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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Republican Party Split On Trump In 2022; Dismal Poll Approval Ratings Of President Biden; U.S. Opens Borders For International Travelers; Ukrainian Hacker Charged By The Department Of Justice; DOJ Charges Ukrainian Man For Targeting U.S. Companies; $6 Million In Ransom Payments Seized; Biden Admin Urges Congress To Pass Law Requiring Companies To Notify FBI Or Ransomware Attacks; Obama: Climate Should Be An Issue Which Transcends Politics; Wash Post: Only 45 Of 196 Countries Filed Climate Reports In 2019; Global Outrage As Daniel Ortega "Wins" Re-Election; World Leaders Call Nicaraguan Vote A "Sham", "Fraud"; Election In Name Only"; Tesla Stock Slides After Elon Musk Polls Twitter. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 08, 2021 - 17:00   ET



CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER GOVERNORT OF NEW JERSEY: Every minute that we spent talking about 2020 while we're wasting time doing that, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer are laying ruin to this country. We better focus on that and take our eyes off the rear-view mirror and start looking through the windshield again.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's talking, of course, about former President Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I may even decide to beat them for a third time, okay?

ZELENY (voice-over): The proverbial elephant in every Republican room whose conspiracy theories, grievances and score settling are a driving force in a party still firmly in his command. A year after losing the White House and control of Congress, Republicans are at a critical crossroads as they capitalize on Democratic divisions in hopes of reclaiming their majority.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Is President Trump part of that discussion? Of course he is. And those voices that want to silence him I think are ridiculous.

ZELENY (voice-over): Fresh signs of optimism are coursing through the GOP following a big win in the governor's race and a stunning finish in New Jersey. Yet those signs of strength have shined a brighter light in balancing the risks and rewards of embracing the former president.

Today in Kentucky, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell instructed his party to spend more time talking about President Biden.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The key to '22 is to have a discussion with the American people about how they feel about the new administration and the Democratic Congress and what they're doing. So I think the election will be about the future, not about the past.

ZELENY (voice-over): Trump's role in midterm election races and whether he runs for president again is a central question hanging over the party. At a weekend GOP gathering in Las Vegas, that question was on the back burner. As former president Mike Pence and a parade of Republicans made appearances.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just 12 months away from a great Republican comeback and we're going to win back this country in 2024.

ZELENY (voice-over): That field of potential 2024 candidates is already taking shape with more than a dozen ambitious Republicans in the earliest stages of exploring a run. Some of whom said they would step aside if Trump steps up again. Not Christie, who told CNN's Maeve Reston that doing so would be a sign of weakness.

CHRISTIE: Anybody who says that they'll step aside for anybody else, I'd say to you, doesn't belong being president. If you don't believe in yourself enough to stand up to anyone, then you can't possibly stand up for everyone.

ZELENY (voice-over): To rebuild, Republicans know they must win over at least some of the suburban voters who left the party under Trump. That was one of the brightest spots for the GOP in last week's elections. Longtime Republican Ari Fleischer, a former White House press secretary, said any questions about Trump would be answered after the midterm elections.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH: This suburban reversal is significant with or without Donald Trump on the ballot. The trick for Republicans going forward in my opinion is to keep revving up the rural areas and the lower income, non-college educated areas and just be reasonable in the suburbs. Don't scare people and the suburbs will come home.


ZELENY (on camera): Now it is a critical midpoint. A year ago yesterday, Joe Biden declared victory over Donald Trump. And a year from tonight, the votes in those midterm races will be counted to determine who controls the House and the Senate.

Now the party out of power always holds historic advantages in midterm races, but history offers few answers for how to navigate the former president who remains at the center of it all. Energizing some voters and alienating others. Now, Jake, he did tell Fox News earlier today he plans to make a decision about 2024 probably after the midterm elections.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Yes. A lot of his top aides including Mark Meadows says he's definitely going to run. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Let's discuss with our team, and Nolan McCaskill, let me start with you. Trump ended up not campaigning with Glenn Youngkin who didn't reject Trump, but kept him at arm's length. Is Trump going to be able to show the same restraint in 2022?

NOLAN MCCASKILL, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES: I think that's the million-dollar question for Republicans. Will Trump show the same restraint? I think it's easier to do when it's one candidate and one race. As for as Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, when you have all of the House Republicans and their candidate is running for re-election, I think it's so much difficult for him to refuse the attention.

I mean, he can see someone who has been kicked off twitter. He's been kicked off Facebook. You know, he has to release his statements via e- mail. You know, he doesn't get the same cable coverage that he once did. But when it comes to 2022, I think that I wouldn't be surprised if Donald Trump is someone who does want to get back out there, who does want to get that attention, who does want to help Republicans raise money because that does come with more attention for him and the kind of, you know, elevates his profile going into 2024.

So, it wouldn't surprise me if Donald Trump was much more of a factor in 2022, but obviously, we'll just have to wait and see how that works out.

TAPPER: Yes. And he -- Glenn Youngkin was not running as a Trump candidate but some of them are out there running as Trump candidates.


One gubernatorial candidate that Trump has endorsed, Kari Lake of Arizona. She has publicly embraced at least one Nazi sympathizer, another Qanon-linked activist at her campaign events, according to CNN's K-File report. K-File reports this story. You can check it out online.

If Trump continues to back candidates who seem rather extreme out there that could alienate the voters that other Republican candidates say in Arizona need to win over.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: Particularly if you're at the Republican Governors Association you're looking at that and saying, come on. But it just shows how little the party establishment has control over what former President Trump does. And that he is still in the driver's seat.

I mean, look what happened in Georgia. I don't think it was a secret that Mitch McConnell wasn't really thrilled initially with the selection of Herschel Walker as the Trump candidate. Now he seems to, at this point, has learned to love it because he can't not.

But some of these other candidates, it's going to be harder to love for these more establishment Republicans that, you know, want to take back the country, want to take in terms of governorships, want to take back the House and Senate and push their agenda without the sort of crazy free radicals that are also incumbent in some of these Republican -- some of these Trump-selected candidates.

TAPPER: I mean, he's doing an event, Trump, for the NRCC tonight. The National Republican Congressional Committee. But according to this new book coming from ABC News, Jonathan Karl, Trump, on his way out the door in January this year, told the RNC chair, Ronna McDaniel, that he was leaving the Republican Party to create his own political party.

He didn't care about destroying the GOP. And it wasn't until party leaders told him they would stop paying his legal fees that Trump backed down from creating his own party. I guess my question is, how can the NRCC just welcome him knowing that his allegiance to the Republican Party is so fickle and literally comes with strings attached?

BILL KRISTOL, DIRECTOR, DEFENDING DEMOCRACY TOGETHER: And I was going to mention that dinner tonight. Trump didn't invite himself, to my knowledge --

TAPPER: Right.

KRISTOL: -- to be the dinner speaker for the National Republican Congressional Committee. There are plenty of other people who would have been happy to speak and the establishment would allegedly have been happy to receive other people than Trump. They want Trump. This is all a myth that all those Republicans really want Trump far away. A few of them do.

Youngkin, running for governor, not a federal office in Virginia, a blue state that Biden won by 10 points. The Ohio senate candidates, the Georgia senate candidates, they don't want Trump far away and I very much agree with Jackie. The McConnell endorsement of Herschel Walker and Thune, I guess the whole leadership of the Senate endorsed him, right, after Trump had tapped him, shows that they are -- they know their fate is tied to Trump for now.

Deep down, late at night, maybe they hope he'll miraculously disappear but they will do nothing to make him disappear. Even Chris Christie who is being heralded as the one guy who is standing -- he's not standing up to Trump. He's sort of hoping that people won't talk too much about Trump.

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's why I think it's so hard for all the Republicans who said, after Glenn Youngkin won, this is our path. Well, it's not going to be very easy for that to be their path if they are embracing Trump and vice versa.

Look, I think it was easy for Trump to stay out of the Virginia governor's race because it was kind of a one off, I think, to him, right? It didn't really signify power. The midterm elections signified power especially if he's able to say that it's because of him that Republicans took the House back.

You also have a ton of Republicans that aren't like Glenn Youngkin. That they are like mini Trumps, right? And you've just talked about one. And so I think it's going to be really hard going into the midterm elections for Republicans to replicate what happened in Virginia because, to your point, Bill, many of them can't quit Trump and frankly Trump, it's not that he can quit the GOP. He said he couldn't. He can't quit power and this to him signifies power. KRISTOL: And Youngkin won a weird convention in which they

manipulated --

TAPPER: Right. There wasn't a primary.

KRISTOL: If there had been a primary, I'm not sure he would have won. And to win, he would have had to be much more Trumpier then he had to be.

CARDONA: And Trump still claims credit the next day.

KRISTOL: Yes. Right?

TAPPER: Well, the probably more important to the 2022 midterms is where Joe Biden stands with voters, right? He is the incumbent. Today, Nolan, take a look at this. Biden is seeing more disappointing poll numbers. A new CNN polls finds 48 percent approve his job performance, 52 percent disapprove.

When you compare this with past presidents, he does do better than Trump, and the same as Clinton. There are other polls that have his approval lower than the CNN poll. But even so, Clinton, Obama, Trump, all went on to lose majorities in the House. I mean, Joe Biden is probably more important in the midterms than Donald Trump and Joe Biden is an albatross on Democrats right now.

MCCASKILL: Right. I mean, the good thing for President Biden is that this poll is a snapshot of right now. So, he still haves a year to try to make up his approval rating. He's got time to try to sell this infrastructure bill.


If Democrats are able to pass this larger reconciliation bill, he has time to sell that. But right now, it's not looking good. He's had a rough stretch as president with all of these negotiations on Capitol Hill. Just sucked so much oxygen up from other conversations. But the good thing is he still has time.

I mean, we're in 2021. Democrats got a reality check from the Virginia elections and I think they need to figure out what went wrong and use that to their advantage going into 2022. But also like you mentioned, the midterm environment is tough for an incumbent president. There isn't much that he can do but he can try to sell legislation.

TAPPER: Fifty-eight percent of Americans, Jackie, 58 percent say Biden has not paid enough attention to the nation's most important problems. I believe number one on that list for most of the voters who say that is the economy.


TAPPER: Can Democrats turn this around? I am not saying 100 percent. You can't buck historical trends, but I mean, there's a difference between losing 20 seats and losing 70 seats. KUCINICH: And I think that's the question. You know, when I was

talking to moderate Democrats months ago, they were worried about inflation.


KUCINICH: They were worried about -- and since the -- and COVID and the economy are linked. We're not at a point in the pandemic where you can unlink them because it's still climbing back. So as long as people still don't feel like the economy is working for them, that's going to be problematic for these Democrats whose seats are at risk.

TAPPER: And you know, when Democrats have won midterms or done well in midterms it's because they talk about health insurance. They talk about economy. They talk -- it's not because they talk about Donald Trump. I have to say.

CARDONA: That's exactly right. And I think that what also happened in the last couple of months, and we talk about how, oh, it's the sausage making, but that's all that Americans saw was Democrats fighting each other about what's going to be in these bills that, you know, whose titles really have nothing to do with people's everyday lives.

And so they saw the sausage making but frankly that sausage was giving Americans indigestion. And so they need to talk about, now that the infrastructure bill is passed, and if the Build Back Better passes as well, what does that mean? In terms of your health. In terms of your economy.

In terms of how you're going to be able to take care of your family and frankly, in terms of education. They need to take back this education issue which we knew was a debacle in Virginia. And I think they can do it. Thank goodness to your point, the midterm elections aren't being held tomorrow.

TAPPER: Yes. We'll see if that works. I'm looking forward to seeing all the people who voted against the infrastructure bill going to the ribbon cutting so it's going to be --

CARDONA: Exactly.

TAPPER: -- it's going to be fun.

KUCINICH: That's right.

TAPPER: Thank you all for joining. Appreciate it. Top health officials says Europe is once again the world's epicenter of COVID cases right as the U.S. is opening its borders to vaccinated travelers. We're going to go live to Paris next.

And packers now charged with infecting up to 1,500 businesses and collecting millions in ransom. How much is the U.S. going to be able to get back? That's ahead.



TAPPER: In the "Health Lead," almost two years into the pandemic and today Germany reported its highest COVID infection rate ever. And cases are so high in Europe, the World Health Organization considers the region an epicenter of spread.

Now despite all that, today the United States is loosening travel restrictions and letting fully vaccinated travelers from 33 countries, including much of Europe, come on in. CNN's Melissa Bell is in Paris where some of the first flights originated today.


MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The bags are packed and they're ready to go.

(On camera): For the first time in more than a year and a half, the United States finally opening its borders to foreign vaccinated travelers. And what that means this Monday morning here in Charles De Gaulle Airport here in Paris in the 2E terminal is a much busier terminal than I've seen in a long time. And a lot more flights up on the boards to Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and some pretty excited travelers.

UNKNOWN: We are happy because of the weather, especially. We can call it freedom, yes. I hope it continues after because we hesitate about, you know, the fourth wave was upcoming and I don't know if borders will be closed again one time.

BELL (voice-over): That new wave of infections has already arrived in Europe causing the World Health Organization to sound the alarm late last week.

HANS KLUGE, EUROPE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Cumulatively, there are now more reported cases, 78 million, in the European region than in Southeast Asia, the Eastern Mediterranean, the Western Pacific and Africa combined. We are once again the epicenter.

BELL (voice-over): The reason for the European surge? Likely a combination of factors including low or lagging vaccine rates in eastern Europe, the circulation of a new subvariant of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus, one that's estimated to be even more

contagious, colder temperatures pushing more activities indoors, waning immunity from early COVID inoculations and infections, as well as fatigue and complacency surrounding protective measures like mask wearing and careful hand washing.

The end result, a startling statistic. In the last four weeks alone, Europe has registered more than a 55 percent rise in new COVID-19 cases. But so far those numbers not causing a change of course in the U.S. decision to reopen its borders or dampening the excitement of these travelers.

UNKNOWN: Wow! It's just amazing, isn't it?

UNKNOWN: Yes. It's been a long time waiting.



BELL (on camera): Jake, this comes, of course, at a time when a beleaguered travel industry needed a boost. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost by the American travel industry alone. We've been hearing from the president of United Airlines who said that already and within days of that announcement of the reopening of the American borders, it has seen its highest levels of transatlantic bookings since the pandemic began so back above rather 2019 levels. So a remarkable boost. The question is though, Jake, how long that's going to last.

TAPPER: All right. Melissa Bell. Merci beaucoup.

I want to bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. SO Sanjay, let's take stock of this decision by the Biden administration. COVID cases in Europe have been going up. I think it's fair to say at an alarming rate for weeks now. But at the same time, the Biden administration is reopening borders to international travelers as long as they've been vaccinated. Is that following the science, the data doesn't seem, from my point of view, to back up this decision.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the thing about it is, Jake, that if you look at what's been going on in the United States and Europe and compared to the rest of the world, we can show that, the numbers have been going up there. But when you drill down on that, it's you know, it's primarily among unvaccinated people.

So, you know, as Melissa was describing, these travel requirements are the people have to be vaccinated and they also have to show proof of a negative test as well. I think when you add those two layers in, I mean, that offers significant protection. Where we're seeing numbers go up, whether it's in pockets in the United States or, as you saw there in Europe, it's still primarily among the unvaccinated.

As much as we talk about boosters and all these other things, that is still the fundamental problem. So, with those specific requirements, I think it's much safer, obviously, to let people in.

TAPPER: Here in the U.S., there's this alarming new poll getting at the spread of disinformation and misinformation about COVID. The Kaiser Family Foundation polled Americans who had heard about at least one COVID myth, 78 percent of them either believe the false statement or weren't sure if it was true or false.

Some of these myths that we're talking about that the government is exaggerating the number of COVID deaths or that vaccines can cause infertility or the vaccines contain a microchip or vaccines can change your DNA. All of this false.

And this isn't an old survey. This poll wrapped up just two weeks ago. Does it feel like people have largely given up on trying to figure out what's real and what's not?

GUPTA: It may feel that way. I mean, I think there's a lot of people who have not given up. I certainly haven't given up. I think there's a lot of people out there who are trying to reach into communities where a lot of that misinformation is being spread.

I mean, I remember talking to Dr. Peter Hotez about this who has been dealing with misinformation around vaccines long before this pandemic. And I think there was a sense, you know, years ago, look, don't give it more fuel. Don't try and, you know, rise -- raise this misinformation to levels where it spreads more easily. Those days have passed.

The information -- misinformation travels faster sometimes than the virus itself. So, I think it's imperative for people to speak up more than ever. What they find, Jake, I found interesting as part of these surveys as well, is that the people that are trusted the most are people within people's own social circles.

So if you are someone who has done the homework, gotten vaccinated, whatever it may be and talk about it with your friends, neighbors, colleagues whatever, that seems to make the biggest difference of all.

TAPPER: The Biden administration had until this hour to respond to a federal appeals court to temporarily block the new vaccine rule that would have required private businesses with a 100 or more employees along with certain healthcare workers and federal contractors to get vaccinated by January 4th. Sanjay, what might be the medical impact if a court says this mandate cannot be implemented?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, first of all, I'll preface by saying we're about 58 percent vaccinated. We're going into the winter months. It's cooler, it's drier. People are going to be indoors clustering together more so than they have in a long time. So there's a lot of things that potentially increase the risk and the vaccines can help, you know, really reduce that risk quite a bit.

We know that these mandates, they're not palatable in a lot of sectors of societies, but they work. United Airlines in August they were about 59 percent of the workforce vaccinated. Now they are closer to 99 percent. Let me just show you among health care workers quickly, I mean, again, the misinformation we talked to can apply to health care workers as well.

I mean, it looked that flu overall, they say overall, about 80 percent vaccinated. But look at the places where there's mandates versus not. So, these are healthcare workers who are taking care of vulnerable people. They need to obviously be protected as much as possible so they don't get sick or spread the virus to others.

TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

$6 million of ransom payment now in the hands of the U.S. government after two hackers have been charged with a massive operation. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our "Tech Lead," charges in a major cyberattack that targeted as many as 1,500 companies. Attorney General Merrick Garland today announcing charges against the Ukrainian man accused of raking in millions from the ransomware attacks, including a crippling one during the July 4th holiday.

And he's not the only one. CNN's Evan Perez joins us live with more on this. And Evan, this was a significant move for the Biden administration. What more are you learning about the charges?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the charges that they announced today against Yaroslav Vasinskyi, he is a Ukrainian national. He was arrested last month, Jake, in Poland. And he is the one, according to the Justice Department, according to these charges that were unsealed today.


He was behind the attack over Fourth of July weekend against Kaseya. This is a software company. It was infected -- infected hundreds, about 1,500 companies in all were affected. And according to the Justice Department, obviously, this is a -- this is part of a gang, criminal gang that's behind this -- the software, this ransomware called are REvil. And they've been essentially getting millions of dollars from victim companies that have been infected with this ransomware.

They also announced today that they were able to seize $6 million from another figure who was connected to REvil. His name is Yevgeniy Polyanin and he is at large believed to be in Russia, he's a Russian national. According to the Justice Department, they were able to get $6 million that they know was connected to ransomware that went to him.

TAPPER: Right now there's no requirement for companies that are hit with these ransomware attacks to notify the FBI and, obviously, the ransom -- the bad guys say don't contact the FBI.

PEREZ: Right.

TAPPER: Is the Biden administration doing anything to change that?

PEREZ: Yes, they are. They are trying to -- and one of the things you heard today from the Attorney General, from the FBI director, they're begging Congress to pass a law to require companies to come to the FBI and tell them when they've been hit with ransomware. The FBI needs this information so they can try to at least try -- again, like try to save some of this money and to try to discourage the ransomware -- these attackers from doing these attacks.

Right now, there's some legislation, bipartisan legislation to try to do that. But Congress has been kind of unwilling, frankly, to regulate some of this over the last few years. TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Barack Obama back on the world stage and now blaming Donald Trump for, quote, four years of active hostility when it comes to the climate crisis. That's next.




BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are times where I feel discouraged. There are times where the future seems somewhat bleak. There are times where I am doubtful that humanity can get its act together before it's too late. We can't afford hopelessness.


TAPPER: Our Earth matters series and world lead to begin with former President Barack Obama back on the world stage at the Global Climate Conference in Scotland as CNN's Rene Marsh reports for us now. Obama not only tried to rally world leaders to not give up, he also took a few swipes at Donald Trump.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Barack Obama back on the world stage speaking out in Glasgow, Scotland, at an international gathering on climate change COP26. Trying to convince the world that America is still serious about fighting rising global temperatures.

OBAMA: The U.S. has to lead.

MARSH (voice-over): In an urgent and very political speech, Obama expressed regret over the Trump administration's inaction on climate change.

OBAMA: Back in the United States, of course, some of our progress stalled when my successor decided to unilaterally pull out of the Paris Agreement in his first year in office. I wasn't real happy about that.

MARSH (voice-over): In an effort to shore up U.S. credibility, Obama laid out progress made in the U.S. even without leadership from the White House.

OBAMA: And the U.S. alone, more than 3 million people not work in clean energy related jobs. That is more than the number of people currently employed by the entire fossil fuel industry. So despite four years of active hostility toward climate science, coming from the very top of our federal government, the American people managed to still meet our original commitment under the Paris Agreement. MARSH (voice-over): World leaders at this summit are under pressure to outline specifics on how they will cut greenhouse emissions by 2050. A huge crowd waiting and cheering for Obama as he arrived for a roundtable discussion with young leaders who want to see more dramatic action.

OBAMA: The danger of our activism is that we're typically talking to people who already agree with us. We -- we're not oftentimes talking to big parts of our populations that either don't agree with us or at least have different priorities,

MARSH (voice-over): Including from the largest emitters, China and Russia, whose leaders were absent from the conference, Obama echoing those concerns,

OBAMA: And their national plans so far reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and willingness to maintain the status quo on the part of those governments. And that's a shame.


MARSH: And Jake, Obama also focusing his attention towards the younger generation, telling them that they need to focus on their messaging, saying that tweets and yelling at the other side will not convert the unconverted saying that they need to focus on citizens whose livelihoods are essentially tied to climate change and tied to dirtier sources of energy trying to bring those people on board. He says it's a lost cause trying to convince the fossil fuel industry. But Jake, highlighting again, the fact that the former president was even here at all, taking the world stage just speaks to how high the stakes are. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Rene Marsh from Scotland for us. Thank you so much for that report.

With us right now, Chris Mooney, one of the authors of a frankly disheartening Washington Post investigation that found most countries pledges to cut down on greenhouse gases are based on flawed data to say the least. Chris, thanks for joining us. You laid out in your very compelling piece that many countries are under reporting their emissions, countries like Russia, some Persian Gulf countries, China, who's the worst offender?


CHRIS MOONEY, CLIMATE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well it kind of -- it's hard to say worse. Certainly, we pointed out that Malaysia is subtracting a huge amount from its emissions total because of claims about what's happening with land use that don't seem to really hold up and could be emitting hundreds of million tons more greenhouse gases than are shown in their bottom line. But the problem here really is that there are many, many countries that are pledging to cut emissions but are not fully taking responsibility for all emissions within their borders. And until those two things get squared, it's going to be hard to judge what the progress really is. TAPPER: Your investigation also found dozens of countries don't report all their missions at all, as you just note, what's being left out, what are they not reporting?

MOONEY: So in the case that you mentioned, that's fluorinated gases, they come from air conditioning, refrigeration, electric power, they're sort of synthetic gases that are extremely powerful in warm in the atmosphere. And quite elusive, we also found that methane, which is another super warming gas is being, you know, hundreds -- sorry, excuse me -- tens of millions of tons of methane are being missed, not reported by the countries. And that is causing the planet to warm faster than it would otherwise right now.

TAPPER: And you found some countries are fudging their numbers by claiming natural forest regrowth is absorbing greenhouse gases?

MOONEY: Right. The rules are currently drawn in such a way that countries can claim their entire areas and the U.S., Russia, China, we're talking about enormous areas and can claim carbon that is being stored in the trees across all these areas. And that's even if they didn't directly cause that to happen, that means they might not have planted trees, they might not have taken any particular kind of direct restoration action. But nevertheless, just if it's being stored, they're claiming it and that reduces their bottom line.

And so then they can claim to get to net-zero emissions even while having emissions. So this is another form of innocence under reporting what your real impact is on the world.

TAPPER: A powerful and very important report in The Washington Post. Chris Mooney, thank you so much for joining us. Good to see you again.

MOONEY: Thank you.

TAPPER: It's been called an election in name only as Nicaraguans tell CNN people are fearful and locked in their homes. Even those living abroad afraid of the crackdown by the country's leaders. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, a sham, illegitimate, an election in name only. These are just some of the expressions of global outrage today about Nicaragua's so-called presidential election in which long-time socialist leader Daniela Ortega who came onto the world stage in the 80s as a revolutionary fighting against the U.S. back dictatorship, remained in power for his fourth straight term by doing exactly what he wants fought against. Jailing his opposition, essentially making himself the only viable presidential candidate.

As CNN's Matt Rivers reports or take his dictatorial moves, extend well past politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He calls himself an elected president. But for many, Daniel Ortega is a dictator, whose regime is getting stronger and more dangerous. Under his rule, a campaign of political terror has gripped the country, dissent can lead to house arrest, jail time, some even allege they've been tortured. It is a dangerous time in Nicaragua, something we tried to go see firsthand.

For that, we took a bus in Northwestern Costa Rica to the Nicaraguan border, entering the land to try and avoid the attention of the authorities. But after 10 minutes with an immigration official, it was clear we were not getting in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you working CNN right now? Are you working with CNN right now? What report are you doing for CNN?

RIVERS (on-camera): So they just took our passports and our Mexican residency card and asked if anyone on the team worked for CNN. Even though we did not offer that information, it's clear that they know who we are.

(voice-over): And soon after, immigration officials denied our entry.

(on-camera): So we've been formally escorted out of the country. After waiting three hours, they told us that we need to send a formal request to the government in order to be allowed in, without giving us any reason as to why we weren't allowed in. They won't answer our questions. And so now officially, we're back on the Costa Rican side. Clearly, they don't want people like us inside the country.

(voice-over): Our experience just a small example of the staggering level of government control faced by Nicaraguans. Since June, dozens of perceived enemies of the regime have been thrown into jail, while countless others have been harassed and followed. In roughly a dozen interviews, CNN conducted with people inside the country. Each said most neighbors won't even talk politics anymore, fearful they can be denounced as traitors.

One current government official would only speak to us over the phone as he stood in an empty field, fearful of being heard. He says, "Only Ortega's followers are the ones who can walk freely. The vast majority of us live like hostages. Every time I leave my home, I'm terrified."

We granted him anonymity because he said government forces surveil his house constantly. If they knew he was speaking to foreign journalists, he says, he'd be imprisoned. "I was afraid to speak with you. But at the same time, the conviction and the hope that our voice will reach others around the world, makes us take the risk."

It has certainly reached other Nicaraguans around the world. Tens of thousands of whom have fled the country since government crackdowns ramped up in 2018. But for many, the terror of the Ortega regime doesn't stop at the border.

[17:50:04] Jorge (ph) spoke to us from an undisclosed location in Mexico. He says he was tortured by Nicaraguan police after participating in anti- government protests in 2018. Even alleging they used a razor blade to carve the word "PLUMU" into his leg, a threat of future violence.

Someone even spray painted his home writing, quote, "If you -- around, you die."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language).

RIVERS (voice-over): He says, "People I had grown up with and known and become my enemies." He fled to Guatemala and felt safe for a bit until he received this photo. Someone he says who worked for the Nicaraguan government snap this picture of him at the bus stop he used every day writing, quote, "You thought the Guatemalans would take care of you? You and your family are going to pay in blood."

"My family and I do not feel safe because we know what they can do. We wouldn't be the first or the last Nicaraguan to be murdered outside the country."

He's still receiving threats in Mexico, and though CNN has no way to know for certain that Nicaraguan state agents were threatening him, that is the consistent fear of so many here in San Jose, Costa Rica, where thousands of Nicaraguans have fled since 2018.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

RIVERS (voice-over): There, we met with this group of Nicaraguan exiles, each of whom say they've received threats from the Ortega regime since fleeing in the last few years. One story from Raisa Hope (ph) stood out.

Any Nicaraguan activists she fled back in 2019 after threats to her life, she now runs a flower shop in San Jose, where her friend Bethany Z. Seladon (ph), a fellow Nicaraguan activist, visits her often. About a month ago, a man entered the shop, close the door and pointed a gun.

He told us -- around mother -- we said, "Don't hurt us, but he started strangling me." Raisa (ph) was pistol-whipped and knocked out. Bethany (ph) say kicked to the floor. She suffered knee fractures as a result.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

RIVERS (voice-over): Crying, she says, "The first thing I thought about, my son. This man is going to kill us."

Eventually, the man left without stealing anything. Both women filed a police report and suspect the same thing. They were targeted by Nicaraguan agents. Nicaraguan human rights groups say they've recorded dozens of such suspected attacks in Costa Rica in recent years, though proving the Nicaraguan government is behind them is near impossible. Officially, Costa Rica's government says they found no such cases of Nicaraguan spies attacking exiles.

"We're always talking to Nicaragua", he says, "and maintaining a conversation to respect each other's sovereignty, but not everyone in the government agrees."

(on-camera): A senior government official with deep knowledge of the situation tells CNN there are, in fact, Nicaraguan intelligence operatives working right now here in Costa Rica, including those that target Nicaraguan exiles, adding the number of operatives working here has increased since Nicaraguans began arriving in mass back in 2018. The government, the source says, is hesitant to speak out publicly on the issue, fearing it could damage diplomatic relations at a tenuous time.

(voice-over): On Sunday, protests were held in San Jose, people chanting and waving the Nicaraguan flag. But in Nicaragua, things were much quieter. No protests are allowed these days. But it doesn't mean that they're not happening.

CNN spoke to several people who said they would not vote, a form of quiet protests, they said, refusing to participate in the coronation of a dictator.


RIVERS: And Jake, Nicaraguan state media reporting that Ortega's run one more than 75 percent of the vote, results that we know are illegitimate. But the question is, what does an Ortega regime do now that it is more emboldened. Our source in the Costa Rican government says he only expects things to get worse. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, from a dictator to a dictator. Matt Rivers, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Elon Musk creates a Twitter, quote unquote, "poll" and suddenly Tesla's market value drops by billions of dollars. We'll explain next.



TAPPER: In our money lead, the richest person in the world asking for financial advice from Twitter. What could go wrong? Over the weekend, Elon Musk asked his followers if he should sell 10 percent of his Tesla stock, more than 3 million people weighed in in the very unscientific poll. 58 percent of them said, sell. Musk, declaring himself to be a man of his word tweeted, "I will abide by the results of this poll whichever way it goes."

However, the poll does give his followers a somewhat false sense of agency as if it's a move Musk was like, as it is, likely move that Musk was going to make anyway. He could be facing an $11 to $16 billion tax bill in the next year on the gains that stock has made and he might need to raise cash to pay that huge tax bill. But trading his massive stock sale like choosing an outfit costs Tesla today the stock diving about 5 percent after Mr. Musk's Twitter stunt.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. A reminder, if you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to the lead wherever you get your podcasts.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a little place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.