Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Victims And Families Deliver Emotional Testimony On Capitol Hill; Sources: Some GOP Senators Think Current Deal Goes Too Far; DOJ: Man Arrested Near Kavanaugh's Home Charged With Attempted Murder; AAA: Gas In 16 States & DC Averaging Above $5 A Gallon; U.S. Weapons In Use On The Front Lines In Ukraine; Judge Gives Former Trump Attorney Extra Week To Turn Over 159 Emails; Golfers Join New "LIV Golf" Series Funded By Saudi Regime Accused Of Human Rights Abuses. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 08, 2022 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Heartbreaking testimony on the Hill, but will it move any votes?

THE LEAD starts right now.


KIMBERLY RUBIO, PARENT OF LEXI RUBIO: Soon after we received the news that our daughter was among the 19 students and 2 teachers that died as a result of gun violence.


TAPPER: Grieving parents, a distraught doctor, even a fourth grade survivor, gripping testimony today on Capitol Hill. After mass shootings changed and destroyed in some cases their lives. What they want from Congress versus what lawmakers are willing to do. I'm going to talk to a key Republican negotiator next.

And the FBI stepping in after an overnight arrest near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. We'll have the latest on the shocking threat.

Plus, pro golfers putting their reputations on the line for a paycheck. Some say is blood money. Ready to tee off with Saudi Arabia's new lead, ignoring the country's record on human rights and the murder of a "Washington Post" columnist.


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

We start with the upsetting testimony describing the human toll of gun violence in the United States, front and center on Capitol Hill today. Families of victims from the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, described before the House Oversight Committee not just the horrific attacks but what they want to see Congress do to prevent such tragedies from happening again. We also heard from the only pediatrician in Uvalde who rushed to the

hospital in the minutes after the shooting only to find there frankly was not much he could do.


DR. ROY GUERRERO, PEDIATRICIAN, UVALDE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: What I did find was something no prayer will ever relieve. Two children whose body has been pulverized by bullets fired at them decapitated, whose flesh ripped apart, that the only clue of their identities was a blood splatter and cartoon clothes still clinging to them, clinging for life and finding none.


TAPPER: Ten-year-old Miah Cerrillo who told CNN she survived the massacre by spreading her friend's blood all over herself and playing dead, she recorded a video for the hearing in which she talked about her top wish moving forward.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel safe at school? Why not?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you think it's going to happen again?


TAPPER: This afternoon, the bipartisan negotiators who have been trying to reach a deal on gun reforms met with a larger group of Senate colleagues to nail down exactly which proposals can get enough support to pass, if any.

CNN's Manu Raju starts off our coverage from Capitol Hill with new details about what is currently in this proposal and possible new roadblock for negotiators.


GUERRERO: Those mothers' cries I will never get out of my head.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In gut-wrenching testimony, witnesses offered horrific details of the massacre in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and 2 teachers were murdered at Robb Elementary School last month. A pediatrician who saw this.

GUERRERO: Two children whose body has been pulverized by bullets fired at them decapitated, whose flesh ripped apart, that the only clue of their identities was a blood splatter and cartoon clothes still clinging to them, clinging for life and finding none.

RAJU: A fourth grader who speared her friend's blood on her body to pretend she was dead.

CERRILLO: There's a door between our classrooms and he went to there and shot my teacher and told my teacher good night and shot her in the head. And then he shot some of my classmates and the white board. When I went to the back, he shot my friend that was next to me. I thought he was going to come back to the room so I grabbed the blood and put it all over me.

RAJU: The father of the survivor.

MIGUEL CERRILLO, MIAH CERRILLO'S FATHER: I could have lost my baby girl. She's not the same little girl that I used to play with.

RAJU: Parents of a fourth grader brutally murdered.

RUBIO: Somewhere out there, there's a mom listening to our testimony, thinking I can't even imagine their pain. Not knowing that our reality will one day be hers.

RAJU: And the mother of a victim from the Buffalo grocery store shooting detailing the injuries her son has endured.

ZENETA EVERHART, MOTHER OF BUFFALO SHOOTING VICTIM: As I clean his wounds, I can feel pieces of that bullet in his back. Shrapnel will be left inside of his body for the rest of his life.


RAJU: All demanding action from Congress.

