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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Gunman Kills Innocent People at An Outlet Mall In Allen, Texas; Russia Attempts To Wear Down Ukraine's Air Defense Systems; Attorneys For The IRS Whistleblower Alleging Political Interference From The Justice Department In The Hunter Biden Criminal Investigation Lay The Groundwork For What Their Client Hopes To Share With The U.S. Congress; New Poll Shows President Biden's Approval Plunges To 36 Percent; Court Documents Show Convicted Murderer Alex Murdaugh Admits About Dogs Tripping Housekeeper Was Invented. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 08, 2023 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER: Their mother is currently in critical condition. Aishwarya Thatikonda was shopping with a friend when she was brutally slaughtered. Christian LaCour was a 20-year-old security guard at the outlets when he was brutally slaughtered. We're also learning more about the gunman. Sources tell CNN that he was kicked out of the Army due to mental health concerns. CNN's Josh Campbell is in Allen, Texas where investigators are right now going through this shooter's social media posts.


MAX WEISS, EMPLOYEE AT OUTLET MALL: I was just kind of full of adrenaline. I mean, it was the most terrifying moment of my life.

JOSH CAMPBELL (voice-over): Eight people are dead and at least seven others wounded after yet another mass shooting on American soil.

UNKNOWN: On here, hey!

UNKNOWN: The report from the police is we have multiple upon multiple patients.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): This time at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, Saturday, about 25 miles north of Dallas.

RACQUEL LEE, MALL SHOOTING WITNESS: And the gunshots, just, it sounded like a war zone. It was horrifying.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Investigators say the 33-year old gunman who was killed at the scene by a police officer may have been driven by right wing extremism. A senior law enforcement source tells CNN there isn't a specific motive they've identified yet, but that investigators have uncovered an extensive social media presence, including neo-Nazi and white supremacist related posts. Steven Spainhouer rushed to the scene to help the victims.

STEVEN SPAINHOUER, WITNESSED OUTLET MALL SHOOTING: Then saw a little boy about four or five. He just kept saying my mother's hurt over and over and over. I told him everything was fine, that help was on the way. I checked him for no wounds, but he was caked with blood from head to toe.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who attended a vigil for the victim Sunday night, says authorities don't yet know enough about the gunman to make any determinations.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): What I could tell from talking to the investigators yesterday and that is people should not jump to conclusions because there's a lot of conflicting information about him.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): A law enforcement source familiar with the investigation tells CNN that the suspect served for a brief period in the U.S. military, but was removed due to concerns about his mental health. In addition to an AR-15-style firearm and another weapon found with the gunman, the source tells CNN police found several more weapons in his car, and he was dressed in tactical gear.

The source also says the suspect had been living in some type of temporary lodging in the Dallas area and at one time worked as a security guard and underwent firearms training according to public records.

WEISS: I just had to accept it. I just had to accept it in the moment and be like, well, this is my life now.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Max Weiss was working at one of the stores in the mall and sheltered with customers in a back room. He says he knew one of the victims, a mall security guard identified as 20-year old Christian LaCour

WEISS: He was the kindest and sweetest, most caring man you'd ever interact with.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): Also killed, 27-year-old Aishwarya Thatikonda, an engineer who was visiting the mall with a friend who is currently in stable condition, according to CNN affiliate WFAA. Tonight, we've also learned three Korean Americans, a mother, father, and their youngest son, were also killed in the shooting. According to a verified GoFundMe, the young victim was just three years old. His six- year-old brother is the only member of the family who survived. And two young sisters, a fourth and second grader were also killed according to their school district, which says their mother remains in critical condition.


CAMPBELL (on-camera): Now, Jake, some new information just in on the weapons that this suspect owned, including that AR-15 style rifle used in this attack. I just got off with a law enforcement source who tells me that of the multiple weapons that were recovered, that were owned by that suspect, all of them were purchased legally. Most of them were via private sellers, which means that they didn't go through a federal background check. That is legal here in Texas, obviously. If you buy from a private

individual, you don't have to go through that federal system, but that's something that we continue to hear from gun safety advocates ridiculing the so-called private seller loophole. It appears in this case that most of the weapons used that the shooter owned were indeed from a private seller. All of them are owned legally, Jake.

TAPPER: Private seller loophole. We've been talking about it since Columbine. Josh Campbell, thank you so much. CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller is with us now. John, what do we know for certain about the suspect's ties to any far-right wing or extremist groups? So, what do we know about an insignia I've read about that he was wearing?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So, what we haven't seen is ties to actual groups where you get together with other individuals. What we have seen is a lot of online activity associated with that ideology. So, he gravitates towards Nazi ideology. He gravitates towards white supremacy. There are certain other themes that are mixed in with kind of this salad bar of grievances. And he writes, you know, they've been laughing at me since I can remember, but they're not going to be laughing anymore.


You see a lot of themes in the social media about hate ideology, but also blaming his problems on others and wanting to lash out at the world.

TAPPER: We see again social media posts potentially providing some signposts to his possible motivations. How are authorities now going back to determine how this might have actually motivated him?

MILLER: Well, there's thousands of pages on multiple platforms of his social media posts, videos, journals, diaries, notes, exchanges with others, and a lot of discussion about weapons he was interested in and wanted to purchase and how he got them and so on. They're going to need to cover all of that.

Now, what they're looking for is any signs that were missed, anything that could have been done, any deeper looks into the psychology of this because they're now comparing notes because of the uptick of these events looking for common themes and things that might help them detect in the future. But what they're not seeing is part of a plan involving other people and so on. At this point it looks like something in his own mind that he came up with.

TAPPER: So, we've heard that this man has a Latino background, his name is certainly Latino, and when we talk about white extremist views, white supremacist views, Nazi views, that it might seem discordant to a lot of people who don't understand why a Latino would be associated with white supremacist, use it and we have seen some of this before. Nick Fuentes is his vocal voice of hate online, is a holocaust, and now, he's obviously a Latino. Enrique Tarrio, the now convicted leader of the Proud Boys, a Cuban-American. Can you help us understand this? MILLER: Sure. I mean, part of the Nazi ideology, the neo-Nazi

ideology, the white supremacist ideology, kind of builds into this the European race and the European race that came to America and excludes all others. Also singling out the Jews, especially even though, you know, Jews with deep origins in Europe. But anti-Semitism has always a theme that runs through this.

So, as you pointed out, we've seen people in leadership roles who, because they believe their ancestors traced to Europe, just don't count in their view of the field of prejudice. Now, strangely, not all white supremacists agree on that with Hispanics, but I've been looking at alt-right white supremacist groups for a long time, and I've seen that many times.

TAPPER: Chilling and fascinating at the same time. John Miller, thank you so much for your insights as always. With us now, Republican Congressman Mike Lawler. Congressman Lawler is one of five New York Republicans who flipped their seats from blue to red in the midterms. And on Wednesday, President Biden is going to visit Congressman Lawler's district, part of a strategy of targeting swing district Republicans to try to pressure House Speaker McCarthy in this congressional battle to raise the debt ceiling, which I want to talk to you about.

But, obviously, I also want to talk to you about this awful news out of Texas, Congressman, where the gunman killed eight people at a Texas mall. I want to get your reaction to comments from this first responder in the scene who told me in the last hour that he owns guns, he's a supporter of the Second Amendment, but something needs to change. Take a listen.


SPAINHOUER: I'm in Texas. I love guns. I have guns. I've trained people how to use them. But these people killer weapons, high-capacity magazines have no place being on our streets. The governor says I'm offering prayers. I'm a Christian. I believe that faith without words is dead and prayers without words, actions behind it to safeguard our communities. The governor needs to give a dose of reality and start doing the right thing and take a leadership role in protecting our communities.


TAPPER: So, I guess my question for you is, there's an obvious Venn diagram here and one circle you have people who are, you know, danger to themselves and others, and another circle of people who have access to firearms. And that's, you know, where those circles merge, that's where we're having these problems quite often. Not everybody who's a danger to themselves or others is going to do this and not everybody who has access to firearms is going to do this, but this area where red flag laws could make an impact, et cetera, is it time to do more? Is it time for Congress to act?

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): Look, in the New York State Assembly, I voted to expand red flag laws in New York because I believe anybody who is experiencing a mental health crisis should not have access to a gun, period. And the fact, as we're learning, that this gentleman was kicked out of the military because he had some mental health challenges, he should not have had access to a gun.

And I think when we look at the use of Red Flag Laws, yes, we need due process. But we can't just keep saying mental health, mental health, mental health, and then do nothing about mental health. So, I do believe, you know, in the use of Red Flag Laws, yes with due process.


But we have to act when it comes to the mental health crisis that we're dealing with. On top of that, I have long believed in universal background checks. There should not be a loophole for purchasing a gun. Yes, I believe in the Second Amendment. I support people's right to exercise their Second Amendment rights. But you have to have a process in place to ensure that it's done safely.


LAWLER: And, you know, that's why I've supported legislation so far for safe storage. We wanna make sure, and I think most law-abiding gun owners believe in this. They take it very seriously.


LAWLER: They support, you know, training. They support safe storage. They believe in universal background checks because they wanna make sure that the Second Amendment is exercised with all due safety. And I think that's critical as we move forward.

TAPPER: So, thank you. And I hope you come back with a Democrat and you guys have some legislation that can may be passed to talk about that. Let's talk about some other areas, specifically having to do with the debt ceiling. Because President Biden is targeting you. He's coming to your district. We're in crunch time. The Treasury Secretary says the U.S. could default on its debts by June 1st.

Obviously, this would cause catastrophic consequences. You say there's more time to negotiate. How long are you willing to hold out? Because we just talked to a White House official, and they don't have a Plan B. They just say, Republicans have to pass a clean Debt Ceiling Bill.

LAWLER: Well, you know, I think it's really unfortunate that the White House has taken this tact. The House Republican majority was elected to serve as a check and balance, in large part because of the reckless spending engaged by the Biden administration, over $5 trillion in new spending in two years, creating the situation we're in with a 41-year record high on inflation.

I have had three parameters throughout this entire debate. Number one, the President and the Speaker and the Senate majority leader must negotiate in good faith. Number two, we must cut spending over the long term because we cannot continue to sustain this. And number three, we cannot default. Those have been my parameters throughout this entire discussion. House

Republicans passed a bill. The President and the Senate Majority Leader obviously do not like it. That's their prerogative, that's their right. But we are a split government. And so, we need to all work together, come to the table and have an honest dialogue. Senate cannot pass a bill.


LAWLER: Chuck Schumer could say, he's blue in the face that he wants a clean Debt Ceiling Bill. He can't pass it.

TAPPER: Right.

LAWLER: So, I think it behooves everybody to stop wasting time and actually sit down and negotiate. There's gonna be a meeting tomorrow, but the president has already announced he's coming to my district on Wednesday to decry, you know, extreme MAGA Republicans, which pretty much tells you how tomorrow's meeting is gonna go. It's going to --

TAPPER: Yeah, I don't know that I would describe you that way.

LAWLER: No, neither would I, but it's wasting time. And it's not actually solving the problem here. And so, my plea to the President is look, we understand you're not gonna agree with the bill that was passed by the House, but let's get serious and sit down and negotiate something. The President, when he was Vice President of the United States back in 2011, did just that.


LAWLER: That's the Joe Biden, old. That's the Joe Biden everybody is expecting. And I don't know why he's refusing to negotiate.

TAPPER: So, your colleague Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace, South Carolina, I asked her if she'd consider passing a Clean Bill to raise a debt ceiling. If there was some sort of agreement with the White House on serious future negotiations, take a listen.


REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): If there was a gentleman's agreement or a handshake that said, hey, we're going to find a way, we're going to agree to balance the budget in 15 years, 10 years, 20 years, some timeframe, then I think that's absolutely doable.


TAPPER: Could you get on board with a plan like that?

LAWLER: Look, I've said from the very beginning, we cannot default. And so, there needs to be an honest, good faith negotiation here. And if we're making progress towards long-term spending reforms that gets our fiscal house in order, of course, we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to avoid default. It would be a disaster for our economy, which is already on the brink,

given inflation, given some of the banking failures. None of us want to see that happen. And so, we all have an obligation to be honest, be sincere and sober. And everybody needs to get their big boy pants on, and start doing their job, rather than sticking to the nonsensical idea that we can just continue down this path and do nothing.

TAPPER: What's your message to President Biden as he heads to your district on Wednesday?


