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The Lead with Jake Tapper

DOJ Not Releasing Details Of Mar-a-Lago Search Affidavit; House Republicans To Release Report On U.S. Withdrawal In Afghanistan; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) Is Interviewed About U.S. Withdrawal In Afghanistan; Governor Ron DeSantis In Arizona Rally Using The FBI Raid To Energize The Republican Base; Wash Post Analysis: Election Deniers Have Won 2/3 Of Republican Nominations For States & Federal Offices With Authority Over Elections; Cheney Faces Uphill Battle Against Trump-Backed Rival Tomorrow. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired August 15, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: That suggests that anyone that thought maybe the U.S. government was just trying to get these top-secret documents back, that no, there's going to be more.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Jake. I mean, we are seeing this filing just come in. We haven't seen what a court will do yet with it. Whether they will agree with the Justice Department. But the Justice Department really is trying to hint at the seriousness of this investigation and also that it is an ongoing grand jury investigation.

There could be other investigations that result from it. And that they have done extensive work already. I, too, want to read a couple other things in here because there is a lot of information, if not detail itself, about the investigation, but there's information such as even when the public is already aware of the general nature of the investigation, that's what the prosecutors are writing, revealing the specific contents of a search warrant affidavit could alter the investigation's trajectory.

And then as they're describing more about that, they're digging in and saying we want to protect witnesses. We want to protect grand jury secrecy. And they also say that the fact that this investigation implicates highly classified materials further underscores the need to protect the integrity of the investigation.

That is an acknowledgment there by the Justice Department that this investigation implicates highly classified materials. That's their words in the papers.

TAPPER: And Katelyn, what happens next?

POLANTZ: Well, that's a great question. So, the media, 12 different news outlets including CNN, are trying to get this affidavit made public, but there are lots of calls for transparency right now. It's not just the media that's asking for this. There are some Republicans on Capitol Hill that have wanted more transparency around this investigation.

We will see if the court agrees with that. And of course, there is still on the table these requests from both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill to have classified briefings about what was found at Mar-a-Lago. Jake?

TAPPER: Alright. Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much. Joining us now to discuss is Elie Honig. He's a former U.S. assistant attorney. Elie, do you think the Justice Department is doing the right thing here, trying to block release of this affidavit?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Jake, I'm not at all surprised the DOJ is resisting this. This affidavit, just so people understand, is the single most important document in this whole case. This is the document where prosecutors have to lay out in detail in narrative fashion what their probable cause is to believe that the crimes that we've seen in the prior documents were committed at and that there would be evidence at Mar-a-Lago.

And then they bring this document over to a judge who has to review it, and we know in this case did agree it made out probable cause. And just for a sense of context here, the documents that were unsealed on Friday, they total seven pages. This affidavit typically will be dozens of pages, 50 pages, I have seen 100-plus page affidavits.

So, Jake, there's only two groups of people right now who have this document. Prosecutors and the judge. Donald Trump does not have it. We don't have it in the public. I'm not at all surprised DOJ is resisting because to reveal this document would simply reveal the entire ongoing investigation.

TAPPER: There was speculation that perhaps DOJ was just going to -- this was just about document retrieval. They issued a subpoena, they tried to get these documents. They went in there, they got the documents. They had been attempting to do some more in a friendly fashion, but that didn't work. Now they have them back.

But this refusal to disclose the affidavit and the language the Justice Department uses talking about continued investigation, witnesses, grand jury, this suggests that there are criminal charges being brought and it's not just a question of trying to get these documents back.

HONIG: Yes, Jake, this filing does confirm that there's an ongoing criminal investigation, and really, we knew that from the start because you cannot get a search warrant by just saying to a judge, hey, judge, there's classified information. We really want to get it back. In order to get a search warrant, as a matter of law, you have to establish probable cause that at least one specific federal crime was committed.

We now know what those federal crimes were, Espionage Act, destruction of documents, and obstruction from last Friday's documents, but yes, this has been and remains an ongoing criminal investigation.

TAPPER: Is there a risk that the Justice Department, which a lot of Democrats and Republicans are saying needs to be more transparent about this unprecedented raid on Mar-a-Lago? Is there a risk that the Justice Department by trying to block the release of this affidavit looks like they're trying to be too secretive?

HONIG: Absolutely, there is that risk, Jake. And it's sort of a no- win situation for DOJ. By the book, as a DOJ prosecutor, it's an easy call. You fight this. You don't open up affidavits. You don't reveal ongoing investigations. But prosecutors also have to live in reality and it's impossible to separate politics and law here. And I think the reality is it will look like there's a lack of transparency and we're hearing calls for more transparency from both sides of the aisle.

TAPPER: Is the affidavit something that the Trump team would want to be made public for any reason?


HONIG: It's a great question. I mean, one of the reasons why DOJ does not reveal these affidavits is because you're protecting the rights of the innocent, the presumption of innocence, the rights of people who've not even yet been accused. And just so people understand, we have not seen this document, but it would lay out in detail the probable cause that DOJ used to get in that search warrant. It would lay out probable cause that crimes were committed. I don't know that Donald Trump and his supporters would want that to be out there in the public.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the news now that Rudy Giuliani, Trump's former attorney, has been informed he's a target in the Fulton County, Georgia district attorney investigation into the Trump team's efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. What does that mean precisely that Giuliani has been told he's a target?

HONIG: Well, short of being told you've been indicted, Jake, that's about the worst news that you can get. Generally speaking, in any investigation, prosecutors' separate people into three categories. There are witnesses who've done nothing wrong. There are subjects who maybe are in the gray area. And then there's a target. And typically, what that means is that this is a person who is likely to be indicted.

Now, it's worth noting the Fulton County D.A. has been very aggressive in the use of this target language. She has not only notified Rudy Giuliani but at least 17 other people that they're targets. Now, none of them have been indicted yet, but it's still fairly early and that could change sometime soon.

TAPPER: And today, a federal judge ruled that Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has to testify before that same grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia. Graham's lawyers of course can appeal. Do you think he'll ultimately prevail?

HONIG: I think he's actually got a shot here, Jake. Lindsey Graham's argument here is based on an obscure constitutional provision called the speech and debate clause, which basically says that sitting members of Congress cannot be forced to answer questions elsewhere. And Lindsey Graham's argument is this does relate to my legislative duties.

Now, the federal district court judge rejected that, but Graham's next step is to appeal. He's going to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which is generally seen as the second or third most conservative of the 13 federal Courts of Appeals, Jake.

TAPPER: Former President Trump is claiming that the FBI, quote, "Took boxes of privileged attorney/client material and also executive privilege material." Could Trump try to go to court to block this entire process on those grounds?

HONIG: So, usually, Jake, procedurally a person cannot challenge a search warrant until after he's been charged and prosecutors try to use that evidence against him. Donald Trump could try to file a motion here. I think he'd lose both procedurally. I think a judge would say this is premature, and I think also on the substance. Even if either of those privileges attach, it doesn't mean you get to keep the documents. They're still property of the United States government.

TAPPER: Alright, Elie Honig, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, one year after the fall of Kabul, in a scathing report from House Republicans accusing the Biden administration of significant failures in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Plus, the major city offering rent around $800 a month, it's that and more inspiring more than 5 million Americans to move to this major metropolitan area this year alone. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our "World Lead," Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs committee are getting ready to publicly release a scathing report on the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan one year ago. CNN has seen a final draft of the report. It says the withdrawal was poorly planned and poorly executed and that the Biden administration did not plan for all contingencies. The report also argues the Biden administration, quote, "Repeatedly misled the American public."

Joining us live to discuss, CNN White House reporter Natasha Bertrand and CNN national security correspondent Kylie Atwood. Kylie, let's start with you. One of the most startling details in this report is the revelation that only three dozen State Department officials were on the ground for the evacuation, 36 people. What kind of impact did that lack of staffing cause?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Jake, that is the highest number of officials that were on the ground at the height of this evacuation, who were able to process these Afghan documents, these Afghans who were trying to get into the airport and then trying to get on these evacuation flights.

Essentially, what that meant was that each State Department official was in charge of more than 3,400 of these evacuees, according to this report. Now, the State Department is claiming that the number of consular officers, those are the folks that process these documents, was not a limiting factor in terms of how many Afghans were getting on to the airport grounds and getting out of the airports.

They said, the State Department's spokesperson said that there were limiting factors like the entryways into the Kabul airport, but said that those entryways needed to be limited because of the heightened security situation on the ground there.

And so, the Biden administration is really pushing back on this report, citing its inaccuracies, saying that there are concerns about how this was all pulled off, but they still haven't come out with their own reports as to after action and what could have been done better.

TAPPER: Natasha, the Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the Biden administration refused to take part in this report and obviously the Democrats on the committee did not participate. How is the administration responding to this report beyond what we just heard from Kylie?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, they're saying that they did brief Congress extensively after the fact, right? They have been saying that they have provided over 250 briefings to lawmakers since the noncombatant evacuation operation, the massive evacuation operation from Afghanistan was finished. And that they have participated extensively in conversations with lawmakers about lessons learned, what could have been done better, et cetera.

But broadly, they're responding to this with points that they have made multiple times before. The National Security Council actually issued a memo to interested parties explaining that the many things that are outlined in this House Committee report are inaccurate and they're saying that it's riddled with inaccuracies, falsehoods, cherry picked information.

They're saying essentially that the House Republicans wanted to engage in an endless war and that really the only options as the administration have said repeatedly were to either pull out completely or to ramp up the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and that they were not prepared to do that.

They're also saying that any claim that the United States withdrawing from Afghanistan has made the U.S. less safe is also untrue because of a recent intelligence assessment that was done after the strike of Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan that shows that Al Qaeda has not reconstituted itself in the country.


That is according to a declassified summary of the assessment that was provided to us. That there are fewer than a dozen Al Qaeda members still in the country and that they have no plans as of right now to attack the homeland. And so, all of this is just kind of they're reiterating the idea here that the United States really had no option and they inherited a very bad deal from the Trump administration. Jake?

TAPPER: Alright, Kylie Atwood and Natasha Bertrand, thank you so much. Joining us live to discuss, Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. He is the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We will have the Republican ranking member on the show tomorrow.

Mr. Chairman, I do want to start with your reaction to this report from your Republican colleagues on Foreign Affairs. Something the ranking member, Mike McCaul of Texas said earlier today. Take a listen.


REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): We wanted this to be bipartisan, but there's no appetite on the Democratic side. There was initially, Kate, in fairness to my chairman, Chairman Meeks, who I have a lot of respect for, but they got word from the administration, this is not a good news story and stand down. And so, they stopped having any hearings on this.


TAPPER: Well, you and McCaul, generally speaking, work pretty well together on a pretty bipartisan fashion, Mr. Chairman. What's your reaction to what Congressman McCaul said?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): You know, we had over 14 hearings and briefings from various individuals from the administration. In fact, right afterwards, Secretary of State Blinken, the first committee he testified before on what took place was our committee. We continued and we still are.

The fact of the matter is, though, if you want to examine what took place on those 20 days up to, leading up to the evacuation in Afghanistan, you can't. That's just, you got to look at the 20 years. There are so many interconnecting factors they ran that led to that final result. And so, what we said was let's look at all 20 years. Let's look at what took place, what led up, and what (inaudible) and what we could do to make sure that this never happens again.

There's clearly, it was not perfect. Nothing is ever perfect, but we thought that it needed to -- if we're going to be serious about it, similar to what the special inspector for the general -- for Afghan reconstruction said, similar to a commission that was authorized by Congress, but we're still waiting for a Republican co-chair to be added on, that we thought that do that in a comprehensive manner.

So, for me -- and yes, you're right, Mike McCaul and I get along very well. But for me what they wanted to do was just a small focus without looking at the contributions and what took place by everybody that led up to the fall in Kabul. And nobody predicted. You know, I also saw that that there was predictable by the Intelligence Committee.

I dare say no one predicted that it was going to fall on the day that it fell. We did have predictions that as the evacuation was beginning that we had to hurry it up, that there was some danger of what we saw that took place, that horrifying bomb that took place by the airport.

TAPPER: Right.

MEEKS: But we're still working very closely to make sure that we have an accurate report of what did in fact take place. I know the State Department is doing something. We'll wait to see what they have also.

TAPPER: Right. And I certainly think there was value in taking a look at the United States' 20-year involvement in Afghanistan. But I also see that there is a point, there would be a point in taking a discreet look at just the withdrawal, which was disastrous, and 13 service members were killed and others were killed.

And that in and of itself could have been handled far differently. And it would have been, just as an American, it would be nice to have a bipartisan oversight of the executive branch to take a look at that one part of the withdrawal because it is different than should the United States, you know, the bigger question is about 20 years.

Should the United States get involved in nation building? Should the United States, you know, is there any way to engage in such an effort successfully versus what's the better way for the U.S. to withdraw in the future? And I mean, you and McCaul do work well together. It would have been nice if Democrats had joined in and provided this oversight.

MEEKS: But the problem with that is that you just had it in your last segment, talking about the number of individuals who were on duty from the State Department. Well, there's issues that took place before that that caused the number of people that were there. Could that have been different? Could we have more folks in?

There's more that you have to look at because there were circumstances. Some say there should have been and could have had left more individuals there or could have been more individuals on the ground at that particular time.


Well, there were things, circumventing issues that caused that to be in place. So that's why it's hard to just isolate it. You have to ask those questions and we have been asking those questions. And we are getting some of the answers.

We're looking at, as I said, a number of the other reports, and we would like, that's one of the reasons why the Congress authorized a commission in a bipartisan way to look at just those things so that we could make sure that everybody was participating. And that's why we had the briefings that we've had, both in classified and unclassified manners so that we can make those observations.

TAPPER: Is it true --

MEEKS: But when we, you know, when McCaul and I got together, it seemed to me clear, unfortunately on this one, they wanted an investigation as opposed to a review. And that investigation was simply pulling out certain things that I believe were inaccurate, as in fact, the report does show.

TAPPER: Is it true what McCaul said at all, and we're running out of time so if you could keep your answer short that would be great, is it true at all what McCaul suggested that you were eager to participate and then the White House asked you to not do it because it would be a bad story for Democrats?

MEEKS: No, the White House never asked me not to do it, bad story. That never occurred. Absolutely not. You know, just as we see, you know, we in the legislative branch make our own decisions on what we do. The White House does not interfere and tell us what to do on this committee.

TAPPER: Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York, the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, good to see you again, sir. Thank you so much.

MEEKS: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: And a reminder, we will have the ranking Republican Congressman Michael McCaul on the show tomorrow to talk about his report.

Coming up next, how Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is using the FBI's search at Mar-a-Lago in his home state to motivate Republican voters in Florida and elsewhere. Stay with us.




KARI LAKE, ARIZONA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: He's got BDE. Anybody know what that means? I call it Big DeSantis Energy. He's got the same kind of BDE that President Trump has.


TAPPER: Well, if you don't know what BDE actually stands for, feel free to google it. That was Trump-backed Arizona candidate for governor Kari Lake energizing MAGA Republicans in their first big rally since the FBI search on former President Trump's Florida home. As she and headliners Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are aiming to rebrand the grand old party. CNN's Kyung Lah talks with Republicans in Arizona now to find out if the Trump wings rambunctious language will sway or alienate voters.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): East meets West. In a show of a united Republican front. The headliner of this Arizona rally, Florida governor and possible 2024 hopeful, Ron DeSantis.

RON DESANTIS, GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: From the beaches of Florida to the deserts of Arizona, November 8th, 2022 is going to be the day that America fights back.

LAY (voice-over): To energize this Phoenix crowd, DeSantis turned his political fire to the news in his state. The FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.

DESANTIS: They're enforcing the law based on who they like and who they don't like. That is not a republic. Well, maybe it's a banana republic when that happens.

LAY (voice-over): Echoed by Republican nominee for Arizona governor, Kari Lake, heavy on grievance, light on facts.

LAKE: And then these people sent politically motivated federal agents to president Donald Trump's home and raided it. How dare they?

LAY (voice-over): This is the first large political rally since the Mar-a-Lago search.

(On camera): How much is that affecting Republicans who are going to be voting this year in the midterms?

DONNA SURACI, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: Well, I hope it's a lot. I hope it ignites people, gets them out there, and they want to help support the Republican ticket.

