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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Any Moment: Biden To Deliver "Cancer Moonshot" Speech; Scotland Bids Farewell To Queen Ahead Of Next Week's Funeral; Trump Asks Judge To Deny DOJ Request To Keep Reviewing Seized Docs; January 6 Committee Meets Tomorrow Amid Debate Over Whether To Seek Interviews With Trump And Pence; Biden Addresses "Cancer Moonshot" Ambitions. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired September 12, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Court filings say the woman threatened to assassinate the judge in front of her family for helping the former president.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Let's take a live look now at some of the pictures. This is inside St. Giles' Cathedral as Queen Elizabeth II is lying there and members are paying their tributes strolling by.
CAMEROTA: And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: It took Ukraine one week to recapture what Russia took over five months.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Ukraine's impressive gains forcing Russian forces to retreat. But are those advances temporary? As the Kremlin launches retaliatory strikes.
Plus, emotional farewell. The queen's four adult children surrounding their mother's coffin. The message today from her oldest son, the new king, before tomorrow's journey to London.
And calling fouls. Questions over the list of the so-called best colleges and university in the U.S. after one prestigious university admits that its data was cooked. A brewing scandals putting reputations, prestige, money and power all on the line.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we start today with our politics lead. Any moment, President Biden will give a speech in Boston on an issue that is very personal and important to him and his family, the "Cancer Moonshot" initiative. President Biden hoping to bring more attention to his administration's efforts to cut the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years. President Biden's son Beau, an Iraq war veteran, died of brain cancer in 2015. He was only 46 years old.
Let's get straight to CNN's Athena Jones. She is in Boston. And, Athena, the date and location of the speech are no coincidence.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake, that's right. This event is taking place at the John F. Kennedy Library on this day because this marks the 60th anniversary of JFK's moon shot speech where he launched that years-long effort to land a man on the moon. Kennedy saying: We choose to go to the moon in this decade into the other things not because they are easy because they are hard. That speech was a call to action to marshal the U.S. scientific and technological resources to try to land a man on the moon. They were able to do that in ten years.
Now, Biden has been working on this cancer -- a different kind of moonshot, a cancer moonshot, to cut in half the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years. And this is something that he has promised a fierce sense of urgency, again, marshaling the resources, the tools already present in the U.S., and also spurring advancement and development.
So, we are going to be waiting for him to talk about this and to make announcements about a new head, a new agency, dealing with biomedical advancements around cancer and much more -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Athena Jones, stick with us. We're going to go back to Boston shortly when President Biden begins speaking.
We wait to hear from him. Let's turn to our world lead, though.
Today, Queen Elizabeth's coffin arrived at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland, where members of the royal family joined in the service of thanksgiving. The queen's four adult children led by King Charles III stood vigil around her coffin which will stay in Scotland for the next day for the public to pay their respects before it is then flown back to London tomorrow.
CNN's Max Foster reports now from Buckingham Palace on how England is preparing to say its final farewell to its longest reigning monarch.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new king processing behind his mother's coffin, in lockstep with his siblings along Attenborough's cobbled Royal Mile. The silence only broken by royal salutes -- and gunfire, one a minute from the city's iconic castle.
Inside St. Giles, members of the royal family and household as well as Scottish politicians and representatives of the military and Scottish civil society pay tribute and remember the queen's love of Scotland.
REV. CALUM I. MACLEOD, MINISTER, ST. GILES CATHEDRAL: We gather to bid Scotland's farewell to our late monarch, whose life of service to the nation and the world we celebrate, and whose love for Scotland was legendary.
FOSTER: The late monarch's casket draped with a royal standard of Scotland and the nation's crown that she received here in 1953 -- a sendoff full of Scottish symbolism and her son taking his first steps as Scotland's king.
Just shortly after, Charles III meeting Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, leader of arguably the most rebellious of his nations.
Sturgeon wants to eventually secure another referendum on Scottish independence, challenging the unity of the kingdom. But in her address to the king at the Scottish parliament, she pledged her loyalty.
NICOLA STURGEON, SCOTTISH FIRST MINISTER: Your majesty, we stand ready to support you as you continue your own life of service, and as you build on the extraordinary legacy of your beloved mother, our queen, Queen Elizabeth, queen of Scots.
FOSTER: The encounter with the Scottish leader came after an event at Westminster where the king and queen consort received letters of condolence from both houses of parliament. There, Charles III reiterated his loyalty to Britain's democratic values.
KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: Her late majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people, and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lies at the heart of our nation.
