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The Lead with Jake Tapper

FDA Advisors OK Vaccines For Kids Under Five, CDC To Weigh In Next; Pfizer Study: COVID Treatment Pill Might Not Be Effective For People At Low/Medium Risk; Jamal Khashoggi Way: Washington Renames Saudi Embassy Street; Judge Rejects Bannon's Bid To Toss Contempt Charges; Two Police Officers Shot And Killed In Los Angeles Suburb; Tesla Autopilot and Other Driver-Assist Systems Linked To Hundreds Of Crashes. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 15, 2022 - 17:00   ET


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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So the reason that they have been warning Americans not to go into Ukraine to try to help, to volunteer, to fight because they do have concerns about something like this happening. And obviously, Jake, as you know, there are no U.S. military on the ground in Ukraine to help with something of this magnitude. And so, that is the concern that the White House has. But as far as it comes to confirming these reports, they haven't been able to do so yet or say if President Biden himself has been briefed on a jig, though they said they would keep us updated on the status of them.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Oren, you're traveling with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who met today with leaders from nearly 50 nations to discuss Ukraine. The U.S. announced today that the government is sending an additional billion dollars worth of new military aid. What's included in this latest package?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: So two different parts of this package, Jake, a third of it is coming directly from U.S. Department of Defense inventories. And that, as we've learned over the course of the past 110 days or so, can be shipped in relatively quickly. That includes 18 more howitzers, on top of what the U.S. has already sent in, more than 36,000 rounds of artillery ammunition and ammunition for the HIMARS system. That's the system that was approved earlier this month.

Four of those weapons systems, multiple launch rocket systems that can use precision weapons to strike at a far greater range than artillery. That's about a third of the billion dollars. The other two thirds is what's known as the Ukraine security assistance initiative, and that will go to purchase through direct contracts with weapons manufacturers, more weapons for Ukraine. That includes two harpoon coastal defense systems, 1000s of night vision goggles, 1000s of radios, so that won't be as fast.

But the U.S.'s position is that the fight in eastern Ukraine is an incremental fight, Russia, yes is making gains, but there is still time to get these critical systems in. How will we find out and when will we see this? Well, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said the training on that advanced HIMARS system for the first group wrapped up today, it should enter the fight by the end of the month. So we may know very quickly how fast this is able to make an impact on what has become a brutal fight, especially in eastern Ukraine. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlin Collins and Oren Liebermann, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

The former Russian president sharing a grim prediction for Ukraine's future. Dmitry Medvedev, who currently sits on Russia's Security Council suggested that Ukraine might not even exist anymore within two years. CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us now live from St. Petersburg, Russia.

Fred, what does that attitude say about Russia's outlook when it comes to the conflict right now?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Jake. Well, it certainly doesn't seem to appear that the Russians are changing course or even thinking about changing course. In fact, it certainly looks as though they are doubling down.

Of course, Jake, the remarks and that post on telegram on the messaging app by Dmitry Medvedev comes only a couple of days after Vladimir Putin essentially said that to him. This is about Russia taking back land that Vladimir Putin believes is intrinsically Russia's, and that he believes that he's very much in the tradition (ph), for instance, of Tsar Peter the Great.

Now, I was at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum today and I was at a press conference by the spokeswoman of Russia's foreign ministry. And she kept talking about America essentially being responsible for what's going on in Ukraine right now from the Russian point of view. And I confronted her with the fact that even Vladimir Putin says that this is about taking back land for the Russians. And that led to the following confrontation.


PLEITGEN: The President of the Russian Federation on Thursday said, and he likened the special military operation by Russia, the invasion of Ukraine to the things that Peter the Great did in the Great Northern War, and so that Russia was, in his estimation, taking back territory that was rightfully Russia's and strengthening it. Is that not an admission of a severe breach of international law?

MARIA ZAKHAROVA, RUSSIAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESWOMAN (through translator): When will you start using the same tone of voice when you question your own authorities? Why do you use that tone of voice when you question us? Take a look at 2014, we had a referendum.

PLEITGEN: The big question is, take back and strengthen other countries territories, is that not a violation of international law?

ZAKHAROVA (through translator): Was there a legal basis to invade Iraq?

PLEITGEN: I'm not talking about Iraq now. You are invading a sovereign country. That is the question.

ZAKHAROVA (through translator): You mentioned our invasion and occupation of territories. What territories are you talking about?

PLEITGEN: Well, for instance, the entire region around the Azov Sea, the invasion trying towards -- go towards Kyiv where the Russian army was beat to madness (ph), large parts of the Luhansk and Donbass -- Donetsk (INAUDIBLE), which were under the control of the Ukrainian military. And then you have the region around Kherson.

ZAKHAROVA (through translator): So are you talking about Donetsk and Luhansk? Maybe you have more information than I have? I don't have this information about Kyiv.

The territories of Donetsk and Luhansk are acknowledged as sovereign states. There were referendums, as I said, reflecting the will of the people.

PLEITGEN: If the Russian president says what's going on in Ukraine is taking back land that is intrinsically Russian land and strengthening that land, can you please explain to me what does that mean, where does it end, and is that not a violation of international law?


ZAKHAROVA (through translator): You say I don't answer your question. You just don't like the way I answer it. I am answering it. Perhaps it clashes with your vision.

America says there are exceptional and we said this concept is wrong. But I can tell you that the U.S. troops are now in Syria. Nobody asked them to come.


PLEITGEN: So there you have the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry. And that was actually just part of the exchange that we had in total that went on for at least 10 minutes, maybe -- for maybe more going back and forth.

But certainly, the sense that we got and that you get on the ground here is that right now, at this point in time, the Russians are certainly not looking to change course in what they're doing in Ukraine. In fact, the Russians right now were saying they believe that they are making headway in eastern Ukraine, especially in that Donbass region. And, you know, some of the things that we always see or hear is that it won't stop until Russia has met all of its military objectives in Ukraine, even though those really aren't fully defined, at least not in public yet, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Strong reporting from Fred Pleitgen reporting live from St. Petersburg, Russia. Also in our world lead, a new study from a Finnish research group shows that Russia made nearly $100 billion, that's billion with a B, from energy exports during the first 100 days of its war in Ukraine. The study found that the European Union accounts for 61 percent of that 100 billion, 61 percent of it. This raises new questions not only about the sincerity of European leaders when it comes to ending Putin's war on Ukraine, but also why, for example, Ukrainians continue to complain that Berlin has yet to deliver a single unit of heavy weaponry to Kyiv despite having approved it in April.


TAPPER (voice-over): In the views of the Ukrainian government, the Germans have been a lot of talk --

OLAF SCHOLZ, GERMAN CHANCELLOR (through translator): Putin tough Putin must not win his war, and I am convinced he will not win.

TAPPER (voice-over): -- and not enough action. This week, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy issued a rare public rebuke of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying this to one German news outlet.

PRES. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINE: We need Chancellor Schultz to give us certainty that they will support Ukraine. He and his government must choose not to do a balancing act between Ukraine and the Russian Federation, but to choose which is their priority.

TAPPER (voice-over): Because while it's true Scholz uses the right words, branding Putin a war monger and terming the invasion a zeitenwende, meaning a turning point in the history of German Foreign Policy, a term not used lightly, some critics feel it's different when it comes to German Chancellor Scholz's deeds.

As one German political commentator recently wrote, quote, "the chancellor, despite his strong talk at the beginning of the war, has chosen effectively to do nothing. His in decisiveness is more than a political failure. It amounts to a dangerous weakening of the resolve of those who oppose Russia's war, clearing the way for more brutality and violence."

So, critics argue as Russian stomp violently across Ukraine, Germany has been dragging its boots. Germany's economic mites as the European Union's biggest economy makes it a critical player here. But instead of outright banning all oil and gas imports from Russia, Germany has opted to, quote, "phase out" those shipments. Continuing a revenue stream which some critics say helps fund Russian war efforts.

And while Germany reacted quickly vowing to send desperately needed tanks and antiaircraft systems to the Ukrainian frontlines, Scholz's government later backpedal, declaring that Germany needed to keep the weaponry and that anyway, Ukrainian soldiers were not sufficiently trained to handle such advanced technology. That's a criticism quickly rejected by Zelenskyy when I sat down with him in April.

ZELENSKYY (through translator): I have heard many times from certain states that did not want to give us weapons quickly because our soldiers are not ready from a technical standpoint to use them. But instructor of such equipment, our instructors will get our troops ready to fight in them.

TAPPER (voice-over): When pressed earlier this month, Scholz even made the bizarre and false claim that, quote, "Nobody supplies on a similar scale as Germany does," unquote, which is not true in any way. Not in total dollars, not in percentages.

And in the run up to Russia's invasion, Scholz initially rebuffed international pressure to commit to ending the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a massive project that would funnel lucrative natural gas from Russia to Germany.

(on camera): President Biden said that the Pipeline would not happen if Russia invades. You won't say that. How would President Biden stop the pipeline just by imposing severe sanctions? And why won't you explicitly say, Russia if you invade Ukraine, we're canceling the pipeline?

SCHOLZ: We are doing much more as one step. We are -- and all the steps we will take we will do together. As the President said, we are preparing for that. And you can understand and you can be absolutely sure that Germany will be -- together with all its allies and especially the United States.


TAPPER (voice-over): Under scrutiny from the U.S. and other NATO allies, though, Scholz did eventually suspend that project. And he has taken other steps to support Ukraine's efforts, such as a pledge to deliver two major weapons to its army, an air defense system and a tracking radar in addition to humanitarian and medical aid.

SCHOLZ (through translator): After the Russian attack on Ukraine, Germany revised its decades long position, and for the first time, send weapons and military goods to a war zone.

TAPPER (voice-over): Domestically, Scholz is juggling pressure from multiple sides of his government, including those who want to do less, not more for Ukraine. And while many applaud the moves Germany has made under Scholz's leadership, others wish they had come sooner.

SCHOLZ (through translator): We need to do everything in order to stop the senseless killing.


TAPPER: Simply put Ukrainian say, it is difficult to argue that the German leaders are doing everything they can to stop the senseless killing. And others observe, given Germany's history, one might think and hope that their leaders would feel a special obligation to start doing a lot more.

Coming up, an FDA Advisory Committee just to prove COVID vaccines for the youngest children. But is it too late? Then, making a statement to the city of Washington, D.C. honoring murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi by making sure his killers cannot look away from his name. Stay with us.



TAPPER: A big step towards vaccines for the youngest children in the U.S. kicks off our health lead today. This afternoon, FDA advisors decided to okay both Moderna and Pfizer shots for kids under five.

If parents choose Pfizer, that will be a three dose series for babies as young as six months up to kids four years old. If parents prefer Moderna, little one six months to five years we'll get a two dose series of shots. But shots cannot go into little arms just yet, the CDC has to give the final greenlight.

Professor of Emergency Medicine and Associate Dean of Public Health at Brown University Dr. Megan Ranney joins us now.

Dr. Ranney, thanks for joining. The CDC advisors are going to vote on Saturday. But a CDC estimation that looked at blood samples indicated that more than two in three children under five have already been infected. And that data was collected before the height of the Omicron surge. So I guess my question is, is there the same urgency for parents to still run out to get their little kids vaccinated given that that study suggests most kids probably already have antibodies?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDECINE, BROWN UNIVERSITY: Hello, Jake. This decision on the part of the FDA is there's no two ways about it, a huge win for parents of little kids across the United States right now. Yes, many kids have been exposed to COVID already, but we know that the durability of those antibodies from natural infection is not strong. And particularly during Omicron we're finding that folks are getting reinfected.

Moreover, these studies occurred during the Omicron wave and they showed that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine were effective both at preventing many infections, not all, but were really effective at preventing hospitalizations and God forbid, ICU stays. No parent wants their kid admitted to one of my intensive care units. And these vaccines help avert that.

TAPPER: COVID hospitalizations are trending down in most northeast states, but still ticking up overall. And data shows in the first week of June hospitalizations for kids under five were four times higher than those were other children. How effective will the vaccines be for keeping little kids out of the hospital?

RANNEY: Yes, the data here is really clear, for every million doses of vaccine administered, we're going to keep about 250 kids out of the hospital. That is terrific. Again, as you're seeing during this latest wave, we saw more of those littles, the zero to four-year-olds being hospitalized on a relative basis compared to prior waves. That was for two reasons. First, omicron is more transmissible and set so more kids were getting infected. And second, we vaccinated so much of the rest of this population. Once we can get vaccines in the arms of little kids, we'll see that number of hospitalizations for zero to four-year-olds drop as well.

TAPPER: A Michigan parent of a three-year-old tells CNN quote, "our best pathway to get back to normal is this vaccine," unquote. How soon can parents start taking their kids to crowded indoor playdates without the fear of kids getting really sick?

RANNEY: It is so tough to keep these kids masks or following other COVID precautions. The vaccines are really critical to alien (ph) that fear. So here's the deal, with the Moderna vaccines, it's about seven to 14 days after the second dose that your kid will be fully protected.

With the Pfizer vaccine, which is again three doses at day zero, day 21, and then again about eight weeks after the second dose. It's another seven days. You're going to have to wait much longer for full efficacy if you're getting Pfizer as opposed to Moderna.

TAPPER: Shifting the news about COVID in the general population, a new Pfizer study shows the antiviral pill, Paxlovid, which is used to treat COVID symptoms might not be effective in people who are medium or, quote, "standard risk." So, who should be taking Paxlovid and when?

RANNEY: So, this is a great example of a study that's not yet ready to change my practice because all I've seen is the press release and it actually doesn't change my practice. As a doctor I am prescribing Paxlovid to people who are high risk, people who are older, people who have multiple chronic conditions. And we have a lot of studies from other countries, Hong Kong, Israel and elsewhere, showing that Paxlovid still has benefit for high risk folks, people who are immunosuppressed, people who have cancer, people who have diabetes, even if they're vaccinated.


So the takeaway is, if you're older or you've got underlying health problems, as soon as you test positive for COVID call your doctor or go to an urgent care. Or if you're in a state where pharmacists can prescribe it go to your pharmacy and get that prescription. The quicker you start taking Paxlovid the higher the likelihood of it working.

TAPPER: Dr. Ranney, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, when the price of the story can be your life. We're going to take you to one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists daring to tell the truth. Stay with us.


[17:25:23] TAPPER: We turn now to our buried lead. Those are stories we feel are not getting enough attention. There have been nearly 800 homicides this year in Tijuana, Mexico, 800. And now some of the journalists covering those murders are being killed themselves. CNN's Matt Rivers spent an overnight shift with a crime scene journalist in the city and asks why doing simple reporting in Mexico can be so deadly.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tijuana, Mexico in a country plagued by homicide, this city stands out, nearly 800 murders already this year, say state officials, which means the people reporting on those crimes are busy.

This, we get to see firsthand meeting up well after dark with freelance journalist Arturo Rosales. It's not long before we're off to what police say is a murder scene.

Are you scared sometimes of your work? Because you're working in very complex situations.

ARTURO ROSALES, FREELANCE JOURNALIST (through translator): Yes, mainly in areas with a lot of conflict.

RIVERS (voice over): Dangerous neighborhoods like here in Los Alamos where a body was found left in the street, Arturo gets to work snapping photos and going live on Facebook.

He just describes the basics, time, location, manner of death. In a city like Tijuana where murders are often linked to organized crime, even just reporting the facts can be deadly.

Margarito Martinez was a well-known crime reporter in the city. A happy guy with a quick wit and a big smile. He was killed outside his home earlier this year.

A best friend he taught me everything I know.

Jesus Aguilar is a journalist too, one of Martinez's best friends. They work together at countless murder scenes and Aguilar worked at Martinez's too.

I had to see it, he says. I had to see it. It's what we do. We cover homicides. Now I witnessed his.

Prosecutors detained 10 people for the crime, though none have been formally charged. Authorities say those detained have ties to organized crime, but haven't given an exact motive for the killing. Martinez's death, tragically not that unusual in Mexico.

Eleven journalists had been killed so far this year according to Human Rights Group Article 19. A number the Mexican government disputes as too high.

Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says his government is committed to protecting journalists. The difference from before, he says, is that in all these homicides there have already been people detained and there is no impunity. But that is simply not true. The government's own statistics show that more than 90 percent of crimes in Mexico go unsolved.

For Sonia De Anda, herself a Tijuana journalist, it creates a morbid reality. She says, whatever threats obstacles to their work, whoever kills a journalist, there are no consequences because we live in a country of impunity.

The Mexican president also routinely attacks journalists he doesn't like as enemies, often claiming coverage that is critical of him is really just an attack on the Mexican people. Critics say comments like those contribute to the violence journalists face.

He knows how many journalists have been killed, he says, a whole lot, that's the truth.

That uncertainty, the danger surrounding this job is with Arturo Rosales as he drives around Tijuana each night.

He says there's not much confidence in the government because there is no protection.

Arriving and our last scene of the night, Arturo goes through the motions and we find out what happened.

(on camera): The driver of that car right there that's now on its side he was shot while actually driving the car. That would make this at least the 10th Homicide that's been recorded in Tijuana just the last 24 hours.

(voice-over): And Arturo says he'll keep being there to document as many as he can. Even though he and all his fellow journalists know that they could go from covering victims to becoming a victim at any moment.



RIVERS: And Jake, it's important to note who the journalists are that are facing threats here. It's not international journalists, not nearly as much national journalists here, it is local journalists, people who live in the same communities where they are covering these kinds of violent acts. That's why they face the kinds of threats that they do. They're simply easier victims. They don't make a lot of money. They can't afford protection.

And as a result of all this, you're seeing the decimation of critical local news coverage across Mexico, like so many other parts of civil society in this country, a free press, in many places, has fallen victim to corruption and violence. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Matt Rivers with an important story. Thank you so much. Speaking of murdered journalists, a new honor today for slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the city council in Washington, DC renames a portion of the street outside the Saudi Arabian embassy, Jamal Khashoggi Way. Khashoggi was brutally killed in October 2018 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The CIA says Khashoggi was murdered over orders given by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom President Biden will be meeting with shortly.

Trump advisor and ally Steve Bannon just appeared in court he talked about the January 6 Select Committee. What did he say? We'll tell you. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Our politics lead now, today a federal judge refused to throw out charges against former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for contempt of Congress, giving more ammo to the House Select Committee investigating the deadly insurrection. Let's get right to CNN Sara Murray, who's live outside the courthouse. Sara, what did the DC District Court Judge have to say?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you know, Steve Bannon has been arguing that he didn't have to show up for his congressional testimony because this committee, the January 6 Committee was improperly created, his subpoena was invalid. And the judge today was just not buying that. The judge said as a matter of law, he could not conclude that this committee was somehow improperly created that Steve Bannon subpoena was somehow invalid.

That's an important decision. It means the case is not getting tossed out. And it invalidates an argument that a lot of Republicans have made around this committee.

Now, the other thing that judge said is that when it came to President Trump, Trump's attorney sending Brandon's attorney a letter saying, you know, where appropriate, you should try to protect some presidential privilege. The judge said, This is not some unambiguous assertion. So he was also not going to throw out the indictment on that ground.

So what this means is that it paves the way for Steve Bannon to go to trial in this case in July, and his team has made it pretty clear, they want this to be a rather large spectacle. They're trying to subpoena all of the lawmakers on the January 6 Committee to testify at his trial. It's almost certain those subpoenas are going to get thrown out.

In another interesting detail in court today, they said they also might call one of Donald Trump's attorneys to testify at his trial. Jake.

TAPPER: A large spectacle indeed, Sara Murray, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Let's discuss. Olivia, on the one hand there are election deniers like Steve Bannon, seeing his day in court for failing to comply with a congressional investigation and subpoena, then on the other hand there are election deniers such as Jim Marchant, who finds himself one step closer to a position of power for the next election. Listen to Steve Bannon this morning talking about Jim Marchant.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER DONALD TRUMP ADVISER: Jim Marchant in Nevada, the head of the coalition, he had a bullet when in the primary. MAGA is on the march, the J6 Committee is totally irrelevant.


TAPPER: So just for folks who don't know, last night, Jim Marchant, the Trump loyalist easily won Nevada's Republican nomination for secretary of state. That means somebody who is against democracy, against elections could be theoretically in charge of running them if he wins the general election in a what's anticipated to be a good Republican year.

OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO MIKE PENCE Yes, that's correct. And look, regardless of your political affiliation as an American, this should be extremely alarming. The fact that we're trying to hold someone accountable for what led to January 6, here's Bannon, right. And then now you have this other person who's gaining power.

And there's a lot of individuals like the one in this situation that are running for office currently, who stand a likelihood of actually getting into office. And what does it say about the state of our democracy ongoing, that means this threat, this movement that led to January 6 lives on.

TAPPER: Yes, and this is what people like Doug Ludig (ph) and others have suggested is the real threat is that 2020 was just a practice run. Yes, the dress rehearsal for 2024.

Here, take a listen. Here are the voices of Jim Marchant, Nevada's Secretary of State candidate, Adam Laxalt, the Republican Senate candidate in Nevada, and Doug Mastriano, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Pennsylvania, take a listen.


JIM MARCHANT (R), NEVADA SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: People are excited that there's somebody doing something behind the scenes to try to fix 2020 like President Trump said.

ADAM LAXALT (R) NEVADA SENATE CANDIDATE: Theres no question that they rigged the election, there's no question that they said about changing the rules of the game.

DOUG MASTRIANO (R-PA) SATE SENATOR: So I'm thankful that the President comes to loyalty to those that stand for truth and are trying to fight for voting integrity in our state, which needs to happen. I can't believe that it's so hard to find out what actually happened in 2020.


TAPPER: We should also note in New Mexico, the state Supreme Court just ordered a local county commission to certify recent primary results after the commission originally refused to do so citing distrust of the Dominion voting machines. I mean, the lunatics are taking over the asylum.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I mean, that's really something. You know, Jake, I think that in this instance, I want to point to some of the very strong examples that we had in 2020. Brad Raffensperger down in Georgia, really illustrates the importance to people of this kind of a position, right.


What happened there was not theoretical what any one of these people who got elected to office may or may not do once they hold it. We don't know yet. We know what they've said.

But look what Brad Raffensperger had to do in 2020, take calls from the then president of the United States, defy him, and then publicly stand up for himself in the face of threats to himself and his family. That took a lot of courage. And we should note he is a Republican. So it's not as though any Republican holding one of these offices would necessarily go down this road.

But I just think it underscores the importance of spotlighting exactly what you're spotlighting today, which is these jobs that seem, you know, esoteric, and you know, outside of what normal Americans even voters would normally worry about. They are that important.

TAPPER: So Navin, tell me about the Center for American Progress Action Funds research on how voters perceive the Republican brand, because obviously, the effect of people like Bannon on a party that includes people like Mitt Romney and bread referenced burger can be profound.

NAVIN NAYAK, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: I mean, I think voters are really ahead of I think, recognizing that this party has changed, and Steve Bannon actually said it himself. MAGA is now in charge of the Republican Party. They have taken over. And there's two really core elements to that, that people are seeing, which is at the core of the Republican Party now and MAGA Republicans is this lust for power, this willingness to do anything for power.

And I think what's been really powerful about the January 6 Committee's work about this a lot of things, obviously, but one of them is drawing a direct line between the big lie denying the elections and the violence, that that is a clear threat, that the violence on January 6 does not happen. Were it not for all of these lies about what actually happened.

And what's really terrifying is, yes, Brad Raffensperger stood up there, but what's, you know, the leadership of the Republican party today, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, where are they?


NAYAK: They've endorsed, you know, Mitch McConnell endorsed Adam Laxalt. He's out there actually supporting Adam Laxalt as the next senator from Nevada. And so it just goes to show you that that is who this party has become at its core.

TAPPER: And Abby, meanwhile, Republicans who were part of this cham part of the insurrection whether by inspiration or activity, are standing by what they said and did. Take a listen to Josh Hawley, the Missouri senator who gave the big, you know, support gesture to the masses as they were convening on the Capitol on January 6.

Manu Raju asked him about it, given the fact that we had all this testimony the other day from people inside the Trump campaign and the Trump administration saying there was nothing to this election fraud nonsense. Manu asked Josh Hawley about that, given that he voted against certifying the electoral votes in Pennsylvania, take a listen.


SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): My objection at Pennsylvania, as we've talked about a lot is based on the fact that they changed the rules in the middle of the voting in multiple different ways.


HAWLEY: Yes, for those reasons.

RAJU: But didn't give up --

HAWLEY: Hopefully never happen again.


TAPPER: Hawley's objections, he said, Where did the way vote by mail and absentee ballots were expanded during COVID, which went through a complete judicial review and legislative process and all that.

And I also have to wonder, did I miss Josh Hawley's objection to the seeding of the House Republicans from Pennsylvania that were elected on the same ballots? Or the Pennsylvania straight state treasurer who's a Republican? Or this (INAUDIBLE) Auditor General? Or was his objection only to Joe Biden? Is that it?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The answer is yes. The objection is only to Joe Biden, all of the other Republicans who actually performed better than Trump on the ballot have absolutely no problems with their own elections. And that's very telling, but I do want people to pay very close attention to what Josh Hawley is doing. You're going to hear the same thing from Senator Ted Cruz and a lot of others.

This is going to be the big election lie version two, it's where they try to shift the explanation away from the crazy conspiracy theories to something that sounds a little bit more reasonable. But I think people need to understand that the issues that he is raising there have all to your point been adjudicated.

They were either rejected by the courts or the court said we are not hearing these objections because they're being dealt with at the state level. Republicans in Congress are going to try to change the subject and claim that this is about how the rules were changed during COVID. But those complaints should have been logged were logged before the election, not after the election.

It's really just an effort to obscure that they all are trying to kind of paper over their support for Trump's election lies and really deceiving voters because at the end of the day, when Trump looks at who he's going to endorse, he wants to know who thinks the election wasn't legitimate. And anybody who agrees with that idea is supporting a fallacy that's being debunked as we speak in these hearings.

TAPPER: Yes. And, you know, who had no problem with the Pennsylvania electoral votes actually being counted? The very conservative reason publican senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey, he -- who you would think if there had been fraud and serious problems that he would have been first in line very conservative Republican senator --

HUNT: Right.


TAPPER: -- because you said we should know.

HUNT: We should. We should.

TAPPER: The Republicans who stand up for the right thing, yes.

HUNT: You know, Sunday shows early in 2021 after as, you know, this was all still kind of unfolding and ongoing. And maybe it might have been right after January 6. In fact, I forgot the date. We're calling it the big lie.

TAPPER: Right.

HUNT: He as a Republican use that phrase. I mean, we should remember that, too. I mean, sometimes we get yes, many of them. Many Democrats have wanted to use that. But it's not strictly a democratic phrase.

PHILLIP: And those are not long for this world, by the way.

HUNT: Yes.

TAPPER: Constant pricing in North Carolina --

PHILLIP: Exactly.

TAPPER: South Carolina. They lost and he wrote voted for impeachment.

NAYAK: Even in Pennsylvania thing that's so frustrating with Hawley's comments is it was actually a bipartisan bill passed in 2019 that expanded voting.

TAPPER: Right.

NAYAK: I mean, that it was -- it wasn't a controversial thing. Republicans control the state legislature, they passed this. And the adjustments that were made were adjustments that were happening all over the country because of COVID.


HUNT: Let's be real about like what Josh Hawley's deal is right. He's running for president.

TAPPER: Right.

HUNT: It's like they all are. That's why they talk this way.

TAPPER: I just want to quickly ask Olivia, who used to be a Homeland Security Adviser to Vice President Pence, we're going to hear in, I think it's the next hearing or perhaps one after that, about the pressure put on Vice President Pence by President Trump and the others around. What are you hoping to learn from that?

TROYE: Look, I think it's important to really get the facts out there about what really happened, the amount of pressure and the extent of the pressure on the Vice President and the fact that he held him to his oath, you know, to the Constitution, and carried out his duty honorably. But I am very interested to hear Greg Jacob, in his own words, say what really happened, the extent of it.

And I, you know, I've worked very closely with Greg, his integrity is unwavering. And I am very grateful for that. And I'm actually glad that Mike Pence had someone like that in his corner, given all the dynamics and the blame that was going on. I think it'll be important. I saw that Mark Short, will also be featured as part of the hearing.

I mean, these are the people who were in there in the moment facing what was happening, the internal dynamics. And I think it's important for Americans to hear the entire narrative from beginning to end on what happened, how it was carried out, and what the pence team did internally to figure out how they were going to navigate the situation to get him safely to the capitol and get him to honor his oath.

TAPPER: I'm looking forward to hearing it. Looks like Pence is a good hirer, right?

TROYE: I would think so.

TAPPER: I'll say, you don't have to say. Thanks one and all appreciate it. Two police officers are killed on the job the mayor now says they were essentially ambushed. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead now, two police officers in Los Angeles County are dead after being ambushed while responding to reports of a possible stabbing at a motel. Authority say the suspect shot one officer inside a room before fleeing to the parking area where he shot another officer. Both were taken to the hospital where they were pronounced dead of their injury. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live for us in Los Angeles. Adrienne, what more you're learning about this tragedy.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, a source with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office tells us the suspect who is now deceased was out on probation for a felony firearms charge when the shooting happened.

Investigators told us those officers initially responded to a call for potential stabbing when they encountered the suspect in a motel room. That's when the officer involved shooting occurred according to police, and the suspect took off, fled to a parking lot. That's where another shooting happened. These officers were beloved by the community listening.


CAPT. BEN LOWRY, ACTING CHIEF, EL MONTE POLICE: Men and women of El Monte Police Department as well as the community of El Monte is grieving. I've heard that the only way to take the sting out of death is to take the love out of life. And believe me, they were loved. These two men were love. They were good men.

KRINA SERNA, FORMER CO-WORKER JOSEPH SANTANA: Always willing to help anybody. He put everyone before him. Didn't matter what was going on. He would go on ahead put himself in the line of fire.


BROADDUS: And that last person you heard from said she worked with Officer Joseph Santana, who recently joined the El Monte Police Department. He started his law enforcement career at a neighboring Sheriff's Department. But he returned home because he wanted to serve and support the community where he grew up.

His colleague who was with him that day was Corporal Michael Paredes. He had been with the department for 22 years. Both of these officers leave behind a family. Both were married and both had children. Jake.

TAPPER: Adrienne Broaddus in Los Angeles. Thank you so much. The Tesla feature the federal government says has caused 273 crashes in less than a year. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead now, bad news for the world's richest man Elon Musk, Tesla cars got into 273 crashes in a span of nine months while using its full self-driving or autopilot software. That's according to new federal government data released today, showing the real world performance of these futuristic features from automakers. Overall, Tesla was responsible for about 70 percent of the 392 driver- assist involved crashes between July 1st of last year and May 15th of this year. Elon Musk has previously described autopilot technology as unequivocally safer than normal driving. One footnote federal officials are advising caution before drawing conclusions based on this data.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the Tiktok at Jake Tapper. You can tweet the show at The Lead CNN, we actually read them. And if you ever miss an episode of Lead, you know, you can do -- you can listen to The Lead wherever you get your podcasts. All two hours sitting right there like a beckoning swimming pool.


Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer. He's right next door in a place I'd like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." I will see you tomorrow.