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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Top U.S. General: "Global International Security Order" Is At Stake; Germany Sending 50 Antiaircraft Systems To Ukraine; New Texts Shop GOP Congressman's Schemes To Overturn Election; GOP Rep. Scott Perry Encouraged Trump Admin To Look Into False Conspiracies About China, Britain Hacking U.S. Voting Machines; NYT: Audio Reveals Fear Among GOP Leaders About Rhetoric After 1/6; Dramatic Video Shows Chaos On Set Moments After Fatal Shooting. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired April 26, 2022 - 17:00   ET




PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Volodymyr was recently freed from a military detention center in Russia. He says Nadia's (ph) grandson, Sasha (ph), was there too.

For weeks, Sasha's family didn't know if he was still alive. Seized and held by Russian soldiers in early March, they heard nothing about his safety after the invaders retreated.

Riseley (ph) and Helena Hyliyk know the same pain and uncertainty. Volodymyr has told them he knows their son, Dmytro, was recently alive in the same detention center in Russia. He says he heard Dmytro's name shouted every day during roll call. There is comfort in that, but not enough to soothe a mother's anguish.

I don't have hope any more, Helena says. I know they are best. They will kill them and no one will find them.

Ukrainian officials say dozens of people were abducted from around the town of Duma (ph) near Kyiv during Russia's occupation, and most were initially held here in a sprawling industrial site. The Russian forces used as a command post.

(on camera): This is where they were kept?


BLACK (voice-over): Ukrainian prosecutor, Oleksandr Zooz (ph), shows me the conditions, those captured people were forced to endure, a small, dark, cold room. People were packed together here, he says, hands bound, eyes taped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know this place was where 22 people. And as they were trying to get to toilet they need to walk on legs of somebody else because of too much people.

BCLACK (voice-over): He says people came and went, some spent weeks here. Someone tried to keep track of days by scratching marks on the wall. He says all the people who came through this room had only one thing in common, they were civilians.

Several people who were kept here tell us they were frequently beaten and interrogated for local information. One man says his hands and fingers were cut to the bone by Russian soldiers because he couldn't help them.

(on camera): Does it make any sense to you that they did this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No sense. I didn't know exactly what kind of information they could take from these people.

BLACK (voice-over): This drone video captures the moment when Ukrainian forces attacked the industrial side, driving out the Russians. A number of those who were still locked in the room at that time tell us that's when all remaining captives were able to escape.

But others including, Volodymyr Choprun, had already been taken elsewhere. A long road trip via Belarus and the back of a military track ended in Russia where he was given this military identification document. It says he resisted the special operation conducted by the President of the Russian Federation. In reality, he was detained while volunteering with the Red Cross helping people escape the fighting.

The Ukrainian government has confirmed Volodymyr was returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia. He believes that explains why Russian forces are abducting Ukrainian civilians.

He says, they took us as goods that can be exchanged later like a mobile phone or another commodity. Here, Volodymyr inspects a list of more than 40 names provided by the local government, a register and people from the area who are still missing. He says he recognizes most of the names for his time in the Russian detention center because he deliberately tried to remember as much as possible.

He says, sooner or later one of us had to be the first to be released and that's why we tried to remember the names of other people to let their relatives know they're alive.


BLACK: Jake, the Ukrainian government believes there are around 1,000 civilians locked up in detention centers, in its words, being held hostage by Russia. The people who have lived through this say there is nothing subtle about Russia's motivations. They believe they were abducted to play the role of currency to beef up Russia's negotiating power in its efforts to secure the return of its own captured soldiers, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Phil Black reporting live for us from Kyiv. Thank you so much for that report.

Ukrainian authorities say two guided missiles were fired at the city of Zaporizhzhia today. That region has been preparing for Russian attacks. Its known to a large nuclear power plant currently held by Russian forces.

And the head of that plant warns, if a missile were to hit that facility, it could mean catastrophe. This comes as experts from the IAEA, that's the international body governing nuclear energy and weapons, the IAEA has been visiting the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after it was captured and held for more than a month by the Russian.

