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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Pelosi Leaves Taiwan After Visit Inflames Tensions With China; Rep. Mike Turner, (R-OH), Is Interviewed About Pelosi's Travel To Taiwan; China Stages Military Drills Around Taiwan After Pelosi Visit, Afghanistan; Poll: Dems Take Slight Advantage On Generic Ballot; Rep. Maloney Backtracks After Saying Biden Won't Run In 2024; Kansas Votes Overwhelmingly To Protect Abortion Rights; Ukrainians Upset Over Russian Attacks Launched From Belarus; Concerns About Stigmatizing Patients Amid Testing Delays; 12-Year-Old Girl Escapes Captivity, Leads Alabama Police To 2 Dead Bodies; Legendary Dodgers' Announcer Vin Scully Dies At 94. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 03, 2022 - 17:00   ET




M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The last Democratic Senate holdout and result in unprecedented investments in fighting climate change.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Passionate for the American people, passionate for America.

LEE (voice-over): Still a number of significant challenges continuing to plague the administration. High inflation remains a stubborn problem with the majority of Americans saying they do not approve of Biden's handling of the economy and inflation. A national shortage of baby formula prompted by recalls and the shutdown of a major formula plant dating back to February, drawing criticism about the White House's failure to act with speed.

BIDEN: I don't think anyone anticipated the impact of the shutdown of one facility in the Abbott facility.

LEE (voice-over): Public health experts ringing alarm bells about the spread of monkeypox.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We made a lot of the same mistakes that we've made with COVID.

LEE (voice-over): And following the Supreme Court's historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the administration criticized by some for lacking urgency.


LEE: And of course, the White House continues to deal with the fallout from the Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade. Earlier today we saw President Biden signing the second executive order on this front since this historic decision. And the executive order today would impart support women who now need to travel out of state to get abortion services and other health care services. Though it is very clear that the White House is still figuring out the details of how exactly they would execute this.

But Jake, there's no question that this is an issue that this White House hopes will continue to energize voters heading into the midterms. They believe that is exactly what they saw last night in Kansas. Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. M.J. Lee at the White House for us. Thank you so much.

An issue that is still dodging the -- dogging the White House, the fallout from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan, the Chinese government lashing out -- continuing to lash out, launching a series of unprecedented live fire military drills around the island and warning that those who quote, "play with fire will perish," unquote.

In addition to meeting with the self-governing island's president earlier today, Pelosi delivered a strong message of support for Taiwan's democracy and Taiwan's security and direct defiance of the Chinese government's repeated warnings and threats. As CNN's Will Ripley reports from Taiwan's capital city of Taipei, the visit by Pelosi is complicating Washington's already strained relationship with Beijing.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In almost any other capital, the armored convoy for U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may not get a second glance. But here in Taipei, on the diplomatically isolated island of Taiwan, a visit like this hasn't happened in 25 years.

When Pelosi's political career began, protests like this are not allowed in Taiwan. Pelosi witnessed Taiwan's stunning transition from dictatorship to democracy. A democracy under duress, claimed but never controlled by Beijing's communist rulers.

The Chinese military escalating cross strait tensions, military drills encircling Taiwan, some just miles from shore, condemned by Taiwan, a sea and air blockade. Pelosi's political gamble, her historic visit to the self-governing island preceded by days of drama. Fiery threats from China ignore, warnings from the Pentagon, even President Biden rushed off.

BIDEN: The military thinks it's not a good idea right now.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Silence and secrecy until the moment Pelosi's plane touched down in Taipei, a dramatic entrance three hours late, avoiding the heavily militarized South China Sea. Taiwan president, Tsai Ing-wen, rolling out the red carpet for one of America's most powerful politicians, awarding Pelosi Taiwan's highest civilian honor.

Having lunch with leaders of TSMC, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world leader in chips crucial to cutting edge tech made in Taiwan. At parliament in Taipei, Pelosi's defiant speech defending democracy in Taiwan.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: We will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan, and we're proud of our enduring friendship.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Friendship has a time limit in the fast paced political world. Less than 24 hours in Taiwan Pelosi managed to cement her legacy win rare bipartisan praise and infuriate the Chinese military. Live fire drills began lighting up the seas around Taiwan within hours of Pelosi is triumphant departure.


RIPLEY: And those live fire drills are expected to continue in the coming days. It raises the question, Jake, did Taiwan get and more in terms of legitimacy by having Nancy Pelosi there or did they lose in terms of their relationship with Beijing. And now, these provocations seem to be getting more and more intense.


We're hearing now that an unprecedented number of Chinese warplanes crossed the median line, that's the line in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, that China has never recognized. But it's a line that's kind of, if you crossed that line, you're basically inching very close to territorial airspace of Taiwan. And this is a provocation, a level of provocation that Taiwan says they hadn't seen, at least since they began reporting information more than two years ago, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Will Ripley in Taiwan, thank you so much.

Joining us now, Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio. He's the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee and also a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us. You've said you think it's important that Pelosi traveled to Taiwan despite the pressure from the Chinese government and discouraging words from the Biden administration. Why is it important?

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, you know, I think you've seen most recently from Nancy Pelosi this world of travel that focuses on this issue, as she described in her "Washington Post" op-ed, of democracy against authoritarian regimes where she went to Ukraine and met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv. Now she's going to Taiwan. In both she's called out Russia and China aggressors and self-identified, you know, adverse to the United States from both of them.

What we're seeing now here is a Pelosi even with criticism from the White House of taking these steps to do so. What I'm hopeful is that this is going to be an opportunity that when she comes back to Washington, we might be able to have a bipartisan initiative to put, to restore some of the cuts, to defense spending that Pelosi has been leading in the House to look at ways in which we can strengthen our military. She made some pretty strong statements in that "Washington Post" op-ed, about coming to the defense of Taiwan. I think it's time now for us to have a bipartisan initiative in the House to give the military what they need in case we are in a situation of the conflict with either Russia or China and our allies.

TAPPER: So in the Senate, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they're considering legislation that would provide Taiwan with nearly $4.5 billion in security assistance over the next four years. I would also classify Taiwan as a major non NATO ally. Is that something you would support? And how does that impact the one China principle which is a principle the United States, you know, adheres to, which is that Taiwan is part of China?

TURNER: Right. And as you know, that comes out of Jimmy Carter's policies from his era. I think we certainly are in a situation where, especially with we have China's aggressiveness, its threats to our country, its threats to Taiwan and others, its modernization of its nuclear weapons programs, what it's doing and investing and expanding its military -- its militarization of space, that we need to take a relook at how do we address the issue of China now as an aggressor state, as an authoritarian regime that threatens democracy? So these are all possibilities for us to do.

I think number one, though, I mean, the -- under Pelosi's House, they just put a $70 billion cut in the U.S. Defense budget, and also cut some of the modernizations for our nuclear weapons that were planned, not expanding our nuclear weapons capabilities as China is doing where they're massively expanding their nuclear weapons capabilities, but just even modernizing what we currently have. We need to make certain we focus on our military because of these threats from Russia and China and to our adversaries. They're looking at what we're doing. We need to make certain that we strengthen ourselves.

TAPPER: I want to get your reaction to something former Democratic senator and U.S. Ambassador to China under Obama, Max Baucus, told me yesterday. Take a listen.


MAX BAUCUS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: They may decide contrary to U.S. treaties to China, where we've asked China not to help Russia and Ukraine, they may decide what the heck, you can't depend on U.S. anymore. So we might start helping Russia.


TAPPER: The basic argument and we've heard that from people with the Biden administration to is that China has been mostly neutral in the war of Russia against Ukraine, despite calls from Zelenskyy and others to oppose Russia. But poking a finger in the eye of China could cause China to support Russia much, much more than they have.

TURNER: Well, I think China's response on Russia has been largely because they didn't expect northern Russia, that there would be a unified worldwide outcry to the invasion of Ukraine and to the atrocities that are occurring there. I don't think China is doing us any favor in this just because we believe that Russia is the aggressor and of course, you know, are supporting Ukraine in this.

If China was really looking at how they could have, you know, leveraged United States, they would denuclearize North Korea, which they're not doing at all, and they have certainly the power and the authority to do. That something certainly is a direct threat to United States. And if they wanted to show that they, you know, could be a partner, then certainly that's a good place for them to start it.

TAPPER: So you released a statement applauding the success of the drone strike that Biden ordered that killed Ayman al-Zawahiri. But you also said that the strike in Kabul reveals the U.S.'s failure to address rising threats in Afghanistan because al-Zawahari -- Zawahiri felt comfortable enough to be in downtown Kabul. The Biden administration would say in response that, hey, this strike proves that we can wage war against terrorists without American troops on the ground. What would you say to that?


TURNER: Well, this strike where we are this one individual that is targeted, where there's the intelligence community does a, you know, holistic triage of where is this person locates them, and has the ability to reach out and touch them is a capability that we've always had in our counterterrorism strategy. What the President claimed he was going to have, with his haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan was what he called over the horizon, which was actually supposed to be an ability to degrade terrorist organizations ability to operate in Afghanistan and come to the level of being a threat to United States.

And taking out one man is not that over the horizon capability. What the administration has failed to do is recognize Al Qaeda is there, Al Qaeda was there when the President made the statement that they were gone. And they have yet to provide to Congress what is their plan. How are they going to ensure that terrorist organizations that we know were there are not going to grow and grow in their threats to the United States? And I think that's where the President now needs to focus is how do we ensure that with the resources that we have, that the White House targets actually terrorist organizations and groups to degrade their capabilities.

TAPPER: Lastly, sir, I just want to ask, I know you disagree with a lot that Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden are pushing forward, but I couldn't help but notice in the last year, there have really been a number of very big, consequential bipartisan bills. You've supported some of them. There's the infrastructure bill, the PACT act to help veterans, the CHIPS bill, the Gun Safety bill. In fact, I think you -- did you vote for all four of those? It's possible you did.

TURNER: I didn't vote for the infrastructure bill.

TAPPER: OK, but you votes three of the four.


TAPPER: We're seeing Congress working. And again, I know you disagree with a lot that the Democrats are doing, but that's something to celebrate, I think.

TURNER: Well, yes. But I -- you know, something that -- there's just need to be a look here just a little bit further, and that is take the CHIPS Act, for example. That is a bill that should have had much more wider bipartisan support. But unfortunately on the House side, on the Senate side, it became a partisan football.

And when it came out of the House, it wasn't even able to be a bipartisan vote at all. And when it came back, you know, we could have been in a situation where if they're really working across the aisle, that we could have had much greater support. Now, the gun bill itself is something that, as you know, came out of a bipartisan group working in the Senate, not an initiative from the White House, bipartisan group, and then gained broader support when it was first voted on in the House. Again, it was much more partisan than it came back as a bipartisan bill.

I think what people need to know is it that every day there really is bipartisan work that's happening in the House. There certainly is certainly a partisan flavor that we all see on television, but there is bipartisan work that's being done, there does need to be more of it. And that does require that people talk to each other and people work together.

TAPPER: All right. Congressman Mike Turner, thank you so much. Good to see you, sir.

TURNER: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, she's breaking her silence. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema weighs in on the Democrat's economic proposal. Will she tank the deal which will not be so bipartisan?

Then, the CDC is about to issue some major changes to its COVID guidance including what schools should do. What is going -- what are they going to say? What are they going to recommend? That's ahead.



TAPPER: Just in, our politics lead, Senator Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona, the key holdout on the Democrats economic and Climate Change Package is now making her own demands to the tune of $14 billion. CNN's Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill for us.

Manu, what does Senator Sinema want?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she has been concerned about taxes for some time that had been an issue in which he had actually scuttled provisions in the President's Build Back Better plan to raise corporate income tax rates and personal income tax rates, and has raised concerns about that privately. On this provision, this proposal does not have those taxes.

But there's two other taxes, one to set a corporate minimum tax of 15 percent on big corporations, as well as dealing with the issue of so called carried interest, which is a tax that would impact hedge fund managers as well as private equity. She wants that carried interest provision out of this proposal, that would cost about raise about $14 billion for the Democrats package here to help pay for their big proposal. Also this issue of dealing with the corporate minimum tax would generate much more revenue to pay for everything from climate change proposals, energy proposal, as well as extending health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

She had a private call with business groups yesterday who are lobbying her hard to try to change that specific proposal, the corporate minimum tax. And she asked his group according to one of the attendees, what about whether this language was good or bad or suggested perhaps it could be changed. And that attendee, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce president told us, it gave me hope that she's willing to open this up and maybe make it better.

