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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Russia: "Unpredictable Consequences" If U.S. Sends Patriot Missiles; House Members Receive Classified Briefing On Ukraine; Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-MA), Is Interviewed About Ukraine; Kherson "Completely Disconnected" From Power Supply After Attacks; U.S. Issus New Sanctions Targeting Prominent Russia; Jake Shares Harrowing Story Of Daughter's Appendicitis Misdiagnosis; Senate Passes Legislation To Ban TikTok From U.S. Government Devices; Parents Of UVA Victim D'Sean Perry Share Their Grief. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 15, 2022 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And a barrage of shelling has left the southern city of Kherson, quote, "completely disconnected from any power source." We're going to start our coverage with CNN's Will Ripley on Russia's new warning to the U.S. today that there could be, quote, "unpredictable consequences" if the Pentagon gives Ukraine that Patriot missile system.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, even before an official White House announcement about Patriot missile defense systems, the Kremlin and the Russian Embassy in D.C. very quick to respond, the embassy saying that this could lead to unpredictable consequences here Ukraine. The Kremlin saying that these would be a legitimate target for them if they could actually find them and hit them.

The constant Russian bombardment on Ukraine civilian infrastructure is the latest reason for Ukrainian officials to really intensify their calls for Patriot missile defense, which would truly be a game changer, potentially could stop many of these Russian attacks, particularly from bombers that carry missiles that Ukraine currently doesn't have the capacity to shoot down. There were actually air raid sirens going off in Kyiv the other day, not because there were incoming missiles but just because Russian bombers were spotted near Ukraine that potentially carried the kind of missiles that Ukraine currently cannot defend against, the Patriot would change that.

But getting there, getting to that next stage of the conflict where patriots would be deployed, which is what the Ukrainian defense minister told me he was confident would happen when I interviewed him last weekend will require months of training because these are highly complex systems that require a large number of people when you're talking about battalion of Patriot missile defense batteries, even though as few as three people can actually operate each individual truck. You know, when you see it fire, it requires a tremendous amount of work, which is why when these defense systems have been deployed for U.S. allies, often it's American personnel who are operating them. That is simply not possible here in Ukraine, the Ukrainians are going to have to learn how to use this system autonomously. There is intensified fighting on the frontlines in the east, in Donetsk with Ukrainian forces pummeling Russian held Donetsk, the worst attack the Russians claim since 2014. Although CNN can't independently verify a lot of the videos and the claims that are coming out of Donetsk, but certainly the Russians are claiming that civilian targets are being hit there.

Civilian targets are certainly being hit down in southern Ukraine in Kherson where wave after wave of Russian shelling has destroyed much of an administrative building as well as killing people and causing basically that entire city to be cut off from the power grid entirely. It is just evidence that even though the winter -- the dead of winter is here, essentially even though the official start of winter is still days away, here in Ukraine, they're already dealing with really horrific conditions for soldiers on the front lines and for the millions of people around this country who are forced to live for hours or even days on end in the dark end of cold, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Will Ripley, thanks so much.

I want to turn it over to CNN's Oren Liebermann. And Oren, you just heard Will Ripley report that Ukrainians are saying they desperately need this missile defense system. What's the Pentagon saying today?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The Pentagon hasn't yet confirmed the story that CNN broke that the administration was getting ready to send the Patriot air defense system over to Ukraine. But the Pentagon did respond to Russia's comments on unpredictable consequences and warning that this would drag the U.S. closer into a conflict with Russia. And the Pentagon blatantly said that it's not Russia's place, the starter of this war, to dictate what the U.S. will and will not send. Here's Pentagon Press Secretary, Pat Ryder.


PATRICK RYDER, PRESS SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: We're not going to allow comments from Russia to dictate the security assistance that we provide to Ukraine.


LIEBERMANN: A blunt statement there that the U.S. would continue doing what it thinks is best not only in its interest, but also in the interests of Ukraine. Jake, it's worth pointing out that the purpose of the Patriot to shoot down missiles, drones, rockets and attacks from Ukraine is what other U.S. systems have already done to this point.

TAPPER: Yes, it's a defensive system. The U.S. announced today that it's going to expand the training of Ukrainian armed forces. What is this training involved? And could this result in even more U.S. troops being deployed nearby in Europe?

LIEBERMANN: So as of right now, that's not the plan because the seventh army training command that will carry out this training is already there. Depending on plans and expanding Ukrainian training to about 500 soldiers per month, not on the smaller groups of soldiers on individual systems that we've seen since the beginning of this war, but on larger training, groups of soldiers, platoons, squads, up to the battalion level, essentially how to work together, how to fight together to achieve a decisive outcome on the battlefield. That's the goal here, combined arms maneuver, and making sure more of Ukraine's military is able to carry out these larger maneuvers.

The Pentagon pointed out this is the sort of work they did with the Ukrainians before the invasion ever since the 2014 invasion of Crimea. And now we'll be getting back to that. Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon, thanks so much.

I'd like to bring in Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton, who just returned from a trip to Ukraine where he met with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and visited U.S. troops in nearby Poland as part of congressional delegation.


Congressman, thanks for joining us. So, House members received a briefing today from Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense Austin. I know the briefing was classified, but is there anything you can share with us? Any major takeaways?

REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): Well, I'll just tell you that the war is going well for Ukraine. And I was amazed when I went to Kyiv at how much it looked like it did a year ago. I was there just before the invasion in December of 2021. I came back warning that I thought an all-out Russian assault was likely even though that was not the consensus opinion at the time. But Kyiv today looks much the same.

It's incredible how resilient the Ukrainian people are. They're going to fight through this winter. They're going to continue fighting Russia, and with our assistance, they're going to win this war.

TAPPER: When you met with Ukrainian officials in Kyiv, what did they tell you they need from the U.S. and from NATO allies, other than the Patriot missile defense system?

MOULTON: Well, they made the point that there needs to change over time. If you remember, when the war kicked off, they wanted Stinger missiles because they were so concerned about Russian fighter jets and bombers in the skies. We got them those and they were essential in the early part of the conflict. But then they wanted advanced artillery systems to start taking territory back from the Russians. Now they need Patriot missile defense to protect against this onslaught against their energy infrastructure.

But I suspect in the future, they're going to need more offensive systems. They may be requesting things like tanks and armored personnel carriers to go against the west -- the Russian defense is in the eastern part of the country. The Russians are digging in right now. And Ukraine needs to take that territory back. TAPPER: What do you make of the Kremlin warning that if the U.S. does give this Patriot missile system to Ukraine it could drag U.S. soldiers into ground combat in Ukraine? Is there any truth to that?

MOULTON: No, no, it's ridiculous. And part of their warning was that if we give them Patriot missile batteries that makes them legitimate targets for attack? Well, no kidding. I mean, of course, the Russians would try to take out Patriot missile batteries. That's just such a nonthreat.

And I think one of the lessons that we all have to learn here is that Putin is a dangerous person, he's a dangerous, autocratic leader, but he's a lot of bluster. He's a lot of bluster, and he will back down. Remember his terrible threats if more countries joined NATO, two countries did and nothing happened. His terrible threats if America provided any support to Ukraine whatsoever. Instead, he's now losing this war.

So, we've got to not be cowed by Putin. That was a clear message that I took home from the American ambassador in Ukraine who spent over a decade dealing with Putin in that part of the world. She said, let's not be afraid of this guy. Let's make sure we win the war.

TAPPER: Russia is targeting, as you know, the Ukrainian energy infrastructure resulting in massive power outages across the country. And Ukrainians being freezing cold in the winter shelling in Kherson today completely disconnected the entire city from power supplies. It's just beginning, obviously, it's just the early December. How concerned are you? How worried are you about the Ukrainian people being able to survive a cold winter?

MOULTON: Well, listen, first of all, let me just say that I worry about the Ukrainian people every single day in this horrific war. This horrific war started by one person, a war that didn't need to happen and it's killing 10s of 1000s of Ukrainians. And frankly, 10s of 1000s of Russian boys too. So this whole war makes me worried about Ukrainians. But I actually think they're going to be pretty tough for this winter.

Will Russia's assault on energy infrastructure kill Ukrainians in their homes because they freeze to death? Yes, that will happen. But I think that we have often underestimated just how resilient the Ukrainian people are. And Putin's idea that he's going to bring them back into the negotiating table just because he makes them cold, now that will show if he doesn't know the Ukrainian people.

