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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Outlines New Steps To Fight COVID This Winter; One-On-One With Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); Sheriff: Parents Met With School Officials About Accused Gunman's Behavior Hours Before Rampage; Blinken: Putin And Biden Could Speak "In The Near Future"; Biden Outlines New Steps To Fight COVID This Winter. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 02, 2021 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Regardless of Omicron, the virus is back on the march.

THE LEAD starts right now.

The Biden White House announcing a slew of new steps today to try to slow the spread of coronavirus including the new variant while also trying to urge folks not to panic.

And President Biden needs her vote to get his agenda passed. This hour, Democratic Senator Sinema of Arizona sits down with CNN for a rare national TV interview.

And then, red flags raised. A Michigan sheriff revealing new details today about why the teenage suspect's parents were called to the principal's office just hours before the deadly high school shooting.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we start today with the health lead and the Biden administration saying it is pulling out all the stops to accelerate our way out of this pandemic and slow the spread of Omicron, that new variant health officials still know so little about. New evidence today suggests, however, that the new variant clearly is spreading in the U.S.

President Biden went to the National Institutes of Health this afternoon to announce his new plan launching a national campaign for boosters, setting up family vaccination sites, expanding COVID testing, making the at home test kits free either reimbursed by insurance or provided by the government for those who do not have insurance.

Also, today, those proposed CDC rules for international travel became official and now everyone flying to the United States including American citizens who are fully vaccinated needs proof of a negative COVID test taken one day before departure instead of three days. CNN's Nick Watt starts us off with this more aggressive approach.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Announcing today that all inbound international travelers must test within one day of departure regardless of their vaccination status or nationality.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One plank of the president's winter action plan announced this afternoon to fight the coronavirus and its new Omicron variant which we now know is here, a second case confirmed this morning in Minnesota. Mild symptoms, now recovered, vaccinated man recently returned from a large anime convention in New York City.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: So, potentially, now, on both coasts, and that means we're going to continue to see the number of cases rise.

WATT: The first confirmed case was yesterday in San Francisco, fully vaccinated but unboosted individual recently returned from South Africa. Also mild symptoms and doing well.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: All close contacts have been contacted and thus far have tested negative.

WATT: We still don't know for sure if Omicron is more transmissible or significantly evades the vaccines. But --

FAUCI: There is every reason to believe that kind of increase you get with the boost would be helpful in preventing severe disease of a variant like Omicron.

WATT: Right now, the delta variant is still dominant worldwide and here in the U.S. here is where we are, averaging a whopping 85,000 plus new infections every day and 911 deaths.

BIDEN: This winter, we're going to make free at home tests more available to Americans than ever before.

WATT: More than 80 percent of counties right now have high or substantial community transmission.

BIDEN: We're going to get to 60 teams ready to deploy in states experiencing a surge of cases over this winter.

WATT: Well over a hundred million eligible Americans are still not fully vaccinated let alone boosted.

BIDEN: We are expanding our national booster campaign to provide booster shots to all eligible adults. We're expanding our efforts to vaccinate children ages 5 and up.

WATT: Back in January, two-thirds of Americans felt optimistic about vaccinations. That's now less than half, 31 percent of us are now angry about the current status of vaccination in this country.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WATT (on camera): This is, of course, a global problem. The clue is in what we call it, a pandemic. And today, President Biden also pledged to send more vaccine doses to other countries that need them.

Meantime, the World Health Organization is saying it's unfair that the U.S. and other countries have placed restrictions on flights coming out of South Africa.


They say South Africa is basically being penalized for doing the right thing, for identifying this variant and telling us all about it -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Nick Watt, thanks so much.

Let's discuss. CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House, Pete Muntean at Dulles International Airport with the travel angle, and Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University School of Public Health.

Kaitlan, first to you. There's the public safety part of this new plan. Obviously, politics also plays a role, communication. This is kind of crisis management 101. Get ahead of the issue as we see this new variant emerge.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, because I mean, this has been the issue for President Biden since he took office.

The main issue of his presidency he has said. And so, of course, the concern here is not just the small subsidies or big measures he is taking when it comes to fighting COVID-19. It's also that he is in charge and he is controlling and he is taking steps to combat this new variant. But, Jake, you've seen the president's poll numbers.

Of course, there is a divide when it comes to Democrats and Republicans and how the president has been handling this. But look at the number when it comes to independents, 39 percent approve of how he is handling it so far based on this Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 52 percent disapprove. The number has fallen sharply.

And I think what that means is the White House is trying to apply the lessons they learned from the delta variant back in June when his numbers were much higher. Then we saw the delta variant sweep across the United States and his poll numbers go down. They are trying to show here that while we still don't know a lot about the new variant, we are taking steps to do what we can while we are trying to evaluate it.

TAPPER: That's right. In July, of course, President Biden announced independence from the virus on Independence Day.

Pete, stricter rules for international travels, part of the new rollout including mandatory testing a day before flying to the U.S. I guess I have two questions here. Are airlines prepared to require travelers to get a test and a result one day before they leave wherever they are in the world? I don't even know if it is possible to get a test and result within one day before travel everywhere in the United States.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, airlines say they're prepared because they've been doing this for months. They were already required to get proof of the negative coronavirus test for somebody coming into the United States within three days of their departure. Now that passenger has to show proof of a negative test within one day of departure.

The real onus is not necessarily on airlines but on passengers to find the proper test, to find a testing site. We've seen more and more pop up at airports and even internationally here at Dulles International Airport but the industry is chafing at the travel restrictions and any change because they feel any new uptick in restrictions for those traveling internationally will make the numbers go down.

We've seen a strong and robust travel period throughout the thanksgiving travel season. 2.5 million people on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. They just don't want to lose that really tenuous, thin thread they have on a travel rebound. They think this could get in the way of that.

TAPPER: Dr. Jha, much of this seems designed to get ahead of the new Omicron variant but researchers still don't know much about it. They don't know how easily it spreads, whether it evades vaccines. Without knowing that, do you think these measures may be premature?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Jake, first of all, thanks for having me back. I don't think they are premature. Look, we don't know the facts but the little we do know is pretty concerning. So, we can wait until all the data is in and then we'll be behind the 8 ball. I'd much rather be ahead of the game. If it turns out this is not all that transmissible, that there is not much vaccine evasion we can always pull back. But I'd much rather be in that position than to be playing catch up.

TAPPER: And, Kaitlan, the president is making the big push for booster shots. He might have an uphill battle convincing many Americans that they need one.

COLLINS: Sometimes, Jake, this comes down to party lines, which, of course unsurprising. That's something the president talked about the political divide here today. But if you look at the numbers of all adults who is more likely or is planning on getting a booster, you can see the discrepancy and gap when it comes to Republicans, 36 percent, Democrats 77 percent.

When you look at the number of Republicans who are already vaccinated, Jake, that number is a little bit higher. But that is the issue facing President Biden as he is dealing with this and part of that is the lagging effort of the confusing messaging around booster shots, something that people inside the White House and administration will acknowledge was an issue and just now had CDC change the language to say everyone over 18 should get a booster. Before it was may get a booster, unless they are in a certain category. So, they are also trying to get the messaging right on boosters so

there are a hundred million eligible people who haven't gotten one and can go get one.

TAPPER: And, Pete, there has been talk although no indication from the Biden administration that they want to do it of requiring proof of vaccination not just proof of a negative COVID test for either international or even domestic travel.


What do the airlines think about that?

MUNTEAN: Airlines hate the notion of having this for international travel and domestic travel. If it wants (ph) a domestic travel, one top industry official tells me it would clobber the big numbers they've seen lately.

Right now, it is required for foreign nationals to show proof they are fully vaccinated to the airline before coming into the United States and Customs and Border Patrol officials here at airport have also been required to show proof of a negative coronavirus test, a bit of a one- two punch there. Now we are seeing the gap get a little narrowed. It was three days, now one day. So, we will see if these restrictions stay in place, and the Biden administration not hinting at anything new just yet and airlines and the industry would like to keep it that way.

TAPPER: Dr. Jha, today, COVID cases in South Africa jumped by more than 7,000 in one week. Health officials do not yet know if it's Omicron, that new variant causing the spread. But do you see any other possible or logical explanation?

JHA: No. I think it likely is. We are seeing it particularly in the state of South Africa where Omicron is dominant. I'm pretty worried this really does show Omicron is widespread there and we are seeing hospitalizations rise as well. Some concerning features out of South Africa.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, Omicron and the vaccine, so many unanswered questions right now. We're going to talk to a top vaccine experts in the country.

And then, could your next flight run on scraps of food? CNN gets a ride into the future. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with the health lead and vastly different responses to this new variant Omicron. In Germany today, a national lockdown for everyone who is unvaccinated. Japan taking a strict approach to travel, closing its borders to all non-Japanese citizens. Here in the United States, President Biden rolled out his nine-point

plan today, ramping up booster shots and testing, only limiting travel from certain countries.

Let's bring in Rick Bright. He led the Trump administration's vaccine development effort. He resigned after a whistle-blower complaint saying his early warnings about the pandemic had been ignored.

Rick, good to see you again.

We should note after the election, you briefly joined President Biden's COVID advisory board. What do you make of the new response plan announced today? Is it enough do you think?


Like many plans, they're just plans. It is a great start. I think there are great points. I mean, it's surprising to see some of those points being rolled out as a new idea two years into a pandemic.

I think the most important thing we need to see in America and across the world is action. We need to see leadership and coordination and coordinate action around the world. This Omicron variant, Jake, is a consequence of not having the world vaccinated soon enough. We're going to continue seeing this until we put vaccine equity at the top of our list, not just donating a few doses or even a billion doses but really putting resources in place around the world to get doses into the arms and not on the tarmac to stop this virus from mutating and coming into new variants and spreading around the world.

TAPPER: Yeah. In fact, I mean, experts like you have been saying if the United States and other countries didn't do more to immunize the entire world, this is what was going to happen and now we are seeing it happening. And now, we are seeing it happening.

You're an immunologist. You've built your career researching vaccines. From the little we do know about Omicron and I realize there's still a lot we don't, but from what we do know, do you think our current vaccines will be able to hold up against it?

BRIGHT: From what I would speculate, Jake, as you said, we don't have a lot of data yet. But it is still the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the vaccines are made on the spike protein, a major protein of that virus, there are a lot of changes and mutations in the spike region which is what comprises the immunity that we make from the vaccines. I would be very surprised if there was no immunity from our current vaccines to this new variant.

I would actually be pretty confident that we're going to have some level of protection, some level of efficacy, especially from severe, hospitalized disease or from deaths. And that's sort of what we're seeing playing out right now. We're on the leading edge so I don't want to be too confident just yet but right now we're not seeing a lot of hospitalized cases or deaths just yet from this Omicron variant being reported anywhere. Most of the cases we are able to see are in milder infections if in a vaccinated person which again emphasizes the need for getting vaccinated as quickly as you can.

TAPPER: Indeed. So, the president of Moderna is now trying to clarify comments by the company CEO this week who said he did not think the existing Moderna vaccine would be effective against the new variant.

Here is the clarification. Take a listen.


DR. STEPHEN HOGE, PRESIDENT, MODERNA: I think some of the word choice may not have been optimal. It seems likely that the Omicron variant is going to make a dent in our vaccine efficacy, in fact in all vaccine efficacy. And the combination of mutations that have been brought together there we think are going to increase the possibility of immune escape. Now, the one thing we don't know for sure is how big is that dent, how big is that decrease in vaccine efficacy?


TAPPER: In reality, does anyone really know?

BRIGHT: We don't, Jake. And that's -- that's really the danger we're in. We have in through into this pandemic, a science by press release, comments by CEOs of large companies who have a lot to gain in moving the market ahead of a data set.

We need to be sure that we don't get overly excited about any data on either side right now. We should focus on what we can do to protect ourselves and our family from SARS-CoV-2, be it the Delta or the Omicron variant, getting fully vaccinated with the booster dose. And I just got mine two weeks ago.

Wearing your mask -- I'm in Kansas right now for a family event, Jake. I went into Walmart to buy some rapid tests. There were only two people in that entire Walmart store that I saw in Kansas with a mask on.

That's extremely concerning with the delta variant and more concerning with what we don't yet know about Omicron.

People -- please wear your mask up over your nose and keep your distance and try not to breathe someone else's air right now.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about this controversy involving former President Trump and his COVID diagnosis from last year. "The Guardian" newspaper detailed an excerpt from an upcoming book from mark meadows, Trump's former chief of staff and a real Trump loyalist and meadows reportedly wrote that Trump had tested positive for COVID three days before his debate with Joe Biden.

This week, Trump called that reporting fake news. Meadows now apparently agrees that it's fake news, bizarrely enough. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, the president is right. It's fake news. If you -- if you actually read the book, the context of it, that story outlined a false positive. Literally had a test, had two other tests after that and showed that he didn't have COVID during the debate.


TAPPER: I mean, we should note it was days later that Trump acknowledged he had COVID.

You resigned from your post at the National Institutes of Health the same week that Trump went to Walter Reed. He was basically medevaced there with COVID.

What do you make of all this?

BRIGHT: Well, actually, the chaos doesn't surprise me coming from those individuals in the Trump administration.

But, Jake, I would say that if anyone, especially the president of the United States, knowingly went into and put people at risk, Gold Star families, other people at the debates, et cetera, at risk, knowing that he could potentially be positive for SARS-CoV-2 even with an initial test, I think that's absolutely unconscionable, and extremely concerning for any individual, any human being, let alone the president of the United States, to put people at such risk.

I don't know if we'll ever know the truthful answer to that scenario. From what I am hearing about it, it doesn't seem like they were following the testing protocols very accurately, but I wasn't there as you said. But I would say unconscionable act of putting people's lives at risk for a leader, world leader such as the president.

TAPPER: All right. Rick Bright, thank you so much. Hope you have fun at the family event in Kansas. Thanks for joining us.

Coming up next, a CNN exclusive, with one of the Democratic senators who is key to the Biden agenda passing. What is the message that Senator Kyrsten Sinema has for Democratic party leaders?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our politics lead, an exclusive and rare glimpse inside the thinking of Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

Democrats desperately need her onboard to reach their self-imposed deadline and pass the president's social safety net act the so-called Build Back Better Act by Christmas.

CNN congressional correspondent Lauren Fox joins me now live.

Lauren, what insights did Senator Sinema have to share about where she stands on this upcoming vote and the president's agenda in general?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, she is one of the most powerful if not mystifying Democrats in the U.S. Senate, especially given the fact that it is a tied chamber right now. But she, while she was part of building that huge infrastructure bill and getting it across the finish line, she is not quite ready to say yes to Biden's Build Back Better plan.


FOX: You have met directly with the president perhaps more than any other senator in the Democratic Party, maybe aside from Joe Manchin. What lessons have you learned? What kind of negotiator is the president? And is it hard for you to tell the president, "No, I can't do that"?

SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): President Biden served in the Senate for a long time so he knows how negotiations work. And he also during this process called me repeatedly and asked me to continue working with Senator Rob Portman and others in the G10 to find this bipartisan agreement and showed a real commitment to wanting this bipartisan achievement, which we've -- which we've accomplished.

And I think the big challenge in front of us is for us to all work together in an accountable and transparent way to actually implement this law.

FOX: Schumer has said he wants to vote on Build Back Better, that broader social safety net bill, before Christmas break. Are you prepared to vote yes when that comes to the floor?

SINEMA: Well, I don't set the schedule for the Senate floor and I'm always prepared to vote and to vote for what's right for the interests of Arizona.

I personally believe that the best way to create legislation is to be thoughtful and careful so that we're crafting legislation that truly represents the interests that we want to achieve and that creates a benefit and helps people all across Arizona and the country. So, that's what I'm working on right now.

FOX: It doesn't sound like you are quite a yes yet on the version that just passed the House of Representatives. What changes do you want to make?

SINEMA: Well, folks know I don't negotiate in the press. I'm not going to do that with you.

FOX: I know one of the things that you made clear very early in the negotiation with the president and your majority leader was that you were not going to support raising the corporate tax rate up a single point.

