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The Lead with Jake Tapper

January 6 Committee Meets On Final Actions As Deadline Nears; Some Moderate Republicans Warn Colleagues Against Opposing McCarthy; Ukraine: Bloody Packages Sent To Six Ukrainian Embassies In Europe; Rights Group: Iranians Killed Protester Celebrating U.S. Soccer Win; Biden To Headline Fundraiser In Boston Tonight For Sen. Warnock. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 02, 2022 - 16:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: What a great story. Go to to vote for your favorite top 10 heroes.

Everybody, have a great weekend. We appreciate you joining us.

And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The January 6 Committee today considering some of its most consequential matters yet.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Five hundred nineteen days an existence, more than 1,000 interviews, and now, the January 6 committee weighs its final acts. Coming up, I'm going to speak with a member of the committee about whether they're going to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department of Donald Trump.

And, first, dangerous letter bombs. Now, blood soaked packages sent to a series of embassies. Disturbing content inside and, who in the world might be responsible.

Plus, police in Idaho now say they have new information about the crime scene where for college students were stabbed to death. So, what is it?


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

And we start today with our politics lead, and the sprint to the finish for the House Select Committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. Members of the panel meeting today asked their deadline fast approaches to share their findings with the public.

But the committee is also weighing whether or not to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department, including a referral of former President Trump for their actions around the deadly riot. And as the committee plans its final steps, Donald Trump is proving

that he has apparently learned absolutely nothing from that horrific day, speaking last night at an event in support of the jailed capital insurrectionists where, among other, things Mr. Trump said this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Patriot freedom is what it's about, and that's not happening in our country. People have been treated unconstitutionally in my opinion, and very, very unfairly. And we're going to get to the bottom of it.


TAPPER: He has, of course, also promised to pardon all of the rioters. And as "The New York Times'" Peter Baker writes today, quote, Trump once again made clear exactly where he stands in the conflict between the American justice system and the mob that ransacked the Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power nearly two years ago. He stands with the mob, unquote.

And one might note, all while standing under a photo of him with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. And authoritarian leader who demands complete loyalty and rules through violence. Kim Kong-un, I mean.

CNN's Sara Murray starts off our coverage on Capitol Hill with a closer look at everything left for the January 6 committee to do before its final deadline.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): The clerk will call the rule.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Running up against an end of your deadline --

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're close to the putting down the pen and going to print. The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol convening privately today to weight its final moves and discuss its final report.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): If we don't make a recommendation, and this is not relevant to Mr. Trump or any other person, it doesn't mean necessarily that we don't think they shouldn't investigate. But we want to make sure we are on firm ground if we make any recommendations over the DOJ.

MURRAY: The committee still weighing what to do about criminal referrals. The panel also discussing what to how to present evidence of possible obstruction, perjury, and witness tampering in its final report and deciding whether to hold accountable to five GOP lawmakers, including House Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Congressman Jim Jordan for refusing to comply with committee subpoenas.

REP. MO BROOKS (R-AL): I've got a message that I need you to take to your heart and take back home, and along the way, stop at the Capitol.

THOMPSON: The ayes have it.

MURRAY: Committee Chair Bennie Thompson telling reporters, there are three options. Refer the lawmakers to the Ethics Committee, hold them in contempt of Congress, or quote, do nothing. The committee also vowing to make interviews with more than 1000 witnesses and volumes of other evidence available to the public.

SCHIFF: We are also going to be releasing the evidence, which maybe the most important thing. The voluminous transcripts, the documents, and emails -- we want to make sure that that is put before the American people.

MURRAY: As McCarthy is still scrambling to secure the votes to become the speaker the next Congress --

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We'll take the speaker's fight to the floor.

MURRAY: warns the January 6 committee to preserve all of its records and transcripts.

LOFGREN: They have been pretty clear that they'd like to undermine the work that we have done, but we are going to prevent that. We're going to release all the information we've collected so it cannot be selectively edited and spun.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, Jake, as we have talked to members of the last couple, days, they know this is crunch time. They are talking about needing to get their final report to the printer and when they can get it to the public.

But, of course, the big question that is still lingering out, still unanswered is what they are going to do about these criminal referrals.


TAPPER: All right. Sara Murray on Capitol Hill for us, thanks so much.

Let's bring in Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, a member of the January 6 committee. You heard her a little bit there in Sara's piece.

So, Congresswoman, what did the committee discuss today and did you discuss possible criminal referrals?

