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The Lead with Jake Tapper

CNN Exclusive: Special Counsel Using L.A. Grand Jury In Hunter Biden Investigation; Sources: Special Counsel Not Expected To Charge President Biden In Classified Documents Probe; Israel: Video Shows Tunnel Shaft At Gaza Hospital Complex; Israel: Body Of Israeli Hostage Found Near Al-Shifa Hospital; Santos Says He Won't Seek Re-Election After Ethics Committee Findings; Refugees Describe Atrocities Against African Ethnic Groups Fleeing Darfur. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 16, 2023 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today with breaking news. CNN exclusive, the special counsel investigating Hunter Biden is now using a Los Angeles grand jury as part of the investigation into the business dealings of President Biden's son. That's according to sources who tell CNN that President Biden's brother, James Biden, is among the people who have gotten a subpoena in recent weeks.

This major development comes as sources tell CNN that a separate special counsel, the one investigating President Biden's handling of classified documents, is not expected to bring any charges in that case.

Let's get straight to CNN's Paula Reid who is breaking this news for us right now.

Paula, walk us through exactly how this new grand jury in Los Angeles is being used?

PAULA REID, CNN CHIEF LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, multiple sources tell CNN that multiple witnesses have been subpoenaed to provide testimony and documents for the investigation into Hunter Biden's personal finances. Now, one of the individuals who has received one of these subpoenas is his uncle, James Biden, his father, President Joe Biden's brother.

Now, this is Hunter Biden's one-time business associate who could provide information that may be relevant to this investigation. At this point, it appears that they are focused on Hunter Biden's alleged failure to pay his taxes. Now, this was something that was supposed to be resolved by a plea deal that fell apart earlier this year. At this point it's unclear if they're investigating anything beyond that.

But some of the alleged tax offenses occurred in southern California which is why this ground jury which is previously not been reported is significant and signals that the special counsel, David Weiss, maybe considering bringing additional charges against Hunter Biden. Now, the special counsel has already brought gun charges against the president son in Delaware, and has previously used a grand jury in that state to gather evidence. The fact that they are using this grand jury in California is certainly notable because it signals that there could be additional charges.

Representatives for Hunter Biden, for the special counsel, for the White House, and James Biden have all declined to comment.

TAPPER: Paula Reid, stick around.

I want to bring in CNN's Katelyn Polantz, who also helped break this reporting, as well as former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

Katelyn, how could this investigation in Los Angeles play into the other federal case in Delaware that Hunter Biden is facing?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Jake, there's going to be discussion of it in court in Delaware because as Paula was explaining, there was a plea deal before a judge in Delaware that fell apart. Now this grand jury activity in California signals that there could be new charges or different charges brought against Hunter Biden. But his lawyers have already been quite clear in the court in Delaware, hey, we had a deal and that deal was that you can't charge him with tax crimes elsewhere.

And so, we're very likely to see his lawyers argue to the judge in Delaware, he's immune from an indictment and that he can't be charged elsewhere, he can't be charged on financial matters or anything else that special counsel, David Weiss, might be looking into at this time.

And then the other thing that it tells us, Jake, is that we're watching this case in Delaware, this federal case moved forward and Hunter Biden's team is incredibly aggressive. They want to take it to trial. They're very experienced trial lawyers.

They want to find facts. They want to fight the law. They want to claim that Donald Trump initiated of addictive prosecution. They even want to subpoena Trump, Bill Barr, his attorney general and others from the Justice Department. We just learned yesterday in that case.

So, whatever they're doing there, they're also going to be very aggressive to fight whatever may or may not come out of this grand jury in California as well.

TAPPER: Elie Honig, how worried should not Hunter Biden and his lawyers be about this? A grand jury, I mean, that's a pretty serious business?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is, Jake, and there's legitimate cause for concern for Hunter Biden and his legal team. First of all, as Paula and Katelyn said, he's already under indictment in the district of Delaware for various offenses relating to firearms possession while he was an attic back in 2018. That's already enough of a problem. Now, he faces the possibility of a second and separate indictment coming out of California relating to his finances and taxes.

And on that note, Jake, when there was a previous deal in place, this deal between DOJ and Hunter Biden, they agreed that Hunter had intentionally and criminally failed to pay over $1.1 million in income taxes.


