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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden's Approval Rating Reaches New Low In CNN Poll; Biden Returns To Economic, Political Crises At Home; Police Body Cam Video Captures Chaos, Delays To Confront Killer; Jury Selection Begins In Bannon's Contempt Of Congress Trial; Zelenskyy Suspends 2 Officials, Accuses Staff Of Working With Russia; Cape Cold, Long Island Beaches Close Amid Shark Sightings. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 18, 2022 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: President Biden's midsummer report card is in, and his failing grade is a new low.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Breaking this hour, a brand-new CNN poll, Americans giving President Biden his lowest marks yet on some of the most pressing problems of our time.

Plus, subpoena powers tested in federal court. A trial begins for Steve Bannon, as the longtime Trump ally fights criminal contempt charges.

And summer sand and shark in infested waters. CNN is live at the beach as enhanced technology is on the hunt where sharks have been on the attack.

Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today with breaking news in our politics lead. President Biden's approval rating hitting a new low in CNN polling.

Take a look. Only 38 percent of people approve of the way Joe Biden is handling his job as president, 62 percent disapprove. This dismal number comes as President Biden returns from his Middle East trip. The White House touting the trip a success, saying the president renewed support for the region and set expectations that gas prices could steady in the coming weeks.

But those successes in some quarters being overshadowed by this moment -- about Biden fist bumping Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. says is to blame for the slaughter of "Washington Post" journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Biden trying to brush it off from reporters upon his return to the White House.


REPORTER: Do you regret the fist bump, Mr. President?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Why don't you guys talk about something that matters? Ask a question that matters?


TAPPER: Why don't you guys talk about something that matters, the president said in response to a question about the fist bump.

There are foreign policy experts who say that Biden's trip to Saudi Arabia to say nothing of the fist bump does matter in terms of emboldening allies, the Saudi crown prince and the UAE, who have little respect for human rights.

Moreover, during those three days that Biden was overseas, other crises at home in the United States were getting worse. Inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1 percent. And the Biden domestic agenda took yet another body blow from Democratic Senator Joe Manchin who says he will not support the Democrats' climate and tax provisions.

We're going to start our coverage with CNN's Jeff Zeleny who is tracking how Biden is trying to get ahead of this economic and political storm.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden was out of sight today at the White House, huddling with advisers over the mountain challenges he faces during a summer of American discontent. With low approval ratings for his administration, and high inflation for the country, the president is trying to salvage his domestic agenda or what's left of it. Less than four months before the midterm elections.

JARED BERNSTEIN, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: Inflation is unacceptably high and bringing it down is his absolute number one domestic priority.

ZELENY: The economy is the underlying cause for the stiff political headwinds that complicate Democratic efforts to control of Congress. The White House is exploring new executive actions to address climate change after West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin effectively torpedoed any broader legislation in a move that outraged fellow Democrats.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): He has sabotaged the president's agenda.

ZELENY: The president's top economic adviser would not say whether the White House was blindsided by Manchin, who was at the center of on-again/off-again negotiations for months, before pulling the plug amid high inflation in fears of a recession.

BRIAN DEESE, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Well, I'm not going to get into the tos and fros and the back and forth. The president made clear on Friday if Congress and the Senate is not going to act on that front, that he is going to take the powers that he has with executive authority. ZELENY: The domestic challenges awaited Biden after his weekend

return from the Middle East, where he worked to forge closer relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia. In hopes the kingdom would pump more oil to relieve the high cost of gas.

The trip was overshadowed by the president's fist bump with Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, a friendly gesture that stood in stark contrast to Biden's pledge to treat him like a pariah in the wake of the grisly killing of "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Blinded by camera lights as he returned to the White House, Biden still seemed not to grasp the furor stirred by the meeting.

BIDEN: Why don't you guys talk about something that matters?

ZELENY: The president's rising frustration is clear. Validated by First Lady Jill Biden, who addressed it during a weekend Democratic fund-raiser on Nantucket, saying: He had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do. But every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment.


ZELENY (on camera): Now, just a few minutes ago at a White House briefing here, one of the president's top economic advisers said that they do not believe a recession is in the offing. That has been one of the biggest concerns and weights hanging over this White House. Of course, that remains to be seen, but one thing this adviser did say, that gas prices have gone down for 34 days in a row. Now down 50 cents from where they were in early June. Jake, they're pointing to that as signs of progress, of course, in a sea of challenges.

TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Let's dig deeper into the new poll numbers because it's not just a low approval rating. Numbers show many Americans share a somber outlook on the state of our nation.

Let's bring in CNN political director David Chalian to help us break it down.

David, what's the mood of the United States right now?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, somber is a good word, Jake. Sour, totally disappointed, disgruntled, any of those words gets at how bad Americans perceive the state of things right now. How well are things going in the country today?

Only 21 percent say things are going well. I want to put that in some historical context for you. Twenty-one percent is the low point. This goes back in fact off this chart, Jake, you have to go back to 2009 to find a time when the American electorate was this dissatisfied with the way things were going in the country.

And when we ask specifically about economic conditions and we say can you rate the economic conditions today, look at this number. 82 percent of respondents in this poll say economic conditions in America are poor. Only 18 percent say that economic conditions are good right now, Jake.

TAPPER: David, how do Americans think president Biden is handling the country and specifically these economic concerns?

CHALIAN: Well, you showed his overall job approval rating earlier. Here it is again, 38 percent approve. 62 percent disapprove. This is a numeric low mark for the president in CNN polling. But he's been in this low range, which is a big warning sign, of course, for his party.

But I would also note, Republicans and independents have stayed pretty consistent. One of the reasons his numbers have gone down a bit, Jake, is because he's losing support among fellow Democrats.

Then we ask, folks, about -- how is he doing on a series of issues? Forty-six percent approval on the situation in Ukraine, 39 percent approval on immigration, but take a look at these numbers here. On the economy, he's at 30 percent approval. Below his overall approval, and on inflation, only 25 percent of respondents approve of how the president is tackling what is the most pressing issue by far, people say, in terms of how the economy is impacting their family.

TAPPER: How is Biden doing compared to his predecessors?

CHALIAN: One way we look at that, Jake, we ask folks, do you believe Joe Biden has the right priorities? Okay, so right now, only 31 percent say yes. President Biden has the right priorities, 68 percent say no. This is up ten points since we scored this last year in the Biden presidency.

So now let's take a look at how that 31 percent who say yes, he has the right priorities, stacks up against his modern era predecessors.

Look at that. Not very well, 31 percent for Biden is clearly the low water mark of all Trump, Obama, Bush, and Clinton on this score.

TAPPER: Shocking. David Chalian, thanks so much.

Let's bring in CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon and the national correspondent for "The Washington Post," Philip Bump.

Rahel, those numbers show Americans are very concerned -- very concerned about the economy and inflation. Are those concerns justified?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think Americans are losing faith and losing confidence on when this gets better, on when inflation gets better. We talk a lot about food inflation and gas inflation, because that's a very important part of the story.

But inflation is spreading. We know that from the last CPI report. Shelter inflation, rent inflation increase, 0.8 percent in the month of June, and 5.8 percent on the year. That's the fastest increase since 1986. So, it is perhaps understandably hard to feel great about the state of

the economy when price pressures are so elevated. That said, the job market is very strong, 3.6 percent unemployment rate. There's also strong demand for workers.

And we have heard from a lot of the big banks on Wall Street today and last week, as part of earnings season, and they say consumers are still spending and consumers still look good from their perspective. So even though consumers are still spending, it appears they feel lousy about the economy.

TAPPER: Philip, I can't help but look at the calendar and notice we have midterm elections in November, and, obviously, this is going to have an impact.

PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Right. I'm skeptical you had to look at the calendar to know that.

But, no, you're right. I mean, this is think for the Democratic Party, they see these numbers and they start to freak out a little bit, right?


And totally justifiably, when we look at historically at the pattern between the presidential approval and how the president's party does in the midterm elections, particularly in the first midterm of the presidency, there's a strong connection there.

And so, if Joe Biden is doing this badly, history suggests that the Democratic Party is going to do badly in November as well. The one thing I'd say, though, is that we're not seeing the Democrats suffering in what's called the generic congressional ballot which is when pollsters just ask: who would you vote for, Democrat or Republican?

We're not seeing that. There's some indications in this polling, there's not a lot of good news here in for Democrats, but there's some indication in this polling that Biden is viewed separately from his party and Democrats broadly are doing better than is Biden who is absorbing a lot of the negativity that Americans are feeling.

TAPPER: One thing I also hear from politicians in battleground states is, whatever Biden is doing nationally, 38 percent, take off ten points for how he's doing in Michigan or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin because the national number is inflated by New Yorkers and Californians. So it's even worse in some of the battleground states.

So, Rahel, 75 percent of Americans say cost of living is the biggest economic problem facing their family right now. Is there something that Biden could do to combat that?

SOLOMON: Well, I think fighting inflation is largely the job of the fed. And we have heard the White House say they will not meddle. They will allow the fed to tackle inflation without interference. That said, there has been a lot of head scratching about why we have not heard more from the White House in terms of removing some of the tariffs on China.

We heard from Janet Yellen, the treasury secretary in early June, there was going to be some reconfiguring of those tariffs in the coming weeks, and we hadn't heard much since then, and there are some estimations that -- and some estimates that removing some of those tariffs could shave about 1 percent off consumer inflation.

And so, there are a lot of people questioning and scratching their heads because it seems like something that Biden could certainly do. It's within his tool kit, but we're not hearing that yet. That has a lot of people wondering why not.

TAPPER: I pushed the White House economic director on this, or the chair of the -- a top economic aide of the White House on this issue.

My question was very simple. Is the only reason you're not getting rid of these tariffs which would bring prices down, I have heard an estimate of $500 to $1,000 per family for the year, is the only reason you're not getting rid of them is because labor unions like them, and she didn't answer the question.

BUMP: One of the questions here is y think a core problem that Biden has, particularly among Democrats is this perception of a lack of willingness to take action. Not only on inflation, not only on the economy, and not only in challenging parts of the constituency, but generally there's a sense of Americans generally and Democrats that Biden simply isn't biting into these things. He's not showing teeth in doing what he can do.

We have seen some executive actions recently, particularly on guns. We have seen him do some things now, but there's a sense from Democrats in particular that Biden simply is letting the moment pass by and not actually engaging in an active agenda.

TAPPER: One of the things the Biden people will say is, hey, oil prices, gas prices are going down. The average price today for a gallon of gas is $4.52. That's down -- still a lot of money but down from $4.68 last month, almost $5, shouldn't that give Biden a bit of a bump?

SOLOMON: Well, if it should, it's not, right? I mean, we see it in the polling. Last week we saw it in the University of Michigan consumer sentiment. People still feel very lousy about the state of things.

And that is perhaps because even if you're getting some relief at the pump, you're not getting it at the grocery store. You're not getting it if you sign up for a lease. And so, I think until Americans for sure start to see a glimmer of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of a turn in inflation, they're going to continue to feel negative because they have lost confidence and faith on when this gets better and hopefully the gas prices are reflected in CPI report next months, I think August 10th is the next report, but we would need to see a trend of reports before I think people feel better.

TAPPER: All right. Rahel, Phillip, good to see both of you. Thank you so much.

Next, to Indiana. Just hours ago, police there revealed new information about a so-called good guy with a gun who took down a bad guy with a gun, and seemed to have stopped a mass shooting in a mall food court.

Plus, the Georgia investigation of Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election. What a subpoena for a Republican congressman might reveal about that investigation.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our national lead, shocking new revelations about the Uvalde, Texas, school massacre. Hours of new police body cam footage have been released showing the frantic and confused frankly police response to the shooting where 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered. This comes as a damning new report outlines the multiple egregious failures from law enforcement.

The 77-page report by the Texas state house criticizes what it calls a lackadaisical approach by the nearly 400 officers at the scene who took more than 75 minutes to neutralize the gunman.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is in Uvalde. And, Shimon, this body cam footage and report shed new light on the botched police response that day.

Tell us more.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, certainly, the report goes into the fact that there was no command. No one seemed to have control of the situation. When you look at the body camera footage that was released, it really illustrates the confusion, the sort of lack of authority on scene, someone to take control.

Take a look at some of that as it was unfolding, Jake.


POLICE OFFICER: The chief is making contact with him, right?

POLICE OFFICER: No, no one has made contact with him.


POLICE OFFICER: What are we doing here?

POLICE OFFICER: Do we have anyone that's hit on this side? Any of the kids or anyone hit?

POLICE OFFICER: No, we don't know anything about that. No kids --


PROKUPECZ: And, Jake, there's a part that the body camera also footage also captured, Chief Arredondo, this was the school police chief, actually trying to negotiate with the gunman. Take a listen.


PETE ARREDONDO, UVALDE SCHOOL DISTRICT POLICE CHIEF: Sir, if you can hear me, please put your firearm down, sir. We don't want anyone else hurt. I know, I know.

POLICE OFFICER: We got kids in there.

ARREDONDO: I know, I know.

POLICE OFFICER: That's what we're doing. we're trying to get them out. They're going to break a window right now.

ARREDONDO: Sir, if you can hear me, please put your gun down.


We don't want anybody else hurt.


PROKUPECZ: And, Jake, the chief there was highly criticized for that, trying to negotiate with his gunman, treating it as if it was some kind of a hostage situation or a barricaded situation. All of that going against protocol and training in active shooter situations.

TAPPER: Yeah, everything that changed after Columbine in 1999.

Shimon, this footage was released to you by the Uvalde mayor. And that move has put him in a bit of hot water. Why?

PROKUPECZ: Because the district attorney, Jake, did not want this video released. She in fact told him early on, do not release any other information. Do not release any of the body camera footage.

But he did it anyway. He said it was in the interest of transparency. He was aggravated that video was leaked earlier in the week of the school hallway and that didn't paint a full picture.

So as a result of all of that, and in the interest of full transparency, he went ahead, despite what the district attorney wanted, what other investigators wanted, he went ahead and released this video.

TAPPER: Shimon Prokupecz, in Uvalde, Texas, thanks so much. And we're going to have much more from Uvalde next hour when we get reaction from a Uvalde city council member.

The surge of gun violence impacting another American city, but this time police say a Good Samaritan stopped a mass shooting almost as soon as it began. A gunman opened fire in a mall food court yesterday evening near Indianapolis, killing three people and injuring two others.

Police say a lawfully armed 22-year-old man then shot and killed the murderer. And as CNN's Omar Jimenez reports from Greenwood, Indiana, that man is now being hailed as a hero.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's become an almost familiar scene of evacuation in America.

HEATHER ARTHUR, WITNESS: So, we were in the food court, and we heard loud gunshots.

JIMENEZ: As an Indiana shopping mall became among the latest settings for a mass shooting. Monday, the police chief announced the identity of the suspected gunman, 20-year-old Jonathan Sapirman who police say entered the mall Sunday at 4:54 p.m.

CHIEF JAMES ISON, GREENWOOD, INDIANA POLICE: He walks directly to the food court restroom. One hour and two minutes later, he exists a the restroom and shoots Victor Gomez outside of the restroom. He then points his rifle into the food court where Pedro and Rosa Pineda were eating dinner and shot both Rosa and Pedro.

JIMENEZ: According to police, Sapirman shot and killed three people Sunday evening, using a rifle. Victor Gomez, Rosa Rivera, and Pedro Pineda. He injured two others including a 12-year-old girl at the mall just outside Indianapolis.

And then police say less than two minutes after the shooting began, the attacker was killed by a, quote, Good Samaritan with a lawfully carried gun.

ISON: The shooter fired several rounds, striking the suspect. The suspect attempting to retreat back into the restroom and failed.

MAYOR MARK W. MYERS, GREENWOOD, INDIANA: We're very thankful for a young 22-year-old man who stopped this violent act.

JIMENEZ: And that's relatively rare. According to an analysis published by "The New York Times," there were at least 433 active shooter attacks from 2000 to 2021. Of those, just 22 ended with an armed bystander shooting the attacker. And of those 22, ten were from a security guard or off-duty officer.

Countrywide this year, there have already been more than 350 mass shootings where four or more people were shot, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This one, like many do, striking at the core of normalcy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like one of those things where this is supposed to be fun. You're supposed to be going shopping.


JIMENEZ (on camera): And everyone that day thought they would be going shopping, everyone except for maybe one person. Police say the shooting suspect arrived at the mall with three weapons total, two rifles and a pistol. More than 100 rounds of ammunition, only used one of the rifles during the shooting, and as for the Good Samaritan, the police chief said it didn't appear this person had any police or military training but they engaged this gunman almost immediately from quite a distance, to use his words, with his pistol, and in doing so, likely saved many lives, Jake.

TAPPER: Omar Jimenez outside the Greenwood Park Mall, thank you so much.

Coming up next, new audio surfacing of Steve Bannon and his predictions about how Donald Trump was going to handle the election. The revelations coming just as Bannon's criminal trial begins in federal court.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead now, jury selection under way in the trial of former Trump campaign CEO and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Jurors are being asked about their exposure to the January 6th hearings so far. The 67-year-old Bannon disseminator of lies about the 2020 election, faces charges for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas related to January 6th capitol riot.

As CNN's Sara Murray reports for us now, Bannon's case is a major test of congressional leverage when a witness evades a house subpoena.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A trial Steve Bannon hoped to avoid.

STEVE BANNON, TRUMP ALLY: This is going to be the misdemeanor from hell.

MURRAY: The judge meticulously asking potential jurors today if they have watched the January 6th committee hearings during a slow-moving process to find 22 impartial jurors.

Bannon was charged with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after defying a subpoena for documents and testimony from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. The Trump ally pleaded not guilty.

BANNON: I'm never going to back down.

MURRAY: And hammered the committee.

BANNON: Their ratings stink and they can't compete with the trial of Bannon. MURRAY: House investigators wanted to know about Bannon's

communications with Trump in the run-up to January 6th. His inflammatory comments the day before the insurrection --

BANNON: All hell is going to break loose. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. Okay? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is strap in.

MURRAY: As well as his communications with extremist groups like the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters. Since that subpoena, new revelations about Bannon's political activity as new audio from "Mother Jones" shows Bannon correctly predicting Trump would declare victory in 2020 regardless of the outcome.

BANNON: What Trump is going to do is declare victory. Right. He's going to declare victory. That doesn't mean he's the winner. He's just going to say he's the winner.

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Steve Bannon is an agent of chaos. Steve Bannon in his own words believes you have to basically burn the system down to rebuild it and fix it. What he's saying right there is very clearly him saying, no matter what we're declaring victory, and that is a violation of everything we have to hold dear in a Constitution.

MURRAY: Staring down jail time if convicted, Bannon made an 11th hour offer to the committee to testify publicly.

BANNON: My offer is out there. Here's what I need: give me a date, a time, a room number, a microphone, and a Holy Bible I can take the oath on. Boom.

MURRAY: But the move didn't stop his trial, which is shaping up to be a key test of the committee's subpoena power as it negotiates to bring in additional witnesses.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, jury selection is getting moving pretty slowly. It's picked up speed this afternoon. They had about 17 qualified jurors. They're looking for 22.

They're asking people if they're watching the house select committee hearings. It's not a disqualifier if people have caught some of the hearings. But there was one person who had seen all of the hearings, already had a lot of views about Steve Bannon being guilty obviously. Obviously, that guy was booted from the jury pool, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

And now to our buried lead, these are stories we feel deserve more attention than they're getting. The way we treat prisoners in the United States can be deeply immoral and now an investigation into the U.S. penitentiary in the Atlanta, Georgia, area is heating up after reports of corruption, abuse, and misconduct among officers at this prison.

Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff joins me now for an exclusive interview.

Senator, thanks so much for joining us.

So, you're the chair of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, and you're examining what went on in that prison in Atlanta in your home state of Georgia. Where does that investigation stand right now?

SEN. JON OSSOFF (D-GA): Jake, good afternoon, and thank you for having me.

And in my capacity as chair of the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I'm leading a bipartisan investigation of abuse, corruption, and misconduct at U.S. penitentiary in Atlanta, a federal prison, a facility of the federal bureau of prisons.

We will hold a hearing next Tuesday, the 26th, in the morning here in the Senate on abuse misconduct and corruption at U.S. penitentiary in Atlanta. I have issued a subpoena for the director of the Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal, to testify at that hearing because his testimony is vital to our ongoing congressional oversight and to this Senate investigation.

To date, the administration has refused to allow Director Carvajal to testify. That's why we have taken this extraordinary step last Thursday. And I expect Director Carvajal to heed this lawful command from the U.S. Senate to appear and testify about what he knows next week.

TAPPER: I can't imagine the Biden administration is happy that a Democratic senator has issued a subpoena to a member of the administration. What kind of blowback have you gotten, and do you anticipate this is going to be a hearing about more than just the federal prison in Atlanta but the federal prison system on a national level?

OSSOFF: Well, as for the politics, that doesn't concern me. I ran for office with a pledge to investigate corruption and misconduct in the federal government. I ran for office on a pledge to work to clean up our broken federal prison system. And in order to do that, the United States Senate needs the facts. In order to get the facts, we need the director of the bureau of prisons to testify under oath before the U.S. Senate.

It doesn't matter to me if it's a Republican administration or a Democratic administration. We need Director Carvajal's testimony next week and I expect the Department of Justice to cease their obstruction of our Senate investigation.

TAPPER: For anybody who's read anything about this in "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" or other papers, it just sounds like complete chaos at that prison with prisoners being taken to other prisons surreptitiously, with prisoners coming and going from the prison, meth, marijuana, other drugs, guards selling product to prisoners.

[16:35:15] What can you tell us about what you know for a fact?

OSSOFF: Jake, at this point, a week before next week's hearing on the morning of the 26th, I can't get into the details. This is an ongoing investigation. We will release our findings and question witnesses at the hearing next Tuesday. And it's vital that we have Director Carvajal's testimony. Obviously, there's been substantial public reporting about issues surrounding this facility. The scope of our investigation is corruption, misconduct, and abuse at this facility.

And that's all I can share with the public at this point. But what I want to make crystal clear is this, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Congress, has an obligation to oversee the executive branch of the United States government. And when we issue a subpoena directing a federal official at the head of an agency to come and testify about what they know, we expect them to show up.

So once again, I'm calling on the administration to stop preventing Director Carvajal from coming and delivering testimony under oath next week.

TAPPER: While I have you, I want to ask you, we're learning today that the District Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, Atlanta's home county, subpoenaed Georgia Republican Congressman Jody Hice to testify before the grand jury in that probe about Trump trying to steal the electoral votes from the state of Georgia.

What do you make of this development and the investigation in general?

OSSOFF: Well, President Trump's efforts to interfere with the lawful counting of election results in Georgia is a matter of public record. There's the infamous phone call with Secretary of State Raffensperger in which he tries to bully Georgia election officials into fabricating vote totals for him that don't exist. This is an ongoing criminal probe. Obviously, the grand jury proceedings are secret. I trust the prosecutors and courts to work it out in good order.

TAPPER: Your colleague, Senator Raphael Warnock, Georgia Democrat, is running for re-election against Republican Herschel Walker. In a "Washington Post" op-ed, Eugene Robinson writes, we have had liars and hypocrites in the Senate before, we have some now actually, and the public has survived, but to an alarming degree, even for a senator, Herschel Walker seems to think he knows everything about everything, while his words suggest he knows nothing about anything at all.

Herschel Walker, however, has a decent chance in the almost always red state of Georgia of winning.

OSSOFF: Let me tell you, Senator Reverend Warnock is not just my colleague. He's my brother, he's my friend, and most importantly, he's an extraordinary U.S. senator and an extraordinarily effective representative of the state of Georgia. I have the privilege of working alongside him every day to deliver vital infrastructure investments in our state, to work alongside him to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Georgians, working alongside him to advance the interests of our state working for every corner of our state, representing every community in our state, whether they were for us in the last election or against us.

I have every confidence that on the basis of that record, his extraordinary character, the reputation that he has won on both sides of the aisle for integrity and effectiveness, that Senator Reverend Warnock he will be resoundingly reelected this November and I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens.

TAPPER: Senator, can you come by next week after your hearing, talk to us about what you found out?

OSSOFF: Let's talk about it. You should probably cover it live.

TAPPER: All right. Senator Ossoff, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

Coming up next, suspicions of a deep state in Ukraine, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy taking action to clean house. Stay with us.


TAPPER: The world lead now, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is getting suspicious of his own ranks. Zelenskyy suspended his security chief as well as top prosecutor Irina Venediktova.

We interviewed her on THE LEAD in April talking about war crimes prosecutions. This is the biggest government shakeup since Putin's war on Ukraine began. Zelenskyy said hundreds of employees are being investigated for alleged treason or collaboration with Russia.

CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

Nic, one of the suspensions was a close ally of Zelenskyy. He says either official spoken out about the suspension yet?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yeah, the prosecutor general has. And this is really interesting here. What we're talking about here really appears to be the end of the sort of political domestic -- domestic political honeymoon that Zelenskyy has enjoyed since the war broke out. Everyone was united, focusing on that.

The prosecutor general has indicated that Zelenskyy hasn't followed the constitution because by constitution, he can't suspend either of them. He would have to ask parliament to suspend them. Now, retroactively today, he did ask parliament to suspend the security chief, the FBU chief, but he interestingly hasn't so far, at least parliament isn't aware that he's asked for the prosecutor general to be suspended. And she indicated in a Facebook post that if the parliament did ask her to step down, that she would. So she appears to be pushing back on what President Zelenskyy is asking for here.

And yes, his security chief, a political ally, a childhood friend, no real security experience, everyone expected that this was coming because he had such a poor performance so far indeed in the south. He's getting blamed. And some of his operatives are getting blame for Russia's early quick gains in the south of the country. And that's where these 60 people are that Zelenskyy says in both

departments are collaborating or have treasonous activity with the Russians down there.


TAPPER: Nic, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just announced that Zelenskyy's wife Olena Zelenska will be addressing Congress this week. What is the first lady of Ukraine hoping to accomplish with this speech?

ROBERTSON: Look, she's certainly there to press and emphasize what her husband, the president, has been saying. I think we got a good read on that from Zelenskyy's speech to the nation tonight where he was thanking the United States for the HIMARS missile systems. Plenty of Ukrainian officials are now saying these longer range, more targeted weapons systems are helping the Ukrainians now hold the line against the Russians and target some Russian ammunition depots that they have done today, for example, in the city of Kherson in the south. Ukrainians say they have hit three Russian weapons depots there.

So, it's very likely we can expect the Ukrainian first lady to thank the United States for everything that they're doing, the support, the humanitarian support, the economic support. The military support, and likely double down on what we heard from the Ukrainian foreign minister today speaking to European Union foreign ministers. More weapons please.

You know, this is keeping it in the public mind. President Zelenskyy has spoken to so many governments around the world, including spoken with Congress before. Now his wife is going there. It's really keeping the message in the political domain and foreign capitals saying thank you, we need more. But what you're giving us is starting to work.

TAPPER: All right, Nic Robertson in Kyiv for us, thank you so much.

Coming up, rare but still frightening. The stepped up efforts to spot sharks at some of the busiest beaches before another one strikes.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, beachgoers and sharks on the East Coast have been anything but chummy lately. Shark sightings off the coasts of Massachusetts and New York forced at least three beaches to shut down over the weekend. Four people have been injured in possible shark attacks at Long Island beaches just this month.

In Cape Cod, more than a dozen sharks were sighted this weekend.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro joins us now live from Long Beach, New York. And, Evan, the U.S. leads the world in unprovoked shark bites a year.

We should note, the odds of getting bit are still incredibly low. In fact, sharks are not among the top ten animals that kill people. Mosquitoes and hippos are much worse, but tell us anyway because this is a causing a huge bump in the tourism industry, how this year is stacking up.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you do raise an important point. It's very unlikely you get bitten by a shark or killed by a shark. That was true last summer. It's true this summer.

But here in this part of New York and in these long island beaches, there has been an increase in shark encounters which is making people nervous here who run these beaches, and rely on these beaches for their economic revenue. They're stepping up patrols. They're adding a whole bunch of new resources to the fight against this, to try to spot these sharks before they come out. The sharks are getting closer and closer, and that's making people nervous.

I asked the town supervisor here in Hempstead where this beach is what's going on.


DON CLAVIN, HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK SUPERVISOR: The waters are definitely warmer. As a result, you are now seeing what they call bait fish now coming to the area along our coast. That hasn't been normal for decades.


OSSOFFF: So, Jake, I want to explain what they mean when they say the sharks are getting close. Out behind me, that red buoy out there, that's about 75 yards out from the shoreline. That's what lifeguards tell you that's as far as you can go to swim safely at this beach.

Sharks have been spotted well within that line. Maybe 25 yards. Even closer at some points. And that's what has people nervous.

What they're saying the bait fish the sharks want to eat, they're coming in closer. And that means the sharks are coming in closer behind them. Humans aren't on the menu but they're standing between the menu the sharks want to eat, Jake.

TAPPER: Right, and the sharks might mistake a foot or hand for a fish.

Are these shark sightings scaring tourists away during this busy beach season?

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, I tell you, this isn't the best day to answer that question because it's been a bit rainy off and on. But I spoke to a mom earlier here who brought her sons and brought her family out here, and they're going to keep coming to the beach. I asked about the sharks and what she thinks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEANIE FULMER, NEW YORK MOM: We don't want to see sharks in the water. We don't mind seeing them at the aquarium but that pretty much it. My boys love sharks. But they don't want to see them.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Lifeguards say if you're careful, keep your eyes open and listen to them, the beaches are still safe here in New York and all over the East Coast -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Evan McMorris Santoro in Long Island, on Long Island, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

In Europe right now, some of the hottest temperatures in more than a century. How the dangerous and even deadly heat is causing a cascade of other problems.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, the hottest days ever in parts of Europe, as dangerous sweltering heat settles in. Hundreds of people have died over the past week in Spain alone. An airport runway in the UK buckling. Officials in Italy and France rationing water.

And to make matters worse, firefighters in Spain, France, and Portugal are up against wildfires spreading fast.

Also ahead, a West Virginia woman wakes up from a coma with a shocking story. She claims her brother hacked had her with an ax and left her for dead. What police say is next in the case.

And leading this hour, assigning blame in Uvalde, Texas. State leaders accuse locals of spreading misinformation while new body cam raw footage takes us in the hallway of Robb Elementary, revealing the minute by minute failures of officers to act, as a gunman took the lives of 19 fourth graders and their two teachers.

As CNN's Rosa Flores reports from Uvalde now, Texas lawmakers have released a shocking new report that outlines those failures and raises the horrifying question of whether more lives could have been saved.

And we have to warn you, some of the video you're about to see in this report you might find disturbing.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New body cam video --

POLICE OFFICER: Shots fired! Get inside!