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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Funerals Today For Uvalde Teacher Irma Garcia, 10-Year-Old Jose Flores; School Police Chief To CNN: "I Am In Contact With DPS Every Day;" U.S. Sending Ukraine Long-Range Rockets After Biden Said He Wouldn't Send Ones That Could Reach Russia; Gas Prices Hit Another Record High, Averaging $4.67 A Gallon; Jury Finds Both Heard And Depp Liable For Defamation; School Police Chief To CNN: "I Am In Contact With DPS Every Day." Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 01, 2022 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: He's the one who slapped the man, and she's having the conversation on the show. But it -- come out, apologize to him.

Last thing Will posted was an apology in text online. He's got a great social media team. You can record a video, but he hasn't.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: On that note, thanks for joining us.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The Uvalde school police chief has been silent for days. That is until CNN caught up with him.

THE LEAD starts right now.

In a CNN exclusive, a police chief confronted. His response when asked about not cooperating with investigators and that wrong decision to hold officers in a hallway instead of immediately sending them in to take out the gunman who ultimately killed 21 people, including 19 kids.

Plus, buckle up. Gas prices hitting a hideous high, but it's the prediction for the next ten days that may be even scarier.

And a jury finds both Johnny Depp and Amber Heard liable for defamation, though let's be honest, Depp won this trial. The significance of it all, beyond the gossip, spectacle, and social media snark.


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

We start today with our national lead and no clear answer in Uvalde, Texas, as to whether the chief who told cops to not storm the classroom where the shooter was during the massacre is actually cooperating with investigators. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz caught up with Uvalde's school district police

chief, Pete Arredondo, this morning. He insisted he's been in contact with the Texas Department of Public safety every day, he says. But just last night, DPS officials said Arredondo had not responded to the request for a follow-up interview about his actions or lack thereof during last Tuesday's massacre.

Today, Uvalde is saying its final goodbyes to two more victims, 48- year-old teacher Irma Garcia, and 10-year-old Jose Manuel Flores, Jr.

And in the state capital today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott officially requested a special legislative session which his office says should focus on, quote, school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz starts off our coverage today from Uvalde.

Shimon, what else did Chief Arredondo tell you when you caught up with him earlier today?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, as you know, we have been trying to make contact with him for days. Certainly after Friday, when the state investigators revealed that he was the boss. He was the man that was running the show on the day of the shooting and made that wrong decision not to send those officers in. We simply just wanted him to respond to those allegations, take a listen to what he said.


PROKUPECZ: I just want your reaction --


PROKUPECZ: -- to Director McCraw saying that you were responsible for the decision.

ARREDONDO: Right. We're going to be --

PROKUPECZ: How do you explain yourself to parents?

ARREDONDO: We're going to be respectful to the families.

PROKUPECZ: I understand that. You have an opportunity to explain yourself to the parents.

ARREDONDO: And just so you know, we're going to -- we're going to do that eventually obviously.


ARREDONDO: Whenever this is done, families quit grieving, then we'll do that obviously.

PROKUPECZ: Do you understand how the families feel? ARREDONDO: Just so everybody knows, we've been in contact with DPS

every day.


PROKUPECZ: And, Jake, he has not been seen. He's not been at any press conferences that state investigators had. And so, he has not answered any questions and he continues, Jake, to not want to answer any of those questions. Besides the fact, despite the fact that so many mysteries remain about this and with all the discrepancies that police have put out, he continues to not want to answer any questions -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Shimon, CNN also spoke to the Uvalde County district attorney today. What did she have to say about the possibility of criminal charges?

PROKUPECZ: Well, that is something she says that is on the table, saying that she's going to review the report from investigators, and then she'll make a decision. So this could, Jake, the important thing in this is that this could furthermore delay information from coming out because investigators could use the DA's investigation as an excuse for not releasing more information.

So we'll see. We'll know about that in the next few days, but that could potentially be significant, as this community, these families continue to seek answers.

TAPPER: All right. Shimon Prokupecz in Uvalde, Texas, for us, thank you so much.

Details about this investigation are once again changing. Now investigators say the door used by the gunman was not propped open, as they had previously announced.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is digging into the further discrepancies.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To honor the mass shooting victims, Albert Martinez and his family made this memorial. Martinez is related to three of the victims. His biggest frustration right now is finding answers.


ALBERT MARTINEZ, UVALDE RESIDENT, KNEW SHOOTING VICTIMS: The biggest hurt I have right now is we're not getting the right answers now, according to what we're hearing. People are saying this and then people are saying that. I just wish they would come out with a right answer, say this is what happened exactly.

LAVANDERA: At the center of it, why the incident commander on site at Robb Elementary kept officers waiting outside the classrooms instead of going in. The Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo is facing harsh criticism for that decision. Authorities are now clarifying another key detail of how the gunman

got inside the school. A teacher says the door that the killer used to get inside the school was closed, but the door did not lock. This contradicts an earlier claim by the Texas Department of Public Safety investigators that the teacher had left the door propped open.

And this new audio obtained by CNN affiliate KSAT, went out to parents while officers were already on site, and two students were calling 911, begging for help.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is an active shooter at Robb Elementary. Law enforcement is on site. Your cooperation is needed at this time by not visiting the campus.

LAVANDERA: This as the community buries a teacher who died protecting her students, and also one of the young students killed.

The memorial of flowers continues to grow, so is the resentment for Arredondo, who was sworn in as a city council member yesterday in a private ceremony after being elected last month.

CHIEF PETE ARREDONDO, UVALDE SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE: To me, nothing is complicated. Everything has a solution.

LAVANDERA: Back in April, Arredondo stressed the importance of communication at a candidate forum hosted by a local college.

ARREDONDO: Communication obviously is key. I think through communication, everything can be resolved, whatever the issues may be.

LAVANDERA: Texas Governor Greg Abbott has requested the creation of special legislative committees to look into school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety, and more.

But Republican State Senator Kel Seliger is calling on the governor to do more and says something needs to be done to prevent another tragedy.

KEL SELIGER (R), TEXAS STATE SENATE: This is not a partisan or Republican issue, Ed. Those children in Uvalde, they weren't Republicans or Democrats. They were children. And they depend upon people like the legislature to do things that make schools safe and we have not done so.

LAVANDERA: And, Jake, Senator Seliger says he's open to raising the age limit to buy an assault style rifle from 18 to 21 or higher, whatever the case may be. But he said anything beyond that needs to come from Republican lawmakers. That's the only way any of these gun reform laws could pass.

But clearly, Republican leaders in the state have not shown any desire to do that. The Texas State Teachers Association says the governor's announcement to create a special legislative committee is not something that is needed. They called that move by the governor as weak and that Texas families deserve better -- Jake.

TAPPER: Ed Lavandera in Uvalde, thank you so much.

There remains so many unanswered questions about last Tuesday's rampage. Where was the school resource officer? Why didn't the school door lock when it was closed? Were the 911 calls from inside the classroom being relayed to Chief Arredondo who made the decision not to send officers in? Did officers kill any of the kids accidentally?

Joining me now to try to make sense of some of this is Terry Gainer. He's the former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police.

Terry, what do you make of all this confusion over whether the Uvalde school's police chief is actually cooperating with investigators?

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER U.S. CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: Well, the information is confusing, Jake, and he needs to be interviewed and a written statement taken about what he did and why he did it. It is very confusing.

You just listed a lot of great questions, including what did the officers on the scene hear, what did they see, what information were they getting from the 911 call to help them try to make decisions?

I recall in one of the interviews that CNN has done very well from the scene talking to one of the young girls who was in the classroom who said the shooter shot out some windows. So I'm still trying to piece together what they could have seen from outside looking in those windows that are along the exterior of the building, as well as what they could have seen when they were around it.

TAPPER: What did you make of the --

GAINER: That's a mystery.

TAPPER: What did you make of the interview Wolf Blitzer did last week with an individual law enforcement official from Texas who said the reason the officers didn't breach the classroom is because they could have been shot, they could have been killed. What was your response to that?

GAINER: Well, that's -- I mean, they forgot why they put on the badge and what they were trained to do. Now, no one should just be reckless in attacking that door when it should have been attacked.


You have to have that plan together. So some of the things we heard initially, once the shooting stopped, at whatever moment that was, and there's some dispute about the timeline, the person at the scene, whether it was the chief or someone else, should have been in the midst of figuring out what is the next step.

Yes, you do want to contain them. Next, you do want to control them. But you also have to be developing a plan if you're the one who has to break into that building. It doesn't seem like anything like that was going on. And once the next round of shots started, then there was no question

about what they should be doing and whether you have talked about it enough, whether it's two officers, three officers, or four officers, they needed to go and put themselves in harm's way.

TAPPER: Amidst all this confusion about Chief Arredondo and whether or not he's cooperating, Texas's largest police union is urging its members to fully cooperate with the Uvalde investigation. Can you think of any legitimate reasons why officers should not cooperate?

GAINER: No. Unless they are in fear they have done something dramatically wrong or they're embarrassed because they didn't do the right thing. So there should have been a lot more action to try to save those children and rescue the ones who had been injured. And just like we're asking every police officer to do now, if you see misconduct, you need to step in. If you see the right thing is not being done, you need to do it. You need to put yourself at risk.

Jake, I recall early on, I used to hear sergeants at roll call saying your primary job is to get home at night. That is not true. Your primary job as a law enforcement officer is to make sure everybody else gets home. You need to be trained and armed to do that.

And whether they only had automatic revolvers or some had long guns, they should have been about breaking into that building. And even into that classroom. Even in those first few minutes when there's confusion, if the first responder officers jumped out of their police cars to get in there quickly, I understand that, then while they're in the first few minutes and there were some nine officers there, you would send someone back out to the car to get the equipment that ought to be in the car to help you break into it if and when you had to.


GAINER: So there's still a lot of information, and it's a terrible example of what we expect law enforcement officers to do.

TAPPER: A week and a day later, still so many questions about the response by the law enforcement community there.

Terrance Gainer, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

Coming up next, to the White House where President Biden is promising new sophisticated weapons for Ukraine. How the move goes back on something the president said just two days ago.

Plus, she told the world she was sexually, mentally, and physically abused. Now a jury has largely sided with her ex-husband. The shocking verdict in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial.

Stay with us.


[16:17:07] TAPPER: In our world lead now, the Kremlin making it crystal clear that Ukraine's weapons requests to the West are in Putin's view a, quote, direct provocation, as the United States provides an 11th security assistance package to Ukraine, and President Biden flip-flops from this declaration on Monday.


REPORTER: Are you going to send long-range rocket systems to Ukraine?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.


TAPPER: That was then. Now, the newest package includes long-range rockets that can be launched up to 49 miles. Still, Ukraine wants even more powerful range rockets and President Zelenskyy reassures Biden he will only use the weapons defensively.

Let's bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.

Kaitlan, what are you hearing from the administration about this change?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, they say they have assessed that this is what Ukraine needs. This is, of course, not what Ukraine wanted. They actually wanted longer range rocket, these rocket systems known as HIMARS that they're now getting. These are about medium range, and you're right, they can fire about 50 miles which obviously could potentially strike into Russia, which is why it has raised this question for the White House about how they know Ukraine will not use them to do so once they put them in Ukrainian hands.

And the White House and the pentagon say that they have received assurances even from President Zelenskyy to President Biden directly that they will not use these rocket systems that they're now getting from the United States to strike into Russia, given that was the line that President Biden had drawn.

Russia, Jake, does not seem to be too convinced of these assurances that the Ukrainians have provided to the U.S. They say that by the United States handing over these more advanced longer range rocket systems that they're giving to Ukraine, they are risking widening the conflict that is going on, of course, ever since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

But when the White House was asked about those comments from Russia, they said that basically Russia doesn't get a say in what the United States is providing to Ukraine. That we know in the back of their minds, they have been aware and cautious about what could potentially escalate things further, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us, thank you so much. Turning to the latest on the ground in Ukraine, Ukrainian President

Volodymyr Zelenskyy says 60 to 100 Ukrainian troops are dying on the battlefield every day. The White House admits to CNN that incremental gains are being made by Russia, and all eyes are on the east, as Putin's army is gaining more ground in Severodonetsk, one of the last cities in the key Luhansk region that is slipping from Ukrainian into Russian control.

While that fight rages, CNN's Matthew Chance visited the ruins of a small town outside Kyiv still reeling from the carnage inflicted by Russia.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the liberated villages north of the Ukrainian capital, the streets are lined with the scars of war. And it's not just buildings destroyed.

[16:20:03] We met Serhiy, a villager whose home was overrun by Russian troops, who then shot him, he says, and left him for dead. He shows me the gut-wrenching bullet wounds, but his emotional scars run even deeper.

Sometimes, I have nightmares and can't sleep at night, and I pray they won't ever come back, he tells me, through tears of pain and anger. I'll never forgive Russians for what they did, he says.

And they did much worse. Just steps from Serhiy's door, police forensic teams are unearthing yet another crime scene. Weeks after Russian troops were pushed from this area, locals are still finding the bodies of their neighbors. We were shown three makeshift graves on this street alone.

What do you think when you see this? What goes through your mind when you see these bodies being dug from these shallow graves at the side of the road?

YEVHEN YENIN, DEPUTY INTERIOR MINISTER: So we see the Russian troops have already gone for more than one month. But we still find the evidence of their presence.

CHANCE: That's astonishing, isn't it? Even a month after they have gone, more than a month, still finding bodies.

Ukrainian officials tell me more than 320 civilians are still missing in this region alone. One by one, they're being found.

YENIN: A lot of people are missing. You cannot imagine the eyes of mothers whose children are lost. You cannot imagine eyes of relatives whose beloved have been captured or have been killed on the front line.

CHANCE: It is an awful, grim business, digging up bodies of the thousands of people scattered across this entire country, in shallow graves that have yet to be identified. This was Vitali (ph), just 43 years old, and the neighbors tell me he

didn't present a threat to the Russians. He wasn't a soldier. In fact, he was vulnerable.

He didn't have a job. He drank too much. His family had left him.

But he was hungry. And he was trying to get some food from a Russian vehicle that was parked just here when they caught him. And shot him dead.

Just one of the many alleged crimes, many tragedies in the Ukrainian nightmare that's yet to end.


CHANCE (on camera): Well, Jake, tonight, there are more concerns about the plight of the civilian population, particularly in areas where there is ferocious fighting still taking place between the Ukrainian and Russian forces. Much of that now concentrated in the northeast of the country, in and around the city of Severodonetsk where we now know from the Ukrainian side that 80 percent of the city has fallen into Russian hands.

And there are social media images of bodies in the center of the city, apparently of civilians. So again, more concerns about what's happening in that corner of Ukraine tonight -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Matthew Chance in Kyiv, thank you so much.

Soaring gas prices up 5 cents in just one day, and that's modest compared to the spike experts say we could see in fewer than two weeks.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our money lead, gas prices once again hitting a new record high. AAA says the national average for regular gasoline in the United States has hit $4.67 a gallon. That's up 5 cents a gallon since yesterday. Prices have spiked 48 cents over the past month and $1.62 since last year.

CNN's Amara Walker joins us now live from a gas station in Atlanta, Georgia.

Amara, what are drivers telling you about these soaring costs?

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, here in Georgia, the average price per gallon for regular gas is about $4.16. That is the lowest average in the country right now. But look, overall, what we're seeing is a major spike compared to this time period last year when nationwide on average, we were paying about $3 a gallon, believe it or not.

Look, I spoke with a lot of drivers here at this quick trip gas station who are telling me it's really hitting them hard in the wallets. Every cent is making a difference to them in terms of how long they're driving around to find the cheapest gas station.

In terms of their summer travel plans, some say, look, they have a lot of pent-up traveling they wanted to do because of the pandemic. They planned to continue with those road trip plans, but others tell me they're reconsidering.


SARINA DRUMMOND, GEORGIA DRIVER: I want to go this summer to Florida. And then I want to go to savannah. And those are like close places. But if my gas don't allow it, I can't go because it will affect my income. This takes $70 to fill up.


And so you just think about going there and coming home and hotels and all that. Like, I can't afford that.

FESS BURGESS, GEORGIA DRIVER: I wish we could bring it back down to at least a reasonable rate where everyone can get out and enjoy the summer, because I'm sure it's going to have an impact on not only me but everyone.


WALKER: And, Jake, right now, there are seven states where drivers are averaging $5 a gallon. New York and Arizona are just pennies away from that milestone. But, of course, California taking the cake when it comes to the highest average price per gallon, $6.19. We actually have video from our affiliate out in Los Angeles of a chevron station that is charging over $8 a gallon.

So, look, needless to say, this is impacting basic choices people are making day to day, Jake.

TAPPER: And gas prices typically go down after Memorial Day. What are analysts saying about when we could expect -- what we can expect over the next several weeks?

WALKER: Well, one oil analyst that spoke with CNN said he is expecting the nationwide average price per gallon to go up to $4.75 over the next ten days. Look, there's a lot of factors to consider, including there's still very high domestic demand for gas, especially as we're going into the summer travel months and also a lot of uncertainty because of the war in Ukraine impacting the global oil supply, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Amara Walker in Atlanta, Georgia, for us, thank you so much.

CNN's Harry Enten joins us now from the magic wall with more on these rising costs.

Harry, just how bad are gas prices from a historical and political point of view?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I think that this table tells a story. This is the yearly change and the average gasoline prices in the midterm cycle. Right now, we're at the top, up 53 percent from last year. That is the highest in any midterm cycle since 1994.

And as a student of political history, I can't help but notice the next highest ones, 2006, 2010, saw major gains for the opposition party in 2006 being the Democrats, 2010 being the Republicans. When I see gas prices like you saw in the last slide, I can't help but think I want to do a lot more walking and that paid the price at the pump.

And you might be asking yourself, OK, how is this impacting President Joe Biden, look at his job performance on gas prices. You don't have to be a mathematical expert to know that 31 percent is a very, very bad number. The vast majority, more than two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Joe Biden's job on gas prices, Jake.

TAPPER: So, another huge issue is inflation in general, as we head into the midterms. How is that impacting President Biden?

ENTEN: You know, I hate to say it, if I were the president, but look at this. Basically the exact same approval rating. Joe Biden's job performance on on inflation, just 28 percent.

Disapproval rating, two-thirds of Americans disapprove of Joe Biden's job performance on inflation. And you know, that is a very, very, very, very, very bad number when what is the most urgent issue facing Americans? Look at that, inflation -- 33 percent, the clear runaway there, three times as many folks who said abortion.

And you might have remembered immigration was something that Republicans were going to want to hit on in this midterm election. But just 7 percent say that. They're much wiser to be focusing on inflation. If you watch Republican messaging, they're exactly doing that, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Harry, you touched on this already. But tell us more about what's happened in past elections when voters had this dismal a view of the economy.

ENTEN: Yeah, so I mean, just take a look at the overall economy. How are economic conditions doing? The current economy, only fair or poor, 85 percent of Americans say the current economy, they view it as only fair or poor. That's the worst since 2011, the economic outlook getting worse. 77 percent, that's the worst since 2009.

These are historic numbers. And you know what, Jake, if we look back at White House losses when 75 percent of folks think the economy is just fair or poor at this point in a midterm cycle, the White House lost 13, 63 seats, 54 seats in the House of Representatives.

These are very, very bad numbers overall. People don't like the way the economy is going, they don't like inflation, they don't like gas prices. It's likely to hurt Democrats in this midterm.

TAPPER: All right. Harry Enten, as always, good to see you, my friend.

ENTEN: Bye, Jake.

TAPPER: Coming up next, reaction from Johnny Depp and Amber Heard just in after a jury ruled on defamation.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our pop culture lead, a major victory today for Johnny Depp in his defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife, Amber Heard. The jury finding her liable in every one of his claims against her and ordering her to pay $15 million in damages to him.

In her countersuit against Johnny Depp, the jury found him liable for only one claim and ordered him to pay her $2 million.

At issue beyond this case, advocates say, are some legitimate claims of abuse and the ability of powerful people to get away with it.

CNN's Jean Casarez has been following this case from the beginning.


JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A jury ruling that both Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard defamed each other in their civil suits.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you find that Mr. Depp has proven all the elements of defamation?


Answer, yes.

Do you find that Ms. Heard has proven all the elements of defamation? Answer, yes.

CASAREZ: This decision coming after six weeks of a dramatic testimony, with the former couple facing off.

AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS: Nothing I did made him stop hitting me. Nothing.

JOHNNY DEPP, ACTOR: I have never, in my life, committed sexual battery, physical abuse.

CASAREZ: At the center of the trial, abuse allegations Heard made in a 2018 "Washington Post" op-ed. Though she never named Depp in the article, he sued his ex-wife for defamation, claiming in a $50 million suit that his career suffered as a result. Heard countersued Depp for $100 million.

The former couple met in 2009 while filming the movie, "Rum Diary".

DEPP: He wrote that when he was 25 years old.

CASAREZ: Both testified the relationship became violent and abusive overtime, including two incidents which took place in Australia, where the actor was filming the fifth "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

DEPP: I'm so sorry, were you still talking?

CASAREZ: Leading Heard to file a temporary restraining order against Depp in 2016.

DEPP: She threw the large bottle and it made contact and shattered everywhere. And then I looked down and realized that the tip of my finger had been severed.

HEARD: I felt this pressure, I felt this pressure. On my (INAUDIBLE) he was punching me.

CASAREZ: That testimony was not all he said/she said. With recordings of fights and photos of alleged injuries introduced as evidence.

HEARD: By this point in our relationship, we are both saying awful things to each other, screaming at each other.

CASAREZ: On the stand, Depp denied abusing Heard.

DEPP: I would never -- did I myself reach the point of striking Ms. Heard in any way. Nor have I ever struck any woman in my life.

CASAREZ: Witnesses for both Depp and Heard gave sometimes emotional testimony about what they saw and the former couple's counselor testified about their relationship.

LAUREL ANDERSON, DEPP AND HEARD'S CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: They engaged in what I saw as mutual abuse.

CASAREZ: The jury came to a decision after nearly 14 hours of deliberation.


CASAREZ (on camera): And we have just received a statement from Amber Heard, and it says, quote, the disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I'm heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband.

I'm even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out should be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously.

And we also have a statement from Johnny Depp. And he states, quote: From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing that I finally have accomplished that.

Jake, this trial was all about credibility. It was all about the credibility of Amber Heard because it was her op-ed in "The Washington Post" that alleged that she was that face of domestic abuse.

TAPPER: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

Coming up next, a look at why this verdict could have implications well beyond Amber Heard and Johnny Depp. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We are back with the pop culture lead. A major legal victory today for actor Johnny Depp in the defamation case involving his ex- wife, Amber Heard.

Let's get some legal perspective on this case with Attorney Areva Martin and former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.

Areva, what's your reaction to this verdict?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the jury got it wrong, Jake. I'm very disappointed in the jury verdict. I think this is another big win for powerful men, and it's a colossal loss for women.

When you think about the allegations that were made in the UK case that involved the defamation against a tabloid, the judge in that case found the allegations of Amber Heard to be credible, found that Johnny Depp did abuse amber heard. This jury, on the other hand, basically rejected the mountain of evidence that showed that amber heard in fact had been abused by Johnny Depp.

The jury didn't have to find that each and every allegation was true. They could have found even one of them to be true. So you have to believe they still believe that Amber Heard made up out of whole cloth each and every one of these allegations with details, with facts to create this -- what they're calling a hoax.


And I just find that pretty incredible. So I'm really shocked and surprised by the jury verdict.

TAPPER: Renato, what do you think?

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, I have to say, my biggest concern, Jake, is about the impact that this is going to have more broadly. Usually in a defamation case, both sides lose because their dirty laundry gets aired out, because they incur legal fee. Obviously, Johnny Depp can afford to spend a lot of money and have a case across the country and wasn't afraid to take this to trial.

