Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Multiple Casualties After Explosion At Kabul Mosque; Ukraine Admits They Attacked 3 Russian Military Targets In Crimea; Parents And Teachers Face Back To School Sticker Shock; Pence Says He Would Consider Testifying Before January 6 Committee; Rudy Giuliani Wraps Up Grand Jury Testimony After Six Months; Cheney on Possible 2024: Run: I'll Make A Decision in "Coming Months". Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 17, 2022 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: So thanks so much for joining me today. Make sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern when I'll be hosting "CNN TONIGHT".

And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Could Mike Pence be the next star witness before the January 6 House Committee?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Open to an invitation. Former Vice President Mike Pence says that he would consider testifying before the January 6 committee if asked. But how serious is he?

Meanwhile, another Trump world insider Rudy Giuliani is forced to go to court, what we're learning about what he told a grand jury today in Atlanta, Georgia.

Plus, Liz Cheney's big loss. The Republican congresswoman and January 6 committee vice chair voted out in a Republican primary landslide in Wyoming, but now, the big question, will she challenge Donald Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024?

And, parents, you are feeling the pain on this one, how much more school supplies cost this year. CNN is adding up the shopping list.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We start today with our politics lead. Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani just wrapped up his testimony after spending roughly six hours under oath in front of a Fulton County, Georgia, grand jury. Giuliani's lawyer warned that his client might not be responsive to the questions that he was asked saying, quote, if they want to play hard ball, we know how to play hard ball, unquote.

We do know other witnesses who have appeared have been asked about Giuliani's meetings with Georgia lawmakers where the mayor pushed bogus claims of election fraud. And Atlanta prosecutors have warned Giuliani he is a target of their criminal investigation into Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election in that state.

Also today, former Vice President Mike Pence made a stop in the first of a nation primary state of New Hampshire today, at an event popular among those considering a run for the White House. And Pence may have sent a message to the January 6 House Committee.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I don't want to pre-judge. If ever any formal invitation were rendered to us, we'd give it due consideration.


TAPPER: CNN's Sara Murray starts off our coverage today from Atlanta with more details on why Giuliani is under investigation by these prosecutors.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: We will not talk about this until it's over. It's a grand jury, and grand juries as I recall a secret.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rudy Giuliani keeping a tight lid on the grand jury that just wrapped here, just days after prosecutors told him he's now a target in the criminal investigation here into efforts to subvert the 2020 election results. Giuliani is the closest adviser to Donald Trump to be named a target in the Georgia investigation, raising questions about Trump's own criminal exposure here.

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The Trump investigation is ongoing. As a district attorney, I do not have the right to look the other way on any crime that may have happened in my jurisdiction.

MURRAY: Ahead of today's appearance, Giuliani's attorney warning if they want to play hard ball, we know how to play hard ball. And saying prosecutors are delusional if they think that Giuliani will discuss his conversations with Trump.

GIULIANI: They asked the questions and we'll see.

MURRAY: For well over a year, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been running a criminal investigation focused on efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election.

WILLIS: We're going to look at everything until that investigation is complete.

MURRAY: She is looking at potential crimes including making false statements to state and local government bodies, solicitation of election fraud and conspiracy. Giuliani was among the loudest voices spreading falsehoods about the election in Georgia.

GIULIANI: The recount being done in Georgia will tell us nothing because these fraudulent ballots will just be counted again.

MURRAY: Investigators have been scrutinizing Giuliani's three appearances before Georgia lawmakers and other state officials where the former New York mayor spread conspiracies in the wake of the 2020 election.

GIULIANI: You can see them counting the ballots more than once, two, three, four, five times. You'd have to be a moron not to realize that is a voter fraud.

MURRAY: Like Giuliani, the 16 Trump backers who agree to serve as fake electors are also targets of the Georgia probe.

DAVID SHAFER, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: The president's lawsuit has not been decided or even heard. We held this meeting to preserve his rights.

MURRAY: This week, 11 of them including Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer went to court asking a judge disqualify Willis from the investigation.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, an attorney for Giuliani refused to say what he told the grand jury, they were also learning that another Trump attorney John Eastman is going to have to show up here in Georgia and appear about this grand jury. He was trying to quash the Georgia subpoena but a judge today said, look, even if you believe you might be a target of this investigation, you still have to show up, you can invoke your Fifth Amendment rights but you have to be there -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray in Fulton County, Georgia, for us, thanks so much.

