Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

U.S. Declassifies Photos Of Russian Trains Going To & From North Korea; U.S. & Germany In Standoff Over Sending Tanks To Ukraine; Ukrainian Officer: Wagner Troops Attack At Night In Waves; Florida Rejects AP African American Studies Course; Nikki Haley Teases 2024 Bid: Says It's Time For "Generational Change"; Three Active-Duty Marines Arrested For Participating In January 6 Insurrection; Nancy Pelosi Tells Chris Wallace About Her Husband's Recovery. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired January 20, 2023 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Sources tell CNN Wagner wants soldiers who are drunk or high all the time in order to carry out brutal executions, beheadings, and assault. CNN's Katie Bo Lillis joins us now. And Katie Bo, this announcement comes after the U.S. released newly declassified photos of Russian rail cars traveling back and forth to North Korea. Explain the significance of these rail cars.

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Jake. So these images that the administration released today reportedly show rail cars full of artillery ammunition provided by North Korea to the Wagner group, which for months has been fighting this just punishing battle, this very, very difficult back and forth, brutal fight for the city of Bakhmut in Ukraine.

And the reason that this matters, Jake, is because the fight for Bakhmut, as has become the case with much of the war in Ukraine, has become a real war of attrition that military and intelligence officials increasingly say is really likely to turn on access to artillery ammunition. Which side is able to sustain its supply of artillery ammunition the longest?

One senior -- sorry, Western intelligence official that I spoke to earlier today said, in Bakhmut alone, the two sides are expending up to multiple thousands of rounds of ammunition a day, which is just staggering. And so what North Korea is doing here is really helping Wagner and by extension, the Russian side, perpetuate this fight in Bakhmut that our sources say has left this part of Ukraine looking like they're done in World War I.

TAPPER: Katie Bo, will the weapons and ammunition from North Korea make a difference in Ukraine?

LILLIS: Not necessarily from a broader strategic perspective. The fight in Bakhmut specifically is not seen even if Russia is able to successfully take Bakhmut, is not seen as something that's going to change the overall trajectory of the war. But what does matter, and the reason why U.S. and Western officials are concerned is the possibility that North Korea may continue to try to provide these kinds of supplies to send these shipments to the Wagner group, to Russia.

And that's something that officials are going to want to do everything that they possibly can to try to stop. And so the hope is, with this terrorism designation, that it's going to open the door to sanctions that are going to make it more difficult for the Wagner group to do business internationally.

And remember, the Wagner group doesn't just operate inside Ukraine. They have operations across Africa as well as in Syria. So this designation does have the potential to impact Russian operations beyond the borders of Ukraine. Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Katie Bo, thanks so much.

This move and news regarding the Wagner group comes at the same time that the United States and other NATO allies are pushing Germany to provide Ukraine with key tanks. As CNN's Pentagon Correspondent Oren Liebermann reports, so far, Germany is resisting the request.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- weapons you have provided.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the halls of Ramstein Air Force Base, the U.S. and more than 50 allies stood united on every issue but one. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, heaping praise on countries for sending more powerful and advanced weapons to Ukraine as the war nears its one year mark.

The U.S. with its own $2.5 billion package that includes Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, striker combat vehicles and much more. What's missing, though, is at the top of Ukraine's wish list.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): We will still have to fight for the supply of modern tanks, but every day, we make it more obvious there is no alternative to making this decision.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Germany refuses to sign off on sending its Leopard tanks to Ukraine. Despite U.S. pressure and behind the scenes wrangling, Berlin won't budge.

BORIS PISTORIUS, GERMAN DEFENSE MINISTER (through translation): There are good reasons for the delivery and there are good reasons against it. We cannot all say today when a decision will be made nor what that decision on the Leopard tanks will be.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): On the winter battlefield, Ukraine wants modern tanks to retake territory against dug in Russian defensive lines. It's a more powerful weapon for a more brutal battle. The U.S. insists its M1 Abrams tank is the wrong fit. The M1 Abrams is a heavy fuel guzzling vehicle that runs primarily on jet fuel making it harder to operate and maintain in Ukraine. And with few operators in Europe, spare parts are hard to come by. Instead, the U.S. and others have been pressuring Germany for its Leopard tanks. The German made Leopard runs on diesel and is already used by about a dozen other countries in Europe, making it easier to get spare parts and perhaps more tanks to Ukraine.

But Germany has yet to make a decision. Even so, the Defense Secretary defended Berlin while pushing everyone to contribute more to Ukraine's war effort.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is Germany doing enough in order to show real leadership in Europe?

LLOYD AUSTIN, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Yes, but we can all do more. And, you know, the United States and every other member of the UDC can do more.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): More may be coming whether Germany approves it or not. On the sidelines at Ramstein Airbase, 15 countries that use Leopards met about equipping Ukraine with the tanks. Poland has been the most vocal threatening to send the tanks even without German approval. A rift in an alliance that stands otherwise together.

GEN. MARK MILLEY, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Over my 43 years in uniform, this is the most unified I've ever seen NATO.



LIEBERMANN: He said he is optimistic that Germany will give its approval soon. He points out it is only the new German defense minister's second day on the job. Of course, as we heard from Ukraine, Jake, time is something that is not on Ukraine's side at the moment.

TAPPER: All right. Oren Liebermann at the Pentagon for us. Thanks so much.

Let's bring in Evelyn Farkas, she's the executive director of the Cane Institute and the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia. Thank you so much for being here.


TAPPER: So let's start with this new designation of the Wagner group. This comes at the same time that calls are growing louder for the Biden administration to take the leap and designate Russia as a state sponsor of terror. Russia itself, not just the Wagner group.

FARKAS: Right.

TAPPER: You were the top Pentagon official for Ukraine during the Obama administration. What's the downside of designating Russia as state sponsor of terror?

FARKAS: I mean, honestly, I think it may make it harder for us to deal with them diplomatically in certain fora, but at this point, I don't see a downside, Jake. I mean, they've been violating international law left, right, and center. They've been, you know, prosecuting this horrible phase of this war with human rights violations.

Again, they -- also, the Russian government, frankly, is responsible for what Wagner is doing. So if they're a terrorist organization while the Russian government is supporting them and directing them. So I think it may really be, at this point, a distinction without a difference.

TAPPER: I think they designated Wagner a multinational criminal enterprise or something like that. Is that the same thing as designated as a terrorist group?

FARKAS: It's probably close. I mean, I haven't looked at what the distinction is, but it certainly makes it hard for other countries to work with Wagner. And as you mentioned, or in your earlier coverage, you had the fact that Wagner group is working not just in Ukraine. They work in the Central African Republic --


FARKAS: -- you know, countries all over the world as mercenaries.

TAPPER: I also want to get your reaction to the newly declassified photos of Russian rail cars going to and from North Korea. What does this suggest to you? Is it desperation? Is it nefariousness? Is it -- what do you think?

FARKAS: I mean, it's clearly desperation. Do you really think Russia would be getting weapons from North Korea if it had an option to get them from South Korea? You know, Russia is doing what it can to resupply. They clearly have problems getting the equipment that they need and the parts that they need. And maybe they want to show the world that they're not completely isolated, but it doesn't show strength, if you ask me.

TAPPER: I mean, do the -- are the North Koreans known for being able to make weapons that are any good? I know we're concerned about their potential nuclear weapons program and their rockets that they fire. But, I mean, is that like bargain basement kind of country to go to get weapons?

FARKAS: Well, I think probably the way to look at it is the way that we look at the Russian men in uniform right now. There may not be high quality, they may not be trained, but they're still lethal. And so at the end of the day, of course, we don't want North Korea providing any weapons to Russia.

And I'm sure, you know, we'll try to do what we can to prevent it. There are sanctions on North Korea. Russia obviously is in violation of them. So, you know, it's -- but the reality is that they are weapons, so it's not desirable.

TAPPER: Speaking of weapons, let's go back to the tank dispute. A Western official thought maybe Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz is wrestling with a, quote, moral issue when it comes to the visual of German tanks fighting Russia in Ukraine. Why do you think Germany is so reluctant to do this?

FARKAS: I mean, the German government is a coalition government, Jake. And Olaf Scholz is the head of the Social Democratic Party. They have a long history of what they call understanding Russia, cooperating with Russia. And so I think he's dealing with a lot of members of his political party as well as the German population who are very hesitant to go into a situation that they deem risky.

The reality is, though, that if you don't stand up to Vladimir Putin, if you aren't strong in the face of this Russian aggression, you are actually inviting Vladimir Putin to potentially put your national security at risk. So, unfortunately, it's a misunderstanding to think that you have to cooperate or show some softness towards Russia. It's quite the opposite.

And the Green Party, which is also in the coalition, they very much understand this. The Conservatives, which is Angela Merkel's party, they have also come around to the understanding that they have o be tough with Russia.

TAPPER: You recently told the New York Times, quote, without Crimea, the whole thing falls apart, saying that the U.S. has to support Ukraine's attempt to get Crimea back, which Russia obviously illegally annexed in 2014. What's the best way for the U.S. to help Ukraine get Crimea back into its country?

FARKAS: Provide longer range artillery, provide those ATACMS, a particular system that will allow the Ukrainians to actually hit targets from Ukrainian territory into -- well, Crimea is Ukrainian territory, but into heavily guarded, Russian reinforced territory in Ukraine.


And what I meant by that was that if the Russians don't control Crimea, if they no longer control Crimea, it makes it harder for them to control areas that they control in the south and the east of Ukraine, other parts of Ukraine in the Donbas and in the south.

TAPPER: All right, Evelyn Farkas, good to see you as always.

FARKAS: Thanks, Jake. Thanks.

TAPPER: Thanks so much for being here.

CNN's Ben Wedeman reports for us now from the eastern front of Ukraine, where scrappy Wagner mercenaries are breathing down the necks of Ukrainian soldiers. Soldiers that badly need heavy weaponry just the kind for now that Germany is refusing to send.


BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the trenches outside Bakhmut, a mortar crew is at work. Hoping to repel Russian forces on the verge of encircling the city. Drone footage shows the impact of their rounds on enemy positions. They refrain among these troops we need out more.

SPAS, UKRAINIAN ARMY: We've all speaks about tanks, tanks, tanks. Yes, of course. That is the most powerful for our time machines on the field. But now, it's 21st century, we need not only tanks, we need aviation.

WEDEMAN (voice-over): Around Bakhmut, slowly and steadily, the Russians are gaining ground. Thursday Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner group, claimed his troops, and only his troops took the village of Kyselivka (ph), just south of the city.

In a dugout, this officer, nicknamed Koleso, explains Wagner's tactics. They attack at night. The first wave is less trained, but we have to use lots of ammunition against them, he says. The next wave of troops has night vision, is better trained and better equipped.

Tactics, seemingly from a different day and age, inflicting mounting casualties on Ukrainian forces. This soldier was critically wounded when his armored personnel carrier was struck by Russian fire.

Much of Bakhmut is now a ghost town, the sound of shelling, the danger constant.

(on-camera): We're inside this tunnel, inside Bakhmut, taking cover because there is incoming rounds just nearby.

(voice-over): The few civilians left resigned to their fate. People die from strikes everywhere in Kyiv and Dnipro, says Valentina. If that's your destiny, death will reach you anywhere.

On a hill above the city, a Soviet era T-72 tank fires into the distance. It's sound and fury, perhaps not enough to turn the tide.


WEDEMAN: And as that report shows, the situation in Bakhmut and other parts of eastern Ukraine is dire. And of course, Ukrainian officials are concerned that when the weather improves, the Russians could launch a massive multifront spring offensive. So, all of this squabbling and confusion among the so-called friends of Ukraine over what to supply the country at this, its time of need, couldn't be at a worse time. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Ben Wedeman in Kramatorsk, Ukraine. Thank you so much.

Two former members of the Trump administration are facing off. This a preview of what's to come in a potential 2024 Republican primary race for the presidency. Then, just moments ago, police officers and paramedics appeared in court facing charges tied to the death of a black man who was stopped by police while walking home and then given what turned out to be a fatal dose of ketamine.


TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead. The Justice Department is signaling it will not comply with the document requests from one of the House committees investigating the Biden classified document situation. The department sent a letter to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jim Jordan, saying protecting the integrity of its own investigation might outweigh the committee's oversight duties.

Let's bring in CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju. And Manu, the Justice Department, they're not saying they're going to refuse to turn over any information, but it doesn't seem like there's going to be a lot of cooperation.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is setting the stage for what could be a very contentious two years between Republicans, who now lead the House Judiciary Committee, who now control the House and the Justice Department over a number of oversight requests.

Chairman Jim Jordan, when he was in the minority in the last Congress, sent a number of oversight requests asking for a lot of information from the Justice Department, he was routinely ignored on a lot of those requests. Then he became the incoming chairman. He reiterated those requests. They have not yet been responded to.

Earlier this week, he sent another letter saying the stonewalling must stop threatening to subpoena them if he does not get information on a whole wide range of issues relating from the Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as some ongoing investigations, including the appointment of the Special Counsel that look to the Biden classified documents situation the President handled -- the President's handling of those documents as well as the situation in Mar-a-Lago and the Special Counsel that was named to look into that as well.

He wants all communications, all information related to that. The Justice Department is signaling that is likely not going to happen. Information related to those matters are part of its investigative work, saying in this letter that any oversight request must be weighed against the department's interest in protecting the integrity of its work.

Now, Jordan himself has not officially responded to this yet, but his committee did put out a tweet criticizing the department saying that what -- questioning whether it was too scared to cooperate. Saying in that tweet, as you can see on your screen, why is DOJ scared to cooperate with our investigations?


Now, Jake, this is reminiscent of what happened when Democrats took control of the House in 2019 and in 2020 when the Trump administration was in power. The Judiciary Committee at the time sending letter after letter, subpoena after subpoena, getting stonewalled by the Trump administration back and forth, happened for last -- for much of the past two years. They did not get a lot of information. It led to some court battles, some drawn out court fights, and a lot of contentious battles between the two sides. We'll see if that happens here or if the two sides can reach any accommodation. But, Jake, this is a sign that the Republicans plan to press ahead, and the administration may not be willing to cooperate with a lot of the demands from their incoming Republican majority.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, thank you so much.

Turning now to our national lead, where two paramedics and three police officers involved in that 2019 death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain were arraigned in Colorado today. All five were indicted on 2021 charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. McClain, as you may recall, was walking home when he was approached by police who were following a suspicious person call, according to the indictment.

After a struggle with police, paramedics then sedated McClain with a dosage of ketamine that was more than his body could handle. He suffered a heart attack and was declared brain dead three days later.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is outside the courtroom in Brighton, Colorado. Lucy, what happened during today's arraignment?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, after months of delays, we finally saw all five defendants in court today, the three police officers and the two paramedics, each pled not guilty to all of the charges. Three separate trials have been set for this summer. Now, keep in mind that the exact cause of death is in question here.

When police apprehended McClain that August summer evening in 2019, one of the first responding officers, Nathan Woodyard, tried to restrain McClain with a chokehold to the neck that has since been banned, causing the young man to briefly lose consciousness. The other two police officers who had been on site helped keep McClain restrained on the ground.

The paramedics were then called in. They injected that dose of ketamine, which later on, it turned out, was a lot stronger than what was necessary for his body weight. Initially, the autopsy report listed the cause of death as undetermined, but that changed later, following new evidence to effectively say that the cause of death was caused by complications from that ketamine injection, as well as following the restraint, pardon me, the manner of death remains undetermined.

The various defendants, though, in these upcoming -- in the months leading up today, have been essentially pointing fingers at one another in terms of who is to blame for Elijah's death. And so, as a result of that, this week, the judge ruled that there will be three separate trials. The former officer, Nathan Woodyard, who performed those chokeholds, will be tried by himself. That trial is scheduled for September 18.

The two other officers, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt will be tried together. Their trial is scheduled for July 11. And the two paramedics in this case Randy, pardon me, Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper, will also be tried together. Jury selections for their trial begins August 7. Jake?

TAPPER: Why did it take so long to get to this point?

KAFANOV: Yes, I mean, this is a death that initially, frankly, slipped through the cracks. The local D.A. didn't even take the case initially, saying that he didn't effectively have enough evidence to do anything about this. It actually took statewide protest here in Colorado following the killing of George Floyd for this to gain national attention. And that is when the Colorado Attorney General picked up this case, empaneled a secret grand jury.

We then had the change in the autopsy report results following that grand jury report, which remained sealed. That was this September. And then we had months of legal delays as these defendants tried to push for separate trials, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Lucy Kafanov in Brighton, Colorado, of course. Thank you so much.

Coming up, there's a new AP course, AP course in African American studies. It covers topics such as the Haitian Revolution and Black Feminism and the Black Panther movement. But this, of course, will not be taught in Florida after Governor Ron DeSantis's administration blocked the class, saying it lacks educational value and breaks the law. We will -- we just got some new information from the DeSantis administration about why they made that move, and that's next.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the administration of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida is blocking a new advanced placement class for high school students on African American studies. The DeSantis administration claims the course is of little educational value and breaks Florida law.

One section of the course is syllabus, as students will read the works of author Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a sociologist who views systemic racism as a problem in the United States. And as CNN's Sara Sidner reports, the rejection comes after DeSantis signed a bill last year restricting how race is taught in schools as he weighs a run for president.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: Florida is where woke goes to die.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's administration has blocked a new advanced placement course on African American studies for high school students.

[17:30:00] In a letter this month to the College Board, the nonprofit organization that oversees AP coursework, the Florida Department of Education said the course is inexpensive, explicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value. While the letter did not specify what the agency found objectionable, a spokesman for DeSantis said the course, quote, leaves large ambiguous gaps that can be filled with additional ideological material which we will not allow.

DESANTIS: Let me be clear, there's no room in our classrooms for things like critical race theory. Teaching kids to hate their country and to hate each other is not worth one red cent of taxpayer money.

SIDNER (voice-over): The rejection of the course follows efforts by DeSantis to overhaul Florida's educational curriculum to limit teaching about critical race theory, though there's little evidence it's taught in K through 12 schools. But in 2021, the state enacted a law that banned teaching the concept, which explores the history of systematic racism in the United States and its continued impacts.

Last year, DeSantis also signed a bill restricting how schools can talk about race with students.

DESANTIS: And I think what you see now with the rise of this woke ideology is an attempt to really delegitimize our history and to delegitimize our institutions.

SIDNER (voice-over): As DeSantis weighs a political 2024 presidential bid, his latest move signals a willingness by the rising GOP star to continue to engage in clashes over hot button cultural issues, a strategy that has boosted his standing among conservatives.

DESANTIS: We will fight the woke in our schools. We will never, ever surrender to the woke agenda.

SIDNER (voice-over): An apparent syllabus for the class was shared with CNN and runs more than 80 pages and provides a course framework covering a wide range of topics from the empires of Sudan to the Haitian revolution to black feminism.

LISA HILL, CO-CHAIR OF AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES AP COURSE: I've been working with this for a couple of years, and we have been very careful to be inclusive. And it's not just a history course. It includes literature and art and geography and political science, not politics.

SIDNER (voice-over): Lisa Hill is teaching the course now. She heads the history department at Hamden Hall Country Day School in Connecticut. She is baffled by the DeSantis administration's criticism.

(on-camera): Do you think this course is teaching CRT?

HILL: Absolutely not. In fact, that's one of the statements. This is not a CRT course. There's a conflation, an idea that this course is CRT, but with an AP label, which is incorrect. SIDNER (voice-over): The course is being offered as a pilot in 60 schools across the country during the 2022-23 school year. It was not immediately clear if Florida even had any schools participating in the pilot program.


SIDNER: So our Steve Contorno just got some new information from the DeSantis camp, and it does go over. There are specific concerns that they found within the AP African American studies course that is being piloted right now. There are six different concerns on topics, from everything, for the movement, for Black lives to Black queer studies, to the Reparations movement.

And when you look at what their concerns are, it is generally the included reading, and they list the authors that they are concerned about, one of whom is Kimberly Crenshaw, who is known to have written a book on critical race theory. So their concerns are few compared to the number of topics that are there in that syllabus that we were able to obtain. There are 102 topics that are listed in that syllabus, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much.

Let's discuss, first of all, just to define critical race theory, because I think people talk about it a lot. This is according to Education Week. "Critical race theory is an academic concept. It's more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies."

That said, I'm not sure how much critical race theory or CRT is actually in this course. One of the things that I find unusual about this discussion, Abby, is the idea that there are ideas that shouldn't even be taught. I mean, I'm not talking about indoctrinating students to think reparations are owed or think CRT is correct or whatever, but just like the idea that we shouldn't even teach an idea?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think that is actually what underlines all of this. I mean, I think there's probably a decent argument that parents should have some input in general, I guess, in their children's education. But at the same time, I think a lot of parents would be a little bit uncomfortable with the state saying, I'm going to decide that your child is not going to be introduced to a set of ideas, because I don't like those ideas.

And the idea, the point of an AP class is to prepare students to be able to evaluate different ideas and weigh them against each other. But I also think that this falls into a bigger bucket of things, a long -- decades long effort among some people to try to eliminate race and ethnicity studies at the collegiate level.


And now that is bleeding into the high school level. And DeSantis is playing into that because it's very convenient for his 2024 run. But I don't think people should be mistaken. This is not something that he just invented yesterday. It's been going on for some time.

ALEX BURNS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR & COLUMNIST POLITICO: Well, I mean, I totally agree with that, and I think it's, you know, it's a useful enough instrument for him right now in Florida. I'm not sure how convenient it is going to turn out to be in a 2024 context that, you know, once you get outside a Florida Republican primary electorate, outside the bubble of the Fox News universe that Ron DeSantis typically lives, in, you know, this plays pretty differently with an audience of parents who actually do want their kids exposed to a lot of different ideas and who don't just necessarily take to the idea of state censorship of what's in education.

I think the folks who campaign against wokism are most effective when they depict the left and cultural elites as trying to control what your kid has access to. And look what Ron DeSantis is doing right now, it's exactly that.

KEVIN MADDEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think that's exactly it. And I think this has less to do with the substance and it has much more to do with theater. And the theater here is what really drives base activists on this partisans to rally around it because they just love the idea that their new sort of guy, Ron DeSantis, is sticking it to the education establishment and the teachers unions, sticking it to the liberal left, taking the fight to them.

And to your point about, yes, this could get problematic if you start getting into battleground states and suburbs and how it plays there. But they're only looking and this is what happens in Republican primaries, any primary. You're only looking about five yards ahead of you. And this is why it's a big issue.

TAPPER: I mean, would you have a problem with kids being, let's say they took a class on capitalism versus communism or just communism? What is communism? As long as it was taught honestly, right?


TAPPER: Like, you know, here's what Stalin did, here's what Castro did, et cetera. Would you have a problem with, you know, the works of Karl Marx being read?

KOSOGLU: Well, what we have here is not just extreme rhetoric, we have extreme action. And so, for the vast majority of families in Florida, they're going to now have their high schooler, have a choice between AP European history, AP Japanese history, but be banned from having AP African American history. And so that's not necessarily going to stand with the vast majority of families in Florida, let alone the country.

TAPPER: I guess the issue that DeSantis is trying to get at is this isn't just education. This is indoctrination. They are telling kids or they would be telling kids to think reparations are necessary, intersectionality is real and so on.

PHILLIP: I mean, I think that he's going to make that argument, but the reality is that this whole thing is just about not wanting -- you heard Sara Sidner say it, the objections are to the reading list, including an author that they don't like. Kimberly Crenshaw, Ta-Nehisi Coates, that I think is very transparent to people.

I also think to Rohini's point, people are not stupid, OK? They understand that when you allow AP European history, AP Japanese history, and then you say, OK, black folks, we're not going to teach your history because we don't like the way that, you know, we don't like the subject matters that are in the curriculum. I think that is very transparent to people.

And I have a lot of questions about beyond Florida, beyond this political moment, whether or not something like this is going to play to a broader American public. They have kids who are in high school who take AP classes on all kinds of subjects and AP classes are not mandated at all.

TAPPER: Right.

PHILLIP: So I think people get it and it's just, you know, only time will tell.

TAPPER: By the way, I don't know -- I think you and I are the only one that have high school kids. But like --

MADDEN: I have (INAUDIBLE) junior in high school.

TAPPER: How delighted would you be if your kid read any book?

MADDEN: I love it. And, by the way, when I was in high school, I loved African American history. It was one of my favorite classes.

TAPPER: This obviously occurs in the context of the 2024 race. Nikki Haley gave an interview teasing a run for presidency -- president and she seems to take some shots at Donald Trump. Take a look.


NIKKI HALEY (R), FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: The survival of America matters and it's bigger than one person. And when you're looking at the future of America, I think it's time for new generational change. I don't think you need to be 80 years old to go be a leader in D.C. I've never lost a race. I said that then, I still say that now. I'm not going to lose now. But stay tuned.


TAPPER: What do you think?

MADDEN: Well, the most important thing you can have in a campaign with your message is a contrast message, right? Which is why me, not them. And that's exactly what Nikki Haley's doing --

TAPPER: New generation.

MADDEN: -- is new generation. And also the last guy lost us the Congress and he lost his last election. So new generation and somebody who can win versus somebody who lost the Congress, lost his own race and is older.


BURNS: You know, I think one of the things that's sort of tricky for Nikki Haley in all this is that she's actually been around for a little while now, right? That I'm old enough to remember when she was just a fresh face state representative running an uphill a campaign for governor in 2010. And it's one of the things you can be the victim of your own success at a young age that she's actually, you know, been around for a dozen plus years as a semi-national figure.

So if Republican primary voters are looking to turn the page, see what the flavor of the month is, I'm not sure that's really a winning argument for her, but it is a way to get in this passive aggressive space where you're talking about Donald Trump without saying you're talking about Donald Trump.

TAPPER: So not passive aggressive. Mike Pompeo, a former Secretary of State who's also possibly going to run 2024. He has a book coming out next week, and he writes that there was an effort by Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to have Nikki Haley replace Pence as Vice President. And in the book, it says, "Haley had entered the Oval Office with the President's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared, who were both senior advisers. As best Kelly" -- John Kelly, then White House Chief of staff -- "could tell they were presenting a possible Haley for Vice President option."

Nikki Haley was asked about that. Here's her response.


HALEY: I never had a conversation with Jared, Ivanka or the president about the vice presidentship. And you know what I'll tell you is it's really sad when you're having to go out there and put lies and gossip to sell a book.


TAPPER: I will say that I did talk to a White House official from that time who backs Pompeo's version, not necessarily that Nikki Haley had talked about this, but that Jared and Ivanka were definitely pushing her to replace Pence.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, I think that's kind of the read between the lines. What Pompeo is saying is that they wanted that, basically. I think it's interesting that all of these former Trump officials are fighting with each other to go up against the guy that they used to work for. That I think, is going to be very problematic for many of them because they've all said a lot of very favorable things about Trump and they're going to have to figure out how to square that with a campaign that's going to have to take him down, frankly.

TAPPER: I bet Democrats are really enjoying watching all this. KOSOGLU: Well, there's no question everyone tries to get a private meeting with the President in the Oval Office. There is no doubt about that. What is clear here, without being able to fact check it, is that they are trying to really take aim at her credibility. And this is very much in the context of this 2024 discussion.

TAPPER: Thanks, one and all, for being here. And don't forget, you can catch Abby on Inside Politics Sunday at 08:00, a.m. Eastern right here on CNN. If you didn't get enough just now, there's more coming on Sunday.

Three active duty marines who work in intelligence are under arrest in connection with the January 6 insurrection. Why they claim they were at the Capitol? Stick around.



TAPPER: Three active duty U.S. marines who work in intelligence have been arrested for allegedly storming the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. One of the accused is even said that he supports a second Civil war, according to recently unsealed court documents of CNN's Sara Murray. Following all of this for, Sarah, who are these three marines and what are the specific charges against them?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of them is Corporal Micah Coomer, the other one is Sergeant Joshua Abate and then Sergeant Dodge Dale Hellonen. So they're facing a number of charges, including disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. And these court documents are interesting because, you know, the FBI caught on to Coomer because he was posting photos on his Instagram page of him at the Capitol. You know, they're in his messages, he's saying that it's time for a boogaloo or he's waiting for one. And he explains that's the second Civil War that he's talking about.

This other guy, Joshua Abate, you know, he is in an interview for his security clearance, and he tells them in this interview that he was at the Capitol with two buddies. When it became clear that people were portraying negatively the riot, he no longer wanted to tell people that he was there. This is what all came out in these court documents, Jake.

TAPPER: They work intelligence, these guys. What does the Marine Corps have to say about this?

MURRAY: So the Marine Corps says that they are aware of this investigation. They're aware of these allegations. They say they're fully cooperating with appropriate authorities in support of the investigation. We should note that these three men have not yet entered a plea when it comes to their conduct.

TAPPER: All right. Curious are in curious there. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

What former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has to say about her husband Paul's recovery after that brutal attack. That's next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Congresswoman Former Speaker Nancy Pelosi is speaking with CNN's Chris Wallace about a number of things, including her husband Paul's recovery. Paul, as you might remember, was seriously injured last October when a deranged assailant broke into the then Speaker's home in San Francisco and attacked Paul Pelosi with a hammer.


CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: This is a difficult subject to bring up, but people are -- want to know how's your husband Paul doing after that vicious attack in October?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), CALIFORNIA: He's doing OK, it's going to take a little while for him to be back to normal. I feel very sad about it for -- because of what happened but also more sad because the person was searching for me. And my dear husband, who is not even that political actually, paid the price. He's been out a bit because the doctor said he has to have something to look forward to. And so again, one day at a time. And thank you for asking.

WALLACE: I'm just going to press this a little, we see him out in public. But when I've talked to you, when I've talked to your daughter, when I've talked to one of your granddaughters, you all keep using the expression long haul.

PELOSI: Long haul.

WALLACE: Is it physical? Is it emotional? Is it cognitive? What's the long haul mean in terms of recovery?

PELOSI: Anyone who's had a head injury knows that you have to be very careful. You have to be careful about movement. You have to careful about light, you have to be careful about sound. And it just takes a while. Probably another three or four months, according to the doctors, for him to be really himself.


TAPPER: The former speaker also talked with Chris about the chaos in the House of Representatives during the extended battle for speaker.


WALLACE: As a political pro Watching that, what did you think?

PELOSI: Well, I was sad for the institution. They should have had their act together. They should have gotten it done, and it was sad. It was nothing to be amused by or laugh at -- or anything was sad for the institution. WALLACE: So what would you have done if you're you were McCarthy and you got to the first day of the actual session and you didn't have the votes?


PELOSI: I vote would have had the votes. I knew I had the votes.


TAPPER: And you can see more of my colleague Chris Wallace's interview with Speaker Pelosi, former Speaker Pelosi, this Sunday night at 07:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN, though the full interview is available right now on HBO Max.

Coming up Sunday on State of the Union with my colleague Dana Bash, Democratic Senators Dick Durbin and Joe Mansion, along with Republican Congressman Michael McCaul. That's Sunday morning at 9:00 Eastern and again at noon here on CNN.

Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD from whence you get your podcast, all two hours just sitting there like a delicious plum.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM", right after this quick break.