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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Dems Express Frustration With Sinema Over High-Stakes Bill; Sen. Chris Coons, (D-DE), Is Interviewed About High-Stakes Bill, President Biden; Rep. Maloney Apologizes To Biden For Doubting He'll Run In 2024, Then Immediately Doubts Whether He'll Run In 2024; Sources: Trump Legal Team Talking To DOJ Officials About Protecting Trump's Conversation From January 6 Probe; Cheney On Jan. 6: DOJ Must "Make Decisions About Prosecution"; Jury Finds Alex Jones Caused $4 Million In Damages To Two Sandy Hook Parents; Four U.S. Cops Charged Over Breonna Taylor Death; As inflation Takes A Toll, Americans Face Tough Decisions About Medical Care; Russia Sentences Griner To 9 Years In Prison; White House Declares Monkeypox A Public Health Emergency. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 04, 2022 - 17:00   ET



BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA PLAYER DETAINED IN RUSSIA: I want to apologize to my teammates, to my club UMMC, the fans and the city of Ekat for my mistake that I made and the embarrassment that I brought onto them.

I made an honest mistake and I hope that in your ruling, that it doesn't end my life here.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On her way out of the courtroom when asked about the verdict, these were her only words.

GRINER: I love my family.

ATWOOD (voice-over): Just minutes after the ruling, President Biden said his administration will work tirelessly to bring Griner home and called the sentence unacceptable. Even Griner's Russian lawyers were surprised by the verdict.

(on camera): Did that the verdict will be that severe?


ALEXANDER BOYKOV, BRITTNEY GRINER'S LAWYER: The average is five years or around five years and almost a third of the people convicted get the parole.

ATWOOD (voice-over): They plan to file an appeal for Griner and find a way to pay her fine of about 16,000 U.S. dollars. All of this coming as the Biden administration has pushed the Kremlin to accept an offer they put on the table in June to get Griner home, offering to swap Griner and another American Paul Whelan for Victor Bout, an infamous arm smuggler serving a 25-year sentence in the United States. So far, Russia has not agreed.

JOHN KIRBY, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS: They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first made it. It was an earnest attempt to see if we could get to some outcomes here. And we're still going to keep making those attempts.

ATWOOD (voice-over): As for where those efforts stand now, administration officials say the ball is in Russia's court, all while her family teammates and supporters in the United States turn up the pressure to get her home. Griner's agents saying today that getting a deal done will be hard but calling it urgent. Her team saying they will not allow her to be forgotten. And lawmakers urging the administration to bolster the offer they put on the table.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX), HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: I believe now is that we have to ramp it up. There's nothing that we should not do short of impacting the national security of this nation. We cannot continue this saga, all this masquerade. We've got more cards in the deck.


ATWOOD: Now of course, this sentencing today, Jake, puts increased pressure on those negotiations by the U.S. government to try and get Griner home. And the NSC's John Kirby wouldn't detail what President Biden would be willing to do or not willing to do in terms of a potential new prisoner swap proposal because Russia has not effectively engaged in the first one.

But we should also note that her sentence was nine years in a penal colony but she won't actually go to the penal colony until her appeal has worked through the entire Russian legal system. So for now, she will remain at a core -- at a prison on the outskirts of Moscow. Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Kylie Atwood, thank you so much.

Turning to our politics lead, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he is planning an initial vote on the Democrats signature economic bill for this Saturday. This as key holdout Senator Kyrsten Sinema, Democrat of Arizona, shares some changes she would like in the final bill. Her vote will be needed if the Senate parliamentarian rules. The Democrats can indeed pass the legislation with a strict party line vote.

CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins us now live.

Manu, what changes is Senator Sinema seeking and are Democrats willing to play ball?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's still not saying whether she will vote to proceed to this legislation on Saturday, and they do need all 50 Democrats in order to do that. And she is still raising concerns about some of the tax provisions in this proposal, including the corporate minimum tax. Now I'm told by multiple sources she has raised concerns about that 15 percent minimum tax on major corporations because of the impact that it could have on manufacturing, that proposal would raise $313 billion over 10 years affecting companies that make about a billion dollars in income.

But she has been concerned about language in the Democrats' proposal that would change how companies can deduct assets that depreciate. Under the 2017 tax law that the Republicans enacted, it said that 100 percent of the cost of an asset could be depreciated on the year that that asset is used. The Democrats want to phase that down.

Manufacturers have been concerned. Have made -- raise that concern directly with Sinema, including on a call earlier this week. And I am told she has raised concerns internally about that provision. Democrats says it's unclear how they will resolve that because with that provision alone would raise $84 billion in this proposal. And Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat, who cut this deal wants to ensure that this would -- a total package would save $300 billion in deficit savings, which was the deal that he cut with Chuck Schumer.

There's another problem because Sinema has tried -- is going after the so called carried interest loophole, and that affects hedge fund managers and private equity and it would call is about $14 billion raised, $14 billion over 10 years and Democrats plan. If Sinema succeeds and kills that provision, they would lose $14 billion in revenue raisers.


She has also privately raised concerns and push to add an additional $5 billion to provide for aid for drought relief in states like her own that have been hit hard by drought. So, a lot of questions still, Jake, about whether they can appease her. Democrats are confident that they will eventually get there, they can raise her concerns, they can satisfy her concerns.

But the issue will be, can they get the numbers to line up? And can they get it done by Saturday when they want to get it all together, get all 50 of the members in line, get the bill to the floor and eventually get to final passage of this major piece of legislation by the end of the weekend. Jake.

TAPPER: And no Republicans are expected to support this in any way, right?

RAJU: Yes. All Republicans will going to oppose this. They are battling this furiously. They are concerned about these tax increases in particular, but they're also going after the Democratic plan to try to cap -- drug prices as well as to allow Medicare, the power to negotiate prescription drug prices.

This plan also would spend hundreds of billions of dollars to deal with climate change and energy provisions. They're concerned about the spending levels, even if it does was -- save money on the back end from deficit reduction from both those tax increases. And because the allowing Medicare, the power to negotiate, would raise revenue for the government. But nevertheless, Republicans are fighting this hard and they are contending that Democrats will pay for this at the ballot box.

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

Let's discuss with Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware.

Senator, I want to start by replaying this video. Manu Raju just highlighted of Sinema and Manchin chatting on the Senate floor. That looks an awful lot like you chatting with them, maybe. What did you all have to say?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE), APPROPRIATION COMMITTEE: Well, Jake, I'm not going to get into the details of that conversation. But Manu just gave a quick overview of what the issues are before us.

The most important thing is that we get this bill passed. It is a bold and ambitious bill that will reduce prescription drug prices cap out of pocket costs for millions of Americans, reduce health care costs, pay down the deficit by as much as $300 billion and make significant progress in combating climate change. That larger framework, I am confident all 50 Democrats will support and we will get this bill to President Biden's desk.

TAPPER: Yes, but the issue is that Senator Sinema, for example, does not want to close the carried interest loophole, thereby allowing wealthy hedge fund and private equity managers to keep paying this reduced tax rate on their income instead of the rate that most Americans watching pay. Has she given any substantive reason as to why this loophole should not be closed?

COONS: Well, Jake, this is something that I've supported our closing, everyone else in our caucus has supported closing, moving the time that you have to hold on assets in order to get this particular treatment from three to five years.

It would raise $14 billion, and would help us both pay down the deficit and invest in combating climate change. If Senator Sinema ends up making this, one of the critical things that she refuses to support being in the package, we will have to change the scope of the package or find a different way forward.

TAPPER: OK. So you're willing to get rid of that. But what about the other part that Manu just talked about having to do with the minimum tax paid for corporations? Pat Toomey was on the show, Senator Toomey was on the show Sunday. And he said the problem with requiring a minimum tax for corporations is that it affects the corporation's ability to invest that money in future manufacturing, which was part of the 2017 Trump tax bill. How do you counteract that argument?