CNN's Matt Rivers joins us now live from Kyiv to discuss.

And Matt, what is the IAEA doing on site?

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they told us they were there to lend expertise and help, Jake, after what we saw the Russians do when they capture that power plant really in the early days of the war, force the engineers that were working at the now defunct plant to continue working for days and days on end.


And we know that there was damage at that plant, that was confirmed today by the IAEA director who said that they have now reached an agreement with the Ukrainian government to fix some of that damage. He didn't go into detail about what that damage is, but clearly an important step as Ukraine works to secure its nuclear facilities.

And this visit comes at the same time as we heard news about those two cruise missiles that flew directly over at a low altitude that other power plant, the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which caused Ukraine's, the state owned enterprise that oversees nuclear operations here to say missiles flying at a low altitude directly over a huge amount of nuclear material, Jake, poses a huge risk, potentially a radiation catastrophe all over the world.

I asked the IAEA director in a one on one interview what his message is right now to the Russians.


RAFAEL MARIANO GROSSI: DIRECTOR GENERAL, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: My message to them is that we have to put an end to this situation, we have to restore full safety and security of the nuclear power plants. This is my work and I'm asking them to cooperate with me.

RIVERS: How close were we here, do you think, to a true disaster when the Russians were here?

GROSSI: It's clear that the situation was a dangerous one, because you didn't have a normal kind of Iraqi (ph) lines of command that were not clear. On occasion, we also had interruptions of the external power feeding the plant, which may have led to an interruption of the cooling systems with bad, you know, consequences in terms of environment. So, I wouldn't say that we were on the verge of a catastrophe, but we were not in the zone that you would like to be. That is very clear to me.


RIVERS: And Jake, he called it a near miss, basically, that he hopes doesn't get repeated across other parts of the country.

TAPPER: All right, Matt Rivers reporting live for us from Kyiv, thank you so much.

Coming up, the notable shift in tone from top American officials as the Biden administration pledges even more military support for Ukraine.

Plus, the new video emerging after that shooting on the set of the Alec Baldwin film showing the scene right before the cinematographer was killed in the chaotic moments afterwards. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead now, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says there is no time to waste when it comes to providing assistance to Ukraine and the U.S. is determined to make sure Russia does not have the same capability to, quote, "bully their neighbors ever again." This message came earlier today as CNN's Oren Liebermann reports when the United States hosted military leaders for more than 40 nations at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.


OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the U.S. rallying the Western world and beyond to keep the weapons flowing to Ukraine as Russia's invasion enters its third month. More than 40 countries converging at Ramstein Air Base in Germany to figure out what weapons Ukraine needs and how to get them into the country quickly.

LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Germany, which has faced criticism for its reticence to send in weapons, announced during the meeting it'll send in 50 mobile anti-aircraft systems, the U.K. and Canada also sending more armored vehicles.

The willingness to send in more powerful weaponry to fight Russia is growing along with the rhetoric. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin raised eyebrows in Poland over the weekend when he said the U.S. goal is to weaken Russia.

AUSTIN: I think we've been pretty clear from the outset. We do want to make it harder for Russia to threaten his neighbors and leave them less able to do that.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): The war has weakened Russia's military, he says, through attrition in a prolonged fight and through the losses Russia has suffered on the battlefield. At the same time, Western sanctions are intended to weaken Russia's economic ability to sustain war and its ability to arm its military. But this fight, he says, remains between Russia and Ukraine.

AUSTIN: This is clearly Ukraine's fight, and Ukraine's neighbors and allies and partners are stepping up to make sure that they have what they need in order to be successful.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): As Russia's offensive in southeast Ukraine begins, time is critical. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the process to approve and send weapons into Ukraine has been shortened from weeks to as little as 72 hours.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is moving quickly, we have cut through a lot of red tape. At the same time, we've been going around the world looking for other countries that may have equipment that Ukraine can find useful.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Part of the challenge, training Ukrainian forces on newer Western weapons like the howitzers that have already started arriving.

