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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Jan. 6 Committee: Hearing to Detail Trump's Role in Electors Scheme; Officials: Russia May Be More Brazen in Election Meddling Efforts; Ukraine: Russian Shelling Increasing in North Around Kharkiv; Major Rulings Could Come This Week on Abortion, 2nd Amendment; Oklahoma Enacts Strict Abortion Law Ahead of Roe Ruling; Thousands of Flights Cancelled as Summer Travel Surges; White Extremist Groups Go After LGBTQ+ Community Pride Month. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 20, 2022 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: One hundred fifty-seven years since the last Black slaves learned they were free in America. Always remember, people in power kept the truth from them.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Exposing the plot. The January 6th Committee says a scheme to overthrow democracy went well beyond rioters at the Capitol. They plan to show America how Donald Trump was allegedly involved in a fraudulent electors scheme after he lost the election.

Plus, stuck and stranded. Airlines cancel more than 5,000 flights over the weekend and warn of more cuts on the way. What's going on with this messy travel situation? Will it interrupt your summer plans?

And Pride Month targeted. Notorious extremist groups getting violent as they take aim at the LGBTQ community. Are some politicians providing cover and even incitement?


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

We start today with our politics lead. The House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection is preparing its fourth public hearing this month, set to begin tomorrow. And this time, the committee says, they will show evidence Donald Trump was involved in a specific scheme, this one to submit fraudulent slates of electors, presumably in hopes that any confusion would throw the matter from Congress back to the states.

Tomorrow's hearing will feature Georgia election officials Brad Raffensperger and Gabe Sterling. Raffensperger, of course, is the Georgia secretary of state who Trump reportedly pressured to find some 11,000 votes so Trump could falsely climb he won the state.

We will also hear from the Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers who Rudy Giuliani allegedly pressured to let his state's legislature pick its electors instead of the Arizona voters.

Now, as CNN's Jessica Schneider reports, one committee member is telling CNN there are several other high profile people they still want to talk to, including former Vice President Mike Pence.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three Republicans will be the focus of the January 6th committee's next public hearing. All expected to testify about how Trump pressured them to overturn Trump's loss at the polls in their states. Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger will talk about this phone call with the former president just days before January 6th.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: All I want to do is this, I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.

SCHNEIDER: Raffensperger's deputy, Gabe Sterling, will also appear. From Arizona, the Republican speaker of the state's house will testify as well. Rusty Bowers said Trump asked him directly to replace the electors in the state with a rogue slate.

REP. RUSTY BOWERS (R), ARIZONA STATE HOUSE SPEAKER: I talked to him a couple times. And they were -- they asked me to take some steps that I just wouldn't do, and I told him, I voted for him. I campaigned for him. But I told him I wasn't going to do anything illegal.

SCHNEIDER: Bowers also received emails from Ginni Thomas, urging him to set aside Biden's election win by replacing Democratic electors with a Republican slate. The committee has asked Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, to testify.

Ginni Thomas issued a short response to a conservative public saying I can't wait to clear up misconceptions. I look forward to talking to them.

Thomas was the only justice to vote against releasing White House records to the committee in January. Now, Schiff says Thomas should recuse himself from any future cases involving the committee.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Justice Thomas to avoid even the appearance of impropriety should have nothing to do with any cases relating to January 6th, particularly regarding our investigation.

SCHNEIDER: A new poll out from ABC News after three hearings shows nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe former President Trump should be prosecuted. It's a case the committee is making.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): The president is guilty of knowing what he did, seditious conspiracy. What we're presenting before the American people certainly would rise to a level of criminal involvement by a president.

SCHNEIDER: But so far, DOJ refusing to comment, though prosecutors recently complained that the committee's refusal to hand over all of its records complicated their job. Committee member Zoe Lofgren says the dispute could be resolved as early as July once the hearings conclude. And meanwhile, Schiff is leaving the door open to subpoena Vice President Mike Pence.

SCHIFF: There are still key people we have not interviewed that we would like to. We're not taking anything off the table in terms of witnesses who have not yet testified.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): Now, the former vice president, he has been notably silent about the January 6th Committee. He did speak at an event at the University Club of Chicago this afternoon. But he kept his comments focused on inflation, high gas prices, and supply chain shortages that he associated with the Biden administration, and Pence touted the economic accomplishments of the Trump administration -- Jake.


TAPPER: All right, Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

Also in our politics lead, U.S. homeland and national security officials are worried about how Russia might significantly exploit the current political climate and stir even more distrust in the November midterm elections.

Here now, CNN's Edward Isaac Dovere.

Isaac, you spoke with five current and former U.S. officials and there are a few scenarios they think Russia might be considering. Tell us what they are.

ISAAC DOVERE, CNN SENIOR REPORTER: Well, Jake, that's right. There is a sense here that there is an evolution in the sophistication in the Russian efforts here and what they will do, not just go into the systems, but go into the systems all around the country for elections and try to get caught. Make it so that they do it clumsily, they get caught. It's exposed, and then use their disinformation networks to put out that information and make it seed even more distrust and feed more conspiracies into how people are thinking about this.

Really, the goal here as always with the Russian efforts is to turn Americans against themselves, to make Americans feel lack of faith in America and American democracy, and that's how these officials tell me they think this may look by November.

TAPPER: And the officials you spoke to, we need to understand this and emphasize this, they stress that these scenarios remain hypothetical as of now?

DOVERE: That's right. Look, they are watching how these efforts are evolving, tracking things with intelligence. So far, they have not seen the incursions into the systems, but remember, what we're looking at is about 8,000 different election authorities all around the country. Each one of them run by officials on the local level that are basically going up against the Russian intelligence. I talked to one official in one of the most competitive counties in

Georgia who said to me, look, I'm not a computer wiz. I'm doing the best I can. Relying on my IT guy, we keep our computers off the internet, but that's the kind of person, and that's the kind of office that needs to go up against a full-on Russian effort to undermine our faith in the elections, and as we're seeing, it obviously wouldn't take much to throw people off kilter here.

TAPPER: Edward Isaac Dovere, thank you so much for that reporting. Appreciate it.

DOVERE: Thank you.

TAPPER: These next two weeks will also be big for the U.S. Supreme Court with decisions expected on abortion and gun rights and immigration and much more. Why the announcement process is so different this year.

Plus, trouble for Ukraine with a key city now under Russian control. What this might mean for the overall fight. That's next.



TAPPER: As we just reported, U.S. homeland and national security officials are worried about how Russia could potentially significantly exploit the current political climate and stir even more distrust in the November midterm elections.

Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. He's a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, let's start with CNN's Isaac Dovere just reported. Sources are telling him that homeland and national security officials are worried about scenarios where Russia could stage small hacks on local elections and purposely get noticed so that would fuel further conspiracy theories, doubts about the midterm elections.

How likely is something like this to happen?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): I think we should take it very seriously, Jake. I think the Russians would view interference in our midterms as payback for our leadership of the resistance against their invasion of Ukraine. And so we have to be very vigilant for their interference.

TAPPER: Your colleague, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger is also worried about 2024. He says the election will be a mess with judges that are skeptical of election integrity. Take a listen.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): There is violence in the future, I'm going to tell you. Until we get a grip on telling people the truth, we can't expect any differently. 2024 is going to be a mess, and wake up, America. Wake up, Republicans, because this is not going to be good for you if you think it is.


TAPPER: We have already seen violence obviously, January 6th, 2021. Are you afraid of even further election violence?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I'm very concerned. You know, I lived through that day along with my colleagues, and a bomb was planted 200 feet from my office window and we live with the scars of that day, even now. I think that's all the more reason why we have to make sure that these hearings continue and that the DOJ takes whatever actions are necessary to hold those accountable who are behind and who participated in January 6th.

Any delay in that, by the way, will only encourage the very violence that Mr. Kinzinger talked about and that we're all concerned about.

TAPPER: Tomorrow will be the January 6th committee's fourth public hearing this month. The committee says that there's going to be evidence they're going to present that Trump had direct involvement in that scheme to submit slates of fraudulent electors to Congress and the National Archives that would create, I guess, in this theory, it would have created chaos.

If they were able to prove such a thing, that Trump played a role in that, is there a criminal liability? What would you like to see in terms of accountability for the former president?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Possibly, and it goes to his intent, right? Whether he had criminal intent, whether he had corrupt intent, and basically, what that means is did he do what he knew to be illegal? And I think that the more that we hear from these witnesses who say that, A, they told him that the elections were free and fair, and B, that what he proposed to do was illegal, such as for instance, having a set of fake electors slate in many of these different states, goes to illuminating as intent and possible criminal liability.


This is very important, the more we hear from these officials, the more we gain insight into his kind of mens rea or his state of mind.

TAPPER: There's a new poll from ABC News that has an early look at how the public is responding to the hearings. I do want to note that the sample size for the poll is rather small, only 545 adults. It was collected on a Friday and a Saturday, which is a very short period of time for people who could respond.

Still, be that as it may, the poll found just one-third of Americans say they're following the hearings closely or somewhat closely. Thirty percent say they're following not so closely, 36 percent say not closely at all.

Are you worried that these hearings might ultimately have little to no impact on the public? KRISHNAMOORTHI: No, I think they are having an impact. I think in

that same survey, what I also notice is there's been an uptick in the percentage of independents, for instance, who believe that President Trump is culpable for that day, and actually needs to be charged with a crime. I think it's more than 60 percent of independents at this point, Jake.

So I believe that people are paying attention, 1 in 3 Americans potentially. Would we like to have more? Absolutely. But I do think that it's having an impact in the way that my constituents, for instance, are thinking about January 6th.

TAPPER: Congressman Adam Schiff told my colleague Dana Bash the committee still has several high profile people they would like to talk to, and interviewing Mike Pence is not off the table. Do you think an interview with Pence is necessary at this point?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Not necessarily. You know, we have heard from his close advisers, and I think that we know from his public statements what Mike Pence believed about that day and how he felt about the president's actions. It would be nice if he were to testify directly. It would further illuminate, for instance, Donald Trump's state of mind, but I think that the testimony of his advisers and others and his public statements gives us a very, very good sense of what was going on.

TAPPER: Finally, I want to ask you about the economy, which is number one issue for so many Americans. You have been urging President Biden to reduce gas prices by using the Defense Production Act. You say the oil refinery bottlenecks are contributing to high gas prices because the U.S. cannot convert crude to gasoline fast enough.

Why hasn't Biden done this already?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, I think he's actually looking at the now. We have been told by White House sources that they're looking at our letter and our request for using the Defense Production Act. I think this is absolutely necessary right now, Jake, because right now we're refining about 1 million barrels of oil less per day compared to before the pandemic. And so, for any amount of crude oil that is being pumped or has already been pumped out of the ground, if you have less refining capacity, that means less gasoline and it means higher prices.

So, we should use the Defense Production Act to at least temporarily reopen a number of these shuttered facilities that were closed during the pandemic, convert as much crude oil as possible that is already available to gasoline, and lower those pump prices ASAP.

I just filled my tank today, Jake, and it was not a fun experience, to say the least.

TAPPER: I keep hearing all these ideas being proposed by Democratic members of Congress and left-leaning economists and writers, and every time the response is that the Biden administration is taking a look at it. Does that frustrate you at all?

KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think that the issue here is I think they're trying to balance using the right tools to deal with the right problems at the right time. And all things being equal, though, I think that moving expeditiously now is so important because those high gas prices are having the highest toll on the lowest income people, Jake. Combined with the fact that so many of these low-income people, these low-income workers live so far from their places of work, it's a huge burden on them to fill their tank just to get to their place of employment, and that's also going to strain our economy further.

TAPPER: Illinois Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, thank you so much. Good to see you again.

Let's turn to our world lead. Ukrainian officials admit they have lost a town on the outskirts of Severodonetsk to Russian control. Though President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that strategic city and other hot spots are holding on.


We're getting new video of utter destruction in the east of Ukraine, such as this bombed market in a residential area of Donetsk.

CNN's Sam Kiley joins us live from Kharkiv, right next to the border with Russia.

Sam, you expect shelling there to get even more intense in the coming days. Why is that?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, between the top of the hour and now, there have been two very substantial strikes not very far from where I'm standing here in Kharkiv. We're under blackout, which is why I'm broadcasting from inside a hotel room, and the reason for that is there has been an intensification of attacks against Kharkiv. It's still nothing on the scale that did so much destruction early on in this war, particularly to the downtown and eastern areas.

But, and this is the key point, as you say, Mr. Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, has warned there is likely to be a Russian reaction to continued efforts by Ukraine to join the European union, and sure enough, I have seen evidence used by the Ukrainians to show that using satellite and drone imagery, they're seeing a substantial build-up of troops between Kharkiv here and as you say, close to the Russian border.

Many thousands of troops have been moved in. Many hundreds of tanks and artillery pieces, and this is a city that was liberated. The Russians were pushed back, but they weren't pushed back that far, Jake. We are all here within range of regular artillery and the rockets that have been landing are being fired from inside Russian territory.

So that combined with the ongoing severe aggressive fighting going on in the east of the country is giving real cause for concern for the Ukrainians. And it's why in a sense they are continuing to call on the international community, particularly the Western nations, to supply more of ammunition, more of the sophisticated NATO weapons that they hope can hold these Russian assaults back, Jake.

TAPPER: Sam Kiley in Kharkiv, Ukraine, thank you so much.

Next on this special edition of THE LEAD, as the national waits for the Supreme Court to rule on abortion, CNN goes to a state with one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. See how that's forcing women to make costly decisions.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: We're back now with our politics lead. The next two weeks could become volatile across the United States. The Supreme Court due to hand down 18 rulings before the term ends. Those rulings could change the contours of some of the most divisive issues in the nation, including on abortion, on guns, or religious liberty, or immigration.

CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue joins us now live.

Ariane, what are the biggest decisions we're still awaiting from the bench?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, U.S. SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right, Jake, not such a big deal that we have these 18 left, but these are some of the most blockbuster cases of the term. And this term is the most explosive one in decades, starting with that abortion case. It has to do with the Mississippi law that bars abortion after 15 weeks. Lower courts struck it down, said it violated Roe v. Wade.

So, Mississippi came to this new Supreme Court and said let's overturn Roe v. Wade. And if that were to happen, Jake, that would mean that the issue would go back to the states and already we know that more than half the states are poised to bar abortion.

So that's one big case. And of course, it's complicated by the fact that last month, we got that leaked draft opinion where back then, there were five justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. We don't know if it's final but that's how it was.

There's also that big second amendment case that has to do with the New York concealed carry law. And the big question here is, how far will the justices go? This law is about 100 years old. If they strike it down, they could do it in a way that would only impact like a handful of similar laws or they could make a big statement on the Second Amendment for the first time in a decade, and really swing for the rafters. That could impact all sorts of other kinds of laws.

And of course, what's interesting here is while the Supreme Court has been deliberating this case there, have been several mass shootings. That's the backdrop to the case, and the court is also hearing a big immigration case, another one on the environment and religious liberty, so big issues. The next opinion day is tomorrow.

TAPPER: And, Ariane, you say that the way the court is going to release these rulings looks different than they have done in the past. Explain.

DE VOGUE: Yeah, this June is like no other that I have ever covered. First, you have the blockbuster cases that we mentioned. Then you have also got that unprecedented leak. We have never seen a draft opinion leaked before the final opinion comes down.

But there's also something else going on, is that when the court releases these opinions, everything is different because of that leak, the courtroom now is surrounded by chain link fence. Nobody is allowed in. There's 24 hour surveillance at the justices' home because they're so worried about protests.

And one final thing is that usually, at the end of June, we go into the court. The justices come out from behind that crimson curtain, and they read the opinions of the big cases of the term, and they read the dissents. That's not going to happen this time around. Ostensibly because of COVID, the courtroom itself is closed down.


And we're simply going to get these major opinions changing the shape of society just over the Internet, without the justices doing any explaining. That's unprecedented, but that's also really symbolic of these fraught times that the court, it's like no other June at the court that I've ever covered.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Arianne de Vogue, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

DE VOGUE: Thanks.

TAPPER: In Oklahoma, it has been two months since the Republican governor signed into law one of the strictest bans on abortion in the United States.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov visited Oklahoma and spoke to one woman who was forced to travel out of state alone to get the medical care that she needed.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joy and eager anticipation, as one Oklahoma family prepared to welcome its newest member into the world.

LORI BROWN-LOFTIS, FORCED TO SEEK ABORTION OUT OF STATE: You are safe to share your news, you get excited. We had the nursery getting started. KAFANOV: What should've been a happy time for Lori Brown-Loftis

turned to crushing devastation. An ultrasound revealed a rare genetic disorder.

BROWN-LOFTIS: The doctor kind of explained that this disorder is not compatible with life. It was a little girl that, you know, she would not be viable, and that most children either died during childbirth or shortly after.

KAFANOV: With no chance of the baby surviving outside the womb, Lori made the painful choice to have an abortion.

BROWN-LOFTIS: That is one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do, the hardest decision. Had I been forced to carry that pregnancy, knowing that I would not get to bring the child home, would have caused so much trauma.

KAFANOV: This was not a decision you took lightly.

BROWN-LOFTIS: I did not make that decision lightly or easily.

KAFANOV: At 23 weeks pregnant, Lori was forced to travel out of state for the three day invasive procedure, at significant financial and emotional cost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are going to pay with hellfire.

KAFANOV: Visibly pregnant, she describes being harassed by protesters.

BROWN-LOFTIS: Just the assumption that I didn't want my baby, you know, I think that was probably the hardest part.

KAFANOV: This was a long dead child.

BROWN-LOFTIS: Yeah, absolutely.

KAFANOV: This was in January when Oklahoma had allowed abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Today, the state has one of the most far- reaching abortion bans in the nation, prohibiting the procedure and moment of fertilization, with very narrow exceptions.

GOVERNOR KEVIN STITT (R), OKLAHOMA: I don't know how much clear we can be. We don't believe in abortion in Oklahoma. We don't want it in our state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That put us in a dangerous position here in Oklahoma. It is life or death for women.

DR. ELI RESHEF, REPRODUCTIVE SPECIALIST: Your lining looks great. That's the bladder. That's the uterus. That's the cervix.

KAFANOV: As a fertility doctor, Eli Reshef's mission is to bring life into the world.

RESHEF: It looks great. KAFANOV: But he worries Oklahoma's antiabortion law allowing private citizens to sue anyone who helps women terminate a pregnancy could have unintended consequences, impacting services like in vitro fertilization.

RESHEF: There is a sense of panic among patients. Patients are concerned they will have access to in vitro fertilization because it's difficult to read the law and even if you read it as I did, it's hard to interpret it. There are a lot of ambiguities.

KAFANOV: Abortion is now effectively outlawed in Oklahoma, with all four of its clinics no longer providing the service. If they can afford it, women seeking an abortion will now need to travel out of state, just like Lori Brown-Loftis did.

BROWN-LOFTIS: It was incredibly difficult. I mean, I still have flashbacks and night terrors and it is hard, and it is -- it will impact me for the rest of my life.

KAFANOV: One woman sharing her painful journey, trying to end the stigma around abortion and help others feel less alone.


KAFANOV (on camera): Well, with the Supreme Court poised to overturn or severely weaken roe v. Wade, the legal status of abortion would be left for individual states to decide. At least 13 have so-called trigger laws that would ban the procedure the moment Roe is struck down. That means a lot more women will be faced with a similar decision as Lori, having to travel far out of state to get abortion services, and rights activists say that places undue burden on low- income women as well as women of color. Jake.

TAPPER: Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much.

Airlines offered the flights months ago, then canceled them as many of you show up to the airport. What's really behind these large-scale cancellations and why are airlines warning there will be many more? That's next.



TAPPER: The national lead, this summer travel season is off to a rather bumpy start. More than 900 flights were canceled on Sunday alone, with many more facing long delays. The disruptions coming as airline travel hits the highest level of the year.

CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now live from Reagan National Airport.

Pete, what is behind these flight cancellations?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, these new numbers are huge, but the cause of this is really not all that new. We have been reporting for months how airlines got a lot smaller because of the pandemic. They're facing these massive flight crew shortages, and the deck of cards really comes tumbling down when summer weather strikes.

In fact, on the east coast on Thursday and Friday, there were major thunderstorms which was the initial trigger for all of these cancellations. Look at the numbers from Flight Aware. More than 1,700 flights canceled nationwide on Thursday, more than 1,400 on Friday. Airlines unsuccessfully tried to play catch-up over the weekend.

On Saturday, more than 800 cancellations nationwide.


More than 900 cancellations nationwide on Sunday.

I want you to listen to United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby. He just spoke to our Richard Quest and he says that the airline was well positioned for this massive resurgence in demand, but he pin someday of the blame on the federal government and says it needs to staff up when it comes to air traffic controllers to help alleviate some of these delays. Listen now.


SCOTT KIRBY, UNITED AIRLINES CEO: This is really frustrating for customers, and unfairly frustrating for customers. So our focus in the next few years needs -- and months and years is to build a resilient system that can handle these increases in demand. It has some margin of error.

Airlines can't do that alone. In fact, we almost need the governments more than we need ourselves to help. We need the help to rebuild a resilient system to support this industry.


MUNTEAN: This has been a huge weekend for air travel, maybe the biggest since the onset of the pandemic. The Juneteenth weekend, also Father's Day weekend, 2.38 million people screened at nation airports just yesterday; 2.44 million people scanned by TSA nationwide on Friday. That number the highest we have seen since Thanksgiving 2021.

This is all coming with an urgent message from Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. He met with airlines and told them to get their schedule acts together with July 4th on the horizon.

You know, Jake, nobody is immune to this. In fact, Secretary Buttigieg had his own flight canceled over the weekend between New York and Washington. Had to drive like so many people pivoted to after their flights were canceled, Jake.

TAPPER: Pete Muntean at Reagan National, thanks so much.

Joining us now is Brian Kelly. He's a travel expert and founder of the points guy travel guide. Thanks so much for joining us. Testing requirements and restrictions

ease, a lot of people are taking their first summer trip since the start of the pandemic.

For those who might not have flown in a while, what do they need to know about airline travel today?

BRIAN KELLY, FOUNDER, THE POINTS GUY: Yeah, it's a tough summer. You know, when you're traveling now, I highly recommend using flight aware. Don't just track your flight. It will let you see where your inbound aircraft is from. And what so many people are experiencing is, it might be really nice and sunny at your airport, but where your plane is coming from, weather, air traffic, can cause a delay.

So, as a consumer, you need to be ahead of the game. You can't wait for the airline to let you know that there's a delay. There are a lot of really great apps out there, so you can do it yourself. Now that that testing requirement is gone for international travel, we're seeing a surge in European travel and airports that are normally really amazing like Amsterdam and Dublin are now crumbling under the pressure with four or five-hour waits to get through.

So my biggest tip is add in extra time to your flights this year. Do not even try to do a one-hour connection. Those days are behind us.

TAPPER: The increase in air travel is causing a lot of disruptions. What are some of your recommendations on how to navigate air travel beyond Flight Aware and other apps like that?

KELLY: Yeah. So, the biggest thing is know your rights. Unfortunately in the U.S., we don't have a passenger bill of rights, but the airline will try to give you a voucher in many cases. If your flight is significantly delayed or canceled, get cold hard cash refunds and rebook yourself.

But if you're traveling within Europe, know that there's EU 261 compensation if your flight is delayed or canceled, so make sure you know those rights. And also, what most people don't realize is, if you book your flight with a credit card in the U.S., many have flight interruption or delay coverage. So that will cover if you have to rent a car, like Secretary Buttigieg, or pay for hotel rooms, the airlines are not legally obligated to cover those costs, but in many cases your credit card will.

TAPPER: Many airlines are preemptively canceling flights just as this busy summer season heats up. How can passengers manage that?

KELLY: Yeah, it's tough. You know, sometimes as much as I hate to say it, sometimes you need to throw in the towel and just replan for another time. You know, I know people who have been waiting at the airport for days. You know, when in doubt, book a second backup reservation.

If you really need to get somewhere, don't just trust that maybe one reservation. Book a refundable or use your frequent flier miles. Most airlines will let you cancel your ticket up until departure. Have a backup reservation in case your original plans get derailed, you have something already planned in case it does go wrong.

TAPPER: What are you hearing from people about their biggest frustrations right now about air travel?

KELLY: One of the biggest is lost luggage. You know, Heathrow has 12,000 missing bags that have yet to be processed due to staffing shortages. So, my biggest tip, I use Apple air tags. Put it in your luggage and it will tell you exactly where in the world your luggage is.


And that could be the difference between having -- you know, finding your bag and telling the airline, oh, no, it's in Heathrow, and you can show it to the agents and find your bags. Otherwise, I know people who are waiting over a month to get their bag back.

TAPPER: Apple air tags? That's what they are?

KELLY: Yep, yeah, a little device you put in your bag and it will ping you and show you, you can even see them loading it onto the flight when you're on the plane.

TAPPER: All right. I'm going to order one right now.

Brian Kelly, thanks so much.

This month of pride has been smeared by extremism and intimidation and violence directed at our nation's LGBTQ community. We're going to take a closer look at what's behind that all, next.



TAPPER: In the national lead, a surge in violence against the LGBTQ community seen as the country celebrates Pride month. Several parades and events facing disruptions and attacks from domestic extremist groups.

CNN's Jason Carroll takes a look at the attacks and the rise in hate speech targeting the community.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The arrest of members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near a Pride event in Idaho came as no surprise to those tracking hate groups. They say they have seen a steady rise in hate speech and attacks directed at the LGBTQ community.

SAM JONES, SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER, ARMED CONFLICT LOCATION & EVENT DATA PROJECT: These aren't isolated. We can see a pattern. The pattern has really been building. I think it's something we're going to have to continue to monitor closely going into the end of pride month. CARROLL: Sam Jones is with the armed conflict location and event data

project. The project found anti-LGBTQ+ mobilization in the U.S. increase more than four times from 2020 to 2021. This year's incidents of political violence targeting that community already exceeds the total number of attacks reported last year.

The Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, some of whose members storm the Capitol on January 6th, are some of the same groups targeting LGBTQ+ events.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who brought the pedophile?

CARROLL: Earlier this month, authorities say Proud Boys members showed up at a drag queen story hour in San Lorenzo, California, shouting trans phobic slurs.

DILLON AWES, EMPLOYEE AT STEADFAST BAPTIST CHURCH: These people should be put to death.

CARROLL: That sentiment echoed in Texas, but this time as a sermon at a church outside of Dallas.

AWES: They should be lined up against the wall and shot in the back of the head.

CARROLL: Extremism researchers say disinformation and a wave of legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community is fueling the rise in attacks.

JONES: Through the rest of the year and going into the midterms where I think this is going to be one among multiple issues where far right groups like the Proud Boys and others are going to be trying to ramp up tensions and ultimately possibly escalate violence.

CARROLL: Here in New York City, site of one of the largest pride celebrations in the world this weekend, organizers are keenly aware of the rise in hate crimes.

DAN DIMANT, MEDIA DIRECTOR, NYC PRIDE: It's disheartening. I think we're living in a pretty unprecedented time.

CARROLL: Why do you think that is?

DIMANT: I just think that the division and the rhetoric is at a whole new level.

CARROLL: Organizers say they have security measures in place for pride. The city's police department saying it provides a significant and complex counterterrorism overlay to the event and celebrations around pride. NYPD's alert posture in these matters has remained ever vigilant.


CARROLL (on camera): And, Jake, here at the Stonewall Inn, which is the site of the 1969 riot, which really started the modern day gay rights movement, I spoke to an activist just a short while ago, and he said despite the rise in hate crimes and all of the attacks and all of the intimidation, he says that is not going to prevent people like him from stopping all of the gains that the gays have made over the past few decades -- Jake.

TAPPER: Jason Carroll, thank you so much.

Strong reaction today after a Republican Senate candidate released an ad suggesting he wanted to hunt down RINOs, Republicans in name only. But did he cross a line with the violent imagery?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to this special edition of THE LEAD on this Juneteenth celebration. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, Republican extremism, one of the largest state GOPs in the country says Biden didn't win. The gays and lesbians deserve no protections and the Voting Rights Act should be repealed, this as a leading candidate in Missouri launches a shocking social media video with lots of guns.

Plus, CNN goes well outside the D.C. beltway to examine the gun debate. Hear some of the unconventional thinking from the heartland that's influencing the conversation.

And leading this hour, new video from Russian TV shows Americans captured in Ukraine, one saying in an interview he was beaten. Now the reported location becomes a serious concern.

Let's go straight to CNN's Ben Wedeman joining us live from Kramatorsk, Ukraine, with more on this.

Ben, CNN has decided not to show the videos of the two American captives. What do we know about where they are and who is holding them?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are, we believe, in the Donetsk People's Republic. That's a pro-Russian breakaway part of this country. And, of course, we have seen there's various interviews have been conducted with them. One of them, a 50- minute edited interview on RT, previously known as Russia Today, that state affiliated, state-sponsored channel in Russia.

They were also interviewed by a Serbian pro-Russian YouTube channel.