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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Tonight: Biden Delivers High-Stakes State Of The Union Address; Speaker Johnson Urges GOP To Show Respect At State Of The Union; Bipartisan Bill Could Ban TikTok If It Doesn't Sever Ties To China; Bipartisan Bill Could Ban TikTok If It Doesn't Sever Ties To China; Rep. Dean Phillips Ends Long-Shot Primary Challenge To Biden; Boeing Under New Federal Investigation. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired March 07, 2024 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So, how much are we going to hear about shrinkflation and cookie monster tonight?

THE LEAD starts right now.

A jam-packed room expected for what could be the president's final State of the Union Address theoretically, but the primetime speech also being used as a campaign address. Will Biden be successful in his big pitch?

Plus, the guy that said the president's capacities are diminished now endorsing him. Congressman Dean Phillips joins me on set for his first interview after dropping out of the Democratic presidential race.


And what to lawmakers want 150 million Americans to understand about one particular social media app on their phones, what they want the Chinese company to jail to do? Will they hold TikTok accountable?


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD on a very busy Thursday. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we start today in our politics lead, perhaps the most consequential speech of Joe Biden's long public life, since 1972, of course, at age 29. He became one of the youngest people ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He turned 30 before he was inaugurated.

And tonight, the stakes are unusually high for the now 81-year-old who wants four more years in the White House amidst voter dissatisfaction, and frankly voter concerns about his age and wherewithal. Biden is headed for a rematch with the man he failed in 2020, and we can expect Biden to draw sharp contrasts between his record and Trump's this evening.

What we should not expect, perhaps bipartisan civility, congressional leaders are worried, particularly about unruly House Republicans heckling him. I know I will be looking out for Republican protests about the border. And you might remember last year, less than an hour into his speech

after Biden accused Republicans of wanting to sunset Medicare and Social Security, this happened.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Politely not naming them, but it's being proposed by some of you.

Look, folks --


TAPPER: It was true. There were a few people proposing it. Biden was able to deftly deal with the outbursts and that frankly might be the most memorable part of the entire night.


BIDEN: So folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare is off -- off the books now, right? All right. We've got unanimity.


TAPPER: His team is frankly praying for such deftness this evening, though some Democrats are also worried that tonight might also bring shouts from the left, from progressive members of his own party or their guests, or protesters in the gallery, angry and frustrated with Biden's support of Israel amidst its war on Hamas.

Let's start things off with CNN's MJ Lee live at the White House for us.

MJ, what are we going to hear from the president tonight?

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you know, so well, how important this moment is for President Biden. But the pressure really is incredibly high for this president. This is the last speech of this kind that the president gets to make before he faces voters again, come November.

And this is a chance for him to address a really huge audience on everything that he feels like he has accomplished over the last three years and try to paint an optimistic picture for a second term that he is trying to earn.

That. Of course, there are a number of incredibly weighty issues both abroad and here at home that we expect the president to address, everything from the Israel-Hamas war, to the health of the economy, to reproductive rights that we have heard the White House talking about for so many months. And we also note that the White House has teed up for this evening a number of new announcements, whether it is on raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, or new proposal on getting in more humanitarian aid into Gaza. Now, keep in mind, Jake, that this is of course, us hearing President

Biden and Commander in Chief Biden, but we're also hearing presidential candidate Joe Biden. And to that end, we certainly expect that throughout the course of the evening, he is going to be consistently finding opportunities to contrast his vision for this country with the policies that he says are so broken coming from those across the aisle, including, of course, former President Donald Trump.

TAPPER: And, MJ, we're being told that the president and his expected to address the Israel-Hamas conflict this evening, quote, in a very meaningful way, what does that mean?

LEE: That's right, and that is no surprise given how much this issue has completely consumed this president and this White House over the last few months since the October 7 attacks. We are learning that he is going to be announcing that the U.S. military is going to be setting up a new port in the Mediterranean off the Gaza coast. So that he can help bring in more humanitarian aid into Gaza, which is, of course, in dire straits right now. And the context that you have to keep in mind is that there was a point in time, not that long ago when officials here at the White House had hoped that by the time the president delivered this address tonight, that they could have been touting a humanitarian ceasefire and aid and hostages released deal. That, of course, is not going to happen.

So this is going to be one way in which the president gets addressed the nation and the anger that people are feeling across the country that is going to be an incredibly important moment to watch of many tonight -- Jake.


TAPPER: All right. MJ Lee at the White House for us, thanks so much.

Let's turn to Capitol Hill where we find CNN's Manu Raju.

And, Manu, the speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, says he has sent a very clear message to his caucus, his conference, House Republicans, turn the temperature down tonight. Tell us more.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's the message. So be polite, show some decorum, don't heckle the commander in chief as he delivers this address to the nation.

But some members simply are discarding that. In fact, some of them that I talked to said it simply depends on what Joe Biden says about whether or not they will actually pushed back and yell back at the president. And what could be a very tense speech.

At the same time, Democrats view this speech is very high stakes. They see the poll numbers. They see people concerned about the president's age and fitness for office. And some hope that his speech tonight will reassure those skeptical voters.


RAJU: Are you worried that the age issue, though, is of significant liability for him?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): There's nothing Joe Biden can do to change the numbers after his name? What he can do is be a sharp, funny, aggressive, real presence, authentic, in people's minds.

REP. TONY GONZALES (R-TX): I don't know if an old white guy can come out and say he's not an old white guy, right? You are who you are.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): Well, if he's a liar, he should be called out. We'll see how he -- how he talks tonight. And then I'll decide then


RAJU: Of course, Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of those Republicans who did you yell out at Joe Biden last week, calling -- last year, calling him a liar on the House floor, making very clear there that she is not afraid to do so against. She was wearing a pin, Jake, that she is passing around to members saying Laken Riley, say her name, of course, referring to that Georgia student who was tragically killed allegedly at the hands of a migrant crossing the southern border with Mexico.

The House today passed a bill to try it in her name. She says that if Joe Biden does not say her -- her name during his speech tonight, perhaps she will say something on the House floor, so that will be another dynamic to watch as Speaker Johnson wants his caucus conference to be in line, but it's not clear if they will listen to -- Jake.

TAPPER: Yeah. And just as a factual matter, what President Biden was saying last year was accurate and Marjorie Taylor Greene was the one who was not telling the truth.

Manu Raju, thanks so much.

Lets bring in the political panel we have with us, Karen Finney and David Polyansky.

Thanks for being here.

David, welcome to THE LEAD. Good to have you.

So the White House is aware how high the stakes are for Biden tonight. They are pretty high. This is what Biden's chief of staff, Jeff Zients, said to "Politico", quote, you're going to see a very energized president. This is a big moment and this president rises to those big moments.

Yes, it is a big moment. The stakes are super high. Frankly, when I was covering President Biden when he was 25 years ago, when he was in his 50s or whatever, like, even then the prospect of him doing a one- hour speech would be something that his aides would be nervous about?

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. TAPPER: Not because of age, but because you might say the wrong thing or whatever, he was prone to gaffes. Anyway, what does Biden need to do tonight?

FINNEY: Look, I think he needs to do a couple of things.

Number one, talk about the contrast and lay that out in the frame because going forward, that's a lot of how we're going to be covering the presidential, this split screen, if you will, like we saw when they were both at the border. What is the plan 2025 that Donald Trump is offering? What is it that I'm offering? What is my vision?

And a lot of that I think will be couched in this conversation about protecting democracy and what's the future we want for our kids.

Number two, I think what you're going to see is he's going to try to talk a bit more about what he's done. And I think the guests in the first lady's gallery will be part of helping to humanize that story. So this is not just about facts and figures, although he's got great numbers. But make it about the people whose lives have been impacted positively or negatively, when we have had inaction.

And then I think the third thing he really needs to do is to just be himself. I mean, these are -- it's very sad to me that we are again, approaching a State of the Union where everybody is worried what's Marjorie Taylor Greene going to do and what so-and-so going to do when these are meant to be, you know, serious, thoughtful conversations with the president, Congress, and the American people. But I think he's got to -- you know what, if they come after him on something? I have every confidence he'll be fine.

TAPPER: David, what are you looking for tonight?

DAVID POLYANSKY, FORMER DESANTIS DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, look, I think yesterday was a great day for Donald Trump, and today's a great opportunity for the president. He gets to stand in front of the nation and talk about his, not only his accomplishments, but his vision.

So to me, there's four areas seeing that quote earlier, I think the first is fitness. And can he get on that stage tonight for an hour or plus and demonstrate to the country he's got the energy to carry the country forward for another four years. And look, he's trailing Donald Trump by about 20 -- 20 percent plus in terms of that category.


So, tonight's an opportunity to do. It's also some peril that comes along with it.

Number two, I think he's going to have to tackle immigration. That is the number one issue in the country, not just in totality, but with independents. And tonight, he's going to lay out his vision. I think he's going to try to blame Donald Trump and Republicans, but he's also going to have to account for the 9.6 million people that have come across illegally over for his tenure. And so, he's going to have to address that.

Number three, I think he -- the economy is improving, but people don't feel that it's improving and he's not getting the benefit of it at this point. So I think he's got to make the case and tried to take credit for it.

And the last thing I'd say is I think he's going to have to balance his base tonight. Whether its Israel and Palestinian aid to electric vehicle mandates and, you know, car removals while he has a UAW president next to the first lady, those are a lot of balancing acts at an incumbent president has to take, and it'll be a challenge for him tonight, but it is a great opportunity.

FINNEY: Can I just mentioned one other thing? So Donald Trump has said he's going to -- I don't know if he's going to live tweet or live social, whatever you call those --

TAPPER: Truth Social, yeah, yeah.

FINNEY: Truth Social, whatever you call that.

TAPPER: Live truth.

FINNEY: Right? Uh-huh. Sure.

TAPPER: Right, yeah.

FINNEY: Can't fact-check it fast enough.

I mean, that right there, two things about that I want to mention. Number one, that's the contrast. You know, Joe Biden's going to be having a serious conversation about the country and the future and God only knows the screed we're going to hear from Donald Trump because as we know when he is on the device, live -- it's scary with the kinds of things that he says and we've seen the rhetoric has gotten more racist and sexist and sort of out of bounds.

The second thing, though, he's already stepping on his own party's message. They're trying to put forward this young woman --

TAPPER: Katie Britt.

FINNEY: Katie Britt.

TAPPER: Senator from Alabama, yeah.

FINNEY: From Alabama to say, hey, we're kinder, gentler, we care about IVF and young people and what -- it's going to be the old white guy who is going to be stealing her thunder with his phone basically reminding everybody he's the one who's in charge of the party. It doesn't matter what that young woman says, unfortunately.

TAPPER: So, I want to play something that a member of House Republican leadership, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Republican of New York, said yesterday. She was trying to evoke something Reagan said when he debated Jimmy Carter in 1980. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Are you better off today than you were four years ago? The answer for hardworking Americans across the country is a resounding no.


TAPPER: So it was a great -- it was a great line that Reagan used in 1980 about 1976. Are you better off than you were four years ago? Now, four years ago today was March 2020 and that was a pretty awful months.


TAPPER: That was when COVID really hit the United States. It's when the NBA shut down. It's when Tom Hanks -- I mean, you know --

FINNEY: It was awful.

TAPPER: Everybody was hoarding toilet paper. I mean, so maybe five years ago they should change it to? Are you better off? I mean, what do you think? I just think it needs a little tweaking.

POLYANSKY: Well, look yeah. I mean, it is interesting. Even in the Republican primary, this go around, I think there was a lot of litigation over the last year of the Trump presidency.

TAPPER: Right.

POLYANSKY: Spends, expenditures, government infusion, mask mandates, the vaccines. There were a lot of skeptics, even in our own party.

It didn't stop him there. And I don't think it stops now. The fact of the matter is the polling shows with the president's current job handling --


POLYANSKY: -- versus Trumps standing right now -- I mean, Trump on average is 2.2 percent ahead nationally. And he's leading by, in most cases, a significant margin of five out of six battleground states.

So the question for the president tonight is how does he remind folks that maybe, just maybe, some of the things that he's done over the last few years actually had to do, you know, the improvement we've seen in the economy for instance? But that's a tough sell because people felt really good when the economy was great four, five years ago. They just don't feel it right now, and that's a tough thing for any politician to convince otherwise.

FINNEY: We did not feel good three years ago, so please. Yes, please ask yourself, how did you feel all three years ago?

TAPPER: Four years ago.

FINNEY: Four years or even four years ago, yes, how did you -- how did you feel?

TAPPER: Let me ask you because it because David makes a good point, you know, when you talk to Democrats on Capitol Hill and the White House, there is kind of this denialism about, say, well, the president's -- what the public thinks about President Biden's job on the economy is such and such, like, well, the economy's doing so much better and inflation is down from 9 percent to 3 percent, and unemployment under 4 percent and, da, da, da, you know, 150 million new jobs or whatever -- 15 million, not 150 million.

FINNEY: We'll take it.

TAPPER: That's something else. That was something else.


TAPPER: But my only point is like they deny what the public thinks about such a thing and just talk about the facts and figures, and I get that. But people -- the facts and figures don't vote.

FINNEY: Correct.

TAPPER: It's the people that vote.

FINNEY: But I think you're going to hear an acknowledgment of that from the president. Part of why he talked about this strike force earlier this week about how do we lower costs? Because if you think about it, the president, a -- any president is limited in what he can do to bring down costs.


And so, yes, jobs are good. The economy is good. But I think there is a recognition, but people aren't feeling it because costs are, I mean, I feel -- we all feel it in our daily lives.

TAPPER: Food and rents are the main thing, right? Food and rent.

FINNEY: Yes. And gas, if you live in a state where you drive long --

TAPPER: Yeah. Well, I drive electric now.

FINNEY: Okay. So, that's the whole other mishegoss.

TAPPER: Well, that's a new thing. Well, that's electric vehicles.

But, you know, delve into that a little bit more because this is a real tension that we probably don't cover enough on the show, which is the tension between Biden's desires when it comes to climate change and converting the economy to a less of a fossil fuel economy, and the UAW worker.

That's -- I'll let you -- I'll let you get the final word.

POLYANSKY: Well, that's exactly right. And look, and on our side of the equation right now, it's about personality. Do you like Donald Trump? Do you want him to represent you as a conservative and as a Republican? And do you want him to lead the country going forward? It really is about his personality.

On the Democrat side, it's more about policy and there are a lot of tensions. And again, going back to it, if you're a hard hat union where -- you know, union worker in Toledo or outside of Pennsylvania and you see a car ban, you know, being proposed by the Biden administration, man, that's pretty tough for you to swallow.

TAPPER: Final word, yeah.

FINNEY: Well, but if you look at the deal that the UAW was able to get, they were working on how you mitigate that and President Biden was part of that.

And the other big topic I would say is look about manufacturing jobs. He did bring those jobs back. We are exporting more than we were four years ago.

So again, it's not just about talking about the record, it's about talking about the real pain that people are feeling and what he's trying to do to address it. One thing we didn't get to, reproductive freedom.


FINNEY: Contraception, IVF, access to abortion, that is going to be a huge issue this election cycle. Republicans don't want to talk about it. Joe Biden is the person who's going to lay that out.

TAPPER: You guys were so good, let's have you back in the next hour. Okay?

FINNEY: Okay, sure. You got it.

TAPPER: Thanks to both of you.

The Israel-Gaza conflict is expected to be a big part of tonight's address. Many family members of those still being held hostage by Hamas will be front and center in the chamber. I'm going to speak to the parents of Israeli-American Itay Chen (ph). That's next.

And later, Boeing back in the hot seat after another problem with another one of its 737 MAX jets, the latest in the new investigation ahead.



TAPPER: In our world lead those watching President Biden's State of the Union Address closely this evening, you will see some of the families whose loved ones for five months to the day have been living in captivity, held hostage by terrorists groups in Gaza such as Hamas. Of the nearly 100 hostages believed to still be alive, six are dual American-Israeli citizens. And when President Biden walks onto the House floor this evening, he will be acutely aware that there is still no deal to get them out of Gaza. And the president will have to look at the faces of the families of the hostages, many of whom will be there counting on him, praying to God, that there be an end to this hellacious nightmare for their loved ones for once and for all, including, of course, the parents of 20 year-old Itay Chen. His parents, Ruby and Hagit, are here with me again.

And, Ruby, I've been -- this is my third time interviewing you.

And, Hagit, this is my second time interviewing you. And I hope you take this the right way. I hope I don't have to interview you anymore. I hope this ends.



TAPPER: One more time with the Itay.

What do you want to hear from President Biden tonight when it comes to Hamas, when it comes to Israel, when it comes to your beloved Itay?

R. CHEN: So maybe before that I just like to be accurate that eight U.S. --

TAPPER: Eight? Okay.

R. CHEN: -- hostages. Two were killed.

TAPPER: Oh, two were killed. Okay.

R. CHEN: So six presumably alive.

TAPPER: Six, okay.

R. CHEN: Yeah. And I think the fact that the president is acknowledging the fact that we are there, I think even today and being on the media, I would argue with you that the majority of the U.S. people are not aware of the fact that there are eight U.S. hostages being held by a terrorist organization. So I think that by itself is useful to the cause.

TAPPER: Agreed, not viewers of this show, but generally speaking, yeah, absolutely, because we cover the hostages all the time.

What do you want to hear, President Biden say? Just acknowledge you? Will acknowledge the facts?

R. CHEN: So, I actually had a dream two days ago, two nights ago where I saw the vision of President Biden talking (ph) to us and saying, well, your kid Itay, he's on a plane back home. I still hope that that might be able to happen.

TAPPER: What about you, Hagit? What -- what do you want to hear from the president tonight other than that dream? HAGIT CHEN, MOTHER OF AMERICAN-ISRAELI HOSTAGE, ITAY CHEN: We know that there is no deal signed yet. There not -- there is not even a list. So I can just hope that Itay will be shortly in the list and he's coming home.

TAPPER: And if there is a list, the sad fact is, it will probably be women, girls, the elderly, and anybody who is sick, who will be on that list.

H. CHEN: Itay is injured.

TAPPER: Itay is injured, okay, you're hoping --

H. CHEN: Humanitarian.

TAPPER: Not that you hope -- you're hoping he'll be on the list.

H. CHEN: Yeah, I hope, I hope he will be in the list because I know he's injured.

TAPPER: He's injured.

H. CHEN: Yeah.

TAPPER: So last time we met was in November when I -- when I interviewed families who still have loved ones released -- held by a captivity, some were still, some had been released.

You said at the time, Ruby, that the Israeli government, the Netanyahu government, seemed more focused on going after Hamas that on getting the hostages home. Do you still think that's the case?

R. CHEN: I think the efforts of the hostage families have swayed opinion a bit, and I think now the government of Israel understands the magnitude of the occasion, and I have been walking around with this hourglass to emphasize the point that hostages do not have time and I think the government has understood the urgency of this and we see a deal imminent. I think there needs to be a little bit more squeeze.


Hamas if they wanted a deal, they just needed to let the hostages go. And I think the Israeli government has been doing what it can to get to that deal happen, but we need to sites. And unfortunately, the other side is a terrorist that does not abide to international law like hostages have not been able to receive any axis of doctors medical attention and it's a challenge to be able to negotiate with these types of people that do not have any respect for human life at all.

TAPPER: Including Palestinian life, frankly.

R. CHEN: Including Palestinian life.

TAPPER: One of the things I've heard, Hagit, said by Israeli officials is look at what's going on in Gaza is awful. And it could all be over tomorrow if Hamas surrendered and turned over the hostages. But that's not something you hear from protesters in the streets who want a ceasefire.

H .CHEN: No, I'm not a politician.

TAPPER: Right.

H. CHEN: No, I'm just a mom.

TAPPER: Right.

H. CHEN: I want my son back home.


H. CHEN: It needs to be resolved soon because the time is killing all the hostages.


H. CHEN: We keep hearing more and more hostages are not alive anymore. And they could have been alive if there were home already

TAPPER: Yeah. What about you? When you see that people on the street marching for a ceasefire with -- without an acknowledgement that there was a ceasefire in October 6 before Hamas broke it, or without an acknowledgement that whatever one thinks of what the IDF is doing in Gaza, it would be over if Hamas surrendered and turned over the hostages?

R. CHEN: Indeed. I think, you know, we live in an age where people consume media and news in a different way and they form an opinion. They quickly, and they sometimes forget the facts that are not well aware of the facts. And I would argue with you that any patriotic American that he is at 40 American citizens were killed, massacred on October 7. And there are eight U.S. hostages being held, that probably would change the opinion of it.

But again, we have family members. We just want to get back and go back to our normal lives of having memories as a family, as a whole and not having an empty seat at our table for five months.

TAPPER: I know Itay turned 20 last month. That must have been rough.

H. CHEN: Yeah, yeah. It's difficult. I know when it's all started. I couldn't imagine he will not be at home on its 20th birthday and he likes to celebrate big. He likes his birthday, like any other person. And then we just mentioned his birthday with family and they're good friends came with us in Jerusalem to the wall. We put -- we pray together.


H. CHEN: Many people together. The people who love him pray for his return, safely return home. TAPPER: Let's hope -- let's hope that someone hears. I just want to

hold this up. I don't know if you guys can get a close-up of it. I didn't warn you at all, but it is a yellow pin, ribbon -- yellow ribbon pin. Sorry.

If you see -- if you see members of Congress wearing these tonight, this is to bring the hostages home, bring the Israeli and Israeli American hostages home from Gaza.

So --

H. CHEN: We are not allowed to wear it for the State of Union.

TAPPER: You can't wear a pin?

H. CHEN: The shirt.

TAPPER: You can't wear the shirt with the --

H. CHEN: We're allowed to wear the pin, not the shirt.

So, we brought -- we are bringing with us --

TAPPER: Yellow scarves.

H. CHEN: Yellow scarves and we all -- all American family, all American hostages, families, we will be wearing this scarves. So when you can --

TAPPER: So, we also tie yellow ribbon around the old oak tree. And this was a symbol for those who are old enough to remember -- this as a whole symbol during the American hostage crisis when there hostages being held by Iran in 1979 to 1981. And we still have American hostages except now they're being held in Gaza among other places.


R. CHEN: I like to remember. I'm sure you remember as a kid as well, when that happened.


R. CHEN: Like you had that little counter on the television? Yeah. And I remember asking my mom, what does that? And she explained to me.

And today, unfortunately, we don't see that. So what we've been doing is we've been going on with this which is basically the each day that passes by. So it's a patch and I would urge any fellow American that feels fast and feels passionate about the topic, as well as congressmen and senators that just put a patch on, say, how many days have passed by. It's been 153 days.

TAPPER: So let's bring them home now and I hope the next time I see you, it is with Itay.

H. CHEN: With Itay. TAPPER: God bless. And we'll look for you in the audience this evening.

Ruby and Hagit Chen, thank you so much.

TikTok is currently blasting bipartisan bill that could effectively ban the app in the United States if TikTok does not cut its ties with the Chinese government. The two authors of that legislation join me next.



TAPPER: In our tech lead now, TikTok influencers, beware. Today, a House committee voted on a bipartisan bill that could effectively ban the app in the United States if it gets passed by the entire House, then goes to the Senate, then the president signs it into law.

The legislation would force ByteDance. That's the name of TikTok's parent company to sever ties with its host country China or be banned from U.S. app stores.

The lawmakers behind the bill say apps that are controlled by foreign adversaries such as China, collect way too much information on the Americans who use them, use the apps, and posed security risks to the United States.

Joining us now, Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher and Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, the co-authors of the bill.

Mr. Chairman, let me start with you. There are more than 170 million TikTok users in the U.S. It's one of the most popular apps in the world.

What do you say to them if the U.S. ends up banning TikTok? As I'm sure you've heard from a lot of them today, they are worried. They love TikTok.

REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI), CHAIRMAN, SELECT COMMITTEE ON CHINA: Well, we hope that they will continue to be able to use the platform once TikTok makes the responsible decision to separate itself from ByteDance. TikTok can continue you need to exist in the United States as long as its not effectively controlled by the Chinese communist party.

That is the issue, and that will make for a better user experience. People won't have to worry about manipulation of algorithms. They won't have to worry about a hostile foreign adversary potentially manipulating the news that Americans consume.

And I would say the pressure campaign that TikTok put in place today where they forced the pop up on the app that called members of Congress and also told a lie that we were -- we were forcing an outright ban, which this bill is not proves the danger. They sort of proved the entire point. Imagine if those lies were allowed to spread on topics like our election or a foreign war.

So, that's what we're trying to guard against. And in our construct, users can continue to enjoy the app so long as we fix the owner appreciate problem.

TAPPER: So, Congressman Krishnamoorthi, if it's not an outright ban, what is it exactly? And what would happen? Would the app disappear from people's phones or would it just stopping -- sold by Apple, et cetera?

REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Well, it's a forced sale. That's what -- you know, that's what's happened in the past. By the way, another app, the popular app called Grindr, was one its purchased by the Chinese and basically, the American federal government forced the sale of that particular app because again, the CCP has the access to very sensitive data about government officials and military officials.

And this is a much bigger problem with regard to TikTok. TikTok is owned by ByteDance. The editor in chief of ByteDance is himself the secretary of the very Chinese communist party cell embedded in the leadership of ByteDance. And his duty, according to him, is to make sure that TikTok and other products abide by correct political direction. And so that's why we took this app section today. The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 50 to zero unanimously.

That has not happened with regard to any bill affecting this particular platform. And now we look forward to its passage in the House.

TAPPER: So, Mr. Chairman, there's a First Amendment fight over this as well. The ACLU says that your legislation soon as a violation of free speech rights. The senior policy counsel at the organization says, quote, just because the bill sponsors claimed that banning TikTok isn't about suppressing speech, there's no denying that it would do just that. We strongly urge legislators to vote no on this unconstitutional bill, unquote.

Do you think that the national security threat outweighs whatever free speech issues there are out there?

GALLAGHER: To be clear, I don't think our bill endangers any First Amendment issues at all. We're talking about foreign ownership and control of an app. And once that foreign ownership is addressed, not only will people be able to continue to say whatever they want on the app, you'll also have freedom of thought, freedom from fear that your thought might be manipulated because of the opaque algorithms.

And for that illogical claim that TikTok is making to be true than previous incidents where we've addressed ownership, for example, in the antitrust paradigm, would have had a massive First Amendment impact. The breakup of Bell in 1982 would have been one of the biggest further First Amendment issues in American history. But, of course, it wasn't.

So that's -- we've carefully worked on this bill for six months. We've worked with the White House to get technical assistance. We are very confident that this is a construct that avoids any issue like a bill of attainder does not infringe on freedom of speech. It's about foreign adversary control of the news and the ability to spy on Americans.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: It's the same principle. Look, the First Amendment does not protect espionage. It does not protect the right to harm American national security. It's the same reason why under our laws, we prevent a certain portion of ownership of broadcast networks and certain media outlets.

It's the same reason why, for instance, a bookstore needs to comply with other rules, even though it sells books and protected First Amendment expression. And so, that is what is at issue here. We don't want to sensor any type of content. This is not about a content- specific law. This is about the manner in which the CCP controls ByteDance, the parent of the platform at issue.

TAPPER: All right. Chairman Mike Gallagher and Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, the ranking Democrat on the Special Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, thank you so much.


Appreciate your taking the time to talk to us today.

KRISHNAMOORTHI: Jake, thank you so much.

TAPPER: He was a long-shot. Now, it's over. Congressman Dean Phillips ended his campaign and is now throwing his support behind President Biden, the man he once said was too old to be president. Fresh off the campaign trail, Congressman Dean Phillips joins me next.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, President Biden's most significant Democratic rival is waving the white flag. Congressman Dean Phillips has dropped out of the presidential race after arguing for months at the presidency we candidate and no longer fit to be commander in chief.

Here is Congressman Phillips less than a month ago.



REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): Anybody who's watching the president of the United States right now and believes that he can serve in the most important seat in the world until January of 2029, Abby, I mean, I don't think I'm just -- I'm the only one saying the quiet part out loud. In Washington, I'm the only one telling the truth.


TAPPER: And Dean Phillips joins us now for his first interview since leaving the race. So, Congressman, do you stand by that? What you said?

PHILLIPS: Well, I think 86 percent of the country, Jake, has said that. But there's something a whole lot more important which is better to take a chance with that because he's a good man, a decent man, a man of principle, experience and wisdom, compared to the alternative, it's night and day.

And that's why I wrapped up my campaign. Voters spoke. I was not that alternative and now we have to get behind him and I'm going to do so in a full-throated and comprehensive way because the alternative is a disaster.

TAPPER: Hut how full throated can you be? I mean, you have questioned President Biden's age, mental fitness, ability to lead. Of those supporting Biden, you said, quote, shame on all of you pretending everything is okay, you're leading us and him into a disaster and you damn well know it.

I mean, how -- how serious anybody take your --

PHILLIPS: I'm going to push back. I never challenged his mental acuity or cognition. What I've said is 86 percent of the country feels the same way. Electorally, he is very compromised and we got a lot of hard --

TAPPER: What do you mean electorally he's very compromised?

PHILLIPS: Well, he's down in every --

TAPPER: Down in every poll.

PHILLIPS: And he's -- the whole mission here was to recognize the data. The data said, people feel he's too old, battleground states he's behind and every one of them. Nationally, falling further behind. His approval numbers are atrocious. We all know that.

But like I said, and by the way, the country said they wanted an alternative. It clearly wasn't me. We had a chance but that doesn't matter right now. What matters is look at the alternative.

And he is, by the way, he is not in cognitive decline. Yes, he's an 81-year-old man, like any of us. He's going to slow down. His communication has been impeded, perhaps a little bit.

But has he unable to make good decisions? No, he's able to make good ones, and that's what matters. I never criticized his intellect. I did share that the country felt that he was too old.

TAPPER: Do you worry that you damaged him at all?

PHILLIPS: I think to the contrary. I think he did so well in the Democratic primaries that I think he looks awfully strong. And by the way, if you look at look at the news right now, Nikki Haley challenged Donald Trump, and she did really well. She makes him look weak. TAPPER: Okay. So Democratic voters didn't buy it. But what about independents and Republicans, did you damage President Biden at all with that -- with those groups, independents and potential crossover Republicans?

PHILLIPS: Now, Jake, when I started this endeavor, I knew that by calling attention to what the country was all in calling attention to already, that would give me the opportunity if it came to this, which it has as to tell everybody, look, at I was in the same boat as you. I thought this was a bridge too far, but look at the choice now.

And I think I have a chance now and I'm going to tend to do everything I can to tell the same people, the 86 percent that still believe he's too old to serve another term. I was one of them and now I'm telling the same people in the same place thinking the same thing that, look, we've got to get out and vote.

We got to mobilize. We got to energize. I'm one of you. And sometimes a campaign actually needs someone like me to represent the mass majority of people who see things a little bit differently. So that's my mission right now.

TAPPER: So just to be clear, you've ruled out a third-party run, anything like that. You are --



The president is going to deliver the State of the Union Address tonight. What do you want to see from him tonight that could allay some of the concerns you've expressed?

PHILLIPS: I want to see some vigor. Most importantly, people are looking for solutions. We've got cost issues. We've got chaos issues. That's what Americans were telling me all around the country.

If the president can lay out what the problems are, demonstrate that he's listening to people. And most importantly solutions, he can be very well-positioned for the next election. But absent that, we got big trouble, but we've got a border crisis. We have wars in Ukraine, of course, in Gaza. We've got cost issues in this country.

If he can acknowledge that, and that's his superpower, Jake, he's an empathetic man who can understand what people are suffering from, if he does that tonight and then proposes solutions, that gives us the tools, if you will, to go out and actually campaign for him in a rigorous manner that he's going to need.

TAPPER: Was it worth it? I mean, you -- I don't need to tell you. You burned a lot of bridges. You're giving up a safe Democratic congressional seat, perhaps giving up a future in politics. I mean, would you do it again?

PHILLIPS: A mission of principle is going to be joyful and painful. And this certainly was. I would do it 1,000 times again. And if I inspire just a couple of people in our country to not be quiet and not stay in line when you feel compelled to represent something. And by the way, I do, I felt very disappointed in a lot of colleagues who had been saying quietly the same things that a lot of the country saying publicly.

And I want to create maybe reform a culture here in Washington, Jake, in which people feel liberated to speak their truth and are not punished for it, rather celebrated for it because we have a crisis of participation. We have a crisis this is of truth. And I thought it was important that someone say the quiet part out loud. I did.

And it's also -- I got to tell you, I've been greeted with affection and hugs and high fives, handshakes back in my caucus today because at the end of the day we are on the same team and every single American watching this right now, who can see the stark choice we have had ahead of us will understand that sometimes you give things a shot.


It doesn't work out, but your principles have to come first. And my principles or we got to elect Joe Biden.

TAPPER: I don't doubt that that you got hugs and handshakes behind closed doors today and maybe even publicly, some of them because they like you personally. But I've heard a lot of really nasty stuff about you from your Democratic colleagues because -- I mean, just like, what is he thinking? Exercise in narcissism. I mean --

PHILLIPS: Look, if someone thinks this was a selfish endeavor, let me tell you, this is not the way to accomplish an ego trip, just the opposite. I know -- I know I burn bridges but that's the problem with Washington, Jake, is that the people who express that sentiment are so disconnected from what's actually happening in our country right now.

And I'll tell you, everyone I spoke to in this country, Democrats, Republicans, independents, libertarians, all said the same thing. How is it possible we find ourselves in this position and why is nobody on my side of the aisle saying what were all thinking? So that's why did it, Jake, and I just wish and I hope and I will do whatever I can to inspire a culture where people can tell the truth and at least be rewarded for principle not punished for it.

TAPPER: All right. Congressman Dean Phillips, thanks for stopping by. Really appreciate. Good to see.

Boeing is under investigation yet again, after pilots had to figure out midair how to safely land when the flight controls got stuck. The alarming new details, next.



TAPPER: Our national lead now, as if Boeing wasn't already in hot water with the federal government, now they're involved in another investigation for those afraid of flying. Well, this is not the story you want to hear from me right now.

Pilots onboard a 737 MAX 8 Boeing plane had to figure out how to safely land after their flight controls got stuck. Thankfully, all went well and everyone's okay, but yikes! This happened last month, a United Airlines flight to Newark, New Jersey.

CNN's Pete Muntean, who is a pilot, is here to explain how serious this incident is.

Pete, we know how the flight controls got stuck and had a pilots even go about solving a problem like that.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: There are few ways out, but were just finding out about this now, even though this incident happened only back on February 6, and just one more bad headlines for Boeing following the Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 door plug blow out two months ago.

This incident involved a MAX 8, but also frightening especially to pilots, NTSB investigators say the pilots of this United Airlines flight reported the rudder pedals down there, the bottom of the floor became stuck. That is significant because the rudder swings and airplane left and right.

That's the motion called yaw. Press the left pedal, the nose goes left, press the right pedal, the nose goes right. This is especially critical during landing to stay on the center line of the runway.

One silver lining here, this happened as the airplane was on the runway and decelerating. So, the NTSB says the pilots were able to keep control using something called the nose wheel tiller, that steers the plane on the ground. The plane made it back to the gate in Newark, all 161 people on board unharmed. But to make sure this was not a total anomaly, the NTSB says United crews did a test flight, three days later, they were able to get the rudder pedals stuck again.

The thinking now by the NTSB is this was caused by an actuator, part of the autopilot. That part was disabled by United when they took delivery of this plane from Boeing, built by a company called the Collins. It tested that equipment as part of this investigation, immersed in cold and found that it can seize. In its report, the NTSB says, restricted movement would prevent the rudder pedals from moving.

So it seems the NTSB in this preliminary report found an early culprit. The NTSB investigation is continuing. Boeing says it's cooperating. United says it's impacted nine airplanes and it's removed that equipment in question from all of those points.

TAPPER: I mean, that's just horrifying and Boeings ongoing problems, we should note, are there really impacting airlines that rely on their products? I mean, United didn't do anything wrong there, but this happened to one of their flights.

MUNTEAN: There's a trickle-down effect here too. And now United Airlines is saying it's stopping new higher classes for its pilots in May and June, a huge shift from the post-pandemic rebound when airlines were just clamoring for pilots. The issue is the delayed deliveries of the MAX, backbone of the airlines fleet renewal. United has the MAX 10 on order.

Here's the memo from United Airlines. It says, those aircraft aren't even certified yet and it's impossible to know when they will arrive.

So, no-win for Boeing as they get more bad press in the industry about the MAX, a worldwide problem, Jake. Even Ryanair in Europe says it's upset about this whole thing and it may delay its deliveries as well.

TAPPER: All right. Pete Muntean, thank you so much. Another harrowing report from our aviation expert.

President Joe Biden just hours from delivering the State of the Union Address. It could help propel him to a second term or sink his reelection chances. One of his closest allies will join me next to preview the big night.



TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, the rise of antisemitism in America from elected officials and whether or not political leaders will call them out if they're belonged to their own party. Or stay silent to stay in power.

Plus, the pain continues. A new independent report from Uvalde, Texas, on failures of law enforcement to save the lives of innocent children, and how the community continues to grieve while praying for justice.

And leading this hour, one of President Biden's closest allies on how critical tonight's State of the Union is to ease concerns over Biden's age and acumen.

CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill for us right now.

Lauren, give us a preview of what we think President Biden is going to say in his address tonight.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is an opportunity for President Biden to lay out to a multitude of audiences, both the audience in the chamber and the audience at home that he has the vigor, the wherewithal, the ability to carry out this his job for the next four years.

This isn't just about what he says, but how he delivers this speech tonight. You can expect that he is going to directly go up against House Republicans when he talks about what he views the U.S.'s role around the world should be, specifically because he is grappling with the reality that Ukraine needs additional aid and the House speaker has yet to commit to putting that aid package on the floor of the House.

You can also expect he's going to lay out a stark contrast between what four more years of Biden would mean versus four more years of Trump.