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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Disastrous Day For Investors As Stocks Tumble; Queen Elizabeth's Coffin Arrives At Buckingham Palace; Ukraine Recaptures Eastern City Of Izium From Russians; DOJ Unleashes Flurry Of Activity Before Election Season; Twitter Whistleblower: Employees Could Take Over Lawmaker Accounts; 15,000 Minnesota Nurses On Day 2 Of Planned 3- Day Strike. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 13, 2022 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The Dow down today more than 1,000 points. What's going on?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Stocks tumble as Americans lose money in their investments. Should you really ignore today's drop or his or something more serious going on?

Plus, Russians on the run. Only CNN makes it inside the city that Putin's army control just days ago. See what they left behind after Ukrainians to push them out.

Plus, a Twitter whistleblower at it again, warning a security threats within the social media network, and that Twitter employed a Chinese government spy.



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

We start with breaking news in the money lead. One of the worst days of the year for investors, stocks, taking a remarkable tumble. The Dow closing down more than 1,200 points on the heels of today's inflation report.

You can hear the bill there, the closing bell. Fears of a recession in the air.

Let's get right to CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon in New York.

Rahel, how bad and how serious is this damage?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Pretty serious. And it was bad and only got worse throughout the day as losses exhilarated. To put this in perspective, Jake, this was the worst day for the Dow since June of 2020. So, this was a historically bad day, as investors digested this morning's inflation report. Dow closing by about 4 percent, the S&P, 4.3 percent and the Nasdaq about 5.2 percent, let's call it.

So, why is all this happening? Well, that inflation report we got this morning, which, by the way, comes a week before the Fed is set to meet again, but it showed that while wild energy places are declining and so, inflation seems to be easing a bit, slightly, and a lot of key categories, Jake, inflation continues to accelerate. Categories like shelter, categories like food, categories like medical care cost. So, that is really concerning.

When the Fed meets next week, we already knew they were planning to raise rates, but you get a report like this, and it all but guarantees they will raise rates of likely another aggressive three-fourths of a percent. And the reason why the markets are reacting this way is because the more aggressive the fed has to be, the greater the likelihood of a policy misstep, i.e., a recession.

TAPPER: So, Rahel, should we expect another sell-off tomorrow? Or could we see a rebound?

SOLOMON: It's so hard to tell. I think the only thing we know for sure is we are in for a lot more volatility to get to the inside of the inflation picture. We have that Fed meeting next week. We expected to be quite active in the markets.

So, I think until we're clear of this inflation, we're going to be in for some bumpy rides for sure.

TAPPER: Yeah, I want to bring in CNN economics commentator Catherine Rampell.

Catherine, economists seem to think the worst of inflation was behind us, but the report out today show it's still a persistent problem. So, how did economists get this wrong?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think economists were mostly responding to the declining gas prices, which has, in fact, gone down. Those were reflected in today's report. The problem is, that so many other categories, of course, were up. Rents were up. A lot of other core consumer purchases have also gotten more expensive.

And I think in general, it has been very difficult to predict what the trends will look like month to month or even especially several months out in the future, given the uncertainties presented by supply chain issues, given the uncertainties presented by the war in Ukraine, as well as a lot of other factors, like the vagaries of how consumers interpret the rhetoric they hear, the political rhetoric and otherwise.

So, you know, it's always -- the expression is, it's always to make predictions especially about the future, but it's especially, especially difficult right now as we come out of this pandemic.

TAPPER: Rahel, it seems economies were -- that the U.S. was not going to go into a recession, that the job numbers are so good, and that prices were starting to go down. Does this news today affect economists' thinking, Rahel, on whether the U.S. is headed for a recession?

SOLOMON: Well, I think you're absolutely right, that there have been some complacency in the market, that because we got that job report that showed job growth was still strong but starting to slow, and because we have gotten inflation report that showed easing largely because of energy as Catherine pointed out, that maybe we could be in for a soft landing.

I think it's still so hard to protect. But one thing we are seeing in this report is that inflation in many categories, it's proving to be quite stubborn and quite sticky. And that's going to be a problem for the Fed. And so, rates right now, Jake, to put this in perspective, are about two and a half percent. We expect that to reach 4 percent by the end of this year. So, we are still in the early days of this process.

TAPPER: And, Catherine, how do you weigh the good, solid employment numbers with the less solid numbers we are seeing when it comes to inflation?

RAMPELL: Well, it's funny. Both of those sets of numbers suggest an economy that is hot, right? The pricing data suggests that consumers are still spending and they're still bidding the prices of the goods that they buy higher. The job market data suggests employers are still hiring, they're still doing their best to employ workers.

The wrench that gets thrown in all of this is how the Fed responds to all of this. So, it's not the inflation data on their own that put us at risk for recession.


It's the fact that the Fed will have to raise rates a little bit more than people had hopes to get people inflation under control. And because it is so difficult for them to carefully calibrate how much they raise the cost of borrowing, because, of course, they want to do it just enough to sort of temper demand, to cool inflation but not enough to tip us into a recession, because it's very difficult to do that in a fine-tuned manner.

The fact that we have this report today suggesting that consumers are still going out and putting up prices means that they will probably have to slam on the brakes a bit harder than they might have otherwise done. That is essentially the link between the data today and the increased risk of recession. It's not the inflation on its own. It's essentially how the Fed response to that risk of inflation, and how much they have to tighten monetary policy.

TAPPER: All right. Catherine and Rahel, thanks to both of you.

Turning now to our world lead. Minutes ago, Queen Elizabeth's coffin arrived at the Buckingham palace. It's the symbol obviously of the British monarchy known around the world.

King Charles III and other members of the royal family watched on as the guard of honor received the queen's coffin. The coffin will stay at Buckingham Palace overnight, in the Bow Room, where the late Queen Elizabeth once hosted American presidents and dined with foreign royals and welcomed professional athletes.

Tomorrow, there will be a silent procession through the streets of London as the queen's coffin moves to Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state for four days before her funeral.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo is outside Buckingham Palace for us right now with more on the final preparations under way and the important visit by King Charles III today.


BIANCA NOBILO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty rounds to salute the new monarch. King Charles continues his tour of the United Kingdom, arriving in Northern Ireland to an upbeat crowd.

Expected to build upon the foundations of his late mother, the new king needs to be a source of healing, greeting the public in Belfast and meeting with leaders at the Hillsborough Castle royal residence where Queen Elizabeth II played a part in cementing the peace following decades of deadly violence.

KING CHARLES III, UNITED KINGDOM: My mother felt deeply, I know, the significance of the role she herself played in bringing together those who history has separated. And in extending a hand, to make possible the healing of long held hurts.

NOBILO: In a sign of unity amid a fractured past, the king met with the Irish president and northern Irish leaders and lawmakers.

ALEX MASKEY, SPEAKER OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND ASSEMBLY: Queen Elizabeth showed us a small but significant gesture, a visit, a handshake, crossing the street, we're speaking a few word of Irish, can make a huge difference in changing attitudes and building relationships.

CROWD: God save the king. God save the king.

NOBILO: Chants of "God save the king" greeted the king and queen consort to St. Anne's Cathedral, in a service of reflection that brought together politicians and community leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be with you and remain with you always. Amen.

NOBILO: In Edinburgh, mourners streamed by her coffin, adorned with the Scottish crown. One last look before she's flown home.

The king now back in London to greet the arrival of his late mother's casket at Buckingham Palace. She will be moved to Westminster hall on Wednesday, where the public is already queuing to say their final goodbye to a leader who united the kingdom.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NOBILO (on camera): Jake, we had a clarification on the gust of invitees to the funeral as well. A UK's senior government source has told CNN that Vladimir Putin will not be extended an invitation. There's still finalizing the rest of the guest list that we understand heads of state and officials from Russia, Belarus for its support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and Myanmar for its treatment of the Rohingya people will not be extended invitations.

Now, these invitations to the funeral are extended by the royal family, taken on the vice of the government. And it should come as no surprise. Clearly, Britain has been one of Russia's strongest opponents. Ukraine's strongest supporters and has supplied with over two billion pounds worth of military aid, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Bianca Nobilo, thank you so much.

I want to bring in British broadcaster and CNN contributor, Bidisha Mamata.

Bidisha, most of us were not alive the last time a reigning British monarch died, which was 1952. So, put into context for our viewers who don't remember 1952, just how ceremonial the next five days are going to be and important they will be to the British people?


BIDISHA MAMATA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They are extraordinarily important because exactly as you say, in reality, very few people have seen anything like this. So what are they references going to be? "Game of Thrones"? Films about Elizabeth I? Medieval sagas?

