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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Gun Reform Talks Enter "Critical Stage" Amid Hopes For A Deal; Sen. Jacky Rosen, (D-NV), Is Interviewed About Gun Reform; Biden: Waves Solar Panel Tariffs, Invokes Defense Product Act; Sens. Ossoff And Romney Demand State Department Investigate Palestinian-American Journalist's Killing; L.A. Mayor's Race Pits Progressive Dem Against Billionaire Businessman; Progressive District Attorney Faces Recall Push In San Francisco; House Dems Open Probe Into Missing Foreign Gifts For Trump Admin; Heat Alert Impact 29 Million Americans. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 07, 2022 - 17:00   ET




My mother's life matter.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But in the halls of the Senate, a deal to help stem the rising tide of mass shootings across the country is still elusive, even as negotiators race to find an agreement as soon as this week.

(on camera): What are the sticking points right now?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): I think it's just different people have different ideas. And you know, this is a big diverse country. And so I think it just takes time to build consensus.

RAJU (voice-over): A small bipartisan group of senators looking at neural changes to gun laws, including encouraging states to enact red flag laws, allowing juvenile records to be reviewed during background checks, and pumping money into school security and mental health programs. What's not on the table, banning semiautomatic rifles used in many mass shootings, and raising the age to 21 to purchase those weapons even though the killer in Uvalde, Texas was only 18 years old and wielded an AR-15 style rifle.

(on camera): Senator, why not raise the age to 21 for people buying semiautomatic rifles?

SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): We're talking about a lot of things. And what we're talking about most are background checks, juvenile records, the areas where we can get consensus.

RAJU (on camera): Why don't you have agreement on that?

TILLIS: That's -- you know, it's a -- we got a lot of people in the discussion, we got to get 60 votes, hopefully we get 75 votes on this.

RAJU (on camera): Why do people even need AR-15s?

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Well, I mean, the challenge you have on that is there's 20 million of them in the country already. They are a sporting rifle. And it's something that a lot of people, for purposes of going out, target shooting, in my state, they use him to shoot prairie dogs and you know, other types of varmints. And so, I think that there are legitimate reasons why people would want to have them.

RAJU (voice-over): What also may not be included expanding background checks on gun show sales and over the internet.

(on camera): But why has it been so hard to get Republicans on board behind this?

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): You should ask Republicans who are not on board behind it.

RAJU: And you -- but you've been working on this issue for a decade, you know?

TOOMEY: I know. I know. It's very frustrating.


RAJU: But there are several other issues that could trip up the talks, including dealing with those so called red flag laws. One senator, Josh Hawley, a conservative from Missouri, told me today that he has concerns with the discussion about red flag laws. He says it does not provide enough due process. Other conservative Republicans also raising concerns about that as well. So, uncertain whether or not they could get Republicans lying about that issue.

Also, the price tag, I just spoke to Senator Thom Tillis, he's one of the four key negotiators in this group, and he told me that they're looking at spending roughly $7 billion in deal with mental health programs across this country. There's a first time we're hearing a clear price tag about how much this package could cost. He also indicated that price tag could also increase when we're talking about school security measures. But also as a possible landmine he is saying that they will -- they're trying to fully offset that spending with cuts, federal spending cuts, something that could cause democratic concerns. So they're looking at ways to offset this spending package here, Jake.

So, a lot of questions still remain in front of these negotiators, even as they voiced optimism, trying to reach a deal. So many questions still remain about whether they can get there, whether they can get the group in line and then sell it to the respective caucuses.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And Manu, you just spoke to the top Republican senator in these negotiations. What is he saying about the prospects of a deal this week, because as you know, the incentive, the momentum for something like this to pass really needs to be seized in real time or else it just kind of vanishes. RAJU: Yes, and that is a real fear among Democratic leaders that this could -- this moment could wane because this is the one time in which we're seeing a significant number. At least prominent members of the Senate Republican Conference really engage in these talks. We've seen mass shooting after mass shooting, there have been discussions then they wane as new issues come up. Of course, there are big issues that are coming down the pike, including a big Supreme Court ruling about Roe v. Wade. And so there's concern among the Democratic leaders that it could shift focus away from these gun talks.

