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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Ukraine Claims It Ran Russian Troops Off Snake Island; NATO Secy. General: Putin Made A "Big An Huge Mistake"; Putin Claims He's "Not Bothered" By Finland And Sweden Joining NATO, But Warns Russia Will "Respond Symmetrically" To Any Threats; Wisconsin A.G. Sues To Challenge Near-Complete 1849 Abortion Ban; Supreme Court Limits Biden Admin Efforts To Fight Climate Change; Supreme Court Rules Against EPA Effort To Cut Power Plant Emissions; Biden Calls For Dropping Filibuster Rules To Pass Abortion Rights; Bipartisan Effort Underway In Oklahoma To Stop Inmate's Execution; 1955 Arrest Warrant Found In Courthouse Basement. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 30, 2022 - 17:00   ET




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can understand why the American people are frustrated because of what the Supreme Court did.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the world stage in Madrid, President Biden backing an exception to Senate rules for abortion rights today.

BIDEN: I believe we have to codify Roe v Wade in the law. And the way to do that is to make sure the Congress votes to do that.

COLLINS (voice-over): The President condemning the Supreme Court for overturning Roe versus Wade saying it has shaken the nation.

BIDEN: The one thing that has been destabilizing is the outrageous behavior the Supreme Court of United States.

COLLINS (voice-over): Biden criticizing one institution while calling on another to step in.

BIDEN: If the filibuster gets in the way it's like voting rights, it should be we provide an exception for this.

COLLINS (voice-over): But two senators who have stood in Biden's way before remain unmoved with both Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema still against an exception to the 60 vote threshold that Biden suggested.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Getting rid of the filibuster does not make it work better.

COLLINS (voice-over): Under pressure from his own party to do more, Biden declined to lay out concrete next steps on securing abortion rights.

BIDEN: I'm having a meeting with a group of governors when I get home on Friday and I'll have announcements to make then.

COLLINS (voice-over): The President was pressed on the politics at home after wrapping up meetings with world leaders on Ukraine.

BIDEN: Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia.

COLLINS (voice-over): Western leaders rallying around Ukraine as Russia's invasion drags on but declining to predict when the war will end only saying their support won't.

BIDEN: We're going to support Ukraine as long as it takes.

COLLINS (voice-over): An added complication to that support rising energy prices around the globe.

BIDEN: But inflation is higher in almost every other country. Prices in the pump are higher in almost every other country. We're better positioned to deal with this than anyone, but we have a way to go.

COLLINS (voice-over): Despite soaring gas prices, Biden asserted that the economic pain won't deter the United States from supporting Ukraine.

BIDEN: I don't know what -- how it's going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.


COLLINS: And, Jake, on that front, President Biden did say the United States is preparing to send another $800 million in security assistance. That's military weapons to Ukraine as this battle goes on, saying that that will include offensive weapons. That comes as President Zelenskyy says that his country needs more weapons faster than the pace that they are currently getting them as he is aiming to bring this war to an end by the end of the year, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Kaitlan Collins reporting for us live from Madrid, thank you so much.

Turning to Ukraine now, new satellite pictures of Snake Island, the symbol of Ukrainian resistance, have surfaced showing the island pummeled by drone strikes with no Russian occupiers in sight. Ukraine says they've completely run Russia off the critical Black Sea outcrop while Russia claims the troop withdrawal was a quote, "gesture of goodwill." CNN Scott McLean reports for us now from Ukraine where news of the small islands recapture is making waves.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the battle for Ukraine's eastern Donbass region, the Ukrainians are losing ground slowly. The Russians continued to bombard the city of Lysychansk, making escape for those who remain extremely difficult or even impossible.

Farther west the search for bodies at a bombed-out shopping mall in Kremenchuk seems equally hopeless, as people lay flowers for those found dead and those who may never be found at all. But Ukraine can claim one victory on Snake Island, the rocky outcrop in the Black Sea near Odessa now back in Ukrainian control, thanks to an overnight artillery assault that forced the Russian occupiers to flee.

NATALIA HUMENYUK, UKRAINIAN MILITARY'S SOUTHERN COMMAND SPOKEPERSON (through translator): The Russians truly understood that they had to do the right thing, gather their things and got out as soon as they could.

MCLEAN (voice-over): The Ukrainian military released this video showing recent strikes in its weeks long campaign to take back the island. New Satellite images show the scars of war left behind, but no Russians. Russia claims it withdrew from the outpost as a goodwill gesture to Ukraine

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This solution will prevent Kyiv from speculating on an impending food crisis, citing the inability to export grain due to Russia's total control of the northwestern part of the Black Sea.

MCLEAN (voice-over): In response, the Ukrainian foreign minister tweeted that the Russians "always downplay their defeats this way. Partners should not be weary of providing Ukraine with more heavy weapons so that we liberate more of our lands.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I am a Russian military ship.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Snake Island has played an outsized role in the war from the very first day when a Russian warship ordered Ukrainian troops stationed there just surrender and got this response.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Russian warship, go f yourself.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Since then, that defiant response has been immortalized in the postage stamp reprinted on every kind of souvenir and is still a source of national pride.


KAROLINA GULSHANI, ARTIST, 26: We will never give up, you know, like never ever. Like, you know, the people from like Snake Island they knew this is like a fight they cannot win, right, but they were still like (beep).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It would be great if the next Russian goodwill gesture would be Putin shooting himself in his bunker.


MCLEAN: Now, Snake Island is important not just symbolically, Jake, but also militarily and economically because as the Ukrainians will tell you, whoever controls that island really controls the flow of civilian ship traffic along that stretch of southern Ukrainian coast. Now, the Ukrainian say that although it appears the Russians have vacated the island, they want to make sure that they haven't left behind any booby traps or mines before they go back to reestablish their own military base on the island, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Scott McLean, thank you so much.

Joining us live to discuss is retired General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark.

General, I'd like to start with your reaction to the Russians apparently abandoning Snake Island. Do you think this indicates that Putin is scaling back his ambitions for Ukraine?

GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), FORMER NATO SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER: No, I think they weren't driven off by the artillery. They didn't have the equipment to dig in properly to withstand an artillery assault, and they pulled out. But the Ukrainians have got to occupy it, they've got to hold it. Maybe they need to put a couple of those Harpoon missile launchers on the island and use it to protect the sea lanes.

Jake, it is going to be important because that grain in Ukraine has to come out. And if the Russians don't agree to let the grain come out, then holding Snake Island is going to be a big factor in getting the grain out anyway.

TAPPER: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tells CNN that President Putin, in his view, made a quote, "big and huge mistake" under estimating Ukraine's resistance and the unity of the NATO alliance. Do you think there's any part of Putin that sees it that way?

CLARK: I think Putin still believes he's winning. He believes and he's getting reports, obviously, from his intelligence sources that there isn't that strong unity and he always will hear voices like this in NATO. These are democratic nations, including our own, and there's always a diversity of opinion. And he's probably being fed that because he wants to hear it.

But he also understands that the Ukrainian logistic system is not like the Russian system. So the Ukrainians can't produce the military equipment they need, they've got to rely on outside assistance and he has a preponderance of military power. So, he believes that it's just a matter of worrying them down.

Look, Jake, from the Russian perspective, what they're actually doing in Donbass is holding the Ukrainians in position with some of the best Ukrainian forces and a more or less linear defense along this horseshoe and then pounding them with artillery. So, they may think that's a winning strategy. We don't see it that way. We're hearing it from the Ukrainian side that they're holding their ground and holding on to the land. So, time will tell you know which assessment is the most accurate and which strategy work the best.

TAPPER: Take a listen to something President Biden said earlier today.


BIDEN: Putin thought he could break the Transatlantic Alliance. He tried to weaken us. He expected our resolve to fracture. But he's getting exactly what he did not want.

He wanted the federalization of NATO he got the NATO-ization of Finland.


TAPPER: Is NATO as strong as President Biden is suggesting it is?

CLARK: Well, I think, Jake, well, you have to look at NATO is it's strong enough. And the more pressure it's put under, the stronger it will become.

NATO runs on and thrives on American leadership. And these democratic allies of ours, they all have their domestic politics. In every country, there's somebody who says, no, it's not worth it. And there's somebody else who says, yeah, we wouldn't be doing it, but those mean Americans, they're making us do this.

And that's the way NATO has operated for 70 years. And it's the formula for success. The more pressure NATO is put under, the stronger NATO resolve will become because this won't be a fight about Ukraine, it will be a fight about NATO. And these nations understand that NATO has to persevere and survive.

TAPPER: President Putin said overnight that he's not bothered by Finland and Sweden joining NATO but that Russia will, quote, "respond symmetrically" to threats. Is that just saber rattling? What do you think?

CLARK: Well, I think it's a Putin tried to shrug off about outcome honestly. Look, by having Sweden and Finland in their overtime, the ability to defend the Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, is much stronger. It gives us the control 360, almost 360 degrees around the Baltic Sea and it gives us the seabed that belongs to NATO. And there's lots that can happen in that Baltic Sea if you're on all sides of it.


So, rather than having three small nations that can be quickly overwhelmed, you have the potential for defense in depth. This is not something that Putin wants to have happen. And he's just shrugging it off, because that's the way the Russians play the information warfare game. He's certainly not going to admit defeat.

And, Jake, what NATO has to say to Putin is, you will not win. You will not win, every NATO leader needs to say it publicly and convince him. Once he's convinced he won't win, this will end.

TAPPER: Retired General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

What the new abortion ruling might mean for your privacy and what private information doctors are allowed to share with law enforcement. Stay with us on that.

Then, a death penalty case that has both Republicans and Democrats claiming the sentence simply needs to be overturned. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our health lead, a judge ruled today at Florida's new law banning abortions at 15 weeks violates the state constitution and the judge is issuing a temporary injunction. The law had been scheduled to go into effect tomorrow after it was signed by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.


Back in April, DeSantis' office says the governor is confident the law will ultimately withstand the legal challenges. The decision comes less than a week after the monumental Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Now the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing new guidance on how protected health information can be shared amid the legal shakeup. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now live.

Elizabeth, what does this guidance say from HHS about when health care providers are allowed to share private information?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So Jake, we're all familiar with HIPAA, that's the privacy law that tells doctors, you know, what information -- patient information they can't reveal. So today, the Department of Health and Human Services weighing in on how this relates to information about abortion. So, basically they're answering the question, if a police officer were to show up at a doctor's office and say, hey, I want to know, XYZ. Do doctors have to share it? What are the rules here?

So let's go over a couple of things that HHS covered. So they said first of all, because of HIPAA privacy laws, doctors cannot report a suspicion that a patient has induced an abortion unless state law compels them to report it. So they cannot say, you know, Mrs. Smith came in, I think she tried to induce an abortion. They cannot report -- doctors cannot report that a patient informed them she is traveling out of state for an abortion. In other words, if Mrs. Smith says, you know what, I'm in Texas and I'm going to go to New York, the doctor cannot report that if a police officer comes knocking at the door.

Also, they cannot hand over records of abortions. If the police officer says I want a record of every abortion you've done here, a doctor cannot do that.

Now, having said that, Jake, HIPAA is not 100 percent. These are three examples that they talked about. But HIPAA would not protect a patient 100 percent from having certain pieces of information revealed to law enforcement. TAPPER: Elizabeth, what if a court orders a doctor to turn over the health information of a specific patient?

COHEN: Right, that is a whole different scenario, Jake. So what lawyers say is, yes, you got -- the doctor has to abide by that court order, HIPAA kind of goes away, the doctors have to do what the court order says, but only specifically, very specifically with the court order asked for.

TAPPER: I've heard a lot of women expressing concern that data stored in personal devices and linked to things like apps that track a woman's menstrual cycle could be used against them. What does HHS have to say about that?

COHEN: Right. So, Jake, a lot of people get confused and think that HIPAA protects absolutely every piece of information about you, that's not true.

So let's take a look at things that HIPAA doesn't protect. So, for example, in your internet search history, if you say, where can I get an abortion, it is not going to protect that, that could be turned over to law enforcement. Or information that you voluntarily shared online, let's say a Facebook post where you talked about some experience or, you know, trying to get an abortion, it's not going to protect your geographic location. Like let's say you walked into an abortion clinic, it's not going to protect the fact that you were there.

Also, if you enter the data into an app, like for example, a period tracker for personal use, it is not going to protect that. So, HHS has some tips for how to protect certain pieces of information. They say if you don't need to use the app, don't use it. There are other ways of keeping track of things. Also, you can turn off location services so that your phone's not tracking where you're going.

And advertisers track you. So you can go in your settings to turn off allow apps to request to track or delete advertising I.D. depending upon whether you have an apple or an Android phone, you can turn those off. And there are other steps that HHS has.

But they're very clear, Jake, that you can't erase your digital footprint. You can do things to limit it, but you're not going to erase it.

TAPPER: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much.

COHEN: Thanks.

TAPPER: Joining us now to discuss, the Attorney General of Wisconsin, Josh Kaul.

Attorney General Kaul, thanks for joining us. So, you filed a lawsuit to stop an 1849 law in your state, which is a near complete abortion ban, 1849. Why are you saying the court should declare that law unenforceable? JOSH KAUL, WISCONSIN ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, first, the decision that the Supreme Court issued last Friday has made women in Wisconsin, less free, less equal and less safe than they have been just last week. And we're doing what we can to mitigate the harm from that decision and also to fight to restore reproductive freedom in Wisconsin. And one way we're doing that is through this lawsuit.

The Governor and I announced that just a few days ago. And we're arguing two things. One that -- laws that were passed after Roe v Wade was issued by implication repealed the 19 century abortion ban because they have provisions that are inconsistent with the old ban. For example, there's an exception to protect the health of the mother under more recent laws that were passed and we were arguing it can't be both legal and illegal to perform an abortion to protect the health of the mother.


And then we're also arguing that the old ban has gone into disuse both because it wasn't used that often prior to Roe and of course hasn't been used in the last 50 years.

TAPPER: So you have said you're not going to enforce the law as the Attorney General of Wisconsin. But take a listen to what the district attorney of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin had to say.


JOEL URMANSKI, SHEBOYGAN COUNTY, WISCONSIN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Law enforcement forwards an investigation to us and is a violation of law, we will prosecute it. Our job as prosecutors, in my opinion, is we're upholding law.


TAPPER: So that district attorney, Sheboygan County, says his job is to prosecute violations of the law, whatever the law is. How do you respond?

KAUL: Well, we clearly have a different view about our roles. You know, prosecutors have a lot of discretion, we make decisions day in and day out about how most effectively to use limited resources. And it's my view that enforcing this abortion ban is going to harm Wisconsin. That is reason alone not to enforce it.

But on top of that, we face serious crimes that we need to investigate and prosecute homicide, sexual assault and drug trafficking. And to shift resources from those kinds of cases to enforcing a 19th century abortion ban, I think is a serious misuse of resources.

TAPPER: Well, what can you do, let's say that he prosecutes a woman for violating the 1849 law in Sheboygan County, is there anything you can do about it?

KAUL: Ultimately, it's up to each D.A. and each police chief and sheriff to decide how they want to use their resources. We have gone to court to challenge this ban, of course. And so, if the court finds that the ban is not, in fact, in effect, then, that would stop anybody from bringing a prosecution under it. But if the court upholds the ban and finds that it is in effect, then NDAs can enforce that one and then we're going to need a legislative solution. And that's one of the things we're also pursuing here is calling on our legislators in Wisconsin to come into session to take action to protect the health and safety of women in Wisconsin.

TAPPER: The Department of Health and Human Services released these new guidelines about how private health information can be shared with law enforcement without the consent of patients, as you just heard Elizabeth Cohen describing. Is this something you think women in Wisconsin have to worry about?

KAUL: I think it is, unfortunately, because we have this ban on the books and it criminalizes the vast majority of abortions. And once it's become a crime, then it becomes a question of whether those conversations are protected health information. And we've seen D.A.'s is and A.G.'s in some states abused their authority in Kansas under Phill Kline, for example, a few decades ago, we saw really aggressive use of subpoena power.

And I fear that if we don't change our laws soon, we're going to see that kind of dragnet approach where there's a serious invasion of people's health privacy and medical privacy unless we draw the line now and we stand up and restore access to safe and legal abortion in states like Wisconsin and around the country.

TAPPER: Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, thanks so much for your time today. We appreciate it.

The Supreme Court just made it a lot harder for the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the environment. The White House climate advisor will join us live, next



TAPPER: In our Earth matters series, the U.S. Supreme Court today severely limited the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to fight global warming. The 63 decision reflecting the court split between conservatives and liberals affects the agency's ability to police carbon emissions from existing power plants. Let's bring in White House National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy. She's a former EPA administrator.

Thanks so much for joining us.

First of all, what was the EPA trying to do and why did the court block it?

GINA MCCARTHY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: Well, thanks, Jake. It wasn't at EPA is initiative that this went to the Supreme Court and we're disappointed in the decision as you may guess. But look, for decades, we've had special interests funded by the fossil fuel companies that are trying to turn our country back instead of move forward with the clean energy transition. So it is disappointing.

And that decision did limit the ability of EPA to use one section of the Clean Air Act in a way they had used to tackle the climate crisis. But it did not prevent them from acting in a regulatory way. And this President is fully committed to moving forward to tackle the climate crisis. And he's using bold steps throughout the whole of government in order to get that done.

And so, we will see the transition to clean energy, regardless of the Supreme Court. But we're disappointed that they chose to choose those interests over the interests of the public in the United States of America, and frankly, across the world who worry about the challenge of climate change and should.

TAPPER: So just to play devil's advocate for a second, wouldn't Chief Justice Roberts just say, if you want the statutory authority to do this, go to Congress and get it. You're going by a law that was long before climate change was a major problem. Just go get the statutory authority from Congress. That's all you have to do.

MCCARTHY: Well, the decision itself that Justice Roberts wrote doesn't take away their statutory authority for EPA to move forward to regulate greenhouse gases. It was a very limited decision, but it did send a signal. It sent a signal that the Supreme Court is interested continually in going backwards instead of forwards.

Look, Jake, the private sector is all in on this transition to clean energy because it makes them money. And we're interested in it because it creates jobs. It lowers costs for families who are trying to struggle with the energy costs today.


And we know we can get this done and we're succeeding, which is why this decision actually happened.

TAPPER: So this is a major defeat for the Biden administration's attempts to slash emissions at this moment when scientists are sounding the alarms about the accelerating pace of global warming, and we're seeing real-time effects in climate crises all over the world. How bad is this problem? And will this decision decidedly make it worse?

MCCARTHY: No, I don't think it will. It took away one small authority we had and it sends some signals about what the Supreme Court might do in the future. But right now we have full authority to get in move forward and achieve the President's goals.

Look, the private sector isn't sitting around twiddling its thumbs, worried about one provision in the Clean Air Act, it's worried about moving forward to capture the clean energy market of today. In offshore wind, we see over $2 billion being invested since this president came on board. And in the transportation sector, when it comes to EVs, they're winning, we see over $160 billion of private sector investments. In solar, we see over $6 billion put on the table when the President acted boldly to make sure that we could move forward with domestic production.

So we're not giving up, we're actually going to double down. And we know that we have the legal authority. And frankly, we have the mandate of the people in the United States and across the world who want to address this challenge of climate change, and do it in a way that makes positive improvements in our lives.

This is about protecting public health. This is about advancing our interests of our families and our workers. We're going to keep moving forward, even though the Supreme Court would like to look backwards and hold us back.

TAPPER: All right, White House National Climate Adviser, Gina McCarthy, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.

MCCARTHY: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Progressives were already mad at him and now President Biden may have just angered more members of his own party. That's next.



TAPPER: Turning back to our politics lead today, President Biden called for a change in Senate filibuster rules to allow legislation protecting abortion rights to pass with 51 votes instead of requiring 60. During a news conference at the NATO summit, Biden was asked about criticism from progressives who say he isn't doing or saying enough to protect abortion rights in the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your views on abortion have evolved in your public life. Are you the best messenger to carry this forward when Democrats, many of them, many progressives, want you to do more?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I am. I'm the President of the United States of America. That makes me the best messenger. I'm the only president they got.


TAPPER: I'm the only president they got. Let's bring in former Obama Adviser David Axelrod. What do you make of that answer, I'm the only president these progressives have?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, I have some sympathy for him because there are so many issues like this where there is a limit to what he can do at the moment. You know, people say, well, let's do away with the filibuster and he, of course, endorsed that today. But he didn't have, Jake, you know, this, he doesn't have 50 votes to do away with the filibuster, and he doesn't really have a magic wand that can create that, or make 48 votes, the requirement to do -- to change the rule. And so, you know, but there is this -- there's a strong passion about this issue out there. And people want him to do something too. And so, you know, there's a frustration, I'm sure on his part. It was not the best answer. I will give you that. But also, you know, I feel his pain because I know what it's like to be sitting in these situations and being pummeled by elements of your own community.

TAPPER: Today, in addition to criticizing the court's decision to get rid of Roe v. Wade, President Biden called for a change in the Senate rules, as you know, the filibuster rules. That doesn't seem like it's going to happen. And it also seems to me just as an observer, somebody has been around or not enough time to see the House and Senate flip control from Democrats, Republican --


TAPPER: -- short-sighted, I mean, you could change the rules and pass a codification of Roe v. Wade, although there aren't enough Democratic senators to do that. But then what happens when Republicans take the center -- the Senate and ban abortion using the same filibuster free rules?

AXELROD: Right. And I think that that has generally been his concern. You're absolutely right. There aren't the votes now to change the filibuster. And very likely you're going to have a Republican House come unless something unforeseen happens. That seems to be the direction we're headed. Could have a Republican Senate as well.

So, you know, there -- but this I will say this, this is a motivate -- this will be a motivator, I suspect, for voters out there to vote for Democrats who are pro-choice votes in the House and the Senate last in the fall. And maybe that's what he was aiming.

For more than anything, Jake, I think he wanted to show that he was moving forward, that he was taking affirmative steps, that he was ready to fight and that's what you hear quite a bit, will he fight for these these initiatives. But he's also setting up a test and, you know, at some point, if the rule hasn't changed, if they haven't passed this legislation, it's going to be one more thing where people say he just couldn't get it done.


TAPPER: He's not going to be able to get it done. Manchin and Sinema aren't going to do it. And those are just the two taking it on the chin for it. There are lots of Democratic senators very concerned, less publicly so about changing the filibuster rules --


TAPPER: -- for the reason I explained.

AXELROD: Yes, yes. So, and Manchin and Sinema provided cover for them. So, yes, I mean, this is the lot that Biden finds himself and there is this sense that things are kind of out of control and he's not in command. And this lens, you know, lens to that, you know, inflation is -- no one president could control inflation. But it is a, you know, it's a gale force wind right now. It's affecting politics.

Very hard to come -- you know, you heard him on gas prices today, talks about the gas tax holiday, but he's not going to get the gas tax holiday. And there a lot of Americans who are skeptical about whether that would help. So, you know, this is a very, very freighted a fraught environment for him right now.

TAPPER: In fact, just because I was just reading Barack Obama's latest memoir, President Obama credits opposing the gas tax holiday in --

AXELROD: Yes, absolutely.

TAPPER: -- 2007-2008 with -- he says -- and because McCain and Hillary Clinton were in favor of it in 2008 --


TAPPER: -- and his opposition, he thinks is the reason that he beat her in North Carolina and tied with her in Indiana and became the Democratic nominee.

AXELROD: Yes, and you know, he did on his own. There wasn't a big consultation, you got asked about it. And he said, hey, we tried that in the legislature in 2000. And none of the money got to consumers. It was kind of a gimmick, a fig leaf for politicians.

And what we really need to do is change our energy mix. And he got a lot of credit from voters for telling the truth about that. And a lot of people in Washington thought he was crazy to do it. But I think it did contribute to his victory in 2008. Now gas prices then were at the quaint low price of $4, Jake, not $5. So, but I suspect there's a fair amount of skepticism about it today, as well.

TAPPER: Earlier, we refer to a new poll showing that 85 percent of the American people think the United States is heading in the wrong direction. That, frankly, points to disaster for Democrats in November.

AXELROD: Yes. Look, there are a lot of -- you know, if you were looking at the chart, you'd say the vitals are not good. The President's approval ratings at 38 percent. His economic ratings are low. Consumer confidence is down. The number that you mentioned.

The one thing that I don't know, is how this ruling by the Supreme Court last week is going to affect things. I've heard from people all over the country who've been doing focus groups and polling this week. And it really does seem to have galvanized people, and not just about this issue, but concerns about Republicans and extremism. And, you know, if I were a Republican strategist, I'd be a little bit worried about that right now.

I don't think we fully understand what the political impact is going to be, but that is one countervailing fact. But on the basic numbers, you're absolutely right. And I think everybody recognizes that this current course and speed, this could be a very painful fall for Democrats. TAPPER: Yes, I remember 2010 just watching the red wave, you know, go all -- just wiping out all your Democratic House allies as it -- that election night. David Axelrod --

AXELROD: Right. I still have the bruises, my friend.

TAPPER: Good to see you. Thanks so much, David Axelrod.

AXELROD: Good to see you. Thanks.

TAPPER: A crime that pushed the fight for civil rights into the national spotlight. Now a discovery decades later could finally lead to some modicum of justice over the lynching of Emmett Till. Stay with us.



TAPPER: For the buried lead now, that's what we call stories that we think deserve more attention. Let's go to Oklahoma. Richard Glossip was convicted of murder in the death of his boss in 1997. Prosecutors say Glossip was the mastermind behind a murder for hire plot but he has maintained his innocence for more than 20 years and he's been on death row that time.

There are a lot of people in Oklahoma, Democrats and Republicans, who believe Glossip, and they're trying to get him off death row. CNN's Brynn Gingras went to Oklahoma for us to take a look at the effort to save his life.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip has eaten his last meal three times and each time --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor issued a stay.

GINGRAS (voice-over): -- he's been spared execution over various legal challenges. But a fourth execution date could be set for as soon as September.

KEVIN MCDUGLE, (R), OKLAHOMA STATE HOUSE: Somebody needs to fight for Richard.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Kevin McDugle, a Republican state representative and capital punishment supporter is going against party lines, trying to save Glossip's life.

MCDUGLE: I will fight to end the death penalty in Oklahoma if they put Richard to death.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Glossip, a former hotel manager, now 59 years old, has spent 25 years in prison twice convicted of concocting a murder for hire plan in the killing of his boss Barry Van Treese in 1997. Prosecutors say it was another hotel employee who physically killed Van Treese. That man received a life sentence in exchange for his testimony pointing the finger at Glossip.

RICHARD GLOSSIP, OKLAHOMA DEATH ROW INMATE: I want people to know that I didn't kill this man. I didn't participate in the plan.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Don Knight, his attorney, took on the case in 2015, after Glossip had exhausted all chances for an appeal, including one that made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.


DON KNIGHT, ATTORNEY FOR RICHARD GLOSSIP: I recognize pretty quickly that there were real problems with this case and it appeared to me quite possibly that Oklahoma was about to execute an innocent man.

GINGRAS (voice-over): The state of Oklahoma continues to stand by the conviction. Friday, Knight will file a petition with the state court of appeals, asking for a hearing based on new findings. It's a Hail Mary, one that comes after the release of an independent investigation, bringing to light evidence favoring Glossip's innocents.

KNIGHT: They can say ignore this thing and let's set an execution date for this man or they can say, you know, boy, there's something here.

GINGRAS (voice-over): The more than 300 page report done by international law firm Reed Smith points to an inadequate police investigation and states, "Our conclusion is that no reasonable juror hearing the complete record would have convicted Richard Glossip of first degree murder." The report found prosecutors intentionally destroyed evidence and uncovered evidence that never went before a jury calling it, "A complete breakdown in our criminal justice system."

The original lead prosecutor did not respond to CNN's request for comment. Investigators say the Attorney General's Office did not respond to requests for access to records and evidence.

MCDUGLE: They talked to people who have never been talked to before. They found paperwork that had never been found before.

GINGRAS (voice-over): The report was commissioned by a bipartisan group of 34 state lawmakers, including 28 Republicans, led by McDugle.

MCDUGLE: If we put an asset manager, that means we can do it again in the future. And so why have the death penalty.

GINGRAS (voice-over): Oklahoma is second in the country behind Texas for carrying out the most executions. Since his involvement with the Glossip case, McDugle has filed three bills in the state House to reform capital punishment. None have moved forward. But there's hope Glossip's case and the report will create change.

MCDUGLE: When you're Republican standing up for somebody that needs to be exonerated, it's difficult because some may call you soft on crime. You may lose your next election based off of it. But to me I always go back to this, this is a man's life.


GINGRAS: And the A.G.'s office isn't commenting about this report to us and we didn't get a call back from the current district attorney's office. But listen, I talked to Knight earlier today right after he actually was visiting Glossip in prison. He said Glossip got that report this past Tuesday. He read it over and he said quite frankly, his reaction, he's angry, Jake, and he's scared.

There's a lot in those 350 pages that he never even knew about. And he's worried really, no one's going to pay attention. Now, of course, we've seen so much support here. But the next steps, Knight is going to file this paperwork tomorrow. And the immediate goal is to really just stop the state from setting a new execution date and then ultimately, of course, exonerate Glossip.

We'll stay on top of this, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Brynn Gingras, great reporting. Thank you so much.

It has been nearly 70 years since Emmett Till's murder spurred much of the Civil Rights Movement. Why his family says now they're finally hopeful that some justice may be served? Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the family of Emmett Till is calling for the white woman who accused the black teen of making aggressive advances to be arrested. This after an unserved 1955 arrest warrant charging Carolyn Bryant Donham and two others of kidnapping Emmett Till was found, nearly 70 years later in a Mississippi courthouse basement.

Emmett Till was just 14 when he was kidnapped, tortured and brutally slaughtered by two white men following Donham's accusations, which in 2008, we should note, she allegedly recanted in an interview for a book that was published nine years later. Donham later told the FBI that she never recanted her testimony. She's in her 80s. She is alive and well.

Let's bring in CNN's Ryan Young now. Ryan, how was this arrest warrant discovered? And what's the reaction from Emmett Till's family?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you can imagine, Jake, this has been fascinating in terms of the details of the story. But for this family, they've never given up hope, they've never stopped fighting over 70 years. It was actually their own family foundation that was in that basement, and they said they found a dusty, dank box, so they opened up and there was the warrant, it was signed, it was ready to go. Three names appeared on it.

And of course, now they want that warrant served. And you talked about the fact that she recanted that admission several years later. But think about the two men who were involved in this case, who were tried and also found not guilty. They told the magazine years later that they actually did the crime. And if it wasn't for Jet magazine, putting out those photos, years ago of Emmitt Till's face, badly beaten, tortured before he was murdered, a 14 year old.

The whole country sort of changed when you think about the Civil Rights Movement, and how people started stepping into the streets because they thought this was a line that should have been never crossed. And then put the fact that now 70 years later, this family is still fighting for justice. They want to see something happen. They want to see the warrant serve.

But as we've been talking to law experts throughout the day, they feel there should be some hurdles that could come along with that because obviously the woman now lives in North Carolina, not in Mississippi. So this conversation is not over, Jake. But if you think about it, this family has not given up. So much time has passed, but those images see it into the brains of a lot of Americans. Jake?

TAPPER: Can Donham be arrested?

YOUNG: Yes, and that is the big question. I actually talked to a lawyer just before coming on the set. He says, look, the warrant still may be good in Mississippi, but because she lives in North Carolina, and she was never served it or never ran from it, there might be some talk about whether or not she could be moved from one state to the next.

So this all have to get played out in the legalize, but so far, most lawyers believe that there'll be some more hurdles when it comes to whether or not they can move her or not, especially at this point.

TAPPER: All right, Ryan Young, thanks so much.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. We actually read them. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you know what you do. You can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts.

Our coverage now continues with one Mr Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM."