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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Supreme Court Justices Hear Arguments On Student Debt Relief Case; Putin Admits "Losses In Our Ranks" In Speech To Security Officials; Murdoch: Some Fox Hosts "Endorsed" Election Lies; Family And Friends Mourn American Killed In West Bank; Hollywood To Feature WWII Vet And Grandfather In New Miniseries. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired February 28, 2023 - 16:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Swearing to tell the truth, Rupert Murdoch admitted Fox lies to its viewers.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Top Fox executive Rupert Murdoch under oath admitted election lies peddled on his network were simply a business decision, saying, quote, it is not red or blue, it is green. What else did Murdoch admit?

Plus, when winning the battle does not end the danger. CNN treks across a booby tracked land littered with mines in Ukraine.

But, first, the Supreme Court on the record. Hear what the justices said about President Biden's plan to cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, and whether Biden even remotely has the authority to do so.


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

And we're starting today in the money lead in fate of President Biden's plan to wipe out $400 billion, that's billion with the B dollars, of student with a billion now rests with the Supreme Court. Justices today heard oral arguments in two cases challenging Biden's plan. The Biden administration argued that, yeah, they have the power to forgive financial loans in order to protect Americans from financial harms brought on by the COVID pandemic.

Six Republican states and a conserve advocacy group, however, questioned Biden's authority to do so, without Congress play anything role. And they also asked whether it was fair to relieve those loans when so many other Americans had already paid theirs off, or did not take any loans. Here is how two of the justices reacted to arguments today.


JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Some of the finest moments in the court's history were pushing back against presidential assertions of emergency power.

JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: You know, this is an emergency provision. There is an emergency. It's an earthquake. Congress used its voice. Congress used its voice in enacting this piece of legislation.


TAPPER: We start our coverage with CNN's Jessica Schneider, who has the big moments from the Supreme Court oral arguments today.


DEMONSTRATORS: Cancel student debt now!

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Big stakes for more than 40 million student loan borrowers, as the Supreme Court decides whether a program eliminating up to $20,000 in debt per borrower can go into effect.

ELIZABETH PRELOGAR, SOLICITOR GENERAL: To provide a measure of loan forgiveness to make sure that this unprecedented pandemic does not leave borrowers worse off in relation to their loans.

SCHNEIDER: The Biden administration is defending their student loan program, arguing it is necessary in the wake of the COVID pandemic. But the conservative justices repeatedly zeroed in on the program's $400 billion plus price tag to question whether the president by way of his education secretary has the power to enact this kind of relief.

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE: I think most casual observers would say if you're going to give up that much amount of money, if you're going to effect the obligations of that many Americans on a subject that's of great controversy, they would think that's something for Congress to act on.

SCHNEIDER: The solicitor general responded that federal law allows for the education secretary to waive or modify loan obligations in the wake of an emergency, and the ongoing financial effects of the pandemic justifies the administration's stepping in.

PRELOGAR: Without this critical relief for debtors, we are going to have a wave of default across the country with all of the negative consequences that has for borrowers. I think it is precisely the type of context where the executive should be able to implement those emergency powers.

SCHNEIDER: The Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down programs implemented by the Biden administration under COVID, including the eviction moratorium and the testing or vaccine mandate for large employers. This student debt program uses the pandemic to justify forgiving $10,000 in federal loans for people making under $125,000, or $20,000 in loans for those with Pell grants. About 20 million borrowers could see their remains balances entirely wiped out.

But Justice Neil Gorsuch asked whether that undermines basic fairness. JUSTICE NEIL GORSUCH, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: What I think they argue that

is missing is cost to other persons in terms of fairness, for example, people who have paid their loans, people who plan their lives around not seeking loans, and people who are not eligible for loans in the first place. And that half a trillion dollars is being diverted to one group of favored persons over others.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): So a lot is on the line for millions of borrowers. If the Supreme Court upholds this program, debt cancellation could come pretty quickly, because the Biden administration has already approved 16 million applications.


But it does appear, Jake, from the questioning of this conservative- led court that they could strike down this program. And if they do, that will really end the hopes of debt relief, at least for now, for millions of Americans -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, outside the court, thank you. Crowds of people gathered outside the court today during oral arguments, many of them calling on the Supreme Court to uphold President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan. They say the debt relief would provide them with a new sense of financial security.

Rene Marsh talked to some of these protesters and brings us their stories.


DEMONSTRATORS: Hey, hey, ho, ho, student debt has got to go!

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Student loan borrowers and advocates rally outside the nation's highest court as justices heard oral arguments on the legality of President Biden's student debt relief program.

GLEN LOPEZ, MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY FRESHMAN: Kind of broke. And honestly, the movement for this really supports people that are in the same financial situation as me.

MARSH: Some traveled hundreds of miles to be at the court for a case that could change the trajectory of their lives.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On board my flight headed to D.C. for the people's rally for student debt cancellation.

MARSH: Twenty-five-year-old Sabrina Calazans travelled from New York to rally outside the court.

SABRINA CALAZANS, STUDENT LOAN BORROWER: My family would be eligible for up to $50,000 of student loan cancellation. So as a whole family, that's huge. MARSH: Calazans graduated from college in 2019. She has nearly

$30,000 in student loan debt, with payments currently paused, she can now contribute to household costs for the home she shares with her parents. Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Ayanna Pressley's personal student loan story has guided her support for tackling the problem.

REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): I ultimately defaulted on those loans and I did pay off those loans, but it took me 20 plus years to do so.

MARSH: Federal data shows the student debt crisis is multigenerational, spanning from recent grads to grandparents. Data shows 2.6 million borrowers over the age of 62.

Seventy-two-year-old Vietnam vet Cecil Hamilton is one of them.

CECIL HAMILTON, STUDENT LOAN BORROWER: I never got the amount paid off.

MARSH: In 1977, Hamilton says he took out a loan for an associates degree for $5,250. Nearly five decades later, he still owes roughly the same amount.

HAMILTON: I thought I would have a good job and a home and all the things that people like to have. And then enter retirement on a good note, but instead, I'm back in the hole again. So I'm just --


MARSH (on camera): Well, Hamilton, that veteran that you saw in the piece there, despite the government garnishing 15 percent of his Social Security disability payments for the loan that he defaulted on, interest and fees made it virtually impossible for him to put a dent in the principle. And another thing he said that stuck with me, he said he hopes he won't die in debt. He hopes to qualify for credit to buy a home, something he's wanted to do for the past more than 40 years.

And that, Jake, really speaks to the long-lasting financial impact that this Supreme Court decision could have on these borrowers.

TAPPER: All right. Rene Marsh, thank you so much.

White House officials closely monitored the Supreme Court's oral arguments, one source telling CNN that the Biden administration believes it will ultimately win the case. But the conservative justices on the court seemed unlikely to uphold Biden's plan.

CNN's Phil Mattingly joins us from the White House.

So, what was the mood there as oral arguments played out today? What did the White House people think was going on?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jake, despite the skepticism, we very clearly hear from conservative justices, White House officials publicly are maintaining the posture that believe they will win the case when it's all said and done. They believe the effort they put in to wipe away $10,000 of student loan debt was well within the authority that they're pursuing here. But the biggest issue that they believe will work in their favor is the issue of standing.

They don't believe that two plaintiffs in this case can show they were financially harmed, and they believe there are wider repercussions should the Supreme Court decide to rule that there is standing here that will play a factor in how this all plays out. Now they are very cognizant of the fact of how critical this decision will be, and just how significant it will be for what the president has laid out going forward, potentially, what it will mean for executive actions beyond this, depending on how they rule.

However, at this point in time, they maintain that they believe they will end up winning in the end, Jake.

TAPPER: And as you know, critics say this is just a ploy for Biden to try the get people to vote for him, especially young people.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, look, the White House officials were involved in intensive months-long negotiations in this. They played a critical role and when you look at exit polling and how Democrats did. Younger voters breaking heavily toward Democrats.


But more than anything else, when you talk to White House officials who are involved in this decision where the president was skeptical about the fairness argument ensuring it was tailored and targeted toward lower income and middle income they believed it was a campaign promise the president needed to deliver on, and they believe it will have real economic impact in a positive manner for a segment of the population that typically falls behind or is not given perhaps the opportunities that others are.

Politics, though, very clearly having a role. It will be most interesting to see depending on how this plays out if this ends up getting struck down. The president has been unequivocal in recent months as these challenges start moving up the court systems as they viewed this as a very clear challenge not just on the policy merits or the political merits.

TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, thanks so much.

Coming up, the lies told on Fox admitted by Fox chair Rupert Murdoch. Plus, hear how the network chairman often gave the upper hand to the chief election liar himself, Donald Trump.

But, first, on dangerous ground, the up close look at booby-trapped land that Russians left behind in one town as Ukrainian forces kick them out.

MATTINGLY: And later, the battle stories from an American World War II veteran soon to be portrayed in a TV show brought to you by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


MATTINGLY: Topping our world lead today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said there were, quote, losses in our ranks, unquote, during a speech to Russian security service. It was an unusual admission about the cost of his brutal war on Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian officials claim the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut will soon be in their hands. One Ukrainian soldier tells CNN the street fight there is, quote, much worse than reported.

As Volodymyr Zelenskyy's troops attempt to cling to that symbolic city in areas that Ukraine has liberated from the Russians, there is still dangerous work to be done.

CNN's Alex Marquardt takes us now near the front lines where so many unexploded mines litter the ground, it could take literally decades to clear them all.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The hulking armored mine clearer lurches into an open field. Over 40 tons, it spews exhaust. Its tracks struggling across the muddy ground.

Following close behind, the mine clearance team called sappers. They advance deliberately on the hunt for deadly explosives. This is delicate work.

This was a Russian position, Russian trenches. And now, these guys are working through here carefully, methodically, looking for mines, for booby traps and even Ukrainian ordnance, those fired at the Russians who were here.

Last September, a Ukrainian counter-offensive pushed the Russians out of these trenches. Now, Colonel Maksym Melnyk's team has been charged with clearing any remaining explosives.

They have left many traps behind, and many of our brothers, our sappers have died, Melnyk says. Russia doesn't obey national conventions. They put mines on top of mine, leave booby traps and use banned mines.

Russian and Ukrainian mines are scattered throughout the eastern front, making Ukraine one of the biggest mine fields in the world. Rockets and other explosives can often fail to detonate when they land too. All of it posing immense danger to civilians.

The sappers of Ukraine's DSNS emergency service, like Eduard Herasimenko who has a daughter of a 10-year-old daughter are keenly aware of the danger.

It's dangerous for everybody, he says. I wouldn't say we take more risks than others. Everybody is taking risks now.

Herasimenko was demining before the war started. Seeing what Russia has done to his country infuriates him.

They are just animals, he says. There is no other way to describe them.

He finds and carries an unexploded rocket-propelled grenade to the side. Working day after day all across this country, deminers know how much they still have left to do.

After the war, the soldiers get to go home. But your work will continue for years.

We will keep working for decades, Colonel Melnyk says. This will go on for decades.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, in Eastern Ukraine.


TAPPER: And our thanks to Alex Marquardt for that report.

Coming up, the lies told on Fox willingly, knowingly, and what happened to the network hosts who tried to tell the truth. The revelations coming out in a new lawsuit, next.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, the power of the courtroom oath. Fox News chief Rupert Murdoch exposing his own network's blatant dishonesty during a deposition, according to a new court filing. Murdoch admitted some of his top hosts were pushing election lies to millions of viewers.

Why were those lies allowed to continue? According to Murdoch's own words, money. The fear of losing viewers, the fear of isolating Donald Trump, the fear of antagonizing advertisers.

Murdoch at one point saying: I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight.

Hindsight, of course, is 2020. Less clear are any regrets Murdoch may or might not have now about, at least according to the deposition, overtly pushing Republican candidates, sharing confidential ad info with White House staffer Jared Kushner, firing Fox employees or disciplining them for telling the truth about the election, and any number of other serious journalistic transgressions.

CNN's Brian Todd dives into the bombshell revelations in Dominion Voting Systems' lawsuit against the network.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the chairman of Fox Corporation, jarring admissions of how far his news network was willing to go to carry Donald Trump's water after the 2020 election. In a deposition, Rupert Murdoch acknowledged that some Fox News hosts promoted the falsehood that the election was stolen from Trump.

Quote: Some of our commentators were endorsing it, Murdoch said of Trump's election lies. I would have liked us to be stronger in denouncing it in hindsight.

Murdoch denied that Fox News as a whole endorsed the lies, instead ping it on Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, Maria Bartiromo, and now former Fox host Lou Dobbs.


LOU DOBBS, FORMER FOX HOST: This is the culmination of what has been over a four-year effort to overthrow this president.

TODD: Murdoch's deposition made public in a legal filing from Dominion voting systems' $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox. That same deposition revealed Murdoch called Trump's election lies, quote, bullshit and damaging in an email and still --

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, MEDIA CORRESPONDENT, NPR: At no point did he decide we have to pull them off the air or we have to prevent this from happening. And he essentially acknowledged at a certain point that this was a strategy to win back voters who had been alienated by Fox News' call and projection on election of Arizona for Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was an enormous panic going on inside Fox News. These people were freaked out about the possibility that their most extreme viewers or even their core viewers would move to Newsmax.

TODD: Newsmax, a smaller conservative channel that constantly pushed election denial, is believed by media analysts to have siphoned off viewers from Fox after Fox called Arizona for Joe Biden. And at that time, Fox kept allowing election deniers like MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell on their air.

MIKE LINDELL, ELECTION FRAUD CONSPIRACY THEORIST, MYPILLOW CEO: Actual machine -- new machine election fraud. I retweeted it, and they took my Twitter down.

TODD: In the new deposition, Murdoch said it was, quote, wrong for host Tucker Carlson to allow Lindell to make election fraud claims on his show.

So why did Murdoch allow it? Quote, the man is on every night, pays us a lot of money, Murdoch said. At first you think it's comic, and then you get bored and irritated.

FOLKENFLIK: Rupert Murdoch thought it was more important to keep the profit machine going than to interrupt its flow.

TODD: Fox says it shouldn't be held liable for assertions of hosts and guests on its air, says the Dominion lawsuit is a violation of their First Amendment rights and an attempt to, quote, publicly smear Fox for covering Trump's election claims.


TODD (on camera): According to documents in the lawsuit, the day before the January 6th attack on the Capitol, Rupert Murdoch and Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott discussed the idea of having Fox prime time stars Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham go on the air on the eve of the attack and make it clear to viewers that Joe Biden had won the election. Scott told Murdoch they needed to be careful about, quote, missing off the viewers. So, none of the anchors ever made a statement like that -- Jake.

TAPPER: Unbelievable, unbelievable.

Brian Todd, thank you so much.

With us now to discuss, Lanhee Chen, a policy director for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign. Also, Navin Nayak, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

And Lanhee, not only did Fox hosts consistently peddle these election lies, or have guests who peddled them, but we learned that executives silenced or punished employees who were trying to tell the truth.

Shep Smith, called over the top by Rupert Murdoch. He's no longer at Fox.

Correspondent Leland Vittert branded as smug for his tone that was not, quote, a celebration of the president, also no longer at Fox.

And the Washington bureau chief who called Arizona for Trump, Bill Sammon, was fired to send a, quote, big message with Trump people.

I understand that there's a need for conservative journalism in the sense that there are other networks that are liberal, but can Fox really call itself a journalistic enterprise in the wake of these revelations?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR, ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Well, the three journalists that you identified there obviously are strong journalists, and they found their way and their place to other networks.

