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The Lead with Jake Tapper

McCarthy's Concessions Remain Tension Point Among GOP; House GOP Passes Bill To Roll Back $80 Billion In Funding For IRS; Source: 10 Docs Marked Classified Found In Biden's Office, Including Intel Memos; Brazil's Justice Minister Vows To Punish Everyone Responsible For Riot; Intense Fighting Around Key Ukrainian Salt Mining Town; Biden Administration Proposes New Student Loan Repayment Plan. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired January 10, 2023 - 16:00   ET




TOM HANKS, ACTOR: We were debating what the name of it should be.


HANKS: And I came up with it because it is Coke and a champagne. So, it's obviously diet cokagne, cokagne. C-O-K --


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: I like it. I like it. I don't like the -- the sound of it. I like the name of it. I think it's funny.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Yeah, not a fan. But he likes it.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Are we ever going to know all the details of the side deals that Speaker McCarthy made to get his new gig?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Fellow Republicans calling on the new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to make all details of his secret deals public, as the party makes its first legislative move since taking control of the House.

Also this hour, President Biden at the podium in Mexico City, with his Amigos De Las Americas, only to be overshadowed by questions about multiple classified documents found in his private office.

And from lively discussions to bipartisan friendships, to physical confrontations, the new push to turn on the C-Span cameras full-time onto the floor of the House and let the whole world see what really happens in the People's House. Just like we did last week.


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

We start today with our politics lead and Republican dissension spilling over into public view on Capitol Hill. The main issue today, what exactly are the extent of the details that promises that Kevin McCarthy made to this Republican hard liners, to get their votes, to become House speaker? And why is he hiding any detail the comprehensive list of those promises from not only the public, but from his own rank and file? It has been four days since McCarthy secured the gavel, just after midnight on Saturday, January 7th. But not only agreeing to change one key rule that his members voted on yesterday, but by making other backroom handshake deals to win over the opposition.

And now, House Republicans say, they want answers from their leader, who has, as of now, only provided them with vague bullet points on all the concessions he made with one Republican telling CNN, quote, we've been loyal and it's a slap in the face.

One Republican congresswoman, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, going one step further earlier today, publicly.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): There are still some questions that I think many of us have about what side deals may or may not have been made. What promises were made, what handshakes were made.


TAPPER: Let's get straight to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

Manu, what are you hearing from Republicans this afternoon?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Republican leaders are not committing yet to releasing any more details about those side agreements that Kevin McCarthy reached in order to secure this speakership. They say that some of those measures are just deals that were reached on a handshake agreement. They're saying there's no one list and detailing all of the measures here.

But behind closed doors, they did detail some agreements. On spending, dealing with raising the national debt limit. They say they're going to be tied to spending cuts. For instance, they say they will not accept any deal, any bill to fund the federal government that the Senate may pass, controlled by Democrats, that does not adhere to their budget priorities.

But there are a whole host of other agreements that are still have not been publicly released. When I asked one of the key negotiators about that, Chip Roy, he said, there's no official list.


RAJU: Why can't you release that list?

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): There's no -- there's no official list. There's, like, do you have it right now in the notes? Do you ever sit down and talk to, say hey, what do we have to do to agree on spending?

RAJU: The thing that you released is different what the speaker agreed on. How do we know what the speaker agreed on from your list in December?

ROY: The list in December that we put out in December called out exactly where we thought we should go. But then everything life is about, how do you come to terms and agree? You look somebody in the eye, and you shake your hand, and you report, that's precisely what happened.


RAJU: So, some of those initial proposals from that hard right groups, were agreed to by Kevin McCarthy. That includes allowing just one member of the House to call for a vote to essentially call for the speaker's chair, to oust him from the speakership.

But there are other issues such as getting committee assignments to keep members, powerful committee assignments, the members of that group that blocked essentially to the speakership initially. We have not seen details of those. It's unclear, Jake, when they will happen.

TAPPER: It's odd, it's not Kevin McCarthy's House. It's the People's House.

