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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Federal Prosecutors Obtain Warrant To Search Lawyer John Eastman's Cell Phone In January 6 Criminal Probe; DOJ Interviewing Former W.H. Staff About Trump's Actions Around Jan. 6; Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R-IL), Is Interviewed About January 6, Secret Service, Ginni Thomas, MAGA Republicans; Dems Criticized For Supporting Far- Right Primary Challengers; Pres. Biden's Approval Rating Suggest GOP Midterm Gains; Rep. Meijer On Dem Ad For His Opponent: "Galling In The Hypocrisy"; White House Backs Manchin-Schumer Deal On Energy, Health Care; Sources: National Security Officials Quietly Trying To Convince Pelosi Of Risks Of Traveling To Taiwan; Senate Passes $52B Bill To Boost U.S. Computer Chip Production; Wall Of Remembrance Dedicated At The Korean War Veterans Memorial. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 27, 2022 - 17:00   ET



MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Many are horn and say better late than never.


RAJU: Do you think that Trump should be prosecuted?

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): I personally, yes, but I'm not the attorney general. I think that the committee presented a lot of evidence as to his, not just complicity, but his active engagement in the insurrection.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-NY): In this case, the mounting evidence indicates to me that investigation is well warranted and there ought to be serious consideration of the prosecution. The walls are closing in on Donald Trump.


RAJU: Now, the Democrats who are a part of the House Select Committee say they have begun a process to share information with the Justice Department. Some of those members, including Congressman Adam Schiff, a member of that committee told me that they would give any information that the Justice Department wants. And that'd be significant, Jake, because as, you know, the committee and the Justice Department has sparred for some time about sharing information. Only recently have they set a process to provide that information that they are asking for. And they're happy with their hearing from news from the Justice Department going forward.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Manu, what are Republicans have to say? RAJU: Well, the Republicans offered a bit of a muted response, many of them not defending Donald Trump's actions, not yet criticizing what the Justice Department is doing and said, taking a wait and see approach. One of those Republicans, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who told me earlier today that he does not think that Trump should be prosecuted.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): That's just ridiculous for me to come in over, you know, what some grand jury may be looking at. And I don't see anything to prosecute him over.


RAJU: Now, Graham himself has come under scrutiny for phone calls he made to the Georgia Secretary of State in the aftermath of the November 2020 elections. The Georgia prosecutor looking into Donald Trump's actions has asked for Graham to come before the grand jury and testify there.

Graham himself has said that he will not do that. He's trying to fight that subpoena. But nevertheless, hearing some defense from Republicans, but for most of them are saying they're going to take a wait and see approach.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thanks so much.

Just in to CNN, federal prosecutors have obtained a warrant to search the cell phone of right wing Attorney John Eastman in their January 6 criminal investigation.

Eastman, as you may recall, was a key figure pushing this deranged plan for Vice President Mike Pence to try to constitutionally overturn the 2020 election, which of course, he did not have the power to do. CNN's Evan Perez joins us now.

And Evan, prosecutors had already gotten a warrant to see Eastman's phone, but this is a separate search warrant?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This is a second warrant, essentially, Jake, for them to be able to go through some of this device. And what they've -- what we learned in this new court filing from prosecutors is that they have set up a process by which to separate some of the material that they're looking through to make sure they don't run into any attorney client privilege issues. Obviously, Eastman has claimed that he was an attorney, he was acting as a lawyer for the former president, for former President Trump.

And of course, obviously, he was -- he's a big figure in this. He was involved in not only the setting up of this scheme for -- to pressure Mike Pence. In January 4, there was a meeting where Pence was pressured by the former president by Eastman to, you know, with this idea that he could set aside the election results and of course, set up this this whole scheme for fake electors to keep Donald Trump in office. Obviously, the former vice president did not do that. But importantly, mark short, the vice president's chief of staff and Greg Jacob were in that meeting. And of course, we know, they've now been brought before the grand jury as part of this investigation. So that's an important development.

Obviously, another important development we learned today is that Cassidy Hutchinson, who was a big witness in the January 6 hearings, recently, she has now begun cooperating with the Justice Department. We don't know the extent of that cooperation, but she's an important witness, obviously.

TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss, January 6 committee member, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.

