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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Massive Flight Delays & Cancellations After System Outage; List Of Republicans Calling On Santos To Resign Is Growing; McCarthy: Won't Call For Santos' Removal, The Voters Decide; Report: House GOP Will Have More Chairs Named "Mike" Than Women; W.H. Accuses GOP Of "Political Stunts" Over Biden Family Financials; GOP Texas Rep. Gonzales Says He Opposes Mayorkas Impeachment; Rep. Tony Gonzales, (R- TX), Is Interviewed About Mayorkas Impeachment; Lone GOP Rep. Gonzales Voted "No" On House Rules Package; Supporters Of Fmr. Brazilian President Bolsonaro Call For New Protests Today After Sunday's Riots; Iran Orders Harsher Punishments Being Issues To Women Not Wearing Hijab; Classes At The University Of Idaho Resume Today. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 11, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Slowly getting back on schedule after an FAA system outrage outage early this morning forced every plane in the U.S. to be grounded for 90 minutes and causing massive delays and cancellations all day. The outage was related to the notice to air mission system, which sends pilots pre-flight safety notices.
CNN's Aviation Correspondent Pete Muntean takes a deeper look now at the second major air travel mass in just weeks that has resulted in at least 9,000 flight delays and 2,700 cancellations in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The number of flight delays are still climbing, along with major outrage over how air travel came to a near unprecedented halt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The FAA did just post that no U.S. departures will happen today until 9:00 a.m.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): Wednesday morning, Airports across the country stood still as the federal aviation administration implemented a nationwide ground stop, something not seen since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's an interesting day, everybody except medevac and military stopped. I'd shut them down and save gas if I were you. I don't know how long this is going to go on for.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): The FAA failure started overnight in a computer system that issues critical safety alerts for pilots known as Notice to Air Missions or NOTAMs, the bulletins provide the latest information about airports and airspace. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's absolutely essential, and the system can be very fragile.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): The effect cascading cancellations and delays in the thousands.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First it was a 20 minutes delay, then it turned into an hour delay.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): Anger is stretching from concourses to Capitol Hill. Ted Cruz, the top Senate Republican overseeing transportation, is calling the failure "completely unacceptable." Congressman Rick Larson is the top Democrat on the House Transportation Committee.
REP. RICK LARSEN (D-WA), TRANSPORTATION CMTE. RANKING MEMBER: We're going to need some answers, and I'm sure they will get answers out of the DOT and they'll share those with Congress so we can move forward on figuring out what to do next.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): Critics insist FAA systems are outdated and underfunded. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who has come down hard on airlines, says he's "directed an agency after action process to determine root causes and recommend next steps."
PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: My primary interest now that we've gotten through the immediate disruptions of the morning is understanding exactly how this was possible and exactly what steps are needed to make sure that it doesn't happen again.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MUNTEAN: Cancellations continue to go up nationwide. Here at Reagan National Airport, about half of all flights today have been either canceled or delayed, Jake. An FAA source tells us that the FAA first knew that this was a problem yesterday afternoon, tried to reboot that critical NOTAM system early this morning, but that ultimately failed, causing that nationwide ground stop.
There is some good news for passengers here, though. This happened after the holidays when air travel is relatively light. Also, all the major airlines are issuing travel waivers, meaning that you can change your flight completely free of charge, something the airlines are not required to do because this is something that was out of their control, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Pete Muntean, thanks so much.
Let's bring in CNN Analyst Mary Schiavo, a former Department of Transportation Inspector General.
Mary, as you look at this nationwide ground stop this morning, the first since 9/11 2001, what was your reaction?
MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION: Well, my reaction was it's very unfortunate that computer glitches and computer problems have come to this. But I think probably more than that, I was worried because the NOTAM system is part of what's called the System Wide Information Management system. The nickname is SWIM, sinker (ph) SWIM in the case of the FAA. And that system controls almost everything about your flight venture through the country, the dispatch, the air traffic control, separations, aviation weather, and so NOTAMs are part of that system.