Manu, Americans retreated to something special during the speaker votes last week. We don't normally get to see the behind the scenes deliberations on the House floor itself, not just up front, where the microphones are.

That's because C-Span was in charge. They were allowed to control the cameras that are usually controlled by the U.S. government. Today, there is a push to make that permanent.

RAJU: Yeah, there is. There's actually a bipartisan push, there are different numbers from each party who are pushing for legislation, including Congressman Matt Gaetz, who's one of those people that held out initially for Kevin McCarthy's ascension. Ultimately voted present and helped him allow him to gain the speakership.


But he's offered legislation today, to require the House to essentially allow it to free rein, to show what is actually happening on the House floor. He said in a statement released in his legislation, our fellow members, Americans -- our fellow Americans deserve to know when we are frustrated with one another, kind to one another, present or absent. The current pool view of the Congress is antiquated and boomer-fied. My amendment will allow C-Span cameras on the House floor during proceedings, bringing greater transparency, and humanizing the entire process.

Jake, though there is no sign of leadership will get behind this, there's a preference in both the House and the Senate to keep it trained on the speaker itself, not on the chamber, which usually is pretty empty when members are talking.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks.

Also on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives, the Republicans in control of it, they've passed their first piece of legislation under the new Republican majority. It's a bill that would rollback billions of dollars meant for the IRS, the Internal Revenue Service. Republicans are selling this as stopping Joe Biden's 87,000 new IRS agents from attacking and pestering you and your family.

But at CNN's Jeremy Diamond reports, that rhetoric is inaccurate and frankly misleading.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On their first full day in power,

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I know the night is late. When we come back, our very first bill will repeal the funding for 87,000 new IRS agents.

DIAMOND: House Republicans, making good on that promise. Passing a bill to repeal nearly $80 billion in funding for an army of new IRS agents and earning their first White House veto threat of the new congress.

The only problem, Republicans are going after an army that doesn't exist.

REP. RICHARD NEAL (D-MA): This is theater tonight, Mr. Speaker.

DIAMOND: For months, a smattering of fact checks of debunked GOP claims. The money will be used to hire 87,000 IRS employees, many of whom won't be badge toting agents, but rather IT and customer service professionals. The new hires will also be a backstop, as the IRS expects to lose some 50,000 workers over the next five years.

The Biden administration has not determined exactly how it plans to spend the $80 billion in new funding, but just over half of the money is aimed at enforcement.

REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): Those IRS agents would be set up to go after hardworking families across this country.

DIAMOND: The Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that's not true.

JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I've directed that enforcement resources will not be used to raise audit rates for households making under $400,000 a year, relative to historical levels.

DIAMOND: Republicans say, that's not in the bill. But if her promises do hold up, additional enforcement will largely target rich tax cheats. As for Republicans billed to repeal the new IRS funding, the Congressional Budget Office says, it would add $114 billion to the deficit, generating additional revenue. With the White House veto threat and Democratic Senate, the bill has

no way forward. But it is a sign of things to come. As House Republicans plan to pass legislation that will run into the White House's red lines, --

MCCARTHY: We're going to pass bills to fix the nation's earnest challenges. From wide open southern borders to American less energy policies, to woke indoctrination in our schools.

DIAMOND: White House officials tell CNN, they expect this veto threat to be the first of many in this new reality of divided government.


DIAMOND (on camera): And, Jake, the White House is not just going to be issuing new veto threats for this legislation. They also plan on using these pieces of legislation as points of contrasts, and that's something White House officials tell me they're going to be doing a lot of over the coming months.

Just yesterday, I obtained these talking points the White House circulated around this bill, accusing Republicans of trying to, quote, help wealthy people and big corporations cheat on their taxes. You can expect a lot more of that type of contrast in the coming months -- Jake.

TAPPER: Yeah, I'm looking at this document here, the Government Accountability Office says, 2010, more than 21 percent of tax returns for people who made more than $10 million a year were audited. That was down to 3.9 percent people making more than $10 million by 2019. A lot of enforcement, not happening.

