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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump Says He Expected To Be Charged In Jan. 6 Probe; Jan. 6 Grand Jury Expected To Meet Tomorrow; DOJ Assessing Reports Of Inhumane Treatment Of Migrants; Rep. Chip Roy, (R-TX), Is Interviewed About Inhumane Treatment OF Migrants; Poll: Trump Leads GOP Field Among New Hampshire Voters; Gilgo Beach Investigation Expands To SC & Las Vegas; CMT Pulls Jason Aldean's "Try That In A Small Town" Video. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 19, 2023 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Paula, how are Donald Trump's attorneys responding to this target letter?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they're quite surprised. If you've spoken to any of Trump's lawyers over the past year, they would have told you that they absolutely did not expect that he would be charged in the January 6 investigation. Now, initially, they would also tell you they didn't expect he would be charged in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. But that thinking, of course, changed once they learned there was a recording of their client.

So the charges, though, that are listed in the target letter, according to reports, contemplate a case that is much broader than they would have even anticipated. So now they're trying to figure out, does the special counsel have some additional witnesses or some other evidence that they're not aware of? And, Jake, I've got to tell you, the Trump team, they're pretty looped into what's going on with this investigation. Remember, the political action committee aligned with Trump underwrites the defense counsel for a lot of key witnesses. And that's a big part of how they keep tabs on what's going on, which makes it all the more surprising that they were so caught off guard.

TAPPER: If Smith brings charges related to January 6, do we have a sense of where the trial will take place? The way he brought the documents case in Florida, do we think these charges will be in D.C. or a battleground state such as Michigan or Arizona maybe?

REID: So, I was speaking to a source familiar with this investigation just a short time ago, and I was told that, yes, this case would very much likely be brought here in D.C. That's where the grand jury has been gathering evidence. This is the seat of a lot of this alleged conduct. Now, there is, of course, though, some confusion because the Mar-a-Lago grand jury was here in D.C. but then eventually they transferred it to a grand jury down in Florida. But the key difference there is, of course, Florida is where a lot of the alleged conduct occurred, though also some of the alleged conduct also occurred in New Jersey, it's up to prosecutors. But I was in court yesterday, Jake, with defense attorneys for the former president and special counsel prosecutors and the defense attorneys made it clear that they intend to make that move from D.C. to Florida in the Mar-a-Lago case, an issue going forward.

TAPPER: All right, Paula Reid, thank you so much. Donald Trump is, of course, a candidate for president, so now we go to the campaign trail where the other Republican primary candidates are struggling to respond to Trump's possible third indictment. Here are some of the responses so far, starting with a quick excerpt from my interview with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who I asked about this yesterday.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I hope he doesn't get charged. I don't think it'll be good for the country.

VIVEK RAMASWAMY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not want to see my opponents eliminated because of the actions of a corrupt federal administrative police state.

MIKE PENCE, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're all involved in a primary. I trust the American people to judge that. That day --

TIM SCOTT, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He used to try to find a way to weaponize his powers.

NIKKI HALEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The rest of this primary election is going to be in reference to Trump, is going to be about lawsuits. We can't keep dealing with this drama.


TAPPER: CNN's Jeff Zeleny joins us now.

Jeff, Trump's rivals are running for president against him, yet most of them don't seem to want to be critical of him about these charges?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jake, they are walking a very fine line, and now it's almost become an unspoken part of the party platform to say the Department of Justice is weaponized, to essentially repeat what the former president has been saying. But there are some nuanced differences that we've seen at this point from the indictment in March and earlier in June.

In your interview with the Florida governor yesterday, he talked repeatedly about looking toward the future. He said he must look ahead toward the future. And he said he does not believe it's good to have a presidential campaign in January focused on the past, what happened on January 6 of 2021. So there are some nuanced differences, but by and large, the Republican rivals, with the exception of Chris Christie and Mike Pence and sometimes Nikki Haley, they are staying away from any criticism of the former president.

And, Jake, the reason is simple, because he still controls the base of the party's support here. And it's a very perilous thing to say to a primary electorate to criticize Donald Trump. TAPPER: You're out there on the campaign trail, Jeff, what are you hearing from voters about the criminal charges Trump is facing or might be facing in the future?

ZELENY: I mean, Jake, we see a divided Republican Party. At least half the party, perhaps more than that, would like to move on, and they are concerned about these criminal charges. Half the party, the Trump base, is simply not concerned about that. But a few data point came, one came in a new poll yesterday from the University of New Hampshire, only 37 percent of Republican voters there support the former president. So that gives you a sense that six in 10 Republicans are willing to entertain someone else or look for another candidate.

But as for these charges, there is a sense of exhaustion and Trump fatigue. But there is also a worry among some Republicans who want to go a different direction that there could be indictment fatigue. There are so many different court cases and different venues, from New York to Florida to possibly Washington to possibly Georgia. Will that also cause some exhaustion? So, Republican voters are split, just like their party is. Jake.


TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss, former White House Deputy Press Secretary during the Trump administration, Sarah Matthews and Victoria Nourse who served as Chief Counsel for then Vice President Joe Biden.

Sarah, so you were one of the witnesses who testified before the House January 6 Select Committee. So, you're aware of Trump's actions around the Capitol attack. Are you at all surprised to hear that the special counsel's case against Trump seems to be larger, involving more evidence and more witnesses than Trump's attorneys expected?

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I don't think that's surprising at all. I think that they had access to different material that the Congressional committee could not get access to, particularly witnesses. Obviously, we know that the vice president went before the grand jury in this case, and that wasn't something that happened with the January 6 committee. And so I think that they have reason to be worried, the Trump team, because I think that they will have even more evidence. And obviously, the evidence that was uncovered in the January 6 committee hearings was really shocking, particularly Cassidy Hutchinson, my former colleague's testimony.

TAPPER: So, Victoria, according to multiple outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, the target letter that Trump received on Sunday from Jack Smith says he could be charged with deprivation of rights, which might be people are speculating taking away the right to vote from other people.

VICTORIA NOURSE, FORMER CHIEF COUNSEL, VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: The right to vote, yes. TAPPER: Yes. Conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, which that's obvious, and tampering with a witness. What do these charges tell you about the case that the special counsel might have?

NOURSE: Well, let me just clarify one thing on tampering, that's the title of the statute, but it's really an obstruction statute that they're referring to.

TAPPER: Right. Their allegation being that Trump tried to stop their investigation in some ways.

NOURSE: Yes, yes.


NOURSE: In some ways. So, I think these are pretty expected. The only twist -- given the January 6 committee they're expected, the only twist is really the deprivation of rights, the conspiracy to deprive one of the voting rights and that makes perfect sense. It's an old statute, 18 USC 242, and it's been here since reconstruction. And it's often associated with rights not to be discriminated against, but voting rights, it's one of our most fundamental rights.

TAPPER: Sarah, I want to read you this reporting from "The New York Times," quote, "Subpoenas issued by Mr. Smith," that's the special counsel, "suggest that he has been scrutinizing Mr. Trump's political action committee, Save America PAC. It raised as much as $250 million, telling donors the money was needed to fight election fraud, even as Mr. Trump had been told repeatedly that there was no evidence to back up those claims of election fraud. The House January 6 Committee had also suggested that Mr. Trump and his associates had defrauded his own supporters. It described how after the election they appealed to donors as many as 25 times a day to help fight the results in court and contribute to a defense fund, but no such fund existed, and they used the money for other purposes, including spending more than $200,000 at Trump hotel properties."

I mean, do you think that Donald Trump repeatedly takes advantage of his base?

MATTHEWS: Yes, I think he preys on his supporters, he lies to them. And obviously that results in these people giving them money thinking that, you know, they're helping save democracy, all because they think that the election was stolen. Yet Trump has been told repeatedly there is no evidence of fraud despite his claims that there was substantial fraud. And he was told repeatedly that he lost, but he is just unwilling to accept that fact. And so it is really disgusting to see him take advantage of his base in that way.

And obviously, that ultimately led to a deadly riot on our nation's capital. Those folks would not have been there that day unless Donald Trump told them that Mike Pence had an authority to overturn the election, which Trump was told, Mike Pence did not have that authority.

TAPPER: Right.

MATTHEWS: Yet those people showed up because they were told that, and so they thought they were helping save our country. And so it is really sad and just frankly disgusting for him and anyone who is still associated with him.

TAPPER: Would that theoretically be breaking the law, telling people that you're going to -- telling supporters, we're going to use this money to fight election fraud, even though you know there's no election fraud?

NOURSE: Yes, fraud. I mean, that's the essence of this. i mean, the fake elector scheme is fraud.

And there's another aspect to this. You know, you have to prove if you're going to obstruct justice that he acted with corruption, so there's a problem. Some people say, did he benefit from it? So that evidence will take away an important legal argument that was raised in some of the other January 6 indictments.

TAPPER: So, in the target letter, Special Counsel Smith told Trump he had four days to appear before the grand jury if he wanted to present his case. This is kind of the last step before an indictment comes down. Usually that's tomorrow. If you were advising Trump, would you tell him to go before the grand jury?


TAPPER: Why not?

NOURSE: Well, because given what we've seen of his loquaciousness and tendency to dig himself to a deeper hole, as a lawyer, you want to protect your client. And so, I would suggests that he stay away. Most people -- most lawyers are saying that in the press.


Oftentimes defendants don't appear before the grand jury because it's only a probable cause. It's not beyond a reasonable doubt. So he can make all sorts of legal arguments about the indictment moving forward. He can challenge the evidence. He doesn't really need to show up.

TAPPER: Sarah, you quit the Trump administration on January 6, right? That was the day that you resigned. But I just want to ask you, and maybe this is an unfair question, did you think that Donald Trump preyed on his supporters and took advantage of his supporters before that? Or is that something that -- and you were in denial about it and you looked back on it? Just explain that to me.

MATTHEWS: No, I knew that on election night that Donald Trump had lost, and I think that folks were still holding out hope, thinking that things would turn around. But obviously, his litigation failed time and time again. I wanted to stay on with the Trump administration till the very end because I had made my boss that promise that I would. But ultimately, it was a slow burn for me. I was disgusted by his lies about the election, and that obviously ended up with the deadly riot that happened on January 6 at the Capitol.

And so, looking back, I have some regrets about not speaking out sooner. But that's why I think it's so important that there are folks like myself, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Cassidy Hutchinson, et cetera, who are willing to call out these lies --

TAPPER: Absolutely. Sarah Matthews and Victoria Nourse, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

NOURSE: Thank you.

TAPPER: Ordered to push women and children back into the Rio Grande River, that's the claim from a medic assigned to the border in Texas. And now the Department of Justice is looking at the allegations. Then investigators in the Long Island serial killer case are now looking at properties that the suspect owns in other states.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the Justice Department is now assessing the situation along the Texas-Mexico border as two unnamed trooper medics there are sounding the alarm that the Lone Star State is, quote, "stepping over a line into the inhumane," unquote. Migrants are literally stepping over lines made of razor wire at the border. Those trooper medics say this has caused injuries, claiming medics were ordered to not give water to migrants and to push people back into the Rio Grande River instead of allowing them onto the land. CNN's Priscilla Alvarez joins us now.

Priscilla, what is the Justice Department saying about these reports?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Jake, they're calling them troubling, and they're saying that they're working with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies to assess the situation on the ground. I have been talking to sources for months about internal discussions between DHS and DOJ over at least the last year about what was happening along the border. And this is the first public acknowledgement from the Justice Department that they are now looking into it. So it has certainly escalated within the administration.

And it comes, of course, amid the reports that you touched on, these were two medics with the Texas department of public safety who shared concerns about what they were seeing. And let me just read through some of those. It was a four-year-old who was passed out in 100 degree heat, a man with a laceration on his leg from razor wiring, a 15-year- old with a broken leg, and a 19-year-old who was trapped in razor wire after having a miscarriage.

I have been on the border multiple times, people do get hurt, there is death. But they are tying this directly to the Texas governor's actions. Now, he has put out a statement saying that no orders were given for troops to send people back to Mexico or not to give them water, but the White House is sounding the alarm and talking about it today. Take a listen.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is what we see over and over and over again from this Texas governor, from Governor Abbott. And it is -- all we're asking for, all we -- as a country and what we should hold near and dear is the basic human decency. Basic human decency. And we are just not seeing this from this governor.


ALVAREZ: Now, Jake, we should note that this is not an investigation. This is an assessment into the situation, and that could be the first step into an investigation. But clearly, again, concern within the administration about where this is going, especially after the Texas governor sent migrants to Democratic led cities without warning, then put these buoys in the water, which is having the potential drowning risk for migrants and now these reports about sending troops -- or sending migrants back to Mexico.

TAPPER: All right, Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CNN's Rosa Flores is in Eagle Pass, Texas, along the U.S. Mexican border where these incidents were reported. Rosa, what are migrants up against there as they try to cross into the U.S.?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, let me show you around. The state of Texas has deployed several layers of border barrier. The first one that you see here is this chain link fence, then there's one layer of concertina wire and a second layer of concertina wire. And the latest effort is actually floating on the river. It's those buoys that are anchored to the bottom of the waterway.

Now, this is a popular crossing area for migrants because the water is very shallow. And despite the buoys being deployed, we've seen migrants cross the river. And the first layer of border barrier that they actually encounter is the concertina wire. Now, we've seen migrants try to place clothing or other objects on the wire to protect themselves, but despite that, top brass at Texas DPS acknowledged that the number of injuries has increased.

Now, Governor Greg Abbott and top leadership issuing a statement saying in part, quote, "No orders or directions have been given under Operation Lone Star that would compromise the lives of those attempting to cross the border illegally." Now, the owner of this property says the US. Customs and Border Protection leased the property from them. And if you look behind me, you'll see that there are bathrooms, washing stations, and also these tents. And the owner of this property says that this was done in part to provide water and also first aid to migrants.

And Jake, if you're wondering why is this empty, well, that's the other thing. All of this is happening in the backdrop of the fact that the number of migrants crossing the border has dropped significantly. Jake. TAPPER: All right. Rosa Flores, near the U.S. Mexican border in Eagle Pass, Texas, thank you so much.

With us now to discuss, Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, who represents parts of Austin.

Congressman, good to see you. So these incidents come as Texas Governor Greg Abbott in recent weeks has stepped up efforts to physically prevent migrants from illegally entering the country. Is Texas, do you think, endangering the lives of people who are coming to the United States to seek asylum?


REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Well, good afternoon, Jake. Good to be on.

And you know, I just want to congratulate the Department of Homeland Security from -- for finally actually acknowledging that there's something going on at our southern border and paying attention to Texas because they sure as hell been MIA for the entirety of my tenure in Congress. And so now they're zeroing in and trying to focus on what Texas is doing in the wake of the complete absence and in fact, the culpability of the Biden administration as being a part of the human migration chain that we saw unfold and that we're seeing depicted in the "Sound of Freedom," the sex trafficking trade, the danger that is, you know, posed to migrants to the 856 dead migrants last year along the Rio Grande and in South Texas and in Arizona, the 53 who cooked in a tractor trailer in San Antonio last August in the district where I represent, the thousands being told in the sex trafficking trade.

You don't have to believe the "Sound of Freedom," you can believe federal Judge Reed O'Connor who issued an order. An order saying, you know what, we're going to upward depart because we need to actually have stiffer penalties because there was an illegal migrant in Maryland who was being threatened by the cartels because they were going to rape his daughter if he didn't give him $21,000 after he'd already paid the money. That is the humanity that we're talking about on the southern border.

The DPS is giving out water. DPS saved lives today, they resuscitated people today. Today they saved a family and a group of migrants in the water drowning. Most of the barriers being put out are being used to push people down the river to a safer place to cross. Water is being given out, no, not to everybody who crosses, but it's 115 degrees and it's not a waste station. We have an obligation to try to stop the flow because it's harming us in Texas and the migrants who seek to come here.

TAPPER: So, I mean, I hear what you're saying about the larger issue of border insecurity and how that creates an opportunity for cartels to do their evil when it comes to human trafficking and also creating opportunities that create the false sense that this is a safe journey for these migrants. The complaints, though, that we're hearing here are have to do with the fact from these medics. In a seven-hour period, medics encountered multiple razor wire injuries, including this woman that was trapped on a razor wire and was having a miscarriage. Now, the trooper medic who reported this said that the wire, it's OK for it to be there, but it needs to be manned, it needs to be patrolled constantly and it needs to be lit at night so people can see it. What do you think of those proposals made from this trooper medic?

ROY: Well, what I would say is that the state of Texas has appropriated $10 billion, with a b, over the last four years to deal with the crisis that this administration has completely abandoned. And when I hear, I can't remember which reporter it was talked about the lower numbers. Well, how about focus on the one app (ph)? Because right now, I'm getting a whole bunch of information in my hearings and oversight that we've had almost half a million people process through the one app.

So all we're doing is diverting how people are coming to Texas. But we still had 150,000 apprehensions last month, according to the data I got yesterday, which is off the charts high. So, welcome to the party. Again, we're having to deal with the mess.

Now, gosh I see all of these ranchers in south Texas and people breaking down. The people that are the county attorneys that find dead bodies. They have to go get mobile morgues to put bodies in it, and they're just breaking down, crusty old 75-year-old ranchers who find a dead body on their ranch. We're trying to stop that.

We're trying to send a message to the world, you're endangering yourselves, subjecting yourselves to cartels, but this administration is actually culpable in making it happen. Then they want to come after Texas because we're trying to protect our own communities and the migrants. I understand, I don't like razor wire cuts, I don't want anybody getting dehydrated, but it's 115 degrees in Texas, you're going to get dehydrated. These guys are giving them water. They're doing what they can with limited resources because DHS is MIA.

Mayorkas knows it. He's abandoned his post, and the President is all too willing to let him do it.

TAPPER: Mayorkas' response quite often is along the lines that -- Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, for the viewers out there, his response is usually that he's doing what he can, that they sent thousands of more troops, and that this problem needs to be solved with a big comprehensive immigration reform bill, that the immigration system is broken, but that no president or DHS secretary can solve it. It needs to be Congress changing the laws and doing more. What is your response to that?

ROY: Well, first of all, the secretary came before the Judiciary Committee last year and he testified to me that, yes, he had operational control of the border, and I had the statute sitting behind me under the Secure Offense Act, he then later, earlier this year, six months later, he goes to the Senate and he testified, oh, if you think I'm going to follow the Secure Offense Act and have operational control of the border, no one can do that. So which is it?

[17:25:10] The fact is he's playing games. He wants to look at Congress and say, we've got to do something. He's got all the laws that he needs to get operational control of the border. But we passed H.R. 2 in April, which would give extraordinary additional power if the President would work with us.

And frankly, a lot of -- that's in that bill is stuff that Barack Obama asked for, stuff that Jeh Johnson asked for in 2016 because they were actually trying to stop the flow. Jeh Johnson said, 1,000 a week was a crisis. You know, Jake, we are so far past 1,000 a week.

TAPPER: Oh, yes, absolutely.

ROY: And that's the difference in that administration and this administration.

TAPPER: Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas, thanks so much. Always good to have you on the show.

ROY: God bless, Jake.

TAPPER: God bless to you as well, sir.

The Biden campaign just released a new ad that features, of all people, Republican firebrand Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. You got to see this.



TAPPER: In our 2024 Lead, a new snapshot of Republican voters likely to participate in the first in the nation New Hampshire primary. In New Hampshire right now, according to this poll, Donald Trump holds a 14 point lead over Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. That's 37 percent to 23 percent. This is a new poll from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is in third place. He has 8 percent, followed by former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgam at 6 percent each. Vivek Ramaswamy and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are both at 5 percent, with all others at 1 percent or below.

Let's discuss so Eva trump has a double digit lead, but DeSantis is in the hunt there, and it's a lot smaller that this lead in New Hampshire that we see in national polls and the state by states are far more important than the national poll. This also suggests that two-thirds of the people in New Hampshire, Republicans in New Hampshire, don't want Trump.

EVA MCKEND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is still very much a competitive contest. We talk about this all the time. But this is why the ground game is so significant. This is why these candidates, the whole game is meeting as many voters in these early states as possible. I just looked up the amount of people that turned out in 2020. In New Hampshire, in the Republican primary is about 150,000 people. In Iowa, in the Republican caucus in 2020, that's about 32,000 people.

So when you have the electorate that small in these early states, I mean, you know, these candidates can really just, you know, spend as much time as possible there, meet as many people there, and there could be surprises.

TAPPER: And what do you make of this? Two-thirds not in the Trump column as of right now in New Hampshire among Republicans.

JOE WALSH (R-IL), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: It's a poll. Jake, I don't -- maybe I'm just an old song. I don't think anything's changed. I think this is Trump's nomination until somebody takes it from him. It was a great interview with DeSantis this week. But even him, I don't see any of these candidates trying to beat Donald Trump. He's going to be indicted and look at none of them are attacking him for that.

TAPPER: Well, Chris Christie is.

WALSH: And Chris Christie doesn't count because he really doesn't have a chance to win. I'm talking about the candidates who have a shot. None of them are attacking Trump. They're all waiting. It's weird. They're all waiting for something to happen to Trump.

TAPPER: Yes, but --

MCKEND: Yes. I think it's a mistake to dismiss them too early in the process. But that's just not --

TAPPER: To dismiss who, Chris Christie or?

MCKEND: All of these candidates. All of these candidates.

TAPPER: Francesca, Tim Scott in third place in this poll, Super PAC supporting him, just announced a $40 million ad campaign. That's the largest booked by any candidate so far. If one perceives DeSantis as kind of like being stuck and I'm not saying I do, but do you think there's an opening here for Tim Scott?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: Well, he certainly has a lot of resources to be able to continue to compete. And that's not -- not everyone can say the same exact thing. You're seeing some of those candidates, like Asa Hutchinson, who's down in this poll, you know, they had him hovering at almost zero percent. He didn't bring in nearly anywhere close to the same kind of hold that some of these other candidates did.

When you're looking at what Tim Scott has cash on hand, again, he would be able to compete in all three of these states and continue into those Super Tuesday states. One thing about the Trump numbers in that poll, though, is that the people who are with him, three quarters of them, say that they are with him. He's their guy, they're sticking with him. And so that, I think, is significant. Also, though, he has dropped by five points since April in that poll. While you see Ron Desantis' numbers staying, essentially even. So, it's not Ron DeSantis who's losing support in New Hampshire, it's Donald Trump.

TAPPER: Interesting.

ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITION DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020: Can I just say one thing on this? The reason why this is still anyone's race, I do think it's Donald Trump's race to lose, but is because Iowa and New Hampshire rarely like to do the same thing in a primary. So even if Donald Trump wins in the Iowa primary or caucus, it does make it hard for folks to get momentum. But New Hampshire is known to kind of push back and say, but we want and with this poll, six out of 10 New Hampshire in saying that they don't want to actually support Donald Trump, I do think it gives opportunity for folks if they can stay in the race that long.

TAPPER: I heard a lot of conservatives praising DeSantis for stepping outside of the conservative media bubble and doing the CNN interview. And one of the things that's interesting about media bubbles and look, there are liberal ones, there are conservative ones, et cetera, et cetera, is that sometimes you might say things and you're miscommunicating.

And let me explain, Marjorie Taylor Greene gave a speech the other day, the conservative firebrand MAGA extraordinaire from Georgia. And in her speech, she talked about how Joe Biden was trying to finish what LBJ did, finish what FDR did.


Now in her bubble, that automatically means horrible, bad, FDR, worst guy in the world. But to the rest of the world, FDR is considered a great president. So Biden did something interesting. His campaign did something interesting and they turned it into an ad. Take a look.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Joe Biden had the largest public investment in social infrastructure and environmental programs that is actually finishing what FDR started, that LBJ expanded on. And Joe Biden is attempting to complete programs to address education, medical care, urban problems, rural poverty, transportation, Medicare, Medicaid, labor unions and he still is working on it.


TAPPER: I like how she said urban problems. Urban problems by whatever do you mean by that? Pretty brilliant.

ALLISON: Brilliant. And it is telling that that is someone who is running in a general election. He is saying, if you think that the Republican Party is too extreme, your own folks, you know, they misused her words a little bit, but it was brilliant. Come over. We are doing things that the average American finds around the economy, around so many issues that people find important. I thought it was well done and I think everyone should give a hat tip to the Biden campaign. TAPPER: She could, I mean, she could have been more clearer if she was trying to speak outside the bubble, if she was trying to say like, we don't believe in big government like FDR did. But she's speaking so much, preaching so much to the choir, that she just --

WALSH: And at that event, Jake, she was purely speaking to the Republican Party base at that event because they ate it up.

CHAMBERS: But it served right into Joe Biden.

WALSH: Oh, completely.

