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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Reps. Comer And Porter Team Up On Presidential Ethics Bill; Rep. James Comer, (R-KY), Is Interviewed About Presidential Ethics Bill; Rep. Katie Porter, (D-CA), Is Interviewed About Presidential Ethics Bill; Jury Deliberations Expected To Begin Next Week; N.Y. Gov. Hochul On Trump Rally In The Bronx; New U.S. Effort To Get Ceasefire Talks Back On Track; CNN In Iran As Days-Long Funeral For Late Iranian President Ends. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 23, 2024 - 17:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to The Lead. I'm Jake Tapper. This hour with Donald Trump in her backyard, New York Governor Kathy Hochul will be here on The Lead. Her take on the 2024 race and on some of the biggest issues plaguing the empire state.

Plus, closing arguments in the hush money cover a trial now five days away. How this time off could impact the outcome. I'm going to ask a juror from another prominent case.

And leading this hour, a bipartisan border bill rejected on Capitol Hill for the second time this year, this one blocked by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Our coverage starts with CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

And Manu, the bipartisan border bill just failed for a second time in the Senate today. What gives?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. It actually fared worse than it did back in February. In February, this failed along mostly along party lines 49 to 50, you needed 60 votes to advance. Also needed 60 votes to advance today, they failed 43 to 50 losing additional Democratic and Republican support. Those members who are now voting no believe they're doing it out of protest because they believe this is being done for political reasons to try to force a vote that the Democratic leaders and the White House knew would fail.

Including the people who are voted against it today, Senator James Lankford and Senator Kyrsten Sinema, two of the co-authorss of this bipartisan deal, but they criticize this process. Now this initially failed back in February, in large part because it was Donald Trump who came out and said that Republicans should reject this bill out of hand, even before this bill was released. And that was the point that Democrats wanted to make by forcing this vote. They tried to lay the blame on what's happening at the border against Donald Trump. Republicans said this is all a political move to try to protect some vulnerable Democrats over this issue of immigration. That's a question I put directly to Senator Jon Tester who is facing a difficult reelection in Montana.


RAJU: Republicans say this vote today is all about protecting you. What do you say to that?

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): About politics?

RAJU: Yes.

TESTER: Do they forget who told them to vote against a perfectly good border security bill that would have secured the border for political reasons? Really?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): I don't think President Biden is going to have an epiphany, or reverse the policies that he's pursued in the last three and a half years, which have been an unmitigated disaster. And that's what makes us so cynical.


RAJU: But this bill, Jake, Democrats did move much closer to the Republican position on a lot of these key issues, whether it was overhauling asylum laws, or giving the Department of Homeland Security -- Department Homeland Security more authority to push out migrants who have crossing over the border if migrant crossings reach a certain threshold. But nevertheless, given the politics and the nature of things right now on Capitol Hill, this was going nowhere, given the partisan divisions and going down today, making clear that Congress still for decades has been unable to resolve immigration problems not able to do it this year, either, Jake.

TAPPER: And today 1000s or 100s rather of students walked out of Harvard's commencement ceremony. They were protesting their fellow students who were barred from participating in their ceremony -- in the ceremony because some of their protest activity had run afoul of rules. The issue of campus protests and anti-semitism and how universities are dealing with all of this was the topic of another hearing on Capitol Hill today that became quite heated. Tell us about that.

RAJU: Yes, it did come become quite heated. This is one of the first hearings in the aftermath of all these protests breaking out along -- we've seen across the country. University presidents testifying before a House committee and there were some sharp exchanges on both sides of the aisle. One exchange here, Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican, a member of the Republican leadership going after the northwestern president over this issue.


REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Isn't it true that Jewish Northwest -- a Jewish Northwestern student was assaulted?

MICHAEL SCHILL, PRESIDENT, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: So I want to question the premise of your question.

STEFANIK: No, no, no, I'm asking the questions, you're answering. Wasn't it true --

SCHILL: And my answer is --

STEFANIK: No, no, no.

SCHILL: -- is not a capitulation.

STEFANIK: I'm asking the question you're required to answer. Isn't it true that a Jewish Northwestern student was assaulted?

SCHILL: There are allegations that a Jewish student was assaulted. We are investigating those allegations.



RAJU: And there were also Democrats who raised sharp concerns as well. Some of them criticizing Republicans themselves including Pramila Jayapal, who said that Republicans are engaging in, quote, "political bullying" rather than dealing with the core issues at the heart of these campus protests. Also, Ilhan Omar criticized UCLA for just saying they should be ashamed for not doing more to stop violence at the protest earlier as we've seen the violence break out there. So Jake, a very emotional and intense day at his House hearing earlier today.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

Also in our politics lead on Capitol Hill, and unlikely duo has teamed up for a rare moment of bipartisanship and introduced a bill aimed at increasing transparency in the Oval Office.


REP. JAMES COMER (R-KY): I'm a Republican.

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): I'm a Democrat.

COMER: We want Americans to see for themselves now in in the future whether or not our leaders in the White House or influence peddling.


TAPPER: The Presidential Ethics Reform Act would require future presidents and vice presidents to disclose foreign payments, expensive gifts, loans, as well as tax returns for two years prior to taking office during their time in office and for two years after they leave office. Joining us now is House Oversight Committee Chairman Congressman James Comer of Kentucky and a member of that committee, Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter of California. Thanks to both of you for being here.

First of all, Chairman, how did this come about this partnership?

COMER: Well, Katie has been a great member of the House Oversight Committee for the entire Congress, we've become close. We developed a relationship through an unlikely source. Her mother is a very famous member of the Paducah, Kentucky Quilt Museum Hall of Fame. And that's in my district. So that's kind of how we struck up a good relationship.

PORTER: And I was very impressed when I went to visit Mr. Comer's office for the first time that he had framed his FFA, Future Farmers of America jacket. And I was in FFA, and I was able to recite the motto and he was fairly impressed.

TAPPER: That's pretty cool. So, Republicans have been investigating Biden families practices, specifically Hunter Biden. When Trump was in office, Democrats investigated Trump's children. So, this bill we should point out, would also require ethics disclosures from family members of presidents and vice presidents, right?

PORTER: That's right. It will require disclosure from their close family members. So we're talking about siblings, parents, sister and brother-in-law's. And we think that's important to have that transparency and confidence. We've seen more presidents involve their adult children, involve their family, and we think that's likely to continue in the future.

TAPPER: So, is the Speaker of the House on board? Let me just say, it sounds like a great bill. I mean, more disclosure, always, always for everybody. Does the speaker support the bill? Do you think it's going to be brought to the floor for a vote?

COMER: I feel confident it'll be brought to the floor for a vote. Well, I plan on having a markup in committee. Katie and I are on the committee. Obviously we have bipartisan support. We're going to continue to build support.

But, you know, the conversations with Mike Johnson haven't even begun yet with respect to the bill. But I would be surprised if he wasn't anything but fully supportive.

TAPPER: What about the White House? Is President Biden support the bill?

PORTER: Well, President Biden has an incredible track record of transparency, for example, disclosing 26 years of tax returns. So I can't think of any good reason why he wouldn't be willing, for example, to do what our bill requires, which is to disclose two years. So the bill starts taking effect upon taking office. So it goes back then two years in time. So given his track record, given that he's campaigning on ethics, I expect him to be enthusiastic about the bill.

TAPPER: What about Mr. Drain the Swamp, President Trump, do you think he'll support it?

COMER: I would be shocked if he wouldn't. I mean, this is part of draining the swamp. You know, this has been an issue that both parties have complained about. For the last three or four administrations, they're both parties have accused the other of conflicts of interest, have potential ethics violations. The truth of the matter, one thing we've learned through our investigation, there are a lot of loopholes, there are a lot of gray areas.

And this legislation is a sincere, credible effort to try to define what exactly constitutes influence peddling and prevent it from happening in the future.

TAPPER: Do you think that members of Congress and members of the judiciary, especially Supreme Court justices should be held to the same standard? Is that something that you might also consider?

PORTER: Well, there's definitely a number of ethics reforms, whether it's banning congressional stock trading. I support, for example, extending a ban on former members of Congress being able to lobby. We've talked a lot about Supreme Court ethics. So I think if the bill and when the bill moves to the floor, I would expect we would see other members try to move different kinds of ethical requirements.

TAPPER: What do you think?

COMER: I agree. And Katie and I talks about that. Look, the Oversight Committee has jurisdiction over the executive branch so the bill is written pertaining to the executive branch. Once the bill goes to the floor, then it could be amended to include ethics reform for members of Congress like a ban on stock trading, it could even potentially include things pertaining to ethics reform for the Supreme Court. So, I think this bill is a vehicle for a lot of potential good that both parties have complained about for decades.


TAPPER: So, this is -- we always like to herald bipartisanship on the show, and this is really remarkable. And the fact that you're both on the House Oversight Committee makes this next question a little bit difficult. But there was some moment on your committee last week, just to remind our viewers this is what it was.


REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREEN (R-GA): I think your fake eyelashes are messing up --

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Oh, girl, baby girl. Oh, really don't even play.

REP. JASMINE CROCKETT (D-TX): If someone on this committee then starts talking about somebody's bleached blonde, bad-built butch body, that would not be engaging in personalities, correct?

COMER: Oh, what now?


TAPPER: Oh, what now is what is might be my favorite part of that quote. But what was going through your head during that?

COMER: I can't believe that this is a congressional hearing. It's very unfortunate. Wasn't the first time. I hope it's the last time that members that have been constant repeat offenders of breaking the quorum. Have both -- have all been called out.

And hopefully it won't happen again. But you're not supposed to engage in personalities. And unfortunately, that's what happened in the last committee hearing. Representative Greene's words were struck. I think Representative Crockett said some very inappropriate things as well. It's unfortunate because that was a very important committee hearing that got hijacked by a few unfortunate sale bots.

TAPPER: What do you think?

PORTER: Well, I think over the course of this Congress, we've seen it kind of get worse and worse, the atmosphere. I think people now are coming in to those committee hearings, kind of hot and ready to do battle. And so I think that was certainly true by kind of right from the start, there was a lot of sparring. And, you know, I think for me, when Chairman Comer said, you know, I can't hear what everyone's saying. That's really the most fundamental breakdown of lawmaking.

How can he keep order if people are scorching back and forth at each other? So, look, I mean, I think I know -- the video makes pretty clear who started it. But I don't think pouring fuel onto that kind of -- that kind of personal attack is ultimately helpful. And I think, you know, we saw it and we've heard back from California, and I'm sure you've heard it, too is American people don't want to see us acting like children. They want to see us acting like grownups.

TAPPER: Like this. Thank you so much.

COMER: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up next, the closing arguments that will soon have all eyes on a Manhattan courtroom for the hush money cover up case. Hear what it's really like to be a juror on such a high profile case. Plus, the major move just hours ago in Louisiana, putting the state on track to becoming the first in the nation to classify abortion drugs as, quote, "controlled dangerous substances," unquote. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our law and justice lead, in just five days the jury will be back in the courtroom and Donald Trump's hush money cover up trial closing arguments are set for next Tuesday. Jury deliberations could start as soon as Wednesday. Joining us now is Amanda Brainerd. She knows what it's like to serve as a juror on a high profile in New York City case. She served as a juror and Harvey Weinstein's 2020 case. Harvey Weinstein, as you may recall, was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and third degree rape, though that conviction has been overturned. Amanda, when court broke for the week on Tuesday, Judge Merchan instructed the jurors to not discuss the case to avoid any media coverage of the trial. You also were asked to do that as a juror on the Weinstein trial, a trial that most of America was talking about while it was underway. How hard is it to not discuss the case? Not Google it, not watched late night, late night probably more of a factor with Trump than with Weinstein, but to really just shut yourself off from any discussion of it with friends and family, that seems like it would be tough to me?

AMANDA BRAINERD, FORMER WEINSTEIN TRIAL JUROR: It's difficult. And I think more difficult than shutting yourself off from social media and watching it on television is friends and family pinging you all the time saying, oh, my God, I can't believe you're on that case. You know, what are you going to do? And what -- yes, and just trying to block that out. I mean, there was a lot of noise about the Weinstein trial, but you know, the Trump trial is deafening.

So, it's very -- you know, I think in a way that the jurors for the Trump trial have it even harder than we did in terms of blocking out what's going on in the world. I mean, you basically have to live in a cave to ignore it. And it's a real challenge.

TAPPER: Yes. And what -- the way I envision, you know, Memorial Day weekend, people are getting together with friends and family, maybe they're going to, you know, to honor fallen troops, maybe they're also just getting together with friends, family having a barbecue, whatever they're doing, it's a social weekend. And somebody says, hey, did you know that Frank was on the fence on the jury? I can't imagine that not coming up? Well, I mean, we're all just human beings.

BRAINERD: I think they're just going to have to put up the hand and say, I just can't talk about it. Or they're going to have to, you know, stay home with all the shades down.

TAPPER: What about the media coverage? You say it's easier to avoid the media coverage and the social media --

BRAINERD: So, I think -- you know, I think actually, one of the reasons you get put on these high profile trials is that you don't pay that much attention to the news in social media, and you're able to block that kind of thing out. You know, I hadn't followed Weinstein at all, I wasn't interested. And it was important that the jurors were able to, you know, not get sidelined by all of that. Trump is much more difficult, as I mentioned, because everybody is paying attention. Trump he was our president was not just a Hollywood mogul.

TAPPER: Right. And as we've been covering the trial, there have been some real standout moments of testimony. We're sitting around with analysts pulling these moments out of testimony discussing them, murder boarding them. And if obviously that's not anything like what the jury is going through --


BRAINERD: No. TAPPER: -- you know, we are hammering home moments that we think are significant. That's not how that jurors are experiencing this at all.

BRAINERD: No. But I think what's really important to understand is that when you're a juror on a high profile case, the nature of the case or the fact that it is high profile cannot be relevant. You have to focus on what's really important, which is the job that the judge gives you in the first place, which is to listen to the testimony and make your decision based on what's presented to you in court and nothing else.

So, any preconceived notions of who this person is, what they've done in their lives, that all has to be completely out of your mind. And you have to just focus on the facts as they're presented, and only as they're presented in court. And it's the same with the prosecution has the burden of proof. I mean, we had to determine that once he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and that is a pretty significant burden. So it didn't matter who he was, he could have been anyone, and it should be the same for the jurors on the Trump trial.

TAPPER: Big picture, what was it like to be a juror deciding such a high profile case?

BRAINERD: It was -- honestly, it was harrowing. It was much more traumatic than I ever imagined it would be. I cried at the dinner table every night. It was really a challenge. And also, because frankly, you know, I -- you have to have some kind of empathy.

I mean, you're talking about sending a person to jail, possibly for the rest of their lives. And it's not anything that you can take lightly.

TAPPER: And as I mentioned, you know, you're a juror in the Harvey Weinstein, New York trial that found him guilty of criminal sexual assault and third degree rape, a conviction that was just recently overturned, because in for -- not because they thought the jury did anything wrong but because evidence was introduced that a higher court decided should not have been introduced in that trial. What was your reaction when you heard that news? Did you think that was going to be possible? I'm sure that the defense objected to the inclusion of that other testimony.

BRAINERD: I was horrified by the decision. Although I knew that he was appealing that he had gone through, I think it's two appeals to get to this point. And I think probably all of us, were horrified. You know, when you go in for jury duty, they give you this inspirational videos about your service to your country, and our justice system and the sanctity of our justice system, how well it works. And then to have us all take that so seriously and then to just flip it over, it's really a travesty.

I mean, it's so disappointing. And yes, I just think that -- I hope that that is not what happens in this trial.

TAPPER: Amanda Brainerd, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

BRAINERD: Thank you for having me, Jake.

TAPPER: Really, really interesting. I don't think I'll ever be picked for a jury and I certainly understand why.

BRAINERD: You might be surprised.

TAPPER: No, I don't think so. Anyway, Amanda, thanks so much.


TAPPER: Good to see you.

Live images from the South Bronx right now. Donald Trump is just minutes away from a rally. They're aiming to court Black and Hispanic voters. Remember, this is a lecture of margins. I mean, if you improve your standing with black voters, you know by 5 percent, that could mean victory.

New York's Governor Kathy Hochul is going to join us next. We're going to get her take on Trump in her backyard and other big issues in her state.



TAPPER: In our politics lead while not considered a critical swing state in November, New York has taken center stage as former President Trump's hush money conspiracy trial plays out in that Manhattan courtroom. The state is also of course grappling with a number of key issues top of mind for voters immigration also crime. I'm joined now by New York Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul.

Governor Hochul, thanks so much for joining us. So, Donald Trump, former President Trump he's holding an event shortly in the Bronx in an effort to attract voters of color Latinos and African Americans, historically a loyal voting bloc for Democrats, especially African Americans. But the truth is, this is a sport. This is a, you know, politics of margins. What more do Democrats need to do to solidify and mobilize their base?

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL, (D-NY): Well, I'll tell you won't make a difference at all, Jake, and that is for Donald Trump to be the ringleader of an invite all his clowns to a place like the Bronx, New York will never ever support Donald Trump for president. We know him better than anyone. And that means we understand what he's all about is just for himself. So, this state will go solidly behind Joe Biden for president as it has in the past. So he wants to spend his time doing these made up fake rallies and retaining their supporter be my guest, because while you're doing that, Donald Trump, Joe Biden's out there on the other side, making sure he's delivering for all Americans.

And so, go ahead, spend all your time if you want in New York, because we'll be with Joe Biden, and Joe Biden's out there winning over the rest of the battleground states.

TAPPER: So, let's turn to an issue I'm sure former President Trump will bring up in the Bronx and that's crime and crime in New York specifically. By the numbers we see from the NYPD violent crime is down in New York City in April. Yet obviously there is still violent crime. We see incidents such as a 69-year-old woman randomly punched in the face earlier this month. A day later, actor Steve Buscemi also randomly punched in the face while walking in Manhattan.


What more needs to be done to bring crime down. Again, I know the numbers overall are down with violent crime, but there still is crime. And there was an epidemic of young women getting punched in the face, I think in March in Manhattan.

HOCHUL: No, that's deeply concerning. But let me first say this, Donald Trump is trying all his best and said he will do this if he becomes president again, to unwind all the gun laws that protect people. So while in the state of New York, we're getting more guns off the streets, Donald Trump says he wants everybody to have guns. And so you can say you're serious about fighting crime if you're not serious about getting illegal guns off the streets, something that I and other Democrats have been focused on.

That's why the crime rate has been going down. That's why our subway numbers were at 19 percent, lower than we were before the pandemic. So we're making progress. Now, yes, there are still crimes. And there's a sense of anxiety out there that is very real. And Democrats acknowledge this. But we're the ones out there in the trenches doing something about it. I put the National Guard in the New York State subway system working with Mayor Eric Adams and our police force to stabilize our subway system, which is the lifeline of this part of our state. It's made a real difference. So you -- Republicans say all they want on crime. Yes, crime exists in cities, but we are driving the numbers down in a way that New Yorkers are starting to realize.

TAPPER: Yesterday I spoke with Nathan Vasquez who's on track to unseat progressive District Attorney in Portland, Oregon. This comes after a similar unseating happened to a progressive District Attorney in San Francisco a year or two ago. Do you think that this is a sign that Democrats need to take a harder line on crime to win elections?

HOCHUL: I will say that Democrats like myself have always say we're against crime. I mean, how who is for crime? Let's be serious about this. We are the ones that are out there working against hate crimes and domestic violence and retail theft. I just passed an historic budget with serious laws to protect New Yorkers from retail theft, shutting down illegal cannabis shops. So this whole Republican narrative that Democrats are not, you know, as hard as we need to be on public safety is just false, and no one should be buying it. So I reject that premise. We are out there making sure that our number one priority will continue to be public safety, job number one for all of us.

TAPPER: Well, what about that incident not long ago, where there were a number of undocumented immigrants who were arrested and then let free with no cash bail. And they were, I think a couple of them were seeing getting into a physical altercation with police. I, of course, nobody's in favor of crime but some policies allow violent criminals or people who end up being violent criminals to get away with it and not be locked up. You don't know what people are talking about when they talked about?

HOCHUL: No, no, no. I know exactly what they're talking about, Jake. And this is it. There were changes to the bail laws in the state of New York. I as governor working with the legislature was able to roll back some of those changes and give power back to the judges to hold people like that. Now, I can't force a judge to follow the laws as I we've changed them but and I rejected what happened in that altercation with our New York State Police or an NYPD.

They deserve to be able to be protected when they're performing their duties to protect all of us. So I said those people should have been held. They never should have been let loose. And judges need to be focusing on applying the laws and using the power we now have them. So yes, there was a problem. I accept that. But thankfully, we're able to get significant changes to make sure that the judges and the district attorneys now have the power to do what they should, which is to protect the people on our streets.

TAPPER: So New York has obviously seen a stark rise in migrants arriving, many of them undocumented, and obviously it is strained resources, from healthcare to shelters to schools across the state. Is this an issue that is creating a vulnerability for Democrats in November and how should it be addressed?

HOCHUL: Well, I'm sensing they were talking about this today just hours ago, Jake, in Washington Republicans rejected said flat out no to the opportunity to help start stabilizing the world. Let's shut down the border right now. We have an influx of people that is unmanageable and unsustainable in the state of New York and other states as well. So we recognize, we need sensible, common sense immigration laws.

And the Republicans know that if we can -- if they do this, it'd be a win for Joe Biden. That's exactly why the first time this came up President -- former President Trump, weighed in and said to Republicans that he controls in the House and the Senate, do not support this bipartisan bill because it'd be a win for Joe Biden. And we don't want that. Just examine what that's all about and happen again today. Something that's good for America.


TAPPER: I think a number of Democrats voted against it two --

HOCHUL: Something that's good for our country, something that the majority of Americans want. And certainly the majority of New Yorkers want. The ability to stop fentanyl from coming over our borders, the ability to beef up the Border Patrol, not just on the southern border, but we have a border with Canada to the north. So this would have been good for the state of New York. And we have 10 Republican members of Congress who have they use their clout, here in the state of New York, go into the Speaker's office and say we demand that you do something that is good for our constituents that they're clamoring for. And guess what, they refuse.

This will be an issue against them in the November election as well. So there is a path to deal with the border crisis. It makes sense. And Republicans rejected it once again today.

TAPPER: Again, some Democrats voted against that too. But I want to ask you because all of this is adding to New York struggles with tourism. The Empire States still reeling from declines in tourism during the COVID pandemic. I want to ask you about the fallout, continued fallout from COVID because your predecessor former Governor Cuomo is set to testify before Congress in a few days, June 11th, about allegations that his administration falsified the number of deaths in nursing homes, and is also under fire for implementing that policy that contributed to those deaths. Governor Cuomo denies wrongdoing. What do you think happened? And what degree do you think New York's government was at fault?

HOCHUL: My job is the current governor of the state of New York is to make sure that we move forward, Jake, and that's what I'm focused on is that we are putting policies in place to make sure there are more safeguards to protect New Yorkers should this ever happen again. But you mentioned the impact on our economy here in New York. We are coming back. We're in a much better place even one year later from where we were last year at this time. I just spoke to people on Broadway. Well, we're almost back to normal with respected people coming to plays and tourism.

If you walk the streets of New York, especially around Times Square in our tourist areas, they are packed. So people are excited back, there's an energy and electricity that was shuttered and shut down for such a long time. But I would say right now New York is back.

TAPPER: All right, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

HOCHUL: Thank you.

TAPPER: This just in we're learning a brand new efforts by the United States to revive ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas. And to get more hostages released. We're back with the new reporting, next.



TAPPER: Just in to our World Lead, a U.S. official tells CNN that CIA Director Bill Burns is traveling back to Europe to try again to get an Israel-Hamas ceasefire and hostage release deal back on track. Let's get straight to our Alex Marquardt. Alex, what's the status of the talks right now? Are they still at a standstill?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: They're very much at a standstill. They're at this impasse. They have been for about the past three weeks. Officials have been telling me that they've been paused. But clearly the U.S. and the other parties are trying to get them going again, CIA Director Bill Burns, going back to Europe to revive the talks, I'm told by a U.S. official.

Separately, a Qatari official also tells me that their Prime Minister is going to be meeting with Burns. I know that right now he's in Paris. It's not exactly clear where these talks are taking place. But in the past, Jake, the top officials from these main countries, Israel, Egypt, Qatar and the U.S. have all met in Paris, mainly the intelligence chiefs plus the Qatari Prime Minister. They're known as the quad. There's no real sense that, you know, we're on the cusp of anything immediately.

But after the past three weeks, where the military operation in Rafah, the Israeli operation has grown, it does appear that the U.S. is really trying to revive these. And these were talks that did appear to be close at hand before they fell apart three weeks ago.

TAPPER: You reported earlier this week that Israel agreed to certain terms and a ceasefire deal. But then Egyptian officials quietly changed the terms before presenting it to Hamas, even assuming the best intentions that they are trying to make a deal go through. It certainly didn't help it kind of exploded everything. How much confidence does the U.S. have in the process going forward?

MARQUARDT: Well, I think they still recognize very much that the Egyptians and the Qataris are vital partners, because they are dealing with Hamas in a way that the U.S. and Israel certainly aren't. But they were frustrated with what Egypt did, which was essentially a bait and switch. They took this framework that Israel had agreed to. They realized that Hamas wasn't going to agree to that. So they changed some of the terms without telling the other partners, we reported that Bill Burns, the CIA director, was that he almost blew a gasket that he was very, very frustrated with this.

But at the same time going forward, they know that Egypt will have to be part of it. Egypt in particular deals with Hamas in Gaza. And so when you hear what this U.S. official told me, which is that the Egyptians and the Qataris are both very engaged that to me says that the U.S. is emphasizing that despite this screw up essentially by the Egyptians, that they're still a vital player in this.

TAPPER: Alex Marquardt, with the latest on that, let's hope there is some sort of progress there, get those hostages home.

Also, in our World Lead, the critical transition period for Iran as funerals ramp for President Ebrahim Raisi. There are questions about who will be the next president of Iran, questions about fairness and elections, questions about Iran's nuclear capabilities, questions about Iran's role in provocations that could send U.S. troops back into the region. But now we want to take you directly into the streets of Iran itself, where CNN Fred Pleitgen is covering the funeral of the Iranian president.



FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The streets of Mashhad jam packed with people, mourning the late President Ebrahim Raisi as a truck with his casket made its way to the Imam Reza shrine, one of the most important holy sites in Iran. PLEITGEN: Hundreds of thousands of people have come out here on the streets of Mashhad. This is really very much the political and the spiritual homeland of Ebrahim Raisi and the people here say while they're in great sorrow, they hope that Iran continues down that conservative trajectory that was common for Ebrahim Raisi, the administration.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): In power for three years, Ebrahim Raisi was a conservative hardliner. Overseeing a crackdown on protests against Iran's strict hijab laws in 2022. But also the first ever strikes against Israel from Iranian soil in retaliation for the bombing of Iran's embassy compound in Syria.

Crowds at the funeral screaming death to Israel and death to America vowing to remain loyal to Raisi's hardline agenda. One hundred percent, 100 percent, this man says, these are all Raisi's and they will continue. And this woman says, we have come here to say if they took Raisi from us, we still have our supreme leader and we back in and will never leave him alone. We have always expressed our position towards the U.S., this man says, just like the policy of the President and the martyr Qasem Soleimani to struggle against arrogance. We won't allow the arm of arrogance to go around the world will cut it down.

After Raisi, Iran's foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several others were killed in a chopper crash in northern Iran on Sunday. Tehran says a new president will be elected in late June. But this week has been one of mourning culminating in the funeral prayers for Raisi inside the Imam Reza shrine. As the body of Ebrahim Raisi was brought to its final resting place Iran is looking ahead. One of the U.S. has toughest adversaries soon to decide its political future.


TAPPER: We're having trouble with Fred's audio there and Iran live for us obviously. Frederik Pleitgen in Tehran thanks so much. A bill is now headed to the governor's desk in Louisiana, it aims to classify abortion drugs as quote controlled dangerous substances. This is a first in the nation move we'll talk about the law and the impact next.



TAPPER: In our Health Lead, Louisiana is now set to become the first state to classify abortion drugs as quote, controlled dangerous substances. Louisiana State lawmakers gave the bill final approval today and now heads to the desk of Republican Governor Jeff Landry, who is expected to sign it into law. Abortion is already banned in Louisiana with no exceptions for rape or incest. CNN's medical correspondent Meg Tirrell joins us now live. And Meg, we've talked about these drugs before mifepristone and misoprostol. How common are they? And what does this decision mean for the women and girls of Louisiana?

MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, I mean medication abortion is the most common way that people access abortion in the United States, so it accounted for 63 percent of all abortions in 2023, according to data from the Guttmacher Institute, there were more than a million abortions in 2023. So that's more than 600,000 times this regimen was used for medication abortion. As you pointed out, abortion is already illegal in Louisiana, has a near total ban. And so medication abortion is not allowed in Louisiana already.

But doctors argue that classifying these two drugs as a schedule for controlled substance which puts it in the same category of drugs like Xanax and Ambien, Valium, things that have the potential for abuse and dependence creates the false perception that they are dangerous. Importantly, these drugs are also used for other uses. Mifepristone and misoprostol together are used for miscarriage management for example. Misoprostol alone is also used for hemorrhaging and gynecological applications, and for other uses as well also for treating GI ulcers.

And so there was a letter from more than 200 healthcare providers in Louisiana to the state lawmaker who sponsored this bill and they said, quote, mischaracterizing misoprostol, a drug routinely and safely used on labor units throughout the state, as a dangerous drug of abuse creates confusion and misinformation and harms women seeking high quality maternal care. They are worried that this is going to really threaten their autonomy as health care providers in Louisiana. And Jake they point out that Louisiana already has a pretty bad maternal mortality rate. It's among the worst in the country about 37 per 100,000 live births in 2022, compared with the national average that's closer to 23 per 100,000. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Meg Tirrell, thanks so much.


Vibe shift at the White House. The red carpets out for tonight state dinner, some of the names and faces and attendance, next.



TAPPER: In our last leads, an ominous forecast for the busiest ever Atlantic hurricane season. Today meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center said they expect between 17 and 25 named storms with four to seven of them, strengthening into major hurricanes with sustained winds above 110 miles an hour. Right now record warm temperatures are being recorded both above and below the Atlantic's surface.

In our Law and Justice Lead, Louisville police today released new videos showing golfer Scottie Scheffler's arrest last Friday. His vehicle makes a left turn police run up to it. And Scheffler is led away. The arresting officer is in trouble for not recording the incident on his body camera. Scheffler faces felony and lesser charges for allegedly ignoring police instructions in the wake of an earlier accident. Scheffler says he did not know about.

It is state dinner time at the White House. We're watching people arrive for the six state dinner of the Biden administration. My invitation apparently got lost in the mail. Moments ago, our cameras spotted actor and director and activist Sean Penn, also actor LeVar Burton. Tonight's feast is in honor of a visit by the President and First Lady of Kenya, William and Rachel Ruto. It is the first White House State Dinner for an African head of state since President George W. Bush, hosted the leader of Ghana in 2008.


You can follow the show on X at TheLeadCNN. If you ever missed an episode of The Lead, you can listen to the show all two hours, whence you get your podcasts. The news continues on CNN with Wolf Blitzer right next door in a place I like to call the Situation Room.