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The Lead with Jake Tapper

U.S. Believes Putin Being "Misinformed" By Advisers About War; Sen. Collins Becomes First GOP "Yes" Vote On Judge Jackson; 11 Dead In Series Of Terror Attacks In Israel; Biden Admin To End Pandemic Border Restrictions By May; Oscars Board Meeting Over Will Smith Slapping Incident. Aired 5-6 pm ET

Aired March 30, 2022 - 17:00   ET



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're hearing multiple rocket launching systems going off. In the distance also hearing thoughts as well. And that really is something that we have had throughout the entire day.

And it is indeed the case that a lot of that fighting is taking place, especially towards the northwest of Kyiv and some of the suburbs there. That's also the area from where the Russians wanted to push into the capital. But they were confronted by Ukrainian troops and stopped and then unleashed that firestorm of indirect fire of artillery, which is really hitting the suburbs there.

And the one suburb, Jake, that we keep talking about the most is the suburb of Irpin. And today, I got as close as possible to that place and saw some really heavy fighting. And we have to warn our viewers at some of what they're about to see is very graphic.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Through heavily fortified checkpoints, we reached the edge of Kyiv at the suburb Irpin. Suddenly on top of the artillery barrages, we hear gunfire. Much closer, and we have to take cover.

This is what it sounds like after Russia said it has scaled down its military operations around Kyiv. Even in the calmer moments, the big guns are never silent.

(on camera): This is the final checkpoint before you would reach the district of Irpin. But it's impossible for us to go there right now simply because it's much too dangerous. It's also impossible for the people who live there to come back to their homes because there's still so much shuffling going on and so much unexploded ordnance still on the ground.

(voice-over): Irpin was heavily contested between Russian and Ukrainian forces as Vladimir Putin's troops attempted to push through to Kyiv. Now, the Ukrainian say they've pushed the Russians back, taken control and released this graphic video of the aftermath, buildings and cars destroyed, dead bodies still lying in the streets.

Ukraine Security Emergency Service has now also released this video showing rescuers taking out at least some of the dead while under fire from Russian artillery. Some of the remaining residents were also brought to safety including many children, Irpin's mayor tells me.

MAYOR OLEKSANDR MARKUSHIN (through translator): Now Irpin is 100 percent Ukrainian. We are taking out the wounded and dead bodies. Today and yesterday we evacuated approximately 500 people. Today, I myself, evacuated about 50 children and 100 adults.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The evacuees are brought to this base outside of Irpin. It's not only people, aid groups are now also evacuating the animals left behind when their owners had to flee, including these puppies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have volunteers who are going under the fire and picking animals on the streets.

PLEITGEN (on camera): Going under fire, going into Irpin and picking animals?


PLEITGEN (voice-over): The Ukrainian army says it's in the process of pushing Russian troops further out of this area, hoping to silence Putin's guns and restore calm to this once quaint suburb.


PLEITGEN: But Jake, so far, those guns certainly aren't silent from what we're hearing right now.

One interesting thing, though, that I did pick up today, I actually spoke to the Defense Ministry of Ukraine and to the Interior Ministry, both say that they do have some indication that some Russian units might indeed be leaving the area around Kyiv and going towards Belarus. However, first of all, they don't believe that that's some sort of larger drawdown and they certainly don't think it's some sort of goodwill gesture by the Russians towards Ukraine. They say simply, quite frankly, that the Russians got beat here and now they're licking their wounds and drawing some of their forces back, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Fred Pleitgen reporting live from Kyiv, thank you so much.

Turning now to southern Ukraine in the battle for the coastline along the Black Sea. The Kremlin's claim that it might shift its resources and focus to the south and east to have cities such as Odessa on heightened alert. CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us now live from Odessa.

And Ed, Odessa and its port had been bracing for a Russian attack for some time now. Tell us what you're seeing.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a Ukrainian military official was saying today that they are aware of Russian aircraft carrying out reconnaissance missions around this region, that the situation for right now is at least as stable and that they're fighting back where they can.