And that system came under criticism as early as -- before in 2011, my old office, the Office of Inspector General said it was a program that wasn't being managed well, it was out of control, that no one at the FAA was really buying, you know, responsibility for it or taking control of it, and that the cost overruns and continual problems would just increase. And so, the FAA was tasked to get this figured out because so much more than even the NOTAMs hangs on the system, and they were supposed to work it out. They've had update meetings with industry, et cetera, but clearly it isn't worked out yet, and it has greater implications for even more systems in the FAA.
TAPPER: So, it sounds like you're saying this speaks to potentially more bigger issues facing the FAA than just today's failure if this has been more than a decade since people have been talking about this being a major issue that needs to be addressed.
SCHIAVO: Yes. Because so many different applications of our national aviation system, national aerospace system, depend on it. Ask your foreign carriers, foreign carriers can't come here without accessing this system.
And also, by the way, literally hundreds of users are allowed to interface with this system to run their airlines. So really the miracle is it's amazing. It only took the NOTAM system down because so much depends on this computer architecture. And by the way, it's run by a whole host of different contractors, nongovernmental contractors. And so, the FAA is supposed to be coordinating them.
So Congress has their job cut out for them. They very much do need some oversight on this program. But they have to do follow up. When the cameras shut down and the reporters go home, the FAA 10ds to relax and not push hard.
TAPPER: Why couldn't Air Traffic Control talk directly to pilots in real time about closed runaways? Did they need to shut down the whole system?
SCHIAVO: Unfortunately, they do. Now, in the old days, you know, decades ago, when I learned to fly, that is exactly what you did when you needed your clearance, when you needed the weather, when you need the NOTAMs. And back then it was Notice to Airmen, Notice to Air Missions. You literally called up, you call up your flight service stations. You got an ADAS broadcast, you talked to the tower.
But now the system is so complicated and so complex. And remember, a lot of these systems seamlessly interface electronically. So it may not even require a voice command to get this information relayed. And airlines around the world, if they're headed here, have to do it. And by the way, drones, unmanned air systems use this system as well. So at this point, we have reached the point of computer complication where you simply can't do it by calling somebody up or radioing the tower. It's too complicated.
TAPPER: As we heard, CNN is now reporting that even the backup to the system, the backup experience problems, how out of date are these systems? And are they in bad shape to a dangerous degree?
SCHIAVO: Well, and it's also a matter of philosophy. So back, you know, years ago when we were developing Next Gen, which is the Star Wars way to fly, and that's still our goal. You could do everything seamlessly and electronically.
There was supposed to originally be it was designed to have three systems. One to be operating, one for computer maintenance and then one for backup. So if something happened to your main system, you would get to the backup system and you could work on the interim system and they were all supposed to be time synced. That didn't really happen and it doesn't really happen now. But yes, what we need are more backups. Most importantly is we need all of this code and all these systems to work together because, you know, we fly on computers, we don't fly on airways anymore.
TAPPER: All right. Mary Schiavo, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Just in to CNN, President Biden's legal team has found another batch of government documents, ones of interest to federal investigators at a separate location from the office where the first 10 classified documents were found. NBC news reports some of these documents are classified. Let's get straight to CNN Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez.
Evan, what else do we know about these records, these new ones?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, what we know and Phil Mattingly is being told by a source that the legal team found these additional documents, the second batch of documents in a subsequent search after they found the first 10. And that in finding these documents they decided that these were going to be of interest to the federal officials that have been doing the review of this matter.
Now, as you pointed out, NBC is saying that some of these documents are classified. That would, of course, make sense that, you know, the federal officials that have been doing this review, that's what they've been focused on is the classified documents and how they ended up at these locations.
Now, Jake, the question that now arises is, you know, why are we learning about this not only just now, right, but the idea that these searches occurred after the initial search that found those initial batches in November. Why is it that the White house has been telling us only about the first batch over the last few days? It appears that this is a new development that they weren't willing to disclose until now. Jake. TAPPER: Evan Perez, thank you.
He can run, but can he hide? Republican Congressman George Santos may not be able to escape the fallout from his web of lies. That's next.
Then, after months of protest, the Iranian regime will start issuing even harsher sentences, including weeks in prison to women who do not cover their hair. Why this is about so much more than just a hijab. Stay with us.
TAPPER: The list of Republicans calling for Republican Congressman George Santos of New York to resign is growing. It does not include House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Today, the freshman from New York was asked to step down by at least two sitting Republican members of Congress as well as members of Nassau County's Republican Party over what the local chairman of the party calls a litany of, quote, "deceit, lies and fabrication," unquote.
Just to remind you of just a small sampling of some of those, Santos claimed he went to the Horace Mann School in the Bronx. CNN's KFILE found there's no evidence of him attending that school. Santos said he attended Brook College in NYU. Both schools say he was never enrolled there.
He claimed he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. No record of his employment there according to "The New York Times." He said 9/11, quote, "claimed his mother's life." She died in 2016. He said his fled socialism in Europe, genealogical records show she lived in Brazil. Santos said his grandparents survived the Holocaust, CNN found there's no evidence of that.
Santos claimed he had four employees who died -- were killed in the tragic Pulse Nightclub shooting. "The New York Times" found no records of any victim ever working for Santos. He said he had a pet charity that saved 2,500 dogs and cats. The IRS has no record of that charity. He claimed to be Jewish, he is not. And after he was discovered, he said all he meant was that he was Jew-ish.
In a separate matter, officials in Brazil are pursuing fraud charges against Santos for stealing a checkbook in 2008, which he admitted to, according to documents obtained by CNN. Finally, it's not clear where any of his money comes from. Perhaps most worrisome for House Republicans, he's also standing accused of campaign finance violations.
So, let's bring in CNN's Eva McKend.
Eva, George Santos almost immediately responded to calls for his resignation by saying, no, he will not resign. What are Republican leaders saying? EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, Jake, George Santos appears to have an ally in House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy will still give Santos low tier committee assignments. The Republican leader says the voters made their choice. He tried to make an equivalency to other lawmakers that have lied about their backgrounds and noted Santos has not been charged with anything.
So, the newly minted speaker of the House, with his slim majority, appears comfortable with Santos. Santos won't get his preferred choice of being on the Financial Services Committee, but he'll still get an assignment. The Republicans out on Long Island now, they're singing a much different tune. The Nassau County GOP, they want him gone.
And two New York Republicans, at least two in Congress, they're calling for Santos to step aside as well. This all comes as Washington watchdog groups, they suggest Santos may have illegally used campaign funds to pay personal expenses and concealed the true source of more than $700,000. Those groups have asked a number of federal entities to investigate.
The big question now, I think, is, does McCarthy continue to stand by Santos or does the focus on Santos become too much of a distraction from what House Republicans are trying to achieve?
And Jake, I would add, from being in the district just a few weeks ago, you know, McCarthy is saying, well, the voters decided. Well, they decided on the information that they had at the time. When you speak to many people, they are really disgusted in the district and say that they wish that they knew all that they know now. Jake.
TAPPER: Eva McKend, thank you so much.
Let's discuss. First of all, let me just say I'm getting a real untalented Mr. Ripley vibe from this guy. Like, it's really weird and creepy and potentially sociopathic and also just like not well done. Are you surprised that McCarthy, Scalise, Stefanik, all the Republican leaders are not wading into this at all?
JOE WALSH, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, ILLINOIS: Not at all. Jake, they need his vote, they need his seat. End of story. And the other thing I'd mention in this post Trump Republican Party or Trump's Republican party, there's no such thing as shame anymore, so forget about it. You're caught lying, you're caught stealing, you just fight and accuse the other guy. That's what they'll do.
TAPPER: Yes. And I saw this morning Adam Kinzinger, the former Republican congressman from your home state of Illinois, who's now a CNN contributor, he resign, and Santos, like, tweeted back at him, like, go on CNN and cry about it --
WALSH: You cry, yes.
TAPPER: -- or something like that, really defiance. It's so strange.
ALENCIA JOHNSON, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I mean, he thinks this is a joke. He thinks that he is literally playing a theater or something in Congress when the reality is to what Eva was saying, voters actually voted for him to do something, although they voted on the lies that he, you know, campaigned on. And so, it's really interesting to see, you know, Republicans like McCarthy say that they're going to keep him because it's all about power for them. It's literally to keep that seat so that Democrats -- this is a seat that Democrats could win, should he resign and go into a special election.
TAPPER: What do you make of the criticisms or the counter criticism that she's not the only one in Congress that has misrepresented himself to a degree or not?
CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": I mean, there's a scale issue here, though, right? It took you so long to read all of the, you know, the --
TAPPER: I don't even think that was the whole list.
LUCEY: -- misrepresentation. Yes, that we barely have any time left to talk on the panel. So, yes, I mean there is -- politicians often there are misrepresentations or exaggerations, but this is next level in terms of just the amount of stuff that he's saying. And it's right, this is a swing district, and so this is a real concern for Republicans up there.
You know, this was previously held by a Democrat. Joe Biden easily won this district in 2020. And so, Democrats certainly be trying to take this back.
TAPPER: And James Carville, we should point out, the Democratic strategist, his argument is basically the Democrats should just, like, keep him there. It's a great opportunity for Democrats to use them as a political pinata, in his words. And I imagine he's thinking something along the lines of Democrats can say the party of George Santos continues to lie, blah, blah.
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Yes, I mean, for them, I don't think that analysis is off from Mr. Carville. And the reality is the most likely way he's going to be leaving Congress in the post -- you know, after the era of Donald Trump where seemingly anything goes is if the voters get another say and are able to say, see you later, which, you know, for Democrats -- I mean, he's a gift that keeps on giving me (ph). How would you define Jew-ish, exactly, Jake, as someone who is actually Jewish?
TAPPER: It was a special kind of genius, I think. Like it's the definition of chutzpah-ish.
HUNT: There you go.
WALSH: But Jake --
HUNT: But look -- hold one --
WALSH: Yes. HUNT: -- just one more point. The thing that I think is going to be the most important here is the money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HUNT: -- because that really is -- the rest of it, we can laugh about it, it sounds ridiculous, but where did he get this money that he cannot account for?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.
HUNT: Like that's potentially. And that's, I think, where he faces real problems.
WALSH: There is a scale to politicians lying. But how can a party whose leader is Donald Trump go after George Santos or any other politician for lying? How can they do that?
TAPPER: Well, I mean --
WALSH: We've never --
HUNT: I think that's why they're not. I mean --
HUNT: -- that's the thing. It's become -- they're ignored, quite frankly.
TAPPER: So let's turn to all the big decisions made by House Republicans in terms of who gets committee assignments and the chairmanship. First of all, Kasie, I want to point out Business Insider has this headline and we don't have to spend the whole time talking about this, but noticing that the House of Representatives will have more guys named "Mike" chairing committees than women chairing committees. There are 33 Republican women, 91 Democratic women. So kind of there is a -- the House of Republicans are talking a lot about the diversity that they have in their ranks, not necessarily in their chairman.
HUNT: Yes. Well, and that's the wrinkle, right? I mean, they have talked a lot about it. Kevin McCarthy has talked a lot about it. And he -- you know, to his credit, there are some successes he can point to where he has recruited some women, some diverse candidates that the Republican Party previously had not seen. But as any woman who's worked in, you know, at the high levels of politics or corporations knows, the problem is that top slot, that getting that CEO job, getting to be the person that makes the decisions. And so, it's pretty telling that this is what the slate of committee chairs looks like because they're the ones that really hold the power. TAPPER: So there's this new Oversight and Accountability is the name of the committee chairman, James Comer, he's requesting the Treasury Department turnover information about the Biden family's financial transactions. We're talking about Hunter Biden. We're talking about Jimmy Biden, who's the President's brother and a businessman. The White House is calling it a political stunt. What do you think?
WALSH: They've got to be careful. We know Republicans are going to investigate everything under the sun when it comes to Democrats these next two years. But if they go after the President's family, Hunter Biden and the rest, I just think that's going to just bounce back and bite them in the butt because voters don't want to see that.
JOHNSON: Well, and voters elected this --
JOHNSON: -- Congress to actually do something about the economy, not the sham political stunt investigations. And if we're talking about a presidential family, I mean, these Republicans didn't want Democrats to investigate Ivanka Trump, who actually was a member of the administration and while Hunter Biden and President Biden's brother are private citizens.
LUCEY: And that's what the administration really is banking on and trying to emphasize is this idea that the President's out there, he's doing events with Mitch McConnell, he's out there visiting the border, that he's doing work, he's trying to work across the aisle, and that they're focused on investigations and extremism.
HUNT: And the risk, too, is that it could backfire politically on them in a way that some of the other -- I mean, their experience with this was primarily driven by Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, the Clinton family, all those things, and they feel like some of that was successful. The Biden story is a different story, and the Hunter Biden story is a different story. And I think that it's been shown that the President is able to generate sympathy around his family in a way that is unique to him as a politician and him as a person.
And I know that the message that midterm voters sent was that we didn't -- they didn't send us a red wave, they sent the House as divided as it was last time. It's just very slightly in the other set of hands. And I think if Republicans go too far, there's a risk there.
TAPPER: Well, there is an opportunity for real oversight. We heard Mary Schiavo talking about how --
HUNT: Of there is.
TAPPER: -- there needs to be --
TAPPER: -- oversight of the FAA and what happened today, but we don't hear Republicans jumping and talking about, we need to solve this problem, this has been decades in the making, the FAA is broken, blah, blah.
HUNT: Because that's governance, not politics.
TAPPER: Well, it's -- I mean, I'm suggesting maybe it would be a good idea. I'm saying it's a good idea for our friend Mr. Comer.
Thanks to our panel, one and all.
House Republicans move forward with their agenda. Not everyone's on the same page. Our next guest is the only Republican who voted no on the House rules package. Stay with us.
TAPPER: And topping our politics lead, Texas Republican Congressman Pat Fallon has filed articles of impeachment against the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas. This after a wave of fresh Republican criticism following President Biden's rather sanitized border visit. Not every Republican is on board with impeaching, Mayorkas. Joining us now, Texas Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales.
Congressman, good to see you. Thanks for being here. So, today you said that you oppose the impeachment of Mayorkas because the process is too drawn out and people in your district need help right now. What is the best way, you think, to actually address this crisis on the border? Because you and I have talked about this before.
REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): Sure.
TAPPER: It seems to me with the Democratic Senate and White House, there is a big comprehensive immigration bill to be done that includes a huge border security part component.
GONZALES: Yes, look, impeachment is in case of emergency break glass. And it seems as if we have taken that to a common thing. It shouldn't be a common thing.
Look, DHS Secretary Mayorkas has made a lot of mistakes and there's clearly a lot of people upset, my approach has not been to shun them per se, but to go to the administration and work with them. And also impeachment hearings are going to take place. Where that takes us, I don't know where it is, but that's going to be -- who knows how many months that's going to be.
I look at the President's visit to the border. And this -- look, the President could have had a layup, they could have had me there, I didn't ask to be on Air Force One. All I wanted to do was have a policy discussion. When I host him Uvalde I didn't embarrass him, it's a President of the United States. I want to have a more clear discussion.
But if they can't make layups, how are they going to make three pointers? And if they don't want to meet with me, what Republicans are they going to meet with?
TAPPER: Right. And you've called the President's trip to the border a partisan trip. A White House official responded to your complaint saying that they were not able to accommodate all requests from Democrats and -- from Republicans and Democrats alike due to space constraints. What's your response to that?
GONZALES: Yes. Once again, I didn't ask to be on the plane. I would have met him at the tarmac. I would have met him any of these facilities, you know, like five minutes aside. And what really upset me was when I met with him in Uvalde, I specifically asked the President, Mr. President, now is not the time or place, but I like to meet with you on the border, whether at the border or at the White House.
He agreed to that. He called over one of his aide and said, hey, I want to get Tony in the White House for us to have a discussion. Seven months later, nothing. So it tells me it's very frustrating, but I'm not going to give up. I'm a retired master chief. You go over, under, or through, you have to find solutions, not rhetoric. So that's what I'm focused on.
TAPPER: Is there a comprehensive immigration reform bill that does something about the Dreamers and does something about the more humanitarian aspects of this that maybe Democrats are pushing for, that also adds to border security that you want and you're hearing from your constituent. But I guess my question is there's no will for it that I can see.
GONZALES: I think it start -- Jake, I think it starts with having a dialogue. Who is willing to sit down and have a discussion? To me, my energy is solely focused on border security. If I can't have a conversation on that, how can we move to the more contentious topics?
I will tell you, I had a conversation with Senator Cornyn today. I was really pleased to see the senators, the Senate, come together in a bipartisan manner and do this border trip. I think that's a promising move. Those are kind of things that we need to have a discussion. Hey, what are the parameters? To me, it starts with border security, but if nobody will sit down with me, how can we get to step two, three, and four if we can't get off the starting block?
TAPPER: I also want to ask you, because you were the only Republican to vote no on the new House rules package. You cited threats to the defense budget as a result of not what's in the rules package, I don't think, but the side deal, side agreements that Speaker McCarthy has made.
Republicans traditionally were more on your page when it came to the defense budget, but they don't seem to be bothered by it now. What's going on?
GONZALES: Jake, I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. I mean, you know, like you mentioned historically, Republicans were hawkish on defense, and it seems that it has changed. I spent 20 years in the military. I don't believe in having cuts without reforms. I'm happy to have the conversation, but let's talk about what was going to reforms in order -- defense reforms in order to get to it.
If you're just going to cut without reforms, all you're doing is cutting off your nose in spite of your face, and it makes us weaker. We also have to protect our allies, like Ukraine, like Taiwan, and invest more in Central and South America. The President of Mexico basically made a point to go, I never see you.
The United States doesn't play a role here. Why are you having this discussion now? These are some of the things I think the American defense should focus on.
TAPPER: Any blowback from House leadership for voting no on the rules package?
GONZALES: I was very clear with leadership early on, and when you look at it, this wasn't an anti-leadership vote. It was really a pro- leadership vote. Another reason why I voted no was I didn't want to see the circus that was last week play out month after month. We have real problems in this country.
You know, the borders, one. Immigration reform is another. Health care, education. I mean, the list goes on and on. How do we come together and solve this? I don't want to see, you know, as much that CSPAN got. I mean, I don't want people watching CSPAN. I want people watching the Congress deliver real results for everybody.
TAPPER: And just the last question I have is Congresswoman Nancy Mace, Republican of South Carolina, she's been pretty outspoken, saying she wants to know what compromises, what deals McCarthy made. I mean, this is my words, it's not hers, but it's the people's House, not Kevin McCarthy's House.
TAPPER: Do you want to see that list?
GONZALES: You know what, Jake, you have a limited amount of energy. My focus is on forward. Like how do we secure the border? And I'm all in on that. How do we talk about immigration reform? How do we school safety? I mean, these are things that are important to the American public.
What I will say, though, in the 118th Congress, there is real power in rank and file members. I mean, the margins are so small, five members of Congress can shape things. So I'm focused on making sure that we have meaningful legislation, not get stuck into what was given, what was not given. What are these promises?
I mean, that's all D.C. politics stuff. I have no interest in that. I want to -- I came to Washington to serve for the district, serve for the country.
TAPPER: All right. Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales of Texas. Thank you so much. Always good to see you, sir.
GONZALES: Thanks, Jake. TAPPER: Brazil is bracing for new protests from Bolsonaro supporters tonight as former Vice President Mike Pence makes an important connection. Stay with us.
TAPPER: We're back with our world lead. Security forces in Brazil are on alert right now as supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro call for more protests this evening. This follows Sunday's attack by pro-Bolsonaro groups on Brazil's National Congress, on its presidential palace, and on its Supreme Court.
Those riots have drawn comparisons to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a comparison seemingly supported by former Vice President Mike Pence in an interview with CBS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VP OF THE UNITED STATES: It is evidence that what happens in the United States has repercussions around the world. I have no doubt that that tragic day in January of 2021 in this country played some role in sowing the seeds of what's taking place in Brazil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Let's bring in CNN's Isa Soares in the Brazilian capital. Isa, let's start with the influence January 6 may have had on these riots in Brazil.
Last year, you documented the role some of Donald Trump's key allies played in creating division among the people of Brazil.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Indeed. And we've been tracking that far right influence in Brazil for your show, in fact, since early 2021, Jake. At that point, if you remember, Jair Bolsonaro was doing very badly in terms of poll numbers. He was facing calls for impeachment following his handling of the coronavirus pandemic at home, which he's being investigated for.
And he needed help with elections around the corner, not just help from his friends in the United States, but also inspiration. So what we saw at the time, we saw the CPAC, the Conservative Conference come here to Brazil. We saw Donald Trump Jr. address that very conference. We also saw, Jake, Eduardo Bolsonaro. Jr., that's Jair Bolsonaro's son, go to the U.S., take part in Mike Lindell's -- a security conference alongside Steve Bannon, where they basically spewed conspiracy theories.
That rhetoric, those lies, those conspiracy theories has very much been part of the Bolsonaro playbook, taking, obviously, from Donald Trump. He is called the Trump of the tropics, and he has really kept that up for much of his time here in office. And that has been felt time and time again, particularly, Jake, in the social media aspect here.
TAPPER: And Isa, are there indications that Bolsonaro supporters have come out for a new round of nationwide protests today?
SOARES: Well, they were expecting to come out. We didn't have idea of numbers. They only announced it on social media. And what they were calling was take back the power, interpret that how you will. But if I just move to the side, I'll give you a sense, there are more police presence here, Jake, than there is actually protesters.
And we are by the presidential palace. If I get -- if I can just turn to the right here, if I get my cameraman here to turn to the right, you'll be able to see here from Darren's pointing at that. That's the presidential palace. You know, just over a week ago, we saw them storming the Capitol. Today, we've got barracks being put in place.
We've got police pretty much along all this avenue because what the President has done, he's put a new head of security in place here in Brasilia, taking control of Brasilia, of the security, because the gentleman, the governor that was in charge, he's actually been moved aside. And the man who was responding to him on national security efforts, he wasn't here. He wasn't in the country.
In fact, he was on holiday in the United States. Supreme Court has put an arrest warrant for him, Jake. And he says he will be traveling back to Brazil.
TAPPER: All right, Isa Soares, in Brasilia, Brazil for us. Thank you so much.
Also in our world lead, the Iranian regime announced it will now issue harsher punishments for women who violate the mandatory hijab law. Now, instead of being picked up by Iran's so called morality police and then taken to so called reeducation centers. Women who refuse to cover their heads in public, according to Islamic law, will be imprisoned for anywhere between 10 days and two months.
Iranian courts have also been ordered to handout harsher sentences that could include travel bans or being denied access to public services. This is all, of course, in response to the nationwide protests that have roiled Iran since September. That's when 22-year- old Mahsa Jina Amini died or was killed while in the custody of Iran's morality police for allegedly not covering her hair sufficiently.
CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour joins me now to talk about this. Christiane, these tougher sentences for the hijab law combined with the executions of protesters, it seems obviously that the regime is silencing critics. Are they being successful in doing so?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, it seems so. If you look a lot on Twitter and the social media avenues where we've got most of the evidence of these demonstrations when they first started, you can see there's much less, you can see and listen and read what a lot of the Iran experts are saying because they watch it very, very closely. And they're basically saying that the regime has bet on a very harsh crackdown, has doubled down and has kept doubling down to the point where it's been doing these, I mean, frankly, extrajudicial executions. And that has been done with the absolute intention of warning and scaring people off the streets.
And it appears to be working right now. We don't know whether these demonstrations and protests have ended or are they just going underground, are they just going dormant and will they keep popping up in the future? But it's been a very draconian response and it's had this reaction.
TAPPER: Christiane, your father is Iranian, you spent your early childhood in Tehran. I think, to understand what's going on right now, it's important to understand when and why it became compulsory for women to wear the hijab. Tell us about that.
AMANPOUR: Well, indeed, yes. I mean, you know, I lived and grew up there, so I sort of went through all the iterations of mandatory hijab. And chador is the big thing, the whole full body length cloak. But I would just say that like many, even of the Abrahamic faiths, whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, when it began in biblical and Torah times, the cloak, the headgear was enforced on women in all these religions.
But fast forward to the modern times, and you see that in Iran in the early 1900, the Shah of Iran at the time, he tried to take the chador off the women. He tried to liberate women to an extent by making the chador -- the opposite of mandatory removal of it. You know, not a lot of women like that.
The very conservative, the very traditional women kept wearing the chador, and that was fine. But fast forward to 1978, '79 during the revolution, the Islamic revolution, and you had middle class, educated women donning a chador that they never would wear as a political symbol to support what they believed would be Khomeini's democratic revolution. Very soon they found out that it wasn't. They went into the streets again when he came back in 1979 against the chador, and then the Islamic Republic, as it was then, cracked down and made the chador an emblem of its very existence.
So it's, you know, this control of women's bodies, the control of what women wear, is emblematic of their rule and of many such rules in the world. I mean, look at Afghanistan next door, for instance.
TAPPER: Yes. And obviously, as you know, this is about so much more than just the hijab or the chador. We've been hearing protesters chanting death to the dictator. But it does seem like the hijab or the chador is a catalyst for protesting the regime in this instance.
AMANPOUR: Well, absolutely, and that's because Mahsa Amini died, as killed in the custody of police because they deemed how she wore her hijab, the head scarf, not, you know, strict enough. So she was, according to all the eyewitnesses and reports, she was roughed up and then died.
And that's why this particular chador or hijab became the symbol of this particular protest and this particular movement. But the regime has cracked down to such an extent that it has had a chilling effect. And we saw the very same thing. And I was there in Iran at the time, during 2009, the so called Green Revolution, that was about something else.
It was about the protesters against what they believed was a stolen election, and they were protesting that. But it was also met with a very harsh response, and it quickly petered out. That was in 2009.
TAPPER: Yes, although it was just in 2022 that the President of Iran in New York City tried to force you to put on hijab --
TAPPER: -- and you said, no, thank you, sir, and he wouldn't let you do the interview, which is pretty outrageous.
Christiane Amanpour, thank you so much. Really appreciate your time and insights, as always.
AMANPOUR: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Coming up, what life is like for students at the University of Idaho, returning to the classroom for the first time since there was an arrest in those horrific murders of four students. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our national lead now, the arrest of a suspect in those horrific killings of four University of Idaho students over winter break has put some peace of mind back on campus where classes resumed today in Moscow, Idaho.
While some students' fears have been alleviated, the university, of course, continues to mourn the victims, 20-year-old Ethan Chapin, 20- year-old Xana Kernodle, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, and 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves. All of them found brutally stabbed to death in November, of course.
CNN's Josh Campbell is in Moscow for us. Josh, has the campus returned to any sense of normalcy?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Jake, you know, today, as classes resumed here at the University of Idaho, students have been describing a mix of emotions since the brutal killing of four other classmates. Many students say they feel like their sense of security, their sense of community has been shattered, some of them actually changing their behavior in public, now going out in groups, now being more aware of their surroundings.
We're also hearing, Jake, from students, parents, and faculty here at the university that although they continue to grieve the loss of those four students, there is a palpable sense of relief here that this suspect in the case has been caught. We talked to a university official here, described that even though the alleged suspect is off the streets, they continue to maintain a rigorous security posture here. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TORREY LAWRENCE, UNIV. OF IDAHO PROVOST AND EXECUTIVE VP: We are actually keeping a heightened security team on campus. You know, just -- we felt like it's necessary to keep that heightened level just so people feel comfortable. There's been a significant law enforcement presence here for the last two months, since the incident, and we felt like just pulling that away immediately would be kind of shocking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL: So no ongoing threat that they know of here, but police certainly doing their due diligence to care for the physical, mental wellbeing of the kids here, Jake.
TAPPER: And what's next for the murder suspect, Brian Kohberger?
CAMPBELL: So Kohberger will be in court again tomorrow for hearing. We hope to hear more about how this prosecution will unfold. Of course, his attorney says that he believes that his client will be exonerated, but Kohberger is facing very serious charges, including four counts of first-degree murder.
It's worth pointing out that here in the state of Idaho, if he is convicted, the sentence, Jake, could include up to the death penalty.
TAPPER: All right, Josh Campbell in Moscow, Idaho, thanks so much.
You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. We actually read them. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you know, you can listen to THE LEAD from whence you get your podcast, all two hours, just sitting there like a delicious kumquat.
Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM" right after this short break. I'll see you tomorrow.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Sources tell CNN that President Biden's legal team has discovered classified documents and other government records while searching a second, a second location. This is the White House's refusing to answer key questions about the classified material found at Biden's private office.