This vow she kept with an surpassed devotion. She set an example of selfless duty which with God's help and your counsels I resolved faithfully to follow.
FOSTER: Monday was Scotland's day to express their condolences. On Tuesday, the king heads to Northern Ireland and he visits Wales on Friday, a unifying bed before a final farewell to the late queen at the state funeral on Monday.
FOSTER: The casket will be flown to London tomorrow night. And it will rest here in Buckingham Palace before a full ceremonial procession to Westminster hauled down the road where the queen will lie in state. Lots of people expected to come out and see that procession, but many more, miles long queues are expected as the British public get a chance to pay their respects to the queen as she rests in Westminster.
TAPPER: All right. Max Foster, outside Buckingham Palace, as, always my friend, thank you so much.
Joining us now to discuss CNN royal historian Kate Williams.
Kate, it's been four days since the queen passed away. How are the people in the U.K. broadly speaking, how are they feeling?
KATE WILLIAMS, CNN ROYAL HISTORIAN: It has been an emotional rollercoaster here in the U.K. The really shocking news that the queen has passed on Thursday, the news we are all dreading, and then a sense of joy and celebration that Charles was adopting his role, with energy and gusto. Now, we are seeing the queen and her casket, the final farewell, the final goodbye.
And I think people are very overwhelmed by emotion. I have been speaking to people at the palace. It's really crowded, and it will be very much so when the queen comes here on Wednesday to be the lie in state.
And people are saying to me, we are here because we want to pay our respects to the queen. We want to celebrate her amazing life and we're part of history, this is a historic moment. We will never see another reign like this. We will never have another queen at least in my lifetime. And it is a moment -- a great moment of history and people really feel that weight of history.
TAPPER: During today's service of Thanksgiving, the reverend talked about the queen's deep links with Scotland and its people. But after the service, King Charles met with Scotland's leader, Nicola Sturgeon. She has pushed for another vote to decide if Scotland should leave the UK and be its own country.
Do you think the United Kingdom is about to fracture?
WILLIAMS: Yes, Jake. Well, Mrs. Sturgeon does want a referendum. It was 55-45 before, in 2014. So, it was reasonably closed.
And things have changed since then. We have left the E.U., there are people who voted in because they wish to remain in the E.U. Otherwise, it had to cue up as a new country. And we have left the E.U. now.
And the queen -- a lot of people had a lot of perspective from the queen, what we are going to see I think as Charles's reign begins are some countries of which they have the monarch as head of state questioning becoming republics such as Australia, such as Jamaica. And I think that process will really push along the idea in Scotland to have a referendum.
Mrs. Sturgeon here today was talking about the queen as the anchor for the nation. She was praising her and her love for Scotland. The Queen adored Scotland. She really took pride in her title of queen of Scots.
But it may be that during the king's reign, during King Charles's reign, we see Scotland become an independent country which will be cataclysmic for the U.K.
TAPPER: We saw William and Harry reunited over the weekend for the first time in public in a long time with their wives. Their joint appearance covered the front pages of nearly every U.K. publication.
Tell us about the significance of this. Do you think we will see more of it as the mourning period continues and the funeral approaches?
[16:10:03] WILLIAMS: Yes, Jake, I think it was very significant. This moment that you are showing now, the Fab Four, as they used to be known, walked down in Windsor. The crowds were overwhelmed. They were thrilled. They were so excited to see them, the joy and the excitement, really to see the brothers together.
And I found it so moving, Jake, because the last time I remember seeing the brothers like this looking at flowers is when that tragic death, the tragic moment with Princess Diana, when they came up from Balmoral to look at all the flowers spontaneously put there by the public.
They are reunited for their beloved grandmother. They both put out statements about how much they loved her. I really think this shows that grief, as the queen, said is a price you pay for love. It can reunite us.
And perhaps, hopefully, as King Charles' reign progresses, there will be more of a reign, more of a role for Harry and Meghan because they do -- they do have star power.
TAPPER: Yeah, it's nice to see all four them together.
Kate Williams, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
We are standing by to hear from President Biden any minute.
Also ahead, a new crossroads for investigation into classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago as lawyers for former President Trump pushback on an appeal.
Plus, what could be the most consequential days yet as the January 6 Committee prepares to return and its high-profile interviews being negotiated right now.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: And we're back.
We are expecting President Biden at any moment to give a speech in Boston on his "Cancer Moonshot" initiative. The president plans to highlight his administration's efforts to cut the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years.