In an exclusive interview with CNN, a top U.S. general says this war is about far more than Ukraine.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEF OF STAFF: What's at stake is the global international security order that was put in place in 1945. That international orders lasted 78 years. It's prevented great power war.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): That's why the U.S. conviction is louder and clearer than before. The goal here is a victory for Ukraine, since anything else will be a loss felt far outside the battlefield.


LIEBERMANN: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, at the conclusion of these meetings, said this would become a monthly discussion, and that's a key statement. We're well beyond thinking of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in terms of days or weeks, this is months, this is long term. And it's not only a question of what weapons can they get in quickly so Ukraine can fight and succeed right now, but long term what sort of weapons do they need to hold Russia at bay and to defend their own sovereignty, Jake.


TAPPER: Oren Liebermann reporting for us now from a near Ramstein Air Base in Germany, thank you so much.

Here to discuss, the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO during the Obama years, Ivo Daalder.

Ambassador Daalder, thanks for joining us. Back in March, two weeks into Russia's invasion, President Biden said direct confrontation between NATO and Russia would mean World War III. Now we're hearing from the U.S. and allies that the goal is to weaken Russians -- Russia's military. Is there any risk in stating this goal as it is in cause -- that it might cause World War III as President Biden said he was afraid of beginning?

IVO DAALDER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well, clearly, when you have a war in the middle of Europe, the first major war since 1945, we are in fact closer to the possibility of some kind of confrontation that could escalate to World War III, that's clearly the case. That's what this invasion by Russia of Ukraine has brought about. At the same time, I think we have tried to be in the U.S. and its NATO allies have tried to be very clear to try to separate our support for Ukraine's capacity to defend itself from the direct of U.S. and NATO forces in that conflict indirectly with the Russians in the expectation that as long as that doesn't happen, there won't be any escalation.

At the same time, the fact that Vladimir Putin has so egregiously violated the international order, international law, the U.N. Charter, means that we can no longer trust him, we can no longer think that he will behave unless we are strong enough to counter him. So, this idea that through sanctions, in particular ones, trying to undermine the ability of Russia to come back after or is it makes a lot of sense to me.

TAPPER: Russia's foreign minister is already accusing NATO of engaging in a proxy war, something that Secretary Austin denied. Are you concerned about the repercussions of that?

DAALDER: Yes, I don't think we're waging a proxy war. The war is being waged at wages by the Ukrainians are trying to defend their territory from the very country that Mr. Lavrov represents. Had Russia not invaded Ukraine in 2014 and had it certainly not escalated that invasion just a few weeks ago, we wouldn't be talking about arming the Ukrainians and the degree to which we are talking now. The fault really lies with Moscow. And to start blaming Washington or NATO or the West for what is a blatant violation of international law just -- isn't acceptable.

TAPPER: Germany also announced that they're going to send heavy hardware, dozens of armored antiaircraft vehicles to Ukraine. That seems rather significant foreign policy shift.

DAALDER: Yes, I think it is significant. And it's part of a major shift that really occurred in the immediate days after February 24 when Russian forces on mass invaded Ukraine, we saw a historic turning point led by Olaf Scholz, the chancellor, arguing that Germany now needs to protect its freedom and security by investing in the security forces. It's spending 100 billion euros more on defense, it's meeting its 2 percent of GDP requirement for defense. And it's now also continuing ever to -- evermore to provide arms to the Ukrainians to be able to defend themselves.

It's an important shift. The last part to fall is going to be weaning Germany off of Russian oil and then finally Russian gas, and that will conclude the shift.

TAPPER: This morning Vladimir Putin hosted the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. And Guterres says Putin agreed in principle to evacuate civilians from Mariupol. In response, Republican Congresswoman Victoria Spartz from Indiana, she was born in Ukraine, she tweeted, quote, "The usefulness of the United Nations and legacy of Secretary General Antonio Guterres will be defined by his ability to evacuate civilians and soldiers from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol." Do you agree? And if the U.N. cannot actually pull this off, what is the use of the U.N.?

DAALDER: Well, it's a tall order for the U.N. which doesn't have an army to do something that the Ukrainians or no one else has been able to do, which is to try to keep Vladimir Putin to his words. This is not the first time that the Russian leader has said that he would work with international organizations whether it's a Red Cross or others to allow civilians to leave Mariupol, he's done it repeatedly and it's never happened. Just a week ago he said that we should -- that the Russians would stop firing on the plant that have -- has over 1000 civilians in their basements, and every day, every night, Russian artillery and bombardments continues.


I think the problem is that the U.N. is just not able, as an organization, to stand up to the kind of bullies that Russia represents. And that's too bad for the people in Ukraine. But ultimately we know where to fault lies.

TAPPER: Well, maybe Russia shouldn't be in the United Nations.

Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, thank you so much. Appreciate it, sir.

Coming up in the money lead when energy bills are supposed to be going down, millions of Americans are paying more. What gives is Russia's war in Ukraine that much of a factor? CNN digs into what's really driving up prices. That's next.



TAPPER: Topping our money lead, a rough day on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 800 points today amid fears of a looming recession. The NASDAQ and S&P 500 both ending the day in the red as well. And from Wall Street to Main Street.

You might want to double check your thermostat because energy prices are currently skyrocketing again, as if consumers were not already feeling the squeeze, the war in Ukraine is also driving up costs for U.S. utility companies, even higher. As CNN's Gabe Cohen reports for us now, the budget burden for low income families can be agonizing.


ALI ZAIDI, POWER COSTS SURGING: This is kind of when the chaos really started.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ali Zaidi lays out six months of baffling power bills for his house in Beacon, New York. The price rising from $190 to more than 400.

ZAIDI: That's the day I told my roommates, hey, we kind of got to buckle down.

COHEN (voice-over): And this month, a bill for $2,000.

ZAIDI: It had to have been a mistake.

COHEN (voice-over): It wasn't.

ZAIDI: They said that this was a reconciliation over the last six months. According to this, it should have been between seven and $800 per month.

COHEN (voice-over): Millions of Americans are seeing surging utility bills with huge hikes on fuel oil, propane, pipe gas and electricity.

(on camera): How did the company explain the price hike?

ZAIDI: The first thing that they said was their costs have tripled.

COHEN (voice-over): The natural gas market is largely driving that, and the war in Ukraine is adding fuel to the fire.

RICHARD BERKLEY, PUBLIC UTILITY LAW PROJECT OF N.Y.: Because of the war in the Ukraine, which is continuing to get worse, those prices are going to stay high for the remainder of the year and maybe longer.

COHEN (voice-over): Lower income families are being crushed spending on average 38 percent of their income on energy up from 27 percent just two years ago. And the timing is terrible with rising inflation on food, rent, clothing and much more. A survey found half of Americans are now worried about affording power.

REV. THOMAS JOHNSON, RERCEIVED SHUT-OFF NOTICE: I'm very conscious of it. And a little paranoid.

COHEN (voice-over): Reverend Thomas Johnson and his wife had been keeping the lights off at their home in Queens. Their rate keeps rising and they owe the power company $13,000 after they were hit with a massive reconciliation bill.

JOHNSON: I'm saying to myself, am I going to have to take out a second mortgage just to pay an energy bill? That doesn't make any sense.

COHEN (voice-over): Eighteen percent of American households are in debt to their power company owing roughly $23 billion. Now many families like Reverend Johnson's are facing a shutoff notice.

JOHNSON: So we really have our back up against the wall.

COHEN (voice-over): Most states banned shut offs during the cold of winter, but those moratoriums are ending.

JEAN SU, ENERGY JUSTICE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY: We expect to see an explosion and shut offs happening in the next few months.

COHEN (voice-over): In the past year, the Biden administration has more than doubled funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP, which before that was only reaching 17 percent of eligible households.

SU: It's just simply not enough. What we're asking for is just for greater reform and a stop to all shut offs across the country.

COHEN (voice-over): This crisis has put energy companies under the microscope. In Washington, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating six of the nation's largest power companies after they took COVID bailout money and still shut power to millions of homes. In New York, the state has launched several investigations into potential price gouging by both the oil industry and utility companies.

JAMES SKOUFIS (D-NY), STATE SENATE: It's a crisis for my constituents.

COHEN (voice-over): State Senator James Skoufis is leading one of them.

SKOUFIS: They're being ripped off to have a modest home being hit with a $1,400, $1,500 bill is patently insane. And people are making money off of it and they should be ashamed of themselves and got to be held accountable.


COHEN: Now, power companies have defended those price hikes saying they are just passing along their own increased costs. And Jake, those two customers who we met in that story say they are both getting ready to dispute those charges. But at the end of the day, they're going to pay that bill because that's the cost of keeping the lights on.

TAPPER: Yes, somebody's getting rich here.

Gabe Cohen, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next to CNN exclusive, new text messages tonight that zero in on one particular Republican congressman and revealed just how far Trump allies were willing to go to overturn the will of the American people in 2020. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, the trove of more than 2,300 texts sent and received by ex-Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows underscores the shocking desperation by Trump allies to overturn the election and violate the will of the American people.

CNN's exclusive reporting on Monday included attacks from Marjorie Taylor Greene, the congresswoman from Georgia, to Meadows passing on the notion of Trump possibly invoking martial law that has since renewed calls for the January 6 committee to be more aggressive about subpoenaing some members of Congress.

CNN's Ryan Nobles just unearthed more texts this time from an under the radar Republican congressman from Pennsylvania to Mark Meadows, revealing yet another outlandish attempt to undermine the 2020 election results.


UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Stop the steal.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congressman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania has been steadfast in pushing the big lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

REP. SCOTT PERRY (R-PA): The President has been away in Georgia. The President has been away in North Carolina. And I'm going to come down in keystone state.

NOBLES (voice-over): But a new batch of text messages obtained by CNN, which had not previously been reported, illuminate how active he was behind the scenes as well. New messages showing he had a role at almost every turn in scheming to reverse or delay the certification of the 2020 election.

On November 12, five days after the election was called for Joe Biden, Perry texted Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.


"From an Intel friend, DNI needs to task NSA to immediately cease and begin looking for international comms related to Dominion. Was China malware involved?" This text has never been revealed before. And it shows Perry encouraging Meadows to get John Ratcliffe, then the director of National Intelligence to look into false conspiracies about Dominion voting machines being hacked by the Chinese.

Perry also claimed the, quote, Brits were behind the plot, and that CIA Director Gina Haspel was, quote, covering for them. He texted meadows, "DNI needs to be tasked to audit their overseas accounts at CIA and their National Endowment for Democracy."

Despite the push from Perry, a source tells CNN Meadows did not approach Ratcliffe about those requests. Perry also was insistent that Meadows put DOJ official Jeffrey Clark in a position to investigate voter fraud claims. Perry was the one who introduced Clark to Trump.

On December 26th, Perry texted, "Mark, you should call Jeff. I just got off the phone with him and he explained to me why the principal deputy won't work, especially with the FBI. They will view it as not having the authority to enforce what needs to be done."

Meadows responded, "I got it. I think I understand. Let me work on the deputy position." And Perry replied, "Roger just sent you something on signal."

While the committee has access to these text messages, they do not have access to any communication on encrypted apps like Signal. That is part of why they've asked Perry to appear before the committee, something he has refused to do. Meadows handed over these texts to the committee and more than 2,000 of them have been obtained by CNN. They show Meadows at the nexus of a campaign to prevent the certification of the election.


NOBLES: And the growing evidence about the role that many Republican members played in the attempts to prevent the certification of the election is also growing calls for the January 6 select committee to consider issuing subpoenas to members like Scott Perry. So far they've resisted that step.

Jake, we reached out to Representative Perry's office multiple times today to get him to respond to the story. They did not respond at all to our inquiry. Jake?

TAPPER: We should note, Scott Perry, a former Pennsylvania Army National Guard Brigadier General, one can only imagine what he would have done had he been in uniform during this period.

Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

Joining us now, the New York Times Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns. They have obtained never before heard audio of House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy right after the insurrection. They also have this new book coming out on May 3rd, that's already made quite a lot of noise titled, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future."

Thanks for sharing first on The Lead. Let's start by playing the audio.


KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER: OK, the other thing I want to bring up and I'm making some phone calls to some members. I just got something sent now about Newsmax, something Matt Gaetz said where he's calling peoples' names out, saying and anti-Trump in this type of atmosphere and some of the other places. This is serious stuff people are doing that has to stop. I'll make individual calls --

STEVE SCALISE, HOUSE REPUBLICANS WHIP: Yes, I think Mo and Louie's comment, too, a lot of members have said some real concerning things about...

MCCARTHY: Did they say something today, too?

SCALISE: Not to -- Louie was at -- I mean, Mo was at the rally, the -- we're "kicking ass and taking names" thing at the Trump rally.

MCCARTHY: Well these are things they said after -- I think this is something -- OK, what did Gaetz say?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Yes, Gaetz said -- Gaetz brought up Liz specifically, I just saw that on Twitter.

MCCARTHY: And Adams, someone just sent it. (INAUDIBLE) just send it to me. So I'm calling Gaetz. I'm explaining to him. I don't know what I'm going to say, but I'm going to have some other people call him too. But the nature of what -- if I'm getting a briefing, I'm going to get another one from the FBI tomorrow. This is serious shit, to cut this out.

SCALISE: Yes, that's -- I mean, it's potentially illegal what he's doing.

MCCARTHY: Well, he's putting people in jeopardy. And he doesn't need to be doing this. We saw what people would do in the Capitol. You know, and these people came prepared with rope, with everything else.


TAPPER: Man. So Alex, let me start with you. What -- tell us the backstory here.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the backstory, Jake, is that this is another piece of the phone call that Kevin McCarthy held with several members of the House Republican leadership team. And you heard also the voices there have a number of staff members, four days after the January 6 insurrection.

And they're talking through the behavior of some of the members of the Republican conference. You heard him talk about Matt Gaetz by name. And what we report in our book is that in this period. Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders were pretty clear-eyed at least in private about the very serious security threat that they saw coming from the far-right of the House Republican Conference.


The naming and attacking of anti-Trump Republicans like Liz Cheney, like Adam Kinzinger, some of the continuing very overheated rhetoric, claiming falsely that the 2020 election was stolen and other offensive comments, looking back at those rally -- that rally on the ellipse (ph) on January 6, and then comments on Twitter and television since then, where Kevin McCarthy makes no bones about it. He thinks that this is putting people in jeopardy.

TAPPER: Yes, he doesn't say that publicly, publicly, he's very submissive to the far-right of his party.

Jonathan, I want to play another moment where McCarthy is expressing concern. Let's let's roll that tape.


MCCARTHY: The other thing that we have to do is these members on either -- whatever position they are, calling out other members, that stuff's got to stop, especially in this nature. So I get off right here, I'm going to call Gaetz. But anything else we see, don't assume I see everything, don't assume I know everything. But we got to have one central point.

So, I mean, if you can bring this stuff to -- and Leganski, so we can have it. But, I mean, don't sit back around. It's got to be -- personally. Tension is too high. The country is too crazy. I do not want to look back and think we caught something or we missed something and someone got hurt. I don't want to play politics with any of that.


TAPPER: So this was January 10, just a few days after the Capitol riot. Explain what's happening here.

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So this is Kevin McCarthy clearly sobered about what happened on January 6, and also deeply concerned about the possibility of a repeat. See, his far-right numbers, say incendiary things online and on the air and really concerned that that's going to cause more bloodshed, more political violence in America. These are extraordinary days, this period in history.

And what you hear there in that moment is Kevin McCarthy vowing to crack down on Matt Gaetz. He's telling his fellow GOP leaders, I'm going to talk to him. I'm going to talk to Matt Gaetz. We have to cut this s out.

TAPPER: That shit, yes.

MARTIN: He said shit out.

TAPPER: Cut the shit out.

MARTIN: You heard there on the audio. Of course, 15 months later, Jake, what's happened is that Kevin McCarthy at every turn has acquiesced. The people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, because President Trump will not tolerate any criticism of those members, because they're his closest allies. So McCarthy largely has to keep quiet when it comes to their conduct and their incendiary behavior, which continues to this day.

TAPPER: So Alex, McCarthy sounded fearful in that first clip. Again, this is January 10th. He was still siding with Liz Cheney, this is before he helped push Liz Cheney out of Republican leadership and before he started campaigning for her opponent. Does this suggests Republican leadership knew that January 6 was wrong, and that it spelled trouble for their party and for the country?

BURNS: It clearly, clearly does, Jake. I mean, there's no doubt about it. The language that Kevin McCarthy uses, and by the way, that other Republican leaders on that call use, including Liz Cheney, who was a member of leadership at the time, but Steve Scalise, who's still in leadership, Tom Emmer, who's still leading the House Republican Campaign Committee, they talk about Donald Trump's behavior as totally unacceptable. And they talk about the behavior of the far-right and their own conference as truly, truly dangerous.

And that's obviously not something that any of them, I guess, other than Cheney would say in public, and she, for her trouble is no longer a member of House Republican leadership. And again, this is one of the central, central stories in our book, is how the Republican Party, at least at the leadership level, recognized on and after January 6, that this was unacceptable. It was wrong. It was dangerous. It was -- you heard one of the people on that call say possibly criminal and how they decided not to do anything about it.

TAPPER: Yes. And your previous reporting was that Kevin McCarthy had told Republican colleagues that he was going to tell Donald Trump --

MARTIN: Right.

TAPPER: -- to resign. You reported that hours later --

MARTIN: The next day. Right.

TAPPER: Our own Melanie Zanona ask McCarthy about it and he issued a denial that was just gibberish. It didn't even make any sense. He said, oh, I thought they asked me, did I tell Donald Trump and I didn't tell Donald Trump that but your reporting had already come out.

MARTIN: Right. He was denying something and insisting that he thought the story was otherwise after he'd already seen the story come out when he issued his denial. So he knew very well what the story was when he issued denial because he'd already read the story at that point.

TAPPER: It's jabberwocky.


TAPPER: It's nonsense.

MARTIN: But look, he's trying to finding a escape hatch for himself because obviously he said something that was not true and there's no easy answer.


But -- and Jake, I think this goes to the heart of what the challenge is that McCarthy has trying to leave the House GOP. He is obsessed with trying to keep Donald Trump happy. And at every turn, he has to be mindful of that.

And so he cannot say in public what he actually said in private in the days after January 6, because that's heresy now, in his part. And this is also something that in the book, we chronicle a great length in the weeks and months after January 6. This walked back, not just by Kevin McCarthy, but by every major figure in the GOP back to Donald Trump's embrace.

TAPPER: Jonathan Martin, Alex Burns, thanks to you both. Congrats on another amazing scoop, their book titled, "This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America's Future." Comes out May 3rd. I can't wait to read it. I've had you on twice already. I can't wait.

MARTIN: There's a copy waiting for you right now.

TAPPER: All right, good, good. I'm excited to -- and we'll have you back again to tell more of your scoops. Congratulations to both of you.

MARTIN: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, a troubling trend from the folks who track hate in the United States. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, hate is on the rise in the United States. New data today helps fill in the troubling picture, a total of 2,717 anti-Semitic attacks were reported last year, that's according to new numbers from the Anti-Defamation League. Most of those incidents more than 1,700 of them harassment, meaning they were the target of slurs, stereotypes or conspiracy theories. Then, of course, there were incidents such as this one.