Now, previously, Sinema has been supportive of the corporate minimum tax, but there is some hope among the business groups and Republicans that the lobbying against her right now over this provision could be enough for her to actually pressure the leadership to change this proposal and pare it back some more. But she still, Jake, has not spoken publicly about this. She indicated earlier today she is waiting. She's -- her officer saying that she will not make her position known until the Senate parliamentarian makes a decision about what proposals can be added in the budget process, which would allow this bill to be proved along straight party lines circumventing a Republican filibuster. But proved this, Jake, that means all 50 Democrats need to be on board including Kyrsten Sinema and she remains the one holdout here as Democrats and Republicans privately lobbying her and she has yet to tip her hand in how she will vote.

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

Tearful testimony, why a cybersecurity official choked up before lawmakers today when talking about a huge threat to the American election process. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, a new Monmouth poll suggests that Democrats could, could be gaining ground on the so called generic ballot, that means pollsters asked voters which party would you vote for if the vote for Congress were taking place today? Democrats have gained a few points on Republicans. Compared to June, it's still within the margin of error. And we should note, traditionally Democrats need to actually be up six to 10 points in the generic ballot to not have an awful night on election night.

CNN's Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten joins us now live.

Harry, is there any hope for Democrats in November that it will not be a massive red wave?


HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: So, you know, most of the time when we talk about Congress we've been talking about the House. And this is the chance of chamber control in 2023 based on the betting odds. And you can see in the House, look at this, Republicans have an 85 percent chance of gaining control, Democrats just down at 15 percent.

But today, I really want to focus in on the Senate because we really haven't spoken about it too much. And look at the betting odds here. Look at this, 51 percent chance Republicans have control, 49 percent that Democrats have control, that my friends is E, then which I can't quite spell out. Nope, I got the room.

And the question that I have is whether or not we should be shocked at the Senate House ended up in different hands after the election. And this is -- take a look at the House and Senate in midterm since 1946. The same party gained seats in both 14 times. But the party gain -- one party gain to one but not the other, that has actually happened a few times, that's happened five times including in 2018. So it shouldn't be shocking if the Democrats in fact lose the House, but actually do get hold onto the United States Senate, Jake.

TAPPER: And so, walk us through the battlegrounds of Georgia and Pennsylvania.

ENTEN: Yes. So, why is it that Democrats might have a chance of holding on to the Senate, but losing in the House? And I think these polls in both Georgia and Pennsylvania will give you an idea. So here's a poll from Georgia, Raphael Warnock, the sitting United States Senator at 46 percent, Herschel Walker at 42 percent.

Now why is that? Take a look at the net favorability ratings. That's a favorable minus the unfavorable. Look at Raphael Warnock, not exactly well liked at plus one. But look at Herschel Walker, minus five point.

Republicans have been nominating bad candidates across the spectrum according to the voters, Georgia is one example of that. Pennsylvania is another one, look at this poll, John Fetterman the Democratic candidate 47 percent, Mehmet Oz, Dr. Oz, 36 percent, an 11 point advantage. What's going on here? The net favorability rating, look at Fetterman, plus 15 points, Mehmet Oz, minus 20 points. Well underwater, Jake.

TAPPER: That's fascinating. Republicans have been hoping to run on a referendum against President Biden, his low approval rating, the high inflation numbers. Do you think that will work?

ENTEN: It may not. It may not because take a look here, have a favorable opinion, and this is our last CNN poll of only Joe Biden 36 percent. Only the Republican Party 33 percent. Look at this neither category, 29 percent have a favorable opinion of neither.

And here is where it all comes together. The choice for Congress, overall in our last CNN poll, look at that, Jake, it was tied. Hold a favorable view of only Joe Biden, which is the plurality of folks, Democrats look here, plus 93. Hold a favorable view of only the GOP, it's plus 95. But take a look here, hold a favorable view of neither of both the GOP is up only seven points, Jake, only seven points.

You put it all together, Joe Biden may not be liked, but if this turns into a choice election, which it may very well, it could be trouble for Republicans.

