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The Lead with Jake Tapper
FBI Director Wray Grilled By GOP Critics; Biden On Ukraine Support: "We Will Not Waver"; NATO Summit Ends With No Formal Invitation Or Timeline For Ukraine To Join the Alliance; Iowa Advances Six-Week Abortion Ban; North Korea Fires Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Into Waters Near Japan After Threatening The U.S.; Report: Tax Prep Sites Sent User Data To Google, Meta. Aired 4-5 ET
Aired July 12, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Burger King calls it a, quote, real cheeseburger and costs about 3 U.S. dollars.
Now, the one thing I can do well at home, one of the couple of things, is a grilled cheese sandwich. I like grilled cheese sandwiches, but 20 slices. Would you do it?
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: No. And, you know, I'll eat bugs on television, but this is where I draw the line.
SCIUTTO: There's a video to prove that.
KEILAR: This is where I draw the line, Jim.
SCIUTTO: That's a lot of cheese. And I do like grilled cheese -- that might be too much.
Anyway, we won't make a judgment for you.
KEILAR: You do you.
SCIUTTO: So, Jake Tapper -- THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The FBI director on defense.
THE LEAD starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you protecting the Bidens?
CHRIS WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Absolutely not. The FBI does not --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold on. You won't answer the question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The FBI Christopher Wray on the Hill questioned by some of his harshest Republican critic. I'm going to talk to one Republican member calling for a culture shift at the FBI.
And more promises for Ukraine but President Zelenskyy is not getting the thing he really wanted, entry into NATO. Why not?
Plus, taxpayer beware. It's not just Uncle Sam getting your data. The alarming report today out today on who else can see your most sensitive tax information.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We start today with our politics, and an explosive and combat hearing on Capitol Hill, with FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Today, House Republicans unleashed a tsunami of accusations and attacks against the FBI and its Trump-appointed Director Christopher Wray, accusing Wray of weaponizing the bureau against conservatives, lambasting the bureau's participation in last year's search of Trump's Florida home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): American speech is censored, parents are called terrorists, Catholics are called radicals, and I haven't talked about the spying that took place during a presidential campaign, on the raiding of a former president's home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Wray also making the stunning announcement on the unprecedented number of threats and attacks against the bureau since the August search of Mar-a-Lago, revealing the threats against federal law enforcement have gotten so bad. Since then, he has now created a unit solely focused on protecting FBI personnel.
Democrats in the House used their time today to question Wray about Trump's involvement in the January 6th attack and his mishandling of classified documents, according to the prosecutor, while also accusing their Republican colleagues of holding today's hearing as part of an effort to protect Donald Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): House Republicans will attack the FBI for having had the audacity to treat Donald Trump like any other citizen. The strategy is simple really. When in doubt, Chairman Jordan investigates the investigators. The FBI dared to hold Trump accountable, so Republicans must discredit the FBI at all costs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Director Wray also called accusations from some that the FBI was involved in the January 6th insurrection, quote, ludicrous.
CNN's Sara Murray is digging into this contentious and confrontational hearing.
WRAY: Thank you. Good morning, Chairman Jordan, ranking member Nadler, members of the committee.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: FBI Director Christopher Wray weighing in on some of the most hot button political investigations in testimony on Capitol Hill, critiquing former President Donald Trump's sloppy retention of classified documents.
WRAY: I don't want to be commenting on the pending case, but I will say there are specific rules about where to store classified information, and that those need to be stored in a SCIF, a secured compartmentalized information facility, and in my experience, ballrooms, bathrooms and bedrooms are not SCIFs.
MURRAY: Insisting in the wake of Hunter Biden's plea deal on tax charges that the bureau is not protecting the Biden family.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Are you protecting the Bidens?
WRAY: Absolutely not. The FBI does not --
GAETZ: Hold on. You won't answer the question about whether on that --
MURRAY: And disavowing some of the behavior outlined in the special counsel John Durham's probe, which documented missteps by the FBI into the investigation in the 2016 Trump campaign's ties with Russia.
WRAY: I consider the conduct that was described in the Durham report as totally unacceptable and unrepresentative of what I see from the FBI every day and must never be allowed to happen again.
MURRAY: Wray, however, stood by the search at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate.
WRAY: I would not call it a raid. I would call the execution of a lawful search warrant.
MURRAY: And defended the FBI's rank and file amid a wave of threats in the wake of that search.
WRAY: We did stand up a whole dedicated unit to focus on threats to FBI individuals, FBI employees and FBI facilities because of the uptick that we saw over that time period.
MURRAY: Wray facing off against some of his toughest congressional critics on the House Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have threatened to slash the bureau's budget and accused FBI leadership of political bias.
GAETZ: People trusted the FBI more when J. Edgar Hoover was running the place more than you are.
MURRAY: Respectfully, Congressman, in your home state of Florida the number of people applying to come work for us and devoted their lives to working for us is up over 100 percent.
GAETZ: We're deeply proud of them and they deserve better than you.
MURRAY: All as Democrats took shots at their GOP colleagues.
REP. HANK JOHNSON (D-GA): We are here today because MAGA Republicans will do anything to protect Donald Trump, their savior, no matter how unfounded or dangerous it may be to do so.
MURRAY (on camera): Now, Wray also told the panel the notion he's biased against conservatives was insane to him given his own personal background. He's a registered Republican and he was, again, appointed to this job by Republican President Donald Trump, Jake.
TAPPER: Sara Murray, thanks so much.
Let's talk about this with a decorated former FBI agent who served under FBI directors James Comey and Robert Mueller, and that's CNN's Josh Campbell.
Josh, Director Wray mentioned increased threats against FBI personnel in the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search, but the FBI is not only concerned about the agents involved in that search, are they?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, in fact, Wray is concerned about all 38,000 FBI employees and whether they might actually be targets, and that's why he mentioned the bureau standing up this unit to guard against threats against FBI employees. We knew, Jake, that this is not just an academic exercise, that words actually matter, particularly to former President Donald Trump, you know, who has accused the FBI of all kinds of wrongdoing pertaining to that search at Mar-a-Lago. We know that after those comments and after Trump accused him of malfeasance, a Trump supporter actually went and attacked an FBI field office in Cincinnati, and so we see just how real the issue is for FBI employees, having them on guard because of these words.
You know, throughout this hearing, we saw Wray trying to back down a number of conspiracy theories. There was an exchange happening just a few moments ago where this was a Republican member essentially insisting the FBI was some kind of inside job in the January 6th attack. Now, the members' time had expired, but Wray felt the need to jump in and make sure his voice was known and heard. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WRAY: You are suggesting that the violence that the Cap -- at the Capitol on January 6th was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources or FBI agents, the answer is no, it was not. And to suggest otherwise is disservice to our hardworking, dedicated law enforcement professionals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMPBELL: Now, there have been actual, you know, cases of wrongdoing by FBI employees, but, you know, throughout this hearing, we've seen a number of these conspiracy theories being put out there and FBI and security experts say some of them have real consequences if they actually lead people to acts of violence.
TAPPER: All right. Josh Campbell, thanks so much.
Let's bring in Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado. He sits on the House Judiciary Committee and participated in the hearing.
Congressman, thanks for joining us.
So, you said kind of tongue in cheek that you hope FBI Director Wray doesn't change his party affiliation after today's hearing. He's a registered Republican.
Do you think that the FBI is pursuing conservatives unfairly?
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): No, I don't believe that. I think Director Wray is a good person. I think that he's doing his very best to make sure the FBI follows the evidence. And I think that the FBI is largely treated unfairly in how it has been perceived and portrayed in the public.
TAPPER: So some of your Republican colleagues are talking about using the power of the purse to punish the FBI and the Department of Justice by eliminating or reducing significantly their budget. "Politico" reported that you said in a closed door meeting you cautioned your colleagues to be careful on this front and that you, quote, are not in favor of cutting DOJ.
Tell us why you think it would be a mistake for them to do so.
BUCK: Well, first of all, we have used the defund the police movement against the Democrats politically. The American public is not in favor of defunding the police in large cities, and they're not in favor of defunding a federal agency like the FBI.
And so I was just counseling my friends and colleagues and the Republican Party to be very careful in the language they use. Obviously, if the FBI has inefficient programs or wasteful programs, absolutely, we should look at reducing that as part of the deficit reduction program.
But to target the FBI as punishment is absurd. They're in charge of and leading the effort on counterterrorism efforts, counterintelligence, Chinese and Russian spies. They're leading the effort on white collar crime, on human trafficking. To say we're going to cut an agency that performs such a vital function in the United States government is really irresponsible.
[16:10:07] TAPPER: We heard Director Wray say today that the FBI's created a unit to focus on threats to FBI agent and facilities. Do you think the political attacks are driving these threats and causing this step?
BUCK: I don't think there's any doubt that people who are unstable hear information largely incomplete and uninformed information that will drive people, again, who are not balanced to do crazy things. And I absolutely am -- I think the director has done the right thing by setting up a unit to protect FBI employees, not just agents but all employees at the FBI.
It may very well be the result of irresponsible rhetoric that has caused this backlash against the FBI.
TAPPER: Hunter Biden, the president's son, was a frequent subject of today's hearing. We've learned that a man named Gal Luft who's been promoted as a potential key witness by congressional Republicans, who allegedly has damning information against the president's son, we've learned he was indicted this week on serious charges from arms trafficking to sanctions violations, to acting as an unregistered agent for China.
Congressman James Comer, the chairman of the House Oversight Committee responded, quote, he may be a bad dude, referring to this alleged whistleblower, but Comer still wants to talk with him.
Do you think the FBI targeted this whistle-blower inappropriately because of his Hunter Biden claims or do you think he's potentially a criminal?
BUCK: You know, Jake, I served 25 years in law enforcement. I would be very surprised if the FBI targeted someone inappropriately. If they targeted him and he's committed crimes, and so be it. He may still have valuable information if there is valuable information out there about the Hunter Biden investigation, and we should find out about that, and that's certainly our duty in oversight to make sure we are looking at all prosecutions and that we don't have a two-tiered system of justice in this country.
But the fact that he is a, quote-unquote, bad dude doesn't mean that he doesn't have valuable information that Congress can look at.
TAPPER: Do you worry at all that the wild allegations made by some of your colleagues and also by former President Trump about the FBI, about the Justice Department, actually hurt those who are credibly trying to investigate Hunter Biden or Democrats who may have committed crimes?
In other words, it's a boy who cries wolf kind of problem. They offer all these conspiracy theories. We actually, by the way, saw this during the Benghazi hearings, right? There were really serious questions about what went wrong in Benghazi but there are also so many wild accusations that generally speaking the American people stopped paying attention.
BUCK: Jake, in my eight years in Congress, 8 1/2 years in Congress I had heard wild conspiracy theories from both sides. I think it's irresponsible for people because people assume that members of Congress have some kind of inside information. We're not just reading something on the Internet and repeating it but actually we have some basis and fact in what we believe.
I've heard conspiracy theories about Donald Trump, and I've heard crazy conspiracy theories about the FBI and agencies that investigate Donald Trump. I think it's time members of Congress act more responsibly and that the American public perhaps doesn't necessarily listen to what members of Congress say. If it sounds crazy, it probably is crazy, and I trust law enforcement to do the right thing.
TAPPER: Republican Congressman Ken Buck of Colorado, thank you so much, sir. Good to see you again.
BUCK: Thank you.
TAPPER: This week in 2018, former President Trump stood next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and told the world he believed Russia's intelligence over the United States'. Five years later, President Biden has just landed in the same city. His warning to the world as Putin keeps up his relentless war in Ukraine.
Plus, the reported spy operation on the U.S. government led by Chinese hackers. We're back in a moment.
TAPPER: We're back in our world lead. Moments ago, President Biden arrived in Finland for the final stop his high stakes overseas trip. But before his flight, President Biden wrapped up meetings at the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, by delivering a speech with a pretty clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The U.S.'s commitment to Ukraine will not weaken, he said.
As CNN's Arlette Saenz reports for us now, even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared the summit a, quote, meaningful success.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, President Biden basking in another show of unity for Ukraine.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will not waver. Our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken. We'll stand for liberty and freedom today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes.
SAENZ: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy at Biden's side as he tried to ease some of the NATO summit's tension.
BIDEN: Your resilience and resolve has been a model for the whole world to see, and the frustration I can only imagine.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: That you -- like we say, shoulder to shoulder with us.
SAENZ: The U.S. and G7 allies making historic security commitments prepared to help Ukraine for the long haul.
BIDEN: We're going to provide security to Ukraine for its needs to cut against any aggression that may occur. Our support will last long into the future.
SAENZ: A declaration from the U.S. and G7 pledging unwavering support for Ukraine with the allies working towards bilateral long-term security commitments to Ukraine, but falling short of establishing concrete security measures even as Ukraine remains out of the NATO alliance.
BIDEN: All our allies agreed Ukraine's future lies in NATO.
SAENZ: Zelenskyy initially rebukes NATO leaders for not setting a time line for Ukraine's entry, but NATO has removed one significant barrier in the country's path and is ready to work with Kyiv as it makes reforms.
BIDEN: I hope we finally have put to bed the notion about whether or not Ukraine is welcome in NATO. It's going to happen.
SAENZ: And as the NATO gathering wrapped, a shift in tone from Zelenskyy.
ZELENSKYY: The outcome of the NATO summit in Vilnius was very much needed and meaningful success for Ukraine.
SAENZ: The summit, another test for Biden's push to reinvigorate the NATO alliance, highlighting America's role on the world stage.
BIDEN: We face a choice, a choice between a world defined by coercion and exploitation, where might makes right or a world where we recognize that our own success is bound to the success of others.
SAENZ: And sending a direct message to Vladimir Putin.
BIDEN: When Putin and his craven lust for land and power unleashed his brutal war on Ukraine, he was betting NATO would break apart. He thought democratic leaders would be weak, but he thought wrong.
SAENZ (on camera): Next up for President Biden, a stop in Finland, NATO's newest member. There he will meet with Nordic leaders, including the prime minister of Sweden, which will soon be on its way to joining the NATO alliance after Turkey dropped its objections. Both Finland and Sweden had been nonaligned for a very long time but after Russia's war in Ukraine decided to seek entry into the alliance -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Arlette Saenz, thank you so much, in Vilnius, Lithuania, for us.
Joining us now to discuss is Evelyn Farkas, the former deputy assistant secretary of the state -- secretary of defense rather for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia.
Thanks so much for joining us.
So I understand President Zelenskyy is being diplomatic and I get -- I get the need for him to be, but was the summit really a, quote, meaningful success for Ukraine if they didn't get a formal invitation to join NATO or even an exact timeline for when it could happen?
EVELYN FARKAS, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RUSSIA, UKRAINE AND EURASIA: I think it was, Jake. First of all, thanks for having me on.
It was because you had unanimous agreement by all the NATO allies that Ukraine should be a member of NATO. And this is very different from 2008 when the United States government was trying to pressure Germany and France into accepting Ukraine and Republic of Georgia into NATO and they were opposed. And then they put out some language to paper over this difference.
This is now real. They all believe that Ukraine will be part of NATO. There is, however, of course disagreement as you hinted towards in your question. You know, there's a question of when whether Ukraine is ready today or whether it needs to do more work on its democracy, and so because they couldn't resolve those issues, they went as far as they could which I think is still a victory for Ukraine.
TAPPER: So President Biden has said Ukraine cannot join NATO until the war is over. You say there's merit in inviting Ukraine to join NATO right now. The big hold up on that according to Republicans that I've talked to who are pretty hawkish and want Ukraine in NATO is obviously Article 5. Article 5 of the NATO treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all.
So if Ukraine were to join NATO immediately as you're suggesting should be a possibility, doesn't that mean that immediately the United States and all the NATO countries would have to, like, send in troops to defend Ukraine?
FARKAS: No, it doesn't, Jake, because you could do it in such a way where you say this only applies to the territory that on the day you sign the agreement the Ukrainian government controls. So, any disputed territory where there's hot war ongoing or where it's occupied by Russia wouldn't be covered by this, but then it would deter Russia from taking one more step into Ukraine, into the territory that the Ukrainian government does control and that would be the idea.
The other reason to do it right now would be frankly to accelerate the process of getting to peace because I think Russians believe -- the Kremlin believes that if this drags on and Ukraine doesn't become a NATO member, the West will get tired because maybe Ukraine won't win the war outright. And so, they're banking on time being on their side, that somehow the support will weaken for Ukraine. TAPPER: The British defense secretary told CNN earlier today that
NATO member countries are struggling to find ways to keep ammunition supplied to Ukraine. As this war stretches past 500 days, what happens if the U.S. and other key allies say they can't keep supplying Ukraine with what Ukraine says they need to beat back the Russians?
FARKAS: Well, I think that we're far from that day where we're going to run out of weapons that we could supply to Ukraine, and we have to make sure we don't ever reach that day, and the way we do it is first of all open up new categories of weapons that we can give to Ukrainians. We have longer range army artillery, the so-called ATACMS, that we could provide to Ukrainians that we in the United States have not done so far. So that's another category of weapons.
We also could, frankly, put our defense industry on more of a war-like footing.
We haven't done that thus far. It would be more costly for the United States government, but we could -- we could ramp it up.
TAPPER: Evelyn Farkas, thank you so much. Always good to see you.
Presidential candidate Will Hurd, Republican congressman of Texas, is here next. So what would be his strategy to become a front-runner in the 2024 race? Let's talk to him about that next.
TAPPER: Our politics lead now. Protesters filled the Iowa capitol rotunda as state lawmakers in that state approved a bill to ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
That is, of course, before many women even know they're pregnant. The bill includes exemptions for miscarriages when the life of the mother is threatened and fetal abnormalities that would result in the infant's death. It also includes exceptions for rapes and for incest if those are reported to authorities within a certain number of days. Often time, rapes -- victims of rape and incest don't report such things.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now.
Jeff, when will the governor, Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, when will see shine this into law?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Governor Kim Reynolds, who called for this into special suspicion in the first place, she is behind the support for this, she's expected to sign this into law on Friday. And the law that would take effect immediately unless there is legal action to stop that, and that's exactly what Planned Parenthood of the heartland, the regional Planned Parenthood operation there has said it intends to file for legal relief urging a judge or a court to stop that, essentially either before it's signed or at the same time it is signed, so we'll have to see if that legal action works.
But, Jake, this is something that is really going back to 2018. In 2018, the Iowa legislature passed and the governor signed a bill into law that was blocked by the court. So this is simply trying to redo that, but, of course, a lot has changed since then. State by state across the country some 16 states have changed their abortion laws in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, that Dobbs decision last year.
But if he signs it on Friday as she's expected to do, Jake, this is happening on the same day that most of the Republican presidential field of candidates with a few exceptions will be coming into Iowa to speak at an evangelical organization, a presidential town hall, so certainly this injects this into the Republican presidential race. And it also could potentially make some uncomfortable positions for some candidates who have not said if they support a six-week ban.
Of course, former President Biden Mike Pence, he says he does support Nikki Haley and others have not been specific about the number of weeks they would support for abortion legislation. So certainly this puts the issue front and center in the Iowa caucuses, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.
With us now to discuss, Republican presidential candidate, Will Hurd, a former U.S. congressman, a Republican from Texas.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
So, you recently said that if you were elected president you would support a 15-week ban on abortion nationwide if Congress were to put that in front of you. If a six-week ban, like the one we're seeing here in Iowa and other states like Florida, if that came across your desk, would you sign it?
WILL HURD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, if a six-week ban came across my desk that means that -- and if Congress was able to pass something like that and it was being reflective of where a majority of the country is, I actually think where a majority of the country is around 15 weeks, after the first trimester. The other thing I think we should also be talking about is how do we ensure we have neonatal health at a gold star standard? How do we make sure that maternal health is the greatest in the world?
With some of these restrictions, the fact that if you're a Black woman having a child in the United States of America, the death rates are similar in countries, in the developing world. These are some of the issues that we should also be talking about in making sure that we're improving.
TAPPER: Do you think legislation like what Governor Reynolds is about to sign into Iowa, like what Governor Abbott signed in Texas, like what Governor DeSantis signed in Florida, do you think that will ultimately because we're talking about six-week bans which is really banning most abortions, most abortions because a lot of women don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks.
Do you think that will -- regardless of what you feel about the issue of abortion, do you think that's going to hurt Republicans? I've heard some Republican officials say that they really worry about the effect of this on suburban voters, independent voters, et cetera.
HURD: Sure. Where are the, you know, the GOP? And one of the reasons Donald Trump lost in 2020 is that he wasn't able to grow the GOP into suburban women with a college degree, communities of color, black and brown communities and people under the age of 35. And then these types of legislation that are being passed in some of these states are not reflective or not going to help us in those communities.
And that is something that when I talk to -- as I crisscross the country and spending time in New Hampshire talking about how do we win elections in 2024, how do we beat Joe Biden whose numbers -- whose approval numbers are at the lowest they can be?
We need to be talking about issues that's going to help grow the brand with communities across the country.
TAPPER: Let's talk about electability. Listen to what Governor DeSantis said this week about the Republicans also running for president.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's two candidates that can win the nomination, Trump and me. And I would say I'm the only one that can win both the nomination and the general election.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: He is saying he is the only Republican who can beat Biden. Well, what's your response?
HURD: Yeah. Well, I wish Ron DeSantis was more interested in defeating Vladimir Putin rather than trying to target my friends in the LGBTQ community. I wish he was more focused on the issues of the future, not finding Cinderella. And this notion that we what we need to do in the GOP is elect someone who has a chance in November. We're already talking about the issues eroding his support amongst women.
There are issues eroding his support amongst the Black community and the Brown community. And we need someone who's talking about the future, not crying about the past and who is focused on our actual enemies, not trying to make it harder for groups in our country to just live their lives.
TAPPER: In the latest poll -- and these polls, I only bring them because they're going to be used to determine Republican eligibility for debates. In that latest poll, you did not meet the 1 percent threshold. Now, you're going to -- you're going to have an opportunity to perform
better in future polls, but you also won't commit to signing the Republican national committee pledge to back the party's nominee, whoever it is, which is required to step on the stage of the debate.
How are you going to get on that debate stage?
HURD: Sure. Well, first off, Jake, I'm working to meet the requirements to be on the debate. And if any of your viewers want to see a Republican on the debate stage more interested in defeating Vladimir Putin than targeting the LGBTQ community or a Republican who actually thinks background checks can help make our classrooms safer for our kids, a Republican who's more interested in uniting the country than dividing the country, then go to HurdforAmerica.com and donate at least a dollar.
My issue with the pledge is it's very simple. It's not an issue about not supporting the Republican nominee. I'm not going to support Donald Trump, and I can't lie to get access to a microphone. I've made it very clear that I can't support Donald Trump. He's a proven loser. He's lost the house in 2018. He lost the Senate and the White House in 2020, preventing a red wave from coming.
And one of the ways that I'm going to continue to improve with communities I'm spending a lot of time on the ground in New Hampshire. I've been in northern parts of the state. No candidates have been to -- I've been to several dozen cities already, and we're going to do what I did when I was in the old 23rd.
Nobody thought a Black Republican could win in a 72 percent Latino district, and I did it because I outworked our -- my opponents. I'm going to do the same thing in New Hampshire and in other states. And people are interested and craving something new. The fact that 7 out of 10 Americans do not want to see Joe Biden on the ballot and 6 out of 10 Americans do not want to see Donald Trump on the ballot, nobody wants to see the rematch from hell that looks like it's coming forward.
And this notion that this polling is an indication of something that's going to happen in five months or six months is not true. But we're going to take our message to the streets.
TAPPER: You talked about Vladimir Putin a couple of times in this interview. Do you think that NATO should admit Ukraine as soon as possible, or are you more with the program of make a pledge it will eventually happen but not until the war is over?
HURD: If I was a president of the United States the first thing I would say is as soon as the day hostilities stop in Ukraine -- Ukraine will be admitted into NATO. In order to bring that vision into fruition, I will talk and explain that the goal in Ukraine is to help the Ukrainians kick the Russians out of all of Ukraine, not just go back to the way things were in February of 2022 when the Russians invaded the most recent time.
And I'd be working with our allies to make sure that the Ukrainians had all the material, all the equipment that they need to do things like establish a no-fly zone over their own country. The quicker we help Ukraine win this war, the better it is for everybody else in country. I'll be making sure that the defense industrial complex was improving its efficiency in delivering the kind of support that we've already said we would give the Ukrainians to make sure they have the tools in order to win this.
And why should every American care about this? Because the United States of America after World War II built an international order that benefits us. And if we don't defend that order, it hurts us.
TAPPER: Former Congressman, current Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd, thank you so much. Appreciate your time, sir.
Coming up what the U.S. calls a brazen act by North Korea. We're going to go live to the region.
Plus, the cyber breach of government agencies in the U.S., how the White House says Chinese hackers accessed sensitive U.S. systems.
TAPPER: In our tech lead, a lot of questions remaining after Microsoft and the U.S. government revealed that China-based hackers had breached e-mail accounts at two dozen organizations including U.S. government agencies. Sources telling CNN the State Department and the Commerce Department are on the list, but the other targets are now undisclosed as of now.
According to Microsoft, China-based hackers used the stolen sign in key to get into unclassified e-mail accounts beginning in mid-May. They're now blocked, we're told. We're also told the problem was first detected at the U.S. State Department and reported to Microsoft. But no one, no one is saying who exactly got hit or how much is compromised.
World leaders at the NATO summit had to confront another serious issue today after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile overnight. The missile has the range to potentially hit the United States. It landed in the waters near Japan after being airborne for 74 minutes, longer than the regime's previous tests.
CNN's Will Ripley has been in North Korea more than a dozen times. He joins us now live.
Will, is this a big advancement for North Korea as that comparison of the time in the air might suggest?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly the flight time is basically one of the things that analysts use to assess how far a missile can travel. So if you actually look at the map, you know, even though this missile went on what's known as a lofty trajectory, high up into space and back town to earth, only traveling about 1,000 kilometers distance wise, had that -- had that lofty trajectory kind of stretched out like this, you basically have not just the entire mainland United States but almost the entire world in a potential striking range of this massive missile.
I have stood in Pyongyang. I've seen these things roll by. They're huge. Any country that figures out technologically how to get something that big and travel that far and that fast because, of course, it's traveling at supersonic speeds, it is a technological marvel most countries have not yet achieved, but yet this impoverished North Korea, which is struggling right now with some of the worst food insecurity issues they've seen since the great famine in the 1990s, still they continue to churn out these launches and really because Kim Jong-un, he wants to project power. He wants to project power that will protect him, that will protect his legacy, his family dynasty.
And, of course, a lot of these launches he's bringing his young daughter alongside, Jake, just barely 10 years old. She's already seen by many as a possible successor.
TAPPER: All right. Will Ripley, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Tax paying Americans going to want to hear this next report. The unlikely source that may now have shared your most sensitive financial information.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our money lead today, three major tax filing websites shared the private data of tens of millions of their customers with tech giants Google and Meta, according to a new congressional report.
CNN's Tom Foreman is at the magic wall to explain this to us.
Tom, first of all, which companies were sharing this extremely sensitive taxpayer data?
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, TaxSlayer, TaxAct and H&R Block show up in this report. And if you used one of these at home, no doubt you thought that your information was being kept confidential. And yet, now, there's information that your income, your refund amount, your marital status, names of independents, your name, your email, your cities, state, zip code, phone number and gender were among the things that may have been passed on to these great companies without you knowing it, Jake.
TAPPER: Tom, how exactly did this work?
FOREMAN: Well, what they were using is something called pixel tracking -- pixel tracking. So, you as a taxpayer go to one of these sites and decide you're going to do your taxes here. As you're doing it, a pixel tracker is basically keeping track of what you're clicking on, what you're doing, what you're filling out. So if you get a form that, for example, indicated you just got married, it would record this. And then it takes that information, and that information, according to the study, was then passed on to these companies.
And they, in turn, passed that on to third party companies, particularly Meta has been targeted in this, and what did the third company do? Well, they did exactly what you think with their ads, they reach right back at that taxpayer, targeting them with ads and information, knowing how much money they had, what had just happened in their lives, how they could reach them, how they could apply more sales pressure to that person there.
One big question in all of this, Jake, is how much was a conscious decision made along the way, because many, many, many companies use pixel trackers just to improve their product in their mind, say, we want to reach our customers better, and how much of this was happening automatically? Because they're using a product from this company to deal with this taxpayer. That somehow tracks for them, but that tracking gets passed over to them, and they have it, so they sell stuff back here.
And nobody really bothering to say, wait a minute, this is taxpayer data. This is something we're not free to share that way. We may be in violation of laws. We may be sued over it. This is a very, very big deal.
And I'll guarantee if you are sitting at home wondering if all of your private data was passed through this chain and came back to you and you wonder why all those ads were hitting you, I guarantee it's a big deal for you -- Jake.
TAPPER: Tom Foreman, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Just in, brand new court documents on Rudy Giuliani, the basic act prosecutors say he failed to do. That's coming up.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, more than 200 law enforcement officers are searching right now for an inmate who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison using workout equipment and bed sheets. And now, Pennsylvania police are talking to possible accomplices.
Plus, closer to a boiling point. The ocean water around Florida is the warmest it's ever been in recorded history, and scientists are warning that could mean a very dangerous hurricane season to come.
And leading this hour, after pleading with NATO allies, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is trying to put a positive spin on the lack of a formal invitation into NATO for Ukraine. Instead of that invitation, Zelenskyy is returning to his war-torn country with assurances about future membership in the alliance and the new promise of additional security guarantees.