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The Lead with Jake Tapper

10 Israeli Hostages Released; Includes 1 Dual U.S. Citizen; Rep. Mike Lawler, (R-NY), Is Interviewed About Hostages, Republicans; Rep. Jared Moskowitz, (D-FL), Is Interviewed About Hostages, Democrats, Aid, Hunter Biden; Democrats Disagree Over Attaching Conditions To Israel Aid; Hunter Biden Says He'll Testify But Only If It's In Public; Republicans React To Being Slammed In Cheney's Book; VP Harris To Attend Climate Summit In Place Of Biden Despite President's Low Approval Ratings On Climate; Mark Cuban To Sell His Majority Stake In NBA's Dallas Mavericks To The Adelson Family; CDC: Suicide Deaths In U.S. Reach Record High In 2022. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 29, 2023 - 17:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN Breaking News.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. And we start this hour with some breaking news. Israel says a new group of hostages has been freed and includes this group an American citizen. Moments ago we saw the Red Cross convoy leaving Gaza and entering Egypt.

The IDF says this group consists of 14 people, they're headed right now to meet up with Israeli forces. Forty-eight year old Liat Beinin is now the second American released since the start of this pause in the violence between Israel and Hamas after we saw a four year old Abigail Edan released earlier this week. Let's get right to CNN's Oren Liebermann who's in Tel Aviv and CNN's Jeremy Diamond who's in Ofakim, Israel.

And Jeremy, we're starting to learn more about this new batch of hostages including this American dual citizen. Tell us more.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. Among these 10 Israeli hostages who have been newly freed there are also for Thai nationals who have also been free. But I want to read you some of the names that we are getting. They include, as you mentioned, Liat Beinin Atzili, that 48 year old American citizen. She is one of three American citizens that a U.S. officials were hoping could be released as part of this deal for women and children.

The other of course, was Abigail Edan, who has been released. There is still one other American woman believed to be held hostage. In addition to that, Raz Ben Ami, 57 years old, Raaya Rotem, Yarden Roman, Amit Shani, Ofir Engel, Gali Tarshansky and Itay Regev. I want to tell you about two of these individuals. First of all, Raaya Rotem is the mother of Hila Rotem, who was released on Saturday without her mother, despite the fact that they are believed to have been held in captivity right up until a couple of days before Hila was released.

Israeli officials very much viewed that as a violation of the deal to release -- the fact that she was released without her mother, but it appears that she has now indeed been released and is on her way to Israel. The other person I want to tell you about here is Yarden Roman. I've spoken with the Roman family several times and her story is really incredible. She was taken captive on October 7 alongside her husband, as well as her daughter. But at a moment of opportunity, all three of them decided to jump out of the vehicle that they were in, that Hamas militants were driving them towards the Gaza Strip, but she was carrying her daughter initially, but when she realized that her husband could run faster, she handed her daughter to her husband, he was able to get her daughter to safety, but she was unfortunately captured.

And now after more than 50 days of captivity, she has indeed been freed. I also want to tell you, Jake, about the scene behind me, you have dozens of Israelis who earlier today greeted those two Russian Israeli women who were also freed not as a part of this main framework between Israel and Hamas, but as part of a separate agreement that appears between Hamas and the Russian government. And they are still here hoping that those now newly free 10 additional Israeli citizens will make their way here as they head to this airbase in front of us and then on their way to hospitals in Israel.

TAPPER: So, Oren, this most recent pause in fighting is set to expire in hours. How likely is an extension looking?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: The tools and the positions appear to be in place to make that happen and there is a massive diplomatic effort to try to get it over the line. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is expected to land here any hour now and will hold meetings tomorrow. That's on top of CIA Director Bill Burns who was in Qatar, and that's where the bulk of the negotiations have happened. Mark Regev, a senior policy adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was on our air earlier this evening. He said they believe Hamas has at least 20 more women and children. So it seems they have the numbers to extend this truce for at least another 24 or 48 hours.


The Qataris have expressed some level of optimism that it will get there. The Egyptians have as well. Hamas has said they're open to extending the truce. But we need a statement, a definitive statement from the Israelis and Hamas that it will remain in place for at least 24 or 48 more hours. Now Israel has waited until the hostage transfer has been completed before making statements like that. Crucially, Jake, it does not take a new agreement.

Since it's under the agreement that was already approved by the Israeli government. The question becomes, if you want to extend it beyond that, and begin to include elderly men as well as women and men who served in the IDF. Does that require a new agreement and how much harder is that to put in place? But right now, the focus on the possibility of extending the agreement we have before us for another day or two, and that's where the focus will be. We'll keep an eye on that throughout the evening here.

TAPPER: All right, CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Oren Liebermann in Israel, thanks so much.

Earlier today, I sat down with five American families who had loved ones taken hostage by Hamas, kidnapped. They came together in Washington to push lawmakers and the Biden administration to help them get their loved ones back. Coming together, they say not only gives them the solace of being among others who know their pain. But we heard them say that their unity around saving the hostages has changed, at least for now, the trajectory of the war.


RUBY CHEN, FATHER OF ISRAELI-AMERICAN HOSTAGE ITAY CHEN, IDF SOLDIER: The beginning of the conflict, I think the Israeli government was more focused on going after Hamas. I think the fact that the families have come together, we each feel collectively that we have 240 new family members. And I think the success of the families being together and being able to unite around the hostage issue and getting the people of Israel behind us has changed the perception of the government of Israel, understanding that the only topic that the government of Israel is going to be judged by the population is how many hostages? How fast are they able to get them out? And I think that perception has changed. And I also think the United States and the people of the United States have contributed.


TAPPER: Joining me now in studio Republican Congressman Mike Lawler from New York and Democratic Congressman Jared Moskowitz from Florida. They're both on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and they recently returned from Israel.

Congressman Lawler, let me start with you. You've also met with some of the families of hostages, how much sway do you think the U.S. has in these negotiations?

REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, not only have we met with some of these families today here in Washington, but over the course of the last, you know, 50 days we've met with dozens of families, including when Jared and I were both in Israel. And I think the families have had a tremendous impact on making sure that this is a priority, both of the Israeli government and the United States government. And frankly, I think the administration has done a good job on negotiating with Qatar, with Israel, and through Qatar or Hamas to get these hostages released. Obviously, we want them all released. We passed a bipartisan resolution yesterday, unanimously calling for the release of every hostage. And so we would like to see that done quickly and efficiently here.

TAPPER: There's some real divisions in your party, the Democratic Party, Congressman Moskowitz, on Israel, on aid to Israel, whether there should be conditions on aid to Israel, whether there should be any aid to Israel right now. You disagree with those who want to put conditions on aid to Israel. What do you make of the people in, not just critics of Israel, but there are a lot of supporters of Israel, both in the Biden administration and, well, a lot of people who think Israel needs to do more to curtail the civilian casualties when they go after members of Hamas.

REP. JARED MOSKOWITZ (D-FL), FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: Well, first of all, let me say that, you know, a lot -- the reason we're getting these hostages back was because of all of the pressure Israel has been having on Hamas. Hamas didn't just come to the table willingly, all of a sudden. Also the good work of the Biden administration, obviously, trying to get these hostages out, working with our foreign allies. That's important.

You know, look on my party last night, we saw a big bipartisan vote on Israel's right to exist, and any calls for Israel to be eliminated or anti-Zionism being anti-semitism. So that was a big moment that the chamber could come together. But look, there's no doubt that there are differences on this aid that's coming forward. I disagree with Bernie Sanders. And I can prove that he's wrong.

Why? Because when Speaker Johnson came forward with his aid package, with conditions, OK, the White House and Chuck Schumer told every Democrat in the House to vote against that. So now we can't go backwards and say, hold on a second now, we were wrong in the beginning. No, there's going to be no conditions to the aid to Israel.


And by the way, there should also be no conditions to the humanitarian aid to the civilians in Gaza. Hamas is not just taking Israeli hostages, they have taken the Palestinian people hostage by using them as human shields. They want Palestinians to die. They want those pictures of those babies so they can feed that as propaganda to the rest of the world. And so, I'm happy that the hostages are getting out. I'm happy to get as many of them as they can. But at the end of the day, Israel needs the tools to continue the mission, which is to eliminate Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

TAPPER: Let me ask you, Congressman Lawler, CNN gotten an exclusive first look at a former Republican Representative Liz Cheney's new book. She calls her former colleagues and party leaders, and I don't think you guys coincided, so she's not talking about you. But she calls former colleagues and party leaders, enablers and collaborators with Donald Trump, who after the 2020 election, were willing to violate their oath to the Constitution at a political expediency and loyalty to Donald Trump. She's concerned about what's going to happen to the party and to the country if Donald Trump gets the nomination, if he gets reelected president.

LAWLER: Look, I think, as I've said repeatedly in 2020, Joe Biden won. What happened on January 6 was wrong. And my party needs to focus on the future. They need to focus on the issues that matter to the American people. I won in a district Joe Biden won by 10 points. That has 70,000 more Democrats than Republicans. That's home to Bill and Hillary Clinton and George Soros. Why? Because I talked about the issues that mattered, affordability, public safety, we have a migrant crisis. People are tired of the petty grievances. They're tired of the inner party squabbles.

They're tired of the nonsense. They want us to focus and do our jobs that we were elected to do and deal with these issues. And I think all of us have that responsibility. The American people are going to determine who the next president is. But whoever that is, whether it's Joe Biden, whether it's Donald Trump or someone else, they need to focus on the future, and they need to focus on the American people, and they need to cut the crap.

TAPPER: So speaking of domestic politics, you got one -- you got one, too. You've been fired up on House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer's rejection of Hunter Biden's offered to testify publicly. I want to play some conversation to get you to respond.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY), CHAIRMAN, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Well, he'll get a public hearing after he does the deposition. He doesn't get to set the rule. Just because he told the DOJ, the IRS, the National Archives and every other government agency that's been investigating the Biden for years to stand down doesn't mean he's going to tell the House Oversight Committee what to do. We have sent him a lawful subpoena.


TAPPER: So Comer's point is that the normal process is a behind closed doors deposition and then maybe he gets to set the rules then maybe a public hearing.

MOSKOWITZ: Yes. So, listen, you know Comer and I are clearly on our way to becoming fast friends on this subject. He keeps coming up with new adjectives to describe me.

TAPPER: What did he call you the other day? Smurf?

MOSKOWITZ: He called me a Smurf and now he's on to tell -- he called me a Little Moskowitz. Yesterday he had all thanks --

TAPPER: Was there a specific Smurf you had in mind? Because I used to watch the Smurfs when I was a kid. Was it Papa Smurf? Was it baby Smurf?

MOSKOWITZ: I don't know that -- either, I'm probably like Grumpy Smurf, maybe.

TAPPER: I don't think there was a grumpy Smurf.

LAWLER: I will tell you, I was called Little Lawler when I was growing up. My brother was --

MOSKOWITZ: You know we're in television, right? Mike, you know what I'm talking about.

TAPPER: Neither of you are tall, gentlemen. Neither of you are tall, gentlemen. Neither of you are tall, gentlemen.



MOSKOWITZ: -- I mean, here --

TAPPER: You've achieved great things.

LAWLER: That's it.

MOSKOWITZ: We'll see. So, let me answer that question directly. So, at the end of the day, they keep bringing up oh, this is the regular process. Most of the subpoenas that were issued on the -- during the Trump administration, during January saw that most of them wouldn't comply. They fought it in court, they said Congress didn't have the right to do it, right?

None of them came forward and said I would like to come and do this in a public hearing. Hunter Biden has come out and said he will come and comply immediately in a public hearing. The chairman obviously doesn't have a lot of faith in the Republicans that served on that committee because he doesn't want to bring it to the committee. The American people deserve to hear from Hunter Biden for a year now. The Chairman has gone on Newsmax and Sean Hannity, right?

He's gone to people to make them feel comfortable like a wet blanket. And he has painted this picture of Hunter Biden. Let Hunter talk, bring him to the committee. What is the chairman afraid of? Why is he afraid of transparency?

Trump has asked for cameras in the courtroom. No, they want to put Hunter in the basement so they can come out and then tell their side of the story. And that's what we've seen in in these depositions. By the way, if Comer had on -- if he had all the evidence on Hunter Biden --


MOSKOWITZ: -- James would want this in front of every T.V. camera possible. He would sit down with Al Jazeera if he could, if he had all the evidence. But they don't have the evidence, which is why they want to go to the --

TAPPER: I'm going to give Congressman Lawler the final word here.

LAWLER: Look, we saw during a the first impeachment of President Trump Adam Schiff using the bunker in the basement to conduct a lot of, you know, depositions and then leak a lot of stuff. I have no problem with Hunter Biden testifying on camera. He should. He should testify in a public setting and answer questions. There are certainly a lot of questions that have been raised and a lot of information that has been uncovered. [17:15:25]

The American people ultimately will be the deciding voice and all of this when all of a sudden done. But if he has nothing to hide, as you're saying, show up and testify.

TAPPER: Will you vote to impeach Hunter Biden as first son?

MOSKOWITZ: I don't think we can do that. But look, Marjorie Taylor Greene finds every way to impeach somebody.

TAPPER: All right. I was joking, you can't do that. It was a joke out there. You can't impeach the son.

Anyway, thanks so much, Congressman. Moskowitz, Congressman Lawler. Appreciate it.

Coming up, Vice President Kamala Harris dispatched to a major summit after criticism of President Biden not going to the summit. But first, the push back on Congresswoman Liz Cheney's scathing revelations in her book. What some notable Republicans are saying and not saying about her claims.

Also, ahead this hour, Gayle King and King Charles, they will be here just hours ahead of their new CNN show called "King Charles." Charles Barkley is who King Charles is. That's what Philadelphians call him anyway. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Former Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney's new memoir has not even been released yet but some Republicans she writes about in the book are already pushing back. "Oath and Honor" has gone to number one on Amazon since Jamie Gangel's amazing reporting yesterday. It was obtained exclusively by her ahead of its December 5 release. Cheney maintains in the book that Donald Trump is a major threat to democracy. She calls many in his party collaborators.

She names names. One of them, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who reportedly claimed he only went to Mar-a-Lago after the January 6 Capitol attack throwing Mr. Trump's career a lifeline because Donald Trump was depressed. He wasn't even eating. CNN's Jamie Gangel is back with more details.

So, Jamie, McCarthy and Trump have responded to your reporting --


TAPPER: -- about what's in Cheney's book.


TAPPER: I want to note --


TAPPER: -- that neither Mr. Trump nor Mr. McCarthy has exactly the best record when it comes to truthfulness, truthfulness and accuracy. But that said --


TAPPER: -- what do they have to say?

GANGEL: OK. So no surprise some big name Republicans are not happy --


GANGEL: -- with Liz Cheney's bulk, which, as you say, has gone to number one in the ratings, which probably --

TAPPER: I hope you're getting a percentage for God's sake for that reporting.

GANGEL: Could you stop?


GANGEL: So, a spokesman for Donald Trump said that the book belongs in the fiction section of the bookstore, that these are nothing more than completely fabricated stories. He also --

TAPPER: It's clever.

GANGEL: -- earlier said that --

TAPPER: Very original --

GANGEL: -- Liz Cheney's a loser. So --

TAPPER: Also original.

GANGEL: -- with the Trump. I spoke to --

TAPPER: Was that Steven Cheung?

GANGEL: It was Steven.

TAPPER: Yes. Because that's honestly like, I think -- like that's all his -- all of his responses are just that. It's just he calls the person a loser. Anyway, I'm sorry. Christmas is coming I'm going to buy Mr. Cheung at the Soros.


TAPPER: Anyway, keep going.

GANGEL: A spokesman for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy said, "For Cheney, first it was trumped arrangement syndrome, now it apparently it's also McCarthy derangement syndrome." Wait.

TAPPER: Is that --

GANGEL: But wait, wait.

TAPPER: -- apparently a writer's strike when it comes to politics.

GANGEL: Neither one, I would like to note --


GANGEL: -- denied the quotes in the book --

TAPPER: Right.

GANGEL: -- that we have reported. So, Kevin McCarthy did not deny that he had said to Liz Cheney that Trump two days after the election knew that he had lost. He did not deny your favorite quote that he went to Mar-a-Lago because he -- Trump was an eating.

TAPPER: So two congressmen mentioned in Cheney's book have now issued denials. Tell me about that.

GANGEL: Right. So, there's this very famous scene in the GOP cloakroom, this is the orange genius.

TAPPER: Jesus.

GANGEL: Quote -- it's -- "Orange Jesus."

TAPPER: "Orange Jesus."

GANGEL: Right.

TAPPER: Your own personal "Orange Jesus." Yes.

GANGEL: I've been here too long. And Liz Cheney writes in the book that Congressman Mark Green of Tennessee said, "As he moved down the line signing his name to pieces of paper, Green said sheepishly to no one in particular, "The things we do for the Orange Jesus."

TAPPER: This is when he's signing his objection to an electoral count.

GANGEL: Correct.


GANGEL: So, I just want to note we reached out to Congressman Green yesterday, we finally heard back from him earlier this afternoon. He says his state -- his spokesman said, sorry, that unequivocally denies making this comment.


GANGEL: And Jim Jordan, who Cheney quotes is saying the only thing that matters is winning. He -- his spokesman says that "Chairman Jordan was always concerned about the legal process for the 2020 election and how states unconstitutionally changed their laws unilaterally." I just want to say one more time Liz Cheney draws throughout this book from real time emails, text messages, meetings, personal conversations.

TAPPER: Yes. I know who I believe. Jamie Gangel, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up next, an alleged murder for hire plot in New York City with a lot of similarities to a case we have told you about in Canada. And there's a reason for that. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead today, today federal prosecutors charged an Indian man in connection with an alleged murder for hire plot, accusing him of trying to kill Sikh activists in new -- a Sikh activist in New York City. In an indictment unsealed today authorities say Nikhil Gupta unknowingly paid an undercover officer $100,000 to target a U.S. citizen and vocal critic of the Indian government. Today, the man believed to be the target of the alleged murder for hire plot, spoke with CNN about the indictment.


GURPATWANT SINGH PANNUN, SIKH SEPARATIST: Just killing me will not kill my political opinion. Just to kill me physically is not going to work on the contentious issue of the state of Punjab being associated with India or not. The question will still remain whether I'm alive or dead.


TAPPER: CNN reached out to the Indian government, the Modi government for a response but has not yet heard back. Today's indictment comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there was credible evidence tying the Modi government to the murder of another Sikh activist back in June. India denies any role in that killing. More on that story later this week.

In our Politics Lead, Vice President Kamala Harris in the spotlights being sent to attend COP28, a global climate summit in Dubai. She is pinch hitting for President Joe Biden, after he took some flak for deciding not to attend climate changes. Of course, one of the top priority issues cited by young progressive voters, voters Biden desperately needs to win reelection in 2024. Let's discuss with our panel. Kristen Soltis Anderson, let me start with you. We have not seen the White House employee Vice President Harris in too many high profile moments. What do you make of this?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, she's got a really interesting portfolio and that she's been handed things like the border, they're very challenging. She's been handed things like abortion, which may actually be an issue that plays a bit more to her strengths. And then this issue climate is the one where, you know, to the extent that you're viewing her as someone who's supposed to be the one that Biden is the bridge to the next generation. She's that next generation. It makes some sense, but she really has not I don't think shown very much.

She's not been a rock star in the position of Vice President, which is why so many Republicans, they look at Joe Biden, and they think well, we are excited to run against him next year. But they're also not afraid of what happens if Joe Biden steps aside and hands the reins over to her.

TAPPER: Michael, this could be a sink or swim moment, not just for the Vice President, but obviously for the Biden-Harris ticket. Tell us what a successful outing for her in Dubai would look like?

MICHAEL LAROSA, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Well, I think talking about the historic climate investments the President and Xi have made here at home, that progressives if on paper, they take a look at it, would actually love just like student loans. I don't think the context things enough for people to understand a -- how much actually Democrats agree and on paper, like what they're doing. The investments in climate are historic for president just like they were for student loan debt, canceling student loan debt.

No president has ever made these kinds of investments before. So I would like to see both of them contextualize this for not just young people and progressives, but for the American people.

TAPPER: So a Washington Post University of Maryland poll from July found that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Biden has handled climate policy. It obviously doesn't seem to be resonating with voters. I'm wondering what you know about this issue in terms of how it is resonating with younger voters, with whom you would think, given the fact that I think just empirically as a fact, Biden has done more on this issue. In a way to please one would think young progressive voters, it should be resonating with them, I don't know that they're aware of what he's done.

LAROSA: Some of the problem is that a lot of the climate investments are coming out of the IRA -- were in the IRA, historic investments.

TAPPER: But one of the one of the problems is I don't think people know what the IRA is.

LAROSA: Well --

TAPPER: That's the infrastructure --

LAROSA: Yes, or no, Inflation Reduction Act.

TAPPER: Inflation Reduction Act, OK. See, I don't even know what it is.

LAROSA: Yes, I'm not going to give them --

TAPPER: Using the term IRA is a problem right there but anyway.

ANDERSON: Well, but the other big problem here is that on this issue, on the one hand, you've got voters that maybe say Biden hasn't done enough climate is an existential crisis, we need to completely radically redo our economy tomorrow. And on the other hand, you have an awful lot of voters a lot in the center, and certainly those on the center, right? Who say, yes, the climate is an issue. But like, let's take a pause here, my gas is really expensive. My power bill is going up. These are more immediate priorities to me.

And so it's one of those issues that really doesn't split the right but it does kind of split the left a bit more.


ANDERSON: And that makes it an issue where for Republicans, they wind up just not talking about it too much. But for Democrats, there's a little bit of a damned if you do damned --

LAROSA: we could be having a different conversation in a couple of months, because a lot of those pro climate provisions are in the form of tax incentives. And it's all incentivized, right?

TAPPER: Right.

LAROSA: So a lot of that doesn't take place until next year, when we -- and when people are made aware that they can start taking advantage of those tax incentive --

TAPPER: Because the incentives kick in or because you guys start running major ad campaigns on it?

LAROSA: That's when they kick in.

TAPPER: When they kick in. What about the ad campaign?

LAROSA: You have to make them -- that's the problem, you have to tell the story.

TAPPER: Right.

LAROSA: To make people aware of the benefits that they're receiving.

TAPPER: Right.

LAROSA: To make it popular.

TAPPER: So former President Trump on Truth Social yesterday slammed MSNBC as being a 24-hour trumpet job saying, quote, our so-called government should come down hard on them and make them pay for their illegal political activity. Much more to come, watch. I think it is a fair point to make that the American people, and we've tried to talk about this on the show, we could be doing more and we certainly will be doing more.

But I think the American people don't have any idea. The extreme steps that Donald Trump is out in the open, promising to do in a second term in terms of camps for illegal immigrants in terms of using the Justice Department to go after his political opponents, in terms of trying to clamp down on free speech, and look, I'm not a particular fan of MSNBC. But I think trying to --


LAROSA: I think they're used to it after eight years of him attacking Comcast and --

TAPPER: But that's rather chilling.

LAROSA: It is. But most of the things he says are provocative, which is why he was kicked off of Twitter in the first place, which is why we didn't have to cover these tweets. But now we cover Truth Social. I get it. And he says these provocative things, but like building a wall, he can't really do it. He can't do it. He never could. And so it juices up his friends and his supporters. And it says, you know, it makes them feel good, but he can't actually deliver on things like that.

ANDERSON: There are a lot of things that voters want to see a second Trump term perhaps due. That's why he's performing reasonably well in the polls. But those are things like get the economy going again.

TAPPER: Right.

ANDERSON: Gas prices get back low again. They don't want an agenda based around revenge. And the more that Donald Trump talks about that as being his number one priority getting into office, revenge against those who feels have wronged him, he's going to be throwing away this advantage that he current has.

TAPPER: But when you read Truth Social or when you hear him talk in his campaign speeches, is he more focused on the things that voters want him to do? Or is he more focused on revenge?

ANDERSON: I think in his gut, he's very focused on revenge at the moment. But I think that he also is aware there are a lot of voters out there that would like to see him focus more on the economy, which of those two will win in the tug of war, that'll be an interesting thing for us to watch.

TAPPER: I think the answer that you just gave me was revenge. Kristen Soltis Anderson, Michael LaRosa, thank you so much.

Coming up next, some special guests on THE LEAD, their names are Gayle King and Charles Barkley. That's right. Ahead of their new show, it's called "King Charles." It has nothing to do with the Habsburg Empire. I'm airing tonight here on CNN. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our Pop Culture Lead, billionaire businessman Mark Cuban is reportedly selling off majority ownership of his beloved Dallas Mavericks basketball team. Reports indicate the valuation of the deal was about $3.5 billion. Who better to talk about it with then the co- hosts of CNN's brand new primetime show it's called "King Charles." It debuts tonight at 10:00 Eastern only on CNN. One of them I first met at a fancy Manhattan dinner party. One of them I first met at a Wendy's in 1984. You can try to guess which is which. Gayle King --


TAPPER: Gayle King and Sir Charles Barkley formally --

KING: I love those Frosties.

TAPPER: I mean I -- it was Charles Barkley I met at the Wendy's.

KING: I know. I know.

TAPPER: He was wearing a hoodie. He was his freshman year at -- on the Sixers. Welcome to THE LEAD. We're so excited to talk about your new show. I do have to ask you about Mark Cuban and the deal with Dr. Miriam Adelson. For those who don't know, she's the widow of Sheldon Adelson, the majority shareholder in the Las Vegas Sands Casino. Charles, what do you make of this deal?

KING: No. But Jake, what -- before you get to Charles about that. I love how you're thinking because both Charles and I reached out to Mark Cuban separately and said, will you please come on the show tonight?

TAPPER: Amazing.

KING: So you're reading our minds. That's pretty good.

TAPPER: Yes. Well, it's -- that's a natural because you're both brilliant and of course, better bookers than I will ever be. And I already know I'm going to lose all my best guests to you guys on these days. But what do you make of it? I mean, a good deal, bad deal? Both you weigh in.

CHARLES BARKLEY, CNN HOST, KING CHARLES: Well, I don't think it's a bad deal. I think Mark don't make bad deals.


BARKLEY: He's a tremendous, tremendous friend first and foremost, but a great businessman. I just hope he stays relevant in the NBA. He's been great for Dallas. He's been great for the Mavs. He'd been great for the NBA. I just hope he doesn't take a back seat. And he --

KING: But he did say he's going to be very involved still in Mavericks.

BARKLEY: He needs to stay involved because Mark is great for sports, you know, I can say he's great for the NBA.

KING: But do you think he might not be?

BARKLEY: I don't know.

KING: Because you're saying -- yes, you're saying, he's still going to be involved in the Mavericks?

BARKLEY: Well, that's -- we just still have to wait to see because, you know, you get somebody $3.5 billion, you probably want to do things your own way.

KING: Yes. You might have some ideas, there going to be some changes around you.

BARKLEY: Yes, yes.

KING: He's also leaving Shark Tank, he said in about a year. And he said he want at the time, he said he wanted to spend more time with his family. But I am curious if there's another reason he says there isn't it?

TAPPER: Well, do you think he could move into politics, Gayle, because that's something I could see --

KING: That is a rumor.

TAPPER: But I mean, he could be good at it to be quite honest. And he did all that stuff with the pharmaceuticals. And --

KING: Oh, I think he'd be very good at it, what he's done for the pharmaceutical -- in the pharmaceutical industry. He's well respected. He's well liked. He's super smart. It wouldn't surprise me if he wanted to get into politics. Have you heard about him wanting to do that?

BARKLEY: I have been asked that question 50 times since yesterday, Jake. Like I know, I was like, I don't know. I just heard about the sale. But people think he's getting into politics. I personally would be happy because I think he's a wonderful guy.


BARKLEY: And I think we need another party, independent. We really do. I think he would be tremendous. I don't know if he's, I mean, this is a really quick turnaround, because we're less than a year from the next presidential election. So I will be -- that's a really quick turnaround to try to get a group together. But he will be tremendous -- Mark is going to be successful at anything he does.

KING: Whenever he does. Yes.


TAPPER: So I'm imagining that this is -- this Cuban and his business dealings and his future, this just as like a small snapshot of the kind of thing you two are going to be diving into in your new show, "King Charles." Tell us more about what people can expect.

BARKLEY: Well, I think tonight the debut, we've got to have Fat Joe on to talk about the trial going on in Atlanta about whether or not just rappers but any musician, lyrics should be used against them. I think that's a fascinating conversation. We're going to have Laura Coates on. She's an amazing lawyer obviously at CNN. That to me, is a fascinating subject because I don't really know the right or wrong answer. We're going to have Steve Kerr on.


KING: I don't think you should tell him anything else because we want people to watch.

TAPPER: Yes, yes.

KING: We're going to tell you, Jake, we're not going to tell you.

TAPPER: OK, OK. That's fine.

KING: But I do think you should know this. We're going to talk about stuff that we think is interesting, stuff that's in the news, whether it's pop culture, whether it's politics, whether it's sports, of course, we have a world class athletes here in the house.

BARKLEY: Used to be.

KING: No, you're still -- you should see when this man walks on the street. The people lose their minds talking about sports with him. So I mean, we're going to cover all the topics that are interesting to us. We'd like to think it's a place you come just to get. We've been saying the promos, unfiltered conversation. And I think that's part of it. But we just want to have fun and give people a break.

TAPPER: I think it's great. I mean, I would -- I can't imagine anything better than just listening to you two have a conversation because separately I've had conversations with both of you.

KING: We can either.

TAPPER: I know. I mean, like you're both brilliant raconteurs. And like it really is --

KING: No, that's nice of you to say.

BARKLEY: Jake, number one, I want to thank you for putting dynamic duo up on the screen. But also, you know, me and Gayle been talking for the last 48 hours because there's an article out how much we hate each other. And --


BARKLEY: I was -- yes, we hate each other. We've been bickering behind the scenes. So we go try to cover it up and put on a great show.

KING: That's people just try -- yes, that's trying to be -- that's people stirring the pot. But Jake, I know we got to go because we only have five minutes and 45 seconds. But bravo to you and your dad of C.J. Rice, because of the article that you and your dad wrote, I'm sure you've talked about it on your show.

TAPPER: We've talked about it a little bit. And I saw that you talked about on CBS Mornings.

KING: Yes, on CBS Mornings, yes. Bravo, bravo to you and your dad.

TAPPER: Thank you. Well, his conviction was overturned. And thank you so much for having us on to talk about it last October. And we're so grateful to you, Gayle, you did an update with your amazing team yesterday. And hopefully he'll be out in a couple of months. So it's really amazing.

KING: I hope so. And I hope you'll come back and bring him.

TAPPER: Oh, I --

KING: We like you Jake Tapper.

TAPPER: We will.

KING: I hope you'll come back and bring him, seriously.

TAPPER: Yes. And Sir Charles, you know what, he's a huge Sixers fan. So, we're -- I'm going to make you take us to a Sixers game sometime because that -- he deserves it. And he writes -- he and my dad write letters to each other about the team. So I'm going to make you take us to a game.

KING: What can we say, he's going to make you.

BARKLEY: Jake, I would take you and your dad and this young man, I would love to take you out to a Sixers game as my guest.

TAPPER: All right. That's wonderful.

KING: Nice.

TAPPER: Gayle King, Charles Barkley, thank you both. I'm so psyched that you're part of the CNN family.

KING: Thank you for having us. Us too. Thank you Jake.

TAPPER: And you guys at home, catch the premiere of "King Charles" tonight at 10 o'clock Eastern right here on CNN. You are not going to want to miss it. THE LEAD is back in a moment.



TAPPER: In our Health Lead, startling new data from the CDC today showing the number of deaths by suicide in the United States reaching a record high, a record high in 2022. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here with me now. Sanjay, a record high. What else did this report find?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let me give you some of these numbers. And the bad news is the record high as you mentioned, Jake. So what does that mean? It meant roughly a rate of 14.3 suicides per 100,000 people. So just think about that. If you live in a community of 100,000 people in 2022, 14 people would have died by suicide in your community.

It's not equal across the country but that's the sort of national average. You add up all the number of suicides, what they found was around 49,000, close to 50,000 people who died by suicide in 2022. Also, I found something really interesting, Jake, the last time it was this high, was back in 1941. So we went back and looked what has been going on in the United States.

And that's a little bit of a reflection of what has been happening with suicide in this country, just to give you an idea. So you can stare at that for a second and say, OK, so early 2000s, we had a real low, and then it's been sort of steadily increasing since then what's been happening in the country during that time? That's one of the questions people ask.

Let me give you a little bit of good news in all of these. It's not great news, but a little bit of good news, children and teens. If you look at the youngest people who were studied who are part of this survey, you'll find that actually over this past year, the numbers have gone down among 10 to 14 year olds, 15 to 24 year olds, and 25 to 34 year olds.

But Jake, something seems to happen around mid-30s. That's when you start to see the numbers actually start to flip. And that's what accounts for most of the increase in suicides over this past year, Jake.

TAPPER: Was there any insight on the breakdown when it comes to gender or race?

GUPTA: Yes, it's really interesting. So the increase among women was higher this past year. But still men are overall much more likely rate per 100,000 to die by suicide versus women. And if you look specifically at race, they broke this down as well. You saw the five different races, Alaskan natives, American Indians, they were the highest, higher than the national average than whites than blacks, Hispanics and then Asians. People over 75 Jake highest rate overall.

As far as why such a difference between men and women, it's not clear. I mean, these are complicated sort of surveys, as you might imagine. But one thing that seems to distinguish the United States versus other countries is just that they may have the same number of attempts at suicide in many other developed countries. But completion much higher in the United States probably because of the types of methods including firearms which is much more readily available.


TAPPER: Right. Access to firearms. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.


TAPPER: If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, or mental health issues, please remember the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available all the time, 24/7. The number to text or to call is 988. Again, that number is 988. There is help for you. There is love for you. We'll be right back.


TAPPER: Your true loves perfect gift for the 12 days of Christmas is more expensive than ever. The cost of this dozen gifts in the 12 days of Christmas song reached an all-time high, $46,000 this year, according to PNC Financial Services which for some reason makes this calculation every year. So 10 lords-a-leaping has leapt to the top of the list, it will cost more than $14,000. While eight maids-a-milking remains the cheapest at $58 reflecting the federal minimum wage and no doubt the pay inequity for maids-a-milking. The biggest change percentage wise, it's $750 for the rare twin turtledoves that flew up 25 percent from last year.


Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM". I'll see you tomorrow.