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The Lead with Jake Tapper

January 6 Committee Subpoenas Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany; Flynn In December 2020: Trump Should Implement Martial Law; Horror: Investigators Working To Determine Causes Of Death; New Research Finds Thousands Of Medical Devices Vulnerable To Hackers; Cases Are Trending Up Again In Children After Weeks Of Decline; AAA: Thanksgiving Travel Expected To Near Pre-Pandemic Levels. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Mr. Miller, you've been served.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Breaking news. A new round of subpoenas for close allies and aides of former President Trump, including some high-profile names like Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany. We'll show you who else is on the list.

And new questions about the role fentanyl-laced drugs may have played in the horrific trampling at that Texas concert as families are trying to come to grips with the horror that happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just want everybody to remember our brother -- our strong, handsome, beautiful person that he is.


TAPPER: A man who died trying to save his fiancee, just one of the heartbreaking stories emerging.

Then, a frightening new warning about medical devices that you might be using right now and why hackers could easily target them.


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

We have breaking news for you in our politics lead. Just moments ago, brand-new subpoenas were issued for former President Trump's inner circle, proving that the House Select Committee investigating the deadly January 6th insurrection is shifting into high gear, preparing to do battle with some pretty big names in the Trump world, that the panel says fueled the big lie and perhaps incited the violent insurrection.

Former senior adviser Stephen Miller, former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former White House Presidential Personnel Office Director John McEntee are just three of the new names added to the long list of Trump allies the panel wants to hear directly from.

Let's get right to CNN's Ryan Nobles live for us from Capitol Hill.

Ryan, these are some really close allies of Trump's.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, there's no doubt about that, Jake. This is a group with very close ties with the former President Donald Trump. Ten subpoenas in all issued today by the January 6th Select Committee. But what remains to be seen is whether or not this committee will have the power to force this group of individuals to comply with their request.


NOBLES (voice-over): New targets to help uncover who was behind the insurrection, narrowing in on those closest to the former president, Donald Trump. The committee dropping more subpoenas today. Ten new ones, including key players in the Trump orbit and the time between the November election and January 6th. The biggest names, longtime loyal adviser Stephen Miller, body man-turned-White House personnel chief Johnny McEntee and former Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

McEnany, one of the loudest voices in Trump's inner circle peddling the big lie about the election results both in and outside the White House.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The integrity of our election matters. The constitution of the United States matters. What we have seen across the country is Democrat officials systematically trying to do an end run around the Constitution to tip the scales of the election in their favor.

NOBLES: The committee's request Tuesday come one day after they issued a batch of subpoenas to other high-ranking Trump officials like former campaign manager Bill Stepien and spokesman Jason Miller. The committee also wants to hear from John Eastman. The conservative lawyer who authored the memo outlining fringe legal theories about former vice president Mike Pence's authority to overturn election results as part of a pressure campaign.

JOHN EASTMAN, PRO-TRUMP ATTORNEY: We know there was fraud, traditional fraud that occurred. We know that dead people voted.

NOBLES: And former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, all four of them, Stepien, Miller, Eastman and Kerik among those gathered at a D.C. hotel for what is described as a war room to overturn the election.

Kerik already warning that he does not plan to comply. I will not be threatened, intimidated, forced into bankruptcy or silenced at the hands of this committee who are not looking for truth but targeting patriots and members of the president's legal team that wanted nothing more to investigate and expose those irregularities, Kerik said in a statement.

His confrontational tone an example of the difficult time the committee is having getting Trump allies to cooperate. Their ability to get witnesses to cooperate hinging in part on a decision by the Department of Justice which has yet to weigh in on a criminal contempt referral of Steve Bannon who has openly defied a subpoena.

Attorney General Merrick Garland refusing to shed any light on how the DOJ plans to respond.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We evaluate these in the normal way we do, facts and the law. And applying the principles of prosecution.


NOBLES (on camera): Just a little more on the other subpoena targets that may not be as public names as some of the names just mentioned in our piece.


Nicholas Luna, this is someone who served as the former president's body man. Ben Williamson, who is close with the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Keith Kellogg. This name is interesting. The former national security adviser to the vice president, Mike Pence. This is one of the first individuals that we've seen with specific ties to the former vice president that the committee has issued a subpoena for -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill with the breaking news -- thanks so much.