Jeremy Diamond, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss, Republican Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana. He's on the Judiciary Committee.

So, Congressman, let's start with this debate among House Republicans today about exactly what deals Kevin McCarthy made to become speaker. Is there going to be some sort of list of the concessions McCarthy made to his critics to win the gavel? It seems like in the name of the transparency, you and your fellow House Republicans are promising. That would be a no-brainer.

REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): It would. I think we do have transparency. I will tell you, Jake, the inside baseball is, we had our first big Republican conference, all members meeting this morning. There was a great sense of esprit de corps in the room, very positive vibes all the way around. Everybody understands there is transparency. We're working off the same sheet of music.

It was clarified that there is no magical addendum to the rules that we all agreed to. There are lots of discussions, but everything and all the new ideas have to go through regular process. That's one of our great reforms we've just enacted. That means it has to go through the process of many evaluation amendment debate, before it gets to the floor.

So, lots of discussions, lots of ideas from across the conference. But I think that it'll be duly considered by everybody.

TAPPER: Well, McCarthy made deals with Chip Roy and others. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with the deals. I'm not saying what he agreed to was even bad.

But it does seem, to me, that the public would be well-served just to be presented with that list of promises.

JOHNSON: Well, look, what Kevin agreed to, and I've talked to Chip Roy and the others who are negotiating. These are some of my closest friends. They all agree, they're all on the same page that the same thing was done and said. What Kevin has committed to is an open legislative process again, we're not only members of our conference no what's going on, but the American people do as well.

We are going to run this like the founders intended. We are going to have actual debates. We're going to have actual discussions about policy, and legislation. It's going to be limited to single subjects, so these massive omnibus bills that are thousands of pages long that no one every, this is going to be the way that we were all taught in our old civics classes. You're going to see that it's going to be very refreshing. I think the American people are going to appreciate it.

TAPPER: Right, but some of those other deals include the House Freedom Caucus sits to approve a third of the members who sit on the House Rules Committee or there is something that has to do with the baseline for spending being at 2022 levels, for going forward. I mean, again, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with any of this.

But why not just write it down and let the public see it?

JOHNSON: Well, it will be written down at the appropriate time, when we bring forward bills to accomplish any of our objectives. You are going to see that. Everybody will see that. It will be very clear, very transparent, and we are excited about that process of getting going on it.

With regard to the committees, Kevin said this morning in the meeting, and everyone nodded and agreed with it, that we want to have as much as possible equal representation of our Republican viewpoints on all of these committees. And rules is an important one because, of course, that the committee that decides which legislation actually gets to the floor and then in what order.

So, I think everybody thinks that these are very positive things. I'm not sure I have any colleagues today murmuring about this. I think they're excited about where we are headed. I'm telling you, there were high fives entering in the room this morning. And we are excited to deliver for the American people. And that begins right now.

TAPPER: Well, there are definitely House Republicans who want to know what those deals are and some of them are talking on the record, some of them talking off the record. But let's move on. You supported the House bill we just discussed. It would rescind

billions of dollars in funding for the IRS. Before the vote, you tweeted: Tonight House GOP will fulfill our promise and vote to block the Biden administration from unleashing 87,000 new IRS agents to go after families and small businesses.

That's not accurate. It's 87,000 IRS employees, not IRS agents. It would be over the course of, I think, a decade. Some of them, replacing individuals who lose their jobs through attrition. And the Congressional Budget Office says that your bill to get rid of those IRS employees is going to add to the deficit.

JOHNSON: Only in the bizarro world of Washington when you get a CBO estimate that says, not spending $80 billion is actually going to add to the deficit. It makes no sense.

TAPPER: Because of enforcement for people who are avoiding paying their taxes. As you know, about ten years ago, if you made more than $10 million a year, one out of five people like that would be audited. Now it's down to, like, 3.5, 3.6 percent.

The really wealthy people are getting away with not paying their taxes. Corporations, too.

JOHNSON: The intent of hiring all these new agents would have the effect of going after hardworking families and small businesses. That is not a Republican talking point. That comes from the Joint Committee on Taxation, which is a nonpartisan group.