LOGREN: Actually, we had a great meeting today. We went on for multiple hours and we made terrific progress in finalizing the material we'll be releasing reports and addenda and the like. We haven't finished the discussion of any potential consequences, including referrals yet. But we will be working on that in the coming days and expect to conclude that very soon.

TAPPER: When you see very soon, obviously, the clock is ticking because the moment Kevin McCarthy becomes speaker, your committee will be dissolved, whether you want to or not. Do you mean in the next week or two? Before Christmas?

LOFGREN: Yeah, yeah. No, the next week or two.

And by the, way Jake, we have always known that the life of the committee was just this Congress. Special select committees are established for a single Congress which ends on January 2nd. We've always known that. And the fact that the Republicans have a narrow majority doesn't change that. That's always been the case.

TAPPER: You are a trained attorney. Knowing what you know now, after your committee has spoken to more than 1,000 witnesses, do you believe that Donald Trump. You personally, do you believe that Donald Trump committed a prosecutable crime?

LOFGREN: Well, I -- the Department of Justice has to weigh the evidentiary standard. But as Judge Carter said, in San Diego, it is clear that he did commit a criminal offense. Whether the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt can be met in a trial is something the DOJ has to decide. It's something I can't decide, but clearly, he did run afoul of the law according to the judge, and I think we can see that from the evidence we've compiled.

TAPPER: As you know, there is a story in "The Washington Post" in which people were complaining about some of the decisions being made in the committee. There's obviously a disagreement about what to include in this final report. On CNN yesterday, you said you wanted to make sure that the report was, quote, actually tethered to the facts. We found not going off on tangents or just opinions that we can't tie into the facts.

Is that the major issue being debated right now within the committee and would you say, I'm just hypothesizing, would you say that the lawyers on the committee such as you and maybe Congresswoman Cheney have different views, divergent views than those who are not attorneys?

LOFGREN: I think there is unanimity among the members of the committee that the report, and that material we write and release needs to be tethered to the facts. And we made great progress this morning going through each of the various proposed materials by the staff. Some honestly fall far short of that. They really -- none of the footnotes relate to the evidence that we have compiled, and we're all committed to making sure that whatever we produce is related to our investigation, not extraneous material.

So there is no difference between the lawyers and non lawyers, and there's no division among the members of the committee on that.

TAPPER: Cassidy Hutchinson, the former aide to the Trump White House. She was the aide to Mark Meadows, the chief of staff, she testified that she had been told by then-deputy White House chief of staff Tony Ornato, as well as a Secret Service agent, Mr. Engel, that -- in Ornato's words, there was -- there was something of a melee within the presidential SUV, President Trump telling them to go to Capitol Hill on January 6th and even lunging at them.

Since Cassidy Hutchison testified that Ornato had told her that, you have now heard from in testimony Ornato and Engel again, s well as the limo driver, the SUV driver. Do you have any testimony that the story she told that she said Ornato told her, there are other people who are in that car who backed that version of events?

LOFGREN: Well, I tell you this. As you know, our rules don't allow us to discuss the testimony but, very shortly, we're going to release the transcripts in the videos of all of the interviews and people can -- there is a divergence of view. There is additional evidence as to the lunging story. But the point is, whether or not there was a minor altercation and there is divergent testimony on that, it's very clear that the then president intended to go to the White House.


We have multiple sources on that. That's --

TAPPER: To the Hill, you mean?

LOFGREN: To the Hill. Yes, I shouldn't say the White House. He ended up at the White House, but he wanted to come to the Capitol. And there was an argument, we've heard from the Metropolitan Police Department about that.

And that's a very serious issue, whether or not how loud his voice was, wanting to go to lead the mob, turned what was a political rally into something very different.

And I think we played the testimony of one of the national security people in the emergency operation center that day who said something to the fact that that would turn a political rally into something else completely different, a coup attempt.

TAPPER: Yeah. So, last night, Donald Trump spoke at that event in support of the Capitol rioters. He claims that they're being treated unfairly, in his view unconstitutionally. What's your response to that?

LOFGREN: You know, I hear that stuff and it makes me wonder, has he ever read the Constitution? I mean, where in the Constitution? Some of the stuff that's being said, I keep a copy of the Constitution with me at all times. And I can't imagine which section of the Constitution he is referring to. It's a mystery.

TAPPER: January 6th Committee member, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California, thanks so much for being with us.

LOFGREN: Thank you.

TAPPER: Let's discuss with former U.S. assistant attorney general, Carrie Cordero. Carrie, good to see you.

Do you expect that the January 6 committee is going to make criminal referrals to the justice department?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I expect they will make some because they have shown some willingness to do that in the past. I think the big question, Jake, with respect to which people and how serious of a crime. So, it can range from individuals that maybe were in contempt that did not cooperate with their investigation, ranging to the substantive big issues of, first of all, whether not individuals obstructed their investigation and then the actual crimes related to the interference with the election.

TAPPER: Do you think Donald Trump, based on the evidence we've been present in the committee what we've heard, do you think that Donald Trump committed a prosecutable crime? And I include the word prosecutable because people commit crimes all the time but attorneys, prosecutors don't bring them because they think I can't prove it or there isn't enough evidence. But I do think the person to the crime. Do you think he did it -- he committed a prosecutable crime?

CORDERO: So, prosecutors have a obligation only right case when they think they can actually win on it. They can just bring a case because they think maybe. So, they have to have the actual evidence.

And the difficult part of sitting here is I haven't seen all of the evidence that the Justice Department might have. I haven't seen all of the transcripts that even January 6 committee has in its position with respect to witness testimony. We have only seen clips of it in terms of what the January 6 committee has put forth.

So, to make an informed, give you an informed answer for that, you have to be in the position to have all the evidence. Do I think the committee potentially has information to make a criminal referral on obstruction? They might. They certainly alluded to that over the course of their public hearings. Did they have the evidence on him specifically to four on the overall obstruction in conspiracy to undermine the election? I think we have to know more of what the grandeur testimony is, for example, of other individuals who testified.

So I think there is a big evidence piece before a prosecutor can make that decision.

TAPPER: Do you think the jury convicting Stewart Rhodes and the others, the oath keepers that were on trial that were found guilty this week of a number of charges, including seditious conspiracy for the head of the Oath Keepers and his deputy, do you think that makes the January 6 committee or the Justice Department more likely to try to bring criminal charges against people who are actually in the White House or in the administration?

CORDERO: I don't know that it necessarily ties in that way. What it shows us the justice department is willing to bring a hard case that has political ramifications and charge laws that aren't traditionally charged like seditious conspiracy, if they think they have the evidence and if they think they can win that case.

So, I think it shows that decision-making process that this justice department is willing to make. But again, it depends on what evidence they've gathered in several different investigations as it relates to the former president in the overturning of -- the attempts to overturn the 2020 election, in the documents case, which is the subject of the Mar-a-Lago search, as well as on obstruction issues as well.

TAPPER: Yeah, the reason I ask is because as you know, seditious conspiracy is a difficult charge to get a conviction for historically

CORDERO: It's very difficult. And what I don't think the January 6 committee presented and it's evidence with that really key link between the former president, the people in the White House, and the connection to the individuals who committed the violence on January 6th.


TAPPER: The individuals that have that information all refused to testify. The Roger Stones, the Steve Bannons, the Mark Meadows. Thank you so much, Carrie Cordero. Really appreciate it.

Coming up, a vocal critic of Kevin McCarthy who insists the Republican leader will not become speaker. How he's now calling on GOP colleagues to make sure of that.

Plus, crowds cheer with their own country lost in the World Cup. What some suspects as the Iranian regime responsible for those celebrations have turned deadly.

And, the toxic warnings as people try to get a close-up view of the incredible lava flow on Hawaii's big island. We'll take you there.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: And we're back in our politics lead now.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is getting ready to fight for the speaker's gavel. It won't be easy. There will likely be 222 House Republicans. He needs 218 votes. If it is 222, ultimately, then Mr. McCarthy can only lose four Republicans. And as of now, at least five have vowed to oppose his run for speaker.


If a challenger to McCarthy emerges next month, it will be the first speaker floor fight in more than a century.

Let's go right to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

Manu, there's no way of actually knowing what's going to happen on the floor a month from now. I mean, the smart money would be on McCarthy buttoning this down. But still, what have you been hearing from Republican lawmakers?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's a game of chicken that's happening right now. McCarthy, and his allies are planning to push ahead. McCarthy believes that ultimately he will get their. He is not concerned by these threats from some of these Republican members. He is looking behind the scenes to try to get those votes one by one.

But some of those, a handful of those hard-line detractors are insisting that Kevin McCarthy simply will not get 218 votes to become speaker. They are now calling on some Republicans who have privately voiced concerns about McCarthy to become public. Because they say that will isolate McCarthy and forced him to drop out.


REP. BOB GOOD (R-VA): Yes, I urge my colleagues to are not going to support Kevin McCarthy, it's in the best interest of the Congress and the country for them to come out publicly to illustrate or demonstrate that he's not going to be speaker. And he's not going to be speaker. He doesn't have the votes to get to 218. He's not going to get to 218. The number of public hard no votes is going to just continue to increase.

RAJU: You're one of these private no votes on McCarthy is now coming out publicly to say.

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): My position is pretty clear on this, is that no one has 218, and the whole point here is to have a conversation now. I'm not talking about how I'm going to vote or not vote. What I'm talking about is, my constituents sent me here to end the status quo.


RAJU: Now, we have learned that some of McCarthy's detractors have reached out to potential challengers to McCarthy, including asking the number two Republican Steve Scalise, as well as Jim Jordan who is expected to be the House Judiciary chairman and Tom Emmer, who's expected to be the Republican whip, all to challenge McCarthy.

So far, they have all declined, saying they support McCarthy for the speaker's race. Now, the question will change, though, if McCarthy changes his mind, he drops, he doesn't get to 218 votes. So, just a lot of uncertainty at this point, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. And, Manu, you also caught up on the other side of Capital Hill, with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He is a more conservative Democrat, ahead of the Georgia runoff. What did he have to tell you about the prospect of, and the importance of winning another Senate seat for the Democrats?

RAJU: Well, he said he is looking forward to having another Democratic vote in the Senate, assuming Raphael Warnock wins in a very tight race, because that would change the dynamics. He would not have nearly as much influence or pressure. He says he would be happy with that. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): What we know is it has been like in the last two years, you know, it is whatever the people. I -- it's not an enviable position to be in and I would recommend it to anybody.


RAJU: Now, of course, Manchin has wielded enormous clout over the last two years because Democrats are trying to pursue two major pieces of legislation along strict party lines. Manchin balked, ultimately supported those plans and had his imprints all over all of that.

Jake, a lot of things to change next year. Though Democrats will have the Senate, Republicans will have the House, and not much legislation will be done and we'll see if Joe Manchin decides to run for reelection. He has not decided yet.

TAPPER: That's right. There's already Republican House member who said he is going to run against him.

Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

That Georgia runoff, the end of it is Tuesday and Tuesday night, we're going to have special coverage right here on CNN starting at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, all the way through when we have a winner.

Coming up next on THE LEAD, the disturbing find inside blood soaked packages sent to embassies across Europe.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In the world lead, heightened alert after a series of disturbing deliveries to embassies in Europe. First, it was letter bombs sent to several diplomatic offices including the U.S. embassy in Madrid, Spain and the Ukrainian embassy there.

And now, the Ukrainian government says someone has sent bloody packages to six other Ukrainian embassies across Europe. Hungry, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy, and Austria.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Ukraine. And, Sam, these are -- these are disturbing to say the least but what we know about these packages and who might be behind sending them?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, according to the interview conducted by my colleague Matthew Chance with Mr. Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, a number of Ukrainian embassies and missions may actually be even higher than that, Jake, if that's conceivable in this weird campaign. And that's his word for -- of sending packages, envelopes with bloody animal parts, animal eyes, pretty predominantly have been sent to a number of diplomatic missions they believe from within Europe to Ukrainian diplomatic missions and consulates right across Europe.

This as you rightly point out follows a wave of much more sinister letter bombs that subversively injured only one Ukrainian or rather an official working in a Ukrainian embassy in Spain. But this, they believe in Ukraine, they are pointing a finger inevitably at either Russia or supporters of Russia because there is no other logical explanation in the context of this very bitter and bloody ongoing war. From the Ukrainian perspective, they are talking about it saying that it demonstrates Russia's inability to galvanize any kind of diplomatic support -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, separately, Sam, the military where you are in Ukraine says that that discovery of a dummy missile might reveal a new tactic in Putin's war against Ukraine.


Tell us about that.

KILEY: Well, this is a cruise missile that is normally mounted with a nuclear warhead it does. So, in other words, it's a Cold War era piece of equipment, but nonetheless, state of the art back then, and no doubt updated.

So it's still a precision guided missile. But it had been sent into Ukrainian airspace. It is not the only one that has been recorded without any kind of warhead. So it just got the kinetic at energy which is substantial and any remaining fuel that could ignite.

So, it's still a dangerous piece of equipment, but from the Ukrainian perspective, it represents, first of all, a sign that the Russians are trying to soak up their air defenses, waste missiles on -- in incoming missiles such as this anti-missile system. They're very short supply here in Ukraine.

They also point out that the serial number on the missile was scratched out. They suspect it may even have come from old Ukrainian stocks from the days when they gave up their nuclear deterrence in return for defense guarantees that weren't met by the international community, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sam Kiley in Ukraine, thank you so much.

Also on our world lead today, a disturbing report from a Norway-based human rights organization claiming that Iranian security forces shot and killed a man who was celebrating the United States victory over Iran in the World Cup soccer match.

As CNN's Jomana Karadsheh reports for us now, this all comes amid Iran's brutal crackdown nationwide on all anti-government protesters.


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIOAL CORRESPONDENT: Protests turned into seen scenes of joy and jubilation across Iran this week. Iranians were out celebrating their country's defeat at the World Cup, surreal but for many after touting its team, it was the repressive regime that was defeated. No longer could it claim a victory while violently suppressing its own people.

Mehran Samak was out on the streets of his city of Bandar Anzali in his car honking the horn and celebration when he was shot in the head. Activists and human rights monitor tell CNN, it was regime forces that killed the 27 year old.

Authorities denied killing Samak. They're investigating his, quote, suspicious death. They say several suspects have been arrested. Investigations by the Iranian government into the death of young protesters since September lack credibility and impartiality, according to the U.N. We are not allowed to report from inside around. Those who speak to us face jail or worse. Making it hard for us to tell the stories of victims, and those left to mourn.

Samak's Instagram posts just a little snapshot of a life ended too soon. An athletic young man who enjoyed life, being with his friends, and water sports.

Growing up, he played soccer with Saeid Ezatolahi, now a midfielder in the national team, who shared this photo.

Mourning his childhood friend, he wrote: I wish we could always stay at the same age without any concerns, without hate, without jealousy, without fighting to put each other down. After another bitter night last night, and with the news of your death, my heart is even more on fire.

At Samak's burial, mourners chants: Death to the dictator. Khamenei must go.

Every life lost brings more heartache, more anger, more defiance and determination of people risking it all in this bloody battle for freedom.


KARADSHEH (on camera): And, Jake, more than 400 people have been killed in this crackdown sense of timber including at least 60 children. More than 14,000 people have been arrested and at least six protesters have been sentenced to death in what rights groups say are sham trials. Many others facing charges that carry the death penalty in the Islamic republic.

But I can tell, you this isn't stopping the Iranian people. There are plans for nationwide strikes and protests next week, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jomana Karadsheh, with the latest on that horrible, horrible story in Iran. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, President Biden's meeting moments ago with Prince William and his big plans ahead for tonight. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead. A brief yet notable meeting in Boston today after President Biden arrived. His first meeting was with the Prince of Wales, Prince William. Kensington Palace says the two shared memories of the late Queen Elizabeth II, and discussed the Earthshot Climate Prize the prince is awarding today.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is also in Boston, Mass. She's traveling with President Biden. We should note, Priscilla is the newest member of CNN's White House team.

Priscilla, great to see you.

So, it's been a packed week for President Biden. A state dinner, a Boston trip, and four days until the Georgia Senate runoff. What are Biden's plans for boosting Democratic candidate Raphael Warnock?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Jake, he is doing what he did during the midterms which is employing a strategy of shoring up support from a distance. So, while here in Boston, he attended a phone bank and he will also be attending a key Democratic fund-raiser this evening for Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock.

He nodded to that event earlier today at the White House. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to Georgia today to help Senator Warnock, to Georgia. We're going to help Senator Warnock. I'm going to do a major fund-raiser up in Boston today for -- before our next and continued Senate candidate, senator.


ALVAREZ: Now, since the midterm election and leading up to Tuesdays runoff, both parties have had to face the reality that their party leaders are not necessarily popular. That's true for former President Donald Trump.

And so, Biden is trying to bring in that support from here from Boston. The White House also saying that it's administration policy speak to voters.


Now, it is at stake here, the padded majority in the Senate with that 51st seat. They would be able to have more control, and the committee, and release Vice President Harris from that tie-breaking vote. And that is what Biden was underscoring just moments ago in remarks to the phone bank where he said any one senator can change the party, and he made it very clear that they need that 51st vote -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Priscilla Alvarez, traveling with President Biden in Boston, thanks for joining us. And to the world lead now. Israel, just one month after a long time

former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was able to cobble together enough support to soon reclaim power, today, even ardent supporters of Israel are publicly worrying that the alliance Netanyahu is forging with some of the far-right will lead to unacceptable changes to Israel 's government and society, including two prominent American backers of Israel and its government, Alan Dershowitz and Abraham Foxman.

Foxman telling "The Jerusalem Post", quote, I never thought that I would reach that point where I would say that my support of Israel is conditional.

Let's get right to Hadas Gold, our reporter in Jerusalem.

Hadas, this is very rare criticism from Dershowitz and Foxman.

HADAS GOLDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake. Foxman is the former head of the Anti-Defamation League. And he once said nothing could separate him from his support for Israel. But it seems as though this incoming government is going to be testing that commitment. It gives you a sense of fears that this could be the most far-right government in Israeli history, with the likes of Itamar Ben-Gvir as ministers.

Now, there are several main concerns amongst Israel's allies about what this new government can do, they sort of fall into several main categories. One, the policy in the occupied Palestinian territory. Now, Itamar Ben-Gvir has already been announced at the national security minister, but this is somebody who was once convicted of anti-Arab racism and was barred from the mandatory military draft he says because of his political views.

They are also concerns about changes from this incoming government to the judiciary. Essentially, they want to allow these really parliament to override Supreme Court decisions with a simple majority. This is something Dershowitz has called a terrible, terrible mistake if it happens.

There are concerns about LGBTQ rights, and there are also concerns that some of the orthodox parties, essentially they're all orthodox except for Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party, want to essentially make Israel a more religious country, including by changing the law of return, including who essentially consider Jewish enough to emigrate to Israel. And there are concerns that they want to -- orthodox parties make this a stricter requirement.

Now, Benjamin Netanyahu has responded to some of these returns in a recent podcast interview with Barry Weiss. I want to play that for you. He said: I've often heard these team projections but none of them have materialized. I maintained Israeli's democratic nature. I maintained Israel's traditions.

This Israel is not going to be governed by Talmudic law. We're not going to ban LGBTQ forums. As you know, my view on that is sharply different to put it mildly. We're going to remain a country of laws.

But, Jake, just a few hours after that interview was published, it became public that Benjamin Netanyahu had appointed the head of the proudly homophobic party to be a minister in the ministry of education. This has led to widespread outrage in Israel, including the Tel Aviv mayor, warning that Israel is heading towards becoming a fascist theocracy -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Hadas Gold in Jerusalem, thank you so much for that report.

Coming up, what police in Idaho are now saying about a sixth person who once lived in the Idaho house with his four college students were killed.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, police now say that a six person have lived in the house with those four university of Idaho students were found stabbed to death.

Previously, they had said that there are only five people who lived in the house, and it has been nearly three weeks since the students were killed. Still, no suspect has been found.

CNN's Veronica Miracle is as always live from Moscow, Idaho, for us.

And, Veronica, what more do we know about these sixth individual?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, we have just gotten confirmation from detectives that they have spoken to this individual who lived here and was on the lease at this house.

That sixth person, according to detectives, moved out prior to the start of the school year. They say this person was not home at the time of the attacks, and they are saying this person did not have any involvement in those murders.

So, now, we know that those two surviving roommates, as well as the sixth person on the lease have been cleared in this case -- Jake.

TAPPER: Where does the investigation stand though?

MIRACLE: Yeah, it is definitely tough. The latest from police is that there is no suspect, no border weapon, and no motive. They continue to work around the clock. They have been telling me that there has been progress made behind the scenes. It is just not information that they can share with the public as it could compromise the investigation.

I do think it is important to reiterate that pretty much all of the Moscow police department is working on this, in addition to the team from the FBI, as well as a lot of people from the Idaho state police. But what is really tough for this community is that they are just not getting answers. As a shape passes, it is getting harder and harder for people to be comfortable with this. It's very tense around here. As far as the University of Idaho, school

actually gets out of the end of next week for the rest of the semester. So students will go home, and they won't come back until mid-January.


I asked the university what they plan on doing in terms of security and they say they're just going to have to revisit it next year as students get back. They're hoping to see how this investigation unfolds and just take it step by step -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Veronica Miracle, in Moscow, Idaho, for us. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

To Hawaii now, CNN is on the ground with a near the world's largest active volcano is still erupting. The lava flow from the Mauna Loa on the big island has slowed in the past day, but the threat of the lava reaching a main highway, that remains.

And CNN's David Culver is reporting for us on preparations for that possibly happening, and how onlookers are trying to catch a glimpse of earth's fury.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nighttime glow of Mauna Loa's oozing lava, well, you just have to pull over and properly admire it.

It's basically the middle the night and you guys are out here, why?

PIILANI ZYCH, OAHU, HAWAII RESIDENT: Well, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to experience this. We decided to come early in the morning so we didn't have to sit in traffic.

CULVER: Having hopped from Oahu to here, the big island, this family, three generations, came to respectfully honor the Hawaiian eruptions.

ZYCH: It's all beautiful to us. So, we pay huge reverence to this. It's very culturally significant for us as well. So, it's a big deal.

CULVER: A site made even more luring with the side of sunrise, which brought the crowds to old saddle road, officials turning this stretch into a one-way street, allowing passersby the chance to stop and let the views seep in.

That keeps drivers from pulling over and stopping on this, what is one of the main highways connecting one part of the island to the other. USGS and state officials warned, the lava flow, while slowed in recent days, is inching closer to cutting off this highway. It is within three miles now.

The other worry, not a lot here on the ground but up in the air. What looks like plumes of smoke, experts say those are acid gases. Officials monitoring the levels, warning it could become tax toxic for residents and visitors of the big island.

Mauna Loa is the second of the big islands five volcanoes currently erupting. Kilauea is still rumbling after destroying more than 600 homes here in 2018.

ERECH ZYCH, OAHU, HAWAII RESIDENT: This is very significant. My wife -- we brought them over here and we brought them over here, and we gave it as an offering, you know? Just come here to respect.

CULVER: But many Hawaiians see the potential path of destruction as simultaneous creation, surfacing from this, the world's largest active volcano.


CULVER (on camera): And, Jake, to be here in person is really striking. What you are looking at up here, you think that's a summit. That is actually one of the fissures. And so it happens to be the most active one, that is why there is a lot of that is coming out of it.

And that's the one that's reaching a bit closer to behind the camera here, which is that mean high we were talking about. It's about 2.7 miles away right now, getting inch by inch a little bit closer. That's what's making folks so nervous. But you can see behind, me that is where most of the activity right now is with this volcano.

TAPPER: Right. And it's moving about a mile per hour. David Culver in Hawaii, so I know you can get out safely.

Let me -- let me ask you one other question, David, there was another volcano on that island that erupted in 2018. Are there still lasting effects from that?

CULVER: Yeah. It is interesting. Kilauea, and it's still erupting actually. And that makes this rather rare as well. you've got two on one island. There's five volcanoes here all together that are erupting at the same time. And there is some lingering trauma.

And that's why folks are watching this one so closely, making sure that if it was going to go one direction over the other, it could be incredibly destructive. Right now, as locals of told me, it is the best-case scenario. But they know that that can change overnight, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, David. David Culver in Hawaii, thank you so much.

Coming up, that cruise ship passenger who somehow ended up overboard and was all alone for hours in what he described as shark-infested waters, what he recalls about the ordeal. That's coming up.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. This hour, a look at one life-changing statewide program providing

free childcare for families struggling to make ends meet. Could other states follow New Mexico's lead?

Plus, Kanye West, also known as Ye, has been spewing his antisemitic insanity for months now. What did he finally say that made Elon Musk kick him off Twitter in this political environment where anti-Semitism is increasingly becoming mainstream?

And leading this hour, Ukrainian embassies and consulates around Europe on heightened alert after being targeted with suspicious packages that include blood soaked envelope's holding the eyeballs of animals. Ukrainian embassies in Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Croatia, Italy, and Austria, plus consulates in Naples and Krakow received these envelopes. This comes just days after a letter bomb sent to the embassy in Madrid exploded, injuring a Ukrainian employee.

Ukraine's foreign ministry says he believes this is a well-planned campaign of terror and intimidation. Acts of a terrorism coming at a time when Russia is lashing out and trying to use winter as a weapon of war by targeting Ukraine's power grid, after Ukraine reclaimed the key city of Kherson.

CNN's Matthew Chance is live for us in Ukraine's capital of Kyiv right now.

And, Matthew, you sat down for an exclusive interview with Ukraine's foreign minister.