CHAMBERS: His strategy right now, which partly is to cut things that Republicans are saying, turn them into ads, put it on air and put money behind it. I think that one's running online right now. But that is broadly what their strategy is while he continues to focus on the things that he wants to focus on as president in the business of being president.

TAPPER: Yes, that's trolling more than it is an actual ad by at least at this point but.

CHAMBERS: At this point. But that is largely what their strategy is right now, is to let Republicans say what they're going to say in this race.

MCKEND: I mean, it illustrates that we live in two different Americas, basically, and the same could be said of the left. You know, you could play back something that someone says on the left and it'll get worse, you know, applause and then you could play it for right wing audience and they might be horrified. So yes, just illustrates we're living in.

TAPPER: No, it does. I mean, I could totally imagine some Democratic congressman talking about how important it is for Fauci and Christopher Wray and all these people that right wingers consider to be bad guys, you know, to be given power and respected and this and that and the right wing would do the same thing.

WALSH: They would do the same thing. It was a brilliant commercial. And again, this is Biden's secret sauce. He needs to stay above all of this and speak to most Americans.

TAPPER: Quick question, I did wonder what you thought when I asked Governor DeSantis about the possible indictment, and he said, quote, that he hopes it isn't -- this is not the quote, I hope it doesn't happen. He said something like that. Quote, I don't think it will be good for the country. What did you think of that?

WALSH: Well, you said the question, Jake, was perfect because you said, what if --

TAPPER: Finds evidence of criminality.

WALSH: -- Smith found evidence of criminality. Boom. And he just wouldn't even touch that, which I thought was really disappointing. But it makes sense politically. TAPPER: I asked it twice. Evidence of criminality.

WALSH: You've said that word twice.

TAPPER: All right, thanks. Thanks for paying attention. Thanks, one and all, for being here.


Why investigators in the Long Island serial killer case are now looking at other murders in Nevada. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our Law and Justice Lead, the investigation into the Gilgo Beach serial killer suspect is now expanding to South Carolina and to Las Vegas. Rex Heuermann was arrested just last week, as you recall, in New York for allegedly killing three women and stuffing their bodies along the Long Island shore. Their remains, along with those of a fourth woman, were found in 2010. Heuermann is currently charged with just three of those murders. CNN's Jean Casarez is following the story for us. Jean, what connections does this alleged serial killer have in South Carolina and Las Vegas?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are looking for geographical connections to the defendant, Rex Heuermann. And let's start with South Carolina, because the tax records are showing that he owns four large parcels of land in a rural part of South Carolina, Chester County. And those parcels of land are actually separated with gravel roads between them.

But right next to those parcels, his own brother lives in South Carolina. So neighbors are saying that late last week that law enforcement just swooped into the area, including the FBI. And a law enforcement source tells CNN that they actually were extremely interested in a Chevy Avalanche, which they towed out of the area and they are combing that for evidence right now.

So they believe there is a connection between the defendant and that Chevy Avalanche that could be very important to the case. Now, we did receive a statement from law enforcement in South Carolina and we want to show everybody part of that. The Chester County Sheriff's Office has and will continue to work closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Suffolk County law enforcement authorities during this very important and arduous investigation.

They also told us that they were looking at this property investigating even before the arrests were made, as per request by the county here in New York and the FBI. Now to Las Vegas, tax records show there that Heuermann and his wife purchased two condo townhouse properties between 2003 and 2005, there's one right there. It's right next to the Strip area.


And tax records show that one of them they have sold, but the other one they do or do not have. It's not sure. But the law enforcement in Clark County is telling us they are looking at their cold cases. They are looking at unsolved homicides. And, Jake, if we look at the modus operandi here, it involves, obviously, sex workers. And so that is, I think, a particular area that Las Vegas will look into as they comb those unsolved crimes.

TAPPER: Jean, what kind of evidence are authorities sifting through right now?

CASAREZ: Well, the primary crime scenes, of course, are right here in New York, and they are continuing and will for quite a while the search for any evidence in his home, his office. We understand there are a couple of storage units they're looking at. But here's what we know. We know that they found a doll in the primary home. And it wasn't in one of the children's bedrooms. It was in another area. They looked at that as a red flag. They took that.

And then we also understand they thought there were about 92 guns registered in New York. They found 200 to 300 guns. They were in a locked vault in the basement behind a solid door, and so they also took those. Although obviously, these remains to cause the death is hard to determine.

TAPPER: All right, Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

Coming up in our Pop Culture Lead, why country music television pulled Jason Aldean's new music video, and what the country singer is saying about the decision.



TAPPER: Our Pop Culture Lead, country music television today pulled the plug on a controversial music video from star Jason Aldean. The song is called Try That In A Small Town, and critics say that the lyrics evoke vigilantism, even racism. Here's what the song says might happen if you cuss out a cop or stomp on the flag in a small town.




TAPPER: Now, needless to say, Jason Aldean rejects all of the accusations coming his way from critics. CNN's Chloe Melas joins us now. Chloe, it is not just the lyrics of the song causing controversy, though. Some viewers took issue with the video.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Jake, there's a lot of outrage over the music video. So some viewers are noticing that scenes in this music video, part of which we just saw, were filmed in front of the Murray County Courthouse, and this is in Columbia, Tennessee. Now, this courthouse is the site of where a very infamous lynching took place in 1927 of a black man named Henry Choate. It also served as the backdrop for the Columbia race riot in 1946.

As we also saw, the video shows, you know, police brutality protests and shots from surveillance cameras showing robberies. And many people are also pointing out that, Jake, remember, in 2017, Jason Aldean of all people to be promoting gun violence, performed at a concert at a music festival called Route 91. And it was the deadliest mass shooting in American history when 58 people died, right?

So Sheryl Crow and others are coming out and saying, Jason, what are you thinking? What are you doing?

TAPPER: Yes, I mean, he would argue that he's not promoting gun violence. He's promoting gun rights and the right of self-defense. What is he specifically saying about the reaction to his song because this has become a real controversy?

MELAS: So he took to Twitter. He released a very lengthy statement. Part of it reads that there is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it. And there isn't a single video clip that isn't real news footage. And while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music, this one goes too far. The song refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.

Now, Jason Aldean grew up in Macon, Georgia, and people like Sheryl Crow are saying, first of all, Jason, you didn't grow up in a small town. Macon's not that small. I grew up in a small town. And this music video and your song is not representative of small town beliefs. Now, Jason Aldean did not write this song, but we've reached out to the songwriters and I've reached out to Jason Aldean and his music label for further comment, but that is all he is saying right now.

But people are boycotting the song, but he's also getting support from others, Jake, who are saying that they support Jason and they're going to continue to listen to his music.

TAPPER: Yes, my guess is that you'll see a real rally around the flag result from his fan base and from conservatives on this. Chloe Melas, thank you so much.

Let's check in with CNN's Wolf Blitzer for a look at what might be coming up in The Situation Room. Wolf, you're going to be talking to a 2024 presidential candidate.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: That's right, Jake. The former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, he'll join me live right here in the Situation Room. We'll get his take on a potential third indictment for the GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump. And as you know, Jake, Christie has unique insight as a former federal prosecutor and former Trump ally turned vocal critic of the former president.

TAPPER: And Wolf, I'm going to be stopping by The Situation Room myself in a little bit.

BLITZER: I know you are. We're going to get your reaction to what Chris Christie has to say. But I'm also looking forward, Jake, to discussing your new thriller, All the Demons Are Here. Here it is. I got a copy of the book. We're going to see you in the next hour. We got lots to discuss. Back to you, Jake.


TAPPER: Thanks, Wolf. Appreciate it. We'll see you in a few minutes. But first on The Lead, the results from Netflix's password sharing crackdown are out. That's next.


TAPPER: In our Tech Lead today that Netflix crackdown on password sharing apparently worked. The streaming giant claims to have added nearly 6 million paid subscribers, bringing its total number of subscribers from around the world to more than 238 million. Instead of allowing password sharing, Netflix calls its new policy paid sharing, forcing users to pay more if they share their password outside their household.

So far, the streaming service is enforcing its paid sharing in more than 100 countries. Netflix reported more than $8 billion in revenue last quarter alone. That's 3 percent more than the same period last year.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bluesky if you have an invite, Threads, the TikTok at JakeTapper. Tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to the lead whence you get your podcasts. All two hours just sitting there like a delicious fruit cup. Don't forget, All the Demons Are Here. Available now.


Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room.