TAPPER: So the U.S. issued a new round of sanctions today targeting more than 20 Russian governors, a wealthy Russian oligarch. Do you think the Biden administration is doing enough on the sanction front?

MOULTON: I mean, I think their work has been pretty, pretty incredible on the sanctions front. I mean, let's not forget, when this war started, we were concerned about whether Germany would be even with us in the war effort because they're so dependent on Russian gas. Instead, Secretary Blinken and the Biden administration have assembled the most impressive allied coalition since World War II. So I think they're doing a great job on the diplomatic front.

And frankly, they're doing a good job on the military front as well. They're doing a remarkable job of walking the line between not making this into a U.S. versus Russia direct vo on vo (ph) conflict not dragging U.S. troops and while giving the Ukrainians everything they need. I think the one criticism that you'll hear on a bipartisan basis from Congress about the administration is just that they need to move more quickly. I mean they've -- it sounds like, according to your reporting, they've decided to send Patriot missiles to Ukraine. Well, let's not wait another day.



MOULTON: We saw a lot of Russian attacks just the last few days. Let's get them those missile systems now.

TAPPER: All right, Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, thank you so much, sir. Good to see you again.

While 1000s of migrants crossed into the United States, 1000s of others are waiting just across the border in Mexico. CNN hear some of their stories next.

Then, a mother's final phone call to her son just moments before he was shot and killed.


HAPPY PERRY, D'SEAN PERRY'S MOTHER: I did get a chance to pray with him. And he said, mama, I love you.


TAPPER: We're going to talk to the family of D'Sean Perry, one of the three UVA football players gunned down by a classmate. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Topping our national lead, 1000s of migrants are at the U.S. Mexico border right now waiting to get into the United States. By next week, some border officials are expecting numbers to double as time runs out on that Trump era pandemic policy known as Title 42, which made it easier for us border officials to send asylum seekers back to Mexico. Now local and federal authorities on the U.S. side of the border are scrambling. CNN's Ed Lavandera talk to migrants on the Mexican side of the border, most of them just hoping for a shot at a better life.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For nearly three months, Jason (ph) Birguez and his wife Zuleima have waited for this moment, taking the final steps across the Rio Grande into the United States. (on camera): Did you think reaching this point was going to be so emotional?

(voice-over): He says they never thought the journey from Venezuela would be so painful.

I tell her I can see the emotion in her face and the sense of relief that she's entering the United States with her two sons. With that, they step across the river. The family says they could not wait any longer to see what might happen with the lifting of the Title 42 Public Health rule, which has kept 2.5 million migrants from requesting asylum in the United States.

Jason and Zuleima are now part of the current surge of migrants entering El Paso, official say about 2500 people per day are crossing. The migrants spend the night in a long orderly line in the shadow of the barbed wire covered border wall. Here they wait to be called in by border patrol agents. They are then escorted to a processing facility to find out if they'll be deported or allowed to stay in the U.S. as their immigration case moves through the courts.

OSCAR LEESER, EL PASO MAYOR: Here it's a band aid to really a bigger problem.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): El Paso's mayor says if Title 42 is lifted next week, the number of migrants crossing into the city could jump to 5,000 per day. Already, shelters are out of space and immigration processing facilities are overcapacity. Despite this, the mayor says he doesn't see a need to declare the situation a state of emergency.

LEESER: I can tell you the only thing that I am 100 percent sure today that we prepared on December 21, that if it is lifted, the community in the city of El Paso will be prepared.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): At the river, hundreds are still waiting to get into the U.S. And the lines show no signs of slowing down.

Before they crossed, Jason and Zuleima said they will wait in the frigid cold as long as it takes to get past the wall. I asked them what they will think if that happens.

ZULEIMA BIRGUEZ, VENEZUELAN MIGRANT (through translator): We're going to thank God and it's going to be a new life for us.


LAVANDERA: And, Jake, a lot of the people that have been here in El Paso processed out there waiting on the streets because the shelters are so filled. And essentially what they're doing is trying to buy some time here. Many of them happy to be here overnight. And they're near bus stations.

These are the bus stations and there are a number of them around downtown El Paso where they're then moving on to other locations. But what we did discover on the other side today, Jake, is that not everyone is coming across. There are many people who are still waiting and out deciding not to cross, waiting to see what happens with Title 42 next week before they decide to cross into the U.S. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Ed Lavandera at the border in El Paso, thanks so much. Let's bring in CNN's Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly.

Phil, what exactly is the Biden administration's plan to handle the surge? It's a humanitarian crisis.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake and White House officials are keenly aware of the dynamics currently at play. And they do point to a very broad outline of what is planned on December 21. Really a six point plan laid out by the Department of Homeland Security includes surging resources, increasing processing efficiency and posing consequences for unlawful entry, bolstering nonprofit capacity, targeting smugglers and working with international partners.

But Jake, you know, as well as anybody, those six pillars are hardly the type of detail that will be required in the next couple of weeks. What I'm told is behind the scenes, White House officials and their DHS counterparts have been working intensively for several weeks leading up to this moment. And at some point next week, they will release a series of details about the types of personnel surges, infrastructure surges that are very much in the works at this moment, specific numbers as well.

But they're also policy changes that administration officials have been going back and forth over the course of the last couple of weeks, some of which many of the administration's Democratic allies would not appreciate. However red they're trying to do right now, as one official told me, it's a no win situation. We're trying to work with the tools we have, Jake.

TAPPER: And Phil, a local Democratic official from the Texas border town Judge Richard Cortez told CNN this morning that President Biden needs to, quote, provide leadership and needs to come down to the border himself to see this humanitarian crisis with his own eyes. Why hasn't the President visited the border yet?

MATTINGLY: Yes, Jake, in large part it's because they -- White House officials believe it would become a political circus. And as one official told me, that's exactly what the Republicans would want at this point in time. Obviously, Kamala Harris, the vice president, went down last year but there are no plans at this moment for the President to go down. They believe they're DHS Secretary, those officials that work on the border are the best people to have down there, not the President himself.


TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly at the White House, thanks so much.

Coming up, how a doctor is misdiagnosis almost cost my daughter her life. What you and other parents need to know to protect your children. And a new study showing just how prevalent misdiagnosis is in the United States. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: In our health lead, a brand new study released this afternoon shows that an estimated seven and a half million people, seven and a half million are misdiagnosed every year in emergency rooms across the United States. I, unfortunately, know all too well about the cost of misdiagnosis.


About a year ago, my then 14-year-old daughter, Alice, almost died as a result. And this is not a story I would normally share with a mass audience, but Alice's experience is one that Alice believes can help others because her ordeal was entirely preventable.

Last November, 2021, Alice became sick with appendicitis, but the doctors misdiagnosed what she had, because their symptoms were not completely standard ones for appendicitis. Ultimately, we learned that while they were treating her for a viral infection, instead, her appendix had actually perforated and toxic fluid was seeping out and poisoning her internal organs. Her body started going into what's called hypovolemic shock, meaning her heart was unable to pump enough blood to all of her organs, which causes organ failure.

And as my family learned the hard way, this specific appendicitis misdiagnosis, it's really not all that uncommon. Appendicitis does not always present a standard way, which means that this specific misdiagnosis happens too often, and sometimes to far more tragic results. Alice has recovered, thankfully, she is now stronger, and fitter than ever, but this was obviously horrific trauma, physical and otherwise.

Alice and my wife, Jennifer, are now trying to change how doctors rule out appendicitis.

We asked CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta to take a look at what Alice went through and how this can be prevented for anyone else.


ALICE TAPPER, SURVIVED APPENDICITIS MISDIAGNOSIS: I was so tired, I would sleep through the whole day and my stomach was hurt so bad. I've never been in that amount of extreme pain before.

JENNIFER TAPPER, MOTHER OF ALICE: That was the scariest thing I've ever seen, because it was just -- the life was just leaving her and I just thought this is -- what is wrong? Why is her skin so green? And why are her hands and feet freezing?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, you really thought that Alice might die?

JENNIFER TAPPER: I absolutely don't like to think that she could have died, but 100 percent I was starting to think. GUPTA (voice-over): Jennifer and my colleague, Jake Tapper, are 15- year-old Alice's parents, they all wanted to share their story as a cautionary tale. And to shed light on how something so common, so treatable, could go so terribly wrong.

A. TAPPER: I started throwing up on a Saturday morning and I got really sick. I was just not getting better, so my parents took me to go into the hospital.

GUPTA: Most likely diagnosis at the time, stomach pains, possible food poisoning, gastroenteritis. Jennifer was particularly worried about appendicitis.

JENNIFER TAPPER: I said, this is on Monday, and I said, why don't you just give her a sonogram? You know, she has so much going on down there. She's in so much pain. Let's just see what it is because we don't know. And they looked at me and the doctor said, that data is not needed.

JAKE TAPPER: That data is not needed.

JENNIFER TAPPER: We don't need that data.

GUPTA (voice-over): Data, evidence and one more critical ingredient, judgment. It's what doctors use to try and make decisions. For example, pain in the right lower belly is considered one of the most common symptoms of appendicitis. And yet, less than half of all people with appendicitis have the classic pattern.

(on camera): Where were you experiencing the pain?

A. TAPPER: I had pain all over my abdomen instead of just my right quadrant. The way that they ruled that appendicitis was I jumped test. I was asked to jump and I was able to maybe get one inch off the ground. And just that ruled out appendicitis for all the doctors. And that's when they just declared it was a viral infection.


GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Prashant Mahajan heads the pediatric emergency medicine department at the University of Michigan. He says misdiagnosis can occur in part because of diagnostic momentum.

MAHAJAN: You'll anchor yourself on that particular diagnosis and it is possible in some instances that it is taking you away from the condition that the patient has.

GUPTA (voice-over): It was in part that diagnostic momentum that led to the doctors missing the early signs of appendicitis in Alice. Every year, roughly 25,000 children develop appendicitis. And according to the study published in 2020 by Dr. Mahajan, roughly 5 percent of the time, that's 1000 times a year. The story mirrors the story of what happened to Alice Tapper next.

JAKE TAPPER: We went into the hospital and we just assumed the doctors knew what they were talking about. They kind of backed into a diagnosis of a viral infection and Jen and I would say, are you sure it's not appendicitis because her pediatrician thinks it might be? Is there some reason we can't give her antibiotics? Is there some reason we can't get an X-ray or scan?

JENNIFER TAPPER: We see the child every day. So, I knew her skin coloring was different. I knew her belly was distended, even though she's a smaller framed, child. Those are the things we kept saying.

GUPTA: In fact, more than three excruciating days passed in the hospital without much more than pain relievers, before the Tapper family was finally able to get some answers.

JAKE TAPPER: I'm a journalist. So, I was able to get the number of the administrator, figure it out. And they took the call, and they took action. But most people wouldn't have been able to do that. We recognize we have this privilege.

A. TAPPER: And we got an X-ray, and it showed that I had something going on in my appendix. So, after we got a sonogram, they were like, we need to rush you into surgery after this.

GUPTA: But by then, Alice had worsened dramatically. The reason she had suffered such widespread pain was because her appendix had already ruptured, leading to severe infection and sepsis. And appendectomy is one of the most common pediatric operations performed. Typically, it lasts around an hour and the recovery takes a few weeks. And Alice's case, however, the operation couldn't even be done, because her abdominal cavity was now filled with infected fluid.

A. TAPPER: I had to get two Laparoscopic drains at first. And then after they discharged me and sent me home. I went back to the hospital because I still wasn't feeling better. And they had to put another Laparoscopic draining. I ended up getting my appendix out 12 weeks later in March.

GUPTA: What was your life like during those 12 weeks?

A. TAPPER: I had lost so much weight from being hospitalized, that I was just struggling to eat and able to function. I had trouble going to school, I would get so tired and make my mom pick me up early.

GUPTA: Months of her life lost so much of that entirely preventable.

(On camera): And I think a lot of people are going to watch this and frankly, be worried. Is there a lesson here, do you think?

JENNIFER TAPPER: This isn't a time to be polite when you're in the hospital, you must defend your child and you're listening to parents is probably the most important thing doctors and hospitals can do.

JAKE TAPPER: This could have happened to any child at any hospital in the United States, because doctors are not sufficiently aware of how often it is that appendicitis does not present in a standard way.

GUPTA: It's been nine months since Alice Tapper finally got her appendectomy. And after a particularly dark time, she is once again allowing herself to start dreaming about the future. But now, she has a new mission as well.

A. TAPPER: I want to row in college, and maybe study zoology. I just love how my life was turning out. I think that it was a really -- I wish it never happened to me, obviously. But I think it was a really important learning experience for me. I want other kids to know that they need to advocate for themselves.


JAKE TAPPER: So, Sanjay, you're not only a dad, you're a doctor who works at a major hospital. I can tell you firsthand how frustrating this was for me and Jennifer. So as a parent, when you know something is wrong with your kid, how can you really get your doctor's attention if you feel they're not listening and not taking sufficiently seriously what you're telling them?

GUPTA: Yeah. Well, first, Jake, I just -- I want to say that I'm sorry. Just I saw all that you -- all that Alice and all of you, you went through and just as a fellow human, I just want to say I'm sorry that I read those medical records, it was hundreds of pages, it was hard to believe what I was reading that sort of nightmare scenario that was unfolding. And I just wanted to say, so sorry, you guys went through that.

Look, you know, I learned a lot while looking into this, Jake. I mean, I think one of the things Jennifer said near the end, really being the advocate understanding that parents know their children better than anyone, and really focusing on what tends to be one of the most common reasons for misdiagnosis, which is if symptoms are atypical at all, it tends to throw off, you know, maybe the obvious signs in this case of appendicitis. There's a new study that came out today showing there's 130 million ER visits every year, and about five to 6 percent of the time, there's a misdiagnosis, 2 percent of the time, it can lead to adverse side effects and about point 3 percent of the time, they can be very serious side effects, even death. So that does happen.

But I think it's this eight, you know, so much of medicine is pattern recognition when there's an atypical symptom, such as what Alice was experiencing, it really threw off that diagnostic momentum. I do think I will say this, Jake, one of the great privileges of being a journalist is that we do get to shed light on things like this. And I blend this world between medicine and media sometimes stories like this can make an impression on the medical establishment which is what I hope happens here.


And, you know, I also have to say just Alice's delightful. I'm a father of three teenage girls, as you know. And she's just delightful. She also wrote an op-ed, which is incredible. Everyone should read this op-ed. But I was curious, like, how would you -- how would you sort of -- what would you say her number one piece of advice is Alice?

TAPPER: So, the op-ed is going to post on And I'll tweet it out at the commercial break. I think the thing that stunned us was the fact that the doctor's discounted appendicitis based on the kind of tests that they had available in the year 1300, right? I mean, they just poked her abdomen and then hope the other side while she's feeling pain everywhere, therefore, it can't be appendicitis, oh, she's able to jump an inch off the ground. Therefore, it can't be appendicitis. That's not enough. And we know from Dr. Mahajan's research, anywhere from five to, I think, 14 or 15 percent of the time, appendicitis does not present in this standard way. So that I think Alice's main message is doctors, parents, kids know that appendicitis does not always present in a standard way. And doctors update your standard of care. So that you're not just backing into a diagnosis.

GUPTA: I can tell you I've already gotten calls because people knew we were working on the story from heads of big children's hospitals around the country, talking about whether or not the sort of diagnostic criteria for appendicitis does need to be updated. And ultrasound is a fairly easy thing to do. Again, I mean, it's -- there was so many different parts to Alice story. The bottom line is, I'm glad she's doing well. Hopefully this will lead to some change. So, the story doesn't have to get repeated.

TAPPER: And that's the reason we went public. It's not about finger pointing. It's about change. There needs to be changed. Sanjay, thank you so much for taking this so seriously, and for helping me to share Alice's story. I really all the Tappers, we really appreciate it.

GUPTA: It was my honor seriously and give delightful Alice big hug for me, uncle Sanjay.

TAPPER: She's -- and just everyone out there, she's doing great. She's the healthiest fittest one in the family. She's doing awesome. Thanks so much Sanjay.

Coming up, new TikTok bans today with lawmakers promising further action against the popular app. I'm going to talk to one significant government official who's pushing to get rid of TikTok altogether. That's next.



TAPPER: Topping our Tech Lead, last night the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would ban TikTok on U.S. government devices. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says there's no guarantee the House will take that legislation up. This comes as a slew of lawmakers at the state and federal level are pushing to ban the hugely popular app worried that TikTok's user data could very well end up in the hands of the Chinese government.

Let's bring in the top Republican Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, Brendan Carr. So, Commissioner, let me just start. I recently deleted TikTok.


TAPPER: OK, I had it's a super fun app. But I had it but enough national security experts said get rid of it. The Chinese government there's no evidence that they have access to the data. But it's China so they could get it anytime they want. So, I deleted it. Do I need to get a new phone?

CARR: It's a good question. You know, this is an immensely popular app. We've got millions and millions of Americans on it. Over two thirds of teens are on TikTok. And they look at it and say what's the big deal? It's a fun platform for sharing videos, and crazy dance moves, but the reality is that's just the sheep's clothing underneath of it. It operates as a sophisticated surveillance tool. It's pulling everything from search and browsing history, keystroke patterns, potentially biometrics including face prints and voice prints. And for years, we were told, don't worry. None of this is stored in China. But there was some internal communication from TikTok leaked over the summer that showed, "everything is seen back in China." So, it's a real concern. And you're right, you know, there may be some steps you need to take.

TAPPER: Like in terms of, including getting a new phone?

CARR: Potentially, once the app is on your phone, it can start to pull a lot of information off of your phone. And so, it is a concern.

TAPPER: So, some Republicans tell CNN that the Senate bill doesn't go far enough. It just bans the app from government devices. They're calling for an all-out ban of the device anywhere for any American in the United States. Democratic Senator Mark Warner, the Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he does not agree with that. Marco Rubio who is the Ranking Republican on Senate Intelligence, he does, he's calling for a total ban. What's your position?

CARR: You know, the Senate bill yesterday was a really important step for but you're right, we got to keep going. And really it's Democrats that have led the way on this. You know, that Democrat Senator Mark Warner, Chair of Senate Intel Committee, he has said that TikTok is an enormous threat, in his view, and he had said that parents should be very concerned. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has said that parents should be concerned and FBI Director Chris Wray has said the FBI has concerns. And they're all right. We focus on national security. But there's really an area here for parents. It's not just the data flowing back to Beijing. The algorithm is distributing content to young kids. A report just came out yesterday that New York Times covered that said within 30 minutes of a 13-year-old going on TikTok, they are fed content about eating disorders, about self-harm, suicide.

TAPPER: Encouraging those actions, encouraging self-harm, encouraging eating disorders?

CARR: That's what the information is showing. There was a study from Wall Street Journal earlier that kids are being fed in some cases, cons about Tourette Syndrome that are developing tics. So, it's a real challenge. And the reveal here is that the parent company of TikTok ByteDance doesn't show that content to kids in China. There's a version of the app called Douyin, and there they demonstrate educational material, museum exhibits, science experiments that's the content that kids they're being shown.


Kids here are being shown things like the blackout challenge which encourages kids to strangulate themselves and have had 15 kids die from doing the blackout challenge under 12 years old in this country. So, there's a big national security concern, but parents really need to be worried as well.

TAPPER: So, CNN was the first to report on a letter that you sent to the Justice Department earlier this month asking its antitrust regulators to look at Google and Apple's handling of TikTok. Have you gotten a response from DOJ?

CARR: I've done two things, wrote a letter directly to Apple and Google. And I thought that they should remove TikTok from the App Store based not just on the national security threat, but their terms of service when an application is nefariously. sending data back to Beijing is now has been demonstrated to be the case with TikTok. Apple and Google historically kicked them out of the app store for that. They didn't do that here. So, then I wrote a letter to DOJ, as you mentioned, because Apple and Google are facing a lot of antitrust scrutiny. And they defend those cases by saying, you need us to be gatekeepers in the app world because we engage in trust, safety and privacy goals. And those are legit defenses to antitrust. And when I say if you look at TikTok and other conduct they make with the app store, it's clear that claim is pretext, and therefore shouldn't operate as a shield to antitrust claims against Apple and Google.

TAPPER: OK, this has been absolutely horrifying. Commissioner Brendan Carr, thank you so much. And thanks for being here.

Today, a call for action today from the grieving parents of a college football player who was gunned down. What they're asking his fellow football community to do, so stay with us.



TAPPER: More than a month since the killings of four Idaho college students, police in Moscow, Idaho say they are sorting through 22,000 White Hyundai Elantra sedans such as the car scene near the students home the night of the slains. CNN's Veronica Miracle has been following the story since November. Veronica we're starting to hear growing frustration from the families about a lack of communication from the authorities?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Goncalves Family Attorney says that the family and several leaders in the city of Moscow met on Monday. And the family wanted to express their deep frustration and concern with how this investigation has been handled. They brought five pages of questions. And their main question, though, that they wanted answered was why more information hasn't been released. They say many of those questions went unanswered, including that main question. And police apparently told them just like they've been telling us throughout this investigation that they're keeping the information close because they're trying to protect the integrity of the investigation. Of course, the family through the family attorney saying they are dissatisfied with that. Here's what the family attorney had to say.


SHANON GRAY, GONCALVES FAMILY ATTORNEY: We are pro-police. We are pro- investigation. We are supportive of everyone and everything that everybody has done on this case, but -- and that, that we can still be that way and still hold people accountable for the jobs that they have to do.


MIRACLE: And I did speak to police this morning and they told me that they have been trying to reach out and speak to Goncalves family through the family attorney. So, I think the big picture here, Jake, is that you have a grieving family who is extremely frustrated and a police department that says they are trying to protect the integrity of this investigation and this is how it's playing out. Jake.

TAPPER: Veronica Miracle thank you so much for staying on top of this story. Also, in our national lead today, the parents of D'Sean Perry, one of the three UVA football players who was shot and killed last month allegedly by a fellow student and teammate are speaking out as CNN as Leyla Santiago reports. They are calling on college athletes and those with social media platforms to advocate for mental health awareness as well as gun laws.


HAPPY PERRY, D'SEAN PERRY'S MOTHER: He was supposed to be home last Wednesday, he was supposed to come home, so.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's one of the toughest parts knowing they won't have their son, D'Sean Perry home for the holidays.

H. PERRY: This plague has affected my household.

SANTIAGO: Perry's parents are demanding action against gun violence after their son, a UVA football player number 41 was shot last month by a fellow student as they returned from a class trip. He was one of three killed, two others injured. His mother had just talked to him over the phone.

H. PERRY: I did get a chance to pray with him. And he said mama, I love you.

SANTIAGO: What you pray for?

H. PERRY: I pray for kindness and understanding and safety.

SANTIAGO: The family still praying for understanding.

SEAN PERRY, D'SEAN PERRY'S FATHER: Getting ready to graduate. Then all of a sudden you're there viewing his body then the next day you're packing up his apartment. And then Saturday you're flying him back home. And then after Thanksgiving you have a feel for him.

SANTIAGO: Tough to make sense of the loss of their son who loved ones described as the friend who always made you smile. The teammate who worked hard.

H. PERRY: The why is what I want. But I know that until the investigation is complete, then those questions that I have won't be answered.

SANTIAGO: Do you think you'll ever understand?


SANTIAGO: Investigators still have not released a motive but we've learned the man arrested for the deadly shooting is a former UVA football player. According to UVA in September, a student informed the university that the alleged gunman had talked about having a gun but never made threats and there were no reports of anyone actually seeing a gun when officials looked into the claims, they discovered that he had been convicted of a misdemeanor concealed weapons violation the previous year. CNN has also reported he tried to buy a gun in 2018 and 2021 but was denied because of his age and the weapons violation.


(On camera): Do you think this could have been prevented?

H. PERRY: Absolutely.

SANTIAGO: One month later, Virginia State Police still looking into what happened. The State's Attorney General appointed a third party to independently review what led up to the shooting. And as they wait for more answers, they're on a new mission in Perry's name, pushing for stricter gun laws and policies on college campuses across the country.

H. PERRY: All the universities and the football world and college football world join us in his fight.


SANTIAGO: And, you know, Jake, dad says that he is hopeful, hope being one of the many emotions he is sorting through as he navigates his grief. Mom was very quick to tell me that she feels that she is in the denial phase of her grief right now a month later. I should also point that they are calling for more mental health awareness making sure that people get the help they need when they need it.

TAPPER: So unfair. Leyla Santiago, thank you so much. I appreciate that report.

Coming up on the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, if you thought your family drama was bad. Well, the Royal Family Feud just got uglier with the latest episode of Harry and Megan's documentary until tomorrow. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, not on TikTok @Jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. You can listen to THE LEAD podcast from once you get your podcasts. I'll see you Friday.