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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Nashville PD Release Body Cam Video As Officers Approach Shooter; GOP Lawmakers Resist Call For Gun Reform After Nashville Shooting; House GOP Leaders Drafting New Legislation To Ban TikTok; Judge: Pence Must Testify About Conversations He Had With Trump Leading Up To Jan. 6 Attack; MD Appeals Court Reinstates Murder Conviction Of Adnan Syed, Months After Charges Against Podcast Subject Were Dropped; Biden Again Calls On Congress To Ban Assault Weapons. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 28, 2023 - 16:00   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST: Seven different guns bought from five different gun shops.

THE LEAD starts right now.

We're getting the first look at the moments when police entered a Nashville school where three 9 year olds and three adults were gunned down. This as we learn the parents of the shooter did not want their child to own the weapons at all.

Then --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not going to fix it. Criminals are going to be criminals.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's not get into politics. All right, let's not get into emotion.


MATTINGLY: Here we go again. What will it take for lawmakers to address the number one killer of American children?

Plus, unprecedented developments in the Trump investigation. Executive privilege cannot shield former Vice President Mike Pence. He's been ordered to testify before the federal grand jury focused on January 6.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Phil Mattingly, in for Jake Tapper.

And we start today with our national lead and a slew of new information from police about the tragic school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. Police Chief John Drake says the shooter Audrey Hale, purchased at least seven guns legally and locally, three of which were used in yesterday's attack.

Drake said investigators talked to the shooter's parents, who claimed they didn't know Hale owned a gun despite Hale living in their home. Parents also told police the shooter was under a doctor's care for an emotional disorder.

Earlier today, national police released body camera videos from the scene, they are gripping, showing what officers encountered when they enter the school. I want to warn you, some of what you're about to see is disturbing.


POLICE OFFICER: Let's go. I need three.

POLICE OFFICER: One more. One more!


POLICE OFFICER: Next. Let's go!


MATTINGLY: You can see the cubbies filled with the backpacks, the coats and the hallways police race to find the shooter.

Today, we're also learning more about the three students and three adults who were killed: Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs, William Kinney, Cynthia Peak, Katherine Koonce, and Mike Hill.

Then there's this photo giving us just a glimpse into the trauma these young survivors will have to live with. Let's say it's a young girl right there, crying on a bus, taken away from a horrific scene.

CNN's Amara Walker starts off our coverage from Nashville, where memorial outside the school is growing by the hour.



AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Body cameras reveal police running toward the sound of gunfire without hesitation. About 3.5 minutes elapsed between the time they go in, and when they confront the shooter. Metro Nashville police said these two officers opened fire, killing the shooter at 10:27 a.m., about 14 minutes after the initial call for help.

CHIEF JOHN DRAKE, NASHVILLE POLICE: I was really impressed that when all that was going on the danger that somebody took control and said, let's go. Let's go. Let's go.

WALKER: Police still have not isolated what motivated Audrey Hale, a former student.

DRAKE: These students that were targeted were randomly targeted. There was not any particular student that they were -- that she was looking for at the time of the incident.

WALKER: But police did reveal hail legally bought seven different weapons from five stores and was being treated for mental health issues.

DRAKE: She was under care, doctors care for an emotional disorder. Law enforcement knew nothing about the treatment she was receiving, about her parents felt that she should not own weapons. They were under the impression that was when she sold the one weapon that she did not own any more. As it turned out, she had been hiding several weapons within the house.

WALKER: During the attack, Hale was armed with an AR-15, a nine millimeter pistol caliber carbine and a nine millimeter handgun.


DRAKE: Had it been reported that she was suicidal, or that she was going to kill someone and had been made known to us, then we would have tried to get those weapons. But as it stands, we had absolutely no idea actually who this person was that she even existed.

WALKER: Minutes before the rampage, a friend and former teammate of Hale says she got a message from the shooter that Hale wanted to die.

One day, this will make more sense. I've left behind more than enough evidence behind. But something bad is about to happen.