But as the rest of the country here is watching the news and watching how Russian forces are perhaps moving out of the Kyiv region, that really puts this region of Ukraine back in focus. There's great deal of concern about what this will mean in the coming days, if not weeks here. As early on, it was suspected that Russian forces would want to move in through eastern Ukraine along the northern edge of the Black Sea coastline, making their way down to Odessa, which would essentially make Ukraine a landlocked country.

But as you drive around the city here today, you really don't get a sense that there's a sense of calm in many ways, you know, people going about their daily business. The curfew is in strict enforcement here after 9:00 at night but throughout the day it has been relatively interesting to see how many people continue to carry on about their normal daily activities.


TAPPER: And Ed, the United Nations Refugee Agency is reporting that it cannot reach some of its employees in Mariupol. What more are we learning about the situation on the ground there?

LAVANDERA: Well, this news comes as we've seen satellite images from -- a new satellite images from Mariupol, didn't really getting a sense of the devastating destruction that Russian forces have inflicted on that city. As you mentioned, the U.N. Refugee Agency said earlier today that some of its employees they hadn't been able to reach a for about a week now. They have since clarified this to say that it is one employee and that they're working to firm up commitments to create humanitarian corridors that they could use to evacuate people. But that agency is desperately trying to get in touch with one of its employees that they have not spoken to in some time, Jake.

TAPPER: For us live from Odessa, Ukraine. Thanks so much.

Joining us live to discuss, retired Army General George Joulwan, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO from '93 to '97. General, thanks for joining us.

A U.S. official tells CNN that American intelligence suggests that Putin is being, quote, "misinformed" by his advisors about how badly the Russian military is performing in Ukraine. The official suggests that the intelligence shows that Putin's top advisors are too afraid to tell him the truth. Do you think that's plausible? And if so, what implications might that have on the ground in Ukraine?

GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: It may be Jake, but that's not take its eye off the ball here. The Russian tactics are to mask forces, try to have a breakthrough and pass echelon form of armor in particular and we haven't seen that yet. And so, I think, rather than listening to what Putin may or may not say, look at the battlefield. But not only see the battlefield, but read the battlefield, that's going to be extremely important. TAPPER: You were Supreme Allied Commander of NATO when Russian troops failed spectacularly in their attack on Grozny, Chechnya before then returning and obliterating the city from the air and with artillery, these are photos of what was left of that city after the Russians destroyed it. Do you see any parallels between Grozny in the 1990s and what the Russians are doing to Ukraine today?

JOULWAN: Well, I think they're planning for the same sort of heavy hit on Ukraine once I get a read of where their forces are and what they have left to fight with. And it may come fairly quickly here with very heavy artillery, mortar, missile, aircraft, and others strikes. And so, I would not light up on the accelerator here and I would tell the Ukraine's to keep taking the fight to the enemy.

TAPPER: "The New York Times" has an opinion column today titled, "What if Putin Did Not Miscalculated?" argues that Putin perhaps did not intend to occupy all of Ukraine. He just ultimately wanted the energy and resource rich regions in the East, in the South. Here's part of that op-ed, quote, "The conventional wisdom is that Vladimir Putin catastrophically miscalculated. Then again in war, politics and life, it's always wiser to treat your adversary as a canny fox, not a crazy fool," unquote. What do you think?

JOULWAN: Well, I think Putin knows exactly what is doing. He's tried to disrupt what was the former Warsaw Pact bring it back under his control and Ukraine is key to that. And not only Ukraine, but then you have the other countries of the Warsaw Pact, the Hungarians, the Czechs, the Poles, et cetera. And so, I think it's extremely important for NATO and the West to really support Ukraine to where they come out on the good end of this. And that's going to take a lot of effort.

And I would not take anything that Putin is saying with a grain of salt. His aim is to destroy what's left of Ukraine.

TAPPER: Right. And Western officials have been expressing skepticism and disbelief about the Kremlin's claims of de-escalation around Kyiv and Ukraine. What parts of Ukraine do you think are at most risk right now?

