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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Police Searching For School Shooting Suspect's Parents; Economy Adds 210,000 Jobs In November, Far Fewer Than Expected; Dr. Fauci Calls Out Fox Host & Network For Personality Comparing Him To A Nazi Doctor; Facebook Sold Ads Comparing Vaccine To Holocaust; Meadows Whitewashes Deadly Capitol Riot In New Book; Protesters Call On DOJ To Investigate Sackler Family, Which Has Not Been Charged With Any Crimes; Ex-District Atty. Charge With Obstructing Arbery Case, Faces Prison. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired December 03, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right. Police are not buying it. Jake. I just got off the phone with the undersheriff here, who's in charge of this entire operation. He tells me that at 3:48, around an hour or so ago, that his sergeant, who's in charge of the Fugitive Task Force, spoke to this attorney and said, where are your clients, and that she told him that she has not talked to her clients, the parents.
So, there's a lot of information here that's really interesting, because if she hasn't spoken to her clients, then, how does she know that they're on their way back. The police are not buying it. The undersheriff tells me that the sergeant with the Fugitive Task Force told her, have them call us, we need to know where they are.
As far as the police are concerned, they are on the run. They are fugitives and they are continuing their manhunt as they search for them. As you said, you have the FBI, the U.S. Marshals, and other law enforcement officials from all across the state now involved, Jake, in this manhunt.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And Shimon, let's go back to what prosecutors said today, because the prosecutor, she laid out quite the case against the parents.
PROKUPECZ: She did. And you know, a lot of this information had been out there, they've been alluding to some of this. But the detail and the new information that they obtained, text messages that were exchanged between the alleged shooter and his mother on one of the days, on Monday, when one of the teachers raised issues with his behavior, something that was concerning this teacher, the mother was about him searching on his cell phone, searching for ammunition. The mother -- they reported this to the parents, and the mother texted the son saying LOL, you know, just don't get caught. I'm not mad at you, but just try not to get caught.
More disturbing, Jake, is what happens the next day, the police -- the prosecutor, I should say finally revealing what concerned the school so much, drawings of blood -- of a -- of blood everywhere of the idea that he wanted to do harm. And the fact that the school just reported this to the parents and did not report any event to the police is certainly very concerning and has angered many in this community, and also the police. And the fact that the school asked, this prosecutor said the school asked the parents to take the kid home and they said, no, let him go back to class and they did. And then obviously everything that happened.
They also revealed that the gun that was purchased for -- was purchased for him, that the alleged shooter was present at the gun shop on the day that the gun was purchased. So obviously all very disturbing, and really just chilling information when you look at it. And when you try to understand like how is it that so many people saw that something was amiss, but yet no one, no one reported it, Jake.
TAPPER: Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much. Let's discuss this with a former Prosecutor Charles Coleman Jr. and Civil Rights Attorney and CNN Legal Analyst Areva Martin.
Areva, what do you make of all these conflicting statements. So, defense lawyers say the parents are on their way back to town, but police say those lawyers haven't even spoken to the parents. They don't buy it. What do you think?
AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'm not buying it either, Jake. Look, these parents know that they are to -- they were to show up in court to be arraigned. All this attorney has to do is tell police where they are at this moment.
They don't get the luxury to say we're going to come in at our leisure. The police are looking for them. They could say stop at the nearest rest stop, wait until the police arrived so that you can be arrested. It doesn't take this kind of activity to arrest someone who's trying to comply with police. The fact that they have not made themselves available to be arrested is very troubling to me.
TAPPER: Charles, the sheriff says that the Crumbleys were not under surveillance until it got closer to last night when charges were pending. But there are some ways police could have still monitored the couple and track their whereabouts even without a search warrant or charges against them, no?
CHARLES COLEMAN JR., FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, there are, Jake, and I think that what Areva just said in terms of trying to cooperate is a key element to what we're talking about. The sheriff's (ph) office certainly at the moment that they knew that the prosecutor intended to file charges against the parents should have been on this a lot more closely.
I'm not going to say necessarily that it's their fault that they're running away. Obviously, that is not something that anyone may have been able to foresee. But at the point that you have this entire situation and that you get it -- you get inclination from the prosecutor that they are intending to file charges, then it becomes the responsibility of law enforcement to put themselves in position so they can bring these people in without this sort of debacle occurring.
TAPPER: Let's bring in former acting Baltimore Police Commissioner, Anthony Barksdale.
Commissioner Barksdale, what do you make of this behavior by the parents and the claims by their attorneys?
ANTHONY BARKSDALE, FORMER ACTING BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: It makes no sense of trying to do the right thing. Right now, we don't have time for games. They need to be held accountable. I don't buy what anybody is saying right now, we just need to focus on their capture.
TAPPER: Areva, the Crumbleys, the parents, they're facing four counts of involuntary manslaughter, break (ph) and exactly what that means and what kind of jail time they might face.
MARTIN: Yes, these are very serious crimes in the state of Michigan, Jake. Involuntary manslaughter carries up to 15 years in prison.
And again, as to why these parents are not making themselves available, perhaps they know how serious these charges are. The prosecution -- prosecutor has laid out some very chilling facts about what these parents did. The flags, the red flags that they ignored, that they were at the school, had an opportunity to tell the school that they had purchased this gun, that this gun wasn't kept in a secure position in their homes. It's really troubling, Jake.
When you think about the conversations happening between the school and the parents and the kid is there all the time with a gun in his backpack, apparently. A lots of questions to still be answered with respect to how come the police were not called on the day that the parents are having this conversation with the school? How come the safety officer at the school wasn't involved in this? So, still so many questions, but very serious charges against these parents.
TAPPER: And Anthony, you heard it in Shimon's piece, that this frustration in the community, not just among the community, but among police, and what they could have done if school officials had told them about the disturbing behavior of the suspected shooter in the days and hours before the shooting. What could they have done?
BARKSDALE: Jake, we'll go back. We had a conversation a while ago where I talked about rule one of CompStat (ph), accurate, timely intelligence clearly disseminated to all. So we -- the communication wasn't there. And in this case, it's proved deadly. There is no way that the police and the school shouldn't have been on the same page with this kid and these parents.
TAPPER: Commissioner Barksdale, based on what you heard from the prosecutor today, do you think there's a strong case against the parents?
BARKSDALE: Oh, yes. Yes. They, look there's a case, there's a strong case. It sounds clear to me that this is serious of what they did, leaving access, giving this kid a gun, and he could obviously access ammo also. So I think they have a very strong case. Let's capture them and hold them accountable.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks to one and all. I appreciate your perspectives.
Coming up next, President Biden attempts to tout a strong U.S. economy, but a new report today seems to conflict with that.
Plus, new details about what was going on behind the scenes on January 6, what Mark Meadows, the then White House Chief of Staff, just revealed. That's ahead.
TAPPER: President Biden today saying the economy is strong ahead of the holidays. Though, the new jobs report out today was much weaker than expected. The United States added 210,000 jobs in November, that is far fewer than the half million that had been predicted. But as President Biden today noted, job reports in recent months have been ultimately revised upward after the initial report. And today Biden acknowledged many Americans are still struggling with higher prices.
CNN's Phil Mattingly starts off our coverage from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to keep making progress for our families and for our nation. I promise you that's what's going to happen.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For President Biden, the November jobs report giving a window into an economy emerging from the pandemic in fits and starts.
BIDEN: It's not enough to know that we're making progress, you need to see it and feel it your own lives.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Employers adding 210,000 jobs in November, down sharply from October and well below economist's forecasts, even as the unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent from 4.6 percent.
BIDEN: We're looking at the sharpest one year decline in unemployment ever.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): And with wages and the participation rate ticking up, Biden's zeroing in on the positives.
BIDEN: Our economy is markedly stronger than it was a year ago.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): It's an uneven picture demonstrating a conundrum weighing down Biden's entire presidency. With robust economic growth and job gains --
BIDEN: In the first 10 full months of my administration, the economy has created 6 million jobs. A record for a new president.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- countered by soaring energy prices and supply chain disruptions that have driven inflation to a three decade high.
BIDEN: I've used every tool available to address price increases, and it's beginning to work.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): While sending Biden's approval rate to the lowest level of his administration, all made cloudier by the persistent pandemic. And now, the emergence of potentially perilous unknowns from the Omicron variant.
BIDEN: But look what's happened, you know, we're starting to make some real progress and then you find out there's another strain.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Biden whose voice was noticeably hoarse during his remarks --
BIDEN: Excuse me. With private business and labor.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- telling reporters that he has tested negative for COVID-19.
BIDEN: It's just a cold.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Something backed up in a memo from the White House physician just a few hours later. The memo noting Biden is quote, "experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week. This can be heard in his voice, and he is feeling the colloquially well- known "frog in one's throat." Biden, according to the memo has tested negative for COVID 19 three times this week.
As to the genesis of the cold the President was willing to identify his primary suspect.
BIDEN: What I have is a one and a half year old grandson who had a cold who likes to kisses pop.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MATTINGLY: Jake, White House officials may have been disappointed with that top line jobs number. But they're keenly aware of something you mentioned, those revisions over the course of the last several months. In fact, job revisions have increased more than nearly a million jobs since the President took office. There's some expectation that 210,000 number will go up in the months ahead, Jake.
TAPPER: Phil Mattingly, thanks.
Let's discuss. So, Nia-Malika, let's start with the big picture look here, because while the jobs numbers were disappointing, at least as of now there is this good news and the fact that the unemployment level is down and the September October jobs numbers were revised upward. What's your main takeaway?
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, people don't understand and feel and experience the economy based on a jobs report and based on the unemployment numbers. They experience it by how many bags of groceries they can get at the Winn-Dixie? How many gallons of gas, can they get a full tank or half a tank? Can they save for their kid's college or kid's camp during the summer?
And that's where I think the problem is for this administration. Can they turn that feeling around? One idea is, you know, they just have to message, message, message better on the economy, but does that actually translate to lower gas prices and lower prices at the at the grocery store? Unlikely, I mean, in the near term. So I think that's the problem that they're facing, not only now, but looking towards the new terms as well.
TAPPER: And Sabrina, take a listen to President Biden on the subject of trying to project optimism and, you know, get consumer confidence up, while also at the same time acknowledging that people are feeling pain when it comes to unemployment and more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Despite this progress, families are anxious. They're anxious about COVID. They're anxious about the cost of living, the economy more broadly. They're still uncertain.
I want you to know, I hear you. It's not enough to know that we're making progress. You need to see it and feel it in your own lives around the kitchen table and your checkbooks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I want you to know, I hear you. What do you think?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a delicate balance for the President, because on the one hand, if you look at the big picture, the economy has recovered significantly from the peak pandemic law of 2020. But at the same time, the reality is there's still shortages in the labor market, there are still some lingering supply chain issues and there is persistent inflation.
And even though economists often say that presidents have very little impact on short term inflation, the reality isn't something the White House has to grapple with. When Americans do see higher prices, whether it's gases or at the grocery store, they tend to reflexively blame whoever is in office. And so I think you hear President Biden trying to empathize with the American people and not just cast this entirely rosy picture, when a lot of Americans are not necessarily feeling the impact of the economic recovery.
So far, the question, of course, for Democrats, because a lot of the messaging is also centered in this idea that the bipartisan infrastructure bill will bring some relief. And if they ever pass this Build Back Better bill that will lower the overall costs for families. Is that something that will break through and resonate, especially if there's a very real possibility that Americans may not even feel the effects of those bills going into midterms?
TAPPER: Obviously, President Biden and the Democrats who control the House and Senate are ultimately perceived as responsible and the buck stops there. Is there any risk for Republicans in seeming to be enjoying talking down the economy? I've sometimes I see members of the House and Senate Republicans tweeting out negative stories. And I wonder, is there joy there?
BRENDAN BUCK, PARTNER, SEVEN LETTER: No, because I think Republicans are addressing the issues that people are actually worried about, as Sabrina was saying.
The President is answering questions that nobody is asking. They're pushing a Build Back Better agenda that is focused on the climate, and childcare. Those are important issues. But that's not what people want to see. So there's a disconnect right now between what voters are feeling, inflation, gas prices, and what they're working on in Congress.