AVERIANNA PATTON, FORMER TEAMMATE OF AUDREY HALE: So, at 9:57, I received the message from her. And at 10:08, spent a screenshot to my dad and he instructed me to call the suicide prevention help line.


WALKER: A memorial growing outside Covenant Presbyterian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just feel so for them. I'm 101-year-old. And I've done a lot of things, and -- but this really hurts. And I just I just hope they all -- they're all with God.


WALKER (on camera): And we did get some new information from Metro Nashville police regarding those writings found in Audrey Hale's car and also on the shooter's body after the shooter was shot and killed by Nashville police Monday.

These writings, according to authorities, mentioned multiple other locations as potential targets, but it looked like there was too much security for the shooter. And hence this school -- the Covenant private school was chosen as a target.

Also in those writings, detail just how all these mass murders would play out. Right now, we are told police are still reviewing these writings. So far, they have not seen anything that indicates a specific motive -- Phil. MATTINGLY: All right. Amara Walker for us in Nashville, thanks so


And I want to bring in Angie Emery Henderson. She's a Nashville Metropolitan Council member.

And I think -- I just want to start with, how is your community doing? How are your friends? How are your family? How are your neighbors doing in this moment?

ANGIE EMERY HENDERSON, NASHVILLE METROPOLITAN COUNCIL: Folks were very, very sad. I think Nashville has endured a lot over recent years. Major tornado, a downtown bombing and to see this visited on our community. It feels especially, especially heavy.

MATTINGLY: Yeah. You posted last night, quote: Today is my son's birthday. Today, I listened as national police plan how to tell parents their children today. Today, I heard a mother wail when she was told. How has this affected you?

You know, we were talking before the show -- my wife's from Nashville. This has hit her very hard personally. We've got four kids. I think we all see these all the time and think, man, that's terrible. When you have a personal connection to it, you can't even fathom.

And then you put that on a parent of one of these children, and it's -- there are no words but for you personally as a leader in the community, also as a mother, how is this moment for you?

HENDERSON: I think it is especially, especially tragic -- especially harrowing to watch the footage of our police department so ably and capably going into that building, knowing the fear that those children and those teachers had, and, yesterday, being at the location of where families were being reunited. But some -- some were not and -- it has been very, very saddening.

But I am very proud of this community and how everyone is coming together to support these families.

MATTINGLY: You also posted: Let us vote like our kids lives depend on it. Look, this is a complex issue. I'm not telling you something you don't know. What exact actions would you want to see both in your state, your members of Congress in the wake of something like this, you feel like would have an effect?

HENDERSON: I think we need to effectuate some policy change. We -- we have to elect people who care about addressing this issue and who will commit to addressing this issue. No person needs an assault rifle. The end, full stop.

No one is trying to bridge anybody's ability to have a hunting rifle, a handgun to protect themselves.

But Tennessee is one of the most permissive states. There is legislation in progress now to lower the edge to -- age rather to acquire guns without permits , and so forth. So it is ridiculously easy to acquire a gun in in Tennessee, and, , I think, left, right, center, all my constituents want to see some level of common sense reform and just action.

I think our legislators, especially those to the right.


Our congressman is, you know, they are normalizing violence by depicting themselves in their Christmas cards with assault rifles. It's just -- it's wrong. And, I am very saddened to see the fact that they would just double down on that type messaging on a day, our week like we are having in this community. When is it enough?

MATTINGLY: Angie Emery Henderson, thanks so much for your time. More than anything else, condolences to the city of Nashville, to your community. I really appreciate your time.

And here to discuss his Jennifer Mascia. She is a senior writer, a senior news writer with -- for "The Trace", a newsroom dedicated to covering gun violence. It's incredible work.

And, Jennifer, look, there -- this is a complex system, nationally, on the state level, kind of across the board, hoping you can help people understand this is your expertise. And police were saying today, the shooter bought seven guns legally and locally from five different stores. Is there a system that would recognize someone is buying multiple weapons and flag it to stores or authorities as problematic, or is this just something that can be done anywhere?

JENNIFER MASCIA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Multiple handgun purchases are flagged to the ATF, but it sounds like the shooter acquired these in separate purchases, and that would not raise red flags. Also I think most Americans would be surprised to know that being under the care of a doctor for an emotional disorder is not enough to ban somebody from owning guns, and certainly not in Tennessee. A red flag law might have been good here.

If the family knew that the shooter was hoarding guns like we saw with the Buffalo shooter. He had guns his family didn't know about. Red flag laws really do rely on somebody's sounding an alarm. And then this family's mind, there was no alarm to sound because they did not think that their child had guns.


MASCIA: So, that's -- that's one of the gaps with those laws.

MATTINGLY: You know, I have been stuck on that all day, because when you find out that there were issues that were being dealt with from a mental health perspective, but they didn't know they had -- it seems like there was nothing that could have been done. What do you do to prevent this -- are there proposals you're aware of, are there policies you're aware of that would have seen what was happening here and been able to get in front of it to some degree?

MASCIA: Red flag laws would have provided some kind of a mechanism for police to disarm somebody, and that is something that only 19 states have. Other countries don't have this problem because what they do is they vet firearm buyers at the source. And it's an interview process that's not unlike a job interview, and they also check in with gun owners.

Our mental health is not the same. None of us, over the course of our lives, there are times when we're in crisis and being around a firearm might not be temporarily a good idea. There's a lot more oversight -- government oversight of gun ownership and other countries that enjoy robust gun cultures. That's a shift here that as we see lawmakers, particularly GOP lawmakers, particularly in Tennessee are simply not willing to entertain. You know, they paint this as a an issue about freedom like GOP Rep. Tim Burchett earlier said, you know, this is about freedom.

Well, ask any parent in America tonight. Does this seem like freedom to you?

MATTINGLY: One thing that struck me that I saw earlier today from you, you noted that more and more mass shooters in recent years don't fit the profile. We've only got about 30 seconds. But what did you mean by that? Because I think that's striking and also true.

MASCIA: Well, there were several mass shootings recently, the Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay shootings where it was not, you know, the typical disaffected, young or middle aged white male. These were older Asian men.

And what that shows to me is that over the past several decades, gun ownership and gun culture has diversified right along with America's demographics. Actually, the racial breakdown of mass shooters parallels the racial breakdown in American society. So what that means is the scourge of American gun violence is now more of an equal opportunity scored, which really is heartbreaking.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, heartbreaking and terrifying all at the same time.

Jennifer Mascia, amazing work. Thanks so much for taking the time.

And coming up, we'll talk to a Republican congressman who has been vocally opposed to banning AR-15s, talk about what his plan is to keep America's children safe.

Then, he served 2023 years for murder and became the subject of the hit podcast "Serial". Last year, his conviction was overturned. So why was it reinstated today?




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a nation, we owe these families more than our prayers. We owe them action. You know, we have to do more to stop this gun violence of ripping communities apart, ripping apart the soul of this nation. So I again call on Congress to pass the assault weapons ban.


MATTINGLY: President Biden once again, repeating his call for an assault weapons ban after three 9-year-olds and three adults were gunned down at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee. Three firearms were found on the scene, including an AR-15.

But as CNN's Manu Raju reports, Republican lawmakers say gun control legislation, that's a nonstarter on Capitol Hill.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an all too familiar story, tearing apart communities and devastating families. Mass shootings, 130 in this year alone, including the rampage at a Christian school in Nashville, leaving six victims dead, including three 9-year-olds.

But on Capitol Hill, little has changed.

Why not limit the AR-15? Why not? Why not put a ban on that?

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): If you're going to talk about the AR-15, you're talking politics now. Let's not get into politics. All right? Let's not get into emotion because emotion feels good, but emotion doesn't solve problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Says that they've got a legit active shooter at a school.

RAJU: And AR-15 was one of the weapons possessed by the killer during Monday's massacre and has been frequently used in mass shootings, following the 2004 exploration of the assault weapons ban. But President Biden lacks of support from Republicans who control the House and can block legislation in the Senate.

They argue such a ban is ineffective and infringes on constitutional rights.

Why don't you take action to ban AR-15s in the aftermath of all these terrible shootings?

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Because I believe in the Second Amendment and, we shouldn't you know you shouldn't penalize law abiding American citizens.

RAJU: A senator from Tennessee also declining to embrace further restrictions.

What about banning those weapons that were used and attacks like these?

SEN. BILL HAGERTY (R-TN): I'm certain that politics will wave into everything, but right now, I'm not focused on the politics of the situation and focused on the families. RAJU: Even Andy Ogle, whose district includes the Covenant School in

Nashville, is a longtime supporter of access to high powered weapons.

Why not ban AR-15s?

REP. ANDY OGLES (R-TN): Why not talk about the real issues facing this country, in regards to the shooting, which would be mental health?

RAJU: But Congress did take steps to address mental help when it passed the most ambitious gun laws in a generation just last year.

Now, even GOP supporters of that law are skeptical of any more Hill action.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): At the end of the day, I don't know if there's much space to do more, but I'll certainly look and see.

RAJU: But with mass shootings up sharply in the last few years, Democrats say that it's time to force a vote.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): We need to fight in Congress, and I'm prepared to conduct that fight. Others are as well.

RAJU: It's a fight Republicans are willing to have.

Why are you opposed to reinstating this ban?

SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): Well, I mean, a lot of people use ARs and AKs for sporting purposes. I fired both of those things. So, those firearms for sporting purposes.

So but listen, let's stay focused on the issue at hand, which isn't some generic question about guns. That's what happened to these children in this school by this shooter.


RAJU (on camera): I asked the number two Senate Republican John Thune about this issue. Also given there have been 130 mass shootings, in just this year alone, whether any action is needed legislatively. He said, it's, quote, premature.

And also the speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, for the last two days, has not answered questions about this issue. I just tried to ask him about this again, he would not respond to any questions about whether action should be taken here. But McCarthy was, along with the rest of his House Republican leadership team, voted against that bipartisan safety law that Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell supported just last year -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

Now, I want to bring in congressman -- Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado. And, Congressman, you have been very consistent in your opposition to gun control legislation, but also very consistent into what you believe should be the focus in the wake of tragedies like this primarily on the issue of mental health and trying to address those issues. And I'm interested given the fact that the shooter in this case was seeing a doctor due to mental health issues, was still able to purchase seven guns from five shops locally and carry out this crime, this murder, what do you think should have been done in this situation? What could prevent something like this?

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Well, in Colorado, first of all, when you talk about federal action at -- in Congress, you're talking about a one size fits all solution. We have a very diverse country -- the needs for areas of Los Angeles are much different than the needs for rural Colorado. So, we have a -- we have proposed and state by state limitations on gun rights.

In Colorado, we have a red flag law. And a mental health professional can notify law enforcement that somebody is dangerous. A neighbor, a relative can notify law enforcement that somebody is dangerous and law enforcement is mandated to move.

That doesn't stop gun violence in Colorado, and it won't. The bottom line is we have mental health issues, and we have to deal with those who need that help. The gun itself isn't creating the crime, the person behind the gun and those people are identifiable.

I've talked to -- I brought school superintendents together and said, what is the solution? And they know who the dangerous students are in their schools. And yet, there are impediments for those schools superintendent for those school principals to be able to take action to protect the students in those schools.

MATTINGLY: But I think that this kind of gets my question because I was -- I wasn't asking about the guns specifically here. This was an individual that had known mental health issues, was seeing a doctor for those mental health issues and yet was able to get access to guns to use. And you're saying red flag laws in Colorado, you've opposed red flag laws, generally, particularly national scale in the past, wouldn't work. So those things don't necessarily net out.

How? What's your answer here, then?

BUCK: Well, my answer is I don't know what the law is in Tennessee. If you're telling me there's no red flag laws --

I don't oppose red flag laws that give defendants, in this case the gun owner, the right to appear in court and defend themselves.


The problem, the gun, the red flag law in Colorado is there is no due process. The law enforcement officials are mandated to go take the guns, which is dangerous to law enforcement and dangerous to the individual. Go and take the guns from the person and then the person has the burden of proving their innocence. That's a problem, a properly defined red flag law. I would be in favor

of if it gave the gun owner the right to defend themselves and present their arguments in court.

MATTINGLY: You know, the president has once again reiterated his call for a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban. You know, back in 2020, you went viral. You posted this video after a similar plea. Take a watch.


BUCK: I have a message for Joe Biden and Beto O'Rourke: If you want to take everyone's AR-15 in America, why won't you swing by my office in Washington, D.C. and start with this one. Come and take it.


MATTINGLY: Look, I come from a place where all my friends have guns, many of them use ARs.

I guess my question is, do you concern as a federal official, as lawmaker, as somebody who legislates that something like that maybe diminishes the impact of what this moment is and kind of the conversations that's happening, at least if you're trying to reach a resolution on issues?

BUCK: Well, if Joe Biden is interested in reaching a resolution on the issue, let him deal with the southern border. We have drugs coming across the southern border. And this crisis -- this mental health crisis that we have in this country has a direct relationship to our drug laws being loosened and the lack of funding at the state level for mental health services.

So let Joe Biden deal with some of the issues that are underlying the very serious, and I have to tell you, my heart goes out every time we have one of these shootings to the victims and their families of these shootings, but it doesn't -- it doesn't lessen the burden that Joe Biden has in finding solutions to these problems other than just blaming the gun all the time for the problem that he, in part, is causing by his policies on the border?

MATTINGLY: So even if I stipulate everything you said, related to the president, what's the burden on you as a lawmaker in the wake of these? You noted, every time one of these happens, your heart goes out. You feel awful.

The fact that they happened so many times that you have to say every time, that would seem to be a pretty significant problem nationally. So what's the burden on you, as a federal officials lawmaker to do something about this? Regardless of what you think it is, but to do something?

BUCK: Right. No, I absolutely acknowledge that and my burden is to make sure I follow the Constitution and the Second Amendment protector.

There more than 2 million AR-15s. As you said, you have some friends with AR-15s. They're not a danger to anybody.

The idea that we're going to confiscate 2 million weapons in this country is pure folly. The idea that we're going to ban a particular kind of weapon as if some other weapon won't be used -- I can remember 20 years ago, the ban was on handguns.

We've got to -- we've got to stop handguns from being used, and handguns kill far more people than a rifle like an AR-15. If you go to Chicago and you look at the murder rate in some very poor areas of Chicago, they're not using AR-15s. They're using handguns.

So ultimately we need to stop the violence by making sure we take violent criminals off the streets and addressing the mental health issue that we face. That's my burden.

MATTINGLY: Can I ask you? I do -- we only have a little -- a few minutes left. But I do want to ask you about TikTok. And it's been in the news.

You have obviously been a leading voice on this issue. There's bipartisan agreement that TikTok is a national security threat. You personally had the secretary of state acknowledged that it is a national security threat. You've introduced legislation that would ban the app nationwide.

But some TikTok users say you're focusing on the wrong issue, particularly in the wake of the last 24 hours.

Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Twenty thousand one hundred and thirty-eight deaths from firearms in 2022, the best that Congress can do to keep us safe is to ban TikTok. I'm so glad that we have elected officials to protect us and our children.


MATTINGLY: I know these are two separate issues. But what's your response? TikTok users have certainly engaged recently trying to get out in front of this. What's your response to that?

BUCK: Was that a TikTok video, by the way? I couldn't see.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it was. Sorry, sir. Yes, it was.

BUCK: Oh, okay. It's kind of interesting that that TikTok would promote a video like that to try to distract people from the real issue.

China is accumulating data on Americans that are using TikTok. That data can be used in the cyber war. We are about to have a conflict with China over Taiwan, and there may very well be cyber warfare between two countries. We don't want to give China the upper hand in that regard. I understand that TikTok is popular and I understand it. It is a much

better technology than Instagram or other technologies that we have available. We can't sell our technology. Facebook can't operate in China. Google can't operate in China.

Yet these companies like TikTok can accumulate data to be used against Americans in the future. It's a policy that may not be very popular, but it's very necessary.

MATTINGLY: And it's a -- it's a bipartisan one as well.

And, Congressman, you've been one of the leading voices on it. Democrats and Republicans, what the actual solution is. We're going to have to wait and see. But you have legislation on this.

Congressman Ken Buck, thanks so much for your time. I appreciate you.

BUCK: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: All right. Coming up next, a major court ruling today as a judge orders former Vice President Mike Pence to testify about his conversations with Donald Trump before the Capitol attack. Now, the former president -- well, he's reacting.


MATTINGLY: A major development in the special counsel investigation into January 6th. A federal judge has ordered former Vice President Mike Pence to testify about conversations he had with former President Donald Trump in the lead up to the insurrection.


CNN's Evan Perez is here.

And, Evan, explain to me -- it was a lot of nuance here, a lot of detail. You know all of it because you're an expert on all the things. What's actually happening here?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the -- both sides, both Mike Pence and the Justice Department I think believe that they've won, which is one of the things that happens in these -- in these rulings.

A judge here has decided that Mike Pence must testify. But he did recognize that Mike Pence has the right to at least wall off some of his conversations with the former president under the speech or debate clause in the Constitution. Mike Pence says I was president of the Senate during January 6th.

And so there's certain things I should not have to talk to talk about. So, the judge at least recognizes that that right exists on the part of the former -- of the former vice president.

However, he is going to have to show up. And so what the question is, when is that going to happen? When is he going to be brought before the grand jury?

Here's Mike Pence talking a little bit about how he believes this role stands constitutionally.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I will fight the subpoena from Biden's DOJ and I will stand firmly on the Constitution of the United States of America.


PEREZ: As you can see, the former vice president is trying to -- try to have it both ways, right? He wants to show that he's standing up and fighting. However, it is clear that he is going to have to answer some of these questions, Phil. The question is, you know, when is that going to happen? Is he going to appeal? Is the former president going to appeal because he was also claiming that some of these questions should be off limits because of the executive privilege question?

We did get a statement from the former president's spokesman who said -- accused of Justice Department of being weaponized and he said there is no factual or legal basis or substance to any case against President Trump. Of course, this is part of the special counsel's investigation, Phil, and we know it is definitely accelerating.

MATTINGLY: You know, you listen to Pence sound, almost seems like you might run for president.

PEREZ: It almost seems, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Evan Perez somehow keeping us in the loop on all these details. Thanks so much.

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig joins me now.

And, Elie, look, the judge did offer the former vice president some protections about what he has to share about what happened on January 6th, when he was operating as Evan noted as the president of the Senate. But he did have to testify about his conversations with former President Trump, in -- but does he have to testify about this conversations leading up to the attack? What do you make of this actual decision here?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Phil, on balance, this is a real win for prosecutors for the special counsel because now they will get to question the former vice president Mike Pence under oath about virtually everything that they'll need to ask him about.

Now, they cannot ask him about what he did on January 6th itself because he was acting as vice president as Senate president. So that's walled off under as Evan described, the speech and debate clause. But they're going to get to question him under oath about everything leading up to January 6th, including key meetings that he had one on one with Donald Trump in the days leading up to January 6 where they discussed this plot, where I would want to ask Mike Pence, what did Donald Trump tell you? What did he ask you to do?