But in talking to John Cornyn just moments ago, he told me they should not set a, quote, "arbitrary deadline" to -- in order to wrap these things up. So, Jake, it remains to be seen whether they can get it done by this week and if Republicans asked for more time, and if Democrats will give it to them.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill for us. Thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada. She's a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us. Your colleague, Chris Murphy, says he's hoping to have an agreement by the end of the week, but isn't going to create artificial deadlines. The indications we're getting is that any agreement will be limited in scale. If it is true that Republicans have taken off the table, a lot of the provisions that Democrats want that were already kind of compromises such as raising the age to 21 for those who buy semiautomatic weapons, will there be any anything left worth all of this effort?


SEN. JACKY ROSEN (D-NV), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Well, first of all, thank you for having me. And it is a good question. But I want to tell you, sadly, I live in Las Vegas, so we had the one October shooting. So, I know what it does to a community to have this kind of mass murder, these mass shootings, how families lives are changed forever. And with this most recent shooting of children in Uvalde, Texas, we need to be sure that we do something.

People want us to act now. They want us to come together, try to figure something out and break the logjam. So I know that Senators Cornyn and Murphy, they are working on it. They're trying to figure it out, put money in for mental health resources, not just in schools, K through 12, but I can tell you that our police, our firefighters, even our clergy have been asking us to have more robust, consistent funding for mental health community resources, red flag laws, increased background checks. So we'll see what the text is.

I just think the American public really wants us to do something to break this logjam. And so we need to focus on that in the honor of the people who've lost family members, lost ones that they've loved. It's really important we do something and act now.

TAPPER: There have been at least 246 mass shootings in the U.S. this year, putting the country on pace to manage or surpass last year's record breaking total. That's according to the gun violence archives that defines mass shootings as four or more innocent victims, wounded or killed. Do you think that what is being proposed, what you're hearing from Cornyn and Murphy will bring that number down?

ROSEN: Well, I can tell you this, doing nothing isn't an option. Doing nothing isn't going to save any lives. And so, I think, overwhelmingly, the American people want us to try to do something. Responsible gun owners understand that we can protect the Second Amendment and have some responsible gun safety measures putting them in place.

And so, I don't think we have an option. We have to try something. We haven't been able to get anything done in the past few years. So this may not be perfect, but I think, I hope it will break the logjam that will show people that we can move forward and just really garner that public support that everybody needs to help us get these kinds of bills over the finish line.

TAPPER: I want to turn to a different subject that you know a lot about. The Biden administration is announcing a two-year suspension on solar panel tariffs, and he's -- and they're invoking the Defense Production Act to boost U.S. solar manufacturing. This is something you've been pushing the White House to do. We've heard a lot of criticism from Republicans today about this move. Congressman Dan Crenshaw of Texas, for example, criticizing the move, tweeting, "I was really dreading my next trip to the gas station but now that Joe Biden lifted tariffs on solar panels, I'm like "phew, problem solved."

Is this move from the President, will it address the -- any crisis facing Americans every day? Or is it a long term measure?

ROSEN: Well, what I can tell you this, I have been really proud to lead the charge because Nevada has the most solar jobs per capita than any other state in the nation. And so, these are good paying jobs. Of course, we want a green energy future, renewable future, not just in the Desert Southwest where I live but all across this country, there are 1000s and 1000s of solar projects.

And so, by doing this, what the President has done is given us a bridge to increase domestic manufacturing is what we've been calling for all along, I've led letters with 21 of my colleagues, we've had Zoom calls with the White House to try to tell them how important it is for them to help us increase domestic manufacturing. We currently only can meet about 15 percent of demand. And so, now, we have some companies committing to increase demand threefold. So, maybe up to 50 percent over these next few years. That's going to be a game changer. And it's going to be great jobs, good investment in every community across this country, Texas included.

And I am very proud to lead this. I'm going to continue to lead this. I'm going to continue to try to bring that American manufacturing, those incentives back home --

TAPPER: Right.

ROSEN: -- for these kinds of projects. TAPPER: But what do you make of the argument that, at least, when it comes to Chinese solar panels, you're rewarding a regime that is engaged in genocide and we're being soft on China, what do you -- how do you respond to that?

ROSEN: Well, I can tell you this right now, like I said, we only meet 15 percent of demand. And so, we have companies all across this country that we're going to have to shut down to wait for these few years while we increase domestic manufacturing. That doesn't seem to be smart. And so, what we're doing now is just giving us a short time, this 24-month window, invoking the Defense Production Act, increase that capacity and see where we go so we don't have to totally shut down the solar industry at a time when we do need more renewable energy. And these projects, like I said, they're great paying jobs, for manufacturing, for installation, for maintenance.



ROSEN: All of it.

TAPPER: All right, Senator Jacky Rosen from Nevada, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

It is meant to be a meeting to solve problems, but the drama surrounding an upcoming summit is already creating big headaches for the White House before it even begins.

Then, it is deadlier each year than hurricanes and tornadoes combined to the dangerous weather threat heading to the United States right now. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, 1000s of migrants are currently headed to the United States. You can see in this video here are a large group traveling from Central America into Mexico. Most of them are reportedly from Venezuela, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras and even Cuba. The group is hoping to eventually reach the U.S. Mexico border, though it is not expected for several weeks and it could theoretically dwindle in size. This comes as Mexico's president says he will not be attending the Summit of the Americas. CNNs Caitlin Collins is at the White House with who is expected to attend when the event begins tomorrow.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A presidential summit off to a rocky start before it's even underway.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President is looking forward to leaving tomorrow to head to the summit. COLLINS (voice-over): President Biden set to host the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles and convene the leaders of North Central and South America. But several have declined his invitation.

PRES. ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICO (trough translator): There cannot be a Summit of the Americas if all the American continent countries do not participate.

COLLINS (voice-over): Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says he's boycotting after his authoritarian counterparts in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela weren't invited.

OBRADOR (through translator): I believe in the need to change the policy that has been in place for centuries. Exclusion, the desire to dominate.

COLLINS (voice-over): Now, the summit that's supposed to focus on tackling immigration and reestablishing U.S. leadership is becoming more about the guest list as the White House defend it's invitations.

JEAN-PIERRE: While the interim government was not invited to participate in the main summit, they are welcomed to participate in all three stakeholder forums.

COLLINS (voice-over): White House aides also pressed to explain where Biden draws the line as he refuses to extend invitations to those dictators, also planning a trip to oil rich Saudi Arabia, which he once vowed to make a pariah for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

(on camera): Does he still seek to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state?

JEAN-PIERRE: As president he believes that if there is any way to get peace, he feels like he should take that direction. The President considers Saudi Arabia an important partner on a host of regional and global strategies.

COLLINS (voice-over): Democratic lawmakers arguing that Biden's hand was forced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): The Saudis are the sole country that has a significant amount of quickly, readily deliverable oil and gas that can help address this. This is the sort of compromise that makes politics painful.


COLLINS: And Jake, back to the Summit of the Americas, we should note that in the end, the White House says 23 Heads of State are going to be coming, several countries of course, sending deputies in the place of the heads of state. But this comes as President Biden will be meeting face to face with the president of Brazil for the first time.

And Jake, of course, one of the main issues there to discuss is immigration and migrants. And there is a new migrant caravan that is on foot in southern Mexico right now, really just showing and highlighting how important this meeting can truly be. Though there are big questions about what the deliverables will look like given the guest list.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlin Collins, thanks so much.

Two U.S. senators are demanding accountability after a Palestinian American journalist was shot and killed in the West Bank last month. Her employer, Al Jazeera, says the Israeli army was behind her death.

Democrat Senator John Ossoff of Georgia and Republican Senator Mitt Romney of Utah are urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to investigate the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and to ensure, quote, that "justice is served." CNN's Alex Marquardt joins us now live.

And Alex, Shireen Abu Akleh was a U.S. citizen, remind us how she was killed and what the U.S. government is doing to investigate her death, if anything?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just spoke with the State Department because this letter was addressed to them. They say the U.S. is not carrying out an investigation. They want, they say, accountability for the death of Shireen Abu Akleh, which is the same thing that the senators are asking for. But they do want a U.S. investigation and they want justice to be served for Akleh's death, they say in this bipartisan letter to the Secretary of State.

Now, Shireen Abu Akleh was killed on May 11. She was covering a raid by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank. She and her producer were wearing those well-known flak jackets, bulletproof vests that have press written clearly across the front. They were both shot. Her producer was wounded and Shireen was shot in the head and she was killed.

Now, there have been a number of investigations but not official independent investigations. CNN, we have done our own investigation. And CNN journalists have found that the journalists were likely targeted by Israeli forces. As you mentioned, Al Jazeera says that their journalist was killed in cold blood.

The Palestinian Authority, of course they carried out their own investigation. They have the bullet that was extracted from Shireen Abu Akleh's body, they say that it was an Israeli armor piercing round.


The Israelis, for their part, say that anything that points to the fact that this was intentional targeting is a lie. They don't rule out the possibility that Israeli forces were behind this. But they say that they need the bullet to finish this investigation which the Palestinians are not handing over. So, for now, the U.S. is not carrying out their own investigation. All of this against the backdrop of a possible trip to Israel by President Biden, we have reported that he is planning a trip to the Middle East next month. That would likely include a stop in Israel and it's hard to imagine that the death, the killing of an American journalist would not come up in those discussions with Israeli leadership.

TAPPER: It's absolutely shocking. And good for Ossoff and Romney for demanding accountability.

Alex Marquardt, thanks so much.

A man begs police to save him from drowning, but they tell him they're not jumping in after him. That story next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, a new investigation is underway in Arizona after three Tempe police officers stood by as a drowning man cried out, please help me. CNN's Natasha Chen has been combing through video of the tragedy to find out just how a domestic disturbance call went from calm to a man dying within minutes.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): I'm not jumping in after you, that's what a Tempe, Arizona police officer said to a man who was drowning in a reservoir on May 28.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, what's going on?

CHEN (voice-over): This body camera footage released by the City of Tempe shows nearly 12 minutes of interaction between three officers, 34-year-old Sean Bickings (ph) and his partner. Officers had initially been called just after 5:00 a.m. that day about an alleged fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you guys get into physical confrontation?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no, nothing like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing like that.

CHEN (voice-over): Bickings and his partner both denied any physical violence. The city of Tempe says they weren't being detained. But according to policy, the officers then ran both names for background checks. As their names were being checked for outstanding warrants, Bickings, climbed over a railing and asked if he was free to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to go for a swim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't swim in the lake, man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not allowed to swim in the lake.

CHEN (voice-over): Charles Ramsey, former D.C. police chief looked at the video and records.

CHARLES RAMSEY, FORMER WASHINGTON, D.C. POLICE CHIEF: We may have been free to leave but not free to swim in the reservoir. So, those are two different things. Now whether or not the officers again, had an opportunity to stop him, I really don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How far do you think he's going to be able to swim?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm pretty sure there's like turbines at the base of the dam that could suck him in.

CHEN (voice-over): We can't see what happens next because the city of Tempe has not yet released the video citing its sensitive nature. Instead, the city released this transcript.

"So what's your plan right now," one officer says. Bickings responds, "I'm going to drown. I'm going to drown." The officer says, "No, you're not." Then another officer tells Bickings to go to a nearby pylon. Bickings says, "I'm drowning" and "I can't" to which the officer says, "OK, I'm not jumping in after you."

The transcript continues showing how Bickings' partner labeled here as witness pleads, "He's drowning, he's drowning. If you don't come over here now. The officer says, "If you don't calm down, I'm going to put you in my car." And later she says, "I'm just distraught because he's drowning right in front of you and you won't help.

RAMSEY: And water rescue is very dangerous. If you're not properly trained, you can drown yourself trying to rescue an individual. But at the same time, if you're able to try to rescue an individual then obviously that's what you would want to do.

CHEN (voice-over): The Tempe Officers Association said officers do not receive training in water rescues nor do they have equipment to help.


CHEN: It's important to note that the transcript did show police called the Fire Department and for a water rescue team to assist. The city is now reviewing its water rescue procedures and access to equipment, also conducting a death investigation, which will be reviewed by the state. And nearby Scottsdale police had been called upon to investigate focusing more on the Tempe officer's actions. Meanwhile, those three officers involved are on paid leave, Jake.

TAPPER: Paid leave. Natasha Chen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CHEN: Thank you.

TAPPER: Hollywood versus Hollywood, how one mayoral race is dividing the Hollywood a-list. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead today, seven states are holding primary elections but today's biggest news will likely come from the Golden State. Front and center is the Los Angeles mayoral primary. It's longtime Congresswoman Karen Bass, a progressive insider against former Republican turned-Democrat billionaire Rick Caruso, was promising to clean up the city when it comes to crime and sprawling homeless encampments.

Now as CNN's Kyung Lah reports, the outcome tonight may send a stark warning to Democrats about controlling Congress and the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I say Karen, you say Bass. Karen!






KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her name has been a part of California and D.C. politics for decades. Sixth term Congresswoman Karen Bass now aims closer to home running for Los Angeles Mayor.


LAH (voice-over): The clear front runner when she launched, something happened along that journey.

BASS: Well, I think $40 million explains that. I mean, I actually think anybody that had $40 million would be close to me.

LAH (voice-over): She's talking about billionaire developer Rick Caruso.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think nobody can clean up L.A.? Meet Rick Caruso.

LAH (voice-over): The first time candidate is smashing spending records by self-funding his nearly $40 million campaign, blanketing all video screens.

RICK CARUSO, LOS ANGELES MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I'm running for mayor because the city we love is in a state of emergency. Rapid homelessness, people living in fear for their safety.

LAH (voice-over): Caruso's law and order message hones in on frustration over L.A.'s exploding homeless problem and rising crime rates. That message is resonating.

CARUSO: Have you voted?

LAH (voice-over): With Democrats like Nicole Couch. NICOLE COUCH, CARUSO SUPPORTER: We are totally fed up with the gas prices, the homelessness, like every block we go on, there's homelessness.

CARUSO: They're looking for a change. They're tired of excuses. They're tired of having career politicians tell them we can't do anything about it. People are fed up and I don't blame them.

LAH (voice-over): The ones registered Republican than independent who became a Democrat just this year has spent more than 10 times the amount of Congresswoman Bass.


CARUSO: I had to get my message out. So I've spent the money to make sure that people understand who I am. I think everybody in this city, in this country are looking for somebody to lead in the middle. And the extreme right and the extreme left, it's just -- it's failed us.

As mayor, of course, I won't defund the police.

LAH (voice-over): L.A. notables from the former police chief to Hollywood A listers back Caruso.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm endorsing my old friend Rick Caruso for mayor.

LAH (voice-over): But Bass has her own celebrity backers like Tiffany Haddish.

TIFFANY HADDISH, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: I will support my girl, Karen Bass.

LAH (voice-over): But in the general, Democratic experts believe Bass has the edge with the party establishment. A self-proclaimed moderate, Caruso is better known for being the builder of sanitized outdoor malls in L.A., and now appears poised to advance in California's open primary system. But the top two vote getters head to the general regardless of party. But one could win outright in the primary if either grabs more than 50 percent of the vote.

(on-camera): Why is a mall guy even a factor here?

DAVE JACOBSON, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC MEDIA CONSULTANT: He does have a message that's tapping into the anxiety and the frustrations that voters are feeling. That's the biggest issue is how does she tap into those anxieties and those frustrations?


LAH: Both the campaigns believe that an outright winner today is probably unlikely, just because there's so many Democrats on the ballot for mayor. Both the Bass campaign and the Caruso campaign believe that they, though, will be heading to the runoff and that is where they're going to pitch the most fierce battle. And although you're seeing a good number of people, Jake, voting behind me and it's a trickle that we've seen throughout the day, turnout here has been quite low. There nearly 22 million ballots that went out to voters. Only 3 million have been returned so far. That's a return rate of about just 18 percent. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Kyung Lah in Los Angeles, thanks so much.

Let's discuss. By the way, that's one of the reasons why voting and polls don't always line up, 22 million ballots, 3 million votes. Paul, Los Angeles obviously, a famously liberal city dominated by Democrats for the last 30-year, now residents are seeing not just these huge high gas prices but there's a lack of affordable housing, pervasive homelessness rising, crime rates. CNN's Ron Brownstein wrote, "It's a sentiment similar to the anxiety over urban disarray that inspired the broken windows policing theory during the 1980s and contributed to the election of Republican Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Richard Riordan in New York and Los Angeles, respectively, amid the cascading violence of the crack epidemic in the early 1990s.

Is this enough do you think for Rick Caruso, the real-estate developer, former Republican to win?


TAPPER: Right.

BEGALA: But I think Kyung's reporting is probably right, likely to be a runoff. He may lead going into that runoff, though, and it should tell Democrats and guys, it's been a Democrat for 15 minutes. Hey, but he's running on public safety, personal safety. That used to be a Democratic issue, right?

Because, I mean, President Clinton where I worked from, we just it's our people. You know, Jeff Bezos never been mugged. OK, Elon Musk is not going to be carjacked. It's Democrats who often are the victims of those crimes since Democrats who want to take the lead.

I think Karen Bass is being unfairly targeted as part of the problem. She's actually, I think, been quite moderate and good on these things, trying to reform the cops without defunding the police. And, by the way, she hadn't been mayor of L.A., she's been a congresswoman up in D.C., but I think all that gets washed away in the to and fro campaign.

TAPPER: If Caruso were to win, not necessarily today, but in the election, if this is more competitive than theoretically it should be, will that send any sort of message do you think to Democrats in the House and the Senate and the White House about these quality of life issues that a lot of Democrats I know in big cities from here in Washington, D.C. --


TAPPER: -- to L.A., to Philly, to New York, et cetera, I hear a lot of complaining about, about democratic mayors not taking that stuff seriously.

HUNT: Yes, I think it should send a message to Democrats, for sure. Now, whether they're going to listen to it, I don't know. I was noticing there's a top former Obama official Jim Messina, who's currently expressing some frustration on Twitter about some Democrat on Democrat political violence going on with AOC and another race.

And, you know, I think there is that infighting still in the party. And Karen Bass was -- had a reputation for being a pretty pragmatic member of the Democratic caucus, quite frankly, but she's being painted with the brush that, you know, has many people who aren't tuned into politics the way we are, see the Democratic Party in Washington right now.

They're seeing members of the squad and Republicans have done a lot of work to try and make sure that that's the case, that that's what people think of, but I think that's what she's struggling with right now. And I think people are taking out their frustration on her.

TAPPER: What is the Republican view of all this?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, the view is that quality of life issues are manifesting themselves all over the country, local elections, and we saw one a few months ago in San Francisco when they had the school board recall.


People are mad, they're angry about what's going on in their backyards. And the fact is, you know, just on the crime issue, it's out of control. We've got habitual offenders out on the streets, committing crimes, committing murders. People want to know, why is my mayor not attending to this? Why is my local prosecutor not attending to this?

And so, just the way I think some voters turned on Democrats over the school issues in Virginia's governor's race last year, you're seeing now other quality of life issues turn some Democrats towards Republicans and other cities where you don't expect it and it is potentially a canary in the coal mine for the November election.

TAPPER: And Eva, you heard Scott is talking about the recall of the three Board of Education individuals who seemed more focused on renaming schools. This was the criticism anyway, more focused on renaming schools than they weren't getting kids back into school during COVID. The District Attorney of San Francisco Chesa Boudin is facing a recall, he's a pragmatic -- or not a pragmatic, I'm sorry, a crusading reformer of the criminal justice system. When he took over in 2020, was a high point for those pushing criminal justice reform, what's going on?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, I think that if he does, in fact, fall in this recall effort, that actually is going to be an indictment on white liberals in San Francisco. Because this is hard work. Reforming the system doesn't happen in just two years. And to basically blame him for all the social ills happening in that city, I think it misses the mark. If you speak with him, he'll say that actually, these cases like auto theft, they don't even get to him as a prosecutor because police, by and large, are not finding these folks. I think 97 percent he cited are not even being arrested. So I think that there's a little bit more nuanced there, that white liberals in large call for this liberation, right, this overhauling of the system.

Well, it looks messy, it takes a long time. And the reason why this country in many places have turned away from this tough on crime strategy is because it hasn't worked and it has had a disproportionate impact on black and brown folks. Also, I spoke to a progressive prosecutor today in Vermont, Sarah George, who is close with Chesa. And she told me that she is not discouraged by this.

She's facing re-election in Vermont as well. And says recognize that there is a long game in this type of work and continues to forge ahead. And she also thinks that voters in California recognize that this is a hugely funded effort, and that it's not all that sustainable. Keep in mind, this is a recall that all this money has been poured into this recall ever. He's not facing an opponent and folks should ask why.

TAPPER: So let's go to my home, Commonwealth and yours, Kasie, Pennsylvania, where John Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, who is running for Senate just launched one of his two general election TV ads. He took out the ads on Fox News in an attempt to appeal to those voters. Take a listen.


BRAXTON W., MARIANNE, PA: Washington, D.C. attacked towns like this for years. They wrote bad deals to send away our jobs, approved the drugs that kill our kids. We need help. They just talk.

Not John Fetterman. For 20 years, he's lived in a place like this, building, pushing, fighting. He's running for Senate to do the same thing there. Good American jobs, higher wages for us. That's John.


TAPPER: And there's another ad that features him talking to the camera. That ad is going to air in Scranton, Pittsburgh and Johnstown -- Johnstown, am I pronouncing that correctly? I think Johnstown. I always get it wrong.

HUNT: I think it's Johnstown.

TAPPER: OK, our immediate (ph) markets. What do you think, I mean, he's making a play right for?

HUNT: For Trump voters.


HUNT: Right?

TAPPER: Absolutely.

HUNT: I mean, for Trump voters.


HUNT: And their view of this, and, you know, having covered him on the campaign trail, I mean, this is a pretty authentic place for him to be, which is always where you want. If you're running a political campaign, you want your candidate to be. This is where he is actually legitimately able to be himself and make this argument to these people.

Now, his challenge I think, is going to be twofold in the Pennsylvania race. I mean, on the one hand, yes, she's got to convince those independent voters, people who voted for Trump that, you know what, this is an argument that they can buy into, either they stay home or they come out and they vote for Fetterman, but he's also got to motivate Democrats.

This is a midterm, it's a turnout election. And he's going to have a challenge especially with black voters in some of the cities because he doesn't have a lot of the same connections that traditional -- in Philly anyway, they're machine Democrats, right? He doesn't have that same set of that longtime natural feel for that piece of the political universe. So I think it's going to be a really interesting test.

TAPPER: And he's going to be facing Dr. Oz who his ties to Pennsylvania are under --

HUNT: Still registered to vote in New Jersey according to the Fetterman camp.

JENNINGS: I mean, you know, I mean, God bless all the attacks on Dr. Oz, but here's the bottom line. Joe Biden charitably, right now, is somewhere in the upper thirties in Pennsylvania. Good luck out running it.


People are unhappy with this fully run democratic government and I don't think they're sending more Democrats. That's not the solution they think is going to get the job done.

TAPPER: All right, thanks one and all for being here. Appreciate it.

Monkey statues and a spinning wheel, why some members of Congress believe those items point to members of the Trump administration, potentially breaking the law. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our politics lead now, House Democrats have opened a new probe into potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of missing foreign gifts given to officials in the Trump administration. A letter from the House Oversight Committee to the National Archives says media reports of gifts such as a statue of monkeys and a spinning wheel were given to President Trump on his 2020 trip to India but were not reported.


CNN's Kylie Atwood has been tracking the story. Kylie, why is it important for these gifts to be disclosed? I mean, who cares about a statue of monkeys?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So there's two pieces of this, right? First of all, it's federally illegal for government officials to keep these gifts that they get if they're worth more than $415, right? So they don't want these government officials walking away from office having thousands of dollars worth of gifts in their house.