COONS: Well, let's be clear, this is a minimum tax that applies to corporations that are bringing in more than a billion dollars a year in revenue. And as a simple principle, the idea that there should be a minimum amount of taxes paid by the very wealthiest Americans and the most profitable companies is something our caucus has come together behind.

I do think we need to take a hard look at how it might impact competitiveness. You know, Jake, I'm someone who worked in manufacturing for eight years. And we are just about to go to a bill signing on Tuesday where President Biden will sign into law the last major piece of legislation that we passed here in the Senate with a bipartisan vote, the CHIPS and Science bill that does a lot to invest in manufacturing. So, I think we have to look at both of these pieces of legislation, the incentives and the investments in manufacturing that come out of the CHIPS and Science bill that we just passed last week and any potential impacts here in terms of a corporate minimum tax.


At the end of the day, Jake, I don't think we should go out, that we should leave Washington for August until we've resolved these issues in our caucus and move this bill forward.

TAPPER: But bottom line, you've talked to her, we just saw the tape, do you think that this will happen that whatever changes she needs will be ones that Democrats are willing to make and that her asks aren't too much?

COONS: Jake, I'm optimistic we will get this bill to President Biden's desk after more than a year of hard work and lots of negotiations. The credit for getting this package done goes to Senator Schumer and to Senators Manchin and Sinema for working out whatever these last few details will have to be.

Let me just reinforce how excited I am that we will invest in reducing the costs your average American faces for prescription drugs, for healthcare costs, for energy, and we will make the biggest investment in our history in combating climate.

Yes, there's a few details to be worked out in the next few days. But I think we're going to get to President Biden's desk and historic package that Democrats in the Senate will deliver.

TAPPER: This morning, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Democrat in New York, publicly apologized to President Biden after saying in a primary debate earlier this week that she didn't think Biden was running for reelection. But Maloney's apology was interesting, too. Take a listen.


REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): I probably should. Mr. President, I apologize. I want you to run. I happen to think you won't be running.

But when you run or if you run, I will be there 100 percent. You have deserved it. You are a great president. And thank you for everything you've done for my state and all the states and all the cities in America. Thank you, Mr. President.


TAPPER: Still saying there, I'm sure you caught it, I happen to think you won't be running. Is it 100 percent that President Biden is going to run for reelection?

COONS: When we've talked about it President Biden has said to me that he intends to run for reelection. But frankly, he is focused on getting these important pieces of legislation signed into law, delivering relief for the American people now.

The price of gas in my home state, our home state of Delaware has gone down week after week after week for five weeks now. It's below $4 at many gas stations in my home state. And I know that the President is concerned about getting this bill to his desk that will provide relief in terms of the cost to the prescription drug counter at the grocery store or for energy.

So, I don't think he, by a longshot, is done making a difference for the American people. In the last few weeks, he's also made a huge difference on the world stage. We hear in the Senate just ratified adding Finland and Sweden to NATO, which makes us safer and stronger as a country, reduces the risk that Americans will have to go fight to defend our European allies in NATO.

President Biden has a significant record of accomplishment as president, and I appreciate the congresswoman recognizing that.

Whether or not he will be running in 2024, I think will depend on a lot of things between here and then. But I know it's his intention to run for reelection.

TAPPER: And the vote was 95 to one with Senator --


TAPPER: -- Josh Hawley, the one person voting against letting Sweden and Finland into NATO.

COONS: That's right. It was an overwhelming vote. I'm not sure why Senator Hawley would stand out as the one opposed. But the 95 of us, I think it was who voted in favor show the strength and the bipartisanship behind NATO. The most successful alliance, I think in modern history, certainly that we've ever been a part of. It's produced stability and security in Europe.

And after Russia's brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, President Biden masterfully pulled together. The Western alliance --


COONS: -- are both NATO allies and E.U. partners. And this is a strategic defeat for Putin, a critical defeat for his goal of weakening and dividing NATO.

TAPPER: All right, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, thank you so much.