Congressman, so we're learning that the Justice Department's investigation into what happened on January 6 in the months before it as well, they're now looking at conduct related to Donald Trump and his closest allies. What's your reaction?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL), JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Well, I think it's essential. I mean, I think the January 6 committee that we're not out to pursue criminal charges, we're simply out to make recommendations, tell the truth to the American people.

I think what we've shown is that at least, there's enough evidence that's worthy of the investigation. The Department of Justice will make the decision of what threshold that reaches. But I got to tell you, Jake, the thing I'm concerned about, yes, I mean, I think there's some serious concerns about stability if a former president is indicted, but where my bigger concern is on stability is what happens to a country that says a former president can attempt a coup, and as long as he's unsuccessful, we let bygones be bygones. And of course, if that president is successful, then he controls the government and the levers of government. So, while this is a no win situation, I certainly think this country cannot set a standard that you can cover up the law and you can attempt to overcome the will of the people.


TAPPER: Your fellow committee member Congressman Aguilar told CNN today that the Justice Department has given a list of transcripts that they want your committee to prioritize handing over to them. Are you able to gain any insight into what the DOJ is focusing on based on which transcripts they're asking you to hand over?

KINZINGER: Yes, we cannot -- I don't want to go too much into the revelation of that. The committee is certainly, you know, fine, obviously, working with DOJ. Even though we're running two separate investigations, we want to ensure that, you know, our investigation is complete, and we can do what we want. But we will cooperate with the Department of Justice.

And, again, you know, they have decisions to make, they have a lot of investigating, I'm sure still left. But I think for the sake of this country and for stability, it is really important for them to pursue this, regardless of what the outcome of this is.

TAPPER: Listen to what Attorney General Garland told NBC News yesterday about whether Trump becoming a candidate or even the nominee for the Republican Party for president would change their investigation.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: 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: In your view, who are some of the people who you think definitively tried to interfere with the transfer of power?

KINZINGER: Well, I personally think certainly the president. I mean, we've laid out multiple pronged approaches that he started on from just calling out the legitimacy of the election and conspiracies to pressuring the vice president to attempting to change the Department of Justice in a number of things to finally on January 6, really not doing nothing, sitting back and proactively resisting peer pressure, which he's actually not very good at doing usually. Resisting that pressure to act to kind of see, let's see what happens, you know, here at the Capitol, let's see if they're successful. So I certainly think him.

I think we've presented a strong case for attorney Eastman, that was in my hearing about the Department of Justice. So I think there's any number of people that could be along that line. But look, I think anybody that believes and maybe I even had this thought kind of at the beginning, that the President was kind of along for the ride and people were just convincing them, that is not the case. As Liz Cheney said, he's not a toddler, he can think for himself. And it is quite obvious that he was determined to stay in power and tried multiple prongs and avenues to do that.

TAPPER: Take a look at the House calendar. Members are home in your districts for most of August, you're back in session after Labor Day, but then back home for the opportunity to campaign for reelection for most of October ahead of the midterms. The committee must be under a lot of pressure to release your interim report during September before committee members go home for October.

KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, look, there's -- I have learned on this committee that there really is no break or recess. Even when we're home we're working remotely. The staff, I think is really the unsung heroes in all this. They've been doing, you know, God's work to get all the details together.

And so yes, I think we intend to put out as mentioned, the interim report, the investigation continues. And we can walk and chew gum. And I think every day that goes by, we get closer to more answers, Secret Service, for instance, and everything else. So, unfortunately, we don't get too much of an August when it comes to this committee, but it's important work for the American people and we're happy to do it.

TAPPER: What is the latest on the Secret Service because there are a whole bunch of whispers we heard from people next to -- near the Secret Service saying that they would be willing to testify about that story about whether or not then Deputy Chief of Staff Tony Ornato told Cassidy Hutchinson that story about Trump lunging in the SUV? But my understanding, I think you told CNN that talks had completely broken down and they weren't cooperating anymore, those three Secret Service agents, the gentleman that was the actual Secret Service, Agent Ornato and the guy that drove the SUV, what's the status?

KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, it's a pattern that we see, which is through anonymous sources, things are questioned that the committee. Through anonymous sources, they say they're willing to come in and give counter evidence, and then they never do because we require them to be under oath. So as of now, we've not talked to these secret service agents. They've loitered up, which is their right to do. And, you know, we'll go from there where the attorneys are engaging to figure out what's next.

