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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Calls On Congress To Approve 3-Month Gas Tax Holiday; Leading Dems Express "Reservations" About Gas Tax Holiday; Russia Claims It Destroyed Howitzers Sent To Ukraine By U.S., Allies; Senate Poised To Pass First Gun Safety Legislation In Decades; Former Florida Candidate For Governor Faces Wire Fraud Charges; NFL Commissioner Testifies Before Congress On Toxic Workplace At Washington Football Team. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 22, 2022 - 16:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: The next hearing will take place tomorrow as scheduled. But after that, there's going to be a break.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Yes, until July. Some might worry they lose momentum, but maybe they just recharge, you know?

BLACKWELL: Depending upon what this new evidence is, maybe this will give them a new boost.

All right. THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: D.C.'s new big debate, should you get 18 cents off a gallon of gas?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Is something better than nothing? President Biden calls on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax, a proposal his former boss, President Obama, once called a gimmick.

Plus, key Republicans publicly defending their support for a bipartisan gun bill.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): If I listen to all of the critics, I wouldn't get much done.


TAPPER: What's in the bill, what's not, as Congress comes close on the first major gun reform in decades. We'll tell you next.

And an investigation into a toxic work culture inside the NFL. Reports of a woman paid off to settle a sexual assault case against Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Commanders football team. What the league's commissioner Roger Goodell told Congress today about the new allegations. (MUSIC)

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

We start today with our money lead and president Biden's latest attempt to tame the insanely high gas prices plaguing Americans. The president this afternoon called on Congress to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax, which is right now about 18 cents a gallon. It's a move President Biden has resisted until today given that it is unlikely to pass Congress. Republicans widely oppose it, and even some leading Democrats are skeptical that oil companies will actually pass that savings on to drivers.

The proposed suspension is part of a larger plan introduced by President Biden earlier today which the White House claims could save drivers up to $1 per gallon of gas.

As CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports, this is going to be an uphill battle to get Congress, the states, and oil companies all onboard. It's causing some Democrats to wonder if President Biden is setting himself up once again for a defeat on Capitol Hill.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hoping to bring relief to frustrated drivers across the U.S., President Biden called for a three-month gas tax holiday today.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can bring down the price of gas and give families just a little bit of relief.

COLLINS: If enacted, the move would suspend the federal gas tax for the next 90 days, the peak driving period for many summer vacations.

BIDEN: I fully understand that a gas tax holiday alone is not going to fix the problem. But it will provide families some immediate relief, just a little bit of breathing room, as we continue working to bring down prices for the long haul.

COLLINS: The federal tax only a small slice of what consumers are paying at the pump, 18 cents per gallon of regular gasoline and 24 cents per gallon of diesel.

Getting the gas tax holiday passed could be an uphill battle for the White House.

BIDEN: I know my Republican friends claim we're not producing enough oil.

COLLINS: Congress must approve the measure and Republicans are against it, as even some Democrats are voicing concerns.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have no evidence to think that the oil companies would pass that on to the consumer.

COLLINS: Biden today demanding that companies pass on the benefits, though officials have conceded there are no guarantees.

BIDEN: I call on the companies to pass this along, every penny of this 18 cents reduction to the consumers.

COLLINS: Biden's move pitting him against then-candidate Barack Obama who once bashed the move as a gimmick to get more votes.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: We're arguing over a gimmick to save you half a tank of gas. Over the course of the entire summer, so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say that they did something.

Well, let me tell you something. This isn't an idea designed to get you through the summer. It's an idea designed to get them through an election.

COLLINS: President Biden arguing that the Russian invasion has changed the calculus as he delivered this closing message to oil companies.

BIDEN: This is a time of war, global peril, Ukraine. These are not normal times. Bring down the price you're charging at the pump to reflect the cost you're paying for the product. Do it now. Do it today.


COLLINS (on camera): Now, Jake, when I asked about the fact that there is no guarantee these companies would pass on the benefits to consumers, Energy Secretary Granholm told me that's why she's meeting with industry executives here at the White House tomorrow to ask for those assurances, though she acknowledged there is a bit of nervousness around that, around the idea there is a chance they could pass this and drivers would not actually see those benefits.

Jake, she also acknowledged if it does pass, they would only see a modest benefit if those benefits are actually passed on to consumers.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us, thanks so much.


I want to bring in business reporter Rahel Solomon.

Rahel, the White House claims this three-part plan could save American drivers up to $1 per gallon of gas. Is that realistic? Do those numbers add up?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think a lot would have to go according to the president's plan to see those type of declines at the gas pump. I think the president knows it needs the states -- that the White House needs the states in order to see a meaningful decline at the pump.

Look, one economist from the Dallas Fed Garrett Golding me this today: Look, if only the federal tax goes away, that might not be that noticeable, but if you take away state taxes on top of it, which can be over twice that of the federal tax, well, the impact could be significant. At least 50 cents in some states so about 50 cents right there, Jake.

However, and this is very important, according to Garrett, the more prices fall because of this, the more demand could be stoked and with refining capacity already strained, that could lead to prices rebounding in short order. The idea here, Jake, is that, of course, this doesn't address the underlying issue that there is more demand for oil right now than there is supply. And the concern that this could actually be inflationary, that this could actually create more inflation because it creates more demand at a time when we don't need it.

But one thing I thought was really interesting, I spoke to an oil industry consultant who said one thing that could lead to significant savings or decent savings is the diesel tax suspension. Take a listen.

TAPPER: All right. Rahel Solomon, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss is Gene Sperling. He's a senior adviser to President Biden and former director of the National Economic Council under Presidents Obama and Clinton.

Gene, thanks for joining us.

So, President Biden just called on states to remove their own taxes on gas and diesel, something only a handful of states have done so far. Have you gotten any other governors on board with the president's plan?

GENE SPERLING, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, Jake, as you said, and you just were discussing, obviously, the combined impact of states joining in a tax holiday, particularly with the surge in revenues many have had that have given them surplus, would be extremely helpful. I think the most important thing we have seen is we have already seen a Wharton Penn Study that shows in the first few states that did do a tax holiday, that between 75 and 85 percent of that benefit was passed on to consumers.

Now, that's still not enough, but I think it does show that if we could pass this federal tax holiday, if we could get states to join in suspending their gas taxes, and if the president is successful in putting appropriate pressure on oil companies and refineries to pass on those cost savings to consumers, that you could see something that could be quite helpful. Not a silver bullet, nothing is a silver bullet, but you do everything you can in the time like this.

TAPPER: So, should I take that as a no, you haven't gotten any governors on board yet?

SPERLING: Oh, you're just asking today? I don't know what the response has been just in the last seven, eight hours since he announced it, but we're certainly having those discussions and we have certainly looked at the record of what has happened so far. But I would expect that now that the president has raised this,

particularly with, again, states having had a surge of growth and revenue since the American rescue plan passed and with the president raising this, and the notion that there would be a combined impact of 50 cents, and we would like to see it closer to a dollar, if we could get more refining capacity up and more benefits passed on to consumers, I think this would be significant.

You know, one point the president did make today is that we've seen oil prices go down $10. Normally, that would drive gas prices down 25 cents. Instead, it's been about a nickel. So, there's been some benefit, but not enough. And I think that it is appropriate for the president to make clear that at this time, a time of war, where there's record profits, let's put those profits to use, expanding capacity, and let's do everything in our power in a time of war to make sure we're giving some relief to American citizens who are just suffering really from this unthinkable aggression by Vladimir Putin.

TAPPER: So Democratic Senator Tom Carper from President Biden's home state of Delaware, he tweeted, quote, I'm glad that President Biden is exploring ways to lower gas prices at the pump. Still, suspending the primary way that we pay for infrastructure projects on our roads is a short-sighted and inefficient way to provide relief. That is a loyal Democrat calling the proposal from the White House short-sighted and inefficient.

So I don't know that you're going to be able to get enough members of the Democratic Party to support this.

SPERLING: I think the important thing is the president has made very clear that he would only do this if we are replenishing the trust fund so that there is no cost to our infrastructure payment.


And I agree, and I think we all agree, this is not a proposal for all seasons. This is not a normal proposal for normal times. This is an exceptional proposal for an exceptional time, a time of war, and a time where we have seen a single factor, the Russian aggression and the global response to it, drive gas prices from $3.31, which is where they were on January 17th, when Putin started his military exercises in Belarus, to close to $5.

This is an exceptional time. And Americans are dealing with, you know, with the price pressures and the supply chain problems that have come, really first ever shutting down and starting back up of the global economy, and you know, I speak, we're on shows like this, when we're talking to people, we say we're going to do everything we can.

We say there's no silver bullet, but it adds up. And this is a piece of that. And 50 cents a gallon, I think that would matter to a lot of families. If we could make that a dollar a gallon with more cooperation and working together with oil companies, refineries, I think it could start to relieve some pressure, and I think there's a lot of families that would appreciate any gas price relief they can get. TAPPER: So, your former boss, President Obama, said in his recent

memoir, he opposed a gas tax holiday in 2008 because, quote, I'm sure the consumers wouldn't see much benefit. In fact, gas station owners were just as likely to keep prices high and boost their own profits. He called the whole move political posturing.

SPERLING: So obviously, then candidate Obama said that in response to candidate Hillary Clinton's proposal in April of 2008, and that was a time when as you and I both remember, the main issue affecting the country was the financial crisis. That was issue number one.

You know, we're in a different time now. We're a in a time of war and we're in a time of war where unthinkable aggression by Russia is not only costing lives and causing terrible humanitarian harms and being a threat to democracy.

TAPPER: Right.

SPERLING: But is forcing Americans to pay a price at the pump.


TAPPER: I want to play the sound, though, I want to play the sound because you keep blaming this on Vladimir Putin.

I want to play this exchange from earlier today from the testimony of the Fed chair talking about this on Capitol Hill, talking about the role of the invasion. Take a listen.


SEN. BILL HAGERTY (R-TN): Given how inflation has escalated over the past 18 months, would you say that the war in Ukraine is the primary driver of inflation in America?

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: No, inflation was high before -- certainly before the war in Ukraine broke out.


TAPPER: Inflation was high before the war in Ukraine broke out.

SPERLING: Jake, that is clearly correct, and that is not contradictory with anything this president said. The shutting down of the global economy, the starting up of the global economy, the supply chain constraints that happened, the -- you remember the impact delta had on preventing that supply chain correction, the shutting down on semi-conductor production in Asia, the effect that had on global auto production, the lockdowns in China. All those things affected inflation, and, of course, this president was out there with a supply chain task force a year ago.

So, of course, there was inflation related to the pandemic that took place before that. What the president -- what is clear, though, is the gas price element is due solely to what we have seen from the aggression. That it was at $3.31 in January 17th was actually below the real average over the previous decade.

Now, it's been closer to $5, and you have seen $2 hikes in places like Canada and Germany. So, there's no contradiction between the fact that, yes, we were struggling with pandemic related supply chain and price pressures before this, but that the reason we have seen the gas price rise, both here and really around the world, is due to Putin, and the fact that I think inflation overall has tended to go up, that it averages 9.2 percent in the 38 major countries has certainly, you know, there's been a major contribution from the gas run-up due to Putin.

But no, we have never suggested that is the only cause. It is one of the primary causes though.

TAPPER: Gene Sperling, thank you so much for your time.

SPERLING: Thanks for having me.

TAPPER: Suspending the gas tax might help you at the pump a bit, but what about your groceries or your rent or your utility bills? Some economists say unemployment rates will help bring down inflation. That means losing jobs for people will bring down inflation.

I'll get the opinion of one outspoken Democratic governor.

Plus, he was once whispered as a potential candidate for president. Now new legal trouble for former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, the once rising Democratic star.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: President Biden's proposal for a gas tax holiday prompts the question, how much of a difference would it make in different states across the country?

Here with me to discuss, New Jersey's Democratic Governor Phil Murphy.

So, Governor Murphy, New Jersey has one of the highest sales taxes on gasoline of any state in the U.S., 42 cents a gallon. President Biden says you need to lift that temporarily. Are you going to?

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D), NEW JERSEY: It's hard for us to do that. I actually think the Fed should be doing it. I've been calling for that for several months. Our tax is constitutionally tied to infrastructure investments, which would have to stop and then when we restarted them, they would cost more money.


So, A, I think the Feds could do it more easily. They could print money, by the way. We can't. Secondly, we're delivering historic relief to people's pocketbooks

through other means. Property tax relief, today we just announced a sales tax holiday on back-to-school stuff.

Free state park admission, and looking at doing a whole lot more. So, we're tackling affordability but through different doors.

TAPPER: President Biden called on Congress to lift the federal gas tax, as you know, for 90 days. The average in your state for a gallon of gas is almost 5 bucks, $4.97 a gallon. Let's say Biden gets his way and gets this gas tax holiday. That's only going to bring the average down in New Jersey to $4.79. That's still really high.

Is it even worth it?

MURPHY: Yeah, it's worth it. I think it's worth it at many levels. It's a statement. First, of all, we'll take 15 cents a gallon. That adds up, particularly at these levels.

Secondly, I think it's a statement, an affirmative statement that Washington is hearing the pain that's out there. That's why we announced last week a $2 billion permanent program in property tax relief to not only put money, real money in people's pockets, in that case, $1,500, but it also makes a statement that we're listening, that we're going through this together, that we feel that pain. And I think at both levels it's important.

TAPPER: Let's talk about how to tackle inflation. So, the unemployment rate in New Jersey is 3.9 percent. That's slightly above the national rate of 3.6 percent, but still relatively low.

On Monday, according to Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said, quote, we need five years of unemployment above 5 percent to contain inflation, unquote. Do you buy into the idea that unemployment needs to rise in order for inflation to go down?

MURPHY: Well, so I have enormous respect for Larry, so I don't want to pretend to have the level of academic and professional experience that he has. But we need as close to full employment as possible.

And I understand that you can't have it both ways. The Fed's going to have to continue to raise rates. I think that's almost a certainty, and that will probably impact employment. But I think as an affirmative policy, to have a higher number of people out of work.

That's not part of what we want to do in New Jersey. We want to get as many people who are able to get a job, a job that pays well with good benefits. If the Fed by raising interest rates has some impact on the unemployment rate, I guess history would say it would. But that's not something we're wishing for.

TAPPER: The bipartisan gun safety legislation is expected to pass the Senate this week. Some of the measures include, quote -- include $750 million for crisis intervention programs. It will close the boyfriend loophole. It requires gun sellers to register as federally licensed firearm dealers. It bolsters the review process for 18 to 21-year-olds to buy long guns.

You have proposed stricter gun laws in New Jersey, some of which include raising the age to buy a long gun to 21, banning 50 caliber rifles which is a military style weapon, establishing electronic ammunition sales, record keeping. You have in New Jersey about 500 deaths a year from firearms.

Would your proposals or the ones in the Senate stop these deaths, bring down that number?

MURPHY: Well, if you raise the age for a long gun to 21, you would eliminate at least legally both the perpetrator in Buffalo and in Uvalde from having to be able to purchase a gun.

We have among the strongest gun safety laws in America, and I'm gratified that today, one of our chambers passed through nine more as part of our what we call "gun safety package 3.0".

But we're not an island, Jake. So 85 percent of the crime guns recovered in New Jersey coming from out of state. So, we need to be stronger in New Jersey and that will happen, thankfully, but we need Congress to act.

This isn't -- these steps are, I would call, modest in Congress, but important because they're going in the right direction. And for the first time in a long time, the will of the people is being reflected through progress on gun safety in Congress, and we need that.

TAPPER: All right. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy from the Garden State -- thank you so much, sir. Good to see you.

MURPHY: Thanks for having me, Jake.

TAPPER: This hour, we're also monitor monitoring a very difficult day in Ukraine. More key areas now under Russian control. CNN is on the ground with an up close look at how U.S. weapons may not be enough to help the Ukrainians fight.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: A devastating week for Ukraine tops our world lead today. Ukrainian forces have lost key defensive positions in the south and northeast of the country. And in just the last 24 hours, Ukrainian officials admit villages around the last standing city in Luhansk under Ukrainian control have been captured by Putin's army.

CNN's Ben Wedeman visited Ukrainian soldiers firing on Russian positions with powerful U.S.-supplied howitzers, the same type of long range gun Russia claims they have destroyed today, though it is unclear how many, it is obvious Ukraine needs more weapons and quickly.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New rounds soon to be loaded into the breach. These Ukrainian troops wait for the order.


They're preparing to fire this gun Ukraine has received more than 100 M777 howitzers, but we have seen steadily the Russians are gaining more and more ground. This helps, but it may not be enough.

With sophisticated U.S.-made and supplied 155 millimeter howitzers like this, Ukraine hopes to counter Russia's massive superiority in firepower. That superiority has allowed Russian forces to push forward, subjecting cities like Severodonetsk and Lysychansk to intense bombardment.

This drone footage shows Russian tanks entering the town of Toshkivka just outside Severodonetsk. Outnumbered and outgunned in the east, Ukraine has warned Russian forces may soon intensify their attack.

This artillery is firing rounds with a range of around 20 kilometers or 12 1/2 miles. The target, we're told, Russian armored personnel carriers.

Thanks to the Americans, I think we can win this war, says Bogdan. The only problem is we need more barrels, more artillery, and more ammunition. Or in plain English --


WEDEMAN: His comrade puts a number to it.

We need at least 500 of these guns, he says.

This has become an artillery war, and victory in this war will come from the barrel of a gun.


WEDEMAN (on camera): And, Jake, we had to leave that area fairly quickly because the Russian drones are overhead looking to target these M777s. We know of another one in that area that was struck, the Russians claiming that they have taken out 15 in recent days -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Ben Wedeman in Ukraine for us, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the gun debate here in Washington, D.C., how some Republicans are pushing back on criticism from within their own party on negotiating this deal with Democrats.

Stay with us.


[16:36:51] TAPPER: In our politics lead, the U.S. Senate appears on the verge of passing what would be the most significant gun safety legislation in nearly 30 years in the United States.

Last night, 64 senators voted to debate and amend the legislation, including all 50 Democrats and 14 Republicans. The bill would include money for crisis intervention programs. It would close the so-called boyfriend loophole. It increases licensing requirements for firearm dealers. It incentivizes states to enhance background checks for gun purchasers between the ages of 18 and 21. It creates new statute against gun trafficking, and it increases funding for mental health and school security.

The bill is already facing fierce opposition from gun rights groups and from former President Trump who is attacking Senator John Cornyn, the leading Republican negotiator on the legislation, calling Cornyn a RINO, Republican in name only.

The Texas senator responded to that earlier today.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): If we're going to have a debate about policy, I'm all for that. But I'm not going to engage in a game of name-calling. We worked with the NRA, listened to their concerns. But in the end, they have a membership and a business model that will not allow them to support any legislation.


TAPPER: Joining us to discuss, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He's one of the lead Democratic negotiators on the legislation.

Senator Murphy, thanks for joining us.

I know you wish the bill contained items that President Biden wanted like a ban on AR-15 style weapons or even stronger background checks. But bottom line, if this legislation becomes law, will it save lives?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (R-CT): I would argue it will save thousands of lives. I mean, let's just take a look at the boyfriend loophole. What we're saying in this bill is any boyfriend who beats up their girlfriend is not going to be able to own firearms. And what we know is in states who have taken that step, there are 10 percent fewer domestic homicides. That's thousands of lives saved in and of itself.

Red flag laws work and this bill is going to help make existing red flag laws better and help states pass new ones. Just in Connecticut last week, we used our red flag law to take weapons away from a young man who had threatened to shoot up schools. We maybe saved dozens of lives with just one operational use of a red flag law.

And in the mental health spending in this is not on the margins. We're talking about $12 billion in mental health spending that's going to build out community health clinics in underserved areas all across this country. The mental health spending alone is likely going to save thousands of lives.

So, certainly, this isn't everything I wanted, but it is a bill that is going to make a difference. It's going to prevent homicides, suicides, and mass shootings.

I'm really glad that the Senate finally found a way to come together in a really big bipartisan way and get something meaningful done.

TAPPER: So, 14 Republican senators voted for the bill. That included Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who says Democrats, quote, came our way in the negotiations. The bill still faces two more key votes to break a filibuster and then final passage.

Are you going to be able to keep all 14 Republicans onboard through the next hurdles?


MURPHY: I think we will. And I think there's a possibility that we will grow support when we get to the final votes later this week.

You know, what we're trying to prove to Republicans is that the political sky doesn't fall when you support these commonsense gun safety measures. Most of the things that I support are backed up by 70, 80, 90 percent of Americans, and my hope is that the 14, 15, 16 Republicans who support this will go back to their states, and, yeah, sure, maybe they'll take a little grief from the NRA, but I think they'll see much more political benefit from voters who maybe had thought about supporting them who now are going to be a little more willing to back them up, given their vote on this gun violence measure.

I don't want this to ever be an issue that only can be carried by Democrats. I want this -- I want the issue of gun violence to be something that both parties take seriously, and I think we have taken a big step forward towards that future with this bill.

TAPPER: So, let's talk about that. Your desire that this will show Republicans there is political gain in voting for commonsense gun safety bills. Trump's out there railing against Senator John Cornyn as a RINO. The House Republican leadership is going to, what sources are telling us, whip against the bill when it comes to the House.

Is it not possible that actually, your bill makes Republicans more fearful, depending on how this plays out and what happens to Cornyn?

MURPHY: Listen, I think you're right that we have to see how this plays out. But I'm going to predict that members of the Senate and the House who support this, both Democrats and Republicans, are going to see political gain when they go back home. And so, yes, I think we're going to have to watch how the future plays out, but I'm confident that what we are passing today is supported by 80 percent, 90 percent of Americans. And I just got the sense being back in Connecticut over the last few weeks that this was a moment where doing nothing was just not an option. I think the reason why we had this big breakthrough vote is because

many Democrats and Republicans felt the same thing when they were back in their states.

TAPPER: Your colleague Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who voted against advancing the legislation to debate and amendment, he complained on Twitter about the amount of time he was given to read the bill before the vote. What's your response?

MURPHY: Well, all last night's vote was a motion to proceed to a debate. So it is true that the final text of the bill came out shortly before that vote. But that wasn't final passage. It wasn't even cloture on debate. It was a procedural motion to just begin debate.

So, we'll have plenty of time for every senator to read through the text of this bill, to have answered any questions, and my hope is by final passage, we will have earned Senator Rubio's vote, one of his pieces of legislation that has been sponsored by parents in Parkland is part of this bill.


MURPHY: We're hopeful that we'll earn his vote and maybe other Republican votes that weren't ready to get there last night.

TAPPER: Yeah, he pushed the red flag bill after the horrible Parkland shooting.

Senator Chris Murphy, thank you so much. Best of luck and have a good weekend.

MURPHY: Thanks a lot.

TAPPER: Ahead, the damning allegations ahead -- against the NFL and the Washington Commanders. A sexual assault case for $1.6 million settlement and the investigation before Congress into a toxic workplace at team offices.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: A once rising Democratic star in Florida has just been indicted on federal charges. Prosecutors are accusing Andrew Gillum who lost the 2018 race for Florida governor against Ron DeSantis of 21 counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements.

CNN's Steve Contorno is in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Steve, the timeline overlaps with his run for governor.

STEVE CONTORNO, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Jake. Not only that, it goes all the way back to when he was mayor of Tallahassee. It covers his entire campaign for governor where he narrowly lost to Republican Ron DeSantis and it even includes some of his time after his defeat when he was still politically involved and the face of the Democratic Party.

Let me read you a little bit from this indictment, because there's a lot in there. But there's an interesting passage where it says that Gillum and a close associate of his, quote, knowingly and willfully combined, conspired, confederated and agreed together with other persons to devise a scheme to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of material false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.

Now, what that means is essentially that they defrauded funders by taking money from various entities that they controlled and moving it in ways that was ultimately to their financial benefit. Andrew Gillum was also accused of lying to FBI investigators as part of an investigation into Tallahassee city hall corruption when he was mayor. This was a very public scandal that actually came out while he was running for governor in a way that was very damaging to his campaign. There were tickets to Hamilton involved and other gifts.

But Andrew Gillum today pleading not guilty in federal court, and he actually issued a statement today before the indictment came out.


Let me read to you what he said, he said: Make no mistake, this case is not legal. It is political. There has been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee. They found nothing then. And I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence.

Now, Jake, I have been talking to people throughout Florida politics today, and they're saying that a lot of Democrats are very angry with Andrew Gillum. Even though he is saying he's innocent, many have found him to be untrustworthy over the years.

I talked to one donor who said this was, quote, a great tragedy and, Jake, Andrew Gillum has ruined the Democratic Party in Florida forever.

TAPPER: I remember asking during the Republican and Democratic debate, a gubernatorial debate in 2018, I remember asking Gillum about the FBI investigation.

Steve Contorno, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Turning to our sports lead now, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before Congress today. He faced questions about the so- called toxic workplace at the Washington Commanders football organization.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We have been open and direct about the fact that the workplace culture of the Commanders was not only unprofessional but toxic for far too long.


TAPPER: The real spotlight was on the Commanders owner, Dan Snyder, who refused a request to appear today. Snyder is facing sexual assault allegations from a former employee. CNN's Joe Johns dives into these new details.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The House oversight hearing on the reported toxic work culture of the NFL's Washington commanders featuring several big hits.

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): You keep saying you did everything possible. You have to do more. Are you willing to do more?

JOHNS: Prior to the hearing, the committee releasing a 29-page memo detailing findings from its own months-long investigation into the alleged misconduct of NFL team owner Daniel Snyder, and the work environment he fostered.

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): You're aware that in 2009, Dan Snyder was accused of sexually assaulting an employee on a private airplane, correct?

GOODELL: Am I aware of that? Yes, I'm aware of that.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: And, sir, Mr. Snyder settled those claims for $1.6 million. But he did not inform you in 2009 that he had been accused of sexual assault, correct?

GOODELL: I don't recall him informing me that, no.

JOHNS: The committee concluding Snyder conducted his own shadow investigation to target those who made accusations against Snyder or his organization.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): It shows the lengths Mr. Snyder went to, to harass, intimidate, and silence his accusers, including journalists, attorneys, and former employees, anyone involved.

JOHNS: After Snyder, who denies the claims, refused to appear for the hearing, Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney announcing the committee will issue a subpoena to compel a deposition from Snyder next week.

MALONEY: If the NFL is unwilling or unable to hold Mr. Snyder accountable, then I am prepared to do so.

JOHNS: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testifying remotely about what the NFL knew and what it has done to hold Snyder accountable.

GOODELL: We imposed unprecedented discipline on the club. Monetary penalties of well over $10 million, and requirements that the club implement a series of recommendations and allow an outside firm to conduct regular reviews of their workplace.

JOHNS: Committee Democrats questioning the NFL's lack of transparency regarding its handling of Snyder.

MALONEY: Rather than protecting women, the NFL is hoping to sweep this controversy under the rug.

JOHNS: And pressing Goodell why the NFL never publicly released any of its findings on Snyder and his team.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): That's what redaction is for.

GOODELL: Congressman, with all due respect, redaction doesn't always work in my world. I promise you.


GOODELL: We need to take extra steps to make sure these people who did come through and courageously come forward --

RASKIN: All right, I have to reclaim my time.

JOHNS: Meanwhile, several Republicans bashed the hearing saying Congress has no authority over a private organization like the NFL.

MALONEY: The gentleman will suspend --

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): You can bang the gavel all you want but I don't really care. What is the purpose of continuing this, Madam Chair?

REP. PAT FALLON (R-TX): This hearing is a sham. And it's a farce, and it's a clown show.


JOHNS: A spokesman for Dan Snyder issued a statement before today's hearing. He said the committee's investigation into the team was predetermined from the beginning, calling it a politically charged show trial and suggested that going forward, the committee should focus on, quote, more pressing issues instead of an issue the team addressed years ago -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Joe Johns, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the video of Donald Trump, Ivanka, and others in the Trump family that is now a focus of the January 6th committee.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, the big easy is anything but chill as 30 million people are baking in triple digit temperatures. Some places in New Orleans will feel like 115 degrees. Our climate crisis correspondent Bill Weir is on the scene.

Plus, the FDA wants one of the most popular brands of e-cigs pulled from store shelves for good. This as the Biden administration also tries to reduce the level of nicotine allowed in regular cigs. So, smoke them if you got them.

And leading this hour, what is in the video?