Did you feel like at any point they weren't taking your comments seriously given the fact that they were promising for a long time that this was going to be part of the bill? SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): You know, I don't really spend much time

thinking about what other people are saying publicly. What I really want to focus on is how to get to a solution and solve a problem that matters to every day folks in Arizona. And people back home in Arizona know that I am committed to ensuring that any legislation we pass retains America's competitiveness.

So I won't support any legislation that increases burdens on Arizonan or American businesses and decreases our ability to compete either domestically or globally.

So, I want to be sure that if we are crafting legislation, we're doing it in a lean and efficient way that's fiscally responsible and doesn't impact things like inflation or make our businesses less competitive.

FOX: So you've been criticized from progressives who say you're standing in the way of what we've been campaigning on for years, whether that's repealing the 2017 tax cuts, whether that is changing voting rights laws. What do you say to progressives back home who are disappointed in the job that you're doing here?

SINEMA: Well, I'm serving the exact way that I've campaigned on over the last near decade that I've served in Washington, D.C. And when I ran for the United States Senate in 2018, I told the folks of Arizona what I would do. That I would come to the Senate, try to find bipartisan solutions, be an independent voice for Arizona, and always put every day people in Arizona first. I would say that's exactly what I'm doing.

FOX: One of the ways you negotiate in talking with your colleagues is that you're pretty forthcoming on where you stand on something. We talked about the corporate tax rate. Why do you think it is that your leadership sometimes overpromises? Do you think that that's a problem for voters and for the Democratic Party?

SINEMA: I can only speak for myself, but what I can say is this: I would never promise something to the American people that I can't deliver. And I think it's not responsible for elected leaders to do that.

The concern I have is that, first, it's not very honest. So you should just be honest. That's something my parents taught me when I was very young and it stuck.

FOX: Some of your colleagues, some of them progressives, think that you're kind of an enigma. That they're not sure where you stand on any one issue while you're in the middle of a negotiation. Do you think that that's a fair criticism of you?

SINEMA: I think I'm very direct and I'm very upfront when I talk to folks about what I believe in, what I can support and what I can't support. So I think there are some people who just don't like what they're hearing and maybe they use other terms to describe it. But folks in Arizona know that I've always been a straight shooter and always will be.

FOX: Would you be willing to vote with Democrats to hold up the president's mandates?

SINEMA: Well, I'm not going to tell you those things. What I will do, though, is make sure that I'm voting in the interest of Arizonans.

Now, folks back in Arizona know that I'm a strong supporter of this vaccine. I encourage all Arizonans to also get vaccinated so that we can return to the lives that we love, and be able to share those important moments of both joy and sorrow with our family members.


FOX: Jake, she's making it clear there. She doesn't negotiate in public. She is not going to give specifics about what it is in the Build Back Better plan that passed the House that she doesn't like right this second. Those are negotiations happening behind the scenes. She's making that very clear there.

But she's also defending the fact that she says, look. I've always told Arizonan voters exactly where I stand. They sent me to the Senate. I'm doing the job I think they want me to be doing. And if they don't like it or some people don't like it, tough.

TAPPER: Lauren, did Senator Sinema share any thoughts about Senator Joe Manchin, who's the other moderate Democrat, maybe conservative Democrat, currently perceived as holding up President Biden's agenda?

FOX: Well, these two senators often get lumped together because they're both moderates from states across the country, yet they operate so differently. Senator Sinema doesn't get into details about whether or not she's having private conversations with Senator Manchin, whether there is any piece of the Build Back Better plan that she is trying to get Manchin to support. She did make it clear she is supportive of paid family leave.

We know that that is a program that Senator Manchin does not want included in the bill but she would not get into details about how or whether she sort of lobbies her fellow members -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Lauren Fox, thank you so much.

New information about why the parents of the accused Michigan school shooter were called to a meeting at the school just hours before their son allegedly went on a rampage. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, disturbing new details about the suspected gunman in Tuesday's deadly Michigan high school shooting. Authorities say 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley's behavior had been so concerning to teachers his parents had been forced to come to the school just hours before the attack. He faces charges of murder and terrorism. Prosecutors have indicated they are also considering charging his parents who owned the firearm used in the shooting. The announcement on that could come within the next 24 hours. CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now live from Oxford, Michigan.

And, Alexandra, the sheriff is revealing some new information about the suspect's prior behavior?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. We are learning from the Oakland county sheriff that the school is saying that the suspected shooter did not have a previous history of displaying any behavioral problems, any disturbing or concerning behavior.


But all of that seems to have changed earlier this week, on the day before the shooting and then on the morning of the shooting. Not one but two teachers raising some alarm bells deciding they needed to act on what he was saying or doing.

Listen to what the sheriff had to say.


SHERIFF MICHAEL BOUCHARD, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN: On the day prior to the tragedy, a teacher in the classroom where he was a student saw and heard something that she felt was disturbing in terms of his behavior. The day of the shooting, a different teacher in different classroom saw some behavior that they felt was concerning and they brought the child down to an office. Had a meeting with school officials, called in the parents, and ultimately, it was determined that he could go back into class.


FIELD: And, Jake, investigators aren't describing the nature of the behavior at this time. We've heard the prosecutor say there is another piece of evidence that hasn't been shared with the public that is also disturbing in nature. A lot of the question and focus right now of course is on why he was allowed to return to class and whether law enforcement should have been alerted at that time, Jake.

TAPPER: Alexandra, investigators also say they've discovered evidence proving that the shooting was in fact premeditated?

FIELD: This is a 15-year-old charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder, very much because they believe this was an attack that he had thought about, premeditated, plotted. They are looking at evidence that includes writings from the suspect. They say they recovered a journal in which he talks about shooting up the school. They say they also recovered two cell phone videos in which he talks about shooting and killing students at Oxford High School.

Investigators are also focusing, of course, on the weapon used and say it was a semiautomatic hand gun that they believe was purchased by the suspect's father just four days before the attack and this afternoon, Jake, we're learning that charges against both parents are still being considered and that we could hear an announcement from the prosecutor about within the next 24 hours.

TAPPER: All right. Alexandra Field in Oxford, Michigan, thanks so much.

Let's discuss this with retired FBI profiler Candice Delong. She also has a great podcast called killer psyche.

Candace, thanks for joining us.

Two different teachers raised concerns about the suspected gunman's behavior this week including the day of the shooting. We don't know what that was. And, obviously, kids act out.

What do you -- what do you make of this? Do you think the school did enough here?

CANDICE DELONG, RETIRED FBI PROFILER: Well, the FBI, along with the Secret Service, did extensive research into this kind of thing, what they call active shooters which would include school shooters. And they were able to identify three or four things that we see, behaviors that we see happening in most of these cases and one of them is especially in school kids, high school kids that close to the time of the shooting they will be exhibiting odd behavior, enough so that people will go, what's going on this? What's going on?

It can be aggressive, aggressive physically, aggressive verbally, could be just simply inappropriate. What we do know is on the day of and the day before this attack, two different teachers were concerned enough to bring it to the attention of the principal and then finally to bring in the parents.


DELONG: So we don't know. I'm sure we will find out.

TAPPER: Two videos were recovered from the cell phone of the suspected gunman in which he talked about shooting and killing student. What does that indicate to you?

DELONG: Often times -- well, it could be a few different things, often times shooters do this especially teenagers before the event and they may sometimes release it.

It can be viewed as attention seeking behavior but the FBI research into this, they have a name for it called leakage. And that leakage, which is a way the shooter before the attack is somehow or other trying to get a message out, either a threat or a cry for help or something. In this particular case, the shooter did not display these on social media. The investigators found them on his phone.

TAPPER: I guess one of the questions is, how do we prevent these types of things from happening? Parents, do they need to play a stronger role in the lives of their kids? If they have -- if they live with kids do they need to lock up their guns? What are some of your more general suggestions? DELONG: Yes and yes to your questions. Yes, parents need --

especially with high schoolers, with adolescents, that's a tough time in a kid's life.


And if things aren't going their way, maybe they're being bullied -- I'm not saying this kid was -- or they're having a hard time at school, various disappointments, what one thing we do know research has said is in the year leading up to the shooting, often times people had at least three major stressful event. If you've got kids at home that seem to be having a problem or you are the least bit concerned and you have a gun in the house, get the gun out of the house.

Another thing I know a lot of parents are reticent to go in their child's room, their kids' room and look around maybe for anything that would be indicative of why is their child being reclusive or maybe violent or not getting along with his siblings, your child's room is your room.


DELONG: You're letting them use it while they live there and you may find something in their room that -- and then if you do, do something about it. Don't just figure it will go away. No, it may not go away.

TAPPER: So, turning to another tragedy, the suspect in last month's Waukesha Christmas parade massacre just gave an interview in which he said he feels as if he is being treated as a monster. He's being demonized. This is someone who mowed down at least 60 people, killing six. What does that tell you?

DELONG: Well, it is my understanding with the little we know so far there were previous incidents with him being violent with girlfriends, displaying -- that's not unusual in our society today, but that this person in particular was frightening to other people.

And he may be paranoid. In that statement, I'm being viewed as a monster, treated as a monster -- well, you did a monstrous thing. But he may not see reality as reality is which means he may be psychotic.

TAPPER: Candice Delong, check out her great podcast, "Killer Psyche". Thanks so much for joining us.

Coming up, don't blink. Russia and the United States face off in a key sit-down.



TAPPER: Topping our world lead today, a critical diplomatic meeting between Russia and the United States today produced no concrete path forward as Western nations grow increasingly concerned that Russia is on the brink of invading Ukraine. CNN's Alex Marquardt is traveling with Secretary of State Antony

Blinken who spoke to reporters after meeting with his Russian counterpart -- Alex.


ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this highly anticipated meeting between the U.S. Secretary of State and his Russian counterpart here in Stockholm was serious and sober according to Secretary Blinken but it did not result in any concrete agreement that would lead to the immediate de-escalation of the crisis nor did Secretary Blinken lay out explicitly what the serious consequences would be for Russia should they decide to invade Ukraine.

Blinken did tell the Russians both before the meeting and in it that there would be serious costs from the U.S. and its allies if Russia does decide to go ahead with military action. So the goal for now is to keep the diplomatic discussions going in the coming days. Blinken said today that there could be a call soon between Presidents Biden and Putin. Take a listen.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: Foreign Minister Lavrov and I had candid exchanges on our different perspectives. We agreed to report those back to our presidents who may have the opportunity to speak directly in the near future.

MARQUARDT: So, the two sides will continue to talk. A senior State Department official today told reporters there would be intense diplomacy in the coming days with the hope that eventually Russia would pull back its forces and agree to a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine.

For its part, Russia says that it is acting in self-defense and its security is threatened as NATO moves eastward toward its border. Blinken says it's not clear whether or not Russia has made up its mind to invade Ukraine but that it has put in place the capacity to do so and to do so quickly.

What the U.S. and NATO are seeing right now is very similar to what they say back in 2014 and that, of course, is when Russia did invade Ukraine and annexed Crimea -- Jake.


TAPPER: Alex Marquardt, thank you so much.

Coming up, we're going to take you inside the hunt for the Omicron variant here in the United States.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, the stand-off between China and two top sports organizations taking dramatically different tactics, and at the center of it all, a missing tennis champion.

Plus, grab the canola. United Airlines just flew a plane fueled by corn and sugar and CNN went along for the ride for what could become the future of flight.

And leading this hour, President Biden this afternoon unveiling yet another major COVID strategy as Omicron hits the United States. The president announcing expanded testing measures including free at home tests and stricter testing for all travelers to the United States. President Biden also pushing increased vaccine and booster outreach.

The White House is attempting to walk something of a tight rope here, taking aggressive action while also minimizing panic about the new variant.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins breaks down President Biden's new plan and how it might affect your family.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: With the still mysterious Omicron variant now in the U.S., today, President Biden laid out a new strategy to fight the pandemic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My plan I'm announcing today pulls no punches in the fight against COVID-19.

COLLINS: At the National Institutes of Health, Biden attempted a balancing act, preventing panic while taking aggressive steps to combat the spread of Omicron.

BIDEN: We move forward in the case of COVID-19 and the delta variant and we'll move forward in the face of Omicron variant as well.