroborate those numbers. The mayor for now, though, not worried about that happening.

TAPPER: And Omar, what's the backup plan to keep Chicago safe if half of the officers leave their jobs?

JIMENEZ: Well, again, for right now, the mayor doesn't seem to be too worried about that. But she wouldn't go into too many contingency plans. She did say that there are state policing resources they could lean into if necessary. And as I mentioned, it's going to take some time to verify who's a compliance and who isn't.

And so we're looking at early next week when some of those numbers come in. And we get a true idea of how many Chicago police officers are actually in compliance with, as life that describes, the best way to keep the workspace safe. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Omar Jimenez in Chicago. Let's stay in Chicago. I want to talk to the Mayor of Chicago, Lori Lightfoot right now. And Mayor Lightfoot, thanks so much for joining us. So there are roughly 13,000 police officers on your Chicago police force. Chicago is the second largest police department in the country. How many of those 13,000 officers have disclosed their vaccination status as of today?

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: Well, we don't have final numbers yet, but what we've been seeing throughout the week, I think, is the reality has sunk in is that we're seeing big leaps in compliance, but we won't have final numbers until, obviously, after midnight tonight.


We'll be verifying those numbers over the course of the weekend, and then we'll let folks know. But here's what I want to your listeners to be very clear about. This is a manufactured crisis by the Fraternal Order of Police, same guy that thought that the one sixers (ph) were just patriots exercising their First Amendment rights.

So let's consider the source. But the reality is, the only way that we can create a safe workplace and maximize that is by getting people vaccinated. And what we've asked our employees to do is two simple things. Say yes or no as to whether or not you're vaccinated. If you say yes, then you upload your information. If you say no, then you either apply for an exemption, or you opt for the testing.

It takes about two minutes a time to do that. So all this noise and hysteria is manufactured.

TAPPER: Well --

LIGHTFOOT: Our workers are going to be compliant.

TAPPER: I mean, it may be manufactured, but I understand you don't have any final numbers but can you give us some preliminary numbers? I mean, if there were 13,000 police officers and 10,000 of them who have said, yes, I'm vaccinated, then there really isn't a crisis, but we don't know. You say, it's a manufactured crisis, it's still might actually be a crisis of half your officers walk off.

LIGHTFOOT: Well, but they're not going to walk off. They - we've told them very clearly, you need to report for work, just as you would regularly do. You're expected to be at work on a shift today, tomorrow, Sunday, Monday, you got to report for work. If you don't show up for work, that's a whole different issue. And has -- we'll have very significant consequences for them.

But I'm confident that the vast majority of officers who work their tails off every single day run to danger to protect us are going to honor their oath and their obligation. And their obligation is to do the right thing to show up, to protect our residents and keep us safe. And they're going to do that. The rest of it to me is just noise.

As I've said, you know, lots of times when you place deadlines, whether it's sworn, whether it's civilian, or in any other context, people do it at the last minute, and we're seeing increases. We'll release the information as soon as we have it, likely sometime on Monday. But I think we're going to see a very substantial compliance across the board with city workers.

People understand that it only (ph) protect themselves, protect their families, and their city, their work colleagues, you got to get vaccinated.


LIGHTFOOT: Hearing simple.

TAPPER: And we have --

LIGHTFOOT: And people (INAUDIBLE) to do that.

TAPPER: And we have a vaccine mandate here at CNN. I understand where you're coming from, but I have to say like, first of all, do you want people showing up, do you want police officers showing up if they're not vaccinated and have not disclosed whether or not they're vaccinated? I mean, that's OK, you want them --

LIGHTFOOT: No, I want our police officers and our firefighters, all of our first responders to be safe.

TAPPER: Right.

LIGHTFOOT: We lost four police officers last year to COVID, all of whom died before the vaccine was available. I want our workers regardless of whether they're civilian or sworn, and I want our residents to be safe. And the only way to maximize that safety is to get the vaccine.

TAPPER: Right. So --

LIGHTFOOT: 97 percent of people were sick and dying in our city are unvaccinated.

TAPPER: So 13,000 police officers, how many -- I understand it's a preliminary number, but how many of them have told you that they're vaccinated, because the deadline is coming up in just a few hours? I mean, is it more than 7,000? Because the union had says he thinks at least half are going to be non-compliance. I mean, do you have numbers that prove that he's wrong?

LIGHTFOOT: That's precisely why we're going to court. This union leader who's discredited, disgraced police officer is trying to lead a lot of brave young men and women over a cliff without a parachute. He's huffing and huffing. But the fact of the matter is, I feel very confident. We're seeing the numbers rise.

I don't have the immediate numbers at my fingertips. And as I said, we'll release them in full transparency as soon as we have a final tally. But the fact of the matter is, I think a vast majority of police officers and employees across our city are going to comply, because it's a very simple process. Yes or no. Are you vaccinated? Are you not? That's it.

TAPPER: I can't help but think that if the number were over 7,000, you would tell me right now.

LIGHTFOOT: Well, now you're fishing and trying to get me to say something but I don't want to say. If I was worried, I would be the first to tell you. I'm not worried.

I feel like we're going to get maximum compliance. And if we don't, we have contingency plans, but I don't think anybody is going to lose their career because they don't want to say yes or no as to whether or not they're vaccinated.

TAPPER: All right.

LIGHTFOOT: That's what I know.

TAPPER: Chicago Mayor.

LIGHTFOOT: (INAUDIBLE) common sense.

TAPPER: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, thank you so much. And police officers in Chicago, please get vaccinated. Save your own life. Save that -- the lives of your family members.

Coming up, a billboard that made visitors to New York's Times Square look up and wonder if it was a joke, or if it was deadly serious. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our Earth matters series today, if you think manmade climate change isn't something you have to worry about, maybe think again. Look at these stunning images from the research organization Climate Central, which show what could happen if nothing is done to stop rising temperatures which leads to rising sea levels. Take the famous Santa Monica Pier in California, it will become a waterpark in the middle of the Pacific.

The city of Hoboken across the river from New York City will just become part of the Hudson River. And then, of course, Buckingham Palace will become very secure because there will be a moat around it, literally.


The Queen actually just weighed in on climate change appearing to say all the talk and no action from global leaders is, quote, irritating.

Our next guest would probably agree with the sentiment, might even have a stronger word than irritating. He's trying to get the world to pay attention to the failure of Australian leaders to address the crisis, by raising over $150,000 to display this giant billboard in Times Square. It reads for a limited time, come to Australia to cuddle a koala before we make them extinct. Sounds a good joke, but the message is deadly serious.

And the man behind that message is comedian and host of the Australian podcast "A Rational Fear", Dan Ilic, who joins me now. Dan, thanks so much for joining us. First, how was your billboard in New York received? Did you get any tweets, any calls from global leaders?

DAN ILIC, COMEDIAN & HOST OF "A RATIONAL FEAR" PODCAST: It's funny you should mention that, Jake. You know, at 9:45, the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison had no plans to go to COP26. And then by 2:45 p.m., he changed his mind. And incidentally, 9:45 a.m. was when the billboards went live.

So something happened between 9:45 and 2:45 p.m. I don't know what it was. I could have been the Queen being disgruntled that he wasn't going to be there. But, you know, maybe it was a giant flaming kangaroo in the middle of Times Square that convinced them that, oh yes, climate change. That's something I've constantly ignored. Maybe I should pay some attention to it. Yes.

TAPPER: We're showing the image right now of the kangaroo on fire --

ILIC: Yes.

TAPPER: -- hopping. Let me ask you, why use -- it's dark humor, but it's humor, why use humor? Doesn't make it easier for politicians to dismiss your points by saying, you're not taking climate change seriously, or, on the contrary, does using humor grab people by the shirt collar and make them pay attention?

ILIC: Jake, this isn't for the Prime Minister. Although these billboards were for 1,800 people who wanted to feel better about Australia's position on the international world stage, we are global pariahs when it comes to negotiating at these climate talks. We are literally the worst country.

We're up there with Russia and Saudi Arabia, with a third largest exporter of fossil fuels. So naturally, we cheat and disassemble and obfuscate our way through these climate talks every time they happen. So, I was someone who's spent a lot of time during the Paris talks, trying to defend Australia. I was so annoyed by outcomes at Paris, I just wanted to make a statement to the international community to say to everyone around the world, that the Australian government doesn't necessarily represent the views of Australians. And they are so out of step.

It's so amazing. We did some polling from a few months ago that said, 70 percent of Australians want to see our government to do more on climate action. And what is that government doing? A whole lot less on climate action. I don't know if you remember the global COVID-19 pandemic. I don't know if you heard of it.

A couple years, when that all kicked off, our government went on holidays for five months, and they put in a national COVID-19 Coordination Committee to solve the problem. And their solution was a gas pipeline. That was how they were going to solve the climate -- the COVID-19 problem. And that was when I realized, oh, hang on a second. Maybe our government actually doesn't work for us. Maybe they work for someone else.

And it makes complete sense with -- at the currently as of actually tomorrow, the --


ILIC: -- one of the big parties in this -- sorry, Jake, you're cut (ph).

TAPPER: I just -- we only have a little bit left and I want to ask you this last question. I know you're a podcaster so you can talk literally for four hours straight, but so apologies. But --

ILIC: Sure.

TAPPER: -- in recent years, Australia has seen historic droughts followed by those horrific and devastating fires, it's hard to forget the images of burn koala bears with no food or water because the forest where they live are burned to the ground. In one of your billboards you show a pic --

ILIC: Yes.

TAPPER: -- of the kangaroo and fire next to the phrase, Australia net zero by 2,300. I guess I just find it so surprising given all the tragedy that has happened in Australia, you know, at least partly because of manmade climate change, that your government is so unresponsive.

ILIC: Jake, you're talking about a prime minister, who at the height of these bushfires that ripped through Australia in 2020, took a holiday to Hawaii. This is a guy who always runs away from a national crisis. So, at the moment, it took a billboard of a burning kangaroo to force him to go to Glasgow.

This is what we have to do in this country. We have to drag our leaders to lead us. We have to lead our leaders because our leaders don't work for us. They work for the fossil fuel companies.

TAPPER: All right, Dan Ilic, well, good luck with your campaign. And thank you so much, and thanks to our mutual friend Russell (ph) for bringing it to my attention. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.



TAPPER: In the national lead, an update to the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. Today, we learned that the Parkland gunman now plans to plead guilty to the charges stemming from that horrific 2018 rampage as attorney said today in court. 17 innocent people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, 17 others injured. The shooter is currently charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. A not guilty plea was previously entered on his behalf though he had confessed to police, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Tuned into the State of the Union Sunday, among our guests, the Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger and comedian Jon Stewart, that's at 9:00 and noon, Eastern. Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter and on the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. And a reminder, if you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to The Lead wherever you get your podcasts.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you Sunday morning. Be kind to yourself and to others.