For more on the latest in the Trump investigations, I want to bring in CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider and CNN's Athena Jones who is in Manchester, New Hampshire, where former Vice President Mike Pence spoke earlier today.

So, Jessica, let me start with you.

Trump's team, they're on the clock. They have to tell a judge by 9:00 a.m. tomorrow whether they support unsealing the Mar-a-Lago affidavit which would explain in detail why that raid took place. How does that factor into the judge's decision do you think?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, the judge will be able to get a look at the Trump team's legal arguments once they submit their filing tomorrow morning. The DOJ has already submitted its argument. That was on Monday court filing, and then the judge here will be peppering both sides are questions at the hearing at 1:00 p.m., it will be after that that the judge will probably deliberate and make that decision whether to unseal the affidavit. But what we know is that the DOJ is adamantly opposed to unsealing

this affidavit. Jake, as you mentioned, this affidavit lays on us the entire reasoning that they wanted to get the search warrant, lays out the probable cause. So, it is a lot of specific details. And DOJ is saying if this is released, it would completely derail their investigation. They say it contains information about specific investigative techniques, and also sensitive information about multiple witnesses here.

So, you can expect DOJ will be really arguing forcefully against this. Now, we're not sure what Trump team legal argument will be, but likely since we've seen Trump and his allies really arguing for full disclosure here that they will want at least parts of this affidavit released. But we'll see more when they do submit that filing tomorrow morning. And the hearing starts at 1:00 p.m., Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Athena, Vice President Pence says that he would at least consider an invitation to testify before the January 6 committee, but he also says he has some concerns. What are those concerns?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. He hinted at potential executive privilege issues. Listen to what he had to say.


PENCE: If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it. Under the Constitution, we have three co-equal branches of government. And any invitation to be directed to me, I'd have to reflect on the unique role that I was serving in as vice president. It'd be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill, but as I said, I don't want to prejudge.


JONES: And so, he says he doesn't want to prejudge and that any formal invitation that he receives would be given due consideration. But a source with knowledge of Pence's thinking on this matter cautioned against reading too much into those remarks.

This source telling my colleague Gloria Borger that the former vice president would have serious constitutional concerns about appearing before the January 6 committee and pointing to those remarks you heard about co-equal branches of government and having to consider to his role, Pence also believes that much of the information related to his experience on January 6 is information that the committee already has because his then chief of staff Marc Short and one of his lawyers, Greg Jacob, have both testified before the committee in full.

Of course, the January 6 committee when asked to respond to Pence's remarks declined to do so. He was also asked about the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago and he reiterated his concerns about it, saying, calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to give the American a full accounting of the reasons that search was necessary, saying this unprecedented search should lead to unprecedented transparency. And he said that Republicans can, you know, can hold the AG

accountable while not attacking the FBI rank and file, which is a line that got a lot of applause -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Athena Jones, Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

Let's bring in former assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig.

Elie, walk us through what likely went on in that grand jury room today. Most of us have never seen a grand jury, been part of a grand jury. How does this work, Giuliani testifying today?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Jake. So here is who is present inside the grand jury room. The prosecutors who are asking the questions, the grand jurors themselves who are just normal civilians, up to 23 of them, a court reporter who is taking down everything that is said and the witness in this case, Rudy Giuliani.

Notably absent, there is no judge inside the grand jury, and there is no defense lawyer inside the grand jury. So, Rudy Giuliani had to go in there himself. Of course, he's been a lawyer for five decades and former prosecutor, so he is not exactly out there in the wind.

Now, importantly, people may be wondering why would Giuliani have been in there for six hours? He might have been testifying, he might have been invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and he might have been invoking other rights or other privileges including the attorney/client privilege.

TAPPER: And one other note, you heard in that clip, former Vice President Pence saying that it would be unprecedented for a former vice president to speak or -- you know, to testify before Congress.


Gerald Ford testified before Congress about the Nixon pardon. He was actually president, not vice president. Just worth noting there that I'm not sure that that was factually accurate what the vice president said.

Do you think that in his testimony before the grand jury, Rudy Giuliani actually answered questions or do you think if you were his lawyer, would you have told him that just to invoke his right of Fifth Amendment, his Fifth Amendment to, again, self-incrimination?

HONIG: I would have said Fifth Amendment all the way. And it's easy to ridicule somebody for taking the Fifth, but that is any person's constitutional right. It's Rudy Giuliani's constitutional right here.

And here is the thing, Jake, Rudy Giuliani has already been told that he is a target of the D.A.'s investigation. That means in prosecutor parlance that prosecutors believe that they are likely to seek an indictment against him and given that to me, it is a no brainer that you take the Fifth. Now, one thing though, under Georgia law, you can't just take the Fifth in a blanket manner. You have to take it to each specific question you are asked in case the prosecutor wants to some day challenge that in front of a judge.

TAPPER: Obviously this is complicated by the fact that Giuliani was Trump's lawyer, one of many, but was one of them. And Giuliani is suggesting that everything he did, every comment he made and everything that he did was covered by attorney/client privilege. Take a listen.


GIULIANI: I was his lawyer of record in that case. The statements that I made are either attorney/client privilege because they're between me and him, or being made on his behalf in order to defend him.


TAPPER: It's one thing to say that on Newsmax, of course, it's another thing to actually try to make that argument in front of a judge.

Does that argument actually hold water? And is there anything that prosecutors can do to force him to answer questions?

HONIG: So, no, Jake, that does not hold water. Rudy Giuliani is way off there. Certain communications that Rudy Giuliani had individually with his client Donald Trump may be protected by the attorney/client privilege but not if they represent to an ongoing crime.

But the second part of Giuliani's statement there, that the public statements that he made as part of his representation of Donald Trump, that they are privileged, that is nonsense. That is absolutely not the case.

Now, could prosecutors try to force Rudy Giuliani to testify? As complicated because if Rudy says I claim attorney/client privilege, you can't physically force him to talk. As a prosecutor you then have to go to a judge and initiate litigation which takes time. So prosecutors will have to figure out is it worth it to fight for that testimony.

TAPPER: You disagree with how Fulton County prosecutors have gone about this. You think that this was perhaps an unfair way to bring Giuliani in. Explain.

HONIG: I do, Jake. So, it is widely observed prosecutorial practice, it's not a rule or law, but seen as good, ethical, fair prosecutorial practice that once you have designated somebody as a target, as somebody you are likely to indict, you don't then subpoena that person. Because the reason you tell the person that they are a target is out of a sense of fair play to protect and respect their right so they don't come in and unknowingly incriminate themselves.

And to tell someone they're a target and say, now, I'd like you for force you to come in under oath, and we're going to force to testify, there is a tension there. So, the D.A. is not bound by that, but generally speaking, I think that it is better practice not to subpoena somebody who you have called a target. .

TAPPER: Among the potential crimes that the prosecutor is investigating is making false statements to state bodies, to local government bodies, as well as solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy.

Do you see evidence of a strong case for any of those charges against Rudy Giuliani?

HONIG: Well, Jake, the most straightforward case is the false statements that he made to the Georgia state legislature and the Georgia state Senate, because there you need to prove two things. Were the statements false?

These statements that Rudy Giuliani made with are wildly ridiculously provably false. And then the second part is did he know -- and I think one of the questions that I'd be asking him if I ever had him in a grand jury, what was your basis for the statement these suitcase that was wheeled in? What were you basing the claims on?

But I think to me that is a much more straightforward and easier to make case than the broader election interference cases.

TAPPER: A source familiar with this thinking says former Vice President Mike Pence would have serious constitutional questions and issues about appearing before the January 6 committee. If you were advising committee, how would you recommend they go about getting evidence from Pence who obviously was under a great deal of pressure from Donald Trump and other Trump team members to exercise duty he did not have under the constitution but one that they were pushing him to do to send electoral votes back to states that Biden won?

HONIG: Well, Jake, I would tell the committee first of all if you strip away the title, the fact that Mike Pence was vice president, he'd be a central and crucial witness here. Because he was a witness to not just the conversations that Marc Short or Greg Jacobs may have seen, but the one-on-one conversations with Donald Trump where there was pressure applied.


Now, if the committee is serious about getting Mike Pence to testify, they will likely have to subpoena him.

It certainly sounds from his comments in New Hampshire like he won't go in there voluntarily. He may invoke executive privilege. He may have a claim as to his conversations with the president, but not if they relate to criminal conduct. So if you really feel that it is important to get Mike Pence's testimony, you better be ready to subpoena him and potentially fight in the courts.

As a practical matter, Jake, I don't think that they have the time for that, their clock will expire in January of 2022, so they may not have the time as a practical matter.