JOULWAN: Well, you know, I think Kyiv was still the major objective. And I think we may see something of a -- this is his intelligence blanket I want to put over the region for the Ukraine's understand where is the second and third and fourth Exelon Tsar and what's happening in Belarus. Belarus has a straight shot at Kyiv, so I would watch that very closely even though that looks like they've been pushed back. That may be the breakthrough that Putin wants.


In the south around Mariupol and what was done there is criminal as far as I'm concerned and what bombing of schools and maternity wards, et cetera. It's criminal. But those are the areas that I think that they gets the Donbass area lined up with what's occurring down by Odessa. I think that could be another swing up, but his goal is still going to be Kyiv. TAPPER: Do you think there's anything more that NATO should be doing to stop this disastrous attack on Ukraine and the slaughter, even genocide of the Ukrainian people?

JOULWAN: First of all, the Russian soldier has problems with their leadership. I saw that personally years ago. They don't do maintenance very well. They don't have a good Noncommissioned Officer Corps. And so, they -- their officers are in danger.

So the morale is very low. And I think the more you keep banging out of here, I think that that's the way that they're continue to get disruption with the troops. I think it's going to be very important. And so, don't take your foot off the pedal here, you're doing very well. Take a look particularly at what Belarus were -- that may like -- may light up.

But we in the West should be painting a very wide Intel picture here of all the way back to Russia of what's coming down the road, what sort of reinforcements are coming down the road and read that where their main attack may come because once they get the breakthrough, then they keep pouring in. And that's what we should be trying to tell the Ukrainians that would help them a great deal as well as supplying them equipment et cetera.


JOULWAN: But the intelligence pictures from the important

TAPPER: Retired Army General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, George Joulwan, thank you so much, sir. Appreciate it.

They stayed until they just could not stay any longer. How one Ukrainian family found themselves running through a forest full of Russian snipers. That's next.



TAPPER: Continuing with our world lead and another heartbreaking milestone as a result of Vladimir Putin's brutal invasion of Ukraine according to the United Nations, more than 4 million refugees have now fled Ukraine. Four million people were just over a month ago were living normal lives in homes they may never see again. Homes that might not even exist anymore.

CNN's Matt Rivers is in Hungary right now for us listening to the stories told by Ukrainians who tried to stay but could not take it any longer.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Zahony train station just across the border from Ukraine, it's here where refugees fleeing the war touch Hungarian soil for the first time. People have been arriving here since the first days of the war, but these are the people that chose to stay longer up until they couldn't. People like Elena who left with her husband and three daughters.

(on camera): How old is she?


RIVERS (on camera): And she asked if the tank would shoot it up?

ELENA: Yes, because she saw tank every day because they --

RIVERS (on camera): She saw Russian tanks?

ELENA: Russian tanks.

RIVERS (on camera): Wow.

ELENA: A lot of Russian tanks.

RIVERS (voice-over): Elena says Russian soldiers had occupied her village and set up artillery positions and that Ukrainian forces started to target them. Just a few days ago she says there was an explosion about 100 meters from her house. Right after it hit she knew it was time to go.

She says, I thought to myself, I'm 34 I have three children, it can't end like this. So we walked right into the forest for two hours. A Ukrainian soldier then stopped us and told us that there were snipers everywhere. They put us underneath shields and walked us to safety because there were firefights everywhere.

They never wanted to leave, she said, but eventually she had no choice. It is a common sentiment from those here who waited for weeks after the invasion to make a brutal decision to flee the only home they've ever known. Olesya Lahuta was one of them.

We stayed a really long time after the war started, she says, about a month. But every day the sound of the bombing got closer and closer. And our children are small. Our building didn't have a basement and there was no cover available. So she joined the hundreds of 1000s of other Ukrainians that have arrived here in Hungary. And as her kids sit and play in her lap, she gets emotional about the threat to their lives and others.

I can't understand why, she says, choking up. There are lots of small children who died and I can't understand the purpose of this war. It's not only my children that are in danger.

