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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump Classified Docs Trial Set For May 2024; Iconic Singer Tony Bennett Dies At 96; Leading A.I. Companies Agree To Outside Testing Of A.I. Systems And Other Safety Commitments; Jack Schlossberg Slams Cousin RFK Jr., Endorses Biden And Likens Him To RFK; 2023 Women's World Cup Breaks New Ground With More Nations In Tournament, Bigger Prize Money. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 21, 2023 - 16:00   ET



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And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Donald Trump warns it would be dangerous if he were sent to prison.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Even though the former president's lawyers pushed for a trial to take place after the election, the Trump-appointed judge has now set the trial in the classified documents case for May, after the Iowa caucuses, New Hampshire primary and Super Tuesday. We're going to hear from inside Trump world.

Then, someone's blood, sweat and tears went into writing that book that you love and can't put down. Now artificial intelligence is taking that copyrighted material and thousands of authors want them to stop. We're going to talk to the president of Microsoft to find out what he's doing.

Plus --


TAPPER: His songs spanned generations. Today we're going to remember the voice and the legend of Grammy winner Tony Bennett.


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

And we're going to start today with our law and justice lead. Mark your calendars. The federal judge in Florida has set a trial date for Donald Trump in the classified documents case, and she is not waiting until the presidential election has been decided. Judge Aileen Cannon today set the pretrial hearing for May 14th of next year. Excuse me. And Cannon says the trial could begin as soon as May 20th.

This is a rebuke from a Trump-appointed judge to Trump and his team, who claimed he could not get a fair jury in the middle of an election.

Now, there's a chance Donald Trump could already have essentially secured the Republican nomination for president before his trial begins in May. But there's also a possibility that multiple candidates, including Trump will still be slugging it out, because on the day of Trump's pretrial hearing voters in Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia will be heading to the primary polls. Republican voters in Kentucky and Oregon will pick their presidential candidate the following week as the trial is due to begin.

And then Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota will have their Republican Party contests scheduled in the first week of June. That's Republicans in nine states, nine, who could be picking their candidates just as the trial is getting under way.

Donald Trump, as you know, faces 37 charges in this case over allegedly mishandling classified documents and obstructing the investigation into the documents. Prosecutors say those documents included information about U.S. nuclear programs and the defense programs of foreign countries and prosecutors allege that Donald Trump stored the documents here, in a bathroom and inside a shower at Mar-a- Lago, and here inside the Florida resort's public ballroom where multiple events and gatherings took place while the boxes were sitting on the stage.

Now, the announcement today of this trial date comes as Trump and his team are expecting another indictment, which could come literally at any moment. That is in the special counsel's other investigation, into Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Let's get straight to CNN's Paula Reid, who's been following every development of these investigations.

And, Paula, this trial date does not seem like a win for either the special counsel, which wanted December, or the Trump team, which wanted, you know, never. So why did Judge Cannon pick May?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the central conflict right now in this case, Jake, is timing. Defense attorneys have said it's too early to even set a date and they said it would be, quote, unfair to try this case before the 2024 election. Prosecutors told the judge they wanted to move this along quickly and suggested December would be the time they could take this before a jury and here the judge, look, she split the difference. But the Trump team said today they don't think they'll have any

problem pushing this beyond the 2024 election. And it's easy to see how they could possibly do that. Jake, if you look at the judge's order, she also included a very detailed schedule with over 30 different deadlines for all the things the lawyers need to do between now and when this would go to trial.

And it's easy to see how in this case, as in any other case, some of those deadlines are going to slide -- a week or two here, a week or two there. That adds up. And the closer they get to the election, the less likely it is that this is going to go to trial before the 2024 presidential election.

TAPPER: Paula, we know the grand jury in the special counsel's other investigation, having to do with Trump's efforts to overturn the election, we know that grand jury met yesterday.


What comes next?

REID: Well, one of former President Trump's lawyers just revealed, confirmed in fact, that he did not go before the grand jury, saying that his client, quote, has done nothing wrong. But now that that deadline has passed and Trump has decided not to take them up on the offer to go before the grand jury, an indictment can come at any time, Jake.

We expect the next time this grand jury will meet will be next Tuesday. But even if the former president is indicted sometime next week, we know from our reporting that their work will continue. They are expected to interview additional witnesses through the end of the summer. That's not unusual. We saw the same thing in the Mar-a-Lago case. There were indictments, and the investigators are still interviewing witnesses and recently sent out another target letter.

TAPPER: Paula Reid, thanks so much.

Joining us now to discuss, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, CNN's Jamie Gangel, and Scott Jennings, who served as a special assistant to President George W. Bush.

Elie, let me start with you. There are a lot of steps that have to happen before this trial will start. What are the odds that the trial actually happens or begins in May 2024, do you think?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Jake, in my experience I think it's unlikely that this trial actually does start in May 2024. First of all, trials move all the time, and they only move in one direction. They don't get moved earlier. They only get moved later.

As Paula said, when you look at the schedule the judge set out, there are 33 intermediate deadlines here. If one of them moves, it's a domino effect. It pushes all of them. And keep in mind, this is a defense team that is heavily incentivized, it's maybe their only strategy right now, to drag their feet and delay and then you have the classified documents issue, which further complicates everything.

I think the big question here is are they going to be able to push it back enough that it gets too close to the election to the point where it can't be tried before the election? We're not going to have a trial in October, for example. And I think that's going to be a very close call.

TAPPER: Jamie, what kind of impact do you think this might have on the campaign trail? Do you think it could change Republican voters' minds when they realize Trump is going to go on trial theoretically before the convention even begins?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, no doubt it's going to play a role in this way, Jake. We're going to see other candidates like Chris Christie using it to go after Trump. We're going to see most of the other Republican candidates twisting themselves into a pretzel to straddle the line between pointing it out and not alienating Trump's base.

I think at the end of the day, it's baked in. This is not a surprise. Republican voters know it's coming. And let's just point out this number. As of this week, Donald Trump in national polls has 54 percent of the Republican base.

TAPPER: Right. On the national level.

Scott, I want to get your response to this exchange between CNN's Chris Wallace and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel about what happens if Trump is the nominee and he's been convicted. Take a listen.


CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: Do you have any problem with the Republican Party nominating a convicted felon?

RONNA MCDANIEL (R), CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: That's hypothetical. We're not even close to that. So I don't think we're even there.

WALLACE: Well, I --


TAPPER: Scott, do you think Republicans need to start considering what they will do in that possible scenario?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, in the pantheon of attributes you have in a nominee for a major political party, being a felon, convicted felon is not one I would recommend. So if this were to somehow go to trial in May and be concluded by the time the convention rolled around, I suspect somebody would go to the convention and say what are we doing here? Now, whether that would make a difference, I don't know.

But I'll tell you who it would make a difference for, are independent swing voters who are not strong Republicans but have voted Republican but have shied away from the Republican Party in the last few cycles. This ain't bringing them home. And if you want to beat Joe Biden next year, an incumbent president, even if he is in a weakened position, this would make it exceedingly difficult I think.

TAPPER: Elie, what does this trial date for the classified documents case mean for a potential trial in the 2020 election case?

HONIG: Well, it leaves a very narrow window if any for the 2020 indictment to be tried. First of all, remember, the Manhattan D.A., the hush money case, that's already scheduled for March and that's going to carry into April. Now you have this trial date on the Mar-a- Lago case. That's going to take May into June.

So, I don't see any way a January 6th indictment gets tried before any of those cases. You'd have to start that in January. That's just not enough time for a complicated case. Then you're talking about are we really going to have a case starting in let's say July that's going to carry into August and September of an election? I don't see that as a practical matter. I don't see a judge allowing that. I don't even see DOJ asking for that.

So, unless something else moves here I'm not really seeing a ready slot available for a third trial.

TAPPER: Jamie, you're very well sourced in Republican circles. Do Republicans you know think Donald Trump is going to be the nominee, and do they think he'll be able to beat Joe Biden?


GANGEL: So just taking into account what Scott just said about independent voters and swing voters, which can make a big difference in this, I will tell you that the Republicans I talk to, even Republicans who are vehemently against Donald Trump, never Trump Republicans, they still right now think he is likely to be the nominee and they think he could beat Joe Biden.

TAPPER: Scott, what do you think?

JENNINGS: He's the odds-on favorite to be the nominee right now. But there's even some polling out today, his own pollster has a survey out today, they took a big poll in 40 swing districts around the country and found him losing to Joe Biden.

So I think being the nominee and making that likely to be -- making it likely that he beats Joe Biden are two very, very different things. And all these legal troubles, maybe they're helping him with Republicans. They are not helping him with independent swing voters who will decide the next presidential election.

TAPPER: Scott, Jamie, Elie, thanks to all of you.

President Biden just pushed the heads of the top artificial intelligence companies to regulate their own products. The president of Microsoft will join us fresh off his visit to the White House ahead. And then, he left his heart in San Francisco. The loss today of

legendary singer Tony Bennett. The one thing he wanted to be remembered for that isn't his music.

Stay with us.




TAPPER: Some sad news in our pop culture lead today. Singer Tony Bennett died today, a few weeks short of his 97th birthday. We've known since 2016 from his family that the singer was battling Alzheimer's disease.

Bob Hope discovered Bennett in 1949. He was the opening act for Pearl Bailey in a New York City club. Frank Sinatra called Bennett the best pop singer in the whole world.


TAPPER: Bennett sang pop, he sang jazz, he sang standards, and he sang duets with almost everyone including Lady Gaga.


TAPPER: When asked in interviews how he would want to be remembered, Tony Bennett once said as a quote, nice person. With us now is another pop legend, singer and songwriter Paul Anka.

Mr. Anka, so good to see you again.

You knew Tony Bennett. What was he like and what will you remember most about him?

PAUL ANKA, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Well, I've known Tony for a lot of years. We had the same agent back in the '50s and the '60s. And he, of course, was one of the unique one of a kind. He never jumped off of what he believed. They tried to make him into a pop singer with more commercial songs. But he stuck with what he wanted to do, what he believed he could do but was honest.

He was indeed a very stylish, nice person, a great artist who had a very stylistic way with a song. There's Sinatra on one side, who of course there will never be another Sinatra. And there will never be another Tony.

And once Tony found his voice and found the kind of groove that he wanted to be in, because he went through a lot of phases in the beginning, when he found his own voice and his own style then he just took off. And he's never left it. Even through ups and downs.

There were a lot of lows when I knew him that he had to deal with a lot of challenges. He came out of all of those, and then he continued on with the style and what he believed he was and what he was about. He was very unique that way.

TAPPER: What was it like when you performed with him?

ANKA: Well, it was many years ago. You knew you were with somebody that was a champion. Same when I stood next to Sinatra. You knew you were with a champ. You were with one of those dudes that could do what they do like nobody else.

You know, everybody's tried to be Sinatra. Everybody's tried to be Tony. But they ruined it for everybody standing in front of a band. When you sing with those guys, you realize you're with real pros. And that's lacking today. You don't find that today.

TAPPER: He really did have an ability, one that you and Sinatra also have, to appeal to generation after generation. How do you think he was able to do it?

ANKA: Well, he stayed true to his style. So he uniquely didn't have any competitors. Now, the music scene changed through the years, as it did for Sinatra, as it did for tony, but he stuck with what he did best. And what he believed in. And he always separated from the pack no matter how they tried to change him. He really did what he did like no one else could. You know, people go, oh, we want to be like Frank, we want to be like Tony.

Those voices are genetic. They're already here. You'll never sound like them. They have that unique sound that's genetic and that style that you just can't copy. So when you stay with it and you roll with the punches, as he did, you know his son did a great job bringing him around for that big ending that he's had for these last few years, it really was deserving to a man who never deviated from what he believed in doing all the time, all the time.

TAPPER: In addition to being a magnificent performer, you're a songwriter as well. From that perspective, what do you think is the perfect Tony Bennett song and why?

ANKA: Wow. Well, "San Francisco" obviously was -- you know, they thought it was a domestic hit. His piano player had it in his pocket for a while. One day, he played it for Tony and they thought it would just be indigenous to San Francisco.


That's one of them.

"The Good Life" I think is a great representation by him. You know, I tried for years to get him to do "My May" because I loved him as an artist. And he kept saying, can't do it, that's Frank's song, that's Frank's song.

He never wanted to do "My Way." You know, it's like so many people have done it. That's the one I wanted Tony Bennett to do, but he said that's Frank's song.

But those other two I think are very much what Bennett was about. He just sings the hell out of those two songs.

TAPPER: Amazing. What an honor to talk to you about your friend and the icon Tony Bennett. Paul Anka, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

ANKA: Thanks, Jake. May he rest.

TAPPER: Coming up, thousands of best-selling authors pushing tech giants to stop ripping off their original works to train artificial intelligence. The head of Microsoft will be here next.



TAPPER: In our tech lead today, getting tough on artificial intelligence. Today, President Biden met with the heads of seven top leading A.I., or artificial intelligence, companies at the White House. Those companies are Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Microsoft and OpenAI. All committed to manage the risks posed by this revolutionary technology in a voluntary basis.

A first step, they say, in regulating AI, an effort pushed by the Biden administration.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is outside the White House. Jeremy, what did these companies actually agree to do going forward?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Jake, I can tell you there's a real sense of urgency developing at the White House in recent months to tackle the challenges posed by A.I. and also try to embrace the opportunities. And these commitments, Jake, are the work of months of back and forth between these seven A.I. companies and the White House which White House officials say are designed to try to make A.I. products safer and more trustworthy.

Let me take you through some of the key points here. And at the very top of the list is this notion that these seven A.I. companies are committing to outside testing of their A.I. systems, new A.I. systems before they are publicly released. The second most important thing here, labeling A.I.-generated content using perhaps a watermarking system so that consumers know what content is actually generated by A.I.

There's investments in cybersecurity and insider threat safeguards, as well as prioritizing research and public reporting of systemic A.I. risks and also specific misuses of A.I.

Jake, I spoke with Bruce Reed, who's the deputy White House chief of staff here who's managing this A.I. process and he made clear these agreements are a first step. And more importantly than that, he called them a bridge to regulation and legislation. So, this White House basically finds itself in the position where they know that regulating A.I. is going to take time, in particular through legislation. And so, what they're trying to do here is get some commitments from

these companies to establish some initial safeguards around all of this. Now, that being said, these commitments are definitely voluntary. There is no enforcement mechanism. And skeptics will point out that the tech industry doesn't have the best track record of regulating itself nor does Washington of proactively regulating that industry.

TAPPER: Jeremy, what else is the White House doing to regulate A.I.?

DIAMOND: Well, President Biden made clear today that they are working on executive action. Listen to the president moments ago.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNTIED STATES: In the weeks ahead, I'm going to continue to take executive action to help America lead the way toward responsible innovation. And we're going to work with both parties to develop appropriate legislation and regulation.


DIAMOND: And, Jake, we don't have details on what that executive order will be but I'm told it could come as soon as the end of this summer. And there are so many different issues to tackle here, everything from consumer risks to the competition, with China over artificial intelligence. Now, there's also legislation in the works. The Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, he has been leading a process to try to come up with a sweeping bipartisan regulatory framework for A.I.

But one thing I will note that Bruce Reed told me, that outside testing, for example, of these systems, that could potentially lay the groundwork for how regulation works here. That outside testing in the future could potentially be done by some kind of government regulator or licensor, but they are starting to look ahead at those possibilities -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Jeremy Diamond at the White House. Thank you.

And joining us now is Brad Smith, vice chair and president of Microsoft, who was at the White House meeting today.

Brad, thanks for joining us.

So we've been covering A.I. and concerns about A.I. on the show for quite some time. The commitments agreed to at the White House today are obviously voluntary. And an expert on this, Hany Farid, a UC Berkeley professor and artificial intelligence expert told CNN today, quote, while I'm supporting of these efforts the tech industry has a decades-long history of not being particularly responsible when it comes to mitigating online harms, unquote.

So, why should the public be assured that Microsoft and the other A.I. companies will be responsible and will follow through on these voluntary commitments? BRAD SMITH, VICE CHAIR AND PRESIDENT, MICROSOFT: I think, Jake, the

best way to look at this is it's a first and big and important step in a journey and the journey cannot end today. But let's first recognize that in just ten weeks, the White House has brought together companies and frankly pushed us together and led us to create concrete commitments to ensure that A.I. is safe and it's secure, that it's trustworthy, that it's transparent.

And in so doing they set a high bar. A high bar for the industry on a voluntary basis but frankly think of this as the first draft of what will be the laws of the future. The framework is emerging.

So it's not just the industry here. It's the Congress. It's the governments of the world. This is a building block that everyone can use.

TAPPER: So Geoffrey Hinton is often referred to as the godfather of A.I. He came on THE LEAD back in May. He warned about the dangers associated with A.I., especially how difficult it is to stop once it's up and running.

Take a listen to just a quick part of this.


GEOFFREY HINTON, KNOWN AS THE "GODFATHER OF A.I.": It's not clear to me that we can solve this problem. I believe we should put a big effort into thinking about ways to solve the problem. I don't have a solution at present. I just want people to be aware that this is a really serious problem and we need to be thinking about it very hard.

I don't think we can stop the progress. I didn't sign the petition saying we should stop working on A.I. because if people in America stop, people in China wouldn't. It's very hard to verify whether people are doing it.


TAPPER: Google's CEO has also described, quote, hallucination problems, unquote, involving A.I. Are you worried that companies such as Microsoft and OpenAI and others still don't even fully understand the Pandora's box here, what risks there actually even are?

SMITH: Well, I think the technology is moving quickly and in some ways it's still at an early stage, which is why it's important to act now. But let's keep in mind two things. First, we're creating this technology because of all the good it can do -- diagnosing diseases early, creating new cures for cancer, improving education for kids.

And let's be equally clear-eyed about the risks and let's put in place the guardrails we need. We live in a world where a lightning bolt can kill someone or you can get electrocuted if a line falls, and yet we have safety. We have circuit breakers. We get on high-speed trains. We have emergency brakes.

We have been doing this with technology for 150 years. So let's innovate with safety and innovate with the benefits this technology can create, and let's go forward together at the kind of pace that I think will really serve the public best.

TAPPER: So you just cited some potential benefits of A.I. In the name of -- in the interest of transparency, why don't you tell us the three things that you are most worried about when it comes to A.I.?

SMITH: Well, I think the thing I worry the most about is not what machines will do by themselves but what people, bad actors, individuals or countries will do with this technology, that they'll use it to undermine our elections, that they will use it to seek to break in to our computer networks. You know, that they'll use it in ways that will undermine the security of our jobs.

But the best way to solve these problems is to focus on them, to understand them, to bring people together, and to solve them. And the interesting thing about A.I. in my opinion is that when we do that, and we are determined to do that, we can use A.I. to defend against these problems far more effectively than we can today.

TAPPER: A big concern obviously is that A.I. is so smart because it has been fed all of the life's work of millions of hard-working people around the world, copyrighted material in many cases. Earlier this week, more than 9,000 authors signed a letter led by the authors guild, that's a professional organization for writers, demanding to be compensated for their work.

Part of the letter says, quote: Millions of copyrighted books, articles, essays and poetry provide the food for A.I. systems, endless meals for which there has been no bill, unquote. The letter was sent to the CEOs of several A.I. companies, including yours.

This is what these authors are demanding. One, permission for use of copyrighted material in generative A.I. programs. Two, compensate writers fairly for the past and ongoing use of their work. Three, compensate writers fairly for the use of their work in A.I. output, whether or not the outputs are infringing under current law.

That doesn't sound unreasonable to me. What about you?

SMITH: I think this is an important topic. I think we need to dig into the details. But look, Jake, like you I've written a book.

As an author I want people to read the book. I want people to learn about the book. I want them to share the ideas in the book. I want A.I. models to know about my workbook and what I wrote.

And by the same token, I don't want a model to copy my book. I don't want it to undermine my ability to sell more books. I don't want it to undermine anybody's ability to make a living by creating, by writing.

That is the balance that we should all want to strike. So we're going to have to all come together, add this to the list of important issues we need to solve. We need to sort it out. It starts with dialogue. Dialogues sometimes start by people writing letters. And then we start to find solutions. TAPPER: You say you don't want it to take away anybody's livelihoods.


But aren't there -- isn't -- aren't there people in corporate America right now just licking their chops, they're not going to have to deal with all these pesky human beings, they can just take all this copyrighted hard work, put it into A.I. and have the A.I., you know, push out scripts, books, what have you? Isn't that one of the real concerns here?

SMITH: Look, I can't speak for every company in the country or around the world. I can only speak for where I work at Microsoft. Look, we create technology to serve people, not to hurt people or replace people, to empower people, to defend people. That's why we get up in the morning.

And yes, it turns out that people are often a little more complicated than machines, whether it's people in our family or people who work down the hall. But let's be honest, at the end of the day that's the most rewarding thing about life. We'll keep that in mind. We just need to stay grounded.

TAPPER: We've all seen some incredible stuff online. Morgan Freeman but it's not really Morgan Freeman.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not Morgan Freeman.


TAPPER: Showing how easy it is with this technology to fool people with an image of Morgan Freeman and a voice that sounds like Morgan Freeman.

How do we prevent this from interfering in the election with who knows what images and sound of who knows who in terms of political candidates causing all sorts of misleading episodes?

SMITH: Well, first, I think we need to make this a priority and we need to take concrete steps even between now and the end of this year. So we enter 2024 with some real controls in place. And I think the controls are twofold. One, we create something like cryptographic watermarking so when a human being like you gives a real statement on a real video, it's protected and it's not possible to tamper with it.

And second, we harness the power of A.I. to identify when someone else is using A.I. to create a fake, a fake, say, of you when you're speaking. Put those two things together and we will be in a much stronger position to use new technology. Forget about A.I.

Just look at the world today. Let's use A.I. to protect against the abuses we're already grappling with as well as the technologies that are yet to come.

TAPPER: Brad Smith of Microsoft, thank you so much for your time, sir. Appreciate it.

SMITH: No, thank you. See you.

TAPPER: A very public family feud. John F. Kennedy's grandson is firing back at his cousin, who happens to be running for president, RFK Jr.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Jack Kennedy Schlossberg, a grandson of John F. Kennedy, is harshly slamming his cousin Robert F. Kennedy Jr., calling his campaign for the White House an embarrassment and accusing RFK Jr. of trying to trade in on his famous name.

As CNN's Eva McKend reports, Jack Kennedy Schlossberg is far from the only member of the Kennedy dynasty who has blasted recent remarks from RFK Jr.


ROBERT KENNEDY JR. (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are other members of my family who are not here today.

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): From the very beginning of Robert Kennedy Jr.'s campaign there was tension. But now, the high-profile family feud has spilled out into the open.

JACK SCHLOSSBERG, JOHN KENNEDY'S GRANDSON: His candidacy is an embarrassment. Let's not be distracted again by somebody's vanity project.

MCKEND: President John Kennedy's grandson, Jack Schlossberg, dismissing his uncle's long shot bid for the White House.

SCHLOSSBERG: I've listened to him. I know him. I have no idea why anyone thinks he should be president.

MCKEND: Schlossberg is the son of President Kennedy's daughter Caroline, who currently serves as U.S. ambassador to Australia. He took to Instagram to praise his family's legacy and implore people to vote for President Biden.

SCHLOSSBERG: Joe Biden shares my grandfather's vision for America, that we do things not because they're easy but because they are hard. And he is in the middle of becoming the greatest progressive president we've ever had.

MCKEND: This following a combative hearing Thursday on Capitol Hill where Kennedy falsely claimed he never promoted anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.

KENNEDY: I've never been anti-vaccine: Everybody in this room probably believes that I have been because that's the prevailing narrative.

MCKEND: Schlossberg is not the only family member to recently dismiss Kennedy and his candidacy, after Kennedy's baseless claim that COVID- 19 is targeted to attack Caucasians and Black people. The people who are most immune are Ashkenazi Jews and Chinese.

The response was swift, with Kerry Kennedy calling the comments deplorable. And Joe Kennedy III saying they were hurtful and wrong.

KENNEDY: I'm under oath. In my entire life I have never uttered a phrase that was either racist or anti-Semitic.

MCKEND: Kennedy's testimony contradicted by past comments was met with condemnation by his fellow Democrats.

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a living, breathing false flag operation.


MCKEND: And I think in the piece, we mentioned that he was his uncle. But they are actually cousins.

But, listen, Jake, yesterday the American Values 2024, they are a super PAC in support of Kennedy, they said that they raised $5 million during that congressional testimony alone. We won't be able to verify that until we see the year-end reports. But House Republicans giving Kennedy a huge platform it seems to raise some money.

TAPPER: Eva McKend, thanks so much.

In just a few hours, team USA will kick off their bid to try and pull off a woman's World Cup three-peat.


A former member of the U.S. women's national team will join me live in studio next.


TAPPER: In our sports lead, the women's World Cup is back and fans of Team USA will be rooting for them when they take on Vietnam in just a few hours.

But the women's FIFA tournament, which has been going on since '91, has a lot of historic firsts this year. First time it's being hosted by two nations, New Zealand and Australia. The largest tournament ever, expanding to 32 teams, giving space for eight more nations to join. And the largest pool of prize money for the winner. Now, it's $110 million versus $30 million in 2019.


Here to talk about this and what we can expect from Team USA later tonight is former USA women's national team member Joanna Lohman. Thank you so much for being here. So good to see you again.


TAPPER: What do you make of where this tournament is now versus where it was when it started in 1991, and even just four years ago?

LOHMAN: Yeah, everyone should be prepared to watch the greatest world cup ever. And when you think about the last world cup that made history was the 1990 women's world cup. This one like you just introduced has 24 teams instead of four. The pressure is bigger and the most attended sporting event in history. So, it's going to be electric and exciting and reintroduce women's soccer on the global stage.

TAPPER: '99, was that when Brandy Chastain whip off her top? That was unbelievable celebration, it was so cool. It's such a celebration of women's athleticism also.

So, in the U.S., the men and women national teams are now paid the same, this all thanks to the 2022 landmark equal pay agreement that was sought for years from the women's national team. But there's still a significant pay gap when it comes to the FIFA international tournament. Yes, it's historic that the women's prize money this year is $110 million, but the men got $404 million last year.

Do you think women will ever get the same level of World Cup prize money as the men? And should they?

LOHMAN: So, FIFA has grossly undervalued the women's game. And I think the U.S. women's international team, their mission to get equal pay will put FIFA in a position they have to recognize how much the game is growing, exponentially and domestically here in the U.S., and also globally.

So, I think the women's game will get to that point. We're not there yet. You have teams like Canada in disputes with the federation as the cup goes on. It's having a ripple effect around the world more women's teams are asking for what they deserve. And FIFA will have to pay attention and recognize and at some point I think we'll get to that equal payment.

TAPPER: What else needs to change not just internationally but here in the U.S. for women's soccer to be treated as the dominant force that it is clearly becoming?

LOHMAN: It is a dominant force and I'm glad you said that. I think that needs to change is the investment of resources into women's game. We have a narrative that women don't make as much money, we don't sell out stadiums, we don't get as many fans, not as many people watch on television.

So we haven't had the investment in the resources the men's game has. And you are seeing a generation of players who are incredibly talented, incredibly skillful. You'll see them at the World Cup, that they really deserve equal resources invested into their game so they can reach the potential of really being a professional athlete and show the world the level of skill and talent women possess on the field.

TAPPER: In just a few hours, Team USA is going to take on World Cup debutante Vietnam. How confident are you that the U.S. is going to win tonight and do you think they're going to take it all again this year?

LOHMAN: I'm 100 percent confident the U.S. team will take the game tonight. I'm hoping it'll be close to the 13-0 in which they beat Thailand in the 2019 world's cup. With so many new players, we have 14 new players debuting in this World Cup, I think it'll be an interesting introduction to see who can settle their nerves and who can I would say set the game pace against Vietnam.

And then I also have full confidence, Jake, they're going to three- peat, make history for any team, men or women, to win three World Cups in a row, so I'm rooting for USA all the way.

TAPPER: Do you worry at all about Title 9? We're seeing right now the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against affirmative action in college admissions, the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, and I have heard some feminist friends of mine say Title 9 is next, which brought women's and men's sports into parity at the college level.

Do you ever worry about that?

LOHMAN: I think as a queer woman in the United States, I'm always cognizant of how our rights can be taken away from us. So it's really important for me to consistently advocate and be an activist for queer rights and women's sports in our nation. And I think as the game grows, more people are understanding we deserve a platform. Not just that, even more than deserving a platform, we really can transfix a nation, a globe, and give opportunities for young girls to achieve greatness, because sport really has the power to change peoples lives.

And women deserve that opportunity just as much as men. And I think as the game grows, we will take that power back every time we have a global stage like this.

TAPPER: And you and your wife just had a baby. Congratulations.

LOHMAN: We did. Shout out to my wife Melanie and Luna who are watching right now.

TAPPER: Luna, I hope she's understanding every word that we're saying. Maybe not, maybe not.

Joanna Lohman, thank you so much. Great to have you here as always.


The Barbie movie is proving to be a big business. It's also fraught with politics just a bit. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. This hour, think pink. The business of jumping on the Barbie bandwagon and how one prominent politician is trying to navigate the land mines associated with celebrating the iconic doll.

Plus, Vice President Kamala Harris scheduled a last minute trip to Florida to fire back at that state's new and controversial standards for how American slavery is being taught in Florida public schools.

And leading this hour, it's going to be May. Former President Donald Trump now set to go on trial in the classified documents case as early as May 20th, 2024.