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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Judge Releases Some Documents Related To Mar-a-Lago Search; 18 Former Trump Admin Officials Say They Never Heard Of Trump's "Standing Order" On Declassifying Documents.; Ex-Trump Org. CFO Pleads Guilty In Tax Fraud Scheme; Kabul Police: Mosque Blast Killed 21 People, Injured Dozens; Ohio Judges Rules Walmart, CVS, Walgreens Must Pay $550M In Opioid Lawsuit; Back-To-School COVID Mask Rules Vary Widely. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired August 18, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Also across the southwest, as you mentioned, more rain expected there -- Alisyn.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Totally agreed, Jennifer. It's amazing how quickly the tables can turn and these new weather phenomenon -- I mean, a flash drought.
CAMEROTA: You know, we just didn't know that that existed recently.
Jennifer Gray, thank you very much.
And thanks, everyone, for joining me. Make sure to tune in tonight at 9:00 p.m. I'll be hosting "CNN TONIGHT".
And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump facing off against Johnny Law in multiple courtrooms today.
THE LEAD starts right now.
In Florida, documents are out. A judge decides the public will get to see new documents related to the FBI's unprecedented search of the former president's Mar-a-Lago property.
In New York, Trump's long-time CFO Allen Weisselberg pleads guilty to his role in a long-running tax scheme. How much money Weisselberg reveal next about the Trump family business as he tries to avoid even more jail time at the notorious Rikers Island.
And also today, Walmart, Walgreen's, and CVS, all ordered to pay up in a multimillion dollar opioid settlement. Where will that money go, as prosecutors claim that the big pharmacy chains helped fuel a silent epidemic that left so many Americans hooked and hundreds of thousands dead.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We're going to start today with our politics lead.
Major developments when it comes to learning more details behind the Mar-a-Lago raid. This afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Rinehart ruled he will unseal additional documents surrounding the search and he left the door open for releasing parts of the actual affidavit, which lays out in detail why the Justice Department felt the need to take the unprecedented step of searching the home of a former president.
The DOJ is against revealing that affidavit. They say it would provide a road map for their criminal investigation to possible future defendants. And they say it could chill future cooperation by witnesses. But Judge Rinehart appeared skeptical that the entire document needs to be kept secret.
CNN's Katelyn Polantz is outside the courthouse in West Palm Beach, Florida.
And, Katelyn, you just got ahold of the documents that the judge unsealed today. Tell us what they say.
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, there are four new documents in this court record backing up this search warrant that are now public based on the judge's ruling. We did have the Justice Department saying they were okay with releasing these. They were largely procedural documents that would exist in a court record like this, keeping things under seal, just setting up the process for that search warrant and that affidavit.
But what's in them is we hang on to every single word when we look at court documents, and there are words that fill out just a little bit more about what's going on in this investigation. In one document, the Justice Department writes that secrecy is needed here, so they're telling why they want this to be under seal. They say it's because the integrity of the ongoing investigation might be compromised, and evidence might be destroyed.
That's why that search could not be announced in advance, because evidence might be destroyed. That was a fear of the federal government.
The other thing they're saying here is a little bit more about exactly which parts of the criminal statutes they are investigating. So there were three things we learned before under investigation here: Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, criminal mishandling of records.
Here, they're spelling out that this is the willful retention of national defense information, that is something being investigated here that they had probable cause to go in and seize that evidence of, and also that there is the concealment or removal of government records under investigation. Of course, obstruction, as well. So those are the three things. Just a little bit more information we had before about this investigation.
TAPPER: Yeah, it's fascinating. The basis for the search is, quote, evidence of a crime, and also, quote, contrabands, fruits or crimes or other items illegally possessed, in these new documents.
Katelyn, the judge left the door to releasing parts of the actual affidavit. What happens next in that process in this case?
POLANTZ: Right. Well, the affidavit really is the substantive thing in this case that would explain a lot about this investigation. And the judge does appear to be leaning toward more transparency here.
