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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Concern Over Debt Limit Talks Follows Biden to G7 Meeting; Turkish President On Why Hew Won't Join Allies in Sanctioning Putin; NYC's Roosevelt Hotel Reopens As Asylum Seeker Arrival Center; NFL Great Jim Brown Dies at 87. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired May 19, 2023 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Our hearts are with Jim's family, loved ones, and all those he impacted along the way. Jim Brown was 87 years old, arguably the greatest football player of all-time. Each of his nine seasons in the NFL was a pro-bowl season, and perhaps he left his biggest mark off the field in his efforts in the arena of civil rights.

Stay with CNN.

Jake Tapper picks it up with THE LEAD right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Only 13 days until possible economic catastrophe, and guess what, your elected leaders have vowed to take a pause on trying to prevent it.

THE LEAD starts right now.

A major snag with that negotiations up against the clock, and the government set to run out of money to pay its bills in less than two weeks now, putting everything from your job to Social Security checks, to your retirement fund all at risk, and yet, negotiations right now, they aren't happening. On the other side of the world, Biden is meeting with major economic power leaders in Japan, and the Ukrainian president announced a surprise visit of his own there, to make a major ask.

Plus, a new name officially added to the Republican field of candidates for president, making the case why Donald Trump should not be the GOP nominee.


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

We're going to start today with our money lead. Talks to avoid an economic catastrophe in the United States, they hit something of a snag. Republican negotiators walked out of the meeting on the debt ceiling with the White House today, saying that they decided to press pause because talks with White House aides were, quote, not productive. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy today seemed radically less optimistic on a potential deal, than he did just yesterday.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Yesterday, I really felt we were at a location where I could see the path. The White House is just -- look, we can't be spending more money next year. We have to spend less than we spent a year before. It's pretty easy.


TAPPER: The White House is today attempting to project optimism nonetheless, saying a deal remains possible despite, quote, real differences between the two sides.

To make things even more complicated, of course, President Biden is halfway around the world, meeting with his G7 counterparts in Japan right now. A summit that's going to now include a last minute in- person appearance by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelenskyy, as Biden today affirmed U.S. support for fighter jets to be given to Ukraine.

But, back home, the two sides have only 13 days to reach a deal before the U.S. government runs out of money to pay its bills, according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

So let's get straight to CNN's Phil Mattingly who is traveling with President Biden in Japan. Also with us, CNN's Melanie Zanona on Capitol Hill.

Melanie, there was not that long ago, just yesterday, optimism that the two sides could reach a deal, perhaps even as soon as this weekend, but now, talks aren't even going on. What happens?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, over the last 24 hours, one thing that we have seen is that both Biden and McCarthy have come under increasing pressure from their left and right flanks respectively, to not budge. Not give an inch in these negotiations, to stand up and show that they are fighting for their parties priorities. So, that is certainly one of the dynamics that's driving this impasse here.

But they're also big differences still when it comes to substance and policy, particularly when it comes to spending cuts. I want to read you what one Republican, Dusty Johnson, a key McCarthy ally, told me not too long ago. He said: We are too far apart on the top line number. McCarthy is holding the line. He knows where the Republican conference is. The gap on top line numbers is not the only problem but it is the biggest problem, and he also added: We are in bad shape.

So, I would caution here that these types of blowups and breakdowns are not uncommon in these types of negotiations. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and cool off before they can come back to the table, but this is a very big setback, especially in terms of the timeline. Negotiators were hoping to have a deal in principle by this weekend so they could get it onto the House floor by next week. So that timeline right now is in serious question, Jake.

TAPPER: And, Phil, you've got some new reporting about what exactly the president's team is taking issue with inside these negotiations.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, keep in mind, the White House has spent weeks laying the groundwork for a rhetorical battle over the scale of the spending cuts Republicans have put in their legislation and continue to push for behind closed doors in these hours of negotiations between the point people on each side representing these talks. And basically view, at least according to sources familiar with the matter, that Republicans have not been able to move very far off of the very deep cuts that they have proposed, and that will continue to be a major issue until that changes.

Now, Melanie has a great point, this is not just a single-issue problem right now. Across the board, I'm told there are no agreements on any of the key pillars of what lawmakers and aides in the White House believe would formulate an actual deal here.


But the reality remains this. Something has to get done. I think that she makes a great point. We see all of these blowups all the time in a high stakes negotiations like this. To some degree, it allows the parties to reset and recalibrate.

But when you look at the Rubik's cube that they are dealing with right now in terms of both the policy, the strategy, but also the vote counts ensuring that they have a coalition to get this across the finish line, and onto the president's desk, there is a lot of work to do and not a lot of time, Jake. That of course, is a problem.

TAPPER: So, Phil, there is also this other major headline coming out of the G7 in Japan, where you're standing right now. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy headed to meet there -- to meet with these world leaders. This comes at the same time that Biden is signaling support for allies sending fighter jets to Ukraine.

MATTINGLY: Yeah, really a pair of dramatic developments here in Hiroshima over the course of the last 12 to 15 hours. Now, keep in mind, the president's day was bookended by briefings from his negotiators on the domestic issue that he is dealing with. But on the geopolitical side of things, there is no question. The decision by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to actually show up in person at this G7 summit is critical. It follows a tour of European capitals at each stop, in France and Italy, and Germany, and the U.K., securing new commitments for lethal aids, securing new commitments for economic assistance, and that will be a push here as well.

And it all underscores what officials acknowledge, this is a critical moment in the war with Ukrainian forces nearing their counteroffensive campaign, and as it hits its 15th month mark, the kind of grinding nature of things underscoring the necessity of the durability of the coalition that has been behind Ukraine.

Now, when it comes to F-16, this is also a critical moment. The U.S. and President Biden have been wary of the idea of supplying Ukraine with F-16s, of training Ukrainian pilots, they have not shifted off the idea of the U.S. not providing the planes themselves, but what they are willing to do is to allow the export of those planes from allies, and also President Biden at the G-7 summit yesterday made clear to allies that the U.S. would support training of Ukrainian pilots, a big step forward for something Zelenskyy has requested repeatedly over the course of the last several months, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Melanie Zanona and Phil Mattingly, in Hiroshima, thank you so much.

Joining us now to discuss Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California.

Congressman, you had said that you don't think President Biden should be negotiating with Republicans over the debt ceiling. So, let's talk about backup plans. You have been calling on President Biden to invoke the 14th Amendment which some would say allow the Treasury to bury money to pay its bills without approval from Congress.

President Biden and Secretary Yellen have questioned the legality of that move.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, Jake, I don't think we should be negotiating in this country about whether we pay our passed bills. It's patriotic for America to keep its word and pay the debt. I believe this is spending that past congresses have authorized. It's the current Congress that's trying to repeal the past congresses have done, and I believe the secretary has the authority to issue more bonds and make the payments that past congresses have authorized. Larry Tribe and others believe it would be constitutional.

TAPPER: There is another action if things get down to the wire and there is no movement. It's called a discharge position. Basically, you need 218 members of Congress to sign this discharge petition for a bill and I know there is a Democrat, certain one, that would allow a clean up or down vote on raising the debt ceiling, and then it would go off to the Senate. I don't know if the votes would be there in the Senate, presumably if we are really coming down to the wire maybe people would move.

Are there -- there are 213 Democrats. Would 213 Democrats sign off on that, and would you get five Republicans to join them, do you think?

KHANNA: Yes. I mean, Brendan Boyle, a close ally of the president introduced it. I have signed it, I am confident we can get 213 House Democrats, and I am hopeful we can get five other Republicans if push comes to shove to say we should pay our past debts.

Remember, Jake, in 2013, President Obama held his ground, and there was basically a surrender by Boehner on that issue of the debt ceiling, and we were able to pay the debts.

Now, I grant that McCarthy isn't Boehner, but holding our ground here is not just substantively correct. I think it can be good politics. TAPPER: I also want to ask you about your senator, Dianne Feinstein. She -- we have learned that she suffered from previously undisclosed complications of shingles. She had a swelling of the brain. You and other Democrats have called for her resignation because of her many, many absences, which have affected the work of the Senate, not to mention I suppose previous questions about her cognition.


What's your understanding as to what's currently going on? Is she just refusing to resign? Is she aware of her own health issues?

KHANNA: Well, it's a really sad situation, Jake. In Washington, making a gaffe is saying the obvious truth out loud. That's the only thing I and some others have done. It is painful to watch, and I just wish people who are close to her, who have been friends of hers and her family will talk to her about doing the right thing and stepping down, with dignity.

I don't know the situation, I don't know who's making the decisions in that office, I think they at the very least owe transparency, whether it's her or someone on her staff to have a press conference to answer exactly what the truth is of her condition, and her ability to do the job.

TAPPER: What was her reaction to her exchange with those reporters earlier this week?

KHANNA: Yeah, it was sadness. I mean, I -- they asked about my call apparently for her to step down, and her response was that she never had left. That she's been voting.

Look, I admire the senator's service. I feel bad for her as another human being. I don't put the issue on her. There is someone there who is making these decisions and whoever it is, who her spokesperson is, in my view, should come out and answer questions. And come on your show, come on other shows.

But the real thing is that there need to be people who are close to her who have that conversation in a loving way and get her to do what I believe is the dignified thing.

TAPPER: It is very sad.

Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you so much.

In the world lead, the other global issue President Biden is confronting right now, today, Biden and other G7 ally leaders rolled out even more sanctions against Russia, as the West works on plans to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets, including F-16s. Despite this show of unity and increasing pressure to sanction Russia, the president of Turkey, Erdogan, is standing firm. He is refusing to join his fellow NATO nation member countries, telling CNN his country has a special and positive relationship with Vladimir Putin.

CNN International anchor Becky Anderson sat down with President Erdogan for an exclusive interview.

Becky, thanks for joining us. What does Turkey gain from its relationship with Russia?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Trade in a word, and lots of it, Jake. Energy, tourism, agriculture. Trade to the tune of some $60 billion, on a bilateral basis annually, and with the central bank here in full defense mode, trying to avert a further weakening of the Turkish lira, as cost of living prices here, a real credibility gap for Turkish assets on international markets.

Turkey, President Erdogan needs Russia, and he needs that relationship, which is why he calls it special. Washington knows that frustrating as that might be.

Look, you and I know that Turkey has -- there's be no love lost between successive U.S. administrations and President Erdogan over the more than 20 years that he has been leader of this country. And there is no exception when it comes to his relationship with Joe Biden and this current White House.

It's really important to remember that back in the summer of 2020, then presidential candidate Joe Biden really criticized President Erdogan's Kurdish policy. He called President Erdogan an autocrat, and he said that he supported the Turkish opposition in their efforts to defeat the incumbent president here, President Erdogan.

And on the campaign trail to what is a highly and increasingly nationalistic audience, on both sides of the presidential divide, let me tell you, both President Erdogan and the opposition candidate, president or no one has found a willing crowd to hear anti-American sentiment. That is exactly what he has been doing, telling his crowds on the campaign trail that Joe Biden, U.S. president, is trying to topple him.

We discussed that in my exclusive interview with him. Have a listen.


ANDERSON: Do you generally believe, as you suggested last Saturday, that Joe Biden wants to topple?

PRESIDENT RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN, TURKEY (through translator): How could someone who is going into a runoff election, instead of completing the election in the first round, be a dictator? That is the reality.


We have an alliance with 322 MPs in parliament, and the leader of this alliance is going to go for the runoffs in the first position. What kind of a dictator is that?

ANDERSON: So if reelected, are you saying that you will work with the Biden administration, you can work with the Biden administration?

ERDOGAN (through translator): Without a doubt. I will work with Mr. Biden, and if Biden goes, then I will work with whoever replaces him as well.

ANDERSON: You've said that you don't agree with the attitude of the West towards Russia, with regard to that Ukraine conflict. That the West follows a policy based on provocation. I just want to get a sense of where you believe the West perhaps is going wrong here? Is this military and financial aid that we see at present a provocation in your mind?

ERDOGAN (through translator): The West is not leading a very balanced approach. You need a balanced approach towards our country such as Russia, which would have been a more fortunate approach. For example, the Black Sea green corridor initiative, we are not only considering the interests and needs of the Western countries, but also that of the African nations. This green corridor initiative has been extended for another two months, beginning on the 18th of May.

How do you think it was possible? It was possible because of our special relationship with President Putin.


ANDERSON: And to underscore, Jake, just how consequential this presidential runoff is, on May the 28th, don't forget that Turkey still holds the keys to Sweden's accession to the NATO military alliance. President Erdogan told me that he is not ready to sign off on that. I quote in here, until the offshoots of Turkish terror groups that run freely on the streets of Sweden are gotten rid of. Of course, that's an allegation that Sweden refutes.

But that underscores the importance that president or the one as Turkish leader place on the global stage. What goes on here does not stay here, particularly when it comes to these presidential elections, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Becky Anderson, thank you so much.

Coming up, what may be the worst kept secret in politics. Governor Ron DeSantis' plans to run for president. Hear his pitch today and where else? First in the nation primary state of New Hampshire.

Plus, back in DeSantis's own state of Florida, why new immigration law could force workers out of the state and leave critical services high and drive.

Plus, moments ago, a judge ruling to keep Jack Teixeira in jail, the air national guardsman accused of leaking sensitive classified documents. More of what just went down in today's hearing. Plus, he's reported fixation with guns and his horrific bigoted versions of a race war.



TAPPER: The 2024 Republican field is growing. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina just filed paperwork to launch his presidential campaign. He did that today. CNN has reported Florida Governor Ron DeSantis plans on making it official next week.

But, today, as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports for us now, DeSantis is already making his pitch directly to New Hampshire voters.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: How are you doing? It smells really good, I'll tell you that.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is hitting the campaign trail.

DESANTIS: Is that a milkshake?

ZELENY: Gearing up to launch his White House bid next week. He is sharpening his electability argument against Donald Trump, telling Republicans, it's time to shed their loyalty to the former president if they hope to win back the White House.

DESANTIS: It's going to require a lot of fight. It is going to require that we do a lot of things.

ZELENY: In a visit to New Hampshire today, DeSantis touted his Florida record as a conservative blueprint for the nation.

DESANTIS: We passed that in Florida.

ZELENY: Even as fallout intensified from his escalating fight with Disney, which pulled the plug on a one billion dollar office complex development in Florida. Republican rivals blasted the governor's feud, with Trump suggesting DeSantis had been caught in the mouse trap. DeSantis defended his oversight of the entertainment giant, and his Parental Rights in Education Act, which critics have dubbed the "don't say gay" bill, that first sparked his battle with Disney.

DESANTIS: I know people try to interpret and say this or that. The chance from both sides exactly down from that is zero.

ZELENY: After months of flirting with a campaign, DeSantis is poised to formally join the Republican contest next week, convening top donors to a meeting in Miami. Today, he got an early taste of the fight awaiting him.


ZELENY: As the Trump super packet took aim at DeSantis for supporting a national sales tax during his years in Congress.

DeSantis brushed aside the criticism and pointed Republicans to his record as governor.

DESANTIS: It's easy to be a front runner. It's easy to go out and take positions that are really popular at the time. It's harder to dig in and really cut against the grain.

ZELENY: The field of GOP presidential candidates is swiftly growing. But Senator Tim Scott filing paperwork today ahead of a formal campaign announcement Monday in South Carolina.

Fred Plett, a New Hampshire state representative, said Republicans are sizing up the contenders.

FRED PLETT (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE HOUSE: They are looking for a candidate I think with less baggage that Trump is carrying with him now.

ZELENY: You think Republicans also are looking for a candidate who can win back the White House.

PLETT: Yes, it's not clear who that is right now. And, frankly, even though Trump has got strong his supporters, he may take the primary, I'm not sure he can win in the general election.


ZELENY (on camera): So, talking to Republican voters, that is the central point, winning in the general election. So, Governor DeSantis presents himself as the man who can do that. He talks again and again about the culture of losing.

We are about to see if he can provoke a culture of winning. Next week, he's going to meet in Miami with his Republican donors and then finally jump in with an announcement in his hometown after Memorial Day.


But, as you said, this is hardly a surprise. Now he has to show that he can actually bring this big campaign, only three months until the first debate for these Republicans -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Fascinating stuff. It's on. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Governor DeSantis claims a new immigration law taking effect in his home state of Florida will ensure that taxpayers there are not footing the bill for illegal immigration and undocumented immigrants themselves. The other side of that argument, next.



TAPPER: The immigration crisis in our national lead, this was the scene in New York this morning. Just a few of the hundreds of asylum- seeking migrants who arrived in New York every day, following last week's expiration of Title 42. Title 42, of course, is the pandemic era policy that allowed U.S. border officials to quickly turn away and deport asylum seeking migrants.

Now, to handle the influx, New York City just opened its first asylum seeker arrival center at Manhattan's iconic Roosevelt Hotel, just steps from Grand Central Terminal. The 100-year-old hotel was closed for the last three years, now it has 175 rooms available for asylum seeking families, and eventually will open hundreds more, according to the office of Mayor Eric Adams.

Meantime, south of New York, in Florida, there is concern over the immigration law that critics say threatens to upend the lives of many illegal immigrant workers and thus some business owners. Starting July 1st, any business with more than 25 people is required to use E- Verify. That's the federal system that checks the immigration status of employees.

CNN's Carlos Suarez speaks to undocumented migrant workers now who are afraid they may have to leave the state.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Francisco Maldonado finds himself struggling to ease the fears of workers on his farm in Homestead, Florida. Many are undocumented and all are facing an important decisions in the wake of Florida's new immigration law.

FRANCISCO MALDONADO, FARM OWNER: We're going to try to see if we can make them stay as long as we can. I don't know what's going to happen after July 1st. I want to -- rumors and just people thinking that they have to leave.

SUAREZ: One of his workers, Faustino, says he knows workers leaving Florida over the uncertainty. Faustino said he came to the U.S. from Guatemala at the age of 14, but after nearly 20 years of planting and picking fruits and vegetables in south Florida, he is not going anywhere.

It's sad that some people are moving, or they are scared to go to work. If we don't do these jobs, who is going to do them? We are the ones who have to do this work.

The new law which goes into effect in July requires a business with at least 25 workers to use E-Verify, a federal program that checks the immigration status of workers.

With penalties for employers who knowingly hire undocumented workers. Most farm owners including Maldonado say they keep the number of employees under 20.

MALDONADO: We have a lot of workers, but we cut back a little bit. So I think we are still in the right number and I don't think it's going to affect us much, but we still don't know yet.

SUAREZ: The impact of the new law goes beyond jobs. Certain hospitals will have to ask patients about their immigration status, and the law makes it a felony to transport someone in the country illegally into Florida.

For Governor Ron DeSantis, the expansion of E-Verify, is making good on a promise he made in 2018, during his first run for governor.

DESANTIS: When businesses hire citizens and legal immigrants, we want them to follow the law and not do illegal immigrants. And it's not that difficult to do. SUAREZ: In response to the law, the national Hispanic rights group LULAC urged immigrants, no matter their status, not to travel to Florida.

Locally, immigration advocacy groups like WeCount are meeting with workers in agriculture, hospitality, and construction to answer questions about the changes.

ESTEBAN WOOD, POLICY DIRECTOR, WECOUNT: These immigrant workers really are the drivers of Florida's economy, and what Florida is doing by the government, by imposing and influencing this law, is really punching down on the communities that make this economy run.

SUAREZ: For some workers, the fear of losing their job is overwhelming, a 21-year-old nursery worker cried out of frustration, saying that she and her three-year-old child have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to.

I worry for myself, and I worry for others. We are all in this together, and the situation is tough.


SUAREZ (on camera): And Jake, there has been top of a work stoppage across the state of Florida in protest of this new immigration law, but that is something that immigration groups tell us that they are not seeing right now. Some of this debate has been focused around social media, with folks taking to Twitter and TikTok, and posting videos of empty job sites and construction fields as well, as some farms. However, every single undocumented worker that we talked to this week told us that they can't afford to not be in these fields, they can't afford not to be making money, and sending that back home -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Carlos Suarez, thank you so much. Coming up next, 77 minutes of horror. The pain and the demand for answers from parents of children who died or killed in the Uvalde massacre. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Nearly one year ago, the lives of 19 fourth graders and two teachers were extinguished by a gunman at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. For parents such as the Rubios, who lost their ten- year-old daughter Lexi, this has been a year of grief and heartache, and waiting. Waiting for answers about what happened to their daughter and why police at Uvalde waited 77 minutes before entering the classroom where the gunman was.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz who has been an advocate for these families, he sat down with the Rubios for this week's episode of "THE WHOLE STORY", "Surviving Uvalde: Inside A School Shooting".


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: What is your understanding of what went wrong that day?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My understanding is this first group of officers that come in, they are shot at. They retreat, and they never go back in. They let children die in the classroom.


POLICE OFFICER: Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding? Am I bleeding?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I can't even explain to you what they have taken from me.

POLICE OFFICER: He's in the class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's more then just lives. You know, maybe Lexi's gone immediately, but that's what they've taken from me -- those answers.

Had they engaged immediately, and my child is deceased, then I know in my heart that she wasn't scared very long. But because they waited so long, now I will never know and don't know if it was fast, and I don't know if it took 30 or 40 minutes. And that's hard. That's hard to sit with.


TAPPER: It's devastating, and Shimon joins us now live.

Shimon, do you think that parents such as the Rubios are ever going to get answers from what law enforcement officials about what happened that day?

PROKUPECZ: Hard to say, Jake. I mean, they are still waiting for other reports to come out, other investigations to be completed, so that they can get these answers. As you see there, Kim Rubio talk about the idea that perhaps her child -- how much did her child suffer while waiting for police to kill the gunman? And was there any hope for her to survive, had police come in sooner?

And these are the many questions that parents have about that day that they simply just have not been able to get answers for. And so they've turned to us. They've turned to CNN, they know that we have a lot of material.

We have been able to obtain through sources the entire case file. We have heard every interview that investigators did, and what happens is while we were in Uvalde, Jake, filming for this special, that airs on Sunday night, one of the mothers calls me and says I want to see video. The body cam video, the moment that police breached the classroom. I want to see our kids survived, being rescued and running out of the classroom.

He was shot in the leg, so we sat with several parents who came to us, and they wanted to see this video, watching as their kids were running out of the classroom. Two of them shot, another one survived, had no injuries, but certainly has a lot of psychological and emotional issues to deal with.

But this is what the parents are left with now. They are trying to figure out, really through us and the video that we have been allowing them to see, how much there are kids suffered. What exactly their kids went through, so they can try to help in the healing process now, Jake.

TAPPER: So they wanted to see what happened, because their kid survived, they wanted to see what happened so that they can better understand and help these surviving kids deal with the trauma?

PROKUPECZ: That's exactly right. I mean, their kids come to them with stories. They come to them and will tell them things that happened that day. Still, you never know with these kids. They could be at home and something triggers them. And they start talking about things, and the parents have no idea what they are talking about. But now they are able to give them answers through this video. Through some of the information that we have been able to provide to them that authorities have refused to give them.

We also show them video where a lot of the survivors, after they were rescued, were placed on a school bus because there weren't enough ambulances. And they were taken to the hospital on a school bus. And several of the survivors that have remained friends to this day, were injured, nearly died, all in a school bus together. Screaming, begging for help, begging for their parents to come help them.

So, we showed them that video as well, and that was for them also a very revealing moment, because at one point, one of the girls, she is passing out and the mother never knew that. She never knew that her daughter was passing out on the bus. And so, by showing her this video, she was able to learn that, Jake.

TAPPER: Shimon, you have done such a powerful job advocating for these families, and advocating for the facts and the truth. Honestly, the behavior by so many officials in Texas is just disgraceful. I do not know how they sleep at night.

Shimon, Prokupecz, you can see his whole story on "THE WHOLE STORY", "Surviving Uvalde: Inside A School Shooting", this Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, it's only on CNN.

Shimon's work has just been remarkable.

Coming up next, remembering the legendary life of NFL great Jim Brown who we just learned passed away.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our sports lead, some sad new just into THE LEAD. Jim Brown, the former NFL star and prominent civil rights activist, has died. He was 87 years old, according to his former team, the Cleveland Browns. Brown, of course, set a number of football records before retiring, abruptly rather, at the age of 30. He wanted to focus on the civil rights movement, as well as an acting career. He starred in the 1967 World War II movie "The Dirty Dozen", before going on to appear more than 50 other films.

He also, of course, made a very impressive mark as a civil rights activist. He worked with intercity gang members, and prison inmates. The NFL just honored Brown in a tweet writing, quote, one of the greatest players in NFL history, a true pioneer and activists. Jim Brown's legacy will live on forever.

Our thoughts go out to Brown's family and friends and fans, may his memory be a blessing.

In the next hour, the remains of a U.S. marine veteran who was killed in the Ukraine will be returned here to the United States. Fifty-year- old Grady Kurpasi went to the Ukraine in the early days of Russia's invasion, at the time he wanted to help Ukrainians who are evacuating their country by the thousands, Ukrainian civilians.


He also wanted to help train Ukrainian soldiers. But on April 26 last year, Kurpasi went to investigate a gunfire in southern Ukraine, and he came under heavy gunfire himself, and that was the last day anyone heard from him, according to the veterans group, Weatherman Foundation, which helped repatriate Americans killed or wounded the Ukraine.

I want to bring in Brady Kurpasi's sister, Teresa Irwin, plus the president of the Weatherman Foundation, Meaghan Mobbs.

Thanks so much to both of you for being here. I'm so sorry that it's under these circumstances.

Teresa, your brother who retired from the marines about six months before Russia's war began, he had experience in the infantry as a scout sniper. Tell us about his motivation going to the Ukraine.

TERESA IRWIN, SISTER OF AMERICAN KILLED IN UKRAINE: Well, basically, I feel that my brother had a lot of hardships just, you know, from the very urgent stages coming on from being adopted, not knowing your birth parents, and really having to -- having to just adjust when people pick on you because you are different. You look a certain way.

I think that stuck with him, and when he saw what was going on in the Ukraine, he really did see people that were having their basic civil rights and liberties taken from them. They were disenfranchised. These were civilians, women and children, that were not able to protect themselves.

You know, my brother loves, and loved this country, but he really is a citizen of the world. He would go anywhere and do anything for someone where he felt there was an injustice being done.

TAPPER: He sounds like a remarkable man. Meaghan, your foundation worked for months to find his remains. That must have been an impossible process, especially taking place in the middle of a brutal war?

MEAGHAN MOBBS, PRESIDENT, WEATHERMAN FOUNDATION: We were extremely grateful for so many veterans that came alongside this mission, for the Ukrainian partners we had on the man that understood the service and sacrifice of Grady, and the work we all did together to bring him home was imperative. As a fellow veteran, and a Tillman scholar, it became something we pursued every day in order for this family to have this closure.

TAPPER: And, Teresa, you mentioned your brother was adopted as a boy from Korea, and went on to become a decorated marine veteran. He was a 2009 Tillman scholar, named after Pat Tillman the NFL player who enlisted in the army after the 2011 attacks was killed in a friendly fire incident Afghanistan.

How do you want everybody watching right now, how you want him to be remembered?

IRWIN: I guess I would just say that, yes, beyond being a decorated marine, we are a family just like any other family. You know, he is a beloved son and brother, a husband, devoted father.


IRWIN: It's a very big loss, not just to our country, but for us as individuals. I hope that people remember him and keep his memory alive. I would like to see -- just -- him be honored for the sacrifice that he's made. And we are going to do our hardest to keep telling stories, and I feel now, I have been able, through this tragedy, to connect with individuals where his United States Marine Corps brothers are becoming part of my family.

TAPPER: We are going to remember the name Grady Kurpasi, and Teresa Irwin and Meaghan Mobbs, thank you. Thank you both for coming forward during such a difficult time.

MOBBS: Thank you.

IRWIN: Thank you.

TAPPER: D.C. police today arrested one of their own, a police lieutenant accused to lying to the feds about January 6th and his communications with the far-right militia group Proud Boys. Michael Fanone was, of course, a D.C. police officer when he was assaulted on January 6th, he knew the lieutenant. We're going to talk to Fanone, coming up.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. This hour, a D.C. police officer in charge of intelligence was arrested and charged today in terms of obstructing and helping a leader of the far-right group, the Proud Boys. What sensitive information did he allegedly share?

Plus, the leaders of the Arab world welcoming brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad back into their clutches with open arms after his more than a decade of murdering his own people, and displacing hundreds of thousands of other Syrians.

And leading this hour, a Massachusetts judge deciding that 21-year-old airman Jack Teixeira will stay behind bars while awaiting trial. Teixeira charged with leaking troves of sensitive classified documents online. In addition, he was allegedly not particularly shy about his love of guns and racist and antisemitic views.

Now, Air Force memo shows supervisors had previously warmed in three times and stopped deep diving into classified material.