Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Jan. 6 Committee To Zero In On 187 Minutes Inside W.H. Tonight; Watchdog: Criminal Probe Into Missing Secret Service Texts "Ongoing"; Two Former Trump W.H. Aides Who Resigned To Testify Tonight; President Biden Tests Positive For COVID: 'It's Going To Be OK'; U.S.-Made Tracker Being Used In Russian Drones To Kill Ukrainians; German Official: Russia Uses Gas Pipeline As "Blackmail"; Pelosi Suggests Military "Afraid" China Could Attack Plane To Taiwan; Protest Held Outside W.H. For Wrongfully Detained Americans. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired July 21, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. This hour, President Biden tested positive for COVID. The 79-year-old in a video says he's doing well and it's going to be OK. What are doctors keeping an eye on?
Plus, drone warfare after months of fighting, Ukraine racing to replenish this crucial piece of technology. And we now have a never before seen look at these high tech weapons and how they're being used. And leading this hour, the January 6 committee returns to prime time in just hours. The panel promises to present its most compelling evidence to date of Donald Trump's dereliction of duty, detailing the three hours plus that Trump failed to act while the United States Capitol was under attack.
Earlier today, Republican committee member Congressman Adam Kinzinger released this video clips of Trump aides describing what the President was doing as the violence unfolded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was the President in that private dining room the whole time that the attack on the Capitol was going on? Or did he ever go, again only to your knowledge, into the Oval Office, to the White House Situation Room, anywhere else?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So that's my recollection, he was always in the dining room.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. What did they say? Mr. Meadows or the President at all during that brief encounter that you were in the dining room? What do you recall?
GEN. KEITH KELLOGG, FORMER VP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I think they were -- everyone is watching the TV. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you know whether he was watching TV in the dining room when you talked to him on January 6?
MOLLY MICHAEL, FORMER EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT: It's my understanding he was watching television.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you were in the dining room in these discussions was the (INAUDIBLE)?
PAT CIPOLLONE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: One woman you saw on this clips is Molly Michael, she was Trump's executive assistant. We did not previously know she had testified before the committee.
Let's start with our politics lead, and Manu Raju, who's on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, what more are you learning about what we can expect tonight at this hearing?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, minute by minute, recount of sorts from the time that Donald Trump left the ellipse after he gave that speech saying to his supporters to go to the Capitol. And then ultimately, when he finally said something to his supporters from the time about 1:00 p.m. on that afternoon of January 6 to about 4:17 p.m., the committee is going to piece together what happened behind the scenes at the White House.
Put those -- showing those video depositions that are from -- people who are serving in the White House at the time, people such as the former the Vice President Mike Pence's National Security Adviser, Keith Kellogg, as well as Pat Cipollone, the White House Counsel, you mentioned Molly Michael, an executive assistant for Donald Trump, who, we did not know had previously testified.
Also Ivanka Trump, we had the feature before, in fact, to hear what she had to say again. Now we also hear a live witness testimony from two key White House aides, Sarah Matthews, who worked in a press shop, as well as Matthew Pottinger, Deputy National Security Adviser. We'll hear live testimony from them.
And Jake, this is, of course, all part of this effort that previous hearings showing Donald Trump responsible for the run up to January 6 today, what happened on January 6, and what Donald Trump did and did not do.
TAPPER: We've been learning that the committee has and plans to show outtakes of Trump trying to tape a message to his supporters the day after the insurrection. What more can you tell us about that?
RAJU: Yes, this will be a significant part of the testimony tonight. The committee has indeed obtained these outtakes from Donald Trump's speech on January 7. And what the committee members are saying is that this will show how far Donald Trump was willing to go and what he would have simply refused to say despite urging comments potentially about suggesting the election was settled or repudiating the violence that day.
The committee's members are going to say that this is -- will show how revealing though is about what Donald Trump was going to say. According the words of Adam Schiff, who's a member of the committee, he said it'll be significant in terms of what the President is willing to say and what he was not willing to say is. You know, he went on to say, Adam shifted that there are things he can't be prevailed upon to do and say not for hours and hours and hours. And then ultimately, he gave his statement, which in Adam Schiff view, did not go far enough. Jake?
TAPPER: Right, Manu Raju, thanks so much.
Let's bring in a member of the House Select Committee on January 6, Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat of Florida. Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.
Let's start with these video outtakes of Trump's message to his supporters taped on January 7th. We're told the Trump refused to say that the election results had been settled. He attempted to call the rioters patriots. Have you seen these outtakes? How would you describe them?
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL), MEMBER, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: Well, I'm not going to spoil the hearing tonight out of respect for my colleagues. What I think we should focus on and look for tonight, though, is the contrast between the two members of the Select Committee who are -- both people who have sworn the oath while they were in uniform, as well as, as members of Congress to uphold the Constitution against threats, foreign and domestic.
We'll see a contrast to what they did and what they're doing right now, and what the President did on January 6, as Commander in Chief. Did he uphold his constitutional oath to defend this country as the U.S. Capitol was under attack?
TAPPER: You're referring, of course, to Congressman Adam Kinzinger, Republican of Illinois, who served in the Air Force and Congresswoman Elaine Luria, Democrat of Virginia, who served with the Navy, I believe.
Kinzinger put out some video from your committee. And we learned from that, that Donald Trump's executive assistant, Molly Michael, who I think, might even still be working with him down at Mar-a-Lago, that she testified before the committee. Are there any other unexpected witnesses or evidence that will be presented at the hearing tonight?
MURPHY: Well, Jake, I have to say that we've been full of surprises in these hearings. And so, I think there will be footage and information that the American people haven't seen before. But that's why everyone should tune in tonight at prime time to see the final hearing in this series. And to kind of see what we know about what was happening in the White House, as we have done in previous hearings will take people inside the room and give them different perspectives on the advice the President was given and then how he received that advice and what he did or did not do.
TAPPER: You say this is the final hearing in this series, what exactly does that mean? I've been told that you're probably going to have a hearing when you present your report. Is it possible that there will be other hearings beyond that?
MURPHY: You know, this investigation has been really fluid in that. Every time there is a courageous witness who comes forward, it inspires other people to come forward and share with us what they know about what happened in the run up to and on January 6. And so we are continually gathering information. And when it is appropriate, as it was with say, Cassidy Hutchinson, we will call a hearing and present that information.
We also anticipate that we will be calling hearings to present information around some of our recommendations. But this is not the last hearing. It's not the last that you're going to be hearing from this committee as it is very much ongoing and collecting new and important information that needs to be shared with the American people.
TAPPER: You mentioned Cassidy Hutchinson after her on the record sworn testimony, there were whispers from the U.S. Secret Service that former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato, who served with the Secret Service, would be willing to testify under oath, that the story that she says he told her about Trump lunging towards his secret service agent that he would dispute it. Halves the Secret Service reached out? Are they willing to testify to that under oath? My understanding is that what Ornato said, behind closed doors, in his previous testimony was basically a bunch of, I don't recalls, when asked about that.
MURPHY: We have yet to have them under oath. But what I will say here is that Cassidy Hutchinson was a very courageous young woman who came forward and told under oath what she saw. And what is not disputed is that the President wanted to go to the Capitol. He knew his supporters were armed. And he wanted to lead them to the Capitol.
How he expressed that to his secret service, you know, is between the handful of people who were in that car, but it's kind of irrelevant. The fact is that he wanted to go to the Capitol. And then the other thing I will say is that all of these men, who will whisper in the ears of journalists and in the media, but not go on the record with their name or on the record or under oath, do not have the same courage that Cassidy Hutchinson has displayed.
And we would welcome from them, having them come under oath and provide a different perspective. But what they have yet to do is to counter the narrative that we've heard from multiple witnesses, which is that the President wanted to go to the Capitol.
TAPPER: CNN has learned that the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General has told the Secret Service that they're investigating what happened to those text messages from January 5th and 6th that had been deleted as an ongoing criminal investigation. That's how the DHS Inspector General describes it.
The committee had requested Secret Service text messages those same ones. Will this criminal investigation interfere with your request for the messages?
MURPHY: I certainly hope not. I think we have parallel but complementary efforts. We are seeking to get all of the information as a legislative body so that we can present it to the American people and so that we can create recommendations about how law enforcement can better interact with each other. But what I will say is that is deeply disturbing that a law enforcement agency did not understand the critical need to preserve evidence on a day as monumental as January 6 was, on a day where they were charged with the security of the President and the Vice President.
And that the vice president's detail had to flee and find a safe and secure place for their principal. And yet still, they didn't recognize that that was a day of significance where the information and the evidence needed to be preserved.
TAPPER: So you buy that it was incompetence, not malevolence?
MURPHY: I think we need more information to determine the intent and exactly what happened. And I'm intent on getting all of that data so that we can make a determination. And I'm glad to see that the Inspector General and DHS are also taking this seriously as well as the National Archives to get the information they need.
And we will all play the role that we are authorized to do so to get all of this information. But this is too important to let it slide whether it was incompetence or nefarious malfeasance.
TAPPER: Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, thanks so much for your time today. Good luck of your hearing this evening.
President Biden releases a new video after his COVID diagnosis and tells the public to, quote, keep the faith. The latest update from the White House on the 79-year-old President's condition.
Plus, drone warfare on the frontlines in Ukraine. CNN gets a never before seen look at some of these weapons. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We are back with our politics lead. Three hours and seven minutes, that will be the focus of tonight's hearing in the January 6 committee. The period of time from when the Capitol riot began to end Donald Trump finally released a video telling the MAGA mom to go home. It starts at 1:10 p.m., that's when Trump told the crowd at the ellipse to march on the Capitol.
Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified that Donald Trump then got into his motorcade. And according to Secret Service agents, angrily tried to convince his drivers to take him to the Capitol which they refused. Trump returned to the White House by 1:19, where staffers testified he watched the insurrection unfold live on TV. Rioters had already breached the Capitol when Trump tweeted an attack on Vice President Mike Pence at 2:24 p.m.
Six minutes later, the Vice President and lawmakers were evacuated from the chambers. Trump then tweeted again telling rioters to, quote, stay peaceful, but he did not encourage them to leave the Capitol. Soon after, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy urged Trump to call off the mob, tell them to leave. Trump, however, sided with the rioters, telling Kevin McCarthy perhaps they cared about the election more than he did.
At 3:13, Trump again tweeted his supporters should remain peaceful but he did not say they should leave the Capitol. Until finally, he tweeted out a video at 4:17 p.m. telling rioters to go home while praising the men and women who had assaulted police and vandalized the Capitol. They dutifully obliged.
Let's discuss. Seung Min, let me start with you. Tonight's hearing is expected to include testimony from people who spoke to Trump on January 6, as well as people who were in the West Wing that day. We know Sarah Matthews and Matt Pottinger from the National Security Council are going to talk about why they resigned in anger and disappointment that day. How damning do you think this could be for Donald Trump?
SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It could be pretty bad, depending on the actual information that we see, because we've seen a lot of previews of this hearing coming from members of the Select Committee. And they are already making the case to us that during those 187 minutes while we see the awful images unfold on television, Donald Trump did nothing.
We saw a little bit of the preview coming from Adam Kinzinger this morning, you had a testimony from a members of the White House saying that while this was going on, you could see the images on TV, but Donald Trump stayed in the dining room and basically did nothing. So I would love to hear -- I think we're all looking to see what kind of details Matt Pottinger and Sarah Matthews provide and kind of backing up just how resistant. President Trump was to doing something in those hours.
And Alyssa Farah is a former Communications Director. You were one of the people texting people in the White House telling the President to -- telling them to tell the President please tell him to tell the crowd to go away. Tell us about Matt Pottinger and Sarah Matthews. I don't know them at all. What -- are they -- do you think that they're going to be credible with the Republican audience?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They will be. And I think it was smart planning to pair these two together. So Matt Pottinger is somebody who has enormous credibility in the national security community on a bipartisan basis, who was the Wall Street Journal Beijing Bureau, and Bureau Chief at one point, and Marine Corps Veteran.
On the flip side, Sarah Matthews is a tried and true Republican. She was on the Trump campaign, handpicked by Kayleigh McEnany to come to the White House. So you can't write her off as a rhino and a never Trumper and they were both --
TAPPER: I mean, I can.
GRIFFIN: Well, those who will try don't work.
TAPPER: They will say it.
GRIFFIN: They also try.
TAPPER: They say it about Mitt Romney --
GRIFFIN: That is true.
TAPPER: -- and Liz Cheney.
GRIFFIN: That is true, but they both are going to bring the credibility of being senior officials who are working in the West Wing that day, not being the most senior NSC official on staff. He's going to be able to talk about the threat environment and what he was warned about what weapons might have been being brought to the Capitol, what the crowds were looking like that were amassing.
She's going to be able to talk about the efforts to get Trump to say something and what he was and wasn't willing to say. So I'm going to be paying attention to the word about like peaceably assembling. Was he willing to say that? Was he willing to call off the mob? It seems very clear he wasn't but she's going to be able to walk through that TikTok.
TAPPER: So, let me ask you, Carrie. We had Mick Mulvaney on earlier and he said that he thought what Donald Trump did, former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, was a dereliction of duty. But he didn't know if that was a crime. Is it a crime? And if so, what does the committee have to show that Donald Trump did or did not do?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think there's arguments that could be made that he was potentially obstructing justice, but I don't think this hearing is about establishing criminal culpability as it relates to dereliction of duty.
I think that the arguments regarding what he did that day pertained to his role as commander in chief where he completely failed to protect the Capitol and the lawmakers and the law enforcement and the staff who were on the premises. His inability to marshal the resources of the federal government to respond to what was an emergency situation that potentially obstructed the work of Congress and the functioning of the Constitution.
But I don't think that unlike some of the work that the committee has done in the prior hearings, that really I think did go a longer way in potentially exposing him from a criminal perspective. I think this is more about his potential for future leadership as a political leader. And what will come out of tonight will just reinforce much of what was described in the second impeachment hearing, which is his incompetence and his dereliction to his duties as commander in chief and president.
TAPPER: And speaking of criminal intent, listen to Attorney General Merrick Garland, when asked about the possibility of charging a former president with a crime.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: No person is above the law in this country. Nothing stops us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even a former president?
GARLAND: No -- I don't know how to -- let me say that, again. No person is above the law in this country. I can't say any more clearly than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Listen, you know, this is a big discussion about whether or not the Justice Department will actually act. The committee has said they're not sure about whether or not they're actually going to refer him to the Justice Department for prosecution, although they seem to agree that he did break the law.
We've seen so far, no one around him has really been charged with any crimes other than people who failed to cooperate with the committee. Obviously, about 800 people I think have been charged, 50 I think have pled guilty, or something like that, to felony charges. But this would be unprecedented, right, to charge a former president with a crime.
This is a country that hasn't typically done that, hasn't ever done that. But it's also a country that hasn't seen a former president, or sitting president try to overthrow the government to cling to power through violence. And so, we'll see what Merrick Garland has -- will do. But you have seen progressives think that he has not moved swiftly enough in directing his firepower at the former president.
TAPPER: Are you surprised that we haven't seen more a clear line from the White House to the intermediaries like Stone and Flynn to the far- right militias, like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys? I mean, obviously, there's a lot of circumstantial evidence. There's a lot of smoke.
TAPPER: But I thought we'd have more fire by now. KIM: Right. I think it's interesting, just -- some of the connections are precisely that. It's a little tenuous, it's a little circumstantial. That direct line that you would kind of need from people inside the West Wing, inside the White House, to these far- right groups and whatnot, that is a specific connection that we haven't explicitly seen laid out. And I think that's something that perhaps people in the legal field would want to see before they take any action.
But it is -- there is a lot of like, kind of, sometimes a little wink- wink, nudge-nudge here, but that specific evidence as to that point. I think that's still something that we're still looking for.
CORDERO: Well, that was the piece that I was expecting to see in the last hearing --
CORDERO: -- that I don't really think that we did. The closest we got was Representative Raskin, saying that the committee has in its possession, hundreds of other text messages that potentially were between or encrypted message, some type of messaging --
CORDERO: -- communications between individuals like Stone and Mike Flynn, and the leaders of the domestic violent groups. And -- but the committee has not released those. And so if there is one more set of evidence or pieces of information, it's that.
GRIFFIN: Well --
TAPPER: And -- go ahead.
GRIFFIN: -- the committee has done I think, a masterful job of laying out this case to this point. At the same time, they are only scratching the surface of what they could potentially find related to this. They've, obviously, not gotten Mark Meadows under oath. They haven't. They just recently got Pat Cipollone under oath.
They didn't know that Cassie Hutchinson existed as a potential, you know, serious witness to be -- bring forward until very recently. So I think there's a lot more that could come out and the committee has been adamant like our work isn't over. There's likely going to be more hearings. But this also should be something the Department of Justice is looking for.
TAPPER: And one thing that is really interesting to me is one of the reasons that committee wasn't aware of how powerful witness Cassidy Hutchinson would be until relatively recently is because she had a different attorney, right? One that was being paid for by the Trump world.
TAPPER: And Daily Beast had a story today about how Trump is paying for the lawyers of a lot of these witnesses. And I certainly have questions about whether or not these lawyers are completely only solely allegiant to the witnesses or if they're also sharing stuff with the Trump world. We saw that message threatening witness intimidation message Liz Cheney shared about how Donald Trump's reading the transcript.
HENDERSON: Yes. Reading the transcript is the idea that he contacted one or tried to and then the person told the committee this. So there is that sense of -- that there is sort of witness tampering going on. No silver bullet yet in terms of necessarily nailing that as a case to Donald Trump. But, yes, I mean, this sort of idea of loyalty and staying true to Donald Trump has certainly affected the way this hearing has gone and the information that this committee has.
TAPPER: All right, great panel. Thanks so much one and all for being here.
President Biden tested positive for COVID today. What the White House is now saying about how the 79-year-old is doing so far.
TAPPER: In our national lead, President Biden is isolating in the White House residence after having tested positive for coronavirus. Earlier today, the President put out this message on Twitter, assuring the American people he is doing peachy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This morning, I tested positive for COVID. But I've been double vaccinated and double boosted. Symptoms are mild. And I really appreciate your increasing concerns. And I'm doing well. Getting a lot of work done. Going to continue to get it done. And in the meantime, thanks for your concern and keep the faith. It's going to be OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: President Biden is being treated with the antiviral drug Paxlovid or Paxlovid, recommended for people who are at high risk of severe illness, such as people in their 70s.
Joining us now CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. He advised the White House Medical Unit under President George W. Bush. Dr. Reiner, good to see you. So he's turning 80 in November. I hate to, you know, keep talking about this, but that's a danger zone. That's where most of the people who have died of COVID have been in 70 and above.
DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Right, that's the highest risk group. And that's the group that we have not done a great job boosting in this country. Only -- TAPPER: Oh really?
REINER: -- 22 percent of people over the age of 65 have gotten to booster shots.
TAPPER: We should know Biden is double boosted. He's -- his second booster was in March.
REINER: Right. And for that reason, his illness will likely be mild. The vaccines have changed the course of this illness from a disease that largely infected the lower respiratory tract, the lungs and created pneumonia. And that's how people died. Too much more of an upper respiratory tract infection, which mimics, you know, symptoms of a cold.
So the fact that the President is doubly vaccinated and doubly boosted very strongly suggest that his course should be relatively mild, plus, the treating him with Paxlovid.
TAPPER: Yes. And so you're saying that what the vaccines do is they just kind of like move -- they make it less severe. And instead of having trouble with your lungs --
TAPPER: -- it's more like you're just congested in your nose, in your throat?
REINER: And that that's what the course is for almost everyone who is fully vaccinated, who is not immunocompromised for some other reason, which is why the mortality rate for vaccinated persons is very, very low. You get into trouble with this virus when your lungs become infected. And that sets in cycle a whole cascade of systemic responses that can kill you. When this stays in your nose and you have a runny nose, a little bit of a sore throat, it runs its course, you know, in a week, and you do well.
TAPPER: Yes. I mean, I'll just say for anybody out there who's not boosted or vaccinated, I have a loved one who is a senior who got COVID very early and it was really bad, really bad. Fine now, but really bad then. And I have another one who got COVID recently, double vax, double boosted, mild symptoms, almost nothing.
REINER: Right. It's a -- it's imperative to do that. And there's some recent data that really shows the impact. If you are doubly vaccinated with one booster shot, you have four times higher risk of mortality than if you've had two booster shots. So even if you've been boosted once, it's not enough. Go ahead and get the second booster.
TAPPER: I want to show you something because First Lady Jill Biden attended an event at a school in Detroit earlier today. And you can see from the pictures -- let's bring that up -- she's -- well that's Biden, that's not the video I'm talking about -- there she is. And she's wearing one of those kind of like, cheap surgical masks that you get, you know, for free if you go to a CVS --
TAPPER: -- and they -- or at someplace. She's not wearing an N95. I mean, there are much more intense masks. It looks like the guy next her is wearing a cloth mask. All right, I'm going from a picture and that could be wrong. I mean, shouldn't she be wearing an N95? Don't we know so much more about masking now? I don't mean to pick on the First Lady, but shouldn't she be -- don't we know that the N95s are so much more effective?
REINER: I think everybody should be wearing N95.
TAPPER: Right. Not just her, of course.
REINER: You know, they went from the sort of exotic, rare, hard to find item to much more widely available. And an N95 mask will protect you in a very heavily laden viral environment. It's what we're wearing in the hospital. And if you have a tight fitting N95 masks, even if you're in very close contact to someone who's infected, and even if you're in contact with them for a long period of time, you are unlikely to get this disease.
But you don't see many people who aren't somehow involved in medicine, wearing them. I certainly think the leaders of our country and their families should be wearing them. I think all Americans should be wearing them. One of the questions I've asked this week is what have we done to change the manufacturing capacity in the United States?
What we found out in the early months of COVID was that we didn't have the manufacturing ability to create enough N95 masks for this country. Has that changed over the past couple of years? I don't know.
TAPPER: Yes. I mean, the First Lady, she looks 40, but she's not.
TAPPER: So she probably should be wearing a better mask. Dr. Reiner, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it.
Also today, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would guarantee access to contraception in the United States because of fears of a pending Supreme Court ruling otherwise, although we don't know of any case that way. But Justice Clarence Thomas did suggest that the Supreme Court should reconsider a previous ruling Griswold versus Connecticut, which guarantee the right to buy and use contraception without government restriction.
Only eight Republicans joined the Democrats in the House to support the bill. It is unclear whether that bill will have enough to pass the Senate though again, I should point out, there is no current Supreme Court case that would be relevant to removing the right to contraception.
Coming up next, Russia's war in Ukraine fueled by Europe's dependence on Russian gas. We'll tell you how. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Tonight in our world lead, drone warfare in Ukraine. The West continuing its efforts to arm Ukrainian forces. The United Kingdom says hundreds more drones and anti-tank weapons are on the way. This as Russia is making its own use of stolen Western technology in their own drones to target Ukrainian forces.
Nic Robertson has a never-before-seen look inside some of these weapons.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Away from the front lines, technical Intel Officer Maxim (ph), not his real name, strips down a captured Russian all antennas surveillance drone. We are the first journalists they are showing how Russia is using Western Tech to kill Ukrainian troops.
(on-camera): This circuit board that can pinpoint cell phones is even maybe more dangerous than the camera.
(voice-over): The cell phone tracker, he says, made in the USA. The engine made in Japan. And the thermal imager module on the camera, he claims, was made in France after Russia invaded.
(on-camera): Drones like this one are a terror on the battlefield and are revolutionizing the way war is being fought. But the battle over control of components inside of them is almost as important as a supply of new rockets and artillery.
At the front lines, Ukrainians soldiers fear Russian drones and celebrate and share what they call successful hits. Kyiv's military intelligence say the drone's powerful cameras with thermal and infrared imaging and cell phone tracking, making it easier for Russia to kill Ukrainian soldiers.
SAMUEL CRANNY-EVANS, RUSI RESEARCH ANALYST: From a UAV or drone identifying a Ukrainian target, it can be three to four minutes for the Russians to engage them.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): So French lens, Japanese engine, U.S. made GSM parts, what are the countries components go in here?
(voice-over): The list, Maxim (ph) says, is long includes Austria, Germany, Taiwan, the Netherlands. His job follow every serial number, find out who made it until allies to figure out how to stop Russia's drone tags, getting their hands on it. But stopping supply of these often commercial components won't be easy. Russia may have huge stockpiles and has a long history evading controls.
CRANNY-EVANS: The FBI has been tracking down Russian supply networks since 2014 and trying to close them down. So if they can, they will continue trying to sidestep it and it is a real problem because often these compared to being bought by legitimate companies.
ROBERTSON (on-camera): That Ukrainian intelligence officials have gone public with their frustrations that their allies tech is ending up in Russia's hands is an indication of just how deadly and decisive Russia's drones have become.
ROBERTSON: And you have President Zelenskyy on -- you have President Zelenskyy this evening, saying on television that he believes that Ukraine can start to take territory back from the Russian forces. They've now got the HIMARS missile systems that can target ammunition dumps deep inside Russian territory, but a turn around the fighting on the front line. The Ukrainians really believe is going to take getting those drones out of the skies so that their troops just are not as vulnerable as they are right now, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Nic Robertson live for us in Kyiv, Ukraine. Thank you so much.
Russia is largely able to continue its war against the Ukrainian people. Thanks to all the countries who paved the country, Russia, for its natural gas. After a temporary pause, gas is falling back to Europe once again, at least for now, the Nord Stream 1 pipeline under the Baltic Sea is back to delivering gas at about 40 percent capacity after having to shut down for 10 days for maintenance.
There is great concern from Europe, especially Germany over the limited gas supply. Of course, Germany is dependent upon Russia for its energy.
Let's bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen to explain more. Fred, Germany's dependence on Russian gas is one of the reasons that Putin has funding for his war in Ukraine. Is the German government attempting anything to stop this?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly are. But they also seem to have come to the realization, Jake, that they're not going to be able to get off Russian gas anytime soon, or even in this sort of medium term future, even though they are trying. As you just mentioned, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline now going at about 40 percent capacity, and the Germans are saying that's not going to be enough for the amount of gas that they believe they need to get through the winter, because they are still so dependent on Russian gas.
They want to fill up their gas storage facilities to 95 percent come November 1st. And essentially, they say, the way that they're going to be hopefully able to do that is by relying more on coal, which means putting coal fired power plants back online, and quite frankly, asking Germans, the industry, German population, and then also, of course, the public to just use less energy so that they need less energy for gas. But really, they understand that at this point in time, it's going to be very difficult for them to get off the Russian gas anytime soon, Jake.
TAPPER: Fred, the Germans believe that Russia is using energy to blackmail them. Are there any signs that that blackmail is working?
PLEITGEN: Yes, I would say certainly so. You know, one of the things that's been so interesting, the Nord Stream 1 Pipeline was under maintenance for 10 days. This was regular scheduled maintenance. And if you look at what was going on in German media, but also in the German public and in politics, some of it can almost be described as panic, as the Germans waiting to see whether or not that pipeline was actually going to be back on line because they are so dependent on that Russian gas.
And there are some German politicians, and this goes all the way up to what in the U.S. would be state governors who are calling for a softening of sanctions against Russia to ensure that Russia keeps sending gas to Germany. Now we have to point out, that is not the position of the German government. But there certainly already is some backlash here in this country, and it is making it quite difficult for the German government as well, who again, he's still saying that they are very much going to hold on to the sanctions and want to see all of this through until the Ukrainians managed to drive the Russians from their land.
But the Germans certainly, this has to be said, really are experiencing a rude awakening right now and really finding themselves as they put it themselves very much at the mercy of the Kremlin. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Fred Pleitgen in Berlin, thank you so much.
Coming up next, new CNN reporting on why the U.S. military is concerned about Speaker Pelosi's possible trip to Taiwan. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our world lead, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pressed by reporters about her potential trip to Taiwan. At her weekly press conference today, Pelosi said she won't discuss her travel plans because it is a security issue. But she did offer speculation about President Biden's comments regarding the U.S. military's opposition toward any potential trip to Taiwan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I think what the President was saying is the -- maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shot down or something like that by the Chinese. I don't know exactly. I didn't see it. I didn't hear it. You're telling me and I've heard it anecdotally. But I haven't heard it from the President.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Meanwhile, China has warned that it would take, quote, resolute and forceful measures, if Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan.
Let's bring in CNN's Barbara Starr to further explain the importance of all these. Barbara, what exactly is the U.S. military concerned about if Speaker Pelosi does in fact go to Taiwan?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Will, Jake, undermine all of these is there's been a significant rise in tensions (ph) between the U.S. and China over the Taiwan question. Of course, if Taiwan were ever to declare independence, which it has not, that could be a trigger for some kind of Chinese military action. That is what the Chinese do not want.
Now, some officials are telling our Kylie Atwood that there's some concern if Pelosi, someone of her stature, were to go, it will raise tensions and the Chinese could do something like establish a no fly zone, make it very difficult for Pelosi to actually travel by airplane and land in Taiwan.
One of the key questions, I think, is what the Chinese intentions really are. The Chinese are making it clear, they are opposed, they are concerned, they have a lot of anxiety about what they see, as the U.S. siding with Taiwan for the -- on the part of the U.S. No one is actually saying they briefed Pelosi on the risks of going to Taiwan, but it is something the U.S. military typically will do of -- someone of her stature. They will tell her what the risks and benefits are of such a trip. Jake?
TAPPER: And President Biden gave a sharp warning to China during his trip to Asia back in May, saying the U.S. would intervene militarily, should China attack Taiwan. The White House, of course, went on to back, you know, walk back those comments.
This week, Biden's confirmed he's going to speak to President Xi Jinping within the next 10 days. How tense are relations between the U.S. and China right now?
STARR: Well, they are but I would say cautiously tense, if you will. I don't think anyone thinks the Chinese are about to invade. That is not really the question on the table at the moment by all accounts. What is concerning to the U.S. is the Chinese are developing a military capacity and capability both at sea and in the air, more weapons, more modern weapons, more ships, more submarines, more fighter aircraft, more missiles, all the things that they would need in the future if President Xi were to make a decision to move militarily against Taiwan.
Chinese policy is clear that they want Taiwan at some point. Gee, if he's a rational actor, the U.S. believes would want to do it peacefully. But the concern is China is building that military capacity just in case they want it. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Barbara Starr, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, demanding action at the White House with families of wrongfully detained Americans sharing an urgent plea for President Biden. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Time now for today's buried lead, that's what we call stories we don't think are getting enough attention. The families of wrongfully detained Americans abroad met outside the White House today. They've demanded action and attention for the dire cases of their loved ones. These families say they need President Biden directly involved or nothing will happen. They're begging anyone in the Biden administration to please just meet with them.
The demonstration comes a day after the unveiling of a new mural in Washington, D.C. which shows the faces of these missing family members. Here is a plea today from the mural's artist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ISAAC CAMPBELL, MURAL ARTIST: So I'm going to issue a challenge to anyone in the administration, the mural is just blocks away over in Georgetown. It's not that long of a drive. You can ride a bike there. Go see it and look into the eyes of these American citizens. Many of whom who have served our country, especially like Matthew Heath. It's time that the country serves its citizens, especially those who have been wrongfully detained and held hostage abroad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The group says the loved ones for whom they're fighting have collectively lost 90 years of their lives by being wrongfully detained.
I'll be back with our special coverage of the January 6 hearing starting in just an hour. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". See you in an hour.