Media organizations were in court arguing, you know, let the government make some redactions, that is okay, but the judge should be able to step in as a person who can represent the public, who can represent the media and determine whether or not every single word there needs to be blacked out.
So, over the next week, the Justice Department is going to make proposals about what they want to redact in that affidavit. They say it's detailed, it's relatively lengthy, it talks about witness interviews they've already done. It's talked about the grand jury, investigative techniques, investigative steps.
Lots of detail there about a very significant, ongoing criminal investigation that they want to keep confidential, they don't want to disrupt as their process moves forward. So we're just going to have to see what the judge does, but the Justice Department has to come back and make more arguments there -- Jake.
TAPPER: So the Justice Department making it clear they don't want the affidavit released in any way. But I was surprised to learn this, Trump's team was given the chance to weigh in on whether or not they wanted the affidavit released or blocked, and they chose not to weigh in at all?
POLANTZ: Exactly. This morning, they had the opportunity to file by 9:00 a.m. an argument laying out which side they were on. They were not asked specifically to respond, but they had that ability, just like any member of the public or media would be able to. They did not file a single thing.
And then Trump did have a lawyer here at court. She sat in the court, Christina Bobb, she was here. There were many members of the media, myself included, asking her what position Trump would be taking.
She was really declining to comment, and she did not stand up in court when given the opportunity, not by the judge, but generally by the court if she wanted to say something, she could have. She did not do that.
Katelyn Polantz, thank you for that reporting.
In the days after the Mar-a-Lago raid, Trump claimed that there could not be any classified materials at his home because he had a standing order to declassify any documents that he took from the oval office to the White House residence. But now, former officials say that claim is ludicrous and ridiculous and complete fiction.
CNN's Jamie, tell us who you talked to and what else they said about Trump's claims.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It wasn't just a couple of people, Jake. We reached out to 18 former very senior Trump officials -- White House, intelligence community, NSA, Justice Department, even his former chief of staff. Many of these people either would have been involved in the process, or would've been aware of the process.
And each and every one, all 18, dismissed the notion that there was any standing order for a sweeping declassification. Some of them even laugh at it. And this doesn't happen too often, they went even on the record.
So, let's start with former White House chief of staff, John Kelly, who said: Nothing approaching an order that foolish was ever given, and I can't imagine anyone that worked at the White House after me that would've simply shrugged their shoulders and allowed that border to go forward without dying in the ditch trying to stop it.
And another chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, acting chief of staff, he flatly dismissed the idea and told me, quote, not aware of a general standing order when he was chief.
Former national security adviser, John Bolton, called it, quote, a complete fiction.
And Jake, as they say, but wait, there is more. Olivia Troye, former homeland security official to Mike Pence, called it, ludicrous.
Another former very senior intelligence official laughed and said it's ridiculous.
And a very, very senior Trump administration official called it, quote, bullshit and actually there were a couple --
TAPPER: A couple of other words.
GANGEL: A couple other officials who said. That more officials who called it BS.
TAPPER: So, Jamie, obviously, any president, including Donald Trump, has broad powers to declassify materials when he's in office. But my impression of it is that you have to create a record of it. You can't just, like, wave your hands and say this is declassified.
Has anyone seen or found any record of this? GANGEL: No, not yet. As one very senior White House official said to
me, show me his signature. Where is the proof?
And to your point, it has to be memorialized and there is a process. It's frequently a complicated process that requires multiple agencies.
TAPPER: Right, they might push back. They might say please don't do this, Mr. President.
GANGEL: Absolutely. The idea that Donald Trump could have this idea in his head, or wave a magic wand, is simply not the way it works.
TAPPER: Yeah, another question I have, obviously, these officials also say the top national security officials in the administration would have had a major issue if Donald Trump, President Trump, had ever issued such an order. They wouldn't have just gone along with it.
GANGEL: Absolutely, look, I was told by several people that people would've resigned over this at the top level. That it was, quote, reckless to even suggest such a standing offer. As to why Trump is saying this now, almost everyone I spoke to said, it is a transparent attempt to try to come up with some legal justification for why he took these papers to Mar-a-Lago.
TAPPER: All right, Jamie Gangel, thanks so much, appreciate it.
Joining us now to discuss is Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio. He's a ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, thanks much for joining us.
Let me start with how Katelyn started the show, reporting on these newly unsealed documents and also the judge is suggesting that he is -- he wants to at least show some of the affidavit perhaps next week. What's your reaction to all this?
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Well, all-round, this is a win. So from the beginning, when we heard of the Mar-a-Lago raid, I called for the warrant to be released and for the affidavits, and for these to be, to the extent that they are redacted given to the intelligence committee. We are still waiting for that, and to show us the goods.
The warrant and the affidavit will tell us what they said that they were going to go find, and then, of course, in the intelligence committee, we have full classification clearance to be able to see any of these documents. Show us what you went in for, because what we have here is, they have to meet a pretty high threshold to be able to justify that the use the most intrusive, unprecedented, as you called it, invasion of a former president's home. What I have said and called for is certainly, this must rise to the level of an imminent national security threat that they're trying to secure, that they would go into his house, because they had many options.
One of which is a could've gone to court and asked the court to enforce the subpoena that was prior lee issued, where they would've demanded that the president, former president, deliver his materials and have the court even working with them to determine what's in the materials and what they retain, and what he retains. Of course, even that wasn't done to Hillary Clinton, as you know.
But, nonetheless, this standard of a higher standard of -- what's interesting and especially in your report, is the brief, the motion that was filed by the court -- to the court by the Department of Justice to try to stop the affidavit from being released doesn't even cite a national security threat. They only cite a criminal investigation. They don't say that these documents posed a national security threat.
TURNER: And what's interesting, Jake, is by now, they've seen them. They have them. So you would've thought if this was a security issue, it would be in this motion.
TAPPER: Well, Congressman, let me just ask you. I mean, this document that was signed by the judge, the magistrate judge, says that the basis for the search is checked, evidence of a crime, checked, contraband fruits of crime or other items illegally possessed. It talks about the search as related to violation of the U.S. Code having to do with willful retention of national defense information, concealment or removal of government records, obstruction of federal investigation, and elsewhere in the motion to seal signed by the U.S. attorney, Juan Gonzalez, it says the United States submits that there is good cause to conduct this because the integrity of the ongoing investigation might be compromised, this is to seal the motion, the search warrant and all accompanying documents. And evidence might be destroyed.
So, I guess my question is, look, everyone in this country is innocent until proven guilty. Nobody's been charged with anything. But why do you not believe what this magistrate judge and this U.S. attorney are saying?
TURNER: Well, it's not lack of belief. Remember, that's very boiler plate language. You can find that in any warrant. And those are certainly the keys that they are going to cite and -- what you have here, though, is that they had other options. The attorney general, on his own signature, he said he signed off on it to choose the most invasive, the most intrusive actions.
TAPPER: They are trying to get the documents --
TURNER: -- stood in front of them in June, now wait a minute, they stood in front of them in June and said, lock them up. They came all the way back in August, they had an affidavit for -- they had a warrant for a weekend, and they didn't rush in over that weekend. So there certainly is a question of, what is the imminent threat here?
Here's a point, Jake, this is very important. You know, this is President Biden's political rival. This is also President Trump who was the man who derailed the attorney general's path to sit on the Supreme Court. There better be a very high standard for an unprecedented no former president's home has ever been raided.
TAPPER: Wait, why you're saying Trump stop Garland from -- you mean because he won? That's how he stopped Garland from becoming to the Supreme Court?
TURNER: Well, he was also the one that had to withdraw his nomination and appoint someone else. He didn't appoint him. So, yes, I mean, Garland certainly knows that he's not on the Supreme Court because of Donald Trump. That's really personal.
TAPPER: You are insinuating that --
TURNER: I'm not insinuating. I'm straight-up saying.
TAPPER: Okay, you are saying that Biden and Garland are doing this out of political vendetta, right?
TURNER: No, no.
I'm saying that in order for them to have credibility, because they already have an unbelievable level of bias, this is President Biden's political rival, perhaps even his, you know, political opponent, certainly his past political opponent.
TAPPER: But you have no evidence that the president is involved in this in any way.
TURNER: We don't know because Attorney General Garland hasn't told us. The interesting question if you'd ask, Garland, whether or not he did tell the White House because I've not seen him asked that question or answer it. We also know --
TAPPER: Well, the White House has said that they had no idea and just empirically looking back on it, this all happened at a time when President Biden had a bunch of legislative accomplishments. I doubt that he would've wanted, you know, the bills that he signed in a decent week that he had legislatively, knocked off the front page by this raid. But let me ask you something, you just heard --
TURNER: I consider you having doubt, but it's a question that should be asked from the attorney general.
TAPPER: I don't doubt that for one second. You've just heard Jamie Gangel's reporting and you've heard from John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney and former Marine General John Kelly and all these other individuals saying Donald Trump never had any standing order just to say that any classified documents I take to my residences automatically declassified. Even though that's what Donald Trump is suggesting. And I certainly can't imagine you as the ranking Republican on the
House Intelligence Committee with ever think that any policy like that would be acceptable, no?
TURNER: Well, and I don't think that's what the president -- the former president said. I think he said while he was president, when they were unloading documents, he said the things I'm taking are declassified. I don't really know what he said.
But I know this, Jake. You weren't there and I wasn't there. And all the other people you are interviewing weren't there either. If you continue to interview people who were never there when Donald Trump was leaving the White House and none of them would be able to answer this question.
Now, I will agree with the report that you just said on the issue of whether or not this was declassified or, not that's a fact-based issue. I'm a lawyer. He's going to have to prove. The question is going to have to be asked and it's going to have to be something more than him just thinking.
TURNER: But at the same time, you can ask people who had nothing to do with, like you, and I, and you're only going to get speculation. This is something that is obviously going to be a question that's going to have to be resolved.
But the other question that has to be resolved is, do we have an abuse of discretion here by the attorney general to spend nine hours in Mar- a-Lago and what is the basis of that, that he said had to be the option to choose this as opposed to going to the court and saying, I have a subpoena, Judge, order the former president to deliver the documents to us?
And, of course, he would be at that point he would be subject to contempt of court. He didn't do any of that. Even though those documents sat there since June and even though they got the warrant over the weekend, what was the imminent threat to spend nine hours of the president's house?
TAPPER: It sounds to me quite a bit of the idea that this was made public, from where I sit, it looks as though garland and the FBI in the Department of Justice were trying to handle this quietly. We learned confirmation of this FBI raid from Donald Trump, not from the FBI. They didn't wear FBI jackets. They came in. A lot of people at Mar-a-Lago thought it was Secret Service.
It sounds to me like they were trying to get these documents. I don't disagree with you at all that it's important that the public find out the impetus behind us.
But before you go, I want to ask you a question because a handful of your Republican colleagues, not you, but a handful of your Republican colleagues have called for defunding of the FBI after the Mar-a-Lago raid. And I want you to take a listen to what former Vice President Mike
Pence said yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I also want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the attorney general accountable for the decision that he made, without attacking rank and file law enforcement personnel at the FBI. Calls to defund to the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I should note that this comes as Donald Trump and his team leaked to friendly media the full warrant that listed the names, unredacted, listed the names of the actual FBI agents. You're from Ohio. I don't need to tell you the peril that this puts individual FBI agents and you had that MAGA lunatic attacked the FBI headquarters there in a while.
Are you concerned at all about some of the rhetoric you've heard from some of your Republican colleagues?
TURNER: Well, Jake, as you know, I have called the statements to defund the FBI outrageous. And all the statements where we have come together as the intelligence committee demanding that this material be released to, us we started with, we certainly support and believe an honor the men and women who serve in the FBI.
It's the leadership. It's the two individuals that have been appointed by this president. The FBI Director Wray, who serves at the pleasure of the president, and, of course, Attorney Garland, they have questions to answer about their actions. -- it's always disheartening. It's heartbreaking when people make statements like this. It certainly should be condemned.
TAPPER: Yeah. I mean, just a note that Christopher Wray, the FBI director, was appointed by Donald Trump. But I take your point.
Republican Congressman --
TURNER: He serves at the pleasure of this president, so he is an appointee of the current president because he stayed.
TURNER: He was originally appointed by Trump in the position. Absolutely, I agree. But he's there because of President Biden.
TAPPER: Yeah, we hear each other.
Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio, always good to see you. Thank you so much, sir.
TURNER: Thank you. Take care.
TAPPER: In court New York today, Allen Weisselberg pleading guilty to 15 felonies. Could future testimony from the former Trump Organization CFO implicate the former president?
Plus, CNN inside Taliban territory, where Afghans once bragged about attacks on Americans. What people say one year after that chaotic withdrawal by the United States.
And school mask requirements even for the youngest students who are now eligible for a vaccine. This hour, we're asking, why do these kids need to wear masks?
TAPPER: In our politics lead, former Trump organization CFO, the chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, today pleaded guilty in a 15-year tax fraud scheme that benefited both him and his employer, the Trump Organization.
Weisselberg admitted to 15 counts of tax fraud, including failing to pay taxes of one point $7 million of personal income. As part of the deal, Weisselberg also agreed to testify against the Trump Organization, not the individual, but the organization, if that family business goes to trial for real estate tax fraud this fall.
Let's bring in Renato Mariotti, who's federal prosecutor. Also with me, David Priess, who's a CIA intelligence officer, also the author of the book, "The President's Book of Secrets".
Renato, let me start with you. Weisselberg possibly testifying against the Trump Organization. Is that significant?
RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think so, because the Trump Organization actually has the same constitutional rights that a person would have. They are going to have their own separate trial and ultimately, I think the testimony Weisselberg should bury and insure a guilty sentence for the Trump Organization, given that he was the chief financial officer. So, I think that's significant.
TAPPER: David, the federal judge also signaled he's willing to release a redacted version of the affidavit that the FBI used to justify a search of Mar-a-Lago. This is for the different case down in Florida.
If that affidavit is released, what will you be looking for when you read it?
DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: What I will be looking for is a whole lot of black rectangles, Jake, because the judge's almost certainly not going to release the most sensitive information here, and frankly, the material a lot of people want to see, which are the details of exactly what is known or suspected that led to this, the details of who's being investigated and why. This is still an active investigation. I don't think the judge is going to release most of that.
So there is going to be a lot of words that are readable when this is released, but there is going to be a whole lot of nouns that are not visible because they are behind those redactions of black rectangles in the document.
TAPPER: Renato, the judge also just unsealed some documents the FBI used to justify their search of Mar-a-Lago. One of them is the motion to seal, to keep documents hidden. It reads: In part, the United States summits that there is good cause because of the ongoing investigation might be compromised and evidence might be destroyed. What do you make of that?
RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it certainly means that they presented some evidence of that in this affidavit. I know that the congressman -- called it boiler plate. I ordinarily wouldn't disagree, but given the case that this is, the fact that this was the former president and that there's so much review, so many layers overview, I suspect that there is some evidence that led the Justice Department to be concerned about that.
TAPPER: David, back to the issue having to do with the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, we have seen organizations like the Sacklers organization, Purdue Pharma, face penalties, but individuals who ran the company did not face any.
Is that likely what we are going to see at the Trump organization, if they are found guilty, the company will pay some sort of fine, but nobody who actually runs the company gets punished?
PRIESS: It's hard to say. One thing we don't know is exactly the level of Cooperation. There's some reporting going out there about what's happening, but we don't know what exactly will lead to. Will some information come out in related ways, that points to culpability in the individual sense?
Right now, it seems to me the Trump organization side of this, and what are we tracking now, Renato? Four or five different investigations. The Trump Organization one perhaps is the one most least likely to go after Donald Trump personally. The Mar-a-Lago documents, certainly Fulton County are definitely looking that way. But the Trump organization, I think it may be more limited in terms of who's actually fingered for this.
TAPPER: And, Renato, you heard Congressman Turner in the previous segment say, if the secrets that were kept at Mar-a-Lago, if these documents were so important, why did it take the Justice Department so long, so the point that they even took the weekend off before going down there and getting these documents? How do you explain what happened?
MARIOTTI: It seems to me, Jake, that there is extraordinary deference given to the former president here. I mean, if reports are true, then the Justice Department actually provided the subpoena to the former president, the Justice department actually had a meeting at Mar-a- Lago. If I had documents at my home, I don't think I would've gotten a polite meeting or requests, or subpoena, or anything like that. I'm interested if the affidavit has some portions unsealed of whether or not the portions that are unsealed or going to reveal these conversations, and potential reasons why they were convincing the judge that this stop was necessary.
TAPPER: All right. Renato Mariotti and David Priess, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
Coming up, CNN is in Afghanistan going beyond the capital of Kabul. What Afghans say now about the U.S. no longer being in their country. The incredibly brave reporting in heavy Taliban territory to bring you the story next.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The mosque explosion that rocked Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul on Wednesday tops our world lead today. Police in Kabul say the blast killed at least 21 people and left dozens wounded. One witness saying the explosion was so intense, worshippers were thrown out of the mosque's windows.
No one has claimed responsibility, but the violence follows a pattern from ISIS. It's obviously a setback for Taliban leadership after they touted security improvements that we should note are partly because of Taliban themselves are no longer attacking President Ghani's Afghan government, which no longer exists.
Now, one year after the counter U.S. withdrawal, which allowed that Taliban takeover, CNN's Clarissa Ward traveled outside Kabul where Afghans harbor a deep resentment of the United States for invading in 2001 and occupying ever since.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There were no tears in the Tangi Valley when U.S. forces left Afghanistan. The landscape is awash with white flags, marking the graves of Taliban fighters killed in battle.
Among them is the son of Nabi Mubaraz (ph).
This is your son?
He tells us he was killed in the U.S. supported Afghan special forces night raid on the family home in 2019. Video of the aftermath shows the scale of the destruction. After a protracted gun battle, the house was leveled, killing a second son Mubaraz's as well as his niece and her daughter.
It was a lot of blood spilled, the voice says off camera. The rebuilt living room is now a shrine to the death.
What was your reaction when American forces left a year ago?
I said the pieces come to Afghanistan, he says. There will be no more mothers becoming widows, like our mothers and sisters who were widowed, and our children killed.
Across this rural Taliban stronghold, American forces were seen as invaders, have brought death and destruction with their night raids and drone strikes. Peace has brought a chance to air long held grievances at the local market we're immediately surrounded.
Every household had at least one fighter, this man tells us. Every house had people who were killed by the Americans and their drones. We are proud of that.
Bashir Muhammad Hamas (ph) is treated like royalty here. His brother is believed to be responsible for downing a helicopter full of U.S. Special Forces.
So he's taking me to the spot where he says his brother shot down a Chinook. It was August 6th, 2011. Hamas says his brother was hiding behind the trees, and shot the Chinook down with an RPG as it prepared to land by the river. Thirty Americans were killed, the single greatest loss of American life in the entire Afghan war.
There were a lot of celebrations, and not just here, he tells us. It was a big party.
I'm sure you can understand that it's hard to hear that people were celebrating about the deaths of dozens of Americans.
This was a heroic achievement, because of people who were killed on this plane, they were the killers of Osama bin Laden, he says. And Sheikh Osama is someone who is on the crowd of the head of Muslims, so definitely people were happy about this.
Days later, the U.S. says it responded with a strike that killed Hamas' brother. Another white flag raised in a valley were martyrs were made and views hardened.
WARD (on camera): Now, Jake, what is so striking is that the Tangi Valley is just less than 15 miles from Kabul, worrying many people here are absolutely devastated by the Taliban takeover.
A two-hour drive away, people resell abridging in the streets. And I think one small part of that is that people in the Tangi Valley did not get to see the benefits that were associated with the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the billions of dollars that was pumped into development and infrastructure and resources all around, that really did not trickle down in any meaningful way to rural areas like the Tangi Valley. That's a small part, I think, of why you see these attitudes, Jake. TAPPER: All right. Clarissa Ward in Kabul for us, thank you so much.
Coming up, responses from some of the biggest names in retail. Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, after a judge ordered those companies to pay up in a multimillion dollar opioid settlement.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The opioid crisis tops are many lead today. Three major pharmacy chains have been ordered to pay $650 million total in damages related to that crisis to two Ohio counties. A judge ruled that CVS, Walgreens and Walmart abuse their roles of trust and responsibility and, quote, fostered a black market for prescription opioids and those two counties.
Over the next 15 years, the money will go over to part hearted Lake and Trumbull Counties, and fund programs to reduce dependence on opioids.
Let's bring in CNN's Jean Casarez.
Jean, we hear all three pharmacies plan to appeal the ruling. What exactly are these pharmacy giants saying?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they believe it's just very unfair because they're saying we are not the manufacturers of opioids, like Purdue Pharma. We are not the distributors like the major pharmaceutical companies. We are just the pharmacies. People bring in legal prescriptions and we fill them.
But what a jury set back in November was that there's over dispensing here that, the pharmacies knew or should have known that there were just too many pills going out, and that's when the jury trial was. It was in November and they found these pharmacies liable.
Now, it was in May that the judge, and he has the responsibility for this, to look at the amount of abatement fees. They are not damages, they're abatement fees, because this is a nuisance, a public nuisance, that is the opioid crisis, in these counties.
And he has a look at what was paid out already by the counties, the future 15 years from now. So it's a very difficult monetary determination he has to make.
I want to show you what Walmart is saying here. They have spoken out now, saying, instead of addressing the real causes of the opioid crisis, like pill mill doctors, illegal drugs, and regulators asleep at the switch, plaintiffs lawyers wrongly claim that pharmacists must second-guessed doctors in a way that the law never intended, and many federal and state health regulators say, interferences with the doctor-patient relationship. Now, this is part of the federal multi-district litigation, started in
2018, its cities, towns, municipalities, tribal nations, 3,000 cases is the first one involving pharmacies.
TAPPER: Jeanne, how is this money, $650 million? How is it going to help the people hurt by this opioid crisis?
CASAREZ: Well, first of all, the court has an abatement fund where the monies are going to be an administrator continuing jurisdictions. So the monies that go out will be very well-documented. And it's really up to the counties. They have to pay back the agencies that have paid so much in the last years for opioid. They need to look at the future, develop new programs.
I think it's sort of in its infancy right now, these monies were just awarded yesterday. And so, I think the future will tell that story.
TAPPER: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Coming up, should masks still be required in schools? A simple question that still ignites a lot of debate. That's next.
GUPTA: In the health lead, confusing patchwork mask and vaccine rules, as a new school year begins, even after all we've learned since the early days of COVID. In Philadelphia, public school students must wear a mask for the first ten days of the year. But pre-K students and staff must wear masks for the entire year. That's three year olds, four year olds, and five year olds, regardless of their vaccination status, regardless of community spread.
In the suburbs around Washington, D.C., schools in Prince George's County, Maryland, are requiring face masks again. But its schools in Prince William County, Virginia, masks are mandatory only in pre-K, head start classrooms. On the college level, Rutgers and Stanford are starting the semester with mask mandates in place.
Let's bring in CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, we noted the mask requirements for pre-K impacts three-year- olds and four-year-olds. The students tend to have the mildest symptoms. They can get vaccinated and they have their vaccines for them.
I don't even understand, why the three, four, and five-year-olds if they're vaccinated need to wear masks all year?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is interesting. First of all, if you look at sort of the disparate guidelines or disparate -- around the country, a lot of it does have to do with how much of the virus is spreading at any given place. If you look at community transmission around the United States, for example, you mentioned, first of all, universities, Rutgers and Stanford, they both happen to be in areas where there's high community level right now, which means not only is there a lot of virus spreading, but there's also significant tool on hospitalizations in these areas as well. That's part of the reason we go into masking.
What's interesting, Jake, when I learned this today, it goes to three, four, five year olds, if we look at Philadelphia, for example, closer to where you are from, and if you look at the community level there, you will see there are different areas that are high versus medium versus low. Philadelphia's actually medium, so they shouldn't have indoor masking requirements. There is a federal requirement, though, for Head Start programs specifically. Children of that age range three, four, five-year-olds, head start programs specifically that they are continuing to wear masks. That's a federal requirement.
So, a requirement that has been challenged, you know, in several states around the country. But the thinking is that that is a population of people who tend to be more vulnerable, more likely to develop severe illness, less likely to be vaccinated, fewer resources. So I think that's why that federal requirement remains in place.
TAPPER: This doesn't make a lot of sense to me. There's a vaccine there. If you want to require the vaccine, require the vaccine.
But the masking is damaging, psychologically, emotionally, and educationally for these kids.
GUPTA: I think that's part of the reason you've had so many people challenge that at this point. I will say, you know, the vaccine uptake has been very low in that age group overall, and even lower among some of these vulnerable populations. So, it's -- you are right that they are the least at risk, you know, population overall because of their age.
But this is a federal requirement. When you look at the school districts not just in Philadelphia, but other places around the country, Head Start programs are still requiring masking for the time being. That may change, as I said, it's a challenge. But that's the way it stands now.
TAPPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much. Appreciate your time today.
Coming up, a billion robocalls to Americans, and the FCC says just two people are the alleged masterminds behind all this annoyance and fraud. CNN investigates the spam calls that have likely kept your phone ringing, coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, we have all gotten the phone calls like this one before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROBOCALL: Hi there, this is Shasta calling in regard to your Volkswagen warranty. The warranty is up for renewal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Now scam responsible for 8 billion robocalls, stealing millions from unsuspected Americans, is being shut down.
Plus, world leaders warn this could be the next Chernobyl disaster, danger looming at the biggest nuclear power station in Europe, as Russian forces continue to fire rockets and shells from the six nuclear reactors.
And leading this hour, new developments, the judge setting in motion the possible release of the redacted version of the search affidavit detailing the reasons behind the raid on Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Rinehart said he plans to hear more from the U.S. Department about how much of the document describing how and why they concluded this unprecedented search of a former president home was necessary, how much of it should remain confidential?
Judge Rinehart said, I'm not prepared to find that the affidavit should be fully sealed, unquote, based on the information he had now.
But it's not just the affidavit.
CNN's Sara Murray joins us.
Sara, the judge just unsealed several other documents related to the search. What did we learn from those documents?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Jake. These are procedural documents related to the search of Mar-a-Lago, but they do get a little bit more specificity about the crimes that were under investigation.