They've evaluated this and they know that it would be the low hanging fruit that the IRS would go after first, and that's the small business owners and those who are struggling to be entrepreneurs and job creators. They are the risk takers in our economy who provide jobs for more people. They are not the ones who need scrutiny.

What we want, Jake, the Republican Party wants, is an IRS that works for hardworking families, not against them. And that's what this is going to be about, that's why we've taught our commitment to repeal that funding on the very first day. I'm glad we did and I think if you pull this across the country, I think most of America agrees with us.

TAPPER: Well, it depends on what you're presenting in the pool. Are you saying, 87,000 agents are coming at you? Boo-boo. Or is it this funding for IRS enforcement 87,000 people over the course of a decade, we would be focused on going after individuals who don't pay their taxes, mainly wealthy people, and corporations. I think you'd probably get two different answers.

JOHNSON: Well, maybe. But when the Joint Committee on Taxation publishes something and presented, it's given a lot of weight, because again, there are nonpartisan.

This is not Republican talking points. This is what the evaluation and the analysis of the White House's proposal and that legislation of last year, what it would actually accomplish.


And so, we disagree with that. We have a different agenda and I think it's the agenda of the American people.

TAPPER: But I quoted the CBO, and you went after them. They're not partisan, too.

JOHNSON: The CBO does not have a lot of credibility here right now. Their analysis is wildly inaccurate in a lot of ways, and they don't always do appropriate analysis.

Look, I think there is going to be some reforms in that arena as well, as we go forward. We have to have dynamics scoring. We have to look at reality when we give estimates on what legislations are going to cost. The CBO does not do that all the time.

I mean, when they come out with an estimate on Capitol Hill right now, there's lots of eye rolling, typically. And that is a problem, that's part of the problem we have with transparency and doing the American people's business, the way it should be done.

We are working every day, we're going to continue to work to reform these processes, to make Washington work for the people again. Look, this is common sense ideas that will yield transparency and accountability. I think everybody is for that.

TAPPER: Well, I mean, I'm just saying, why not just be honest about what the bill would actually do? It's --

JOHNSON: I am honest.

TAPPER: You said 87,000 IRS agents. That's not what it is.

JOHNSON: Jake, that's exactly what it is. That is the Treasury's own published a report in 2021 that they said, as you noted, over a ten- year period. They wanted to add 86,800 and something --

TAPPER: Employees, not agents. Employees.

JOHNSON: Jake, you know what all those positions are going to be? Have you seen that analysis?

TAPPER: So, you're saying every one of the 86,000-plus is going to be an IRS agent?

JOHNSON: I'm not saying every one of them, but I'm saying a large percentage of those will be IRS employees who are deemed as agents, to go after and do audits. That's a large and a very important function of the IRS, that's what they do. That's not hyperbole, that's what's on paper.

TAPPER: Do you think that there is a problem in this country of wealthy individuals and companies not paying their fair share in taxes?

JOHNSON: That has been a problem, of course. But it's -- we're not preventing that. The IRS has an important job to go after tax cheats, absolutely, and we support that. We are the law and order team. We want these things to be done properly.

But what this provision would've had the effect of doing is making life harder for middle class, working families and small businesses, full stop. That's what the nonpartisan analysis evaluated and that's why we know that this was a top agenda item on the hearts and minds of the American people, why we delivered.

TAPPER: Why not -- so instead of just removing the funding, why not so you can use the funding but you can only go after individuals who make over $5 million a year?

JOHNSON: Look, we are open to a proper analysis and proper instruction from Congress on the use of those funds. And maybe that would be a worthwhile exercise, but that's not what happened with the legislation that passed last year. That's why we had to unfound it, repeal, it effectively. We did that last night.

Sadly, it was a partisan, down partisan lines. I wish we would've had some Democrats who followed common sense and went along with us on it, but hopefully we will do better with that in the days ahead.

TAPPER: But there is no effort to actually make this bipartisan because even if it passes the House, it's not going to get through the Senate and President Biden has said he's going to veto it. So, if you actually want to make sure that nobody, I'm just going to make up a number now, let's say $2 million. No one who makes under $2 million a year is even touched by this.

Why not work with Senate Democrats on something that can actually become law?

JOHNSON: We are open to bipartisan solutions it fit will actually obtain the needed objective.

Look, John Quincy Adams famously said one time, duty is ours, results are god's. We're going to do our responsibility here. I can't control what happens in the Senate and certainly the White House, what we are going to do the job the American people sent us to do, that's what the new Republican majority has promised, and that's what we are going to deliver on, on our commitment to America.

TAPPER: Okay. And his dad said, facts are stubborn things.

Republican Congressman Mike Johnson of Louisiana, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

We are standing by for President Biden to take questions.

But next, first, the classified material found in his private office. What kind of documents were there?

CNN is also in Brazil after rioters stormed the national congress, presidential palace and s supreme court. Hear why one person arrested said, he would riot again. And it's not just the time, but the location making the jail sentence

so shocking today for Allen Weisselberg, one of Donald Trump's longest term financial advisers.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead.

Today, Allen Weisselberg learned he will spend the next five months at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail. Weisselberg was Donald Trump's longtime chief financial officer. He was sentenced for his role in a tax fraud scheme, after testifying against the Trump Organization. Weisselberg is 75 years old. His prison sentence is set to begin immediately.

Also in our politics lead, Congressman Mike Turner, the chairman designate of the House Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to the Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines today, requesting that she, quote, conduct a damage assessment after it was discovered that President Biden and his team had in appropriately taken with him, in 2017, to his private office in the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C., ten classified documents from his time as vice president. Those documents were discovered last fall by Biden's personal lawyers, right before the 2022 election. They say, they reported immediately to the National Archives, but the possession of these documents was only disclosed to the public yesterday, months after the election.

CNN's Phil Mattingly has new details on what we are learning was in those files and the so far silent response from President Biden.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden, on the world stage, but grappling with a serious problem back home. The high stakes leader summit in Mexico, overshadowed by broad questions about Biden's handling of classified documents. Ten classified documents discovered in November, among boxes in a personal office no longer in use. Among the documents, a source tells CNN, intelligence memos and briefing materials that cover topics including Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We want this to be a gathering place.

MATTINGLY: Uncovered by a Biden personal attorney at his office in the University of Pennsylvania, Biden Center, in Washington, D.C. The White House, in a detailed Monday night statement, saying, the White House counsel was immediately notified. The National Archives recovered the materials, quote, the following morning.

The Justice Department also notified, triggering a review from U.S. attorney, John Lausch. [16:25:00]

The initial part of that inquiry, a source says, has been completed and submitted to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, with unmistakable echoes of the case tied to Biden's predecessor.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly, without fear, or favor.

MATTINGLY: Donald Trump's failure to turn over classified documents, leading to an unprecedented FBI raid last year, underscoring the sharp and consequential differences between the two scenarios, as Trump held on to hundreds of classified documents, didn't turn them over when asked, then only turned some of those documents over before more were found.

All as he continues to attack the ongoing criminal investigation, actions that drew this response from Biden in September.

BIDEN: How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible.

MATTINGLY: Biden, now facing his own sharp criticism from Republicans.

REP. DON BACON (R-NE): When you're living in a glass house, don't be throwing stones, right?

MATTINGLY: The Intelligence Committee chairman writing to the director of national intelligence for, quote, an immediate review and damage assessment, as questions grow about why the information didn't become public for more than two months.

BACON: They knew about it before the election, didn't say a darn thing until after the election.

MATTINGLY: All as Democrats start to relax support in the face of an expanding political problem.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): The president is handling this the way that he should. He's disclosing it, he's letting the archives know, law enforcement is aware.


MATTINGLY (on camera): Jake, when it comes to the lack of response is related to how long it took for this information to come out or any more details, White House counsel's office is clear, they believe because the situation remains under review, there are limits to what they can say.

There are no limits on President Biden, though, he will be speaking to reporters just about 20 or 30 minutes, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks so much. We'll see if he says anything about that. CNN's Evan Perez and Jamie Gangel are here with me.

So, Jamie, you have some exclusive reporting about what could be inside some of these documents.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, just for context, let's remember, 98, 99 percent of the documents were personal documents in the office, including materials about Beau Biden's funeral. But we are told is, there were ten classified documents.

They are dated from 2013 to 2016. They include such items as, intelligence briefings, national security background reports on countries from Iran, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

TAPPER: And so, they turned over those ten documents that to the National Archives?

GANGEL: So, immediately they handed over three or four boxes because it wasn't just the ten documents. There were some unclassified records that were found, that fall under the Presidential Records Act. But within a week, what we now can report exclusively is that the Biden team handed over every document that was in that office. So, they handed over 50 to 55 other boxes.

Again, most of this, 99 percent, were personal items, but out of an abundance of caution, they gave it all to the National Archives.

TAPPER: So, Evan, my understanding here is that the U.S. attorney has submitted preliminary findings on these Biden documents to Attorney General Garland? What happens next?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, now, it's in the hands of the attorney general to decide what are the next steps? John Lausch and his team, and the FBI, did a preliminary review of this, Paula Reid is told, he briefed the attorney general and the leadership at the Justice Department multiple times over the last few weeks. They've been doing this, Jake, since sometime in November, when they first were given the work to do.

And so, now the question is, what does the attorney general do? Does he order a full blown investigation? Does he order for additional work to be done by the Justice Department, by someone in the Justice Department? Does he bring in a special counsel?

All of those things are going to be on the table, of course, because you know Republicans are watching very closely and they are going to measure what he does here against what happened in the Trump investigation.

TAPPER: And, Jamie, the White House is obviously downplaying these documents. They're saying, they're not particularly sensitive. What do you make of that and did they make this a bigger story by not disclosing it as soon as they discovered it?

GANGEL: I think whatever it had been disclosed, it was going to be a big story because of Donald Trump. A source of mine familiar with the National Archives said, in looking at this material, they think this was an honest mistake. We don't know yet, but the way the personal lawyer found this is, he's going through a box, he sees manila folder that says, VP personal.

It stands to reason, whoever was packing up the boxes may have seen that folder, did not look in it, and put it in the box. We don't know yet. But --

TAPPER: We also don't know who had access to this, these documents over the last few years.

GANGEL: We do not know -- no. And --

TAPPER: Six years, that's a lot of time.

GANGEL: And let's just say this, President Biden has said, he doesn't know what these documents are. So, I don't know how the White House is saying that they're not that significant.

TAPPER: That's interesting and, Evan, what's the difference between these documents and this situation, versus Donald Trump and his situation, which is obviously -- it's obviously much different?

PEREZ: Much different. I mean, there's a big difference in the volume. We're talking about ten documents right now, according to what we are aware of. And, of course, hundreds of classified documents in the Trump investigation.

There's also the matter of cooperation, right? We know that over a period of months, the Archives, the FBI and the Justice Department, we're working to try to retrieve these government documents from Donald Trump and he was refusing to turn them over.

If you talk to Trump officials, Trump people around former President Trump, they also say there is another big difference, right? That's that he was president, so he could declassify things. That's what they're still sticking by.

TAPPER: Just by thinking about it.

GANGEL: Abracadabra.

PEREZ: And Joe Biden, of course, was not, so he didn't have that power. They say that's another key difference.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks to both of you. Really appreciate it, Evan Perez and Jamie Gangel.

Any moment, we expect to hear from President Biden, as he takes questions on his trip in Mexico City.

Also ahead, what a rioter and insurrectionist in Brazil told CNN, as she tried to justify breaking into a government building.



TAPPER: Topping, our world lead today, a resounding call for punishment from Brazil's justice minister for hundreds of insurrectionists, supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro who stormed all three branches of the Brazilian government on Sunday. They were infected with his lies about election fraud that is nonexistent.

Now, Bolsonaro, who's currently in Florida, tells CNN Brazil that he intends to head back home. But only after he's released from an Orlando hospital, admitted for what he says is discomfort related to an old stab wounds.

CNN's Isa Soares is in Brasilia, speaking with one of the 1,500 Bolsonaro supporters who have been arrested.


ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pro-Bolsonaro supporters, defiant and on remorseful.

Victory is ours, they scream. Our flag will never be red, they chant. A direct reference to President Lula da Silva's left-wing workers party.

They leave the federal police academy as free men and women, after being questioned about their alleged role in one of the ugliest days in Brazilian politics.

Some of those still inside complain of the conditions.

It is awful food, not even dogs eat this, one says.

Some authorities have vowed to punish those involved. Those found two had violently played a part in (AUDIO GAP) through the democratic institutions are being accused of terrorism and attempted coup, among other offenses.

One senator tells me, the large number of them have been freed, but many are still inside. Authorities are trolling through all the intelligence, all the video, to find out what role they played on that Sunday, as they ran riot through the Capitol. A protester who acknowledges she went inside, but denies being part of any violence, tells me her story.

It's chaos here because we don't know anything. They can't say exactly if people are imprisoned, if they're going to get out, she tells me.

For 50 days, she says, she was protesting outside the army headquarters in Brasilia, hoping the election that she says was robbed from Jair Bolsonaro would be overturned. For many like her, the issue is Lula, a man who previously served time on corruption charges. Those were later thrown out on a judicial technicality.

Our intention, she asks, not agreeing with everything that was happening, she says. The ballot boxes, we keep claiming this all the time, asking for help from the armed forces to help the people, she adds. By ask her if her actions make her a terrorist.

I'm not a terrorist. I don't have weapons, she tells me.

But those that did carry them left their mark on this country's institution, tearing through the halls of power here with -- and even grenades, according to the justice minister, in an act that can only be described as an attack on Brazilian democracy.

Back at the federal police, I asked the same protester if she regrets anything.

I don't regret it. I don't regret it, because I wasn't armed, I didn't go with a mask, I didn't go with glasses, I didn't go with a bomb.

And this is a challenge for Lula da Silva, who's been on the job for just over a week, uniting a polarized country, a movement that is angry and simply refuses to accept defeat. T defeat


SOARES (on camera): And, Jake, I got off the phone with the federal police here in Brasilia, who tells me the 599 protesters have been released, 527 have been charged, and they can face up to 12 years in prison, depending on the charge, either a coup d'etat, or re-taking part in terrorism, among many other offenses. Five hundred, though, are still being questioned, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Isa Soares, in Brazil for us, thanks so much.

Coming up, calamity in California. Intense rain and mud covered highways, cars swallowed via sinkhole. We are live on the West Coast with the damage.

We're also standing by for President Biden's news conference in Mexico City, which we will bring to you live.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we're back with our world lead. World officials say that up to 100 Ukrainian troops are set to begin training at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, as soon as next week, on how to use the Patriot air defense missile system. The Ukrainians desperately need it, they say, to shoot down incoming Russian missiles and drones.

On the ground in Ukraine, intense fighting is reported around the important salt mining town of Soledar in Ukraine's east.

CNN's Ben Wedeman is just back from the front lines north of there, near Kreminna.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Commander Maksimilian or just Max, as he's known, is finalizing the coordinates for his strike under Russian occupied town of Kreminna.

Before the war, Max was an English teacher. His 43rd artillery brigade has already seen action into battles of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and now Donbas.


Their target today, a building in Kreminna from where, he says, attack drones are launched against Ukrainian forces.

This artillery system is known as a Pion. That's a Soviet era artillery system, 203 millimeters, the rounds weigh 100 kilos, 220 pounds. This is a system used both by the Russians and the Ukrainians.

The cold here chills to the bone, making this work all the more difficult. To protect against Russian drones, they've deployed a special weapon that depletes drone batteries. First, the round goes into the barrel, then the cord eye, and the trigger cord is pulled.

Sending the massive round hurdling toward its target 18 kilometers, around 11 miles away. It fires again and again.

A forward spotter radio smacks that the target has been hit. He tells his man to use shrapnel rounds to finish the job.

MAKSIMILIAN, 43 ARTILLERY BRIGADE: We damaged it, we destroyed the building where they were hiding. And I suppose they will not make problems for us in the future.

WEDEMAN: A small victory in a big war.

Ben Wedeman, CNN, near Kreminna, eastern Ukraine.


WEDEMAN (on camera): And it does seem that the fighting across the entire eastern Ukrainian front is raging. We were particularly in that town of Soledar.

CNN was able to speak to a soldier there who said the situation is critical. He said, the fighting is so intense, they don't have time to count their own dead -- Jake.

All right. Ben Wedeman in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the new student loan offer from the Biden administration, with the old plan tied up in court and any minute now, we expect to see President Biden as he takes questions in Mexico City, which we will bring to live.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our money lead, the Biden administration is proposing an ambitious new student loan income-driven loan repayment plan. The plan is different from the student loan forgiveness program, which is currently on hold due to legal challenges and questions about its constitutionality.

CNN's Rahel Solomon is following all of this for us.

Rahel, what changes are being proposed and who would be able to benefit from this?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So, Jake, this is a plan that millions are enrolled in. At last estimate, 8 million people. So, the impact could be quite significant.

Here are a few of the big takeaways from the proposal. So, if you make less than $30,600 per year, you would no longer have to make payments. Compare that annual income with the current of 24,000, so a pretty significant difference there. If you make more than that, and that's for undergraduate loans, that's in an important distinction there.

If you make more than 30,600 per year, your payments will be kept at 5 percent due to discretionary income for undergraduate loans. You have graduate loans, that remains at 10 percent of your discretionary income. If you have a mix of undergraduate and graduate, it would be somewhere between 5 percent and 10 percent.

And then the big thing also, Jake, is that unpaid monthly interest, the Department of Education saying, it will stop charging unpaid monthly interest. The reason why this is so important is because one of the largest concerns about this program is that you had payments that weren't actually fully making the interest. And so, we are making payments, but it wasn't covering the interest. And so, the principal continued to grow. And it would create what some critics have told me today was a bit of a debt trap.

So, this is a pretty significant update there. One borrower group, one nonprofit that represents student loan borrowers, telling me today, borrowers will no longer see their balances grow, and grow, month after month, which is not only emotionally demoralizing, but financially devastating.

TAPPER: When can student loan borrowers expect this plan to become reality?

SOLOMON: So, the Department of Education says, later this year. But Jake, I should point out that concerns and criticisms about this program are already coming out. So, the Committee for Responsible Federal Budget today saying in a report, Jake, that these proposals are costly, flawed and highly problematic.

A trade association that represents the servicers, the federal student loan servicers, telling me, Scott Buchanan,, saying that from and delimitation standpoint, I think this is going to be very complicated and challenging to implement. I should say, the Biden administration says that the whole point of

this new program is to make it less complicated and more simple -- Jake.

BURNETT: All right. Rahel Solomon, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

President Biden is meeting with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, in Mexico City, and we expect the three of them to come out and take questions soon. And we will bring that to you live, when they begin.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, the death toll is rising as California is ripped apart by catastrophic flooding and mud slides. Parts of the state are getting more than a month's worth of rain in just one day.

Plus, blood and a muddy knife found in the basement of a missing Massachusetts mother as police just finished searching that couple's home.

And leading this hour, President Biden is about to join the leaders of Mexico and Canada for a joint news conference in Mexico city. It's just going to be a show of unity during this period of unprecedented migrant movement in the western hemisphere.

But it's very likely President Biden will get a asked about the classified documents found in his private office from his time as vice president.

Let's go right to CNN's MJ Lee who is traveling with President Biden in Mexico.

And, MJ, what do we expect President Biden to say?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, of course we are about to see the three leaders come out here and deliver statements. The important part is the fact that each of the leaders is going to take a question. That is the expectation right now.