Republican congresswoman --

COONS: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: -- and vice chair of the January 6 committee, Liz Cheney, going further than she has before about what happens if Donald Trump does not face consequences for January 6, a CNN exclusive, next. Then, more and more Americans now being forced to choose between lifesaving medications or putting food on the table? A look at the potentially deadly consequences of inflation. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with a CNN exclusive in our politics lead. Sources say that Donald Trump's legal team is in talks with key Justice Department officials in an effort to shield conversations Trump had while president. These talks are the first sign of direct communication between Trump's team and the federal criminal investigators who may investigate him about his January 6 actions.

CNN Senior Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz joins us now live with this exclusive reporting.

Katelyn, how significant are these conversations?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Jake, this is very significant. So everything we're seeing here is the Justice Department circling around Donald Trump, his West Wing, even his statements made on January 6. And sources today are confirming to Kara Scannell, Kristen Holmes, Gabby Orr and I that there is direct communication between the Justice Department and lawyers representing Donald Trump.

And so this development is not just any types of communications. It's really building on a story that's been unfolding over the past couple of weeks where there were people from the Office of the Vice President being brought before the federal grand jury in Washington testifying about what they were hearing in the West Wing on January 6, and then people in the White House Counsel's Office are receiving subpoenas to go to that grand jury. That tees up this possible privilege fight over executive privilege what Trump was saying happening then, and then that leads to these conversations. That's what the conversations are about.

And Trump's team is maintaining that Donald Trump has the ability to assert executive privilege, and definitely protect the things that he believes should be secret about his presidency. The Justice Department on their end, they have a lot of history on their side, potentially giving them access to that but they may have to go through the court first to get it.


TAPPER: You're also learning that Trump has personally been briefed on all this. How is his team handling all this internally?

POLANTZ: Well, from what we know from our sources, they have been warning him that there are possible indictments coming in the January 6 investigation around him, and they are discussing defense strategies at least twice with him. He has been asking him, asking his lawyers and others if they think that he will be charged. But then of course, this is Trump being Trump. Our sources say that he seems to be skeptical that he will possibly be charged. And even at times, he doesn't even appear to be listening to what some of his advisers are telling him.

TAPPER: Well, that's definitely sounds like Trump. He's also been warned about having conversations with certain individuals?

POLANTZ: That's right. So his advisers are telling him, you know, it might be the time to back off having direct conversations with some of the people that are getting caught or participating in these January 6 probes on Hill, the Justice Department, that includes Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff in the White House, this person who really became central in what the House was investigating, and potentially could be central in the Justice Department probe as well. We understand that he was advised, Trump was advised to cut ties with Meadows that hasn't actually fully happened. And this possibility that Meadows could become more central in the criminal probe.

We haven't seen a lot of that evidence yet as far as what we're learning with this grand jury activity. But when asked about it, we asked Meadows' attorney what he thought about this and his response was, all of it is idle and uninformed speculation apparently by people that know little bit talk a lot.

TAPPER: OK. Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much. Great reporting. Appreciate it.

Also in our politics lead, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming has strong words for the Justice Department and a possible suggestion for what she would like the Attorney General to do with Donald Trump in the wake of the January 6 committee hearings.

CNN Chief National Affairs Analyst Kasie Hunt joins us now live.

Kasie, you just got back from Laramie, Wyoming where you interviewed Congresswoman Cheney, what did she say?

KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's right, Jake. And it's actually even more interesting in light of the new reporting from Katelyn and the rest of our team there. You know, I asked her -- she has been a little bit circumspect when she has been asked in interviews and when she's spoken from the day as during the committee hearings about whether, for example, the committee is going to issue a criminal referral to the Justice Department for Donald Trump or for others in his orbit. She's been very clear they haven't made that decision yet.

But I pressed her about what she thought, what she believed about whether it would be worthwhile for the Justice Department to undertake the probe. There have, of course, been some concerns raised about whether that would be, you know, essentially a political tinderbox that could potentially benefit Donald Trump in some strange sort of way. So when I put this question to her, she actually went farther than I've heard her go before about what she thinks the Justice Department should do, based on -- in reality what we what we already know about the former President's actions. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HUNT: Some have expressed concern that prosecuting former President Trump would turn him into a martyr and potentially add to his political strength with a base that's follows him pretty rapidly. Do you share that concern? Do you have any concern that a prosecution would strengthen Donald Trump's political hands?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY), VICE CHAIR. JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: I don't think that it's appropriate to think about it that way because the question for us is, are we a nation of laws? Are we a country where no one is above the law? And what do the facts and the evidence show?