TAPPER: All right. Elie Honig, thanks so much. Coming up next on THE LEAD, a landslide loss for Republican

Congresswoman Liz Cheney in Wyoming, but this might not be the end of her political career. What is she saying about 2024?

Plus, a water fight growing out west, why experts say the Biden administration did not go far enough when calling on states to cut their supply from the Colorado River.

And we're also getting details just in from Kabul, Afghanistan, a deadly blast in a mosque, one year notably after the U.S. withdrawal. We're going to go live to Afghanistan ahead. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, fresh off a brutal primary loss, the vice chair of the January 6 committee Liz Cheney is already considering her next move.


Cheney told the "Today" show earlier today she has not made any decisions yet but she is, quote, thinking about running for president.

Overnight, Cheney's campaign filed paperwork to create a political action committee which will give her a new tool through which she can carry on her fight against former President Trump and his efforts to undermine. Cheney lost her primary race last night in a landslide to lawyer Harriet Hageman who is backed by Donald Trump and is repeating his lies about the 2020 election.

Joining us live to discuss, former Republican governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman. She's also former EPA administrator and a founding member of the newly formed Forward Party which embraces a moderate approach to issues.

Governor, thanks so much for joining us.

What is Cheney's loss which was overwhelming tell you about the state of the Republican Party?

CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Well, it tells me what I believed all along, that it is no longer a party, it is a cult of Donald Trump. He controls the apparatus and the people who believe in Donald Trump believe in Donald Trump. I mean this is a woman who voted with Trump 90 percent of the time. And it was only when she finally stood up and said I will not support these lies that are undermining people's confidence in our government, and our rule of law.

And she stood up as a patriot and yet these people who claim to be really great patriots and all they care about is the good of the country are willing to walk away from her and such huge numbers. It just tells you that this is where the Republican Party is and that is where it will stay for quite a while I'm afraid.

TAPPER: The Lincoln Project said in a statement about Cheney's defeat, quote, tonight the nation marks the end of the Republican Party, what remains shares the name and branding of the traditional GOP but is in fact an authoritarian nationalist cult dedicated only to Donald Trump, unquote. And it sounds like you agree with that.

TODD WHITMAN: I've been saying that for a while. I've been saying that for quite a while because you can see it happening. When they didn't adopt a platform on the -- the Republican Party didn't adopt a platform at the 2021 convention, essentially, they were saying we'll believe whatever Donald Trump tells us to believe.

And that is not a party. A political party needs to have at least a central core of shared beliefs of how you approach problems. And the Republican Party doesn't have that. It is whatever they are told do. And that is a cult.

TAPPER: And Hageman's victory means yet another election denier, yet another person who lies about American democracy in the 2020 election is on the ballot this November and could very well become a member of Congress.

I want you to take a listen to what Congresswoman Liz Cheney said last night.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): No American should support election deniers for any position of genuine responsibility where their refusal to follow the rule of law will corrupt our future. We're the oldest democracy in the world. Our survival is not guaranteed. History has shown us over and over again how poisonous lies destroy free nations.


TAPPER: Americans are however voting for election deniers up and down the ballot, in Pennsylvania, in Arizona, all over the country. Why?

TODD WHITMAN: Well, again, this is what Trump has told them do. They have bought into the fact that everything that happens -- every time he says it is all fake, they believe it. And that is why the general election has become so terribly important. It is one of the reasons that we'll be supporting those candidates, Republicans and Democrats and independents, who are standing up to those who are trying to continue this argument over the 2020 election.

It is pretty scary to me when you have people who are running for the offices of secretary of state or governor who have direct impact on how votes and elections will be handled, how votes will be counted, to put them in office if they are election denier, that is truly terrifying challenge for our democracy if that happens. And yet, we have them as you point out all over the country and they have won these primaries.

So the general election is increasingly important. It doesn't surprise me because I'm afraid I've seen the Republican Party going this way as have so many for quite a while. So I've kind of given up because Trump does control the apparatus and he has this cult following that will just do anything that he tells them to do. And, you know, a lot of them are I'm sure think that they are doing the patriotic thing but if they would stop and think for a nanosecond, do they want someone overseeing the elections who doesn't believe in the system, I don't think they vote that way if they really thought about it.

TAPPER: Congresswoman Cheney said this morning she's thinking about running for president. Let's talk you about your new political party, the Forward Party. You have said -- your party has said that you would support selecting candidates in November who stand up for democracy, even if they come from outside the new party.


Have you reached out to Congresswoman Cheney? Would you consider working with her on a campaign if she does run for president as a Republican or an independent?

TODD WHITMAN: Well, let me just say that I think that the -- if she tries to run for president as a Republican, she will get nowhere. I think that the Forward Party is the mechanism for her if she wants to run.

But we're not there yet. What we're looking at is those 500,000 elected offices across the country that are the ones that are closer to the people as well as Congress and the Senate and we will be wherever we can. What we don't want to be this -- people say that you just will be a spoiler. No, we will be supporting Republicans, Democrats, independents if they are those that will stand up to the big lie, if they are centrists and we'll have our own candidates in races where we can find them.

TAPPER: All right. Former Governor Todd Whitman, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it.

TODD WHITMAN: A pleasure.

TAPPER: Coming up next, we go to Afghanistan where we're getting word of a deadly blast in a mosque. We'll go live to CNN's Clarissa Ward who is in Kabul right now. Stay with us.


TAPPER: We have some tragic breaking news in our world lead, reports of multiple casualties after an explosion at a mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan.

CNN's Clarissa Ward is in that city.

Clarissa, the explosion apparently happened during evening prayers?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. So from what we know so far, this took place in an area in the north of Kabul, called Kher Khanna, according to emergency which is a hospital that's run by an Italian NGO, 27 people were brought to their facility, three of them died upon arrival. At least seven children were among those injured, including one 5-year-old boy. But the fear here is that that death toll is going to be significantly

higher. We don't yet know exactly who was responsible for this attack or what was the motivation behind it, but it does really bring home for people just how difficult and dangerous it continues to be even though things are much safer than they were this time a year ago per se. That NGO emergency saying that they have had six mass casualty events take place in August alone.

And there is an ongoing insurgency being waged by ISIS-K or ISIS- Khorasan primarily they've been targeting the Taliban, but also targeting Hazaras and Shia minority sects. So the question is who was responsible, what was the motivation. We don't have a clear sense of that yet, Jake.

But again, this looks like it's going to be very deadly indeed.

TAPPER: So if this had happened two years ago, we would have suspected that the Taliban was responsible for it, but now they control the government obviously. So the violence as you note as a daily drumbeat continues.

WARD: It does. And it is interest because you talk to the U.N. and they would say the number of civilian casualties have decreased three- fold in the seven months since the Taliban took over as compared to the ten months in the run-up to the Taliban taking over.

So, it is definitely safer here, but there is this insurgency roiling on in the background. And there have been a number of attacks since we have been here, one targeted a prominent cleric who was very supportive of the Taliban, another targeting Shia Muslims in a different part of the city.

This appears to be the largest since we arrived and again the concern is that you are going to see those casualty figures get higher and higher. The Taliban has been really trying to keep a tight lid to getting journalists near the scene and get any kind of information. They haven't been releasing figures very quickly, and that's partly because they are keenly aware that the one thing that they have been able to do is provide a modicum of security in this country. And so this ISIS-K insurgency, if indeed ISIS-K is responsible for this attack poses a direct threat to that promise that they have given people, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Clarissa Ward in Kabul, thank you so much.

Turning to Putin's war on Ukraine. Ukraine has officially claimed responsibility for attacking three Russian military targets in Crimea, including an airfield and ammunitions depot and an airbase where seven Russian planes were destroyed. Video geo-located by CNN shows a record amount of traffic leaving the Russian annexed peninsula heading back to Russia after the air base attack last week.

And now, Ukrainian officials are dropping hints of plans for a massive counteroffensive, and not just in the south. According to one defense official, the attacks would include, quote, very acute events on the entire front. CNN's David McKenzie in Ukraine talks to soldiers who nearly lost

everything but are still willing to go back to the front lines.


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A coffee and a cigarette, that is all this man asked for after field surgeons amputated both of his legs.

Okay, you are a fighter, you will be okay, they told him.

I try to stay positive. It helps me to survive.


A veteran of Ukraine's war, just nine days into this conflict, Andrii (ph) was clearing munitions when they exploded. It left him bowed but not broken.

It is hard but this is my task, to stay upright, he says. And I'm doing it. Maybe I'll even return to duty. At this rehabilitation center, soldiers often choose camo-prosthetics. The artisans have been doing this for decades respect putting soldiers back together and the physical rehabilitation is not enough.

How is the attitude or the hope for a patient important in this process?

VOLODYMYR DANILYUK, ORTHOPEDIST, VINNYTSIA REHABILITATION CENTER (through translator): It's 50/50; 50 percent depends on our doctors and 50 percent depends on the soldier and his mental health. If he doesn't want it, doctors can't help him.

MCKENZIE: How do you feel about this war now being many months?

I'm very sorry for the younger man who are dying in the war, says Andre. For permanent soldiers who have been going to the front since 2014, I understand. But for the younger guys, I feel sorry for them.

Russia's invasion sent this 23-year-old Serhii far from home, to the northeastern front. He felt proud to defend his homeland.

Our orders were to push the enemy from the frontline, he says. We were too close to the enemy.

Russians attacked their position with overwhelming force with tanks and mortars.

Yes, I'm very angry, says Serhii. But first of all, I'm angry because they attacked Ukraine and I'm angry about my leg.

Of course, it is much better when you have your own leg, says Andrii. But now, I understand that the wheelchair and prosthetics are part of my body. It is physically very, very hard. It's very hard.

(END VIDEOTAPE) MCKENZIE (on camera): You can see the pain in Andrii's face and his own son wants to go and fight and he said there is no way that he would allow him do it. He said that he wants to one day have grandchildren.

It is quite extraordinary. There are people, there are soldiers who go in to that facility, get their prosthetic legs and demand to be sent back to the front. A few days before we were there, there was someone who came back to have his repaired because it was damaged in an attack and he is going right back again -- Jake.

TAPPER: Incredible. David McKenzie in Ukraine for us, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the costs that many parents cannot escape. This year's expensive school supply list seeing just how much more families are paying to send kids back to school and a resource that is offering some financial help.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Inflation struggles top our money lead. Retail sales held steady from June to July. Government data showing that consumers are using the money that they are saving thanks to online shopping. It comes just in time to shop for school supplies. But CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has a warning, be prepared for a severe case of back to school sticker shock.


MELISSA DESANTI, PARENT OF THREE: I have three kids. All the kids will be in school five days a week. It will be an interesting year.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That is a lot of stuff that kids need for school.

DESANTI: It is nerve-racking because it is a lot of stuff.

YURKEVICH: It's a new school year.

DESANTI: Ready to go.

YURKEVICH: And this year, the average American household will spend $864 on back to school shopping, 40 percent higher than before the pandemic. Like everything else that costs more, parents can blame inflation.

DESANTI: I was surprised about the cost of like pens and paper and notebooks and all of that, that went up.

YURKEVICH: It's beyond the basics. Tape is up almost 70 percent. Glue, 30 percent. Sneakers, 12 percent. And backpacks up 2 percent. DESANTIS: Everybody needed new shows. Everybody's feet grew like

crazy over the summer. Everybody needed new backpacks. You have to prioritize what they really need versus what they want.

YURKEVICH: It's not just parents feeling the pain.

DANIEL SOLO, OWNER, TEACHER'S CHOICE PLUS: We can't keep up with the increase in prices.

YURKEVICH: Daniel Solo has owned this school supply store in Queens, New York, for 20 years. He says trying to keep up with rising prices makes it hard to not pass that cost down to the consumer.

SOLO: I'm not going to raise the price on what I already have in the store on asylum absorb that.

YURKEVICH: Is that a loss?

SOLO: It minimizes my profit margin and when you do that, it's hard to stay in business.

YURKEVICH: Before the pandemic, teachers were already spending an average $478 out of pocket on school supplies each year. Inflation has likely pushed that number even higher today. Elementary school art teacher Deborah Sisane is shopping for art supplies.

Three-ninety-nine, 2.99, how many of these do you have to purchase?

DEBORAH SISANE, NYC ELEMENTARY ART TEACHER: I usually buy about 48 of these.

YURKEVICH: So a couple hundred just on glue.

SISANE: Yeah. And it is important.

YURKEVICH: Which is why organizations like kids in need foundation in Minnesota provide preschool supplies for more than 300,000 teachers and 7.8 million students each year.


COREY GORDON, CEO, KIDS IN NEED FOUNDATION: With the high cost of inflation and prices, et cetera, teachers are concerns. And we're seeing it across the U.S. a demand for core essential school supplies.

LEONA LOR, MINNESOTA FIRST GRADE TEACHER: This is my second cart and definitely I probably am saving hundreds if not maybe even thousands of dollars.

YURKEVICH: But for some teachers, this year's extra expense is still worth it.

Will that affect your personal finances?

SISANE: Yes, so I will keep back on something else because when you're an educator, those little eyes that are looking at you are the need.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): And even though U.S. households are individually expected to spend more on back to school supplies this year, the National Retail Federation says it is that overall consumer spending on back to school is expected to be flat compared to last year.

And that is because individual items may be more expensive, but consumers are expected to do less back to school shopping and, Jake, last year we were warning folks to get out early, to do their back to school shopping over the summer because of supply chain issues. Well, they heard us along with retailers. Retailers got product in early this year, some even have excess.

And 56 percent of shoppers started their back to school shopping in July of this year compared to 44 percent last year. So the supply is there. It just costs more -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks so much.

Despite an extreme drought and water levels at historic low, critics say states will likely ignore calls to cut back on the supply coming from the Colorado River. We're going to take a closer look at why, next.



TAPPER: In our Earth Matters series, something of a five alarm fire for states that rely on water supplied by the Colorado River. It is drying out at a shocking pace fueled, of course, by the climate crisis. The Biden administration called upon the states to come up with a plan to reduce their usage, but gave no real outlines of a plan and no deadline.

One water expert says that they have a, quote, softly worded kind letter. Adding, quote, it's kind of like if you tell your dog no the dog starts ignoring you, unquote.

CNN's Bill Weir is at Lake Mead in Nevada.

One victim of this growing water crisis.

And, Bill, clearly, gentle suggestions will not cut it here.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, there is a sense among western water managers that they expect the fed, Bureau of Reclamations, to sort of be the tough parent and say these are the cuts and you guys have to adjust accordingly. The feds says, no, you squabbling seven states, you guys have to figure it out, despite a hundred years of upper and lower basin tension.

But it is an emergency. While all this happens, Lake Mead is evaporating. Here's the understatement of the decade, launch your boat at your own risk, low water levels. If you look at the top of this hill, way up there are there is a glint of a reflected windshield, that's where the water was in the year 2000. And back over here, that is when the 23 year mega drought started, worst in 1200 years.

Here is where the water line was in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected, not exactly ancient history. And this is all that has gone ever since. And now, the states came together on an improvised tear down, step down of release plan that kicked in as a result of the water levels here, but they fudged the math a little bit. It is much lower than they are reporting but they did that to avoid mandatory cuts in California which is the biggest user of this water.

But Jake, I'm not even to 2018 here yet. It goes way down there and as a result of this, we're having all these grim discoveries of late.

TAPPER: And, Bill, as you alluded to, human remains keep being found along the lakes or rapidly receding shoreline. Have officials been able to identify these victims?

WEIR: Not yet. This last discovery happened Monday. It was the fifth total. It may be part of a skeleton that was discovered previously on the swim beach which is I just around the corner. And over here is a suspected homicide, they found a corpse in a barrel with a gunshot wound, and the lake water have preserved the clothing and shoes enough that they date it to the '70s or early '80s I think that it was a mob hit.

But they are finding World War II era vessels, intake valve from the '70s is now exposed. And think of it like a martini glass, it gets smaller as it gets to the bottom and we're scary close to the bottom.

TAPPER: All right. Bill Weir at Lake Mead, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

A U.S. naval officer in prison overseas being held by an American ally. His family says that the sentence against him, jail sentence, is way too harsh. And they're going to join me ahead to explain what they are asking of President Biden. That's next.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, the bible and an illustrated adaptation of Anne Frank's diary. Just one of two books being removed from shelves in one Texas school district, even though the books have already been reviewed and approved. So, why are they being pulled now?

Plus, former Vice President Mike Pence says that he would consider testifying before the January 6 House Committee with a big caveat. Former Trump national security adviser John Bolton will join us live to weigh in. And leading this hour, Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney accepts

defeat in her Republican primary and is already focusing on the future.


SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Are you thinking about running for president?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): That is a decision that I'm going to make in the coming months. I won't make any announcements here this morning. But it is something that I'm thinking about and I'll make a decision in the coming months.


TAPPER: After her huge primary loss to a Trump-backed candidate, Harriet Hageman, Cheney vowed to keep fighting against Trump, launching a leadership PAC called the Great Task. Joining us live to discuss, CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny live from Jackson, Wyoming.

Jeff, just how bad was this loss for Cheney?