But I am concerned about defamation suits like this used in a lot of circumstances when women allege abuse. It's generally not the right strategy. And my concern is about the effect it's going to have on our society.

TAPPER: This case was largely centered around a 2018 op-ed Amber Heard wrote at The jury asked about that and how it pertained to a claim in Depp's suit. They wanted to know if they should focus on the headline or the entire piece. The judge said just the headline.

How might that question factor into this, Areva?

MARTIN: I think it may have factored into it and may have caused the jury to ignore the other allegations of physical abuse that Amber Heard testified to. What we know, Jake, statistically, is that less than 10 percent of women lie about being sexually abused. We also know 1 in 3 women will experience some kind of domestic violence in their lifetime.

So, when you think about those statistics, and you think about the testimony that Amber Heard gave, again, the fact that not one of those allegations was believed by this jury is troubling to me and like Renato said, I am concerned about the larger impact. This is the most high-profile trial that we have had in the #metoo era. We had cameras inside the courtroom.

It became somewhat of a spectacle with the social media really vilifying Amber Heard. I believe it sets women back, and will have a chilling effect on women feeling this if they can come forward and bring a claim against or even make allegations of physical violence and sexual abuse against powerful men, because I remember that era when women did so, they weren't believed. They were maligned. Many lost their jobs and their careers. And I worry that this could be the outcome of this trial.

TAPPER: Renato, in last week's closing arguments, Amber Heard's attorney told jurors if Depp failed to prove that he never abused Heard, then she wins the case. He said, quote, a ruling against Amber here sends the message that no matter what you do as an abuse victim, you always have to do more. Do you think that's what played out here?

MARIOTTI: Well, I will say this is -- the burden that Depp had was pretty substantial here. He had to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Heard had actual malice. In other words, that she recklessly disregarded the truth here, not that he was mistaken or that she maybe exaggerated a little bit, but she was substantially trying to lie and defame him, and he did so.

And, obviously, his team, you know, his team approved that. There's different opinions about why that is, and whether or not, for example, gender bias factored into that. What I will say is usually in a defamation case, it is very difficult to meet that standard when the person is a public figure.

TAPPER: Yeah. Renato Mariotti, Areva Martin, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Breaking news from the White House, President Biden admitting he was behind the ball on the baby food shortage, the infant formula. The comments just coming in and we press the administration on where all the newly imported formula into the U.S. is actually going.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, four days of pageantry, including parades and concerts and an estimated 16,000 street parties and don't forget the royal rumors and the family drama, the Queen's 70-year jubilee.

Plus, breaking news from the White House. President Biden with a stunning admission about the infant formula shortage that's been plaguing parents across the United States for months.

And leading this hour with a CNN exclusive, we're hearing from the Uvalde School District police chief for the first time since Texas state officials said he made the wrong call by telling officers outside the classroom where the gunman was to refrain from storming the classroom.

That school police chief now telling CNN he's been in contact with the Texas Department of Public Safety, but the department of public safety says the chief is not following up with their requests.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is in Uvalde, Texas, where investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of how this horrific shooting happened.



JIMENEZ (voice-over): Captured by cameras for the first time in nearly a week, Uvalde school police chief, Pete Arredondo, greets officers standing guard outside his home.

ARREDONDO: We're not going to release anything. We have -- we have people in our community being buried. So, we're going to be respectful.

JIMENEZ: Deflecting questions from CNN about decisions to delay entering the Robb Elementary classroom on the day of the shootings.

PROKUPECZ: How do you explain yourself?

ARREDONDO: We're going to be respectful to the family.

PROKUPECZ: But when asked when -- (CROSSTALK)

ARREDONDO: We're going to do that eventually, obviously. Whenever this is done, when the families are finished grieving, then we'll do that obviously. And just so everybody -- just so everybody -- just so everybody knows, we've been in contact with DPS every day, just so you all know, every day.

PROKUPECZ: They said you're not -- they said that you're not cooperating.

ARREDONDO: I've been on the phone with them every day.