While we are waiting to hear from President Biden, and we will bring you his remarks as soon as he steps to the podium, Donald Trump's legal team today filed a motion urging the federal judge overseeing its legal battle with the Justice Department to reject the Justice Department's request to continue reviewing materials seized from Mar- a-Lago, arguing the DOJ is exaggerating the risk how classified documents being stored at Mar-a-Lago, and arguing that Donald Trump should have, quote, absolute right of access, unquote, to presidential records, whether they are classified or not.
But as CNN's Jessica Schneider reports for us now, even one of Trump's formerly strongest allies is calling this all a losing argument from Trump.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Federal Judge Aileen Cannon facing a critical decision on how the special master process should proceed, as the disagreements between Trump's legal team and the Justice Department escalate in court filings. Lawyers for the former president saying the DOJ's criminal inquiry and the potential mishandling of classified documents is simply a document storage dispute that is spiraling out of control, and questioning whether there was an urgent need for the FBI to search Mar-a-Lago.
JAMES TRUSTY, DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYER: To have this search warrant based on failed narrow negotiations, I supposed, that allow the government to basically ransack the president's residence.
SCHNEIDER: Trump's legal team now asking Judge Cannon to deny DOJ's request that investigators being able to continue reviewing the classified documents they seized, but also seeming to sidestep the former president's common refrain that he diesel classified all documents, only saying that Trump had the authority to declassify anything he wanted and arguing the documents found at Mar-a-Lago were secure in a locked room, writing there is no indication any purported classified records were disclosed to anyone.
But on one of their main disagreements, even Trump ally Chris Christie thinks Trump's team has a losing argument.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: Their main thrust is that they may have executive privilege. Well, there's only one executive who can exert the privilege. And that's the one who's the current executive, Joe Biden.
SCHNEIDER: A federal judge is asking Trump and DOJ to come to some agreement on the special master review to little avail, each side putting up their own preferred candidates for the job and suggesting different timelines. DOJ wanting the review finished by mid-October as opposed to the 90-day deadline set forth on Trump side.
Trump was back in the D.C. area Monday at his golf club in northern Virginia. Meanwhile, Trump's challenger in 2016, the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying she believed Trump should be treated like any other American in a criminal investigation.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: If the evidence proves or seems to show that there are places that should be level I think the rule of law should apply to anyone.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): And Trump's legal team has just filed a three- page response to DOJ's two possible candidates for special master. Trump's team is now saying that they objected to both candidates but they are refusing to publicly give the reasons why. They are saying they will do that instead in private with the judge.
We are expecting a similar filing about the special master from DOJ soon.
And in addition, we also just learned that a Texas woman has been arrested for allegedly leaving a series of threatening voice mail messages for the judge handling this part of the case, Eileen Cannon.
Court documents are detailing how this woman tiffany dish of Houston left three voicemails for Judge Cannon threatening to have her assassinated in front of her family -- Jake.
TAPPER: It's horrible.
Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.
Tomorrow, the House of Representatives returns to Capitol Hill as the work of the select committee investigating the January 6th attack ramps up. I spoke earlier today with the vice chair, Republican Congressman Liz Cheney of Wyoming. I asked her about brand-new exclusive reporting today on former President Trump's refusal to accept the 2020 election results.
TAPPER: Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times" has a new book coming out. And among the many scoops in her book are the fact that Donald Trump told aides in the days following his loss in the election that he was going to stay at the White House. One of the quotes, I'm just not going to leave. Another quote, we are never leaving, how can you leave when he won election.
What's your reaction?
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): You know, I obviously had not seen her book. But sometimes people will say, well, you know, what happened wasn't -- was not that big a deal because, you know, if Mike Pence had rejected a slate of electors, the Supreme Court would have sorted out.
There are a lot of ways that people sort of say this wasn't as dangerous as it really was. And when you hear something like that, I think you have to recognize that we were in no man's land. And territory we've never been in before as a nation. And when you think about, well, the Supreme Court would have sorted it out, you have to ask yourself, who would enforce the rulings?
And if you have a president who's refusing to leave the White House or who's saying he refusing to leave the White House, then anyone who sort of stands aside and says someone else will handle it is themselves putting -- putting the nation at risk because, you know, it's clear that when you're in a moment that we face, everyone has got to stand up and take responsibility. And I think that's not surprising that those are the sentiments that,
you know, he reportedly expressed. I think, again, it just affirms the reality of the danger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And you can see more of my interview with Congresswoman Cheney and many, many others in a brand-new CNN special. It's called "American Coup: The January Six Investigation". That airs Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern, only here on CNN.
The January 6th Select Committee is set to meet in person tomorrow to consider one of its most significant decisions yet, whether to formally request the Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence appear before the panel.
Let's bring in CNN's Sara Murray.
And, Sara, this would be extremely important for the committee. Are either Trump or Pence expected to testify if asked?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, the committee members don't have high hopes that either of these gentlemen would actually show up and provide testimony. We would all love to see what happened if Mike Pence was up there talking about the conversations he had with Donald Trump.
The committee doesn't actually think that will happen. What they do think they may want to do is establish this record essentially show that they reached out to these men, that they sought their testimony. This is especially important if they move forward with the criminal referrals related to the former president. They've then established a record around trying to talk to Trump and his top deputy, the V.P.
TAPPER: And, Gloria, Vice President Pence has not ruled out --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
TAPPER: -- that he would testify before the committee. Last month, he said he would consider an invitation from the panel. How seriously do you take that?
BORGER: Not very seriously. I think he is not going to say I'm not going to consider it. But from my sources in Pence world, it's clear that this needle has not moved it all. That the committee is going to meet. They are going to talk about it. As Sara is saying, they're going to want to do it for the historic record and said, you know, how can you have an investigation and not even ask these two men to testify?
They don't expect a positive answer. But at least they think they need to do it, and I think Pence understands that, and I think the committee also understands what the answers are going to.
TAPPER: Yeah. And, Sara, committee members have hinted that the panel is going to take a vote and decide whether or not they think there should be a criminal referral to the Justice Department for Donald Trump or for anyone else.
Where does the committee stand on that vote as of now?
MURRAY: Yeah, I mean, this is an important discussion the committee. It's one of the things they're going to have to deal with in their final months of work. And they're not on the same page on whether to do this. The other thing to remember, this is largely symbolic in nature. The committee may decide they want to make criminal referrals because they have done all this work and could see it as a combination, you know, who've done all these hearings, and we've gathered all the evidence that points to the former president's behavior. How could we not make a criminal referral at this point?
But, again, you know, this is a committee that's reconvening at a different time. It is now very clear that the Justice Department is looking at the behavior of the former president and his top aides on the number of fronts.
TAPPER: And, Gloria, the FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate has significantly changed the political landscape I have to say from when the committee held the last hearing in July. Now, we have the FBI raiding Donald Trump's home, searching for the home for these classified documents.
Do you think that will make a difference in the committee's thinking as they decide whether or not to refer?
BORGER: Yeah, I was talking to somebody familiar with the committee's thinking on this, and that's why they're meeting because they have to figure out what their narrative is. I think they also in the way takes some pride and saying, you know, we got this ball rolling because we were interested in what the archives had and they were all complaining, if you recall, that the Justice Department wasn't doing enough or wasn't doing anything.
BORGER: And, now, of course, they don't have that complaint. But in order to have a cohesive narrative that somehow takes Mar-a-Lago into account, even though that separate from their investigation, is what they're trying to figure out now, because they really want the public to watch.
TAPPER: So, the Justice Department doesn't have the kind of deadline that the committee probably has.
TAPPER: The committee will probably have to fold if Republicans take control of the House in November, which just historically in terms of votes and that will probably happen. The Justice Department is still going to be in under Biden and Garland likely until -- you know, for at least a few more years. But that means that the committee does have borrowed time. How do they prioritize going forward knowing that they will probably
have to fold up shop in December?
MURRAY: Right. I mean, the reality is, there are a number of loose and the committee has to deal with in addition to getting their report in order. That's part of what they are working is on getting this final report done.
I'm also trying to figure out, you know, there are people there that are never going to hear from -- Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino, these witnesses they have called. They also have to figure what they're going to do about these Republican lawmakers that they sought testimony from, people like Kevin McCarthy, people like Jim Jordan, Scott Perry, people who again are resisting appearing before the committee. So, they are trying to figure out how to sort that out, Jake.
TAPPER: It does certainly look as though there are a lot of people who are reluctant to tell the truth to the committee.
Sarah Murray, Gloria Borger, thanks so much.
We are waiting to hear directly from President Biden talking about his "Cancer Moonshot" initiative. We'll bring that to you as soon as he steps to the podium.
Also ahead, Ukrainians planning their flags and re-capturing territory taken by Russians and doing so in just a matter of days. Is this a temporary win? Or might this have a lasting effect on pushing back the Kremlin for good.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Right now, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy is introducing President Biden at that event in Boston. President Biden is set to address his "Cancer Moonshot" initiative aimed at reducing the number of deaths from cancer and cutting it in half over the next 25 years.
Let's listen in.
CAROLINE KENNEDY, PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY'S DAUGHTER: We weren't sure even that a moon landing on the surface of the moon was possible. But President Kennedy understood the power of the idea. And overtime, along with his inaugural address, his call to service, the moonshot speech has become perhaps his best known legacy.
The vision, and the purpose, the courage it embodied has inspired each generation to take on hard challenges, and provides a metaphor to guide us as we face adversity in our own lives. My father believed that the effort to land on the moon would bring out the best in America, that everyone would contribute, that it would require invention, creativity, teamwork, commitment and faith, and that the world would be different because of the.
He didn't live to see it but he set in motion and age of discovery and invention, of earth science and space exploration that has made America the leader of the world.
As citizens, as colleagues, as friends, we can learn from his vision. It's up to each of us to set an example and to do hard things when we don't think we can. To believe in others when they take risks, to support them when it's tough and never forget that together, we can achieve great things. No one embodies that spirit more than President Joe Biden. He's lived President Kennedy's call to service throughout his life and career. As presidents he has restored the soul of America, advanced freedom and democracy around the world.
For more than 50 years, President Biden has been fighting for working families and affordable health care and access to quality education and always to honor our men and women in uniform.
But perhaps the most personal fight for him is the one against cancer. As vice president, he launched his own moonshot to end cancer as we know it and with characteristic perseverance, he is still committed to that cause. Like the Bidens, like all families, our family has lost people we love to this disease, including three who created and sustained this library, my uncle Steve, my mother, and my Uncle Teddy. I want to remember them today.
Having felt the grief that comes with such loss, I've often looked to President Biden's life for inspiration. His courage and compassion, his endless empathy and abiding faith and his confidence that we can overcome this challenge have lifted our hearts.
His personal commitments and the national goal he sets today will save lives, change our country, and heal the world. I'm honored to serve in his administration and to introduce him now. Thank you.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Madam Ambassador.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you. Madam Ambassador Caroline, thank you for that introduction and for your enduring friendship.
I was talking earlier about how your family, at a very difficult time in my life - when I first got to the Senate as a 29-year-old kid, before I was sworn in, I lost my wife and my daughter, and my two boys were so badly injured when struck by a tractor trailer.
And your family was there for me. No, I really mean it. Your family was there for me. And you may remember some of it. And I'll never forget it. They got me and my boys through an awful lot.
I'm truly honored to be with you all this -- and your incredible family. And, Jack, I believe your generation is the best-educated, most talented generation in our history. And that's the reason I'm so optimistic about the future, and that's not hyperbole. I mean it.
You know, Sheetal, thank you for sharing your powerful story.
And thank you, Mayor Wu, for the passport into this great city.
And thank you to Health and --
To Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra and Boston's own Marty Walsh. Marty.
And thank you to the members of the Massachusetts delegation from the House: Representatives Pressley, Lynch, Keating, and Jack -- Jake, I should say, Auchincloss. And, Lori, thank you as well for being here.
You have beautiful daughters. They're great kids.
And I want to thank all of you -- the cancer patients, survivors, caregivers.
And don't jump from up there, okay?
And all -- for all the leaders of science and medicine for being here today.
This is a powerful place for reflection and remembrance.
On this day in 1962, America was facing an inflection point -- one of those times that changes everything, from the day before to the day after. The shadow of world wars cast over a Cold War, the march on civil rights urgent yet uncertain.
And against all of that and more, America faced a choice: to move forward or to move backwards; to build the future or obsess about the past; to be a nation of unity and hope and optimism, or a nation of division, violence, and hatred.
At this inflection point, President Kennedy made a choice for the nation, thank God. On this day in 1962, at Rice University in Houston, he spoke about America's possibilities.
I was asked by Xi Jinping -- who I've met with more than any other world leader -- in the Tibetan Plateau, and he turned to me and he said, "Can you define America for me?" And I said, "Yes." And I was sincere. I said, "One word: possibilities." In America, we believe anything is possible.
(APPLAUSE) And I mean it.
And in choosing to go to the Moon, President Kennedy said America was doing so, quote, not because it was easy, but because it was hard, because the goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are willing -- not -- one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.
Unwilling to postpone. President Kennedy. Unwilling to postpone. President Kennedy set a goal to win the Space Race against Russia and advance science and technology for all of humanity. And when he set that goal, he established a national purpose that could rally the American people in a common cause. And he succeeded.
