Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

White House: Biden "Confident" A Rail Strike Can Be Averted; Soon: Senate To Vote On Final Passage Of Same Sex-Marriage Bill; Jan. 6 Committee Interviews Former Deputy White House Chief Of Staff For Third Time; Chinese Police Flood Streets To Crush Protests, Increase Censorship; U.S. Beats Iran In High-Stakes Match, Advances To Round Of 16; Jury Reaches Verdict In Oath Keepers Seditious Conspiracy Trial. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 29, 2022 - 16:00   ET



CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: There's more to find out, right? And also, I want to hear from Chris Rock, too, because we still haven't heard much from him other than the tidbits in his stand up.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Shouldn't he just do a red table talk?

MELAS: With Chris, yes, and his wife.

CAMEROTA: Yes, they should all do that. That's exactly right.

Chloe, thanks.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you, Chloe.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Can Washington present a rail strike and keep the U.S. economy on track?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Congress now stepping in, going around labor union negotiations to try to prevent a rail strike that President Biden says would devastate the U.S. economy. But might this plan get derailed?


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If you're passing a bill to force the rail workers to work, how strong is your economy?


TAPPER: And this hour, a consequential and controversial vote on same-sex marriage legislation drawing criticism from both the religious right and the LGBTQ community.

Plus, how DNA evidence helped a couple find their missing daughter 51 years after she was kidnapped. We'll show you their reunion. (MUSIC)

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

And we start today with our money lead. A potentially catastrophic rail strike looks like it might be avoided, at least for now. Top Republicans and Democrats met with President Biden at the White House earlier today. They seem to agree on legislation that would block a walkout by more than 1,000 union workers forcing them to stay on the job.

Those workers are pushing for paid sick leave after having worked through the coronavirus pandemic. They say a deal made earlier this year to avoid a strike between their leaders and rail companies falls short of basic labor rights and, now, President Biden is facing criticism on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle for ignoring those workers' needs.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): They're going to come to Congress, and they're going to ask Congress to intervene and impose the deal. I'm not voting for a deal that the workers themselves have rejected.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): It's incumbent in Congress to do everything that he can to protect these workers to make sure that the railroad starts treating them with the respect and the dignity that they deserve.


TAPPER: A strike could potentially start as soon as December 9th. That would lead to travel disruptions, supply chain shortages, higher food prices, gas prices, striking body blows to the economy, an economy that many worry is already on the brink of a recession.

CNN has Phil Mattingly starting off our coverage from the White House right now, with an inside look into the White House scramble to avert this strike.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's not an easy call but I think we have to do it.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind President Biden's call for Congress to impose a labor agreement on rail unions, a singular fear.

BIDEN: The economy is at risk.

MATTINGLY: With the clock ticking toward the December 9th deadline and the potential for crippling rail strike looming, Biden and congressional Democrats moving to undercut some of their closest political allies. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: I don't like going against

the ability of unions to strike, but weighing the equities, we must avoid a strike.

MATTINGLY: Set to short circuit, the push by rank and file union members to secure a long sought after benefit, paid sick leave.

MICHAEL BALDWIN, PRESIDENT, BROTHERHOOD OF RAILROAD SIGNALMEN: This became a glaring issue during the pandemic, when we had members force bid their employer and railroad to stay home and quarantine without pay. But, really, it comes down to simple thing like the flu for a day or two, or a sick child and the ability to take a day or two paid when you have to deal with the issues that life brings that you have no control over.

BIDEN: Disagreement is a big win for America.

MATTINGLY: A provision left on the cutting room floor of a sweeping agreement celebrated by Biden in the Rose Garden just three months ago. That deal driven by Labor Secretary Marty Walsh secured pay raises and bonuses for workers, and was signed off on by union leadership subject to rank and file approval. Four of the 12 unions rejected that plan.

JEREMY FERGUSON, PRESIDENT, SMART TRANSPORTATION DIVISION: Members aren't necessarily voting on the money issues. It's the quality of life, and how they're treated with dignity and respect while they're at work.