Let's discuss this with CNN's Gloria Borger and Kim Wehle, a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Kim, let me start with you. It's been about two weeks since a majority of the House of Representatives, a bipartisan vote, voted to refer criminal contempt of Congress charges against Bannon to the Department of Justice.

Attorney General Merrick Garland has not yet weighed in.

How long do you think it's going to take before he makes a decision one way or the other?

KIM WEHLE, PROFESSOR OF LAW, UNIVERSITY OF BALTIMORE: Gloria and I were talking off air. There's a new U.S. attorney and that's the person that would make this decision. And so, it could be a matter of days. It could be a matter of weeks but this has to happen really soon or we are going to see a break down of Congress itself, and its ability to do these kinds of investigations, which frankly the problem traces back to the first impeachment and acquittal on obstruction of Congress, where Congress basically said it's okay if you ignore all requests, White House, and here we're paying the price. The American people are paying the price.

TAPPER: And that's the point, because until they make a decision, right, until these other individuals, Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany and others, until they see whether or not Bannon is forced to comply, they'll just follow his lead, I would think.

What do you make of some of these subpoenas against Stephen Miller, Kayleigh McEnany, Johnny McEntee and others?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: These were people in the White House who had direct conversations with the president, sat in the Oval Office, overheard the president, were in the room with the president and, you know, they kind of outline it here, made public statements about the so-called rigged election, the big lie.

And, you know, they tell you. They give you the road map about why they are -- they need to hear from them because they know what went on in the room when they were there.

TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: And so they've already interviewed other people, clearly, who are telling them a story and now they're going to them and saying, okay, we know this happened. Tell me about it.

And so, you know, these are people who they could claim privilege because they worked in the White House. The batch we had yesterday, I believe it was yesterday, didn't work in the White House. Steve Bannon did not work in the White House. Yet he is claiming privilege.

These people will certainly try and claim that which is why they are sort of waiting on what Merrick Garland decides to do at DOJ.

TAPPER: Now, in that clip, we saw Kayleigh McEnany lying to the American people. It's not a crime to lie to the American people. If it were Kayleigh McEnany, it would have been charged on the first day as press secretary.

But what do you think the committee is looking for here? What do they want to know? It's not just did the president tell you to go out there and lie to the American people because -- of course, he did.

WEHLE: Well, they are looking to see what steps were taken within government that led to the January 6th insurrection. Of course over 500 of the insurrectionists have been paying the price one way or the other. The criminal justice system, but no one has been charged with who funded it, who -- how well-organized was it and who was in on it.

These could lead to charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States, maybe RICO charges, obstruction of Congress and also questions on whether Donald Trump incited an insurrection, which gets to the First Amendment.

But I put a pin in this whole thing with the contempt. This is an attempt to run out the clock. One year from today, one year from today is the day for midterm elections in the United States Congress.

TAPPER: Right.

WEHLE: And if that, as the tea leaves appear to be reading, goes to the Republicans, the entire thing -- TAPPER: Will be shut down.

WEHLE: -- is probably going to get shut down, and these claims are bogus. These executive privilege claims. But it takes awhile to get them through the court.

BORGER: And can I just add one more thing about Kayleigh McEnany. The committee says that Ms. McEnany was reportedly present at times with the former president as he watched the January 6th attack. Now, we've heard reports he was pleased with it, that, look at all these people. They are for me. They believe the election was rigged.

Well, Kayleigh McEnany, if she were to testify and not try to stonewall and run out the clock, if she were to testify, truthfully, she might be able to shed some light on exactly what the president was saying during the attack, what he was thinking. Maybe he was saying, oh, look at this. This is great.

WEHLE: And this bears on criminal intent.

BORGER: It does.

TAPPER: And isn't the idea here whether or not, look, we did a whole documentary about this.


This was a months-long campaign to try to subvert democracy. It didn't just happen on January 6th. He tried every legal mean and then tried extralegal means and here we have a question, did Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and others actually intend for January 6th to be an attempt to either intimidate or threaten or force the electors to go to him instead of to Joe Biden? And one of the things we reported in the documentary is there were members of the Biden team for about an hour that day, January 6th, who thought that Trump had succeeded, who thought that the electors counting had stopped and Donald Trump had figured out a way to cling to power.

WEHLE: Listen, this is -- this is not so much looking in the past. It's looking in the future. This is what is going to probably happen to American democracy if this continues. That is, if this Republican -- new wave Republican takeover of the law of the rule of law, the notion of government by we the people, you know, if you look at the Eastman memo, it's a stunning sort of outmaneuvering of the Constitution itself.

TAPPER: Completely unconstitutional.

WEHLE: This is what we will see. This is what we will see.

TAPPER: But completely unconstitutional.

WEHLE: Right, oh, absolutely.


WEHLE: I mean, the idea is, just to be clear, this isn't about who gets to cast votes. This is about whose votes count.

TAPPER: Right.

WEHLE: That was about stealing votes from the Electoral College and the people in seven states who voted for Joe Biden.

BORGER: And these are people, like Keith Kellogg, who was apparently there when Donald Trump was saying to Mike Pence, you got to decertify this election. So these are people who were eyewitnesses to a president trying to have a coup.

WEHLE: Well, there are two key dates. There's a White House meeting in December and then there's a January 5th at the Willard Hotel.

BORGER: At the Willard Hotel.

TAPPER: Thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

One of the most high-profile Trump allies they are subpoenaing is Michael Flynn, the retired general. You might know Flynn as the short- lived national security adviser, forced out just weeks for lying to Mike Pence. Flynn before that was a -- an army lieutenant general, respected, admired. He served several presidents from both parties. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan. At one point during President Obama's term he led the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Somewhere along the way, people who know Flynn, say something changed with Michael Flynn.

Now CNN's Jessica Schneider reports, the committee wants Flynn to testify about two meetings he attended which may have laid the foundation for Trump's attempted coup.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn may have been fired from the White House just weeks after Donald Trump became president in 2017, but he was back inside the Oval Office weeks after the 2020 election, suggesting to Trump that he declare martial law to help overturn the 2020 results. He said as much on TV the day before, detailing what he viewed as the next step, including seizing voting machines.

LT. GEN. MICHAEL FLYNN (RET.), FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and place them in those states and basically rerun an election in each of those states.

SCHNEIDER: Just three weeks earlier, Trump pardoned Flynn from a charge of lying to the FBI, a charge Flynn had pleaded guilty to. His lawyer in that case, Sidney Powell, joined Flynn to push Trump in that December Oval Office meeting to take drastic measures like declaring a national emergency. All this now of keen interest to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection as they see documents and a deposition from the man who once led the defense intelligence agency and who served as Trump's first national security adviser. Over the past year, Flynn continued to stir controversy. Last May,

Flynn faced backlash after he seemed to promote a coup.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can't happen here.

FLYNN: No reason. It should happen here. No reason.

SCHNEIDER: The comments came during a conference in Dallas attended by prominent QAnon conspiracy theorists. Flynn later claimed he was not calling for a coup.

Extremism experts say Flynn has become a hero to QAnon followers who believe the government is controlled by a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who run a child sex trafficking operation.


SCHNEIDER: But Flynn was clear he believed the big lie, like when he insisted Trump won the election at this rally the night before the insurrection.

FLYNN: We did not have a free, fair and transparent vote on the 3rd of November. And the entire world knows. Everybody in this country knows who won the election on the 3rd. Who won the election on the third? Donald Trump.


SCHNEIDER: Now the house select committee wants to know more about Flynn's efforts to spread those false election fraud claims. And will zero in on the December 18th oval office meeting where the committee says Flynn and others in attendance, quote, discussed seizing voting machines --

TAPPER: Jessica, something is wrong with your audio. I'm sorry, I'm going to interrupt.


But I know it's important to note that we did reach out to Michael Flynn and we did not get a response. Thank you so much.

As the questions pile up, we're learning more about the victims of the Astroworld Concert crush, including a 9-year-old boy who is in a coma fighting for his life.

Plus, AAA predicting Thanksgiving travel will bounce back to pre- pandemic levels as gas prices of surging.

Then, a medical device that is keeping you alive, it could be at risk of a hack attack due to newly discovered software problems.


TAPPER: Investigators in Houston, Texas, are now looking into whether a batch of counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl played a role in some of the deaths or injuries in the horrific concert tragedy over the weekend. That's according to "The Wall Street Journal" which treats many people were treat forward possible overdoses as they tried to piece together what happened. We're learning more about the eight victims, including 27-year-old Danish Baig who died trying to save his fiancee from the crowd surge.



MIRZA AMMAR BAIR, BROTHER DIED AT ASTROWORLD CONCERT: We're doing this for our brother's honor and to spread the word. We don't want anything like this to ever happen to anyone else. We just want everybody to remember our brother -- our strong, handsome, beautiful person that he is.

BASIL BAIG, BROTHER DIED AT ASTROWORLD CONCERT: Anything that he did, he put everyone before himself, and that's what he did until he died, until his last breath. And I want the world to know that. I want everyone to know that we're confident in my brother's life. And he did not deserve to die.


TAPPER: Let's bring in Josh Campbell who is live for us in Houston, Texas.

Josh, what did the Houston fire chief say this afternoon about these reports of illegal drugs possibly having played a role?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the fire chief at this point is urging caution. He spoke with our colleague Victor Blackwell and was asked about this "Wall Street Journal" reporting which CNN has not been able to independently confirm, but which indicates that some of the victims there at that concert may have been suffering from the effects of laced pills, laced drugs. Now that was based on the idea that first responders were administering Narcan, which is an opioid antagonist, a medication used to treat those who might be in distress from opioid overdose.

He was asked about that, the chief. He said just because Narcan was used, that's not necessarily something that allows them to draw a conclusion right now. Take a listen.


CHIEF SAMUEL PENA, HOUSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT: There is evidence there was drugs involved, but I don't know what they were. We administer lots of Narcan, and Narcan is used to counter an opioid overdose.

I want to be clear that just because we administered lots of Narcan doesn't mean that overdoses were prevalent.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CAMPBELL: So the fire chief saying drugs were a factor there, but that remains under investigation. It's also worth pointing out, speaking of the investigation, Jake, that we are hearing almost nothing from the Houston police.

We've asked them multiple questions, even things such as process -- you know, how they're going about doing their business. We're told this remains an active investigation. They are not fielding our questions. They're telling us to check their Twitter feed to keep refreshing that in order to get updates.

Their current posture right now is essentially, don't call us. We'll call you.

TAPPER: Josh, we also got an update today on the 9-year-old who was injured at the concert. What do we know about his condition?

CAMPBELL: Yeah, just truly tragic. We're hearing this 9-year-old who we are only identifying by his initials E.B. is currently in a medically induced coma at the hospital. Now his grandfather spoke to CNN and said that the young boy was on his father's shoulders at that concert as this crowd began to crush against each other. The father lost consciousness. The kid went to the ground. Once the father regained consciousness, his son was nowhere to be found. They found him at Texas Children's Hospital nearby where he had been admitted under the name John Doe because authorities didn't know who this kid belonged to, who he was.

We now know his identity. And again, at this hour, we're told that he's in a medically induced coma, in critical condition suffering from possible brain damage -- Jake.

TAPPER: Josh Campbell in Houston for us -- thank you so much.

This afternoon, the prosecution rested and the defense called its first witnesses in the case of the armed Illinois teenager who killed two people and wounded another during the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer. The evidence included graphic photos of the victims shot by the defendant Kyle Rittenhouse.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is covering the trial for us in Kenosha.

Omar, what was the reaction in the courtroom to these photographs?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, first off, Kyle Rittenhouse was averting his eyes at points, appeared to be visibly shaken as the incredibly graphic images were shown, as did many of the jurors averting their eyes at points. This was part of the prosecution's final witness testimony.

And it really focused on the killing of Rosenbaum. He was the first two of killed by Kyle Rittenhouse back in August of 2020. And Rosenbaum was shot four times -- once in the left thigh, once in the hand, once in a bullet wound that grazed his head and another time in the back. And the witness believed those final two shots came from the one in

the back and the one that grazed his head and they really focused on when Rittenhouse fired and from what position. Take a listen.


JAMES KRAUS, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Is it your opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the back to front shots to the head and then the kill shot to the back would have been while he was falling or perpendicular to the ground?

DR. DOUGLAS KELLEY, MILWAUKEE MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE: The only way that the trajectories of the gunshot wounds to the right side of the head and the back make sense is if he's more horizontal to the ground and that is occurring at the time that the last two gunshot wounds are heard on the video.


JIMENEZ: Now, the doctor also said the possibility of a gunshot to the hit area could have caused him to buckle and fall forward. The defense underscored all four of those shots happened in under a second.


And that it could also have been Rosenbaum charging like a bull, how the defense described it, that could have led to the downward bullet trajectory.

They've also begun their case at this point. We've heard from multiple witnesses, including those who saw Rittenhouse immediately after these killings and heard what he was reflecting on in the moments saying specifically that he had to do it and that his life might be over. After the defense is done, at some point, this, of course, will be headed to a jury to make a final decision.

Some of the first decisions we've seen, the judge did dismiss a curfew citation charge against Kyle Rittenhouse earlier today, Jake.

TAPPER: Omar Jimenez in Kenosha, thanks so much.

A Republican Senate candidate in court denying allegations from his wife that he choked her and injured his children. Needless to say, this is the candidate Donald Trump is backing.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, a rather messy, ugly child custody case that could potentially sink a Republican Senate hopeful's chances in Pennsylvania next year. Right now, Sean Parnell is a Trump-endorsed party favorite, he's a decorated army veteran, a best-selling author and Republican National Convention speaker last year.

Parnell is also facing the ugliest of allegations from his estranged wife. Parnell is back in court today denying them.

CNN's Sara Murray was also at the courthouse today in Butler County outside Pittsburgh.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sean Parnell taking the stand in a Butler County courthouse as his turbulent personal life takes a toll on his Senate campaign.

SEAN PARNELL (R), PENNSLVANIA SENATE CANDIDATE: I am officially declaring my candidacy for United States Senate here in Pennsylvania.

MURRAY: The Pennsylvania Republican appearing for a contentious custody trial with his estranged wife Laurie Snell. Parnell testifying, we had a tumultuous relationship. We fought a lot. His wife is accused him of choking her and injuring two of their children, claims he denies. Parnell's messy personal life already an issue in his Senate campaign. After a super PAC supporting Jeff Bartos, one of Parnell's GOP opponents, ran this ad.

CAMPAIGN AD: 911 calls. Protection from abuse orders. And now a gag order. The real record of Sean Parnell.

MURRAY: Since then more details of allegedly violent behavior have emerged in the trial and court documents.

He tried to choke me out and I actually had to bite his arm to get away from it. He also tried to restrain me in rooms. He would hold me down. He would barricade himself in front of our door so I couldn't leave the House, Snell testified in a 2018 hearing. These were, you know, pretty typical for, Sean. This happened at least a dozen times during our relationship.

In that same hearing Snell said Parnell called her a stripper within hearing of the kids and took video of her dressing. Parnell denied recording her.

In testimony this week, Parnell ever being physically abusive to his wife or choking her. He said he never struck the kids in anger. Snell under cross examination acknowledged that soon after she alleged Parnell struck one of their children the family went on vacation together.

Snell said Parnell was a good dad when he's not angry and he's a great father in public. At various points in her testimony, Snell said she hoped Parnell would get help and previously held out hopes of co- parenting with him.

A retired Army Ranger and combat veteran --

PARNELL: I was in Afghanistan for 485 days.

MURRAY: -- Parnell already banked an endorsement from Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: He's a real hero. A real tough guy. He'll never let you down, Sean Parnell.

MURRAY: But the allegations are weighing on his campaign. Parnell abruptly canceled two fundraising events in the last two weeks, and sources tell CNN some members of Parnell's team are considering resigning from the campaign. In perhaps another political headache for Parnell, Snell also accused him this week of engaging in a nine-month affair with his now girlfriend will still married.

Snell added she's been frightened away from even dating anyone at this point and Parnell had previously tracked the cars parked at her home. Enjoy your little F buddy, go to hell, Parnell said in one message read aloud in court. In others, he called her erratic and evil.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, Parnell and his estranged wife are still in the courtroom. That's just over my shoulder. Parnell said this is a difficult week for his family. It's been a difficult week for his campaign as well. Despite all of these woes, he is still getting backing from one big supporter, Donald Trump. Donald Trump is slated to hold a fundraiser for Parnell at Mar-a-Lago in January -- Jake.

TAPPER: Sara Murray, thanks so much.

A frightening new warning about the monitors used to track hospital patients' vitals. They are just one of nearly 4,000 medical devices that could be hacked because of a software flaw. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our tech lead, disturbing new findings revealing thousands of vital medical devices could be hacked. Researchers say they found more than a dozen software flaws in critical medical equipment used everyday in hospitals and other health care facilities that hackers could exploit theoretically to harm patients.

CNN's Sean Lyngaas joins us now live with more on this.

Sean, why are these important medical devices at risk?

SEAN LYNGAAS, CNN CYBERSECURITY REPORTER: Jake, they are running an outdated software that's really popular, not just in the medical sector but in numerous critical industries like the automotive and aerospace industries.

And what researchers did is they took apart the software and found a number of vulnerabilities that get under certain conditions that they demonstrated for CNN they could exploit and potentially cause a machine to crash like a patient monitor or something like that. So, it's a series of vulnerabilities that researchers are addressing along with the federal government. TAPPER: Do we know which precise devices are in danger?

LYNGAAS: We know patient monitors, certain type of patient monitor is vulnerable. And the researchers were able to say that they probably think that anesthesia machines, ultrasound machines, X-ray machines may also be included in that list of vulnerable devices.


TAPPER: And is there anything that can be done? I mean, I don't know how you do a software update on something like this, but --

LYNGAAS: Well, yeah, there's a lot that can be done actually. This is a good news/bad news story. This was a coordinated effort by the FDA, the DHS and these researchers from Forescout and Medigate to address the vulnerabilities. Work with Siemens, the vendor that owns the software to put out a fix for it and alert the public.

There hasn't been any evidence this -- these vulnerabilities were exploited but they're trying to say update your software in the event that here would be. So that's the positive story. The FDA has done a lot of work on this in terms of -- in some cases recalling devices that may be vulnerable. This hasn't gone that far but we got a statement from the FDA they really want vendors, companies that are running the software to make sure that they have a process in place to check if they're vulnerable.

TAPPER: And that's part of this report, the idea that they want this awareness. They've decided this awareness is more important than the fear of people finding out about it because we're reporting on it?

LYNGAAS: Exactly. The more you know in this case, the more secure you are.

TAPPER: All right. Sean, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Let's talk now with CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, what's your reaction to the story Sean just brought us, the troubling vulnerability of thousands of critical medical devices.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this has sort of been on the radar for some time looking at things like ransomware attacks and health, medical records. But there has been concern for some time not just the diagnostic equipment that Sean was talking about, but even, you know, equipment like defibrillators, insulin pumps, and things like that Mostly theoretical risks but increasingly becoming possible given these software vulnerabilities and the increased capability of hackers.

You know Dr. Jonathan Reiner. I actually interviewed him a few years ago along with Vice President Cheney. Dr. Reiner was Vice President Cheney's cardiologist and we talked about this issue for a piece for "60 Minutes." Take a quick listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Seemed to me to be a bad idea for the vice president of the United States to have a device that maybe somebody on a rope line, somebody in the next hotel room or downstairs might be able to get into, hack into and I worried that someone could kill you.


GUPTA: And even at that time, Jake, I'll tell you, they basically had to change the software and basically protect the vice president's implanted defibrillator device because of this sort of concern.

So, you know, it's been discussed for some time now, but, obviously, again, of larger concern over the past couple of years.

TAPPER: This last year and a half, Sanjay, has been really difficult on everyone in the world but a new report finds that the pandemic has hit the mental health of people in the health care world -- doctors, nurses, frontline health care workers -- especially hard. What do you make of that?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, you look at this data. We've been following, tracking this for some time, going back to February, March of this year when some of these surveys first came out or some of the ones that showed the magnitude of this problem. And it's striking. I mean, if you look at the numbers, they basically are saying, you know, 3 in 5 of these health care workers have significant enough self-reported stress it's interfering with their physical health, and affecting their mental health.

So, you know, the idea of the demand, the need for better mental health services, for health care providers, it's been a message we've been talking about for some time but this pandemic has really put it into crystal clear focus. The need.

And also I talked to colleagues all over the world and in Italy and many places in Europe, other -- in Asia, many of the health care providers are also suffering similar rates of what you just saw there on the screen. Nurses appear to be more so than doctors even. But it's obviously a concern. And then there was a period of time people thought it was maybe getting better and then when it worsened again, I think it just reignited a lot of those concerns.

TAPPER: Let's talk about COVID cases among children because after falling for eight weeks, it's now starting to tick back up, cases for kids. Overall, however, cases seem to be plateauing across the country.

How do you interpret this?

GUPTA: Well, take a look at the graph. You can see sort of the trajectory of what's been going on here. It kind of makes sense because, you know, you have adults that have largely or more so, obviously, been vaccinated, about 60 percent. But when it comes to kids, there's just now these vaccines becoming more available. So, kids make up a larger percentage of new cases, 106,000 children

were diagnosed with COVID last week, which is a lot. People keep saying, look, the kids aren't this isn't something they need to worry about. Well, they do contract the disease. They're less likely to get hospitalized or die. But when you start to get high numbers like this, the absolute number of kids who will get sick goes up.