Those are crucial conversations. Now, Pence and/or Trump can appeal this to the court of appeals. I don't think they're likely to get a different outcome. I think this is likely to stick as the result, and it's a win for prosecutors.

MATTINGLY: You know, Evan laid out and you noted on some of them that there's a series of questions. We still need answers to in terms of timing with the actual process would be going forward. One of the questions I had is can the former vice president still plead the Fifth to avoid answering questions that aren't walled off here?

HONIG: So legally and constitutionally, absolutely, yes. Mike Pence, like any person, can claim the Fifth and that would prevent him from having to testify. However, first of all, he would need some basis on which to argue that his testimony might incriminate him. And second of all, I'm not sure he's willing to take on the political damage that would come with taking the Fifth.

Also, Phil, if Mike Pence or any witness takes the Fifth, then prosecutors can actually use a countermove to overcome that. They can immunize him. Essentially, they would say, okay, Mike Pence or anyone else. You take the Fifth. We're going to agree that we're not going to use your testimony against you, and now you have to testify.

And that is not optional. That is not voluntary. So we could see a little back and forth here.

MATTINGLY: Totally. I do want to turn to the Manhattan grand jury investigation into the former president's alleged role in $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election. Yesterday, the grand jury heard testimony from David Pecker, the former head of the company that publishes "The National Enquirer".

But Pecker has already testified before the grand jury. Why do you think prosecutors wanted to bring him back?

HONIG: So the key to understanding this is understanding, as you just said. This is David Pecker's second time in the grand jury. He was part of the prosecution's original presentation. And then what happened after that? Is the defense Donald Trump's team had this lawyer Bob Costello go in, and he told us afterwards that what he did was basically attacked Michael Cohen's credibility.

And so, I think it stands to reason David Pecker was called to rebut that and to try to rehabilitate Michael Cohen's credibility, either specifically as two points an issue or generally.


MATTINGLY: Need a wall sized map to keep track of all this stuff somehow. Elie Honig does it. Thanks so much, Elie.

HONIG: Thanks, Phil.

MATTINGLY: All right. There's also the classified documents investigation involving Trump. It's another one. Tonight, a former Trump attorney and a former Manhattan prosecutor will debate Trump's new defense.

In that case, watch CNN PRIMETIME: "Inside the Trump Investigations" with the one and only Pamela Brown, tonight, 9:00 Eastern.

Next, today's stunning court decision to reinstate the murder conviction of the man made famous by a podcast.


MATTINGLY: A shocking twist in the case of Adnan Syed. It's subject of that hit podcast "Serial". An appeals court has just reinstated his murder conviction, despite a lower court judge vacating his conviction in September.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now.

And, Brynn, why did the court reinstate his conviction?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. So, Phil, back up to September when that lower court overturned his vacation -- he vacated the conviction. Essentially, the appellate court judges saying that the victim's family in this who was Syed's ex-girlfriend, her brother didn't have a chance to actually be present at that hearing before that decision was made by the lower courts.

He was notified about that hearing. Just a few days prior, he had to attend by Zoom because he lives in California, and that wasn't fair to him. So, essentially, they're saying there needs to be a redo of that hearing.

I want to read you from -- read from the opinion, it said: Because the circuit court violated Mr. Lee's right to notice of and his right to attend the hearing on the state's motion to vacate, this court has the power and obligation to remedy those violations as long as we can do so without violating Mr. Syed's right to be free from double jeopardy.

And the appellate judges going further explaining how this is in double jeopardy because it's not a second prosecution of Syed. In fact, when this hearing does happen again, they could come to the same conclusion that they vacate his sentence, his conviction rather or it's possible he could go back behind bars. But, look, judges basically giving 60 days notice for both sides to kind of discuss this, figure out what the next steps are.

It's unclear what's going to happen with Syed at the very moment, but the family of this victim very happy with this court's decision.

MATTINGLY: Quite a turn of events, Brynn Gingras, thanks so much.

Back to our top story, President Biden is again calling on Congress to ban assault weapons after that school shooting in Nashville.

Wolf Blitzer is here.

And, Wolf, you're going to be focusing on this in "THE SITUATION ROOM". What exactly are you going to be looking at here?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST, "THE SITUATION ROOM": We're looking at all the details of what's going on right now, because there's so much pressure right now. There's so many Americans who want to see what's called common sense gun control here in the United States. It's clearly not happening, and there clearly major differences in the House of Representatives where there's a Republican majority right now.

And in the Senate right now, in order to get some new legislation, as you know, Phil passed in the Senate, they need to break a filibuster. There will almost certainly be a filibuster, and that would require 60 votes. Schumer, the top Democrat, that doesn't believe they necessarily have 60 votes, so he's not even ready at least right now to put it up for a vote.

A lot of other senators would like at least to come up for a vote and embarrass those Republicans who will vote against, as I said, what's called this common sense gun -- gun reform in the United States, some gun changes to prevent these kinds of massacres, especially at elementary schools, what's been going on in our country. And so, there's a debate going on.

It was interesting today, as you know, Phil, the president, President Biden, said he really can't do anything right now. He said, I can't do anything except plead with the Congress to act reasonably. So he's not going ahead with any additional executive authority or anything like that to try to change it. He's waiting for the House and the Senate to do what they would have to do. And clearly, that doesn't look like it's happening anytime soon.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, may be waiting a long time. Wolf Blitzer, we'll see at the top of the hour, getting in all of those dynamics. Thanks so much.

Then, versus now, CNN uncovered old video of Joe Biden pushing a plan similar to what he chastises Republicans for now. We'll cue the tape, coming up next.


MATTINGLY: New reporting shows President Biden wants supported and even introduced legislation in the 1970s and '80s that would have terminated funding for all federal programs without specifically exempting Social Security and Medicare.

Now, remember, this is the exact proposal. Biden has been attacking Republicans for.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security sunset.

A lot of Republicans, their dream is to cut Social Security and Medicare. If that's a Republican dream, I'm their nightmare.

Republican going to the gut and eliminate these programs.


MATTINGLY: Let's bring in CNN's Andrew Kaczynski.

And, Andrew, what exactly did Biden support here?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN KFILE SENIOR EDITOR: Yeah, that's right. So Biden has -- and the White House has been attacking Republicans for positions on Social Security that he himself once had.

Just take that sunset legislation that we just talked about sunset legislation basically means that a bill has funding for a set number of years, and if it's not reauthorized, the funding goes away. Now, Biden introduced a plan in 1975 that like Rick Scott sunset, all federal legislation without exemptions for Social Security and Medicare.

And what's interesting, which we found, was this was actually the first federal sunset bill ever to be introduced. Another interesting thing here is that, like Rick Scott, who Biden was attacking, saying, well, you know, he said, never mind now he doesn't want to sunset Medicare and Social Security, Biden actually introduced in his own bill, exemptions later in later years that would exempt both of these programs.

Now, Biden has also been open to raising to the retirement age. In the 1980s, specifically, he said, several times, he wanted to push the retirement age up to 68 or 70, whatever aligned with actuarial tables and in 2005, he even said he was willing to discuss benefit cuts. Take a listen to this clip.


BIDEN: I want to see what the president offers. I want to see if it represents a solution, raising the cap, raising the retirement age for people who are now 30 years old, raising the tax and Social Security cutting benefits. They're all things that have to be discussed, quite frankly.


KACZYNSKI: We did reach out to the White House to ask them about these past positions. What they told us was that today, President Biden has publicly pledged to veto any plan that cuts Social Security or Medicaid, but Medicare benefits or raises taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 per year.

MATTINGLY: Andrew Kaczynski, the risk of a five-decade public career to some degree. Great work, as always, my friend. Thanks so much.

And you can tweet the show @TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can also listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts and the best news of all. Our coverage continues right now, with the one, the only Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM".