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The Lead with Jake Tapper

E.U. Commission Ban 3 Russian-State Broadcasters From Europe; Hostile War Of Words Escalates Between Russia & Israel; Trump Endorsement Boosts Vance To Victory In Ohio; Dems Rally Abortion rights As Midterm Message; Family Members Of Americans Detained Abroad To Demonstrate In Front Of White House; White House Asks Congress To Help Secure Afghan Refugees' Status; Dave Chappelle Attacked Onstage During Stand-Up Set. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 04, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Elsewhere in Mariupol a new investigation by the Associated Press finds evidence that 600 civilians were killed in that Russian attack on the theater where civilians had been sheltering, that is much higher than earlier estimates. Painted on the ground outside the building, of course, as you might remember in giant Russian letters was the word children. It was written there twice. The bombs came anyway.

CNN Senior National Correspondent Sara Sidner joins us now live from Kyiv.

And Sara, today the mayor of Mariupol said contact has been lost with Ukrainian forces fighting from inside the Azovstal steel plant. Tell us what we know.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, Russia continues to bombard the place. We are hearing from a Ukrainian commander that indeed, the soldiers, Ukrainian soldiers inside of that plant say that the Russian soldiers have made it inside the plant and there are bloody battles that are occurring. This is, as you just mentioned, the mayor says there are still hundreds of people that are sheltering inside of the dark, dank maze of the underground bunkers that are below that Azovstal steel plant. They're still there, including dozens of children.

And still, Ukraine's foreign minister though says despite Russia's claim that it now has a complete control of Mariupol, the Ukrainian soldiers, according to the foreign minister, are still holding their ground, holding their space in and around that steel plant. The Russians did ramp up their attacks after more than 100 people, actually, were able to be taken from that plant after months in these very, very difficult conditions, mothers and children, older folks who have been hiding there for such a long time in complete darkness. We're starting to hear some of the stories of what it was like to be in there as families were terrified for their lives hearing the strikes hitting again and again, over their heads, Jake.

TAPPER: And Sara, the Ukrainian military says Russian forces are largely stalled in eastern Ukraine, what might that mean for the people in those regions?

SIDNER: Look, it'll give them a break from bombardments, if you will. I think there are a lot of people who, you know, they can't go about doing their daily routines, of course, and there are places where water is very scarce because of a broken pipeline. So there are a lot of issues going on, not just with this war, but with regular everyday life.

You can imagine, though, you don't know if it's because the Ukrainians are pushing them back or if the Russians are regrouping, that's something that you can't tell. But certainly there's been fierce fighting and the Ukrainians have continually surprised the world with how well they have been able to repel some of these Russian advances into pushing them back a bit. But yes, I mean, daily life interrupted. And when there's a break from that, you know, people try to come out and do something that is a little bit normal. Jake.

TAPPER: Sara Sidner reporting live for us from Kyiv, thank you so much.

Earlier this week we reported on the fate of a small village just north of Kyiv, which was heavily damaged in the battle for the capital. CNN's Matt Rivers spoke to Ukrainian soldiers who not only survived that bloody firefight, but helped turn the tide in Ukraine's favor. Here is part two of that report.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outgoing fire from a frozen foxhole not far from the flaming pieces of an exploding armored vehicle as the quiet still of a nighttime bunker is shattered by what the soldier says was a direct hit right nearby. This is what happened in the tiny town of Moschun just northwest of Ukraine's capital city. It was here as much as anywhere else that the battle of Kyiv was won.

By early March, Russian forces had flooded south, Ukraine see of power in its sights. They'd arrived just west of Moschun occupying that entire area. The Irpin River, the only thing between them and the town where Ukraine would make it stand.

(on camera): Is it strange to just walk through this area now, you know, when it's safe?

(voice-over): He says, what strange was being here when all hell broke loose.

Three Ukrainian soldiers who fought here took us around Moschun. Before the ground assault they said relentless artillery rain down. There was little they could do but wait it out. Just listen to this video taken by a soldier.

(on camera): So they dug this trench here just across the river from Russian positions, of course, to take cover from things like this. So this would be spent ordinance, a rocket fired from a Russian attack helicopter here on the Ukrainian position. (voice-over): Thinking they'd soften the town, the Russians decided it was time to strike. With this bridge destroyed, they built a pontoon bridge here I started sending special forces troops across the river.


Across the river the Ukrainians waited, some seen here ready to fight back. Street battles raged, homes were shredded, houses now with so many bullet holes like freckles on a face. The Russians, some seen here actually took part of the town, but that success would be short lived because the woods were up next.

Moschun is surrounded by dense pine forest, the perfect area for Ukraine to stop and advance. Video shows Ukrainian troops lined up in neatly dug positions, and Russian troops would quickly come under heavy fire. Video shows the results, multiple dead Russian soldiers in the snow.

(on camera): That body was found right there and there were several other Russian soldiers that were killed right in this area including this soldier whose body armor is still left behind. This was not artillery unit versus artillery unit, here in these woods in this town, it was infantry versus infantry, close proximity fighting.

(voice-over): A sounds of explosions ripple around them, Ukrainian soldiers race toward an unseen enemy, carrying between them what is likely the kind of weapon that could do something like this. Ukrainian drones captured the destruction of Russian armor sitting ducks on the lone road through the trees.

(on camera): And here on the ground, you can still see the remnants of two destroyed armored personnel carriers. The body parts of the soldiers that were inside still litter this area.

Ukrainian forces say some 500 Russian soldiers and 40 armored vehicles made their way into this part of the forest. And if they were able to continue and get through, it could have changed the tide of the entire war.

Moschun sits only about three miles from Kyiv city limits and roughly 15 from the city center. Ukrainian troops tell us had the Russians broke through, the 1000s of Russian troops just across the river would have made an all-out push into Kyiv. But a fierce Ukrainian counter attack turned the battle around quickly. Soldiers going house to house retaking the town even destroying the pontoon bridge Russia had used to bring soldiers across. Ukrainian forces also stripping what they could from the better supplied Russian soldiers.

He says they suffered heavy losses here, even though they dominated us in aircraft and drones and 10 to one in artillery. For these three soldiers, the victory in the Battle of Kyiv is something the world should have seen coming.

(on camera): Should the rest of the world had been surprised?

(voice-over): Our army turned out to be one of the best in the world and nobody was more surprised than the Russians, he said. Adding one more thing in English.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Surprise (blip sound).


RIVERS: And Jake, just one day after speaking to those soldiers, we found out that all three of them shipped out to join the fighting in the east, a clear reminder that this war goes on. Jake.

TAPPER: Matt Rivers in Ukraine, thank you so much.

Joining us now live to discuss, Rula Jebreal, a former -- she's a Foreign Policy Expert visiting professor at the University of Miami and she recently testified to the European Parliament on the threat of Russian propaganda. She's due to testify again on Monday.

Rula, good to see you again. So the E.U. Commission says it will ban three Russian-state broadcasters from European airwaves because of the propaganda, the lies they tell. How big is the European audience for Russian propaganda these days?

RULA JEBREAL, FOREIGN POLICY EXPERT: It's huge, Jake. They can ban all the networks. But what we are seeing that -- what you're listening -- what you're hearing on Russian state television, they are basically -- Putin is exporting his dictatorship with weapons, with bombs and propaganda. So you're seeing all kinds of propagandist, Russian propagandists, including Lavrov, the foreign minister, speaking directly to European audience on primetime every night, every day, and then their message is amplified on social media.

And they're pushing the narrative that this is a war against Nazis. They're calling President Zelenskyy -- he's basically -- he said last week that Zelenskyy Jewishness is not an impediment of him being a Nazi. He's even claiming that most Jews are the worst anti Semites. And this is on national television. This is on a network that used to be -- that is owned by Putin puppet, Berlusconi, who was riddled with scandals, who did all kinds of business deal with Putin. His main network that's followed by millions of people spoon that kind of propaganda. And other networks, they're inviting every night those Russian propagandists.

I think it's time for the European Union to start taking this seriously, because for the first time since the beginning of the war, we're seeing millions of Italians who, on social media write, that we don't want to be slaves of NATO, we don't want to fight an American war, we don't want to alienate Russia. So they are exploiting their fear and prejudice to sabotage democracy and to sabotage NATO and the effort -- the new renewed unity of NATO.


TAPPER: That's fascinating. And this week, as you know, the Russian foreign ministry -- the foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said this insanely anti-Semitic thing about, you know, Adolf Hitler having Jewish blood, claiming Jews are the most -- are the worst anti Semite. The ministry doubled down after the government of Israel protested, saying that Israel supports the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv.

And going so far as to say, again, it's a lie, Israeli mercenaries are fighting alongside neo-Nazi Ukrainians. It seems like there might be a risk here also, though. I mean, trying to get Italy but then, you know, Russia had a decent relationship with Israel before.

JEBREAL: You know, they don't care at this point. I mean, all bets are off. And what we're seeing, especially in Italy, they know that there's an audience for them. They know that there's a real group of neo-Nazis who believe in these ideals, who believe that somehow Jewish lives are Jews -- you know, Jews and Ukrainians are lesser of a human being. This is how it all started, Jake. I mean, every genocide, start with words, start with a propaganda, of dehumanizing the other sides.

I mean, you can see this writing on every museum that -- every Holocaust Museum, and it didn't start with a killing it started with words. And his using Italy, specifically Italy, knowing that Mussolini --


JEBREAL: -- use the exact same propaganda to pass the most anti- Semitic laws. And he's exploiting that -- the far right who Putin co- opted, and who's bankrolling. And by the way, the overwhelming majority of these parties of the far right are under investigation for corruption.

TAPPER: Right.

JEBREAL: Russian corruption. He knows that they are very popular, but also he's using the left. And this is the first time we've never seen anything like this, the left and the right, agree that this is NATO war.

So his -- the idea that this is NATO, this is not about Ukraine that Zelenskyy is a puppet of the west is becoming very successful. And that's I think we need to fight back and we need to push back. Alternatively, we will find Putin puppet in Italy.

TAPPER: So, it's interesting that you raised that because today the former president of Brazil, Lula, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, went after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, telling Time Magazine quote, "I see the president of Ukraine speaking on television being applauded, getting a standing ovation by all the European parliaments. This guy is as responsible as Putin for the war. Because in the war, there's not just one person guilty." And he goes on to say even more outrageous comments about Zelenskyy. Is this an example of the way Putin creates ties with all sorts of governments, left, right, center around the world?

JEBREAL: Absolutely. The left and the right. And he exploited both sides.

And by the way, Russia's warfare, this information, weaponizing information conspiracy theory has been part of their policy for a long time. We're waking up to it now. And we're not confronting it enough. I mean, if you look at social media in Italy, in France, and Germany, where the far right is at 42 percent, which means in one year, when they vote for the European Parliament or for Italy, they might actually win. And you will find yourself, you know, with Zelenskyy, and probably NATO (ph), they will find themselves in another position. So what they're doing, they're buying all kinds of ads to push that kind of narrative.

What is Lula is saying is what you read on social media in Europe. And I think that's why we need to crack down on social media because today they are the handmaiden to authoritarianism in Europe.

We don't know who is buying these ads. We don't know if there are Russians, if there are Ukrainians, if there are Europeans, we don't know. But we know one thing, they are succeeding and turning the public opinion against the sanction, and above all, depicting Ukrainians as irrelevant, not human, as Nazis. So playing with a feeling that they're not really worthy to defend.

TAPPER: Rula Jebreal, thank you so much for sharing your insights. Really appreciate it.

Coming up, Donald Trump just passed a big test for the midterms. Thanks to Ohio voters. How long will his influence last?

Then, new information about this onstage attack against Dave Chappelle. That's ahead.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Republicans are dissecting last night's results in the Ohio Senate primary now that it appears Trump's endorsement still carries considerable weight with at least a plurality of GOP voters. J.D. Vance, someone who once called Trump a demagogue and even privately compared him to Hitler apologized, renounced his previous positions, pursued the endorsement of the former president, got it, and last night won.

As CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, even the former president is quote, "relieved by last night's results."


J.D. VANCE, (R) OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: I have absolutely got to thank the 45th, the president United States Donald J. Trump.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first big bet of the campaign season paid off for Donald Trump, with J.D. Vance crediting a come from behind Ohio victory to his support from the former president.

At a celebration last night in Cincinnati, Vance spurred a page from the Trump playbook blasting the media and his critics. VANCE: They wanted to write a story that this campaign would be the death of Donald Trump's America First agenda. Ladies and gentlemen, it ain't the death of the America First agenda.

ZELENY (voice-over): In fact, it was a clear win for Trump, with Vance earning 32 percent of the vote in a crowded primary to replace retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman. Two thirds of Ohio GOP voters did not follow Trump's lead and chose other conservative candidates.


Trump told friends he was relieved by the outcome CNN has learned in a race that once again showed he's still king and kingmaker of his party. But there are more tests of Trump's influence to come, including next week in West Virginia, where he's taking sides in a primary pitting two Republican congressmen against one another and Nebraska, where he's weighed in on a heated three way contest for governor. A bigger test comes May 17 in a pair of Senate races, one in North Carolina and another in Pennsylvania, where Trump back Mehmet Oz faces David McCormick, and one of the nation's most closely watched primaries. And finally May 24 in Georgia, a state Trump has been consumed with since he narrowly lost there in 2020 ever since he's taken aim at Governor Brian Kemp and persuaded former Senator David Perdue to mount a challenge against him. The endorsements have become the soundtrack of Republican campaigns.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- unrelenting champions here in North Carolina --

ZELENY (voice-over): As Republicans fight to gain control of the House and Senate in November, the power of the MAGA movement is alive and well in the midterm elections. Trump is not on the ballot, but at the center of it all. With Vance now providing a roadmap, other Republicans are clamoring to follow.

VANCE: We have to fight that battle with a unified Republican Party.


ZELENY: And, Jake, as we know, well, by now, the former president keeps close a tally on his win loss record in terms of endorsing. So certainly last night was a win in Ohio, a big win. Without that endorsement, J.D. Vance will be the first to tell you, he would not have won that primary.

There are some more complicated races to come. But there's no doubt it is still the former president's party, he controls the base. The question, what does that mean for the general election? We have six months to figure that out.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Let's discuss. Kristen, let me start with you. So Ohio was the first major test of Trump's influence. There have been, we should point out, some other races since he left office and he has a more mixed record when it comes to those, but major test in the 2022 midterms he passed. There's still more than a half dozen races coming up with Trump endorsed candidates in Nebraska, in North Carolina, in Pennsylvania, in Idaho and Georgia. Do you think all of them are going to be as successful as J.D. Vance?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know that all of them will be. I think certainly this is good news for President Trump if he wanted to disrupt this narrative that maybe his endorsements don't mean that much. J.D. Vance really does have to thank Donald Trump for --

TAPPER: Oh, yes.

ANDERSON: -- for elevating him --


ANDERSON: -- in that primary. But it doesn't mean that Dr. Oz is going to have an easy path to victory in Pennsylvania, it doesn't mean that Brian Kemp is suddenly in massive jeopardy in Georgia, that there are a lot of places where the president's influence remains more limited. And frankly, you know, you can look at this glass half full if you're a Trump supporter and say, hey, he clearly got Vance to the front in that pack. But the other way to look at it is almost seven in 10 Ohio Republican primary voters did not listen --


ANDERSON: -- to Donald Trump's endorsement. So, I mean, there's a way you can spin this to both say that Trump has a lot of influence and to say that his influence is limited.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: So he's good for 33 percent of the vote in a stay --

ANDERSON: That's about right.

BORGER: -- in which he did very well, in Ohio. So in a crowded field, of course, that makes a large difference. But what will it be in a governor's race, for example, you know, you mentioned Kemp versus Purdue. His candidate Purdue is not doing too well in the polls right now. So, I think it's glass half full, half empty. As you point out, you can analyze it any way you want it.

TAPPER: He's going to face Tim Ryan, the House Democrat in the Senate race in Ohio. He is saying -- J.D. Vance says that Tim Ryan is trying to be a Trump Democrat. Here's what Ryan had to say about that. Take a listen.


REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH): I'm an American. Look, I agreed with Donald Trump on China, on other -- a few other issues. But you know, and I've disagreed with Democrats on stuff, you know, obviously, ran against Nancy Pelosi, got in fights with Bernie Sanders, disagreed with Obama on TPP. I think that's what the American people want. I'm representing the exhausted majority here. And the exhausted majority wants to stop the Washington, D.C. food fight. They want us to start working together.


TAPPER: What do you think?

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION: I mean, I think he's doing what he needs to do to win in a state like Ohio. And he's not unlike a lot of vulnerable U.S. senators, well, vulnerable candidates for U.S. Senate and swing states and states that you can't go too far to the left and states where, you know, being perceived as too aligned with Nancy Pelosi might not win you the votes you need.

So, again, I think he's like any other candidate doing what he says he needs to do to connect with voters. It's still going to be difficult because Ohio is a state that right now is trending red.

TAPPER: It's very red. It's a very red state. But we should point out, the other senator in Ohio is Sherrod Brown who's one of the most progressive Democrats in the Senate.


MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. And that's why I think, to your point, he is saying, Ryan is saying what he needs to say in order to appeal to his voters.

But I think one of the thing that he can point out is the issue with J.D. Vance about how, we were talking about it earlier, he used to be a commentator on this network. He was very anti Trump. He talked about Trump as being cultural heroine. He talked about Trump as leading the white working class down a very dark path. And he is now doing that.

And so I think we're at a point where Tim Ryan can point out the pernicious nature of people who are not just endorsed by Donald Trump, but who have left their values in the garbage to follow this man who has been so destructive to our country and our democracy.

TAPPER: I do want to switch just to talk about abortion for a second because of obviously, that seismic story that Politico wrote yesterday, where it looks as though the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, altogether. There are a lot of Democrats convinced that this will be a major motivator for progressive voters, for Democratic voters, for women voters who are -- who support abortion rights. So there's at least one Democrat who disagrees. Let's take a listen to Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Inflation is the number one driving factor, I believe, in my state. Right now, it's hurting everybody. Not just at the pump, but at the grocery store, at the drugstore, at the pharmaceutical, everything they. There's so many other serious issues. (END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Manchin is not a supporter of abortion rights.

BORGER: Right,

TAPPER: But do -- I mean, is he wrong?

BORGER: I think we don't know yet. I don't want to be wishy washy on this. But I think that there are Democrats. I was talking to a Democratic pollster today and he said to me, look, if the Democrats lean into what happened on abortion, if the Democrats lean into the so called radical Republicans, and you've heard the President talk about that a lot now.

TAPPER: He talked about it today, yes.

BORGER: Yes. Then, and privacy, this question of privacy. He says, if the -- this doesn't happen organically.


BORGER: If candidates decide that they're going to lean into it, they can really take advantage of this with voters, not just suburban women.


BORGER: But if they don't, that's it.

TAPPER: And Tia, here's Vice President Kamala Harris at an event last night for EMILY's List, you were there, covering it. Leaning into it, as Gloria might say.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those Republican leaders who are trying to weaponize the use of the law against women, well, we say, how dare they? How dare they tell a woman what she can do and cannot do with her own body? How dare they? How dare they try to stop her from determining her own future?


TAPPER: We only have a minute left, and I want to get to all three of you. So, thoughts.

MITCHELL: Yes. I just want to say quickly that just because abortion may not be the number one issue that a woman might say she cares about most doesn't mean it can't drive turnout, it can't drive enthusiasm and that's what Democrats know. That's what we saw in her speech. It's not just about number one, it's about what can get people to turn out and head to the polls.

CARDONA: It's personal. And we're not just going to lean, these Democrats aren't just going to lean, they're tipping over on this because they know it's going to be a motivator. Polls has shown, they've asked the question, if Roe v Wade is in danger of being overturned, are you more motivated to vote for Democrat? And the answer is, I think either like two thirds or three fifths or some very high number, the answer is absolutely yes. And this goes for all demographics. Women, men, Democrats, Independents, Latinos, Blacks, AAPI all across the board.

TAPPER: What are the polls say? What do you think?

ANDERSON: I still think inflation is going to be the number one issue. But I think the asymmetric way in which this will motivate Democrats more than Republicans, anger and frustration is more motivational than, oh, hey, we got what our side wanted. And so, I can see this being for asymmetric in terms of who is motivated by the decision that (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Perhaps for the first time ever? Because it usually works the other way around, right? It usually works that people who are motivated because they support abortion rights, look, we have it, we're fine.

ANDERSON: Well, I definitely think about this, like in 2018 around Kavanaugh, there was a -- the conventional wisdom was that that was going to ticked off a lot of voters and progressives were going to benefit from it. But it also ticked off a lot of Republicans.

TAPPER: Right.

ANDERSON: And so you saw this kind of both sides getting very frustrated. I don't know that that's the same dynamic in this case.

TAPPER: Very interesting. To be continued. We'll talk more about this coming up, because obviously the issue is not going away. They still actually have to issue --


TAPPER: -- their opinion.

Coming up, they're the loved ones of Americans held hostage and detained around the world. What they want from the White House, that's next.



TAPPER: In our buried lead stories, we feel are not getting enough attention. Paul Whelan, Jorge Toledo, Aaron Barry, Matthew Heath, these are just some of the names of the 55 Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained in other countries.

Today, their loved ones protested outside the White House. CNN's Kylie Atwood found out what the family say they want from President Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE) KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outside the White House today, a clear call for help. their loved ones are wrongfully detained abroad. And they want to meet with President Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's so important that we meet with the President.

ELIZABETH WHELAN, SISTER OF AMERICAN HELD IN RUSSIA: I call on the administration to meet with us all to use every tool at their disposal and reunite our families.

ATWOOD: Gathering to shine a spotlight on their shared struggle and to plead with the Biden administration to do everything in their power to secure the release of dozens of Americans.


Their journeys have been long, painful, and all too similar.

ALEXANDREA FORSETH, DAUGTHER AND NIECE OF AMERICANS HELD IN VENEZUELA: President Biden, you know more than anybody what it's like to, to lose somebody that you love, to like, never be able to hug them again. All the memories that you could create it, like, you singularly know what that's like. And there's so many really easy decisions that just aren't being brought to your desk that could end this nightmare for us.

ATWOOD: Alexandra Forseth's father and uncle had been wrongfully detained in Venezuela for more than four years.

FROSETH: We share a pattern of indecision from our administration to bring our family members home. We're running into the same roadblocks. It doesn't matter if it's Iran, Russia, China, Venezuela, it doesn't matter. We come back from our meetings in DC crying on planes.

ATWOOD: The uncle of Matthew Heath wrongfully detained in Venezuela as well.

EVERETT RUTHERFROD, UNCLE OF AMERICAN HELD IN VENEZUELA: I can't begin to express to the pain that each and every one of us feel.

ATWOOD: Elizabeth Whelan's brother Paul Whelan was detained in Russia in 2018, on charges of espionage that he denies. For years, the Wheatland family has been publicly advocating for his release.

WHELAN: It's like entering a labyrinth where you have no idea how to get out. You don't know where your loved one is. You don't know who is going to help you or hurt you along the way.

ATWOOD: Earlier this year, WNBA star Brittney Griner was also held in Russia in what the State Department now calls a wrongful detention. Her arrest coming just months before Trevor Reed. Another American who had been detained in the country got to come home. It was the result of a prisoner swap last week. JOEY REED, FATHER OF AMERICAN FREED FROM RUSSIA: We hope that this is a catalyst for the President to start making deals if necessary to bring Americans home.

ATWOOD: Trevor is now in an isolation recovery program at a military hospital. But he wanted his father to be here today with the other families who have not yet been so lucky.

The Reeds believe that their meeting with the President earlier this year was instrumental in getting Trevor home and the parents of Austin Tice, an American journalist kidnapped in Syria in 2012, said meeting with Biden this week gave them hope as well.

DEBRA TICE, MOTHER OF KIDNAPPED JOURNALIST AUSTIN TICE: I think progress was made just in getting to meet with the President. And you know, it was -- we were astonished at how up to date he was on Austin's case and how committed he is to getting him home.


ATWOOD: Now today, the State Department said that Secretary of State Tony Blinken has had conversations with these families of wrongfully detained Americans abroad as recently as in the last few days. But of course, what we will continue to ask Jake is if President Biden affords the rest of these families a meeting because they believe that that meeting could be a game changer.

TAPPER: All right. Kylie Atwood, thank you so much for that report.

In our world lead now, President Biden is asking Congress today to provide tens of thousands of Afghan refugees with a pathway to become legal permanent residents of the United States. The answer was included in the Ukrainian aid request sent to Congress last week.

If this were to pass, eligible Afghans their spouses and children will have to successfully complete background checks to live in the U.S. and they'll have to do so for at least a year before they can apply for a green card.

Today, former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush met with 13 recent Afghan evacuees in Dallas. In his statement, the Bush Institute says that the 43rd president told the refugees quote, We are disappointed that our nation abandoned Afghanistan. We want to send a message that all Americans must welcome Afghan refugees here as our neighbors and support them, unquote.

The numbers that some doctors may find concerning when it comes to the parents of young children. That's next.



TAPPER: Our health lead what appears to be rising indifference or at least ambivalence among parents about vaccinating their youngest children against COVID. A new Kaiser Family Foundation poll finds that only 18 percent of parents intend to get their children under five years old vaccinated as soon as possible once it's approved. 38 percent say they're going to wait and see, 11 percent say they're only going to do it if it's required, 27 percent say they definitely will not get their kids vaccinated.

Let's discuss this with public health physician Dr. Chris Pernell. Dr. Pernell, let's put those numbers up again. What do we make of both the low number of parents who will vaccinate their kids as soon as they can, which is only 18 percent. And the finding that more than a quarter of the parents surveyed 27 percent say they're not going to get their young kids vaccinated.

DR. CHRIS PERNELL, PUBLIC HEALTH PHYSICIAN: Hi, Jake. Unfortunately, I'm not surprised by that polling data. If you recall, whenever we have a vaccine that is about to go through the EUA process for anyone in the pediatric age group, parents need information. And I think we need to do a better job in public health, especially our public health agencies and bodies of articulating the safety, the efficacy of why is it important to vaccinate our kids.

We've allowed the nation to go into a lackadaisical spirit, if you will. And that really is not productive if you want people to feel eager about using a prevention tool.

TAPPER: Well, let me offer you the platform right now. What do you say to a parent who says, Look, this thing doesn't hit kids as hardly -- as harshly as it hits adults. The risk to my kid is really minuscule. What's the big deal? Why do I need to get another vaccine in my kid's arm?

PERNELL: I say because you can't determine whether or not your child is the person who gets exposed and has no infection or your child is a person who gets exposed and has a severe infection. And we know that when those children do have severe infection or have that multi inflammatory system reaction.


We've seen that among the black and brown community. So if you know you couldn't predict that severity, why not do everything in your power to keep your child as safe as possible?

And finally, I'd say that your child is used to getting vaccines, you get vaccines for things that have less prevalence, and so this is actually a more informed and a wiser choice.

TAPPER: Today and for the first time since February, the CDC is predicting an increase in hope COVID hospitalizations and deaths over the next four weeks. Are we at the beginnings of a new surge?

PERNELL: You know, Jake, it's always hard to pin down Coronavirus, but I believe it is possible. Why is it possible? It's possible because we know that there is waning immunity. We know that across the fourth or fifth six-month time period that these vaccines do lose some of their effectiveness. And we know it's possible because people really have become fatigued with the idea of using multiple prevention tools, meaning masking and high risk situations, meaning not going to an event or an occasion that might not be the best decision, and finally, just not having access to rapid testing or rapid anti-virus in the manner that would hold back this infection. I hope we don't see a surge. But I do believe all of the ingredients unfortunately are there.

TAPPER: Dr. Chris Pernell, thank you as always. Good to see you again. We're now getting our first look at the weapon involved in the onstage attack against comedian Dave Chappelle. That's next.



TAPPER: In our pop culture lead today an incredible video showing the moment that comedian Dave Chappelle was so horrifically attacked by an armed man while performing in Los Angeles. The suspect we're told is in custody. And as CNN Stephanie Elam reports, this is once again raising concern among performers about safety on stage.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Comedian Dave Chappelle attacked on stage while performing at the Hollywood Bowl during the Netflix is a Joke festival. Video taken just moments after the assault shows the alleged attacker being subdued as a shocked audience looks on.

CNN's Rachel Crane was sitting near the front row/

RACHEL CRANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Out of nowhere, a gentleman jumps up from the audience and tackles Dave Chappelle. The thing that caught my eye immediately was that the gentleman was wearing a backpack that's what got me scared my mind immediately went to this man is wearing a bomb but it felt very deliberate, and it was quite scary.

ELAM: The LAPD says the suspect a 23-year-old man was armed with a knife made to look like a replica handgun. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

CRANE: It all sort of happened so fast. I remember Dave Chappelle sort of stumbling back. But the individual did fall to the ground and then got up and continue to run off stage.

ELAM: Any motive for the attack remains unknown. CNN has reached out to Netflix and the Hollywood Bowl for comment. In a statement to CNN, a representative for Chappelle said in part that the comedian refuses to allow last night's incident to overshadow the magic of this historic moment.

A celebratory Chappelle returned to the stage alongside Jamie Foxx and Chris Rock, who use the moment to make light of his own recent onstage assault at the Academy Awards.


ELAM: Police say Chappelle was not hurt. But the onstage attack of a superstar comedian the second in just over a month raises questions about security concerns and safety for performers.

CRANE: It felt like an eternity before the security got there and you know, intervenes. In actuality I'm sure it was just a few seconds but it was a very charged moment and everybody could ever gasps, screams, not crazy screams but, like everyone was very alarmed by what had just happened.


ELAM: And the representative for Dave Chappelle called the incident unsettling and unfortunate and says that the comedian is fully cooperating with the Los Angeles Police Department investigations. Jake.

TAPPER: Stephanie Elam in Los Angeles. Thank you so much. Dolly Parton's nine to five schedule is paying off in one way she says she did not want, stick around.



TAPPER: Saint Dolly of Nashville. Looks like all that working has paid off again for Dolly Parton. She is among the new class of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees announced today. Parton had recently said publicly she did not want the recognition, but she later changed her mind saying that she would be honored.

80s rocker Pat Benatar are also made the cut. She and partner among six women in the 2022 class the most ever in a single year.

And Slim Shady will be standing up. Rapper Eminem will be inducted as well. This is his first year of eligibility having released his first album 25 years ago.

Duran Duran honored also after nearly 45 years in the music biz and countless hits.

(INAUDIBLE) come on, John. Lionel Richie has reason to party all night long. He's going into the Hall of Fame as a solo performer having of course first risen to stardom with The Commodores. Other notable inductees include the Eurythmics, Carly Simon, Harry Belafonte, and Judas Priest.


You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok at Jake Tapper. You can tweet the show at THE LEAD CNN if you ever miss an episode of the show. You could listen to THE LEAD wherever get your podcasts, all two hours just sitting right there. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM."