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The Lead with Jake Tapper

House Judiciary CMTE Considering Wide-Ranging Gun Reform Package; Rep. Mondaire Jones, (D-NY), Is Interviewed About Gun Reform; Biden Admin. Struggling To Fight Rising Inflation, Formula Shortage, Gun Violence And Pandemic. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 02, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The Uvalde school shooting was just nine days ago, Buffalo 19 days. Tulsa is the 233rd mass shooting this year. I just want to let that number sink in for a moment, 233 mass shootings as defined as four or more victims, 233.

June 2, that's today, it's only the 153rd day of the year. CNN's MJ Lee is at the White House with a preview of the President's surprise address on this uniquely American crisis.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening fellow Americans.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden preparing a major address to the nation on gun violence. His second speech on the national epidemic in 10 days.

BIDEN: Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?

LEE (voice-over): The nation still reeling from the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two adults, shaken by yet another mass shooting at a hospital complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma yesterday that left four people dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They found the first victim. They found the next victim.

LEE (voice-over): In his evening address, Biden planning to again call on Congress to take action as lawmakers try to hammer out a bipartisan framework on gun reforms. But so far, Biden wary of indicating too much optimism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you confident Congress will take action on gun legislation, sir?

BIDEN: Is there a confidence for Congress for 36 years? I've never confident. Totally. It depends.

And I don't know. I've not been on the negotiations that are going on right now.

LEE (voice-over): During his visit to Uvalde over the weekend, the President hearing anguish please asking for change in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Biden, do something. Do something.

BIDEN: We will. We Will.

LEE (voice-over): Earlier in the month, the President had traveled to Buffalo, New York, the sight of another mass shooting that left 10 dead at a local supermarket. The shooter targeting the black community.

BIDEN: And I promise you, hate will not prevail and white supremacy will not have the last word. For the evil did come to Buffalo, it has come in all too many places manifest in gunmen who massacred innocent people.

LEE (voice-over): The White House saying additional executive actions are possible, but that the urgency now lies with Congress.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President has directed his staff to continue to explore additional actions we can take. But we can't do this alone and it's time for Congress to act.


LEE: Jake, the President himself has been clear that he has not gotten involved yet in these congressional discussions on what to do about gun reform. We don't know whether he's going to have some must haves, whether there are going to be red lines in this eventual package if one comes together.

Interestingly, though, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre just told reporters that some of these things like expanding background check, like banning assault weapons that they are popular ideas and that they, quote, "should be easy." I'm willing to bet you, many lawmakers you ask on Capitol Hill, they don't see these issues as being anything but easy.

TAPPER: Yes. MJ Lee at the White House, thank you so much.

Things didn't seem so easy on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Bipartisan negotiations continue to take place right now among senators with Democrats saying it will be tough to reach a deal with Republican. CNNs Manu Raju joins us now live from Capitol Hill.

Manu, where do these bipartisan talks on gun reforms in the Senate? Where do they stand?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're still ongoing and there is still some optimism that there could be a deal rage but also a reality about how difficult it will be to cut a deal with Republicans. Democrats are already signaling they're not going to go as far as they would like. The Democrats in the Senate are not planning to push forward with an assault weapons ban to get rid of the AR-15.

They're also discussing narrowing an expansion of background checks. They had initially proposed expanding background checks on commercial sales. There's a discussion about narrowing then. Also there's discussion about possibly in this bipartisan negotiation, not including raising the age of purchasing those semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21 made Republican opposition.

Now I talked to the -- one of the leaders in the negotiations, Chris Murphy, who's not willing to concede that last point, that they won't be able to raise the age, but also said I'm certainly prepared for failure. This isn't a new negotiation that is fraught with problems, political problems, but he did express some optimism but said that next week, Jake, will be the critical week as senators come back they discuss what they can do and see if they can get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.

TAPPER: Manu, House Democrats are pursuing wide ranging guide legislation that probably has no chance of getting the 60 votes necessary in order to bring legislation up for a vote. What are they saying about why they're doing that?


RAJU: Yes, this bill that has about to be approved tonight by the House Judiciary Committee would deal with the banning high capacity magazines, would also raise that age from 18 to 21 of those semiautomatic rifles. But they say that they are not going to wait for the Senate, even as they pass two bills last year to expand background checks in the House that have not gotten action yet in the Senate. The Democrats are pushing these measures in the House, say, they're still moving ahead.


RAJU: Why move forward something like this that has no chance of becoming law?

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, first of all, I dispute that. Look, the American --

RAJU: How do you dispute? You know that. You know the reality.

CICILLINE: No, you are demanding that Congress take action to just gun violence in this country. And if the measure was we're going to only pass bills that we had confidence the Senate would pass, we could go home because we have dozens of bills that are sitting in the Senate awaiting action.

Our responsibly in the House is to respond to the urgency of this crisis.


RAJU: And, Jake, the differing approaches will continue next week with House Democrats planned to try to move forward the bill to set a national law dealing with the so called red flags in order to allow authorities to take away guns from individuals who are deemed as a risk. On the Senate side, they're looking at incentivizing states to go that route. Still no deal in the Senate, but Democrats in the House have a different approach.

TAPPER: Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks.

Let's talk to one of those Democrats in the House, Mondaire Jones of New York. He's a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman, good to see you as always. So your committee is attempting to advance new gun restrictions today. Some of what is included in the package includes raising the age to purchase a semiautomatic centerfire rifle from 18 to 21, restricting the purchase and manufacturing of large capacity magazines, creating new federal offenses for gun trafficking, and banning the sale of new bump stocks for civilian use. How will these measures prevent the mass shootings taking place across the country?

REP. MONDAIRE JONES (D-NY): Jake, we will pass that legislation tonight. And this is broadly supported by the American people. There's no reason -- there's no good reason why we haven't done it already, other than the obstruction from my Republican colleagues, and it's something that we have to move forward with. As Mr. Cicilline he said, we've got to make sure that we are doing our job here in the House of Representatives even as sometimes the Senate appears not to understand what it responds -- what its responsibility is to the American people.

TAPPER: Florida Republican Congressman Greg Steube used his time during the committee markup today to display an array of handguns and magazines that he says would be banned by -- hit by this legislation. Let's take a look.


REP. GREG STEUBE (R-FL): Right here in front of me, I have a Sig Sauer P226, comes with a 21 round magazine, this gun would be banned. Here's a 12 round magazine, this magazine would be banned under this current bill. Here's a gun I carry every single day to protect myself, my family, my wife, my home, this gun would be banned.


TAPPER: Is he right? Would all of those handguns and magazines be banned? And in your view, should they be?

JONES: Look, we are banning high capacity magazines according to the legislation that we are passing today. Mr. Steube appears not to have read the legislation that he was opining on. That is not a new kind of behavior from my Republican colleagues. I mean, they cast any number of aspersions and make any number of false claims in order to defeat in furtherance of the NRA's agenda, common sense legislation that would actually end gun violence in this country.

And of course, we need to go further, Jake. We need to make sure we're passing legislation to ban assault weapons. There's no good reason for civilians to have weapons of war.

TAPPER: So, when you say high capacity magazines, how many magazines is that?

JONES: Look, I mean, magazines to the tune of the kind that have caused so much carnage in such a short period of time. There is legislation underway that would do nothing to ban individuals from owning firearms, handguns, in the way that the Supreme Court has interpreted the Second Amendment to allow any decision called DC v. Heller in 2008. And so, Mr. Steube is just wrong on the facts.

And the other thing is, if they've got a question about the constitutionality of some of this legislation, which I don't believe they actually do, they can litigate it before the Supreme Court. But our responsibility here in the United States House of Representatives is to pass common sense legislation that we know will end gun violence in this country.

You know, Jake, I was 11 years old when Columbine happened. And I never imagined that somehow someday mass shootings in this country, including at schools, would become the norm, and is unconscionable. And as you mentioned earlier, it is a uniquely American problem. No other country has this problem, and we have got to solve it. I'm never going to stop fighting for New Yorkers and for Americans writ large because we do not have to live this way.

TAPPER: Senate Majority -- I'm sorry, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell says the actual problem causing mass shootings is mental illness and school safety. Texas Senator John Cornyn, who's one of the leading Senate negotiators in these bipartisan talks, tweeted that when it comes to making gun laws more restrictive, it's quote, "not going to happen." Would you be satisfied with legislation that does not restrict gun access in any way?


JONES: Yes, I would not be satisfied with that kind of legislation. But I would still vote for anything that would have the effect of reducing gun violence in this country, even as I push to have up or down votes on everything that we are considering today and more, including a ban on assault weapons, and the imposition of liability on distributors, manufacturers and retailers that are negligently marketing their products to people who have no business possessing firearms in this country.

TAPPER: Congressman Mondaire Jones, thank you so much. Good to see you as always.

It was one of the key lessons of Columbine, police cannot wait, you can't wait to go inside during a mass shooting. So why does it keep happening?

And coming up, the case that helps set the stage for abortion rights in America and the popular podcast exploring what life was like before Roe v. Wade. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, as calls grow for legislation to address the crisis of gun violence in America, gun rights advocates are turning to a familiar line.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Ultimately, as we all know what stops armed bad guys is armed good guys.


TAPPER: Armed good guys, that was Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz at last week's NRA meeting in Houston. Armed good guys.

That is what happened in Uvalde, Texas. 19 armed police officers, instead of confronting one single gunman at Robb Elementary School stood outside the classroom as he killed 19 children and two teachers. Even more good guys with guns stood outside the school and did not go in. Law enforcement experts have called that decision a failure with catastrophic consequences and it was hardly the first time.


TAPPER (voice-over): A parent's worst nightmare playing out in real time, children being killed, calling 911 crying for help with the gunman just feet away. Their moms and dads prevented from running in desperately turning to the police begging them to do something, do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a failure at every level.

TAPPER (voice-over): But officers waiting an hour before going in listening to the gunshots but doing nothing. Nineteen children and two teachers killed.

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER U.S. CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: They forgot why they put on the badge and what they were trained to do.

TAPPER (voice-over): But this is not the first time, last week shooting has renewed scrutiny of law enforcement's response to these mass shootings or sometimes lack of response.

BRANDON HUFF, SENIOR, MAJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: The school resource officer was behind a stairwell wall, just standing there. And he had his gun drawn.

TAPPER (voice-over): Take one of the most infamous examples, the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 14 students and three adults dead.

HUFF: He was pointing his gun at nothing. He's pointing to just the building because of that. And he was just talking on the radio and he never did anything for four minutes. TAPPER (voice-over): The arm deputy in School Resource Officer, Scot Peterson, stood outside for four minutes after hearing gunshots in the school. He never went in.

RON HOSKO, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Four minutes is a lot of time for someone armed with this type of weapon and magazines to kill people. And to hold and do nothing for four minutes absent an order from the chain of command to do so is unthinkable.

TAPPER (voice-over): And he was not the only one to wait. A source from Coral Springs Police Department told CNN when their officers showed up at the scene three Broward County Sheriff's deputies were outside the school as the shooting was underway.

Then there was the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre, one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history with 49 people killed. A federal lawsuit alleges in Orlando, police officer was on the scene to provide security for the club, but instead he abandoned his post, thereby allowing the shooter to not only enter the club once to scout out the area and make sure nobody could stop him, but to then leave Pulse, retrieve his firearms and return to execute his sinister plan to kill people. That lawsuit also names more than 30 Orlando police officers, claiming they stayed outside during the shooting or held witnesses against their will after they ran away from the scene. Experts say there's no good reason why these officers should not be doing more in these situations.

FRANK STRAUB, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL POLICING INSTITUTE'S CENTER FOR TARGETED VIOLENCE PREVENTION: There is a general agreement in law enforcement, there has been since Columbine that we take immediate action.

TAPPER (voice-over): Immediate actions, that was the key takeaway from analysis of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre that killed 20 and stun the world. Police departments nationwide were trained on how to respond to these mass shootings and how to intervene quickly.

STRAUB: You trained our officers to respond to these situations over and over and over again.

TAPPER (voice-over): Another point some experts argue is the police hesitation we've seen to confront a gunman armed with AR-15 style semiautomatic weapons as proof that police unions were right in the 1990s when they supported banning some of these kinds of weapons so they would not be out gunned. That's a ban that expired in 2004.


Fortunately there have been examples of strong responses by police, such as in the 2015 shooting in San Bernardino. A federal review praise law enforcements' handling of that terrorist attack there. Noting that, in spite of the first officers on the scene being under armed and without body armor, they still channel their training to immediately run into danger to save lives. And that quote, "Many of the decisions made by organizational leaders and steps taken by responders to prepare for respond to and recover from the incident can set an example for other organizations as they plan to protect their communities against a similar type of attack." That does not seem to be an example taken by officers in Uvalde, Texas despite having been trained in this. And now, that community mourns left a wonder what if police had acted sooner?

ALFRED GARZA, BIOLOGICAL FATHER OF UVALDE SHOOTING VICTIM AMERIE JO GARZA: Had they gotten there sooner and somebody would have taken immediate action, we might have more of those children here today including my daughter.


TAPPER: And it does sound as though the police in Tulsa responded immediately. A very difficult job.

Coming up next, trying times and serious issues piling on. Why does this White House seem to be struggling just to keep its head above water? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, the White House struggling. The Biden administration being hit by a hurricane of crises, rising inflation, formula shortage, gun violence and ongoing pandemic. CNN Senior Politics Reporter Edward-Isaac Dovere writing today, quote, "Biden can't see a way to address that while also being the looser, happier, more sympathetic, lovingly Onion-parody inspiring aviator-wearing, vanilla chip cone-licking guy. "He has to speak to very serious things," explained one White House aide, "and you can't do that getting ice cream."

Let's discuss with my panel.

Sarah, do you buy this excuse that the problem is that he can't be this avuncular lovable Uncle Joe, and also take on these serious issues?

SARAH LONGWELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: No. I actually think the issue is that you can't combat people's lived experiences with messaging, especially the messaging from this White House. I mean, the fact is, I do focus groups all the time, almost every week. Opening question, how do you think things are going in the country? The answer left, right and center, not well, bad, inflation, things don't work as well as I want them to, my flights are getting canceled, I can't get the things that I want -- you know, supply chains broken.

And when you're up against that, that's just -- you can't give a speech and tell people their life isn't how they're experiencing it. COVID is still rampant. Like that's the central problem.


And Paul, the White House like every White House before it is consistent. This is just a messaging program problem. It's not just a messaging problem. I mean, President Biden can go out and talk about the low unemployment rate, and that's true, and it's accurate, but at the same time, I mean, gas every day, I come on the show and talk about how gas prices are a new record high today. Every day I have to do that.

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: So you go to the doc, you say my shoulders kill me? And she says yes, but your knees are great. She's not a good doc, right? You're not -- just going to make you happy with your doctor. So they tried denial, Sarah is right, 100 percent right.

But I think this week they pivoted off of that. I thought that op-ed he did in the "Wall Street Journal" was quite good. Because it seemed to me he's a Democrats need. Maybe I'm being too hopeful here, and a three part strategy on this, which is first I feel your pain. Not things are better. But yes, by God, they are terrible, and I'm with you.

So empathy, first, I feel your pain, then I can heal your pain. Here's how here's my plan. But then also the thing he hates doing is the other guys are going to worsen your pain. And he touched on that in the op-ed. He said, Rick Scott, the Republican Leader of the Senate campaign committee, has a plan to raise taxes on 75 million working and poor Americans and sunset Social Security and Medicare. Well, I can run on that.


BEGALA: But that's not -- Sarah's right, when you tell people that they're wrong about how they're living their lives, they get angry. (INAUDIBLE) right.

TAPPER: Look, Gloria, listen to the President Biden talking about the problems that he says he can't fix.


BIDEN: But the idea we're going to be able to, you know, click switch, bring down the cost of gasoline is not likely in the near term, nor is it with regard to food.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Didn't those CEO's just tell you that they understood it would have a very big impact?

BIDEN: They did, but I didn't.

I can't outlaw a weapon. I can't, you know, change the background checks. I can't do that.


TAPPER: So that's the President talking about prices too high, the infant formula shortage and how he can't outlaw a weapon. That's -- it's a lot of I can't. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and it's a lot of you're President of the United States, and maybe you can't do everything, but as president, you don't want to tell the American public what you can't do. You want to tell the American public what you are trying to do. And maybe it's those Republicans who are keeping you from doing it.

And by the way, you need to have a united party behind you coming out and saying, this is what we are trying to do, and guess who's stopping us from doing it? This is the reason we have X, Y and Z. I think the President needs to kind of not only clear up his message because he has real problems. It's not the message, but they need to have a party that can figure out what it wants to talk about heading into the election and how they can convince the American public that they actually have done a pretty good job. Look at unemployment numbers, for example.


ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": One aspect that makes this challenging as well beyond messaging is also that just some of the responses, some of the solutions to these issues are hard to digest and also take a while. A good example is when you -- when it comes to inflation or supply chain shortages.


I was just on the trip to South Korea and Japan with the president. And he visits a Samsung factory, he talks about how semiconductors. This plant is building somebody conductors, I have a bill in Congress that will, you know, ramp up that production and that eventually will help with some of these economic issues that you're feeling now.

It is hard for people to digest that, that you are going across the world to provide a relief to their economic pain when they're struggling to still get baby formula back in the country.

So also, when you have the President saying, Look, some of these responses and solutions will take a while and essentially asking people to be patient, when there's a struggle to get basic necessities. That's also going to be a challenge.

TAPPER: And, Sarah, I want to there's been a discussion here about how the idea that the Republicans don't have any better ideas or even they have worse ideas. Take a listen to the economic adviser of the White House, Jared Bernstein talking today with Jim Scuitto.


JARED BERNSTEIN, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: We just haven't heard really any cogent ideas from the other side when it comes to helping with inflation. We've seen lots of lots, lots of complaining and almost no policy.


TAPPER: It's not an inaccurate criticism, really. But does it matter?

SARAH LONGWELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, REPUBLICAN ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: No. When you're the party in power, you're the party in power. Like that's all that matters and Republicans -- yes, Republicans know how to run this game. This is why Mitch McConnell says I'm not putting out a platform. I'm not telling you what I think they want to run. They want to make Biden run on this record on the high gas prices, on inflation. And that may be unfair, but it is -- that's politics.

TAPPER: And let's talk about -- let's talk about guns because Democrats and Republicans seem to have different focuses when they're trying to talk about passing gun reform or doing something to help this spate of mass shootings. Take a listen to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, a Republican and a Democrat.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY) MINORITY LEADER: Discussing how we might be able to come together to target the problem which mental illness and school safety.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): There's mental health issues, but there are mental health issues in every country. Don't tell me that the Americans are thousands of times more mentally ill than people in other countries.


TAPPER: Gloria, do you think the parties are going to be able to come together to pass any sort of -- it's not fair to have Nadler and McConnell as the one? Because you just need 10 Republicans really.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And everybody can agree to a certain extent you want to deal with the mental illness component, but let's not overstate it. I mean, you look at all kinds of studies. And they will say it's 5 to 10 percent of people who do mass shootings have been diagnosed with some mental illness issues beforehand.

So, they have to get to the heart of the matter. And they have to figure out, are you going to do something with universal background checks, red flag laws, whatever? To what extent and I think that's really the issue here, which is to what extent are Republicans willing to say we're going to do universal background checks, but they're going to be stronger than the ones Republicans have signed on to in the past? Otherwise, there's not going to be anything.

KANNO-YOUNGS: You have heard Democrats, though, including Senator Murphy, who's out in front of this lead in these negotiations say that they are open to some more modest changes here as well. What will be interesting is you have now the president that's going to give this speech later on tonight.

Will he now come out in support for something that's more modest, maybe even more incremental if it does mean compromise and showing the American people that the Senate is capable of change? Or will he say look, I demand we need actually strong policy change or to prevent another thing for those that prevent another one of these attacks happening? Those two aren't mutually exclusive, but it will be interesting to hear what he says.

TAPPER: Thanks one and all for being here. Appreciate it. The hidden way the United States is helping Ukraine defend itself from Russia, that's coming up.



TAPPER: In our world lead, 20 percent of the entire country of Ukraine is under Russian control. Twenty percent according to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier today. Zelenskyy says the area controlled by Putin's forces is equivalent to more than 48,000 square miles. That's an area the size of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg combined.

Let's get right to CNN's Matthew Chance. Matthew, a Ukrainian military official says they have no immediate plans for withdrawing troops from Severodonetsk. Does that mean Ukraine is still holding out hope of retaining control of that key city?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I don't think it means they hope they can control it. But it certainly means that there are they're going to fight, you know, street to street to make it as painful as possible for the Russians to declare a full proper victory there.

And in fact, over the past couple of minutes, President Zelenskyy has said that their forces, Ukrainian forces in Severodonetsk have had some success.

Now, that doesn't mean they're winning this. They're not. But they are, you know, really bleeding the Russians in that town. It's an important town for the Russians because it's the last big city in the Luhansk region. And so when it finally falls, the Russians can declare that as a big political win.

But the more military equipment that Moscow has to pour into it, the less able it is to defend other areas that it's occupied elsewhere in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian forces are trying to take advantage of that. They say that they've launched counter offensives in the south of the country, which are bringing more and more villages and settlements back under Ukrainian control and pushing the Russians away elsewhere.

So, you know, because of this big battle that's taking place in Severodonetsk, it's opened up the possibility of counter offensives, counter attacks elsewhere.

TAPPER: So Russian state media reports that more than 1.6 million, 1.6 million people have crossed into Russia from Ukraine and that includes more than 260,000 children.


What do we know about these people? Is that number accurate? Are they going willingly?

CHANCE: You know, that's the question. Look, I mean, if you speak to the Russians about it, they say, look, we've given sanctuary to 1.6 million people. We've saved them. We've evacuated them from this war zone and brought into the safety of Russia, and they're spinning it as a positive.

But of course, you know, on the Ukrainian side, it's the opposite. They're saying they're basically forcibly deporting these people to force these Ukrainians to go and live in camps across Russia, including more than 200,000 children. And President Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian leader, has been talking about this over the past couple of days, how tragic it is, an awful it is that so many hundreds of thousands of people and of children particularly are being taken out of their homeland and resettled elsewhere in Russia, as if Ukraine didn't even exist. And so they're trying to be made to forget about their country.

And so it's one of the big tragedies of this of this conflict. So far, the enormous loss of people on the Ukrainian side. You've seen 5 million people, some of them to Russia, but others 5 million people in total have left the country and settled elsewhere. So it's a big loss for the country.

TAPPER: Matthew Chance in Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you so much. Turning to our tech lead now, the U.S. military's hacking unit confirmed that they conducted cyber operations against Russia in support of Ukraine. This is a rare public acknowledgement from U.S. military officials that is often almost always shrouded in secrecy. Let's get right to CNN's Alex Marquardt, who's bringing us a story.

Alex, what exactly is offensive cyber operations? And does this cross the line in the U.S. directly engaging in war with Russia?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, that line was very clearly laid down by President Biden saying that he did not want U.S. troops inside Ukraine to be fighting against Russian troops. Now are U.S. forces engaging with Russian forces in cyberspace? Yes, they are. The White House is saying, arguing that that does not cross the line, that does not break the pledge.

But here we have a U.S. four star general, General Paul Nakasone is in charge of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command is saying that they have carried out offensive operations in defense of Ukraine who told Sky News that these U.S. operations run the gamut offensive, defensive, as well as information,

Now, we don't know what the targets are. General Nakasone almost never talks about these offensive operations, which is why we're taking note now. One major question, Jake, is going to be whether these targets were inside Russia? Did they target Russian infrastructure inside Russia? Which would be a very big deal. Or were they going after, say Russian targets inside Ukraine? Communications that the Russians are using -- that the Russian military is using. Are they targeting Russian soldiers with information campaigns? These are the questions that we have right now that we likely will not get very clear answers to but it is very clear that U.S. Cyber Command is working hand in glove with the Ukrainians both before and during this war.

TAPPER: And the FBI is now warning that as his work goes on Russia could use cyber capabilities to attack the United States.

MARQUARDT: There have been repeated warnings since the beginning of this war that Russia could carry out significant cyberattacks against the United States. That for a large part has not happened. A senior U.S. Defense Intelligence officials spoke with our colleagues Katie Bo Lillis and Sean Lyngaas and said that that could be because they fear the repercussions. They fear the response by the United States that could target Russia and their efforts in Ukraine.

But you're absolutely right. The FBI director Chris Wray did warn just yesterday that as this war progressives -- progresses, and as it goes badly for Russia that they could carry out he said more destructive attacks against the United States.

TAPPER: All right, Alex Marquardt, thanks so much appreciate it. A popular podcast with past seasons on Biggie and Tupac, the LA riots, the Iraq War. This time tackles the Supreme Court and its monumental Roe v. Wade abortion rights case. I'm going to speak with the show's host. Stay with us



TAPPER: In the health lead today, the final month of the Supreme Court's term is upon us which means a decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could come at any time. So what would the United States look like if abortion was no longer considered a constitutionally protected right? Well, the new season of the hit podcast Slow Burn wants to bring Americans back to the days before Roe.

In fact, the first episode tells the story of Shirley Wheeler, who was the first woman in the U.S. to be convicted of manslaughter for receiving an abortion in 1971 at 23 weeks. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the time that she was in jail, the cops came into her cell showed her pictures of a fetus, said how can you deny having an abortion? Here's your baby. Look at it. This is your baby. She's pretty near hysterical at that point. Manslaughter in Florida carries up to a 20-year penalty.


TAPPER: I sat down with Susan Matthews earlier this week. She's the host of the season of Slates Podcast Slow Burn and is also the news director for Slate.


TAPPER: Susan, thanks so much for joining us. I'm a huge fan of Slow Burn as you know. What made you want to start this season with the story of Shirley Wheeler?


SUSAN MATTHEWS, NEWS DIRECTOR, SLATE: Yes, hi, thanks for having me Jake. So I had heard about Shirley Wheeler story like very briefly, I honestly had read about it on Wikipedia and like two sentences. And I had just never seen the full story.

And so when I started looking into it, I learned so much more about her that made me really want to start the season with her story. And one of those things is that she had a really hard life leading up to what happened with this prosecution. She had a baby, and she had health problems afterwards, which is why she really couldn't continue with the pregnancy.

But the other thing that I learned about Shirley that really made me compelled by her story is that even after all of those things happened to her that you just heard in that clip, she refused to tell, she didn't cooperate with the cops, she wouldn't tell them who had given her the abortion and I thought that that was really strong and really powerful.

TAPPER: Interesting. So the Podcast take us back to pre-Roe v. Wade America to a time where you describe what women went through back in the 60s, women and girls to be able to get an abortion in states where it was illegal. Take a listen.

MATTHEWS: Pat had been referred to a nurse who performed the procedure in a dark apartment. As far as Pat knew, the woman put a clamp on her uterus. She was then sent home to miscarry.

PATRICIA ROMNEY, HAVING AN ABORTION: Then went to the bathroom, you know, bleeding and the embryo expelled. And in some way, all you know, really hush hush. Not having certainly I told my father who I was living with and having to be really quiet about, you know, the pain I was experiencing.

TAPPER: It's really quite riveting and horrifying women going through this and having to keep quiet about their pain in their own home.

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think one of the things that really struck me about this is that normally when you go to a hospital and get a medical procedure, you're told what to expect, you're told to call if anything unusual happens. And in these scenarios, this is what happened with Shirley too after they went through the procedure, they had abnormal amounts of bleeding, it was up to them to judge what was normal, what was not, that's how so many women died by bleeding out and it was up to them to decide when to go to the hospital, when to risk going to the hospital. And you have to think about if you're going to get in trouble for doing all of that along the way, which I think is just really scary to think about. TAPPER: Yes, I mean, this is one of the arguments that abortion rights advocates make, which is banning abortion doesn't end abortion. It just drives women and girls into places that are less safe and conditions that are dangerous. And it wasn't just women, of course, who had to get an abortion and secret abortion providers were terrified of getting caught. Take a listen.

MATTHEWS: Abortion providers took all kinds of precautions to protect themselves from arrest and prosecution. Often, patients wouldn't know their names, or even see them. Women would be told to wait on a street corner to be picked up, and then be blindfolded once they got in the car.

TAPPER: So when you look at the laws that are being passed in Oklahoma, in Mississippi and Texas and elsewhere, do you think that the past is prologue that this is what is going to happen?

MATTHEWS: I think that there are some important differences that we need to acknowledge. And one of those is medication abortion, which women didn't have access to in this time. But I also think that there are a lot of similarities. And even when you think about, you know, medication, abortion, you have to have the knowledge to know how to find that.

And in so many of these stories what I found, particularly with Shirley is that when women are young, and they're lower income, when they're alone, they don't have the information. And so I think that even with some of the differences between then and now, you definitely see that there are going to be a lot of similarities of women taking this into their own hands, trusting people that they might not necessarily need to trust.

And so I definitely think that there's a lot in this season that we're going to learn from that is something that if what we expect is going to happen with the Supreme Court goes through that that's going to be something that we're going to be talking about in the months to come.

TAPPER: You were working on this series before that document leaked.


TAPPER: It was actually when Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed. And you just did the math that you've got to work, right?

MATTHEWS: Yes, basically, I've been covering jurisprudence for slate for a long time. I usually work as an editor. And we basically knew when that happened that that there were the votes to overturn Roe. And so we started thinking about how we wanted to cover that. And for a long time, we thought about the fact that when they did overturn Roe, they weren't going to be so explicit about it that they were going to say, you know, oh, well, we're just moving it back to 15 weeks or something like that.

And I think that what happened with this leak, which happened in May, I mean, I wasn't expecting the leak at all. And with the leak, what you really see is that they are being really explicit about what they want to do. So in some ways, I think that it has helped bring attention to this issue, because for such a long time, the way that it's talked about is a little bit like oh, don't worry, it'll be fine.

With that opinion from Sam Alito, I mean it's really -- he's really explicit that Roe was incorrectly decided. He's really explicit about just how far back they want to go.


So we're waiting to see what exactly is going to happen in the final opinion. But when I saw that I kind of felt like well, at least they're saying what they're doing now in a way that that's the thing that I hadn't anticipated. But I think that anyone who had heard the arguments in Dobbs knew that the votes are there to overturn Roe.

TAPPER: Yes, indeed. The podcast is Slow Burn from Slate, Susan Matthews, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MATTHEWS: Thank you.

TAPPER: And we'll be right back.


TAPPER: Finally, the White House says COVID vaccines for kids under five could be available as soon as June 21.