That if we can put up that graphic in, I'll just show quickly, Jake, a year ago compared to now. A year ago compared to now, a year ago, we were basically on the upswing. Numbers were going up. There was a lot of inertia. The concerns about hospitals and deaths, obviously, climbing.

Here it's been coming down. And they plateau. Hopefully, it will start to come down and because of the vaccine, even if the cases are high, the corresponding hospitalizations and deaths are thankfully lower.

TAPPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much.

Your Thanksgiving and holiday may feel more like pre-pandemic times, but one aspect of your trip is going to be a lot more painful. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead today, despite the worsening pain at the pump, soaring gas prices are not likely to deter most Thanksgiving travelers. More than 53 million Americans are expected to travel for the upcoming holiday, according to a new forecast from AAA. That would be a 13 percent jump from last year and close to pre-pandemic levels. But gas prices are anything but normal right now.

The average price for one gallon of regular unleaded is $3.42. That's up from just over $2 a year ago. CNN's Pete Muntean is at a gas station in Alexandria, Virginia, with more. Fuel prices are at levels we've not seen in years. What is driving this increase?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, it's not really the huge demand on the horizon that's driving these prices but rather the supply. In fact, AAA says oil-producing nations are constricting the supply a little bit, trying to recoup some of their pandemic losses.

Remember, gas on average is about $1.30 more expensive than it was a year ago. A seven-year high, and we're all about to pay for it. AAA anticipates 48 million people will hit the road during the Thanksgiving travel period. Those numbers way higher than in 2020, pretty close to what they were back in 2019 pre-pandemic.

And what's so interesting here is that AAA thinks these prices will not push people away from traveling.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW GROSS, AAA SPOKESMAN: A lot more confidence. People are feeling better about traveling and no matter what the gas prices are, and they are quite a bit higher than last year, people are still going to take that trip.


MUNTEAN: So the short version here, Jake, the expense is back. The traffic is back. This Thanksgiving will feel nothing like it did in 2020.

TAPPER: Pete, are gas prices expected to go down any time soon?

MUNTEAN: Well, the real version I'm hearing here is that we're going to have to wait this out. Really not that much the administration can do about this. There is some hope on the horizon. There's a new government forecast that says the price of crude, which right now is about $84 a barrel could go down to $72 a barrel. So we could see some relief for these prices but not soon enough for the holidays. We're talking next year.

TAPPER: What about air travel. Are those supposed to be back to pre- pandemic norms this holiday season?

MUNTEAN: Yeah, we're going to see about an 80 percent increase from what we saw last year. And those numbers were relatively depressed. We're getting close to where things were in 2019. Not quite yet. We will see more of this time around a lot of lines.

The planes will be packed. Airlines got smaller during the pandemic, and what we've seen even before we're getting into this holiday period is that there's really not much flexibility in the airline system.

One storm, one air traffic control delay can really cause the entire deck of cards to tumble down and you could end up paying for it with delays and cancellations.

TAPPER: All right. Pete Muntean, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Sharing animated videos of a fellow lawmaker being killed -- apparently, that's okay to do these days if you are a member of one particular party.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD.

This hour, a truck driver wins a state Senate seat in a shocking upset. It was a fun story until new scrutiny reveal someday bigoted views.

Plus, investigators are digging into all possible causes of the deadly crush at Astroworld. Were fentanyl-laced pills possibly part of the blame?

And leading this hour, the Republican Party confronting its future, faced with members who are embracing hate, embracing violence. Just last night, "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman reported that President Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that the insurrection actually took place on November 3rd, 2020, Election Day. Some in the group actually cheered despite the fact that dozens of those same lawmakers at that event were inside the Capitol on that day -- the day that rioters stormed the building to deadly effect.

But the problems plaguing the GOP go well beyond election denial and fealty to former President Trump. It's now turned into troubling GOP fantasies of killing Democrats, including President Biden and behaviors that prompt threats to the lives of other Republicans.

As CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reports, what might be most troubling is the response from Republican leadership or rather the lack of response.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: In a series of actions, this week alone, House Republican members are highlighting the growing indecency within their own party, indecency that is now going completely unchecked by House Republican leadership.

Republican Congressman Paul Gosar posting a Photoshopped anime video showing him appearing to kill Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden with a sword, and depicting undocumented immigrants coming into the country as monsters.

Ocasio-Cortez responding, calling him creepy, noting he'll face no consequences because GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy cheers him on with excuses.