Now, the DOJ can't use that agreement against him, but they presumably have evidence of at least that much of a crime. So, it could get worse for Hunter Biden. It will depend on the outcome of this investigation. But, Jake, anytime anyone's looking at one federal charge, just statistically, the odds are stacked against them. And if this becomes two separate federal charges, and it's that much more of a problem for Hunter Biden.

TAPPER: And, Paula, you also have this brand-new reporting that the special counsel when it comes to President Biden and the classified documents case of involving him, that the special counsel's not likely to bring charges against the president?

REID: That's right. We reported several weeks ago that it wasn't looking like anyone would be charged in that investigation. And today, multiple sources familiar with this probe tell us that the charges are not expected to be filed as part of the probe. Instead, the special counsel, Robert Hur, is expected to issue a report that's likely going to be quite detailed.

We have multiple sources in and around this investigation talk about just how thorough Hur has been in this investigation, reaching out to witnesses multiple times, going over issues again and again, we expect this will be a detailed report laying out exactly how they conducted this investigation and what they learned. We also expect it could be critical of President Biden and his staff and how they handled these classified materials.

Now, it's unclear exactly when this report will go to the Justice Department. But at this point, it appears that they're aiming to do this by the end of the year, though I'm told that that timeline could slide.

TAPPER: So, I can already anticipate where we're going to hear from other, well, specifically one other network, Elie Honig, it's a double standard. That Donald Trump was charged, there is a federal case, an indictment about his mishandling of classified documents. And Joe Biden is not going to be charged.

Obviously, the cases are different, Elie Honig. Explain what you think about that?

HONIG: Well, Jake, first of all, it's important to keep in mind that Robert Hur is a conservative. He was a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He was nominated to be U.S. attorney in Maryland in 2017 by Donald Trump. So, he's not some liberal, or Joe Biden-leaning prosecutor. Second of all, there are differences between these cases based on the

indictment that we've seen with Trump in Mar-a-Lago. And based on what we see from the public reporting, starting with knowledge and intent. We'll see, but presumably, Robert Hur found that there was no evidence that Joe Biden had criminal knowledge and intent. Donald Trump has acknowledged publicly he knew he had those documents, and he's alleged to have that criminal intent.

Second of, all let's remember, Donald Trump is charged with obstruction of justice now, and the evidence set forth in the indictment is really quite overwhelming. In contrast, Joe Biden's team, they came forward with the documents. They were the ones who brought it to DOJ.

So, two very big and very crucial distinctions there.

TAPPER: Katelyn, you've been following the Trump classified documents case for months. What are you watching in that case given this news?

POLANTZ: Well, I'm watching really what is going to happen from the special counsel, a different special counsel than the one who is bringing the charges against Trump in Florida, related to classified documents because this special counsel, Robert Hur, he's going to release the report as Paula says, it will have the facts, it will also have why are they not charging people, they'll explain, it'll give a window into the Justice Department's thinking on the law.

And so, whatever they're saying there, that matters because the Justice Department has to think through, what do we do about classified documents that are found in the possession of high levels of former government officials? And what do -- how do we bring a case, how do we choose to bring cases? And so, just having that insight into it is going to be quite useful as we continue to think about the Trump case as it heads to trial.

These reports in this era of special counsels do go into detail on areas of law that we just really have never seen the Justice Department show everything that they're thinking about in the same way that we get to, whenever we get these reports out a special counsels.

TAPPER: So many trials, so little time. Elie Honig, also this afternoon, the New York appeals court judge temporarily lifted the gag order that have been placed on Donald Trump and his attorneys in the civil fraud trial against Donald Trump. The judge had ordered, the judge in the case imposed a gag order after Trump had been attacking the judge's law clerk, again, civil fraud trial.

What do you make of that?

HONIG: Well, Jake, it's a very narrow gag order, the fact that the court appeals put on hold tells me that they're being careful, they're trying to respect Donald Trump's First Amendment right to speak.

Now, Donald Trump's history has shown in both these cases that the moment a gag order is suspended, to give them the benefit of the doubt, to allow them to appeal, he immediately goes out and violates it.


Now, it's not technically a violation because it's suspended. But it would be a terrible idea, a terrible look I think for him now that the gag order is suspended to go back to attacking the judge's staff. I think it's a very narrowly crafted and fair gag order. All it does is protect vulnerable people who are doing their job as court clerks.

So, we'll see if Donald Trump respects the spirit of this gag order. But the Court of Appeals is doing its best to give them a chance to appeal this case. They are trying to respect his First Amendment rights here.