But yes, that's, again, the standard kind of Trump operation patterns through anonymous sources or through whisper campaigns tried to discredit people, but then not be willing to do it under oath. And Cassidy Hutchinson has shown she is a brave American woman. And I think people like her, Sarah Matthews, Caroline Edwards will go down in history as having more courage than, frankly, almost every man in the Republican Party combined.

TAPPER: Your vice chair of the committee, Liz Cheney, told me on Sunday that the committee is prepared to consider subpoenaing Ginni Thomas, the wife of the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. If she does not appear before the committee voluntarily, when would that decision be made?


KINZINGER: So that's a -- So, the lawyers are really good at kind of knowing when they're in legitimate negotiations, which is all part of -- this is all standard or when they're being stalled. And typically, what we've seen is they'll come to us and say, hey, they're just stalling right now. And that's when we issue a subpoena. So I think when we get to that threshold, we will.

We're not treating Ginni Thomas any differently because of her last name. We've, you know, discovered more and more sort of involvement, some of which has been reported openly about her involvement with Eastman or trying to convince state electors. So we want to talk to her. And she said through the media that she'd be willing to come in, in fact, is eager to come in and talk to us. So, hopefully, we can get there. If not, we'll do what we need to do to make sure we can.

TAPPER: Lastly, on a separate topic we're seeing the Democratic Party is funding MAGA Republicans in these Republican primary elections in the hopes that they -- that those MAGA Republicans, who are more extreme, win the primary, then it would be easier for Democrats to beat them in the general election. Democrats are now doing this to Peter Meijer, Republican congressman from Michigan. He's one of the few Republicans, as I don't need to tell you because there are only 10 of you, who voted to impeach Donald Trump for the interaction. What do you make of this?

KINZINGER: Yes, we are a small group, Governor Pritzker spent, you know, 30 million of his own money to promote an election denier candidate who's now our Republican nominee. It's ridiculous. I have Democrats all the time and I'm glad they're speaking out on this that come to me and say, we're all the good Republicans.

You just have to look at this country first, which I have We're actually trying to get Democrats to vote in these primaries for good people that actually support the Constitution. And so, I'd encourage people to do that. That's where your efforts spent because democracy is at stake. And when you spend money promoting these bad election denying candidates, I don't know if you fully understand how at risk we are.

TAPPER: Well, there's a -- I mean, a lot of smart Democrats, I know, think there's a big red wave coming. A lot of these fringe folks could end up swept into state Houses and the U.S. Capitol.

KINZINGER: I'll go one further, there will be some of these candidates that were promoted that end up in office and end up doing real damage. You know, just look at the governor of Pennsylvania, that's a competitive race. Look at, you know, Illinois, et cetera. You will see that after November.

It's a very dangerous game to play. You're playing with fire. Play with fire, you're going to get burned.

TAPPER: Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.


TAPPER: Response today from House Democrats win big name gun maker Smith and Wesson did not show up for a hearing on the Hill.

Plus, a call is set for tomorrow between President Biden and the leader of China. What the White House says that two plan to discuss with the backdrop of tensions between the two countries. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the head of the House Oversight Committee plans to subpoena the country's second biggest rifle makers, Smith and Wesson, after the CEO of the company failed to show up for a hearing focused on AR style semiautomatic rifles, the same AR style semiautomatic rifles used in the Parkland and Highland Park mass shootings. Listen to a gun expert describing why he believes these guns are different from others.


RYAN BUSSE, SENIOR ADVISER, GIFFORDS LAW CENTER: And is specifically designed to be an offensive weapon of war for troops. In this case, the AR-15 would be much like a Formula One racecar. It's like other cars, but it's specifically designed to do things very fast, very easy.


TAPPER: CNN's Josh Campbell has been following this.

Josh, the CEOs of two other gun manufacturers didn't show up today. What did they have to say?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. The focus today was assault style weapons. This Democratic led committee released their initial findings into an investigation of the gun industry itself, alleging that manufacturers have employed questionable marketing tactics including appealing to white supremacist, preying on the masculinity of young men and running advertisements that mimic video games.

Now these two CEOs denied any inappropriate marketing practices, they defended their ability to sell these high power assault style weapons despite the carnage that they've caused.


REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): How many more American children need to die before your company will stop selling assault weapons?

MARTY DANIEL, CEO, DANIEL DEFENSE: I believe that these murders are local problems that have to be solved locally.

CHRISTOPHER KILLOY, CEO, RUGER: I don't consider the modern sporting rifles today that my company produces to be weapons of war. And like all Americans, I grieve, you know, when we read about these tragic incidences.


CAMPBELL: So that was the refrain that we heard throughout. Democrats slamming the CEOs on their alleged sales tactics, pressing for safer weapons.

The CEOs, Jake, saying that their product is lawful and constitutionally protected.

TAPPER: Josh, tell us about this particularly intense exchange between committee members.

CAMPBELL: Well, Republicans on the committee have defended the gun industry, saying the issue isn't guns, but progressive policing policies that they say have led to high crime in some cities. Those have been common defenses from conservatives.

But there was this one particular exchange that was notable, a fiery moment as one Republican himself, a former cop, actually suggested that gun control efforts could lead to shoot outs between gun owners and federal agents. Watch.


REP. CLAY HIGGINS (R-LA): When you think ATF and FBI comes to our house, in the dead of night, you're setting up gunfights between American citizens. When those gun fights happen, that blood will be on your hands.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I can match his passion with my own. And we will not be threatened with violence and bloodshed because we want reasonable gun control.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As the gentleman point in --

CONNOLLY: I will not yield. I will not yield.


CAMPBELL: Now our colleague Lauren Conan (ph) caught this moment afterwards where that congressman, Clay Higgins, was confronted by a survivor of the Highland Park massacre. She asked the congressman, have you ever had to run from a mass shooter? He told her that he himself was once in law enforcement. So she followed up she said, so you do know what it's like to be shot at. Jake, he didn't answer.


TAPPER: All right, Josh Campbell, thanks so much.

Donald Trump has been flirting with a reelection bid since he left office. Why Republican leaders are advising him to wait at least 104 days from now before making it official. That's next.


TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead in the anxious hand wringing over the upcoming midterm elections by Democrats. House Minority Kevin McCarthy says he has urged former President Trump to hold off and not announce anything regarding 2024 until after November. McCarthy says he wants to focus on winning the midterms first and foremost.

CNN Data Reporter Harry Enten joins us now with a raw look at the raw data.


Harry, where do things stand right now in the outlook for the midterms for Democrats and Republicans?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, so if you look at the generic congressional ballot, right, in the choice for Congress, what we actually see is that while Republicans still hold an advantage here of one point, that lead has been dropping over the last few months, which perhaps isn't so surprising, Trump has been in the news a lot more at the January 6 select committee. And the more Trump is in the news, the worse it has generally been for Republicans.

But I want you to keep in mind this one point lead and look at history, because essentially, what I want to look at is the best Republican positions on the generic ballot at this point in midterm cycles since 1938. Guess where that one point lead in 2022 sets, it is the second best position Republicans have ever been in on the generic congressional ballot at this point. And all the other times in which Democrats did not hold a lead in which they -- Republicans were either tie with the Democrats or the Republicans were up by three back in 2010, look at what happened in the majority. Who won the majority that fall? It was Republicans every single time.

So even though Democrats have been gaining, I would not be a worry necessarily based on history, if I were in fact, the Republicans.

TAPPER: Yes, Democrats need to be up like at least five, six, seven points in order to have a fighting chance.

We're still three months -- more than three months away from Election Day. Is there reason to think the polls might be underestimating one side or the other? Are polls like these typically indicative of what actually happens in November?

ENTEN: So, if we were in fact to say, OK, we think it's under estimating one side, I would think it would be underestimating Republicans. Here's why. Take a look at the July 27 House polling versus the November national vote, in midterm cycles where there's a Democratic president, we'll go back since 1994, right? And what we see generally we see some blue here, some Democratic leads in 2014 1994, a tie back in 1998, Republicans plus three.

Then look at the November result, in each of these years, the Republicans outperformed their July polling in the November result, and the average shift from the July polling to the November result, an average shift of six points to Republicans. Why might that be? Take a look here, the shift in party identification margin, because remember, it's not all registered voters were interested in, its actual midterm voters. And if we look at every single election since 1978, with a Democratic president, there has been a shift in the party margin, party ID margin, more Republicans turnout on election day compared to what the actual registered voters are in midterm elections when there's a Democratic president.

TAPPER: So Democrats should be looking at November in sheer terror?

ENTEN: I would not be a big fan of what's going to happen in November if I were a Democrat, and I had a crystal ball. And we can just look at straight history, right, the White House Party loses four or more seats in House midterms since 1870. Thirty-five out of 38 times, that has been the case, the White House Party has lost four or more seats.

And the only times in polling history in which they didn't, in fact, lose four or more seats, 1998 and 2002, look at the president's approval rating 64 percent, 66 percent. Joe Biden's approval rating at this point, Jake, is just 38 percent. It doesn't look anything like those years.

TAPPER: All right, Harry Enten, thanks so much.

Let's talk about this with my panel. Kristen, you're a pollster, do you agree with Harry's assessment? And is there anything Democrats could do to change this dynamic?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER & STRATEGIST, ECHELON INSIGHTS: Well, I'm not really interested in giving Democrats a ton of advice, Jake, on how to turn this around for them. I think Harry is right.

You know, I've seen as well, in my own polling, a little bit of a bump for Democrats over the last couple of weeks. This could be in part because Donald Trump's been in the news, more it could be because of heightened Democratic enthusiasm in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. But there's no guarantee that that will last until November.

And Republicans are still in a very strong position, especially as it comes to the House. The Senate, a different question, because candidate quality really matters there and that's a very separate conversation. But the House at least, Republicans have every reason to be feeling great.

TAPPER: And Doug, my CNN colleague Isaac Dovere reports that many Democratic leaders want to reframe the midterms, so it's less about them and their performance and Joe Biden's performance and more about the Republican Party, which they're trying to paint as extremists. Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii says quotes, "Democrats would be irresponsible, both morally and politically, if we just went with the same poll tested stuff about delivering infrastructure. There's a place for all that, but these people are out of their minds and are really acting with impunity and we need to say so."

Well, do you think that could work?

DOUG HATTAWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I don't think it's enough. I understand the impulse, but here's the sad truth for Democrats is that working people do not believe that Democrats know how to make the economy work for them. And they need to hear more of that. We are at a historical disadvantage against Republicans on the economy despite Republican policies that make it hard to, you know, have a good job with good benefits.

And I get the there is a responsibility to call out extremists worth threat to democracy, but it's not talking about everyday concerns of everyday working people. And we have to do that too.

TAPPER: So Attorney, one of the things that's interesting is Democrats, because of this horrendous cycle that they're facing, are getting very mercenary. One of the things they're doing in the hopes of putting up the weakest Republican possible for November, Democrats are actually funding in some cases. These far right MAGA candidates, they did it in the Maryland governor's race. Mastriano was already winning in the Pennsylvania Republicans governor's race, but they did it with him too. And they're now going after Congressman Peter Meijer, putting up a far-right extremist candidate against Congressman Peter Meijer, who's a Republican who voted to impeach Donald Trump. Take a listen to Peter Meijer, talking about this strategy earlier today.


REP. PETER MEIJER (R-MI): I mean, the guy has a long track record of anti-Semitic comments of defending Holocaust deniers and so, you know, so my Democratic colleagues, member dollars instead of going to defend them are going to boost him. It's pretty galling and the hypocrisy of it all. And just shameless given their high-minded rhetoric about how they are the party of democracy. Spare me that bullshit.


TAPPER: That's some strong words. And you heard Adam Kinzinger, Congressman Kinzinger say earlier in the show, he thinks that this red wave is going to bring some of these lunatics into Congress.

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yes. I think I would question sort of the accuracy of their assumption that who is the weaker candidate in this type of cycle when it could be sort of a wave, your and many of these candidates could get elected and end up in Congress. And I think the congressman is right, given how much of a focus Democrats have put on, you know, saying they're the party of protecting democratic institutions.

Part of their sort of messaging on calling Republicans out for being extremist, this is all seeming very hypocritical now, if they're going to continue to do this.

ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Especially as you see the White House kind of really take that on and start to execute on that rhetoric. Just earlier this week, when President Biden was speaking to a law enforcement group, black law enforcement group, you saw him start to have some more kind of heated rhetoric and calling out specifically the former president and the lack of action he took on January 6.

It was very similar to that speech he made in January, on the anniversary of January 6, which was one of those addresses where he really specifically criticized the former president in ways we haven't seen. When you talk to democratic advisers and allies of the White House, they've been asking really for two things. One, call out the other side, and the quote unquote, extremism on the other side, and you saw them take advantage of that a little bit with describing some of the economic policies and other policies as Ultra MAGA.

The other thing is to describe what you have already done, describe the legislation that you've already passed. It's hard to do the latter when inflation is so high. And it's going to be hard to do the former if you continue to go with this funding strategy. So there are some risks here going forward.

TAPPER: There is some reason for hope on some Democratic achievement because Democrats they need to win. They might have won in the pipeline. Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia says he has a deal with Democratic leader, Majority Leader Schumer on an energy and health care bill in addition to an agreement on taxes. How vital do you think that is for your party, Doug?

HATTAWAY: It should help. The Democrats have actually gotten a lot of good stuff done. And it's been a big frustration that doesn't break through the way that we'd like it to. Back to what I was saying about the sad truth for Democrats is being at a disadvantage. People don't trust Democrats on the economy.

And a lot of these I understand the dynamics around calling out extremists and so forth. But we have to do what we can to talk about what's like in this lowering prescription drug costs. Cost of living, as we all know, is the top issue for a lot of people in this cycle. And it is all the time for a lot of working people whose jobs don't pay enough to, you know, make ends meet.

And that's really what they need to be able to turn to Democrats for. And they don't hear it enough. I think there's sort of a wealth of good policies that have gotten out there. You can predict what's going to happen here if it comes through. It'll -- we'll get lost in the debate of it's not enough, you know, that sort of thing. It's easy for accomplishments like this to get lost in the noise.

TAPPER: That mean, that's it -- there are accomplished.


TAPPER: They do have accomplishments. I mean, Obama would have given, you know, his IT for a gun bill, or for an infrastructure bill. Trump probably would have, if he'd ever actually tried to get one really, liked to have had an infrastructure bill. Why do you think it is it is not cutting through?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think in some cases, take, for instance, some of the big spending that happened in the first year of the Biden administration, a lot of voters say, is that why my groceries cost so much? Is that why my gas cost so much? And even if an economist might come in and say, well, I've got six charts that show you why that's not necessarily the case.

For voters, they're saying, I feel like Biden came into office and all of a sudden, everything about my economic life got turned a bit topsy- turvy. And so for Democrats, I think saying, well, hey, look at all of the stuff we've done in Washington. For a lot of voters, they're like, well, we are looking at what you didn't watch and we don't really like it and that's why we're going to vote for Republicans in November.


TAPPER: And so, House Republican leader McCarthy's wants Trump to hold off until after the midterms to make his announcement that he's running for president, which it's pretty much a foregone conclusion. That's because he thinks it will hurt Republicans, right?

PARTI: That's right. I mean, it's clear that the Republican playbook is to focus as much on the economy as possible to focus on Joe Biden. Based on the polling we've seen, his approval ratings are plummeting, especially on his handling of the economy. So that is the message, Republicans want to drive home. And when Donald Trump gets thrown into the mix, the focus becomes on Trump, and they don't want any sort of deviation from the plan on the economy.

TAPPER: Listen to Trump. This is Trump giving his view of the United States of America. I want to get your reaction.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is now a cesspool of crime. We have blood death and suffering on a scale once unthinkable because of the Democrat party's effort to destroy and dismantle law enforcement. It has to stop, and it has to stop now.


KANNO-YOUNGS: I was going to say even if Trump doesn't, you know, make an official announcement of running for President, as you've seen from this week, he's still going to put himself in the limelight. And for many Republicans that are trying to focus the attention on political liabilities for the White House, inflation, the economy, what have you, you know, the former president has shown that he's going to continue to promote fraudulent lies about the election and look back and turn back to 2020.

That right there, though, does foreshadow a playbook that we saw around 2020 and trying to portray the Democratic Party, as you know, one of chaos that doesn't support law and order. It's interesting, I mean, you have President Biden going out of his way to show that he has allocated stimulus funds for police departments as well. So be interesting to see how that goes.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks one and all. Appreciate it.

President Biden today aviators and all back out and about after his battle with COVID, comparing his experience without Donald Trump was treated when he was sick. Take a look.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When my predecessor got COVID, he had to get helicopter to Walter Reed Medical Center. When I got COVID, I work from upstairs of the White House.


TAPPER: Ahead, the major call Biden set for tomorrow as he faces off with China.



TAPPER: In our world lead, President Biden has tested negative for COVID. He is celebrating the end of his isolation by diving right back into his schedule starting with a critical call to Chinese President Xi Jinping tomorrow. As soon as Kaitlan Collins report, this call comes as tensions are ratcheting up between the United States and China and a potential Nancy Pelosi trip to Taiwan sparks a national security scramble.


BIDEN: I heard a rumbling on my staff saying, oh, he's back.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After two negative tests. President Biden returned to the West Wing today following five days in isolation.

BIDEN: And now I get to go back to the Oval Office.

COLLINS (voice-over): One of the first things on his to-do list, a major call with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

CECILIA ROUSE, CHAIRWOMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: I'm not going to speak to what the President is going to cover during the call. But what I will say this is that the President is focused on trying to address inflation.

COLLINS (voice-over): Biden will speak to the Chinese leader for the first time in four months with a range of issues including tariffs on the agenda, and a potential visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looming over at all.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think that it's important for us to show support for Taiwan.

COLLINS (voice-over): National security officials are quietly working to convince Pelosi not to visit the self-governed island concerned about how President Xi could react as he's working to boost his standing at home amid a bleak economic backdrop.

PELOSI: I think what the President was saying is the -- maybe the military was afraid our plane would get shut down or something like that by the Chinese.

COLLINS (voice-over): Pelosi's declined to confirm the visit as China has threatened a forceful response if she follows through.

PELOSI: I don't ever discuss my travel plans. It's a national -- it's a security issue.

COLLINS (voice-over): A spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs warning that, quote, "China will take strong measures to resolutely respond and counteract." The proposed visit has upended conventional politics in Washington with a growing number of Republicans encouraging Pelosi to go.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: If she doesn't go now, she's headed China sort of a victory of sorts.

COLLINS (voice-over): Even former President Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is urging her to follow through tweeting, "Nancy, I'll go with you. I'm banned in China, but not freedom loving Taiwan. See you there."


COLLINS: And, Jake, back on this major news that Senator Manchin announces that he has struck a deal with Senator Schumer when it comes to climate and lowering health care costs. Obviously, this would be a welcome prospect for this White House that has gone round and round with Manchin so many times on deals similar to this one.

The White House has not issued a formal statement yet, Jake, but I am told that they have signed off on this agreement that is notable. I will also say, Jake, that this was a pretty well-kept secret and a town where there are certainly few of them certainly when lawmakers are involved.

TAPPER: Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us, thank you so much.

Made in America just made easier. A major bridge across the political divide to keep your car, your phone, your computer running smoothly. How CHIPS brought lawmakers together? That story is next.



TAPPER: A big achievement in our tech lead today. Republican and Democratic senators today approved a $52 billion bill which lawmakers hope will invigorate American semiconductor production and research. The tech that is critical to our cars and our phones and our computers. It's a huge win for the industry and for the Biden administration and for the senators who worked on this including Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana joins us right now to discuss.

Senator Young, you've been working on this bill for more than two years. What will the immediate impact be assuming it gets to the President's desk and he signs it which I assume it will?

SEN. TODD YOUNG (R-IN), COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE: So thank you, this is a big win for America. Certainly, it'll be a big win for my constituents, Jake. What we're going to see in the very near term are more semiconductor manufacturing companies announcing a manufacturing presence on our American soil.


So that we're no longer dependent on other countries for the sourcing of these computer chips that are the brains of a basically everything with an on off switch these days, from automobiles to weapon systems, to our cell phones, and there'll be made in the heartland. In fact, just days ago, we had an announcement in West Lafayette, Indiana, that SkyWater, one of the semiconductor manufacturers would be locating their manufacturing chips if, in fact, we passed this legislation.

TAPPER: Your fellow Republican Senator Marco Rubio voted no. He told Fox that he thinks this legislation has a massive loophole that will allow companies to use taxpayer money and still build chips in China. Is he wrong?

YOUNG: I do think he's wrong. We've addressed that issue. We make sure that any manufacturer that receives money through this legislation to incentivize chip manufacturer on our soil cannot engage in manufacturing, the high end chips that really invoke national security concerns for our people in our military.

TAPPER: Is that the concern so many semiconductors are manufactured abroad that it gives the Chinese visibility into American national security? Is that the major part of this beyond the jobs?

YOUNG: Well, not only is there a national security concern as it relates to the very high end semiconductors that go into our weapon systems, but it's an issue of economic security. One example would be we have an auto assembly plant, General Motors located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They've already idled twice this year because of the shortage of computer chips. That, of course, is driving up the cost of automobiles and creating all sorts of disruptions in our broader economy. This sort of thing won't happen in the future. If we can source our computer chips domestically.

TAPPER: China-Taiwan tensions are one of the reasons for the urgency behind this bill. You're on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. What do you think about the possibility of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi traveling to Taiwan and the threats that the Chinese government has been making about it?

YOUNG: Well, listen, I'm glad that so far, Speaker Pelosi at least has been coy about her intentions. I do think she should make clear in coming days that she won't be cowed by the threats of the Chinese Communist Party. It has been the long standing position of the Chinese Communist Party, that they believe Taiwan is theirs. And they have offered all manner of threats from entering the aircraft identification zone with their military jets in Taiwan to threatening local officials that don't align themselves with the Chinese Communist Party.

So this is in a sense, nothing new. I hope that Speaker Pelosi will continue with her bipartisan trip. Otherwise, we're going to be inviting weakness and encouraging the Chinese in the future to just threaten America to get their way. This is especially important as it relates to Taiwan, of course, because in part for the reason that they produce so many of those high-end computer chips, right now the so- called fabs or manufacturing facilities for the chips that go into our aircraft or our ships and many of our sophisticated computer systems are made right there in Taiwan, yet another reason because of the vulnerability that we should be reshoring much of this capacity.

TAPPER: Before you go, last week he told CNN you had not read the legislation that would codify same-sex marriage. It passed the House with bipartisan support. Now that your main priority, the CHIPS Bill is passed in the Senate, how are you going to vote on the same-sex marriage bill? Do you know?

YOUNG: Well, I have not had an opportunity to read into it. I will say I've had some conversations with colleagues and so forth, as I've been on the floor working on this chips legislation. But as you indicate now that this has passed, I'll be consulting with my constituents and getting their opinion.

My own view, in the view of many of my constituents, based on initial conversations is, frankly, meant so many are unclear why government is involved in sanctioning a religious sacrament marriage altogether. I think that's a fair question, something that we'll be discussing.

And the last thing I would say is that it's unclear why at this moment, we have to address this issue. Typically, the Supreme Court will address matters when there's a case or a controversy brought to it. Right now, Obergefell remains the law of the land indicating that same-sex marriage is the law of the land and, frankly, a number of my constituents regard this as something that was somewhat settled.

TAPPER: All right, Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana, thank you so much, sir. Appreciate it. Congrats on the CHIP Bill.

YOUNG: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: In the national lead, a long overdue honor to the men and women who sacrificed their lives during the Korean War. A newly completed remembrance wall was dedicated today at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall here in Washington, D.C. It contains the names of more than 36,000 Americans who died or were killed supporting the war and more than 7,000 Koreans who died or were killed while augmenting the U.S. military effort.


Second gentleman Doug Emhoff participated in a wreath laying during today's ceremony. The Korean War ran from 1950 to 1953.

Coming up next, Beyonce fans getting into formation reportedly upset about the screw up over her album coming out in two days. What screw up? Stay with me.



TAPPER: The Beehive is buzzing about this one in the Papalii. According to Variety, files that sound like the new Beyonce album have hit the internet two days before her new project is officially scheduled to drop. CNN has not confirmed that these files are indeed Queen B's latest songs. But to add insult to injury, some Twitter users claim they've spotted the "Renaissance" album on sale early in Europe. This is Beyonce's first full length albums since "Lemonade" in 2016. And I'm told she remains the undisputed queen.

If you ever miss an episode of THE LEAD, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcast. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM". See you tomorrow.