MATTINGLY: Leaving Biden who has repeatedly said this --

BIDEN: I intend to be the most pro-union president, leading the most pro-union administration in American history.

MATTINGLY: To press forward and secure immediate action to save the broader economy in spite of that very pledge.

PELOSI: We'll be back tomorrow morning, send the bill over to the Senate, the biggest bipartisan vote. It is a compromise, and it is what we must do.


MATTINLY (on camera): Jake, White House officials made clear they are supportive of paid leave for the workers but acknowledge they were not a party to the agreement. They were just mediators and while they will continue to push forward, this is what they need at the moment given the economic risks.


As for the president, he's in Michigan right now just a few moments ago, touting his labor ties that have been so central to his entire political career, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly at the White House, thanks so much. Let's go now to Capitol Hill where CNN's Manu Raju is following the congressional negotiations over the bill.

And, Manu, we hear objections coming from members of both parties this afternoon.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No question about it. The question will be whether or not they can get it done by next week. We do expect it to pass the House tomorrow morning, even as there are some concerns on the lefts. Democrats concerned about the fact that there's no guaranteed paid sick leave for those workers.

And that could make the quick passage in the Senate complicated where Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has indicated that he plans to oppose this legislation, push for an amendment to guarantee the paid sick leave. He would commit to me to speeding up consideration of this bill. He can slow it down as any one of the senators can.

Now, on the right, Republicans themselves are not yet committing to voting for this legislation, some saying it's incumbent on the administration to find a deal, not Congress.


SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): I hope that Democrats are more involved, I'd rather not see it come (ph) to Congress --

RAJU: You would rather have Congress not intervene here?

SEN. ROGER MARSHALL (R-KS): I would much prefer us not to intervene, but at the same time for this to shut down will be horrendous for Kansas as well as for Kansas agriculture. So I think all the cards are on the table right now.


RAJU: Now, Republicans are divided over this. In fact, they debated this over lunch, about whether they should get behind the plan.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is expected to support it. The number two Republican however had not yet said he would get behind it, said the situation is fluid as the whole question about how many Republicans will ultimately vote for it, Jake.

TAPPER: Manu, the Senate is also going to vote any minute on a bipartisan bill that would protect same sex and interracial marriage. Tell us more about what's in this legislation.

RAJU: Yeah, the bill would repeal the Clinton era Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same sex couples. But it does not set a national law that would codify gay marriage. In fact, it would require states to recognize another state's legally valid marriage. Now, it also would not deny religious organizations their tax exempt status if they decided not to perform or recognize same-sex marriage at their organization. But those provisions were included in order to get some Republican support, enough Republican support, and already, we do have 12 Republicans who voted to surpass the initial procedural votes, meaning that it will have enough votes to pass the Senate later today, and then it will be on to the House to give final passage.

But nevertheless, despite those changes and those compromise, proponents of this measure are hailing this as a major break for the first effort to protect same-sex marriage, that they say is under threat now given the conservative majority in the court and the dissent from Clarence Thomas in the decision to overturn abortion rights to suggest that perhaps Obergefell, which legalized gay marriage, could also be a threat. They're saying it no longer will be with the passage of this bill -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Manu Raju, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of the great commonwealth of Virginia.

Senator, let's start with the rail lines strike. Rail line companies are having record profits. Union Pacific and BNSF are up 16 percent. Norfolk Southern up 48 percent, and the workers here, you know, they're fighting for pretty basic stuff, paid sick leave.

Is this plan, which would force these employees to work really the best way to go about this?

SEN. TIM KAINE (R-VA): Well, Jake, paid sick leave is a reasonable request. It's also the case that the deal that was negotiated and then mediated is a significant improvement in wages and other working conditions for rail workers. They deserved improvement and they got it. Is it good enough? Most of the union leadership felt that it was, and many of the unions in vote of their membership felt that it was.

As you know, there are multiple railroad unions and some of the membership have not been supportive, but as a general matter, this deal that's been negotiated is a significant improvement in wages and working conditions for rail workers.