TAPPER: But let's be honest, Paula, I mean, this is a guy who is still attacking Paul Pelosi, the victim of a violent assault. You know, that's completely indecent, completely inhuman, he likely, I mean, if one had to take bets, will go back to attacking the judge's law clerk for being bias even though it's kind of preposterous and inhuman thing to do.

REID: Yeah, we know that because we've seen when the gag order is put on hold in other cases. That's exactly what he does. He goes out and says things he had previously been barred from doing.

Look, this is an incredibly tricky issue. He has a First Amendment right. He's also the leading Republican candidate for the White House. His lawyers have categorized everything he says as political speech, insisting that it deserves a heightened protection.

But as the judge in the January 6th case in Washington has said, we can't have defendants just going out and attacking people for doing their jobs, witnesses, court clerks, even prosecutors.

So, they have to do this really tricky dance between protecting his right to criticize the process, speak out about his innocence, but also protect people who are just showing up for work because as the special counsel has argued in their appellate litigation over their gag order, he has shown a pattern for years and years, long before any of these cases of identifying people, singling them out as adversaries, and those people are targeted by threats and harassment. So, they have to be able to protect people who are doing their jobs but also allow him to speak out. We'll see what the appellate courts think of these gag orders.

TAPPER: I mean, the problem is, he says these things and it has the desire effect as we saw in -- from other Republicans talking about how members of Congress refused to vote to impeach him because they were afraid that violence would come their way from -- we heard that I think from Mitt Romney's -- the book about Mitt Romney.

Paula, Katelyn, Elie Honig, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

Coming up, after all the lies, Republican Congressman George Santos has announced he will bow out. I'm not sure we should take about his word, though. He announced he will not run for reelection. This is only after today's damning new report from the Ethics Committee of Congress. That's right, Congress has an ethics committee.

The committee reports show that he has used stolen campaign funds to splurge on vacations, on Botox, on the website OnlyFans, often used for pornography, that's right, he used Republican campaign cash to splurge on gay pornography.

But, first, another breaking story, the Israeli military is releasing what it calls video evidence of an operational Hamas tunnel shaft at a hospital complex in Gaza. The images are just coming in. We're going to live to Israel, next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Breaking news, in our world lead, nearly two days after raiding Gaza's largest hospital, the Israel Defense Forces now say they have found an operational tunnel shaft leading to the sprawling complex, or under it, rather. Israel's army just shared this video from the Al-Shifa area, and although hospital officials have not commented. CNN has geolocated the video published by IDF.

Also near Al-Shifa today, they announced the corpse of one of the hostages previously kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th, 65-year-old Yehudit Weiss, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be'eri during the horrific attack on October 7th. Yehudit Weiss's death marks the second known hostage death.

Meanwhile, new signs that Israel's fight against Hamas could be moving further south. Israel dropped leaflets on the southern part of the Gaza Strip, earlier today, warning people there to, quote, head toward known shelters.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is in Ashkelon, just north of Gaza.

Jeremy, let's start with what Israel says is new evidence of Hamas's command headquarters underneath Al-Shifa. Tell us more about that?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the Israeli military says it found a tunnel shaft, it says it belongs to Hamas on the grounds of Al-Shifa Hospital. You can see in this video, a hole in the ground that leads to what appears to be a tunnel. CNN can't independently verify this video. But what we have been able to do is geolocate this video to Al-Shifa complex.

You can see enough freeze frame of this video that there is indeed a couple of buildings we have identified as being part of the Al-Shifa complex, one of the main buildings of the hospital appears to be about 30 meters away from this hole. And this is the first evidence that Israel has put forward in the nearly 48 hours since they first entered Al-Shifa complex, of what they say is that underground tunnel infrastructure below the hospital, which is Gaza's largest hospital.

For weeks now, the Israeli military's been laying the groundwork for a potential ground operation inside of Al-Shifa Hospital. They have said that Hamas operates a very large command and control center below the complex, we haven't seen the command and control center, because this is the first evidence that Israel has put forward that they say points to tunnel infrastructure below the Al-Shifa complex.

The United States, Jake, has backed up Israel claims with President Biden just as recently as yesterday saying that Hamas does indeed operate this command center. He said that that was a fact, and he also accused Hamas of committing a war crime by having these underground tunnels below that complex.

We also know that the Israeli military recovered weapons from this complex. They showed us images of AK-47s, grenades, ammunition, tactical vests, all of which they said they found inside the hospital.


TAPPER: I believe they also -- the IDF also found the body of that 65-year-old hostage, Yehudit Weiss near Al-Shifa Hospital as well. It's not clear how she died.

What are you hearing from Israeli officials about -- about her death?

DIAMOND: Yeah, Jake, the Israeli military announcing tonight that they found her body in a building adjacent to the hospital. So, not on the hospital grounds, but near it appears. We don't know exactly where. And what we also don't know is exactly how she died. Yehudit Weiss is a 65-year-old woman who appears to have been kidnapped by Hamas, was taken to the Gaza Strip.

And according to the spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, he said she was murdered by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Now, we don't know exactly when that happened, and he didn't provide any additional details of her death. At least now, Jake, her family which has been dealing with so much uncertainty in recent weeks knows what her fate was, sadly -- Jake.

TAPPER: Jeremy Diamond in Ashkelon, thanks so much.

Let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson who's in Sderot, Israel, east of Gaza.

Nic, does the IDF believe that this video published and put on social media of the tunnel is enough proof to justify the siege of the hospital?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: I don't know if they consider it enough proof to justify the siege, because they say it could take a few more days or weeks even to complete their search of the whole sprawling hospital complex. I think they feel that it's an indication that their intelligence about what was going on below the hospital has borne some factual reality, if you will, how expensive the tunnels are is not clear.

We do know from talking to the IDF, when we were at another hospital in Gaza, the al Rantisi, a couple of days ago, with them, also in Gaza, by the way, that they put down roadblocks in these tunnel systems, they open up a hole where they think the tunnel is, find the tunnel, put a roadblock in and said the roadblock to search the tunnels. It is a long, slow process, the fact that they touched an emphasis that this car full of explosives that they say Hamas has been using on October the 7th, explosives, weapons, munitions, was physically they said on top of where the tunnel shaft was.

It does seem to indicate that for them, here's an absolute connection between the shaft and Hamas. And they believe there is a more extensive network.

TAPPER: Separately, Israel's military dropped leaflets over communities in southern Gaza today warning Palestinians to, quote, head toward own shelter, that could, of course, indicate a coming southern ground offensive. Would that suggest that the mission is complete in the northern part of Gaza?

ROBERTSON: Yeah, the IDF is indicating that they have control, operational control in the western part of Gaza City itself. So, that's pretty much half maybe of the largest urban center. They're still taking control of other areas north of Gaza. But they essentially they are saying that Hamas has lost their control of the north.

So, this does seem to indicate that they're potentially going to move south. They said that they would move south. They said they're intended to take out all of Hamas. The only way to do that is to move into the south of the strip. They split the strip into by having a line of forces in the middle.

You know, but the difficulty, obviously, for the IDF, and they'll be aware of this as well, that Hamas will be hiding in that civilian population, but it's now essentially a double density civilian population because so many people have moved from the north, to the south, which puts people in double jeopardy, of harm as Hamas hides out behind them. And also, if they do come to harm, then the welfare is going to be more in jeopardy because there are so few hospitals, a deficit of hospitals now in Gaza Strip in its entirety.

So, this will be a much more difficult area for the IDF to operate in, because there are civilians, Jake.

TAPPER: We're just learning more, Nic, about more heavy U.S. weaponry that has arrived in the region, such as additional patriot missile systems. What might that indicate about the growing U.S. military presence in the region?

ROBERTSON : This is beefed up that all the systems that the U.S. Department of Defense has said a couple of weeks ago that I was sending to the region, the Patriots, and also, THAADs, the sort of high altitude interceptor rocket systems, that these -- that they were sounding a number.

They're saying now have been operational. They didn't say where they're being placed. We do know that missiles are being used to strike U.S. forces inside Iraq, and inside Syria. [16:25:00]

We do know that the United States ally, Saudi Arabia, has been part of the protection for Israel intercepting missiles, long range missiles and drones that have been fired at a Yemen. Saudi Arabia has been a recipient and user of the U.S. Patriots systems in the past.

So I think it shows you that the umbrella of security is being stretched out, and we're being told it's operational.

TAPPER: All right. Nic Robertson in Sderot, thank you so much.

Up next, inside that scathing House Ethics Committee report on Republican Congressman George Santos of New York. The alleged trips he bought using campaign money. He also used campaign money to buy Botox and settle his own credit card debt, and much, much more.

Stick around.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, no, Congressman Santos, you can't use campaign funds for Botox, or for OnlyFans. Apparently, that is advice that needs to be pointed out to members of Congress these days. This after a damning report from the House Committee on Ethics which laid out a myriad of personal purchases from the congressman.

He uses campaign funds, let's list a few of them, more than $3,000 for an Airbnb, Santos said he was off at the Hamptons. A hotel in Vegas when Santos said he was on his honeymoon. Purchases on OnlyFans, a porn website, and Sephora; $1,400 at a spot with a note describing it as Botox. And he used campaign funds to pay back personal credit card bills.

CNN's Manu Raju has been diving into the report and takes a look now at how Santos' excuses for his purchases have changed over time.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been under scrutiny all year for the lies he told about his past, and for the 23 federal criminal charges he is facing.

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I have no clue of what you guys are talking about. No --

RAJU: But now, GOP Congressman George Santos could be expelled from the House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Santos is a fraud. He should not be a member of Congress.

RAJU: This after a months-long investigation by the bipartisan Ethics Committee alleging criminal wrongdoing, saying he fraudulently exploited every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit. The panel finding that Santos blatantly stole from his campaign, including for travel and Botox, even making a payment to OnlyFans. Also alleging he reported fictitious loans, sustained all through a constant series of lies.

REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): I think the people of his district need representation, and they're not getting that right now.

RAJU: The damning report concluded that he knowingly filed false reports with the FEC and made willful violations in financial disclosures with the House.

The GOP chairman of the Ethics Committee, Michael Guest, planning to file a resolution to make Santos just a six House member in U.S. history to be expelled.

REP. MICHAEL GUEST (R), ETHICS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: That will be now for members to be able to make a decision as to whether or not they believe it will proper to expel Representative Santos.

RAJU: In an interview with CNN this month, Santos acknowledged making mistakes in his filings.

They said you made up your income, and that could be a problem for ethics probe. What happened? I mean, did you not list your income properly here?

SANTOS: All I can -- all I can say is, first, no, that's not true. Second, were there mistakes made on those forms, I -- now I know there were. Was I -- where they malicious? No, I didn't understand how that worked, and I'm a new candidate, and I'm sorry like mistakes were made.

RAJU: And denying making fake loans to his campaign.

Because one of the things they say is that there was a $500,000 loan that you made.

SANTOS: Oh, I made $500,000 loan.

RAJU: But you had $8,000 in your bank account and they say there's no evidence.

SANTOS: Like I said, I made -- I made -- I can guarantee you that I made the financial loans to my campaign on the record.

RAJU: Today, Santos blasting the bipartisan committee, calling the report bias, and disgusting politicizes smear, yet announcing that he would not see a second term next year, saying his family deserves better, despite saying this just two weeks ago.

So, they expel you, and then they put someone else in the seat, you're going to run in 2024?

SANTOS: Absolutely.

(END VIDEOTAPE) RAJU: Now, in order to reach the two thirds majority to expel George Santos, we are calculating about 50 Republicans needed to switch their position from opposing the expulsion to supporting it. And if you were expelled, this would be an unprecedented event, the only other five members who have expelled from the House in U.S. history either were convicted of a crime or were kicked out because they were fighting with the Confederacy -- Jake.

TAPPER: Manu Raju, thanks so much.

To be clear, Congressman Santos is not resigning. He plans to serve out the rest of his term. Republicans lead the committee behind today's scathing report, why he did in the report recommend that Santos be expelled from Congress? I will ask a Republican on that committee, next.



TAPPER: And we're back.

Sticking with our politics lead, that damning House Ethics Committee report on Republican Congressman George Santos of New York, including that the congressman use campaign funds for personal uses including paying off his personal credit card debt. That was the worst one on the list.

With me now is Congressman David Joyce. He's a member of the House Ethics Committee which issued the report.

Congressman, your committee chairman, Congressman Michael Guest, is expected to make a motion as soon as tomorrow to expel Congressman Santos from Congress. That is a rare occurrence.

Do you support the move to expel Congressman Santos? And do you think ultimately he will be kicked out of Congress?

REP. DAVID JOYCE (R-OH): Thank you for the time, Jake.

You know, I was chair of this investigative subcommittee, and we finished our report, we didn't come to a conclusion necessarily for expulsion because to do so would have required us basically to have a trial, and give him an opportunity. And since he was pretty much an impediment to his own investigation, he wasn't helping in any way, shape or form, we didn't predict that he would be helpful moving forward.

So, the idea was to wrap up our report because we knew that tensions were brewing among New York delegation and other folks that he shouldn't be there. And I certainly, for one, as part of the subcommittee, felt that the information that we've seen was enough to show that basically the man's whole life is a lie.

TAPPER: So, will -- if there's a motion to expel him, will you out for it? JOYCE: Well, sir, I may have to run that investigation on the floor,

because technically, on the floor, he's going to have to have -- he'll be allowed to provide a defense. And so, I don't want to -- considered to be pre-judging him, if I'm necessarily the prosecutor on it. But I think as you laid out and certainly Manu has laid out, the case against him is very strong, and it gives people the opportunity to have the evidence there in front of them.

Because one thing about records case like this, records don't lie. I don't need them to tell me anything. I look at the numbers, the numbers speak to me, the numbers should speak to every member who reads that. He said he did this, and the record show that he did not.

TAPPER: Right.

JOYCE: He supposedly put in loans. He had a pretty good scam going. I mean, really, he was scamming his campaign. He was scamming his officers. He was scamming the people of New York 3 that elected him.

TAPPER: Let's stick through some of the ways your committee found. He spent his campaign funds on -- he spent campaign funds on a Las Vegas hotel, when he told his campaign he was on his honeymoon, more than $3,000 on an Airbnb, when he said he was in the Hamptons. He paid off his personal credit card bills, a $4,000 purchase at Hermes, obviously, OnlyFans, which I understand you just learned about what that is, congratulations, on just learning about what that is.

Just to -- just to be clear here, when members of Congress come -- come to Washington, they are told they're not allowed to spend campaign funds on things like this, right?

JOYCE: Absolutely. I mean, one should understand that without having to be told. But the idea that he was not only defrauding investors to his campaign, he created another agency, Red Strategies that he -- Redstone Strategies that he was telling people to put money into that was supposedly going to do outside spending in his campaign in excess of one individual donation would be. And he was taking that money to pay back himself, or pay him self to do whatever.

And then he was also taking money that he supposedly lent to his campaign which wasn't true, falsifying records to increase the amount that would appear to be on hand to show that he was a viable candidate in order to get help from the NRCC and other agencies, other groups to help him. And then he repaid himself from the loans that he never put into the bank -- put in to his candidacy in the first place.

So, he had scams working all over his campaign, and he's basically a fraud that does not deserve to hold the title of congressman.

TAPPER: Is there any -- I mean -- this is really quite -- it's really quite something. What do you think is the worst thing that he did if I can ask you, because there's -- I mean, there's a lot there, what's the most offensive offense?

JOYCE: Running. I mean, you -- when he run for Congress in the first time, his own campaign put together an oppo report on himself. He knew he had all these issues, and he continued to lie about it, and make up more things as he went on.

And went into 2022 campaign, and continued the same scam, and basically perfected them. So, he made his living off of campaigning, and talking to other people fraudulently into donating either to what they thought was an outside expenditure or to his campaign and his lifestyle. And he wasn't going to leave, I came to that conclusion, that he's making a buck 74 now, it appeared the most he's ever made in his life. So, he's going to stick around until he gets thrown out.

And I leave it up to the rest of the members in Congress to read the report and be there when Chairman Guest files his motion.

TAPPER: Quite a thing, quite a thing. I think it was Leslie Jones (ph) who said, you know what you have to be to be known as the unethical congressman.

Congressman David Joyce, thank you so much. Really, really, really appreciate your time and service on the ethics committee.

JOYCE: Well, Manu Raju will have quite a book out of this.

TAPPER: I'll bet. All right. Thanks so much, sir. Good to see you, as always.

We often hear about the wars in Ukraine and Israel, but there are lots of conflicts going around in the world. Another conflict has also killed thousands. It's a conflict where military forces are accused of burying civilians alive, and where refugees described systemic rape and being, quote, sold like cattle. A CNN investigation is next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: A civil war between Sudan's military and a paramilitary group is creating, according to the United Nations, a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the region. This has been going on for seven months now, and the U.N. says around 9,000 people have been killed.

In recent weeks, the paramilitary group that I'm referring to, RSF, or Rapid Support Forces has made a significant advance in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, where it has reportedly killed more than 700 people over the course of several days.

Now, CNN's Nima Elbagir and her team traveled to the neighboring country, Chad, where thousands of people have fled since the beginning of the war. And there they spoke with refugees who detailed unimaginable depravity, some describing it as systematic, being sold like cattle, we must warn you the images and the subject of the report we're about to show you are quite disturbing.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: A scene all too familiar in West Darfur. Social media footage widely circulated last week showing RSF soldiers and supporting militia rounding up men, harassing them, threatening them.


CNN has been able to geolocate these videos, placing them in Ardamata an outlying district of Al-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, where some of the worst atrocities during the recent war have taken place. Over the last year during the war in Sudan, the RSF have targeted members of African tribal groups, including the Masalit, who claim Darfur as their ancestral land.

Many of the RSF belong to tribes which unlike the Masalit claimed Arab ancestry. What we're about to show you is very disturbing. These are the most recent images emerging from Darfur. What you are looking at is a mass grave, filled with over a dozen bodies, some are alive, others clearly dead.

One man can be seen throwing earth on top of another, even though he is still alive. A man off camera can be heard shouting as someone appears from beneath a pile of dirt.

He quickly buries his head back into the earth, we don't know the fate of these men, it's also unclear whether the man seen in the ditch of the same man as those in the video running from RSF soldiers, a militia loyal to the RSF. But it does illustrate the newest, most terrific pattern of violence in the region.

Communication in Darfur has been deliberately choked by the RSF. It's been excruciatingly hard to understand exactly what's happening there. A few months ago, we travel to a refugee camp in Adre, Chad, where survivors and eyewitnesses of these brutal attacks were able to cross the border.

One by one, brave survivors came forward wanting to share, to document what has happened to them. Describing the horrors from the city of Al- Geneina, stories of rape and enslavement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): From within our family, we lost more than 40 men.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They said to my father, we're going to rape your daughter in front of you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): The RSF said, leave these ones. We will find better ones to sell. These ones, let's rape them.

ELBAGIR: Textbook ethnic cleansing. These are the hallmarks of genocide.

CNN interviewed over a dozen survivors and eyewitness in Al-Geneina, where civilians were targeted and were women were being sold from slave houses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There were RSF soldiers outside, and they beat me until they force me into the building. Inside, I saw nine or ten girls, some without clothes.

They told us they will sell us very cheaply. They said, we kill all the men, we will not leave any black skin here. You have to leave, get out. They said they will be the only ones to sleep with us, because if they have our own children, our sons will one day take revenge.

ELBAGIR: She managed to escape what was recaptured, and brought to a different location where she was repeatedly raped.

It's not just women being affected, Mahadi (ph) who's only 16 was kidnapped by the RSF with his brother, and forced to work at a farm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): We were 8 people. We were all tied up. They would come and say, I want the strong boys. Someone came over and started to feel my arms. I was tied up and blindfolded.

ELBABIR: You can't see them but you can feel them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): I couldn't see at thing. I could just feel him hitting me here. Then I heard them say 'I'll buy him off you, I'll give you money".

ELBAGIR: The word slave in Arabic is a racial slur, equivalent to the N-word, so we're bleeping it out in his testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): They said this is a (AUDIO DELETED).

ELBAGIR: They called you (AUDIO DELETED).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated): Yes. They beat me and said, where did you get this (AUDIO DELETED)? They kept hitting me.

ELBAGIR: Mahadi doesn't know how much they bought him for, but he was eventually taken to another location where he was forced to work. He says his brother taken at the same time was killed by the RSF.

Survivor after survivor told CNN how the RSF spoke of wiping out the African descendant Masalit. Its Masalit ancestral land in Darfur that the RSF are currently occupying.

Part of a fertile land mass, the commander of the RSF, has been strategically looking to secure for the last 20 years, changing the demographics from African to Arab.

Nima Elbagir, CNN, London.


TAPPER: And our thanks as always to CNN's Nima Elbagir.

Make plans now to watch a full report on "The whole story", "Going Home: The War in Sudan". That will be this Sunday night at 9:00 Eastern right here, only here on CNN.

[16:55:03] Coming up, what Israel claimed as video evidence of the hidden Hamas operations under the largest hospital in Gaza, the video just in this afternoon. We're going to take a quick break.

We'll be right back.


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

This hour, a major lawsuit just in against one of the biggest names in music, hip-hop mogul Sean Combs, also known as Puffy, also known as P. Diddy. The singer Cassie is accusing him of rape and years of abuse. The court filing just coming in. We'll break it down.

Plus, the prison sentence today for the man convicted of breaking into the house of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and violently beating her husband with a hammer. We'll tell you about that, too.