TAPPER: All right. Harry Enten, thank you so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

TAPPER: Let's discuss. Scott, I know you are bullish on Republicans chances in both the House and Senate. Do you think it's possible that Democrats will not have as bad a midterm election as is being forecast in general?

SCOTT JENNINGS, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANCE TO PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: I'm bullish on the House. I do think the Senate is a different thing. And when we talk about the generic ballot, I really do think you have to separate the chambers. I mean, I think it's a lot that Republicans are going to win the House.

But these Senate races all are individual races, they take on the quality and character of the candidates more than the congressional races do sometimes. And Republicans do have some challenges out there. And it's obviously 50-50. You only need to pick up one. But it's not a foregone conclusion in the Senate.

TAPPER: Which one -- which Senate candidates concern you, Republicans?

JENNINGS: Well, I mean, when we started this cycle everybody was thinking Georgia and Arizona were going to be the top two pickup targets. And I think we've moved on now to Nevada and maybe New Hampshire. I mean, so, it's not to say the candidates in Arizona and Georgia couldn't win, but things have just developed a little bit differently. So -- and then obviously, Oz's got issues in Pennsylvania according to the image polling we've seen.

And even Ohio, I think, is going to take some serious resources, although that state is a pretty red and pro Trump state. So, you know, this is not an easy map in the Senate. Whereas in the House, I just -- it would be shocking to me if Republicans couldn't win the House if Biden sitting in the 30s.

TAPPER: And I want to bring something up because, Paul, Harry talked about Biden's unpopularity, and we're seeing it pop up in some of these primary races. House Democrats, Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler have been redistricted into the same district and they're now running against each other, some other candidates, too. But Maloney is doing some serious cleanup today. She was asked at a debate last night if she would support President Biden if he runs in 2024. Take a listen.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Too early to say it doesn't serve the purpose of the Democratic Party to deal with that until after the midterms.


REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): I don't believe he's running for reelection.



TAPPER: Now we should just note, I mean, Maloney changed her tune saying if Biden runs for reelection, she'll support him. But that is not an enthusiastic endorsement from either Maloney or Jerry Nadler, both of whom are, I mean, that is about as democratic district as you can get.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The answer is yes. Yes, he's my party's president. He's doing a good job. He runs on four. I'm for him.

TAPPER: But what does it tell you that these two (INAUDIBLE)?

BEGALA: That they're not very talented politicians. They've been Congress a long time, but I'm sorry, but that's like fallen off a lot. That's just -- that's really dumb. They're nice people. They're smart people. But that just -- that moment, their brains just froze. This is not just -- this should not be a difficult question.

TAPPER: There are two House Democrats --


TAPPER: -- in Minnesota, right?

KIM: Right.

TAPPER: Dean Phillips and I forget the other one, both of whom have now said it's time for a new generation of leaders.

KIM: Right, which is what I thought was really interesting with the third candidate on that stage with Maloney and Nadler. He's actually the young one in the race. And when he was asked the question, he just said, what you said the others would have done, which is yes. But --

TAPPER: And he accused the other two of ageism.

KIM: Which is (INAUDIBLE).

TAPPER: He accused of ageism.

KIM: Very fascinating dynamic. But I do think kind of going back to the broader question of President Biden's popularity. I do think that so much of his unpopularity ratings come from discontent from Democrats, but you're sort of seeing reflected in examples like that primary debate last night. So, whatever the administration can do right now, to just nudge those numbers up a little bit. You know, obviously, they're enthusiastic about the gas prices dropping for the last 50 days. There's a lot of legislative achievements on the horizon. If that gets the enthusiasm going a little bit more for Democrats, I think the White House won't be happy.

TAPPER: And Laura, let's talk about what happened in Kansas voters resoundingly defeated the message, a measure rather, that was designed to lead to further abortion restrictions, if not an outright ban. The turnout was astounding, more than 908,000 votes cast in August, just on this amendment that eclipses primary turns out in 2020. Primary turns out in 2016. And in 2018, it even beats the 2010 general election turnout.

This is a huge turnout from Kansans. And they were all saying we don't want an abortion ban.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. No, this is a big deal. And it looks like this coalition of people that came together, right, women in the suburbs, their registration increased recently, as well as the fact that young voters really got involved, students got involved. And also it's the way I think that the no campaign formed their messaging, which was that a number of ads, if you looked at them that ran, frame this as a government mandate, and framed it as similar to somewhat the way President Biden has framed it, which is trying to get involved in the privacy of your home and it appears to have been very successful.

TAPPER: Yes, the framing was very key because it was about intrusion and the government telling you what to do with your body. Jill Filipovic, who's a pro-choice writer, in her newsletter today, she argues that this tactic will run counter to what many moderate Democrats want to do, but they can win. Democrats can win on the issue of abortion, instead of running away from it. What do you think?

BEGALA: Well, she's right they can win, she's wrong that moderates are worried about it. They're enthusiastic about doing exactly what Jill wrote about in her newsletter. The midterm elections, almost always are a brake pedal. And in a President's first term, it's a brake pedal against the President.

This may break that. This may be a brake pedal instead against Republican extremism. When you hear about that 10-year-old child in Ohio, who would be forced to carry her rapist baby, that's extreme. When you see the Republican Party in Idaho, pass a resolution calling for a ban on abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, and in the case of a threat to the woman's life. That's extreme.

When you see these election deniers, that's extreme. So moderates, progressives, they can join together on this and say the Republicans are too extreme and ask the voters for a brake pedal not against Joe, but against the extremism. That happened once in my lifetime, and that was 1998. And Clinton was President, Newt Gingrich was going too far on the hill. And against all history, Democrats actually gained seats that year.

TAPPER: What do you think? JENNINGS: I think the question on the Kansas ballot was indecipherable. If you read the ballot language, I read it like five times before we walked out here. And I couldn't figure out -- I mean, you know, and I'm a pro-lifer. I could figure out what is going on.

TAPPER: But it was very clear to voters, though. I mean, it was advertised as to (INAUDIBLE).


TAPPER: I think the default position for people on constitutional amendments is to vote no, unless they can clearly decipher what's going on. Now, I do think it's true, that there are some people who are pro-life that want to make sure -- and they would describe themselves as being pro-life, but they want to make sure that there are reasonable exceptions, rape, incest in life of the mother.

And if presented with a question that is framed to them as though it's a total ban, and you wouldn't get those exceptions, they may vote, you know, against something like that referendum because they believe in the reasonable exceptions. And so, I do think it's going to take some time for this to settle into some kind of equilibrium out there.

This is the first whack at it in Kansas. There are other referendums and other races coming up and there'll be other legislative moves coming up over the next, you know, 18 to 24 months.


It's going to take some time but Republicans are going to have to find a political balance between an extreme position which would say no exceptions in a position that gets you a long way down the road of what you want, but understanding the political reality of this issue.

TAPPER: And I've heard a lot of Republicans privately expressed concern. I wish that Mississippi had just stuck with that 15-week ban instead of going for the complete ban. Are you hearing that as well?

KIM: Right. I think that's why Chief Justice John Roberts tried to carve out sort of that compromise with it among the -- with the other justices on the Supreme Court that would uphold Mississippi but not completely overturn Roe. I think the one -- I think kind of what Republicans are looking to now in terms of the November midterms, is betting on the fact that voters this fall aren't necessarily give vote on just abortion. And I think that's the challenge ahead for Democrats, being able to connect that enthusiasm for abortion rights to their candidates.

I think that's a lot easier to do perhaps for governor's races in Pennsylvania. I think that's something to watch. But a little hard to do for congressional races, but certainly, Democrats are strategizing on how to do that right now.

TAPPER: And it's only August. Who knows what's going to happen, an alien invasion from (INAUDIBLE). I mean, at this point, who knows? Thanks one and all for being here. Coming up, they were once neighbors, now their enemies. What it is like in a Ukrainian town that borders Belarus. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, powerful Russian airstrikes rock the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv today. The city's mayor said rescue operations were underway after a fire broke out in the city and a supermarket was destroyed. To the north near the border with Belarus, Ukrainians are reeling after months of rocket attacks. They tell Jason Carroll -- CNN's Jason Carroll, it's a betrayal because they know the attacks are coming from the territory of neighbors who they once called friends.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking Foreign Language)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is hard for Faith Lana Sleevecat (ph) not to tear up when she's asked what it is like to live so close to the border of Belarus. Whenever she thinks about it, she thinks of her son who was fighting in the war.

She says, I live from call to call, therefore, it is a very painful topic. Sleevecat (ph) works in the only store in the tiny Ukrainian village Dnipropetrovsk (ph) located just 2 miles from Belarus. Just last week, the Ukrainian military says Russia launched a rocket attack aimed at Northern towns and villages in Ukraine. Rockets launched from Belarusian soil flying right over small villages like this one.

This video taken from another rocket attack a few months ago. The sights and sounds now all too common here. Georgii Sokolenko recorded it one night on his phone.

He says it is very difficult for us. You worry about your family, your relatives, your country. We decided we will defend but you can't fight against artillery with machine guns. Sokolenko showed us damages strike caused after rockets hit his home. But he points out it's not just property damage. It's also many long-standing relationships between Ukrainians and Belarusians.

Belarus seen as a key ally to Russia. This Ukrainian soldier patrols the border between the two countries. He was on duty that night in February when the war started, and he says armed drones were launched by Russians in Belarus.

He says before the war, there were friendly relations between Ukraine and the Republic of Belarus at the moment. We do not maintain any relations. He carefully showed us an area just a stone's throw from the border, now mined.

On the 28th, we saw missiles flying from that direction, he says. This bridge that once connected the two countries now destroyed by the Ukrainian military to prevent Russia from entering Ukraine this way again. It is a symbol for how people like Sleevecat (ph) now feel about some of the Belarusian they once called friends.

She says, we expected such an attack from Putin, but we did not expect this from the Belarusians. It's just betrayal. It's a stab in the back that no one expected they are worse than Russia.


CARROLL: And Jake, as you can see and hear there, the feelings of betrayal were on very deep. A lot of those who live in these border communities remember when the war started, when Russian troops crossed that border, marched right into those very small villages. The feeling there is that long after the war is over, those feelings of betrayal will likely remain. Jake?

TAPPER: Jason Carroll in Kyiv, thank you so much for that.

New concerns about monkeypox patients being stigmatized. CNN has learned some are even being turned away when they try to get their blood drawn. The response from the labs next.



TAPPER: In our health lead, we're hearing concerns that monkeypox patients are being stigmatized. This after some technicians of two major U.S. commercial labs refused based on ignorant fears to draw blood from patients who may have had the virus. This as the monkeypox outbreak continues to spread with more than 6,000 cases confirmed in the United States.

Globally, the count is more than 25,000 cases in more than 80 countries. Health experts note that the most vulnerable to contracting the virus are men who have multiple male sexual partners.

Let's bring in CNN's Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, explain what's going on at these commercial labs.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Jake, we've spoken with folks at Labcorp and Quest and they say, yes, many of our phlebotomist are not drawing blood from monkeypox patients. It's unclear whether the refusal is by the phlebotomist themselves or what direction the company is giving them. But at the end of the day, it is stigmatizing.

And many doctors and ethicists are saying that patients are being stigmatized and they point out, look, the CDC gives precautions, they tell health care workers take these precautions whether you're working with monkeypox patients, or patients who have other infections. So let's say take a listen to David Harvey, he represents sexual health clinics in the United States.


[17:50:05] DAVID HARVEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COALITIONN OF STD DIRECTORS: The fact that this is happening is an echo of the earliest days of HIV. We -- I thought had come a lot further. This is a grave dereliction of duty.


COHEN: So not only is this stigmatizing to patients as you said, Jake, this outbreak has been mostly among men who have sex with men. But it also slows things down when phlebotomist won't take blood from these patients. It's a problem.

Now, you don't test for monkeypox with blood, that's done by swapping the lesions that are on the patient's body. But it is standard practice to take blood because you need to make sure that there's not some other infection, and that it really is monkeypox. So this is happening at a time, this slowdown is happening at a time when monkeypox cases are growing dramatically.

Let's take a look yesterday, the number of cases was about 6,300. A week ago, it was more like 3,500. That's an increase of about 80 percent in just one week. So we asked Quest and Labcorp for their comments and Quest had this to say. They say, "We want to ensure every patient has access to the testing they need while also fostering a safe environment for our employees and all of our patients."