If they even hear what they're working, and as you discussed earlier, the message is not breaking through. But even if you get to it, the idea that the Build Back Better Act is going to solve the inflation problem is nonsensical. And until they can find a better answer for the biggest problem that people are facing, they're going to have problems.
TAPPER: Speaking of messaging issues, Maria, I want you to take a listen -- look at this. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee tweeted out this, it's a graph showing gas prices have dropped two cents per gallon in the last few weeks. And it says "Thanks, Joe Biden," not sarcastic they mean it. "Thanks, Joe Biden."
We did the D Triple C of favor. We pulled this graph of gas prices over the last year from GasBuddy, and there you go. Look at that.
MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
TAPPER: So there -- so, they were doing "Thanks, Joe Biden" for that little teeny corner or ticked down a little bit. But that's the overall chart of gas prices since January. Not anything to be celebrating. Thanks, Joe Biden.
CARDONA: Every little bit counts, Jake. But look, you know, to your point, Brendan --
TAPPER: Are you not (INAUDIBLE) with my little graphic trick there?
CARDONA: I love the graphics. But the issue is, is that the Build Back Better according to 17 Nobel Prize economists will actually reduce inflationary pressures on the economy. This is part of the bigger focus of this administration that will have been once we pass it. That will be after the infrastructure bill and after the American Rescue Plan, which put millions of dollars in the pockets of Americans at the point where they needed it the most.
I actually do think there is a risk for Republicans as they not just talk down the economy but they don't offer any real solutions when Americans are focused on higher prices, on inflation. Republicans haven't focused on any positive agenda. But the issue is, of course, Democrats are empowering, and that's who people are going to look at for solutions. That's why I believe that Democrats need to go to a Ivy League style bragging school because they can't stop talking about all of these things that have happened.
And this economy is better. You talked about the unemployment numbers, but there's more, the wages are up, which is, you know, for the first time in a long time, that's an important number. You have the labor participation is up as well, even though you do have help wanted signs, and that is, you know, psychological for some people. But also the fact of the matter is, is that because people do feel better economically, they're not going to accept jobs, where they feel like they're being abused, where they actually have to have two or three jobs in order to make ends meet.
TAPPER: So, Nia, Sabrina talks about how the Republicans aren't presenting their own legislative ideas. And the truth of the matter is they probably don't have to.
HENDERSON: Yes. You know, apparently --
TAPPER: I mean, they're the minority.
TAPPER: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is telling colleagues, according to Axios, that Republicans are not going to release --
TAPPER: -- any plans, legislative plans ahead of the midterms. Instead he says, Republicans should be 100 percent focused on Democrats and all the, quote, "terrible things, Democrats are doing."
HENDERSON: Listen, it worked for them in 2014, just to talk down what the Democrats were doing. And that's what they're going to do. We'll see what they do on the House side. You have the history of like the Contract for America. And it sounds like McCarthy might be a little more apt to release some sort of agenda of.
Listen, this is -- midterms are about the party in power. There referendums on the sitting president and the party in power. And as long as you just talk down what's happening, that is a pretty effective strategy. We see some of the numbers already that show on the generic ballot of it, Republicans are favored, I think by like, two points or something. And then just the history of this, you know, shows that incumbent presidents tend to lose many, many seats.
And in the House, for instance, I think they only need to flip like five seats for Nancy Pelosi to lose the gavel. So, listen, if you're Republican, you feel pretty good.
I, you know, I was trying to talk to Maria earlier --
HENDERSON: -- is there any chance you guys actually hold on? I think you said, a tiny one (ph).
CARDONA: A tiny, tiny slight chance.
TAPPER: All right, Brendan, in that Axios piece, this is great quote, and I want to read, one from a Republican source, "One of the biggest mistakes challengers often make is thinking campaigns are about them and their ideas. No one gives a shit about that. Elections or referendums on incumbents," unquote.
I'm reading it. I'm reading a quote folks.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can say that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No beeping?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, I notice.
TAPPER: It was a Republican, they said that, not me. But is that -- not you either. Well, I don't know. I didn't write the story for Axios. But like, is that true?
BUCK: It is true, and it's not. So I've been a part of a number of agendas. In 2010, when I was working for John Boehner, we released the Pledge to America, it was really important, and it helped candidates get out there and give them something to talk about when they're -- when there's something, like that's important. You're on stage. What are you for? That's helpful.
Does it define an election? Of course not. I wouldn't tell you our 2010 election that you probably couldn't name -- define the election.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
BUCK: What it's good for, is if you win. What are you going to do when you win? And you can get your conference together and say, we promised we were going to do this. So this is what we're focused on.
But Mitch McConnell is absolutely right. If they're going to win, they're on a glide path right now. And you can really just focus on what Democrats are doing. Democrats are banking on the Build Back Better Act is going to save them. I think Republicans and the ones I've talked to who believe that either way they went (ph). They pass that that bill, people are going to blame them for inflation more.
People are associating inflation with runaway government spending, and they're going to be able to use that against them. If they fail, they have nothing to work with.
TAPPER: And there are Democrats who are making that argument, too. I mean, Larry Summers is out there talking about that, and you have these moderate Democrats talking about the price tag is too big.
SIDDIQUI: And that's one of the concerns you've heard from Senators Joe Manchin and Kirsten Sinema who we know really do hold the keys to the fate of this package. And one of the challenge for Democrats is when they look at the Build Back Better plan, what they're talking about is lowering overall costs for families, by expanding access to child care, expanding access to health care, lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Obviously, the bill is not going to have any tangible impact on short term inflation. And so, that's sort of the disconnect. And that's one of the challenges for Democrats as they go out there and try to sell this package.
You know, the provisions pull well, individually.
SIDDIQUI: But do a lot of Americans actually know what's in this bill? And how soon will they actually feel its impact? So that's really going to be a question going into November.
TAPPER: Go ahead.
CARDONA: And I just think a big challenge, again, is that there is lag time, right, between what is passed and what happens. So, there is still a year left, let's remember that, where Democrats can actually do this and hopefully make a difference.
TAPPER: Eleven months, Maria. I'm having here 11 months.
Thanks one and all for being here. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, the outrageous ads that ran on Facebook comparing the U.S. government's response to the pandemic to Nazi Germany. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our tech lead today and the hateful shameless rhetoric pushed online that gets its tentacles from outrageous stuff such as this. The host on Fox comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Dr. Mengele, man known as a Nazi Angel of Death. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARA LOGAN, FOX HOST: What you see on Dr. Fauci, this is what people say to me, that he doesn't represent science to them. He represents Joseph Mengele.
Dr. Joseph Mengele, the Nazi Doctor who did experiments on Jews during the Second World War in the concentration camps. And I am talking about people all across the world are saying this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: This systematic elimination and mass murder of 6 million Jews, not to mention millions of Catholics and gays and others, is nothing like health regulations. And anyone who suggests they're remotely the same thing is belittling those innocent people murdered, and is white washing the evil Nazi regime.
Here's what Dr. Fauci had to say about this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think the responses with so many people throughout the country in the world are responding to that absolutely preposterous and disgusting comparison that she make. It's an insult to all of the people who suffered and died under the Nazi regime in the concentration camps. I mean, it's unconscionable what she said.
What I find striking, Chris, is how she gets no discipline, whatsoever, from the Fox network, how they can let her say that with no comment, and no disciplinary action. I'm astounded by that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: After the Auschwitz Memorial Museum criticized Logan, she blocked them on Twitter. CNN reached out to Fox, they declined to comment.
Let's bring in CNN's Donie O'Sullivan. And Donie, you found this kind of absurd rhetoric is being repeated extensively online.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. I mean, as absurd as what you heard there on Fox, that is the sort of thing that is happening on Facebook every single day. Facebook, in fact, even taking money to run ads with these sorts of messages.
Take a look at some of the ads CNN came across on Facebook. One that reads, "I'm originally from America, but I currently reside in 1941 Germany." And other shows a image of a vaccine of a syringe and says, "Slowly and quietly, but it's a holocaust." And another then about political violence, making traitors -- making -- "Make hanging traitors great again."
And, Jake, it's important to point out here that these aren't just random posts on Facebook, these are paid ads, right? These are posts that Facebook is taking money for and targeting to its users. Now we show these to Facebook. Facebook said those first two ads about the Holocaust and Nazi Germany weren't against its rules, and they took them down. They seemingly missed them.
But that last one making -- "Make hanging traitors great again," is not against Facebook's rules. They are happy to take money from us, just months after we saw gallows outside the U.S. Capitol. TAPPER: Donie, you noted these Facebook posts were not difficult for you to find. Is Facebook even have a team looking into these kinds of posts? I mean, they're a multibillion dollar a year company.
O'SULLIVAN: Well, they say they have a very big team. And they say they have a whole lot of artificial intelligence to find posts like this. But, I mean, when you see posts like this that mentioned Holocaust, if that can't raise red flags with their systems, clearly there's something very, very wrong.
Worth mentioning that next Wednesday, the CEO of Instagram, which of course, is owned by Facebook, or should we say their parent company Meta now, will be testifying the -- before the U.S. Senate (ph). Will -- I expect to be asked questions about something related to a lot of what we've seen here but also importantly on Instagram's harms to young children and teenagers.
TAPPER: Some very disturbed people out there. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much.
Coming up next, inside January 6, Trump's Chief of Staff revealing what was happening behind the scenes right before that horrific insurrection. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our politics lead, we're getting brand new insight into exactly what unfolded in the hours leading up to the deadly Capitol insurrection from one of the former President Trump's closest aide. CNN's Ryan Nobles is live for us on Capitol Hill. And Ryan, you've obtained a copy of former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' new book where he talks about the events of that day.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Jake. This book from Mark Meadows not set to come out until next week, and it is 300 pages of Mark Meadows experience as the Chief of Staff to the former President Donald Trump, but he only details about three or four pages to the events of January 6. And he makes a number of claims about the events of that day that will be of special interest to the January 6 Select Committee.
First of all, he claims that there was no coordinated effort by the White House or the campaign to try and encourage people to storm the Capitol on that day. In fact, he writes, "The idea to gather on January 6th was organic and it wasn't until the President said that he wanted to address the various groups that the plans came together. Before the final word came down from Congress that the election was settled, he wanted to make sure that all those people he had met over his four years -- the ones who'd shown up to every rally, listened to his speeches and had written him letters about their frustrations with the establishment -- would have one more chance to make their voices heard and encourage each other."
And this is the important part. He claims, "He did not call for violence, and he did not expect that anyone would enter the Capitol Building." Now this is despite the fact that on that day, President Trump specifically encouraged his supporters to march down to the Capitol after his speech.
Now, about that particular line in his speech, and his book Meadows claims that that was just adlibbed, and that the President was only being metaphorical that he didn't actually intend for anyone to go down to the Capitol, despite specifically requesting that they do so. And from Meadows viewpoint on that day, Jake, he believes that everyone that was there on the Ellipse that day, really didn't take the President seriously. Jake?
TAPPER: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, Ryan, because Mark Meadows is trying to claim executive privilege. He's saying he can't talk to the January 6 committee about his interactions with then President Trump, but he's writing about his interactions with President Trump the same events that the January 6 committee wants to ask him about? And this -- except he's just doing it in a book to make money?
NOBLES: That appears to be exactly what he is doing, Jake. And as we said before, he doesn't spend a lot of time talking about January 6th. But he does specifically talk about that conversation that he had with President Trump as he left the stage on that day on January 2nd -- 6th, I should say. So that's one example of a conversation he had.
He's already said he's not going to talk about things that he says are executive privilege when he comes in for a deposition next week. We'll have to see how the committee views this in light of this new book.
TAPPER: Maybe they should offer to pay him. Ryan Nobles, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
The opioid epidemic spiraling out of control. Protesters today in Washington demanding that the Justice Department take action when it comes to one particular powerful family. We're going to talk to one of the fathers leading the fight ahead. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our buried lead now -- that's what we call stories we think are not getting enough attention -- America's drug epidemic is the ugliest and deadliest it's ever been. And families of the victims of opioids are intensifying their calls for justice.
Today in Washington, family members of victims of the opioid epidemic called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue an investigation and criminal charges against members of the Sackler family. The Sacklers who have not been charged with any crimes, owned Purdue Pharma, which made the addictive painkiller OxyContin.
The company and the family agreed to pay more than $4 billion as part of the bankruptcy settlement deal reached in September. They agreed as well to turn over some 30 million documents. But the deal controversially awarded the family broad legal protection against future civil lawsuits. It's a devastating blow for the more than 500,000 families who lost someone to the opioid epidemic.
Last year, the company also pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple felonies including conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Joining us now live in studio to discuss, Danny Strong, executive producer and writer of the Hulu series "Dopesick," and Ed Bisch, founder of the group Relatives Against Purdue Pharma. He lost his son Eddie to an OxyContin overdose in 2001. So Danny and Ed, thanks so much for being here -- or Ed rather.
The Sacklers say their family is not to blame for this public health crisis. CNN got a statement today from the Justice Department stating they're not going to comment on whether or not they're investigating the Sacklers. What do you want the DOJ to do here and why?
DANNY STRONG, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "DOPESICK" ON HULU: We want the DOJ to assign a special prosecutor to the case. The company has pled guilty to two -- to three felonies, $9 billion in fines, and yet no individuals have been charged with a felony. Well, a company doesn't commit crimes, people do. And there were people at the highest levels of this company that committed these horrendous crimes. It's in very many ways, the crime of the century.
So if the Justice Department isn't going to go after the people who committed the crime of the century, why even have a Justice Department?
TAPPER: So, Ed, you lost your son Eddie to this addictive drug in 2001. You have since dedicated your life to fighting for some kind of justice. Do you feel like anyone's listening to you?
ED BISCH, FOUNDER, RELATIVES AGAINST PURDUE PHARMA (RAPP): I do. And one of the reasons we had this rally today and while the rally was going on, I got a text from Michael Quinn, who's a pro bono lawyer for that ad heck -- ad hoc committee on accountability. And he said the DOJ acknowledged Star Leather (ph) and they are reaching out to him. And he's trying to set up a meeting next week. So they heard us today.
TAPPER: Well, that's great. And I hope you get that meeting. Certainly, people from Purdue Pharma have had gotten to have meetings with the Justice Department. While I have you, Ed, tell us about Eddie, what was he like?
BISCH: Eddie was a normal kid. He was a high school senior, just signed up for a chef school. And, you know, went to a high school party, him and his friends messing around and, you know, there was a deadly new pill flooding the market, flooding my neighborhood by a pill mill. Doctor called Richard Paolino (ph), who wound up getting 30 years in prison.
I was at the first congressional hearing that year in 2001, where it came out that Purdue Pharma knew exactly how many pills he was prescribing, and didn't say it fitting to authorities. TAPPER: And Danny drug overdose deaths hit a new record high during the pandemic, more than 100,000 American deaths in a year. Can you imagine what the reaction the response would be by the U.S. government if terrorists killed 100,000 Americans? But here we are doing it to ourselves with pharmaceuticals, more than 75,000 of those were from opioids. That's 200 people a day in this country.
During the seven or so minutes, you'll be sitting on the set right now, somebody in America is going to die from an opioid overdose death. Tell us how urgent this fight is to you.
STRONG: Well, it couldn't be any more urgent because of everything you just said, people are dying every single day. Every single day, people are dying. And the government needs to take action. And putting the special prosecutor in charge of this case, having someone go after the people who are responsible for what started this is an excellent start.
But then the next step is, how do we get the proper medication to the people that need it? And if they could find a way make a priority of getting MAT Suboxone treatments that actually can help people turn the corner on an opioid addiction to more people, it could cause, you know, a tremendous amount of good for this nation for so many people.
TAPPER: Danny and Ed, thanks so much. And then Ed, Eddie's memory we dedicate this segment today and keep up the fight. We'll keep covering it. You keep fighting it.
BISCH: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks so much for being with us.
Coming up next, prosecuting the prosecutor. The district attorney accused of mishandling the case of Ahmaud Arbery's killers. She's now facing prison herself. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We're back with a national lead in a case involving the three men found guilty of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. A week after those verdicts, the focus is now turning to the former District Attorney Jackie Johnson who is facing charges herself. Prosecutors say Johnson mishandled the case and delayed the arrests of Arbery's killers.
And now, as CNN's Martin Savidge reports, she is also facing the prospect of prison.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An hour after Gregory McMichael, his son Travis and neighbor William Bryan Jr. chase down and murder Ahmaud Arbery on a Sunday in South Georgia, Greg McMichael was on the phone.
GREGORY MCMICHAEL, KILLED AHMAUD ARBERY: Jackie, this is Greg. Can you call me as soon as you possibly can?
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Calling Jackie Johnson, the local District Attorney.
MCMICHAEL: My son and I have been involved in a shooting and I need some advice right away.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): For years, McMichael work with Johnson, investigating cases for the Brunswick D.A.'s Office. Now as he stood with Arbery's blood literally on his hands, McMichael made sure police knew about the connection.
MCMICHAEL: I was chief investigator with the D.A.'s Office for 23 years. So I know what you got to do.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): No one was arrested that day, or for months to come. The Georgia Attorney General contends Johnson's influence in the case not only delayed justice for Arbery's family, but it also nearly denied it. In September, more than a year after Arbery's death, the grand jury indicted Johnson for violating her oath of office and obstructing police.
Arbery's family applauded the move in a virtual press conference.
WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: She didn't pull the trigger, but she is just as much to hold accountable as the guys who actually did this to Ahmaud.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Johnson turned herself into the Glenn County Jail but was free in less than an hour and didn't have to pay any bond. According to the indictment, Johnson directed police not to arrest Travis McMichael that day, even though he shot at an unarmed Arbery, three times point blank with a shotgun hitting him twice.
The indictment also says that after recusing herself, Johnson recommended another district attorney, George Barnhill, never disclosing she'd already talked to Barnhill about the case. Barnhill would send a letter to police advising the shooting was justified, saying, "We do not see grounds for an arrest of any of the three parties."
That could have been the end of the case, if not for one thing. The public release more than two months later of the cell phone video showing Arbery's pursuit and murder, outraging a nation. Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested within days.
CNN has made numerous attempts to contact Johnson or her legal representation for comment. Without response, Johnson's repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and defended her actions, including during a virtual debate when she was running for re-election.
JACKIE JOHNSON, FORMER BRUNSWICK DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'm sorry that from the very beginning, a lot, I was told about how my office handle that case. That case is a terrible tragedy for our community and it's a tragedy for the family. I'm sorry about how things happened. I'm sorry that a lot got started and I could not turn it back.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Voters didn't buy it. After 10 years in office, Johnson lost the election. Now, this one's top prosecutor prepares for a prosecution like none she's ever faced before her own.
SAVIDGE: And the next step in the legal process, Jake, is that she will face arraignment, although there is no court date for when that will happen. Jake?
TAPPER: Martin, what are the penalties if she's ultimately found guilty?
SAVIDGE: Yes, well, the most serious one is the violating of her oath of office, that's actually a felony. And if she were found guilty of that, then she could get one to five years in prison.
TAPPER: You spent a lot of time in Brunswick, Georgia now, throughout the trial. You spoke to a lot of people in the community, what's been the reaction to the guilty verdicts?
SAVIDGE: You know, I think initially, the reaction was, one, celebration, especially for those who supported the Arbery family. And there were many who did in that community. And there was also relief, because there has been this cloud that has been hanging over Brunswick and Glenn County that it seemed to be reminiscent of the old ugly days of Jim Crow South, which it is not. It's a modern city, and that area is actually very progressive.
So once it was refuted that this kind of killing of a black man running down the street is not going to be tolerated, they did so with a very strong message of guilty on all three men. And --
TAPPER: Although --
SAVIDGE: -- that community is very pleased.
TAPPER: Yes, but we should point out that probably wouldn't have happened if somebody hadn't leaked the video, right? I mean, it still would have been covered up those three murderers would be walking the streets?
SAVIDGE: The video was absolutely key. No doubt about it. Federal case will be up next for the three.
TAPPER: Martin Savidge, thanks so much. You can tune into State of the Union Sunday. Among our guests, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Mississippi's Republican Governor Tate Reeves, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, that's at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern.
Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show with TheLeadCNN. You can listen to our show on the podcast version if you miss it.
Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.