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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Michigan School Shooter Sentenced To Life Without Parole; U.S. Grapples With A String Of Bigotry And Hateful Acts; Three University Leaders Face Pressure After Antisemitism Testimony; Appeals Court Upholds Most Of Trump Gag Order In Federal Election Subversion Case; Christie In New Hampshire, Hoping To Drive Up Enthusiasm Among Young Voters; Sheryl Sandberg: Rape Should Never Be Used As An Act Of War. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired December 08, 2023 - 16:00   ET



JUDGE KWAME ROWE, OAKLAND COUNTY, MICHIGAN CIRCUIT COURT: But it still does not change the court's opinion about him being obsessed with violence because his obsession was also outlined in the websites that he visited. His obsession was also outlined in his extensive drawings of violence. And his obsession continued as I noted in the court's opinion and order, even while he was in the Oakland County jail.

With that, the court having vetted the PSI and being familiar with the defendant and the facts of this case, believes that it is in the best interest of justice as well as proportionate to the needs of this case to sentence the defendant as follows:

As it relates in Docket 202227506FC, count one, terrorism causing death. Sentence of the court that the defendant shall serve life without the possibility of parole, credit for eight days served.

Counts two through five, homicide first degree, premeditated murder, juvenile defendant. The defendant shall serve the rest of his life without the possibility of parole, with the Michigan Department of Corrections, credit for eight days served.

On counts six through 12, assault with intent to murder on each of the counts, the defendant is sentenced to 18 years and nine months, to 80 years with the Michigan Department of Corrections, credit for eight days served.

On counts 13 through 24, those being felony firearm, defendant is sentenced of two years with the Michigan Department of Corrections on each of those counts, with credit for 730 days served.

Counts one through 12 are concurrent to each other, and counts 13 through 24 are concurrent to each other. Count one is consecutive to count 13. Count two is consecutive to count 14. Count three is consecutive to count 15.

Count four is consecutive to count 16. Count five is consecutive to count 17. Count six is consecutive to count 18. Count seven is consecutive to count 19. Count eight is consecutive to count 20.

Count nine is consecutive to count 21. Count 10 is consecutive to count 22. Count 11 is consecutive 23. And count 12 is consecutive to count 24.

All of those consecutive counts are by reason of the felony firearm statute. Is there a challenge to restitution here?

ATTORNEY: There is not, Your Honor.

ROWE: Thank you.

Restitution will be sent in the amount of $20,781. State cost will be set in the amount of $1,632. You are not to have any contact with Oxford House School, or enter any -- excuse me, enter Oxford High School. You are not to have any contact whatsoever with the families of Madisyn Baldwin, Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, and Justin Shilling.

Also, you are not to have any contact with the following victims or their families, that being Phoebe Arthur (ph), John Ocedo (ph), Molly Darnell (ph), Riley France (ph), Elijah Mueller (ph), Kylie Osage (ph), Aidan Watson (ph), and Keegan Gregory (ph).

And I will note that restitution payable to the Crime Victim Right compensation program.

With that, Michigan Department of Correction, did I miss anything?


ROWE: Thank you. DNA cost $60. Crime Victims Right, $130. Did I miss anything else?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DNA testing your honor.

ROWE: DNA testing is hereby ordered. Thank you.

With that, Mr. Crumbley, you are entitled to file an application for leave to appeal. If you're financially unable to retain a lawyer, the court will appoint you a lawyer (INAUDIBLE) on appeal. The request for a lawyer must be filed within 42 days after sentencing. Your attorneys are going to be handing you an appellate rights form, sir.

Do you acknowledge receipt of the appellate rights form?

ATTORNEY: Your Honor, I have tendered that to my client. He has signed it.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Breaking news now out of Michigan, where Ethan Crumbley, the teenager who killed four fellow students and wounded others in a shooting at Oxford High School two years ago, was just sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. This after a dramatic day in court where dozens of people delivered emotional victim impact statements.

CNN's Jean Casarez is outside the courthouse in Pontiac, Michigan. And, Jean, an incredibly emotional day in that courtroom.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really was and I want to say once again that he was just sentenced, the defendant in this case, to life in prison without any possibility of parole.

And, Jake, legal history was just made in this case because according to the legal documents, this is a case of first impression in regard to sentencing. This defendant is the first one since the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that for a juvenile, life in prison without parole is in extraordinary sentence, only for the worst juvenile offender.


This, Ethan Crumbley, is the first defendant to be originally sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

There have been many that have been re-sentenced that early on got life in prison without the possibility of parole. But this is the first time since 2012 that someone has been originally sentenced and receive life without the possibility of parole.

Now saying that, today was all about the victims. It was all about what they had gone through. They had stood silent for two years now. They have been in that courtroom, I've been there, I've been to the hearings.

And as the prosecutors said in her closing argument, they didn't understand, in the sense that all of these due process rights for the defendant came out. But where were -- who cared about them today. The caring was for them, and we heard the stories.

And I think we may have some sounds, we can show the audience exactly what these family members of those that died, living, surviving victims that were shot, and family members, what they had to say.

TAPPER: All right. Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

The four innocent victims we should know are all just teenagers, Madisyn Baldwin, 17, Tate Myre, 16, Justin Shilling, 17, and Hana St. Juliana, 14 years old.

Joining us now, a trial attorney, Misty Marris.

Misty, your reaction to the sentence?

MISTY MARRIS, TRIAL ATTORNEY: You know Jake, I am not surprised. I spent the day watching all of the victims in this case, family members, those who are in the school on that day testify, and read their victim impact statements to the judge, and understanding the impact of Ethan Crumbley's actions on this community, on the victims families was truly gut-wrenching.

But more so than what the victors, victims set forward in the courthouse today, we've already seen much of what was going to be the basis for the judges decision on sentencing back during the summer, during what's called a Miller hearing. And Miller hearing is a prerequisite for life in prison, without the possibility of parole for a juvenile to even be on the table.

So what the judge focused on is, in his ultimate decision, and justification for the life without parole, which as jean said, is historic, because of Ethan Crumbley's age, 15 at the time of the crime, and 17 now, was a premeditation, the planning. There was a digital footprint, there was a journal.

Ethan Crumbley planned this, and he executed every single piece of his plan. And that was largely where the judge had his focus in this, in the sentencing today. And another thing, Jake, I do find, you know, to be something that we didn't know was going to happen, Ethan Crumbley spoke to the court.

And he said, no one could have stopped me. And he said I want to -- I want the sentence that all of the victims are asking for. So again, the judge used that in his ultimate determination. We heard that from the bench, this will be life in prison without the possibility of parole.

TAPPER: And what do you think is going to happen with the case against Ethan Crumbley's parents, for their alleged roles in allowing him access to guns, not seeming to do enough about warning signs concerning their son and more.

MARRIS: So, Jake, that's an excellent question. Because we know that that case is coming up right around the corner. That case is coming up in January.

So it is a novel legal theory. His parents are being charged with involuntary manslaughter, which relates directly back to the death of these victims, saying that not only did they have -- where they're omissions, that he had mental health issues, that they did not address, that they actually had an active role, because they purchased the gun that Ethan Crumbley ultimately used in killing these four individuals and terrorizing the school of that day.

So those -- that's the piece of it that is going to be decided. But that's not normally how the case like that manifest because in general, an individual cannot be held criminally responsible for the act of a third person, even when it's a parent. So, usually, these types of cases are child abuse, failure to lock up a firearm. We've seen those -- we've seen those legal theories.

So this legal theory is different involving involuntary manslaughter. Now defense attorney watching the judge's statement today from the bench will say, Ethan himself said nothing could have stopped him. So how can they find -- a jury find that this is reckless conduct? So, that's going to be part and parcel of the argument.


But how the case turns out is going to be really something to watch because it is a novel legal theory.

TAPPER: All right. Misty Marris, thanks so much.

Turning now to our national lead today, and the United States struggling at the most basic levels to be able to condemn and evolve past bigotry and hate.

Just today, New York police announced they are searching for a suspect who beat and robbed a Jewish man last night near an orthodox synagogue, on the first night of Hanukkah. Police say the victim was wearing traditional religious garb when the attacker punched him in the head, stole his cellphone and called him a dirty Jew.

Earlier today, a suspect accused of firing a gun in the air outside a New York synagogue, in Albany, yesterday, appeared in court. Police say he yelled "free Palestine" before he was arrested.

The violence and prejudice has also hit the Muslim and Arab communities in the U.S. Earlier this week, we saw a video of Hisham Awartani leaving the hospital in Vermont. He is one of the three Palestinian students so tragically shot in Vermont, while speaking English and Arabic, and wearing the keffiyehs. He is now paralyzed from the chest down. Awful.

But, we have to note, this has been a week of real attention to antisemitism in America. This morning, the White House disassociated itself from a leading Muslim American organization, the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR, after the president of care was discovered to have said this about the Hamas attacks on October 7th.


NIHAD AWAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECOTR, THE COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS: The people of Gaza only decided to break the siege, the walls of the concentration camp on October 7th. And yes, I was happy to see people breaking the siege, and throwing down the shackles of their own land. And to walk free, into their land, that they were not allowed to walk in.


TAPPER: In a statement after his remarks became public, the president of CAIR said that he condemned violence against all civilians, and all forms of bigotry, he claims his comments have been taken out of context.

And then, of course, you have the three presidents of three well- respected leading American universities, now facing multiple calls to resign after their disastrous testimony on Capitol Hill earlier this week. The leaders of MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, and Harvard, struggling to answer what seems like a fairly simple question from Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Dr. Kornbluth, at MIT, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate MIT's code of conduct, or rules regarding bullying in harassment? Yes or no? SALLY KORNBLUTH, PRESIDENT, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: If

it targeted individuals, not making public statements.


TAPPER: Now, it does seem like yes, would be the easy answer. Yes, as in it would be harassment if you are calling for the genocide of Blacks, or Latinos, or Muslims, or the trans community, or immigrants, or any other group one would hope.


LIZ MAGILL, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: It is a context- defendant decision, Congresswoman.

STEFANIK: Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard's rules of bullying and harassment? Yes or no?

CLAUDINE GAY, PRESIDENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It can be, depending on the context.

STEFANIK: What's the context?

GAY: Targeted as an individual. Targeted at an individual.


TAPPER: The answer for most of us is obviously yes. Calling for the genocide of any group would qualify as harassment on a college campus.

Now, there are several reasons I've heard hypothesize as to why the university president seemed to struggle to answer that question. One is that language calling for the death of Jews, especially in Israel, has become normalized on far too many American campuses. Just a few months ago for example, Penn allowed a book festival on campus that featured several speakers with a history of making antisemitic comments.

Another issue might have been the premise of Stefanik's definition of genocide, a premise that was not included in many of the viral clips.


STEFANIK: And you understand that the use of the term intifada in the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict is indeed a call for armed violent armed resistance against the state of Israel, including violence against civilians and the genocide of Jews. Are you aware of that?


TAPPER: Now as a factual matter, Stefanik was providing one definition of intifada. It's a prevalent one. But she was not providing the only definition. She was certainly providing one that a lot of Jews hear when they hear calls to globalize intifada. And for that matter, one that a lot of Jew haters use. But it's not the only definition. Intifada is a word that means, in

Arabic, shaking off, like a dog might shake off water. In the Arab world, it commonly means uprising, rebellion, or revolution.


Three years ago on al Jazeera's website, an essay was written during the Black Lives Matter protests, called globalize the intifada. It said, quote, across the globe, from the U.S. to the Middle East, pauperized citizenries are rising up to reform or remove the militarized, racist and violent governments and regimes ruling over them, unquote.

Now, that said, there are contexts to these things. A written article on a website is different then a mob shutting down a dining hall at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, this week, chanting intifada, while you are trying to enjoy your lunch, a few weeks after the deadliest attacks on Jews since the Holocaust.

As it pertains to Israel and the Palestinians, there have been two intifadas. Both of which were protests of Israel's occupation of the West Bank. They quickly turned violent and bloody against Palestinians, and including acts of terrorism against Israeli civilians in Israeli buses and restaurants.

So when students chant globalized the intifada, is every one of them knowingly saying they want to bring violence and slaughter to Jews around the world? I cannot imagine that to be the case, but doe that let them off the hook for using that term? Do they know how others take it?

What about "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free"? Israelis hear that and think, oh, you want to destroy Israel from the West Bank to Gaza. Is that what every college student chanting that term means?

In "The Wall Street Journal" this week, a poll revealed that less than half of the students who used the slogan "from the river to the sea", could actually name both the river and the sea. It is the Jordan River, in the Mediterranean Sea, by the way. Maybe more time reading, less time standing on the table in the dining halls.

Either way, it's not difficult to see why many Jews who hear these terms would think that globalizing the intifada means violence against Jews worldwide, especially after October 7th. And while that might not be whatever enchanting these terms means, it is certainly what a lot of folks hear.

And when you learned that the head of the Council on American Islamic Relations, the number one Muslim American group in America, is celebrating October 7th, well, let's just say, that doesn't help relations.

Let's bring in Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism around the world.

Thank you so much for being here.


TAPPER: So, every place you go around the world, you hear from Jews, and they are worried about coming here to the United States, particularly to college campuses I would think these days. Is it safe? It's safe for my kid in Canada? Or wherever? I hear about this university, I hear they're taking down mezuzahs. There is a visceral fear. Is it worse now than before?

LIPSTADT: It is worse now. It is more extensive. It is more pervasive. And I've heard, it since October 7th, I've been in Rome, I've been in Paris, I'm at the headquarters of UNESCO, I've been throughout Germany. I just came back from Canada this morning.

And I've heard from students, and people in universities, in many different places throughout the world, and it is a similar story. In Canada, one young man told me, he was on campus, and there was supposed to be a demonstration, an anti-Israel demonstration, in his Jewish friends called him and said, is it safe to come to campus?

A student at McGill took the mezuzah off in Montreal, off the outside of her door, put it on the inside of her door.

TAPPER: Can we tell people what mezuzahs are?

LIPSTADT: A mezuzah is a little container, it contains the words of the Shema, the sort of watch word of Judaism. The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

You put it on your door, sort of as a protective element.


LIPSTADT: And it has become a way of identifying, Jewish homes. And many students put it up on their doorway, and people put on the doors to their offices, et cetera, certainly their homes.

TAPPER: What do you tell people? Is it safe? Do you tell them it's safe?

LIPSTADT: I can't tell them. I'm sad. My heart is broken. I don't tell them yes or no. I wear Jewish stars. Only something I started to wear recently. I didn't used to wear it.

But I don't want to go underground. I don't want to go -- but I've got security, I've got people watching out for me. But I don't know what to tell -- I had this interchange with the parents in France.

And she said to me, I took my child out of the public schools, because he was being harassed by the other students, some of the Muslim, some not, many not Muslim. You're a Jews, you're an occupier, you're terrible, et cetera.

Then I put him in the Jewish school. And then Hamas called for a global day of terror against Jewish institutions.


And I was afraid to send him to the Jewish school.


LIPSTADT: What should I do? I couldn't answer her because it's her child, not mine.

TAPPER: You see antisemitism as not just a threat to Jews, which by the way, if that's all it was, that's bad enough. There should not be a threat to anybody. There should be a threat to Muslims. There shouldn't be a threat to Jews. There shouldn't be a threat to Latinos, et cetera.

But you see it as not just a threat to Jews. You see it as a threat to democracy.

LIPSTADT: I see it as a threat to democracy. I've been saying that since day one when I entered office.

Anybody who buys into the conspiracy myth, which is at the heart of antisemitism, has bought into the ridiculous notions that Jews control the world, the Jews control the government, the media, the Jews, the Jews, the Jews. They've given up on democracy.

So that's one reason. I mean, it should be a matter of great concern. But I have begun to feel over the past months, and certainly since October the 7th, that it is even more than just that. It is a threat to international and national stability, and security.

Bad actors, bad countries, bad individuals, NGOs, people with different agendas have figured out that antisemitism is a way of stirring up the pot of society, the welfare in democratic countries, in Western countries, European countries, and other parts of the world. If we want to create a chaos, if you want to create people against each other, oh, sure, antisemitism is a good tool.


LIPSTADT: So, if you worry about -- if you worry about the welfare of Jews, worry about antisemitism. If you're worried about the welfare of democracy, worry about antisemitism. If you worried about the national security, and national stability of your country, and this goes for, not to see United States, for France, for Germany, for so many countries, for Belgium, worry about the rise of antisemitism.

TAPPER: So whether it is the university presidents having a difficult time answering what should be a simple question, let me explain the whole intifada thing. But she was just asking about condemning genocide. You know, I think her next follow-up may have been the tricky one. But she framed it, the genocide thing, pretty simply.

Or the difficulty of the world have had condemning the rapes and all that by Hamas, et cetera, what's going on? LIPSTADT: It's a relativism. It's a justification. When it comes to

gang rape, when it comes to individual rape, the mutilation of women, of children, of families, of burning them alive, when it comes to genocide, there is no but. There is no justification.

A but means I'm going to justify it. It's bad. But let's think of the other things. There is no but.

And that should be said irrespective of what your position is on the Middle East crisis. You can take a variety of positions, but there should be no difficulty in condemning rape, gang rape, killing of parents in front of children, children in front of parents, burning homes with people alive, or condemning genocide.

TAPPER: Ambassador Lipstadt, it's great to have you here. Thank you so much, and happy Hanukkah.

LIPSTADT: Happy Hanukkah to you at all those celebrating.

TAPPER: When should colleges and universities step in when it comes to rhetoric on campuses crossing some sort of line? We're going to have more of that debate, next.


TAPPER: And we're back with the discussion about the alarming rise of antisemitism across the country and calls for college and university presidents to do more, to rein in hateful speech. It's not an easy topic, that's the truth.

Let's bring in Frederick Lawrence. He's a lecturer at Georgetown University Law Center, and former president to Brandeis University. Also, Nico Perrino, vice president for the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, also known as FIRE, which advocates for free speech.

And so let me start with you, Mr. Lawrence, as a former university president. How do you see how the university presidents handled this? It seems like it would be an easy question, do calls for genocide of Jews violate harassment policies?

FREDERICK LAWRENCE, FORMER PRESIDENT, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: I think that one was an easy question. And by not getting that one right, they never got to the questions that really were about context. So just because I can't tell when is dusk in dawn, doesn't mean when I don't know that is midnight. Genocide is a midnight question.

Can you advocate for genocide on the campus? The answer to that one has got to be no. That's a violation of your rules. Had they said that, I think that they could've gone into other questions about context.

TAPPER: Like intifada, or river to the sea.

LAWRENCE: Look, a lot of what's happening on campuses is really more about naivete at best, and ignorance at worst. You will never punish your way into solving ignorance. The way you solve ignorance is education. That's what higher education is.

TAPPER: But you disagree. You think the genocide question, they were right on.

NICO PERRINO, EXECUTIVE VP, THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND EXPRESSION: Well, President Magill over at the University of Pennsylvania said in her statement the next day that University of Pennsylvania's policies reflect constitutional and legal standards. And there is no First Amendment exception for an abstract call for genocide.

I will give you an example. At Drexel University, your hometown Philadelphia.


PERRINO: In 2018, we had a professor who called for the genocide of all White people.

TAPPER: He was joking. I remember this.

PERRINO: He was joking. He said all I remember, all in one for Christmas is white genocide, right?

TAPPER: He was making fun of the conservatives that think white genocide is a real thing.

PERRINO: Right, white nationals have this theory about white replacement, right?


PERRINO: Context does matter though. He was a white professor. This wasn't targeted at any one. And it was a joke, right?

TAPPER: A bad joke, but yes.

PERRINO: So, if the question is, what are your policies on genocide, right, on calling for genocide? The presidents were right. Context does matter.

Now, that is not to say that sometimes that calls for genocide won't meet the standard for incitement of lawless action. They will meet the standard for discriminatory harassment. Which by the way, we have a legal standard for, from a 1999 Supreme Court case, Davis, for pure on pure harassment.

It doesn't mean it won't meet the state of truth right. But just an abstract exception to the First Amendment, for calls of genocide, would, on its face, loop in that professor in Philadelphia who tweeted out all I want for Christmas is white genocide.

LAWRENCE: I think the problem is, you never even get to that conversation --

PERRINO: Sure. LAWRENCE: -- if you're not willing to say, there are certain things, and on this campus, we're going to come down on and we're going to come down on strongly.

You look at what Peter Salovey, president of Yale, put out today. He says that statements like that, advocating for genocide, threaten my Jewish students, and I'm going to come down on those.

And then, that allows the rest of the conversation to go on precisely the way you're talking about where context does happen. I think that mistake the presidents made is they went right to context, and then people recoil from that and understandably so.

PERRINO: It was certainly hand fisted. It was, I think we can all agree that it was hand fisted. But, if you give those in power on campus the power to censor abstract calls for genocide, the first students who are going to be punished for that are Jewish students supporting Israel's invasion of Gaza, which, all across the country right now, we have folks saying, it is an act of genocide, right? And you say, we have people saying, from the river to the sea is a call for genocide.

So if you untethered these legal standards, from the law, you get just political calculation. We see that all the time on college campuses, where double standards are ripe, where there is hypocrisy. You have schools that say, you know, like that say yoga is an act of cultural appropriation, or asking someone where they're from is a racist micro aggression.

So I think that is what aggravated a lot of people is the double standards they see on these college campuses.

LAWRENCE: Part is there's a very small group, I think we'd agree on this, a very small group of cases, maybe you wouldn't agree with this, where you actually can prohibit speech. The more interesting category to me are those areas where speech will go forward, but the university ought to make strong statements opposed to the content ought to make strong statements opposed to what's being said because a lot of campuses have felt and really to do that.

I think that's where you come out the way we have now, where a lot of what happened in that hearing, really, what we're saying to president, do you care about these issues, do you want to do something about these issues? And what came back was, well, sort of. That's the wrong answer. The right answer is we care desperately about it.

PERRINO: These colleges are trying to praise anyone, they're ending a pleasing no one. That's why you have the president of Harvard writing like seven different statements.


PERRINO: They don't know what their institutional values are. They don't know what their core halo (ph) says that they need to appeal.

LAWRENCE: When I do trustee retreats, with boards of trustees, the first thing I talk to them about is, what's the mission of the university.


LAWRENCE: We track all of these tough questions to the lens of what's the mission of this university, because if we're trying to figure out is which way the wind is blowing, that's easy. The wind is blowing 360, and it's blowing at gale force. You'll never make a decision.

TAPPER: And another thing, the note that you pointed out, which is that we're also at a time where universities have these micro aggression things, except there does seem to be the little carve out with that we don't care what Jewish students are thinking. That's one of the other issues that a lot of people care about.

PERRINO: Yeah. They see, for example, these carve-outs for micro aggressions. They see at Emerson College, for example, a student group handing out China kind of sus stickers, and the president of the university issuing a statement to the entire campus community accusing these students of anti-Asian hate and bias, right? Accusing them of --

TAPPER: What were they talk about the government of China?

PERRINO: They're talking about the government of China. By the, way the vice president of the student organization was herself Asian, right?


PERRINO: So, this is just devoid of context, and they're trying to follow all of these different campus communities that are trying to pull them in different directions. But they do not know what their core values are.

TAPPER: We could do three hours on this. You guys were great. Thank you so much, we really, really appreciate it. I don't think we're going to come to a conclusion but --

LAWRENCE: Not today.

TAPPER: At least a civil conversation. We appreciate both of you. Thank you so much.

We know your president is going to be on Bill Maher tonight. So I'm sure people will be watching. That's on HBO Max.

After three long weeks, a ruling is in. Ordering Donald Trump to keep his lips zipped when it comes to those in his federal election subversion case. Good luck with that. That decision this afternoon is coming up.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, an appeals court today largely upholding the gag order against former President Donald Trump and his federal election subversion case, even as he campaigns to be elected to the presidency again. The court ruled that Trump is still barred from talking about witnesses, as well as prosecutors, the court staff and their family members.

But, the courts said the gag order does not apply to comments made about special counsel Jack Smith, or the Justice Department, or President Biden. Trump has already reacted on social media, and said that he will appeal.

In our 2024 lead, oh, there it is, nice, thank you. You know I dig the music.

Political attack ads are ramping up, with 38 days until Iowa's Republican caucus. A super PAC backing Ambassador Nikki Haley has two out. One of them takes on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We're going to build the wall.


Project --

TRUMP: Judges are a priority.

DESANTIS AND TRUMP: And honestly -- made in China -- shift here --




TAPPER: Hmm. As candidates make their way to Iowa this weekend, Chris Christie is in New Hampshire, the first state to hold a primary.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is traveling with him as Christie faces growing pressure to drop out of the 2024 race.


CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I haven't had one donor, not one of my significant donors, or any donor at all, call me and say that we should get out of this race. I haven't had one supporter call me and tell me to get out of this race.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, at this point, there are no plans for you to go anywhere?

CHRISTIE: Omar, you come on January 23rd. You're going to see me here, shaking hands until the polls close. And we're going to do very well in New Hampshire. I'm not going anywhere.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The motto in New Hampshire is "live free or die". But at this stage, for Chris Christie, it may be do or die. CHRISTIE: It's game time now.

JIMENEZ: For the past two days, Christie has been touring college campuses in New Hampshire, hoping to drive enthusiasm among some younger voters.

CHRISTIE: Your vote means more here than any other state in the country this year. So that's why I'm here.

Our party has neglected college campuses and college voters over the course of the cycles, both in statewide races, and in national races.

JIMENEZ: With a campaign in full swing, a CNN university of New Hampshire poll last month showed Christie in third place in the Granite Stage GOP's primary, at 14 percent, behind Donald Trump at 42 percent, and Nikki Haley at 20 percent.


In the battle to emerge as a leading Trump alternative, a strong finish here could send critical message.

ANDREW SMITH, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE SURVEY CENTER: After New Hampshire, there has to be only one of the Republican candidate not Trump.

JIMENEZ: And the picture now may not exactly match the picture in a month.

SMITH: What we've seen historically in the New Hampshire primary is that upwards of 25 percent to a third say they make up their mind on election day, and upwards of 50 percent are still undecided over the last weekend of the election. So a lot can happen.

JIMENEZ: The former New Jersey governor's waving off suggestions he and his bid, and throw his support behind Haley, even as he publicly defends her from attacks from rivals.

CHRISTIE: This is a smart accomplished woman. You should stop insulting her.

JIMENEZ: On the campaign trail, he stood by that strategy.

CHRISTIE: I'm going to try and beat her, but I respect her.

JIMENEZ: But he maintains it's respect, not retreat.

CHRISTIE: We are both trying to beat the other one.

JIMENEZ: Are you and Nikki Haley able to coexist in this race without benefiting Trump?

CHRISTIE: Of course. If Nikki were to get out of this race tomorrow, I tell all of her voters to endorse me, do you think that they would actually all come and vote for me? Of course not.

JIMENEZ: And while the polls to this point haven't exactly favored the former New Jersey governor, there is only one poll he cares about.

CHRISTIE: Should we all just give up because you guys took a poll? Elections aren't determined by you. Elections are determined by voters. And not one person has voted yet.


JIMENEZ (on camera): And obviously, Governor Christie has spent a lot of time campaigning in New Hampshire. So I asked him, what is next? He specifically said Michigan. Why? Because you don't have to register as a Democrat or Republican to vote in that primary, meaning he's looking at potentially bringing people to the other side, but also, some independents as well, Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Omar Jimenez in Hooksett, New Hampshire.

Coming up, an exclusive with Sheryl Sandberg after using her platform to call out Hamas and its atrocities of war, using sexual violence and rape against women and girls, and all of those who have been silent about Hamas.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Our world lead now, yesterday, two months to the day after Hamas's October 7th attack on Israel, Vice President Kamala Harris condemned Hamas's sexual assaults and rapes of Israeli girls and women, saying, quote, rape can never be used as a weapon of war. I've spent my career protecting women and girls from heinous crimes of sexual violence and will continue to do.

Some women's rights activists and advocacy groups remain, shockingly, silent to this day. It has prompted others to call them out, including Sheryl Sandberg, the former chief operating officer of Facebook and cofounder of the nonprofit Lean In.

Sandberg spoke this week at an assembly hosted by Israel at the United Nations.


SHERYL SANDBERG, CO-FOUNDER, LEAN IN: This goes beyond politics. If we can't agree that rape is wrong, then we have accepted the unacceptable. And the question will be not what is happening in the Middle East, but what is happening to our humanity.


TAPPER: Sheryl Sandberg joins that THE LEAD right now. We do want to warn you, some of we're -- what we're about to discuss is going to be disturbing to listen to.

And Sheryl Sandberg joins us now. Sheryl, thanks for joining us. How did we get to the point where you felt as though you needed to step in and say what should be so obvious that these women and girls were raped by Hamas and that's not okay and the world need to recognize that?

SANDBERG: Well, I think it's not a good thing that it took all of us get into this point. And I want to start by thanking you, Jake, because no one in the mainstream was talking about these three weeks ago and you went on the air and CNN backed you and you guys have been on this. You were first.

And I followed you and I'm really -- as a man, your journalistic organization, I'm really grateful. But the silence on this is absolutely deafening. You know, look, this is a very, very difficult political issue and there are lots of strong views on all sides, and that's fine. Anyone can have any view they want to have about what's happening in the Middle East.

But we need to be united in condemning mass rape. That's not something there are two sides on. There are no two sides.

Rape should never be used as an act of war and we need to condemn rape loudly and always wherever it happens. Israel, Ethiopia, Sudan, Ukraine. Rape is never justified. Never.

TAPPER: Yeah, and you've noted with frustration how it's taken so long for so many women's organizations, feminist organization to say something. Planned Parenthood finally released a statement this week, saying, quote: Planned Parenthood unequivocally condemns the atrocities committed by Hamas and rape as an act of war in any conflict.

Why do you think it has taken so many women's organizations so long to condemn these atrocities when firsthand testimony and physical evidence exists?

SANDBERG: Well, that's why what we did at the U.N. is so important. So on Monday at U.N. the testimony is up there. I really encourage anyone who has any doubts to watch it. What you heard were firsthand accounts from people who are on the ground in Israel, and apologies, this is hard stuff to talk about, but here's what we heard, people saw it from their own eyes, body after body after body. It didn't only show signs of rape, they did, but severe genital and sexual mutilation.


We heard testimony about a girl, where there are nails in her private parts. Many, many bodies where their genitals were shot. A breast of a woman either shot or cut off while she was being raped while she was alive. Please, watch the testimony because it's unequivocal what happened.

And, you know, as a women's organizations, human rights groups, it's only been 30 years where rape was even considered or prosecuted as a crime against humanity. So if we don't speak against these rapes, with this kind of evidence staring us in the face, we threatened to undo decades of progress and an entire movement.

So, any women's organization, thank you to Planned Parenthood for speaking up. Reproductive Freedom for All spoke out tonight. Please speak out. It is not too late to use your voice for what should be unequivocally clear to all of us. Rape is never okay (ph).

TAPPER: Yeah, and it doesn't mean you're -- it doesn't mean you're taking a position in a war. It doesn't mean you're taking a position in favor of a politician. It's just talking about these horrific acts.

And you note, it's 30 years. It wasn't until Bill Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pushed for war crimes tribunal to finally recognize rape as a weapon of war for the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and the war in the former Yugoslavia. But the U.N. has been slow, even sclerotic here.

I mean, that event at U.N., we should note, that wasn't a U.N. event. It was Israel hosting and event with you and Hillary Clinton and Senator Gillibrand and all those individuals providing witness testimony.

What happens if the U.N. ultimately does not take these rapes, these mass rapes seriously?

SANDBERG: Well, you're right, Jake. We hosted the event the U.N. should have hosted. Israel really shouldn't have had to host that. I shouldn't have had to do that. We should have been invited to a session at the U.N., but we were not.

U.N. women was glacially slow. It took them 55 days to speak out against those rapes. That flies in the face of how quickly they spoke out in alarm when there were rumors of sexual violence and other situations like Ukraine.

We called in that event on the entire U.N., every member to condemn Hamas for these rapes. Make sure there was a full investigation and to hold the terrorists accountable here.

Now you are seeing more bipartisan support. Eighty-seven members of Congress signed letter condemning Hamas for these attacks. But that shouldn't be unusual. That should be absolutely assumed.

And you're right. You can call for a Palestinian state. You can call for an Israeli state. You can have any opinion you want to have, I think, within reason on this conflict and still condemn rape.

I think it's also worth noting that we fought hard for a progress of the women's movement and women's organizations made in #MeToo. We said, believe women. All of these organizations said believe women. All of the people who said this now is an opportunity to believe women because we better decide who to believe.

Do we believe Hamas spokespeople who said rape is forbidden, it couldn't have happened? Or do we look at the bodies of these women? These bodies tell us how these women spent the very last moments of their lives. And that is devastating. One of the people, the witnesses, man, stood there at that U.N. and he

stood at the podium and he said, he is standing there speaking for the women who are now gone and aren't able to scream about what happened to them, but he is going to tell the world what happened to them. And it's time for the entire world to take notice, see this clearly, and condemn this. Anything else, it reduces our common humanity. It's completely not okay.

TAPPER: Yeah, and some of the skeptics, shall we call them, are asking how come no firsthand testimonies of the victims. That's because almost all of them were either killed or kidnapped. And we worry about what's happening to those women in their teens, twenties, thirties that Hamas holds today.

Sheryl Sandberg, thank you so much for your time and thank you for speaking about this very, very important issue.

SANDBERG: Jake and CNN, thank you for your leadership. You all made a really big difference here. Please keep covering this until everyone condemns what should be obvious. Rape is never okay.

TAPPER: Thank you, Sheryl.

The president's son Hunter Biden facing new federal charges. Up next, a top Republican trying to tie his father, the president, to his son's scandalous life.

Plus, a Democrat here with that rebuttal. Stay with us.



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

This hour, firsthand accounts from civilians in war. Hear from Palestinian essentially trapped in Gaza. What do they really think about Hamas? What do they really think about the conflict?

Plus, the state of Texas pushing back on a court order that allowed a woman to terminate a high-risk pregnancy. That case challenges one of the strictest abortion bans in that nation.

And leading this hour, Hunter Biden on Republicans who want to tie his legal problems to his father. Here is what he had to say in a new podcast released today.


HUNTER BIDEN, SON OF PRESIDENT BIDEN: They are trying to, in their most illegitimate way, but rational way, they're trying to destroy a presidency.