TAPPER: A violent assault outside of sushi restaurant in Los Angeles. This group got out of their car asking indiscriminately who was Jewish using slurs and throwing glass bottles.


RABBI YEHUDA CEITLIN, CHABAD TUCSON: Sadly, it's new reality we're living.


TAPPER: A total of 853 incidents tracked by the ADL were vandalism including swastikas painted at schools. 88 were assaults such as this horrific scene from New York City where a Jewish man was beaten and kicked on his way to a pro-Israel rally in Times Square. And the trauma is obviously not just physical.


JOSEPH BORGEN, VICTIM OF ANTI-SEMITIC ATTACK IN TIMES SQUARE: Mentally speaking, it's very frustrating the whole experience. For example, one of the suspects who would whack me with crutches expressed no remorse whatsoever so they would do it again.


TAPPER: This acts of hate unfortunately not isolated every state and the District of Columbia reported incidents last year. Coming up next, the new video from the "Rust" movie set revealing Alec Baldwin's actions before and after he fatally shot a colleague. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our pop culture lead, investigators are releasing new evidence in last year's fatal shooting on a New Mexico film set involving actor Alec Baldwin. Newly released video shows the moments just before and after Baldwin fatally shot the film cinematographer and wounded the director. This comes as the sheriff is revealing what he calls concerning text messages from a key member of the film's crew.

And CNN's Nick Watt reports for us now, investigators are still probing the key question of how a live round ended up on set.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One female shot to chest, male shot in the stomach.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Body cam video the immediate aftermath.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She came in her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It went across her chest.

WATT (on-camera): OK.


WATT (on-camera): You want air flight?


WATT (on-camera): OK.

(voice-over): This among the trove of evidence just released by the Santa Fe sheriff. Here is Alec Baldwin rehearsing just before the fatal shot and hear immediately after.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How's it going, sir? So my understanding is you were in the room when the lady was shot?

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: I was the one holding the gun, yes.


WATT (voice-over): Holing the prop gun when it discharged on the set of the Western "Rust" last fall killing the director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, wounding the director. BALDWIN: Am I being charged with something?


WATT (voice-over): But Baldwin was very soon being questioned.

BALDWIN: I put in the holster and I pulled it slow but rehearsing and after (INAUDIBLE). I pull it out slow, turn cocked, the pistol bang, it goes off when she hits the ground.

WATT (voice-over): He was shown for the first time what came out of that gun barrel, not a blank.

BALDWIN: If that's a bullet that was pulled out of your shoulder, then someone loaded a live round into the gun I was holding.

WATT (voice-over): It was a real bullet. And the key question remains how did a live round get on set and into that prop gun. Amongst this just released trove of evidence and of particular interest to the sheriff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was several text messages and e-mails in reference to the use of possible live rounds on a different movie set.

WATT (voice-over): Text messages from this key "Rust" crew member.


WATT (voice-over): Text sent a few months prior asking a colleague about shooting live rounds from a prop gun. It's a serious mistake always ends in tears, he tells her. Good to know, I'm still going to shoot mine though, she replies.

Apparently Gutierrez Reed wanted to know how the vintage weapon worked. She was going to shoot it off set, her lawyer told CNN, but Seth said don't do it, so she didn't. Officials in New Mexico fined "Rust's" producers last week claiming the crew willfully violated gun safety rules. The criminal investigation continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a degree of neglect. Whether that degree reaches a criminal level, that will be up to the district attorney to determine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're getting these guys treated and we're securing the scene. And then we'll get where you guys have said.


WATT: Now, we did reach out to the production company for comment. None yet. But we did hear from one of Baldwin's lawyers who says that all this newly released evidence, quote, demonstrates once again that Mr. Baldwin acted responsibly.

Now, investigators in New Mexico are still waiting for a few pieces of this puzzle like ballistic report from the FBI, forensic examination of Baldwin's phone. And the DEA down there says that once they have all this evidence, only then will they make a determination whether criminal charges are going to be filed. Jake?

TAPPER: Nick Watt, thanks so much. Our coverage now continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM."