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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump Appears Engaged During Stormy Daniels Testimony; Daniels Testifies About Payment At Center Of Trump Case; Judge Indefinitely Postpones Trump Classified Documents Trial; Paul Ryan: "Trump Can't Win But Biden Can Lose"; Biden & Trump In Tight Race With Six Months Until Election; Israel Bombards Rafah As Ceasefire Talks Continue; Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), Is Interviewed About Biden Connects Holocaust To Hamas' Oct. 7 Attack On Israel. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 07, 2024 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Biden's comments as recent pro-Palestinian protests spill well beyond college campuses. One pro-Palestinian group even claiming that they crossed the line into serious criminality and arson.

And leading this hour, Stormy Daniels on the stand going into detail about her alleged rendezvous with Donald Trump. Did the prosecution and did the witness go too far against judges orders giving TMI on the alleged encounter, giving the defense legitimate grounds for an appeal? We're going to continue our coverage of Trump's trial starting with CNN's Paula Reid.

Paula, so you were inside the courtroom today. I'm sorry, inside the courtroom yesterday and tracking Donald Trump behavior today. How did Trump seem to be handling hearing this testimony from Stormy Daniels? That had to have been quite embarrassing.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Today he was as invested as we've seen him throughout the course of this trial. Yesterday, two longtime Trump Organization employees testified to some potentially critical evidence. For the most part, Trump was leaned back in his chair, eyes closed. But today, as Stormy Daniels was on the stand, he was leaning in. He was watching her either directly or on his screen.

He was prompting his defense attorney to make objections. He was clearly actively involved in his defense. And Jake, I think it paid off when they came back from lunch, he was clearly agitated as they left for the midday break, but when they came back, his lawyers moved for a mistrial. They didn't win that. But the judge conceded that, yes, at times some of the things Stormy Daniels said were outside the guardrails that he had set up.

And then it was also interesting to see this cross examination by his lawyer, Susan Necheles, we really haven't heard from during this trial. It was aggressive and at times devastating for Stormy Daniels. Now, again, she won't make or break their case, but this has been a very effective day from the defense. And clearly their client had a lot to say about what they should be doing.

TAPPER: Trump's attorneys are set to resume cross examination of Stormy Daniels on Thursday, Wednesday, I think the judge hears other cases. At times today, Stormy Daniels appeared really quite tense when facing questions from Trump's defense team.

REID: Yes, we knew this was going to be unpleasant. I mean, they got her to admit that, yes, she hates the defendant. She has said that she would, quote, dance if he went to jail. She owes him hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result of other litigation. And they pulled up a tweet where she said she doesn't want to pay that, quote, "orange turd" a single dime.

They also undercut her credibility, getting her to contradict herself. I mean, it really was an incredibly uncomfortable cross examination I think for anyone in that courtroom but most of all, Stormy Daniels. This is what we expected. But I think what everyone can take away from today, again, Stormy Daniels is not going to make or break the prosecution case, but Michael Cohen, he will. And this is just a preview of what we can expect to see when he takes the stand.

Every tweet, every podcast, every quote in his book, they are going to pull out and put in front of him to try to establish that he has some sort of motivation to undermine the defendant, that there's some sort of vendetta. So that'll be -- again, that'll be an incredible today. Today was just a preview.

TAPPER: Thank you, Paul Reid. Appreciate it.

Let's bring in the rest of my panel. Karen Friedman Agnifilo and Shayna Jacobs are with me today. Paula is still with us, of course, as well.

Shayna, you were in the courtroom today. What did you observe from Donald Trump during the testimony?

SHAYNA JACOBS, FEDERAL COURTS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Just like everyone else in the courtroom, Donald Trump was listening intently to every single word that was said, every bit of testimony from Stormy Daniels. Like everyone else, he's been waiting years to hear what she would say potentially under oath in a more -- well, under oath in a much more formal setting than she's ever told this story before and he was paying attention the entire time.

TAPPER: Karen, there were lots of salacious quotes that Stormy gave on the stand today, but a lot of it was not necessarily legally relevant. Karen, do you think prosecutors have to walk a tightrope here?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Donald Trump admitted that they had sex but says this is just an extortion and a shakedown and that's all this was. Then I would agree that there were too many details that came out. But if you're calling her a liar and saying this never happened, I think the prosecution has a right to be able to try and prove that she's telling the truth and not say that this never happened because they're really going hard on her. By all accounts, the cross examination is quite intense and it's very aggressive and very much calling her a liar. And so, you know, when she talks about things like, I took the special elevator up to the penthouse floor and Keith Schilling was out standing outside and I go in and the suite is bigger than any apartment I've ever lived in, and there was heavy furniture and he was wearing this and -- you know, those types of details have the ring of truth.


She said at one point, she went into the bathroom and looked through his bathroom bag and he had pert and old Spice and gold nail clippers. I mean, those are the details that give someone -- gives a story the ring of truth and so that the jury can assess her credibility because her credibility is an issue on the stand.

TAPPER: And Paula, this morning Mr. Trump posted on truth social, quote, "I have just recently been told who the witness is today. This is unprecedented. No time for lawyers to prepare. No judge has ever run a trial in such a biased and partisan way. He is crooked and highly conflicted, even taking away my First Amendment rights.

Now he's threatening me with jail and they have no case, this according to virtually all legal scholars and experts. Why isn't the fake news media reporting his conflict?"

I mean, we have reported many times on the fact that his daughter works in a Democratic firm. But Mr. Trump deleted that post minutes later, even though the reference to the witness was vague and not specifically critical. But do you think this -- he might have deleted it because of the gag order?

REID: Yes, absolutely. I mean, even a vague witness reference could potentially jeopardize his defense lawyers from getting the names of witnesses and also potentially land him in jail because the judge was clear that is on the -- that possibility was on the table. And, Jake, I think the greatest legal risk that Stormy Daniels poses to Trump today and over the next few days as she testifies is just making him melt down and violate this gag order. The fact that he hasn't lost it in front of the press pool, that is notable. He has been better about following the gag order even before he was fined this $9,000.

Conservative activists have said, you know, this -- he shouldn't do this. And that was really what prompted him to stop. He did not violate it today. I think even people close to him are telling me they're a little bit surprised. And there's still time. She'll be back on the stand Thursday.

This is a big test because clearly her appearance is getting under his skin. But she is one of the people protected by the gag order.

TAPPER: Let's also bring in right now Jim Schultz, former Trump White House attorney.

Jim, it several times today Trump's defense team kept objecting anytime the prosecution got close to suggesting that the encounter was not what Stormy Daniels wanted to happen. Not that it was not consensual, but Stormy at different points said, quote, "There was an imbalance of power for sure" between her and Trump. She also noted that, "He didn't come at me. He didn't rush me. Nothing like that," unquote.

But she did suggest that she regretted it, regretted saying, yes, felt she didn't have another option. How important is it for that distinction to be made? And why do you think the defense attorneys were so focused on objecting anytime she suggested anything like that?

JIM SCHULTZ, CNN LEGAL COMMENTATOR : So they're basically putting a marker in that they're objecting to this testimony because its prejudice, its probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect. And that this would be prejudicial testimony, prejudicial to the jury not relevant to the case itself, that this -- that the judge let this testimony go too far, that this could potentially color the jury's thoughts on the case and which ultimately led to their motion for mistrial, which was denied by the judge. But I think that -- they were trying to get on record that they were making these objections.

They didn't object to everything. And I think that was part of strategy. You don't want to -- you don't want to pound on the table too much, because then it brings attention to testimony that you might, otherwise -- it might bring more attention to the testimony. So I think they picked and show -- they were picking and choosing their spots and they picked that one in particular.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks, one and all.

Let's bring in CNN political commentator, former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin.

Now, Alyssa, what do you think the reaction inside Trump world is right now after today's dramatic testimony?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's going to be a mix of outrage that the former president had to sit there and listen to those salacious details. His wife's name coming up, this allegation that he said that she -- they did not share a bedroom. But I also think that the defense did a pretty effective job today. And I want to say this, I'm not an attorney, I know Republican voters and know the Republican public, I'm a bit stunned that the prosecution leans so heavily into the salacious details about the sexual encounter rather than talking about who Stormy Daniels is. I interviewed her recently.

She's a mother. She's been nearly bankrupted because of her former attorney now paying Trumps legal bills. She's somebody who could be a very sympathetic figure who also could have credibility. And I think to really lean into that side of it, I don't know that's going to play well with a jury. This was something that, you know, took place in 2006, she was 27 years old, he was 60.

That data point matters. But I've just got to say I am not convinced this is the rock solid case that the prosecution thinks that they have. And thinking of the political implications heading into the election, if Donald Trump gets off in this case, his voters are not going to trust further, more important trials that come up, like the January 6 investigation or the documents case.


TAPPER: If those cases happen before the election. Alyssa, let's play a little bit of what Mr. Trump said just moments ago. I want to get your reaction.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was a very big day, a very revealing day. As you see, their case is totally falling apart. They have nothing on books and records and even something that should bear very little relationship to the case. It's just a disaster for the D.A., for the Soros-backed D.A. It's a disaster.


TAPPER: This is generally what we've heard from Trump many days after court. Do you think his lawyers have said that's as far as you can go without violating the gag order? Don't go after Stormy Daniels. He didn't mention her once there. It was a good day for us take the win?

GRIFFIN: Well, and yes, I think that he actually thinks it is. I think his defense getting her to admit that she hates him, that she was interested in getting money, those were wins that are going to resonate. But I think he's also very concerned about violating this gag order, potential jail time. But I also think he's working the system. We know that if there's one thing Trump knows, it's media.

So even by posting that statement to Truth Social and quickly taking it down, it's still going to be on social media on other outlets, it's still going to appear in the news media and people are going to see them message he was trying to convey. To me, the judge is probably going to have to get more explicit in cracking down on things because he knew what he was doing by putting it out there and then removing it, it still got into the public eye.

TAPPER: Just to be clear, though, you found her testimony credible?

GRIFFIN: I mean, I have no doubt the encounter took place. I think to Karen Agnifilo's point, she made a very compelling case about the specificity of the incident. It's the later details about saying she hates him, the statements she'd made against him. I don't know that that's where I would have gone. I mean, I spoke to her once and she didn't rule out voting for him again.

That's actually more of how I would have wanted to frame her. This is somebody who's a Republican since 2010. She's not a Trump hater, but this -- the facts of this case stand, this happened, this is how she was mistreated and use her in that way. It's more of a strategy issue that I have an issue with.

TAPPER: Alyssa Farrah Griffin, always good to see you. Thanks so much.

GRIFFIN: Good to see you. TAPPER: Some breaking news is coming in on another Trump case. That's the federal classified documents case against him in Florida. The judge there has just postponed the trial indefinitely. This news just coming in. We're back with the details. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And we have some breaking news now in Donald Trump's federal classified documents in case. The judge in Florida has indefinitely postponed this trial. Let's get straight to CNN's Katelyn Polantz.

Katelyn, what is driving this incredibly consequential decision by Judge Cannon?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida says that this classified documents case against Donald Trump, it's too complicated and there's too much to do right now that she has to work through. And so she's taken the trial date off of the calendar instead, laid out a plan through essentially the end of July to handle other issues in this case, largely around the use of classified documents. Remember, this is a case charging Donald Trump with the mishandling of nearly three dozen national security records. And because it's about national security, Jake, there's quite a lot of classified material that is part of the case and that the defense team is going to try and argue to use in their case to present to a jury or somehow in the trial. That is a big, hefty thing that this court has to work through.

And so that is what is going to be taking place during the summer before Judge Aileen Cannon. She now has a hearing on the calendar for May, one for June, and then another for July, but no trial date. And she says once she gets through all of the other stuff she has to do in this case, that's when she will be announcing when the trial will take place. The bottom line here, Jake, is exceedingly unlikely, almost to the point where it may be an impossibility for Donald Trump to go to trial in this Florida classified documents case before the November election. Jake.

TAPPER: Wow. Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much.

Let's bring back CNN's Paula Reid, as well as former Trump White House attorney Jim Schultz.

So, Paula, a significant shift certainly playing into Trump's strategy of delay, delay, delay. But also we should note special counsel Jack Smith really has voiced some serious concerns, if not animus, toward this judge.

REID: Yes, absolutely. And there may come a time when he tries to get her removed from the case, but at this point, that's premature. What Jack Smith knows tonight, though, is that it's very possible that he may not be able to bring either one of his federal cases against former president Trump before the election. And the election is a significant point on the calendar because if Trump is reelected, he can have Jack Smith and both of his cases dismissed.

Now here, this case, the classified documents case postponed indefinitely. But the other prosecution that Smith has brought, the January 6 case also on ice while the Supreme Court contemplates if Trump has presidential immunity. Now, in the arguments a couple weeks ago, they signaled that they're not likely toss that case out, but they might toss it back down to the trial court for more litigation, which, again, that's why it would make it impossible to bring before the November election. Obviously, we're here in Manhattan for this criminal case. The other one outstanding is the RICO case down in Georgia.

But again, it goes back to the strategy of delay. By trying to have Fani Willis and Nathan Wade removed from the case, they successfully likely pushed that until late in this year. And it's very difficult, again, if Trump is reelected to put him on trial down there. So this long game that they've been playing to try to delay everything overall has been successful. The one case that is going forward is what was always considered kind of the runt of the litter, the least consequential of the four.

But it is still a historic case, the first prosecution of the former president of the United States. And, Jake, it might be the only one.


TAPPER: Jim, how unusual is a delay like this?

SCHULTZ: So in cases where you have classified information, it's not all that unusual because the defense has a right to ask to use certain classified information in cases like this to defend itself. And then the judge has to evaluate whether -- and do a balancing test as to whether it's going to allow that classified information to be used as part of the trial. Because, remember, it becomes public once it becomes part of the trial. So, the judge needs to weigh those considerations. And I'm sure that the Trump is part -- that Trump's legal team, as part of the strategy, you know, put forward a number of things that they needed in order to defend itself that involved classified information. And therefore, she needs to hold hearings on that.

So I'm not surprised. And I kind of said way back when that I thought that would be the one thing that would delay this case are the hearings on the classified information. That's how it turned out.

TAPPER: And, Paula, Judge Cannon cited significant issues around classified information in the cases that cause for this delay as Jim just alluded to. What specifically needs to be worked out here?

REID: Well, that's her version of events. To Jim's point, it is absolutely valid to say there are serious questions around classified documents, what gets in, what gets out, what won't be allowed in, and a lot of that is done behind closed doors. That takes time. But Aileen, as approach to this case has come under considerable scrutiny, and she has moved at a glacial pace. A lot of decisions still outstanding, and there are a lot of questions about why she has taken so long to move this case forward.

Some have suggested that she's trying to help the defendant, the man who put her on the bench. Others have suggested it's her inexperience. She's only been a federal judge, never dealt with anything like this.

And then there's also a question of just analysis paralysis, the inability to make decisions, especially after she was humiliated, bench slapped by the Court of Appeals for a decision that she made very early on related to the Mar-a-Lago case. But her handling of this case has absolutely slowed it down. Now, would it have gone before the election? Unclear, but she continues to be under scrutiny from legal experts and members of the bar.

TAPPER: Jim, what are the options for Jack Smith, the special counsel? Can he move to have her removed from this case? Can he appeal this? What actually can he do?

SCHULTZ: So he really doesn't have appellate rights here. The judge, the district court judge in these types and in trial cases like this, have control of their docket. They control how fast the case moves. They can push it forward at a rapid pace. They can take their good old time working on motion practice and other things.

They set the docket. There's not much he can do there. I mean, he's going to be hard pressed to have an argument to have her removed. I don't see that being successful in this matter. It's unlikely that that would happen.

So, I think he's kind of --

TAPPER: (Inaudible) both you --

SCHULTZ: -- you know --

TAPPER: Sorry, keep going.

SCHULTZ: He's at the will of the judge on this, and there's not much he can do.

TAPPER: All right, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

Of course, all of this is playing out in a major election year as we all know. Our panel of political experts are here to weigh in, next.



TAPPER: We're continuing our coverage of a major legal ruling in a different case, not the one in Manhattan in which Stormy Daniels testified, but the one in Florida, former President Trump's classified documents case. The judge there, Aileen Cannon, just indefinitely postponed that trial. Here to weigh in is our panel of political voices, David Axelrod, it does look as though right now the only case that is going to go forward is the one right now having to do with these hush money payments -- DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLICITAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

TAPPER: -- alleged hush money cover up, and that the other cases might not.

AXELROD: Yes, look, you hear Trump say that Biden has been masterminding the whole thing. If he were masterminding the whole thing, this would not be the trial that he wanted to go. So, yes, I think this has been apparent for a long time. Judge Cannon has not been exactly speeding along here to try and make this happen. The Supreme Court has the other case, and Georgia is Georgia.

I think this is going to be it. And the question is, A, is he convicted? And B, what does it mean? And if he's not convicted, what does that mean?

TAPPER: Yes. Yesterday, former House Speaker Paul Ryan was speaking at a conference, the Milken conference out in California. He said he believes the Biden-Trump rematch favors the current incumbent, Joe Biden. But he says a Biden win hinges one major condition. Let's roll that tape.


PAUL RYAN, (R) FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: I still think Trump can't win, but Biden can lose. But if Biden can't get to the middle, I don't know for the life of me why he's chasing these left wing voters. He's going to get them. Trump's going to deliver those voters for him. He's chasing the wrong voters.

And so, if he doesn't pivot soon, my guess is Trump wins it.


TAPPER: Do you -- what do you think about that analysis as the pollster on the voting in?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's definitely the case that Biden's voters are at this point more likely to turn out than Trump's voters. Anytime we take a poll and we look at the most likely people to participate in the election, they're leaning toward Biden. Democrats are doing better these days amongst the types of folks that are reliable. Trump's coalition are folks that are not as tuned in that -- that's not to say every Trump voter is not tuned in, but just the type of voter who only really participates when Trump's on the ballot he needs -- Trump is the one that's going to need to bring out people who otherwise are less attached to the political world.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: But Biden needs younger voters, and he's lost younger voters by a substantial margin. You know, he's only ahead of Trump by single digits. In 2020, it was over 20 points. So I think, you know, this is a real issue for him. And a lot of these left wing voters, if that's what you want to call them, are younger voters. And so that's a problem. AXELROD: You know, I think there's a Meta issue in the campaign that a narrative that kind of governs it. You know, the Republican message is the world's out of control and Biden's not in command. So to the extent that he looks like he is pulling his punches on a particular issue, whether it's the border or the protests, and that makes him look weaker and that probably hurts him.


But you know what, I have a lot of respect for Paul Ryan. I wouldn't necessarily take advice for him on a presidential race because what you should be is not for Paul Ryan economics. What Biden needs to do is be edgy and populist on economic issues in a comparative frame with Trump because I think the issue of inflation and costs is a real thing. And he has to at least blunt that argument a little.

TAPPER: Where our polls right now, like, if the election were held today, what do you think would happen?

ANDERSON: I actually think if the election were held today, Trump is very slightly favored, but very slightly. And that's in part because looking at some of these battleground state polls, Biden is just not raising a lot of enthusiasm. There's not a lot of belief that his policies have made people better off. And particularly on the issues that are the most important to voters right now, they say things like the economy, they say things like immigration are the most important issues. Those are not ones where voters think that Biden has done a better job than Trump did.

BORGER: Well, but the issue, you know, for the Democrats that they can use to their advantage is abortion, obviously. And if you look at issue sets, that's the one area, the one area that Biden outpaces Trump on, not the economy, not inflation, not anything. But that's the one area. And that's why you see Kamala Harris going to Florida and that's why you see Joe Biden talking about it so much.

AXELROD: And there's no doubt that I think they're going to make a maximum effort around that. And when you look at where there are initiatives on the ballot, it may be helpful --

BORGER: -- right, in places like Nevada and Arizona. But fundamentally, these economic issues are important and you can't just surrender them to Trump. And there's a real choice between Biden and Trump on these issues. And they have records on these issues. And Biden ought to, you know, the insulin and lowering drug costs and Trump's $1.7 trillion tax cut. And, you know, these are good issues for Biden. And he needs to frame that argument.

TAPPER: Where do you see both the protests about what's going on in Gaza and what's going on in Gaza as factors in this election if at all?

ANDERSON: I think they're very low on the list. I have described foreign policy as kind of the background music of this election.

TAPPER: What's a background? I mean, if you go to college campuses, it's not background music, it's --

ANDERSON: It's not on college campuses. But also to what extent are college campuses representative even of young voters, they really aren't necessarily. And to the extent that they are representative of the electorate at all, I mean, zero percent. So I think that's important context to keep in mind. There's a lot of heat, a lot of emotion, a lot of action happening there. And Gloria is absolutely right. Young voters are not enthused by Biden at all, and they're an important part of the democratic coalition. But I do think it's important, even though they are a hot button top issue on the minds of, say, college students right now, either who are protesting or who are, say, having their commencements canceled as a result of protests. It is not the number one issue for the median American.

BORGER: And Biden gave a speech on anti-Semitism today and he didn't give an inch to the protests.

TAPPER: That was interesting, definitely. Thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

More breaking news this hour, Israel says only two factors would allow it to let up on its military operation in Gaza. CNN's Clarissa Ward is in the region with the new pledge. We're going to go right to her.

Also ahead, how a twisted take on pro-Palestinian protests led to this. Police cars torched by arsonists. We're back in a moment.



TAPPER: Topping our World Lead, Israel's military has captured the Palestinian side of the key Rafah crossing in Gaza. Overnight, Israeli strikes pounded the densely populated region. Sources on the ground tell CNN, the 27 people, including children were killed. Today Israel's defense minister Yoav Gallant vowed to press on, saying that the operation will continue until Hamas is either eliminated or until the first hostage is returned. As negotiators in Egypt work to get Israel and Hamas closer to a ceasefire and hostage deal, let's get right to CNN's Clarissa Ward, who is in Jerusalem for us. Clarissa, now we're learning more about what was in Hamas latest response. Tell us.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so the main stumbling block, Jake, appears to be this issue of the 33 hostages who were set to be released, those would include women, female soldiers, the elderly, the sick. And in the deal or the proposed deal that Hamas agreed to, there is a crucial change in the verbiage around that. And they essentially are saying that some of those hostages could be returned dead, that their remains would be returned if 33 could not be found alive. The Israelis have said that is absolutely impossible for them to agree to, that it would set a dangerous precedent for any living hostages who remained. It could allow for them to be killed.

The second major issue in terms of disagreement between the two sides is this issue of Hamas basically saying that the deal they agreed to would entail all Israeli forces leaving the Gaza Strip permanently. Again, Israel saying that it cannot possibly commit to that and that the framework that should be agreed upon is this so called six week pause in fighting, if you will, 42 days.

Now, despite both sides saying that they are now very far apart from each other, the Israeli side particularly saying that there's a lot of daylight. We've heard from the White House Spokesman John Kirby, saying that he thinks the gaps can be closed. We're seeing frantic diplomatic efforts. CIA Director Bill Burns was in Cairo as those talks continued today. He will be traveling here to Israel. Tomorrow he will be meeting with the head of Mossad, David Barnea, also with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as efforts continue to really try to force some kind of a deal.


TAPPER: And back to Gaza, Palestinians were celebrating yesterday when they heard the news that Hamas accepted a deal, although it turns out it was -- it seems to have been a different deal than the one Israel had been working on. What are Palestinians, what are Gazans saying now?

WARD: They're terrified, Jake. The ones that we have been speaking to are fearful that this is going to develop into the highly dreaded Rafah offensive. They are moving often for the fifth or fourth time. We're hearing from the U.N. that is saying that 200 people are evacuating now from Rafah every single hour. The main hospital in the eastern part of Rafah, the Yousef El-Najar Hospital, has had to close down and evacuate.

There's reports of looting now going on there. And every single aid organization is up in arms because the Rafah crossing and the Kerem Shalom border crossings have been completely shut. That means that aid can't get in except for through the north Erez Crossing, the IDF and COGAT saying today that some 60 trucks managed to get in. But that is a drop in the bucket compared to the scale of the need.

There are very real fears, particularly about the issue of fuel, which you can remember, Jake, was such a huge issue early on in this conflict as well, fears that more hospitals will have to close down, though the State Department saying today that Israel has committed to reopening Kerem Shalom border crossing tomorrow. We will see.

TAPPER: All right, Clarissa Ward in Jerusalem. Thank you so much.

In our National Lead today, police tore apart an anti-Israel encampment at the University of Chicago early this morning, removing signs and tents. Protesters reacted by angrily shouting at police, quote, shame on you. No arrests were made, according to the president of the University of Chicago.

In Portland, Oregon police are investigating claims made by anti- Israel group that it set ten police cars on fire. The Portland Police Bureau says at least 15 cars were ultimately damaged or destroyed in the crime which happened last Thursday. The group claiming responsibility on Monday goes by the name Rachel Corrie's Ghost Brigade. That's named after an American activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer in 2003 as she tried to block a Palestinian family's home from being demolished. Rachel Corrie's father disavows the group using her name and the violence they showed.

Against the backdrop of these anti-war protests in the U.S., President Biden today denounced the rise of anti-Semitism in America and reminded the world of Hamas atrocities against Israelis on October 7th that prompted the current conflict. Biden spoke today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's annual days of remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. CNN's Kayla Tausche is at the White House for us. Kayla, how did President Biden connect the Holocaust to the October 7th Hamas terrorist attack against Israel?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, Biden sought to draw many parallels between the two events, the systematic targeting of Jews, the rise in anti-Jewish sentiment and propaganda, and the isolation of Jews within their communities. He even drew some parallels between the origins of World War II with Hitler invading Poland to the reason why Israel has a military campaign in Gaza to begin with. Here's what the president said.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Too many people denying, downplaying, rationalizing, ignoring the horrors of the Holocaust. And October 7th, including Hamas's appalling use of sexual violence torture and terrorize Jews.


TAUSCHE: Ancient hatred of Jews that preceded the Holocaust and extends beyond even now, Jake. But he urged Americans to heed the lessons of the past, to avoid these atrocities in the future. But a reminder, he's given these sort of warnings and condemnations after the January 6th insurrection, after the Charlottesville rallies that spurred him to run for president. And these deep divisions still remain.

TAPPER: All right, Kayla Tausche at the White House for us. Thank you so much.

A Republican senator who was just in the Middle East and just got back this morning is going to join me next with president -- with reaction to President Biden's comments today and the latest news from the region. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Back with our World Lead in its attempt to eliminate Hamas, Israel bombarded the southern Gaza city of Rafah overnight as U.S., Israeli and Hamas negotiators meet in Egypt to try and achieve a ceasefire deal. CNN has seen the document detailing Hamas latest proposal, which the terrorist group agreed to on Monday. Since then, Israel has rejected two key points, including Hamas requirement that Israel commits to ending the war altogether and Hamas offer to include dead hostages in the first phase of the deal if they cannot find enough living hostages.

And joining us now, Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst. Senator, thank you so much for joining us. You just this morning got back from the Middle East. So I want to get your reaction to something President Biden spoke about today in his address against anti-Semitism in the United States. Take a listen.


BIDEN: Now, here we are, not 75 years later, but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting. They're already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror. I have not forgotten, nor have you.


TAPPER: Is President Biden right, do you think, have too many people, too many Americans forgotten that what happened on October 7th?

SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA) Yes, they have, Jake. And thank you for having me on today. I've just returned from the Middle East where Israelis are very concerned about what they see happening across the United States at our liberal campuses and others, as a matter of fact, but also in other nations as well. Anti-Semitism cannot exist, should not exist. Most certainly not here in the United States of America. We have seen this era upon era, time after time. It has got to end now. Hamas is the enemy, not the Jewish nation and certainly not our Jewish friends.


TAPPER: You were just in the room with key Israeli officials. Given the back and forth with the proposed ceasefire and hostage deal, as well as Israel's invasion of Rafah, what do you make of this moment we're in?

ERNST: I think this is a very tenuous moment, of course, and we are leaning forward. We're on the edge of our seats. But certainly I think the Israelis feel that the only leverage they have over Hamas is to continue through Rafael. I know this concerns a lot of people. Boy, President Biden seems to be sweating this out with his mention of withholding munitions from Israel.

But this is about Hamas. This is about destroying them. This is about the existence of Israel. This is about the right for Jewish people to exist. We don't see the type of support we need to see from Egypt, from Qatar, even here from the United States. The pressure should be on Hamas. The pressure should not be on Israel. Hamas is the one that did these atrocities on October 7th, murdered innocent men, women and children, drug away the elderly, is holding eight Americans hostage, three of whom are now deceased. So Hamas is the enemy, Jake, we cannot forget that. TAPPER: After reports surfaced that the White House was considering accepting some Palestinians from Gaza as refugees, you wrote a letter to President Biden, signed last week, signed onto by 35 other Republican senators, and you wrote in part, quote, we are not confident that your administration, the Biden administration, can adequately vet this high risk population for terrorist ties and sympathies before admitting them into the United States, unquote.

But surely, I know your heart goes out to the innocent Palestinian children and innocent Palestinian civilians who are not part of Hamas, who have been killed, who have been severely wounded. What's your response? If there's a wounded child, Palestinian child, perhaps their parents are dead, perhaps their parents are wounded. You don't think that that child or their family should be admitted into the United States?

ERNST: No, I do think that there are reasonable ways to treat those injured, most certainly women and children. But all we have to do is point to Egypt. Now, Egypt is right next door. They are neighbors to the Gaza Strip, and yet they have refused to take in refugees from the Gaza Strip because they cannot sort through who is an innocent Palestinian and who is a Hamas terrorist. They have refused from day one to do that, even with those women and children.

So we do have to work with our Arab partners in the Middle East. I am certainly willing to fund those activities to make sure that the food is getting to the right people, that medical support is getting to the right people. I would say the International Red Cross needs to go into the Gaza Strip. But do you know who is refusing to allow that? Hamas. Hamas is refusing to allow the humanitarian aid to flow in to those who need it most, Jake.

So again, my heart goes out to those innocents that are trapped in this war. But what would help is if Hamas hands over those hostages, both the living and the deceased, and comes to terms with a ceasefire that can be negotiated between Israel and Hamas, not between Egypt, Qatar and Hamas. Israel has to be at the table during these discussions.

TAPPER: Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst, just back from a trip to the Middle East, thank you so much for joining us.

ERNST: Yes, thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: A big announcement today from the Boy Scouts of America that may have you asking what's in the name? That's next.



TAPPER: Our last leads begin in Toronto, where police are investigating a shooting outside the mansion that belongs to rapper, Drake. Authorities say a security guard was shot around 2:00 a.m. this morning. He was working at a gate outside Drake's home. He was rushed to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. Authorities could not say if the shooting had anything to do with the recent feud or beef between Drake and fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar.

Boy Scouts of America is changing its name. As of next February, the organization will be known as Scouting America. They say that the name change is meant to help everyone, boys and girls, feel welcome. In recent years, the Boy Scouts of America has faced widespread allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct.

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after spending more than $150 million to settle abuse lawsuits and started compensating victims through a special trust last year. The trust is eventually expected to pay out $2.4 billion to more than 82,000 survivors of abuse.

The breaking news this hour, the federal judge in Donald Trump's classified documents case down in Florida just postponed that trial indefinitely. Then up north in the New York hush money cover up case, we're standing by to get the first transcripts after a dramatic day in court with adult film actress and director Stormy Daniels on the stand. The testimony described as combative at times.


Wolf Blitzer will pick up our coverage next in the Situation Room. I will see you back tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. right here on The Lead. Until then, you can follow me on social media at JakeTapper. You can download the show wherever you get your podcast, all two hours just sitting there. I'll see you tomorrow.