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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Sens. Warren, Padilla Demand Airline Crackdown Amid Travel Chaos; Sen. Alex Padilla, (D-CA), Is Interviewed About Airline Crackdown, Consumer Confidence, Interest Rates, Worker Protections; Consumer Confidence Falls To Lowest Level Since February 2021; Federal Reserve Expected To Raise Interest Rates Again This Week; Sen. Padilla Pushing For Worker Protections In High Heat; Report: Georgia State Bar Investigating Two Trump Fake Elector; Sen. Jon Ossoff, (D-GA), Is Interviewed About Trump Fake Electors, Atlanta Penitentiary; Ossoff: "Stunning Long-Term Failure" At Federal Penitentiary In G.A.; A.G. Garland On Possibly Prosecuting Trump: Everyone Responsible For Insurrection Will Be Held Accountable; Jan. 6 CMTE Releases New Video Of Acting Defense Secy. Testimony. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 26, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Rahel, tell us why this new consumer confidence number is so important?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, consumer confidence tells us three things about the state of the consumer and the state of the American public, essentially how people are feeling about present conditions, how people are feeling about conditions six months into the future, so short term outlook. And also how that might impact their purchasing decisions. So the headline number came in at about 95.7.

To put that in context, Jake, 100 is considered good. So we're sort of below that. But what matters more is sort of directionally where the number is going and where it has been. And this is the third consecutive month of declines.

So, to put it simply, outlook is worsening. The chief economist of KPMG, Diane Swonk, telling me just about 30 minutes ago that what's so stunning and the deterioration of consumer competence is it's not just inflation, it's also reflecting less robust labor market conditions, which is not bad yet, but brings us closer to a recession. Jake.

TAPPER: Rahel, today Walmart warned that it is not going to make the profit it expected because customers just are not buying as much with higher prices. But Walmart does expect more customers in stores. Meanwhile, McDonald says customers have mostly shrugged off the higher menu prices and its revenues gone up. What's going on there?

SOLOMON: Well, Jake, both of those companies, Walmart and McDonald's are facing higher costs as is practically every company right now. The difference, however, is McDonald's has been able to pass on some of those higher costs. Walmart can't do that as much because Walmart's whole brand is centered around being a low cost retailer, so it's having to eat some of those costs and that's why it's warning about profit.

But Jake, one thing I should flag, you and I talked about this recently in terms of the retail sales data, Walmart warning that consumers are spending more of their income on essentials like fuel and food and that's leaving less discretionary income for categories like apparel. The reason why that matters to a retailer like Walmart is because their margins, their profits are higher on categories like apparel, their profits are lower on essential categories like food and fuel. So that's why we're seeing that profit warning. But Jake, it is yet another data point, yet another sort of warning now from corporate America that Americans are shifting where they're spending to essentials, and less on discretionary items like apparel. We saw it in the retail sales data last month as well as when we were looking straight at yearly trends.

TAPPER: Rahel, the Fed meets tomorrow. They're expected to raise interest rates by three quarters of a point. Are there any signs that these rate hikes are working and that inflation is slowing at all?

SOLOMON: Well, we are seeing some prices come down, right, because we've seen some commodity prices come down, we've seen crude prices come down and that has meant lower prices at the pump. That said, I don't think the Fed would call this a victory just yet, right? Powell has made it very clear that he and the committee is looking for clear and compelling evidence that inflation is coming down. And I don't think short of seeing a month to month inflation lower are they going to take their foot off the brake. So we're seeing some price pressures ease, but I don't think we're anywhere close to where the Fed would like us to be.

TAPPER: All right. Rahel Solomon reporting for us from New York, thanks so much.

If you have traveled through an airport lately, chances are you caught a glimpse of how chaotic air travel has become, surging ticket prices, mounting cancellations, endless delays, all them plaguing travelers. Democratic senators Elizabeth Warren and Alex Padilla are currently demanding that federal regulators, specifically Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, do something about this. CNN's Matt Egan is live for us in New York.

And Matt, what are the senators asking for?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Jake, they want the Transportation Department to end this travel nightmare by cracking down on the airlines. They're calling for three things, one imposing hefty fines on airlines when they cancel flights for reasons that are under their own control. Two, find airlines when they intentionally overbooked flights. And three, block anticompetitive mergers.