The Ukrainian prosecutor's office says at least 145 children have died in the war, a number that is almost certainly an undercount. Olesya fled because she didn't want her kids added to the list. And now she gets back on the train headed to Budapest with an uncertain future amidst a horrible war.


[17:20:08] RIVERS: And Jake, when more trains come here to the first train stop in Hungary, all refugees are actually required to get off and be registered here by Hungarian authorities, then they can either stay and go through a visa process here or they can get back on the train and continue on to Budapest, the capital of Hungary where there's been a lot of resources set up for people, and then they can go wherever they want within the European Union. But there are certainly a lot more resources here at place.

And there were a few weeks ago when this invasion first started, Hungarian authorities finally able to catch their breath a bit and be able to handle a bit more the hundreds of 1000s of Ukrainians that have crossed the border in recent weeks.

TAPPER: Matt, I know you're at that train station for a long time today, several hours, what other stories have you heard from refugees?

RIVERS: Yes, you know, Jake, the thing that really struck me, you heard it in our piece, the first one when we spoke to Elena, she walked through the forest to escape Russian troops with her kids avoiding the roads because she didn't want to get caught in either Russian fire or crossfire. She wasn't the first person that told us that they walked through the forests of northern Ukraine in order to escape the firefight. She was just the only person that would go on camera. But we heard that story at least two other times just today at this train station. And I think what that illustrates is just the extraordinary lengths that families are having to go to escape this ongoing fight in Ukraine, just heartbreaking stories and so many children involved in all of them.

TAPPER: Matt Rivers, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

And then there was one, the first Republican senator signal she will support Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Will any other Republicans follow? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, President Biden's historic pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, officially has bipartisan support. Main Senator Susan Collins locked in Judge Jackson's now seemingly inevitable confirmation in a statement today. Let's get right to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

And Manu, you caught up with Senators Collins and also Republican Senator Romney, what do they have to tell you?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the case of Senator Romney, he's not there yet. While he said that he does praise her qualifications. He said they had a very good meeting. He said he's still questioning her judicial philosophy. And of course, he also voted against her last year to the D.C. Circuit.

Now, when it comes to Senator Collins, however, she said it doesn't matter if you agree with a judge's decision making in every single case. But she said in the case of Judge Jackson there's no question about her experience and that she is qualified to serve on the court.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I'm sure that I won't agree with every decision that she casts on the court. I haven't agreed with every decision that any of the justices for whom I've voted have cast on the court. I also don't agree with all the decisions that she's made as a district judge, but I wouldn't expect that.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): The place I'm really focusing, of course, is judicial philosophy and whether we're on the same page in that regard.


RAJU: And I just caught up with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska who's another potential swing vote. She said she's still evaluating this nomination. She said she may have another meeting with Jackson this week.

But that's pretty much it, Jake. The universal potential yes votes are very small, three probably maximum Republican votes. And this could potentially be one of the closest, if not the closest vote of any Supreme Court nomination in history, potentially tying Brett Kavanaugh in 2018 when he was confirmed by just a two vote margin here because if no other Republicans vote yes, she would get confirmed with a 51-49 vote next week, Jake.

TAPPER: And Manu, we're also hearing calls from Democrats for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from some cases relevant to the fact that his wife was involved in January 6, and the fact that that's now being investigated. What are lawmakers saying about that?

RAJU: Yes, this is coming down almost along party lines, almost like everything else when it comes to the Supreme Court. Democrats are saying at the very least he should recuse. Some liberals in the rank and file on the House side are saying that he should resign altogether. The Democratic leadership is not going that far. But they say he should at least recuse himself, even pushing for an even an investigation into what happened here or passing legislation to impose a code of ethics on justices.

That is not what Republicans are saying. The number two Senate Republican, John Thune, rejected the idea of any sort of code of ethics saying he does not want to prescribe what the Justice can do. And you're hearing top Republicans from Mitch McConnell on down defending Clarence Thomas at all costs, saying that what his wife was doing is different than what the judge was doing, they said would leave it to the Justice to decide whether he should recuse himself. They said Congress should not intervene, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thank you so much. Good to see you.

Joining us now to discuss on set, John Avlon, CNN Senior Political Analyst and Margaret Hoover, CNN Political Commentator.

Margaret, let me start with you. You just saw in Manu's reporting now that Susan Collins has said that she's going to vote for Judge Jackson, do you expect any other Republicans to follow suit?

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I do. I suspect it's very likely that Lisa Murkowski will follow suit. And I think, you know, we all understand first, Joe Manchin would, then Susan Collin would, of course, she just had an election last year.

Lisa Murkowski is likely to go next. A, she's already voted for her ones. B, Lisa Murkowski has an election this year. And C, actually even most importantly, I think it is very consistent with Lisa Murkowski sort of philosophy and approach to the bench, the Senate's role is to advise and consent. Also Lisa Murkowski is the one other liberal Republican or moderate Republican in the Senate who is pro- choice, who is wants to return the Senate to the advice and consent role. Also, she has a reelection this year, where rank choice voting is going to be the way that she is reelected. If she wins her seat back again.

TAPPER: Murkowski in Alaska.

HOOVER: Murkowski does in Alaska. One of the things Democrats liked most about her who will need to vote for her and the number two slot for her to win. And this is how rank choice voting works is the fact that she didn't vote for Brett Kavanaugh and she voted to convict Donald Trump. So these things are making it even more likely politically that she would do that even if she weren't inclined to on her own.

TAPPER: And John, this week, a former federal prosecutor told senators, that Judge Jackson sentencing decisions on defendants found guilty of distributing and possessing child pornography, that that was consistent with other judges who handled similar cases, this squares with what Andy McCarthy wrote in the Conservative National Review, when he called that attack on Judge, the judge -- Judge Brown, meritless to the point of demagoguery, obviously, this was led by Josh Hawley of Missouri. Do you think we've heard the last of it? Or is this what we're going to hear from now on?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you haven't heard the last of it from the plight of the base crowd, but when you have Andy McCarthy, very conservative, former federal prosecutor, writing in National Review, saying it's a form of demagoguery, he's telling the truth. And that's also important, because you need Republicans who are going to stand up to those sort of culture war bombs that are getting thrown. It's all they've got. By polling Marquette University, you know, Judge, you know, is one of the most popular nominees to the Supreme Court in recent memory. But you saw people playing the cheap seats in which you got called out for jackassery by Ben Sasse. And all they've gotten a lot of cases is just the culture war, reflexive impulse.

HOOVER: Yeah. TAPPER: And it's not just Ben Sasse, who was raising his eyebrows at the behavior of people like Hawley and Senator Ted Cruz, you know, who was asking the judge whether or not babies were racist, and that sort of thing. Take a listen to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who's the ranking Republican in the Senate Judiciary Committee, he had a town hall on Friday, after we all watched Republicans in these at times -- a tense confirmation hearings for Judge Jackson. Take a listen to him talking to an Iowa constituent.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They just beat her up really bad, and I think it was just appalling. That's all they could come up with, and the main thing they did this for is so they could TV time.

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY, (R) IOWA: I'm not going to dispute what you said because I think you described it accurately.


TAPPER: Just in case, just in case, this is really -- they just beat her up really bad. I think it was just appalling. That's all they could come up with. And the main thing they did this for was to get TV time. And then Grassley said, I'm not going to dispute what you said, because I think he described it accurately. He then tried to distance himself from other Republicans. And Grassley is a pretty partisan Republican.

HOOVER: But he -- you know, what he's also -- he's one who respects the institution of the Senate. He is one because he has been so many terms in the Senate, one that respects not the grandeur of it, not the grandstanding of it. And frankly, came from a time before television cameras and Twitter and social media drove one celebrity in the Senate. And so he -- he's just a decent man. I mean, there's a real reason people say I would Iowa nice, right? And he's just a decent man who's actually frankly, reflecting what his constituents probably think and feel like that Josh Hawley act, that Ted Cruz act, that that just doesn't fly in Iowa nice.

TAPPER: Well, we'll see. I mean, there'll be an Iowa so we'll see.


TAPPER: And I do want to note, Jared Kushner is expected to appear voluntarily before the January 6 Committee tomorrow, John, and the White House says there -- he's not going to be able to use executive privilege claims to circumvent any questions about what he knew or didn't know, he did not play a visible role in the build up to the interaction or that day. What do you think the Committee is looking for?

AVLON: It's hard to say but, you know, I hope he does show up and answer questions unlike a lot of close aides, as you say he wasn't -- didn't have the proximity that day, as far as we know, of Dan Scavino and other people who around the office.

TAPPER: Or even Ivanka Trump, his wife.

AVLON: Correct.


AVLON: It'll be interesting to see. I mean, you know, whether, you know, they ask her questions about what she might have known because she, according to some accounts, tried to intercede, but look at what we see increasingly, as some folks are trying to do the cover up around the President's actions. We have these seven and a half hours of, you know, where do the records go? What are the call logs, and the president's --

TAPPER: Yeah, the second coming of Rose Mary Woods.

AVLON: It is indeed except exponentially worse, 18 minutes, almost eight hours. But I think that that is important. Well, our attention has rightly been focused on Ukraine. The January six investigation is going forward. There have been a lot of very significant moments in the last several weeks. And this is potentially another one seeing what Jared Kushner says.

TAPPER: Yeah. And Margaret, this deluge of news comes full circle, it's going to hit the midterms.



TAPPER: Republicans are expected to do really well in the midterms but as Playbook wrote in Politico today, "One of the few ways Republicans could potentially blow this electoral equivalent of a layup is if former President Donald Trump suddenly returns to center court. He's deadly for the GOP in the decisive suburbs at the heart of 2022 politics. Recall how Virginia's Glenn Youngkin treated Trump like Voldemort, concerned that even uttering his name would repel potential supporters."

A little mixed metaphor there with the basketball and the Harry Potter, but I take their point, did you think Trump needs to sit this one out? And can he even be consistent?

HOOVER: Like first of all, no he can't, witness the rally he had for David Perdue three days ago in Georgia. He's 1,000% playing. And by the way --

TAPPER: And Georgia reporters starting -- Georgia reporter said it's one of the most sparsely attended Trump rallies they'd ever seen in that state.

HOOVER: Right. So no, he can't stay away. The other aspect that Politico's article doesn't really address is the fact that there are Republican on Republican -- you know, close Republican partisan primaries that are going to lead up to those general election votes. And Trump is still very popular with the base, even though he hasn't been, front and center on Twitter, but like so actually he is playing. It is feeding his ego and he is influencing it for the worse. I mean, the worse are candidates.

TAPPER: Yeah, he's backing some certifiable candidate.

AVLON: That's right.

TAPPER: I mean that literally.

HOOVER: He's seditionist, the white nationalist, the conspiracy theorists, you know --

TAPPER: People who think a rainbow flag is the Satanist flag, I mean, just crazy.

AVLON: Yeah. No, and in some cases, he's distanced himself from people like Mo Brooks, who he endorsed and then faded away. Look, he has a negative effect on the party, not only in terms of the candidates who may win the nomination, but in terms of general election and suburban swing votes, this guy's like microwave fish, he is going to repel people.

TAPPER: By the way, I have gone into the CNN break room in Washington, has somebody microwave fish. And I saw that's not -- that is, I believe in the Geneva Convention. Margaret, John, thank you so much. Great to see you two, as always.

A surge in terror attacks in another part of the world killing 11 people, that's next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, the alarming rise in terrorism in Israel, three incidents beginning Tuesday of last week, then on Sunday, then again yesterday left a total of 11 people that ISIS has been blamed for the first two attacks. That's the first time that's happened since 2017. And as CNN's Hadas Gold reports for us now, a Palestinian terrorist group just claimed that they are behind the latest rampage.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mourners packed the streets of the ultra-orthodox city of Bnei Brak on Wednesday, funerals for two of the five victims of a deadly terror attack the night before. The third such attack in Israel in just a week, the death toll now at 11. And what officials are calling a new wave of terror.

(On camera): The attack started here when two Ukrainian nationals sitting outside this convenience store right here were shot. Then a driver at the intersection was shot through his window before a father walking his baby son was shot just along the street. The baby was unharmed.

(Voice-over): Two police officers on a motorcycle engage the attacker, shooting and killing him but the one of the officers later to succumb to his wounds. SLOMO DUBE, BNEI BRAK RESIDENT: Really, it's something that we're very shocked because it's something that never happened in the city at all. And I'm from Jerusalem originally and whether we knew more of these things.

GOLD: Just last Sunday in Hadera north of Tel Aviv, two Israeli border police were killed and six passer buys injured in a shooting by two assailants affiliated with ISIS. And the week before four Israelis were killed and a stabbing and ramming attack in the southern city of Beersheba by a man who had once been arrested for supporting ISIS.

Tuesday night's attack was carried out by a Palestinian from the West Bank. With Palestinian militant group the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades claiming responsibility directly tying the attack as a response to the historic summit earlier this week, where four Arab foreign ministers met with their American and Israeli counterparts in Israel.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a statement that Israel is facing a wave of murderous Arab terrorism, vowing to fight terror with an iron fist. And Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned Tuesday's attack. Israeli security forces are now on high alert, already bracing for violence in the coming weeks, as tensions had been rising in Jerusalem in the West Bank, especially as the holidays of Ramadan, Passover and Easter coincide this year.


GOLD: And, Jake, the Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is calling on any Israeli citizen who has a license to carry a firearm now keep their guns with them at all times. Jake.

TAPPER: It's chilling. Hadas Gold, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

The Biden administration just announced that they're lifting a Trump era rule that sent migrants back to Mexico if they were crossing illegally into the United States. Some officials are warning that lifting this rule could lead to a more severe crisis at the border. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, a fast approaching deadline will determine the status of 1000s of migrants attempting to cross the U.S. Southern Border. Sources tell CNN that the CDC is expected to lift a Trump era pandemic public health rule that allowed Border Patrol to swiftly return some migrants without the opportunity to seek asylum here in the United States. But as CNN's Rosa Flores reports for us now, American officials are warning that without this rule, a new surge of migrants will be expected attempting to cross into the U.S.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five year old Alison Rosero is from Colombia. (On camera): What's your dream?

(Voice-over): She wants to be a doctor. She is one of more than 140 migrants who in the span of 30 minutes were dropped off by border patrol at this Del Rio respite center. This month, Border Patrol has dropped off more than 4400 migrants says Tiffany Burrow, the director here. More than twice the number in January.


FLORES: These are migrants who were processed and for some reason allowed into the U.S. And Burrow was bracing for when the Biden administration lifts Title 42, the pandemic public health rule that allows Border Patrol to swiftly return some migrants mostly to Mexico without the opportunity to seek asylum.

DHS officials preparing for up to 18,000 migrants to attend to enter the U.S. a day.

(On camera): Are you prepared for Title 42 to left?


BURROW: I don't think anyone can truly be prepared.

FLORES: In the past two years 1.7 million migrants have been expelled under the Trump era rule. This week the CDC is set to decide if the order is necessary. If you asked about Val Verde County Sheriff.

SHERIFF JOE FRANK MARTINEZ, VAL VERDE COUNTY, TEXAS: I mean, I wish they would extend it.

FLORES: He points to the more than 15,000 migrants who he says, camped under a bridge here in September of last year waiting for immigration authorities to process them

MARTINEZ: Last year, we called it a crisis. This year, we see the same thing here in Del Rio. You know it's going to be disaster.

FLORES: Here in the Del Rio sector, Border Patrol has encountered more than 150,000 migrants this fiscal year, a 215% increase compared to the same time last year.

Alison shows us the Rio Grande was waist deep when she crossed with her mom and her baby brother.

(On camera): Were you scared? She says she was a little scared.

