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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Ukraine Blames Russia For Critical Dam Collapse; Hard-Line Republicans Revolt Against Speaker McCarthy; Florida Grand Jury To Hear Testimony This Week; Family Of Florida Mother Shot By Neighbor Demands Arrest; Court Hearts Conservative Group's Lawsuits Seeking Prince Harry's U.S. Visa Records. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 06, 2023 - 16:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: That seems like way more fun than Rose Garden, though.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: It just really would have shown that my phone knew too much who I was.

SANCHEZ: I'm hoping that they stop auto-correcting Spanish so that all the curse words I write in Spanish will finally get sent.

KEILAR: We know that you're a Boy Scout. He doesn't course.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's what I tell the lawyers.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Who blew up that dam?

THE LEAD starts right now.

An explosion destroys the dam, swamping an entire region of Ukraine under Russian control with devastating flooding. And now thousands of people are now are being evacuated, as Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the apparent sabotage.

Then, a flood of a different kind, raising more questions about the legal web and enveloping Donald Trump. How the drained pool at Mar-a- Lago, and the flooded server room could play into the special counsel's investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents, as a witness prepares to go before a grand jury, that is meeting in Florida.

Plus, Prince Harry fighting to legal battles on both sides of the pond. What the estranged ember of the royal family was grilled about during cross examination in the U.K., and, the case here in the United States, that you might not have heard about yet.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we start with our world lead, and the catastrophic deluge on the

southern frontlines in Ukraine overnight. Water gushed from the breach in Nova Kakhovka dam, washing away entire homes. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ordered more than 80 towns and villages in the critical areas to evacuate, with thousands already displaced, and quote, many deaths likely according to the White House.

The dam supplies vital drinking water to large swaths of Ukraine, and also cools the reactors of the nearby Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. The dam holds back roughly the same amount of water that exists in the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Russia is blaming Ukraine for sabotaging the dam, Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, says it was Russian terrorists, as the United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency meeting this hour to discuss.

Now, CNN analysis shows that just days before the major collapse, there was already damage to the bridge that ran across the dam.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in Ukraine for us, with civilians along the Dnipro River grapple with this latest humanitarian disaster.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new phase in Russia's war on Ukraine, a dam on under Moscow's control burst.

Soon, vast areas downstream were flooded, including parts of Kherson City. Ukraine and its allies blamed Russia for the breach, but that may have backfired.

He escaped, but according to a Ukrainian officer who commands a team in the area, many Russian troops who hold the east bank of the Dnipro did not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Their positions were fully destroyed. They are full with water. They have a lot wounded people and dead for now. We see them all because they are just running and they try to evacuate themselves. They left not only positions, they left all their weapons, equipment, ammunitions, and vehicles, including automotive vehicles, too.

KILEY: But if this is to Ukraine's advantage, can you be sure that Ukraine didn't destroy the dam?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, Ukraine didn't destroy the dam, because, first, we haven't control of it. That's a problem for us, too. And the main problem is about civilians, because a lot of them need evacuation now.

KILEY: All Ukrainian drone footage of the area has been held back by the government, amid a campaign of secrecy surrounding its planned counteroffensive. Satellite imagery shows that the dam suffered structural failure at the end of May, as the lake waters above it broke through. It has been under Russian control since March last year.

VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): It was mine, it was mined by the Russian occupiers. And, they blew it up.

KILEY: Russia says Ukraine did it to offset battlefield losses in the East.

But again, Ukraine civilian suffered. Eighty settlements and tens of thousands of people face flooding. Clean water and power systems have been destroyed in Kherson again.

SERGIY, KHERSON RESIDENT: Everything is gone to die here. Living creatures, all of the birds, everything will die. And people will be drowned.

KILEY: Ukraine evacuated civilians in trains as the waters rose, and they now face an ecological and humanitarian disaster, but one that may offer a military advantage.



KILEY (on camera): Now, Jake, the Ukrainian minister of defense has said that they anticipated something like this might be done, or happen to the dam, and they have planned accordingly. So they're saying their plans, in terms of potentially crossing that river area, and now very flooded, have not been negatively affected by this event.

And at the same time, President Zelenskyy is saying that he considers this a war crime, that he will be referring to the International Criminal Court -- of course, blaming Russia -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Sam Kiley in Kharkiv Ukraine -- thank you so much.

Let's talk now with CNN military analyst and retired Air Force colonel, Cedric Leighton. He's here at the magic wall.

So, Colonel, we still don't know exactly who was responsible. But what do we know?

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: So, Jake, the big thing here is that this particular dam, which really is Nova Kakhovka, which is this area here right here and it's right at this bend at the Dnipro River. We know that the Russian forces have been deployed along this line, and also up in this area.

What the flooding does do is that it moves the artillery positions away from the Russians -- are along the river. It moves it away from there, they're unusual at this point. And, if they save them, the Russians can move these over this way. It also allows the Russians to move their forces in here, so that they can possibly respond to any Ukrainian moves across this way.

So that's the thing that we know about this so far. As far as the actual dam is concerned, we believe that there was a lot of infrastructure issues with this, so it could've been a quote, naturally occurring event. But it could also have been sabotaged, so there are some key elements there that are unknown at this point in time.

TAPPER: But unclear whether the Ukrainians did or the Russians did, it sounds like?

LEIGHTON: That's correct. It's more likely that the Russians did it, but there still a chance that it could be infrastructure issues, or that the Ukrainians might have had hand in it as well.

TAPPER: And put this in the larger context of the Ukrainian counteroffensive?

LEIGHTON: So, the big thing with the counteroffensive. Of course right here, you know, is basically where the dam, the Nova Kakhovka Dam is. The big counteroffensive is, of course, the forces in the south, and then forces in the east right here.

So when you look at the way these forces are moving, you look at them as really approaching these Russian areas here and here. And then these particular areas, you're seeing that they can possibly take over from the Russians that are in the areas right around here because these areas are going to be critical if the Ukrainians want to come in and take over the southern approaches, which is the land bridge, from the Donbas to Crimea. And that's really the big deal right there, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you so much.

Joining us now to discuss, former secretary of defense under President Trump, Mark Esper.

Secretary Esper, thanks so much for being here.

Who do you suspect might've sabotage this dam?

MARK ESPER, FORMER SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: I agree with the colonel's assessment. It's hard to tell, but my instinct tells me it was the Russians behind it. They would benefit by flooding that area. It would make it in traffic-able for heavy Ukrainian forces. And it would allow them to displace some other forces into other areas where they think the Ukrainians are likely to attack.

TAPPER: Do you think we'll ever know who did, and how would U.S. intelligence officials even go trying to figure that out?

ESPER: Well, I think one thing we should be able to rule out in the future would be, was this a structural damage? If it just collapsed of, you know, things that have happened. But overtime, I think we have to do more forensics to find out who actually is behind it.

TAPPER: So, this comes at the same time "The Washington Post" is reporting, new information from the leak of classified documents. "The Post" reporting that the CIA knew of a detailed Ukrainian plan to attack that Nord Stream pipeline, the undersea natural gas pipeline that runs from Russia to Germany.

When attacks first happened over the pipeline over little year go, President Biden initially called it a delivered act of sabotage by Russia. It is now appearing more and more likely that Ukraine had something to do with it, and if it was indeed ordered by Kyiv, carried out by Ukrainians, did Ukraine go too far do you think, in threatening Europe's energy security?

ESPER: Well, I think first of all, it would've been a strategic target for Ukraine because keep in mind, energy, natural gas was going through that pipeline was diverted from the natural gas pipeline going through Ukrainian pipeline, that Ukrainians obviously would've wanted to tap into going into the winter.

But, look, let's step back a little bit because this question stepped up recently with the cross border attacks to Moscow and Belgorod. I don't believe the Russians should expect any sanctuary whatsoever. They've raped and pillaged and murdered their way across Ukraine. They can't cry foul now that the Ukrainians are punching back across the border.

TAPPER: So, it's fair in your view for Ukraine to launch attack on the Kremlin, on the Nord Stream pipeline, given what the Russians have inflicted upon them?

ESPER: Sure, I think as long as they are legitimate military targets -- yes, absolutely, I think it. It's

TAPPER: A senior NATO official says there has been a, quote, substantial increase in fighting in eastern Ukraine over the last 48 hours. Do you think these are still preliminary operations, or has the Ukrainian counteroffensive begun?

ESPER: I think this is the next phase. And we've had for the last two or three weeks what's called shaping operations. So, railways destroyed, refineries attacked, warehouses bombed as well.


But now we're in the next phase it looks like, what we call reconnaissance and force. So you have Ukrainian heavy units, small units, probing Russian lines. It's kind of like going into a house in testing the doorknobs, knocking, seeing who's responding, who's there. They're probing for witnesses and strengths. And once that happens over a period of time, that will identify for them where they want to put their main effort, and then supporting efforts as well.

TAPPER: So back here in the U.S., Speaker McCarthy is getting some significant blow back from Republicans who are more hawkish, both in the House and in the Senate over his latest comments on aid to Ukraine. McCarthy argues there shouldn't be any new supplemental spending for Ukraine, adding that any future aid should come out of the Pentagon's nearly $900 billion discretionary budget.

Do you agree? What do you make of this?

ESPER: No, I don't, because the world is a complicated face. And right now, we face a hot war in Europe, and the beginning of a cold war in Asia. So to kind of bind our hands to an arbitrary congressional schedule, which won't keep up with the pace of the battlefield, just doesn't make any sense.

Look, we should not have defaulted, I'm glad we've had the deal. The default would've hurt our economic security and then later our national security. But what we did to the defense in that field is just really harmful, capping it at 3.3 percent, which is beneath inflation for this year. And for 2025, only a 1 percent increase, that's going to harm our nation's security.

TAPPER: All right. Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper, thanks so much.

ESPER: Thanks, Jake.

TAPPER: Payback is -- well, you know the phrase. And House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is now finding that out firsthand, when people in his own party, conservatives revolt. That just happened, and we'll tell you that story.

Then, the investigation into the shooting death of a mom that's raising new questions about Florida's "stand your ground" law.



TAPPER: And we're back with our politics lead, and a Republican revolt, of sorts, against House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. This afternoon, just a few minutes ago really, for the first time in more than two decades, the House of Representatives voted down a rule, thanks to a group of Republican hard-liners.

Let's get straight to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

So, Manu, the folks out there might not understand this, voting down rule in the significance of it. But it's really a warning shot across the bow, to Kevin McCarthy. Hey, bud, if you don't like what you did to, us we can bring down legislation if you don't listen to us.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is the first time this bloc of hard-liners has really turned to flex their muscle in the nearly divided House. And they can do just, that they can derail the Republican agenda, if more than four Republicans vote against any bill that moves along party lines. And they just did that on a key procedural vote.

Yeah, you mentioned it, typically, it's major -- if this passes, a majority party typically votes to approve the rule, that sets the parameters for the floor debate for any legislation they consider. But in this case, for more than five of them, in fact a dozen of them voted against this, effectively scuttling the Republican leaderships efforts to push through a couple of bills this week, all forcing Republican leaders to scramble, and also, causing Republicans, conservatives, to warn that they may use this power next time to continue to derail the speaker's plans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Yeah, today we took down the rule, because we are frustrated at the way this place is operating. You know, we took a stand in January to end the era of the imperial speakership. We are concerned that the fundamental commitments that allowed Kevin McCarthy to assume the speakership, have been violated as the consequences of the debt limit deal.

RAJU: Is this agenda, is the legislative agenda essentially stalled until the speaker, what does he have to do?

REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Well, he has to abide by the agreements that he made at the beginning of this Congress. When he was elected speaker, he made promises, we want him to abide by those promises.


RAJU: So what the congressman was talking about there was the deal that the speaker cut, in order to become the speaker back in January on the 15th ballot. Remember, a number of those deals that he cut were actually never written, down never publicly released. But they were verbal commitments, and some of them believe that the speaker needed to agree to cut spending even further. They were saying that he could've violated some of the other commitments when it came to raising the national debt limit, that did include some spending cuts, but did not go far enough for a number of those conservatives.

And, Jake, as you recall, part of that deal, too, for him to become speaker, he allowed just one member, one -- a single member of either party can call for a vote to oust him from the speakership. Right now, those conservatives are not moving in that direction, but they are planning at the moment to continue to derail things going forward, until the speaker moves closer to their demands.

TAPPER: Yeah, well what my kids might call a flex.

Manu Raju, thanks so much, appreciate it.

My panel is with me to discuss.

David Chalian, is Speaker McCarthy in trouble?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: I don't think his job is in danger right now, but he does have to deal with the complexities of a very narrow majority. And this is part of that. I mean, I think if his job were truly in trouble, they wouldn't just do this flex as you called right now, they would vacate the chair motion, right? So that's not happening, and that's not happening for a reason. In fact, there are many people inside the house Republican conference to think McCarthy emerge from the deal, perhaps in his strongest position.

So I think what you have here is a reminder to him, how narrow the majority is, and that they can cause him, cause him problems in trying to manage the day-to-day efforts.

TAPPER: I think it's fair to say, Laura Barron-Lopez, that Speaker McCarthy emerged with his reputation enhanced after the debt ceiling deal. He showed a lot of people had underestimated him, a lot of people in the Senate, Republicans, had underestimated him. He cut the steal, and he delivered enough Republicans, more Republicans I thought that he was getting at the 150 or something.

CHALIAN: Yeah, 145.

TAPPER: One forty -- so, but the House freedom caucus and these guys, Chip Roy, Matt Gaetz, Ken Buck, they are saying hold on a second buddy.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, because of the fact that, as men who said. They had with they think this agreement in principle, right? There was no hard docking that was ever produced out of that January haggling between them with the speaker.

TAPPER: That's convenient, by the way.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Which is very convenient for Speaker McCarthy, that he's like what you have to point to because this is all behind closed doors, all just leaked out from them to the press about what they say that he promised, not what he actually has said or, you know, made official in any way, shape or form.


And so, I think, right now, if they really were serious, as you said about trying to get rid of him, that they would do it, and they maybe don't feel emboldened, or though if so the lot of the conference will be behind him.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And so this little move here saying to bill that would have prohibited the prohibition of gas stoves, which is something that they would support, which is something that a majority event caucus would support. So the question I have is, what about the other members of the Republican Caucus? I mean, are they going to have to put up with these little tricks, these flexes, over and over again, because this band of marauders has decided to poke Speaker McCarthy anytime they can?

I mean, I think at a certain point, it's going to wear thin if they are going to keep doing it.

TAPPER: Speaking of marauders poking the man on top, Chris Christie, less than an hour ago, filed his paperwork to run for president. He is said to formally announce his campaign this evening. He has made it very clear that, A, he wants to win, but, B, he thinks he is the only one that can aggressively take down Donald Trump.

CHALIAN: Yeah, we will see if he is right about that. But it does seem his mission for this run is to derail Donald Trump from continuing to hold a grip on the Republican Party. I don't know.

He says it's a real thing. He's not just a hired political assassin. But his entire rationale for the run is that he believes he's uniquely qualified to prosecute the case against Trump, as somebody who was an opponent of his in 2015 turned ally of his, and then in the aftermath of the election and January 6th, turned to be a critic of his again. And he thinks he is uniquely positioned.

Listen, Chris Christie did not have a ton of success in his last presidential run. It's not clear that the Republican Party, as the electorate, the primary electorate, has gotten to be any friendlier turf for Chris Christie. Our most recent poll said, 60 percent of Republicans and Republican leaders won't even consider him as an option. So he has an uphill battle.

TAPPER: But you said that he sees himself as a potential rhetorical assassin, and to be fair, I mean, some of the most memorable events from the 2016 election were Christie, except he was taking on Marco Rubio. Here's a little clip, see if you remember this little assassination.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: See, Marco, Marco, the thing is this -- when your president of the United States, when you're governor of the state, to memorize a 30-second speech where you talk to how great America is at the end of it, doesn't solve one problem for one person.

They expect you to plow the snow. They expect to get the schools open. None of that stuff happens on the floor the United States Senate. It's a fine job. I'm glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States.


TAPPER: Some people think he never -- Rubio never survived that politically.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And I agree, that I think Rubio definitely faltered after the debates, but, being able to do that against Trump is a different story for Christie. And Christie has had a long running relationship with the former president, across almost two decades or so of being friends, of being an adviser. And he says that now that he views him very differently, particularly on January 6th. And so, that may be one of his strongest attack lines, which was that as soon as he saw the former president live repeatedly after the 2020 election, that's when he broke off from him.

BORGER: But he does have a credibility problem in that sense, because of course, he was so close to Donald Trump, endorsed him and helped him with the debate, et cetera, et cetera. So, you know, the question is, how does he then turn? He can say it's January 6th, but there are plenty of clips of Chris Christie going all out for Donald Trump.

And voters may say, well, wait a minute, you know, you were -- you were so close to him. I spoke with a senior adviser to Chris Christie, who said look, his only lane is going through Trump. It's the only way that anyone can win, including Chris Christie. So the feeling that they have is that, they can deal with the credibility issue, because he is going to take them on.

And don't forget, he's a former U.S. attorney. There may be potential legal action against Donald Trump coming in the future. And they think he is the best one to talk about that.

TAPPER: And it is interesting because the truth is, the Republicans running against Donald Trump have been fairly reluctant to go after him aggressively. Asa Hutchinson accepted. You tend to see them, when we had Nikki Haley on the town hall on Sunday, she had some very pointed criticism of Donald Trump. She just didn't attach his name, Trump, to them.

CHALIAN: Yeah, and that's why I think this is going to be a campaign more about style than substance. The Christie campaign, because of his -- he's got the smarts, he's got the prosecutorial background, and he's got that brash sensibility as, a native Jersey guy here. He's got the jersey in him.

So, like, he appeals feels very comfortable in that role, and performs that way.


And so I think that stylistic difference is going to be a differentiator for him from a lot of the rest of the deal.

TAPPER: All right. David Chalian, Gloria Borger, Laura Barron-Lopez, thanks so much for being here, one and all.

And we're going to talk more about Christie at the top of the hour. But tomorrow night, former Vice President Mike Pence is going to take questions from voters in Iowa, in the CNN Republican presidential town hall at lovely Grand View University where we just were on Sunday. My colleague Dana Bash will be the moderator, that's tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Is Donald Trump's web of legal troubles expanding? A look at why witnesses preparing go before a grand jury, a grand jury in Florida. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to our show, and the law and justice lead now. Another grand jury will hear testimony this week in the investigation into Donald Trump's handling of classified documents. But this grand jury -- this grand jury is in South Florida, in the same jurisdiction where the search warrant for Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort was approved.

I want to bring in CNN senior legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid, and CNN chief legal analyst Laura Coates.

So, Paula, most of our reporting has been about the grand jury -- your great reporting -- has been about the grand jury meeting in D.C. over these documents.

What do we know about this other separate grand jury in Florida?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We know at least one witness will go before this grand jury in Florida this week. Now, up until now, as you noted, this investigation has been taking place here in Washington, D.C. That's where the special counsel's office is located, that's where witnesses have come to testify before the grand jury.

But even at the beginning of this investigation, there were questions about whether D.C. was the proper, what's called a venue, the proper place to bring this case, if they were going to charge the former president or anyone else, because most of the alleged conduct happened down in Florida.

Now, you can argue that these records were supposed to be of the archives, with the government here in D.C. And that some of them were taken from the White House but. At this point, it's unclear why we are starting to hear from witnesses down in Florida. That means they may charge some other people down in Florida, if they intend to charge the former president down in Florida.

But we know, if the former president is charged here in D.C., his legal team the first thing they're going to do is challenged the venue. And then the special counsel's going to have to convince a court that the fact that, again, the documents belong to the archives, that's enough to bring the case here. You can bring obstruction charges anywhere an investigation is happening. So it's more about the documents, about possible defense information.

But man, to try the former president down in Florida, that is not a friendly jury pool. So the DOJ is in a tough spot here, it's unclear what they're doing.

TAPPER: What you mean is not a friendly jury pool for the prosecutors?

REID: For the prosecutors. Yeah. According to people that I've spoken with, it's going to be they believe a challenge, potentially, to successfully convict the former president if they choose not to charge him. But if they bring charges up here and it's still a big if, we know that there is going to be a challenge on that venue, and once again as Laura and I have so often been, we are in uncharted waters here.

TAPPER: Yeah, what do you make of this all?

LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, venue changes and requests are made all the time. It's usually to give an advantage of the person who is saying, listen, I will not have a friendly or impartial jury. That's the key here, whether I have a jury, it has to be impartial.

And another part of it is though, are you basing the investigation off of whether you took the documents, or whether you unlawfully retained the documents? And I, towards a grand jury in Florida, suggest to me that if the conduct that took place once he was alerted while in Florida, and his decision to do so once that point.

Case in point, obstruction, for example. Knowing that you had to return documents and fought it, having a dress rehearsal of sorts that says, I want to move these away. Or any ability to try to commit criminal behavior in that venue, it's a stronger case.

Now, it can cut both ways. Grand juries, as we know, a prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich. That's the theory. But, you cannot make an argument about it being a political witch if a grand jury in south Florida is the one to say, actually, we do believe there is enough to indict. Here it really undercuts -- of a political witch hunt argument.

I actually have faith in the grand jury system though. Because this is not really as attenuated as a case at say, the January 6th, about the idea about whether the person was in direct coordination, a conspiracy with the former president, as opposed to, did you know the documents existed, they did not belong to you, there is a method to return them, and you shows otherwise, and doubled down. That's also part of it, that's a similar case, but then the theoretical January 6 notions.

TAPPER: Paula, CNN broke the news yesterday of this flood at Mar-a- Lago, and the water spilled over into the room where the surveillance video logs were kept. We know that there were at least two subpoenas from Jack Smith, from the prosecutor, for the video, for the surveillance video. Walk us through the timeline of all of this?

REID: It's one of the things that makes the reporting about this pool being drained, and there being a bit of a flood in one of the rooms or the surveillance footage is kept, even though there's no evidence that it was in contention. The surveillance footage was damaged, the surveillance video has been so key here.

So, let's walk through the timeline. About a year ago, DOJ subpoenas the Mar-a-Lago -- surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago. Shortly thereafter, the FBI executes a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, and then they also issue another subpoena for the surveillance footage, right? They want to see what's going on with these classified documents at Mar-a-Lago during this time, and even trying to move, them is anyone trying to obstruct this investigation?


Now, a couple months later in October, our reporting is that the Mar- a-Lago pool is drained, and there is a flood in the server room. And then subsequently, the Justice Department tells the Trump Organization, which handles the surveillance footage down to Mar-a- Lago, to preserve additional surveillance footage. We know from our reporting, that witnesses before the grand jury have been asked about any efforts to tamper with the surveillance footage, if there are any gaps. That would mean investigators would clearly have some questions about whether they have all the surveillance footage, and if anybody has tried to prevent them from having it?

TAPPER: Fascinating. Paula Reid, Laura Coates, thanks so much.

A mother shot and killed standing out to her nine-year-old son in their yard. Police say her neighbor pulled the trigger. Why this case is raising new questions about Florida's stand-your-ground laws.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

TAPPER: In our national league, a long time feud ends in tragic and violent fashion.


A Florida mother of four was shot and killed by a neighbor, who had complained about the victims children playing outside. The neighbor, according to the family, had shouted racist insults at the children before.

CNN's Carlos Suarez explains why Florida has, as of now, stop any arrests from being made in the case, despite an outcry from the victims family.


CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pamela Dias stood next to her grandchildren on Monday, and described how an ongoing fight between her family and a neighbor over children playing in a yard, ended in a deadly shooting.

PAMELA DIAS, AJIKE OWEN'S MOTHER: My grandchildren's mother, was shot and killed, with her nine-year-old son standing next to her. She had no weapon. She posed no imminent threat to anyone.

SUAREZ: According to the family, 35-year-old Ajike Owens was killed trying to find out why a neighbor, who is white according to a police report, threw a pair of skates at Owens's children, and called them the N-word, and slaves.

DIAS: As a mother, the protector of her children, she wanted to know why this happened.

SUAREZ: The family's attorney called the shooting and, quote, unjustified killing, and demanded the neighbors' arrest.

ANTHONY THOMAS, FAMILY ATTORNEY: She knocked on the door, when there was no answer. She simply replied, I know you hear me. There was no altercation. At the time that was said, the shot rang, killing Ms. Owens, in front of her children.

SUAREZ: The sheriff in Marion County asked for patients, saying under Florida stand-your-ground law, investigators first have to determine whether the use of deadly force was justified or not, before they can even make an arrest.

SHERIFF BILLY WOODS, MARION COUNTY: I wish our shooter would have called us, instead of taking action into their own hands.

SUAREZ: Neighbors and the community just north of Orlando, said the woman who shot Owens was known to other families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This woman has talked to all of our children in his neighborhood. SUAREZ: The violent incident is a latest in a series of high-profile

shootings by homeowners across the country. In April, a Black teen was shot by a white homeowner, after ringing the wrong doorbell in Kansas City, Missouri. And in North Carolina, a six-year-old was shot, after children retrieved a basketball that rolled into the shooter's yard.

DIAS: Ajike adored her children. She lived, eat, and breathe for them. They were her everything. And now because of this senseless act, they are now without her.


SUAREZ (on camera): The sheriff said that deputies responded to at least six calls from the two neighbors, dating back to 2021, and that in each case, quote, the children were being children. Jake, as for the investigation, authorities have said that they're still interviewing witnesses, including Owens's nine-year-old son. He saw, his mother get shot -- Jake.

TAPPER: Just awful, Carlos Suarez, thanks so much.

Prince Harry just did something that has not happened in 132 years, his double legal battles are next.



TAPPER: In our world lead, today, the rare occurrence of a member of the British royal family inside a London courtroom, being asked questions. Prince Harry, facing a grueling cross examination, after giving hours of testimony. That's part of his lawsuit against a British newspaper, one that he accuses of hacking his phone, and using other illicit methods to get information about him.

CNN's Max Foster has more now on Prince Harry's battles against the British press.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Prince Harry's years long battle with the tabloid press, reaching its most dramatic moment yet, as he arrived at London's high court to testify in his landmark trial against British publisher Mirror Group Newspapers, MGN.

Court sketches showing a senior royal in a witness box for the first time in nearly 130 years. Prince Harry's tell-all memoir, "Spare", and recent Netflix documentary have already detailed so many of the princes grievances with the press, which he partially blames for his decision to leave the U.K. and life as a working royal.

And while this is the duke of Sussex's first time giving evidence, it's just one of several lawsuits filed by him and his wife Meghan, in which they accused the British tabloids of breaches of privacy, and publishing false stories. The duke of Sussex is central allegation in this case, the publishers journalists hacked his phone and others in the circle, and used other illicit means to gather information about his life, between 1996 and 2009.

He alleges that about 140 articles published by MGN, contained information gathered using unlawful methods. Thirty-three of those articles, including stories about his time in school in Eaton, his gap year in Australia, and stories such as these about his first serious relationship with Chelsea Davy, are being considered at the trial.

He says, these invasions of privacy, expectedly when he was a minor, caused him distress, and affected his mental health. Speaking in court in a measured and hushed tone, Harry accused some British editors and journalists of having blood on their hands, for the distress that they caused him, and he added, perhaps inadvertently, death, in reference to his mother, Princess Diana.

He faced forensic and detailed questioning from MGN's lawyer, Andrew Green. Green questioned how the articles in Harry's witness statements could have caused him to stress, if the duke was unable to specifically recall reading each article when they were published. Green also pressed Harry on whether the articles contained information, that could only have been obtained through illegal means, such as phone hacking.

Harry believes, both the U.K.'s press and governments are at rock- bottom, according to his witness statements, for his time and lending isn't over yet. He's expected to continue giving evidence on Wednesday.


FOSTER (on camera): And that lawyer Green, is known as the beast, Jake, for his forensic, his ability to really forensically analyze any witness. And Harry was certainly under pressure today. But he did keep it together, he's got another half day of cross-examination tomorrow. So we'll see, if it gets tougher for that last section of the cross- examination, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Max Foster in London for us, thanks so much.

Prince Harry is also dealing with a court case today in the United States. After writing about his past drug use, taken cocaine, smoking marijuana, trying mushrooms, it is recently published memoir, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank based here in Washington,, D.C., sued the U.S. government. They want to find out if the duke of Sussex was given any special treatment in his visa application, given his admitted drug use in the past.

Jessica Schneider is here, to explain more.

Jessica, there was actually a court hearing on this today as, well what happened?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: There was. The judge didn't rule here, basically telling DHS to go back and work on some procedural issues, and get back to him in about a week. The judge really wants to decide on these underlying issues, that he can't yet decide on. Both specifically, you know, can this conservative group, do they even have the legal right to try to compel the release of Prince Harry's records, do they have the legal standing?

And furthermore, can DHS say no, because of the confidential impersonal nature of these records, that's what they've said so far, that prince harry hasn't given consent. Because all of this is boiling down to the Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative group, Heritage Foundation. They are saying that they need to get a look at all of the immigration materials that Prince Harry submitted, to see if he admitted to his past drug use, and if he did, maybe DHS have some misconduct if they approve the application.

Because U.S. of immigration law does say that if someone has admitted past drug, use their visa application can be revoked or can be denied. So that's what the conservative group is looking into, and they are pointing to all of the admissions from Prince Harry, in interviews, and particularly in his memoir, "Spare", about his past drug use. I'll read you one expert from this memoir.

He says, Prince Harry says, I have been doing cocaine around this time when I was a teenager, and it wasn't contrails during a shooting weekend. I have been offered a line, and did a few more since. It wasn't much fun and it didn't make me particularly happy.

So, no definitive ruling from the judge in court today. But there are a lot of procedural issues to work out here. But the question is, will these immigration records be released? Interestingly, Jake, Heritage Foundation did reveal, or admit in court, that this is just part of their broader efforts to expose what is, in their view, DHS misconduct, when it comes to all kinds of immigration issues.

TAPPER: All right. Jessica Schneider, thanks so much. Interesting stuff.

A geopolitical earthquake rattling the sports world. That's a year after announcing players could join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour would be banned from the PGA Tour. PGA is now partnering with LIV.

And families of 9/11 victims are outraged, we're talking to a 9/11 widow next hour, on THE LEAD.


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

This hour, and advocacy group declares a new state of emergency for the LGBTQ community just days into Pride month. A warning of a tidal wave of violence against the gay and trans community.

Plus, the PGA Tour's hypocritical 180, partnering now with Saudi- backed LIV Golf, despite slamming the same organization for taking Saudi Russian blood money. Bob Costas is here to weigh in.

Plus, what our do the families of 9/11 victims think about this? I speak to a woman who lost her husband in the attacks and wants to see Saudi Arabia held accountable.

Leading this hour, however, in our politics lead, Chris Christie and his evolution from Trump's bestie to Trump's nemesis. Christie set to launch his presidential campaign tonight, positioning himself as the only Republican tough and quick enough to take down Donald Trump and then beat Joe Biden.

Let's go straight to CNN's Omar Jimenez in Manchester, New Hampshire, where Christie is scheduled to kick off his campaign in just over an hour.

Omar, Christie said he would only get into the race if he thought he could actually win. What are you hearing from his team about how they plan to do that?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, at this point, in this event, that we are expecting to happen in just a little bit later this evening, Chris Christie is expected to lay out his vision for why he feels that he is the man to lead the GOP party, lay out the foundation on why he is running.

But, also, he is painting this, he is expected to paint this as a difference and a choice moments between who this country wants to be, between a future that is small and one that is growing and growing. Not just the Republican base but the country as well.