Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Classified Documents Found At Former VP Mike Pence's Home; 39 Mass Shootings So Far In 2023, According To The Gun Violence Archive; Sources: U.S. Finalizing Plans To Send Abrams Tanks To Ukraine; Senate Hearing Spotlights Lack Of Competition In Ticketing Industry. Aired 4- 5p ET
Aired January 24, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R-UT): A lot of people seem to think that's somehow a solution. I think it's a nightmare dressed like a daydream.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN HOST: That right there is 30 seconds we'll never get back, Victor.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: And I want them.
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Any more of you elected officials out there want to fess up to classified documents in your home?
THE LEAD starts right now.
First Trump, then Biden, now Mike Pence admits that he too had classified material at his house. Will the Justice Department appoint another special counsel as lawmakers react now to the Pence news?
And California's three mass shootings in three days. The latest, a case of workplace violence. What led a gunman to allegedly target his co-workers as we learn the identities of 19 killed in less than a week?
Plus, reversing course. Sources tell CNN the U.S. is now ready to send its Abrams tanks to Ukraine as Germany also softens its opposition. So what changed?
BROWN: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown. Jake Tapper is on assignment.
And we start today in our politics lead with a story first reported by CNN. Roughly a dozen classified documents found at former Vice President Mike Pence's house. A lawyer for Pence found the papers at Pence's Indiana home last week, according to sources, and turned them over to the FBI. The documents were not stored in a secure area at Pence's home and the discovery directly contradicts what Pence told ABC last November.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: You sit here in your home office in Indiana, did you take any classified documents with you from the White House?
MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I did not.
INTERVIEWER: Do you see any reason for anyone to take classified documents with them leaving the White House?
PENCE: Well, there would be no reason to have classified documents, particularly if they were in an unprotected area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: This afternoon, CNN asked Attorney General Merrick Garland about these revelations, but he declined to answer.
CNN's Jamie Gangel was part of the team that broke this exclusive reporting today. Jamie, we just heard Pence there saying he didn't take classified information. So what happened here?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, this appears to have been inadvertent. What we know is it seems to have happened in the final days of the Trump/Pence presidency and the classified documents appear to have been packed up with personal items that were at the vice president's residence. And I think that's important because we know that actually the Pence office was very rigorous about the process of their paperwork when it was packed away and things were sent to the proper place at the White House.
What we don't know, who packed them up at the vice president's residence? When they saw the classified markings, why weren't they put aside? And we still don't know the content of these documents, the level of classification, the sensitivity. What we know, though, is they weren't in a secure location at the Pence family home, and they have been sitting there for quite some time now.
When the documents were covered by Pence's lawyer, we should be enclosure they clear, they took the classified documents and put them in a safe until the FBI picked them up.
BROWN: So, talking about the FBI involved in the Trump investigation, the Biden investigation. Does this have any impact on those investigations?
GANGEL: So I actually think this may be a gift in different ways to both President Biden and former President Trump. For President Biden, this has been a hellacious PR nightmare that just drip, drip, drip.
What this shows is there's a problem with the system. Mike Pence didn't think he had documents either. They found it here.
For former President Trump, I think this may help him on the legal front because even though his situation is completely different, intent, obstruction, the number of documents that were taken, it does show sort of a widespread issue with these documents, and it may impact what Merrick Garland and the special counsel decide to do.
BROWN: I've got to say, though, I find it surprising that after the Mar-a-Lago search it took so many months for both Biden and Pence to find classified documents in their homes. You'd think they would have done it right away.
Are other presidents or vice presidents searching their homes or offices right now?
GANGEL: Their sock drawers, too.
I think we will see in the coming days the Archives reach out to all the former presidents, all the former vice presidents, and ask them to go back and check. Maybe there's going to have to be some kind of amnesty here. I'm not even saying it lightly. But if the system isn't working, there may be a need to say, guys, we're going to fix the system but please go back and see what you have there.
BROWN: That's really interesting. Jamie Gangel, amazing reporting. Thank you.
So, let's discuss with CNN's Paula Reid and former principal deputy assistant attorney, General Tom Dupree.
So, Tom, this is now the third time in just the last few months where a president or vice president has improperly had classified documents after leaving office. I want to play something Pence said just two weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: Before we left the White House, the attorneys and my staff went through all the documents at both the White House in our offices there and at the vice president's residence to ensure, that any documents that needed to be turned over to the national archives, including classified documents, were turned over. So we went through a very careful process in that regard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: How does this keep happening, tom?
TOM DUPREE, FORMER PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: That is the question of the hour. You know, it happened with Trump, and I think most quickly realized how that happened. Then it happened with Biden and I think people said, how can someone as smart and wise in the ways of Washington as Joe Biden make this mistake? And now, here, it happens again to former Vice President Pence.
I do think it shows that these errors can happen inadvertent. I'm not saying that's the case with Trump or Biden, but I am saying that it does at least at this hour appear to have been the case with the former vice president.
By all accounts, the transition as far as vice President Pence was, was careful, was methodical. They did look at the documents they were taking out. There was no suggestion at this hour that this was a scheme to pirate classified documents out of Washington and to Indiana. It does appear to be a good faith oversight.
BROWN: Uh-huh. And you have to wonder how this helps the other investigations, right? Pence made it clear we crossed all of our T's, dotted our I's, everything was by the book. And yet we have learned that classified documents ended up at his home, too. So they could argue, right, Paula, look, it slipped through the cracks even with Pence.
We know now the Justice Department is investigating how these documents inappropriately ended up at Pence's house. What does that investigation look like? Could Mike Pence now face a special counsel of his own?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the attorney general is probably running out of options for special counsels but I don't think a special counsel is inevitable here. Right now, they're conducting a review, looking at the facts and deciding if there needs to be further criminal investigation. And based on what we're just discussing, I mean, this right now based on what we know this appears to be inadvertent.
And the reason that the case for President Trump and former President Biden has gone to special counsels, they did things that made their situations more complicated. Specifically when it comes to former President Trump, he's under investigation for allegedly trying to obstruct this investigation, the amount of material that he had retained, hundreds of pages versus dozens with President Biden. Also he was moving the documents, which is why Mar-a-Lago was searched.
President Biden's team, they were more cooperative, they did the right thing, they reached out, they said they were trying to cooperate. But look, it took them a long time to complete their searchers. They didn't even tell the Justice Department that they were going to search the Wilmington home and weren't fully transparent with the American public when this first came out.
So they really kind of backed the attorney general into having to appoint a special counsel. None of those complications are at issue currently with what we know about Pence. So I don't think it's inevitable that there will a third special counsel.
BROWN: All right. Well, we'll have to wait and see because we all learned too after Biden, one batch founding, then another. But far, our reporting suggests that the lawyers for Pence only found this one stash of classified documents at his home.
So what do you think, Tom, do you think this discovery changes the calculations for the Justice Department at all when it comes to the investigations into Trump and Biden? DUPREE: You know, I do. I really do think it does, because I think
that this latest revelation really was going to send a message to a lot of people out in the American public, that this thing happened all the time, rightly or wrongly. I think that's what many people's perception is going to be. That classified documents for one reason or another make their way out of Washington and into places they shouldn't be.
So, I think if you are either of the special counsels currently looking into this, I don't see how you can help but factor in what's going on with Pence. Is it calculus in your determination as to what to recommend, whether you think that there's a violation of law that could potentially be prosecuted, because again, this just underscores the fact that these things can happen by accident or inadvertence and any distinctions among the situations of the three main players I think are going to be lost on a large fraction of the American public.
BROWN: Paula, you heard Jamie there in her reporting saying that don't be surprised if the Archives reaches out to every president and vice president and say, hey, I need you to search your homes and offices. But have they already been doing that? Should they be doing that given what's going on?
REID: It really does feel like that's where we're headed, Pamela, some sort of amnesty period, so we're not going through this every six months because it does appear that this could happen inadvertently. We want to make sure that all of this material is protected and it does appear to be a systemic problem.
I was speaking with one of President Trump's lawyers a short time ago. They've been saying this -- honestly, they have been telling me this for months. This is a systemic problem, they said there's overclassification, and there should be an amnesty period to really address the larger issues.
Now, that doesn't absolve their client of his alleged obstruction. But there is a larger issue here. Now, of course, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton I'm sure would love to have a word about that because she paid enormous political prices when she was investigated for potentially mishandling classified materials.
BROWN: Yeah, but that is another example as well of the problem, right?
So -- all right, Paula Reid, Tom Dupree, thank you so much.
Up next, how this Mike Pence saga is getting quite the reaction on Capitol just as Republicans were coming after Biden for his documents discovery.
Also ahead for you today, the new voices calling on Republican Congressman George Santos to resign after the lies that appear to be nonstop.
And are you ready for it? A rare moment in Washington today. The bad blood fiasco, uniting both Republicans and Democrats. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BROWN: Holy heck. That's how Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner react into the revelation that classified documents have also been found at the Indiana home of former Vice President Mike Pence.
So, let's get more reaction now from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
CNN's Phil Mattingly is at the White House. But I want to start with CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.
Manu, what are you hearing from lawmakers?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I have been asking members about this ever since the news of the Pence revelations brook, and they are perplexed, stunned that this continues to happen, and uncertain about how the former president, the former vice president, the current president have these documents outside of the secure settings.
In the current president's case, how he got documents that were apparently from his time in the Senate -- how they ended up in his home in Wilmington. How this also emerged with vice president, former Vice President Mike Pence, it is Indiana home. Several of them asking for more answers from the intelligence community or even suggesting possible legislation is needed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The bottom line is, I don't know how this happened. We need to get to the bottom of it. I don't believe for a minute that Mike Pence is trying to intentionally compromise national security. I think that about Biden and Trump, but clearly, we have a problem here.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Senator Peters is looking at bipartisan legislation in terms of classified documents. I support his efforts. In the meantime, on this specific case -- the place -- the appropriate thing to do is have special prosecutor, and that's what's happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So, Schumer there is stopping short of suggesting that the Senate should investigate. I asked him whether or not his chamber should look into this matter, saying that instead this is in the purview of the Justice Department. They have a similar line that Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, had as well.
But the Senate Intelligence Committee, the bipartisan leaders of that committee, are planning to press the director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, tomorrow behind closed doors. That a previously -- one of the leaders of that committee telling me that this would most certainly come up because they have been pressing for why these records have leaked out and what damage the system to national security. They hope to get the answers tomorrow, Pamela.
BROWN: Those are important questions.
Phil, top Democrats visited the White House today as the Biden administration is leading with its own classified documents scandal. How is the White House reacting to this latest news?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Pamela, it's interesting. Publicly, they're not commenting. They're making clear this is an ongoing investigation or an ongoing review and they are not going to get involved in it. Much like they refused to comment on their own investigation that they're dealing with from the special counsel. Privately, officials have been very keenly eyeing the developments over the last couple of hours when it comes to the former vice president.
Keep in mind, over the course of the last several weeks, as the White House has attempted to grapple with the repeated disclosures, they have gone through great lengths to make clear just how different they view their situation. The presidents classified documents issues, without of his predecessor -- very different cases, very different issues that the two are dealing with.
This is an issue in particular with the former vice president, where I think the company is welcome to some degree, trying to draw parallels here, trying to make clear that this was both inadvertent in both cases, but also underscoring that this is something that can happen, does happen, and in the presidents case, that as this investigation continues, having somebody else that is not the former president and what he is going through, to hold up as an example, is something that has been politically helpful and potentially could be helpful more broadly in terms of how people are looking at things. Again, not weighing in publicly, but certainly aware of those dynamics behind the scene.
BROWN: All right. Manu and Phil, thank you both so much.
Let's discuss with our panel.
Abby, I'm going to start with you, when the classified documents were found at Mar-a-Lago, Republicans quickly came out to downplay it. Downplayed the significance, saying let's wait and see what this is all about. Then, classified arguments were found at Biden's property. Suddenly, this is so serious. And there needs to be an investigation.
Do you expect Republicans to downplay it again now that documents were found at Pence's home?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You will be shocked to know that many of them are already downplaying it. One of the reasons they are doing that is because Mike Pence did one thing that I took note on in a statement. He said we are cooperating with congressional investigators, i.e., James Comer, the head of the oversight committee, who is a Republican. He called up Comer and said this is happening and Comer has now taken that to say, well, Mike Pence is cooperating with us and Biden isn't. [16:20:01]
And so, that's what makes these cases really different. But it isn't. I mean, obviously, both Pence and Biden are arguing that they did not intentionally take these documents. And that they are cooperating. So we will see how, you know, these are handled not just by the House and the Senate, but also by DOJ as well.
BROWN: Right. A key difference between Biden and Pence is that with Biden, you kept at getting the drip, drip, drip. So far with Pence, they found one batch, but there could be more as we all learned with Biden. Nonetheless, politically, could there be any better news for the Biden White House today?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think that there is a bright a line between the way that former President Trump has handled it and the way that Biden and Pence have, right?
If Ramesh has my iPad, I said, hey, that's clearly marked with Longhorn logo, oh sure, of course, because he is an honest person. Pence is acting like an honest person. Biden is acting like an honest person.
Trump is not. He lied. He stonewalled. He denied. They had to execute a search warrant. So, I -- to me, those politically, are very different cases. Plus, there's been better reporting on the Trump documents. There's been reporting that they were very highly classified.
I worked in the White House. Lots of stuff is classified that is actually not very important. We know from reporting that up to and including top secret -- higher than top secret information -- nuclear program and other matters we're at Mar-a-Lago golf course. We don't know what these documents were.
I think it's good that Mike Pence has called Chairman Comer in the House, a Republican, and a lawyer one. He needs to call the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Manu is reporting about Mark Warner who I think is one of the last bastions of bipartisanship, nonpartisanship in Washington. He's a person I would trust a lot. I think Pence ought to call him as well and say, here they are, but I don't want to know what the secrets are, but I want to know how highly classified this stuff was.
BROWN: Yeah, I mean, that is a really key part of understanding the significance of it. But the rules are the rules. The rules were broken, bringing them home in the first place. But I think it is important to know more about how sensitive intelligence was. Sources and methods, where those compromised?
I want to get your reaction, Ramesh, about an interview I did this past weekend. This is what House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner told me a few days ago about Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R-OH): When he left his vice president's office and decided that he was going to take these classified documents with him, albeit, illegally, and as he said, he understands that. Because he said that when Trump did, it so now we now know he did it. Why six years ago did he walk out of the vice president's office, with documents marked classified, and what did he do with him over that six-year period?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: It is a fair question for president Biden and I said. That and also it has been six years for Pence. But are we going to see Republicans asking those same questions for Pence?
RAMESH PONNURU, EDITOR, NATIONAL REVIEW: I suspect there will be bipartisan asymmetry on that question. I have to say, I appreciate your vote of confidence, the signs on your laptop.
PONNURU: I think one of the questions at all of this races and there are a bunch of them, one of them is what we're the motives that these leaders had in keeping this classified information? Was it just sloppiness? Where they're different motives for different figures? Are we going to find that there are additional officials who have classified information in places where they should not be?
I would not be shocked if we were to find in the next few days that there are other former presidents, former vice presidents, who probably even as we speak, are having their people scoured through all of their possessions.
BROWN: I think it's an important point. In a way, do these Pence revelations take the politics out of this? Let's just back for a second and realize the big problem we have here. Like what other former officials have documents at their home like this?
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I've been trying to think of the right Taylor Swift lyric to sum it up.
BROWN: Oh, there's got to be one!
TALEV: There has got to be one. And I have not found yet.
But like, yes, I think every living ex-president and vice president should be running through this stuff right now before somebody shows up at their door. There is going to be -- there already are calls for reforms. But look, a couple things. Number one, I think the Mike Pence revelations aside, the drip, drip of the Biden discoveries does to fuse this issue. It takes it off the table as a real weapon to use against Trump.
At the same time, polling, early polling, shows that voters take what Trump has done and the way he has handled it much differently than in the case of Biden. And I would suspect, much differently than in the case of Pence. We don't know that yet. We have not seen a polling on that yet.
Ultimately, I think -- I don't think this will be the driving issue that's going to decide the 2024 campaigns, right? But before the next several months, it's going to consume everything. And so, you have this bit of triangulation. Biden made Trump very lucky with the Biden documents. Pence is going to help distinguish what we think Biden situation with the documents was from Trumps.
It is very hard to talk about this or report on this without knowing what any of these documents are. And that is really the situation.
PHILLIP: I cannot emphasize enough how much Trump's refusal to return these documents has taken something that happens actually probably more than we know about it because they are handled typically in private, and made it a big thing.
When the National Archives came to the Trump folks and said, we think you have these documents, please return them. They could have returned them. And we may never have heard about it. But because of his handling of it, now it is a bigger issue.
And now, Biden and Pence are embroiled in this. And one thing about Pence, Pence has made a lot of statements about Biden, earlier this month, he said that they reviewed his offices and residences and did not find anything. Only to later find it.
It just goes to show, it might be actually quite difficult for these officials to scour through these documents and find what might be classified.
TALEV: But once you find it, you have to -- PHILLIP: You got to give it back.
BROWN: You got to get it back, yeah.
BEGALA: The 2016 campaign did turn on this issue. Hillary Clinton used a private email server. Do you know how many documents marked classified were on there? Zero.
It was the most covered story of the 2016 campaign. I'm waiting for her apology.
PHILLIP: And, by the way, multiple Trump officials used personal emails while working in the White House. So --
BROWN: Yeah, that too. That too.
BROWN: But it will be interesting to see politically how this weighs on voters, I mean, who right now are dealing with inflation, the price of eggs, and how much does this really resonate with voters?
PONNURU: One reaction people might have is that this is an example of our leaders not following the rules that they write themselves. So --
BROWN: On both sides of the aisle.
PONNURU: The whole political class. It may encourage that populist streak in American opinion.
BROWN: All right. Thanks to all. Appreciate it.
And this note for you, the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia, says her decision is, quote, imminent on possible charges on Donald Trump and his allies were trying to overturn the 2020 election. Here's her reasoning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What the state does not want to see happen and don't think that there is any way that the court would be able to guarantee, is that if that report was released, there somehow could be arguments made that it impacts the right for later individuals, multiple, to get a fair trial, to have a fair hearing, to be able to be tried in this jurisdiction. The list can go on and on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: She is referring to a final report from a grand jury that as you heard her imply, apparently has recommended indictments against multiple individuals. We know that the grand jury wanted its report released. Today, media outlets, including CNN, also argued for the report to be released in the name of public interest. The judge today did not indicate when a decision would be made.
Up next, the aftermath of tragedy after California's three mass shootings in three days, what we are learning about victims killed and the gunman who took their lives.
BROWN: New pictures just in to CNN. This is damage in Pasadena, Texas, just outside of Houston after severe storms moved through the area. There are at least two reports of tornados so far. Pasadena police say they're also responding to reports of drivers stranded by high waters. The area is still under a severe thunderstorm warning.
We'll keep an eye on this as the night develops.
Also in our national lead, at least 19 people are dead after three separate mass shootings in just as many days in California, first in Monterey Park Saturday night and then yesterday in half moon bay and Oakland, just three of the 39 mass shootings in the U.S. in 2023. The most at this point compared to any other year on record, according to the gun violence archive.
CNN's Natasha Chen is in Monterey Park, California, where national families are reeling from this uniquely American gun violence epidemic.
SHERIFF CHRISTINA CORPUS, SAN MATEO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: all of the evidence we have points to this being the instance of workplace violence.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another California community rocked by a mass shooting. Monday a gunman attacked two locations in half moon bay south of San Francisco. Police say he first attacked a mushroom farm where the suspect was employed.
CORPUS: The only known connection between the victims and the suspect is that they may have been co-workers.
CHEN: Before then targeting workers at a second location. At least seven adults were killed and one injured. Two hours later, this video shows the shocking moment when the 66-year-old suspect was arrested by police in the parking lot of a substation. Inside the car, authorities found a legally owned weapon they said was used in the shooting. All of this less than 48 hours after another gunman killed at least 11 people about 400 miles to the south in a dance studio in Monterey Park, California.
BRANDON TSAY, MAN WHO DISARMED THE MONTEREY PARK GUNMAN: I needed to save myself and the people inside.
CHEN: Brandon Tsay granted that gunman when the 72-year-old shooter entered a second dance studio in nearby Alhambra.
TSAY: Something happened. Something came over me. I had this rush of thought and adrenaline.
CHEN: Tsay wrestled the gun away. The suspect died from a self- inflicted gunshot wound as police surrounded him in Torrance about 30 miles away. These victims who have suffered such terrible loss, the community is honoring the 11 victims, including Ling Wae Ma (ph) who was manager of the Star Ballroom Dance Studio, according to this former client. She told me she remembers how he made her feel at ease. She says --
I said I don't know how to dance the cha-cha. He led me to the dance floor and we did a few steps.
This dancer teacher recalled 65-year-old Mymy Nhan who also died Saturday night.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first that comes to my mind is her smile. She would always smile.
CHEN: Sixty-eight-year-old Valentino Alvero's son said his father would have fought for the safety of those inside the studio, that he loved dancing, was a year away from retiring and would leave a legacy of love. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest message from my father is to care
about other people.
CHEN (on camera): Now, as these family and friends gather tonight at a vigil, there are still so many questions about why the suspect did this in Monterey Park here behind us. In the meantime, a former friend of the suspect spoke to our colleagues who said that he was highly distrustful of people. That he sometimes thought the dance instructors didn't like him or were speaking ill of him, which this person said was baseless and that, quote, he could hate people to death -- Pamela.
BROWN: Natasha Chen in Monterey Park, California, thank you.
And law enforcement in Washington state right now has a house in the city of Yakima surrounded as part of a manhunt for a gunman who shot and killed three people overnight. Police are looking for this man. This was the suspect taken at a convenience store where the shootings occurred.
The Yakima police chief said the suspect tried to get into a gas station but found the doors were locked. He walked across the street to the convenience store where he shot two people getting food inside and shot another person outside as he left. Police say this appears to be a random crime.
And now to our world lead. Soon, NATO's best tanks could be rolling onto the battlefield in Ukraine after a week-long diplomatic log jam instigated by Germany's refusal to send its more nimble Leopard tanks unless the U.S. sent the Abrams tanks first. Well, now, sources tell us the Biden administration is changing its tune and finalizing plans to send Ukraine its jet fuel guzzling tanks.
Joining us now, CNN's Natasha Bertrand in Washington and CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Ukraine.
So, first of all, Natasha, U.S. officials have repeatedly describes its Abrams tanks more difficult to use than Germany's Leopard tanks. Why change course now?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Understanding by that today, Pam, they are reiterating that these are cumbersome, difficult to use and costly. But they say now -- well, our sources say anyway, that they are preparing to announce their commitment of a significant number of Abrams tanks to Ukraine.
Now, it is unclear at this point, we should note when those tanks will actually ending up on the ground in Ukraine because it does take a long time for people to be trained on these large and complicated systems. What we are told is really over the last week there have been these conversations between U.S. officials, German officials, trying to come to some kind of agreement to get Germany to sending those leopard tanks to Ukraine because the U.S. views those as game changing for Ukrainians on the ground there. And, of course and very important that other European countries who have those tanks in their inventory are also able to transport them and sell them to Ukraine, Pam.
BROWN: So did the U.S. effectively kowtow to Germany's demands then here? Is that what's going on?
BERTRAND: Well, it remains unclear whether there's going to be any kind of direct linkage between the tanks the U.S. is sending and the German tanks. But it does seem this was an agreement that was settled to try to get Germany to be comfortable sending these tanks, because again, Germany said they did not want to go at this alone and specifically did not wanting to do it without the United States, Pam.
BROWN: Fred, to you now, in Ukraine, CNN is also reporting Western allies have urged Ukraine to shift from the eastern battles and focus on a southern offensive. How is Ukraine taking that suggestion?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Ukrainians say they are not going to do that. The vibes we are getting from Ukrainian officials is they don't plan to give Russia an inch of their territory unless they absolutely have to -- absolutely unfeasible for them to be there. The main focal point we've been hearing about is where there have been tough battles of attrition between the Ukrainian forces on the one hand. On the Russian side, you have the Wagner, private military company with its very brutal tactics that it using and very high own losses trying to take that place.
Now, the U.S. apparently has said that it believes the Ukrainians would be better off leaving there and trying to organize their defenses some where else but the Ukrainians are saying that is absolute lowly not going happen. The vibes we have been getting from the Ukrainians the past day or so is they say right now it's difficult for them there, but at the same time they do say they are holding out there and that situation for them at this moment remains stable, Pamela.
BROWN: So, how are they reacting to the news about the tanks?
PLEITGEN: Well, they're obviously thrilled about the news of the tanks. One of the big questions people are asking on the ground here and in Europe really as well is whether it took the U.S. to get Olaf Scholz of Germany on board to send tanks, or whether it took Olaf Scholz to get the U.S. to send tanks.
Obviously, if you're looking at this from a Ukrainian perspective right now, the options seem to be some Leopard 2 tanks from a couple of European countries, possibly Germany included. And now they're looking at getting a lot of Western main battle tanks, including tanks from the United States.
So the Ukrainians, the bottom line for them is they're getting a lot more tanks than they thought they would be and they're getting them from the U.S. and European countries so they seem pretty happy about this. That's what we're hearing from Europe, from officials here in Ukraine.
BROWN: Yeah, good for them. Natasha Bertrand, Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much.
Well, fans haven't quite shaken it off. After the Taylor Swift Ticketmaster fiasco, were the executives behind the mess able to fix their big reputation during today's visit to Capitol Hill?
BROWN: In our money lead, not even in our wildest dreams did Senate Judiciary members expect Ticketmaster and Live Nation executives to admit I'm the problem, it's me.
BROWN: The concert giant and its subsidiary faced renewed scrutiny from lawmakers today.
CNN's Matt Egan joins us now.
So, Matt, tell us about today's hearing?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Pamela, Ticketmaster and Live Nation, they did the unthinkable. They got Republicans and Democrats to agree about something, specifically about how big of a debacle this whole thing has been.
Live Nation did their best to try to defend themselves, as Taylor Swift would put it, to shake it off. They blamed a flood of bot traffic, they blamed a cyberattack. Listen to what the president of live nation told lawmakers today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BERCHTOLD, PRESIDENT AND CFO, LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT: Well, the bots failed to penetrate our systems, the attack requires to slow down and pause our sales. This is what led to a terrible consumer experience, which we deeply regret. We apologize to the fans. We apologize to Ms. Swift.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): Republicans and Democrats in an absolutely unified cause. Unfortunately, your approach today in this hearing is going to solidify that cooperation because as I hear and read what you have to say, it's basically it's not us. It's everyone but us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
EGAN: What this Ticketmaster meltdown has managed to do something pretty incredible. It's shined a bright light on what is normally a pretty arcane issue, Pamela, that is the idea that some companies have just gotten too big and too powerful.
BROWN: Yeah, exactly. Should we expect any actual change to come out of this hearing? EGAN: Well, there's no easy answers here. One of the issues is the
stranglehold over the market that Ticketmaster has. According to Yale, Ticketmaster controls 70 percent of the market for live events and 80 percent for concerts. As far as solutions, one idea that was floated is to make tickets nontransferable to try to cap the prices.
But that would not address the lack of competition. It's possible, though, that today's hearing gives the DOJ political cover to file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation, much like the lawsuit that was filed just today against Google.
Another idea that was floated is that Senator Blumenthal, he suggested that one solution is to unwind the 2010 merger between Ticketmaster and Live Nation that created this ticketing giant in the first place, basically undo the deal completely.
I can't resist one more Taylor swift pun here. Essentially regulars would saying, I knew you were trouble when you walked in.
BROWN: I'm starting to think you're a Swiftie, Matt Egan. I don't know. You've been throwing around Taylor Swift songs a lot here.
EGAN: I've spent a lot of time googling Taylor Swift lyrics today. I'm not going to lie.
BROWN: OK. Fair enough, thanks so much, Matt.
Up next, the water problem back home for the new speaker of the House. Kevin McCarthy's actions through it all or lack thereof, up next.
BROWN: As House Speaker Kevin McCarthy assumes his new power in Washington, D.C. faucets have been running dry in his California district.
CNN's Rene Marsh investigates.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In California's drought ravaged central valley, wells have gone dry.
Gloria Mendoza relies on five jugs of water delivered to her home in Tulare County every 15 days for drinking and cooking. But it's not always enough.
Two hours southeast, in Kern County, Randy Kyt's community well is also dry.
RANDY KYT, DROUGHT VICTIM: You can't flush toilets. You can't keep your house clean. You can't, you know, have drinking water.
MARSH: Despite of recent parade of intense rainstorms, both Tulare and Kern Counties have experienced the most weeks of severe drought in the past decade compared to any other part of the country. Both counties have long been represented by Congressman Kevin McCarthy.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): In our district, the community of Toledo, has run out of water.
MARSH: When asked how the newly-elected House speaker will wield his power to help fix his home state's water crisis, his office says McCarthy has been a staunch advocate on water issues, introducing broad legislative solutions like grants for enlarging reservoirs and dams and increasing infrastructure to store rain water during wet seasons.
PETER GLEICK, PACIFIC INSTITUTE: Those old solutions aren't the answer to California's water problems. There are no more places to build dams. There is no new water to fill dams today, given climate change, given over demand.
MARSH: McCarthy voted against bills addressing climate change and drought and since becoming speaker has dissolved the congressional Democrats' select committee on the climate crisis. His office didn't respond when asked whether addressing climate change is part of a solution.
GLEICK: Anyone frankly, who talks about trying to solve our water problems without talking about the reality of human caused climate change doesn't understand the scope of the problem.
MARSH: In McCarthy's district, trucked in water fills emergency community tanks that connect to household plumbing for sanitary needs like washing dishes but it's not safe for drinking.
Mendoza shows us what she believes the water that reeks of chlorine has done to her laundry. The non-profit self help enterprises uses state funding to deliver 7 million gallons of trucked water and 30,000 gallons of bottled drinking water per month to some 9,000 people in the Central Valley.
TAMI MCVAY, SELF-HELP ENTERPRISES: We've seen kids taking baths at local gas stations, being bullied at school because they don't have access or because they don't have clean clothes.
MARSH: Mendoza whose story represents many of the poorest communities has this message for McCarthy.
GLORIA MENDOZA, DROUGHT VICTIM (through translator): I want to live like you. I want to be able to have water running through my house.
MARSH (on camera): Well, besides admitting climate change is a possible solution, McCarthy has championed policies that accelerate greenhouse gases like drilling for fossil fuels and for this non- profit, they worry how long the state can afford to fund this sort of program. It costs over the last 12 months some $20 million, Pam.
BROWN: That's a lot. Rene Marsh, thank you.
Well, Republicans and Democrats might have something else to agree on after classified documents found at former Vice President Mike Pence's house. That's next in "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer.