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The Lead with Jake Tapper

WSJ: Trump Target Letter Cites 3 Statutes, Including Conspiracy To Defraud The U.S.; IRS Whistleblowers Accuse Justice Department Of Slow-Walking Criminal Investigation; DeSantis Unveils Sweeping New Military Plan; U.S. Soldier In North Korean Custody After Crossing Border; New Video Appears To Show Wagner Chief Prigozhin Greeting His Fighters In Belarus; Israel's President Reassures Congress About Its Democracy Despite Fight Over Judicial Powers; New Study: Nearly 800,000 in the U.S. Die Or Become Permanently Disabled Each Year Due To Misdiagnoses. Aired 4-5 ET

Aired July 19, 2023 - 16:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love being alone on the ocean, you know? And a lot of it is about the love of it, you know? The love of being there.

REPORTER: So, we'll find you out there again soon?



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: This is like looking at a crystal ball. I said that if TV didn't work out for me or I got bored of it, I just would get a boat, get a dog and head out to the ocean.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right. I'll keep track of you. Better than he was kept track of.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: What evidence does the special counsel have against Trump? Trump's legal team really wants to know.

THE LEAD starts right now.

It is a scramble for Trump's lawyers as their client faces a potential third indictment and second federal indictment. What does the special counsel know that team Trump does not and how will Donald Trump handle the invitation for him to appear before a grand jury by tomorrow.

And a new photo of the American soldier detained in North Korea. Why did he run across the border into the hermit kingdom?

A woman who saw it all played is telling CNN what she noticed about the moment. Plus, signs of life? The new grainy video suggesting that long last --

long lost Wagner mercenary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin might actually still be alive. This is weeks after his revolt in Russia.


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

And we start with our law and justice lead, and what could be an unprecedented third criminal indictment and second federal criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump for his unprecedented actions. Today, Trump's lawyers and advisers are scrambling to try to figure out what possible evidence and what possible witnesses might be part of special counsel Jack Smith's investigation into efforts to over turn the 2020 election.

Now sources say that the letter that Trump received on Sunday, informing him that he was a target of investigation, and giving him until tomorrow to appear before the grand jury, that letter laid out a bigger possible case than the Trump team was expecting, given the evidence and testimony they were aware. This is one of the many legal challenges Donald Trump is facing, of course, as special counsel has already charged Trump on the federal level in the classified documents case.

In New York, Trump also faces charges in the hush money case. And also on the state level, but this time in Georgia, prosecutors are also weighing whether to charge Trump with trying to overturn the election results in Georgia.

CNN's Evan Perez joins me.

And, Evan, we know the grand jury is scheduled to hear more testimony tomorrow. How soon could be learn about possible charges or a possible indictment and arrest?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, something could happen tomorrow, Jake, because the grand jury is meeting, and they're hearing from a couple of witnesses that we don't expect is going to go very long. This is something that could be very perfunctory and frankly, the special counsel team is not necessarily expecting Trump to actually respond. They don't have to respond. It's an invitation for him to come to the grand jury and/or present some evidence. The Trump team also has not indicated whether they are even going to respond.

The last time that he got a target letter, there was about three weeks, that span that time between the time he got the target letter and the time that we learned of the indictment. This time, you know, obviously, we don't expect him to ask for a meeting with the attorney general and expect the other things that happened in the Mar-a-Lago case to happen in this one.

And we know that the three crimes that, according to "The Wall Street Journal" and others that have reported on the contents of the target letter, the three crimes that he is at least being informed of, the three statutes, one of them is deprivation of rights. Another one is conspiracy to commit an offense or defraud the United States. That's a very common charge that we've seen a lot in the last few years.

And then, of course, there is a tampering charge. That could be the statute that governs that could be related to obstruction of the congressional proceeding which is, again, a very common charge that we've seen in January 6 cases.

TAPPER: If the grand jury does vote to indict Trump or others in this case, how will we find out?

PEREZ: Probably from Trump himself. We don't expect the special counsel is going to tell us until they don't have to usually until someone shows up in court. As we saw last time, the defendant is informed that he has been indicted and so, if there is a grand jury indictment, if the grand jury votes tomorrow, they could do so tomorrow afternoon, he would be informed later that afternoon or later in the evening and then, of course, Donald Trump is free to go on his social media platform and tell the world as he did last time.

TAPPER: As is his want. Yeah.

Evan Perez, thank you so much.

Let's bring in CNN's Kristen Holmes, who's live for us in New Jersey, just down the road from where Trump and his allies are gathered.

Kristen, tell us about the scramble behind the scenes right now. How caught off guard was Trump's team by the contents of this target letter?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it wasn't just the context, Jake, contents. It was also the timing. I think they believe if he was going to be charged or indicted, they can get a target letter that it would be closer to the fall. They few that things have heated up when they learned that Jared Kushner had gone before the grand jury and it seemed there was a downturn in events. So the time was one of things that they were caught off guard by.

But the other was exactly what was in the target letter. These potential charges seem to indicate that the special prosecutor had a much bigger case than they had anticipated. So what they're looking for now and trying to figure out if there is any evidence that Jack Smith might have or any extra witnesses that went in, that they just didn't know about, that they were unprepared for.

And the thing to keep in mind here is that they were watching this very closely. And so many of the witnesses that came before the January 6 grand jury were represented by lawyers who were paid for by Trump world, which was giving them the opportunity to really have increased insight into what was going on in that investigation.

But, again, they're now looking for that evidence trying to see if there is anything there. A lot of conversations going on around us, and while we're hearing from the advisers would say it is business as usual, they're going forward with the campaign and Trump is hosting a event at Bedminster down the street later tonight. We also know that there is always concern from allies that as the legal issues mount, that is going to be more complicated for the former president to continue his third bid for the White House.

TAPPER: All right. Kristen Holmes, thanks so much.

Joining us now, Tom Dupree. He was the former principal deputy assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush.

So, Tom, according to "The Wall Street Journal," the target letter cites three specific statutes, deprivation of rights, conspiracy to commit an offense against or defraud the United States and tampering with a witness.

First of all, could you explain the deprivation of rights charge?

TOM DUPREE, FORMER PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, G.W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Sure. That's a federal criminal statute, Jake, that basically penalizes with criminal sanctions anyone who under color of law, which means that basically imbued with official action deprived someone of their constitutional rights. My best guess is what the special counsel is getting at, that right that was deprived is the right to vote.

That's my best guess as to where the special counsel is going with this. President Trump used his official authority to deprive Americans of their constitutional right to vote.

TAPPER: And what kind of punishment do these charges carry? Are we talking fines? Are we talking jail time?

DUPREE: We're potentially talking jail time. The charges carry a range of penalties that range from what we're hearing about three years to ten or 20 years.

Keep in mind, though, that these are really maximum sentences and just as a practical matter, it would be exceedingly unlikely for a judge to impose sentences at the maximum end of the range in a case, particularly in a case like this, where there are multiple charges.

So, yes, they carry the potential for a jail time but as a practical matter, I don't think we're looking at, you know, decades in prison if he were convicted.

TAPPER: Is there anything about these possible charges that the "Wall Street Journal" reports was in this letter to Donald Trump, any of these possible charges that surprises you?

DUPREE: The only surprise to me, Jake, was the one you mentioned, deprivation of rights under color of law. I thought there was a good chance the special counsel would bring a charge under the Insurrection Act or swing for the fences with seditious conspiracy charge. It doesn't sound like he's going to do that. It looks like he's taking a different tact.

But it may be a more sensible approach. It is more conservative and the statute that the special counsel appears poised to charge under something is fairly charged often. So judges will be more familiar with it. There is more case law out there than some of the more somewhat exotic charges that we're told the special counsel might be considering.

TAPPER: The Trump team is scrambling, trying to find out who else received the target letters. Who else, do you think, could be in legal jeopardy in this case?

DUPREE: I think you would have to look at Trump's lawyers and the folks that were participating with him in this alleged scheme, both the false electors scheme, the scheme to pressure state officials, to change the results.

My guess is that the evidence of the witnesses here, Jake, are going to be drawn from two camps. One are the state officials that the president and his colleagues were pressuring to change the results. The other group of witnesses more intriguingly are going to be Trump's own lawyers and own advisers who were with him as these schemes were developed and executed and some of them may be charged themselves and others even if they aren't charged, I think they'll be critical witnesses to any prosecution.

TAPPER: I want to get your reaction to an excerpt of a larger context of what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told me yesterday when I asked him about this case specifically.


Here's part of what he had to say.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As president, my job is to restore a single standard of justice to end weaponization of these agencies. We're going to have new FBI director on day one. We're going to have big changes at the Department of Justice. Americans across the political spectrum need to have confidence that what is going on is based on the rule of law, not based on what political tribe you're in.


TAPPER: Now, you could blame Trump, you can blame Biden. Comey, anyone else.

At the end of the day, there is a sizable portion of this country who believes that the Department of Justice has been politicized. There is some questions about FBI behavior during the Russia investigation, for example.

How do you think the Justice Department, of which you were once a member during George W. Bush administration, how should the Justice Department address this?

DUPREE: It's a challenging issue, Jake, and there's no easy answer to it. We see Governor DeSantis and a lot of other the Republican candidates trying to walk a tight rope that's exceedingly thin here. Criticizing the president on one hand but being very moderate in that criticism and focusing their ire on the alleged politicization of the Justice Department.

I think if you're an attorney in DOJ, I think all you can do at this point is keep your head down, do your job and particularly when you're considering charges in a politically charged environment like this where everyone from either side is going to be hammering you for either going too lenient or going too hard, you just have to be super careful that the charges are supported by the evidence and at the end of the day prove that because i8 think that is going to be the acid test in whether a lot of Americans think these are genuine charges or just made up, is whether or not the special counsel could succeed in proving them before a jury of Donald Trump's peers.

TAPPER: All right. Tom Dupree, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up, new reaction to my exclusive interview with Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis and his plan to quote, rip the woke out of the U.S. military. How is his strategy playing in military circles?

And then, standing ovations on the Capitol Hill as the president of Israel comes to town and has a word for U.S. lawmakers who protested this visit.

And the alarming report showing just how often doctors get it wrong in the most common diseases that tragically get misdiagnosed.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, a high profile hearing on Capitol Hill today. Two IRS whistleblowers testified before the House Oversight Committee, alleging that the Justice Department mishandled and quote, slow-walked the criminal investigation into the president's son, Hunter Biden.

Also in this hearing, the identity of one of those whistleblowers was revealed for the first time.


JOSEPH ZIEGLER, IRS SPECIAL AGENT, CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION DIVISION: Appeared to me based on what I experienced that the U.S. attorney in Delaware in our investigation was constantly hamstrung, limited and marginalized by DOJ officials as well as other U.S. attorneys.


TAPPER: CNN's Kara Scannell is with us.

Kara, who was this previously unanimous IRS whistleblower and what else did he have to say?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, so that person that you just saw speaking is Joseph Ziegler. He's a 13-year special agent and he's identified for the first time today even though he'd previously given closed door testimony with some of the Republicans. Now he and his supervisor, Gary Shapley who has previously spoken out, both testified today that they say there was Department of Justice interference in their investigation into Hunter Biden.

And one issue that Gary Shapley focused on was the October 2022 meeting that he claims he was in with the U.S. attorney for Delaware, David Weiss, who is a Trump appointee. Now, he says, at that meeting, Weiss had said that he had no -- he had asked for special counsel authority and was denied it and he didn't have the final say on charging Hunter Biden, that he might have to partner with the U.S. attorney's office in another jurisdiction.

Here's part of that exchange.


GARY SHAPLEY, IRS SUPERVISORY AGENT: I watch the United States Attorney Weiss tell a roomful of senior FBI and IRS senior leaders on October 7th, 2022 that he was not deciding person on whether charges were filed. That was my red line. I had already seen a pattern of preferential treatment and obstruction.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): It seems this meeting which you described as a red line is just a misunderstanding. That after the U.S. attorney in D.C. declined to partner on the 14 and 15 charges, Mr. Weiss took a good hard look at those charges himself and ultimately decided not to charge them and therefore not to seek the special counsel attorney status. He may have been right about that or may have been wrong as you guys make your case for, but it was his decision. Isn't that right, Mr. Shapley?

SHAPLEY: No, that's not supported by the facts.


SCANNELL: Now, Weiss has told Congress that he was assured that he had full authority to make that charging decision by the Attorney General Merrick Garland about whether, when and what to charge Hunter Biden with. Now, Hunter Biden did reach a deal to plead guilty. He will enter that guilty plea next week to two tax misdemeanors -- Jake.

TAPPER: Speaker McCarthy is open to bringing impeachment charges if the whistleblower claims hold up, right?

SCANNELL: Yeah. That's right. That is what Speaker McCarthy is saying. He's under pressure from some in the further right in his party that they should investigate the Department of Justice further on this. Now, the DOJ had said that they would make Weiss available for testimony before the Hill at an appropriate time. And Garland is set to appear before the committees in September. And, of course they'll be more free to speak about this once that

investigation is wrapped and that is possible, there will be that resolution next week when Biden enters his guilty plea.

TAPPER: Hmm. Kara Scannell, thank you so much.

Coming up next, the bizarre moment that an American soldier made a run into North Korea. A woman who was there in the same tour group is telling CNN what she saw.




DESANTIS: People see the military losing its way, not focusing on the mission and focusing on a lot of these other things. Things like DEI and all that stuff, it hasn't worked in other aspects of society. It very well may be on the constitutional chopping block in light of the Supreme Court's decision on racial discrimination in higher education. And so, it's not a model that I think is going to be successful in the military.


TAPPER: DEI, of course, a reference to diversity and equity and inclusion measures. That was Republican presidential candidate and Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, outlining why he unveiled a new plan to eliminate so-called wokeness from the U.S. military. That was during my exclusive interview with him on the campaign trail in South Carolina.

The DeSantis plan includes ending all groups in positions in the Pentagon that focus on DEI, diversity, equity and inclusion, banning transgender service members from being able to serve as they identify and then ending funding what he calls, quote, activist climate change programs.


DeSantis also wants to reinstate all service members who had been removed for refusing the COVID vaccine and he wants to punish retired generals and admirals who speak out harshly against any sitting president in Congress or any other official.

Joining us now to discuss is the former commanding general for the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. He's also a CNN military analyst.

General, thanks so much for joining us.

So, DeSantis says the military is losing its way by focusing on DEI and other what he called woke initiatives. As someone's with decades -- someone with decades of military experience who still has contacts in the Pentagon right now, do you agree? How do you see it? MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I disagree with that completely,

Jake. I'll be honest with you, I -- I not only have contacts still with forces but I'm a mentor to several organizations in a leadership program. I work with basic trainees and their commanders. I've done some things with other services all with an approach to how we can be better as a military.

And truthfully I don't understand what Governor DeSantis is talking about in some of these things and neither do most of the people in the military. This is not an issue that is at the forefront of anyone that I've talked to in the military.

TAPPER: So, Governor DeSantis also wanted to punish, prosecute former members of the military, high ranking officials who engage in harsh politics. You know, really tough criticism of the sitting president for example.

What do you make of that? You know, what's interesting about it, I was talking to somebody at the Pentagon about this proposal and he said, in his mind, it was open, but he said the first person that would be prosecuted, the worst offender of all this is Mike Flynn.

HERTLING: Yeah, it's is interesting because what I've tried to do with CNN, Jake, and you know this, is comment on policies or what the political leaders are doing. I've never tried to attack a sitting political leader, I'm not defending myself but certainly there were times during the previous administration and even sometimes during this administration where I've said a policy is something that is approached in a different way in the military than what a sitting president or a government official is addressing.

That could be construed as, you know, taking pot shots at a political figure. It is trying to inform the American people about the way the military view things. I take the four decades that I've had in the military and say, here this is how those wearing the cloth of the country feel about this particular action, just like we're doing now.

You know, I don't see any wokeness in our military. I've been honored to serve since the start of my service in a very diverse force, serving alongside all races, religions, cultures, men and women. One in five of our military force today of about 2 million are women and that's about 400,000 members of our force.

So some of the things that Governor DeSantis is talking about, I think he's disconnected from what the military actually does. And what their made up of.

TAPPER: Is there an argument for transgender service members not being allowed to serve as they want to -- as they identify? A trans woman identifying as a woman, is there an argument in DeSantis's favor for that?

HERTLING: I don't believe so. But again, I have a different view of this. Our military is an all volunteer force. It has been that way since the mid-'80s. It's a very diverse force and truthfully it's the best in the world. People volunteer to serve, men and women. They swear an oath to our

Constitution which outlines our values, our national values like dignity and respect for all people. Sometime during the history of our military, we failed in that with races, with women, and some other areas.

So if someone is qualified to serve, and they meet the standards, which I heard Governor DeSantis sort of dance around yesterday, I personally, as a member of the military, believe they should serve because they contribute a great deal to the diversity, and I'll use that word, and the wokeness, which means you're investigating things within the military.

I consider myself woke, Jake. I will honestly say that and not only as a soldier, but as a now citizen of Florida. I'm woke. And I still live in Florida, because I like to investigate things. I like to analyze things. I like to expand my view of not only how our military works, but how our enemies and our allies work as well.


TAPPER: Well, how would you define woke? Because as Governor DeSantis noted yesterday, even many people who rail against wokeness and he certainly is against wokeness as he defines it, don't have a definition. How would you define it?

HERTLING: Well, I've never heard him give a definition. I've heard one of his lawyers give a definition and if the definition his lawyer gave is the correct one, then I'm going to say I'm woke.

It's someone that looks outside of their normal field of view. It is someone that opens their aperture to different view points, to try and analyze things in a unique way. To try and not go along with common cultural bias, but, in fact, find out more things about a particular subject.

That's what the military does. We're not taught what to think. We're taught how to think, because that's a very valuable attributes when you're talking about dealing with not only our allies, but with our enemies. We have to dig into the view of different cultures and different people.

You know, my last job was as the commander of forces in Europe. And, you know, truthfully, I dealt with 49 other countries and the culture of those nations and I had to deal with them to build alliances for different things that we were doing both in Afghanistan and in the continent.

So, you know, I needed to look at other cultures, I needed to look to see other people's points of view, and to me, that's how I define woke. To try to expand my view of what other people think and how they see the world.

TAPPER: Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, thank you so much. Appreciate it. Turning to our world lead. This is a photograph of U.S. Army soldier Travis King wearing a black cap and shirt standing among tourists near the North Korea border. This is shortly before he crossed the demarcation line into the Kim Jong Un-led state on Tuesday.

CNN's Will Ripley now joins us live from just outside the DMZ, that's the militarized buffer area dividing North and South Korea.

Will, we're getting new details about what happened from an eyewitness in the tourist group that had been traveling with King. Tell us what that eyewitness told you.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is really valuable information from Sarah Leslie, a tourist from New Zealand who was on the group, on the bus that drove down this Unification Bridge behind me, about five kilometers to the joint security area.

And while there is likely security video that exists, closed -- CCTV video of this, we haven't seen it yet. But she gave us the next best thing, a pretty vivid description of the moment that she actually saw her fellow tourists turn into a defector.


SARAH LESLIE, WITNESS: Someone close to me ran very fast. And I thought what is going on and he -- I don't think anyone who was sane would want to go to North Korea. So I assumed it was some kind of stunt to run to the North Korean border fence and have someone filmed that or something like that. A couple of seconds after, I saw him that is what the soldiers shouted and started running after him.


RIPLEY: And so he basically sprinted across the border to the North Korea side which is very desolate right now because they're so afraid of COVID. They don't really have the level of security that they do on the South Korean side.

So, just to give you a sense of the security, I mean, we're still less than five miles from the DMZ and yet you have spikes there and the barricade and this is just to get to the bridge that you would then drive overhead down this road directly to the joint security area and then, of course, be on a little bit further is North Korea, Jake.

TAPPER: What is the U.S. doing to try to reach out to any North Korean authorities to bring this soldier back?

RIPLEY: Whatever they're doing, it's happening behind close doors using backchannel communications because there's no formal line of communication between the United States and North Korea or even South Korea. They have that phone line that has been active but hasn't been answered on the North Korea side for quite sometime. Or if it is answered, it's very sporadically.

And so, what we believe is that likely, there are informal conversations happening. We do believe that this American is likely being quarantined at the moment because they are worried about COVID- 19. He will likely be questioned by the North Koreans about what happened when he was here in South Korea.

Of course, we've now learned that he spent 50 days in detention for some sort of a fight, some sort of a brawl. He was supposed to be sent back to Texas to be officially separated from the Army. That's why he decided to come here and make a run for it, Jake. But his current condition and current status is still unknown because the North Koreans have not publicized anything at this stage.

TAPPER: Will Ripley, near the Korean DMZ, thanks so much.

There is new grainy, hard to make out video that might be a sign of life for Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of a mercenary group in Russia. What is heard in the audio is quite telling.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our world lead, proof of life? A grainy, low lit video published on social media, at Telegram earlier today, appears to show Russian Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin greeting his mercenary fighters in Belarus. This would make this Prigozhin's first public appearance since leading the failed rebellion against the Kremlin last month.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has more now on the Wagner chief's alleged emergence and a rare plea to Russians from Britain's top spy.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is grainy, dark and doesn't show as much of use, but it does claim to be Wagner rebellion leader Yevgeny Prigozhin finally in public and alive, with his fighters in Belarus after 25 days of him vanishing from view. It emerged perhaps by coincidence, a few hours after this man, the secretive head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency told CNN in a rare public appearance that he thought Prigozhin was, quote, floating about, providing the first confirmation from the West that he's alive.

Britain's top spy seemed shocked at how weak Putin was forced into accepting the Belarusian president's humiliating deal that weekend.


RICHARD MOORE, HEAD OF BRITAIN'S FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE UNIT MI6: He really didn't fight back against Prigozhin. He cut a deal to save his skin using the good officers of the -- of the leader of Belarus. So, even I can't see inside of Putin's head.

WALSH: It was a week of Putin's disappearance and then displays of grandeur after wildly flip-flopping over Prigozhin, all of which the MI6 chief left him struggling to read.

MOORE: If you look at Putin's behaviors on that day, Prigozhin started off I think as a traitor at breakfast, and he had been pardoned by supper and then a few days later he was invited for tea. So there are some things even the chief of MI6 finds a little bit difficult to try to interpret in terms of who's in and who's out.

WALSH: But the head of MI6 used here in Prague, the last European capital before the invasion of Ukraine, to see Russian tanks roll through it launch a wider appeal that's really a reflection of how weak they think Putin is right now. They appealed to disaffected members of Russian elite, angry at invasion of Ukraine to bring their secrets to MI6. Effectively, a rare public appeal for them to spy for the West.

MOORE: I invite them to do what others have already done this past 18 months. And join hands with us. Our door is always open. We will handle their offers of help with the discretion and professionalism through which my service is famed. Their secrets will always be safe with us. And together, we will work to bring the bloodshed to an end.

WALSH: Chaos so startling, its full impact is yet unknown.


WALSH (on camera): Now I think the real takeaway from listen to the head of MI6, is that, you know, when you listen to stories in public from the Kremlin, you are always left imagining, is there something else happening behind closed doors and am I being fed an incorrect narrative that Russians are so fond of distributing. Really, it seems, though, with all Western intelligence capabilities, remember they got the invasion, they predicted that pretty accurately.

They think that what we saw is what we got and that essentially we could believe what we saw in the surface. To some degree that is terrifying because we've seen a surface of utter confusion and betrayal and madness in Moscow over the past weeks -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much.

Also on our world lead, a celebration on Capitol Hill as Israel President Isaac Herzog, nicknamed Bougie in Israel, and members of -- most members of Congress came together to honor the modern state of Israel's 75th year of existence.

But as CNN's Hadas Gold reports for us now, it is impossible to ignore concerns about the health of Israel's democracy and its future.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A historic speech by the Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday during a critical and tense juncture in Israeli-U.S. relations. President Joe Biden having called some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government the most extremist in Israeli history and calling on Netanyahu to pump the brakes on the massive judicial overhaul legislation that will completely change the Israeli Supreme Court. The Israeli president acknowledging the recent fissures.

ISAAC HERZOG, ISRAELI PRESIDENT: I'm well aware of imperfections of the Israeli democracy and I'm conscious of the questions posed by our greatest of friends. The momentous debate in Israel is painful and deeply unnerving because it highlights the cracks in the whole.

GOLD: Receiving several standing ovations including while extolling the very institution that Netanyahu is trying to overhaul.

HERZOG: A strong supreme court and independent judiciary.

GOLD: Some empty seats, though, as progressive Democrats boycotted the address, including Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who recently caused controversy after calling Israel a racist state, later walking those remarks back but still, a no-show.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Should the speaker not have invited him?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I think this is not a good time for that to happen.

GOLD: At the Oval Office on Tuesday, with President Biden, warm words contrasted with a stark split screen back in Israel as protests raged again over the judicial overhaul Netanyahu has vowed to push through. Shortly after meeting with Herzog, Biden granted "New York Times" columnist Thomas Friedman an interview whose own interpretation of Biden's feelings making major waves in Israel.

Biden is basically pleading with Netanyahu and his supporters to understand if you're not seem to share the democratic value, it will be difficult to sustain the special relationship that Israel and America have enjoyed for the last 75 years for another 75 years.

Herzog, who has been trying to mediate a consensus on judicial reform, leaning into history and the Bible in his address to push Congress to keep that relationship going strong.


HERZOG: Mr. Speaker, dear friends, the sacred bond we share is unique in scope and quality because it is based on values that reach across a generations, across administrations, across governments and coalitions, carrying us through times of turmoil and elation.

GOLD: Hopeful words for a country facing an uncertain future.


GOLD (on camera): Now as for when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself will actually be invited to meet with President Biden, that's still sort of up in the air. The two leaders did speak on Monday, but there's a bit of a discrepancy about how much of an invitation was really extended. The Israelis saying, yeah, Biden invited Netanyahu to come meet. The White House a bit more circumspect, saying that the two agreed to meet sometime in the future. There is some debate whether that will be actually in Washington or potentially somewhere else, for example, at the U.N. General Assembly in September -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Hadas Gold in Jerusalem for us, thank you so much.

Coming up, a staggering look at just how often doctors get it wrong when they diagnose patients. What to ask the next time you're in the hospital. That's next.



TAPPER: A terrifying number in our health lead. A new study from John Hopkins medicine estimates that 795,000 people here in the United States die or become permanently disabled every year because a disease or medical condition was misdiagnosed. Viewers know that my daughter Alice who's now great nearly died in 2021 from a medical problem that was entirely preventable, a misdiagnosed perforated appendix. She went into sepsis almost because of that and thankfully, she is stronger than ever now.

But there are thousands more who share similar stories or far, far worse.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now.

And, Sanjay, Dr. Newman-Toker who led the study is he's one of the folks who did an after action report looking into why Alice's case went so wrong. What did he find in this study?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he found these big numbers, first of all, and he's talking about misdiagnosis, which could mean the wrong diagnosis or it could mean missed diagnosis, missed the diagnosis, which is sort of what happened with Alice. They just missed the diagnosis.

The numbers are big. I think this is what got everyone's attention, 370,000 people who die annually because of these missed or misdiagnosis, 424,000 who have these disabilities.

I do want to be clear just so we are not frightening people, overall, going to the hospital going to a clinic visit, less than 0.1 percent chance of the average person having some sort of severe outcome as a result of these misdiagnoses.

But there was some categories, Jake, which were the biggest culprits for misdiagnosis: sepsis -- what you just mentioned Alice almost went into -- stroke, pneumonia, blood clots, lung cancer. These were the ones that are most likely to account for those severe outcomes and where they focus their attention and study.

TAPPER: So, Alice, the problem that Alice has is that doctors and her fist seem to be under the impression that appendicitis presents a one uniform way and it doesn't. GUPTA: Yes.

TAPPER: There are many, many different ways it could. So, that is why her case went misdiagnosed, in addition to them not listening to Alice or my wife or myself. But, generally speaking, why does this seem to happen so often?

GUPTA: Yeah. I mean, I think what you pointed out with Alice is one of the primary culprits. They expect right lower belly pain. Somebody doesn't have that, they say this doesn't seem like appendicitis, which seemed to be what happened with Alice. As you know, I looked at all of her medical charge.

But also, like take stroke. People think, okay, you got weakness, you got difficulty speaking, that's stroke. But what if somebody comes in with dizziness or headache or fatigue, less -- less sort of clear. People might miss that.

Cardiac stuff, heart stuff, you know, classic left sided chest pain. That's what people typically think of. But what if it's more generalized chest pain or weakness or shortness of breath? I think the point you make in the study is, you've got -- you've got to be looking out for things other than the most common presentations, if you will, at some of these very common diseases or common problems.

TAPPER: So, what kind of questions should patients or people who love the patients be asking if they are worried that the diagnosis might be wrong?

GUPTA: Well, first of all, I do think that patients want to bring a clear picture of what's happening. Make sure you write on the history of what has happened but then asked these questions. If you get a diagnosis, at the question, what could be causing my problems but also, what else could it be? Very important follow-up session you could ask.

And, you know if there's test results, when will the test results come back? And what decisions will be made based on those test results? But I think it's very important for patients to have that really clear history of their symptoms, clear and concise when they go see their doctor in the first place.

TAPPER: I would add, if you want to advocate for yourself, you can ask, you can demand imaging and you can ask or demand a consult with the surgical team or some other team. Know your rights as a patient.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks, as always.

Trump's former White House deputy secretary, plus the former chief counsel for Biden's VP's days, they are both going to join me with their take on the special counsel's target letter sent to Donald Trump and the potential charges.

Stay with us.


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

This hour, country music star Jason Aldean is now defending his music video after it was pulled from Country Music Television amidst harsh criticism.

Plus, the Department of Justice is looking into accusations that officials on the border were ordered to push migrants back into their Rio Grande River. This, plus emails describing horrible conditions, such as a woman stuck in razor wire while having a miscarriage. CNN is along the border in Texas.

But leading this hour, our law and justice lead. The grand jury in the special counsel's January 6th probe is set to meet tomorrow after Donald Trump told the world that he received a letter from special counsel Jack Smith identifying him as a target of the investigation. Sources say the letter laid out three possible statutes that Trump could have violated in the former president until tomorrow to appear before the grand jury if he wants.

Trumps lawyers and aides have spent the day trying to figure out what evidence and witnesses could be a part of the special counsel's investigation. Witnesses and evidence that they were not aware of.

We're going to start our coverage with CNN's Paula Reid.

Paula, how are Donald Trump's attorneys responding to this target letter?