(Voice-over): The Biden administration is facing pressure from all sides. Immigration advocates and Democrats who say there was no health basis for keeping the Trump era rule and from Republicans who have been pushing for Biden's plan to secure the border when Title 42 expires. The sheriff says migrants are waiting just across the Rio Grande in Acuna, Mexico for Title 42 to end.

(On camera): How big are those groups that are in Acuna?

MARTINEZ: They weren't able to give me a number. I know that there's people walking up and down the streets everywhere.

FLORES: The Del Rio Border Patrol Chief taking to social media to show how large groups of migrants are trying to cross into the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Del Rio saying some migrant processing facilities have reached capacity.

(On camera): Your message to the Biden administration.

MARTINEZ: You know, it's time to execute a plan. You know, they got a plan. Let's start executing.

(On camera): You're doing OK.


FLORES (voice-over): As for Alison and migrants like her who make a short stop at this respite center, it's back on buses, this time taking their dreams to destinations across America.


FLORES: What you see behind me is Mexico. According to a federal law enforcement official, up to 60,000 people are waiting in northern Mexico across the river for the Biden administration to lift Title 42, which now we know is expected to lift on May 23.

Meanwhile, DHS is working under three different scenarios. The most extreme of those scenarios they're planning and expecting preparing for up to 18,000 migrant encounters a day and holding up to 30,000 migrants.

Jake, I talked to the Sheriff to get his reaction on this new development and he says that the federal government better use this time to prepare and avoid disaster. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Rosa Flores near the U.S. Mexico border in Del Rio, Texas thank you so much.

Well, he get a slap on the wrist? The academy meeting right now to determine how or if they will punish best actor Will Smith or physically assaulting Chris Rock during the Academy Awards. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we close our show with our pop culture lead today. In just a few hours Chris Rock will take the stand up stage in Boston, man, I'd love to be there. It will be his first public appearance since Will Smith physically assaulted him at the Oscars. Right now, leaders of the Academy are meeting to determine whether Smith will face any consequences for his behavior. CNN Stephanie Elam reports now on the growing fallout from the slap heard around the world.


WANDA SYKES, OSCARS CO-HOST: It was sickening. It was absolutely sad, I physically felt ill.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oscar Host Wanda Sykes speaking out to Ellen DeGeneres about Will Smith's slap at the Oscars.

SYKES: And for them to let him stay in that room and enjoy the rest of the show, and accept his award. I was like how gross is this?


ELAM: The onstage incident still touching nerves around the world.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG, ACADEMY BOARD MEMBER: Let me say this, there are consequences.

ELAM: Whoopi Goldberg, among the Academy's Board of Governors meeting today to discuss an official response. A letter to Academy members saying appropriate action could take a few weeks.

AMY SCHUMER, OSCAR HOST: There's like a different vibe in here.

ELAM: Oscar Host Amy Schumer posted on Instagram she's still triggered and traumatized, adding so much pain in Will Smith, pain he addressed in a recent memoir.

WILL SMITH: When I was nine years old, I watched my father punch my mother in the side of her head so hard that she collapsed.

ELAM: Smith says he blamed himself for the abuse, telling CBS he came to terms with it in recent years.

SMITH: When I was able to forgive my father, I had a shocking realization that I was able to forgive myself.

ELAM: Chris Rock could break his silence tonight in Boston, where he resumed his comedy tour.

ROCK: My childhood, I was bullied ridiculously.

ELAM: He too recently spoke of childhood trauma and how he's learned to control his reaction.

ROCK: So now, I can tell you, "Hey, I didn't like what you said to me, or I didn't like -- without losing my head."


ELAM: And that last bit there could explain why Chris Rock was so restrained there in that moment. He's getting a lot of credit for not escalating the situation any further. Now, does any of this dismiss what happened? No, but perhaps, Jake, it offers some context. TAPPER: Stephanie Elam, thank you so much. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok @JAKETAPPER, you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. Don't forget to download our new streaming service, CNN plus, so you can watch our book club interviews. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.