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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Average Price Of Gas Hits New Record High; Jan. 6 Select Committee Brings In Former TV Executive For First Public Hearing For Prime Time; Pentagon Investigating Blast In U.S. Base In Syria As May Be Insider Attack; U.S. And South Korea Launched Missiles In Response To North Korea's Missile Launch; Nigerian Lawmaker: At Least 50 Dead In Church Massacre; Russia Strikes Kyiv In New Round Of Missile Attacks; Inflation, Gas Prices Pose Major Midterm Problems For Dems; Dems Outraged At Georgia GOP Candidate Over Gas Voucher Giveaway. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 06, 2022 - 17:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The national average for a gallon of gas jumped to $4.87 today. President Biden's top aides are arguing there's little he can do to lower prices on his own.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: The price of gasoline is not set by a dial in the Oval Office.

COLLINS: There are now 10 states where the average price of gas is $5 or higher, and three states are only pennies away from that number. Georgia, now the only place in the U.S. with an average below $4.30 per gallon. And oil is only getting more expensive even after the group of oil producing nations known as OPEC Plus announced plans to ramp up production as President Biden plans a trip to Saudi Arabia next month.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That's something for OPEC Plus to decide. Clearly, Saudi Arabia chairs that.

COLLINS: With five months to go before the midterm elections, a new poll from ABC shows that most Americans say the economy, inflation, and rising gas prices are the most important issues in deciding their vote. With numbers like that in mind, Republican lawmakers are ramping up their attacks on Biden's handling of the economy.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Has no idea how to deal with inflation, has no plan to deal with inflation. All he does is blame everybody else, including putin for his inflation.

COLLINS: Even some democratic lawmakers are now urging the Biden administration to do more.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I support everything the president is doing, but I don't think it's enough. My constituents don't think it's enough.

COLLINS: White House aides pushing back on accusations that the president isn't doing everything he can to lower prices.

GINA RAIMONDO, COMMERCE SECRETARY: President Biden gets up every day and goes to bed every night thinking about what can we do to get a lid on inflation.

COLLINS: Now, Jake, today, officials here at the White House are also noting that this is not just a United States problem. It's a global challenge when it comes to higher prices, higher gas prices. Of course, they said they don't have anything to announce when it comes to what President Biden himself can do to lower prices here in the United States, further steps than what he's already taken so far like releasing reserves from the strategic reserves.

But Jake, of course, that's a big question given it was President Biden himself who last week was pretty blunt saying there's not much he can do in the near term.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Kaitlan Collins from the White House, thanks so much. Let's get to CNN's Matt Egan who is live in New York outside a gas station. And Matt, you have been speaking to customers filling up their tanks. I had my first $100 fill-up over the weekend. What are you hearing from these New Yorkers about the rising gas prices?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jake, people are stunned by the dizzying pace of these price increases. If it feels like every day is a new record, you're not imagining it because 27 of the last 28 days the national average has been at a new record high, today, $4.87 a gallon. That is up 25 cents in just the past week. And here at this gas station in Manhattan, people are paying $6 a gallon. As you can imagine, they had some strong views about this price spike.


STEVE SILVER, NEW YORK DRIVER: I feel that our friends in Europe are taking the brunt of all this. To complain about a few dollars more without thinking about what the rest of the world is going through and the sacrifices that people in other nations are making, and they are really getting hit by high energy costs, I say, suck it up, drive less, conserve in other ways.

CLEAVIE JORDAN, NEW YORK DRIVER: I don't know when these prices are going down. It's driving me crazy. It's driving me -- like I'm looking at this thing right now, $5.99. Are you serious? I don't know what to do, man. But what can you do? You're driving the car, you have to put gas in the car.


EGAN: You can really hear the frustration in that man's voice. Like so many others, he realizes there's really no way to escape this. And we should note, Jake, that on an inflation-adjusted basis, gas prices would actually have to go to $5.40 a gallon to take out the summer 2008 record. But frankly, that is little consolation to drivers here, and not as bad as 2008 is not exactly a winning economic message.

TAPPER: No, it's not. Matt Egan, thanks so much. Joining us to discuss is CNN Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon and Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics analytics. Mark, let's start with you. You told CNN this morning that you're feeling more optimistic about the ability of the U.S. economy to get inflation under control without causing a downturn. What makes you think that?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: Well, you know, I think the key here is the pandemic because that's been disrupting global supply chains and causing prices for a range of products to go skyward and vehicle prices would be the poster child for that, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has sent oil prices and other commodity prices skyward.

So, if you think that the worst of the pandemic is behind us and that the worst of the fallout from the Russian aggression is at hand, I think it is, then I do think prospects for lower inflation is good. Now, having said that, not next month, maybe, you know, not even towards the end of next year, but this time next year, I expect we get some relief.


TAPPER: You also note the one catch would be a further spike in oil prices. If that happens, that could mean we're headed into a recession, you think?

ZANDI: Yeah, I mean, if -- you know, obviously, what's going on in Russia/Ukraine can go down lots of different paths. Each one feels a little darker than the other. So, you know, if that goes off the rails and you see further disruptions to oil and natural gas, agriculture and other commodity prices, and say, oil goes to -- right now, it's trading at $120 per barrel. Let's say it goes to $150. I think that means $6 per gallon of regular unleaded. I think that would be too much to bear.

So, you know, that frustration we heard that is to be magnified many times over and that would be very difficult to overcome. That would be recession. So, we -- Jake, we need a little bit of luck here on the pandemic and the Russian invasion, some adept policy making by the fed in raising interest rates and we'll make our way through it, but a lot of risk around that.

TAPPER: Rahel, one of Wall Street's top CEOs, Larry Fink of BlackRock, says he expects prices to stay high for years. Take a listen.


LARRY FINK, CEO, BLACKROCK: Now, the greater recognition that inflation is not transitory, it is probably with us for a number of years. And I'm personally not blaming the Federal Reserve for where they -- where we are right now. But I believe most of the problems we're living with today are more policy generated and supply generated.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Is that the consensus view?

RAHEL SOLOMON, Well, I think in terms of how long inflation will stay, it's even the fed's view, right? Even the fed's own projections is that inflation will remain elevated above its target until 2024. So, it is likely that inflation will remain with us for some years, perhaps not as high, hopefully not as high.

In terms of supply and demand, of course, it was a perfect storm. You had on the one hand supply chain issues because of the pandemic. On the other hand, you had demand that came in stronger than many people expected. Some would even say perhaps because of stimulus measures out of Washington. I think in terms of what happens now, even Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell has said getting inflation under control is his top priority, and will likely cause some pain.

TAPPER: Yeah, interesting. Mark, yesterday, the Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, told me that, "the Biden administration is doing everything we possibly can to get inflation under control," unquote. Do you agree? Are they doing everything they possibly can?

ZANDI: Yeah, in the near term, Jake, yeah. I mean, it's all about oil prices. And you know, they've released reserves from the strategic petroleum reserve (ph) as much as they could possibly release because of the capacity and the refining industry. You saw the president headed off to Saudi Arabia because that's the one country on the planet that has some excess capacity to produce oil.

You know, the one -- and this is going to be a little controversial, but the one thing they might consider is Iran. Iran has 2 million, 2.5 million barrels a day, which is a considerable amount of oil. We just need to strike a deal with them. I know there's lots of pluses and minuses there, but that may be one thing. But other than that, you know, it's -- this is difficult. I mean, Russia's invasion of Ukraine has taken a lot of oil off the market, and that's a big void that has to be filled. That means higher prices until the void is filled.

TAPPER: So, Rahel, Secretary Raimondo was noncommittal when I asked her about the possibility of lifting these Trump era tariffs on steel and aluminum, which obviously a lot of the tariffs, not just steel and aluminum -- a lot of them ultimately the consumers pick up the tab for that. Explain to our audience what impact it would have to lift the Trump era tariffs?

SOLOMON: I think it's interesting. The Peterson Institute actually studied what impact rolling back all of the Trump era tariffs would have. And it claims it would shave as much as 1.3 percent off inflation. Larry Summers puts that at about $800 annually per American family. That's pretty significant.

That said, the asterisk and the elephant in the room is that would be all of the Trump era tariffs, as we know, the White House is not considering rolling back all of the tariffs. That said, any rollback would see prices lower in the year that they were cut back, and would create some relief for consumers. And even it's -- you know, even within the president's party, there is support growing for that. Treasury Secretary Yellen saying recently rolling back the tariffs would help and they have been hurting American consumers and businesses. So, there is a growing support for that.

TAPPER: All right, Rahel, Mark, thanks to both of you. I appreciate it.

First on CNN, an American service member suspected of attacking other Americans at a U.S. base overseas. That story is ahead. Plus, it's the big week for the January 6th Select House Committee. It will start their first primetime public hearings. They say there will be, quote, "chilling revelations." We'll have a preview next.




TAPPER: In our Politics Lead, today, we're getting a new look at the January 6th Select Committee's plans ahead of its first public hearing in just three days. The committee bringing in the former president of ABC News, James Goldston, a former producer and executive producer, to help produce the hearings and make them more compelling to the American people, presumably.

The hearings, we should note, these are not just about the mob that stormed the Capitol that day. This is about a months-long campaign and conspiracy to undermine democracy in America. This is about a president and those around him desperate to hold on to power at any cost, even if that means destroying the American experiment.

CNN's Evan Perez joins me now live. And Evan, will this look like a traditional congressional hearing?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, that's the point. They're exactly -- they're trying to make sure this does not look like other congressional hearings. Bringing in a TV executive who can help produce television, which is -- this first hearing is going to be in primetime.


And so, one of the things we're told is that the committee has been working behind the scenes. They want to produce a multimedia presentation so that people can be brought back to that day a year and a half ago on January 6th, the violence, of course, that we saw on that day, but also behind that, the weeks before that event, which have obviously manifested itself on January 6th, but the weeks before that during which, according to what the committee has found so far, there was an effort to try to lay the groundwork for what we saw on January 6th.

Jamie Raskin, one of the members of the January 6th committee, was talking to "The Washington Post" to tell us a little bit more what to expect.


REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The committee has found evidence of concerted planning and premeditated activity. The idea that all of this was just a rowdy demonstration that spontaneously got a little bit out of control is absurd. You don't almost knock over the U.S. government by accident.


PEREZ: And Jake, you know, part of what the committee is trying to do here is to present people from inside the former administration, people who were working, for instance, under Vice President Pence's staff, who will help draw that picture of exactly what was going on behind the scenes to make January 6th happen.

TAPPER: And Evan, we're also learning the Justice Department is bringing new charges against the head of the far right Proud Boys and four other leaders. Tell us more.

PEREZ: That's right, Jake. These are new charges against Enrique Tarrio and four other leaders of the Proud Boys and these charges include seditious conspiracy. Now, that's a very rarely used charge by the Justice Department. We also know that 11 members of another far right group, the Oath Keepers, are also charged with seditious conspiracy.

One of the interesting things in this new document, the new indictment that was handed up today by the grand jury here in Washington, is that we know -- we can see that there is a cooperator, one of the leaders of for Proud Boys, who is an important witness as part of the case, Jake.

TAPPER: Evan Perez, thanks so much. Joining us now to discuss is Elie Honig, who is former federal prosecutor. He's a CNN senior legal analyst.

Let's talk about what Evan was just talking about, the Justice Department today bringing seditious conspiracy charges against the head of the Proud Boys and four other leaders in the group. What does that mean? What is seditious conspiracy?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, under the federal criminal logic, seditious conspiracy means planning to use force to interrupt a function of government, in this case, the counting of the electoral votes by Congress.

What I think is interesting heading into the hearings, we've now seen the leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy. One of the big questions I have is, will the committee establish a link between Oath Keepers and Proud Boys on the one hand, perhaps through intermediaries into the inner circles of power.

TAPPER: Because they were -- they weren't swept up in the emotion, they -- presumably, the case will be made that these far right groups, these paramilitary groups, were there with a plan -- HONIG: Exactly, the planning --

TAPPER: -- to stop the counting.

HONIG: Planning is going to go into this and the use of force is what differentiates this from the charges already on the books against the Proud Boys.

TAPPER: Interesting. So, we've also learned the House Select Committee is bringing in a former news executive, James Goldston. I should disclose I worked with him at ABC, to produce the public hearings. What does that tell you about what they're trying to achieve?

HONIG: It tells me the committee recognizes there is a theatrical element to this and there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. When I was a new prosecutor, I was taught job number one is to be clear, concise, and credible, but you also need to be compelling. If you can't tell the story in a way that interests and engages your audience, you will lose them. And this is a persuasive exercise.

I think on the other hand, if you're the committee, you don't want this to look overly slick, overly Hollywood. It doesn't have to look like Top Gun. You want to find that sweet spot in the middle. And I think the way to do that is give us the best stuff right up front, get right to the point. Let the evidence do the talking. We don't need to hear winding floor speeches from members of Congress. I don't think they do much. I think the powerful evidence will be the texts, the recordings, and the first hand testimony.

TAPPER: Trump is telling his allies on Capitol Hill to be prepared to push back on the hearings. What do you expect the Trump narrative to be?

HONIG: Good question. What's so interesting about these hearings is the committee is bipartisan, but these hearings are going to be really one-sided in a way we're not used to in a trial. You have the lawyers from both sides. In an impeachment, Donald Trump had his defense team there. Even in your normal congressional hearings, you have the majority party, but the minority party is making its point.

So, Trump is faced with this dilemma of remain silent, maybe don't give it any oxygen or fight back. I think we know enough about Donald Trump to know he's going to fight back. I don't know what the counter- narrative is or the truthful counter-narrative is to January 6. I think there will be political sort of deflection and claiming it's a witch hunt and hoping to just pull focus.


TAPPER: It does seem like the decision by House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to boycott the hearings, thus allowing Speaker Pelosi to pick two Republicans who were outraged at Trump's behavior, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, that was a tactical mistake on McCarthy's part because now he doesn't have defenders for the president on the committee. HONIG: I think that's right. And let's remember this will be one sided because Republicans took that one-sided tack.

TAPPER: Yeah. All right. Elie Honig, thank you so much, really interesting stuff.

Matching missile for missile, the United States and South Korea responding to North Korea with their own missile launch. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Turning now to our World Lead and brand-new reporting that is first on CNN. The U.S. military is currently investigating a possible insider attack on a U.S. base in Syria. That's according to Pentagon officials who say an American service member is suspected of setting off the explosives in April.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live for us at the Pentagon now. Barbara, tell us about this investigation.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, this really is shocking. Army and Air Force criminal investigators have told CNN in a statement they have identified a possible suspect, a U.S. servicemember, in these explosions at a U.S. military base in Northeastern Syria back in early April.

This was April 7th at a base called Green Village, several U.S. -- dozen U.S. troops are there, and explosions went off in the middle of the night. Now, originally, the U.S. military thought it was incoming rocket or mortar fire. But they looked at the explosive pattern and a week later they corrected themselves in another public statement, saying, no, it wasn't incoming fire, but it was explosions set off on the base in the middle of the night.

They have been working on an investigation ever since. And, now, today, they say a U.S. servicemember identified as the possible suspect. We should say immediately no charges have been filed. Investigators say they don't know if they will be able to develop enough evidence for a conviction in a court of law, innocent until proven guilty, of course, but they're looking at a U.S. servicemember for this incident.

It would be the first insider attack against U.S. troops in Syria and four U.S. servicemembers suffered traumatic brain injury in those explosions. They were returned to duty, but these people were wounded by apparently, if convicted, a fellow service member. Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Barbara Starr at the Pentagon for us. Thank you so much with that breaking news.

Also in our World Lead, a rocket response, the U.S. and South Korea fired eight ballistic missiles into the waters off the Korean Peninsula earlier today, matching the number launched by North Korea a day earlier and delivering a swift and stern warning, the U.S. hopes, to Pyongyang, which has intensified its provocations by conducting 17 missile tests so far this year.

CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us live from Seoul, South Korea. Paula, what are you learning about this show of force from the U.S. and South Korea?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, this is about as close as you can get to the meaning of the word tit for tat. After eight missiles were fired by North Korea Sunday morning local time, less than 24 hours later, South Korea and the U.S. had fired eight surface- to-surface missiles.

Now, all of these missiles were fired off the east coast of the Korean Peninsula. They went into the waters of the east coast. And what was interesting about what North Korea had done on the weekend, which the Japan Defense minster called unprecedented, was the fact it was a large number of missiles from multiple sites. The South Koreans believe there were four different locations they had fired these missiles from within 40 minutes.

So, this clearly why the U.S. and south Korea felt that they needed to have what they would call a show of force, sending a message to North Korea. The Joint Chiefs of Staff here in Seoul said that message is that no matter how many locations Pyongyang fires these missiles from the U.S. and South Korea have the ability and readiness to immediately strike with precision.

Now, we have heard from the South Korean President Yoon Seok-youl. I spoke to him a couple weeks ago about how he was going to be far harder and far more stern and firm when it comes to provocations, as he puts it, from North Korea, saying that the previous administration's tack of negotiation clearly had failed.

Now, it is worth pointing out this isn't the first time that there has been this kind of respond from the U.S. and South Korea. It also happened at the last launch from North Korea back on may 25th. Jake.

TAPPER: And Paula, there's growing concern that the Kim Jong-un regime in North Korea is preparing a nuclear test now. What do we know about that?

HANCOCKS: So, the latest we have heard on this is from the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying on Monday they believed they had indications one of the audits (ph), one of entrances to the underground tunnel where these tests have taken place in the past has been reopened. They believe it's in possible preparation for a seventh underground nuclear test.

It's similar to what we have been hearing from U.S. and South Korea intelligence and military agencies saying that they believe preparations are effectively done. They think that they are ready to be able to carry this nuclear test out whenever they want to, which means now that it is a political decision for the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, when and if he wants to carry out this test.

[17:30:00] The IAEA, they're pointing out that this would be a cause for serious concern, pointing out as well that it would violate United Nations Security Council resolutions as to these missile launches. Jake?

TAPPER: Paula Hancocks in Seoul, South Korea. Thanks so much for that.

Also on our world lead, a horrific massacre at a church in Nigeria. Attackers stormed into a Catholic church in the city of Owo on Sunday during mass. The shooter's firing guns sporadically killing at least 50 people, according to a local lawmaker.

David McKenzie is live for us in Johannesburg. David, can you walk us through what authorities say happened?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, witnesses describe the horrific scene and some of these images I must warn viewers are disturbing of gunman coming with motorcycles to their Catholic churches and Frances in the south western part of the country, first throwing in explosive devices of some kind into the pack pews and then shooting indiscriminately from both outside the church they say as well as inside the church for many, many minutes.

Now we received these heartbreaking photographs from a daughter of two victims of this attack, the Aginockos (ph), she said were the lifeblood of the church. The father was a member of the church and a leader there. She found out that he had been killed, died from his injuries and later from the priest that her mother died as well. And Nigerians are fed up with the level of danger and violence in the country.

This state it must be said, though, has not seen these kinds of massacres before, even though other parts of the country have faced this kind of insecurity. Jake?

TAPPER: What do we know about the attackers? Have policed yet identified any sort of motive?

MCKENZIE: Precious little at this point, Jake, there is no motive given and no group has claimed responsibility for this awful attack. As I said, unusual for this part of Nigeria. In the north and northeast, there's been many years of insecurity and Nigerians have faced kidnappings, murder, and wholesale attacks of schools, public transport, all kinds of public spaces. And there are really is a feeling at this point in Nigeria that the government just cannot protect its people. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, David McKenzie, thank you so much.

Russia striking around Ukraine's capital for the first time in weeks. The message Putin might be trying to send to the rest of the world, that's next.


[17:36:29] In our world lead, a weekend of heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine and the first Russian strikes on Kyiv in weeks damaging one military and one civilian facility. Ukrainian officials say one person was injured and the real target was Ukraine's economy and the Ukrainian people.

CNN's Matthew Chance is in southern Ukraine in Kryvyi Rih. Matthew, what's Russia's strategy behind this new attack on the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake. Difficult to say. But what the Russians say is that they believe this facility had been used to store that military equipment that had been given to Ukraine by the United States and other Western powers to help it sort of defend its territory in the east of the country. The Ukrainians deny that. They say this is simply a train repair shop that was hit and was actually used to repair cargo trains that Ukraine has been using to transport some of its grain that it can't ship out of the country by rail to much needed markets overseas and across land by rail.

So they're saying it was an attack on the transport infrastructure. There's been an assessment by the United Kingdom. They said look, it's most likely to have been an attempt by Russia to prevent heavy weapons getting to the front line. It also though, Jake, sends a message potentially, that even though the fighting is concentrated in the east of the country in the Donbas region, the Russians still have an eye on Kyiv and still have ambitions potentially towards the Ukrainian capital.

TAPPER: And the battle for several Donetsk is also intensifying as we've been discussing in the show. Ukraine's military says Russia is funneling substantial resources into this fight. Are Ukrainian forces at this point out numbered there?

CHANCE: I think they're outnumbered and I think Ukrainian military sort of freely admit that, but they are fighting street to street, still making it as painful as possible for the Russians to take full control of that city and to make it as hard as possible for Russia to declare a political victory there. Because Severodonetsk is last city in the Luhansk region that is not yet fully under Russian control when they win it. And I think it's a question of when not if. It will be a political victory for them. But the Ukrainian hope is that will bleed, the effort will bleed the Russians as much as possible to make them less likely to carry out offensive operations elsewhere, Jake

Matthew Chance in Ukraine for us, thank you so much.

Coming up, it's still the economy stupid. How badly will it hurt the Democrats this fall?



TAPPER: Topping our politics lead, a little more than five months remain before American voters head to the polls for the critical midterm elections. It is looking less and less likely the Democrats will be able to keep control of the House of Representatives where Democrats currently only hold a 12-seat majority.

CNN Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten joins us live. Harry, if you're a Republican running for re-election or trying to unseat the Democrat, things are looking pretty good, right?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I would say they're looking very good from a historical context. So basically, I took the best Republican positions on the generic congressional ballot at this point in midterm cycles since 1938. That generic ballot, basically, as would you vote for the generic Republican or generic Democrat in your district.

And guess what? Since 1938, the Republican two-point lead on the generic congressional ballot is the best position for Republicans at this point in any midterm cycle in over 80 years. It beats 2010 when Republicans were up a point. It beats 14, 2000, 1998, where Democrats led by point. And in all of those four prior examples that make this list of the top five, look at that, who won a majority? It was the Republicans who won a majority.

Now, of course, the election is not being held tomorrow and we'll see sometimes history isn't always prologue. But, but my estimate for the 2023 House makeup if the election were held today, which again, it isn't, we still have five months, five months from tomorrow would be Republicans 236 seats to 241 seats, Democrats 194 to 199. That's based off of a formula of seat to seat race ratings from both the Cook Political Report and inside elections.


TAPPER: That is a stamping or that would be a stamping I guess.

ENTEN: Yes, it would.

TAPPER: We'll see if it happens. A lot of the Democrats problems, it seems, can be linked back to the President, right, who is severely underwater?

ENTEN: Yes. You know, midterm penalty, it's about where the President is. And essentially, OK, look at the President's approval rating at this point since World War II, in midterms in which his party gains or loses less than five House seats, which is essentially what Democrats need to maintain control.

And 1962, the President's approval rating J.F. case was 71 percent. Bill Clinton in 1998, it was 63 percent. In 2002 cycle, 72 percent for George W. Bush. Joe Biden's is just 41 percent. Why is his approval rating so low? Well, I think this slide will give you the answer.

This is the net approval rating on the economy at this point in a presidency. Joe Biden's minus 26 points, that is the lowest type, the lowest for any president in the last 40 plus years.

TAPPER: So speaking of the economy, just how big of a drag is this economic situation shaping up to be for Democrats on the ballot this fall?

ENTEN: I think it's the big drag. Why is it the big drag? Because most important issue and your vote for Congress? What tops the list? Not surprisingly, with those gas prices is high and the inflation is high as it is the economy at 48 percent, that beats gun violence at 17. Abortion at 12, immigration which Republicans had really want to run on, all the way down at 6 percent.

And here, I think is the big takeaway. Views on your -- on the economy are closer to, look at this, Republican Party 51 percent, Democratic Party 31 percent. Republicans lead on the issue that's most important. No wonder they have a historic advantage on the generic congressional ballot, Jake.

TAPPER: Harry Enten, thank you so much. Fascinating stuff.

ENTEN: Bye, Jake.

TAPPER: Let's discuss. So Margaret Hoover, let me start with you. Harry just reported, no president has ever recovered from a 40 percent approval rating --


TAPPER: -- in time to salvage and midterm elections --


TAPPER: -- for his party. What would it take for Biden to pull it off?

HOOVER: Well, I'm not the one who's in the business of giving Democrats --

TAPPER: Right.

HOOVER: -- advice. The economy would have to change.

TAPPER: Significantly.

HOOVER: I mean, it's about the -- I mean it --

TAPPER: You can say --

HOOVER: It's about the economy, stupid.

TAPPER: Right.

HOOVER: This is why the Republican House majority believes will be the majority and is already measuring the drapes.


HOOVER: So I just said double down on all your cliche.


HOOVER: Careful.

TAPPER: So I told her my list of cliches to avoid and she snaps three. But I didn't say you had to avoid them. I based to my staff to avoid them.

But John, let me go to your point.


TAPPER: This one. So a new ABC News/Ipsos poll asked Americans about tell her not to do something before going on here.


TAPPER: So this new poll asked Americans about the single most important issue for them when voting this fall, nearly half said it's the economy including gas and inflation.

AVLON: Sure.

TAPPER: Democrats have won in pocketbook, kitchen table issues before, why is this different?

AVLON: Well because of the inflation and gas prices. Look, you know, if you look at these numbers for Democrats, you wouldn't think unemployment was at 3.6 percent. You wouldn't think that this many jobs would have been gained under the first, you know, year and a half of the Biden presidency. But it's the fact that the gas prices and inflation take money out of people's pocketbooks. So they're not feeling good about the economy, despite objectively good economic news.

And look, it's not a surprise, there's going to be a pendulum swing to the opposition party in the midterms. Let's, I mean, let's -- that's baked in the cake.

TAPPER: It always had.

AVLON: You look at 1962 our front area stock there, of the Cuban Missile Crisis. You know, in 2002, you had the wake of 911. And Bush doing very well in that. So this is -- the pendulum swing with this narrow margin in the house is going to move towards Republicans.

TAPPER: But Margaret, I mean, you saw what Harry's predicting in terms of a pendulum stock.

HOOVER: A lot.

TAPPER: That is a giant pendulum stock.

HOOVER: It's a gigantic one. And the question is, if it is that big, it will be -- to a degree sustainable into 2024 into the next cycle, right? So this is about Republicans picking up gains that they can hold on to for future cycles. Even if they lose a little bit going into 2024, you're not going to lose the House. I mean, that's why Kevin McCarthy believes he's the next Speaker of the House. And by the way, what it also means for the Senate is Mitch McConnell's feeling very strongly even if he has some very untraditional Senate nominees in some of these states.

TAPPER: Well, and let's talk --


TAPPER: -- about that because Herschel Walker is the Republican nominee in the Georgia Senate race trying to unseat Democrat Raphael Warnock. The New York Times reports the Democrats in voting rights group are, quote unquote, outraged after a pack that supports Walker not him, not him or his campaign himself, but a pack that supports him were giving out $25 gas vouchers and Herschel Walker pamphlets at a gas station.

Now look, I -- that seems very questionable to me that there's any legal problems --


TAPPER: But that is a vivid way to campaign --

AVLON: Sure.

TAPPER: -- when people are feeling pain at the pump.


AVLON: Yes, particularly when your candidate Herschel Walker has a hard time making a coherent case on a lot of policies. You supplement that by saying he's Republican. Here's a gas card. Is it unethical? Sure. Is it illegal? Probably not. And everyone gets involved the outrage of Olympics this stuff, and they got to put that down.

HOOVER: It's -- this is -- it is the equivalent of the eighth grader running for class president handing out candy bars.

TAPPER: Right?

HOOVER: Right? Like, that's what he's doing. OK, it's like, I want to be that nice. It's not trading candy bars for votes. That's not --

AVLON: Well --

HOOVER: -- that would be illegal.

TAPPER: Right. Or even for voter registration. They didn't even do for voter registration.

HOOVER: Yes, yes, yes. This is just like --

TAPPER: The Herschel Walker pack --

AVLON: Yes. TAPPER: -- they did this, they put out a legal memo saying this is why we think it's OK --

AVLON: Right.

TAPPER: -- to do. I mean, they did do their homework.

AVLON: Yes. Which is not a given. But there -- to your larger point, there are a lot of dodgy candidates that are being put forward in these primaries that run the risk of sort of a Sharron Angle redux (ph) going back to the Tea Party, or seats that shouldn't be winnable where Republicans are not putting forward their best candidates because of the dynamics affecting their party.

Now, look --

HOOVER: That's right.

AVLON: -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, these are seats that are really jump balls right now. I think Herschel Walker versus Warnock Democrats feel better about that, than they have any right to given the cycle they're running.

TAPPER: Well, that's the issue, right? I mean, like, you can say, a Sharron Angle for people who don't know.


TAPPER: This Sharon Angle was a Republican who was perceived as a little out there. And in a very close election, Harry Reid --


HOOVER: And Harry Reid of Nevada, yes.

TAPPER: -- Democrat was able to defeat her. And it's the idea of like, getting the weakest possible Republicans to be your opponent. And Mitch McConnell has warned about that.



HOOVER: He has, but --

TAPPER: -- he supports Herschel Walker.

HOOVER: Well, and --

TAPPER: He supports Herschel Walker. He doesn't think that.

HOOVER: Because it's Georgia. And he believes that the fundamentals of the economy, gas prices, and even frankly, probably what people anticipate will happen the Supreme Court will help him in Georgia. I mean, the issue just to pull another, you know, obscure Republican candidate, out of the woodwork, if you recall, Todd Akin in Missouri, recall, he was the candidate who talked about legitimate rape --

TAPPER: The legitimate rape, yes.

HOOVER: -- legitimate rape, right. And that became an albatross for Republicans across the country. It ended up really representing Republicans badly. I think there is a real risk with candidates like Herschel Walker, saying things that become a risk for the Republican brand across the country.

TAPPER: But let me let but let me posit another jury --

AVLON: Sure.

TAPPER: -- which is the Overton window, which is the evolution of that, which is acceptable discourse has changed so significantly, especially in Republican Party politics --


TAPPER: -- but also Democratic Party politics as well. So significantly the Sharon Angle or the candidate you just -- or Todd Akin might win --

AVLON: Maybe --

TAPPER: -- in 2022.

AVLON: Maybe so. Things that were outliers now are within the ministry. Yes.


AVLON: But you could also see the Supreme Court poll it's in effect at Todd Akin. I mean, look, I mean, you know, I -- the downstream effect of Overton --

TAPPER: Wait, wait a minute. Explain what that means.

HOOVER: No, no, no, that's too far.

TAPPER: What does the Supreme Court points at Todd Akin.

AVLON: If the Supreme Court overturns Roe and all of a sudden you have states banning abortion, even the cases of rape and incest, that's going to, that's going to -- you're going to have a much higher midterm than normal. I think you do (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: I think women and people who support abortion rights are going to turn --

AVLON: I think there is a high likelihood. Now is that going to outpace inflation as an issue? I don't know. We're too far out. People tend to vote pocketbook. But I wouldn't underestimate if Roe is overturned, what that does to energize the Democratic base?

TAPPER: I don't know that that's pulling Akin though. I mean, that's (INAUDIBLE).

HOOVER: That's a little bit too much.

AVLON: You're going to have states debating legitimate rape with regard to --


TAPPER: I say --- you say gun control is listed. It was listed as the second most important issue and what the -- what Mr. Enten just showed us. I want to play some sound. Here is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, usually an NRA guy.


TAPPER: Although he's been shown to show willingness to push our gun restrictions. Here he is talking to Manu Raju.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): One of the two things that could have prevented this, an age requirement would have prevented an 18-year-old and basically a red flag law that's basically intended to try to help a person get some mental help.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that there should be a ban on assault weapons, ban on AR-15?

MANCHIN: You know, talking about bans, I wouldn't have a problem on looking at some of these things.


TAPPER: So, I mean, that is an NRA guy in an NRA state,

HOOVER: Well famously ran for Senate by pointing a gun at a target of Obamacare --


HOOVER: -- and shoring it up.


TAPPER: No, it wasn't an AR-15 as my own (INAUDIBLE).

HOOVER: No, no, no, it was a shotgun, right?

TAPPER: Right.

HOOVER: But he's a gun guy. He's legitimate guy.

TAPPER: Right.

HOOVER: And so I think that's significant. And it's also significant because no deal happens without Manchin. TAPPER: Right.

HOOVER: And if you're going to get to 60, you have to have Manchin. But that's just -- it does show, I mean, there are good reports from Manu and others that there's real deals happening behind the scenes. And I do hope that something gets done in the next two weeks.

AVLON: Well given that Manchin to me was the bipartisan bill that ultimately got voted down after Sandy Hook. 54 votes in favor but couldn't pass Republican filibuster. If you can get broad agreement on things like red flag laws which address the mental health issue, if you can get raising the age requirement, that may be the outlines of what's doable right now.



AVLON: And that would be a step forward given the impasse we've been at (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: Every time we do this I think where are the cocktails. We need to get (INAUDIBLE) on over cocktails and I always forget.

HOOVER: Always better with tequila.

TAPPER: I'm now -- I'm designating you in charge of cocktail --

AVLON: Done.

TAPPER: -- next time we do this.

AVLON: Done.

TAPPER: Thanks to both of you as always, always fun to hang out with this couple. This is what every night is like for them.

Working for the weekend. A three-day weekend. Three-day weekend, a new four-day workweek. That's an experiment that is launching for thousands of employees. Could you be one of them? Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our money lead, the launch of a new pilot program that my team is already begging me to join. Thousands of workers in the United Kingdom are testing out a four-day workweek, three-day weekend. They'll still get 100 percent of their pay for working only 80 percent of their usual week. They do have to promise to maintain 100 percent of their productivity.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."