And certainly I've been very clear, I think he's guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation's history. You've had a federal judge in California say that it's more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two crimes.

So, you know, I think that we're going to continue to follow the facts. I think the Department of Justice will do that. But they have to make decisions about prosecution, understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there and they decide not to prosecute, how do we then call ourselves a nation of laws? I think that's a very serious, serious balancing.


HUNT: How do we call ourselves a nation of laws she says, if the evidence is there really suggesting that under no circumstances does she believe the Justice Department should decline to prosecute because of any political concern or concern about the fact that it's a former president. So it's a pretty wide ranging interview, Jake. We talked a lot about her political future in addition to her work on the January 6 committee, but the reality really is, those two things are completely tied up together at this point.

TAPPER: Yes. And a week and a half she faces a primary, a difficult one being waged against her by Trump -- a Trump backed challenger, Harriet Hageman, I think is her name. She finally after playing footsie with it for a long time, finally became a full-fledged election denier this week according to the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper. She told the crowd, quote, "Absolutely the election was rigged, it was rigged to make sure that President Trump cannot get reelected. What happened in 2020 is a travesty," unquote.


Obviously, that is not true. All of that is a lie. But it's kind of a big deal, right?

HUNT: It's pretty significant, I think, in the debate that she had with Cheney and some other candidates in the race earlier in the year. She wouldn't go that far. I mean, she wouldn't say that the election was not stolen, but I think it underscores the environment that she's been surrounded by as she's been campaigning, and it becomes more and more likely that she'll become the Republican nominee for this Wyoming House seat.

The -- you know, there are reports that the Republican chairman in Wyoming is an Oath Keeper. That's what the Cheney campaign will tell you. We know he was at the Capitol on January 6. So there's a very strong element of this in Wyoming.

And, you know, I think Cheney's challenge -- and, you know, I think they understand the magnitude of the challenge they face, I think it's much more likely that she loses on August 16 than she wins. And I think that they're very aware of that.

I mean, what you're looking at right now is a small campaign event she did with some supporters in Laramie and, you know, I was there for it. And, frankly, she spent most of the time talking about her work on the January 6 committee, which is an incredibly stark contrast to what her opponents out there saying about the stolen election.

There were also a couple of Democrats in the room, one of whom I spoke to and who said she was going to change your registration to vote for Liz Cheney. So, it's just a much, much different landscape that Liz Cheney is occupying and working in, than the Republican Party. And the Republican Party has really moved out from underneath her and her family, frankly.

TAPPER: And her family, indeed, Cheney's campaign just came out with a new T.V. ad featuring her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. Here's part of that, talking about Trump.


DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: He tried to steal the last election using lies and violence to keep himself in power after the voters had rejected him. He was a coward. A real man wouldn't lie to his supporters.

He lost his election, and he lost big. I know it, he knows it. And deep down, I think most Republicans know it.


TAPPER: Do you think --

HUNT: Well, that's a campaign ad.

TAPPER: Yes. I mean, do you think that ads going to change any minds?

HUNT: You know what, Jake, I mean, obviously, he's a well-known figure in Wyoming. The family has been a big deal there for a long time, but I don't think it's going to surprise anybody. I think, you know, at this point, the goal is probably motivating people. But the reality is, at the end of the day, there are not enough Democrats or independents who might be willing to switch in Wyoming to really make a huge difference here. So, you know, I'd be surprised.

TAPPER: Kasie Hunt, thanks so much. Be sure to catch all of Kasie's exclusive interview with Congresswoman Liz Cheney tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360."

We have some breaking news, the jury has delivered a verdict in the Alex Jones defamation case. And we will bring that news to you next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with breaking news a jury in Texas has reached a decision in the defamation case and for involving far right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The jury decided how much families of Sandy Hook massacre, who sued Jones should be awarded. CNN's Drew Griffin has been following the case from the beginning. Drew, so what did the jury decide?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: It what should be a disappointment for the parents of this murdered child. The jury decided that Alex Jones should pay compensatory damages of just $4.1 million. Now that does sound like a lot of money. But the parents were asking for $150 million in this stage of the trial.

There is a second stage which begins tomorrow morning which they will be asked about punitive damages. There's no specific tabulation on what those punitive damages would be. But that would be to actually punish Alex Jones for the wrong he committed.

This part of the trial was just to basically give the parents the money they thought they deserved because of the actual damages they suffered from defamation, from mental anguish and stress that Alex Jones caused when he lied and stressed that the shooting the massacre at Sandy Hook was in fact a hoax.

So this is a bit of a mixed bag. They did get compensatory damages, but obviously, 4 million compared to $150 million is far less than that they were seeking.

TAPPER: OK, let's see what happens with the punitive damages which is by definition to punish the individual. Drew , thank you so much. More than two years later, four Louisville police officers now face federal charges in the death of Breonna Taylor during a botched search, that story next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, 874 days after the killing of Breonna Taylor during a botched Kentucky police raid. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced federal charges against four current and former Louisville Metro Police officers who were involved in the deadly engine incident. The charges mark of the First Federal Council leveled against any of the officers involved. Remember, Kentucky's Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron had declined to seek state or Commonwealth murder charges in the case. CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now live with more on this. Jessica, what are these four defendants being charged with?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Notably here, Jake, none of the charges actually involved the officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor instead, three of the four officers are charged with falsifying information that provided the basis for the search warrant of Taylor's apartment specifically.

The officer said that someone involved in the drug traffic trafficking operation they were investigating received packages at Taylor's home and that's something that prosecutors now say the officers knew was false. And the indictment even accuses two of the officers of not just falsifying the affidavit, but then conspiring to lie about it afterward even meeting in a garage two months later, where they agreed to tell investigators a fake story.

Now the last officer charged today was at the scene of the botched police raid, but officials say that he used unconstitutional excessive force when he fired 10 shots into the side window of Taylor's apartment.


That officer he was previously charged in a state case, but it was ultimately acquitted. And Jake, we have just learned that two of the officers who actually still remain at the Louisville Police Department, they're in the process now after being charged federally of being terminated from the department.

TAPPER: So Breonna Taylor's mother and attorney just held a press conference a short time ago. What are they saying about the charges?

SCHNEIDER: So they say that they've been waiting, they say 874 long days for this indictment ever since Breonna Taylor's fatal shooting death. And they say now that they finally feel vindicated. They say they have long awaited this, they have long argued that the botched raid at Breonna Taylor's apartment never should have happened in the first place. And then you mentioned the Republican attorney general here, David Cameron, and the attorney for Taylor's family says he really blasted him for never bringing murder charges in this case, take a listen.


BEN CRUMP, TAYLOR FAMILY ATTORNEY: We are so grateful to the Department of Justice, because they follow where the facts went and where Daniel Cameron wouldn't go.

TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: Today's overdue. But it still hurts.


SCHNEIDER: Now Breonna Taylor's family they have long been pressing the DOJ to file charges. They actually met Jake with top officials at the DOJ back in March. And this really isn't the end here. The Justice Department has this ongoing pattern or practice investigation into the Louisville Police Department. They're investigating whether or not they use excessive force or even practice racially discriminatory policing. So this whole saga is still ongoing, but at least now Breonna Taylor's family feels at least somewhat vindicated here.

TAPPER: All right, Jessica Schneider, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Americans forced to choose which of their life saving medications they can take because they can no longer afford to take them all, a look at the potentially deadly cost of inflation. That's next.



TAPPER: In our money lead, inflation is not only making your food more expensive and your rent more expensive for some Americans the life- saving medications they rely upon are becoming unaffordable. CNN's Gabe Cohen speaks now with some of the families affected and the difficult decisions they now have to make.



GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the medicines Angelina Scott can't live without.

SCOTT: This is a blood thinner.

COHEN: For high blood pressure, high cholesterol and an irregular heartbeat.

SCOTT: Don't take this my heart will stop.

COHEN: But with sky high inflation and hundreds of dollars in monthly medical costs, this notary and her husband a maintenance worker are falling behind on their bills staving off shut off notices. So to cut costs, she's stopped taking medicine for her irritable bowel syndrome.

COHEN: Well, you can't afford not to no literally I cannot afford to. It makes me really sick. Why do I have to choose between living and living?

COHEN: In June, U.S. healthcare costs were up 4.5 percent from the year before. And with the price of food, gas rent and utilities surging even higher, millions of Americans are struggling to afford the care they need.

ALAN BALCH, PATIENT ADVOCATE FOUNDATION: What this leads people to do is have to make horrible tradeoffs between paying for their medication or their diagnostic test or seeing their physician or their doctor and having to pay for basic cost of living their gas, their food, their groceries, their childcare.

COHEN: A new survey from Gallup and West Health found roughly two in five adults. An estimated 98 million Americans have delayed or skipped treatment, cut back on driving utilities and food or borrowed money just to pay medical bills in the last six months and 39 percent have major concerns about affording care in the coming months.

TIM LASH, WEST HEALTH EXEC VP/CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER: Inflation and its impact on health care are our breaking families and breaking individuals. We need to wake up and act.

LIBBY DANCY, CANCER SURVIVOR: Everything's went up. Everything but my paycheck.

COHEN: 71-year-old Libby Dncy is a caseworker for an organization that helps struggling seniors in Virginia but she herself can't afford to retire.

DANCY: I'll be working here probably until they finally laid out back on my office.

COHEN: A three-time cancer survivor. She spends hundreds each month on critical medicine like heart pills, breathing treatments and insulin. So she's tightening her budget keeping her AC off in the summer heat and for going her allergy meds probiotics and vitamins until payday.

(on camera): What did that do to you physically?

DANCY: It mess me up. It mess my system up and everything, you know.

COHEN (voice-over): High inflation is squeezing most Americans sending us household debt to a record high, more than $16 trillion.

SCOTT: I feel like it's suffocating me slowly.

COHEN: For some the budget balancing act grows more difficult by the day.

SCOTT: Oh, those things are horrible. But how do I talk about trying to live?


COHEN: Now the Inflation Reduction Act being debated in the Senate would provide some health care reform, among other things, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and capping out of pocket expenses for seniors at $2,000.

But Jake, it won't solve this short term problem that even though the price of health care has only risen about half as fast as overall inflation, those price hikes altogether are forcing Americans to make some brutal decisions.

TAPPER: Gabe Cohen, thank you so much. Joining us now to discuss White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Karine, thanks for joining us. [17:50:02]

First, let's start with the big news out of Russia. A Russian court found Brittney Griner guilty of smuggling less than an ounce of cannabis oil sentencing her to nine years in a Russian penal colony. And we know the U.S. has publicly offered Russia a prisoner swap to try to get Griner and Paul Whelan, another American being held in Russian custody back. Where does that deal stand right now?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So Jake, thank you so much for having me. I want to start off by saying what we saw today with the sentencing is exactly what we all knew, what the world knew, which is that Brittney Griner was being wrongfully detained by Russia. And she should have never, never have gone through that trial in the first place.

So we are doing everything that we can to make sure that she gets home, to be with her wife, to be with her family, to be with her teammates. And as well as Paul Whelan.

As you just laid out, mentioned, Jake, we have put a substantial offer on the table, to make that happen to make sure that they come home, and we urge Russia to take that deal seriously.

Obviously, I cannot, for obvious reasons, we cannot negotiate. And probably we cannot really say more than what we've already said. But you've heard from the Secretary, Secretary Blinken this week. You've heard from our national security adviser. This has been a top of mind for not just the president, but his national security team. And we are going to do everything that we can to every measure that we can to make sure that she and Paul come home to their families.

TAPPER: Are there conversations going on? I mean, when we hear from the Biden administration that the balls in Russia's court that sounds like they haven't even responded to the very public offer.

JEAN-PIERRE: So as you know, the public offer, as we've mentioned before, has been out there and it's been on the table for them for weeks. The moment that we put that out there and said that there was a serious offer a substantial offer on the books, we heard back from Lavrov. There was a conversation between Secretary Blinken and Lavrov, as you know, we've seen and been reported out.

So that covered. Those conversations continue government to government. But again, this needs to be taken seriously. We saw the measures that the President took to make sure we brought home Trevor Reed back.


JEAN-PIERRE: And so we're going to get, we're going to take this very seriously as we have been. The president is updated on a regular basis. We have to make sure that Brittany and Paul come home and also continuing to work on other U.S. nationals that are being held, being detained, wrongfully detained and held hostage as well. TAPPER: Right. So today, the White House declared monkeypox and public health emergency cases are rising across the US. I've heard a lot of criticism among public health officials that the Biden administration took too long waited more than three weeks after the first confirmed case in the U.S. to order bulk vaccines. How do you explain this delay from the administration in ordering vaccines?

JEAN-PIERRE: So Jake, first of all, let me just say our goal here is to make sure that we end this outbreak, that is a number one goal of this president. The president back in May, remember the cases that -- the case that came forward that we were aware of was in May, and back in May when he was in Asia, he said this was we needed to act with urgency. And that's what we did.

So the thing about infectious disease, which is inherently known, I'm sure you know as well, Jake, is that they tend to evolve. And that's what we saw. We met the moment when we heard about the first couple of cases. And then it evolved. It's dynamic, it changed. It's not what we're seeing right now with monkeypox. Monkeypox was here back into 2021. It was here in this country in 2003. And it has just evolved from that time.

And so if I may just give you a little bit on numbers of where we are today, we just announced 600,000 doses that are been shipped, that's going to go to jurisdiction, that's going to go to states will working hand in hand with states we understand the urgency of this. There's 1.1 million doses that are available. And also we have about 5.5 million that are ordered.

And we up the capacity of testing. What's so important about that is people need to know if they have monkeypox or not and how to move forward with treatment and what they need to do. So there's also that education piece that matters.

So when you look at the public health emergency that the HHS put forward, what that's going to help us do is get that vaccine, give them the tools and the understanding how do you get that vaccine from one to five, that's really important. And also provide them the data that you --


JEAN-PIERRE: -- needed to really take this on because we are going to take this as urgent as we need to be.

TAPPER: We only have about a minute left. I want to ask you about inflation because you heard CNN's Gabe Cohen reporting on inflation making drug prices so high. The President has said in more than one occasion he can't do much to bring down soaring prices, but one thing we know he could do is to lift the Trump era China tariffs which definitely would help according to economists.


For almost a month, sources close to the White House have been telling CNN that President Biden was nearing a decision on this. But he has not been able to make a decision. Why not?

JEAN-PIERRE: So let me just first say, Jake, that inflation is the President's number one economic priority. You've seen what he has done with gas prices being able to bring that down for almost seven weeks. And it is -- it is a something that we haven't seen, I should say, in about a decade. And that's going to give relief, because lowering costs wherever we can is going to give relief to the middle class.

When it comes to the China tariff, look, the President understand how important that decision is. He understands that we were the bad deal that was made by the last administration. And he, as we know, this is a president that knows what it's like for people to feel the pinch. And he wants to make sure that we give everybody a little bit of relief that they need, especially the middle class. And he's going to continue to do that work with gas prices with this Inflation Reduction Act, which he is really grateful for, for Senator Manchin and Senator Schumer to be working on that and it's going to have effect when I saw the seniors in that package talking about the drug prices.

That's what one of the things that this piece of legislation is going to do that. Anti-inflation legislation is going to do bring that down cost, health care costs for middle class Americans, which isn't critically important.

TAPPER: All right, White House secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, thank you so much.

JEAN-PIERRE: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: We're going to take a quick break, we'll be right back.