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The Lead with Jake Tapper
January 6 Committee Makes Its Case Against Trump Tonight In Primetime; President Biden: Americans Will See Details Of Jan. 6 "For The First Time" During Tonight's Hearing; Officials; Man Who Planned To Kill Kavanaugh Upset Over Roe, Guns; Gas Prices Spike, Home Mortgage Applications Drop, Jobless Claims Jump; New Study: Babies Exposed To COVID In Utero Linked To Developmental Delays In Child's First Year; PGA Tour Suspends 17 Golfers Playing In Saudi-Backed Tournament. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 09, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A primetime opportunity to prove the threat to American democracy.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Tonight, new voices and new video more than a year after we all saw the Capitol riot playing out in real time. What we're learning about plans tonight to show the American people how individuals and groups plotted and schemed for months to overturn the will of voters and keep Donald Trump in power.
Plus, the ramped up security plans after the FBI says an armed left- wing would-be assassin wanted to kill a Supreme Court justice.
Also today, the alarming new study showing a risk to baby's brain development if their mothers had COVID while pregnant.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We're just hours away from the first 2022 hearing from the House select committee investigating the January 6th Capitol attack in primetime this evening. The committee tells CNN they will present findings that they say prove President Donald Trump was at the center of a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.
This hearing, it's not just about the mob that stormed the Capitol that day. This hearing is about a months-long campaign to undermine democracy in the United States of America, a president and those around him desperate to hold on to power at any cost, even if it meant destroying the American experiment, even though a willingness to take away legal votes from American voters.
This evening, we're expected to hear excerpts of taped testimony from some of Trump's closest supporters, and possibly even his family members. We're also expecting to hear live testimony from a U.S. Capitol police officer, who was severely injured fighting off the MAGA mob.
Also testimony from a documentary filmmaker who was embedded with the far right extremist group the Proud Boys. Members of which were indicted for seditious conspiracy earlier this week. You might also remember, Trump, during that one presidential debate, telling the Proud Boys, stand back and stand by.
This hearing is only the first of three officially slated for this month with others likely to be announced soon. It comes at a critical time. The former president, Donald Trump, is still spreading baseless lies about a so-called stolen election, still weighing another run for the White House where he could very well employ these same anti- democracy tactics to secure a win, and many others pushing those same lies are currently running for House, Senate and governorships this November.
CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles begins our coverage today with a committee's massive undertaking so far and the crucial question that they need to answer this evening.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been almost 18 months since rioters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol, breaking through windows, attacking law enforcement and coming within seconds of members of Congress. And for more than 11 months, a group of nine members of Congress have been investigating what led to that day, including former President Donald Trump's claims the election was stolen.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election, and everyone knows it.
NOBLES: And Trump's inaction for more than three hours as the Capitol was under siege.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): 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.
NOBLES: The January 6th House select committee has done most of its work out of the public eye. But there's still quite a bit that has come to light. They have interviewed more than a thousand witnesses and collected 140,000 documents. Like text messages to and from Trump's then chief of staff Mark Meadows that he was sending leading up to the riot.
DENVER RIGGLEMAN, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE ADVISER: What people are going to understand about the text messages is how horrible they are.
NOBLES: CNN obtained Meadows' messages, including this lengthy text from Trump's son, Don, Jr., from November 5th before the election had even been called for Joe Biden. Where he outlines how his father would prevent Joe Biden from taking office. Don Jr. telling Meadows we have multiple paths, we control them all.
Another part of the committee's aim, to draw a straight line from the attempt to subvert the will of the voters to the riot on January 6th.
CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Ppence!
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): All of my colleagues, all of them knew that what happened on January 6th was an assault on our Constitution. They knew it at the time. Yet now they are defending the indefensible.
NOBLES: The committee has also interviewed Trump's immediate family, including Don, Jr., his fiancee Kimberly Guilfoyle, Trump's daughter Ivan and Jared Kushner.
Some of that video could be play played tonight. Other Trump associates stonewalled the committee, leading to criminal indictments for some.
What lingers over the hearings is whether the committee has uncovered enough to expose Trump's role on that day.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): What was the president's role? We know some of the things about what the president did, certainly in propagating the big lie before that day and what he did at the rally that day. But what was going on at the White House?
NOBLES: And if the information could lead to Attorney General Merrick Garland to prosecute those responsible for attempting to undermine the election and inciting the mob, a task that may be their biggest challenge.
NOBLES (on camera): And so the big question is -- what will we learn that is news tonight? Obviously, there is going to be new video we haven't seen before, new testimony that we haven't heard before. But the committee seems to be indicating that they are prepared to lay out their central thesis, that Donald Trump is specifically responsible for conspiracy to undermine the election results and prevent the transfer of power.
Today is just the first stage of that argument, a process that will continue throughout the months of June. And, Jake, it won't end until they issue their final report this fall.
TAPPER: All right. Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill for us, thank you so much.
President Biden just spoke about tonight's hearing from the January 6 committee.
Let's bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins who's traveling with President Biden in Los Angeles.
Kaitlan, what did the president have to say?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the president said, he thinks people are going to learn a lot about what happened on January 6th, as they watch this first primetime hearing on what unfolded that day inside the halls of capital. But also, as Ryan noted, what happened leading up to it? And the president said that there are major questions unanswered that he thinks people will be looking for the answers to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think a clear flagrant violation of the Constitution, I think these guys and women provoked the law, tried to turn around the result of an election, and there were a lot of questions of who is responsible, who is involved. I'm not going to make a judgment on that, but I just want to note that we are probably going to, a lot of Americans are going to be seeing for the first time some new detail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Notable, Jake, that he said he is not going to make a judgment about who is responsible. But this is something that is coming up in conversations with world leaders. He was sitting there with the Canadian prime minister, this is something he said he believes a lot of Americans are going to be preoccupied with. We should note, he's got an upcoming meeting with the president of Brazil, who, Jake, of course, has cast doubt on President Biden's election, saying he believes it was a suspicious win, which, of course, it was not, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thank you so much.
With me to discuss, CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel, who's broken numerous developments concerning the committee's findings so far. Also with us, George Conway, he's a conservative lawyer and contributing columnist for "The Washington Post".
Thanks one and all for being here.
Jamie, let me start with you and a preview of the hearing, a committee aide said the American people will see, quote, new evidence and will be shown, quote, unseen material related to January 6.
We've been covering the insurrection for a long time. Is there really a lot we have not seen or reported on?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: There are things even you and I have not seen. Imagine tonight, as a prosecutor opening arguments to a jury, they are going to lay out not just what we are going to hear tonight, but throughout the hearings. And there are going to be witnesses we have never heard from before. We are expected to hear from Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, possibly Jared Kushner, maybe Donald Trump Jr.
But we are also going to hear for the first time from former White House officials, former administration officials. I believe we will hear from former attorney general, Bill Barr, who, as you know, played a critical role because on December 1st, he said to then President Trump, there was no significant election fraud.
GANGEL: And that is key because once again, it goes to the committee's argument that he continued down a path where he was repeatedly told there was no fraud and he was repeatedly told what he was doing could end in violence.
TAPPER: So, Peter Baker and Susan Glasser had a piece in the times the other day and which they talked about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump trying to chart their own path and heroically not supporting the president's lies and his, you know, deranged ranting about the election.
Do you think it would have any impact if -- and I have no idea what they are going to say tonight, whether they will show the Ivanka Trump video or Jared Kushner video, whatever. But if there is video of Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump saying, no, there was no fraud. There was no widespread fraud. I told my dad it's not true, blah, blah, blah.
Would that have an impact?
GEORGE CONWAY, CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I hope it does because I mean, I think it's going to be visually arresting to actually see these words come out of these people's mouths. On the other hand, I mean, I don't think we actually need a new smoking gun to show that there was a widespread conspiracy led by the president of the United States to overturn American democracy.
The evidence that we've seen, you know, that has been dribbled out over the last 17 months is pretty substantial as it is. And all I think the committee really needs to do is to lay it out in an orderly and compelling fashion. I mean, we don't need a smoking gun. We've already got, I mean, a battlefield's worth of artillery, smoking artillery.
And, you know, I hope that is what they lay out. They haven't really laid out more of the details --
TAPPER: Jamie, former Trump cabinet member, Betsy DeVos, former secretary of education, she spoke out today about January 6th and she talked about on that day may be invoking the 25th Amendment, the cabinet vote to remove a president because he's not well, one way or another, in an interview with "USA Today". Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETSY DEVOS, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY: I felt that there were things that the president could've done to stop the activity, to turn it back to avoid all of the things that ensued. And it was just a bridge too far. I had conversations with a number of my colleagues and then importantly, I also spoke with the vice president, and he made clear to me that that was not a direction that he was going to move in. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: This is the first time we've heard from a member of the cabinet at that time about it possibly invoking the 25th Amendment, even though they ultimately didn't do it.
GANGEL: Correct, we've heard this on background, but this is the first time we are hearing on the record a member of the cabinet confirming that these discussions went on.
TAPPER: And again, a super Trump supporter, a very conservative Republican -- I mean, her bona fide in the MAGA movement until today, probably, are unquestioned.
GANGEL: Correct and she also said something in the interview that will be key to the committee. She said, when I saw what was happening on January 6th, and did not see the president step in and do what he could have done to turn it back, or slow it down, it was obvious to me I couldn't continue and she resigned.
Again, the committee is focused on not only what Donald Trump did leading up to January 6th, but what's he didn't do.
TAPPER: Did not do. He didn't stop it.
TAPPER: It's not just Trump, of course, we are getting new audio recordings of others, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, in the days after the January 6th attack. This is new. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We cannot just sweep this under the rug. We need to know why it happened, who did it, and people need to be held accountable for it. And I'm committed to make sure that happens.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: Right now, he's really only committed to sweeping it under the rug.
After this tape came out, Eric Erickson -- again, very conservative, a radio host, he tweeted: Kevin McCarthy wanted to investigate January 6th before he didn't. The man has no principle or spine, and the GOP should not trust him with further leadership.
What do you think?
CONWAY: They shouldn't. He's been cowed and the fact of the matter is, any normal reaction from that day, 187 minutes, when President Trump did absolutely nothing to tell these people to go home, was shocking. That's why people were talking about the 25th Amendment that day, even though they previously talked about it basically from the beginning of the administration. They were talking about it that day because he was really, you know,
he is there watching television, apparently, and gleefully. He wanted this to happen.
And the irony about that, you know, Mike Pence did the right thing on January 6th and so far as he followed his constitutional duty when it came to the electoral vote count. But he should have -- he should have stood up on the 25th Amendment and they should have found him, Trump, unfit for office. In fact, it would've been the easiest way to protect the country at that point in time because the way that section four of the 25th Amendment works is that if the cabinet and the vice president certify the president is unfit, the president can contest that.
But the vice president is acting president unless Congress act, Congress had 21 days to act.
CONWAY: And it would've run out the clock on the administration, we wouldn't have had the problem with a bad man still in control of nuclear weapons in the White House.
TAPPER: And, possibly, coming back to the White House and winning the election by hook or by crook, or completely legally. We'll see.
Jamie Gangel, George Conway, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
Tonight's hearing could also be revealing for people who were at the Capitol when that mob arrived. I'm going to ask an officer who was brutally attacked on January 6th what he wants to hear tonight.
And the PGA tour takes action in suspending 17 golfers from participating in the tournament back by Saudi Arabia. But do the reasons for the suspensions -- did they go far enough?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Back with our politics lead.
The chairman of the House select committee investigating January 6th is revealing details about what we should all expect during tonight's primetime hearing. Democratic chairman, Bennie Thompson, says we will see, quote, significant video of the individuals who have been charged convicted and/or pleaded guilty to crimes on January 6th.
Let's bring in former D.C. police officer and CNN law enforcement analyst, Michael Fanone. He, of course, was helping to defend the Capitol on January 6th and was viciously attacked by members of the mob.
Thanks so much for being here. We always appreciate it. What's the number one question you would like to hear answered this evening? MICHAEL FANONE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, as a police
officer, one of many that fought at the capitol on January 6th, I want to know what the hell Donald Trump was doing for 187 minutes while myself and hundreds of others, other police officers were fighting for their lives.
TAPPER: Do you think if he had issued a video statement then, as opposed to much, much later, and he if he had issued a strong video statement, that that could have really made a change?
FANONE: Yeah, I mean, I saw the video statement he put out. I've seen it numerous times. At best, I think it was disingenuous. I think he should have been doing everything he could have possibly done to end that violent insurrection at the Capitol.
TAPPER: The committee's going to call Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards to testify this evening. She was injured that day in a fight involving members of the Proud Boys. Why do you make of their decision to use an officer as one of their first witnesses?
FANONE: I think it's important. First of all, I commend Caroline Edwards for coming forward. I know how difficult that is firsthand.
TAPPER: Because you get a lot of heat for it. A lot of attacks, social media and elsewhere.
FANONE: Yeah. I mean, that was going to be my advice to her. Tell the truth and stay off of social media.
But I think it's very important for the American people to see the violence of that day. It's been a long time since January 6th, 2021. This is kind of courtroom tactics one-on-one. You know, the prosecutor's going to bring you back to the scene of the crime.
The House Republican leadership, McCarthy, Scalise, and the rest, have been trying to make the argument that this is just political, this is just Nancy Pelosi trying to go after her opponents. I want you to listen to a comment McCarthy said today about who's responsible for the attack on the Capitol on January 6th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: You said both publicly and privately after January 6 that you thought Trump bore some responsibility for the attack. Do you still feel like he was in anyway responsible?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Look, I've answered that many times. I thought everybody in the country bear some responsibility, based upon what has been going on, the riots on the streets, the others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Everyone in the country bear responsibility for January 6th. What do -- what do you make of that?
FANONE: Listen, I mean, I -- we can go into the weeds about our state of affairs in the United States, and the culture that we've cultivated here. But, ultimately, what he said on January 11th was accurate. The president of the United States bore responsibility for what happened on January 6th. You know, saying that is, I think, just a way to avoid the reality of his party's responsibility in those events.
TAPPER: You've said you think former president Trump will get off the hook and emerge unscathed, even though you obviously hold him responsible for what happened on January 6th. Is there any part of you that thinks these hearings are an exercise in futility?
FANONE: I'm not going to say it's an exercise in futility. I mean, it's important that the record -- somebody makes the record -- you know, keeps it straight. Somebody assembles the information. You know, we hear from witnesses.
I guess, for nothing else, just a historical record. As far as, whether it or not it moves the needle, I don't see that happening.
TAPPER: All right, Officer Michael Fanone, I will be talking to you a little later on in our coverage. Thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it.
And you can join me in just a few hours for the attack on democracy, the January 6th hearings. Our special coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, right here, on CNN.
Coming up next, security stepped up ahead of controversial decisions expected by the U.S. Supreme Court, and a threat to kill one of the nine justices.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The House of Representatives will vote next week on a Senate passed bill to provide enhanced security to Supreme Court justices and their families. The legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent last month, before it stalled in the House, angering some lawmakers, including Senator Mitch McConnell, who slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for slow walking its passage. His ire even more forceful yesterday, in the wake of the arrest of an armed left-wing, would-be assassin near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Authorities say the suspect traveled from California to kill the justice.
As CNN's Whitney Wild reports for us now, law enforcement in Washington are gearing up for a potential volatile next few weeks, when major Supreme Court decisions are expected on abortion, and on guns.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police searching the home of a California man charged with attempted murder, after he told police he wanted to kill a Supreme Court justice and then kill himself. He said to give his life purpose. Upset over the leak of a draft ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and the possibility that the court could loosen gun laws, authorities say, 26-year-old, Nicholas Roske, went to Justice Brett Kavanaugh's Maryland home with a gun, zip ties, and other tools.
But after seeing two deputy U.S. marshals outside, he called 911 on himself.
DISPATCHER: Units be advised, a caller came to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He came from California. He took a taxi from the airport to this location.
WILD: Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department will not tolerate this behavior.
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Threats of violence and actual violence against justices, of course, strike at the heart of our democracy.
WILD: Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin says Congress is now ready to approve a bill extending security to the immediate family members of the justices.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): What happened this week with Justice Kavanaugh is a reminder that we live in a dangerous place and these people are vulnerable and we should protect them.
WILD: Republicans are blasting the delay.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): A disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.
WILD: House Democrats want to expand the Senate bill to cover clerks and staff. Speaker Nancy Pelosi promises action soon.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We had hoped we could do it today, but we certainly will do it at the beginning of next week.
WILD: All this coming as the January 6th hearings are set to begin tonight in primetime. And Washington gears up for a potentially volatile June.
That's when Supreme Court decisions, large-scale protests and more tours at the Capitol will converge in an already heightened threat environment.
CHIEF TOM MANGER, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: There's, I think, a lot of vitriol.
PROTESTERS: No justice, no peace! WILD: A major concern, the pending abortion ruling. Intelligence analysts warn of potential threats toward lawmakers, Supreme Court justices, abortion providers, and religious groups. The threats coming from both sides of the abortion debate.
MANGER: I am worried about violence, I'm worried about the lone actor coming in and doing something dangerous.
PROTESTERS: We will not go back.
WILD: Protests related to abortion and gun laws could bring thousands of people to Washington. Sources say, Capitol police are now adding overtime shifts.
MANGER: The focus is really on the protests that are going out of the court, the protests that are going on at the homes of the justices. I understand that the tension could very quickly turn to, you know, to the Capitol.
WILD (on camera): Jake, just minutes ago, we got that 911 call that that suspect made two 911 when he admitted that he had weapons and that he had planned to hurt that justice, and himself, Jake.
TAPPER: Whitney Wild, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
From the rising gas prices to the falls in the housing market, what a series of new economic numbers might mean for your money and the future of the American economy. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our money lead, the national average for a gallon of gas is now just three cents off the five dollar a gallon mark, according to AAA, with higher inflation and interest rates, home mortgage applications dropped to the lowest level in 22 years. And for the first time since January, the number of people filing weekly unemployment claims hit 229,000, which economists were not expecting.
Let's bring in CNN's Rahel Solomon.
Rahel, let's start with housing. Is the housing market finally cooling down?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It does appear so, Jake. If you are looking for a house right now, you are finding it increasingly more difficult, which is probably why applications to purchase a home, mortgage applications, dropped 6.5 percent compared to the week prior. This, plus applications to refinance essentially at 22-year lows.
And two things are happening right now, Jake. You have the price of a home going up, still about 20 percent higher than it was a year ago. And you have the cost to buy a home, the borrowing costs, also going up.
Take a look at mortgage rates right now. The average for a fixed 30- year sitting at 5.23 percent. But look at this chart. It sort of tells it all. A year ago, it was at 3 percent.
So you are going hit on both sides, Jake. Not only is the price of a home going up, but the cost to borrow, to buy a home is also going up. It's becoming increasingly more affordable, or less affordable, for people to buy a home, especially first time home buyers.
TAPPER: Rahel, let's turn to unemployment. Unemployment is very low but unemployment claims rose. Their overall still considered low. What does that mean? The Fed is obviously focused on inflation right now.
SOLOMON: Yeah. So every Thursday morning, we get these initial claims, essentially, how many were Americans are filing for unemployment benefits? And the number this morning was 229, 000, which is the highest we've seen since January, but still low, especially when you consider the average of these numbers over the last month.
So what it means is that the jobs market is still very strong, but again, perhaps a sign of weakening. When asked David Kelly of JPMorgan about this, this morning saying, look, does this worry you? He told me, still too low for concern. We've also got the jobs report on Friday, which indicated the same. 3.6 percent unemployment, still 390 jobs being added to the economy.
But here is where it might cause some concern for the Fed, as it tries to lower inflation. Jake, with a jobs marking being as hot as it is, to open jobs for every one person looking for a job, that means that people who are looking for work, they can demand more in terms of wages, which is great.
However, that tends to mean higher prices. Companies tend to pass that on in terms of higher prices and the fed, of course, is trying to lower prices, trying to lower inflation. So this becomes a very delicate balancing act for them, as they try to lower inflation.
But again, by and large, the jobs market is still very hot.
TAPPER: All right. Rahel Solomon breaking it down for, thanks so much.
Turning to the health lead now, possible link between COVID during pregnancy and neuro developmental disorders in children. A new study found babies who were exposed to COVID in utero were more likely to have delayed speech or motor skills by their first birthday than babies who are not exposed. And now, researchers are calling for investigation and seeing more data is needed.
Here to discuss, Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the White House COVID-19 response coordinator.
Dr. Jha, we should note, these are preliminary findings from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
But what is your takeaway from this study?
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Yeah. So, Jake, first of all, thanks for having me back.
Look, this is part of a broader set of data that kind of makes a compelling argument that pregnant women should get vaccinated when they are pregnant. We know that pregnancy itself as a high risk situation if you get COVID. So, the complication risk is high.
And then there's more and more emerging evidence like this one, that the babies themselves can have negative affects.
So, lots of good reasons why if you are pregnant, you should get vaccinated. It's a great way to protect yourself and the baby.
TAPPER: Researchers say the developmental disorders are delays in the basic milestones of infancy, such as rolling over, reaching for objects, babbling, and that there are concerns for other potential long term adverse health consequences.
Now, we know vaccines don't stop a person from getting infected with COVID, they can just help you deal with how bad the affection is.
So, what more can pregnant women really do to prevent this other than getting vaccinated?
JHA: Well, so first of all, let's be clear. Vaccinated and boosted actually can prevent infections, absolutely. Even if you get infected, you have much lower levels of virus. I think that's probably the single most important thing you can do. Obviously, avoiding high-risk situations, super crowded indoor spaces, poorly ventilated places, those kinds of things that we know make a difference as well in reducing infections.
But to me, at this point still, this number one thing is getting vaccinated and boosted is probably the best way to protect yourself.
TAPPER: This reminds me, why haven't you guys, the CDC, the Biden administration, why haven't you change the definition of fully vaccinated to include that booster shot that we all agree is necessary and a needed part of the regimen? Why not change that? It seems obvious that the booster shot is vital.
JHA: Yeah. No, so, first of all, I agree with you on the science here, Jake. Very clear, every American who is vaccinated needs three shots to be fully protected. That's what we sort of describe as being up to date.
The definitional issue of a fully vaccinated -- very much a CDC decision. A lot of factors go into that. But from a clinical and public health point of view, people need that third shot. That's what offers the best protection.
TAPPER: Today, the Biden ministration laid out its COVID vaccine rollout for kids under five. Vaccines for this age group might be available by the end of the month. I know a lot of parents, very happy about this.
But the latest polling from April shows only 18 percent of parents nationally say they are going to schedule a shot for their under five- year-old right away.
How do you convince the other 80 percent, or so, to schedule that shot as soon as possible?
JHA: Yeah, that's a great question. I start off by saying two things. First, our job is to make sure that vaccines are widely available and easily accessible, right? That's the first step. Just to make sure that happens.
Second is if you go back to December of 2020 and look at the polling data on adults, about a third of adults said they were going to get vaccinated right away. That 80 percent have ended up getting a single shot. So, my point on that is vaccine confidence builds overtime.
We are going to work with pediatricians, family physicians, faith groups, helping people answer questions they have and making sure the parents understand that the best way to protect your children is getting vaccinated. We don't expect this to happen overnight, but we do expect in the weeks and months ahead, we are going to see a lot more kids get vaccinated.
TAPPER: According to the CDC, the 5 to 11 age group has right now, the lowest rates of vaccination, 29 percent of kids in that age group completed the two dose vaccination series, compared to 59 percent of 12 to 17 year olds, or 63 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds.
Isn't it fair to say that this administration, as of right now, has failed to convince America's parents to get their youngest kids vaccinated? What's going to make this new age group, six months to five years, any different?
JHA: Yeah. So, Jake, I think the key point here is vaccine confidence builds overtime. Twelve to 17 year olds have been eligible longer, and we've seen vaccination rates rising even today. There are hundreds if not thousands of 5 to 11-year-olds going out, getting vaccinated. It's happening every day.
We are continuing to focus on getting good information out to people that parents trust -- doctors, nurses, religious leaders, and also, obviously, making sure that it's extremely convenient and easy. We think this is a long game and I think over the long run, that strategy is what is going to help override a lot of the misinformation out there and make parents comfortable, knowing that this is the right thing to do for their kids.
TAPPER: The CDC says more than 82 million doses of vaccines distributed across the country have gone to waste since the start of the pandemic.
Do you worry we are going to see more of this if kids and five in order to get vaccinated during this big White House push?
JHA: Look, the bottom line on this is we've gotten -- we've gotten 700-plus million doses out. Obviously, 200 million people vaccinated.
When you are trying to make vaccines easily accessible, widely available, you are not as, you know, you are focused on data is your primary goal. We are going to have some number of doses that are not going to be able to get into peoples arms. We know that. That's a part of the cost of doing business here.
Our focus is really on making sure availability and accessibility come first, and with that, we think it's going to be the right way to prioritize making sure kids and adults get vaccine access to this vaccine.
TAPPER: All right. Dr. Ashish Jha, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up next, teed off. PGA tour takes action against big name golfers participating in that tournament funded by the Saudis. But it is not the Saudis record on human rights that the PGA is mad about.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In the sports league today, the PGA Tour rattling the world of golf, suspending legends such as Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, because of their participation in the new Saudi-backed LIV tournament, which teed off today. And now, the three major winners of more than a dozen other pro golfers are officially barred from future PGA tour events.
CNN's Alex Thomas is at the LIV tournament here in London and we should note, this is not the PGA tour taking a moral stance against the Saudi-backed tournament because of Saudi Arabia's abysmal records on human rights or the murder of a "Washington Post" columnist. That's not the problem they have with this.
ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, Jake, because they had previously released PGA tour players to play in Saudi Arabia for their partner, the European DP World Tour. They are not worried about the source of the money just how much money the Saudis have because it could threaten their place as the most prestigious and most lucrative golf competition on the planet.
PGA Tour commissioner, Jay Monahan, had a choice to make. He chose the nuclear option. It is now open civil war at the top of the professional men's game, a seething two-page memo released as the golf LIV players, shortly after they teed off here.
Part of which said: I am certain our fans and partners who have surely tired of all this talk of money, money, and more money, will continue to be entertained and compelled by the world class competition you display each and every week.
That was aimed at the current members, the players who didn't jump ship, almost a mafia movie style snub to the breakaway players almost like you did to me, leave the horse's head on your pillow.
The LIV Golf response was swift and direct. They said: Today's announcement by the PGA Tour is vindictive and it deepens the divide between the tour and its members. This certainly is not the last word on this topic. The end of free agency is beginning.
That's hinting at legal action. Ultimately, LIV golf has become the ultimate pay as you play golf. And what they mean by that is, you can play and then you pay by being suspended from the PGA tour, Jake.
TAPPER: Alex, golf is such a mental sport. This PGA tour decision apparently affect any players in the tee box in England today?
THOMAS: I mean, they play good golf. Phil Mickelson actually stripe down the first hole on his opening shot. And the crowd actually loved it. Lots of fans following him.
I spoke to Sergio Garcia, former masters champion, shortly after he finished and he seemed really relaxed about it as well. He was one of those who quit the PGA tour before playing here, to avoid legal action. But it's certainly heading that way in my opinion, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Alex Thomas, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
In our pop culture today, a tribute from someone who dabbled in cartoons to a true professional, an icon globally in the field. Legendary artist Ranan Lurie passed away last night at the age of 90. He was an Israeli American born in Egypt. He published his first book of cartoons when he was just 20. He went on to draw for a "Life Magazine". He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Ranan Lurie, a true giant. May his memory be a blessing.
Coming up, how some of the biggest names in the business are trying to influence gun negotiations in Congress. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, is anybody out there? That's one of the questions NASA scientists are hoping to answer as they prepare to study UFOs in a way they have never done before.
Plus, a warning to all foreign fighters in Ukraine. A pro-Russian court in the east giving three captured POWs, two Brits and a Moroccan death sentences, claiming they were Ukrainian mercenaries.
And leading this hour, just hours away from the first primetime January 6th hearing. We're going to hear from new witnesses, including possibly members of Donald Trump's own family, Ivanka, Jared.
Plus, a documentarian who is embedded with the far right extremist group the proud boys. Committee members also say they will share never before seen images from that fateful day. The hearing, of course, is not just about the mob that stormed the Capitol that day. It's about a months-long campaign and conspiracy to undermine democracy in America. It's about a president and those around him, desperate to hold on to power at any cost, even if it meant destroying the American experiment.
Let's get right to CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju.
Manu, the committee chairman, Congressman Bennie Thompson, today said some of the videotaped interviews the committee will show will include individuals who have been charged for their actions on January 6th. Do you know who he is talking about?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was a bit of a surprise. But it's still going to be a surprise, because he would not explicitly say who that could be, potentially Enrique Tarrio. Of course, he's the Proud Boy leader who was charged with seditious conspiracy. He would not say whether or not we could expect to see some video of that.