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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Blames Inflation On GOP, Trump, Putin & Corporate Greed; Biden To Visit Saudi Arabia, Kingdom He Once Called A "Pariah"; Grand Jury Could Hear From Former Kanye West Publicist Who Allegedly Pressured 2020 Election Worker; Cheney Rejects Report Of A Dispute Among Jan. 6 Committee On Criminal Referral For Trump; Rudy Giuliani Blasts Trump Aides Over Claim He Was Drunk On Election Night; Ukrainian Soldiers Train For Front Lines With Western Weapons; Hunter Biden's Ex-Wife, Kathleen Buhle, Details Marriage In New Memoir. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 14, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And meet with the same man intelligence officials say is responsible for the brutal murder of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi. CNN's M.J. Lee joins us now live from the White House.

M.J., how much heat does the President think he's going to take for this meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A whole lot of heat, Jake. This meeting that is upcoming is just so counter to what the President has said in the past about wanting to make the Saudi government pay a price, wanting to make it a pariah following the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It's worth reminding everyone that U.S. intelligence had determined that it was the Saudi Crown Prince who had ordered the killing of Khashoggi and this was a report that the Biden administration actually released last year.

Well, notably yesterday, White House press secretary Karine Jean- Pierre was asked several times whether the President believes that MBS, the Saudi Crown Prince, is responsible for Khashoggi's murder. She was asked to several times by CNN, by a colleague of ours at the "Washington Post" and she wouldn't give a direct answer.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I mean, we've spoken to this before. The President is focused on getting things done for the American people.

LEE: The question that I asked, though, does he believe that MBS was responsible for Khashoggi's death?

JEAN-PIERRE: You know, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was something that we and so many others around the world took very, very seriously. He issued an extensive report on Khashoggi's murder. LEE: Does he believe --

JEAN-PIERRE: Go ahead. Go ahead.

I've already answered the question.


LEE: Now, the White House has emphasized that when the President goes to Saudi Arabia that there are going to be human rights issues that are discussed. Though, it has been pretty reticent to answer questions about whether Khashoggi's murder itself is going to be specifically addressed.

And, Jake, we are hearing now from Democrats, including some of the President's allies, basically saying that this trip is a mistake, and particularly when it comes to the meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince, that he really should reconsider.

TAPPER: The White House says this trip is not just about calming down energy markets, despite the fact that gas prices are at record highs here in the U.S. Why are they downplaying that? Why did they continue to emphasize the security in the region argument?

LEE: Yes, you know, it is a really, really good question, the White House has seems pretty determined to downplay sort of the gas, the energy, the oil prices aspect of this future trip. And Saudi Arabia, of course, is one of the biggest oil producers in the country. The U.S. would certainly like to see the country produce a whole lot more oil.

I think we are seeing that the human rights issues that we just discussed, including the Khashoggi murder, it really looms large for this White House. It has been a challenge for this White House to sort of answer the question of how the President has evolved from a few years ago saying that he was determined to make this government and the Crown Prince a pariah to now basically signaling that he is OK doing business with this country. Now, this is why I think we are also seeing even Democrats, again, weighing in to say that this would be a mistake.

The White House has really wanted to sort of emphasize and wanted to sort of show that it's not necessarily the President doing a complete 180 Just for the sake of lowering gas prices but there is no question, Jake, that a big, big component of this trip, of course, is going to be about oil. It's going to be about gas prices and energy issues overall.

TAPPER: M.J. Lee at the White House for us, thank you so much.

In our money lead, President Biden today told a crowd of union members in Philadelphia that his administration has made, quote, "extraordinary progress" on the economy. This despite of course, the worst inflation in decades.

Biden blamed many of the economy's problems on Donald Trump and the Republican Party. He also said Russian President Vladimir Putin is a major culprit as well. CNN's Tom Foreman fact check that last part and found that Putin is not quite the boogeyman that Biden makes him out to be, at least when it comes to energy prices.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the air on the ground in businesses and homes, rising prices are scorching American pocketbooks. Yet who does the White House blame? The leader of faraway Russia, Vladimir Putin.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've never seen anything like Putin's tax on both food and gas.

I've known everything in my power to blunt Putin's gas price hike.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Certainly when Russia invaded Ukraine, global energy prices soared as much of the world turned away from Russian fuel exports. Agricultural export problems in Russia and production disruptions in Ukraine have the World Food Program tweeting about ripple effects everywhere.

ARIF HUSAN, U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME CHIEF ECONOMIST: These two countries supply about 30 percent of all the wheat exports globally.

FOREMAN (voice-over): So, money watchers like Julia Horowitz say,

JULIA HOROWITZ, CNN SENIOR WRITER: I think Joe Biden has a point and the war in Ukraine is absolutely exacerbating. Rising food costs and rising fuel costs that are putting pressure on American households all across the country.


FOREMAN (voice-over): But hold on, America's inflationary surge started in May of 2020 while Trump was still in office and has skyrocketed under Biden, the war effect kicked in only a few months ago. Economists say that bigger trend was driven by the pandemic, which is still disrupting production in places like China and supply chains all over. But they also cite supply's evil twin, demand for goods and services, which is way up pushed by Americans eager to spin pandemic savings and that has President Biden himself taking heat.

HOROWITZ: There's a lot of debate right now among economists about whether the stimulus packages that were passed by the Biden administration fueled demand and that supercharged the inflation problem.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Still, many financial analysts say while Putin does not deserve all the blame, his war in Ukraine has undeniably made inflationary woes worse, even as the White House keeps promising to somehow make it all better.

BIDEN: Jobs are back, but prices are still too high. COVID is down, but gas prices are up. Our work isn't done.


FOREMAN: The White House would not be wrong to say inflation is really being caused by a global economy, the lingering effects of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and Americans on a spending spree after being cooped up for two years. But that doesn't make much of a political slogan, Jake. So it's much easier to say, see that bad guy in the Kremlin, it's his fault.

TAPPER: Yes. Tom Foreman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Turning into our politics lead, the House of Representatives has now passed a bill providing enhanced security to U.S. Supreme Court justices and their immediate family members. It ends an increasingly acrimonious standoff between Democrats and Republicans over the bills delay. The final vote in the House was 396 to 27. Every Republican voted for the bill.

Many New Jersey Democrats and other liberal members voted against it saying they wanted to amend the bill to include protections for other federal judges. This for the New Jersey congress people after a New Jersey judge's son was killed in a shooting at her home two years ago.

But as CNN's Whitney Wild reports for us now, the bill took on new urgency after the arrest of an armed man near the home of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The man told authorities he traveled from California to kill the Justice.


REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): The protests that have been taking place outside the Justice's home these past months are unacceptable.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): There are threats to justices across the board.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight the Supreme Court security protection debate ends after lawmakers approved a bill to help boost police presence at the homes of Supreme Court justices.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Why did it take so long? Six weeks ago was when the draft leak happened and the protest started at justice's homes almost immediately.

WILD (voice-over): The proposed bill expands the authority of the Supreme Court police to protect, quote, "any member of the immediate family of the Chief Justice and the associate justice or any officer of the Supreme Court if the marshal determines such protection is necessary."

Action on the bill had been delayed because Democrats wanted to expand it to specifically include protection for staff and clerks.

LIEU: This bill has to do with the families of Supreme Court justices. I support protecting them. I also support protecting their employees and their families of the Supreme Court. WILD (voice-over): The more narrow measure took on new urgency in recent days after police say a man admitted he flew from California to Maryland intending to kill Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and then himself to "give his life purpose."

Department of Homeland Security officials are warning about a tense threat environment as the Supreme Court inches closer to potentially seismic opinions on guns and abortion.

CHRISTOPHER RODRIGUEZ, DIRECTOR, D.C. HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: We're seeing threats from all parts of the political spectrum.

WILD (voice-over): Protesters on both sides of the abortion debate have descended on the Supreme Court. Protesters have also gathered at the homes of conservative justices over the last several weeks, prompting some to point to this law from 1915.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I wrote to Attorney General Garland a month ago asking why he wasn't enforcing the laws on the books already, I guess judicial intimidation.

WILD (voice-over): That law designed to ban protesting outside the homes of judges, witnesses and jurors to try to influence the court system.

EUGENE VOLOKH, PROFESSOR, UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW: The purpose of that statute appears to be to keep judges from being influenced by public opinion and in particular public opinion of people, possibly a mob of people outside their home.


WILD: Meanwhile, Jake, we're learning new details about the man who targeted Kavanaugh. The Montgomery County police chief tells CNN that when Nicholas Roski (ph) saw the U.S. Marshals posted outside Kavanaugh's home, the suspects turned around to contemplate his next move that is when he texted his sister who convinced him to call 911, Jake, and that's exactly what he did.


TAPPER: Thank God for that. Whitney Wild, thanks so much.

Taking hits on the economy, feeling the heat from his own party about the visit to Saudi Arabia, can Biden turn his message and Democrats midterm fate around? And an entire town is now surrounded by raging floodwaters as roads disappearing, homes washed away. Stay with us.


TAPPER: And we're back with our money lead, President Biden today trying to put a positive spin on the economy as Americans continue to grapple with record high prices on food and gasoline. Joining us live to discuss is Cedric Richmond. He's a senior advisor for the Democratic National Committee. He just departed the White House where he was the Director of Public Engagement.


Cedric, good to see you. Thanks for joining us. So, President Biden puts a lot of the blame for the country's economic woes on Vladimir Putin, on Donald Trump, on the Republican Party, on corporate greed, but economists were predicting that all the money being injected into the U.S. economy in 2020 and 2021 could help cause inflation. Doesn't President Biden bear some responsibility for how bad things are?

CEDRIC RICHMOND, SENIOR ADVISER, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: No, if you look at -- Jake, if you look at the President's three prong plan in the beginning, it was to pass the American Rescue Plan so we could get shots and arms, get schools back open, get the economy open and not shut down again, which all happened. And then it was to go do the bipartisan infrastructure bill so that we could finally start investing in American infrastructure, creating jobs right here in the United States, jobs that pay well.

And then the third prong was to reduce those household costs, the cost of health care, the cost of elder care, the cost of childcare, and continue to bring household costs down. And all of the economists said, if we pass the last portion of it, it would do that. And so, what you have is Republicans purposely obstructing it and keeping it from happening, then at the same time, saying inflation is high. And we know we have work to do there. But the Republican opposition just for the sake of opposition to legislation that would bring household costs down is what's continuing to spark it.

But the President also laid out his plan to continue to deal with inflation, to continue to deal with rising gas prices. He wants to continue to pay down the debt. We've done that more than -- or the President has done that more than any other president in this short time period. And the question becomes, why won't the Republicans really seriously take up the end of the President's agenda, which would allow him to tax the rich so that we can continue to pay down the -- reduce the deficit, which would also reduce inflation.

TAPPER: Well, you're blaming that on Republicans, but Democrats controlled the Senate, and it was two Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who actually blocked that. Yes, the Republicans are not participating or cooperating at all, but if you're blaming it on Republicans, then is it also not the fault of Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin that there's inflation?

RICHMOND: Well, I'll just tell you that you have united Republican opposition, all 50 Republican senators are sitting on their hands and not doing anything to address these inflationary pressures, which there is a plan to deal with it. And we'll continue to talk and work with Senator Cinema and Manchin to continue to try to push the agenda. But when you have united opposition from the other party, this is what you get. And I think that's what Americans are so frustrated with is congressional gridlock when it's their lives that are being affected by it. And there's a plan, there's a bill, and we just urge Congress to act. TAPPER: President Biden says battling inflation is his top priority, but the White House says his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia is not going to be focused on skyrocketing energy cost as much as it's going to be focused on security issues. Why is the Biden administration downplaying what will obviously be an important part of his conversation with MBS getting OPEC to open -- turn on the spigot to bring down gas prices in the United States?

RICHMOND: Well, look, the President is by far the world's leader in terms of foreign policy, we see how he united the West in terms of tackling and fighting Putin's aggression. And this is a part of making sure that he continues to rally countries in terms of, if you look at the peace accord in Yemen, or you look at other issues around the world, if you look at Israel, two-state solution, he'll be doing all of those things while he's over there.

And it is a summit and a trip that focuses on the national security of this country and the world. But part of national security also as the price of oil and the President has used every tool in his toolkit including the petroleum reserve, and I'm sure the conversation will come up, but that is not the purpose of the trip. The purpose of the trip is to continue to be a world leader in terms of safety and security and human rights.

TAPPER: Speaking of human rights, I mean, let's remind our viewers what then private citizen Joe Biden said about then President Donald Trump cozying up to the Saudis. Take a listen.



BIDEN: After the cold-blooded murder of a journalist, giving the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia the benefit of the doubt, look, look at the example this sets around the world. Forget what it does here. Think what it does around the world. People wonder what has become of us.


TAPPER: What has become of this? President Biden is about to kiss the ring of MBS who was responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi according to our own intelligence. Does that question not still apply? What has become of us?

RICHMOND: Well, let me just start here, Jake, the President's not kissing the ring of any world leader. That's not who Joe Biden is. He's never done that. And he's called the Saudis out on their human rights violation. That doesn't mean you don't go and confront them and have conversations and continue to be the leader of the free world that the President is.

And so, if you listen to this clip, I agree 100 percent that we shouldn't be cozying up. And the President believes that. And what he is doing is far different from what President Trump did. He's not giving anybody the benefit of the doubt. He's continuing to lead and he has been very clear on his view and policy when it comes to the Saudis.

TAPPER: All right, Cedric Richmond, thank you so much. Good to see you again.

RICHMOND: Thanks for having me.

TAPPER: Kanye West's former publicist, the 2020 election and the big lie, all part of a body cam video being examined for a grand jury investigation. What am I talking about? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead now, a big development in the Georgia investigation into former President Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud and other related activity. Investigators with the Fulton County district attorney in Atlanta are now seeking testimony from a former Kanye West and R. Kelly publicist. The publicist allegedly approached an election worker and pressured her to admit that Trump's false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election were true. The election worker went to the police. CNN's Sara Murray is diving into the development.

Sara, do we know when the publicist is set to testify before the grand jury? And what does this tell us about the Georgia investigation?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the court filings that we obtained, the investigators wanted to see this publicist, Trevian Kutti, before the grand jury this month. We reached out to Kutti for comment, though, and she didn't say really anything to our request, so we don't know if she's planning to comply.

Now, this is some bizarre story, but follow along with me, this publicist shows up at this election worker's house after the 2020 election. The election worker calls the police, she's already been the subject of a number of threats. The two women agreed to meet at this police precinct and then it's recorded on this body cam footage you can see now.

So in portions of that body camera footage, here are some things the publicist says to the election worker, "I cannot say what specifically will take place, I just know that it will disrupt your freedom." The publicist goes on to say, "You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up." She also put the election worker on the phone with various people during their interaction.

So investigators said in this court filing, they needed to speak to the publicist to understand who she was working for, why she went there, who she connected this election worker with on the phone and essentially what is going on here. And I think what it tells you about the investigation is just how sprawling it is in Georgia. You know, this is obviously not the central Donald Trump, Brad Raffensperger phone call we're talking about, but it tells you that the D.A. is turning over all kinds of things that she wants to look into, Jake.

TAPPER: And Sara, are there other witnesses that the grand jury there in Atlanta could be hearing from in the coming weeks?

MURRAY: There are. The D.A. was pretty thorough in subpoenaing a number of officials from the Georgia Secretary of State's office. For instance, one of the key ones I think coming up in the next few weeks is going to be Gabe Sterling, that's one of Brad Raffensperger's deputy -- deputies. Remember this plea that gave Sterling made to then President Donald Trump after the 2020 election.


GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA VOTING SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION MANAGER: Mr. President, it looks like you likely lost the state of Georgia. We need to step up and say this, is stop inspiring people to commit potential acts of violence, someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed.


MURRAY: That's December 1st as Gabe Sterling is begging the president to denounce the harassment, saying he's going to cause violence. And of course, we know what happened on January 6 when rioters from the Capitol, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes. Sara Murray, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Let's discuss with my panelists. Zolan, let me start with you. Obviously, the Georgia investigation looks bad for President Trump. And in terms of this publicist, the challenge is going to be how do you connect that person seeming to threaten an election worker with an official order from Donald Trump, right? I mean, this is going to be the challenge for all of this stuff.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": No, absolutely. Each one of these instances, you can't just say that this is another person that's promoting election fraud and therefore don't apply to this case. But what it does show is the ripple effects and the continued inspiring that the President did when he was promoting repeatedly these false claims about the election in the lead up to January 6 from Election Day.

We've now seen that it's -- there's a lot of attention right now as well on his top officials, the January 6 hearing and an investigation, the Justice Department investigation, but we're seeing that there's these things happening as well on the local level, which is indicative, if not of evidence, that of any wrongdoing by Trump at that point legally, it is indicative of the ripple effects of his continued promotion of the big lie.


TAPPER: So there's a kind of a kerfuffle going on, a minor kerfuffle between the leaders of the January 6 committee. The chairman Bennie Thompson, democratic Mississippi suggested that it's not the role of the committee to make a criminal referral if they find criminal conduct to the Justice Department. Liz Cheney contradicted him. She's the Vice Chair Republican from Wyoming. She said the January 6 Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that and appropriate time basically saying Chairman Thompson's wrong we haven't made a decision on whether to do this or not.

And just a few minutes ago, she put out a video on Twitter from the January 6 committee in which she is includes a new clip of Trump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann, talking about his conversation with conservative lawyer John Eastman. Eastman is the one who came up with this for cockta plan on how to steal the electoral votes in the House.

Eastman asked Herschmann what he thought about efforts in Georgia to challenge election results, Herschmann said he only wanted to hear about an orderly transition. Take a listen.


ERIC HERSCHMANN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: I want to hear any other effing words coming out of your mouth no matter what other than orderly transition. Repeat those words to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he saying?

HERSCHMANN: And eventually, you said orderly transition. I said, good, John. Now I'm going to give you the best free legal advice you're ever getting in your life. Get a great effing criminal defense lawyer, you're going to need it. And then I hung up on him.


TAPPER: Now that's interesting, Jonah, because Liz Cheney put that out there. And midst this whole idea about whether or not the committee should be referring any -- anything to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution.

JONAH GOLDBERG, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR IN CHIEF, THE DISPATCH: Right. And also, I mean, I agree with you. It's a minor kerfuffle. But we are in the kerfuffle criminology business. So we have to figure out also the fact that they canceled the here -- they postpone the hearing about basically the DOJ aspects of this stuff, which would have presumably been about these questions of a criminal referral, it does seem interesting that they would do this.

What the larger significance is, it's almost impossible to know until we actually just sort of hear the thing. I personally think, as much as I admire, lose Cheney and understand, and in a perfect world wouldn't mind a criminal referral. I think politically, it doesn't make a huge amount of sense to go down that rabbit hole.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: And it doesn't make a lot of sense to the Justice Department anyway, because they're going to do whatever they want to do. I mean, this committee found two people in contempt of Congress, Congress voted on it. And the Justice Department decided not to indict Scavino, and Meadows. TAPPER: Right.

BORGER: So that they will do what they want to do. And if they want to be seen, and I think this was Benny Thompson's point, which is, this is not our job, our job is to tell you how we're going to make sure that this can never happen again. We are a congressional committee. We're not a legal entity --

GOLDBERG: Although that's also recommend getting rid of the Electoral College.

NAYYERA HAQ, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE SENIOR DIRECTOR: They're all defining these roles in this moment, in a new and an interesting way, because the Department of Justice absolutely could find a way to go directly after these conspirators and any of these individuals that have been subpoenaed by Congress.

So the negotiation of the lines between executive and congressional right now are especially important, given this moment in our democracy. And that's what the committee is ultimately trying to get to whether it's a delayed hearing or not, they know what they know. They are trying to tell a very compelling story to the American public over a course of several hearings, to then get to a very particular political and cultural moment in which the American public will come along with the demands for accountability for this attack on our democracy.

TAPPER: Don't you think Liz Cheney, this is not my original idea. This was what Jonah said, suggested, I think, if I was hearing you correctly, but don't you think that Liz Cheney is by putting out this clip today suggesting, hey, don't listen to me. Trump White House counsel or attorneys thought that criminal defense attorneys were going to have to be hired by if not Donald Trump, John Eastman and other people part of this?

KANNO-YOUNGS: No, absolutely. And you've already seen here you can assess from the just the decision to put out this video. They don't want any -- anyone in the public to already conclude whether or not there's going to be criminal referrals or not at this point that and just because the chairman puts out that statement. You don't want at that point people to then walk away thinking this is already sealed and done. What's even going to happen in next, next year --

HAQ: And it's coming from a Republican, right. Coming from Liz Cheney is very different than the black Democrat Bennie Thompson. So the optics of this are very important, especially as we're seeing all of the witnesses so far have been from the Republican side of the aisle, have been from inside Trump world.

BORGER: Well, I think the timing is such a key point here particularly for Liz Cheney. They're going through this hearing. We saw the hearing yesterday. Was it yesterday? We saw the hearing yesterday. We saw Herschmann yesterday. I mean, she believes clearly there's criminal culpability, she quotes a judge who says there's criminal culpability here. She doesn't want people to turn off as you were saying. KANNO-YOUNGS: But these multiple statements here speaking about the optics, it really does also show the struggle here. Look, the Justice Department is still going forth with this investigation. And the last thing they want us to or the thing they want is to avoid any of these accusations which are likely to come of this being partisan --

BORGER: Right.

KANNO-YOUNGS: -- Justice Department and the congressional --

GOLDBERG: My only point was that I don't think pursuing criminal referrals on Trump makes a lot of sense.


GOLDBERG: John Eastman, you know, I look forward to hearing from him about how bad that Apple Brown Betty is in federal prison.


TAPPER: Right.

GOLDBERG: That's a different issue.

TAPPER: Nobody's arguing but that's going to divide the country. John Eastman getting prosecuted.


TAPPER: Yesterday in the hearing, we heard video testimony from former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien. This part was interesting. Take a listen.


BILL STEPIEN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Two groups of family, we call them kind of my team and Rudy's team. I didn't mind being characterized as being part of Team Normal. I think along the way, I've built up a pretty good hope and a good reputation for being honest and professional. And I didn't think what was happening was necessarily honest or professional.


TAPPER: So, making himself out to be somebody who was honest and professional. He doesn't respect Donald Trump's election lies, but he is working with a bunch of election liars to defeat Republicans that are not election liars, specifically, I believe, that it's the Alaska Senate candidate to go after Murkowski and that that's the Wyoming congressional candidate to go after Liz Cheney. So I don't --

GOLDBERG: No, that part bothers me less. I mean, it's mercenary, and it's all that. The (INAUDIBLE) means that the team normal guy who says he was obliged to be honest and tell the truth, only did so under a subpoena, right.

TAPPER: Right.

GOLDBERG: I mean, like he let Donald Trump go out and lie about all these things and peddle all this stuff. And he told Donald Trump the truth to his face, but he didn't go any further than that until he was actually drugged before a committee.

HAQ: That's all part of the grift, though, right is the idea that any one of these individuals in real time could have made a difference, could have made a stand of honor, but instead they're playing the I was just doing my job. Well, Bill Stepien and his campaigns have benefited from $230 million of Trump capitalizing on election fraud.

TAPPER: Yes, the big grifting.

BORGER: All writing books went far.

TAPPER: So Rudy Giuliani took to Twitter today. He didn't like the fact that there were a couple individuals in the testimony yesterday, Jason Miller and Bill Stepien, suggesting that maybe he'd had a little bit too much to drink the night of the election, he wrote, and then he has since deleted. I am disgusted and outraged that the outright lie by Jason Miller and Bill Stepien. I was upset that they were not prepared for the massive cheating as well as other lawyers around the president.

I refused all alcohol that evening. My favorite drink Diet Pepsi, he continues, is the false testimony for Miller and Stepien because I yelled at them are they being paid to lie, then he also tweeted some stories about Stepien and Jason Miller that were not particularly flattering, and one of which is the kind of pornographic.

BORGER: Is that all?

KANNO-YOUNGS: I'm not too surprised that that Rudy Giuliani at this point is continuing to promote false claims about the election or pushed back on what we saw at the hearing yesterday. What those interactions did show us, though, is not like there's been any lack of evidence of this, but it's further confirmation that on that night, the President did not have sufficient evidence that there was actually any sort of fraudulence with the election, but rather people close to him.

We're saying the exact opposite, but he chose to go with somebody like Rudy Giuliani, who was telling him basically what he wanted to hear. And Liz Cheney's words might have been inebriated.

BORGER: Apparently inebriated.

KANNO-YOUNGS: Apparently inebriated.

BORGER: She want say it. I think, there was the story told yesterday that, you know, we had to figure out what to do. He was going to go up and see the president of United States and the Team Normal as he called, Stepien called it, had to get together and figure out what we were going to do and how we were going to keep Rudy Giuliani from saying something dumb to the President. Which of course, he did. TAPPER: Yes.

BORGER: Whether he was inebriated or no --

TAPPER: It's all that Diet Pepsi.

BORGER: -- the president listen to him.

TAPPER: That's crazy. That's crazy things to people, all that sacrifice (ph). Thanks one and all for being here. Appreciate it. Why Ukrainian soldiers say the smaller Americans weapons -- with smaller American weapons will not be enough to kick Russia out of their country. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, more weapons and equipment are soon to be headed to Ukraine according to a top Pentagon official who says allies are ready to announce additional help at a key meeting tomorrow. As Ukraine's Deputy Defense Minister says in total, Ukraine has only received 10 percent of what they've asked for from Western allies. CNN's Ben Wedeman visits now Ukrainian soldiers preparing for battle on the frontlines. They say the weapons they have are not sufficient.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): American symbol, American weapon. Ukrainian troops try out new equipment U.S. supplied M4 rifles fresh out of the box.

Away from the front lines, these soldiers are preparing to join the battle raging in the east.

(on camera): This exercise is designed to accustom Ukrainian forces to the use of Western weapons. This is an American 50 caliber machine gun fire Italian bullets. There's a problem though. We're told there's not enough Western ammunitions.

(voice-over): And not enough weapons either. Even in this drill, much of the firepower dates back to the Soviet era.

Ukrainian forces are slowly losing ground in the battle for the Eastern Donbas region. Morale here is high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning, Vietnam.

WEDEMEN: Yet no one believes these rifles will halt the Russian advance.


TARAS, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: This, this is not enough.

WEDEMAN: Ukrainian officials say Russian artillery outnumbers their artillery at a ratio of perhaps more than 10 to one, used to deadly effect in the city of Severodonetsk, now almost completely under Russian control. Big guns, not small arms could help Ukraine turn the tide.

VITALI, UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES: But I can protect myself as a soldier with this weapon. I can protect my comrades. But unfortunately, I can't clear my country from invaders using only this rifle, so we need more artillery, we need heavy rocket system and as seriously weapon because it's the modern war.


WEDEMAN: The U.S. and its allies have delivered advanced weapons systems to Ukraine and more are on the way. But the army here is losing men at an alarming rate more than 100 killed in action every day, according to Ukrainian officials.

We need a basic minimum to avoid more casualties, artillery, smart weapons, radar drones and people to train us says the commander Lieutenant Oleksander, the veteran of the French Foreign Legion. We've shown we will fight. We will learn to use these weapons.

And that will take time and time is a luxury this nation at war cannot afford.


WEDEMAN: And it's probably too late now for say the city of Severodonetsk where the defenders there the three bridges have been destroyed that connected them to Ukrainian controlled territory. I was in Severodonetsk for many days back in April. And it was clear back then that the Russians far outnumbered the Ukrainians in terms of artillery, but didn't seem to make any difference. And now that battle may soon come to an end. Jake.

TAPPER: Ben Wedeman in Ukraine. Thank you so much. Hunter Biden's ex- wife is talking. And she's talking about their finances during 24 years of marriage. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead the ex-wife of Hunter Biden, Kathleen Buhle, is speaking out about her tumultuous 24-year marriage that ended in 2017. And in a new interview about her memoir out this week called "If We Break" she dodged a question about where her personal relationship with President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden presently stands.

Let's get right to CNN's Kate Bennett. Kate explain the complicated relationship between the Biden's and their former daughter-in-law and the mother of their grandkids today.

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESONDENT: Right. So if we go back to 2017, when Kathleen Buhle and Hunter Biden divorced, he went on to have a relationship where he had a relationship with her sister-in- law, his brother's widow, Holly Biden, which Joe Biden and Joe Biden blessed in a very public statement, talking about how lucky the two were to have found each other. I'm talking about Holly and Hunter now not Kathleen, and how, you know, through grief they found each other and they fully support this relationship.

Meanwhile, Kathleen, who had been married to Hunter for more than two decades, who would raise his children who was part of the Biden family very much held her identity in the Biden family was kind of just to make that one narrative work, that relationship that support she's sort of had to drop off.

And I think that, you know, you compound betrayal. There must be a reason she sidestepped that question about that relationship today. She did say divorce is hard. It was hard on the whole family. She gave credit to Joe and Jill Biden for being excellent and supportive grandparents to their children. But I do know, it was a very messy and convoluted situation that the Biden's picked aside very publicly.

TAPPER: And she also went into Kathleen Buhle also went into detail about how she had no knowledge or control over her finances when she was married to Hunter Biden, of course, Hunter Biden, of course, is at the center of a Justice Department investigation into his financial dealings and taxes.

BENNETT: Right, let me one of the important points she made in her interview this morning was that she, you know, by choice did not understand want to acknowledge, want to be involved in his business dealings, and thus, their finances as a married couple. She talked about just how deeply she didn't know anything. Earlier today, we can take a listen to that.


KATHLEEN BUHLE, HUNTER BIDEN'S EX-WIFE: It's embarrassing to say that I seated all financial control to my husband, I liked the nice thing is, and I didn't want to think about the cost at which they were coming.


BENNETT: So back to that investigation, she actually said she would be no help to the Department of Justice. She didn't know anything, bury her head in the sand. These are her words. So she's sort of saying I don't know anything about what was going on with him. But she did acknowledge in the interview today that Hunter Biden is someone who knew he came from a family of privilege and that he had advantages because of that. She didn't tie it explicitly to his business dealings so that he used that name or et cetera.

But she did say that, of course, he knew he was a Biden. And that came, you know, with all sorts of things. And she said herself, you know, changing her name back to Buhle from Biden in 2019 was a huge step for her. Just sort of understanding that she no longer lived in this bubble of this political dynasty of this family.


TAPPER: All right, Kate Bennett, thank you so much. One town just got the equivalent of three months worth of rain and melting snow in three days and our residents are surrounded by raging floodwaters. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Shockingly high water levels are causing major issues for cities around Yellowstone National Park. Heavy rains combined with melting snow inundated the area and at least 12 people have had to be rescued by Montana's National Guard after becoming stranded.

In Gardiner, Montana which is now surrounded by water, video captured and entire building collapsing and being swept away in the Yellowstone River. Montana's governor issued a statewide disaster today to help communities impacted by the severe weather.

Roads in and out of Yellowstone National Park remain closed through tomorrow. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and at TikTok @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. Our coverage now continues with Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." I'll see you tomorrow.