LAWLER: Well, I look forward to welcoming there and hopefully engaging in a serious conversation about the path forward. The bottom line is we have a split government. This is not a dictatorship. It's not a monarchy. The White House needs to work with the House Republican majority and Senate Democrats to come up with a plan that we can all agree on, move forward, that ensures we do not default but puts us on the path to fiscal sanity. We all have that responsibility, and I would just remind the President of that.

TAPPER: New York Republican Congressman Mr. Mike Lawler, always good to have you on, Sir, thanks so much.

LAWLER: Thanks.

TAPPER: Coming up, a look at Russia's attempt to exhaust Ukrainians' air forces as Zelenskyy gears up for the spring offensive, plus new developments in the deaths that happened in Alex Murdoch's world. The family of his late housekeeper tries to set the record straight about her death.


TAPPER: Topping our world lead, Russia is attempting to wear down Ukraine's air defense systems. Ukraine says Putin's army launched a wave of attacks overnight in the capital of Kyiv, in the east in Kharkiv, and in the south in Kherson and the town of Odessa. There, a Russian missile obliterated a Red Cross warehouse, destroying all the humanitarian aid stored there.


Well, over the weekend, U.S. officials substantiated Ukraine's claim that it's shot down Russia's most modern hypersonic missile with a U.S. Patriot air defense system. Now, CNN's Nick Paton Walsh brings us to the scene of Russia's indiscriminate shelling.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Occupied Ukraine is aflame and evacuating its civilians. Russia's wholesale departure can't come soon enough for frontline. Ravaged by Moscow, where four missiles hit on Thursday alone, rescuers left guessing what the constant bangs mean and have done. WALSH: See people just down the road here carrying on life as per

normal despite dust in the sky around us. It may not be in fact. Outcoming. He's saying, it doesn't take a particular time of day when these sort of things start. Could be any time at all, frankly.

As dusk falls, the sky is lit in a jewel. All they can do here to stay alive is read the horizon. Some of it perhaps further south into occupied areas than a week earlier. But so much of it also, very close. Dawn is often jarring. We hear a jet overhead, the slowly building, grating sound of damage moving towards you. A missile, a half-million dollar KH-31, Ukrainian officials later say, lands just 700 yards away.

Another blast follows. Either jet entrails or anti-aircraft fire settle to shape a Z in the air, the symbol of Russia's invasion. It is soon gone. The damage it leaves though isn't. This is where it hit or missed.

Down here you can get a feeling of just how massively brutal Russian firepower can be. And also how indiscriminate. I can still smell the explosive down here and you're kind of left wondering where the obvious military target is. At the end of this road is Polohi, one of the towns Russia has said it is evacuating. We are just one mile from Russian frontline positions here, a world torn apart as Moscow tries to hold Ukraine back.

Well, no more than 10 miles in that direction are the first towns that Russian occupying forces say they're going to be evacuating because of the Ukrainian counter-offensive. But look here, the last town really held by Ukraine, absolutely battered, and so few people left here. There's little need to evacuate. Where there were once 3000, there are 200 people trying to stay, says Raysa.

RAYSA (through translator): We can't leave. We don't have a way out.

WALSH: Caught in these wide-open spaces where a distant bang can suddenly alter life in an instant. Now Jake, at this stage Russian officials in occupied areas are claiming they've evacuated 3000 people so far, but the pace of this departure does appear to be growing. Ukrainian officials even claiming they've pulled most of their staff out of a town called Skadovsk.

Now, that's to the west of the Crimean Peninsula, a particularly vulnerable area. I think really though, many eyes here in Ukraine that's endured wave after wave of drones and missiles. In fact, the sirens on here in Zaporizhzhia not so long ago are concerned. We might tonight see yet another wave of a bid to get through Ukraine's improved air defenses to mark the 9th of May, Russia's victory day that we'll see celebrated, if that's the right word, on Red Square in Moscow. Many Ukrainians will be sleeping, I'm sure, with half an eye open tonight. Jake?

TAPPER: Nick Payton-Walsh in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, thank you so much. Coming up, the new poll numbers that may have President Biden and the White House and Democrats from coast to coast terrified.




TAPPER: Politics now, multiple sources tell CNN that attorneys for the IRS whistleblower who alleges political interference from the Justice Department in the Hunter Biden criminal investigation that they met with congressional investigators in an effort to lay the groundwork for what their client hopes to share with the U.S. Congress. CNN's Paula Reid is following the story first. Paula, what do we know about what his lawyers told lawmakers?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake we know from this individual's lawyer that this is a person who worked at the IRS and worked on the Hunter Biden investigation. This person is currently in the process of obtaining whistleblower protection, and as part of that process, the lawyer met with lawmakers on Friday to try to share at least a glimpse of what they hope to share with lawmakers.

But publicly, Jake, this individual has provided no evidence of these allegations of political interference in the Justice Department's long-running investigation into the President's son. Now, a lot of folks asking with this whistleblower, hey, what is the status of that criminal investigation?

CNN first reported last summer that the investigation has really narrowed down to a few potential tax charges as well as a possible false statement charge related to the purchase of a gun where he failed to disclose his issues related to addiction.


But there have been no public events in the investigation for nearly a year, though we were the first to report it, Hunter Biden's lawyers met with prosecutors in recent days. We were told, Jake, by multiple sources that that was not a meeting to signal the end of the investigation or possible charges. We're told it was a routine meeting requested by Hunter Biden's attorneys.

TAPPER: What is the attorney general, Merrick Garland, saying about the allegation of political interference?

REID: It's significant, because this individual claims that he has evidence that would contradict the public promises that Garland made that there would be no political interference into this investigation. Our colleague, Evan Perez, asked Garland about this a few days ago. Let's take a listen to what the attorney general said.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: If that is still the case, that the investigation is not being interfered with in any political way since an agent from Mr. Lee's agency has now come forward claiming whistleblower status and alleging that there has been some kind of interference? MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, that's still the case. I stand by my testimony. And I refer you to the U.S. attorney for the district of Delaware who is in charge of this case and capable of making any decisions that he feels are appropriate.


REID: It will be interesting to see what, if any, evidence that this whistleblower can present to support this allegation that there has been political interference. And at this time, of course, Hunter Biden has not been charged and it's unclear if charges will be filed against him. Jake?

TAPPER: In another legal matter, the judge in the Trump hush money case just made a ruling about Donald Trump's social media use. Tell us about that.

REID: This is a fascinating issue, Jake, because the district attorney overseeing the criminal prosecution of former President Trump in that hush money case, they had asked to limit Trump's ability to share any of the evidence that he seized sees in the course of this case on social. Because, historically, over the past several months while this case started to heat up, Trump would take to social media attacking the district attorney, attacking the judge, attacking some of the witnesses who are likely to testify in this case.

But Trump's lawyers argued, look, this guy has a First Amendment right to defend himself, to talk about these issues, he's also a presidential candidate. And they believe that there shouldn't be any restrictions on his speech.

So now, a judge has approved an order that would restrict his ability to talk about any of this, not only on social media but really most public platforms.

Now, Jake, I haven't had a chance to speak with the former president's lawyers, as I was sitting here, but I would expect them to appeal. There are some really serious constitutional questions. But, again, like so often, former President Trump once again taking us to constitutional questions that have rarely been posed before.

TAPPER: He is a trailblazer in that way. Paula Reid, thank you so much, I appreciate it.

Brutal numbers for the current president in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll as Mr. Biden begins his re-election campaign. President Biden's job approval rating has fallen to 36 percent in this poll. That's the lowest of his presidency in this specific poll. It gets worse from there in a head-to-head matchup against Donald Trump, Biden gets 38 percent support compared to Trump's 44 percent. A big 12 percent say they're undecided.

Joining us now to discuss, Republican Strategist Rina Shah along with Democratic Strategist Paul Begala, who is also a CNN political commentator. Any reason to panic here, Paul? I mean, these numbers are pretty bad and you also have questions about how he's perceived in terms of his sharpness by the American people.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I went through this poll in detail. And it's like that story -- there's got to be a pony in here. There's not. There's no good news. I'm a supporter of Biden. But there's no good news for Team Biden in this poll. The only good news is in the calendar, right, where we're 546 days out. And I went back March.

In April -- this is May, but in April, the year before his re- election, Bill Clinton was down to 29. He coasted to re-election, won 33 states, won by nine points but something happened. Well, two things, two huge things happened, the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing, which is absolutely tragic, and voters couldn't handle it very well. And then at the end of that year, the Republicans shut down the government.

Now, this is a hope, not a strategy. Biden at least has this default fight coming. And my counsel to him would be put all your chips into that. Because you can start to turn around these questions I think even of, are you too old, are you too sharp, by fighting. I think they need to retire avuncular Uncle Joe and hire Smokin' Joe, Smokin' Joe Frazier from Philly. He needs to fight.

TAPPER: What do you think? Is this an outlier? Do you think Donald Trump really could be re-elected?

RINA SHAH, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I don't think that Trump can be we elected, that I think that's a whole separate conversation. I think this is really problematic for Biden world because the one thing that I think they did wrong was to come out with a re-election announcement video. Come on now. Put Joe out there.


Let him be forceful. Let him fight. But they didn't. They'd said the video is enough.

And a lot of politics right now is about a feeling, right? Is he too old? Of course, ageism is baked in here. We'd be lying if we said it weren't. And so the reality is you're having a growing GOP field and then you've got party of one over here. And I don't think the faith even of his own party is there that he could see a better day. So, I don't see much good news happening even if Joe is able to really force the hands of the Republicans on this debt ceiling fight.

TAPPER: Yes. Well, in terms of the ageism, nearly two-thirds of those polls -- this is voting age Americans, two-thirds say they don't think that President Biden has the mental sharpness to serve as president. Donald Trump is only a few years younger than Joe Biden and 54 percent say he is sharp enough. So, it's not just ageism. I mean, Biden likes to say, watch me. People say, can you do this, watch me. People are watching him. They don't think he's sharp enough. BEGALA: Rina makes a good point. They need to put him out more. I think she's right. When you saw him and I did, at the state of the union, he was so sharp, he baited the Republicans into a trap on Social Security extemporaneously. It's actually a really hard speech to do.


SHAH: Yes.

BEGALA: And he baited him into a trap, and without script, pulled the snare on Social Security, Democrats' best issue.

SHAH: But After that, Paul, he's not been very loud and he's not been forceful in what he genuinely believes. And when he takes this fight to the Republicans in the house and say debt ceiling stuff here, he's a moderate. He's not a real fighter where he's going to be able to push their hand.

But I think we have to go to the crux of the matter here. It's Gen Z who put Joe Biden that put him in the White House. What is Gen Z going to do? And they're saying, we can't believe it, we can't believe we're about to have a Biden-Trump rematch. So, they don't want to reward the Democrats again. They wanted somebody else. And the Democrats are saying sit down and wait your turn. That is not a good playbook for the 2024 primary.

TAPPER: So, speaking of we want somebody else, Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, he's been struggling with how to deal with Donald Trump and he's been struggling even before he became a presidential candidate. ABC News got some footage from his first gubernatorial bid -- his debate prep, 2018, DeSantis struggling with the issue of likability. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think when you walk out there, do you have a pad you have to write in all caps at the top of the pad, likable. And, look, I do the same thing. I have the same personality. We're both aggressive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there any issue of how much you disagree with President Trump?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Obviously, there is because I've been out voted contrary to him.

I have to frame it in a way it's not going to piss off all his voters.


TAPPER: It's actually not bad advice if people don't think you're likeable enough to remind yourself to be likable on the top of the pad. But what do you think of this all?

BEGALA: Yes. At the top of my pad, I wrote handsomer. It didn't work. I'm still ugly. DeSantis -- I've been DeSantis dissenter, as you know, from the beginning because for that very reason, he's just not likable. He doesn't have the performance skills of a Trump. I don't support Trump, but, golly, can he perform. Donald Trump spent more time at the business end of a camera than any politician since Reagan. He knows what to do. He knows how to perform. DeSantis, he dances like a guy who learned how an Arthur Murray. He's just like, one, two, three, one, two. He's klutz in a clod and he's not at all likable and he's going nowhere.

TAPPER: What do you think?

SHAH: I think this video is fantastic. Why not? It actually sees -- you see him pushing back on Matt Gaetz who is trying to prep him and get him ready. It makes it look like he cares. And that I think is something there. Look, people can say all they want, that how embarrassing is this leaked video. I think it shows a human that wants to fight.

And likable or not, Ron DeSantis is a guy that at least has the strength to take on Trump. The charisma, maybe not, but the strength, the endurance, the values are even far-right of Trump.

But at the end of the day, what are people looking for? They're looking for Trump-lite and they're going to get that with Ron DeSantis. So, Trump world can try to embarrass him all they want, it's a marathon, it's not a sprint to the primary.

TAPPER: I did think it was funny that Congressman Matt Gaetz, who is now firmly in the camp of Trump re-tweeted that ABC News video saying he was so outraged, so outraged that somebody would leak this video. It's so offensive, but here is the embedded link to the video. Come on, many.

Anyway, Rina, Paul, thanks so much, I appreciate it.

New details emerging about the housekeeper who died while working for convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Our National Leadnow, convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh says he lied about how his family's housekeeper died at a South Carolina home in 2018. Now, for years, Murdaugh had said that the family dogs were the ones who tripped Gloria Satterfield down a flight of stairs causing her to hit her head. Now he says that story was made up.

You might recall the disgraced former attorney was sentenced to life in prison in march, found guilty of murdering his wife, Maggie, and their youngest son, Paul.

CNN's Randi Kaye is following this latest twist in one of the many bizarre stories involving this individual, Alex Murdaugh. Randi, Murdaugh is changing the narrative about how his housekeeper died. Tell us more. Why does that matter? RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it matters, Jake, but he could be on the hook for $3.8 million. Back in 2018, as you mentioned, he blamed the family dogs for causing his housekeeper to fall down the steps. She died in the hospital just a few weeks later. And then he arranged for another attorney to sue him, a negligence case, so then he could settle with this insurance company. And sure enough, Nautilus Insurance settled with Alex Murdaugh with the Satterfield family. The money was supposed to go to the Satterfield family, the housekeeper's children, but he kept the money for himself after arranging for himself to be sued.

So now, Nautilus Insurance is trying to recover that money, that $3.8 million. Alex Murdaugh is saying I don't have that money.


His lawyers in court documents are saying, you should go get that money from the Satterfield family. But, Jake, it's worth noting that the Satterfield family never got a penny from Nautilus Insurance, because even though that settlement money as earmarked for them for her sons, Alex Murdaugh put that in a special account for himself and kept that money. And even after he admitted doing this and agreed to a $4.3 million judgment with the Satterfield boys, they still have not seen a penny.

So, the Satterfield family's attorney held a press conference today, both of the attorneys, and they said that the reason they think he's changing his story is because he doesn't want to be on the hook for this money. And they also say, by telling Nautilus Insurance to go after the Satterfields for this money is just re-victimizing this family. Here is what else the lawyer had to say.


ERIC BLAND, ATTORNEY FOR SATTERFIELD FAMILY: The intervening criminal act of Alex Murdaugh, who was the insured and the target defendant, cut whatever equitable argument could be made against the Satterfields. That's why Nautilus has sued Alex, because they know that he has the money.


KAYE: What's still unclear here, Jake, is if Nautilus Insurance does recover millions from Alex Murdaugh, will the Satterfield money see any of that money, because, as I said, it was originally earmarked for them. Jake?

TAPPER: All right. Randi Kaye, thank you so much.

Coming up, the approach towards clearing an Arizona encampment for people going through homelessness that could be a blueprint for other sites across the country. Stay with us.


[17:50:00] TAPPER: Now, for our Buried Lead, that's what we call stories we feel are not getting the attention they deserve, in this case, it's a common site in cities throughout the United States, on sidewalks and public parks, on beaches, beneath overpasses, tents sheltering people who are currently homeless.

And now, as CNN's Gabe Cohen shows us more and more cities are facing legal mandates to clear out these individuals. They don't have definite plans for where people living in these tents should go.


NETTE REED, OUTREACH SPECIALIST, HUMAN SERVICES CAMPUS INC.: You want to get into a shelter, sweetheart?

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): At sunrise, Nette Reed's outreach team enters this massive encampment in downtown Phoenix, what some called The Zone, one of the largest camps in the U.S.

REED: The goal is to get them off the streets.

COHEN: As of April, roughly 900 people lived in this sprawl.

RAYANN DENNY, EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS: I just couldn't pay the bills so I ended up homeless.

COHEN: This is where you've been staying?

Rayann Denny said she landed here after her husband died.

What kind of stuff were you doing?

DENNY: Substance abuse, of course, because I just try to keep myself you know, high, so I don't like to deal with the pain.

COHEN: And the urgency is growing.

REED: I've got two words for you. Let's go. Let's go.

COHEN: Soon, these people have to leave.

REED: We have to move fast. We have to gas up. We have to come up with a plan.

COHEN: A judge has ordered the city to permanently clear this camp, calling it an illegal public nuisance, after a lawsuit brought by residents and business owners.

DEBBIE FAILLACE, OLD STATION SANDWICH SHOP OWNER: This is our restaurant and right across the street are the homeless encampments.

COHEN: Like Debbie and Joe Faillace, who have run this nearby sandwich shop for more than 30 years.

FAILLACE: There's just the complete lawlessness, and it's getting worse. COHEN: The lawsuit is one more piece of an increasingly polarized approach to homelessness across the U.S. as more states pass controversial laws to ban public camping.

REED: Spell your last name.

COHEN: Some think similar public nuisance lawsuits will soon be used to try to force other cities to clear encampments, but then what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just scared, really scared.


COHEN: Stefanie Powell doesn't know where she'll go when cleanup starts next week.

POWELL: I don't want to wind up having to walk the streets again. It's hard because nobody wants to see the problem.

COHEN: The Phoenix area has roughly half as many shelter beds as people experiencing homelessness, a population that's grown 46 percent since 2019 amid an affordable housing crisis. And the zone's location is key. It sits outside the Human Services Campus, a secure center that offers assistance, like food, water and healthcare, critical during Arizona's scorching summer.

What would that mean for people?

AMY SCHWABDENLENDER, CEO, HUMAN SERVICES CAMPUS INC.: People will be more likely to die or be sick and go to the emergency room.

COHEN: So, the city of Phoenix scrambling to create safe options is planning to lease hotel rooms and vacant buildings as temporary shelters and build a sanctioned campground with security and sanitation somewhere in the city. But it's a band-aid, and what happens if campers like Rayann Denny say no?

Where will you go?

DENNY: I'll probably just find some other place to set up, I guess.

COHEN: Somewhere less visible?

DENNY: Yes, of course.


COHEN (on camera): And so some expect a lot of the people in this encampment are just going move down the road to other neighborhoods, like we've seen in other cities. But, Jake, look, big picture, advocates will tell you there's a housing crisis right now. And solutions like a sanctioned campground, they will not fix that. But reality is, with Arizona's brutal summer rapidly approaching, a solution like affordable housing is just not going to come in time.

TAPPER: All right. Gabe Cohen with an important story, thank you so much.

Just in, a source is telling CNN that the gunman behind the Texas mall shooting over the weekend legally bought multiple weapons, including the AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle used in Saturday's attack. CNN's Wolf Blitzer is going to be on top of all of this and more in The Situation Room. And, Wolf, you're going to talk to a key Republican voice about this.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right, Jake. My guest this evening is Republican Congressman Tony Gonzales of Texas. There's a lot of news we're following tonight out of his home state. Of course, we're tracking all the latest developments on the outlet mall shooting that killed eight people in Allen, Texas, not far from Dallas. I'll get his thoughts on the growing calls for more gun control legislation.


There's also the looming end of Title 42, as it's called, as cities on both sides of the southern border brace for a surge in migration, all of that and more coming up right at the top of the hour right here in The Situation Room.

TAPPER: All right. We'll keep an eye out for that right after this. Thank you so much, Wolf.

Still ahead on The Lead, the new proposal that would reward passengers when their flights are delayed or even canceled. Stay with us.


TAPPER: We're going to end in our Money Lead. Today, the Biden administration proposed a new rule that would target airlines and reward certain passengers. The rule would require airlines to compensate and cover expenses, such as meals and hotel rooms for passengers whose canceled or delayed flights could have been prevented. The move comes just weeks before summer travel picks up and at a time when the U.S. airline industry has been under intense scrutiny amid staffing shortages, close calls between planes landing and taking off and flight cancelations over peak travel periods.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @jaketapper.


You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts, all two hours just sitting there like a steak sizzling on the grill.

Your podcasts. Two hours just sitting there like a steak sizzling on the grill. Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.