But listen, I think what this demonstrates, Jake, is the dead-endism of Donald Trump. And I think the challenge that he continues to pose, not just to Fox, but to the broader conservative media universe. And, you know, there is a big question in my mind of how Trump gets covered now in 2024. That's the interesting question to me.

Yes, these revelations about 2020 are significant. Clearly, they're going to be litigated over the next couple of months. But the big question for me is what happens with the coverage of Trump, who is by the way one of the few declared candidates for 2024. What does that look like going forward? And are networks like Fox going to be more wary of covering everything Donald Trump says going forward?

TAPPER: Navin, Murdoch also according to this deposition gave Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, gave him confidential information about then presidential candidate Joe Biden's TV ads, according to the filing, along with debate strategy.

I mean, giving that information about TV ads alone, any other network, that person, there would be an apology, there would be recriminations. Yeah, it's unbelievable.

NAVIN NAYAK, PRESIDENT, CNETER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS ACTION FUND: No, it absolutely is. And I think a lot of people have sort of felt this way. Maybe it was mostly on the left. I think what these depositions sort of reveal is that all Americans should really view Fox News as nothing but a propaganda machine. I mean, they really have underscored that they're there to help one political party, one political candidate.


And I push back a little bit on Lanhee's comments that this wasn't about Donald Trump. They were after viewers. They were willing to lie and spew things they knew were lies and give a platform to liars in order to try and attract viewers. Those same viewers are there still. That is the MAGA world.

That is the same argument that a lot of people are using to attract MAGA voters, which is let's say whatever we want to say. You know, it's one thing for a politician to do that. It's really a concerning thing in our politics and in our democracy when the news media, which we all rely on to have some sort of common sense of reality, of course, there is a liberal perspective and a conservative perspective, but they should all be within the bounds of reality. And I think that's what this deposition kind of reveal, is that Fox is not operating in reality anymore. It was just a propaganda machine.

TAPPER: Lanhee, do you want to respond to that?

LANHEE CHEN, FORMER POLICY DIRECTOR, ROMNEY PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: I mean, look, I think a lot of this was about Donald Trump and about the lies that he engaged in and spewed and the universe around him engaged in and spewed after the 2020 election.

But, again, I think the fundamental question going forward is, yeah, there is a liberal perspective. There is a conservative perspective. That might be the case.

But there are deep fundamental questions I think for all media organizations about what do you do and what do you say when you have this person who is an active candidate for the presidency again who potentially might not only engage in rehashing of what happened in 2020, but go beyond that and engage in potentially new activity, or new mistruths or new lies. I think that's really the question.

And what do we get out of that? What are the lessons we learn? That to me is the far more impactful thing for our democracy going forward. TAPPER: And, Lanhee, another revelation in the filing is Murdoch

asked the Fox News CEO to ask Sean Hannity say something supportive about Lindsey Graham ahead of the 2020 election. Murdoch wrote, quote, we cannot lose the Senate if at all possible, unquote. We, the operative word there, we -- we cannot lose the Senate.

That makes it sound as though Rupert Murdoch thinks that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party.

CHEN: Well, and I think that that is a viewpoint that may be relatively broadly held. I think if you were to survey a number of people who consume television news.

But listen, again, the challenge here is there is a perspective on different networks that's presented in different ways. And people have to understand that filter before they watch it.

Now is it a problem if it's not overt and made clear? Yeah, I think it's a problem. But fundamentally, this notion that different networks have different points and view and different perspectives to me is not particularly news.

TAPPER: Well, I guess. But go ahead, Navin.

NAYAK: Well, I'll just say that no one will disagree with that. I think people do want different perspectives. That's what makes a democracy and this environment healthy. There has to be some expectations, though, of being honest, of trying to tell the truth, of trying to actually convey reality.

And in this case we can't forget that the consequences of this were January 6th. You don't get the events of January 6th without months of lies about the election, about fraud that Fox played a very active and now we know intentional role in promoting.

TAPPER: Yeah. I think that's the question, not sharing a conservative perspective, but sharing a perspective they know was false. The lies they were telling.

Navin, in the wake of the election, Murdoch wrote in an email to "The New York Post" editor describing election laws that Trump was pushing as, quote, bull shit and damaging, unquote. And yet his airwaves were full of the same damaging bullshit, his words.

NAYAK: Yeah, that's the reality, and there has to be some sort of accountability for this. There is one thing for an individual to spread lies on Facebook. We do have a first amendment right for that, and that is a totally different thing. We now have a news network that is reaching tens of millions of people and knowingly lying.

What's really interesting too, about their own argument in this case, they're not disputing that they're lying. They're trying to argue that the lies were newsworthy, and I think that just underscores how far they've strayed from actually trying to be a news network.

TAPPER: And, Lanhee, in the midst of this lawsuit, we should note House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is trying to defend his decision to publicly release January 6th security footage to one of the hosts of Fox News show. You know, it's not like -- he is not releasing it to everybody in the news media. He is releasing to it this channel that has now admitted, although not this particular host that I'm talking about, but has now admitted knowingly lying.

CHEN: Yeah, let's hope that that footage is more broadly available to all networks, including this one. I think it's important that if the footage is made available to one, it's made available to all. Now we can talk about the notion of exclusivity and one network getting it first and how unusual that might be.

But the reality is this is footage. Look, if one network is going to have it, all networks should have it. I think that's a standard that all politicians should abide by.

TAPPER: Lanhee Chen, Navin Nayak, thank you to both of you. I appreciate.

Comedian Bill Maher has strong opinions about the current Republican Party, also the current Democratic Party, and also tribal politics overall.


We touched on that, and so much more for "CNN PRIMETIME", which is an interview airing tonight here on CNN.

Here's a little clip.


TAPPER: The Democrats being so hemmed in by identity politics? The counter argument would be, it's always been identity politics. It's just always been White people. So people like you and me didn't notice. And now, it's an effort at inclusion, which I'm sure theoretically you support.

BILL MAHER, TV HOST: Yeah, I support it in fact. But, I mean, the Democrats sometimes can take it too far, or, you know, I would categorize liberal as different than woke. Woke which started out as a good thing, alert to injustice, who could be against that.

But it became sort of an eye-roll because they love diversity except of ideas. And that's not really where we should be. I mean, they have a trail of very bad ideas, I would think in wokeness.

TAPPER: How do you define wokeness? I hear people use the term all the time, and it means something different to everybody.

MAHER: Well, again, I think it's this collection of ideas that are not building on liberalism, but very often undoing it. I mean, five years ago, Abraham Lincoln was not a controversial figure among liberals. We liked him. Now they take his name off schools and tear down his statues. Really, Lincoln isn't good enough for you?


TAPPER: My one-on-one with Bill Maher airs tonight on "CNN PRIMETIME", 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

Coming up, Israel's plans for settlements in the occupied west bank as a recent spike in violence claims the life of a young Israeli American man.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: And turning to our world lead now, Israel's foreign minister told reporters today that the Israeli government definitely will continue building settlements in the occupied West Bank, even though they are becoming a focus of increasing violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinians.

As CNN's Hadas Gold reports, a young man with dual U.S./Israeli citizenship is among the latest victims in this cycle of bloodshed.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elan Ganeles was in the wrong place at the wrong time, his friends say. The 27-year-old Connecticut native the latest victim in the uptick of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

Moved to Israel several years ago, studied Hebrew at a kibbutz before joining the Israeli military. One of his former teachers telling CNN he was the kind of guy you'd want your daughter to date. But in 2018, after he completed his service with the Israeli army, he moved back to the U.S. to attend Columbia University where he studied sustainability.

ELAN GANELES, CONNECTICUT NATIVE: Hi, guys. Hi name is Elan. I want to talk about how we measure sustainability.

GOLD: Returning recently for a friend's wedding. But as he drove along a popular route that cuts through the occupied West Bank, often used by tourists on the way to the dead sea, an attacker shot at several cars. Ganeles was struck in the upper body, medics say, the attackers fleeing to nearby Palestinian villages, burning their cars in the process.

Echoing a similar attack that killed two Israeli brothers on Sunday near the Palestinian town of Huwara south of Nablus, followed by revenge attacks by dozens of Israeli settlers that killed at least one Palestinian man and left dozens of homes and cars burned.

The U.S. government expressing alarm over recent events.

NED PRICE, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: We condemn the horrific killing of two Israeli brothers near Nablus and the killing today of an Israeli near Jericho, who we understand was also an American citizen. We express our deepest condolences to all of the victims' families and their loved ones.

GOLD: Now a massive manhunt under way for all the attackers. And the Israeli military is sending an extra battalions, placing checkpoints in the nearby Palestinian city of Jericho, as the region remains on edge, worried about what will come next.


GOLD (on camera): And, Jake, on those alarming settler attacks against Palestinians on Sunday, just tonight, the major general in charge of the Israeli military operations in the West Bank essentially acknowledging in an interview that they weren't expecting or truly prepared for the level of violence they saw. The major general calling what the settlers did a pogrom, a term that you used yesterday. That is such a loaded term for an Israeli senior officer in the military to use, but that goes to show the seriousness, the severity of what's happening here -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. CNN's Hadas Gold in Jerusalem, thank you so much for that report.

Coming up next, the bravery of a World War II veteran and his family who feels his story needs to be shared with the world. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In today's pop culture lead, the hidden, unknown story of a World War II American hero finally coming to light. Frank Murphy flew with the bomb squadron known as the Bloody 100th. He wrote about his war stories in a personal memoir that he really only shared with a few dozen people.

Among the people, CNN's Chloe Melas, his granddaughter. Now Chloe and her family are publishing her grandfather's story with a real publisher in a brand-new book out today called "Luck of the Draw." His story, Frank Murphy's story, so compelling, it's one of the stories that's going to be included in a brand-new TV series later this year.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lock them up and lock them down.

TAPPER (voice-over): It is one of the most anticipated TV shows ever, more than 20 years after Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks teamed up to make "Band of Brothers".

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you're already dead.

TAPPER: They've seemed up again, this time to make "Masters of the Air," a multipart series on Apple TV+ about the Allied air war against the Nazis based on Donald Miller's bestselling 2006 nonfiction book. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: will we get this job done?

CROWD: Yes, sir!

TAPPER: One of the young war heroes depicted in the show is Frank Murphy, the grandfather of CNN's Chloe Melas.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Grandpa would just tell us stories about World War II.

TAPPER: Murphy was one of millions of young men who enlisted in the war after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, hundreds of thousands of them taking to the skies over Nazi occupied Europe. Murphy became a navigator for Eighth Air Forces' 100th Bomb Group, known as the Bloody 100th.

ELIZABETH MURPHY, FRANK MURPHY'S DAUGHTER: He loved airplanes, everything about airplanes. He would look up in the sky, could identify any airplane.


TAPPER: The news that actor Jonas Moore will be portraying grandpa is delighting Chloe's family.

ELIZABETH MURPHY: He would be flabbergasted, yeah. He would never think he would be a character in this many series.

ANN MURPHY, FRANK MURPHY'S WIDOW: And I think he would love it.

ELIZABETH MURPHY: Oh, yeah. He was such a humble person. He would marvel that anybody would be interested in his story.

TAPPER: But given what so many from the greatest generation went through, it may not be all that surprising, especially for Frank Murphy who flew 21 harrowing missions before his B17 was shot down over Germany. He was captured and remained a prisoner of war for the next 18 months.

His 93-year-old widow said his parents feared he was dead.

ANN MURPHY: His father started calling the White House every day demanding that they tell him where his son was.

TAPPER: Murphy would spend more than a year living in repulsive conditions at Stalag Luft III prison camp in Poland.

Eventually liberated by General Patton's army, Murphy returned home to Atlanta where he graduated from Emory on the GI bill, became a lawyer, and had four kids.

Murphy seldom spoke about his experiences with his kids or Chloe or others in his family. He only began to share the stories with others toward the end of his life.

In 2001, Murphy self-published a few dozen copies of a memoir of his war experiences for family and friends.

ELIZABETH MURPHY: When I read the book, I just remember having the conversations with him. I couldn't believe it was real. None of that he had ever spoken of.

TAPPER: Frank Murphy, grandpa, died in 2006.

Chloe, her mother and grandmother had since been on a mission of their own, to have an actual publisher bring his memoir, "The Luck of the Draw," to a much wider audience. And today, officially, they achieved that, with an intro by Chloe and a blurb from Tom Hanks.

Quote: In the pursuit of authenticity, of accurate history and undeniable courage, no words matter more than, I was there. Read 'Luck of the Draw' and the life of Frank Murphy and ponder this: How did those boys do such things?

ANN MURPHY: He said that all along. It's not about me. It's about all the people I served with.

ELIZABETH MURPHY: If he thought he told his story well for his fellow soldiers and veterans, I think that would be the greatest joy for him. And I think that's what's going to happen.


TAPPER: The book again is "Luck of the Draw." I have a copyright here. It's available right now.

Chloe Melas joins us right now.

Right now, Chloe, let's also say hi to your mom and grandma because I know they're watching. It's remarkable because as Tom Hanks notes, these were boys. They were late teens, early 20s.

MELAS: First of all, I mean, you did an amazing job on this piece, so I just first want to thank you from my whole family, for doing that with such care. You're a great guy, Jake.

They were young guys, and they had never seen combat before. And what I find so interesting is that these were the first time that we were doing daylight bombing raids. And so we thought that we could better accurately hit our targets. And the jury is still out on that.

These guys climbed up into those B-17s, those airplanes, day after day, and they faced evil. And, my grandfather, you know, just falling short of the 25 missions required before he could go home, being shot down, and two of the men in his crew dying that day. My grandfather writes in the book, Jake, you either had a bullet with your name on it, or you didn't. You were at the wrong place, at the right time.

It all came down to the luck of the draw. It was as simple as that.

TAPPER: Yeah, I don't know if I told you this, but my grandfather's brother was a tail gunner in World War II, and he was shot down and he was killed over World War II. These men were fighting for the freedom of the world.

Actor Jonas Moore who is going to portray your grandfather in this miniseries, which my son and I have been waiting for, for years, did he meet with your family at all so that key more accurately be Frank Murphy?

MELAS: Oh, well, let me tell you, he narrates the audio book, and he does a mean southern accent this British guy. I'm so excited for him. We have messaged back and forth a little bit, but he has done a Zoom with my mom with my grandma, and that was amazing that Tom Hanks' production company arranged.

And everyone is so excited. We don't know when the series is coming out, but I can tell you, I'm going to be with some of the families behind the series tonight. We've all been waiting for this for ten years. We are so excited that we're just -- it feels close. We're all really excited.

TAPPER: And we are here on the day of the publication so you don't have to wait for the TV show, because "Luck of the Draw" is out now. Frank Murphy, what a lovely way to honor your grandfather, and good- bye to the grandmother, too. Ann Murphy, is that her name?

MELAS: Yeah.

TAPPER: Bye-bye, thank you so much for watching. We hope you and all the bobbies down there in Florida are having a good time watching this.

Chloe Melas, thank you so much. Good luck with the back.

Coming up next, the hearing purposely set to grab attention tonight. The topic: the tense relationship right now between the U.S. and the Chinese government, and a bipartisan interview.


We're going to talk to the Republican and Democrat leading that hearing with the new special committee on China. That's next.


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

This hour, voters head to the polls today in America's third largest city. Why the winds of change have the incumbent mayor in the Windy City fighting for her political life.

Plus, a handful of almost veterans get keys to brand-new apartments, but this only partly fulfills a promise made more than six years ago, and hundreds of veterans are still waiting for their homes.