Well, a lot of the pageantry, a lot of the language, it comes from the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. So, any history buffs, ancient painting buffs, they're going to find this very, very familiar.

What is all of this? It has a powerful emotional component. We want to celebrate together. We want to dress up. We want to cry and laugh together.

And we love, all of us, love the horses, the carriages, that slow- moving, beautiful hearse draped in the flag, the twinkling lights. That's why we're in front of the splendor of Buckingham Palace right now. People need and desire the beauty and solemnity of pageants in order to give events meaning.

TAPPER: And this is not just a moment of pageantry. We've heard suggestions of leaving the commonwealth from the leaders of New Zealand, Australia, Scotland, and Jamaica. How much do you think the commonwealth will now shrink in size and in power under King Charles III?

MAMATA: Let's not think of it as the commonwealth shrinking. Let's think of it as all of these nations moving towards whatever it is they want, equality, liberation, independence, sovereignty. There's lots and lots of words for it. In a very strange sense, I feel that the word commonwealth is

associated with Queen Elizabeth the second. It's a 20th century term. It marks a transition away from the colonization period.

It was a sort of a euphemism around decolonization. And now, all of these countries have the right to hold a plebiscite or a referendum. They have the right to ask themselves, what now? Let's look to the future. Who do we want to be? Without thinking about how we look in the eyes of the world.

I think that's natural and good. And both Queen Elizabeth and King Charles III will understand that. We have to move out towards the 21st century. This is an opportunity for a reset for everyone, including the royal family.

TAPPER: I agree with the sentiment, and, obviously, self determination is incredibly important. Are there going to be politicians and others in the U.K., whether King Charles III or others in his quarter, or people in the government, who will try to take steps peacefully to keep the commonwealth unified as much as possible?

MAMATA: Oh, that's a fantastic question. And, yes, I'm sure there will be movements which are pro-commonwealth, which are pro the existing friendships and ties between nations. Maybe what you will have as a series of moving alliances. But above all, exactly as you've been saying through, the message of King Charles III has got to be towards pushing back all of those bad actors, all of those sloganeering, coming out of left and right field parties, whether they've been nations or individuals or political movements, which seek to drive us apart, and which foster fear and hatred of the other, which work against universal human values.

I think King Charles is very passionate about that. He may have to catch that in softly, softly terms looking about hope in unification. What is really saying is, don't allow unrelated third parties to pushes away from each other towards superstition and fear of the other.

TAPPER: Bidisha Mamata, thank you so much. I appreciate your time today.

Tune in tomorrow for the queen's final journey through London as the United Kingdom honors her life.

CNN special coverage begins at 8:00 a.m. Eastern.

This hour, CNN is also in Ukraine where Russian forces are on the run. Only CNN made it to the town of Izyum just recaptured by Ukrainians. See what the Russians did before they were chased out.

Plus, taking a stand. Union workers across the United States are on strike as others also threatening to join picket lines ahead. Their demands and are they getting results?

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, the war in Ukraine may be backfiring on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nearly 50 Russian local and city leaders are calling for Putin to resign. That number doubling from just yesterday. That calls for resignation come as the Ukrainian military source says almost the entire region of Kharkiv in Ukraine has been liberated from Russian control.

CNN's Sam Kiley is the only international correspondent to make it inside the town of Izyum, which was just recaptured, where he got an exclusive look at what the Russians left behind as they ran out and retreat.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been a stunning advance. Ukraine's rout of Russian invaders recaptures 6,000 square kilometers, Ukraine's president says. This land was held by Russia just a few days ago. Now, it's providing a rich harvest to Ukraine's army of abandoned Russian equipment.

The Russian Z symbol painted over. The guns ready to kill Russians. The recapture of Izyum, a strategic prize, accelerated by precision strikes from new artillery donated by western allies.

This is clearly hit with a very large piece of artillery or airstrike. You can see how important it was strategically, clearly a former school, as a kind of children's painting on the wall. But it's also got these large holes dug to store tanks or artillery pieces. There's one, two, three, four, five.

We were shown into a command center in the bunkers of an old factory. So down here we have seen medical facility. Call it something like that inside this bunker. There's a barracks. They're sleeping here.


KILEY: The top brass slept in beds made of all doors. And, of course, the command center here. As we walk along it's extraordinary. Different labels for the senior Russian officers on this school desk that have been arranged in this bunker, it looks like a bread factory.

Now they were safe down here underground but they didn't feel safe enough to stay in Izyum. What's critically, ultimately, for the Ukrainian armed forces, is making sure that the senior officers of the Russian army stay on the run. If they do that, the Russian armed forces will collapse completely in Ukraine and potentially threaten the longevity of one Vladimir Putin.

This couple celebrated liberation. They told me that some of their neighbors were delighted and they blamed Ukrainian forces for shelling their homes. But he insisted the incoming shells never hit the check points or Russian artillery based right outside the house and so blamed the Russians for false flag attacks on civilians. He said the Russians behaved like pigs. They stole everything from all

the empty houses before they ran away. The Russian guns were busy here. Wooden admission boxes now stockpiled for winter fuel.

And to the Ukrainian victors here, the spoils have been rich. The capture of Izyum and the rout of Russia here has broken a key link in Putin's logistics chain in the battle for the east.

Now you have the remarkable scene of a tank coming to collect an abandoned Russian howitzer. I asked him if it was a hard fight. Not really he said.

The latest Ukrainian successes may not be the beginning of the end of this war but not even the Kremlin can deny that this chapter has been a sorry tale for Russia.


KILEY (on camera): Now, Jake, it was a quite eerie drive, at least an hour and a half through recently captured territory that would have had tens of thousands potentially of Russian troops in it to get to Izyum and there are concerns that they could be stayed at home or stayed away, forces stayed behind, rather forces hiding in the woodland and so on, and also, the Ukrainians said they captured a lot of Russian troops -- Jake.

TAPPER: Sam, President Zelenskyy says while the counter offensive is starting to slow, now Ukraine is going to look to liberate territory in, quote, new ways. What does that mean?

KILEY: I think we can expect to see a lot more partisan activity. We have been seeing that over some weeks or even months in Kherson, which is a target of their southern counteroffensive that you and I talked about over the last couple of weeks. I think we could see a lot more of special forces operations, a lot more NATO-style maneuver warfare that has proved successful in this Kharkiv offensive, trying to unpick the very conventional approach that the Russians have that they inherited from the Soviet era, Jake.

TAPPER: The Pentagon is saying it's seeing a number of Russian forces crossing back over the border back into Russia. What do we know about that?

KILEY: Well, there have been reports of this and indeed a bit of criticisms even from Putin-supporting elements within the Russian media of this rout of Russian forces. It's not necessarily going to continue but inevitably particularly on this northern front, north of where I am in Kharkiv about 25 or 30 miles to the Russian border. They are under pressure there.

And it is a safe route out. You can get across the border as a Russian soldier or somebody that cooperated with the incoming Russian sources, and you're worried about the future, you're going to leg it across the border and clearly, that is what the Pentagon is spouting and there's some corroboration of that from the Ukrainian forces, too, Jake.

TAPPER: Sam Kiley, thanks so much.

Coming up next, subpoenas issued and phones seized. What to read into the recent rush of activity by the Justice Department as its January 6 investigation seems to expand.


TAPPER: Kicking off our politics lead now, today, the January 6 House Select Committee convened in person for the first time in weeks to try to decide whether to try to get testimony from Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence as another public hearing looms and Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson teaches new, quote, significant information about the U.S. Secret Service.

CNN's Sara Murray reports now on the January 6 probe and the Justice Department's burst of activities so close to election season.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A flurry of investigative activity just ahead of the Justice Department's pre- election quiet period putting the investigation into focus.

DAVID LAUFMAN, FORMER DOJ COUNTERINTELLIGENCE SECTION CHIEF: The Justice Department and the FBI are all in in pursuing what prosecutors and agents referred to as logical investigative steps.

MURRAY: DOJ issuing dozens of subpoenas to current and former aides to Donald Trump involving his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, as prosecutors seek information about aspects of the gambits fit together and sources telling CNN investigators seized a phone from adviser Boris Epshteyn --

BORIS EPHSTEYN, TRUMP ADVISER: This has been a countrywide steal, a countrywide operation by the left to defraud the American public, and to steal this election from President Trump.


MURRAY: -- who allegedly helped coordinate Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Also hit with new subpoena, Dan Scavino, Trump's former deputy chief of staff and Bill Stepien, 2020 campaign manager to the former president.

BILL STEPIEN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER: There were two groups of them. We call them kind of my team and Rudy's team. I didn't mind to be characterized as being part of team normal.

MURRAY: What began as a probe into the U.S. Capitol attack expanding with subpoenas seeking information on fraudulent electors, funding vehicles supporting Trump's attempt to overturn his defeat and Trump lawyers --

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP LAWYER: My goodness. This is how you win cases.

MURRAY: -- pushing election fraud claims in court.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: There's investigations of the crimes of violence and rioting which happened on the grounds of the Capitol. There's on instructing the Capitol, the work of congress. Potential campaign finance violations investigated.

MURRAY: DOJ also demanding subpoena targets hand over any information requested by the House committee investigating January 6. Whether those documents were produced or not, a sign prosecutors look at possible attempts to obstruct investigators.

As the select committee returns to Washington and weighs whether to begin handing more information to DOJ.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Now that the Department of Justice is being proactive issuing subpoenas and other things, I think it's time for the committee to determine whether or not the information we have gathered can be beneficiary to their investigation.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, we are learning a little bit more this afternoon about what led up to the search of the former president's residence at Mar-a-Lago. Jake, there's a court filing that gives a look at that affidavit that led up to a search. It includes some newly unredacted details, including more detail about the classification markings that were some of these documents ahead of the Mar-a-Lago search and just how sensitive the government programs behind them were, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray, thanks so much. Let's bring in the former adviser to Vice President Pence, Olivia Troye, as well as white collar criminal defense attorney, Caroline Polisi.

Caroline, your reaction here to the judge allowing more portions of this affidavit for the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago to be unredacted?

CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yeah, Jake. I mean, I think it's of a piece of what she's been trying to do all along. The public is entitled to know, you know, a certain amount of information. However, it does highlight sort of the catch-22 about even bringing a prosecution of this nature in the first place. This is about highly classified top secret information and in order to, you know, for the special master to look through that, they're going to have to get the clearance and, you know, anybody that looks at the documents will have to get it as well.

You know, I'm not surprised that more information is coming to light but we don't get to see everything any time soon.

TAPPER: And, let me stay with you because I want to ask you, 30 subpoenas from the Justice Department for people in Trump's orbit in recent days, 30. It's been a year and a half since January 6.

Do you think this means the investigation is intensifying or even close to its conclusion perhaps?

POLISI: Yeah. 30 subpoenas is a lot of subpoenas. You know, I would just note that I think Merrick Garland has been doing his work diligently, what he told us he was going to do about a year ago. But he's head down and just really following the facts and the law. He got a lot of flack during the January 6 hearings when all the new information to the public coming out and people were saying, where is DO in all of this?

I do think they're slightly behind the January 6 committee because a criminal investigation is going to take more time. They just have evidentiary hurdles to get over. But it does appear that it is moving apace. And you know, we'll see where these lead.

TAPPER: Olivia, Vice President Pence is coming out with a new book that's going to come after the midterms. It's titled "So help me God." "Axios" got the first look of the cover. On the back, Pence writes this about January 6.

Quote, I was afraid but I was angry. I was angry at what I saw, how it desecrated the seat of our democracy and dishonored the patriotism of millions of our supporters who would never do such a thing here or anywhere else, unquote.

Now, I guess I don't know what's inside the book, but do you think at any point Vice President Pence would express anger at the individual who directed the mob to go to the Capitol, Donald Trump?

OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO MIKE PENCE: I mean, I would hope so. I think that if there's who he should be angry at is the person that he was working under during four years of the Trump administration and that person almost led to the injury of his family and possibly his death. So, I hope he goes into greater detail about what the circumstances were, how much pressure he was under and the anger not just of what was happening that we all saw unfold, but the anger towards a president who behaved like a mad man and exhibited a complete dereliction of duty in that moment.


TAPPER: Olivia, the vice president has indicated he would contemplate cooperating with the January 6 committee. Do you think that he ultimately will? Do you think there's any part of him that he wants to testify?

TROYE: I think he should. I think he has got nothing to hide. All he has to do is tell the truth and I think that if the courageous women like Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews can sit there before the committee publicly under oath and testify to what they saw and the circumstances were and the things that happened, certainly someone who was a leader in the country and possibly going to seek a presidential run in 2024 should have the courage to stand there and tell the American people the truth of what happened.

TAPPER: Carolyn, Geoffrey Berman, who will be on THE LEAD tomorrow, he was fired as U.S. attorney from the Southern District of New York by Trump's attorney general, Bill Barr. He has a new book, too, detailing how Trump's Justice Department and Barr pressured the Southern District of New York to help the Trump administration politically. Take a listen to Geoffrey Berman last night.


GEOFFREY BERMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Trump turned the department into his own personal law firm. He put in people who would do his bidding and they would target Trump's political enemies and help Trump's friends and it was a disgrace.


TAPPER: The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Democrat Dick Durbin tells CNN that he might call on Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Berman to testify. This looks pretty bad for Bill Barr.

POLISI: Yeah, Jake. There's a time in this country when a clandestine of Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on a tarmac was a scandal. This blows this out of the water.

Look, it's part and parcel of the way Trump conducted his entire presidency. He really viewed himself more as a king, as a sovereign than as, you know, in the role of the president. I'm not surprised that these bombshells are coming to light. I think the question is, the devil is going to be in the details with respect to what specific conversations went on and just how, you know, norm-defying they were.

TAPPER: And, Olivia, there's another new Trump administration memoir coming out at the end of the month, this one by Peter Navarro, a still loyal Trump former trade adviser. "The Foreword", which is an excerpt of the Navarro book detailing how top White House staff picked a Saturday to carry out a sort of coup against Jared Kushner because Kushner is Jewish. He observes the Sabbath, and he wouldn't be at the White House that day. They wanted to replace Kushner with Steve Bannon and they blamed Kushner for the failing 2020 campaign.

What do you think of this?

TROYE: Peter Navarro is probably one of the most dangerous people working in the Trump administration. I certainly worked with him and he exhibited erratic behavior numerous times and I would say that I'm not surprised to hear this because this is kind of how the people manipulated the situations to further their agendas, their extremist agendas.

And they certainly, I could see a situation where he was going to kind of push an agenda that he knew that Jared Kushner was not going to support and he'd probably stand up against it.

TAPPER: Olive Troye and Caroline Polisi, thanks so much to both of you.

Join me this weekend for an in-depth CNN special report. It's called "American Coup: The January 6th Investigation". That's Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern, only here on CNN. Today, a whistle-blower against Twitter said a Chinese government spy

was on the social network's payroll and that's not the only country that might have infiltrated the Twitter system.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Just in: Ken Starr best known for the investigation into Bill Clinton has died at the age of 76. Starr served as independent counsel investigating the Clinton presidency for years. His findings led to the impeachment of President Clinton.

Starr's career included stints as a judge, the U.S. solicitor general and the president of Baylor University. Two years ago, Starr also joined the legal team defending Donald Trump during his first impeachment trial. Starr's family says he died of complications from surgery.

Coming -- now we turn to our tech lead. A damning picture of Twitter's lack of security. The FBI thinks Twitter might have a Chinese government agent on its payroll, according to Senator Chuck Grassley, the Judiciary Committee's top Republican, as whistle-blower and former head of security at Twitter Peiter Zatko better known as Mudge Zatko, made his first public appearance since the remarkable allegations reported by CNN last month.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan followed the shocking hearing that may make some informed users second-guess logging on.


PEITER "MUDGE" ZATKO, TWITTER WHISTLEBLOWER: I'm here today because Twitter leadership is misleading the public, lawmakers, regulators, and even its own board of directors.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twitter's former head of security coming to Capitol Hill with a stark warning for lawmakers.

ZATKO: It's not farfetched to say that employee inside the company could take over the accounts of all of the senators in this room.

O'SULLIVAN: Former Twitter executive Peiter Zatko painting a picture of a corporation that has a danger to national security and democracy.

ZATKO: What I discovered when I joined Twitter was that this enormously influential company was over a decade behind industry security standards.


O'SULLIVAN: Zatko was hired by Twitter in 2020 after teenagers hacked the accounts of some of the most famous people in the world. His testimony today coming a month after he first stepped forward as a whistle-blower, and exclusive interviews with CNN and "The Washington Post."



O'SULLIVAN: He says too many Twitter employees have access to the company's main controls, make it vulnerable to future attacks and a gold mine for espionage.

ZATKO: What I did notice when we did know of a person inside acting on behalf of a foreign interest as non-registered agent, it was extremely difficult to track the people.

O'SULLIVAN: Last month, a former Twitter employee was convicted of spying for the Saudis. Today, it emerged, according to Zatko, that the FBI had informed Twitter that the company had a Chinese government spy on its payroll.

ZATKO: They simply lacked the fundamental abilities to hunt for foreign intelligence agencies and expel them on their own.

O'SULLIVAN: Telling lawmakers Twitter executives were driven by profit no matter the security costs.

ZATKO: I'm reminded of one conversation with an executive when I said I'm confident that we have a foreign agent and the response is since we have one, what does it matter if we have more? Let's keep growing the office.

O'SULLIVAN: As for regulators, Zatko says the FTC isn't up to the task.

ZATKO: Honestly, I think the FTC is a little over their head. They have compared to the size of the big tech companies and the challenge they have against them, they're left letting companies grade their own homework.


O'SULLIVAN (on camera): And, Jake, we haven't heard from executives on the record since he went public a month ago. But there is what Twitter is saying in a statement tonight saying the hearing confirm that Zatko's allegations are riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies but Twitter not really answering the questions on the specifics. We asked for instance if that alleged Chinese government spy is still working at Twitter, Twitter did not have an answer for us on that.

This is all coming on the same day that Twitter shareholders voted for that Elon Musk $44 billion to take over Twitter, for that to go ahead. Musk, as you know, is trying to back out now. That is all going to trial in a few weeks in Delaware. So, a very roller coaster time for this company and Zatko playing into all of this.

TAPPER: All right. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, the power of unions as more American workers go on strike. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national news, unions across various sectors are showing up in full force. A freight railroad strike over labor disputes is expected as earlier as Friday. Teachers are on strike in Ridgefield, Washington.

And in Minnesota, 15,000 nurses are on their second day on the picket line.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Adrienne, is this expected to go beyond the nurses' three-day planned strike?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, the answer is no. The nurses will return to work on Thursday morning and those who are negotiating also hope to return on Thursday to the bargaining table with hospital administrators, under paid and under staffed. Those are two of the main reasons why 15,000 nurses including those you see behind us here at this hospital in front of children's Minnesota and St. Paul are striking.

We spoke with one nurse who says yes, they want to have a salary increase but it's about more than wages. She says they are short staffed and many nurses inside of the hospital have been asked to do more with less. Meanwhile, while the nurses are out here striking, there are temporary nurses inside caring for the patients.

Also outside today, the state's Governor Tim Walz showing his support. Listen in.


GOV. TIM WALZ (D), MINNESOTA: And I will say this, none of you expected to get rich doing this but you damn sure didn't take an oath of poverty to do it.



BROADDUS: Initially, the nurses requested a 30 percent wage increase. That has decreased to 27 percent. Also, many are wondering what is happening to the patients. Some hospitals have rescheduled non- emergency appointments and those temporary nurses are from all across the country working at hospitals like Children's Minnesota behind us -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Adrienne Broaddus in Minnesota, thanks so much. And then there is a looming freight rail strike and how it threatens the entire U.S. supply chain. That story is next.



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

This hour, Queen Elizabeth planned every single moment of her good-bye and now, we're learning new details about who will accompany the queen's coffin as it moves from Buckingham Palace to the palace of Westminster.

Plus, the GOP is throwing punches at one of its own candidates in order to stop an election liar from winning a Senate Republican primary. But is it really about promoting the truth or beating Democrats?

And leading this hour, failure to act could lead to, quote, economic catastrophe. That's the warning from the most powerful business lobby about the looming strike targeting America's freight railroads. Sixty thousand union members including conductors and engineers are threatening to walk off the job if the deal is not reached by Friday and if that happens, it would be the first nationwide rail strike in 30 years and could cause major disruptions to the already fragile supply chain.

Ahead of Friday's deadline, freight companies have stopped accepting shipments of hazardous and sensitive materials.

CNN's Pete joins us now live outside Penn Station in New York City.

Pete, what are the workers asking for and tell us about why the stakes are so high.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It is almost hard to believe, Jake, that these workers simply want unpaid leave. Rail workers feel like they're on call 24/7 in the big impact here we could see a major economic impact of about $2 billion a day if all of these rail workers go on strike.