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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Defense Rests In Trial Of Kyle Rittenhouse; Federal Appeals Court Gives Trump Temporary Win, Pauses Release Of Documents To January 6 Committee; Cheney: Republicans "Privately" Thank Her For Standing Up To Trump; Christie Taunts Trump: I Won 60 Percent Of Vote, He Lost To Biden; Trump Allies Pushing For "Stay Away" Strategy In 2022 Races; Ninth Victims Dies Of Injuries Suffered In Crowd Surge; Travis Scott's Lawyer Blasts Investigation "Finger-Pointing"; Thousands Trapped In Dire Conditions As Poland-Belarus Crisis Deepens; Belarus Threatens To Cut Off Russian Gas Supplies To Europe; Sources: Biden And Xi Expected To Hold Virtual Summit On Monday. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 11, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Rittenhouse is facing homicide charges for shooting and killing two people.

The sole survivor of the shooting who was severely wounded, said earlier today that he thought Rittenhouse appeared to, quote, "be more upset that he was caught and less upset about what he had done," unquote.

CNN's Kyung Lah starts off our coverage today from the courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The defense lawyers for Kyle Rittenhouse rest of their case ending as they did through much of the trial, leaning on video from that night.

The first victim shot by Rittenhouse Joseph Rosenbaum seen here in the red t shirt. Minutes later he would collide with Rittenhouse, the first man shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raise your right hand, please.

LAH (voice-over): This video was taken by defense witness Drew Hernandez who described Rosenbaum this way.

DREW HERNANDEZ, WITNESS: Rosenbaum was charging Kyle Rittenhouse from behind. Here it install it in real time and Rosenbaum is lunging towards him very clearly and call the fires (ph).

LAH (voice-over): The defense's goal by showing what led up to the shootings is to boost Rittenhouse's self-defense claims, that the then 17-year-old was cornered and feared for his life. He's pleaded not guilty. A moment his lawyers hope humanize the defendant who faces a potential life sentence. But the third man shot by Rittenhouse, Gaige Grosskreutz, whose bicep was blown off by Rittenhouse's bullet says he didn't see an emotional man on the stand.

GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, SHOT BY RITTENHOUSE: To me it seemed like a child who had just gotten -- caught doing something that he wasn't supposed to. More upset that he was caught and less upset about what have you done and what he have taken and numerous lives that he affected through his actions that night.

LAH (voice-over): A night of multiple viewpoints and cameras, parts frame by frame in the final days of the trial.

The defenses use of force expert testified that there was a minute between the time Rosenbaum and the second man, Anthony Huber, were shot.

THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: About a minute passes between the fourth shot to Joseph Rosenbaum and that incident where you're pinpointing someone coming up behind the defendant's swinging at his head. Fair to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fair to say.

LAH (voice-over): Hernandez was just one of the many capturing the events on the Kenosha Street. He's an Arizona based commentator who works for far right-wing outlet real America voice and posts frequently on social media.

HERNANDEZ: Black Lives Matter is a Marxist organization.

LAH (voice-over): Hernandez testified he was in Kenosha to track Antifa and BLM when the shootings happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever posted anything on social media?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In support of correctness (ph)?

HERNANDEZ: One could argue yes.

LAH (voice-over): The testimony by the right-wing commentator is a reminder that this trial has been and continues to be a flashpoint for a battle that goes beyond Kenosha.


LAH: Now the rebuttal witness is done. It appears the prosecution is done with rebuttal at this stage, Jake. But I want to tell you the judge right now is talking with the attorneys to talk about how all of this is going to wrap up. The timing of this is a little unclear right now, but it does appear that we are in the final hours of all of this, the final days of all of this, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kyung Lah in Kenosha, Wisconsin for us, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Stacy Schneider, a criminal defense attorney. Renato Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor.

Renato, let me start with you. The commentator who testified today repeatedly refer to people in the crowd as Antifa and Black Lives Matter rioters. The judge allowed that, but is not allowing lawyers to refer to the two men who were killed as, quote, "victims." Explain that to our audience, because I think some people think that there might be a double standard afoot here. What do you say?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I do think it's a judgment call by this particular judge. I know that this judge has a practice of not allowing the word victim to be used in any criminal trial, which is unusual.

I will say that it is appeared to me that the judge has become convinced over the course of his trial, that the prosecution's case is weak. And I think he is been increasingly issuing rulings that are favorable to the defense. And part of the reason may be that he does not want a verdict, that he might have to feel compelled to overturn later. And sometimes judges do that if they feel like it's the verdict is going in the wrong direction.

TAPPER: Stacy, in one exchange, the judge stopped prosecutors from asking this freelance conservative commentator about his current employer, which is a conservative outlet. Take a listen.


BINGER: Does real America's voice have any sort of political bias or agenda or anything like that?



BINGER: It goes to the bias of the witness, Your Honor.

SCHROEDER: This is not a political trial. And I don't know how you would isolate a person's particular politics.


TAPPER: What do you make of that ruling?

STACY SCHNEIDER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the judge should have given the prosecution more leeway to get into the background of the witness. Although it's an eyewitness, a factual witness, what people do for a living, where they come from, what their beliefs are, it's all important to what people are delivering in the courtroom as far as their testimony goes.

And if there was any possibility whatsoever that this particular eyewitness had a bias and chose to come into court and interpret what he saw on a bias, I think that any side exploring a witness should had the opportunity to do that. I think the judge went too far in limiting it.

It would not have been harmful. It wouldn't have slowed down the trial, it would have gotten into areas that were impermissible. It was something that is brought out. It is something that was brought out in almost every witness.

What do you do for a living? What's your background? What's your position on this? It was relevant in this case, because there were social media postings. So, I think the judge went too far.

TAPPER: And Renato, the judge in this case has a documented past of allegations of controversial treatment towards people in his courtroom. We should point out in 1987, the Chicago Tribune wrote that he was, quote, "requiring AIDS tests for convicted prostitutes."

Just this year, the Kenosha News newspaper reported an appeals court overturned what it called a public shaming of a woman convicted of retail theft. If she went into another store, the judges had ordered her to, quote, "notify management at the service desk that she is on supervision for retail theft."

Aside from missteps by the prosecution and potentially just a weak case by the prosecution, might the judge's actions here factor into the outcome of this case?

MARIOTTI: I think it's fair to say that the judge has a reputation for being an aggressive judge in the courtroom and a difficult judge in the courtroom, certainly there's been some decisions he's made that are questionable. I think it's fair to call into question in judge's rulings here.

I will say as an experienced criminal trial lawyer that when the prosecution's case starts going south, I mean, they've made a lot of missteps here. Judges tend to try to bend over backwards to make sure that the defense has a fair trial. And I think that's part of what's going on.

TAPPER: And Stacy, I want to play a key moment Tuesday when the defense questioned the third man who was shot by Rittenhouse who survived, Gaige Grosskreutz. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun, now your hands down pointed at him, that he fired, right?



TAPPER: So he was asked about that testimony from Tuesday in an interview today and he had a clarification, take a listen.


GROSSKREUTZ: My arm was being vaporized as I was allegedly pointing my weapon at the defendant. It's completely inconsistent with the physiology of my wound that he would have shot me while my weapon was pointed at his head.

MICHAEL STRAHAN, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" ANCHOR: So you're saying that you actually did -- you weren't pointing your gun at him, is that what you're saying?

GROSSKREUTZ: That's absolutely what I'm saying, yes.


TAPPER: So that's what he tells "Good Morning America." But the jury heard him say that Rittenhouse fired after he had raised his weapon. The jury is not going to hear his denial of his previous testimony.

SCHNEIDER: Right. I mean, that's really significant that that has come out. And that's a very, very important point with respect to this witness because the testimony was at trial that he was coming toward Rittenhouse with a pointed gun and although he had testified at trial while I wasn't intending to use it, that's not relevant.

What's relevant is what is in the mind of Rittenhouse? Is he justified in using deadly force against somebody who's coming after him with a gun? It's a very important point for the jury to ponder.

And now having heard that there's another story that completely would factor into a jury's decision about whether or not this was adjusted by -- justifiable killing and self-defense or it was not. So, it's -- that's really a stunning admission or change of testimony or change of position.



Stacy, Renato, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the new ruling just in in the battle over releasing Trump records to the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

Plus, we're live on the ground as 1000s of people are trapped and stranded in freezing temperatures caught in the middle of a geopolitical dispute. Stay with us.


TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you in our politics lead. A temporary victory for former President Donald Trump in the last hour, a federal appeals court granted Trump's request to at least pause the release of key White House records to the House select committee investigating the deadly January 6 interaction. That means more than 700 documents, call logs, speech drafts, handwritten memos are not going to Congress tomorrow as originally expected.


Let's get right to CNN's Evan Perez.

So, Evan, what happens now?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, this panel of judges gave -- it gave the Trump team even more time than they had asked for. Right now they have outlined a schedule that takes us to oral argument in -- on November 30, which means we may not see a decision from this panel of judges until early December.

And this is a group of three judges, two appointed by President Obama, one appointed by President Biden. And I'll read you just a part of what they said. They say, "The purpose of this administrative injunction is to protect the court's jurisdiction to address appellant's claims of executive privilege and should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits."

Look, this is a group of judges that are probably going to take a very skeptical view of what President Trump, the former President Trump is arguing. But he at least has a lot of time. And you know, the Democrats on this committee, in January 6 committee, they were hoping for a very expedited schedule. They know that they want to see these document. It's key -- these documents is key to their investigation, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes. Well, they have until the Republicans take over the House.

PEREZ: Right.

TAPPER: I want to ask you, Evan, former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, he's made it very clear he has no intentions of cooperating with the committee until the courts rule that he has to do so. So what's going to happen with that?

PEREZ: Well, Meadows is saying -- his lawyers are saying, Jake, that they want to wait until the courts rule on whether the former president does indeed have executive privilege, the ability to block not only documents, but also the testimony, despite the fact that President Biden, the current President, has said that he is waiving it because of the extraordinary nature of what happened on January 6.

And one of the curious parts of Meadows' argument, Jake, is that the norms of the presidency are being violated by President Biden, because he's not protecting somebody as close to the former president as a chief of staff. Of course, it's very ironic to hear the word norms coming from Meadows and some of the previous administration.

Meadows is one of the people who was pushing for the Justice Department to say that they were investigating voter fraud and things like this Italian satellite conspiracy theory. So, it's very interesting claim from Mark Meadows.

TAPPER: Yes, indeed. Evan Perez, thank you so much.

Let's discuss.

Zolan, so obviously, Trump wants to run out the clock. It is expected that Republicans could win the House in a year. That would be the historical norm anyway, just because the Democrats are in the White House, Republicans would take the House, and it's such a narrow majority as it is. And the these three judges all appointed by Democrats just gave them a little help.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": A little bit more time. And this actually goes back to the strategy that the former president and his team used. Even going back to 2019, right, when the impeachment proceedings are going on, and they're trying to also prevent his then White House counsel from appearing before Congress.

The pace of these decisions is going to be key in whether or not all these documents, all this information that the congressional committee is looking for, actually gets to see them at this point. Because as you said, the former president strategy here and his team strategy is going to be to get this thing stuck in litigation for as long as you possibly can until the clock runs out. The clock running out being, as you just noted, Jake, midterm elections, right, because you can assume that after the midterm elections, and if Republicans were to take over and reclaim a majority that that might be the end of the line for the January 6 committee at that point.

So the pace of this is going to be really fascinating. But you can also, look, before this decision today, I believe it only took about 23 days for a ruling on this case as well. Now, that's a faster pace than 2019 when it was taking months at a time.

TAPPER: And Ayesha, Attorney General Merrick Garland still has not, and the U.S. attorney who was just named for the District of Columbia, still have not come forward and said what they're going to do --


TAPPER: -- about Steve Bannon being held in criminal contempt of Congress for not complying in this. It seems like all these other witnesses are just waiting to see what happens there, whether or not there's going to be any sort of prosecution.

RASCOE: And it's been a really long time before since anyone has faced any, like actual criminal repercussions for not complying with a congressional subpoena. And so right now, this Justice Department is going to have to decide what it wants to do with people who are just not willing to comply. You know, you talked about norms.

In the past, people generally would try to work something out with Congress they wouldn't just say no blatantly, but that hasn't been the case with this -- with the prior administration and it worked really well for them. And so, they're going to keep it up until they face some actual repercussions.


TAPPER: And Ramesh, obviously, Donald Trump has been attacking Liz Cheney, the conservative Republican from Wyoming, who has been standing up against the big lie, and she's on this committee. But take a listen to what she said about what she is hearing from fellow Republicans about her activities on this committee.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Privately and behind the scenes, there are many, many Republicans who say thank you for what you're doing. We wish we could be more public. People who understand that what the former president is saying is dangerous, is not true.


TAPPER: What do you think?

RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well, I've heard similar things from Republicans for about five years. When it comes to Donald Trump, it would be nice if some of them were to stand up and speak in public, but courage seems to be in pretty short supply.

TAPPER: Cheney was also asked if she's not ruling out a 2024 bid, she replied, I think it's going to be a very important year. What do you make of that? Do you think -- I know you're not a Republican. But do you think that there is a lane for Liz Cheney in presidential politics?

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE STAFF MEMBER: I do. I think that there are a lot of Republicans that feel like they don't have a home right now. And so they are looking for someplace to go. I'm not sure Liz Cheney is going to be the home that they might want to veer towards. But I think there's an opportunity in the Republican Party to really decide who they are going to be.

And if they have a candidate that can draw away from this Trump idol that they have right now, and really be competitive with those moderate voters that we saw, we could go in Virginia, we're not wanting to go with Biden or whoever is going to be on the ticket for the Democrats in 2024. Cheney may be an option there. May be a whole list of other ones as well.

PONNURU: Yes. I just think that it's one of your top three attributes as being anti-Trump that there's not going to be an audience Republican.

TAPPER: Not in the Republican primary.

PONNURU: I mean, there may be a lot of voters, but some of those voters have left the Republican Party, and they're not going to be voting in the Republican primary.

ALLISON: Well, I mean, but to her point, she's saying that people are saying it behind closed doors. And when you go into your ballot box, you don't know who you're going to vote for. So, there could -- I understand what you're saying, like an anti-Trump ticket is not probably the most popular, but there seems to be a lot of folks who didn't vote for Trump in 2020 because they just couldn't stand him. And if she runs against him, she could have a chance.

RASCOE: I mean, people talk about Glenn Youngkin winning in Virginia that he was able to kind of hold, you know, Trump a little bit at bay. I don't think that is sustainable. Like, I don't think that Trump vote --

TAPPER: And he didn't have a primary.

RASCOE: He didn't have a primary. And I don't think --

TAPPER: It was convention --


TAPPER: -- from, yes, after this.

RASCOE: And I just don't think Trump allows that. I mean, we went through this for four years, like, will Trump, you know, just kind of stand back because he wants to win? No.

He always went with whatever fed his ego to be frank, and he always said, you have to stand with me. He demanded total loyalty. And he did it regardless of whether it cost the Republican seat or not.

KANNO-YOUNGS: And he demanded credit as well, right?

RASCOE: And he demanded credit. Yes.

KANNO-YOUNGS: It's all that just with the most recent election, yes. He, you know, allowed some distance at that point, but it didn't take too long for statement to come out, and also asking for credit for that electoral win.

So, if the key to success going forward is going to be striking that balance of keeping the former president at bay while also trying to galvanize certain voters by appealing to certain issues that he would talk about whether or not it's how racism is taught in schools, whether or not it's pandemic restrictions, you know, it's -- there's a question over how that can be sustainable, because as you were saying, you're relying on a president who likes to claim credit for all these things.

TAPPER: Yes. And here's Chris Christie is trying to thread the needle. He's certainly not out there like Liz Cheney, but he's also not sucking up to Trump like some of the others. Here's what he had to say to Axios.


CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR AND 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like to get into a back and forth with Donald Trump. But what I will say is this, when I ran for reelection in 2013, I got 60 percent of the vote. When he ran for election, he lost to Joe Biden.


TAPPER: True, accurate. Trump, of course, not pleased.

PONNURU: Yes. Well, it's a it's a new tack from Chris Christie. Because if you remember, he was previously saying things like at the Reagan Library a few weeks ago, like we've got to put the election deniers and the conspiracy theorists bias, but he didn't say Trump's name. So this is a little bit of a new degree of aggressiveness from Christie, which I think is right.

I mean, it's one of the things that actually I think Trump's supporters like about Trump is that he is direct. He doesn't sort of just kind of beat around the bush and imply things. He just comes out and says exactly what he's thinking at any given moment, sometimes to a fault.

But I think one problem that Christie is going to have with this, he's a loser message, is that if you come up toward 2024, and the Democrats are looking weak enough, that might not be persuasive to Republicans.

TAPPER: Why not?

PONNURU: Well, because it may not be the -- so, you -- it would be useful for anti-Trump Republicans to be able to say he can't win.


TAPPER: Right.

PONNURU: But that might not be true

TAPPER: Oh I see what you're saying.

And then also CNN has some new reporting that people close to Trump are lobbying him to stay away from some races that could hurt Republican chances. A person close to Trump told CNN, quote, "There are absolutely places he shouldn't go. I wouldn't put him in Maryland, New Hampshire or Arizona."

Now Trump was whether somebody like convinced him to do it or they showed him some fights on T.V. for a month or whatever, you know, whatever, like boxing fights. That whatever the reason he kept out of Virginia. And much to Glenn Youngkin's delight, are they going to be able to keep him out of New Hampshire and Arizona?

ALLISON: I think Trump hedges his bets as well, though. And I think he was very cautious about Virginia because it was a close race, and Youngkin really close ground towards the very end. And if Trump went into Virginia, and Youngkin loss, then he was going to lose a lot of steam.

But the thing about Trump is that he doesn't actually have to show up in states for the Trumpisms to show up. And Youngkin ran on Trump's policies. And I'm not talking about lowering taxes for corporations, I'm talking about Trump put an executive order to end diversity training in his administration and then Youngkin ran on the anti- critical race theory ballot.

Yes, Trump has been antiabortion, Youngkin has been antiabortion. And so, some -- it was like putting these little drops of like, I'm with this guy, but he doesn't need to show up so they can still create this (ph).

TAPPER: All right, thanks all of you for being here. Appreciate it.

You could watch CNN's interview with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the new series "Being" with CNN's Dana Bash. It's Monday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. "Being Chris Christie."

Travis Scott's attorney blasted Houston city officials over the, quote, "finger pointing" in the wake of the deadly Astroworld festival. That story is next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, a ninth victim, ninth has died of injury. She suffered when the crowd rushed the stage at the Travis Scott concert in Houston last Friday.

Let's go to CNN's Rosa Flores live for us in Houston. And this 22- year-old woman, Rosa, she'd been on a respirator?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: She's been fighting for her life, Jake. Her name is Bharti Shahani, as you've mentioned, 22 years of age. She was a student at Texas A&M University. And that day, she was at the concert with her sister and her cousin.

Now her family is devastated. Her mom saying that she was selfless. She thought about everyone else before herself. Take a listen.


KARISHMA SHAHANI, VICTIM'S MOTHER: What happen now. What happen to my blessing now? I've won my baby bag, you know? I won't be able to live without her. It's like -- it's impossible, you know what I'm saying? I'm empty (INAUDIBLE). I want my baby bag, please. Give me my baby bag, please.


FLORES: Her cousin who was at the concert as well blames producers, the venue organizers.

TAPPER: It's just awful. And Rosa, the investigation has turned into something of an exercise and finger pointing about who should have been in charge of security and crowd control.

FLORES: You know, let me paint the picture like this, Jake. So the Houston Police Department is the lead criminal investigation agency, the Houston -- excuse me -- the Harris County Judge is asking for an independent investigation. She's working to do that. Travis Scott's attorney is saying that all these officials are just finger pointing and sending inconsistent messaging.

The police chief here in Houston saying that it's actually the production and entertainment teams who actually have the power to stop the show. But Jake, the police chief also said that there were more than 500 police officers that were at this venue which begs the question, you have all of these police officers there. Did one of them think to perhaps raise this alert, the level outside of that production staff for safety reasons? That's the question that I asked the police chief yesterday during a press conference.

And he said that he doesn't have an answer to that. He's not going there. But it raises serious questions, Jake, because HPD is the investigating agency. And so does this mean that HPD is investigating itself? Most likely so which at the end of the day you wonder why perhaps the Harris County Judge is asking for an independent investigation. That's probably why too, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes. Rosa Flores -- sad news -- thank you so much.

A portion of this transcript has been removed.

TAPPER: Coming up, Xi Jinping's power play the new move from the Chinese Communist Party and what it means next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, trapped amid inhumane conditions and freezing temperatures. That is the plight for thousands of migrants right now on the border between Poland and Belarus. E.U. officials say Belarus is to blame, accusing its leaders of weaponizing human suffering in an attempt to destabilize Europe and there are new fears this conflict could escalate. Belarus's strong man is threatening to cut off gas supplies to Europe as Russia flies warplanes over the country in support, of course.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from Poland near the border with Belarus. Fred, what are you hearing about conditions there from some of these traps migrants?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. Well, they're absolutely appalling those conditions. I can tell you from standing out here, it is indeed extremely cold out here at temperatures around freezing. And also there's a slight drizzle.

And if we look at the conditions in that camp, where there are still around 3,000 to 4,000 people in there, that's the Polish authorities say, the people that are basically camped out in the elements. There are some that have tens, however, there's others that have sort of taken makeshift logs and tried to make themselves some sort of shelter. Also, there are people trying to burn any sort of wood that they can find to try and somehow stay warm. Obviously, an untenable situation for a lot of those people. And then at the same time, of course, they're also caught in this conflict between Belarus and Poland in the European Union where they can't go back into Belarus because the Belarusian authorities won't let them go back there. Obviously, can't go into the European Union, either, because Poland has sealed the border and now has 15,000 troops here to make sure that no one can pass, Jake.

TAPPER: And how are the U.S. and European Union planning to respond?

PLEITGEN: Yes. Well, I think one of the things that we're seeing now is that there's a lot more unity within the European Union, but then also between the U.S. and the European Union. You had the head of the European Commission visiting the White House and they were saying now that the White House is now planning new sanctions against Belarus, tougher sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko and that's exactly what the European Union is seeing as well. They want to expand sanctions against Lukashenko, possibly also sectoral sanctions to try and put pressure on them.


And the other big thing that the European Union wants to do as well, it's threatening the airlines that are flying people to Belarus and say, look, you're going to get blacklisted not be able to fly into the European Union anymore if you continue to fly people to Belarus that are then being brought to the border to be sent over into the European Union. So they're trying to show more of a unified response.

But, of course, one of the things that you've mentioned is absolutely correct as so far it doesn't seem as though Alexander Lukashenko is budging. He praised Vladimir Putin, of course, his biggest backer for flying those bombers over Belarus and territory and then today threatened to cut off gas supplies to Europe. So really still a very difficult situation. But we certainly can see that the European Union has now decided it's going to remain tough, and it certainly says it's not going to budge.

In fact, the polls say they could send a lot more troops here to the border. They're not going to let anyone through, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Fred Pleitgen live in Poland near the border with Belarus. Thank you so much.

Also in our world lead, a history making announcement from the Chinese Communist Party on its 100th anniversary. President Xi Jinping is putting his personal imprint on China and rewriting the party's historical record in a move that will likely allow him to extend his iron grip on power for another five years possibly for life. He is just the third communist leader to pass a resolution like this, which observers say aims to establish Xi as an equal to party founder and former Chinese leader Mao Zedong.

CNN's David Culver joins us now live from Shanghai, China. David, how has President Xi been able to cement his hold on power for so long? DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this has been a methodical consolidation of control, a crumbling of collective leadership. As you mentioned, this resolution is historical. It puts him all the way up with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, put them as a paramount leader here in China. And it really sets him up as the undisputed supreme ruler for years to come.

Now, this goes back to when he took power in 2012. It was then he started to launch this anti-corruption campaign, which simultaneously eliminated any political rivals that in 2016, puts himself as the core leader of the party, the party, of course, the center of this entire country. 2018, the removal of presidential term limits. And that essentially paved the path for what we're seeing right now, Jake, and that is this maintaining of control for what seems to be years to come.

TAPPER: And David, sources tell CNN that the highly anticipated virtual summit between U.S. President Biden and Chinese President Xi is expected to take place on Monday. What do we expect the two leaders to discuss?

CULVER: I talked to a lot of sources who are closely connected to the planning of this virtual meeting. And it's built just as that, a meeting. So, not so much a summit that maybe would last multiple days, this is going to be a one-day thing as far as what we're hearing for now. And really, the focus is going to be first and foremost, lower the temperature.

We've seen rising tensions between these two countries, certainly in the South China Sea, certainly with regards to Taiwan. In fact, there are near daily incursions just southeast of here off the coast. With Chinese fighters and bombers going over into Taiwan's air defense identification zone, China says that's part of their sovereign territory.

Of course, the U.S. trying to maintain the self-governing island and its democracy and sustain that for years to come, it's a lot of back and forth that likely will come up in this meeting. However, human rights, of course, going to be huge as well.

One thing we are hearing, though, Jake, is that perhaps, this according to some reports, there will be an invitation from Xi to Biden to attend the Beijing Olympics. Of course, that likely is not going to go over well and certainly wouldn't be received. But one thing diplomats have told me is that the discussion has been for many months now to bring President Biden here certainly right after the Olympics because the day after the Olympics in Beijing, Jake, is the 50th anniversary of the first presidential visit, the Nixon visit in 1972. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, David Culver in Shanghai, thanks so much.

A car company you've probably never heard of is now worth more than Ford and General Motors combined. That's next.


TAPPER: In our money lead, Tesla CEO Elon Musk might need to start looking in his rearview mirror. There's new competition moving up fast. Electric car company Rivian ended its first day of trading valued at almost $86 billion after one of the largest public IPO offerings in years. That valuation making the company already worth billions more than either General Motors or Ford.

Even though the company's only delivered just over 150 vehicles as of last month, Rivian is also getting help from Musk's primary competitor which is demand under Jeff Bezos Amazon took a stake in Rivian, and committed to buying 100,000 of its vehicles while he in the first passengers aboard his Blue Origin spacecraft, we should note, rode in Rivian vehicles to the launch site. Buckle up, the electric car wars are just heating up.

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You can find all the items at, Homes For Our Troops. Bidding ends Sunday. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN.

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