TAPPER: But it's still the case that the Biden administration is forcing workers to take a deal that would not allow them paid sick leave, which is something that I have, something you have, something my crew in here has, and it seems like something basic for any American worker.

KAINE: Why in the negotiation, other concessions to workers were granted and this one was not, I don't yet know. The president last night suggested Congress needs to vote on this. There's the statutory proceeding that enables us to have a vote on this. It will be our job to vote, and I'm looking forward to discussions both with railroads and also unions before I cast the vote.

I understand what President Biden wants us to do. We do need to avert the strike. Before I cast a vote, I'm going to be hearing from unions and the rail companies in asking the kinds of questions you suggested. [16:10:06]

I haven't decided how I'm going to vote on this yet. I'll have those conversations first. But the nation does need to avert a rail strike.

TAPPER: Sure, nobody disagrees with that.

But I guess that (AUDIO GAP) Bill Clinton's Labor Secretary Robert Reich tweeted earlier, which is, quote, is there a better definition of corporate greed than a Warren Buffet owned railway, refusing to provide workers with sick leave despite the company reporting a net income of nearly $6 billion. I mean, is Secretary Reich wrong?

KAINE: Well, again, that's a hell of a good tweet, but the secretary doesn't put in all the benefits for workers that were in the bill. Remember, there was a deadline in September that we thought we had averted with a deal, and that deal was a significant improvement in working conditions for workers that many of the unions support.

Again, not all of the unions do. How the status quo has changed from September to now, have they made additional progress in finding more concessions to workers? Have they gone backwards? Again, this is what we'll all be digging into before we cast a vote on the president's request.

TAPPER: Let's change subjects for a second here, because as you know, the Senate is voting (AUDIO GAP) provide protections for same-sex marriages and interracial marriages. It does not go as far as the current law under the U.S. Supreme Court, Obergefell and Loving decisions. It doesn't actually guarantee same sex couples the right to get married in every state. It only forces states to recognize legal marriages from other states.

What do you say to critics who argue this does not go far -- does not go nearly far enough?

KAINE: I would argue that they're right but we need to do this right now, and then we can start looking for the next victory. This bill, I'm a cosponsor of it, and proud to be a cosponsor, the Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act from the 1990s, and it was force every state, whatever their own laws, it would force every state to recognize both interracial and same-sex marriages.

And that means the millions of couples who that applies to will be able to move anywhere in the United States, any zip code in this country, and their marriage has to be given the same respect that any other marriage would be. That is a huge advance. After Obergefell, we wouldn't have thought we would have needed this. But the Dobbs decision this summer made plan that this Republican handpicked Supreme Court will not only go after reproductive rights, it's likely to go after marriage equality.

And so, by doing this, we will force states to recognize lawful marriages from other states, which they should do anyway, granting privileges and immunities and equal protection. It will be one of the most important pieces of civil rights legislation that Congress has passed in decades.

But, you're right. It doesn't go far enough. So, let's get this one done, and then we can try to go farther.

TAPPER: And what do you say to the good citizens of Virginia who you represent who are religious conservatives and are worried that this legislation will force them to violate their religious beliefs.

KAINE: I will say they're wrong, and if people are telling them, they're affirmatively misleading them. This bill has conscience protection. So, no religion is required to officiate same sex marriages.

Look, my Catholic Church, as a doctrinal matter, doesn't believe in divorce, but it doesn't insist that Virginia not have a divorce law. It just has its own rules about whether divorces will be recognized or not.

The same principle will hold for performing marriages. Churches will not have to perform marriages that are at odds with their doctrine. But they can't block others from getting married under the civil laws of the state. In fact, allowing a church to dictate what the laws of the state would be would be a gross violation of the First Amendment's free exercise and establishment clauses.

TAPPER: Before we go, I want to take a moment to remember your long time friend, Congressman Donald McEachin who passed away yesterday.

I hope do you hope people will remember him?

KAINE: Jake, my -- I met Donald when he was 24 years old, and I was at a year or so older, and I was at a celebration of his wedding to Colette, who is also a dear friend. He died after a very courageous battle with cancer that lasted about ten years. I never once heard Donald complain or be without a smile on his face even though he was visibly weakening because of cancer.

So, I hope will remember him as a gentle giant, as a climate champion, as a champion for the underdogs and a wonderful husband, father, and devoted friend.

TAPPER: May his memory be a blessing, sir.

KAINE: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Thank you so much, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia.

Coming up, the witness testimony that could be key as January 6th committee tries to backtrack Donald Trump's movements in those hours before the deadly Capitol insurrection.

And a lawsuit against Stanford University. Why parents of a soccer star player who died by suicide feel they have a case.

[16:15:03] We are also currently monitoring what forecasters call a particularly dangerous situation developing right now in the Mississippi Valley. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: Topping our politics lead today, former Secret Service agent turned Trump White House deputy chief of staff Tony Ornato is facing the January 6th Committee today for a third interview, as the panel tries to drill down on what exactly happened in that presidential SUV that day.

Former Trump aide Cassidy Hutchinson, you might remember, testified that Ornato told her that then-President Trump lashed out in anger and lunged at a member of his Secret Service protective detail as he demanded to be taken to the Capitol that day.

CNN's Sara Murray joins us now.

And, Sara, as a former agent, Ornato could be key to helping investigators fill in many blanks pertaining to the Secret Service if he gives honest and candid testimony.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, I think this is important for the committee because they have received a lot of information. They got Secret Service communications. They have interviewed a number of other Secret Service officials in recent weeks. You know, they've talked to Robert Engel who was the lead agent in the Trump motorcade on January 6th, and so now they're rounding this out with Ornato.


And, look, they also have concerns about Ornato. Members on the committee have speculated that they think Ornato may have been involved sort of in trying to discredit Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. So, they really want this guy in front of them under oath, answering questions and sort of corroborating or if he's going to object -- objecting under oath to what Cassidy Hutchinson said.

TAPPER: And there's just over a month left for the committee to complete its business. What's left for them to do?

MURRAY: Well, I think what we're seeing right now is this juggling act. They are still interviewing witnesses, obviously. Tony Ornato is in there today.

And they're also trying to piece together this report, and obviously, that means trying to decide what is actually going to go in it and what's going to be left on the cutting room floor. I think, you know, this is a committee that has been working on a lot of different vectors of what happened on January 6th for a long time.

So, now, they are trying to decide, you know, how much of this is going to be focused on Trump. How much of the water front can we cover, and also how do we come up with a compelling document that people want to read.

TAPPER: Yeah, one that stands scrutiny.

MURRAY: Exactly.

TAPPER: All right. Sarah Murray, thanks.

It's day three of deliberations for the jury in the seditious conspiracy trial for the alleged leaders of the far-right Oath Keepers militia. On the most serious charge against them, each of the five defendants face a maximum of 20 years in federal prison if convicted for their alleged roles on the deadly capitol attack.

CNN's Sara Sidner is outside of the Washington court house very patiently.

Sara, the jury submitted a note to the judge asking for clarification over one of the charges. Tell us about that.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. They asked the judge for clarification over the seditious conspiracy charge, which is as you just mentioned, the most serious charge that comes with a 20-year maximum sentence of they are convicted. They got the answer, and have been deliberating now for about 21 hours or so over the past three days.

Now, this is really a historic trial. I don't think that we can overstate the nature of this case. This is, as one of the defense attorneys said, a once in a lifetime kind of a trial. This is a case about an alleged conspiracy to forcefully stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power right here in the United States on January 6th, we saw the attack on the Capitol.

The prosecutors are arguing that these five defendants, four of whom are admitted members of this far-right militia group called the Oath Keepers, one of them says he is an associate of the Oath Keepers. But they are all a lot facing this charge and up to ten charges total.

So, the jury has a lot to go over. I have got to tell you, Jake, this has been an epic case. It has lasted seven weeks of testimony. We have seen thousands upon thousands of pieces of evidence and exhibits from the prosecution, much of it the defendants' own words in messages, whether it would be Signal, or text messages, and dozens of hours of video. Some of which the world saw on January 6th, that this group of people wearing military combat gear and what's s known as a military stack, going up those Capitol steps, and some of them into the Capitol.

But ultimately, this is about whether or not they planned to do this on January 6th. And the defense had said that there are all of these different defenses for all five of the defendants facing different things. But the defense has said that there was no plan. So you cannot convict.

So, that's where we are right now. Prosecutors are pushing their ideas and their evidence, the defense saying you can't convict because there wasn't the plan in their opinion, Jake.

TAPPER: Seditious conspiracy, difficult, difficult to prove in a court of law. The trial is unusual just because of that charge. But what else stands out to you?

SIDNER: You know, what really stood out to this trial was not just the mountain of evidence but it was quite large that the jury had to go through, it was that three of the five defendants took the stand in their own defense. And that's very rare in any case, but in particular a case of this magnitude.

We even heard from the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, who made his own arguments. There was a lot of emotion shown by some of the members of the Oath Keepers on the stand. But you heard the defense in three of the cases from the defendants themselves. That is just extremely rare in a case like this, or frankly, in any case with this kind of penalty.

We are talking a maximum of 20 years for just not one charge. There is a potential nine more charges that they could be -- they could be convicted of as well, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Sidner, great work as always, thank you so much.

Coming up, China vowed to strike out hard in response to recent protests against COVID restrictions. TV cameras may have captured the beginnings of that approach.

And Georgia's runoff between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker is one week from today. We will look for results during CNN's special coverage. That's next Tuesday in prime time. We'll be right back.



TAPPER: Topping our world lead, police flooded the streets to crush a remarkable uprising in major Chinese cities last night, fueled by the country's strict COVID policies, rare dissent over the ruling party and severe Chinese government censorship.

On Monday, police in Shanghai ordered citizens to delete any photos or videos of the protest. The even took subway passengers from, apparently the leading social media apps such as the popular, WeChat, which is already heavily censored by Chinese authorities.

Let's go right to CNN's Selina Wang in Beijing, China, for us.

Selina, in some cases, police are even going further than that.

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, they're even reporting protesters, police have visited their homes. I mean, China here, they're using its playbook of repression, surveillance, individual intimidation tactics. And also, police putting the places where protests have breaking out in recent days, and proactively going to any places where potential future protests are planned in order to stop them from ever happening.


I was at the protest in Beijing earlier this week when I went back to the exact same location the following day it was eerily quiet. With masses of police cars as far as the eye could see.

And what is chilling here, Jake, is that some of this intimidation playing out in broad daylight, in massive metropolitan cities. Police randomly stopping people walking around where protests broke out in shanghai. You can see the video there, ordering people to delete content from their phones.

There are other videos that appear to show police randomly checking the cell phones of passengers on the subways in Shanghai. Protesters have told us that police are checking if people have installed VPNs that can be used to circumvent China's firewall. Protesters need VPNs in order to used banned apps like Twitter, or messaging apps like Telegram for communication.

Now, remember, the key purpose of China's giant security apparatus is to prevent social unrest like this to stop the momentum in its tracks, and it appears to be working because protests have become smaller, more scattered since Sunday, and social videos show police breaking up an attempted protest on Monday night in Hangzhou, with videos showing a woman being dragged away screaming. Police violently pushing people around, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Selina, a Chinese party official finally issued an official, albeit, veiled response to these protests. What do they have to say?

WANG: Yeah, exactly. This was the first reference but it was incredibly veiled. Prior to this, officials have been completely ignoring what was happening, and of course, censorship on overdrive to erase any evidence that the protests never happened. So, state media on Tuesday wrote that China must, quote, resolutely strike hard against infiltration, and sabotage activities by hostile forces, as well as criminal activities that destabilized social order.

Now, this follows what one protester told us, this protester was part of a large group of people that were detained on Saturday night, this person said that police told them that they had been used by all intentioned people who want to start a color revolution. This person also said that the large group detained people had their fingerprints, retina patterns collected, other personal information, a reminder here, Jake, that this is a police state, that these protests had occurred under.


WANG: A shocking, extraordinary event.

TAPPER: Yeah, horrific. Selina Wang in Beijing, thank you so much.

Moments ago, a huge victory for the U.S. in the World Cup.

The U.S. men's soccer team beating Iran in a very high stakes game. Final score, one-nil. The U.S. now advances to the next round.

Let's bring in CNN's Andy Scholes.

He is an Atlanta fan watch party.

Andy, the reaction there must be pretty excited.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: It was rather awesome, especially considering it was a buildup. Because these fans here today, they were anxious, they wanted to see a goal so badly. Because you go back to last week against Wales, we scored one. Tied that game, then against England, scored 0-0. It was a thrilling game but it was still 0-0.

And we just have been waiting for a goal for so long, has some great opportunities in the first half but then at the 38th minute, Christian Pulisic coming through and giving us that goal to make this place just go absolutely bonkers. We should so you some video, everyone is jumping up and down, high fives everywhere, confetti, beer flying through the air, and then it was just a matter of holding on.

There was some tense moments. Iran has some great chance at the goal. But team USA, coming through, big win, 1-0, we now make it out of the group under on to the round of 16. I talked to a lot of fans there and that they said that they are so proud of this team.

TAPPER: And what's next for the U.S. in this tournament, what comes next?

SCHOLES: Up next, though, Jake, of all of these people that were here around the country, want to party again and watched Team USA, they're going to have to wake up a little early because the round of 16 game against the Netherlands, it's going to be a Saturday, 10:00 a.m. Eastern, and again, Team USA will be an underdog in that one. But they have been all of this tournament. And the fans here, they tell me that they really believe in this team. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was incredible, I thought we played the first half brilliantly, towards the end. I was a little scared, but in the end, it all worked out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So proud, so ready to go to the next round, I think that we are going to kill it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This team is young, they are hungry, they don't stop, 90 minutes -- we got through it today. So happy, unbelievable win for the USA. Let's go, all the way. Netherlands, we're coming for you, brother! Whoo!


SCHOLES: The fans are confident here. Like I said, Team USA is going to be an underdog again on Saturday. But they are doing just enough to get by in these games. We will see if they can do just enough on Saturday.


TAPPER: All right. Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

Coming up next, a lawsuit against Stanford University. Parents who say actions by the school led to the death of their daughter by suicide.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: And we have some breaking news for you. The jury has reached a verdict in the seditious conspiracy a trial for alleged leaders of the far-right Oath Keepers group.

CNN's Sara Sidner is outside the courthouse in Washington, D.C.

Sara, what do we know?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the way things are, Jake. Things change very quickly, now that we have heard from defense attorneys and the prosecution, both confirming to CNN that there is a verdict and the seditious conspiracy trial of four members of the far-right militia, the Oath Keepers, and an associate.

The jury had a lot to think about, this is the third day, almost the end of the third day of deliberations. There are a total of ten potential charges facing several of the members of these defendants, of the five defendants in this case.


The most serious charges, of course, seditious conspiracy, which brings with it, if they are convicted of seditious conspiracy, up to a 20-year maximum sentence in federal prison. So, a very, very serious case.

We are waiting to hear from the jury, which will go one by one to decide whether each person is guilty or not guilty of that charge, and several others, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sara Sidner, thanks so much. And we will bring that to you when the information comes in.

Until then, turning to our national lead, a Stanford University soccer star was found dead in her room last spring, investigators determined she died by suicide and now her parents are suing the university. Twenty-two-year old Katie Meyer was reportedly in good spirits hours before she died. She FaceTimed her mom, she made plans for spring break. Her parents say a few hours later, Katie received a, quote,

threatening five-page email from a university official, informing the goalie who was waiting to hear from law school's about her acceptance, that she was under a disciplinary investigation, and at risk of being expelled. This, her parents claimed, was because Meyer spilled coffee on a football player, a player whom Meyer believed sexually assaulted her teammate, who had been a minor at the time.

Stanford lawyers have responded to the suit. They say the university grieves Meyer's death, but they claim the allegations in the suit are, quote, false and misleading.

Let's bring in Kim Doughtery . She is the attorney who is bringing the wrongful death lawsuit against Stanford on behalf of Katie Meyer's parents.

Kim, thanks so much for joining us.

Something I don't fully understand right off the bat, how severe were the injuries, if any, done to the football player by this coffee spill, whether or not it was intentional? My understanding is that he did not press charges, and I don't really fully understand why Stanford was involved in this at all?

KIM DOUGHTERY, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING KATIE MEYER'S FAMILY: Yeah, thank you, Jake. The Meyers really appreciate you giving us the opportunity to answer any of these questions that remain based upon various comments made by Stanford.

I can tell you that the actual quote/end quote, injury, was something that looked like a sunburn. That is the extent of it. That is all that happened when Katie was riding her bike, and the coffee spilled. That is the extent of what happened.

And in terms of how this was brought in the first place, that is a big part of our complaint. It should not have been brought. The student did not wish to press charges, the student did not bring the complaint, the football player in fact, said that he would like to resolve the matters, and not see anything harmful happened to Katie.

But the dean of residential life was the one who decided to bring this complaint to OCS, and OCS was the one to move forward and investigate it.

TAPPER: So, even, if I understand that you are not saying that Katie Meyer did this on purpose, the spelling of the coffee, but even if she did, it doesn't sound like it was all that damaging. And it sounds like she was protective of her fellow soccer player who was 17 years old at the time of this alleged incident.

But Stanford suggested that they investigated fully the sexual assault allegation against the football player but, quote, the criteria for moving forward with an investigation were not met, unquote.

Is that true? DOUGHTERY: Well, I find that to be quite curious, given the fact that

what he has been alleged to have committed is a sexual crime, a sexual assault against a minor. What we are talking about here is spilled coffee with Katie.

So I would -- I would press Stanford to ask what criteria was not met? In fact, he assaulted a minor. And in this case, ours was brought by a dean about spilled coffee.

So in terms of whether the criteria were met, I think that what we are seeing here is that the criteria is apply differently to male athletes versus female athletes. And there is gender discrimination going on on Stanford's campus. And that's what we're going to discover here, Jake, I'm sure of it.

TAPPER: So, Stanford claims, I want to get your response to this, Stanford claims, quote, Katie was explicitly told that the letter she got was not a determination that she did anything wrong. She also was given a number to call for immediate support and was specifically told that the resource was available to her 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Shortly after receiving the email, Katie wrote to OCS staff, that's the college standards staff, and received a reply within the hour. Katie asked for a meeting to discuss the matter which offered several available times, chose 13 days later despite the availability of an earlier appointment, unquote.

Their basic argument is that she was not going to necessarily be in any trouble and we were -- we did all our due diligence to make sure that this didn't upset her too much.


What is your response to that?

DOUGHTERY: Well, first, as we said, the complaint should have never been brought. There was a process that could have been gone through that was informal, where the students could have sat down and resolve this among themselves. Stanford did not offer that to Katie.

Second, there was not sufficient evidence for them to bring this charge. Even the witnesses that they interviewed said that it was an accident. Katie told them it was an accident. They also didn't get any exonerating information on behalf of Katie.

With respect to the actual charge, it's in the manner in which this took place. And the language that is in there. What they are failing to tell you is that this was sent to her on the exact last day for the statute of limitations for them to bring a charge against her, after hours, after 7:00 at night when the OCS office was closed, all the mental health services were closed. She was in her room alone, in the dark, and she had already expressed to them how distressing this process had been for her.

Knowing that, having full knowledge that she had been distressed throughout this entire process, knowing that because of their own research with their own committee that these processes that they put students through are their, quote, overly punitive, and not educational, and causing harm to students, they still decided to send the letter, five pages, single spaced, threatening her diploma, threatening to remove her from the university, just three months before graduation.

And to assume that saying you can call the dean on call, who is available 24 hours is sufficient, is extremely reckless. It was a dean who brought the camp complaint. It was a dean who is charging her. To assume that she is going to call the dean on-call when every single time she has ever worked within a dean, within this process, they have done nothing but bully, and be punitive towards her? That is not offering her support.

And then, after the fact, have her right them saying that she is, quote, shocked, and distraught, and do nothing to check in on her welfare, not call her, not send someone to check in her room, the fact that it was even told to her after hours, when she was by herself, and she was not brought in, and had this discussed in person when there were resources available to her, that is a breach in the standard of care.

Universities don't give this type of news after hours to people in the dark when they know that these types of people are perfectionists.


DOUGHTERY: Never have gotten in trouble before in their life!

TAPPER: Yeah, as we know, there is a mental health crisis going on nationwide, particularly among young people on college campuses, and high schools who have had to deal with COVID the last couple of years, and all of the stress that that entails.

Please pass on our condolences as much as possible, as much as you can to the Meyer family, we appreciate your time today.

Kim Doughtery, thank you so much. We'll have you back as this lawsuit proceeds.

And a reminder to our viewers, if you or anyone you know is struggling, or in any sort of crisis, help is available. Please call or text 988 or chat

We'll go next to the severe weather center for the heightened storm risk tonight and chance for tornadoes.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: A large swath of the United States is that risk for severe storms this evening. The elevated threats include some 40 million people in the U.S. Some of these areas could get tornadoes, which are rare this time of year. Let's get right to CNN meteorologist Tom Sater.

Tom, these storms could come at the worst possible time, the overnight hours.

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah, Jake, overnight tornadoes are two and a half times more deadly. That is what we have. A multi-faceted storm system, coldest air of the season plunging in from the West, multiple states with warnings for heavy, heavy snowfall, clashing with tropical air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.

Here it is, a very rare four out of five, that's a level four out of five for severe weather, greatest tornado threat between 4:00 and 10:00 p.m. This is rare, but this is the first November in history that not once have we had this event, to, on the 4th of November, we had multiple fatalities and 62 tornadoes.

Look at the temperature contrast, St. Louis 62, Kansas City, 35. That's the driving force. We have got a tornado warning that is our watch, that is in effect, but it is stamped with a PDS, particularly dangerous situation, only reserved for those most violent and life- threatening. Multiple tornadoes already, we had at least one confirmed tornado, but multiple warnings getting close to a dozen now.

So across the Louisiana, Mississippi where want to continue to watch this, right to the east. But again, it is the overnight period and the darkness, sunsets in Jackson, Mississippi, at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. This is going to continue, wave after wave through the evening period.

TAPPER: All right. Tom Sater, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

We are following the breaking news that jury has reached a verdict in the seditious conspiracy trial against alleged leaders of the far right Oath Keepers group. We're live at the courthouse next.

Stay with us.



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

This hour, we're following the breaking news. The jury has reached a verdict in the Oath Keeper's seditious conspiracy trial. And we will bring that to you as soon as it's announced.

Plus, 51 years ago, she was kidnapped and now with the help of DNA, she has been reunited with her mom and dad.

But leading this hour, the United States pulls through in a must-win World Cup match, defeating Iran 1-nil in a tense 100 minutes and advancing to the next round. Fans celebrating around the world as the final whistle was blown and the match being touted as a geopolitical showdown.

CNN's Don Riddell is in Doha, Qatar, right outside the World Cup stadium.

Don, what were some of the highlights of the U.S. win?

DON RIDDELL, CNN HOST, WORLD SPORT: Hey, Jake. Well, there weren't many highlights, it was a pretty tense affair, but the main thing is that Christian scored the winning goal, and that's taken the United States through to their first knockout game since 2014.

You've referenced the buildup to this game, how tense it was. It was really interesting.