Now, in our time, on the 60th anniversary of his clarion call, we face another inflection point. And together, we can choose to move forward with unity, hope, and optimism. And I believe we can usher in the same unwillingness to postpone, the same national purpose that will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills to end cancer as we know it and even cure cancers once and for all.
I give you my word as a Biden: This Cancer Moonshot is one of the reasons why I ran for President. It's part of my Unity Agenda that I laid out in my State of the Union Address to rally the American people to work together. Because we know this: Cancer does not discriminate red and blue; it doesn't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together. And that's why I'm here today.
We've made enormous progress in the past 50 years since President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act to declare a war on cancer.
We learned cancer is not a single disease, but there are over 200 different types of cancers caused by different genetic mutations in our cells. We discovered new medicines, therapies, early detection and prevention measures to extend and to save lives.
In the first 25 years since the National Cancer Act, the death rate from cancer largely remained unchanged. Then things began to change.
With progress over the last 25 years, the death rate from cancer has fallen more than 25 percent. But despite the progress of life ex -- lives extended, lives saved, cancer is still the number two cause of death in America second only to heart disease.
For too many cancer patients and their families, instead of hope, there's bewilderment; the feeling of being on your own; frustration that hospitals said and doctors can't easily share your medical records with other hospitals and doctors to help find answers even when every minute counts; having to advocate for even the most basic care and attention for your loved ones; the flood of information is completely different -- is a completely different language, with few people help and available to help you decipher it; having therapy that work -- that could work within reach, but it's too expensive or insurance won't cover it.
And so when President Obama asked me to launch the Cancer Moonshot, our goal was to bring an added urgency -- a new urgency to the fight and, in my view, not unlike President Kennedy did.
We harnessed federal resources to change the culture, increase cooperation, and break down the silos that exist. That included everything from making published results of federally funded cancer research more available to any patient, to any doctor, for free instead of the firewall that had been set up.
That included the recognition that for many cancer patients it's hard to even know if there's a clinical trial that can help them, let alone how to enroll in one. So we launched Trials.Cancer.gov so everyone can find a clinical trial near them or across the country and the world, and they can gain access to these trials.
I've traveled the country, brought together leaders in healthcare, technology, education, business, philanthropy. I visited many of the major cancer research centers in the world. And nowhere -- no matter where I was or what the topic at hand, world leaders wanted to talk to me about our Cancer Moonshot. That's not hyperbole, that's a fact.
For example, Pope Francis convened a major international conference on cell therapies at the Vatican, and he invited me to speak about our mission. And one of the final pieces of legislation President Obama signed into law was the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act. It streamlined the Food and Drug Administration -- the FDA -- by creating an Oncology Center of Excellence so new cancer treatments can be evaluated faster. It provided seven years of new funding, including research on cancer therapies and the disparities, trial networks to discover new drugs, and new efforts on childhood cancer.
As President of the United States Senate, I presided over the overwhelming bipartisan vote and watched my friend Mitch McConnell name the cancer provisions in that bill after my son Beau, who had lost his life to that disease just months earlier.
And when we left office, Jill and I knew we had to keep it going through, keep it up -- so we initiated the Biden Cancer Initiative.
We focused on turning the moonshot into a movement -- not just a shot, a movement -- to create a cancer research and care system that most people think we already have but they don't realize until they find they have cancer that we don't, but one that we deserve.
And everywhere we'd go, people would share their stories, literally, in grocery stores, airports, rope lines. While we heard stories of loss and despair, the stories began to change to a feeling of real hope, not because of me or Jill, but because of all of you and so many of you at home: doctors, researchers, advocates, caregivers, patients, survivors.
And that's when I was elected President and I determined to supercharge the Cancer Moonshot as a central effort in the Biden- Harris administration.
In February, I laid out our plan that is bold, ambitious, and, I might add, completely doable.
The goal is to cut cancer death rates by at least 50 percent -- at least 50 percent -- in the next 25 years; to turn more cancers from death sentences into chronic diseases people can live with; to create a more supportive experience for our patients and families; and to update -- to update our fight against the cancer.
It's a disease we often diagnose too late and have too few ways to prevent it in the first place; where there are stark inequities based on race, disability, ZIP Code, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other factors. We know too little about why treatments work for some patients but the same patient -- a different patient with the same disease it doesn't work for.
We still lack strategies for developing treatments for some cancers, like childhood cancers.
We don't do enough to help patients and families navigate the cancer care system. We don't learn enough from their experience as patients.
We don't share enough data and knowledge to bring the urgency we need to finding new answers.
But for each -- for each of the ways we know cancer today, we know we can change the trajectory.
For example, to prevent cancers, scientists are exploring whether mRNA vaccine technology that brought us safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines could be used to stop cancer cells when they first arise.
To target the right treatments, we're learning more about how to use genetics, immune response, and other factors to tell which combinations of treatments are likely to work best for each individual.
To address the inequities, we can ensure prevention, detection, treatment; reach patients in urban, rural, and suburban, and Tribal communities so they have equal access to cancer diagnostics, therapeutics, and clinical trials.
As part of the supercharged Moonshot, I'll use my authorities as President to increase funding to break logjam -- break logjams and to speed breakthroughs.
I've also formed a new Cancer Cabinet that is driving a whole-of- government effort to unleash every possible asset within our power -- from NASA, that knows more about radiation than any doctor does; to the Defense Department, that has the ability to calculate; and to the Energy Department -- do a million billion calculations per second.
Health and Human Services Secretary Becerra plays a key role in the Cancer Cabinet, as does Marty Walsh, a childhood cancer survivor who is committed to helping Americans get time off for cancer screenings or care for a loved one.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is changing the path of the -- for the Cancer Moonshot for 2022 and beyond.
And today, I'm setting a long-term goal for the Cancer Moonshot to rally America and ingenuity that we can engage, like we did to reach the Moon, that actually cures cancers, not all cancer -- cancers -- cures for cancers, once and for all.
And a critical way to do that is that going through what I call ARPA- H, Advanced Research Project Agencies for Health. It's based on DARPA, the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency, that has helped lead to breakthroughs in technologies to protect our national security, like the Internet, GPS, and so much more.
ARPA-H will have the singular purpose to drive breakthroughs to prevent, detect, and treat diseases -- including cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and other diseases -- and enable us to live healthier lives.
I called for ARPA-H in my campaign. And after being elected President, notwithstanding the fact that Democrats and Republicans allegedly don't talk to one another, Republicans, independents, and Democrats in Congress came together and invested $1 billion initially to launch ARPA-H.
Imagine the possibilities: vaccines that could prevent cancer, like the race for HPV.
Imagine molecular ZIP Codes that could deliver drugs and gene therapy precisely to the right tissues.
Imagine a simple blood test during an annual physical that could detect cancer early, where the chance of a cure are best.
Imagine getting a simple shot instead of a grueling chemo or getting a pill from a local pharmacy instead of invasive treatments and long hospital stays.
Imagine treatments beyond cancer. Bold approaches to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, something Vice President Harris is laser -- laser-focused on.
And imagine artificial retinas that could help blind people see.
These are just a few of the ideas to illustrate the amazing potential of ARPA-H.
When President Kennedy called for a moonshot, we didn't have all the tools and experience needed. With our Cancer Moonshot, today we do.
And I'm pleased to announce my selection as the inaugural director of ARPA-H, Dr. Renee Wegryzn, who is here today.
Doctor, where are you? Stand up.
The leading biomedical scientist, a decade of experience leading multiple biotech projects at DARPA. And, by the way, it's about how to use all the assets we have -- all of them.
An entrepreneur in synthetic biology, she's going to bring the legendary DARPA attitude and culture and boldness and risk-taking to ARPA-H to fill a critical need. Discoveries that save lives, change lives, and often start -- they often start in the lab bench.
But then those basic research breakthroughs need to be tested, scaled, and brought to the clinic. This may require unusual partnerships that may require support to get over many obstacles that exist. That's what ARPA-H is designed -- what it's designed to do, so the advances can reach all Americans sooner.
I predict ARPA-H will emerge as a new and exciting member of America's biomedical ecosystem. But it's not enough to invent technologies that save lives. We need to manufacture advanced biotechnologies here in the United States.
That's why today I signed an executive order that directs the federal government to ensure biotechnologies invented in the United States of America are made in the United States of America whether they are for cancer treatments or anything else, like next-generation fuels and materials.
Today's action is going to ensure that America leads the world in biotechnology and biomanufacturing, creating jobs, reducing prices, strengthening supply chains so we don't have to rely on anywhere else in the world. Here in America it'll be made.
And here's -- there's more that we're doing. The Inflation Reduction Act that I signed into law puts a $2,000 cap on the total prescription drug cost for any senior on Medicare, including cancer medicine. And for so many people, one of the first things they think about when they get a diagnosis: How am I going to pay for the treatment? Do we need to sell the house? Do we need to skip payments on the car? Can we afford to send the kids to college?
The Inflation Reduction Act is a godsend. It's going to save people on one prostate cancer drug about $6,000 a year. Thousands of women are taking breast cancer treatments that will see about a $7,000-a-year savings.
But that's not all. When I led the Cancer Moonshot as Vice President, one of the biggest issues I talked about was how federally funded cancer researchers were not sharing their results with their peers or the public because they wanted to have the answer. You all know it. As I mentioned earlier, we made federally funded cancer research more available to any patient, to any doctor anywhere for free.
And today, as President, we're making sure that transparency applies to all federally funded science beyond just cancer.
And this summer, I announced a new head of the National Cancer Institute, Boston's own, Boston's own Monica Bertaglia (ph) -- Bertagnolli, excuse me. Monica, you can call me "Bidden."
And she's here today. Where are you, Monica? Stand up. Thank you.
The National Cancer Institute is launching a major national trial for those new tests I mentioned that could detect one or more cancers merely by taking blood samples. You know, if that's the case, these blood tests could lead to less invasive cancer detection tools that will save lives.
We're also launching the first-ever Cancer Moonshot Scholar program to support a new generation of scientists from every background, from every part of the country, to launch their cutting-edge research and careers.
But we need everyone to get in the game. That's why I'm also calling on the science and medical communities to bring the boldest thinking to this fight. I'm calling on the private sector to develop and test new treatments, make drugs more affordable, share more data and knowledge that can inform the public and benefit every company's research.
And I'm respectfully calling on people living with cancer, and caregivers and families, to keep sharing their experience and pushing for progress. Go to WhiteHouse.gov/CancerMoonshot. Share your ideas. So many of you already made a difference.
Last month, I signed the so-called PACT Act into law, one of the most significant laws helping veterans and their families impacted by toxic exposure like burn pits that lead to cancer.
It was veterans and their families, advocates and allies who helped me get this bill to my desk. They never gave up. They never stopped. They slept on the Capitol steps. It matters. It's personal to all of us.
So let me close with this -- Caroline, I couldn't be here and not talk about your uncle, Teddy. He was one of my dearest friends. One of the things that brings us close as families is the dreaded cancer that he and my Beau fought to the end and died months apart.
After Beau passed, Vicki wrote me a letter about how after Ted lost his older brother Joe, his father wrote to a friend who just lost his son.
Caroline, your grandfather wrote, and I quote: When one of your loved one goes out -- goes out of your life, you think of what he might have done with a few more years, and you wonder -- you wonder what you're going to do with the rest of yours.
Then one day, because there is a world to be lived in, you find you are part of it trying to accomplish something -- something he did not have time enough to do. And perhaps that is the reason for it all. I hope so, end of quote.
For so many of us, that's what we're trying to do -- live a life worthy of the loved ones we've lost and the loved ones we can save, with their hope and absolute courage, and with an unwillingness to postpone and with a singular purpose for ourselves as a -- and as a nation.
President Kennedy said on this day 60 years ago: We set sail on this new sea because there is new, life-saving knowledge to be gained that must be used for progress of all people, end of quote.
In our time today, that's our charge to keep, in my view. I know we can do this together because I know this: There is nothing -- nothing -- nothing beyond our capacity if we work together as the United States of America.
God bless you all. And may God protect our troops. Thank you for listening.
TAPPER: We have been listening to President Biden speaking about one of the most important items on his agenda in his view, the cancer moonshot initiative. He's in Boston, Massachusetts, at the JFK library.
He says, pardon me, accomplishing this goal cutting cancer deaths in half over the next 25 years, he says that's one of the reasons he ran for president. He announced a number of new programs designed to make that a reality.
CNN's Athena Jones is in Boston for us. We also are joined by CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
Athena, how much of this initiative is driven by president Biden's deep sense of loss and grief because of his son Beau dying to brain cancer a few years ago?
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You have to imagine quite a bit of it, Jake. That line that you just mention mentioned set out to me as well, this idea he ran for president because of this cancer moonshot. We've been talking about how he has been working on this issue for a number of years.
It was back in 2016 at his state of the Union that then President Barack Obama tasked Vice President Biden with leading this initiative and, you know, he said at the time or soon after that, you know, that he was going to spend the rest of his time in office working on this and the rest of his life he was going to devote to this.