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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Police: UNLV Shooting Suspect Dead; Victims In Hospitals; Nevada Grand Jury Indicts Six Pro-Trump Fake Electors; Pence Put On Witness List In Georgia Election Case; Senate Republicans Threaten To Block Funding For Israel And Ukraine In Vote Happening Now; Sen. Chris Coons, (D-DE), Is Interviewed About Aid To Israel, Ukraine, Border Security; Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), Is Interviewed About Joe Biden Not Sure Of Running In 2024 If Trump Wasn't In Race; One-On-One With Relative Hostage Held By Hamas; Anderson Cooper's Latest Podcast Looks At Grief And Loss. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired December 06, 2023 - 17:00   ET



STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They said that a number of victims have been transferred to area hospitals. It is also worth noting that UMC is the only level one trauma center in Nevada, and it's in Las Vegas. And they say at this time, they have not received any patients. So that's also another detail that's interesting to note here.

But obviously, word spread, the students took this very seriously that this was a real threat and we're hunkering down. Now, at this point, what we know is that authorities are really working to help get all of the students, staff and faculty off of campus. And so they have set up a place for everyone to be unified with their loved ones. And that is going to be at the convention center, the North Hall of the convention center, and they're going to slowly begin moving students there. We also know the police at the same time are going building by building.

And from what we understand, this is a large campus, they're going building by building, floor by floor, making sure that they can go in and clear each floor, making sure that there's no one else that may be injured, making sure that if there are people who are still scared, still hunkering down, that they are helping them to get them out of the building and get them to safety and get them back with their loved ones. So these are all some of the things that we have been seeing as long with some of the images that we've been looking at coming out of Las Vegas, where they're showing armored vehicles, SWAT vehicles making their way into the scene as they expanded the perimeter around the campus. All of that, making people very nervous in the area, but at the same time police are saying this is now a time where we don't have any other threat, but they still want people to avoid the area. And also looking at just everything else that has been happening here around the community. We can also now tell you that UNLV was expected to play a basketball game versus University of Dayton and that the team is actually in Ohio, but that game has now been canceled.

It was supposed to be played at 09:00 p.m. Eastern Time, we now know that that has been cancelled at this point. But looking at what these people have been through, it's no surprise that UNLV and the rest of the higher education institutions throughout the entire state of Nevada have canceled school for the rest of the day. And this all during a study period where the students are supposed to be hunkering down and preparing for those final exams before they go off on their winter break. So all of that is what has been happening here, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Stephanie Elam will check back with you. Thank you so much.

I want to bring in CNN Law Enforcement Analyst Steve Moore.

Steve, now that the suspect is deceased, what's the main priority for police on the scene on the campus of UNLV right now?

STEVE MOORE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Jake, what happens now is you've gone from your first phase, which is the exigent phase, the most exigent phase and ending the threat into a recovery situation. You've got to have -- depending on the number of casualties you might have, you've got to have a triage center, a mass casualty, call out, essentially, and you have to tend to the victims, and you have to search for victims, you have to go through all the buildings that this person might have accessed. And finally, what you've got is concurrently with the investigation going on about who this guy is and why he did this. You've got to go through every building where somebody might have received that warning text, and make sure that you still don't have people hunkering down in their fearful for their lives. And that is a difficult situation, because they're going to take anybody coming into a room as a potential threat.

So this is a long involved process.

TAPPER: How can police be confident that there is no other shooter? That there is no further threat?

MOORE: Well, that's a good question, because as somebody who's run one of these on site, you don't want to be the one to say, oh, there's only one and then hear gunshots. So, you have to be absolutely certain of identity, motive things along that line. And so what you're going to want to do is number one, go with statistics 99 percent of the time, it's a single actor. Secondarily, though, you have to identify the person, you have to find out if they have friends, if they have associates who might be a part of something like this. You have to get in as quickly as you can to their social media, interview friends and family and acquaintances and determine what a potential motive is and if there are potential accomplices.

TAPPER: We still don't know the motive for that mass shooting in Las Vegas in -- from 2017, right? I mean, it's not always easy. How will investigators go about figuring out a motive?


MOORE: Well, yes you're right, that one is just out of the ballpark. We just don't know what's going on there. But in most of these, you're going to find some triggering aspect of the person's personality, their situation, anything that might be happening in their life. Hypothetically, you could find that this person is a business student. One of the halls involved, I believe, was part of the business school.

Maybe he was asked to leave school. You're going to go in and find any life stressors, you're going to find out what their writings are. Very rarely does somebody do something like this without leaving a trail of breadcrumbs, of social media, of writings, of rantings to friends, things like that. They don't go out and lose their life over something so insignificant that they haven't talked to somebody about it.

TAPPER: All right, Steve Moore, thank you so much for your insights.

Let's bring back CNN's Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analysts, John Miller and former DHS Assistant Secretary and CNN National Security Analyst, Juliette Kayyem.

John, what are the biggest questions you have right now?

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, the biggest questions we have are still the fluid ones, which is what is the extent the human factor here? How many people have been hurt or killed? The good news, if you can call it good news, are -- is that the numbers we're getting are these single digit numbers, maybe three with one deceased being the shooter. We don't know the condition of those other people, those numbers can change.

One of the factors about, you know, Sheriff McMahill, the fire chief and the chief of the university police coming up to the microphone and saying so little is having been in these situations myself, the information changes, the numbers go up, the numbers go down, they're adjusted, the facts shift, because different facts are coming in, literally as you're walking up to the microphone, so you try to say what you're sure of. But those numbers are fairly reassuring in that we've seen so much worse. The governor has been in direct touch with them talking about things like the halting of classes in all the other state universities across Nevada, they were clear that was an out of an abundance of caution. But they wanted to do that in a way so that if this incident were perhaps connected to a network of other planned incidents, and that is not what we are seeing, that those schools would have already reduced the number of people there and the activity to make themselves safe.

Interestingly, Joe Lombardo, the governor who is in close touch with the sheriff here used to be the sheriff here. During the last Las Vegas sniper incident, he was the man in charge. So, this is not a politician who's got some vague awareness of the dynamics here. He's been in the thick of it himself many times.

So what happens now? First is suspect has been identified, they have a name. They are working with that name to go backwards now. Where did he come from? Where did this weapon come from?

Where was he bedding down and laying his head? Is he a resident there? If so, let's get that house locked down by patrol, make sure that no one has been hurt or injured inside there, then secure that for a search warrant because they're going to want to look. Where's his computer? Where's his phone?

Where are, you know, any evidences of a manifesto or a message boards or chat rooms he's been in. So those wheels are all turning backwards. The two major developments, we have some victim numbers and they are thankfully small. We don't know their condition. And two, we believe there's only one gunman and he is out of the picture right now.

TAPPER: And Juliette, you note that there can be a ripple effect and the impact that some of these --


TAPPER: -- social cancellations will have on students after an event like this.

KAYYEM: Yes, we call it sort of the social consequences of gun violence in America. So this is what happens to the people who aren't shot. So you're going to have the immediate community of students and teachers and faculty and staff they are shut down for at least through tomorrow, if not longer and. And long term studies of college and university shooting show that students do have sort of increased fear that things like a car backing up or other triggering noises can cause significant mental harm and other harms.

But then I just want people that like, you know, that were just a couple of weeks after Maine, so in Lewiston we would close out a community essentially every university for a couple days with precaution and in honor of what happened. Here you have an airport close, the strip close somewhat, you have every, every university in Nevada, every state university closed.


Now, this may be correct in terms of the abundance of caution and also there's a respect issue to it. But we, you know, we focus on those who are shot and those who are dead, obviously. But we should not lose cognizance of the social consequences that our society is adapting to closing the airport, closing universities, depriving children of school, essentially, and commerce and all the other things that happen because of the number of gun shootings. And as John said, because we simply don't know whether it's done. So it's just worth remembering in our reporting about what these you know, these social consequences that we sometimes forget, as we talk, of course, about the victims.

TAPPER: Juliette Kayyem and John Miller, we're going to continue to follow the breaking news. Police now say at least three individuals were victims in the UNLV shooting. We do not know the extent of their injuries. As soon as we learn the extent of their injuries, we will bring that to you.

We are also following another big story out of Nevada, at least six people were indicted by a grand jury in Nevada, they are accused of participating in a scheme intended to overturn the 2020 election. We're back in a moment with that story.



TAPPER: Welcome back. We're following a major story in our law and justice lead today. A Nevada grand jury has indicted six people who acted as pro-Trump fake electors in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election and subvert the will of the American people. Let's get straight to CNN's Kyung Lah who is here.

Kyung, tell us what you're learning about the indictment?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, well, this indictment was announced by the attorney general. The state attorney general had said at one point that he wasn't going to pursue this but then something changed. And let's show you a little bit about what this all goes back to. It was in December 14, 2020, six people in the state of Nevada had gathered to sign what was a fake electoral, she's saying that they were giving the six electoral votes in Nevada and declaring Donald Trump the winner. The problem, this is all fake, even though it looks like a ceremony, it's not.

And this became part of the charade of the 2020 lie. And so the attorney general in Nevada has now announced these indictments handed down by a grand jury. What has happened to these Republican leaders, many of them leaders in the state party, we found them still basically leading that party in the state of Nevada. We found at least two who are now crisscrossing the state talking about next year's caucuses. Take a listen.


LAH: Hadn't spoken that you're not going to comment on whether you spoke in anybody.

JIM HINDLE, NEVADA REPUBLICAN VICE CHAIRMAN: I'm not going to comment on anything that's going on. Right. So --

LAH: But you do understand it's --

HINDLE: Please, if you would turn that off, we have nothing to talk about really on that. Yes. I have nothing to say.

LAH: Do you still believe Trump won?

JIM DEGRAFFENREID, NEVADA STATE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEEMAN: Yes, it's irrelevant. The Electoral College elects the president and so the Electoral College elected Joe Biden. So Joe Biden is the president.

LAH: Then how do you explain what happened in 2020? That ceremony you participated in and the document you signed?

DEGRAFFENREID: Again, no comment on that.


LAH: The irony a little thick there. The others have also maintained some leadership in the Republican Party. And even one of the people who are announced as a defendant today, Jake, Jesse Law, he announced his candidacy for a state assembly seat. It's important to note that these are felonies charges, very serious carrying a max penalty, and one of the C felonies for five years, a maximum of five years.

TAPPER: Yes, ironically named Jesse Law --

LAH: Jesse Law.

TAPPER: -- I guess.

LAH: The irony, all of it place.

TAPPER: Let's bring in CNN's Kristen Holmes and Tom Dupree who worked in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.

Tom, how serious are these charges? And are you surprised it took until the end of 2023 to bring them?

TOM DUPREE, FORMER PRINCIPAL DEP. ASST. ATTORNEY GENERAL GEORGE W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION: Well, the first question, they're very serious. These are felony charges. You can face incarceration for several years. As to whether I'm surprised about the duration that it took to bring these charges, yes, a little bit. In other words, this was an election that happened, you know, about three years ago.

And the fact that it took this long to bring what a relatively straightforward charges, they're basically false attestation false documents signing charges, it is a little curious it took three years. I think what that reflects is that in these intervening three years, there's been some developments. So we have witnesses who participated in this scheme, not necessarily the people under indictment, but other people, people that have been in the news and Georgia, for example, who may well have been cooperating or have started to cooperate with the Nevada attorney general. So the Nevada attorney general may now have access to evidence and testimony that he didn't have previously. And that's why he decided that now is the time to bring these charges.

TAPPER: Kenneth Chesebro, perhaps.

DUPREE: Perhaps, perhaps.

TAPPER: We don't know. We don't know. But we know he's been allowed to travel to specific states where these investigations are going on.

And Kristen, this election lie, it's still at the heart of the Trump campaign. You could even say it animates Mr. Trump and his campaign and animates so much of the messaging that the GOP pushes out there.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's true. I mean, what we have talked about time and time, again, particularly on this show, is that one of Donald Trump's main messages is that one, 2020 was a rigged election, and two, the democratic process of elections is rigged and illegitimate as a whole. And that is what when you hear multiple people, including anti Trump, Republicans and Democrats talking about what a Trump second term would look like that is why they use the term anti-democratic because of those processes that he fights.

Now, when it comes to this case, in particular, what's interesting and what we've seen in the past is this is really the time where the Trump lawyers and the Trump team start going through who these indicted people are and what their relationship could be to the former president. And I will point out that at least two names, two of the people who were indicted in Nevada actually testified before Jack Smith in that grand jury, and that just goes to show you that there is some level of interest outside of just Nevada that potentially at some point Jack Smith had in some of these individuals regarding this fake electoral scheme.


And that is going to be one of the things that Trump's team themselves are looking at when they are trying to figure out who exactly are these people, what exactly do they know, who are they connected to, because as we saw in Georgia as well, that's part of this. Are they going to flip? Are they going to cooperate? And what does that look like for the former president?

TAPPER: So what happens next?

LAH: Well, and you know, Michael McDonald, you know, as we answer this question, you know, what happens next politically as well as in the legal space? I mean, politically, Michael McDonald is, as you well know, one of Trump's closest allies in the west. So, it's a question of where does this lead. We don't know. The attorney general was scheduled to have a news conference today that has been now delayed because of the news, the unfortunate news out Nevada.

TAPPER: Yes, the shooting. Yes. OK.

And, Tom, there's this other major legal story today. Sources say prosecutors in the Georgia election subversion case have officially put former Vice President Mike Pence on their list of possible witnesses. If he is put on the stand, can he claim executive privilege and refused to answer question?

DUPREE: I would be shocked if he claimed executive privilege and refused to answer questions. I think that he will answer the questions. And look, this doesn't surprise -- shouldn't surprise anyone. In other words, Vice President Pence was obviously central to a lot of the events that unfurled in January 6 in the run up to that. Doesn't surprise me that he would testify. From the prosecutor's perspective, he would be one of the most credible witnesses all, former presidents vice president, who was at the scene of so many of these contested events.

TAPPER: All right, thanks to everybody. Appreciate it.

A major vote is underway right now in the U.S. Senate where Republicans are threatening to block funding for U.S. allies Ukraine and Israel until there is a deal to get substantive policy changes when it comes to border security. We're back with that next.



TAPPER: And we're back with breaking news from Capitol Hill. The votes in the U.S. Senate on aid to Ukraine and Israel is just wrapping up, Democrats and Republicans have been in a stalemate over whether to also include tighter immigration policies in that aid package. With us now to discuss Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He's a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He's also national co-chair for President Biden's 2024 campaign.

Senator, the Senate is set to go home for the holidays next week. Will this aid package pass before you all go home and wish each other a merry Christmas?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Jake, we should not go home for the holidays without passing this urgent supplemental funding bill that would sustain Ukraine's fight against Russian aggression, provide critically needed assistance to Israel, fund humanitarian relief for innocent civilians from Gaza to Ukraine to a dozen other countries and support our partners and allies in the Indo Pacific who are standing up to Chinese aggression. It's a big and broad package. And it also includes the single largest investment in border security. President Biden's request would include 13 billion for border security, they would hire 1000s of Border Patrol agents, Customs and Border Protection agents, asylum officers, and significantly improve border security.

My hope is that after today's vote, we can get down to the business of crafting a compromise that can pass. Leader Schumer gave the Republicans a path forward by promising them the First Amendment vote on this package. I know that's procedural. But the point is that if we can get 60 senators between the two parties to agree to a responsible compromise on border security, Leader Schumer has guaranteed that we'll get a vote and what to get attached to this package. We now have a very short timeline to get this urgent work done.

TAPPER: So, the Senate is classified briefing on Ukraine yesterday, you were there, correct?

COONS: Yes, I was.

TAPPER: Devolved into a shouting match over border security. And Republicans --

COONS: Yes, it did.

TAPPER: -- say the meeting was a waste of time because you guys, the Democrats, refuse to even let them address border security. Now the White House is supplemental the request, as you know, includes 14 billion for border security. So did shutting down border talk at that meeting hurt the bill's chances of passing? COONS: I frankly think that that performance at the briefing, and the vote today was meant to signal that Republicans are united and firm in insisting changes in border security policy. I also think the President supplemental showed the willingness to invest massively in border security. And we should stop with the theatrics and get to the bargaining table and close the gap between the two parties.

TAPPER: If the Republicans want tougher border policies, right, and they want tougher asylum policies, they want to, you know, we want it to be easier for the Border Patrol to send people, send people who are not in this country legally back over the border. And the border crossings are at a, I mean, I remember when then DHS Secretary said 4,000 people crossing the border, I think I forget if it was a day or a week, but he said that was a crisis and the number right now is something like 14,000, right? It's exponentially higher. Why would you not want the President to have the ability to alleviate this crisis?


COONS: Well, Jake, that's exactly the sorts of things we are talking about. There's a record number of people crossing the border and seeking asylum. That's why there have been negotiations over the last few weeks about how we might modify or change the standards for asylum review. The overwhelming majority of the people who cross our border, claim asylum, and then go into our legal process for several years, are ultimately found to not be eligible for asylum.

So I do think there's room for us to agree on a higher initial screening standard, on faster processing, on investing more and making sure that those who've got a credible, legitimate legal claim that they're being persecuted because of their faith or their political views have a chance to get into our country. But the majority who do not, don't get into our country. I do think we can work this out. Jake?

TAPPER: President Biden told donors behind closed doors that he wasn't sure he would be seeking another term if Donald Trump weren't running. What's your reaction to that? And are you still sure that he's the best one to take on Donald Trump? I understand in 2020, that was his argument. He's the only one that can beat Trump. He's the only one that could get that coalition together, et cetera. Are you sure that that's still the case? I've heard some Democrats say he might be the only one that can lose to Trump.

COONS: I disagree with that, Jake. That's for sure. Given today is another tragic day where Americans are mourning the loss of victims in a mass shooting. I'll remind you it was five years ago that Las Vegas suffered one of the worst largest most tragic mass shootings in American history at the Mandalay Bay, where there was a shooter who killed dozens and dozens of people.

President Biden last year signed into law, the most significant gun safety legislation, the most significant investments in community mental health in our Safer Communities Act in decades. He was derided in the early primaries in 2020 in my party, for being naive for believing that he could accomplish big things in a bipartisan way. And President Biden has signed into law, the largest investment and infrastructure since Eisenhower, the biggest reduction in prescription drug prices ever, the largest efforts to combat climate change ever. He has a remarkable record on which he can run in 2020.

And let me just remind you in closing, Jake, President Trump, former President Trump has said he wants to bring back a Muslim ban that would use religion as the basis to bar people from coming into our country, and to use the National Guard to screen people throughout our country, round them up and deport them from the interior of our country.


COONS: He has a whole series of extreme immigration proposals that don't reflect the values of our country. President ran in 2020 to oppose that to restore the soul of our nation. And I'm convinced he's the right leader to carry us forward in that important work.

TAPPER: Don't tell me tell the Democrats in Dearborn. Democratic Senator Chris Coons, thanks so much for your time.

There was an intense confrontation between families of hostages and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. CNN has the leaked audio of that confrontation and that's next.



TAPPER: And our worldly now, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israeli forces are encircling the home of the top leader of Hamas in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar. But acknowledges that Sinwar might not be there. CNN's Alex Marquardt is following developments in the Israel- Hamas war from Tel Aviv.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The new phase that Israel's military announced now leaving Gaza's second biggest city, Khan Yunis, in chaos and parts in ruin. This resident of Khan Yunis searching the rubble of this house after an Israeli strike. Humde Tiniro (ph) says 30 people were inside, most of them children.

Everybody is hurt, he says. I don't know how we made it out alive.

Israel's military said Wednesday morning and had carried out about 250 airstrikes in Gaza in the previous 24 hours. It is now operating, quote, in the heart of Khan Yunis telling civilians to evacuate parts of the city. This Israeli leaflet has a verse on it from the Koran. Ominously, it refers to Noah's warning that a flood was coming. The flood overtook them, it reads, while they persisted in wrongdoing. What isn't flowing into Gaza is enough aid. The Biden administration has sharply warned Israel, they aren't doing enough. And the U.S. hopes to see a change in Israeli military tactics. During this new phase.

MATTHEW MILLER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: Too many Palestinian civilians continue to be killed. We want to see the civilian death toll lower than it has been. We want to see the civilian death toll lower than it is today, lower than it has been the past few days.

MARQUARDT (voice-over): in Northern Gaza. The IDF said today they found a large cache of weapons including missiles, rocket propelled grenades and all kinds of explosives. And while Israel expands and intensifies its operations, 138 hostages are still in captivity, with talks over their release broken down.

New recordings released Wednesday revealed angry confrontations by released hostages and hostage families in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Some accused him of prioritizing politics and said the military's pummeling of Gaza threatened the hostages' lives. A former hostage whose husband is still in captivity accused Netanyahu of having no intelligence on the hostages locations.

The feeling we had there was that no one was doing anything for us, she said. The fact is that I was hiding in a place that was shelled and we had to be smuggled out and we were wounded. At one point Netanyahu was heckled with cries of shame.


Another woman told the defense minister, I'm not willing to sacrifice my son for your career. My son did not volunteer to die in defense of the homeland. He was a citizen who was kidnapped from his home, from his bed.


TAPPER: And our thanks to CNN's Alex Marquardt for that report.

Joining us now is Moshe Lavi. His brother-in-law Omri Miran was captured by Hamas and taken to Gaza on October 7th. So you were not at the meeting with Netanyahu and the war cabinet in Israel. But you had representatives there. What did they have to tell you about the meeting?

MOSHE LAVI, RELATIVE OF HAMAS HOSTAGE: Yes, my sister, Lishay, is survivor of October 7th. And Omri, my brother-in-law father was -- were there, Danny. They said it was a difficult meeting. But they also spoke of what they heard of what other hostages experienced those who were released, they were horrified to hear of the treatment they had with Hamas. And of course, that emphasize the urgency to release all the hostages as soon as possible.

They spoke as well of the interactions that were there with elected officials, some were more positive than others. But we are going to keep advocating going to go and meet those elected officials, whether here in the U.S. internationally or in Israel, because they are the ones who were chosen to take the right decision and release the hostages.

TAPPER: Is there anything you can tell us about the treatment of the hostages by Hamas? Because I think that's important for people to know.

LAVI: Yes, from what we heard from the reports that were allowed to be add, people were under almost starvation conditions. Some were abuse, electrically shocked, irrespective of whether there were Israeli or foreign nationals. People were showering in groups in front of their captures, Hamas terrorists. And there were other kinds of incidents that were possibly of sexual nature, both to women and men.

Those are some of the reports we heard. We hear that men are treated even more severely than women. And we are, as a result, we understand that every second in captivity is eternity. And time is of the essence to release the hostages.

TAPPER: Do you think the Netanyahu government is doing everything it can to get the hostages home?

LAVI: I believe that it is my role as a citizen of Israel to continue advocating for the release of citizens of my country. I think it's my role as a family of a loved one who is in captivity to continue advocating for him. I'm not a politician, not a military strategist. And I'm not going to choose what the government is going to do. I am lucky I live in a democracy, because come elections, I'll be able to judge the decision and whether the decision led to the release of my brother-in-law and the release of all the hostages or not.

TAPPER: I know that one of the hostages said at the meeting that I don't know if it was a man or woman, I assume it was a woman just because the women are being released. That the intelligence, Israeli intelligence, they don't know what they're talking about, because they heard bombs hitting nearby. And she doubted that they knew what they were doing when they were bombing. And obviously, there are serious questions about Israeli intelligence given what happened on October 7th.

LAVI: Yes, I think there was an issue of trust. There is an issue of trust after what happened on October 7th. But I believe that the Israeli military, the IDF, is doing what they can in order to ensure they minimize, generally civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, but specifically making sure the hostages are not in harm's way.

So I believe the release hostage for what she said, they experienced the most horrific thing and we need to keep hugging them once they released. Keep believing them, keep hearing them. But at the same time, I want to also believe that my government is doing what it is expected to do, which is to bring about the release.

TAPPER: Sometimes I feel like we're living in the upside down because while obviously the Palestinian people have been victims of Hamas in many ways too since they were elected in 2006. And then since they stopped elections from happening, and since Hamas began oppressing them around that same time. There was a group of Americans, a sizable group that do not understand, this is a twisted group of people who kill gays, who oppress women, who -- this is a terrorist organization. This is not a revolutionary organization.

LAVI: Yes, I totally agree with you. I grew up in Sderot, a blue collar town on the Israel-Gaza border. I spent most of my life there. I served on the Israel-Gaza border as well in a unit called COGAT, coordinating with the Palestinian Authority and the international community to reduce the stress and suffering in the Gaza Strip.


But I know Hamas is not a friend of the Palestinian cause. I know it's not a friend of Israel, definitely not a friend of Israelis. And it's not a friend of freedom and liberty. And for that reason, it's an organization that should not be allowed to exist after this horrific war. But for me, my priority right now is not Hamas. My priority right now is for Israel and the international community do all they can to bring about the release of the hostages.

And I'm talking as well about putting pressure on countries like Qatar and Turkey to understand --


LAVI: -- there is a cost for their policies and their interaction with Hamas to put pressure on countries like Russia and Iran, to put pressure on the U.N. and the ICRC to do their job, do humanitarian mission and fulfill that humanitarian mission to visit the hostages and provide medical attention, that's my mission.

TAPPER: Omri Miran, your brother-in-law is no different from any other hostage being held unfairly, unjustly by any other group in the world. Moshe Lavi, thank you so much. We're going to keep covering these hostages until every one of them is home.

LAVI: Thank you.

TAPPER: Thank you for being here. We appreciate it.

Coming up, CNN's Anderson Cooper with a deeply personal project, he's been working on one that will affect every single one of us. Stay with us.



TAPPER: As you know CNN's Anderson Cooper has a fantastic new podcast about grief and loss. It's called, all there is. It's -- I just can't recommend it highly enough. And the latest episode, Anderson reflects on his brother who died by suicide. And he spoke with President Biden, who also knows quite a bit, quite a lot, in fact, way too much about what it's like to lose someone you love.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A few days before I spoke with President Biden, I was going through a box of stuff in my basement that belonged to my brother, Carter, who died by suicide when he was 23.

I don't have a lot of pictures of my brother on display in my house. His death is still so painful to me that I find it hard to see his photos. These two pictures really stunned me. They were taken shortly before Carter graduated from Princeton in 1987. He looks so young and happy. There's no hint that 15 months after this picture was taken, he'd killed himself in front of her mom.

Looking at these photos, I don't recognize my brother. And I realized I don't think I ever really knew him. I didn't allow myself to. And I didn't allow him to know me. When her dad died, Carter was 12 and I was 10. And it slapped us both into silence. We never spoke about my dad with each other or with anyone. I think my brother would be alive if we had.

Why is it so hard to talk about loss and grief? We all go through it, so why do we keep it hidden away, cry in private, speak the names of our loved ones in hushed whispers only we can hear. That's why I wanted to talk with President Biden. He's been more public about grief than any American president in history. And this is his most personal interview yet.

COOPER: Do you ever still feel overwhelmed by grief?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I do as it relates to my son, Beau. In God willing, I'm going to see him again.

COOPER (voice-over): Beau Biden died in 2015. And in 1972, President Biden's first wife, Neilia, died in a car crash with her 13-month-old daughter, Naomi.

BIDEN: I found myself spending a lot of time. What could I have done? Was it my fault this all happened? What could I have done differently?

COOPER (voice-over): The interview is deeply revealing. The most powerful man in the world, talking about the private pain he still feels.

BIDEN: I opened one of the boxes and never been opened and there was a scrapbook. And there was a picture of the car. I took it downstairs and I burned it. I could not, could not, I don't want to know the detail.

COOPER (voice-over): Grief doesn't go away. But we can learn to live with it and learn from it. And like President Biden find purpose beyond the pain. The second episode of season two, our President's grief is available wherever you listen to podcasts.


TAPPER: So many people find comfort and meaning in that podcast. Our thanks to Anderson Cooper for sharing a bit of it. His podcast, All There Is, is available now. You can download it wherever you get your podcasts.

Coming up, an unprecedented indictment levied by the U.S. government, four Russian soldiers charged with war crimes against an American who lived in Ukraine. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our Law Injustice Lead today, the Justice Department has charged four Russian soldiers with war crimes against an American who was living in Ukraine during the Russian invasion. It's the first time the U.S. has used a decade's old law aimed at prosecuting those who commit war crimes against American citizens. Let's bring in CNN's senior justice correspondent Evan Perez. Evan, who are these four Russian soldiers and what exactly are they accused of doing?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they are two -- there are four members of the Russian military and they're accused of kidnapping an American who is living in this village called Milove in the Kherson region of Ukraine. They kidnapped him and held him for about 10 days, subjected him to torture including threatening sexual assault, subjecting him to a mock execution in which they shot a bullet just inches away from his head all over a period of 10 days, Jake.

Now this is the first time that the Justice Department is using a statute that's 30 years old, intended to go after people who commit crimes against Americans who are not combatants in a conflict in this case, of course, the Ukraine war. This all happened last year. The Justice Department, you know, the FBI and Homeland Security has sent agents over there to collect evidence, Jake, on these war crimes. And the plan is to not stop here. They're going to bring additional cases according to the Attorney General today.


TAPPER: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much.

And tonight after the Republican presidential debate, look post-debate analysis hosted by CNN's Anderson Cooper and Dana Bash 10 o'clock Eastern on CNN. Coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in The Situation Room. Thanks for watching.