Now let me read you a cue line from this letter. They wrote, quote, "Decades of deregulation and consolidation have created an airline industry that routinely heaped inconvenience and abuse on consumers." And the lawmakers point out that this travel chaos is occurring just two years after the airline industry was bailed out by taxpayers during the height of COVID. We should also point out that not only are delays and cancellations up, but it's getting more expensive to fly, even more expensive than pre COVID. The latest government statistics show that it is 22 percent more expensive to get airfare than it was in June of 2019. And this spike in air fares contributing to the 40-year high of inflation that is casting a shadow over the American economy.

TAPPER: Matt, why exactly are things so rough when it comes to airline travel right now? And is there any end in sight?

EGAN: Jake, it really has been a mess. Yesterday alone was more than 1300 flights canceled the United States, today, another 570 plus, there's been this perfect storm of factors. First, like many industries, airlines have a staffing shortage including a shortage of pilots, you can't fly the planes without the pilots. And that staffing shortage has left airlines ill-equipped to deal with bad weather.


At the same time, demand has been really strong as Americans start to take vacations again after being cooped up in their homes for nearly two years during COVID. Now, the airline travel group, they responded to this letter by saying that they are doing everything that they can. They're making all the efforts that they can to keep up with what they described as, quote, "an unexpectedly rapid rebound in demand for flights."

Jake, this is just another example of how supply in today's economy is struggling to keep up with demand and how consumers are feeling the brunt of it.

TAPPER: All right. Matt Egan, thanks so much.

Joining us now live to discuss is Democratic Senator Alex Padilla of California.

Senator, thanks for joining us. So you signed on to that letter with your colleague, Senator Warren. Here's a horrifying quote from it. Quote, "Airlines have also increased flight over bookings causing passengers to be involuntarily denied boarding nearly three times as often is the first quarter of 2022 compared to the first quarter of 2018. Unions are sounding the alarm that airlines are selling tickets for flights. They know they will not be able to staff," unquote.

That's crazy. How soon do you think this can improve for consumers?

SEN. ALEX PADILLA (D-CA), BUDGET COMMITTEE: Jake, well, I hope it's much sooner rather than later and as we're talking about what is within an airline's control. The weather isn't, we had a lot of flight delays yesterday, especially on the Eastern Seaboard because of weather. But if they're claiming that staffing shortages is a reason for these disruptions, these delays, these cancellations, why offered the flights to begin with and mislead consumers that they'll be able to either do that business travel or take that vacation they've been waiting years for. That's a perfect example of the type of behavior we're trying to address. TAPPER: So I asked Secretary Buttigieg about this on State of the Union on Sunday and he said that things have improved a lot since Memorial Day weekend when it got really ugly. Take a listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We look at cancellation rates for the last couple of travel weekends, they've been around one and a half percent, which are getting closer to normal. It's, of course, never going to be zero with weather and things like that, but it should never be as high as it was during the Memorial Day travel weekend. And we're going to continue to push them and of course prepared to work collaboratively whenever there's a chance to do things that smooth out operations in our national airspace.


TAPPER: Are you satisfied with that answer?

PADILLA: Look, I think all the more reason to keep the pressure on, we look at the Memorial Day travel members, we can look at the fourth of July travel numbers, we have Labor Day coming up soon. This is still summer, sort of the peak season for vacation travelers before kids go back to school, including my own. And so, we got to keep the pressure on.

If the numbers aren't coming down, we're going to keep them moving in that direction. But just to level set here, Jake, 122,000 flights canceled year to date. That's more than all of 2021 combined. So, again, we got to keep the pressure on.

TAPPER: So just yes or no, is the Biden administration being tough enough on the airlines?

PADILLA: I think they're taking action, which is good. And it's our job to remind them of other tools in their toolbox, including, you know, these fines. I don't think compensation for travelers that are bumped from their flights or flights are canceled shouldn't necessarily be negotiated on a case by case basis, who's first to the customer service gator, who's first to call 1-800 number. Air passengers have rights and that should be automatic when they're inconvenienced like that.

TAPPER: All right. I'm going to take that as a no.

Let me ask you, as we just reported a new data point shows consumer confidence falling for the third month in a row. Now there are steps that President Biden could take today to lower prices such as getting rid of the Trump tariffs on China, but the President refuses to take these actions. Why not?

PADILLA: So, well, we're going to keep pressing the White House to do what they can. We need to focus in Congress to do what we can't. That's why I think we're on the verge of finally allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices to bring those health care costs for working families across the country. Good news you've covered a few minutes ago, gas prices seem to be on the way down. But let's revisit childcare costs and other significant costs that working families are having to deal with, you know, we're debating inflation, the impacts. All I know is paychecks aren't going as far as they used to. And I say that not just as a senator, I say that as a father and a husband.

TAPPER: So, speaking of things, the dollar not being, you know, the inability of individuals to stretch their dollars. The Fed is going to meet tomorrow and will likely raise interest rates again. We learned today that overall home prices are up nearly 20 percent nationwide from just one years ago -- one year ago. You know this because housing prices in California are already among the nation's highest.


So your constituents need bold action on all of these issues, inflation, housing prices, et cetera. At what point did Democratic officeholder start publicly demanding more from President Biden in his administration?

PADILLA: Look, we're always going to be pressing the administration. We also need to ask more of the voters. Let's keep this in mind when we go vote in November. We know Democrats have a plan to bring down prescription drug prices. We know that we can do a whole lot with -- by taxing the most wealthy and multinational corporations and reinvesting in our own economy, in our own workforce, including manufacturing, we're on the verge of passing that semiconductor competition bill here in Congress, we have plans on reducing child care, plans on reducing cost of housing. And if Republicans aren't going to play ball with us and do what's right for working families, then let's keep that in mind when we go vote in November.

TAPPER: So we've seen these record breaking temperatures around the country in recent days, which are a real threat to workers exposed to this heat during the work day. You're pushing OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to pass new protections for workers. It can take years for that agency to craft new rules.

I'm not sure if we have the film, the video of you working in the field, but I know you did that recently. There it is. There's a picture of you. I think you're picking parsley in this along with United Farm Workers of America.

What pressure are you putting on OSHA to craft new rules and to do so quickly?

PADILLA: We're pressing OSHA to move as quickly as they possibly can in advancing legislation, to not give them the choice in moving faster. Look, I'm proud to come from California who have adopted heat standards for workers, whether it's an agriculture, whether it's in construction, whether it's, you know, truck drivers or warehouse workers who are exposed to extreme heat.

You know, nearly 400 workers have lost their lives in the last decade because of extreme heat. It's long overdue to have a federal standard to save lives because guess what, you've been covering the news day, there'd be heat waves, not just in United States, but throughout Europe and beyond, it's -- our planets only getting hotter, which means workers that are exposed to extreme heat, that dynamic, that challenge is only going to increase.

TAPPER: Yes, which you experienced firsthand, I see. Democratic Senator --

PADILLA: Absolutely.

TAPPER: -- Alex Padilla of California, thanks so much for your time today. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, Donald Trump's big return to Washington. His message as he toys with launching another bid for the White House and as his former Vice President Mike Pence makes a pitch of his own.

But first, underwater, record breaking rainfall floods parts of the Midwest. The emergency situation there as fire rages further west. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our Earth matters series, the latest sign of the serious impact of the climate crisis, record rainfall caused deadly and widespread flash flooding in and around St. Louis, Missouri. Today, more than eight inches of rain quickly inundated highways and roads, prompting rescue operations for those stranded in their cars and their homes. One person died in their submerged vehicle.

And outdoor metro station looked more like a river with the platform and tracks under water. The National Weather Service says on average rainfall such as this in the St. Louis area only happens once every 500 years. Scientists say the atmosphere can hold more moisture as temperatures rise, which leads to more rainfall.

Meanwhile, some good news in California, Fire crews are making progress on containing the Oak Fire near Yosemite National Park. So far that fire has burned more than 18,000 acres and destroyed at least 41 structures since it ignited on Friday. Let's bring in CNN's Adrienne Broaddus who's near the fire in Mariposa County, California.

Adrienne, what are the Fire crews saying about the progress so far?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the crews have contained at least 26 percent of the Oak Fire. And Cal Fire officials who spoke with us say they are lucky. That's in part because there are no other major fires burning right now across the state of California, allowing them to dedicate numerous resources to the Oak Fire.

This portion of Mariposa County is known for its beauty, but you can see clearly a big portion of this county has burned. A shell of a vehicle here at what was once a home. If you look over you will see all that's left of the home pretty much rubble, still standing grilling equipment. And nearby in the front of the former house, you see some smoldering taking place here.

But despite what you see right now, officials tell us they have made some progress. As I was driving to our live shot, I saw crews cutting down trees. And I asked why they were performing that action. I was told they're cutting down those trees that already burned to prevent them from falling on the road. So some progress has been made, Jake, but there's still some work to do.

TAPPER: And Adrienne, how are crews navigating the steep terrain and the dry conditions there?

BROADDUS: You know they're fighting this fire from above. At least 24 helicopters are dumping water on the burning areas. And I'm told the weather, the dryness of it and the topography have really fueled the Oak Fire. Listen in.


CAPT. KEITH WADE, CAL FIRE: California is huge. The footprint out here, the acreage of available fuels to burn when a fire gets going along with available topography, the canyons, the drainages, the wind that flows through these areas can make the fire behavior erratic and it can explode basically -- literally explode that fir. And the speed and the ferociousness of that fire at times can be intense.


BROADDUS: So again, Jake, at least 18,000 acres have been burned and fire crews are still working from this county and beyond. Back to you, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Adrienne Broaddus, thanks so much.

Coming up next, what federal authorities told Congress today about prison cells infested with drugs, contraband, even rats. Hear what's being done and what's not being done to clean up conditions. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our politics lead, law licenses could be on the line for two more Georgia fake electors. Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the State Bar of Georgia is investigating two Republican lawyers as part of a separate legal avenue to hold fake electors accountable for their actions after the 2020 election. And it comes as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis hits roadblocks in her investigation. A judge ruled that she cannot bring a case against a key fake electoral because she held a fundraiser for one of his opponents.

Let's bring in Democratic Senator Jon Ossof of Georgia.

Senator, what's your reaction to these investigations into fake electors in your state? And the judge for Fulton County saying the optics for Willis's campaign contributions are, quote, "horrific." What do you think?


SEN. JON OSSOFF (D-GA): Well, it's the role of federal, state and local prosecutors to enforce the law. And where they have criminal information evidence that laws have been broken, no one is above the law. So, you know, the actions of the Justice Department, the actions of local prosecutors, that's for those prosecutors to decide. The key principle in our system of government is that the rule of law applies to all of us.

TAPPER: Speaking of justice in America, today you lead a hearing on the inhumane conditions at Atlanta's Federal Penitentiary. We previewed this hearing last week with you.

Let's take a listen to a former jail administrator at that prison.


TERRI WHITEHEAD, FORMER JAIL ADMINISTRATOR, U.S. PENITENTIARY ATLANTA: It was so many rats inside the facility, dining hall and food preparation areas that staff, intentionally left doors open so the many stray cats that hung around the prison could catch the rats. It is never a good idea to leave prison doors open.


TAPPER: We also heard about a lack of suicide prevention efforts, overcrowded facilities, free flowing drugs, cellphones contraband behind bars. You were threatening the head of federal prisons with a subpoena to testify. Tell us what happened today.

OSSOFF: Well, I have led a 10 month bipartisan investigation of corruption, abuse and misconduct at U.S. penitentiary, the major federal prison in metro Atlanta. The results of that investigation based upon review of 10s of 1000s of internal government documents, interviews with dozens of witnesses, including Bureau of Prisons whistleblowers are shocking.

Our investigation has revealed that for at least nine years gross misconduct, serious negligence, life threatening failures were ongoing at this major federal prison. We're talking about staff corruption, the virtually free flow of narcotics and weapons within and in and out of this facility. We're talking about serious human rights and civil rights abuses, pretrial presumptively innocent detainees 23 hours a day and overcrowded cells packed with vermin, roaches, and rats without access to hygiene, basic health services without effective access to counsel. A pretrial detainee for example on suicide watch being forced to lay in paper clothes with a paper blanket and no access to mental health services.

Long term systemic failures by the Bureau of Prisons to ensure the rule of law, orderly conduct policies and procedures are followed and human rights are protected in our federal prisons. It's a disgrace to the U.S. government that these conditions persist in federal prisons. And as for a Director Carvajal, we had asked on a bipartisan basis for his voluntary testimony, the Department of Justice had declined. We issued a bipartisan subpoena to compel his testimony, ultimately reached an agreement with the Department of Justice. When he arrived this morning, that subpoena was withdrawn.

TAPPER: So, as you know, we heard testimony about this abuse extending to pretrial detainees, which means these are people who haven't even been convicted yet, often they can't make bail, and they're put in these depraved conditions, sometimes without access to their lawyers. There are probably viewers out there who think, you know what, these are prisoners, they probably did wrong to begin with, why should I care about this? What do you tell them?

OSSOFF: Well, first of all, no human being whether or not they've been convicted of a crime should be subjected to civil rights abuses, degrading and unconstitutional treatment. And when we're talking about pretrial, presumptively innocent detainees, these are folks who have been convicted of no crime who are awaiting trial, who need access to counsel for their sixth amendment right to counsel to be upheld. And they're being subjected as well to these inhumane and degrading conditions.

The conditions in this facility posed a threat to health and safety, not just of inmates and staff, but also of the broader community. The Bureau of Prisons own internal assessments found that this facility, the corruption, abuse and misconduct were a security threat and a public safety threat to the entire southeast region of the United States. What we heard today from the director of the Bureau of Prisons is that they were, in my opinion, willfully ignorant, looking the other way, apparently unaware of what had been happening for years and years despite consistent internal reporting and information they had access to that these misconduct, these forms of corruption, these forms of abuse were happening right under their noses.

TAPPER: So what now? Are you going to take this investigation to other prisons? I mean, obviously, the problems are as, I don't need to tell you, the problems are far beyond this one president in metro Atlanta.

OSSOFF: Well, I can't comment on specific new lines of inquiry that my subcommittee is undertaking. Those are confidential. But I'll just say this, one of the things that motivated me to run for office is a recognition that congressional oversight of the executive branch has withered, has become weak. There is not enough robust congressional inquiry of misconduct in the federal government. Cheering this investigation subcommittee, I will continue to pursue the truth. I will continue to pursue misconduct, abuse and corruption within the federal government, as I said, I would as a candidate, as I am now as a senator.

TAPPER: All right, Democratic Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

OSSOFF: Thank you.

TAPPER: Back in the swamp, Donald Trump and Mike Pence returned to Washington. Hear how they delivered a tale of two Republican parties. That's next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, dueling speeches, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence in both spoke in Washington, D.C. today. Pence told supporters not to, quote, "focus on the past," while Trump was focused on the past slamming the January 6 committee and calling them, quote, "thugs." CNN's Kristen Holmes breaks down the conflicting messages from the two former leaders of the GOP.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former President Donald Trump back in Washington.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had made America great again. We made it great again.

HOLMES (voice-over): Delivering remarks focused on law enforcement as his actions on January 6 remain under scrutiny a year and a half removed from the violent attack on the Capitol.

TRUMP: There is no longer respect for the law, and there certainly is no order. Our country is now a cesspool of crime.

HOLMES (voice-over): Speaking at a conservative think tank founded by former Trump administration officials, Trump largely stayed away from his grievances around the 2020 election.

TRUMP: I ran for president, I won, then I want a second time, did much better the second time.

HOLMES (voice-over): Blocks away, former Vice President Mike Pence outlining his own vision for the Republican Party at a gathering of young conservatives.

MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now some people may choose to focus on the past, but elections are about the future. And I believe conservatives must focus on the future to win back America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think that this --

HOLMES (voice-over): After his remarks, the former vice president asked by an audience member about the divide between he and Trump?

PENCE: Well, I will tell you that I couldn't be more proud of the record of the Trump-Pence administration. I don't know that our movement is that divided. I don't know that the President and I differ on issues, but we may differ on focus.

I truly do believe that elections are about the future. And that is absolutely essential at a time when so many Americans are hurting. HOLMES (voice-over): The dueling speeches between Pence and Trump just the latest salvo in a public split between the two GOP leaders as both men lay the groundwork for presidential runs in 2024.

TRUMP: I'm here before you to begin to talk about what we must do to achieve that future when we win a triumphant victory in 2022 and when a Republican president takes back the White House in 2024, which I strongly believe will happen.

HOLMES (voice-over): They are engaged in a proxy battle in the Arizona primary next month after squaring off in the Georgia Republican primary for Governor this spring.

PENCE: I think the time has come for all of us to offer a bold, positive agenda to bring America back. And I'll continue to carry that message all across this nation.

HOLMES (voice-over): For his part, Pence has been deliberate in seeking out opportunities to distance himself from Trump, as the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6 sheds more light on Trump's failure to act that day, and the danger Pence faced amid the attack.


HOLMES: And while President Trump did notably spend a lot of time talking about law enforcement -- praising law enforcement, he didn't mention any of the officers who were serving on Capitol Hill that day, including those who were injured or killed. However, he did take time to attack the committee, as you noted, calling them political hacks and thugs and saying that he -- they wanted to damage him so that he couldn't work for his supporters, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

Let's discuss all the events of today. And Paul, I do want to start with Lester Holt's interview with Attorney General Merrick Garland. Take a listen what Garland told when asked if he is worried an indictment of Donald Trump could rip the country apart.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another accountable.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS HOST: So if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for president again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don't move forward?

GARLAND: Say again that we will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer -- legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.


TAPPER: The key word in there is criminally responsible, because it's obvious that Donald Trump was morally responsible for the events surrounding January 6 and the effect -- attempt to interfere with a lawful transfer of power. But criminally --


TAPPER: -- and do you think Attorney General Garland, at the end of the day, will find Donald Trump criminally responsible or be willing to?

BEGALA: This is why he's a lawyer's lawyer. That answer he said everything and nothing, right?


Actually, and I'm sure -- Lester is a very good journalist, and I think he probably asked this, I hope he did, I haven't seen the interview, what about the Muller report? OK, I understand 1/6 takes a while, it's a long investigation, they're working through, there's a grand jury, OK. I respect that. The Mueller report came out three years and three months ago.

TAPPER: Right.

BEGALA: Mr. Mueller notes 10 different instances where Donald Trump may have committed obstruction of justice. There's no new information, there's no new investigation, he's been sitting on that since the day he walked in the door. So --

TAPPER: And Mueller testified that Donald Trump, once he left office, could be found --

BEGALA: Absolutely.

TAPPER: -- responsible for that.

BEGALA: Donald Trump is no longer president.

TAPPER: Yes, yes.

BEGALA: Has been able to papers. Attorney General Garland knows that.


BEGALA: I actually want to know, if he's not -- if Trump is innocent, the Justice Department should say that. They should. And if he's not, they should prosecute him.

TAPPER: Congressman, I want to get your reaction to something that we just got. The January 6 committee just released testimony from former Acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller where they asked him about then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows' statements that Trump had ordered 10,000 troops to be ready before January 6. Take a listen to part of Secretary Miller's answer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To be crystal clear, there was no direct order from President Trump to put 10,000 troops to be on the ready for January 6, correct?

CHRIS MILLER, FORMER ACTING DEFENSE SECRETARY: No, yes, that's correct, there was no direct -- there was no order from the president.


TAPPER: No order from the president, we should know, Mark Meadows said something different. But he said, not under oath on Fox, Secretary Miller was under oath.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's just further evidence of the fact that the former president chose to do nothing on January the sixth. He, in fact -- and that's what this whole hearing is about. These hearings are about as determined what level of culpability he has had. And what we've learned is this is a conspiracy, this is wasn't someone off event or random event.

There may have been people who were swept up in it on that day. But I think this is just further proof of that, that he just did nothing to prevent this or stop this. It was a complete dereliction of duty. And that's the harsh reality.

TAPPER: And I've heard Democrats criticize what President Biden said. Biden is accusing Trump now of not having enough courage to stop what happened on January 6, but I've heard Democrats say, not have enough courage. It was the plan. It was the plan to get the mob to go there.

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes. Well, I think that that's really what we've learned from the January 6 committee. We sort of knew it before they laid it all out for us in detail. But now that we know that he was aware that that mob was armed and that he said to people around him that they were not there to hurt him, right, he knew he would be safe in this armed mob. He sends them down to the Capitol anyway.

And then the last hearing demonstrated that he sat and watched television until it was clear that other people had taken care of the mess. The FBI was on the case and his people were being cleared out of the Capitol. So yes, I mean, it's not, in the way that the president framed, it wasn't quite right.

TAPPER: And we heard, Nia, that -- we heard Kristen Holmes talking about these dueling speeches in D.C. today. Basically Vice President Pence says, I agree with Trump on everything, except on the fact that he wants to keep talking about the election. And his book, Pence has a book coming out this fall, in which the publishers notes describe the break that they had and Pence standing up for the Constitution. And yet, and yet, a new CNN poll shows Republicans when asked who to put up for president 2020, 44% of Republicans say Trump, 55% say someone else is. NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. I mean, Trump is the clear front runner for the nomination in 2024. Should he seek it and by all accounts is just a matter of timing when he actually announces that he wants to run for president again. We saw in 2016, he didn't need, you know, the vast majority of people, he just needed to win by a little in any of these dates, because it's a winner take all system. So if people join the race and run against Trump, it's very likely that he could win again.

Ideological heart and soul, the Republican Party is with Donald Trump. Nothing has shaken their, you know, their faith in him, the sense that he represents who they are, he would run essentially saying, listen, in 2020 you got your birthright stolen, right? Your country was stolen from you, and I Donald Trump and here to redeem that and to restore your future. That is a very, I think, powerful argument for lots of Republicans who likely would pull the lever for Donald Trump again in the primaries.

TAPPER: And Congressman, take a listen, CNN's Donie O'Sullivan went to a Trump rally in Arizona and he spoke to supporters outside about the January 6 hearings. I want you to listen to what these Trump supporters had to say.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Have you guys been watching the January 6 hearings at all?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. We saw it when it all went down. And then we saw like a lot of the BLM and Antifa people in the building as well, and it's just nonsense as well.

O'SULLIVAN: But I think like 800 people now have been charged, right?



O'SULLIVAN: None of them are Black Lives Matter or Antifa.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. That doesn't mean anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're not charging them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That doesn't mean anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct. They have not been brought into court or their due process because they have not been arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hunter Biden hasn't been arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have both sides or are you getting one side of the story?

O'SULLIVAN: You mean like the side that attacked the Capitol?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You really believe that happened?


DENT: They're living in an alternative reality. It's that simple. And the only thing missing here is the tinfoil hat and a black helicopter. You know, people believe what they want to believe they get information from these dubious sources and they listen to the former president and they believe what they're hearing. And that's really the tragedy in this country right now that people can agree on facts. That's --

TAPPER: Yes. These dubious -- I mean, these dubious sources are --

DENT: Hurting Trump, Donald Trump, yes.

TAPPER: The republic Donald Trump, the Republican Leader of the House, Fox, OANN, I mean, it's not just like, you know, low frequency a.m. radio anymore.

DENT: Yes, but I mean, they were talking about Antifa. I think that most people -- I haven't heard many Republican leaders say it's Antifa anymore. I mean, it might be a few.

HENDERSON: Well, they accept that initially, right? In the days after, there are Republicans saying that.

HUNT: Yes, I mean, that has been -- I mean, Kevin McCarthy changed his tune around that in the wake of the riots. But can I just say, big picture, Jake, I don't think, with all due respect to Donie, that the people that he talked to are the audience for the January 6 hearings. I think that there's knowledge that those people are gone, right?

Those people, people that attend his rallies, his hardcore supporters, they're always going to believe in Donald Trump. Whatever he and his allies in the conservative media tell them, they're going to believe it.

The question is, what about Republicans who are -- who were reluctant voters for Donald Trump because they didn't feel like they could vote for Joe Biden? What about the suburb (ph) independent voters, those people that actually voted for Republican congressional candidates in 2020 and also voted for Joe Biden or didn't vote for president at all, right? There were more people that voted for Republicans and there were for Democrats.

The more people like that that the January 6 committee can reach, the more impact they're going to have. Because you know, the way our system works, these margins are so tight, our elections really are in swing states, so, so, so close, that they don't actually have to move the needle that much to make a difference.

HENDERSON: I actually think Liz Cheney is trying to reach both of those people, right? Though both of the audiences you're talking about, the people who --

HUNT: May be trying.

HENDERSON: -- Donie talked to --


HENDERSON: I think literally talking to them, saying, you know, they are not --

TAPPER: You were misled.

HENDERSON: You were misled.



HENDERSON: You've been lied to.


HENDERSON: They are taking your patriotism off for granted. We'll see what happens in terms of them changing their minds, but it probably will be difficult.

BEGALA: Well, Donie is proving that Abraham Lincoln was, the first Republican president. You really can fool some of the people all of the time. And that's not on them. That's on, as you say, and you guys are saying, that's on the people who are lying to them.

I really do view those people in South Dakota Donie interviewed as victims, not villains. Because a great many of the Republicans in the Senate, in the House and governor's offices running for other offices, they know better, and they're lying. Those folks don't know any better, because actually, they commit the sin of trusting people who lead them.


BEGALA: And I don't think that's a horrible thing. I think people are lying to them are doing a horrible thing.

HUNT: All I'm trying to say is that if the committee doesn't reach the people that attend Trump rallies, they haven't necessarily failed.

TAPPER: Right.

BEGALA: That's right.


HUNT: (INAUDIBLE) is the bottom line.


Thanks to one and all. Appreciate it.

Houston, do we have a problem? The one place the U.S. and Russia were getting along soon to be lost in space with a big announcement today from the Kremlin.



TAPPER: In our out of this world lead today, Russia says it will leave the International Space Station after 2024 and begin building its own station. Russia's withdrawal signals the end of a decade's long partnership with NASA at the International Space Station. The news comes amid high tensions between the West and Russia over Russia's war against Ukraine.

Let's bring in CNN's Kristin Fisher.

And Kristin, this is not the first time Russia has said it would leave the ISS. How significant is this do you think?

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, in the past these threads to pull out of the International Space Station often came from the Twitter account of the newly ousted head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos. So, not the most official channel.

Today's announcement, very different, because it was made on the Kremlin's official website by the new head of Roscosmos, a man by the name of Yuri Borisov, who was given the job just a few days ago by Putin himself. So, this announcement -- today's announcement carries much more weight.

With that said though, NASA says that it still has not been formally notified about this decision, something that is required of all the partners up at the International Space Station. So, Jake, it really remains to be seen if this time, Russia is serious. But regardless today's announcement, certainly caught the NASA astronauts up at the International Space Station right now by surprise.

TAPPER: All right, Kristin Fisher, thank you so much.


KJELL LINDGREN, NASA ASTRONAUT: That is very recent news and so, we haven't heard anything officially. Of course, you know, we were trained to do a mission up here. And that mission is one that requires the whole crew. And so we continue to work every day to conduct the science and research that we've been trained to conduct.


FISHER: So, the work continues. And the State Department says that it too, was surprised by today's announcement. But Jake, regardless of whether or not Russia is serious, the White House is now saying that NASA is actively preparing contingency plans and planning for a future on the International Space Station without Russia. They want to keep the space station going until 2030 if at all possible. That of course would be very difficult if Russia does indeed decide to pull out by 2024, Jake.


TAPPER: All right, Kristin Fisher, thank you so much. Appreciate it.


TAPPER: Well, perhaps the king himself didn't need the money but his famous home and tourist attraction Graceland in Memphis, well, they sure might like some.

A set of complicated Tennessee state issued bonds, which are tied to tourist revenue have gone into default. The bonds were offered five years ago. Their proceeds were used to fund a massive expansion of Graceland. But the pandemic shook rattled enrolled revenue at the site and now 20 percent of those tourism bonds are in junk status.

However, the financial challenges might prove temporary. Attendance has been boosted by the new film Elvis out in theaters and the city will celebrate Elvis week next month. You could say the public just can't help falling in love with Graceland.

Coming up, Attorney General Merrick Garland on the record. His comments today that do not shut down the question of potential charges against Donald Trump or anyone who worked in his White House. Stay with us.