But then the more significant part of this is what it has to do with swaying that person and trying to get that person to be on the side of that country because they got these gifts from them. And so, that's what the chairwoman of the House Oversight Committee writes to the National Archives. And I just want to read it to because I think she puts it really well saying, "The revelations about these unaccounted for gifts raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments, which may have put the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States at risk, and about possible violations of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from obtaining benefits from foreign entities while in office."

And of course, this is just one of many investigations that House Democrats are doing with their authorities to look at how the Trump administration may have been skirting ethics laws.

TAPPER: Well, of course, they were. I mean, you had all this form of dignity -- those dignitaries staying at the Trump International Hotel and racking up huge bills there. But, OK, I understand, let's talk about these gifts. So how are they usually tracked and stored? I mean, is there an organized process for this?

ATWOOD: There's a very meticulous process for this. So when a president receives a gift overseas, it goes to the White House, it is appraised by the White House, and then they send a list to the State Department of all of these gifts. There is no U.S. government accounting of all of the gifts that President Trump got from foreign governments in the whole year of 2020.

So the State Department never --

TAPPER: They just stopped keeping track of it.

ATWOOD: They stopped keeping track of it, they didn't provide that list to the State Department and the State Department at the end of the year has to, by law, make that list available to the public. So they couldn't make that list available to the public. Now, the State Department then has been looking into this trying to figure out, OK, you know, which gift came from where and how much was it worth and basically trying to fill in the dots, but they are not able to get the records that have to do with the President and the Vice President because those are presidential documents. So that is where they essentially hit a brick wall in terms of their own investigation. And that's why the House Democrats are taking over.

They're writing to the National Archives saying we are investigating this, trying to figure out where all these gifts are, how much they were worth, who walked away with what. And we need the National Archives to look at the documents related to these gifts that came out of the White House so that we can figure out where all of them went.

TAPPER: Yes. Good luck. Kylie Atwood, thanks so much.

The kind of weather that's coming to parts of the U.S. right now kills more Americans every year then tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, wide swaths of the country are sweating extra this week under an intense summer heatwave. Heat like this only happens a few times a year according to one national weather office. And it could prove deadly. Heat waves caused nearly 150 deaths every year in the United States more than hurricanes and tornadoes combined.

CNN Meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us now live from the CNN Weather Center. Jennifer, what is causing this intense heat and how many people are in danger amid these warnings?

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, Jake, we're looking at about 29 million people. Now under these watches and warnings, this was just expanded within the last hour to add several more million people. We have heat watches, advisories, warnings out as we speak and this is going to run for the next couple of days. This is all due to this area of high pressure that's in the southwest. We call it a heat dome.

It's basically a bubble of hot air and it's not going to go anywhere until this can finally push out. It is going to continue to be hot and it's only going to get hotter day by day in this region as we go forward over the next couple of days. So look at that, temperatures in San Antonio right now, 105 degrees, San Angelo 105.

When you factor in the heat index in Texas, of course, it's going to feel hotter. Wednesday through Saturday, we could break 60 or more high temperature records all across the southwest and that's including Texas as well. Look at these high temperatures 113 by Friday in Phoenix, Palm Springs 112.

And what's really scary are the overnight temperatures in the 80s. This is when your body typically recovers. But when temperatures are so hot overnight, that's where we see a lot of heat-related deaths are actually due to the overnight lows that are extremely warm.

Phoenix over the next seven days, these temperatures are well into the triple digits 107 for Tuesday, we had 113, 114 on Saturday. And then temperatures have finally dropped by Monday. But, Jake, look at those lows. Temperatures at 85 degrees Thursday night, into Friday morning 88 degrees Friday night into Saturday. Those temperatures to me are what's really scary when you're talking about this heatwave across the Southwest. It is going to be brutal.

TAPPER: All right, Jennifer Gray at the CNN's severe weather center. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. You know if you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts, all two hours of it just sitting right there.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.