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The Lead with Jake Tapper
House Halted As GOP Searches For Next Speaker; Rep. David Valadao, (R-CA), Is Interviewed About Next House Speaker, Raising Threshold, Jim Jordan; Republicans Spar Over Raising Threshold To Oust A Speaker; Jordan Publicly Tries To Build Support For His Speaker Bid; ABS News: Trump Allegedly Discussed U.S. Nuclear Submarines With Foreign National At Mar-a-Lago After Leaving White House; Trump Considers Capitol Hill Visit As GOP Searches For Speaker; Biden Admin Waives Laws To Build More Border Barriers; Biden Admin Waives Laws To Build More Border Barriers; New Data: September Heat Shattered Previous Records; Maryland Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Adnan Syed Appeal Case Filed By Victim's Brother. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 05, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, the border crisis, front and center. And not just at the border, it's now a massive issue in cities across the United States. In New York City, around 600 migrants are showing up every single day. In Chicago, plans to bring in military grade tents as migrants crowd city sidewalks. Democratic leaders in both of these big cities are going to the border themselves, just as the Biden White House announces a plan to build more border barriers.
And police say a man showed up at Wisconsin's State Capitol with a gun looking for the governor. What he did after his arrest is just as shocking.
But first, Donald Trump is now weighing a trip to Capitol Hill, this time without the violent mob. Though he is injecting himself into what he maybe knows best, chaos. This one is stirred up by Republicans who have brought the House to a standstill as they mull over who should be their next speaker after they got rid of the last one. Let's get right to CNN's Manu Raju live on Capitol Hill.
And Manu, longtime Republican lawmakers Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan seem to be the front runners right now, but they're taking quite different approaches to this race.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jordan has been a bit more visible in this race. He has done some media appearances. Scalise has been very quiet. He's been moving mostly behind the scenes, although this is mostly a behind the scenes effort that both men are waging. Trying to go member by member to lock down their support, talking to various factions, various groups within the larger House Republican Conference and making the pitch about why they believe they can unite this badly divided conference. There are many questions that member have about their policies, the decisions they're going to make, how to avoid a government shutdown and how to avoid what happened on the House floor just two days ago when Kevin McCarthy became the first speaker ever ousted by his own colleagues on a floor vote.
All these questions come as these two men are trying to essentially get a majority of the 221 House Republicans to vote for them in a secret ballot election next week. That will be the nominating contest after they are nominated by their conference, then they go to the House floor for a full vote. And that's when things will get tricky, Jake, because right now the House is 433 members with two vacancies. That means they could only afford to lose four Republican votes on the House floor. And if there are more than four, we can see what happened to Kevin McCarthy, happened to either of these candidates, which is why these discussions right now are so critical to lock down the support and make some promises to these members.
Otherwise, if these members don't like what they're hearing, then they may undercut that bid for the speakership, Jake.
TAPPER: And Manu, you're talking to Republicans who say that the threshold to bring a vote to kick out the speaker, the motion to vacate or MTV, that should be much, much higher than just one person. How much of a factor is that going to play in their votes?
RAJU: This is a huge factor, Jake. A number of these more moderate members, number of these members who are close to Kevin McCarthy simply do not want to see the Matt Gaetz of the world use this again for another speaker. Are calling on the changes to the House rules to make it a majority, the House Republican Conference who could actually call for such a vote ousting the speaker. But Jake, also we're hearing from some of those hard right members who say that they are willing to get rid of the so called motion to vacate if Jim Jordan is their preference, if he becomes elected speaker.
But it may be different if Steve Scalise gets it. He could potentially be in the same situation unless there's agreement among the conference to change the rules here. But a big issue for a lot of these members as they weigh their vote. Jake.
TAPPER: All right. CNN's Manu Raju, thanks so much.
Joining us now to discuss Republican California Congressman David Valadao. He was one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach then President Trump over the January 6 insurrection.
Congressman, so your district borders that of Congressman McCarthy, the former speaker, your friends, McCarthy says he's not going to run for speaker again, so you're going to have to make a decision. Have you decided if you are team Scalise or team Jordan?
REP. DAVID VALADAO (R-CA), APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE: No, I have not. I think we've got a few great candidates running. Obviously, I'm going to try to take as much time on this as possible. But obviously us not being in D.C. has not changed the amount of communication, I mean, the amount of phone calls going on right now, the amount of Zoom meetings that we're having amongst our groups. There's just a lot going on.
TAPPER: Politico reports that McCarthy and Scalise have been at odds with each other for years and during McCarthy's January bid for speaker, which went to 15 ballots, quote, "McCarthy allies privately vented that Scalise wasn't doing enough to help McCarthy." If that's true and McCarthy starts helping Jordan out, could you be convinced to be team Jordan because of your friendship with McCarthy?
VALADAO: You know, I've always made my decisions based off of what I thought was best. Obviously, Kevin has been a really strong ally, and I don't think I'd be in Congress without him. But I have to always do what I think is best for me in the district that I'm elected to represent. I mean, yes, we border, but our districts are very, very different in the way that their politics play out. And I got to always do what I have to do.
TAPPER: So a lot of your colleagues, as I don't need to tell you, are very frustrated with not just the eight members of Congress who -- Republicans who voted against Speaker McCarthy, but also just the degree of deference that McCarthy gave the more extremist elements of your party. Take a listen to your fellow Republican Congressman Dusty Johnson on CNN earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): We don't change the foundational problems within our conference. It's just going to be the same stupid clown car with a different driver. I don't think the pyromaniacs are going to be satisfied after they've burned down one house. I think they're going to have an itching to go burn down a couple more.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Do you agree that there are, quote, foundational problems, the clown car, the pyromaniacs, whatever you want to call them? And if so, is a week enough time to solve them?
VALADAO: I don't know if a week is long enough, but the issue is we don't have a whole week to waste. We've got to get back to work. We were given a 45 day window to get the government funded. We've got a farm bill, we've got FAA reauthorization, we've got National Defense Authorization Act. We've got a lot of really important topics that the American people need us to solve. So we need to get this, as Dusty said, clown car going again as quickly as possible.
TAPPER: So your colleague from Florida, who's one of the eight, Matt Gaetz, says he is open to raising the threshold to kick out a speaker if Republicans are willing to negotiate on some of the anti-corruption reforms laid out by one of your other fellow Californians Democrat, Ro Khanna. And this includes a ban on congressional stock trading, a 12 year term limit for members of Congress, a ban on political donations from lobbyists or PACs. Seriously, I mean, might you be open to some of those? I don't think a ban on congressional stock trading or a ban on political donations from lobbyists or PACs sounds so crazy. VALADAO: No, and none of those ideas sound that crazy. But the reality is there's always a way for people to have their crazy way of making their decisions, to make their decisions. And sadly, a lot of these guys are making decisions because they like to see their faces on the T.V. like I am right now. And sometimes they do it because of online political fundraising. I mean, we saw that even with the vote this weekend, earlier this week with McCarthy.
And we had people as they were speaking on the floor, sending out fundraising texts. And then even some of my Democrat colleagues who were unhappy with the outcome and claimed to be unhappy were sending out their own fundraising things on the same topic. And I mean, I think the only thing that's ever going to solve Washington is the American people just paying a little more attention to what's going on and being a little more cautious of what they vote, who they vote into office, because bad people can make bad decisions for whatever reason they want. And the fundamental changes, I mean, obviously, we could change the rules, we could change the fundraising, we could change a lot of things. But someone who wants to do bad things is always going to find a way to do it.
And I think we've learned that with a lot of the things we're doing with today.
TAPPER: Bad people, bad things? Like what? Like who?
VALADAO: Well, I mean, you just had a story on a minute ago talking about some of the crime situations we've got going on around the country. I just had a friend's father in law murdered in a store a couple of nights ago here in my hometown, and it was a bad person that did something. And these people are going to find ways to do it. This guy was standing at a counter, literally looking at a birthday card for a friend, and some random person walked up to him and stabbed him for no good reason.
VALADAO: Why was that person there? He didn't have a gun, he still murdered someone, an 80-year-old veteran. And it's a sad situation. These are bad people. And so the decisions that are being made, especially in Washington, you've got people making decisions, I think, for the wrong reason.
What we saw with Matt Gaetz and the Democrat colleagues love sending out their fundraising e-mails saying that, hey, this is a huge problem, these people are crazy. Well, every single one of them voted with them. So, don't call them crazy if you're voting with them. It was only eight of them, and there's 210 Republicans that voted the other way. We knew this was a bad strategy.
We knew going in, and a lot of us were furious that were getting sent home, too, but there was a lot of anger in that room. And I think what Garret Graves said is absolutely right. There is a very good chance that there was going to be some fists thrown because people were so angry with the situation. And now we're losing a week of our time when we should be talking about funding the government. We shouldn't be holding the government hostage.
People at home who are saying, oh, just shut down the government. I mean, so you want us to hold our military pay so that people are still having to show up to their bases, to their facilities and continue to do their job, but not get a paycheck? That's a horrible strategy. Our strategy should be exactly what some of my colleagues that I disagree with on is passing those appropriations bills, getting those to the Senate, negotiating and finding a way to compromise with the Democrat Senate and a Democrat president, get those signed into law. Now, these side games and as Dusty called it, a clown car, it's a sad situation, but the reality is we need to get back to work as quickly as possible.
TAPPER: Do you think Donald Trump should come up to Capitol Hill as he's talking about doing?
VALADAO: No, I don't know if that's going to help the situation much right now. I think we've got a great bench of candidates out there. I know a lot of them really well personally, and some of them get to know a little bit better now. But I think we've got enough candidates in the conference to find someone who can lead us and work with our colleagues and get something done.
TAPPER: I know there are a lot of moderate Republicans that don't want Jim Jordan running as the speaker. I mean, everybody keeps praising both of them, but I mean, Jim Jordan -- I mean, Jim Jordan voted against the Cr on Friday. He voted in favor of shutting down the government. So, you really think that he's the broad based appeal for the Republican conference?
VALADAO: No, that's a great question. Yes, there was some frustration there, but even in his speech defending McCarthy on the floor the other day, he spoke about how that was literally the only option we had left. And I saw a few members in conference that morning when it was being talked about, just the Republicans who got up and spoke in support of that resolution and ended up voting against it. And they make their decisions.
And as a person that's taken some tough votes in my career and understands fully what it's like to do what you believe is right no matter what, sometimes it sucks to see it. But I'm sure if we look back into Scalise's record, if I'm sure if we look back into Kevin Hern's record or whoever else even Kevin McCarthy's record, even my own, you're going to find something that we can disagree with. My goal is to look forward and try to find the best candidate to get us of this mess and get us governing again.
TAPPER: All right. Republican from California, Congressman David Valadao. Thank you so much. Appreciate it, sir.
Coming up next, that disturbing arrest in Wisconsin after a man allegedly showed up to the state capitol with a gun not once, but twice in one day. Also ahead, Donald Trump's newest political target, Nikki Haley. And he made his plans pretty public knowledge. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: In our national lead, a terrifying story out of the Wisconsin capitol building where a man allegedly brought a gun and asked to see the state's governor, only to be arrested post bail and then show back up with a rifle. CNN's Whitney Wild joins us live.
Whitney, walk us through how all of this unfolded.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: So here's what happened, Jake. This man went to the Madison Capitol at 02:00 Wednesday. He didn't have a shirt on, he had a gun in a holster, and he had a dog on a leash. And he told security there he wanted to talk to the governor. They took him into custody because it is illegal to have a firearm inside the Wisconsin State Capitol.
So he went to jail, he was processed, he posted bail. Seven hours later, he showed back up at the Madison Capitol, this time with an AK- 47 style rifle, again demanding to speak with the governor. Police have not expanded on his comments. They have not said whether or not they were threatening. They've said only that he wanted to speak with the governor.
They took him back into custody, again without incident. He consented to a voluntary search of his backpack, which showed that he had a collapsible -- basically a collapsible police baton in his backpack. And Capitol police consider that a weapon and said that he does not have a concealed carry permit for that weapon. So again, they took him back into custody. He was at least charged with that.
The latest information we have, Jake, is that he was at least -- they were going to try to get him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. Many more questions here to learn, Jake, but certainly the diligent police at the Madison Capitol protecting the governor from what could have been a much scarier and much more dangerous incident.
Tony Evers, the governor of Wisconsin, saying just that, saying this is not something you ever want to see. But he's very grateful for the diligent work of the Capitol police in Madison. Reporters asked him today whether or not the security posture at the Madison Capitol is going to change, and the governor said that is something he believes that they are certainly looking into, Jake.
TAPPER: Showing up the first time wasn't enough of a red flag, apparently, for the psychiatric exam. Well, Whitney Wild, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
And our law and justice lead, new moment -- new movement in the Fulton County election subversion case in Georgia involving former President Trump and 18 other codefendants. Attorneys for former Trump campaign lawyer Sydney Powell in court today arguing several motions, including to dismiss her case. Joining us now is CNN's Sara Murray.
Sara, what came out of today's hearing? SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the long and short of it is Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, this other pro Trump attorney, are still on track to go to trial in this case in just a couple of weeks later on this month. Sidney Powell's attorney, you know, sort of presented an early preview of what his defense is going to be as he was trying to get the charges against her dismissed. The judge didn't exactly rule, but he very strongly signaled that he was not going to buy Powell's motion to dismiss. Said she didn't really meet the procedural bar here in terms of alleging, you know, some kind of misconduct or whatnot when it came to bringing the indictment. So, it's full speed ahead for trial for this case.
TAPPER: Did you hear when Parlatore was on the other day to -- who represents Bernie Kerik and said he has testimony to share that would help with that?
MURRAY: Yes, I think that it's going to be interesting to see the wrangling with the various witnesses. We're starting to see some of that. I mean, they mentioned in court today that the prosecution had just offered up a preliminary list of 174 potential witnesses who may come up at trial. And we saw some court filings earlier today with the judge overseeing this case essentially approving the DA's efforts to seek testimony for a handful of out of state witnesses.
TAPPER: With Boris Epshteyn?
MURRAY: Boris Epshteyn is one of the people on the list. Lawrence Tabas, who is the Pennsylvania GOP chair, who was supposed to serve as a fake elector in Pennsylvania, but ultimately didn't do so. Again, this is kind of wrangling we're going to see ahead of trial, trying to get these --
MURRAY: -- witnesses to come in from out of state, trying to force people to testify who clearly don't want to testify.
TAPPER: Yes, I don't know if they watched THE LEAD in Fani Willis' office, but clearly, Parlatore was, you know, trying to signal, call me, you know, for something with Bernie Kerik.
Anyway, Sara Murray, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.
When Donald Trump said he would build that wall, Joe Biden was saying this as a candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: No longer true. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
TAPPER: Back with our world lead and a stunning breaking news story about what Donald Trump did with potentially sensitive information, allegedly. ABC News just reported that months after leaving the White House, the former president allegedly discussed details about U.S. nuclear submarines with somebody who was a member of his Mar-a-Lago club who did not have security clearances. That person was reportedly an Australian billionaire who shared the information with dozens of other people, including foreign officials and journalists. ABC News reports all of this information was reported to special counsel Jack Smith who is, of course, investigating Trump's handling and alleged mishandling of classified records. We are not yet aware of any response from Trump or the Australian businessman to ABC News.
But let us discuss. We have with us former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who is insisting that I call her Barbara. What's your response to this story?
BARBARA COMSTOCK, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, (R) VIRGINIA: Well, I am confident it's true. And things continue to amaze us, not amaze us with Donald Trump. But I think Jack Smith is doing a very thorough and great job and shows why that case is going to be, I think, a real problem for Donald Trump and why this election is going to be very much in play. So for those who think it's a great idea for him to come up to Congress next week and it all get in the mix here, that's a really bad idea.
COMSTOCK: Things can only get worse up there.
TAPPER: Things can always -- well, you heard Congressman Valadao, Republican from California, say that he does not want Donald Trump to go up to Capitol Hill. Congressman Max Miller, a former aide to Donald Trump in the White House excited to have Donald Trump to come up on Capitol Hill.
ASHLEY ALLISON, FORMER NATIONAL COALITIONS DIRECTOR FOR BIDEN-HARRIS 2020: Yes, I think it depends on where you fall in the MAGA extremism of the Republican caucus right now. Donald Trump is still the front leader of the Republican primary, and you know, some folks still love him. Some folks still want to give him the leash to say that the election results of 2020 weren't ballot. Some folks would have listened to him depending on what happened this week with the speaker vote. So, people really are taking their clues from Donald Trump.
I think it could cause more chaos for Jim Jordan and Scalise in their speaker run because he could come up and say, make me speaker, not as I think Donald Trump wants to work that hard, really, but it would be a disaster. And this finding that he has given more sensitive information to someone without classified --
TAPPER: Clearance. ALLISON: -- clearance.
ALLISON: And who needs not know secrets about our national security is yet again an example of why he doesn't need to go to Capitol Hill and why he never needs to return to the White House.
COMSTOCK: Well, he's unfit.
TAPPER: And Audie, this phrase, shocking, but not surprising, is one that we have constantly been using in the Trump administration. It is shocking that he would do this and yet completely in character.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's also easy to be desensitized by it. We're hearing this almost out of context, right? If you're the average person watching him in any given courtroom at any given time, is this case tied to this one? Which Jack Smith one is this? And I think it'll be interesting over the next couple of months if these things start to kind of coalesce for people in their minds that they have a distinct understanding of what it means to violate the law, right?
And you'll be hearing from judges more. You'll be hearing actual courtroom discussion more. And I think that will be more helpful, because right now it's a blitz of information and not in a good way.
TAPPER: Let's talk about the big news at the border. Ashley, as a candidate, Joe Biden promised no more spending on the border wall or border barriers. The money in Texas was already approved. It had to be spent. But it seems as though the DHS secretary, Mayorkas, acknowledged in his statement that to a degree, at least, Donald Trump was right that there do need to be some barriers to at least alleviate the migrant crisis to keep people out. I mean, countries are allowed to have borders.
ALLISON: Yes, I think Joe Biden's saying he doesn't think the border wall works. I think we need other solutions to stop the influx of migrants coming to the United States. We need to have comprehensive immigration reform. This is not a problem that, you know, just started happening with Joe Biden's campaign promise in 2020.
TAPPER: No, of course not. Yes.
ALLISON: It's been going on for decades. And it goes -- it's almost cyclical, because if you can't get order on Congress -- on Capitol Hill to actually legislate and pass comprehensive reform, then we're going to -- whoever it is, Donald Trump, that was his leading phrase, let's build the wall, or Joe Biden using the money. We're kind of stuck.
TAPPER: Yes. And in total, more than 17,000 migrants have come to Chicago since August 2022 in more than 340 buses. And the Democratic mayor says they're expecting up to 20 buses a day, but they're never sure. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BRANDON JOHNSON (D), CHICAGO: They're sending buses in the middle of the night. And so that number continues to change throughout the day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: I have to say, whatever people thought about the -- they were called stunts by DeSantis of Florida and Abbott of Texas. It has had the effect of getting Democrats, forcing Democrats to have skin in the game and realize that this crisis is having a real effect on how places that have this influx, their ability to do anything about it. It is a humanitarian crisis in addition to being all sorts of other kinds of crisis.
BARBARA COMSTOCK (R-VA), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, and politically, this is a good move for Joe Biden and to get a bipartisan solution here. And right now, you have sort of this false situation where you have some Republicans saying we can't do anything about Ukraine because we have a border crisis.
COMSTOCK: This has the makings of and then this is what Lindsey Graham has been talking about. And the Senate Republicans have been saying, let's fix the border and do more border money in exchange for more Ukraine money. So I think this is an ideal situation where you can take a lot of that H.R.-2 and what Henry Cuellar was talking about earlier today on the show saying there's a lot of H.R.-2, you know, that border bill that Republicans like. Let's take pieces of that because there's a lot of technology in there, a lot of things that Republicans like. And then let's get the Ukraine money that we know we need.
There's a deal to be had there. And Joe Biden can, well, Republicans are trying to burn down the House, he can be working with Henry Cuellar and with Senate Republicans and with reasonable Republicans in the House and say, let's make a deal. And he can be the art of the deal here while Donald Trump is dealing with his legal problems.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And a little context for what you said. Yes, it was a political stunt, but one thing we learned from the reporting here at CNN, Rosa Flores is amazing, is information does get back down through the chain when it comes to the sort of migrant community. So if you're getting a free bus ticket to New York or Chicago or whatever, at a certain point, you are now just telling people back home when you get here, they send you to --
TAPPER: In Chicago or Los Angeles.
CORNISH: Yes. So you are, in fact, also reinforcing and creating further problems.
TAPPER: Further incentive. Yes.
CORNISH: Yes, further incentive. And that's something that isn't talked about very much. And you're right. Chaos is a latter. And it's probably helpful for Democrats to talk about what is often politically, you know, a thankless issue with no real constituency to support it of actually trying to address something in a humane way, meaning beyond just cutting off access.
TAPPER: Yes. No. Excellent points. You mentioned a second ago, burning down the House, a reference to what just happened in the House of Representatives. And in light of that, I want to bring you some breaking news that I just was told in my earpiece. Donald Trump just told "Fox Digital" that he would accept the job of House Speaker for a short period of time while House Republicans decide on a permanent replacement.
Mr. Trump said he would be willing to serve for up to 90 days as a unifier. I hesitate to even bring you this news because it seems so preposterous, and yet.
CORNISH: I assume some lawyer tried to find out if you could pardon yourself and maybe there to take that job.
COMSTOCK: Well, unfortunately, he doesn't know the House rules would say if you're indicted, you cannot be in House leadership. That has been a Republican rule that apparently neither he nor some of the Republicans know. Remember back when Tom DeLay was indicted, he stepped aside from Republican leadership.
TAPPER: Is that right?
COMSTOCK: That's a rule that's in place. It's been in place for years. I mean, you know, you have Senator Menendez over in the Senate who stepped aside from his leadership role. Democrats apparently had the same rule. I do not think that, well, who knows that Republicans going to set the rule.
TAPPER: You don't think that they would take away that rule?
COMSTOCK: Well, if Republicans want to lose the House, listen, you know, I am not a fan, obviously, of Donald Trump, will not be voting for him. But if they're going to be doing this, they really will be burning down the House.
ALLISON: This is a disaster.
TAPPER: Yes, yes.
ALLISON: An absolute disaster. That's all.
COMSTOCK: Let's keep burning down the House.
TAPPER: Just four words. This is a --
ALLISON: This is a disaster.
CORNISH: For them or --
ALLISON: America. COMSTOCK: It's for the country.
ALLISON: For America.
COMSTOCK: It is a disaster for the country.
ALLISON: For everyone, Republicans --
COMSTOCK: For the Constitution, for the country.
ALLISON: -- and Democrats.
COMSTOCK: Yes, for everybody.
ALLISON: A disaster.
CORNISH: I'll just say, we can't call everything a disaster.
ALLISON: That would be a disaster.
CORNISH: No, no, no, something that is politically embarrassing and probably kicks, you know, that is not necessarily a disaster for all of us. And that's what we're looking at.
TAPPER: Thank you, one and all, for being here. And need I remind you, it is Audie Cornish Thursday. Her podcast drops today, so please, everybody, listen to it.
New data today confirmed an alarming trend, one that every single person on the planet needs to know about. Stay tuned.
TAPPER: Our Earth Matters lead now, September saw numerous extreme weather events, from the devastating and deadly flooding in Libya, to wildfires that continue to burn in Canada, to an historic downpour flooding parts of New York City. And now, new data shows last month was also the hottest September on record. And one climate scientist is calling it absolutely gobsmackingly bananas. This is an alarming trend that has continued now for four consecutive months, meaning 2023 is now on track to becoming the hottest year ever in recorded history.
CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins me. Bill, what factors are driving this extreme heat?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's not just a little, this new record, it's by a lot. Take a look at this bar graph from Copernicus. This is the European Space Weather Agency. This is September going back to 1940. And for most of those generations it was below average. See what happens there? Around 2000, it starts going up and then we are that giant red line on the right side. And scientists are saying that is gobsmackingly bananas right now. It's a combination of fossil fuel pollution over 150 years and El Nino just beginning in the Pacific both the natural and the unnatural causes of this giant crisis.
But there's amazing good news as well from the International Energy Agency. Their new report now takes stock of just how fast the world is adopting to clean energy. Solar, heat pumps, battery storage, these sorts of things have them predicting now that humanity will hold the warming at about 2.4 degrees warming by 2100. There's still a chance for 1.5.
That is considerably good news considering just ten years ago we're talking about, you know, apocalyptic temperatures by 2100. But this shows that we can bend the curve if humanity cares. The technology is there, or if humanity finds the will to do this politically. And so we're talking in much less dire terms.
TAPPER: How is the record heat impacting people who work outside?
WEIR: Well, it's interesting. The University of Exeter just did a study on a high tech Chinese factory workers who work inside in air conditioning. And for every degree the temperature goes up by 1 Celsius, productivity goes down by almost 1 percent because overnight temperatures affect sleep, which affects productivity. So just imagine road crews, as you see there, construction crews in Phoenix are starting at 4:00 in the morning. Farm workers from Texas and Florida are having a fight for water breaks with local politicians. Adaptation means survival in this new era that we're living in, in both Earth care and self-care in a lot of ways, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Bill Weir, thanks so much.
Sticking with this issue, let's talk now to one of the most influential climate scientists on the planet, Michael Mann. His latest book is Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth's Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis. Congratulations on the book, Michael. Despite this year being on track to be the hottest ever recorded, you take, as Bill just did, a cautiously optimistic tone in your book. You write, quote, the greatest threat is no longer denialism, which is frankly, untenable, given the impacts that we can all see playing out in real time, but rather doomism the notion that it's too late to act, unquote. So what lessons from the past give you hope that we can actually meet this moment?
MICHAEL MANN, DIRECTOR, UNIV. OF PA CENTER FOR SCIENCE, SUSTAINABILITY & THE MEDIA: Yes, thanks. And it was a great sort of summary that Bill provided there. And he emphasized sort of this duality of urgency and agency. The urgency is obvious. It's clear we're all feeling increasingly dire consequences of fossil fuel burning and the warming planet that that's causing.
But as Bill alluded to, we have agency as well. We can reduce our carbon emissions enough to avoid crossing into truly catastrophic territory. And when we look to the past, we can see that, you know, Earth does have a certain amount of resilience. The Earth system, earth's climate has a certain amount of resilience within it. And that's a helpful thing. And we see that in the past, the climate hasn't spun out of control. It's warmed up substantially when there's been a massive input of carbon dioxide, and that happened 55 million years ago, for example. That was a natural input of carbon dioxide.
The planet warmed nearly nine degrees Fahrenheit, but it took tens of thousands of years. That's rapid on a geological time frame. We're warming the planet 100 times faster. And that's really the problem. It isn't how warm it is or how high CO2 levels are. They've been higher. The planet's been warmer. It's the rate at which we are warming the planet. But we can stop it, if we stop polluting the atmosphere with carbon pollution, the warming of the planet stops and the impacts that we're seeing stop getting worse. We'll still have to contend with those impacts that are baked in, but we can prevent it from getting worse.
TAPPER: And I think this message that you and Bill are conveying today is so important because there's so many young people out there who have this apocalyptic view, and it's so -- it's such a pessimistic view, and it can really cause almost denialism, and it's really important to convey to them, no, no, no, we can make a difference. We can get a hold of this.
MANN: Yes, that's absolutely right. And again, you know, when we look to the past, what we find is that those, you know, extinction of events in the past were caused not by runaway warming. There's some people today who think that we've triggered runaway warming, a release of methane that we can't stop, and all life will be extinct in 10 years no matter what we do. That's not true. That's not happening. And it isn't what happened in these past events.
What happened in these past events was that there was carbon dioxide, in the past produced by volcanic outgassing, intense periods of volcanism. We are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere today through fossil fuel burning. And if we stop fossil fuel burning, we stop that which threatens us, that -- which does threaten us and other living things with dire consequences if we don't rein it in.
TAPPER: This is a point I really want to get to before I have to say goodbye, which is you say that one of the biggest obstacles to action is the sustained disinformation campaign from the fossil fuel lobby. But also, you write, quote, equally culpable are its betters in the conservative media and none are more implicated than Rupert Murdoch. Quickly, do you see any evidence that the campaign to discredit climate science, it is lessening at all?
MANN: You know, it's not lessening, what we're seeing is a shift away from outright denial. We see less denial because we're all seeing the impacts. We're all seeing the consequences. It's very difficult for polluters and those promoting their agenda to deny it's happening. So they've turned to other tactics delay, deflection, and one of them, ironically, is doom mongering. If they can convince us it's too late to do anything about the problem, it potentially leads us down that same path of disengagement. So it once again comes down to urgency. We see the urgency. We have a crisis on our hands and agency. We can do something about this. We need action. We need to vote for politicians who will support climate action rather than politicians who will act as rubber stamps for polluters.
TAPPER: The book again is Our Fragile Moment. The author is Michael Mann. Good to see you, sir. Thanks so much for joining us.
MANN: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Back in court, up next, the new fight for the convicted murderer who was the subject of the serial podcast.
TAPPER: Adnan Syed, whose murder conviction became famous or infamous through the hit podcast, Serial, is back in court fighting to stay out of prison. Syed spent more than two decades in prison for the 1999 killing of his high school ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. Syed was freed last year after his conviction was overturned, but an appeals court reinstated his sentence in March after finding Hae Min Lee's brother had his rights violated as a victim's representative. CNN's Jean Casarez is here. So, Jean, what happened in court today?
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was fascinating. First of all, there was all of the major issues were addressed today, one being the family's representative, Young Lee's representative. Should he have had the right, the time to be able to fly from California to Maryland to physically be in the courtroom? Should he been able to be heard? Could he have spoken in the courtroom? Should he have known what the exculpatory evidence was that was vacating the conviction? He wasn't told of that. And of course, the attorneys representing the victim's family said, yes, he should have.
But the other side, Adnan Syed, said, no, this is moot. He watched it by Zoom. He didn't have to physically be in the courtroom. There was no right at all for him to be heard in that courtroom. But then there was a can of worms opened up in that courtroom today because the attorney for Young Lee's family said, your honor, there was a hearing that was in the judge's chamber, very close in time to when this all happened.
And the prosecution, the defense, the judge was there, no court reporter, nothing was written down. The prosecution, we understand, said, we have exculpatory evidence. We want to vacate the conviction. It was not disclosed at that time what it was and was all very quick. The justices took note of that because one even said, it appears as though there was a lot of stuff that had been discussed even before that that plain clothes would be -- civilian clothes would be ready for him. I want you to listen to the Maryland Supreme Court Justice Shirley Watts, take note of this revelation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JUSTICE SHIRLEY WATTS, MARYLAND SUPREME COURT: So the concern is that this was a hearing that was more than just a disclosure of Brady material, that it was an in camera hearing where significant decisions were made that should have been made on the record in the hearing, and that Mr. Lee, the victim's representative, didn't have an opportunity to participate meaningfully because decisions were made in camera.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Now, this hearing, Jake, in the judge's chamber, it was not an issue to really be looked at today. But if it coincides with the victim's right to have notice of what that evidence was, what was said in that hearing, notice of that there was going to be a hearing because he didn't even know anything about it, the victim's representative, then suddenly this hearing could be front and center in this decision.
TAPPER: Briefly, could Syed actually go back to prison?
CASAREZ: Well, the conviction was reinstated. It appears as though to me that before that, the judge would have a hearing involving vacating the conviction. Before that, we'll see.
TAPPER: All right. Jean Cazares, thanks so much.
We continue to look at how gun violence is affecting American children. Today, The New York Times reports that the rate of firearm fatalities among children under 18 increased by 87 percent from 2011 through 2021, 87 percent. It's a sobering statistic that needs repeating.
Already this year, more than 1,300 of America's children and teenagers have been killed by firearms. This month, CNN is telling some of their stories like that of 16-year-old Izaiah Carter, who was gunned down near his high school in Baltimore in March. His mother describes Izaiah as empathetic and a role model for his younger brother and sister. In high school, Izaiah joined the Air Force Junior Reserve, hoping to join the Air Force once he graduated. His mother wants you to know that quote, Izaiah your kid, your daughter, your son. Please read the CNN series that profiles America's youngest victims at CNN.com. We'll be back in a moment.
TAPPER: A memorial service today for the late Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, held in San Francisco, the city where she was born and where her historic political career began. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Vice President Kamala Harris were among those who paid tribute to the trailblazer. Feinstein served more than 30 years in the U.S. Senate, making her the longest serving female senator in American history. She was 90 years old when she passed.
[18:00:24] If you ever miss an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show once you get your podcast. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". I will see you later tonight on "AC 360".