At Labcorp, they say, "Some of our phlebotomists have been scared appropriately of it, of monkeypox. And so, we're trying to come up with an evidence-based policy that is compliant with occupational safety rules and regulations to make sure that we protect our workforce."

Again, the CDC points out, look, we should be cautious about any infectious agent. That's why we give guidelines. Jake?

TAPPER: Elizabeth, meanwhile, on the issue of COVID, CNN has learned that the CDC is expected to update its guidance on COVID and ease some restrictions in the coming days. Tell us more.

COHEN: Yes, first on CNN, we're finding out that soon perhaps even this week, the CDC is going to announce an easing of some restrictions that are really become pretty commonplace in this country. We are hearing that they're going to remove the 6 feet social distancing recommendation, that they're not going to be recommending screening in most circumstances like the screening that we've seen in schools.

Also, they'll be easing quarantine rules for those not up to date on their vaccines. Also, and this one is sort of a little bit different, there'll be recommending masking for high-risk people in 80 percent of U.S. county. So really focusing on the people who are high risk. Jake?

TAPPER: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

COHEN: Thanks.

TAPPER: Coming up, a 12-year-old girl kidnapped, tied up, drugged. Thankfully, she escaped. We'll tell you the story.



TAPPER: A horrific story out of Alabama in our national lead now. A 12-year-old girl who was assaulted and kept in a drugged state from alcohol, managed to escape captivity and she led authorities to a gruesome discovery. Two decomposed bodies had been found Monday inside a home where she had been held. A 37-year-old man has been arrested on numerous charges.

CNN's Amara Walker is covering this horrifying case. Amara, tell us more about how this young girl escaped.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of disturbing details that we are learning tonight, Jake. So this 12-year-old girl in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, she was tied by her wrists to bedposts for approximately a week. She was given alcohol as you said, to be subdued, even physically assaulted by the suspect. This is according to court documents.

But what's really remarkable is that she was able to chew off those restraints and even breaking off her braces to make her escape and that is when she was found wandering in a rural area there in East Central Alabama. A motorist was concerned enough to make a phone call to authorities and that is what led to police arresting 37-year-old Jose Pascal-Reyes on Tuesday, the day after she escaped.

And here's what the Tallapoosa County sheriff had to say about her harrowing ordeal. Listen.


SHERIFF JIMMY ABBETT, TALLAPOOSA COUNTY, ALABAMA: This is horrendous to have a crime scene of this nature and also by a 12-year-old juvenile to deal with it. She's a hero. And it's one of those things that we want to get into too later. We've gave her medical attention and she has been -- she's safe now. And so, we want to keep her that way.


WALKER: Now during the course of the investigation, authorities also discovered two decomposing bodies inside the suspect's home. We just got some new court documents and identifies these two bodies. The first one being identified as Sandra Vasquez Ceja. The documents say that she was reportedly smothered to death with a pillow after she was kidnapped by Reyes.

A second body, it was not identified by name but we do understand it to be a boy that is under 14 years old. He was reportedly beaten to death by Reyes, according to these documents. And also the bodies cut into small pieces to hide evidence. So a lot of shocking details here.

Reyes now facing capital murder charges along with corpse abuse charges. So, Jake, the question is now, how are these victims related or connected to each other and to the suspect. Jake?

TAPPER: Awful story. Amara Walker, thank you so much.

Turning to our sports lead now, one of the most recognizable voices in baseball falls silent.


VIN SCULLY, LEGENDARY DODGERS' ANNOUNCER: Hi everybody, and a very pleasant good evening to you wherever you may be. Pull up the chairs. The Dodgers have finally come home.


TAPPER: That voice is any Dodger fan knows belong to legendary announcer Vin Scully who died yesterday at the age of 94. Scully started calling Dodgers games back when they played in Brooklyn. And for decades after they moved to Los Angeles, 67 seasons in all, he signed off as a regular broadcaster in 2016. Vin Scully said his trademark was to call a play as quickly and as accurately as he possibly could, and then shut up and listen to the roar of the crowd. May his memory be a blessing.

You can follow me on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. you can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. We actually read them. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcast. It's just sitting right there, a gift for you.

Our coverage now continues with one Pamela Brown right next door in Wolf Blitzer's "SITUATIOIN ROOM".