EVERHART: Lawmakers who continuously allow these mass shootings to continue by not passing stricter gun laws should be voted out.

RAJU: On Wednesday, Senate negotiators discussed a narrow set of changes. Including bolstering states' red flag laws and allowing juvenile records to be searched in background checks, but given GOP opposition, any deal will not restrict high-powered semiautomatic rifles or require background checks on gun show sales and over the Internet.

A lot of Democrats are concerned this emerging package is simply not going to go far enough.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): I'm sure it won't. Listen, I have a goal to really address gun violence at many different levels that I like to see achieved. Now I have to face the reality of a 50/50 Senate, the reality of many Republicans who are resistant to any change.

RAJU: GOP leaders say they want a deal focused on school security and mental health issues, noting any deal has its limits.

Why do you oppose reinstating the assault weapons ban?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We're trying to get an outcome, guys.

(END VIDEOTAPE) RAJU (on camera): Now, the chief GOP negotiator, John Cornyn, briefed Republicans in generalities about this emerging proposal during lunch today. There was some pushback, I'm told, in talking to several conservative Republican senators that pushed back is around the red flag laws, providing potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in federal incentives for states to develop those laws to take away guns from individuals deemed a risk.

Some conservatives concerned it could trample on due process rights. Other say it is duplicative. And one senator, Steve Daines, says that I don't support gun control, I don't think gun control is the answer, and said states already have that choice.

So, Jake, still an open question whether a deal can be reached and whether there will be ten Republican senators enough to break a GOP- led filibuster to get this bill through.

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

Today, the Justice Department announced the team in charge of reviewing the police response or lack thereof in Uvalde, Texas, more than two weeks after the massacre at Robb elementary school, local officials are still not answering basic questions from the media about what happened that day. CNN's Omar Jimenez is live for us in Uvalde.

Omar, how is this investigation from the Justice Department going to work?


Well, Attorney General Merrick Garland said it's going to be a number of site visits. They're going to look at what resources were made available at the time and going to do a number of interviews with a wide range of stakeholders, from parents to families to law enforcement, and more. This is, as he said, this is work that has already begun and they'll be on the ground as needed.

But at this point, he says this is not going to be a criminal investigation. This is going to be an after-action critical review of what happens so they can assess what happened now more than two weeks ago and take this a long way toward future guidance. While they can't undo the pain, they hope this can at least lay the framework so some of these statement mistakes aren't made again.

And this is something the mayor of Uvalde, Don McLaughlin, welcomed. He called for it in the beginning as he admitted there were missteps in the initial release of information from law enforcement, which we now know, to use his words, we were told one thing one day, and then the next day the story and narrative change.

Now that this DOJ announcement is here, the mayor says he trusts and is fully confident this is going to be a fair and transparent process, and he offered the full cooperation of officials here in Uvalde. But this, of course, comes as the county district attorney says it is going to be a while before we get a report from the Texas Department of Public Safety or the FBI. TAPPER: All right. Omar Jimenez in Uvalde, Texas, for us -- thanks so


Joining us to discuss is Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. He is a lead negotiator in these bipartisan talks.

Senator, thanks for joining us.

Obviously, you're in the middle of these negotiations. Are you confident there's going to be a deal? Can you give us an idea of what kind of measures you're discussing?

SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): Yeah, Jake, there's not much really that I can tell you at this point except to say we are making progress. You have men and women from both sides of the aisle who are negotiating in good faith. There are a number of items that are on the table.

I think the odds modestly favor us getting something done and actually this is the first time in ten years I have felt that way. So, yeah, I'm cautiously optimistic.

TAPPER: Republican senators who were inside the room during your party lunch today say that some of your colleagues feel that the current deal might go too far. They're predicting at least half of the Republican conference would vote against it. That is still theoretically 75 votes to pass it.

What do you say to those critics? Are you confident you can get enough Republican votes to pass, at least ten?

TOOMEY: Jake, I would say it's way too soon to be trying to speculate about vote counts.


I mean, we haven't nailed down what's going to be in and what's not going to be in, and the actual language of the ideas that are going to be in. The language matters enormously. So, I -- certainly my hope would be a majority of Republicans would be able to support this. That would be very much where I hope we would end up, but I think it's too soon to know.

TAPPER: Senator Rick Scott when he was Governor Rick Scott of Florida, signed into law pretty sweeper measures after the parkland massacre in 2018, which included red flag laws, which I understand some of your colleagues are publicly voicing concern about in terms of them not providing due process and the like.

But our correspondent Leyla Santiago took a look at the red flag laws and how they're working in Florida. Even conservative sheriffs say they're working well.

Is Rick Scott at all talking at all about how that reform he signed into law is working?

TOOMEY: I haven't had that conversation with Senator Scott, so I don't know exactly what his view is of the implementation.

I can tell you this: I think it's unlikely that there would be a national red flag law, per se, but what might find its way into this package, what is under consideration, is providing some federal incentives and resources to encourage states to enact their own red flag laws, provided that they provide some due process, because after all, we are talking about depriving a person of a constitutional right prior to them having actually done something wrong. So, you got to be careful about how you do that.

But that said, I do think there are cases where red flag laws can work and that's part of the discussion.

TAPPER: A source tells CNN that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately expressed an openness for raising the age from 18 to 21 for the ability to purchase semiautomatic rifles. He has not said that publicly. It doesn't seem as that's part of your final deal. It wasn't when I talked to Chris Murphy with whom you have been dealing, the Democrat, on Sunday he did not mention it. It does seem a lot of Republicans oppose it.

Have you heard from other Republicans who might support stronger measures in private but won't do so publicly for whatever reason?

TOOMEY: No, I have not had that conversation with any of my colleagues, not with Senator McConnell, not with others.

Look, I think that it is worth seriously considering providing some extra scrutiny for young purchasers. But prohibitions are -- that would be very tough.

TAPPER: So possibly a waiting period for somebody 18 to 21, possibly time to go through and make sure that there isn't a juvenile record that's blinking red?

TOOMEY: Well, I don't want to get too deep into the specifics, Jake, because these are moving targets and ongoing discussions, but heightened level of scrutiny might make sense considering that so many of these massacres are committed by young adults, guys in their late teens or early 20s, who have a history of mental health issues.

So it sort of stands to reason you would like to have a better way to understand that before someone walks away with a firearm.

TAPPER: You have been very active for years now, especially after the Sandy Hook massacre, working with another fellow NRA endorsed senator, Joe Manchin, trying to expand background checks to include those private sales at gun shows. I'm sorry, the ones that aren't -- the ones that aren't done by gun stores but are rather just person-to- person.

That's not going to be in this final package. Why not? Why are your Republican colleagues balking on that?

TOOMEY: So, let's be careful. So the Manchin-Toomey approach was not intended to capture a private transaction between myself and my next door neighbor, for instance. But what we were trying to capture and what I still think we should capture are what we consider commercial sales. And I think at gun shows, you have a level of activity that really constitutes commercial sales. I think when transactions are advertised and especially advertised over the internet, that amounts to a commercial activity.

I'd like to see background checks on all commercial sales. I don't think the Manchin/Toomey version of that is going to be in a final package here. But I would suggest there are many ways that you could accomplish that goal of insuring that you capture a lot more transactions and have that background check occur.

So let's wait and see what finally emerges. I am hoping that we will expand background checks in a meaningful way.

TAPPER: The emotional testimony we heard today before the House Oversight Committee from victims of gun violence, does that have any impact on your fellow Republican senators?


TOOMEY: I don't know, Jake. Honestly, you know, most senators have schedules that is completely booked nonstop all day long. And very few of us, is my guess, have had time to watch a House hearing.

But I understand that it was so emotionally powerful. My guess is it will be replayed many times on many shows. And so, over time, people will see it. It's very hard to say what impact it will have.

TAPPER: Best of luck with your negotiations, sir. Pat Toomey from the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, always appreciate your time.

Also in the politics lead, disturbing news overnight. The FBI now handling the arrest of what police say was an armed man near the Maryland home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who he claimed he wanted to kill. Court documents show the man had on him a tactical knife, a Glock 17 pistol, two magazines, ammunition, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, screwdriver, nail punch, crow bar, pistol light, duct tape, and even more.

Police say the man from California was picked up around 1:30 this morning and is now charged with attempted murder.

CNN's Whitney Wild is at the Supreme Court for us.

Whitney, what do we know about this individual's motives?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, based on what he told police and what is represented in that indictment is that he was angered by three things. He was angered by a leaked draft of the Supreme Court ruling that shows that the Supreme Court is very likely based on that draft to overturn Roe v. Wade. He was angry about that.

He was angered by what he saw in Uvalde, and further, he thought that, you know, perhaps that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would in pending firearms cases, would side with the Second Amendment and thus loosen gun laws. That's what he told investigators.

So, he thought he would give his life some purpose. He told investigators he wanted to give his life some purpose, and so he decided he was going to come from California to Maryland to try to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who, by the way, is not named in the indictment, but we know from police it was his home, and he was also going to kill himself afterward.

Here's how it all happened, Jake. At 1:00 in the morning, he got out of a taxi outside Brett Kavanaugh's home. He was dressed in all black. He had a suitcase and he had a backpack.

And he saw two U.S. Marshal deputies standing outside -- their vehicle outside Brett Kavanaugh's home. He saw them and turned and walked away. And thank goodness for those U.S. deputy marshals, something Merrick Garland and others vowed would be out there to protect the justices because they know the threat risk is very rear.

Here's what Attorney General Merrick Garland said earlier today.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: This kind of behavior is obviously behavior that we will not tolerate. Threats of violence and actual violence against the justices, of course, strike at the heart of our democracy, and we will do everything we can to prevent them and to hold people who do them accountable.


WILD: Jake, these are the very types of crimes federal officials have been warning are possible in this heightened threat environment. They're very concerned about threats to the Supreme Court justices and this case is evidence their concerns are valid.

Back to you.

TAPPER: Yeah, that's alleged political terrorism without question.

Whitney Wild at the Supreme Court for us, thank you so much.

Coming up next, America's skyrocketing fuel costs now forcing a law enforcement agency to change how it responds to some calls.

Plus, the new access to evidence from the January 6th committee on the eve of the panel's very first primetime hearing.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead, a prediction that the worst is yet to come for drivers this summer. The national average for gas could hit $6 a gallon, according to one energy analyst. Right now, drivers in 16 states and Washington, D.C. are topping off with gas $5 a gallon or more.

Idaho, Ohio, and Pennsylvania just became the latest states to cross that threshold today.

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joins us now.

Madam Secretary, thanks for joining us.

Some lawmakers are proposing a suspension of the federal gas tax. Others say the Biden administration needs to allow more drilling, open up more federal lands for drilling.

Could the administration be doing more to alleviate some of the pain at the pump?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, ENERGY SECRETARY: First of all, Jake, the administration is doing everything at its disposal and considering everything.

The issue about more drilling, they have unfettered access to drilling. There's not -- they're sitting on 9 -- they meaning the oil and gas companies, are sitting on 9,000 permits that have been issued. This administration issued more permits for drilling of oil and gas in the first year it's been in office than the previous administration did in the first -- each of the first three years. So that's not the issue.

The issue is that we have a lower supply globally. Gasoline comes from oil. Oil is traded on a global market. There are fewer barrels of oil on the global market which is driving up prices.

Why? Because in the United States and around the globe, when the pandemic hit, the oil and gas companies pulled production off line because there was no demand or very little -- a lot less demand for oil and gas.

They have not ramped up production to the amount it was before the pandemic. There are about a million barrels shy, 10 percent less in the United States, in the United States. They will be up to a 11 million barrels more, up to where they were before the pandemic by the end of the year, but then you have also got countries like the United States, Canada, the EU saying we're fought going to buy Russian oil.

TAPPER: Right.

GRANHOLM: Russia is a big exporter of oil. That pulls another million barrels off the market.

And then, you got China coming out of COVID. That increases demand for more.

So we've got a supply and demand mismatch. The president used the biggest tool at his disposal which was releasing a million barrels a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and he's looking at all other options, but no -- know, everybody should know, this is a global issue. [16:25:03]

If you were in Canada, you would be paying $6.39 a gallon. If you were in Germany, you would be paying $8.90 per gallon. If you're in Singapore, you would be paying $9.08 a gallon.

TAPPER: Right.

GRANHOLM: It's happening everywhere.

TAPPER: I want to get your reaction to a Facebook post today from your home state of Michigan where you served as governor.

It reads, quote: Isabella County Sheriff's Office is feeling the pain at the pump as well. We have exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel. With several months to go before the budget reset. I have instructed the deputies to manage whatever calls are acceptable over the phone, unquote.

Does the White House have a plan for public servants such as those sheriffs and sheriff's deputies who need gas to do their jobs?

GRANHOLM: It's not just the police officers. It is also emergency responders from hospitals. It is people who desperately need to get to work and cannot afford the price of gas. It is all of that.

I mean, clearly, states should be prioritizing first responders and police officers and safety when they help to be able to consider funding or providing supplemental funds, which many states have as a result of the American Rescue Plan. We, in the federal government, are looking at all sorts of options too, but we also know that because of the efforts of the Biden administration to be able to make our economy a little better than the other countries, the other advanced nations, for example, our inflation rate and the inflation rate across the world in advanced nations are pretty comparable. In the UK, it's about 9 percent.

But our unemployment rate is a lot less. Our employment rate is 3.6 percent.

TAPPER: Right.

GRANHOLM: And the other countries it's about -- E.U. is about 6.2 percent.

I say that because while other countries are still struggling with unemployment, that's not been our issue. We have been able to fund the ability for people to get back to work and provided funds to states so they can help to shore up their first responders as they deal with this fuel crisis, too.

TAPPER: It sounds like your message to the sheriffs and sheriff's deputies is ask Governor Whitmer to get some funding your way to help out.

Let me ask you, because shares of Exxon climbed above $100 on Tuesday for the first time since 2014. And as you know, Western sanctions on Russian oil have made the market tighter. So, that's been a huge advantage for companies like Exxon whose profit doubled last quarter to $5.5 billion. That's really insane profits.

Is the administration putting any pressure on U.S.-based oil companies to maybe relieve some of the pain that is hitting consumers?

GRANHOLM: Absolutely. We are calling upon them, and especially to increase production. I mean, many of them, as you know from your reporting right there, have decided to prioritize shareholder buybacks and profit instead of increasing production of oil and gas. And so this administration has been calling upon them to increase production at this moment when people are having to choose between going to work, putting food on the table, et cetera. These prices are unacceptable.

I will say this. Some of the oil and gas companies have started to increase production, and the Energy Information Administration has said that by the end of this year, there will be another million barrels per day as a result of domestic oil and gas producers.

The Energy Information Administration has also projected, they just came out with their short term energy outlook and they say by the end of this year, we will see prices dropping as a result of that incremental increase in production in the United States and globally as well.

But the bottom line is it's still going to be expensive, and we are continuing to ask the oil and gas companies to prioritize production so that we can stabilize this mismatch between supply and demand.

TAPPER: The White House has announced plans for President Biden to go to meet with Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. There's a lot of pressure for the president to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a "Washington Post" columnist, as well as lingering concerns of 9/11 families.

Can the president do that? Can he -- can he hold MBS accountable while also getting his help when it comes to global energy markets?

GRANHOLM: Well, he is certainly going to try. I mean, there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia has to account for what they did with Jamal Khashoggi, what MBS did, but there's also no question that we have to increase global supply and OPEC led by Saudi Arabia is at the head of the pack for that.

And so, in order to be able to reduce this pressure that people are feeling at the gas pump, we want to see all producers across the globe increase supply, including our own domestic oil and gas companies.

TAPPER: All right. Secretary Granholm, thanks so much for your time today. We appreciate it.

Coming up next, the $40-plus billion in aid that the U.S. is giving to Ukraine, CNN got an up close look at some of the sophisticated weapons supplied by the U.S. now being used against Russia. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our world lead, exclusive new look at weapons that could change the war for Ukraine.

These guns are called M777s. They were given to Ukraine by the United States. Soldiers can use them to strike forces up to 20 miles away.

CNN's Matthew Chance is on the front lines of the war where Ukrainians explain why these weapons are giving them a unique advantage.



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are just some of the powerful American guns now on the Ukrainian front lines, meant to make a critical difference in the war with Russia. Because they might be targeted at any moment, media access to them is highly sensitive and rare.

All right. Well, we have been taken here, very close to the front lines in southern Ukraine, where we're being shown these U.S.-provided long range artillery systems. It's an M777.

According to Ukrainian military officials that we have spoken to, the U.S. has so far supplied approximately 90 of these weapons, and many of them are already being used on the front line, including in this area here in the south of Ukraine, pounding Russian positions.

We were only shown a training exercise, but Ukrainian military officials say these are exclusive images of the same weapons in action just this week, firing on Russian forces more than 20 miles away, including on this Grad multiple rocket launcher they say had been targeting civilian areas. Ukrainian aerial footage shows the Grad being destroyed, its ammunition exploding after a direct hit.

Ukrainian artillery troops say their guns are now giving them an edge, and their Russian counterparts are feeling the pain.

IVAN SUROV, SENIOR LIEUTENANT (through translator): Yes, they definitely notice as we became faster and more precise. They're not able to keep up with us, and they're operating old soviet guns which are heavier, less precise, slower, and difficult to use. These guns are objectively the best in the world. And when we started using them, our efficiency rose tremendously.

CHANCE: It's giving the Ukrainian military an advantage, they say, on the battlefield, because these weapons are much lighter, much more accurate than they have used before, much more mobile as well. And it's giving them the edge, they say, to try to help them push back Russian forces all along this region.

But, of course, the complaint, if you can call it a complaint, is they want more of this. They want more weapons like this and they want even longer range rocket systems which they have been promised by the United States to push back the Russians even further.

And Ukrainian authorities are likely to need more guns still to hold them back. With no end to this conflict, the demand for U.S. weapons may be endless, too.

Jake, to reiterate that Ukrainian officials are, again, calling tonight for more deliveries of U.S. weapons, and for those deliveries to come as quickly as possible so they can defend, they say, Ukrainian cities against further Russian attack. This, of course, as Russian forces make more gains in the Donbas region.

Jake, back to you.

TAPPER: All right. Matthew Chance in Ukraine for us, thank you so much.

Just in, a change of plans for evidence that was about to get handed over to the january 6th committee. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead today, we're just one day away from the first primetime hearing of the January 6th Capitol attack, and the new trove of potential evidence that was supposed to be turned over to House investigators tonight it turns out will not be after all. A federal judge just decided to give right-wing attorney John Eastman more time to turn over more than 150 emails he had been fighting to protect.

Eastman, of course, a staunch ally of then-president Trump who pushed the unconstitutional theory that Vice President Pence could have sent electoral votes for Biden back to the states on January 6th.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is on Capitol Hill for us.

Ryan, what is in these emails that the investigators think are so important?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, these are emails sent and received by John Eastman, that conservative lawyer, who is thought by many to be the architect of these various questionable legal strategies to prevent the certification of the election results. In these particular emails, the judge specifically said he would allow the committee to have access to them despite an attorney/client privilege claim because he does believe that there is evidence of some sort of crime possibly being committed.

And he specifically pointed to the fact that the emails talk about these legal strategies, somewhat going around the court system, that they would be put in place even if judges ruled against them. And that could be an indication that they were trying to stand in the way of the peaceful transfer of power outside of the legal system. And, of course, that flies in the face of some of the claims by the former president and his associates that they were just doing this because they thought the election was held fraudulently.

Jake, this would indicate otherwise.

TAPPER: Top Democratic leaders have been telling CNN that they fear the Attorney General Merrick Garland might have missed his moment to bring any criminal charges against former President Trump or others in the Trump orbit regarding January 6th.

What has them so worried?

NOBLES: Well, Jake, they simply believe that the timing of all of this is running out. That there is only so much time during the period of time where the attorney general is in charge and as all this evidence is collected for them to get everything in place to try and hand out these charges.

Now, there are members of the select committee that feel differently, that this investigation is still ongoing, that there is still the possibility that enough evidence would emerge in order to take that process.


The question is whether or not Garland will act on all that information. That remains an open question. We could get more insight as the hearings start to kick off Thursday night as they start to lay off the case of what they've been covering over the past 10 months -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Ryan Nobles, thanks so much.

A pro-golf tournament set to tee off, offering athletes hundreds of millions in prize money. How some of the biggest names in golf are responding to the blood-soaked hands of Saudi Arabia largely footing the bill.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: The sports lead, hitting the green. Hundreds of millions of dollar, some of the most popular golfers are set to tee off in a new Saudi funded golf series called LIV. Despite a long history of human rights abuses against -- allegations against Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom's role, of course, in 9/11, not to mention the murder of "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi, six-time major champion Phil Mickelson and former world number one Dustin Johnson are among the stars who are going to play in tomorrow's inaugural event outside London.

As CNN's Alex Thomas reports for us now, critics say the Saudi regime is sports watching, attempting to use sports to reshape its brutal image.


ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Backed by Saudi Arabia's billions of dollars, LIV golf could fundamentally change the professional men's game. The new series offers players fewer tournaments and guaranteed prize money, lots of it.

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson are the biggest stars to sign up and they're earning more from this than their entire price money from a combined 45 years on the PGA tour.

DUSTIN JOHNSON, TWO-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: This is something I thought was best for me and my family. I'm excited about playing, and obviously, this is the first week. Yeah, it's something exciting, something new. And yeah, I think it's great for the game of golf, so that's why I'm here.

THOMAS: LIV golf CEO Greg Norman says his new series is game changing, especially for lower ranked players.

GREG NORMAN, CEO OF LIVE GOLF: PGA tour doesn't give a rat's ass about what's going to happen to you after you finish playing the game of golf. They don't.

THOMAS: But the money hasn't impressed everyone. Norman told "The Washington Post" that Tiger Woods turned down a high nine-figure sum to join. Woods has called the venture, quote, polarizing.

While another golf legend Jack Nicklaus says he also rejected an offer to get involved worth $100 million.

JACK NICKLAUS, RETIRED PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I had zero interest in it. I don't care what kind of money they had thrown to me. My allegiance has been to the PGA Tour. I grew up with the PGA Tour. I helped found the PGA Tour as it is today, and my allegiance is there. It's going to stay there.

THOMAS: It's the backing by Saudi Arabia's public investment fund chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman that has attracted the stiffest criticism. The Arab nation has long been accused of sportswashing, using sports to clean up its reputation for human rights abuses and alleged state-sponsored killings.

A U.S. intelligence report claimed bin Salman himself sanctioned the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, something Bin Salman denies. Even Mickelson said it was scary getting involved with the Saudis but he says golf desperately needs change, and real change is always preceded by disruption.

PHIL MICKELSON, SIX-TIME MAJOR CHAMPION: I don't condone human rights violations at all. I don't think -- nobody here does. Throughout the world, and I'm certainly aware of what has happened with Jamal Khashoggi and I think it's terrible. I have also seen the good that the game of golf has done throughout history, and I believe that LIV golf is going to do a lot of good for the game as well. THOMAS: Despite the reservations, LIV Golf is forging ahead with

eight tournaments this year, five of which are in the United States with the season finale at the Trump National Doral Course in Florida.


THOMAS (on camera): A couple months ago, this project looked finished. Now it has a Hall of Famer in Mickelson, last year's world number one in Johnson, and reports that Bryson DeChambeau will be next.

You know, Jake, money often trumps morals, and far from going away, this LIV golf series is gaining momentum before a ball has even been struck.

TAPPER: Alex Thomas at the site of tomorrow's inaugural LIV golf tournament just outside London, thanks so much.

Some of the biggest names in gymnastics are taking on the FBI now. The billion dollar action they plan to make after a botched sex abuse allegation could have saved many of them years if not a lifetime of pain.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, demanding accountability from the government. Olympic gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney among gymnasts seeking a billion dollars from the FBI for its failure to investigate widespread sexual abuse by Larry Nassar despite having been told of the abuse.

Plus, voters in two of the most liberal cities in the United States sent a clear message to the Democratic Party last night. What were they saying and is anyone listening?

And leading this hour, heartbreaking testimony on the Hill today. A mother who now has to clean the holes in her son's body from the bullet wounds he suffered during the racist massacre at the Buffalo grocery store.

A terrified 10-year-old who smeared her friend's blood over her body to avoid the same fate as her classmates in Uvalde, the pediatrician who has known most of the Uvalde victims since birth, describing how bullets tore their little bodies to shreds. And a mom recounting the last time she saw her daughter, Lexi Rubio, at Robb Elementary School.


KIMBERLY RUBIO, DAUGHTER KILLED IN UVALDE SHOOTING: Lexi received the good citizen award and was also recognized for receiving all A's.