CINDY WAKELEY, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: After what happened on Monday, we have to show our support for the president. The real president, anyway.

LAY (voice-over): Here in Arizona where Trump's 2020 election lie still thrives in a big swath of the GOP, his endorsed candidate swept in the state's primary.

Kari Lake defeated a Republican backed by former Vice President Mike Pence and the establishment.

LAKE: The Republican Party isn't your great, great grandfather's party anymore.

LAY (voice-over): U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters is also Trump endorsed.

BLAKE MASTERS, ARIZONA SENATE CANDIDATE: It will be Arizona first and America first all the way.

LAY (voice-over): The proof is in the primaries, say voters in this crowd, that the more centrist Arizona Republican Party of John McCain is gone.

UNKNOWN: We feel McCain is a total traitor. I believe he was a RINO.

LAY (voice-over): In this theater, party unity and its success in November is under the banner of Trump.

(END VIDEOTAPE) (On camera): I spoke with a Democratic nominee for governor here in the state of Arizona, Katie Hobbs, and she disagrees with this philosophy of running to Trump in November as the ticket to win. One- third of registered voters in the state are independents and Hobbs believes by catering to them, talking to them directly, is a way to win in this battleground state. Jake?


TAPPER: Alright, Kyung Lah, thank you so much. Let's bring in our panel and Brendan let me start with you because if Arizona's election denying Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and the Republican Secretary of State candidate, if they had held office in 2020. They say they would have decertified the results and overturn the election in favor of Trump, even though that's not how the voters of Arizona voted.

And in fact, according to a "Washington Post" analysis, quote, "Across the battleground states that decide the 2020 vote, candidates who deny the legitimacy of that election have claimed nearly two thirds of GOP nominations for state and federal offices with authority over elections."

You're a Republican who supports democracy and election results. How do you respond to this?

BRENDAN BUCK, FORMER TOP AIDE TO HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN & JOHN BOEHNER: This has always been the biggest threat. You know, we talked about the voting laws in Georgia and Texas about people who had issues with us. This is always the threat. The people who are actually in charge, we have to sign off on elections, can -- are election deniers, but that's the big problem.

And you're in a situation here where you would think that in a general election, maybe you would temper some of this, and maybe you're just trying to get through a primary. But it's clearly these people truly believe this stuff. And that's what's scary about it.

TAPPER: And some of the Democrats have been accused of playing with fire by supporting these more extremist Republican candidates hoping that will give them a leg up. We saw that play out in Michigan with Congressman Peter Meijer. What do you think? Can the Democrats say that this is actually an existential threat to the country, but we're going to play cute with it by nominating -- by helping to nominate some of these election denying Republicans?

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020: Yes, I think it's quite dangerous, because it's not just what happens in 2022. They're laying the foundation for the next presidential election in '24 Because these people, if they win, they will be the ones that have to decide whether or not to certify the next election. So, we are in an existential crisis, we cannot allow people who will break the law, who will lie, who believe a lot -- the big lie to be elected.

And I don't think -- I think Democrats could win even if they were -- had moderates that they were running against in the Republican Party.

TAPPER: And Francesca, the "Washington Post" is also reporting that a group of lawyers aligned with Trump led a team of computer experts to obtain data from election software as part of a broad organized multi state effort. This is after the 2020 election. You covered Trump, are you surprised by how well organized some of this was?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: Well, we know that after the election that they were in many of these states trying to do what the "Washington Post" described there. And we also know that that Republicans have been trying to get in their own people in some of these states following that election, because they do think they could be decided at that level in the 2024 election. And this is why those groups have been so focused on getting an Republican attorney general that we'll be able to take it to the courts after the election if -- not just in 2022 but in 2024, potentially also, if they don't get the result that they want.

TAPPER: So, Kasie, you were in Wyoming a couple of weeks ago, I was there last week, although for fun.


TAPPER: For fun, not for work.

HUNT: I'm jealous of your trip.

TAPPER: So, but Liz Cheney, obviously, is running for reelection and she is facing a very strong challenge from a Republican named Harriet Hageman. University of Wyoming poll found Cheney trailing by nearly 30 points last week, last week 30 points. CNN has reported that Cheney is obviously looking ahead to 2024, potentially.

HUNT: Yes.

TAPPER: Is there enough appetite, you think, for an anti-Trump Republican presidential candidate? More so perhaps, than then one in Wyoming for Congress?

HUNT: I think it's a really tricky path forward for Liz Cheney. I think that they're very aware that she's unlikely to win next Tuesday. But I think that they're basically -- I mean -- I think she deeply believes that it is actually worth what has happened, it is worth losing her seat. And if that is what makes her different from so many other Republicans in the Trump era, who just were not willing to potentially give up their own power in service to a greater good being the country and democracy and, you know, I think she's really taking a stand on that.

I mean, when I was out there, I heard her talk to voters about it. It wasn't just in interviews with the national media. It's what she was saying to her constituents there on the ground. But, you know, it's a tough path forward. I mean, as you know, and I think everyone at this table knows, running in the Republican primary analysts Cheney platform, it's really tough so. TAPPER: And on that subject, I think there were a lot of Republicans who didn't support Trump, but we're hopeful that they could have the Trump policies in an aggressive candidate in Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. But DeSantis is disappointing a lot of those Republicans because he is on stage with all of these election deniers, supporting them as much as he can, Kari Lake and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania, he's doing an event with him too, as well.

BUCK: Yes, it is the Trump party, whether you have Trump or not, they're all imitating how he did. It's the lesson that they learned from him is that you don't need to appeal to the middle anymore. If you turn out base Republicans, you play to the base every step of the way, there's a path to victory. I think that's very short sighted. I don't think that's a good long term play, but it's what every Republican across the country is trying to emulate.

Now, is there a path for a Liz Cheney to broaden us back out to a traditional conservative party? I hope so. But I don't know. I really doubt it.

CHAMBERS: Is there even a path, though, at this point for Ron DeSantis if Donald Trump runs. You may have seen the Morning Consult Poll that showed that now 58 percent of Republican voters said that they would back Trump. And this is after the FBI search.


TAPPER: Well, yes, he's numbers went up.


CHAMBERS: Yes, his numbers actually went up. And Trump world says, see, we're consolidating support. And it went up at the expense of Ron DeSantis who went down by 5 percent in that particular poll. So Republican strategists are telling me that they see that the pathway is actually narrowing for Ron DeSantis or anybody else after that.

TAPPER: Do you see the Democrats meeting this moment in terms of they're trying to appeal to these voters in the middle to try to appeal to disillusioned Republicans such as my friend here to my right? I mean, or do you think Democrats are struggling with that?

ALLISON: I think they have to do a better job. But you probably saw there was a memo that came out from the White House that they were going to go on a messaging tour. They have to talk to the entire base, not just black and brown voters, which they need to excite and they need to turn out because they will not win if people my age and younger and of color voters stay home. That is very clear.

But they also have platforms or policies that they can go to talk to suburban white moms, to talk to the rural farmer. And not just say that we're doing something for you, but if you pick somebody else, they're not going to do anything for you. We are trying and we need to expand our margins. I don't think that they have landed the plane just yet on the messaging, but they do still have some time.

TAPPER: Do you agree?

HUNT: You know, I think the challenge for Democrats here, I mean, one of the things that I think is, on the flip side of what's happened over the past week in terms of Trump, I mean, let's put Trump friend center again --


HUNT: -- midterms, I mean, that's good for Democrats, no matter which way you slice it.

TAPPER: You think?

HUNT: I do think that that's -- certainly Democratic strategist I talked to would love for the midterms to be about Trump. And now they also have a bunch of policies that they can also sell --


HUNT: -- on top of it. So they're in a much stronger position that they were.

BUCK: Victories are internally (ph) referendums on the president.

TAPPER: Right.

BUCK: And for once, you might actually have a chance -- where it's going to be a bit of a choice.

HUNT: Yes, right.

BUCK: You have between the January 6 hearings that are reminding people of what Donald Trump did, you have candidates across the country who are crazy, kooky, and reminding people that Republicans are not the same party they used to be. And so, I think that's where Democrats have a chance to actually have a choice election which is what everybody always tries to have in midterms but can never pull off.

TAPPER: All right.

HUNT: And you throw abortion in there and it's just like the Democratic base up more.

TAPPER: I guess we'll see. Thanks one and all. Appreciate it.

Ahead to Texas where a youth football game turned deadly. Now the brother of a former NFL star has turned himself in. What police are saying about this case, that's next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, a youth football coach was killed after a game. And after two days on the run, his suspected shooter is now in police custody. Law enforcement says the shooting took place Saturday night in a Dallas suburb after an argument started following a peewee football game during which football coach Mike Hickman was shot three times in front of his nine year old son. Hickman died from his injuries the suspect.

The suspect, Yaqub Talib, brother of former NFL star Aqib Talib turned himself into police a short while ago after the weekend man hunt.

CNN's Ed Lavandera joins us now live from Dallas with more on this tragic story.

And Ed, you spoke with the suspects attorney. What did he have to say?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, after being on the run essentially for two days shooting as you mentioned happened Saturday night, an attorney for Yaqub Talib says that while he regrets the loss of life he turned himself in so he could tell his side of the story. When we asked to clarify exactly what that side of the story is for Talib. The attorney just says that defense will be an issue at some point. So there are a suggestion of self-defense.

But what has happened here, we have video of the altercation. We warn you before we play the video, it is dramatic and difficult to watch. But in that altercation you can see a number of what we believe to be coaches at this football game. And in the course of that video and in that altercation between what police in Lancaster Texas say it was a fight between the opposing coaches.

You can hear five different gunshots erupt from there. And as you mentioned, the son of the victim, Michael Hickman, who was 43 years old was at this at the scene of the shooting. This has happened Saturday night. And it was a dramatic scene to say the least.

TAPPER: And some of the witnesses who were there are speaking out. What are they have to say?

LAVANDERA: Well, the -- one of the coaches -- one of Michael Hickman of fellow coaches talked about. His son being at the game on the field as all of this happened. And he said -- you know, he basically had to console the young man who had just witnessed this horrific event happened right in front of him.

TAPPER: That's horrible.


MIKE FREEMAN, YOUTH FOOTBALL COACH: I held his son, little Mike Jr. And I held him like my son. Anyway, it was very, very, very hard to hold him and console him because again, I mean just letting them know that we will be there for him. This is something that these kids will remember for the rest of their life. They'll never forget this moment.

The only thing that I want right now is just justice. That's all.

(END VIDEO CLIP) LAVANDERA: And Jake, Yaqub Talib is still in jail here in Dallas. We're waiting to find out what his bond is going to be and at some point this week. He's expected to have a bond hearing as well, Jake.

TAPPER: It's so senseless and awful. Ed Lavandera, thanks so much.

Next to Ukraine and a roadblock for Russian forces, months into the invasion. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, Ukraine says it has now diffused more than 180,000 explosive devices since the start of Russia's invasion. This as we learn Ukraine is forcing Russia to evacuate from parts of the southern Kherson region after Ukrainian forces made a third key bridge in the area impassable, making it even more difficult for Russia to move heavy military equipment and ammunition.

CNN's David McKenzie joins us now live from Kyiv.

And David, what is the significance of Russia pulling back its forces from that area?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, I think it's significant. And I think this might be a key moment. The fact that Ukrainian forces are able to strike over the Russian positions into those bridges, those supply lines in the southern part of this conflict potentially cutting off those troops. Now, they're doing that because of the longer range artillery including that given by the U.S. government.

Some troops from Russia have moved away from the one side of that river, but there's still a ways to go. And the Ukrainians are hoping to encircle those Russian troops to try and cut them off. Jake.


TAPPER: Growing concern about a nuclear power plant in Ukraine, that's the largest in Europe, that power plant. What's happening there?

MCKENZIE: Well, there's been several days of accusations and counter accusations of strikes, artillery and rocket strikes very near to those reactors in the southern part of this country. That's, of course, very alarming because of the chance of a leak or even fallout from that that could affect this country and the entire region.

Just a short time ago, President Zelenskyy of Ukraine saying that there needs to be sanctions on Russian state owned nuclear company. He's also says if the world can't figure out one nuclear plant, one safety issue with that area, then they will generally lose out. The U.N. Secretary General has had discussions with the defense minister of Russia to try and ensure the safety of that region.

Russian troops, Jake, had been in that area since March, they took control of that nuclear power station, but they've been lobbying indirect fire across the river to Ukrainian positions. And there are real fears that if not a direct strike on a actual nuclear reactor, but cutting off the power would be very significant because it could lead to a Fukushima like disaster. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, David McKenzie in Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you so much.

Coming up, work from home benefits rents around $800, the major city that's turning into a magnet for outsiders from the U.S., that's next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, a growing number of Americans are crossing the southern border and making Mexico City their new home. The reason, well, remote work and cheaper living costs. But local residents in Mexico City say Americans are bringing in gentrification and are driving up everyday costs for Mexicans.

CNN's David Culver takes a look at the cause and effect of American settling in Mexico City.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look past the charming cafes, scenic parks, flashy apartments, and you'll see this capital city for what it's becoming, a refuge for migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I grew up in New York.



CULVER (voice-over): Perhaps not the border crossing you expected, Americans leaving pricy U.S. cities heading south to work from home in Mexico City.

ERIK RODRIGUEZ, U.S. EXPATRIATE LIVING IN NEW MEXICO CITY: It is starting to feel like home. I've been here for several months already

CULVER (voice-over): Born and raised in the U.S., Erik Rodriguez hardly speak Spanish and admits he's not here to rediscover his Mexican roots so much as to save money.

RODRIGUEZ: In San Diego my apartment was probably $2,500.

CULVER (on camera): For one bedroom?

RODRIGUEZ: For a studio.

CULVER (on camera): For a studio.

RODRIGUEZ: Here, I have a one bedroom and I pay $800 a month. CULVER (voice-over): The State Department says 1.6 million U.S. citizens live in Mexico, but they don't say how many are living and working there on tourist visas. The Mexican government does not track that data either. But they recorded more than 5.3 million American tourists flying in during just the first five months of this year. Nearly a million more than that same period in 2019 pre pandemic. Rodriguez is among the unrecorded but undeniably present so called digital nomads, here officially as tourists, most working remotely for U.S. companies still getting paid in U.S. dollars, allowing for a far more affordable life in Mexico.

RODRIGUEZ: I think there was a sense of, we want people to come here to stimulate the economy. Thank you for being here. But I know that recently there's been kind of complaints from locals about the effect that expats living here has had on their own lifestyles.

CULVER (voice-over): Sandra Ortiz (ph) is one of them.

(on camera): The prices are going up high. She said it's difficult because a lot of these foreigners come in to have a bunch of money to be able to spend on some of these apartments and rents.

(voice-over): For more than 50 years, Ortiz in her four siblings ran a restaurant popular with locals on a prime corner in the increasingly desirable Roma neighborhood. But as prices climbed, Ortiz says it became unaffordable for the family.

And in February, she says they were evicted. All their belongings piled onto the sidewalk.

(on camera): You had five minutes to get everything out and move it out of the business? So where do the locals go?

That's what we need to be asking ourselves, Fernando Bustos Gorozpe tells me. The pandemic, coupled with the global inflation have made matters worse, leaving locals in fear of a culture clash.

This is part of the problem, he says. The expats move here because it's cheap, not because they want to truly immerse in the local culture.

Families like the Ortiz's feel they're getting pushed out. Sandra and two of her siblings now working at another restaurant, no longer the owners. The thought of visiting their old restaurant, too painful. We went by renovations already underway, high end apartments coming soon.


CULVER: And Jake, for folks who are looking at this report and say, well, perhaps I'll take my work from home to Mexico City. It does seem like there is an unofficial crackdown underway right now on part of the Mexican government.

We're hearing from some U.S. travelers who say that as soon as they arrive, Mexican officials at the border are limiting their stay to some as few as just 10 days and they need to leave after being in the country for 10 days.

Now again, this is unofficial. So we've asked the Mexican government about this. They say, as of now their current policy still stands so there's no change. But it does show you there is some effort to try to curb this a bit. That said, it's a delicate dance for some of these officials because on one part they want to crack down and try to limit people staying too long, but on the other, Jake, they don't want to dissuade U.S. tourism which brings in billions of dollars every year.

TAPPER: Interesting. David Culver, thank you so much for that report.

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